Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The Trouble with Malkin

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

Colorado conservative activist and writer Michelle Malkin recently made the news for getting chased out of a pro-police rally in Denver. I wrote about this myself.

The background issue is that Malkin has expressed support for a alt-right figures.

Erik Maulbetsch offers his take from the left. Conservative consultant Andrew Struttmann wrote, “Conservatives have moral duty to disown Michelle Malkin, Alt-Right.” District Attorney George Brauchler had her on his radio show.

Malkin replied to some of her critics in a video.

Media about Lauren Boebert

Monday, July 27th, 2020

Lauren Boebert beat Representative Scott Tipton in the Republican primary. Following are some news stories about her. I also provide additional background, with various links, in a Tweet thread. Donald Trump congratulated Boebert.

Boebert’s Campaign Embraces Far-Right Militia Movement”

Boebert embraced a conspiracy theory that Democrats and Hollywood stars drink the blood of children in a global pedophilia ring.”

Boebert praised the closing of the “autonomous zone” in Seattle.

In her “contract with Colorado,” Boebert says she is “America first.” She believes “life begins at conception.” She’s for “free markets,” “liberty,” “strong borders,” and more.

Boebert suggested (wrongly) that Scrabble dumping some words “chips away” at the First Amendment.

Boebert said, “‘Flatten the curve’ turned into Communism very quickly.”

The New York Times has an article discussing Boebert’s comments about QAnon. See the direct link.

Radio host Ross Kaminsky hosted Boebert.

Progressives [have] tagged Boebert as a QAnon conspiracy theorist and a lousy restaurateur owing to three-year-old accusations that involve bloody diarrhea.”

Corey Hutchins discusses media handling of Boebert’s remarks about QAnon.

Boebert’s restaurant has had some financial troubles.

Boebert picked up the endorsement of Tom Tancredo.

Peak Politics defended Boebert regarding her various arrests.

Last updated August 30, 2020.

Colorado Oil Well Cleanup

Monday, July 27th, 2020

A problem in Colorado is that some oil companies go bankrupt and don’t clean up sites. Joe Salazar notes that “SB19-181 [which passed] . . . will eventually . . . require oil and gas operators to provide financial assurances that they can take on a project from birth to remediation.” See also Chase Woodruff’s report.

Colorado’s COVID-19 Testing

Monday, July 27th, 2020

Ben Markus has out a report about Colorado’s lackluster testing program for COVID-19. Aside from the terrible federal response, the state had two main problems: the health department had a serious leadership meltdown leading into the pandemic, and outside help didn’t seem to accomplish much. I Tweeted a summary with some supplementary information.

In other news: “Thousands of people defy public health orders, pack into a field in Weld County for an outdoor concert.” Here’s more.

And: “Woodland Park [Colorado]-based Andrew Wommack Ministries held a multi-day conference that included over 1,000 attendees from July 30th through July 3rd. Now the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has traced a COVID-19 outbreak to the event, with seven staff members and fifteen attendees testing positive.”

Sanger Cancelled

Saturday, July 25th, 2020

Planned Parenthood to remove Margaret Sanger’s name from center over ‘racist legacy.'”

In other abortion news: “Doctors pressured mother to abort baby with Down’s syndrome at 38-weeks.”

Federal Kidnappings in Oregon

Monday, July 20th, 2020

Federal agents have arrested people for no good reason in Portland.

Rioters Shut Down Denver Pro-Police Rally

Monday, July 20th, 2020

The difference between a protester and a rioter is that the latter hurts people or destroys property. On June 19, a conservative group attempted to hold a lawful, permitted pro-police rally in Denver. A group led by Denver’s Party for Socialism and Liberation intentionally “shut down” the rally, in some cases by violently attacking ralliers, and drove them from the area. As I mentioned on Twitter, the attack was not merely “opposing speech.” I noted that the ralliers “were met, in some cases, by violent assault. And infiltrating another group’s peaceful, lawful, permitted rally with the intention of shutting it down, which they did, is a violation of speech.” Michelle Malkin (with whom I often disagree) posted video of the event, where she had been planning to speak.

Tangentially related issue: Malkin reports that Governor Jared Polis blocked her on Twitter with his @jaredpolis account. My take (edited): “This is an interesting case given lawsuits regarding elected officials blocking people on social media. My quick read: Because this is Polis’s personal account, and he has a separate Twitter account in his capacity as governor [@GovoOfCo], he’s probably ok legally to block people.”

Colorado Price-Gouging Law

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

Colorado law now bans price gouging during disasters — but doesn’t define the term.” Price controls are especially harmful during an emergency.

Progressive Eugenics

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

The widespread acceptance of eugenics in the United States, especially by progressives, is a troubling part of U.S. history unknown to many Americans.”

Peikoff and Trump

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

It turns out that Objectivist philosopher Leonard Peikoff donated funds to the Donald Trump campaign. It is certainly ironic that, for decades, Leonard Peikoff has warned about the possibility of theocratic fascism coming to America, yet he now financially supports Donald Trump, who openly allies with conservative evangelicals seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Ayn Rand was strongly pro-choice.) I take this as a sign that Peikoff is even more afraid of the nihilistic left in America than he is of Trumpian anti-immigrant, anti-free-trade, anti-reason conservatism. I think Trumpism is the greater and more immediate threat. Although some self-identified Objectivists are openly pro-Trump, most other Objectivist intellectuals are strongly critical of Trump.

Welfare through Insurance

Sunday, July 12th, 2020

These authors have the terrible idea of rolling food and housing welfare in Medicare, Medicaid, and “private” insurance. The authors: “Michael Darrouzet is the CEO of the Texas Medical Association. Jennifer Hanscom is the executive director and CEO of the Washington State Medical Association. Philip Schuh is the executive vice president and CFO of the Medical Society of the State of New York.”

The Police Killing of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr.

Saturday, July 11th, 2020

In 2017, Phoenix police officers arrested Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. over a “failure to appear in court over a charge stemming from misdemeanor possession of a marijuana pipe.” Officers killed the man during the course of the arrest. This is your War on Drugs.

The Possibility of Plasma

Saturday, July 11th, 2020

Scientists have devised a way to use the antibody-rich blood plasma of COVID-19 survivors for an upper-arm injection that they say could inoculate people against the virus for months. . . . But the idea exists only on paper. Federal officials have twice rejected requests to discuss the proposal, and pharmaceutical companies—even acknowledging the likely efficacy of the plan—have declined to design or manufacture the shots, according to a [Los Angeles] Times investigation.”

I am continually amazed by how poor the American response to COVID-19 is—and how good it could be if people got serious about it.

Bailout Nation

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Prosecutors say [there have been] tens of thousands of attempts to rip off governments by fraudulently filing for expanded unemployment benefits or lying on applications for the Paycheck Protection Program.”

A Death in Atlanta

Sunday, July 5th, 2020

An 8-year-old girl died after she was shot during a night of violence across metro Atlanta. . . . The girl was riding in a car “confronted by a group of armed individuals.” This was one of “multiple other shootings across Atlanta.” See more about the other shootings.

A Black Militia

Sunday, July 5th, 2020

There’s a black militia group in Atlanta called the “Not F***ing Around Coalition.” See also video of a march. The overtly racial tone of the group worries me.

Vouchers for Religious Schools

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

This is a very big ruling: “In a landmark 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a state court may not strike down a school choice program simply because it permits families to choose religious schooling.”

Yet, as I have continually pointed out, this is not a straightforward win for liberty. There are real church-state issues here: A voucher program that funds religious schools forces some people to subsidize religious institutions that they oppose.

As a practical matter, at least in Colorado, the result likely will be to shut down voucher programs. However, there’s some chance some school district will embrace vouchers. I can even imagine a statewide ballot measure.

Olson on Religious Liberty

Monday, June 29th, 2020

Walter Olsen has a good run-down of important laws and court decisions pertaining to religious liberty.

Yet I have a question about how all this works out. Olsen writes, “Religious institutions, including church schools, enjoy an additional cordon of constitutional protection under a series of cases that include the Supreme Court’s unanimous 2012 Hosanna‐​Tabor ruling on the employment of religious teachers, in which liberal and conservative Justices locked arms to defend church autonomy.” As I asked, “Does this mean a religious school may discriminate on the basis of religion (to hire all Protestants, say), but a secular school may NOT so discriminate (to hire only atheists)?”

Olsen also points to David French’s article on religious liberty.

License Portability in Colorado

Sunday, June 28th, 2020

Colorado governor Jared “Polis signs bipartisan occupational licensing portability bill.” The bill in question is HB20-1326.

Shapiro on the Drug War

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Ilya Shapiro has a lengthy article out, “This is Your Constitution on Drugs.”

The U.S. Testing Fiasco

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Paul Romer discusses “the massive damage that the FDA is doing by restricting the supply and use of tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.” He notes that “although the FDA promptly approved the broken test from the CDC, it took an excruciatingly long time to approve tests that actually worked.” Romer includes many details and many citations pointing to specific aspects of the problem. Maddening.

Senseless Violence

Friday, June 26th, 2020

Most people who have participated in the mass protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd have been peaceful and focused on needed reforms.

Some hanger-on rioters have hurt people and destroyed property.

In Wisconsin, rioters badly beat self-described “Gay, Progressive, Democratic [State] Senator” Tim Carpenter.

Stone on Police Violence

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Economist Lyman Stone has out a new article on police violence. The main finding is that police in the U.S. kill a lot of people, some 1,700 people per year: “Police violence in America is extraordinary in its intensity. It is disproportionate to the actual threats facing police officers, and it has risen significantly in recent years without apparent justification.”

What’s the problem? Stone: “Police unions . . . cause higher rates of police killings by shielding bad cops from discipline. . . . [P]olice unions have military-grade equipment they can use to violently crush protests against their abuses, and they are legally immune from most consequences.”

Is there a racial component to this? Other reports suggest not. Stone, citing a recent study by Mark Hoekstra and CarlyWill Sloan, says yes: “Using the unpredictable and somewhat random patterns of 911 calls and what police happen to be dispatched in response as an approximation of a more formal randomized study, a team of economists recently demonstrated that white officers in particular are much more likely to use potentially lethal force against black citizens. When randomly dispatched into more heavily black neighborhoods, white officers’ odds of shooting someone quadrupled, while there was virtually no change for black officers. This study controlled for crime patterns at the time of day and in the neighborhood to which the officer was dispatched, and was able to observe black and white officers dispatched into the same neighborhoods, and the same officers dispatched into multiple different neighborhoods. It is by far the most robust study of racial bias in policing yet conducted, and found an enormous effect that can best be described as racial bias leading to excessive use of force, especially lethal force. Racial bias in police killings is real.”

Mount Rushmore

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

I thought the AP did a nice job of putting the story of Mount Rushmore in context. From the modern vantage point, I think it was a bad idea to erect the monument there. But, unlike regular statues, the monument obviously cannot be moved. So my take: Live with it and learn from it as an artifact of American history.

The Russell Senate Office Building

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

I happened to be on Peter Boyles’s radio show today and he mentioned that Senator Michael Bennet wants to rename the Russell Senate Office Building. I got the impression Boyles doesn’t think much of the move; I made a noncommittal remark because I didn’t know about the story.

Bennet called for the renaming of the building on June 12. The building was named after Democratic Georgia Senator Richard Russell Jr., who served in the Senate from 1933 through 1971. There is no doubt that Russell was an open segregationists and a coauthor of the 1956 Southern Manifesto.

Originally called simply the Senate Office Building (SOB), the building opened in 1909. The building was not named for Russell until 1972, a year after Russell’s death. Senator Robert Byrd, in suggesting the change, said of Russell, “I do not think any man who has ever served in this body contributed more of his intellect, his knowledge, and his extraordinary skills, to enhance the integrity of the Senate, which he so deeply revered.” Another Democratic Senator, Philip Hart, “took the position that the Senate was acting too soon after the two senators’ deaths [Russell and Everett Dirksen] and should delay acting until ‘history’s estimate’ of them could be recorded.” In retrospect that seems like a prudent take.

Incidentally, long ago I worked as an intern for Senator Hank Brown, who worked out of the Hart Senate Office Building, named, ironically, for Philip Hart.