URLs du Jour

2018-10-11

[Amazon Link]

  • Jonah Goldberg, at AEI, has some sage advice: If You Think Our Politics Can’t Get Uglier Than the Kavanaugh Fight, Think Again.

    Confirming Brett Kavanaugh was the best outcome at the end of a hellish decision tree that left the country with no ideal option.

    Reasonable people may differ on that. But what seems more obvious: It’s all going to get worse. Because everyone is taking the wrong lessons from the Kavanaugh debacle.

    Well, not everyone, obviously. Not me. Or Jonah. But…

    Let’s start with the president. In an interview Saturday night on Fox News Channel’s “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” President Trump said that he was the one who “evened the playing field” for Kavanaugh when he mocked Christine Blasey Ford at a Mississippi rally the previous week.

    “Well, there were a lot of things happening that weren’t correct, they weren’t true, and there were a lot of things that were left unsaid,” Trump told host Jeanine Pirro. “It was very unfair to the judge. . . . So I evened the playing field. Once I did that, it started to sail through.”

    As Jonah points out, Trump's description at odds with reality. (And Trump has equally delusional counterparts on the other side.)


  • Speaking of viewpoints at odds with reality, Kevin D. Williamson looks at those on the left at NR: Why the Left Won’t Take Up Originalism.

    To win an election is not sufficient — it is much more satisfying to be revealed as one of the chosen by capital-H History, which progressives always are declaring themselves to be on the right side of. (One of the funny consequences of that is that important progressives such as President Wilson and Senator Russell are read out of the progressives’ historical account of their own movement because of the horrible racial views they held.) To win a political victory is one thing — a relatively petty thing — but to have one’s political will and sense of personal identity revealed as a constituent of the foundational bedrock of the nation, blessed by History itself, is a different kind of thing altogether. And that is what the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court threatened to take away from the Left, which is why their campaign against him was conducted with such hysteria. Some conservatives noted that it resembled religious fervor, but it did not resemble that: It was not something like religious fervor but actual religious fervor, the thing itself.

    Which is to say, the Left will not take up originalism because the political process can give progressives only some of what they want. Democracy may provide the policy outcomes they desire, but progressives desire much more than that. They desire domination for its own sake, as a source of pleasure, and that domination grows more desirable the more closely the instrument of domination resembles a religious body: e.g., wise men in black robes interpreting an occult text inscrutable to the uninitiated, who, being profane and outside the clerisy, cannot read between its lines. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. 

    Amen. (Yes, I had to look it up, good for you if you don't.)


  • Ah, the Google LFOD News Alert rang for a couple items in my local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat. First up is an LTE from self-described octogenarian Peter J. Eldredge of Somersworth: Choice — It’s the ’603 way’.

    The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not long ago decided to remove the option for people with disabilities to freely select to receive their case management (CM) from the same agency that they receive all their other services from. They believe there would be a “conflict of interest” under the present system that has been successfully operating for 40 years or so.

    Peter perceives this as negatively impacting the care of his long-term disabled daughter.

    On the other hand, the rationale behind the new (Obama-era, actually) rule is easy to understand: should the same organization that consumes Medicare/Medicaid cash for services be the same organization that determines what services the patient needs? Um… given the reported levels of Medicaid fraud saying no doesn't sound unreasonable.

    Anyway, where's the LFOD? Ah, here it is:

    New Hampshire is noted for allowing choice in not only these circumstances but in most of everything we undertake. We are the “live free or die” state. What is happening to “freedom of choice”? What is happening to “give me liberty or give me death”? I don’t believe we should allow the federal government to trample all over our hard-earned liberties and rights. Thank you Governor Sununu for taking a firm stand in favor of maintaining NH’s right to make our own decisions that affect NH’s citizens. After all, it’s the “603 way”

    Geez, give me a fiscal break here, Peter. This is like those Tea Partiers who (allegedly) demanded that their representatives "Keep your government hands off my Medicare". You take their money, you play by their rules.


  • The other LFOD-invoking item is an op-ed from Douglas Darrell ("a New Hampshire Community Rights Network board member"): Corporate personhood dilutes NH’s Bill of Rights. A promising beginning:

    All people are born with inalienable rights — the right to practice one’s chosen religion, to exercise free speech, etc. These rights define our personhood and cannot be transferred from person to person; they are inherent. They are also the core of our country’s founding principles and the riveting power behind the phrase “We the People”: each person is created equal and deserves the same human and legal rights.

    But then it all falls apart:

    However, courts have dictated that corporations have the same ‘personhood.’ Their rulings have applied the rights of a single human to the conglomerate of individuals who make up a corporation. In other words, by virtue of individuals in a corporation having inalienable rights, the corporation has these same rights, even though, by definition, inalienable rights aren’t transferable.

    These claimed corporate ‘rights’ were first recognized in 1886′s State of California vs. Southern Pacific Railroad Supreme Court decision. Despite dissenting opinions, presiding Justice Waite stated that corporations “are guaranteed the property right written in the 14th Amendment.” Over the next 30 years, the 14th amendment was used less than 20 times to defend the rights of freed slaves and over 200 times to defend the property rights of corporations.

    This description of "corporate personhood" doesn't survive even a cursory glance at (say) the relevant Wikipedia page. (For example: Douglas ignores the close-to-home case of Dartmouth College v. Woodward.)

    But LFOD?

    Put another way, we don’t live free or die because despite our New Hampshire Bill of Rights declaring the unconstitutionality of it, the reality of New Hampshire residents is that corporations now have equal and even more standing than we do: 1) state preemption disallows citizens from elevating their rights above those of corporate claimed rights; 2) if citizens sue a corporation for harms its project has exacted on their community, the corporation’s project permit is recognized as an individual’s legal property, and corporate ‘personhood’ is allowed to undermine our attempt to collectively exercise individual rights in the municipalities where we live.

    Note the oxymoronic phraseology of "our attempt to collectively exercise individual rights". The bottom-line deal is (as near as I can tell) to strengthen the hand of local politicians to hassle and obstruct companies.


  • Recommended reading for Doug and others is Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason: Publicly Traded Companies Are Still Private Property.

    The first week of September saw the heads of tech companies hauled to Capitol Hill yet again to explain themselves to a bunch of grumpy senators. Whenever this happens, the hearing inevitably begins with hours of bloviation about "the public interest" before someone raises the idea that social media sites should be treated "like public utilities." Rep. Steve King (R–Iowa) is a big fan of this line of questioning, raising it in the previous go-round with Google in July: "What about converting the large behemoth organizations that we're talking about here into public utilities?"

    The notion that Twitter or Google are as vital to American citizens as water and electricity—and therefore must be subject to a much higher level of government scrutiny and regulation, or perhaps even government ownership—is misbegotten on several fronts. But at the root of the whole debate is a conflation of different definitions of the word public. Sometimes it means "of the state," as in public sector or public school; other times it means "for general use or benefit," as in public square, public accommodation, or the public good. But often it describes something that is clearly private property but just so happens to have members of the general public as shareholders, as in publicly held or publicly traded.

    I'm sure the Town of Rollinsford NH is eagerly awaiting its chance to sue Google/Twitter/Facebook for some hoked-up charge for "harms" exacted on our community. We might shake a few million out of them.


Last Modified 2018-10-13 5:29 AM EST