Links for 8-21-2017

  • The USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore, and ten sailors are missing. Multiple compartments were flooded, and there’s a good chance the ten sailors drowned inside them — the fate of the seven sailors who died on the USS Fitzgerald when it collided with a container ship in June. Five sailors were injured, and four of them had to be evacuated by helicopter. The U.S. Navy is calling a temporary halt to operations to focus on safety.

  • The U.S. scaled back its non-immigrant visa operations in Russia, which means it will be difficult for business people, tourists, and students to travel to the U.S. People will have to apply for these visas in person at the embassy in Moscow, which is a problem for a country that spans eleven time zones. The move was taken in response to Russia’s decision to reduce the number of American diplomats allowed to operate in Russia by 755. It will be difficult for Russia to retaliate in kind, since it’s likely Russian business people need to travel to the U.S. more urgently than the reverse direction. Russia announced that Anatoly Antonov will be the next ambassador to the U.S. Antonov is currently a deputy foreign minister, and has been a deputy defense minister. Holding the defense position during Russia’s slow invasion of Ukraine earned Antonov a slot on European sanctions lists. 

  • Andrew McCarthy read the indictment of House IT contractors Imran Awan and Hina Alvi, and discovered it contains odd omissions:

    The indictment itself is drawn very narrowly. All four charges flow from a financial-fraud conspiracy of short duration. Only Imran Awan and his wife are named as defendants. There is no reference to Awan-family perfidy in connection with the House communications system.

    More bizarre still: There is not a word about Alvi’s flight to Pakistan, nor Imran Awan’s failed attempt to follow her there. This is not an oversight. The omission appears quite intentional.

    Later:

    To summarize, the indictment is an exercise in omission. No mention of the Awan group’s theft of information from Congress. Not a hint about the astronomical sums the family was paid, much of it for no-show “work.” Not a word about Wasserman Schultz’s keeping Awan on the payroll for six months during which (a) he was known to be under investigation, (b) his wife was known to have fled to Pakistan, and (c) he was not credentialed to do the IT work for which he had been hired. Nothing about Wasserman Schultz’s energetic efforts to prevent investigators from examining Awan’s laptop. A likely currency-transportation offense against Alvi goes uncharged. And, as for the offenses that are charged, prosecutors plead them in a manner that avoids any reference to what should be their best evidence.

  • Claire Galofaro profiled Aberdeen, Washington, many of whose residents voted for Donald Trump in the hope he’d help turn around their town’s dying economy. Galofaro asks what Trump has done for them in his first six months; aside from rolling back some regulations, he hasn’t done much.

    Now they come to discuss Trump, and their differing degrees of faith that he will make good on his promise to fix the rotting blue-collar economy that brought this despair to their doorstep.

    Many here agree that the thrashing and churning in Washington looks trivial when viewed from this place 3,000 miles away that so many residents have been trying so hard to save. Some maintain confidence that Trump will rise above the chaos to deliver on his pledge to resurrect the American dream. Others fear new depths of hopelessness if he fails.

    Blodgett just prays Trump understand the stakes — because in places like this, there is little room left for error from Washington, D.C. 

    There, he is tweeting insults about senators and CNN.

    Here, her neighbors have been reduced to living in cars.

  • The University of Texas at Austin removed three Confederate statues from its campus in a late night operation. Houston police arrested Andrew Schneck as he was preparing to blow up a Confederate statue in a park. Police and FBI agents found more explosives at Schneck’s home.

  • Spanish police located and killed Younes Abouyaaquoub, the man they believe drove a truck into a crowd of people in Barcelona. Abouyaaquoub hijacked a car during his escape from the scene and killed the driver.

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey and Iran are discussing joint military action against the PKK and its Iranian affiliate, the PJAK.

  • China is still supplying North Korea with oil.

  • Jim DeMint explains that the federal government will never willingly surrender power, and the only solution available is an Article V convention: