Links for 5-6-2017

Links for 5-2-2017

  • Jim DeMint is officially out as president of the Heritage Foundation. Heritage’s statement is here and DeMint’s response is here. Mollie Hemingway writes that DeMint’s ouster was a palace coup by Michael Needham, who leads Heritage Action, the 501(c)(4) to Heritage’s 501(c)(3). In Washington, palace coups often end up badly for the coup plotters — we’ll see what happens this time.

  • Kevin Williamson writes on the current state of federal separation of powers:

    For decades, the Left has advanced its agenda by using the courts to effectively amend the Constitution without going through the amendment process. Want a constitutional right to abortion? Harry Blackmun will oblige. But there is a Jacksonian version of that: amending the Constitution through obstinacy and demagoguery. In the matter of creating a categorical exemption from prosecution in certain immigration cases, the Obama administration took an action that President Obama himself had earlier argued was beyond the legal power of the president. Donald Trump had insisted that the Obama administration required congressional authorization before making war on Syria, but he quickly reversed himself once the power was his. Those issues remain unresolved: An injunction was issued against the Obama administration’s expanded amnesty, and a 4–4 Supreme Court decision denied the administration a rehearing of the case. The Trump administration’s actions in Syria have not been litigated at all.

    The only thing about any of this that seems to me obvious is that our tripartite government is a tricycle with a wonky wheel — the presidency. Though there are ancient intellectual disputes about such questions as judicial review, a reasonably effective and stable modus vivendi has evolved for relations between the judicial and legislative branches. And there was, until fairly recently, a reasonably effective (though less stable) settlement between the presidency and the other branches. Congress expanded the executive branch, for instance with the creation of the Department of Education, and it constrained the executive branch, too, through legislation such as the War Powers Resolution and the Hatch Act. But the presidency is an opportunistic political organism, and it has grown, for good reasons and bad, particularly during the administrations of Richard Nixon and those who came after. Claims of executive privilege grew to such an extent as to amount to something like immunity from congressional oversight, particularly in matters related to political scandals. The role of the president as “Commander-in-Chief” was inflated to princely proportions. And now, President Trump wants a bigger presidency, too.

    We should not give it to him.

  • Dennis Prager on the Second Civil War:

    In order to understand why more violence might be coming, it is essential to understand that left-wing mobs are almost never stopped, arrested, or punished. Colleges do nothing to stop them, and civil authorities do nothing to stop them on campuses or anywhere else. Police are reduced to spectators as they watch left-wing gangs loot stores, smash business and car windows, and even take over state capitols (as in Madison, Wisc.).

    It’s beginning to dawn on many Americans that some mayors, police chiefs, and college presidents have no interest in stopping this violence. Left-wing officials sympathize with the lawbreakers; and the police, who rarely sympathize with thugs of any ideology, are ordered to do nothing by emasculated police chiefs. Consequently, given the abdication by all these authorities of their role to protect the public, some members of the public will inevitably decide that they will protect themselves and others.

    Later:

    So, here’s a prediction: If college presidents, mayors, and police chiefs won’t stop left-wing mobs, other Americans will. I hope this doesn’t happen, because electing conservative Republicans and not donating money to colleges would be more effective. But it is almost inevitable.

    Then the left-wing media – the mainstream media – will enter hysteria mode with reports that “right-wing fascists” are violently attacking America.

    And that’s when mayors and college presidents will finally order in the police.

  • The State Department is still finding Hillary Clinton emails containing classified information.

  • Former Charleston, South Carolina police officer Michael Slager pleaded guilty to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights when he shot Scott five times as he was running away. The plea deal means Slager won’t be retried on state murder charges (his first trial ended in a hung jury).

  • The THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea went live.

  • Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny lost 80% of his vision in one eye after someone threw green liquid in his face last week.

  • Rival Libyan governments held talks in Abu Dhabi, and reportedly agreed to hold elections early next year.

  • Brazilian prosecutors filed charges against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s chief of staff, Jose Dirceu. He’s accused of accepting $755,880 in bribes from two construction companies.

  • A border wall in San Diego dramatically dropped the crime rate and encouraged economic development:

Links for 4-29-2017

  • An American service member was killed by an “explosive device” outside Mosul.

  • Andrew McCarthy explained the role of grand juries and subpoenas in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server, and concludes with this:

    I believe the Obama Justice Department had no intention of indicting Clinton; it wanted to help the presidential campaign by orchestrating her “exoneration” only after a thorough FBI probe. Having labored to conceal the fact that Clinton was under criminal investigation, Justice cannot have been happy about having to issue grand-jury subpoenas confirming it. But they knew three things: (a) it would have been indefensible for the FBI not to at least try to get the records; (b) there would only need to be a few subpoenas (maybe just a couple); and (c) the recipients would be telecommunications service providers, which are routinely directed to provide assistance in sensitive and even classified investigations, and which have a very strong record of not leaking. There was no real danger that the subpoenas issued would enhance the public understanding that Clinton was being investigated in connection with serious crimes.

  • The purges in Turkey continue, with Erdogan’s government firing another 3,900 people from the civil service and the military.

  • A co-president of the Democratic Council of Syria argues that his fellow Kurds are better allies of the U.S. than Turkey:

    On Tuesday, Turkey bombed the headquarters of Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, killing 20 of our soldiers. Immediately after the strike, the leaders of our forces – known as the People’s Protection Groups, or YPG – rushed from their operations center near Raqqa, where they’ve been working with the U.S. military to push the Islamic State out of its Syrian stronghold, to view the site of the attack. The American colonel and other officers who accompanied the YPG leaders were met by tens of thousands of protesters, including the mothers of soldiers who have died fighting the Islamic State. They asked the Americans a simple question: “How is it possible that our soldiers are fighting with you against ISIS while your ally Turkey is attacking us here?”

    Later:

    Erdogan is trying to force the United States to choose between us and Turkey. We don’t think such a choice is necessary, but it is worth considering what that choice entails. We, the Democratic Council of Syria, are an alliance of progressive, democratic parties that govern the Northern Syria Federation. Though we are besieged from all sides (by the Islamic State, the Assad regime and Erdogan’s Turkey), our region is more stable than any other part of the country. So much so, in fact, that in addition to our population of 3 million, we have taken in an additional 500,000 refugees (Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, Armenians and Yazidis) from across Syria.

    Sadly, there is a stark contrast between our democratic, egalitarian and progressive society and that of our neighbor, where Erdogan is consolidating power and turning Turkey into a totalitarian state. This is further shown by his recent “victory” in this month’s constitutional referendum, which he conducted after arresting a vast number of lawmakers, political leaders, journalists, union members and military leaders who do not agree with the Turkish president’s political narrative.

  • China deported an American citizen, Sandy Phan-Gillis, who was convicted of espionage this week after being held without trial for two years.

  • Marine Le Pen chose Nicolas Dupont-Aignan as her would-be prime minister. Dupont-Aignan lost in the first round of France’s presidential elections, and Le Pen is trying to pick up his supporters.

Links for 4-22-2017

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Links for 1-12-2017

Links for 1-9-2017