URLs du Jour

2022-03-17

[EVERY day]

  • Not yet available at Amazon. But there's a collection displayed at the Federalist: Kamala Harris Quotes As Motivational Posters. Example to your right, click through for more.

    Presumably because of her inspirational performance as czar of the Southern border crisis, President Joe Biden sent Vice President Kamala Harris to Poland to represent the United States as Europe and NATO grapple with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That trip resulted in moments like a really awkward outburst of cackling in response to a question about Ukrainian refugees, a reaction Harris has delivered before in response to serious questions about things like the deadly U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the migrant crisis at our own border.

    Right now, Amazon leans toward "I'm speaking" merch in this category, from her debate with Mike Pence back in 2020.


  • Just three, and they're easy to remember: (1) Individual liberty; (2) America; (3) Civilization. Bari Weiss has a longish essay, well worth your time: Things Worth Fighting For. Sample:

    The other day on The View, I watched as a man with a Harvard law degree and a denizen of the most exclusive institutions in America, stumbled on the real problem facing the world: “The Constitution is trash,” he said.

    If you are looking for the definition of the privilege of living in America, of living in a country with the First Amendment, it is the ability to say something so foolish on daytime television.

    But what struck me was that he actually homed in on the right pressure point: The Constitution, the thing he was so blithely tearing down, is precisely the thing we need to recover. We need to recover, above all, the “Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

    We do this, as the Founders did, by resisting tyranny in all its forms.

    That means refusing to participate in moral panics. It means resisting mob mentality, since mob justice is no justice at all. It also means opposing any entity that uses its power to undermine democracy and strip us of individual liberty.

    Bari just gets better and better.


  • To be fair, it was pretty easy to break. Jazz Shaw has the good news: Tulsi Gabbard has broken the Daily Beast.

    The amount of hand-wringing that’s been going on in the press over Tulsi Gabbard lately has been either highly entertaining or seriously alarming, depending on your personal perspective. What everyone claims to be so upset about is the fact that Gabbard expressed alarm over revelations that biological research laboratories in Ukraine (“biolabs”) which have received funding from the United States Government contain dangerous pathogens and they might either be compromised in the fighting or even be taken over by the Russian invaders. Those statements were almost immediately declared to be “Russian disinformation” in the press and among her fellow Democrats. Her statements were somehow warped into claims that she said the United States was “running” some sort of biological weapons laboratories (“bioweapons labs”) in Ukraine. The White House and their defenders in the MSM have worked overtime to state that we are operating no such bioweapons labs in Ukraine, despite nobody – including Tulsi Gabbard – ever claiming that we did.

    Shaw claims that "everything that Tulsi Gabbard actually said was true." I haven't verified that independently, but it sounds legit.


  • Those first four words could lead off a lot of headlines. But Eric Boehm tags something relatively recent: Biden's Dishonest Attempt To Pin Inflation on Putin. Sample (after noting months of people predicting inflation):

    This history matters because the White House's latest attempt to explain away inflation rates that have hit their highest levels in 40 years is to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the war he has started in Ukraine, for the whole mess. After the Labor Department released new data last week showing that inflation had jumped to 7.9 percent over the past year, the White House responded with a statement claiming that "today's inflation report is a reminder that Americans' budgets are being stretched by price increases and families are starting to feel the impacts of Putin's price hike."

    The argument is that Russia's invasion of Ukraine—and the global response to it, which has included cutting off purchases of Russian oil and gas—are pushing prices higher throughout the economy. "Make no mistake, the current spike in gas prices is largely the fault of Vladimir Putin and has nothing to do with the American Rescue Plan," Biden said Friday.

    It's true that gas prices have spiked dramatically in the weeks since Russian troops invaded Ukraine. But Biden's attempt to pin a year of steadily rising prices on the events of the past few weeks makes little sense.

    For one thing, last week's report from the Labor Department showing that inflation had hit 7.9 percent looked at prices from February 2021 through February 2022. Putin's invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, so the White House is asking you to ignore 361 days of data in order to focus on what happened during the last four.

    I seem to wonder a lot lately: is the Biden Administration this stupid, or do they hope we're this stupid?


  • Kevin D. Williamson writes as few can: Russia, Alone

    “The woman’s pelvis had been crushed and her hip detached.”

    I don’t even know what that last part means. I suppose I can imagine a crushed pelvis easily enough. I can’t imagine what a detached hip looks like or feels like.

    The woman in question was famous for a minute. She was a Ukrainian mother who appeared in a famous news photograph. She is dead now. So is the child she was carrying. She was photographed being carried out of that Mariupol maternity hospital that was bombed by Russian troops in Ukraine, one of many examples of the savagery in which the Russians have been engaged. It is tempting to write “sub-human” savagery, but savagery is entirely human. Nobody talks about rattlesnakes or scorpions behaving in a savage fashion — nobody expects them to be anything other than what they are. But we expect more of H. sap. — God knows why.

    “Unidentified bloodied pregnant woman,” one headline called her. She must have had a name.

    Read KDW if you need to be reminded of what Ukrainians are up against.


  • If you're pursuing "justice" that makes everyone who opposes you "villains". Astral Codex Ten notes the proliferation of people demanding/advocating/blathering about "X Justice": Justice Creep

    Helping the poor becomes economic justice. If they’re minorities, then it’s racial justice, itself a subspecies of social justice. Saving the environment becomes environmental justice, except when it’s about climate change in which case it’s climate justice. Caring about young people is actually about fighting for intergenerational justice. The very laws of space and time are subject to spatial justice and temporal justice.

    I can’t find clear evidence on Google Trends that use of these terms is increasing - I just feel like I’ve been hearing them more and more often. Nor can I find a simple story behind why - it’s got to have something to do with Rawls, but I can’t trace any of these back to specific Rawlsian philosophers. Some of it seems to have something to do with Amartya Sen, who I don’t know enough about to have an opinion. But mostly it just seems to be the zeitgeist.

    This is mostly a semantic shift - instead of saying “we should help the poor”, you can say “we should pursue economic justice”. But different framings have slightly different implications and connotations, and it’s worth examining what connotations all this justice talk has.

    With respect to the headline: the article notes (1) "there are 311,000 Google hits for 'climate villains'"; (2) “'getting justice' for a murder involves punishing a suspect a lot more often than it involves resurrecting the victim."