Posts Tagged ‘Jihad’

Supreme Court Lifts Stay of Trump Travel Ban

Monday, June 26th, 2017

The Supreme Court mostly set aside the lower court stay of president Trump’s travel ban:

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to allow a limited version of President Trump’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect and will consider in the fall the president’s broad powers in immigration matters in a case that raises fundamental issues of national security and religious discrimination.

The court made an important exception: It said the ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

In the unsigned opinion, the court said that a foreign national who wants to visit or live with a family member would have such a relationship, and so would students from the designated countries — Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — who were admitted to a U.S. university.

The court said it would hear the case when it reconvenes in October. But it also indicated in the ruling that things may change dramatically by then. It asked the parties to address whether the case would be moot by the time it hears it; the ban is supposed to be a temporary one while the government reviews its vetting procedures.

My quick reading is that they thought the lower courts overstepped their bounds, but issued a split-the-difference ruling in hopes that the entire issue would work itself out politically and spare them from having to wade into the dense thicket of potential political and constitutional issues.

All the Justices voted for a stay in part, while Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch arguing further for a stay in full.

Full test of the decision is here.

Video from the Battle for Raqqa

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The battle for the Islamic State capital of Raqqa continues. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces continue to advance, but recently met a fierce counterattack featuring drones, snipers, car bombs and minefields.

Here are some videos on the fighting, all from foreign sources, since the American MSM evidently cant be arsed to spare anyone from their Russian Conspiracy Story divisions to cover an actual war American-backed forces are fighting.

Reportedly the Syrian Democratic Forces are just a few hundred meters from the old city, where the Islamic State has dug in for a final battle, and has a network of tunnels to move throughout the city.

This is a longer video from about a week ago that also includes an interview with a French Middle East expert on the situation.

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 16, 2017

    Friday, June 16th, 2017

    Briefer than normal due to a packed schedule today:

  • Coalition forces continue to advance in the Islamic State capital of Raqqa.
  • Speaking of Raqqa, Russia is saying one of its airstrikes there may have killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Great news if true, but right now the report should be taken with several grains of salt.
  • Illinois bonds headed toward junk status.
  • “Mueller Hires Clinton Foundation Lawyer for Russia Probe.” Transparent this is not… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported that in the last six years around 220,000 criminal aliens have been booked in Texas jails. DHS confirmed to DPS that at least 148,000 or 66% of those criminal aliens had entered the U.S. illegally.”
  • “Qatar’s financial system is running out of dollars.”
  • ObamaCare is failing. “Not one Republican voted for Obamacare. A Democratic Congress passed and a Democratic president signed the legislation over the loud objections of the GOP. Conservative activists and legal groups fought tooth and nail to prevent its roll-out, and when that failed, they repeatedly warned it was doomed to failure.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • And some ObamaCare premiums have increased by more than 100% in the last four years.
  • More of those peaceful Democrats: “FBI Investigates Package With ‘White Powdery Substance’ Sent to GOP Candidate in GA-6.”
  • This piece on the current state of the Democratic Party comes with caveats, namely: a.) Rolling Stone, b.) Obviously hostile to Republicans, Trump, etc., and c.) Lots of “Ra-ra isn’t Tom Perez great” flacking. But look beyond that and there’s a cold-eyed assessment of just how badly off Obama left the Democratic Party:

    The Democratic Party is in the worst shape of its modern history. The presidency of Barack Obama papered over the fact that the party was being hollowed out from below. Over Obama’s two terms, Democrats ceded 13 governorships to the GOP and stumbled from controlling six in 10 state legislatures to now barely one in three. Across federal and state government, Democrats have lost close to 1,000 seats. There are only six states where Democrats control both the legislature and the governor’s mansion.

    More troubling: Even amid the great upwelling of anti-Trump resistance, Democratic favorability ratings have continued to tumble since Election Day – to just 40 percent in a May Gallup poll. “Our negatives are almost as high as Trump’s, as far as party goes,” says Rep. Tim Ryan, a rugged Ohio Democrat serving Youngstown. Ryan led an unsuccessful 63-vote insurgency against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in November because, he says, “We weren’t winning.”

    There is no official accounting for this erosion of power and popularity. Unlike the GOP in the aftermath of Mitt Romney’s 2012 defeat, Democrats have not published post-mortems. But get party insiders talking – with anonymity exchanged for candor – and there’s little debate about how the party went sideways.

    Responsibility rests foremost at the feet of former President Barack Obama. As a candidate, Obama sidestepped the party’s next-in-line culture, riding into the White House on the strength of a then-revolutionary digital-and-grassroots machinery of his own creation. “Obama was almost like the anti-Democrat,” a former DNC chair tells Rolling Stone. “The president didn’t care about the Democratic Party.”

    Once in office, Obama had the weight of the world to bear. He staved off financial collapse and secured health insurance for an estimated 20 million Americans, leveraging the party’s infrastructure for these fights. “When you’re at the head of the DNC and you have the White House,” says Sen. Tim Kaine, who chaired the party from 2009 to 2011, “a lot of the job is about promoting the president’s agenda.” But Obama and his team neglected a far less heroic duty: the care and feeding of the national party, which Democrats had rebuilt during the Bush years with a “50-state strategy” that had empowered Obama with dominant Democratic majorities in Congress.

    The GOP took full advantage of the president’s disregard for party politics. The Tea Party vaulted Republicans to control of the U.S. House and statehouses across the country in 2010 – putting the party in the driver’s seat for the once-a-decade redrawing of legislative boundaries known as redistricting. The White House mounted no resistance. “The Obama team, David Axelrod, had no organized structural redistricting [game plan],” says a longtime Democratic strategist. “The Republicans just ran up the fucking score everywhere. They got two or three extra congressional seats in state after state after state, creating lasting struggles to get back to a majority.” Case in point: Democratic House candidates netted 1.3 million more votes than Republicans in 2012, but secured 33 fewer seats.

    The 50-state strategy devolved under Obama into a presidential-battleground strategy, leaving state parties starved for cash and leadership. “Obama didn’t put resources into local parties unless it was for his re-election effort,” says the former party chair. Making matters worse: Obama tapped ambitious Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz – a favorite of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett – to run the DNC in 2011. “That congresswoman had no idea what she was doing,” adds the former chair.

    Wasserman Schultz went rogue. In a rift with the White House that spilled into a story on Politico, she was criticized for using the DNC as a vehicle for self-promotion, hoping the office would serve as a springboard into House leadership. The White House made overtures to oust Wasserman Schultz, but she dug in, promising an ugly fight that could tar the president as both anti-woman and anti-Semitic. (Wasserman Schultz, who was forced to resign in the aftermath of the Russian hack of the DNC, declined to participate in this story.)

    Obama dodged that fight, and instead fostered Organizing for Action, the grassroots group born of his campaigns. “They had a mirror organization that did just their politics, and it weakened the DNC,” says a source in House leadership. “It directed money elsewhere and was not in the interest of the long-term stability [of the party]. It was a selfish strategy.”

    The hobbled DNC’s chief remaining value was as a fundraising vehicle. For Obama, it “was like his ATM – and Clinton was the same,” says the former chair. Clinton pioneered a strategy that allowed her largest donors to give $10,000 to each of 32 state parties participating in her Victory Fund. But that money didn’t stay in the states. Instead, nearly every penny was hoovered up to the DNC for the benefit of Clinton’s election.

    Clinton today says she found the DNC to be a liability. In an onstage interview at a Recode tech conference in May, Clinton recalled, “I get the nomination. . . . I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party. It was bankrupt. . . . I had to inject money into it – the DNC – to keep it going.” Clinton then raised eyebrows by indicting the DNC’s data, which the party had inherited from the Obama re-election campaign. “Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong,” Clinton said. (The DNC’s former data chief hit back, tweeting that Clinton’s broadside was “fucking bullshit,” but declined to be interviewed.)

    Under Obama, the party infrastructure was honed to elect a president. And being a presidential party is a powerful thing – until you lose the White House. The Clinton campaign lost significantly on its own merits, though the party is loath to admit it. The same candidate who was caught flat-footed by the rise of Obama in 2008 found herself stunned by the grassroots surge behind Sen. Bernie Sanders. “And she was really surprised by how strong Trump was – and part of it was she just sucked,” says the Democratic strategist, who criticizes Clinton despite being entrenched in her center-left, pro-trade wing of the party. “At a really fundamental level we gotta get people to acknowledge what a fucking piece of shit her campaign was.”

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • CNN’s Jim Acosta flat out lies about President Trump’s visit to wounded Representative Steve Scalise’s hospital room. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • More lying from CNN:

  • New York Times editorial about Rep. Scalise’s shooting is not just a lie, it’s actually libelous.
  • New bill aims to eliminate “structuring” civil asset forfeiture abuse. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • A profile of radical Islamist and left-wing media darling Linda Sarsour. “Her rise, and the celebration of her by progressives as one of their own, demonstrates how clearly and phenomenally Jews and Jewish concerns are being written out of the progressive movement.”
  • “DOJ Moves To Seize DiCaprio’s Picasso, Rights To ‘Dumb and Dumber To’ As Part Of 1MDB Case.” Or “Hollywood accounting meets a Malaysian dictator, and hilarity ensues!”
  • MLA votes against Israel boycott.
  • How Indians scam their way to Australian citizenship, and how a crackdown on the practice may crash Sydney and Melbourne property values. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • President Trump orders the federal government to stop working on the Y2K bug.
  • “Is this some kind of bust?” (Hat tip: Dwight, who also came up with the Police Squad! reference.)
  • “My Trip to a Marijuana Dispensary, the Happiest Place in Boulder.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • All the people Billy Martin brawled with.
  • 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.”
  • U.S. Backed Forces Enter Islamic State Capital of Raqqa

    Saturday, June 10th, 2017

    While the media was presenting wall-to-wall coverage of the Comey hearing, something a lit more momentous was happening in Syria: U.S.-backed forces entered the Islamic State capital of Raqqa:

    At Raqqa’s eastern edge, a handful of Syrian fighters cross a river by foot and car, all the while relaying their coordinates to the U.S.-led coalition so they don’t fall victim to friendly fire.

    This is their only way into al-Mishlab, the first district the Kurdish and Arab militias have swept into, in what the coalition says will be a long and difficult battle for Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto “capital” in Syria.

    The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched their assault to capture the city this week.

    As artillery and coalition aircraft pounded targets in the city, SDF fighters moved in small groups into the district during a media trip organized by the SDF.

    “The comrades are advancing and Daesh forces are collapsing in front of us, but there are snipers obstructing our movements, and they are also shelling our positions with mortars,” said an SDF fighter who gave his name as Khalil.

    For months, air strikes and special forces from the U.S.-led coalition have helped them encircle Raqqa, which Islamic State seized in 2014 and has used as a base to plan attacks abroad.

    In a statement sent to Reuters, coalition spokesman Colonel Joseph Scrocca said the militants’ resistance had been “minimal” outside the city and that they were retreating “to protect their fortifications inside the city”.

    More from The Guardian:

    Kurdish and Arab forces backed by the US have entered Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa, setting the stage for what could be a months-long campaign to reclaim the militants’ largest stronghold in Syria.

    The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters, breached the outer city limits of Raqqa, seizing a 1,000-year-old fortress in the west and a neighbourhood on the eastern side of the city, two days after announcing the start of the offensive.

    “Raqqa to them is the capital of the caliphate, and they [Isis] have fortified it to a great extent,” Nouri Mahmoud, a spokesman for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish militia taking part in the assault, told the Guardian.

    The operation – codenamed Operation Wrath of Euphrates – to reclaim Raqqa is led by the SDF, whose largest component is the YPG, and is backed by US air power. If successful, it would deprive Isis of its second largest city, with a simultaneous campaign to take back Mosul in Iraq also under way.

    ISIS Livemap had this snapshot of the battle:

    Here’s an AFP video showing some of the fighting and devastation on the road to Raqqa:

    And here’s video from Kurdistan 24:

    It used to be that entering an enemy’s capital city was a big deal in the media, but information in U.S. outlets seems fairly scanty…

    Is President Trump Behind Qatar Isolation?

    Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

    When news came down that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt were cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar, I speculated that this might be a direct result of President Trump’s recent trip to the Middle East. Noting longstanding belief that Qatar was the primary funding source for the Islamic State, I suggested “maybe a businessman like Trump thinks the easiest way to cramp the Islamic State’s style is to cut off their sugar daddy.”

    These two tweets from President Trump indicate I may be right:

    Caveat the first: Trump. Caveat the second: Trump’s Twitter feed, which is, as we all know, a nonstop notion buffet.

    Still, whether President Trump is behind the move or not, he’s already had more success cutting off terrorist funding than the feckless Obama Administration.

    Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar

    Sunday, June 4th, 2017

    This seems more than a regular diplomatic row:

    Saudi Arabia broke diplomatic relations and all land sea and air contacts with fellow Gulf Arab state Qatar on Monday, saying the move was necessary to protect the kingdom from what it described as terrorism and extremism.

    The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt also cut ties with Qatar on Monday.

    Crude and natural gas prices jumped after the news with global benchmark Brent up 1.42 percent to $50.66 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate up 1.45 percent to $48.35 a barrel. U.S. natural gas prices quoted at the U.S. Henry Hub jumped 1.37 percent to $3.040 per million British thermal units.

    Saudi Arabia’s official state news agency, citing an official source, said the kingdom had decided to sever diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar “proceeding from the exercise of its sovereign right guaranteed by international law and the protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.

    Saudi Arabia cut all land air and sea contacts with Qatar “and urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.”

    It’s long been an open secret that wealthy Qataris were the primary financial backers of the Islamic State. By contrast, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt are all U.S. military allies.

    There’s been talk that Qatar wants to take a more conciliatory stance toward Iran, a move that has not been well-received by it’s fellow Sunni gulf states. It’s especially odd since Qatari soldiers have died defending the Saudi border as part of the Saudi fight with Iran’s Houthi proxies in Yemen.

    Could the harder line against Qatar be a side effect of President Trump’s recent trip to the Middle East? Maybe. Trump has set about fixings Obama’s foreign policy mistakes, and the Islamic State and the asinine Iran Deal are two of the biggest. And maybe a businessman like Trump thinks the easiest way to cramp the Islamic State’s style is to cut off their sugar daddy.

    It’s worth a try…

    LinkSwarm for June 2, 2017

    Friday, June 2nd, 2017

    While the mainstream media is chasing their Russian conspiracy tail, the House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas to Samantha Power, Susan Rice and John Brennan over the surveillance unmasking scandal.

    President Donald Trump also pulled out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. You know, the one that was so anti-American Obama never bothered to even submit it to the Senate, sure in the knowledge they’d reject it. Naturally, liberals freaked out over the end of something that never actually had the force of law, much like they freaked out over the rollback of tranny bathrooms, another Obama “law” imposed entirely by judicial fiat. “My acts of executive fiat are sacred and immutable, yours are crimes against democracy.” Liberals seem to regard Climate Change Treaties not as something subject to cost/benefit analysis and the checks-and-balances of Constitutional law, but as Holy Writ, the failure of which to heed irreparably stains America’s soul.

    In other news:

  • New York Democrat busted for child pornography:

    A leading young Democrat and de Blasio administration employee has a secret taste for sickening kiddie porn that involves baby girls as young as 6 months old, court papers revealed Friday.

    Jacob Schwartz, 29, was busted for allegedly keeping more than 3,000 disgusting images and 89 videos on a laptop after downloading the filth from the internet.

    The illegal smut shows “young nude females between the approximate ages of 6 months and 16, engaging in sexual conduct… on an adult male,” court papers say.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • President Trump is dismantling Obama’s authoritarianism:

    Obama is the one who imposed what we might deem — in appropriately Maoist parlance — the “Three Authoritarianisms.” They were the Paris climate accord, the Iran deal, and US intelligence agencies being used to surveil American citizens.

    All three of these “authoritarianisms” were entirely ex-Constitutional. The first two were in essence treaties on which Congress (and by extension the American people) never got to vote or, for that matter, discuss in any serious way. The Paris accord probably would have failed. As for the Iran deal, we still don’t know the full contents and therefore debating it is somewhat moot. We have, however, seen its consequences — corpses littered all across Syria, not to mention untold millions of refugees.

    (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)

  • “Nothing that an Islamic terrorist can do will ever shake the left-wing commitment to open borders—not mass sexual assaults, not the deliberate slaughter of gays, and not, as in Manchester last week, the killing of young girls. The real threat that radical Islam poses to feminism and gay rights must be disregarded in order to transform the West by Third World immigration.”
  • Just as in 2016, black voters aren’t turning out for Democrats in special elections like they used to.
  • “A federal grand jury has indicted 35 [St. Louis] store owners on federal conspiracy charges for trafficking contraband cigarettes, distributing controlled substances and money laundering.” The charges seem on the weak side to me, but see if you can notice a pattern in the names indicted… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Global Pension Underfunding Will Hit Nearly Half A Quadrillion Dollars In 2050.”
  • “The Atomic Bomb Considered As Hungarian High School Science Fair Project.” Why so many math geniuses born in Budapest between 1890 and 1920? Simple: A high concentration of Jews. “In general Jews born in Europe after 1920 didn’t have a great life expectancy.”
  • Evergreen State College in Washington State remains shut down after a particularly virulent outbreak of Social Justice Warrior rage. It’s been hard to keep up with all the Stupid on display there…
  • A few heartland Democrats are trying to un-Pelosi the party. Good luck with that, but I suspect any variance from the Official Party Line on abortion, tranny bathrooms or illegal aliens will meet with swift punishment from the SJW faction controlling the levers of power in the party. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Jim Goad takes a stroll through the latest leftist “math is racist” garbage. “In the only way we know how to quantify such things—by scores on math tests, duh!—it would appear that if math is indeed ‘racist,’ it is biased strongly against non-Asians.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The “white supremacist” who stabbed two people in Portland was a pro-Bernie Sanders/Jill Stein supporter.
  • 76% of “child refugees” entering Sweden are over 18. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Latest example of an illegal alien having more rights than you? Montgomery County, Maryland releases an illegal alien accused of stealing guns from an off-duty cop’s car. (Hat tip: The Political Hat.)
  • Houston: “Democratic Poll Workers Plead Guilty of Voter Fraud.”
  • Rigging the precious metals market?
  • Manuel Noriega dead at 83.
  • A climate change tweet:

  • The judge presiding over the Ken Paxton trial has been removed:

    The Dallas Court of Appeals has ordered Judge George Gallagher removed from the case and all orders he has issued since granting a motion to transfer venue vacated.

    In April, Gallagher granted a motion to transfer venue in the case from Collin County to Harris County, the backyard of the three criminal defense attorneys who were appointed as special prosecutors in the case. The motion to transfer venue was legally baseless and centered on the prosecutors’ complaints about criticism they have received on social media. The decision to grant the motion followed months of bad rulings from Gallagher in which he had turned a blind eye to abuses of the grand jury process by the special prosecutors.

    When Gallagher granted the motion to transfer venue, Paxton’s defense team immediately informed him that they would not consent to him continuing to preside over the case and cited to the Code of Criminal Procedure, which requires the consent of the defendant before a judge can continue on a case after venue is transferred.

    The case state case against Paxton already looked weak after the SEC dropped charges on the federal case the state case is predicated upon. Now it looks that much weaker.

  • Uber and Lyft are back running in Austin following Governor Greg Abbott signing a bill creating statewide ride-sharing rules superseding Austin’s draconian version.
  • USS Gerald R. Ford delivered to the Navy. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • “Alabama Town Requires Teens to Buy Business License to Mow Lawns.”
  • New York Times offers buyouts to editors…and eliminates the “public editor.” But don’t worry; rumor has it that they left the Trump Conspiracy Theory Unit intact… (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • The Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas list has been updated again. (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • Kathy Griffin fired from CNN’s New Year’s Eve duties for holding up severed Trump head prop. And just when she was cultivating that “Eldritch Undead Lich” look Dick Clark sported in his final years…
  • Important health tip: “Don’t put wasp nests up your vagina.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Sharknado 5 gets a title.
  • Philippines Invasion Update

    Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

    Remember last Wednesday’s piece on Islamic State-affiliated fighters invading Marawi City in the Philippines? How are things looking there?

    Much worse:

    A Muslim militant group linked to ISIS attacked and took control of parts of Marawi city on Mindanao island in the southern Philippines last week. Philippine government troops have been evacuating civilians and fighting back, with soldiers on the ground and attack aircraft in the sky. Gunmen from local terrorist groups with ties to ISIS, called the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf, overran the city, leading President Rodrigo Duterte to declare 60 days of martial law in Mindanao, as 85,000 residents fled to evacuation centers. While the government says it has now regained control of most of the city, fighting continues, and the death toll has climbed to nearly 100.

    Seems like last week’s “at least 15 gunman” may be on the low side.

    And the Maute fighters are bringing the Islamic State’s usual tidings of light and joy:

    In Marawi City, the Maute showed that it can be as brutal as ISIS. It executed eight city residents and dumped their bodies into the ravine, their hands tied behind their backs and with a sign saying “Munafik” (meaning hypocrite). Eyewitnesses said the terrorists took away those who could not recite the Islamic prayers. They beheaded hostages, killed military men and police, burned government facilities, destroyed hospitals and schools, and in general acted like lunatics out to destroy the city.

    DefenseOne offers up this map of the fighting.

    The latest reports say that Philippines armed forces have cleared 90% of Marawi City. Maute also claims it holds 200 hostages, though it could be exaggerating quite a bit.

    The Trump Administration has officially voiced support for the Duterte Administration’s fight against Maute.

    Here’s a WSJ video report that says the Islamic State assault on Marawi City may have been triggered by attempts to arrest Abu Sayyaf head Isnilon Hapilon (wanted by the FBI for beheading American Guillermo Sobero), and mentions the possible presence of foreign fighters: