Links for 5-5-2015

  • ISIS claimed that it’s responsible for the shooting in Garland, Texas. It’s not clear if ISIS really had anything to do with it, or if they’re opportunistically claiming responsibility after the fact. Last week the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a Joint Intelligence Bulletin stating their opinion that the risk of an attack at the free speech event in Garland was low. Oops.

  • Mike Huckabee announced that he’s running for president.

  • It’s difficult for Congresscritters to support renewing fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement when the Obama administration goes to extraordinary lengths to conceal the contents of the draft from them:

    If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.

    If you’re a member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving.

    And no matter what, you can’t discuss the details of what you’ve read.

  • Mitch McConnell filed cloture on Bob Corker’s “Iran Nuclear Review Act,” which puts the Senate on course to surrender its advice and consent responsibility for treaties.

  • The EPA’s plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants goes out of its way to punish Texas:

    Texas generates 11 percent of the nation’s energy and sells it in many state markets. However, under the Obama-McCarthy plan, Texas must reduce its CO2 by 18 percent. This will result in closing 19 to 25 fossil-fueled electricity plants, including half of the youngest plants in the country. (Yes, Texas is one giant state.)

    Texas emissions are actually below the national average and lower than that of 18 other states, but the EPA plan requires Texas to reduce CO2 by an amount greater than 27 states combined.

  • The Treasury inspector general for tax administration issued a report stating that the IRS may have issued $5.6 billion in “potentially bogus” education tax credits in 2012.

  • Andrew McCarthy details problems with the charges filed against the six Baltimore police officers in the Freddie Gray case:

    Competent prosecutors charge crimes only when there is evidence sufficient to prove that specific laws have been broken. A government lawyer who publicly asserts that her case was brought for the purpose of dousing inflamed passions, satisfying political agitators, or even easing real suffering undermines the prosecution. It’s not just the wrong thing to do; it’s the dumb thing to do.

  • The full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that law enforcement agencies do not need a search warrant to obtain cell tower location records during criminal investigations.

  • Victor Davis Hanson wrote a great article exploring the phenomenon of foreigners who spend years in the U.S. (often attending school), then become some of America’s greatest enemies. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is an example:

    Note that Zarif can speak so knowledgeably and in English because he is a product of the system he now seeks to thwart. The smooth Zarif goes mum, however, when asked about Iran’s practice of stoning homosexuals, executing women accused of adultery, jailing and executing apostates, banning free speech and assembly, incarcerating foreigners, rigging elections, and subsidizing terrorist murderers. He certainly would never have gone to America if Americans had treated Iranians the way his Iran now treats Americans — and indeed its own people. One wonders whether Zarif’s fury at the U.S. will force him to seek the revocation of the Great Satan citizenship of his two children — or whether their blue passports are too valuable as insurance policies for when Iran goes through the next round of revolutionary purges, and Zarif might once again need a parachute to land back in Godless America?

    Later:

    A final note of warning. Naïve Westerners believe that they can welcome any and all foreign elites into their universities, and that the resulting exposure to liberal values will only make them sympathetic to the West. But more likely the opposite is true. Such familiarity instead breeds contempt, for a variety of both understandable and sick reasons. Liberals assume that exposure to postmodern liberal culture will make a foreign national become liberal in their own Western sense, and therefore a friend and ally. Any anti-American sentiment is presumably based on the observation of American right-wing behavior abroad, which can be corrected by liberal nostrums. In truth, liberals are clueless that people like Zarif and Morsi, to the degree they are not complete cons and hypocrites, hate the U.S. not for what it does, but for what it represents and what it brings out in people. In other words, an openly gay couple in San Francisco or a young single woman in skin-tight jeans and a halter top in Georgetown would offend a Zarif or a Morsi just as much as, or perhaps more than, a U.S. frigate sailing the Mediterranean to maintain the postwar world order.

  • Lenovo acquired IBM’s server computer business, and now the U.S. Navy needs a new supplier for the computers in its Aegis-equipped ships. Even if the Navy were to buy servers from another vendor, there’s a good chance those computers were assembled in China, too.

  • Two Chinese navy warships entered the Black Sea for the first time, and the Chinese and Russian navies will hold joint exercises in the Mediterranean later this month.

  • Chinese authorities are requiring (Muslim) Uighur stores in Xinjiang province to sell alcohol and cigarettes.

  • North Korea conducted the third ejection test of its new submarine-launched ballistic missile, this time from an underwater test platform.

  • Hezbollah plans to launch attacks from Lebanon into Syria, targeting the al Nusrah Front.