Friday, February 28, 2020

What's Up With Virginia?

Karen Townsend at Hot Air: Transgender Book Readings Scheduled In Virginia Elementary Schools
The normalization of the transgender agenda hits public schools in Virginia and other states this week. Activists in the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National Education Association (NEA) team up to encourage a day set aside to celebrate transgenderism. Volunteers will read three books chosen to help young children understand a very adult topic.

The event is called Jazz & Friends National Day of School & Community readings. The three books chosen for this year’s indoctrination are: “Julian is a Mermaid”, “I am Jazz”, and “They She He Me: Free to Be!” Family Research Council (FRC) is encouraging parents to keep their children home from school. There is a post on FRC’s website that suggests it may be a good day to take children to a museum or some such activity instead of attending school.
"Jazz" Jennings

Do you want your child to be psychologically manipulated at school on Thursday? Might be a good day for a Mommy Date at the museum!
The anti-Christian Human Rights Campaign and their pals at the powerful National Education Association are pushing public schools to recognize this Thursday as “Jazz and Friends National Day of School & Community Readings.”
One of the books they are promoting is I Am Jazz, a transgender propaganda book designed for children. It is based on the real-life story of “Jazz,” a child who was convinced that he was born in the wrong body. As a child he was injected with hormones to block his normal sexual development, and recently he had radical surgery to complete his “transition” to another sex. Which, of course, is impossible.
Activists groups are trying to make the reading of this book an annual event.
The day will be used to promote gender deviance and LGBT politics to vulnerable children. Not all schools are doing it. Yet. But some are.
In one Arlington, Va. school, “mystery readers” are scheduled to come and read to the children. The school has not revealed to parents who they are and what they will read. Wow.
There is an opt-out option, using a National Opt-Out Letter, provided by the Arlington Parent Coalition. The organization released a statement, part of which reads as follows:
The Arlington Parent Coalition recommends that if parents are not comfortable with children being taught that biology has no bearing on one’s sex, and that “anyone can be anything,” and that “God makes mistakes sometimes,” and that “you may not be the gender your parents said you are,” parents might want to have their children take a sick day on Thursday, February 27, 2020.
If you have not yet submitted a Universal Opt-Out Letter to prevent your child from receiving lessons around this kind of dangerous nonsense, we recommend that you do so immediately. If you have submitted an opt-out, your child should not be exposed to this cause célèbre on February 27 or any other day.
However, in our experience Arlington Public Schools remains consistently unconcerned with either parental permission or children’s protections. So please plan accordingly on Thursday.
Jazz Jennings shows off transgender
confirmation surgery scars. 

The event this year includes the story of Jazz Jennings, a reality television star. “I am Jazz” is her story. She was born a boy and by the age of three, she told her parents she was a girl living in a boy’s body. Since then, her parents and family embraced life with a transgender child. She is a celebrity in the LGBTQ community. I know her story because I have covered the family’s reality show on TLC for NewsBusters the last several years. (Jennings is not their real name.) Last season was all about her big surgery. A celebration of the surgery included a “Farewell to Penis” party. That surgery, by the way, has led to complications that have required additional surgeries. Human biology is real, no matter the feelings around it.

Make no mistake about the transgender agenda – it is political. The push to indoctrinate children, even elementary school-aged children, is real. Jazz’s book is written in the voice of a four-year-old child. The gender-is-fluid crowd is relentless in promoting their agenda and people who think that the subject falls within the mental health area are mocked and canceled.
Try having a gun rights reading at the local schools. They voted poorly.

Killer Tits

It's an old article that came up in Facebook. Thanks Mike!

Predatory Songbirds: the case of the murderous tits
A few months ago, I saw a photo of a European songbird, the great tit (Parus major), proudly standing over a dead vole, surrounded by snow on twitter. I was astonished to learn that it had killed this vole — I had thought that Great Tits typically eat seeds and small invertebrates. The observer described how the bird had only eaten the vole’s brain and left the rest for other scavengers. Apparently, this type of behavior is not so surprising, or even unusual, for this species.

Though great tits do have a ‘typical’ songbird diet for most of the year, harsh winters bring out their vicious side of when food resources are scarce. Tits are documented carrion scavengers and there are historical anecdotes of these birds eating the tissues of recently hanged people in Europe.

These seemingly innocuous birds have been documented systematically searching out and preying upon hibernating bats in Hungarian caves; there are videos of these tits attacking defenseless bats by ruthlessly pecking their skulls specifically to eat their brains. Great tits will prey on other similarly-sized songbirds too — there’s a shocking video of a tit assaulting a European Chaffinch and pecking it to death under a bird feeder. The murderous tendencies of this species and its preference for brains was noted by 20th century ornithologists, and more recently, a wildlife photographer documented a grisly scene of almost a dozen songbirds killed by a couple of great tits in Finland. This predatory behavior is out of necessity though: in experiments related to the hibernating bats, tit predation decreased substantially when sunflower seeds and bacon was provided near the cave entrance.
. . .
As an ornithologist, these observations and studies captivate me. Birds have been studied for thousands of years: inferences of their breeding biology are evident on Egyptian frescoes and were mentioned in one of the oldest books in the world, the ancient Chinese text “Book of Changes”. However, we are still learning basic facts about what they eat.
I can't say I'm shocked, when it comes right down to eating or starving, a lot nominal vegetarians will eat animal meat and organs, especially if it's not too much work or too dangerous. It's rich source of protein, needed fats and calories. We used to feed cows cow scraps, until we figured out it was a way to spread mad cow disease.

Great tits are an English songbird, related to our own Chickadees. You know where else in England there are great tits? Rose Jones, Lucy Pindar and Stacy Poole

RIP: Freeman Dyson

Physicist And Iconoclastic Thinker Freeman Dyson Dies At 96
Acclaimed physicist Freeman Dyson, who pondered the origins of life, interstellar travel and many other topics, died Friday at the age of 96.

His daughter Mia Dyson told NPR that her father died after a short illness.

Freeman Dyson was known for groundbreaking work in physics and mathematics but his curiosity ranged far beyond those fields.

"He never got a Ph.D.," says Robbert Dijkgraaf, director for the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., where Dyson worked. "He felt he was an eternal graduate student, and so he had a license to be interested in everything."
Dyson was born in Crowthorne, England, in 1923. He studied physics and mathematics at Trinity College in Cambridge, where he worked with physicists including Paul Dirac and Arthur Eddington. During World War II, he was a civilian scientist with the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command.

After the war, he came to the U.S. to study physics. Together with physicist Richard Feynman, he was able to reconcile two competing theories of quantum electrodynamics, the study of how sub-atomic particles and light interact. "He was able to show that all these different points of view were one and the same thing," Dijkgraaf says. "He was a great unifier of physics."

The work is still considered fundamental to modern physics. "The current model of elementary particle physics is written in the language that Dyson helped develop," he says.

Dyson permanently joined the Institute for Advanced Study in 1953. From his perch there, he pursued many other topics of interest. He helped to design an inherently safe nuclear reactor that could be operated "even in the hands of an idiot." In 1958, he joined Project Orion, a plan to power a spacecraft with controlled nuclear explosions.

The spaceship was never built, but Dyson later described it as "the most exciting and in many ways happiest of my scientific life." Dijkgraaf says Dyson was probably one of the few people on Earth that felt let down by the 1969 moon landings: "This all looked very disappointing in Freeman's eyes," he says. Dyson wanted to go to Saturn with nuclear-fueled rockets. "[He] was kind of envisioning jet planes, and in the end we took a bicycle."
The greatest generation is failing fast. 

Can Maryland Pay Pennsylvania to Clean the Bay?

One of the problems that I see with getting Pennsylvania to live up to it's EPA appointed share of cleaning up Bay is incentive. Having no shoreline along the Bay, Pennsylvania's incentive amounts to what it takes to clean the Susquehanna River to a tolerable state, which still passes plenty of nutrients on to the Bay. While not nothing, it is insufficient for them to be particularly motivated to take actions that cost a lot of loot, or, more particularly, cost their farmers a lot of profit and/or yield. Having Maryland and Virginia chip in to help Pennsylvania makes a lot of sense, since they reap most of the benefit, but the question of the mechanism has eluded me. However, this article in WaPoo has a suggestion: A new way to pay for the Chesapeake Bay by Michael Curley
Lately there have been bad feelings between Pennsylvania and Maryland over Pennsylvania’s failure to fully address its pollution problems in the Susquehanna River, one of the main feeders of the bay. Pennsylvania’s problems stem from its agricultural sector, where nutrient runoff from the many farms along the Susquehanna winds up downstream in the bay. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has demanded that the state’s attorney general sue Pennsylvania and sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force Pennsylvania to do its job.

As noted above, Maryland’s CWSRF cannot make loans to farmers in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, the problem with loans is that they have to be repaid. The usual recipients of CWSRF loans are wastewater treatment facilities called publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). Making loans to POTWs is usually no problem. POTWs have thousands of customers to absorb the loan payments. A $500,000 loan to a POTW requires about a $25,000 annual payment. If the POTW has more than 25,000 customers, that’s less than $1 per year per customer. But if the CWSRF made the same loan to a farmer for an agricultural nutrient reduction project, the farmer — alone — would have to repay the $25,000 — every year! That’s probably a good reason the politicians in Pennsylvania are dragging their feet.

What can be done? Is there a new way to pay for the bay?

Yes. There are two things that need to be done to get money to the farms in Pennsylvania to fix their runoff into the bay.

The Chesapeake Bay Commission is an agency created by Maryland and Virginia in 1980. Pennsylvania joined in 1985. The commission was formed by an interstate compact under Article I of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the consent of Congress. Unfortunately, the commission does not have the fiscal powers to make loans in the participating states. But it could.

The three states could ask Congress to amend the Chesapeake Bay Commission compact, or they could ask Congress to create a new agency that would have lending powers.

So, an interstate agency with fiscal powers is one way to get money from Maryland to Pennsylvania to support the bay. But why? Why would anyone in Maryland pay to help Pennsylvania meet its legal obligations?

Iowa’s CWSRF pioneered a process that could be adopted in Maryland to make interstate payments truly painless. For lack of a better term, the process could be called “adoption.” In Iowa, a POTW was facing a major tightening of the terms and conditions of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The equipment upgrades necessary to remove the additional nutrients would have cost the POTW and its customers millions of dollars. Instead, the POTW identified an upstream farmer who could undertake a runoff-reduction project on his farm that would remove more nutrients at a fraction of the cost. After much negotiation, the concept worked. The state agreed to give the POTW credit for the nutrient reductions from the upstream farm project in return for the POTW’s paying for the project. So, the happy ending is that the nutrients got removed from the river, and it didn’t cost the farmer a penny.

This could be done right here for the Chesapeake Bay.

Maryland POTWs could be given credit for the nutrient reductions caused by projects upstream on farms in Pennsylvania. This would require a lot of cooperation among Maryland POTWs, Maryland regulators and the farm community in Pennsylvania. But there’s no reason it couldn’t work. After all, painless cooperation is better than lawsuits. And the waters in Pennsylvania flow into the same bay that the POTWs serve.
Is this the answer? I don't know; I'm not a financial guy, but at least someone else is thinking about it.

Russiagate in the Time of the Plague

Russiagate appears to have succumbed to a case of coronavirus, there isn't very much, and it's kind of sickly. From Liz Vaughn at Red State, Stunning: Dan Bongino Reveals FBI 302 from May 2017; FBI Team Tells Rod Rosenstein the President is NOT a Suspect
It’s been clear for a long time that the FBI and Robert Mueller knew early on that President Trump had done nothing wrong.

For example, we know that after the FBI’s January 2017 interview with dossier author Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source, they had a pretty good idea it was all a lie. The FBI interviewed the sub-source two additional times, in March and in May 2017 and by then, they were sure of it.

We also learned from the testimony of former FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, that in May 2017, when the FBI turned their counterintelligence investigation over to Robert Mueller, they still had no evidence that Trump had colluded with the Russians to win the election. The FBI had been investigating Trump for ten months at that point.

Until now, we’ve never seen any of those involved actually admit it.

In the following excerpts from an FBI 302 report (summary written by an FBI agent following an interview), it is made clear three times that the FBI did not believe President Trump was a suspect. (Source of information: The Dan Bongino Show, Episode 1191, February 27, 2020)
1. FBI agents confirmed to [acting Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein on May 10, 2017 that the President was not a suspect.
2. This was also Rosenstein’s impression from his initial April 28 briefing he received from then Director Comey.
3. Rosenstein elaborated that based on his May 10 briefing, “there appeared to be no evidence the President was involved personally.”
FD-302 (excerpt): FBI Interview of Rod Rosenstein: May 23, 2017 (emphasis mine) . . .
Cued up to the start of the discussion:

He also takes on the Stone juror issue subsequently

From Breitbart, Scalise: FISA Abusers Need to Be Held Accountable, but they probably won't be. The DOJ is too chicken to take on it's own. Prove me wrong.

From Taylor Millard, Hot Air, FISA Reform Delayed Over Alleged Poison Pills
The House Judiciary Committee was supposed to vote today on a bill making changes to the Patriot Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, portions of which are set to expire next month. It looks like things are on hold, however, following a disagreement involving Congressmen Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. Via POLITICO:
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is preparing Wednesday to offer five amendments that would reform the Watergate-era law, known as FISA, that senior House Democrats see as “poison pills” that would doom the bill in the House. Her push is already rankling top Democrats, who say her proposals would upend months of delicate negotiations that resulted in a bill backed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
. . .
The White House is interested in reform but their push appears different from the bill currently in Congress. Attorney General Bill Barr discussed the issue with Senate Republicans yesterday; a meeting POLITICO reported showed a divide between the party on what reforms are necessary.
Attorney General William Barr told Senate Republicans on Tuesday that the Trump administration could support a clean extension of contentious surveillance laws set to expire next month. And Barr said he could make changes on his own to satisfy President Donald Trump and his allies who have railed against the use of the law to monitor his 2016 campaign, according to senators at a party briefing…
But Barr also sparred with skeptics, primarily libertarian-leaning Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Barr told Lee his criticisms of surveillance law are dangerous, while Paul said Americans shouldn’t be subject to secret FISA courts, one of the people said.
The internal change suggestion by Barr bothers me because it gives more power to the executive branch. I realize people will argue he’s the attorney general and should be able to define Justice Department policy, however, it could allow any future modifications to stay in the dark without ever becoming public. It’s not worth putting more power in the hands of bureaucrats, regardless of who’s in office.
Sundance at CTH, Rand Paul: President Trump Does Not Support Clean FISA renewal – McConnell Meets With President Trump to Discuss… Toss it all, and start over. Some work cannot be saved.
“FISA warrants should not be issued against Americans,” Paul said on Thursday afternoon. “Americans shouldn’t be spied on by a secret court. I think he agrees completely with that and that’s the amendment that I’m going to insist on. I’m not letting anything go easy without a vote on my amendment.”

Paul’s conversation with Trump could blow up plans by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to extend those expiring authorities, which McConnell said was his preference on Tuesday. (read more)
Chuck Ross at Da Caller, British University Deserves More Scrutiny Over Stefan Halper Ties, Says Researcher Who Knows FBI Informant
“The University of Cambridge was a pivotal place for Spygate,” said Svetlana Lokhova, an academic who studied Soviet-era espionage under one of Halper’s closest associates, Christopher Andrew.

Cambridge has been unwilling to talk about Halper ever since the Daily Caller News Foundation reported in March 2018 that he had a series of contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign with three Trump campaign aides, Carter Page, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos.

After confirming that Halper was an FBI informant, that Cambridge staff had been instructed not to discuss Halper, The Washington Post reported in June 2018.

Lokhova, who is writing a forthcoming book about Halper, said she filed several unanswered complaints with her former school seeking an investigation of Halper.

She said she believes Halper to be behind rumors that ended up in the press in 2017 that she had improper contacts with Michael Flynn in February 2014, at an event hosted by the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, which Halper co-convenes with Christopher Andrew and Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6.
 Rick Moran at PJ Media, Top Election Security Official Will Keep Her Job After Overstating Russian Interference to Congress
The top intelligence election security official in the U.S. will keep her job after overstating Russian interference in the 2020 election to Congress.

Shelby Pierson, the Intelligence Community Election Threats Executive, briefed Congress earlier this month and said that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election and was showing a preference for Donald Trump. But other officials said that was a "mischaracterization" and an "overstatement" of Russia's intentions.
. . .
But new ODNI Director Richard Grenell apparently thought it prudent to protect Pierson, despite her committing an error that should have cost the woman her job.
News that Pierson is staying put comes amid a shake-up atop the Office of the Director of National Intelligence leadership structure, as acting Director Joseph Maguire was replaced by US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who then quickly forced out the No. 2 intelligence official in the US government, Andrew Hallman.
Maguire formally resigned last week after Trump made it clear he would not be nominated for the full-time intelligence chief job, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN. The briefing Pierson gave to lawmakers was a key component behind his ouster, with a White House official telling CNN that the President became irate with Maguire over it.
Trump used Pierson's gaffe as an excuse to can Maguire but why didn't Pierson get the boot too?
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer?

And things that still make you go hmmm? From the Independent, Philip Haney: FBI to investigate death of DHS whistleblower, initially thought to be suicide "Official who spoke out against Homeland Security practices during Obama administration was found shot dead"

Fish Pic Friday - Brittany Tareco

For this week's Fish Pic Friday, I'm introducing Brittany Tareco: 
Originally from Tennessee, Fishing Babe Brittany Tareco has hooked the hearts of thousands of men. This Tattooed Brunette knockout has been tearing up the Fishing Scene for years. On her Instagram, over 78,000 people follow her fishing adventures and it’s no surprise. Brittany’s skills and looks have landed her some of the biggest sponsors in fishing.

Currently, she owns and operates ‘Hook’D Charters’ out of Destin, Florida – which according to the Hook’D website is known as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” I’m not sure how they came up with that title, but I’ll take their word for it.

Hook’d Charters’ mission is; “to get you offshore faster, so you can fish longer!” A noble goal. Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico should be on every Angler’s list, and going with Brit has to be a dream come true.

You can head out with her as the first mate on their 36 ft Yellowfin for roughly $195 per hour, where you may catch one or more of the twenty plus species of game fish that live in the gulf. She’ll even fillet them for you.
Hmm, lemme check that fishing budget. 

Now about those tattoos:
I was 18 when I got my first tattoo and I didn’t think it through at all. I had actually set out that day to get my nose pierced, but the tattoo artist in the shop I went to told me they were having a 50% off sale, so I was tempted. I loved frogs at the time, saw some frog flash art on the wall, and decided to get it on my right shoulder in color.

It was a spur of the moment decision. My family wasn’t fond of it, in fact they were pretty upset about it. It got made fun of quite a lot, so I eventually had to cover it up. Now I tell anyone who’s considering getting their first tattoo to really put a lot of thought into what they want ahead of time.

Now the majority of the tattoos on my body are of animals and flowers. And I learned that I actually love Black and Grey, not color. It’s really classy and allows you to see more of the details and fine lines put in by the artist. Color fades over time, so I also love the longevity of Black and Grey, especially because I’m in the sun a lot on the water, so they really last.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Today's Must Read

As a recent article in the Washington Times notes, residents of more rural parts of many states want to secede, because those states are dominated by the residents of large urban centers, who know little and care less about the lives of people out in the country. “You’ve got Oregonians seeking to cascade into Idaho, Virginians who identify as West Virginians, Illinoians fighting to escape Chicago, Californians dreaming of starting a 51st state, and New Yorkers who think three states are better than one.”
And this leaves out eastern Washington, which, like eastern Oregon, has been talking about breaking off from the liberal-dominated coastal regions. For that matter, California has produced multiple secession plans aimed at breaking the Golden State up into two, or as many as six, separate states.
. . .
This phenomenon isn’t new — I wrote an article about it for the Notre Dame Law Review over a year ago — but it seems to be gathering steam. The reason it’s gathering steam is the same reason why most secession movements, including the American break with Great Britain in 1776, gain steam: the belief that the people who want to leave are being treated badly and callously by rulers over whom they have little or no influence. It’s not just “taxation without representation,” but also, “regulation without representation.” And a general sense of being held in contempt.

As demographer Joel Kotkin writes, “The worst thing in the world to be is the red part of a blue state.” You wind up regulated to suit the whims of people whose interests are not yours.

In Virginia, it’s primarily gun control laws supported by inhabitants of the population-heavy Washington, D.C. suburbs, laws resented by inhabitants of the many less-populous counties where values remain more traditionally Virginian. There's talk about Virginia counties seceding and joining West Virginia.

In other states, it’s more about restrictions on logging, or high gas taxes that disproportionately impact rural inhabitants, or taxes. But it’s always something that makes rural people feel discriminated against.

Under the Constitution, a state can’t be split unless both its legislature and Congress agree. States are unlikely to agree to their own fission unless pressured by, say, a budget deal to rescue them from bankruptcy (something not impossible in California or Illinois). Congress, however, is unlikely to go along unless either the split won’t disturb the existing partisan balance of the Senate, or the party that would benefit from the split enjoys a very strong majority.

But there’s a bigger point. Secession movements start because people feel oppressed and unappreciated. And short of secession, there are other things that can be done to fix the problem. It would be nice, of course, if the urban majorities in these states showed more consideration for their rural countrymen, but that seems unlikely — indeed, recent events in Virginia look to me as if the majority takes actual pleasure out of kicking around the minority.

But at a national level, Congress could act. It’s a tradition in America for a national majority, as evidenced in Congress, to protect local minorities from oppression by local majorities. That’s how, for example, we got the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Congress could act by pre-empting state regulation in hot-button areas like guns or environmental regulations affecting farmers, etc. Right now, federal law sets a floor, with states being free to regulate more stringently. Congress could instead make federal law a ceiling, preventing states from punishing their rural inhabitants. That wouldn’t eliminate all the friction, but it would help.
But that's not likely either if Congress stays partly (or worse, wholly) in the hands of the anti-rural Democrat party. Unless the rural parts of the nation can start denying the cities the things they do provide; water, food, energy and materials. 

Forget It Jake, It's Baltimore

Sundance reads the pay walled Baltimore Sun so you don't have to: Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison for Corruption and Fraud…
Political leaders, specifically mayors in Baltimore Maryland, are predisposed toward corrupt behavior. Remember Sheila Dixon in ’08, or Stephanie Rawlings Blake in ’15… It’s a perpetual cycle. I digress…

Into the corrupt landscape comes Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who was arrested in 2019 for taking bribes and payoffs through a pay-to-play bribery scandal for books she “authored” called “Healthy Holly”. Want a city contract?…. buy her books, easy peasy.
 But, but, it's for the children!
BALTIMORE – Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who held elected offices in Baltimore for two decades and was elevated by voters to lead the city following the upheaval of 2015, was sentenced to three years in federal prison Thursday for a fraud scheme involving a children’s book series.
Pugh, 69, asked U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow for mercy and apologized in court “to anyone I have offended or hurt through my actions.”
[…] In handing down the prison sentence, which was to be followed by three years of probation, Chasanow called Pugh’s crime “astounding.”
“I have yet frankly to hear any explanation that makes sense,” the judge said. “This was not a tiny mistake, lapse of judgment. This became a very large fraud. The nature and circumstances of this offense clearly I think are extremely, extremely serious.”

The last Republican Mayor of Baltimore was Theodore McKeldin, who served from 1963 to 1967. Wikipedia doesn't have a listing for the last honest mayor of Baltimore.

MDDNR Wants Congresses Help With Blue Catfish

DNR Urges Congress to Address Rules Hindering Market for Invasive Blue Catfish
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is supporting a joint resolution proposed by the Maryland General Assembly that will move the state closer to controlling the invasive blue catfish population by commercial harvest.

A native of the Mississippi River basin, blue catfish were introduced to the mid-Atlantic in the 1970s. Since then it has exploded in population and range, and can now be found throughout Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River watersheds. Blue catfish are a significant threat to the ecosystem because of their rapidly increasing populations and capacity to consume significant amounts of native species, like crabs and striped bass.

House Joint Resolution 3 and Senate Joint Resolution 3 – Natural Resources – Fishing – Wild-Caught Blue Catfish urges the United States Congress to oppose certain inspection rules promulgated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which has drastically impeded the harvest and sale of blue catfish. Because of this, Maryland has been unable to adequately use the commercial harvest as a form of control over the invasive blue catfish.

Previously under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration, Congress directed USDA to take over regulation of all species of catfish in 2017. The regulations have required the presence of a USDA inspector on premises during blue catfish processing. These inspectors are a significant cost to the dealer and inspectors’ schedules don’t often match up with the working hours of the dealers. Additionally, the processing rooms have to be cleared of all other products, causing disruptions to the rest of the business. All other seafood processing continues to be conducted under the FDA.
perfect focus

“Congressional action is simply common sense. Current inspection rules deter catfish dealers and watermen from targeting this invasive species, due to a low return on investment and their restricted ability to get the product to market,” said DNR Secretary Jeannie Haddaway Riccio. “Maryland was on the path to controlling this invasive species and these strict regulations cripple our ability to execute this solution.”
Congress stepped in to regulate catfish in particular because of perceived hygiene problems with farmed and imported catfish. The regulations make it much more difficult to process catfish, and given a fairly low market price, compared to something like Stripped Bass, it's not really worth it for fish processors to take them. Blue Catfish are every bet as good eating as stripers, at least when they come from clean waters like Chesapeake Bay tributaries, IMHO.

Russiagate Redux

Much like yesterday, a smattering of subjects, with an emphasis on none.

Starting with Brian Cates at the unfortunately now paywalled Epoch Times with the distinction between "Russiagate" and "Spygate" The ‘Wrong Scandal’ Keeps Winning
There’s no longer any real competition between the two major political scandals that emerged following the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Proponents of the first scandal, commonly referred to as “Russiagate,” claim that the man who had just won the election was an undercover agent who took orders straight from Moscow.

The other one that emerged held that Russiagate was always a false construct of the rival Hillary Clinton campaign and its politicized allies within the federal government’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies. This second scandal came to be called “Spygate.”

One of these scandals was indeed fake and the other was very real.
From Just The News Ex-FBI unit chief blows whistle on Comey, McCabe over warrantless spying
he FBI agent who ran the bureau’s warrantless spying program said Wednesday he warned ex-Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe that the program was a useless waste of taxpayer money that needlessly infringed Americans’ civil liberties but his bosses refused to take action.

Retired Special Agent Bassem Youssef ran the FBI’s Communications Analysis Unit from late 2004 until his retirement in late 2014. He told Just the News he fears the deeply flawed program, which was started in response to the Sept. 11 attacks, was allowed to keep going to give Americans a false sense of security in the war on terror and possibly to enable inappropriate spying, such as that which targeted President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“I have no doubt, or very little doubt, that it was used for political spying or political espionage,” Youssef said during a lengthy interview for the John Solomon Reports podcast.
also, some old news,  GOP Rep. Nunes believes FBI probe into Trump campaign began in late 2015, not 2016, And he's probably right. Ace notes that House Republicans Preparing Criminal Referrals Against Mueller Prosecutors Who Misled Them?
Well, I guess it's something.
. . .
He specifically cites the Mueller team claiming, in reports and court filings, that George Papadopolous had tried to frustrate attempts to locate Joseph Mifsud, when the actual 302s show him being helpful.

Meanwhile -- and I have absolutely no idea which California liberal Democrat Representative he could mean here -- Trey Gowdy says that classified briefings must exclude any known "epidemic leaker."
Via Wombat's In The Mailbox: 02.26.20, the must read article of the day, from Angelo Codevilla at AmGreat, Intelligence and the Democrats’ Internal Affairs
The agencies’ chief interest in domestic partisan skullduggery has never been a secret to those of us who are acquainted with them, as well as to those who have closely read the biographies and autobiographies of the CIA’s and FBI’s leaders. Nor could anyone have missed Senator Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) premise, when he threatened Trump with the agencies’ power to hurt him “six ways from Sunday.” The Democratic Party’s de facto head can make such threats because these agencies—along with the mainstream media—are part and parcel of the larger enterprise he leads.
Sundance at CTH as always is, as usual, unhappy with Lindsey Graham, Senate Judiciary Calendar Empty as FISA Reauthorization Deadline Approaches…
Previously Chairman Lindsey Graham promised to hold public hearings on reforms needed to the FISA process prior to any reauthorization vote. However, with two weeks remaining until current FISA authorization expires the Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to hold a single hearing, and the senate calendar is empty.
Lindsey talks a good game, though.

At Da Caller, President Donald Trump Accuses Adam Schiff Of Trying To Block Bernie Sanders Nomination By Leaking Russia Report. Fact Check, probably true. Even PBS admits FBI official says Russia wants to see U.S. ‘tear ourselves apart’, Charlie Wortzel at NYT cited by Hot Air, Russia Wants To Meddle In Our Election. We’re Helping. And NYT has been an important contributor to the effort. Security Studies Brad Patty tells us Don’t Do Russia’s Work!

From the Guardian, Julian Assange asks to sit with lawyers for extradition case. Poor guy, he was a hero to the left until he leaked against them.

From Fox, Roger Stone jury forewoman questioned in court over accusations of anti-Trump bias
The request for a new trial is connected to forewoman Tomeka Hart, who it emerged had a history of Democratic Party activism and anti-Trump, left-wing social media posts.

But Hart was questioned in a Washington federal courtroom by Jackson for just under an hour Tuesday and then by one of Stone's attorney, Seth Ginsberg, who honed in on several of Hart's social media posts in the months leading up to Stone's trial.

Stone's defense team asserts that the forewoman mislead the court on her jury questionnaire when she said she couldn't remember if she had made any public statements about Stone. Hart did not check yes or no to that question but rather gave a handwritten explanation that she "couldn't remember" that she may have made posted an article on Facebook but wasn't sure.

Ginsberg pressed her repeatedly on numerous posts she made that were critical of the president, including one specific post she made on Jan 25, 2019, the day of Stone's arrest, of an NPR article about multiple Trump associates who had been indicted. The jury forewoman posted that article on Facebook with the caption, "Brought to you by the lock her up peanut gallery."

Jackson, however, pushed Ginsberg to stay on topic and reminded him that the question was specifically about Stone, not about the president or those close to him.

Ginsberg tried to make the argument that all of these posts were about Trump and that the jury forewoman knew Stone was a close confidant of the president.

"Having an opinion about the president and some or even all of his policies does not mean she could not fairly and impartially judge the evidence against Roger Stone," Jackson said.
From Da Hill,  Stone judge criticizes Trump for tweets about juror, but not the juror about her tweets about Trump. From WaEx, the never-Trumper Judge Andrew Napolitano slams Barr over 'secret' Roger Stone hearing: 'Stalinistic':
Fox News analyst Judge Napolitano vented his frustration about Monday's "secret" hearing in the Roger Stone trial, claiming the presiding judge is biased against President Trump's associate.

Napolitano blasted Attorney General William Barr for allowing D.C. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to place a gag rule on Stone and hold a brief with regard to allegations that a juror and the judge herself were biased against Stone from the outset of the trial.

"No one should be happy about secrecy whether you like Stone or dislike him — whether you like the president or you dislike him," said Napolitano on Varney and Co. Tuesday morning. "This is a hearing to determine whether there was jury impropriety in the trial — whether a juror failed to disclose her preconceived prejudice against President Trump and against Roger Stone. Why is it secret? We're not being given a reason."

He added, "This is absolutely Stalinistic."
Funny, I never knew the AG had any ability to order judges around.

And at last from the WaFreeBee, Hunter Biden Seeks to Delay Paternity Deposition Until After Key Primary Votes. So does Hunter want his dad to wash out so attention will be turned away from him, or does he want Dad to go on forever, so he can continue to bury things with the media's help? Tough choice.

Thursday Tanlines

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Patuxent River Gets an Unusual Visitor

Unique Striped Mullet Found By Workers In Chesapeake Watershed
Maryland Department of Natural Resources workers found unique fish in the Chesapeake watershed.

A DNR team was electrofishing for blue catfish in Hunting Creek, a tributary of the Patuxent River near Benedict Bridge in Anne Arundel County when they came across a striped mullet.

Although its a coastal fish, it’s not commonly found in the Chesapeake watershed. It’s normally found down South.

I remember mullet runs from my year and a half sojourn to Florida, before I came to Maryland. I learned to cast net for them (though, not very well), use them for live bait for blues, mackerel and jacks, as well as fillet them, smoke them and eat them. Here, let Darcizzle show you:

It would be such a shame if global warming brought this delightful fishery our way.

Eastern Shore Watermen Resist New Oyster Proposal

Shore watermen fight bill threatening oyster licenses
More than 200 watermen signed up Tuesday, Feb. 25, to testify against a bill seeking to reduce unlimited tidal fishery license holders’ ability to harvest oysters.

The bill’s opponents argued the bill threatens to override the Oyster Advisory Commission, devalues their TFL and could cause overfishing of other species if oysters are off limits.

Senate bill 984 proposes the removal of oyster harvesting from the list of activities allowed under TFL regulations if a licensee hasn’t indicated — by paying a surcharge — that their oyster harvesting permit isn’t dormant.
The dreaded oyster tax! They need to go dump some in the Bay, just like the Tea Party!
If tensions weren’t high enough in a room full of offended watermen awaiting their turn to speak Tuesday, the hearing kicked off three hours later than its expected 1 p.m. start time, as lawmakers in the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee debated a host of unrelated bills ahead of its discussion on SB984.

Many watermen who were waiting for the hearing to begin said they thought the long delay was intentional — with Captain Rob Newberry of Delmarva Fisheries Association murmuring at one point, “They do this s— on purpose.”

Once the hearing began, though, Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-22-Prince George’s, who introduced the bill, said that the legislation’s intention was not to inconvenience anyone or to “put anybody out.”

Pinsky said the purpose of the bill was to provide a “better and clearer” understanding of how many of the roughly 2,000 license holders actually were going to use their license during a given year.

“If we’re only using 235 (licenses), I’d like to limit it to that, so we don’t have people fishing for the same oysters, and also so we don’t have overfishing,” he said. “The pressure on the people who are doing this for a living has grown as other people come in and come out (to harvest oysters.) This was to put a cap on it ... and to put a value on those that are used.”

Pinsky said the idea for the bill came from watermen who complained that people shouldn’t be allowed to hold the license and use it indefinitely because then “you’ll never know how many people will be oystering that season.”

The senator’s comment that a waterman proposed the TFL changes prompted laugher from the crowd of watermen, who shouted, “Nah” and “bulls—.”

Sen. Jack Bailey, R-29-Calvert and St. Mary’s, who is on the Committee, said to Pinsky that if the watermen who were in favor of the bill “truly existed” they would’ve brought up that oystering is “very labor intensive.”

Bailey said if someone puts their oystering license on the shelf for a year or two, there’s likely a good reason. He suggested that maybe the licensee was injured, or they didn’t have the money to pay the surcharge or to buy the needed equipment.
Somehow, there has to be a better way of finding out how many of the the licenses are being used to fish oysters than to tax them. How about putting tags on bushels that are recorded by the state? It works for rockfish (although I'm sure there's a certain level of cheating.

All of which is just whistling past the graveyard. Oyster populations are so low that commercial fishing on "wild" oysters needs to be stopped entirely while we determine if the native oysters can even thrive in the new environment that is the modern Bay.

Foggy at the Beach

It's been foggy and misty the last two days. Yesterday we met an old a young friend on the way down. Spots is pretty hard to spot now that he's (or she's) outgrown his or her spots. You can barely pick out the white tail, the brown fur blends in almost perfectly.
 The harbor in the fog.
 Looking across the harbor to the south.
 And north along the beach
Pretty good fossil hunting, if quantity and not quality was the goal. 15 teeth yesterday, and 27 today, but mostly small to tiny. I did find two complete Bonnet Ray chevrons today, but again, small

Russiagate at Random

A bit of an odd day. Lots of strands of the original "Spygate" along with more recent events. Wilson Miller at Da Fed wonders Did Obama’s DOJ Leak Michael Flynn’s Russia Phone Call To Set Him Up? Almost certainly. From CNS News, Sen. Graham: ‘Impossible to Believe’ Comey and McCabe Weren’t Told When Carter Page Case Fell Apart. Ordinarily, given a choice between incompetence and malice, I assume incompetence, but in this case malice seems more likely. Chris Farrell at Da Caller warns It Ain’t Over For Andy McCabe. We'll see, but I hope not. Stephen McIntyre has an interesting thread at Climate Audit, starting with Here's a little discussed excerpt from Horowitz Report. After blowup between NYFO and Carter Page on Mar 2, 2016, NYFO contacted FBIHQ Counterespionage Section (in Counterintelligence Division) about opening investigation on Page. Received approval email from Section on April 1. Kinda heavy.

As Declassified FBI memos undercut Mueller team claims that Papadopoulos hindered Russia probe (Just The News), at AmGreat Nice Deb reports that Nunes says House Republicans Are Mulling Criminal Referrals Against Mueller Prosecutors. It looks like they lied to the court in the sentencing plea. Even Mueller prosecutors aren't supposed to lie to the court.

Byron at WaEx asks Is the intelligence community planning to meddle in the 2020 election?. Why not, they got away with it last time, at least mostly and we've already seen it start over, see below. Sundance at CTH is disgusted that Short Term Stupid – Bill Barr Wants Clean FISA Reauthorization Because He Will Not Abuse It… Democrats will have no desire to reform FISA until it's wielded against them.

Breitbart Report – Officials Deny Russia Meddling to Support Trump: ‘The Intelligence Doesn’t Say That’. Ya, we know. So Matt Margolis at PJ Media has Trump Destroying CNN and Jim Acosta After Stupid Question About Russian Interference
Not really Russiagate, but a reminder of how small and incestuous Washington D.C. really is at the top, Odd Coincidence – Rogue CDC Official Pushing Coronavirus Panic Button is Rod Rosenstein’s Sister…
Earlier today Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an official in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), held a conference call with media and pushed a panic narrative around the Coronvirus that ran counter to the Trump administration.
What makes the statements by Dr. Messonnier even more interesting is the fact she is the only sister of former DOJ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Dr. Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (link) told reporters on the call:
“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare for the expectation that this could be bad.” … “I understand this whole situation may seem overwhelming and that disruption to everyday life may be severe. But these are things that people need to start thinking about now.” (link)
The alarming message from Dr. Messonnier was quickly picked up by most major news organizations and pushed into all reporting on the issue. The tone of the alarm is also counter to the message of the Trump administration and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, as outlined in a press conference with leadership from U.S. Health and Human Services.
Sundance sees a conspiracy.
There is a strong argument to be made that various resistance government officials like Dr. Messonnier, in alignment with democrat resistance politicians, are attempting to weaponize fear and talking-points about the coronavirus in order to inflict maximum damage upon the Trump administration; regardless of both psychological and actual economic impact to the public.
News Thud (which always seems to be Paul Goldberg), Judge Amy Berman Jackson won’t bow out of Roger Stone case. Ace, #Resistance Hanging Judge Declares Roger Stone Jury Forewoman Didn't "Technically" Lie; Declares That Calling Trump's Supporters "Racist" Does Not Show Bias; Reads Stone's Complaint in Mocking Tone "She's making it extremely easy for Trump to pardon Roger Stone. Updates below. . . ." Spencer S. Hsu and Matt Zapotosky at WaPoo whine that Trump calls Stone juror ‘totally biased’ while prosecutors, defense attorneys are debating new trial. So? They aren't supposed to be on line while in court.

In related news, via the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 02.25.2020 the Volokh Conspiracy says after all the sturm und drang, the Federal Judges Association Tells Members Meeting Wasn’t Called To Discuss Trump Intervention In Stone Sentencing after all. Maybe.
The Wall Street Journal received the same email, and offered this comment:
So what happened? It could be that FJA and the press got their wires crossed, or that reporters inflated the significance of what they heard. Or it could be that at least some officers did plan some sort of political detour in the meeting and the organization is now backtracking in embarrassment. Either way, the story created perceptions of a politicized judiciary, and the FJA could help itself and the judiciary by setting the record straight.
I agree.
From the Guardian, Trump lashes out at liberal supreme court justices and demands recusals and from WaPoo, Trump dials up his unusual battle with the judiciary. Only conservative judges are meant to be criticized!

Also via the Wombat, Da Tech Guy: I Oppose Trump’s Commutation Of Blagojevich’s Sentence. I don't.

Am Con reports, DOJ Drooling Over Likely Assange Extradition. It would be interesting to hear from him.

Another Wet Shirt Wednesday

 Assuming they have shirts left to wet.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

What's Up With Virginia?

Gator Doug has no words: What the Hell are Virginia Democrats standing for??. Democrats Vote to End Mandatory Reporting of Sexual Battery in Schools.

I have words: They voted poorly.

Supremes Hear Atlantic Coast Pipeline Case

An aerial photo taken by a volunteer pilot shows
 construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in West
 Virginia in 2018.
EPA's hired gun, the Bay Journal, Pipeline backers, opponents get their day in the Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday weighed whether a federal agency has the authority to grant or deny permission for a major pipeline to be built under the Appalachian Trail, hearing oral arguments from each side. The court’s decision, expected by June, could decide the fate of the long-contested, $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would wind across the southwest corner of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Virginia.

Dominion Energy, the project’s backer, petitioned the court to consider the case after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in late 2018 revoked a permit from the U.S. Forest Service. The permit would have allowed construction to cross the Appalachian Trail and George Washington National Forest. It is one of seven federal permits related to the project that have been overturned by the courts, resulting in a construction stoppage since late 2018.

The legal conundrum to be decided by the court is whether the U.S. Forest Service has the authority to grant the pipeline a permit to tunnel under the Appalachian Trail. The trail crosses through national forests, as well as other public and private lands, but is managed by the National Park Service.

The case is not about which agency owns the trail but rather about which agency has jurisdiction over the federally owned land that the trail travels.

The Forest Service and Park Service have different charters when it comes to allowing major infrastructure projects, such as pipelines, across federally owned lands. The Park Service seeks to “preserve unimpaired” the lands it is charged with managing, while the Forest Service grants rights of way and other energy development opportunities on its land.

Arguing on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service, Andrew Yang, assistant to the U.S. Attorney General, aimed to distinguish between the trail that traverses the surface of the land and the land under which a project would be built.

“It’s a difficult distinction to wrap one’s head around,” said Justice Elena Kagan. “You’re saying the trail is distinct from the land that is the trail. No one makes this distinction in real life.”
And Judge Scalia thought she was the smart one.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg began with a similar line of questioning about the lawyers’ efforts to draw distinctions between the agencies’ authorities. But most of the judges seemed more concerned about the broader implications of a decision to uphold the Fourth Circuit’s decision to revoke the Forest Service permit.

Eventually, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. asked whether such a decision would essentially create “an impermeable barrier” for pipelines and projects like them trying to cross the Appalachian Trail to the East Coast.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, another natural gas pipeline being built across southern Virginia (outside the Chesapeake watershed) by a different developer is about 90% complete — but also needs a permit to cross the Appalachian Trail. Construction was halted as a result of the Fourth Circuit’s decision. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project has begun tree clearing in Virginia but has not yet begun construction in the state.

In a preview for the SCOTUS blog, attorney Noah Sachs noted that siding with the pipeline’s opponents could prevent the agencies from granting a right-of-way for pipelines under any portion of the Appalachian Trail that runs through federal land.

“Because more than 80% of the trail is on federal land (the remainder is on state and private land), this case has major implications for where pipelines and other energy infrastructure can cross from the Midwest to population centers on the East Coast,” Sachs wrote.

Dominion pointed out in a statement released after oral arguments to the existence of more than 50 pipeline projects under the trail already as evidence that the work would not disturb public use of the trail.

“We’re avoiding any impacts to the trail by installing the pipeline more than 700 feet below the surface,” the statement said, adding feet to the 600-foot-below number that attorneys used during their arguments. Through horizontal drilling, the company said construction would only impact land more than a half-mile from each side of the trail. “People hiking by the crossing will not see, hear or even know the pipeline is there.”
WaPoo thinks Dominion is going to win (and they aren't very happy about it), Justices seem inclined to let Va. pipeline proceed

Joe Biden Running on Autopilot

Da Mail, Joe Biden tells South Carolina crowd that he is running for the SENATE as fears for his health begin to grow.

To be fair, he has run for the Senate a number of times in the past.


Russiagate: FBI Scapegoat Identified

In the first bit of news, several outlets have now identified the FBI agent responsible for many of the 17 errors and omissions reported in the Horowitz report. Dan Chaitin and Jerry Dunleavy at WaEx report FBI's 'Case Agent 1' Stephen Somma 'primarily responsible' for FISA failures and "disciplinary" actions are being considered.
The Justice Department watchdog referred FBI agent Stephen Somma for disciplinary review after an investigation into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses.

Somma, a counterintelligence investigator in the FBI's New York field office, was identified only as "Case Agent 1" in Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report, released in December. Sources told the New York Times that Somma is that official. The FBI did not comment for the report.

Somma was “primarily responsible for some of the most significant errors and omissions" during the process of obtaining FISA warrants to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2016 and 2017, according to Horowitz. Horowitz confirmed the FBI relied heavily upon British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s salacious and unverified dossier when pursuing the secret surveillance.

The DOJ watchdog found 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the FBI's applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to wiretap Page, who was under suspicion of being an agent for Russia. He was never charged with any wrongdoing.

Horowitz wrote that Somma and an unnamed Staff Operations Specialist “were the original Crossfire Hurricane team members who had primary responsibility over the Carter Page investigation.” FBI documents showed that in late August 2016, Somma was told he had “not yet presented enough information to support a FISA application targeting Carter Page.” Somma told Horowitz’s investigators “that the team's receipt of the reporting from Steele [in September] supplied missing information in terms of what Page may have been doing during his July 2016 visit to Moscow and provided enough information on Page's recent activities that [Somma] thought would satisfy the Office of Intelligence.”

“Case Agent 1 said he prepared the FISA request form,” Horowitz wrote. “The FISA request form drew almost entirely from Steele's reporting in describing the factual basis to establish probable cause to believe that Page was an agent of a foreign power.

“We found no information indicating that the FBI provided the Office of Intelligence with the documents containing Page's denials before finalizing the first FISA application,” Horowitz wrote. “Instead, Case Agent 1 provided a summary that did not contain those denials to the OI Attorney and that the OI Attorney relied upon that summary in drafting the first application.”

The inspector general did not find that Somma or his immediate supervisors were politically biased. Horowitz also did not find evidence showing the “pattern of errors” were intentional, but he noted: “we also did not find his explanations for so many significant and repeated failures to be satisfactory."
Somma was also Stephan Halper's handler, and responsible for sending him and agent "Azra Turk" to incriminate George Papadopuolos, among others. Dr. John at Flopping Aces, Identified: The FBI agent primarily responsible for abusing the Carter Page FISA warrants. No doubt they'll punish him by putting him in charge of the FBI office in the Cayman Islands or some such. From Chuck Ross at Da Caller, Senate’s FISA Probe Will Begin With Focus On Mystery Steele Dossier Source, Lindsey Graham Says. Somma is on his witness list. Will the FBI let him speak? At CTH, sundance wonders Why is The New York Times Outing Lower Level FBI Spygate Operatives? Case Agent 1: Stephen M. Somma…
A previously incurious New York Times is now exposing members of the FBI crew who participated in fraud upon the FISA Court. Are the corrupt former top-tier FBI officials starting to position lower-level FBI participants as scapegoats?
. . .
So why is the New York Times exposing Stephan Somma now as “Case Agent 1” according to “people familiar with the Russia investigation”?

Given the timing, risk exposure, and the corrupt nature of the FBI officials involved in the investigation, it looks like the top of the Crossfire Hurricane team are throwing FBI case agent Stephen Somma under the same bus as FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith.
I would guess they have other people to protect.

And now back to more recent events, Rick Moran at PJ Media is incredulous, Incredible. Top Intel Official Who Briefed Congress Overstated Russian Interference in 2020 Election to Help Trump
The ODNI is closing ranks to protect her, and my guess is that's the last we'll hear of this "overstatement." In due time, Pierson is likely to be demoted.

It's interesting that when word of this briefing leaked to the press the reports indicated that Trump didn't accept the characterization that Russia wanted him re-elected.
My guess is that Pierson will be shuttled off to the Office of the Coast Defense of Wyoming as soon as things settle down. Chuck Ross at Da Caller, ‘Shifty Schiff’: Trump Accuses House Intel Chairman Of Leaking Details Of Russia Briefing. Seems like a reasonable assumption based on past behavior, and from News Thud, Hell Freezes Over: CNN Blows Up Schiff Russia Recent Claim About President Trump. Jerry Dunleavy at WaEx again, notes that John Ratcliffe says Adam Schiff is Russia's best asset in sowing election discord. Fact check; likely true. Clarice at AmThink writes of The Democrats' Russian Roulette. Insty, ROGER KIMBALL: Media Serves Up Comedy in Effort to Get Trump.
It is a time- and labor-saving expedient. Instead of having deep-state operatives leak classified information to the press, why not simply invite the sympathetic (i.e., left-wing) press to sit in on the classified briefings? That way, venues like The New York Times and The Washington Post won’t be put to the inconvenience of having to wait for someone the leak the rumors and innuendos to them. They’ll have them firsthand.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how Russia 3.0 fares at the box office. The opening weekend, from all I can tell, was pretty dismal. What happens with this entertainment will probably depend on what competing acts the media comes up with to divert us.
As reported from the Wombat's In The Mailbox: 02.24.20, This Ain't Hell, finds  Eric Swalwell Suggesting Russian Support For Bernie Sanders May Implicate Trump As ‘An Agent Of Russia’. When all you have is a hammer. Also the First Street Journal has Surprise! National Security Wiretap System Is A Mess (no surprise, it's a government project) and American Conservative withRussiagate II – Return Of The Low-Information Zombies

Jed Babbin at AmSpec, The Next Coup Against Trump Has Begun "As the intelligence agencies for all intents renew Operation Crossfire, it’ll take more than Richard Grenell to ward them off." He's not a fan of Grenell, but he understands:
Make no mistake about this. The HPSCI briefing alleging Russia intends to interfere in the 2020 election in Trump’s behalf is an attempt to prevent Trump’s reelection, discredit the entire election, and start another hoax impeachment against Trump. It is precisely what Putin would want our intelligence agencies to do.

Forty-eight hours after the New York Times story on Russia helping Trump, another report appeared (this one in the Washington Post) saying that the Russians were trying to help Bernie Sanders in some undefined way. The story said that Sanders had been briefed on the alleged help.

Again, stop here. Remember that the whole “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation was launched and conducted covertly without giving Trump, his campaign, or his transition team any warning of the supposed Russian interference on his behalf in 2016. Then–FBI Director James Comey briefed Trump on some of the lurid allegations in 2017. There has been no report of any such briefing given to Trump or his campaign this year.

As a result of Maguire’s defenestration, an article in yesterday’s Washington Post reported that intelligence officials were now too scared to tell Trump the truth for fear of being fired.

It’s altogether clear that (1) either an intelligence agency or the HPSCI Democrats, led by Adam Schiff, leaked the story of the classified briefing to the New York Times, and (2) the Washington Post Sunday story was also planted by the intelligence community and (or) the Schiff crew. The New York Times and Washington Post are willing tools of the intelligence agencies and their Democrat allies in Congress.
Kurt Schlicter at Town Hall claims The Loser Establishment Is Rightfully Terrified of Ric Grenell and as if to prove his case, Breitbart reports Susan Rice saying Acting DNI Grenell a ‘Hack and a Shill’ — ‘One of the Most Nasty, Dishonest People I’ve Ever Encountered’. Why is she so homophobic? Hot Air cites Jane Harman at the NYT whining that I Helped Create The Nation’s Top Spy Job. It’s About To Be Destroyed like it's a bad thing.

Via Caitlin Yilek at the WaEx, Trump said he'd like to abolish FISA. One can see why. But not before he abuses it against the Democrats. Only then will they see the wisdom. Sundance has the video as The Great Lou Dobbs says “No FISA Reauthorization” Without Reform and Sunlight…

Breitbart fact checks the NYT and WaPoo and finds Experts Unconvinced Russia Hacked Burisma to Harm Joe Biden  AllahPundit at Hot Air (VIP) is shocked when Kellyanne Conway claims The Payback For Impeachment Is The Nomination Of Bernie Sanders
I *think* she means that impeachment backfired on Democrats by creating an intense spotlight on Hunter Biden and Burisma, ironically the very thing Trump was seeking to do by nudging Ukraine to reopen an investigation into the two. Peter Beinart floated that theory a few weeks ago as well: Joe Biden, not Trump, was the big loser from the process.
Ace notices that Marie "Masha" Yovanovitch Gets Seven Figure Book Deal for a Book That'd Be Lucky To Sell Five Figures of Copies and sees the same thing I do.
Question: Should we begin counting book deals for political figures that are wildly out of sync with actual sales associated with that book as undisclosed political contributions?

Does the #Resistance have a network to simply fund their members through undisclosed corporate donations?
Shades of Baltimore ex-mayor Pugh. Will they even bother to print the requisite copies to pay for her grift?

And sundance reports on things that continue to make you go hmmm, Odd Reversal – California Sheriff Now Says No Conclusion of Suicide in Mysterious Death of DHS Whistle-blower…

From Chuck Ross at Da Caller, Roger Stone Files Motion To Disqualify Judge Handling His Case. I believe she's already turned that down. He also reported Here’s What The Lead Roger Stone Juror Wrote In Her Jury Questionnaire
The lead juror at Roger Stone’s trial said in a written questionnaire for prospective jurors that she was “not sure” whether she posted online about the Russia investigation or Stone, and that she “may have shared an article” on social media on the topics, according to a portion of the document reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

But Tomeka Hart’s Twitter feed shows that she indeed posted multiple times about the Russia probe and at least once about Stone, who was sentenced on Thursday to 40 months in prison in a case that stemmed from the special counsel’s investigation.

Stone’s lawyers filed a motion on Feb. 14 alleging that Hart’s social media activity shows that she was biased against President Donald Trump and Stone. Trump also criticized Hart during a press conference after Stone was sentenced.

Trump called Hart an “anti-Trump activist,” and suggested that she “tainted” Stone’s jury.

Hart, who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012, commented negatively about Trump on Twitter and circulated news stories about the Russia probe. In one Aug. 2, 2019 post, she called all of Trump’s supporters racist.
Oh she sound perfectly not biased, and And yes, Judge Jackson rejected the plea.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who presided over Stone’s case, said last Tuesday that she would decide after Stone’s sentencing whether to grant a retrial. Jackson did not comment directly on reports about Hart during Stone’s sentencing on Thursday, but did say that the jury in Stone’s case acted with “integrity.”

Jackson on Sunday rejected Stone’s request, filed Friday, that she recuse herself from the retrial decision because of her praise of the jury. Stone is arguing that Hart gave misleading answers during the jury selection process.

Jackson’s rulings suggest that Stone faces an uphill battle in getting a retrial granted. And judges are generally reluctant to toss out a jury’s verdict without strong evidence of jury or prosecutorial misconduct.
Jonathon Turley, who, I guess has resigned himself to not being invited to the best Washinton DC parties thinks Roger Stone deserves a new trial
. . . it is not clear that Stone received a fair trial due to alleged juror bias or, even if his trial is now finished, whether it will become undone by a presidential pardon. If nothing else, one thing should be clear. Stone holds a far greater claim to a new trial than to a presidential pardon.

The decision of Judge Amy Berman Jackson to move forward with his sentencing was a surprise to many of us, following disturbing reports of potential juror bias by the trial foreperson. It was a curious twist on the position of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, who declared, “Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.” In this case, the court decided to resolve the sentence before resolving if there was a valid verdict.
A point I have made before.
I have previously discussed the statements made by Tomeka Hart before she became the jury foreperson. She exhibited intense hostility against Trump and his associates and protested against the administration. She also expressed support for investigations of the administration and even discussed this case. Worse yet, the transcript of the voir dire hearing did not suggest that the defense counsel was aware of this history. Either she disclosed the information and defense counsel was less than effective, or Hart had withheld the information and was less than transparent.

Jackson may have two equally unappealing choices. First, the court could order a new trial, making this sentencing drama a meaningless exercise. Second, she could dismiss any concerns as speculative and refuse to take any action. Such a decision would make a mockery of the jury selection process. What is the value of voir dire if a juror with such alleged bias can find her way not just onto the jury but into the position as foreperson? If there was indeed a failure to disclose, despite multiple questions on the juror survey seeking such information, then the failure to act would make a mockery not just of the judicial process but of the court itself.

While Stone is hardly a sympathetic figure, and certainly garnered little sympathy from the court in his misconduct as a defendant, he may still be the victim here. It is unfair to assure defendants that they are entitled to unbiased juries but then shrug when the forepersons are found to have clear bias or failed to disclose material information in voir dire.

The court demands the impossible if it wants clear proof that, if not for such bias, the juror would not have voted to convict or that the jury would have reached a different conclusion in the case. If there is a due process right to an unbiased jury, then there should be a presumption in favor of the defendant when bias is uncovered. In other words, Stone should be given a new trial. I doubt that he would be exonerated, however, there remains a serious question of whether he was properly adjudicated.
I doubt Stone could get a fair trial in DC. Move the trial to Montana and try again.