Links for 8-10-2017

  • Donald Trump thanked Vladimir Putin for ordering a reduction in the number of American diplomats in Russia because it reduced the State Department’s payroll (in reality, the diplomats are being sent back to the U.S., and are not necessarily being laid off). This is one of those things that you can think to yourself, but you shouldn’t say out loud. Trump has trouble with this concept.

  • The chattering classes have been discussing the possibility of negotiating an Iran-style nuclear deal with North Korea to discourage a war. John Daniel Davidson points out that Bill Clinton negotiated a deal with North Korea back in 1994 that’s strikingly similar to Barack Obama’s Iran deal. Jim Geraghty adds this:

    As with the Iran deal many years later, the deal with North Korea was not a formal treaty and thus never ratified by Congress.

    Of course, the North Koreans cheated; the U.S. provided oil, two light water reactors, and a new electric grid, altogether worth roughly $5 billion, in exchange for promises.

    Clinton’s deal resulted in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons, and Obama’s deal with Iran will end the same way.

  • A U.S. Navy destroyer conducted another “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea, sailing to within 12 miles of Mischief Reef, one of China’s artificial islands.

  • Two of U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s top aides quit: chief of staff Steven Groves and communications director Jonathan Wachtel.

  • In the context of Google’s firing of James Damore for “perpetuating gender stereotypes,” Joy Pullmann argues that it’s time to end all discrimination policies and restore equal protection:

    Since Google is a private company I have no problem with them making unequal hiring and promotion rules. I am all in favor of discrimination — the freedom to set one’s own criteria for making decisions — and free association, for any reason, as individuals’ constitutional and natural rights. If they wanted to be an all-man or all-woman or all-black or all-Asian company, or give preferences to whatever people they feel sorry for at the moment, that’s Google’s business. At the level they’re operating they could be an all-woman company and still have the world’s best engineers, as Harvard or Stanford could since many more qualified people apply than can be admitted.

    The problem is when they promise “equality” then deliver discrimination. It’s this hypocrisy Damore had the temerity to point out, and for which he was fired. It’s the same hypocrisy inside the famous “Animal Farm” slogan for totalitarianism: “All are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

  • For the Democratic Party, abortion is a positive good:

    Lindy West of the New York Times recently, and similarly, insisted that unfettered access to abortion is essential to women’s economic and other liberties. Hers is one of many denunciations, by party activists and progressive journalists, of the Democratic Party’s decision to support pro-life Democrats running in more conservative districts. Pro-choice activists in the past decade made the leap from regarding abortion as a tragic necessity to seeing it a positive social good; West now sees it as the central guarantor of American liberty.

    Later:

    On some level, [John C.] Calhoun and other pro-slavery ideologues recognized that any “right” to slavery would be destroyed the moment the United States recognized that nature’s law affirmed the liberty of enslaved African Americans. Lindy West similarly holds that the human and civil rights of women would be undermined if the rights of the unborn were recognized. Even to question the right to abortion is “to be, at best, indifferent to the disenfranchisement, suffering and possibly even the death of women. At worst it is to revel in those things, to believe them fundamental to the natural order.” For West, abortion is the key to women’s economic, political, and social rights in the United States. If abortion were to be shown to be inconsistent with the natural order, then Lindy believes every freedom gained for women would evaporate.

  • A grand jury indicted Benjamin Roden for bombing an Air Force recruiting office in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Roden is a former member of the Air Force. No one was hurt in the bombing.

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro affirmed that the new constituent assembly is the most powerful institution in the country, saying, “I come to recognize its plenipotentiary powers, sovereign, original and magnificent.”

  • Cuba reportedly used a “sonic weapon” against American and Canadian diplomats, damaging their hearing. The Trump administration responded by expelling two Cuban diplomats, which seems wimpy.

  • British police broke up a huge child sex, prostitution, and drug ring:

    As a result of a massive ongoing investigation the police have named “Operation Sanctuary,” one British woman and a total of 17 men have been convicted of rape, conspiracy to incite prostitution, and illegally supplying drugs. The men, BBC notes, were from the “Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities and mainly British-born, with most living in the West End of Newcastle.”

  • Israel is building an underground wall around the Gaza Strip to prevent Hamas from tunneling into Israel. The wall will extend into the Mediterranean Sea to discourage commando attacks.

  • Tim Tebow shakes a kid’s hand, hits a three run homer:

  • PragerU: College Made Me a Conservative:

Links for 1-19-2017

Links for 1-13-2017

Links for 3-25-2016

  • The U.S. killed Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, the second-in-command of ISIS, in Syria. The Department of Defense isn’t providing any details of how this went down.

  • RedState: “Donald Trump is a Garbage Human Being Who is Leading a Movement of Other Garbage Human Beings”

  • Allahpundit’s reaction to the National Enquirer story about rumors of private investigators looking into allegations that Ted Cruz had affairs:

    My impression of Cruz, take it or leave it, is that he’s been running for president since he was six years old. Even to a supporter like me, he often comes off like a man who hasn’t had a thought in 20 years that wasn’t somehow devoted to advancing his career. His message discipline is so strict that he can seem, even in personal conversation, as someone not quite fully human. If you’ve never read it before, go read Andrew Ferguson’s story about trying to have a low-key chat with Cruz during a car ride after a long day of covering him, only to have Cruz mechanically lurch into one of his stump speeches — leading Ferguson to want to open the car door and throw himself into oncoming traffic. To his political rivals he’s famously calculating, and his campaign is acclaimed as the most well organized and disciplined in the field. He can seem at times less like a person than a highly advanced conservative robot that hasn’t quite made it all the way through the uncanny valley. As I say, better men than Cruz have been ruined by a weakness for skirt-chasing, but he strikes me as a guy who has, and has had, his eyes on the prize and only on the prize for a very long time. If this is anything more than a smear aimed at driving a wedge between a candidate and his evangelical fans, I’ll be surprised to put it mildly. But form your own judgment. I’ll never talk someone out of believing something they really want to believe

    Whatever else happens, though, I think we can now safely write off the chances of a Trump/Cruz unity ticket at the convention. If Cruz wasn’t #NeverTrump before, he will be soon: “I will say this, I do not make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family.”

  • Angelo Codevilla argues that President Obama effectively endorses the Cuban government’s use of hunger to control the island’s population:

    When Barack Obama dined at Castro’s in Havana, it may not have occurred to him that the vast majority of Cuba’s people are undernourished, and that keeping Cubans scrambling for their next meal is an essential part of the Castro regime’s hold on power.

    Later:

    Obama’s socio-political tribe has admired the Castro regime from its inception, envying its power to reshape society along common Progressive lines. The degree to which modern progressives yearn to do to America what Castro has done to Cuba may be seen in their lack of objection to, indeed support of, the Castro regime’s power to choose who will eat well and who will live on the edge.

    Later:

    Fishing is strictly limited. Slaughtering an animal is punishable by eight years’ imprisonment, and buying a piece of illegally slaughtered meat gets you three. Of course, millions of people in the countryside do such things, while city dwellers try to build connections with country folk who can deliver contraband. Minor officials collaborate by taking bribes. But this endemic corruption is as dangerous as it is essential to life.

  • Based on his reaction to the Brussels bombings while in Cuba and Argentina, Matthew Continetti writes that President Obama is “Our Secretary-General In Chief”:

    Rarely has Obama’s attitude toward terrorism been brought into such stark relief. Why does he respond so perfunctorily, so coolly, so stoically to the mayhem? Not because he lacks sympathy. Because he believes his job is to restrain America from overreaction, from hubris, from our worst instincts of imperialism and oppression.

    Yes, the thinking goes, ISIS and al Qaeda are threats to be fought, contained, defeated. But the greater threat, in Obama’s view, is that Americans may become scared, afraid, disrupted, divided. We might invade Iraq again, or cut off immigration and trade, or discriminate against the Muslim minority. That is the real danger against which this president stands. Terrorism will burn itself out. The problem of American maximalism remains.

    This is not the sort of thing you expect to hear from an American president. It’s what you expect from a secretary general of the United Nations, from the president of the European Commission, from the foreign ministry of France circa 2002. It’s the worldview of the international NGO, of the multilateral bureaucrat: Terrorism? We can manage. But the U.S. hyper-power? We’ve got to put a lid on this problem, stat.

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted a semi-submersible vessel containing $200 million worth of cocaine.

  • Some American intelligence analysts believe North Korea has developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead. Combined with North Korea’s recent claim to have successfully tested a solid-fuel rocket engine, they’re on course to build nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles.

  • Iran is deploying special forces soldiers from its regular army to Syria and Iraq. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been fighting in Syria for some time, but deploying Iranian Army troops to Syria is new.

  • Egypt’s army claims it killed 60 Islamic militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

  • Russia plans to deploy missile defense systems and drones on the Kurile Islands, the ownership of which is disputed between Russia and Japan.

  • A Turkish court closed the espionage trial of two journalists to the public. Many people doubted the journalists would receive a fair trial, and this move reinforced the doubts.

Links for 3-21-2016

Links for 3-20-2016

Links for 2-24-2016