URLs du Jour

2020-02-28

  • "Never let a crisis go to waste," someone said once. So it's Reason's Eric Boehm's job to write an utterly predictable, but still necessary point: Political Opportunists Are Using Coronavirus Fears To Push Whatever Policies They Already Wanted.

    If the NIH and the CDC aren't adequately prepared to handle a disease outbreak, it's probably their own fault. There is always going to be a finite amount of money for any government agency to use, so it's best not to waste your shares. Yet the CDC spent $15 billion during the Obama administration to nudge Americans towards healthier eating habits, and millions more on the creation of a "Hollywood liaison office" with funds that were supposed to be used to counter the threat of bioterrorism. Sure, it's possible that more funding would result in greater preparedness to face new and deadly diseases. So would making better choices about the money you already have.

    But that's not going to stop Democrats from using the coronavirus outbreak to argue for spending more money that we don't have—and heaven forbid we actually pay for emergency coronavirus funding with budget cuts elsewhere. Just like it won't stop Republicans from using the disease to push their anti-trade agenda. No matter how bad the outbreak might turn out to be, you can bet that politicians will find a way to make it worse.

    Everybody is using this to score political points. Including me, I guess: expecting that Mommy Government would have kept us safe if only we had given her more money is childish.


  • Here's Michael Auslin, writing at National Review on that whole "sick man of Asia" thing: China’s Thin Skin Bruised Yet Again. Once upon a time…

    And yet, history aside, I felt the phrase was somehow connected with something I had written long ago. Sure enough, Google instantly picked out an essay I wrote in 2009 for Foreign Policy, entitled “The Sick Man of Asia.” I was over a decade ahead of the times. I racked my brains, trying to remember the names of the American journalists who had been expelled due to my callousness, of how many times I had been denied a visa, and of the diplomatic strategy the U.S. government adopted in response to the crisis I had caused.

    Oh, wait, silly me. My “The Sick Man of Asia” article wasn’t about China at all. It was about Japan. Subtitled “We’ll Miss Japan When It’s Gone,” the piece lamented Tokyo’s then-paralyzed political system and fading regional role (much of which has been turned around by current prime minister Shinzo Abe, by the way).

    <sarcasm>And yet Japan mysteriously failed to expel any journalists in response to Auslin's despicable slur.</sarcasm>


  • Hey, kids, what time is it not? Nikki Haley has the answer at the WSJ: This Is No Time to Go Wobbly on Capitalism. Good all the way through, sample:

    Socialism represents the greatest threat to American values, but another movement is also cause for alarm. Advocates of so-called stakeholder capitalism—a philosophy that retains the word “capitalism” but abandons its meaning—include the Business Roundtable. Last year, the chief executives of America’s largest companies changed their definition of business. They said companies should focus on customers, workers and communities instead of being the best business possible. This has a nice sound to it but makes no sense. In reality, a company that cheats its customers, mistreats its workers and abuses its community won’t be around long.

    The Business Roundtable knows better, but corporate America is buckling under the pressure of political correctness. This is an unhealthy development that will make business the servant of politics. Few things are more dangerous than big government in cahoots with big business.

    I think Nikki's going to run for President in 2024. Probably Rand Paul too. That would be a tough choice for me. But a much better choice than I'm likely to see this year.


  • At the Bulwark, Robert Tracinski asks Have You Accepted the Free Market as Your Personal Savior?

    Hello, friend. I’m knocking on your door today to ask whether you have accepted the free market as your personal savior. If you haven’t, I’m here to share the good news.

    I am, obviously, riffing on the latest talking point from the nationalist conservatives, who have formed a new think tank based on the complaint that American politics is dominated by “free-market fundamentalism.” Please try not to laugh.

    It’s not just that this is a ridiculous straw man—advocates of the free market have spent our entire lives being ignored by politicians. It’s the fact that this is a sneering way of implying that confidence in markets is a form of dangerous dogmatism. It is an attempt to portray free-market economics as some kind of fanatical leap of faith, rather than a body of knowledge grounded in observation of the remarkable achievements of capitalism over the centuries—not to mention the failure of every other system.

    It’s an attempt to accuse somebody else of dogmatism, while they are the ones closing their minds to the evidence.

    I'm pretty sure I watched Thomas Sowell on TV decades back when an interviewer challenged his "faith in free markets". He fired back, "I don't have faith in free markets. I have facts about free markets."


  • And the Google LFOD News Alert rang for an announcement "Squatter's Opera", happening down in NYC on March 8. They have a Facebook page about it!

    Join us for the first ever public film showing of the current rendition of Michael Shenker's Squatter's Opera. Followed by question & answer session with cast and crew. Then, there's more... See, hear, and maybe even participate in, a live performance of more music from the Squatter's Opera repertoire.

    Description: In 2019 a group of about 25 Lower East Side veteran squatters, artists, musicians and activists came together to resurrect the song "Live Free Or Die" from the late Michael Shenker's collection of songs that came to be known as The Squatter's Opera. It was performed at Theater For The New City (see website theaterforthenewcity.net for more amazing live performances) on May 26th 2019, and Simeon Rose created this "short" film of the event.. This piece explains the how's and why's of Squatting via an informative introduction by graphic artist Seth Tobocman, then shows the musical characterization of scenes from real life Squatting. We aim to show why people chose to squat city owned buildings, the self reliance, skill share and community we developed, and how we became homesteaders then finally legal residents despite Big Developers who wanted tax breaks to turn empty buildings into overpriced Luxury apartments.

    Suggested Donation $5.00 - $20.00. All proceeds go directly towards the production. Payable at the door.

    Categories: Film - Live Theater - Protest Theater - Resistance Theater

    An interesting application of LFOD: living for "free" by occupying some else's property.

    It's nice that there's no formal admission fee, just a "suggested donation". I'm not going to attend, but if I did, I'd be sorely tempted to stiff them on that suggestion, with a polite "LFOD".


Last Modified 2020-02-28 9:25 AM EST