Friday, November 30, 2018

Feds Fed Up with Maryland Oyster Restoration

Volunteers shovel oyster shell for oyster restoration
Maryland oyster restoration project remains stalled by lack of federal funds
Oyster restoration work in Maryland’s Tred Avon River appears likely to remain on hold for at least another year, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still has no funding allotted through next September for reef construction in the Chesapeake Bay.

Restoration work in the Eastern Shore river began in 2015 and has so far relied overwhelmingly on federal funds. The Trump administration did not request funding for the project in its budget proposal for fiscal year 2019, but the Corps’ Baltimore District did ask for support through discretionary funds authorized by Congress.

While the Corps decided to provide $13 million in additional funding for various projects in the Bay region, including the use of dredged material to restore two vanishing Bay islands, it did not give the Baltimore District money to continue work in the Tred Avon.

“The District is certainly committed to continuing the program,” said Sarah Lazo, spokeswoman for the Baltimore District. But until funding becomes available, she said, it can’t go forward.
So who's to blame?
It’s not clear whether the oyster restoration funding request was denied by Corps headquarters or by the White House Office of Management and Budget, which has final say on the Corps’ workplan for spending its discretionary funds. Corps headquarters provided no explanation for why District funding requests were not included in its workplans.

Since 2015, the Corps and its state, federal and nonprofit partners have completed the initial restoration of nearly 81 acres of river bottom in the Tred Avon, at a combined cost of $4.6 million. They have planted a total of 380 million hatchery-spawned seed oysters on reefs that are protected from harvest.

As part of the oyster restoration master plan for the Tred Avon, the District had hoped to begin work this year on building another 42 acres of reef there, at an estimated cost of $3 million to $5 million. But there has been no reef construction in the river since last winter, when the Corps contracted to build 4 acres left unfinished from 2017, using scallop, conch and clam shells from seafood processing plants.
That's a lot of money for very little area, considering the size of the original oystering grounds in Maryland. It would take billions to restore oysters to their former glory with that kind of treatment.
Under the 2014 Bay Watershed Agreement, Maryland and Virginia have each pledged to rebuild oyster habitat and populations in five of their tributaries by 2025. Maryland has completed one — Harris Creek — with work ongoing in the Tred Avon and Little Choptank rivers. Harris Creek was mostly federally funded, while the Little Choptank restoration is mostly state-funded. The Tred Avon work also is mostly paid for with federal funds.

From the mid-1990s through 2016, the Army Corps regularly received funding to build oyster reefs in the Bay. Cumulatively, the Baltimore District got $29 million, while the Norfolk District of the Corps got $22 million, according to Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin’s office.

But the flow of funding ended when then-President Barack Obama requested no money for oyster restoration in the Corps’ fiscal year 2017 federal budget. That cutoff came on the heels of a call by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration to halt work in the Tred Avon in 2015 after some watermen objected to the use of granite in restoration projects there and in Harris Creek.
So it's all Obama's fault?

The watermen complained that granite reefs snagged crabbing gear and that improperly constructed granite reefs in Harris Creek were damaging boats. They said that reefs should be replenished exclusively with oyster shells, arguing that those are the only suitable surface on which spat, or baby oysters, can settle and grow. Research has shown that oyster spat will do well on other hard surfaces in the water, though, and monitoring of the granite reefs built so far in Maryland has found oysters in great numbers on them, at higher densities than on shells.
Oysters used to set on our plastic water tanks at work. Our watermen are kind of whiny. 
The Hogan administration later lifted its hold on the Tred Avon project, and work resumed in April 2017, more than a year after it had been interrupted. But further delays and cost overruns ensued because of the state’s insistence at that time that no more granite be used in the reef construction. By the time the state withdrew its objections, federal funding from past budgets had been depleted.

After the funding cutoff initiated by the Obama administration, the Trump administration has not included oyster restoration in the Corps budget for fiscal year 2018 or 2019. Earlier this year, Congress urged the administration to request funding for Bay oyster restoration in future budgets.
You know, if Maryland really thought this was important, they could pay for it themselves.

I still say the best restoration would be to forbid the harvest of "wild" oysters for 5-10 years. Let's find out if the Chesapeake oysters are still capable of surviving and spreading in the modern bay. It's not like it was prior to the great oyster mining of the late 1800s and early 1900s, and it will not be for quite some time, if ever. If they can't, go to all aquaculture, and maybe even "foreign" oysters, like Crassostrea ariakensis.

Maryland Wants More Hunters

Natural resources and wildlife officials in Maryland are encouraging hunting of deer, turkeys and other game because they say it’s good for the environment. Though hunting may stir debates about firearms and animal cruelty, these advocates say it thins herds for the good of ecosystems and their human neighbors. It also promotes advocacy for land conservation.
 But there's another, more important reason, can you guess before you move on down?
Most importantly, they say, hunting is a key source of revenue for programs to protect fragile lands and wildlife populations. Federal excise tax revenue on equipment including firearms and fishing poles totaled more than $1 billion last year.
Yep, taxes!
In many families, the tradition has been handed down for generations. But as longtime sportsmen age and children lose interest, conservation advocates say a new approach is needed. Government agencies and nonprofit groups are even launching mentoring programs such as the one that helped Majid get started.
The more urban a state gets, the less hunting is part of the culture and the more likely the populace is to support the various forms of gun control. Urban kids would much rather play video games.

My dad was not a hunter, although we had small guns (BB-guns, pellet guns and eventually .22 rimfires) that we used for plinking. It was only when I moved away from Los Angeles to Oregon that as a poor graduate student with access to our own private land to hunt on, that I bought deer hunting rifles.

Russiagate: It Turns Out Lying to Congress is Illegal After All

Who knew? Clearly not James Clapper, or John Brennan, James Comey or Hillary Clinton, all of whom got up before Congressional committees, took an oath to tell the truth, and clearly lied their asses off.  What about Susan Rice and Loretta Lynch and Andrew McCabe and Glenn Simpson? But now that it's convenient, Robert Mueller has extracted a confession from President Trump's ex attorney, Michael Cohen for lying to Congress. The lie appears to be for telling Congress that he and the President stopped working on a project for building a hotel in Moscow earlier than they actually did. Note that no hotel was built, or is currently under consideration. I can even imagine that Cohen and Trump has different views on when that decision was made.
At issue is a proposal to build a skyscraper bearing Trump's name in Moscow. Cohen told both the Senate and House intelligence panels the real estate project had ended before the political primary season began, according to a court document.

Trump told reporters outside the White House he had decided not to build the building in Moscow, although he did not specify when he decided against pursuing the project.

"That was a project that we didn't do, I didn't do. That was a project that wasn't done for a lot of reasons ... I was focused on running for president. I wanted that to be my primary focus. Not running or building a building," Trump said.
PJ Media: Mueller Racks Up Yet Another Process Crime with Michael Cohen's Guilty Plea MediaiteFmr. US Attorney Reacts to Michael Cohen’s Cooperation With Mueller: ‘Worst Possible Legal Nightmare’ for Trump
“It cannot be determined if Cohen’s cooperation will lead to other criminal allegations,” Coffey said. “But for most high-powered business people with complex business interests, having one’s personal attorney become a star witness for the prosecution is the worst possible legal nightmare.”
Yeah, we've heard that before. Politico: Mueller stalks Trump abroad — again. The Daily Mail: President cancels meeting with Putin and brands his former lawyer Michael Cohen 'weak' and a 'liar' after he puts him in legal firing line by pleading guilty to misleading Congress about controversial Trump Tower deal in Moscow. Now tell me again that this isn't harming the United States foreign policy.

The Hill breathless reports that Corsi says he ‘absolutely’ intended to help Trump campaign by trying to get Clinton emails. But that's not illegal. Jerome Corsi explains the perjury trap Mueller's team sprang on him, Thomas Lifson at the American Thinker
It is a harrowing tale as he tells it. If you believe him, he is a victim of a ruthless team that took possession of his computer, smartphone, and other records and then spent hours grilling him over details of his communications years earlier. When he failed to remember that he forwarded one email, they had him on a charge of lying, even though, as he told Tucker Carlson (rush transcript via Grabien):
Now the special counsel came in and blew up and they actually sent me home and gave me an opportunity to review the emails. When I came back, I amended the testimony to say that I now remember the email. The special counsel was happy with that until I couldn’t give them what they wanted. Which was a connection that I had with Assange, which they assumed I have come which I I didn’t have. Now suddenly, they forgot they allowed me to amend my testimony and they are going back to the mistake I made, when I forgot the emails. So really, I think, it is completely fraudulent, the charge that they were trying to get me to plead to. I refused to plead to a lie.
There should be written records of this offer to allow him to amend his testimony, subsequently deep-sixed. If the Mueller team has failed to keep such records, that would call into question the integrity of the entire operation.

And that is how we all can commit 3 Felonies a Day. Do we need a Special Prosecutor for the Special Counsel? But Ex-Watergate prosecutor: My legal opinion on Corsi is ‘liar, liar pants on fire’. Maybe, but the facts are out there somewhere.

The Manafort-Trump talks baffle legal community (The Hill). Then their not very imaginative, or being deliberately deceptive. I know where my money goes. Petterico, who I don't see much anymore that he's gone shriekingly Never-Trumper, The Strange Case of Paul Manafort’s Cooperation … with Donald Trump. Contrary to Alan Dershowitz's position, Brent Budowsky thinks a Manafort pardon would be impeachable, indictable and convictable. Since impeachable is in the eyes of the House, now in Democrat hands, that's probably true. But given the Senate needing a 2/3s vote, probably not convictable. It would be the end of the GOP and the start of a new party.

Thanks to Jeff Flake, Trump’s court picks held hostage by Mueller bill, a patently unconstitutional law.  AllahPundit: GOP Forced To Cancel Committee Vote To Advance Judicial Nominees Due To Flake’s Blockade Over Mueller Bill  He can't leave soon enough. His replacement is at least honestly a Democrat and a Socialist. Rich Lowry writing at Politico You Can’t Protect Mueller. Pure virtue signaling.
The push for the bill again shows how, to this point, Trump’s main threat to our constitutional system has been catalyzing a hysterical opposition. That opposition is so freaked out by the president that it is willing to throw overboard legal and constitutional niceties to thwart him.
Allahpundit: Jeffrey Toobin: It’s Not A Coincidence That All Of This Russiagate Activity Is Happening After Trump Submitted His Written Answers. Maybe, but everyone expected a surge of activity after the midterms. I think Mueller was waiting out the midterms, too. But did Mueller hope to spring a perjury trap on the President? Probably. Ed Morrissey: Trump: You’d Better Believe Rod Rosenstein Belongs In Jail. See the image in the first paragraph, that Donald re-Tweeted.
Is Rosenstein about to get fired … again? Maybe, although this sounds more like presidential venting than anything like a plan. If Trump fired Rosenstein with Whitaker still in place as acting AG, he might face a barrage of criticism even from Senate Republicans, who were making noises about passing a protect-Mueller bill this week. That would leap to the top of the agenda in the wake of a Rosenstein departure. But the biggest problem is that it’s just far too late to fire Rosenstein over Mueller. The time to do that was 18 months ago, not last September or now.
Why Trump will look back fondly on the Mueller probe by John Podhoretz, NyPo
Yes, liberals remain hopeful that special counsel Robert Mueller will descend from the heavens and smite Trump with his terrible, if far from swift, sword. But they need not despair if, as I suspect, Mueller never does deliver the knockout blow against the Trump presidency for which they have been longing.

Indeed, they may forget Mueller entirely once the new House is sworn in. Instead of one avenging hero, they may have 22 new avenging heroes — leaders of the House who know their paths to national fame and partisan fortune will require them to ululate their battle cries and conduct a multi-front assault on the Trump administration.

The House has 27 separate committees whose job it is to oversee the executive branch’s activities in their subject areas. Each of these has had a Republican chair and a Republican majority since Trump was sworn into office. Come January, each of these committees will have a Democratic chair and a Democratic majority. . .
Myself, I've never been impressed with effectiveness of Congressional committees. And I consider that a feature, not a bug.

Also at NyPo: Trump threatens to declassify ‘devastating’ docs about Democrats. As well he should. But Sundance at CTH claims he's holding out playing that card for when it's best played. President Trump Discusses His Decision Not to Declassify “Spygate” Documents…
I think much of our angst is because we look too short-term; and the media does a great job of convincing us President Trump is selfish.  Perhaps they are correct. Perhaps I’m wrong; but I see this leverage issue as something Trump views as important – obviously; or he wouldn’t approach it that way.

Would President Trump trade a $500 billion per year positive benefit to the U.S. economy in exchange for never outlining the fraud against him? Would President Trump accept new jobs for a million Americans in exchange for never outlining the 2016 fraud against him?

Yeah. He would. Without question.

And he wouldn’t care if it meant he could never win in 2020.He ain’t a politician.
Fine, but don't hold out until after the game is over. Mark Meadows plans ‘Investigations – My Plan to Counter’: A Trump Ally's Secret Plan to Fight House Democrats (via Bloomberg).
The document lists three areas Meadows plans to attack Democrats’ moves on subpoenas and investigations:
  • Describe the Democrats’ subpoenas as unreasonable, overly broad, onerous and designed to embarrass Trump. The document calls for “encouraging less-severe means of conducting investigations, like briefings, bipartisan letters, etc.”
  • Argue that Democrats’ investigations raise concern over separation of powers. He wrote that he’d assert that “the Democrats are interfering too much with presidential duties and have encroached too far on the fundamental powers of the executive branch.”
  • Create a GOP task force. Meadows said the expected overlap of Oversight, Judiciary and Intelligence Committee investigations by Democrats calls out for an informal Republican task force made up of members of those panels and party leaders, "for purposes of information sharing and strategy."
So, pretty much acting like a Democrat when the shoe is on the other foot.

 NyT (at MSN, where it's readable): Federal Employees Are Warned Not to Discuss Trump ‘Resistance’ at Work. They're basically being warned to obey the 11th Commandment: "Don't Get Caught."

And what would a day be without a dose of Michael Avenatti and Stormy Daniels? So what did she do now? Ace: Michael Avenatti: I Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny That My Client Stormy Daniels Is the Subject of a Police Report
He's referring to this story, and not really offering any defense, except to say "reserve judgment."
Stormy Daniels and her husband have been accused of threatening a couple who helped manage the adult film star's online store, and the men have filed a police report claiming they now fear for their safety.
Keith Munyan and J.D. Barrale are longtime partners and friends of Daniels. She once rented a home from Munyan, and has publicly referred to them as her "Gay Dads." The two men just filed a police report with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

Things took a drastic turn Wednesday afternoon, when the men claimed to receive a text message from Daniels' estranged husband, Glen Crain. We’re told she recently reconnected with Crain, as they share a daughter together.
In a text message provided to The Blast, Crain appears to aggressively threaten Munyan and Barrale that they "fucked with my daughters' money, which means you've now fucked with me."
He then allegedly drops a homophobic slur directed at the men, appearing to write, "Rest assured I will get that 25,000 back that you two FA**OTS decided to keep to spite Stormy."

Crain then appears to promise, "I WILL FIND YOU," adding, "YOU WILL BE DEALING WITH ME."
We're told the two men interpreted the text message as a threat on their lives, and they went to file a police report against Crain and Daniels, as he was acting as her representative.
The story goes on to say that the police say the "threats" are not thought to "rise to the level" of true criminal threats, though they're continuing to investigate.

Here's some irony: Stormy Daniels claimed that Trump defamed her when he said, jokingly, that the sketch of the man she alleged warned her to keep away from Trump looked like her (ex) husband.
Well, according to the police sketch, he did.

Wombat-socho has Rule 5 Sunday: Happy Hanukkah! and FMJRA 2.0: A Smooth Jazz Interlude up on time and within budget.

Midnite Music - "Meximelt"

Southern Culture on the Skids (SCOTS)
Southern Culture on the Skids, also sometimes known as SCOTS, is an American rock band that was formed in 1983 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The band consists of Rick Miller, Dave Hartman, and Mary Huff.

SCOTS's music is generally very upbeat, as they usually write and perform songs about dancing, sex, and fried chicken, which are main themes in songs such as "Cheap Motels," "Soul City," and "Eight Piece Box." They are also known for their live shows, which often include throwing fried chicken and banana pudding into the audience, and audience members invited to dance onstage. As a general rule, they are not hostile toward non-commercial taping of their shows.

Wombat-socho has Rule 5 Sunday: Happy Hanukkah! up on time and within budget.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Conowingo Wide Open

After rainy November, Maryland's Conowingo Dam opens flood crest gates 'until further notice'
The crest gates of the Conowingo Dam have been opened until further notice to allow the Susquehanna River, brimming from record November rains, to flow freely through the dam into the Chesapeake Bay, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Wednesday.

Twelve of the dam’s floodgates will be opened, releasing water and debris into the bay — and creating a potential hazard for boaters, who should use “extreme caution,” the Coast Guard said.

“Large amounts of debris and logs are possible and buoys may be low riding due to increased current,” the Coast Guard said.

The dam opened its floodgates multiple times this year because of the record rainfall.
It's been ridiculously wet this fall.

Eight . . .

. . . .years ago today I started this blog. At the time I said:
I intend it as something of a journal, but I hope that others may find value in its content. I may discuss science, fishing, music or politics, or I may post a picture from a walk on the beach. You are welcome to join in on the comments.
I think that's still more or less accurate, although with a little Rule 5 thrown in to spur the readership.

In a subsequent post the next day introduced the cast of characters:
Georgia, my wife of 37 years, and our dog of 10 years, Skye.

Georgia is a fellow scientist, and we work together on occasions. Skye is a Siberian Husky we rescued at the age of 3. Together, we walk the beach most weekend days. Georgia and I get exercise while hunting for fossils, beach glass and other artifacts, while Skye runs around a lot, tries to get strangers to give her a pet (she succeeds more often than not), and tries to catch whistle pigs in the kudzu (with rare success).
Georgia is still here, although we are both now retired. Weirdly, we still have a Siberian Husky named Skye, nearly identical to the first, who passed after a good life. This one never gets off the leash on the beach, though, because she's not nearly as trustworthy.

The blog is up to just shy of 6 million hits, not quite the million in the first year promised by Stacy McCain in his classic post, How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog in Less Than a Year, but then, with the exception of Rule 5, I've not followed his advice religiously. Here is a graph of hits with time:

You can see two periods of growth, followed by a sudden drops to a new baseline. I suspect this has something to do with the way Google handled blogs. A fair number of these hits are probably robots, or crawlers, reading, saving, and preparing the data for google and other services. More than half the hits come from the US, but Germany, Russia, France, UK and Canada all get a pretty good number. Massive "hit storms" seem to mostly arise from Russia. Not shockingly, Rule 5 posts, account for all of the top 10 posts.

Any way, I suppose someday I'll have to give up the ghost, but I hope to persist until at least year 10. So until then, at least, stay tuned.

Surrounded by Russiagate

The recent developments with Manafort have left me with too much stuff! First, via Wombat-socho's In The Mailbox: 11.27.18, Tom Maguire at Just One Minute in  Manafort Violated Plea Agreement? quips:
Maybe Manafort really can't tell truth from lies, or maybe Mueller has an expansive definition of "lying". Either way, this has to be yet another red flag for anyone advising Trump about maybe negotiating a live interview with Mueller.
At Da Beast: The Worst Thing Manafort Could Do Is Lie to Mueller. So Why Did He Do It?. Are we really sure he did? Seems like that matter needs to be litigated. Never Trumper AllahPundit Did Manafort Lie To Mueller Because He Has A Deal With Trump?. My guess is that no, Mueller has decided to back out of his deal with Manafort because he's pissed that Manafort's lawyers talked to Trumps lawyers, (WaEx) and decided that charging him with lying was the easist way to do it. A dark view at WaPo's The Fix: Giuliani’s bizarre bragging about the Manafort-Trump alliance highlights new obstruction questions. They've basically declared any action by Trump as obstruction.

Althouse with some light stuff: "Manafort spoke to Julian Assange/Elvis's hair was black but mine's orange."

As reported at Instapundit, News Sniffer catches the Guardian in stealth editing in the reporting of the alleged Manafort/Assange meeting softening the story to a firm maybe. WaT: Manafort passport stamps don't show he entered London in all years Guardian claimed. But all the superspies have drawers full of passports. I think it's unlikely that this is supposed to be the lie that Mueller is citing to revoke the deal. Ace: The Media Continues to Buy Into Any RussiaGate Hoax-Claim, No Matter How Implausible. Fox News: WikiLeaks, Manafort reject Guardian report alleging meeting with Assange in 2016. Molly Hemingway at the Federalist: Manafort/Assange Drama Proves Media Will Buy Any Russia Conspiracy Story, No Matter Its Flaws. Well, duh.
The authors expected people to believe that Manafort and Assange, two highly surveilled people, had not one, not two, but three meetings never noticed by intelligence agencies? Most crazy of all was the notion that this explosive piece of collusion evidence was real but never leaked until now. And no one picked up on any of these three visits on congressional committees or among the media?
NyPo: Trump says pardon for Paul Manafort still a possibility A smart man keeps his options open. CNN: Nadler warns Trump 'dangling a pardon' for Manafort is 'close to obstruction of justice'. George Parry at the AmSpec: Now Paul Manafort has played Robert Mueller.
So, is Manafort crazy? In light of Giuliani’s statements and the president’s tweets, Manafort may be crazy like a fox. I’m beginning to think that for him, all life comes down to geometry, like bank shots on a pool table. “If I cut a deal with the prosecutors here and secretly feed Trump enough damaging information about Team Mueller’s antics there, I might be able to provide Trump with enough public relations air cover for a presidential pardon.”

Hey, given Manafort’s ruinous legal predicament, it isn’t much of an angle, but it’s better than nothing, which is what he had whether or not he played Mueller’s meat puppet. By jamming up Manafort so badly, the special prosecutors have left themselves very little that they can do for him no matter how much he rolls over, sits up and cooperates. Even if Team Mueller were to form a kick line and sing his praises at sentencing, Manafort is, legally speaking, a dead man walking. So why shouldn’t he go for a pardon? What’s he got to lose?

As for Trump, the incoming Democrat House majority has already made clear that they are going to vote for his impeachment with or without cause. But with 53 incoming Republicans, that exercise will be dead on arrival in the Senate. So why not pardon Manafort and, for that matter, General Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and any other road kill squashed by the Muellerites?
Postmodern Justice
Continuing on the the story of other Mueller targets, Da Beast, Trump and Jerome Corsi Have a Defense Agreement, Giuliani Says and  Bloomberg reports Corsi, Backing Away From Plea Deal, Wants to Take On Mueller. Good.
Corsi has hired Larry Klayman, an attorney known for taking on long-shot conservative causes, to assist in his defense. Klayman founded and later split with conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch and has more recently represented former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

In a tweet Wednesday, Corsi said he’d added Klayman to his legal team, instructing them to file “a criminal complaint against Mueller’s Special Counsel and the DOJ for prosecutorial misconduct,” without citing any. Klayman, in an email, said he anticipated following through with a complaint to acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker “in the next few days.”
Former AG Gonzales: 'I Have a Problem' With Mueller Team If 'Perjury Traps' Are Being Set
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that it'd be "unfair" and "unprofessional" for the special counsel's team to set perjury traps in its Russia probe.

His comments on "America's Newsroom" were in response to claims made on Tuesday by author Jerome Corsi, who on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" addressed accusations by Mueller that he lied under oath. "To intentionally set a perjury trap is something that I just disagree with," Gonzales said Wednesday, adding that it's something he "wholeheartedly" condemns.

Gonzales said he has confidence in the Mueller investigation until proven otherwise, and those who are telling the truth to Mueller will "be fine." "If in fact the objective is to get people to lie, to set perjury traps, I do have a problem with that," he said.
Reading the entrails tea leaves Axios says Signs point to an acceleration of Mueller's endgame. CT Post: Mueller's team investigating candidate Trump's late-night calls to mentor Stone
In recent months, the Trump Organization turned over to Mueller's team phone and contact logs that show calls between the then-candidate and Stone in 2016, according to people familiar with the material. The records are not a complete log of their contacts - Stone told The Washington Post on Wednesday that Trump at times called him from other people's phones.

Stone said he never discussed WikiLeaks with Trump and diminished the importance of any phone records, saying, "Unless Mueller has tape recordings of the phone calls, what would that prove?" Stone and WikiLeaks have denied collaborating with each other, and Stone has decried the Mueller investigation as a "political witch hunt" to punish him for supporting Trump.

Trump has told his lawyers - and last week said in written answers to Mueller - that Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks' upcoming release and that he had no prior knowledge of it, according to people familiar with his responses. . . "It just didn't come up," Stone said. "I am able to say we never discussed WikiLeaks. I'm not sure what I would have said to him anyway because it's all speculation. . . . I just didn't know if it's true or not."
CNN: Trump Denied Knowledge Of Wikileaks, Trump Tower Meeting In Mueller Answers. ABC News: Mueller asked Trump about 2016 RNC platform change regarding Ukraine: Sources So now we have special prosecutors to challenge changes in our political parties platforms? My guess is that only goes for Republicans. Not a chance the Clinton's accepted money for policy changes, ami right?
The platform change took place during the Republican convention organized by then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Manafort had previously worked for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

Sources tell ABC News the president told Mueller he was not aware of the platform change to the best of his recollection. That would be consistent with his answer to a question about the matter to ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos during the summer of 2016.

“I wasn't involved in that. Honestly, I was not involved,” Trump said at the time.
From Red State, Jonathan Turley: ‘Mueller’s Not Getting What He Wants’
He has already had problems with witnesses who have been involved in plea agreements in one stage or the other. Papadopoulos essentially became hostile to them even as a cooperating witness to the point where Mueller tried to increase his sentencing, which the court rejected. Corsi refused to accept the deal according to his own accounts because he felt that he was being told to lie. This is fairly rare. Usually, these are witnesses who are desperate for deals and really would not risk ticking off a prosecutor, so clearly Mueller is not getting what he wants. The question is, is he getting enough to get him where he wants to go?

The key line here, legally, is whether any hacking of the emails was done before the fact with knowledge of Trump associates or whether they became some type of accomplice after the fact. The mere allegation that political operatives wanted access to these emails from Wikileaks is not a crime and indeed the status of Wikileaks in getting this material is a greatly debated question. Wikileaks insists that they’re more of a journalistic organization than the alternative and that may have to be litigated. But in order to get a really clear shot at the president, they need to start with a foundation in the criminal code and that’s going to require either an accomplice before the fact or after the fact, but not someone who simply wants to get access to information they’ve been reading about for political purposes.
Bill Whittle thinks the Mueller Probe is Falling Apart:

But Rush Limbaugh warns: 'I don't think you have any idea what's coming' 
“You’re gonna find a whole lot of Republicans signing on to what the Democrats do, because most of the people in that town despise Trump, despise the fact that he won, have not been able to get over it, have not been able to accept the election results [of] 2016. They’re waiting with bated breath on the Mueller report. They can’t wait. They’re so excited.”
Bongino’s Spygate: Exposing the Obama/Clinton Deep State Criminality
Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino’s explosive new book (with D.C. McAllister), Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump, spotlights the left’s broken trust with the American people and the blatant criminality of the Obama/Clinton Deep State. Since the moment Donald J. Trump and his wife Melania glided down the Trump Tower escalator into history, the Democrats and the allies in the Deep State have been committed to crushing him.
You can get it here, from my Amazon Associates account, and throw a few cents my way.

We've already covered this, but, hey, any excuse to post a photo of America's hottest ever first daughter: Ivanka: Come On, My E-Mail Issue Is Nothing Like Hillary’s
To the extent there’s an issue at all, for that matter. ABC News’ Deborah Roberts presses Ivanka Trump to explain why people should treat her use of private e-mail any differently than Hillary Clinton’s as Secretary of State in an interview aired today on Good Morning America. Other than not transmitting classified material, not deleting half of all the messages while under subpoena, and not setting up a poorly secured server to evade constitutional oversight, Ivanka says, no difference at all . . . 

And something new from America's First Pornstar. Da Beast: Stormy Daniels: Michael Avenatti Sued Trump For Defamation Against My Wishes and from the more mainstream  ABC: Stormy Daniels says Michael Avenatti sued Trump for defamation against her wishes
Porn star Stormy Daniels on Wednesday accused her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, of filing a defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump against her wishes, an allegation Avenatti said he was "very" surprised by.

Daniels, in a statement first reported by The Daily Beast, said that in addition to the defamation case, her attorney "has spoken on my behalf without my approval," as well as started a new fundraising site to raise money for her without her knowledge.

In a phone interview with NBC News, Avenatti said he was surprised by her statement detailing the allegations, and said "a number of things" in it were "not accurate." He did not elaborate on what was inaccurate.

"For months I've asked Michael Avenatti to give me accounting information about the fund my supporters so generously donated to for my safety and legal defense," Daniels said in the statement, obtained by NBC News. "He has repeatedly ignored those requests."

She said she hasn't yet decided "what to do about legal representation moving forward," adding that "Michael has been a great advocate in many ways."
Michael Avenatti needs a short stint in jail.

Wombat-socho has Rule 5 Sunday: Happy Hanukkah! and FMJRA 2.0: A Smooth Jazz Interlude up on time and within budget.

Ashley Judd Under Fire From Fellow Sex Workers

Ashley Judd is one of the actresses at the forefront of the recent reprisal of #MeToo and the Time’s Up movement. Judd’s activism predates The New York Times’ Harvey Weinstein exposé that upended the entertainment industry, but she’s perhaps best known for her 2017 Women’s March speech and her work on the board of Time’s Up.

In 2011, Judd joined the leadership council of the International Center for Research on Women. At the time, the ICRW applauded Judd’s “passion for empowering the world’s most vulnerable populations—especially women and girls—and focusing on grassroots solutions to transform their lives.” The actress is also a chairperson of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project: Curbing Abuse, Expanding Freedom. Her Twitter profile proudly notes that she is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund.

On Friday, the “feminist social justice humanitarian” promoted an event on Instagram, writing, “Join me LIVE in about 30 minutes from Paris, France for this powerful discussion on intersection of the #MeToo movement and prostitution.”

Judd’s social media was quickly inundated with criticism, causing Judd to double down on her anti-sex work platform. Kate D’Adamo, a sex-worker rights advocate and partner with Reframe Health and Justice, called her out, tweeting, “Congrats, ‪@AshleyJudd, on your hard work trying to make ‪#MeToo a space where those most likely to face and harm are unwelcome and unsafe. ‪#sexworkerlivesmatte‪r.” Judd eventually responded to D’Adamo’s thread, writing, “Hi, Thanks for your perspective. I disagree. I believe body invasion is indeed inherently harmful, and cash is the proof of coercion. Buying sexual access commodifies something that is beyond the realm of capitalism and entrepreneurship: girls and women’s orfices [sic].”
Found at Althouse's  "Judd’s opinions on sex work should be given as much time and space as the Pope’s opinions on period cramps." Where, the best comment (IMHO) was:
Ken B said...

Her transphobia is stunning! What about the women's penises? Can they be sold? SMDH.
There is very little difference between Ashley, and her detractors. She was willing to sell her body for fame and fortune.

Wombat-socho has Rule 5 Sunday: Happy Hanukkah! up on time and within budget.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mississippi Elects First Woman Senator Despite Claims of Racism

Mississippi Elects First Female Senator, Liberal Media Blame Racism
When Democrats lose, the explanations are never surprising:
The Republican senator for Mississippi has been re-elected following a bitterly divisive runoff which evoked the state’s dark history of racist violence.
Cindy Hyde-Smith survived controversy caused by her racially charged comments to defeat Democrat Mike Espy, who had hoped to become the state’s first African-American senator for more than 130 years.
Ms Hyde-Smith, first appointed to the seat in April, had initially been comfortable favourite to win the race until footage emerged of her saying about a supporter at an 11 November rally: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”
Sen. Hyde-Smith’s “public hanging” comment had nothing to do with race. The attempt by Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) to turn this into something it wasn’t just goes to show how compulsively dishonest liberals are. They even manufacture racism as necessary:
A group of nooses discovered hanging off trees near the Mississippi state Capitol were not a warning from a white supremacist group, but rather a “protest” by leftists against Mississippi Republican Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith.
Mainstream media organizations melted down on Monday after a number of nooses were found hanging in the vicinity of the capitol building, strung from trees as part of a “message” campaign — though the Associated Press, which first reported the story, didn’t give much more information about the “message” the nooses were trying to send, only that it was one of “hate.” . . .
Local news reported photos of the nooses, and, again, avoided printing the “messages” that were written on signs left near the ropes. . . .
Signs placed near the nooses but reported only as “hate” messages by the Associated Press and others, had plenty of information about who hung the nooses and why. But weirdly, the signs didn’t appear on anyone’s Twitter feed until late Monday evening, nearly 12 hours after news of the display went viral.
The signs indicated that the nooses were part of a protest by Democrats, warning against re-electing Hyde-Smith.
Unlike the liberal media, Mississippi voters aren’t stupid enough to be deceived by this obvious Democrat propaganda stunt. With 96% of precincts reporting last night, Hyde-Smith won 54%-46% over Espy.
When race is all you have going for you, race is what you use. Shepherd Smith's tears are delicious, if unexpectedly salty.

Army Corps Stops Chesapeake Pipeline

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has suspended a national permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross more than 1,500 streams in three states, raising a potential new barrier for construction of the project through Virginia.

About half of the 600-mile pipeline would be built in Virginia from West Virginia to North Carolina, but Dominion Energy and its partners are still waiting for federal regulators to allow them to proceed with construction here.

The Army Corps’ offices in Norfolk, Wilmington, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh issued orders late Tuesday to suspend the Nationwide 12 permit’s use for the project’s stream crossings.

“The Army Corps of Engineers’ wise decision underscores the serious concerns we have had that a general permit is not sufficient to protect Virginia’s water quality,” said Rebecca Tomazin, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Virginia. “In order to ensure the protection of Virginia’s waterways, we believe that individual permits should govern construction at each crossing.”
Thereby making the process as onerous as possible.
Dominion spokeswoman Jen Kostyniuk said the company had voluntarily offered to suspend the permit for all three states while attempting to resolve issues from a decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month. In that decision the court issued a temporary stay of the permit for stream and river crossings in West Virginia.

“We are confident that this issue will be resolved in a timely manner and we do not expect the project schedule to be affected by this voluntary suspension,” Kostyniuk said in a written statement.

“We successfully completed West Virginia summer construction with stay provisions in place and expect ACP’s fall and winter construction will also proceed in a productive manner in compliance with the stay provisions,” she said.
The exact issue? The length of time a river has to be obstructed to cross it:
The 4th Circuit issued a stay of the nationwide permit on Nov. 7 for stream and river crossings in two West Virginia counties, based on an appeal by Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of the Sierra Club and four other environmental organizations.

The appeal challenged the legality of Dominion’s plan to completely dam the Greenbrier River in West Virginia in order to meet a state requirement to cross the river within 72 hours to minimize harm to aquatic life.

The 4th Circuit, which will hear arguments in the case in January, already had vacated the nationwide permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross rivers in West Virginia because the project didn’t comply with the 72-hour rule.

This is the second time Dominion and its partners have asked the Corps to temporarily suspend the permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline while they look for a way to abide by the rule.

The Corps temporarily suspended the permit on July 27 and then reinstated it on Oct. 19 after the pipeline company proposed to cross the Greenbrier within 72 hours by closing off the entire river instead of half while it dug a trench for the pipe.

Environmental organizations challenged the solution as a violation of another permit condition that forbids any placement of any structure in the river that prevents fish from swimming around it.
It seems to me that they ought to be able to block the river for a short while to complete the pipeline. Is three days enough? Probably, if they run the pipeline as close to the river as possible, stage everything carefully, staff up, and do it. Another alternative might be to arrange pumps to continue flow around the section to be crossed, thus keeping the downstream ecosystem wet and happy.

Santa to Visit Tangier Island

More than 50 planes to bring greens and presents to residents of Tangier Island
50th Anniversary Tangier Island Christmas “Holly Run” To Take Place December 1st Stevensville, Maryland – On December 1, 2018, as they have been for 50 years, pilots from the Chesapeake Bay area will bring Christmas cheer to the approximately 600 isolated residents of Tangier Island, Virginia and Eye On Annapolis will be with them!

Eastern shore pilot Ed Nabb, Sr. started delivering holiday greens (holly) to the island in the 1960s when he realized that the rising sea level had eroded Tangier Island to the point that it no longer supported the growth of holly or other traditional Christmas evergreens.

His son, Ed Nabb Jr. took the reigns upon his father’s passing growing the event to nearly fifty pilots and planes carrying holly to the island. In recent years, Santa has joined the pilots to spread Christmas cheer.

The pilots this year are also bringing classroom supplies for the students and teachers at the Tangier Combined School. “Teachers on the island can’t just run out to Walmart like we can,” explained Chesapeake Sport Pilot Chief Flight Instructor and Holly Run coordinator Helen Woods. “Things that every teacher needs this time of year like Kleenex and Germ-X can be in short supply. We’ll be loading our planes with these and other items the school needs in addition to bags of holly.”
You do know the people on Tangier have boats and money, don't you?

Russiagate Sturm und Drang

At Hot Air (and everywhere elseMueller Filing: Manafort Lied, Deal Off
So Manafort has a lot more headaches now, but then again, so does Mueller. The New York Times explains the implications for Mueller’s investigation in calling their biggest potential witness a liar:
“Everybody who lies to Mueller gets called on it — so he had to know that Mueller would catch him. So the question is: What was he hiding that is worse than going to jail for the rest of your life?” said Joyce Vance, a professor of law at the University of Alabama law school and former federal prosecutor. “There are often rocky dealings with a cooperator, and Mueller didn’t cut bait at the first sign of trouble. It was likely more than one lie and this would not have been a minor detail — it had to be something material and significant and intentional.” …
The filing Monday suggested that prosecutors do not consider Mr. Manafort a credible witness. Even if he has provided information that helps them develop criminal cases, by asserting that he repeatedly lied, they could hardly call him to testify.
And that’s the headache. The theories of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign have to run through Paul Manafort in order to make any sense. He’s the only person in the campaign (however briefly) with both substantial connections to Moscow and a close enough link to Trump to matter. If there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives (a hypothesis without any evidence in support thus far), Manafort would either have to have been part of it or known of it.
. . .
Now, however, Manafort’s useless as a witness to Mueller. The special counsel has done a lot of work for nothing — or at best, nothing the DoJ couldn’t have accomplished on its own regarding Manafort and his ex-partner Rick Gates. Not only have they demolished Manafort’s standing as a witness, by calling Manafort a liar they have poisoned any information the special counsel has developed through his earlier cooperation. Nothing produced from Manafort would have credibility in court, which makes Manafort a big empty hole in the middle of any realistic collusion hypothesis.

Manafort will likely spend the rest of his life in prison now. Mueller may well spend the rest of his career as special counsel spinning his wheels.
Which is what he want's according to Dan Bongino. On the other hand accprding to the Emptywheel, Mueller Just Guaranteed He Can Issue a Public Report
There’s your Mueller report, which will be provided in a form that Matt Whitaker won’t be able to suppress. (Reminder: Mueller included 38 pages of evidence along with Manafort’s plea agreement, which I argued showed how what Manafort and Trump did to Hillary was the same thing that Manafort had done to Yulia Tymoshenko.)
As all his co-operating witnesses get shown up as liars, at the WaPo: Losing cooperators is a blow, but not a fatal one, for Mueller, analysts say
Legal analysts noted that Mueller poured immense resources into winning Manafort’s cooperation, probably hoping he might share critical information. The special counsel’s office put Manafort through a weeks-long trial on tax and bank fraud charges, and then — after winning a conviction — persuaded him to plead guilty in a separate case in the District.
And then, just as that was sinking in, according to the  Guardian: Manafort Met With Assange In March 2016 — Before Publication Of Hacked E-Mails; Wikileaks: Bet Us A Million Dollars That This Happened; Update: Guardian Backing Away? Update: “Totally False And Deliberately Libelous,” Says Manafort
One would have to think that Robert Mueller caught Paul Manafort in a pretty big lie before burning the key witness he’d been pursuing for the entirety of his term as special counsel. If the Guardian’s report this morning is true, this would be … a pretty big lie — also assuming Manafort didn’t disclose it:
Not that it would be illegal to meet with Assange, but one would think that the paper trail or security cameras (London is covered by them) could settle it pretty quickly. Manafort Shreds Guardian Report He Met With Assange, Weighs Retaliation: ‘Totally False and Deliberately Libelous’

And then, while that was still circulating around NBC announced Mueller has emails from Stone pal Corsi about WikiLeaks Dem email dump
Two months before WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi sent an email to former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone anticipating the document dump, according to draft court papers obtained by NBC News.

"Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps," Corsi wrote on Aug. 2, 2016, referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to the draft court papers. "One shortly after I'm back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging."

The email was revealed in a draft court document, known as a statement of the offense, sent to Corsi by special counsel Robert Mueller's office. Mueller also sent Corsi a draft plea agreement stipulating that the special counsel would not oppose Corsi requesting a sentence of probation if he agreed to plead guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators.
. . .
On Nov. 30, 2017, Stone emailed Corsi asking him to write about a person whom Stone had told congressional investigators was his "source" or "intermediary" to WikiLeaks, according to the draft court papers.

Corsi and Stone have identified that person as Randy Credico, a radio host and one-time friend of Stone.
Corsi ought to try the journalistic freedom defense. That should be good for a laugh. Da WaEx, Roger Stone says Jerome Corsi is being 'harassed' by Mueller for 'refusing to lie' It's possible; sounds like an Weissman tactic.
Corsi told the Washington Post that some inconsistencies between his statements and emails had heightened scrutiny among members of Mueller's team, but admitted to the Post his memory was “horrible.” “I am not going to lie to avoid going to prison,” Corsi said.

“I found my recollection was horrible,” Corsi added. “But I am not swearing to a federal judge that I intentionally lied to the special counsel.”
From Da Caller: EXCLUSIVE: Jerome Corsi Says He Has Defense Agreement With Trump, Received Limited Immunity From Mueller 
Corsi, who has been interviewed six times in the investigation over the course of more than two months, writes in “Silent No More: How I Became a Political Prisoner of Mueller’s ‘Witch Hunt,'” which The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained, that he entered into the defense agreement with Trump after being advised that Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulow, was interested in the arrangement.

Describing his interactions with the special counsel’s office, Corsi claims he was granted what’s known as “limited use immunity” for testimony he gave during his Sept. 21 grand jury appearance regarding his conversations with Stone about a Aug. 31, 2016 memo he wrote about former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Corsi says he received immunity for testimony that he and Stone developed a cover story to help explain Stone’s now-infamous Aug. 21, 2016, tweet that it would “soon be [the] Podesta’s time in the barrel.”
. . .
Corsi testified that he and Stone hatched a plan in which Corsi would write a memo about the Podestas to allow Stone to cite it as the basis for his tweet. The revelation, if accurate, would undercut Stone’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee that opposition research on the Podesta brothers’ business activities was the catalyst for the tweet. (RELATED: Exclusive Roger Stone: Report I Developed A ‘Cover Story’ With Corsi Is Devoid Of Logic)

Stone vehemently denied Corsi’s claim about the origin of the memo to TheDCNF on Monday. He insisted that he and Corsi discussed the Podesta brothers’ activities and that his tweet was a reference to opposition research that would come out on the topic.

He also noted that Corsi has not claimed to have emails or text messages supporting his contention about the memo.
And as surely as day follows night, Trump lashes out at Mueller: A ‘conflicted prosecutor gone rogue’ (Da Hill).

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: Cornyn: We’ll Probably Give Flake His Vote To Protect Mueller. Unconstitutional virtue signaling will be Jeff Flake's final bow to the Senate.
The constitutional issue relates to the president’s authority to hire and fire executive-branch personnel. Flake and others want to require that valid cause exist before a president can fire a special counsel, but that’s usually a requirement for civil-service-eligible jobs to keep politics out of terminations for non-appointee positions. Those serving in political-appointee positions do so at the pleasure of the president in an at-will relationship, not a civil-service relationship. Denying the president his authority to fire an appointee would arguably cut into his Article II authority as chief executive, especially since the special counsel exists entirely within that authority rather than in a quasi-legislative regulatory agency.

None of this matters much besides the academic value of the debate. Flake’s efforts might pass the Senate and might even pass the House, but Trump would eventually veto the bill anyway. There won’t be enough votes in either chamber to override the veto, which will leave everything in place as it is … but at least Cornyn and the GOP will have confirmed more judges in the meantime.
George Newmayr at Da Spectator asks Why Britain Doesn’t Want Trump to Declassify Obamagate Docs and answers himself  "They will show it was on the ground floor of John Brennan’s spy operation."
All of the British spy chiefs’ ostensibly high-minded anxieties are designed to distract attention from an enormous transatlantic scandal, one that has yet to be fully plumbed: that the only real collusion during the 2016 election took place between London and Langley. It took place under the hyper-partisan CIA director John Brennan, with Britty dual-asset oafs like Stefan Halper and British spies, both present and past (the Hillary-financed hatchet man Christopher Steele chief among them), putting in critical cameos — a spy ring that nearly catapulted Hillary into the White House.

British spies were in on the ground floor of Obamagate. Long before even the first Republican primary, they had been passing conjecture disguised as “intelligence” to John Brennan about the Trump campaign. In fact, Brennan was spying on Michael Flynn before he joined the campaign, as reported by the UK Guardian: “[British intelligence] first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious ‘interactions’ between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.” (The key Trump figure to whom the Guardian refers is Michael Flynn.)
Ivanka Trump
From Politico? Goodlatte: ‘It’s awfully tough’ for Ivanka Trump to comply with email standards
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), said on Monday that it was “awfully tough” for government officials such as Ivanka Trump to comply with agency standards for secure communications when sending emails.

“When things like this come up, it’s important people understand, they need to make sure they’re doing what they can,” Goodlatte said during an interview on CNN.

“And it’s awfully tough, as everyone knows, when you’re sending emails about a lot of different things to make sure that you’re doing it according to the rules in the White House or wherever you’re doing it,” he added.

Goodlatte also suggested that President Donald Trump’s daughter’s use of a personal email account to conduct government business — first reported by POLITICO last year — was “very different” from the private email server Hillary Clinton employed during her time as secretary of State.

“I do think, of course, it’s very different to send private emails about matters that are not classified information,” Goodlatte said. “There’s a criminal penalty imposed for doing that — when you have classified information that is transmitted improperly, as was the allegation, and I think the facts now support, with regard to Hillary Clinton.”
Remember, James Comey also used private emails for government business. NY Post,  James Comey discussed sensitive FBI business on his private email No one is even alleging that anything Ivanka sent was even remotely sensitive. They just leaped on it as revenge on behalf of Hillary.

Because that's the way I am:

Who knew hair metal was still a thing?

Wombat-socho has Rule 5 Sunday: Happy Hanukkah! and FMJRA 2.0: A Smooth Jazz Interlude up on time and within budget.