And So It Begins

The crumbling of the Afghan polity is under way.

A reporter wrote a news reporting/opinion piece about the Afghan government that didn’t comport with that government’s approved view of itself. As a result,

Afghanistan’s attorney general has banned a New York Times reporter from leaving the country after he wrote a story about unnamed officials seeking to take power if the country’s presidential election deadlock persists.

The reporter’s…error?

Attorney General Basir Azizi said the story…could “create fear and confusion among the people” and that [reporter Matthew] Rosenberg will not be allowed to leave the country until it has been investigated by officials.

Was the Palestinian Authority Ever Serious

…during the latest cease fire in its terror war against Israel [emphasis added]?

Israel has suspended talks with Palestinian factions in Cairo after three rockets from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel, breaking a cease-fire aimed at allowing negotiators to broker a long-term truce for the conflict-ridden territory.

The rocket fire came hours after Israel and Palestinian factions resumed negotiations toward a cease-fire deal. On Monday night, both sides accepted a proposal by Egyptian mediators to prolong their cease-fire from Monday to Tuesday midnight local time to give extra time to reach an agreement.

A New Defense Alliance

This thought was triggered by a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, and General Philip M Breedlove, SACEUR and Commander US European Command, concerning “A NATO for a Dangerous World.”

Given European NATO members’ long-standing disdain for national defense, for providing their treaty-obligated share of men and equipment for NATO defense, for providing their treaty-obligated GDP share of funding for NATO defense, it’s time to walk away from NATO and form a new mutual defense alliance with selected nations of eastern Europe.

Press Mindset

This is from an AP article, but I suggest it’s typical of the press generally. The AP is reporting on a case involving the drunk driver-involved deaths of two children and the immediately subsequent shooting death of the drunk driver. The father of the two children is accused of

killing a drunk driver in a fit of rage after his two sons were fatally struck in 2012 on a rural road in Southeast Texas.

His defense attorney says [the father] is a good man, a grieving father, and not a murderer. At the same time, his defense hasn’t publicly suggested who else might be responsible for [the drunk driver]‘s shooting death.

A Gun Control Loss

The gun rights sheriff incumbent, David Clarke Jr, defeated his Democratic primary challenger for the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) County job (and he’s in because there’s no Republican challenger for the fall general election). This also had been, among other things, a referendum on ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control philosophy, as that one had thrown down $150,000 on TV ads in his own attempt to influence the election.

However, primary challenger Milwaukee Police Lt Chris Moews‘ own justification for gun controls demonstrates the fallacy of the gun control position:

Negotiate with Terrorists?

Democratic Party Presidential contender and current Senator Elizabeth Warren (D, MA) had some thoughts from the Progressive side of the situation unfolding in Iraq. In supporting President Barack Obama’s tepid moves vis-à-vis ISIS, the Yezidis, and the Kurds, Warren said this:

It’s a complicated situation right now in Iraq and the president has taken very targeted actions to provide humanitarian relief that the Iraqi government requested, and to protect American citizens. But like the president, I believe that any solution in Iraq is going to be a negotiated solution, not a military solution. We do not want to be pulled into another war in Iraq.

The White House as Tax-Writing Authority

Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew originally (originally: three weeks ago, in mid-July) acknowledged he had no authority to alter the tax implications of US businesses reincorporating overseas in order to reduce their US tax burden.

Now he’s looking at (not for) ways to “meaningfully reduce the tax benefits after inversions take place” because reducing a company’s cost structure, the legally and fiscally required behavior of any company’s managers, by making use of this “unpatriotic tax loophole” is unpatriotic. I’ll ignore the fact that what’s unpatriotic here is the usurious tax rates charged American companies and the zeal with which this administration attacks American companies for worrying about their bottom line more than they worry about government imperatives in order to get to a different point. As The Wall Street Journal put it,

Ukraine, Russia, and the US

Matthew Rojansky, Director of the Kennan Institute of the Wilson Center, had some thoughts on this during a live interview on Fox News, and repeated in Fox’ online feed. These remarks were made in the context of a warning that Russia will use the Russian surrogates’/Ukrainian separatists’ situation as a pretext to invade Ukraine to resolve a cynically made-up “humanitarian crisis.”

We don’t want a war. We cannot win a war against Russia. You know, this is not Al Qaeda. This is not the government of Saddam Hussein. This is the Russian Federation, the inheritors of the Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal. We cannot get dragged into this war. But by the same token, the Ukrainians can’t win it by themselves.

Freely Traveling and Peaceable Assembly

The US government offers no adequate method for people to challenge their placement on its no-fly list, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in a case involving 13 Muslims who believe they’re on the list.

US District Court Judge Anna Brown found people lack a meaningful way to challenge their placement on the list, which bars them from flying to or within the United States. She also said the 13 people who sued the government have been unconstitutionally deprived of their right to fly.

The Federal government’s no-fly list is treated as secret, and it’s through this list that the Federal government determines who is barred from flying from or to US airports.

Obama Is Legally Allowed to Enforce—or Not Enforce—the Law

Amazingly, a professor at the University of Chicago’s law school wrote this in the New Republic, and he’s serious. Yet he cites not a single clause from the Constitution, not a single phrase, to support his…thesis.

Eric Posner wrote, among other things,

Would President Barack Obama, by refusing to enforce the immigration laws against millions of undocumented immigrants, be engaging in “domestic Caesarism,” as Ross Douthat charges [in a New York Times op-ed]?

…if he chooses not to enforce immigration laws against “up to half the country’s population of illegal immigrants,” as Douthat claims, the president wouldn’t be doing anything different from what his predecessors have done (or rather, not done).