Links for 10-22-2016

  • David French and his wife Nancy French wrote articles for National Review and The Washington Post, respectively, about their experiences opposing Donald Trump. Nancy French’s article is entitled “What It’s Like to Experience the 2016 Election as Both a Conservative and a Sex Abuse Survivor,” and it ends with this:

    Here’s the truth. The GOP once was alive but is now dead. It confuses me to hear the values preached from the podium but ignored in real life; it feels odd to just repurpose a political party into an extension of the trump Empire without acknowledging the values which had so recently dwelled there.

    My party — which should’ve been a place of a certain set of values — now shelters an abuser. I’m thinking of this when the GOP presses against me and asks me to close my eyes just one more time.

  • Archbishop Charles J. Chaput delivered a remarkable speech to a group of bishops at the University of Notre Dame:

    The 2016 election is one of those rare moments when the repellent nature of both presidential candidates allows the rest of us to see our nation’s pastoral terrain as it really is.  And the view is unpleasant.  America’s cultural and political elites talk a lot about equality, opportunity and justice.  But they behave like a privileged class with an authority based on their connections and skills.  And supported by sympathetic media, they’re remaking the country into something very different from anything most of us remember or the Founders imagined.


    Let me put our situation this way.  The two unavoidable facts of life are mortality and inequality.  We’re going to die.  And — here I’m committing a primal American heresy — we’re not created “equal” in the secular meaning of that word.  We’re obviously not equal in dozens of ways:  health, intellect, athletic ability, opportunity, education, income, social status, economic resources, wisdom, social skills character, holiness, beauty or anything else.  And we never will be.  Wise social policy can ease our material inequalities and improve the lives of the poor.  But as Tocqueville warned, the more we try to enforce a radical, unnatural, egalitarian equality, the more “totalitarian” democracy becomes.

    Later still:

    What Christians mean by “freedom” and “equality” is very different from the secular content of those words.  For the believer, freedom is more than a menu of choices or the absence of oppression.  Christian freedom is the liberty, the knowledge and the character to do what’s morally right.  And the Christian meaning of “equality” is much more robust than the moral equivalent of a math equation.  It involves the kind of love a mother feels for each of her children, which really isn’t equality at all.  A good mother loves her children infinitely and uniquely — not “equally,” because that would be impossible.  Rather, she loves them profoundly in the sense that all of her children are flesh of her flesh, and have a permanent, unlimited claim on her heart.

  • The Department of Justice is refusing to help North Dakota sheriff’s departments and state police address the acts of violence committed by people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. The protesters are camped out on federal land, are intimidating local residents, are threatening law enforcement officers, and are burning construction equipment.
  • Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen wrote a very good article on Turkey’s wars, most of which target Kurds:

    Turkey adamantly opposes independence for the Kurds, and the U.S. had trouble gaining even reluctant Turkish acceptance of Northern Iraq’s regional autonomy after the 2003 ouster of Saddam from Baghdad. The dissolution of Assad’s control of Northern Syria and the possibility that Iraqi and Syrian Kurds might construct a contiguous Kurdish area appears to pose a greater problem for Turkey than the rise and spread of ISIS. It is against the Syrian Kurds, therefore, not ISIS that Turkey has been operating for months.


    To many in the Middle East, the United States not only appears unreliable, which is bad enough, but seems to have frequently abandoned its friends and allies, which is worse. In the Obama administration, not only the president, but also the vice president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense bear responsibility for these impressions. While Turkey is, by treaty, an American ally and a NATO member, the U.S. has to either rein in the Turks or face the consequence of a powerful and reckless Turkish government shooting up Turkey and its neighborhood – and our allies.

  • The Iraqi army liberated two Christian villages from ISIS, and security forces in Kirkuk ended the ISIS attack there. The Kirkuk attack was large, involving more than 60 ISIS fighters.
  • An Egyptian court confirmed former president Mohammed Mursi’s 20 year prison sentence.
  • A senior Egyptian military officer who served in the northern Sinai, Brigadier General Adel Rajaaie, was gunned down outside his home near Cairo.
  • The European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli Mars lander shut down its retro rockets too soon, hitting the ground hard and exploding.

Links for 10-21-2016

  • The American soldier killed in Iraq by an IED was actually a sailor, Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan. He was assigned to an ordinance disposal unit.

  • ISIS staged an attack in the heart of Kirkuk, Iraq, diverting attention from the Iraqi offensive against Mosul.

  • Mark Hemingway wrote an excellent article on what we’ve learned from the John Podesta emails released by WikiLeaks:

    And what a story they tell. America’s greatest novelists could not have concocted a tale that so perfectly confirms dark suspicions about how the liberal elites running America really operate. Taken in total, the picture Podesta’s emails present is of a man whose tentacles are adroitly moving all the levers of power. In retrospect, Podesta’s casual attitude toward Clinton’s email problems doesn’t look oblivious—it looks prescient. Why should he worry about disgrace for Hillary Clinton when he and his friends in politics, business, and the media dictate what becomes a scandal?


    According to the New Republic, the most damning of the lot is an October 6, 2008, email from Michael Froman, currently the U.S. Trade Representative. He formerly served as chief of staff for Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin in the Clinton White House and worked with Barack Obama at the Harvard Law Review. At the time he emailed Podesta, Froman was an executive at Citigroup and Podesta was co-chair of Obama’s presidential transition team. The email had the subject “Lists.” Attached to the email were three lists of people who could fill 31 Obama cabinet positions, organized by sex and ethnicity.

    “[The lists] correctly identified Eric Holder for the Justice Department, Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, Robert Gates for Defense, Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff, Peter Orszag for the Office of Management and Budget, Arne Duncan for Education, Eric Shinseki for Veterans Affairs, Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services, Melody Barnes for the Domestic Policy Council, and more,” notes David Dayen in the New Republic. “For the Treasury, three possibilities were on the list: Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Timothy Geithner.” In other words, a month before the 2008 election, an executive at Citigroup, which would soon receive the largest federal bailout of any bank during the financial crisis, was basically dictating the makeup of the Obama cabinet.

  • Matthew Continetti writes on “The Crisis of the Conservative Intellectual”:

    This is the crisis of the conservative intellectual. After years of aligning with, trying to explain, sympathizing with the causes, and occasionally ignoring the worst aspects of populism, he finds that populism has exiled him from his political home. He finds the détente between conservatism and populism abrogated. His models—Buckley, Burnham, Will, Charles Murray, Yuval Levin—are forgotten, attacked, or ignored by a large part of the conservative infrastructure they helped to build. He finds the prospect of a reform conservatism that adds to our strengths while ameliorating our weaknesses to be remarkably dim. Such conservatism has exactly two spokesmen in the Senate. It has a handful of allies in the House and states.

    From the Panama Canal to the Tea Party, from Phyllis Schlafly to Sarah Palin, the conservative intellectual has viewed the New Right as a sometimes annoying but ultimately worthy friend. New Right activists supplied the institutions, dollars and votes that helped the conservative intellectual reform tax, crime, welfare, and legal policy. But that is no longer the case. Donald Trump was the vehicle by which the New Right went from one part of the conservative coalition to the dominant ideological tendency of the Grand Old Party.

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte partially walked back his statement about separating from the U.S.

  • Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is forming “youth branches” in the country’s mosques, which a skeptical person would deem a vehicle for indoctrination.

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gives you advice on cyber security:

Links for 10-20-2016

Links for 10-19-2016

  • An American soldier and an American civilian died in an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. Another soldier and two civilians were injured.

  • The first poll showing Evan McMullin leading in Utah was released – it’s from Emerson College. It has McMullin at 31%, Trump at 27%, Clinton at 24%, and Gary Johnson at 5%.

  • One of the emails released by WikiLeaks indicates Eric Schmidt is working directly for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Schmidt is the executive chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

  • Emails obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act show that Hillary Clinton discussed her private email server with her State Department IT staffer, Bryan Pagliano. In her written responses to Judicial Watch’s questions last week (responses that are provided under oath), Clinton said she couldn’t recall communicating with Pagliano about her private server.

  • Two Democratic operatives, Scott Foval and Robert Creamer, lost their jobs after they were caught by Project Veritas Action describing how they helped incite violence at Donald Trump rallies. They’ll be working for other Democratic organizations shortly.

  • Retired Marine Corps General James Cartwright pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The FBI questioned Cartwright in connection with leaks about the Stuxnet virus that the U.S. and Israel used to disrupt Iran’s uranium enrichment program. After Cartwright retired from the Marine Corps (he was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time of his retirement), he talked to reporters from The New York Times and Newsweek about Stuxnet, then lied to the FBI about those discussions.

  • Abby Johnson writes on Planned Parenthood’s 100th anniversary:

    Planned Parenthood has spent the past 100 years covering up the truth with creative rhetoric, political games like spending $30 million ahead of November’s election, and constantly referring back to their slogan: “Care, no matter what.” The American people are smarter than that, and we know America deserves better than anything Planned Parenthood offers.

    For 100 years, Planned Parenthood has told women they don’t have a voice unless they agree with Planned Parenthood. For 100 years, Planned Parenthood has pressured women into buying their rhetoric and joining their cause. For 100 years, Planned Parenthood has told women that they aren’t strong enough to be mothers and they can’t achieve their goals without abortion and birth control.

    For 100 years, Planned Parenthood has treated women as commodities. For 100 years, Planned Parenthood has exploited women to increase business revenue. For 100 years, Planned Parenthood has treated the children of the women they claim to serve as garbage—often literally throwing their bodies out with the trash.

  • Liberal advocacy groups and the federal government are pushing “social emotional learning” (SEL) standards into schools, and they’re ripe for abuse:

    The problems with SEL are both philosophical and operational. Parents rightly object that the school (which means the government) has no business analyzing and trying to change a child’s psychological makeup. It’s one thing to enforce discipline in a classroom and encourage individual students to do their best; good teachers have done that from time immemorial. It’s quite another to assess students on their compliance with highly subjective behavioral standards that may measure personality and individual or family beliefs more than objective shortcomings in performance. The school exists to assist parents in educating their children, not to replace them in that role.


    So as parents are beginning to recognize, this entire SEL scheme is objectionable on many levels. Particularly troubling are indications that CASEL [Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning] and other SEL proponents advance political and cultural viewpoints that conflict with those of many families. Parents will be assured the goal is merely to instill more positive mindsets to increase academic achievement, but the evidence suggests another motivation is in play.

    It’s revealing to examine the connections CASEL has to far-left individuals and organizations that push particular agendas. One CASEL board member is Linda Darling-Hammond, the radical education professor who was Bill Ayers’s choice to be President Obama’s secretary of Education.

    Parents might wonder if the world they want and the world Darling-Hammond wants are the same thing.

  • Jerry Falwell Jr. censored the student newspaper at Liberty University, killing an article critical of Donald Trump. RedState published the article.

  • Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia plan to triple their military budgets by 2018 in reaction to Russian expansionism.

  • The European Space Agency’s latest Mars lander, Schiaparelli, appears to have crashed during its descent to the planet’s surface.

  • The former leader of Brazil’s lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, was arrested on corruption charges. Cunha led efforts to impeach former President Dilma Rousseff. From the linked article:

    Cunha, one-time leader of the Evangelical Christian caucus in the House of Deputies is accused of receiving millions in bribes from a purchase of an oil field in Benin by state-run oil company Petrobras, which led to his arrest on Wednesday.

    In a separate case before a federal court in Rio de Janeiro, Cunha is also charged with taking $5 million in bribes in relation to contracts for two drillships for Petrobras, which is known formally as Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Links for 10-18-2016

Links for 10-17-2016

Links for 10-16-2016