Links for 3-22-2017

Links for 3-21-2017

  • A special forces soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Boniface, died in a noncombat incident in Logar province, Afghanistan. A Marine, Sgt. Maj. Timonthy J. Rudd, died while in South Korea for joint war games; Rudd was from Post, Texas.

  • Rob Natelson debunks disinformation campaigns that try to scare people about an Article V convention of states:

    Article V of the Constitution provides that three fourths of the states (now 38 of 50) must ratify an amendment before it becomes effective. Before ratification, however, it must be formally proposed—either by Congress or by a “convention for proposing amendments.” A convention is called when two thirds of state legislatures (34 of 50) adopt overlapping resolutions in favor of one.

    The founders inserted the convention procedure so the people, acting through their state legislatures, could propose reforms that Congress would rather block. The founders viewed the procedure as a crucial constitutional right. Without it, the Constitution may not have been adopted.

    Opponents’ disinformation campaign is designed to frighten Americans away from using a convention to bypass the Washington power establishment. In some ways, their campaign resembles efforts to suppress voting among targeted groups. It propagates four central assertions—all of them constitutional junk.

  • The House Republican leadership is done with the ObamaCare Lite bill, and the few changes they made don’t improve it much. The House Freedom Caucus is neutral on the revised bill, but many members say they’ll vote against it. Donald Trump is still threatening to primary them if they do vote against it, but Ben Shapiro argues they have a lot more to fear from voters if they fail to deliver on their promise to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with something that lowers premiums:

    Meeting on the Hill with House members today, Trump said that his crowd size would dissipate if Republicans didn’t pass his bill. “We won’t have these crowds if we don’t get this done,” he said. He turned on the House Freedom Caucus – some of his biggest backers during the election cycle – and said that loss wasn’t “acceptable,” specifically targeting Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) for scrutiny. He added, “I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don’t get this done.”

    This is doubtful.

    Actually, there’s a significantly better chance that House Republicans will lose their seats if they vote for a bad replacement bill that doesn’t cut rising premiums, provide more health care choice, or do much to lower costs down the line (which it won’t, since the block grant program to Medicaid is always subject to future Congresses revising the deal). Trumpcare doesn’t even meet with Trump’s directives to increase the number of people with health insurance – a Democratic talking point adopted by Trump for years on end.

  • Owen Strachan argues that the alt-right is what you get when you marginalize men:

    Because it is not friendly to them, many men do not like postmodern society. They have been taught they have no innate call to leadership of home and church, and accordingly have lost the script for their lives. They have been encouraged to step back from being a breadwinner, and do not know what they are supposed to do with their lives.

    They have been told that they talk too loudly and spread their legs too wide, and thus do not fit in with a feminized society. They may be the product of a divorced home, and may have grown up without an engaged father, so possess both pent-up rage and a disappearing instinct. They did nothing to choose their biological manliness, but are instructed to attend sensitivity training by virtue of it. They recognize—rightly—that politically correct culture constrains free thought and free speech, and so they opt out from it.

    But here is where the common narrative of the alt-right and related groups makes a major mistake. Men are disappearing, but they are not vanishing. They are moving out of the mainstream, and into the shadows.

  • The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that people flying to the U.S. from airports in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Morocco, and Qatar will have to check electronic devices larger than cell phones.

  • Sharron Angle is running for office again, this time for the House of Representatives from Nevada’s district 2.

  • Fox News pulled analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano off the air indefinitely over his claim that Britain’s intelligence agencies wiretapped Donald Trump at Barack Obama’s behest.

  • More than 300 models of Cisco Ethernet switches can be remotely compromised and there’s no fix yet. Cisco discovered the bug when WikiLeaks published an inventory of the CIA’s hacking tools.

  • Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye apologized for her role in the scandal that resulted in her impeachment. She lost her immunity from prosecution when she lost her office, so prosecutors are now questioning her as a criminal suspect.

  • A North Korean official stationed at the U.N. in Geneva claimed North Korea will develop a preemptive nuclear strike capability and the country isn’t afraid of U.S. efforts to impose new financial sanctions.

  • A Tibetan named Pema Gyaltsen self-immolated in Kham province and Chinese authorities responded by arresting around 200 people.

  • Stars and Stripes published an article describing the funeral of an 18-year-old Yazidi fighter, Salam Mukhaibir. He and four other fighters died in a battle with peshmerga forces from Iraqi Kurdistan. Many Yazidis fighters are aligned with the Kurdish PKK because the pershmerga abandoned them when ISIS invaded the area around Mount Sinjar.

  • A car bomb detonated less than a kilometer from the presidential palace in Mogadishu, killing at least four people.

Links for 3-20-2017

Links for 3-19-2017

Links for 3-18-2017

Links for 3-17-2017

Links for 3-16-2017

  • Someone — possibly a foreign intelligence agency — appears to have hacked commercial cell phone towers in Washington, D.C. and other areas of the country, and they’re using that access to track people.

  • The federal district court judge in Hawaii who blocked Donald Trump’s latest immigration/travel executive order based his ruling on his beliefs about Trump’s motives, not the law:

    Throughout the ruling, Judge Watson concedes there’s nothing about the executive order that would be problematic if not for his interpretation of Trump’s statements made in the months and years prior to issuing it. He repeatedly states his feeling that Trump had a bad motive in issuing the order.

    Judges using campaign rhetoric to infer intent instead of plainly evaluating the law as written is a dangerous development. Also because the public can witness the selective use of this trick, it undermines confidence in the judiciary at a time when the judiciary can’t afford too much erosion of trust.

    These are also good points by @ThomasHCrown:




  • The latest debt limit deal expired yesterday, and the federal government added $1.4 trillion to its debt over the 16 months it was in effect. The current federal debt (not including unfunded liabilities) stands at $19.9 trillion.

  • The U.S. Navy demonstrated firing two SM–6 missiles in rapid succession at a ballistic missile target, which is something they couldn’t do with their previous generation SM–5 missiles. Firing two (or more) missiles is intended as a fail-safe in case one misses.

  • Kevin Williamson writes that the Republican and Democratic parties have swapped roles:

    The Democrats have become what the Republicans once were: the party of the respectable upper-middle class — and of many of those who aspire to it. (The poor are for patronage and vote-farming.) They are, as the bourgeoisie always are, obsessed with social convention and etiquette (If a young white woman in college wears hoop earrings, is it “cultural appropriation”? How ashamed should I be for having watched Speedy Gonzales cartoons as a kid — and enjoyed them?). The Republicans have gone seeking tribunes of the plebs. (Weird thing: Our tribunes of the plebs have an awful lot of private jets backed in Palm Beach.) Up is down, left is right, confusion reigns.

    In neither party’s case does this recent evolution constitute an improvement: It would be one thing if the Democrats had embraced their inner aristocrats with a decent and forthright spirit of public service rather than their current nastiness and stupidity, or if the newly class-conscious Republicans were proceeding as people who are (as Someone once put it) “poor in spirit,” putting generosity of spirit rather than seething resentment at the center of their new concern for those at the margins of modern life. But that is not the case. The Democrats have become ordinary snobs of a particularly embarrassing variety, and the Republicans have become incontinent rage monkeys, looking for someone — anyone — to blame. They are much more interested in afflicting the comfortable than in comforting the afflicted. But there is another approach to life’s losers, a better one, if only they could remember.

  • Congressman Thomas Massie has concluded that voters who supported libertarians and Donald Trump were just voting for the crazies:

    “All this time,” Massie explained, “I thought they were voting for libertarian Republicans. But after some soul searching I realized when they voted for Rand and Ron and me in these primaries, they weren’t voting for libertarian ideas — they were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race. And Donald Trump won best in class, as we had up until he came along.”

  • Federal and state prosecutors decided they will not charge New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over his campaign fundraising practices.

  • Queen Elizabeth approved the law giving Prime Minister Theresa May authority to trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union.

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD won a parliamentary majority in yesterday’s election, but lost eight seats in the process. One of Rutte’s coalition partners, the Labour party, got blown out (they lost 29 seats), so Rutte will have to build a new coalition. Geert Wilders’ PVV party gained five seats, which is fewer than polls predicted. To win, Rutte and VVD had to co-opt many of Wilders’ stances on immigration, so Wilders did shift the public discussion.

  • Someone sent a letter bomb to the International Monetary Fund office in Paris.