Posts Tagged ‘Elections’

Corker Retires, Instapundit Demurs

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Setup:

“The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced Tuesday that he will leave the Senate when his term expires next year, and will not seek re-election.”

Shot:

Chaser:

“Sure, fine, but what if I won? Do you hate me so much?”

Someone has to take a bullet for the team. Besides, think of all the blogging opportunities! You’d finally be able to report on the graft from the inside!

Roy Moore Wins in Alabama

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

“Alabama Republicans on Tuesday voted decisively to nominate Roy Moore, a former state Supreme Court judge, for a U.S. Senate seat, delivering a rebuke to President Donald Trump and the GOP establishment that supported his rival. ”

I wasn’t following this race closely, so enjoy some brief Takes of Elevated Temperature:

  • All politics is local.
  • Alabama remains a very conservative state, and Moore was widely seen as more conservative than his opponent Luther Strange.
  • Score one for the Senate conservative fund.
  • Mitch McConnell and the Washington Republican establishment’s endorsement is so toxic not even Trump’s endorsement can remove the taint for Republican primary voters.
  • Edited to add: Gracious (verily, even Presidential) tweet from President Trump following Moore’s win:

    ZeroHedge suggests that this actually strengthens Trump’s hand against congressional Republicans.

    Merkel Wins (Sort Of)

    Monday, September 25th, 2017

    Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union once again won the majority of votes in German federal elections. However, it got the smallest share of any of Merkel’s victories, and the “far right” Euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag with 12.7% of the vote, making it the third largest party. The “far right” and “populist” tags don’t take into account that the party was originally formed by economists skeptical of deeper European economic integration. They catch the most heat for a position that’s extremely popular: that Merkel’s inviting millions of Islamic “refugees” to Germany was a big mistake that should be reversed and that border controls should be implemented. They also believe that multiculturalism does not work.

    This, of course, is deeply unacceptable to the European ruling class, which is why they describe AfD in ways that make it sound like they’re about to break out singing the Horst Wessel song.

    The actual AfD manifesto can be read in English here, assuming you’re up for 96 pages of European party positions. It includes a mix of populist, Euroskeptic, conservative and libertarian positions. (Germany’s fourth largest party, the Free Democratic Party, bills itself as a fusions of liberalism and “classical liberalism,” is generally considered center-right, but is markedly more internationalist than AfD, and have frequently played the parliamentary swing-party role the Liberal Democrats have in the UK.)

    As in America, the German ruling class have decided that some issues (in Germany’s case, Greek bailouts and Muslim refugees) are too sensitive to let mere voters have their say in them, with the result that more and more, voters are looking to alternatives, “respectable” or otherwise.

    LinkSwarm for September 22, 2017

    Friday, September 22nd, 2017

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

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

  • LinkSwarm for September 15, 2017

    Friday, September 15th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It comes down to one man.

    The leader of the party.

    Barack Obama.

    He was a terrible president.

    Also this:

    Calling us deplorable backfired too.

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

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

    People want results, not tokens.

    (Hat tip: The Other McCain.

  • How Antifa are helping reelect Donald Trump.

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

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

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

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • “The Left Is Still Freaking Out About Betsy DeVos Because School Choice Is An Existential Threat.”
  • Don’t look now, but there’s a new war in the Congo.
  • “Brexit: EU repeal bill wins first Commons vote.”
  • When are experts right and when are they wrong? Scott Adams offers some guidelines.
  • Oberlin College: Hey! Let’s go full Social justice Warrior! Reality: Hey! Enjoy declining enrollment and financial problems.
  • Russian company develops anti-riot truck that’s like a moving battlement. Looks like it would be adept at crushing pro-democracy protestors and Antifa equally.
  • Jack Kerouac: “You stupid hippies should get the hell off my lawn!”
  • How it took four decades to restore Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil. Including a fascinating interview with Welles from 1958.
  • “Commuters express concern as Thomas the Tank Engine falls to the power of Chaos.”
  • My library was featured on the Ace of Spades Sunday book thread.
  • LinkSwarm for September 8, 2017

    Friday, September 8th, 2017

    It would be swell if I could stop leading the LinkSwarm off with hurricane-related news, but Irma is now a class five hurricane headed straight at Florida. If you’re in any evacuation zones, heed authorities, as this does not look like a storm you want to ride out in place unless you have to. Hsoi’s preparedness checklist is also a good thing to go over earlier rather than later.

  • One reason President Donald Trump had to act on DACA: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other states were threatening to sue to end Obama unconstitutional backdoor amnesty program.
  • “¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Obama lawyer who worked on DACA admits it’s probably unconstitutional.” And yes, the ASCII Shrugging Emoji is actually in the headline, so it just wouldn’t have felt honest to leave it out…
  • “Trump’s Crackdown on Illegal Aliens is Driving Wage-Growth in US Construction Industry by up to 30%.” In other news: Basic economics have not been repealed by liberal talking points. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Congress passes hurricane relief bill and debt ceiling hike. Both John Cornyn and Ted Cruz voted in favor of the bill. I haven’t read the bill, but I’m hoping it’s less stuffed with pork than the Sandy bill.
  • J.J. Watt’s Hurricane Harvey flood relief fundraiser hits $29 million.
  • What it takes to keep HEB stores up and running after a hurricane.

    One of my stores, we had 300 employees; 140 of them were displaced by the flooding. So how do you put your store back together quickly? We asked for volunteers in the rest of the company. We brought over 2,000 partners from Austin, San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley. They hopped into cars and they just drove to Houston. They said, we’re here to help. It’s shitty work. For 18 hours a day, they’re going to help us restock and then they’ll go sleep on the couch at somebody’s house.

  • The bribery trial for New jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez gets under way.
  • “It Appears That Out-of-State Voters Changed the Outcome of the New Hampshire U.S. Senate Race.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Why Israel had to bomb Syria’s chemical weapons complex. For one thing, it looks like Iran, Assad and Hezbollah will all emerge strengthened from the Syrian civil war…
  • Speaking of Iran, they’re amassing new weaponry. “While all eyes are on North Korea, Iran is advancing its weapons technology. The country recently tested and announced the success of their new Bavar 373 long range, mobile, anti-missile defense system. Everything in the system is manufactured in Iran; it requires no support from outside sources.” However, since Iran has (to my knowledge) no wafer fabrication plants to produce integrated circuits, this statement is almost certainly false, at least as far as electronics goes. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “Bulgaria is projected to have the fastest-shrinking population in the world.” I suspect this is a combination of communism (and its aftermath) sucking, of it wrecking disproportionately more damage on backward, mostly rural countries, and of the general trend in Europe toward a modern, unchurched, welfare state society, with its attendant population decline.
  • Betty DeVos vows to dismantle the Obama-era campus kangaroo rape courts. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Twitter Bans Activist Mommy for Tweeting Her Dislike of Teen Vogue’s Anal Sex Guide.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • This is disappointing.
  • Texans handled Harvey better than Louisianans handled Katrina because both their governments and societies are more functional.
  • Another day, another fake hate crime. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • The American Railway union was founded on segregation. “George Pullman famously hired African Americans to work for him. Eugene Debs infamously did not allow African Americans to join his union striking against Pullman’s company.”
  • Al Gore’s new book being outsold by scientist’s book debunking Al Gore.
  • I laughed.
  • LinkSwarm for August 11, 2017

    Friday, August 11th, 2017

    North Korea is making crazy threats again, which at this point is a dog-bites-man type story if ever there was one. They’ve done this sort of crazy lunatic invalid sabre-rattling before and, if President Trump doesn’t end up wiping them off the map entirely, will undoubtedly do it again. But it doesn’t change the underlying dynamic of the situation: North Korea can hurt us, but we can completely erase North Korea from the Prime Material Plane. So unless actual military action occurs, I doubt I have much to say (or link to) on North Korea…

  • NSA says no Russian hack of DNC computers. “Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.” Will the Trump Derangement Brigades finally let go of their Russian hacking fantasy? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Why Does the Left Suddenly Hate Russia?”

    The new progressive hatred of Russia is baffling. Of course, Vladimir Putin is a thug and a killer who in the grand tradition of Russian autocracy has no intention ever of holding free elections. But he is perhaps no more a murderer than are the Castro brothers in Cuba, with whom we have concluded a détente and who have no arsenal capable of destroying the U.S.

    Putin is no more or less trustworthy than are the Iranians, with whom in 2015 we cut a deal on nuclear proliferation and who are far more likely than the Russians to send a nuclear missile into Israel someday. Putin’s brutal suppression of the press recalls the ongoing repression by President Recep Erdogan of Turkey — a linchpin member of NATO.

    There is no freedom in China. The Communists still in control have the blood of 50 million Chinese dead on their hands from Mao’s brutal revolutions and genocides. Yet we enjoy all sorts of cultural, political, and economic bipartisan relationships with China, whose nuclear patronage of North Korea has done more damage to U.S. security than any plot from the dark mind of Vladimir Putin.

    In terms of Russia’s macabre history, Putin is a piker compared with Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, who may have orchestrated the deaths of 20 million Russians. After December 1941, the United States concluded a “Big Three” wartime pact with Stalin and supplied 20 percent of the Soviet Union’s wartime resources and arms — some of it later lavishly recycled to post-war Communist uprisings around the globe.

  • “Australian terror suspect planted plane bomb on brother.” And of course the BBC puts this information 17 paragraphs into the story: “The two suspects – Khaled Khayat, 49, and Mahmoud Khayat, 32.”
  • Democrats are screwed in 2018…and beyond:

    Even if Democrats were to win every single 2018 House and Senate race for seats representing places that Hillary Clinton won or that Trump won by less than 3 percentage points — a pretty good midterm by historical standards — they could still fall short of the House majority and lose five Senate seats.

    Snip.

    In the last few decades, Democrats have expanded their advantages in California and New York — states with huge urban centers that combined to give Clinton a 6 million vote edge, more than twice her national margin. But those two states elect only 4 percent of the Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans have made huge advances in small rural states — think Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and West Virginia — that wield disproportionate power in the upper chamber compared to their populations.

    Snip.

    Consider: In 1980, there were 18 states where the presidential margin was at least 5 points more Democratic than the national result, 18 states where it was at least 5 points more Republican than the national result and 14 states in between. Hypothetically, over three successive election cycles, all either party needed to do to win a Senate majority was win all 36 of the seats in the friendly states plus at least 15 of the 28 swing-state seats.

    Today, Republicans don’t even need to win any “swing states” to win a Senate majority: 52 seats are in states where the 2016 presidential margin was at least 5 percentage points more Republican than the national outcome. By contrast, there are just 28 seats in states where the margin was at least 5 points more Democratic, and only 20 seats in swing states.

  • 23% of federal prisoners are illegal aliens.
  • Former “sanctuary cities” in Clark County in Nevada and Miami-Dade County in Florida have confirmed they’re now in compliance with federal immigration law. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “For Fear Of Leaks, Google Cancels All-Hands Meeting Over Engineer Firing Fiasco.” Google went full Social Justice Warrior. Never go full Social Justice Warrior…
  • Christina Hoff Sommers: “Google has excommunicated James Damore for crimes against the Pink Police State.”
  • Trump Appoints More Judges in 200 Days Than Obama, Bush, Clinton.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Perhaps the Second Amendment is the black man’s ultimate sign of full citizenship.” Also this: “The National African-American Gun Association he founded has grown from 800 to 20,000 members since 2015.” Though the piece is marbled with the usual leftwing “America the racist” framing. (Hat tip: Shall not Be Questioned.)
  • This is, I think, a grave miscarriage of justice: man convicted of DUI for driving in and out of his own garage while drunk, never leaving his own property, which strikes me as a takings clause violation.
  • Julian Castro forms a PAC. Possibly eyeing a 2020 Presidential run? Well he’s certainly not going to win statewide…
  • Democrats “pro-worker” policies hurt workers. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Why is Spain arresting European journalists on Turkey’s behalf? Swedish citizen Hamza Yalcin is in jail for “treason” which seems to mean “criticizing the Erdogan regime.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • How Japan could have won World War II. “Win” in this case is not “pummeling America into submission” (impossible) but “making the costs of a protracted war so high that it avoids defeat.” Not striking Pearl Harbor was one key possibility. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Giant mech fight! Finally, the 21st Century I was promised! (The headline says “robots” but the video clearly shows piloted vehicles.) Now, from an actual military standpoint, that under-armored, under-powered mech is going to last about 15 seconds on a real battlefield and could be taken out by a single RPG (or any 8-year quick enough to jam a crowbar into the exposed, undersized tread gears), much less a real tank…
  • NY Times Editors Deny Reading Their Own Newspaper.”
  • “Emails Show WaPo, NYT Reporters Didn’t Want to Cover Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Meeting.”
  • Paper beats rock. Rock beats Mexican. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • I hate linking to ESPN given its SJW turn, but this profile of fighter Conor McGregor was too good not to.
  • Neanderthal cave structure dated to 176,500 years ago.
  • The fate of Viking settlers in Greenland. (Hat tip: Jerry Pournelle.)
  • Tweets:

    I encourage Antifa to buy a Soviet tank. They’ll discover tanks are cool, which will be a gateway drug to learning that guns are cool, after which it’s only a matter of time until they’re eating BBQ, driving pickup trucks and listening to Garth Brooks…

  • Abbott Raises $41 Million and His Democratic Opponent Owns a Gay Leather Bar

    Thursday, August 10th, 2017

    Having contributed to a few Republican candidates over the years, I’m on all sorts of email solicitation lists. Including Governor Greg Abbott’s reelection campaign.

    Most election campaigns, I received 1-2 pieces of email a week. The Abbott campaign, by contrast, seems to send out at least 1-2 piece of email a day. By my count I’ve received some 90 email solicitations from the Abbott campaign this year, and the pace picked up notably in June.

    In fact, Abbott has amassed a campaign warchest of $41 million, despite no prominent Democrat having stepping forward to challenge him.

    That doesn’t mean no Democrats have stepped forward to challenge Abbott. Meet the de facto 2018 Texas Democratic Gubernatorial front-runner Jeffrey Payne of Dallas, the owner of The Dallas Eagle, a gay leather bar.

    Here’s his official photo as judge of “Internatonial Puppy Trainer Contest.” (Hint: No actual dogs are involved in this contest.)

    There are political races where being owner of a gay leather bar would not be a huge obstacle; say, a Mayoral race in San Francisco.

    A Texas Gubernatorial race is not one of them.

    It’s like the Texas Democratic Party went “We can’t possible do worse than Wendy Davis did in 2014!” and Fate said “Hold my beer!”

    Payne is the front-runner for having filed and for his willingness to loan $2.5 million of his own money to his campaign. But look for the Texas Democratic Party to desperately coax an old warhorse out of retirement, ala Paul Sadler in 2012, to avoid a complete down-ballot wipeout.

    LinkSwarm for July 28, 2017

    Friday, July 28th, 2017

    Supposed to hit 104° in Austin today, and 106° tomorrow. Try to keep your cool…

  • “Why Was Wife of DWS’s Swindler Staffer Allowed to Leave the Country?”

    In early March [Imran’s] wife, Hina Alvi, suddenly left the country for Lahore, by way of Doha, Qatar. Notwithstanding the return flight she booked for a date in September 2017, the FBI believes that she actually has no intention to return to the U.S. She had abruptly pulled the couple’s three daughters out of school without alerting the school’s staff, and brought them with her — along with lots of luggage and household goods — to Pakistan.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Mark Steyn on Tucker Carlson: Everything Democrats have looked for and not found in the Russia wild goose chase is actually, demonstrably present in the Imran Awan case:

    Steyn also notes: Why worry whether Vladimir Putin gave the DNC emails to Wikileaks when Debbie Wasserman Schultz just gave Imran Awan her DNC iPad password? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • “The mainstream media are doing their best to ignore a bizarre, serious, and colorful story, but it’s not going to work.” Also: “Occam’s Razor suggests that DWS and the Dems were being blackmailed. For what? And what secrets, if any, were compromised by the members of the House Intelligence Committee who employed the Awan ring?” Note that both Steyn and American Thinker’s Thomas Lifson invoke Occam’s Razor to conclude that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was being blackmailed. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • This eye-opening Lee Smith piece in Tablet mag not only details how Fusion GPS came to gun up the Trump Russian fantasy (and how it’s plating both sides of the fence on Russia), but how deep research is now outsourced to opposition research firms:

    Donald Trump, Jr. appears to be the latest figure in President Donald Trump’s inner circle to be caught in the giant web of the Great Kremlin Conspiracy. Trump the younger said he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, but that all he got in his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer was an earful about dropping the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russian officials involved in the death of a Russian lawyer who was killed in detention.

    If the Trump, Jr. meeting is just another chapter in the Beltway telenovela about Trump selling out America to the Russians through an ever-changing cast of supposed intermediaries—come back, Mike Flynn and Carter Page, we hardly knew ye—it sheds valuable light on the ways and means by which the news that fills our iPhone screens and Facebook feeds is now produced. You see, the Russian lawyer—often carelessly presented as a “Russian government lawyer” with “close ties to Putin”—Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump, also worked recently with a Washington, D.C. “commercial research and strategic intelligence firm” that is also believed to have lobbied against the Magnitsky Act. That firm, which also doubles as an opposition research shop, is called Fusion GPS—famous for producing the Russia dossier distributed under the byline of Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent for hire.

    Steele’s report, a collection of anonymously-sourced allegations, many of which were said to come from “high-ranking former Russian government officials”—i.e. not exactly the kinds of people who seem likely to randomly shoot the shit with ex-British spooks—detailed Trump’s ties to Russian officials and strange sexual obsessions. Originally ordered up by one of Trump’s Republican challengers, the dossier circulated widely in D.C. in the months before the 2016 election, pushed by the Clinton campaign, but no credible press organization was able to verify its claims. After Clinton’s surprise loss, the dossier became public, and it’s claims—while still unverified—have shaped the American public sphere ever since.

    Yet at the same time that Fusion GPS was fueling a campaign warning against a vast Russia-Trump conspiracy to destroy the integrity of American elections, the company was also working with Russia to influence American policy—by removing the same sanctions that Trump was supposedly going to remove as his quid pro quo for Putin’s help in defeating Hillary. Many observers, including the press, can’t quite figure out how the firm wound up on both sides of the fence. Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to know if Fusion GPS has violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

    As the founders of Fusion GPS surely understand, flexibility is a key recipe for success—and the more room you can occupy in the news cycle, the bigger the brand. After all, they’re former journalists—and good ones. Fusion GPS is the story of a few journalists who decided to stop being suckers. They’re not buyers of information, they’re sellers.

    Snip.

    For the past seven years, I’ve reported on and written about American foreign policy and what I saw as troubling trends in how we describe and debate our relationship to the rest of the world. What I’ve concluded during that period is that the fractious nature of those arguments—over the Iran Deal, for instance, or the war in Syria, or Russia’s growing role in the Middle East and elsewhere—is a symptom of a problem here at home. The issue is not about this or that foreign policy. Rather, the problem is that the mediating institutions that enabled Americans to debate and decide our politics and policies, here and abroad, are deeply damaged, likely beyond repair.

    The shape of the debate over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action illustrated this most clearly. The Obama White House turned the press into an instrument used not only to promote its initiatives, but also to drown out and threaten and shame critics and potential opponents, even within the president’s own party. Given the financial exigencies of a media whose business model had been broken by the internet, mismanagement, and the rise of social media as the dominant information platform, the prestige press sacrificed its independence for access to power. If for instance, your beat was national security, it was difficult at best to cross the very few sources of power in Washington that controlled access to information. Your job depended on it. And there are increasingly fewer jobs in the press.

    Read the whole thing.

  • Breakdown of Fusion GPS toes to Russia. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Another day, another failed ObamaCare repeal vote in the Senate, although the “skinny repeal” was nothing to write home about, Republicans John McCain, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against it.
  • While we were concentrating on the Islamic State, the Taliban seized three districts in Afghanistan:

    The Afghan Taliban has overrun three districts previously held by the Afghan government in the provinces of Paktia, Faryab and Ghor over the past several days. The Taliban is demonstrating that it can sustain operations in all theaters of Afghanistan. The three districts are located in three different regions of the country.

    The district of Jani Khel in Paktia, a known stronghold of the Haqqani Network – the powerful Taliban subgroup that is based in eastern Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas – fell to the Taliban earlier today after several days of heavy fighting, according to Afghan officials and the Taliban. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the district headquarters buildings, the police headquarters and all security checkpoints are under his group’s control. Fighting is underway at a nearby military base.

    Jani Khel was effectively under Taliban control. At the end of March, the group claimed that all but six percent of the district, including the district center, was under Afghan government control.

    The districts of Taywara in Ghor in central Afghanistan, and Kohistan (or Lolash) in Faryab in the northwest fell to the Taliban on July 23 after several days of fighting. TOLONews confirmed that the two districts are now Taliban controlled and “government forces have not yet launched military operations to re-capture these districts.”

    The Taliban has also claimed it seized control of Pusht Koh in Farah province and Guzargah in Baghlan, however the reports cannot be independently confirmed. However Taliban reports on the takeover of districts have proven accurate in the pasts.

    The loss of the three districts shows that the Taliban is capable of conducting operations in all regions of the country. Even as the three districts fell, the Taliban is on the offensive in all of the other regions. Afghan security forces, which are sustaining record highs in casualties and desertions, is largely on the defensive in most areas of the country.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • The awful time Yazidi girls have recovering from Islamic State sexual slavery.
  • Liberals freak out over President Trump’s no trannies in the military policy. I don’t think most of America realized our military had trannies. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Defense of same ban by wounded Iraq veteran.
  • Texas special session update. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has gotten the Senate to consider and pass 18 bills in just the first week. Meanwhile, Speaker Joe Straus’ House hasn’t even considered most in committee yet.
  • Kid Rock can win.
  • Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke outraised Ted Cruz in Q2 for the 2018 Texas Senate race, but Cruz still has $5.7 million cash on hand.
  • Flashback: Trump has no path to 270 electoral votes. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • We were close to nabbing Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in 2015 until a leak to the New York Times dried up information.
  • Congress passes veto-proof sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea.
  • Sweden now has 61 “no go” zones, up from 55 last year. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Convicted felon Brett Kimberlin loses in court yet again. “Nearly four years after Brett Kimberlin sued Patrick Frey, myself and numerous other defendants (including Michelle Malkin, Breitbart.com and Red State) in a bogus federal RICO suit, the case has finally concluded with Judge George Hazel granting Frey summary judgment.”
  • Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn to build $10 billion display plant in Wisconsin.
  • President Trump gets a huge welcome in Youngstown, Ohio. Bonus: People interviewed are sick and tired of hearing about Russia. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “Greece Arrests Russian ‘Mastermind’ Behind $4 Billion Bitcoin Laundering Scheme.”
  • Dwight has DEFCON and Black Hat rundowns for you computer security boffins. Plus regular updates.
  • Appeals court invalidates D.C.’s ‘good reason’ constraint on public carry of firearms.”

    Because the District’s good-reason law merits invalidation under Heller regardless of its precise benefits, we would be wasting judicial resources if we remanded for the [lower] court to develop the records in these cases. … We vacate both orders below and remand with instructions to render permanent injunctions against enforcement of the District’s good-reason law.

  • NSA expert hacks “smart gun” with $1.5 million supercomputer. And by “NSA expert” I mean a random hacker and by $1.5 million supercomputer I mean $15 worth of magnets. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • 15 pro-illegal alien protestors arrested for blocking traffic near the capitol in Austin. Bonus: Only five actually reside in Texas.
  • Swarthmore commies disband after realizing they were all middle upper class white people. Also, “Swarthmore Commies” would make a good name for a rock band.
  • My piece on ISIS-pledged terrorist groups made it to Zero Hedge. Which I’m happy about. But the comments do seem to be much more Israeli/Jewish conspiracy theory-heavy than I’ve seen there in the past…
  • Speaking of which, no, Edward Snowden did not say that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s is really an Israeli Jew named Elliot Shimon. In fact, he specifically denied saying that through his lawyer.
  • Charlie Gard, RIP.
  • “A number of so-called scientific journals have accepted a Star Wars-themed spoof paper…an absurd mess of factual errors, plagiarism and movie quotes.”
  • Nice house, lots of room. The decoration scheme is a little…wait a minute…”
  • Abbot Makes Reelection Bid Official

    Saturday, July 15th, 2017

    This will be no surprise to anyone who’s been getting his fundraising solicitation emails over the last few months, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott has officially declared he’s running for reelection in 2018.

    Abbott’s grip on the Governor’s office is, if anything, even firmer than Rick Perry’s was. If he hasn’t backed conservatives as fully as they would like on some issues (such as the tranny bathrooms bill), he did oversee a scandal-free administration, a generally booming economy (oil downturns notwithstanding), saw campus carry and anti-sanctuary city bills signed into law, and has an ambitious conservative agenda in the forthcoming special session.

    Abbott entered the year with $34.4 million on hand for his reelection efforts, and I’m sure that pile will be substantially larger when semiannual reports (for which the latest reporting period ends today) are announced.

    So far Gov. Abbott has no declared primary or general election opponents, as the Castro brothers, not being complete idiots, declined to run. (Julian Castro even scored four points behind Wendy Davis in that mostly-bogus PPP poll.) Abbott’s two biggest potential Republican rivals, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Land Commissioner George P. Bush, have already announced their respective reelection bids.

    Baring some radical, unforeseen circumstance, Greg Abbott should easily be reelected Governor of Texas on November 6, 2018.