Links for 10-23-2014

  • Judicial Watch received the Vaughn index for the Operation Fast and Furious documents the Obama administration claims are covered by executive privilege. The index lists 15,662 documents, including emails between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife (who is not a government employee) and emails between DOJ (including Eric Holder) and the White House.

  • A federal district court judge dismissed two lawsuits filed against the IRS and IRS employees over their targeting of conservative groups. The judge ruled that since the IRS eventually granted the groups tax exempt status — even if that took years — they had no basis to sue. He also denied monetary damages. The takeaway is that the IRS can target you and there’s no (legal) way to punish them for it.

  • Kevin Williamson uses victims of screwed-up no-knock SWAT raids as a launching point for the observation that we’re all serfs:

    It’s perverse: If an ordinary citizen makes a typo on his 1040EZ, he could be on the hook for untold sums of money, fines, even jail time. When the IRS abuses its power to harass political enemies, nothing happens. A few years ago, an employer of mine entered the wrong Social Security number on my paperwork — I have barbaric handwriting — and the error took months of telephone calls and mail to fix, a period of time over which I was threatened with all sorts of nasty consequences by the Social Security Administration and the IRS. But when the Social Security Administration oversees the payment of millions of dollars in benefits to Nazi war criminals summering on Croatian beaches, nothing happens. If you’re an ordinary schmo, a typo can land you in jail. If you work for the government, you can burn the face off a baby and walk.

  • Bumper harvests are triggering huge subsidy payments under the 2014 Farm Bill — you know, the farm bill that was supposed to save us lots of money. Yeah, that one.

  • A company headquartered in Fremont, California, Electronics for Imaging, imported workers from India and paid them $1.21/hour — what they would have made in India on an hourly basis, translated into U.S. dollars.

  • Palmdale, California thought it landed a Japanese light rail factory that would employ 300 people — right up until the International Brotherhood Workers Union Local 11 used threats from an environmental group to pressure the company to unionize the plant.

  • The Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives, Bobby Harrell, pleaded guilty to criminal ethics charges and resigned his seat effective immediately. Harrell, a Republican, will serve three years’ probation, pay a $30,000 fine, and surrender $94,000 in campaign funds that he used for personal purposes.

  • A cheating scandal at the University of North Carolina covers 20 years and more than a thousand athletes, most of whom were football or basketball players. The university won three basketball championships during that period.

  • A Palestinian drove his car into a crowd of people waiting at a Jerusalem light rail station, killing a three month old American girl, Haya Zissel-Brown, and injuring eight other people. Israeli police shot and killed the assailant as he fled the scene.

  • ISIS killed a Yazidi military commander, Khairi Murad Shex Khider, during a mortar attack on Wednesday.

Links for 10-22-2014

Links for 10-21-2014

Links for 10-20-2014

Links for 10-19-2014

  • Robert Goldberg wrote an op-ed for the New York Post describing how the FDA blocks Ebola vaccines. The FDA approval process has not kept pace with modern medical science.

  • Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is threatening the owners of a wedding chapel with fines and jail time if they don’t perform same sex wedding ceremonies. Coeur d’Alene adopted a nondiscrimination ordinance in 2013, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals deemed that same sex marriage would be legal in Idaho starting on October 15.

  • Registered gun owners in the U.K. are now subject to unannounced inspections by the police.

  • Sweden’s military is hunting for a submarine off Stockholm, presumably a Russian one. Reports are circulating that Swedish military intelligence intercepted an emergency beacon from the sub. Russia is denying everything.

  • Henri Barkey wrote an interesting article on the meaning of Kobani:

    Resistance in Kobani has also mobilized Kurds across the world, but especially in Turkey — notwithstanding the government’s earlier courageous attempt to initiate a peace process with its own Kurdish insurgent movement, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Turkish government faces a dilemma, however: a victory for the PYD, which is an ally, if not the creation, of the PKK, will not only strengthen the PKK’s bargaining position but will also potentially enable the Kurds to construct another Kurdish autonomous region on its borders after the KRG. That, in Ankara’s view, would be a strategic disaster, because it would naturally embolden Turkish Kurds to demand the same. In Turkey alone, some 36 people have already died in Kobani-related demonstrations.

    Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s blandishments to the contrary, Turkey prefers to see a PYD defeat in Kobani, even if this, in the medium term, causes a spike in refugees streaming across the border. For Turkey, this was a Faustian choice. They lost. Moreover, by attempting to drive a hard if not impossible bargain with Washington, which demanded that it target Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as much as it was targeting IS, the Turks first and foremost alienated the Obama administration. This in turn has enabled the White House to finally ignore Ankara’s preferences and cooperate (at least in order to conduct bombing runs) with the PYD, an organization Turkey despises and sees as an enemy.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reports that he refused to allow the U.S. to transfer arms to the Kurds fighting in Syria.

  • A suicide bomber killed 19 people and injured 28 others during a funeral at a Shiite mosque in Baghdad.

  • Ukraine says Russia agreed to supply it with natural gas this winter.

Links for 10-18-2014

Links for 10-17-2014