I'm No Trump Fan, But…

We really dodged a bullet back in 2016:

[Sigh. I used to be able to center-align embedded tweets. I assume Elon broke this.]

[Update 2023-10-11: Ah, it works again. Thanks, Elon!]

Commentary from James Freeman on The Totalitarian Heart of Hillary Clinton:

Some Republicans might regret voting for Donald Trump in 2016, but Hillary Clinton continues to ensure that most of them won’t. The first of two consecutive U.S. presidential election losers to refuse to accept the results, Mrs. Clinton has found more to deplore about American voters. She’s also giving all American voters new reason to be grateful that they never entrusted her with executive authority.

Well, maybe she was drunk. Or maybe it's a deeper problem, as implied by the rhetorical question asked by Matt Taibbi: Have They Gone Mad?.

Hillary Clinton last night on CNN said of Trump supporters, “You know, maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members.” This among other things came in the context of a report in Newsweek to the effect that the federal government, and the FBI in particular, has “quietly created a new category of extremists that it seeks to track and counter: Donald Trump’s army of MAGA followers.”

That seems… like a lot of people? In addition to the obvious observation that people like Hillary seem increasingly unmoored from reality, as well as wilfully deaf to the political consequences of their words — Maybe we need to formally deprogram you makes the “Basket of Deplorables” episode seem like a Valentine’s Day card — someone should point out that a month ago, on September 8th, Joe Biden renewed the original State of Emergency issued three days after 9/11 by George W. Bush. We spent the last 22 years giving presidents the ability to surveil, isolate, and detain even American citizens. Fortunately we’ll never regret those decisions!

What impolitic comment is next? “We have enough railway capacity for the job”? “Welcome, future deprogrammed!” banners above the entrances to decommissioned military bases? These people are truly Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, and this would be funny, if Hillary Clinton’s mouth were not such an accurate weathervane for establishment thinking.

We keep adding lines to that Niemöller poem, don't we? "Then they came for the MAGA Republicans / And I did not speak out / Because I hate those guys"

Also of note:

  • Impressed? Don't be. The National Review editorialists do a reality check: Biden Builds a Wall to Hide His Immigration Failure.

    On his first day as president, Joe Biden said that building a wall wasn’t “a serious policy solution.” Just six weeks ago, the government was selling off materials for wall-building that had been canceled by this administration. But today, the White House is singing a different tune.

    Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the administration was going to waive dozens of federal laws, such as the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act, that prevent the government from building a wall at the Rio Grande, citing an “acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States in the project areas.”

    This project inspired screaming headlines. But dig down a little deeper, and the joke becomes obvious. The Biden White House plans to build only 20 miles of wall.

    "Ay dios mío. ¿Veinte millas? ¡Me rindo!"

  • You know what they say about the Road to Serfdom. As David Henderson says, it's Paved With Unintended Consequences. His first example:

    We need to distinguish between unintended and unpredicted consequences. Many unintended consequences can be easily predicted. Others might not be. An example of an unintended consequence that I never would have predicted, and that the highly paid “experts” at the Food and Drug Administration didn’t predict, came about because of an FDA regulation that, on its face, looked reasonable. The regulation was an FDA mandate that food containing sesame be labeled as such. Almost instantly, food producers predicted the consequences and acted accordingly.

    Mandates typically carry penalties for non-compliers and the sesame mandate was no exception. Many food producers reacted by adding sesame to products that previously contained none and noted that on the label. Why? In a December 21, 2022, news item, appropriately titled “New label law has unintended effect: Sesame in more foods,” Associated Press reporter Jonel Aleccia explained:

    Food industry experts said the requirements are so stringent that many manufacturers, especially bakers, find it simpler and less expensive to add sesame to a product—and to label it—than to try to keep it away from other foods or equipment with sesame.

    As a result, several companies—including national restaurant chains like Olive Garden, Wendy’s, and Chick-fil-A and bread makers that stock grocery shelves and serve schools—are adding sesame to products that didn’t have it before. While the practice is legal, consumers and advocates say it violates the spirit of the law aimed at making foods safer for people with allergies.

    People don’t typically get charged with violating the “spirit of the law.” They get charged with violating the law. The unintended and awful result is that many people who are allergic to sesame now have a tougher time avoiding foods that contain it.

    Henderson provides more examples at the link. "Consequences" include lives lost.

  • "Revisionism" is a polite way of spelling "lies". Liz Wolfe underplays Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Revisionism.

    This week, President Joe Biden announced he would cancel an additional $9 billion in student loan debt. This consists of "$5.2 billion in additional debt relief for 53,000 borrowers under Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs," per a White House statement, "$2.8 billion in new debt relief for nearly 51,000 borrowers through fixes to income-driven repayment," and "$1.2 billion for nearly 22,000 borrowers who have a total or permanent disability."

    In June, the Supreme Court struck down his earlier plan to void $400 billion worth of student debt for some 43 million borrowers: $10,000 in debt (or $20,000 in debt for those who received Pell grants) for individuals making under $125,000 and households making under $250,000.

    "The money was literally about to go out the door, but Republican elected officials and special interests stepped up and sued us," Biden commented Wednesday. "The Supreme Court sided with them, snatching from the hands of millions of Americans thousands of dollars in student debt relief that was about to change their lives."

    This is some wild revisionist history (special interests?) that attempts to obscure the unconstitutionality of his actions. The Supreme Court ruled that Biden's attempt to push student loan forgiveness through via the HEROES Act—which gave the Education Department the power to modify repayments of loans for people who "suffered direct economic hardship as a direct result of a war or other military operation or national emergency"—was not legal; citing COVID-19 as the qualifying "national emergency" did not fly, and such loan forgiveness would need to be passed through Congress, not unilaterally carried out by the executive.

    Outside of the constitutional violation, there's something especially Biden-slimy about touting the beneficiaries of "forgiveness" while ignoring the suckers who are footing the bill.

  • Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit reading Commentary. David Zucker writes there about the latest fashionable trend: Destroying Comedy.

    Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the release of Airplane!, the comedy I wrote and directed with my brother Jerry and our friend Jim Abrahams. Just before the world shut down, Paramount held a screening at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, followed by a Q&A in which an audience member asked a question we never used to receive: “Could you make Airplane! today?” My response: “Of course, we could. Just without the jokes.”

    Although people tell me that they love Airplane! and it seems to be included on just about every Top Five movie-comedy list, there was talk at Paramount of withholding the rerelease over feared backlash for scenes that today would be deemed “insensitive.” I’m referring to scenes like the one in which two black characters speak entirely in a jive dialect so unintelligible that it has to be subtitled. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said to me, “You couldn’t do that scene today.” But I always wonder, why not? Half the gags in that joke were aimed at white people, given that the translation for “Shit” is “Golly!”—and the whole gag is topped off by the whitest lady on the planet, the actress who played the mom on Leave It to Beaver, translating.

    Forty years?! Ye gods, I'm old.

    Anyway, Zucker's in a position to know why they don't make 'em like that any more, so check him out.

    (And, for the record, I didn't stop reading Commentary this week. I'd love to read Commentary every week. But, geez, it's really expensive, well-paywalled, and …)

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Last Modified 2024-01-22 8:58 AM EDT