FOLLOW-UP: U.S. Hiding Key Details of Mystery Attacks on American Diplomats in Cuba.

U.S. officials disclosed earlier this month that six Americans were struck by a mystery illness believed to be caused by a covert sonic device in what many think was a clandestine operation targeting U.S. personnel stationed in the communist country.

The number of Americans impacted is greater than previously disclosed, according to multiple U.S. officials who told the Free Beacon that those suffering from symptoms of sonic damage appears to be more than 10.

“It’s definitely in the double digits,” one source told the Free Beacon.

The mysterious incident has roiled the relationship between the United States and Cuba and has raised more questions than answers in Congress, where lawmakers are finding their inquiries about the situation stymied.

Why is the Trump Administration continuing the Obama Administration’s stonewalling?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Antifa is a ‘major gift to the Right.’

UPDATE: China and India are dangerously close to military conflict in the Himalayas.

For the past two months, Indian and Chinese troops have faced off on a plateau in the Himalayas in tense proximity, in a dispute prompted by moves by the Chinese military to build a road into territory claimed by India’s close ally, Bhutan.

India has suggested that both sides withdraw, and its foreign minister said in Parliament that the dispute can be resolved only by dialogue.

Yet China has vociferously defended the right it claims to build a road in the Doklam area, territory it also claims.

Since the dispute began, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has issued an angry stream of almost daily denunciations of India and its “illegal trespass” and “recklessness,” along with demands that New Delhi withdraw its troops “if it cherishes peace.”

WEDNESDAY: “This week’s scuffle might just be a preview of a bigger and badder sequel to the ’62 war.”

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EUGENE VOLOKH: Can private employers fire employees for going to a white supremacist rally?

A substantial minority of states, though, do ban discrimination based on political activity, especially off-the-job political activity; some cities and counties do as well. I cataloged them in 2012 in my article “Private Employees’ Speech and Political Activity: Statutory Protection Against Employer Retaliation“; since then, Utah has enacted a similar statute as well.

a. Some statutes ban employers from firing employees for “political activity,” including ideological advocacy generally and not just election-related politics. California, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia seem to fall in this category; there are similar ordinances in Seattle and Madison, and a New Mexico statute may also fit here, though it’s a bit more ambiguous.

b. Connecticut protects employees from retaliation for their speech more broadly.

c. Colorado and North Dakota ban employers from firing employees for any off-duty lawful activity; that would cover speech as well.

Even “at will” states are not always truly “at will.”

Related: Legal Experts Say That Fired Google Engineer Has Strong Case for Damages: Ex-Google employee James Damore’s best chances for remedy his firing are with California employment law, says a lawyer.

Ironically, of course, these protections were mostly put into place by lefties.

LINK-O-RAMA: Liz Sheld’s Friday morning brief is short but data-packed.

Plus, Latest Updates on the Barcelona Terror Attack from Patrick Poole.

FIRST AMENDMENT ICON BURT NEUBORNE: From cross burning to funeral protests, hate speech enjoys broad protection.

The First Amendment, the justices have said, protected a Ku Klux Klan member decrying Jews and blacks in Ohio in 1969. It protected neo-Nazis seeking to march through heavily Jewish Skokie, Ill., in 1977. It protected a U.S. flag burner from Texas in 1989, three cross burners from Virginia in 2003 and homophobic funeral protesters in 2011.

Just two months ago, the high court ruled unanimously that even derogatory trademarks deserve First Amendment protection — a victory for an Asian-American rock band dubbed The Slants as well as the Washington Redskins.

You wouldn’t know it from the public condemnation that has followed the events in Charlottesville, which led to the death of a 32-year-old female counter-protester and two state troopers.

Faced with the racist and anti-Semitic speeches and symbols of the marchers, the violence that resulted and President Trump’s equivocal denunciation of “all sides,” Republican as well as Democratic officials have said the groups should not be welcomed anywhere.

Ah, but they are — by virtue of Supreme Court precedent.

“I don’t quarrel with the president’s recognition that people had a right to march,” said Burt Neuborne, a professor of civil liberties at New York University School of Law who represented Ku Klux Klan members and others as an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer. “This is a time to distinguish legal rights from moral condemnation.”

Indeed.

SPACE TO DESTROY, THE FINAL FRONTIER: Here’s A List Of All The Monuments Liberals Want To Tear Down So Far.

You’re gonna need a bigger blog.

Related: “CNN posted a map on August 17 showing the location of approximately 1,500 Confederate monuments and/or official symbols in the U.S. The map will, no-doubt, serve as a hit-list for the frenzied Workers World Party members and others seeking the removal and destruction of Confederate statues in city after city across America.”

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? OPEC’s Oil-Glut Fight Could Last Years.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners plan to wrap up their production cuts next spring, already nine months later than originally expected. Yet oil prices are faltering again as data from the International Energy Agency show world inventories could remain oversupplied even after the end of 2018. ESAI Energy LLC predicts that, rather than months, draining the surplus may take years.

“They’re going to have to dig in for the long haul,” Neil Atkinson, head of the IEA’s oil markets and industry division, said in a Bloomberg television interview. “Re-balancing is a stubborn process.”

Have they factored in the cheating?

WITH THE ACADEMIC YEAR BEGINNING, IT’S A GOOD TIME TO REVISIT THIS EXCELLENT PIECE FROM HEATHER GERKEN: Dean of Yale Law School: Campus Free Speech Is Not Up for Debate.

In this, the summer of our discontent, many college presidents are breathing a sigh of relief that they made it through a politically fraught spring without their campuses erupting. Nobody wants to be the next Middlebury or Claremont McKenna, where demonstrations disrupted controversial speakers.

Law deans, in sharp contrast, have reason to be cheery. Their campuses have been largely exempt from ugly free-speech incidents like these. Charles Murray, the controversial scholar whose speech drew violent reaction at Middlebury, has spoken at Yale Law School twice during the past few years. Students and faculty engaged with him, and students held a separate event to protest and discuss the implications of his work. But he spoke without interruption. That’s exactly how a university is supposed to work.

There may be a reason why law students haven’t resorted to the extreme tactics we’ve seen on college campuses: their training. Law school conditions you to know the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness. That’s why lawyers know how to go to war without turning the other side into an enemy. People love to tell lawyer jokes, but maybe it’s time for the rest of the country to take a lesson from the profession they love to hate.

In law schools we don’t just teach our students to know the weaknesses in their own arguments. We demand that they imaginatively and sympathetically reconstruct the best argument on the other side. From the first day in class, students must defend an argument they don’t believe or pretend to be a judge whose values they dislike. Every professor I know assigns cases that vindicate the side she favors–then brutally dismantles their reasoning. Lawyers learn to see the world as their opponents do, and nothing is more humbling than that. We teach students that even the grandest principles have limits. The day you really become a lawyer is the day you realize that the law doesn’t–and shouldn’t–match everything you believe. The litigation system is premised on the hope that truth will emerge if we ensure that everyone has a chance to have her say.

The rituals of respect shown inside and outside the courtroom come from this training. Those rituals are so powerful that they can trump even the deepest divides. As Kenneth Mack recounts in his book Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer, Thurgood Marshall was able to do things in court that a black man could never do in any other forum, like subjecting a white woman to cross-examination. Marshall was able to practice even in small, segregated towns in rural Maryland during the early days of the civil rights movement. The reason was simple: despite their bigotry, members of the Maryland bar had decided to treat Marshall as a lawyer, first and foremost.

She makes excellent points, though I wonder if a contemporary equivalent of Marshall would do as well today, when the personal is political and when “protesters” scrawl “Fuck Law” on the Lincoln Memorial. Marshall, after all, benefited from the bourgeois conventions of dignity that a latter generation of activists rejected.

IF IT’S A CHOICE BETWEEN POLITICAL EXPEDIENCE AND ITS CORE MISSION, I EXPECT THE ACLU TO PICK THE FORMER: Odd statement from the ACLU: ‘White Supremacist Violence is Not Free Speech.’ They’re going to take the position that some speech is so inflammatory it counts as violence. Because ultimately they’re driven by their wealthy Democrat donor base.

I’d like to be wrong about this, but I don’t think I am. I’ve seen one institution after another abandon its stated purpose and mission to support the party line.

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: Venezuela’s Maduro Regime Steps Up Crackdown on Dissidents.

The raid came just as a so-called truth commission established by the constituyente announced investigations into Julio Borges, president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, and Freddy Guevara, the assembly’s vice president, claiming that they promoted violent anti-government protests that have left more than 100 dead.

The campaign of repression is already well advanced. The Venezuelan chapter of Transparency International says that 40 of 77 opposition mayors have been threatened or punished by the government since 2013, with some removed and jailed, some having their powers curtailed and some barred from leaving the country.

“This is an atrocity,” said Ramon Muchacho, the former mayor of the Chacao district in Caracas, an opposition hotbed, who has fled to Miami. “The truth commission is little more than a firing squad.”

“Unexpectedly” now feels far too flip for stories coming out of Venezuela.

ENFORCING THE LAW? JUST A PASSING FAD: ‘Not One More Dollar’ for Immigration ‘Enforcement Craze,’ Gutierrez Vows.

BYRON YORK: Measuring, and mismeasuring, the Trump conundrum.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing about Donald Trump’s victory last November was that, according to exit polls, 60 percent of the voters had an unfavorable impression of Trump on the day he was elected president of the United States.

Now, it’s remarkable that after all that has happened, Trump’s favorable and unfavorable rating — not his job approval, but whether people hold a favorable or unfavorable view of him — is virtually the same as it was on election day.

A new Marist poll, released Wednesday, found that 60 percent of those surveyed have an unfavorable view of the president, versus 34 percent who have a favorable view and six percent who don’t know.

In the RealClearPolitics average of all polls on the favorable/unfavorable question, Trump is now at 55.6 percent unfavorable versus 39.0 percent favorable. That is little changed from his average on Nov. 8: 58.5 percent unfavorable, versus 37.5 percent favorable. Among the unfavorables, that is just 1.5 points difference from then to now; among the favorables, 2.9 points.

Considering all that has gone on in the Trump presidency — it’s too much to recount in a sentence or two — the stability of the Trump favorable/unfavorable rating is notable.

It’s almost as if people have tuned out the media chatter.

Meanwhile, if you care about making a difference in politics, you should focus on the 2018 elections and ignore the daily drama around Trump.

MARCO, POSING:Moral Courage and Moral Arbitrage.

AND VIOLENCE IS NOT SPEECH: Words Aren’t Violence.

IF THEY DON’T DESTROY ALL PAST ICONS, HOW CAN THE POOR SHRIVELED LITTLE THINGS SHINE? Social Justice Warriors Go After Elvis Presley, Forty Years After His Death.

IT’S TIME TO STOP THE NONSENSE:VICE Magazine Tweet Calls for Blowing Up Mount Rushmore.

THE END STAGE OF THE BLUE MODEL: No more worlds to conquer and still out of money.

IN AMERICA THAT BLOOD AND SOIL THING IS MOSTLY ANOTHER FORM OF MAGIC DIRT: White Nationalists Take DNA Tests to Prove Their Racial Purity. The Results Are HILARIOUS.

THIS HAS BEEN A REALLY LONG DAY: [Developing] Multiple Shootings in Cambrils Near Barcelona.

IT ALSO DOESN’T MAKE YOU MORAL OR SPECIAL:Having power over others doesn’t necessarily make you feel powerful.

THIS IS MOST CERTAINLY FAKE BUT IT MADE ME LAUGH: Officials In South Carolina Are Warning Citizens Of Possible Lizard Man Sightings During The Eclipse. And honestly?  Not much laughing going on just now.

OH, GREAT, ONE MORE THING TO WORRY ABOUT: Warning: Fake Eclipse Glasses Aren’t The Only Hazard Out There.

 

August 17, 2017

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DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ’S EX-IT AIDE IMRAN AWAN INDICTED ON FOUR COUNTS INCLUDING BANK FRAUD AND MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS. Indictment also includes his wife Hina Alvi.

DEVELOPING: Multiple Shootings in Cambrils near Barcelona.

THIS BIT FROM ROBERT SHIBLEY’S PIECE ON CHARLOTTESVILLE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT FAILURE IS WORTH BREAKING OUT:

This must stop. Freedom of expression is what gives us the ability to hash out societal issues through argument instead of physical conflict, but it is only meaningful when people are reasonably confident that they will be physically safe while they speak and listen. When the authorities simply stand by and let political violence occur, even in the hope of the conflict somehow “de-escalating” itself, they send the message that both sides have a free hand to violently attack their opponents. This makes a mockery of the First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly.

After the riot that successfully prevented Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking at the University of California, Berkeley, in February, many reported on the conspicuous lack of police involvement despite the injuries and destruction. I personally spoke to a woman who had come to see the speech. Having been pepper-sprayed and nearly blinded by a violent protester, she told me she crawled over three layers of crowd barriers to reach a building with dozens of police inside. Yet when she reached the door, the police refused her entry.

Likewise, CNN reported that in Charlottesville, “both sides agree that one group didn’t do enough to prevent the violence as the crowds grew and tensions flared: the police.” The organizer of the “Unite the Right” rally complained that “police purposefully created the catastrophe that led to a melee in the streets of Charlottesville,” while a Black Lives Matter leader attending the counter-protest remarked, “It’s almost as if they wanted us to fight each other.”

It’s hard to think of a more thankless task than riot policing. But when authorities fail at the basic task of preventing mob violence, both political and policy questions need to be asked. When the Huffington Post reports that “Several times, a group of assault-rifle-toting militia members from New York State … played a more active role in breaking up fights” than the police, law enforcement’s response needs serious rethinking.

There is one group of people who have so far consistently benefitted when political violence has been allowed to take place: the politicians who lead our localities and the de facto politicians who run our campuses. They avoid the political fallout from images of police confronting violent protesters (who may also be their supporters), they get to blame whichever side they like less for causing the violence, and get to pretend to fulfill their responsibility to keep people “safe” by making it harder for controversial viewpoints to be expressed.

And they allow people to be injured — or in this case killed — by their opportunism. As I’ve said, the DOJ should closely investigate the timeline here.

SPENGLER:

We fought the Civil War to preserve the Union, including a South that was only sorry that it lost. In the interests of unity we tolerated (and even promoted) the myth of Southern gallantry, the Lost Cause, and all the other baloney that went into D.W. Griffiths’ “The Birth of a Nation” and GWTW. We allowed the defeated South to console itself with the myth that it fought for “states’ rights” or whatever rather than to preserve a vile system of economic (and sometimes sexual) exploitation. Meanwhile the freed slaves had a very bad century between Appomattox and the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Don’t expect them to look with understanding on the supposed symbols of “Southern heritage.”

Well, yes. But there’s also this: “Don’t overthink this, because it’s quite simple, really. When Democrats’ national position depended on unwavering support from ‘the Solid South,’ we got lots of pro-Southern propaganda: the Lost Cause, Gone With The Wind, Disneyfied Uncle Remus, etc. As a vital Democrat constituency group, southerners, even practical neo-Confederates, were absolved of all sins as long as they stayed in line.” If the south were still a vital constituency today, Democrats would sound like Bill Clinton did in the 1990s.

THEY’VE ACHIEVED THIS BY ABORTING THEM: Iceland Close To Becoming First Country Where No Down’s Syndrome Children Are Born.

LEFTIST POLITICS: The Threat Of The Mob. “Lincoln prescribed the inculcation of reverence for the Constitution and the laws to counter the lawlessness of the mob. While not the answer to our present discontents, we cannot find the answer without it. To resist the spirit of the mob we yearn for leadership to advocate and insist on adherence to the Constitution and the laws.”

Related: Statue Of Lincoln Defaced In Chicago.

WE SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO GENERAL JACK D. RIPPER: Sperm Count in Western Men Has Dropped Over 50 Percent Since 1973, Paper Finds.

Flashback: The Human Screwfly Solution.

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LIZ SHELD ON WOLF BLITZER’S MEMORY PROBLEM: “I really can’t think of anything to say about this. Just speechless.”

Nobody ever called Liz “speechless” before.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Study: Long-term testosterone therapy improves urinary, sexual function and quality of life.

Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Public Health (BUSPH) collaborated with a group of urologists in Germany to investigate the effects of long-term testosterone replacement therapy on urinary health and sexual function as well as quality of life in men with diagnosed, symptomatic testosterone deficiency. More than 650 men in their 50s and 60s enrolled in the study, some with unexplained testosterone deficiency and others with known genetic and auto-immune causes for their hypogonadism.

“It is thought that testosterone treatment in men may increase prostate size and worsen lower urinary tract symptoms,” said Abdulmaged Traish, PhD, professor of urology at BUSM.

However, he and Gheorghe Doros, PhD, professor of biostatistics at BUSPH, discovered that despite increased prostate size in the group that received testosterone therapy, there were fewer urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, incomplete bladder emptying, weak urinary stream and waking up at night to urinate.

In addition to these subjective improvements, the researchers conducted objective testing that showed that those men treated with testosterone emptied their bladders more fully. Finally, testosterone treatment also increased the scores patients received on assessments of their erectile/sexual health and general quality of life.

Well, good.

SCIENCE: A Drink a Day to Keep the Doctor Away? Light drinking may be healthier than abstaining: new study. Note that a “drink” and a “bottle” are not necessarily the same thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Hippos, Anthrax And Hunger Make A Deadly Mix.

NOBODY MENTION THE WAR. Bruce Bawer on old media and Barcelona: Let’s Not Talk about Islam.

YIKES: 7 Wonders of the Horror Movie World.

There are some gems here for genre fans, but I’m still suspect of any horror collection which doesn’t include at least one Ingrid Pitt film.

FOUR OPTIONS FOR GETTING OUT OF OBAMA’S IRAN DEAL: From National Review. One option mentioned is actually submitting it to the Senate as a treaty — and the Senate would never pass it. The deal is a very bad deal America and the world.

NOBODY TELL BERNIE SANDERS: Knob Creek’s 25th anniversary bourbon comes in 300 versions.

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE ESSENTIAL LIBERTARIAN MOVIES?

SAVE THE WORLD — ORDER A RIBEYE: A Global Fish War is Coming.

BEING AGAINST SLAVERY — YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG: Woman Who Destroyed Durham Confederate Statue Is A Pro-North Korea Marxist.

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OLDEST KNOWN PHOTO OF AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT: John Quincy Adams. A daguerreotype from 1843.

RELATED: It is believed that daguerreotype of William Henry Harrison was taken in 1841, but the photo has been lost.

A LAW PROFESSOR ASKS: Should I Retire? “I spoke up about a plan I had proposed to end tenure at age 72, whereupon, like most employees, faculty would become employees at will–though with normal age discrimination protections. I asked the attendees, mostly in their 40s and 50s, whether they would do their part for higher education by endorsing such a plan. Not a single hand went up; unlike most Americans, faculty apparently deserve lifetime appointment.”

THERE’S A PLACE FOR MUNDANITY: 2018 GMC Acadia: Modern, But Mundane.

OLD AND BUSTED: The use bull’s-eye clip-art in a political campaign can lead to a politician getting shot, and both sides must immediately dial back their rhetoric before it happens again.

The new hotness, from Vice.com:Let’s Blow Up Mount Rushmore.”

Related: Democrat Missouri state senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal posts, deletes Facebook post hoping for Trump’s assassination.

UPDATE: Vice has since toned down the headline and URL to simply “Let’s Get Rid of Mount Rushmore” — as if that’s a less offensive proposition to most Americans — but Twitchy has the screencap of their since-deleted original tweet promoting the piece with that headline.

As Stephen Miller tweets, “Last week: The Statue of Liberty should decide immigration law. This week: Yo time to blow up symbols of our founding.”

JACK DUNPHY: How the Police Should Have Treated the Nazis in Charlottesville.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How to photograph the solar eclipse without damaging your camera.

STOP OUTING NAZIS. YOUR RIGHTS DEPEND ON THEIRS, Bethany Mandel writes:

You can forgive conservatives especially for worrying about this in today’s political climate. There’s a dangerous slippage that’s entered the mainstream discourse surrounding conservatism and Republicans, one that fails to distinguish between the alt right and more mainstream figures. Joy Reid was only the most recent to make this category error when she took to Twitter to write of the rally: “What did they think they were getting in the White House? What did they say when he hired Bannon and his crew? Or Sessions or Kobach?” But Bannon and Sessions are entirely different animals; by equating them, Reid highlights why conservatives are wary of the thought police going after people’s jobs.

Cole White was the first to lose his job to the Charlottsville rally. Peter Cvjetanovic, 20, currently attending the University of Nevada in Reno, is another person identified from the white supremacist rally who now will be hard-pressed to find employment after he graduates (if he’s allowed to stay enrolled and isn’t hounded off of campus, that is). For White and Czjetanovic, being white nationalists has no impact on their ability to do their jobs. Had they held other jobs in which their white nationalism would directly affect their job performance, perhaps the internet mob would be justified in its quest to take heads (white nationalists shouldn’t be teaching WWII history to impressionable middle school students, for example).

But firing individuals based on their personally held beliefs not only creates a slippery slope, but also as one of my Twitter followers half-joked, “an outcast class of bright, reactionary, but unemployable young men with little to lose. What. Could. Possibly. Go. Wrong?”

Read the whole thing.

WELL, TO BE FAIR, THINGS DID GET MORE DEPRESSING: Antidepressant use in U.S. soars by 65 percent in 15 years.

BUT NOT TO FOLLOW IT, APPARENTLY: American Bar Association passes resolution to allow illegal immigrants to practice law.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Going Off Birth Control Pills Made Me Feel Less Anxious, More Confident, And Improved My Sex Drive. But the PMS is back.

SO IT’S COME TO THIS: Emaciated ISIS Terrorists Injecting Amphetamines to ‘Maintain Murderous Fervor.’. Plus, “Captured and surrendered ISIS fighters in besieged Raqqa are malnourished and ‘pocked with needle tracks’.”

HEATHER MAC DONALD: A much-touted study of Oakland police shows researchers’ determination to find racism, not cops’ bias.

In June, a team of nine Stanford psychologists, linguists, and computer scientists released a paper purporting to show that Oakland police treat black drivers less respectfully than white ones. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, elicited a huzzah from the press. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and Science, among many other outlets, gave it prominent play. “Police officers are significantly less respectful and consistently ruder toward black motorists during routine traffic stops than they are toward white drivers,” gloated the New York Times.

Reading the coverage, one expected reports of cops cursing at black drivers, say, or peremptorily ordering them around, or using the N-word. Instead, the most “disrespectful” officer utterance that the researchers presented was: “Steve, can I see that driver’s license again? It, it’s showing suspended. Is that—that’s you?” The second most “disrespectful” was: “All right, my man. Do me a favor. Just keep your hands on the steering wheel real quick.”

The researchers themselves undoubtedly expected more dramatic results. Undaunted by the lackluster findings, they packaged them in the conventional bias narrative anyway, opening their study by invoking the “onslaught of incidents” involving officers’ use of force with black suspects that have “rocked” the nation. A cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement helpfully commented in the San Francisco Chronicle that the study goes beyond individual racism to highlight a “systemic set of practices that has impacts on people’s lives.”

The study is worth examining in some detail as an example of the enormous scientific machinery being brought to bear on a problem of ever-diminishing scope, whether in police departments or in American society generally.

It reads a bit like a scholarly version of Beria’s “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

BADASS, EXCEPT FOR THE CLUMSINESS WITH THE NAILGUN: Man Shoots a Nail Into His Heart, Drives Himself to the Hospital, Parks and Walks In.

WHEN THEY SAY IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY, IT’S ABOUT THE MONEY. Roger Simon: What Do the Palestinians and the North Koreans Have in Common?

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AN INTERVIEW WITH VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Hypocritical Statue Obsession of a ‘Smug Generation.’

DEMOCRACY DIES IN DARKNESS: Hong Kong’s government finally managed to put democracy fighter Joshua Wong behind bars.

ANDREW BOSTOM: How Mainstream Islam Threatens Jewish Existence.

OPENNESS — OR ELSE: Some Apple employees may quit over new ‘open’ office floor plan.

If you’re an Apple employee this is a big change. Up until now you’ve been used to having your own office space. But the new Apple Park will change all that. The programmers, engineers, developers and other employees who work there will be rubbing elbows with each other over long tables that they’ll be sharing in the company’s new open space environment. And some are not thrilled.

Jon Gruber, a podcaster and blogger that follows the company is reported to have received emails from employees who threatened to leave the company if the workplaces aren’t suitable. “Judging from the private feedback I’ve gotten from some Apple employees, I’m 100% certain there’s going to be some degree of attrition based on the open floor plans,” he said in this Macrumors report.

Open office designs have been popular with many companies over the past few years. But they’ve also been controversial. Executives believe that an environment without cubicles fosters collaboration, innovation and creativity. Research has backed up some of these claims. But many workers aren’t so crazy about the lack of privacy–and that guy who noisily eats his lunch just a few feet away. Tuna salad again?

The new campus is gorgeous, but forcing all 12,000 or so employees into an open office seems optimistic at best.

IRONY ALERT: CHARLOTTESVILLE CANDLELIGHT VIGIL FEATURES SONG FROM RACIST SON OF A KLANSMAN.

The Jammie Wearing Fools quote extensively from an L.A. Weekly article headlined “Little Known Fact: Woody Guthrie Was a Big Ol’ Racist.”

BREAKING: Terror attack in Barcelona.

Charlie Martin will keep the updates coming.

YOU DON’T SAY: Road to renewable energy is filled with potholes of ‘magic thinking.’

Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson’s “roadmaps” for states to reach a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio by 2050 has become the new benchmark for aspiring politicos who hope to chart their own political course with promises to bring their states and eventually the entire United States to green salvation.

Among them, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) has launched his own gubernatorial campaign in Colorado on just such a declaration, and backed it up with a federal bill, the 100 by ‘50 Act, ”that fully envisions a complete transition off of fossil fuels for the United States.” Polis is joined by Rep. Paul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) in the House and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Senate.

“To remain a global economic leader, we must invest in renewable energy technology and fully embrace a cleaner, carbon-free future,” Polis said. “I’m proud to introduce this bill to advance 100 percent renewable energy nationally by investing in energy generation, transmission, and storage solutions of the future, rather than throwing taxpayer dollars into the past.”

Unfortunately, the research underpinning the bill and similar efforts elsewhere, has been roundly criticized, with a peer-reviewed paper finding “significant shortcomings” and “errors, inappropriate methods, and implausible assumptions” in Jacobson’s work. The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, has led Jacobson to advise the 21 authors who contributed to the peer review that he has lawyered up, rather than push back on the substantive criticisms of his work.

That hardly seems auspicious.

WHEN IS A FLAG A ‘THREAT”? Snowflake SJW’s and virtue-signallers on social media are now claiming that the mere appearance of some clown in a Nazi uniform or holding a Nazi flag is a “threat.” Legendary photojournalist Stan Forman showed us in this 1976 Pulitzer-winning photo when a flag is really a threat. (In Boston, not the Deep South, BTW).
Otherwise it’s just a piece of cloth.

QUESTION ASKED: Who’s Next, George Washington?

Well, yes.

SPENGLER: What Do We Say About Decent Men Who Died for a Wicked Cause?

This might not be a comfortable piece to read, which is why I’m recommending you give Spengler your full attention today.

TAXPROF: The IRS Scandal, Day 1561: Why Hasn’t Trump Drained The IRS/DOJ Swamp? Excellent question. “The Justice Department’s job is to defend the government, but it is also supposed to pursue justice. And there is no question the IRS did wrong. It has been documented by the Treasury Department’s inspector general and admitted by the IRS itself. It’d be one thing if the plaintiffs were demanding a billion-dollar payout, but they aren’t. Their main request is that the IRS come clean on what happened, and the government is resisting with all its power. The real question is why the Justice Department is even fighting this suit, when it ought to be leading a renewed investigation into what happened and how it got covered up.”

ROYAL NAVY PASSENGER TRANSFER: A RN helicopter and a nuclear sub exchange passengers. A U.S. Navy photographer snapped the photo.

FAKE NEWS AND FASCISTS: The Paranoid Style in American Journalism: Blogger Anthony Senatore does some historical review of interest.

Hofstadter offered evidence that paranoia was not the exclusive domain of politics and conservatives in his claim that a paranoid style was often a component of the left-wing press. The history of journalism as seen through the lens of paranoia and grandiose conspiracy is well documented. Fox News provided the fertile ground for President Trump’s birther beliefs from 2011 to 2016. Even so, on December 8th, 2015, Rachel Maddow and MSNBC took the paranoid style of journalism to heights hitherto unknown.

Read the whole thing.™

GOOD COP, BAD COP:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in Thursday said he has received assurances from U.S. President Donald Trump that Washington would not launch any attack against North Korea without Seoul’s approval.

Fair bet President Trump loves playing the bad cop.

F.I.R.E.’S ROBERT SHIBLEY ON CHARLOTTESVILLE: Police must act fast to protect First Amendment rights: The deliberate decision by local and campus leaders to let violence start serves the interests of those who would squelch debate. “State, local, and even college campus leadership appear to be telling police to stand by while some degree of unlawful violence takes place right before their eyes. Yet when that violence predictably spirals out of control, the authorities profess their inability to have done anything to stop it. Meanwhile, those inclined to violence are emboldened, secure in the knowledge that the publicity payoff is high and the odds of punishment low.”

I think it’s quite possible that they wanted violence, and to squelch debate. Certainly that’s consistent with their actions. I hope the DOJ investigation will take a very close look at what orders were given when, by whom, and why. A Black Lives Matter protester quoted in the piece: “It’s almost as if they wanted us to fight each other.”

EUGENICS: Iceland Eliminates People with Down Syndrome.

One might be forgiven for assuming that Iceland has developed an innovative treatment for the chromosomal disorder. It turns out Iceland’s solution is much simpler, and much more sinister: using prenatal testing and abortion to systematically exterminate children with Down syndrome. This isn’t progress; it’s eugenics.

Prenatal testing is optional in Iceland, but the government mandates that doctors notify women of that option. About 85 percent of expectant mothers undergo the test, and close to 100 percent of those women choose to abort if their child is diagnosed with Down syndrome. Just two children with Down syndrome are born in Iceland each year, often as the result of faulty testing.

The CBS article does little to accord this subject the moral gravity it deserves. “Other countries aren’t lagging too far behind in Down syndrome termination rates,” the authors note casually. CBS News’s tweet promoting the story read simply: “Iceland is on pace to virtually eliminate Down syndrome through abortion.”

But Iceland isn’t “eliminating Down syndrome” at all. It’s eliminating people.

You might be reminded of this quote from doomsday cultist Paul Ehrlich:

I have understood the population explosion intellectually for a long time. I came to understand it emotionally one stinking hot night in Delhi a couple of years ago… The temperature was well over 100, and the air was a haze of dust and smoke. The streets seemed alive with people. People eating, people washing, people sleeping. People visiting, arguing, and screaming. People thrusting their hands through the taxi window, begging. People defecating and urinating. People clinging to buses. People herding animals. People, people, people, people.

People — they’re the worst, aren’t they?

WELL, I LIKE THAT BETTER THAN OUR ELECTION NARRATIVES: Diesel Is Driving Election Narratives in Germany.

There’s an election campaign underway in Germany right now, and one of the biggest issues the candidates are wrangling with has to do with something as seemingly mundane as a transportation fuel. Diesel cars, foundational to the German car industry, are no longer the eco-darling they once were, and earlier this week Angela Merkel, who is running for a fourth term, conceded for the first time that Germany will need to move towards banning diesel cars in the near future. That has set off a political furor in the country.

It’s hard to believe that diesel was once considered the greener fuel option, but 20 years ago countries across Europe—Germany included—began to push carmakers to increase sales of diesel vehicles over their gasoline-powered variants. Because they generally get higher mileage, diesel cars were perceived to be the greenest option, and were seized upon in a part of the world where the budding market for environmentally conscious consumers was most fertile. Unfortunately, diesel has a drawback: its tailpipe emissions include far more local air pollutants, and many of Europe’s major cities are battling a surge in smog as a result of the continent’s switch to diesel vehicles.

The diesel problem is especially notable in Germany, which was ground zero for the emissions test cheating scandal that rocked Volkswagen back in 2015 (and a number of other German car manufacturers since then).

It seems likely that government officials knew about this cheating, and turned a blind eye for competitive reasons.

WELDING SPIDER SILK AND KEVLAR: The process uses lasers. The results are fascinating.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF ON VIRGINIA’S LAW ENFORCEMENT FAILURE AT CHARLOTTESVILLE. “A third tragic lesson was the failure to shut down even minor acts of violence before they spun into a full-fledged melee. Virginia Homeland Security Secretary Brian Moran watched the Saturday demonstrations from a command center. Faced with individual acts of violence, he commented, ‘I compare it to hockey. Often in hockey there are sporadic fights, and then they separate.’ But street demonstrations are not hockey. While there is an understandable inclination to fear overreacting, the fact is that allowing small incidents of violence invites violence on a larger scale — just as happened here.”

ALL THE VIEWS THAT’S FIT TO SUPPRESS: The A.C.L.U. Needs to Rethink Free Speech.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Alumni take Trinity to task over free speech ‘double standard.’ “‘We’re back, again, to a discretionary rule-of-man and not rule-of-law, applied equally,’ he said, noting that Trinity’s ultimate tolerance of Williams’ remarks stood in stark contrast to its draconian student speech codes, summarizing the college’s attitude as ‘academic freedom for me, speech and behavior codes for thee.'”

THE SCORPION STINGS THE FROG, EVERY TIME: Washington Post Reporter Smears Iraq War Vets as Potential Extremists. “This was after she shilled for Hezbollah terrorists.”

MEET THE ANTIFA: Jake Tapper makes note of ‘disgusting,’ unprovoked attacks on journalists. Weird how this kind of thing never happened at Tea Party rallies.

PUTIN AND UKRAINE WAR VETS: It’s complicated. “Gore, But No Glory For Russia’s Ukraine War ‘Veterans’.”

These Russian vets didn’t return to a hero’s welcome. Most bear permanent scars, both physically and mentally, and with no veterans benefits and few jobs available they struggle to make ends meet. Moreover, infighting among different groups of them over ideology, strategy, and legacy has kept them from uniting as a more influential voice.

They include the Union of Volunteers of Donbas, a group headed by Aleksandr Borodai, the former leader of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic.” The group is closely tied to the Kremlin through Vladislav Surkov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s point man on the conflict, and seen by some volunteers as being elitist. RFE/RL spoke with some members of the group in a village outside Kaluga, where they were participating in war games on July 30.

Another is the Public Movement of Novorossia, an organization headed by Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, a Russian who commanded separatist forces in the first months of the war but is viewed by many volunteers as a traitor for retreating and relinquishing territory in Ukraine to Kyiv. Girkin, who was eventually recalled to Moscow by the Kremlin, didn’t respond to RFE/RL’s request for an interview.

Kamayev does what he can to help by running Veterans of Novorossia, a St. Petersburg-based NGO whose name (“New Russia”) draws on an imperial-era term denoting large parts of today’s southern and eastern Ukraine. His deputy, 41-year-old Denis Shchinkorenko, fought in arguably the bloodiest action of the Ukrainian war — the battle for Ilovaysk.

They assist Russian volunteers who fight or fought in eastern Ukraine, many of whom are frustrated and disappointed with the uncertainty of their future, Kamayev says.

They’re paying the price for Russia’s dependence on oil income, and for Putin’s reliance on plausible deniability in Ukraine.

EVERYBODY’S UNDER FBI SCRUTINY: Bill Clinton-Loretta Lynch ‘tarmac meeting’ under more FBI scrutiny.

The American Center for Law and Justice says the FBI has acknowledged they are searching for more documents they might have related to the now-infamous “tarmac” meeting between former President Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The additional search by the FBI comes about one week after the ACLJ released emails they obtained from the Department of Justice about the meeting, many of which showed some reporters were reluctant to cover the meeting when word first broke.

Previously, the FBI told the ACLJ that they found no documents. But, the batch of documents the ACLJ released previously showed FBI employees who were involved in email threads with DOJ officials.

The ACLJ celebrated the decision on their website, saying, “While we appreciate that the FBI has ‘reopened’ the case file and is now ‘searching’ for documents responsive to our duly submitted [Freedom of Information Act] request from more than a year ago, it stretches the bounds of credulity to suggest that the FBI bureaucracy just discovered that ‘potentially responsive’ records ‘may exist’ on its own accord.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee has taken an increased interest in Lynch’s role in the Clinton email investigation after former FBI Director James Comey said in sworn testimony Lynch asked him to stop referring to the Clinton email probe as an “investigation,” and that he should use the word “matter” instead.

“That language tracked the way that the campaign was talking about the FBI’s work, and that’s concerning,” Comey said under questioning on June 8.

Stay tuned.

NEWS FROM SARAH PALIN’S LIBEL SUIT AGAINST THE TIMES: NY Times editorial writer: ‘I didn’t mean to suggest that Loughner wasn’t responsible.’

We now know who wrote the NY Times editorial that led Sarah Palin to sue the paper for defamation. A first draft was written by editorial writer Elizabeth Williamson. However, the offensive part connecting Palin to the 2011 Tucson shooting was added in a rewrite by editorial page editor James Bennet. Bennet testified Tuesday in a hearing the judge ordered to help him decide whether or not to dismiss the lawsuit as lawyers for the NY Times have requested. During the hearing, Bennet claimed he didn’t mean to draw a direct connection between Palin and mass murder.

Well, it kinda did. John Sexton comments: “So, the best case scenario here is that the editor of the NY Times editorial page is both ignorant of the facts and incapable of crafting clear sentences. Hopefully, Judge Rakoff isn’t falling for his act. He said he will rule on the motion to dismiss before the end of the month.”

For thoughts on Judge Rakoff’s “highly unusual” step of holding an evidentiary hearing on a motion to dismiss, see this post by InstaPundit co-blogger — and international media and libel law authority — Charles Glasser.

WELL, YES, BUT IT’S NICE TO HAVE SOMEONE NOTICE: NBC and the BBC: There were violent left-wing protesters in Charlottesville. “Both NBC News and the BBC have put out videos offering fact-checks on some of President Trump’s claims about what took place in Charlottesville. Both agree there were violent anti-fascist protesters who came to the protest looking for a fight.” It’s sad that their willingness to report this is news, but it is.

RETIRED MARINE CORPORAL JONATHAN LAFORCE: America Already Has A Single-Payer System, And It’s Killing Veterans Like Me.

In addition to medical care, the VA also provides compensation and pension for those who are injured in service. You go in, speak with a veteran services’ officer, present your medical records, file for the injuries (while continuing to lack treatment), and then you wait.

Why wait? What are we waiting for? Good question. First, the electronic paperwork has to move through a labyrinthian process of review, after which you get a letter telling you the VA has now received the paperwork you filed a month or more prior and somebody will be getting in touch with you to determine what’s next. A couple months will pass (if you’re lucky), after which you will receive a phone call telling you that appointments have been scheduled for examination. You must make those appointments or you cannot receive a rating.

Notice what’s missing? If you said a human being to check if this exam is compatible with your schedule, you’d be correct. The appointments are filed without any input or knowledge on your part. You’ve got work and can’t make it? Tough luck, Joe. You’re a single parent and don’t have anybody to watch your kids so you can make your appointment? Too bad. Guess you’ll have to do without.

Nor can you go into a local doctor with forms for them to fill out and mail to the VA.

Read the whole thing.

THIS IS NOT NEWS TO INSTAPUNDIT READERS: Russia’s new Su-57 ‘stealth’ fighter already looks like a disappointment.

Russia first flew the Su-57 in 2010, demonstrating that it would enter the race towards fifth-generation aircraft after the US revolutionized aerial combat with the F-22, and later the F-35.

But in the years since, the Su-57 has failed to present a seriously viable future for Russian military aviation. Russia already fields some of the most maneuverable planes on earth. It has serious firepower in terms of missiles and bombs, and long-distance bombers and fighters. But what Russia doesn’t have is a stealth jet of any kind.

While Russian media calls the Su-57 an “aerial ghost,” a senior scientist working on stealth aircraft for the US called it a “dirty aircraft,” with many glaring flaws that would light up radars scanning for the plane.

Additionally, two of the plane’s most fearsome weapons, the Kh-35UEm a subsonic, anti-ship cruise missile, and the nuclear-capable BrahMos-A supersonic cruise missile, can’t fit in the internal weapons bay and must hang from the wings, as the Diplomat’s Franz-Stefan Gady reports.

Since a stealth plane needs every single angle of the jet to perfectly contour to baffle radars, hanging weapons off the wings absolutely kills stealth.

The United States has produced an entire range of stealth jets — attack, air superiority, multirole, and heavy bomber — since the F-117 first flew more than 35 years ago. Our adversaries have been trying, and failing, to play catch-up ever since.

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THE HILL: Ukraine hacker cooperating with FBI in Russia probe: report.

A hacker in Ukraine who goes by the online alias “Profexer” is cooperating with the FBI in its investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, The New York Times is reporting.

Profexer, whose real identity is unknown, wrote and sold malware on the dark web. The intelligence community publicly identified code he had written as a tool used in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee ahead of last year’s presidential election.

The hacker’s activity on the web came to a halt shortly after the malware was identified.

The Times, citing Ukrainian police, reported Wednesday that the individual turned himself into the FBI earlier this year and became a witness for the bureau in its investigation. FBI investigators are probing Russian interference efforts and whether there was coordination between associates of President Trump’s campaign and Moscow. Special counsel Robert Mueller is heading the investigation.

Hmm. According to The Nation, there was no hacking, just an insider leak. Apparently the FBI doesn’t think so. Or the NYT is wrong.

WASHINGTON, JACKSON, AND… LENIN? Find out what they all have in common in Liz Sheld’s morning brief.

WELL, THEY’RE NOT THE FIRST TO HAVE DONE SO: The VA State Police basically called Gov. Terry McAuliffe a liar.