Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Russiagate: Sullivan Pushback Resisted

"Shipwreckedcrew" at Red State put down the twitter long enough to write an essay on just how bad Judge Sullivan's response to the appeals court demanding he explain his incomprehensible decision to resist dismissing the charges against Gen. Flynn: The Filing by Judge Sullivan With The Circuit Court Is A Joke.
More than anything else, the submission seeks to retain what Judge Sullivan believes are the prerogatives of the District Court, which is to get the first crack at writing whatever it is he feels entitled to write about Gen. Flynn and the DOJ motion, and once he’s done the Circuit Court can grade his work. Until then, Judge Sullivan seems to be saying “Butt out!!”

I’m not going to cover the ground already well-worn by others and give you a full “briefing” on the arguments made by Wilkinson on Judge Sullivan’s behalf. I will refer to the DOJ brief filed several hours after Judge Sullivan’s submission where warranted, but I’m not going to take on an analysis of that brief here – that’s a separate task that will require some effort because that brief is a serious piece of legal analysis that simply sweeps the board of all the pieces Judge Sullivan and the left-wing Anti-Trump/Flynn pundits think are in play.

Instead, I’m going to simply go to some key points in the Sullivan filing – key because they are so outrageous and unsupported by authority – and point out the issues as I see them.

First – and this really surprised me – Wilkinson made a blatant mis-statement of fact on P.1 when she baldly claimed that Judge Sullivan had found the “false statements” made by Gen. Flynn to the FBI were “material.” I wrote a lengthy earlier article on this topic, and I encourage you to read it if you want a more comprehensive analysis.
. . .
Wilkinson’s failure to address the totality of Sullivan’s comments during the hearing , and only pointing to his “finding” of materiality is prima facia “bad faith” and borders on both judicial misconduct on the part of Judge Sullivan to have allowed this to be written, and ethical misconduct by Wilkinson to have written what she did without addressing this glaring inconsistency of WORDS THAT CAME OUT OF HER CLIENT’S MOUTH!!
Sean Davis at da Fed, In Appellate Brief, DOJ Unloads On Behavior Of Rogue Judge In Flynn Case  Ace analyzes Sean's piece and summarizes The DOJ's Memo In the Sullivan Matter: "This Guy's a Fucking Retard. Just Look At Him."
Okay not really but for just one split-second I conjured a magical universe for you in which they might have said that.

Still, they're not impressed with Emmet Sullivan's Joe-Biden-level of mental acuity.
John Sexton at Hot Air thinks Sullivan is just stalling for time, Judge Sullivan Asks For Time To Consider Dismissal, DOJ Says It Should Happen Now. Alas, the system is such that stalling is built in.
It’s not clear when the appeals court panel will decide how to respond to the conflicting claims. They have a choice between letting judge Sullivan reach a decision in his own time knowing that decision can be appealed to them later. Or they can simply agree with the DOJ that Sullivan is out of his depth already and order him to dismiss the case now.

I have no clue of how the Court of Appeals will rule but when they initially gave Judge Sullivan 10-days to explain himself, the sense of the order was that they thought he was doing something out of the ordinary and needed to explain himself. It wasn’t a friendly request it was an order. We’ll have to wait and see if Sullivan’s attorney has changed their mind.

However this turns out, this is only a 3-judge panel from the DC Court of Appeals. So if either side is unhappy with the decision, they can appeal it to the full court. Whichever way this goes, it could drag on for several more weeks unless one side or the other blinks.
Meanwhile Flynn continues to bleed money, and all the lawyers and judges get paid. Paul Bedard at WaEx reminds us that Michael Flynn judge refused outside opinions he now seeks
The federal judge fighting the Justice Department’s bid to drop charges against Michael Flynn blocked the type of outside opinions he is now seeking to punish the former Trump national security adviser with.

District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected 24 amicus briefs, or third-party “friend of the court” filings, claiming they aren’t allowed in criminal cases, according to court records.

In one of those, Sullivan responded in December 2017, “The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure do not provide for intervention by third parties in criminal cases … The docket is the record of official proceedings related to criminal charges brought by the United States against an individual who has pled guilty to a criminal offense. For the benefit of the parties in this case and the public, the docket must be maintained in an orderly fashion and in accordance with court rules.”

Flynn's lawyer, Sidney Powell, documented the 24 cases in a filing last month with the court and shown below.

But now, the judge wants one to help in his effort to keep the case going against Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. . . 
Speaking of amicus briefs, Twitchy, ‘It’s time for General Flynn’s nightmare to end’: Sen. Tom Cotton to file amicus brief with DC Circuit Court of Appeals
At Da Caller, Anders Hagstrom gives us The Possible Reasons Mike Flynn’s Judge Hired His Own Attorney
First, Sullivan may be concerned that any explanation for his actions could be used against him as proceedings move forward, Ellis wrote for Fox News. Wilkinson is a veteran defense attorney and would be a great help in a prolonged legal battle with the DOJ.
. . .
Other legal experts have a more benign reading of Wilkinson’s hiring, however. Experts representing Harvard, Berkeley, and the anti-Trump Lincoln Project submitted a brief urging Sullivan not to grant the DOJ’s dismissal. In their eyes, the case had already been decided once Flynn pleaded guilty, and the DOJ is not attempting to bully Sullivan into reversing a case for partisan reasons.
. . .
The DOJ argues there is grounds for dismissal because the FBI never had enough basis to bring Flynn in for the interview which led to his being charged with lying to the FBI. “The Government has concluded that the interview of Mr. Flynn was untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. Timothy Shea wrote in a court filing.
Sundance, Oral Arguments Scheduled – Flynn’s Attorney, Sidney Powell, Interview With Lou Dobbs… "Moments after this interview ended the DC Circuit Court scheduled oral arguments on the writ of mandamus for Friday June 12, 2020, at 9:30am EDT."



Margot Cleveland, Da Fed, New Flynn Transcripts Confirm Mueller Team Lied To The Court And The Country
The transcripts prove a treasure trove of evidence of the Deep State’s plot to frame Flynn, who pleaded guilty Dec. 1, 2017, to making false statements to FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka during a Jan. 24, 2017 interview of Flynn. In a “Statement of Offense” filed that same day with the D.C. District Court, federal prosecutor and Mueller team member Brandon Van Grack “stipulate[d] and agree[d]” that the facts detailed in the Statement of Offense were “true and accurate.”

Van Grack then attested in the Statement of Offense that Flynn knew that “on or about December 28, 2016, then-President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13757, which was to take effect the following day. The executive order announced sanctions against Russia in response to that government’s action intended to interfere with the 2016 presidential election (‘U.S. Sanctions’).”

The Statement of Offense professed that on Dec. 29, 2016, “FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.”

According to the Statement of Offense, during questioning by the FBI agents, “FLYNN falsely stated that he did not ask Russia’s Ambassador to the United States (‘Russian Ambassador’) to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia,” and “also falsely stated that he did not remember a follow-up conversation in which the Russian Ambassador stated that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of FLYNN’S request.”

However, the transcripts released Friday establish that, contrary to the special counsel office’s attestation, Flynn never asked the Russian ambassador to “not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.” In fact, Flynn never raised the “U.S. Sanctions” — defined by the special counsel’s office as the sanctions announced by Obama Dec. 28, 2016, in Executive Order 13757 — with the Russian ambassador at all.

In that executive order, as summarized in a White House press release, Obama “sanctioned nine entities and individuals: the GRU and the FSB, two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations.” The press release also detailed a number of additional Obama administration actions, beyond the sanctions, “in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election.”

Of relevance to the Flynn case was the State Department “shutting down two Russian compounds, in Maryland and New York, used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes,” and declaring “‘persona non grata’ 35 Russian intelligence operatives.”

While the Obama administration ejected the Russian personnel in response to the Kremlin’s interference with the 2016 election, the expulsions were not part of Executive Order 13757 and thus were not “U.S. Sanctions” as defined in the Flynn Statement of Offense. This distinction matters because the recently released transcripts establish that Flynn did not ask Kislyak to do anything — or refrain from doing anything — in response to the sanctions.
Lock them up!

Reminder from Sundance,  Rod Rosenstein Testifies Tomorrow (today) at 10:00am – What Questions Would You Ask?.
AG Barr has recently said the DOJ/FBI conduct during the first two years of the administration “was abhorrent” and “a grave injustice.” How does that statement reconcile with Barr’s prior comments toward Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein when they were the principle decision-makers behind those abuses?

Rosenstein also was in charge of the July 2018 response from the DOJ to the FISA court where both the DOJ and FBI lied to the court about the predicate of the FISA warrant’s validity a full fifteen months after the DOJ and FBI were aware the underlying predicate was built upon fraudulent representations. There’s another several hours.
I'm not as down on Rod as sundance; I see him as an institution man, a person who cared more about the DOJ than right or wrong, but I'd like to see him answer tough questions. He's largely evaded them up to this point. ET takes note, Dana Boente, Last Remaining Signatory of Illegal Spying on Trump Aide, Resigns From FBI.

Chuck Ross at Da Caller, AG Barr: Prosecutor Is Probing Whether Russians Fed Disinformation To Dossier Author Was Steele Dossier largely Russian or DNC disinformation? Well, the Russians really preferred Hillary, despite John Brennan's machinations.
Russia “definitely” interfered in the election, Barr said.

He added that Durham “is looking at the intelligence community’s I.C.A. — the report that they did in December.”

“And he’s sort of examining all the information that was based on, the basis for their conclusions. So to that extent, I still have an open mind, depending on what he finds.”
Fox, DOJ files formal appeal with Supreme Court over House access to Mueller grand jury material. Barr tells House he has no intention of letting them fish in his pond.
“In light of the national prominence of this grand-jury investigation, the separation-of-powers concerns raised by the decision below, and the potential damage that decision could inflict on ‘the proper functioning of our grand jury system,’” said the Justice Department, “this Court’s review is warranted.”

The House committee was given until July 1 to respond with a brief of its own. The issue is not likely to be fully resolved before the Supreme Court begins its new term in October.

After impeachment proceedings months ago, the Trump administration has been reluctant to provide any further documents to the House regarding Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
JD Gordon at Da Caller, Senators Should Expand Trump-Russia Subpoenas To Complicit Activist Groups. Sure; why not?

More Wednesday Wetness


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Protests Reach Prince Frederick

The "big" town up the road, and our county seat. From one of the local rags, Black Lives Matter Protests come to SoMD, stay peaceful for the most part, except for the tear gas, the arrests and broken window and in the police car:
In Prince Frederick, MD, organizers were given a permit to protest from 6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. starting in the Prince Frederick Shopping Center, with the March headed towards the Sheriff’s Office and then back to the shopping center. Our reporter at the scene, Tammy Showalter, described the scene as fairly calm.

This changed as protesters gathered within the roadway several hundred feet before the shopping center. Up until this point the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office(CCSO) had been marching with the group. The group organizers attempted to keep the group peaceful, as their permit time was ending soon. As the Sheriff’s Office, spearheaded by Sheriff Mike Evens in the front, attempted to get the crowd to move to the sidewalks and head back to their starting location, several individuals began shouting.

CCSO officers began showing up, putting on gas masks, and riot gear. The Maryland State Police-Prince Frederick Barracks arrived shortly thereafter. The organizers implored the protestors to remain calm, move to the sidewalks, and head back to their cars. At one point the protestors did move back to the sidewalk, as CCSO launched 1-2 canisters of tear gas. Then the crowd moved back into the road, with dozens just heading straight to their vehicles. The CCSO officers formed a line and began moving down the road in formation, slowly pushing the crowd back towards the shopping center.

The crowd arrived back at the shopping center where a group of several individuals began challenging the officers. Shouting profanities at them, several water bottles thrown, and the back of an unmarked Police SUV window broken out. Tear gas was deployed at least 2 more times, and the majority of the crowd was gone. At least 10 individuals stood challenging the officers, including screaming at the officers on why they had automatic weapons against unarmed people. Several individuals were handcuffed as the officers stood in formation, several left running, presumably to handle unruly individuals. The group that remained there was still being asked to leave after 8 p.m.


Clearly, we're no longer worried about "social distancing"

Can You Catch WuFlu from the Bay?

Probably not, but I'm not going swimming in Back River. Are you safe from coronavirus in Bay waters?
There are plenty of reasons to stay out of some Chesapeake Bay waters, particularly after a heavy rain. When stormwater hits local waterways, it may be carrying bacteria, toxins, animal waste and even raw sewage. Can it carry the coronavirus too?

Some researchers are tracking the virus’ presence in sewage as an indication of how many people might be infected in a given area. They also are hustling to answer a secondary question: If the virus can be detected in sewage, could it also be in waterways that are tainted with sewage after it rains?

The short answer is yes — but probably not in a form that could infect additional people. While the virus that causes COVID-19 can be detected in untreated wastewater, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say “there is no evidence to date” that a person exposed to it in this form can contract the disease.

There are, however, still plenty of reasons to be concerned about swimming or recreating in water that has recently been polluted by sewage or stormwater runoff. As swimming season begins, experts who study waterborne diseases say that catching the coronavirus from water contact is probably among the least of those concerns.
"No evidence to date"? That's comforting.

Russiagate: Judge Sullivan Strikes Back

Yesterday was the due date for Judge Sullivan (and a taxpayer funded team of high powered lawyers) to respond to the Appeals Courts demands that he explain WTF he is doing with the Flynn case in asking for amicus curiae briefs, and appointing a lawfare friendly judge friend to step in as the prosecutor as the DOJ declines to prosecute and asks for a dismissal with prejudice. Judge Sullivan did not fail to disappoint. Ace: RedState Legal Analyst "Shipwreckedcrew:" Emmit Sullivan's Response to the Court of Appeals Is Deranged, Doesn't Cite Any Authority for His Actions, Just Tells Them To Let Him Do Whatever He Wants
Emmet Sullivan has submitted the reply he used taxpayer funds to pay a high-price lawyer to write for him. You can read it here.

I'm sure the Twitter Circle-Jerk of Experts will tell us what a tremendous piece of lawyering Sullivan has submitted.Making my way through the Sullivan filing.
30,000 Foot Observation and why I think this is not a serious effort to prevail:
1. The Cir. Ct. did not ask for an explanation from Sullivan because they were intrigued by his approach and the just wanted to know more about it.
That is: the Circuit Court was not asking him, "Hey, buddy, this is interesting, can you tell us more?!"

They were saying: DEFEND YOUR ACTIONS. CITE LAWS. SHOW YOUR WORK.

As we'll see, Sullivan decided he couldn't defend his actions and so decided to ignore the orders of the court. . .
At Red State, "Bonchie" writes  Judge Sullivan Delivers Response in Flynn Case and It’s Something
Judge Emmet Sullivan has delivered his response in the Michael Flynn case to the writ of mandamus. He tapped an outside attorney to make his case for him, something that is apparently highly unusual under these circumstances, where both parties are asking for a dismissal after new evidence of FBI malfeasance came to light. If this judge can’t make his own arguments and decisions, why is he on the case?

Undercover Huber broke down much of what’s in it earlier today. I’m not a lawyer and won’t play one, but there’s a lot in here that strikes me as ridiculous.
Politico, cited by Drudge, is much more politic in DOJ urges appeals court to force dismissal of Flynn case. WaPoo gets their opinion into their headline, Judge Sullivan says he is not required to ‘rubber stamp’ DOJ’s bid to dismiss Flynn case
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan should not be required to act as a “mere rubber stamp” for the government’s unusual move to undo the guilty plea of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the judge’s lawyers told a federal appeals court in Washington on Monday.

Sullivan’s attorneys asked the appeals court to stay on the sidelines to give the judge an opportunity to ensure the “integrity of the judicial process” and to rule on the Justice Department’s request to dismiss Flynn’s case.

The judge must evaluate Flynn’s dramatically different claims, Sullivan’s lawyer Beth Wilkinson told the court: “What, if anything, should Judge Sullivan do about Mr. Flynn’s sworn statements to the court, where he repeatedly admitted to the crime and to the voluntariness of his guilty plea, only to now claim that he never lied to the government and was pressured and misled into pleading guilty?”

The filing from Sullivan, defending his investigation into the Justice Department’s reversal, is the latest development in the extraordinary case. It comes after Flynn’s lawyers asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to immediately order Sullivan to get rid of the matter and accused him of bias.
Sundance got not one, not two, but three posts out of it, featuring Judges response in Flynn Judge’s Lawyer Files Response to District Court – Says Flynn Can Defend Himself Against Independent Accusations By Court…
The hired lawyer for Judge Emmet Sullivan has filed a response to the DC District Court order in the case against Michael Flynn. [pdf available here] The DC district court ordered Sullivan to explain why he would not allow DOJ to drop charges against Flynn; the response by Sullivan’s lawyers says the DOJ position is essentially a moot issue, and Flynn can defend himself against independent accusations by the court.

The premise of Judge Sullivan to act as both prosecutor, judge and jury is ridiculous. Additionally, Sullivan now claims Flynn must defend himself against claims of unlawful lobbying for Turkey that were never a substantive part of the original DOJ filing before the court.
A second from the governments quick response, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco Responds to DC District Court – Refutes Arguments Presented by Flynn Judge Emmet Sullivan…
The DOJ has responded to the DC District Court invitation to file a brief in support of intervention by the appellate court. [pdf available here] In an unusual move the response from the Department of Justice comes directly from the office of the United States Solicitor General, Noel Francisco.

The DOJ points out the Judge has no standing to violate Article II and Article III of the U.S. Constitution in an effort to anoint himself as prosecutor, judge and jury of a criminal case outside of his judicial authority. “The Constitution vests in the Executive Branch the power to decide when—and when not—to prosecute potential crimes,” Francisco argues.

Additionally, rules of criminal procedure “do not authorize a court to stand in the way of a dismissal the defendant does not oppose, and any other reading would violate both Article II and Article III” the DOJ writes.
And finally, Flynn’s Attorney, Sidney Powell, Responds to Latest Brief by Judge Emmet Sullivan…



At the Sunrise Cafe, Bruce Hayden, one of the commentators at Althouse
I thought that the government’s brief in favor of dismissing the case against Gen Flynn was impressive. I don’t think that he DC Circuit panel that asked for a response by the government ever expected a brief signed by the Solicitor General, several of his top assistants, as well as the acting USA and his top staff. This means that it wasn’t just the voice of rogue AUSAs, as was the case when the case was originally filed and was prosecuted until just recently, but by the DOJ itself. They are speaking for AG Barr, himself. And the importance here is that the brief argues that Sullivan is violating both Articles II and III by his attempt to bring in essentially his own prosecutor. This is the Department of Justice asserting its Constitutional supremacy in charging and dismissing criminal cases. They are asserting the DOJ’s, and therefore the President’s, power under the Constitution about as blatantly and visibly as they can. My expectation is that te only question for the Writ of Mandamus is whether the panel votes 2-1 or unanimously with the sole Democrat signing with the two Republicans.

For those watching AG Barr’s attempts to clean up the DOJ, I think that this is a strong sign that he is very serious about it, and isn’t just going trough the motions. He is trying to right an egregious wrong, propagated by elements of his department hostile to the president, who have thus operated extra Constitutionally. Notably, (corrupt, highly partisan) former lead prosecutor Brandon Van Grack was apparently summarily removed by the DOJ from all of his current cases, when he was removed from this case. That is the sort of extraordinary staffing move made only when egregious wrongdoing on the part of a prosecutor is discovered that is likely to affect all of his cases active in court.

Getting back to the brief. I noted that it asserted that Judge Sullivan was trying to violate both Articles II and III. I essentially alluded to the Article II argument. The decision whether or not to prosecute is a core Article Executive power, and also implicates the President’s Pardon power. The Article III argument is that for the most part the Judiciary Is limited to Cases and Controversies. Once there is no controversy, the district court has no Constitutional power to hear (or continue to hear) the case. It no longer has jurisdiction. And once the two parties to this case (Flynn and the government) agree that dismissal (with prejudice) is proper, there. Is no longer a controversy. (The courts can interfere in rare cases in order to prevent injustice to a defendant through repeated prosecution for the same crime, but that is impossible in this case with the motion to dismiss being with prejudice).
 Residual Flynn, Nice Deb at AmGreat, Newly Released Transcripts of Flynn/Kislyak Phone Calls Show Nothing Nefarious, Lloyd Billingsley at Front Page, Flynn Transcripts Tell the Truth and The left’s response to the Flynn-Kislyak transcripts shows a monarchal mindset by Andrea Widburg at AmThink,
The difference between the FBI and DOJ charges against Flynn and the revelations contained in the released transcripts, especially when read together with the Form 302 that was the best that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page could create, vindicates Flynn. Not only was he innocent of the charges, but the transcript also shows a man trying to prevent Russia from hurting America in response to Obama’s last-ditch effort to sow dissent between America and Russia.

(It would take a whole book to discuss the “why” of Obama’s efforts. Suffice to say that he was probably trying to force a phone call between Kislyak and Flynn because he was already spying on Kislyak and could, therefore, get to Flynn without an unmasking. The need to go after Flynn was part of a broader Obama administration effort to hide the fact that it had used the government’s intelligence apparatus to spy on and attempt to destroy an opposition presidential candidate and eventual president-elect.)

What’s both fascinating and frightful is to read how the left views the Flynn transcripts. Rather than seeing Flynn as a man who was set up by the Obama administration and the intelligence apparatus to destroy Flynn and, by extension, the president-elect he was set to serve, they see treason.

This is treason of an old-fashioned kind, however. Although leftists pay vague lip-service to the notion that Flynn was working against America, the gist of their position is that Flynn was working against Obama’s policies. For them, Obama has transmuted into a monarch so that any disagreement with him is treason.
Chuck Ross at Da Caller takes note of the cleaning at the Top FBI Lawyer Who Authorized Carter Page Surveillance Is Forced To Resign and Schumer Calls On GOP To Cancel ‘Conspiracy’ Hearings On Origins Of Trump-Russia Probe. After 3.5 years of a taxpayer funded conspiracy theory generated by Democrats.

And finally, Monica Showalter at AmThink thinks the Bell is tolling for FBI Director Christopher Wray?
Huber, who is believed to be some knowledgable U.S. attorney somewhere who knows how things work, is a popular source on Twitter for sorting out deep-state messaging. He thinks the bell is tolling, or maybe the seat is on fire for Wray, based on the firing of Sally Yates' successor, FBI chief legal counsel Dana Boente, a longtime government lawyer who was brought in to help clean up after Yates. According to Conservative Treehouse, which has a deep dive into the matter:
Finally, the DOJ has moved to remove one of the biggest background corrupt officials within the FBI. According to multiple media sources FBI chief legal counsel Dana Boente was forced to resign on Friday. Finally, sunlight has removed a very corrupt player.
In prior positions as U.S. Attorney for Virginia; and while leading the DOJ National Security Division; and then later shifting to the FBI as chief legal counsel under Chris Wray; Dana Boente was at the epicenter of corrupt intent and malign activity toward the Trump administration.
It's long and complicated, but the picture isn't a pretty one. The short story is that whenever investigators tried to get to the bottom of FISA abuse and White House spying on the Trump administration - and always seemed to run into roadblocks, lost documents or other administrative-state and dog-ate-my-homework excuses, Boente was involved.

Recent documents have left him exposed, and now there's no excuse to keep him. It's also bad news for Wray, who has had him as his right-hand man . . .
I wouldn't be upset.

Tuesday Tanlines


Monday, June 1, 2020

2020 Just Keeps Getting Better

Hurricane forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center say there’s a high likelihood of getting 13 to 19 named Atlantic storms, with winds reaching at least 39 miles per hour. The Atlantic spawns 12 named storms a year on average, though last year there were 18.

Before the season ends Nov. 30, NOAA experts predict that six to 10 of those named storms could become hurricanes with winds of 74 miles per hour or more. Moreover, three to six of them are considered likely to grow into major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or more.

Last year, by comparison, saw six Atlantic hurricanes, half of them major.

There’s a confluence of conditions making hurricanes more likely this year, NOAA forecasters say. For starters, it seems there’ll be no El Nino, that unusual warming of equatorial Pacific Ocean waters that tends to suppress Atlantic storm activity. Add to that warm surface waters in the tropical Atlantic and the Caribbean, reduced vertical wind shear, weaker trade winds and an enhanced west Africa monsoon.
Aftermath of Isabel at Flag Harbor

The Chesapeake Bay doesn’t get many direct hits from hurricanes. The worst one in the past two decades was Isabel in 2003, which in its rampage up the East Coast caused $5 billion in damage and 51 fatalities, 17 directly linked to the flooding and winds.

But even when hurricanes make landfall elsewhere or turn out to sea farther south, the Bay region can get hammered with torrential rains, flash flooding and tornadoes. In 2018, a trio of weakened but still powerful storms — Alberto, Michael and Florence — caused 13 storm-related deaths in Virginia.
To be fair, however, hurricane forecasts aren't terrible specific, consisting largely of weak, average or above average, and even then, not horribly accurate, only about 70%.

But nothing stops a riot in it's tracks as well as a hurricane.

A Day Without Russiagate is Like . . .

A day without rain. But this is not that day. I thought it might be, but late last night sundance at CTH came through with the video  Senator Ron Johnson Discusses Senate Homeland Security Committee Investigation of Operations Against Trump Administration…



Sundance also has a useful timeline at the link.

WuFlu In the News

What with the dearth of useful Russiagate, this would be good morning to get rid of some accumulated links about the "Novel" Wuhan Coronavirus.

Regarding the origin of the virus, NIH director: ‘No way of knowing’ if coronavirus escaped from Wuhan lab (Politico). There may be no way to tell of the virus escaped from the lab using the virus's genetics, but there may a way to find out if it was being cultured in the lab by China. And China is an asshole. Which means we'll have to use espionage to find out for sure.

From the UPI, New evidence suggests Coronavirus was already spreading in U.S. in January. In California, where it was probably directly imported from China. Curiously, this outbreak didn't amount to much, compared to the outbreak in the New York area which was probably imported from Europe.

WaPoo, CDC chief defends failure to spot early coronavirus spread in U.S. "Robert R. Redfield says diagnostic testing would have made little difference, describing it like ‘looking for a needle in a haystack’" The CDC hasn't covered itself in glory in this crisis. But if you want to find out about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health, CDC is the way to go.  It may be an organization which has lost its way.

Paul Bedard at WaEx, DHS: Bigger virus ‘catastrophe’ avoided by stopping illegal immigration. Probably an overstatement. In an exponential rising curve, importing a few more cases only gets you "there" a few days sooner. Still, there's no point in importing more if you can help it.

Timothy Carney at WaEx, For some reason, the WHO still says you probably shouldn’t wear a mask and at NYPo, Healthy people should wear masks only if caring for coronavirus patients, WHO says  Well, they're certainly helpful at some places and some times, but remember, wearing a mask is primarily to protect the population from you, not vice versa. WHO has been a hot bed of misinformation throughout this crisis. I would take their recommendations into advisement, but I will always wonder what China gets out of it.

According to Sauron's Eye, CDC warns antibody testing still too inaccurate to use for coronavirus-related policy decisions
"For example, in a population where the prevalence is 5%, a test with 90% sensitivity and 95% specificity will yield a positive predictive value of 49%," the CDC said on its website. "In other words, less than half of those testing positive will truly have antibodies. Alternatively, the same test in a population with an antibody prevalence exceeding 52% will yield a positive predictive greater than 95%, meaning that less than one in 20 people testing positive will have a false positive test result."
Simple math, assuming the tests aren't perfect, and they never are. And with the exception of maybe the New York area, we are well below 5% prevelence. I wonder what the real sensitivity and specificity are. STAT, When hard data are ‘heartbreaking’: Testing blitz in San Francisco shows Covid-19 struck mostly low-wage workers. Sadly, the people who can't afford to social distance.

The Spectator Norway health chief: lockdown was not needed to tame Covid. One of two free views for the month. Choose carefully. At WUWT, Nic Lewis considers When does government intervention make sense for COVID-19?. His models suggest "lockdown" works best when applied for a short time in the later stages of the epidemic. Could we have lucked into the optimal solution? But remember, all models are wrong but only some models are useful.

From Sundance at CTH, COVID Madness – Montgomery County, Maryland, Provides Nonsensical Rules for Opening…



And Monkey County is one of the most liberal counties in one of the most liberal states in America.

Politico worries What If Trump’s Record on the Pandemic Is Better Than We Think? They're certainly working over time to convey the opposite. Insty, HAVE WE WON? Coronavirus task force chief Mike Pence: You did it, America.

On the treatment front, MedRxIv reports on Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin plus zinc vs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin alone: outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients
We performed a retrospective observational study to compare hospital outcomes among patients who received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin plus zinc versus hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin alone. Methods: Data was collected from electronic medical records for all patients being treated with admission dates ranging from March 2, 2020 through April 5, 2020. Initial clinical characteristics on presentation, medications given during the hospitalization, and hospital outcomes were recorded. Patients in the study were excluded if they were treated with other investigational medications. Results: The addition of zinc sulfate did not impact the length of hospitalization, duration of ventilation, or ICU duration. In univariate analyses, zinc sulfate increased the frequency of patients being discharged home, and decreased the need for ventilation, admission to the ICU, and mortality or transfer to hospice for patients who were never admitted to the ICU. After adjusting for the time at which zinc sulfate was added to our protocol, an increased frequency of being discharged home (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.12-2.09) reduction in mortality or transfer to hospice remained significant (OR 0.449, 95% CI 0.271-0.744). Conclusion: This study provides the first in vivo evidence that zinc sulfate in combination with hydroxychloroquine may play a role in therapeutic management for COVID-19.
Could Vitamin C help? Leo Goldstein at WUWT, Vitamin C in COVID-19 Prevention. His explanation is rational, if true. It also suggests that Linus Pauling may have been less of a crank in his old age than I had previously thought. Vitamin C is cheap, and relatively harmless. Eat an orange or two.

NYPo, Northwell Health probing ventilator use amid high coronavirus death rate. It's becoming increasingly clear the ventilators are not a step to be taken lightly even in serious cases of WuFlu, and that ventilator use in this specific disease may have killed more people than they saved. But, whatever, we have plenty of them now.

Motorcycles for Monday

I'll stay out of the mud for a change.


Sunday, May 31, 2020

You Keep Using That Word . . .

Protesters. I don't think it means what you think it means. Stacy McCain, Arson, Looting, Aggravated Assault and Attempted Murder Are Not ‘Protests’
Watching city after city go up in flames — stores looted, innocent people attacked, arsonists and criminals running wild — I had difficulty thinking: “What do I want to write about this?”

The first and most obvious thing is that this spree of criminal actity had nothing at all to do with what happened to George Floyd. People ransacking stores in Los Angeles, brutalizing people in Dallas and setting fire to City Hall in Nashville were not “protesting” against a violation of civil rights. The businesses and institutions targeted by these criminals had nothing to do with what police officers did in Minneapolis.

“Let’s loot a liquor store, because social justice!”

George Floyd’s death was not a reason for these riots, it was a pretext.

Hateful people do not need a reason to hate. Destructive people do not need a reason to destroy. They just need a pretext. Some people in the media want us to believe that rioters are like werewolves; they are normal, law-abiding citizens until the full moon rises — or there is a “racial incident” — and then they magically transform into monsters.

You can prove the falsity of this common liberal belief by asking them to apply the same kind of thinking to earlier riots. Were the participants in the 1921 Tulsa Massacre just ordinary people who were magically transformed into a lynch mob by a “racial incident”? No, the liberal will insist, the perpetrators of that atrocity were always evil racists. Stipulating this, why can’t we be allowed to say something similar about the criminal mobs engaged in lawless violence in 2020?
And sadly, a young woman probably throws her life away. But who knows, she could end up hosting a future Democratic presidential candidate at her home.


Another Day at the Beach

Another gorgeous day to end May here in Slower Maryland, about 70 F, low humidity, sunny, with a light NW breeze. Even so, the crowds were only about half of what they were yesterday.
From the shadows behind the cliffs at Matoaka.  We found 23 shark's teeth, but nothing special.
Georgia and Skye ahead on the way back to back to the parking lot.
The surprise of the day. I spotted this wet butterfly in the surf, and picked it up. It turn out to be a fairly rare White-M Hairstreak, which has brilliant blue-green upper side, which you rarely see because they keep their wings most up when not flying. I let it crawl on my hand as I walked up the beach. Once I showed it to Georgia at the parking lot, it flew off. Rescue achieved!
Social distancing, Slower Maryland style.

Reason #88 Trump Should be Reelected

Biden staff donate to group that pays bail in riot-torn Minneapolis
Campaign staff for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden are advertising their donations to a group that pays bail fees in Minneapolis after the city's police jailed people protesting the killing of a black man by a white police officer.

At least 13 Biden campaign staff members posted on Twitter on Friday and Saturday that they made donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which opposes the practice of cash bail, or making people pay to avoid pre-trial imprisonment. The group uses donations to pay bail fees in Minneapolis.

Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement to Reuters that the former vice president opposes the institution of cash bail as a "modern day debtors prison."

But the campaign declined to answer questions on whether the donations were coordinated within the campaign, underscoring the politically thorny nature of the sometimes violent protests.
If they're so openly on the side of the rioters while running they're candidate for Preznit, imagine what they'll be like if they run the Justice Dept.

At  the same time, the bail system can and has been abused. But that doesn't mean it isn't necessary. Without skin in the game, most criminals would simply skip their court appointments. It happens an awful lot anyway.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in daily If All You See…

Some Sunday Morning Russiagate

Not a lot, the weight of coverage appear to have shifted from the outrage over Flynn's prosecution to the violent response to the true outrage of George Floyd's death. Still, some filtered through. Jeff Dunetz at Da Lid,  They Screwed General Flynn For THIS? Read The Transcripts Of Flynn-Kislyak Calls (Embedded). No Jeff, they screwed General Flynn because they hated his guts, and they were deathly afraid that when he became DNI he would stop what they were doing and put a bunch of them in jail. "This" was just the best excuse they could come up with on the fly, which is why they've been dragging their feet letting the evidence out from behind the curtain.

Nick Arama at Red State has more Furious Reaction to Release of the Newly Declassified Flynn-Kislyak Transcripts, ‘Flynn Was Framed’
In her pursuit of "cruel neutrality", in About those newly declassified Flynn transcripts..., Althouse presents one quote for Sean Davis at Da Fed, one from Jonathon Chait at NY Magazine and one from Julian E. Barnes, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos at NYT. The two from liberals are clearly holding out for the Logan Act excuse. Fine. Let's charge John Kerry, and let Teresa spend all her dough trying to get him off.

WaPoo whines that Judge Sullivan’s refusal to immediately dismiss Flynn’s case raises novel questions about the limits of judicial power
The pitched legal battle over the fate of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn raises unsettled, novel questions about what happens when a judge refuses to go along when prosecutors no longer want to pursue their case.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s decision not to immediately dismiss Flynn’s case has led to an extraordinary situation in which the district judge in Washington is under orders from his colleagues on the appeals court to quickly defend his actions. Sullivan himself has taken the unusual step of enlisting a high-powered trial attorney to respond by Monday after Flynn’s lawyers asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to order the judge to drop the case and accused him of bias.

Some of the rules of the road are clear. Prosecutors can drop charges against a criminal defendant only with permission from the presiding judge, and Sullivan has the power to decide whether tossing Flynn’s case is in the public interest.

But legal experts and former judges disagree on the limits of Sullivan’s authority and how he should make that call. In practice, judges typically defer to prosecutors, and it would be difficult for a judge to go forward with sentencing, for instance, if the prosecutor has had a change of heart.

“The standard tilts heavily in the direction of saying that a judge should grant dismissal unless there’s some reason to think that dismissal would violate an important public interest,” said Stanford law professor Robert Weisberg, who teaches criminal law and procedure. “The customary and very strong presumption is that a judge will and should agree to the dismissal. But it’s not a requirement.”
I guess we'll find out.

From CNS News, Ric  Grenell: 'No Possible Way' Anti-Trump Action in Obama Administration 'Wasn't Known in the White House'. We know he was being briefed from the Strzok-Page texts.
"But make no mistake," said Grenell, "what I would say is, what happened in terms of general parameters, there is no possible way – when you look at this – that it wasn’t known inside the White House."

"Multiple layers of people knew about this over time and were completely aware," he said. "Now, the question is going to be, was this directed or was this, kind of, information sharing? That’s what we’ve got to get to the bottom of.”
. . .
Earlier in the interview, Grenell said that early in the Russia collusion investigation there were several intelligence officials who raised "red flags" but they were silenced or their words were classified away.

“We have to improve the reputation of the current process," said Grenell. "What happened at the FBI, what happened at some other agencies, is an outrage and we have to fix it."
Jerry Dunleavy at WaEx,  Ron Johnson seeks power to subpoena dozens of Obama officials tied to Trump-Russia inquiry and 'unmasking'. Better hurry.
“We have a great tradition in this country of peaceful and cooperative transitions of power, and the American people deserve to know if any wrongdoing occurred to corrupt the process and sabotage the new administration,” Johnson said.

The Wisconsin Republican emphasized that “we are going to vote on this authorization with the hope that subpoenas won’t be necessary” and noted that “in some cases, we are already working with the agencies and individuals identified to obtain the information we need to do our work, and inclusion on the list should in no way be interpreted to suggest they have been noncompliant.”

“I am asking for this authority to ensure the committee has the ability to quickly and efficiently seek compulsory process should it become necessary," he added.
One of the key, but rarely talked about figures in Russiagate, FBI lawyer and once acting Attorney General Dana Boente, has been quietly pushed out, perhaps over his reluctance to release material favorable to Michael Flynn: WaPoo, FBI says its top lawyer is leaving the bureau
The FBI’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, who has spent nearly 40 years with the Justice Department but has been targeted for criticism over the last year by some conservative commentators and supporters of President Donald Trump for his role in the Russia investigation, is leaving the bureau.

Boente has most recently served as the FBI’s general counsel but has held a variety of roles in his 38-year Justice Department career, including acting attorney general in the early days of the Trump administration, a United States attorney in Virginia and the acting head of the department’s national security division.

The FBI said that Boente had given notice on Friday that he intended to retire effective June 30, the bureau said.

“Throughout his long and distinguished career as a public servant, Dana has demonstrated a selfless determination to ensure that justice is always served on behalf of our citizens,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement announcing Boente’s departure. “We should all be grateful for his dedication to the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the American people.”

Boente became acting attorney general in early 2017 after Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, was fired after refusing to defend the president’s travel ban, and remained in that role until Jeff Sessions was installed.

As a top Justice Department official, he approved one of three applications to renew secret surveillance warrants targeting former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. A Justice Department inspector general report from December said those applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had significant errors and omissions that cut against the FBI’s premise that Page, who was never charged with any wrongdoing, was an agent of a foreign power.

The report said that Boente and other Justice Department officials “did not have accurate and complete information” from the FBI at the time they approved them. Even so, Boente has nonetheless been criticized by conservative figures for his involvement in the Russia probe.

A Facebook post in February from the conservative group Judicial Watch announced that its president, Tom Fitton, would appear on Fox Business News with host Lou Dobbs to discuss topics including “the discovery that the FBI’s Chief Legal Counsel, Dana Boente, participated in fraudulent FISA warrants on Carter Page.”

In April, Dobbs himself alleged that Boente and Wray were blocking the disclosure of “exculpatory” information about former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. The FBI and Justice Department denied that that was the case.

NBC News first reported Boente’s departure and said he had been asked to resign by the Justice Department. Wray’s statement made no mention of that. The Justice Department declined to comment Saturday.
Needless to say, Sundance at CTH is much less flattering in BOOM – Dana Boente Removed! – FBI Chief Legal Counsel Forced to Resign… with a long list of grievances.
Finally, the DOJ has moved to remove one of the biggest background corrupt officials within the FBI. According to multiple media sources FBI chief legal counsel Dana Boente was forced to resign on Friday. Finally, sunlight has removed a very corrupt player.

In prior positions as U.S. Attorney for Virginia; and while leading the DOJ National Security Division; and then later shifting to the FBI as chief legal counsel under Chris Wray; Dana Boente was at the epicenter of corrupt intent and malign activity toward the Trump administration. First, the report from NBC:
. . .
My educated hunch is the July 12, 2018, letter from the DOJ/FBI that was fraught with false information and purposeful lies to the FISA court, is really the issue that DOJ Bill Barr could not avoid. The lies within the letter are just too brutally obvious, and contrast heavily against revelations coming from the outside USAO’s that Barr has brought in to review all of the prior DOJ and FBI activity.

Why do I think that’s the final straw? Because if you take that moment in time and start working backward what you find is demonstrable and provable evidence that Dana Boente was one of the original Trump-era officials who participated in protecting “spygate” and using his support of the Mueller investigation as an internal weapon. Remember, all the corrupt FBI players on Mueller’s team reported to Boente, including David Archey.

Dana Boente is enmeshed in all of it: the Wolfe case and cover-up, the Assange case and cover-up, and the hiding of documents in the Flynn case and cover-up. Boente’s role as a manipulative fixer to protect the ongoing corrupt action of the Mueller probe was exactly why FBI Director Chris Wray hired him.

Taking out Boente now exposes the complicit nature of FBI Director Chris Wray; who, it appears, AG Bill Barr is being forced -by new discoveries- to leave Wray naked to his enemies.

Still Too Rich For My Blood

More than a decade into their fame, the Kardashian-Jenners tend to induce eye rolls and sighs among jaded media consumers. But when it comes to their wealth, even critics of reality TV’s first family are intrigued; the Kardashian-Jenner machine—and the cash it generates—has been the subject of articles, podcasts, even books. But no one cares more about the topic than the family itself, which has spent years fighting Forbes for higher spots on our annual wealth and celebrity earnings lists.

So when the youngest of the clan, Kylie Jenner, sold 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics to beauty giant Coty in a deal valued at $1.2 billion this January, it was a watershed moment for the family. One of the greatest celebrity cash-outs of all time, the transaction seemed to confirm what Kylie had been saying all along and what Forbes had declared in March 2019: that Kylie Jenner was, indeed, a billionaire—at least before the coronavirus.
I guess she didn't need the $1,200 stimulus check to buy new bikinis. $2,400 if she collected for her daughter too.
“Kylie is a modern-day icon, with an incredible sense of the beauty consumer,” Coty chairman Peter Harf gushed when announcing the acquisition in November.

But in the deal’s fine print, a less flattering truth emerged. Filings released by publicly traded Coty over the past six months lay bare one of the family’s best-kept secrets: Kylie’s business is significantly smaller, and less profitable, than the family has spent years leading the cosmetics industry and media outlets, including Forbes, to believe.

A Kardashian would lie to the public?  Too bad my shocked face is worn out.
Of course, white lies, omissions and outright fabrications are to be expected from the family that perfected—then monetized—the concept of “famous for being famous.” But, similar to Donald Trump’s decades-long obsession with his net worth, the unusual lengths to which the Jenners have been willing to go—including inviting Forbes into their mansions and CPA’s offices, and even creating tax returns that were likely forged—reveals just how desperate some of the ultra-rich are to look even richer.

“It’s fair to say that everything the Kardashian-Jenner family does is oversized,” says Stephanie Wissink, an equity analyst covering consumer products at Jefferies. “To stay on-brand, it needs to be bigger than it is.”

Based on this new information—plus the impact of Covid-19 on beauty stocks and consumer spending—Forbes now thinks that Kylie Jenner, even after pocketing an estimated $340 million after taxes from the sale, is not a billionaire.
Only $340 million? Still not too shabby for 22. They may be a lot of things, but they aren't stupid.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the now familiar weekly Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup and linkfest.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Reason #87 Trump Should be Reelected

The United States Steps Back Into Space on its Own, SpaceX rocket ship blasts off into orbit with 2 Americans
A rocket ship built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company thundered away from Earth with two Americans on Saturday, ushering in a new era in commercial space travel and putting the United States back in the business of launching astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil for the first time in nearly a decade.

NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken rode skyward aboard a white-and-black, bullet-shaped Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off at 3:22 p.m. from the same launch pad used to send Apollo crews to the moon a half-century ago. Minutes later, they slipped safely into orbit.
Elon Musk may well be crazy, but we could use a few more people that crazy.
“Let’s light this candle,” Hurley said just before ignition, borrowing the words used by Alan Shepard on America’s first human spaceflight, in 1961.

The two men are scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station, 250 miles above Earth, on Sunday to join the three crew members already there. After a stay of up to four months, they will come home with a Right Stuff-style splashdown at sea, something the world hasn’t witnessed since the 1970s.
I thought we were going to start landing these things on barges and such?
The mission unfolded amid the gloom of the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed over 100,000 Americans, and racial unrest across the U.S. over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police. NASA officials and others held out hope the flight would would be lift American spirits.

“Maybe there’s an opportunity here for America to maybe pause and look up and see a bright, shining moment of hope at what the future looks like, that the United States of America can do extraordinary things even in difficult times,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said before launch.

Doug Marshburn of Deltona, Florida, shouted: “USA! USA!” as the 260-foot rocket climbed skyward.


“I’m very proud of the United States. We are back in the game. It’s very satisfying,” he said.

With the on-time liftoff, SpaceX became the first private company to launch people into orbit, a feat achieved previously by only three governments: the U.S., Russia and China.

The flight also ended a nine-year launch drought for NASA. Ever since it retired the space shuttle in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian spaceships launched from Kazakhstan to take U.S. astronauts to and from the space station.

In the intervening years, NASA outsourced the job of designing and building its next generation of spaceships to SpaceX and Boeing, awarding them $7 billion in contracts in a public-private partnership aimed at driving down costs and spurring innovation. Boeing’s spaceship, the Starliner capsule, is not expected to fly astronauts until early 2021.
It's about time. No, it's long past time.



Sundance has links to live stream coverages of the whole 19 hr voyage.

Saturday 5/30/20 Beach Report

A fine day for a beach walk, along with few hundred or so people you may or may not know. Possibly even busier than Memorial Day weekend. Some of the regulars were even complaining about the crowds. There's still clearly a lot of pent up demand to go outside.

The temperature was in the high 70s, the humidity dropped overnight,  and you can see the sky was only slightly cloudy, and the bay was all but calm. It's starting to get something like warmer too, so wading and swimming is not out of the question. No Sea Nettles yet, of course.
 We found 29 teeth, but none exciting. Skye got a few pets, but not as many as she'd like to have had. She doesn't understand this "social distancing" stuff.

A good day for boating too.

"Mostly Peaceful Protesters" Sack CNN Atlanta

Stacy McCain: Courageous Social Justice Activists Vandalize CNN Atlanta Headquarters. They probably didn't steal much, though, all that's inside is fake news. 
When they were rioting in Minneapolis, they were thugs and hoodlums, but attacking CNN? Civil rights heroes:
A protest erupted at CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta Friday amid nationwide demonstrations following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, with many of the protesters seen vandalizing the entrance of the building in videos posted to social media.
A crowd gathered in front of the CNN Center and grew over the course of several hours, initially breaking windows and spray-painting the CNN sign, and later throwing objects — including what appeared to be a firecracker that exploded — and reportedly shooting BB guns into the lobby.
The iconic CNN sign, a popular tourist destination in the downtown area, was covered with graffiti and others were seen jumping on top of the structure.
A CNN journalist captured footage of a window being shattered by the crowd, which can be heard sparking cheers.
Law enforcement eventually cleared the area, pushing the crowd further down the street.
Reporting from CNN correspondent Nick Valencia showed multiple police cars that were set ablaze and Georgia State Police entering the scene.
“This is terrible to witness, it’s terrible to witness,” Valencia told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.
Terrible? No, it’s beautiful. Karma is a beautiful thing.

If you were hoping to see the mob dragging Brian Stelter’s lifeless corpse through the streets or parading with Jake Tapper’s head on a pike, however, you’ll be disappointed, because Jake works out of CNN’s D.C. bureau and Stelter’s in New York, not the Atlanta headquarters.
Unlike most of the people whose businesses have been damaged or destroyed by the vandals that CNN has rooted on, I have zero sympathy for CNN.

Russiagate: Flynn Transcript Freed

Johnny Ratcliffe met and exceeded my expectations by immediately releasing the transcripts of the now infamous call between incoming DNI Gen. Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Kislyak, which was used as the excuse to charge him with lying to the FBI. Jerry Dunleavy at WaEx, Declassified transcripts of Michael Flynn calls with Russian ambassador released.  NYPo, Transcripts of Michael Flynn’s calls with Russian ambassador released.
Four calls and one voicemail are transcribed over 24 pages released by Republican lawmakers.

“Lt. General Flynn, his legal team, the judge and the American people can now see with their own eyes – for the first time – that all of the innuendo about Lt. General Flynn this whole time was totally bunk,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement. “There was nothing improper about his call, and the FBI knew it.”

Grassley added: “After all the screw-ups and malicious behavior by FBI and DOJ officials during the Russia investigation, we simply cannot take them at their word anymore. We need oversight and transparency to sort out this mess.”
Brooke Singman at Fox, Flynn-Kislyak call transcripts released, revealing fateful talks over Russia sanctions has a pretty good play by play. Regarding sanctions.
Kislyak goes on to discuss sanctions, saying that “one of the problems among the measures that have been announced today is that now FSB and GRU are sanctions, are sanctioned, and I ask myself, uh, does it mean that the United States isn't willing to work on terrorist threats?”

Flynn dismisses the comments, by saying: “Yeah, yeah ... yep ... yeah.” He then urges Kislyak: “If you have to do something, do something on a reciprocal basis, meaning you know, on sort of an even basis. Then that, then that is a good message and we’ll understand that message.

“And then, we know that we’re not going to escalate this thing, where we, where because if we put out--if we send out 30 guys and you send out 60, you know, or you shut down every Embassy, I mean we have to get this to a--let's keep this at a level that uh, is even-keeled, okay? And then what we can do is, when we come in, we can then have a better conversation about where we're gonna go uh, regarding, uh, regarding our relationship.”

Flynn added: “And also, basically we have to take these, these enemies on that we have. And we definitely have a common enemy. You have a problem with it, we have a problem with it in this country, and we definitely have a problem with it in the Middle East.”
Now release the "original" 302 so we can compare what they claim he actually told the FBI agents (not that we can trust it).

This is apparently construed as Flynn "discussing" sanctions, although I can imagine him thinking he was talking about Middle Eastern terrorism. It's also asking Russia not to escalate and make matters worse, which is apparently what the Obama administration was trying to do to Trump.

Via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 05.29.20,  Twitchy has an abundance of treats.  ‘Beyond angry’: Newly declassified Flynn-Kislyak transcripts should END the ‘3-year nightmare for General Flynn’
But the usual suspects continue to claim the transcripts support their position.
It's like a Rorschach blot. Everyone sees what they want to see. Margot Clevelands notes Flynn asking Kislyak not to let Obama box them in:
That thread is particularly powerful.
Sean Davis at Da Fed points out Declassified Flynn Transcripts Contradict Key Mueller Claims Against Flynn
The transcript of the December 29 conversation, which was cited by Mueller, does not include a request from Flynn that Russia “refrain from escalating” in response to U.S. expulsions of Russian diplomats. According to the transcript, Flynn asked Kislyak for Russia’s response to be “reciprocal” so that the U.S.–not Russia–would not be forced to escalate beyond the expulsions. The transcript makes clear that Flynn fully expected Russia to respond to the situation by expelling U.S. diplomats in response to the Obama administration’s move to expel nearly three dozen Russian diplomats from the U.S., and that his primary concern was preventing a situation where the U.S. would have to escalate tensions in response to Russia.
. . .
Mueller’s operation also conflated discussions of financial sanctions levied against Russian entities and individuals via executive order on December 28, 2016 with the expulsion of Russian diplomats, which were two separate and distinct issues. In fact, the specific executive order cited by Mueller in his charging documents against Flynn pertained only to Treasury-enforced financial sanctions against nine Russian intelligence individuals and institutions, not to the separate expulsions of Russian diplomats, which were enforced by the U.S. State Department. In his remarks announcing the various maneuvers by his administration against Russia, President Obama even noted that sanctions and expulsions were entirely separate issues handled by different agencies and requiring different legal authorities.

“I have issued an executive order that provides additional authority for responding to certain cyber activity that seeks to interfere with or undermine our election processes and institutions, or those of our allies or partners,” Obama said at the time. “Using this new authority, I have sanctioned nine entities and individuals: the GRU and the FSB, two Russian intelligence services; four individual officers of the GRU; and three companies that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations.”
Sort of in the weeds stuff. The main take away is that Flynn was discussing perfectly legitimate items of interest with Kislyak, and had no reason to lie to the VP or the FBI. What the FBI is considering a lie seems to be a case of not remembering the fine details of a conversation which he was not prepped to answer when ambushed by FBI agents Strzok and Pientka. Speaking of in the weeds, let's not leave out sundance at CTH, Nothing Inappropriate – DNI John Ratcliffe Releases Wiretapped Flynn-Kislyak Transcripts and FBI Summaries (“CR Cuts”) Of Those Transcripts…
A fast review of the transcripts (also embed below) shows there was nothing inappropriate or improper about the conversations at all. Quite the opposite: Lt. General Flynn was direct, diplomatic, polite and represented the interests of U.S. policy from both the outgoing Obama administration and incoming Trump administration.

The views expressed by Lt. General Flynn did not impede or obstruct outgoing Obama policy nor did they undermine any position during the transition. Any media reporting to the contrary was completely false.

The FBI summaries or “CR Cuts”, created by FBI analysts, are what FBI Director James Comey gave to former DNI James Clapper on January 4th, for use in briefing former President Obama. The summaries are FBI interpretations of what the calls contained.

It has been my long-standing suspicion the FBI summaries (CR Cuts) will not accurately reflect the content of the calls; and were purposefully manipulated by the FBI to give a false impression that Flynn was undermining Obama. I am doing that comparison now.

Here’s the summaries and transcripts . . .
J.E. Dyer at Da Lid, More Strzok-Page Texts: FBI Knew Immediately Of Kislyak-Flynn Phone Calls. Of course, because they were intercepting all of his calls.

But it isn't all Flynn, George Neumayr at AmSpec, Obamagate Won’t Go Away "Too many questions remain unanswered." Christian Datoc at Da Caller, DOJ Reviewing A Trove Of Documents From ‘Very Beginning Of The Russia Investigation’ For Public Release
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed at Thursday’s press briefing that the Justice Department is in the process of reviewing for public release a trove of documents pertaining to the origins of the Russia investigation.

Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified the documents prior to swearing in his replacement, John Ratcliffe, on Tuesday. One senior administration official told the Daily Caller on Thursday that the “documents are from the beginning of the Russia investigation. The very beginning.”
. . .
Trump himself hinted at a forthcoming release of Russia investigation documents during a recent interview.

“Other things are going to come out, too. And a lot of other things are going to come out,” he explained. “I would like to see it move much faster.”
Oh goody! Greg Jarrett's outfit, FBI Document From, To, and Approved by Peter Strzok Provides Smoking Gun Russia Collusion Was ‘Illicit, Made-Up Investigation’. More on the incestuous, almost masturbatory origins of the Russia probe. A letter from Strzok to Strzok.
As The Hill points out, “in a normal, legitimate FBI Electronic Communication, or EC, there would be a ‘To’ and a ‘From’ line.” Crossfire Hurricane, however, only has a “From” line. The document is from Peter Strzok as the contact for the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. Additionally, “the EC was drafted also by Peter Strzok. And, finally, it was approved by Peter Strzok. Essentially, it is a document created by Peter Strzok, approved by Peter Strzok, and sent from Peter Strzok to Peter Strzok.”

The Hill reports “on that basis alone, the document is an absurdity, violative of all FBI protocols and, therefore, invalid on its face.” The reason being, “an agent cannot approve his or her own case; that would make a mockery of the oversight designed to protect Americans.”
Trump is “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page wrote.  “No. No he won’t,” Strzok responded. “We’ll stop it.”

Sunlight sends the rats scurrying back to the shadows, Hot Air cites WSJ, Biden Campaign Cancels Fundraiser With Mueller Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S CAMPAIGN has canceled plans for a fundraiser headlined by Andrew Weissmann, a former top prosecutor with Robert Mueller’s special counsel team who has been a lightning rod among supporters of President Trump. The June 2 event had been billed as a “fireside chat” with Weissmann, who departed Mueller’s team last year and is working on a book about his role in the probe, and Anne Milgram, a former New Jersey attorney general. The fundraiser was pulled shortly after it was posted late last week, but not before it garnered widespread media attention, people familiar with the decision told the Journal’s Ken Thomas.
From on top of Da Hill Roger Stone to surrender to prison by June 30. I expect some higher court to order a new trial based on the jury thing. By then the whole Mueller investigation may be totally discredited.

Linked at Pirate's Cove in the now familiar weekly Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup and linkfest. Also linked by EBL in Lulu 🎭I Puritani 🎭Salome 🎭Louis Vuitton "Influencer" Promotion Backfires During Protest Looting 👜🤑😬🚔🔥 and Mireille Mathieu: Der Mai is gekommen