Wednesday, September 2, 2015


David Feith writing for today's Wall Street Journal --

"One of the best lines of the U.S. presidential race so far comes from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. “It’s sad to think right now,” he joked in the first round of Republican presidential debates, “but probably the Russian and Chinese governments know more about Hillary Clinton’s email server than do the members of the United States Congress.”

...To most people, the digital world is an esoteric abstraction. So we generally have a hard time recognizing the severity of misdeeds committed in cyberspace. Consider the upstanding citizens who would never shoplift yet download pirated music and movies. Among other effects, such permissiveness gives an asymmetric advantage to anyone who wants to exploit it, from individuals like Mrs. Clinton to the hacker armies of China and Russia.

Tech lingo often makes things worse. Yes, Mrs. Clinton used a private server to handle her emails as secretary of state. But that description is anodyne compared with the less technical reality: Before assuming one of the most sensitive jobs in government, she devised a unique personal system to hide tens of thousands of public documents. Later, facing a congressional investigation, she deleted whatever she wanted, in effect tossing stolen goods into a backyard bonfire.

The destruction of evidence recalls the 18-and-a-half minutes of conversation excised from Richard Nixon’s Oval Office recordings, but the Clinton camp wants voters to think her email affair is much more complicated, and far less outrageous, than Nixon’s tape-tampering. Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri recently deflected questions by saying: “Now everybody’s an expert on wiping servers. I don’t know how all that works.” In other words: Nothing to see here but tech mumbo-jumbo."

(My emphasis)

Also, Kevin Williamson explains the difference between intentions and results. Leftists, pay heed.

"News item: There is a new cholesterol-control drug on the market, Repatha, which is enormously beneficial to people who suffer serious side effects from the statins commonly used to control cholesterol or who derive no benefit from statins. Some 17 million Britons are potential beneficiaries of the drug, but they will not be able to use it, because the United Kingdom’s version of Sarah Palin’s death panel — which bears the pleasingly Orwellian name NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence — says it is too expensive. The United Kingdom’s single-payer health-care system is effectively a monopoly, and not an especially effective one: Cardiovascular-disease mortality rates in the United Kingdom are nearly 40 percent higher than in the United States. That’s not nice. And it isn’t what was supposed to happen.

...Politicians tell us what a policy is supposed to do, what it is intended to do, and they ask to be judged by their intentions. The so-called Affordable Care Act, we were assured, was intended to make health insurance a better value and to make health-care institutions give their customers better service at better prices. Never mind the unspoken premise that is the law’s foundation — “We can radically increase demand for health-care services while reducing costs and improving quality because politicians are magic!” — and its inescapable contradictions. “We meant well,” they say, and that is supposed to be enough.

It isn’t.

It falls largely to persnickety, unpleasant eat-your-spinach types, and to certain happy souls blessedly liberated from the romance of politics by events and experience, to document that what is supposed to happen and what happens are not the same thing. Britons and Canadians and Americans can go on all they like about their “right” to health care, but calling something a right does not make it any less scarce (indeed, it is absolutely meaningless to proclaim a “right” to any scarce good), and whether you choose an anything-goes free market or an Anglo-Soviet single-payer monopoly model, there is going to be rationing, normally through the instrument of price. The only question is whether you get to make that decision for yourself or whether an Orwellian NICE guy makes it for you."

Read it all and get treated to numerous Williamsonian gems like this metaphor :

"Every schemer fancies himself a chess grandmaster, and if you are wondering which of the chessmen you are in his grand conception of the universe, count on it being one of the little round-headed ones in the front row."

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