URLs du Jour

2019-10-11

[Amazon Link]

  • At the Federalist, David Harsanyi complains: Democrats Keep Changing The Rules Of Impeachment.

    When Barack Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder ignored congressional subpoenas in an investigation into a scandal featuring a body count, White House Spokesperson Dan Pfeiffer argued that administration officials had no duty to participate in what amounted to “political theater rather than legitimate congressional oversight.”

    So does the White House get to decide what constitutes a legitimate congressional investigation? Or is it only Democrats who make this determination? Since Pfeiffer now argues that an administration that ignores congressional subpoenas is functioning “above the law”—surely an impeachable offense—I can only imagine the latter.

    Our Amazon Product du Jour is what comes up when searching for "moving goalposts". Just imagine that they are on Nancy Pelosi's head.

    (And if you buy the Product du Jour, please feel free to invite me over for party night. You sound like a fun person. Around Pun Salad Manor, our biggest excitement is when a new episode of "Emergence" shows up on the TiVo. Allison Tolman is great.)


  • Jim Geraghty is one of many telling the story: The NBA Shamelessly Panders to China. The Washington Wizards played the Guangzhou Long-Lions in a pre-season exhibition, there were a lot of empty seats, but somebody spotted a small sign in the stands: "Google Uyghurs". And security was dispatched to confiscate! Can't have that!

    In addition:

    Another pro-Hong Kong sign was taken away by security during the United States National Anthem. It was taken away before the singer got to the lyric “in the land of the free and home of the brave.” Please consult your doctor before consuming such painfully concentrated doses of irony.

    Cesar Conda says he saw another fan kicked out for chanting, “free Hong Kong.” (As Conda notes, fans yell exceptionally rude things at the referees or opposing players and no one minds.) Candice Bucker has video footage of security confronting another pair of fans. Patrick Hedger says he got kicked out.

    A spokesman for the Wizards contends no one was asked to leave the game. In other news, the Chinese government contends that “most people” have been released from the concentration camps. (Never mind that footage from drones posted last week shows hundreds of people bound and blindfolded being unloaded off a train into camps.)

    They told me that if Donald Trump were elected, there would be crackdowns on peaceful protesters. And they were right. But I bet they didn't guess who'd be cracking down, on whom, and for what.


  • I usually try to restrict myself to one URL from a source per day, but Kevin D. Williamson has a comment on Beating Retreat in Syria.

    […] only one of these two things can be true: One, the United States is so beat, broke, and terrified that our commander in chief can be backed down by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a second-rate thug representing a third-rate power; or, two, the United States is dictating its own terms and conditions, in which case let’s have no crocodile tears for the Kurds but instead point to the massacre in progress and forthrightly inform the world that that is what working with the United States gets you.

    Yeah, I'll take door number two, Kevin.

    I don't think Trump should be impeached. But I wouldn't lift a finger to stop it.


  • And I've been going at it with a few Facebook friends who were inordinately impressed by a neat gif:

    How the taxes on the wealthy have fallen over the past 70 years (USA)

    As noted, it's from a New York Times article headlined "The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You".

    And it's bullshit. (I'm using more diplometic language with my friends.) It's based on "research" from Emmanuel Saez and and Gabriel Zucman, who just happen to be advising Elizabeth Warren on her campaign.

    I threw a couple links into the pot on Facebook, so thought I'd throw them at you too:

    But there's one I haven't deployed (yet) on Facebook, and it's pretty good too, a Bloomberg column by Michael Strain: The Rich Really Do Pay Higher Taxes Than You>.

    Saez and Zucman train much of their focus on the 400 wealthiest Americans. This group makes up 0.0003% of households. The New York Times column describing the Saez-Zucman estimates reports that last year this group had a 23% combined federal, state and local tax rate

    In fact, the jury is still out on that number, which is based on a forecast of what income might have been last year. (The data for 2018 aren’t in. If you filed for an extension, your taxes for 2018 aren’t due until next week.) Even if it turns out to be correct, it doesn’t follow that the U.S. system is not progressive.

    Characterizing features of the tax system based on a few hundred individuals is silly. For one, people cycle in and out of the top 400 every year. And there are over 120 million households in the U.S. The tax code can create strange situations for some of them, depending on their circumstances.

    Strain notes that the overall tax rate paid by 0.0003% of households is "not at the top of my list of concerns." I bet it's even lower on mine.


  • Via Slashdot, high dudgeon is Revealed: Google made large contributions to climate change deniers. It's the left-wing Guardian:

    Google has made “substantial” contributions to some of the most notorious climate deniers in Washington despite its insistence that it supports political action on the climate crisis.

    Among hundreds of groups the company has listed on its website as beneficiaries of its political giving are more than a dozen organisations that have campaigned against climate legislation, questioned the need for action, or actively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections.

    The list includes the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a conservative policy group that was instrumental in convincing the Trump administration to abandon the Paris agreement and has criticised the White House for not dismantling more environmental rules.

    Well, darn. I knew Google was good for something.