URLs du Jour

2022-04-05

  • Shut up and sing. At Cato, Paul Matzko is Playing Three Lies and a Truth with Bette Midler on the Fairness Doctrine. Based off this recent tweet from the songstress:

    Bad news, Bette. Matzko has written a book about the Fairness Doctrine.

    As I’ve written elsewhere, the Fairness Doctrine was responsible for one of the most successful episodes of government censorship in US history. The Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations each weaponized the rules to punish their political opponents, especially those in conservative radio broadcasting. However, the image Midler shared is particularly notable in both the ways that it is incorrect and what that says about growing public openness to government regulation of media.

    I have promised a truth and three lies, so let’s start with the truth, that the Fairness Doctrine was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It was an attempt by the Commission to solve a problem of its own creation. It wanted to remove the chilling effect created by prior regulations, encourage broadcasters to air content about “controversial issues of public importance,” and to do so without unbalanced editorializing of the personal views of the broadcaster.

    Click over for details, but the lies are rife: (1) the doctrine wasn't codified until 1959, and not enforced until 1963 (when JFK leaned on the FCC); (2) the doctrine was on its way out under Jimmy Carter (although Reagan helped its demise); (3) the doctrine was not about maintaining "truth".

    And I'd add: (4) we don't need it back. In fact, we should just get rid of the FCC.


  • A bad idea returns, and will be worse this time around. As I keep reminding people, I was in the room (the Granite State Room, actually) when then-Veep Joe Biden announced the infamous new "Title IX" regulations aimed at protecting the fairer sex at American universities. That was (almost exactly) 11 years ago.

    I was way too kind back then. The effect of those "Dear Colleague" rules was primarily to erode due process for men accused of sex-related misbehavior. The rules were heavily revised by Trump Administration and then-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

    But now, as reported by the FederalistBiden To Demand Colleges Erase Women's Sports And Free Speech.

    The rule changes will have seismic implications, setting off not just state versus federal showdowns over state laws barring biological males from competing in women’s sports, but also how college campuses handle sexual harassment charges and due process.

    While these changes have been anticipated since Biden took office, last week the Washington Post reported the first look at a draft copy of the proposed language, which includes this key sentence:

    Discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

    The Post also reported that Biden’s DOE plans to rewrite rules established by President Donald Trump’s DOE, under former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, that required schools to recognize the presumption of innocence for those accused of sexual harassment or assault.

    It's safe to assume it will be deemed "harassment" if someone expresses the repeated opinion that guys should not be on the women's swim team.


  • [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer] It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. The Power Line proprietors offer a guest spot to David Horowitz, whose task du jour is Understanding the Progressive Mind. He's not a fan.

    Everyone in Washington understands the basic causes of inflation. If you print more money than you have real assets like gold to back it up, you devalue your currency and make everything cost more. If you declare war on fossil fuels, shut down pipelines, close vast oil fields like ANWR, and don’t approve drilling licenses generally, you cause the price of everything to go up, because virtually everything requires energy to produce. If you spend vast amounts of government money inducing individuals not to work, employers will raise wages to entice them to work, and that, too, will cause prices to go up. It’s not rocket science.

    Despite understanding these consequences, the Biden administration has instituted all these inflationary measures, and avoided taking responsibility for them and the suffering they cause. They did this to advance their progressive agenda, which is really a reactionary socialist agenda that has not changed its fundamental premises since 1848, when Marx published what is and has always been the progressive agenda. The Biden reactionaries denied their responsibility for the costly and dangerous inflation their policies have created in the way they normally cover up their assaults on the public – with two obvious lies. First by claiming that the inflation was “transitory,” and then by blaming it on Vladimir Putin – calling it “Putin’s price hike.” The brazen character of these lies and the fact that Biden has kept repeating them in the face of devastating refutations reflects the fact that the Democrats know full well what they are doing, which is stoking the fires of a volatile inflation which is causing profound hardship to the very constituencies they pretend to care about – people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.

    I'm currently reading Progressivism: The Strange History of a Radical Idea by Bradley C. S. Watson; I think Horowitz is failing to make some relevant distinctions.

    But I'm in broad agreement that leftists do a very good job of aggressively claiming good labels for their beliefs. As here. Who except knuckle-dragging troglodytes could possibly be against "progress"?


  • Spot the musical reference. I don't know who wrote the genius headline for Ed Gresser's WSJ column about the US tariff system, but I like it a lot: I’ll Tax Your Feet.

    If you get irate over income or property taxes, don’t look down at your feet. You’ll feel worse if you do, because the costs that go into many Americans’ shoes contain the country’s most unfair taxes.

    The American tariff system rarely draws attention. The Trump-era tariffs on metals and Chinese goods were unusual. They were hotly debated, drew foreign retaliation, and raised prices on many consumer goods and industrial inputs.

    Those who investigate the permanent tariff system find a few predictable things: Tariffs are an inefficient form of tax that enable price increases without increasing supply or affecting demand, and they are a relatively small revenue source for the U.S. at about $85 billion in 2021. But they also find something both startling and grating: Tariffs are easily the most regressive of all U.S. taxes, forcing the poor to pay more than anyone else.

    Fun fact: "A lawyer in dress leathers unwittingly pays an 8.5% tariff and a college student in elite running shoes pays 20%, but a maid in a cheap pair of sneakers imported for $3 or less pays an extraordinary 48%."

    For you youngsters, the headline is from the 1966 Beatles song "Taxman" by George Harrison, a gripe about the high marginal tax rates in the UK of the day. Lyric:

    Let me tell you how it will be,
    There's one for you, nineteen for me,
    Cause I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don't take it all,
    Cause I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
    If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat,
    If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat,
    If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
    Taxman.
    Cause I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    Don't ask me what I want it for
    (Taxman Mister Wilson)
    If you don't want to pay some more
    (Taxman Mister Heath),
    Cause I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    Now my advice for those who die,
    Declare the pennies on your eyes,
    Cause I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    And you're working for no-one but me,
    Taxman.

    I think it's the most libertarian song the Beatles made.