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  • Why yes, Democrats are taking tactical cues from video games. But Charles C. W. Cooke says No to “Executive Beast Mode”.

    President Biden is once again gearing up to utter a series of words that ought to inspire Americans to search in exasperation for their pitchforks: “If Congress won’t do it, I will.”

    If it can raise itself from the reverie that our imperial presidency has imposed, the public’s emphatic response to the president’s climate plan must be, “No, you damn well will not.” Article I of the U.S. Constitution vests “All legislative Powers” in Congress, not in the White House, and, in exercising those powers, Congress’s judgment is not advisory, but binding. If, as is often the case, Congress declines to act in a given realm, the result is not a transfer of authority, it is inertia. There is no such thing as a Too Important Clause in our highest law, nor is there any provision that accords lawmaking powers to the executive branch in such cases as its friends consider the legislature to be irresponsible. There are, indeed, a handful of statutes on the books that grant the executive some emergency powers, but those are not enabling acts, and, funnily enough, they require the existence of an emergency before they can be applied. No emergency exists in this case. That the Democratic Party has been unable to get its agenda past its own senators is presumably frustrating for it, but it does not count as a crisis under any plausib[l]e interpretation of that term.

    Merriam-Webster has more on the term "beast mode" here. And the current usage is apparently from …

    That's at the end of a long thread with Whitehouse's recommendations for stuff he thinks Biden should dictate.

  • Not just misery, but also despotism. Bjørn Lomborg describes How the Climate Elite Spread Misery.

    The chattering classes who jet to conferences at Davos or Aspen have for years been telling the rest of us that our biggest immediate threats are climate change, environmental disasters and biodiversity loss. They point to the current heat waves killing thousands across Europe as the latest reason to change our societies and economies radically by switching to renewables.

    Such arguments are misleading. It’s true that as temperatures rise the world will experience more heat waves, but humans also adapt to such things. In Spain, for example, rising temperatures have actually led to fewer heat deaths, because people have adapted faster than temperatures have gone up. It simply took air conditioning, public cooling centers and better treatment of maladies that are caused or aggravated by heat, such as heatstroke and heart disease.

    At Pun Salad Manor, we're hunkering down with the AC on for the next couple days.

  • Speaking of stifling innovation… Veronique de Rugy pleads for some Congressional sanity: Antitrust Craze Would Unplug Technological Progress.

    Always beware of the name given to a piece of legislation. It rarely describes accurately the likely impact of enacting a bill. In fact, statutes often do the opposite of what their names suggest. Take Sen. Amy Klobuchar's, D-Minn., proposed legislation named the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. While everyone likes more choice and innovation, this bill would hinder both as it imposes high costs on consumers. In fact, a more apt name for Klobuchar's bill would be the Anti-Consumer and Stagnation Act of 2022.

    Born out of the recent eagerness to expand antitrust regulation, the bill would empower government bureaucrats at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to bridle the economy's thriving technology sector with regulations and mandates aimed at making "big" companies smaller regardless of how well a "big" firm is serving consumers. The economics of this idea are all wrong.

    The targets of these legislative efforts are some of the most successful companies in our nation's history, including Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft. Klobuchar and company want to break these entrepreneurial successes into smaller companies, all without regard to the benefits consumers reap from vertical integration. Vertical integration is when a company owns multiples stages of production. In competing for customers, firms buy — or sell — different stages to achieve maximum possible efficiencies. To put this reality into perspective, popular services such as Amazon Prime and Google Maps are products of vertical integration and would be prohibited under the new legislation.

    If Senator Amy thinks she can run a tech business, she should quit her job and try it, instead of hobbling successful companies that have done a good job providing goods and services people want.

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    Instead of trying to destroy successful businesses… Megan McArdle suggests there should be at least one party that stays in its own lane: Republicans could change government the way they changed the courts. She disdains the GOP's current hamfisted efforts to fight wokeness.

    If Republicans actually want to combat creeping wokeness, they need to stop making showy attacks on the most egregious progressive excesses. Instead, they need to break up the left’s monopoly on expertise. This is not only good strategy but actually good policy that will eventually make the lives of their constituents better.

    I say “eventually” because it won’t happen quickly. On the one hand, Republicans need to build up their own institutional capacity to govern. And on the other, they need to attack the credentialing regime that provides progressive-dominated academic institutions with a captive customer base.

    To do that, start by taking a lesson from what almost every conservative agrees was President Donald Trump’s one great success: engineering a rightward shift of the courts. Notice that Republicans did not win this victory by passing laws forbidding judges to be liberal. Instead, they spent decades building out conservative theories of jurisprudence and networks of scholars trained in those methods who could be appointed or elected to the bench. They should be replicating that model in every discipline that produces a lot of government workers or political appointees — the equivalent of a Federalist Society chapter at every school of education, social work, public health or public policy in the country.

    Megan points out a possible Plan A: go on the attack "against the credentialism and occupational licensing regimes that have turned colleges into gatekeepers to most of the good jobs." That's not a new idea, it was a major theme of the 1992 book School's Out by Lewis J. Perelman. Thirty years ago.

  • What were we thinking? Robby Soave notes some interesting crow-eating: Homeland Security Agrees That the Disinformation Board Was a Bad Idea.

    Two months after it first scrapped the Disinformation Governance Board, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now admits there is "no need" for the board at all.

    A DHS advisory subcommittee made the declaration on Monday, according to The Washington Post. Previously the board had technically been "paused."

    First announced in April, the disinformation board attracted scrutiny from conservatives and civil libertarians due to concerns that its director, Nina Jankowicz, was a progressive ideologue with a poor track record of identifying misinformation. She had fallen for narratives that had hoodwinked other liberals, including the false notion that the New York Post's Hunter Biden laptop story was a hoax of Russian origin. Federal law enforcement officials played a prominent role in providing cover for this false notion; 50 of them signed a letter asserting the story was Russian disinformation, which provided the mainstream media and social media companies with intellectual cover to suppress the story. There is good reason to worry that Jankowicz's disinformation board could have done the same had it been up and running at the time.

    Now (as Robby notes) maybe the DHS could start rolling back the expensive and pointless security theater at airports.

Last Modified 2024-01-17 12:17 PM EDT