URLs du Jour


  • Betteridge's Law of Headlines maybe applies. Matt Taibbi asks a provocative (and, I assume, tongue-in-cheek) question: Shouldn't Hillary Clinton Be Banned From Twitter Now? And leads off with a video:

    Last week, in the trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis asked ex-campaign manager Robby Mook about the decision to share with a reporter a bogus story about Donald Trump and Russia’s Alfa Bank. Mook answered by giving up his onetime boss. “I discussed it with Hillary,” he said, describing his pitch to the candidate: “Hey, you know, we have this, and we want to share it with a reporter… She agreed to that.”

    In a country with a functioning media system, this would have been a huge story. Obviously this isn’t Watergate, Hillary Clinton was never president, and Sussmann’s trial doesn’t equate to prosecutions of people like Chuck Colson or Gordon Liddy. But as we’ve slowly been learning for years, a massive fraud was perpetrated on the public with Russiagate, and Mook’s testimony added a substantial piece of the picture, implicating one of the country’s most prominent politicians in one of the more ambitious disinformation campaigns we’ve seen.

    There are two reasons the Clinton story isn’t a bigger one in the public consciousness. One is admitting the enormity of what took place would require system-wide admissions by the FBI, the CIA, and, as Matt Orfalea’s damning video above shows, virtually every major news media organization in America.

    The other is an quirk of language: there's no convenient, punchy "term for the offense Democrats committed in 2016".

    In a saner world, we'd have apologies and terminations of employment. Probably there are still millions of MSNBC viewers, ensconced in their media bubble, who think that Trump really was a Manchurian candidate, controlled by shadowy Russkies.

    The truth was Badenov. (Ha. Get it?)

  • If it weren't for double standards… Universities would have no standards at all. Daniel J. Smith tells his tale: The Academy Doesn’t Mind Harassment When It Targets the Right.

    University faculty should not be the victims of targeted harassment. Emotional stress and fear can have a chilling effect on open inquiry by discouraging scholars from engaging in policy-relevant research. Unfortunately, the academy is selective in who it protects from harassment. While progressive scholars are shielded, faculty on the right are made the target of public ire. 

    I know this from experience. I was the victim of a well-organized campaign of targeted harassment from a viral mob intent on silencing me through sanction and fear, ultimately leading to my departure from a tenured position — and all because of my research on Alabama’s need for pension reform.

    I co-authored a study published by the Mercatus Center that found the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), like many other public pension systems, was using optimistic assumptions and risky investments to conceal the fact that their promises to public employees were underfunded. The research ultimately led to a co-authored book published in a series by Cambridge University Press. Our current economic circumstances have certainly demonstrated the risk of public pensions betting on consistently achieving unrealistically high rates of return. 

    Smith describes the harassment in some detail. Most infuriating: the AAUP refused to get involved. In fact, they stacked the deck with lefties who only see academic freedom menace from the right.

  • Other than that, though, it's fine. Charles C. W. Cooke has two minor criticisms of Biden's student loan "forgiveness": Student-Loan Forgiveness Is Illegal and Politically Suicidal.

    If the Washington Post is to be believed, Joe Biden is about to desecrate his oath of office in order to engage in an act of wanton political suicide that, in addition to making a mockery of his vow to uphold the law, will pit American against American, increase partisan resentments, further damage our already debilitated lawmaking process, and haunt the reputation and fortune of the arthritic Democratic Party for many years to come:

    The White House’s latest plans called for limiting debt forgiveness to Americans who earned less than $150,000 in the previous year, or less than $300,000 for married couples filing jointly, two of the people said. It was unclear whether the administration will simultaneously require interest and payments to resume at the end of August, when the current pause is scheduled to lapse.

    This is illegal, and Biden knows it. The executive branch has no generalized power to forgive any amount of student debt for debt-holders of any income group. Asked about the idea last year, Nancy Pelosi confirmed simply that “the president can’t do it. That’s not even a discussion.” Do you know how patently illegal something has to be for Nancy Pelosi to acknowledge it’s illegal? The Department of Education came to the same verdict, determining that the executive branch “does not have the statutory authority to cancel, compromise, discharge, or forgive, on a blanket or mass basis, principal balances of student loans, and/or to materially modify the repayment amounts or terms thereof.” Put simply: If Biden wants to do this, he must get Congress to agree. If he tries to bypass Congress to do it anyway, the courts must stop him. And if they don’t, he must be impeached.

    My only quibble: calling it "forgiveness" is giving too much rhetorical ground. As Peter Suderman called it last month: it's a massive, illegal handout to the well-off.

  • Profiles in cowardice. Robby Soave details the story I initially thought had to be disinformation: While Dying Children Called 911 for Help, 19 Uvalde Police Waited in the Hallway. For 45 Minutes..

    With the shooter trapped in a classroom, the Uvalde police considered him "a barricaded subject" and believed "there were no more children at risk," Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in a press conference on Friday. When pushed, he admitted that this assessment was wrong.

    It was catastrophically wrong.

    In fact, while 19 police officers dawdled in the hallway, the children trapped in the classroom with the shooter frantically cried for help and called 911, explicitly stating that some were dead but others were still alive. As that was happening, the Uvalde police not only stood back—they actively prevented a Border Patrol tactical unit from trying to enter the classroom.

    I have no words other than "disgust".

  • I used to like D'Souza. Sigh. Eli Lake looks at Dinesh D'Souza's latest effort at career self-immolation: the Trump-wuz-robbed "documentary" ‘2000 Mules’.

    Since Americans elected Joe Biden in 2020, Donald Trump and his supporters have cycled through several theories to explain how the election was stolen. There was the theory that mail-in voting at such a scale was an invitation for fraud. There was the theory (sometimes known as "the Kraken") that Venezuelan voting software had been rigged to fix vote totals. There was the theory that poll workers in swing states inexplicably stopped counting votes on election night in order to inflate the totals with illegal ballots, and so on.

    Enter Dinesh D'Souza. His new documentary, 2000 Mules, purports to explain through the analysis of cell phone geolocation data how the Democratic Party stole the presidency. Here's how it allegedly worked. Nonprofit groups (we are never told which ones) hired volunteers to collect ballots for Biden, and then deliver an average five or so ballots at a time to drop boxes established for the 2020 election due to the raging COVID pandemic.

    Lake's bottom line: D'Souza "is a man, like Trump, willing to peddle innuendo and insinuation and pretend it's proof of electoral larceny because he knows there are millions of people who just want to hear someone tell them what they think they already know. "

    I know some people like that.