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 8-1-2017

Links for 7-28-2017

Links for 7-17-2017

Links for 7-16-2017

  • Tim Arango writes for The New York Times that Iran stepped into the void the U.S. created in Iraq:

    When the United States invaded Iraq 14 years ago to topple Saddam Hussein, it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and Western-facing Middle East, and vast amounts of blood and treasure — about 4,500 American lives lost, more than $1 trillion spent — were poured into the cause.

    From Day 1, Iran saw something else: a chance to make a client state of Iraq, a former enemy against which it fought a war in the 1980s so brutal, with chemical weapons and trench warfare, that historians look to World War I for analogies. If it succeeded, Iraq would never again pose a threat, and it could serve as a jumping-off point to spread Iranian influence around the region.

    In that contest, Iran won, and the United States lost.

    Later:

    Perhaps most crucial, Parliament passed a law last year that effectively made the constellation of Shiite militias a permanent fixture of Iraq’s security forces. This ensures Iraqi funding for the groups while effectively maintaining Iran’s control over some of the most powerful units.

    Now, with new parliamentary elections on the horizon, Shiite militias have begun organizing themselves politically for a contest that could secure even more dominance for Iran over Iraq’s political system.

  • Israel’s government opposes the ceasefire the U.S. and Russia implemented in southern Syria because it empowers Iran.

  • Among this weekend’s shooting victims in Chicago: an anti-violence activist named William Cooper. A nine year old boy died in a shooting this weekend, too.

  • Four Pakistani soldiers died when Indian forces shelled their vehicle in Kashmir.

  • Two Chinese coast guard ships entered Japanese waters near two islands off Kyushu.

  • Students in Washington, D.C. support socialism but can’t define it:

Links for 7-5-2017

Links for 6-25-2017

  • Yuval Levin writes on the Senate health insurance bill:

    The federalization of health-insurance regulation is the core of Obamacare, and of the problem with it. The House bill sought to reverse it partially by allowing the states to obtain waivers from a couple of elements of Title I of the law—particularly the definition of essential health benefits, and the age-bands that govern how widely premiums can vary between younger and older people. The Senate bill pursues similar goals within the framework of Obamacare, by vastly expanding the range of permissible state waivers under Section 1332 of the law.

    Under Obamacare, these waivers technically allow states to pursue different insurance-regulation regimes, but they are very limited in scope because a state has to show that it would achieve exactly the same thing the federal Obamacare rules would achieve, which means states can’t really do anything all that different. The Senate bill removes most of these “guardrails” on the waivers, requiring only that a state show that its proposed alternative would not increase the federal deficit. So while a state could not, for instance, end community rating rules (because the 1332 waivers have to operate within the framework of community rating created by Obamacare), it could very significantly change other kinds of rules and requirements within its borders—to a far greater degree than anything the House waivers envisioned. And the bill requires that these waivers be more or less automatically approved.

  • Sarah Hoyt writes on our slow motion cultural revolution:

    I don’t know who coined “Reeeee” for the sound progressives make when in the middle of a scream fest about some – mostly imaginary and unintended – offense. I know that for several months now all my friends use it, usually when just having dealt with some idiot who keeps yammering on about moon ferrets (or patriarchy. Or white supremacy. All of which have the exact same degree of existence in modern America.)

    Later:

    As long as the Reeeee brigades can convey the thought that our past is vaguely dirty and we shouldn’t know it or study or inherit anything from it, they’ll have won. They will have implanted the intellectual genes of Marxism, the monstrous ideas of the Communist Manifesto – including the notion that children should be raised by “a village”, or in other words, the State, so they won’t be tained by their parents’ values.

    The “taint” they’re avoiding is the idea that an individual, of himself, is something worthy of respect and self-determination, the idea of property rights and self-ownership, the idea of something outside the state.

  • The Trump administration is continuing an Obama era policy of designating election systems as “critical infrastructure” so the federal government has a say in how it’s operated. Many members of Congress are of the same mind, but a majority of state secretaries of state are opposed on separation of powers grounds.

  • A truck transporting oil overturned in Pakistan, and people gathered to collect the leaking oil. Then someone ignited the oil, killing 153 people.