URLs du Jour

2020-02-22

[Amazon Link]

  • As predictably as the sun rising in the east, special interests will demand increased state regulation to hamper their competitors. At Reason, Elizabeth Nolan Brown notes the latest instance: Newspaper Lobbyists and Encryption Foes Join the Chorus Against Section 230.

    The Department of Justice has joined the campaign against Section 230, the federal law that enables the internet as we know it. Its effort is probably part of Washington's ongoing battle against encrypted communications. And legacy news media companies are apparently all to happy to help them in this fight.

    On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice held a "public workshop" on Section 230. Predictably, it wound being up a greatest hits of the half-truths and paranoid bellyaching commonly employed against this important law.

    Barr's jihad against strong encryption doesn't quite fit in the regulate-my-competitors model, but of course the government uses strong encryption itself. At least I hope it does. So, yeah, the point is to deny us the tools the government uses itself.


  • At Inside Sources, Michael Graham apparently has the goods on my current CongressCritter, Chris Pappas: Pappas Spends Tens of Thousands of Tax Dollars on Facebook Ads, Repeatedly Violated FB Guidelines.

    New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas has worked hard to maintain a low profile since winning his First Congressional District seat, a district Donald Trump carried in 2016. However, he hasn’t been shy about communicating with his constituents the old-fashioned way: Spending tax money on political messages.

    For decades, Congress has dealt with recurring scandals involving “franking privileges” — taxpayer-funded mailings to voters back home. However, in recent years, more members have moved to social media and Facebook to spread the news of their accomplishments. Buying ads promoting their official Facebook (FB) pages is one way to get the word out to future voters — and on the voters’ dime.

    No idea of what Facebook rule Pappas ran afoul, but I'm afraid this scandal won't stink badly enough to send him back to peddling dangerous chicken tenders in Manchester.


  • More rebuttal to the "American Compass" project, this time from Alberto Mingardi at the Library of Economics and Liberty: Oren Cass as a gift to Bernie Sanders.

    Were I Bernie Sanders, I would continuously quote Oren Cass and his ambition of giving the United States an industrial policy.

    Though he is more nuanced and moderate than most advocates of an “entrepreneurial state”, Cass interprets industrial policy as being oriented towards supporting manufacturing and “vital sectors that might otherwise suffer from underinvestment”. That definition, as always with industrial policy, is loose enough to be applicable to pretty much everything. What is a vital sector? How do you assess under-investment?

    Industrial policy is meant to be discretionary, because it aims to correct alleged errors on the part of investors and consumers in the market economy insofar as the allocation of resources is concerned. It is “picking winners”, and picking winner needs a picker.

    Click through for more, including links to criticism that you might not have seen here.


  • Have you been wondering whether Mike Bloomberg's technocratic arrogance is at odds with America's founders? Well, Rich Lowry has an answer for that: Mike Bloomberg’s technocratic arrogance is at odds with America’s founders. Especially amusing is the compare-and-contrast with our current Prez:

    If November were to come down to a Trump-Bloomberg race — despite the former New York City mayor’s woeful debating skills — Americans would get the choice of swapping one president with an aconstitutional view of the office for another.

    The two New York City billionaires are studies in contrast, except no one would think to feature either one of them in an episode of “Schoolhouse Rock.”

    Trump views the presidency through the prism of what’s most gratifying to him, especially his insatiable need for attention; Bloomberg would view it through the prism of what’s good for you, as filtered through his supreme confidence that, he, and only he, truly knows what that is.

    Trump’s ego feeds off constant praise and airtime; Bloomberg’s feeds off his belief that he’s the smartest guy in the room, in fact, in any room, and that you’d inevitably agree with him if only you were as intelligent, rational and public-spirited as he is.

    Devastating, and, to my mind, on-target.