For many Democrats, President Trump’s joint address was the first time they actual heard and saw him unfiltered. “He just crushed the Drive-By [Media] last night. He just crushed them. He just blew up every narrative they’ve established on the guy. And they don’t even realize it.”
“As one might imagine given the Democrats’ breathtaking electoral collapse, there is basically nothing but bad news for Democrats across the board. The data showed that the voting patterns of key demographic groups shifted dramatically downward from 2008 through 2016.” More: “Contrary to the emerging Democratic majority thesis, there does not seem to be any demographic category with which Democrats are progressively improving.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
“The Congressional Review Act of 1996 is a ‘sleeper statute’ (aka, a secret weapon) in that its practical application took 20 years to enter the realm of viable possibility. The CRA allows Congress to overturn executive regulations by a simple majority—and this is the moment it’s been waiting for.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
Members of an elite Baltimore Police Department squad charged with getting guns off the streets gets hit with federal racketeering charges and held for trial without bail. More: “In one case, four of the officers are alleged to have stolen $200,000 from a safe and bags and a watch valued at $4,000. In July 2016, three officers conspired to impersonate a federal officer in order to steal $20,000 in cash.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
The NYT and the Washington Post have a motivation to ally with the Democratic Party in its last-ditch effort to Watergatize Trump after Trump’s endless criticisms of them. And this anti-Trump approach may get them a spike in readership, even as it repels some readers like me.
I’m missing the sense that I’m getting the normal news. It seems unfair and shoddy not to cover the President the way you’d cover any President. What looks like an effort to stigmatize Trump as not normal has — to my eyes — made the media abnormal.
The more seemingly normal Trump becomes — as with his speech to Congress the other day — the more the anti-Trump approach of the news media feels like a hackish alliance with the Democratic Party in its sad, negative, backward-looking effort to disrupt the President the people elected.
Austin police have charged Matthew Bartlett, 21, and Catronn Hewitt, 36, with felony possession of marijuana, police said in a news release.
Ja’Quan Johnson, 25, was charged with federal charges in connection with the thefts. Johnson is a contract baggage handler at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and is believed to have been behind the thefts, according to police and the Justice Department.
Buying pot? Likely misdemeanor charge. But stealing guns from airport luggage is likely an interstate federal gun trafficking felony. Also: Our airport security is in the best of hands!
Houston Chronicle to move its call center from the Philippines to Dallas. 1. Who thought it was a good idea to move it to the Philippines in the first place? 2. “The move will result in 130 new jobs for Texas.” Why does the Chronicle need 130 people in its call center? 3. Dallas? Really? Because it’s evidently impossible to locate a call center in the 4th largest city in America…
SEC charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton dismissed. A state felony trail is pending, but given that the state charges are based on the same issue as the SEC case just dismissed, chances of a conviction would appear to be very slim. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
Ryan died as he lived — a warrior, a hero, battling against terrorism, and securing our nation. I just spoke to our great General Mattis just now who reconfirmed that, and I quote, Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy. Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you.
It was clearly the emotional highlight of President Trump’s speech, and arguable of any joint address/state of the union address in recent memory. And Trump’s gentle quip “I think he just broke a record” was a masterful way to bring the moment to a satisfying denouement and continue the speech.
Died Jan. 29, 2017 Supporting U.S. Central Command operations
36, of Peoria, Illinois; assigned to a special warfare unit based on the U.S. East Coast; died of wounds sustained in a raid against al-Qaida.
The Department of Defense today has identified Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens as the first American war casualty of the President Donald Trump era.
Owens, 36, of Peoria, Ill., died Jan.29 of wounds received during a raid conducted in Yemen. Three other service members were wounded in the raid.
Nava Special Warfare Command confirmed Owens was assigned to an “East Coast-based Special Warfare unit.” While multiple news outlets are reporting the unit as Seal Team Six, the Navy would not confirm.
An estimated 14 al-Qaida terrorists were killed during the raid, according to a release by the U.S. Central Command.
“Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said in a White House press release on Jan. 29. “My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member.
A fifth service member was injured when “a U.S. military aircraft assisting in the operation experienced a hard landing at a nearby location,” according to the CENTCOM release.
That aircraft was unable to fly after the landing and was intentionally destroyed.
Owens enlisted in the Navy in Aug. 24, 1998. After initially training as a cryptologic technician (communications), he served his initial tour of duty at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Suitland, Maryland, before attending basic and advanced SEAL training in Coronado, California, completing training in December 2002.
His first tour as a SEAL was at a West Coast unit, followed by three consecutive East Coast unit tours. He was on his fifth team tour when he was killed. He’d been with that unit just over two years.
He was selected for chief petty officer in 2009.
Along with his SEAL Trident and Basic Parachutist wings, he is qualified to wear the following awards:
Navy/Marine Corps Medal
Bronze Star w/Combat “V” (2 awards)
Joint Service Commendation Medal w/Combat “V” (2 awards)
Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2 awards)
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards)
Combat Action Ribbon
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2 awards)
Good Conduct Medal (6 awards)
Presidential Unit Citation (3 awards)
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (8 awards)
The Navy doesn’t hand out Navy/Marine Corps Medals or Bronze Stars (with or without the Combat V) to just anyone. Senior Chief Owens was clearly an American hero, which makes it all the more inexplicable that prominent Democrats would fail to stand for the ovation to him and his widow.
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?
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.)
So Obama’s State Department had another one of their dog-and-pony show #AskJen events, where users all over Twitter send questions in to State Department spokeslephrechaun Jen Psaki, which are then summarily ignored in favor of trivial questions from pro-Obama plants. But I was happy to do my part:
#AskJen: Given Obama's Nobel peace prize, which area of the world would you say is notably more peaceful than when he took office?
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.
Do liberals actually expect this patronizing, passive-aggressive condescension toward Judge Roberts to work? I’d like to believe that treating the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America as though he’s as easy to manipulate as an insecure teenage girl would be counterproductive if it weren’t so transparently laughable.
Stratfor says that not only was the Anwar al-Awlaki killing itself a blow to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but it also got Samir Khan, the creator and editor of AQAP’s English-language magazine: “individuals who possess the charisma and background of al-Awlaki or the graphics and editorial skills of Khan are difficult to come by in Yemen.” Evidently graphics designers aren’t big on hanging out in Yemen and preaching jihad. Who knew?
The Club for Growth agrees with me (and Ted Cruz) that the China currency bill is a bad idea.
University of Wisconsin-Stout caves in over their stupid Firefly poster mess.
Finally, not a link, but I did want to note that I received a mailer for State Representative Dr. Charles Schwertner, declaring his candidacy for the Texas State District Senate District 5 seat currently held by the retiring Steve Ogden. I thought it was notable since I don’t think I’ve ever received a political flyer this far out (the primary is March 6, 2012), much less for a local race. I suspect this, along with the mention of the $300,000 he has in his war chest, is a preemptive show of strength designed to deter other candidates from jumping into the race. So far it seems to be working, as I haven’t seen reports of anyone else running.
Not a lot of news coming out. The longer it takes things to happen, the more likely Mubarak is to hold onto power. Yesterday brought scattered reports that the army may be wavering in support of Mubarak. Today? Not so much. There are sporadic reports of gunfire, and lots of reports that citizens groups are banding together to prevent looting.
The old links down the page stopped updating at the end of the day. The new links are:
As for what an actual popular Egyptian government might look like, Michael Totten reminds us that the answer might be pretty ugly:
In Egypt, 82 percent want stoning for those who commit adultery; 77 percent would like to see whippings and hands cut off for robbery; and 84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion.
Asked if they supported “modernizers” or “Islamists” only 27 percent said modernizers while 59 percent said Islamists.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, there are reports of unrest in Yemen. Conversely, yesterday’s reports that Syria had also taken down nationwide Internet access appear to have been false.