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MORE NEWS FROM CAYMAN: The water, by the way, was cooler than usual — a temperature of 80-82 degrees, where usually this time of year it would be more like 84. I was actually kinda cold at times, and couldn’t figure out why, until Nat Robb’s lovely Finnish assistant Aria pointed out that my wetsuit was kind of hanging on me, and thus not insulating very well. (She’s from Finland, but is very into warm wetsuits — “I hate to be cold,” she says. “Why do you think I left Finland for the tropics?”) Time to go down a size, I guess. I was actually more comfortable in a 1 mil “tropical” wetsuit that fit than a 3/2 that didn’t. And apparently global warming isn’t striking Cayman.

There’s an awful lot of development on Cayman, and I’m not crazy about it. I want the Caymanians to make a good living, but the amount of new construction is freakishly huge. There was a real inflection point after Hurricane Ivan, when lots of small, old buildings were washed away, and the government was desperate for capital infusions and allowed them to be replaced with much bigger new buildings. I guess if it gets too busy for me, I can always head over to the Brac.

SOLO: GARBAGE SHOOT. The real reasons the latest Star Wars movie flopped.

Related: “As far as I know, and I have given it a good faith perusal, no one, not a single member of the establishment media — even as commenters fill their sites with complaints about how the infusion of [producer Kathleen] Kennedy’s obnoxious politics have ruined the franchise for countless fans — has shown the moral courage to even raise the idea that this might, maybe, could conceivably, possibly, be, perhaps, part of the perchance problem.”


“While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of” Ambien.
Tweets the manufacturer of Ambien, quoted in “Sanofi, the company that makes Ambien, rebuffed the assertion Wednesday on Twitter.”

But “racism” is an abstraction, a label applied to what Roseanne did — which was to tweet “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj” in reference to Valerie Jarrett.

We don’t know what motivated those words. Perhaps it was real racism, but it could also have been a wild, reckless urge to outrage or a confused angry silliness. What was Roseanne’s emotional state at the time of the tweet, and does it have any relation to any of the known side effects of Ambien?

The American Addiction Centers website discusses the possible cognitive impairment that Ambien users have experienced, and I’ll just excerpt some of the things that could be related to a stupid expression like Roseanne’s:

Difficulty concentrating
Disorientation to place or time
Loss of emotional affect…
Excessive sedation
Confusion and disorientation…
Impaired judgment

Sanofi’s snark is first rate, but it doesn’t exclude the possibility that Ambien was Roseanne’s problem. That said, blaming Ambien sounds lame — and yet, ironically, making a lame excuse could be caused by Ambien. Lame excuse-making could be the result of confusion or disorientation or impaired judgment.

Drudge is tweeting about this stuff. It might have been better for Sanofi to keep its mouth shut here.

“OUTRIGHT LIES:” Grassley: Fusion GPS Founder Gave ‘Extremely Misleading’ Testimony About Trump Work.

EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES: Five Blood Transfusions, One Bone Marrow Transplant — All Before Birth.

JACK JOHNSON: MILES DAVIS GOES THE DISTANCE. In honor of President Trump’s pardon of the late heavyweight prizefighter yesterday, over at Ed, I’m reposting my 2003 review of A Tribute to Jack Johnson, Miles Davis’ seminal 1971 jazz-rock fusion recording.


MICHAEL WALSH: Naked is the Best Disguise: the Bipartisan Deep State.

The deep state looks after its own. And this is why—whether “Republicans” or “Democrats”—the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party hates Donald J. Trump.

Read the whole thing.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Why Trump Tweets. “If true, it is 1,000 times bigger than Watergate. But until now, wild horses couldn’t have pulled the facts that have been steadily emerging about the real scandals of the 2016 election out of the AP. Why does the AP grudgingly cover them now? Because they were tweeted by President Trump. Democratic Party outlets like the Associated Press know that millions of people understand quite a bit about the brewing Obama FBI/CIA/Fusion GPS/Clinton campaign/FISA scandal–not just the eggheads who read National Review, but the great many who follow the president on Twitter, or see accounts of his tweets elsewhere. More than anyone else, it is President Trump who has stood up to the swamp in the person of Bob Mueller, and is forcing the Democratic Party press to begin covering the real story of the 2016 election.”

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: Was Trump’s Campaign ‘Set Up’? At some point, the Russia investigation became political. How early was it?

And what do you know? Sometime in April, the law firm Perkins Coie (on behalf the Clinton campaign) hired Fusion GPS, and Fusion turned its attention to Trump-Russia connections. The job of any good swamp operator is to gin up a fatal October surprise for the opposition candidate. And what could be more devastating than to paint a picture of Trump-Russia collusion that would provoke a full-fledged FBI investigation?

We already know of at least one way Fusion went about that project, with wild success. It hired former British spy Christopher Steele to compile that infamous dossier. In July, Mr. Steele wrote a memo that leveled spectacular conspiracy theories against two particular Trump campaign members—Messrs. Manafort and Page. For an FBI that already had suspicions about the duo, those allegations might prove huge—right? That is, if the FBI were to ever see them. Though, lucky for Mrs. Clinton, July is when the Fusion team decided it was a matter of urgent national security for Mr. Steele to play off his credentials and to take this political opposition research to the FBI.

The question Mr. Nunes’s committee seems to be investigating is what other moments—if any—were engineered in the spring, summer or fall of 2016 to cast suspicion on Team Trump. The conservative press has produced some intriguing stories about a handful of odd invitations and meetings that were arranged for Messrs. Page and Papadopoulos starting in the spring—all emanating from the United Kingdom. On one hand, that country is home to the well-connected Mr. Steele, which could mean the political actors with whom he was working were involved. On the other hand, the Justice Department has admitted it was spying on both men, which could mean government was involved. Or maybe . . . both.

Which brings us to timing. It’s long been known that Mr. Steele went to the FBI in early July to talk about the dossier, and that’s the first known intersection of the strands. But given the oddity and timing of those U.K. interactions concerning Messrs. Page and Papadopoulos, and given the history of some of the people involved in arranging them, some wonder if the two strands were converging earlier than anyone has admitted. The Intelligence Committee subpoena is designed to sort all this out: Who was pulling the strings, and what was the goal? Information? Or entrapment?

I have a pretty good idea.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: About That FBI ‘Source:’ Did the Bureau engage in outright spying against the 2016 Trump campaign?

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it allowed House Intelligence Committee members to view classified documents about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough. Obama political appointees rampantly “unmasked” Trump campaign officials to monitor their conversations, while the FBI played dirty with its surveillance warrant against Carter Page, failing to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that its supporting information came from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Now we find it may have also been rolling out human intelligence, John Le Carré style, to infiltrate the Trump campaign.

Which would lead to another big question for the FBI: When? The bureau has been doggedly sticking with its story that a tip in July 2016 about the drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos launched its counterintelligence probe. Still, the players in this affair—the FBI, former Director Jim Comey, the Steele dossier authors—have been suspiciously vague on the key moments leading up to that launch date. When precisely was the Steele dossier delivered to the FBI? When precisely did the Papadopoulos information come in?

And to the point, when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight.

I don’t think the FBI is being straight. I’m speculating, of course, but I think it’s going to turn out that they were spying on Trump from surprisingly early on, and that they didn’t expect him to win, and that when he did win, the Russian “collusion” thing was hyped up as a smokescreen.

Flashback, March 2017: “Hypothesis: The spying-on-Trump thing is worse than we even imagine, and once it was clear Hillary had lost and it would inevitably come out, the Trump/Russia collusion talking point was created as a distraction.”

Plus: “But if they thought Hillary was sure to win, why bother spying on Trump? A sinister reason: To prosecute him — for something, anything they could discover — after he lost, so as to properly cow Hillary’s opposition. That might be true, but on the other hand, LBJ spied on Goldwater when his win was assured, and Nixon did the same vs. McGovern. Why would unthreatened incumbents spy on opponents they expect to lose? Maybe they do it for the same reason a dog licks himself: Because he can.”

Still just a hypothesis, but one that seems increasingly likely to be true. And if it is, the sinister reason also seems more likely to be true.

More: “Glenn Simpson, founder of the Fusion GPS research firm that hired former British agent Christopher Steele, told investigators that the FBI had shared the existence of ‘a human source from inside the Trump Organization’ in a September 2016 meeting with Steele.” (Bumped).


It happens intermittently, without warning, on no fixed schedule. First: eerie wails in the distance. Then comes the rustle of terrified feet, soon growing into the low roar of a stampede. The faces of the tormented show a mixture of hostility, disbelief, and confusion. Thomas Pynchon captured the mood in his famous description of the V-2 rocket attacks on London, at the start of Gravity’s Rainbow: “A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.” This week the screaming across the skies of the Internet could mean only one thing: Another Bari Weiss column had arrived.

Some right-leaning writers are provocateurs, but Weiss, a New York Times columnist and editor, is not Kevin Williamson or Ben Shapiro. She writes reasonable, even-tempered essays from a commonsense perspective. In her latest, “Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web,” a profile of a loosely affiliated group of public intellectuals from left and right who don’t share much in common except for a belief that ideas should be freely discussed, you’d be hard-pressed to identify a single point that’s outrageous or even controversial.

Unless you peddle in leftist identity/outrage politics, of course. Responding to a Morning Joe segment on Weiss’s “Dark Web” column, Shapiro writes, “This MSNBC Guest Just Showed Why The Intellectual Dark Web Exists:

Instead of acknowledging that identity politics is not a mere synonym for justice — and it certainly isn’t, given that identity politics insists that people be identified by their racial, ethnic, or sexual group rather than as free-thinking individuals — [Eddie Glaude Jr., chair at the Center for African-American Studies at Princeton] suggests that those who oppose identity politics are merely covering for their secret racism. That’s nasty, and it’s why the IDW exists. More importantly, it’s why intellectually honest people of the Left like Sam are now engaging with people with whom they disagree politically. If we can’t have discussions without throwing out buzzwords meant to end those discussions, discussions won’t take place.

And that’s the whole goal of identity politics; it’s “An Enemy of Reason and Enlightenment Values,” Steven Pinker writes.

JOSH MARSHALL: Stunning Developments on Trump/Private Black Ops Oppo Targeting Obama Staffers.

We start with this story in The Guardian. It’s very hedged and key details are not included. But the gist is that aides to Donald Trump hired an Israeli security firm to dig up dirt on two prominent supporters of the Iran nuclear deal. They are Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, both Obama administration national security hands who were involved in the negotiation. They both continue to be prominent supporters of it into the Trump era. Last night I said that it sounded like Black Cube, the firm that surveilled and ran black ops operations against Harvey Weinstein’s accusers on his behalf.

Then overnight Kahl came forward with a story from around the time the firm was reportedly hired in which someone approached his wife about investing in their children’s charter school. You can read the thread here. There was a backstory and details. But it sounded to the Kahls like an intelligence operation – not altogether uncommon for people in that line of work to see. So they eventually cut off communication.

Then a short time ago, Laura Rozen confirmed with Kahl that the purported firm which reached out to the Kahls was ‘Reuben Capital Partners’. That’s the same name used by Black Cube in the Weinstein operations, first reported in The New Yorker by Ronan Farrow last year.

How dare anyone steal from the Clinton playbook or cut in on Fusion GPS’s turf.

COLLUSION: Are NBC and CNN Paying Off Top Spies Who Leaked Info With On-Air Jobs?

CNN has never disclosed the close relationship between Evan Perez, one of the reporters on the Jan. 10, 2017 story, and his former Wall Street Journal colleagues who went on to start Fusion GPS, including the company’s founder Glenn Simpson. Nor did the Merriman Smith prize committee acknowledge how the dossier on which the leading lights of the news business have again staked their institutional credibility was disseminated to the public.

That story is now coming into focus with the recent release of seven government documents that together detail a working partnership between spy agencies and the press that helped a political attack meme go viral, even though the evidence on which it was based was demonstrably false. While this type of relationship—let’s call it collusion—may be routine in Third World countries, it does not bode well for the health of the American press, or our democratic institutions. . . .

Nor is Clapper the only source of misinformation to land a paying job with a news outlet he leaked to while ostensibly protecting America’s secrets. Former CIA head John Brennan, another spy chief at the Trump briefing, won a TV deal with NBC in what, if you look at it from the wrong angle—or the right angle—might appear to be a payment in kind for leaking politically charged information and perhaps even classified intelligence. It’s enough to make any real journalist nauseous—or would be, if there were any real journalists left in Washington, as opposed to people who give each other awards for printing stuff that’s spoon-fed to them by oppo shops and spies with clear political agendas. How embarrassing.

If it’s hard to see how the press is going to find its way out of this hole, that’s because the news industry has collectively decided to keep digging. The 2018 Pulitzer for National Reporting wasn’t awarded to a single story, or an individual reporter, or one newspaper’s investigative team. Uniquely, it went to the staffs of America’s two biggest newspapers, the New York Times and Washington Post. The citation congratulates them “for deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration. . . .

It’s hard to imagine anything worse for a democracy than journalists coordinating with political operatives and spies who are paid by the press to leak information about American citizens. But that’s where we are. We have hit rock-bottom.

Oh, I think there’s more bottom to come.


On the one side is a collection of Americans who rightly look at Daum’s dress and say, “That’s not racist. It’s just a pretty dress.” On the other side is a collection of Americans who view this indifference and confusion as a provocation.

Now, let me ask. As you survey pop culture, the academy, and American corporations, which side has the upper hand? Which side is defining American discourse? America’s most prominent culture-makers obsess over identity. They elevate prom dress choices to matters of national debate. And that’s why people who still possess a sense of reason, proportion, and manners (on both sides of the political aisle) need to push back. Reason can’t cede the public square to rage. Sometimes a prom dress is just a prom dress. But Lam’s tweet wasn’t “just” a tweet. It was a symbol of the incoherent anger that is tearing this nation apart.

Definitely read the whole thing. And kudos to Daum for not backing down. What David French accurately calls “perhaps the dumbest story you’ve ever heard — a story that is stupid with a heaping helping of malice on the side” made the Washington Post:

While the family lives in a predominantly white suburb of Salt Lake City, Dawes said she has made an effort to give her daughter a multicultural upbringing. When Daum was in the third grade, her mother pulled her out of her school and enrolled her in a more diverse school in Salt Lake City. “I wanted her to have that exposure,” Dawes said.

She also said that Daum has grown up with a multicultural extended family. Several of her nieces and nephews are of Pacific Island descent.

The mother found it particularly unsettling that “an adult male has attacked her for what she’s wearing,” something that has nothing to do with “her talent or her mind.”

“I’m proud of her for standing her ground because she didn’t do anything wrong,” Dawes said.

In the days since the photos went viral, Daum said she has made a point of researching the significance of the dress in Chinese history and culture. She also says she has learned about the velocity and reach of messages on social media, and the importance of being able to see her own posts from a different lens.

“This does give me a better sense of choice and being careful in what I say in posts and how it can be perceived differently,” she said.  “It’s taught me to be extra cautious because you don’t want people to see it the wrong way.”

But at the same time, she said, “there are people who are going to find something to offend them no matter what it is.”

“I’d wear it again,” she said of the dress.

Good for her. Twitter’s management attempted to keep the mob enraged by spotlighting this weekend’s idiocy as a “Twitter Moment,” but since the cycle that Internet shaming is now completely predictable, that may finally be diluting its impact:

  • Random crank is outraged over minutia, tweets random crankery.
  • The outrage mob amplifies said crankery 140 characters at a time – or simply by hitting the retweet button.
  • A few days later, faced with thousands of thousands of hateful responses, the victim apologizes, and the mob’s thirst for blood* is temporarily slaked…
  • …until the outrage mob finds a new skull to collect.

Also diluting the outrage mob? As Jordan Peterson advises Daum, “Don’t apologize. That will merely be read as an indication of your guilt. You’re innocent. Maintain your stance,” adding “Ignore them. They’re contemptible bullies masking their cruelty with virtue. You’re a kid trying to have a nice time. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

* And the frisson of pleasure from the belief that they’re the doing vital missionary work as members of the anointed.

WHY FORD ISN’T CRAZY for killing off its sedans. “Almost exactly 10 years ago, in May of 2008, the seemingly unstoppable F-150 was outsold by not one but four fuel-efficient sedans: the Honda Civic and Accord, and Toyota Corolla and Camry. With high gas prices looking like they’re coming back, this seems like an inauspicious time for Ford to announce it’s giving up on cars. Haven’t they learned anything? Yes, they have. This time is different, and it’s different because the automakers learned how to build crossovers. . . . The company is simply packaging its cars as tall wagons, because that’s what people want right now.”

MICHAEL WALSH: Donald Trump and the Star Chamber of Horrors:

Fifteen months into his administration, Donald Trump remains the object of a dedicated attempt by the Democratic Party, the media, NeverTrump Republicans, and rogue members of the deep state to take him down. From the night he was elected, lifelong members of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party and the embedded bureaucracy have refused to accept the results of a national election, and have instead waged a campaign of “lawfare” against a man they consider an interloper—a situation unique in the annals of American democracy.

From Hillary Clinton to James Comey to Robert Mueller to Stormy Daniels, to various minor federal judges, to CNN and MSNBC, the list of Trump’s enemies continues to grow.

Their tactics are breathtakingly simple—and amazingly brazen. As the past year-plus of Robert Mueller’s tedious investigation has proven, there is no very great crime behind Trump’s very great fortune of having been elected the 45th president of the United States. The entire notion of Russian “collusion” (not in itself actionable in the first place) was cooked up in the witches’ cauldron that was Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The resulting brew was liberally dispensed to the cadres of media operatives pretending to be dispassionate reporters in order to assuage the failed candidate’s rage over losing what she thought—what she was assured by her friends at the CIA and the FBI—was a fixed fight.

And so the Big Lie—that Trump had collaborated with Vladimir Putin to change the course of an American election—was born.

There was and is nothing to it, of course. But that hasn’t stopped the Democrats, whose sterling moral history of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition has prepared them for just this moment.

Flashback: Russians! Under My Bed!

HEY, BIG SAVER: Ford Plans $11.5 Billion in Extra Cuts, Kills Slow-Selling Cars.

Ford said it won’t invest in new generations of sedans for the North American market, eventually reducing its car lineup to the Mustang and an all-new Focus Active crossover coming out next year. By 2020, almost 90 percent of its portfolio in the region will be pickups, SUVs and commercial vehicles, the company said.

That means the end of the road for slow-selling sedans such as the Taurus, Fusion and Fiesta in the U.S. The automaker conspicuously left the Lincoln Continental and MKZ sedans off its hit list, but since those models share mechanical foundations with Ford siblings, their futures also are in doubt.

It’s been sad watching the not-so-slow death of the Great American Sedan, but customer tastes have shifted to light trucks and crossovers in a big way.


Jack Goldsmith, writing in the Guardian, tells us that the “deep state” is real and dangerous. His assertions carry weight for two reasons.

First, Goldsmith should know. He was a high ranking Justice Department official — head the Office of Legal Counsel — during part of the George W. Bush administration. This placed him in the middle of issues regarding national security, electronic surveillance, and the like. He also worked closely with James Comey, including during the famous incident at Attorney General Ashcroft’s hospital bed that made Comey famous (or at least a legend in his own mind).

Goldsmith is also author of Power and Constraint, a book I reviewed for the Federalist Society. Goldsmith’s research kept him very much in touch with the deep state and issues relating to its power.

Second, Goldsmith is a strong critic of President Trump. Thus I view his agreement with Trump about the “deep state” as more significant than the concurrence of Trump’s defenders, from whom we normally hear such assertions.

Says Goldsmith:

America doesn’t have coups or tanks in the street. But a deep state of sorts exists here and it includes national security bureaucrats who use secretly collected information to shape or curb the actions of elected officials. . . .

The deep state has been blamed for many things since Donald Trump became president, including by the president himself. Trump defenders have used the term promiscuously to include not just intelligence bureaucrats but a broader array of connected players in other administrative bureaucracies, in private industry, and in the media.

But even if we focus narrowly on the intelligence bureaucracies that conduct and use information collected secretly in the homeland, including the FBI, National Security Agency (NSA), and National Security Council, there is significant evidence that the deep state has used secretly collected information opportunistically and illegally to sabotage the president and his senior officials – either as part of a concerted movement or via individuals acting more or less independently. . . .

Since Trump was elected, unusually sensitive leaks of intelligence information designed to discredit him and his senior leadership have poured forth from current and former intelligence officials in the deep state. . . .

These leaks probably mark the first time ever that the content of foreign intelligence intercepts aimed at foreign agents that swept up US-person information was leaked. They clearly aimed to damage US persons – ones who happen to also be senior US government officials.

They were unlawful and, beyond that, they violated two until-now strict taboos about leaks – first on revealing the content of foreign intelligence information collected through electronic surveillance, and second on revealing the content of incidentally collected information about American citizens.

Many people, including many who are not in the Trump camp, have interpreted these leaks to violate a third taboo by marking a return to the Hoover-era FBI’s use of secretly collected information to sabotage elected officials with adverse political interests. . . .

[W]hile Hoover did many awful things in quiet, neither during his reign nor at any other time in American history have we seen such a profusion of sensitive leaks from the deep state with such an overtly political aim to bring down senior leadership.

Yes, this appears to be a coordinated bureaucratic attempt to overturn a democratic election.

I WANT TO SEE A LIST OF JOURNALISTS FUSION GPS PAID: Congress Pursues Clinton for Hiding Fusion GPS Payments.

HMM: Cohen drops libel suits against BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS.

MICHAEL BARONE: Collusion, Anyone?

As the likelihood of the charges of Trump campaign “collusion” with Russia seems headed toward zero, the likelihood of proof of a different form of “collusion” seems headed upward toward certainty.

The Russia collusion charge had some initial credibility because of businessman Trump’s dealings in Russia and candidate Trump’s off-putting praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was fueled by breathless media coverage of such trivial events as Jeff Sessions’ exchange of pleasantries with the Russian ambassador at a Washington reception.

And, of course, by the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel. But Mueller’s prosecutions of Trump campaign operatives were for misdeeds long before the campaign, and his indictment of 13 Russians specified that no American was a “knowing participant” in their work.

Now, there’s talk that Mueller is winding up his investigation. Whenever he finishes, it seems unlikely his work will fulfill the daydreams so many liberals have of making Trump go the way of Richard Nixon.

Meanwhile, the evidence builds of collusion by the Obama administration’s law enforcement and intelligence personnel in trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat and delegitimize Donald Trump in and after the 2016 presidential election.

The investigation of Hillary Clinton’s illegal email system was conducted with kid gloves. One glaring example of impropriety came when FBI Director James Comey was given (and accepted) Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s order to call it a “matter” rather than an “investigation.” Clinton aides were allowed to keep her emails and destroy 30,000 of them, plus cellphones. They were not subject to grand jury subpoenas, and a potential co-defendant was allowed to claim attorney-client privilege.

On June 27, 2016, Lynch clandestinely met with Bill Clinton on his plane at the Phoenix airport — a meeting that became known only thanks to an alert local TV reporter. Lynch supposedly left the decision on prosecution to Comey, who on July 5 announced publicly that Clinton was “extremely careless” but lacked intent to violate the law, even though the statute punishes violations intentional or not.

Contrast that with the collusion of Obama officials with the Clinton campaign-financed Christopher Steele/Fusion GPS memorandum alleging Trump ties with Russians. Comey and the Justice Department used it, without divulging who paid for it, to get a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign operative Carter Page’s future and past communications — the “wiretap” Trump was derided for mentioning.

Similarly, when Comey informed Trump in January 2017 of the contents of the then-unpublished Steele memorandum, he didn’t reveal that the Clinton campaign paid for it. Asked on his book tour why not, he blandly said he didn’t know.

Well, we know.

THE MEDIA’S ‘SEAN HANNITY STANDARD’ IS A WONDERFUL IDEA! “Now that we are entering the era of the ‘Sean Hannity Standard,’ we will finally be enlightened with full disclosures from every political journalist/commentator about their personal relationships with Democrat politicians and their respective handlers. I am especially eager to hear from Andrea Mitchell, Maggie Haberman, and Joe Scarborough.”

As Kurt Schlichter likes to say, the left are going to hate living up to their own rules.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): As I said earlier, I think we’re entitled to know the names of which “journalists” Fusion GPS had on its payroll. But weirdly, that hasn’t been released. Confidentiality and privacy, ya know.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Cohen/Hannity, Comey, Midterms and Much, Much More. “The government argued that since Cohen doesn’t have ‘a lot’ of clients there should be no privilege. WUT? Is there some heretofore unknown threshold before attorney-client privilege kicks in? What kind of precedent does this set?”

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): I think we’re entitled to know the names of which “journalists” Fusion GPS had on its payroll. But weirdly, that hasn’t been released. Confidentiality and privacy, ya know.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE: Why Nuclear Fusion Is Back. Again.

LIKE PUTTING A BAND-AID ON A TUMOR: Facebook restricts APIs, axes old Instagram platform amidst scandals.

That’s why it’s moving up the shut down of part of the Instagram API. It’s significantly limiting data available from or requiring approval for access to Facebook’s Events, Groups, and Pages APIs plus Facebook Login. Facebook is also shutting down search by email or user name and changing its account recovery system after discovering malicious actors were using these to scrape people’s data. “Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way” Schroepfer writes.

Instagram will immediately shut down part of its old platform API that was scheduled for deprecation on July 31st. TechCrunch first reported that developers’ Instagram apps were breaking over the weekend due to a sudden reduction in the API call limit. Instagram refused to comment, leading to developer frustration as their apps that analyze people’s followers and help them grow their audiences stopped working.

With all this confusion and broken features, this might be a good time to drop Instagram and cut back on your Facebook usage.

FASTER, PLEASE: Lockheed Martin Now Has a Patent For Its Potentially World Changing Fusion Reactor. Bring on the working prototype. If they stay on schedule, “the company could debut a prototype system that size of shipping container, but capable of powering a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier or 80,000 homes, sometime in the next year or so.” Well, I certainly hope it works.

ADDING YEARS TO YOUR LIFE, AND LIFE TO YOUR YEARS: Will Viagra and Cialis Extend Lifespan?

Viagra and Cialis, and a third, lesser known drug, Levitra, are used to treat erectile dysfunction. Use of these drugs is associated with a lower risk of heart attacks, and can be used as therapeutics against other disease. Will Viagra and Cialis extend lifespan?

Erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra inhibit an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 5, or PDE5. Phosphodiesterase enzymes have varying subtypes, and are found in all tissues. They catalyze the breakdown of two molecules, cGMP and cAMP, into inactive compounds.

PDE5 is upregulated from 2- to 5-fold in human heart disease. Inhibition of PDE5 with sildenafil (Viagra) protects against ischemia/reperfusion injury, which means it increases cellular antioxidant protection mechanisms.

In diabetics, use of PDE5 inhibitors is associated with a 31% decrease in all-cause mortality. After adjustment for age and other factors, mortality risk decreased to nearly 50%, including a 38% lower incidence of heart attack.

PDE5 expression is increased in many human cancers, and a number of studies have suggested that PDE5 inhibitors may be therapeutic against cancer. . . . Levels of the enzyme PDE5 appear to rise with age, and therefore inhibiting them can bring them to youthful levels, and prevent or help to treat diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Well, that sounds promising. And the side effects should be tolerable.

OF COURSE IT DOES: Under Fire And Losing Trust, Facebook Plays The Victim.

One possible explanation for Facebook management’s blasé attitude is that the company has weathered complaints about violating user privacy since its earliest days. The first revolt came in 2006, when users protested that the service’s news feed was making public information that the users had intended to keep private. The news feed is now the company’s core service. In 2009, Facebook began making users’ posts, which had previously been private, public by default. That incident triggered anger, confusion, an investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and, ultimately, a consent decree. In 2014, the company disclosed that it had tried to manipulate users’ emotions as part of an internal psychology experiment.

Nothing to see here, move along.

MEET HILLARY’S OTHER, MORE POWERFUL OPPO RESEARCH FIRM: You didn’t think Clinton would only have Fusion GPS, did you? Those guys are amateurs compared to this London-based bunch of former British intel veterans and their buddies from around the world.

“MORAL CONFUSION IS THE POOR MAN’S COMPLEXITY.” So it’s not just me?! “‘Seven Days in Entebbe’ and the nostalgia for 1970s terrorism.”

COLLUSION: Obama’s Campaign Paid $972,000 To Law Firm That Secretly Paid Fusion GPS In 2016. “Former president Barack Obama’s official campaign organization has directed nearly a million dollars to the same law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier. Since April of 2016, Obama For America (OFA) has paid over $972,000 to Perkins Coie, records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show.”

Related: REVEALED: Obama Campaign Hired Fusion GPS To Investigate Romney.

HOW MANY PRO-HILLARY HUSBAND-WIFE TEAMS DOES FUSION GPS HAVE? House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence investigators appear to have found another Obama administration inside-outside duo linked to Hillary’s favorite political mud drilling team, Fusion GPS.

THE DANGEROUS DIFFUSION of basic infantry tactics.

HMM: DOJ Is Sued For Records Of Official Linked To Dossier.

Judicial Watch seeks records of Ohr’s contacts with Steele as well as with employees of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier. Fusion worked during the presidential campaign for the Clinton campaign and DNC.

Ohr’s links to Steele and Fusion GPS are one of the strangest wrinkles in the saga over the salacious and unverified dossier.

In September 2016, while serving as associate deputy attorney general, Ohr met with Steele to discuss his investigation of Donald Trump and the Trump campaign. He also met with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson several weeks after the election at a Washington, D.C. coffee shop.

Ohr was also connected to the dossier through his wife, a Russia expert named Nellie Ohr. She worked on the Fusion GPS research team investigating Trump.

The Ohrs’ connection to the dossier was kept secret for nearly a year after the dossier’s publication. Bruce Ohr also failed to disclose Nellie’s work for Fusion on his annual financial disclosure forms.

Let the sunshine in.

POINTS AND FIGURES: There Is Gold In The Crumbs.

Spending time with my wife’s family, I heard some stories about those crumbs.

They had an aunt who had never been married. There were seven grandchildren associated with this aunt. When this aunt passed away, she left $7000 apiece to each of the grandchildren. That’s just crumbs isn’t it? Only a pittance, 7G.

What’s interesting is the stories. One family member funded an IRA with it. She has money to retire. Two others used it as the down payment on a house. They rolled that investment into bigger houses and places for their families.

Those crumbs add up.

Even a small infusion of capital, intelligently deployed, can make a huge difference.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: DOJ Official Bruce Ohr Hid Wife’s Fusion GPS Payments From Ethics Officials. “Bruce Ohr, the Department of Justice official who brought opposition research on President Donald Trump to the FBI, did not disclose that Fusion GPS, which performed that research at the Democratic National Committee’s behest, was paying his wife, and did not obtain a conflict of interest waiver from his superiors at the Justice Department, documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation show. The omission may explain why Ohr was demoted from his post as associate deputy attorney general after the relationship between Fusion GPS and his wife emerged and Fusion founder Glenn Simpson acknowledged meeting with Ohr. Willfully falsifying government ethics forms can carry a penalty of jail time, if convicted.”


Related: Monica Showalter: Bruce and Nellie Ohr: The other Trump-hating lovebirds. “The Daily Caller speculates that from Fusion GPS’s point of view, it was the perfect Bonnie and Clyde scenario for getting its research out there – not just for the incurious press, but before the eyes of the FBI, using the FBI as a means to take down Trump. All of this would have benefited its client, Hillary Clinton, whose campaign, along with the Democratic National Committee, was paying for the whole thing. Two heads are better than one, it seems. Lovebirds united in their loathing of Trump repeatedly get into mischief. This shows the incestuousness of the Deep State, of course: first FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and his wife, then FBI counterintelligence big Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page, and now Bruce and Nellie Ohr. Not a one of them was afraid of the consequences that ordinarily come of blatant conflicts of interest, and some, apparently such as Bruce Ohr, felt they could get away easily with lying. It goes to show it’s about time to clean house harder among the Deep State tag-teams.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Ruling Class Hates You.

I thought love trumps hate. That’s what I’ve been led to believe by an effusion of t-shirts, bumper stickers, and social media postings from the self-styled anti-Trump Resistance™. As my friend Roger Kimball likes to say, there really is nothing like the intoxication of moral superiority.

The syrupy slogans promulgated by the ruling class, ruling class wannabes, and fellow travelers on the Left aren’t fooling anyone, not even, I would guess, the people who say, wear, and post them. Truth is, they really don’t like the rest of us. No problem, we have our own lives and families. But it’s only not a problem until such disdain is combined with a sense of political entitlement and the coercive power of government.

Which brings us to the political and cultural union of the Democratic Party and the permanent political class called the deep state, that forms the unelected, unaccountable fourth branch of government that wields so much power up to and including the police power of the FBI.

In private texts recently made public, FBI “super-agent” Peter Strozk and his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, were quite candid. Their open disdain for a wide variety for groups including Italians, Russians, Romanians, gypsies, Virginians, Texans, and pro-lifers should surprise no one. The leaders of their party have been saying the same thing in public for years.

Deplorable-Americans are too ornery. They’d like to replace them with populations they expect to be more tractable.

ELI LAKE: We Should Care About What Happened to Carter Page: The former Trump aide’s reputation has been ruined — not by a conviction, not by any charges, but by a warrant that was supposed to be secret.

The current debate over Page is whether the FBI overreached by seeking a warrant to spy on him from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court at the end of 2016. Republicans claim the FBI improperly relied on the opposition research dossier. Democrats say the Republican memo omits information that would discredit the GOP’s case.

But that misses a broader and more important point. It’s a scandal that the public has known for more than a year that the FBI suspected Page of being a foreign agent in the first place. He has yet to be charged with a crime, but his reputation is in tatters because an element of the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s influence over the 2016 election has been publicly reported.

This started when Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff broke the first big story on Page’s meetings in Moscow with Putin aides in September 2016, allegedly to discuss the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia. Isikoff was tipped off by Steele, who was commissioned through an opposition research firm, Fusion GPS, to dig up dirt on Trump’s ties to Russia on behalf of the Clinton campaign. In a podcast this week, Isikoff confirmed that Steele told him he had “taken this information to the FBI and the bureau is very interested.”

Last April, the Washington Post reported, based on information from “law enforcement and other U.S. officials,” that the FBI had obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, warrant on Page in the summer of 2016. As the Post reported at the time, the existence of the warrant was “the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents.”

That was an important piece of news that any journalist would publish. But the officials who leaked and confirmed it violated the public’s trust in two important ways.

This didn’t just happen. It was a partisan hit job.

I’M EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Landmines left behind by the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign might soon start detonating—on Democrats.

Obama concealed his sharp-edged, Chicago-style machine politics under the rhetorical cover of progressivism. He was protected by a press corps that first enlisted in his administration and then fought to stop Donald Trump. But now that Obama is out of office, his ability to intimidate is much diminished. This past week, a 2005 picture of a beaming Obama next to a bright-eyed Louis Farrakhan surfaced, after having been held back for more than a decade at the behest of a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who had been tried for corruption by Obama’s Justice Department after he refused to toe the party line about the “peace-loving” mullahs of Iran, has now seen the charges against him dropped. Z Street, a hawkish nonprofit supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Israel, had been tied up with IRS matters since 2009; it has just been released from its legal chains. Democrats are holding to the line that the prophet of hope and change ran a pure administration, virtually free of scandal. But the memo is probably just the beginning; we’re likely to see many more revelations come out.

Obama isn’t directly mentioned in the memo. But he’s nonetheless implicated through his appointees’ apparent efforts to clear Hillary Clinton in her State Department email scandal while undermining her opponent, Trump, through the veneer of legality provided by FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Security Act) warrants, justified solely by the so-called Steele Dossier. The dossier was paid for by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee; it was created by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, who despised Trump, and the “research” firm Fusion GPS. The FISA Court, supervised by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, was never told about the unverified dossier’s origins.

I had been assured by the highest authorities that the Obama Administration was amazingly scandal-free.

THAT’S WHY THEY IGNORED IT: Eddie Scarry: Trump won on immigration at the State of the Union, even as the media ignored it.

Anyone hear about the two pairs of black parents who were invited to the State of the Union by President Trump in order to show the country how tragic our immigration system is?

I didn’t think so. Their appearance — and it was heartbreaking to see them grieve while Trump told the story of how their daughters were killed by illegal immigrant gang members — was almost entirely dismissed by the press. . . .

The two had been walking together when several members of MS-13, a gang largely made up of illegal immigrants from the slums of Central America, jumped them while wielding machetes and baseball bats. The girls, who had grown up friends since childhood, were slashed, brutalized, and bludgeoned to death, reportedly over an altercation that started on social media.

The machete is MS-13’s “weapon of choice” and is “used to mutilate and dismember victims during attacks that sometimes are recorded,” according to the Long Island newspaper Newsday.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini described the gruesome attacks as “depraved” and said the perpetrators would have had to have had “no regard for human life.”

So ravaged is Suffolk County by MS-13 that it received half a million dollars in a federal grant last October just to combat the gang violence.

But after Trump’s address, NBC “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd immediately complained that he “didn’t lead with a conciliatory tone on immigration.” (Presumably Trump’s guests, Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens, were more upset that the illegals who killed their daughters “didn’t lead with a conciliatory tone” when they took machetes to their bodies.)

The New York Times editorial board said Trump had “injected only poison and confusion” into the immigration debate.

Flush with originality, the Washington Post also said Trump “injected more ethno-nationalist venom into a debate he already has done much to poison” and that he “chose in the most inflammatory way possible to associate immigrants with a horrific crime committed by a vicious gang.”

As Scarry notes, an actual look at the speech doesn’t reveal any actual poison. Plus:

It’s only worth noting that Cuevas, Mickens and their parents are black because of the media’s unrelenting accusation that any immigration policy outside of “complete open borders” is racist.

Trump spent the better part of the last month being called a racist because he suggested limiting immigration from “shithole countries.” Here at his State of the Union were four black parents who saw their children taken away because of illegal immigrant criminals.

That interests virtually no one in the national media?

Of course not, because that would be a win for Trump. And he always wins when the debate is over immigration.

That’s why they want to shut the debate down with bogus claims of racism.

LICENSE TO KILLJOY: As Tom Wolfe wrote, paraphrasing Malcolm Muggeridge, “We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known.” Back in October, while Harvey Weinstein was being defenestrated near-daily in the news, Rob Long, as part of his “The Long View” column in the dead tree edition of National Review, wrote up a satiric lawsuit featuring a dozen Bond girls suing the living daylights (sorry) out of Her Majesty’s swinging secret agent.

The above-named plaintiffs — and others to be included at a later date — allege that in separate instances the above-named defendant, James Bond, repeatedly made unwanted advances upon their persons, in locations including public areas, private hotel rooms, corporate-jet interiors, ski slopes, and hollowed-out volcano hideaways. Further, plaintiffs claim that defendant refused to accept their demurrals, would not take “No” for an answer, and in some instances used his considerable latitude vis-à-vis License to Kill etc. to coerce, intimidate, blackmail, and relentlessly pursue the plaintiffs into unwanted situations.

Half the article is behind the NR subscriber paywall, but you get the gist of it: how could James Bond survive in the Weinstein-inspired #Metoo era? It turns out that maybe he can’t.

Continue reading ‘LICENSE TO KILLJOY: As Tom Wolfe wrote, paraphrasing Malcolm Muggeridge, “We live in an age in whi…’ »

MODIFIED LIMITED HANGOUT: Byron York: Justice Department withholds majority of FBI texts. “The Justice Department has given Congress less than 15 percent of the texts between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page – and that is all Congress is likely to get, at least until department experts finish an effort to recover an unknown number of previously lost texts that were sent and received during a key five-month period during the Trump-Russia investigation. There is much confusion over some basic facts of the Strzok-Page texts. How many are there? How many relate to the two most politically-charged investigations in years, the Trump-Russia probe and the Hillary Clinton email investigation? How many have been turned over to Congress? And how many are left to be turned over to Congress?” And how many will disappear into the aether along the way.

NO. If You’re a Purist About Scotch Whisky, You Might Find This Hard to Swallow.

The making of Scotch whisky has long followed a precise formula enshrined in law and precedent. Scotch must be distilled in Scotland from water and malted barley and aged in the country at least three years in oak casks. It should come out at least 40% alcohol by volume.

Now Diageo PLC, the world’s single biggest producer, wants to water down some of those rules, part of its attempt to arrest Scotch’s declining market share. Last year, it formed a secret task force to explore ways to change some industry rules about how Scotch must be made.

One idea was to finish aging Scotch in old tequila barrels instead of the sherry, cognac or port casks traditionally used. Another was to create a “Scotch whisky infusion,” a new category of flavored or low-alcohol blends sold under existing Scotch brands.

Diageo’s efforts to win over the Scotch Whisky Association, which lays down rules for distilling the spirit—at least on its tequila-barrel idea—are already on the rocks.

“There is not a single chance of a change of the rules,” says Gavin Hewitt, a former British diplomat and onetime chief executive of the SWA. “Whoever is saying that is talking through a complete hole in their head.”

Well, good. While it might goose sales in the short term, brand dilution in pursuit of marketshare is a huge mistake in the longterm.

SOCIALISM OF FOOLS: Fusion-Linked Conspiracy Theorists in the Media Go to the Place All Conspiracy Theorists Ultimately Go: The Jews Are Behind It All. “The media, while claiming Trump is anti-semitic, serves up piping-hot anti-semitic conspiracy theories of Jews working in league with RUSSIANS to undermine Christian America.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

OH: It looks like the ‘James Bond’ behind the dossier let a Putin pawn do all the work.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) asked Steele’s Clinton-paid handler Glenn Simpson, during the House Intelligence Committee’s Nov. 14 closed-door hearing, if Steele had gone “to Russia as part of this project,” to which Simpson replied, “No, sir.” Steele, at the time he compiled the dossier, hadn’t been back to Russia in 17 years.

So, Gowdy pressed, “How was he able to accumulate information in Russia if he didn’t go?” Simpson claimed that Steele ran a “network of subsources or subcontractors” who traveled around Russia and gathered information for him.

But it turns out the primary subcontractor worked not for Steele but for Simpson at Washington-based Fusion GPS, and he contributed key material for the investigation of Trump underwritten by the Clinton campaign. His name is Edward Baumgartner, a British national who speaks fluent Russian and runs a p.r. shop out of London (and who spent 2016 tweeting his forceful opposition to Trump’s candidacy).

While Baumgartner was working on the dossier, he was also working for Simpson on another case to smear an anti-Putin whistleblower in an effort to help Putin-tied company Prevezon defend itself against US charges of money laundering.

This whole thing stinks, to coin a phrase.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Fusion GPS Unleashed, Shutdown Countdown and Much, Much More.


SIGNS POINT TO YES: Did Glenn Simpson Lie to Congress?

Yes, after a year of wall-to-wall reporting inspired by or based on charges in the Steele dossier, the New York Times broke a story right before New Year’s Eve—a traditional dumping ground for bad news—stating that the FBI’s Russia investigation into the Trump campaign in fact had nothing to do with “a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by [the Clinton] campaign. Instead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies” that kicked off the probe. According to the Times’ switcheroo, the origin point of the Trump-Russia investigation was a boozy May 2016 evening in a London bar where a 28-year-old Trump campaign aide named George Papadopoulos boasted to an Australian diplomat that “Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.”

Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch’s op-ed in the Times supported the new revised version of Russiagate holding that it’s not about the work that originated with their firm. “We don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling,” they wrote.

It’s not hard to see why the Times, which rejected the dossier before embracing it, is now backing off the dossier again. For all of the newsprint and air-time used to push the dossier for 14 months, nothing that hadn’t already been publicly reported prior to the 2016 campaign has panned out, nor have any of the accusations regarding Trump. There is also the fact dossier may have been used to secure a FISA warrant to spy on Trump’s associates, and therefore on the candidate himself, which would be a political scandal of a magnitude likely to transcend partisan divides.

This whole thing stinks, to coin a phrase.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: Anatomy Of A Farce: Fusion GPS founder’s testimony shows how we got the collusion narrative . . . and why it won’t go away.

Do you feel the frustration, the indignation that Jones feels in our hypothetical? If you do, then you know what it’s like to be Glenn Simpson. The former Wall Street Journal reporter is a superb investigative journalist. More notoriously these days, he is the founder of Fusion GPS. It was he, in cahoots with his friend and collaborator, former British spy Christopher Steele, who orchestrated the compilation and dissemination of the so-called Steele dossier — the fons et origo of the Trump–Russia collusion narrative.

We now know the dossier was covertly commissioned by the Clinton campaign, which dealt with Fusion through a layer of lawyers. Yet, we were not aware of that nearly five months ago. That was when Simpson gave nine hours of articulate but dodgy testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee investigators. The 312-page transcript of the session was released this week by the committee’s senior Democrat, Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.). Significantly, Simpson’s dodges included for whom and with whom he was working.

Read the whole thing.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: The Dossier Rehab Campaign: Congress should work quickly to declassify documents and let the public decide.

There’s no such thing as a coincidence in Washington, so why the sudden, furious effort by Democrats and the media to give cover to the Steele dossier? As in, the sudden, furious effort that happens to coincide with congressional investigators’ finally being given access to FBI records about the Trump-Russia probe.

This scandal’s pivotal day was Jan. 3. That’s the deadline House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation to turn over documents it had been holding for months. Speaker Paul Ryan backed Mr. Nunes’s threat to cite officials for contempt of Congress. Everyone who played a part in encouraging the FBI’s colonoscopy of the Trump campaign—congressional Democrats, FBI and Justice Department senior career staff, the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama political mobs, dossier commissioner Fusion GPS, the press corps—knew about the deadline and clearly had been tipped to the likelihood that the FBI would have to comply. Thus the dossier rehabilitation campaign.

Weeks before, the same crew had taken a desperate shot at running away from the dossier, with a New York Times special that attempted to play down its significance in the FBI probe. You can see why. In the year since BuzzFeed published the salacious dossier, we’ve discovered it was a work product of the Clinton campaign, commissioned by an oppo-research firm (Fusion), compiled by a British ex-spook on the basis of anonymous sources, and rolled out to the media in the runup to the election. Oh, and it appears to continue to be almost entirely false. When the best you’ve got is that a campaign orbiter made a public trip to Russia, you haven’t got much.

But with Congress about to obtain documents that show the dossier did matter, it was time for a new line. And so the day before the Nunes deadline, Fusion co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch broke their public silence to explain in a New York Times op-ed that what really matters was their noble intention—to highlight Donald Trump’s misdeeds. The duo took credit for alerting the “national security community” to a Russian “attack.”

How brave of them.

QUESTION ASKED: Was Fusion GPS Allowed to Run Unsupervised FISA-702 Queries?

DAS IST SCHRECKLICH: German Engineering Yields New Warship That Isn’t Fit for Sea.

Germany’s naval brass in 2005 dreamed up a warship that could ferry marines into combat anywhere in the world, go up against enemy ships and stay away from home ports for two years with a crew half the size of its predecessor’s.

First delivered for sea trials in 2016 after a series of delays, the 7,000-ton Baden-Württemberg frigate was determined last month to have an unexpected design flaw: It doesn’t really work.

Defense experts cite the warship’s buggy software and ill-considered arsenal—as well as what was until recently its noticeable list to starboard—as symptoms of deeper, more intractable problems: Shrinking military expertise and growing confusion among German leaders about what the country’s armed forces are for.

A litany of bungled infrastructure projects has tarred Germany’s reputation for engineering prowess. There is still no opening date for Berlin’s new €6 billion ($7.2 billion) airport, which is already 10 years behind schedule, and the redesign of Stuttgart’s railway station remains stalled more than a decade after work on the project started. Observers have blamed these mishaps on poor planning and project management, which also figured in major setbacks for several big military projects.


TYLER O’NEIL: 5 Things to Know About Fusion GPS’s Sordid Past.

MAYBE TRUMP SHOULD HAVE CALLED HER “SNEEZY DIANNE FEINSTEIN:” Feinstein blames ‘bad cold’ for handling of Fusion GPS transcript.

NOW THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY I WAS HOPING FOR: Lasers are getting ten times more powerful every 3 years, soon Exawatt lasers will unlock fusion and more.

Multi-petawatt power capability projects.

* Chinese initiative at the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) is advancing towards a 10-PW laser facility

* 100 Petawatt Station for Extreme Light (SEL) at the proposed Shanghai Coherent Light Facility (SCLF).

* Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) activated their multi-kJ Advanced Radiographic Capability (ARC) PW scale laser and the PETAL laser at CEA began operations toward the 2-PW level in 2017.

* In South Korea, the Gwangju Institute for Science and Technology is presently commissioning a 4 PW capability that should be available to users in 2017.

* The University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics continues to work on the OPAL multi-phase laser initiative that could evolve from 5-PW to 75-PW capability.

* European ESFRI roadmap project, the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), consisting of ELI-Beamlines (Czech Republic), ELI-Nuclear Physics (Romania), and ELI-ALPS (Hungary), is rapidly approaching initial operations.

ICUIL and ICFA (International Committee for Future Accelerators), another arm of the IUPAP Working Groups, are now jointly promoting the development of efficient, highpower, laser technology to enable laser-driven wakefield acceleration for future high energy accelerators.

It’s impossible not to notice how far we’ve fallen behind the Chinese.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: 10 Takeaways From Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS Senate Testimony.

CUE WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN: IRS Needs Funding for GOP Tax Overhaul, Report Says.

The tax agency needs to update forms, create new definitions, write regulations and field questions from taxpayers, which tend to increase when Congress passes new laws. That will be challenging for the IRS, which is planning to answer just 60% of taxpayer calls during the tax-filing season and has cut its training budget by 75% since 2009, said Nina Olson, the national taxpayer advocate.

“We have already seen confusion about withholding changes, confusion about the deductibility of prepaid property taxes, and confusion about whether states can allow taxpayers to make charitable contributions in lieu of taxes as a way of permitting their residents to claim larger tax deductions,” Ms. Olson said as she released her annual report Wednesday on challenges facing taxpayers and the IRS. “With more funding, strong leadership, and a closer working relationship with Congress, I am convinced the IRS can do the job well.”

It’s far from clear, however, whether Congress will provide the IRS with additional money to implement the new tax system.

Maybe the IRS could find some extra money by disbanding its SWAT team and getting its agents to pay their taxes.

Until then, cry me a river.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Bannon Out, Fusion GPS Testimony Out and Much, Much More.


LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: President OPRAH! Fusion GPS Continuing Trump Work and Much, Much More.

THIS SHOULD BE INTERESTING: House Intelligence victorious again, obtains Fusion GPS’s financial records. We already know that Fusion GPS was paying unnamed journalists. I’m hoping we’ll get some names.

BOOM: Federal Judge Deals HUGE Blow To Fusion GPS In Bank Records Battle.

Judge Richard Leon shot down all four of Fusion’s arguments against the release of 70 records of transactions involving some of its clients as well as journalists and researchers it has paid since Sept. 2015.

Fusion sued its bank, TD Bank, in October, to prevent it from complying with a subpoena issued by the House Intelligence Committee, which has been looking into Fusion’s role in putting together the dossier.

That subpoena, issued by committee chairman Devin Nunes on Oct. 5, prompted Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the Clinton campaign and DNC, to reveal that it had hired Fusion GPS in April 2016 to investigate Trump.

Fusion, which was founded by three former Wall Street Journal reporters, later hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy with experience in Moscow.

All the “collusion” still seems to be located on the other side.

WAIT, I THOUGHT WANTING TO PAY LESS IN TAXES WAS UNPATRIOTIC: Confusion Reigns As People Race To Prepay (And Deduct) Property Taxes By Year-End.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: Was The Steele Dossier The FBI’s “Insurance Policy?” “There were layers of insulation between the Clinton campaign and Steele — the campaign and the Democratic party retained a law firm, which contracted with Fusion GPS, which in turn hired the former spy. At some point, though, perhaps early on, the FBI and DOJ learned that the dossier was actually a partisan opposition-research product. By then, they were dug in. No one, after all, would be any the wiser: Hillary would coast to victory, so Democrats would continue running the government; FISA materials are highly classified, so they’d be kept under wraps. Just as it had been with the Obama-era’s Fast and Furious and IRS scandals, any malfeasance would remain hidden. The best laid schemes . . . gang aft agley.”

MSNBC’S JOE SCARBOROUGH IS CLAIRVOYANT. HOW ELSE COULD HE READ GOP MINDS? Forget all that stuff you’ve heard about the emails FBI counter-intelligence chief Peter Strzok exchanged with his girlfriend in which both demeaned Donald Trump. And forget that the wife of a former associate deputy attorney general worked for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the infamous “dirty dossier” on Trump.

In fact, just forget everything you’ve heard, including the FEC records about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s staff of Democratic contributors who are investigating allegations that Trump colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Believe only what you read in approved media like the New York Times, Washington Post and Huffington Post. They always make Mueller’s unimpeachable virtues clear, no matter the fact pattern.

And Scarborough? Well, the former Republican congressman from Florida, is even beyond those august media outlets, thanks to his uncanny ability to discern exactly what Trump’s defenders are thinking and why they do what they do. That talent is why Scarborough can say things like this, as reported earlier today by LifeZette’s Kathryn Blackhurst:

“It seems to me that they’re just throwing whatever they can, like monkeys throwing poo against the wall. Last week, it was ‘Textgate’ scandal. So they move on to something else. What exactly is the scandal? They’re making things up every week.” Thanks, Joe, that explains a lot. Republicans are apes and criticism of Mueller is a bunch of …

Isn’t it sad that Republicans and conservatives are so intolerant and mean-spirited?


SO THAT WAS “FAKE NEWS:” CDC Director Now Says There Are No ‘Banned’ Words at The Agency. “Fitzgerald noted that the confusion arose from ‘a staff-level discussion at a routine meeting about how to present CDC’s budget.'”

ANN ALTHOUSE ROUNDS UP REACTIONS to that “Cat Person” story.

So when I was in high school, I rewrote Dorthy Parker’s “The Waltz” using all the original dialogue but from the viewpoint of the male dance partner. I got an A+. I was thinking about doing the same for this story, but my time is worth a lot more now than it was then. But if I did, the ending would be something like this:

Enough stewing, I said to myself. I should probably go to the gym, try to work off some of this weight. She didn’t seem to be into the “Dad bod,” despite what the magazines say.

At the gym, I left my unlocked iPhone in an unlocked locker, as one does. When I returned to the locker room, I saw that someone — a hacker? — had gotten on my phone and sent these texts:

“Are you fucking that guy right now”
“Are you”
“Are you”
“Are you”
“Answer me”

I started to send a text apologizing and saying that it wasn’t me, someone had taken my unlocked phone from an unlocked locker at the gym. But then I thought: Who’d believe something like that? Best to let it lie, so I hit the showers.

Oh, wait, did I say I left my phone in the locker? I meant to say, my assistant left his phone, logged into my text app, in a locker in a different town. Sorry for the confusion!

I did a better job with “The Waltz,” but then, it was for a grade. And the ending was more believable.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIALIZES: The FBI’s Trump ‘Insurance:’ More troubling evidence of election meddling at the bureau.

Democrats and the media are accusing anyone who criticizes special counsel Robert Mueller as Trumpian conspirators trying to undermine his probe. But who needs critics when Mr. Mueller’s team is doing so much to undermine its own credibility?

Wednesday’s revelations—they’re coming almost daily—include the Justice Department’s release of 2016 text messages to and from Peter Strzok, the FBI counterintelligence agent whom Mr. Mueller demoted this summer. The texts, which he exchanged with senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page, contain expletive-laced tirades against Mr. Trump. Such Trump hatred is no surprise and not by itself disqualifying. More troubling are texts that suggest that some FBI officials may have gone beyond antipathy to anti-Trump plotting.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office—that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Mr. Strzok wrote Ms. Page in an Aug. 15, 2016 text. He added: “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

What “policy” would that be? The “Andy” in question is Andrew McCabe, the deputy FBI director. FBI officials are allowed to have political opinions, but what kind of action were they discussing that would amount to anti-Trump “insurance”?

In another exchange that month, Ms. Page forwarded a Trump-related article and wrote: “Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.” He thanked her and assured: “Of course I’ll try and approach it that way.” Mr. Strzok, recall, is the man who changed the words “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” in James Comey’s July 2016 public exoneration of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The McCabe meeting came on the heels of the FBI’s launch of its counterintelligence probe into Trump-Russia ties. July is also when former British spook Christopher Steele briefed the FBI on his Clinton-financed dossier of salacious allegations against Mr. Trump. The texts explain why Mr. Mueller would remove Mr. Strzok, though a straight shooter wouldn’t typically resist turning those messages over to Congress for as long as Mr. Mueller did.

Meanwhile, we’re learning more about the political motives of Mr. Mueller’s lieutenant, Andrew Weissmann.

Related: Fusion DOJ: It’s getting hard to tell where the Clinton campaign ends and the federal law enforcement apparatus begins.

Is animus toward President Donald Trump a prerequisite for landing a job with special counsel Robert Mueller ? Recent revelations in Washington also raise again the question of what former President Barack Obama knew about the decisions of his FBI Director James Comey to exonerate Hillary Clinton and investigate Mr. Trump in 2016. . . .

Mr. Trump does not have to be paranoid to believe that the indigenous creatures of the Beltway swamp are out to get him. A number of them have put it in writing. This column can only imagine what the two political lawyers Ms. Page and Mr. Strzok said about Mr. Trump when they weren’t creating electronic records of their conversations.

Plus: Why did a federal judge overseeing a major Fusion GPS court case never disclose that she worked for multiple firms that hired Fusion GPS?

BUT OF COURSE: Fusion GPS Paid Top DOJ Official’s Wife To Dig Up Dirt On Trump.

There is no part of this which does not stink.

WE’RE GONNA FIND OUT HE WAS A PARTNER IN FUSION GPS, AREN’T WE? Politico: Justice Department won’t disclose details on Mueller ethics waiver.

I’VE GOT A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS: Industry house organ Variety reviews Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

If anything, it demonstrates just how effective supervising producer Kathleen Kennedy and the forces that oversee this now Disney-owned property are at molding their individual directors’ visions into supporting a unified corporate aesthetic — a process that chewed up and spat out helmers such as Colin Trevorrow, Gareth Edwards, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. But Johnson was either strong enough or weak enough to adapt to such pressures, and the result is the longest and least essential chapter in the series.

That doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. Rather, despite the success of “The Last Jedi” at supplying jaw-dropping visuals and a hall-of-fame-worthy lightsaber battle, audiences could presumably skip this film and show up for Episode IX without experiencing the slightest confusion as to what happened in the interim. It’s as if Johnson’s assignment was to extend the franchise without changing anything fundamental, which is closer to the way classic television and vintage James Bond movies operate than anything George Lucas ever served up.

Meanwhile, at NRO, Kyle Smith dubs The Last Jedi an “Unoriginal, Tone-Deaf Mess,” and that’s one of the kinder things he says about the sequel. But hey, not every Star Wars movie can live up to the fine special effects and operatic plotting of Star Wars: Empires are a Girl’s Best Friend.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Alabama Election Day, Fusion GPS, NYC Terror Attack and Much, Much More.

THIS WHOLE MUELLER PROBE IS DISGRACEFULLY PARTISAN AND INCESTUOUS: Wife of demoted DOJ official worked for firm behind anti-Trump dossier. “A senior Justice Department official demoted last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump ‘dossier’ had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed, Fox News has confirmed: The official’s wife worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.”

Related: ‘Journalism for rent’: Inside the secretive firm behind the Trump dossier.. “The small firm has been under intense public scrutiny for producing the 35-page document known as the Trump dossier. Senior executives summoned to testify before Congress in October invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the firm is resisting a congressional subpoena for bank records that would reveal who has paid for its services.” The records would also reveal what journalists it was paying.

But wait, there’s more:

The firm has played an unseen role in stories that dominated headlines in recent years.

In the years before it produced the dossier, records show, Fusion worked to blunt aggressive reporting on the medical-device company Theranos, which was later found to have problems with its novel blood-testing technology. It was also hired to ward off scrutiny of the nutritional supplement company Herbalife, which ultimately paid $200 million to distributors to settle claims by regulators.

In another case, the firm sought to expose what it called “slimy dealings” by a competitor of a San Francisco museum proposed by filmmaker and “Star Wars” director George Lucas. And it dug up information about domestic disputes involving a former mayor of Beverly Hills, Calif., as part of an investigation into a proposed real estate development that the mayor supported. . . .

“I call it journalism for rent,” Simpson, 53, said in August of last year at the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival and Symposium in the District, where he described Fusion’s work on a panel titled, “Investigations With an Agenda.” . . .

Fusion insists that the firm does not engage in public relations work or advertise its media connections to prospective clients. But Fusion executives have interceded with former colleagues in media when their clients came under scrutiny, records and interviews show. . . . He was candid about the money involved. Explaining why he left journalism, he joked: “We don’t use the word ‘sold out.’ We use the word ‘cashed in.’ ”

I’m sure there’s nothing slimy going on here at all.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: Obstruction of Congress: Mueller, the Justice Department and the FBI aren’t helping the lawmakers’ probe.

The media echo chamber spent the week speculating about whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller can or will nab President Trump on obstruction-of-justice charges. All the while it continues to ignore Washington’s most obvious obstruction—the coordinated effort to thwart congressional probes of the role law enforcement played in the 2016 election.

The news that senior FBI agent Peter Strzok exchanged anti-Trump, pro-Hillary text messages with another FBI official matters—though we’ve yet to see the content. The bigger scandal is that the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Mueller have known about those texts for months and deliberately kept their existence from Congress. The House Intelligence Committee sent document subpoenas and demanded an interview with Mr. Strzok. The Justice Department dodged, and then leaked.

The department also withheld from Congress that another top official, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, was in contact with ex-spook Christopher Steele and the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS. It has refused to say what role the Steele dossier—Clinton-commissioned oppo research—played in its Trump investigation. It won’t turn over files about its wiretapping.

And Mr. Mueller—who is well aware the House is probing all this, and considered the Strzok texts relevant enough to earn the agent a demotion—nonetheless did not inform Congress about the matter. Why? Perhaps Mr. Mueller feels he’s above being bothered with any other investigation. Or perhaps his team is covering for the FBI and the Justice Department.


ANN ALTHOUSE: What Comedians Miss About Trump Is That He’s One Of Them:

Those who want to do anti-Trump humor need to understand that Trump himself is a comedian. I’m not saying Trump is just a clown, and it’s crazy that we made a clown President. I’m saying, whatever his worth as human being carrying out the duties of the presidency, he is also a comic talent, with many humorous insights, great timing, and — like the greatest comedians — he’s challenging us to see what’s funny and what’s serious as he mixes it up and causes anxiety that we can [relieve] if we climb out of the ocean of confusion and onto the island of laughter.

You don’t have to like any given comedian, and a comedian who wields tremendous political power is going to fail to amuse most people. In fact, whatever your politics, you’re not going to be a very funny comedian if you just think of the President as a wonderful humorist and laugh at his jokes. But you should understand the way in which he means to be funny and project yourself into the minds of the many people do respond to his humor. . . .

If you’ve been finding it easy to make fun of Trump, you are not working hard enough. It’s like trying to write a brief in a hard legal case and believing your adversary’s arguments are just stupid. You’d better understand the way they make sense and the thinking of the people who might hear these arguments as cogent or you’re not doing it right.


FOR THE TIMES, THEY ARE ACHANGING:  Massed Confusion – Now with Footnotes.

KELLEY PAUL: Since the attack, my husband Rand Paul hasn’t taken a single breath without pain.

As we walked through the airport returning from D.C., he was shivering with a 102.5 fever, and the next morning his internist diagnosed pneumonia in his damaged lung.

It is incredibly hurtful that some news outlets have victimized Rand a second time as he struggles to recover, delighting in hateful headlines like “Not A Perfect Neighbor,” and concocting theories about an “ongoing dispute,” based on nothing more than speculation from an attention-seeking person with no knowledge of anything to do with us.

The fact is, neither Rand nor I have spoken to the attacker in 10 years (since before his wife and children moved away) other than a casual wave from the car. Nobody in our family has, nor have we communicated with anyone in his family. With Rand’s travel to D.C. in the last seven years, he has rarely seen this man at all.

The only “dispute” existed solely in the attacker’s troubled mind, until, on a beautiful autumn day, he ran down the hill on our property and slammed his body into Rand’s lower back as he stood facing away, wearing noise canceling headphones to protect his ears from the lawnmower.

This was not a “scuffle,” a “fight” or an “altercation,” as many in the media falsely describe it. It was a deliberate, blindside attack. The impact left Rand with six broken ribs, three displaced, pleural effusion and now pneumonia. This has been a terrible experience; made worse by the media’s gleeful attempts to blame Rand for it, ridiculing him for everything from mowing his own lawn to composting.

This Thanksgiving weekend, instead of playing golf with his sons or enjoying our annual touch football game with family and neighbors, Rand will be in pain. But we will still be grateful for the love of our large and supportive family, and for the encouragement and prayers of hundreds of kind and thoughtful people during these last weeks.

The visible glee with which so many “mainstream” liberal outlets greeted this unprovoked attack tells you a lot. And yet these journalists wonder why so many Americans hate them.

AS WE SUSPECTED: Fusion GPS paid journalists, court papers confirm.

Newly filed court documents confirm that Fusion GPS, the company mostly responsible for the controversial “Trump dossier” on presidential candidate Donald Trump, made payments to three journalists between June 2016 until February 2017.

The revelation could be a breakthrough for House Republicans, who are exploring whether Fusion GPS used the dossier, which was later criticized for having inaccurate information on Trump, to feed anti-Trump stories to the press during and after the presidential campaign. The three journalists who were paid by Fusion GPS are known to have reported on “Russia issues relevant to [the committee’s] investigation,” the House Intelligence Committee said in a court filing.

But the recipients’ names, the amounts, and purposes of those payments were either redacted from the documents that Fusion GPS filed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia or were not disclosed.

I want names. As journalists are always telling us, the public has a right to know.

FASTER, PLEASE: A Helium-Resistant Material Could Finally Usher in The Age of Nuclear Fusion.

NOW? Now It’s The Democrats Who Have A ‘Russian Problem.’

Richard Pollack with a Daily Caller exclusive:

Democratic fingerprints are all over a growing number of Russia-related scandals, including payments to Fusion GPS for its Russian-sourced Trump dossier, lobbying on behalf of Russia’s largest bank to lift economic sanctions, former President Barack Obama’s administration’s approval of the sale of Uranium One to Russia, and giving twenty percent of America’s uranium reserves to Moscow.

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Chuck Grassley of Iowa have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into the mounting scandals tying Democrats to Russia.

“The bottom line is very simple, says former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The Russian connection now is owned by the Democratic Party.”

What are the Democratic ties to Russia?

Read on.

RECOVERY: Inside the Fight to Study Marijuana for Vets with PTSD.

Cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I substance which means, according to the federal government, it has no accepted medical use. However, the PTSD cannabis trial—the first of its kind to rigorously investigate the safety and efficacy of veterans’ claims about using cannabis for PTSD—is an FDA-approved study using cannabis given to the researchers by the federal government. These types of seemingly contradictory policies have created confusion and, some cannabis advocates argue, bureaucratic excuses which prevent progress in the arena of cannabis research.

After seven years of regulatory hurdles, the researchers finally began sending veterans through their trial in February without recruitment assistance from the VA. But now, they say they’ve exhausted all the veterans organizations near their lab and they won’t be able to find the roughly 50 more volunteers needed for the study without help from the Phoenix VA.

The leadership at the VA in Phoenix—the closest VA to the trial’s lab in Scottsdale, Arizona—still will not permit the researchers to hang flyers in their facility, talk to their clinicians, or do anything else that would inform veterans who go to their site about the study. According to Phoenix VA chief public affairs officer Paul Coupaud, that would change if Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin told them to allow it.

That’s why the American Legion, the country’s largest veterans organization with more than 2 million members, has been calling on Shulkin for more than a year to tell the Phoenix VA to help.

Let the research go forward — you never know what you’ll find.

PREVIOUSLY: FDA designates MDMA [Ecstasy] as “breakthrough therapy” for PTSD.

BYRON YORK: Did dossier trigger the Trump-Russia probe? “The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump-Russia affair shortly after receiving the first installment of an anti-Trump dossier from a former British spy working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. What congressional investigators want to know is whether that was a coincidence or not.” I’m going to go with “not.”

Plus: “Now the moving parts, as far as the dossier is concerned, are the Mueller investigation and Congress. With Mueller, it’s impossible to determine whether he is using the dossier and if so, in what way. For its part, Congress is trying to uncover the dossier story — what did the FBI do to try to verify it? Did agents use it as a basis for seeking wiretaps? — but getting information out of the FBI, as well as Fusion GPS, has been like pulling teeth, even after a House subpoena. Ultimately more will become public. But if the past months have shown anything, it is that the FBI will not reveal its secrets, even to its legitimate congressional overseers, without a fight.”

REPORT: Fusion GPS Gave Russian Lawyer Dirt on Clinton to offer Don Jr.

RUSSIAGATE: Judicial Watch Sues Department of Justice for Communications Relating to ‘Russian Lawyer’ Immigration Parole.

Fox News recently reported on a meeting between Fusion GPS and Veselnitskaya:

The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the unverified Trump dossier, met with [Veselnitskaya] before and after a key meeting she had last year with Trump’s son, Fox News has learned. The contacts shed new light on how closely tied the firm was to Russian interests, at a time when it was financing research to discredit then-candidate Donald Trump.

The opposition research firm has faced renewed scrutiny after litigation revealed that the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid for that research. Congressional Republicans have since questioned whether that politically financed research contributed to the FBI’s investigation of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – making Fusion’s 2016 contacts with Russian interests all the more relevant.

“The ‘Russian lawyer’ who finagled a meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. evidently wasn’t supposed to be in the country,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We want to know what the Obama Justice Department knew and when it knew about what Ms. Veselniskava was up to.”

“No good” is the easy answer, but I do wish Congress were investigating more effectively since we can no longer trust our counterintelligence outfit at the FBI.

I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: Turns Out Magma Is Locked in ‘Cold Storage’ Before Volcanoes Dramatically Explode.

“The older view is that there’s a long period with a big tank of molten rock in the crust,” says geoscientist Nathan Andersen from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“A new view is that magma is stored for a long period in a state that is locked, cool, crystalline, and unable to produce an eruption. That dormant system would need a huge infusion of heat to erupt.”

Such a huge infusion of heat is what’s thought to have unleashed a violent supereruption in California some 765,000 years ago. . . .

Unfortunately, while scientists are doing everything they can to read the signs of volcanic supereruptions – something NASA views as more dangerous than asteroid strikes – the reality is, the new findings don’t bring us any closer to seeing the future.

“This does not point to prediction in any concrete way,” Singer explains in a press statement, “but it does point to the fact that we don’t understand what is going on in these systems, in the period of 10 to 1,000 years that precedes a large eruption.”

Well, that’s comforting.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Fusion GPS Strikes Deal, Texas Update and Much, Much More.

HONEYPOT CONFIRMED? Russian Lawyer Met With Clinton-Funded Fusion GPS Before and After Trump Jr. Meeting.

MONICA SHOWALTER: Did Fusion GPS pay journalists to publish fake news?

Circumstantial information also signals that there may be more than just killing stories in Fusion GPS’s repertoire. According to an investigation by The Tablet, Fusion GPS also influences reporters to write stories, effectively planting them. Halvorssen accuses reporter Ken Silverstein, who identifies himself as a journalist with cash-flow problems and a friend of Fusion GPS’s founder Glenn Simpson, as one such person who has taken his cue to write based on information that apparently came from Fusion GPS, although Silverstein denies it. Silverstein’s work generally seems to be very good yet what he wrote about Halvorssen is utter rubbish, seemingly out of character.

With those kinds of allegations going on, it’s very much the public’s right to know whether journalists have been bought off by firms like Fusion GPS, which has been known to take money from the Russians. There’s not a reputable news outlet out there that will tolerate this kind of activity and yes, anyone who does engage in such profit-taking, for whatever reason without telling anyone does get fired, as the recent firing of Wall Street Journal chief foreign correspondent Jay Solomon shows. Readers have a right to know that their news is untainted by sly little payments from special interests made under the table.

Particularly if they are foreign governments, in the case of Fusion GPS.


THE PEOPLE’S FLAG IS DEEPEST RED: It is the Centenary of the October Revolution today (owing to Russia using the old Julian Calendar then). Here’s David Satter in the Wall Street Journal:

The Bolshevik coup had two consequences. In countries where communism came to hold sway, it hollowed out society’s moral core, degrading the individual and turning him into a cog in the machinery of the state. Communists committed murder on such a scale as to all but eliminate the value of life and to destroy the individual conscience in survivors.

But the Bolsheviks’ influence was not limited to these countries. In the West, communism inverted society’s understanding of the source of its values, creating political confusion that persists to this day.

RTWT. It is probably because of the lasting effect of that second consequence that we see that more Millennials would prefer to live in a socialist country than a capitalist one. As the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation notes,

It seems that the majority of America’s largest generation would prefer to live in a socialist or communism society than in a free enterprise system that respects the rule of law, private property, and limited government. This is even more disconcerting when coupled with the fact that, despite Millennials’ enthusiasm for socialism and communism, they do not, in fact, know what those terms mean.

We have a lot to do.


SCIENCE: Young Blood Safe and Just Might Help Alzheimer’s Patients. “The team at Stanford University found that infusions of plasma from healthy young men didn’t hurt the 18 Alzheimer’s patients who got them. And a few of the patients seemed to do a little better in the skills of everyday living, although memory and thinking skills were not affected. This does not mean that blood transfusions could treat Alzheimer’s disease, researchers cautioned. The study is a very long way from showing that. But it does show it’s worth going forward with more tests, said Dr. Sharon Sha, who ran the test program at Stanford.”

I’d be interested to see if you get a better result with whole blood.

WAS FUSION GPS ACTUALLY PAYING JOURNALISTS? Fusion GPS And House Intel Committee Renew Battle Over Bank Records.

Fusion GPS and the House Intelligence Committee renewed their legal battle on Friday over subpoenas for the Trump dossier firm’s bank records.

Lawyers for Fusion submitted a new request for a temporary restraining order preventing its bank, TD Bank, from producing records requested by the House panel regarding records of its transactions “with any law firm, ‘media company’ or journalist with which it has worked.”

The filing raises the possibility that Fusion has paid journalists.


“JOURNALISTIC ETHICS.” Byron York: Manafort, FBI Investigations, And The Evolving News Media.

Byron York, chief political correspondent at the Washington Examiner, joins Federalist Radio to explain the indictment of Paul Manafort and the continued dossier buzz. He discusses the differences between today’s journalism work to the pre-twitter world.

York was the first to report last week that the Washington Free Beacon initially paid Fusion GPS for what would eventually become the infamous dossier. “There’s two angles to it. There’s the anti-Trump intrigue angle, then there’s the journalistic ethics angle.”


JOURNALISM IS ABOUT FIGURING OUT WHAT AMERICANS SHOULDN’T BE TOLD, BECAUSE TELLING THEM MIGHT HURT DEMOCRATS: Politico Hides Fusion GPS Employment Of Key Source. “Democracy dies in darkness.” It’s not a warning: It’s a goal!

“I DON’T KNOW”: DNC Chief Stonewalls Reporters On Payments To Fusion GPS.

Perez refused to disclose any basic information about the DNC’s role with the dossier and Fusion GPS.

When specifically asked, the DNC chairman declined to report how much money the DNC paid Fusion GPS, which DNC official authorized the payment or identify any DNC officials who actively collaborated with the opposition research firm.

One week after the Washington Post revealed that the Clinton presidential campaign and the DNC paid Fusion GPS, he told reporters he still had not examined how much money had been paid to the firm. “I don’t know how much of the opposition research was Fusion opposition research. I have not desegregated that amount.”

Perez also indicated that he had not ordered an internal investigation about the DNC’s role with the firm.

Whether or not he knows, he apparently doesn’t want to be seen knowing.

MARC THIESSEN: Clinton’s link to Putin is the underreported ‘dossier’ bombshell.

The news that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for research used in the discredited Trump-Russia “dossier” is a bombshell. But even more shocking — and overlooked — is the revelation that the firm the Clinton campaign hired to compile that dossier, Fusion GPS, is the same firm that has been accused in recent congressional testimony of launching a smear campaign in Washington against Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer who was tortured and killed in a Russian prison in 2009 after uncovering a $230 million tax theft by 23 Kremlin-linked companies and individuals close to President Vladimir Putin.

Which raises the question no one seems to be asking: Why was Hillary Clinton using an opposition research company with Putin-linked clients to dig up dirt on Donald Trump?

Weird that no one is asking that.

OUCH: On Behalf of The LGBT Community, Fuck Off, Kevin Spacey.

We don’t respect a man of his age and standing refusing to be open about who he is, but we respect his right to make that choice. But we vehemently reject the use of the standard celebrity coming-out announcement to distract from the fact that serious allegations have been made against him. Worse, the statement made it sound like feeling up 14-year-olds is just a thing that happens when gay men – pardon us, men who “choose to live as a gay man” – get drunk.

In case there’s any confusion on this matter, please allow these two longstanding gay men to clear it up for you:

Alcohol does not make gay men fondle teenage boys.

That one’s all on you, Kev.

Compare this Tom and Lorenzo column with the soft-hands treatment Spacey is getting from ABC and NBC.