The Parasites and the Producers

From Kevin D. Williamson:

Public Enemy No. 1 in Democratic circles today is Heather Bresch, CEO of the company that makes the EpiPen, a super-convenient epinephrine auto-injection device used to treat anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be caused by anything from a bee sting to a bag of peanuts. At its worst, anaphylaxis is bad news of the kill-you-dead variety, which makes having an EpiPen or two around very handy indeed. Bresch’s company, Mylan, recently raised prices on the EpiPen and several other treatments they sell. An EpiPen dose might cost as much as $600, which is . . . about half of what the typical American family spends on cable TV in a year. Yeah, sure, little Bobby’s face is swelling up like a North Korean dictator’s and his kidneys are about to fail — but there’s two episodes left on Game of Thrones this season! And Daenerys is naked in both of them!

Spare me.

Of course, Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided to make a federal case out of this, as has her primary rival, sometime Democrat and full-time socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, i.e., the usual bulls—t from the usual orifices. Mrs. Clinton demanded an immediate reversal of the price hike, and Senator Sanders produced the usual flatulence about greedy executives.

Pardon my bluntness here, but screw these people. Nobody, anywhere, at any time, has ever in a moment of mortal terror cried out: “For God’s sake, is there a politician in the house?” You know how many treatments for anaphylaxis have been produced by politicians over the course of human history? Zero. Congress’s sole contribution to the existence of a handy device that keeps your children from dying from bee stings is the fact that Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is the daughter of a Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

If we were relying on the intelligence, work ethic, creativity, entrepreneurship, scientific prowess, and far-sightedness of the members of Congress to produce treatments for allergic reactions or any other medical problem, we’d still have a million people a year dying from smallpox and preventable infections. We’d also be starving to death.

Bernie Sanders doesn’t have the first clue how an EpiPen works or what went into developing it, but he’s sure he knows what one should cost, and he’s sure who should decide — him. You know what Bernie Sanders is? He’s a bum. He was damn near 40 years old before he ever found his way into a full-time job, and that was in elected office; before that, he collected benefits, sold his creepy rape fantasies for left-wing newspapers at $50 a pop, and never lifted a finger toward any genuinely productive enterprise. He’s been suckling greedily at the public teat since way back when he could remember where his car keys are. Funny thing, though: Now he’s a bum with a third home on the waterfront of a Vermont island worth the better part of a million dollars. Every good apparatchik eventually gets his dacha.

Mrs. Clinton is a bum and a crook who used the State Department as a funnel to guide the money of favor-seeking business interests at home and abroad into the Clinton Foundation, a sham charity that exists to pay six-figure salaries to Clintons (Chelsea is full-time executive there) and their courtiers.

These people are parasites. They make: nothing. They create: nothing. They produce: nothing. But they feel perfectly justified — they positively glow with moral frisson — standing between the people who create and build and the people who benefit from those creations. And they don’t just stand there: They stand there with their hands out. I don’t know how much Heather Bresch has in the bank, but without checking, I’ll bet you five dollars it is a good deal less than the Clintons have piled up in “public service.”

Thought experiment: Your child is dying. Who do you go to for help? Sanders? Clinton? Or one of the research scientists who made the EpiPen possible?

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Violent Rhetoric Is Terrible, But Actual Violence Is Cool

From Kevin D. Williamson:

Hearken unto me, o ye students of political history, and recall the ancient days of . . . 2011.

Anybody remember 2011? I remember 2011 pretty well. One of the infamous and horrifying events of that year was the shooting of Gabby Giffords by a pathetic misfit in Tucson. That was followed by a veritable Wagner opera of alarm and distress regarding the state of American political rhetoric. Oh, you remember, do you not: Sarah Palin, who had targeted several purportedly vulnerable Democrats for special electoral attention, had published a map with crosshairs — crosshairs, people! — over those Democrats’ congressional districts.

You’d have thought that Palin had pulled the trigger herself. Every good liberal on God’s green Earth began lecturing us about the need for “civility,” about the horrifyingly violent rhetoric of the Tea Party, etc. The president himself lectured us on civility. E. J. Dionne went the Full Yglesias (What’s the Full Yglesias? Stroking your beard and wetting yourself at the same time), writing:

Since President Obama’s election, it is incontestable that significant parts of the American far right have adopted a language of revolutionary violence in the name of overthrowing “tyranny.” . . . We must now insist with more force than ever that threats of violence no less than violence itself are antithetical to democracy. Violent talk and playacting cannot be part of our political routine.

Former senator Gary Hart, writing in the Huffington Post, insisted that riling up partisans by employing martial tropes in political campaigns (but we can’t call them “campaigns!”) is “to invite and welcome their predictable violence.”

The editors at the Huffington Post seem to have evolved on the issue, having just published a column by Jesse Benn, whose mirth-inducing bio-line identifies him as a doctoral student in journalism, in which he calls not for a revival in violent political rhetoric but for actual political violence: “Sorry Liberals, A Violent Response To Trump Is As Logical As Any,” the headline reads. Benn argues that the Trump phenomenon is not “a typical political disagreement between partisans,” and that “there’s an inherent value in forestalling Trump’s normalization. Violent resistance accomplishes this.”

E. J. Dionne has not been heard from.

A few days ago, Vox suspended an editor (after considerable criticism) who called for violence, in the form of riots, in response to Trump.

Gary Hart has not been heard from.

Neither has the president.

What’s violent rhetoric compared with genuine calls for violence?

Actual political violence is apparently to be encouraged when the goons are on the left and the target is (I suppose) on the right. Let a couple of ranchers in Nevada get squirrely, though, and it’s the end of days.

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Republicans, You’ve Made Your Bed

From Kevin D. Williamson:

I want to leave a note here, because I expect to have many occasions to link back to it in the next several months.

Americans and Republicans, remember: You asked for this. Given the choice between a dozen solid conservatives and one Clinton-supporting con artist and game-show host, you chose the con artist. You chose him freely. Nobody made you do it.

I will be reminding you all of that, from time to time.

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The Left Is Coming for You Next

From Kevin D. Williamson:

We think in language, and we think in stories, a fact that is appreciated most keenly not by writers or literary critics but by censors.

In the course of writing about the ongoing fraud in which a cabal of left-wing lawyers with connections to the administrations of Barack Obama and Andrew Cuomo has attempted to extort many billions of dollars from Chevron, I had a memorable conversation with an executive at the energy giant. “We are the least sympathetic defendant there is,” he said. “We’re an oil company. You can say almost anything about an oil company. There are no stories in which the oil company is the good guy.” There is one: The one where you go to the 7-Eleven and fill up your miraculous machine with a miraculous energy source that would, within the recent history of the human species, have been indistinguishable from magic.

But the point stands. You can say anything you like, no matter how wild the claim, about an oil company or a financial firm, or, indeed, about any corporation, “corporation” now being the English word that means “a business that I hate.” The demonization of the word “corporation” has proceeded alongside the demonization of the concept. The word “corporation” already had slightly sinister overtones (it is naturally associated with the English word “corpse,” though that word is not in fact derived from the Latin “corpus”) which has been intensified by the immortal, galaxy-spanning corporations of science fiction; I have always thought (here I glance nervously over my shoulder at Kathryn Jean Lopez) that the writers of Star Trek missed an opportunity with the Borg, whose habitual promise that “you will be assimilated” would have been much better rendered “you will be incorporated,” since they, like a Portuguese man-o’-war, form a single colonial organism. Incorporation is a word that strikes terror into many hearts. (Particularly those beating in proximity to Houston.) I spent part of Friday night among Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters in New York, and one very nice young couple warned me darkly that Republicans would “do whatever the corporations tell them to.” The corporations: As if they were all part of the same team, and had meetings.

The American Left, which long ago abandoned its hereditary liberalism for totalitarianism, is very much interested in policing language. Writing this week in Time, which still exists, Katy Steinmetz complains about the use of the word “transgendered” to describe people who were until five minutes ago known as transsexuals, and five minutes before that weird guys in dresses. (The argument, in case you are wondering, is that the implicitly passive form “transgendered” suggests that something was done to these people, as though we could not distinguish between a tossed salad and a spotted owl.) She offers other sage advice: “If you meet a trans person — someone who identifies with a gender other than the sex they were assigned at birth — it’s generally a good idea to ask which pronouns (he or she, him or her) they prefer and to use whatever that is.” Other than establishing that she isn’t a reliable guide to pronouns, the merry assumption of absolute nonsense — “the sex they were assigned at birth” as opposed to the sex they are — isn’t just illiteracy. People instinctively resist the lie, which makes it necessary to make the truth almost literally unspeakable, even unthinkable. The lie isn’t quite sold yet, inasmuch as people still roll their eyes a little at the phrase “women with penises,” but it is getting there.

Progressive tut-tutting about that sort of thing may be the mild stuff, but it isn’t innocuous. Activists for the so-called transgendered have argued that my work on the issue should be not criticized but banned, as in suppressed by the force of state violence. The usual banalities — “hate speech” and all that — are invoked. So far, it isn’t a crime to get on the wrong side of the men-in-dresses activists. We aren’t, after all, Canadians.

Global warming, though, is a different matter. The attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Claude Earl Walker, has issued a subpoena to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank that has been critical of a great deal of global-warming scholarship. This is part of a coordinated campaign by Democratic attorneys general, including those in New York and California, to prosecute persons and institutions with nonconforming views on global warming, with special attention being given to Exxon and to groups that it may have supported financially. The subpoena against CEI is a pure fishing expedition, a search for anything that might be potentially embarrassing that can be used as part of the public-relations campaign rather than as part of a prosecution, the prosecution bit being tricky because there isn’t much of an argument that any laws have been broken.

New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is taking a similar approach. He isn’t sure what law Exxon has broken, but he promises to find one, making different accusations and arguments as the venue demands. Barack Obama’s so-called Justice Department is considering filing a case of its own.

Despite the insistence of Democrats in positions of power, this is not a “fraud” investigation. There has been no credible case made — none whatsoever — that any fraud has been committed.

We should, while it is permitted, be as plain as possible about what is happening here: This is an act of obvious, gross, and indefensible political suppression, with two ends: One is riling up young, white, middle-income progressives before the 2016 election (in which California’s Democratic attorney general, Kamala Harris, is a Senate candidate), voters who care a great deal about global warming and not very much about freedom of speech; the second is financial, in that Exxon, the second most valuable firm on Earth by market capitalization, has a great deal of money, and may be bullied into a settlement that will fund a great deal of Democratic activism for years to come.

This is banana-republic stuff.

Kamala Harris, Eric Schneiderman, Claude Earl Walker, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch should not resign — they should be hounded from office, and from polite society. Prosecuting political institutions and businesses for political activism is brown-shirt business, plain and simply and ugly and heinous. If you believe that this will stop at prosecuting wicked, evil “corporations,” you are deluding yourself.

You’re next.

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The Bureaucratic Mind

From Kevin D. Williamson:

I have become over the years a connoisseur of the bureaucratic mind. I love to watch it operate, its inexorable and sometimes magnificent progress toward ends that range from trivial to malevolent. It provides all of the pleasures of observing a natural disaster or man-made catastrophe without (usually without) the body count. Needless to say, I do not enjoy interacting with it myself, but my inner libertarian never tires of saying, I told you so.

I recently was treated to an outstanding example of the genre. Traffic was snarled up on a busy thoroughfare in Houston, in part because one lane of traffic was blocked by a truck. The truck was a water truck, and workers were using that truck to water trees planted in openings in the sidewalk of a commercial district. Of course public agencies must plant trees: If private citizens were permitted to plant trees in sidewalks, then we surely would suffer terribly from variety rather than enjoy the comforts of conformity. And, because the public sector plants the trees, the public sector must maintain the trees.

It is impossible to imagine, even for the sake of argument, that driving through the car-choked urban streets of a city enduring some of the nation’s worst traffic with water trucks is the most efficient means of delivering water to trees. It’s the sort of thing that just might barely make sense in a desert city such as Las Vegas or Phoenix; given that Houston enjoys (“enjoys”) a humid subtropical climate in which the nearby Gulf of Mexico dumps about 50 inches of rain into the city annually (about the same amount of rainfall as Miami Beach receives) it isn’t clear that doing that is necessary at all, but doing it during the middle of the day, when there is a great deal of traffic, rather than at night, when there is not, borders on hostility.

So: The armies of bureaucracy blocking up traffic to water trees out of water trucks in a generally sopping wet subtropical city — big deal.

Except: This was actually happening in the rain.

That, for me, was really the kicker: the placid, stoic, cow-eyed fellow trundling out of his truck in his rain hat, shielding his face against the rain, to hose down trees during a rainstorm, in a city whose main weather-related problem is flooding. I really hope he was being paid $40 an hour. In fact, I stopped to inquire about the project, but the fellow with the truck parked in the middle of the thoroughfare waved me off with some annoyance: “You can’t stop here.”

Of course.

In the spring and summer of 2007, rain fell upon at least some part of Houston every single day for four months. But the local authorities will see to it that water from water trucks is poured upon trees during rainstorms — that is why those who would merely reform public agencies, rather than strangle them to death, will in the end be forever frustrated.

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Checking our Imperial President

From Kevin D. Williamson:

As all sensible men instinctively do, I concur with John Yoo’s opinion below on the legal questions related to President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. As a purely political question, I do not see how the president, or Mrs. Clinton, gets around the simple facts of the case. If it is morally permissible for President Obama to employ a maximalist interpretation of his powers in an explicit attempt to act legislatively in place of Congress — for instance, by attempting to impose through executive order an amnesty for illegal immigrants that Congress has rejected — then it is equally permissible for Congress to employ a maximalist interpretation of its own powers and stymie the executive branch. Obama may have technically been within his powers all this time (though I very much doubt that even that is true) but he unquestionably has done violence with malice aforethought to the constitutional order, attempting to arrogate to himself legislative powers. It bears repeating that he has been absolutely explicit about this, his argument (“argument”) being that if Congress will not act as he wishes it to, he will act in its place.

The predictable, and predictably stupid, rhetorical line from the Democrats now goes: “The Senate should do its job (and give the president whatever he wants).” In truth, the Senate is doing its job by stopping him. The Senate exists to provide a check on the democratic passions of the House and on the imperial pretensions of the presidency. Mitch McConnell is absolutely right to make use of the procedural powers granted him to check the White House in this matter. He should have begun doing it years ago, in fact.

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What is Trump Hiding?

From Kevin D. Williamson:

Donald Trump: “I’m a wildly successful businessman.”
Skeptics: “Let’s see your tax returns.”
Donald Trump: “. . .”

Donald Trump: “I was a great student at Penn.”
Skeptics: “Let’s see your transcripts.”
Donald Trump: “. . .”

Donald Trump: “I didn’t tell the Times I’d go soft on immigration.”
Skeptics: “Let’s hear the tape.”
Donald Trump: “. . .”

Etc.

I’m still waiting to see what grade Barack Obama made in Econ 101, but he has kept his transcripts hidden from public view. Donald Trump is doing the same thing, presumably for the same reason.

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