URLs du Jour

2019-07-27

  • Mr. Ramirez ably illustrates The Bipartisan Spending Problem.

    [Our Bipartisan Spending Problem]

    No further comment necessary.


  • Pun Salad does not do a lot of on-scene reporting, but Mrs. Salad and I drove up to Ossipee yesterday, and there were a lot of Tulsi Gabbard billboards on Route 16. None for any other candidate.

    I don't know what that means.

    But at Reason, Billy Binion has an opinion on Tulsi Gabbard's $50 Million lawsuit against Google. And that opinion is: Tulsi Gabbard’s $50 Million Lawsuit Against Google Is Another Attack on Online Free Speech.

    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) took a cue from conservative conspiracists Thursday, when the congresswoman and Democratic presidential hopeful sued Google for $50 million and accused the company of violating her right to free speech. The suit, filed in a federal court in Los Angeles, argues that Google infringed on the First Amendment when it suspended her campaign advertising site for six hours, briefly impeding her ability to raise money right after a well-received debate performance.

    Many people on the right have recently made social media companies Public Enemy No. 1, claiming that they discriminate against conservative points of view. Ironically, Gabbard's suit throws some cold water on the accusations coming from her Republican counterparts, casting doubt on the idea that Google and its subsidiaries are systematically ostracizing Wrongthink along party lines.

    Ah, but does Google, deep down in its algorithms, see Tulsi as a threat to Democratic candidates more to Google's liking? Who knows? Because, as Billy goes on to note, many of the big tech companies are "obnoxiously opaque" about their business practices.


  • My previous CongressCritter/Toothache, Carol Shea-Porter, still occasionally tweets. One of her latest:

    Believe me, she's noting Milbank's descent into McCarthyite whackadoodlism approvingly. She's right down there with him.

    The imbroglio is McConnell's refusal to go along meekly with bills passed by the House with a single (1) Republican vote. The National Review editors inject some sanity: No, McConnell Isn’t ‘Moscow Mitch’.

    As an act of political theater, the Democrats’ recent attempt to cast Mitch McConnell in a bad light has been quite successful. The Internet is awash in headlines contending that he blocked election-security reforms despite warnings about ongoing Russian interference from Robert Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    The reactions are overwrought and unfair. McConnell was right to stop the two bills at the center of the controversy, and the Democrats knew full well ahead of time that he would do so. And “Cocaine Mitch” is a far better nickname than “Moscow Mitch” anyway.

    Tailgunner Joe: decades ahead of his time.


  • At Cato, Aaron Ross Powell contributes to Pun Salad's "Could Be The Longest Article Ever" department with: What Senator Hawley Gets Wrong about American Identity.

    Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) thinks America has an identity problem. Or, more accurately, that the nation suffers from a lack of an identity problem. In a speech last week at the National Conservatism Conference, he blamed the nation’s ills on an elite “political consensus [that] shows little interest in our shared way of life.” He excoriates cosmopolitans who, he says, reject the idea of Americanness in favor of being “citizens of the world.” According to Hawley, progressives, classical liberals, and libertarians “distrust patriotism and dislike the common culture left to us by our forebearers.” For the nation to prosper, it needs to re-embrace shared identity, which for Hawley means small towns, “traditional” values, recognizing the centrality of Christian faith to the American project, and returning to an economy built on manufacturing “the kinds of things a normal person without a fancy degree can build with his hands.”

    I fear the senator from Missouri is confused about identity, and his confusion has led him to see a lack where there is instead mere difference. America is not operating without an identity or a shared way of life. Rather, America simply stands for something other than what Hawley and his fellow nationalist, populist conservatives wish it would. We have a shared way of life. It’s just one Hawley doesn’t much like. And where conservatives of his sort blame this shift on oppression and suppression–by Big Tech or Big Media or elites controlling governing institutions–the more likely story, or at least the greater portion of it, is that his preferred values and tastes have lost in America’s liberal and tolerant marketplace. When given the opportunity to vote with their feet and their wallets, the majority of Americans don’t much care for Hawley’s halcyon days.

    Also: when Senator Hawley derides "cosmopolitans", he (unfortunately) does not mean that "too many American women are reading Cosmopolitan". He'd be correct about that.


  • Ramesh Ponnuru's column at Bloomberg examines A Democrat’s Brave But Dumb Idea to Save Social Security. (Which brave/dumb idea we also looked at yesterday.)

    Give John Larson some credit. The Democratic representative from Connecticut has gone further than anyone in decades to make Social Security solvent. The program’s actuaries estimate that legislation he’s introduced, the Social Security 2100 Act, would extend solvency into the next century. The bill already has 210 Democratic co-sponsors in the House, more than any other recent proposal. Larson wants the House to pass the bill before Congress leaves town for its summer break.

    He hasn’t shrunk from tough choices. Congress hasn’t enacted any increases in income taxes or payroll taxes for middle-class Americans since 1990. Larson’s bill would raise the payroll tax rate for all workers. The highest earners would, however, face the biggest tax increases. The payroll tax, which currently applies to just the first $132,000 in wages, would be imposed on wages above $400,000 as well, and eventually on all wages. The result would be one of the highest top rates in the developed world.

    The notion that non-poor people should and can save for their own retirement, making their own choices, remains an idea that only a few wackadoodles (like me) believe.