URLs du Jour


Michael P. Ramirez helps us continue our "celebration" of 70 years of Chinese Communist rule:


  • At the Volokh Conspiracy blog, Ilya Somin reminds us Why the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of the People’s Republic of China Should be a Day of Mourning.

    Who was the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world? Most people probably assume that the answer is Adolf Hitler, architect of the Holocaust. Others might guess Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, who may indeed have managed to kill even more innocent people than Hitler did, many of them as part of a terror famine that likely took more lives than the Holocaust. But both Hitler and Stalin were outdone by Mao Zedong. From 1958 to 1962, his Great Leap Forward policy led to the deaths of up to 45 million people – easily making it the biggest episode of mass murder ever recorded.

    And that was only part of the murderousness.

  • At the Federalist, Georgi Boorman points out Trump Is Shamelessly Bribing Farmers With Cash Handouts. Don't call it a bailout!

    Farmers have raked in $24.5 billion and counting from the main “bailout” program in President Trump’s aid package to farmers, supposedly intended to mitigate losses due to the disruption caused by his trade war with China. As critics have pointed out, that’s more than twice what taxpayers lost the auto industry bailout in 2009. This is despite the fact that American farmers are, arguably, far more insulated from the impact of China’s tariffs than Chinese companies are of American tariffs.

    Reports seem to be missing a key point, though: The auto bailouts were not direct subsidies, but losing investments through buying stock and extending loans to the failing companies. The Automotive Industry Financing Program totaled $80 billion in investments and loans. By the time the government had completely closed the AIFP, taxpayers netted a loss of $9.3 billion, most of it lost to General Motors.

    The farm “bailouts,” on the other hand, are neither bailouts in the sense that they are saving companies from failing, nor are they loans and investments. In total, the trade aid packages for 2018 and 2019 included $2.6 billion to purchase food staples for government food programs, $300 million for “developing new export markets,” and $24.5 billion for direct payments — cash transfers — to farmers.

    I like farmers just fine. I just want them off the federal tit.

  • I like what Ann Althouse has to say about this news story: “2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Kamala Harris asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a Tuesday letter to consider suspending President Trump's account...”.

    It’s helpful to know that Harris’s orientation is to suppress freedom of speech. Her own political speech has proven quite ineffectual, so it’s in her self-interest to shut down the speech of others. Whether she’s into restricting speech for personal reasons or whether she pure-heartedly seeks the greater good through censorship, it’s a bad orientation to display as you’re running for President. I’m certainly glad she has the freedom of speech to express that lousy thinking, though. What she’s said puts her out of the running for my vote.

    According to Election Betting Odds, Kamala's gone from "long shot" to "just slightly more likely to be the 2020 winner than is Hillary Clinton".

    I'll quibble with the "asked" bit. Kamala's rhetoric is more in the "demanded" zone than the "asked" zone.

  • Let's go back to the inscrutable Orient for a minute. Because the Google LFOD News alert rang for this Daily Wire story: Hong Kong Demonstrations Turn Violent On Anniversary Of Chinese Communist Party, Protesters Shot With Live Rounds.

    This past weekend, clashes between protesters and police became more frequent, and many ended in violence. The protests themselves have become more aggressive. At one point, the anti-China sentiment went from implied to overt, and Saturday, demonstrators were burning Chinese flags in the city center. The words “Live Free Or Die” appeared across Hong Kong, graffitied on to walls and monuments.

    In English, I wonder? Google Translate says the Chinese (Simplified) equivalent is 自由生活或死亡, but I obviously have no way to check that. But I might blow it up to bumper-sticker size.

  • But the LFOD alert also rang for a Clean Technica post from one Steve Hanley, which is more politica than technica: The Koch Brothers & Protest In America.

    I was sitting on the back porch with a friend recently, discussing the affairs of the world as men do when our wives are busy doing important work elsewhere. The topic of protest in America today came up and I told him about how some of those who protested against the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock and other locations were charged with major felonies that could have put them behind bars for 40 years or more.

    One of them was documentary filmmaker and journalist Deia Schlosberg, who was arrested and charged with felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to 45 years in prison simply for reporting on the ongoing Indigenous protests against fossil fuel infrastructure, according to Common Dreams. The situation was so outrageous that Edward Snowden commented on it on Twitter.

    Note that tweet is about three years old, and Ms. Schlosberg is apparently still running around free. If she's been convicted of anything, I can't find any evidence of it. (Snowden is, last I heard, safe in that paradise of civil liberties, Russia.)

    Well, anyway, Steve's post is full of … dudgeon at legislation aimed at people "protesting" pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure. The Koch brothers are (of course) blamed, even through one of them, David, passed away a few months back.

    But here's the New Hampshire/LFOD connection:

    I got to thinking about all this when CleanTechnica reader Dan Allard sent me a link to a New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) story about 67 people being arrested and charged with felonies recently for daring to walk on railroad tracks leading up to the largest coal-powered generating station still operating in New England — the Merrimack Station located in Bow, New Hampshire. About 150 protesters carrying signs locked arms and sang songs to draw attention to the health and climate risks of burning coal. How dare they! Keep in mind the official motto of the Granite State is “Live Free Or Die!

    Sigh. I kinda miss the days when believers in civil disobedience were willing to accept whatever legal penalties went along with them breaking the law.

    But to set the record straight: the Commie Radio story makes it clear that the "about 67 people" were not charged with felonies, but face class B misdemeanor charges. That's not fun, but it's not jail; at best, a fine and loss of your driver license.