Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

LinkSwarm for June 14, 2019

Friday, June 14th, 2019

Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Border control, Social Justice Warriors, Iran and Geto Boys all feature in today’s roundup…

  • The idea that we can go back to a “Pre-Trump Normal” is an illusion.

    Washington sophisticates, and the DC press corps in particular, are deeply parochial. Trump didn’t create worldwide skepticism about globalism, resentment of sinecured elites, or frustration with an out-of-touch cultural vanguard. He merely rode them to power.

    Politicians and pundits can disagree with this populist trend, but it’s electorally suicidal to ignore it. As I note in USA Today, one look around the globe shows that, in many ways, Trump is the new normal.

  • Iran evidently limpet-mined two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
  • One reason Iran is desperate: The Trump Administration’s sanctions are working:

    These actions on the part of Iran follow a series of sanctions from the US Treasury Department, which on Wednesday (June 12) imposed sanctions on a financial conduit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, and last week (June 7) sanctioned Iran’s largest petrochemical holding group.

    US officials are also considering sanctions against the Iranian financial body that was established as a trade channel with Europe – a move that would underscore US intolerance to any international workarounds to the Iran sanctions campaign.

    You don’t need to read the tea leaves closely to know the administration’s plan for its “maximum pressure” campaign. But one thing the tea leaves don’t show are plans for war. And the reason is simple: the sanctions are working to help achieve President Donald Trump’s priority goal, which is to undermine Iran’s influence and support for terrorism in the Middle East.

    The Treasury’s latest steps follow a State Department press briefing, during which its spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, listed the negative effects Iran sanctions were having on that country’s terrorist proxies and on its other actions in the region. She pointed to the Lebanese group Hezbollah’s “pleas for public donations via billboards, posters and collection cans” and stressed that “Iran is withdrawing Hezbollah fighters from Syria and cutting or canceling their salaries.” This is a big deal.

    She also pointed to Hamas’s austerity plan in Gaza and to the IRGC’s budget cuts for Iraq Shia militia groups. She highlighted fuel shortages in Syria due to the cut in Iranian oil supply and noted the IRGC cyber command “is short on cash.”

    Others have also picked up on this emerging trend: that Iran sanctions are starving Iran’s proxies of critical funds. The Washington Post reported that US sanctions against Iran have “curtailed” Iran’s finances to Hezbollah, which “has seen a sharp fall in its revenue and is being forced to make draconian cuts to its spending.” A fighter with an Iranian-backed militia in Syria told The New York Times that he lost a third of his salary and other benefits, lamenting, “Iran doesn’t have enough money to give us.”

    When he withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or what is often called the Iran nuclear deal, last year, President Trump made his top goal clear. Before even addressing Iran’s nuclear capabilities or speaking about working toward a new agreement, he emphasised Iran’s support for terrorism and plans for regional influence as among his key concerns and reasons for withdrawing from the deal. Working to undermine that behavior has been the administration’s top priority in its Iran policy.

    Sanctions are particularly taking a bite out of Hezbollah. One wonders, yet again, what the Obama Administration thought it was achieving with the insane and costly Iran deal…

  • Venezuelans reduced to barter.
  • This essay suggests that defeating Social Justice Warrior madness will be more difficult than we think, because it’s essentially a religious phenomena:

    The shock presidential election of 2016 might have prompted partisans on both sides to ask whether the vocabulary on which they relied had become a lifeless hindrance. On the Left, the Clinton political machine suffocated every dissenting voice within the Democratic Party, which denied its members the opportunity to rethink the identity politics death-grip that was strangling them. Then as now, Sanders, more smitten by Marx than the halfway-Nietzscheanism of identity politics, invited his fellow Democrats to step back from the brink. Alas, itself guilty of class privilege, the donor class of the Democratic Party living in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and in the wealthy enclaves surrounding New York City needed a fig leaf to cover its class sins—and, so did not, and will not, allow Sanders to win the Democratic nomination and thereby reveal their unrighteousness.

    The Democratic Party will again double down on the rhetoric of identity politics, lose the 2020 presidential election, and conclude—as it did with Russiagate—that some demonic force temporarily bent the arc of history in the wrong direction. The demonic force responsible this next time around? “Hate speech” from the lips of those in the center and on the Right who refuse to rehearse the Red Letter political liturgy identity politics tirelessly repeats—or bow before the false gods that identity politics worships.

    Partisans on the Right were given a gift: President Trump. He came into the Republican Party, and the Republican Party understood him not. Many did not want to receive this gift. Having read their Aristotle and Burke, and wishing to remain gentlemen, they withdrew from the political fray—preferring the decorous tyranny of candidate Clinton, the very paragon of identity politics, to the incivility of candidate Trump who, alone among Republican candidates, had the temerity to combat it. “Our tastes, not our ideas, define us”—that is what the 2016 election apparently taught the GOP.

    Now forming a Conservative Book Club of sorts, these gentlemen ponder great ideas, entice donors to fund their conferences and think tanks, and all the while enjoin us to believe the vocabulary of the pre-2016 Republican Party continues to be adequate to the troubles we face. It is not.

    Today, whether at conservative conferences or in conservative think tanks, the listener even moderately attentive to the conversation will hear of the perils of progressivism and of cultural Marxism, of the need to defend family values, of the importance of being pro-life, of the importance of free markets, and of the threat of multiculturalism. These terms—indeed the constellation these terms form—emerged during the Reagan Presidency, more than three decades ago. If the 2016 Presidential election tells us anything, it is that this verbiage has hardened into nearly lifeless political rhetoric, sustained on life support through institutional buy-in and the assurances of political philosophers sympathetic to conservatism who tirelessly promote the link between the veritable ideas they study and the political vocabulary that has been in place for decades is timeless.

    Times have changed, however. Philosophy must gently persuade; that is its privilege and its weakness. Philosophers are concerned with eternal truth. Partisans, by contrast, are concerned with timely rhetoric, opinion, and persuasion. They must engage in comparatively immediate combat. So long as conservatives inattentively conflate philosophizing and partisanship, they will continue to produce partisan vocabularies that masquerade as eternal truth—and partisans unable to respond in a timely manner to shifting times. To win, partisans must know when the weapons of their enemies have changed. Wars—and this is a crucial point to understand—are not won using weapons from earlier engagements. Only armchair soldiers and Conservative Book Club members have the luxury of replaying those battles.

    Neither liberals nor conservatives understand the weapon of identity politics, and the immense destruction it can cause. Identity politics does not simply parse different kinds of people. Identity politics is concerned with the relationship of transgression and innocence between different, purportedly monovalent, kinds of people. Identity politics is not just about who we are, it is about a moral stain or purity that defines who we are.

    The language of stain and purity, of transgression and innocence, is Christian language. Other religions are concerned with these categories as well, but our long familiarity with Christianity in America means that the invocation of these categories by the practitioners of identity politics derives from Christianity, and from Protestantism in particular. Surveys may indicate that America has lost or is losing its religion; the fever of identity politics that now sweeps the nation suggests these surveys are looking in the wrong place and asking the wrong questions. America has not lost its religion. America has relocated its religion to the realm of politics.

    Identity politics transforms politics. It turns politics into a religious venue of sacrificial offering. Ponder for a moment, Christianity. Without the sacrifice of the innocent Lamb of God, there would be no Christianity. Christ, the scapegoat, renders the impure pure—by taking upon Himself “the sins of the world.” By the purging of the scapegoat, those for whom He is the sacrificial offering purify themselves. Identity politics is a political version of this cleansing for groups rather than for individuals. The scapegoat in the case of identity politics is the white heterosexual male who, if purged, supposedly will restore and confirm the cleanliness of all other groups of communities. He is the transgressor; all others—women, blacks, Hispanics, LGBTQs—have their sins covered over by the scapegoat, just as the scapegoated Christ covered over the sins of all the descendants of Adam.

    The theological perversity of replacing the Divine Scapegoat of Christianity with the all-too-mortal white heterosexual male scapegoat does not imply that he is innocent. Rather, in identity politics, the white heterosexual male becomes more than who he really is—a member of a scapegoated group who takes away the sins of the world, rather than a mortal, like everyone else, involved in transgression, and searching for redemption. The mystery of transgression and innocence, however, cannot be resolved at the level of groups, because in reality not one of them is univocally pure or stained. But identity politics stands or falls on the claim that groups are such unities of transgressors or innocents. Therein lies its weakness, at which all the armament allied against it must be aimed.

  • Charles Murray changes his mind. “I want to shut down low-skill immigration for a while.”
  • “Open borders advocates are panicking after the arrest of Irieno Mujihca, the leader of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a pro-open borders group funded by globalist financier George Soros that has worked to undermine United States immigration policy and sponsor Central American caravans.”
  • Hispanics stick with Trump despite tough border stance.” Despite, or because? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Tech reporter Peter Bright has been arrested for soliciting sex with children online. He was employed by Ars Technica until recently. A federal complaint alleges that Bright sought to molest a 7- and 9-year-old and met with an undercover agent for this purpose, at which point he was arrested. It also states that Bright claimed to be in a sexual relationship with an 11-year-old.” Was he a “male feminist” and “anti-#GamerGater”? Of course he was.
  • Twitter suspends Project Veritas for revealing Pintrest block pro-life website Live Action as porn.
  • University of Alabama returns donor’s $21.5 million and takes name off law building, partially over Alabama’s abortion law, but partially just because he was kind of a dick.
  • “Agriculture Dept. Employees Are Really Upset They Might Have to Live Among the Rubes in Flyover Country.”
  • “The folks running The Bulwark must decide which they value more, being conservative or being anti-Trump. They have, I’d argue, already picked the latter.”
  • Texas Senator Ted Cruz and New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez team up again on a bill to make birth control available over the counter.
  • “Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Everyone’s Pay Should Be Equal, But My Pay Should Be More Equal Than Others.‘”
  • New York Times leftist: “Hey Rep. Dan Crenshaw! If you really cared about 9/11 victims, you would have co-sponsored the 9/11 Victims Compensation fund!” Rep. Dan Crenshaw: “I did.” New York Times leftist: “Uhhhhh….” DELETE DELETE DELETE. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina indicted on 12 felony counts of voter fraud.
  • “President Donald Trump will award the Medal of Honor to former Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia later this month, the White House announced Monday, making him the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the nation’s highest military decoration.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • We could be heroes, just for one day… (Hat tip: @evangie.)
  • Woman kills boyfriend over alien reptile cult. “Shriner told NJ.com she believed Rogers was a ‘Vampire Witch Reptilian Super Soldier.'” Plus: liquor and firearms! Going to use the “David Icke” tag even though he’s nowhere mentioned, as that’s how I keep track of all the reptoid news…
  • Bad Idea Theater: Netflix Roast of Anne Frank. You’re probably thinking to yourself “Must be The Onion or The Babylon Bee.” No, this is an actual thing that people actually did. (Indeed, Jewish comics seemed to be the driving force behind it.) I suspect it’s only the second unfunniest spoof on the Holocaust, behind Heil Honey, I’m Home, which was also a real thing.
  • I’ve managed not to have any news about Houston rap group Geto Boys in a LinkSwarm ever, and now two pieces drop this week. First, dwarf frontman Bushwack Bill (legal name Richard Shaw) has died at age 52 from pancreatic cancer. Now Scarface, AKA Brad Jordan, is running for Houston City Council. (Hat tip for both: Dwight.)
  • High School Valedictorian’s speech slams teachers and administrators for their utter incompetence and failure. Oh, did I mention it was in California?
  • How to assemble a P-47 on the ground with hand tools.
  • ThinkGeek, RIP.
  • “House Democrats Draft Legislation That Would Make It A Hate Crime To Eat At Chick-Fil-A.”
  • “Did Leonard Nimoy Fake His Own Death So He Could Seize Control of the Illuminati?” I’m gonna go with “No” here…
  • UNMAKE.
  • “England Forced To Crown Donald Trump As King After Strange Woman Lying In Pond Lobs A Sword At Him.”
  • A funny, heartwarming story that doesn’t start out that way at all.
  • I was sad because I had no shoes, but then I met a puppy who had no feet:

  • The Illegal Alien Crisis in Uvalde

    Thursday, June 13th, 2019

    A dispatch from Uvalde, Texas on what lack of adequate border controls means for this Texas town:

    Uvalde, Texas, is a small town of 17,000 inhabitants, and they are now overrun by illegal immigrants and an international cartel smuggling operation. Uvalde is 40-60 miles from the border, but it might as well be right at the border. “We are in no man’s land. The state is not doing anything; the federal government is not doing anything,” said the mayor, who is begging the politicians to get involved. “We are getting nothing. I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen anything like this. The people in the communities are getting scared. What is coming that we don’t see? Who knows? People up north and in D.C. have no clue what is going on here. They don’t realize that these people are not being screened for diseases. We’re fed up.”

    Situated at the crossroads of major highways coming up from border towns in the Laredo and Del Rio border sectors, Uvalde has now become a dumping ground for migrants coming north. And they are not just coming from Central America. Del Rio has received hundreds of African migrants in recent weeks. Uvalde has a Border Patrol holding facility, and according to McLaughlin, whenever it is full, if the city doesn’t take charge, many immigrants are released in a Walmart parking lot. Mayor McLaughlin said his city must pick up the tab to have them bused to San Antonio. On Friday, local media reported how San Antonio has now received hundreds of African migrants.

    “In Uvalde, Border Patrol told us if we didn’t have buses ready right at the holding facility, they would have released them in a parking lot at a Walmart or a Stripes. This is what’s happening in outlying areas, but thanks to our working relationship with Border Patrol, we make sure to have buses ready. We just don’t have the facilities for them. We have to pay for these buses out of our pockets, and our citizens are mad.”

    But it’s the people they don’t see who concern residents of Uvalde the most. “In addition to those being released in parking lots to get bused into San Antonio, what we are really concerned about is the increased foot traffic to our community. We have checkpoints on highway 90 and 83. The migrants are walking around the checkpoints. Now we are starting to see more calls to police of people walking through the neighborhoods, [of] finding car doors open [and] storerooms open. The Border Patrol is seeing this on their cameras, but they just don’t have the agents to respond. The foot traffic around the checkpoints has increased by 100 percent.”

    Uvalde is about an hour from the border, and thus beyond the range of the “border surge” Governor Abbott pushed for. (Did you know that Democrats killed border surge funding in the last legislative session?)

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    Oberlin College Slammed With $11 Million Verdict in Gibson’s Bakery Case

    Saturday, June 8th, 2019

    The jury found in Gibson’s Bakery’s favor in their libel and tortious interference case, and punitive damages could bring that up to $33 million. According to Legal Insurrection (which has done strong work following the trial):

    According to our reporter in the Courtroom, the jury awarded $11 million. Here are the details: Allyn W. Gibson was awarded $3 million, David Gibson $5.8 million, Gibson Bros. $2,274,500. Next Tuesday there will be a separate punitive damages which could be a double award (meaning tripling the $11 million to $33 million).

    (clarification) Meredith Raimondo was held liable on the libel and interference with business relations, but not intentional infliction of emotional distress. By stipulation, the college is responsible for any amounts awarded against her, so she will not pay anything out of pocket.

    We followed this case from the start of the protests, through the lawsuit process, and now trial. Here’s my statement:

    The verdict sends a strong message that colleges and universities cannot simply wind up and set loose student social justice warriors and then wash their hands of the consequences. In this case, a wholly innocent 5th-generation bakery was falsely accused of being racist and having a history racial profiling after stopping three black Oberlin College students from shoplifting. The students eventually pleaded guilty, but not before large protests and boycotts intended to destroy the bakery and defame the owners. The jury appears to have accepted that Oberlin College facilitated the wrongful conduct against the bakery.

    This is a huge blow to one of the Social Justice Warriors’ fondest goals: To falsely accuse ordinary Americans of racism in order to cow them into falling in line with far-left demands.

    Some background:

    The short version of this story is that the day after the 2016 election victory by Donald Trump, a black male Oberlin College student was stopped for shoplifting wine at Gibson’s Bakery and Market in downtown Oberlin, OH. Gibson’s had been in existence since 1885, was frequented by students, and also provided baked goods to the college dining halls. A scuffle ensued that was joined by two black female Oberlin College students accompanying the male shoplifter and apparently acting in concert with him. All three eventually would plead guilty to shoplifting and aggravated trespassing, and would avow that Gibson’s was not engaged in racial profiling.

    But before those guilty pleas, students at the college immediately declared that Gibson’s was guilty of racial profiling, and large protests were organized outside the bakery. Flyers were passed out claiming Gibson’s was “racist” and had “a long account of racial profiling and discrimination.” The Oberlin College Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo allegedly participated in handing out the flyers in front of the bakery. The Oberlin College Student Senate also passed a resolution claiming Gibson’s “has a long history of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment of students and residents alike.” The college administration allegedly helped spread this student senate resolution.

    Students started a boycott of the bakery, initially joined in by the college. The college eventually resumed business with the bakery, but then terminated that business after the lawsuit was filed.

    Gibson’s and its owners sued the college and Raimondo for libel, tortious interference with business relationships and contracts, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and trespass. Gibson’s alleged long-term damage to its business and reputation for the allegedly defamatory accusations and other torts. The plaintiffs in closing argument asked the jury to award $12.8 million in compensatory damages.

    Naturally the Usual Idiots, starting with #BlackLivesMatter, made everything worse: “What could have been a simple shoplifting incident and arrest created a firestorm when Oberlin College students, including the Black Student Union, Student Senate and College Democrats, alleged racial profiling and launched a boycott of Gibson’s. Protests were launched outside the bakery.” Compounding the issue was the college repeatedly lying about the Gibsons, calling them racists without evidence and asserting “it was an employee of Gibson’s Bakery and a relative of the individual plaintiffs, Allyn D. Gibson, who left the safety of his business to violently physically assault an unarmed student.” The college also said that Gibson’s would have to stop prosecuting first-time shoplifters in order to resolve the dispute.

    No wonder they sued.

    One wonders how many lawsuits there will have to be before colleges realizing that waging social justice warfare exposes them to crushing legal liability…

    Creepy Porn Lawyer Even Creepier

    Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

    Conservatives have been calling ex-Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti “Creepy Porn Lawyer” for quite a while now. Yesterday Vanity Fair revealed that Avenatti was even creepier than we thought.

    The wins, while lucrative, couldn’t keep up with his ever-burgeoning expenses, which, according to a divorce filing from his second wife, Lisa Storie-Avenatti, had swelled to include a $19 million Newport Beach mansion, several race cars, and monthly family costs, including a staff of nannies, an assistant, and a driver, she estimated at $200,000, along with shares in two private jets. Around the time he met Daniels, Avenatti’s life was essentially unraveling. His second wife had filed for divorce in January. (Avenatti disputes the claims in her filing. “I hardly think that I am the first person to have a batshit-crazy ex-spouse who overstates things to fit their financial demands,” he told me in response.) A month before that, Avenatti’s law firm made a $10 million settlement for back pay with a former partner, who claimed that the firm failed to provide him with copies of its tax returns and had misstated its profits. By March, the coffee chain Tully’s, which he bought through his company Global Baristas with the actor Patrick Dempsey, had closed all its stores. By that time, the I.R.S. had been after him and the company for years, claiming that Global Baristas owed $5 million in federal taxes. And then there was the issue of a $1.6 million settlement for a client in a civil case, which was due to his client on March 10. The settlement had come through to Avenatti. But instead of transferring it to his client, the complaint alleges, he put the money into his own account. When his client repeatedly asked Avenatti when the money would come in, he allegedly lied about the fact that it already had, in fact, been paid to him. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

    And then Stormy happened.

    It was his skill set and his strategy, Avenatti explained, that took her case from what could have been a two-day story and turned it into a case cable-news hosts chewed over night after night, week after week, month after month. “She was known as headlining the Make America Horny Again tour, and I took her to another level,” he said. Daniels denied repeated requests to be interviewed for this story.

    On March 6, 2018, he filed a lawsuit against the president of the United States on behalf of Daniels in a California civil court, seeking to void the 2016 non-disclosure agreement prohibiting Daniels from discussing her supposed affair with Trump. The following morning, he appeared solo on Today, kicking off a flurry of interviews that would keep him in green rooms and on cable-news sets and shuttling from one studio to the next in black cars for weeks. From a virtual unknown, Avenatti became one of the most famous people in America, a cable-news pugilist who was actually going toe-to-toe with the president and drawing blood. For a while, it spun faster than anyone, including Avenatti, could control. There were stories written about his body-fat percentage and his suits; odes were written about the color of his eyes, which sit symmetrically above his steep jaw like two infinity pools; women he’d never met before started texting him racy photographs; and of course, television bookers put him as a frequent hitter in their rotation.

    Perhaps Avenatti’s most Trumpian quality was the tension between his desire to be talked about incessantly and his crepey thin-skinned-ness if and when that talk turned to criticism, whether in the media or from strangers on Twitter. He would routinely respond to people who e-mailed him comments after he appeared on cable news, calling small-town lawyers who’d written him notes to chew them out for their remarks, according to people familiar with this practice. He berated Time magazine after it published a story quoting him saying that the next Democratic nominee would likely have to be a white man, demanding that the publication release the transcript of his interview. He once threatened The Daily Caller with a defamation suit, messaging the reporter that “this is the last warning.” His girlfriend through much of his year in the spotlight, Mareli Miniutti, recalled that he rarely put his phone down and would scroll through all of his Twitter mentions. “He would say, ‘Oh my god, this asshole said this and you know what I did? I fucking blocked that motherfucker.’ ”

    Behind the scenes, his behavior was even more volatile. “He had a terrible temper,” one prime-time anchor told me. “He never lost it with me, or really with any of the talent, as far as I know, because it was mostly for the bookers or the people who were behind the scenes. But he would tell people, ‘I’m going to fucking bury you. Why the fuck would you do that?’ if he didn’t like something.” A number of reporters recalled that he would physically invade their space. “His nose gets millimeters from your face and it’s clear he knows no boundaries,” one broadcast reporter and producer told me.

    The MSM made Avenatti a media star and he repaid them by treating their staffers like shit. And yet, did we hear any whiff of what a Grade A asshole Avenatti was before the federal indictments dropped? Of course not. The MSM was, rather than acting like news organizations and verifying things, were all in against President Trump, and any weapon against him, no matter how creepy, sleazy or abusive, was allowed. So instead of hearing about what a raging asshole Avenatti was, they boosted him as a serious Presidential candidate.

    Don’t forget the unbelievable fawning Avenatti received:

    There’s lots more Avenatti sweetheart behavior on display in the story:

    No one knew Avenatti’s rage cycle better than Miniutti, a model who moved to the United States from a little town in Estonia on a gap year after high school. She ran into Avenatti in October 2017 at Cecconi’s in Hollywood. She was 23 at the time and out with a girlfriend when the lawyer, then 46, approached her and asked her to have dinner with him. After a few weeks, she was essentially moved into a luxury high-rise in Century City. They traveled in Europe for a few weeks in November and he offered to pay her rent and about a thousand dollars in spending money each month.

    Yes, because being asked to be the kept woman of a guy you just met a few weeks ago is totally normal behavior. Is this some Sex in the City thing? Is this something beautiful single woman moving to Manhattan naturally consider as a career option?

    (Avenatti said that his financial support far exceeded that amount.) He didn’t want her to work, she told me, sitting in her attorney Michael Bachner’s Manhattan office in early April, within spitting distance of the Charging Bull sculpture down past Wall Street. She turned up in ripped black jeans and dainty silver rings on five of her fingers. She had a mess of blonde hair pulled back by the black sunglasses she kept on her head for much of two hours and Jessica Rabbit lips that quivered as she detailed what she called a year of verbal, psychological, and physical abuse. Avenatti has denied ever physically harming anyone. “Any allegation that I have ever been physical with a woman is complete nonsense,” he told me. By the spring, months into their dating, she told him she was thinking about getting a waitressing job. “I wanted to be more social and earn some money to pay my credit card, but he said, ‘Mareli, really? Do you realize who you’re dating? I could be the next president of the United States. We could celebrate my 50th birthday in the White House. You can’t be a waitress.’ ” (Another woman Avenatti was romantically involved with also told me that Avenatti had asked her if she wanted to be First Lady.) Avenatti denied telling Miniutti that she could not wait tables. He said that he’d perhaps joked with a few women about being First Lady—but many more had approached him asking if they could have the role.

    Miniutti rarely knew which Michael she would wake up to, she said. “He has two extremely different personalities,” she explained. “One was this very powerful guy. I saw people who would shake his hand. They respected him. … I was so proud of him [when he first started representing Stormy].” The other, she said, was “very aggressive.” By the summer, when his schedule was busy enough that they would only have a few days together at a time, his temper flared. On their way to dinner one evening, when she opened up to him about an eating disorder she struggled with and started to cry, he turned the car around and told her that she was “fucking the whole night up” by bringing it up on their one night out together, that she was “a fucking idiot to start crying and making drama” on their way out for a nice night. “It was my fault at the end of everything,” she told me. “That was just something I got used to. He would yell at me for bringing something up by asking if that’s really how I wanted to spend what little time we had together. I wanted to be a supportive partner, so I let it slide off … but I felt really scared when I would see one side of him, then the other, within a half-hour period. Up and down, up and down.”

    It was not until February, four months into their dating, that she said he became physically abusive. It was his birthday, and he had wanted to spend the night before going out with a friend who was in town. She went out separately with her friends, and when Avenatti returned to his apartment and saw that she was not yet home, he texted her, asking where she was. She said she told him that she would be home in an hour. When she got there, she said she could tell that he was drunk. She had been drinking, too, and he laid into her. “He was upset that I could be so disrespectful and selfish, on his birthday. If he texts me that he’s home, he told me that I should come right away and that that’s how relationships work.” She had gotten into bed before he jumped up and started yelling at her to “get the fuck out. Get the fuck out” of the apartment. “I don’t want you here tonight,” he told her. When she got up to leave, she said, he literally threw her out the door into the hallway, where she hit her head on the wall. “I made excuses after that,” she said. “The excuse that time was that we were both drunk and emotional, and I really did not believe that he would do something like that again.”

    He did, though, she said. By early November, she had maxed out her credit card. She’d bought him a $500 limited-edition Yves Saint Laurent cologne (it “smelled so sexy,” she said) for their anniversary, though, she says, he had not gotten her anything. She had asked him for money because her accounts were overdrawn and she didn’t have enough cash to order food or put gas in her car. He had put $2,000 in her account on November 13, just before she went to work on set for a Snoop Dogg music video. It hadn’t yet cleared, so she had to ask one of the other girls to pay for her gas in order to get home at the end of the day. She took a shower, put on a T-shirt and underwear, and got into bed. In a letter to the district attorney’s office Avenatti’s lawyers sent last fall, he claimed that she had been drinking and doing drugs on set, a claim she denied. He also said that she had recently started taking Accutane, an acne medication he said could cause emotional distress. She said she had only been taking the drug for two days and had no problem with it whatsoever.

    She was drained by the time Avenatti got home from drinks with a friend, but she told him she thought she needed to work more. She had been embarrassed having to ask for gas money, and she never wanted to feel that way again. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, she said, and he looked her right in the eye. “Goddammit,” she said he yelled, mimicking how he stood up in the bedroom as we sat in her lawyer’s office. “You motherfucking ungrateful bitch.” She went to the guest bedroom. He followed, she said. “Get the fuck out,” she recalled him saying. “You’re just ungrateful and disrespectful.” She started to text a friend to see if she could sleep there that night instead when he grabbed her phone. He put his hands on her shoulders, she said, and tried to force her out of the apartment. Her arms were slick from body oil after the shower and he couldn’t quite grip her. She saw that the window was open and started screaming for help, she says, when he got hold of one of her arms and dragged her first across the carpet and then across a hardwood floor. He opened the door and flung her into the hallway. “I was so shocked and shaking that I couldn’t even stand up. I reached up to ring the doorbell for the apartment across the hallway and he saw me. ‘Are you fucking insane?’ he said.” He pulled her back inside and she warned him that if he did not give her phone back and let her go, she would count to three and start screaming. She started to panic when he didn’t budge. “That’s when I really started to freak and I asked him to please not come any closer.” His demeanor immediately changed, she said. “He said, ‘Baby, come here. We’re so much better than this.’ I can’t even describe that moment and what his eyes looked like. Like a psychopath. All I could think was, He is going to hurt you.” She made her way to the guest bedroom, put on pants, and made a break for the door. The elevator did not come fast enough, she said, so she walked toward the service elevators, where she knew there were cameras. He got in with her, pleading with her to not do this. She went down to the security desk in the lobby, where the attendants ultimately called the police.

    Despite being larded with “alleged” and “accused,” Avenatti comes off as an out-of-control narcissist, rageholic, thrill-seeking asshole. It’s a pretty devastating piece.

    But that’s not the only bad news that dropped on Avenatti yesterday. He was also indicted for stealing Stormy Daniels’ book advance:

    Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti was indicted by federal prosecutors Wednesday for stealing the identity of his former client, Stormy Daniels, in order to claim more than $300,000 she was owed for a tell-all book about her efforts to expose President Trump.

    In the indictment, prosecutors for the Southern District of New York accuse Avenatti of forging Daniels’ signature on a letter instructing her literary agent to wire her book advance money to an account he controlled. Daniels, an adult-film star born Stephanie Clifford, is not identified by name but the timeline and other details laid out in the document make clear that she is

    “The literary agent then wired $148,750 to the account, which AVENATTI promptly began spending for his own purposes, including on airfare, hotels, car services, restaurants and meal delivery, online retailers, payroll for his law firm and another business he owned, and insurance,” the indictment reads.

    And the recap of the federal charges against him:

    The new indictment comes as Avenatti is facing separate extortion charges brought by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles in connection with his alleged efforts to blackmail Nike. The charges were brought after Nike lawyers provided a recording to the FBI in which Avenatti demands $25 million in exchange for his silence about illegal payments the company allegedly made to high-school basketball players to induce them to attend Nike-sponsored colleges.

    Los Angeles prosecutors also indicted Avenatti last month for embezzling millions of dollars from his clients, one of whom was a mentally-ill paraplegic who won a suit against the city of Los Angeles but never received his settlement because Avenatti allegedly stole it. The charges ending in Los Angeles carry a maximum sentence of up to 300 years in prison.

    Even among his supporters, I think very few mistake Donald Trump for a saint. But do you know who he looks like a saint next too? Michael Avenatti.

    Illegal Alien Serial Killer Murders 11 Elderly Texans

    Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

    Evidently he just wanted to kill the elderly women native serial killers weren’t willing to kill:

    A Dallas man previously arrested in the death of an 81-year-old woman has been charged with killing at least 11 more elderly women whose jewelry and other valuables he stole, authorities said Thursday.

    Kim Leach, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County district attorney’s office, said 46-year-old Billy Chemirmir was indicted Tuesday on six more counts of capital murder in the deaths of women ranging in age from 76 to 94.

    Chemirmir, a Kenyan citizen who was living in the U.S. illegally, also is charged in nearby Collin County with two counts of attempted capital murder for similar attacks there, according to county court records.

    A Collin County grand jury also returned five capital murder indictments against Chemirmir on Tuesday.

    Chemirmir has been in custody since March 2018 in the death of the 81-year-old Dallas woman, Lu Thi Harris. Police in Plano were investigating Chemirmir in connection with suspicious death and suspicious person calls at a senior apartment complex in that Dallas suburb and found evidence linking him to Harris’ death in Dallas, authorities said. Plano is in Collin County.

    The fact that illegal aliens commit crimes more frequently than native-born Americans is one of those dirty little secrets the Democratic Media Complex doesn’t want to talk about:

    he Government Accountability Office released two unsettling reports in 2005 on criminal aliens who are in prison for committing crimes in the United States, and issued an updated report in 2011.

    The first report (GAO-05-337R) found that criminal aliens (both legal and illegal) make up 27 percent of all federal prisoners. Yet according to the Center for Immigration Studies, non-citizens are only about nine percent of the nation’s adult population. Thus, judging by the numbers in federal prisons alone, non-citizens commit federal crimes at three times the rate of citizens.

    The findings in the second report (GAO-05-646R) are even more disturbing. This report looked at the criminal histories of 55,322 aliens that “entered the country illegally and were still illegally in the country at the time of their incarceration in federal or state prison or local jail during fiscal year 2003.” Those 55,322 illegal aliens had been arrested 459,614 times, an average of 8.3 arrests per illegal alien, and had committed almost 700,000 criminal offenses, an average of roughly 12.7 offenses per illegal alien.

    Out of all of the arrests, 12 percent were for violent crimes such as murder, robbery, assault and sex-related crimes; 15 percent were for burglary, larceny, theft and property damage; 24 percent were for drug offenses; and the remaining offenses were for DUI, fraud, forgery, counterfeiting, weapons, immigration, and obstruction of justice.

    The 2011 GAO report wasn’t much different. It looked at 251,000 criminal aliens in federal, state, and local prisons and jails. Those aliens were arrested nearly 1.7 million times for close to three million criminal offenses. Sixty-eight percent of those in federal prison and 66 percent of those in state prisons were from Mexico. Their offenses ranged from homicide and kidnapping to drugs, burglary, and larceny.

    Until America gets serious about border enforcement, illegal aliens will continue to kill and victimize America’s most vulnerable citizens.

    Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update for May 20, 2019

    Monday, May 20th, 2019

    De Blasio and Bullock are In, which means I’m now tracking 24 declared Democratic Presidential candidates. That’s enough to field both side of a football team, plus Mike Gravel as the coach and Beto O’Rourke as the towel boy. It’s the latest Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update!

    Polls

  • Reuters finds Biden up five points since their last poll: Biden 29, Sanders 13, O’Rourke 6, Warren 6, Harris 6, Buttigieg 4, Booker 2, Klobucher 1, Gillibrand 1, Hickenlooper 1, Castro 1, Yang 1, Inslee 1, Ryan 1, Bennet 1, de Blasio 1. That’s one more than I ever expected for de Blasio…
  • Fox: Biden 35 (up 4), Sanders 17, Warren 9, Buttigieg 6, Harris 5, O’Rourke 4, Booker 3, Castro 2, Klobucher 2, Delaney 1, Gabbard 1, Inslee 1, Ryan 1, Williamson 1, Yang 1. I think two percent is a record for Castro.
  • Quinnipiac Pennsylvania: Biden 39, Sanders 13, Warren 8, Harris 8, Buttigieg 6, Booker 5, O’Rourke 2, Klobucher 1. Relatively good showing for Booker, but state polls tend to be more volatile.
  • Real Clear Politics
  • 538 polls
  • Election betting markets
  • Pundits, etc.

  • Rich Lowry wonders if President Donald Trump has, paradoxically, driven Democrats sane.

    What if Donald Trump hasn’t driven Democrats insane, sending them into a spiral of self-defeating radicalism, but instead made them shockingly pragmatic?

    Biden’s early strength suggests it may be the latter, that the reaction to Trump is so intense that it has crossed some sort of event horizon from fevered fantasy of his leaving office early via resignation or impeachment to a cold-eyed, win-at-any-cost practicality.

    If this is true, one of the exogenous factors that could appreciably increase Trump’s odds of reelection — a zany Democratic nomination contest leading to a nominee much too far left for the American electorate — may not materialize.

    Snip.

    If hardly dispositive, Biden’s robust numbers at least suggest that this play is more likely than it seemed in the very early going, when candidates were stumbling over one another apologizing for sundry alleged offenses in the Woke Olympics.

    If that’s not going to be the true dynamic of the race, I’m as surprised as anyone. What’s extraordinary, though, is that almost every Democratic candidate might have been misreading it as well, and chasing the wrong rabbit down the track.

    Certainly, Bernie Sanders dominated the intellectual and policy debate in the wake of his 2016 run, driving other presidential candidates to embrace his signature proposals. And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a genuine political star.

    It’s only because the center of gravity of the party has clearly moved left that Biden, always a standard liberal, now sounds like a centrist when he calls himself an Obama-Biden Democrat.

    But, as Harry Enten of CNN, among others, has been insisting for some time, the average Democrat is older, more moderate or conservative, and less likely to have a college degree than you’d guess from following Twitter or cable TV.

    These voters were underserved by the rest of the field, and Biden is taking dead aim at them with the simple message that he can beat Trump.

  • Your latest “There are two many Democrats running” thumbsucker:

    Others suggest that the size of the field highlights vulnerabilities of the two candidates now topping the polls, former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Biden has started strong, but it’s too early to judge his candidacy. Front-runners never coast to victory, and he will face adversity, whether self-inflicted or delivered by a rival who rises to the moment.

    One risk for Democrats is that, with so many candidates and so many voices, side debates distract from core issues and unifying messages. The debate over reparations sparks passions within the Democratic base but is not an issue high on the list of most voters who will determine who is the next president. The same is even more true of the issue of whether violent felons, terrorists or sexual predators should be allowed to vote while in prison, a topic recently injected into the Democratic conversation by Sanders.

  • Some states are moving from primaries to caucuses:

    At least 10 states are planning to switch from a caucus to a primary in 2020. As things stand, just two states — Iowa and Nevada — have firm plans to caucus again. Two other 2016 caucus states — Maine and Wyoming — are still up in the air. Maine lawmakers may establish a government-run primary, in which case the Maine Democratic Party plans to move to a primary. And Wyoming Democrats are still ironing out some details.

  • Ghost of Hillary Clinton haunts 2020 Democratic hopefuls.”

    “I think it’s also critical to understand, as I’ve been telling candidates who have come to see me,” she said last week, “you can run the best campaign, you can even become the nominee, and you can have the election stolen from you.”

    One third of that statement is true — she was the nominee; two thirds are not. Hillary Clinton did not run the best campaign. Her campaign was a disaster. She was a disaster. She insulted half of the electorate by calling them “deplorables” even before the first vote was cast.

    “So, part of our challenge is to understand what it will take to put together not only the popular vote, but the Electoral College,” she added.

    That is good advice. It is also advice she should have given herself in 2016 when, capturing the popular vote, she lost the Electoral College to Trump.

  • 538 on what the candidates are saying and doing.
  • And via Reuters, here’s a handy visual guide to the clown car:

  • Now on to the clown car itself:

  • Losing Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: Maybe? Blah blah blah abortion blah blah blah. But she did finally pay off the $54,000 she owed the IRS, as well as student and credit card debt. Which shows that attention=money, so why wouldn’t she run for President?
  • Creepy Porn Lawyer Michael Avenatti: Out. Somehow I missed the fact that Avenatti endorsed Biden after he entered the race. I’m sure Biden is just thrilled at that endorsement.
  • Actor Alec Baldwin: Probably not.
  • Colorado Senator Michael Bennet: In. Twitter. Facebook. Far-left group Demand Justice is already running attack ads against him for voting for too many of Trump’s judicial nominees. Demand Justice is being run by Brian Fallon, who was press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run. Makes you go “Hmmmmm.”
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: In. Twitter. Facebook. Little did I know when I posted about the John Durham appointment that I would be mentioning late Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger twice in one week, since Joe Biden’s son Hunter is doing business with his nephew, also named James Bulger, along with John Kerry’s stepson Chris Heinz, in a deal with the Bank of China. Biden’s rhetoric suggests he’s already looking toward the general election. Biden’s popularity suggests that maybe voters don’t want change after all:

    A January poll by the Pew Research Center found that 58 percent of Republicans wanted their party to become more conservative. In contrast, 53 percent of Democrats wanted their party to become more moderate.

    That raises the question of whether the party’s center of gravity lies less with vocal activists than with a quieter group of voters that is less likely to join Twitter or show up at campaign events. “His candidacy may be different,” says Biden’s campaign pollster John Anzalone, “But it is the one that is working.”

    Feminist Jill Filipovic asks “Does Anyone Actually Want Joe Biden to Be President?” It’s yet another “Electability Sucks, Because White Male!” screed:

    The Democratic Party of 2019 does not look much like Joe Biden. Women, African-American, Latino and Asian voters are all much more likely to say they support Democratic candidates than Republican ones. White voters, male voters and especially white male voters generally support Republicans.

    Statistics on who votes Democratic also suggest that the Democratic Party is more diverse than the experts deciding who is electable.

    Those assumptions about electability reflect entrenched biases more than political science, and have a dash of arrogance to boot. An electable candidate, the thinking goes, has to be authentic and broadly appealing. But authenticity itself is coded as white and male when it’s defined by white men.

    “Shut up and eat your intersectionality, white patriarchal oppressor!”

  • Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: Probably not.
  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gets a PBS profile; expect to read the Hassan Washington anecdote in every Booker profile. Plus an NPR interview. I’m just assuming the Booker campaign has friends at NPR.
  • Former California Governor Jerry Brown: Doesn’t sound like it.
  • Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown: Out.
  • Update: Montana Governor Steve Bullock: In. Twitter. Facebook. He announced last week.

    According to Morning Consult data from the first quarter of 2019, Bullock is among the 15 most popular governors in the country, and one of the top Democrats to make the list (13 out of the top 15 most popular governors are Republicans; the other Democrat is Delaware governor John Carney). But that fact makes Bullock’s decision to run for president a bit more puzzling.

    In a field of 23 candidates, where Biden continues to lead the pack by double digits in many polls, it’s hard to imagine the Montana governor will have an easy time making an impression on primary voters. But it’s much easier to imagine Bullock putting up a decent fight against Republican senator Steve Daines, who is up for re-election in 2020.

    He launched his presidential campaign by coming out against free speech. 538 says that Bullock is talking about his plan to reach out to rural voters:

    In a May 8 tweet, he said, “As the only Democrat to win statewide re-election in a Trump state in 2016, I know firsthand: we must reach out to rural voters.”

    And this message might resonate. As we know from polls, many Democratic voters think it’s a very important consideration to nominate a candidate who can beat President Trump, and as a white man, Bullock may benefit from perceptions that he is “electable.” But he has empirical evidence for it, too: He has won three statewide elections in red, heavily rural Montana — one for attorney general and two for governor. In 2016, he won his second gubernatorial term with 50 percent of the vote, 15 points more than Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

    He’s all in on Iowa, and has an endorsement from Iowa’s attorney general Tom Miller.

  • South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: In. Twitter. Facebook. He had a town hall on Fox. “Mayor Pete and the Order of the Kong: How Buttigieg’s Harvard pals helped spur his rise in politics.” One of those friends was “Joe Green, who was Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg’s roommate.” Yep, just good old ordinary, salt-of-the-earth Mayor Pete…
  • Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr.: Out.
  • Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro: In. Twitter. Facebook. He jumped on the impeachment bandwagon. Because I’m sure trying to impeach Trump and year and a half before a Presidential election couldn’t possibly backfire on Democrats. He visited Tennessee, whose primary is on March 3. He also visited Santa Clarita University in California.
  • Former First Lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State and losing 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: Out. But Howard Stern thinks her refusal to go on his show may have cost her the election.
  • Update: New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio: In. Twitter. Facebook. See my previous post on how he sucks and everyone hates him. (And honestly, actually running on the slogan “De Blasio 2020: He Sucks And Everyone Hates Him” would actually probably earn him more votes than he would get otherwise.) I note that his official Presidential website has exactly zero links to the actual policies he’s running on. Jonah Goldberg calls him “the Sponge of Woke Platitudes“:

    The reason it is very unlikely that de Blasio will replicate the success of Donald Trump in the Democratic primaries is that he cannot offer any contrasts that matter. He isn’t entertaining, he’s tiresome. He isn’t charismatic, he’s unctuous. He talks like the president of a small liberal-arts college, spouting clichés plucked from a flier on an assistant professor of Peace Studies’ door. He seems convinced that the glassy expression on the faces of the students and faculty in the audience is awe, not a soul-numbing tedium that is a few desperate heartbeats away from resorting to self-harm just to feel something again.

    De Blasio holds press conference at Trump Tower — and gets heckled. Come for the pro-Trump posters, stay for the “You suck!” chants. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)

  • Maryland Representative John Delaney: In. Twitter. Facebook. His name came up on The Viewand the hosts didn’t know who he was. That’s sort of Delaney’s campaign in a nutshell…
  • Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard: In. Twitter. Facebook. She decried a possible war with China. Said gossip that her campaign is being supported by Vladimir Putin is “fake news.” You know, I think there’s something familiar about that claim…
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: Out.
  • New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: In. Twitter. Facebook. She appeared on Face the Nation. Another day, another Democrat lying about supporting the Second Amendment.
  • Former Tallahassee Mayor and failed Florida Senate candidate Andrew Gillum: Probably not. But the plea deal he cut on four of five charges with the Florida Ethics Commission is starting to look pretty smart now that new indictments are raining down on his associates.
  • Addition: Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel: In. Twitter. Facebook. The 18-year old running Gravel’s campaign.

    At first, they just wanted Gravel to run so he could perform the same function he did in his longshot 2008 campaign – yell at the other candidates on stage and push them as far left as possible, especially on an anti-war foreign policy.

    But at this point, nobody can rule anything out when it comes to election outcomes.

    “We’re running to win, of course, but we don’t expect to win,” Oks told the Forward. “I don’t think Mike expects to become president – it would probably be a hitch in some of his plans.”

    But earning enough donations and poll support to get him on the debate stage, he explained, would allow Gravel to “put forth criticism of war and the military industrial complex, and even domestic policy, that hasn’t been seen in many decades, even more radical than Bernie.”

    Pushing the Democrats even further left? There’s no way that could possibly backfire…

  • California Senator Kamala Harris: In. Twitter. Facebook. Hugh Hewett thinks it’s Harris’ race to lose. She wants to ban foreign-built AR-pattern rifles. And that ban would affect who, again? Heckler & Koch? AR manufacturers are overwhelmingly American firms. She also wants to fine companies that don’t pay women “equally” with men. That’s just the thing for helping American companies compete globally, inserting a member of the federal GenderStasi into every HR department…
  • Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: In. Twitter. Facebook. He attacked fellow Democrats for daring to challenge the globalist status quo: “Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) on Sunday took swipes at unidentified Democrats he said ‘would have the U.S. withdraw from global engagement.'”
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder: Out.
  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee: In. Twitter. Facebook. Inslee wants to destroy the coal industry. Because that goal worked out so well for the Australian Labor Party.
  • Virginia Senator and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Vice Presidential running mate Tim Kaine: Out.
  • Former Obama Secretary of State and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry: Not seeing any sign.
  • Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar: In. Twitter. Facebook. She wants to increase regulation on business, because that’s a surefire ticket for economic growth. “Klobuchar’s plan also calls for updating the tax code to support ‘gig workers’ by establishing a national paid leave program, mandatory sick leave and portable retirement savings accounts, funded by employers.” Thus ignoring the fact that the reason a “gig economy” exists at all is that government regulations have made regular full-time employees too expensive so expensive to hire.
  • New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu: Out.
  • Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe: Out.
  • Oregon senator Jeff Merkley: Out. Filing for reelection to the senate instead.
  • Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam: In. Twitter. Facebook. The Onion: “Mike Gravel Can’t Believe His Polling Numbers Neck-And-Neck With Fucking Nobody Like Wayne Messam.”
  • Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton: In. Twitter. Facebook. He unveiled a national service proposal, which would not be mandatory. So another AmeriCorps to suck up tax dollars.
  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama: Out.
  • Former West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda: Out.
  • Former Texas Representative and failed Senatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke: In. Twitter. Facebook. “O’Rourke stocks campaign with Obama and Clinton alums.” No names I’m familiar with. “O’Rourke’s recent hires come after the departure of Becky Bond and Zack Malitz, two senior strategists who worked on O’Rourke’s Senate campaign and Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential effort — both evangelists for the distributed organizing model.” Snip. “[Jen] O’Malley Dillon, a former executive director of the Democratic National Committee and deputy campaign manager to Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, is bringing on a roster of staffers with long experience in the Democratic Party.” Pledges to “decriminalize truancy, address fines on parents.” That would be an interesting policy proposal…if he were running for the El Paso school board.
  • New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Constitutionally ineligible to run in 2020.
  • Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick: Out.
  • Ohio Representative Tim Ryan: In. Twitter. Facebook. Gets a PBS NewsHour interview. He campaigned in Iowa. He’ll appear on a CNN town hall on June 2.
  • Vermont Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders: In. Twitter. Facebook. “An Our Revolution Staffer Fired For ‘Anti-Immigrant’ Remarks Is Suing The Pro-Bernie Group For Racial Discrimination.” As usual, “anti-immigration” is code for suggesting illegal aliens shouldn’t get government benefits. The staffer in question was part of the black outreach team. Also checkout this bedwetting overreaction from Our Revolution’s former political director Erika Andiola: “I became sick to my stomach and could not stop crying all night.” If hearing contrary opinions makes you ill and depressed, maybe you shouldn’t be working in politics. “Bernie Sanders is challenging two cherished theories of electability.”

    One of those theories is beloved by self-styled centrists, and has served as a way to gate-keep against more liberal candidates. It argues that Americans are ideological moderates who punish political parties for nominating candidates too far to the left or right.

    The other is beloved by leftists, and has served as a cudgel against more centrist candidates. It holds that there’s a vast working-class majority out there for any candidate willing to slough off the Democratic Party’s turn to corporatism, free trade, and identity politics and recapture the economic populism that made the New Deal Democrats dominant for a generation.

  • Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer: Out.
  • California Representative Eric Swalwell: In. Twitter. Facebook. “In the six years since Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.) began earning the big salary that comes with being a member of Congress he has failed to pay down his student loans, cashed out his pension, and accumulated credit card debt.” Maybe a guy who can’t manage his own finances shouldn’t be managing America’s…
  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: In. Twitter. Facebook. R.S. McCain thinks Warren is over: “My guess would be that, after the first round of debates, Warren will fade and Harris will rise, because Harris is black and is obviously better qualified than the other black candidate, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Such is the logic of identity politics, in which Democrats are heavily invested.” I expect that this is premature, especially with Warren also making a play for the hard left Sanders voters. “Sen. Elizabeth Warren Has A Plan For Everything — Including Your Love Life.”

    For all the praise The New Republic is heaping on her opioid crisis plan, it just sounds like more federal government money airdrops.

  • Author and spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson: In. Twitter. Facebook. Heh: “‘Tom Perez Is Such a Goddamned Weenie’: What Marianne Williamson’s Candidacy Reveals About the Democrats.” After noting Oprah’s not running:

    Yet one of Oprah’s star guests, Marianne Williamson, is running—and has beat out several conventional politicians, including Massachusetts congressman Seth Moulton and Colorado senator Michael Bennet, to qualify for the first D.N.C.-sponsored debate. That Williamson has qualified is irritating to some of her opponents—not because of who she is, but because of the rules that could make her one of the 20 contenders appearing on the prime-time stage: candidates need to score at least one percent in three certified polls or collect donations from 65,000 different people.

    She gets a profile in New York:

    Marianne Williamson deserves some serious attention, and not just because she’s written four books that hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list. At a time when the leftward drift of the Democratic Party is regularly in the news, she is by any measure the most rigorously progressive candidate in the field of 23. That she wraps her progressivism in a syncretic spirituality instead of socialist materialism may even be an advantage for a politician in this God-haunted country of ours.

    Pick an issue, and odds are Williamson is going to out-Bernie Bernie and out-Warren Warren. She’s for Medicare For All, unsurprisingly, but she’s also for heavy investments in preventive medicine and nutritional education, and a pretty heavy regulatory arm on those she feels are poisoning our bodies, including those who produce “high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats.” So far as I can tell, she’s the only candidate committed to reducing national stress levels, too.

    And one at The Hill: “Those who say who can and cannot win now are the same people who were telling us that Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in three years ago.”

  • Talk show host Oprah Winfrey: Out.
  • Venture capitalist Andrew Yang: In. Twitter. Facebook. “Andrew Yang’s TED Talk version of politics.”

    Over and over again when I ask people who identify as members of “the Yang Gang” what attracted them to Yang, they cite Silicon Valley’s preferred solution to our economic woes: universal basic income (UBI) or, as he calls it, “the Freedom Dividend.” Yang argues that technology is going to eat up millions of jobs over the coming decade, wiping out everything from retail workers to truckers. “How many of you have seen the self-service kiosk at McDonald’s or another fast food restaurant?” Yang asks. “You kind of like them. I kind of like them too.” The only solution to this inevitability, Yang argues, is giving every American, beginning at age 18, $1,000 a month. He’d fund it by upping taxes on technology companies.

    Yang has translated his unlikely background and platform into something of a cult following, centered around men under the age of 40. The idea that anyone except the occasional oddball would thrill to carrying signs with the word “MATH” emblazoned on them — which stands for Make America Think Harder — may feel like a stretch in the United States, where an anti-intellectual streak is writ large, and our current president is prone to saying such things as, “I love the poorly educated.” But when people attending the rally talk about UBI, it feels more personal. “It makes a lot of sense, because a lot of Americans are struggling,” said Keegan Steinke, 24, a canvasser for a solar company. “It provides a safety net for everyone, and it doesn’t provide these perverse incentives like, ‘Okay, I made this much, I might lose these benefits,’ ” said Elliott Ribner, 32, a software engineer.

    Politico asks: “Is Andrew Yang for Real?”

    Viewed from a great distance, Yang’s candidacy has a lot in common with the two political comets that streaked across the 2016 presidential campaign: Donald Trump on the right and Bernie Sanders on the left. Yang runs essentially the same playbook: embracing economic grievance, hammering the tech giants and other darlings of the “new economy,” selling his case directly to the working American. Since he launched his campaign in November 2017, he has been retailing a vision of America in which educated, entitled elites have rigged the system and hoovered money away from middle America and toward the coasts, giving little in return. With no prior political experience or prominent backers, Yang is nonetheless gaining a peculiar traction, including some true believers who want him to be president and others who are mostly just intrigued.

    Unlike Trump and Sanders, however, Yang, 44, comes precisely from the same corporate, tech-soaked world he is trying to attack. Educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, he made his money prepping students to get into MBA programs and, in recent years, has spent months at a time living in Silicon Valley. He was once a successful startup CEO and head of a group that trains budding entrepreneurs, but in the wake of 2016 presidential election Yang soured on an industry that wreaths itself in promises of prosperity and transformation; he rejects the conventional policy wisdom—popular on the left and the right—that out-of-work Americans should retrain for jobs in tech. And in a Democratic Party reveling in its diversity, the Taiwanese-American candidate says he worries most about how displaced white men will react to their declining fortunes—a stance that has, strangely, won him some fans from the “alt-right.“

  • LinkSwarm for May 17, 2019

    Friday, May 17th, 2019

    Just been one of those weeks…

  • Are Brennan, Clapper and Comey ratting on each other? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • This is more than infuriating: “Kentucky Judges Pre-Signed Blank Legal Documents So That Child Services Could Take Custody of Kids on Nights and Weekends.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • No sooner did I put up my own piece on jihad in the Sahel than the BBC published this extensive piece about the same subject, including how jihadists came to Mali in the wake of Obama’s supergenius intervention in Libya.

    The religious extremists imposed strict sharia law. In Timbuktu and beyond, they smashed shrines built for Sufi mystics, burned manuscripts and destroyed ancient artefacts.

    The priceless texts would have all been lost had it not been for the old guardian families who protected what they could.

    Tuaregs and Islamists disagreed over the way their new state of Azawad should be run and began to fight each other.

    The government asked for foreign military help and the former colonial power France answered the call.

    French troops arrived in January 2013 and were joined by African forces. Within a month, they had driven the violent extremists out into the desert and retaken the River Niger towns.

    Plus the usual UN fecklessness. Read the whole thing.

  • “CONFIRMED: Google Gives Left-Wing Websites Preference Over Conservative Ones, Audit Finds.”
  • Denmark’s main leftwing party realizes that uncontrolled, unassimilated immigration hurts the poor. “For me, it is becoming increasingly clear that the price of unregulated globalisation, mass immigration and the free movement of labour is paid for by the lower classes.”
  • The New York media can’t talk about skyrocketing antisemetic attacks against Jews in New York City. Why? Because the attackers are black and Hispanic.
  • Idaho is ending some regulations. Which ones? All of them. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • So that botched Houston drug raid is looking even more botched, as forensic evidence shows the people in the house they wrongly targeted didn’t even fire their weapons at police, and all police gunshot wounds were inflicted by other officers. It seems like just about every aspect of the raid was a lie. At this point, it seems like some rogue HPD cops straight-up murdered Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas for reasons nobody has yet been able to identify.
  • Speaking of infuriating abuses of power: “San Francisco Police Go After Journalist Who Revealed Public Defender’s Affair, Overdose.”
  • State district judge rules Houston Proposition B unconstitutional. That was the one to give firefighters pay parity with police officers, and one Houston mayor Sylvester Turner was fighting tooth and nail.
  • Why people die in Houston car accidents. A whole lot of “Pedestrian failed to yield to vehicle,” failure to drive in one lane” and “failure to control speed,” plus the usual smattering of alcohol. (Hat tip: Kemberlee Kaye.)
  • No federal high speed rail money for California. Good.
  • Is Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib a terrorist sympathizer? Well, here’s evidence from five of her closest friends, so you can judge for yourself:

  • The Air Force brings a B-52H back from the bone yard for active service duty. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Atheist visits places in America his fellow liberals forgot about, and finds not only a sense of place, but an abundance of faith:

    When I first went to the Bronx, I expected that the people there, those most affected by the coldness and ruthlessness of the world, would share my atheism. Instead, I found a strong belief in the supernatural, and a faith that manifested in many ways, mostly as a belief in the Bible.

    Everyone I met there who was living homeless or battling an addiction held a deep faith. Street walking is stunningly dangerous work, and everyone has stories of being cut, attacked, and threatened, or stories of others who were killed. Everyone has to deal with the danger. Few work without a mix of heroin, Xanax, or crack. None without faith. “You know what kept me through all that? God. Whenever I got into the car, God got into the car with me.”

    There are dirty Bibles in crack houses, Qur’ans in abandoned buildings. There is a picture of the Last Supper that moves with a couple living on the streets. Rosaries, crucifixes, and religious icons are worn for protection and good luck. Pages of the Bible are torn out, folded up, and kept in pockets, to be pulled out and fingered nervously, or read over in times of stress, or held during prayers.

  • Latest Remainer complaint “Brexit Party logo ‘subconsciously manipulates voters into backing Farage.'”

  • Hot take: “Ha ha! Gene Simmons of KISS at the Pentagon! Stupid Trump!” Deeper take: As part of a military outreach program, to talk about how his mother, a concentration camp survivor who recently died at age 93, loved America and teared up watching the TV sign-off flag. “America is the promised land. For everybody.”
  • When I removed Creeping Sharia from the blogroll because it was no longer up, I didn’t realize that it had just been deplatformed by WordPress. (Hat tip: A comment from regular blog reader Howard.)
  • Supermodel appears nude in protest of not enough black babies being aborted in Alabama.
  • You know what Germany needs? Stricter crossbow regulation. (Hat tip: Amy Alkon.)
  • Haven’t seen this yet, but I want to: “The Guns and Gunplay of The Highwaymen Were Actually Accurate.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Not buying this, not even sure it will work, but buying buying your own biohacking lab is a pretty cyberpunk thing to do…
  • Voynich manuscript decoded?
  • Grumpy Cat, RIP. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Prosecutor Appointed For Spying On Trump Campaign

    Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

    “Attorney General William Barr has asked Connecticut US Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the government’s probe into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.”

    So finally we’re going to get an official investigation into the biggest domestic political spying scandal since Watergate.

    “John H. Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut, has a history of serving as a special prosecutor investigating potential wrongdoing among national security officials, including the F.B.I.’s ties to a crime boss in Boston and accusations of C.I.A. abuses of detainees.”

    That little Boston case featured FBI agent John Connolly feeding government information to mob boss Whitey Bulger while he was providing information as an FBI CID on rival criminal gangs.

    [Durham] is best known for overseeing the federal government’s successful effort to take apart the brazenly corrupt situation in Boston, where a handful of crooked state police officers and F.B.I. agents worked with the mob headed by James Bulger. The situation, some of which was based on relationships forged during childhood in South Boston, was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film “The Departed.”

    Mr. Durham headed a task force that compiled a list of impressive accomplishments and convictions, including its disclosure that some F.B.I. officials had allowed some informants to commit murder and flourish in their racketeering enterprises in exchange for information about other mobsters.

    Durham is a Catholic and someone who (to quote the Times) “does not often speak publicly and declined to be interviewed.”

    Legal Insurrection also notes that “DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has already started his own investigation into ‘potential surveillance abuses by the FBI – an investigation that began last March and that Fox News is told is nearing completion.'”

    One wonders what the scope of Durham’s investigation is. I suspect it will not reach all the way back to Emailgate and the uranium sale, but will probably tackle most other aspects of the Sacndularity.

    Having used the power of the federal government to illegally spy on the Trump presidential campaign under false pretenses, the perpetrators will now find that same power deployed to investigate their own misdeeds.

    Buckle up…

    LinkSwarm for May 10, 2019

    Friday, May 10th, 2019

    Greetings, and welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Here in Texas we’re enjoying intermittant torrential rains, which means that walking your dog after one is like breathing warm soup.

  • Obama took Hillary’s loss as a personal insult:

    Former President Barack Obama was unhappy with Hillary Clinton and her failed “soulless campaign” in 2016, saying he saw her loss as a “personal insult.”

    The new details come from a recently released update to New York Times Chief White House Correspondent Peter Baker’s book Obama: The Call of History.

    The new edition, which includes Obama’s reaction to the 2016 election, said Obama compared himself to Michael Corleone, the titular character of “The Godfather.” Obama thought he “almost got out” of office untouched, like a mob boss avoiding a hit job.

    Obama found himself shocked by the election results, thinking before Nov. 8 there was “no way Americans would turn on him” and “[h]is legacy, he felt, was in safe hands.”

  • The Midwest’s broken blue wall:

    The president’s standing in the Midwest now is arguably stronger than when he nearly swept the region in 2016. Polling shows Trump’s job approval rating in the Midwest is in the mid-forties, and his overall favorability rating is highest in the Midwest. Trump’s approval rating in the region is roughly the same as Obama’s was during the same point in his presidency, according to Gallup tracking polls.

    The working class, the nearly 70 percent of Americans without a college degree who have been ignored and even ridiculed by both political parties, is flourishing. Five of the top ten cities enjoying the greatest job opportunities for lower-wage workers are in the Midwest. “A majority of the metro areas with the highest shares of opportunity employment are located in the Midwest . . . after adjusting for cost-of-living differences, median annual earnings tend to be relatively high in that region,” according to an April 2019 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

    Finding enough workers “is a problem playing out in many parts of the Midwest, a region with lower unemployment and higher job-opening rates than the rest of the country,” according to an April 2018 Wall Street Journal report, citing hiring challenges by employers in Iowa, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Southwestern Ohio, solid Trump country, is in the midst of a warehousing boom. The construction industry is thriving nationwide, but the Midwest is leading the pack.

    The administration’s attempts to secure the southern border are gaining popularity in the Midwest. According to a recent Washington Postpoll, 40 percent of Midwesterners say Trump’s approach to illegal immigration will make them more likely to support him in 2020, compared to 36 percent who say they are less likely. Further, 83 percent of Midwesterners called the situation at the Mexican border a crisis or a serious problem. It will take some smooth convincing by the Democratic presidential candidate to not only disabuse Midwesterners of their views, but to assure them that open borders are best for families in Racine and Grand Rapids.

  • After the Mueller report, former FBI Director James Comey knows he’s in trouble:

    Comey will claim that everything he did in the FBI was by the book. But after the investigations by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz and U.S. Attorney John Huber, along with Barr’s promised examination, are completed, Comey’s mishandling of the FBI and legal processes likely will be fully exposed.

    Ideally, Barr’s examination will aggregate information that addresses three primary streams.

    The first will be whether the investigations into both presidential nominees and the Trump campaign were adequately, in Barr’s words, “predicated.” This means he will examine whether there was sufficient justification under existing guidelines for the FBI to have started an investigation in the first place.

    The Mueller report’s conclusions make this a fair question for the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. Comey’s own pronouncement, that the Clinton email case was unprosecutable, makes it a fair question for that investigation.

    The second will be whether Comey’s team obeyed long-established investigative guidelines while conducting the investigations and, specifically, if there was sufficient, truthful justification to lawfully conduct electronic surveillance of an American citizen.

    The third will be an examination of whether Comey was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director and attorney general. This, above all, is what’s causing the 360-degree head spins.

    Oh, should we use the word “bombshell” or the phrase “the walls are closing on?”

  • Luke Rosiak is on the case of corruption in Flint, Michigan:

    The company Flint, Michigan, hired to replace lead water pipes had no experience with the work, according to a councilwoman and a contractor, despite that the city has received more than $600 million in state and federal aid for its water crisis.

    And the city ignored a model showing where lead pipes are and paid to dig up every yard, the vast majority of which had copper pipes, according to meeting minutes.

    The city also prohibited contractors from using an efficient method of digging holes known as hydrovac excavation, Flint Councilwoman Eva Worthing told The Daily Caller News Foundation. That leveled the playing field for a contractor, WT Stevens, with no experience or the appropriate equipment — and let it bill far more to taxpayers, she says. All of these factors, she adds, needlessly led to more waiting for anyone who actually has lead pipes.

    Huge amounts of aid dollars — including $100 million from the Environmental Protection Agency — have flowed to the small city of 90,000 residents to address lead in its water supply, even though it doesn’t have a chief financial officer and, until recently, its finance chair was a gun felon.

    The federal money “should be a good thing for the city,” Worthing told TheDCNF, “but given the mismanagement of the pipe replacement program, I am concerned that it’s not going to get used properly.”

    The city “chose to dig up yards that they knew were copper, and they decided to hand dig instead of hydrovac,” Worthing told TheDCNF. “That was because WT Stevens didn’t have the ability, and you get more money [digging by hand]. It costs $250 [to hydrovac] versus thousands” to dig a large hole without the equipment.

  • What part of No Collusion is hard to understand?” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Democrat slips up, admits that “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this President, he will be reelected.”
  • Hey, remember when journalists reported on all the scandals among Virginia’s state leaders, until they noticed the (D)s after their names? “Northam, who largely won on anti-Trump anger, is now less popular than the president in the state.”
  • Alabama Democratic state representative John Rogers last week: “Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or you kill them later. You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair. So, you kill them now or you kill them later.” Rodgers this week: “I am now a candidate for United States Senate.” He’s primarying incumbent Democratic Senator Doug Jones, who only got in because of the Roy Moore fiasco.
  • Remember how sure all those economic “experts” were that Trump would tank the economy if he got elected? Good times, good times…
  • A lot of what you think you know about gun control in Australia, New Zealand and the UK is probably wrong.

    Recent data show that the U.K.’s gun control experiments are actually causing more harm than good. Like its Australian counterpart, which also implemented draconian gun control in the 1990s, negative criminal trends have started to surface since new gun control laws were enacted.

    Sexual assaults have seen an alarming rise from 1995 to 2006, specifically increasing by 76.5 percent according to Howard Nemerov’s book 400 Years of Gun Control. All the gun control in the world has not been able to save the U.K. from steadily increasing rates of violent crime.

  • The FBI’s New York office forms a squad dedicated to MS-13.
  • “The century-long relationship between American Jews and the nation’s elite universities has rotted away. Now is the time for all of the good people involved—students, parents, donors—to get out, and fast.”
  • Believe women…unless they’re raped by a homeless person. “Seattle’s activist class seems, then, to have more compassion for transient criminals than for the victims of their crimes.”
  • New Jersey Democratic Governor Phil Murphy raids fund for fallen firefighters.
  • Followup:

  • New York: No new pipelines. Gas company: OK, that means no more gas hookups for new buildings because we’re at capacity.
  • Leaked Trump Peace Plan? I’d sort of like President Trump to stay away from all peace plans, as they all seem to be asking for trouble. This one is interesting. It calls for a two state solution, some Egyptian facilities for Gaza, incorporating settlements into Israel, a lot of non-U.S. countries picking up the bill, and penalties for rejecting the deal. It make so much sense that Palestinians will surely reject it out of hand…
  • U.S. Seizes North Korean Freighter Violating U.N. Sanctions.”
  • More on China’s play for technological dominance: “Huawei Technologies, the spearhead of China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), isn’t a Chinese company, but an imperial juggernaut that crushes its competition and employs their intellectual resources. By 2013 it employed 40,000 foreigners–mostly in R&D– out of a workforce of 150,000.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • The New York Times had a story in which they breathlessly told us that Trump lost a billion dollars in the late 1980s and early 1990s. You know, just like Trump himself told us in his book The Art of the Comeback. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • “Facebook co-founder says Zuckerberg ‘not accountable,’ calls for government break up.” Better idea: Make all social media companies publish clear, defined reasons for suspending or banning users, and make the processes by which those decisions are made transparent. Nah, they’d never go for that, as that would keep them from arbitrarily banning conservatives… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “Facebook Allows Terrorist Who Beheaded Canadian Tourist To Keep Account & Actively Post.” That would be Bhen Tatuh of the Abu Sayyaf Group in the Philippines. (Hat tip: Charlie Martin.)
  • Jim Goad says Facebook should leave Louis Farrakhan alone…because he’s hilarious. “This cat is one of the most accomplished mind-fuckers in American history, and I’m glad to call him a fellow citizen.”
  • “Facebook SWAT Team Arrests Man For Illegal Possession Of Conservative Views.”
  • “Man Whose Headless Body Was Found Floating in Fish Tank Was Murdered.” That’s some mighty fine forensic analysis there, Lou… (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus.)
  • “Nation’s Politicians Mock Trump For Only Wasting A Mere Billion Dollars.”
  • “That’s not a knife!” (Unleashes Hellfire missile with 100 pounds worth of blades.) “Now that, that’s a knife!”
  • Entire New Orleans Times-Picayune staff laid off after paper sold to competitor. Among other things, they did that fine story on the homeless Super Bowl player.
  • Speaking of football: “XFL Reaches Deal With Fox, Disney To Broadcast Games.”
  • How a World War II field kitchen worked.
  • The return of the giant knotweed.
  • The 106 greatest crime films of all time, as ranked by Otto Penzler (still in progress).
  • “Is that an alligator in your pants, or are you just happy to see me.” Bonus: Florida Woman.
  • “Ilhan Omar Blasts Israel For Refusing Palestine’s Generous Gift Of Rockets.”
  • Moving The Extending Arms of Christ: This probably won’t mean anything to you unless you grew up in Houston, but there was a large, striking mosaic above the emergency room entrance on Houston Methodist Hospital that had to be moved to an interior atrium under construction due to the hospital’s expansion.
  • Library Additions: Three Political First Editions, Two Signed

    Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

    I usually catalog books purchased on my other blog, but here are some politics-related books I picked up recently:

  • Bush, George W. Decision Points. Crown Publishers, 2010. First edition hardback, a Near Fine copy with a faint red stain at heel, in a Fine- dust jacket with just bit of wrinkling at top and bottom edges. Signed by Bush. Autobiography of his time as President. Bought at a Half Price Books in Houston for $7.99, picked out of several unsigned copies (obviously they failed to check it for signatures when it came in; having known Bush signed in Houston, I took care to check every copy). This is the second presidential signature I own, as I also have President Trump’s signature on a novelty million dollar bill.

    (Note for book hunters: The signature at the top of the title page of George H. W. Bush’s All the Best is printed in all copies of the first edition.)

  • Caro, Robert A. Working. Knopf, 2019. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket, new and unread, signed by Caro. Book of essays from this multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer. Tells stories from Caro’s research about the lengths to which he went to get the story right, such as finding out how Brown & Root made LBJ, and how Caro actually sat down to interview Ladybird Johnson about her husband’s longtime lover. Bought at Caro’s signing at Bookpeople for cover price.
  • Rosiak, Luke. Obstruction of Justice: How the Deep State Risked National Security to Protect the Democrats. Regnery Publishing, 2019. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. The story of how the Awan spy ring hacked the computers of congressional Democrats, and how Democrats and the Obama Justice Department covered up for them. Bought from Amazon for $19.24.