Links for 8-17-2017

  • The Telegraph live blog on the Barcelona terrorist attack is here. Thirteen people were killed and more than 100 were injured. ISIS claimed responsibility.

  • Police arrested three more people for helping pull down a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina. All three are affiliated with the Workers World Party, which is avowedly communist.

  • Kevin Williamson writes on the Confederate statue issue and its political context:

    Many of the monuments and statues now being abominated and disassembled were not erected in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War but some years after, often in reaction to such modest advances in the political and social condition of African Americans as the early 20th century produced. Some were nothing short of consecrated shrines to white supremacy erected to Southern political powers in league with such miscreants as the Ku Klux Klan. To the extent that today’s reaction against these monuments is in essence Democrats cleaning up their own mess, there is some justice to it.

    But there would have been some justice to it in 1938 or 1964 as well. The current attack on Confederate monuments is only another front in the Left’s endless kulturkampf. The Left is committed to always being on the offense in the culture wars, and, with Donald Trump and his white-resentment politics installed in the White House and Republicans lined up queasily behind him, the choice of going after Confederate totems is clever. It brings out the kooks and the cranks, and some respectable conservatives feel obliged to defend them. Getting Republicans to re-litigate the Civil War is a great victory for the Democrats, who were, after all, on the wrong side of it as a matter of historical fact. Rather than embrace their party’s proudest and finest legacy, Republicans are now trying to explain away President Trump’s insistence that there were some very fine gentlemen among the tiki-Nazis in Charlottesville. President Trump’s schoolboy forensics is here particularly embarrassing. From Abraham Lincoln to Donald Trump: Evolution runs backward for American political parties.

    We should not, in any case, accept the fiction that what is transpiring at the moment is a moral crusade rather than political opportunism.

  • Daryl Davis, who is black, has a unique hobby: befriending white supremacists:

    In his spare time, he befriends white supremacists. Lots of them. Hundreds. He goes to where they live. Meets them at their rallies. Dines with them in their homes. He gets to know them because, in his words, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me? Look at me and tell me to my face why you should lynch me.”

    He also is a collector of KKK robes. He collects them as souvenirs when KKK members decide to give up on racism because of his friendship.

  • Widespread illicit availability of Fentanyl is driving a huge increase in overdose deaths.

  • Matthew RJ Brodsky offers options for ending Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

  • Reuters reports that the Syrian chemical weapons deal was a ruse:

    A promise by Syria in 2013 to surrender its chemical weapons averted U.S. air strikes. Many diplomats and weapons inspectors now believe that promise was a ruse.

    They suspect that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, while appearing to cooperate with international inspectors, secretly maintained or developed a new chemical weapons capability. They say Syria hampered inspectors, gave them incomplete or misleading information, and turned to using chlorine bombs when its supplies of other chemicals dwindled.

    Later:

    The extent of Syria’s reluctance to abandon chemical weapons has not previously been made public for fear of damaging international inspectors’ relationship with Assad’s administration and its backer, Russia, which is giving military support to Assad. Now investigators and diplomatic sources have provided telling details to Reuters:

    Syria’s declarations about the types and quantities of chemicals it possessed do not match evidence on the ground uncovered by inspectors. Its disclosures, for example, make no mention of sarin, yet there is strong evidence that sarin has been used in Syria, including this year. Other chemicals found by inspectors but not reported by Syria include traces of nerve agent VX, the poison ricin and a chemical called hexamine, which is used to stabilise sarin.

    Later still:

    Syria declared it had 1,300 tonnes of chemical weapons or industrial chemical stocks, precisely the amount that outside experts had estimated. In an OPCW-led operation, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, that stockpile was shipped overseas for destruction with the help of 30 countries, notably the United States.

    But there were two significant problems. First, inspections did not go smoothly. Days after the Ghouta sarin attack, OPCW inspectors heading for the area came under sniper fire. They made it through to Ghouta eventually and were given just two hours by Syrian authorities to interview witnesses and take samples. The team confirmed that sarin had been used.

  • Japan plans to buy a land-based Aegis anti-missile system in response to the North Korean missile threat.

Links for 8-16-2017

Links for 8-14-2017

Links for 8-13-2017

  • Two American soldiers were killed and five were injured in northern Iraq. The Department of Defense isn’t saying much about how it happened.

  • An American airstrike in Afghanistan killed several ISIS leaders, including one of their provincial emirs, Abdul Rahman.

  • The battle of Charlottesville started Friday night, when police failed to separate white nationalists and antifa groups near the statue of Robert E. Lee that Charlottesville is removing from a park (formerly “Lee Park,” now “Emancipation Park”). The resulting brawl carried over into Saturday, when an antifa-type punched a female reporter for The Hill in the face as she was covering the car attack that killed Heather Heyer. Ben Shapiro wrote an excellent list of things to know about the Charlottesville violence, including: “The Alt-Right Has Been Tut-Tutted By President Trump And His Advisors For Over A Year. Yesterday Was Nothing New.” The other side of the political aisle isn’t covering itself in glory, either, as Virginia Governor Terry McAullife refused to condemn violence by antifa as well as the white nationalists. Rod Dreher makes a good argument that as long as the political left continues to pursue identity politics, they’re going to draw a white nationalist response, and the two will reinforce one another to everyone’s detriment:

    When the Left indulges in rhetoric that demonizes whites — especially white males — it summons the demons of white nationalism.

    When the Left punishes white males who violate its own delicate speech taboos, while tolerating the same kind of rhetoric on its own side, it summons the demons of white nationalism.

    When the Left obsesses over ethnic, sexual, and religious minorities, but ignores the plight of poor and working-class whites, it summons the demons of white nationalism.

    When the Left institutionalizes demonization of white males in college classes, in political movements, in the media and elsewhere, it summons the demons of white nationalism.

    When the Left attributes moral status, and moral goodness, to persons based on their race, their sex, their sexual orientation, or any such thing, it summons up the demons of white nationalism.

    When the Left refuses to condemn the violent antifa protesters, and treats their behavior as no big deal, it summons the demons of white nationalism.

    When the Left refuses to stand firm against aggressive manifestations of illiberalism — like we have seen over the past several years on certain college campuses — it summons the demons of white nationalism.

    When the Left encourages within its ranks identification as a victim, and stirs up political passions based on perception that one is a victim of other groups in society, it summons the demons of white nationalism.

  • A suicide bomber killed at least 15 people in a market in Quetta, Pakistan. ISIS claimed responsibility, saying a bomber on a motorcycle attacked a military vehicle.

  • A former al Shabaab leader, Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, defected to Somalia’s government. Al Shabbab has been trying to kill or capture him since he left the group in 2013.

  • Chinese companies are increasingly using North Korean labor to manufacture clothes labeled, “Made in China.” As you’d expect, labor in North Korea is cheaper than in China.

    Its flourishing textiles industry shows how impoverished North Korea has adapted, with a limited embrace of market reforms, to sanctions since 2006 when it first tested a nuclear device. The industry also shows the extent to which North Korea relies on China as an economic lifeline, even as U.S. President Donald Trump piles pressure on Beijing to do more to rein in its neighbor’s weapons programmes.

    Chinese exports to North Korea rose almost 30 percent to $1.67 billion in the first half of the year, largely driven by textile materials and other traditional labour-intensive goods not included on the United Nations embargo list, Chinese customs spokesman Huang Songping told reporters.

    Chinese suppliers send fabrics and other raw materials required for manufacturing clothing to North Korean factories across the border where garments are assembled and exported.

Links for 8-12-2017

Links for 8-10-2017

  • Donald Trump thanked Vladimir Putin for ordering a reduction in the number of American diplomats in Russia because it reduced the State Department’s payroll (in reality, the diplomats are being sent back to the U.S., and are not necessarily being laid off). This is one of those things that you can think to yourself, but you shouldn’t say out loud. Trump has trouble with this concept.

  • The chattering classes have been discussing the possibility of negotiating an Iran-style nuclear deal with North Korea to discourage a war. John Daniel Davidson points out that Bill Clinton negotiated a deal with North Korea back in 1994 that’s strikingly similar to Barack Obama’s Iran deal. Jim Geraghty adds this:

    As with the Iran deal many years later, the deal with North Korea was not a formal treaty and thus never ratified by Congress.

    Of course, the North Koreans cheated; the U.S. provided oil, two light water reactors, and a new electric grid, altogether worth roughly $5 billion, in exchange for promises.

    Clinton’s deal resulted in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons, and Obama’s deal with Iran will end the same way.

  • A U.S. Navy destroyer conducted another “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea, sailing to within 12 miles of Mischief Reef, one of China’s artificial islands.

  • Two of U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s top aides quit: chief of staff Steven Groves and communications director Jonathan Wachtel.

  • In the context of Google’s firing of James Damore for “perpetuating gender stereotypes,” Joy Pullmann argues that it’s time to end all discrimination policies and restore equal protection:

    Since Google is a private company I have no problem with them making unequal hiring and promotion rules. I am all in favor of discrimination — the freedom to set one’s own criteria for making decisions — and free association, for any reason, as individuals’ constitutional and natural rights. If they wanted to be an all-man or all-woman or all-black or all-Asian company, or give preferences to whatever people they feel sorry for at the moment, that’s Google’s business. At the level they’re operating they could be an all-woman company and still have the world’s best engineers, as Harvard or Stanford could since many more qualified people apply than can be admitted.

    The problem is when they promise “equality” then deliver discrimination. It’s this hypocrisy Damore had the temerity to point out, and for which he was fired. It’s the same hypocrisy inside the famous “Animal Farm” slogan for totalitarianism: “All are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

  • For the Democratic Party, abortion is a positive good:

    Lindy West of the New York Times recently, and similarly, insisted that unfettered access to abortion is essential to women’s economic and other liberties. Hers is one of many denunciations, by party activists and progressive journalists, of the Democratic Party’s decision to support pro-life Democrats running in more conservative districts. Pro-choice activists in the past decade made the leap from regarding abortion as a tragic necessity to seeing it a positive social good; West now sees it as the central guarantor of American liberty.

    Later:

    On some level, [John C.] Calhoun and other pro-slavery ideologues recognized that any “right” to slavery would be destroyed the moment the United States recognized that nature’s law affirmed the liberty of enslaved African Americans. Lindy West similarly holds that the human and civil rights of women would be undermined if the rights of the unborn were recognized. Even to question the right to abortion is “to be, at best, indifferent to the disenfranchisement, suffering and possibly even the death of women. At worst it is to revel in those things, to believe them fundamental to the natural order.” For West, abortion is the key to women’s economic, political, and social rights in the United States. If abortion were to be shown to be inconsistent with the natural order, then Lindy believes every freedom gained for women would evaporate.

  • A grand jury indicted Benjamin Roden for bombing an Air Force recruiting office in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Roden is a former member of the Air Force. No one was hurt in the bombing.

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro affirmed that the new constituent assembly is the most powerful institution in the country, saying, “I come to recognize its plenipotentiary powers, sovereign, original and magnificent.”

  • Cuba reportedly used a “sonic weapon” against American and Canadian diplomats, damaging their hearing. The Trump administration responded by expelling two Cuban diplomats, which seems wimpy.

  • British police broke up a huge child sex, prostitution, and drug ring:

    As a result of a massive ongoing investigation the police have named “Operation Sanctuary,” one British woman and a total of 17 men have been convicted of rape, conspiracy to incite prostitution, and illegally supplying drugs. The men, BBC notes, were from the “Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities and mainly British-born, with most living in the West End of Newcastle.”

  • Israel is building an underground wall around the Gaza Strip to prevent Hamas from tunneling into Israel. The wall will extend into the Mediterranean Sea to discourage commando attacks.

  • Tim Tebow shakes a kid’s hand, hits a three run homer:

  • PragerU: College Made Me a Conservative:

Links for 8-9-2017