URLs du Jour

2018-08-22

[Amazon Link]

  • In Proverbs 9:7-9 the Proverbialst has advice on how to deal with members of disfavored groups.

    7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
        whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
    8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
        rebuke the wise and they will love you.
    9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
        teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

    In other words, don't bother trying to fix broken people. I wonder what the Proverbialist would have thought about the equivalent wisdom, expressed more metaphorically and amusingly, in our Amazon Product du Jour?


  • Betsy Newmark, a high school teacher down in North Carolina, makes sharp and nearly-always correct observations in her blog, Betsy's Page.

    (We agree on so much that when we disagree, my default assumption is that I'm probably the one who's wrong.)

    And her usual daily article, "Cruising the Web", is (like my "URLs du Jour") a collection of stuff she finds of interest. I like her comments on the legal woes of two of members the President's ex-entourage:

    Is anyone really surprised by any of this? It was clear from the moment his name surfaced as Trump's campaign manager that Paul Manafort was a deeply problematic guy. He had a lot of connections to very bad people so I'm not feeling sorry for him even though it's probably true that he wouldn't have been prosecuted for any of this if he hadn't signed on to the Trump campaign.

    And Michael Cohen seems to have been the very sleaziest of lawyers. And did anyone really believe that Trump hadn't used Cohen to pay off two women he'd slept with? I guess the campaign finance violations will give Democrats a hook to pin "high crimes and misdemeanors" on as they work to impeach him if they gain control of the House. If that is what they end up going after him on, it will seem pretty small beer next to all the rants about treason and collusion with Russia to steal an election that we've been hurting. But Mueller isn't done and he can still work to flip Manafort. Trump supporters who are pooh poohing yesterday's events may just be whistling past the graveyard. I'm just struck how unsurprising I found it all. We knew that Trump's big attraction was his reality-show background and feistiness in fighting back against his enemies. We also knew that he had an immoral history in his relations with women. He bragged about it all the time on Howard Stern. We know he cheated on his other wives. We heard his voice on the Access Hollywood tape. His cheating on Melania right after their son was born doesn't seem like a stretch for his standards of moral turpitude.

    It shouldn't be surprising that corrupt sleazeballs tend to attract corrupt sleazeballs.

    Worse than JFK? LBJ? Nixon? Hillary? Hard to say. I wish Mitt Romney was in his second term.


  • Or I wish Bobby Jindal was in his first term. Or any one of the other N candidates that GOP voters disdained in 2016. Bobby writes in NR about Preventing Single-Payer.

    Republicans’ failure to address health-care costs led to Obamacare, and their failure to act today will result in a single-payer system. Democrats point to the supposedly existential threat of climate change and the nation’s allegedly inhumane immigration system as reasons to give them control of Congress this November. Yet their failure to prioritize these issues and pass legislation when they controlled the White House, the Senate, and the House during Obama’s first two years in office belie their seriousness. Republicans are currently demonstrating a similar hypocrisy by failing to act on their supposed political priorities, including repealing Obamacare and reducing federal spending and borrowing. Even more dangerously, Republican failure to advance significant conservative solutions to the problems voters care about is setting the stage for Democratic overreach.

    Merely enacting temporary tax cuts and repealing some of Obama’s regulations will slow down, but not reverse, the expanding role of government. Reagan was the last Republican president to disrupt the march of progressivism; the Gingrich Congress’s welfare reform was the last significant victory. A majority of voters still prefer effective conservative market-based solutions to their real-world problems, but they will settle for government subsidies and dictates as a second-best solution if Republicans fail to offer an alternative. Republicans’ failure to address rising health-care costs when they were last in the majority led directly to Obamacare, and their failure to act today will result in a single-payer system. It all seems fine now, but remember this moment if and when we get single-payer.

    In addition to his character flaws, Trump is seems profoundly uninterested in formulating and arguing for policy; he'd rather tweet semi-coherently against his perceived enemies of the moment.


  • We could bemoan the sad state of GOP/Democrat affairs. Or, like J.D. Tuccille at Reason, we could say Dear Democrats and Republicans, Please Keep Tearing Down Your Government.

    Anybody expecting respect for the overall government to survive current leadership unscathed is dreaming. And as somebody who considers government little more than a dangerous weapon in the hands of competing tribes of control freaks, all I can say is: More, please.

    I can see downsides. But J.D. has a point.


  • At the Hoover Institute, Richard A. Epstein writes on Elizabeth Warren’s Surreptitious Socialism. Only quibble is with the "surreptitious" adjective. We all know the details by now, let's get to just one of the obvious drawbacks:

    The most obvious problem with Warren’s proposal is that it would likely lead to the largest flight of capital from the United States in history. Foreign investors will see little reason to put their wealth at the mercy of some crusading federal board that can override a company’s board of directors. Current covered American corporations would have powerful incentives to dump assets or relocate overseas. Make no mistake about it, her proposal calls for the outright confiscation of wealth through the nationalization of corporate boards that would be forever beholden to political figures. Surreptitious socialism turns out to be her way of saving capitalism. And for the worst of all reasons.

    Epstein believes that Warren's proposal is also unconstitutional based on the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions. But that seems to be a slim and uncertain reed to hang on.


  • Our Google LFOD News Alert rang for a New York Times article about a candidate to replace my current CongressCritter/Toothache with a full-fledged abscess: Levi Sanders Is Not His Father. He Keeps Telling That to Voters. The reporter, Sydney Ember, does not shy away from an unflattering anecdote:

    LACONIA, N.H. — That Sanders fellow was shouting again.

    Earlier in the evening at a campaign forum here, he had yelled, unprompted, about Medicare for all. During his introductory statement, he had bellowed about dentures.

    Now, as the audience groaned at his attacks on other candidates, he snapped.

    “Excuse me! Excuse me!” he thundered. “I’m here to talk, O.K.?”

    The moderator threatened to turn his microphone off. And then Levi Sanders — the son of the Vermont senator this neighboring state knows well — shouted some more.

    But LFOD? Well, it's the reporter's way of not repeating "New Hampshire":

    “I’m not a clone of my father,” he said in a late-night interview after the forum earlier this month. His shirt was rumpled. He looked weary.

    But with just weeks to go until his primary in the First District, Mr. Sanders, 49, still cannot avoid comparisons to his father, Bernie Sanders. His father, who won the 2016 presidential primary in this Live Free or Die state by 22 points. His father, whose booming, sometimes bellicose style on the stump seems to have rubbed off on his son.

    The article also points to Levi's website, which (as I type) features a background pic of Bernie and Levi, with Bernie prominent on the left side, and (depending on the geometry of your browser window) obscured on the right.

    And—very bad sign here—the "Upcoming Events" list on the page only has events from a couple weeks ago.