Links for 7-19-2018

  • Rod Rosenstein says the Department of Justice will notify the public of “foreign operations targeting U.S. democracy.”

  • Victor Davis Hanson argues that Germany is NATO’s challenge, not the U.S. under the Trump administration:

    Berlin sends ultimatums to the indebted Southern European nations. Berlin alone tries to dictate immigration policy for the European Union. Berlin establishes the tough conditions under which the United Kingdom can exit the European Union. And when Berlin decides it will not pony up the promised 2 percent of GDP for its NATO contribution, other laggard countries follow its example. Only six of the 29 NATO members (other than the U.S.) so far have met their promised assessments.

    Germany’s combination of affluence and military stinginess is surreal. Germany has piled up the largest trade surplus in the world at around $300 billion, including a trade surplus of some $64 billion with its military benefactor, the United States, yet it is poorly equipped in terms of tanks and fighter aircraft.

  • A study of Tennessee’s pre-K program concluded that kids who attended pre-K academically underperformed kids who stayed home, at least by the end of kindergarten. The pre-K kids also had more discipline problems and higher rates of special education placement.

  • The U.K. government oversees a laboratory that studies Huawei’s telecommunications equipment, looking for security vulnerabilities. The oversight board just changed its mind about Huawei’s products, saying it has concerns about components supplied to Huawei. The lab’s researchers also aren’t able to check all of the code running inside Huawei’s products.

  • British police have reportedly identified Russian suspects in the Novichok poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Links for 4-2-2018

  • The EPA is rolling back the Obama administration’s vehicle emissions standards for cars and light trucks manufactured between 2022 and 2025. The EPA is also re-examining a waiver the Obama administration gave to California that enables the state to set its own vehicle emissions standards.

  • Every one of the 44 Congressional Democrats who hired Imran Awan and his family to work on their IT systems bypassed mandatory background checks:

    Among the red flags in Abid’s background were a $1.1 million bankruptcy; six lawsuits against him or a company he owned; and at least three misdemeanor convictions including for DUI and driving on a suspended license, according to Virginia court records. Public court records show that Imran and Abid operated a car dealership referred to as CIA that took $100,000 from an Iraqi government official who is a fugitive from U.S. authorities. Numerous members of the family were tied to cryptic LLCs such as New Dawn 2001, operated out of Imran’s residence, Virginia corporation records show. Imran was the subject of repeated calls to police by multiple women and had multiple misdemeanor convictions for driving offenses, according to court records.

  • Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) won’t run for re-election after she failed to adequately investigate her (former) chief of staff, Tony Baker, who was accused of “harassment, threats and violence against female staffers.”

  • A federal district court judge granted the ACLU the right to represent “all pregnant, unaccompanied immigrant minor children who are or will be in the legal custody of the federal government.” The ACLU has been fighting to give pregnant immigrants access to abortions.

  • A federal district court judge ruled that Tennessee can’t withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program. Tennessee argued that the program imposes unconstitutional unfunded mandates on the state: “The lawsuit focused specifically on the requirement for the state to pay exorbitant Medicaid costs or risk losing up to $7 billion in federal Medicaid reimbursements, an amount equal to 20 percent of the entire state budget.”

  • Kevin Williamson’s first article for The Atlantic is on the passing of the libertarian moment:

    The GOP’s political situation is absurd: Having rallied to the banner of an erratic and authoritarian game-show host, evangelical leaders such as Jerry Falwell Jr. are reduced to comparing Donald Trump to King David as they try to explain away his entanglement with pornographic performer Stormy Daniels. Those who celebrated Trump the businessman clutch their heads as his preposterous economic policies produce terror in the stock markets and chaos for the blue-collar workers in construction firms and manufacturers scrambling to stay ahead of the coming tariffs on steel and aluminum. The Chinese retaliation is sure to fall hardest on the heartland farmers who were among Trump’s most dedicated supporters.

    On the libertarian side of the Republican coalition, the situation is even more depressing: Republicans such as former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who once offered important support for criminal-justice reform, are lined up behind the atavistic drug-war policies of the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose big idea on opiate abuse is more death sentences for drug traffickers. Deficits are moving in the wrong direction. And, in spite of the best hopes of the “America First” gang, Trump’s foreign policy has not moved in the direction of Rand Paul’s mild non-interventionism or the more uncompromising non-interventionism of his father, Ron Paul. Instead, the current GOP foreign-policy position combines the self-assured assertiveness of the George W. Bush administration (and many familiar faces and mustaches from that administration) with the indiscipline and amateurism characteristic of Trump.

    Some libertarian moment.

  • Dr. Patricia Daugherty attended a national conference for college administrators and found herself in a social justice warrior indoctrination camp:

    The day I arrived at this convention moored in the principles of tolerance and inclusion, I was greeted by a large, laminated poster at the registration tables touting the “ACPA Convention Equity and Inclusion Information Booth.” At this booth one could report any “bias incident … believed to have a negative impact on ACPA members, particularly across marginalized social identity group membership.” So if I asked a question that violated the thought police regulations, I might be reported? Welcome to Communist China.

    It didn’t get any better. Just before the welcoming video and keynote speaker began, a trigger warning flashed up on the screen that there might be “disturbing scenes of activism” in the video. Duly warned, we then listened to Keala Settle’s “This is Me” (a great song, by the way) as pictures were shown, not of happy college students of every background experiencing the many different aspects of life on a university campus, but Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, and the Women’s March on Washington. I could have been at an Service Employees International Union convention.

  • Louis Farrakhan personally receives a commission on the money that Nation of Islam members pay to Scientology.

  • The Washington Free Beacon obtained a Communist Party of China Central Committee document ordering stepped-up theft of technical information from American companies beginning in late 2016.

  • Turkey ordered the arrest of Fethullah Gulen and seven other people over the 2016 assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey.

  • Turkey is holding two Greek border guards without charge or trial. The two guards crossed a heavily forested area of the border during bad weather and have been detained for a month. Greece claims Turkey is holding the border guards for political purposes.

  • Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won re-election with 97% of the vote:

    The election featured only one other candidate – himself an ardent Sisi supporter – after all serious opposition contenders halted their campaigns in January. The main challenger was arrested and his campaign manager beaten up, while other presidential hopefuls pulled out, citing intimidation.

  • Carlos Alvarado Quesada won the election to be Costa Rica’s next president by promising to legalize gay marriage.

Links for 3-6-2018

Links for 12-27-2017

Links for 10-9-2017

Links for 10-2-2017

Links for 9-25-2017