“Support the Troops”

Maj ML Cavanaugh, Nonresident Fellow at West Point’s Modern War Institute, had an op-ed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal demurring from Alphabet’s Google’s (a wholly owned subsidiary of Alphabet) employee’s objection to Alphabet’s working with DoD on a major artificial intelligence project: such work would “irreparably damage Google’s brand” they argue because military.  Cavanaugh suggested that, on the contrary, such mutual work was to the net good, falling behind our enemies on AI could well be fatal to us, DoD should work to expand Defense/tech company interaction, and so on.

Then he closed his piece with this hopeful claim.

A Judicial Miss

Recall the Marquette University case wherein a graduate-student instructor, Cheryl Abbate, shut down debate on the subject of gay marriage, arguing that views that didn’t accept such things were “homophobic and unwelcome in her classroom.”  Tenured Political Science Professor John McAdams objected, in blunt terms, to the evident bigotry demonstrated by Abbate in a personal post on his personal blog.  Marquette disciplined him for disagreeing—that’s a violation of Marquette “speech” policy.  McAdams demurred and took Marquette to court.

Milwaukee County Circuit judge sided with the university. The judge, David Hansher, wrote that academic freedom “does not mean that a faculty member can harass, threaten, intimidate, ridicule, or impose his or her views on students.”

Irony Meter

Mine has been getting a workout lately.  It’s pegged again.

Russian lawmakers visited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the aftermath of the US-UK-French strikes on the center of al-Assad’s chemical weapons production facilities and before the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons “inspects” the site of al-Assad’s chemical attack on women and children that prompted the allied response.  Among other things,

[t]he Syrian president also reportedly accepted an invitation to visit Siberia….

I recall an earlier time of invitations to visit Siberia.

Two Birds

I’ve often argued against government spending on matters unrelated to the Constitutionally mandated payment of government debt, providing for the national defense, and seeing to the general Welfare (as defined by the clauses of Article I, Section 8).  I’ve also argued for privatizing the major social welfare programs of Social Security and Medicare.

Now Oklahoma illustrates the failure to limit the one and do the other at the State level, with Medicaid standing in for Medicare.

Equal Protection Under Law

Harmeet Dhillon, a trial lawyer and California Republican National Committeewoman, has a tweet up regarding equal protection, San Jose, CA, style:

From the 9th Circuit argument Monday morning in Hernandez v. San Jose—City attorney says SJPD should not be held responsible for forcing Trump supporters to walk through a violent mob, because attending a Trump rally is an inherently dangerous act! Did they ask for it?

Play the video, and listen especially to the exchange between the San Jose lawyer and the judge (you may have to crank up the volume to hear the judge).  San Jose is utterly disingenuous in this case.  Equal protection applies, in SJ, only to SJ-approved groups of people.

State Taxation of Internet Businesses

The Supreme Court is hearing a case, South Dakota v Wayfair Inc, that seeks to overturn an older precedent that prevents States from taxing businesses doing business in the State that don’t have a physical presence there.  South Dakota is claiming that

…the 1992 precedent harms state treasuries and disadvantages taxpaying home-grown businesses.

That argument might hold water if the States were powerless. They’re not. There’s nothing at all preventing them from lowering the tax rates they impose on the brick-and-mortar and home-grown businesses resident in those States so they can compete. There’s nothing at all preventing the States from lowering their spending rates and thereby protecting their treasuries.

Tax Cuts, Deficits, and Economic Growth

The hype is that the tax cuts enacted at the end of last year will lead to trillion dollar Federal government deficits.

On the other hand, there’s this bit about economic growth in the CBO’s report that also carried that deficit forecast [emphasis in the original].

  • Last June, the CBO said GDP growth for 2018 would be just 2%. Now it figures growth will be 3.3%—a significant upward revision. It also boosted its forecast for 2019 from a meager 1.5% to a respectable 2.4%.
  • [T]he CBO now expects GDP to be $6.1 trillion bigger by 2027 than it did before the tax cuts.

Taxing vs Spending

In a Wall Street Journal piece about Tennessee’s required closure of failing bridges problem, a Leake County Democrat supervisor, Joe Andy Helton, had this:

…he was frustrated by politicians being afraid to raise taxes—even to pay for basic services like roads and bridges.

“There’s only but one way to fix things on the local, state or federal level and that’s taxes,” he said.

Of course. Reallocating spending is utterly inconceivable to him.

The two bridges in Helton’s county that must be closed until repaired would cost, at most, a bit over a half-million dollars, together.  That’s not pocket money for a rural county like Leake, but it’s not that much, either.  County and State spending could be (re)directed toward the repairs.

Independent Monitor

Recall Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s raid on President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s offices and seizure of Cohen’s records, especially targeting communications between Cohen, the lawyer, and Trump, the client.

Cohen went in to Federal court Friday to try to get the subpoena under which the raid was conducted revoked and the confiscated materials returned.  Some discussion surrounding the events centers on the alleged ability of special monitors—a “taint team”—doing the sorting so as to isolate the privileged communications from the rest of the material sought under the warrant.  Furthermore, this team would, supposedly, conduct its sort before Mueller’s team has gone into the material they seized.

Leaks

Recall Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s unconscionable raid on the offices of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, a raid that confiscated, among other things, communications between Trump and his lawyer that, heretofore, were privileged communications that no prosecutor or court could access.

The press is reporting that Mr Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud and campaign-finance violations in connection to his $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels (née Stephanie Clifford)….