Links for 12-5-2017

Links for 12-2-2017

  • A top FBI agent assigned to Robert Mueller’s investigation, Peter Strzok, was removed from that position because he sent anti-Trump texts to another FBI employee. Then it gets worse:

    Peter Strzok, as deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, was a key player in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to do government work as secretary of state, as well as the probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.

    During the Clinton investigation, Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

    The extramarital affair was problematic, these people said, but of greater concern among senior law enforcement officials were text messages the two exchanged during the Clinton investigation and campaign season, in which they expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.

    Note that the Andrew McCabe mentioned in that quote is married to a strong Clinton supporter himself.

  • Someone associated with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson leaked to Bloomberg that Jared Kushner is working with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on a plan to create and fund a Palestinian state. According to this account, Kushner isn’t keeping the State Department informed about these discussions.

  • The warhead on North Korea’s new Hwasong–15 missile failed to survive re-entry, which is a small, likely temporary blessing.

  • Honduras imposed a curfew after protests against presidential election results (or lack thereof) turned violent. So far three people have died and hundreds of people have been arrested.

Links for 11-29-2017

  • The U.S. Air Force fired the commander of the Thunderbirds flight demonstration team, Lt. Col. Jason Heard. His boss cited a lack of confidence in his “leadership and risk management style.”

  • Yesterday Garrison Keillor published an op-ed in The Washington Post declaring “absurd” the idea that Senator Al Franken should resign over sexual harassment charges. Today Keillor was fired by Minnesota Public Radio over sexual harassment charges.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Carpenter v. United States, an important Fourth Amendment case dealing with the circumstances where law enforcement must obtain a search warrant to access cell phone records.

  • Mollie Hemingway points out more cases where the mainstream media bends “fact checks” to advance a political agenda, not to advance the truth:

    Far more troubling was the Washington Post’s fact check of Vice President Mike Pence’s claim that “There are more Americans working today than ever before in American history.” Now, a fact check of that statement means you check whether it’s true that more Americans work today than ever before. A reasonable person would suspect it has a high chance of being true if for no other reason than there are more Americans living today than ever before.

    In fact, it is factually correct to say that more Americans are working now than ever before. The Washington Post admits this, showcases the numbers (124 million, up from 65 million in 1968), and says Pence is “technically correct.” So they give him, quite amazingly, three Pinocchios, their little metric that summarizes their analysis of the truthfulness of the statement. Then they admit they wanted to give him four Pinocchios but were constrained by the fact that what he said was true. I’m not joking.

  • Andrew McCarthy argues that we need to create new national security courts to try terrorists instead of prosecuting them in civilian or military courts:

    These problems, it should be noted, are separate and apart from the main challenge: It is impossible to try terrorists under civilian due-process protocols without providing them generous discovery from the government’s intelligence files. This means we are telling the enemy what we know about the enemy while the enemy is still plotting to attack Americans and American interests. That’s nuts.

    The patent downsides of treating international terrorism as a law-enforcement issue are why critics, myself included, were hopeful that a shift to military prosecution of enemy combatants would improve matters — more protection of intelligence, and due process limited by the laws and customs of war. We were wrong. The experiment has been a dismal failure. To catalogue all the delays, false starts, and misadventures of the military-commission system would take another column or three. Suffice it to say that it was unfair and unrealistic to task our armed forces with designing a legal system on the fly even as they fought a complex war in which, unlike prior American wars, swaths of the American legal profession backed the enemy — volunteering to represent jihadist belligerents in challenges to military detention and prosecution.

  • Russia is a signatory to an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe agreement requiring them to allow other countries to monitor military exercises that exceed certain parameters, such as the number of troops participating or the number of tanks involved. Russia always under-reports the size of its military exercises before they’re held to elide the monitoring requirement, then trumpets the huge number of troops and equipment involved afterward — numbers that would have triggered monitoring.

    Western concerns about the possible size and purpose of Zapad 2017 were a direct consequence of Russia’s consistent lack of transparency regarding its military activities over the last several years. Russia has consistently under-reported the numbers of troops involved in its exercises to avoid outside observation, and has conducted large no-notice “snap” exercises to test Western responses to unexpected troop activity. This behavior, coupled with Russia’s actions against Ukraine in 2014 and Georgia in 2008, contributes to the perception that Russia is prepared to use military force again against its neighbors and shows that it feels little obligation to play by the rules it has agreed to.

  • A commander of Bosnian Croat forces, Slobodan Praljak, committed suicide in a U.N. court by drinking poison. Judges had just rejected his appeal of a 20 year prison sentence for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims.

  • An exceptionally tight election for president of Honduras is triggering a political crisis.

Links for 11-18-2015

Links for 11-19-2014

Links for 7-21-2014

  • President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts. The Army’s account of the Afghan battle that Pitts fought while badly wounded is worth reading.

  • Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling up 1,000 National Guard troops and deploying them to the border with Mexico. Unfortunately they will be targeted primarily to only one of the border’s four sectors, and they’re not planning to detain anyone — the hope is that their presence will deter border crossings, but if they do catch anyone they’ll turn them over to the already hard-pressed Border Patrol. It will be interesting to see if during the next legislative session any politicians will propose growing the Department of Public Safety, hiring private contractors, or growing, equipping, and training the State Guard (the state militia, as opposed to the National Guard) as a more permanent means of solving the border security problem that the Obama administration won’t address. If the legislature implements any of these solutions the state will be sued by the Obama administration, but at this point in the Obama presidency you can run out the clock in the courts.

  • There about about as many Hondurans in the U.S. as there are Hondurans in Tegucigalpa: around 1 million. Unfortunately 600,000 of them are here illegally.

  • Why do New York City liberals hate Asian people? The percentage of Asian students attending New York City’s competitive admission high schools — such as Stuyvesant, Bronx High School of Science, and Brooklyn Technical High School — has been steadily increasing. As you’d imagine, the percentage of white, black, and Latino students has correspondingly decreased. The sole factor used to determine admission is a student’s score on an exam, the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). The NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed a federal lawsuit claiming that SHSAT causes disparate impact on black and Latino (but apparently not white) students, so other factors ought to be considered in admissions, including “commitment to community service,” “backgrounds and experiences,” and “demographic profile.” The Obama administration is fond of disparate impact theory and New York City’s liberal politicians like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s approach, so you can guess what’s likely to happen.

  • The “pro-Russian separatists” in eastern Ukraine agreed to turn over the black boxes from flight MH17 to Malaysian authorities. The bodies of the victims will be flown to Amsterdam.

  • Good: New Republic writer Julia Ioffe details how the Russian people are fed misinformation by the Russian media about the shoot down of flight MH17. She writes, “The Russian media space has become so uniform and independent voices so cowed and marginalized that there is no counterweight and, when there’s no counterweight, if you repeat a thing often enough, it becomes the truth… this is a very problematic development.” Bad: New Republic writer fails to draw the obvious parallel to the U.S. mainstream media’s treatment of the Obama administration.

  • Kuwait stripped five opposition figures of their citizenship, including the owner of an independent TV station and newspaper.

  • Islamic State is giving Christians in Mosul the option to convert to Islam, flee the city, pay a jizya, or be raped and murdered. They also seized a Christian monastery in the town of Qaraqosh, which dates to the fourth century. You don’t hear or read about Western governments, politicians, or pundits complaining about this.

  • The Iraqi military claims it recaptured Camp Speicher.

  • Remy released a video on the serendipitous computer crashes that destroyed evidence of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups. On the same day Remy released the video, the IRS disclosed that more officials tied to Lois Lerner lost data in computer crashes, bring the total number of crash victims to “less than 20.”