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

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.

Links for 3-1-2017