Links for 3-18-2018

Links for 3-17-2018

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe about a day before he was scheduled to retire. The reason given for McCabe’s firing was this: “McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor [FBI-speak for lying] − including under oath − on multiple occasions.” McCabe kept notes documenting his “interactions” with Donald Trump and turned them over to Robert Mueller. Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) offered to hire McCabe so he could collect his government pension.

  • Sarah Hoyt writes that the Russian government doesn’t understand Americans well enough to hack our elections:

    Sure, the Soviets had an amazing propaganda machine. By dividing the rest of the world into victims and oppressors, they managed to inject their poison into otherwise functional societies, even in the U.S., making academia and the arts and several other societal structures pits of oikophobic vipers.

    But that type of subversion which relies on Marxism being a sort of intellectually self-sufficient system that appeals to those who consider themselves smart (but might not be); on an heretical twist of Christianity which makes charity a governmental function; and on the perfect being the enemy of the good (a human failing) is markedly different from what the Russians are accused of doing in this election.

    What they’re accused of doing – and probably tried to do, though not necessarily in Trump’s favor – is changing the result of the election by, so to put it, changing the national mind.

    To do that, Russians would need to have an exquisite understanding of the U.S., to the point that their spending — which was about a tenth of what the Democrats spent to fail to elect Hillary — would be enough to turn the election.

    This can only be said irrisorily. [That means “derisively,” but I’m damned if I’m going to change it, it’s too good a word. — Ed.]

    Of all the societies that the Russians can’t fully understand, ours is probably the one they understand the least.

  • The U.S. Navy commissioned the USS Colorado, the fifteenth Virginia-class attack submarine.

  • Russia expelled 23 British diplomats and ordered the U.K. to shut down its consulate in St. Petersburg.

  • China’s parliament re-elected Xi Jingping as president, and elected Xi’s “graft buster” ally Wang Qishan as vice-president; Wang replaces Li Yuanchao.

  • The YPG claims Turkey’s military bombed the main hospital in Afrin, Syria, a charge the Turkish government denies.

Links for 3-15-2018

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.”


    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 3-7-2018

Links for 3-6-2018