URLs du Jour


  • A guy who has taken an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" proceeds to ignore the Constitution of the United States: Chuck Schumer Begs Joe Biden to Take Power from Congress. From David Harsanyi:

    This week, Senate majority leader Charles Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that it may be “a good idea for President Biden to call a climate emergency.”

    In other words, the leader of what is allegedly the world’s greatest deliberative lawmaking body — tasked with, among many other things, checking the power of the executive branch — is advocating that his ideological ally bypass Congress, declare a perpetual emergency that affects the entire economy, and rule by fiat.

    Of course, anyone who believed Democrats were attempting to preserve “norms” or strengthen institutions, or that they were genuinely upset by the overreaches of Donald Trump rather than frustrated that they weren’t the ones wielding power, was just a sap.

    Because Your Federal Government handled Covid so well… Time to reread Crisis and Leviathan, I guess.

  • Virginia Postrel says nay to people freaking out about Chinese scientists: Criminalizing Science Is Really Dumb.

    Ever since the Nazis drove Europe’s greatest minds into exile, U.S. science has flourished by attracting talent from overseas. After World War II, the country’s prosperity and openness to immigrant scientists turned “brain drain” into a huge national advantage. Mixing global talent with America’s own made U.S. labs the world’s leading source of scientific discoveries, a status that only intensified with the opening of China to the West.

    Now that status is under threat from Chinese ambitions — and the U.S. government’s self-defeating response to them. In a reversal of national identities, China is acting like a keen capitalist employer, wooing Chinese-born scientists with top-of-the-line new labs and lavish funding. The U.S., meanwhile, is taking the authoritarian role, using the threat of high-profile criminal prosecutions to strike fear in the scientific community.

    Take the case of Gang Chen, a naturalized U.S. citizen who holds an endowed chair at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a leading expert on nanotechnology. In the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration, Chen was arrested and charged with wire fraud, failing to file a foreign bank account report and making a false statement in a tax return, all allegedly attempts to conceal ties to the Chinese government while funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. He pleaded not guilty.

    Virginia's usually right about such things. I still think the University Near Here should dump its Confucius Institute, though.

  • Glenn T. Stanton notes a silver lining in a very dark cloud: How Donald J. Trump Accidentally Revived 'Objective Truth'.

    A great deal has changed globally in these four years of Donald Trump’s presidency. It’s been a wild ride from any perspective. We will be debating the good and bad of these things, and Trump’s hand in them, for decades to come. There is, however, one profound and positive shift that happened on his watch.

    Whether he meant to or not, Trump almost single-handedly corrected the left’s false view of the nature of truth. Indeed, if we learned anything from the left and their media partisans these last few years, it is this: Truth is no longer relative.

    The notion that each of us has his own equally legitimate take on the truth has been demonstrably demolished by the Age of Trump. Over the last five years, the world was regularly reminded just how illegitimate one particular man’s view of the truth was. And there was to be no debate over that objectively true truth.

    Unfortunately, I doubt the left will apply this lesson in any case where it's inconvenient.

  • Robert VerBruggen has a solid look at New Hampshire v Massachusetts, now before SCOTUS: Taxes & Remote Workers: Supreme Court Should Stop States from Taxing Those Who Live and Work Elsewhere.

    Let’s say you work from home, and your employer is located in another state. Which state has the authority to tax your income?

    The legal status quo may surprise you: possibly both of them.

    Several states, most famously New York, tax people who hardly ever set foot there — so long as they are working elsewhere for their own convenience, and not because their in-state employers assigned them to another location — and these states have gotten away with it for years. More recently, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts enacted a similar rule as an emergency measure: It shut down many businesses and encouraged people to work from home, but demanded everyone keep paying their Massachusetts taxes, even if they had begun working in another state.

    This is a shocking overreach, especially in the states that do it as a matter of routine, and it’s one that’s becoming more salient as remote work grows in popularity. States have no right to tax people as they work elsewhere, live elsewhere, and use government benefits and services elsewhere. And in a new case, the Supreme Court has a chance to do something about it.

    Back in the day, statists I argued with provided high-minded justifications for taxation. That's gone by the wayside now; typically, the "justification" is "I got the power, so gimme, sucka."

  • Arnold Kling brings us Perspective of another old net-head, quoting from a Doc Searls essay (at a Harvard site, no less). Here's the excerpt Arnold quotes:

    This simple fact of our distributed souls and talents has had scant respect from the centralized systems of the digital world, which would rather lead than follow us, and rather guess about us than understand us. That’s partly because too many of them have become dependent on surveillance-based personalized advertising (which is awful in ways I’ve detailed in 136 posts, essays and articles compiled here). But it’s mostly because they’re centralized and can’t think or work outside their very old and square boxes.

    And Arnold comments:

    Centralization looks attractive when you have Fear Of Others’ Liberty along with confidence that those who have power will exercise it the way you want. When people you despise are de-platformed, you’re all for it.

    There is a parallel with the argument between libertarians and FOOLs over gun control. In fact, the phrase “when crypto is outlawed, only outlaws will have crypto” has been around since Bill Clinton’s first term. On guns, the FOOLS argue “Look at all the homicides and suicides.” The libertarians retort that if you take away people’s ability to self-protect, they will be at the mercy of either criminals or government or both.

    I could go for that FOOL acronym instead of "statist". Unfortunately, it's probably not the way to go, persuasion-wise.