Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

LinkSwarm for September 15, 2017

Friday, September 15th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It comes down to one man.

    The leader of the party.

    Barack Obama.

    He was a terrible president.

    Also this:

    Calling us deplorable backfired too.

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

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

    People want results, not tokens.

    (Hat tip: The Other McCain.

  • How Antifa are helping reelect Donald Trump.

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

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

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

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

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

    Sunday, August 20th, 2017

    This video is an antidote to the widespread revisionism that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a debacle from beginning to end and that George W. Bush was responsible for the rise of the Islamic State. One can question the wisdom of many decisions involved in the conduct of the that war, but the fact is that The Surge had largely succeeded in pacifying Iraq and that the country was functioning quite well by the very lose standards of the Middle East before Barack Obama withdrew American troops, facilitating the rise of the Islamic State.

    (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)

    Clinton Corruption Update for July 18, 2017

    Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

    Time to do another Clinton Corruption update, which references such far-flung locales as Haiti, East Timor and Libya, as well as the inevitable mention of Russia:

  • “New Abedin Emails Reveal Additional Instances of Clinton Donors Receiving Special Treatment from Clinton Department of State.” What sort of favors?

    In July 2009, in reference to the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Clinton Global Initiative head Doug Band told Abedin that she “Need[s] to show love” to Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical. Band also asked for Liveris to be introduced to Hillary, “and have her mention both me and wjc”. Dow gave between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative. Band also pushes for Clinton to do a favor for Karlheinz Koegel, a major Clinton Foundation contributor, who wanted Hillary Clinton to give the “honor speech” for his media prize to “Merkel.”

    The emails reveal that on June 19, 2009, Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, passed a long a letter for Hillary Clinton for Clinton donor Richard Park. Park donated $100,000 to Bill Clinton as far back as 1993 and is listed by the Clinton Foundation as a $100,000 to $250,000 donor.

    The Washington Examiner reported:

    In March 2012, Bill Clinton received an invitation to speak at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea. Richard Park’s friendship with Tony Rodham earned him a direct line to Hillary Clinton while she served as secretary of state. In January 2013, the Korean businessman sent Rodham an email and asked him to “forward this to your sister.”

    On November 14, 2009, Clinton donor Ben Ringel, who has appeared in numerous prior emails asking for favors, emailed Abedin to get help in getting an Iranian woman a visa to come to the United States. He writes: “We need to get her clearance even only temporary to be with her granddaughter.” Abedin forwarded the request to Lauren Jiloty, asking her “Can U help Monday with consular affairs?” Jiloty replies, “Sure. Will look into it.” Ringel donated between $10,000 and $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation. In May, Band, working through Abedin, attempts to help Canadian concert promoter and Foundation donor Michael Cohl with the processing of a visa. Abedin passes the request to Monica Hanley, Clinton’s “confidential assistant.”

    The emails show that the Clinton Foundation operative Band was involved in personnel matters at the Clinton State Department. In a May 2009 email exchange between Band and Abedin, a “career post” to East Timor for someone is discussed. Abedin explains to Band that Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s then-chief of staff, was working on the situation “under the radar.”

    In August 2009, Band tells Abedin of someone who wants to be the ambassador to Barbados. Abedin replies: “I know, he’s emailed a few times. But she wants to give to someone else.”

    The emails also show that Abedin received advice from her mother, Saleha Abedin (a controversial Islamist activist), on whom the Obama administration should appoint as the US Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. She notes that she has obtained a recommendation from “Hassan” (NFI), and that she’d reached out to “Ishanoglu”. This is presumably Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, a Turkish academic and the former Secretary-General of the OIC. Ihsanoglu famously called on the West to enact anti-Islamic blasphemy laws.

    On Monday, June 8, Clinton emails her aide Lona Valmoro and Abedin asking to attend a cabinet meeting: “I heard on the radio that there is a Cabinet mtg this am. Is there? Can I go? If not, who are you sending?” Valmoro answers: “It is actually not a full cabinet meeting today – those agencies that received recovery money were invited to attend/participate. We were welcome to send a representative though, not sure if we have anyone going.”

    it’s not just pay-for-play. Once again, Judicial Watch requests have turned up instances of Hillary Clinton being super loosey-goosey with classified information:

    On July 4, 2009, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Jonathan “Scott” Gration sent Abedin an email that the State Department has classified in part and redacted because the information deals with “foreign governments” and “national defense or foreign policy.” Abedin forwarded Gration’s email to her personal, unsecure email account. In his email, Gration related his meeting with Libyan president Muammar Qadafi, saying: “I conveyed our appreciation for Libya’s role to improve relations between Chad and Sudan … Leader al-Qadafi promised to continue his nation’s close collaboration with the United States … and is eager to meet you and President Obama.…” Gration would later be fired for, among other things, using personal email accounts to send government information.

    A document titled “HRC PRIVATE LINE BLOCK” gives the planned whereabouts for President Obama for Thursday, June 4, 2009: “Attend POTUS Foreign Policy Speech at Cairo University.” In another example of lax concern for security, Valmoro forwarded Clinton’s detailed daily schedule for July 15, 2009, to officers of the Clinton Foundation, including Doug Band and Justin Cooper. Again, on July 26 Valmoro forwarded Hillary’s detailed, sensitive daily schedule to numerous Clinton Foundation officials.

    In other examples of lax concern for security, on June 11, there is a reference to testing the “Federal preparedness and response for an international terrorist threat to the United States. [Principal-Level Exercise] will be a scenario-driven discussion for Cabinet Secretaries, agency Directors and Administrators, senior officials in the Executive Office of the President, or their approved representatives.” A document in Abedin’s unsecure email account dated May 2009 is titled “The Secretary’s Phone Call with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang” is marked sensitive but unclassified and fully redacted, as is a document titled “The Secretary’s Phone Call with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.”

  • Libyan army spokesman Col. Ahmed al-Mesmar says the blame for the current state of the country is on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton:

    The main responsibility falls on NATO, which interfered in Libya in 2011 to end the Gaddafi regime and destroyed all Libyan army weapons and infrastructure, only to then leave Libya alone to fight the terrorists. They took none of the necessary measures to help rebuild the Libyan Army or even help to reactivate other security facilities.

    The U.S. administration led by Obama and Hilary Clinton was not up to the challenge in Libya and didn’t give much attention to the Libyan situation.

    We don’t have any doubts that the Obama administration and his ambassador to Libya, Deborah Jones, had considerable contact with militias and terrorist groups in Libya.

    Also this:

    Col. al-Mesmari also claims that the February 17th Martyrs Brigade — hired by Hillary Clinton’s State Department to protect the U.S. consulate in Benghazi — cooperated with Ansar al-Sharia in attacking the consulate compound on September 12, 2012.

    That attack led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

    Libyans celebrated last week when, after three years of battle, the LNA finally liberated Benghazi from all terrorist groups in the city.

    The piece is also worth reading for Qatar’s involvement backing Libyan jihadists.

  • Hillary Clinton sided with Russia on sanctions as Bill made $500G on Moscow speech.”

    According to Mrs. Clinton’s ethics disclosure form filed while she was secretary of State, Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 by the Russia-based finance company Renaissance Capital for his June 29, 2010, speech in Moscow to its employees and guests attending the company’s annual conference.

    The speech is now coming back to haunt the Clintons, considering the company that cut the check was allegedly tied to the scandal that spurred the Global Magnitsky Act, a bill that imposed sanctions on Russians designated as human-rights abusers and eventually would become law in 2012.

    This was the same law Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya was lobbying against during her sit-down with Trump Jr. last year. And back in 2010, it would have put the Clintons on her side.

    Shortly before Bill Clinton’s speech in 2010, when members of Congress pushing the sanctions bill had asked Hillary Clinton to refuse visas to Russian officials implicated under the policy, the State Department denied the request. The Obama administration initially was opposed to the Magnitsky Act because then-President Barack Obama was seeking a “reset” with Russia and did not want to deepen the divide between the two countries.

    Former President Bill Clinton’s speech to Renaissance just weeks later was all the more curious, considering Renaissance’s Russian investment bank executives would have been banned from the U.S. under the law.

  • “Haiti Official Who Exposed The Clinton Foundation Is Found Dead:

    [Klaus] Eberwein was a former Haitian government official who was expected to expose the extent of Clinton Foundation corruption and malpractice next week.

    He has been found dead in Miami at the age of 50.

    The circumstances surrounding Eberwein’s death are also nothing less than unpalatable. According to Miami-Dade’s medical examiner records supervisor, the official cause of death is “gunshot to the head.“ Eberwein’s death has been registered as “suicide” by the government. But not long before his death, he acknowledged that his life was in danger because he was outspoken on the criminal activities of the Clinton Foundation.

    Eberwein was a fierce critic of the Clinton Foundation’s activities in the Caribbean island, where he served as director general of the government’s economic development agency, Fonds d’assistance économique et social, for three years. “The Clinton Foundation, they are criminals, they are thieves, they are liars, they are a disgrace,” Eberwein said at a protest outside the Clinton Foundation headquarters in Manhattan last year. Eberwein was due to appear on Tuesday before the Haitian Senate Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission where he was widely expected to testify that the Clinton Foundation misappropriated Haiti earthquake donations from international donors. But this “suicide” gets even more disturbing…

    Eberwein was only 50-years-old and reportedly told acquaintances he feared for his life because of his fierce criticism of the Clinton Foundation. His close friends and business partners were taken aback by the idea he may have committed suicide. “It’s really shocking,” said friend Gilbert Bailly. “We grew up together; he was like family.”

    During and after his government tenure, Eberwein faced allegations of fraud and corruption on how the agency he headed administered funds. Among the issues was FAES’ oversight of the shoddy construction of several schools built after Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. But, according to Eberwein, it was the Clinton Foundation who was deeply in the wrong – and he intended to testify and prove it on Tuesday.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • If Hillary had won the election:

    Hillary and her campaign aides have long been involved with Russia for reasons of personal gain. Clinton herself got $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation for allowing Russia to take over twenty percent of all uranium production in the U.S. Her campaign chairman, John Podesta, is reaping the financial benefits of being on the board of a Russian company, Joule, which he did not disclose. Besides, the Left has historically loved Russia and wanted to emulate its authoritarian governments. They laughed when Mitt Romney, in 2012, named Russia as our most serious foreign policy problem. And Obama, even when he knew/believed that Russia was attempting to meddle in the election, he did nothing. They’ve done it for decades and so what? Hillary was going to win.

    Had Hillary been elected, the Clinton Foundation would be raking in even more millions than it did before. She would be happily selling access, favors and our remaining freedoms out from under us. She would be further eviscerating our military and she would be raising taxes to fund Obamacare even though it is a clear and present disaster. Anyone who doubts that should look up Hillarycare, the monstrosity she designed behind closed doors when her husband was in the White House. Her plan would dictate who could go to medical school, what specialty they would “choose,” and where they would be compelled to practice. Her plan was the U.K.’s NHS on steroids. Her plan was rationed care and death panels from hell.

    Had HRC won, she would be implementing thousands of new regulations on businesses to further hamstring the economy. She would let the fascist freaks at the Environmental Protection Agency have their way with every aspect of our daily lives: Our cars, our showerheads, our toilets, our rainwater in our yards, etc. She would, like the EPA under Obama, privilege any species, no matter how insignificant, over humans. Central California has been devastated by the environmentalists’ reverence for the delta smelt! Thousands of farm workers lost their jobs thanks to this lefty decision, turning a lush agricultural valley into a brown wasteland in the name of “going green.” This is the American left today.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • On the same theme: Remember when Hillary pledged to destroy fracking? (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is the gift that keeps giving. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Hillary Clinton Told FBI’s Mueller To Deliver Uranium To Russians In 2009 ‘Secret Plane-Side Tarmac Meeting.'” I’m including this in the roundup, even though there’s nothing necessarily untoward here, since the enriched uranium was “a ten-gram sample of highly enriched uranium (HEU) seized in early 2006 in Georgia [the country] during a nuclear smuggling sting operation” and was probably Russia’s anyway. But why would then-Secretary of State Clinton have then FBI Director Robert Mueller deliver it, since he wasn’t in her chain of command? It would seem to be a task that would fall to the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, or possibly the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has a treaty with the U.S. State Department about the transfer of such materials? And why tarmac-side? These two elements do seem…curious.
  • From Director Blue: the complete Hillary Election Loss Blame List:

  • Heh:

  • For the sake of completeness: Clinton critic Richard Smith found dead of apparent suicide. Honestly, I’m having a hard time believing this was a real case of Sudden Clinton Death Syndrome simply because I’d never heard of Smith until now. Honestly, I’d expect that even I would be higher up on that very long Clinton Critics to be Assassinated list… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The State of the War Against the Islamic State

    Thursday, July 13th, 2017

    The coalition of forces fighting the Islamic State continue to make steady advances on a number of fronts:

  • Mosul is liberated, though mop-up operations against tiny pockets of resistance continues. They just pulled 28 mostly foreign born militants out of tunnels. That sort of thing can continue for a while. The Washington Post has a nice overview of the campaign to retake Mosul.
  • Islamic State forces are completely surrounded in Raqqa, as coalition aircraft pound militant positions in the capital of the crumbling caliphate and the Syrian Democratic Forces continue to grind them down in street-to-street urban warfare. Here’s the livemap snapshot:

  • There are consistent but unconfirmed reports from a number of sources that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. As in past cases of jihadis reported dead long before they actually reached room temperature, a large dollop of caution is in order. Though this quote from a coalition spokesman (relayed via Stephen Green at Instapundit) is pretty glorious: “We strongly advise ISIS to implement a strong line of succession, it will be needed.”
  • Given the investment of Raqqa, there are conflicting reports as to where the Islamic State’s defacto capital is now: Some say Deir ez-Zor, others say Al Mayadin, AKA Mayadeen, which is all of 44km southeast of Deir ez-Zor, both in Syria on the Euphrates near what used to be the Iraqi border.

  • How President Trump’s strategy against the Islamic State differs from Obama’s:

    Under President Obama, U.S. Army Special Forces assigned to Syrian Democratic Forces needed special approval from Washington for virtually all tactical moves amid the politically complex theater of Americans, Arabs, Kurds, Turks and Syrians.

    In Tabqa, where the city, its dam and its airfield were the objectives, the Green Berets decided they needed an airlift. Suddenly minus red tape, Arabs, Kurds and Americans were helicoptering into battle, and they quickly seized territory.

    Under Mr. Obama, Islamic State terrorists could at times retreat from towns, immune from airstrikes if they used civilians as cover. The battle for Manbij in August became infamous when the SDF let 200 Islamic State fighters turn in their weapons and escape because they had threatened to kill town residents if they were not allowed to run away.

    The new Trump strategy calls for surrounding towns, as opposed to pushing from one end or one side to another, in order to isolate Islamic State fighters and annihilate them.

    Brett H. McGurk, special U.S. envoy to the coalition against the Islamic State who performed the same role for Mr. Obama, talked of “the delegations of authority which has made a difference in terms of the speed of execution. I think Tabqa was an example of that.”

    “Our military people on the ground saw an opportunity to kind of surprise ISIS with a helicopter, moving them by helicopter, surprise them from behind and seize the airport, the dam and the town,” Mr. McGurk later told reporters at the Pentagon.

    After Tabqa’s liberation, Mr. McGurk spoke to the city’s mayor, who gave a brief description of the war of annihilation.

    “He also said he believes that most of these foreign fighters are now dead,” the diplomat said.

    Mr. Mattis said: “No longer will we have slowed decision cycles because Washington, D.C., has to authorize tactical movements. I’ll leave that to the generals who know how to do those kind of things. We don’t direct that from here. They know our intent is the foreign fighters do not get out. I leave it to their skill, their cunning, to carry that out.”

  • Some videos:

    House-by-house clearing in Raqqa:

    The ruins of the Al Nuri Mosque in Mosul, from which al-Baghdadi declared his short-lived caliphate:

  • The Islamic State is by no means destroyed, but they’re definitely on the ropes. The defeat of the Islamic State won’t end transnational Islamic fundamentalism, but it will certainly take the wind out of their sails.

    Not included in this roundup: Groups outside Islamic State territory that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. I hope to have a separate roundup on them Real Soon Now.

    Note: Post updated to remove embedded video on improvised weapons of the Battle for Mosul, as it’s been taken down for “violating YouTube’s Terms of Service,” possibly because it included Islamic State propaganda videos of weapon-making among the footage.

    Obligatory James Comey Testimony Roundup

    Sunday, June 11th, 2017

    Now that the breathless wall-to-wall coverage of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony is finished, let’s wade into the towering thicket of articles covering it to pluck the most succulent points:

  • This Comey timeline is a good place to start.

    If you know that what you are about to say is going to lead people to believe the president of the United States is under investigation (as it did), and you know for a fact that the president of the United States is not under investigation (as Comey did), why make the statement? And if it was important enough to tell Congress that Trump was not under investigation so that Congress would not be misled, what conceivable reason is there not to tell the public — especially when you must know that withholding this critical detail will make it much more difficult for the president to deal with foreign leaders and marshal political support for his domestic agenda?

  • “Former FBI director James Comey’s decision to leak FBI documents to a friend may have violated the FBI’s employment agreement regarding unauthorized leaks.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Did the Attorney General lean on Comey to go easy on the target of his investigation? Yes. At least when the Attorney General was Loretta Lynch and the investigation target was Hillary Clinton:

    [Sen. James] LANKFORD [(R-OK)]: Then you made a comment earlier a the attorney general, the previous attorney general asking you about the investigation on the Clinton e-mails saying you were asked to not call it an investigation anymore. But call it a matter. You said that confused you. You can give us additional details on that?

    COMEY: Well, it concerned me because we were at the point where we refused to confirm the existence as we typically do of an investigation for months. And was getting to a place where that looked silly because the campaigns we’re talking about interacting with the FBI in the course of our work. The Clinton campaign at the time was using all kinds of euphemisms, security matters, things like that for what was going on.

    We were getting to a place where the attorney general and I were both going to testify and talk publicly about it I wanted to know was she going to authorize us to confirm we have an investigation. She said yes, don’t call it that, call it a matter. I said why would I do that? She said, just call it a matter. You look back in hindsight, if I looked back and said this isn’t a hill worth dying on so I just said the press is going to completely ignore it. That’s what happened when I said we opened a matter.

    They all reported the FBI has an investigation open. So that concerned me because that language tracked the way the campaign was talking about the FBI’s work and that’s concerning.

    LANKFORD: You gave impression that the campaign was somehow using the language as the FBI because you were handed the campaign language?

    COMEY: I don’t know whether it was intentional or not but it gave the impression that the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way it was describing that. It was inaccurate. We had an investigation open for the federal bureau of investigation, we had an investigation open at the time. That gave me a queasy feeling.

  • “Most seemed to miss the fact that Comey was describing his own conduct in strikingly unethical terms. The greatest irony is that Trump succeeded in baiting Comey to a degree that even Trump could not have imagined. After calling Comey a ‘showboat’ and poor director, Comey proceeded to commit an unethical and unprofessional act in leaking damaging memos against Trump.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Kurt Schlichter:

    That towering doofus James Comey crushed the spirits of millions of democracy-hating geebos when, trapped by his own prior testimony, he was forced to admit the truth on national television. And that truth, as those of us not caught up in the whirlpool of Menschian insanity and liberal wishcasting all know, is that the whole Russia thing is a wheelbarrow of fresh Schumer squeezed out by Hillary and her minions in order to create a narrative – any narrative – that would hide the bitter truth. We rejected her, and now we’re rejecting the Russia idiocy too.

  • Scott Adams:

    Was President Trump trying to persuade Comey in any of their private conversations? Of course he was. In a political context, all conversations are about persuasion. Comey was trying to persuade Trump that Comey was a competent and capable player with no bias. Trump was expressing his preferences from a power position, which is persuasive by its nature.

    Persuasion isn’t inherently good or bad. Persuasion is a tool. It’s goodness or badness depends on the context of its use. If you believe Trump knows he and his associates were innocent of any wrongdoing, and you observe that the investigations are making the government less effective, it feels entirely legitimate for the President to persuade in a direction that is a benefit for all citizens. No one wants to waste time, money, or energy on a useless investigation. But if you think there is some wrongdoing yet uncovered, presidential persuasion would be wildly inappropriate in this case, even if technically legal.

    I haven’t seen evidence of any crimes on the Trump side, so my filter sees a president trying to remove some obstacles that are not serving him or the American public. That kind of persuasion doesn’t feel wrong to me.

  • “Trump committed no crime. Democrats need to get over it.”

    Democrats will continue to lash out and contort Comey’s testimony, but the facts speak for themselves. President Trump has not asked anyone to lie, he has not prevented anyone from performing his or her legal obligations, and he has most certainly not obstructed justice.

    Comey’s testimony was not flattering toward the president, but, as I wrote yesterday, it did more to help Trump than to hurt him. No matter how much the Democrats and mainstream media outlets try to spin a crime out of the straw that was Comey’s testimony, the facts just do not take us there.

    The president still has the advantage of being innocent. If the Democrats want to impeach Trump, they will have to keep looking. I’m sure they will.

  • 7 Big Takeaways From The Comey Hearing.” Including:

    The Conspiracy Theory That Says Trump Colluded With Russia To Somehow Steal The Election From Hillary Clinton Is Now Dead: Not only did Comey thoroughly shoot down the idea that Trump was being investigated in the Russia probe, he explicitly denied stories based on anonymous sources that said Trump colluded with the Russians. He added, “Yes, there have been many, many stories based on — well, lots of stuff but about Russia that are dead wrong.” Read it and weep, conspiracy theorists.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • “Comey stated that a key New York Times report asserting Trump campaign collusion, which sparked much of the frenzy the past several months, was substantively false. On top of that, Comey testified not only that Trump didn’t try to impede the Russia investigation, he actually encouraged Comey to find out and expose whether any of Trump’s campaign ‘satellites’ (I assume that means people working for or with the campaign) engaged in wrongdoing.”
  • Lefty constitutional law scholar Alan Dershowitz says that there’s no plausible case that President Trump obstructed justice. “You can’t obstruct justice by simply exercising your power under the Constitution.”
  • Seven questions that should have been asked at the Comey hearing. Such as: “Did you also create memos for every phone call and every meeting you had with President Obama? With Attorneys General Lynch and Sessions? If you did not, why did you treat your interactions with Lynch over the Clinton email server investigation differently from your interactions with President Trump over the Russia probe?” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Random Tweet:

  • There. Now let’s sweep up all these breathless Comey memos and Trump-Russia conspiracy theories into one big crate, padlock it shut, and ship it off to that giant warehouse with the Ark of the Covenant where we never have to speak of it again.

    Obama: If if if if…

    Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

    Instead of actual content, have a silly stuttering Obama rap video from last year

    LinkSwarm for April 21, 2017

    Friday, April 21st, 2017

    Yesterday’s huge Texas vs. California update sucked up all my time, so today’s LinkSwarm is a little lite.

  • Texas residents should remember that tomorrow kicks off a preparedness sales tax holiday, giving you a chance to purchase batteries, fire extinguishers, etc. without paying sales tax on them.
  • How “diversity” is tearing France apart.
  • Another Paris shooting, another known wolf.
  • #Winning. “If your critics are reduced to complaining about what might be in your tax returns, you already won.”
  • USA Today staff too stupid to know the difference between tons and kilotons.
  • The real Russian stooge:

    The circumstantial evidence is mounting that the Kremlin succeeded in infiltrating the US government at the highest levels.

    How else to explain a newly elected president looking the other way after an act of Russian aggression? Agreeing to a farcically one-sided nuclear deal? Mercilessly mocking the idea that Russia represents our foremost geo-political foe?

    Accommodating the illicit nuclear ambitions of a Russian ally? Welcoming a Russian foothold in the Middle East? Refusing to provide arms to a sovereign country invaded by Russia? Diminishing our defenses and pursuing a Moscow-friendly policy of hostility to fossil fuels?

    All of these items, of course, refer to things said or done by President Barack Obama.

  • A strategy for repealing ObamaCare. How much inside baseball legislative wonkery can you stomach? Though it starts with full repeal. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Nothing says “class” quite like Democrats openly cheering the news that suicides among white males are up. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Controlling the border: “It’s not that there’s a new sheriff in town – it’s the fact that after eight years of Obama’s open-borders lawlessness there finally is a sheriff in town.”
  • The Trump Administration has actually carried out several successful reforms that got very little press.
  • You know all that “polls show Ted Cruz could lose in 2018” blather? Not so fast.
  • Scott Adams. “The people who know the most about science don’t think complex climate prediction models are credible science, and they are right.”
  • Trump gets U.S. aid worker held in Egypt for three years released. Naturally NYT buries the story on page 10…
  • 1. India’s government does yet another stupid thing. 2. “Technically correct is the best kind of correct.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Hognose of WeaponsMan RIP.
  • Oxygen-deprived naked mole rats turn into plants. Sort of.
  • Woman misunderstands, brings therapy dog to furry convention. Happy ending: “Furrycon ended up raising $10,000 for Pets for Vets.”
  • Obama Surveillance Scandal Widens

    Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

    This seems to be the way the world works now:

    1. President Trump: Tweets something crazy.
    2. Democrats: Look at that! Trump’s crazy! And also SuperMegaHitler controlled by Putin!
    3. National Review writer: Trump must stop tweeting immediately.
    4. World: Hey look, that totally crazy thing Trump tweeted happens to be the truth! What are the odds?

    The latest example is that Obama National Security advisor Susan Rice ordered surveillance of President Trump’s transition team:

    White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

    The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”

    The National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with Bloomberg View on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel’s office, who reviewed more of Rice’s requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.

    The intelligence reports were summaries of monitored conversations — primarily between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, but also in some cases direct contact between members of the Trump team and monitored foreign officials. One U.S. official familiar with the reports said they contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as whom the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.

    That’s from Eli Lake at Bloomberg, but the person who first broke the story was Mike Cernovich at Medium. He was able to break the story because folks working at Bloomberg and the New York Times revealed that both Lake and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times were sitting on the story to protect the Obama administration. “‘Real journalism’ is that Bloomberg had it and the New York Times had it but they wouldn’t run it because they don’t want to run any stories that would make Obama look bad or that will vindicate Trump. They only want to run stories that make Trump look bad so that’s why they sat on it.”

    It seems that Rice ordered preparation of detailed spreadsheets “of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president”:

    “What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,” [former U.S. Attorney Joseph] diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.

    “The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with,” diGenova said. “In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls.”

    Other official sources with direct knowledge and who requested anonymity confirmed to TheDCNF diGenova’s description of surveillance reports Rice ordered one year before the 2016 presidential election.

    Also on Monday, Fox News and Bloomberg News, citing multiple sources reported that Rice had requested the intelligence information that was produced in a highly organized operation. Fox said the unmasked names of Trump aides were given to officials at the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Defense, James Clapper, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, Obama’s CIA Director.

    Joining Rice in the alleged White House operations was her deputy Ben Rhodes, according to Fox.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit. Also Instapundit at Instapundit. “I’ll leave both up, because it’s that big a story.”)

    So the Obama Administration was using the National Security state to illegally gather information on Trump and his associated a year before the election. A single break-in by Nixon’s bumbling plumbers are pathetically small potatoes by comparison.

    What are the odds that Rice just out of the blue decided to start gathering surveillance information on Trump and his associates rather than being told to by Obama?

    None of this should come as any surprise, since the Obama Administration has been caught conducting illegal domestic surveillance, including targeting Fox News reporter James Rosen, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Associated Press, to say nothing of their hacking Sharyl Attkisson’s computer.

    And add the previously revealed Trump wiretapping as the cherry on top of the “using the national security apparatus to surveil domestic political enemies” cake.

    Given all this, why on earth would President Trump stop tweeting? His hit rate seems higher than the Oracle at Delphi…

    Texas Bathroom Bill Advances

    Monday, March 20th, 2017

    Last week the Texas Senate approved SB-6, the bill that rolled back the Obama Administration’s illegal imposition of tranny bathrooms on the nation.

    Remember when Obama campaigned on letting middle-aged men in dresses use the girl’s bathroom?

    Me neither.

    Out beyond a small but very vocal minority of Social Justice Warriors, no one was asking for tranny bathrooms, and outside of locales like San Francisco, I doubt even Democratic politicians are willing to campaign for them. That is why they had to be introduced by stealth and fiat.

    Tranny bathrooms represent the high-water mark of the hard left’s attempts to impose the idea of “gender as social construct” (as opposed to the obvious scientific truth of two biological sexes) on a resisting nation. That is why the cultural elites have been so desperate to defend the idea despite its widespread unpopularity. If you can get people to pretend a man wearing a dress has been magically transformed into a woman, despite the XY chromosomes in his body, you can get them to pretend to believe in just about anything.

    That’s why the left has fought the rollback so hard, why North Carolina had to be “punished” for daring to respect obvious scientific and time-honored truths rather than “gender fluid” fad popular among liberal elites.

    It remains to be seen whether Texas House speaker Joe Straus will bow to the will of the people, or to the cowardly business interests desperate to avoid elite wrath. Since Straus has never met a Democratic interest he wasn’t willing to cave to, it may require a concerted effort (perhaps by way of a discharge petition) to get HB 1362 voted on.

    Trying to Make Sense of #Obamagate Wiretapping

    Monday, March 6th, 2017

    The latest controversy began, as so many seem to, with a President Trump tweet:

    My first thought was “Eh, Trump’s talking out his ass.” Which happens from time to time.

    But then further reports came in, and the Obama Administration talking points started to take the form of “Ah, well, actually, here, have this carefully worded denial that dances around the main issue.”

    Here’s Andrew McCarthy in National Review (hardly the most Trump-friendly outlet on the right) dissecting the non-denial denials about what actually happened:

    To summarize, reporting indicates that, prior to June 2016, the Obama Justice Department and FBI considered a criminal investigation of Trump associates, and perhaps Trump himself, based on concerns about connections to Russian financial institutions. Preliminary poking around indicated that there was nothing criminal involved. Rather than shut the case down, though, the Obama Justice Department converted it into a national-security investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). FISA allows the government, if it gets court permission, to conduct electronic surveillance (which could include wiretapping, monitoring of e-mail, and the like) against those it alleges are “agents of a foreign power.” FISA applications and the evidence garnered from them are classified – i.e., we would not know about any of this unless someone had leaked classified information to the media, a felony.

    In June, the Obama Justice Department submitted an application that apparently “named” Trump in addition to some of his associates. As I have stressed, it is unclear whether “named” in this context indicates that Trump himself was cited as a person the Justice Department was alleging was a Russian agent whom it wanted to surveil. It could instead mean that Trump’s name was merely mentioned in an application that sought to conduct surveillance on other alleged Russian agents. President Trump’s tweets on Saturday claimed that “President Obama . . . tapp[ed] my phones[,]” which makes it more likely that Trump was targeted for surveillance, rather than merely mentioned in the application.

    In any event, the FISA court reportedly turned down the Obama Justice Department’s request, which is notable: The FISA court is notoriously solicitous of government requests to conduct national-security surveillance (although, as I’ve noted over the years, the claim by many that it is a rubber-stamp is overblown).

    Not taking no for an answer, the Obama Justice Department evidently returned to the FISA court in October 2016, the critical final weeks of the presidential campaign. This time, the Justice Department submitted a narrowly tailored application that did not mention Trump. The court apparently granted it, authorizing surveillance of some Trump associates. It is unknown whether that surveillance is still underway, but the New York Times has identified – again, based on illegal leaks of classified information – at least three of its targets: Paul Manafort (the former Trump campaign chairman who was ousted in August), and two others whose connection to the Trump campaign was loose at best, Manafort’s former political-consulting business partner Roger Stone, and investor Carter Page. The Times report (from mid-January) includes a lot of heavy breathing about potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia; but it ultimately concedes that the government’s FISA investigation may have nothing to do with Trump, the campaign, or alleged Russian efforts to interfere in the U.S. election by hacking e-mail accounts.

    Trump’s tweets on Saturday prompted some interesting “denials” from the Obama camp. These can be summarized in the statement put out by Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis:

    A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.

    This seems disingenuous on several levels.

    First, as Obama officials well know, under the FISA process, it is technically the FISA court that “orders” surveillance. And by statute, it is the Justice Department, not the White House, that represents the government in proceedings before the FISA court. So, the issue is not whether Obama or some member of his White House staff “ordered” surveillance of Trump and his associates. The issues are (a) whether the Obama Justice Department sought such surveillance authorization from the FISA court, and (b) whether, if the Justice Department did that, the White House was aware of or complicit in the decision to do so. Personally, given the explosive and controversial nature of the surveillance request we are talking about – an application to wiretap the presidential candidate of the opposition party, and some of his associates, during the heat of the presidential campaign, based on the allegation that the candidate and his associates were acting as Russian agents – it seems to me that there is less than zero chance that could have happened without consultation between the Justice Department and the White House.

    Second, the business about never ordering surveillance against American citizens is nonsense. Obama had American citizens killed in drone operations. Obviously, that was not done in the U.S. or through the FISA process; it was done overseas, under the president’s commander-in-chief and statutory authority during wartime. But the notion that Obama would never have an American subject to surveillance is absurd.

    Third, that brings us to a related point: FISA national-security investigations are not like criminal investigations. They are more like covert intelligence operations – which presidents personally sign off on. The intention is not to build a criminal case; it is to gather information about what foreign powers are up, particularly on U.S. soil. One of the points in FISA proceedings’ being classified is that they remain secret – the idea is not to prejudice an American citizen with publication of the fact that he has been subjected to surveillance even though he is not alleged to have engaged in criminal wrongdoing.

    Snip.

    To be clear, there does not seem to be any evidence, at least that I know of, to suggest that any surveillance or requests to conduct surveillance against then-candidate Donald Trump was done outside the FISA process.

    Nevertheless, whether done inside or outside the FISA process, it would be a scandal of Watergate dimension if a presidential administration sought to conduct, or did conduct, national-security surveillance against the presidential candidate of the opposition party. Unless there was some powerful evidence that the candidate was actually acting as an agent of a foreign power, such activity would amount to a pretextual use of national-security power for political purposes. That is the kind of abuse that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation in lieu of impeachment.

    Moreover, it cannot be glossed over that, at the very time it appears the Obama Justice Department was seeking to surveil Trump and/or his associates on the pretext that they were Russian agents, the Obama Justice Department was also actively undermining and ultimately closing without charges the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton despite significant evidence of felony misconduct that threatened national security.

    This appears to be extraordinary, politically motivated abuse of presidential power.

    So as far as I can tell:

    1. The Obama Administration attempted to conduct wireless wiretapping involving Donald Trump, and was rejected by the FISA court,
    2. The Obama Administration sought, and was granted, a FISA application to conduct wireless wiretapping involving Donald Trump associates in the final month of a heated Presidential campaign, and
    3. This information was illegally leaked to the press.

    That’s not a nothingburger.

    The question at this point is not “Was a felony committed?”, it’s “How bad a felony was committed, who ordered it, and for what reason?”

    More extensive discussing of the legal issues involved here.