Links for 3-25-2017

  • Philip Klein thinks the Republican party’s failure to repeal ObamaCare is the biggest broken political promise ever:

    Republicans were always moving the goal posts on voters. That is, during campaign season, they made boasts about repeal, and then once in office, they talked about procedural complications. In 2010, they campaigned on repeal, but by 2011, they said they needed the Senate. In 2014, they won the Senate, but by 2015 they said as long as Obama was in office, nothing would become law. In 2016, they told conservative voters, even reluctant ones, that if they voted for Trump despite any reservations, they’d finally be able to repeal Obamacare. In November, voters gave them unified control of Washington. And yet after just two months on the job, they have thrown in the towel and said they’re willing to abandon seven years of promises.

    Later:

    In this case, the hardliners were playing a productive role by pointing out the real policy consequences of the piecemeal approach being pursued by the House leadership. Though we’ll never know for sure how the numbers might of looked if a vote had taken place, it’s clear that many centrist members of the Republican caucus were also prepared to vote this bill down. House conservatives, if they could be blamed for anything, it’s for having the audacity to urge leadership to actually honor seven years of pledges to voters to repeal Obamacare. If anybody was moving the goal posts, it wasn’t Freedom Caucusers, it was those who were trying to sell a bill that kept much of Obamacare’s regulatory architecture in place as a free market repeal and replace plan.

    Later:

    What’s so utterly disgraceful, is not just that Republicans failed so miserably, but that they barely tried, raising questions about whether they ever actually wanted to repeal Obamacare in the first place.

  • Jeffrey Tucker writes on what must replace ObamaCare if it’s actually going to help people:

    The first priority is that competition must be restored through some measure of deregulation. The mandates must go. The pre-set benefits packages must die. Insurers must gain control over their business affairs and customers have to be able to shop and choose.

    It is not about ideology. It is about a system of health care insurance that actually works to serve the common good. We must regain flexibility to inspire innovation and achieve profitability. This must happen or else premiums will keep going up. This is a requirement. Obamacare failed because it disabled the market. Any reform must restore that market. This is more important than any other feature of reform.

    Trumpcare or Ryancare or whatever you want to call it does not do that. It replaces a mandate to buy with a tax incentive to buy. Otherwise it leaves the problem of the absence of genuine competition in place. True, the alternative doesn’t do anything about the transfer of payments, but, if you follow Hayek, you know that these are less important to eliminate than are the barriers to competition.

  • The night before his revelation about intelligence gathering that targeted Donald Trump’s transition team, Congressman Devin Nunes received a communication on his phone while he was in an Uber with a committee staffer. Nunes abruptly exited the car and disappeared for the evening. Is there a whistleblower behind Nunes’ revelation?

  • An American immigration judge granted asylum to a Singaporean blogger named Amos Yee. Singapore had jailed Yee twice. The Department of Homeland Security opposed Yee’s asylum request.

  • The U.S. military is investigating a close air support strike in Mosul that allegedly killed dozens of civilians.

  • Four Egyptian soldiers died when their vehicle hit an IED in the Sinai Peninsula.

  • UKIP’s only member of parliament, Douglas Carswell, is leaving the party to stand as an independent. Nigel Farage has called for Carswell to quit, and a UKIP donor named Arron Banks intends to run against Carswell.

Links for 3-23-2017

Links for 3-21-2017

  • A special forces soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Boniface, died in a noncombat incident in Logar province, Afghanistan. A Marine, Sgt. Maj. Timonthy J. Rudd, died while in South Korea for joint war games; Rudd was from Post, Texas.

  • Rob Natelson debunks disinformation campaigns that try to scare people about an Article V convention of states:

    Article V of the Constitution provides that three fourths of the states (now 38 of 50) must ratify an amendment before it becomes effective. Before ratification, however, it must be formally proposed—either by Congress or by a “convention for proposing amendments.” A convention is called when two thirds of state legislatures (34 of 50) adopt overlapping resolutions in favor of one.

    The founders inserted the convention procedure so the people, acting through their state legislatures, could propose reforms that Congress would rather block. The founders viewed the procedure as a crucial constitutional right. Without it, the Constitution may not have been adopted.

    Opponents’ disinformation campaign is designed to frighten Americans away from using a convention to bypass the Washington power establishment. In some ways, their campaign resembles efforts to suppress voting among targeted groups. It propagates four central assertions—all of them constitutional junk.

  • The House Republican leadership is done with the ObamaCare Lite bill, and the few changes they made don’t improve it much. The House Freedom Caucus is neutral on the revised bill, but many members say they’ll vote against it. Donald Trump is still threatening to primary them if they do vote against it, but Ben Shapiro argues they have a lot more to fear from voters if they fail to deliver on their promise to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with something that lowers premiums:

    Meeting on the Hill with House members today, Trump said that his crowd size would dissipate if Republicans didn’t pass his bill. “We won’t have these crowds if we don’t get this done,” he said. He turned on the House Freedom Caucus – some of his biggest backers during the election cycle – and said that loss wasn’t “acceptable,” specifically targeting Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) for scrutiny. He added, “I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don’t get this done.”

    This is doubtful.

    Actually, there’s a significantly better chance that House Republicans will lose their seats if they vote for a bad replacement bill that doesn’t cut rising premiums, provide more health care choice, or do much to lower costs down the line (which it won’t, since the block grant program to Medicaid is always subject to future Congresses revising the deal). Trumpcare doesn’t even meet with Trump’s directives to increase the number of people with health insurance – a Democratic talking point adopted by Trump for years on end.

  • Owen Strachan argues that the alt-right is what you get when you marginalize men:

    Because it is not friendly to them, many men do not like postmodern society. They have been taught they have no innate call to leadership of home and church, and accordingly have lost the script for their lives. They have been encouraged to step back from being a breadwinner, and do not know what they are supposed to do with their lives.

    They have been told that they talk too loudly and spread their legs too wide, and thus do not fit in with a feminized society. They may be the product of a divorced home, and may have grown up without an engaged father, so possess both pent-up rage and a disappearing instinct. They did nothing to choose their biological manliness, but are instructed to attend sensitivity training by virtue of it. They recognize—rightly—that politically correct culture constrains free thought and free speech, and so they opt out from it.

    But here is where the common narrative of the alt-right and related groups makes a major mistake. Men are disappearing, but they are not vanishing. They are moving out of the mainstream, and into the shadows.

  • The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that people flying to the U.S. from airports in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Morocco, and Qatar will have to check electronic devices larger than cell phones.

  • Sharron Angle is running for office again, this time for the House of Representatives from Nevada’s district 2.

  • Fox News pulled analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano off the air indefinitely over his claim that Britain’s intelligence agencies wiretapped Donald Trump at Barack Obama’s behest.

  • More than 300 models of Cisco Ethernet switches can be remotely compromised and there’s no fix yet. Cisco discovered the bug when WikiLeaks published an inventory of the CIA’s hacking tools.

  • Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye apologized for her role in the scandal that resulted in her impeachment. She lost her immunity from prosecution when she lost her office, so prosecutors are now questioning her as a criminal suspect.

  • A North Korean official stationed at the U.N. in Geneva claimed North Korea will develop a preemptive nuclear strike capability and the country isn’t afraid of U.S. efforts to impose new financial sanctions.

  • A Tibetan named Pema Gyaltsen self-immolated in Kham province and Chinese authorities responded by arresting around 200 people.

  • Stars and Stripes published an article describing the funeral of an 18-year-old Yazidi fighter, Salam Mukhaibir. He and four other fighters died in a battle with peshmerga forces from Iraqi Kurdistan. Many Yazidis fighters are aligned with the Kurdish PKK because the pershmerga abandoned them when ISIS invaded the area around Mount Sinjar.

  • A car bomb detonated less than a kilometer from the presidential palace in Mogadishu, killing at least four people.

Links for 3-11-2017

Links for 3-8-2017

Links for 3-3-2017

Links for 3-2-2017