URLs du Jour

2021-06-10

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  • Or Any Other Government Agency. Charles C. W. Cooke goes for the easy target: We Can’t Trust the IRS.

    What did you make of that big ProPublica story on the intimate tax information of America’s richest men? Personally, I concluded that I can’t trust the IRS.

    There are only a few ways in which the information ProPublica examined could have made it onto the Internet. It could have been leaked by someone who works for — or with — the IRS. It could have been hacked by an outside group. Or it could have been surreptitiously released by a member of Congress or a Biden administration staffer. Whichever one of these happened, the conclusion must be the same: We cannot trust the IRS.

    “Oh, who cares?” you might ask. “The victims are billionaires!” And indeed, they are. But I care. For a start, they’re American citizens, and they’re entitled to the same rights — and protected by the same laws — as everyone else. Their privacy does not matter less than mine just because they’re richer than I am. Besides, even if one wants to be entirely amoral about it, one should consider that if their information can be spilled onto the Internet, anyone’s can. And, if you were in their shoes, you’d probably care a lot more than they do. A government that is this reckless or sinister with the information of men who are lawyered to the eyeballs is unlikely to worry too much about being reckless or sinister with your information.

    `

    I'm betting on "sinister", by the way.


  • Wasting Away Again In Delusionville. I am pretty Sidney Powell's legal team will be quitting soon. Jacob Sullum recounts the latest: Sidney Powell, Who Denied That Her Wacky Election Conspiracy Claims Were Statements of Fact, Now Says She Will Prove They Were True.

    Former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, who faces defamation lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages because of her wacky claims about presidential election fraud, argues that her accusations against Dominion Voting Systems are not actionable because "no reasonable person" would have understood them as statements of fact. But her comments at a conference last month in Dallas undermine that already risible defense.

    "I don't think they realized that some of us litigators were going to catch on and hold their feet to the fire and expose what really happened," Powell said during the "For God & Country: Patriot Roundup" gathering on Memorial Day weekend, which also featured prominent election conspiracy theorists such as former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Florida congressman Allen West, and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R–Texas). She predicted that Dominion's lawsuit will be dismissed because "we meant what we said, and we have the evidence to back it up." If the lawsuit proceeds, she added, "then we will get discovery against Dominion, and we will be on offense." Powell also held out hope that Donald Trump "can simply be reinstated" after "a new inauguration" once her claim that Joe Biden stole the election with Dominion's help is verified.

    By the way: if you would like Pun Salad to link to your content, having the word "wacky" in the headline will measurably improve your chances.


  • Amazon Probably Has Body Cam Footage Of Its Self-Inflicted Wounds. Jack McEvoy at the Washington Free Beacon reports: Amazon Defends Sale of Anti-Cop Merchandise.

    Amazon has banned T-shirts mocking Vice President Kamala Harris and books critical of transgender ideology, but allows the sale of memorabilia proclaiming "Blue Lives Murder."

    Through Amazon, clothing makers are selling T-shirts, hats, bandannas, and masks that feature the anti-police slogan. Today for just $15.99 users can buy a "Blue Lives Murder" adjustable face mask and—for only $1 more—a baseball cap bearing the same slogan. Amazon defended the products, saying it strives to provide its customers "with the widest possible selection" of goods.

    Amazon has its guidelines for Offensive and Controversial Materials, which say (for non-books/music/video/DVD):

    Amazon does not allow products that promote, incite or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.

    I'm pretty sure "Blue Lives Murder" products should count as promoting hatred. (Exercise for masochists: Try substituting "Black" for "Blue" and see how long your product stays up.)


  • It's 'Trickle Down' For Leftists. In her latest column, Veronique de Rugy is Demystifying the Magical Multiplier Myth.

    The scale and scope of government spending expansion in the last year are unprecedented. Because Uncle Sam doesn't have the money, lots of it went on the government's credit card. The deficit and debt skyrocketed. But this is only the beginning. The Biden administration recently proposed a $6 trillion budget for fiscal 2022, two-thirds of which would be borrowed.

    Obviously, the politicians pushing money out always make extravagant promises about the economic growth that will result from their generous use of other people's money. A new study by George Mason University economist Garett Jones and myself dispels some of the magical thinking that goes on in this area.

    The de Rugy/Jones policy brief she mentions is here; "Keynesian Stimulus: A Virtuous Semicircle?"


  • As Usual, The Media Have Moved On To Different Lies. Glenn Greenwald chronicles the collapse of Yet Another Media Tale.

    For more than a year, it has been consecrated media fact that former President Donald Trump and his White House, on June 1 of last year, directed the U.S. Park Police to use tear gas against peaceful Lafayette Park protesters, all to enable a Trump photo-op in front of St. John's Church. That this happened was never presented as a possibility or likelihood but as indisputable truth. And it provoked weeks of unmitigated media outrage, presented as one of the most egregious assaults on the democratic order in decades.

    This tale was so pervasive in the media landscape that it would be impossible for any one article to compile all the examples. “Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op,” read the NPR headline on June 1. The New York Times ran with: “Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church.” CNN devoted multiple segments to venting indignation while the on-screen graphic declared: “Peaceful Protesters Near White House Tear-Gassed, Shot With Rubber Bullets So Trump Can Have Church Photo Op.”

    Much more at the link, including the shouting-down of skeptics by "fact checkers".

    But "the media narrative was false from start to finish."