Links for 10-17-2017

Links for 10-14-2017

  • Michael Brendan Dougherty writes that the battle between Silicon Valley companies and America’s political elite will end badly for conservatives:

    Silicon Valley treats complaints from Western journalists and governments as serious priorities, and its ad hoc responses are inadvertently creating a hierarchy of linguistic freedom on the Internet. Chinese is the most-policed language on the Web, thanks to the Chinese government’s fanatical efforts. But after that, Silicon Valley itself is beginning to get into the censorship and editing game in German and English, though it can’t yet hire enough Arabic and Farsi interpreters to achieve the local cultural understanding that would enable effective censorship in those languages. This means that soon, Silicon Valley will be have overwhelming incentives, business and political, to quickly police speech that annoys important Anglophone liberals — which is to say, speech by Anglophone conservatives and right wingers.

    Later:

    There’s another thing working against Silicon Valley’s companies in their coming battle with governments and the media: While it isn’t strictly illegal to accidentally make the world a worse place to live in, there is a generalized feeling, especially among the richest consumers in the West, that the digital revolution has been a disaster for society as a whole, and for the psychology of most “information workers,” in particular.

    On the political level, the promises of Silicon Valley have been a chimera. Instead of powering young democratic movements in Iran, as promised, Silicon Valley’s social networks allowed Sunni extremists to launch civil wars and tear down authoritarian regimes in favor of Islamism. They allowed ISIS to groom and recruit among the lonely and disconnected in Europe, and send back terror.

  • Andrew McCarthy explains the media freak-out over Donald Trump’s faithfully executing ObamaCare:

    Notwithstanding the many outrageous, mendacious things the president says and tweets, the press is aghast that his “fake news” tropes against mainstream-media stalwarts resonate with much of the country. Well, if you want to know why, this latest Obamacare coverage is why. What Trump has actually done is end the illegal payoffs without which insurance companies have no rational choice but to jack up premiums or flee the Obamacare exchanges. The culprits here are the charlatans who gave us Obamacare. To portray Trump as the bad guy is not merely fake news. It’s an out-and-out lie.

    Later:

    President Obama understood that without reimbursement, the insurance companies would flee the exchanges or raise prices prohibitively. His signature legacy monument would be threatened. To prevent that, he violated the law. In 2014, his administration unilaterally began making non-appropriated cost-sharing payments to insurance companies. Those payments have continued, even through the first nine months of the Trump administration.

    These payments are blatantly illegal. The federal district court in Washington so ruled last year. For what it’s worth, I believe Judge Rosemary Collyer was wrong to grant the House of Representatives standing to sue the Obama administration. The Constitution gives Congress its own powerful tools to confront presidential lawlessness; the Article I branch does not need the Article III branch to do its heavy lifting. That said, Judge Collyer’s decision on the merits is unassailable.

  • U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley drove the strategy that resulted in Donald Trump declaring Iran in violation of Barack Obama’s nuclear deal.

  • Syrian Democratic Forces are allowing the remaining ISIS fighters in Raqqa to withdraw from the city. It’s not clear if non-Syrian ISIS fighters will be allowed to leave.

  • The Spanish government is threatening to take control of Catalonia if regional leader Carles Puigdemont fails to unambiguously deny that Catalonia has declared its independence.

Links for 10-6-2017

Links for 10-1-2017

Links for 9-30-2017

Links for 9-25-2017

Links for 9-24-2017

  • Donald Trump nominated Trey Trainor to the Federal Election Commission, and Kevin Williamson suspects Democrat Senators are going to find him too Catholic to hold office, a cover for another objection:

    Trainor has been described as a “principled libertarian” by retiring FEC commissioner Lee Goodman, whose term Trainor will complete if he is confirmed. He describes himself as someone who simply wants to see the law implemented. “At the end of the day, the First Amendment says what it says, and there’s a reason it’s the First Amendment: The right of political speech of citizens is of utmost importance if we want to continue to have a functioning republic.” The real debate, he says, is not so much over the content of federal election law but the question of where — and to whom — that law applies. Questions about donations to candidates, campaign committees, and political parties are largely well-settled, but there are live issues involving organizations that have broader missions and that are controlled neither by candidates or political parties.

    The Democrats want to have a system under which the New York Times can engage in political advocacy without restriction but Citizens United is prohibited from showing a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the weeks leading up to an election — the heads-I-win-tails-you-lose method of regulating campaign finances.

    And that is what the campaign against Trey Trainor is really about.

  • At least some of the opposition to Donald Trump’s policies are funded by Department of Justice and Department of Housing and Urban Development slush funds that the Obama administration filled via legal settlements stemming from the 2008 financial crisis:

    The Obama administration’s massive shakedown of Big Banks over the mortgage crisis included unprecedented back-door funding for dozens of Democratic activist groups who were not even victims of the crisis.

    At least three liberal nonprofit organizations the Justice Department approved to receive funds from multibillion-dollar mortgage settlements were instrumental in killing the ObamaCare repeal bill and are now lobbying against GOP tax reform, as well as efforts to rein in illegal immigration.

    Later:

    The payola is potentially earmarked for third-party interest groups approved by the Justice Department and HUD without requiring any proof of how the funds will be spent. Many of the recipients so far are radical leftist organizations who solicited the settlement cash from the administration even though they were not parties to the lawsuits, records show.

  • William Jacobson notes that the NFL’s protest rules are a ratchet that only turns left:

    The NFL is as political an organization as there is, now. It picked sides in the culture war, and the side it picked is decidedly left. The NFL refused to allow the Dallas Cowboys to display a decal honoring the Dallas police killed by a Black Lives Matter supporter, yet it is completely supporting the “right” of players to kneel on the sideline while the National Anthem is played, as both a sign of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and an anti-Trump protest.

    The entire Steelers team stayed in the locker room during the national anthem — except former U.S. Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan.

  • A French soldier was killed fighting ISIS near the Iraq/Syria border. Around 1,200 French soldiers are serving in Iraq and Syria.

  • The U.S. bombed an ISIS camp in the Libyan desert, 150 miles southeast of Sirte.

  • The Spanish government is blocking access to internet domains associated with Catalonia’s independence referendum.

  • Rudaw published an interesting interview with Iraqi Christians who were asked what they’d like to see in a new constitution for an independent Kurdistan.

  • Iran imposed an air embargo on Iraqi Kurdistan ahead of the independence referendum, and staged war games along the border.