Posts Tagged ‘Elections’

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.
  • 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.

    LinkSwarm for May 5, 2017

    Friday, May 5th, 2017

    Happy Cinco de Mayo, the holiday that celebrates the French army getting their asses kicked by Mexicans!

    A bunch of big news that everyone and their dog has been covering at the top of the LinkSwarm:

  • Big News 1: Despite having the House, Senate and White House, House Republicans spinelessly cave on budget negotiations. “It is noteworthy for what it does not include: namely, most of Donald Trump’s and Republicans’ recent campaign promises. The bill does not defund Planned Parenthood. It does not include any of the president’s deep cuts to domestic agencies. Public broadcasting is funded at current levels. The National Endowment for the Arts’ budget is increased. There’s even funding for California’s high-speed rail.”
  • Big News 2: House Republicans also passed an ObamaCare replacement bill.
  • Consensus is that it sucks less than both ObamaCare and the March versions of the bill, but still sucks plenty. The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Chip Roy had this to say in a press release:

    “Today, conservative leaders in the House brought the American people a glimmer of hope that states might save American healthcare from the clutches of a federally controlled and regulated system under Obamacare,” said Roy. “This improved version of the American Health Care Act grants governors the ability to seek waivers from the onerous Obamacare regulations that unfortunately remain in place as the default rule even under this bill. This means governors would have both the opportunity and the burden of leading to free their states from these default regulations.”

    “Further reform remains necessary, however, as the bill retains far too much of Obamacare’s flawed Medicaid expansion, replaces one form of subsidy with an even more expansive one in the form of a refundable tax credit, creates a $138 billion slush fund for insurers, and leaves almost all of Obamacare’s cost-driving regulations and mandates as the federal standard,” Roy continued. “As the bill heads to the Senate, we hope it will be improved, at least by allowing states to opt in to Obamacare rather than forcing states to temporarily, partially opt out.”

  • By one account, the ObamaCare replacement amounts to a $1 trillion tax cut. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • French runoff Presidential elections happen Sunday. The overwhelming favorite Emmanuel Macron is being pummeled by leaked documents (sound familiar?) that suggest he’s been avoiding taxes using offshore accounts. Naturally French prosecutors are ready to pounce…on those spreading the allegations.
  • Texas legislation to repeal sanctuary cities heads to Governor Abbott’s desk.
  • And Travis County sheriff Sally Hernandez even says she’ll obey the law. Imagine that!
  • The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office want police to know that illegal aliens have more rights than American citizens and shouldn’t be prosecuted.
  • President Trump’s insistence on actually enforcing immigration laws is already paying dividends.

    The concrete, realpolitik reason that amnesty is dead is that the appropriate law enforcement policies have been set in motion and they are gaining momentum fast!

    I have long argued that the illegal alien community in the United States is highly fragile. President Trump’s executive order directing Immigration and Customs Authorities and Border Patrol officers to broadly interpret their jurisdiction for capturing and removing illegal aliens has had the immediate effect of decreasing attempts to cross the border as well as inspiring panic in illegal immigrant communities. Police officers and county sheriffs have told me that, even at the height of the Obama era of nonenforcement, illegal aliens shunned the police. Now, in the era of Trump, the possibility of going to work and ending your week in Mexico is a real and potent threat. (This is particularly true if you live, as I do, in Massachusetts). It is a commonplace that law enforcement professionals go to sleep muttering “5% enforcement equals 95% compliance.”

    At the same time, businesses cannot prosper in an environment of uncertainty. The initial impulse of business owners in agriculture and other illegal-alien-heavy industries is to demand, yet again, some succor from the government in terms of work permits for their illegal workers. Just such measures are championed by incoming Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. However, assuming this relief is not forthcoming in the near future (and I’ll get to that in a minute) the only rational policy is for business owners to begin exploring their other options — which might include automation or wage increases.

    When every small business owner in America finally takes paper and pencil and sits down at the kitchen table with their spouse and says “honey, we are going to have to figure out how to make our business work when we can’t hire illegal aliens anymore,” then and only then will the light appear at the end of the tunnel.

    But the key to the problem and the reason for optimism is this: with the law now being enforced, however incrementally, even without funds for more agents, even without funds for the Wall, even without E-Verify, the pressure to re-evaluate in the illegal alien and the business communities will only grow. The success of the policy in reducing the inflow and initiating “self-deportation” will feed back on itself. For years the only salient argument of the open borders advocates on both the right and the left was that enforcing the current laws on the books was impossible. As it becomes obvious how easy, in fact, enforcement is, those advocates will be forced to rely on their more avaricious motives for keeping illegal aliens here.

  • One in four federal inmates is foreign born. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Why Hillary lost, Part 6974: Voters who went for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016.
  • Welcome back my friends to the 2016 election that never ends, we’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside. There behind the glass is a pile of Hillary’s foreign cash, be careful as you pass, move along, move along. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Even Dianne Feinstein says there’s no evidence of Russian meddling in the election. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • President Trump is more trusted than the national media.
  • Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro decides not to run against Ted Cruz. Smart move.
  • Did a Pakistani ISI assassin defect to India? Sources say: Maybe not.
  • Netflix deletes Bill Nye segment from 1996 that talks about how chromosomes determine sex. When science clashes with the current smelly orthodoxies of liberal dogma, it seems that science gets the axe.
  • Following Victims of Communism Day, here are ten films on the victims of Communism. These appear to be all documentaries.
  • VA official who kept secret wait lists veterans died on fired. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Puerto Rico declares bankruptcy.
  • Is Russia arming the Taliban?
  • “A New Instance of Android Malware is Discovered Every 10 Seconds.”
  • Leftists try to take over the Humble school board.
  • And don’t forget the Rond Rock Bond issue vote this Saturday.
  • Lunatic scumbag street-preacher/tax evader/child molester Tony Alamo dies in prison. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Auction for a treasure trove of early material on the Nation of Islam. Including two manuscripts handwritten by founder Wallace Fard Muhammad, who disappeared in 1934. Alas, the opening bid is a tad steep for my blood…
  • Easy On, Easy Ossoff: GA06 Goes To Runoff

    Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

    Democrats were hoping to pick up a House seat in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, Newt Gingrich’s old district most recently held by Republican Tom Price, who became President Trump’s Health and Human services secretary. Though Price regularly won the district with more than 60% of the vote, Trump only beat Clinton there by 1.5%, making Democrats think they could flip it in a nationalized special election with documentary filmmaker Jon Ossoff (who doesn’t even live in the district) running against multiple Republicans in a jungle primary, and poured $8.3 million (95% of it from out of state) into the race.

    And early last night it looked like that strategy might pay off, as Ossoff opened a big lead in early voting, only to see it whittled away as voting-day returns came in. He ended up with 48.1% of the vote and will face Republican Karen Handel on June 20. Adding up all the remaining Democratic votes in the race only gets Ossoff to 48.9%. With results so close, both Democrats and Republicans will no doubt pour millions into the runoff.

    Next up on the Special Election Calendar: the May 2 primary for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, where Republicans will be favored to retain OMB Director Mick Mulvaney’s seat in the general election, which also falls on June 20.

    UK PM Theresa May Calls Early Elections

    Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

    This is unexpected (at least to me): UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced a plan to call a snap general election on June 8, despite the ruling Tories already having won an absolute parliamentary majority in 2015.

    Her statement:

    I have just chaired a meeting of the cabinet, where we agreed that the government should call a general election, to be held on 8 June.

    “I want to explain the reasons for that decision, what will happen next and the choice facing the British people when you come to vote in this election.

    “Last summer, after the country voted to leave the European Union, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership, and since I became prime minister the government has delivered precisely that.

    “Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, since the referendum we have seen consumer confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs, and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations.

    “We have also delivered on the mandate that we were handed by the referendum result. Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back.

    “And as we look to the future, the Government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe.

    “We want a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world.

    “That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world.

    “This is the right approach, and it is in the national interest. But the other political parties oppose it.

    “At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division. The country is coming together, but Westminster is not.

    “In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill.

    “The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain’s membership of the European Union. And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.

    “Our opponents believe because the government’s majority is so small, that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course. They are wrong.

    “They underestimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country.

    “Because what they are doing jeopardises the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home and it weakens the government’s negotiating position in Europe.

    “If we do not hold a general election now their political game-playing will continue, and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election.

    “Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.

    “So we need a general election and we need one now, because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.

    “I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion. Since I became prime minister I have said that there should be no election until 2020, but now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I must take.

    “And so tomorrow I will move a motion in the House of Commons calling for a general election to be held on 8 June. That motion, as set out by the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, will require a two-thirds majority of the House of Commons.

    “So I have a simple challenge to the opposition parties, you have criticised the government’s vision for Brexit, you have challenged our objectives, you have threatened to block the legislation we put before Parliament.

    “This is your moment to show you mean it, to show you are not opposing the government for the sake of it, to show that you do not treat politics as a game.

    “Let us tomorrow vote for an election, let us put forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative programmes for government and then let the people decide.

    “And the decision facing the country will be all about leadership. It will be a choice between strong and stable leadership in the national interest, with me as your prime minister, or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn, propped up by the Liberal Democrats, who want to reopen the divisions of the referendum, and Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

    “Every vote for the Conservatives will make it harder for opposition politicians who want to stop me from getting the job done.

    “Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the prime ministers, presidents and chancellors of the European Union.

    “Every vote for the Conservatives means we can stick to our plan for a stronger Britain and take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future.

    “It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election, but it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.

    “So, tomorrow, let the House of Commons vote for an election, let everybody put forward their proposals for Brexit and their programmes for government, and let us remove the risk of uncertainty and instability and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands.”

    A snap election is a bold, risky move for May, but one that could pay off. With none of the post-Brexit vote gloom-and-doom scenarios of the Remain faction having materialized, Brexit’s popularity itself at all-time highs, the economy strong and the unpopular Jeremy Corbyn still leading Labour, May obviously thought now was the time to strike. She might be right: the Tories stand to pick up a lot of support from UKIP now that their raison d’etre is gone, while Scottish National Party looks poised to lock out Labour in the north yet again. But the downside is that if the Tories lose power, she goes down as the shortest serving PM since Bonar Law.

    LinkSwarm for April 14, 2017

    Friday, April 14th, 2017

    Good news, everyone! Your tax returns aren’t due until April 18th this year. So you can panic slightly later than usual…

  • How Trump won: by “consolidating the Republican base and then earning massive levels of support from whites without a college degree.” With lots of wonky demographic data goodness. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • More on that district-by-distract voting map in last week’s LinkSwarm.
  • The Beltway has a spending problem.
  • Republicans retain Kansas’ fourth congressional district.
  • Brian Krebs would like you to know thatches week’s Russian spammer arrest in Spain had nothing to do with election hacking.
  • Scumbag who killed Brian Terry with a Fast and Furious gun arrested in Mexico. (Insert innocent until proven guilty yada here.)
  • Hey Lois Lerner: If you want to seal your testimony because you think it might bring death threats, maybe you shouldn’t have used the IRS as a weapon against your domestic political enemies… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • BATF spending taxpayer dollars on NASCAR race suites.
  • Did Hezbollah take out their own second-in-command?
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott: build the border wall with funds withheld from sanctuary cities. (Hat tip: Dierctor Blue.)
  • Gavin McInnes at Taki’s Magazine thinks the Syria strike was five different 4D chessboard wins. Excerpts: “This shows women that America is in charge and we will keep the world’s children safe. Deep down, all they really want is a patriarchy.” And: “Obama’s legacy was the only death on April 6, 2017.”
  • U.S. forces drop a GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb on Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan.
  • “Obama’s covert drone war in numbers: ten times more strikes than Bush.” Details: “A total of 563 strikes, largely by drones, targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen during Obama’s two terms, compared to 57 strikes under Bush. Between 384 and 807 civilians were killed in those countries.”
  • Inside baseball account of the Gorsuch confirmation battle. Also:

    It turned out the open seat was an “electoral asset” for Trump. Voters didn’t like him or Hillary Clinton. But once filling the seat became the “principal issue,” Trump had the advantage. Everyone knew she would dump Garland, a moderate, for someone further to the left.

    “We didn’t know if the president would be a conservative or not,” McConnell said. However, he had promised to pick a nominee from a list of 20 conservative jurists. (McConnell had advocated such a list.) “This reassured conservatives.” The result: he got 90 percent of the Republican vote and won.”

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Daily Mail pays Melania Trump $2.9 million for calling her a whore.
  • Prisoners secretly build computers from recycled parts, hide them in the ceiling, hook them up to the prison network, and use them to commit fraud. “They were able to travel through the institution more than 1,100 feet without being checked by security through several check points, and not a single correction’s staff member stopped them from transporting these computers into the administrative portion of the building. It’s almost if it’s an episode of Hogan’s Heroes.” That’s some mighty fine correctional supervision there, Marion Correctional Institution…
  • Is the Trump dip over in gun sales? (Hat tip: Shall Not Be Questioned.)
  • Archeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars was attacked and shunned for offering up evidence that challenged the scientific consensus of the day. Good thing there’s no way that could possibly happen in climate research…
  • Why not a reverse auction for airline overbooking? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Ft. Hood brings the Funk.
  • Austin-area massage parlor turns out to be a front for prostitution. Try to contain your shock.
  • Enjoy your Easter weekend!

    Clinton Corruption Update for April 13, 2017

    Thursday, April 13th, 2017

    With Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign due out April 18, it’s high time for a Clinton Corruption update. (And you may quibble that “Hillary being a nasty person” doesn’t qualify as “corruption,” but if I started doing separate “Hillary Clinton is a horrible human being” updates, I’d never have time to sleep…)

    The book excerpts show that Hillary was every bit as much a joy to work with as we all suspected:

    Hillary was so mad she couldn’t think straight. She was supposed to be focused on the prep session for that night’s Univision debate in Miami, but a potent mix of exhaustion and exasperation bubbled up inside.

    She’d been humiliated in the Michigan primary the night before, a loss that not only robbed her of a prime opportunity to put Bernie Sanders down for good but also exposed several of her weaknesses. How could she have been left so vulnerable? She knew — or at least she thought she did. The blame belonged to her campaign team, she believed, for failing to hone her message, energize important constituencies and take care of business in getting voters to the polls. And now, Jake Sullivan, her de facto chief strategist, was giving her lip about the last answer she’d delivered in the prep session.

    “That’s not very good,” Sullivan corrected.

    “Really?” Hillary snapped back.

    The room fell silent.

    “Why don’t you do it?”

    The comment was pointed and sarcastic, but she meant it. So for the next 30 minutes, there he was, pretending to be Hillary while she critiqued his performance.

    Every time the Yale lawyer and former high school debate champ opened his mouth, Hillary cut him off. “That isn’t very good,” she’d say. “You can do better.” Then she’d hammer him with a Bernie line.

    It wasn’t just Sullivan in her crosshairs. She let everyone on her team have it that day. “We haven’t made our case,” she fumed. “We haven’t framed the choice. We haven’t done the politics.”

    “She was visibly, unflinchingly pissed off at us as a group,” said one aide who was in the room for the humiliating scene. “And she let us know she felt that way.”

    Hillary had been up into the wee hours the night before, agitating over her loss. This is because we made poor choices about where we traveled, she thought. She emailed Robby Mook to tell him she believed she’d spent too much time in the cities of Detroit and Flint and not enough in the working-class white suburbs around them. Sensing just how angry she was, Mook responded by putting together a morning conference call so that Hillary could vent. But that didn’t settle her; if anything, it left her more perplexed and angry, as her debate-prep team witnessed firsthand.

    Her aides took the browbeating — one of several she delivered in person and on the phone that day — in silence. They had a lot of their own thoughts on what went wrong, some of which echoed Hillary’s assessment: her message was off for Michigan, and she had refused to go hard against trade; Mook had pinched pennies and failed to put organizers on the ground; the polling and analytics were a touch too rosy, meaning the campaign didn’t know Bernie was ahead; she had set up an ambiguous decisionmaking structure on the campaign; and she’d focused too heavily on black and brown voters at the expense of competing for the whites who had formed her base in 2008. The list went on and on.

    The underlying truth — the one that many didn’t want to admit to themselves — was the person ultimately responsible for these decisions, the one whose name was on the ticket, hadn’t corrected these problems, all of which had been brought to her attention before primary day. She’d stuck with the plan, and it had cost her.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

    More on the same theme:

    “Hillary’s been having screaming, child-like tantrums that have left her staff members in tears and unable to work,” a campaign aide told Klein in 2015, according to a New York Post report. “She thought the nomination was hers for the asking, but her mounting problems have been getting to her, and she’s become shrill and, at times, even violent.”

    According to the report, Hillary blasted a low-level campaign worker who had made a scheduling mistake. When Hillary viciously berated her, the worker turned and began to walk away. That’s when Hillary reportedly grabbed her by the arm.

    In one June 2016 report, it was revealed Hillary hurled a Bible at a Secret Service agent’s head, according to former agent Gary Byrne, who said her explosions grew worse as the Clintons’ time in the White House went on.

    Byrne warned Hillary was too “erratic, uncontrollable and occasionally violent” for the presidency.

    In other Clinton corruption news:

  • RussiaGate: Hillary Clinton and John Podesta’s Troubling Ties to Russia. Much will be familiar to regular BattleSwarm readers, but there’s some nice recap for those coming in cold:

    Unlike the revelations so far concerning Russian ties in the Trump camp, the Clinton deals involved hundreds of millions of dollars and enormous favors that benefitted Russian interests.

    Bill and Hillary Clinton received large sums of money directly and indirectly from Russian officials while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Bill Clinton was paid a cool $500,000 (well above his normal fee) for a speech in Moscow in 2010. Who footed the bill? An investment firm in Moscow called Renaissance Capital, which boasts deep ties to Russian intelligence. The Clinton Foundation itself took money from Russian officials and Putin-connected oligarchs. They also took donations from:

  • Viktor Vekselberg, a Putin confidant who gave through his company, Renova Group
  • Andrey Vavilov, a former Russian government official who was Chairman of SuperOx, a research company that was part of the “nuclear Cluster” at the Russian government’s Skolkovo research facility
  • Elena Baturina, the wife of the former Mayor of Moscow, who apparently gave them money through JSC Inteco, an entity that she controls
  • (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Ditto this National Review piece on the Clintons’ Russian ties:

    The shadiest deal that the Clintons hatched with Russia is called Uranium One. This outrage should mushroom into Hillary and Bill’s radioactive Whitewater scandal.

    Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining mogul and major Clinton Foundation donor, led a group of investors in an enterprise called Uranium One. On June 8, 2010, Rosatom, the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation, announced plans to purchase a 51.4 percent stake in the Canadian company, whose international assets included some 20 percent of America’s uranium capacity.

    Because this active ingredient in atomic reactors and nuclear weapons is a strategic commodity, this $1.3 billion deal required the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Secretary of State Clinton was one of nine federal department and agency heads on that secretive panel.

    On June 29, 2010, three weeks after Rosatom proposed to Uranium One, Bill Clinton keynoted a seminar staged by Renaissance Capital in Moscow, a reputedly Kremlin-controlled investment bank that promoted this transaction. Renaissance Capital paid Clinton $500,000 for his one-hour speech.

    While CFIUS evaluated Rosatom’s offer, Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer observed, “a spontaneous outbreak of philanthropy among eight shareholders in Uranium One” began. “These Canadian mining magnates decide now would be a great time to donate tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.”

    These included Uranium One’s then-chairman, Ian Telfer, whose donations to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI) totaled $3.1 million. Giustra himself gave $131.3 million to the Clinton Foundation. Before, during, and after CFIUS’s review, Schweizer calculates, “shareholders involved in this transaction had transferred approximately $145 million to the Clinton Foundation or its initiatives.”

    Others were less enthused about this deal.

    “Russia’s record of transferring dangerous materials and technologies to rogue regimes, such as those in Iran and Syria, is very troubling,” Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the time, wrote to CFIUS’s then-chairman, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The top Republicans on the Financial Services, Homeland Security, and Armed Services Committees also signed Ros-Lehtinen’s letter of October 5, 2010.

    “We believe that this potential takeover of U.S. nuclear resources by a Russian government–owned agency would pose great potential harm to the national security of the United States,” the letter read, “and we urge the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to block the sale.”

    As a CFIUS member, Hillary could have heeded this warning and stopped Vladimir Putin from controlling a fifth of U.S. uranium supplies. America’s chief diplomat and former first lady either welcomed this prospect or was too uncharacteristically demure to make her objections stick.

    In either case, on October 23, 2010, within three weeks of that letter, CFIUS approved Rosatom’s purchase of a majority stake in Uranium One.

    Thanks to subsequent investments, Rosatom’s share of Uranium One grew to 100 percent by January 2013. Robert Gill of Morrison Williams Investment Management told Canada’s Financial Post: “By doing this acquisition, they can continue to build the company they intended to build, but they can do so without the transparency required by the public markets.”

    Rosatom CEO Sergei Kiriyenko crowed just after taking total control of Uranium One, “Few could have imagined in the past that we would own 20 percent of U.S. reserves.”

    A headline in Pravda boasted on January 22, 2013: “Russian nuclear energy conquers the world.”

    My old friend Michael Caputo performed public-relations work for Renaissance Capital in 1999–2000. He says it subsequently became “a practical arm of Vladimir Putin.” Caputo was stunned at the speed with which CFIUS approved Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One.

    “In 2010–2011, I ran acquisition communications for Safran Group, the French government–controlled defense contractor which bought the US biometrics company L-1,” Caputo wrote in PoliticsNY.net. “It took us almost two years to gain CFIUS approval for France, an historic ally, to purchase a biometrics firm, not even remotely a strategic asset.” He added, “These two CFIUS approvals were happening at precisely the same time. Safran couldn’t buy a break and was questioned at every turn. Somehow, Kremlin-controlled Rosatom’s purchase sailed through on a cool breeze.”

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Even more on John Podesta’s Russian ties:

    Rep. Louie Gohmert, an outspoken House Republican from Texas, is calling for a congressional investigation of John Podesta’s role with Rusnano, a state-run company founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

    Podesta — Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman and former President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff — first made contact with the Russian firm in 2011, when he joined the boards and executive committees of three related entities: Boston-based Joule Unlimited; Rotterdam-based Joule Global Holdings; Joule Global Stichting, the company’s controlling interest. All are high-tech renewable energy enterprises.

    Three months after Podesta’s arrival, Joule Unlimited accepted a 1 billion ruble investment from Rusnano, amounting to $35 million in U.S. currency. The firm also awarded a Joule board seat in February 2012 to Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano’s CEO, who has been depicted as a corrupt figure.

  • And how did Podesta react to these charges? He hit the Daily Caller with a cease and desist letter.
  • “Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta grossed more than $500,000 to represent a Chinese company criminally convicted in March of sending illegal shipments of telecom equipment to Iran.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “New Huma Abedin Emails Reveal Additional Instances of Clinton Sending Classified Information through Unsecured Emails, Special Favors for Clinton Donors.”
  • “Hillary Clinton had astonishing access to top secret documents after she left state department“:

    Hillary Clinton may have resigned her secretary role at the State Department in 2013 – but her access to top secret and classified information didn’t end then.

    Under Barack Obama, she was allowed to continue to view highly sensitive intel documents for years – well past her announced run for the presidency in April 2015, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Why? Toward what possible end?

    So she could better write her memoir.

    File this in the “You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me” folder.

    And it wasn’t just Clinton who kept the power of top secret access. It was six of her former staffers, who went by the tag of “research assistants.”

  • “Hillary has no plans to return to work at Clinton Foundation.” Yes, “work.” Because cashing checks from influence-seekers is so strenuous…
  • The hagiographers at Vanity Fair talk about Hillary coming out of the woods.
  • Bill Maher: Stay in the woods:

    The shrill, annoying woman acting as Social Justice Warrior Policer of Jokes and Defender of the Hillary Faith is evidently Neera Tanden. Every time she speaks, just imagine tiny votes flying on fairy wings from the Democratic to the Republican side of the ledger; she’s that annoying.

  • A tweet, with video:

  • Rep. Beto O’Rourke Declares For Ted Cruz’s Senate Seat

    Saturday, April 1st, 2017

    El Paso Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke is officially running for Ted Cruz’s senate seat in 2018.

    Cruz will still be a prohibitive favorite incumbent with a national profile, a battle-tested campaign team and demonstrated fundraising prowess running in a deep red state. However, in O’Rourke he faces something he’s never run into in a statewide race: A serious Democratic office holder who actually wants to run, something notable absent in 2012.

    O’Rouke is not someone to sleep on. The same year Cruz was elected to the Senate, O’Rouke knocked off 8-term Democratic incumbent Silvestre Reyes in a district that’s 79.5% Hispanic. I suspect that he would make a much more formidable general election opponent than the much-better-known Rep. Joaquin Castro. But whether he can get by the likely better-funded Castro in the Democratic primary is another matter.

    O’Rourke is talking about running an unconventional campaign:

    But the El Paso Democrat is earnestly bullish that he will go to the Senate through a strategy of bringing retail politics to a state of 27 million people.

    He has no pollster and no consultants at this point, and said he has no interest in hiring operatives of that ilk.

    “Since 1988, when Lloyd Bentsen won re-election to the Senate, Democrats have spent close to a billion dollars on consultants and pollsters and experts and campaign wizards and have performed terribly,” he said.

    The approach offers a clear contrast with Cruz, who has used his own consultants to devastating effect in his races for the U.S. Senate and the White House. Last month, several members of Cruz’s political team showed attendees at the Conservative Political Action Convention a presentation of his presidential campaign’s investment and innovations in data analytics.

    Certainly Democrats need to change something about running statewide campaigns in Texas, but the “blame the consultants” strategy seems to be yet another case of Democrats ignoring the fact that their liberal policies are unpopular with the Texas electorate.

    Then there’s the money issue:

    Cruz begins the race with $4.2 million in campaign money. And the early signs amid O’Rourke’s run is that Tea Party groups and establishment organizations will line up with tens of millions of dollars to back Cruz at the slightest sign of trouble.

    Nationally, Democrats have no appetite at this point to spend serious money in Texas, and O’Rourke is not accepting money from political action committees. He, like all federal candidates, has no control over whether a super PAC opts to get involved.

    But anyone opposing Cruz is a likely magnet for angry liberal dollars. And O’Rourke could have the makings of a Bernie Sanders-type fundraising operation. He is one of the most adept politicians when it comes to social media and was an early adopter of building a following with Facebook Live, a means of broadcasting events through that website.

    That’s the problem for Texas Democrats: The message that pulls in nationwide liberal dollars is not the message that wins statewide in Texas, as Wendy Davis can attest.

    And that will be the problem for O’Rourke, who seems to be a doctrinaire liberal on just about every issue, from gun control to the border wall to abortion. Indeed, there does not seem to be any issue where O’Rourke is any less liberal than Davis, and he’s arguably worse on gun control.

    If O’Rourke makes it past Castro in the primary, Democrats will probably find out, yet again, that the liberal Democratic policies are still out-of-step with Texas voters.

    Bonus: O’Rourke was in a punk band called Foss in college. Here they are pretending to be a gospel band to get on a Christian access show:

    Well, O’Rourke probably made the right decision not to pursue a musical career. I don’t think Johnny Rotten and Jello Biafra were hearing footsteps…