Two terrible choices. Yesterday, Donald Trump indulged in some late-night tweeting. “A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MUST HAVE FULL IMMUNITY, WITHOUT WHICH IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM/HER TO PROPERLY FUNCTION,” he wrote on his TruthSocial platform, referring to the pending immunity case that a federal appeals court heard arguments for last week and will soon rule on.
(It’s likely that the federal appeals court will give Trump a no, and that this will get appealed to the Supreme Court, which will need to rule on this sooner rather than later due to how far into election season we’re getting.)
“Reckon for a moment with what it is Trump is actually endorsing here: a literal prescription for strongman-style dictatorship,” writes National Review‘s Jeffrey Blehar. “A thugocracy. The Great Leader and his goons may commit some crimes here and there, but let that slide for the greater good.”
Trump also seems to be gesturing toward qualified immunity—the legal doctrine that allows cops to get away with bad behavior if their misconduct was not “clearly established” via a prior court ruling—and acting as if we ought to expand such a thing instead of scrapping it. Contra Trump, our current system allows too many “bad apples” to get away with far too much, and effective law enforcement doesn”t have to involve shielding incompetent or malicious government actors from consequences.
Ditto for politicians, regardless of their party. Nobody should be above the law. In a prior era—before their one true love rode down that golden escalator—most Republicans agreed with that.
Don’t like Trump? Try … the other guy. Also yesterday, a reporter asked President Joe Biden, “Are the airstrikes in Yemen working?”
“Well, when you say ‘working’—are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they gonna continue? Yes,” answered Biden.
I’m sure he didn’t intend it as such, but this sort of sums up American foreign policy for the last few decades. Awkward when a president says the quiet part out loud!
Scenes from New York: A midwife on Long Island gave children homeopathic tablets meant to protect against serious viruses—polio, measles, hepatitis—and falsified their records, claiming she had vaccinated them.
- Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist is stocked in 42 percent of the school districts studied by James Fishback for The Free Press. But Fishback only found one school district where John McWhorter’s Woke Racism—which pushes back on Kendi’s ideas—was stocked. (Of course, McWhorter isn’t the only corrective for Kendi’s terrible book, but I think Fishback’s point still stands; read the full piece for more.)
- On this week’s Just Asking Questions, we chat with Matt Welch about libertarian populism, the Iowa caucuses, and his own Central/Eastern European origin story.
- The U.S. is currently dealing with a strange mix of high inflation and low joblessness.
- Read this heartbreaking story about the migrants in New York City who have been sleeping in the snow, awaiting ID cards issued by the state that are necessary precursors to finding legal work.
- A good take. More from Peter Meijer (who may or may not be a Just Asking Questions guest soon) here.
- Controversial opinion over here but I think it’s fine—good, even—for pastors to live out their faiths by sheltering the homeless when it’s freezing outside. (The state of Ohio disagrees.)
- “Every booster you take, you’re more likely to get COVID as a result of it,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently. (That’s not true, writes Reason‘s Ronald Bailey.)
- Latin America “enjoys some other, less obvious, advantages in today’s troubled world: its states are not at war with each other; it is more democratic than any other developing region; and it is building soft power—latino music, food, art, and films have global audiences. In addition, digital nomads cite Mexico City, Medellín and Buenos Aires as among the world’s best cities for remote working.” More from Michael Stott at Financial Times.