Links for 4-23-2018

Links for 2-16-2018

  • The FBI completely botched the case of the Parkland, Florida high school shooter. On January 5 the FBI received a tip that included the shooter’s name, his location, his weapon, and his intent to conduct a school shooting…and they did nothing. Local law enforcement was called to the homes where he lived more than 20 times and they did nothing, too. Florida Governor Rick Scott called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign, and he has a point.

  • Erick Erickson reviewed a book by two evangelical leaders that attempts to explain/justify Donald Trump’s Christian faith. The review includes this:

    You should know that I read The Faith of Donald J. Trump in the English version and can only guess at what was lost in the translation from the original North Korean. Donald Trump has, it is clear from this book, become Dear Leader, Generalissimo, Eternal General Secretary, Eternal Chairman, and Eternal Leader of the People’s Evangelical Party of America. The Soviets, Chinese, and North Koreans would find it very familiar.

    It ends with this:

    In the end, Brody and Lamb’s book exposes how the leaders of the evangelical movement, long treated as outcasts from mainstream culture because of the charlatans in their midst, now enjoy an utterly transactional relationship with Donald Trump, each using the other for an end they believe justifies the means. The long-term damage to the American evangelical movement, which has spent decades working toward respectability and intellectual seriousness, remains to be seen. And a president in need of a savior is surrounded by men and women of faith who are more interested in doing business with him than calling him to repent so that his eternal soul might be saved.

    But Gorsuch!

    Meanwhile The New Yorker published an article detailing an affair between Donald Trump and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. The article explains how the National Enquirer paid McDougal for the exclusive rights to her story with the intent to bury it, a technique called “catch and kill.” The White House claims the article is fake news. The article is well sourced and fits a pattern of Trump’s behavior.

  • Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for attempting to influence the 2016 election. According to prosecutors, no Americans knowingly helped the Russians, although the Russians did use Facebook and Twitter to advance their cause.

    The indictment describes a sophisticated, multi-year and well-funded operation, dubbed “Project Lakhta,” by Russian entities to influence the election, beginning as early as May 2014.

    Russians unlawfully used stolen social security numbers and birth dates of Americans to open accounts on the PayPal digital payment platform and to post on social media using those fake identities, the indictment said.

    Mueller also on Friday reached an agreement with an American named Richard Pinedo, who pled guilty to aiding and abetting interstate and foreign identity fraud by creating, buying and stealing hundreds of bank account numbers that he sold to individuals to use with large digital payment companies.

  • Eli Lake writes that Russia ordered its mercenaries to attack American and allied forces near Deir al-Zour, Syria, and paid for it with more than 200 dead, far more than the five acknowledged by the Russian Foreign Ministry yesterday.

  • Leon Aron writes that Vladimir Putin is running a wartime presidency.

  • For some unfathomable reason the Trump administration is trying to resurrect the U.S. relationship with Turkey, which prompted Turkey to suggest stationing both Turkish and American troops in Manbij, Syria. That would be pathetically dumb.

  • A Trump nominee for a State Department position told Congress that the Obama State Department prevented the FBI from arresting Chinese spies to avoid upsetting relations with Beijing. Susan Thornton is a career foreign service officer and she was working in the Obama-era State Department when this happened; moreover she said she’d maintain these policies toward China if she’s confirmed to her new position.

    Under questioning from Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) Thornton said the State Department was among several agencies that decided to block the FBI arrests of Chinese officials.

    The four MSS [China’s Ministry of State Security] officials were caught by FBI counterspies in October conducting illegal activities while traveling in the United States on transit visas.

    The officials had traveled to New York from Washington as part of a major Chinese government effort to pressure dissident Chinese businessman Guo Wengui.

  • Mitt Romney confirmed that he’s running for U.S. Senate from Utah.

  • Thirty-two class action lawsuits have been filed against Intel over the flaws in the company’s processors that make them vulnerable to the Meltdown and Spectre attacks.

  • The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Google didn’t break the law when it fired James Damore. Damore is still suing Google.

Links for 1-9-2018

Links for 1-2-2018

  • An American soldier was killed and four were wounded during fighting in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, which is on the border with Pakistan. The U.S. is withholding $255 million in aid to Pakistan because it harbors terrorists.

  • Mark Steyn’s first post of the new year includes a twelve days of Christmas-style countdown: an eight o’clock curfew, seven sexual assailants, six stabbers arrested, five homes raided, four women gang-raped, three pubs attacked, two police officers lynched, and a canceled New Year in Sydney. His numbering scheme doesn’t handle the 945 cars that were torched in France on New Year’s Eve.

  • Two members of Germany’s Alternative for Germany party are being investigated for violating a new law that makes it a crime to “incite people to commit violence against a certain section of society.” Their alleged offenses were committed via Twitter, which deleted the tweets because the company can be fined 50 million euros for failing to delete “hateful” content.

  • Senator Al Franken (D-MN) officially resigned.

  • Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) won’t run for re-election. He’s only been in the Senate for 40 years, and he’s 83 years old. Say hello to Senator Mitt Romney.

  • Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA) won’t run for re-election.

  • Huma Abedin forwarded emails containing passwords to government systems to her personal Yahoo account before all of Yahoo’s accounts were breached. At least one of those breaches was perpetrated by a Russian intelligence agent.

  • Victor Davis Hanson writes that we’re in the midst of an unusual experiment in American government, a rapid switch from far-left to far-right governing at the federal level. He characterizes the Obama administration this way:

    Identity politics, progressive policing of ideas on campus, an end to campus free expression that only empowered hate speech, the politicization and expansion of the deep state, along with open borders and new laxities governing citizenship and voting would usher in new, kinder and gentler race, ethnicity, and gender agendas. A single EPA director, one high IRS commissioner, or a federal-appeals-court justice would now exercise far more political power than any congressional committee. The “law” — in the sense of customary non-surveillance of American citizens, disinterested attorneys general, or a nonpartisan bureaucracy — was redefined as whatever would best serve social justice and equality.

    On the economic side, more regulations, larger government, more entitlements, higher taxes, zero interest rates, and doubling the national debt were designed to redistribute income and “spread the wealth.” The idea that the stock market could get much higher, that GDP could ever hit 3 percent or above, or that industry and manufacturing would return to the U.S. was caricatured as the ossified pipe dreams of discredited supply-siders.

  • The initial narrative on collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia isn’t going anywhere, so The New York Times is trying again, this time focusing on George Papadopoulos instead of Carter Page.

    In the Times’ new version of events, it was not the dossier that “so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election.” That, according to the Times, is a false claim that “Mr. Trump and other politicians have alleged.” Somehow, the paper omits the inconvenient details that it was the Times that led the charge in claiming that it was Page’s trip to Moscow that provoked the investigation, and that it was the dossier that so alarmed the FBI about that trip.

    In what we might think of as the latest “Russian Reset,” the Times now says the investigation was instigated by “firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies” — Australia. Turns out Papadopoulos was out drinking in London with Alexander Downer, “Australia’s top diplomat in Britain.” Tongue loosened, the “young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign” made a “startling revelation” to Downer: He had learned that “Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.”

    Later:

    To say this story has holes in it does not do justice to the craters on display. To begin with, the Times admits that “exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said” to Downer “is unclear.” What we are dealing with here is sheer supposition. And, it appears, flawed supposition.

  • The death toll in Iran’s protests is up to 20, and the government is blaming the country’s unnamed “enemies.” Ben Shapiro writes that Donald Trump has reversed the Obama doctrine on Iran:

    Contrast Trump’s behavior with that of the Obama administration, which deliberately ignored anti-regime protests in 2009, choosing instead to cozy favor with the regime and maximize Tehran’s regional power. The administration even went so far as to give Tehran a legal pathway to a nuclear weapon. Obama stated that while he was “troubled” by violence against the protesters, it was “up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran’s leaders will be,” and he hoped “to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran.”

    The administration would go on to allegedly leak Israeli plans to kill the commander of the Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, to the Iranians, lie to the American public about contact with the “moderate” Iranian regime regarding a nuclear deal, and then ship pallets of cash to the greatest state sponsor of terror on the planet.

    This, then, is the irony of Trump’s foreign policy in contrast with Obama’s: Obama jabbered endlessly about American leadership while simultaneously “leading from behind.” Trump actually pursues American leadership while simultaneously claiming the isolationist mantle of “America first.”

  • Iran re-opened two border crossings with Iraqi Kurdistan.

  • The Washington Free Beacon obtained a document from China’s Communist Party that indicates China offered North Korea increased aid and military support if the country stopped testing nuclear weapons. China’s public stance is that it wants a denuclearized Korean peninsula, but the document says North Korea can keep its existing nuclear weapons. The Beacon doesn’t say how it obtained the document, but there’s a good chance dissident Guo Wengui was involved.

  • An academic study suggests that Republicans support photo voter ID laws to combat voter fraud, but Democrats only support them when it’s likely that Republicans would be hurt by such laws.

Links for 11-20-2017

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 10-28-2017