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  • At National Review, David Harsanyi notes another small step toward our Orwellian future: Joe Biden Appoints Free-Speech Antagonist Rick Stengel to Sell Free Speech Abroad. Specifically, Stengel was appointed to "Biden’s transition team to the U.S. Agency for Global Media".

    Unfortunately, such a thing exists, with a budget of $753 million (FY2016) and 3.592 employees.

    Considering Stengel’s animosity towards free expression this seems quite a poor fit. You might remember his infamous 2011 Time cover piece, featuring a picture of the Constitution with the headline “Does It Still Matter?”

    In it he argued:

    We can pat ourselves on the back about the past 223 years, but we cannot let the Constitution become an obstacle to the U.S.’s moving into the future with a sensible health care system, a globalized economy, an evolving sense of civil and political rights. The Constitution does not protect our spirit of liberty; our spirit of liberty protects the Constitution. The Constitution serves the nation; the nation does not serve the Constitution.

    This malleable view of foundational law, one that allows partisans to reimagine the Constitution in any way that suits them, is pretty popular these days. It is, in essence, an acknowledgment that the contemporary left-wing can’t function under traditional American principles.

    David also provides a link to Stengel's WaPo op-ed, "Why America needs a hate speech law" in which he bemoaned that the First Amendment was "engineered for a simpler era."

    Well, if Stengel gets his way, we're headed for a more complicated era. One in which government bureaucrats will examine your every utterance for "hate".


  • It's not just freedom of expression that will be attacked under Biden. Veronique de Rugy chronicles Biden's Search for Bipartisanship (and Bloated Budgets). In the context of Biden's let's-all-get-along speech, some history:

    Between the enormous budget deals designed by former Republican Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray under President Barack Obama and the bailout of automakers in 2008 under President George W. Bush, Republicans in Congress (or in the White House) have always worked with Democrats to expand the role of government.

    The Manhattan Institute's Brian Riedl wrote 3,000 words for National Review to explain how "Republican lawmakers have never been the partisan anti-government zealots that many Democrats claim" — and that some, frankly, fervently wish they were. As he writes, "(Republicans under Bush) also teamed up with Ted Kennedy to aggressively expand Washington's role in education under No Child Left Behind, created a Medicare drug entitlement, built the Department of Homeland Security, and spent heavily on farm subsidies, global AIDS and poverty relief, and domestic programs." In fact, if people care to look closely, they would see that beneath the tip of what looks like "gridlock" is a massive iceberg of irresponsible spending and social engineering supported with equal fervor by both political parties.

    It seems that both parties will require a painful dose of economic reality before fiscal sanity is even considered.

  • Jacob Sullum keeps hitting them out of the park at Reason. Here, he considers a prediction from a recent debate: Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Death Forecast Looks Less Plausible Every Day.

    During a debate with Donald Trump last month, Joe Biden said "the expectation is we'll have another 200,000 Americans dead [from COVID-19] between now and the end of the year." That implied a total U.S. death toll of about 423,000 by January 1. The current total is around 242,000. Biden's projection therefore suggests that COVID-19 will kill more than 3,600 Americans a day between now and the end of the year, compared to the current seven-day average of fewer than 1,100.

    That is not likely to happen. The "ensemble forecast" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on projections from "45 modeling groups," puts the death toll at 250,000 to 266,000 by November 28. Assuming that estimate is in the right ballpark, Biden is projecting at least another 157,000 deaths from November 29 through December 31, or nearly 4,800 a day. That's more than four times the current seven-day average and more than twice the April 21 peak.

    The MSM will keep telling you for the foreseeable future that it's the Republicans that campaign by stoking the fears of the citizenry.

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    Well, we've dumped on Wheezy Joe enough for one day. At The Library of Economics and Liberty, Scott Sumner notes another blast from the past: Trump supported lockdowns.

    President Trump is such an unusual politician that people (myself included) have trouble seeing him clearly. For instance, Trump is often seen as an opponent of lockdowns. But while he did often speak out against lockdowns during the waning days of the campaign, he actually supported them during the period they were most restrictive.  Here’s a NYT headline from April 22:

    Trump Criticizes Georgia Governor for Decision to Reopen State

    “I think it’s too soon,” said the president, who joined several mayors in questioning Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, who had said some businesses could resume on Friday.


    And it’s not just lockdowns. I could easily dredge up Trump quotes for and against masks, for and against testing, or for and against any of a number of other policies.

    Indeed. Why it's almost as if Trump read Harry Frankfurt's On Bullshit and took it for an instruction manual. (Amazon link above, to your right.)

Last Modified 2024-01-21 10:16 AM EDT