URLs du Jour

2021-02-14

[Amazon Link]

  • Well, we might as well talk about impeachment and acquittal. Most of the sane commentary is at National Review. Before the Senate voted yesterday, Andrew McCarthy pointed out a minor problem: Democrats Squander Their Impeachment-Trial Moment.

    If you figure the fate of Donald Trump and the future course of constitutional governance in the United States hinge on how Justin Trudeau feels about the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, you would have loved being in the Senate chamber watching Democratic House managers’ prosecution of the impeachment case.

    On the other hand, if you were wondering what happened to Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who died after the siege, and whom the Democrats formally allege was brutalized by rioters at then-President Trump’s urging, you’d have come to the wrong place.

    After more years in the trial biz than I care to count, this was a first for me. In every trial I have ever prosecuted, supervised, or analyzed, if a killing was alleged, then the killing became the central focus of the prosecution’s case. If it was an especially egregious homicide — and Democrats allege that Officer Sicknick was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher by the mob of Trumpies — prosecutors always took their time: opening the case with it, closing the case with it, and in between proving it up in chilling detail.

    It could have been a carefully constructed legal case. Instead the Democrats went for partisan advantage.

    Yet…


  • they still got seven Republicans to vote to convict. For (I think) the best argument to ignore the technical badness of the legal case, see (unsurprisingly): Sen. Ben Sasse on Voting to Convict Trump.

    “An impeachment trial is a public declaration of what a president’s oath of office means and what behavior that oath demands of presidents in the future. But here’s the sad reality: If we were talking about a Democratic president, most Republicans and most Democrats would simply swap sides. Tribalism is a hell of a drug, but our oath to the Constitution means we’re constrained to the facts. Here are the three key points to this debate:

    “First, President Trump lied that he ‘won the election by a landslide.’ He lied about widespread voter fraud, spreading conspiracy theories despite losing 60 straight court challenges, many of his losses handed down by great judges he nominated. He tried to intimidate the Georgia secretary of state to ‘find votes’ and overturn that state’s election. He publicly and falsely declared that Vice President Pence could break his constitutional oath and simply declare a different outcome. The president repeated these lies when summoning his crowd — parts of which were widely known to be violent — to Capitol Hill to intimidate Vice President Pence and Congress into not fulfilling our constitutional duties. Those lies had consequences, endangering the life of the vice president and bringing us dangerously close to a bloody constitutional crisis. Each of these actions are violations of a president’s oath of office.

    Click over for Key Points Two and Three. Gutsy move by Sasse, because a lot of folks back in Nebraska (and here in New Hampshire too) are more devoted to "the weird worship of one dude" instead of any sort of conservative or Constitutional principles.

    For more from Senator Sasse, see the article by Charles C. W. Cooke.


  • On a semi-related matter, Glenn Greenwald writes: The Lincoln Project, Facing Multiple Scandals, is Accused by its Own Co-Founder of Likely Criminality.

    The group of life-long Republican Party consultants who, under the name “The Lincoln Project,” got very rich in 2020 with anti-Trump online messaging has spent weeks responding to numerous scandals on multiple fronts. Despite the gravity of those scandals, its conduct on Thursday night was in a whole new category of sleaze. It not only infuriated their long-time allies, but also constituted the abuse of Twitter’s platform to commit likely illegal acts.

    That the primary effect of the Lincoln Project was to personally enrich its key operatives by cynically exploiting the fears of U.S. liberals has long been obvious. Reporting throughout 2020 conclusively demonstrated that the vast majority of the tens of millions of dollars raised by the group was going to firms controlled by its founders. One of its most prominent founders — GOP consultant Rick Wilson — personally collected $65,000 from liberals through GoFundMe for an anti-Trump film he kept promising but which never came; to this date, he refuses to explain what he did with that money.

    The illegal stuff seems to be accessing and publishing the private Twitter account and messages of New Hampshire's own Jennifer Horn, now an apostate from both the GOP and whatever's left of the Lincoln Project. Apparently whatever the LP posted was unflattering, but still.


  • An exception to Betteridge's Law of Headlines comes from Scott Lincicome: Will Biden Repeat Trump's Automotive Mistakes?. Answer: yeah, probably. Or arguably, worse.

    The New York Times yesterday provided an in-depth look at the Biden White House's plans to "transform the economy" through "dramatic interventions to revive U.S. manufacturing" - heavy on economic nationalism, industrial planning, and manufacturing jobs. If that approach sounds familiar, it should: it's essentially the same gameplan that Biden's predecessor used, with the only major difference being Biden's emphasis on "green" industries like wind turbines, as compared to Trump's love of steel and other heavy industry.

    Both presidents, however, seem to share a soft spot for the automotive industry and U.S. autoworkers. Trump sought to boost automotive jobs through both tariff threats (on dubious "national security" grounds) and restrictive "rules of origin" provisions in his NAFTA replacement, the USMCA. Biden is reportedly looking to boost those same jobs through increased domestic production of electric vehicles and "critical parts like batteries." According to the Times, Biden's team was strongly influenced in this regard by a 2018 United Automobile Workers (UAW) report advocating "huge" government "investments" (subsidies) in the U.S. auto industry, and arguing that "advanced vehicle technology should be treated as a strategic sector to be protected and built in the U.S." Judging from this report and various Biden administration statements to the Times, Biden's plans appear to be a cut-and-paste job from the Trump era, with a little green tinting.

    Unfortunate, and also not surprising.


  • Glenn Loury speaks the Unspeakable Truths about Racial Inequality in America at Quillette. Excerpt from the middle:

    Or, consider the educational achievement gap. Anti-racism advocates, in effect, are daring you to notice that some groups send their children to elite colleges and universities in outsized numbers compared to other groups due to the fact that their academic preparation is magnitudes higher and better and finer. They are daring you to declare such excellence to be an admirable achievement. One isn’t born knowing these things. One acquires such intellectual mastery through effort. Why are some youngsters acquiring these skills and others not? That is a very deep and interesting question, one which I am quite prepared to entertain. But the simple retort, “racism”, is laughable—as if such disparities have nothing to do with behavior, with cultural patterns, with what peer groups value, with how people spend their time, with what they identify as being critical to their own self-respect. Anyone actually believing such nonsense is a fool, I maintain.

    Asians are said, sardonically, according to the politically correct script, to be a “model minority.” Well, as a matter of fact, a pretty compelling case can be made that “culture” is critical to their success. Read Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou’s book, The Asian American Achievement Paradox. They have interviewed Asian families in Southern California, trying to learn how these kids get into Dartmouth and Columbia and Cornell with such high rates. They find that these families exhibit cultural patterns, embrace values, adopt practices, engage in behavior, and follow disciplines that orient them in such a way as to facilitate the achievements of their children. It defies common sense, as well as the evidence, to assert that they do not or, conversely, to assert that the paucity of African Americans performing near the top of the intellectual spectrum—I am talking here about academic excellence, and about the low relative numbers of blacks who exhibit it—has nothing to do with the behavior of black people; that this outcome is due to institutional forces alone. That, quite frankly, is an absurdity. No serious person could believe it.

    The whole essay is a solid ten on the RTWT Meter.