Thursday, January 31, 2019

Darn Joos!

Don't they know that curing cancer will put oncologists out of work? A cure for cancer? Israeli scientists say they think they found one
A small team of Israeli scientists think they might have found the first complete cure for cancer.

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator. AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

“Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” Aridor said. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”
So how is this supposed to work?
The potentially game-changing anti-cancer drug is based on SoAP technology, which belongs to the phage display group of technologies. It involves the introduction of DNA coding for a protein, such as an antibody, into a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria. That protein is then displayed on the surface of the phage. Researchers can use these protein-displaying phages to screen for interactions with other proteins, DNA sequences and small molecules.

In 2018, a team of scientists won the Nobel Prize for their work on phage display in the directed evolution of new proteins – in particular, for the production of antibody therapeutics.

AEBi is doing something similar but with peptides, compounds of two or more amino acids linked in a chain. According to Morad, peptides have several advantages over antibodies, including that they are smaller, cheaper, and easier to produce and regulate.
Huh, and?
To get started, Morad said they had to identify why other cancer-killing drugs and treatments don’t work or eventually fail. Then, they found a way to counter that effect.

For starters, most anti-cancer drugs attack a specific target on or in the cancer cell, he explained. Inhibiting the target usually affects a physiological pathway that promotes cancer. Mutations in the targets – or downstream in their physiological pathways – could make the targets not relevant to the cancer nature of the cell, and hence the drug attacking it is rendered ineffective.

In contrast, MuTaTo is using a combination of several cancer-targeting peptides for each cancer cell at the same time, combined with a strong peptide toxin that would kill cancer cells specifically. By using at least three targeting peptides on the same structure with a strong toxin, Morad said, “we made sure that the treatment will not be affected by mutations; cancer cells can mutate in such a way that targeted receptors are dropped by the cancer.”

“The probability of having multiple mutations that would modify all targeted receptors simultaneously decreases dramatically with the number of targets used,” Morad continued. “Instead of attacking receptors one at a time, we attack receptors three at a time – not even cancer can mutate three receptors at the same time.”

Furthermore, many cancer cells activate detoxification mechanisms when in stress from drugs. The cells pump out the drugs or modify them to be non-functional. But Morad said detoxification takes time. When the toxin is strong, it has a high probability of killing the cancer cell before detoxification occurs, which is what he is banking on.

Many cytotoxic anticancer treatments aim at fast-growing cells. But cancer stem cells are not fast growing, and they can escape these treatments. Then, when the treatment is over, they can generate cancer again.
OK, I sorta follow.
 He explained that because cancer cells are born out of mutations that occur in cancer stem cells, most of the overexpressed proteins which are targeted on the cancer cell exist in the cancer stem cells. MuTaTo’s multiple-target attack ensures that they will be destroyed as well.

Finally, some cancer tumors erect shields which create access problems to large molecules, such as antibodies. MuTaTo acts like an octopus or a piece of spaghetti and can sneak into places where other large molecules cannot reach. Morad said the peptide parts of MuTaTo are very small (12 amino acids long) and lack a rigid structure. “This should make the whole molecule non-immunogenic in most cases and would enable repeated administration of the drug,” he said.

Morad said their discovery could also reduce the sickening side-effects of most cancer treatments, which stem from drug treatments interacting with the wrong or additional targets, or the correct targets but on non-cancerous cells. He said MuTaTo’s having a combination of several highly specific cancer-targeting peptides on one scaffold for each type of cancer cell would increase the specificity to the cancer cell due to the avidity effect. In addition, in most cases, the non-cancer cells that have a protein in common with the cancer cells do not overexpress it.

“This makes a great difference between the two kinds of cells and should decrease the side effects dramatically,” Morad said. He equated the concept of MuTaTo to the triple drug cocktail that has helped change AIDS from being an automatic death sentence to a chronic – but often manageable – disease.
So a triple combination of sneaky peptide, which have to be specific to a particular cancer? Sounds like a lot to ask, but new magic DNA technology is getting awfully good.
The MuTaTo cancer treatment will eventually be personalized. Each patient will provide a piece of his biopsy to the lab, which would then analyze it to know which receptors are overexpressed. The individual would then be administered exactly the molecule cocktail needed to cure his disease.

However, unlike in the case of AIDS, where patients must take the cocktail throughout their lives, in the case of MuTaTo, the cells would be killed, and the patient could likely stop treatment after only a few weeks.

The company is now writing patents on specific peptides, which will be a large bank of targeting toxin peptides wholly owned and hard to break, said Aridor.

Morad said that so far, the company has concluded its first exploratory mice experiment, which inhibited human cancer cell growth and had no effect at all on healthy mice cells, in addition to several in-vitro trials. AEBi is on the cusp of beginning a round of clinical trials which could be completed within a few years and would make the treatment available in specific cases.
It all sounds good, but it sure sounds like it's a lot farther than one year away. Faster!

Chinese Planning Nuclear Fracking

China is planning to apply the same technology used to detonate a nuclear bomb over Hiroshima during the second world war to access its massive shale gas reserves in Sichuan province. While success would mean a giant leap forward not only for the industry but also Beijing’s energy self-sufficiency ambitions, some observers are concerned about the potential risk of widespread drilling for the fuel in a region known for its devastating earthquakes.

Despite being home to the largest reserves of shale gas on the planet – about 31.6 trillion cubic metres according to 2015 figures from the US Energy Information Administration, or twice as much as the United States and Australia combined – China is the world’s biggest importer of natural gas, with about 40 per cent of its annual requirement coming from overseas.

In 2017, it produced just 6 billion cubic metres of shale gas, or about 6 per cent of its natural gas output for the whole year.

The problem is that 80 per cent of its deposits are located more than 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) below sea level, which is far beyond the range of hydraulic fracturing, the standard method for extraction.

But all that could be about to change, after a team of nuclear weapons scientists led by Professor Zhang Yongming from the State Key Laboratory of Controlled Shock Waves at Xian Jiaotong University in Shaanxi province, released details of a new “energy rod” that has the power to plumb depths never before thought possible.

Unlike hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is more commonly known, which uses highly pressurised jets of water to release gas deposits trapped in sedimentary rock, Zhang’s torpedo-shaped device uses a powerful electric current to generate concentrated, precisely controlled shock waves to achieve the same result.

He told the South China Morning Post that while the technology had yet to be applied outside the laboratory, the first field test was set to take place in Sichuan in March or April.

Zhang and his team have dubbed their creation an “energy concentration rod” as it is able to control the release of explosive bolts of energy into an extremely short, precisely calculated period of time so as to maximise the fracturing effect of the shock waves.
It works by passing a strong electric current along a specially coated wire coil – encased by a metal shell – that is submerged in water. When the wire vaporises it produces a cloud of plasma – the extremely hot, electrically charged matter that makes up the sun – within which is a huge amount of energy just waiting to be released.

“The shock wave generated by the device can be as high as 200 megapascals at close range, which is expected to produce a fracture zone up to 50 metres in diameter,” Zhang said.
I would like to assure you that's a shitload, but I don't really have an intuitive sense for how much that is. But a fracturing a sphere of rock 50m in diameter makes a big heap of gravel.
The method, known as exploding wire, enables scientists to control the energy, duration and even direction of the explosion. The same principle was used to detonate the atomic bomb code named “Little Boy” that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

Despite that commonality, Zhang’s device does not create a nuclear blast, so is fundamentally different to what the United States was doing in the 1960s, when scientists there detonated a nuclear bomb underground to boost natural gas production. The former Soviet Union also used thermal nuclear weapons for mining and in dam construction.

Also, unlike a traditional detonator, which fires just once, Zhang’s energy rod has been designed to withstand hundreds of massive blasts.

After each one, the rod is hoisted back up the shaft and a jet of water is injected under high pressure into the cavity to further open up the rock. The rod is then lowered back into position and is ready to fire again.

The device can “generate shock waves repeatedly … like a machine gun”, Zhang said, adding that because the wire was encased and submerged the rod did not generate sparks, so reducing the safety risk.

While the scientist has concerns about how well his creation will work in shale rock, it has already been used to release potentially hazardous gas deposits from coal beds and is now recommended by the government as a way to improve both safety and productivity in the mining industry.
Maybe the technique could be adapted in America for fracking using a less onerous mix of water and chemicals? Besides, it would be kind of cool to steal some Chinese technical advance. Turn about is fair play.

Reason #6991 That Trump Was Elected

Largest Fentanyl Drug Bust In History Made As Truck Tried Crossing The Southern Border
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol seized enough fentanyl to kill over 50 million people from a truck that was trying to cross the southern border into the United States, according to an investigation by “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
. . .
“We got our hands on an internal memo from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol that details this bust. The biggest fentanyl seizure in U.S. history,” Vaughn began. “According to the memo, four days ago in Nogales, Arizona, at the port of entry, CBP officers stopped a tractor-trailer crossing the U.S.-Mexico border into the U.S. with enough fentanyl to kill 57 million people. That’s plenty of fatal dose to wipe out the entire populations of Texas, Arizona and New York state combined.”

She continued:
They found this under the floor of the trailer. They found 114 kilograms of fentanyl. According to the DEA, just two milligrams is considered a lethal dose. They also grabbed 179 kg of methamphetamine and one gram of fentanyl in pill form. The street value for the fentanyl over $102 million. The CBP officers arrested the smuggler, a Mexican national who attempted to drive the drugs across the border. The suspect was a part of the DHS’s trusted traveler program called FAST, that stands for free and secure trade for commercial vehicles. The program started after 9/11.
The bust comes as President Donald Trump is trying to secure funding for a wall he would like to be built along the southern border to prevent smuggling and illegal immigration. Many Democrats have countered the president’s desire by saying a wall would be “immoral.”
At 2.2 lbs per kg, 114 kg is too much for any but the strongest wetbacks to carry across the border on his/her/its (I don't know their preferred pronouns) back. It's an article of faith among democrats that the majority of the drugs come across the border at ports of entry like this one. That's probably true, but that estimate contains sampling bias. We find the most drugs where it's easiest to look for them and that's the port of entry.  It's the old problem of looking for your lost keys at night under the streetlight, and not in the unlit gutter. Drugs carried across the desert are probably mostly dropped before anyone is stopped by ICE. But even that is not entirely the point. The open borders are an invitation for smuggling drugs by a variety of means. If we crack down on ports of entry, as Trump also proposes, we'll see more being carried across the desert on the backs of illegal aliens, because of the opportunity.

Fucking fentanyl. We've lost at least 3 kids (using the word loosely) that I knew in the neighborhood. The death penalty is not unwarranted for fentanyl smugglers.

Stone Cold Russiagate

Well the "Polar Vortex" arrived in earnest overnight, with temperatures plunging from 38 F yesterday afternoon to 8 this morning when Skye asked to go out into the back yard to do her business and harass the birds and squirrels. Not exactly the sort of weather that Wisconsin or Minnesota are having, but it's damn cold for us. Likely the coldest of the year. According to the weather underground it will be 2 more days before we get above freezing again. Brrr.

Fox, Tucker Carlson: Roger Stone raid shows that CNN is no longer covering Robert Mueller. They're working with him

Mueller is the single most powerful person in America, and yet nobody voted for him. He is a living rebuke to the principles of our democratic system. At the same time, our leaders tell us that we need Robert Mueller — an all-powerful, unelected prosecutor, accountable to no one — to protect us from threats to – brace yourselves here – democracy. Nobody in Washington catches the irony in any of this. Mueller himself is the threat to our democracy. The most powerful man elected by nobody.
Gateway Pundit: Roger Stone: Mueller Thinks He Will Remove Trump and VP Pence and Replace Them with Nancy Pelosi (video at link)
I’m targeted here because they want to silence me. I’m 66-years-old. I support the Second Amendment but don’t own a firearm… I can’t swim even though they had two amphibious units planted behind my house… I’m not going to testify against him because I have no negative information on Trump… I honestly believe they are going to try to charge the president and vice president with some hoked-up frame of Russian collusion. That way they can make Nancy Pelosi president. She can make Hillary Clinton Vice President and then step aside.
But nobody is talking about impeaching Pence, right? Wrong, WaPoo, If Trump is impeachable, so is Pence, Michael J. Glennon January 21 , Michael J. Glennon is a law professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Well, you can't say you haven't been warned. CNN Hid Images and Video of Roger Stone’s 72-Year-Old Wife Being Dragged Out of Home Barefoot and In Nightgown. Not a sympathetic image for their agenda.

The Dersh, Why Was Stone Arrested Instead of Being Asked to Surrender?
If Hillary Clinton had been elected president and if a special prosecutor had arrested one of her associates in the rough and demeaning manner by which Stone was arrested, civil libertarians would be up in arms. They would correctly argue that to marshal dozens of armed FBI agents to arrest an elderly man accused of non-violent crimes is an abuse of authority and a waste of FBI resources. They would complain that it constitutes intimidation and violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. But because the arrest is of a Trump associate and the purpose is to get evidence against President Trump, we have not heard from fair-weather civil libertarians who use civil liberties and constitutional rights as tactics to serve their partisan political agendas.

The ACLU has been absolutely silent in regard to the questionable tactics employed by Mueller. They, too, would have been up in arms had these tactics been employed against their favorite candidate and mine, Hillary Clinton. They would have demanded an explanation as to why the extraordinary power of arrest, which is supposed to be reserved only for cases warranting this use of force, was employed in this case. Their silence speaks volumes about their partisanship and lack of neutral standards of civil liberties.
Politico, Roger Stone faces a gag order. He has a plan to resist it. Shhhhh. Don't make noise while we railroad you.“The most dangerous thing is to go silent,” Stone said then. “When you’re silent, people assume you’re guilty of something.”

USA Today, 'Altered' documents from inside Mueller probe fed Russian disinformation campaign, prosecutors say. The Peacock, Mueller says Russians are using his discovery materials in disinformation effort
Russians are using materials obtained from special counsel Robert Mueller's office in a disinformation campaign apparently aimed at discrediting the investigation into Moscow's election interference, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

One or more people associated with the special counsel's case against Russian hackers made statements last October claiming to have stolen discovery materials that were originally provided by Mueller to Concord Management, Mueller's team said in court documents filed on Wednesday in the Russian troll farm case.
That was always a danger when you charge a company from a foreign country with a crime. Which is why it was a bad idea to charge them in the first place. Espionage should be handled as espionage, not criminal law. They were show indictments in the first place, and Mueller never really expected them to step up and contest them.

CNN, Treasury official pleads not guilty to charges of leaking sensitive financial reports to the press
A senior Treasury Department official pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court Wednesday to charges that she disclosed sensitive financial transaction reports pertaining to multiple entities tied to President Donald Trump and Russia.

The official, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, allegedly leaked the documents, known as Suspicious Activity Reports, to a reporter whom CNN has previously identified as working for BuzzFeed News.

Prosecutors indicated that a second official could be in legal jeopardy as well, disclosing in court papers that Edwards had discussed with the reporter another employee at the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as "FinCEN," for whom she used the code name "Enigma."
From Da Caller, Judge Orders Release Of Sealed Records From BuzzFeed’s Dossier Lawsuit
A federal judge in Florida on Wednesday ordered the public release of dozens of documents kept under seal during BuzzFeed’s lawsuit over the Steele dossier.
District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro ordered the documents be made public by Feb. 8. More than 40 records used in the case are listed in the order.

Ungaro’s decision will shed light into the discovery process during the defamation case, which included depositions with dossier author Christopher Steele and the founders of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele.

Ungaro ruled in BuzzFeed’s favor Dec. 19, 2018. The website was sued in February 2017 by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian tech executive accused in the dossier of using his web hosting companies to hack into the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems.

Gubarev vehemently denied the allegation, which Steele made in a memo dated Dec. 13, 2016. The memo was the last of 17 memos that compile what is known as the dossier. BuzzFeed published the dossier Jan. 10, 2017.

BuzzFeed apologized to Gubarev after the lawsuit was filed and redacted his name from the copy of the dossier posted to its website. But the website hired a private investigator — a former FBI and National Security Council official named Anthony Ferrante — to uncover evidence to support its legal defense.
. . .
In her final order in the case, Ungaro revealed BuzzFeed obtained the dossier through David Kramer, a former State Department official and close associate of the late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain. Kramer gave BuzzFeed’s Ken Bensinger a copy of the dossier Dec. 28, 2016.
 Related, Stacy McCain wonders Who Keeps Paying BuzzFeed’s Bills?
Harrison Smith at InfoWars reminds us that BuzzFeed, which recently announced it would lay off “15 percent of its staff (with pink slips to go to up to 400 people, according to one insider),” has received nearly half a billion dollars of venture-capital investment since launching in 2006. In April 2013, it was reported that BuzzFeed’s investment was $46 million, which means they’ve attracted about $450 million in new capital over the past six years — despite having never shown a profit!
Good work, if you can keep it. But learn to code, just in case!

AP, Judge refuses to unseal criminal charges against Assange
A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a request to unseal criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that were mistakenly revealed in another case.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said in a 10-page ruling that free-press advocates seeking to unseal the charges have no proof Assange has actually been charged.

The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press sought to unseal the charges after a federal prosecutor inadvertently typed a reference to “the fact that Assange has been charged” in an unrelated case.

The government has acknowledged it made an error but has not publicly confirmed that charges against Assange have been filed.
Nothing says democracy more than secret charges and court proceedings.  Sneaking in a little Clinton news, Obama’s FBI Ignored Lead That CHINA Had CLINTON EMAILS (The Lid). I certainly expected that, didn't you? Speaking of which, Powerline brings us Clapper at large.
Clapper could certainly have been included in Rep. Devin Nunes’s list of those who should be charged with lying to Congress along with Roger Stone if lying to Congress is now to be treated as a serious offense (see “They need to start with themselves”). President Trump himself has asked “what about the lying done by Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Lisa Page & lover, Baker and soooo many others?” It’s a good question. Former assistant to President Bush (1) Charles Kolb considers the anomalies in the Daily Caller column “Can we give James Clapper the Roger Stone treatment yet?”
And more honest that the average reporter, Belarusian escort who claimed to have evidence proving Trump-Russia collusion now admits the truth
Anastasia Vashukevich, whom the New York Times described as an "escort," grabbed headlines last year when she claimed to possess secret audio recordings that she said would prove a link between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. She said she obtained the recordings while engaging in an affair with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

According to the Times, Vashukevich sought to use the recordings as leverage to free herself from a Thai jail, where she wrote to U.S. officials asking for political asylum in exchange for the alleged evidence. She, along with nine others, were arrested by Thai officials last year for conducting a sex workshop directed at Russian male tourists.
 and competing with the local talent.

Earlier this month, Thai officials deported Vashukevich to Russia, where she was arrested on prostitution charges and later released.
What is happening now?

Vashukevich revealed to CNN in an interview Tuesday that she made up her story about the recordings to generate media attention, which she believed would save her life.

"I think it saved my life, how can I regret it? If journalists had not come at that time and that story had not come to the newspapers, maybe I would [be dead by] now," she said.
Reporters lie because it's good for business and because they hate Trump.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Naomi Wu and FMJRA 2.0: Destroy Everything You Touch up on time and within budget.

Skier Steamed by Collision with Paltrow

A Utah man is suing actor Gwyneth Paltrow for a “hit-and-run ski crash” on the slopes at Deer Valley — alleging she hit him and then skied away as he lay in the snow with serious injuries. And he’s asking for damages in excess of $3.1 million.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in 3rd District Court in Summit County, retired optometrist Terry Sanderson alleges that on Feb. 26, 2016, Paltrow — an Oscar-winning actor whose roles range from “Shakespeare in Love” (NSFW link) to “Glee” to the “Iron Man” movies — was skiing “out of control.” He claims she hit him from behind, “knocking him down, landing on top of him, and causing him to suffer a concussion, brain injury and four broken ribs.”
 Video, or it didn't happen the way he said.
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Sanderson said he was skiing with five friends when he “heard this just hysterical screaming like … King Kong in the jungle or something” and that Paltrow struck him in the back seconds later, breaking his ribs, giving him a concussion and causing a “closed brain injury,” which one of Sanderson’s attorneys compared to shaken baby syndrome.

After the collision, “Paltrow got up, turned and skied away, leaving Sanderson stunned, lying in the snow,” according to the lawsuit.
Sanderson, who was 69 at the time of the collision, is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds. He said he was skiing slowly when Paltrow hit him at full speed.

“I think velocity explains” his injuries, he said. “A little bitty bullet can make a big hole.”
Three years seems like a long time to wait to bring this suit. I'm gonna invoke the same rule we need regarding sexual assault. Bring it when it happens, and not when it seems contrived. There's also at least one witness that says he hit her.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Naomi Wu up on time and within budget.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Atlantic Coast Pipeline In Jeopardy

Let 'em freeze in the dark. Atlantic Coast Pipeline on shakier ground as legal challenges add up
A string of recent court decisions has left the future uncertain for a sprawling natural gas pipeline project cutting its way across some Chesapeake Bay states.

Judges have reversed three federal permits that would have allowed the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross national parks and trails or to impact endangered species, halting construction while Dominion Energy, the project’s backer, regroups to appeal.

Despite strong local opposition along the project’s 600-mile path — which winds its way from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina — the Atlantic Coast Pipeline had been gathering steam over the last three years while garnering the federal and state permits necessary to begin construction in Virginia.

Dominion officials contend that the pipeline is essential to meet growing energy demands along the East Coast and to replace coal-fueled power generation with natural gas.

The project is one of several pipelines planned or under construction to carry natural gas across portions of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The gas is extracted from underground shale formations using a controversial technique called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and pipeline construction often entails disrupting wetlands, crossing streams, removing trees and exposing bare soil, sometimes on steep slopes.

Environmental groups say the $7 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the largest project of its kind in the region, poses an unnecessary threat to natural resources and cost to ratepayers. They also argue that the hurried permit process that preceded it cannot now stand up in court.

“The big picture here is that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is in trouble,” said Greg Buppert, a lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center representing environmental organizations in several of the lawsuits. Now, the company “doesn’t have multiple required permits to proceed with this project.”

This spring, SELC attorneys and others will go for the project’s metaphorical jugular by challenging its baseline permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which set it into motion four years ago. They will argue that FERC’s singular requirement — that the project must have a signed contract with future natural gas recipients — does not go far enough. That’s because, in this case, subsidiaries of Dominion Energy are both building the pipeline and claiming demand for it as future customers. Because FERC has guaranteed a 15-percent return on investment for building the pipeline project, advocates say the company makes a profit from the process regardless of whether the infrastructure is actually needed.

Will Cleveland, another SELC attorney, said that Dominion has justified the need to supply East Coast customers by “wildly overpredicting demand.”

It's So Cold in Illinois . . .

That the cops in McClean, Illinois arrested Elsa as a public enemy:

Don't worry, there are plenty of her to spare.

Hat tip to Hot Air.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Naomi Wu up on time and within budget.

MDDNR Gets a New Boss

Gov. Hogan  and Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio
Governor Larry Hogan Announces Cabinet Appointment
Governor Larry Hogan today announced Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio as the Secretary of Natural Resources. Haddaway-Riccio currently serves as a Deputy Chief of Staff in the governor’s office, where she advises on environmental-related issues.

“Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio has been a strong member of my executive team since day one and has a proven track record of working to protect Maryland’s environment,” said Governor Hogan. “I know that Jeannie will be instrumental in ensuring that we continue to build on our incredible progress in preserving our state’s precious natural resources.”

Haddaway-Riccio was previously Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Governor Hogan, where she served as the governor’s liaison to local governments, including working with the Maryland Association of Counties and the Maryland Municipal League. Previously, she served as District 37B Delegate from 2003 to 2015, where she was a member of numerous committees including the Economic Matters Committee, the Joint Committee on Federal Relations, and the Legislative Policy Committee. She also served as Minority Whip from 2011-2013. In addition, Haddaway-Riccio has worked for the Maryland Department of Environment’s Air and Radiation Management Administration, as well as the National Audubon Society.
Not that I have anything against birds, quite the contrary, but I'm prepared to be worried about anyone who comes in from one of "those" NGOs. So, is she really knowledgeable about Natural Resource issues, or is she an apparatchik?
“As a lifelong and proud native of the Eastern Shore, serving our citizens and protecting Maryland’s natural resources has always been my passion,” said Haddaway-Riccio. “I would like to thank Governor Hogan for this exciting opportunity, and look forward to helping further the administration’s environmental agenda in my new role.”

Haddaway-Riccio will replace Secretary Mark Belton, who is returning to his former post as Charles County Administrator. Belton previously served in the role from December 2012 to December 2014, before joining the Hogan administration at the start of the governor’s first term in 2015.
I don't know if that's a demotion or not. Certainly the opportunity for graft is better in the country position.
“I sincerely thank Secretary Belton for his service to the state and wish him the best of luck in his new position,” said Governor Hogan.

Haddaway-Ricco’s appointment will take effect in early February.
Yeah, yeah yeah. I want to know her thoughts on oysters and striped bass.

Reason #6990 That Trump Was Elected

Dana at Never-Trumper Patterico's,: Previously Deported Sexual Predator Sentenced To 401 Years For Crimes Against Young Girls
Whether one calls it a “wall” or a “barrier,” it’s obvious that something needs to be done to enhance security at our porous Southern border because it’s far too easy for illegal aliens deported for a prior conviction to cross back into the U.S. and commit even more heinous crimes. You may say: Well, heinous crimes committed by illegal aliens don’t happen that often. To which I would say to you: Even one crime that is heinous in nature is one too many, and we should not have to put up with it and we should be doing everything possible to prevent that criminal illegal alien from re-entering the U.S. at all costs. And if erecting more walls or barriers is part of that prevention, how can it be argued against and called immoral? Or is the devastation wrought by one deported criminal alien not enough to budge a political heart of stone? :
A California judge sentenced a man to serve 401 years to life in prison for numerous violent sex crimes.
On December 4, a jury found Macario Cerda, 39, guilty of three counts of forcible rape, one count of kidnapping to commit rape, one count of criminal threats, and seven counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of fourteen.
According to court records, Cerda, while in a relationship with the victim’s mother, forced the girl into his van, drove her to a remote location and raped her in 2013. When Cerda temporarily exited the van, documents say the victim jumped into the driver’s seat and drove away.
Cerda was later arrested by Tulare County Sheriff’s deputies.
During an investigation, it was discovered the victim had also been raped by Cerda when she was a minor in 2010, which resulted in the pregnancy and birth of a baby.
The victim’s younger sister also stated that Cerda had raped and abused her when she was a child.
According to court documents, Cerda has been deported before and returned within five months where he committed these crimes soon after.
For Godsake, what does it say about our immigration system and lack of border security that one of the young rape victims was compelled to plead to the court that which is so painfully obvious and to our great shame:
“[N]ever grant him any possibility at being deported because he has crawled his way back into the States illegally way too many times.”
Yet another criminal alien unlawfully entered the U.S. shortly after having been deported and wreaked vile havoc on two young sisters, doing untold damage to them and forever changing the course of their lives. Crimes, particularly those which are so unspeakable, are crimes that should never have happened because illegal aliens like Macario Cerda should not have been here in the first place.
Patterico was one of my go-to bloggers  for a long time, but he fell under the Never-Trump spell and it's been a struggle to bother ever since, although I do keep him on my blog-roll. Does this mean he's coming around?

I would say "where is that spark of divinity" that Nancy Pelosi insists that criminal illegal aliens posses, but Wikipedia suggests a long list of ancient gods with a penchant for forcible fornication.

Russiagate Set in Stone

On the matter of Matthew Whitaker (Acting AG) mentioning that he thinks the Mueller investigation is almost complete, The Left And Bill Kristol Come Unglued As Matthew Whitaker Announces The Mueller Investigation Is Nearly Over (Redstate)

Sundance at CTH  "Beware of hyped headlines. AAG Matthew Whitaker made some remarks today about the Robert Mueller probe “hopefully, being close to completed”. That’s pretty vague.".
The Mueller probe will end at the closely coordinated and pre-selected time when Mueller hands off his investigation to Elijah Cummings (WH oversight), Adam Schiff (HPSCI), and Jerry Nadler (Judiciary). That timing looks to be around the end of February if current congressional witness schedules remain unchanged.
Chris Christie Doesn’t Think Mueller is ‘Almost Done’: ‘I Don’t Think He is Ending on Roger Stone’ from Mediaite. I think an unwritten agreement between Bob and Rod is to keep the investigation alive until after the 2020 election by hook or by crook. Is Bill Barr in on it? Da Caller, AG Nominee Says He’d Resign If Ordered to Fire Mueller ‘Without Good Cause’. Howie Carr at the Boston Herald reminds us that Mueller gave us good cause years ago, Mueller’s hands dirty in old FBI frame-up.

Sundance again, The Stunning Importance of What Devin Nunes Said Yesterday – Rosenstein Made President Trump Mueller’s Target…
If it is accurate that Rosenstein charged Robert Mueller with investigating the dossier claims; and if Nunes is accurate that the DOJ investigative target, a derivative of the dossier, is Donald Trump; well, everything starts to make a hell of a lot more sense.

If the mandate given to Robert Mueller was to specifically investigate the sitting president of the United States as an active participant, and subsequent target, for a counterintelligence operation, then DAG Rod Rosenstein -and Mueller- would have tohide that mandate from everyone and anyone.

More specifically, Rosenstein would NEVER be able to honestly discuss the Mueller probe with President Trump; because President Trump would be the primary target within the investigation. And that changes EVERYTHING.

Now, at first blush this likelihood might sound disingenuous, but if you think about the downstream ramifications; and then contrast those ramifications against what we know has factually taken place; then things make a lot more sense.

Mark Levin and Sidney Powell Discuss Robert Mueller….

Ace, Washington Post Poll: Most Americans Don't Support Impeachment, Most Have "Some or No" Confidence in Mueller's Fairness, "This poll just kicked a lot of sand into a lot of vaginas."

WaPoo, Trump confidant Roger Stone pleads not guilty to charges in Mueller probe, as expected.  Da Caller, Roger Stone Claims Donald Trump Never Talked To Him About Wikileaks. Seems unlikely. Neither of them seems to be the type to shut up about anything. James S. Robbins at USA Today,  Roger Stone's not guilty plea shows collapse of Russian collusion narrative
Regardless of where the emails came from, once WikiLeaks began to publish them, everyone in America wanted to know what was in them, no doubt especially the Trump team. Roger Stone was simply conducting his version of opposition research, albeit ineptly. And the indictment notes that Stone was “claiming both publicly and privately” to be in contact with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign, so if he were trying to keep his activities a secret he was doing a poor job.
. . .
What this story indicates is that the Trump campaign didn't have close ties to WikiLeaks, and no knowledge about what was in the emails, which presumably it would have if there were collusion afoot. And though investigations have found 100 contacts between members of the Trump circle and a variety of Russians during the 2016 campaign, none of the reported communications offers clear evidence of election tampering, quid pro quos, prior knowledge of dirty tricks, or anything else that would confirm the collusion narrative.

The collusion story was a speculative proposition from the start. It apparently originated with former CIA Director John Brennan, who testified to Congress about his concerns that Russian agents might try to suborn members of the Trump team during the 2016 campaign, based on tips from foreign intelligence services. But rather than warning a major-party presidential candidate that he was a target of a foreign influence operation — which you would expect from a supposedly nonpartisan career intelligence official — Brennan established an interagency task force that targeted Trump’s circle. And while Brennan has more recently called President Donald Trump’s denial of collusion “hogwash,” he still cannot produce evidence to support the charge. If the Trump administration would declassify documents related to the activities of Brennan’s group during the campaign, the public might gain more insight into who was colluding against whom.

If wanting Clinton's emails is criminal, lock us up
At Theo's Rico tells us The 'Rule of Law' is dead. Not quite yet, but it may be on life support.

On the March with D.C.'s Straw Nazi

Zach Rybarczyk on the prowl for plastic straws
WaPoo proudly reports on the guy that Washington D.C. has running around trying to eliminate plastic straws: On patrol with the enforcer of D.C.’s plastic-straw ban
Warning letters in hand, Zach Rybarczyk patrolled the food court at Union Station, looking for offenders.

Past Auntie Anne’s, past Johnny Rockets. At Lotus Express, a Chinese food joint, Rybarczyk peeled the wrapper from a red straw and bent the end — the telltale giveaway. Plastic.
Better pat Elle Johnson down in case she has some hidden!
I wonder how much education a job like this takes. I tried to check. He graduated from American University, but I couldn't figure out what degree in what subject. I also wonder what it pays. Too much, no doubt.

Washington has become the latest city in a nationwide movement to ban plastic straws, and it’s up to Rybarczyk, an inspector for the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment, to enforce the new law.

The straw cop left the rattled cashier at Lotus Express with a warning that if the store was still using plastic straws by July, when a grace period expires, it could be fined up to $800.
Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson
conspiring to commit eco-crime

 $800 for a plastic straw? You must be kidding me!
Nine years after the District instituted a nickel tax on plastic bags and three years after it banned plastic foam food containers, it has turned on plastic straws — the newest target of environmentalists trying to reduce millions of tons of plastic that ends up in trees, waterways and in the bellies of wildlife. The effort has been galvanized by a viral video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nostril.
Brooke Thomas, endangering sea turtles
I still want to know how that damn turtle got a straw stuck up its nose. That doesn't seem likely,

Once he starts issuing real tickets, does he get to start carrying a gun, too? Because the power to enforce a law like this ultimately comes from the state's legal monopoly on the use of force. If you don't pay the fine, they send the guys with guns to force you to.
“It’s pretty absurd the amount of resources we put into creating plastic materials that we are using for five minutes to an hour, and then never again,” said Julie Lawson, director of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s Office of the Clean City. “Single-use plastics are taking the same cultural place as tobacco where it’s socially unacceptable.”

Straws and the District have a long history; the modern drinking straw was born in Washington in 1888, when inventor Marvin Chester Stone received the first patent for an “artificial straw” made from paper and produced them in his factory on F Street NW. Over the next century, the straw evolved from straight to bendable, from paper to plastic.
Lana Del Rey, what an outlaw!
If, by some miracle, there is a public monument to this monster, we simply must rush to deface and topple it!

But the popularity of the plastic straw, and its inability to decompose, is proving to be its undoing.

City officials estimate that plastic straws make up less than 1 percent of the trash in the Anacostia and Potomac rivers. Still, they pose a problem. Their thin design makes them too small for most recycling machinery, so they end up in trash and ultimately in waterways. Volunteers collected 10,000 plastic straws during the 30th annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup in April.

“Plastic pollution that ends up on the street is carried by rain water into storm drains and eventually into streams and rivers,” Laura Cattell Noll of the Alice Ferguson Foundation, a local environmental group, told the D.C. Council. “In many cases, this storm water is untreated, leaving local waterways choked with plastic bags, Styrofoam, plastic bottles and plastic straws.”
So, when the last plastic straw is used in Washington D.C. is used, will Zach retire into well deserved obscurity, or will he set his sights on some other trivial use for plastic to ban? If the latter, I repeat my call for the ban of the plastic tampon applicator, one of the more common items in beach garbage.

The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Naomi Wu up on time and within budget.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Chickenshit Air Monitoring in Maryland

Department of the Environment to Monitor Air Near Poultry Houses
The Maryland Department of the Environment will sample the air from newly installed monitoring stations on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore in answer to ongoing questions regarding the potential effects of large poultry houses on air quality.

MDE will collect preliminary data on levels of ammonia and particulate matter near poultry houses for comparison with air quality in other parts of Maryland. The Lower Eastern Shore Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Project will be done under an agreement with the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment and Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI), who together have committed more than $500,000 to the effort.

MDE is responsible for technical aspects of the monitoring such as the specification of equipment and the collection and analysis of air monitoring results. This effort is scheduled to continue for one year. At that point, MDE will review results and consider relevant input on any further steps that might need to be taken.

“The Hogan administration is committed to sound science and environmental leadership in agriculture,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “This innovative partnership for air quality monitoring will provide useful information to the public.”

Two new monitoring stations will be installed on the Lower Shore with equipment to measure ammonia and particulate matter while collecting information on weather conditions. Establishing the monitors near poultry houses is designed to provide results representative of any effects of concentrations of poultry houses throughout the Eastern Shore.
. . .
One of those two new stations will be upwind from poultry houses and one will be downwind to allow for a comparison. Moreover, equipment to measure ammonia levels will be added to two existing MDE monitoring stations that already measure particulate matter to provide additional “baseline” levels for comparison with the stations near poultry operations. One will be north of the Lower Shore and one will be on the western shore.
Nothing says bad science like n = 2.

Oregon Patriarchy Safe, for Now

Fatal police shooting of man in ‘smash the patriarchy’ shirt at Oregon school caught on bodycam
Two police officers were "legally justified" in the deadly shooting of a parent at an Oregon middle school this month, officials said Thursday, as video of the fatal encounter was released.

The Lane County District Attorney's Office said the incident occurred as Eugene police officers Aaron Johns and Steve Timm were trying to arrest 30-year-old Charles Landeros after a custody argument at Cascade Middle School.

Landeros, seen wearing a "smash the patriarchy" shirt in video released by police, refused to leave the premises when asked by school resource officers.

A struggle later erupted when the officers moved Landeros outside. Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow said, prior to the shooting, Landeros pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the officers, KPTV reported.

As the officers tried to wrestle the gun away, Landeros fired two shots. Timm then returned fire, squeezing off a single shot that struck Landeros in the head and killed him, according to officials.

Officials said Landeros was a concealed handgun license holder, and the gun had been legally purchased by his sister-in-law in December. Landeros' daughter and two other people witnessed the shooting, which took place with other students nearby, Perlow said.

“It is unknown why Charles Landeros chose to use deadly force in this circumstance, but he clearly had no regard for the lives of the police officers or the students or staff present, including his child,” the prosecutor said in a statement to the Oregonian.
When police tell you to leave, leave. Don't pull your gun. I'm sad for his daughter.

From another article: DA: Police justified in killing Antifa agitator father who pulled gun on officers at school
Landeros, a war veteran and former student leader at the University of Oregon, has a documented history of anti-police, anti-authority “activism” that centers on arming LGBTQ folks and minorities with firearms.

UO’s student news site, the Daily Emerald, reports:
Landeros, who used they/them/theirs pronouns, led a student protest in October 2017 that disrupted UO President Michael Schill’s state of the university address. Landeros and other protestors characterized Schill as a CEO and said that the purpose of the protest was to “empower marginalized students on campus.”
Landeros was a member of Community Armed Self Defense, a group that was created as a “new liberatory and inclusive space for all oppressed peoples to learn about armed self-defense,” according to the group’s Facebook page, which is no longer publicly available on Facebook as of 4 p.m. Saturday.
Community Armed Self Defense’s Facebook page said that they could not count on the police to protect marginalized people, and that firearms help marginalized groups protect themselves.
“The police are not here to protect us. They are more likely to harm us themselves than they are to ‘serve or protect’ us,” the group wrote on their Facebook page description.
At the October 2017 protest, Landeros and others rushed the stage to physically prevent school officials from speaking.

“A group of about 45 protesters identifying as ‘the UO Student Collective’ rushed the stage shortly after Interim Vice President of Student Life Kevin Marbury took the podium to introduce Schill. Just a few minutes later administration vacated the ballroom, abandoning efforts to make the formal address,” according to The Daily Emerald.

There’s also evidence Landeros posted “Death to all pigs” and “Time to start killing pigs” in response to social media posts about officers who died in the line of duty, as well as an FBI investigation into his online activities last year.

“In 2018, the FBI received information on a tip line that Charles Landeros was posting violent anti-government messages on social media,” according to the DA. “The information was referred to the local FBI office, who concluded there was insufficient information to substantiate that a crime had been committed.”

Something a Little Different from the Beach

I picked this up yesterday. A cobble with ancient fossil worm tubes in it. They're called skolithos.

In this article, they are called the "oldest fossil in Virginia."
The oldest common fossils in Virginia, these are traces of the tubes inhabited by primitive worms living along a Paleozoic shoreline. Found along the western flank of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
You can see dimples that mark the cross section of tubes
On the Calvert Fossils and Trip Reports page, I wondered about how they got this far down Bay, and I got this response:
I was informed that these find their way down onto the bay and other rivers over the years trapped in the roots of trees. These trees collect them from up north in their root system. When the tree is uprooted in a flooding or other event it carries them down the rivers and into the bay until the roots rot off dropping all the rocks trapped in them
Fossils being carried down the rivers by tree roots. Cool!

Russiagate Leaving No Stone Unturned

According to both the Peacock and WaPoo and Mueller investigation is ‘close to being completed,’ acting attorney general says
“I have been fully briefed on the investigation and I look forward to Director Mueller delivering the final report,” Whitaker said. “I am comfortable that the decisions that were made are going to be reviewed. . . . Right now, you know, the investigation is, I think, close to being completed.”
Or as Ace puts it,  Acting AG Whitaker: Mueller Has Briefed Me and He Says He Is Almost Finished With His Sham Investigation. On the other hand, I saw Judge Napolitano on Fox last night say that with Roger Stone not going quietly, he expects the Special Counsel's office to stay in business at least a year to persecute prosecute him. Maybe he'll just hand the dirty work to Andrew Weissman. FiveThirtyEight has 5 Scenarios For How Mueller’s Investigation Could End in their order of preference: Scenario 1: Trump is implicated in some form of coordination with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election, Scenario 2: Trump is implicated in obstruction of justice, Scenario 3: Trump isn’t accused of wrongdoing, but someone close to him is, Scenario 4: Mueller’s findings aren’t made public, so we don’t know whether Trump is implicated in wrongdoing and Scenario 5: The findings are made public, and neither the president nor any of his close associates are implicated in further wrongdoing.

Politico: Impeachment cries cloud Democrats’ vow to leave Mueller alone
Before taking power, House Democrats vowed to give special counsel Robert Mueller the space needed to finish his work. Just four weeks in, however, sticking to that pledge is proving difficult.

The possible clashes will be on display Tuesday morning when the new House Democratic Caucus meets for the first time to discuss Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, a probe with no clear end in sight and ever-expanding subplots.
And now, rolling back to Roger Stone, Nunes: 'The Process of Discovery Is Going to Be Fascinating' in Roger Stone Case (nice Deb, PJ Media)
He noted dryly that he was pleased to see the DOJ finally taking lying to Congress seriously after watching high-ranking Obama officials get away with it for so many years.
Byron York, WaEx, On closer examination, Roger Stone indictment is less than it seems. George Parry at AmSpec, How Many FBI Agents Does It Take to Terrorize an Unarmed 66-Year-Old? in Florida. 29 apparently. It only took 12 SEALs to take down Bin Laden in Pakistan.
I recall one early morning arrest of a violence-prone mobster. The assigned agents were aware that the target was at a bar with his girlfriend. Since we wanted to take him at his home so that the premises could be searched incident to arrest, the agents parked outside his residence and waited for him to show up.

Around 6:00 A.M., the target arrived and went inside with his girlfriend. Two FBI agents (the total number needed to take down this dangerous felon and conduct the search) knocked on the door. A split second later, the target stepped outside, slammed the door behind him, and announced, “Okay, let’s go.”
They knew Roger Stone wasn't going to resist. Hell, he'd been planning on being arrested for months now.
By this tactic, he had cleverly defeated our plan to search his residence.

Despite the target’s extensive criminal record, one of the agents said to him, “Vinnie [not his real name], if you promise to behave, I won’t put you in cuffs.” The violent felon smiled and said, “Deal.” Thus, he was transported without handcuffs or incident to the federal building where he was processed.

So maybe it the reason for all the power was to toss the joint.

Da Caller asks Did The FBI Leak Roger Stone’s Arrest To CNN?. It sure seems likely.

The FBI Drops In by John Dietrich at the American Thinker.
Stone should consider himself very fortunate. Many predawn raids do not end well.  Ruby Ridge resulted in the death of Vicki Weaver, who was shot in the head by sharpshooter Lon Horiuchi while she was holding her 10-month-old daughter, and the 14-year-old Sammy Weaver.  In an effort to “save the children,” the Waco standoff resulted in twenty-one children under the age of 16 being burned alive. Elian Gonzalez was not shot or burned.  He was simply deported back to Cuba.  Of course, those were the days when people were not so concerned about children.  All these incidents illustrate that the Deep State is still in charge.   It appears that our elected President is not in control. He keeps appointing Deep State apparatchiks like Wray and Barr.  The real criminals will never go to jail.
WaPoo breathlessly reports today that Roger Stone wanted WikiLeaks dump to distract from ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, Mueller witness says. And remind me again why that would be illegal? Slick Willy bombed a tent to distract from the Monica Lewinsky matter.
Whether Stone had a hand in the advantageous timing, by influencing the dissemination of the purloined emails, could help investigators answer the question of why he, and others in Trump’s orbit, allegedly lied in responding to congressional queries about possible collusion between the Republican campaign and Russian officials who interfered in the race. When asked by Melber why Stone lied, Corsi said, “I failed to take the mind-reading course at Harvard. You’ll have to ask Roger.”
Dov Fischer at AmSpec,  The endless Mueller investigation is destroying rule of law in America, with deathly long-term effects that already are being felt.
One of the tragedies of this Mueller Investigation is that it conclusively establishes something new for us: If enough well-placed wildcats within the Justice Department decide internally, outside the disinfecting light of public scrutiny, that they do not accept a President freely elected by the American People, they indeed may succeed in taking him down. Trump is unique; he is made of steel like Reagan and both Roosevelts and Lincoln. But most others can be taken down.
. . .
The latest drama that saw the Feds arrest Roger Stone with hoopla in the middle of the night — again, no collusion with Putin — underscores that our democracy and our republic is far more frail and brittle than we realize. Today they are tearing apart every person they can reach close to President Trump. But Republicans are taking notes and keeping score. . . .

Da Dersh at Da Hill, Stone indictment follows concerning Mueller pattern
Recall that the primary job of the special counsel was to uncover crimes that had already occurred relating to Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Mueller also was authorized to investigate and prosecute crimes growing out of the investigation, such as perjury and obstruction of justice, but this role was secondary to the primary one. It turns out that the secondary role has produced many more indictments of Americans than the primary one. A review of all the indictments and guilty pleas secured by Mueller shows nearly all of them fall into three categories.

First are process crimes such as perjury, obstruction, false statements, and witness tampering that have resulted from the investigation itself. That does not make them any less serious, but it is relevant to evaluating the overall success or failure of the primary mission. Second are crimes that occurred before Mueller was appointed but that cover unrelated business activities by Trump associates. The object of these indictments is to pressure the defendants to provide evidence against Trump. Third is one indictment against Russian individuals who will never be brought to justice in the United States. This indictment by was largely for show.

The strategy used the special counsel, as described by Judge T.S. Ellis III, is to find crimes committed by Trump associates and to indict them in order to pressure them to cooperate. This is what Ellis said about the indictment of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort: “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud. What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.”

Ellis also pointed out the dangers of this tactic: “This vernacular to sing is what prosecutors use. What you have to be careful of is that they may not only sing, they may compose.” This is indeed a tactic widely employed by prosecutors, particularly in organized crime and other hierarchical cases. However, the fact that it is common does not make this tactic right. Civil libertarians have long expressed concern about indicting someone for the purpose of getting the individual to cooperate against the real target.
. . .
If Mueller ultimately comes up empty on substantive crimes relating to Russia that were committed before he was appointed, and can point only to the three categories of alleged crimes described above, then it will be difficult to declare his investigation a success, or his appointment justified by the results. Based on what we have seen, it would have been far better if a nonpartisan commission of experts had been appointed to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 election and to make recommendations about how to prevent foreign interference in future American elections.
Michael Nollet, AmTh, One Way Outraged Americans Can Beat Robert Mueller
Jury nullification is the refusal of a jury to convict a defendant, no matter how irrefutable the evidence against the defendant is. Law professor John Joseph Duane calls it the "Top Secret Constitutional Right." It's "top secret" because no judge or prosecutor ever likes to admit that any jury can always tell him to go take a hike. Professor Duane says the absolute right of a jury to implement jury nullification is enshrined in the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment, and also in the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of a right to a jury trial whose verdicts no judge has the power to overturn.
Which is why any trial Mueller takes on will be in D.C. or NoVa, where the chances of getting a pro-Trump juror are negligible. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air recounts how Chris Christie Tried Telling Trump A War Was Coming On Russia Collusion. As a former Federal Persecutor, he knew the power that was being unleashed. Patricia McCarthy at AmTh, The Potomac two-step: Will no one stand up to the corruption in the FBI, DOJ, and CIA? Probably not, because they tend to prosecute the people who oppose them.

In other matters that arise, ABC reports Sentencing delayed for former President Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Manafort was scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 8 -- with several of the Virginia charges having been dropped as part of his cooperation deal with the special counsel. Monday’s decision to delay the sentencing reopens the possibility that prosecutors may wish to pile more years onto an already hefty prison term Manafort is facing.

At a hearing last week in Washington special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissman said that while there was no current plan to bring additional charges against Manafort, he did say the special counsel wants "to reserve that ability."
Finish the phrase "Justice delayed is justice ______." ABC again, Convicted Perjurer and Spurned Presidential Lawyer Michael Cohen to testify behind closed doors to House Intelligence Committee, chairman says. Why in the world would a person already convicted of lying to Congress (the first in God only knows how long, it being less successfully enforced than the Logan Act), willingly get up before them again?