PowerLine -> Are Fish becoming transgender from contraceptive pill chemicals being flushed down household drains

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PowerLine -> Are Fish becoming transgender from contraceptive pill chemicals being flushed down household drains


Daily Digest

  • Civil War on the Left, Part 43: I Can’t Even
  • This day in “collusion” hysteria
  • The G20 Hangover: The Humbug from Hamburg
  • Remembering Judge Bright
  • How did that Russian lawyer get to stay in the U.S.?
Civil War on the Left, Part 43: I Can’t Even

Posted: 12 Jul 2017 10:03 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Just imagine all of the problems this story is going to cause the left, who won’t be able to sort out the competing Victimology and Moral Purity claims:

Fish becoming transgender from contraceptive pill chemicals being flushed down household drains

A fifth of male fish are now transgender because of chemicals from the contraceptive pill being flushed down household drains, a study by has suggested.

Male river fish are displaying feminised traits and even producing eggs, the study found. Some have reduced sperm quality and display less aggressive and competitive behaviour, which makes them less likely to breed successfully.

The chemicals causing these effects include ingredients in the contraceptive pill, by-products of cleaning agents, plastics and cosmetics, according to the findings.

So: Ban the pill! No, wait! The pill is great! Too many male fish are the whole problem in rivers and streams, especially whitefish! End whitefish privilege!

Pass the (GMO-free) popcorn.


This day in “collusion” hysteria

Posted: 12 Jul 2017 08:56 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)The mainstream media is in a state of ecstasy over the story of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with that Russian lawyer. It’s easy to understand why. After months with nothing to feed on, the media now has a scrap. In this context, the meal feels like a feast.

It certainly seems that way to Ruth Marcus. She declares, absurdly, that the Trump Jr. emails “could hardly be more incriminating.” I must have missed the one in which he told the Russkies to go ahead and hack John Podesta’s emails, and provided them the password.

Marcus also opines that Trump, Jr. violated U.S. law by accepting something of value from a foreign government agent. If that’s true, then the FBI should raid every embassy party in Washington and half of the city’s cocktail parties. Journalists and others routinely accept useful information (and plenty of interesting gossip) from “foreign government agents” at these events. Even I have used information obtained from diplomats in my writing.

For a sane take on the criminal law implications, if any, of Trump’s emails and subsequent meeting, see this column by Jonathan Turley.

Also lost on (or ignored by) the frenzied mainstream media is the fact, noted by me here, that the information Trump expected to receive from the Russian lawyer pertained to serious collusion between Hillary Clinton and/or Democrats and the Russian government, a potential crime. In other words, Trump Jr. went to the meeting to learn whether there was a basis for believing that Clinton and/or the Democrats were engaging in criminal behavior (treasonous behavior, in the view of some in the media and the Senate).

Though his intent was to help his father’s campaign, his attendance was nonetheless a potential service to the country. It certainly wasn’t treason.

The other thing the Democrats and their supporters in the media ignore is instances of efforts by foreign governments to influence American presidential elections in favor of Democrats. Byron York discusses this history.

One needn’t delve into the past to find examples. Byron reminds us of a Politico story from January — one that, surprise, never really caught on — describing an effort by the government of Ukraine to sabotage the Trump campaign

“Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office,” Politico’s Ken Vogel and David Stern reported. “They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

The covert Ukrainian campaign had some effect — it helped forced Trump to fire his campaign chief, Manafort, in a shakeup that made a difficult August even more difficult — but has generated about one-millionth the interest that Russia’s meddling has produced.

Byron also recalls how representatives of foreign powers weighed in on Bill Clinton’s behalf in the 1996 election? He asks, “Anyone remember Yah-lin “Charlie” Trie? Or Johnny Chung? Or John Huang? James Riady? Maria Shia?”

Chung testified before the House of Representatives that the head of Chinese military intelligence told him: “We like your president very much. We hope to see him re-elected. I’ll give you 300,000 U.S. dollars. You can give it to your president and the Democratic Party.” Republicans called for an independent counsel to investigate. Clinton’s attorney general refused to appoint one. The mainstream media was mostly unperturbed if I recall correctly.

For our media, foreign interference is only a treason or some other crime if the interference is on behalf of a Republican. If the interference is on behalf of a Democrat, it’s a non-issue.


The G20 Hangover: The Humbug from Hamburg

Posted: 12 Jul 2017 07:45 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Does any sentient human being actually read the complete communiques that these splashy G20 summits produce every year? I doubt it. Still, it is kind of fun to take in two paragraphs about global warming climate change that appear in the most recent declaration from the meeting in Hamburg last week.  Note the difference between these two paragraphs:

We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The United States of America announced it will immediately cease the implementation of its current nationally-determined contribution and affirms its strong commitment to an approach that lowers emissions while supporting economic growth and improving energy security needs. The United States of America states it will endeavour to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and help deploy renewable and other clean energy sources, given the importance of energy access and security in their nationally- determined contributions.

The Leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible. We reiterate the importance of fulfilling the UNFCCC commitment by developed countries in providing means of implementation including financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions in line with Paris outcomes and note the OECD’s report “Investing in Climate, Investing in Growth”. We reaffirm our strong commitment to the Paris Agreement, moving swiftly towards its full implementation in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances and, to this end, we agree to the G20 Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth as set out in the Annex. (Emphasis added.)

That first paragraph is what you get when you have State Department leadership that is actually on the side of the United States and follows the direction of the president. You can tell that we wrote the first paragraph, and the Euroweenies wrote the second one.

However, The Australian newspaper (behind a paywall alas) has uncovered the true G20 communique, and has published it as follows:

“We, the leaders of the G20 (and thousands of hangers-on), met in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7-8, at cost to taxpayers of hundreds of millions of euros.

“We remain amazed and grateful that the world’s media continues to cover this luxurious circus, unrivalled in production of inanities, year after year. We, as the world’s premier body for economic discussion, are proud of our record in lifting waffle to levels of sophistication unimaginable in an earlier era.

“The media and the political class can achieve more together than by acting alone.
“We once again met at a time of profound change amid sustained continuity. We are determined to calibrate and co-ordinate our policy frameworks to foster economic growth that is confident, strong and nice. Growth has been too wonky and lopsided, with an insufficient level of sharing.

“We undertake to consult often, widely and effectively, via landline and mobile telephone, Facebook messenger, WeChat (in China), including through use of GIFs where appropriate.

“We have come together as one to make totally unverifiable undertakings in support of three appealing nouns that we agreed at last year’s Hangzhou summit in China: resilience, sustainability, and fun. In the interests of avoiding international awkwardness we have resolved never to raise, discuss or even allude to the rationale for, or outcome of, the British general election earlier this year in front of the British Prime Minister Theresa May.

“We acknowledge that Ivanka is amazing. She is so amazing. She is absolutely terrific. We also fully support the aspirations of women and girls and applaud in particular Saudi Arabia’s undertaking to make women’s issues the centrepiece of its summit in 2020.

“We condemn actions by North Korea that risk impairing global harmony. Sad!

“We have secured the services of distinguished diplomat Hans Blix, who will spearhead a cross-country delegation charged with conveying our sentiments to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. We indicate in the strongest terms our determination to defend western, eastern, southern and northern values.

“We extend an invitation to South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill, and his 17 media advisers, to update the G20 on the success of his government’s bold climate saving initiatives at the 2018 summit in Buenos Aires, where, inspired by practice at APEC, we will dress up as lithium batteries for an official photograph to signal our support.

“We acknowledge differences of opinion among members on the efficacy of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and now strenuously undertake to limit global temperature increase to no more than 2.16 degrees Celsius by 2104…

“As part of our new Partnership with Africa we urge Africa to consider new ways to be less poor as part of our global efforts to reduce terrorism and the flow of refugees into G20 countries.

“We also welcome establishment of the Kleptomania Mitigation Taskforce, which will examine innovative ways to curb inappropriate use of foreign aid, to be spearheaded by Rwanda and Congo as part of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.


Remembering Judge Bright

Posted: 12 Jul 2017 06:41 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

The Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference convenes today in Fargo. Driving into Fargo on Monday I heard Rush Limbaugh take his first call of the day from Fargo and note the impending Eighth Circuit Conference, which he said his cousin would be attending. Rush was on top of it.

In advance of the conference, the court held a memorial session on Tuesday in the beautiful courtroom on the fourth floor of the Quentin Burdick Courthouse in honor of Judge Myron Bright, who died this past December. Originally from Eveleth, Minnesota, Judge Bright was a remarkable man. He was the longest serving member of the federal judiciary at the time of his death. He was a friend, roughly speaking, to everyone who ever met him, none more so than his many law clerks, of which I was one for two years at the outset of my career. I recalled Judge Bright upon his passing here.

Eighth Circuit Chief Judge Lavenski Smith, of Little Rock, called the event to order at 11:00 and recognized the many judges, family members, former clerks and others in attendance. He welcomed us with moving remarks recalling his own experience as a colleague of Judge Bright. Eighth Circuit Judge Roger Wollman, North Dakota Federal District Judge Ralph Erickson (nominated by President Trump to the Eighth Circuit) and son-in-law Chris Golding spoke. It was the kind of event that makes you pause to reflect on the things that matter.

Dennis Kelly served as Judge Bright’s first law clerk in 1968-1969. Dennis went on to a distinguished career at the Jones Day law firm in Cleveland. Speaking first at the memorial session after Chief Judge Smith’s welcome, Dennis gave the clerk’s eye view of Judge Bright. Dennis graciously entrusted his handwritten remarks to me following the memorial session. With Dennis’s permission, I am posting his remarks below (any typos are my own).

We are here to celebrate the life of Judge Myron Bright and to mourn his passing. And what a life it was. It was a miracle that he was able to accomplish so much in 97 years. For more than 45 of those years, he was on the Eighth Circuit. There he left a lasting imprint on the law in thousands of decisions which reflected his deep respect for individual rights and his abiding determination to do what was right. He was the champion of the common man and sought to bring the promise of our American system of justice to all who came before him.

It was obvious that he truly enjoyed being a judge. As Justice Ginsburg wrote on the occasion of his thirtieth year on the court: “Words of the prophet Micah capture your spirit, heart, and mind, for you strive to do justice, you love kindness and you do not blow your own trumpet.” She continued: “I know, too, from personal experience, that you have the capacity to make the soberest judge smile.”

For the fortunate few young lawyers who were his law clerks — more than 100, of whom I was one — he instilled at the outset of their careers a profound appreciation of what it means to be a lawyer and an idealism which could only be learned by watching him in action. For his devoted staff, his warmth and generosity enriched their lives.

Judge Bright considered his clerks and staff to be part of his extended family. He took great joy in their accomplishments and shared their sadness in misfortune. He also took great satisfaction in knowing that they had stayed true to their ideals and had followed the right moral compass.

Every five years, he would invite them all to a reunion. By and large, they did not know each other but they did know him. He always filled the hall with great numbers of former law clerks and their families who had traveled from far and wide just to spend a few days with Judge Bright.

In his autobiography, he wrote: “At my age of 94, of which 66 of those years represent my engagement with the law…, I ask myself: What have I done, what have I contributed to society in my work, particularly as a federal judge?”

With great modesty, he reflects on the many significant opinions he authored but then adds: “I cannot guarantee the life and continuity of these opinions. But in my contributions to the country, I note the approximate one hundred young lawyers who served as my law clerks. These men and women, most of them still practicing lawyers and a few as judges, carry in their minds the imprint of my philosophy as a person and as a judge. These former law clerks, with whatever assistance I have been to them, will be positive contributors to a better life for themselves, their families, and their clients in the practice of law.”

What made Judge Bright the man he was? He was born of Russian immigrant parents, raised on Minnesota’s Iron Range, came of age during the Depression and nobly served his country during World War II. For many years he was a successful and well-known trial attorney in Fargo. All that, for sure. But at the end of the day, I think he would look to his dear wife Fritzie. For 54 years she was his guiding light, never hesitating to speak her mind, his strong and constant companion. Those who knew her remember her fondly today.

By far, the greatest gift life bestowed on him was his wonderful family, his children Josh and Dinah, his son-in-law Chris and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were his pride and joy.

Those who knew him will treasure their memories and the impact he had on their lives. Those who knew him only a little encountered a man of uncommon warmth and generosity. With a buoyant spirit, he made friends wherever he went. We are all the better for it and our American ideal of justice and fairness for all is just a little closer thanks to Judge Bright.


How did that Russian lawyer get to stay in the U.S.?

Posted: 11 Jul 2017 09:33 PM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)Natalia Veselnitskaya is the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump, Jr. at Trump Tower in June 2016. Trump, Jr. met with her because he thought she might have information damaging to Hillary Clinton. Apparently, she had none and wanted to talk instead about the Magnitsky Act, about which more later.

These facts are well known to anyone who has been following the news recently. What’s less known is that Veselnitskaya was not in the U.S. lawfully.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley has written to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to complain about this and related matters. Grassley informs Kelly and Tillerson:

According to her sworn declaration, former Russian prosecutor Natalia Veselnitskaya was denied a U.S. visa to travel to the United States from Russia to participate in litigation. Although she was subsequently granted immigration parole to make the trip, her parole was set to expire on January 7, 2016. Her request to extend was denied on January 4, 2016.

Yet she was still in the U.S. in June when she met with Trump, Jr. Grassley’s letter seeks information about how could have happened.

Grassley’s letter also notes that Veselnitskaya used the meeting with Trump, Jr. to lobby against the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law that blacklisted Russians who were determined to have engaged in certain human rights violations. Veselnitskaya’s role in the Russian lobbying effort to undermine this Act was later cited in a complaint alleging that she and others promoting the same cause failed to register as Russian agents under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).

According to Grassley, the same complaint cited Fusion GPS as also lobbying against the Magnitsky Act without having registered as Russian agents. Fusion GPS is the firm hired originally by an anti-Trump Republican and then retained by Democrat backers to develop the bogus anti-Trump dossier.

The complaint called Veselnitskaya, Fusion GPS, and Rinat Akhmetshin — reportedly a former Russian GRU counterintelligence officer — “the cohort of Russian agents allegedly involved in the ongoing effort to undermine the Magnitsky Act.” That Act of Congress, by the way, is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian attorney who, after reporting large-scale Russian corruption, was arrested and died in custody under suspicious circumstances.

Is it just a coincidence that Veselnitskaya was aligned with a group that was developing a dossier on Donald Trump?

In his letter, Grassley says that Veselnitskaya’s unlawful presence in the U.S. at the time of the meeting at Trump Tower “raises serious questions about whether the Obama administration authorized her to remain in the country, and if so, why?” I agree.

It seems unlikely, however, that the Obama administration was trying to set the Trump campaign up. If it had been, wouldn’t we have heard about this meeting long ago?

It’s true, or so it appears, that nothing came out of the meeting. However, the fact that Trump, Jr. met with the Russian lawyer at all, after expressing a strong interest in obtaining negative information about the opposition, likely would have been deemed embarrassing enough for Clinton to use during the campaign or for Democrats to use soon after Clinton lost the election, when the collusion chorus began singing.

If we learn the nature of Secs. Tillerson and Kelly response to Chairman Grassley’s letter, we’ll report it.


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