URLs du Jour

2019-04-12

[Amazon Link]

  • My new Congresscritter, Chris Pappas, tweeted incessantly about his support for H.R. 1, the "For the People Act" At NR, Akhil Rajasekar and Bradley A. Smith note its nasty heritage: Democrats’ ‘For the People Act’: McCarthyist Disclosure Requirements.

    Longstanding federal law requires disclosure of the names, amounts, employment, and addresses of contributors to candidates’ campaigns. Through H.R. 1, however, Democrats seek new, unprecedented disclosure of citizen support for non-profit advocacy groups, think tanks, trade and professional associations, and charities if those organizations should — even months and sometimes years after the contribution is made — make public communications that might be deemed to “promote, support, attack, or oppose” a politician. This definition would subsume communications that, say, criticize a politician’s vote on a bill or question a candidate’s ethics. It would include most discussion of public affairs.

    But is that a good thing? Nay, say Smith and Rajasekar (which, come to think of it, would be a pretty good title for a 1970s buddy cop show):

    Indeed, as a matter of first principle, we should question whether people are entitled to knowledge of others’ political associations and contacts. It is often argued that people have a right to know who is trying to influence them. In fact, as a general rule, they don’t. People have a right to participate in public affairs, but they have no right to know the details of how their fellow citizens, or groups of voluntarily associated citizens, choose to exercise that right. We have made a narrow exception to that general rule for speech that specifically advocates the election or defeat of a candidate, and for contributions to fund a candidate’s own campaign. But we have never accepted that the government — or our neighbors — have a broad right to know about our political activities.

    I occasionally have a morbid interest in those sorts of things, but (I admit) it's not particularly admirable. Especially in these days of political purity tests for employment in some fields, it's a good idea to keep these things private.


  • Who could be against something called the "Violence Against Women Act"? Answer: the NRA. And guess what? According to Jacob Sullum at Reason: The NRA Is Right About the Violence Against Women Act.

    After the National Rifle Association urged legislators to oppose the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that the House approved last week, Amy Klobuchar said the organization had shown its true colors. The Minnesota senator, who is seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, claimed the NRA's position "shows where they are when it comes to safety and when it comes to protecting women."

    The NRA, in other words, does not care about violence against women, or at least it does not care enough to accept the new gun control provisions in the House version of the bill. This blithe dismissal of the NRA's legitimate complaints about those provisions makes Klobuchar, a former prosecutor, sound like an authoritarian demagogue who equates concern about civil liberties with indifference to crime.

    Both New Hampshire Congresscritters (of course) voted for the legislation. In fact they were both co-sponsors. But the legislation allows gun-grabbing based on some pretty flimsy pretexts. And so:

    This casual disregard for civil liberties is reminiscent of Donald Trump's recommendation, during a meeting last year with members of Congress, that police should "take the guns first, go through due process second." When it comes to sacrificing constitutional rights in the name of public safety, Democrats see eye to eye with the president.

    And, lest there be any mistake: that's not a good thing to see.


  • Another bit of stupid legislation made its way through the House with (again) co-sponsorship and votes from both New Hampshire Congresscritters. Bret Swanson tells the never-ending story of The never-ending neutrality pageant at AEI.

    Honey, do we really have to sit through this one again?

    We’ve been watching the same performance for nearly two decades. And some of us have tired of the amateur computer science and rehashed melodramatic outrage. We know the ending, too. Despite the act — a bill passed this week by the House of Representatives to regulate broadband networks like public utilities — the internet is already free, open, and prosperous. Most people understand that’s precisely because we didn’t regulate it like a utility.

    Swanson notes the shifting rationales, failed predictions, and moving goalposts of the Net-Neut advocates. Leaving one to assume that their true goal is both cynical and simple: "to gain broad governmental control of the internet."


  • James Freeman (at the possibly-paywalled WSJ) asks the headline question: Would Patients Be Able to Escape BernieCare? And guess what? It obeys Betteridge's law of headlines: "For all but a very few, the answer is no."

    On Wednesday Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist, Vt.) rolled out this year’s version of his draft legislation to abolish traditional Medicare. He calls it “Medicare for All” because polls tell him that voters don’t want to abolish traditional Medicare. Voters also don’t want him to destroy the U.S. system of private medical insurance, but his plan would do that, too. A key question raised by the new bill is whether patients, doctors and nurses would be able to escape the new government-run system when it fails to provide needed care—as such systems always do.

    Calling it “Medicare for All” is not the only deception. One section of his bill, entitled “Freedom of Choice,” includes the following text:

    Any individual entitled to benefits under this Act may obtain health services from any institution, agency, or individual qualified to participate under this Act.

    In other words, you are free to choose any doctor the federal government allows you to choose. On at least one point, Mr. Sanders is being honest. He’s not even trying to sell the Obama whopper that patients will get to keep the plans and the doctors they like.

    And guess what? Neither New Hampshire Senator is co-sponsoring, at least not yet. Presidential candidates that are co-sponsoring are Kamala, Spartacus, Fauxcahontas, and Kirsten "Tactile" Gillibrand.

  • Which brings us to Mr. Ramirez:

    Worth a thousand words? Probably more than that.