Links for 5-15-2018

Links for 5-14-2018

Links for 5-11-2018

  • Bari Weiss wrote an article for The New York Times on the “intellectual dark web” that caused a sensation on the political left because they apparently hadn’t heard of Ben Shapiro or Jordan Peterson. Weiss wrote this description of the intellectual dark web’s leaders:

    But they all share three distinct qualities. First, they are willing to disagree ferociously, but talk civilly, about nearly every meaningful subject: religion, abortion, immigration, the nature of consciousness. Second, in an age in which popular feelings about the way things ought to be often override facts about the way things actually are, each is determined to resist parroting what’s politically convenient. And third, some have paid for this commitment by being purged from institutions that have become increasingly hostile to unorthodox thought — and have found receptive audiences elsewhere.

    Matthew Continetti writes these people are actually a Coalition for Cultural Freedom:

    What has come into being is not a committee or congress but a Coalition for Cultural Freedom. This wide-ranging assembly of critics opposed to the consensus that dominates the commanding heights of culture, entertainment, and media is neither centrally directed nor unified, not precisely delineated or philosophically consistent. But they do all believe in what Gaetano Mosca called “juridical defense,” pluralism in opinion and institutions to guard against conformity and repression. And the fact that Kanye’s heresy and Weiss’ reporting were greeted with contumely, derision, outrage, and agony is evidence for the strength of such conformity, the desire for such repression.

    David French believes people should be paying attention to the audience for the intellectual dark web, not its leaders:

    There are millions of Americans who are deeply frustrated with an educational system that walls out their point of view, a corporate culture that’s increasingly indistinguishable (particularly on social issues) from a faculty lounge, and a legacy media — including Hollywood — that’s influenced by and pays homage to these same ideas and institutions. Yes, you can make an anonymous account on Twitter to engage in social-media combat, but if you live and work in these immense and powerful American institutions, you speak your mind at your own risk.

    In those circumstances, a Ben Shapiro podcast or a Jordan Peterson YouTube video is a breath of fresh air. There — right there — fearlessly and eloquently stated is the other side of the story. It’s inspiring (not everyone is afraid), it’s informative (it frequently introduces facts not widely discussed in progressive circles), and it’s often wildly entertaining. The members of the Intellectual Dark Web are just flat-out good at what they do.

  • There’s speculation that the FBI had a source within Donald Trump’s campaign that the agency has been trying to conceal.

  • Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a constitutional carry bill. Fallin is term limited, so she won’t pay a political price for this.

  • The NRA sued New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York’s state financial regulator for engaging in a “blacklisting campaign” that discouraged financial institutions from doing business with the NRA.

  • The former speaker of New York’s state assembly, Sheldon Silver, was convicted of federal corruption charges in a second trial. He was convicted in his first trial as well, but that conviction was thrown out after a U.S. Supreme Court case placed restrictions on corruption prosecutions.

  • A Chinese billionaire named Ng Lap Seng was sentenced to four years in prison for bribing U.N. officials.

  • China flew fighters and bombers around Taiwan again.

  • Turkey arrested another 150 soldiers over alleged links to Fethullah Gulen.

  • Ari Lieberman offers twelve good reasons for kicking Turkey out of NATO.

  • Symbols of Kurdish nationalism have all but disappeared from Kirkuk after Iraqi government forces and Sunni militias captured the city.

  • Russia backtracked on selling S-300 ground-to-air missiles to Syria after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow.

  • The Taliban overran two police outposts in Afghanistan’s Farah province, killing at least 32 policemen and nine Afghan soldiers.

Links for 5-2-2018

Links for 4-30-2018

  • An American soldier was killed in eastern Afghanistan and a second was wounded.

  • Dr. Tom Coburn writes that a balanced budget amendment isn’t enough to curb the federal government’s overspending problem:

    But here’s the rub. Even if Congress did have the political fortitude to tighten its own belt, a balanced-budget amendment could not rescue the nation from the looming fiscal crisis. In fact, passing a balanced-budget amendment without other needed reforms would be like straining out a gnat only to swallow a camel; it would make the situation worse, rather than better.

    Two little words tell us why: unfunded mandates. We all know that one of the feds’ favorite pastimes is foisting expensive rules, regulations and policies upon the states. Does anyone doubt that this practice would increase dramatically under a balanced-budget amendment? Congress can simply make its own budget look better by casting more of a burden on the budgets of our state and local governments.

    Its other alternative, of course, is to raise our taxes. Having spent a long time in Congress, I can tell you that if you think cutting spending is the natural response to a balanced-budget requirement, you aren’t thinking like the average member of Congress.

    A real solution to the federal fiscal insanity must go deeper than the parchment salve of a balanced budget. A real solution must restore meaningful limitations on the size, scope, and jurisdiction of the federal government, curtailing its ability to dabble in matters the Constitution does not delegate to it, but reserves to the states and the people. In short, we need to make the federal government look a lot more like the one laid out in the Constitution.

    There is a path that will get us there. The only solution big enough to confront our federal problems is the tool for constitutional amendment provided to our state legislatures in Article V.

  • Israel appears to have discovered where Iran was storing missiles in Syria, and it proceeded to blow them up. One explosion registered as a magnitude 2.6 earthquake.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel grabbed a trove of documents on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Iran has always claimed that it never had a nuclear weapons development program, but Netanyahu says the documents prove otherwise.

  • Jayme Metzgar writes that “Alfie Evans is What Happens When Kids Belong to Society, Not Parents”:

    If you think you care more about Evans’ suffering than his own mother who grew him inside her body, more than his own father who sits by his bedside every hour, I have two words for you: you don’t. If you think you know more about his quality of life or his feelings than the two people who have nurtured him every day of his life: you don’t.

    If you think he, and other children like him, would be better off without parents loving them as the individuals they are, and fighting for them every day: you could not be more wrong.

  • John Daniel Davidson writes that “Alfie Evans’ Death Illustrates the Monstrous Logic of the Welfare State”:

    But the brazen illogic of the state insisting that it is in your own best interests if you cease to exist serves the overarching logic of the welfare state, which is power. When the national health service decides, for instance, that your sick child must be allowed to die because it is in the child’s best interests, what it really means—but is not quite willing to say outright—is that is in the best interests of the state that your child be allowed to die.

  • Britain’s House of Lords voted to give parliament the final say over the Brexit agreement in a defeat for Prime Minister Theresa May.

  • ISIS claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings in Kabul. The second bomber targeted journalists who were on the scene covering the first bombing; at least nine journalists were killed and six wounded.

  • Controlling words is key to controlling culture:

Links for 4-23-2018

Links for 4-12-2018