Links for 4-11-2018

  • Senator Rand Paul endorsing a Convention of States:

  • Confirming rumors that have been circulating for months, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) won’t run for re-election. Denis Ross (R-FL) isn’t running for re-election, either.

  • The Congressional Budget Office broke the law when it deemed the omnibus spending bill’s ObamaCare insurer bailout a net savings.

  • Bellingcat analyzed open source data on the latest chemical weapons attack in Syria, and it looks like Bashar al-Assad’s regime dropped a chlorine tank on an apartment building from a helicopter, and that accounted for the majority of the deaths.

  • John Daniel Davidson toured San Francisco’s homeless camps:

    In other words, San Francisco is rich and beautiful—and it doesn’t care what Republicans think. Like many large U.S. cities, Democrats here preside over a political monoculture. Less than 10 percent of San Franciscans voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and the city hasn’t had a GOP mayor since 1964. The Board of Supervisors (the city council) is technically nonpartisan, but every seat on the board is occupied by a registered Democrat. The top four candidates in the current mayoral race—an African-American woman, an Asian-American woman, an Hispanic woman, and an openly gay man—will all be “firsts,” no matter who wins the special election in June. Also certain: the winner will be a Democrat.

    The absence of any organized political opposition, combined with its vast wealth, makes San Francisco a kind of proof-of-concept for progressive governance. If there’s anywhere progressives should be able to enact their schemes for a perfectly-ordered society, it’s here. A booming tech industry has made vast new resources available to the city: the 2017–18 municipal budget exceeds $10 billion, nearly a third larger than the budget was a decade ago. City government now spends roughly $11,500 per person each year, more than any other city in the country (including New York) and almost double per capita state spending.

    That’s why the housing and homelessness problems besetting the city open it up to more than mere mockery from conservatives but substantive criticism of progressive governance writ large. It’s not just homeless encampments that bedevil San Francisco, but also the flight of the middle class and the emergence of a kind of citywide caste system: the wealthy, the service class, and the destitute. In some ways, San Francisco is becoming something progressives are supposed to hate: a private club for the super-rich.

  • China is developing a nuclear-capable, air-launched ballistic missile and a modified bomber to carry it.

  • An Algerian Il–76 military transport plane crashed about 20 miles southwest of Algiers, killing 257 people.

  • Saudi Arabia claims it shot down another three ballistic missiles fired by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.