URLs du Jour

2017-05-24

Proverbs 26:28 is unfond of flattery and lying:

28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
    and a flattering mouth works ruin.

You put a lying tongue in a flattering mouth, and … you get your average politician.

■ A twofer on my LFOD Google Alert today. First, Bud's New Camo Bottles Will Be Hard to Miss on Store Shelves. Why is that? Well, because they'll be on your store's shelves, not hidden in foliage. Duh.

The LFOD bit is a different marketing effort:

Separately, the brewer appears poised to roll out packaging highlighting the names of states where it is brewed. The brewer has sought and gained regulatory approval for individual labels carrying names including New York, Missouri, Ohio, California, Colorado, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida and Texas. […] Each state label carries a unique saying, such as "live free or die" for New Hampshire, according to filings with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

I don't usually buy Budweiser, but I may make an exception here.

■ The second alert was caused by a Union Leader LTE from Portsmouth's Zorana Pringle, writing in opposition to the anti-voter-fraud measure in the NH legislative process: Protect voting rights.

The right to vote is at the heart of democracy. Yet, Republican lawmakers across the country are trying to curb citizens’ ability to vote. The Supreme Court helped put an end to the restrictive voter ID law in North Carolina that primarily affected minority voters. Now the right to vote is at risk in the Live Free or Die state, too.

If you subscribe to a New Hampshire newspaper, I bet you're seeing similar. A counterpoint and a link to the bill info is here.

Does Ms. Pringle think that anyone who happens to be in New Hampshire on an election day should be allowed to vote? As near as I can tell, the answer is yes.

■ Cato's Daniel J. Mitchell enumerates: The Five Most Important Takeaways from Trump’s Budget.

It’s both amusing and frustrating to observe the reaction to President Trump’s budget.

I’m amused that it is generating wild-eyed hysterics from interest groups who want us to believe the world is about to end.

But I’m frustrated because I’m reminded of the terribly dishonest way that budgets are debated and discussed in Washington. Simply stated, almost everyone starts with a “baseline” of big, pre-determined annual spending increases and they whine and wail about “cuts” if spending doesn’t climb as fast as previously assumed.

Mr. Mitchell's first two takeaways: (1) the proposed budget "cuts" will result in $5.71 Trillion spending in 2027, compared to $4.06 Trillion in 2017. (2) This reflects a spending growth rate of 3.5% per year.

Dishonest doesn't begin to cover it.

■ But not everyone is enraptured with the Trump Budget. For example, KDW@NR thinks it heralds The Return of the Naïve Supply-Sider.

President Donald J. Trump has produced a very silly budget proposal. Thankfully, presidential budget proposals have all the effect of a mouse passing gas in a hurricane — Congress, not the president, actually appropriates funds and writes the tax code.

Presidential budget proposals are not received as actual fiscal blueprints but as statements of priorities, and so we must conclude that President Trump’s top priority is refusing to deal with reality.

Here’s the situation: About 80 percent of federal spending is consumed by five things: 1. National defense; 2. Social Security; 3. Medicare; 4. Medicaid and other related health-care benefits; 5. Interest on the debt. President Trump wants to increase spending on defense by about 10 percent while shielding Social Security and Medicare from cuts. Short of a default, he doesn’t have any choice but to pay the interest on the debt. So that leaves things pretty tight.

On top of that, he wants to pass what he boasts is one of the largest tax cuts in history . . . and balance the budget.

KDW's recipe for fiscal responsibility is simple: "genuine tax reform that is something close to revenue-neutral, significant entitlement reforms that will be politically unpopular, and defense spending that is flat or slightly lower." But that sort of sanity is unpopular in DC.

■ At Reason, Jacob Sullum asks: Did Trump Know Enough to Obstruct Justice?

[Generally, when the question is "Did Trump know enough to X?" the safe way to bet is "Ha! No."]

For almost a year, Donald Trump has been complaining that FBI Director James Comey gave Hillary Clinton "a free pass for many bad deeds," as the president recently put it on Twitter. Trump thinks his opponent in last year's presidential election should have been prosecuted for her loose email practices as secretary of state, even if she did not deliberately expose classified information.

The president might want to reconsider that hardline attitude. The reason Comey cited for not recommending charges against Clinton—a lack of criminal intent—could prove crucial in rebutting the allegation that Trump obstructed justice by trying to impede the FBI's investigation of ties between his associates and the Russian government.

Always willing to help, I offer something the President could practice with:

■ On more somber notes: if you don't do a lot of blog-hopping, JVW at Patterico's Pontifications offers a good Round-Up of Opinion, Post-Manchester. Example, Brendan O'Neil:

After the terror, the platitudes. And the hashtags. And the candlelit vigils. And they always have the same message: ‘Be unified. Feel love. Don’t give in to hate.’ The banalities roll off the national tongue. Vapidity abounds. A shallow fetishisation of ‘togetherness’ takes the place of any articulation of what we should be together for – and against. And so it has been after the barbarism in Manchester. In response to the deaths of more than 20 people at an Ariana Grande gig, in response to the massacre of children enjoying pop music, people effectively say: ‘All you need is love.’ The disparity between these horrors and our response to them, between what happened and what we say, is vast. This has to change.

But, sorry, this will not change.


Last Modified 2017-05-25 3:55 PM EDT