URLs du Jour


Proverbs 21:28

28 A false witness will perish,
    but a careful listener will testify successfully.

That's bad news for Donald J. Trump, because…

■ … as @kevinNR points out, despite the President's claims otherwise, The U.S. Is Not the Highest-Taxed Nation in the World.

You can tell that President Trump is getting serious about tax reform, because he has started lying about it.

In that, he is in unpleasant company:

The problem for the Left is that Democrats cannot, under most circumstances, tell the truth about U.S. taxes, either, because the American middle class does not want to hear that it isn’t paying enough in taxes to fund the benefits it wants. The Left insists that something, somewhere — somebody rich, preferably in a Republican-voting state — is getting over on us, that the rich are not paying “their fair share.” It is true that the highest-income Americans do make a great deal more money than do the poor and the middle class — that’s what it means to be high-income — but they already pay an even more disproportionate share of the taxes. The top 20 percent takes in about 55 percent of all income but pays about 70 percent of all federal taxes as Curtis Dubay, formerly of the Heritage Foundation, runs the numbers. Other analysts have come to similar conclusions. That’s what you’d expect: We have a progressive tax code, after all.

Whenever politicians use "fair share" in their babbling, it's time to stop listening; they're lying. (Examples: Carol Shea-Porter; Jeanne Shaheen; Maggie Hassan.)

■ Peter Suderman's recent article in dead-trees Reason is now on the magazine's website, and I liked it: Government Almost Killed the Cocktail.

The classic "old fashioned" is the simplest of cocktails—sugar, bitters, and whiskey, stirred over ice, then served on the rocks with a citrus rind—and also, possibly, the best.

Thanks to the federal government, we almost lost it forever.

Spoiler: because of Prohibition, the innovative American artisans dedicated to making booze more drinkable went into other occupations, and their accumulated knowledge nearly disappeared.

I am strictly a beer 'n' wine guy, but Suderman's article makes me want to try an old fashioned just to find out what the fuss is about.

@JonahNRO writes about the Progressive abuse of "science": Oh Scientia! Oh Mores!

Over the last two weeks we’ve heard a lot of folderol and bambosh about Republicans, conservatives, Texans — etc. — not “believing” in science because recent hurricanes have been bad and climate change is causing it and blah blah blah.

As you can probably tell, I don’t think much of all that. We had a historic lull in hurricanes until the lull was over. Once the hurricanes started back up, so did the claim that climate change caused the hurricanes just as the scientists predicted — the same scientists who didn’t predict the lull. Similarly, California had a historic drought that recently came to an end. Most of the climate models say that California should get wetter because of global warming. But that didn’t stop President Obama and others from suggesting the dry spell was a symptom of climate change. Then, when California experienced huge amounts of precipitation, suddenly the models were prescient.

Another signal to stop listening to someone: when they invoke the concept of "belief in science" non-ironically.

■ At the [paywalled, sorry] WSJ, William McGurn notes The Cruelty of Barack Obama. Generally, pro-immigration, McGurn notes the attention grabbed by the folks obsessed with slamming shut America's "in" doors. But…

What gets almost zero press attention is the sneakier folks, Mr. Obama included. Truth is, no man has done more to poison the possibilities for fixing America’s broken immigration system than our 44th president.

Summary: Obama killed off a compromise-filled "bipartisan immigration package" when he was in the Senate by insisting on deal-breaking amendments; he failed to advance immigration legislation when Democrats held both House and Senate (he went with Obamacare instead, thanks a lot). And he poisoned the well with his illegal executive action on "Dreamers", showing, accurately, that he couldn't be trusted to act in good faith.

■ At Power Line, Scott Johnson rescues much of Carol Swain's paywalled WSJ op-ed: Victim of the SPLC. Swain's crime was to note (at HuffPo!): "Rather than monitoring hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center has become one."

The SPLC’s retaliation was vicious and effective. On Oct. 17, 2009, my photo appeared on the front page of my local newspaper, the Tennessean, with the headline “ Carol Swain is an apologist for white supremacists.” That was a quote from Mark Potok, at the time the SPLC’s national spokesman. The context for Mr. Potok’s attack was a review I gave for a film titled “A Conversation About Race.” I endorsed it for classroom use because it offered a perspective on race rarely encountered on university campuses. Mr. Potok argued that the filmmaker was a bigot. I felt then and now that the perspective needed to be heard.

Ms. Swain's story is a good one to deploy in rebuttal to anyone who pretends to take the SPLC seriously. (There are a lot of others.)

■ I don't know if you've heard, but Hillary Clinton wrote a book about the election! In which she blames, among many, many others, the media for her loss. At the Federalist, David Harsanyi talks back: Yes, Hillary, The Media Did Help Trump Win. So Did You

[…] Clinton’s claim happens to contain a morsel of truth, if not in the way she intended. When supporting Trump seemed advantageous, the media — not only left-leaning outlets like CNN or the Washington Post, but ratings-chasers like Joe Scarborough — did much help lift the fortunes of the soon-to-be president. This was obvious to anyone observing coverage of the primaries, but for those who need confirmation, The Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy conducted a study that found that during the year 2015, major news outlets covered Donald Trump “in a way that was unusual given his low initial polling numbers — a high volume of media coverage preceded Trump’s rise in the polls.”

I was in a restaurant during the early days of the GOP primary campaign, mid-2015, and CNN was on a big screen; they spent endless minutes showing video of Trump's plane as it was circling for a landing, somewhere in Alabama. I remember thinking: "This isn't news. Why are they doing this?"

Easy: they pushed Trump in 2015 because they thought Trump would be the easiest to defeat in November 2016. Hillary, as Harsany notes, made the same mistake.

■ At Hot Air, Jazz Shaw notes that Someone Finally Found A Reason To Drop New Hampshire’s First Primary Status.

What would it take for either party to finally step up and challenge New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary status? We’ve finally found out. Turns out that all they needed to do was pass a voter ID law and someone would come along and suggest they lose that seemingly eternal privilege.

Spoiler: it's Howard Dean! Aaaargh!