Links for 2-12-2018

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Links for 6-2-2017

Links for 5-20-2017

  • Donald Trump signed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $110 billion.

  • An as-yet undiscovered security compromise enabled China to kill or imprison 18 to 20 of the CIA’s operatives between 2010 and 2012.

  • Hassan Rouhani was re-elected president of Iran by a wide margin.

  • Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) voted to replace one of its leaders who has been in jail since November on terrorism charges and whose parliamentary status was stripped three months ago — Serpil Kemalbay was elected to replace Figen Yuksekdag. Another HDP co-leader, Selahattin Demirtas, is also in jail but he remains a member of parliament.

  • The Taliban staged an assault on Ghazni, a city on the highway connecting Kabul and Kandahar; there are conflicting reports of how successful they were. Gunmen assaulted a bank in Gardez, killing three people before they themselves were killed.

  • Two people authored a nonsense academic paper entitled “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” and got it published in the peer-reviewed journal Cogent Social Sciences:

    Assuming the pen names “Jamie Lindsay” and “Peter Boyle,” and writing for the fictitious “Southeast Independent Social Research Group,” we wrote an absurd paper loosely composed in the style of post-structuralist discursive gender theory. The paper was ridiculous by intention, essentially arguing that penises shouldn’t be thought of as male genital organs but as damaging social constructions. We made no attempt to find out what “post-structuralist discursive gender theory” actually means. We assumed that if we were merely clear in our moral implications that maleness is intrinsically bad and that the penis is somehow at the root of it, we could get the paper published in a respectable journal.

    This already damning characterization of our hoax understates our paper’s lack of fitness for academic publication by orders of magnitude. We didn’t try to make the paper coherent; instead, we stuffed it full of jargon (like “discursive” and “isomorphism”), nonsense (like arguing that hypermasculine men are both inside and outside of certain discourses at the same time), red-flag phrases (like “pre-post-patriarchal society”), lewd references to slang terms for the penis, insulting phrasing regarding men (including referring to some men who choose not to have children as being “unable to coerce a mate”), and allusions to rape (we stated that “manspreading,” a complaint levied against men for sitting with their legs spread wide, is “akin to raping the empty space around him”). After completing the paper, we read it carefully to ensure it didn’t say anything meaningful, and as neither one of us could determine what it is actually about, we deemed it a success. 

Links for 3-31-2017

  • Donald Trump used White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney to threaten Congressman Mark Sanford (R-SC) (a Freedom Caucus member) with a primary challenge over his opposition to ObamaCare Lite:

    “The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted ‘no’ on this bill so he could run (a primary challenger) against you in 2018,” Sanford said Mulvaney told him.

    He added that Mulvaney made it clear he did not want to deliver the message but did so at Trump’s insistence.

    “I’ve never had anyone, over my time in politics, put it to me as directly as that,” Sanford said, perhaps understating just how monumental it is for a sitting president to openly go after members of his own party.

    Alexandra DeSanctis writes:

    Yesterday morning’s tweet was yet another indication that Trump doesn’t understand the importance of coalition-building, or perhaps even that he believes his incredible “deal-making” skills will somehow compensate for the loss of Freedom Caucus votes. Without the 35 official members of the HFC, the House GOP has just 216 representatives, two fewer than what’s needed to pass a bill without any Democratic support. It would be a mistake for the president to believe that his legislative agenda — to the extent that he has one at all — will benefit from such open attacks against a crucial subset of his own party.

    What’s more, this belligerence toward the HFC has put the president on a collision course with the people representing his most ardent supporters. By and large, Freedom Caucus members come from districts Trump dominated in November. Though there is reason to believe the most passionate Trump voters will side with him in any political conflict, even within the GOP, it is unwise for him to set himself against the very politicians who give voice to the populist wave that swept him into office.

  • The person who “unmasked” Trump transition team members was “very well known, very high up, very senior in the intelligence world, and is not in the FBI. This led to other surveillance, which led to other names being unmasked.” Ben Shapiro writes:

    So, here’s the summation: it appears that members of the Obama administration not only wanted to preserve intelligence from the supposedly grubby hands of the Trump Team, a high-ranking intelligence official under Obama deliberately unmasked members of the Trump transition team in order to embarrass them. And that would only work if there were rumors about nefarious activity without proof of it – unmasking somebody for doing something completely innocuous would mean little publicly. Yet we still have no evidence of nefarious activity from any member of the Trump Team.

    That’s a scandal, folks.

    And that does require a real investigation.

  • People are curious why Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen still has a job now that Donald Trump is in office. Firing Koskinen should have been a priority for Trump.

  • Matthew Continetti writes that Senator Chuck Schumer is the Yasser Arafat of the Democratic Party:

    Schumer is so practiced at saying one thing to Democratic elites and another to the Democratic base that it is easy to fall for his charade. But neither Arafat nor Schumer should fool you. Schumer is a hypocrite and a liar and out for no one but himself. And it is for these reasons that his threat to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch should be viewed with incredulity.

  • The Washington Free Beacon produced a great video illustrating the hypocrisy of Senate Democrats on filibustering Supreme Court nominees:

  • Donald Trump gave the Department of Defense more leeway to attack al Shabaab.

  • Dylann Roof will plead guilty to state murder charges. Under the deal Roof will be sentenced to life in prison, which won’t mean much since he received the death penalty in his federal trial.

  • AT&T won a $6.5 billion contract to build and operate a nationwide cellular network for first responders.

  • A survey of foreigners residing in Japan indicated there’s widespread discrimination in work and housing and frequent public examples of racism:

    In a separate question, 29.8 percent of those who responded to the survey said they either “frequently” or “occasionally” heard race-based insults being hurled at them, mostly from strangers (53.3 percent), bosses, co-workers and business partners (38.0 percent) and neighbors (19.3 percent).

  • A car bomb killed the head of Ukrainian counterintelligence in the Donetsk region, Lieutenant Colonel Oleksandr Kharaberiush. Donetsk is the area of hottest conflict between Russia (and its proxies) and Ukraine.

  • Russia is mastering hybrid warfare in Ukraine, which combines propaganda, fake news, cyberwarfare, and conventional weapons.

  • The leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP party, Selahattin Demirtas, went on a hunger strike in the prison where he’s being held.