Posts Tagged ‘UK’

LinkSwarm for August 18, 2017

Friday, August 18th, 2017

The House IT scandal, another UK Islamic rape ring, jihad terror attacks, Charlottesville, Google: Another packed week of news, all big stories that deserve more time than I have to fully untangle. I especially don’t want to get dragged into the endless Charlottesville debate/recrimination/squirrel! morass, since that’s exactly where the leftwing activists and the MSM (but I repeat myself) want us to focus our attention, rather than the economy or Islamic terrorism.

Plus two Disney links, just because that’s the way the week shook out.

  • “Newcastle has joined a list of British cities where grooming gangs, made up of predominantly Pakistani Muslim men, systematically rape and abuse vulnerable, white girls. A nationwide pattern emerged after the first prosecutions in Rotherham, and then Rochdale, where a ‘culture of silence’ and political correctness led to inaction by authorities who feared being called ‘racist’.”
  • Barcelona jihad terror attacks kill 13.
  • But news reports go out of their way to avoid mentioning “Islam” or “Jihad.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • On the same subject:

  • Jihad stabbing attack in Finland? Obviously Finland needs stricter knife control…
  • “Imran Awan, a former IT aide for Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was indicted Thursday on four counts including bank fraud and making false statements.”
  • The Feds also indicted Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi. “In addition to lying on multiple mortgage disclosures, as an affidavit alleged at the time of Imran’s arrest, the indictment claims Hina lied by claiming medical hardship in order to withdraw hundreds of thousands of dollars from a retirement program.”
  • “Feds Accuse Former Texas Police Chief of Working with Mexican Cartel.”

    McALLEN, Texas — Federal authorities arrested a former chief and current police sergeant for his role in allegedly helping Mexico’s Gulf Cartel move cocaine and marijuana through his jurisdiction. The Texas cop claimed that he needed money to pay for his upcoming bid for county constable after a failed attempt for the Hidalgo County Sheriff position.

    Current Progreso Police Sergeant Geovani Hernandez went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby who formally charged him with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and one count of aiding and abetting the distribution of cocaine.

    The case against Hernandez began earlier this year when agents with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations received information from a confidential informant indicating that Sgt. Geovani Hernandez was working for the Gulf Cartel, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed. According to the documents, Hernandez bragged to an informant that he was a friend of former Gulf Cartel leader Juan Manuel “El Toro” Loza Salina and was able to travel to Reynosa without heat. The Texas cop told the informant that he needed money for his upcoming race for Hidalgo County Constable.

    Hernandez, like the majority of candidates running for office in the Rio Grande Valley, is a Democrat. The person he lost to in the 2012 Democratic, Guadalupe “Lupe” Trevino, is in prison for money-laundering. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Participant at Charlottesville rally claims police actively pushed attendees into the arms of antifa to be attacked. Which would seem to be a misuse of police power even if the people being abused are white nationalist scumbag LARP Nazis.
  • Agreeing with the above version of events: Those well-known Nazi sympathizers, the ACLU:

    “I was there and brought concerns directly to the secretary of public safety and the head of the Virginia State Police about the way that the barricades in the park limiting access by the arriving demonstrators and the lack of any physical separation of the protesters and counter-protesters on the street were contributing to the potential of violence,” said Gastanaga. “They did not respond. In fact, law enforcement was standing passively by, seeming to be waiting for violence to take place, so that they would have grounds to declare an emergency, declare an ‘unlawful assembly’ and clear the area.”

  • “The ridiculous campaign by virtually every media outlet, every Democrat and far too many squishy Republicans to label Trump some kind of racist and Nazi sympathizer is beginning to have the stink of an orchestrated smear. The conflagration in Charlottesville is beginning to feel like a set-up, perhaps weeks or months in the planning.” Also this tidbit I’ve seen elsewhere: “The ‘founder’ of Unite The Right, Jason Kessler, was an activist with Occupy Wall Street and Obama supporter.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Charlottesville Deputy Mayor’s Troubling Twitter Feed: ‘I Hate Seeing White People.'”
  • “As for Antifa, it’s a minuscule fringe of the Left, just as its predecessors were,” Noam Chomsky told the Washington Examiner. “It’s a major gift to the Right, including the militant Right, who are exuberant.” Noam Chomsky and I agreeing on something. And the moon became as blood… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Why Was This ‘Crowd Hire’ Company Recruiting $25 An Hour ‘Political Activists’ In Charlotte Last Week?”
  • Scott Adams: “How To Know You’re In a Mass Hysteria Bubble”:

    A mass hysteria happens when the public gets a wrong idea about something that has strong emotional content and it triggers cognitive dissonance that is often supported by confirmation bias. In other words, people spontaneously hallucinate a whole new (and usually crazy-sounding) reality and believe they see plenty of evidence for it. The Salem Witch Trials are the best-known example of mass hysteria. The McMartin Pre-School case and the Tulip Bulb hysteria are others. The dotcom bubble probably qualifies.

    Snip.

    One sign of a good mass hysteria is that it sounds bonkers to anyone who is not experiencing it. Imagine your neighbor telling you he thinks the other neighbor is a witch. Or imagine someone saying the local daycare provider is a satanic temple in disguise. Or imagine someone telling you tulip bulbs are more valuable than gold. Crazy stuff.

    Compare that to the idea that our president is a Russian puppet. Or that the country accidentally elected a racist who thinks the KKK and Nazis are “fine people.” Crazy stuff.

  • German town of Bad Nenndorf discovers best way to defeat both Neo-Nazis and Antifa: Have a big party! (Hat tip: Will Shetterly.)
  • 7 Things You Need to Know About Antifa,” including the fact that 92% still live with their parents.
  • On this Althouse thread I joked that SJWs would soon start digging up the graves of Confederate soldiers to put their bones on trial for war crimes. Guess what?
  • Next up on the statue destruction spree: Well-known Confederate sympathizer Abraham Lincoln, whose statues have been the target of multiple incidents of vandalism.
  • The hard left is drawing up big plans for November 4. “It’s very likely nothing will come of this, that it’s just another left-wing wish-fulfillment pantomime of a type carried out by leftists every year – if not every six months – since the 60s.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Where this is all leading:

  • Google engineer James Damore explains why he was fired:

    I was fired by Google this past Monday for a document that I wrote and circulated internally raising questions about cultural taboos and how they cloud our thinking about gender diversity at the company and in the wider tech sector. I suggested that at least some of the male-female disparity in tech could be attributed to biological differences (and, yes, I said that bias against women was a factor too). Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai declared that portions of my statement violated the company’s code of conduct and “cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

    My 10-page document set out what I considered a reasoned, well-researched, good-faith argument, but as I wrote, the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google because of the company’s “ideological echo chamber.” My firing neatly confirms that point.

  • “James Damore was just fired for being insufficiently Googly.”

    He rejected Google’s internal mythology, and worse, he did so with basic math, in a company where mathiness is supposed to be part of the culture.

    He also rejected a piece of the general mythology so firmly that what he said was actively misreported — so blatantly that one has to conclude the reporters either can’t read the hard parts of the memo, didn’t bother to read the memo, or somehow managed to see things that weren’t there. (That last is my guess, based on the examples of Trump Trance we’ve seen over the last six months.)

  • “I’m An Ex-Google Woman Tech Leader And I’m Sick Of Our Approach To Diversity!”

    In the copious hiring I did at Google, 97% of the people I hired were men. I wrote reams of appeals to the hiring committee to make cases for cross-functional candidates who would be great assets to Google, even though a (typically) male dominated software engineering interview crew did not find these candidates up to snuff. I had a 90+% success rate changing the hiring decision for these candidates. Almost every one of these hires made an amazing difference to the company. 98+% of these candidates were men.

    It’s not like I wasn’t trying to hire women. But I was working with a candidate pool composed of 90% men. Try software engineers with experience in sensors, wireless and hardware stacks before angrily correcting my stats there. There was no way I was going to come out of that with a larger percentage of women hires than I did.

  • Slashdot commenter nails them for their endless social justice warrioring:

    Yes, there are some unproductive people in major corporations and the media who wish to push their left-leaning political agendas on the public at large.

    But we want no part of it.

    And you know what? It’s no different here at Slashdot.

    We come here to learn about new technologies, about new scientific and mathematical discoveries, and to discuss computing.

    We don’t want to waste our days arguing about genitalia, sexual preference, racism, and transgenderism.

    We just want this bullshit to end.

    We want those on the political left to stop trying to divide society into small groups based on arbitrary traits.

    Or at the very least, we want everybody else to ignore the divisions that the political left are trying to create.

  • Is a war between China and India brewing in the Himalayas? That would seem to be a bigger story than some century-old statues. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Liberals: “There should be fewer regulations on cool things I like!” Everyone else: “What about regulations on things other people like?” Liberals: “Fuck them!
  • Madness is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
  • “Jury orders blogger to pay $8.4 million to ex-Army colonel she accused of rape.”
  • College girl gets her picture taken with the Vice President. Lunatics freak out.
  • If any Republican wrote that Adolf Hitler was “had in him the stuff of which legends are made,” the way John F. Kennedy wrote in his diary in 1945, his career would be over.
  • Ted Nugent believes he would be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if he weren’t such an outspoken supporter of gun rights. He’s probably right: How do you think is a bigger “Rock and Roll Legend”: Ted Nugent, or ABBA?
  • In case you’re wondering how big a joke that Southern Poverty Law Center “hate list” is, Bosch Fawstin, a critic of Islam who drew Mohammed and was targeted for assassination in Garland, is evidently a “hate group” all on his own:

  • “He tried to kill them with a forklift!” Alice in Wonderland, that is. Who is a man. And then it gets weird…
  • The rise and fall of Disney’s River Country, a small water park near Disney World in Orlando that’s been closed and allowed to decay for 15 years.
  • 10 Disney Princesses Re-imagined as Electoral Maps.”
  • Theresa May Screws Up

    Friday, June 9th, 2017

    Despite having an absolute majority in Parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May gambled she could increase Tory numbers in Parliament, strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations, and KO the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party by calling a snap election.

    The result: the Tories lost 12 seats and Labour picked up 29, meaning that the Tories no longer have an absolute majority. Because they still have the most seats in Parliament, the Tories will still get first crack at forming a coalition government, most likely with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. “For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, we will ensure there’s a Tory PM.”

    Oddly enough, both Conservatives and Labour gained vote share at the expense of the minor parties. The conservatives increased their share of votes in Scotland, where they took several seats from the Scottish National Party. The Liberal Democrats gained three seats.

    I said when she scheduled the snap election that it was a bold but risky move, and it backfired. I think “campaign fatigue” might have had a role in May’s defeat, a classic “Hubris clobbered by Nemesis” move.

    If there’s one pattern to 21st century electoral politics, it’s apparently “never believe polls.”

    (Administrative note: So much news dropped yesterday that the LinkSwarm will probably be pushed out to Monday.)

    22 Dead in Manchester Jihad Attack

    Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

    Another week, another deadly jihad attack on Europe. Current numbers: 22 people were killed (including an eight year old) and 59 injured in an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. Many of the victims were under 16 years old. The explosion occurred where people were queued at the ticket office to get in rather than inside the concert venue.

    The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

    The Mirror has continuing updates, including the name of the suicide bomber (AKA “some jihadist asshole”).

    Jihad Watch put up a video of a woman whose legs were bleeding from nails from the bomb.

    There was, as usual, the requisite outpouring of Emotional Expressions It Is Acceptable To Display Rather Than Actually Addressing the Problem of Islamic Terrorism:

    And David Frum decided to be an even bigger tool than usual:

    To which Instapundit replied:

    Getting Instapundit to cuss at you is like being such an asshole that Mary Poppins has no choice but to pop a cap in your ass.

    Posting sad Tweets and changing icons are the things that western liberals do in order to not feel bad about themselves rather than actually deal with the problem of radical Islam.

    Feeling sad will not stop Islamic terrorism.

    Compassion will not stop Islamic terrorism.

    Candlelight vigils will not stop Islamic terrorism.

    Pledging to fight “Islamophobia” will not stop Islamic terrorism.

    Hashtags will not stop Islamic terrorism.

    Changing your Twitter and Facebook icons will not stop Islamic terrorism.

    The only things that stop Islamic terrorism are restricting the flow of terrorists and their enablers into your country, and destroying Islamic terrorist networks and the countries that support them. Completely and utterly destroying the Islamic State probably won’t end terrorism, but it will likely take the wind out of their sails for a while. When the west hits back hard (as in Iraq in 2003, or after Israel hit PLO targets in the Bekaa Valley in 1982), Islamic terrorism drops in the aftermath.

    Until the west is serious about destroying radical Islam, many more attacks like Manchester (and Paris, and London, and…) lie ahead.

    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.
  • UK: Tories Clean Up, Labour Crushed

    Saturday, May 6th, 2017

    Here’s a story that isn’t getting much play on this side of the pond. The UK held it’s regular yearly local council elections May 4, which fell in advance of Theresa May’s national snap election coming June 8.

    The Tories cleaned up, gaining 563 seats across the UK while Labour lost 382, being pushed to third place in their traditional stronghold of Scotland behind the Scottish National Party and the Tories. “Stunned pollsters said if the same thing is repeated in the June 8 General Election, Mrs May could be heading to a landslide majority of more than 100 seats.”

    Barring unforeseen circumstances, it looks like the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party is headed for an epic defeat in June. Corbyn is not the source of Labour’s woes, which would be their manifest disinterest in the economic plight of blue collar workers (who used to make up the heart of their constituency) in favor of progressive victimhood identity politics and fanatical opposition to carrying out Brexit, but the local elections show that Corbyn’s leadership certainly isn’t helping

    UKIP was also all but wiped out, losing all 114 seats it, most to the Tories, and leaving them with a single seat they took from Labour. Now that UKIP has achieved it’s goal of leaving the European Union, it looks like supporters are flocking to the Tories. And I suspect a goodly number of UKIP members were probably former Labourites dissatisfied with the party’s Europhilic outlook who are now firmly (if reluctantly) in the Tory camp.

    Wondering how George Galloway’s Respect Party did in the election? They didn’t: they deregistered last year.

    UK PM Theresa May Calls Early Elections

    Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

    This is unexpected (at least to me): UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced a plan to call a snap general election on June 8, despite the ruling Tories already having won an absolute parliamentary majority in 2015.

    Her statement:

    I have just chaired a meeting of the cabinet, where we agreed that the government should call a general election, to be held on 8 June.

    “I want to explain the reasons for that decision, what will happen next and the choice facing the British people when you come to vote in this election.

    “Last summer, after the country voted to leave the European Union, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership, and since I became prime minister the government has delivered precisely that.

    “Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, since the referendum we have seen consumer confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs, and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations.

    “We have also delivered on the mandate that we were handed by the referendum result. Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back.

    “And as we look to the future, the Government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe.

    “We want a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world.

    “That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world.

    “This is the right approach, and it is in the national interest. But the other political parties oppose it.

    “At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division. The country is coming together, but Westminster is not.

    “In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the European Union. The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill.

    “The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain’s membership of the European Union. And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.

    “Our opponents believe because the government’s majority is so small, that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course. They are wrong.

    “They underestimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country.

    “Because what they are doing jeopardises the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home and it weakens the government’s negotiating position in Europe.

    “If we do not hold a general election now their political game-playing will continue, and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election.

    “Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.

    “So we need a general election and we need one now, because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.

    “I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion. Since I became prime minister I have said that there should be no election until 2020, but now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I must take.

    “And so tomorrow I will move a motion in the House of Commons calling for a general election to be held on 8 June. That motion, as set out by the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, will require a two-thirds majority of the House of Commons.

    “So I have a simple challenge to the opposition parties, you have criticised the government’s vision for Brexit, you have challenged our objectives, you have threatened to block the legislation we put before Parliament.

    “This is your moment to show you mean it, to show you are not opposing the government for the sake of it, to show that you do not treat politics as a game.

    “Let us tomorrow vote for an election, let us put forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative programmes for government and then let the people decide.

    “And the decision facing the country will be all about leadership. It will be a choice between strong and stable leadership in the national interest, with me as your prime minister, or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn, propped up by the Liberal Democrats, who want to reopen the divisions of the referendum, and Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

    “Every vote for the Conservatives will make it harder for opposition politicians who want to stop me from getting the job done.

    “Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the prime ministers, presidents and chancellors of the European Union.

    “Every vote for the Conservatives means we can stick to our plan for a stronger Britain and take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future.

    “It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election, but it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.

    “So, tomorrow, let the House of Commons vote for an election, let everybody put forward their proposals for Brexit and their programmes for government, and let us remove the risk of uncertainty and instability and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands.”

    A snap election is a bold, risky move for May, but one that could pay off. With none of the post-Brexit vote gloom-and-doom scenarios of the Remain faction having materialized, Brexit’s popularity itself at all-time highs, the economy strong and the unpopular Jeremy Corbyn still leading Labour, May obviously thought now was the time to strike. She might be right: the Tories stand to pick up a lot of support from UKIP now that their raison d’etre is gone, while Scottish National Party looks poised to lock out Labour in the north yet again. But the downside is that if the Tories lose power, she goes down as the shortest serving PM since Bonar Law.

    Pat Condell: “Hello Angry Losers”

    Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

    Pat Condell has a message for those who are still fighting Brexit: “Your bitter and abusive response to Brexit makes the fact that you lost almost as pleasing as the fact that we won.”

    Some choice quotes:

    Now that Britain is officially leaving the anti-democratic European Union, many of us who voted for that happy day are hoping that the people who have been spitting feathers for the last nine months telling us how ignorant and stupid we are for not selling out our birthright will finally show a little dignity and accept the referendum result. This applies especially to all you public progressives, angry intellectuals, failed politicians, media hacks, and tinpot celebrities who are still bristling at being overruled by those you clearly regard as your inferiors. Indeed, the one thing that comes through all the lamenting and teeth-gnashing is a quite visceral contempt for the knowledge and intelligence of the general public.

    Snip.

    We voted for the things that are important to us, and not for the things that are important to you, so naturally you assume that we walked on our knuckles to the polling station and voted with a heavy blunt instrument. You impugn our motives with your own nasty assumptions, you blithely dismiss us as little Englanders, and sneer at our opinions as if we have no right to hold them. To you, we’re not only wrong politically, but morally too. Either too stupid to understand the issues, or too busy eating out of a bucket in front of the TV to pay attention, or just plain racist. It’s the same condescending backlash we’ve seen against Trump voters in the United States. And it’s the same condescending people who are behind it, people like you. Your bitter and abusive response to Brexit makes the fact that you lost almost as pleasing as the fact that we won, especially given your selective support for democracy. When you win a vote, oh, it’s the will of the people, but when you lose, suddenly it’s the tyranny of the majority, and the rules weren’t fair, and they need to be changed retrospectively, or you’ll throw a tantrum.

    Snip.

    Look at the unholy mess that all those PhDs in economics have made of the single currency. They clearly don’t know what they’re doing. Or, even worse, they do. Either way, their disastrous vanity project has impoverished an entire generation and punished the people of southern Europe, essentially for not being German enough. Somebody should have told them that everyone in Europe would need to be a lot more German if this thing was ever going to work. Their irresponsible migrant policy seems calculated to flood a borderless Europe with criminals, terrorists and rapists. They flout their own rules to expose us to the most violent dregs of humanity who have no right to be here, none of whom we can deport, and whose presence is going to make things permanently more dangerous for all women and girls. Politically, they throw their weight around and behave like dictators. They remove elected governments that won’t do their bidding.

    Snip.

    We get it that you don’t want to be governed by the opinions of people you don’t respect. Why do you think that we, the majority, don’t want to be governed by your opinions? Sovereignty matters to us in a way that clearly it doesn’t matter to you, but that doesn’t make us ignorant, immoral, narrow-minded, xenophobic, racist, or thick, and it takes a hell of a lot of arrogance for an intelligent person not to see that. But you keep doing it your way. Keep telling us we got it wrong because we’re too stupid and ignorant, and maybe a bit racist, to know any better. Keep insulting and patronising us, calling us little Englanders, and telling us we’re too dumb and irresponsible to have an opinion at all, and maybe we’ll change our minds. Yeah, and maybe we’ll all celebrate next Christmas on Mars. You never know. Britain is leaving the European Union because we voted for it fair and square, and the rotten un-mandated, unrepresentative European Union is deservedly dying. I don’t know what else to tell you. If it’s too much to bear, put your fingers in your ears and close your eyes. It will all be over soon.

    Still disagree about Ukraine, but otherwise he’s spot on.

    Brexit Is Served

    Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

    The UK has officially invoked Article 50, kicking off the official 2-year Brexit countdown:

    Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday sent formal notice of the country’s intention to withdraw from the European Union, starting a tortuous two-year divorce littered with pitfalls for both sides.

    Speaking in Parliament, Mrs. May said she was invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, putting Britain on track to leave the European Union in 2019 and raising a host of thorny issues involved in untangling a four-decade relationship.

    In addition to a welter of trade and customs matters, the Conservative government faces the prospect of a new independence referendum in Scotland, where a majority voted to remain in the European Union, and deep worries about the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland.

    Just before 12:30 p.m., Britain’s top envoy to the European Union, Tim Barrow, walked to the office of Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, and handed him a letter with the official notification. Mr. Tusk then posted on Twitter acknowledging receipt of the letter.

    This is filing the divorce papers on your wife after she’d already been moved out and shacked up with a bongo player for six months. Even Labour is talking about devolution of power to Scotland and Wales rather than trying to derail Brexit.

    Text of Article 50 here, and here are the Brexit negotiators for both the UK and EU.

    The UK was the first, but won’t be the last, as the EU’s democracy deficit, the economic distortions and stresses engendered by the Euro, and the disasterous effect of unassimilated Islamic immigration have Euroskeptic parties gaining in the polls and other countries eyeing an exit. Betting odds currently have Greece, Italy and France as the countries most likely to leave the EU. Greece leaving would probably be a relief to the rest of the EU, whereas a French exit would likely end the EU entirely.

    Johnny Rotten Backs Brexit, Trump

    Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

    I’ll take things likely to make liberals heads explode for $200, Alex:

    British cultural icon and punk rock godfather John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) has hailed the “joy” of populist, anti-establishment movements across the West.

    Mr Lydon backed Brexit, claimed President Donald J. Trump was unfairly smeared by the “left wing” media, and said he wanted to shake “fantastic” Nigel Farage’s hand for taking on elites.

    Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the Sex Pistols frontman praised how the former UKIP leader led a flotilla of pro-Brexit fishermen in the so-called “Battle of the Thames” – when they faced off with a group of pro-EU millionaires and celebrities.

    “After that up-the-River-Thames argument he had with Bob Geldof, I wanted to shake [Nigel Farage’s] hand because it was silly beyond belief.

    “Where do I stand on Brexit? Well, here it goes: the working class have spoke, and I’m one of them, and I’m with them,” he said.

    The punk icon also said the unconventional outsider President Trump was a type of punk rock politician who was being unfairly attacked by the media establishment.

    He dubbed Mr. Trump “a complicated fellow”, adding: “As one journalist once said to me, is he the political Sex Pistol? In a way.

    “What I dislike is the left wing media in America are trying to smear the bloke as a racist, and that’s completely not true.

    “There are many, many problems with him as a human being but he’s not that, and there just might be a chance something good will come out of this situation because it terrifies politicians. This is a joy to behold for me.”

    When host Piers Morgan described Mr. Trump as “the archetypal anti-establishment figure”, Mr. Lydon said: “Dare I say, a possible friend.”

    All this will be quite a shock to American leftists who wore Anarchy in the UK buttons right next to their Mondale-Ferraro buttons back in the 1980s, figuring that punk was cool and anti-establishment and therefore automatically on leftism’s side.

    What liberals forget is that punk rock was itself a reaction to the discontents of the mid-1970s Wilson-Callaghan Labour governments of the UK, a period of high unemployment and labor unrest that would culminate (post-Lydon’s exit from the Pistols) in the “Winter of Discontent” that would bring Margaret Thatcher to power.

    It’s not like they sang “Bigger Government in the UK,” now is it?

    Punk was a rebellion against the establishment, and there are few establishments more entrenched than our political and media elites.

    Also note Lydon’s comment that “the working class have spoke, and I’m one of them, and I’m with them.” As I mentioned before, Brexit passed in large measure thanks to a working class who feel that global elites have abandoned them. In theory, the Labour Party should be able to capitalize on such working class resentment, but they can’t, because they’re largely part of that same global elite.

    Indeed, from “bitter clingers” to “basket of deplorable,” the defining characteristic of liberal parties in the West today seems to be their open contempt for the working class they once claimed to represent. Who among our nation’s Democratic Party elites could even plausibly claim to be “working class”?

    Note also Lydon’s dismissing media claims of Trump being a racist, a stance that will make Social Justice Warriors despise him (assuming they didn’t already).

    Lydon is nobody’s idea of a movement conservative, and I sincerely doubt he’ll be cutting campaign commercials for the Tories anytime soon. But he is his own man, and willing to call bullshit on politically correct lies, and that’s good enough for me.

    (Hat tip: BigGator5’s Twitter feed.)

    LinkSwarm for March 24, 2017

    Friday, March 24th, 2017

    This week I started a new job and started working on my taxes, so expect scattered patches of Light Blogging for the next few weeks…

  • Everyone in Washington hates Donald Trump’s new budget. So it must have something going for it. This is a budget plan that will surgically remove trillions of dollars of wasteful spending from the obese $3.9 trillion federal budget. Many agencies will have to live with cuts of 5, 10 and 30 percent, while other outdated, duplicative or unproductive programs will go to the graveyard.”
  • Neil Gorsuch appears to be headed toward confirmation to the Supreme Court.
  • The Obama Administrations was carrying out surveillance of the Trump transition team:

    “First, I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition. Second, details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value, were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting. Third, I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked. Fourth and finally, I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.”

    One wonders if his data collection was as “incidentally” as the IRS auditing conservatives…

  • Borepatch has a handy summary of the global warming controversy, with just enough technical details to provide a nice overview.
  • London: “You are entering a Sharia controlled zone. Islamic rules enforced.” Also this: “According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, every year 17,000 Muslim women in Britain become victims of forced marriages, are raped by their husbands or subjected to female genital mutilation.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Italians used to look to Europe as a kind of savior: the Italian state was corrupt and inept, but Brussels would set a higher standard, and by loyal support for the EU, Italy could rise above its own problems. These days, the EU looks more like an anchor than a lifejacket.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Philadelphia’s Democratic District Attorney Seth Williams indicted on corruption and bribery charges. Oh, he also allegedly stole more than $20,000 from his own mother’s Social Security and pension funds. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he appointed a general counsel to the NLRB after the Senate refused to confirm him.” Notable: 6-2 Supreme Court decision. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “I would argue that Pakistan’s history teaches at least three lessons. The first: Elections alone do not produce democracy. The second: Majority rule without minority rights leads to egregious illiberalism. Third: A state committed to the pursuit of religious ‘purity’ will always find some of its subjects in need of ‘cleansing.’ Down that path despotism lies.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Denmark doesn’t want to become Sweden.
  • The shape of battles to come.
  • Kurt Schlichter imagines how a second Korean War would unfold. Not so hot for the norks…
  • He came to America illegally with a dream…of raping a two year old. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • I’m still not tired of all the winning.
  • “Molecule kills elderly cells, reduces signs of aging in mice.” Faster please.
  • Texas to eliminate legal bribery in Brown County.
  • Karl Rehn on beyond the 1%. “93% of the 3.2 million adult gun owners in Texas likely do not train. 4% of them take the mandatory new permit course, at best 3% of them take some kind of NRA course, and only 1%, less than 30K, take any kind of post-CHL level course or shoot any kind of match, including all kinds of pistol, NRA high power, and all the shotgun sports.”
  • Dwight blogged about a case where a convenience store robber was found not guilty of aggravated assault because he was using an Airsoft pellet gun in the robbery. Evidently the reason for the verdict was the DA’s decision not to seek a lesser charge. It seems that the possibility of convicting on lesser charges is subject to instructions from the judge. The question that occurs to me: Is a criminal jury empowered to find a defendant guilty of one or more lesser charges if they were given no instructions regarding lesser charges from the judge?
  • London jihad-attack tweet:

  • Scott Adams describes how Bloomberg assembled a hit piece on him by taking things out of context, all because he was predicting a Trump victory in 2016. Remember: Every MSM hit piece on a conservative you see is constructed and slanted in similar ways.
  • Exit fat Barbie.
  • Statistical analysis of writer’s work. Elmore Leonard hates exclamation points, but James Joyce loves them…