Posts Tagged ‘George H. W. Bush’

LinkSwarm for July 14, 2017

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Since I just topped up my Strategic Dog Reserve, blogging may get light at some point. But in the meantime, enjoy another Friday LinkSwarm:

  • This may be what’s driving some Democrats’ idee fixe on Russia: a guilty conscience:

    Radical left-wing icon former California Democratic Rep. Ron Dellums was a hired lobbyist for Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. June 9, 2016, the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

    Dellums, who represented liberal San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., is a long-time darling of left-wing political activists. He served 13 terms in Congress as an African-American firebrand and proudly called himself a socialist. He retired in 1996.

    The former congressman is one of several high-profile Democratic partisans who was on Veselnitskaya’s payroll, working to defeat a law that is the hated object of a personal vendetta waged by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    A national outcry has erupted in the establishment media about Trump Jr.’s meeting with Veselnitskaya. But there has been little focus on the Democrats who willingly served for years on her payroll helping to wage a Russian-led lobby campaign against the law. Congress passed the legislation, the Magnitsky Act, in response to the murder of Sergei Magnistky, a Russian lawyer who alleged corruption and human rights violations against numerous Russian officials.

    According to a complaint filed to the Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act division last July, Dellums failed to register as a foreign agent representing a Russian-driven effort led by Veselnitskaya to repeal the Magnitsky Act.

    Add Dellums to a list that includes Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Podesta brothers of high profile Democrats who have documented financial and lobbying ties to Putin’s government.

  • Democrats intentionally used disinformation from Russia to attack Trump, campaign aides.”
  • Russian journalist on how American journalists cover Russia, especially the Russian hacking story. “The way the American press writes about the topic, it’s like they’ve lost their heads.” Also: “Putin seem to look much smarter than he is, as if he operates from some master plan.” He’s actually a bumbler…
  • You know the Obama Veterans Administration that was only too happy to look the other way while veterans were dying on the waiting list? President Trump’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin has helped implement a number of reforms:

    In Shulkin’s five months on the job, the VA has been a whirlwind of activity:

    • The department announced last week that between President Trump’s inauguration and July 3, it had fired 526 employees, demoted another 27, and temporarily suspended another 194 for longer than two weeks.
    • In April, the department launched a new website that lets veterans compare the wait times at its facilities and view Yelp-style reviews of each facility written by previous patients.
    • Veterans Health Administration’s Veterans Crisis Line — designed for those struggling with PTSD, thoughts of suicide, and other forms of mental stress — is now answering “more than 90 percent of calls within 8 seconds, and only about one percent of calls are being rerouted to a backup call center.” A year ago, an inspector general report noted that “more than a third of calls were being shunted to backup call centers, some calls were taking more than a half hour to be answered and other callers were being given only an option to leave messages on voicemail.”
    • At the end of June, Shulkin unveiled the world’s most advanced commercial prosthetic limb — the Life Under Kinetic Evolution (LUKE) arm — during a visit to a VA facility in New York. Veteran amputees demonstrated the technology, a collaboration among the VA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the private sector. (The name alludes to the lifelike robotic hand that Luke Skywalker is fitted with in The Empire Strikes Back.)
    • In May, Shulkin said the department had identified more than 430 vacant buildings and 735 underutilized ones that cost the federal government $25 million a year. He said that most of the buildings are not treatment facilities and could profitably be closed or consolidated. Of course, if he actually attempted to close or consolidate some of the buildings, he might face a controversy along the lines of those touched off by military-base-closing announcements in recent decades.

    Shulkin has also gotten some help from Congress during his short time on the job. At a time when Republican legislators have had enormous difficulty passing big pieces of legislation, they’ve made great progress on VA reform.

    One particular law designed to make the VA more accountable is arguably the most consequential legislation President Trump has signed so far. It establishes speedier procedures for firing employees, gives the department the authority to recoup bonuses and pensions from employees convicted of crimes, adds greater protections for whistleblowers who report errors and scandals, and expands employee training.

  • New Senate GOP bill to repeal ObamaCare has tiny flaw in that it doesn’t repeal ObamaCare.
  • The One Sentence That Explains Washington Dysfunction: “I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win.” So no one was ready to do anything policy-wise once he did. “Among those consequences: The expectation that Republicans might actually try to keep the promises they’ve made to voters over the last eight years.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • No matter which party is in charge of Washington, rain or shine, summer or winter, the deficit keeps growing. “Real monthly federal spending topped $400 billion for the first time in June.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • An appeals court vacated the conviction of former New York Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, just the latest in a long line of appeal reversals for former federal prosecutor Preet Bharara. How much of Bharara’s once-sterling reputation was real, how much was showboating, and how much was good press from working at MSM-saturated New York City? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “ICE Director: There’s No Population Of Illegal Aliens Which Is Off The Table.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Mexico is reportedly very upset that both the united States and Texas are actually enforcing border control laws.
  • Remember: When you see an anti-Trump or anti-border control march, there’s a good chance it consists mostly of paid Soros shills.
  • Speaking of Soros:

    What we are actually witnessing — in Hungary, in the United States and in many other countries in recent years — is a populist reaction against the elite “progressive” consensus of which Soros is a prominent symbol. There is an international clique of influential people and organizations who share certain ideas about the future direction of political, social and economic policies, and who don’t want to be bothered with debating the merits of these policies. The ordinary people whose lives would be affected by the agenda of the elite aren’t being asked for their approval, and popular opposition to the elite agenda (e.g., the Brexit vote, Trump’s election, Hungary’s anti-“refugee” referendum) is treated by the elite media as evidence of incipient fascism. Never does it seem to have occurred to George Soros, or to anyone else in the international elite, that perhaps their policy ideas are wrong, that they have gone too far in their utopian “social justice” schemes. Unable to admit error, the progressive elite therefore resort to cheap insults and sloppy accusations of “fascism” to stigmatize opposition to the Left’s agenda.

  • Bernard-Henri Lévy makes the case for an independent Kurdistan. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • For ABC, religious liberty organization = hate group.
  • Seattle decides that they want to drive the affluent out of the city. I’m sure many cities in Texas would be happy to welcome them with open arms…
  • And just in case you thought that was going to be the craziest story out of Seattle this week: “Seattle Councilman Objects to Hosing Excrement-Covered Sidewalks Because It’s Racist.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • China’s housing bubble continues to expand. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Kid Rock is running in the 2018 Michigan Senate race. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
  • On the same subject. “Rock is arguably much better positioned than Trump for a successful political run.”
  • “The man running Sweden’s biggest security firm was declared bankrupt this week after his identity was hacked.”
  • Flaccid NFL ratings lead to Viagra and Cialis pulling out as sponsors. Maybe if they stopped focusing on politics, the NFL’s ratings wouldn’t be as soft….
  • Austin attorney “Omar Weaver Rosales, who filed hundreds of lawsuits against local small businesses alleging technical violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, has been suspended from practicing law in the Federal Western District for three years.”
  • Maine Democratic state rep threatens to kill President Trump, calls gun owners “pussies.”
  • Connecticut now requires a criminal conviction for civil forfeiture. Good. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • “Bad move, Mongo! Moonshine has powerful friends in the slam.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Clint Eastwood, when looking to cast American Paris train heroes Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone for a movie he’s directing, decided to cast Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone.
  • Radiohead gives the finger to anti-Israel BDS movement. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Was Shia LaBeouf always this big an asshole, or did he get worse after Trump and 4Chan broke him? “I got more millionaire lawyers than you know what to do with, you stupid bitch!” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Alyssa Milano is too busy as a member of “the Resistance” to take care of trivia like paying her taxes. Or her share of her employee’s taxes.
  • Woman climbs Mt. Everest to prove that vegans can do anything, dies. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • There’s a Friends of NRA Fundraiser on August 3rd in Georgetown.
  • AMC releases emails from fired Walking Dead producer Frank Darabont in which he states how he’s boiling with rage over subpar efforts by various production team members. It’s not a good look, but if you directed The Shawshank Redemption, I’m inclined to cut you more than the usual amount of slack over your film-making methods…
  • Marvel is actually doing a live Squirrel Girl TV show. Sure, it’s called New Warriors, but we all know what the real attraction is there…
  • A sailor-eye history of the USS Nevada battleship during World War II.
  • Speaking of World War II, here’s a history of the Mulberry artificial harbors that were crucial in unloading supplies right after D-Day.
  • From the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas: Proof that Bill Clinton doesn’t understand the power of metaphors in image form:

  • “Millions Of Policy Proposals Spill Into Sea As Brookings Institution Think Tanker Runs Aground Off Crimea Coast.” (Hat tip: JenDinnj’s Twitter feed.)
  • How did I miss this last week?

  • A Quarter-Century Ago Today: The Collapse of the Soviet Union

    Sunday, December 25th, 2016

    Legal Insurrection reminds of an event that the entire world has to be thankful for: The collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

    Iraq: It’s All George W. Bush’s Fault

    Thursday, June 12th, 2014

    (Note: This headline is only slightly factitious.)

    The problem with George W. Bush’s Middle East policy is that there’s no political gain there, no matter how great the price or resounding the achievement, that Obama can’t throw away through his manifestly gross incompetence. Al Qaeda in Iraq’s successor organization, the Sunni Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “consolidated and extended their control over northern Iraq on Wednesday, seizing Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, threatening the strategic oil refining town of Baiji and pushing south toward Baghdad, their ultimate target.”

    That’s the same ISIS that captured Mosul, where they seized $429 million worth of Iraqi dinars from the local bank, making them the richest terrorist army in the world.

    Remember when Obama declared that “al Qaeda is on the run”?

    And remember when Obama pulled out of Iraq and walked away without a status of forces agreement there?

    Now two battalions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds forces have deployed to Iraq, ostensibly to support Maliki’s Shiite government. So now, in theory, we’re allied with the Mullahs in Iran in Iraq against the Isalmists we’re supporting in Syria against the Iran-aligned government of Bashar Assad.

    About the only good news out of the region is that the Kurds are holding their own. An independent Kurdistan would be far from the worst development in the region, and would probably freak out both Iran and Turkey enough to distract them from further mischief elsewhere.

    The current situation highlights the age-old truth that the Middle East is filled with people whose deepest desire appears to be to kill and gain power over members of rival clans/tribes/factions/confessions/etc. This has been true for pretty much all of recorded history save when a strong power (Ottoman, British, Baathist) is able to keep those tendencies in check through heavy policing, military occupation, or a brutal security state apparatus. The presence of our troops there gives the natives a distraction and a target, allowing them to temporarily stop killing each other in preference to killing us. The exceptions to this rule, such as multicultural Lebanon circa 1946-1974, have proven frustratingly ephemeral.

    Israel provided a temporary target of unifying hatred, but the Jewish state’s defensive measures have made it increasingly difficult to get close enough to any Jews to kill them, hence back to the old internecine pursuits.

    Bush43’s foreign policy in the Middle East and the decision to invade Iraq stems, in large measure, from Bush41’s decision not to let Schwartzkopf take Baghdad in The Gulf War. Whether doing so would have brought all on all our Iraqi troubles two decades earlier is debatable. There is much to say for toppling a totalitarian thug like Saddam, not least of which was liberating the children’s prison, where children as young as 5 were tortured to make their mothers talk. Perhaps the ideal strategy would have been to depose and execute Saddam and his top regime supporters in 1991, then immediately leave and let Iraqi factions kill each other rather than our troops. But I doubt anyone put forward that idea as a serious suggestion at the time.

    Bush43 ultimately succeeded in largely pacifying Iraq, but the cost was high and, as recent events proved, the gains were temporary. The problem with interventionist policy in the Middle East is that there is no gain safe from the feckless impulses of surrender and appeasement that dominate the Democratic Party’s thinking today. The Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party is dead, and Obama and Kerry perfectly embody the combination of naivete, hubris, multilateralist, and hostility to the military that dominates today. They love signing treaties and “the peace process,” even though it’s all process and no peace.

    It turns out that Ron Paul may be right for the wrong reasons. Because no foreign policy gain in the Middle East is safe from Democratic incompetence, Republicans should not pursue any interventionist foreign policy there, especially in the name of impossible “stability”. No interventionist accomplishment there can endure long past the end of a Republican President’s term, because there is no gain safe from the likes of Kerry and Obama. And since there is no indication the nature of the Democratic Party will be changing any time soon, a military interventionist foreign policy there, no matter how well-intentioned, well-planned, and well-executed, must be doomed to ultimate failure.

    In hindsight, the liberation of Iraq turns out to be a tragic mistake, because Bush underestimated how decisively his hard-won gains could be undone by the incompetence of his successor.

    Ted Cruz Picks Up Two More Endorsements

    Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

    The Ted Cruz winning streak continues, with two more key endorsements, namely Peggy Venable, Texas State Director for Americans for Prosperity, and Ernie Angelo, former RNC Committeeman.

    Cruz has easily lapped his opponents in the endorsement race. Other than Roger Williams’ endorsement by former President George H. W. Bush, and the departed Michael Williams’ endorsement by Jim DeMint, I can’t think of a single high-profile endorsement for any other candidate. I don’t think Tom Leppert’s handful of pastors really counts (though getting a max donation from Roger Staubach certainly didn’t hurt).

    Key endorsements aren’t worth as much winning the fundraising race, but they’re not chopped liver either. The fact that the Cruz campaign has rolled these out at a regular rate of a couple every week suggests to me that he has a fair number in his pocket, and wants to pace them out.

    Still More Bin Laden Fallout

    Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
  • The ever-readable and redoubtable Christopher Hitchens.
  • James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal. Including why we went in with troops rather than B-52s: “The president wanted proof that bin Laden was dead. So he assembled a small death panel, which went to the compound in Pakistan and shot him.” Heh.
  • The White House seems to be unclear on some of the details of the operation. Not a good idea to be handing the “deathers” ammunition this early.
  • Three cheers for Dick Cheney’s assassination squad.
  • Stratfor on al Qaeda’s decentralized nature, and what Bin Laden’s death means for Jihadism.
  • And now, in honor of Bin Laden’s demise, and stolen from Dwight’s pal Borepatch, here’s Achmed the Dead Terrorist:

    Believe it or not, thought I had seen the “I Kill You!” pic, I had actually never seen the video before going to Borepatch’s site. Given that this video has over 133 million hits, I may be a wee little bit behind the curve on this one. Tune in next week when I cover such cutting edge Internet phenomena as Mahir’s website, an animated dancing baby, and cat pictures with funny misspelled captions…

    2012 Senate Races Already Heating Up (In Texas and Elsewhere)

    Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

    It’s only a few days after she announced her retirement, but several serious contenders are getting a lot of buzz for Kay Baily Hutchison’s Senate seat:

    • Even though he hasn’t announced, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is considered the presumptive front-runner. Having successfully run for a very powerful (and very prominent) statewide office, Dewhurst would be a formidable candidate. And his intention to jump in just may be deduced from the Google ad that shows up when you search for his name: “Taking the Fight to Washington? Stay Updated Here/www.DavidDewhurst.com”
    • Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbot is rumored to to be considering a run. Current Senator John Cornyn made the same jump in 2002.
    • Roger Williams, former Texas Secretary of State (not the theologian the Rhode Island university is named for), has picked up a serious endorsement from former President George H. W. Bush. Williams worked on both the Bush41 and Bush43 campaigns and headed the Texas Republican Victory 2008 Coordinated Campaign. It’s a big jump from Secretary of State (which is an appointed, not elected office) to the Senate, but the Bush Machine excels at fund-raising, and if it really throws its weight behind Williams he won’t have any trouble raising money. (Edited to add: I didn’t realize that Williams had already announced his candidacy all the way back in December 2008.)
    • A different Williams, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, gets some serious love from South Carolina Senator (and Senate Conservatives Fund head honcho) Jim DeMint. But the Railroad Commission, while quite powerful, doesn’t have nearly the public profile of Lt. Governor.
    • Another Railroad Commissioner, Elizabeth Ames Jones, is already off and running, having evidently announced back in 2009.
    • A serious dark-horse contender is State Senator Dan Patrick, who has a lot of name-recognition in Houston for being a former sportscaster. (He might even get false name recognition, since he’s not the other sports-casting Dan Patrick.)
    • Other names being bandied about are Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former Solicitor General of Texas Ted Cruz.

    And that’s just the first batch of names to be floated, and says nothing of random billionaires or old Republican warhorses jumping into the race.

    The Democratic names being floated are a far less imposing bunch: San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, ex-Congressman Chet Edwards, and former Comptroller John Sharp. Edwards got trounced in the most recent election, while Sharp was defeated by Dewhurst in his run for Lieutenant Governor in 2002, and it’s hard to treat someone as a serious candidate who haven’t updated their twitter feed in almost a year and who let his campaign website (http://www.johnsharp.com/) lapse.

    In related news, Democratic Senator Kent Conrad, of deeply red North Dakota, announced he was declining to run in 2012 as well, which means Democratic chances to hold onto the seat probably just went from slim to none.

    A&M Newsflash: “Armed Subject at Rudder Tower” Update: All Clear, Just a Replica

    Thursday, October 28th, 2010

    According to a “Code Maroon” Alert Issued by Texas A&M.

    No reports of shots fired or such. My guess is it’s a false alarm or over-reaction, but I’ll update should it prove otherwise.

    Update: As Karl Rehn noted in email “It is A&M and the week before deer season.” No indication thus far it’s anything other than a false alarm.

    Update 2: The Houston Chronicle is reporting the following information about the suspect:

    • white male
    • wearing olive or green shirt and shorts
    • wearing back pack
    • carrying an AK-47

    (Sigh) It’s always an AK-47 in early reports, isn’t it? Just because it happened to be the case for Colton Tooley’s suicide doesn’t mean its any less likely to be wrong for the next set of early reports.

    Update 3: I can see why they might be a little touchy: Former President George H. W. Bush, as well as former First Ladies Barbara Bush and Laura Bush, are at A&M tonight to open a new exhibition at the George Bush Presidential Library. That was supposed to start at 5 PM, but I can well believe it might be delayed. Of course, the bus driver who spotted the “armed subject” might have seen a Secret Service agent. Then again, if the above description is correct (a big if), that’s pretty unlikely; you don’t often see secret service agents wear shorts in the line of duty (at least when they’re not out exercising with the person they’re protecting).

    Update 4: KBTX updates on the story.

    I would provide a link to the Bryan/College Station Eagle update page, but there’s considerably less information there than here. Evidently they couldn’t find any time out from the vital work of endorsing Democrats to actually assign someone to cover the story.

    Update 5: Seeing tweets that the “armed subject” was just a Corps of Cadets (that’s ROTC for those of you who don’t speak Aggie) member carrying his rifle to practice. Just how long has that bus driver been working at A&M? Did he not notice that they have a wee bit of military tradition there? (If true, this would also make the AK-47 bit especially absurd, since I imagine they practice drilling with rifles a lot closer to an M1 Garand.)

    Update 6: “All Clear. Person with replica weapon identified. No danger. Resume normal activity. 5:34”