Sobering Thoughts

Comments on politics, the culture, economics and religion by Paul Tuns -- in short, everything about the human endeavour from a non-hyphenated conservative perspective. I am Toronto-based writer and editor, whose articles, columns and reviews have appeared in more than 35 publications. I am editor-in-chief of The Interim, Canada's life and family newspaper, author of Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal and a regular contributor to the book pages of the Halifax Herald.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015
 
The NDP caucus and oral sex
Eye on a Crazy Planet had a great post yesterday that begins with oral sex and transitions to how several NDP MPs have tongue piercings. He says that you have to be crazy to pierce a tongue and perhaps these self-mutilators shouldn't be anywhere near power. More on-point, he says:
Thomas Mulcair is a smart politician. But the Megan Leslies, Charlie Anguses, Niki Ashtons and similar NDP parliamentarians he has placed in senior positions are indicative of what Mulcair has to choose from among his caucus. Remember in the Austin Powers movies, when Dr. Evil presided over his minions musing, "why must I be surrounded by frickin' idiots?" That's what Tom Mulcair's Cabinet meetings will look like in the event of an NDP election win.


 
2016 watch (Joe Biden edition)
The National Journal: "For the first time, the vice president looks like a more electable Democrat than Hillary Clinton." Josh Kraushaar says:
And at a time when authenticity is a highly valued asset—for better or worse—Biden boasts the natural political skill set that Clinton clearly lacks. He's a happy warrior who enjoys campaigning and isn't constrained by talking points or rope lines. He's able to ham it up with union rank-and-file, while also giving a stem-winding speech blasting Republicans in Congress. His all-too-frequent malapropisms are endearing at a time when voters are cynical about scripted politicians.
There are also drawbacks, most notably his age. But having not begun formal campaigning, he might have the energy for the later stages of the campaign. Campaigns are grueling and will take their toll on all candidates, especially Hillary Clinton, who is no spring chicken herself. Biden also has had little help from President Barack Obama in preparing for a campaign, with Kraushaar concluding the Clinton scandals will probably have to get much worse before the White House backs a Biden candidacy.


 
Five things to watch for this federal election campaign
The Toronto Star has a list. Here's a better one.
1. What is the effect of the additional debates (if any) and what is the reaction of voters to a Harperless consortium debate as the campaign nears its conclusion? Most people will say they watched the additional debates but in reality few people outside committed partisans (people interested enough in voting regularly and watching politics closely have strong views and tend to stick with one party) will watch the Maclean's and Munk Center debates closely, but most people will ignore them. Harper will get hammered by the media over not attending the final English and French debates but they usefully clarify who the real alternative to the Harper Tories is. (Hint: it's Tom Mulcair and the NDP.)
2. How soon does Justin Trudeau step in a pile of shit of his own making and can the media explain away his error? I'll take August 6 in the office pool for the first major Justin Trudeau gaffe and while the media will excuse that one, it won't be able to fix the next mess he makes by the end of August.
3. The Toronto Star says that Toronto will be a major battleground, but it's not that simple. There are a number of places where 3-5 seats, cumulatively, will make a difference. Regional races to watch: Will the Liberal advantage completely disappear in Atlantic Canada and will the Tories be able to hold onto their Nova Scotia seats? (Too early to tell, but I wouldn't bet on it.) Relatedly, can the Tories retain most of their New Brunswick seats? (Almost certainly.) Can the Gilles Duceppe Bloc Quebecois make any traction in Quebec? (Probably not.) Can the Trudeau Liberals? (Maybe 2-3 seats in Montreal, but I wouldn't bet much on it.) Ontario has two major question marks: can the Tories keep half of their eight Toronto seats and can they maintain their block of Mississauga and Brampton seats? (yes and yes, and I'll take bets of up to $100 that they win a majority of the Brampton/Mississauga seats, or bets that they take at least four Toronto seats.) In the Prairies, how much will redistribution hurt the Tories in urban Saskatchewan? (Probably a bit.) In Alberta, will the shine of the provincial NDP dull enough to negatively impact their federal cousins? (Yup.) What's happening in British Columbia? (A wide range of possibilities; it's way to early to tell, which is why we have to watch it.)
4. Will Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau continue to get away with saying one thing to Quebec audiences and another elsewhere in the country? An election campaign means more scrutiny so the game the NDP and Liberal leaders have been playing might come to an end. This could hurt both of them, especially on pipelines which might serve as a proxy for responsible economic manager when judging the leaders.
5. When, if at all, do the Conservatives begin attacking Mulcair and the NDP? My theory, mentioned this past weekend, that the Tories care more about eliminating the Liberals than winning, will be given credence if the Tories do not begin their assault on the NDP by the first week of September.


 
Taxpayer funding of abortion and the legality of abortion are separate issues
The Wall Street Journal editorializes:
Planned Parenthood’s 2013-14 annual report lists $1.3 billion in revenues, including $528 million in “government health services grants and reimbursements.” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, says the “vast majority” of federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s nonprofit health centers is reimbursement for Medicaid visits, and “the rest goes to things like teen pregnancy prevention and evidence-based sex education.”
But money is fungible, and every dollar in taxpayer funding allows Planned Parenthood to use its other funds to finance abortion. This financial two-step evades the fundamental political bargain that Congress has struck since the Supreme Court made abortion a constitutional right in 1973. That bargain, codified in the Hyde Amendment of 1976 and countless times since, is that while abortion is legal, taxpayers should not have to pay for a practice they find morally objectionable ...
The leaders on the cultural left are shouting as usual about limiting health care for women and denying their right to choose. But no such right is in jeopardy. Planned Parenthood can finance all the abortions it wants, but it would have to raise other funds to do it. Surely there are enough rich progressive donors in Greenwich and Silicon Valley.
Here's a new mantra: safe, legal, rare, and unsubsidized.


 
Minimum wage, dishonest redistribution
National Review's Kevin D. Williamson:
As welfare-state models go, the best ones seem to be the most straightforward: Impose high taxes on one end and write large checks on the other. This template has the added benefit of being honest and transparent, which is why no politician willingly embraces it.
The worst kind of welfare state is the welfare state that is ashamed of itself and therefore feels obliged to pretend to be something it isn’t. Instead of forthrightly taxing individuals and businesses and converting that revenue to welfare benefits in an honest and transparent way, covert welfare statists usually attempt to disguise welfare payments as wages. Artificial wage increases imposed by law perform the same function as ordinary welfare benefits — transferring income from politically disfavored groups to politically favored groups — but the revenue doesn’t show up on the government ledger as taxes and the outlays don’t show up as spending. Everybody in government gets the opportunity to engage in a little delicious moral preening about how they’re doing the right thing for the hardworking people of wherever while maintaining fiscal discipline, as if the underlying facts of the policy — “Patron X shall give Client Y at least Z amount of money” — weren’t fundamentally identical to those in a transparent welfare state. Laws mandating wages and benefits beyond market prices are political money laundering for unpopular welfare payments.
Which is to say, laws mandating wages and benefits beyond market prices are political money laundering for unpopular welfare payments.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015
 
John Baird's resignation
The National Post is reporting that Anonymous is threatening to release information that will show the real reason John Baird resigned from cabinet earlier this year. I was working on this story a few weeks ago, but I felt there was no compelling reason to report it. Without getting into specifics, it has to do with Canada's policy on Russia. For press gallery types this will confirm Harper's heavy-handedness but it's entirely fair that the Prime Minister expect his Foreign Affairs Minister to uphold key foreign policy principles. Should be interesting to see the political fallout.


 
The abortion-industrial complex and the Left
Mark Steyn:
And, putting aside whether one is "pro-life" or "pro-choice", the nature of the abortions in those other countries is different: again, as I told Sean, in France abortion is legal up to 12 weeks; Italy, 13 weeks; Norway, 18 weeks, but it requires the approval of a government commission. Nowhere else in the western world takes 39-week-old "fetuses", delivers them sufficiently to preserve the commercially valuable parts and then crushes the non-sellable parts in order to preserve a technical denial of infanticide. That is a uniquely American evil, and Americans should be utterly ashamed of it. American liberals ought to understand that in far more left-wing societies (Scandinavia, the Netherlands, France) they do not do this - because it's not a left/right thing, it's a good/bad thing, and Planned Parenthood's abortion-industrial complex is on the wrong side of that divide.
The American Left -- and increasingly, the Canadian Left -- can't countenance any limitation on abortion because it is a sacrament in the Church of Feminism. To most people, abortion is a necessary evil, but to the academic/political/media elite, feminism is an unquestioned good without which the liberation of women (from what?) would be impossible.


 
University craziness
Campus Reform reports that the University of New Hampshire's "Bias-Free Language Guide" on its website says the term American should be eschewed. CR's Peter Hasson explains:
Saying “American” to reference Americans is also problematic. The guide encourages the use of the more inclusive substitutes “U.S. citizen” or “Resident of the U.S.”
The guide notes that “American” is problematic because it “assumes the U.S. is the only country inside [the continents of North and South America].” (The guide doesn’t address whether or not the terms “Canadians” and “Mexicans” should be abandoned in favor of “Residents of Canada” and “Residents of Mexico,” respectively.)


 
2016 watch (Rand Paul edition)
Reason's Brian Doherty says pundits should stop writing the political obituary of Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator and Republican presidential aspirant, who is the standard-bearer for libertarianism in the race. Doherty says:
The vast majority of potential voters likely have no clear idea of what Rand Paul stands for right now, and not being as into the fun and games of multi-year presidential races as pundits and bloggers, don't care. The debates coming soon might be a first chance for Paul to really educate a wider range of voters as to what he's all about.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015
 
With a name like Responsible for Equality And Liberty you know they don't support liberty
Jeffrey Imm heads up an organization called Responsible for Equality And Liberty that wants the musical "The Producers," to stop showing in a Maryland city after the shooting in a Louisiana movie theatre last week by a Nazi sympathizer. PJ Media's Walter Hudson says:
Imm went on to declare, “We cannot laugh about that.” The irony of protesting fascism with a blanket declaration of what can’t be laughed at appears to be lost on Mr. Imm.
The intent behind The Producers can be easily discerned, if not from the material itself, then from the man who wrote it. Mel Brook’s is a Jew. So there’s that. Were that somehow not enough, Brooks has been explicit regarding his feelings toward Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. Spoiler alert: he’s against them.


 
The Stanford school?
Tyler Cowen says Stanford is poised to overtake Harvard as the preeminent school for economists. From the comments: "Stanford cannot be separated from the world in which it exists. That’s meant neither as a compliment nor as a criticism, just an observation." The Hoover Institution, based at Stanford, is an impressive think tank. Last week it hosted a panel featuring John Cochrane and John Taylor that examined Federal Reserve reform that is worth listening to.


 
Boston avoids Olympic nightmare, Toronto gets excited about billion dollar boondoggle
USA Today: "Boston out as United States bid city to host 2024 Olympics." The paper reports growing opposition to the bid:
A poll conducted by a local radio station, WBUR, in January put support of the Games at 51%. That same poll reached a low of 36% in March and hasn’t been above 40% support since. In WBUR’s most recent poll, opposition to the bid had reached a high of 53%.
Groups such as No Boston Olympics and No Boston 2024 have used social media and public forums to rally support against the bid. They argue that the Olympics’ would leave taxpayers on the hook for large cost overruns and pull resources and political attention away from more vital issues, including the city’s infrastructure which they argue not currently equipped to handle the Games.
The Toronto Star: "Majority of Torontonians support Olympic bid: poll." According to Forum Research -- so take these numbers will a boulder of salt -- 61% of city residents support an Olympic bid, 30% are opposed, and 9% are undecided. Apparently support is the same in the downtown as the suburbs, although younger respondents tended to be more supportive of the idea. It would be interesting if support would be maintained if costs were explained.


 
Justin Trudeau
Too tired to write a long piece about Peter C. Newman's too-cute essay on Justin Trudeau. There are plenty of clever turns of phrase -- the Liberas are "led by a name instead of a leader" -- but there is not much insight. There are fundamental things that Newman gets wrong, like The Dauphin "promising as little as possible but as much as necessary"; it is more accurate to say he offered too much too late, with extensive policy on political reforms that few people outside the Parliamentary Press Gallery care about.
Newman gropes to a satisfactory point: the Liberal Party is arrogant, as is Trudeau the Younger, but these are hardly original observations: the former has been long remarked about while the latter is obvious to anyone who pays attention to Canadian politics. The electoral game changed in 2011 but few people realized it at the time, the assumption being Justin would restore the natural political balance. It's not happening.


 
Climate-change sacrifices are for the plebs
Via Blazing Cat Fur: "Video Shows Hillary Clinton Boarding Private Jet Just Hours After Launching Global-Warming Push."


 
Capital speaks
Investor's Business Daily reports that the "Stocks fell for the fifth straight session Monday as a sell-off in China's main index sparked fears of a slowdown in the world's second-biggest economy," as shares fell 8%.
From an Investor's Business Daily editorial:
Reuters calculates that the government of Xi Jinping has spent close to $800 billion — or nearly 10% of China's total GDP — trying to halt the market sell-off. But if anything, by increasing investor uncertainty, it's made things worse.
"When Xi Jinping came to power, there were a series of hints that market-based capitalism would be allowed to move forward under his leadership," Evercore Partners founder and former U.S. Treasury No. 2 Roger Altman told CNBC's "Squawk Box." However, "at the first real threat, they've fallen over themselves to impose government control."
We've disagreed with Altman on many things over the years, but on this he is dead-right. Goldman Sachs estimates $761 billion in capital has left China over the last year. That's not exactly a vote of confidence. But behind it all, China's stunning market decline holds a bigger message: The nation's long growth miracle is over.


Monday, July 27, 2015
 
Better off without the endorsement
Vladimir Putin says that former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.


 
What do they feed their pitchers in Los Angeles?
Three of the four longest scoreless innings streaks by Major League Pitchers since 1920 are held by LA Dodgers pitchers, including first (Orel Hershiser) and second (Donald Drysdale). This week Zach Greinke, whose streak ended Sunday, joined the list at fourth after not allowing a run in 45 2/3 IP going back to June 13.


 
Tape of Labour Lord snorting coke off hooker's breasts
Beats the hell of anything happening in Canadian politics.


 
2016 watch (Jim Gilmore edition)
Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore makes it 17 official candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. Gilmore was asked why and his answer was that he has a chance: no other candidate has excited the GOP electorate. Hot Air's Jazz Shaw says: "If I were running the Politifact fact checker machine at this point I’d give the governor a 'partly true' rating, which sounds much kinder than 'partly delusional'." Still the question why? What does Gilmore bring to the race that none of the other 16 do?


 
Eve Adams and her future
CBC: "Eve Adams's next step unclear following loss of Liberal nomination." She is suggesting she's not through with federal politics but her future should including going away and shutting up.


 
Is 140 enough for a minority?
Eric Grenier of the CBC/308.com likes to say that 140 is "more than enough" to win a minority government, but is it? Probably, but not necessarily. Let's do some math.
The next House of Commons will have 338 seats. Let's makes some safe assumptions: the Greens hold their seat and the Bloc wins no more than five. That leaves 332. A not so safe but not entirely unrealistic assumption is that the Liberals basically hold steady picking up less than a dozen seats; let's give them only 45 seats. That leaves 287 for the NDP and Tories. 140 seats would leave 147 for the other, meaning 140 seats is not enough to win the election.
Whether or not the Conservatives form the government by winning just 147 seats (compared to 140) is open to speculation and circumstance. The Governor-General need not respect the wishes of the plurality and it might depend on how close the actual vote is. In the case of two parties win 140+ seats, the Tories are likely to be defeated on the first confidence vote and the NDP will get a chance to govern, like David Peterson and the Ontario Liberals did in 1985 when Frank Miller's Progressive Conservative government fell on its first confidence vote.
The assumption that 140 seats is enough to win a minority government is based on the assumption that the Liberals greatly increase their vote count.


 
Putin and polygamy
Julia Ioffe writes in Foreign Policy that the anti-Muslim Right in Europe should rethink its support for Russian President Vladimir Putin because he supports polygamy. Except if you read the article you see that there are many officials in Putin's Russia that want polygamy laws liberalized, at least for Russians, but nothing about Putin's own view on plural marriage. The European Right should rethink its support of Putin not over his (ostensible) support of polygamy, but because he's an autocrat.


 
Anti-bullying in school is cover for pro-gay agenda
Elizabeth Price Foley on how the Safe Schools initiative in Iowa has crossed the line: "there is a huge difference between promoting LGBT tolerance and promoting LGBT sex." But you can't criticize Safe Schools' propaganda because if you are against "lesbian strap-on anal sex" you are for bullying.


Sunday, July 26, 2015
 
First time Justin Trudeau's favoured candidate lost a nomination
Marco Mendicino defeated turncoat Eve Adams for the Liberal nomination for the Eglinton-Lawrence riding. Trudeau enthusiastically welcomed Adams earlier this year and arranged for Tom Allison, a brilliant Liberal strategist, to run her nomination in federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver's riding. Trudeau lost the news cycle back in February when Adams crossed the floor because the move seen as cynical on both their parts (the Liberal leader's and Adams') and local Liberals were not excited about Adams honing in on their turf as Trudeau's star candidate. Global reports that Mendicino won with 1,936 vote to "about 1100" for Adams; it is rare for nomination meetings to release vote totals, but perhaps riding Liberals had an interest showing that Adams -- and by extension Justin Trudeau -- was trounced. It is a rebuke against Trudeau's poor judgement to parachute a deeply flawed and unpopular candidate into the riding.


 
Varoufakis was secretly working on switch to drachma for Greece if bailout negotiations failed
The Sunday Telegraph reports:
A secret cell at the Greek finance ministry hacked into the government computers and drew up elaborate plans for a system of parallel payments that could be switched from euros to the drachma at the "flick of a button."
The revelations have caused a political storm in Greece and confirm just how close the country came to drastic measures before premier Alexis Tsipras gave in to demands from Europe's creditor powers, acknowledging that his own cabinet would not support such a dangerous confrontation.
Yanis Varoufakis, the former finance minister, told a group of investors in London that a five-man team under his control had been working for months on a contingency plan to create euro liquidity if the European Central Bank cut off emergency funding to the Greek financial system, as it in fact did after talks broke down and Syriza called a referendum ...
"The prime minister, before we won the election in January, had given me the green light to come up with a Plan B. And I assembled a very able team, a small team as it had to be because that had to be kept completely under wraps for obvious reasons," he said.
The intrigue sounds nutty enough to be true. Is Varoufakis looking to sell his story to Hollywood?


 
Elections barely matter
Perry de Havilland at Samizdata: "the culture war is in many ways the one that matters most, because everything else follows from it."


 
The Greek bailout is still an issue even if it isn't making front-page headlines
Reuters: "Debt conundrum to keep Greek banks in months-long freeze." The bailout isn't finalized and one of the unresolved issues is bank restructuring. Perhaps depositors will take a hit, perhaps banks will be part of the bailout.
This can't help the already weak Greek economy:
The longer it takes, the more critical the banks' condition becomes as a 420 euro ($460) weekly limit on cash withdrawals chokes the economy and borrowers' ability to repay loans.
"The banks are in deep freeze but the economy is getting weaker," said one official, pointing to a steady rise in loans that are not being repaid.


 
Want to help people, don't become a doctor
Rob Wiblin, executive director of the Centre for Effective Altruism, says:
About 1 in 200 people become doctors, many of them because they want to cure the sick and generally make the world a better place. Are they making the right decision? ...
The conclusion of our research is that most people skilled enough to make it in a field as challenging as medicine could have a bigger social impact through an alternative career.
The best research suggests that doctors do much less to improve the health of their patients than you might naturally expect. Health is more determined by lifestyle factors, and most of the treatments that work particularly well could be delivered with a smaller number of doctors than already work in the UK or USA.
However, medicine is high earning and highly fulfilling, and we expect there are more promising opportunities to help others through biomedical research, public health, health policy and (e.g. hospital) management.
This probably over-states the case against doctors helping others. But doctors do well by status and income compared to, say, researchers and policy experts, out of proportion to the good they do.


 
More valuable dead than alive?
National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez interviews Ramona Treviño, author of Redeemed by Grace: A Catholic Woman’s Journey to Planned Parenthood and Back, and begins with the obvious question about the Planned Parenthood scandal this emerged in recent weeks:
These videos not only expose Planned Parenthood for who they really are, but they help shed light on the gruesomeness of abortion. I’m extremely heartbroken, not only over the continued loss of life, but at the idea that only when babies are dead and their body parts are “sold” do they have any real value. Do these precious babies not have value before then? While still alive in the womb?


Saturday, July 25, 2015
 
New working theory on this election
Based on more than mere speculation (and you're just going to have to take my word on this), here is what I'm now thinking. The election begins either this week or after the long weekend. The Tories want a long election to bankrupt the Liberals. Stephen Harper doesn't care whether the Conservatives win or lose, the goal this election is to wipe out the Liberals. So when the Right goes nuts over Prime Minister Tom Mulcair and Canada's first NDP government, don't blame the voters, blame the Tory-in-Chief.
This theory fits with what has been suggested about Harper many times before that his goal was the creation of a two-party system in Canada, eliminating the Liberals, and what we think we know about long formal election campaigns and how they seem to hurt incumbents.
I only one-quarter believe this working theory, and would still bet on a Conservative minority in the 150-160 seat range, with Harper serving 2-5 more years as Prime Minister.


 
Pixels gets it wrong: the geeks and nerds win
Rick McGinnis didn't really like the movie Pixels, which he reviews at The Rebel, in part because their geek/nerd underdogs don't ring true. Gaming is too mainstream for nerds to be outcasts or underdogs:
You can’t even tag videogames as a loser marker anymore: The industry was growing four times faster than the U.S. economy as of last year, and its market in that country is projected to be worth nearly $20 billion dollars there by the end of the decade. (That’s roughly twice U.S. movie ticket revenues.) Game consoles might be slowing in sales but gaming apps are booming. From this perspective, the persistence of the gamer nerd as a stock character in films like Pixels smacks of sour grapes.
Perhaps related: the New York Times reports that drug testing is coming to e-gaming:
In response to those comments, the Electronic Sports League, one of the most successful leagues in competitive video gaming, said on Wednesday that it would test players for performance-enhancing drugs starting at a tournament in August. E.S.L. said it would work with two international agencies — the same ones that help oversee anti-doping policies for cycling, the Olympics and other sports — to create anti-doping guidelines and a testing program for players.
The announcement is perhaps the clearest sign yet that e-sports, as professional gaming is widely known, is evolving into a mainstream form of competitive entertainment. This year, overall revenue from the global e-sports business is expected to surpass $250 million from more than 113 million e-sports fans worldwide, according to estimates from Newzoo, a games research firm.
It sounds strange, but watching competitive video games isn't really different than watching live sports, when you think about it.


 
Is this because politicians truck in cliches?
The National Journal reports:
The question that data scientists at Quorum, a political analytics firm, sought to answer was this: Can computers use a similar process to come to the same conclusion? Could they teach a computer to predict political party from speech?
They found that "about 80 percent of the variation in the difference between what representatives say in Congress can be explained by party affiliation."
The list of favourite words is mostly predictable: Republicans use the words bureaucrats and Obamacare while Democrats talk about the wealthiest and inequality. Interestingly, Republicans used the term "raise taxes" frequently while Democrats talk about "tax breaks" indicating that members of both parties talk about the opposition's ideas than they do their own.


 
The Clinton email scandal nicely summarized
Reason's Matt Welch summarizes the Hillary Clinton email scandal:
A quick recap: Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, violated guidelines from the National Archives and her own State Department by using her own private email server for professional correspondence, and then destroying whatever messages she deemed destructible.
At first Clinton claimed that she needed a single non-governmental email account for "convenience," because she only had one phone. That claim turned out to be provably false. Next, she claimed that it didn’t matter much, because "The vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department." The latter half of that claim turned out to be provably false, too. She further insisted that none of the emails contained classified information, a claim that many people with intimate knowledge of such things—such as a former senior State Department official—described with phrases like "hard to imagine." And her assertion in a CNN interview this month that she went "above and beyond" the email disclosure requirements was—wait for it—false.
In sum, the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential frontrunner brazenly violated government transparency policy, made a mockery of the Freedom of Information Act, placed her sensitive communications above the law, and then just lied about it, again and again. Now comes word that, unsurprisingly, two inspectors general are recommending that the Department of Justice open a criminal inquiry into the matter. One of their findings was that the private server, contrary to Clinton's repeated claims, contained "hundreds of potentially classified emails."
The original has links to the evidence when Welch says HRC's claims are false.
Transparency is for plebs.
And it probably doesn't matter. As Welch says, it doesn't matter at all for Democrats.


 
Small Dead Animals unleashes (much deserved) tirade against Alberta Human Rights Commission
Just read it.


 
Special Olympic World Games
The (London) Spectator's Rod Liddle: "Isn’t it all a bit condescending?" Yes it is.


 
Amazon makes money
Wired.com reports:
Amazon made a $92 million profit last quarter, or about 19 cents per share. That’s peanuts compared to other tech giants like Google, which netted $3.93 billion last quarter, or eBay, which made $682 million. But analysts expected Amazon to lose 14 cents per share. In fact, it’s unusual that Amazon, a 21-year-old company, actually turns a profit at all.
This is very big news. The profits have made Amazon stock more valuable, so as Quartz reports:
Amazon.com’s market value whizzed past that of Walmart in after-hours trading Thursday, as investors increased their bets that the future of the US retail sector will be dominated by Jeff Bezos’ online behemoth.


Friday, July 24, 2015
 
Isn't it strange to see ESPN reporting on pro wrestling?
I know they do it, but sports entertainment is more entertainment than sports. The ESPN article doesn't mention Hulk Hogan's racist rant but does reference a WWE statement on respecting diversity as the wrestling company and its former superstar (who is now 61 years old) had parted ways. I was more NWA and the Four Horsemen than WWF and its cartoon characters in my adolescent years, but when it came to the more popular promotion, I cheered for Roddy Piper, Macho Man Randy Savage, and whoever was in Bobby "The Brain" Heenan's stable at the time.


 
Good economic analysis, bad ethics
Cafe Haeyk's Donald Boudreaux says "in our bootleggers and Baptists policy world" the advocates of minimum wage understand the raising it would price competition to entrenched interests out of the market, but that position is morally reprehensible.


 
Rent control: always and everywhere a bad idea
Alex Tabarrok points to a letter from a Stockholm resident to the city of Seattle urging officials and citizens to resist rent control. Rent control has led to queues for affordable housing in the Swedish capital. Economist Peter Navarro wrote in the Public Interest in 1985 that "the economics profession has reached a rare consensus: Rent control creates many more problems than it solves." Yet policy-makers have repeatedly ignored the consensus against rent control.


 
The NDP in Quebec
The Globe and Mail's Adam Radwanski: "Low funds could hinder re-election prospects for Quebec New Democrats." He reports that only three NDP incumbents have money enough in their riding associations to fund anywhere near the limit for their local campaign. Insufficient funds shouldn't be a problem considering that they famously won in 2011 without even really campaigning.


 
Obama's race relations legacy
Instapundit notes that a NY Times poll finds about four in ten Americans think race relations have gotten worse during the Obama era.


 
2016 watch (Fucked-up GOP edition)
Perry de Havilland at Samizdata on Donald Trump leading in the GOP primary polls: "So a guy who has in the past contributed funds to Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry is leading the ... Republican pack?"


 
Krauthammer on PP's scandal and the abortion debate
Charles Krauthammer:
The issue is less the sale of body parts than how they are obtained. The nightmare for abortion advocates is a spreading consciousness of how exactly a healthy fetus is turned into a mass of marketable organs, how, in the words of a senior Planned Parenthood official, one might use “a less crunchy technique” — crush the head, spare the organs — “to get more whole specimens.”
Many pro-lifers would disagree with Krauthammer on the idea that unlike most issues, abortion is one of the few in which the trend has not been toward liberalization, considering that abortion is minimally restricted in America (women can have an abortion at any time for any reason, although some states have minor impediments like a waiting period or requirement that women be informed about fetal development). That said, pro-lifers need to be intelligent about getting the public to take notice of the humanity of the preborn child.