Links for 5-3-2018

  • All nine crew members of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard C-130 that crashed in Georgia died.

  • American Green Berets are helping the Saudis along their border with Yemen:

    A half-dozen officials — from the United States military, the Trump administration, and European and Arab nations — said the American commandos are training Saudi ground troops to secure their border. They also are working closely with American intelligence analysts in Najran, a city in southern Saudi Arabia that has been repeatedly attacked with rockets, to help locate Houthi missile sites within Yemen.

    Along the porous border, the Americans are working with surveillance planes that can gather electronic signals to track the Houthi weapons and their launch sites, according to the officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the mission publicly.

  • Chinese military personnel at a base in Djibouti have been firing lasers at American pilots flying out of a nearby U.S. base. The U.S. filed a diplomatic protest with China over the incidents.

  • The death of Alfie Evans marked the death of natural rights:

    This is a view of the state that would tend to make self-government impossible, for it removes the ground of the difference between freedom and obedience to authority. Theoretically, such a state cannot be legitimated by the consent of the governed, because it does not secure their rights, starting with the right to life. It is legitimated instead by its expert and orderly administration of rules of its own making. Theoretically, the state has assumed control of human life and the definition of its limits—death, ultimately. The state has secured passive consent, so that if it does not face a revolution, there’s nothing to worry about.

    Kate James and Tom Evans, Alfie’s parents, argued for their freedom, and for their right to decide for their child. They obviously thought, in taking their child to the hospital, that they had certain rights as subjects of the sovereign and certain duties to their child. Had they let him die, which was what the state would later insist on doing, they might have been prosecuted for neglect. They acted freely, but at the same time compelled by necessity. They sought to match their own moral virtues with the intellectual virtues of the doctors, for the National Health Service is a public institution. This turned out to be impossible.

    Later:

    To some extent, British authority is now a suicide pact, to borrow the phrase of Justice Robert Jackson, who insisted that the U.S. Constitution was not one. Something very important has been lost if the right to life depends on circumstances ascertained by experts and decided on by judges. And if British hospital and police personnel are willing to enforce such decisions, the loss seems coextensive with the British state. It is not an exception, but the new rule.

  • The law professor that James Comey used to leak a memo to The New York Times, Daniel Richman, worked for the FBI as a “special government employee”:

    Sources familiar with Richman’s FBI status said he was assigned to “special projects” by Comey, and had a security clearance as well as badge access to the building. Richman told Fox News in an email last week that he was working as an SGE on an unpaid basis.

    Later:

    During this time, a review of media reports between July 2015 and February 2017 shows Richman gave multiple interviews defending Comey’s handling of the Clinton email case, including the controversial decision to reopen the probe shortly before the presidential election. He was typically identified as a law professor, and sometimes as a policy adviser to Comey.

  • Amazon booted Alliance Defending Freedom from its AmazonSmile program because the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled it a “hate group.” AmazonSmile enables you to donate a small percentage of your purchases to a nonprofit group.

  • Federal prosecutors indicted the former CEO of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, over the company’s diesel emissions cheating scheme.

  • A Russian Su-30SM fighter crashed after taking off from a base in Syria, killing both pilots.

  • Moldova sentenced eight of its citizens to prison for fighting in Ukraine on Russia’s behalf.