URLs du Jour


  • Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out. That's according to David Horowitz, and (because I try to be charitable) I hope he's wrong about that. Yet, as Matt Welch notes, some progressives seem determined to provide confirming evidence. AOC: Facebook's 'Disinformation' Has 'Sabotaged' Pandemic Response.

    On Tuesday, in a piece that drew surprisingly few headlines, Yahoo Finance interviewed progressive darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.), who reiterated her calls to break up Facebook, making in the process this wildly inflated claim and assertion of authority:

    There are some things that the United States provides that are welcome….There are also things that we want the United States to stop exporting, and one of those things is disinformation—disinformation through U.S.-founded companies like Facebook that have absolutely slowed and frankly sabotaged the global effort to fight against the coronavirus.

    Given First Amendment constraints and the dispersed information architecture of the internet, Congress is no more likely to stop the export of "disinformation" (however ill-defined) than it is to stop the sun from rising in the east. But maximalist hyperbole about social media wickedness has also proven increasingly popular in the executive branch, where Big Tech's regulators lie in wait.

    It's an extremely good article; let me make explicit what's usually implicit: Read The Whole Thing. Especially if you're someone who thinks government can push, prod, and hammer Big Tech into ushering in Social Media Utopia.

  • Another progressive screaming "Sabotage". I guess it's a theme in those circles. "We'd be in great shape if not for these scapegoats messing things up." Kevin D. Williamson highlights Jayapal: Sabotage At the Starbucks. (NR Plus article, sorry)

    A lot of horrible stuff can go on in this world without the ladies and gentlemen of Washington, D.C., taking much notice — but when prices go up at Starbucks, you can bet Pramila Jayapal is on the case. She knows her people.

    On Wednesday, Representative Jayapal (D., Wash.), the socialist-adjacent whackadoodle chairman of the House Progressive Caucus, demonstrated the fine grasp of economics for which socialist-adjacent whackadoodles have long been famous when she blamed “corporate greed” for recent price hikes at Starbucks. Now, given the generally loopy and irritating corporate activism that Starbucks has indulged in over the years, it does not exactly break my tender little heart to see these rat bastards get a whole venti cup of imbecilic Seattleite coffeehouse radicalism poured right down their corporate shorts.

    KDW's summary: "When the utopians start blaming the saboteurs, there is trouble on the way."

    [I hate to be a shill, but NRPLUS is a pretty good deal. Right now: $6 for the first 12 weeks, $69/year after that. And, unlike those Amazon images you'll see here and there on Pun Salad, I do not get a cut.]

  • You think the Road to Serfdom would have a speed limit? If it does, nobody seems interested in enforcing it. George F. Will recounts Profligate Democrats, delusional Republicans and the $30 trillion sprint toward deficit disaster.

    There is an exception to the federal government’s general inability to accomplish anything briskly. It drove the national debt past $30 trillion this past week, which only two years ago it had not been expected to accomplish until 2026.

    Defenders of the government’s fiscal performance say: Who could have predicted the pandemic? But that is the point — prudent people expect the unexpected and plan risk management accordingly. Instead, today’s deficit doves are doubling down on their hubris, asserting (in the skeptical words of the Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl) “that this time they can predict interest rates decades in advance.” The average interest rate on government borrowing has fallen from 8.4 percent to 1.4 percent since 1990, a decline economists did not forecast but which many now forecast far into the future.

    The "delusional Republicans"? Their proposal fixes things…

    By a slew of politically inconceivable deep cuts to discretionary domestic spending, and cutting eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and repealing significant parts of the Affordable Care Act. While the RSC was perpetrating this performative gesture, why didn’t it also propose requiring lobsters to grow on trees?

    Unfortunately, the voters … well, you know how that sentence ends, don't you?

  • What could go wrong? The WSJ editorialists sit down for some Face Time With the IRS.

    The Internal Revenue Service we will always have with us. But does it have to be in your face? That’s the question to ask as the agency wants to use a new biometric standard for identification with too little regard for security, privacy or concerns about government power.

    The tax agency announced in November an $86 million partnership with ID.me, a private contractor, to create an “improved identification and sign-in process” for its website.

    Taxpayers can currently access their IRS records with a username and password. But starting this summer, anyone who wants to check a child tax credit or look up a quarterly payment will have to provide a good deal of personal data, which could include multiple IDs and personal utility or insurance bills.

    Because I am an idiot, I attempted to set up ID.me authentication a few weeks ago, at the prodding of the IRS website. It was arduous. And then I was asked to take a selfie with my phone and upload it. OK, here… and it refused to accept it.

    I suspect I triggered some sort of ugly limit. This does not appear to be a humanoid face, Captain. ID.me didn't provide any indication of the problem or hint about what to do. Instead I was directed to accumulate some additional documentation and arrange for an online interview.

    Yeah, no thanks.

    I'd like to think I'm reasonably tech-savvy, and I can't imagine the disaster when (ahem) less-geeky people attempt this.