URLs du Jour

2022-02-18

[LFOD]

  • Hi, Art Philistine here. And I freely admit that I have no idea why the painting on your right is titled "Live Free or Die". But I found it at the Denver Post via my Google News Alert, and it's kind of nice. It is being shown at the Waiting Room Gallery in "RiNo". Which is the too-cute shortened appellation for the "River North" Art District in Denver, Colorado. ("Hey, look at us, we can be cool just like New York!")

    The painting is credited to Eve Krawiek, who is apparently also known as Evonne Noel Avalos (Instagram). Best wishes to her.


  • Yes, we are. Jim Geraghty asks: We’re Paying for All of That 'Free' Money Now, Aren't We? (One of the rare instances where Betteridge's Law of Headlines doesn't apply.)

    It is ironic that the economics crowd is currently having a loud and angry argument about “modern monetary theory” — the notion that because the U.S. Treasury creates the money, the federal government can spend as much as it likes year after year and everything will turn out just fine. We’ve been inadvertently practicing “modern monetary theory” for a long while without formally declaring it; this is what happens when no one in Washington even pretends to care about the deficit and the debt. Spending is high and bad when at least one of the parties pretends to care; when everybody, including most Republicans, stop pretending to care, the borrowing and spending gets so high that it sets off runaway inflation.

    It would be a better world if lawmakers actually cared about the deficit and debt. But pretending to care, or needing to look like they care, forced them to mitigate their spending proposals at least a bit. The pandemic, the rise of a more leftist Democratic Party, and Democratic control of Congress all aligned to boost federal spending way higher than it had ever been before.

    And now we’re paying for all of that “free” money.

    I've bolded a key phrase. This is why, these days, I consider myself a RINO, literally a Republican in Name Only.


  • Desperately Seeking Scapegoats. Eric Boehm notes some recent news: DOJ, FBI Will Investigate Companies for 'Illicit Profits'

    The Department of Justice announced Thursday that it will begin investigating companies for earning what it believes to be excessive profits amid surging inflation and ongoing supply chain issues.

    In a press release, the department said its antitrust division would begin to "deter, detect and prosecute those who would exploit supply chain disruptions" to earn what the department calls "illicit profit." The goal of the initiative, according to the department, is to prevent companies from "overcharging customers under the guise of supply chain disruptions."

    The problem, of course, is that the supply chain disruptions are quite real—and inflation across the economy is the result of both those large-scale issues and government actions, including last year's $1.9 trillion stimulus bill and protectionist policies. To the extent that private companies are raising prices, those things are the likely culprits—and higher prices are the market's way of allocating scarce goods most efficiently, not evidence of price gouging.

    Eric goes on to bemoan the "economically illiterate" analysis of Senators Bernie and Fauxcahontas.


  • Being a jerk does not make your ideas more popular. Our Canadian buddies might want to read Janet Bufton at the UnPopulist: Canada's Freedom Convoy Is Undermining the Cause of Freedom.

    OTTAWA, Ontario: The Canadian Freedom Convoy — protests that took off when unvaccinated truckers facing cross-border travel restrictions joined the original coalition of conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers and other sundry right-wing groups — have become a touchpoint in the culture war. To the left, the Convoy is an assault on democracy — a Canadian January 6. To the right, it’s a stand for freedom!

    The reality is complicated.

    The Convoy is not as serious a threat to democracy as the storming of the U.S. Capitol. But it also isn’t any cause for celebration, even for those who believe that it is high time Canadian authorities roll back COVID-19 restrictions. Indeed, the Convoy’s main accomplishments are increased polarization of Canadians, further politicization of the pandemic, an increase in support for illiberal crackdowns on protest rights, and renewed support for harsh policing. In other words, the exact opposite of what any freedom lover should want.

    Sounds like a failure to read the room, i. e., your country.


  • Meanwhile, back in the states… Laura Williams notes some troubling memoranda from Uncle Stupid: It’s Always about Fear.

    A National Terrorism Advisory Service bulletin released last week identified the number one terroristic threat to Americans as “the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. Government institutions.”

    Free speech, and specifically the right to criticize our government, is being reframed, in real time, as a threat to public health and safety. You are being primed to fear thought crimes, in which criticizing the US government is equal to a violent act. The federal government is creating a public health pretense for silencing those who tell the truth about the US government’s very real history of victimizing its own citizens. 

    To take away your most basic civil liberties, overzealous governments rely on your fear. They cultivate, stoke, and stimulate it. Then they demand new powers to fight it.

    This is where all that bizarre equivalence-drawing between "speech" and "violence" gets us. Those students who get marinated in this balderdash during their higher education years go on to work for the Department of Homeland Security, and…