Links for 7-6-2018

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 4-2-2018

  • The EPA is rolling back the Obama administration’s vehicle emissions standards for cars and light trucks manufactured between 2022 and 2025. The EPA is also re-examining a waiver the Obama administration gave to California that enables the state to set its own vehicle emissions standards.

  • Every one of the 44 Congressional Democrats who hired Imran Awan and his family to work on their IT systems bypassed mandatory background checks:

    Among the red flags in Abid’s background were a $1.1 million bankruptcy; six lawsuits against him or a company he owned; and at least three misdemeanor convictions including for DUI and driving on a suspended license, according to Virginia court records. Public court records show that Imran and Abid operated a car dealership referred to as CIA that took $100,000 from an Iraqi government official who is a fugitive from U.S. authorities. Numerous members of the family were tied to cryptic LLCs such as New Dawn 2001, operated out of Imran’s residence, Virginia corporation records show. Imran was the subject of repeated calls to police by multiple women and had multiple misdemeanor convictions for driving offenses, according to court records.

  • Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) won’t run for re-election after she failed to adequately investigate her (former) chief of staff, Tony Baker, who was accused of “harassment, threats and violence against female staffers.”

  • A federal district court judge granted the ACLU the right to represent “all pregnant, unaccompanied immigrant minor children who are or will be in the legal custody of the federal government.” The ACLU has been fighting to give pregnant immigrants access to abortions.

  • A federal district court judge ruled that Tennessee can’t withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program. Tennessee argued that the program imposes unconstitutional unfunded mandates on the state: “The lawsuit focused specifically on the requirement for the state to pay exorbitant Medicaid costs or risk losing up to $7 billion in federal Medicaid reimbursements, an amount equal to 20 percent of the entire state budget.”

  • Kevin Williamson’s first article for The Atlantic is on the passing of the libertarian moment:

    The GOP’s political situation is absurd: Having rallied to the banner of an erratic and authoritarian game-show host, evangelical leaders such as Jerry Falwell Jr. are reduced to comparing Donald Trump to King David as they try to explain away his entanglement with pornographic performer Stormy Daniels. Those who celebrated Trump the businessman clutch their heads as his preposterous economic policies produce terror in the stock markets and chaos for the blue-collar workers in construction firms and manufacturers scrambling to stay ahead of the coming tariffs on steel and aluminum. The Chinese retaliation is sure to fall hardest on the heartland farmers who were among Trump’s most dedicated supporters.

    On the libertarian side of the Republican coalition, the situation is even more depressing: Republicans such as former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who once offered important support for criminal-justice reform, are lined up behind the atavistic drug-war policies of the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose big idea on opiate abuse is more death sentences for drug traffickers. Deficits are moving in the wrong direction. And, in spite of the best hopes of the “America First” gang, Trump’s foreign policy has not moved in the direction of Rand Paul’s mild non-interventionism or the more uncompromising non-interventionism of his father, Ron Paul. Instead, the current GOP foreign-policy position combines the self-assured assertiveness of the George W. Bush administration (and many familiar faces and mustaches from that administration) with the indiscipline and amateurism characteristic of Trump.

    Some libertarian moment.

  • Dr. Patricia Daugherty attended a national conference for college administrators and found herself in a social justice warrior indoctrination camp:

    The day I arrived at this convention moored in the principles of tolerance and inclusion, I was greeted by a large, laminated poster at the registration tables touting the “ACPA Convention Equity and Inclusion Information Booth.” At this booth one could report any “bias incident … believed to have a negative impact on ACPA members, particularly across marginalized social identity group membership.” So if I asked a question that violated the thought police regulations, I might be reported? Welcome to Communist China.

    It didn’t get any better. Just before the welcoming video and keynote speaker began, a trigger warning flashed up on the screen that there might be “disturbing scenes of activism” in the video. Duly warned, we then listened to Keala Settle’s “This is Me” (a great song, by the way) as pictures were shown, not of happy college students of every background experiencing the many different aspects of life on a university campus, but Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, and the Women’s March on Washington. I could have been at an Service Employees International Union convention.

  • Louis Farrakhan personally receives a commission on the money that Nation of Islam members pay to Scientology.

  • The Washington Free Beacon obtained a Communist Party of China Central Committee document ordering stepped-up theft of technical information from American companies beginning in late 2016.

  • Turkey ordered the arrest of Fethullah Gulen and seven other people over the 2016 assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey.

  • Turkey is holding two Greek border guards without charge or trial. The two guards crossed a heavily forested area of the border during bad weather and have been detained for a month. Greece claims Turkey is holding the border guards for political purposes.

  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won re-election with 97% of the vote:

    The election featured only one other candidate – himself an ardent Sisi supporter – after all serious opposition contenders halted their campaigns in January. The main challenger was arrested and his campaign manager beaten up, while other presidential hopefuls pulled out, citing intimidation.

  • Carlos Alvarado Quesada won the election to be Costa Rica’s next president by promising to legalize gay marriage.

Links for 3-8-2018

  • Donald Trump will meet Kim Jong Un by May. Michael Rubin warns that talks may signal war, not peace:

    Make no mistake: North Korea’s offer warrants not hope but caution. Dictator Kim Jong Un’s move comes straight out of the rogue-regime playbook: Offer peace to distract from preparations for war. That it repeatedly works reflects the naiveté of Western officials, for whom history begins anew with every administration.

    The simple fact is this: While Americans (and South Koreans) often view engagement as a tool of conflict resolution, North Korea’s regime and its Chinese sponsors see diplomacy as an asymmetric warfare strategy with which to tie opponents’ hands while they seize strategic advantage.

    Later:

    Pyongyang couples provocation with outreach. In 1969, just a day after offering talks, North Korea shot down an unarmed US plane over the Sea of Japan, killing 31. Talks resumed. Four days later, North Korean forces shot down an American helicopter.

    More:

    During the Reagan era, Chinese diplomats told their US counterparts North Korea wanted talks. The very next day, North Korean agents set off a bomb in Burma designed to murder much of South Korea’s visiting leadership.

  • Donald Trump signed off on his steel and aluminum tariffs, and offered Canada and Mexico a carve-out while they renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

  • John Daniel Davidson toured the Rio Grande sector of the U.S./Mexico border and has stories to tell:

    Four years ago, at the height of the crisis, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, established a respite center in downtown McAllen. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was overwhelmed with thousands of children and teenagers turning themselves in to Border Patrol agents at ports of entry and elsewhere along the border, so the diocese began providing food and shelter for the minors and families. Catholic Charities initially set up its respite center in auxiliary church buildings at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in downtown McAllen.

    But it soon became clear that large numbers of families and minors were going to keep coming, and the diocese decided it needed a permanent location for the center. Today, it occupies one half of a modest commercial building about a mile from the church, and consists of a large multipurpose room, bathroom and shower facilities, a small kitchen and dining area, and a play area for young children. A half-dozen full-time staff and about 50 volunteers run the place seven days a week, 365 days a year. Since its founding four years ago, more than 100,000 migrants, most of them from Central America, have passed through there. Because the flow of migrants over the border never stops, ICE and CBP never stop, and the respite center never stops.

    Later:

    Technically, all these families are seeking asylum, and because they’re family units travelling with minors, ICE releases them after a day or two with orders to appear at an asylum hearing in whatever part of the country they’re trying to get to. (That’s not the case in some sectors, where parents are reportedly separated from their children on purpose.) The adults are fitted with electronic ankle monitors, which will confine them to a 75-mile radius of wherever they tell ICE is their final destination. But once they get where they’re going, most of them cut the thing off and throw it away. Many do not even bother showing up at their asylum hearings for the simple reason that they have no legitimate claims to asylum. Yes, they come from impoverished countries with a decaying social order. And yes, these places are violent. But most of these people simply come to the United States to work, and you don’t get asylum for that.

  • A Turkish court sentenced 25 journalists to prison terms because they worked for publications the government claims are tied to Fethullah Gulen.

  • Japan wants to build a new fighter jet based on an existing Western design. Japan’s last domestically produced fighter, the F–2, was based on the F–16.

  • A Chinese Communist Party boss from Qinghai claims people in his province view President Xi Jingping as a Bodhisattva, a living deity.

  • Remy’s “I Like It, I Love It”:

Links for 1-11-2018

Links for 12-12-2017

Links for 10-8-2017

  • Last week a Turkish employee at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul was arrested on charges of being connected to Fethullah Gulen. That prompted the U.S. to stop issuing visas to Turkish citizens, and the Turkish government responded in kind for American citizens.

  • The Turkish military sent scouts into Syria’s Idlib province and later shelled the area.

  • The Trump administration sent Congress a 70-point immigration enforcement plan:

    But the plans break serious new ground on the legal front, giving federal agents more leeway to deny illegal immigrants at the border, to arrest and hold them when they’re spotted in the interior, and to deport them more speedily. The goal, the White House said, is to ensure major changes to border security, interior enforcement and the legal immigration system.

    Later:

    All told, the list includes 27 different suggestions on border security, 39 improvements to interior enforcement and four major changes to the legal immigration system.

  • Kevin Williamson explains the nature and origin of the Second Amendment:

    Put another way: The right to keep and bear arms would still be there without the Second Amendment. Like the right not to suffer political or religious repression, it exists with or without the law. It is an aspect of the human being, not an aspect of the governments that human beings institute among themselves. The state does not grant the right — the state exists because the right exists and needs protecting from time to time. The state protects our rights from criminals and marauders, and the Constitution protects our rights from their protectors.

    No doubt that sounds like a lot of crazy talk to many of our progressive friends. “Rights from God! Imagine!” That is a critical failure of our most progressive institution, the schools, which consistently neglect — or decline — to provide our students with even a rudimentary education in American civics and the history of the American idea. It isn’t that the modern left-winger is obliged to accept the intellectual and philosophical basis of the American order, but he ought to understand that things are the way they are for a reason. The idea that the Second Amendment could simply be repealed —that’s that! — isn’t only an attack on the right to keep and bear arms: It is an attack on the American constitutional order per se. That our progressive friends often are so pristinely ignorant of the moral order underpinning the American founding is one of their great intellectual failures. They do not understand the American idea, and, as a result, they do not really understand their own ideas, either.

  • The New York Times published an exposé on Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment, which the political left is conveniently ignoring, including our newly self-appointed arbiters of right and wrong, the progressive late night TV comedians. Even Saturday Night Live avoided commenting on Weinstein. Today the board of directors of The Weinstein Company fired Harvey Weinstein, effective immediately.