Links for 9-3-2017

Links for 8-21-2017

  • The USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore, and ten sailors are missing. Multiple compartments were flooded, and there’s a good chance the ten sailors drowned inside them — the fate of the seven sailors who died on the USS Fitzgerald when it collided with a container ship in June. Five sailors were injured, and four of them had to be evacuated by helicopter. The U.S. Navy is calling a temporary halt to operations to focus on safety.

  • The U.S. scaled back its non-immigrant visa operations in Russia, which means it will be difficult for business people, tourists, and students to travel to the U.S. People will have to apply for these visas in person at the embassy in Moscow, which is a problem for a country that spans eleven time zones. The move was taken in response to Russia’s decision to reduce the number of American diplomats allowed to operate in Russia by 755. It will be difficult for Russia to retaliate in kind, since it’s likely Russian business people need to travel to the U.S. more urgently than the reverse direction. Russia announced that Anatoly Antonov will be the next ambassador to the U.S. Antonov is currently a deputy foreign minister, and has been a deputy defense minister. Holding the defense position during Russia’s slow invasion of Ukraine earned Antonov a slot on European sanctions lists. 

  • Andrew McCarthy read the indictment of House IT contractors Imran Awan and Hina Alvi, and discovered it contains odd omissions:

    The indictment itself is drawn very narrowly. All four charges flow from a financial-fraud conspiracy of short duration. Only Imran Awan and his wife are named as defendants. There is no reference to Awan-family perfidy in connection with the House communications system.

    More bizarre still: There is not a word about Alvi’s flight to Pakistan, nor Imran Awan’s failed attempt to follow her there. This is not an oversight. The omission appears quite intentional.

    Later:

    To summarize, the indictment is an exercise in omission. No mention of the Awan group’s theft of information from Congress. Not a hint about the astronomical sums the family was paid, much of it for no-show “work.” Not a word about Wasserman Schultz’s keeping Awan on the payroll for six months during which (a) he was known to be under investigation, (b) his wife was known to have fled to Pakistan, and (c) he was not credentialed to do the IT work for which he had been hired. Nothing about Wasserman Schultz’s energetic efforts to prevent investigators from examining Awan’s laptop. A likely currency-transportation offense against Alvi goes uncharged. And, as for the offenses that are charged, prosecutors plead them in a manner that avoids any reference to what should be their best evidence.

  • Claire Galofaro profiled Aberdeen, Washington, many of whose residents voted for Donald Trump in the hope he’d help turn around their town’s dying economy. Galofaro asks what Trump has done for them in his first six months; aside from rolling back some regulations, he hasn’t done much.

    Now they come to discuss Trump, and their differing degrees of faith that he will make good on his promise to fix the rotting blue-collar economy that brought this despair to their doorstep.

    Many here agree that the thrashing and churning in Washington looks trivial when viewed from this place 3,000 miles away that so many residents have been trying so hard to save. Some maintain confidence that Trump will rise above the chaos to deliver on his pledge to resurrect the American dream. Others fear new depths of hopelessness if he fails.

    Blodgett just prays Trump understand the stakes — because in places like this, there is little room left for error from Washington, D.C. 

    There, he is tweeting insults about senators and CNN.

    Here, her neighbors have been reduced to living in cars.

  • The University of Texas at Austin removed three Confederate statues from its campus in a late night operation. Houston police arrested Andrew Schneck as he was preparing to blow up a Confederate statue in a park. Police and FBI agents found more explosives at Schneck’s home.

  • Spanish police located and killed Younes Abouyaaquoub, the man they believe drove a truck into a crowd of people in Barcelona. Abouyaaquoub hijacked a car during his escape from the scene and killed the driver.

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey and Iran are discussing joint military action against the PKK and its Iranian affiliate, the PJAK.

  • China is still supplying North Korea with oil.

  • Jim DeMint explains that the federal government will never willingly surrender power, and the only solution available is an Article V convention:

Links for 7-25-2017

Links for 7-24-2017

Links for 6-12-2017

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 4-28-2017