- An American soldier died in Afghanistan while fighting against ISIS.
A U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter crashed off Hawaii’s coast and five soldiers are missing.
American intelligence sources claim North Korea can build its own RD–250 rocket engines, refuting reports from a British think tank and a German newspaper that North Korea is buying engines from Russia or Ukraine.
Antifa protesters crashed Heather Heyer’s funeral. The president of Ithaca College’s College Republicans chapter was assaulted by Antifa at a vigil for Heyer; he was wearing a hat from a libertarian group, Young America’s Foundation.
Police arrested a North Carolina Central University student named Takiyah Fatima Thompson for helping pull down a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina. She’s the person who climbed a ladder to tie a strap around the statue.
Baltimore removed four Confederate statues in a late night operation.
Donald Trump shut down his American Manufacturing Council and Strategic and Policy Forum. Several members of the former resigned over Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence, and the latter decided to disband altogether.
Roy Moore won the Republican primary in the election to replace Jeff Sessions as U.S. Senator, but didn’t win by enough to avoid a runoff with Mitch McConnell’s candidate, Luther Strange. The runoff election is on September 26.
A bill passed last year by Utah’s legislature changed how political parties nominate candidates, and yesterday that change resulted in a squishy Republican from Provo winning the nomination for the House of Representatives seat formerly held by Jason Chaffetz.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a bill that provides free abortions for everyone, funded by insurance companies and the state. Brown is a former abortion lobbyist.
“We are so grateful for the bold leadership of Governor Brown and legislative champions who understand that Oregonians don’t want reproductive health care attacked,” said Laurel Swerdlow, advocacy director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. “Women, transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, people of color, immigrants and people of faith are not going to silently stand around while politicians in Washington D.C. try to take away our health care.”
- Bloomberg Businessweek obtained emails from Kaspersky Lab that show Kaspersky has worked closely with Russia’s FSB despite denials by the company’s founder:
A person familiar with the company’s anti-DDoS system says it’s made up of two parts. The first consists of traditional defensive techniques, including rerouting malicious traffic to servers that can harmlessly absorb it. The second part is more unusual: Kaspersky provides the FSB with real-time intelligence on the hackers’ location and sends experts to accompany the FSB and Russian police when they conduct raids. That’s what Kaspersky was referring to in the emails, says the person familiar with the system. They weren’t just hacking the hackers; they were banging down the doors.
Venezuela’s new constituent assembly created a “truth commission” to vet opposition candidates for gubernatorial elections in October. Opposition candidates who participated in “violent political protests” will be excluded. The constituent assembly is also considering a bill that would punish people who express “hate or intolerance” with sentences of up to 25 years in prison; the government would decide what “hate” and “intolerance” mean.
The head of Iran’s military, General Mohammad Baqeri, met his Turkish counterpart to discuss Syria and Iraq. Baqeri was scheduled to meet with Turkey’s defense minister and president as well. You may recall Turkey as a NATO member.
- A C–130 crashed in Mississippi, killing five people. It’s not clear if it was a U.S. Air Force plane or a National Guard plane.
- A U.S. Army soldier named Ikaika Kang was arrested and charged with providing material support to ISIS.
- The Trump administration is continuing an Obama administration policy of illegally routing ObamaCare tax revenues to insurance companies ahead of the Treasury:
In addition to paying insurers up to $20 billion—repeat, $20 billion—between 2014 and 2016, the law also required those assessments on employers to fund $5 billion in payments to the Treasury, offsetting the cost of another Obamacare program. For whatever reason, the employer assessments the past three years have not yielded the $25 billion needed to fund $20 billion in payments to insurers, plus the $5 billion in payments to the Treasury. In the event of such a circumstance, the law states that the Treasury should be paid before health insurers.
So what did the Obama administration do? You guessed it. They paid health insurers first, and gave the Treasury—taxpayers like you and me—the shaft.
So, it seems, has the new administration. The report on reinsurance included not a word about making payments to the Treasury Department, reimbursing taxpayers the billions they are owed under the law. Nor did the report mention potential actions to sue health insurers to reclaim funds they received that are rightly owed to the U.S. Treasury.
- Mitch McConnell plans to bring TrumpCare up for a vote in the Senate next week, and the bill will reportedly lack the Cruz-Lee Consumer Freedom Amendment that would allow insurance companies to sell policies that don’t comply with ObamaCare regulations.
- Mitch McConnell is using his super PAC and companion 501(c)4 group to defeat House Freedom Caucus member Mo Brooks in Alabama’s special election for U.S. Senate. McConnell favors Luther Strange, who was appointed to the seat but faces a contentious primary election to keep it.
- The Hill reported that James Comey’s memos about his conversations with Donald Trump are government property and half of them contain classified information. This implies that Comey may have leaked classified information, which could put him in the company of Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus.
- A new peer-reviewed study indicates that “‘nearly all’ of the warming shown in current temperature datasets from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Met Office in the United Kingdom are the result of adjustments made to the datasets after temperatures were recorded.”
“The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality,” the authors wrote. “In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever — despite current claims of record setting warming.”
“Nearly all of the warming they are now showing are in the adjustments,” meteorologist Joe D’Aleo, who co-authored the study, said to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Each dataset pushed down the 1940s warming and pushed up the current warming.”
- Luma Simms writes that Islamic activist Linda Sarsour is “inciting sedition from Muslims in America”:
I am a Christian immigrant from Iraq. We know what Muslim agitation and radicalization looks like and where it leads. Sarsour knew full well how what she said would affect the particular community she was speaking to. This was no women’s march, this is a talk to the Muslim community, in which she chastises those who would accept our government peacefully.
Underlying this entire speech is a fundamental assumption: The American government is oppressive and it is our duty to resist and fight against it. Anyone inside and outside the Muslim community who assimilates, who sides with American government, is an oppressor and should be resisted. This is warfare mentality; it is agitation and incitement. But will the Muslim community heed Sarsour?
- Mike Newall wrote a fascinating account of Philadelphia’s shuttered Ascension of Our Lord cathedral, which is now a shooting gallery for heroin users:
So Father Murphy and Sister Raymond walked the few blocks to the church that long was the jewel of the neighborhood, until it wasn’t. They stepped through a window, glass crunching underneath their feet.
In the half-light, they could make out thin forms. Some shot heroin in the pews, some laid half-naked on mattresses. Others stumbled past in their stupor, not noticing the priest and nun in their presence.
Father Murphy did all he could think to do. He began to bless them.
- Illinois’ first budget in two years is full of holes:
To address the state’s nearly $15 billion in unpaid bills, Illinois depends heavily on borrowing. Lawmakers approved $6 billion of 12-year bonds to raise money for repayments. But State Representative Greg Harris, the House Democrats’ point person on the budget, has acknowledged there is only enough revenue to support half of that borrowing amount.
Illinois will also borrow up to $1.2 billion from various state accounts that have accumulated cash for specific purposes, while “sweeping” cash from other accounts –a government version of looking under couch cushions that is expected to yield $300 million.
Illinois’ $130 billion pension liability is one of the largest in the nation, and the new budget takes only small steps to address the structural underfunding of Illinois’ five retirement systems.
- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS in Mosul.
- Siemens said two of its electricity-generating gas turbines were moved “against its will” from Russia to Crimea. Siemens claims that it will “initiate criminal charges against the responsible individuals,” but it’s not clear how you do that in Russia.
- North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile can reach Australia, and they don’t have a missile defense system.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Iraqi Kurds shouldn’t hold a referendum on independence.
- On Sunday, Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) staged a huge protest against Erdogan in a suburb of Istanbul.
- Israel’s head of military intelligence, Major General Herzi Halevi, confirmed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is building advanced missile manufacturing facilities in Lebanon. Hezbollah would use these missiles in its next war with Israel, and if they have enough of them they could overwhelm Israel’s missile defense systems.
- The deputy head of China’s state asset manager, Zhang Xiwu, was arrested on corruption charges. China’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission is the world’s largest controlling company.
There is more than meets the eye to the case of Zhang Xiwu, who once regulated more than 150 Chinese companies and their one trillion dollars in assets. Zhang is the latest crony of Zeng Qinghong, the former Chinese Communist Party vice-chair and number two member of an influential political faction, to run into trouble in recent months, and Zhang’s fall suggests that a case is being built against his political patron.
- Julie Borowski believes the “Fight for 15” will be a huge help to introverted consumers:
U.S. Army Pfc. Hansen B. Kirkpatrick died in Afghanistan’s Helmand province after he was hit by a mortar. Two other American soldiers were wounded in the attack.
Nikki Haley addressed North Korea’s ICBM launch during a U.N. Security Council meeting:
North Korea claims its ICBM is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, and the design of its nose cone is nearly identical to that of a Pakistani missile that can carry conventional or nuclear warheads. China has quietly supplied missile and warhead technology to both Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran, and it could be the source for this design.
Mark Bowden interviewed national security experts and former American military officers, asking them about options for dealing with North Korea. As you’d expect, there are no good options.
CNN threatened to dox a Redditor who supposedly created a video that showed a World Wrestling Federation-era Donald Trump beating up a man with a CNN logo superimposed over his head; Trump posted the video on his Twitter feed. Ted Cruz thinks CNN may have violated the law by doing this. BuzzFeed argues that CNN fingered the wrong source for the video. In other news, we’re facing a nuclear threat from North Korea.
A New York City police officer was shot and killed while she sat in a marked vehicle. Other officers chased the suspect down, shot, and killed him. That suspect, Alexander Bonds, was on parole for robbery. The officer, Miosotis Familia, was 48 and the mother of three kids.
Austin Petersen is running for U.S. Senate from Missouri as a Republican. Last year he ran for president as a member of the Libertarian Party.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that would have allowed people in his state to buy “choose life” license plates. The money from the plates would have gone to crisis pregnancy centers, suicide prevention, and campaigns promoting adoption.
Two electricity turbines manufactured by Siemens appeared in Crimea despite sanctions intended to prevent that from happening. The turbines are likely destined for two power stations that are under construction. Siemens claims it’s complying with export control regulations.
Ukrainian police seized the servers of an accounting software company that spread the Petya malware via an infected software update.
American aircraft bombed a hole in the wall surrounding Raqqa, Syria’s Old City area, enabling Syrian Democratic Forces troops to storm ISIS positions.
- A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed fighting al Shabaab in Somalia. Two other SEALs were wounded.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee started an investigation of Barack Obama’s Iran deal, specifically looking into whether the Obama administration undermined counterproliferation efforts targeting Iranian weapons trafficking.
Donald Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of the Army, Mark Green, withdrew his name from consideration. Leftist groups attacked Green because he believes transgenderism is a mental illness.
The Department of the Interior is reviewing 21 national and five marine monuments that were created by previous administrations. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be stripped of their status as monuments.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said this to Donald Trump yesterday: “Mr. President, I affirm to you that we are raising our youth, our children and grandchildren, in a culture of peace.” This is a lie.
Kevin Williamson writes that TrumpCare and ObamaCare fail to recognize the economic concept of scarcity:
We have perfectly functional markets in all sorts of life-and-death goods. They expect you to pay up at the grocery store, too, but poor people are not starving in the American streets, because we came up with this so-crazy-it-just-might-work idea of giving poor people money and money analogues (such as food stamps) to pay for food. It is not a perfect system, but it is preferable, as we know from unhappy experiences abroad, to having the government try to run the farms, as government did in the Soviet Union, or the grocery stores, as government does in hungry, miserable Venezuela. The Apple Store has its shortcomings, to be sure, but I’d rather have a health-care system that looks like the Apple Store than one that looks like a Venezuelan grocery store.
There is a certain libertarian tendency to look at messes such as the Affordable Care Act and the American Health Care Act and throw up one’s hands, exclaiming: “Just let markets work!” We should certainly let markets work, but not “just.” We aren’t going to let children with congenital birth defects suffer just because they might have stupid and irresponsible parents, and we are not going to let old people who have outlived their retirement savings die of pneumonia because we don’t want to spend a couple of thousand bucks treating them. But we also do not have a society in which everybody is on Section 8 and food stamps, nor do we want one. Developing sensible, intelligently run, reasonably generous welfare programs for those who cannot or simply have not done it for themselves is a relatively small project, but trying to have government impose some kind of political discipline on the entirety of the health-care system — which is as explicit a part of the current daft Republican health-care program as it is of Obamacare — is a different kind of project entirely.
- The French presidential election is Sunday, and today 9GB of emails from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign appeared online.
“I think this represents Moscow’s grudging recognition that it’s stuck in a quagmire,” says Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague. In their hybrid civil-military role, capable of a wide range of operations, these brigades have become a go-to deployment for the Kremlin as it seeks to assert itself in various theaters abroad. Chechen fighters have appeared alongside pro-separatist Russian “volunteers” in eastern Ukraine, and several battalions of Chechen servicemen also entered Georgia during its brief war with Russia in August 2008, occupying the town of Gori. At least some of the Chechen troops deployed in Syria have combat experience in eastern Ukraine, with the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reporting that one of the Chechen commanders is Apti Bolotkhanov, who spent substantial time fighting alongside pro-Russian forces in the Donbass.
But beyond their skill on the battlefield, the brigades are valuable to Moscow for other reasons. Russian society and leadership have proved extremely sensitive to casualties in Syria; the Kremlin has gone to extreme lengths to hide its losses. Casualties are often only publicly confirmed after observers find the tombstones of deceased soldiers in their hometown cemeteries. Moscow’s official figures only account for 30 dead in Syria — with the true figure likely much higher. Using nonethnic Russian special personnel might protect the Kremlin from a public backlash sparked by rising battlefield casualties. Losses incurred by the new, North Caucasian contingent are unlikely to trigger such a response. Russian society carries a deep-seated resentment toward natives of the region, in particular Chechens, after two wars in the 1990s and multiple terrorist attacks since.
Russia, Turkey, and Iran defined “de-escalation” zones in Syria and declared that American aircraft cannot fly over them.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory published a video of what the Cassini probe saw when it dove between Saturn and its rings:
- The soldier who died near Mosul yesterday was a member of the 82nd Airborne, 1st Lieutenant Weston Lee of Bluffton, Georgia. He was killed by an IED.
- Adam Kredo totals the costs of the war in Afghanistan in terms of blood and treasure, and it’s grim:
U.S. taxpayers paid $48 million in the last year alone to fund ammunition for Afghan security personnel, and have paid $32.3 billion total on governance and economic development as of March 2017. The United States has spent more than $11 billion so far on other weapons, communications, aircraft, and vehicles for the struggling Afghan forces. The cost to U.S. taxpayers is unlikely to diminish over the coming years, as Taliban forces continue to control a large number of key territories.
Civilian casualties resulting from the war rose to 11,418 in 2016, the highest total of deaths since international observers began recording such statistics in 2009, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR. The oversight body provided an analysis of the war effort in its latest quarterly report, issued just weeks after the United States dropped one of the largest bombs ever on the country.
- Congressional negotiators agreed on a deal that spends $1.1 trillion to fund the federal government for five months. The spending bill is 1,665 pages long, which works out to $700 million per page. The bill is a freaking disaster that funds Planned Parenthood, includes only a modest increase in defense spending, increases the number of H–2B (temporary guest worker) visas issued, does not fund a border wall, and cuts the EPA budget by a whopping 1%. Trump gets next to nothing out of this, but he says he’ll sign it anyway. If you’re looking for a reduction in the federal budget, you need to look third party.
- Hungary quickly built a 96 mile double fence to stem illegal immigration across its border with Serbia and it’s working. They’ve also trained people to patrol the fence to catch anyone who makes it across.
- Selena Zito interviewed Donald Trump:
“President XI of China, who I think is a very good person, wants the best for his people,” he says. “… I think he is a fantastic person. Now, maybe he won’t do anything for the United States or maybe he will. But I think he is a very good person, and my opinion of that won’t change.”
- Donald Trump will host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House later this month.
- A Japanese helicopter carrier, the Izumo, is escorting a U.S. Navy supply ship off Japan’s coast. This is the first time a Japanese naval vessel has done this since Japan enacted a law allowing it last year.
- SpaceX successfully launched its first satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, and they managed to recover the first stage of the rocket.
- A University of Texas at Austin student, Kendrex J. White, decided to spend his afternoon stabbing people on campus, killing one person and injuring three.
- One of the reasons British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election is that UKIP’s electoral support is melting away in favor of the Tories. Right now it looks like the Conservatives will pick up enough support in key districts that they could pose a serious threat to Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
- Hamas dropped its call for Israel’s destruction, but still rejected Israel’s right to exist and endorsed “armed struggle” against it. Israel’s government says this change means nothing. Hamas also said it would drop its association with the Muslim Brotherhood, which may result in more money flowing in its direction from Persian Gulf states.
- India accused Pakistan’s military of killing and mutilating two of its soldiers near the Kashmir border.
- A U.S. Army UH–60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed on golf course in Maryland, killing one soldier and injuring two others.
Mark Steyn writes that Tayyip Recep Erdoğan’s victory in Sunday’s referendum spells the end of the Kemalist republic, an outcome he predicted ten years ago:
Sultan Erdoğan – who, a mere 15 years ago, was banned from holding political office – has now succeeded in dismantling almost every defining element of the Kemalist republic. What replaces it will be a crude strongman state in service of Islamic imperialism. I have read a lot of commentary this morning, starting with Douglas Murray’s “Turkish Democracy Has Just Died” and moving on to Yavuz Baydar’s “The End Of Turkey As We Know It” via Alex Alexiev’s “Who Lost Turkey?” And several readers have been kind enough to inquire where’s my own “Who Lost Turkey?” piece. Well, the truth is I published it exactly ten years ago, to the day of Erdoğan’s referendum. From the April 16th 2007 edition of National Review, “De-Boning Turkey”:
The modern secular Muslim state – a country that gave women the vote before Britain did and was Israel’s best friend in an otherwise hostile region – certainly, that Turkey seems to be being de-boned by the hour: it now has an Islamist government whose Prime Minister has canceled trade deals with Israel, denounced the Iraqi elections, and frosted out the US Ambassador because he was Jewish; a new edition of Mein Kampf is prominently displayed at the airport bookstore. In other words, the Zionist Entity’s best pal is starting to look like just another cookie-cutter death-to-the-Great-Satan stan-of-the-month.
Donald Trump reportedly called Erdoğan to congratulate him on his new dictatorial powers. Turkey’s cabinet extended the state of emergency by another three months; this state of emergency started after last July’s attempted military coup.
South Korean prosecutors charged former President Park Geun-hye and the chairman of the Lotte Group conglomerate, Shin Dong-bin, with bribery.
Russia’s Federal Security Service claims it arrested the organizer of the April 3rd attack on the St. Petersburg subway.
The U.S. is sending another 2,500 ground troops to Kuwait. From there they may be deployed to Iraq or Syria.
John Hinderaker argues that it’s time for Jeff Sessions to clean house at the Department of Justice.
The war of words between the Netherlands and Turkey escalated further, with the Netherlands preventing Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from entering Turkey’s consulate in Rotterdam; later they booted her from the country by driving her to the German border.