Links for 6-18-2018

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 5-9-2018

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is bringing three American prisoners home from North Korea. Donald Trump will reportedly meet Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

  • Ben Shapiro writes on the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal:

    In hearing all of these honeyed voices speak, one might think that Iran has been acting responsibly for the last three years, that it hasn’t been pursuing a campaign of horrific terrorism in Yemen and Syria, that it hasn’t been sponsoring the takeover of Lebanon by the terrorist group Hezbollah, that it hasn’t been funding the Palestinian terror group Hamas, that it hasn’t been developing long-range ballistic missiles while leading chants saying “Death to America.” One might think that Obama left the Middle East a bright a beautiful place, not a hellhole filled with human carnage bought with dollars spent by Iran but funneled through the United States.

    None of that is true, of course. Obama left the Middle East a smoking wreckage heap — a situation so grim that even Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan have been forced to ally with Israel to allay fears of an Iranian regional takeover. Obama and his staff lied repeatedly to the American people about the Iran deal — and they continue to lie. When Kerry says that the deal will “empower Iran’s hardliners,” he is repeating an outright fabrication: The hardliners are in charge of the government, and the deal strengthened them. When Power speaks as though Obama alleviated the possibility of Iran’s nuclear program, she’s lying, too: The deal explicitly paved the way for an Iranian nuclear program free and clear of consequences from the international order. When Obama speaks as though our Middle East allies were pleased by the deal, he’s lying: They all opposed it, and they’re all celebrating its end.

  • The Treasury Department is revoking the licenses it issued to Boeing and Airbus to sell passenger jets to Iran.

  • Iranian forces in southern Syria fired rockets at Israeli military bases. There were no Israeli casualties.

  • Houthi rebels (backed by Iran) fired another salvo of ballistic missiles at Riyadh from Yemen.

  • A former CIA case officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, was indicted on charges of spying for China:

    In August 2012, Lee and his family left Hong Kong to return to the United States to live in northern Virginia. While traveling back to the United States, Lee and his family had hotel stays in Hawaii and Virginia. During each of the hotel stays, FBI agents conducted court-authorized searches of Lee’s room and luggage, and found that Lee was in unauthorized possession of materials relating to the national defense. Specifically, agents found two books containing handwritten notes that contained classified information, including but not limited to, true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, operational notes from asset meetings, operational meeting locations and locations of covert facilities. Agents also found a thumb drive on which was stored a document later determined to contain information classified at the Secret level. During voluntary interviews with the FBI, Lee admitted preparing the document in response to taskings from the IO [intelligence officer].

  • ZTE ceased “major operating activities” after the Trump administration banned the Chinese company from using parts sourced from the U.S.

  • Conservative Senators are trying to pressure Mitch McConnell to get moving on Donald Trump’s nominees and on budget and appropriations bills. Delaying the latter benefits the D.C. swamp, since it encourages wasteful omnibus spending bills passed at the last minute to avoid a federal government shutdown.

  • Lt. j.g. Sarah Coppock pleaded guilty to “dereliction in the performance of duties through neglect contributing to the deaths” of seven sailors on board the USS Fitzgerald. Coppock was serving as Officer of the Deck when the Fitzgerald collided with a container ship.

Links for 4-5-2018

Links for 2-23-2018

Links for 2-2-2018

Links for 1-22-2018