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 12-18-2017

Links for 7-20-2017

Links for 6-21-2017

Links for 5-4-2017

Links for 10-22-2016

  • David French and his wife Nancy French wrote articles for National Review and The Washington Post, respectively, about their experiences opposing Donald Trump. Nancy French’s article is entitled “What It’s Like to Experience the 2016 Election as Both a Conservative and a Sex Abuse Survivor,” and it ends with this:

    Here’s the truth. The GOP once was alive but is now dead. It confuses me to hear the values preached from the podium but ignored in real life; it feels odd to just repurpose a political party into an extension of the trump Empire without acknowledging the values which had so recently dwelled there.

    My party — which should’ve been a place of a certain set of values — now shelters an abuser. I’m thinking of this when the GOP presses against me and asks me to close my eyes just one more time.

  • Archbishop Charles J. Chaput delivered a remarkable speech to a group of bishops at the University of Notre Dame:

    The 2016 election is one of those rare moments when the repellent nature of both presidential candidates allows the rest of us to see our nation’s pastoral terrain as it really is.  And the view is unpleasant.  America’s cultural and political elites talk a lot about equality, opportunity and justice.  But they behave like a privileged class with an authority based on their connections and skills.  And supported by sympathetic media, they’re remaking the country into something very different from anything most of us remember or the Founders imagined.

    Later:

    Let me put our situation this way.  The two unavoidable facts of life are mortality and inequality.  We’re going to die.  And — here I’m committing a primal American heresy — we’re not created “equal” in the secular meaning of that word.  We’re obviously not equal in dozens of ways:  health, intellect, athletic ability, opportunity, education, income, social status, economic resources, wisdom, social skills character, holiness, beauty or anything else.  And we never will be.  Wise social policy can ease our material inequalities and improve the lives of the poor.  But as Tocqueville warned, the more we try to enforce a radical, unnatural, egalitarian equality, the more “totalitarian” democracy becomes.

    Later still:

    What Christians mean by “freedom” and “equality” is very different from the secular content of those words.  For the believer, freedom is more than a menu of choices or the absence of oppression.  Christian freedom is the liberty, the knowledge and the character to do what’s morally right.  And the Christian meaning of “equality” is much more robust than the moral equivalent of a math equation.  It involves the kind of love a mother feels for each of her children, which really isn’t equality at all.  A good mother loves her children infinitely and uniquely — not “equally,” because that would be impossible.  Rather, she loves them profoundly in the sense that all of her children are flesh of her flesh, and have a permanent, unlimited claim on her heart.

  • The Department of Justice is refusing to help North Dakota sheriff’s departments and state police address the acts of violence committed by people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. The protesters are camped out on federal land, are intimidating local residents, are threatening law enforcement officers, and are burning construction equipment.

  • Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen wrote a very good article on Turkey’s wars, most of which target Kurds:

    Turkey adamantly opposes independence for the Kurds, and the U.S. had trouble gaining even reluctant Turkish acceptance of Northern Iraq’s regional autonomy after the 2003 ouster of Saddam from Baghdad. The dissolution of Assad’s control of Northern Syria and the possibility that Iraqi and Syrian Kurds might construct a contiguous Kurdish area appears to pose a greater problem for Turkey than the rise and spread of ISIS. It is against the Syrian Kurds, therefore, not ISIS that Turkey has been operating for months.
    Later:
    To many in the Middle East, the United States not only appears unreliable, which is bad enough, but seems to have frequently abandoned its friends and allies, which is worse. In the Obama administration, not only the president, but also the vice president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense bear responsibility for these impressions. While Turkey is, by treaty, an American ally and a NATO member, the U.S. has to either rein in the Turks or face the consequence of a powerful and reckless Turkish government shooting up Turkey and its neighborhood – and our allies.

  • The Iraqi army liberated two Christian villages from ISIS, and security forces in Kirkuk ended the ISIS attack there. The Kirkuk attack was large, involving more than 60 ISIS fighters.

  • An Egyptian court confirmed former president Mohammed Mursi’s 20 year prison sentence.

  • A senior Egyptian military officer who served in the northern Sinai, Brigadier General Adel Rajaaie, was gunned down outside his home near Cairo.

  • The European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli Mars lander shut down its retro rockets too soon, hitting the ground hard and exploding.

Links for 9-24-2016

  • Andrew McCarthy asks why the Department of Justice granted immunity to Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills:

    The FBI had abundant reason to suspect that there was classified information improperly stored – i.e., potentially illegally stored – on Mills and Samuelson’s computers. These devices had been used in 2014 (i.e., about two years after Mills and Clinton had left the State Department) in the process of reviewing the 62,000 emails stored on Clinton’s homebrew server. It was by this process that Clinton determined which emails related to government business and would be surrendered to the State Department, and which were (purportedly) private and would be retained by Clinton. (We now know that thousands of what Clinton claimed were “private” emails were actually government-related, that some even contained classified information, and that Clinton and her minions attempted to destroy all of them – notwithstanding that destroying even one government file is a felony.)

    Because thousands of emails containing classified information were included among the 62,000 reviewed on the Mills and Samuelson computers, and because data usually remain stored in the memory of a computer even if a deletion attempt has been made, it was a good bet that the Mills and ­­Samuelson computers contained classified information.

    It can be a felony to mishandle classified information by transmitting it to, or storing it on, an unclassified system. Moreover, it constitutes a threat to national security (and to informants who risk their lives to acquire intelligence for the United States) to leave classified information on a non-secure private computer that can easily be hacked or otherwise infiltrated. Consequently, the Justice Department had the power and the duty to take custody of the Mills and Samuelson computers.

    It does not matter whether Mills and Samuelson were concerned that their computers might contain incriminating information. The Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination only protects a person from being forced to provide the government with self-incriminating information of a testimonial nature; it does not cover physical evidence.

  • David French writes on Ted Cruz’s decision to endorse Donald Trump:

    Let’s be clear, between the Republican convention and this weekend, absolutely nothing changed about either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Trump and Clinton are the same politicians with the same towering self-regard and same unfitness for the presidency. Trump is the exact same person who Cruz once said could “plunge” this nation “into the abyss.” Clinton is the exact same person we’ve seen throughout a quarter-century of dreary, corrupt years in national public life. What changed is all this “pressure” I keep hearing about. “The pressure is building,” people say. It’s time to get in line behind Trump.

    What pressure? You might get primaried? The terrifying Reince Priebus might get angry? You might – gasp – lose your Senate seat? Good heavens – the nation just can’t survive without Cruz in the Senate!

    Later:

    Similarly, while there are substitutes for any senator, there is no substitute for respect for the values and constitutional principles that made this nation great. And if a politician has to expose himself to Reince’s public relations peashooter to — quoting Cruz himself at the convention – “defend our freedom” and be “faithful to the Constitution,” then by God you do it. Too bad Ted couldn’t. Perhaps someone else will.

  • President Obama used a pseudonym when he communicated with Hillary Clinton via email, which suggests he knew she was using an insecure private server.

  • An internal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services email says the agency is offering overtime to process naturalization applications before the election. The agency claims it receives more naturalization applications during election years, and that it’s trying to maintain its usual five to seven month processing time despite the increased number of applications. Critics say it’s trying to manufacture Democrat voters.

  • A U.S. Air Force F–35 caught via during engine startup. The plane was participating in exercises at Mountain Home Air Force Base at the time. The pilot got out OK and the ground crew extinguished the fire.

  • A man used a rifle to kill five people at a mall in Burlington, Washington. Law enforcement is still searching for a suspect.

  • An American drone strike killed a local al Qaeda commander in Yemen; three other al Qaeda members were killed in the strike, too. This is the second such drone strike in as many days.

  • Two terrorist attacks in Germany for which ISIS claimed responsibility were actually tightly controlled by ISIS operatives via phone messaging applications — law enforcement describes the attackers as operating under remote control.