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

Links for 8-30-2017

Links for 8-19-2017

Links for 8-11-2017

  • Robert Tracinski writes that “No One Expects the Google Inquisition, But It’s Coming”:

    Someone followed up by sending further leaks to the media, consisting of photos of internal message board discussions showing that some other Googlers agreed with Damore, at least in part. The obvious purpose of those leaks is to keep up the pressure on Google, to set off an inquiry into how many other horrible, raging, sexist bigots—as Damore has been styled in the technology media—also need to be purged from the company. That’s the clear implication: that Google needs to conduct a thorough investigation to root out any other James Damores who might be lurking there.

    Later:

    This is how an organization gets eaten away by vicious politics. By giving one set of its employees the impression that they can leak to the press to get people who disagree with them fired, Google has apparently inspired another set of its employees to leak information to get the first group harassed. Talk about creating a “hostile work environment.”

    Later still:

    What’s relevant here is that Google now faces a pattern in which its employees are taking internal information and leaking it to the media, against the company’s own rules and safeguards, in order to achieve political objectives. If the wider public starts to figure out that this is happening, they just might decide this is not a company they want to trust with their information or access to their lives.

  • Sabo put up posters near Google’s office in Venice, California:
    Sabo Google poster

  • Kevin Williamson writes that Donald Trump is treating Mitch McConnell as a scapegoat, but McConnell is not the only person responsible for the failures of the Republican-controlled Congress:

    Trump presented himself to the voters as a master negotiator and dealmaker, but that of course was the character he played on television, not the actual man. Trump cannot sit down with congressional Republicans — much less a bipartisan coalition — and negotiate a deal on health-care reform. The reasons for this are straightforward: There is disagreement among Republicans about what policies should be forwarded, and President Trump does not know what he himself thinks about any of them, because he does not think anything about any of them, because he doesn’t know about them. Trump does not do details — he does adjectives. He wants a “terrific” health-care system. So does Bernie Sanders, but the two of them don’t agree on what that means in practice. At least, they don’t agree anymore: Trump has in the past endorsed the same single-payer system that the grumpy little socialist Muppet from Vermont prefers, which he, or whoever writes the books published under his name, described at some length in his 2000 offering The America We Deserve. He pointed to Canada as an example of how health care in the United States should be organized. He might even have believed that for a week or two, but Trump is simply too lazy to do the intellectual work necessary to develop a coherent position beyond his facile superlatives.

  • Comparing Census Bureau numbers with statistics from the Election Assistance Commission indicates at least 462 counties have more registered voters than residents of voting age:

    But California’s San Diego County earns the enchilada grande. Its 138 percent registration translates into 810,966 ghost voters. Los Angeles County’s 112 percent rate equals 707,475 over-registrations. Beyond the official data that it received, Judicial Watch reports that LA County employees “informed us that the total number of registered voters now stands at a number that is a whopping 144 percent of the total number of resident citizens of voting age.”

    All told, California is a veritable haunted house, teeming with 1,736,556 ghost voters. Judicial Watch last week wrote Democratic secretary of state Alex Padilla and authorities in eleven Golden State counties and documented how their election records are in shambles.

  • A second unit of Yazidi women fighters (the YPJ) entered Raqqa, Syria to fight ISIS.

  • Christians are leaving Iraq at even higher rates because their towns are wrecked, aid money isn’t flowing, and Kurdish and Shiite militias have divided up the Nineveh Plain:

    Checkpoints manned separately by Kurdish Democratic Party peshmerga fighters and Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) militias make it difficult for families to return. “At each of these checkpoints, we often wait up to two hours,” Markos told me. “Two weeks ago, I was turned back.”

    The KDP and the PMF have established a military Line of Control, effectively dividing the Assyrian Christian and Yazidi Nineveh Plain into two separate zones.

    Towns that used to be just a ten minute drive from each other are now walled off from one another, requiring hours to reach crossing points manned by the warring militias.

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 7-3-2017

  • Mark Steyn writes that bollards are proliferating as a response to terrorist attacks, both in the physical world and in people’s minds:

    So in what sense is Manchester “united”? Zamzam Ibrahim’s view of where she wants British society to wind up is no different in its essentials from the bomber’s. They’re both about the same age; the main difference is that Salman Abedi is in a zillion pieces being scraped off the pavement, and Zamzam Ibrahim will wind up in the House of Lords. And in a democratic age what matters is the disposition of the large number of people who stick around rather than the small number who self-detonate. If the issue is terrorism, Miss Ibrahaim is not a problem. If the issue is whether formerly cohesive societies can survive the mass importation of ever more people with a fundamentally different and incompatible vision of how that society should be run, she is in fact symptomatic of a much bigger problem than the occasional suicide-bomber or van-renter. As I put it the other day, after congratulating that Canadian sniper on his new world record for longest confirmed kill, what’s the point of picking off an ISIS barbarian at 3,450 meters halfway round the globe if back on the home front you keep importing thousands upon thousands who share his world view? Or at any rate incline more to his than to yours, at least when it comes to legal systems, the segregation of the sexes, etc.

  • Donald Trump’s Twitter feed is a lost opportunity to advance his agenda:

    In case you were distracted by something like the Senate health-care fight, the White House just finished a run of four policy-themed weeks (infrastructure, workforce development, tech and energy). This was designed to be the month the White House methodically forced the media and the public to reckon with its policy ideas, all focused on shaping the domestic policy of the future.

    Axios’ Shane Savitsky counted every tweet on @realDonaldTrump during that month and found that of 121 tweets by Trump himself, three related to these policy topics. If you include tweets on his feed that are clearly by aides (include video, pics, hashtags, etc.), it’s 14 for 195.

  • A federal district court judge issued an injunction blocking enforcement of California’s gun magazine confiscation law. California passed a law making it illegal to possess a gun magazine holding more than 10 rounds.

  • Google is donating $2 million to an anti-violence campaign that includes leading gun control organizations.

  • Illinois’ Department of Child and Family Services is requiring all people associated with the state’s child welfare system to enthusiastically buy into a kid’s self-proclaimed gender identity:

    Appendix K is extensive, but the upshot is simple: anybody who comes into contact with a self-identified transgender youth via the child welfare system must support and affirm the child’s chosen gender identity, at all times and without reserve. These kids must be protected from any kind of scrutiny or skepticism regarding their gender identity, or any situation that might cause them discomfort over their gender expression.

    Foster home or facility placements for children that don’t offer unconditional support for all gender identity claims shall be denied contracts. Any DCFS staff who are insufficiently enthusiastic about this approach must be re-educated and, if this is unsuccessful, dismissed.

  • Nolan Peterson’s latest dispatch from Ukraine:

    Prior to my arrival in 2014, I had watched a YouTube video of what had happened at this place during the revolution. The sky was gray in the video, and the trees were bare.

    Snipers hidden in the surrounding rooftops gunned down the protesters one by one as they ascended the street. Some dropped dead in a flash. Others folded to the ground like in slow motion. Eventually, the dead clustered where they had collectively sought shelter in their final moments.

    The protesters were unarmed. They wore motorcycle helmets and wielded shields fashioned out of the top of garbage bins and road signs for protection. As sniper fire cut down one wave of protesters at the top of the hill, their comrades would rush up to drag the dead and wounded away.

    After depositing the casualties in the nearby Hotel Ukraine lobby, the survivors did something amazing. They turned around and went back.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron summoned parliament to the Palace of Versailles and declared that he wants to reduce the number of seats in parliament by one-third. If parliament doesn’t quickly go along with his plan, Macron threatened a popular referendum.

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party was clobbered in the Tokyo Metropolitan assembly election. The next election for the House of Representatives is scheduled for December 2018, so Abe and his party have time to stage a comeback, but they’re in a hole now.

  • There were 23 sexual assaults during a music festival in Norrkoping, Sweden, prompting organizers to cancel next year’s event.

  • A suicide bomber dressed as a veiled woman killed 14 people at a camp for displaced people west of Baghdad; thirteen people were injured. ISIS claimed responsibility.

  • Leaders of Afghanistan’s three largest ethnic minority political parties met in Turkey and issued a demand for reforms that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani must implement — if he doesn’t, they’re threatening mass protests. All of the leaders issuing these demands hold senior positions in Ghani’s government.

    The group, calling itself the Coalition for the Salvation of Afghanistan, said their aim was to “prevent the collapse of the government, avoid chaos and restore public trust.” They demanded that Ghani devolve power to cabinet ministries and provinces, stop “overreaching” his authority for personal motives, schedule long-promised elections, and obey the constitution and the law. It also called for Dostom’s full authority to be restored and a government attack against him to be investigated.

    Later:

    A variety of political figures and observers reacted skeptically to the news, suggesting that the ethnic minority leaders, all of whom have had differences with Ghani while in office, may be less interested in government reforms than in using a period of public anger and unhappiness to press for political advantage. They also noted that Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun, has been criticized for concentrating power in the hands of his ethnic and tribal allies and marginalizing other ethnic groups.