Links for 9-14-2017

Links for 9-12-2017

Links for 9-6-2017

Links for 8-10-2017

  • Donald Trump thanked Vladimir Putin for ordering a reduction in the number of American diplomats in Russia because it reduced the State Department’s payroll (in reality, the diplomats are being sent back to the U.S., and are not necessarily being laid off). This is one of those things that you can think to yourself, but you shouldn’t say out loud. Trump has trouble with this concept.

  • The chattering classes have been discussing the possibility of negotiating an Iran-style nuclear deal with North Korea to discourage a war. John Daniel Davidson points out that Bill Clinton negotiated a deal with North Korea back in 1994 that’s strikingly similar to Barack Obama’s Iran deal. Jim Geraghty adds this:

    As with the Iran deal many years later, the deal with North Korea was not a formal treaty and thus never ratified by Congress.

    Of course, the North Koreans cheated; the U.S. provided oil, two light water reactors, and a new electric grid, altogether worth roughly $5 billion, in exchange for promises.

    Clinton’s deal resulted in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons, and Obama’s deal with Iran will end the same way.

  • A U.S. Navy destroyer conducted another “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea, sailing to within 12 miles of Mischief Reef, one of China’s artificial islands.

  • Two of U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s top aides quit: chief of staff Steven Groves and communications director Jonathan Wachtel.

  • In the context of Google’s firing of James Damore for “perpetuating gender stereotypes,” Joy Pullmann argues that it’s time to end all discrimination policies and restore equal protection:

    Since Google is a private company I have no problem with them making unequal hiring and promotion rules. I am all in favor of discrimination — the freedom to set one’s own criteria for making decisions — and free association, for any reason, as individuals’ constitutional and natural rights. If they wanted to be an all-man or all-woman or all-black or all-Asian company, or give preferences to whatever people they feel sorry for at the moment, that’s Google’s business. At the level they’re operating they could be an all-woman company and still have the world’s best engineers, as Harvard or Stanford could since many more qualified people apply than can be admitted.

    The problem is when they promise “equality” then deliver discrimination. It’s this hypocrisy Damore had the temerity to point out, and for which he was fired. It’s the same hypocrisy inside the famous “Animal Farm” slogan for totalitarianism: “All are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

  • For the Democratic Party, abortion is a positive good:

    Lindy West of the New York Times recently, and similarly, insisted that unfettered access to abortion is essential to women’s economic and other liberties. Hers is one of many denunciations, by party activists and progressive journalists, of the Democratic Party’s decision to support pro-life Democrats running in more conservative districts. Pro-choice activists in the past decade made the leap from regarding abortion as a tragic necessity to seeing it a positive social good; West now sees it as the central guarantor of American liberty.

    Later:

    On some level, [John C.] Calhoun and other pro-slavery ideologues recognized that any “right” to slavery would be destroyed the moment the United States recognized that nature’s law affirmed the liberty of enslaved African Americans. Lindy West similarly holds that the human and civil rights of women would be undermined if the rights of the unborn were recognized. Even to question the right to abortion is “to be, at best, indifferent to the disenfranchisement, suffering and possibly even the death of women. At worst it is to revel in those things, to believe them fundamental to the natural order.” For West, abortion is the key to women’s economic, political, and social rights in the United States. If abortion were to be shown to be inconsistent with the natural order, then Lindy believes every freedom gained for women would evaporate.

  • A grand jury indicted Benjamin Roden for bombing an Air Force recruiting office in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Roden is a former member of the Air Force. No one was hurt in the bombing.

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro affirmed that the new constituent assembly is the most powerful institution in the country, saying, “I come to recognize its plenipotentiary powers, sovereign, original and magnificent.”

  • Cuba reportedly used a “sonic weapon” against American and Canadian diplomats, damaging their hearing. The Trump administration responded by expelling two Cuban diplomats, which seems wimpy.

  • British police broke up a huge child sex, prostitution, and drug ring:

    As a result of a massive ongoing investigation the police have named “Operation Sanctuary,” one British woman and a total of 17 men have been convicted of rape, conspiracy to incite prostitution, and illegally supplying drugs. The men, BBC notes, were from the “Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish communities and mainly British-born, with most living in the West End of Newcastle.”

  • Israel is building an underground wall around the Gaza Strip to prevent Hamas from tunneling into Israel. The wall will extend into the Mediterranean Sea to discourage commando attacks.

  • Tim Tebow shakes a kid’s hand, hits a three run homer:

  • PragerU: College Made Me a Conservative:

Links for 7-27-2017

Links for 7-9-2017

  • North Korea’s latest rocket engine resembles a 1960s-era Soviet design, the RD–250. There’s no record of North Korea obtaining the blueprints for that engine.

  • Rich Lowry writes on Donald Trump’s plan to create a joint U.S./Russian cyber security unit:

    Vladimir Putin has to be having a good, dark chuckle over that one. There are conflicting accounts of what Trump said in their meeting about the Russian interference in our election and how tough he was about it, but judging by how Trump tends to be all over the map on this, the right answer is probably “all of the above.” As I’ve said before, I believe Trump refuses to frankly acknowledge that Russia did the hacking because he doesn’t want to give people trying to undermine his legitimacy any satisfaction. But now he’s in a position where that refusal has him implicitly accepting Putin’s brazen lies about the interference. Trump is obviously determined to try to have a bromance with Putin no matter what and Tillerson is in a John Kerry-like fever to cut deals with Moscow in Syria. The best case here is that eventually, like with President Xi, cold-eyed geopolitical differences overwhelm naive expectations based on supposed personal chemistry.

  • A Washington Post article tries to blame a right-wing radio talk show host for inciting a left-wing Bernie Bro to shoot Steve Scalise.

  • Germany started withdrawing its troops from Turkey’s Incirlik air base. Germany is moving its planes to a base in Jordan.

  • A prominent leader of France’s The Republicans political party, Valerie Pecresse, is starting a new party called Libre:

    She [Pecresse] told Sunday newspaper Le Journal de Dimanche she would seek to position her grouping between those who have joined Macron’s government – including prime minister Edouard Philippe – and those who would follow a line she called “aggressive opposition,” and which has gathered around the party’s right wing.

    She said she wanted “an authentic right, neither subsumed by Macron nor porous with the (far right) National Front (FN.)”

  • Three Hungarian right wing groups formed a new group called Force and Determination:

    “We have to declare war against the force which represents Satanic darkness and which has made Europe unlivable and indefensible,” said Zsolt Tyirityan, leader of the Outlaw Army, one of the groups in the new alliance. “This is called liberalism. It makes people lose their awareness of nation, their racial identity and, slowly, their sexual identity, too.”

  • Eritrea resumed mass arrests of Christians.

Links for 7-8-2017

  • Two U.S. Air Force B–1Bs conducted a live fire drill in South Korea, along with other American and South Korean planes. The B–1Bs flew along the demilitarized zone during the exercise.

  • Ivanka Trump sat in for her father during some G20 meetings, which freaked people out on the political left but not so much on the right. Jonah Goldberg commented:

  • Stephen F. Hayes is not impressed with Rex Tillerson’s account of the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, particularly with respect to Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election:

    Tillerson reported that after the two men had a “robust and lengthy exchange on the subject,” Putin “denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.” Putin’s denials are false, of course, and the offenses are grave. Russia’s election meddling is part of a longer pattern of provocation largely ignored by the Obama administration and now tolerated by Trump. But the president apparently didn’t want to let reality intrude on his desire for better relations (he began his meeting by telling Putin that he was “honored” to meet him) and Tillerson didn’t seem to care. “So, more work to be done on that regard,” Tillerson said, dismissively.

    Set aside as yet unproven allegations of Trump-Russia collusion. The available facts are deeply troubling. Russia waged a persistent, hostile campaign against the United States in an effort to affect the outcome of the election – or at least influence perceptions of it. And the current administration doesn’t seem to care.

    Discussions with respect to the Syrian crisis weren’t much better in Hayes’ view:

    So in April the U.S. government accused Russia of complicity in an unprovoked chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. And on Friday, the secretary of State claimed that America and Russia have exactly the same objectives in Syria.

    And then Tillerson went even further. On matters where the United States and Russia have different views, he said, it may be that the Russians (who are actively backing a dictator slaughtering his own people) have got “the right approach and we’ve got the wrong approach.” Imagine for a moment the reaction from Republicans if John Kerry had made such a claim.

  • A Russian company partially owned by Siemens, Interautomatika, was hired to install two electricity turbines in Crimea. It’s starting to look like Siemens skirted sanctions against Russia by using this company as an intermediary.

  • Janice Rogers Brown plans to retire from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which will give Donald Trump an important vacancy to fill.

  • Andrew A. Michta writes on the demise of the nation-state:

    There is an ever-expanding terminology generated to describe the current vortex engulfing the West—be it “illiberal democracy,” “populism,” or (from the extreme Left) “neo-fascism.” But all the terms are attempting to grapple with the same truth: The weakening of the consensus that the nation-state should remain paramount in world politics lies at the base of the deepening political crisis in Western democracies. Since patriotic civic education all but disappeared from American public schools as well as from Europe’s government school curricula, two generations of Western elites have been progressively unmoored from their cultural roots, often all but bereft of even a rudimentary sense of service to and responsibility for the nation as a whole. As fractured group identities and narratives of grievance began to replace a sense of patriotism and national pride, college educated elites across the West became ever-more self-referential in their pursuits, locked in an exercise of inward-looking collective expiation for the centuries of Western racism, discrimination, and “privilege”—all allegedly the hallmarks of the culture they have inherited, which they must redefine, or repudiate altogether.

    Later:

    The hypothesis that institutions ultimately trump culture has over the past quarter century morphed into an article of faith, alongside the fervently held belief that nationalism and democratic politics are at their core fundamentally incompatible. The decades-long assault on the very idea of national identity steeped in a shared culture and defined by a commitment to the preservation of the nation has left Western leadership frequently unable to articulate the fundamentals that bind us and that we thus must be prepared to defend. The deepening fight over the right of the central government to control the national border—which is at the core of the Western idea of the nation-state—is emblematic of this situation.

  • Iraqi forces claim they’re close to victory over ISIS in Mosul.

  • Voters in Mongolia elected a former martial arts star, Khaltmaa Battulga, as the country’s next president.