Links for 7-8-2018

  • The soldier who died in a green-on-blue attack in Afghanistan has been identified as U.S. Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel, of South Gate, California.

  • The Trump administration halted ObamaCare’s “risk adjustment payments,” which were basically health insurance company bailouts.

  • Kevin Williamson writes on Democrats’ complaints about gerrymandering and plans to pack the Supreme Court:

    Drawing up new legislative districts is an inherently political exercise; as one longtime legislator told me long ago when I was young and ignorant, it is the most political thing a legislature regularly does. A few progressives lately have argued, following a road-to-Damascus conversion on the issue, that “extreme gerrymandering” makes necessary a move to redistricting by purportedly scientific means employed by disinterested nonpartisan experts, who are sure to be disinterested and nonpartisan in the sense that the New York Times is a nonpartisan newspaper and the American Bar Association is a disinterested seeker of excellence in the legal profession.

    If the control of state legislatures were split 32 to 14 in the Democrats’ favor rather than in the Republicans’ favor, as things currently stand, we’d be hearing precisely nothing about this. Most people who pay any attention to politics understand that, which is why the Left’s efforts to whip up national hysteria over redistricting (or the Electoral College, or the fact that the First Amendment really does protect political communication, after all) have not come to much. Hypocrisy may not count for a great deal in politics, but sometimes it does tamp down the energy associated with a particular issue. People do tend to notice that there is no antiwar movement on the left when there’s a Democratic president.

  • A federal district court judge shot down the government’s attempt to resume its prosecution of Cliven Bundy, his family, and his supporters:

    Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro said again in a filing Tuesday that prosecutors “willfully” failed to disclose to defense lawyers evidence that government agents provoked the Bundy family into calling supporters to their defense by acts “such as the insertion and positioning of snipers and cameras surveilling the Bundy home.”

    Navarro said she found no reason to reconsider her dismissal of charges in January against Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.

  • Theresa May’s Brexit Secretary, David Davis, resigned, saying he can’t support her business-friendly, “soft Brexit” plan:

    “The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one,” Davis said in his resignation letter to May.

    He criticised May’s decision to maintain a “common rule book” with the EU, mirroring the bloc’s rules and regulations, saying it would hand “control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws”.

    “It seems to me that the national interest requires a Secretary of State in my Department that is an enthusiastic believer in your approach, and not merely a reluctant conscript.”

  • A British woman, Dawn Sturgess, died of Novachok poisoning. Her male friend who was also poisoned is still in the hospital in critical condition.

  • Another critic of Vladimir Putin living in exile in Britain turned up dead. Nikolai Glushkov was found strangled to death on the day he was supposed to appear in court in a case involving Aeroflot.

  • A team of six SAS soldiers credited their Belgian Malinois dog for saving their lives during an ambush in northern Syria.

  • Iraqi police opened fire on protesters near Basra; there are differing accounts of how many people were killed or wounded. People were protesting against “a shortage of jobs, electricity, water and other basic services.”

  • Six members of Tunisia’s security forces were killed in an ambush near the border with Algeria.

  • Turkey’s government fired 18,000 civil servants, half of them from the police force.

  • Judges in Brazil are battling one another over releasing former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from prison. Some people (and apparently some judges) want him to run for president again:

    Appeals court judge Rogerio Favreto, who served in the Justice Ministry under Lula and was appointed by his handpicked successor, ruled earlier on Sunday that the former president should have the same conditions to campaign as other candidates.

    However, the chief justice of the TRF–4 appeals court, Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores, granted a request from prosecutors to keep Lula in prison, blocking Favreto’s ruling.

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 7-31-2017

  • Psycho troll Anthony Scaramucci was fired as White House communications director.

  • Over the weekend Donald Trump threatened to end Congress’ illegal exemption from ObamaCare; this is actually a good idea, if only for the rule of law aspect. He should also end the unconstitutional “cost-sharing reduction payments” that subsidize insurance companies.

  • Congressional IT contractor Imran Awan was “frantically liquidating multiple real estate properties” the day he tried to leave the U.S. for Pakistan and was arrested by the FBI.

  • Democrats on the House Ethics Committee are stretching out the investigation of Congressman Devin Nunes’ alleged disclosure of classified information to keep Nunes out of the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation.

  • Paul Vitz and Bruce Buff write that adolescents need to recover religion:

    In America, the transcendent dimension of life has historically been expressed primarily through the Judeo-Christian tradition, whose decline in recent years has created an enormous vacuum in meaning. This vacuum has been “filled” by postmodern nihilism combined with the “deconstruction” — aggressively taught in the academy — of belief in objective truth, goodness, and beauty. Moral relativism now eclipses transcendent meaning. The fragility of many young people — often termed “snowflakes” — shows their emotional vulnerability. They interpret ideas that challenge them as unbearable acts of aggression, and they use harsh and even violent measures to silence disagreeable opponents. In short, the prevalence of political correctness is a clear sign that belief in higher meaning and rational discussion has ceased to function in much of our higher-education system. Furthermore, political correctness is itself a symptom of the unstable mental condition of those who insist on it.

    Countless young people now live in a world without any real meaning; they feel there is nothing for them to believe in. Emotional numbness is one of the consequences. They no longer value themselves for their inherent worth and dignity as created by God; they no longer find self-worth in their efforts to lead lives based on truth and love. Instead, many of our young people look outside themselves for validation — to material goods and social feedback. But many find these superficial, transitory, and empty. In addition, the decline of religion has resulted in sexual relations becoming trivialized and deprived of any greater meaning. The “hook-up” culture leaves many wounded young people in its wake.

  • For some reason Los Angeles is happy about the prospect of losing billions by hosting the 2028 Summer Olympics.

  • Theresa May and her government are bungling Brexit:

    The rosy-eyed version of Brexit — in which Britain negotiates an amicable deal with its European counterparts and through the magic of bilateral free-trade deals weathers the exit with little economic damage, all while reclaiming control over immigration and parliamentary sovereignty — is no longer on the table, and perhaps it never truly was in the first place. There are thus two realistic scenarios for Britain’s eventual exit from the EU.

    The first is cataclysmic. This is the “no deal” option, in which Britain and the EU fail to arrive at an agreement by March 2019 and Britain simply crashes out of the union with no parachute in place. Britain’s trade with the EU would revert to World Trade Organization rules; a hard border would return to Ireland; goods would pile up at Dover and Calais and chaos would reign as confused agents apply customs checks and tariffs to which they are thoroughly unaccustomed; perhaps even flights between the U.K. and EU operated by British airlines would be unable to run. That scenario is bad enough that — surely — avoiding it would inspire sufficient action to negotiate some sort of deal, even a relatively punitive one.

  • There’s evidence that North Korean submarines may be preparing another missile launch.

  • ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on Iraq’s embassy in Kabul.

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro claimed victory in an election for a “constituent assembly” that will re-write the constitution; this outcome was preordained. In response the U.S. imposed new sanctions on Maduro.

Links for 5-29-2017

Links for 4-18-2017

Links for 3-29-2017

  • California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 15 felony charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress for secretly recording Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of baby body parts. The charges related to recording someone without their consent. Becerra has received at least $5,535 in campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood. The Center for Medical Progress responded with a new video showing a Planned Parenthood official describing what they do (or don’t do) when a baby is born alive during an abortion:

  • U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May officially kicked off the Brexit process by sending a letter to the E.U. that invokes Article 50.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis asked Donald Trump to relax restrictions on U.S. involvement in the fighting in Yemen:

    This official and several others said that Mattis and his advisers have asked for removal of President Barack Obama’s prohibitions, which would enable the military to support Emirati operations against the Houthis with surveillance and intelligence, refueling, and operational planning assistance without asking for case-by-case White House approval.

  • The FBI charged a State Department employee with a top secret security clearance, Candace Marie Claiborne, with concealing a years-long relationship with two Chinese intelligence agents. The FBI says Claiborne started accepting cash and gifts from the agents in 2010.

  • Ben Shapiro thinks many conservatives who support Donald Trump are suffering from Stockholm syndrome:

    It now appears that the cognitive dissonance associated with Trump support has morphed into full-blown Stockholm syndrome, with conservatives now waiving principle not to defeat Hillary Clinton, but to back Trump down the line. Many conservatives now say that Trump’s American Health Care Act was the best available bad option. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and President Trump had presented a crap sandwich, to be sure, but it was the best available crap sandwich. Never mind its 17 percent public-approval rating. Never mind its accelerated death spiral. Never mind its new entitlement, its maintenance of key Obamacare regulations, or its increased premiums for the next few years.

    Trump wanted it; thus it was good; thus it had to be passed. It was The Best We Were Going To Do™.

    Except that it wasn’t. It wasn’t the legislative process that required a bill cramdown on the president’s own party within a three-week period. It wasn’t the legislative process that offered an ultimatum to conservatives to embrace the suck. It wasn’t the legislative process that demanded conservatives sign on to all the policies they opposed when Obama promulgated them. It was Trump. And because Ryan thought that his best option involved parlaying with Trump rather than going through the rough business of policymaking, he negotiated with himself to create a one-off bill, hoping that Trump would bring the anti-establishment conservatives and that he’d bring the establishment Republicans.

    It failed, in part because of Trump’s artificial deadline, in part because Trump would never have pushed a truly conservative piece of legislation that did away with preexisting-conditions regulations, and in part because Ryan decided to go along with Trump’s program in order to push through his long-awaited structural changes to Medicaid. And then, to top it off, Trump deployed famed subtle touch Steve Bannon to scream at Republicans about how they had to get their minds right or they’d spend the night in the box.

  • Westinghouse Electric filed for bankruptcy due to losses stemming from nuclear power plant construction projects.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition wants to change parliamentary rules so a member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party can’t assume a ceremonial post if AfD wins seats in the next election.

Links for 3-20-2017