Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

LinkSwarm for May 19, 2017

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Another eventful week, and not just for the special-prosecutor and impeachment talk freakout Democrats are having. (Looks like they failed to learn the lesson of “Fitzmas.”)

Now the LinkSwarm:

  • “Almost every promise made eight years ago about Obamacare turned out to be a falsehood.”

    No, you couldn’t keep your insurance plan, doctor or provider in many cases. No, it didn’t save $2,500 per family (more like cost $2,500 more per family). No, it didn’t lead to expanded patient choice. And yes, the tax increases and insurance mandates damaged the economy and cost jobs. We are now left with insurance markets that have entered a death spiral. The entire health insurance market will financially implode unless it’s changed.

  • “Several raids by federal and local authorities across Los Angeles on Wednesday led to the arrests of 44 MS-13 gang members, including murderers, CNN reported. The series of 50 raids occurred before dawn and were led by ATF agents and 1,000 other officers who have been working on the case for around three years. More than half of the 44 gang members arrested were undocumented immigrants, while three members are currently on the run.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Boston prosecutors go out of their way not to deport a foreign national for bank robbery. Result? Two American citizens murdered.
  • More proof that the Obama Administration used national security intelligence gathering to spy on domestic political opponents.
  • Anthony Weiner pleads guilty. “Prosecutors said they would ask for 21 months to 27 months in prison for Weiner once his plea is entered. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.” That would put him safely past the 2018 midterm elections, but not the 2020 election…
  • The peoples of the bubbles:

    “Call it the zeroth bubble.

    In it are the self-proclaimed elites of government and media. The residents of the zeroth bubble reside in coastal enclaves and surrounded by elaborate systems that protect them from those who live in the first, second and third bubbles.

    The residents of the zeroth bubble often secure permanent employment in the form of government sinecure or job-hopping between government, media, academia, lobbying, and public relations.

    Their personal security is assured by heavily-armed forces that offer many of them around-the-clock protection.

    There is little crossover from the zeroth bubble to the first. And certainly less still between the zeroth and the second.

    It’s also safe to say that the device has yet to be invented that can measure the empathy that the elites feel for the residents of the third bubble.

    Which helps explain why illegal immigration — from human- and drug-smuggling to MS-13 — is of no concern to the Chamber of Commerce, or your typical Senator, or Thomas Friedman of The New York Times.

    The zeroth bubble people wouldn’t ever see the results of the open borders policies they espouse and support, nor can they even countenance them.

    In fact, they’re sufficiently disconnected from the residents of the first bubble that they missed the entire Trump phenomenon.

  • Scott Adams looks at positives (the economy, jobs) and negatives (“Unproven allegations of Russian collusion with Trump campaign”) of the Trump era. “All the important stuff is trending positive.”
  • President Trump rolls back another Obama Administration power grab:

    President Donald Trump reversed another eleventh-hour Obama administration regulation, rolling back Democrats’ effort to push private sector workers into state government retirement plans.

    Trump signed House Resolution 66 on Wednesday, undoing a regulation adopted by the Department of Labor on October 31, 2016. The department’s rule would have allowed state and local governments to create IRA accounts for private sector workers and automatically deduct contributions from their paychecks without the protections savers enjoy under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Draining the swamp: Half of EPA advisory board dismissed. Also: “The Interior Department has also frozen the work of more than 200 advisory boards, committees and subcommittees last week.” Just think of all the damage they won’t be able to do to the American economy for a while…
  • Democratic congressional leaders: Ixnay on the mpeachmentinay alktay! (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • In Montana, Democrats have recruited a signing socialist in favor of gun control for their candidate.
  • “Routine arrest of arguing Muslims leads Minneapolis police to huge weapons cache and bomb-making devices.” (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Former Social Justice Warrior on why she quit the cult:

    I see increasing numbers of so-called liberals cheering censorship and defending violence as a response to speech. I see seemingly reasonable people wishing death on others and laughing at escalating suicide and addiction rates of the white working class. I see liberal think pieces written in opposition to expressing empathy or civility in interactions with those with whom we disagree. I see 63 million Trump voters written off as “nazis” who are okay to target with physical violence. I see concepts like equality and justice being used as a mask for resentful, murderous rage.

    The most pernicious aspect of this evolution of the left, is how it seems to be changing people, and how rapidly since the election. I have been dwelling on this Nietzsche quote for almost six months now, “He who fights with monsters, should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” How easy is it for ordinary humans to commit atrocious acts? History teaches us it’s pretty damn easy when you are blinded to your own hypocrisy. When you believe you are morally superior, when you have dehumanized those you disagree with, you can justify almost anything. In a particularly vocal part of the left, justification for dehumanizing and committing violence against those on the right has already begun.

    (Hat tip: PJMedia via Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • Signs of cognitive dissonance that show you’re winning the debate: “If you have been well-behaved in a debate, and you trigger an oversized personal attack, it means you won.”
  • #NeverTrump was (mostly) wrong.
  • The challenges of treating children who are born psychopaths:

    One bitter December day in 2011, Jen was driving the children along a winding road near their home. Samantha had just turned 6. Suddenly Jen heard screaming from the back seat, and when she looked in the mirror, she saw Samantha with her hands around the throat of her 2-year-old sister, who was trapped in her car seat. Jen separated them, and once they were home, she pulled Samantha aside.

    “What were you doing?,” Jen asked.

    “I was trying to choke her,” Samantha said.

    “You realize that would have killed her? She would not have been able to breathe. She would have died.”

    “I know.”

    “What about the rest of us?”

    “I want to kill all of you.”

    (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)

  • “Rear Adm. Robert Gilbeau, the first admiral ever convicted of a federal crime while on active duty, was sentenced on Wednesday to 18 months in prison for lying to investigators about his involvement in a bribery scandal that has ensnared numerous Navy officers.” That would be for the Fat Leonard scandal. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Senate Conservative Fund-backed Ralph Norman wins primary for South Carolina’s Fifth Congressional seat by 203 votes.
  • “After a drug search, a cop brushes some residue off his shirt and within minutes falls to the floor overdosing.” Carfentanyl, which is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, sounds less like a drug and more like a chemical warfare agent…
  • UK election watch: Why Labour is about to get wiped out in Wales:

    it becomes clear that what you’re seeing is the strange death of Labour Wales – one that goes back further and deeper than June 2016.

    In its heartlands, Labour was always a working-class party, and what’s changed is that the working class has been smashed up. The physical traces of that are evident all over south Wales. The mines are now museum pieces. The Sony factory in Bridgend has long since gone, while the town’s Ford plant is reportedly preparing to shed over half its workers. What’s replaced those careers? A scan of the windows of the recruitment agencies tells you: fork-lift drivers, warehouse staff, “recycling operatives”. All at around minimum wage, and hardly any full-time.

    For decades, Labour took this area and its other heartlands for granted – while it flirted with Mondeo Man and Worcester Woman. It parachuted in its plastic professional politicians – just think of the way Tristram Hunt was airlifted into Stoke – and ignored the need to nurture local talent. Now in Wales and elsewhere, it is paying the price of decades of ingrained arrogance.

    (Hat tip: The Political Hat.)

  • “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has threatened the British government with ‘consequences’ if it were to restrict immigration from the EU member states after the country formally breaks away from the union.” This brings up a number of questions, foremost among them why does she care? First, why should the leader of one country care how another country sets its immigration policy? Second, this suggests that Frau Merkel thinks she’s President of the EU rather than Germany (to be fair, so does most of the world). Third, why would the EU fight to make it easier for their own citizens to leave the EU? Why it’s almost as if Merkel is more loyal to the interests of open borders elites than the German people. Or else the EU wants to dump more Islamic “refugees” on the UK…
  • Texas House Speaker Joe Straus seems to have finally met his match in Lt. Governor Dan Patrick:

    Joe Straus looked like a speaker unquestionably in charge. Then things started falling apart.

    The problems for the speaker have been caused by a small group of Republican legislators known as the Freedom Caucus. The core group is nine lawmakers out of the 150-member House, and sometimes they can get their vote up to nineteen. Even some conservative Republicans complain that the Freedom Caucus is not truly Republican, but rather a group of libertarians more bent on causing chaos in the House than anything else. Some of the most prominent members are Matt Schaefer of Tyler, Jeff Leach of Plano, and Matt Rinaldi of Irving. Their titular leader is Bedford Representative Jonathan Stickland, who uses parliamentary rules to kill other members’ bills and then strongly objects when his own legislation suffers a similar fate. The Freedom Caucus opposes Straus but have generally been an ineffective annoyance.

    That changed on April 27, when the House endured sixteen hours of debate on an anti-immigration bill to address so-called sanctuary cities. In the course of the debate, Schaefer offered an amendment to prevent police chiefs from restricting their officers from asking people who have been detained about their immigration status. In a moment of conciliation, Schaefer offered to pull down his amendment if Democrats would stop offering their own amendments designed to make Republicans look heartless and cruel. Some Democrats wanted to take the deal, but Representatives Armando Walle of Houston, Cesar Blanco of El Paso and Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio argued against it. By refusing to compromise, the three guaranteed that the so-called “show me your papers” amendment would become part of the bill that Abbott eventually signed into law.

    But undeniably, Straus had an opportunity to affect the outcome of that bill. He could have kept it bottled up as he was doing with the bathroom bill, though he had allowed a similar sanctuary cities bill to go through the House in 2011. Straus also could have demanded discipline out of his chairs to vote against Schaefer. The amendment went on the bill by a vote of 81-64, with fourteen of Straus’s committee chairs voting for the Schaefer amendment, while three other members of his leadership team were away at a conference committee on the budget. Straus needed to switch only a dozen votes to keep the most controversial language out of the bill.

    The Freedom Caucus was empowered, at least in perception.

    In the days that followed, caucus members got an amendment on a foster care bill to prevent the vaccination of children who have been removed from their homes until a court ordered the child’s permanent removal. And last week they used maneuvers to slow down the House calendar so that a “safety net” bill failed to pass to keep agencies subject to the sunset review process alive even if their reauthorization legislation failed. And finally, they won passage of an amendment to a State Bar of Texas bill to make it an affirmative defense for a lawyer under disciplinary review to claim he or she acted because of a sincerely held religious belief—an amendment that Democrats viewed as giving lawyers the ability to discriminate against the LGBT community.

    After the religious beliefs amendment passed on a vote of 85-59, Representative Rafael Anchia of Dallas blurted out, “Last session these guys couldn’t pass gas. Now they’re running the floor.”

    Several senior Republican members of the Straus leadership team have told me they don’t feel like anyone is in charge in the House. One called it a rudderless ship. None said they are ready to abandon Straus or revolt against him, though the frustration is rising.

    With the Freedom Caucus suddenly finding some success in the House, Patrick no doubt saw an opportunity to reassert control of the session. The death of the House version of the “safety net” bill was important. It’s called a safety net bill because it allows agencies under sunset review to continue operating. It has to pass. With the demise of the House’s bill, the only option left is the Senate’s version. And Patrick made clear he intends to hold that bill hostage.

    In his press conference Wednesday, flanked by the flags of Texas and the United States, Patrick noted that he had control of the Senate version of the safety net bill. Then he demanded the House surrender on using the state’s rainy day fund to pay for a revenue shortfall in the budget; that the House accept both a private school voucher program in a substantially reduced school funding plan, and a controversial property tax reform for cities and counties; and that some form of his bathroom bill receive House approval. Otherwise, Patrick would force a special session to get what he wants.

    Ignore the analysis of the Freedom Caucus. What’s really going on here is that Patrick has emboldened House Republicans who previously lived in fear of Straus’ vengeance to actually start acting like Republicans again.

  • The Germans are coming…to lower your grocery bill.
  • Turns out that female college graduates are now making more than their male counterparts. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Roger Ailes, RIP.
  • Deal reached on Dallas pension crisis? (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Saudis to Make $6 Billion Deal for Lockheed’s Littoral Ships.” This is evidently just one component of a $110 billion arms deal negotiated by both the Trump and Obama Administrations. Though most famous for aircraft, Lockheed has built combat ships off and on for decades and, especially after their merger with Martin Marietta in 1995, has a lot of fingers in a lot of defense contracting pies. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Austin’s Brackenridge Hospital closes.
  • Good things for a track coach: Burning speed. Bad things for a track coach: burning his own home.
  • “How ‘social justice warriors’ are like McCarthyites and the Ku Klux Klan.”
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates’ social justice warrior Marvel comic Black Panther & The Crew cancelled after two issues due to low sales. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Slowdive just released their first new album in two decades. It’s excellent and you should buy it.
  • Aleppo Falls

    Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

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

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

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

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

    What is It With the Clintons Hiring Employees With Ties to the Muslim Brotherhood?

    Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

    I can certainly understand the Clinton clan’s self-centered greed and avarice. What I struggle to understand is why they keep repeatedly hiring employees with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Take, for example, former Clinton Foundation employee Gehad El-Haddad, who was just sentenced to life in prison in Egypt for his work as the mouthpiece for Mohamed Morsi’s short-lived Muslim Brotherhood government.

    Then there are the well documented familial links between perpetual #1 Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and the Muslim Brotherhood:

    Sheikh Qaradawi is a promoter of jihadist terror. His fatwas endorse terrorist attacks against American personnel in Iraq as well as suicide bombing — by both men and women — against Israel. He is a leading supporter of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. He also runs an umbrella organization called the Union for Good (sometimes referred to as the “Union of Good”), which is formally designated a terrorist organization under American law. The Union for Good was behind the “Peace Flotilla” that attempted to break our ally Israel’s blockade of the terrorist organization Hamas (the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch) in 2010.

    That’s rather interesting — at least to me, though apparently not to Speaker Boehner — because Huma Abedin’s mother, Saleha, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s female division (the “Muslim Sisterhood”), is a major figure in not one but two Union for Good components. The first is the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief (IICDR). It is banned in Israel for supporting Hamas under the auspices of the Union for Good. Then there’s the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child (IICWC) — an organization that Dr. Saleha Abedin has long headed. Dr. Abedin’s IICWC describes itself as part of the IICDR. And wouldn’t you know it, the IICWC charter was written by none other than . . . Sheikh Qaradawi, in conjunction with several self-proclaimed members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The recently declassified 28 pages of the 9/11 report has more to say about it. “The ‘Abedin family business’ is an academic group called the Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs that is based in the London offices of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth and its parent organization, the Muslim World League.”

    About the World Arab Muslim Youth Association:

    According to the FBI. Abdullah Bin Ladin [Osama bin Laden’s half-brother] has a number of connections to terrorist organizations. He is the President and Director of the World Arab Muslim Youth Association (WAMY) and the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Science in America. Both organizations are local branches of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

    According to the FBI, there is reason to believe that WAMY is “closely associated with the funding and financing of international terrorist activities and in the past has provided logistical support to individuals wishing to to fight in the Afghan War.” In 1998, the CIA published a paper characterizing WAMY as a NGO that provides funding. logistical support and training with possible connections to the Arab Afghans network, Hamas, Algerian extremists and Philippine militants.

    Who else calls attention to the World Arab Muslim Youth Association’s ties to terrorism? Would you believe Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

    Saudi Arabia has enacted important reforms to criminalize terrorist financing and restrict the overseas flow of funds from Saudi-based charities. However, these restrictions fail to include multilateral organizations such as the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), Muslim World League (MWL) and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY.) Intelligence suggests that these groups continue to send money overseas and, at times, fund extremism overseas.

    Despite all this, Saudi pressure has helped keep the International Islamic Relief Organization and World Arab Muslim Youth Association off the official list of groups with terrorist ties.

    And as long as we’re discussing Hillary’s ties to terrorism, we should probably mention “numerous ties between Hillary Clinton and members of the shadowy network surrounding Fethullah Gulen, the controversial Muslim cleric who has been called ‘the Turkish Khomeini,’ and whom the Erdogan regime is accusing of instigating the coup that nearly toppled it.” (Just because I don’t think Gulen had any significant role in the coup doesn’t mean he’s not an Islamist scumbag.)

    According to the Caller, the Gulen camp has been one of Hillary’s numerous sources of cash, in exchange for which she gave access to the President: “a Gulen follower named Gokhan Ozkok asked Clinton deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin for help in connecting one of his allies to President Obama….Ozkok served as national finance co-chair of the pro-Clinton Ready PAC. He gave $10,000 to the committee in 2014 and $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign last year. He is also listed on the Turkish Cultural Center’s website as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, one of the non-profit arms of the Clinton Foundation. He’s given between $25,000 and $50,000 to the Clinton charity.”

    Ah, money for access. Now the Clinton ties to the Muslim Brotherhood are starting to make more sense. Maybe they helped the Clinton Foundation bring in money from the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi, Nasser Al-Rashid, etc. Indeed, counting speaking fees and money for “walking away” from an investment partnership with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai, the Clintons have collectively pocketed $100 million from Persian Gulf rulers.

    There’s are other angles to the story I haven’t had time to track down yet. Like why did Hillary Clinton’s new VP pick Tim Kaine appoint the President of the Muslim Brotherhood-tied Muslim American Society, Esam Omeish, to Virginia’s state’s Immigration Commission?

    But I’ll have to leave those for another time.

    LinkSwarm for January 5, 2016

    Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

    I hope everyone else has had a happier New Year than I, since my father passed away after a long battle with cancer Sunday.

    On the plus side, I saw the new Star Wars and the Texans made the playoffs. Doesn’t quite balance out, though…

  • Remember: It’s OK to rape 13-year olds as long as you’re a well-connected Democratic Party donor. Remember, this is the case that had Bill Clinton taking the Lolita Express to Pedophile Island.
  • “Nobody needed criminal convictions to drop Cosby – just multiple accusations of sexual assault and some out-of-court payouts. But multiple accusations of sexual assault, out-of-court payouts and the loss of his law license are apparently not enough to bar Bill Clinton from another eight years in the White House.”
  • Hillary Cliton’s many conflicts of interest:

    At Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing for secretary of state, she promised she would take “extraordinary steps…to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

    Later, more than two dozen companies and groups and one foreign government paid former President Bill Clinton a total of more than $8 million to give speeches around the time they also had matters before Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

    Fifteen of them also donated a total of between $5 million and $15 million to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the family’s charity, according to foundation disclosures.

  • Six things a Washington Post reporter found out following Ted Cruz around. “The majority of the undecided voters I have spoken with have said they were very impressed after hearing Cruz speak. Many of them said they were undecided coming into a rally and supported him when it was over.”
  • Obama to judicial branch: “Screw you, I’m going to give work permits to illegal aliens you’ve ordered deported.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Unfortunately, 2016, the little of it that we have so far seen, is already beginning to look like another year of Grim Slide, of a world stumbling down a slippery slope to become less secure, less stable, and less free.”
  • People are forgetting what an awful festering hellhole the Soviet Union was.
  • Iran and Saudi Arabia have severed diplomatic relations over Saudi execution of a Shiite cleric, and Kuwait has recalled their ambassador from Tehran; don’t be surprised if the other Sunni nations follow suit. Good thing we have a Nobel Peace Prize winner in the White House…
  • Turkey’s Prime Minister: Hey, you know who was a model of effective leadership? Adolf Hitler.
  • Swiss General: Europe “On The Verge Of Civil War,” Citizens Must Arm Themselves.
  • Oslo police: “We Have Lost the City.”

    It looks like Karachi, Basra, and Mogadishu all rolled into one. People sell drugs openly just next to the Gronland subway station.

    It’s not Norway or Europe anymore, except when there is welfare money to be collected. The police have largely given up. Early in 2010 Aftenposten stated that there are sharia patrols in this area, and gay couples are assaulted and chased away.

  • Mass sexual assaults involving up to 1,000 Arab men on New Year’s Eve in Cologne.
  • “IRS Employee Whose Job Was Assisting Victims Of Identity Theft Charged In $1 Million Identity Theft Tax Fraud.” (Hat tip: Instapundit)
  • Rahm Emanuel’s failure in Chicago is emblematic of the blue model failure in America’s cities. “The city’s bloated pension obligations have already forced Emanuel to make severe education cuts. It will continue to force cuts in city services in various cities, making it harder and harder for mayors to govern, and increasing the antagonism among various constituencies.”
  • Murder rates drop as concealed carry permits soar.” Plus this: “Between 2012 and 2014 the number of black permit holders increased from 10,389 to 17,594, according to the report.”
  • Mississippi Democratic City Councilman urges constituents to hurl rocks and bricks at the police.
  • Armed mother successfully defends home and children against three armed thugs. But gun-grabbers want to disarm her
  • Bahamas resort project gives in to Chinese demands to secure more construction loans. Result: Bankruptcy.
  • Ben Carson’s campaign staff quits. There’s a reason president of the United States isn’t an entry-level job…
  • Former feminist now a pro-life activist who is disillusioned with feminism. (Hat tip: John C. Wright.)
  • Confessions of a social justice warrior white knight. “Their communities thrive on self loathing disguised as elitism…SJWs insist their goal is to make everyone equal, and for a long time I believed it, but their communities actually enforce factionalism and division.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Wendy Davis: Still digging.
  • San Bernardino Gunman “Devout Muslim”

    Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

    Evidently the two San Bernardino gunmen were Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, both now dead from police gunfire. Farook’s name came up early from Twitter users listening to the police scanner.

    Farook was evidently a state environmental employee.

    To the surprise of absolutely no one except liberals, Farook was a devout Muslim. Says his father: “He was very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.”

    Also: “Co-workers said Farook had traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a new wife he met online, according to reports.”

    Yes, his motives are an insoluble mystery.

    More than one observer noted that this attack doesn’t fit many classic patterns. And indeed it doesn’t.

    But “workplace violence” incidents don’t end like this one did. “Honey, San Bernardino County has insulted me for the last time! Let’s both of us load up with guns and our already-prepared pipe bombs and go down there and shoot every last one of them, leaving our baby behind!”

    Jim Geraghty has similar thoughts. “There was nothing impulsive about this.”

    A law enforcement source told Fox News that the couple were each carrying an AR-15 rifle and a pistol when they were shot and killed by police after a brief chase in their black SUV about 2 miles from the initial shooting site. The source said the vehicle also contained so-called “rollout bags” with multiple pipe bombs, as well as additional ammunition. The couple also had GoPro cameras strapped to their body armor and wore tactical clothing, including vests stuffed with ammunition magazines.

    “That’s a military tactic for a sustained fight,” the source told Fox News of the rollout bags.

    That’s the sort of thing you bring if you want to make videos to terrorize other people, and rally others to their cause or ideology… it also would explain why they left the scene instead of staying to shoot it out with police at the social services facility. They intended to live to tell the tale, at least for a while.

    This was a jihad attack Farook had obviously been planning (or at least contemplating) for a long time.

    Blathering about climate change, passing pointless gun control legislation, and letting in more “Syrian refugees” will do absolutely nothing to prevent the next Syed Farook from going out in a blaze of radical Islamic martyrdom.

    Why Did Obama Back Jihadists in Syria?

    Monday, August 10th, 2015

    This piece in Foreign Policy Journal is certainly eye-opening:

    In Al Jazeera’s latest Head to Head episode, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn confirms to Mehdi Hasan that not only had he studied the DIA memo predicting the West’s backing of an Islamic State in Syria when it came across his desk in 2012, but even asserts that the White House’s sponsoring of radical jihadists (that would emerge as ISIL and Nusra) against the Syrian regime was “a willful decision.” [Lengthy discussion of the DIA memo begins at the 8:50 mark.]

    Amazingly, Flynn actually took issue with the way interviewer Mehdi Hasan posed the question—Flynn seemed to want to make it clear that the policies that led to the rise of ISIL were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making:

    Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?

    Flynn: I think the administration.

    Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

    Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

    Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

    Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.

    The deeply puzzling thing about Obama’s Middle East policy is it’s sheer incoherence (except, of course, his unwavering dislike of Israel). His fixation on taking out Bashar Assad (a bad actor, to be sure, but not in the same league as the Iranian Mullahs who back Assad, and who Obama evidently has no qualms negotiating with) makes no strategic sense. In light of the above, he’s evidently funding the Islamic State in Syria, fighting it (in the most desultory manner possible) in Iraq, giving in to Iran on nuclear weapons, alienating allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, and has no discernible policy for a post-Morsi Egypt. Obama’s moves only make sense if he wants to promote a Sunni/Shia civil war, or as Obama’s personal fits of pique where he feels slighted. (Screw Syria for ignoring his red lines. Screw Israel for daring to reelect Netanyahu. Screw Iraq for Bush succeeding.)

    The only certainty about Obama’s foreign policy is that future administrations will be dealing with the repercussions from his feckless, aimless foreign policy for decades to come.

    (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)

    LinkSwarm for March 27, 2015

    Friday, March 27th, 2015

    Those two outstanding Obama successes, ObamaCare and Middle East foreign policy, just keep succeeding…

  • Yet another ObamaCare timebomb threatens small businesses.
  • In case you hadn’t noticed, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are intervening directly in Yemen with other Sunni Arab nations, raising the significant possibility that Iran’s Big Yemen Adventure will turn into a full-blown Sunni/Shia Civil War.
  • Don’t you hate it when a bomb goes off in your mosque right in the middle of your “Death to America” chant?
  • But Iran supporting terrorists and attacking America’s allies in the region won’t stop Obama and Kerry from giving in on every Iranian demand for their toothless Iranian nuclear weapon deal.
  • Also, the Obama Administration just declassified a report on Israel’s nuclear program. It’s almost as if Obama truly wants to punish America ‘s allies and reward America’s enemies.
  • Think the Israelis are pissed at the fall of Yemen? It’s nothing compared to the rage of the Saudis and other Arabs.
  • Even Turkey’s Islamic government has decided Iran has gone too far.
  • Obama’s superpower is ignoring reality.
  • Think UK Muslim child rape stories couldn’t possibly get any more creepy or depressing? A gang in Croydon targeted Down Syndrome girls. (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • Is Obama hindering the fight against Boko Haram because he favors the Muslim Nigerian Presidential candidate over the Christian one?
  • Harry Reid to retire from Senate. That hissing sound you hear is the air rushing out of Democrats’ chances to retake the senate in 2016… (Hat tip: Jim Geraghty.)
  • Speaking of Democrats and the Senate, there are bruising primary battles heating up up between the party’s corrupt wing and the party’s insane wing. (Sure, National Journal uses the words “pragmatic liberal” and “progressive,” but we all know what they mean.) (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Of course Ted Cruz can win.
  • It doesn’t hurt that he’s running against corporate welfare.
  • Cruz set out a fundraising goal of raising $1 million the first week of his campaign. he did that in just over a day and has already hit $2 million.
  • Different jobs, different perks. If you work at a high tech start-up, you may get free snacks and catered meals. If you work at the DEA, you might get orgies with prostitutes paid for by drug lords.
  • An early leader for Mother of the Year.
  • A tale of two rapes, one that didn’t happen the media hyped, and one that did the media ignored.
  • Judging from the comments in this Slashdot thread, techies are getting tired of frivolous Social Justice Warrior lawsuits.
  • Since that was a mostly very depressing roundup of news, here’s a Golden Retriever puppy sliding down a ramp.

    “Arab civilization, such as we knew it, is all but gone.”

    Sunday, September 21st, 2014

    That’s the headline on this Hisham Melhem piece on the comprehensive failure of the entire Arab world.

    The jihadists of the Islamic State, in other words, did not emerge from nowhere. They climbed out of a rotting, empty hulk—what was left of a broken-down civilization. They are a gruesome manifestation of a deeper malady afflicting Arab political culture, which was stagnant, repressive and patriarchal after the decades of authoritarian rule that led to the disastrous defeat in the 1967 war with Israel. That defeat sounded the death knell of Arab nationalism and the resurgence of political Islam, which projected itself as the alternative to the more secular ideologies that had dominated the Arab republics since the Second World War. If Arab decline was the problem, then “Islam is the solution,” the Islamists said—and they believed it.

    At their core, both political currents—Arab nationalism and Islamism—are driven by atavistic impulses and a regressive outlook on life that is grounded in a mostly mythologized past. Many Islamists, including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (the wellspring of such groups)—whether they say it explicitly or hint at it—are still on a ceaseless quest to resurrect the old Ottoman Caliphate. Still more radical types—the Salafists—yearn for a return to the puritanical days of Prophet Muhammad and his companions. For most Islamists, democracy means only majoritarian rule, and the rule of sharia law, which codifies gender inequality and discrimination against non-Muslims.

    And let’s face the grim truth: There is no evidence whatever that Islam in its various political forms is compatible with modern democracy.

    A few pieces of Melhem’s piece are erroneous: “As terrorist organizations, al Qaeda and Islamic State are different from the Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative movement that renounced violence years ago, although it did dabble with violence in the past.” That’s only because the Egypt’s military forced them to refrain from large-scale violence on pain of death. We saw how quickly this restraint was cast aside when Morsi assumed power. The only differences between al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are of degree, tactical choice, and certain Islamic Eschatological doctrinal differences as to exactly what sort of oppressive Islamic theocracy imposing Sharia law are the ideal end-state.

    But those flaws aside, it’s still an admirably clear-eyed distillation of the horrific, bloody, dysfunctional nature of the Arab world. Read the whole thing.

    More on ISIS

    Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

    For those who haven’t been following every twist and turn of the Syrian Civil War, the sudden rise of Islamic State of Syria and Iraq probably came as quite a shock. Yesterday you’d never heard of them, and today they’re capturing Mosul and Tikrit and advancing on Baghdad. No terrorist or guerrilla force grows that quickly without some sort of major financial backing. My suspicion that they were bankrolled by the Saudis and some of the other Sunni oil sheikdoms appears to have been more or less accurate.

    Over at The Daily Beast, Josh Rogin says that wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are funding ISIS.

    Under significant U.S. pressure, the Arab Gulf governments have belatedly been cracking down on funding to Sunni extremist groups, but Gulf regimes are also under domestic pressure to fight in what many Sunnis see as an unavoidable Shiite-Sunni regional war that is only getting worse by the day.

    “ISIS is part of the Sunni forces that are fighting Shia forces in this regional sectarian conflict. They are in an existential battle with both the (Iranian aligned) Maliki government and the Assad regime.”

    And therein lies the rub. The Syrian Civil War had already undertaken the character of a Sunni/Shia conflict that was drawing in Iran and Lebanon (and, by financial proxy, Saudi Arabia); their swift success in Iraq widens the scope of the war, but not the essential nature. Sunnis and Shiias have hardly needed an excuse to slaughter each other at the drop of a hat; indeed, the far more difficult task has always been to keep them from slaughtering each other.

    For what it’s worth, the exceptionally cynical and always-entertaining War Nerd says that ISIS has already peaked:

    This is one of those dramatic military reverses that mean a lot less than meets the eye. The “Iraqi Army” routed by ISIS wasn’t really a national army, and ISIS isn’t really a dominant military force. It was able to occupy those cities because they were vacuums, abandoned by a weak, sectarian force. Moving into vacuums like this is what ISIS is good at. And that’s the only thing ISIS is good at.

    ISIS is a sectarian Sunni militia—that’s all. A big one, as militias go, with something like 10,000 fighters. Most of them are Iraqi, a few are Syrian, and a few hundred are those famous “European jihadis” who draw press attention out of all relation to their negligible combat value. The real strength of ISIS comes from its Chechen fighters, up to a thousand of them. A thousand Chechens is a serious force, and a terrifying one if they’re bearing down on your neighborhood. Chechens are the scariest fighters, pound-for-pound, in the world.

    But we’re still talking about a conventional military force smaller than a division. That’s a real but very limited amount of combat power. What this means is that, no matter how many scare headlines you read, ISIS will never take Baghdad, let alone Shia cities to the south like Karbala. It won’t be able to dent the Kurds’ territory to the north, either. All it can do—all it has been doing, by moving into Sunni cities like Mosul and Tikrit—is to complete the partition of Iraq begun by our dear ex-president Bush in 2003.

    Also this: “Insurgent groups go through leaders like Spinal Tap went through drummers.”

    This analysis of the situation strikes me as just cynical enough to possibly be true, especially given his thoughts on our non-friends the Saudis. But the fact that ISIS probably won’t be able to take Baghdad doesn’t mean they won’t try. And there’s no reason the Sunni/Shia civil war can’t widen and drag even more countries into it.

    Which is not to argue that we should be intervening at this point. Indeed, someone who was especially cynical might suggest that years of Sunnis and Shias killing each other might be just the thing to distract them from killing us…

    LinkSwarm for November 27, 2013

    Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

    I’m guessing a lot of people will be traveling or furiously cleaning their house today, so here’s a small pre-Thanksgiving LinkSwarm for the distracted:

  • Dear America: In case you didn’t notice in the ObamaCare meltdown, the economy is still screwed.
  • Current estimate for people losing their employer health insurance thanks to ObamaCare: 80 million.
  • Abbott Labs CEO: ObamaCare provides “clear incentives for companies to drop their health care plans and move people onto the exchanges.”
  • Noted right-wing white supremacists Al Sharpton and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter say the Knockout Game is real. (Hat tip Jammie Wearing Fool.
  • Israel is not the only country upset over Obama and Kerry’s Iranian cave-in; the Saudis are pissed, too.
  • The pro-Amnesty lobby thinks they can punish politicians for agreeing with the will of American voters. Fuzzy, feel-good “immigration reform” polls well right up until voters realize what they’ll actually get is illegal alien amnesty.
  • Leander ISD is bankrupting its children.