Links for 2-1-2018

  • Andrew McCarthy writes on the FBI’s objections to the release of Devin Nunes’ memo:

    Since before the Republican-led committee voted (along partisan lines) to seek the memo’s declassification and publication, the FBI has been complaining that it was not permitted to review the memo. As I explained last week, this was a very unpersuasive complaint. Having stonewalled the committee’s information requests for several months, the Bureau and Justice Department are hardly well positioned to complain about being denied access; the committee, by contrast, has every reason to believe they would have slow-walked any review in order to delay matters further.

    All that aside, the FBI was guaranteed access to the memo before its publication because of the rules of the process. Once the committee voted to disclose, that gave the president five days to object. During that five days, Trump’s own appointees at the FBI and DOJ would have the chance to pore over the memo and make their objections and policy arguments to their principal, the president, and to the rest of the Trump national-security team. This tells us the real objection was not that they were barred from reviewing the memo; it is that they were barred from reviewing it on a schedule that would make it more difficult to derail publication.

    Angelo Codevilla offers a more partisan take:

    The FBI’s top leadership — whose careers, business dealings, politics, marriages and extramarital affairs intertwine — invested itself incompetently and illegally into the 2016 election campaign against Donald Trump. In part to cover itself, it launched the so-called “Russia probe.” Its members are personally, deeply interested in keeping the public from seeing the documents concerning these activities. They raised the familiar shield: release would compromise the sources and methods of national security.

    The House of Representatives’ Republican majority wanted the documents made public, issued a subpoena for them, and was prepared to jail senior FBI for contempt had they not complied with it. The House compromised, being satisfied by viewing them and making a summary, which it has voted to make public. The FBI and the Justice Department’s bureaucracy, being out of options for saving their reputations, their pensions, and perhaps for keeping themselves out of jail, urge President Trump to advise the House to guard the secrecy of the summary, of the activities that it describes, and hence to save their bacon.

  • The U.S. Marine Corps relieved the commander of one of Okinawa’s two MF–22 Osprey squadrons of duty. Lt. Col. Bryan Swenson lost his job due to a “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead his command.” Six months ago an Osprey crashed off Okinawa’s coast.

  • Fourteen Catholic senators voted against cloture for the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” a.k.a. the 20 week abortion ban. Father Dwight Longenecker provides the name of each senator’s bishop so you know who to complain to.

  • The Trump administration designated Harakat as-Sabirin Li-Nasran Filastin as a terrorist group. As-Sabirin is a Shiite group that operates in Gaza and is funded by Iran. The Trump administration also designated two Muslim Brotherhood offshoots in Egypt as terrorist groups — Harakat Sawa’id Misr and Liwa al-Thawra.

  • The Syrian government reportedly used chlorine rockets again in Douma.

  • Reuters provided some backstory for Ji Seong-ho, the North Korean defector who appeared at Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech this week.

  • A cybersecurity company based in the United Arab Emirates, DarkMatter, started revealing some information about its operations and customers. DarkMatter is tight with the UAE’s government, and hires a lot of ex-CIA and ex-NSA people.

Links for 10-11-2017

Links for 9-29-2017

Links for 8-25-2017

Links for 8-8-2017

  • The Department of Defense released the names of the three Marines killed in the MV–22 crash off Australia: First Lt. Benjamin Cross, Cpl. Nathan Ordway and Pfc. Ruben Velasco. The Osprey crashed as it was landing on the USS Green Bay — it hit the ship’s stern and landed in the water. The Green Bay is an amphibious transport dock.

  • An Iranian drone approached to within 100 feet of a U.S. Navy F/A–18 as it was preparing to land on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

  • Someone attacked a group of Shiite militia and Iranian Revolutionary Guard fighters near the border between Iraq and Syria, killing 36. The militia blamed the U.S. for the attack, while Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said ISIS was responsible.

  • The Washington Post arrived late at the story that North Korea has miniaturized its nuclear warheads to the point that they fit inside their missiles, but since the story was published by the Post it garnered more attention than it has before.

  • The New York Times broke the story that the Department of Justice is investigating “race-based discrimination” in college admissions, but spun it to make it look like the DOJ is protecting white applicants. In truth it’s Asians who are actively discriminated against in college admissions, and several Asian groups have filed lawsuits claiming as much.

    Not many people, including many Asians themselves, knew how hard they had to work until Princeton University published a study, titled “Admission Preferences for Minority Students, Athletes, and Legacies at Elite Universities.” The study uses the term “bonus” to describe how many extra SAT points an applicant’s race is worth. The study shows African Americans received a “bonus” of 230 points, and Hispanics received a bonus of 185 points. But if you are Asians, 50 points were deducted. So for an Asian kid to have a shot at an elite college, his/her SAT scores has to be several hundred points higher to make up for the penalty of being Asian. Obviously, Asian kids are punished for their successes.

  • Connor Mighell believes the U.S. should repeal the Seventeenth Amendment:

    Regardless of how it came to be, the Seventeenth Amendment savages the balance of power inherent in the constitutional structure. The Constitution created a system of checks and balances not only at the federal level, but between federal, state, and local governments. This system is fundamentally based on balancing self-interest.

    States are interested in exclusively maintaining as much power over health, safety, and welfare policy as possible. They naturally desire to prevent federal intrusion into these areas, and would work to shield their citizens from federal overreach. However, the Seventeenth Amendment deprives them of the ability to do so.

  • The state of New York confiscated a Vietnam veteran’s firearms because a hospital mistakenly labeled him “mentally defective”:

    On the advice of his lawyer, Hall began to contact local hospitals in an attempt to get them to certify that he had not been treated for any mental health conditions. At one hospital, Hall told the paper that a clerk “turned white as a ghost” when she read him a file with a matching name but slightly different Social Security number. Hall said that matched a mistake he noticed with the Social Security number listed on the confiscation order police showed him.

  • Former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami argues that the Kurds deserve an independent state in the form of Iraqi Kurdistan:

    But the Kurdish community in Iraq, represented by the Kurdish Regional Government, has a real shot at statehood. The KRG is a quasi-sovereign entity overseeing an efficient military and an independent economy. Although it is plagued by corruption and cronyism, like every other political organisation in the region, the KRG represents the only truly functional government in Iraq, presiding over the country’s most peaceful and stable areas.

    The strength of the KRG’s position is not lost on its leaders. The ruling Kurdish Democratic Party plans to hold a referendum on independence this September. Yet even a resounding call for secession will not be enough to achieve success. For that, the US must throw its weight behind the pro-Western KRG and offer resolute support for the independence effort.

  • The European Commission is threatening to invoke Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union against Poland, which would strip Poland of its voting rights in the EU Council.

  • Mazda plans to ship compression ignition gasoline engines in 2019. These operate on the same principal as diesel engines and are therefore more efficient than conventional gasoline engines, but they emit fewer pollutants than diesels.

Links for 8-7-2017

Links for 8-6-2017