Links for 5-21-2018

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Links for 5-2-2018

Links for 4-27-2018

  • The first meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was long on photo ops and handshakes, but short on details regarding how North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons. Stories have been circulating to the effect that North Korea’s nuclear test site is unusable, damaged beyond repair after the country’s last test. American intelligence agencies believe the test site is still usable, and North Korea’s announced closure of the site could be quickly reversed.

  • David Catron explains why Alfie Evans will never escape Britain’s National Health Service alive:

    Though his [Tom Evans’] case was simple — set my son free to seek treatment elsewhere — and though he was granted hearing after hearing with “red judges” like Mr. Justice Hayden and legal luminaries like Sir Andrew McFarlane, the answer was always the same. Acquiescence in the pleas of Alfie’s parents wouldn’t have cost the NHS or the British taxpayer a farthing, yet Alfie’s doctors and the hospital didn’t even consider releasing him. Even when the Pope interceded and transportation was provided to move him to an Italian hospital that was ready to admit him, it somehow continued to be in “Alfie’s interest” to remain hostage to the NHS.

    If you don’t understand why the NHS and British courts refused, you don’t get socialized medicine. It is not, nor has it ever been, about health care. It’s about power. Once a government — any government — takes control of your health care, they own you and your children. Alfie’s parents and the British public had for months demanded Alfie’s release just to seek treatment by doctors competent enough to figure out what was wrong with him. But, for a socialized system, that’s dangerous.

    Later:

    By yesterday afternoon, they had Tom Evans dutifully tugging his forelock, and he was given multiple pats on the head by the British Ministry of Truth as well as the government organs on our side of the pond, all of which commended him for “working with the doctors.” British Member of European Parliament Steven Woolfe will introduce “Alfie’s Law,” which will certainly help his career. And where is Alfie himself? He is exactly where he was when all this started, in the iron grip of the NHS, a third-world socialized medical system from which no force can get him released — except of course for the grim reaper.

  • The Italian priest who has been at Alfie Evans’ bedside was booted out of the hospital because he kept reminding the staff that God is watching them and judging their sins against Alfie’s life.

  • Bethany Mandel writes that Alfie Evans is the reason Americans have the Second Amendment.

  • The House Intelligence Committee released its report on Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, and it contains a curious detail: it was former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who told CNN that James Comey briefed Donald Trump on the Steele dossier, which sparked the Russian collusion narrative in the media. When Congress questioned him about this in July 2017, Clapper denied talking to the media about the Comey briefing; Clapper has since changed his tune. Clapper is also the person who instructed Comey to brief Trump on the dossier, which makes the whole thing look like a setup. To top it off, Clapper is now a CNN contributor.

  • A federal district court judge tossed Paul Manafort’s lawsuit challenging Robert Mueller’s authority.

  • Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA) resigned and said he would repay the U.S. Treasury the money he used to settle a former staffer’s sexual harassment claim.

  • The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals finally approved Texas’ photo voter ID law. The state’s original photo voter ID law was quickly challenged, and the legislature modified it in 2017 to address the Fifth Circuit’s complaints.

  • Israeli troops shot and killed three protesters along the border fence with the Gaza Strip.

Links for 4-20-2018

Links for 3-4-2018

  • The Washington Post detailed one of North Korea’s schemes for “laundering” coal, which relied on help from a rarely-used Russian port. In this case the coal originated in North Korea but ended up in South Korea and Japan.

  • Axios obtained a copy of a grand jury subpoena sent by Robert Mueller’s investigators to a witness last month. The subpoena sought all communications with ten people, including Donald Trump, Hope Hicks, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Carter Page, and Steve Bannon.

  • Kevin Williamson writes on Donald Trump’s lack of knowledge about policy or how the federal government works:

    The formal term for what’s at the root of all this is “rational ignorance.” Many of you will have experienced the phenomenon of the very smart person who has very dumb ideas about politics — and who, if challenged, will immediately retreat into the vaguest of generalities, and often ends up displaying surprising ignorance about the most basic public-policy questions. These are the people who believe that you can walk into Walmart and buy a machine gun, that foreign aid represents half of federal spending, that the CIA introduced crack into inner-city neighborhoods, etc., and who tend not to know things like who their representative in Congress is or how our tax system works. Why are these smart and often very successful people so ignorant about politics? Because they’ve spent their lives getting really smart about a different subject and achieving their success in a field in which political knowledge isn’t very important. This is why Albert Einstein had such batty ideas about politics.

    Later:

    The fact that most people who don’t make their living thinking about politics tend not to think very much or very carefully about politics does not mean that they are not interested in politics or do not care about it. Far from it. But, as Robin Hanson reminds us, politics is not about policy. Politics is about tribe. How we align politically is based for most people almost entirely on how we wish to position ourselves socially and culturally. At the moment, our politics is marked by a kind of inverse partisanship: It isn’t that Trump partisans think the Republican party is so great — they just think those other guys are so awful that any alternative is acceptable. That’s the “But Hillary” defense, a moral get-out-of-jail-free card for right-wing talk-radio hosts and their listeners. Democrats have their own version of that, which is why they don’t argue that Republicans are wrong about tax policy or abortion but that they are racists, misogynists, homophobes, captive to corporate greed, etc. We end up with a political discourse in which both sides are, at their broadest points, heavily invested in their insistence that there is no good-faith disagreement about policy — there is only the eternal conflict between the guys in the white hats and the guys in the black hats.

  • Germany has a coalition government after a five month delay. Members of the Social Democratic Party voted to join Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

  • Slovakia’s President Andrej Kiska is pushing for measures to restore confidence in the government after the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak. The president can’t bring down a government, but he is adding to public pressure to bring down Prime Minister Robert Fico’s three party coalition government.

  • Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims confirmed that French forces killed six of its leaders during simultaneous raids in Mali and Algeria.