Saturday, June 30, 2018

Masshole Reporter Resigns After False Tweet

A reporter in Springfield, Mass., resigned from his job Friday after posting a Twitter message falsely stating that Maryland shooting suspect Jarrod Ramos had brought a "Make America Great Again" hat to the office of the Capital Gazette.

Conor Berry, who wrote for the Republican, tweeted an image of a MAGA hat Thursday, and suggested that Ramos had left it behind at the Gazette office after allegedly killing five Gazette employees.

Then Republicans pounced:
Backlash was swift. Berry deleted the tweet and apologized in a follow-up tweet Friday morning.

“Folks, My 21-year career as a “journalist,” a fancy term that makes my skin crawl, frankly, came to a screeching halt yesterday with one stupid, regrettable tweet,” Barry wrote. “Can’t take it back; wish I could. My since apologies to all good, hardworking reporters and to POTUS supporters.”

In his resignation letter, Berry conceded that his tweet “taints the good work of fair-minded journalists everywhere.”
Worse and sadly it seems more representative of the press than exceptional. He'll probably start a job as a PR flack for the DNC as soon as his notoriety dies down a bit.

A Touch of Russiagate

A friend guesses at the answer: Because Glenn Simpson, he speculates, is officially designated as an FBI informant, and so the FBI lawyer is telling him he can't answer.
Over at Da Caller a Congressman thinks Rosenstein Is Spying On Me. No, that's the NSA. If the FBI wants your stuff, they'll get it from them.
Republican Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert believes government personnel working for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are spying on his office, he told WMAL’s “Morning on the Mall” Friday.

“I don’t doubt for a minute that he has people who have been looking into my background. I’ve been told as much by some other folks,” Gohmert told WMAL host and Daily Caller editorial director Vince Coglianese.

Gohmert continued, “I’ve had people who work for the government saying they know everybody that comes in your office.”

The congressman caveated that he did not believe any such operation was overseen by Rosenstein personally but that it was people who worked for him. “There’s always deniability,” he said.
Like the man said, he has 100,000 some odd people working for him. Even he doesn't know what they're all doing.

U.S.News: Manafort Assistant Gave FBI Access to Storage Locker: Testimony
A personal assistant to Paul Manafort granted the FBI access to a storage locker, allowing the government to secure evidence that President Donald Trump's former campaign manager is trying to suppress, according to testimony on Friday in a federal court hearing in Virginia.

FBI special agent Jeff Pfeiffer made the disclosure at a hearing to consider whether evidence from the locker and a separate search of Manafort's home, both in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Alexandria, could be used in a Manafort trial set for July.

Manafort's lawyers have sought to suppress the searches as part of a broader attempt to discredit the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing whether Trump's campaign worked with Russia to sway the election. Manafort, who is now in jail, has been charged mainly for financial crimes not related to the campaign.

Pfeiffer testified that the FBI initially learned about the storage locker from reporters for the Associated Press who met with FBI and Justice Department officials in April 2017 to discuss their reporting on Manafort's business activities.

Lauren Easton, director of media relations at the Associated Press, confirmed that the agency's journalists met with Justice Department officials "in an effort to get information on stories they were reporting, as reporters do." She said they asked the officials about a locker but never identified its location.

Pfeiffer said that Manafort's personal assistant, Alex Trusko, had signed papers leasing the storage unit so had the authority to let the FBI view inside the locker on May 26, 2017 without a search warrant.

Pfeiffer said the FBI did not look at the contents of boxes in the locker until getting a search warrant on May 27, 2017.

Manafort's lawyers have argued that Trusko was not authorized to open the locker for the FBI because Manafort effectively controlled the unit.
It sounds to me like the search should be deemed illegal, but my guess is it won't. Don't ever let you assistant sign your leases.

Mueller still not willing to take his hooks out of General Flynn: Mueller prosecutors still not ready to see Flynn sentenced
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office is asking a federal court to continue postponing setting a sentencing hearing for Michael Flynn, the former Trump national security adviser who pleaded guilty last year to a felony count of making false statements in the course of an FBI investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“Due to the status of the special counsel’s investigation, the parties do not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time,” prosecutors and defense attorneys wrote in a one-page report filed on Friday with U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan.

The delay suggests that Flynn is still actively cooperating with Mueller’s office, that prosecutors believe his testimony could be useful at some future trial, or that the sentencing process might disclose some aspect of the investigation that Mueller still wishes to keep secret.

Each routine deadline in the case triggers considerable speculation and anticipation, particularly on the part of Flynn’s supporters, who contend that he was railroaded or tricked into pleading guilty through deception perpetrated by the FBI or others. Some, including Republican lawmakers, have suggested that FBI reports on Flynn’s interview with agents may have been altered.
Trump should pardon Flynn on the grounds that it was a process crime created by the investigation that even Peter Strzok didn't think occurred, but somehow Mueller managed to force a confession through financial pressure on Flynn's family. If Mueller has anything else, make him show it.

Rule 5 Saturday - A Few Minutes of Reverie

This Rule 5 post dedicated to the girls of the summertime ABC show Reverie.
Former hostage negotiator Mara Kint, an expert on human behavior, takes a job saving people whose minds are lost in an advanced virtual-reality simulation, Reverie. In the process, Kint begins to work through a personal tragedy in her own past.

Sarah Shahi

Aahoo Jahansouz "Sarah" Shahi (Persian: آهو جهانسوز سارا شاهی‎; born January 10, 1980) is an American television actress and former NFL Cheerleader of Iranian and Spanish ancestry. She played Kate Reed in the USA Network legal drama Fairly Legal in 2011–12, Carmen on The L Word in 2008, and also starred as Sameen Shaw on the CBS crime drama Person of Interest. She has also appeared as the main female role Det. Dani Reese in Life, and in a supporting role in Alias.

Jessica Lu takes the part of Alexis Barrett, a stereotypically oriental programmer involved in the creation of Reverie. She also programmed Dylan, the artificial intelligence that manages Onira-Tech's systems.
Jessica Lu (April 18, 1985) is an American actress, model, and spokesperson. She is best known for her portrayal of Ming Huang on the MTV television series Awkward.

Lu has modeled in print ads for Got Milk?, OshKosh B'Gosh, Claire's, Parisian, Lands' End, Chicago Place, and Carson Pirie Scott. Her modeling career also includes commercial work for Kaiser Permanente, Samsung, McDonald's, Ford Motors, and Orville Redenbacher's

Kathryn Morris plays Monica Shaw, a Defense Department official with an interest in the use of Reverie for government purposes. After a suspicion generating start, she appears to be a good girl.
Kathryn Susan Morris (born January 28, 1969) is an American actress, best known for her lead role as Detective Lilly Rush in the CBS series Cold Case.
. . .
Morris was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She grew up in Windsor Locks, Connecticut with her parents, Stanley, a Bible scholar, and Joyce, an insurance agent, and five siblings before moving away. From age 6 to 17, Morris and her family traveled the southern 'Bible Belt' as a gospel group called 'The Morris Code'. The group was mainly made up of Kathryn's father and three (out of five) of her siblings.
Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: Kaya Jones" and "FMJRA 2.0: Station To Station" ready for  your pleasure. Also linked at The Right Way in "Rule 5 Saturday LinkOrama."

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Annapolis Capital Shootings

I came home from fishing last night to hear of the shootings in Annapolis. It was pretty clear that not much was known yet, but by the morning, it was pretty well sorted out: Jarrod Ramos Identified as Shooter in Maryland Newspaper Mass Murder
When I went to sleep Thursday night, my post about the shooting at the offices of the Annapolis Capital had been updated six times, and the media had (incorrectly, as it turned out) reported that the gunman was “a white male in his 20s.” On Twitter, leftists were going crazy with speculation that somehow this atrocity was inspired by President Trump’s frequent criticism of the media’s “fake news.”

Having been through similar situations so many times — a bombing or shooting, watching people on the Internet engaging in baseless guesswork about the motive and perpetrators — I urged caution:
It is important to avoid speculation in the immediate aftermath of incidents like this. What was the gunman’s motive? We don’t know, because we don’t even know who the gunman is yet. Of course, it’s possible that the shooter had some sort of political motive, but so far we have no evidence to indicate what that motive might be.
Was it political terrorism and, if so, what kind of politics? Is the killer a radical Muslim? Or some kind of “right-winger”? That’s what such speculation is about — people trying to score political points from mass murder — and it’s distasteful, not to mention foolish.
Just wait, I always say when these things happen, and let’s get the facts first. Overnight, the facts finally emerged:
A Laurel man with a long-standing grudge against The Capital is being held as the suspect in the deadly shooting Thursday at the Annapolis newspaper, according to law enforcement sources.
Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, according to online court records. . . .
In 2012, Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper and a columnist over a July 2011 article that covered a criminal harassment charge against him.
He brought the suit against then-columnist Eric Hartley, naming Capital Gazette Communications and Thomas Marquardt, the paper’s former editor and publisher, as defendants. . . .
Marquardt said he wasn’t surprised to hear Ramos identified as the alleged gunman, saying he started harassing the paper and its staff shortly after the 2011 article. The harassment escalated for years with online threats, Marquardt said.
“I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence,” Marquardt said from his retirement home in Florida. “I even told my wife, ‘We have to be concerned. This guy could really hurt us.’ ”
Marquardt said he called the Anne Arundel County police about Ramos in 2013, but nothing came of it. He consulted the paper’s lawyers about filing a restraining order, but decided against it.
“I remember telling our attorneys, ‘This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us,’ ” he said.
Ramos’ aunt Vielka Ramos, 59, said she couldn’t believe he was the suspected gunman. She said her nephew had a good childhood, growing up in Severn, and attended Arundel High School.
“He was very intelligent. He would try to communicate with people but he was a loner,” she said.
After his grandmother died several years ago, she said, he stopped attending family gatherings. She had not talked to him in several years, the aunt said.
“He was distant from the family. He just wasn’t close to anybody,” she said.
In the 2011 column about the harassment charge, Hartley identified Jarrod Ramos as a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employee with no previous criminal record and a degree in computer engineering.
The harassment case centered on an online relationship Ramos tried to kindle with a former high school classmate. Hartley’s column said Ramos sent a friend request on Facebook to the woman, and the experience turned into a “yearlong nightmare.” Ramos allegedly wrote the woman and said she was the only person who ever said hello to him or was nice to him in school.
Ramos then allegedly called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself, Hartley wrote. He allegedly emailed the bank where she worked to get her fired. Ramos pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge, receiving probation from a judge who called his behavior “rather bizarre,” the column said.
Ramos’ subsequent defamation suit against The Capital worked its way through the Maryland courts until 2015, when the state’s second-highest court upheld a ruling in favor of the newspaper.
This guy was a cliché, a stereotype of a deranged loner, and he should have been locked up in a lunatic asylum or a prison. Because I’ve had to deal with this kind of psycho — in 2013, I was one of the defendants in a baseless defamation suit, and in 2016, a guy who targeted my family for SWATting was sentenced to federal prison — I have repeatedly warned readers: Crazy People Are Dangerous. . . .
The left immediately rushed to blame Donald Trump, for allegedly fostering an atmosphere of incivility, although there's no evidence that politics played any role in the shootings. Ramos was not registered in either major party.

The fact that weapon used was reportedly a pump action shotgun, which puts it pretty far down on the list of guns likely to be subject to gun control, being a quintessential hunters weapon, obtained legally, and  that Ramos is a "white Hispanic" are both bad for the narrative, so, aside from shooting a "protected" group, journalists, this shooting is likely to slide into forgetfulness rather quickly.

Is Recycling Plastic Killing the Pacific?

From the GWPF and the “Great Pacific Recycling Patch” department.

London 28 June: An explosive report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) reveals that efforts to recycle plastic are a major cause of the marine litter problem. The report, written by public health expert Dr Mikko Paunio, sets out the case for incinerating waste rather than trying to recycle it.
* Most of the plastic waste comes from just a few countries, mostly in Asia and Africa.
* 25% is “leakage” from Asian waste management processes — the rest is waste that has never been collected, but is simply thrown into rivers.
* But European countries ship inject huge quantities of waste into Asian waste management streams, ostensibly for recycling. As much as 20% — millions of tons every year — ends up in the oceans and will continue to do so.
* Since the Chinese banned waste imports at the start of the year, shipments have been diverted to other Asian countries with even weaker environmental controls (Figure 1).
* EU recycling is therefore a major contributor to marine waste and increasing recycling will therefore simply increase marine litter.

Author Dr Mikko Paunio says
“It is clear that the European contribution to marine waste is a result of our efforts to recycle. However, several countries have already shown that they can reduce this contribution to near zero, by simply incinerating waste”.
Despite this success, the EU is trying to redouble recycling efforts and to close down the incineration route, mistakenly believing that this will reduce carbon emissions. As Dr Paunio puts it,
“The effects look as though they will be appalling. We can expect a great deal more plastic to end up in the environment, and in the oceans in particular. If the EU was serious about its war against marine pollution it should consider banning the export of plastic recyclate rather than banning plastic straws or taxing incineration.”
While plastic garbage is unpleasant to see, and occasionally harmful to some select charismatic megafauna, I don't believe that overall, plastic pollution ranks high on our pollutants of concern. although, I hate it when a plastic bag plugs the water intake on my outboard motor.

Still I find it rather ironic that attempts to recycle plastic cheaply may actually be increasing plastic pollution of the oceans. 

Russigate Testimonial

Lots of testimony to cover. Lots of videos at the links. First, more on the Strzok testimony, something I missed yesterday somehow: Chairman Goodlatte: “FBI Lawyers instructed Peter Strzok not to answer many, many questions”… Of course, Strzok promised to answer all the questions Congress had.
Suffice to say it’s not a good look when lawyers representing the FBI are telling the central witness within a political conspiracy involving the FBI not to answer questions from congressional oversight.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte tells Martha MacCallum that FBI lawyers are instructing FBI Agent Peter Strzok not to answer questions from congress about the nature of his involvement within a DOJ/FBI conspiracy to stop a political candidate; and later to overthrow a presidency.

Additionally Chairman Goodlatte states the answers agent Strzok did give about his text messages was “not believable”.

Sara Carter: GRILLED: Strzok Questioned by Lawmakers. Washington Examiner: Lawmakers divided over Peter Strzok’s bias after 'feisty, tense' interview. Of, course, Democrats think it's just hunky-dory to have a totally biased agent running things, if he's biased on your side. But this one is interesting, from da Beast: Rogue FBI Agent Peter Strzok Swears: I Had Nothing to Do With Spying on Carter Page. Instapundit shouts the same reaction I did a few days ago:
But alas, we must leave Peter and deal with other testimony, that of Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray. For those with the time, all five hours of testimony here. Ace: Rosenstein Hearing: Rosenstein Won't Say If He Even Read the FISA App He Signed; Jim Jordan Accuses Him of "Hiding" Documents; House Votes to Demand All Documents Within Seven Days

Fresh from Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 06.28.18", Power Line: Rod Rosenstein – It Ain’t Me, Babe, also, House Vote Adds To Pressure On DOJ. From Breitbart: Fireworks as Jim Jordan and Rod Rosenstein Spar Over Documents. They Daily Wire: WATCH: Trey Gowdy Obliterates Rod Rosenstein Over Russia Investigation but Rep. Trey Gowdy Has Rosenstein Under Oath for 5 Minutes--But Asks 0 Questions. Well, asking questions doesn't do much good when they won't answer them. Gateway Pundit: “Finish it The Hell Up!” Gowdy Tells Rosenstein to Show Evidence of Wrongdoing by Trump’s Camp or End Mueller Probe (VIDEO).  FBI Director Won’t Say If Adultery is ‘Significant Vulnerability’ for Counterintelligence Agent, because that might commit him to do something he doesn't want to.

This should be fun: Court Orders DOJ to Produce Fusion GPS Records, Judicial Watch Says
“We are pleased another court rejected the Justice Department’s inexcusable stonewalling on documents of intense public interest — Obama DOJ collusion with the Clinton campaign vendor Fusion GPS to target then-candidate Donald Trump,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.

“How extraordinary it is that this Justice Department is now under court order to stop stalling on releasing records about potential corruption in the Obama Justice Department!” Fitton added.
Washington Times: 'Even a blind person' can see Mueller using Manafort to 'target' Trump: judge
Judge Ellis, sitting in the Eastern District of Virginia, expressed dismay at the special counsel system and at Mr. Muellerin particular.

“Given the investigation’s focus on President Trump’s campaign, even a blind person can see that the true target of the Special Counsel’s investigation is President Trump, not defendant, and that defendant’s prosecution is part of that larger plan,” he wrote. “Specifically, the charges against defendant are intended to induce defendant to cooperate with the Special Counsel by providing evidence against the President or other members of the campaign. Although these kinds of high-pressure prosecutorial tactics are neither uncommon nor illegal, they are distasteful.”

In negotiations between Mr. Mueller and Trump attorneys over a possible interview, the prosecutor has said Mr. Trump isn’t a target — a specific Justice Department term that means the government has evidence the person committed a crime.

Legal experts say prosecutors will file numerous charges, creating huge legal defense costs, to force targets to talk.
Speaking of which: Mueller subpoenas former aide to Stone: report at da Hill. ABC: Special counsel eyeing Russians granted unusual access to Trump inauguration parties and this has to do with collusion with Russia because . . . ? WaPo: How the ‘Bad Boys of Brexit’ forged ties with Russia and the Trump campaign — and came under investigators’ scrutiny Is the crime being investigated meeting people not pre-approved by the elites? But, fair is fair, Trump goes after Robert Mueller by name for hiding 'conflicts of interest' – 

Gary Gindler at the American Thinker: The Deep State's bait-and-switch on Hillary and the emails. They were never really investigating Hillary Clinton
I don't know about you, but I had to reread the recent report by Michael Horowitz, inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice, at least three times until I understood the meaning of what had happened. Moreover, I had to (reluctantly) recognize the justification of the main conclusion of the inspector general: that the apparent political preferences of the Clinton investigators played no part in the decision of the Clinton prosecutors.

Why? Because the FBI, as it turned out, did not even investigate Hillary Clinton. The FBI had no such intention. Instead, an investigation was conducted into her email server.

The circumstances appear to resemble this. Crucial evidence was found at the scene of a crime. All the investigators' efforts were directed to discerning this and only this evidence of where it was made, where it was bought, how it fell into the hands of the criminal, etc. Everyone was so busy investigating the evidence that the search for a criminal was first postponed and then completely abandoned.
An off the wall one, but read it and see if it's plausible to you: Diana West at the American Spectator: Big Dots — Do They Connect? Steele and Skripal Revisited. Skirpal tied to Steele? That could be interesting. Remember how Glenn Simpson said someone had already been killed over the Steele dossier?
In a March 21 interview on the John Batchelor Show, Gregory R. Copley, editor and publisher of Defense & Foreign Affairs, posited that Sergei Skripal is the unnamed Russian intelligence source in the Steele dossier.

Copley further explained (or tried to explain) to Batchelor (who kept cutting him off): “The people who wished to see Skripal become quiet were people in Washington, the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign, and people around Christopher Steele himself. I’m not saying necessarily that MI6 or the British government had a witting hand in it, but there are too many people who had an axe to grind to make sure that Skripal did not —”

Did not… did not what? Batchelor steps on the end of Copley’s sentence to interject a question about whether the Novichok attack on the Skripals could have been a “gangland” hit.

Wet Shirt Friday?

Sure, why not? It's hot out!

Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: Kaya Jones" ready for  your pleasure.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Boat for Sale, Cheap

Some work required:

I don't know what happened, but it's been there for over a week.I saw it where it was on a scenic tour.

Barefoot, Trevor and I went fishing this afternoon. Fishing was bad; we got into one small mess of breaking fish and got a few dinks each, but they disappeared quickly.

Crabs Down, But Authorities Swear Not Overfished

Blue crab populations are declining in Chesapeake Bay, but that is not expected to impact fishing.

An annual advisory report says the blue crab population decreased by 18 percent from 2017 to 2018, but the reports said the overall population is not depleted and not being overfished.

The report says there are 372 million blue crab, down from 455 million. The overall crab population was at 553 million in 2016.

The target level for harvesting adult female blue crabs is 25.5 percent of the population. In 2017, 21 percent were harvested. Fishing is considered safe as long the harvest is below 34 percent of all adult females.

Scientists say the female population is the important factor in determining the overall sustainability of the species, and analysis is focused on their numbers.

Despite an overall decline in population, the number of newly harvestable crabs grew by 34 percent from one year ago.

The 2017 harvest brought in 54 million pounds of blue crab, just under 10 percent fewer than were harvested in 2016.
Well, yes, maybe. Crab populations are highly variable from year to year, depending, we thing, on weather.

But it's not a good idea to keep hitting a population hard when it's down.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: Kaya Jones" ready for  your pleasure.

6/28/18 Beach Report

We left before lunch today to get the low tide and beat the heat (85ish), and the clouds helped keep us cool, too.
Not a stellar day for finding fossils, but not a bad one either. Some 20 in all, not all shown here. Credit to Georgia for finding the two biggest Snaggletooths.

Reason #5945 That Trump Was Elected

The Justice Department said Wednesday it has begun distributing hundreds of millions of dollars in grant money that had been tied up in a major court battle over sanctuary cities.
Byrne Justice Assistance Grants are used by localities and police departments across the nation to pay for equipment, training, personnel or other pressing needs.

The Trump administration last year said it would condition the money on localities’ willingness to cooperate in holding illegal immigrants for pickup by federal deportation officers. Chicago sued, saying the conditions weren’t part of federal law.

A federal district judge had ruled for Chicago, but issued a nationwide injunction saying the conditions couldn’t be applied to any Byrne grants.

The Justice Department put nearly $200 million in 2017 money on hold as the case proceeded.

But on Tuesday an appeals court narrowed the ruling, saying that while the district court could decide the fate of Chicago’s practices, it couldn’t tie the hands of the entire country.
While I approve of denying grants to cities who defy the federal government, in this case in regard to immigration policy, which the Federal government clearly has jurisdiction over, the whole question begs the question of equal treatment of rural and city people. Are there per capita, as much grant money available for rural law enforcement? I doubt it.

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

Just Some Intimate Russiagate Between Intimate Friends

As expected, in his behind closed door congressional grilling testimony, Peter Strzok claims his promise to his lover Lisa Page was just ordinary pillow talk texting, between two high powered officials with motive and perhaps means to actually accomplish it. Ace: Peter Strzok: My Texts Promising To Stop Trump Were Just Intimate Messages Between Intimate Friends
He was speaking behind closed doors to the House committee looking into this.

Mark Meadows doesn't believe that an "intimate message between intimate friends" means that there's no bias here. In fact, he thinks that an "intimate message between intimate friends" is usually the unadorned truth about your intentions:

John Sexton at Hot Air: Peter Strzok On His Stop Trump Text: Just An ‘Intimate Conversation Between Intimate Friends’
It really is extraordinary that Strzok’s obvious bias against Trump (and for Hillary) has been completely excused as just a private matter. That’s despite the fact that Strzok was clearly discussing his professional responsibilities on several occasions.

Also, someone tried very hard to hide his text about stopping Trump, so much so that it took repeated efforts by the IG to recover the “we’ll stop him” text. Does the attempt to deep-six that particular text message show consciousness of guilt? If this was all just idle chatter among intimate friends, why hide it?
Joshua Caplan at Breitbart:  Lawmakers Demand Mueller Unmask Team Members to Root Out ‘Politically Biased Investigators’ I hope they're not holding their breath.
A group of Republican lawmakers have requested Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hand over the names of every individual working on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

The seven GOP lawmakers told Rosenstein they are “disturbed” by the perceived anti-Trump bias demonstrated by FBI agent Peter Strzok and attorneys Lisa Page and Kevin Clinesmith — previous members of Mueller’s team. They are asking for the names of every staffer working on the probe — previous and current — over concerns “there may be more politically biased investigators.”

“We know that these biases were shared among multiple people at the FBI and could be easily uncovered by Mr. Mueller with simple vetting,” the Congressmen wrote the Justice Department’s second-highest ranking official. “These individuals should not have been given an opportunity to influence – directly or indirectly – this special counsel investigation.”

“Republicans have said they believe Clinesmith is the attorney identified in DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation as “Attorney 2.” The Horowitz report, released earlier this month, includes messages from “Attorney 2” lamenting Trump’s election as well as a missive reading “viva le resistance,” reports Fox News.
Despite excoriating the Mueller team for their monomaniacal aim to squeeze President Trumps associates Virginia Federal Judge: Mueller can continue to prosecute Manafort for matters unrelated to the campaign  (William A. Jacobson, Legal Insurrection)  “Here, we have a prosecution of a campaign official, not a government official, for acts that occurred well before the Presidential election” Judge in Virginia lets case against Manafort move forward (WaPo)
He ended the opinion with a word of caution to prosecutors: “Although this case will continue, those involved should be sensitive to the danger unleashed when political disagreements are transformed into partisan prosecutions.”

Yet none of those concerns were enough to dismiss the indictment.
Sara Carter:  House Approves Resolution Demanding DOJ/FBI Docs or else, "And this time we really mean or else! Jeff Mordock at the Washington Times: Contempt, impeachment in play for Rod Rosenstein as Congress-Justice Department showdown escalates. "Tyler Durnden" at Zero Hedge: DOJ Won't Release Top Secret Loretta Lynch Intercepts Suggesting Secret Deal To Rig Clinton Probe Institutional reluctance to harm themselves.
The secret intelligence document purports to show that Lynch told the Clinton campaign she would keep the FBI email investigation on a short leash - a suggestion included in the Inspector General's original draft, but relegated to a classified appendix in the official report and entirely blanked out.
From Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 06.27.18", The Victory Girls think Mueller Russia Probe Looks For Fall Conclusions
The “UK Daily Mail” has a headline “Mueller probe focus is on whether Trump obstructed justice and could issue MORE indictments within months” that is sure to put a song in the hearts of “Never Trumpers”, Resistance types and Pussy hat wearers everywhere. From the article:
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is kicking his Russia investigation into high gear with an eye toward producing some conclusions by this fall.
Those findings could include indictments from the team of officials looking into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians who sought to influence the 2016 contest, a source told Bloomberg News.
Mueller’s office officially declined to comment to the news outlet.
Conclusions by the Fall of 2018. Charming. One would think, if one is a being grounded in reality, the collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice would be fairly big crimes with like, I don’t know, evidence and stuff that would have been obvious. Since Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod (Boo, Hiss) Rosenstein way back on May 17, 2017, he has investigated anyone who has ever walked past Trump Tower (trademark, all rights reserved) and doesn’t seem to have found very much. Although he has ruined quite a few lives (See also: Flynn, Michael T., Lt. General, U.S. Army, Ret.).
Or as William Teach at Pirate's Cove has it, Mueller To Finally Focus On Russia Russia Russia At Some Point In The Future. Actually, probably not since he's handed most of the Russia stuff off to low level DOJ flunkies. Jason Beale at the Federalist: Why Did DOJ And FBI Ignore Lack Of Evidence For Russiagate? They Fell In Love With Their Source. They say an English accent makes someone seem 10 IQ points smarter to most Americans.
The FBI fell in love with their source. The information Christopher Steele was providing so perfectly fit into a narrative of collusion and conspiracy by the Republican presidential candidate and his staff that it was impossible to ignore, and almost too good to check. They tried to check it—desperately, I would guess—yet, according to those who have read the four separate Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) packets on Carter Page, they were never able to verify the information he provided.

There are two paths available when facing this situation. You can either dump your source and alert the intelligence community of your inability to verify the source’s information, or you can ignore the flashing red lights and rationalize the inconsistencies.

This information made sense, after all. It was explosive, it was sensational, and it was damning. If it was true, the ramifications—to the election, to the Trump team, to the nation, and to the FBI—were mind-boggling. To again paraphrase Deputy Assistant Director Strzok, we’re talking impeachment here.

U.S. agencies chose the second path.
Harold Finch: "And now we know why James @Comey killed any deal with @JulianAssange - because assange was going to prove the Russia DNC hack & election […]"

Tom Maguire at Just One Minute: When Trust is Gone...
Was Crossfire Hurricane launched as part of an entrapment exercise to take out insurance against a Trump Presidency? I have no idea if this is true but it certainly strikes me as plausible, which is an alarming comment on my cynicism at a minimum and public distrust of our 'establishment' at worst. Well. I have sounded this kazoo before.
 The News Junkie at Maggies Farm: If it turns out that Trump really is a Russian agent...
I think Trump admired Putin only for being another alpha male who puts his country's interests first. Trump relates to alpha guys, so that's his preference. He does not care for weasley boys like Justin, and that's his choice. Not many alphas in the press corps, so there's that too.
. . .
He was not my choice, but my choices would have lost to Hillary. As a communicator, Trump makes Reagan and Obama seem like amateurs - and he just wings it. His job seems recreational to him.

As an uncouth outsider, naturally the establishment hates him. That's why he was elected. If it turns out that Trump really is a Russian agent, I'll gladly change my mind about the whole Trump thing.

However, it appears that many US government agencies were working hard to prevent Trump a year before the election, and to undermine him afterwards. If true, it would be the biggest political scandal in US history. Seven Mysterious Preludes of the FBI's Trump-Russia Probe

Sure looks like a CIA/FBI string to me. Who arranged that?
Allahpundit: Are You Ready For President Michael Avenatti? "Dude, I think he might be thinking about it. No joke."

Model Bares Difference Between Arab and Israeli Justice

A Belgian model posed naked recently for a photograph overlooking the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, prompting outrage from the holy site’s rabbi and administrators. Marisa Papen posted the provocative photograph on her website Saturday, along with others taken by photographer Mathias Lambrecht, during a visit to Israel.

In the photograph, Papen leans back on a white plastic chair above a rooftop looking out over the Western Wall and adjoining plaza.
 I wonder how much that hotel room cost!

“First of all, ‘don’t judge a book by its title’… This purely implies the shame you, dear reader, (perhaps) will project on me because I have done something so disrespectful, I should burn in hell,” Papen wrote in an NSFW blog post that included the Western Wall photo and others from her time in Israel. “I know my mailbox is about to fill up with threats and angriness [sic] again — to all the people typing down their furiosity [sic] right now, save your energy. I don’t even open them.”

“I knew that I wanted to push the boundaries of religion and politics even further,” she added, after referring to an incident in September 2017, when she spent a night in an Egyptian jail after posing naked for photographs at the Luxor archaeological site.

The angle of the photo excludes the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount, an area holy to both Jews and Muslims, and many of those who posted comments on her website suggested it was chosen for fear of a backlash from offended Muslims.“Breaking down the walls that have been build to keep all our wandering souls on this planet somehow under control,” she wrote. “With other words, showing my personal religion in a world where freedom is becoming a very luxurious thing.”
And Israel is a helluva lot freer than any of the states that border her.
But Papen rejected the idea that she and the photographer had purposely excluded the Muslim holy site in the final published shot. “The angle wasn’t deliberate,” she told The Times of Israel Wednesday, explaining that the pair had spent some time looking for a location from which both the Western Wall and the Temple Mount would be visible.

“It was just way better artistically,” she said of the image she and Lambrecht ended up publishing.
And besides, Islamists who would happily behead her for besmirching Allah's departure point would relish her demeaning Israeli sites.

There was no legal sanctions mentioned but:
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which administers the Western Wall prayer area and plaza, told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily that the shoot was “a grave incident,” while noting that the photograph was taken on “one of the rooftops overlooking the Temple Mount and the Western Wall and not, God forbid, in the Western Wall plaza.”

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich said, “This is an embarrassing incident, grave and lamentable, which offends the sanctity of the site and the feelings of those who visit the holy places.”
So, in Egypt, she was arrested and had to be bailed out by somewhat illicit methods. In Israel, she made a rabbi mad, but suffered no particular official sanctions.

May I suggest St. Leonard for your next photoshoot? I'm sure we can find someone to complain.

Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: Kaya Jones" ready for  your pleasure.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Kennedy Calls it Quits

Hours after the final two decisions of the Supreme Court were announced for the year, one of which was a 5-4 decision by the conservative majority against the right of public sector unions to force non-members to pay dues in which he joined, Justice Kennedy announced his retirement:

I have no great insights. If you want those, go elsewhere.

As a generally moderate conservative, Kennedy has long been the "swing" vote on contentious issues. This will, of course, open up a new round of Supreme Court wars, with the Republican base demanding the most conservative justice possible, and the Democrats scheming to block all but the most milquetoast. If it comes down to a Senate fight, the Republicans hold a 51-49 margin, that could easily be negated by some combination of John McCain's brain cancer, Jeff Flake's pique at Trump, or Rand Paul's general orneriness and pursuit of perfection.

I just want a justice who will interpret the Constitution as written, not as he or she wishes it was written. A few reactions from Twitter.

A Fishing Report from Yesterday

Longtime fishing friend Barefoot and I answered one of Pete's calls for a walk-on trip for yesterday. Pete wanted an early start, so we met at the dock on South River at 5 AM, and shortly thereafter were cruising by Thomas Point before sunrise. We didn't stop there because of wind, and another boat.
We made the Bay Bridge by sunrise, and found fish at several of the pilings and abutments, and in fact, caught most of the 11 fish we were allowed to keep there. Each "passenger" can keep two, and 1 for the Captain.
After that, we wandered north; as far north as the approach to Baltimore Harbor, and along the way found the remaining fish for our limit, and then some.
A couple of fluffy Great Black-Backed Gull chicks on one of the rock piles at the Bay Bridge. The world's largest seagull,
Great Black-backed Gulls live along the Atlantic Coast and inland on the Great Lakes. They choose isolated, predator-free sites such as piers or islands for breeding, and then disperse away from the colony for the rest of the year to feed at sea, along coasts, and at landfills.
Afternoon found us back at Thomas Point, which was more scenic than productive, although Wes on the bow did hook a nice one here on a crankbait.
 The black thing in the water here in front of the light house is called the "ice breaker", and it's there to break floating ice before it gets to the lighthouse
 A couple of happy customers.

Barefoot with the fish of the day, a 31 inch striper caught in shallow water near some rocky structure not to be named today.

A Day Without Russiagate

is like a day without sunshine. But that's not quite what we have. We have a couple:

Allahpundit at Hot Air: Comey: Yes, I Had A “Negative Opinion” About Trump Before Meeting Him. Well yes, most of America did, thanks to relentless negative press. But you're still supposed to do your job without bias. Trump fired you for good reason. Just go away and sulk quietly.

Dr. John at Flopping Aces tries to tell you A couple of things you might not know about the FBI conspiracy against Trump, but if you've been reading my (mostly) morning posts, and can keep all the people and facts straight, none of if should come as a surprise. But this one seemed only vaguely familiar:
. . . Clinton was never even a subject. Clinton was never going to be in trouble
On Thursday night, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) released seven pages of texts between FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzock and his FBI paramour, Lisa Page. Those texts show that both Strzok and Page were interested in letting Hillary Clinton off the hook so as to earn the FBI goodwill with the presumed next president.
Page wrote to Strzok on February 25, 2016, “One more thing: she might be our next president. The last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more doj than fbi?” The obvious implication here is that Page wanted to go easy on Clinton in order to curry favor. Strzok wrote back, “Agreed. I called [FBI counterintelligence head] Bill [Priestap] and relayed what we discussed. He agrees. I will email you and [redacted] same.”
Jeannie Rhee
Oh oh, somebodies name is too important to let out! Who could that be, and why?
. . . It was bizarre (and a departure from usual FBI protocol) that Clinton’s lawyers were present. There was one more whose name was redacted. Her name is Jeannie Rhee. More on her in a moment.

Without stopping for lunch Strzok rewrote the findings from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” to shield Clinton from legal jeopardy and maintain her political viability. He then closed the Clinton investigation and Comey went on to exonerate Clinton, bringing along much the same crew.

Then in 2017 Mueller was appointed Special Counsel. Who did he choose for his team?

Peter Strzok

Lisa Page

Jeannie Rhee.

Yes, THAT Jeannie Rhee. The lawyer who represented Clinton in the email investigation. No conflict there, right? . . .
It looks like her name was redacted because it would embarrass the FBI/DOJ because of the potenital conflict of interest. It was a small inside group, one might even dare call it a conspiracy.

Midnite Music - "Sultans of Swing"

also, Mary Spender in a pretty awesome version of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams"

Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: Kaya Jones" ready for  your pleasure.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Reason #5944 That Trump Was Elected

Trump wins the travel ban case.
Here's the PDF of the Supreme Court case, issued just now.
ROBERTS, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which KENNEDY, THOMAS, ALITO, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., and THOMAS, J., filed concurring opinions. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which KAGAN, J., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, J., joined.
From the Roberts opinion:
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States undergo a vetting process to ensure that they satisfy the numerous requirements for admission. The Act also vests the Presi- dent with authority to restrict the entry of aliens whenever he finds that their entry “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” 8 U. S. C. §1182(f). Relying on that delegation, the President concluded that it was necessary to impose entry restrictions on nationals of countries that do not share adequate information for an informed entry determination, or that otherwise present national security risks....
By its plain language, §1182(f) grants the President broad discretion to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States. The President lawfully exercised that discretion based on his findings—following a worldwide, multi-agency review—that entry of the covered aliens would be detrimental to the national interest. And plaintiffs’ attempts to identify a conflict with other provisions in the INA, and their appeal to the statute’s purposes and legislative history, fail to overcome the clear statutory language....
Moreover, plaintiffs’ request for a searching inquiry into the persuasiveness of the President’s justifications is inconsistent with the broad statutory text and the deference traditionally accorded the President in this sphere....
In section IV of the opinion the Court looks at"the claim that the Proclamation was issued for the unconstitutional purpose of excluding Muslims." First, the Court finds standing based on the "the alleged real-world effect that the Proclamation has had in keeping them separated from certain relatives who seek to enter the country." Looking at the substantive merits, the question is whether "singling out Muslims for disfavored treatment" violates the Establishment Clause."
Lefties and Hawaiian judges gobsmacked. The fact that it's a 5/4 decision on "party" lines shows that court liberals no longer care about fine points like the Constitution, and separation of powers.

Russiagate, Really?

Yes, really. The morning edition was put off by a fishing trip (more later) so here we go: Ace: Oh: FBI Lawyer Who Texted "Viva La Resistance" Just Happened to Conduct Interview of George Papadopolous. Also, "FBI Attorney #2" identified
So, if you wanted to make sure the George Papadopolous interview came out "right" -- like the Hillary Email investigation was rigged to come out "right" -- who would you turn to? Mr. Viva Le Resistance, of course.
An FBI attorney who sent anti-Trump text messages -- including one calling for "resistance" against Trump -- took part in at least one interview last year with George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign adviser who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
The lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, was part of the FBI team that interviewed Papadopoulos on Feb. 16, 2017, a source familiar with the interview tells TheDCNF.
While Meadows, a close President Donald Trump ally, did not explicitly say that Clinesmith was FBI Attorney 2, The Daily Mail reported that he was.
Recall that Mark Meadows made another surprising claim during his questioning of IG Horowitz -- that there was "growing evidence" that FBI Interview Form 302s had been "edited and changed.""I think the other thing that I would ask you to look into, there is growing evidence that 302s were edited and changed," Meadows said. "Those 302s, it is suggested that they were changed to either prosecute or not prosecute individuals. And that is very troubling."
#Me Too! Margot Cleveland at the Federalist thinks The FBI Would Be Guilty Of Clear Bias If Its Trump Investigation Were A Racial Discrimination Lawsuit, Me too! Trump calls for Peter Strzok's testimony to air live on TV: 'There should be total transparency!' Me Too!

Daniel Greenfield at Front Page: Why Obama Wanted the Russians to Hack the Election 
Without the Russians, Obama’s people would have just been nakedly abusing their powers to spy on Americans. But as long as the Russians were active, his deep state had the excuse that it needed.
IBD Editorial: FBI Still Stonewalls Congress On Russia Investigation — More Deep State Obstruction? Yes.  Kathryn Blackhurst at PoliZette: DOJ Docs Showdown Coming Thursday on House Floor, Meadows Says, and Goodlatte Says DOJ and FBI Face New Document Deadline: Time to put somebody in the pokey. Wray or Rosenstein? Why choose when you can have both?

Real Clear Investigations: Here's One Unverified File the Feds Won't Leak: About Loretta Lynch
The information remains so secret that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz had to censor it from his recently released 500-plus-page report on the FBI’s investigation of Clinton, and even withhold it from Congress.

The contents of the secret intelligence document — which purport to show that Lynch informed the Clinton campaign she’d make sure the FBI didn't push too hard — were included in the inspector general’s original draft. But in the official IG report issued June 14, the information was tucked into a classified appendix to the report and entirely blanked out.

“The information was classified at such a high level by the intelligence community that it limited even the members [of Congress] who can see it, as well as the staffs,” Horowitz explained last week to annoyed Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight authority over Justice and the FBI.
DOJ protects it's own above all.  More from Lee Smith at Real Clear Investigations: Seven Mysterious Preludes to the FBI's Trump-Russia Probe. We need Misfud to testify. Ace:
It's almost as if there were a covert operation against Trump, directed by high partisan officials of the US government.

Here's the first approach, and the second.

I have long found it very interesting that one man with connections to Western intelligence attempted to "incept" George Papadoplous with the claim that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton, and then another man with connections to Western intelligence then arranged, for some reason, to meet with Papadopolous and extract this same information from him.

Then this information was fed to the US government, and used as the basis for opening an investigation. Almost as if this was all a set-up.

Also, note the very interesting detail near the end. . .
 George Parry at da Spectator: Mueller’s Concord Mismanagement Is Convulsing
Against all expectations, in April 2018, lawyers for one of the Russian corporate defendants, Concord Management and Consulting, LLC (“Concord”), entered their appearances in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They then served extensive discovery requests on Team Mueller seeking full disclosure of the government’s case and investigation including sensitive national security and intelligence information.

This type of discovery is called “graymail,” in which the government must disclose closely guarded state secrets in order to proceed with the prosecution. The alternative is to drop the charges.

So, should Team Mueller bother to litigate the discovery requests? The maximum penalty against Concord is a $500,000 fine or compensation to anyone damaged by the alleged conspiracy. But these may be mere theoretical penalties since there appears to be no way for the government to levy Concord’s assets in Russia. In short, even if the prosecution wins at trial, no one will go to prison and the fines may be uncollectible. So what’s the point of the exercise?

If the Muellerites lose the discovery litigation and are faced with having to disclose sensitive intelligence about the case and their investigation, should they withdraw the indictment against Concord? And, if they drop the charges, are they prepared for the resulting public relations disaster?

Bottom line: how did such a purportedly smart bunch of lawyers get themselves into this fix? . . .
Eric Tucker, AP: Looming question for Mueller probe: How much to make public? It's really not his choice. It's Rosenstein, and since Rosenstein reports to Trump through Sessions, ultimately it's Trump's.

James Gordon Meek, ABC News: Special counsel obtains Trump ally Erik Prince's phones, computer. Anything he can do to make a Trumpite uncomfortable. The process is the punishment.

Daniel Greenfield at Frontpage Mag: The Media Accuses Trump of its Own Crimes
The entire trade in hacked emails, by domestic or foreign actors, only exists because of the media. Whether it’s Sarah Palin’s emails, the DNC emails, Broidy’s emails or Podesta’s emails, the practice wouldn’t exist without the collusion and complicity of media outlets with the hackers and their agenda.

If the media wants to investigate someone for colluding in email hacks, it can look in the mirror.

The media was eager to peddle the same stolen emails that it wants to blame on Trump. The Washington Postand ABC News are still cashing in on stories about the hacks garnished with lurid clickbait headlines like, "Here are the latest, most damaging things in the DNC's leaked emails" and "The 4 Most Damaging Emails From the DNC WikiLeaks Dump". Did Trump force them to run those stories?

To paraphrase Casablanca’s Captain Renault, “I am shocked to find that email hacking is going on here!”