Politics & Law

WSJ: Jan 6th was a Riot, But No Coup d’état

From the WSJ:

“The chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, claimed in his opening remarks Tuesday that “the rioters came dangerously close to succeeding” in their effort to “upend American democracy.” This is in service of Mrs. Pelosi’s political narrative that Mr. Trump conspired with a mob to stage a coup d’état. She wants to run against Mr. Trump again in 2022.

“This gives the mob far too much credit. Rioters believed Mr. Trump’s falsehoods about a stolen election, and some of them apparently thought they might stop Congress’s certification of the electoral votes. But that was an impossible fantasy. The Electoral College had already voted. Vice President Mike Pence had concluded, correctly and bravely, that he had no authority to reject the results. The rioters had no apparent leader and no coherent plan.

“Even if they’d managed to steal or destroy the official Electoral College certificates, do Democrats think some knucklehead in face paint and a fur hat could have simply declared the election void? The public and the courts wouldn’t have stood for a rabble overturning the 2020 result. Mr. Trump didn’t have the military on his side, or even most of his own Administration. The investigations so far have turned up no guiding cabal. Rioters have been arrested and many will go to prison.

“The riot was a disgrace, and it’s a stain on Mr. Trump’s Presidency. The police officers who testified Tuesday are heroes for holding the line and giving Vice President Pence and Congress time to evacuate.” [Two False Narratives About the Capitol Riot, July 28, 2021]

Related:

The Jan 6th Show Trials Punish Political Opponents Not For What They Did But What They Believe

Writes Senator Ron Paul on how The Jan. 6th Show Trials Threaten All of Us:

The recent felony conviction and eight month prison sentence of January 6th protester Paul Hodgkins is an affront to any notion of justice. It is a political charge and a political verdict by a political court. Every American regardless of political persuasion should be terrified of a court system so beholden to politics instead of justice.

We’ve seen this movie before and it does not end well.

Worse than this miscarriage of justice is the despicable attempt by the prosecutor in the case to label Hodgkins – who has no criminal record and was accused of no violent crime – a “terrorist.”

As journalist Michael Tracey recently wrote, Special Assistant US Attorney Mona Sedky declared Hodgkins a “terrorist” in the court proceedings not for committing any terrorist act, not for any act of violence, not even for imagining a terrorist act.

Sedky wrote in her sentencing memo, “The Government … recognizes that Hodgkins did not personally engage in or espouse violence or property destruction.” She added, “we concede that Mr. Hodgkins is not under the legal definition a domestic terrorist.”

Yet Hodgkins should be considered a terrorist because the actions he took – entering the Senate to take a photo of himself – occurred during an event that the court is “framing…in the context of terrorism.”

That goes beyond a slippery slope. He is not a terrorist because he committed a terrorist act, but because somehow the “context” of his actions was, in her words, “imperiling democracy.”

In other words, Hodgkins deserved enhanced punishment because he committed a thought crime. The judge on the case, Randolph D. Moss, admitted as much. In carrying a Trump flag into the Senate, he said, Hodgkins was, “declaring his loyalty to a single individual over the nation.”

As Tracey pointed out, while eight months in prison is a ridiculously long sentence for standing on the floor of the “People’s House” and taking a photograph, it is also a ridiculously short sentence for a terrorist. If Hodgkins is really a terrorist, shouldn’t he be sent away for longer than eight months?

The purpose of the Soviet show trials was to create an enemy that the public could collectively join in hating and blaming for all the failures of the system. The purpose was to turn one part of the population against the other part of the population and demand they be “cancelled.” And it worked very well…for awhile.

In a recent article, libertarian author Jim Bovard quoted from Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago about how average people turned out to demand “justice” for the state’s designated “political” enemies: “There were universal meetings and demonstrations (including even school-children). It was the newspaper march of millions, and the roar rose outside the windows of the courtroom: ‘Death! Death! Death!’”

While we are not quite there yet, we are moving in that direction. Americans being sent to prison not for what they did, but for what they believe? Does that sound like the kind of America we really want to live in?

While many Biden backers are enjoying seeing the hammer come down on pro-Trump, non-violent protesters, they should take note: the kind of totalitarian “justice” system they are cheering on will soon be coming for them. It always does.

Made available by the Ron Paul Insitute.

James Grant on How Jonathan Levy’s “Ages of American Capitalism” Completely Misses The Point

The eloquent James Grant, the author of “Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian,” and editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, has penned a review of Jonathan Levy’s “Ages of American Capitalism” in the WSJ.

Some highlights:

In Mr. Levy’s vast mural of a book, which he ambitiously subtitles “A History of the United States,” John Maynard Keynes cuts the commanding figure. A few lines from Keynes’s “General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money” (1936), in fact, anticipate Mr. Levy’s central thesis. They read: “A somewhat comprehensive socialization of investment will prove the only means of securing an approximation of full employment.”

[…]

Mr. Levy writes to advance the proposition that American capitalism is turning from investment and production to speculation and chaos.

[…]

Mr. Levy is less successful at developing his thesis than he is at announcing it. His haziness on the nomenclature and history of finance is one problem, his want of authorial craft is another.

[…]

Mr. Levy doesn’t explicitly oppose the enterprise system — he acknowledges that it lifted the world from poverty — but he’s more inclined to disparage than admire the self-organizing dynamics of market-determined prices.

[…]

The conclusion to which Mr. Levy’s too numerous pages lead is that government is the indispensable cog in the American economy. It was World War II, a government enterprise if ever there was one, that ended the Great Depression, he contends, and it was the Federal Reserve that led us out of the Great Recession.

Conventionally, the author rushes past the depression of 1920-21, a bear of a downturn that was over and done with in 18 months despite punishingly high interest rates and balanced federal budgets. Why the slump ever ended should be a matter of intense curiosity for anyone who, like Mr. Levy, puts his stock in the Keynesian nostrums of big spending and concessionary borrowing costs. “Capitalism was not going to lift itself out of the slump,” the author writes of the Great Depression, yet our unstimulated capitalist forebears in 1921 somehow decided that prices and wages had fallen low enough to warrant new commitments of hope and capital. The 1920s subsequently roared.

For details on the depression of 1920-21, see Grant’s book The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself.

Contrary to Levy’s thesis, it’s actually government intervention in the market that makes depressions “great” and creates the economic chaos that Levy falsely blames on the marketplace. Levy’s call for the government to further take over the economy will only make things worse.

If you want insight into the history of American capitalism and economics you will have to turn elsewhere, as you won’t find it in Jonathan Levy’s “Ages of American Capitalism.”

A Lesson for Biden From Germany on IP

“The German government stood behind the goal of a worldwide supply of COVID-19 vaccines, a government spokeswoman said, adding however that the main factors in vaccine production are capacity and quality standards, and not patents.

” ‘The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and must remain so in the future,’ the spokeswoman said in a statement.”

It seems the German government understands Americanism more than the present “leadership” in America does.

Adam Mossoff: Biden’s Vaccine Patent Waiver and Intellectual Property

An excellent discussion on YBS with IP expert Adam Mossoff. You can visit Professor Mossoff’s website at adammossoff.com

***

From the WSJ:

We’ve already criticized President Biden’s bewildering decision Wednesday to endorse a patent waiver for Covid vaccines and therapies. But upon more reflection this may be the single worst presidential economic decision since Nixon’s wage-and-price controls.

In one fell swoop he has destroyed tens of billions of dollars in U.S. intellectual property, set a destructive precedent that will reduce pharmaceutical investment, and surrendered America’s advantage in biotech, a key growth industry of the future.

[…]

India and South Africa have been pushing to suspend patents at the World Trade Organization for months….their motivation is patently self-interested. Both are large producers of generic drugs, though they have less expertise and capacity to make complex biologics like mRNA vaccines. They want to force Western pharmaceutical companies to hand over IP free of charge so they can produce and export vaccines and therapies for profit.

[…]

AstraZeneca and Novavax have leaned heavily on manufacturers in India to produce billions of doses reserved for lower-income countries. But India has restricted vaccine exports to supply its own population. IP simply isn’t restraining vaccine production.

Busting patents also won’t speed up production, since it would take months for these countries to set up new facilities. Competition will increase for scarce ingredients, and less efficient manufacturers with little expertise would make it harder for licensed partners to produce vaccines.

[…]

Moderna has been working on mRNA vaccines for a decade. Covid represents its first success. Ditto for Novavax, which has been at it for three decades. Small biotech companies in the U.S. have been studying how to create vaccines using nasal sprays, pills and patches.

Thanks to Mr. Biden, all this could become the property of foreign governments.

 

Analysis of Supreme Court’s Ruling on Google’s Copying of Oracle’s Computer Code

“A battle of Big Tech giants came to an end this week when the Supreme Court decided Google v. Oracle, the biggest copyright case in decades. The decision in favor of Google, which copied over 11,000 lines of Oracle’s computer code when building its Android operating system, will set the standard for copyright protection of code in the Digital Age. Our panel of intellectual property (IP) experts discuss and critique the Court’s decision and Justice Thomas’s dissent, as well as the decision’s likely impact on IP law, innovation, and the software industry.”

A panel consisting of Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University; Zvi Rosen, Assistant Professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law, and Steven Tepp, President & CEO of Sentinel Worldwide, moderated by Curt Levey (moderator) of the President of the Committee for Justice analyzes the meaning of this ruling.

BGI Documents $5.7 Billion To Green Political Pressure Groups

WASHINGTON, DC (April 8, 2021) – The Institute for Energy Research (IER) released another update to its Big Green, Inc. (BGI) database adding documentation of $476 million in grants moving between innocuous-sounding foundations and powerful special interests in Washington DC. In total, BGI has documented $5.7 billion fueling today’s green lobbying and grassroots pressure groups. That figure only includes the giving history of seventeen major foundations and there are hundreds of foundations and organizations actively connected to the green movement.

This latest BGI update pulls from 2018 tax filings, only recently made available, revealing a disturbing trend among several foundations that the database tracks. Among the latest round of grants, $14.25 million flowed from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to the Energy Foundation and ultimately to an organization called Energy Foundation China, just as tensions between the U.S. and China are mounting.

  • The Energy Foundation received $21 million “for general operating support” from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as grants totaling $14.25 million for “Energy Foundation China,” and $1,065,000 in “additional grants.” Together, these grants amount to nearly half of the foundation’s $81,940,531 net assets at the end of 2018.
  • The Energy Foundation appears to receive money from organizations like the Hewlett Foundation and passes it through to Energy Foundation China so that it doesn’t show on Hewlett’s tax documents directly.
  • Energy Foundation China lists several other BGI organizations like the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the John. D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation among its key funders.

These donations coincide with a major shift in policy direction by the Biden Administration away from America’s newfound energy independence (built on traditional energy sources) towards wind, solar, and electric vehicles, all of which are primarily manufactured in China and require Chinese-controlled rare earth minerals. Numerous media outlets have highlighted the rush by the green lobby to push Congress to again extend the wind and solar tax credits for a 13th time, this time for 10 years. The wind and solar industries claim they are now the cheapest form of electricity generation in the U.S. and the fastest-growing, yet they appear to be unable to survive without assistance from U.S. taxpayers. There’s little doubt these tax credits would greatly benefit Chinese-owned or controlled companies.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was also a big beneficiary of BGI grants in 2018, receiving 11 grants totaling just shy of $4.7 million, including $500,000 for their own China energy program. This is on top of a pledge by Jeff Bezos to provide the NRDC with $100 million. Bezos has committed $791 million to 16 environmental organizations as a part of his widely publicized $10 billion Earth Fund, despite the fact that Amazon’s carbon footprint grew by 15 percent in 2020. Some have charged Bezos with trying to buy off the environmental community with their grants while doing very little in terms of active lobbying for climate regulations that would negatively impact their business.

Gina McCarthy, the former CEO of the NRDC turned Biden National Climate Advisor, is in a powerful position that circumvented Senate confirmation process. In this role, McCarthy is largely shielded from transparency laws like the Freedom of Information Act and has direct access to the President.

Upon the release of today’s BGI database update, IER President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement:

“This latest update to the Big Green Inc. database is further evidence that the green left has more interest in protecting the interests of its funders and the global renewables industry than they do the environment. Thanks primarily to America’s shale revolution, America has become energy-independent and at the same time has been leading the developed world in greenhouse gas emissions reductions. And yet, the greens would prefer that we give up that newfound independence and instead rely on China for our future energy needs.

If Congress were serious about transparency and the influence of special interest money in politics, Big Green Inc. is the first place they should be looking, especially the connections between left-leaning foundations, the Biden White House, and China.”

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2020 was the year America realized energy independence for the first time in 62 years, producing more than we consumed. Thanks to the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, production in the oil and natural gas industry increased a combined 11 percent in 2019. Total U.S. energy production increased by 5.7 percent in 2019 while U.S. energy demand decreased by 0.9 percent. The United States produced 101.0 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) of energy and consumed 100.2 quads last year. Natural resources accounted for 80 percent of both energy consumption and production in 2019.

About Big Green, Inc.

Big Green, Inc., a project of IER, catalogs the influence of the deep-pocketed left on energy policy in the United States. The online map enables users to navigate the various foundations that spend billions of dollars supporting aggressive climate litigation, the promotion of uneconomic renewable energy sources, and overburdening regulations. Their influence has helped foment the anti-market sentiment that dominates energy policy in the United States and has played a major role in limiting economic growth in recent years.

Three important takeaways from the information presented in Big Green, Inc.

  1. Environmental groups have crafted a narrative that depicts their efforts as a “David vs. Goliath” battle against those who would like to see U.S. energy policy move in a free-market direction. This narrative is false. Environmental groups outpace conservative and free-market groups both in terms of funding and organizational capacity.
  2. There is an overwhelming, well-coordinated and deeply funded sweeping influence of environmental activism, and information within this database provides insight into how groups target the gatekeeping institutions of our society. As the database illuminates, environmental funding has been directed toward policymakers, journalists, academic institutions, the offices of elected officials, government organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as international institutions such as the World Bank.
  3. This complicated system of financial transfers muddles efforts to reveal the sources of this funding, which has been linked to individuals who stand to benefit financially from the adoption of various environmental policies as well as foreign actors trying to influence energy policy within the U.S.

C. Bradley Thompson: “Common Good” Theory of Politics is a Fraud

Writing on his blog C. Bradley Thompson opines on the “common good,” channeling many of the same arguments used by philosopher Ayn Rand.

He reviews “six problems with common-good politics.”

First, all versions of the common-good school of thought assume, without proof, that there is one, absolute, universal, eternal, knowable “higher” or “common good” that should guide public policy despite the fact that there are innumerable and competing definitions of the “common good.”

[…]

Second, the very real practical problem with “common-good” politics becomes manifest when rival factions compete with one another for political power in order to impose their view of the “common good” on society as a whole.

[…]

Third, until recently, Left- and Right-wing proponents of the “common good” were reverse mirror images of each other. Liberals typically wanted social freedom and command-style economics, whereas conservatives typically wanted economic freedom and command-style morality.

[…]

Fourth, does anyone seriously believe that Harvard professors, the Vatican’s College of Cardinals, or Deep State bureaucrats actually know what is best for ordinary Americans better than ordinary Americans?

[…]

Fifth, virtually every tyrant throughout history has used the “common good” to justify acts of violence and oppression. Jacobinism, socialism, fascism, communism, and Nazism all claimed to serve the common good.

[…]

Sixth, common-good harpies of the Left and Right misunderstand what virtue and moral action are. They fail to understand that to be moral requires uncoerced, free choice. Coerced virtue is not virtue; it’s obedience.

Thompson adds:

In the end, the promises of the “common good” theory of politics is a fraud. This is because the idea of a “common” or “highest good” is an undefinable concept, particularly when governments attempt to define it, which is exactly what we’re talking about.

There is no such thing as a “common good” (at least as the concept is typically used by its Left- and Right-wing proponents), unless one is speaking of an ant colony or a bee hive. But man is neither ant nor bee. To the extent that the idea of a “common good” has any valid philosophic meaning, it can only be the sum of the interests or goods of all men and women in a particular society, and the primary “goods” common to all men are freedom, justice, safety, and the rule of law that protects them.

Read the whole article.

Hat Tip: @JWoiceshyn

 

 

Amazon Stands Up To The Fascist Senator Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren threatens to confiscate additional profits of the most successful companies by eliminating “loopholes.”

Warren threatens to break up companies that dare to question her.

 

Amazon calls out Warren’s fascism. After all, if a billion-dollar company cannot speak against Warren what chance does a lone individual have?

 

Related:

 

Biden Administration Cancels Freedom of the Press on The U.S. Border

Getty photographer John Moore writing in WaPo, of how he was able to cover border control encounters with migrants under President Donald Trump, but not so under Biden.

Writes Moore:

For the past four presidential administrations, I have accompanied U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and photographed their encounters with migrants as they enforced immigration policy. No longer. Last week, when I documented migrant detentions in El Paso, I had to do so from the Mexican side of the border, taking long-range shots. Until now, journalists haven’t had to stand in another country to cover what is happening in the United States.

Most asylum seekers cross the Rio Grande into South Texas on land controlled by federal agents. For decades, the U.S. government has let journalists accompany Border Patrol agents and other officials as they surveil the land. But since the change in administration, those agents have been physically blocking journalists from the riverbank. For example, after being turned down for official access on a trip in February, I followed a Border Patrol transport bus in my own vehicle to where agents were detaining migrants. They stopped me before I got close enough to take pictures. They called a supervisor, and ordered me to leave immediately.

We have gone from the Trump-era “zero tolerance” policy toward immigrants to a Biden-era “zero access” policy for journalists covering immigration. This development is unprecedented in modern history. (While the Trump administration reduced access somewhat when the pandemic began, for defensible reasons of safety, the Biden administration has gone much further and eliminated it altogether.) [“I’m a photojournalist. Why is the administration banning me from border facilities?“]

This begs the question: what is the Biden Administration have to hide?

Abigail Shrier: Equality Act is Based on ‘Misogyny In Progressive Clothing’

Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, argues that the so-called “Equality Act” is nothing of the sort:

“Members of the Committee, if your daughter or granddaughter was the top high school tennis player in her state, and then five biological boys suddenly decided, at the age of 17, to identify as female — should she drop overnight to number 6? Should she lose her college scholarship to a male-bodied athlete who would never have qualified on the boys’ team? Does that strike any member of this Committee as fair or just?”

“If a woman in your state commits a crime, should she be put in a correctional facility with biological males, some of whom are sex offenders? Some of whom may have only begun identifying as female weeks earlier? All of whom could easily overpower her.”

“The plain truth is that it is not sensible, not safe, and certainly not just, to end these hard-won protections for women and girls in the name of equality.”

[…]

“Most would never think of stealing women’s scholarships by forcing young women into demoralizing contests with male bodies. But Gender Ideology, which is at the heart of this bill, is misogyny in progressive clothing. Gender Ideology tells women and girls they are not entitled to their fear or their sense of unfairness as their protective spaces are eliminated.”

[…]

“If you vote to take away those rights, don’t pretend you’ve achieved a civil rights victory. In the name of inclusivity, you’ll have made life far less safe, far less fair, and far less inclusive for America’s women and girls.”

Related: Abigal Shrier: Biden Rule and Boys (Who ‘Identify as Female’) On Girl’s Sports Teams

Salsman: Keynesianism is Potterism

Writes economist Richard Salsman over at the IFI blog:

To understand this, think: “Harry Potter’s wands.” That is the essence of Keynesian mythology, the basic idea, the notion, nostrum, fantasy, and fable – “the narrative” (today’s euphemism for fakery). Politicians now are mere vessels, spokesmen for the almighty People; they “speak their truth” and reveal their internalized, private fictions, untethered to reality. Keynesianism is Potterism. As quackery, it doesn’t bother to “follow the science” (of economics). It was mostly rejected during the neo-liberal supply-side revolution of the 1980s-1990s, but has since risen from its too-shallow grave, to stalk and block prosperity. Keynesian policy is always the policy of choice for statists – those who oppose choice (economic liberty) per se.

In 1936 Keynes the Quack wrote an influential book that later was crudely imported into a widely adopted college textbook written by MIT’s Paul Samuelson (Economics, in fourteen editions between 1948 and 1992). For nearly half a century, all over the world, millions of professors, pupils, politicians, preachers, and policymakers were fed Keynesian absurdities, including these:

“Pyramid-building, earthquakes, even wars may serve to increase wealth, if the education of our statesmen on the principles of the classical [free-market] economics stands in the way of anything better.” “If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again, there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing.”(John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936)

Perhaps I’m being unfair, quoting a non-serious passage from a stupid work many decades old, which no serious economist today would dare take seriously (let alone invoke as grounds for contemporary policy). But in April 2009, at the end of the U.S. recession which began in late 2007, Princeton professor Paul Krugman wrote “Time for Bottles in a Coal Mine,” for his New York Times column. Citing Keynes’s 1936 passage (above), Krugman extolled a “stimulus” scheme even as the economy was recovering (and presumably didn’t need the “help” of more fake money). In 2012, when it should have obvious that the U.S. economy was out of recession and expanding nicely, Krugman published End This Depression Now! He was more delusional than usual, mad with anger that vastly more “stimulus” had not been forthcoming from his hero Obama; by 2012 Krugman convinced himself that the 2007-09 recession had worsened. This is the quack who got the Nobel prize in 2008. [“Yet Another Anti-Stimulus Scheme“]