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 5-21-2017

Links for 5-1-2017

Links for 2-21-2017

Links for 2-6-2017

Links for 12-27-2016

  • Victor Davis Hanson explains how President Obama’s foreign policy differs from ancient foreign policy that actually works, even today:

    In contrast, when a national leader repeatedly lectures the world on peace, takes options off the table, uses the megaphone to blast his own country’s flaws and distance himself from its supposedly checkered past, heralds soft power, and in psychodramatic fashion issues rhetorical red lines, deadlines, and step-over lines, then he erodes deterrence (in becoming predictably passive). And the while, his empty sanctimoniousness grates rivals and invites gratuitous adventurism. The gunslingers of the world vie to gain a reputation by showing other outlaws how enervated the once-robust sheriff has become, despite his trash-talking — and sometimes they stage a shoot-out on Main Street for no apparent reason other than that they can.

  • A judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit revived lawsuits filed by Judicial Watch and Cause of Action over how the State Department and the National Archives handled Hillary Clinton’s emails.

  • An engineer who worked for Hamas and Hezbollah, Mohammed al-Zawari, was gunned down in Tunisia. Al-Zawari was an expert on drones, and was reportedly working on underwater drones that could be used to attack Israel’s offshore natural gas platforms.

  • Adriel Kasonta writes that it’s time for the EU to get tough on Turkey:

    According to Hans-Christian Ströbel, a Green-party member of the German Bundestag, Turkey’s intelligence agency MIT has around 6,000 informants in Germany alone. These informants reportedly pass the names of dissidents to the MIT, which adds them to the government’s blacklist of people it wishes to arrest in the future. Intelligence expert and author Erich Schmidt-Eenboom explained in an interview with The Local that each informant could be responsible for monitoring 500 people with Turkish roots in Germany, which is a home to around 3 million Turks. This would also mean that these spies are each monitoring more people than the Stasi did in West Germany during the Cold War.

    The main difference between the MIT and the Stasi, according to Schmidt-Eenboom, is that the later engaged primarily in gathering military, political, and economic intelligence in West Germany, rather than targeting former citizens. “This is no longer about intelligence reconnaissance, but rather this is increasingly being used for intelligence repression,” he warned.

  • Gunmen broke into the home of a prominent Iraqi female freelance journalist, Afrah Shawqi al-Qaisi, and kidnapped her.

  • An Argentine judge indicted former President Cristina Fernandez, accusing her of participating in a corruption scheme that stole money from public road projects.

Links for 6-23-2016