Islamic State Near Collapse?

September 23rd, 2017

That’s what this headline implies. The truth is a little less dramatic: Raqqa is on the edge of full liberation and the Islamic State is in retreat everywhere else.

Static lines of control that held for months in northern Raqqa have collapsed, as seen in this Syria Livemap screen cap:

Compare that to this map from September 5:

Islamic State fighters are running out of territory in Raqqa to defend.

Here’s a video from the battle of Raqqa:

Southeast of Raqqa, Syrian government forces and the SDF are both pushing toward Deir ez-Zor.

SDF also say they have captured Syria’s largest oilfield from the Islamic State near Deir ez-Zor.

Elsewhere in the theater, “Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces have cleared ISIS out of about 50,000 square miles and liberated more than 6 million people who were living under Islamic State occupation.”

Here’s a map of Iraqi forces collapsing the pocket of Islamic State forces to the southwest of Kirkuk that have been cut off from the rest of the Islamic State at least since the investment of Mosul.

Everywhere within it’s supposed caliphate, the Islamic State is in retreat, and nowhere is it counterattacking successfully. But it still holds a lot of territory, and there’s a lot more fighting left before declaring it dead.

Bonus video: Royal Air Force drone stops Islamic State public execution:

LinkSwarm for September 22, 2017

September 22nd, 2017

Welcome to the first LinkSwarm of fall! Between a new job, car trouble, dog trouble and iPhone updates, you’re lucky there’s a LinkSwarm at all!

  • Final total for J.J. Watt’s YouCaring campaign: $37,131,967.
  • Death toll in the Mexico City earthquake hits 273.
  • Mexican rescue dog saves over 50 lives.
  • 100% of Puerto Rico is without power following Hurricane Maria.
  • Obama Administration official Samantha Power asked for over 260 unmaskings of American citizens. “She continued to seek identifying information about Americans caught up in incidental surveillance right up to President Trump’s inauguration.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • And Obama’s FBI Director James Comey was apparently eavesdropping on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “House IT Worker At Center Of Scandal Allegedly Abused Three Muslim Women.” “Multiple women in relationships with Imran Awan, the indicted former IT aide for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have recently called Virginia law enforcement and alleged being abused by him, police reports obtained under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act show.”
  • President Trump didn’t forget Poland.
  • “The mainstream media failed to see the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Now it’s overlooking another grassroots movement that may soon be of equal significance— the growing number of liberals “taking the red pill.” People of all ages and ethnicities are posting YouTube videos describing “red pill moments”—personal awakenings that have caused them to reject leftist narratives imbibed since childhood from friends, teachers, and the news and entertainment media.”
  • “Federal Prosecutors Say Anthony Weiner Convinced [15-year old] Teen To Strip, Touch Herself On Skype.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Evergreen State College has settled a tort claim against it from embattled Professor Bret Weinstein and his wife, Professor Heather Heying, for $500,000, according to an email sent to faculty Friday evening.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Article on the decline of NFL ratings offers and explanation in the comments section: “One after another, cogent, thoughtful comments clearly stating the exact reason that life long NFL fans have turned off the TV, dropped their cable subscription, and moved on.” Sample: “There will be no NFL at my house until the employment of players that disrespect our flag and anthem is terminated.”
  • More signs of NFL’s decline in popularity: Los Angeles Rams can’ even sell out their temporary stadium. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Flashback: Ted Kennedy, drunken serial sexual molester.
  • Wisconsin appeals court dismisses union lawsuit against right-to-work law.
  • Armed citizen stops would-be rapist near downtown Austin. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “Scientists create world’s first ‘molecular robot’ capable of building molecules.” No indication these 150-atom “robots” can contain programming or self-replicate, so we’re still a long way from K. Eric Drexler’s nanotechnology…
  • Valerie Plame steps in it:

  • Your Tax Dollars At Work: Democrat Rep. Dawnna Dukes Spent $51,348 in Taxpayer Money on Telephone Psychics

    September 21st, 2017

    Having been busy with Stuff and Things, Dwight beat me to the punch on the last news on the upcoming corruption trial against State Democratic Representative Dawnna Dukes. But the latest revelation is a doozy:

    As they prepare for state Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ corruption trial next month, Travis County prosecutors are prepared to present evidence that she showed up to work at the Capitol impaired, hid a cellphone from investigators and spent more than $51,000 on an online psychic.

    At least with regular draft, you can understand how the corrupt pol benefits. Blowing $51 grand of taxpayer money on Miss Cleao just adds insult to idiocy.

    More of Dukes’ Greatest Hits:

    In other “extraneous acts” listed in the filing, prosecutors say Dukes:

  • Was absent for roll call 65 percent of the time during the 2017 legislative regular session, and 36 percent of the time in the special session.
  • Responded to a search warrant for her cellphone by providing investigators a phone that did not match the identification number on the phone they had requested
  • Was noticeably impaired while trying to perform legislative duties at the Capitol and showed up late to a House Appropriations Committee hearing on March 29, stating, “I know I’m talking a lot. I’m full of morphine and will be headed out of here soon.”
  • Agreed to a contract with the Austin school district for her company, DM Dukes and Associates, to provide business evaluations but subcontracted the work to a consulting firm. The district paid Dukes $514,224 from May 2015 to March 2016.
  • Arrived late to court settings on June 30 and Aug. 21. Judge Brad Urrutia threatened to hold Dukes in contempt if she does it again.
  • Failed to submit in a timely fashion both a campaign finance report before the 2016 election and a 2017 personal financial statement. She was fined $1,000.
  • It’s a veritable buffet of bad behavior, and I look forward to Dukes appearing on Most Shocking: Legislators Out of Control.

    Blogroll Addition: Judicial Watch

    September 21st, 2017

    I’ve gone ahead and added Judicial Watch to the Blogroll under Think Tanks/Etc. Judicial Watch carried out a crucial role in uncovering several aspects of Hillary Clitnon’s Emailgate scandal, and continue to discover and document misdeeds by public officials through targeted Freedom of Information Act requests. Indeed, their work was so valuable, I signed up as a donating member.

    They’re worth your time and attention.

    Hollywood To Unveil New Award Show Devoted to Ridiculing Trump and His Supporters

    September 20th, 2017

    Today Hollywood groups announced that they were unveiling an award dedicated to ridiculing President Donald Trump and all his supporters.

    “Sure, there was a fair amount of ridicule of the Bloated Orange Buffoon and his deplorable voters at the Emmys this year,” said Screen Actor’s Guild spokesman Amy Schumer. “But it showed there’s a real thirst for Hollywood celebrities to reward withering contempt aimed at both Drumpf and his ignorant, uncouth supporters, as well as to parade and celebrate our moral superiority to them.”

    The new award show, The First Annual Smarmies, underwritten by SAG and the Writers Guild of America West, will debut in late October with Chelsea Handler as the host. Categories include:

  • Best Anti-Trump Storyline in a TV Drama
  • Best Anti-Trump Skit
  • Best Anti-Trump Monologue
  • Best Anti-Trump Song
  • Best Anti-Trump Tweet
  • Best Essay By A Former Republican Lamenting The Rise Of Trump And Confessing Their Sins
  • Best Mock Trump Assassination
  • Best Skit Expressing The Nobel Nature of Hillary Clinton OMG We Love Her So Much
  • Best Storyline Illustrating Why Enforcing Immigration Laws Is Evil
  • Best Performance Ridiculing Christians For Their Crazy Beliefs
  • Best Performance Celebrating Muslims
  • Best Performance Ridiculing Guns, Hunting or NASCAR
  • Best Monologue Explaining To Ignorant Trump Supporters In The Heartland How Very Wrong They Are And How They Need To Mend Their Ways And Abandon Trump If They Want To Win Back Hollywood’s Respect
  • Lena Dunham, Keith Olbermann, Kathy Griffin and Cher are among the announced celebrities who will be presenting awards.

    “We want to make sure the award ceremony is broadcast in prime time,” said Schumer “especially in states like Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, so we can let those inbred redneck freaks of JesusLand feel the naked contempt their intellectual betters hold them in.

    “That was the problem in 2016: We just didn’t let middle America feel our disdain for them enough. This time we’re going to fix that. Once middle America finally realizes how much Hollywood celebrities hate them, I’m sure they’ll stop voting for the candidates we oppose!”

    Lazy Blogging: Random Tweet Edition

    September 19th, 2017

    Monday was a bear, for Reasons (some good, some bad), so here’s the lazy blogger’s friend: Random Tweets.

    “Why nothing about the Emmys going full Social justice Warrior instead,” you ask?

    Because the last time I watched the Emmys, Toshiro Mifune was goofing on his appearance in Shogun. Which would put it around 1982…

    Liberals Freak Out Over Trump Tweet

    September 18th, 2017

    (Hey kids! Save that headline and you’ll be able to use it again and again and again…)

    Once again, President Donald Trump retweeted a silly meme and liberal Twitter freaked out:

    That’s Trump hitting a golf ball cut with one of Hillary Clinton’s many, many campaign trail stumbles, with CGI in the later of that ball hitting her, causing the stumble.

    It’s obviously silly, obviously unreal, and elicits a chuckle. It also reminds his followers that the MSM repeatedly covered up this and other Hillary stumbles until leaked footage of her 9/11 collapse made them cover the issue.

    Yet liberal Twitter reacted as if President Trump were advocating assaulting random old women in the street:

    Do they actually think Trump is promoting violence? Will hundreds of MAGA-cap wearing Trump supporters descend on Hillary’s book tour with 9-irons and attempt to hook and slice her to death?

    It’s like people accusing Mel Brooks of wanting to murder black law enforcement officers based on the sheriff-welcoming scene in Blazing Saddles.

    The mockery of same was equally as swift:

    And this is such a big story that the New York Times, the Washington Post and The Guardian all have stories on it.

    The weird thing is, the media ought to know by now that such unbalanced pearl-clutching overreactions hurt them far worse that Trump. They also show Trump’s still using the media’s obsession with him to dominate the news cycle.

    Demolishing the “Southern Strategy” Myth

    September 17th, 2017

    Here’s a Prager University video demolishing the myth of the “Southern Strategy,” the idea that the party of Bull Conner and George Wallace magically became the party of civil rights and the Republican Party took their place as the party of racism.

    (Hat tip: Adam Baldwin’s Twitter feed.)

    Possible Conflict Between Assad/Russia and SDF/U.S. Brewing?

    September 16th, 2017

    Remember how a month ago how almost all the different Syrian factions were concentrating on crushing the last remnants of the Islamic State?

    Good times, good times.

    Well the good times may be over, as Russian and Syrian forces launched an airstrike against the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces northeast of Deir ez-Zor.

    Both are converging on Deir ez-Zor, thought to be the de facto capital of what’s left of the Islamic State. SDF also wants to keep Assad’s forces on the western side of the Euphrates.

    Here’s the situation from Syria Livemap:

    It would be nice if both sides could finish dismantling the Islamic State before launching the next war…

    LinkSwarm for September 15, 2017

    September 15th, 2017

    Greetings, and welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Cleanup from Harvey and Irma continues apace, and there was another London jihad terror attack.

  • Bomb attack on a London tube train injuries 20, but no reported deaths. “Officers believe that the blast on the train at Parsons Green, southwest London, was caused by an improvised explosive device and hundreds of detectives are now investigating with the assistance of MI5.” More west than southwest, I would say, since it’s north of the Themes and south of Earl’s Court.
  • Also, not one, but two jihad knife attacks in France today, fortunately with no fatalities. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Irma death toll is at 82, 39 of them in the United States, and 1.5 million homes remain without power.
  • “Houston councilman tells residents not to donate to Red Cross.”

    Houston City Councilman Dave Martin, who represents hard-hit Kingwood, had a message for the public about the American Red Cross.

    “I beg you not to send them a penny,” he said at Wednesday’s council meeting. “They are the most inept unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced.”

    In part of a broader rant that also roped in a perceived lack of assistance from his native New Orleans (“Send me your darn trucks, Mitch,” he said, a plea for the Big Easy’s mayor, Mitch Landrieu, to send waste trucks westward to haul off storm debris), Martin said local folks opened shelters and gathered water and supplies to help his northeastern suburb’s evacuees.

    “Don’t waste your money,” said Martin. “Give it to another cause.”

  • Woman downloads app during Harvey, and suddenly she’s doing rescue dispatch.
  • How many times must a gay Democratic mayor be accused of child sexual abuse before resigning? Judging by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, the answer is evidently “five.” Edited to add: Forgot to mention (as Dwight does in the comments below) that Murray was a member of Illegal Mayors Against Gun Owners.
  • Speaking of prominent Democratic office holders who are sex offenders, Anthony Weiner is arguing he doesn’t deserve to go to prison because it’s not his fault that those darn sexy 15-year-olds keep attracting his attention and taking advantage of his sickness. See Anthony, the thing is, when normal men receive a message like “High! I’m nubile jailbait!”, we ignore it because we’re: A.) Not perverts, and B.) Not complete morons. But only the dimmest, stupidest, sickest pervert would fall for that crap when he lives under a media microscope and after it’s already ruined his life.
  • The Awan family Democratic House member data breach gets murkier:

    On April 6, at midnight, in a small room once used as a phone booth on the second floor of the Rayburn House Office Building, a Capitol Hill Police Officer doing his security rounds discovered evidence that will possibly reveal one of the the biggest security breaches involving House Democrats by the Awan family, a group of entrusted IT staffers, according to court records, police reports and news reports.

    In the small room, the U.S. Capitol Police found a laptop computer registered to Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a Florida Democrat and former DNC chairwoman. Wasserman-Schultz had been fighting authorities for months to return the laptop, that she once claimed was not hers.

    What’s more concerning, say senior House officials who spoke to Circa, is that Imran Awan was also allegedly transferring files – including documents and emails – of House Democrats to a secret server connected to the less secure House Democratic Caucus. The organization was then chaired by Rep. Xavier Becerra, who left Congress in January after being sworn in as the Attorney General of California.

    The Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak was the first to break the story and last week Rosiak reported Wasserman Schultz’s IT staffer, now indicted Awan, is believed to have planted her laptop in the Rayburn office room, along with his Pakistani ID card, copies of his driver’s license and his congressional ID badge. Awan also left behind letters to the U.S. attorney.

    Awan apparently wanted the evidence discovered, according to a Capitol Hill police report on the matter.

    Officials are now asking the question of why the computer was left but the answers remain elusive.

    “There is no reason to accommodate all the members data on one server and one that was apparently hidden,” said the Senior House official. “Why didn’t Xavier Becerra know this because it happened on his watch? Each member had their own server to protect against this and Awan intentionally tried to hide what he had done from investigators.”

    Becerra’s office did not return phone calls for comment.

    The House official told Circa that Awan was also allegedly uploading “terabits of information to dropbox so he was possibly able to access the information even after he was banned from the network.” The official said there is a need for a full congressional investigation on the matter.

    “I think this may lead to information as to who really accessed the DNC server – everybody talks about Russia – but look at the access (Awan) had and potentially those emails could have been sold,” the House official added.

  • Speaking of data breaches, here’s Brian Krebs on how to protect yourself after the Equifax data breach. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • “The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that will provide $1.2 trillion to fund the government past Sept. 30, and will allocate $1.6 billion towards President Donald Trump’s border wall.” This is why I don’t freak out over all the reports of President Trump’s reported amnesty deal with Democrats. It’s not that I trust Trump, it’s that I have no interest in watching the magician make flourishes with his left hand. If such an amnesty actually approaches the voting stage, then I’ll worry. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Still, President Trump would do well to heed Kurt Schlicter’s advice and not let Chuck Schumer play him for a fool. “What we saw isn’t the art of the deal. This is the art of being suckered.”
  • An organizer for the #BlackLivesMatter rally where five Dallas police officers were killed has been arrested on felony theft charges. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Illegal alien arrested in murder involving a stolen police officer’s firearm was wearing an electronic monitor issued by United States immigration officials at the time.
  • “Outraged illegal aliens demand ICE announce their raids in advance.” Note: Not an Onion headline. (Hat tip: BigGator5’s Twitter feed.)
  • Obama Administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice admits that she unmasked Trump associates.
  • Even with President Donald Trump’s recent chumminess with Democratic congressional leaders, he’s less of an authoritarian threat than Hillary was. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Don Surber puts his finger on what’s ailing the Democratic Party:

    It comes down to one man.

    The leader of the party.

    Barack Obama.

    He was a terrible president.

    Also this:

    Calling us deplorable backfired too.

    Democrats are intellectually lazy. Decades of demonizing conservatives failed to win the last election. Name-calling won’t win votes. Racist, sexist, even Nazi, no longer have any meaning thanks to overuse.

    If Democrats want to win again, then they will have to sell their ideas, not their skin color, their sex, or any other superficiality.

    People want results, not tokens.

    (Hat tip: The Other McCain.

  • How Antifa are helping reelect Donald Trump.

    It should be apparent, but evidently is not to antifa members and leaders, that the United States, despite Donald Trump being president, is not in a comparable situation to that of Weimar Germany on the eve of Hitler’s ascension to power…Leftist violence in the 1930s in Germany led many to support the Nazis in the hope they would put an end to the continuing street brawls and violence. Today, the antifa left may even help to get Donald Trump reelected in 2020.

  • “And they wonder why people don’t vote for Democrats around here anymore.”
  • In a poll of possible Democratic candidates for 2020, Bernie Sanders has a commanding lead over— [At this point a lynch mob broke into the writer’s house to wreck terrible vengeance upon him for mentioning the 2020 presidential election more than three years out.]
  • Democrats declare war on vaping.
  • Camille Paglia says that transgender activists are committing child abuse by advocating “sex change” surgery for children.

    In sex-reassignment surgery, even today, with all of its advances, cannot, in fact, change anyone’s sex. You can define yourself as a trans man or a trans woman or one of these new gradations along the scale, but ultimately every single cell in the human body, the DNA in that cell remains coded for your biological birth.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • “The Left Is Still Freaking Out About Betsy DeVos Because School Choice Is An Existential Threat.”
  • Don’t look now, but there’s a new war in the Congo.
  • “Brexit: EU repeal bill wins first Commons vote.”
  • When are experts right and when are they wrong? Scott Adams offers some guidelines.
  • Oberlin College: Hey! Let’s go full Social justice Warrior! Reality: Hey! Enjoy declining enrollment and financial problems.
  • Russian company develops anti-riot truck that’s like a moving battlement. Looks like it would be adept at crushing pro-democracy protestors and Antifa equally.
  • Jack Kerouac: “You stupid hippies should get the hell off my lawn!”
  • How it took four decades to restore Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil. Including a fascinating interview with Welles from 1958.
  • “Commuters express concern as Thomas the Tank Engine falls to the power of Chaos.”
  • My library was featured on the Ace of Spades Sunday book thread.