Links for 9-22-2017

Links for 9-21-2017

Links for 9-19-2017

  • John Sexton collected several videos showing buildings in Mexico City shaking and collapsing after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. This earthquake struck 32 years to the day after a magnitude 8.1 earthquake killed thousands of people.

  • Fred Lucas summarized Donald Trump’s U.N. speech for The Daily Signal. An hour or so after Trump’s speech, former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka delivered a speech along the same lines to Hillsdale College supporters: 

  • CNN reported that investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort before and after the election. The warrants for the wiretapping were issued by the FISA court.

  • Sig Sauer asked the Trump administration to withdraw an export license for $1.2 million in American-manufactured weapons that were to be sold to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards — the same bodyguards who beat up protesters outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., earning many of them an indictment.

  • Former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson accused the Trump-era EPA of being non-transparent. Jackson used the email alias “Richard Windsor” to shield her EPA emails from Freedom of Information Act requests, so she has practical experience in this area. Jackson is now a vice president at Apple.

  • Israel used a Patriot missile to shoot down a drone over the Golan Heights. The drone was probably manufactured by Iran and flown for the benefit of Hezbollah.

  • The U.S. opened a small military base in Israel to support a missile defense system. The base is located within an Israeli Air Force base.

  • Alex Gorka makes offers insightful observations on Turkey’s purchase of a S–400 missile defense system from Russia:

    The system is not operationally compatible with the systems used by NATO countries, which gives Turkey a military capacity independent of the alliance. NATO commanders will not have control over it. The identification friend or foe (IFF) equipment won’t prevent Turkey from using it against NATO aircraft and missiles. Reaching full operational capability will require Russian personnel to be stationed in Turkey on advice, assistance and training missions.

    The technology transfer component of the S–400 deal is especially important as it would allow Turkey to rapidly expand domestic defense industry with Russia’s help. Russia would supply two batteries and help Ankara build two more such systems. A few years ago, the US refused to let Turkey produce Patriot air defense systems on its soil and the deal was off.

    Ankara does not have industrial infrastructure to produce air defense systems. Russian specialists will have to come and build it from scratch. As a result, Russia will get access to the defense infrastructure of a NATO member state. The agreement to build the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey, which is to be launched by 2023, is another example of fruitful economic cooperation.

  • Turkey deployed tanks and rocket launchers along its border with Iraqi Kurdistan and said they’d remain deployed there until the day after the September 25 independence referendum.

  • Jonah Cohen argues the Kurds deserve a homeland:

    Western leaders and policymakers who bemoan the referendum can, if they choose, flatter themselves as “realists.” And, true, they are not speaking from the philosophical tradition of Locke and Lincoln and Mill. But the irony here is that violence will be more likely, not less, if the Kurdish people aren’t allowed to express their visceral desires through a democratic process. History teaches that we ought to tread carefully around liberty-longing people with pent-up political rage. Up till now, Iraqi Kurds have been more than restrained, loyal to the West, sacrificing much for the American-led coalition. Without a political path toward their dream of statehood – without “a street empty of bloodstains,” to borrow words of Kurdish poet Kajal Ahmad – at least some of them will likely conclude that democracy has failed, leaving them no other choice but guerrilla warfare and chaos.

  • British police arrested a third suspect in the London tube bombing.

  • The Telegraph reports that climate change represents less of a threat than predicted because the models are wrong. I know, you’re shocked.

    Climate change poses less of an immediate threat to the planet than previously thought because scientists got their modelling wrong, a new study has found. New research by British scientists reveals the world is being polluted and warming up less quickly than 10-year-old forecasts predicted, giving countries more time to get a grip on their carbon output.

    An unexpected “revolution” in affordable renewable energy has also contributed to the more positive outlook.

  • Russian helicopter pilots participating in the “Zaphod 2017” war games should probably work on their aim and stop endangering bystanders:

Links for 9-17-2017

  • The U.S. Constitution was signed 230 years ago today. The Founders’ Constitution is a good resource to learn how the Constitution was written, as is Hillsdale College’s free Introduction to the Constitution class. Mark Meckler writes that it’s time to use Article V of the Constitution to restore it.

  • Bloomberg details how wealthy Chinese people use “visa fixers” to move to the U.S. via the EB–5 program:

    The U.S. hit its annual quota of 10,000 EB–5 visas for the first time in 2014. Eighty-five percent of them went to Chinese nationals. The quota system stipulates that no country’s citizens can claim more than 7 percent of the total EB–5 visas in a year, as long as any other country wants them. But demand from outside China is small—though it’s growing—so in practice, citizens of every other country go directly to the front of the line and Chinese investors hoover up whatever’s left. The most visas ever claimed by a country other than China was 903, by South Korea in 2009.

  • Kevin Williamson writes that Donald Trump wasn’t rolled by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi over DACA, but Trump did roll his voters:

    Trump has run into trouble, mostly as a result of the fact that he does not know what he is doing and is too lazy to learn how to do the job. He has made an ethic of willful ignorance, and as a result he failed to get some relatively easy things done: In spite of what you hear on talk radio and from the talking mouths on cable news, Republicans do want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But that’s a big piece of domestic policy that requires presidential leadership of the sort that Trump is simply unable to offer, having given no serious thought to the question other than to say that he’d prefer a “great” and “terrific” system to the current one, preferably at a lower price. How do get that done without raising taxes to fund new subsidies — while keeping the expensive and market-distorting but very popular preexisting-conditions rules — is non-obvious. Congressional Republicans under the leadership of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, two very fine opposition leaders who so far have not shown themselves to be very adept at governing, were unable to coalesce around a credible alternative to the ACA — or even around a non-credible alternative. End result: humiliating failure.

    Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, lifelong Republicans both, are familiar enough with humiliation. Trump can barely endure it; he care barely endure a critical word from Joe Scarborough without flying into a conniption. And so he was driven by his vanity and his thin skin into the arms of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, desperate for something to put into his “W” column and create the impression that he actually is getting something done.

    Later:

    With no market-oriented health-care reform and no hawkish immigration reform and the prospects of far-reaching tax reform looking shaky — even though Republicans exist for no obvious purpose other than cutting taxes — Trump is still looking for his big win. Even those who were willing to suspend the fully formed adult parts of their brains and give him the benefit of the doubt are coming around to the realization that he has no beliefs and no principles, and that he will sell out any ally, cause, or national interest if doing so suits his one and only true master in this life: his vanity. He didn’t get rolled by Pelosi and Schumer: His voters got rolled by him. That’s the real deal.

  • A woman threw acid on four American women at a train station in Marseille, France. Police say it was not a terrorist attack.

Links for 9-11-2017

Links for 9-8-2017

Links for 9-7-2017