Links for 7-27-2015

  • Ted Cruz explains what happened in the Senate yesterday. Every Republican senator except Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul has left himself open to an attack ad that reads like this:

    On July 14, 2015, the Center for Medical Progress started releasing YouTube videos providing indisputable evidence that Planned Parenthood sells the organs of aborted babies. Planned Parenthood has received billions of tax dollars from the federal government over the course of decades that frees up funds that it uses to perform abortions and sell the body parts of innocent human beings. On July 26, 2015, Senator TwoFace had the opportunity to vote to finally end federal funding of Planned Parenthood and stop federal collusion with Planned Parenthood’s despicable practices. Senator TwoFace, who told you during the during the last election cycle that he’s pro-life, bravely stepped forward at this crucial moment and did…absolutely nothing. Instead of voting to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood, Senator TwoFace followed orders from Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and did nothing. Your tax dollars are still funding an organization that sells baby parts. Does Senator TwoFace represent you, or Planned Parenthood, Mitch McConnell, and Harry Reid?

    The best part about that hypothetical ad? It’s true.

  • Ben Domenech explains why the Republican Party exists:

    The Senate Republicans have in the space of a few short months dramatically undercut their ability to be considered serious on national security, fiscal conservative, and social conservative priorities. And for what? What is worth cutting all three flimsy legs of the stool shorter? Surely it has to be something worthwhile – avoiding a government shutdown, or repealing Obamacare? Surely it must be about achieving some greater legislative goal or laying the groundwork for taking the White House in 2016?

    Well, actually, the aim is to pass a Highway Bill. It is a thousand page tax and pork-laden monstrosity which does not deserve to pass in the first place, and whose failure would be greeted as a positive development for any fiscal conservative. For conservatives, the Highway Bill is a bad thing that could be the vehicle for something politically useful. For Republicans, this is not the case. The passage of a Planned Parenthood defunding amendment would set up a direct conflict with the White House over the issue, and undercut McConnell’s priority of passing a Highway Bill with an Ex-Im resurrection attached to it – two things that are not a priority at all for Republican voters, mind you, but for the corporatist constituency the Republican Party actually serves, are near the top of the list.

    And that is why the Republican Party exists.

  • David Harsanyi offers an explanation for why self-identified Republicans disapprove of the Republican Party in larger and larger numbers:

    Setting aside presidential politics for a moment, three issues have filled the conservative ether the past few weeks: The administration’s pact abetting Iran’s efforts to become a threshold nuclear power, Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting controversy, and, to a lesser extent, the renewal of the Export-Import bank. None of these are hobbyhorses of the wild fringe. They’re issues—ostensibly, at least—that are core issues of the modern GOP. And on all three, the GOP has, though it has plenty of leverage to raise a stink, capitulated. In fact, it has probably put more effort into evading confrontation than its standard response of pretending to court it.

  • Angelo Codevilla’s thoughts on why Donald Trump is so popular:

    The point here is simple: our ruling class has succeeded in ruling not by reason or persuasion, never mind integrity, but by occupying society’s commanding heights, by imposing itself and its ever-changing appetites on the rest of us. It has coopted or intimidated potential opponents by denying the legitimacy of opposition. Donald Trump, haplessness and clownishness notwithstanding, has shown how easily this regime may be threatened just by refusing to be intimidated.

    Having failed to destroy Trump, Republicans and Democrats are left to hope that he will self-destruct as Perot did. Indeed, Trump has hardly scratched the surface and may not be able to do more than that. Yet our rulers know the list of things divide them from the American people is long. They want to avoid like the plague any and all arguments on the substance of those things. They fear the rise of an un-intimidated leader more graceful and precise than Trump, someone whose vision is fuller but who is even more passionate in championing the many resentments the voicing of just a few channeled so much support to Trump.

    Codevilla concludes with this:

    Habitually, our ruling class tries to intimidate its opponents by calling them “haters” (“racists,” etc. is part of the all too familiar litany.) A statesman worthy of the title would respond that calling people such names is the very opposite of civility, never mind love. Such a leader would trump our rulers.

    Donald Trump is not such a person.

  • Someone hacked Planned Parenthood’s computers.

  • Roger Simon wrote a good summary of the Iranian nuclear deal:

    The Iranians made no concessions, only our side did, and we (especially the State Department) have lied continually to the American people about the extent of our concessions, most of which are hidden from view in side letters. But even if that weren’t so — and it is — the basics are clear. We have given Iran a pathway to a plutonium bomb while entirely gutting any possible inspections regime. We did this by abandoning the promised anytime/anywhere inspections for some bureaucratic mishmash that will take anywhere from 24 days to a year (depending on whom you ask) and by collapsing on the so-called PMDs (possible military dimensions) of Iran’s previous nuclear program, so there is no way to prove what is new and what is not in the first place. And to top it off, we have given the Iranians a signing bonus of 150 billion that, no doubt, will be used to finance either the Tehran branch of the Little Sisters of the Poor or another skillion mid-range missiles for Hezbollah. You decide.

  • The Washington Post published an account of how Congressman Mike Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton discovered the side agreements to the Iranian nuclear deal by happenstance.

  • One of the Wisconsin “John Doe” whistleblowers, Michael Lutz, committed suicide Sunday morning.

  • The Obama administration and Turkey’s government plan to establish an ISIS-free zone in Syria along the border with Turkey, which would alleviate the problem of Syrian refugees flooding into Turkey. Observers have suggested that the Obama administration accepted Turkey’s bombing of PKK sites in northern Iraq as the price for cooperation against ISIS; the State Department claims this isn’t so:

    U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby disputed suggestions that Washington had condoned Turkey’s strikes on the PKK as a quid pro quo for Ankara’s expanded cooperation against Islamic State. He described the timing as a “coincidence”.

    “PKK is a foreign terrorist organization, Turks have a right to defend themselves against it,” Kirby said.

    “There’s no connection between what they did against PKK and what we’re going to try to do together against ISIL,” he said.

    It’s a “coincidence.” If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.