URLs du Jour

2017-01-19

Ah, Inauguration Eve.

  • Apparently The American Interest website allows non-subscribers only one free article per month. Unless you're familiar with cookie surgery. But whether you are or not, I suggest you spend it on Elliot A. Cohen's "Truth in the Age of Trump". Cohen notes, correctly, that conservatives (which I am, around half the time) have a special responsibility to call out Trump on his lies. And, make no mistake, Trump will be a target-rich environment:

    Trump lies because it is in his nature to lie. One suspects that there is nothing inside this man that quivers, however slightly, at an untruth. It is not uncommon for politicians, to a greater extent than most people, to believe what they want to believe, or to change their take on reality depending on what is convenient for them. With Trump, however, this will to believe is pathological: his psyche is so completely besotted by Trump that there is no room for anything, or anybody else.

    Trump is pissing off "the right people". We can take whatever comfort we can from that. It's fun and somewhat useful to hoist those folks on their own petards. But—I've said this before—schadenfreude is not something on which you want to anchor your intellectual life.

  • But that doesn't mean we can't kick around Obama's on-my-way-out-the-door-so-who-gives-a-shit moves. At Reason, Andrew P. Napolitano notes "President Obama's Parting Shot at Personal Freedom"

    On Jan. 3, outgoing Attorney General Loretta Lynch secretly signed an order directing the National Security Agency — America's 60,000-person-strong domestic spying apparatus — to make available raw spying data to all other federal intelligence agencies, which then can pass it on to their counterparts in foreign countries and in the 50 states upon request. She did so, she claimed, for administrative convenience. Yet in doing this, she violated basic constitutional principles that were erected centuries ago to prevent just what she did.

    Yeah, bad idea. There are a lot of Obama decrees that Trump could un-decree, but I fear this won't be one of them.

  • Ever wonder why liberals just love to set terrorists free? Find out at the New York Post, where Bob McManus reveals "Why liberals just love to set terrorists free". The occasion is (1) Obama's commutation of the life sentence of Puerto Rican nationalist-terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera, and (2) NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's early release of Weather Underground conspirator Judith Clark. Both with body counts to their credit. Why?

    To wit, in Progressiveland, some lives matter more than others; that dead and maimed cops and unlucky bystanders matter less than justly convicted and incarcerated radicals — and that in the final analysis benevolent government is meant to stand with the bad guys. (And gals, as the case may be. Isn’t everybody a victim these days?)

    Clark and Rivera should have been left to rot. Maybe sharing a cell with Bradley/"Chelsea" Manning.

  • Megan McArdle discusses the Obamacare "death spiral", worthwhile reading as Trump and Congress fumble their way through "repeal and replace". Megan is pessimistic about that process:

    In a normal administration, we could make at least some broad predictions about where health-insurance policy was likely to end up in six months. But at this point, any number of wildly divergent scenarios seems possible. Congress could repeal the whole thing -- or just the subsidies and the individual mandate. This would unquestionably send the market into a death spiral.

    The big unknown is just how much of a loose cannon Trump is going to be. That uncertainty is itself contributory to possible disaster.

  • My esteemed Congresscritter tweets a smear:

    The company in question is Zimmer Biomet, which makes knee and hip implants. Power Line notes the problem with the alleged timeline, credited to the Trump transition team:

    Why this is a non-issue: (a) the account (and the associated purchase) was broker-directed, not directed by Dr. Price; (b) the extremely small purchase of Biomet was part of a larger portfolio rebalancing of Dr. Price’s portfolio (which involved the sale and purchase of dozens of stocks in a wide variety of sectors – again directed and chosen by the broker); (c) Dr. Price did not become aware of the stock purchase until 4/4/16 (as noted in the timeline) – a date well after the bill in question in the CNN story was introduced; and (d) Dr. Price was engaged on the general issues involved in this legislation dating back to 2015 (as described below), including putting out a Dear Colleague letter to that effect in September 2015.

    And at the WSJ, the editors note:

    […] the Zimmer Biomet purchase was made by Mr. Price’s Morgan Stanley broker and became known to him only for financial-disclosure compliance. The broker bought 26 shares whose total value has risen by about $300 in the months since. If Mr. Price really is self-dealing, he’s doing a lousy job.

    The WSJ recommends that all elected pols, Democrat and Republican, direct their stock investment into index funds. (That's a decent idea for anyone, by the way.)

  • And your tweet du jour, on the Supreme Court case on whether the Asian-American band "The Slants" can be denied a trademark on their name because of "disparagement":