URLs du Jour

2022-05-11

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  • And nobody puts babies in a corner? Kevin D. Williamson corrects the record: Without Roe, Nobody 'Dictates' Abortion Policy.

    For various reasons, many journalists and so-called journalists have written many columns about my views on abortion. But the only one of them to ever bother asking me about my views on abortion has been Jane Coaston. We recently had a short email exchange on the question, which she mentions in the New York Times. She writes:

    In response to an email, Williamson told me, “Returning abortion policy to the democratic theater does not empower the pro-life movement to dictate abortion policy — nor should we want it to.”

    But have no doubt that the people who oppose abortion will, in fact, be dictating abortion policy in dozens of states . . . .

    Coaston is one of the many writers on this subject who, for whatever reason, keeps missing one of the central points: In a post-Roe world, nobody gets to dictate abortion policy to anybody — rather, abortion policy will be decided by democratically elected lawmakers. That is not dictatorship, but democracy. The importance of that point should be easily understood by all intelligent observers, including those of our friends and neighbors who support abortion rights. It is wrong to treat laws enacted by democratically enacted lawmakers as equivalent to the undemocratic settlement we currently have. It is also wrong to fail to acknowledge that this is a big part of what is being disputed.

    KDW makes a good point. But:

    1. Some believe that abortion is a "right" (or derives from a right, variously claimed to be privacy, bodily autonomy, or self-ownership.)
    2. And, as KDW himself has said, rights are "Stuff You Idiots Can’t Be Trusted To Vote On".

    Now, I don't believe that abortion is a "right". But it's tough to argue with people who do.


  • A point of wide applicability. Timothy Sandefur expands on his views about Debt and Demagoguery.

    “The Federalist Papers” can be dry reading. Calm, scholarly, sometimes needlessly erudite, this classic examination of the U.S. Constitution by three of its foremost advocates—Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay—generally strikes a detached pose, focusing more on how bills become laws than on any specific political agenda.

    But there’s an exception. In the middle of the book’s most famous essay—Federalist No. 10—Madison briefly drops his tone of political neutrality in order to call three kinds of laws downright “wicked.” These three are laws creating paper money, laws that redistribute private property and laws “for an abolition of debts.” This trio, he explains, are the types of laws the proposed Constitution is designed to prevent.

    Today, as a loud minority of voters is calling for President Biden to “cancel” or “forgive” billions of dollars in federal student loan debts—shifting the costs of higher education onto the backs of working taxpayers—it’s worth pausing to consider why the Father of the Constitution reserved such harsh language for laws abolishing debts.

    Sandefur recounts the long history of wise people pointing out the "wickedness" of debt cancellation.


  • Little Marco provides yet another reason to vote against him if he tries to run for president again. Joe Lancaster keeps his eye on his latest bad idea: Marco Rubio Wants To Fight Abortion and Trans Battles in the Tax Code.

    With the passage of state laws intended to restrict access to abortion, some companies like Bumble, Yelp, and Salesforce have announced programs to assist employees who have to travel to other states in order to obtain the procedure. After the apparent leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion which would overturn the right nationwide, Amazon announced that for any employees who have to travel in order to receive an abortion, it would reimburse up to $4,000 annually.

    Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) responded by threatening legislation.

    Employees' health care costs are typically tax deductible as business expenses for their employers. Rubio's bill, the No Tax Breaks for Radical Corporate Activism Act, would bar a company from deducting the costs of reimbursements not only for abortions but also for gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender children. In a statement accompanying the legislation, Rubio said, "Our tax code should be pro-family and promote a culture of life."

    A more sensible policy would be to treat all employer-paid medical benefits as taxable income. It's regressive, and a major factor in why health care is so expensive in America. But that's a non-starter.


  • PolitiFact is awful and should apologize ad go away. OK, you probably knew that. But Andrew Stiles describes another reason to despise it. PANTS ON FIRE: PolitiFact Defiles the Truth.

    PolitiFact, the allegedly "independent" fact-checking website, is soliciting donations to fund its "fact-based, unbiased reporting." Unfortunately, these fundraising efforts have already been tainted with disinformation.

    "Help us hold politicians accountable," PolitiFact's audience director, Josie Hollingsworth, wrote in a fundraising email on Monday.

    The email asserts that PolitiFact is dedicated to "holding our leaders accountable." The claim lacks crucial context, and grossly misrepresents the truth about the organization's priorities, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis of nearly 300 PolitiFact posts dating back to March 10, 2022.

    Our analysis found that more than half the PolitiFact fact checks published in the last two months involved random content posted on social media. More than a third (112) of the website's 290 fact checks over that period involved content posted on Facebook, which has enlisted PolitiFact and other so-called nonpartisan organizations to "identify and review false information."

    PolitiFact has been "holding our leaders accountable" by devoting it resources to fact-checking the asinine claims of random Facebook users: that John F. Kennedy Jr. is still alive and leading QAnon, that "paying taxes is optional," and that Hillary Clinton is imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. All three were given a "pants on fire!" rating, in case you were wondering.

    "Help us debunk random Facebook users" is not a strong fundraising slogan.


  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the latest in a series of pundits who don't like the DGB: The desperation of Biden's Disinformation Board.

    In 1918, Woodrow Wilson’s Democratic administration passed a piece of legislation it hoped would accelerate the end of the First World War. The new law didn’t directly concern the military — nor was it a revolutionary act of foreign policy. Rather, its target was ordinary American citizens.

    Passed shortly after the Espionage Act, the Sedition Act made it a crime to “wilfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of the Government of the United States”. In other words, it was intended to stifle dissent. And by all accounts, it was immensely effective: it was used to convict 877 people between 1919 and 1920.

    In the century since it was passed (and swiftly revoked), the Sedition Act has largely been viewed as a legislative artefact, an embarrassing quirk that’s best forgotten. In recent weeks, however, its spirit appears to have been rekindled by another Democrat President — one who may not be at war, but nonetheless finds himself under siege. Late last month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the creation of a sinister-sounding new unit called the Disinformation Governance Board. When asked to justify its formation, White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained: “It sounds like the objective of the board is to prevent disinformation and misinformation from traveling around the country in a range of communities, and I am not sure who opposes that effort.”

    And so the mask slips. As became clear in the following days, the Board has been established to legislate fake news and mistruths out of existence, as if they were draughts of toxic air, wafting out of laptops and cell phones into the eyes and ears of unsuspecting citizens. It’s hardly surprising that the Board was swiftly condemned as the ill-disguised attempt at state censorship it is.

    Ms. Ali notes that in addition to the DGB being a bad idea, the person picked to head it up, Nina Jankowicz was an enthusiastic promoter of the Steele Dossier misinformation. So, even worse.