Links for 7-9-2018

Links for 7-8-2018

  • The soldier who died in a green-on-blue attack in Afghanistan has been identified as U.S. Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel, of South Gate, California.

  • The Trump administration halted ObamaCare’s “risk adjustment payments,” which were basically health insurance company bailouts.

  • Kevin Williamson writes on Democrats’ complaints about gerrymandering and plans to pack the Supreme Court:

    Drawing up new legislative districts is an inherently political exercise; as one longtime legislator told me long ago when I was young and ignorant, it is the most political thing a legislature regularly does. A few progressives lately have argued, following a road-to-Damascus conversion on the issue, that “extreme gerrymandering” makes necessary a move to redistricting by purportedly scientific means employed by disinterested nonpartisan experts, who are sure to be disinterested and nonpartisan in the sense that the New York Times is a nonpartisan newspaper and the American Bar Association is a disinterested seeker of excellence in the legal profession.

    If the control of state legislatures were split 32 to 14 in the Democrats’ favor rather than in the Republicans’ favor, as things currently stand, we’d be hearing precisely nothing about this. Most people who pay any attention to politics understand that, which is why the Left’s efforts to whip up national hysteria over redistricting (or the Electoral College, or the fact that the First Amendment really does protect political communication, after all) have not come to much. Hypocrisy may not count for a great deal in politics, but sometimes it does tamp down the energy associated with a particular issue. People do tend to notice that there is no antiwar movement on the left when there’s a Democratic president.

  • A federal district court judge shot down the government’s attempt to resume its prosecution of Cliven Bundy, his family, and his supporters:

    Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro said again in a filing Tuesday that prosecutors “willfully” failed to disclose to defense lawyers evidence that government agents provoked the Bundy family into calling supporters to their defense by acts “such as the insertion and positioning of snipers and cameras surveilling the Bundy home.”

    Navarro said she found no reason to reconsider her dismissal of charges in January against Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.

  • Theresa May’s Brexit Secretary, David Davis, resigned, saying he can’t support her business-friendly, “soft Brexit” plan:

    “The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one,” Davis said in his resignation letter to May.

    He criticised May’s decision to maintain a “common rule book” with the EU, mirroring the bloc’s rules and regulations, saying it would hand “control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws”.

    “It seems to me that the national interest requires a Secretary of State in my Department that is an enthusiastic believer in your approach, and not merely a reluctant conscript.”

  • A British woman, Dawn Sturgess, died of Novachok poisoning. Her male friend who was also poisoned is still in the hospital in critical condition.

  • Another critic of Vladimir Putin living in exile in Britain turned up dead. Nikolai Glushkov was found strangled to death on the day he was supposed to appear in court in a case involving Aeroflot.

  • A team of six SAS soldiers credited their Belgian Malinois dog for saving their lives during an ambush in northern Syria.

  • Iraqi police opened fire on protesters near Basra; there are differing accounts of how many people were killed or wounded. People were protesting against “a shortage of jobs, electricity, water and other basic services.”

  • Six members of Tunisia’s security forces were killed in an ambush near the border with Algeria.

  • Turkey’s government fired 18,000 civil servants, half of them from the police force.

  • Judges in Brazil are battling one another over releasing former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from prison. Some people (and apparently some judges) want him to run for president again:

    Appeals court judge Rogerio Favreto, who served in the Justice Ministry under Lula and was appointed by his handpicked successor, ruled earlier on Sunday that the former president should have the same conditions to campaign as other candidates.

    However, the chief justice of the TRF–4 appeals court, Carlos Eduardo Thompson Flores, granted a request from prosecutors to keep Lula in prison, blocking Favreto’s ruling.

Links for 5-27-2018

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

Links for 1-4-2018

Links for 12-4-2017