Links for 12-4-2017

Links for 11-28-2017

Links for 11-2-2017

  • The Department of Justice is contemplating whether to charge at least six Russian government officials in the Democratic National Committee computer hacking case.

  • Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) won’t run for re-election.

  • The Senate approved 27 Trump nominees today, including 16 ambassadors.

  • The Trump administration imposed punitive duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports.

  • Four Democratic election workers in Philadelphia were charged with crimes, including “intimidating voters, casting bogus ballots, and falsely certifying the results in their polling place.”

    Perhaps the most flagrant incident (at least among the ones we know of) involved a pair of husband and wife Republican voters who both cast their ballots for the GOP candidate. One of the votes was registered properly while the other was replaced with a write-in ballot with the name of the Democrat filled in, effectively nullifying the vote for their household.

  • Michael Brendan Dougherty writes that we’re on the slippery slope to shunning the Founders:

    Previously, civil-rights activists such as King reconciled white America’s devotion to the nation’s founding and their own ambition to living as equals under the law by casting the Declaration and other artifacts of the Founding as a “promissory note” whose liberties need to be justly extended to all human beings in America. And many today say that we can honor the Founders because, unlike the the Confederates, the principles they enshrined in our Founding documents could be used against the injustice of slavery and white supremacy.

    It is my contention that this way of honoring the Founders will soon begin to seem dishonest to liberals. It will be seen as a concession to a recalcitrant prejudice and a political reality that is rapidly disappearing, the same way civil unions for same-sex couples are now seen.

    It is easy to imagine a writer who grew up reading Ta-Nehisi Coates on “the First White President” looking back at Bouie’s assertion that we have statues to Jefferson on account of his authorship of the Declaration of Independence with a jaundiced eye. That future man of letters will observe that the Declaration’s invocations of liberty and its pretensions of universalism were merely Whig propaganda against a King. He will assert that Jefferson did not actually believe that all men were so endowed by their creator. He will hasten to add that as America achieved the political sovereignty, Jefferson became more convinced of white supremacy, more secure in the view that white liberty could be guaranteed only through black bondage. Many reading this argument will conclude that by raising statues to Jefferson we are crediting him only for his hypocrisy, a privilege only white racists and slavers get in America. They will conclude, in other words, that America has spent centuries sanctifying its foundational hypocrisy. Land of the Free, home of the enslaved.

  • Gavin Williamson is the U.K.’s new Defense Secretary.

  • More than 180,000 people, most of them Kurds, have been displaced as a result of the fighting between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army and its Shiite militia allies.

  • Iraq’s central government wants control of Kurdistan’s oil exports.

  • A Spanish judge ordered that nine leaders of Catalonia’s secessionist government be held in custody pending a trial.

Links for 11-1-2017

  • The suspect in the New York City terrorist attack, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, is from Uzbekistan, and he came to the U.S. via the “Diversity Visa Program.” The Department of Homeland Security questioned Saipov in 2015, but didn’t formally investigate him. And there’s this: “Saipov’s social media activity showed that he actively sought and engaged with radical Islamic propaganda and sympathized with ISIS.” Saipov used America’s chain migration policy to bring another 23 people into the country.

  • Mark Steyn wrote a tremendous column on the New York City terrorist attack that ends with this:

    So now eight grieving families and dozens more who’ll be living with horrific injuries for the rest of their lives are told by Cuomo and De Blasio and the rest of the gutless political class behind their security details that there’s nothing to do except to get used to it.

    I don’t want to get used to it – and I reiterate my minimum demand of western politicians that I last made after the London Bridge attacks: How many more corpses need to pile up on our streets before you guys decide to stop importing more of it?

    If your congressman or senator says that’s not on his agenda, what he means is he’s willing to sacrifice you and your loved ones in the suicide lottery of diversity.

  • A U.S. Navy report detailed a long list of mistakes made by the crews of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain prior to their collisions with other ships. This part is interesting:

    In the early morning hours of June 17, the Fitzgerald was traveling at a speed of 20 knots about 50 miles south of Tokyo Bay when it began to sail past commercial vessels. Contrary to his standing order, [Cmdr. Bryce] Benson was not notified on multiple occasions when the Fitzgerald came within three nautical miles of several of those ships.

    At one point the Fitzgerald crossed the bow of one of those ships at a distance of 650 yards.

  • The CIA released some of the material they obtained when U.S. Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan:

    The Abbottabad repository confirms that bin Laden was anything but retired when US forces knocked down his door. He was not a mere figurehead. During the final months of his life, Osama bin Laden was communicating with subordinates around the globe. Recovered memos discuss the various committees and lieutenants who helped bin Laden manage his sprawling empire of terror.

    In fact, al Qaeda’s network was a great deal more cohesive than was widely suspected in May 2011. Groups such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Shabaab (in Somalia) regularly sought and received the al Qaeda master’s direction. Other organizations, such as the Pakistani Taliban, are featured throughout the documents as well. And al Qaeda continued to maintain a significant footprint inside Afghanistan, relocating personnel to the country in 2010 and fighting alongside the Taliban.

  • A group of lawmakers accused the Trump administration of illegally arming and funding the Iranian-backed militias that are fighting alongside the Iraqi army. There are photos circulating of militia members driving American M1A1 tanks.

  • U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Schultz died in a crash at a Nevada testing range back in September. The Air Force refused to specify what plane he was flying, which led to speculation that he was testing something new. It now appears he was flying a Russian Su–27 as part of an aggressor squadron that helps American pilots train against foreign aircraft. The Air Force is now considering whether to contract out these aggressor planes and their pilots to a private company; the contract could be worth billions of dollars.

  • The Salt Lake City nurse who was arrested for refusing to draw blood from an unconscious patient settled her lawsuit against the city for $500,000.

  • A Chechen woman who fought for Ukraine in its battle with Russia, Amina Okueva, was assassinated in an ambush on the outskirts of Kyiv. Okueva’s husband was injured in the attack. Back in June there was another assassination attempt against the two of them, that time by a Russian citizen posing as a journalist for Le Monde who came to interview them.

  • U.K. Defense Minister Michael Fallon resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment.

  • The Iraqi government threatened to restart military operations against the Kurds.

Links for 9-19-2017

  • John Sexton collected several videos showing buildings in Mexico City shaking and collapsing after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. This earthquake struck 32 years to the day after a magnitude 8.1 earthquake killed thousands of people.

  • Fred Lucas summarized Donald Trump’s U.N. speech for The Daily Signal. An hour or so after Trump’s speech, former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka delivered a speech along the same lines to Hillsdale College supporters: 

  • CNN reported that investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort before and after the election. The warrants for the wiretapping were issued by the FISA court.

  • Sig Sauer asked the Trump administration to withdraw an export license for $1.2 million in American-manufactured weapons that were to be sold to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bodyguards — the same bodyguards who beat up protesters outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., earning many of them an indictment.

  • Former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson accused the Trump-era EPA of being non-transparent. Jackson used the email alias “Richard Windsor” to shield her EPA emails from Freedom of Information Act requests, so she has practical experience in this area. Jackson is now a vice president at Apple.

  • Israel used a Patriot missile to shoot down a drone over the Golan Heights. The drone was probably manufactured by Iran and flown for the benefit of Hezbollah.

  • The U.S. opened a small military base in Israel to support a missile defense system. The base is located within an Israeli Air Force base.

  • Alex Gorka makes offers insightful observations on Turkey’s purchase of a S–400 missile defense system from Russia:

    The system is not operationally compatible with the systems used by NATO countries, which gives Turkey a military capacity independent of the alliance. NATO commanders will not have control over it. The identification friend or foe (IFF) equipment won’t prevent Turkey from using it against NATO aircraft and missiles. Reaching full operational capability will require Russian personnel to be stationed in Turkey on advice, assistance and training missions.

    The technology transfer component of the S–400 deal is especially important as it would allow Turkey to rapidly expand domestic defense industry with Russia’s help. Russia would supply two batteries and help Ankara build two more such systems. A few years ago, the US refused to let Turkey produce Patriot air defense systems on its soil and the deal was off.

    Ankara does not have industrial infrastructure to produce air defense systems. Russian specialists will have to come and build it from scratch. As a result, Russia will get access to the defense infrastructure of a NATO member state. The agreement to build the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey, which is to be launched by 2023, is another example of fruitful economic cooperation.

  • Turkey deployed tanks and rocket launchers along its border with Iraqi Kurdistan and said they’d remain deployed there until the day after the September 25 independence referendum.

  • Jonah Cohen argues the Kurds deserve a homeland:

    Western leaders and policymakers who bemoan the referendum can, if they choose, flatter themselves as “realists.” And, true, they are not speaking from the philosophical tradition of Locke and Lincoln and Mill. But the irony here is that violence will be more likely, not less, if the Kurdish people aren’t allowed to express their visceral desires through a democratic process. History teaches that we ought to tread carefully around liberty-longing people with pent-up political rage. Up till now, Iraqi Kurds have been more than restrained, loyal to the West, sacrificing much for the American-led coalition. Without a political path toward their dream of statehood – without “a street empty of bloodstains,” to borrow words of Kurdish poet Kajal Ahmad – at least some of them will likely conclude that democracy has failed, leaving them no other choice but guerrilla warfare and chaos.

  • British police arrested a third suspect in the London tube bombing.

  • The Telegraph reports that climate change represents less of a threat than predicted because the models are wrong. I know, you’re shocked.

    Climate change poses less of an immediate threat to the planet than previously thought because scientists got their modelling wrong, a new study has found. New research by British scientists reveals the world is being polluted and warming up less quickly than 10-year-old forecasts predicted, giving countries more time to get a grip on their carbon output.

    An unexpected “revolution” in affordable renewable energy has also contributed to the more positive outlook.

  • Russian helicopter pilots participating in the “Zaphod 2017” war games should probably work on their aim and stop endangering bystanders:

Links for 9-18-2017

Links for 9-15-2017