Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Obligatory James Comey Testimony Roundup

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

Now that the breathless wall-to-wall coverage of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony is finished, let’s wade into the towering thicket of articles covering it to pluck the most succulent points:

  • This Comey timeline is a good place to start.

    If you know that what you are about to say is going to lead people to believe the president of the United States is under investigation (as it did), and you know for a fact that the president of the United States is not under investigation (as Comey did), why make the statement? And if it was important enough to tell Congress that Trump was not under investigation so that Congress would not be misled, what conceivable reason is there not to tell the public — especially when you must know that withholding this critical detail will make it much more difficult for the president to deal with foreign leaders and marshal political support for his domestic agenda?

  • “Former FBI director James Comey’s decision to leak FBI documents to a friend may have violated the FBI’s employment agreement regarding unauthorized leaks.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Did the Attorney General lean on Comey to go easy on the target of his investigation? Yes. At least when the Attorney General was Loretta Lynch and the investigation target was Hillary Clinton:

    [Sen. James] LANKFORD [(R-OK)]: Then you made a comment earlier a the attorney general, the previous attorney general asking you about the investigation on the Clinton e-mails saying you were asked to not call it an investigation anymore. But call it a matter. You said that confused you. You can give us additional details on that?

    COMEY: Well, it concerned me because we were at the point where we refused to confirm the existence as we typically do of an investigation for months. And was getting to a place where that looked silly because the campaigns we’re talking about interacting with the FBI in the course of our work. The Clinton campaign at the time was using all kinds of euphemisms, security matters, things like that for what was going on.

    We were getting to a place where the attorney general and I were both going to testify and talk publicly about it I wanted to know was she going to authorize us to confirm we have an investigation. She said yes, don’t call it that, call it a matter. I said why would I do that? She said, just call it a matter. You look back in hindsight, if I looked back and said this isn’t a hill worth dying on so I just said the press is going to completely ignore it. That’s what happened when I said we opened a matter.

    They all reported the FBI has an investigation open. So that concerned me because that language tracked the way the campaign was talking about the FBI’s work and that’s concerning.

    LANKFORD: You gave impression that the campaign was somehow using the language as the FBI because you were handed the campaign language?

    COMEY: I don’t know whether it was intentional or not but it gave the impression that the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way it was describing that. It was inaccurate. We had an investigation open for the federal bureau of investigation, we had an investigation open at the time. That gave me a queasy feeling.

  • “Most seemed to miss the fact that Comey was describing his own conduct in strikingly unethical terms. The greatest irony is that Trump succeeded in baiting Comey to a degree that even Trump could not have imagined. After calling Comey a ‘showboat’ and poor director, Comey proceeded to commit an unethical and unprofessional act in leaking damaging memos against Trump.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Kurt Schlichter:

    That towering doofus James Comey crushed the spirits of millions of democracy-hating geebos when, trapped by his own prior testimony, he was forced to admit the truth on national television. And that truth, as those of us not caught up in the whirlpool of Menschian insanity and liberal wishcasting all know, is that the whole Russia thing is a wheelbarrow of fresh Schumer squeezed out by Hillary and her minions in order to create a narrative – any narrative – that would hide the bitter truth. We rejected her, and now we’re rejecting the Russia idiocy too.

  • Scott Adams:

    Was President Trump trying to persuade Comey in any of their private conversations? Of course he was. In a political context, all conversations are about persuasion. Comey was trying to persuade Trump that Comey was a competent and capable player with no bias. Trump was expressing his preferences from a power position, which is persuasive by its nature.

    Persuasion isn’t inherently good or bad. Persuasion is a tool. It’s goodness or badness depends on the context of its use. If you believe Trump knows he and his associates were innocent of any wrongdoing, and you observe that the investigations are making the government less effective, it feels entirely legitimate for the President to persuade in a direction that is a benefit for all citizens. No one wants to waste time, money, or energy on a useless investigation. But if you think there is some wrongdoing yet uncovered, presidential persuasion would be wildly inappropriate in this case, even if technically legal.

    I haven’t seen evidence of any crimes on the Trump side, so my filter sees a president trying to remove some obstacles that are not serving him or the American public. That kind of persuasion doesn’t feel wrong to me.

  • “Trump committed no crime. Democrats need to get over it.”

    Democrats will continue to lash out and contort Comey’s testimony, but the facts speak for themselves. President Trump has not asked anyone to lie, he has not prevented anyone from performing his or her legal obligations, and he has most certainly not obstructed justice.

    Comey’s testimony was not flattering toward the president, but, as I wrote yesterday, it did more to help Trump than to hurt him. No matter how much the Democrats and mainstream media outlets try to spin a crime out of the straw that was Comey’s testimony, the facts just do not take us there.

    The president still has the advantage of being innocent. If the Democrats want to impeach Trump, they will have to keep looking. I’m sure they will.

  • 7 Big Takeaways From The Comey Hearing.” Including:

    The Conspiracy Theory That Says Trump Colluded With Russia To Somehow Steal The Election From Hillary Clinton Is Now Dead: Not only did Comey thoroughly shoot down the idea that Trump was being investigated in the Russia probe, he explicitly denied stories based on anonymous sources that said Trump colluded with the Russians. He added, “Yes, there have been many, many stories based on — well, lots of stuff but about Russia that are dead wrong.” Read it and weep, conspiracy theorists.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • “Comey stated that a key New York Times report asserting Trump campaign collusion, which sparked much of the frenzy the past several months, was substantively false. On top of that, Comey testified not only that Trump didn’t try to impede the Russia investigation, he actually encouraged Comey to find out and expose whether any of Trump’s campaign ‘satellites’ (I assume that means people working for or with the campaign) engaged in wrongdoing.”
  • Lefty constitutional law scholar Alan Dershowitz says that there’s no plausible case that President Trump obstructed justice. “You can’t obstruct justice by simply exercising your power under the Constitution.”
  • Seven questions that should have been asked at the Comey hearing. Such as: “Did you also create memos for every phone call and every meeting you had with President Obama? With Attorneys General Lynch and Sessions? If you did not, why did you treat your interactions with Lynch over the Clinton email server investigation differently from your interactions with President Trump over the Russia probe?” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Random Tweet:

  • There. Now let’s sweep up all these breathless Comey memos and Trump-Russia conspiracy theories into one big crate, padlock it shut, and ship it off to that giant warehouse with the Ark of the Covenant where we never have to speak of it again.

    Theresa May Screws Up

    Friday, June 9th, 2017

    Despite having an absolute majority in Parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May gambled she could increase Tory numbers in Parliament, strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations, and KO the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party by calling a snap election.

    The result: the Tories lost 12 seats and Labour picked up 29, meaning that the Tories no longer have an absolute majority. Because they still have the most seats in Parliament, the Tories will still get first crack at forming a coalition government, most likely with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. “For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, we will ensure there’s a Tory PM.”

    Oddly enough, both Conservatives and Labour gained vote share at the expense of the minor parties. The conservatives increased their share of votes in Scotland, where they took several seats from the Scottish National Party. The Liberal Democrats gained three seats.

    I said when she scheduled the snap election that it was a bold but risky move, and it backfired. I think “campaign fatigue” might have had a role in May’s defeat, a classic “Hubris clobbered by Nemesis” move.

    If there’s one pattern to 21st century electoral politics, it’s apparently “never believe polls.”

    (Administrative note: So much news dropped yesterday that the LinkSwarm will probably be pushed out to Monday.)

    Other Reasons For Hillary’s Loss

    Sunday, June 4th, 2017

    If you’ve been following the Hillary Comeback Tour, you might have noticed that she has an ever-expanding list of reasons why she lost the 2016 Presidential race:

    Funny how none of those cover her own corruption, incompetence and dishonesty.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

    Given that ever-expanding list, Twitter decided to help Hillary out with #OtherReasonsForHillarysLoss.

    Clinton Corruption Update for June 1, 2017

    Thursday, June 1st, 2017

    After Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 Presidential election to Donald Trump, I assumed that (if she wasn’t indicted), she would go the way of Al Gore and Walter Mondale and step out of the public spotlight. Never did I dream that we’d be almost half a year into the Trump Presidency and Hillary Clinton would still be refighting the 2016 Presidential election.

    Say this for the Atlanta Falcons: As bad as their collapse was, I don’t see any of them making the talk shows rounds proclaiming that they really won Super Bowl LI. Yet Hillary Clinton suffers from a world-class case of denial:

    New York Magazine dedicated its cover story to covering Clinton’s journey from a one-time presidential loser to a two-time presidential loser. Deep inside the coverage is a key kernel of wisdom: Even if you lose, just pretend you didn’t so people keep giving you money.

    When asked about how Trump and Bernie Sanders capitalized on American anger, Clinton responded like a dementia-riddled Civil War veteran: “Yes, and I beat both of them,” she told Rebecca Traister of New York Mag.

    Uh huh. I guess when Clinton says things like this we’re just supposed to ignore them like when grandma says something racist at the dinner table. Sure, Clinton won in November, and the maid is stealing money from Nana’s purse.

    Snip.

    If you think Clinton is ready to take any responsibility, hold your breath. Her unfavorables, the FBI investigation, her shady business practices—that’s all just the fault of The Media.

    “Look, we have an advocacy press on the right that has done a really good job for the last 25 years,” Clinton told NY Mag. “They have a mission. They use the rights given to them under the First Amendment to advocate a set of policies that are in their interests, their commercial, corporate, religious interests. Because the advocacy media occupies the right, and the center needs to be focused on providing as accurate information as possible. Not both-sides-ism and not false equivalency.”

    Only a Clinton would somehow have the gall to argue that the media didn’t work hard enough to stop Trump from getting elected.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

    Yet another revelation from Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, namely that the entire “Russia hacked the election” fantasy liberals have been pushing was cooked up by Hillary Clinton’s team within 24 hours of her loss:

    The book further highlights how Clinton’s Russia-blame-game was a plan hatched by senior campaign staffers John Podesta and Robby Mook, less than “within twenty-four hours” after she conceded:

    That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.

    The Clinton camp settled on a two-pronged plan — pushing the press to cover how “Russian hacking was the major unreported story of the campaign, overshadowed by the contents of stolen e-mails and Hillary’s own private-server imbroglio,” while “hammering the media for focusing so intently on the investigation into her e-mail, which had created a cloud over her candidacy,” the authors wrote.

    Of course, many Democrats who “wanted to believe” have been taken in by that laughably fake Russian “dossier” on Trump. Including former FBI Director James Comey. “It was a very powerful factor in the decision to go forward in July with the statement that there shouldn’t be a prosecution.”

    And now that Comey is out, “a growing chorus is suggesting that the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email scandal should be reopened.”

    In other Clinton Corruption news:

  • “Bangladesh prime minister says Clinton personally pressured her to help foundation donor.”

    The Office of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina confirmed to Circa that Mrs. Clinton called her office in March 2011 to demand that Dr. Muhammed Yunus, a 2006 Nobel Peace prize winner, be restored to his role as chairman of the country’s most famous microcredit bank, Grameen Bank. The bank’s nonprofit Grameen America, which Yunus chairs, has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative. Grameen Research, which is chaired by Yunus, has donated between $25,000 and $50,000, according to the Clinton Foundation website.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • Democrats don’t actually want a congressional investigation into Russian hacking allegations. “They have tried to destroy this Russia investigation, they’ve never been serious about it.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How Hillary blew the election in five easy steps. “Hillary Clinton had no real sincere position on any issue other than a desire to stay in public office for nearly a quarter-century.”

    Also:

    Haughtiness, insularity, and laziness characterized the conduct of the Clinton campaign. Even a novice outsider could see that Obama’s successful electoral matrix — record minority turnout and bloc voting, coupled with the drop-off in turnout by a disengaged white working middle class (tired both of left-wing identity politics and Republican bluestocking elitism) — was not going to be transferrable to an off-putting 69-year-old, white multimillionaire.

    Not only did Hillary Clinton lack Obama’s youthful vigor and mellifluousness; she also seemed at times geriatric, snarky, and screechy. The result was that she did not win the minority vote at the levels she needed. Further, she galvanized the supposedly ossified and irrelevant white working classes to finally come out and vote, in their own bloc fashion, against her. Obama had guaranteed her his downside but never delivered his upside.

    Snip.

    She made her disdain concrete by never campaigning in Wisconsin and only sporadically visiting the Blue Wall states eastward to the Carolinas. And she was convinced that demography had doomed the white working classes and empowered Latinos and blacks in red states such as Arizona and Georgia.

    Clinton’s inept campaign aimed, then, not just at a win (which was attainable by nonstop populist barnstorming and message massaging in the Rust Belt) but, greedily, at a “mandate” that was impossible, given minority-vote falloff and Democratic estrangement from the working classes. Apparently, no one told the campaign that open borders were not a popular national issue, and that Democrats could not win Texas even with Latino bloc voting, and that they could do so in deep-blue California but without any electoral significance.

    Also:

    Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash is underappreciated for its effect on the campaign. Through painstaking research, it tied together all the strands of Clinton nefariousness: the Clinton Foundation as an excuse to hire political flunkies and provide free jet travel; the quid pro quo State Department nods to those who hired Bill Clinton to speak; and corruption under Hillary Clinton, from cellphone concessions in Haiti to North American uranium sales to Russian interests.

    Add to the Clinton sleaze Hillary’s unsecured server and communications of classified material, the creepy New York and Washington careerists who turned up in the Podesta archives, and the political rigging that warped the conduct of the Democratic National Committee.

    The result was that Hillary could no longer play the role of the “good” Clinton who “put up” with her husband’s “good ole boy” sleaze. Her new image was that of an equal partner in crime — or perhaps even a godmother who used the capo Bill as muscle. In comparison, Trump steaks, Trump University, Trump taxes, and Trump ties were old-fashioned American hucksterism, but with one important difference: Trump’s excesses were a private person’s; Clinton’s were those of a public servant.

  • Clinton even trashed the in-the-tank for Hillary DNC over poor data collection.

    “I’m now the nominee of the Democratic Party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party,” she continued.

    “What do you mean nothing?” asked interviewer Walt Mossberg.

    “I mean it was bankrupt, it was on the verge of insolvency, its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it, the DNC, to keep it going,” Clinton said.

    Hell, all that may even be true, but what sort of gratitude is that after the DNC went out of its way to put its thumb on the scales to ensure she beat Bernie Sanders? (Hat tip: Directror Blue.)

  • That, in turn, lead DNC data guy Andrew Therriault to tweet defending himself:

    Then he deleted both those tweets, including the one that mentioned DNC limits as a “laundering vehicle.” Why, it’s almost as though he feared criticizing Hillary Clinton…

  • The real Clinton-Russia nexus is a lot more concrete than the theoretical Trump-Russia nexus.
  • We keep hearing again and again that Hillary isn’t running for anything. Then why does she keep sounding like she is?

    Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t merely in a state of denial. She has become Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense. Politically speaking, she is dead, but she doesn’t know it. Her staffers are so many Haley Joel Osments — too kind (and too attached to their salaries) to tell her that her career is over. She doesn’t need briefings. She doesn’t need to do interviews. She doesn’t need to write the book she is writing (after so many indigestible volumes, why bother with one more?). She doesn’t need to stake out a politically nuanced position on James Comey’s firing or scramble to get out in front of the Resistance parade. She lost two exceedingly winnable presidential campaigns in Hindenburgian fashion. There is no demand for her to run again and there is nothing left for her except to receive whatever ceremonial honors and sinecures may come her way. She has been handed her political retirement papers by the American people. She’s done.

    (Hat tip: Maggie’s Farm.)

  • Hillary’s accusations of voter suppression are bunk.
  • “Hillary Clinton is making fools out of feminists.” Making? (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • From back in January: The FBI quietly release “nearly 300 pages of records from its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.”
  • More on the same subject:

    A new batch of messages released by the State Department on Tuesday shows the former secretary of state and her team routinely shared her upcoming schedules, talking points and sensitive items – such as her iPad password – via the homebrewed system.

    Other newly revealed emails, which were posted as the result of litigation, show Clinton’s top advisers griping about her during her time as secretary of State; an Asian ruler who later implemented Sharia law saying he considered former President Bill Clinton part of his “family”; and Clinton talking about Justin Cooper, one of the key figures who administered to her private server.

  • Hillary Clinton gets a break when an Obama-appointed judge throughs out a lawsuit against her over Benghazi on technical grounds.
  • “Hey, Hillary Clinton, shut the f— up and go away already.” And that’s from someone who voted for Clinton! “No one deserves more blame for the election debacle than Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
  • LinkSwarm for May 26, 2017

    Friday, May 26th, 2017

    Happy Memorial Day Weekend! A time to remember the fallen and enjoy a three day weekend. It’s also an Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday here in Texas, which could mean big savings on such varied items as refrigerators, water conservation or water efficient products, and various gardening products, including soil and mulch.

    Now on to the LinkSwarm!

  • Hey Democrats: How’s that “All Trump Derangement Syndrome, All the Time” working out for you? “A new Gallup Poll indicates that the rating for Democrats has slipped five points since November, while the low rating for the Republican Party remained about the same.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • What ObamaCare wrought: “The average individual purchaser of health insurance across the United States saw their premiums increase from $232 per month in 2013 to $476 per month in 2017, a ‘modest’ increase of over 100% in just a few years. To put that into perspective, that’s nearly $3,000 per year and roughly 9% of what the median American earns each year.”
  • More on Obama’s widespread, unconstitutional domestic surveillance:

    The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

    More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

    The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

    The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

  • Kurt Schlichter: Trump succeeds at his most important job:

    Looking at it objectively, as a guy who opposed Trump until he dispatched Ted Cruz, I have to consider all the facts and ponder the evidence carefully before awarding Donald Trump the grade of A+. He has done an incredible job of doing exactly what I had hoped he would do in the off chance he defeated that naggy harridan and her corps of gender indeterminate hipsters, coastal snobs, race hustlers, aspiring libfascists, media scum, and wussy pseudo-conservatives terrified that a Hillary loss would mean people might expect them to do more than wear bow ties and go on NPR to prattle about Burke in their high-pitched, nasal voices.

    There can be no serious debate. Donald Trump has done a truly outstanding job of not being Hillary Clinton.

    His not being Hillary Clinton was and remains my sole expectation of Donald Trump’s presidency. Nothing else matters in the end; it is enough that Trump foiled Felonia von Pantsuit’s creepy scheme to subjugate forever the deplorable mass of normal people she despises. The Obamacare repeal, tax reform, plus appointees of the quality of Gorsuch, Mattis and McMaster, and his lower court appointments – the inexplicable and damn-well-better-be-corrected-if-Trump-doesn’t-want-a conservative-rebellion omission of Justice Don Willett not withstanding – are merely icing on the red velvet cake of Trump’s not-being-Hillaryhood.

  • Mark Steyn weighs in on the Manchester attack, and, as usual, the difficulty is finding what not to quote:

    A few weeks ago the BBC reported that “approximately 850 people” from the United Kingdom have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for Isis and the like. That’s more volunteers than the IRA were able to recruit in thirty years of the “Troubles”, when MI5 estimated that they never had more than a hundred active terrorists out in the field. This time maybe it’s the exotic appeal of foreign travel, as opposed to a month holed up in a barn in Newry.

    Carrying on in Germany, Angela Merkel pronounced the attack “incomprehensible”. But she can’t be that uncomprehending, can she? Our declared enemies are perfectly straightforward in their stated goals, and their actions are consistent with their words. They select their targets with some care. For a while, it was Europe’s Jews, at a Brussels museum and a Toulouse school and a Copenhagen synagogue and a Paris kosher supermarket. But Continentals are, except for political photo-ops on Holocaust Memorial Day, relatively heartless about dead Jews, and wrote off such incidents as something to do with “Israeli settlements” and “occupation” and of no broader significance.

    So they moved on to slaughter 49 gays in a nightclub in Orlando – the biggest mound of gay corpses ever piled up in American history and the worst terror attack on American soil since 9/11. But all the usual noisy LGBTQWERTY activists fell suddenly silent, as if they’d all gone back in the closet and curled up in the fetal position. And those Democrats who felt obliged to weigh in thought it was something to do with the need for gun control…

    So they targeted provocative expressions of the infidel’s abominable false religion, decapitating a French priest at Mass and mowing down pedestrians at a Berlin Christmas market. But post-Christian Europe takes Christianity less seriously than its enemies do, and so that too merited little more than a shrug and a pledge to carry on.

    So they selected symbols of nationhood, like France’s Bastille Day, Canada’s Cenotaph, and the Mother of Parliaments in London. But taking seriously assaults on your own nation’s symbols would require you to take your nation seriously, and most western citizens are disinclined to do so. As the great universal talismanic anthem of the age has it, “Imagine there’s no countries/It’s easy if you try…”

    So the new Caliphate’s believers figured out that what their enemy really likes is consumerism and pop music. Hence the attacks on the Champs-Élysées and the flagship Åhléns department store in Stockholm, and the bloodbath at the Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris and now at Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” tour.

    Snip.

    But the arithmetic is not difficult: Poland and Hungary and Slovakia do not have Islamic terrorism because they have very little Islam. France and Germany and Belgium admit more and more Islam, and thus more and more terrorism. Yet the subject of immigration has been all but entirely absent from the current UK election campaign. Thirty years ago, in the interests of stopping IRA terrorism, the British state was not above preventing the internal movement within its borders of unconvicted, uncharged, unarrested Republican sympathizers seeking to take a ferry from Belfast to Liverpool. Today it declares it can do nothing to prevent the movement of large numbers of the Muslim world from thousands of miles away to the heart of the United Kingdom. It’s just a fact of life – like being blown up when you go to a pop concert.

    Read the whole thing.

  • 20 Coptic Christians slain in Egypt today. Update: Death toll now up to 28.
  • The threat of jihad is real. The threat of “Islamophobia” is not.
  • Obama Administration knowingly allowed MS-13 and Sureno 18 gang members to enter the country. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Denver city council decriminalizes wife-beating to keep illegal aliens from being deported:

    The Denver City Council agreed Monday to change to local sentencing guidelines in order to shield legal immigrants convicted of domestic violence from deportation proceedings.

    In a unanimous 12-0 vote, council members revised criminal penalties for several “low-level” crimes, reducing the maximum sentence to less than 365 days in jail. Under federal law, a criminal conviction that results in a sentence of a year or more is grounds for deporting any alien, including U.S. visa holders and legal permanent residents.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • Speaking of border control, there were over 700,000 visa overstays in 2016 alone. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “The Islamic State chops off children’s hands for refusing to execute prisoners.”
  • Allegedly body-slamming a reporter did not prevent Republican Greg Gianforte from handily beating singing socialist Rob Quist in a special election for Montana’s at-large congressional seat. Hey, remember when progressives were busy telling us it was OK to punch Nazis? Good times, good time…
  • Indeed, Gianforte raised over $100,000 right after news of the alleged assault spread. One need not condone violence to suggest that the Trump Derangement Syndrome-riddled press just might have an image problem with the American people… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Estonia Expels Two Russian Diplomats; Moscow Warns This “Unfriendly Action Will Not Go Unanswered.'”
  • A game a lot of newly-minted college graduates will be playing:

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • A tweet:

  • Does Trump have a short attention span, or just the ability to quickly grasp the most important details? Scott Adams says the latter.
  • Adams also says its time to end presidential press briefings.
  • In the Middle East, Trump clears the very low bar of sucking less than Obama:

    The success – so far – of the president’s Middle East trip stands on the ashes of Obama’s failures. It’s easy to forget that for all Obama’s alleged expertise, his foray into the Middle East foundered on his arrogance and naiveté. In his 2009 Cairo speech, he unspooled clichés as wisdom, thinking that his name alone would put points on the board. He bought into the idea that the road to stability and peace in the Middle East went through Jerusalem.

    As Obama learned on the job, he came to believe that the road to peace went through Tehran, crafting an Iranian deal that alienated both our democratic ally Israel and our strategic Sunni allies, chief among them Saudi Arabia. In pursuit of his fantasy, he turned a blind eye to Iran’s crushing of the Green Revolution and dithered to the point of complicity in the Syrian abattoir. Meanwhile, Iran remains as implacably hostile and as determined to be a regional hegemon as ever.

    That is the context of Trump’s fawning reception. “Welcome, President Not Obama!”

  • Know who else funds President Trump a big step up from Obama? historically black colleges.
  • Mom’s advice to her son: Don’t marry a feminist. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • China has a huge debt problem. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Social Justice Warriors hound Portland burrito company out of business for “cultural appropriation.” This is why you can’t have nice things… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Sea level guages show the oceans rising…but much more slowly than global warming alarmists predict.
  • Manchester bombing proves one of the most important element of preparedness is learning first aid skills.
  • Latest academic hoax: “the conceptual penis.”
  • He may not be President, but Ted Cruz is still the hero we need. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Robber, robber, pants on fire!
  • Enjoy your weekend!

    LinkSwarm for May 19, 2017

    Friday, May 19th, 2017

    Another eventful week, and not just for the special-prosecutor and impeachment talk freakout Democrats are having. (Looks like they failed to learn the lesson of “Fitzmas.”)

    Now the LinkSwarm:

  • “Almost every promise made eight years ago about Obamacare turned out to be a falsehood.”

    No, you couldn’t keep your insurance plan, doctor or provider in many cases. No, it didn’t save $2,500 per family (more like cost $2,500 more per family). No, it didn’t lead to expanded patient choice. And yes, the tax increases and insurance mandates damaged the economy and cost jobs. We are now left with insurance markets that have entered a death spiral. The entire health insurance market will financially implode unless it’s changed.

  • “Several raids by federal and local authorities across Los Angeles on Wednesday led to the arrests of 44 MS-13 gang members, including murderers, CNN reported. The series of 50 raids occurred before dawn and were led by ATF agents and 1,000 other officers who have been working on the case for around three years. More than half of the 44 gang members arrested were undocumented immigrants, while three members are currently on the run.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Boston prosecutors go out of their way not to deport a foreign national for bank robbery. Result? Two American citizens murdered.
  • More proof that the Obama Administration used national security intelligence gathering to spy on domestic political opponents.
  • Anthony Weiner pleads guilty. “Prosecutors said they would ask for 21 months to 27 months in prison for Weiner once his plea is entered. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.” That would put him safely past the 2018 midterm elections, but not the 2020 election…
  • The peoples of the bubbles:

    “Call it the zeroth bubble.

    In it are the self-proclaimed elites of government and media. The residents of the zeroth bubble reside in coastal enclaves and surrounded by elaborate systems that protect them from those who live in the first, second and third bubbles.

    The residents of the zeroth bubble often secure permanent employment in the form of government sinecure or job-hopping between government, media, academia, lobbying, and public relations.

    Their personal security is assured by heavily-armed forces that offer many of them around-the-clock protection.

    There is little crossover from the zeroth bubble to the first. And certainly less still between the zeroth and the second.

    It’s also safe to say that the device has yet to be invented that can measure the empathy that the elites feel for the residents of the third bubble.

    Which helps explain why illegal immigration — from human- and drug-smuggling to MS-13 — is of no concern to the Chamber of Commerce, or your typical Senator, or Thomas Friedman of The New York Times.

    The zeroth bubble people wouldn’t ever see the results of the open borders policies they espouse and support, nor can they even countenance them.

    In fact, they’re sufficiently disconnected from the residents of the first bubble that they missed the entire Trump phenomenon.

  • Scott Adams looks at positives (the economy, jobs) and negatives (“Unproven allegations of Russian collusion with Trump campaign”) of the Trump era. “All the important stuff is trending positive.”
  • President Trump rolls back another Obama Administration power grab:

    President Donald Trump reversed another eleventh-hour Obama administration regulation, rolling back Democrats’ effort to push private sector workers into state government retirement plans.

    Trump signed House Resolution 66 on Wednesday, undoing a regulation adopted by the Department of Labor on October 31, 2016. The department’s rule would have allowed state and local governments to create IRA accounts for private sector workers and automatically deduct contributions from their paychecks without the protections savers enjoy under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Draining the swamp: Half of EPA advisory board dismissed. Also: “The Interior Department has also frozen the work of more than 200 advisory boards, committees and subcommittees last week.” Just think of all the damage they won’t be able to do to the American economy for a while…
  • Democratic congressional leaders: Ixnay on the mpeachmentinay alktay! (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • In Montana, Democrats have recruited a signing socialist in favor of gun control for their candidate.
  • “Routine arrest of arguing Muslims leads Minneapolis police to huge weapons cache and bomb-making devices.” (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Former Social Justice Warrior on why she quit the cult:

    I see increasing numbers of so-called liberals cheering censorship and defending violence as a response to speech. I see seemingly reasonable people wishing death on others and laughing at escalating suicide and addiction rates of the white working class. I see liberal think pieces written in opposition to expressing empathy or civility in interactions with those with whom we disagree. I see 63 million Trump voters written off as “nazis” who are okay to target with physical violence. I see concepts like equality and justice being used as a mask for resentful, murderous rage.

    The most pernicious aspect of this evolution of the left, is how it seems to be changing people, and how rapidly since the election. I have been dwelling on this Nietzsche quote for almost six months now, “He who fights with monsters, should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” How easy is it for ordinary humans to commit atrocious acts? History teaches us it’s pretty damn easy when you are blinded to your own hypocrisy. When you believe you are morally superior, when you have dehumanized those you disagree with, you can justify almost anything. In a particularly vocal part of the left, justification for dehumanizing and committing violence against those on the right has already begun.

    (Hat tip: PJMedia via Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • Signs of cognitive dissonance that show you’re winning the debate: “If you have been well-behaved in a debate, and you trigger an oversized personal attack, it means you won.”
  • #NeverTrump was (mostly) wrong.
  • The challenges of treating children who are born psychopaths:

    One bitter December day in 2011, Jen was driving the children along a winding road near their home. Samantha had just turned 6. Suddenly Jen heard screaming from the back seat, and when she looked in the mirror, she saw Samantha with her hands around the throat of her 2-year-old sister, who was trapped in her car seat. Jen separated them, and once they were home, she pulled Samantha aside.

    “What were you doing?,” Jen asked.

    “I was trying to choke her,” Samantha said.

    “You realize that would have killed her? She would not have been able to breathe. She would have died.”

    “I know.”

    “What about the rest of us?”

    “I want to kill all of you.”

    (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)

  • “Rear Adm. Robert Gilbeau, the first admiral ever convicted of a federal crime while on active duty, was sentenced on Wednesday to 18 months in prison for lying to investigators about his involvement in a bribery scandal that has ensnared numerous Navy officers.” That would be for the Fat Leonard scandal. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Senate Conservative Fund-backed Ralph Norman wins primary for South Carolina’s Fifth Congressional seat by 203 votes.
  • “After a drug search, a cop brushes some residue off his shirt and within minutes falls to the floor overdosing.” Carfentanyl, which is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, sounds less like a drug and more like a chemical warfare agent…
  • UK election watch: Why Labour is about to get wiped out in Wales:

    it becomes clear that what you’re seeing is the strange death of Labour Wales – one that goes back further and deeper than June 2016.

    In its heartlands, Labour was always a working-class party, and what’s changed is that the working class has been smashed up. The physical traces of that are evident all over south Wales. The mines are now museum pieces. The Sony factory in Bridgend has long since gone, while the town’s Ford plant is reportedly preparing to shed over half its workers. What’s replaced those careers? A scan of the windows of the recruitment agencies tells you: fork-lift drivers, warehouse staff, “recycling operatives”. All at around minimum wage, and hardly any full-time.

    For decades, Labour took this area and its other heartlands for granted – while it flirted with Mondeo Man and Worcester Woman. It parachuted in its plastic professional politicians – just think of the way Tristram Hunt was airlifted into Stoke – and ignored the need to nurture local talent. Now in Wales and elsewhere, it is paying the price of decades of ingrained arrogance.

    (Hat tip: The Political Hat.)

  • “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has threatened the British government with ‘consequences’ if it were to restrict immigration from the EU member states after the country formally breaks away from the union.” This brings up a number of questions, foremost among them why does she care? First, why should the leader of one country care how another country sets its immigration policy? Second, this suggests that Frau Merkel thinks she’s President of the EU rather than Germany (to be fair, so does most of the world). Third, why would the EU fight to make it easier for their own citizens to leave the EU? Why it’s almost as if Merkel is more loyal to the interests of open borders elites than the German people. Or else the EU wants to dump more Islamic “refugees” on the UK…
  • Texas House Speaker Joe Straus seems to have finally met his match in Lt. Governor Dan Patrick:

    Joe Straus looked like a speaker unquestionably in charge. Then things started falling apart.

    The problems for the speaker have been caused by a small group of Republican legislators known as the Freedom Caucus. The core group is nine lawmakers out of the 150-member House, and sometimes they can get their vote up to nineteen. Even some conservative Republicans complain that the Freedom Caucus is not truly Republican, but rather a group of libertarians more bent on causing chaos in the House than anything else. Some of the most prominent members are Matt Schaefer of Tyler, Jeff Leach of Plano, and Matt Rinaldi of Irving. Their titular leader is Bedford Representative Jonathan Stickland, who uses parliamentary rules to kill other members’ bills and then strongly objects when his own legislation suffers a similar fate. The Freedom Caucus opposes Straus but have generally been an ineffective annoyance.

    That changed on April 27, when the House endured sixteen hours of debate on an anti-immigration bill to address so-called sanctuary cities. In the course of the debate, Schaefer offered an amendment to prevent police chiefs from restricting their officers from asking people who have been detained about their immigration status. In a moment of conciliation, Schaefer offered to pull down his amendment if Democrats would stop offering their own amendments designed to make Republicans look heartless and cruel. Some Democrats wanted to take the deal, but Representatives Armando Walle of Houston, Cesar Blanco of El Paso and Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio argued against it. By refusing to compromise, the three guaranteed that the so-called “show me your papers” amendment would become part of the bill that Abbott eventually signed into law.

    But undeniably, Straus had an opportunity to affect the outcome of that bill. He could have kept it bottled up as he was doing with the bathroom bill, though he had allowed a similar sanctuary cities bill to go through the House in 2011. Straus also could have demanded discipline out of his chairs to vote against Schaefer. The amendment went on the bill by a vote of 81-64, with fourteen of Straus’s committee chairs voting for the Schaefer amendment, while three other members of his leadership team were away at a conference committee on the budget. Straus needed to switch only a dozen votes to keep the most controversial language out of the bill.

    The Freedom Caucus was empowered, at least in perception.

    In the days that followed, caucus members got an amendment on a foster care bill to prevent the vaccination of children who have been removed from their homes until a court ordered the child’s permanent removal. And last week they used maneuvers to slow down the House calendar so that a “safety net” bill failed to pass to keep agencies subject to the sunset review process alive even if their reauthorization legislation failed. And finally, they won passage of an amendment to a State Bar of Texas bill to make it an affirmative defense for a lawyer under disciplinary review to claim he or she acted because of a sincerely held religious belief—an amendment that Democrats viewed as giving lawyers the ability to discriminate against the LGBT community.

    After the religious beliefs amendment passed on a vote of 85-59, Representative Rafael Anchia of Dallas blurted out, “Last session these guys couldn’t pass gas. Now they’re running the floor.”

    Several senior Republican members of the Straus leadership team have told me they don’t feel like anyone is in charge in the House. One called it a rudderless ship. None said they are ready to abandon Straus or revolt against him, though the frustration is rising.

    With the Freedom Caucus suddenly finding some success in the House, Patrick no doubt saw an opportunity to reassert control of the session. The death of the House version of the “safety net” bill was important. It’s called a safety net bill because it allows agencies under sunset review to continue operating. It has to pass. With the demise of the House’s bill, the only option left is the Senate’s version. And Patrick made clear he intends to hold that bill hostage.

    In his press conference Wednesday, flanked by the flags of Texas and the United States, Patrick noted that he had control of the Senate version of the safety net bill. Then he demanded the House surrender on using the state’s rainy day fund to pay for a revenue shortfall in the budget; that the House accept both a private school voucher program in a substantially reduced school funding plan, and a controversial property tax reform for cities and counties; and that some form of his bathroom bill receive House approval. Otherwise, Patrick would force a special session to get what he wants.

    Ignore the analysis of the Freedom Caucus. What’s really going on here is that Patrick has emboldened House Republicans who previously lived in fear of Straus’ vengeance to actually start acting like Republicans again.

  • The Germans are coming…to lower your grocery bill.
  • Turns out that female college graduates are now making more than their male counterparts. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Roger Ailes, RIP.
  • Deal reached on Dallas pension crisis? (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Saudis to Make $6 Billion Deal for Lockheed’s Littoral Ships.” This is evidently just one component of a $110 billion arms deal negotiated by both the Trump and Obama Administrations. Though most famous for aircraft, Lockheed has built combat ships off and on for decades and, especially after their merger with Martin Marietta in 1995, has a lot of fingers in a lot of defense contracting pies. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Austin’s Brackenridge Hospital closes.
  • Good things for a track coach: Burning speed. Bad things for a track coach: burning his own home.
  • “How ‘social justice warriors’ are like McCarthyites and the Ku Klux Klan.”
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates’ social justice warrior Marvel comic Black Panther & The Crew cancelled after two issues due to low sales. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Slowdive just released their first new album in two decades. It’s excellent and you should buy it.
  • LinkSwarm for May 12, 2017

    Friday, May 12th, 2017

    Lots of border control news at the top of today’s LinkSwarm:

  • “According to figures released yesterday, the number of illegal aliens crossing the U.S. southwestern border has dropped by an astonishing 76% since President Trump took office.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Authorities Arrest 1,378 in ICE-Led Operation Targeting Gangs.” More: “The majority, 955, of those arrested were U.S. citizens, while 445 were foreign nationals from around the world.” Also: Three were Obama’s “Dreamers.”
  • “If the Trump administration is serious about controlling illegal immigration and illegal alien driven crime, it should begin by going after employers who hire illegal aliens. The move would not only help to prevent the exploitation of illegal immigrants, but it would also help to foster higher-paying jobs for American workers.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Maryland Democrats shocked, shocked to discover that legal immigrants who followed the rules aren’t wild about sanctuary city BS for illegal aliens. (Hat tip: Louder With Crowder via The Other McCain.)
  • “James Clapper: Still no evidence of any Russian collusion with Trump campaign.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • From the House to the Big House: Former Florida Democratic Representative Corrine Brown was found guilty on fraud and tax evasion charges.
  • Democrats had a real shot at winning the Omaha Mayor’s race…until the DNC came in and pulled all support to punish pro-life heresy.
  • “Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, has announced that it will exit all Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2018 after experiencing massive losses in 2016 and 2017.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • On the Democratic Party’s civil war:

    If Obama is really responsible for Democrat losses, then the party and its donors just bought first class seats on the Titanic. That’s why Democrat autopsies of the defeat remain so explosive. Blame can be apportioned to white people, to racism, Islamophobia and to Global Warming, but not to Barack Obama.

    Keith Ellison was the best messenger Sanders had to take a shot at Barry. Black loyalty to Obama is still the third rail of politics. And Ellison is one of the few black people in the Sanders inner circle. Obama’s pricey Wall Street speech offered the opportunity for a more direct attack from Bernie Sanders.

    “I just think it is distasteful,” Bernie slurred on CNN. “At a time when we have so much income and wealth inequality … it just does not look good.”

    The attack went to the heart of his differences with Obama. Unlike the Clinton era, the split is no longer between the left and the radical left. Obama and Sanders are both representatives of the radical left.

    But they don’t represent the same radical left.

    Bernie embodies the old left. Its mantra is class warfare. There is a great deal of talk about billionaires, working people and the ruling class. Obama pays lip service to that same rhetoric, but his is the program of the intersectional left. The intersectional left is far more interested in identity than class. It defines its organization around a coalition of racial, sexual and other minorities. Where Bernie wants to talk to the working class, the intersectional left wants to hear from transgender Muslim women of color.

    The differences aren’t just intellectual. They define the tactics and agenda of the Democrats.

    When Tom Perez, Obama’s DNC boss, recently read pro-life Democrats out of the party, he was following the Obama blueprint. Bernie meanwhile went on campaigning for a somewhat pro-life Dem. Bernie does not really care about abortion, gay rights, transgender bathrooms and the social issues of the intersectional left. The old Socialist follows the older slogan of the hard left. No war, but class war.

    Snip.

    Democrats and the left had long ago replaced pure class warfare with identity politics warfare. Intersectionality entirely displaced and demonized the old Dem white working class base.

    And the Dems paid the price.

    Obama’s reign torched most of the last of that white working class base. Trump’s victories would not have been possible if the Dems had not become a party of wealthy bicoastal urban and suburban elites who were out of touch with the South and the Rust Belt. And who were proud to be out of touch with a bunch of “ignorant racist, sexist homophobes” still “clinging to their guns and religion”.

    The clash between Bernie and Obama is also over the autopsy of Hillary’s defeat. Did the Dems lose because they failed to turn out the base as effectively as Obama had or because former Obama voters had come out for Trump? Should the Dems try to appeal to working class whites with a class warfare pitch or work harder to turn out the intersectional coalitions of minority voters?

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • The U.S. is arming Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State despite Turkish opposition. Good. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • 10% of French voters turn up at polls only to spoil their ballot in disgust.
  • Mark Steyn covers the French election:

    The French have voted to postpone their rendezvous with destiny. But kicking the croissant down the road means another half-decade of demographic transformation that lengthens the odds against ever winning the numbers to halt it….

    Yet the fact is that, with the arrival of President Macron in the charmed circle, the leaders of Europe’s biggest economies and of all the European members of the G7 are childless: Germany’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s Theresa May, Italy’s Paolo Gentiloni, and now France’s Macron.

    This would have been not just statistically improbable but all but impossible for most of human history. Whatever Euro-politics is about, it’s not, as Bill Clinton was wont to say, the future of all our children. Indeed, of the six founding members of the European Union – France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg – five are led by childless prime ministers: joining Merkel, Gentiloni and Macron at the no-need-for-daycare Euro-summit are the Dutch PM Mark Rutte and the Luxemburger Xavier Bettel. Mark Rutte is single and childless. Xavier Bettel of Lux is married, but gay and, hélas, for the moment without progeny….

    That’s the demographics of Western Europe writ small. The Eurocrats are a Continental version of the Shakers: They’re apparently forbidden to breed, and can only increase their numbers through conversion. From Nice to Cologne to Rosengård, a significant proportion of New Europeans seem to think that, au contraire, they’ll be the ones doing the converting.

  • Sally Yates was the real blackmailer.”
  • Nevada Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto wants choose senators based on diversity rather than all those annoying elections. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Canada arrests 104 men on child sex trafficking charges. The Other McCain notices a certain pattern to the names of those arrested that will be familiar to those that followed the Rotherham child sex trafficking scandal:

    Suresh Patel, 49; Muhammad Jaffer, 22; Muhammad Sarchami, 31; Hernando Carvajal, 29; Intekhab Shaikh, 42; Sakhi Alekozai, 29; Shamim Abowath, 54; Ruchir Shah, 34; Nima Latifpour, 25; Sanjay Ninan, 42; Jaipal Sidhu, 26; Adeniran Adekola, 33; Ming Wong, 39; Zan He, 33; Segundo Fernandez, 54; Anpalagan Kanapathipillai, 39; Navaneetharan Packianathan, 25; Rajorshi Bhaumik, 34; Miguel Feliciano, 38; Virushan Premanathan, 25; Suhayl Rajan, 24; Sivanesan Veerasingam, 50; Jamshid Jalilian, 25; Zhi Situ, 22; Tejash Patel, 33; Quang Tran, 37; Ravikumar Ghandhi, 31; Ahmad Hassan, 21; Anshu Manocha, 33; Sivaratnam Sinnappillai, 39; Naidu Matas, 54; Paramjit Sandhi, 35; Hari Bhaskar, 55; Ramy Kawar, 39; Zu Liang Xiao, 28; Ali Mansourinajand, 24; Ramiz Multani, 25

  • AC-130 gunship now comes with a 105mm Howitzer option. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Wargaming a second Korean war. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • U.S. Air Force’s robotic X-37B space plane finally lands after circling Earth for “an unprecedented 718 days.”
  • UT stabbing spree followup: The stabber “was suffering from mental illness and didn’t seem to be targeting anyone in particular during his Monday afternoon spree, police said Tuesday.”
  • “‘Chicago Is A War Zone’: Police Suicide Rate Surges To 60% Above The National Average.”
  • Gun-blogger Bob Owens dead of apparent suicide. Unlike many in the blogsphere, I didn’t know Owens personally, but we did follow each other on Twitter. RIP.
  • Windows 10 on ARM supports x86 apps, and Microsoft says your 32-bit applications should run just fine. Won’t make me use it, but for some people…
  • Behold the #BowWowChallenge.
  • Bucket-eye view of critters drinking water.
  • Macron Wins French Presidency

    Sunday, May 7th, 2017

    Emmanuel Macron has been elected French president with 65+% of the vote over Marine Le Pin. That’s a strong defeat for Le Pen, but she picked up roughly twice what her father Jean-Marie Le Pin (an altogether nastier piece of work) won in his runoff in 2002.

    This was the expected result, and it means the EU will be able to hobble on for a bit longer…

    Round Rock ISD Bonds Defeated

    Sunday, May 7th, 2017

    All three Round Rock ISD bond issues were defeated last night.

    RRISD

    That’s a big change from previous years, when such bonds generally passed without any organized opposition, but, as previously noted, that wasn’t the case this year.

    Interestingly enough, the first two bonds passed in Williamson but were defeated in Travis, while the third (“for arts and athletic programs, including an indoor aquatic center, the District’s outdoor athletic facility #3, upgrades to Dragon Stadium and design of auditoriums at Round Rock and Westwood high schools”) was defeated in both Travis and Williamson.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is one of those rare instances where campaign yard signs did make a difference. Here’s the official statement from the Round Rock Parents and Taxpayers group that opposed the bonds:

    At last count over 8,900 voters from Round Rock ISD voted against the bond propositions,more than the total number of votes cast in the 2014 election. This represents a stunning rejection of these heavily-promoted bond propositions from the Round Rock ISD community.

    We were up against a nearly $100,000 pro-bond campaign, that sent more than half a dozen mailers to thousands of voters. The bond propositions enjoyed favorable press and official endorsements, as well as a district administration that in our view crossed the line in their own efforts to promote passage of this bond package.

    In comparison, our grassroots coalition came together spontaneously from different members of the community with independent negative reactions to the flawed bond package. Many of us first met each other through this. In this David versus Goliath battle, we had much less money and less than 5 weeks to organize.

    So what really doomed the bond, if we were so outmatched?

    These bonds failed because they deserved to fail.

    Patrick McGuinness, Round Rock Parents and Taxpayers Association

    UK: Tories Clean Up, Labour Crushed

    Saturday, May 6th, 2017

    Here’s a story that isn’t getting much play on this side of the pond. The UK held it’s regular yearly local council elections May 4, which fell in advance of Theresa May’s national snap election coming June 8.

    The Tories cleaned up, gaining 563 seats across the UK while Labour lost 382, being pushed to third place in their traditional stronghold of Scotland behind the Scottish National Party and the Tories. “Stunned pollsters said if the same thing is repeated in the June 8 General Election, Mrs May could be heading to a landslide majority of more than 100 seats.”

    Barring unforeseen circumstances, it looks like the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party is headed for an epic defeat in June. Corbyn is not the source of Labour’s woes, which would be their manifest disinterest in the economic plight of blue collar workers (who used to make up the heart of their constituency) in favor of progressive victimhood identity politics and fanatical opposition to carrying out Brexit, but the local elections show that Corbyn’s leadership certainly isn’t helping

    UKIP was also all but wiped out, losing all 114 seats it, most to the Tories, and leaving them with a single seat they took from Labour. Now that UKIP has achieved it’s goal of leaving the European Union, it looks like supporters are flocking to the Tories. And I suspect a goodly number of UKIP members were probably former Labourites dissatisfied with the party’s Europhilic outlook who are now firmly (if reluctantly) in the Tory camp.

    Wondering how George Galloway’s Respect Party did in the election? They didn’t: they deregistered last year.