Links for 9-24-2017

  • Donald Trump nominated Trey Trainor to the Federal Election Commission, and Kevin Williamson suspects Democrat Senators are going to find him too Catholic to hold office, a cover for another objection:

    Trainor has been described as a “principled libertarian” by retiring FEC commissioner Lee Goodman, whose term Trainor will complete if he is confirmed. He describes himself as someone who simply wants to see the law implemented. “At the end of the day, the First Amendment says what it says, and there’s a reason it’s the First Amendment: The right of political speech of citizens is of utmost importance if we want to continue to have a functioning republic.” The real debate, he says, is not so much over the content of federal election law but the question of where — and to whom — that law applies. Questions about donations to candidates, campaign committees, and political parties are largely well-settled, but there are live issues involving organizations that have broader missions and that are controlled neither by candidates or political parties.

    The Democrats want to have a system under which the New York Times can engage in political advocacy without restriction but Citizens United is prohibited from showing a film critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the weeks leading up to an election — the heads-I-win-tails-you-lose method of regulating campaign finances.

    And that is what the campaign against Trey Trainor is really about.

  • At least some of the opposition to Donald Trump’s policies are funded by Department of Justice and Department of Housing and Urban Development slush funds that the Obama administration filled via legal settlements stemming from the 2008 financial crisis:

    The Obama administration’s massive shakedown of Big Banks over the mortgage crisis included unprecedented back-door funding for dozens of Democratic activist groups who were not even victims of the crisis.

    At least three liberal nonprofit organizations the Justice Department approved to receive funds from multibillion-dollar mortgage settlements were instrumental in killing the ObamaCare repeal bill and are now lobbying against GOP tax reform, as well as efforts to rein in illegal immigration.

    Later:

    The payola is potentially earmarked for third-party interest groups approved by the Justice Department and HUD without requiring any proof of how the funds will be spent. Many of the recipients so far are radical leftist organizations who solicited the settlement cash from the administration even though they were not parties to the lawsuits, records show.

  • William Jacobson notes that the NFL’s protest rules are a ratchet that only turns left:

    The NFL is as political an organization as there is, now. It picked sides in the culture war, and the side it picked is decidedly left. The NFL refused to allow the Dallas Cowboys to display a decal honoring the Dallas police killed by a Black Lives Matter supporter, yet it is completely supporting the “right” of players to kneel on the sideline while the National Anthem is played, as both a sign of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and an anti-Trump protest.

    The entire Steelers team stayed in the locker room during the national anthem — except former U.S. Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan.

  • A French soldier was killed fighting ISIS near the Iraq/Syria border. Around 1,200 French soldiers are serving in Iraq and Syria.

  • The U.S. bombed an ISIS camp in the Libyan desert, 150 miles southeast of Sirte.

  • The Spanish government is blocking access to internet domains associated with Catalonia’s independence referendum.

  • Rudaw published an interesting interview with Iraqi Christians who were asked what they’d like to see in a new constitution for an independent Kurdistan.

  • Iran imposed an air embargo on Iraqi Kurdistan ahead of the independence referendum, and staged war games along the border.

Links for 7-12-2017

Links for 6-9-2017

Links for 5-28-2017

Links for 5-26-2017

Links for 5-24-2017

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: