Ted Cruz Debates Bernie Sanders

October 22nd, 2017

One year too late, here’s the match-up many on the left and right wanted to see during the 2016 Presidential election: Ted Cruz vs. Bernie Sanders. They debated on CNN on Thursday. If (like me) you don’t have cable, here’s your chance to watch it.

Happy 111th Birthday to Veteran Richard Overton!

October 21st, 2017

BattleSwarmBlog would like to wish a happy (belated) 111th birthday to fellow Austinite Richard Overton, who, at the spry age of 111, is America’s oldest living veteran!

Another point of congratulation: After 70 years in the same house in Austin, he just got air conditioning for the first time…

LinkSwarm for October 20, 2017

October 20th, 2017

Enjoy another complimentary Friday LinkSwarm:

  • The Imran Awan scandal could result in hundreds of federal charges. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Remember Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that came up with the ludicrously fake Trump Dossier? They were called to testify before congress…and plead the fifth. “So you have what seems to be the Democrats, and Fusion GPS and these officials — intelligence agency bureaucrats — all blocking every single attempt we’re making to get the most basic information about this document, which … may have been the single document that sparked the entire Russia investigation in the first place.”
  • Bonus: That fake dossier may have been the basis of the FISA warrants used in the Trump unmasking scandal.
  • Kurt Schlichter is unimpressed with Salon’s list of Fredocons:

    The media only hires nominal conservatives who already agree with liberals, liberals have no idea what real conservatives think or why. This is the reason they end up baffled when they lose and lose and lose again – sure, Felonia von Pantsuit was also stupid and drunk, but you get the point. As Sun Tzu observed, and I believe this is a verbatim translation from the original Chinese text, a wise general must seek to know and understand the true nature and schemes of his enemy lest he end up as forlorn and humiliated as a foxy fern in the Miramax head office.

  • DNC Chair Tom Perez purges supporters of one-time rival Keith Ellison while filling key positions with Clinton supporters.
  • Speaking of which: Heh.
  • “Ralph Northam, Virginia’s Democratic nominee for governor, deleted his black running mate from his campaign fliers. His campaign says that’s not a big deal.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Plurality of Americans believe the media fabricate stories. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Try to protest by blocking roads? Welcome to a jail cell.
  • This piece on how Facebook changed the 2016 election is peppered with the usual left-wing slant (has any liberal media outlet ever been labeled “hyperpartican”?), but is also filled with nuggets of insight on how liberal complacency and conservative mastery of social media blind-sided Democrats.
  • Republicans gain in voter registration:

    In short, among the truly contested states in 2016, the only ray of hope for the Democrats is Colorado, and even there, the trends have flattened some. They have stabilized New Jersey and Delaware, but Republicans continue to gain significant ground in Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, and above all, Pennsylvania. If these trends continue through 2020, Florida would be have a slight Republican registration edge, North Carolina would be nearly even, and New Mexico would be close enough that it could never be taken for granted. Moreover, Pennsylvania and Iowa would be solid Trump states.

    The remarkable thing about the Republican trending states is that they have moved steadily ever since last November, in almost every case without a single break. Democrats continue to lose voters, and they are not becoming independents. All of this appears to be due to Trump and Trump alone, as the Republican Party has not offered any reasons to embrace it.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • One of Obama’s “Dreamers” murders high school girl. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Denison Whataburger fires employee for refusing to serve police officers. Good.
  • Kobe Steel, Japan’s third largest steel manufacturer, falsified quality reports, affecting over 500 manufacturers. Enjoy your flight.
  • Heh 2. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Guns, Tyranny and Asymmetrical Warfare

    October 19th, 2017

    One Standard Anti-Second Amendment Talking Point is that the Second Amendment is outdated and can’t possibly provide a bulwark against tyranny, because no group of citizens armed merely with legal firearms could possibly stand up to the technological might of the U.S. armed forces. The notion has a certain surface-level plausibility, as a bunch of guys armed only with AR-pattern rifles isn’t going to take out an M1A2 tank in open combat.

    Tiny problem with this argument: recent history shows it’s demonstrably wrong:

    Who exactly do you think has stymied the U.S. in Afghanistan for 16 years? The Taliban is made up of Afghan Bubbas. The Taliban doesn’t need to defeat nuclear weapons, though they are humiliating a nuclear power for the second time in history. They use a mix of Kalashnikovs and WWII-era bolt-action rifles. Determined insurgencies are really difficult to fight, even if they are only armed with Enfield rifles and you can target them with a TOW missiles system that can spot a cat in the dark from two miles away. In Iraq, expensive tanks were destroyed with simple improvised explosives.

    If the U.S. government (and the American people behind them) doesn’t want to use nuclear weapons on foreign fundamentalists in Afghanistan, why does anyone presume they’d use them against Americans in Idaho?

    It is not just our fecklessness. All great powers take into account the moral and manpower costs of implementing their rules and laws on a people. And an armed citizenry, especially if they seem to have a just cause to rally around, will dramatically raise the price of ruling them. The British Empire controlled one quarter of the world’s territory and ruled one quarter of the earth’s population in 1922. In that very year, they were forced to make an effective exit from the main part of their oldest colony, Ireland. Why? Because a determined group of Irish men with guns made the country ungovernable. The British technically could have deployed their entire navy, blockading the restive island, and starving any rebellion into submission. But they were unwilling to pay the moral price, or the price in blood. It was precisely this foreseeable event that had caused the British to ban Irish Catholics from possessing firearms hundreds of years earlier.

    And just as in the 1770s or the 1920s, governments in similar positions today or in the future would have a difficult time maintaining military morale while trying to impose rule on a people who resist it manfully.

    Let’s say that liberals get their wish, put Democrats in control of congress and the White House, and instantly pass Australian-style mandatory gun confiscation laws. If Democrats jump straight to violating the Constitution, the gloves come off. Not only will American gun owners form the largest armed insurgency the world has ever seen, but the “civilized” rules of engagement would no longer apply.

    Let’s let Scott Adams spell it out:

    The way private gun ownership protects citizens is by being a credible threat against all the civilians who might be in any way associated with a hypothetical tyrannical leader who uses the military against citizens. Citizens probably can’t get close to the leaders in such a scenario, but it would take about an hour to round up their families, and the families of supporters.

    That would do it.

    America is unconquerable.

    Imagine the top hundred Democratic Party donors in every state being taken hostage by an American insurgency. Imagine the immediate families of every Democratic U.S. Senator and Governor being taken hostage.

    Beltway snipers Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad had two states and a dozen police departments freaking out in the Beltway Sniper attacks of 2002. Now imagine that times a thousand.

    The problem is compounded even further that those same “bubbas” are exactly the sort of men who make up the bulk of the United States armed forces. Do liberals seriously believe that, come an actual civil war and suspension of the Posse Comitatus Act, troops from Texas, Kansas and Georgia will cheerfully do the bidding of elites from New York and San Francisco to disarm their own fathers and brothers (many ex-military themselves) in deep red states?

    Once again, liberals openly pining for a civil war between red and blue America seem to have overlooked the tiny obstacle that red American is the half with all the guns.

    A well-armed citizenry as large as that in the United States would make Afghanistan and Iraq look like calk walks compared to trying to occupy America. That’s why the Second Amendment remains the ultimate bulwark of American liberty.

    Raqqa Liberated

    October 18th, 2017

    The onetime capital of the short-lived caliphate of the Islamic Republic of Iraq and Syria has been completely liberated by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces:

    A US-backed alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters says it has taken full control of so-called Islamic State’s one-time “capital” of Raqqa.

    Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Talal Sello said the fighting was over after a five-month assault.

    Clearing operations were now under way to uncover any jihadist sleeper cells and remove landmines, he added.

    An official statement declaring victory in the city and the end of three years of IS rule is expected to be made soon.

    IS made Raqqa the headquarters of its self-styled “caliphate”, implementing an extreme interpretation of Islamic law and using beheadings, crucifixions and torture to terrorise residents who opposed its rule

    The city also became home to thousands of jihadists from around the world who heeded a call to migrate there by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    “On Tuesday morning, the SDF cleared the last two major IS positions in Raqqa – the municipal stadium and the National Hospital.”

    Here are a series of maps (captured from Syria.livemap.com) that paint a picture of how the battle unfolded:

    June 9:

    July 12:

    August 13:

    August 25:

    September 5:

    October 8:

    October 14:

    Some additional perspective from Robin Wright in The New Yorker:

    “There are other places for ISIS to go and survive, but there’s something special about Syria and Iraq and the Fertile Crescent,” [Will] McCants, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said. “It’s the theatre of prophecy. It’s where the apocalyptic drama unfolds. It’s the heartland of the historic caliphate, and it’s the scene of the final end-of-times drama, as predicted by Islamic scripture. Nowhere else in the Islamic world compares with it.”

    McCants said that the fall of Raqqa, a city that was once home to more than two hundred thousand Syrians but is now mostly destroyed, will weaken the group’s ability to recruit fighters and inspire attacks. “The fight will go on, and ISIS will morph into an insurgency and may try to reëstablish another state, but, for now, it’s a crushing blow,” he said. “ISIS put all its chips on creating a state and taking territory as proof of its divine mandate. Some of its followers now have to have doubts.“

    At its height, the Islamic State was about the size of Indiana, or the country of Jordan, with eight million people under its control. ISIS transformed the world of jihadism by recruiting tens of thousands of followers from five continents—faster, in larger numbers, and from further corners of the Earth than any other modern extremist group. The caliphate was formally declared by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on June 29, 2014, from a pulpit in the Grand Mosque of Mosul, the largest city under ISIS control. It, too, was liberated, in July, after a gruesome nine-month offensive by Iraqi security forces.

    ISIS still holds bits and pieces of territory in both countries. But it no longer rules. Baghdadi, an Islamic scholar who was detained by the U.S. military in Iraq for almost a year, in 2004, as prisoner number US9IZ-157911CI, has not been sighted in public since the unveiling of his caliphate.

    At a press conference on Tuesday, Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition supporting the campaign against ISIS, said, “Over all, ISIS is losing in every way. We’ve devastated their networks, targeted and eliminated their leaders at all levels. We’ve degraded their ability to finance their operations, cutting oil revenues by ninety per cent. Their flow of foreign recruits has gone from about fifteen hundred fighters a month down to near zero today. ISIS in Iraq and Syria are all but isolated in their quickly shrinking territory.” Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS at the State Department, tweeted that an estimated six thousand fighters had died in the battle for Raqqa.

    There’s talk that the Islamic State’s surviving foreign fighters will relocate to Libya, where a civil war has ranged off and on since Moammar Gadhafi’s ouster/execution (thanks, Obama).

    Now if only the various factions fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria can finish it off there rather than turning on each other…

    Clinton Corruption Update for October 17, 2017

    October 17th, 2017

    There’s a bushel of news on Hillary Clinton scandals, both old (uranium!) and new (Harvey Weinstein!):

  • Remember the Russian uranium sale scandal? It’s back!

    Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

    Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

    They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

    The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

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    Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefitting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

    The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

    When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened … on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”

    In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

    “The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

    The Obama administration’s decision to approve Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One has been a source of political controversy since 2015.

    That’s when conservative author Peter Schweitzer and The New York Times documented how Bill Clinton collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees and his charitable foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the deal while Hillary Clinton presided on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

    The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.

    But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.

    So the Obama Administration knew Russia was illegally bribing American officials in relation to the uranium deal, including the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, and did nothing. (Read the whole thing for more details on Russia’s kickbacks and bribery schemes.)

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise! Judicial Watch managed to unearth yet another treasure trove of emails Hillary Clinton sent from her illegal homebrew serve:

    Judicial Watch today released 1,617 new pages of documents from the U.S. Department of State revealing numerous additional examples of classified information being transmitted through the unsecure, non-state.gov account of Huma Abedin, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, as well as many instances of Hillary Clinton donors receiving special favors from the State Department.

    The documents included 97 email exchanges with Clinton not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 627 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails had been turned over to department.

  • Speaking of Judicial Watch, they also forced the discovery of “30 pages of documents related to the June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton.” You know, notes the FBI swore didn’t exist. Judicial Watch said they want copies of the docs no later than late November.
  • “According to the FEC, Clinton received exactly $1,492,673.45 from Weinstein since 1999.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • So how much of Harvey Weinstein’s money will the Clinton Foundation be returning? Let me do a quick little calculation here…add it all up…carry the one…and the answer is…zero. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Just as Hollywood looked the other way for the sake of career advancement so too did Hillary Clinton as she rode her husband’s attained coattails to political prominence. So her recent expression of disgust over Weinstein’s activities ring hollow.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “With everyone saying that Weinstein’s behavior was an open secret, it is impossible to believe that Hillary Clinton a) didn’t know, b) that she gave any more of a flying f*** about the women Weinstein victimized than about those molested by her husband, c) and that she’s sorry for anything other than the minor humiliation this has caused her…though after November 8th’s events this is damned small potatoes.”
  • You may remember the many, many questions raised about Hillary’s health during the 2016 Presidential campaign. In London as part of her book tour for All You Losers Let Me Down, Clinton managed to fall down and break her toe. She claimed the fall stemmed from “apparently running down the stairs in heels and falling backward.” Yeah. First off, I don’t think Hillary is up for “running” these days, or anything beyond a fast waddle. Second, why would a woman who had multiple documented falls in 2016, and who frequently needed assistance to make her way up even small stairs, be walking up or down stairs in heels? Wouldn’t she be thinking “Yeah, unless it’s a formal event and I have someone to lean on, it’s flats from here on out?” Or she could, of course, be lying yet again, which seems to be her default mode.
  • If there’s a wrong side to an issue, Hillary will find it.
  • “Chelsea Clinton runs from questions about handing back Harvey Weinstein’s tainted $250,000 donations – and her father deploys security to keep the Press away.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • If I’m married to Bill Clinton, the last thing I would want to do (well, OK, behind “stay married” and “not flee to a country with no extradition treaty”) is slam President Donald Trump by saying there’s a sexual assaulter in the White House. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Also calling Hillary Clinton out: Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. “Bourdain is dating Asia Argento, who is one of the actresses who have accused Weinstein of rape.”
  • A tweet:

  • Al Qaeda Affiliated Group Kills 276 in Somalia

    October 16th, 2017

    A truck bomb thought to be the work of the al Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab terrorist group killed at least 276 people in Mogadishu, Somalia.

    Background on al-Shabaab:

    It emerged as the radical youth wing of Somalia’s now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which controlled Mogadishu in 2006, before being forced out by Ethiopian forces.

    There are numerous reports of foreign jihadists going to Somalia to help al-Shabab, from neighbouring countries, as well as the US and Europe.

    It is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK and is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters.

    Al-Shabab advocates the Saudi-inspired Wahhabi version of Islam, while most Somalis are Sufis.

    It has imposed a strict version of Sharia in areas under its control, including stoning to death women accused of adultery and amputating the hands of thieves.

    So they’re the direct successors to the terrorists we had to deal with during Bill Clinton’s ill-conceived and poorly executed intervention in Somalia in the 1990s. (See also: Black Hawk Down.)

    Destroying the Islamic State will take the wind out of the sails of many Islamist terrorist groups worldwide, but it won’t end Islamic terrorism.

    Debunking the No True Communism Fallacy

    October 15th, 2017

    In case you missed it, Jonah Goldberg did a really nice job dismantling the New York Times gauzy, nostalgic take on communism.

    It’s an incredibly useful debating tactic to say that every failed socialist country wasn’t really socialist because it had a ruling class. The problem is that there will never be a “true” socialist country because ruling classes are inevitable. The unapologetic reds should spend a little less time reading Marx and read more Max Nomad, Milovan Djilas, Max Schachtman, James Burnham, and other Communists and former Communists who understood that any attempt to create a “true socialist” society runs into the Iron Law of Oligarchy. Every organization requires some small group of people to make important decisions. They may use their special knowledge and power to help people, but it’s also a sure bet that they will use it to help themselves as well. A society without democratic institutions and market mechanisms by its nature will invest bureaucrats with enormous power to make choices about how other people will live.

    Read the whole thing. And if you run into any leftists spouting the “No True Communism” fallacy, you could do worse than to point them to that essay and this video:

    “How many millions of people have to die before you might admit that you’re wrong? Obviously more than 100 million.”

    “Think again, sunshine!”

    Raqqa’s Fall: “Hours or Days”

    October 14th, 2017

    Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in Syria’s Raqqa and a deal has been reached to evacuate civilians and Islamic State fighters, but not foreign militants, the U.S-led coalition fighting ISIS said on Saturday.”

    Here’s the Syria LiveMap screencap from October 8:

    And here’s a screencap from today:

    It looks like the already compacted Islamic State pocket in Raqqa has already been reduced by 80% in that time.

    Here’s some video of the most recent push:

    I look forward to putting up the “Raqqa Liberated” post in a day or two…

    LinkSwarm for October 13, 2017

    October 13th, 2017

    Happy Friday the 13th! In October, no less. Might want to avoid Crystal Lake today…

    Busy week, so a small LinkSwarm.

  • Who all did Harvey Weinstein donate to? A whole lot of prominent Democrats. Including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, Chuch Schumer, Al Franken and Kamala Harris, among many, many others.
  • Billionaire Democrat megadonor Tom Steyer says Democrats must support impeaching President Trump if they want to receive any money from him. You may remember Steyer from such previous movies as My Attempts To Elect More Liberals in 2014 and 2016 Were Miserable Failures.
  • When the levee breaks, there ain’t no place to hide: Sexual harassment claim filed against Amazon TV producer Roy Price. Bonus: Accuser is Isa Hackett, one of Philip K. Dick’s daughters. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • This follows hot on the heels of claims that Price ignored claims from actress Rose McGowan that Weinstein harassed her. Price is now suspended.
  • “Jimmy Kimmel: Guess What’s In My Pants.” (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Followup: “Remember our old friends Detective Jeff Payne and Lt. James Tracy? The guys who arrested a nurse for refusing to let them draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant? Detective Payne has been fired. Lt. Tracy has been demoted.”
  • ABC News chief Matthew Dowd lies about jihad violence claims. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Timeline of the Las Vegas shooting. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Ann Coulter makes a valid point: There’s no way Stephen Paddock made a living playing video poker. Money laundering, then? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Russian intelligence agencies reportedly used Kaspersky anti-virus software as a spying tool to scan for U.S. defense secrets.
  • “The NFL is not just losing white viewers. The NFL isn’t just losing black viewers. No, the NFL is hemorrhaging viewers of all races and ages, and they’re doing so at a frightening pace.”
  • “Sorry, I was still picturing Whore Island.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ>)
  • Drug-using Bernie Bro kills Texas Tech cop.
  • Boris Becker loses millions to a Nigerian scam.