But What Really Matters is January 6

The WSJ explains Why the Durham Report Matters to Democracy.

Two special counsels, several inspector general reports and six years later, the country finally has a more complete account of the FBI’s Russia collusion probe of the 2016 Donald Trump campaign. Special counsel John Durham’s final report makes clear that a partisan FBI became a funnel for disinformation from the Hillary Clinton campaign through a secret investigation the bureau never should have launched.

The 306-page Durham report released Monday afternoon is far more comprehensive than anything issued by original special counsel Robert Mueller. Mr. Durham had already unfurled some of the narrative with his prosecutions of Russian national Igor Danchenko and Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann. He lost those cases, though the indictments laid out how the Clinton campaign used foreign nationals, an oppo-research outfit, and political insiders to feed the FBI and the media lies about Trump collusion.

It's tempting to advocate a massive shakeup of the FBI (and the CIA, while we're at it). Durham's report doesn't recommend such "wholesale changes" because this travesty was primarily due to the lack of integrity of people at the top. If you have political hacks in charge, no amount of "shakeup" will prevent future perversions.

Also of note:

  • Or, as Yoda would say, "Much to learn about free speech you have." Kevin D. Williamson's syntax is down-to-earth, though: Elon, You Have Much To Learn About Free Speech.

    Hey, Elon. Big fan, albeit one of those who believed (and still believes) that your talents are a lot better suited to building cool cars and rockets and stuff than running Twitter, that great open sewer of contemporary public life. I’m not looking for a job—the last time I went to work for a jumped-up media dilettante enthroned atop a vast heap of Silicon Valley money, it went poorly—but, buddy, you need a tutor.

    If you’re going to be in the free-speech business, then you need to learn a little bit about free speech. You’re not in South Africa anymore—hell, you’re not in Canada anymore.

    In defending your decision to bend the knee to Turkish caudillo Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, you wrote: “By ‘free speech,’ I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.”

    That may have been the dumbest thing published on Twitter during that particular 24-hour period—no mean feat—or maybe just the most childish, as my colleague Nick Catoggio wrote recently. It even made me rethink my conviction that you are poorly suited to run Twitter: If you really believe that the limit on free speech is whatever the “will of the people” says it is, then Twitter, with its ochlocratic mob mentality, is just the right place for you—which is just about the worst thing you can say about someone, I’m afraid.

    Elon's hand on the Twitter tiller is pretty shaky. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Merklein, would have said: "Better, still much room for improvement."

  • We're living in a state-besotted world. Michael Munger provides a response to people who "rebut" his libertarian notions with variations on "You Use the Roads, Don’t You?"

    For some reason, a lot of folks think this is a knock-down argument against classical liberalism, because in their view we all just want to “free ride” (literally, in this case) by enjoying things paid for by others without contributing any of our own income as taxes.

    Since we all run into this (dumb) argument all the time, I asked my usual question. I have worked to get it down to the fewest words possible, because it has more impact that way. My question is this: “If the slave eats the food provided by the master, does that mean the slave consents to slavery?”

    Munger's point is not that we're all slaves. Instead, it's a realization that we live in a far-from-perfect world, and we're obligated to maneuver in the system that exists, not the one we know would be better, surviving and prospering as we can.

  • Neither can his mind be thought to be in tune, whose words doe jarre; nor his reason in frame, whose sentence is preposterous.. Ben Jonson said that back in 1641 or so, and that was the motto of the late, very lamented, Underground Grammarian. And it came to mind when reading through a recent article on the new-to-me substack, Bastiat's Window: Advancing Health Obsequity. The author, Robert F. Graboyes, looks at a small bit of a 54-page report, Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts, from the American Medical Association.

    AHE’s Table 5 is titled “Contrasting Conventional (Well-intentioned) Phrasing with Equity-focused Language that Acknowledges Root Causes of Inequities.” Borrowed from a National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) document, it offers the following sentence as “Conventional” phrasing:

    “Low-income people have the highest level of coronary artery disease in the United States.”

    In place of this straightforward, 15-word, 27-syllable sentence, AHE (via NACCHO) recommends the following 39-word, 78-syllable pilgrimage, which it labels “Equity-focused Language that Acknowledges Root Causes of Inequities”:

    “People underpaid and forced into poverty as a result of banking policies, real estate developers gentrifying neighborhoods, and corporations weakening the
    power of labor movements, among others, have the highest level of coronary artery disease in the United States.”

    Do you remember diagramming sentences? (How old are you anyway?) Graboyes diagrams both phrasings, and shows how the latter "takes the reader on an extended stream-of-consciousness side journey—effectively shutting down many questions that clinicians and researchers might want to ask." It's an alliterative journey into "victimhood, villainy, violations, and vertigo."

  • And to think it all happened by molecules bumping together at random. Howard Lee describes The complicated history of how the Earth’s atmosphere became breathable.

    For almost half of our planet's existence—the entire time before the Great Oxygenation Event, or GOE—Earth was effectively an alien planet. Apart from the obvious (the air was unbreathable), the oceans also lacked oxygen and were full of dissolved iron, while land was lethally irradiated by ultraviolet light, as the atmosphere lacked an ozone layer. Even the color palette was alien: Land lacked the reddish hues of dirt and the greens of vegetation, while the sky was pinkish-orange due to high methane levels.

    Life began in that alien environment, and at some point between 3.2 and 2.8 billion years ago, cyanobacteria began to use sunlight to split hydrogen from water, discarding oxygen as waste. That was a whopping 400 million to 800 million years before the GOE, roughly the same time that separates the present from the dawn of complex life.

    Bottom line: a lot of things had to happen, an interplay of chemistry, geology, and biology. And in the right order, at the right time.

    And that's just to get oxygen into the atmosphere. The processes that produce Dunkin' Donuts drive-thrus were even more complex.

Last Modified 2023-05-30 7:42 PM EDT