URLs du Jour

2019-01-28

[Amazon Link]

  • Jacob Sullum has, I'm pretty sure no dog in the Trump-vs-Mueller fight, so his take on recent news has some credibility: Roger Stone Indictment Describes a Cover-Up of a Nonexistent Crime.

    Roger Stone, the self-described "dirty trickster" with a tattoo of Richard Nixon's head on his back, should appreciate the irony that he has been tripped up by the Watergate-era adage that "it's not the crime; it's the cover-up." Except in this case it looks like there was no crime to cover up, which makes the messy web of deceit described in the federal indictment against Stone seem like a trap he set for himself.

    The indictment, obtained by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, charges Stone, a longtime adviser to Donald Trump who worked for the billionaire developer's campaign until August 2015, with one count of obstructing a proceeding (an investigation by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence), five counts of making false statements during a 2017 HPSCI hearing, and one count of tampering with a witness by trying to dissuade a now-former friend from contradicting his congressional testimony. Those are all felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison for each of the first six counts and up to 20 for the seventh.

    Well, that's interesting…


  • For a more hostile take on Mr. Stone, see Jonah Goldberg's G-File from last week: American Identity Issues & Roger Stone’s Arrest.

    World-renowned rodent fornicator Roger Stone was arrested this morning, providing a wonderful moment to be literal, figurative, and literary all at once: for it would take a heart of Stone not to laugh. This lexicological ménage à trois should not be confused with the sort of threesome Roger solicited in Local Swing Fever.

    The link goes to a (um) interesting-but-sleazy 2008 New Yorker article. Containing, for example. this detail:

    Stone worked for Donald Trump as an occasional lobbyist and as an adviser when Trump considered running for President in 2000. “Roger is a stone-cold loser,” Trump told me. “He always tries taking credit for things he never did.”

    If you're uninterested in Stone, Jonah also looks at the Great Covington Kerfuffle and Identity Politics.


  • George F. Will's column tells us that Democrats have found their Thatcher — if they dare. Who? It's Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)! Excerpt:

    Warren is too busy inveighing against “corruption” to define it precisely, but she probably means what economists call rent-seeking, which in the context of politics means bending government power for private advantage, either by conferring advantages on oneself or imposing disadvantages on competitors. Although Warren’s inveighing is virtuous, her program would substantially exacerbate the problem by deepening government’s involvement in the allocation of wealth and opportunity.

    She was a registered Republican from 1991 to 1996 because “I thought that those were the people who best supported markets.” Today, she favors “big structural change.” Her Accountable Capitalism Act would produce the semi-nationalization of large corporations, with federal charters requiring (among other things) 40 percent of their directors to be elected by employees. Such accountable-to-government (not to markets) corporations must have “a material positive impact on society . . . when taken as a whole.” This gaseous metric will be defined and applied by government. Such federalization of corporate law would inevitably be the thin end of an enormous wedge of government control, crowding out market signals. As would her Climate Risk Disclosure Act. And her American Housing and Economic Mobility Act. And her Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act (government-run production of generic drugs).

    Mr. Will sees Sen. Warren as Margaret Thatcher "inverted". I'm not sure about that. But he identifies her inherent problem, saying both (a) government is a hopelessly corrupt tool of the well-off; so (b) let's give government a lot more power.


  • Dan Mitchell isn't happy with the case being made for a global warming "solution", specifically that a proposed carbon tax "maintains revenue neutrality". Carbon Tax Salesmanship: A Case Study of Political Dishonesty.

    The claim about “revenue neutrality” is a stunning level of dishonesty, even by Washington standards.

    At the risk of stating the obvious, if the government imposes a tax and then also creates a program to give money to people, that’s not revenue neutrality.

    Was Obamacare “revenue neutral” because all the new taxes were balanced out by the handouts and subsidies that the law created for the big insurance companies?

    Of course not.

    And a new carbon tax doesn’t magically become “revenue neutral” because new revenues are matched by new spending.

    To be sure, supporters can argue that their plan is “deficit neutral,” and that would be legitimate (even though I would argue that this wouldn’t be the case in the long run because of the adverse economic impact of new taxes and new spending).

    But “revenue neutral” is a bald-faced lie.

    Good point. I have self-interested reasons to oppose a carbon tax: after decades of coughing up income taxes to Uncle Sugar, I'm supposed to be luxuriating in low-tax-bracket retirement. And now suddenly, I'm going to be hit with (essentially) a whopping-big sales tax on everything I buy? (Because just about everything involves, at least, carbon-energy costs in transportation.)


  • David Harsanyi discusses Liberals' Holy War on Christian Orthodoxy.

    When Sen. Dianne Feinstein told Amy Coney Barrett, who is now confirmed as a judge for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and is a potential Supreme Court nominee, that “dogma lives loudly within” her and “that’s of concern,” she wasn’t voicing concern over the nominee’s religious orthodoxy as much as she was revealing her own.

    After all, Catholicism, unlike progressivism, has never inhibited anyone from faithfully executing her constitutional duties—which the judge has done with far more conviction than Feinstein. Maybe Barrett should have been asking the questions.

    As David observes, in America today "Progressives are the most zealous moralists." And they pursue sinners with a zeal unseen since, … I don't know, the Spanish Inquisition?