URLs du Jour

2019-05-08

[Amazon Link]

  • Veronique de Rugy got into the NYT with her anti-Trump column: Corporate Welfare Wins Again in Trump’s Washington. And that would seem to be in line with our Amazon Product du Jour! Except it's not that simple:

    Fools like me who believed that President Trump would “drain the swamp” in Washington have been enduring one disappointment after another. For the latest, he has exerted political pressure so the swampiest agency in town, the Export-Import Bank, can be restored to its full potential.

    For nearly four years the Senate leadership blocked confirmation votes to fill the vacancies on Ex-Im’s board, depriving it of the quorum needed to authorize deals over $10 million. Sadly, Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell and with the help of nearly all Democrats, are expected to end their blockage this week by confirming Kimberly Reed as the head of the bank and two other nominees to the board.

    Emphasis added. Veronique does a good job of summarizing recent history, including the recent golden era when Ex-Im was not operating at "full potential".

    I assume the "nearly all Democrats" will resume nattering about being against "corporate welfare" a few minutes after voting for Ex-Im.


  • And it's not just Ex-Im on which Trump is caving. At NR, Mark Krikorian comments on Immigration & Unemployment Rate -- The White House Is Undermining Recent Job Success. After recounting recent good news:

    This is the precondition for drawing more people into the labor market who are currently neither working nor looking for work. And it is sorely needed; the share of prime-working-age men who need to be drawn back into the job market remains unprecedented. As Jason Richwine wrote recently, “With one in nine prime-age males still sitting idle, terms such as ‘full employment’ and ‘labor shortage’ ring hollow. There is much room for improvement.”

    A tight labor market isn’t the only thing needed to draw idle men back into the workforce. Changes in welfare and education policies, among other things, would help too. But if a tight labor market isn’t sufficient in itself, it is indispensable.

    So what is the White House doing in response to the good economic news? It is taking steps to loosen the labor market, to move toward a buyer’s market in labor (benefitting employers) rather than a seller’s market.

    The moves (specifically) are to increase the H-2B program by 30K (a nearly 50% increase); and a proposal to keep green cards at about 1.1 million/year, and to "further increase the importation of guest workers".

    Disclaimer: I don't know what the "right" level of immigration is, nor the "right" mix of skills immigrants should have. But Krikorian has a point: it's not the worst thing in the world to have employers deal with a tight labor market.


  • The latest step-on-rake censorship effort from Silicon Valley is told by Robby Soave at Reason: Twitter Suspends Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Parody Account for ‘Spammy Behavior,’ Which Seems Dubious.

    Twitter has banned a parody account that made fun of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–NY), as well as the account's creator and operator, Michael Morrison.

    Parody accounts are permitted on Twitter as long as they are clearly identified as such. This account, @AOCPress, obeyed that rule, and its termination has prompted conservatives to accuse the platform of hypocrisy. They have a point.

    Robby, bless him, suggests that Twitter "should make a better effort to communicate what kinds of behavior are forbidden and then apply those rules fairly."

    By now it should be obvious that Twitter has absolutely no interest in doing that.


  • The Bulwark's anti-Trump obsession can be pretty tedious. But they employ a few excellent writers, like Jonathan V. Last, who occasionally writes on something else, like The Suicide of Liberalism. It tells the story of "Sam", once a "nice progressive boy" who was overheard saying what someone thought was Badthink at school, and was dropped into a Kafkaesque nightmare of woke discipline.

    And now, as reported by his mom, Sam is now a full-fledged alt-right semi-fascist.

    In a classic David Frum essay on immigration, Frum notes (I paraphrase) that if liberals insist that only fascists enforce borders, then eventually voters will say, Who are these fascists, and what is their phone number?

    Which seems to be pretty much what went on in the case of Sam and his mother. They were confronted with what was either a titanic failing, or wild excess, of liberalism, depending on how charitable you’d like to be.

    I don't like Last's use of "liberalism" here. But I take his main point: leftism has become a religion, and if you don't buy any part of it, you are to be cast out as a heretic.

    And the mirror image is what Last calls "Trumpism"; it too demands that "adherents sign on for the entire program, in full."

    The lesson for The Rest Of Us: don't be a joiner. I guess.


  • And the Google LFOD News Alert rang for a couple articles on the William Weld campaign. First, from Politico: This Republican Is Running Against Donald Trump. Is Anybody Listening?. After describing White House aides living in fear of Trumpian wrath:

    “That’s what we want in the office?” asks Weld. “Somebody so mercurial that everyone knows he can blow a gasket? That’s not really what we want in the Oval Office. And I suppose that’s an argument I would make, even to a Republican.”

    Even to a Republican. Weld tends to talk about his nominal party as if it were a once-proud civilization descended into barbarism. It’s a reminder of Weld’s estrangement from the Trump-era GOP, even as he runs in its primaries. In the 1990s, Weld was Massachusetts’ socially liberal, budget-hawk Republican governor, but in the 22 years since he last held office he has strayed from the center of the GOP. He endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and ran as the Libertarian candidate for vice president in 2016. Now, Weld’s trying to foment a revolt against Trump in live-free-or-die New Hampshire, where an open primary system offers him a chance to lure persuadable independents to the polls.

    Yeah, fine. Except New Hampshire doesn't have an "open primary system"; that term is reserved for states where you can waltz in and ask for either party's ballot. Our primaries are better described as semi-closed. (Also left a comment at Politico to that effect.)


  • And Fox News also invoked LFOD in its look at the Weld: Weld could face scrutiny on party loyalty, lobbying, more amid Trump primary challenge.

    Weld is on the board of directors for Acreage Holdings, a cannabis company. However, it’s widely known that as a governor and as a vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, Weld favored relaxed drug laws. Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner also sits on the Acreage Holdings board.

    “Weld is on the board of a pot company, which might be an issue, but might actually help in New Hampshire,” [Republican political strategist Liz] Mair said, noting the libertarian bent of the “Live Free or Die” state.

    Yeah, maybe. But this Person Of Libertarian Bent has zero interest in voting for an opportunistic weasel who only a few years back pledged to be a "Libertarian for life".