URLs du Jour


  • Only one year? Seems lots longer. I know I promised another D. C. street art poster today, but it's the one-year anniversary of President Wheezy's inauguration, and Mr. Ramirez is wondering: Three more years of this?

    [Only One Year]

    Well, "we" asked for it.

  • What did you expect, honestly? Water is wet, space is deep, and as Peter Suderman notes: Joe Biden’s Presidency Is Failing Just About Everyone. He notes the essential split personalities at work: Biden the Healing Moderate vs. Biden the Captive of the Increasingly Radical Democratic Party.

    This explains the Biden administration's unwillingness, so far, to meaningfully prioritize among the component parts of his spending bill, preferring to give a little bit to each of the party's issue activists. It helps explain his quixotic support for both a doomed voting rights bill and divisive Senate procedural reforms that won't take effect. And it also helps explain why under Biden, Democrats have consistently acted as if they have a commanding majority, and a mandate for radical change, despite their incredibly slim, almost-didn't-happen holds on the House and the Senate, and why Democratic defections from the party line have sometimes been treated as acts of defiance against a majority, as if Republicans simply didn't exist. Biden views himself as a moderate, period, but he is better understood as a moderate within the Democratic Party, and his lifelong inability to distinguish between the party and the country means that he is mostly focused on trying to unite the party—but not the country as a whole.

    And this, in turn, sheds light on why Biden has so far been unable to serve the voters who went for him in 2020 because they wanted a return to normalcy and all that entailed—primarily a tolerable economy and a pandemic that no longer disrupted everyday life, but also less apocalypticism in Washington and less political rancor.

    Those less partisan, less engaged voters—the kind who supported Biden mostly because he wasn't Trump—are the sort of voters who, by and large, determine the success or failure of a presidency. And for them, Biden the president is failing to deliver on the promises of Biden the candidate. Ironically, Biden is also failing to deliver the sort of big-ticket policy change demanded by the progressive base. On its current trajectory, it won't be long before Biden's presidency moves from "is failing" to "has failed."

    Suderman's article gives an air of inevitability to what happened to Wheezy. Matt Welch's characterization of him as a "rusty weathervane" explains a lot.

  • And in other "Water is Wet" news… Brian Reidl catches some usual unsurprising antics: Mainstream Media Boost Dishonest Anti-billionaire Screed

    Being a left-wing institution certainly comes with privileges. Because such organizations’ research often serves the mainstream media’s preferred narratives, their new studies and reports can become news events in ways that comparable right-wing research wouldn’t. And for the same reason, media outlets often don’t bother to check their work before making it news.

    So it is that in the past few days, CNN, CBS News, ABC News, Yahoo, and others have run breathless articles highlighting a new Oxfam report on inequality that claims that “since the start of the pandemic . . . billionaires have seen their wealth increase by $5 trillion.” Unsurprisingly, these “news” articles read like fawning press releases and did not cite a single critic of the Oxfam report or of the general argument that the existence of billionaires is harmful.

    Yet five minutes of research would expose the $5 trillion figure as flatly false. Oxfam’s report measured billionaire wealth in large part by rising stock values. But instead of measuring the change in stock values from the beginning of the pandemic, they simply ignored the initial 28 percent stock-market decline and measured from the bottom of the trough to the present.

    Oxfam (of course) favors plunder: “A 99% one-off windfall tax on the COVID-19 wealth gains of the 10 richest men alone.”

  • You don't want money from this guy. Michael Graham searches the FEC database and finds the totally-expected news: NBA Billionaire Who Dissed Uyghur Genocide is NH Dem Donor

    Tech billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, in the headlines for dismissing China’s ongoing genocide against their Uyghur Muslim population as not worth caring about, is also a donor to the New Hampshire Democratic Party (NHDP).

    Palihapitiya, a part-owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, sparked outrage during a podcast interview last weekend by saying he didn’t care about the Communist Chinese government’s treatment of its Uyghur minority.

    “Nobody cares about it. Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs,” Palihapitiya said. “I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line, okay?”

    I'd bet that the NHDP will do something like what the Wisconsin Democratic Party did: give $10K to a Uighur-supporting charity.

    Over at HotAir, Allahpundit has an analysis of Palihapitiya's "apology": Warriors co-owner who doesn't care about Uighurs: I should have pretended to care.

  • [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer] Could we have a crisis vacay? Please? Tal Fortgang writes on Rahm Emanuel's single greatest contribution to political philosophy: not Letting Crisis Go to Waste.

    Many progressives tend to see moments of disorder—sudden, dramatic breaks from life as we knew it—as opportunities for positive change. The crowning achievement of American progressivism, the establishment of the American welfare state by FDR’s New Deal, would have been impossible without the Great Depression. Decades later, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously repeated his mantra that Democrats should “never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Most recently, the Biden Administration has adopted a mantra of its own, appended to the title of its enormous post-pandemic spending proposal: Build Back Better. The implicit message is clear: the pandemic has exposed our country’s weaknesses—in physical and digital infrastructure, disaster preparedness, and so on—and laid bare those areas Americans cannot afford to leave unchanged.  

    Such thinking is perfectly logical within a progressive mind frame. Because progressives generally think that society’s usual order entrenches power at the top and prevents the upward mobility of those with fewer resources, it follows that disorder should break the habit of routine quiescence and help rally the masses towards realizing their group interests. Citizens may be newly amenable to taking stock of the political shortcomings that brought them to the brink of crisis, and lawmakers, even conservative ones, likely feel pressure to do something to show they are on the case. Clear breaks from routine, from structure, from the expectation that we all go about doing what we do from 9-to-5 every day thus present the tantalizing prospect of equalizing society in various ways.

    Robert Higgs' Crisis and Leviathan was not intended to be a how-to manual! (But Amazon link is at your right.)

  • Mann oh Mann. Ann Althouse riffs on an unearthed quote from Thomas Mann: “Let me tell you the whole truth: if ever Fascism should come to America, it will come in the name of ‘freedom.’ ”

    Ooh, scare/sneer quotes around "freedom". Ann does some Googling "to see if today's anti-freedom leftists had used it against conservatives."

    Looking for Mann, I got Ronald Reagan: "If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism." 

    But it would be a mistake to think Reagan nicked it from Mann and that Mann was the originator of the "if fascism comes to America" clause. In the 1935 Sinclair Lewis book, “It Can’t Happen Here,” there's: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying the cross.” 

    You get the picture. There's a lot of If fascism ever comes to America, it will look like my opponents.

    Also appearing in Ann's research: Jonah Goldberg, George Carlin. A comment I left at Ann's site:

    "The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’." George Orwell wrote that back in 1946, and gee it hasn't gotten any less true in 75 years, has it?

    But if you really want to get worried, check out yesterday's Reason Roundup from Elizabeth Nolan Brown: Voters Around the World Are Cooling on Populists, Gravitating Toward Technocrats. The word "fascism" doesn't appear, but the more specific (and more accurate) phrase "illiberal value shift" does.

  • Daniel Lyons looks at proposals for Section 230 "reform". And there's nothing but Flawed arguments and unintended consequences as far as the eye can see. Excerpt:

    Attempts to control the flow of information online can also create unintended consequences. As students of broadcast history know, the Federal Communications Commission once enforced a Fairness Doctrine, requiring that if broadcasters presented one side of an issue, they must give equal time to speakers on the other side. The idea was to make sure public opinion was not swayed by broadcasters’ control of information. But in reality, broadcasters often steered clear of controversial, important topics entirely for fear of triggering equal-time requirements.

    Similar consequences may flow from bills that remove Section 230 protection for landmark statutes such as civil rights claims. If a platform lacks Section 230 protection for communication about or involving protected groups, it may reduce services to those groups to limit its overall liability, which would be a loss to society and particularly harmful to those the law is designed to protect.

    As I've said over and over and over and over… well, I guess one more time won't hurt: There's nothing wrong with Big Tech that Big Government can't make much worse.