Links for 4-25-2017

Links for 3-21-2017

  • A special forces soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Robert R. Boniface, died in a noncombat incident in Logar province, Afghanistan. A Marine, Sgt. Maj. Timonthy J. Rudd, died while in South Korea for joint war games; Rudd was from Post, Texas.

  • Rob Natelson debunks disinformation campaigns that try to scare people about an Article V convention of states:

    Article V of the Constitution provides that three fourths of the states (now 38 of 50) must ratify an amendment before it becomes effective. Before ratification, however, it must be formally proposed—either by Congress or by a “convention for proposing amendments.” A convention is called when two thirds of state legislatures (34 of 50) adopt overlapping resolutions in favor of one.

    The founders inserted the convention procedure so the people, acting through their state legislatures, could propose reforms that Congress would rather block. The founders viewed the procedure as a crucial constitutional right. Without it, the Constitution may not have been adopted.

    Opponents’ disinformation campaign is designed to frighten Americans away from using a convention to bypass the Washington power establishment. In some ways, their campaign resembles efforts to suppress voting among targeted groups. It propagates four central assertions—all of them constitutional junk.

  • The House Republican leadership is done with the ObamaCare Lite bill, and the few changes they made don’t improve it much. The House Freedom Caucus is neutral on the revised bill, but many members say they’ll vote against it. Donald Trump is still threatening to primary them if they do vote against it, but Ben Shapiro argues they have a lot more to fear from voters if they fail to deliver on their promise to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with something that lowers premiums:

    Meeting on the Hill with House members today, Trump said that his crowd size would dissipate if Republicans didn’t pass his bill. “We won’t have these crowds if we don’t get this done,” he said. He turned on the House Freedom Caucus – some of his biggest backers during the election cycle – and said that loss wasn’t “acceptable,” specifically targeting Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) for scrutiny. He added, “I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don’t get this done.”

    This is doubtful.

    Actually, there’s a significantly better chance that House Republicans will lose their seats if they vote for a bad replacement bill that doesn’t cut rising premiums, provide more health care choice, or do much to lower costs down the line (which it won’t, since the block grant program to Medicaid is always subject to future Congresses revising the deal). Trumpcare doesn’t even meet with Trump’s directives to increase the number of people with health insurance – a Democratic talking point adopted by Trump for years on end.

  • Owen Strachan argues that the alt-right is what you get when you marginalize men:

    Because it is not friendly to them, many men do not like postmodern society. They have been taught they have no innate call to leadership of home and church, and accordingly have lost the script for their lives. They have been encouraged to step back from being a breadwinner, and do not know what they are supposed to do with their lives.

    They have been told that they talk too loudly and spread their legs too wide, and thus do not fit in with a feminized society. They may be the product of a divorced home, and may have grown up without an engaged father, so possess both pent-up rage and a disappearing instinct. They did nothing to choose their biological manliness, but are instructed to attend sensitivity training by virtue of it. They recognize—rightly—that politically correct culture constrains free thought and free speech, and so they opt out from it.

    But here is where the common narrative of the alt-right and related groups makes a major mistake. Men are disappearing, but they are not vanishing. They are moving out of the mainstream, and into the shadows.

  • The Department of Homeland Security confirmed that people flying to the U.S. from airports in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Morocco, and Qatar will have to check electronic devices larger than cell phones.

  • Sharron Angle is running for office again, this time for the House of Representatives from Nevada’s district 2.

  • Fox News pulled analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano off the air indefinitely over his claim that Britain’s intelligence agencies wiretapped Donald Trump at Barack Obama’s behest.

  • More than 300 models of Cisco Ethernet switches can be remotely compromised and there’s no fix yet. Cisco discovered the bug when WikiLeaks published an inventory of the CIA’s hacking tools.

  • Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye apologized for her role in the scandal that resulted in her impeachment. She lost her immunity from prosecution when she lost her office, so prosecutors are now questioning her as a criminal suspect.

  • A North Korean official stationed at the U.N. in Geneva claimed North Korea will develop a preemptive nuclear strike capability and the country isn’t afraid of U.S. efforts to impose new financial sanctions.

  • A Tibetan named Pema Gyaltsen self-immolated in Kham province and Chinese authorities responded by arresting around 200 people.

  • Stars and Stripes published an article describing the funeral of an 18-year-old Yazidi fighter, Salam Mukhaibir. He and four other fighters died in a battle with peshmerga forces from Iraqi Kurdistan. Many Yazidis fighters are aligned with the Kurdish PKK because the pershmerga abandoned them when ISIS invaded the area around Mount Sinjar.

  • A car bomb detonated less than a kilometer from the presidential palace in Mogadishu, killing at least four people.

Links for 3-3-2017

Links for 1-18-2017

Links for 1-4-2017

  • Daniel Horowitz writes at Conservative Review that Congressional Republicans are planning to repeal only part of ObamaCare:

    The problem is that they plan to repeal only the taxes, subsidies, and Medicaid expansion, but will retain every page of the insurance coverage regulations that are responsible for making insurance actuarially insolvent and depressing the job market. Thus, we are confronted with the worst of both worlds in which the public perception is that Obamacare will be repealed, but the worst aspects — the aspects of the leviathan that are solely responsible for unaffordable premiums and the lack of choice in the market place — will be preserved.

    Kevin Williamson writes at National Review that the bits of ObamaCare that Republicans want to keep aren’t financially sustainable:

    Together, the individual mandate and the preexisting-coverage rule make up the basic policy architecture of Obamacare. There isn’t a feasible way to have the popular preexisting-conditions coverage without the unpopular mandate. In fact, in order to make the system work, we would need to put some more teeth into that mandate: Because the penalties associated with it are very mild, many people, disproportionately young and healthy, prefer to pay the fine than pay a great deal more for insurance. Hence, the pool of newly insured people under Obamacare has been much sicker than insurance companies had expected, which has them squealing. And more than that: It has them pulling out of ACA exchanges and markets around the country, leaving consumers with fewer choices and much higher premiums than they had expected.

    If you want to keep the preexisting-coverage rule — and Republicans say they do — then you are going to end up with Obamacare, or at least a version of it. It might be a slightly better or slightly worse version, but that is what you will have.

    In the meantime M.G. Oprea writes at The Federalist that she’s paying thousands for ObamaCare, then paying for what it won’t cover out of her pocket:

    Rather than go through insurance, which wouldn’t pay for the CT-scan anyway (at least not until I reached my $6,000 deductible), I called around and found the cheapest imaging center. You see, they don’t want to deal with insurance companies either, so they offer an enormous discount if you pay at the time of service. I was able to get a CT-scan for $247.

    At the end of the day, I’m paying hundreds of dollars a month for an insurance plan that doesn’t cover the doctors I need to see and has such a high deductible that I end up paying for most costs out of pocket anyway. And it doesn’t even allow the use of a Health Savings Account.

  • James Simpson argues that the U.S. needs to shut down its refugee programs before we find ourselves in the same position as Germany:

    The most important risk the current refugee program creates is terrorism. Since 9/11 there have been 580 convictions for terrorism in the United States. At least 40 of these were refugees. Just this year, in addition to the knife attacks by Abdul Artan and Ali Mohamound, four other refugees have committed or attempted to commit acts of terrorism.

    Since March 2014 there have been 111 ISIS-related arrests and 60 convictions. There have been nine indictments and six convictions of ISIS supporters in the metropolitan DC area alone. ISIS openly encourages “lone jihadi” attacks, and the State Department now admits ISIS is trying to penetrate the U.S. refugee flow. Some 250 U.S. Muslims from 19 states have either joined or attempted to join ISIS overseas. Many have since returned with little or no oversight.

    Let’s be clear: these are not Mennonite terrorists. They are not Episcopalian suicide bombers. Virtually all 580 convictions since 9/11 were Muslim immigrants or American Muslim converts, and the Somali community consistently supplies such malefactors. Yet the Department of Homeland Security has provided tours of airport facilities to groups of Somalis, including explanations of airport inner workings, security protocols, and databases. DHS redacted some of this information as too sensitive to share with the public.

  • Four Club Gitmo residents are scheduled to be transferred to Saudi Arabia within the next day.

  • President Obama claims his administration has been free of scandal:

  • Turkey is threatening to deny the U.S. access to Incirlik air base unless the U.S. military and its allies start flying ground support missions for Turkish troops in Syria. There’s a good chance the Turkish government is leaning on Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to push the PKK out of Sinjar province — the KRG is imposing restrictions on the movement of goods into and out of Sinjar, which is hurting the Yazidis who moved back into the area after ISIS was expelled. The KRG also shut down the charity Yazda, which has been helping transport Yazidis out of ISIS-held territory and providing survivors with mental health treatment.

  • Kidnapped Iraqi journalist Afrah al-Qaisi was freed unharmed and the property her kidnappers stole was returned.

  • An Israeli soldier, Sergeant Elor Azaria, was convicted of manslaughter by a military court for shooting and killing a Palestinian who was wounded and lying on the ground. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports pardoning Azaria.

  • Mario Loyola wrote a long article for National Review describing a plan for achieving peace in Palestine:

    That includes the U.S. position on Israeli settlements. Settlements are not the reason that the two-state solution is “now in jeopardy,” as Secretary of State John Kerry put it in his mea non culpa speech last week. There is only one reason the two-state solution is in jeopardy, or more accurately dead, and that is Muslim terrorism against innocent Jews. There is only one reason for the harsh security measures imposed in the occupied territories, and that is Muslim terrorism against innocent Jews. There is only one reason for the continuing conflict between Israel and its neighbors, and that is Muslim terrorism against innocent Jews.

  • Russia have decided the Taliban are an ally (at least for now), and they’re working to ease sanctions on the group’s leaders:

    The jihadist group [the Taliban] wants to win the Afghan war and it is using negotiations with regional and international powers to improve its standing. The Taliban has long manipulated “peace” negotiations with the U.S. and Western powers as a pretext for undoing international sanctions that limit the ability of its senior figures to travel abroad for lucrative fundraising and other purposes, even while offering no serious gestures toward peace.

Links for 10-15-2016

Links for 6-22-2016