Links for 2-16-2018

  • The FBI completely botched the case of the Parkland, Florida high school shooter. On January 5 the FBI received a tip that included the shooter’s name, his location, his weapon, and his intent to conduct a school shooting…and they did nothing. Local law enforcement was called to the homes where he lived more than 20 times and they did nothing, too. Florida Governor Rick Scott called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign, and he has a point.

  • Erick Erickson reviewed a book by two evangelical leaders that attempts to explain/justify Donald Trump’s Christian faith. The review includes this:

    You should know that I read The Faith of Donald J. Trump in the English version and can only guess at what was lost in the translation from the original North Korean. Donald Trump has, it is clear from this book, become Dear Leader, Generalissimo, Eternal General Secretary, Eternal Chairman, and Eternal Leader of the People’s Evangelical Party of America. The Soviets, Chinese, and North Koreans would find it very familiar.

    It ends with this:

    In the end, Brody and Lamb’s book exposes how the leaders of the evangelical movement, long treated as outcasts from mainstream culture because of the charlatans in their midst, now enjoy an utterly transactional relationship with Donald Trump, each using the other for an end they believe justifies the means. The long-term damage to the American evangelical movement, which has spent decades working toward respectability and intellectual seriousness, remains to be seen. And a president in need of a savior is surrounded by men and women of faith who are more interested in doing business with him than calling him to repent so that his eternal soul might be saved.

    But Gorsuch!

    Meanwhile The New Yorker published an article detailing an affair between Donald Trump and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. The article explains how the National Enquirer paid McDougal for the exclusive rights to her story with the intent to bury it, a technique called “catch and kill.” The White House claims the article is fake news. The article is well sourced and fits a pattern of Trump’s behavior.

  • Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for attempting to influence the 2016 election. According to prosecutors, no Americans knowingly helped the Russians, although the Russians did use Facebook and Twitter to advance their cause.

    The indictment describes a sophisticated, multi-year and well-funded operation, dubbed “Project Lakhta,” by Russian entities to influence the election, beginning as early as May 2014.

    Russians unlawfully used stolen social security numbers and birth dates of Americans to open accounts on the PayPal digital payment platform and to post on social media using those fake identities, the indictment said.

    Mueller also on Friday reached an agreement with an American named Richard Pinedo, who pled guilty to aiding and abetting interstate and foreign identity fraud by creating, buying and stealing hundreds of bank account numbers that he sold to individuals to use with large digital payment companies.

  • Eli Lake writes that Russia ordered its mercenaries to attack American and allied forces near Deir al-Zour, Syria, and paid for it with more than 200 dead, far more than the five acknowledged by the Russian Foreign Ministry yesterday.

  • Leon Aron writes that Vladimir Putin is running a wartime presidency.

  • For some unfathomable reason the Trump administration is trying to resurrect the U.S. relationship with Turkey, which prompted Turkey to suggest stationing both Turkish and American troops in Manbij, Syria. That would be pathetically dumb.

  • A Trump nominee for a State Department position told Congress that the Obama State Department prevented the FBI from arresting Chinese spies to avoid upsetting relations with Beijing. Susan Thornton is a career foreign service officer and she was working in the Obama-era State Department when this happened; moreover she said she’d maintain these policies toward China if she’s confirmed to her new position.

    Under questioning from Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) Thornton said the State Department was among several agencies that decided to block the FBI arrests of Chinese officials.

    The four MSS [China’s Ministry of State Security] officials were caught by FBI counterspies in October conducting illegal activities while traveling in the United States on transit visas.

    The officials had traveled to New York from Washington as part of a major Chinese government effort to pressure dissident Chinese businessman Guo Wengui.

  • Mitt Romney confirmed that he’s running for U.S. Senate from Utah.

  • Thirty-two class action lawsuits have been filed against Intel over the flaws in the company’s processors that make them vulnerable to the Meltdown and Spectre attacks.

  • The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Google didn’t break the law when it fired James Damore. Damore is still suing Google.

Links for 2-7-2018

Links for 1-12-2018

Links for 1-8-2018

Links for 11-9-2017

Links for 9-1-2017

  • Matt Labash wrote a tremendous profile of Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson. Labash followed Gibson around before, during, and after Antifa assaulted him in Berkeley. 

  • Mark Steyn writes on “The Coming Terror”:

    Meanwhile, the police stand around and watch. Administrators of publicly funded colleges dislike having to pay lip service to free speech, and are happy to have antifa’s shock troops on hand to send the message loud and clear. Municipal governments cannot, yet, be as openly hostile to dissent as college campuses are, but in Charlottesville the authorities were plainly resentful at a judge’s order commanding them to re-instate the neo-Nazis’ rally permit, and they determined to circumvent it. So they surrendered the streets to the “anti-fascists”, and then drove the “fascists” into their path: The good cops in effect decided to leave it to some informally deputized bad cops. The selective rule of law is one of the most unsettling features of contemporary America, and there will be a lot more of it in the years ahead.

    Charlottesville did, however, provoke CNN to one of its more inventive flights of fancy. A few days later, normality had sufficiently reasserted itself that Muslims were once again going full Allahua Akbar on the Continentals. Covering the Barcelona bombings, Wolf Blitzer suggested that it was a “copycat” attack modeled on Charlottesville. In Barcelona, the van drove into the pedestrianized area (as Muslim motorists have done in Nice, Berlin, Stockholm, London, etc); in Charlottesville, the police had abandoned the streets and so the pedestrians were swarming all over the roadway. In Barcelona, the driver was part of a twelve-man cell that had spent the previous days stockpiling their house with TATP; in Charlottesville, the driver was a diagnosed schizophrenic, but apparently such a murderous mastermind that within days he’d inspired that twelve-man cell all the way over in Spain to get their motor running and head out on the sidewalk. I’d be very surprised if a schizophrenic panicking at finding his vehicle surrounded by a mob of protesters could be convicted of anything more than involuntary manslaughter, but, as I said, the rule of law is increasingly capricious. And, as Professor Bray would explain, schizophrenic fascists cannot be defeated through speech.

  • Robert Tracinski wrote another good article on Google and free speech:

    It is entirely natural for a company to not want to give money to people calling for its destruction, and I totally support that. Yet Google and many other big tech firms have also tried to present themselves as beacons of “progressive ideals.” That’s why they funded the New America Foundation, which this article refers to as a center of “market-friendly Silicon Valley progressivism.” What’s progressive about it if it’s “market-friendly”? Well, the big tech companies and the people who work for them tend to back Democratic Party candidates. They pay lip service to “progressive” policies like the basic income. And they do things like firing employees for opinions the Left deems offensive, or targeting right-leaning YouTube channels for “demonetization.”

    That’s what “Silicon Valley progressivism” means: be the Left’s enforcers against heretics and infidels in the culture wars, in exchange for (temporary) dispensation for your sins against the Left in the realm of economics.

    By targeting Google for prosecution under the antitrust laws—the brainchild of the original Progressives, by the way—the Open Markets team breached this unspoken bargain, and that’s why they had to go. Even if Google or Schmidt didn’t directly order the firing, the big tech companies are the new centers of overflowing corporate abundance, without which think tanks like the New America Foundation can’t thrive, so they didn’t need anyone to give anyone instructions.

    It’s not just this case, or the Damore affair. Another reporter has come forward to describe how Google pressured Forbes to deep-six her exposé of Google’s aggressive negotiating tactics, for fear of having Google cut off their flow of Web traffic.

  • Hans von Spakovsky argues that the federal district court judge who enjoined parts of Texas’ “sanctuary cities” law grossly misapplied the law and the Constitution:

    The judge also found that requiring local law enforcement to honor detainer warrants violates the Fourth Amendment.

    Detainer warrants are issued by the Department of Homeland Security for illegal aliens who are legally removable from the country and filed with local law enforcement officials, asking them to hold the illegal aliens for 48 hours so they can be picked up by federal authorities.

    But as Texas says in its stay motion, “if the Constitution allows Congress to authorize federal immigration officials to take aliens into custody based on civil removability grounds, then it makes no difference for Fourth Amendment purposes whether state officials carry out the first 48 hours of that detention at the behest of the federal government.”

    Attorney General Ken Paxton has already appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit.

  • The Department of Defense wants to spend $30 million to upgrade facilities in Turkey.

  • Caroline Glick argues that the creation of an independent Kurdistan is in the strategic interest of the U.S.:

    In the interest of keeping Mattis’s “laser focus” on fighting ISIS, the US surrendered its far greater strategic interest of preventing Iran and its proxies from taking over the areas that ISIS controlled – such as the Syrian-Lebanese border and the tri-border area between Iraq, Syria and Jordan. As Netanyahu warns at every opportunity, Iran and its proxies are moving into all the areas being liberated from ISIS.

    And Iran isn’t the only concern from either an Israeli or an American perspective. Turkey is also a looming threat, which will only grow if it isn’t contained.

    Turkey’s rapidly accelerating anti-American trajectory is now unmistakable.

    Later:

    The Kurds, with their powerful and experienced military forces in Iraq and Syria alike, constitute a significant check on both Iranian and Turkish power.

  • A federal district court judge fined David Daleiden and his lawyers $200,000 for releasing video recordings of Planned Parenthood representatives.

  • Kenya’s Supreme Court invalidated the election that re-elected President Uhuru Kenyatta, citing irregularities:

    International observers, including former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, had said they saw no manipulation of voting and tallying at polling stations. But the election board was slow posting forms showing polling station results online.

    Thousands were missing when official results were declared, so opponents could not check totals. Court experts said some documents lacked official stamps or had figures that did not match official tallies.

    The court ordered that a new election be held within 60 days.

  • An al Shabaab bomb killed 12 people in Somalia’s Puntland region. Five of the 12 were soldiers.

Links for 8-31-2017