June 1, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 7:40 PM


In January, Virginia GOP killed bill to ban sales of large-capacity magazines (Robert McCartney June 1, 2019, Washington Post)

A Virginia bill designed to ban sales of large-capacity magazines similar to those used by the Virginia Beach gunman died in committee in January on a party-line vote.

The fate of the legislation, SB1748, was so widely expected that the outcome drew virtually no public attention. For more than 20 years, Republicans and a few rural Democrats in the General Assembly have killed almost every measure aimed at restricting gun ownership.

The GOP blocked a major push for gun control after the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, where 33 people died. 

They exist to kill people.

Posted by orrinj at 5:41 PM


Democratic Frontrunner Joe Biden Gets a D-Minus from Greenpeace, But No One Cares (Andrew Stiles, May 31, 2019, Free Beacon)

Biden tied for dead last in the rankings, along with former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D., Colo.) and Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio), two of the random white dudes who are, for some reason, running for president. Another random white dude, Gov. Jay Inslee (D., Wash.) topped the field with a grade of A-minus. Inslee is essentially running a single-issue, climate-focused campaign.

All you need to know about Donald and his minions is that Uncle Joe is to his right on economics, law enforcement, the environment and foreign policy.

Posted by orrinj at 3:51 PM


Posted by orrinj at 3:37 PM


How Rory Stewart went from 'Florence of Belgravia' to PM hopeful: The MP has taken a roundabout route to power - and drawn admiration and derision along the way (Esther Addley,  1 Jun 2019, The Guardian)

It would take a bold speculator to back Stewart for anything other than crushing defeat. And yet in the past week the MP has been capturing attention and praise with a campaign that is as idiosyncratic as he is. Stewart, now international development secretary, has embarked on a whistlestop tour of the country, chatting to shopkeepers in Warrington and students in Edinburgh, visiting a mosque in Woking and exchanging "rusty" Dari with Afghans in Barking.

His many media interviews, meanwhile, in which he has surgically outlined why he would rule out a no-deal Brexit (he is the only candidate to do so), have won broad and sometimes surprising support from left and right. Columnists in the Spectator have praised his "refreshing ridiculousness" and argued he can "save the Tories". Writers in the Guardian have praised him for putting "principle before power" and suggested he could come through the centre ground as a surprising winner. The scientist Brian Cox and Gary Lineker are admirers.

Why? "He is the very opposite of a career politician who has spent his life in the Westminster bubble," says Stewart's friend the documentary producer Jemima Khan, "and he is not afraid to get out and speak to people and to listen.

"The skills that a leader most needs right now ... are common sense, logic, diplomacy and pragmatism - not hyperbole, jingoism and wishful thinking."

"It's clear that he is talking to people - young people, people who are disaffected with politics or who haven't voted Conservative recently - in a way that other people aren't," argues Victoria Prentis, one of the MPs backing him.

Stewart's talent, she says, is that he "reaches the parts other Tories can't"; it is a phrase, word for word, that one used to hear about Johnson.

If the two men certainly have plenty in common - prep school, Eton, Oxford (where Stewart, like Cameron, did PPE) - Stewart has a much more eccentric biography than the man he describes, damningly, as "a very talented journalist". The son of a senior MI6 officer who would wake the young Roderick at 6am to practice fencing in Hyde Park, he grew up in Hong Kong and Malaysia and "a classic small country mansion" in the Scottish Borders.

He was a summer tutor to princes William and Harry, served briefly in the British army, and worked for the Foreign Office in Indonesia and Montenegro (about which he offers baroque denials that he was a spy). He walked for two years across Asia, part of which took in a traverse of part of Afghanistan in 2002, which led to a bestselling book, The Places In Between.

He has worked as the deputy to a US "governate coordinator" of an Iraqi region, been a lecturer at Harvard, and run a small NGO in Kabul. He has been the subject of a well-received play in London, been profiled by Time Magazine and (unmissably) the New Yorker, and has sold the film rights of his Afghanistan book to Brad Pitt's production company. In 2008 Esquire declared him one of the 75 most important people of the 21st century.

Posted by orrinj at 3:31 PM


Revoke Ilhan Omar's Marriage Fraud Immunity Card (MICHELLE MALKIN, June 1, 2019, daily Wire)

In Texas last week, 96 people were indicted on federal charges of conspiring to defraud our immigration system by arranging phony unions between American citizens and sham spouses in Vietnam.

In Bridgeport, Connecticut, three men pleaded guilty to participating in fraudulent marriages with noncitizens and sponsoring them for green cards under false pretenses.

At Fort Bragg in North Carolina last month, two soldiers and two African immigrants were indicted by a grand jury related to a scheme involving an entire ring of service members who attempted to match female soldiers with foreigners from Ghana and Nigeria. They each face between 15-35 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines each.

In Alabama, an Indian national pleaded guilty to arranging 80 fake marriages using U.S. citizen recruits to bail out Indian foreign nationals who had overstayed their visas or Student Exchange Visitor Program requirements.

You wouldn't know it from the radio silence of Democratic leaders regarding radioactive Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar's long-festering and bizarre bigamy scheme (which she still refuses to address), but marriage fraud is a federal felony.

She's right that it's an outrage that green card marriage is a felony.  It's a mitzvah, not a crime.

Posted by orrinj at 3:29 PM


DONALD TRUMP'S WAR ON CARS IS PUSHING THE US CLOSER TO A RECESSION: New taxes on Mexican goods would be the latest blow to automakers, and would come at a precarious time (Sean O'Kane, Jun 1, 2019, The Verge)

The tariffs are on "all goods" coming to the US from Mexico, but they'd likely hit the auto industry hard. If they escalate to the 25 percent cap Trump proposed, and the automakers absorb the entire cost so as not to pass it onto consumers, it could cost General Motors (GM) $6.3 billion, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) $4.8 billion, and Ford $3.3 billion, according to a Deutsche Bank estimate. While it's unlikely that automakers will eat the entire cost, the figures help explain what's at stake. By the end of Friday, the threat of the tariffs alone had already wiped out about $17 billion of market value from the world's biggest automakers.

It is the Green New Deal.

Posted by orrinj at 11:51 AM


Nikki Haley heads to Iowa as White House chatter grows: 'She's going down the checklist' (Andy Shain, May 31, 2019 Post and Courier)

Since leaving the United Nations last year, Nikki Haley's moves have been closely watched for signs that the former South Carolina governor will run for the White House in 2024.

A new advocacy group, a new book and a series of high-profile speaking engagements were seen as steps toward a presidential bid.

Now Haley is heading to Iowa.

"You go to Iowa for one reason -- and it's not for the food," said Rick Tyler, a top aide in Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's 2016 presidential campaign. 

Posted by orrinj at 7:44 AM


Nunes demands public release of Mueller's 'backup and source documentation' (KYLE CHENEY, 05/31/2019, Politico)

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, called Friday for the public release of all of special counsel Robert Mueller's "backup and source documentation," a call that goes even further than most Democrats' demands for more transparency around Mueller's report.

Everything he's done in this investigation has backfired....no reason to stop now.

Posted by orrinj at 7:18 AM


Watchdog says Iran in compliance with 2015 nuclear deal (SBS, 6/01/19)

The UN atomic watchdog says Iran continues to stay within the limitations set by the nuclear deal reached in 2015 with major powers, though its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water are growing.

In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has stayed within key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

Posted by orrinj at 7:16 AM


Justice Dept. Keeps Wiretaps Secret in Flynn Case, Rejecting Judge's Order (Adam Goldman, May 31, 2019, Washington Post)

 Federal prosecutors rebuffed a judge's order to release by Friday highly classified transcripts of discussions that Michael T. Flynn, the president's former national security adviser, had with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.

The transcripts between Mr. Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak, formerly Russia's top diplomat in the United States, were expected to show that they talked in December 2016 about sanctions that the Obama administration had just imposed on Russia. Mr. Flynn initially denied those exchanges about sanctions both to Trump administration officials and the F.B.I. in the weeks after the discussions.

The conversations prompted concerns among senior Obama administration officials about whether the Trump transition team was flouting norms about holding off on making policy until after taking office. The phone calls were also at the center of the scandal that eventually prompted Mr. Flynn's ouster just weeks into President Trump's term.

The order this month from the judge, Emmet G. Sullivan of the Federal District Court in the District of Columbia, was unusual. The transcripts came from a secret F.B.I. wiretap of Mr. Kislyak, and their release would have provided an extraordinarily rare look at the fruits of the government's eavesdropping. Agents routinely listen to wiretaps of foreign officials, but they remain among the government's most closely held secrets.

Posted by orrinj at 7:05 AM


The Era Of An Error: a review of The Passing of an Illusion: The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century by Francois Furet (Michael Ignatieff, August 9, 1999, New Republic)

Fascism shared the same furious hatred of the bourgeoisie, the same loathing for bourgeois civility and order and profit and prudence, the same intoxication with political violence and ideological extremism. Furet treats communism as fascism's brother- enemy. He observes that Hitler never stinted in his respect for Bolshevik fanaticism. As he told Herman Rauschning in 1934, "there is more that binds us to Bolshevism than separates us from it... The petit bourgeois Social Democrat and the trade-union boss will never make a National Socialist, but the communist always will." But whereas communism saw itself as the self-conscious bearer of the universal values of 1789, fascism explicitly rejected the universal in favor of the nation and the individual. If communism was, in Furet's phrase, "the pathology of the universal," fascism was "the pathology of the national." Both ideologies hated each other, in Furet's words, "not only for what separated them but also for what made them alike."

They also shared a similar eschatology. Both conceived the public sphere as a place deserted by religion, "as a pure creation of human will." Fascism filled the public square with a ranting demagogue, communism with the tramping feet of the workers. Both wanted to turn the public sphere from the realm of politics into the realm of spectacle, from the deliberative sphere of citizens into the circus of true belonging. Both fascism and communism loathed mere democracy as much as they loathed mere accumulation. Both hated moral and political individualism: the idea that a nation's destiny should depend on the sovereign judgment of separate individuals.

It's why Trumpbots can excuse everything he does: our values have become irksome.

Posted by orrinj at 5:19 AM

WE ARE ALL DESIGNIST (profanity alert):

It's ghost slavery': the troubling world of pop holograms (The Guardian, 1 Jun 2019)

For the music journalist and author Simon Reynolds, the wave of hologram tours is an affront to the core notion of live performance. "To what extent are these performances in any real sense?" he asks. "A performance - whether showbiz entertainment or performance art - is by definition live, involving the unmediated presence of living performers, whereas the hologram tours are 'un-live' and involve non-presence.

 It's unfair competition: established stars continuing their market domination after death and stifling the opportunities for new artists
"On an ethical and economic level, I would liken it to a form of 'ghost slavery'," he continues. "That applies certainly when done without the consent of the star, [but rather] by the artist's estate in collusion with the record company or tour promoter.