Links for 6-13-2018

Links for 6-9-2018

Links for 5-22-2018

Links for 5-9-2018

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is bringing three American prisoners home from North Korea. Donald Trump will reportedly meet Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

  • Ben Shapiro writes on the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal:

    In hearing all of these honeyed voices speak, one might think that Iran has been acting responsibly for the last three years, that it hasn’t been pursuing a campaign of horrific terrorism in Yemen and Syria, that it hasn’t been sponsoring the takeover of Lebanon by the terrorist group Hezbollah, that it hasn’t been funding the Palestinian terror group Hamas, that it hasn’t been developing long-range ballistic missiles while leading chants saying “Death to America.” One might think that Obama left the Middle East a bright a beautiful place, not a hellhole filled with human carnage bought with dollars spent by Iran but funneled through the United States.

    None of that is true, of course. Obama left the Middle East a smoking wreckage heap — a situation so grim that even Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan have been forced to ally with Israel to allay fears of an Iranian regional takeover. Obama and his staff lied repeatedly to the American people about the Iran deal — and they continue to lie. When Kerry says that the deal will “empower Iran’s hardliners,” he is repeating an outright fabrication: The hardliners are in charge of the government, and the deal strengthened them. When Power speaks as though Obama alleviated the possibility of Iran’s nuclear program, she’s lying, too: The deal explicitly paved the way for an Iranian nuclear program free and clear of consequences from the international order. When Obama speaks as though our Middle East allies were pleased by the deal, he’s lying: They all opposed it, and they’re all celebrating its end.

  • The Treasury Department is revoking the licenses it issued to Boeing and Airbus to sell passenger jets to Iran.

  • Iranian forces in southern Syria fired rockets at Israeli military bases. There were no Israeli casualties.

  • Houthi rebels (backed by Iran) fired another salvo of ballistic missiles at Riyadh from Yemen.

  • A former CIA case officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, was indicted on charges of spying for China:

    In August 2012, Lee and his family left Hong Kong to return to the United States to live in northern Virginia. While traveling back to the United States, Lee and his family had hotel stays in Hawaii and Virginia. During each of the hotel stays, FBI agents conducted court-authorized searches of Lee’s room and luggage, and found that Lee was in unauthorized possession of materials relating to the national defense. Specifically, agents found two books containing handwritten notes that contained classified information, including but not limited to, true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, operational notes from asset meetings, operational meeting locations and locations of covert facilities. Agents also found a thumb drive on which was stored a document later determined to contain information classified at the Secret level. During voluntary interviews with the FBI, Lee admitted preparing the document in response to taskings from the IO [intelligence officer].

  • ZTE ceased “major operating activities” after the Trump administration banned the Chinese company from using parts sourced from the U.S.

  • Conservative Senators are trying to pressure Mitch McConnell to get moving on Donald Trump’s nominees and on budget and appropriations bills. Delaying the latter benefits the D.C. swamp, since it encourages wasteful omnibus spending bills passed at the last minute to avoid a federal government shutdown.

  • Lt. j.g. Sarah Coppock pleaded guilty to “dereliction in the performance of duties through neglect contributing to the deaths” of seven sailors on board the USS Fitzgerald. Coppock was serving as Officer of the Deck when the Fitzgerald collided with a container ship.

Links for 5-3-2018

  • All nine crew members of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard C-130 that crashed in Georgia died.

  • American Green Berets are helping the Saudis along their border with Yemen:

    A half-dozen officials — from the United States military, the Trump administration, and European and Arab nations — said the American commandos are training Saudi ground troops to secure their border. They also are working closely with American intelligence analysts in Najran, a city in southern Saudi Arabia that has been repeatedly attacked with rockets, to help locate Houthi missile sites within Yemen.

    Along the porous border, the Americans are working with surveillance planes that can gather electronic signals to track the Houthi weapons and their launch sites, according to the officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the mission publicly.

  • Chinese military personnel at a base in Djibouti have been firing lasers at American pilots flying out of a nearby U.S. base. The U.S. filed a diplomatic protest with China over the incidents.

  • The death of Alfie Evans marked the death of natural rights:

    This is a view of the state that would tend to make self-government impossible, for it removes the ground of the difference between freedom and obedience to authority. Theoretically, such a state cannot be legitimated by the consent of the governed, because it does not secure their rights, starting with the right to life. It is legitimated instead by its expert and orderly administration of rules of its own making. Theoretically, the state has assumed control of human life and the definition of its limits—death, ultimately. The state has secured passive consent, so that if it does not face a revolution, there’s nothing to worry about.

    Kate James and Tom Evans, Alfie’s parents, argued for their freedom, and for their right to decide for their child. They obviously thought, in taking their child to the hospital, that they had certain rights as subjects of the sovereign and certain duties to their child. Had they let him die, which was what the state would later insist on doing, they might have been prosecuted for neglect. They acted freely, but at the same time compelled by necessity. They sought to match their own moral virtues with the intellectual virtues of the doctors, for the National Health Service is a public institution. This turned out to be impossible.

    Later:

    To some extent, British authority is now a suicide pact, to borrow the phrase of Justice Robert Jackson, who insisted that the U.S. Constitution was not one. Something very important has been lost if the right to life depends on circumstances ascertained by experts and decided on by judges. And if British hospital and police personnel are willing to enforce such decisions, the loss seems coextensive with the British state. It is not an exception, but the new rule.

  • The law professor that James Comey used to leak a memo to The New York Times, Daniel Richman, worked for the FBI as a “special government employee”:

    Sources familiar with Richman’s FBI status said he was assigned to “special projects” by Comey, and had a security clearance as well as badge access to the building. Richman told Fox News in an email last week that he was working as an SGE on an unpaid basis.

    Later:

    During this time, a review of media reports between July 2015 and February 2017 shows Richman gave multiple interviews defending Comey’s handling of the Clinton email case, including the controversial decision to reopen the probe shortly before the presidential election. He was typically identified as a law professor, and sometimes as a policy adviser to Comey.

  • Amazon booted Alliance Defending Freedom from its AmazonSmile program because the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled it a “hate group.” AmazonSmile enables you to donate a small percentage of your purchases to a nonprofit group.

  • Federal prosecutors indicted the former CEO of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, over the company’s diesel emissions cheating scheme.

  • A Russian Su-30SM fighter crashed after taking off from a base in Syria, killing both pilots.

  • Moldova sentenced eight of its citizens to prison for fighting in Ukraine on Russia’s behalf.

Links for 4-11-2018

  • Senator Rand Paul endorsing a Convention of States:

  • Confirming rumors that have been circulating for months, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) won’t run for re-election. Denis Ross (R-FL) isn’t running for re-election, either.

  • The Congressional Budget Office broke the law when it deemed the omnibus spending bill’s ObamaCare insurer bailout a net savings.

  • Bellingcat analyzed open source data on the latest chemical weapons attack in Syria, and it looks like Bashar al-Assad’s regime dropped a chlorine tank on an apartment building from a helicopter, and that accounted for the majority of the deaths.

  • John Daniel Davidson toured San Francisco’s homeless camps:

    In other words, San Francisco is rich and beautiful—and it doesn’t care what Republicans think. Like many large U.S. cities, Democrats here preside over a political monoculture. Less than 10 percent of San Franciscans voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and the city hasn’t had a GOP mayor since 1964. The Board of Supervisors (the city council) is technically nonpartisan, but every seat on the board is occupied by a registered Democrat. The top four candidates in the current mayoral race—an African-American woman, an Asian-American woman, an Hispanic woman, and an openly gay man—will all be “firsts,” no matter who wins the special election in June. Also certain: the winner will be a Democrat.

    The absence of any organized political opposition, combined with its vast wealth, makes San Francisco a kind of proof-of-concept for progressive governance. If there’s anywhere progressives should be able to enact their schemes for a perfectly-ordered society, it’s here. A booming tech industry has made vast new resources available to the city: the 2017–18 municipal budget exceeds $10 billion, nearly a third larger than the budget was a decade ago. City government now spends roughly $11,500 per person each year, more than any other city in the country (including New York) and almost double per capita state spending.

    That’s why the housing and homelessness problems besetting the city open it up to more than mere mockery from conservatives but substantive criticism of progressive governance writ large. It’s not just homeless encampments that bedevil San Francisco, but also the flight of the middle class and the emergence of a kind of citywide caste system: the wealthy, the service class, and the destitute. In some ways, San Francisco is becoming something progressives are supposed to hate: a private club for the super-rich.

  • China is developing a nuclear-capable, air-launched ballistic missile and a modified bomber to carry it.

  • An Algerian Il–76 military transport plane crashed about 20 miles southwest of Algiers, killing 257 people.

  • Saudi Arabia claims it shot down another three ballistic missiles fired by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Links for 4-3-2018