URLs du Jour

2020-11-06

  • David Harsanyi has a pretty good Tweet:

    I share David's disgust with the opaque processing and (for the Nth time) most of the MSM's bias. But I'm also in agreement with the Indispensible Geraghty:

    If you’re convinced that the election is being “stolen” through fraudulent votes or the destruction of legitimate ballots, you can post all you want on social media or maybe go on cable news and make accusations. But if you have witnessed a crime in the process of voting or vote-counting, you shouldn’t be trying to build your audience or brand; you should be going to law enforcement. Don’t take it from me, take it from Attorney General William Barr:

    In consultation with federal prosecutors at the Public Integrity Section in Washington, D.C., the District Election Officers in U.S. Attorney’s Offices, FBI officials at headquarters in Washington, D.C., and FBI special agents serving as Election Crime Coordinators in the FBI’s 56 field offices will be on duty while polls are open to receive complaints from the public.

    Election-crime complaints should be directed to the local U.S. Attorney’s Offices or the local FBI office.  A list of U.S. Attorney’s Offices and their telephone numbers can be found at http://www.justice.gov/usao/districts/.  A list of FBI offices and accompanying telephone numbers can be found at www.fbi.gov/contact-us.

    Public Integrity Section prosecutors are available to consult and coordinate with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the FBI regarding the handling of election-crime allegations.

    If “they’re trying to steal an election,” as the president claimed last night — on a scale large enough to overcome five-figure margins in most of these swing states —  the Trump campaign’s lawyers should be describing who is doing what, where, and when, in detail in their lawsuits and requests for injunctions. So far, they’re not doing this.

    Jim says it's "put up or shut up time", and it's hard to disagree with that.


  • We had two "blame libertarians" posts yesterday, and today Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown takes those folks to school: You Are Not Entitled to Libertarian Votes.

    As the results of the 2020 presidential election remain unknown, partisans on both sides have begun casting about desperately for folks to blame. Latino voters for Trump have been getting a special amount of guff from Democrats. And both liberals and conservatives agree that third-party voters are a problem, which each side somehow convinced that those who cast their ballots for Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen are traitors who owed votes to either former Vice President Joe Biden or President Donald Trump.

    […]

    It's a complaint that Libertarians are sadly used to—and, as always, it's a hollow one. The Trump administration and its allies have spent years growing the government, turning against free speech and free trade, and in some cases mocking the idea that libertarian-minded constituents are a part of their coalition. Yet come election time, they act baffled that Libertarians wouldn't want to lend this administration their support.

    "If they're going to cry about the libertarian vote playing spoiler when they lose, then they either have an incentive to attract it with better candidates & policies, or they need to keep our names out of their mouths," suggests the libertarian journalist Hannah Cox. "They don't get to have it both ways."

    I think what's perfectly obvious in retrospect was easily summed up by someone I've lost the link for: "All Trump had to do to win was be a normal, decent human being."


  • Was the election all about Trump, you ask? Jonah Goldberg provides the answer you're looking for, bunkie: Yes, the election was all about Trump.

    One reason many of Trump’s biggest fans love him is that he “owns the libs.” As Donald Trump Jr. said on election night, “We cannot only keep making America great again, but we can make liberals cry again!”

    Among the myriad problems with this juvenile attitude: It invites a backlash. Democrats turned out in massive numbers not to vote for Joe Biden but to vote against Donald Trump. Trump, not Biden and not Kamala Harris, energized the Democratic base.

    Just as important, Trump gave Republicans and independents who prefer Republican policies (or who dislike extreme Democratic policies that have tainted the Democratic brand) an excuse not to vote for him. The fact that Republicans weren’t sent packing along with Trump demonstrates this.

    Agreed.


  • Back at Reason, Steven Greenhut wonders: Where Do Libertarians Go From Here?.

    I've long argued that libertarians should focus their politicking on the local level, at building a bottom-up rather than top-down movement. California's city council and supervisor races are nonpartisan, which gives third-party candidates real opportunities to actually win office. We shouldn't underestimate how much we can achieve at that level.

    For instance, former Calimesa Mayor Jeff Hewitt, now a Riverside County supervisor, led the reform of his city's fire department to reduce pension liabilities—something officials in the Orange County city of Placentia officials echoed. The legislature then passed a law halting such reforms out of fear that it would spread (and endanger union pay packages), but this was a testament to how much change one elected libertarian can accomplish.

    A libertarian has again failed to become president or to even seriously be in the running. Perhaps libertarians have a more promising future if we spend less time worrying about national elections and more time championing our good ideas—and working politically at the local level.

    Hey, maybe. Local politics is tedious, though.


  • I heard Brian Riedl on a recent Reason interview, and he sure made a lot of sense. He also has a recent article at National Review: Debunking Fiscal Policy Myths on Spending, Taxes & Deficits. Full of good stuff, I wish I'd had this particular exposed myth at my fingertips a few days ago:

    Myth: The Federal Tax Code Is Becoming Less Progressive

    The CBO reports that the highest-earning one-fifth of households now pay 87 percent of all federal income taxes, and 69 percent of all combined federal taxes — both well above the levels of 40 years ago. Combining all federal taxes, the highest-earning 1 percent of households pays a 32 percent overall tax rate, while the top-earning one-fifth pays a 26 percent overall tax rate (roughly the same as 40 years ago), while average tax rates for the remaining 80 percent of taxpayers have plummeted. Even after adjusting for their increasing share of the income earned, the highest-earning 1 percent and 20 percent of households each shoulder more of the federal tax burden than they had in 1980. The U.S. maintains the most progressive tax system in the OECD.

    Brian's got a book of charts here.

Gentle on My Mind

In Sickness and in Health with Glen Campbell

[Amazon Link]

I usually read more serious non-fiction, but when I don't, I tend to be drawn to musician memoirs. I tell myself I'm looking for the sources of their talent and inspiration. Usually what I get is tales of substance abuse (licit and illicit), dysfunctional relationships, greedy hangers-on bamboozling cash out of the artist's pocket, and, well, you get the drift.

This one is a memoir of Glen Campbell, written by his fourth wife, Kim. Kim was the longest-lasting spouse, from 1982 up until Glen's death in 2017, and bore three of Glen's eight kids. Kim tells the story personally, starting from how they were set up on a blind date when she was a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall. Glen's just coming off his famously disastrous relationship with Tanya Tucker. But he's a charmer, taking Kim to a James Taylor concert, but slips into boorish behavior ("I wanna jump your bones"), nearly wrecking the relationship on Night One.

But once Glen knows the rules, things eventually slide into love and marriage. They float in celebrity culture. An amazing number of names are dropped, because Glen is grounded in nearly all genres of music, plus the movie/TV world. Here's something I didn't know: he was good buddies with Alice Cooper.

Kim is a devout Christian, as is Glen. This gives her strength and patience through many trials: Glen's boozing, his fondness for cocaine, and (eventually) his final challenge with Alzheimer's. There's also reference to nasty legal struggles, as people (apparently his children from previous marriages) accuse Kim of malfeasance in her role of Glen's caretaker. They weren't in the will. As near as I can tell from Googling, the wrangling over the estate is still going on; at least some lawyers are getting rich.