2018-04-27

Koreas: Summit marks peace talks.

Reuters: Kim, Moon meet.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in embraced after pledging on Friday to work for the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” punctuating a day of smiles and handshakes at the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.

The two Koreas announced they would work with the United States and China this year to declare an official end to the 1950s Korean war and seek an agreement to establish “permanent” and “solid” peace in its place.

The declaration included promises to pursue phased military arms reduction, cease hostile acts, transform their fortified border into a peace zone, and seek multilateral talks with other countries including the United States. ...

CNN: South Korea credits Trump for opening door to talks with North.
(CNN)South Korea's foreign minister has said she believes President Donald Trump is largely responsible for bringing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table.

Speaking ahead of Friday's historic summit between the leaders of North and South Korea, Kang Kyung-wha told CNN that the US President had played a significant role in bringing the two sides together.
"Clearly, credit goes to President Trump," Kang told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Seoul. "He's been determined to come to grips with this from day one." ...

UPDATE: Another viewpoint from Garry Kasparov on Twitter:
What's happening between the Koreas today is the largest slave auction in history. It will legitimize & perpetuate Kim Jong-un's concentration camp state and of course he will not give up his nukes.

2018-04-10

Jonah Goldberg: Mueller had better be right.

Jonah Goldberg at NRO: Mueller had better be right about the Cohen raid.
The fact that Mueller referred this to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York rather than fold it into his own investigation suggests that whatever he found may not be central to his probe. If Mueller had reason to believe that he had Cohen dead to rights on the “collusion” stuff, he probably wouldn’t have farmed this out to a different prosecutor.

On the other hand, the fact that U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman agreed with Mueller’s interpretation and sought a warrant from a judge and that the judge agreed to grant one suggests that Cohen is in trouble. ...
Via Instapundit.

2018-04-09

FBI raids New York office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

Breitbart: FBI raids office of Michael Cohen.
The F.B.I. raided President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen’s office on Monday, seizing records related to “several topics including payments to” porn-star Stormy Daniels, the New York Times reported.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan had obtained the search warrant, after receiving a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller. Cohen’s lawyer called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” according to the Times.

The search does not appear to be related to the special counsel investigating Russian meddling and potential collusion by the Trump campaign, but a separate investigation that might have resulted from information he uncovered and handed over to prosecutors in New York.

Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said the F.B.I. seized “privileged communications” between Cohen and his clients. ...

PJ Media: Trump furious over raids.
The FBI raided the office and residence of President Trump's longtime personal attorney, confidant and "fixer" today, prompting an angry reaction from the president and caution from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who advocated that special counsel Robert Mueller be able to stay the course in his investigation.

About a dozen agents were reportedly involved in serving multiple warrants on Michael Cohen's office, his home and the Loew's Regency hotel where he has been staying, seizing his computer, phone, emails, tax documents, business records and related materials.

Cohen has publicly admitted to making a $130,000 payment, from his home equity line of credit, to adult-film star Stormy Daniels in October 2016 in return for her silence about an alleged 2006 affair between Trump and Daniels, and to setting up a limited-liability company in Delaware to make the payment 10 days before the money transfer. The payment was flagged by Cohen's bank in a suspicious activity report at the time.

An outstanding question is whether investigators determine the payment was an undisclosed "in kind" campaign contribution intended to influence the outcome of the election, which would violate the $2,700 contribution limit as well as disclosure rules. ...


Fox: Trump attacks Mueller "witch hunt".

"It's a disgraceful situation. It's a total witch hunt," said Trump, who claimed that he had "given over a million pages in documents to the special counsel. They continue to just go forward ... and I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now. Actually it's much more than that. You could say right after I won the [2016 Republican] nomination it started."

Trump also accused Mueller's investigators of being "the most biased group of people [with] the biggest conflicts of interest" and said Attorney General Jeff Sessions "made a terrible mistake for the country" when he recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation last year. ...

Popehat: What we can infer immediately.
1. According to Cohen's own lawyer, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (widely regarded within itself as being the most important and prestigious U.S. Attorney's Office in the country) secured the search warrants for the FBI. Assuming this report is correct, that means that a very mainstream U.S. Attorney's Office — not just Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office — thought that there was enough for a search warrant here.

2. Moreover, it's not just that the office thought that there was enough for a search warrant. They thought there was enough for a search warrant of an attorney's office for that attorney's client communications. That's a very fraught and extraordinary move that requires multiple levels of authorization within the Department of Justice. ...

Fake news master Christopher Blair tells all.

Boston Globe: Fake news creator did it for our own good.
Blair says he was raised a Massachusetts Democrat. When the economy crashed in 2008, he lost work and struggled to support his family. He blamed it on President George W. Bush. Social media and online forums became welcome places to vent his anger. Busta Troll was born after the election of Barack Obama, and was triggered, Blair says, by the rise of the Tea Party movement that arose in opposition. Online, he found himself aligning with a small offshoot of people who live to goad and prank and maybe silence extreme conservatives.

In 2014, Blair, as Busta Troll, pulled off a prank that won him wide admiration in that community. The United States had just traded five Taliban prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl, an Army soldier captured in Afghanistan after deserting his post. The prisoner swap ignited anger in far-right groups, and a Facebook page dedicated to the issue quickly became a “dumping ground for bilious accusations against Bergdahl and anti-Obama chatter,” according to the Los Angeles Times, which wrote about it at the time. ...

Related: Fake news creator John Jansen (NPR, November 2016).

Check the facts - and we will tell you how!


That's one way to approach fact-checking.  My approach is a little different.

Why did this ostensibly neutral, public-spirited presentation use specifically the example of Muslims and Christmas trees?  Why is Google presented as the single solution to the fact-checking problem?

To be sure, questionable stories about Islam, as with any other topic, should be fact-checked, and false information about Islam (as with any other topic) can do great damage.  Google is one of many tools available for this purpose.

We can all agree on the importance of getting your facts straight, but there is a lot more to it than this video would suggest - and I suspect that the presentation has an agenda of its own.

Israel strikes Syria; Russia responds.

Arutz Sheva: Russia condemns Israel.
The Russian government condemned Israel for the bombing of a Syrian government base on Monday, denying the apparent chemical weapons attack which prompted the bombing.

In a pre-dawn strike, a pair of Israeli F-15 fighter jets flew over Lebanon before crossing over into Syrian airspace, Russia claimed Monday.

The two Israeli Air Force jets struck targets at Syria’s T-4 airbase, killing 14 people according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Initial reports indicated that at least some of the dead were Iranians.

While Israel has not confirmed its involvement in the attack, the Kremlin blamed the Israeli Air Force for the bombings, after the Syrian government accused the US of launching the attack. ...
Debka: Lavrov calls strike "dangerous development".
The Russian defense and foreign ministries have asked their Israeli counterparts to provide “explanations” for air strikes on a “Syrian military facility,” former FSB general Senator Vladimir Jabarov reported Sunday. He was speaking with Iranian media....

2018-04-08

Pat Condell is wrong about trans people ...

... but he's right about almost everything else. And he's right about the things that matter most. And right or wrong, he doesn't deserve to get censored from Twitter.

Beautiful forever.

In the end, she killed only herself. But Nasim Aghdam finally got the star status she craved. Mark Steyn has some thoughts on the grand convergence:
...What happened yesterday is a remarkable convergence of the spirits of the age: mass shootings, immigration, the Big Tech thought-police, the long reach of the Iranian Revolution, the refugee racket, animal rights, vegan music videos... It was the latest mismatched meeting between east and west in the age of the Great Migrations: Nasim Aghdam died two days before her 39th birthday, still living (according to news reports) with either her parents or her grandmother. She came to America at the age of seventeen, and spent two decades in what appears to be a sad and confused search to find something to give her life meaning. But in a cruder sense the horror in San Bruno was also a sudden meeting of two worlds hitherto assumed to be hermetically sealed from each other: the cool, dispassionate, dehumanized, algorithmic hum of High Tech - and the raw, primal, murderous rage breaking through from those on the receiving end.

Another blogger back in the fray.

Instapinch 2.0 (pinned post):
Welcome to Instapinch Version 2.0! I wish I could say this iteration will be funnier and faster and slicker and neater with neon lights and lasers and sound effects and dancing girls and explosions and everything else. Unfortunately it’ll be more of what you saw in Version 1.0…a smattering of photographs, Navy jets (especially the F-14, even though its been a museum piece now for over 10 years) and the occasional opinion tossed in there for good measure.
You can add Instapinch 2.0 to your blogroll.