Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

LinkSwarm for June 23, 2017

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! There’s so much news I’m going to punt “The Pelosi Question” to the weekend:

  • In case you hadn’t noticed, illinois is going bankrupt.
  • John Podesta to testify before the House Intelligence committee. Hopefully they’ll ask him about the allegations in Shattered that he and Robby Mook cooked up the entire “Russia hacked the election” fantasy within 24 hours of Hillary’s loss. And also about his and his brother’s documented financial ties to Russia.
  • Former state Department/CIA employee charged with espionage for China:

    A former State Department employee was arrested Thursday and charged with espionage for allegedly transmitting Top Secret and Secret documents to a Chinese government agent, according to an affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA.

    Kevin Mallory, 60, of Leesburg is a self-employed consultant who speaks fluent Chinese. Court filings show that Mallory was an Army veteran who worked as a special agent for U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service from 1987 to 1990. Since then, Mallory has worked for various government agencies and defense contractors, maintaining a Top Secret security clearance. The Washington Post reports that Mallory was also an employee of the CIA.

  • A lot of hardcore Democrats are becoming increasingly uneasy about the way that Trump Derangement Syndrome has warped their party:

    We do know that Wednesday’s congressional attacker, James Hodgkinson, shared a conspiracy-tinged Change.org link on March 22, accompanied by the caption, “Trump is a traitor.” Once again, it has to be stressed that this information is woefully insufficient to conclude that the perpetrator was motivated by Russia-oriented conspiracy theories. Motivations are multifaceted, and often political beliefs “intersect” with mental distress, causing people to act violently. But the sharing of the link does indicate that Hodgkinson has been affected by the frenzied climate Democrats have stoked around the Russia issue.

    Once again, for extra emphasis: calling attention to the link Hodgkinson shared is not to say that Democrats are directly culpable for this shooting. That would be ridiculous. But the shared link does show that he was to some extent enmeshed in the conspiratorial paranoia that Democrats have knowingly fostered, at full-blast, for approaching an entire year. One ancillary consequence of fostering conspiratorial paranoia for a full year is that certain people with unstable mental predispositions may latch on and commit violent acts. But Democrats and liberals, in their self-assuredness, have been reticent to acknowledge this byproduct of their current political strategy. Proclaiming that the president engaged in treason — as many members of Congress and media figures have — is going to have an influence on the broader public, and included in that broader public are people who might be deranged and/or have violent inclinations.

    If you deny that the kind of overblown rhetoric that Democrats have specialized in over the past months — warning about traitorous subterfuge and foreign infiltration — can have any trickle-down effect on regular people, you’re deluding yourself.

  • It looks like Democrats are learning all the wrong lessons from Jon Ossoff’s loss:

    Democrats want a resistance. They want to impeach the President. They want full-blown socialism. They want to go further to the left than the tea party wanted to go right. A lot of activist Democrats are already interpreting Jon Ossoff’s loss as him not being aggressively anti-Trump enough.

    The Democrat base has moved way further left than where the American public is and at a time we seem to be in a pendulum swing back to the right, that could hurt them. As they start challenging Democrat incumbents with more liberal activists and start winning primaries in swing seats with radical progressives, they risk their ability to win.

    What makes this fun to watch is knowing they reject that idea and think the more radical and more militant the more likely their candidates will win. I cannot wait to watch their slate of moonbat crazy challengers.

  • All those “Ossoff’s loss was a moral victory” excuses? Vox says don’t believe it: “Don’t sugarcoat it — Ossoff’s loss is a big disappointment, and a bad sign, for Democrats. Democrats need to outperform Hillary Clinton to take back the House. Ossoff did worse than her.”
  • As bad as political violence is now, the 1960s and early 1970s were much worse.
  • Phil Montag, technology chairman for the Nebraska Democratic Party, was caught on audio saying he was glad Rep> Steve Scalise (R-LA) was shot and wishing he had died. Make that the ex-technology chairman for the Nebraska Democratic Party. Good. Pink slips seem to be the only thing these people pay attention to. (Hat tip: Gabriel Malor’s Twitter feed.)
  • “A professor at a Connecticut college said he was forced to flee the state after he received death threats for appearing to endorse the idea that first responders to last week’s congressional shooting should have let the victims ‘f**king die’ instead of treating them.” Step right up, Trinity College Professor Johnny Eric Williams! You’re the next contestant on “Trump Derangement Syndrome Ruined My Life!”
  • And speaking of Democrats losing it, “Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz accused ex-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson of lying under oath when he said the DNC refused the help of the DHS in their hacking scandal.”
  • “This May was the Democratic National Committee’s worst May of fundraising since 2003. The DNC raised $4.29 million in May of this year, according to data recently released by the Federal Election Commission. It is the weakest take for national Democrats since May of 2003, when the party raised a paltry $2.7 million.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Did 5.7 million illegal aliens vote in 2008? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • President Trump follows through on his campaign promise to kill deferred action for illegal alien parents, AKA DAPA.
  • TPPF’s Chris Jacobs is not impressed with the Republican Senate ObamaCare replacement bill. TPPF’s Chip Roy said:

    Simply put, the bill doubles down on the fundamentally flawed architecture of Obamacare and if implemented, will neither increase the actual care available to the people nor drive down the cost of care or insurance. It maintains Obamacare’s subsidy regime, retains almost the entirety of the regulatory architecture driving up people’s premiums and deductibles, continues the previous Administration’s unconstitutional bailouts to insurers, and maintains the Medicaid expansion for five more years before slowly attempting to reform the program.

  • More on the same subject: “Top Ten Ways Senate Obamacare Bill Is #FakeRepeal.”
  • ObamaCare tweet:

  • Liberal lawyer Alan Dershowitz states that Presidnet Trump’s tape bluff is perfectly legal. “What President Trump did was no different from what prosecutors, defense attorneys, policemen, FBI agents and others do every day in an effort to elicit truthful testimony from mendacious witnesses.” Also: “We must declare an armistice against using our criminal justice system as a political weapon in what has become a zero-sum bloodsport.”
  • Saudi king replaces crown prince with his own son.
  • Saudis foil Iranian sabotage attack on their offshore oilfields.
  • “Trump Imposes New Sanctions on Russia Over Ukraine.” Insert record scratch sound over derailment of the “Trump is Putin’s stooge” narrative here. Oh, also, New York Times: When you invade, occupy and annex territory, it’s not an “incursion,” it’s an “invasion.”
  • Helmut Kohl, the chancellor who oversaw German reunification, dead at age 87. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Remember all those “refugees” Angela Merkel invited in? “Up to three quarters of Germany’s refugees will still be unemployed in five years’ time.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Trump Administration Begins to Dismantle Obama Campus Rape Tribunals.” Good.
  • “CENTCOM confirms Islamic State’s ‘Grand Mufti’ killed in airstrike…Turki al-Bin’ali was killed in a May 31 airstrike in Mayadin, Syria.”
  • Amazon buying Whole Foods ties into their overall strategy of high fixed costs and returns to scale.
  • Alternate view: Amazon buying Whole Foods is this cycle’s AOL/Time Warner merger.
  • East Lansing, Michigan punishes man for daring to express pro-Christian thoughtcrime on Facebook.
  • “The amount of labor that once bought 54 minutes of light now buys 52 years of light. The cost has fallen by a factor of 500,000 and the quality of that light has transformed from unstable and risky to clean, safe, and controllable.”
  • The year-by-year descent into airline hell. But: More people are flying than ever before, and airlines are actually profitable. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • Man almost dies after getting swept away by a river while hiking, learns important survival lessons. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • Harvard introduces segregated commencement ceremony for black students. next up: Their own water fountains.
  • “A mentally ill homeless woman in Florida is accused of vandalizing a policeman’s patrol car and smearing feces on a church where she left the walls defaced with nonsensical writings against ‘patriarchy.'”
  • F-35 puts on an impressive demonstration at the Paris Air Show. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • F-16 catches fire at Houston airport.
  • The meaning of Bill Cosby’s hung jury:

    The extraordinarily high prosecutorial burden of proof in any criminal trial is intentionally designed to heavily favor defendants, because we long ago embraced as a society Blackstone’s principle. Formulated in the seventeen-sixties by the English jurist William Blackstone, the presumption is that it is better to have ten guilty people go free than that one innocent person suffer. Hard as it is to stomach today, embracing that calculus means that we should even want ten rapists (not to mention terrorists and murderers) to go free in order to protect the one falsely accused. Unfortunately, Cosby is one of those to escape criminal punishment. And, to put a fine point on the over-all gendered impact of requiring proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the inevitable effect of the heavy tilt toward defendants is that in sexual-assault trials, which involve mostly male defendants and mostly female accusers, men are favored over women.

    What works in Bill Cosby’s favor also works in Bill Clinton’s favor… (Hat tip: Christina Hoff Summers’ Twitter feed.)

  • 15 companies that made great games that still went bust. Spoiler: The phrase “bought by EA” appears a lot.
  • Colin Kaepernick seems to have decided that his career is indeed over. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Whipped cream fatality.
  • And that gives me the thinnest of possible justifications to post this classic:

  • LinkSwarm for June 12, 2017

    Monday, June 12th, 2017

    Enjoy a late, out-of-band LinkSwarm to start your week:

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions is serious about border control:

    Sessions said 25 judges have already been deployed to detention centers on the U.S.-Mexico border, according to Politico. Another 50 judges will be “on the bench” later this year. A separate 75 judges will be added in fiscal 2018 at a cost of $80 million.

    The need is obvious. About half of all federal arrests in 2014 were for immigration crimes, and 93 percent of that figure took place at or near the border, the Bureau of Justice Statistics recently reported.

  • Leaked diplomatic cables show concern by other U.S. allies in the region that Qatar was backing terrorist groups.
  • More background on the Qatar vs. every other Sunni gulf state feud.
  • “President Trump continues to make sterling judicial nominations.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Trump as our Claudius.
  • Pundits keep telling President Trump he has to give up tweeting. Why would he, when his tweets make the media dance to his tune? (Hat tip: Scott Adams.)
  • “Obama Admin Did Not Publicly Disclose Iran Cyber-Attack During ‘Side-Deal’ Nuclear Negotiations.” Because why protect America’s cybersecurity when you can give billions to a jihad-supporting regime to sign a treaty they’ll refuse to follow?
  • “12 Democrat staffers arrested, charged with voter fraud.”
  • Congress should investigate if Attorney General Lynch pressured Comey to cover for Hillary Clinton, says notorious right-wing shill…Dianne Feinstein? (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Now that Democrats are getting getting hefty support from moneyed elites, they’re not so keen on wealth redistribution.
  • The Strange Death of Scottish Nationalism.” The Tories did badly in the snap election, but the Scottish National Party did much, much worse.
  • How Theresa May screwed up. And why on earth was she using Jim Messina as a political consultant? Because he did such a smashing job on the “Remain” campaign?
  • “EU, UN siphon off 100 million Euro annually to groups running anti-Israel campaign.”
  • “UK government paid London jihad mass murderer’s brother to fight ‘extremism.'”
  • Jim Goad covers the lunacy at Evergreen College. Tidbit: “The school bears the dubious distinction of being ‘one of the least selective universities in the nation with an admittance rate of 98%.'” *Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • So much news dropped last week that I didn’t get around to posting on the arrest of NSA contractor Reality Winner for leaking classified information. And does the name “Reality Winner” mean we’re living in a Philip K. Dick novel? Or a Thomas Pynchon novel?
  • But we should lit Winner’s weird name distract us from the fact she’s a complete and utter moron, “not only printing the document from her NSA computer but emailing the Intercept using her personal Gmail account from the same computer.” (More on printing microdot technology.
  • In any case, the MSM is omitting Winner’s long, documented history of far-left political activism.
  • “The Democrats don’t have a ‘white working-class problem.’ They have a ‘working-class problem.” Caveat: Lots of leftist blather. But it’s refreshing to see liberals admit just how badly the Obama economy sucked. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus.)
  • Tweet:

  • “Italy’s populist Five Star Movement humiliated in municipal elections.” That’s Beppe Grillo’s left-wing populist Euroskeptic Party. Between this and France’s election, was Brexit the high-water mark of Euroskepticism? Maybe, until the next economic crisis.
  • Speaking of which, the slow-motion Spanish banking panic continues apace, and Spanish regulators have imposed a ban on short-selling.
  • Adam West, RIP.
  • Flying Goth.
  • Attempted cereal killing.
  • Joe’s Crab Shack files for bankruptcy.
  • “Man Fashions Fabulously Tiny Hats for Toad Who Visits His Porch Every Day.”
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz Just As Good at Cybersecurity as at Running the DNC

    Thursday, May 25th, 2017

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz has long been the gift that keeps giving for Republicans. Her tenure at the top of the DNC saw dramatic declines Democratic Party officeholder at a time when Obama was still (theoretically) personally popular. Now her incompetence may be endangering not just the Democratic Party, but American security.

    Remember earlier this year when three Pakistani brothers (Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan) who managed office IT for Democratic members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computer networks without permission?

    Refresher:

    Jamal handled IT for Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who serves on both the intelligence and foreign affairs panels.

    “As of 2/2, his employment with our office has been terminated,” Castro spokeswoman Erin Hatch told TheDCNF Friday.

    Jamal also worked for Louisiana Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is on the Committee on Homeland Security.

    Imran worked for Reps. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat, and Jackie Speier, a California Democrat. Carson and Speier are members of the intelligence committee. Spokesmen for Carson and Speier did not respond to TheDCNF’s requests for comments. Imran also worked for the House office of Wasserman-Schultz.

    Then-Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, employed Abid for IT work in 2016. She was a member of House committees dealing with the armed services, oversight, and Benghazi. Duckworth was elected to the Senate in November, 2016. Abid has a prior criminal record and a bankruptcy.

    Abid also worked for Rep. Lois Frankel, a Florida Democrat who is member of the foreign affairs committee.

    Also among those whose computer systems may have been compromised is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat who was previously the target of a disastrous email hack when she served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign.

    In addition to the brothers Awam, two more staffers, Hina Alvi (Imran Awan’s wife, who worked for Rep. Gregory Meeks (Democrat, New York) and Rao Abbas, were also fired. “The five current and former House staffers are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network.”

    (Though reports often list five members, Natalia Sova, another Awan wife, also worked as a staffer.)

    So when they were accused of stealing and improperly accessing information, they were fired, right? No. Because they were Muslims:

    Meeks said he was hesitant to believe the accusations against Alvi, Imran Awan and the three other staffers, saying their background as Muslim Americans, some with ties to Pakistan, could make them easy targets for false charges.

    “I wanted to be sure individuals are not being singled out because of their nationalities or their religion. We want to make sure everybody is entitled to due process,” Meeks said.

    “They had provided great service for me. And there were certain times in which they had permission by me, if it was Hina or someone else, to access some of my data.”

    [Rep. Marcia] Fudge [Democrat, Ohio] told Politico on Tuesday she would employ Imran Awan until he received “due process.”

    “He needs to have a hearing. Due process is very simple. You don’t fire someone until you talk to them,” Fudge said.

    On Wednesday, Lauren Williams, a spokeswoman for Fudge, wouldn’t provide details about Imran Awan’s firing but did confirm he was still employed in Fudge’s office as of Tuesday afternoon.

    The bottom line is simple – these House Democrats decided it was better to be at risk of hacking and extortion than to be accused of racism.

    Then it came to light that “House IT Aides Fear Suspects In Hill Breach Are Blackmailing Members With Their Own Data.” Turns out that the Awan brothers were incompetent at their jobs, but House Democrats refused to fire them or consider cheaper employees.

    Also this: “Court records show the brothers ran a side business that owed $100,000 to an Iranian fugitive who has been tied to Hezbollah, and their stepmother says they often send money to Pakistan.”

    More on that lovely individual the Awan brothers do business with:

    The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has reported that while working for Congress, the Pakistani brothers controlled a limited liability corporation called Cars International A (CIA), a car dealership with odd finances, which took–and was unable to repay–a $100,000 loan from Dr. Ali Al-Attar.

    Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, wrote that Attar “was observed in Beirut, Lebanon conversing with a Hezbollah official” in 2012–shortly after the loan was made. Attar has also been accused of helping provoke the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as a leader of Iraqi dissidents opposed to Saddam Hussein.

    After moving to the U.S., Attar made his money practicing medicine in Maryland and Virginia and defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies by billing for non-existent medical procedures. The FBI raided his offices in 2009 and the Department of Health and Human Services sued his business partner in 2011.

    Attar was indicted in March 2012 on separate tax fraud charges after the IRS and FBI found he used multiple bank accounts to hide income. He fled back to Iraq to avoid prison.

    “He’s a fugitive. I am not aware of any extradition treaty with Iraq,”

    Then the story of the Awan brothers’ security breech took yet another strange turn:

    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz threatened the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police with “consequences” for holding equipment that she says belongs to her in order to build a criminal case against a Pakistani staffer suspected of massive cybersecurity breaches involving funneling sensitive congressional data offsite.

    The Florida lawmaker used her position on the committee that sets the police force’s budget to press its chief to relinquish the piece of evidence Thursday, in what could be considered using her authority to attempt to interfere with a criminal investigation.

    The Capitol Police and outside agencies are pursuing Imran Awan, who has run technology for the Florida lawmaker since 2005 and was banned from the House network in February on suspicion of data breaches and theft.

    “My understanding is the the Capitol Police is not able to confiscate Members’ equipment when the Member is not under investigation,” Wasserman Schultz said in the annual police budget hearing of the House Committee On Appropriations’ Legislative Branch Subcommittee.

    “We can’t return the equipment,” Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa told the Florida Democrat.

    “I think you’re violating the rules when you conduct your business that way and you should expect that there will be consequences,” Wasserman Schultz said.

    As one of eight members of the Committee on Appropriations’ Legislative Branch subcommittee, Wasserman Schultz is in charge of the budget of the police force that is investigating her staffer and how he managed to extract so much money and information from members.

    In a highly unusual exchange, the Florida lawmaker uses a hearing on the Capitol Police’s annual budget to spend three minutes repeatedly trying to extract a promise from the chief that he will return a piece of evidence being used to build an active case.

    “If a Member loses equipment and it is found by your staff and identified as that member’s equipment and the member is not associated with any case, it is supposed to be returned. Yes or no?” she said.

    Police tell her it is important to “an ongoing investigation,” but presses for its return anyway.

    The investigation is examining members’ data leaving the network and how Awan managed to get Members to place three relatives and a friend into largely no-show positions on their payrolls, billing $4 million since 2010.

    The congresswoman characterizes the evidence as “belonging” to her and argues that therefore it cannot be seized unless Capitol Police tell her that she personally, as opposed to her staffer, is a target of the investigation.

    When TheDCNF asked Wasserman Schultz Monday if it could inquire about her strong desire for the laptop, she said “No, you may not.” After TheDCNF asked why she wouldn’t want the Capitol Police to have any evidence they may need to find and punish any hackers of government information, she abruptly turned around in the middle of a stairwell and retreated back to the office from which she had come.

    Very curious indeed.

    It seems that Wasserman Schultz (and very possibly other Democratic congressmen) would prefer to see American intelligence compromised rather than have embarrassing personal information revealed. One wonders if the dismissed staffers were conveying information to overseas jihadis, or if they had incriminating information on any of the DNC, Obama or Hillary Clinton scandals so much in the news.

    Stay tuned…

    LinkSwarm for April 28, 2017

    Friday, April 28th, 2017

    It’s been a week, so enjoy an extra-late Friday LinkSwarm

  • There’s lots of meat in President Trump’s tax reform proposal:

    Individual Reform

    Tax relief for American families, especially middle-income families:

  • Reducing the 7 tax brackets to 3 tax brackets of to%, 25% and 35%
  • Doubling the standard deduction
  • Providing tax relief for families with child and dependent care expenses
  • Simplification:

  • Eliminate targeted tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest taxpayers
  • Protect the home ownership and charitable gift tax deductions
  • Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
  • Repeal the death tax
  • Repeal the 3.8% Obamacare tax that hits small businesses and investment income
  • Business Reform

  • 15% business tax rate
  • Territorial tax system to level the playing field for American companies
  • One-time tax on trillions of dollars held overseas
  • Eliminate tax breaks for special interests
  • Texas House passes anti-Santuary City bill that fines officials for violating federal immigration laws.
  • North Korean ballistic missile test fails. Cue the sad trombone.

  • Obama’s Iran deal was even worse than we thought. “By dropping charges against major arms targets, the administration infuriated Justice Department officials — and undermined its own counterproliferation task forces.”
  • If Democrats keep moving left, they could experience another election like 1972:

    The highest-profile Democratic-party supporters are increasingly smug Hollywood actors, rich Wall Street and Silicon Valley elitists, and embittered members of the media, along with careerist identity groups and assorted protest movements — a fossilized 1972 echo chamber.

    Democrats’ politically correct messaging derides opponents as deplorable racists, sexists, bigots, xenophobes, homophobes, Islamophobes, and nativists. That shrill invective only further turns off Middle America. Being merely anti-Trump is no more a successful Democratic agenda than being anti-Nixon was in 1972.

  • If the election were held today, Trump would still beat Clinton.
  • Former Mayor of Hubbard, Ohio pleads guilty to raping a four year old. Go ahead, guess which party he’s a member of.
  • The Other McCain does his part for sexual assault awareness month.
  • The media does indeed live in a bubble, both geographic and ideological, of its own making.
  • Hundreds of illegal voters in North Carolina. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Nancy Pelosi: tried, drunk or stroke? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • 107 Cancer Papers Retracted Due To Peer Review Fraud. But don’t worry: All climate science is completely on the level…
  • When Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke swore up and down he never hire any campaign consultants, what he meant was he’d hire some.
  • “Facebook and Google confirmed as victims of $100M phishing scam.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • President Trump as a systems thinking President.
  • NYPD corruption scandal. Bribes? Check. Guns? Check. Prostitutes? Check. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Marine Le Pen heads to a runoff with Emmanuel Macron on May 7. Is there a better figurehead for modern Globalism than a Socialist investment banker?
  • Dishonest medical equipment startup Theranos used a shell company to secretly buy outside lab equipment to actually run the lab tests they were faking as coming from their own equipment. And check out that picture caption: “[CEO] Elizabeth Holmes speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.” Because of course she did.
  • Liberals love denouncing the imaginary Christian theocracy of The Handmaid’s Tale (now a miniseries) because it keeps them from having to think about the real Islamic ones oppressing women all over the world right at this very moment.
  • Related: “Lesbian Couple Discover Islamic Culture During Exciting International Trip.”
  • “When God sends a Plague of Wild Boars against you, he’s done sending messages, and is now sending armored bacon.”
  • Less than half of Democrats know a gun owner.
  • Richard Gere blacklisted in Hollywood on China’s orders.
  • Sonny Bunch has some “helpful” advice for Democrats. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Nordstrom selling $425 fake muddy jeans. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • You too can own a baseball inscribed to Justice Antonin Scalia by Joe DiMaggio.
  • “My Boyfriend Ate Nothing But Pineapple For A Week And Now His Dick Is Covered In Bees.”
  • LinkSwarm for April 7, 2017

    Friday, April 7th, 2017

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm!

    I’m still not wild about President Trump’s decision to strike a Syrian airfield with cruise missiles last night, but the decision makes more sense if you look at it less of a tool to make Bashar Assad mend his ways than as a warning shot across the bows of Ali Khamenei, Kim Jong-Un and Xi Jinping, the latter of whom President Trump just happened to be meeting with while the missiles were hitting Shayrat.

    Now some links:

  • Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed to the Supreme Court today. How’d that Nuclear Option work out for you in the long run, Harry Reid?
  • The Obama/Kerry policy on Syrian chemical disarmament has been such an astounding failure that even Polifact has been forced to admit it.
  • Here’s a really interesting precinct-by-precinct map of the 2016 presidential election, along with analysis of changes from previous maps.

  • Susan Rice has changed her story twice. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Intelligence agencies are stonewalling congressional information requests on unmasking scandal.
  • Even Rolling Stone has noticed Putin derangement syndrome.
  • Russia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while recognizing East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
  • Russia has banned this image:

  • Jobless claims “are hovering near the lowest level since the early 1970s.” Now the trick is to produce enough sustained growth to get the Obama-discouraged long-term unemployed back into the workforce…
  • Dissecting the mainstream media’s dishonest response to every jihad attack.
  • “Conniving, spineless, duplicitous, misleading, double-crossing—Chuck Schumer is a fitting exemplar for the modern Democratic Party.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Intersectionality is a religion. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Marines test polymers to cut weight.
  • College student who was once in pictures with Bill Clinton busted for prostitution. What are the odds? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Justified shooting, unjustified indictment.
  • Mike Pence’s rules for not being alone with other women are probably less about preventing adultery than to prevent him from being framed and smeared by feminists.
  • “Ethicist” Pete Singer: Hey, let’s rape the retarded! It’s not like they’re real human beings…
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police can intercept your cell phone conversations.
  • Is Google prejudiced against ex-military employees?
  • ESPN is losing money hand-over-fist, but they’re still going shove the liberal culture war down your throat.
  • Oh the huge manatees…are doing just fine.
  • Hope you don’t need to use the stretch of I-35 near San Antonio this weekend: The Texas Department of Transportation is shutting it down for four days.
  • Don Rickles, RIP. With a great segment with him on the Tonight Show with Frank Sinatra.
  • More Susan Rice Domestic Surveillance Fallout

    Thursday, April 6th, 2017

    The fallout continues from the Susan Rice/Obama Administration domestic surveillance “unmasking” scandal:

  • The Trump campaign wasn’t the Obama Administration’s first use of America’s National Security intelligence gathering against domestic targets. They first used them against supporters of Israel and opponents of Obama’s Iran deal:

    “At some point, the administration weaponized the NSA’s legitimate monitoring of communications of foreign officials to stay one step ahead of domestic political opponents,” says a pro-Israel political operative who was deeply involved in the day-to-day fight over the Iran Deal. “The NSA’s collections of foreigners became a means of gathering real-time intelligence on Americans engaged in perfectly legitimate political activism—activism, due to the nature of the issue, that naturally involved conversations with foreigners. We began to notice the White House was responding immediately, sometimes within 24 hours, to specific conversations we were having. At first, we thought it was a coincidence being amplified by our own paranoia. After a while, it simply became our working assumption that we were being spied on.”

    This is what systematic abuse of foreign-intelligence collection for domestic political purposes looks like: Intelligence collected on Americans, lawmakers, and figures in the pro-Israel community was fed back to the Obama White House as part of its political operations. The administration got the drop on its opponents by using classified information, which it then used to draw up its own game plan to block and freeze those on the other side. And—with the help of certain journalists whose stories (and thus careers) depend on high-level access—terrorize them.

    Two inquiries now underway on Capitol Hill, conducted by the Senate intelligence committee and the House intelligence committee, may discover the extent to which Obama administration officials unmasked the identities of Trump team members caught in foreign-intelligence intercepts. What we know so far is that Obama administration officials unmasked the identity of one Trump team member, Michael Flynn, and leaked his name to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius.

    “According to a senior U.S. government official,” Ignatius wrote in his Jan. 12 column, “Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?”

    Nothing, the Times and the Post later reported. But exposing Flynn’s name in the intercept for political purposes was an abuse of the national-security apparatus, and leaking it to the press is a crime.

    This is familiar territory. In spying on the representatives of the American people and members of the pro-Israel community, the Obama administration learned how far it could go in manipulating the foreign-intelligence surveillance apparatus for its own domestic political advantage. In both instances, the ostensible targets—Israel and Russia—were simply instruments used to go after the real targets at home.

    In order to spy on U.S. congressmen before the Iran Deal vote, the Obama administration exploited a loophole, which is described in the original Journal article. The U.S. intelligence community is supposed to keep tabs on foreign officials, even those representing allies. Hence, everyone in Washington knows that Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer is under surveillance. But it’s different for his American interlocutors, especially U.S. lawmakers, whose identities are, according to NSA protocol, supposed to be, at the very least, redacted. But the standard for collecting and disseminating “intercepted communications involving U.S. lawmakers” is much less strict if it is swept up through “foreign-foreign” intercepts, for instance between a foreign ambassador and his capital. Washington, i.e. the seat of the American government, is where foreign ambassadors are supposed to meet with American officials. The Obama administration turned an ancient diplomatic convention inside out—foreign ambassadors were so dangerous that meeting them signaled betrayal of your own country.

    During the long and contentious lead-up to the Iran Deal the Israeli ambassador was regularly briefing senior officials in Jerusalem, including the prime minister, about the situation, including his meetings with American lawmakers and Jewish community leaders. The Obama administration would be less interested in what the Israelis were doing than in the actions of those who actually had the ability to block the deal—namely, Senate and House members. The administration then fed this information to members of the press, who were happy to relay thinly veiled anti-Semitic conceits by accusing deal opponents of dual loyalty and being in the pay of foreign interests.

    Snip.

    The reason the prior abuse of the foreign-intelligence surveillance apparatus is clear only now is because the Russia campaign has illuminated it. As The New York Timesreported last month, the administration distributed the intelligence gathered on the Trump transition team widely throughout government agencies, after it had changed the rules on distributing intercepted communications. The point of distributing the information so widely was to “preserve it,” the administration and its friends in the press explained—“preserve” being a euphemism for “leak.” The Obama team seems not to have understood that in proliferating that material they have exposed themselves to risk, by creating a potential criminal trail that may expose systematic abuse of foreign-intelligence collection.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • The question of which (if any) laws the Obama Administration broke is secondary to the bigger question of abuse of power:

    Abuses of power are offenses against the public trust. They often overlap with a criminal offense, but they are not the same thing as a criminal offense. For example, a politician who accepts money in exchange for political favors commits both the crime of bribery and an impeachable offense of corruption. The jurors in the bribery case need not find that the politician breached his public trust; they need only find an intentional quid pro quo — payoff in exchange for favor. By contrast, the breach of public trust is central to the impeachment case: To remove the pol from office, there would be no need to prove the legal elements of a criminal bribery charge beyond a reasonable doubt, but it would have to be demonstrated that the politician is unfit for office. If it is a petty bribe, a prosecutor might ignore it, but the public should want to throw the bum out.

    This is why a “high crime and misdemeanor” — the constitutional standard for impeachment — need not be an indictable criminal offense. It may be a chargeable crime, but it need not be one.

    A famous example (though one not much remarked on during the last several years) is the second article of impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon. It alleged (my italics):

    Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purpose[s] of these agencies.

    The impeachment allegation went on to describe how Nixon had, among other things, directed the FBI, CIA, and IRS to investigate innocent Americans for reasons unrelated to national security or law enforcement. For the most part, these directives were not violations of penal statutes. But they were, individually and collectively, heinous abuses of presidential power warranting impeachment.

    If the new reporting is to be believed, Rice orchestrated the unmasking of communications involving the Democrats’ political rivals — the Trump campaign. Her current stress on the lawfulness of the intelligence collection is a straw man. No credible commentator is claiming (based on what we currently know) that the intelligence-collection activities of the FBI, CIA, and NSA were illegal. As I explained yesterday in my aforementioned column, the surveillance and collection operations were undertaken pursuant to statute (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) as well as to the president’s constitutional authority to collect foreign intelligence (the exercise of which authority is laid out in a longstanding executive order, EO 12,333).

  • Susan Rice is a crummy liar.
  • “Funny how no ‘unmasking’ was done for the Hillary campaign:”

    CNN and a lot of the media aren’t covering the Rice story at all, but when the Associated Press, the New York Times, and others report it, many say the Trump administration is trying to divert attention from the Trump-Russia collusion story. The media present the Trump-Russia collusion story as true even though there is absolutely nothing yet to show that. They present the claim that Trump was spied on as a false story even though we have 100% proof that Trump people were listened to and that the information was leaked to the press.

    Anyone who believes that Trump wasn’t specifically targeted for political reasons probably still believes that the Benghazi killings were caused by a video, that Obama had no idea the IRS was targeting political opponents, that Obama had no idea Hillary was violating the law by using a non-secure server until three years after she left, that Obama had no idea his administration was gun-running to Mexico, and that Hillary and her aides had no intent to break the law.

    The media and Democrats should be absolutely ashamed that they haven’t had any concern about facts for a long time. If there is any collusion, it is between the media and Democrats to destroy Trump, no matter what the facts are.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • “Why is mainstream media trying to cover up the Susan Rice story?”

    The New York Times, for example, didn’t feature the Rice story at all on Monday. And in the piece it did publish buried on page A16 that was hilariously titled, “Trump Tries to Deflect Russia Scrutiny, Citing ‘Crooked Scheme’ by Obama,” the paper of record shrugged off the controversy because the story came from “conservative news media outlets.”

    You know, “conservative” like the impossibly down-the-middle Eli Lake of Bloomberg View or via an objective reporter like Fox’s Adam Housley.

    The Washington Post also failed to feature the story in any capacity either, instead relegating it to a blog post that referred to the Rice story as a “fake scandal.” Democracy dies in darkness, as they say.

    “Fake scandal” was also the way CNN anchor Chris Cuomo described the story to viewers of “New Day” on Tuesday.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.) Of course, to ask the question is to answer it:

  • “The media only has an interest in intrigue when it involves Republicans.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • The House Intelligence Panel wants Susan Rice to testify.
  • Scott Adams: “We don’t know all the facts yet, but we do know that Trump’s claim of being “wiretapped” by Obama is starting to look dangerously close to something similar to the truth. CNN did not see that coming, and it would be awkward to walk-back all of their mocking. So they just sort of ignored it.”
  • LinkSwarm for February 17, 2017

    Friday, February 17th, 2017

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Absent from this roundup is who really got National Security Advisor Mike Flynn axed, because there’s not enough time in the world to read all those links…

  • Illegal alien convicted of that voting fraud Democrats swear doesn’t exit. Pro-tip: One key to avoiding deportations is to avoid committing felonies… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “If a border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall.”
  • Revised executive travel order coming soon?
  • Former Democratic Senator Jim Webb has a message for Democrats:

    The Democrats have not done the kind of self reflection that they should have, starting in 2010. And I was talking about this in the ’10 elections. You’ve lost white working people, you’ve lost flyover land, and you saw in this election what happens when people get frustrated enough that they say, ‘I’m not going to take this Aristocracy.’ You know Bernie’s a good friend of mine, Bernie can talk about Aristocracies all he wants.

    You know, the fact that you’ve made money doesn’t make you a member of that philosophy. Look at Franklin Roosevelt. But there is an Aristocracy now that pervades American politics, it’s got to be broken somehow, in both parties, and I think that’s what the Trump message was that echoed so strongly in these flyover communities.

    One wonders if Webb was using “flyover country” for emphasis, or if Democrats actually use “flyover country” seriously when taking amongst themselves. If so, they might add that to the list of reasons middle America hates Democratic coastal elites…

  • Obama vastly increased the NSA’s powers on his way out the door. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • This Politico piece on thinkers that have influenced Steve Bannon (and thus President Trump) is neither to be taken entirely at face value, nor dismissed out of hand. It includes mention of Curtis Yarvin AKA Mencius Moldbug AKA “the Urbit guy” that Social Justice Warriors keep trying to keep from speaking, as well as the author of the much-cited “Flight 93 Election” manifesto. They’re interesting thinkers, but I rather doubt they’re at the center of Trump’s political ideas.
  • Over 100 rioters from President Trump’s inauguration indicted on rioting charges.
  • Trump and the GOP congress have already cut $2.8 billion in regulations. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “The EU country whose brutal crackdown on Muslim migrants makes Trump look liberal.” Spoiler: It’s Hungary.
  • Woman who lived under Hitler says Trump isn’t Hitler.
  • Iowa follows Wisconsin’s lead on reigning in the power of public sector unions.
  • Prominent Jewish Democrats are increasing uneasy with Keith Ellison as DNC chair. “‘It’s almost like the Democrats want to entirely destroy their party,’ [Democratic New York state assemblyman Dov] Hikind said. ‘When someone like Ellison can be a leading candidate to be the head of a major party, we’re in a lot of trouble.'”
  • Pro-Palestinian reporter changes his mind after living in Israel for 18 months:

    Before I moved to Jerusalem, I was very pro-Palestinian. Almost everyone I knew was. I grew up Protestant in a quaint, politically correct New England town; almost everyone around me was liberal. And being liberal in America comes with a pantheon of beliefs: You support pluralism, tolerance and diversity. You support gay rights, access to abortion and gun control.

    The belief that Israel is unjustly bullying the Palestinians is an inextricable part of this pantheon. Most progressives in the US view Israel as an aggressor, oppressing the poor noble Arabs who are being so brutally denied their freedom.

    Snip.

    IT WASN’T until the violence became personal that I began to see the Israeli side with greater clarity. As the “Stabbing Intifada” (as it later became known) kicked into full gear, I traveled to the impoverished East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan for a story I was writing.

    As soon as I arrived, a Palestinian kid who was perhaps 13 years old pointed at me and shouted “Yehud!” which means “Jew” in Arabic. Immediately, a large group of his friends who’d been hanging out nearby were running toward me with a terrifying sparkle in their eyes. “Yehud! Yehud!” they shouted. I felt my heart start to pound. I shouted at them in Arabic “Ana mish yehud! Ana mish yehud!” (“I’m not Jewish, I’m not Jewish!”) over and over. I told them, also in Arabic, that I was an American journalist who “loved Palestine.” They calmed down after that, but the look in their eyes when they first saw me is something I’ll never forget. Later, at a house party in Amman, I met a Palestinian guy who’d grown up in Silwan. “If you were Jewish, they probably would have killed you,” he said.

    Snip.

    Even the kindest, most educated, upper-class Palestinians reject 100 percent of Israel ‒ not just the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. They simply will not be content with a two-state solution ‒ what they want is to return to their ancestral homes in Ramle and Jaffa and Haifa and other places in 1948 Israel, within the Green Line. And they want the Israelis who live there now to leave. They almost never speak of coexistence; they speak of expulsion, of taking back “their” land.

  • UK journalists heads explode when Trump’s climate advisor tells them the truth. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Gay liberal New York writer does even-handed profile of Milo…and is instantly ostracized. “I realized that, for the first time in my adult life, I was outside of the liberal bubble and looking in. What I saw was ugly, lock step, incurious and mean-spirited.”
  • The MSM lose their minds when Trump lets outlets other than themselves ask questions.
  • The media spends months complaining Trump won’t let them ask question, then complains when he does because they don’t like the answers.
  • Ann Althouse watches President Trump’s press conference so I don’t have to.
  • The New York Times is very upset President Trump is fighting back. “The constant Moonbat attacks on Trump are one of the reasons Trump won. And Trump knows that the vast majority of the media, which votes Democrat and allows their person political beliefs to color all their coverage, will never give him a chance and or honest coverage so why not fight back?” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Islamic State suicide bomber kills 100 at Sufi mosque in Pakistan.
  • Paris burns again.
  • Putin is cozying up Iran just as it’s suffering the same demographic crash affecting so many nations:

    Iran is dying, and no one knows it better than Vladimir Putin, who worked successfully to raise Russia’s fertility rate, unlike Iran’s theocrats, who have failed to persuade Iranians to have children.

    Russia’s relationship to the only Shi’ite state of significance is less an alliance than a dalliance, motivated by Moscow’s fear of Sunni radicalism and its desire to establish a strategic beachhead in the Middle East.

    But Iran is a depreciating asset whose value will disappear within a 20-year horizon. The question is not whether, but at what price Russia will trade it away.

    Snip.

    First, Iran may well become the first country in the world that will get old before it gets rich. Its fertility rate (the number of live births over the lifetime of an average woman) fell from 7 in 1979 to perhaps 1.7 today.

    That produced an enormous generation of people now in their 20s to 40s who have very few children. As this generation ages, the proportion of Iranians over the age of 60 will soar from about 7% today to around 40% by mid-century.

    Other countries face an aging crisis, but with ten times the per capita income: Iran’s nominal GDP per capita is only US$5,300, compared with US$56,000 for the United States, for example.No poor country can care for an elderly population comprising two-fifths of the total. Iran will undergo an economic disaster unprecedented in history. That is baked in the cake, and nothing its government can do will make much different at this late stage.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Louisiana Democrat state senator resigns after repeatedly beating his wife.
  • New York coop provides a microcosm of why Socialism doesn’t work:

    The year isn’t off to a good start for the Park Slope Food Coop. In January, two members of the venerable Brooklyn institution were accused of stealing more than $18,000 worth of goods. Each had been caught shoplifting once, and when police consulted surveillance tapes, it turned out that the two men (one of whom was 79 years old!) had some seriously sticky fingers.

    Snip.

    In 2013, The New York Times reported the shop lost $438,000 in stolen items.

    But that’s only a drop in the bucket compared to the value that’s recently been lost from the coop’s pension fund. The fund — which is for staff, not members — had been invested in small, speculative companies and racked up two years of losses.

    According to the Times, “It appears to have gone into hedge-fund mode years ago, when one co-op member, also a hedge-fund investor, made stock-picking his unpaid job.” Last summer, members were told that the coop had to pour in more than $1 million to keep it flush.

    Snip.

    In 2011, for instance, coop members were caught paying other people — notably their nannies — to take over their 2-hour-per-week shifts at the market. As it turned out, the well-heeled bankers and lawyers and psychiatrists in the neighborhood who bill several hundred dollars an hour for their time didn’t think rearranging the broccoli was worth it.

    Hat tip: Instapundit, who also offers up the following illustration:

  • Blocking a road? Expect the NYPD to haul your ass to jail. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • More problems for Bill Clinton’s pal: “Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein is accused of luring an underage girl into his elaborate sex trafficking enterprise under the guise of using his wealth and connections to get her into a prestige NYC college.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Bill Maher defends booking Milo Yiannopoulos in the face of liberal boycotts.
  • Dear diabetics: You know that “U.S. ends subsidies for blood sugar testing strips” thing your more credulous friends posted on Facebook? Debunked.
  • Austin health food chain MyFitFoods shuts down.
  • Rare book heist in London: “In the early morning hours of January 30, a gang of thieves, in a carefully coordinated scheme, broke into a warehouse near London’s Heathrow airport and made off with over £2 million in rare books. The books, belonging to three different rare book dealers, were being shipped to the United States for the 50th Annual California International Antiquarian Book Fair this past weekend.” Complete list here. (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • He contains multitudes:

  • He divided them.
  • Aleppo Falls

    Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

    The Syrian city of Aleppo has fallen to pro-Assad forces. This was an all-but-inevitable result, given the Russian airpower backing Bashar Assad and the disorganized nature of the opposing forces and the desultory backing those forces received from the likes of Saudi Arabia and, intermittently, a feckless Obama Administration.

    The reduction of Aleppo had all the hallmarks of modern urban siege warfare: grinding, bloody and merciless. (Having advisors from a military with extensive institutional experience with it (Stalingrad, Grozny) probably helped Assad.) Many western observers wailed about the horror of it, evidently unaware either than this is the way modern urban warfare is fought, or that Bashar Assad’s father Hafez was every bit as ruthless in destroying Hama in 1982 as his son was in the investment of Aleppo. Endless heart-tugging pictures of bloody children aren’t going to change the ruthless nature of Middle East conflict, nor obscure the fact that America had no good options in Syria. Remember, there were no good sides in the Syrian civil war, and no faction worth backing.

    The wider Syrian civil war still grinds on, as does the war against the Islamic State and the wider Sunni-Shia conflict (never mind that Alawites are about as Shia as Lutherans are Jewish). If Obama’s goal was to engender a Sunni-Shia civil war throughout the Middle East (and there’s a grimly Machiavellian case to be made that this might be in the best long-term interests of the United States), he’s done a bang-up job. Otherwise Obama’s policy there (like the rest of the world) has been an unmitigated disaster. Foes like Iran and Russia feel contempt for us, while erstwhile allies like the Saudis (who are, indeed, scumbags, though preferable to whatever nightmare Islamic caliphate would replace them were they to fall) no longer trust us. (And indeed, have even less reason to do so now that Obama has cut off precision munitions sales to them over targeting policy in Yemen, a position both irrationally petulant and deeply ineffectual.)

    Those worried about the effect Donald Trump’s inexperience might have on our Middle East policy needn’t. How could he do worse?

    Concrete: Border Walls and Battlefields

    Sunday, November 20th, 2016

    Since one of my readers has a keen interest in concrete (hello, Andrew!), I though this round up on the battlefield uses of concrete would be of interest. And by “interest” I mean “slow Sunday filler.”

    One of the first uses for concrete on the battlefield was in response to growing numbers of IEDs. As early as 2004, the major tactical and technical focus in Iraq was oriented at stopping these roadside bombs. One of the primary tactics used to fight the IED threat was to line every major road with twelve-foot-tall concrete T-walls. Soldiers spent days, weeks, and months lining first every major highway and then other, smaller roads with concrete barriers. At over $600 a barrier, the cost of concrete during the eight years of the Iraq War was billions of dollars.

    o be sure, concrete walls did not eliminate the IED threat. As with any protective obstacle, they should have been under direct observation, which was not always feasible. Consequently, the enemy adapted by placing IEDs in or on top of barriers. They also used advanced forms of IEDs from foreign sources—explosively formed penetrators, many of which US military officials believe originated in Iran—that could penetrate any concrete wall. This allowed IEDs to be placed on the opposite, non-road side of barriers. But the concrete walls did take away the ease of access for enemy forces to emplace IEDs, degrade the lethality of their homemade devices, and forced them towards specialized materials that could be interdicted at checkpoints—which themselves were most effective when concrete walls were used to canalize traffic to them. They also took away the ability of insurgents to freely transit Baghdad with large, vehicle-borne IEDs, which created mass casualties and threatened the authority of the Iraqi government.

    IEDs were not the only major threat to American forces. Shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, US forces also began to come under direct attack by mortars and rockets in their outposts and bases. These attacks became even more dangerous when US forces moved out of large bases and into smaller outposts deep in cities and among the populations, where the ability to maintain safe standoff distances or retaliate to indirect fire was difficult for fear of causing civilian casualties. Again, the solution was concrete. Slabs were placed to form not only the walls of compounds, but also walls around and bunkers between every structure within them. This significantly reduced the effects of any enemy incoming fire.

    They also used concrete to besiege Sadr City:

    In March 2008, in what would later be called the Battle for Sadr City, coalition forces weaponized concrete. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had ended a standing ceasefire in response to the government of Iraq’s offensive in the southern, mainly Shiite city of Basra, and set in motion large-scale attacks by loyal members of Jaish al-Mahdi (JAM), the Sadrists’ armed militia, against coalition and Iraqi forces across Baghdad. Their attacks included overrunning Iraqi security forces’ checkpoints, infesting Baghdad’s roads with IEDs, and launching 107-mm rockets and mortar fire at targets in Baghdad, including the International Zone (aka the Green Zone).

    The keys to the enemy’s operation were their resources and support within Sadr City. This Shiite enclave is over thirteen square miles in size and, at the time of the battle, was estimated to have over two million residents. Coalition forces had previously conducted successful raids against JAM leadership in Sadr City. But any element that went into Sadr City had only a few minutes to get in and out before JAM forces were able to swarm like killer bees on the intruders. Finally, after an October 2007 air strike that killed a number of civilians, the Iraqi prime minister placed Sadr City off limits to US forces. This entire sector of Baghdad was a safe haven for enemy forces from which to launch attacks, and a no-go area without express permission from the highest command levels.

    In response to the situation, the US forces basically engaged in siege warfare. But atypical to historic examples, instead of attacking to break through fortified wall, they imposed the siege on the enemy by building walls. Reminiscent of a medieval siege engine, each night US forces drove up to the limits off Sadr City with massive cranes and trucks loaded with twelve-foot-tall T-walls. On a good night, soldiers could emplace over 122 barriers. Enemy forces attacked the soldiers putting in the walls and it was not uncommon to be hanging concrete while attack helicopters, tanks, and Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles returned fire.

    Within thirty days, soldiers emplaced over 3,000 T-wall sections to create a three-mile wall that interconnected with previously emplaced walls and ultimately completed the encirclement of Sadr City. The wall successfully restricted the ability of JAM to move supplies and conduct attacks outside the now-enclosed enclave, took away critical firing points outside the wall from which the International Zone was within range of their rockets and mortars, and created checkpoints were known terrorists could be separated from the population. Iraqi security forces and US soldiers did enter the city to clear major sections, but the wall allowed them to reduce external attacks and conduct operations at their initiative.

    Their very effectiveness is the real reason Democrats oppose building the wall along the Mexico border: Walls work.

    In other concrete news:

  • Other effective walls liberals hate include those Israel built around the West Bank and Gaza, which have radically reduced terrorist attacks by Palestinians. Lebanon must have leaned something from that approach, because now they’re building a tall concrete wall and watchtowers “around the Ain al-Hilweh [Palestinian] refugee camp in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon.”
  • Concrete that protects electronics from EMP attack.
  • In the “new-to-me” category, evidently concrete canvas is now available for both military and civilian uses.
  • (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    FBI Reopens EmailGate Probe—Did Hillary Get Weinered?

    Friday, October 28th, 2016

    No sooner do I put up the latest Clinton Corruption update when all hell breaks lose:

    FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers Friday the bureau is reviewing new information related to Hillary Clinton’s personal email server, a political bombshell that comes 11 days ahead of the election.
    After recommending earlier this year that the Department of Justice not press charges against the former secretary of state, Comey said in a letter to eight congressional committee chairmen that investigators are examining newly discovered emails that “appear to be pertinent” to the email probe.

    “In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear pertinent to the investigation,” Comey wrote the chairmen. “I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”

    In an apparently paywalled story, the New York Times is claiming that the new emails came not from the zillions of WikiLeaks emails, but from Anthony Weiner’s personal electronic devices.

    weinered

    On top of that, Attorney General Loretta Lynch has now declined to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the Iran money-for-hostages deal.

    It appears as though people who claimed that Hillary had the election in the bag were a tad premature…