PowerLine -> Paul Mirengoff Explains how Trey Gowdy grills Rod Rosenstein

Powerline John Hinderaker at HoaxAndChange

PowerLine -> Paul Mirengoff Explains how Trey Gowdy grills Rod Rosenstein 

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • Trey Gowdy grills Rod Rosenstein
  • Analyze this
  • Down Argentine Way: An update
  • John McWhorter Unplugged and Unafraid
  • Memo to Supreme Court: Grant Cert in the Weyerhaeuser Case!
Trey Gowdy grills Rod Rosenstein

Posted: 13 Dec 2017 02:57 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)Scott has posted video of Rep. Jim Jordan questioning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein today. I want to share Rep. Trey Gowdy’s questioning of Rosenstein.

Gowdy sets things up by noting that the only reason for the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller is the desire to have a fair, unbiased, “conflict of interest-free” investigation. He then cites substantial reasons to doubt that members of Mueller’s team (past and present) are unbiased and conflict-free.

Rosenstein replies that if members of Mueller’s team act improperly or show bias in their work, they will be removed, as Peter Strzok was. Frankly, I don’t believe this.

In any event, Rosenstein’s response is inadequate on its face. Attorney General Sessions could have run this investigation, with the promise that he would be removed if found (by the DOJ inspector general, for example) to have acted improperly or shown bias. This wouldn’t have been deemed adequate assurance of fairness by Democrats and some Republicans.

At this point, with all we have learned, similar assurances about Team Mueller aren’t adequate either.


Analyze this

Posted: 13 Dec 2017 01:40 PM PST

(Scott Johnson)This morning Rep. Jim Jordan grilled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on the red flags and anomalies that have turned up in the special counsel investigation under the direction of Robert Mueller. The investigation is to focus on the mythical Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Among the red flags is the Steele Dossier commissioned by the Clinton campaign and involving actual collusion with Russian intelligence.

Also among the red flags is one of the just released text messages of senior FBI agent Peter Strzok, who has emerged as a key player in the fake Clinton investigation and the troubling Trump-related investigation of Russian interference in the campaign. Having been detailed to Mueller’s team earlier this year, Strzok has been returned to the FBI to push paper in the human resources department.

FOX News has posted the video below of Rep. Jordan’s turn with Rosenstein taking up the Steele Dossier, Peter Strzok, and related matters. This is good.


Down Argentine Way: An update

Posted: 13 Dec 2017 01:09 PM PST

(Scott Johnson)I wrote in the post below on the possible arrest of former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina on treason and other charges relating to Iran’s apparent involvement in the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Toby Dershowitz writes from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy with an update regarding her New York Times op-ed column he wrote with Mark Dubowitz. Toby writes:

We have tracked the terrorism case and Nisman’s work for many years. You might be interested in a stunning development today reported on in several Spanish language publications and in the English language publication Algemeiner (link below). Current Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, in a letter to the current Argentine foreign minister, states clearly that the purpose of Iran’s Memorandum of Understanding with Argentina was indeed to get the Interpol “red notices” lifted. Nisman asserted that this was the case. He provided evidence of this. But both Kirchner and Timerman (and even Interpol), denied this. But here it is, in black and white, in a letter signed by Minister Zarif.

Thought that might be of interest to you.

Please check it out.


John McWhorter Unplugged and Unafraid

Posted: 13 Dec 2017 01:08 PM PST

(Steven Hayward)You owe it to yourself to take in a few short minutes of John McWhorter of Columbia University in the video below, starting at about the 14-minute mark, delivering an epic takedown of Scott’s favorite writer, Ta Nehesi Coates, whose work McWhorter characterizes as “dorm lounge performance art.” (McWhorter and his interlocutor Glenn Loury actually take up—and take down—Coates starting around the 4-minute mark; it is worth the whole thing, but for time constrained readers the peak beatdown from McWhorter starts at around 14:00.) Never mind the weaknesses of Coates’s writing: white liberals get it in the neck from McWhorter.


Memo to Supreme Court: Grant Cert in the Weyerhaeuser Case!

Posted: 13 Dec 2017 08:57 AM PST

(John Hinderaker)The government we live under does not resemble the one that is described in the Constitution. The principal reason for this is the power of federal regulatory agencies, which has grown explosively and is virtually unrestrained by Congress, the courts or even the president, who nominally controls the executive branch. The extra-constitutional administrative state now represents a grave threat to our liberties. The Supreme Court has an opportunity to begin the long process of restoring democratic, constitutional government in a case called Weyerhaeuser Company v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, et al.

The facts of the Weyerhaeuser case are almost impossible to believe if you haven’t been following the federal government’s regulatory overreach. The Fish and Wildlife Service has designated an area in Louisiana (“Unit 1”) consisting of 1,544 acres as “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog even though not a single dusky gopher frog lives in Unit 1. Not only that, it is not possible for a dusky gopher frog to live in Unit 1!

As of 1965, there were only 100 dusky gopher frogs known to exist in the wild, none in Louisiana. It is not hard to understand why: the species has complicated habitat requirements, including small, isolated “ephemeral ponds” located in open canopy forest, for breeding; open canopy forest upland from such ephemeral ponds as non-breeding habitat; and open canopy uplands connecting the two, allowing the frogs passage. Oh, one more thing: this intermediate territory must not only have an open canopy, it must include “abundant native herbaceous species” of ground cover produced by frequent fires. The Fish and Wildlife Service has admitted that Unit 1 does not contain the features necessary to be habitable by dusky gopher frogs–which is consistent, of course, with the fact that none live there.

The land we are talking about is private property, owned by, among others, Weyerhaeuser Company. It is suitable for development; in fact, St. Tammany Parish, where Unit 1 is located, is the fastest-growing parish in Louisiana. The parish has filed a brief as an amicus which would almost be funny if the circumstances were not so outrageous:

The “critical habitat” designation removes said property from being developed and as such usurps the authority of the Parish as authorized by the State of Louisiana to manage growth….Management of the proposed habitat to sustain the frogs would ultimately require that the existing forest be destroyed and the establishment of a longleaf pine forest, which would require in turn that this forest be maintained by the periodic burning of the property in order to stimulate the growth of new planted longleaf trees, which is essential to converting the existing ponds back into “ephemeral” ponds for frogs to even have a chance to survive at the said property. This maintenance procedure along the abutting Louisiana Highway 36 corridor, which is a critical east-west transportation route, will create serious public safety concerns both for local and interstate commerce traffic as well as resultant health hazards from the thick smoke clouds for the nearby community of Hickory.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is required by law to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the economic impact of the “critical habitat” designation. Even though it wildly underestimated the economic impact, Fish and Wildlife found up to $34 million in costs, and no economic benefits. No matter. It proceeded with the designation anyway.

How does such an outrageous regulation come about? Here, as is often the case, it is the result of the corrupt “sue and settle” tactic. Environmental advocacy organizations sue agencies like Fish and Wildlife, asking the court to compel the agency to, in this case, designate the land in question as critical habitat. The agency is only too happy to comply–the lawsuit is fundamentally collusive–and the court has little alternative but to rubber-stamp the parties’ settlement. “Sue and settle” is an area where reform is desperately needed.

A panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Fish and Wildlife’s designation of uninhabitable, privately-owned land as “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog. Judge Priscilla Owen, dissenting from that opinion, wrote:

There is a gap in the reasoning of the majority opinion that cannot be bridged. The area at issue is not presently “essential for the conservation of the [endangered] species” because it plays no part in the conservation of that species. Its biological and physical characteristics will not support a dusky gopher frog population. There is no evidence of a reasonable probability (or any probability for that matter) that it will become “essential” to the conservation of the species because there is no evidence that the substantial alterations and maintenance necessary to transform the area into habitat suitable for the endangered species will, or are likely to, occur.

Judge Owen concluded that the panel’s decision “re-writes the Endangered Species Act.”

Weyerhaeuser petitioned for review by the full 5th Circuit court. Its petition was rejected, with six judges dissenting. Weyerhaeuser has now petitioned for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The dusky frog case is so outrageous that one might assume that it is unique. Unfortunately, it isn’t. in 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service designated 35% of all the privately-owned land in San Juan County, Utah, as “critical habitat” for the Gunnison sage-grouse, even though, according to the County’s brief, the sage grouse does not and cannot live on most, or all, of that land. In 2014, the Washington Post wrote that proposals to conserve the sage grouse “could cost up to 31,000 jobs, up to $5.6 billion in annual economic activity and more than $262 million in lost state and local revenue every year….”

It is vitally important that the Supreme Court begins the process of reining in the out of control federal bureaucracy. The Weyerhaeuser case is a good place to start. The Supreme Court should grant certiorari, and should reverse the 5th Circuit’s decision. This is how the Petitioners characterize the issue that is ultimately at stake–correctly, I think:

The core question is simple: Does the Endangered Species Act give the Federal Government, at its choosing, virtually unrestrained control over any and all land (public or private) throughout the United States?

Cases like this one are also a reminder of how fortunate we are that Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, and how important it is that the Senate confirm his judicial nominees with dispatch. The alliance between the left-wing federal bureaucracy and left-wing federal judges is the greatest threat to our liberties that we face.


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