Big Tech’s Monopoly of What?

Source: Cato Institute
by Alan Reynolds

“In the scramble to drum up antitrust objections to the four alleged Big Tech monopolies, congressional aides and compliant journalists invariably make two crucial mistakes. First, they adopt indefensibly narrow definitions of the markets that have supposedly been monopolized. Second, they confuse popularity with dominance. Consider that first stumbling block, which requires defining the relevant market. Whenever any firm is accused of having a monopoly, the first question to ask is: ‘A monopoly of what?’ Facebook shows how hard it can be to answer such a seemingly easy question.” (07/28/21)

Death By Definition?

Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“‘What we’re alleging is that gain-of-function research was going on in that [Wuhan] lab and NIH funded it,’ Sen. Rand Paul told Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the last 37 years and the chief medical advisor to the president, at a Senate hearing last week. Paul contended that Fauci had lied to Congress by claiming ‘NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,’ when NIH did indeed finance such activity in that lab. But Fauci denied that research met the official definition of ‘gain of function.'” (07/28/21)

The Science of Politics, episode 100

Source: Niskanen Center

“For a special edition celebrating the 100th episode of the Science of Politics, Matt talks with Ezra Klein about how well political science informs American politics and public policy.” [various formats] (07/28/21)

The shaky pullout from Afghanistan

Source: Radical Classical Liberals
by Sarah Burns

“Biden decided to honor the deal struck between Trump’s Administration and the Taliban to completely remove the US presence from the country, albeit on a slightly slower timeline. And what was the reasoning? He determined it is not in the ‘national interest of the United States of America to continue fighting this war indefinitely.’ He has a point. If the mission has yet to be completed after 20 years, it won’t be completed without a big change within the foreseeable future. Furthermore, he had a front row seat to Obama’s failure to end the war using a troop surge. Is this, therefore, the least worst option? The truth is we don’t really know.” (07/28/21)

The CDC’s Hysterical Delta Flip-Flop Might Be Its Final Undoing

Source: RealClearMarkets
by Jeffrey Tucker

“The crazy, convoluted, mixed up messaging from the CDC — it’s been this way from the beginning of the pandemic until now — has taken yet another turn. Now the CDC is recommending masks not just for the unvaccinated but for the vaccinated too. … It’s not clear whether and to what extent the CDC realizes that it has just once again undermined public confidence in the vaccines! The horns of the dilemma are obvious to anyone who is watching this clown show unfold. If the CDC removes the mask guidance, people don’t get vaccinated; if they add it back in, people have another excuse to avoid the jab. Masks in this case remain what they always were: a tool to prod the public into compliance with other mandates and dictates, purely a symbol of fear and its unrelenting trigger. And with fear comes obedediance. Maybe.” (07/28/21)

TX: Voters reject Trump-endorsed Republican in special US House election

Sourc: The Guardian [UK]

“Jake Ellzey of Texas won a US House seat on Tuesday night over a fellow Republican rival backed by Donald Trump, dealing the former president a defeat in a test of his endorsement power since leaving office. Ellzey’s come-from-behind victory over Susan Wright, the widow of the late Representative Ron Wright, in a special congressional election runoff near Dallas is likely to be celebrated by Trump antagonists who have warned against his continued hold on the GOP. … The north Texas district won by Ellzey — who narrowly lost the GOP nomination for the seat in 2018 — has long been Republican territory. But Trump’s support in the district had also plummeted: after winning it by double-digits in 2016, he carried it by just three percentage points last year, reflecting the trend of Texas’s booming suburbs shifting to purple and, in some places, outright blue.” (07/28/21)

Shrinkflation, Inflation’s Sneaky Cousin, Is on the Rise

Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Klajdi Bregu

“While inflation is the topic of the day in the news media and everyday conversations, many have not heard about its sneaky cousin, shrinkflation. The term shrinkflation, is credited to British economist Pippa Malmgren, and refers to the shrinking weight of the products while the price for the package remains the same. This is in effect another form of inflation, since the per unit price of goods increases when products shrink.” (07/28/21)

Second Amendment latest issue to be reframed — wrongly — as “racist”

Source: The Hill
by Jonathan Turley

“Slavery was a matter discussed both at the Declaration of Independence and during the Constitutional debates. However, the suggestion that it was a primary motivation for the Second Amendment is utter nonsense. States opposed to slavery, like Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island, had precursor state constitutional provisions recognizing the right to bear arms. In his famous 1770 defense of Capt. Thomas Preston in the Boston Massacre trial, John Adams declared that British soldiers had a right to defend themselves since ‘here every private person is authorized to arm himself.’ His second cousin and co-Founding Father, Samuel Adams, was vehemently anti-slavery and equally supportive of the right to bear arms.” (07/28/21)

How Drug Warriors Made the “Opioid Epidemic” Deadlier

Source: Town Hall
by Jacob Sullum

“According to the lawsuits that four drug companies agreed to settle last week, the ‘opioid epidemic’ was caused by overprescription of pain medication, which suggests that curtailing the supply of analgesics such as hydrocodone and oxycodone is the key to reducing opioid-related deaths. But that assumption has proven disastrously wrong and revealed how prohibition makes drug use deadlier. Per capita opioid prescriptions in the United States, which began rising in 2006, fell steadily after 2012, reflecting the impact of government efforts to restrict and discourage medical use of these drugs. Yet in 2019, when the dispensing rate was lower than it had been since 2005, the U.S. saw more opioid-related deaths than ever before. Last year, according to preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that record was broken once again …” (07/28/21)