Schiff Happens

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A new Congress brings all sorts of mischief, including proposed constitutional amendments. Term limits! Balanced budgets! Lowering the voting age! Forbidding court packing!

David Harsanyi looks at a really bad one: Adam Schiff And A Band Of Democrats Propose Overturning The First Amendment.

Adam Schiff and a group of Democrats introduced a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision, one of the greatest free-speech victories in history.

It’s just a political stunt, of course, as Schiff doesn’t have the votes. But it does reflect the authoritarian outlook of the contemporary left on free expression. From the day the decision came down, 13 years ago this week, Citizens United was a rallying cry for those threatened by unregulated discourse. President Barack Obama infamously, and inaccurately, rebuked the justices during his State of the Union for upholding the First Amendment. Since then, Democrats have regularly blamed the decision for the alleged corrosion of “democracy.”

Congress.gov has the full information about Schiff's proposal. It greenlights "appropriate" legislation to "impose reasonable viewpoint-neutral limitations on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections."

I could, but won't, go into the many reasons why this would be horrible. See Harsanyi for that.

But I checked the list of cosponsors to see if either of New Hampshire's congresscritters have signed on to this torpedoing of the First Amendment. Nope. At least not so far.

Adam Schiff seems to be vying for some sort of anti-Voltaire award: "I disapprove of what you say, and so I will try to take away your right to say it." The WSJ editorialists take a look at another facet of his wannabe Big Brotherism: Adam Schiff, Disinformation Man. The issue: the so-called "Nunes memo" that documented the FBI's abuse of the FISA court in investigating the bogus "Russiagate" scandal.

The latest Twitter documents released by journalist Matt Taibbi have exposed another Schiff falsehood. As news broke that Mr. Nunes had submitted his then-classified memo to Congress, Twitter exploded with the hashtag “#ReleaseTheMemo.” Mr. Schiff—still trying to block the memo’s release—joined ranking Senate Judiciary Democrat Dianne Feinstein to publicly claim this hashtag was driven by “Russian bots and trolls” in an effort to “manipulate public opinion,” “influence congressional action” and “undermine Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller’s investigation” into the collusion claim.

The Democrats asked Twitter and Facebook to “expose and deactivate accounts involved in this influence operation.” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse released their own public letter bemoaning “Russian agents” who so “eagerly manipulated innocent American citizens.”

No doubt he would consider this censorship effort as a "reasonable viewpoint-neutral limitation" of Twitter and Facebook.

(And, yes reader, I realize that Voltaire didn't say "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.")

About today's Eye Candy: Like the thing Voltaire didn't say, the saying on our Amazon Product du Jour is true and insightful.

But at Amazon, it is billed as a "George Orwell quote". It's not. According to Snopes:

The bogus Orwell quotation has appeared in countless social media posts and opinion columns in recent years, with various small tweaks. Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who railed against former President Donald Trump before leaving the Senate in 2019, included it in a Washington Post column in May, and in a Senate speech back in January 2018.

In February 2019, former FBI Director James Comey also used it to criticize Trump, but the quote has also been favored by conservatives, and by supporters of whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. In 2012, rapper Soulja Boy posted a version of the same quote on Twitter.

However, the earliest version we could find, and apparently the original, came in a May 6, 2009, column by the conservative writer Selwyn Duke, on the right-leaning website RenewAmerica.com.

That's a bunch of strange bedfellows right there. I have to admit the quote is uncomfortably close to saying "When people vociferously criticize something I've said, that means I must have been right."

Briefly noted:

  • Andrew Follett notes that John Kerry Says the Quiet Part Out Loud on Global Warming. As Pun Salad did a couple days ago.

    Having the government spend yet more “money, money, money,” like a drunken sailor is the only solution to global warming, said failed former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in a speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF).

    “The lesson I’ve learned in the last years — and I learned it as secretary [of state] and I’ve learned it since, reinforced in spades — is: money, money, money, money, money, money, money,” Kerry said, sounding more like he was mumbling an old pop song than making a serious policy statement. Promoting endless spending rather than more fiscal responsibility seems especially reckless as the national debt exceeds $31 trillion, or over $94,000 for every person in the country, and continues to mount.

    The Biden administration’s so-called Inflation Reduction Act already plans to set $369 billion on fire in the name of “climate solutions and environmental justice.” This isn’t chump change, even by federal-government standards. To put it in perspective, that’s enough cash to purchase just over 36 and a half Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, which is over three and a half times the size of the current U.S. Navy carrier fleet.

    You might think that such an exorbitant amount of spending would at least accomplish a significant decrease in global warming. It won’t.

    According to the United Nations’ (likely optimistic) models, spending that much would turn down the global thermostat by a grand total of only 0.0009 degrees. That’s not a typo, but it is an amount so small that it would be nearly undetectable. The Inflation Reduction Act will have just as little impact on the temperature as it will on inflation: essentially zero.

    Well, I better stop there. I have to worry about my blood pressure, and this is a "briefly noted" item.