20 February 2017

Another Stopped Clock Moment

The White House has announced that they will be talking face-to-face with the DPRK.

The standard line in foreign policy is that talking with Pyongyang is somehow a victory for North Korea, so we should only talk to them after they have capitulated.

Given the rather xenophobic and paranoid proclivities of that regime, the result, active nuclear weapons, ICBM, and SLBM programs, should come as no surprise.

This is a welcome change:
Preparations are under way to bring senior North Korean officials to the United States for talks with former U.S. officials, the first such meeting in more than five years, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

The talks would be the clearest indication yet that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants to communicate with the new Trump administration.

Planning for the "Track 1.5 talks" is still in a preparatory stage, the Post reported, citing multiple people with knowledge of the arrangements.

That name, reflecting planned contact between former U.S. officials and current North Korean ones, is a reference to what are known as "Track 2" talks involving former officials on both sides.
I don't expect this to end well, after all, it is an initiative by the Trump administration, but to the degree that this constitutes a reversal from a truly bone-headed foreign policy consensus, it is a good thing.

18 February 2017

No Blogging Tonight

The kids were in a production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, and I was taping it.


17 February 2017

Can We Please Impeach Him?

No, I am not talking about the Donald, rather I am talking about the mass of conflicts and poor jurisprudence that is Clarence Thomas:
Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife is organizing in support of President Donald Trump’s agenda. And it might make her husband’s life a little complicated.

In an email sent to a conservative listserv on Feb. 13 and obtained by The Daily Beast, Ginni Thomas asked an interesting question: How could she organize activists to push for Trump’s policies?

“What is the best way to, with minimal costs, set up a daily text capacity for a ground up-grassroots army for pro-Trump daily action items to push back against the left’s resistance efforts who are trying to make America ungovernable?” she wrote.

“I see the left has Daily Action @YourDailyAction and their Facebook likes are up to 61K,” she continued.

She then linked to a Washington Post story about the group.

“But there are some grassroots activists, who seem beyond the Republican party or the conservative movement, who wish to join the fray on social media for Trump and link shields and build momentum,” she wrote. “I met with a house load of them yesterday and we want a daily textable tool to start… Suggestions?”

………

Heidi Li Feldman, a professor at Georgetown Law School and expert on legal ethics, told The Daily Beast that the email could be grounds for lawyers challenging Trump’s travel ban to ask Justice Thomas to recuse himself from the case—a move that could doom the executive order.

“You can imagine circumstances easily where such conduct on the part of the spouse of a Supreme Court justice would lead to a non-frivolous disqualification motion,” she said.


This is not the first time that Clarence and Ginni Thomas have ignored the most basic rules of judicial ethics. (That case involved him refusing to recuse himself from a case involving a man who Ginni's advocacy group, set up a Clarence Thomas museum, gifted him a $19K bible, allowed him free access to a business jet, etc.)

16 February 2017

Interesting Speculation


87 miles as the crow flies
Here is an interesting bit of speculation on why a Russian spy ship is hanging out in international waters off of Long Island Sound:
I love maps. They often reveal things quickly and simply in a way text cannot. Like this map I’ve pulled together showing two points recently in the news.

To the right, Groton, Connecticut, where the U.S. has a naval facility

To the left, Glen Cove, New York — the location of a waterfront compound, Killenworth Mansion, owned for decades by Russia. The site was used for electronic spying according to the Reagan administration. A second compound, Norwich House, located five miles away in Upper Brookville, was vacated in December after former president Obama issued new sanctions on Russia in response to alleged interference in U.S. 2016 presidential election.

Multiple news reports yesterday noted a Russian spy ship “loitering” approximately 30 miles south of Groton, near Long Island’s shoreline, in international waters.

But none of them mentioned the ship was approximately 60-80 miles from the site of the Russian government compounds.

………

It’s almost if the Russians left something behind on Long Island and were looking for it.

Or listening for it.
As Mr. Spock would say, "Fascinating."

Linkage


God Bless the Onion