Links for 4-12-2018

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Links for 3-29-2018

  • Russia booted 60 American diplomats out of the country and ordered the closure of the consulate in St. Petersburg.

  • Another collection of text messages exchanged between FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page appeared, and these suggest coordination between Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Senator Harry Reid, and and CIA Director John Brennan during the early days of the investigation into collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians.

  • Stanley Kurtz wrote a short history of First Amendment problems at Clemson University:

    Clemson’s liberals and conservative are at daggers drawn, not so much debating national policy as struggling over the ability of one side to control the expression of the other. However Clemson chooses to address issues like historical memorials and faculty diversity hires, those decisions ought to be the outcome of open discussion and debate, not the punishment or suppression of speech.

    Far from undermining civility, free speech inculcates the practice of respectful self-restraint in the face of disagreement. Restoration of free speech at Clemson is the best hope for staunching the hair-trigger sensitivities and trolling now embittering its dueling political factions.

  • A survey of the people who participated in the “March for Our Lives” protest in Washington, D.C. indicates the attendees were not the people the media portrayed them to be — in particular, only about 10% were under 18 years old.

  • The Public Interest Legal Foundation sued the Office of the Harris County Voter Registrar for refusing to open its voter rolls to inspection. Harris County has admitted to problems with non-citizens registered to vote, but won’t allow its voter rolls to be inspected to see how big that problem is.

  • Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial on influence peddling charges:

    The case came about after investigators used phone-taps to examine separate allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy’s campaign. The investigators began to suspect the former president had kept tabs on a separate case through a network of informants.

    Later:

    Based on the intercepts, Sarkozy, who still had political influence at the time despite having left office, is accused of having discussed offering a promotion to a prosecutor in return for tip-offs on another campaign funding probe.

  • Nissan and Renault are reportedly discussing a merger, which would resolve the strange relationship the two companies already have — Renault owns a 43% interest in Nissan, Nissan owns a 15% interest in Renault, and the two companies share a chairman, Carlos Ghosn.

Links for 3-14-2018

  • A U.S. Navy F/A–18 Super Hornet crashed off Key West. The two crew members ejected, but there’s no word on their condition.

  • Donald Trump hired Larry Kudlow as his new chief economic advisor. Kudlow doesn’t like tariffs, just like the guy he’s replacing, Gary Cohn.

  • Susan Glasser writes that the foreign capital Rex Tillerson didn’t understand was Donald Trump’s Washington:

    Defying the laws of political gravity at every turn, Tillerson feuded with fellow Cabinet members, clashed with White House staff, and alienated many of the thousands of career officials at the State Department who initially welcomed him as a voice of establishment calm in an unsettling new administration only to watch as he slashed their budgets and devalued their work. He was barely on speaking terms with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, engaged in a bitter turf war with presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, was disdained by key members of Congress who had once cheered for him, and was almost comically out of the loop on key policy decisions. When senior officials from key allies came to town, they often didn’t even bother to schedule meetings at Tillerson’s marginalized State Department anymore, and several of his own ambassadors were outright insubordinate by the end, realizing that power lay in the White House, not in the secretary’s wood-paneled office on the State Department’s seventh floor.

  • The FBI office that handles employee discipline recommended that Jeff Sessions fire Andrew McCabe before his official retirement kicks in on Sunday. McCabe would lose at least some of his retirement benefits if he’s fired.

  • The U.S. is still conducting air strikes in Yemen — it’s just not publicizing them.

  • Donald Trump is preparing to meet North Korean President Kim Jong Un while the U.S. has limited human and signals intelligence information from North Korea, which puts Trump at a disadvantage.

  • The U.S. is investigating reports that North Korea is operating a large underground military base in Syria:

    “We are aware of reports regarding possible DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] assistance to Syria to rebuild its chemical weapons capabilities,” a State Department official, speaking on background, told the Free Beacon. “We take these allegations very seriously and we are working assiduously to prevent the Assad regime from obtaining material and equipment to support its chemical weapons program.”

    Later:

    The underground North Korean military base could be hiding more than just chemical weapons, according to regional reports indicating that the sheer size of the base, which is mostly situated within a mountain, raises concerns of nuclear work.

  • The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld most of Texas’ anti-sanctuary cities law, a reversal of a district court decision. The one provision the appeals court barred relates to civil penalties against local officials who “endorse a policy under which the entity or department prohibits or materially limits the enforcement of immigration laws” — because that might infringe the officials’ First Amendment rights.

  • There’s a new terrorist group called “White Flag” operating in northwestern and central Iraq, “a union of Kurdish terrorists and former ISIS fighters.”

    The military official said intelligence on the group is sketchy but preliminary indications are it poses a threat to the areas of Iraq where it has operated. White Flag, however, does not currently have capabilities for conducting terror attacks outside the country.

    Estimates of numbers for White Flag members vary widely from as few as 100 terrorists to as many as 1,000.

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats/spies in retaliation for Russia’s alleged poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

Links for 3-12-2018

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