"For Democrats, Taxes Aren’t about Revenue"

Another terrific Kevin Williamson piece.

When politicians fail at the basics of governance — and ours have failed and are failing — they embrace moral crusades and moral hysterias. That’s why New York City is proposing to put people in jail for using the perfectly accurate English words “illegal alien” to describe aliens whose presence in these United States is illegal — while the trains are failing, the schools continue to fail, the garbage piles up, and the police department continues its long history of acting as an organized-crime syndicate. Etc. One of the reasons you have a more libertarian view in the United States and more support for the welfare state in Sweden is that the Swedes can look at their government and say, “Oj, my taxes are higher than the Norralaån in springtime, but at least I get something for all that money.” People in New Jersey? Not really. We’ve seen veterans dying of preventable causes and pointy-headed little bureaucrats lying about it, and nice progressives getting very, very upset about that — and then saying what we really need is higher taxes on the rich so that we can bring the same model of care to everybody else in the country and make it mandatory.

"Don’t Believe Vanity Fair’s Story About Futures Traders Making Billions Off of Trump Chaos"

Felix Salmon, in Slate of all places, crisply dismisses a recent Vanity Fair piece uncovering yet another Trump "scandal". He asks the same thing I did: who's on the other side of those trades? (Presumably John Doe isn't buying and selling millions of dollars of e-mini futures.)

But the Vanity Fair piece is typical of Liberal argument these days. "Something, something . . . THIS LOOKS SUSPICIOUS . . . something, something . . . TRUMP!! QED."

"All for Naught: The Battle of Peleliu"

I'm one of the ones who had never heard of it.

Aided by the rugged terrain, their careful preparation, and new tactics, the Japanese would inflict more than twice as many casualties on the Marines on Peleliu as they had on Tarawa. Proportionally, Marine casualties on Peleliu equaled those suffered on Iwo Jima. Iwo is well known. Peleliu is all but unknown. The 1st Marine Regiment, commanded by Col. Lewis “Chesty” Puller, who was already a legend in the Corps, suffered the brunt of the casualties. The Regiment’s 1st Battalion had an astounding casualty rate of 71 percent, 2nd Battalion 56 percent, and 3rd Battalion 55 percent. Headquarters Company, usually well behind the front lines and presumably in a much safer environment, had a casualty rate of 32 percent. How the regiment remained operational is something to contemplate. . . .

Instead of the three or four days of fighting that had been anticipated, the Marines were fighting for more than a month. Ultimately, the three regiments of Marines — the 1st, the 5th, and the 7th — suffered 6,526 casualties on Peleliu.

"How Did Humans Survive Our Near Extinction?"

It really is a kind of miracle that any of us are here.

For our Homo sapien ancestors, concentrated almost entirely in Africa and southern Asia, life could have become very challenging indeed. In fact, genetic evidence suggests that between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, our species experienced an extreme population bottleneck, plummeting to as few as 2,000 to 10,000 individuals . . .