Links for 7-19-2018

  • Rod Rosenstein says the Department of Justice will notify the public of “foreign operations targeting U.S. democracy.”

  • Victor Davis Hanson argues that Germany is NATO’s challenge, not the U.S. under the Trump administration:

    Berlin sends ultimatums to the indebted Southern European nations. Berlin alone tries to dictate immigration policy for the European Union. Berlin establishes the tough conditions under which the United Kingdom can exit the European Union. And when Berlin decides it will not pony up the promised 2 percent of GDP for its NATO contribution, other laggard countries follow its example. Only six of the 29 NATO members (other than the U.S.) so far have met their promised assessments.

    Germany’s combination of affluence and military stinginess is surreal. Germany has piled up the largest trade surplus in the world at around $300 billion, including a trade surplus of some $64 billion with its military benefactor, the United States, yet it is poorly equipped in terms of tanks and fighter aircraft.

  • A study of Tennessee’s pre-K program concluded that kids who attended pre-K academically underperformed kids who stayed home, at least by the end of kindergarten. The pre-K kids also had more discipline problems and higher rates of special education placement.

  • The U.K. government oversees a laboratory that studies Huawei’s telecommunications equipment, looking for security vulnerabilities. The oversight board just changed its mind about Huawei’s products, saying it has concerns about components supplied to Huawei. The lab’s researchers also aren’t able to check all of the code running inside Huawei’s products.

  • British police have reportedly identified Russian suspects in the Novichok poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Links for 4-17-2018

  • The Department of Justice Inspector General report on former FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe details how the Obama administration worked to shut down the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton Foundation:

    The report, authored by Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, an Obama appointee, chronicles the Justice Department’s effort to shut down the FBI’s investigation Aug. 12, 2016. The pressure allegedly came in the form of a phone call to McCabe from a Justice Department principal associate deputy attorney general (PADAG) who pressed McCabe on the continuing investigation. The IG did not identify which PADAG made the call.

    Later:

    The August phone call between McCabe and the senior Justice Department official was acrimonious, the IG reported. “McCabe acknowledged that the PADAG call was a very memorable event in McCabe’s career. It involved a dramatic confrontation between McCabe and the principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, one of the highest ranking officials in the Department. McCabe told the OIG that, despite his long career in the FBI, he had never had a conversation ‘like this one’ with a high level Department of Justice official before or since August 12, 2016,” the IG wrote.

  • The Department of Justice Inspector General report on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server will be released next month.

  • Neil Gorsuch sided with the U.S. Supreme Court’s liberals in a case involving the deportation of a legal immigrant who committed multiple burglaries. Federal law says an immigrant who commits a “crime of violence” can be deported, and both the Obama and Trump administrations argued that an “ordinary case” of burglary can involve violence; a 5–4 majority of the Supreme Court disagreed.

  • Law students at the City University of New York tried to de-platform Josh Blackman. The subject of Blackman’s speech was the importance of the First Amendment on campus. The administrators at CUNY’s law school refused to punish the students.

  • Joy Pullmann uses text from a new Advanced Placement history textbook to demonstrate the stupidity of sending your children to indoctrination camps posing as schools:

    Many parents wouldn’t let their kids physically ingest even trace chemicals that haven’t been conclusively proven to hurt anyone, yet they send their kids to mental cafeterias that plentifully serve ideas proven to cause human misery and slavery. This is madness. For lawmakers from the Right to allow their political antagonists to maintain monopolies on instructing future voters, it’s suicidal.

    Citing statistics that 66% of millennials don’t know what Auschwitz was, Pullmann writes:

    Surveys and studies have been finding for decades now that the U.S. education system graduates students of this caliber. You don’t need studies to prove this. Just look at what passes for public discourse. Look at the decisions your fellow citizens keep making through our political process. Look at their capabilities of creating and sustaining healthy, happy families and communities. Do Americans seem generally well-informed, thoughtful, and constructively engaged? In other words, are we still as a people good at governing ourselves, at running our own lives?

    If you think not, then it’s time to confront the truth that this is happening in your state, your town, your schools, and to your kids. You might not be interested in politicized and dumbed-down curriculum, but it’s interested in your kids. Passivity enables its strengthening dominance.

  • Israel hinted that it may attack Iranian planes in Syria, including civilian planes transporting weapons.

Links for 2-27-2018

Links for 2-22-2018

Links for 12-13-2017

  • The U.S. Senate confirmed Don Willett to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on a 50-47 vote.

  • The FBI delivered copies of anti-Trump text messages exchanged between agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page to Congress, which prompted “interesting” questions when Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein appeared before the House Judiciary Committee.

    Strzok and Page referred to Trump as an “idiot” during the Republican primaries, the text messages show. Other exchanges indicate that the pair supported Clinton for president over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the Democratic primaries.

    Politico noted a March 2016 text in which Page declared: “God trump is a loathsome human…omg he’s an idiot.”

    “He’s awful,” wrote back Strzok, who also texted that Trump was an “idiot” in another exchange.

    Later:

    “This guy thought he was super agent James Bond at the FBI,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said of Strzok, pointing to texts in which Strzok appeared to see it as his mission to protect the nation from Trump.

  • Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson submitted a court filing where he confirmed that he met with Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr and hired Ohr’s wife Nellie to help with opposition research against Donald Trump.

  • A sensational — and false — media story from the 2016 presidential campaign claimed there were ties between Donald Trump’s businesses and a Russian bank, Alfa. We now know that story originated with Fusion GPS.

  • Ben Shapiro details a lesson from Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama:

    For a year now, there’s been a myth among Republicans: the Legend of Trump.

    It goes something like this. Once upon a time, there was an unbeatable candidate, a world-famous politician whose husband had been president, who received unquestioning loyalty from the media. Then came the Dragonslayer: a real-estate mogul with a toilet of gold and a tongue of iron, who cut the unconquerable evil queen down to size and seized the throne from her. The laws of political gravity simply didn’t apply to him: He could utter any vulgarity, brazen through any scandal, batter down any media infrastructure. And if Republicans followed him — if they lit their torches from his — they too could slay dragons.

    Now, it’s quite possible that Donald Trump was the only Republican who could have defeated Hillary Clinton —other Republicans might have tried to take the high ground with a candidate significantly dirtier than the local garbage dump. Trump has no tact and no compunction, so he was always willing to drag her off her high horse. But Trump truly won not because he was a stellar candidate — far from it — but because Hillary Clinton was an awful candidate. And this means not only that his dragonslaying isn’t duplicable, but also that other candidates with similarly shady backgrounds who attempt to imitate him will end up failing dramatically.

    In other words, the laws of political gravity still apply.

  • Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton designated Lt. Governor Tina Smith as his choice to replace Senator Al Franken. Smith is a former Planned Parenthood lobbyist. And Franken hasn’t officially resigned yet.

  • A House and Senate conference committee says it cut a deal on tax legislation that lowers the corporate income tax rate to 21%. It also eliminates the corporate alternative minimum tax and the fine associated with ObamaCare’s individual mandate.

  • Joy Pullmann argues that instead of taxing college endowments, the federal government should cut the huge subsidies it pays to colleges:

    Currently, federal taxpayers subsidize colleges and universities to the tune of more than $130 billion every year, most of that going to student loans and grants. While some say federal student loans make taxpayers money, the truth is they cost taxpayers money, partially because many self-described students are the equivalent of a subprime mortgage, a situation easy federal money has exacerbated. Federal higher education subsidies have also nearly doubled since 2000, meaning it wasn’t the “old bad days” when we spent much less.

    Further, we now have a consistent set of economic research finding that federal student “aid” actually hurts both taxpayers and students by inflating the cost of college. One of the more recent such studies came from the Federal Reserve, which concluded that every $1 in federal “aid” increased college tuition by approximately 55 to 65 cents. Easy federal money is literally making the college cost problem worse.

  • Denise McAllister writes that the #MeToo movement is destroying trust between men and women:

    The breakdown of trust between the sexes is the tragic legacy of the modern feminist movement, but it has taken on a new fervor with the #MeToo campaign and the growing accusation that masculinity is vile, toxic, and inherently predatorial. Fear of men is legitimized, as accusation is treated as fact. Men are seen as “the enemy,” an embodied deviance that must be remolded into the image of a woman. Their sexuality is assumed to be naturally brutal, a threat to be controlled and reduced for the individual man to be considered “safe.”

    While women’s willingness to hold men accountable for criminal sexual behavior is to be applauded, the scorched-earth approach we are seeing today is destructive because it undermines trust. When anything from a naive touch during a photo shoot to an innocent attempt at a kiss is compared to rape and sexual abuse, we are not healing society but infecting relationships with the poison of distrust.

  • Two men pleaded guilty to operating the Mirai botnet, which used Internet of Things devices to disrupt web sites via distributed denial of service attacks. They also used these devices to conduct click fraud (online advertising fraud).

  • The Trump White House torpedoed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s idea of direct talks with North Korea.

  • The U.S. plans to give another $120 million to Lebanon’s military despite evidence that a chunk of it is likely to go to Hezbollah.

  • Russia is rapidly expanding its nuclear forces, and is on track to have 8,000 warheads by 2026. They’re also working on low-yield warheads that could be mounted on precision strike missiles; this combination elides current arms control treaties.

  • Human Rights Watch claims China has collected DNA, photos, fingerprints, iris scans, and blood type information from the entire population of Xinjiang province. This was done under the guise of a free health care program (“Physicals for All”), but is likely to be used to repress a restive population.

Links for 11-30-2017

Links for 8-22-2017