URLs du Jour

2022-05-08

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  • Just belaboring the obvious here. Eric Boehm does the fact checking that (as near as I can tell) PolitiFact won't: Biden Brags About Falling Deficits, but the Federal Fiscal Situation Is Still 'Unsustainable'.

    America faces an "unsustainable" fiscal situation as the national debt grows steadily larger, entitlement programs find themselves on increasingly shaky footing, and rising interest rates compound the costs of decades of overspending.

    That's the ugly three-part warning issued this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in an annual report on the nation's fiscal health—or, in this case, the lack thereof. "The federal government faces an unsustainable fiscal future," the GAO concludes, with the national debt already nearing historical highs and forecast to grow at an accelerating pace unless major changes to current policy are made.

    So how dishonest is Biden?

    [The GAO report's] 30-year projections showing growing deficits and unsustainable levels of debt stand in stark contrast to the Biden administration's latest—and incredibly short-sighted—approach to budgeting. The budget deficit, Biden claimed this week, has "gone down both years since I've been here. Period. They're the facts."

    The new GAO report includes a chart that helpfully illustrates Biden's myopia. The president is looking at only three years of deficits—the years I've highlighted in the chart below—while ignoring the rest of the picture.

    And the Boehm-highlighted chart:

    [GAO Chart says we in a heapa trouble]

    I've made Darrell Huff's 1954 classic How to Lie With Statistics the Amazon Product du Jour. But a much longer book title would be more appropriate for Biden: How to Lie and Get Away With It, Because the Press is Too Lazy and Docile to Point It Out.


  • For example… The local paper, Foster's Daily Democrat, ignored Biden's dishonesty. But they did have room to cover a Thursday kerfuffle in their Saturday online edition, and the headline is pretty aghast: ‘Murderer’: Rochester rep. screams at abortion rights protesters.

    State Rep. Susan De-Lemus, R-Rochester, was filmed screaming from the steps of the New Hampshire Statehouse Thursday, calling pro-abortion rights demonstrators “murderers,” as well as herself.

    […]

    Protesters were heard shouting “shame on you” right before DeLemus was seen pointing at protesters screaming “Shame on you, shame on all of you. Shame on you, killing babies.” It then escalated to her pointing at the crowd, repeatedly screaming “You’re a murderer!”

    So DeLemus was one person screaming, while the protesters were "shouting".

    And the headline is all about the screams.

    Yeah, that seems fair and balanced.

    The article avoids mentioning the source of the "filmed" video. Newsweek is a little more forthcoming: "The clip of DeLemus was posted on Twitter by Colin Booth, the Legislative Communications Director for the New Hampshire Democratic Party."

    Notice (by the way) that I said "the local paper" instead of the usual "my local paper". That's because I'm not renewing my subscription to this hopelessly partisan rag when it runs out in a few weeks.


  • Good advice for politicians, which they will not take. David Henderson says Don’t Just Stand There: Undo Something.

    “Something must be done. This is something. Therefore we must do it.” Those are my favorite three lines from Yes, Prime Minister, a British comedy series about politics. Most politicians who face a problem think that “something must be done.” Unfortunately, they tend to reach the same conclusion that the adviser reached in the Yes, Prime Minister episode.

    But in the US economy, in which governments at all three levels tax, spend, and regulate as much as they do, there’s another way to confront problems that does not involving taxing, spending, and regulating more. That way is to reduce taxes, spending, and regulation. In short, some things must be undone.

    There’s a long list of things that should be undone and that would help ameliorate, rather than exacerbate, some of the problems we face. I’ll settle for five: regulations on home food production, the Jones Act, protectionist trade policies, restrictive immigration policies, and occupational licensing. In each case, I’ll show a particular problem that undoing these policies would ameliorate.

    Check it out.


  • Use your words, Vlad. Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. asks and (maybe) answers: How Does Russia Lose in Ukraine? Putin May Tell Us Monday.

    Only one of Vladimir Putin’s bets is paying off: His oil and gas revenues are still intact and even benefiting from higher prices.

    His most characteristic miscalculation, after witnessing Ukrainians mobilizing by the hundreds of thousands in 2004 and again in 2013-14 to protect their country against political dominance by Russia, was to believe they wouldn’t defend it militarily. He told himself these earlier demonstrations weren’t real, they were foreign-organized and -financed, just as he tells himself the same about protests in Russia.

    It’s worth pausing to note how thoroughly nothing is turning out the way he planned. Tens of thousands of dead, whole cities reduced to rubble, horrific war crimes, the Russian economy in tatters, now a burgeoning series of direct attacks by Ukraine air power on Russian soil. Thousands of military-age Russians are reported to be fleeing the country to avoid becoming fodder in his military debacle.

    But his "Victory Day" speech is coming up tomorrow, and Jenkins wonders if he'll take the opportunity to turn the narrative from Russia-vs-Ukraine into Russia-vs-NATO. It's a lot less embarrassing if you're getting beaten by NATO, right?

    And maybe more dangerous.


  • The lignt dawns! Slashdot is finally catching on, its headline wondering: Is Plastic Recycling a Myth?.

    Last week California's Attorney General accused the fossil fuel/petrochemical industries of "perpetuating a myth that recycling can solve the plastics crisis," Reuters reports, and even launched an investigation into their role in "causing and exacerbating the global plastics pollution crisis."

    And meanwhile, "The rate of plastic waste recycling in the United States fell to between 5%-6% in 2021, as some countries stopped accepting U.S. waste exports and as plastic waste generation surged to new highs, according to a report released on Wednesday."

    The report by environmental groups Last Beach Clean Up and Beyond Plastics shows the recycling rate has dropped from 8.7% in 2018, the last time the Environmental Protection Agency published recycling figures. The decline coincides with a sharp drop in plastic waste exports, which had counted as recycled plastic.... "The U.S. must take responsibility for managing its own plastic waste," said the report, which used 2018 EPA, 2021 export and recent industry data to estimate the 2021 recycling rate.....

    "Recycling does not work, it never will work, and no amount of false advertising will change that," said report author Judith Enck [a former regional administrator at America's Environmental Protection Agency].

    Dude. Of course recycling doesn't work.

    Your only mistake is trying to paint it as some sort of Massive Corporate Conspiracy of which we've only just now become aware.

    The Cato Institute is widely smeared as a corporate stooge, in thrall to big money donors. The Kochtopus in action! Yet, here's Doug Bandow on their website: Our Widespread Faith In Recycling Is Misplaced.

    The Earth. It’s hard not to like it. Many people adore it. Indeed, there has long been a strand of environmentalism that treats nature as divine. So‐called Deep Ecologists, for instance, term their “eco‐terrorist” attacks acts of worship to the planet. Few Americans would go so far, of course, but many of them worship in their own way. They recycle.

    A decade ago a wandering garbage barge set off a political crisis: Where will we put our trash? The media inflamed people’s fears of mounting piles of garbage. A variety of interest groups — particularly “public relations consultants, environmental organizations, waste‐handling corporations,” according to journalist John Tierney — lobbied to line their pockets. Politicians seeking to win votes enacted a spate of laws and regulations to encourage and often mandate recycling.

    But while politics did help create an industry, it did not generate the moral fervor behind it. Many people see recycling as their way to help preserve the planet. For some, it may be the environmental equivalent of serving time in Purgatory, attempting to atone for the materialist excesses of a consumer society. It allows one to feel good about oneself even while enjoying every modern convenience.

    The date of that article: 1997.

    And the John Tierney article mentioned: Recycling Is Garbage. From 1996. Widely deplored at the time. How dare he!

    Dear Slashdot (and Rob Bonta, California's Attorney General): Welcome to the party. But please display a little humility for coming to the party over a quarter-century too late.


Last Modified 2022-05-11 7:11 AM EDT