October 10, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 2:11 PM


Why young Brits are turning away from alcohol (The Week, Oct 10, 2018)
One in three young Brits does not drink alcohol, according to a new report which casts light on an emerging transformation in the nation's drinking culture.

Researchers at University College London gathered data from nearly 10,000 people, and found that the proportion of teetotal 16 to 24-year-olds increased from 18% in 2005 to 29% in 2015.

In addition, the number of young people who said they drank in excess of government-recommended limits almost halved, from 43% in 2005 to 28% over the same period.

Posted by orrinj at 2:09 PM


Why Is Israel Scared of This Young American? (Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss, Oct. 10, 2018, NY Times)

Israel, like all countries, has a right to protect its borders and to determine who is allowed in and out. But Israel is also a state that prides itself on being a liberal democracy -- a fact that goes far to explain the longstanding support for Israel among American Jews and non-Jews alike. If liberalism is about anything, it's about deep tolerance for opinions we find foolish, dangerous and antithetical to our own.

The case for such liberalism today is both pragmatic and principled. In practice, expelling visitors who favor the B.D.S. movement does little if anything to make Israel more secure. But it powerfully reinforces the prejudice of those visitors (along with their supporters) that Israel is a discriminatory police state. 

Israel could hardly be more explicit about its decision to become an illiberal democracy.

Posted by orrinj at 2:04 PM


America needs Nikki Haley to return to public service (Post Editorial Board October 9, 2018, NY Post)

She preached sense at home, too, recently telling a high-school audience: "Real leadership is about persuasion, it's about movement, it's bringing people around to your point of view. Not shouting them down, but by showing them how it is in their best interest to see things the way you do."

Leaders, she said, must "have the courage to stand up to the mob."

In 14 years in public office, Nikki Haley did just that -- not least when, as governor, she got the Confederate flag removed from the statehouse grounds in the wake of the horrific 2015 Charleston church shooting.

Enjoy your time off, Ambassador: America will need you back soon enough.

Posted by orrinj at 2:02 PM


In the farm belt and manufacturing hubs, tariffs and trade turn into election issues (Michael Collins, 10/09/18, USA TODAY)

Iowa Democrat Abby Finkenauer's campaign ad opens with the story of her sister and brother-in-law, corn and soybean farmers who the candidate explains "just want to sell their crops and make a living."

"Tariffs should be fair," Finkenauer declares, "but they shouldn't make things harder."

To drive home her point, Finkenauer closes the 30-second spot with a three-word postscript. "This," she says pointedly, "is personal."

In the nation's farm belt and manufacturing hubs, where Americans are personally feeling the fallout from President Donald Trump's duties on imported aluminum, steel and other goods, tariffs and trade have emerged as pivotal issues in the midterm elections Nov. 6.

Posted by orrinj at 4:25 AM


Putin Gets the Spies He Deserves: Bad things happen when you value loyalty over competence. (Leonid Bershidsky, October 8, 2018, Bloomberg)

It's difficult for Russians, regardless of their attitude toward Vladimir Putin's regime, to accept the bumbling incompetence of the country's supposedly elite military intelligence officers, who are getting caught all over the place carrying out pointless operations in unconscionably sloppy ways. These spies are supposed to be highly trained experts, not just tools of the current political leadership.

Yet it's possible that 18 years of Putin's rule have affected the Russian intelligence community in the same way as other areas of Russian life: They've made it less intelligent and emptied it of competent professionals. 

Posted by orrinj at 4:18 AM


Migrant families overwhelm detention capacity in Arizona, prompting mass releases  (Nick Miroff October 9, 2018, Washington Post)

A sudden influx of Guatemalan families into Arizona has overwhelmed detention facilities there and forced the government to release hundreds of parents and children over the past several days, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday.

Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe, a spokeswoman for ICE, said the agency can no longer conduct basic reviews of migrants' case files and travel plans without running the risk of exceeding court-imposed limits on how long children can be held in immigration jails.

As a result, ICE has been dropping off busloads of families at church shelters and charities, some with ankle monitoring bracelets, others with little more than notices to appear in court.

"In light of the incredibly high volume of [families] presenting themselves along the Arizona border, ICE no longer has the capacity to conduct [case] reviews" without the risk of violating child-detention rules, O'Keefe said in a statement. "To mitigate that risk, ICE began to curtail such reviews in Arizona beginning Sunday October 7."

Posted by orrinj at 4:17 AM


Hillary says series of sex claims against Bill are NOT like the Kavanaugh confirmation because her husband faced 'intense investigation' (GEOFF EARLE, 9 October 2018, Daily Mail)

Hillary Clinton is firmly rejecting the idea that accusations against her husband are anything like the sexual misconduct allegations against new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh or President Donald Trump.

Posted by orrinj at 4:14 AM


UK supreme court backs bakery that refused to make gay wedding cake (Owen Bowcott, 10 Oct 2018, The Guardian)

The five justices on the supreme court - Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge and Lady Black - found the bakery did not refuse to fulfil Lee's order because of his sexual orientation and therefore there was no discrimination on those grounds. The business relationship between Lee and Ashers did not involve people being refused jobs or services because of their religious faith, the judges added.

"It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person's race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any of the other protected personal characteristics," Hale said in the judgment.

"But that is not what happened in this case and it does the project of equal treatment no favours to seek to extend it beyond its proper scope."

Freedom of expression, as guaranteed by article 10 of the European convention on human rights, includes the right "not to express an opinion which one does not hold", Hale added. "This court has held that nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe," she said.

"The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage, but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed."

Posted by orrinj at 4:07 AM


Saudis are said to have lain in wait for Jamal Khashoggi (Loveday Morris, Souad Mekhennet and Kareem Fahim, October 9, 2018, Washington Post)

As Jamal Khashoggi prepared to enter the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, a squad of men from Saudi Arabia who investigators suspect played a role in his disappearance was ready and in place. 

They had arrived from Riyadh, the Saudi capital, early that morning and checked in at two inter­national hotels in Istanbul before driving to the consulate in the leafy Levent neighborhood, said two people with knowledge of the investigation. One of them, the Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul, is a few minutes from the consulate by car.

By the end of the day, a 15-member Saudi team had conducted its business and left the country, departing on planes bound for Cairo and Dubai, according to flight records and the people familiar with the investigation. 

Turkish officials have previously said they believe that Khashoggi, a prominent journalist and critic of the Saudi government, was killed inside the consulate.

Trump says Saudi King wouldn't last 'two weeks' without US support (Tamara Qiblawi, 10/03/18, CNN)

Jamal Khashoggi affair highlights what happens when America abdicates role as free press defender (Trudy Rubin, 10/10/18, phillynews.com)

Here's the most astonishing thing about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist-in-exile and Washington Post columnist, who entered his country's consulate in Istanbul a week ago and never came out.

Whoever gave the order to snatch him - and all bets are that it came from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- assumed a renowned journalist could be kidnapped or killed with few repercussions.

In the capital of a foreign country.

This stunning assumption tells you much about the growing threats to independent journalism in an era of conspiratorial websites, populist hysteria, and dictatorial crackdowns - and the constant Trumpian drumbeat that critical journalists are the "enemy of the people."

Posted by orrinj at 4:04 AM


Posted by orrinj at 4:02 AM


The road to independence is under repair : Nicola Sturgeon may be laying the ground for a snap election to give her an unimpeachable mandate for a new poll (kenny farquharson, 10/10/18, The Times)

Two years ago in this newspaper I suggested Ms Sturgeon should embrace the idea that two referendums were required for Brexit and two for independence also. It was, I said, a potential game-changer for the nationalist cause.

Think back to the 2014 referendum. Many Scots voted "no" simply because there were too many unanswered questions. If the referendum had instead been on the principle of independence, leaving the questions to be answered in subsequent negotiations and ratified in a second vote, the result could have been very different.

Admittedly there are problems with this approach. It would incentivise the UK government to be obstructive in negotiations in the hope that a messy final deal would be rejected by voters. Nevertheless, in the here and now, it could have the virtue of freeing up a political logjam.

This week's second significant development is a little bit harder to pin down, but something is definitely shifting in SNP attitudes to how it gets past Theresa May's stubbornness about a new vote on independence. Some serious thinking is clearly going on about this impasse.

Mike Russell, the SNP's Brexit minister, is no hothead. He is Ms Sturgeon's trusted envoy on the most important issue of the age. In Glasgow this week he spoke tantalisingly of the need for a new response to Mrs Mrs May's obstinacy.

"There has to be a healthy discussion about the...democratic way in which Scotland could say it wishes to make a choice," he told a fringe meeting on Monday. In a platform speech yesterday Mr Russell added: "We are not powerless. Democracy makes us powerful. And we can devise the tools and strategies that give us power, and hope, even in the darkest of times."

Posted by orrinj at 4:00 AM


Nikki Haley Does the Impossible: Leave the Trump Team on Good Terms (JIM GERAGHTY, October 9, 2018, National Review)

For Haley, departing now is all upside, no downside. She's done an excellent job, is arguably the most popular politician in America, and if something does go terribly wrong for this administration in the coming months or years, she'll escape any blame. Good timing.