URLs du Jour

2019-07-04

[Amazon Link]

Happy Independence Day, folks. Try not to blow yourselves up tonight while holding truths to be self-evident. (Good lyric for a Jefferson musical: "I got your self-evident truth right here!/So Sally, could you fetch me a beer.")

Our Amazon Product du Jour is Jefferson's Rough Draft of the Declaration of Independence.

  • At the Bulwark, Tim Miller points out truths that are not quite self-evident, but close: The Fourth of July Is an Idea and Donald Trump Doesn't Understand It.

    It will be a gaudy TRUMP extravaganza, replete with tanks on the mall, “USA” spelled out across the sky, a rendering of the president’s massive hands with USA tattooed across the palm, a musical extravaganza hosted by Uncle Jesse from Full House, an “enormous” American flag, and a “special appearance” by the Sesame Street muppets. (Only one item in that list is made-up, the rest were provided, unironically, by the Department of Interior).

    The TRUMP version of Independence Day swaps out liberty and self-government for owning the libs and self-aggrandizement.

    Nothing from the promotion of this event, nor from President Trump’s rhetoric, has given us the slightest reason to believe that he intends for this celebration to honor the founding principles. I’d say that it’s probably an even-money proposition that our president has ever read the Declaration, or the Constitution, or the Federalist Papers, or . . . oh, what the hell. He appointed Gorsuch and loves big-ass American flags. Shouldn’t that be enough?

    Why, no it shouldn't.

    I'll be spending a good part of the evening at a friend's house, eating a couple grilled brats, drinking (I hope) too much beer, and (I hope even more) avoiding all discussion of current politics.


  • Another not-quite-self-evident truth from Veronique de Rugy at Reason: Trump Is Losing His Own Trade War.

    President Donald Trump likes to keep score. Well, here's a score for him: America, zero; while the rest of the world keeps tallying up free trade points. That's right; while American consumers have been waiting for well over a year to see some resolution to the various trade disputes started by Trump, other countries have agreed to lower their tariffs against each other and signed free trade agreements with one another. Meanwhile, American consumers and exporters are drowning in a sea of high tariffs.

    Let's recap. For the last year and a half, the president has unilaterally imposed tariffs on, among other things, imports of steel, aluminum, and hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese products. Many of these tariffs fall on intermediary goods that American and foreign companies use to produce things here in the United States. Despite being told by the administration that no one would dare retaliate against us, everyone has. Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, China, and the European Union have all since then retaliated with their own duties against U.S. exports.

    And, as reported yesterday: US trade deficit widens to a 5-month high of $55.5 billion in May. Now, I'm with various economists who think the "trade deficit" is a garbage statistic to which stupid people (and politicians, but I repeat myself) attach far too much import. But it's interesting to note that Trump's trade war, the one he claimed would be "easy to win" is failing, by his own standards.


  • At National Review, Kyle Smith (in an "NRPLUS" article timestamped July 3 at 6:03am) shakes his head: Kamala Harris Thinks That Busing in 2019 Would Be a Good Idea — Seriously. He notes Senator Kamala's transformation of a cheap anti-Biden shot from the debate into an Actual Issue:

    The tactic was entirely understandable. Textbook, even. What was amazing was that, after the debate, Harris swiveled from using busing as a means of assailing Biden’s character and judgment to praising busing itself as a wonderful proposal for 2019 America.

    “I support busing,” she said a few days later. “Listen, the schools of America are as segregated, if not more segregated, today than when I was in elementary schools. Where states fail to do their duty to ensure equality of all people, and in particular where states create or pass legislation that created inequality, there’s no question that the federal government has a role and a responsibility to step up.”

    Hear that, parents of America? President Kamala Harris would use federal power to yank your children out of their schools and hustle them to some other zone because she, Kamala Harris, is disappointed in the racial mix you have created in America’s classrooms. Forget how much you may have spent to buy a house in a particular neighborhood because it brought access to a particular school system. Forget how much you’ve paid in property taxes to fund those schools. Kamala Harris thinks your kids belong in some other school, maybe one far away and maybe offering a far less valuable education. Details to be worked out later. Trust her.

    But "trust her" is very bad advice. For as Kyle tweets (timestamped July 3 at 11:54pm): Never Mind.

    Kamala's positions on issues are a lot like what Mark Twain may have said about New England weather: if you don't like them, just wait a few minutes.


  • [Amazon Link]
    And you may have seen the latest proposal from an actual US CongressCritter. As described by Jim Treacher: Mock Frederica Wilson and Go to Jail. He provides a sample of What Not To Say, lest you find yourself in the federal pen:

    • Frederica Wilson looks like what would happen if you put Gary Coleman, Liberace, and Cowboy Curtis in a blender
    • Frederica Wilson sounds like somebody letting air out of a very stupid balloon
    • Frederica Wilson (D-Lollipop Guild)
    • Frederica Wilson is a space alien who crash-landed in a Dollar General
    • If sequins could talk, they would beg to be rescued from Frederica Wilson
    • Frederica Wilson is the world's worst Macho Man Randy Savage impersonator
    • Frederica Wilson is a superhero who got her powers after getting bitten by a radioactive Bratz
    • Frederica Wilson is dumb, there's no joke here, she's just an objectively unintelligent person

    Buying, or selling, the book at right would probably also be a crime.


  • We've been following the Great Self-Labeling discussion going on here and there. "Classical Liberals"? "Individualists"? "Libertarians"? At the Library of Economics and Liberty, Sarah Skwire asks What's in a Name? And contributes her own wisdom, based on an apocryphal Congresscritter's response when asked about whiskey:

    If you mean the demon drink that poisons the mind, pollutes the body, desecrates family life, and inflames sinners, then I’m against it. But if you mean the elixir of Christmas cheer, the shield against winter cheer, the taxable potion that puts needed funds into public coffers to comfort little crippled children, then I’m for it.

    So use whatever label you like! And she suggests something to memorize:

    If you mean that vile and selfish crew that puts the interests of business before all other concerns, makes wage slaves of workers, and enriches the wealthy at the expense of the poor, then I will have no part of it. But if you mean that collection of freethinkers that liberates the mind of humanity, unchains the body of the captive, and allows individuals to engage in voluntary and peaceful transactions without interference, than I am for it.

    And you can add the classic punchline: "This is my position, and I will not compromise!”


  • And our Worldwide Google LFOD alert rang from the Philippines! Reporting on a recent speech from Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.: US remains PH's natural ally.

    "A country’s natural ally is always the one that is too far to get into one’s hair, yet with a reach long enough to deliver a strong punch at a common enemy. Two countries fit that bill; one far more than the other and that is the United States," Locsin said in his toast remarks during the celebration of the American-Filipino Friendship Day in Makati City.

    You're welcome, Teo. And you've bought yourself some extra love in my book:

    Despite the sharp differences between the two nations, Locsin highlighted the US and Philippines' commonality.

    "We both hate subservience to foreign powers; we cannot imagine living without total freedom in word, in thought, and in deed. 'Live Free or Die' is our motto," he said.

    Well, technically, it's our motto. But it's eminently shareable. And I hold that truth to be self-evident.


Last Modified 2019-07-04 3:26 PM EDT