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  • When your friends go crazy. S. E. Cupp writes the epitaph at the New York Daily News: Conservatism is over. ‘Conservatives’ admit it. Well, darn my socks.

    It's about the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, starting today, going through Sunday down in Orlando. S. E. used to go, but now…

    Conservatism and the principles and philosophies that underpin it slowly disappeared along the way, co-opted and then fully replaced by Trumpism — defined loosely as: whatever Trump said last.

    That made CPAC, a conference about conservatism, a bit awkward. Not just because Trump and not conservatism took center stage, but because conservatism was nowhere to be found on the agenda.

    [… ]

    It seems as though the right may finally be starting to drop the charade. This weekend, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp confessed to Steve Bannon, “The conservative movement, which I don’t use, I call it the American movement, ‘cause that’s all it is, we are no longer conservatives, we are Americans who love our founding.”

    To put that statement in sharp relief: The chairman of the American CONSERVATIVE Union, who runs the CONSERVATIVE Political Action Conference, whose website states boldly, “We define conservatism,” and whose group calls itself the nation’s “oldest conservative grassroots organization,” and who rates lawmakers on scales of liberal-to-conservative, and who tells supporters to sign up for “conservatism in your inbox,” and “Join the conservative fight,” says “we are no longer conservatives.”

    Listen, you’ll get no argument here. But this is a breathtaking admission, that in order to service the overweening ego of Donald Trump and satisfy his rabid and impressionable voters, the once-leading conservative organization is simply jettisoning the conservatism.

    Well, that's disappointing.

  • Sure, go ahead and make me feel worse about paying my taxes. David Boaz brings our attention to The Inevitability of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Trillion-Dollar Spending Programs.

    Now we are embarked on a much larger government spending program. Tony Romm of the Washington Post points out, “Totaling nearly $6 trillion [over two years], the loans, grants, direct checks and other emergency assistance summed to more than the entire federal budget in the fiscal year before the coronavirus arrived.” How’s it going? Well …

    In Stamford, Conn., a 46‐​year‐​old resident pleaded guilty after putting a portion of $4 million in coronavirus aid toward the purchase of a Porsche. And a Mercedes. And a BMW.

    In Somerset, N.J., a 51‐​year‐​old woman allegedly invented employees, inflated wages and fabricated entire tax filings to collect $1 million in loans.

    And in St. Petersburg, Fla., a federal judge sentenced to prison a 63‐​year‐​old man who obtained $800,000 on behalf of businesses that did not exist.

    Hundreds of such cases have been reported. “And the aid continues to be a ripe target for criminals nationwide, the full extent of which is only beginning to come to light.” Gene Sperling, President Biden’s chief coordinator for stimulus spending, says that “immense fraud” is the administration’s biggest oversight challenge.

    And these are just the people they caught.

  • "I'm sorry, sir. We are not following the science on this flight." Jacob Sullum announces that your in-flight movie will be Gaslight: Flight Attendant Unions Want Passengers To Wear Masks Forever

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues to require face masks in airports and on airplanes even as Democratic governors across the country are lifting mask mandates for indoor settings where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is much higher. And while that federal mandate is scheduled to expire on March 18, flight attendant unions want the TSA to extend it.

    That position is unsurprising in the sense that the unions have always strongly supported the TSA mandate, which was first imposed more than a year ago. But it makes little sense given the weak justification for the mask rule and its adverse impact on flight attendants.

    Jacob notes that the flight attendants' "enthusiasm for hygiene theater is of a piece with its enthusiasm for security theater."

  • One more member of the Peej Appreceiation Society. It's John Tamny: P.J. O’Rourke Taught Me How ‘Unfairly’ Great American Life Is.

    [I]in a Cato speech roughly twelve years ago he talked about how he would respond to his daughter when she told him something was “unfair.” O’Rourke would say “You’re very cute. That’s not fair. You’re fairly well to do. That’s very unfair. Most of all, you’re American, which is REALLY unfair. You better hope life never becomes fair.”

    What O’Rourke said stuck with me, and it’s what I say to my own daughter Claire every time she tells me something is unfair, which is all the time. The frequency of it gives me a chance to frequently tell her what’s so true: that she won the proverbial lottery in being born American.

    O’Rourke was so right about this. In a world of nearly 8 billion people, many of whom have never even flipped on a light, Claire was born American. So was I. It wasn’t O’Rourke’s most memorable or even funny quip, but the view here is that it was easily his most important.

    Something I should try to remember, given all the kvetching I do.

  • And, on a related note… the Google LFOD News Alert brings us another befuddled Canadian, Marg. [sic] Bruineman, writing in Barrie [Ontario] Today: Confusion reigns in mixed-up protest messaging. What's mixed up about it? Well…

    An MSNBC reporter broadcasting to an American audience this weekend, surrounded by ranters as he is “harassed and screamed at” reporting from Ottawa, also seemed taken aback when he said: “We apologize this is not the kinder and gentler Canada you may be used to seeing.”

    In another video posted online, a CBC news crew is booed and heckled after finishing a live report in Ottawa.

    Beyond the aggression and demonstration of what the American reporter found to be very un-Canadian behaviour is some very confusing messaging.

    There’s the bail hearing of one of the convoy organizers over the weekend in which her husband asks about asserting First Amendment rights.

    "What do you mean, first amendment? What's that?" Judge Julie Bourgeois is reported to have replied.

    Then there’s a photo BarrieToday published of an Ottawa protester holding up a sign that reads: “Live Free or Die,” which has long been the official motto for New Hampshire, an American state. He's flanked by Canadian flags, an American flag distinctively behind him with a Quebec flag in the distance.

    Read that bit again: "What do you mean, first amendment? What's that?" Yes, Canadians: you lack the protection of your liberties that (however imperfectly) we take for granted down here.

Last Modified 2022-02-25 5:43 AM EDT