Links for 3-8-2018

  • Donald Trump will meet Kim Jong Un by May. Michael Rubin warns that talks may signal war, not peace:

    Make no mistake: North Korea’s offer warrants not hope but caution. Dictator Kim Jong Un’s move comes straight out of the rogue-regime playbook: Offer peace to distract from preparations for war. That it repeatedly works reflects the naiveté of Western officials, for whom history begins anew with every administration.

    The simple fact is this: While Americans (and South Koreans) often view engagement as a tool of conflict resolution, North Korea’s regime and its Chinese sponsors see diplomacy as an asymmetric warfare strategy with which to tie opponents’ hands while they seize strategic advantage.


    Pyongyang couples provocation with outreach. In 1969, just a day after offering talks, North Korea shot down an unarmed US plane over the Sea of Japan, killing 31. Talks resumed. Four days later, North Korean forces shot down an American helicopter.


    During the Reagan era, Chinese diplomats told their US counterparts North Korea wanted talks. The very next day, North Korean agents set off a bomb in Burma designed to murder much of South Korea’s visiting leadership.

  • Donald Trump signed off on his steel and aluminum tariffs, and offered Canada and Mexico a carve-out while they renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

  • John Daniel Davidson toured the Rio Grande sector of the U.S./Mexico border and has stories to tell:

    Four years ago, at the height of the crisis, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, established a respite center in downtown McAllen. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was overwhelmed with thousands of children and teenagers turning themselves in to Border Patrol agents at ports of entry and elsewhere along the border, so the diocese began providing food and shelter for the minors and families. Catholic Charities initially set up its respite center in auxiliary church buildings at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in downtown McAllen.

    But it soon became clear that large numbers of families and minors were going to keep coming, and the diocese decided it needed a permanent location for the center. Today, it occupies one half of a modest commercial building about a mile from the church, and consists of a large multipurpose room, bathroom and shower facilities, a small kitchen and dining area, and a play area for young children. A half-dozen full-time staff and about 50 volunteers run the place seven days a week, 365 days a year. Since its founding four years ago, more than 100,000 migrants, most of them from Central America, have passed through there. Because the flow of migrants over the border never stops, ICE and CBP never stop, and the respite center never stops.


    Technically, all these families are seeking asylum, and because they’re family units travelling with minors, ICE releases them after a day or two with orders to appear at an asylum hearing in whatever part of the country they’re trying to get to. (That’s not the case in some sectors, where parents are reportedly separated from their children on purpose.) The adults are fitted with electronic ankle monitors, which will confine them to a 75-mile radius of wherever they tell ICE is their final destination. But once they get where they’re going, most of them cut the thing off and throw it away. Many do not even bother showing up at their asylum hearings for the simple reason that they have no legitimate claims to asylum. Yes, they come from impoverished countries with a decaying social order. And yes, these places are violent. But most of these people simply come to the United States to work, and you don’t get asylum for that.

  • A Turkish court sentenced 25 journalists to prison terms because they worked for publications the government claims are tied to Fethullah Gulen.

  • Japan wants to build a new fighter jet based on an existing Western design. Japan’s last domestically produced fighter, the F–2, was based on the F–16.

  • A Chinese Communist Party boss from Qinghai claims people in his province view President Xi Jingping as a Bodhisattva, a living deity.

  • Remy’s “I Like It, I Love It”:

Links for 1-26-2018

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Links for 7-1-2016

  • Today is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, and The Telegraph produced an excellent real time account of what happened.

  • Attorney General Loretta Lynch won’t appoint a special prosecutor in the Hillary Clinton case despite her meeting with Bill Clinton, and said this about the FBI investigators and their report: “I fully expect to accept their recommendations.” She went on: “The final determination as to how to proceed will be contained within the recommendations in the report, in whatever format the team puts it together. That has not been resolved. There will be a review of their investigation. There will be a review of what they have found and determined to have happened and occurred, and there will be their determinations as to how they feel that the case should proceed.” Lots of words signifying nothing. Perhaps Bill Clinton trained her?

  • Hillary Clinton will reportedly meet with the FBI tomorrow.

  • The TSA is keeping you safe by beating up and arresting a disabled 19 year old girl who was returning home from St. Jude’s Hospital.

  • Remy celebrates the Fourth of July by explaining how terrorist attacks result in ordinary American citizens losing their civil liberties:

  • Donald Trump is whining that his primary opponents won’t endorse him, prompting this from Kevin Williamson:

    Trump is out whining like the spoiled little princess he is and always has been that his fellow Republican presidential contenders, having been vanquished, are not making good on their promise to support the GOP nominee, presumably himself. Trump is of course absolutely correct that Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, et al. did make that promise, and that to withhold their support now would constitute violating a solemn promise made in public to their supporters.

    Breaking that promise is absolutely the right thing to do.

    We allow for a certain amount of cynical calculation in politicians — politics ain’t beanbag, as Dooley says. It may be that Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich made that primary-debate promise to support the eventual nominee in the hope — in the idiotic, forlorn hope — that the Republican primary electorate would not be so backward and malevolent as to choose an imbecilic game-show host to the left of Hillary Rodham Clinton on most of the relevant issues of our time over a slew of solid and impressive if imperfect conservatives. I can see Ted Cruz reenacting the final scene of Planet of the Apes: “You maniacs! You did it!” Of course he didn’t think that Sean Hannity’s tangerine dream would become America’s Creamsicle nightmare, but here we are.

  • Nearly one million immigrants are ignoring deportation orders, and more than 170,000 of them are convicted criminals.

  • Josh Craddock argues that pro-lifers need to abandon their approach of working within the confines of Supreme Court decisions:

    The Hellerstedt decision reaffirmed that any significant impediment to abortion will be struck down under the existing judicial regime, even regulations designed to keep abortion “safe, legal, and rare” (a goal that has been embarrassingly adopted by many pro-life leaders). Such regulations, even if upheld, merely serve to sanitize abortion in the public eye. “At least there are no more Gosnells,” the well-intentioned public might say, as the local abortionist with hospital admitting privileges commits the same atrocities legally in a regulated clinic.

    Those who are serious about ending abortion need to acknowledge that laboring within the confines of Casey is futile. Hellerstedt proves that approach will never achieve abolition. We cannot satisfy ourselves with petty regulations on abortion that trim the abortion weed while strengthening its root.


    The Supreme Court has long since undermined its own legitimacy as a fair and neutral arbiter. Last year’s ruling in Obergefell, as well as so many others, have exposed the Court as nothing more than another political branch—a robed oligarchy that has unconstitutionally aggrandized itself through the false doctrine of judicial supremacy and cloaked its unconstrained willfulness in the language of law.

    Later still:

    This naked power grab presents elected and appointed leaders with an opportunity to disregard and resist the Court’s unjust and illegitimate rulings. Although we ought not lightly upend our judicial system, there comes a time when gross disregard for human life and for our constitutional order should stir us from docile obedience and impel us to resistance.

  • Jonah Goldberg has an idea:

    The federal government needs to compile a list of women who shouldn’t be allowed to get abortions. The criteria for getting on the list must be flexible. If an official at, say, the NIH or FBI think that a woman should be a mother for some reason or other, he or she can block an abortion. Maybe the woman has great genes or a high IQ or the sorts of financial resources we need in parents. Let’s leave that decision where it belongs: in the hands of the government.

    Heck, there’s really no reason even to tell women if they’re on the “no abort” list. Let them find out at the clinic. And if they go in for an abortion only to discover they are among the million or more people on the list, there will be no clear process for getting off it, even if it was a bureaucratic error or case of mistaken identity.

  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan scheduled a gun control vote for next week, and Brian Darling writes that this is yet another example of why Republicans lose.

  • Senator Sheldon Whitehouse claims the U.S. Navy is evaluating its base commanders on their belief in climate change and how they communicate its effects. If true, this explains a lot.

  • President Obama signed a bill that restructures Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt and establishes an oversight board that’s supposed to steer the island out of its financial crisis. Puerto Rico still defaulted on a $1.9 billion general obligation bond payment today. Mario Loyola explains how federal government laws and regulations contributed to Puerto Rico’s predicament.

  • Two years of low oil prices pushed American shale oil producers to improve efficiency, and they’ve managed to stretch the output from shale wells significantly. In the Permian Basin in 2013, output from the average shale oil well dropped 28% four months after reaching peak production; in 2015 that was down to 18%.

  • U.S. intelligence agencies have identified nine training camps in Iran run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that train Afghans to fight in Syria.

  • Austria’s Constitutional Court ordered the country’s presidential runoff election be re-run because mail-in ballots were mishandled during the last election.

  • Turkey’s parliament approved a law that restructures the country’s two highest courts. Most of the 711 judges on those two courts will be removed, giving President Recep Tayyip Erdogan an opportunity to stack the courts in his favor.