Links for 11-5-2017

  • Fox News is updating its story on the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas here.

  • BuzzFeed obtained a tranche of internal Breitbart emails illustrating how the Mercer family, Steve Bannon, Alex Marlow, Milo Yiannopoulos, and alt-right figures promote their narrative.

  • Kevin Williamson argues that what happened between the Democratic National Committee and Bernie Sanders is how political parties are supposed to work:

    As it turns out, political parties are — like churches, civic groups, unions, trade groups, lobbyists, pressure groups, and business associations — part of the secret sauce of civil society. In much the same way as our senators — in their original, unelected role — were expected to provide a sober brake on the passions of the members of the more democratic House of Representatives, political parties exercised a soft veto that helped to keep extremism and demagoguery in check. Anybody can run for president — but not just anybody can run as the candidate of the Republican party or the Democratic party. Third parties face an uphill battle, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot prevail: The Republican party was a very successful third party, displacing the moribund Whigs.

    The denuded political parties provide an important fund-raising and administrative apparatus — along with a tribal identity that is arguably more important — but they do not offer much more than that. Instead, we have relatively little in the way of mediating institutions between candidates and the public at large. If Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are your idea of great political leaders, then you probably don’t see a problem with that. You’re a fool, but you’re a fool who is likely to get his way in the coming years. The difference between a republic and a democracy is that republics put up more roadblocks between fools and their desires.

    The project to make the Democratic party an instrument of the Clinton campaign in order to prevent Bernie Sanders from making it an instrument of his own ambitions was dishonest, corrupt, and possibly illegal.

    It was also exactly what political parties are supposed to do. A little democracy, like a little whiskey, is a good thing — too much and you end up with Ted Kennedy.

  • Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort received federal permission to hire 70 people under H–2B visas for the 2017–2018 tourist season.

  • Saudi Arabia’s King Salmon and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman conducted a purge, ordering the arrest of 11 princes, four ministers, and dozens of former ministers and businessmen. The arrests were ordered as King Salmon created an anti-corruption committee chaired by the crown prince. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was among those arrested — he’s a billionaire investor in companies like Citigroup and Twitter.

  • Saudi Prince Mansour bin Muqrin was killed in a helicopter crash near the border with Yemen.

  • The former leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, turned himself in to Belgian police; four associates of Puigdemont also turned themselves in. Spain has issued arrest warrants for all five. Spain’s central government scheduled elections in Catalonia next month, and two polls suggest pro-independence parties could win a majority of seats.

  • A Venezuelan opposition leader, Freddy Guevara, sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas out of fear that he was about to be arrested.

Links for 9-5-2017

Links for 8-31-2017

Links for 8-28-2017

Links for 8-27-2017

  • The Black Hawk helicopter that crashed off Yemen’s coast belonged to a U.S. Army special forces unit that operates from a base near the port of Mukalla. One soldier from the crashed helicopter is still missing.

  • The U.K. plans to send more SAS troops to Afghanistan as part of Donald Trump’s plan to ramp-up operations there.

  • Joel Kotkin is concerned that Silicon Valley oligarchs will kill off democracy:

    Both Facebook and Google now offer news “curated” by algorithms. Bans are increasingly used by Facebook and Twitter to keep out unpopular or incendiary views, and especially in the echo chamber of the Bay Area. This is sometimes directed at conservatives, such as Prager University, whose content may be offensive to some, but hardly subversive or “fake.” The real crime now is simply to question dominant ideology of Silicon Valley gentry progressivism.


    In a future Democratic administration, as is already evident in places like California, the tech titans will use their money, savvy, and new dominance over our communications channels to steer and even dictate America’s political and cultural agendas to wield power in ways that even the likes of J.P. Morgan or John D. Rockefeller would envy.

    What started as a brilliant, and profoundly non-political extension of the information revolution, notes early Google and Facebook investor Robert McNamee, now looms as “a menace,” part of a systematic “brain hacking” on a massive scale. We can choose to confront this reality—as the early 20th century progressives did—or stand aside and let the oligarchs chart our future without imposing any curbs on their seemingly inexorable hegemony.

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro shut down two radio stations and two cable TV networks that were critical of his regime.

  • The Lebanese army announced a cease fire in its fight with ISIS on the Lebanon/Syria border. ISIS captured nine Lebanese soldiers in 2014 and the army wants to know what became of them. The Lebanese army believes it has recovered the bodies of six of the nine.

Links for 8-25-2017

Links for 8-24-2017