URLs du Jour

2019-04-24

[Amazon Link]

  • I have to give Jacob Sullum an Incomplete for his Reason article: Trump Is a Victim of His Own Dishonesty.

    For two years Donald Trump told us the truth over and over again: Neither he nor his presidential campaign illegally conspired with Russian agents to influence the 2016 election. But Trump also lied to us over and over again, which cast doubt on his assertions of innocence.

    I was never much impressed by the evidence of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia, an allegation that was conclusively debunked by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, which was released by the Justice Department last Thursday. The one thing that made me think there might be something to the conspiracy theory was the fact that Trump kept denying it.

    Why an Incomplete? Because Trump's not just dishonest. He's also authoritarian, boastful, capricious, disloyal, irresponsible, lazy, ignorant, and narcissistic. To name eight. So a more accurate headline would be "Trump Is a Victim of His Many Character Flaws."


  • Of course, Democrats have their own problems. At Inside Sources, Michael Graham wonders: Is "Let The Marathon Bomber Vote!" A Sign of Things to Come for NH Democrats?.

    Republicans have a very simple strategy for 2020: Sit back and watch Democrats go crazy. And so far, Democrats are sticking to the GOP’s preferred script.

    Monday night at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH, several of the 2020 Democrats offered moments straight from a Karl Rove script on “Stuff Democrats say to help elect Republicans.”

    For example, Sen. Bernie Sanders reiterated his longstanding support for allowing criminals to vote while still in prison–including, he acknowledged, Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It’s all part of what Sanders says is “creating a vibrant democracy.”

    Trump's biggest worry: that Bernie will self-destruct too soon.

    But if you'd like to read a libertarian defend Sanders' position, read Joe Seyton at Reason. (And also read the comments.) This is one issue where my Schrödinger-cat oscillation between "libertarian" and "conservative" comes down pretty strongly on "conservative".

    I'm not sure what Kamala Harris's position is right this minute—she's doing her own Schrödinger-cat imitation.


  • Power Line's John Hinderaker tells us that "America’s PAC" has been Banned by Google for Opposing Infanticide. Really? Well, as far as anyone can tell:

    America’s PAC is a conservative political action committee run by Tom Donelson. It produces, among other things, radio and television advertising on behalf of, and in opposition to, politicians. Today America’s PAC revealed that it has been permanently banned from advertising by Google:

    In their on-going corporate campaign against political speech and advertising by Conservatives, Google has permanently suspended Americas PAC’s advertising account saying, “We’ve confirmed that your account is in violation of our Google Ads policies.”

    Google did not cite which, if any, policies Americas PAC supposedly violated.

    “My assumption is that we violated their policy that liberals should never be criticized,” said Tom Donelson, Chairman of Americas PAC. “Or maybe we violated their policy against effective conservative advertising. It is hard to know because they won’t give us a reason.”

    Google’s email made it clear a reason for the suspension would never be given by saying, “Our support team will not be able to give you any more specifics on the suspension.”

    That's impressive opacity (confirmed by a screenshot of Google's message to America’s PAC). You did something we don't like, and we're not going to be specific about what it was, and we're not going to discuss it further, and you have no recourse.


  • At the WaPo, Megan McArdle asks the musical question: Who will really benefit from Warren’s student debt plan?. After a number of practical questions (How will Warren make sure public-college tuition stays at what the federal government is willing to pay? How is Warren going to prevent the overcrowding and deteriorating conditions that tend to afflict free university systems in Europe? How do we pay for it?), Megan makes the point promised by her headline:

    But the biggest question I have is simply: Why spend federal money on this? College graduates are the best-off people in the country, in almost every way. There are probably better candidates for new spending — about two-thirds of the population, in fact.

    The burden of student loans doesn’t even begin to erase the economic benefits of the degree they paid for. Over a lifetime, college graduates will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more than their less-educated peers. Meanwhile, the median student loan balance is around $17,000 — more like “new economy car” than “perpetual debt slavery.” 

    Americans have about $1.1 trillion of outstanding auto debt, not that far from that $1.6 trillion in student loans, but without already-generous government repayment subsidies. If you wouldn’t claim that Toyota Corollas are imposing a grievous, unsupportable burden on the nation’s youth, making it impossible to start a family or buy a home, and generally wrecking the economy, then you probably shouldn’t make similar claims about student loans. And in America, cars are also usually a prerequisite for gainful employment.

    And unlike a lot of higher education, cars are actually useful.