John Oliver, American patriot and other commentary

From the right: John Oliver, American Patriot

“The long-promised exodus of American celebrities due to fears of Trump has yet to transpire, but here’s one coming the other way,” reports National Review’s Kyle Smith: “After ripping America as an idiocratic nightmare every Sunday night for the last six years on HBO, John Oliver chose to become a citizen,” with Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be an American” playing and “a photo of Donald Trump overlooking the proceedings” at what Oliver called a “moving” ceremony. Quoth the comedian: “Everyone in this room is making a commitment that long outlasts the current president. You’re vehemently endorsing the idea of America because the idea is still perfect.” More, Oliver expects Trump to win re-election, sighing, “It would be insane not to assume that.”

Iconoclast: Trump Won Iowa’s Dem Caucuses

After Iowa’s Democratic Party couldn’t release caucus results Monday night, “there is one clear winner,” declares The Week’s Damon Linker: President Trump. The evening “was a disaster across the board” as the state party “suffered a total meltdown before the country and the world” and the Democratic National Committee “showed that it was incapable of overseeing a functional election.” Now “the result is bound to be tainted,” with the losers crying “foul play or sloppiness so widespread that the vote should be disregarded.” Voters must ask: “You mean this is who you want to put in charge of taking over health-care delivery from sea to shining sea?” This cycle, “candidates of a newly energized left are proposing litanies of stupefyingly complex and expensive policies,” but it all requires voters to “trust America’s institutions and elites to enact them with competence.”

Free-speech watch: Facebook Chooses Sunlight

Facebook has announced that, unlike Twitter or Google, it will “continue to welcome political advertisers” without policing “political ads for truthfulness” — and that, Mark Pfeifle argues at Real Clear Politics, is “the right call.” “Some American presidential candidates” now feel that social media platforms are “so dangerous” that the government should dissolve them, claiming that “bad actors” can weaponize Facebook to “misinform small groups of voters.” Yet Facebook is the only “tool” that exists to “build awareness, recruit volunteers and raise money” for “underfunded, dark horse candidates and small community organizations,” and “sunlight — not darkness — is the best disinfectant.” Remember: There’s “no such thing as ‘just a little censorship’ ” — so lean on the side of “more free speech, not less.”

From the left: Democrats Hooked on Big Tech

The wealthiest Big Tech billionaires are “pouring money into Democratic groups” that will “back the eventual nominee, whoever that is” — proving, says Vox’s Theodore Schleifer, that as much as “Democratic presidential candidates like Elizabeth Warren” love to “bash Big Tech and Silicon Valley,” they need Big Tech’s money. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz have spent the most, but others have given “hundreds of thousands of dollars” — mostly to “outside” liberal groups, which unlike campaigns have “no limits at all.” While most of those groups support Pete Buttigieg, who has “embraced Silicon Valley more than other candidates,” it’s not just Buttigieg: In “yet another sign of the times,” one ex-Facebook employee spent up to “the maximum amount” on Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Libertarian: Baltimore’s Ritualized ‘Reuse’

“Baltimore County [Md.] residents have had their perceptions about where their glass ends up shattered,” quips Reason’s Christian Britschgi, by the news that the county “has not been recycling the glass” it claims to have recycled. Instead, for “the past seven years” it has “junked” the “jars and bottles that residents dutifully placed in their blue bins. In fact, “the American recycling industry has been going through a crisis over the last several years,” as many facilities can find “no willing buyers.” Yet county officials have been “wary” of “telling people to stop recycling” for fear they “fall out of the recycling habit.” In short, “Ritual is apparently more important than actual reuse.”

— Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance & Karl Salzmann

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