URLs du Jour

2021-01-21

[Amazon Link]

  • Kevin D. Williamson bids farewell as the Witless Ape Rides Helicopter.

    Let me refresh your memory: On the day Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Republicans controlled not only the White House but both houses of Congress. They were in a historically strong position elsewhere as well, controlling both legislative chambers in 32 states. They pissed that away like they were midnight drunks karaoke-warbling that old Chumbawumba song: In 2021, they control approximately squat. The House is run by Nancy Pelosi. The Senate is run, as a practical matter, by Kamala Harris. And Joe Biden won the presidency, notwithstanding whatever the nut-cutlet guest-hosting for Dennis Prager this week has to say about it.

    Donald Trump is, in fact, the first president since Herbert Hoover to lead his party to losing the presidency, the House, and the Senate all in a single term. Along with being the first president to be impeached twice and the first game-show host elected to the office, that’s Trump’s claim to the history books. Well, that and 400,000 dead Americans and the failed coup d’état business.

    Coulda been different. But it would have required Trump to have been … not Trump.


  • Arnold Kling also looks back on The Trump Presidency.

    In a classic sports photo from the 1960s, Cassius Clay (soon to change his name to Muhammad Ali) stands over his defeated opponent, Sonny Liston. Clay still has his fist cocked menacingly, and his eyes glare down with contempt. The referee had to shove Clay to his corner in order to be able to begin to count Liston out.

    I see this as a metaphor for the contest between Donald Trump and the deep state, with Mr. Trump the one who is prostrate on the canvas. Maybe you think that Trump deserved this fate (some boxing aficionados felt that way about Sonny Liston). I am sad for him.

    I've embedded the closest Getty image I could find to the one to which Arnold links.

    I'm sad for Trump. But I also think he (richly) deserved his drubbing. And I'm even sadder for the country.


  • KDW (again, sorry) notes that Trump managed to commit one last outrage before getting on that helicopter.

    For those still (still!) wondering whether Donald Trump is a con artist, Mr. “Drain the Swamp”’s last acts as president included opening up the floodgates to fill the swamp.

    Explanation from the linked Politico article:

    Shortly after he entered office, Trump signed an executive order that barred appointees from any lobbying related to their agency for five years, in addition to a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government. Every Trump appointee was required to sign a pledge agreeing to those rules. But in a last-minute move early Wednesday, Trump reversed the order and allowed the revolving door in Washington to continue swinging.

    Let no one say that Trump doesn't care about people. Specifically, he cares for his administration's employees who are apparently bereft of job skills that might help them gain honest employment. It's an act of mercy that will allow them to continue to visit Capitol Hill's Charlie Parker Steak for the Mishima "Manhattan Cut" American Waygu Strip ($60), washing it down with a glass (small glass) of Justin Isosceles 2015 ($37).


  • David Bernstein provides An Example of Why [he no longer trusts] the New York Times.

    I can't say I've ever fully trusted the Times to be accurate, but until recently I generally felt fairly confident that even if a story was slanted in perspective, the facts that were reported were basically accurate. Not anymore.

    For example, here is the Times yesterday, in a news story on the front page (and linked here to the Baltimore Sun to evade a paywll): "For months, Republicans have used last summer's protests as a political catchall, highlighting isolated instances of property destruction and calls to defund the police to motivate their base in November." (emphasis added)

    As I've noted previously, the property losses from the riots and looting last summer were on a par with the Los Angeles riots of 1992 and the totality of the 1960s urban riots. They included nightly riots in Portland, the destruction of a several blocks of Minneapolis, the establishment of a lawless anarchist zone for twenty-three days in Seattle, and riots in cities all over the country. I was in Omaha last summer, and I was surprised to find that the downtown was full of boarded-up shops whose windows had been smashed. A good friend from Albany, NY was just telling me about property destruction and looting there. I mention these because they did not make the national news, but there are many other examples from New York to Los Angeles.

    I don't absolve Trump from his role in the January 6 riot. And I don't absolve the rioters from their own behavior; they weren't mindless automatons.

    But the asymmetrical treatment by the media between last summer and January 6 is egregious. And certainly they sent the implicit message: if you feel really bad about something, violence and looting is just fine.


  • Eventually we'll stop talking about Trump, right? Because President Wheezy is not only gonna bring us new outrages, he's gonna revive some of the old ones. For example, Daniel J. Ikenson notes Inauguration Day Feels Like Groundhog Day for Buy American.

    Exactly four years ago today, responding to the protectionist pledges in President Trump's inaugural speech, I warned of the false promise of Buy American regulations. Because of this memo from incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain to incoming White House staff, I republish parts of that warning below. The memo notes that, by February 1, President Biden will take action to "fulfill his promises to strengthen Buy American provisions so the future of America is made in America," which is another way of saying U.S. taxpayers will be charged double for half the infrastructure they're forced to buy, and that American producers will not have a stake in the future of the rest of the world.

    Although I'm relieved that Trump was vanquished and now appears to be in our rear-view mirror, I am deeply concerned that the protectionism he prioritized in his bogus quest to make America great again will remain a fixture of U.S. trade and domestic economic policy for many years to come. After all, Trump stole the Democratic Party playbook on trade, promoting tariffs and trade agreements that are heavy on enforcement provisions and light on incentives to actually trade, and the political imperative now may be for Democrats to double down to show that they, too, can deliver for the protectionist demandeurs both parties court.

    And as for Wheezy's inaugural promises about unity, light, decency, love, healing… well, not you, Pete:

    National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb, a Trump appointee, has been fired after refusing a request from President Joe Biden to step down from his post.

    Maybe he can get one of those sweet lobbying jobs.


  • And finally, Veronique de Rugy comments on Joe Biden's Plan to Build the United States of Italia.

    With his policy announcement about another COVID-19 relief bill, President Joe Biden declares loud and clear that he will not shy away from spending blowouts and fiscal irresponsibility. For the most part, his proposed plan is nothing more than a way to use the current crisis to deliver on Democrats' longtime dream to explode the size and scope of the federal government.

    The objective of the $1.9 trillion plan is noble enough: stimulate the economy, provide relief to Americans and combat the pandemic. But noble doesn't always mean good. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I would add political expediency to that expression.

    Hey, that's democracy. I think the word count for that yesterday was (at least) in the high three figures. And as Mencken said:

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.