Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Make a promise, keep a promise

Under my plan, electricity rates (will) necessarily skyrocket.”

Even as gasoline prices plummeted and the overall energy price index calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics declined, electricity prices bucked the trend in the United States in 2014.

Data released today by the BLS indicates that the electricity price indexes hit all-time highs for the month of December and for the year. 2014 was the most-expensive year ever for electricity in the United States.

By contrast, the overall Consumer Price Index declined by 0.4 percent in December with particular help from the decline in the price of gasoline.

Yeah, well, don’t worry. Ogabe is gonna be working on that, too.

Good. And. Hard.

(Via Maet and Hoft)

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Oh, there’s a conspiracy right enough

Ever notice how you never hear anybody talking about Big Government greed, Big Government collusion, a Big Government conspiracy to manipulate prices to its own great benefit?

When gasoline prices jumped after the Russian annexation of Crimea, the usual dopes — dopes who, luckily for the likes of Markey and Blumenthal, have the vote— detected the usual conspiracy: “The big gas companies collude and set the prices.” Even George W. Bush fell into that line of thinking, ordering the Federal Trade Commission (no free republic should have a federal trade commission) to conduct an investigation into price gouging in 2006. The FTC’s finding? It was all supply and demand.

But that answer is profoundly unsatisfying to people who do not understand or appreciate the most beautiful and interesting aspect of free markets — that nobody is in charge of them. For these people, somebody somewhere has to be pulling the strings. Never mind the geopolitical situation, never mind the fact that most big oil companies do not even operate retail gas stations (Exxon, for example, does not actually own Exxon-branded stations), that gas stations earn very little money selling gas (soft drinks and cigarettes are where they make their jack), and that the evil rotten Big Oil companies generally make very small profit margins (Exxon makes about 8 cents a gallon on gasoline, less than half of what the federal government collects in taxes on the same gallon), and never mind economic reality: If somebody doesn’t like the price of a gallon of gas, then that price must be unfair and the result of a conspiracy, and if a sufficient number of dopes in elected office believe the same thing, then it must be a crime, too.

So what the hell happened?

Where’s the conspiracy now, when oil prices and retail gasoline prices are plunging? If the goblins in Nancy Pelosi’s head are correct in their insistence that higher gas prices must necessarily be the result of a criminal conspiracy, does it not follow that lower gas prices also must be the result of that same conspiracy? Either nasty wicked Big Oil controls gas prices or it doesn’t. A mind as narrow and uncomplicated as Pelosi’s shouldn’t be that difficult to make up.

The thing is, we’re not even supposed to be having this fight. James R. Schlesinger, who served as Richard Nixon’s secretary of defense before becoming the nation’s first secretary of energy under Jimmy Carter — somehow, the republic had managed without one for two centuries — insisted back in 1977 that we’d run out of oil by the end of the 20th century. The “peak oil” enthusiasts — same old Malthusians, different commodity — have been insisting for decades that we’re right on the verge of seeing oil production fall short of demand. Instead, we’re producing so much that prices are crashing: It turns out that the road to abundance is abundance, i.e. producing more of what people want and need.

In fact, the only halfway successful price-fixers are the politicians themselves: From gasoline to sugar to milk, there are a great many commodities that would be less expensive if not for politicians. And, as noted, they make more money off a gallon of gas than Chevron does, to say nothing of gas-station owners like Raj Bhandari. And who is really profiteering from the issue? Presumably, Dick and Ed are better off as senators than they were in less exalted offices. Strange how many Democrats grow wealthy in “public service.” I’m sure your average Big Oil CEO lives in a nice house; Harry Reid lives at the Ritz. The oil companies make their money providing a useful product; politicians make theirs standing in the way.

Not supposed to be having this fight? We’re “not supposed to be” a great many things that we currently, well, are, more’s the pity…and disgrace. But don’t fret too much about reasonable, affordable gas prices; the Ruling Class and both wings of its political party are going to see to it that we won’t be enjoying them much longer, in the interest of UNITY! and GETTING THINGS DONE!

Record-low gas prices across the U.S. have given rise to fresh talk in Washington of raising the federal gas tax for the first time in over 20 years, with leading Republicans now saying a hike must not be ruled out.

The GOP has long resisted calls from business leaders and others to boost the 18.4 cent-per-gallon tax as a way to pay for upgrades to the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Yet in recent days, senior Senate Republicans have said they want to keep options open and that “nothing is off the table” when weighing the best mechanisms to pay to finance infrastructure projects.

Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress, meanwhile, declared this week that “now is the time” for an increase.

Looks like the era of “gridlock” has finally ended–to the benefit of Big Government, and the detriment of just about everybody else. Funny how that works, innit?

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UNACCEPTABLE!

Add the IRS to the list of bloated government bureaucracies that are whining about not having “enough money.”

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen warned that close to half the people trying to reach the IRS by phone might not get through during the upcoming 2015 tax filing season. “Phone service could plummet to 53%,” he told an audience of tax practitioners at the AICPA National Tax Conference inWashington, D.C. today. That would be down from an already unacceptable 72% during the 2014 filing season. The average hold time projection: 34 minutes! What’s to blame? Budget woes. “All we can do is try to maximize our services as well as we can; as well as we can is still going to be miserable. You really do get what you pay for,” he said.

Koskinen’s remarks followed National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson who was even gloomier:“The filing season is going to be the worst filing season since I’ve been the National Taxpayer Advocate {in 2001}; I’d love to be proved wrong, but I think it will rival the 1985 filing season when returns disappeared.”

There are five key factors at play – complicating the upcoming filing season (that’s when you file your 2014 tax return). The IRS agency budget is the number one challenge, Koskinen said. The House has voted to cut the IRS budget for 2015 by $341 million, and the Senate has proposed to increase it by $240 million—that would still be 7% below 2010 funding levels.

Poor, poor IRS; it’s hard not to sympathize with an agency that has done such a laudable job and enjoys such a warm place in the hearts of the people it tries so diligently to serve in an honorable, fair way.

No matter how much you feed Leviathan, it will always be hungry for more. If this doesn’t prove it, nothing does. COUGH UP, KOMRADES! Because 4 trillion dollars JUST ISN’T ENOUGH to run The Government You Deserve™.

Obscene. Utterly, completely obscene.

(Via Insty)

Update! Now, see, this is the kind of good stewardship of the public trust that needs to be appropriately rewarded.

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) admitted to the court that it failed to search any of the IRS standard computer systems for the “missing” emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials. The admission appears in an IRS legal brief opposing the Judicial Watch request that a federal court judge allow discovery into how “lost and/or destroyed” IRS records relating to the targeting of conservative groups may be retrieved. The IRS is fighting Judicial Watch’s efforts to force testimony and document production about the IRS’ loss of records in Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation about the IRS targeting of Tea Party and other opponents of President Obama(Judicial Watch v. IRS (No. 1:13-cv-1559)).  The lawsuit is before U.S. District Court Judge Emmett G. Sullivan.

Judicial Watch lawyers reviewed the IRS court filings and concluded that the agency “did not undertake any significant efforts to obtain the emails.”

IRS attorneys conceded that they had failed to search the agency’s servers for missing emails because they decided that “the servers would not result in the recovery of any information.” They admitted they had failed to search the agency’s disaster recovery tapes because they had “no reason to believe that the tapes are a potential source of recovering” the missing emails.  And they conceded that they had not searched the government-wide back-up system because they had “no reason to believe such a system…even exists.”

Now see, if only they had more money, all these problems would no doubt be solved.

“No reason to believe such a system even exists”? SRSLY? Like I said: obscene.

(Via Denninger and Ross)

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Repudiation

The main thing–the only truly significant thing–about the midterms is this: the majority of Americans have again, as in 2010, expressed their disgust with Washington and liberal-fascist government about as clearly as it can be expressed. It would seem that, despite a very successful war of indoctrination waged over many decades in the schools and pop culture, the Left hasn’t quite closed the deal just yet, and there remain a great many Americans who are not yet persuaded that abandoning Constitutional government is the way to go. It’s worth remembering as the temporarily resurgent GOP celebrates its Pyhrric victory and prepares itself to lead us all onwards to “bipartisanship” (i.e., knuckling under to the Left and continuing to expand government) and “compromise” (i.e., knuckling under to the Left and continuing to expand government).

Meanwhile, let’s enjoy a bit of schadenfraude before getting back to the ongoing business of dealing with the sad reality, shall we?

When did President Obama ever attempt to govern as he preached? When did he ever put the effort into attempts at the grand bipartisan achievement? Where did he ever subjugate domestic political priorities to any decision about the future of the country? From Obamacare to Immigration to telling Eric Cantor Republicans would have no say in the stimulus because “I won”, his record is at odds with his promise. Obama’s only bipartisan achievement of significance – the budget control act – was marked by a series of public temper tantrums attacking the deal, rather than using it as a demonstration of how he could bring people together.

Now the president is full of resentment, fatalistic, irritated at being ignored or disrespected by his people and The People. But this doesn’t come from long years of attempts to bring the parties together to forge compromise – it comes from his realization that he’d rather golf than put up with the demands of the job. If Obama truly thought that politics only consists of getting elected, he was truly naïve about the demands of the presidency – just as he has been naïve about the nature of the Republican Party, conservatism and libertarianism, party and congressional politics, the public’s desire for wage growth and job security, even middle eastern dictators’ and terrorists’ assessment of their own interests.

The stunning part is the nature of this naïveté. It is not that it is the high-minded academic view of a cloistered college professor – it’s the naïveté of a dim-witted screenwriter, an acceptance of an beau ideal of the American presidency that is most recognizable as an invention of Aaron Sorkin, not a reflection of history. The president who walks into the room, says “I am the Lord your God”, and wins the argument. Only in the world of Andrew Shepard or Jed Bartlet does the president demolish his adversaries and win major political battles merely by reading his lines. But no matter: after he leaves office, we’ll be treated to an unprecedented revisionism tour, framing him as facing a political environment tougher than anything since Abraham Lincoln; how Republican opposition was all about racism, but he held back saying so to protect the American people from that fractious debate; how Hillary and the Clinton team was always working against him and key staffers were in cahoots with her all along. Get ready, because we’ll be hearing this for years.

For Obama, the presidency, to paraphrase Chesterton’s line about the Christian ideal, was not tried and found wanting – it was found difficult; and left untried. The problem begins with Obama’s vision of himself, a vision completely unlike the presidents who did not view themselves as world-altering historical figures from whom opponents cower and melt away, and toward whose will history bends. The idea that Obama attempted change and was trapped by existing unchangeable systems is nothing more than a comforting delusion, whispered by courtiers to the god-king who cannot understand why others did not bow down. He has become the worst kind of leader in American politics – a leader who feels the people no longer deserve him, and would prefer to dissolve them and elect another.

And now, back to the gloom and doom (i.e., reality) with Steyn:

Now maybe that’s all squaresville, uptight social-conservative stuff, and not where the party needs to be in 2014. Nevertheless, it’s the official position, and the base has been disinclined to change it. So when a pro-life State Committee sends out leaflets boasting about being pro-choice, they’re telling you that those two bolded words “we believe” are meaningless when uttered by a New Hampshire Republican official. Why would what they claim to “believe” on Obamacare or debt or foreign policy be any more reliable? When a man tells you his word is bullsh*t, take him at it.

More revealingly, look at how the State Committee characterizes Brown’s position: The candidate is “pro-choice” and “supports issues important to women”. That’s Democrat framing: Opposition to abortion is part of the Republican war on women, etc. Furthermore, being “pro-choice” is evidence that Brown “has a strong record of fighting for what is right”. So it’s not just a policy dispute or a matter of personal conscience on which people of good faith can disagree. Being “pro-choice” is “what is right” – which presumably means being pro-life is what is wrong.

This is what the supposedly pro-life Republican Party is mailing its base on the eve of a low-turnout midterm election.

Presumably down at head office in Concord one of the oleaginous creeps with which “professional” politics is infested assured everyone that there was no downside to issuing a flyer indistinguishable from the Democrats because, after all, those pro-life rubes have nowhere else to go, right? Brown’s pro-choice, you got no choice.

Maybe. But, even in cynical and opportunist terms, in 2014 oughtn’t a functioning political party be sophisticated enough to be able to target pro-choice flyers at independents and squishy moderates and mail something a little less openly contemptuous to its own base? A cardinal rule of business is KYC – Know Your Customers. The GOP knows its customers and it despises them. The subtext of its flyer is: We don’t mean it. We don’t mean anything. Usually we wait until Wednesday morning to start selling you out, but this year we need to do it upfront.

And let me emphasize the larger point: The Republican State Committee has swallowed Democrat framing of the issue hook, line and sinker. They do that not just on abortion but on immigration and a zillion other issues. And you wonder why, even when they win, nothing changes? Tonight may well see a nominal victory for Republicans, but they remain a party for losers.

The best take for us gloom and doomers–meaning the most accurate–is probably Erick Erickson’s:

As projected, Republicans took control of the Senate as well as the House on Tuesday. But many of those GOP Senate candidates who squeaked into office are, in my view, political philanderers – by which I mean that while they pledge their troth to conservative principles, they still carry on outrageous affairs with Big Government. And frankly it’s no surprise that many voters would rather continue an unhappy marriage to Barack Obama rather than indulge in a one-night stand with false-dealing Republicans.

So while we are going to see a Republican Congress in name in January, its small-government rhetoric is certainly not going to fool or win over the party base. In 2014, the American public has shown that it hates Washington, D.C., and the Republican leaders in Washington are demonstrating why. They have assembled a team of strategists, consultants, and other political operatives who eat, breathe, and sleep Washington, D.C. Instead of standing for something, they stand for anything they think might get them back into power.

The message from Washington’s Republican elite is no longer that government is the problem, but that Democrats in charge of government are the problem. That might work in 2014, but it’s not going to carry the day in the next presidential election. Republicans cannot make the case that government is the problem when they covet the power of controlling it to the extent they do.

Which is likely why they aren’t even bothering to pretend to try to make that case anymore. As usual, they remain behind the curve of public opinion, following rather than leading, reacting rather than taking the offensive against Leftist totalitarianism. They aren’t going to save us from Progressivist usurpation of Constitutional government; they aren’t even very good at leading a rearguard action to defend what little remains of it. What they’re good at, what they’ll be doing, is selling us out. Bottom line:

Republicans did well on Election Day. The president’s job approval has cratered. The GOP outperforms the President on a host of issues from the economy to handling terror threats. But Washington’s Republican establishment made a conscious decision to find candidates who looked and sounded more like them and less like the Americans whose votes they need. They have provided no alternative and took far longer to close the deal with voters than they should have. When the voting closed on Tuesday, Republicans did not so much win as Democrats lost.

And so the message is plain: The GOP celebration will be brief. When the new Republican Congress convenes next year, tries to lead, and looks over its shoulder, there won’t be many conservatives following.

Which is as it should be: currently, conservatives have no political party representing their interests, and they definitely should NOT be pretending otherwise. But hey, let’s not let our solid foundation of well-earned mistrust for the treacherous GOP prevent us from lapping up and enjoying the rich flavor of those delicious “liberal” tears, eh? But first, I just gotta mention what had to be the best election live-blog coverage out there: the esteemed–and probably estoned and esdrunked–Biff Spackle’s.

06:57pm: Not sure if anyone’s interested, but apparently there are some elections going on today. My idiotic boss never bothered to tell me. He just said, “Biff, please man Blog Station Zero.” What a tool.

07:01pm: KY: Well, that was a nail-biter. Fox News just called Kentucky for Mitch McConnell.

07:02pm: VA: Oh, my: Mark Warner and Ed Gillespie too close to call… possibly a very bad sign for the Ebola Democrats. Warner was up by 18 points just two months ago, I hear.

07:03pm: SC: Lindsey “Goober” Graham crushes his Democrat challenger; Tim Scott smashes Joyce Dickerson.

07:04pm: Senate balance of power: D-34 vs R-33.

07:05pm: OT: VA to treat foreign Ebola patients, moving them to the front of the line.

07:08pm: I love it when Bob Beckel tries to say “cyclical” after tossing a couple back.

07:09pm: Does anyone have Dana Perino’s phone number?

07:50pm: NC: Tillis leads Hagan 51-45 with 3% in.

07:50pm: OT: Karl “WMD” Rove is saying something, but all I hear is static.

07:52pm: GA: Perdue leads Nunn 58-40 with 2% in.

07:57pm: OT: Tide and Downy together said to give children’s clothing a truly deep clean.

08:25pm: RI: Still socialist.

09:12pm: OT: Karl Rove was talking and talking and talking, but somehow my TV was on “mute”.

09:38pm: NH: Jeanne Shaheen wins seat over Scott Brown, 52-48%.

09:41pm: NH: How freaking stupid does someone have to be to vote for Jeanne Shaheen?

Pretty freaking stupid. Or pretty freaking socialist, which amounts to the same thing.

Meanwhile, the Progressivist spin machine is already whirling madly away, squeezing out bullshit by the bucketloader-full. As I was dropping off the young ‘un at school this morning I heard any number of desperate NPR commentators blibbering about how the repudiation en masse of Obamism amounts to a mandate for “working with” the beleaguered Marxist currently embunkered deep inside a secure liberal-fascist fantasy in an undisclosed location. Um, sorry, NPR, but it’s abundantly clear that more cooperation with a pretend pResident they’ve twice expressed revulsion for in massive, historic wave “elections” isn’t exactly the message real Americans are sending.

Which is no reason to assume that real Americans are entirely thrilled with the GOP either, of course. Nobody could possibly be all that excited with the prospect of mainstream GOP toad Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader, for example. It’s just that he was viewed by people voting yesterday as marginally better than Harry Reid…and if that ain’t damning with faint praise, I don’t know what is. Cognizant conservatives know full well that McConnell will spend every bit as much time and energy “crushing” Tea Partiers in GOP ranks as he will brokering dirty deals with Democrat Socialists. As a champion of Constitutional conservatism, McConnell makes a great career politician–and little else.

So yeah, enjoy the weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth, and hysterical propagandizing of Progressivists everywhere today. But don’t expect much in the way of real change. And as for rescuing America from the ashes of Democrat-Socialist destruction, fuhgeddaboutit. We’ll get a bit of talk about reining in Leviathan from the outermost fringes of the Republican Democrat Party, from good guys like Ted Cruz, who will then be assailed, vilified, and condemned by the McConnells and Boehners for their outlandish radicalism. Americans have demonstrated that they haven’t bought into communism entirely, yes, but it’s going to be business as usual in Mordor on the Potomac; Grond will crawl on. And then, in two years’ time, the schizoid American public will be all set to elect the next Democrat-Socialist president.

Rather than doing a bunch of new posts, I’ll most likely just be updating this one throughout the day as and when the mood and opportunity strikes. Stay tuned, folks.

Update! Not all the spin will be coming from the Left, of course.

Ethics and Public Policy Center scholars Henry Olsen and Peter Wehner have written a clever front-cover piece for Commentary magazine with its headline blaring notice that Ronald Reagan would be 103 years old if still alive, and criticizing politicians and partisans all claiming him as theirs, for their own political purposes. Yet, they cannot resist adopting the same strategy themselves. They pretty much get Reagan the man but miss wildly on two rather critical elements: his philosophy and his political theory.

The scholars find Reagan to be pretty much like themselves – reasonable, moderate Commentarians who warn Republicans not to be trapped by the legacy of Reagan as Democrats have been sentimentalized through Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. While Reagan was right for his times, conservative candidates “need to locate themselves firmly in the here and now.” It gets a bit complicated, since they acknowledge the establishment fiercely opposed Reagan as too conservative but still insist he “was not in fact antiestablishment” like many activists on the right today because he sought to “win it over.” Anyway, they argue, today’s GOP establishment is more conservative so the Tea Party wing must adopt Reagan’s pragmatism to become successful.

The EPPC scholars are even more confused about Reagan’s philosophy. They are explicit that “For Reagan, human dignity—not human freedom—came first.” They quote Reagan to prove it, but the very phrase uses the freedom word “choose” to make the opposite point. And they concede Reagan “was indeed a great champion of human freedom.” They are more coherent when they quote him rejecting ideology as “a rigid, irrational clinging to abstract theory in the face of reality,” which was the “complete opposite to principled conservatism.” Yet, they draw no conclusions from this. Reagan himself did and was very clear about them.

Human freedom and dignity are NOT mutually exclusive; in fact, one cannot really exist without the other. But it’s certainly instructive how many people–even Democrat Socialists, for God’s sake–want to co-opt Reagan as their very own these days, for sometimes nefarious purposes.

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Mencken refresher course

Okay, this is just sad.

Recent events tied a bow around a simple, powerful, and true closing message for Republicans running for Congress this year: The American people deserve to be treated better than the way their government treats them.

People who like their doctors and health insurance deserve to keep them. Ourveterans deserve care in a timely manner. The American people deserve the truth about illegal immigrants released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They deserve straight answers from the Centers for Disease Control, and when a promise is made, it should be kept. Americans deserve a secure border, and when there is overwhelming support for restricting flights from countries with severe Ebola outbreaks, the option deserves careful consideration, not arrogant dismissal.

Americans of all political stripes deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service, with no special targeting based upon political views. Ourambassadors and those serving our country overseas deserve protection when they ask for it. If American taxpayer money is going to be used to save a car company, the people deserve to know whether that company is making unsafe cars.

They deserve to send and receive e-mails, texts, and calls without the National Security Agency peering over their metaphorical shoulder without a warrant. They deserve a director of national intelligence who does not lie in testimony to Congress. For the amount of money we spend on gathering intelligence, we deserve better performance — or for an administration to act upon that intelligence more promptly. In a dangerous world, we deserve leaders who don’t fool themselves into thinking jihadists on the rise are just “the JV team.” They deserve a Secret Service that takes its job seriously and corrects its mistakes.

The Republican party and its candidates are not perfect. But the vast majority of its candidates bring a righteous anger to these unacceptable failures of the federal government and the culture of complacency that is flourishing within the federal bureaucracy.

One of the very first comments dismantles this nonsense well enough:

How do we ‘deserve’ better? Over half of us VOTED for this- TWICE!; the rest acquiesced. Short of scores of thousands of us descending on DC and actually throwing rocks at the thing, we have the government we deserve.

Pretty much, yeah. Only I think it’s gonna take something a bit stouter than rocks. Geraghty’s desperate bluster about Republicrats supposedly putting the Progressivist criminal conspiracy on some imaginary “hot seat” of show hearings rings pretty damned pathetic too, on this the five hundred and who-the-hell-even-knows-or-cares-anymore day of the IRS scandal, with nary an ounce of real justice for obvious crimes against the Constitution in sight.

Jim, I love ya and all, but it’s going to take something one hell of a lot more stern than just more Hearings Theater, blue-ribbon party-hack panels, and half-assed investigatory committees to put all this right again. And we’re not voting our way out of it, either–not when our system has been warped top to bottom by being locked into a two-party approach with no meaningful opposition mounted (or possible) to dragging us off into ever more contra-Constitutional directions in search of Big Government utopia.

The Democrat Socialists are totalitarian scum; the Republicans are their enablers–when they’re not co-conspirators outright. This profanely insidious partnership doesn’t even qualify to be mocked as opposite sides of the same statist coin anymore. Go ahead, vote for them all you like. See if it gets you anything other than more liberal-fascist tyranny.

Update! Via Maet, Neo-neocon is keeping (vain) hope alive. I like her, and always have, so I have no intention of jumping all over her–I’ll leave that sort of antipathy to the GOP enablers who keep stridently demanding each and every “election” that Constitutional conservatives all shut up, get in line, and vote for the RINO Flavor Of The Year–or of 2012, if they get their wish and get Romney nominated again, which is probably a good bit more likely than most of us would care to admit.

I’ll just restrict myself to this for now: if this can even still be considered a nation governed by the consent of the governed at all anymore, then I choose to withhold my consent from the Statists who currently rule us. Seems to me that the enablers’ standard argument has it exactly backwards: if you DO vote for the clowns, grifters, and charlatans they keep trotting out for entertainment purposes, YOU’RE the one who has no right to complain about what you get afterwards. You’ve granted them your approval to keep the big-government status quo wobbling along on its broken wheels, and shouldn’t expect any different.

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“We have done a horrible job, so give us more money”

The usual cry of government, as Patterico says. Inept, overlarge, too-powerful, Constitutionally-indefensible government, that is.

The United States government has pledged to send help to West Africa to help stop Ebola from spreading—but the main agencies tasked with this aid work say they’re hamstrung by budget cuts from the 2013 sequester.

On September 16, the Senate Committees on Appropriations and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing to discuss the resources needed to address the outbreak. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked NIH representative Anthony Fauci about sequestration’s effect on the efforts.

“If even modest investments had been made…the current Ebola epidemic could have been detected earlier, and it could have been identified and contained.”

“I have to tell you honestly it’s been a significant impact on us,” said Fauci. “It has both in an acute and a chronic, insidious way eroded our ability to respond in the way that I and my colleagues would like to see us be able to respond to these emerging threats. And in my institute particularly, that’s responsible for responding on the dime to an emerging infectious disease threat, this is particularly damaging.” Sequestration required the NIH to cut its budget by 5 percent, a total of $1.55 billion in 2013. Cuts were applied across all of its programs, affecting every area of medical research.

Maet has the only appropriate response to that bureau-rat whining (with an assist from David Harsanyi): “Apparently they spent a lot of it getting people to eat less salt, more vegetables, warning about second and third-hand smoking, and treating guns like a viral disease. The rest they just wasted.” And then there’s this:

Sen. Tom Coburn, a practicing physician and ranking member of an oversight subcommittee, issued a 115-page minority office report questioning the CDC’s spending on projects including an employee fitness center with $200,000 in equipment such as zero-gravity chairs and a mood-enhancing light show, and a $1.7 million effort to have accurate medical information portrayed in movies and TV shows.

Coburn’s report on the CDC provided details on a massive construction project at the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta that has exceeded $1 billion.

The new buildings include a $106 million communications center with a 70-foot-wide-by-25-foot-tall wall of plasma video screens for visitors, the report says. The center is named after Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who was the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee overseeing CDC spending. A video production studio at the center cost $18.6 million, the report says.

The new construction includes a $110 million headquarters building named after Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican who is the former chairman of the subcommittee shaping the CDC budget. Coburn’s report says the CDC spent $9.8 million on furniture for the building.

And the rest they just wasted.

Corruption. Fraud. Waste. Mismanagement. Incompetence. Failure. Mission creep. Unaccountability. Meddlesome edicts from “experts” who wish to dictate to the “citizenry” at large how they will and will not be allowed to live their lives. An orgy of profligacy that borders on the outright degenerate, with no discernible good result.

And still they cry for more. They will never, ever have enough.

You could find a reiteration of this same grotesquerie in government anywhere you could bear to look. These are all features, not bugs, of the supposedly benevolent dictatorship Americans have decided to accept in swap for the former Constitutional republic. They have traded liberty for “security” (theater), have lost both, and deserve neither. May they have joy of their choice…in full measure, all they have coming to them, until the ancient lesson is at last well and truly (re-) learned.

Update! Ask a silly question, get a drop-dead perfect answer:

Can we trust the government to do its job? On Fox News Sunday columnist George Will parried: “What isn’t its job nowadays?…It’s fine tuning the curriculum of our students K-12. It’s monitoring sex on campuses. It’s deciding how much ethanol we should put in our gas tanks. It has designed our light bulbs. And it’s worried sick over the name of the Washington football team. This is a government that doesn’t know when to stop.”

Overreaching government is the natural consequence of progressivism, said Will, the “distilled essence” of which is that government is “a a) benign, that is, disinterested force — that’s false — and b) it is stocked with experts who are really gifted at doing things.”

Can we have faith in government? “I think we have much more to fear from excessive faith in government than from too little faith in government.”

Bang. Zoom. Correct in every particular. Well said, George. Although I do have one quibble, minor though it may seem: overreaching government isn’t a “natural consequence” of Progressivism; it’s the whole point.

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Of victors, and spoils

Peggy Noonan gets one right.

We’re all used to a certain amount of doublespeak and bureaucratese in government hearings. That’s as old as forever. But in the past year of listening to testimony from government officials, there is something different about the boredom and indifference with which government testifiers skirt, dodge and withhold the truth. They don’t seem furtive or defensive; they are not in the least afraid. They speak always with a certain carefulness—they are lawyered up—but they have no evident fear of looking evasive. They really don’t care what you think of them. They’re running the show and if you don’t like it, too bad.

We are locked in some loop where the public figure knows what he must pronounce to achieve his agenda, and the public knows what he must pronounce to achieve his agenda, and we all accept what is being said while at the same time everyone sees right through it. The public figure literally says, “Prepare my talking points,” and the public says, “He’s just reading talking points.” It leaves everyone feeling compromised. Public officials gripe they can’t break through the cynicism. They cause the cynicism.

The only people who seem to tell the truth now are the people inside the agencies who become whistleblowers. They call a news organization, get on the phone with a congressman’s staff. That’s basically how the Veterans Affairs and Secret Service scandals broke: Desperate people who couldn’t take the corruption dropped a dime. What does it say about a great nation when its most reliable truth tellers are desperate people?

Well, for one thing, that it’s no longer a great nation. More evidence:

History will ill-serve Eric Holder if it does no more than echo the view common in the wake of his resignation that his tenure as Attorney General was “controversial.” Mr. Holder’s more than five years as the nation’s chief legal officer were consequential.

In tandem with Barack Obama ‘s White House, Mr. Holder pushed the authority of the federal government and its administrative agencies beyond the edge of the Constitution and law. They did so not in one or several controversial instances, as with past presidencies, but repeatedly and across the breadth of the federal government.

Messrs. Obama and Holder have attempted to make federal legal authority limitless. The Obama-Holder theory of law—that the needs of justice, as they define it, supersede the law’s boundaries—deserves to be repudiated. It has no precedent outside progressive law journals or various periods in South American history.

Mr. Obama made his intentions clear. In July 2011, the president said in public he’d like to “bypass Congress and change the laws on my own.” The phrase, “change the laws on his own,” is not in the U.S. Constitution. The next year, Mr. Obama made his now-famous and unconstitutional recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The recess appointments were the tip of the iceberg.

For the firm of Obama & Holder, shocking the conscience of sitting federal judges with legal overstepping is just another day in court. The Obama lawyers’ legal justification for their actions has often been, in effect, what difference does it make? That isn’t a legal argument. Yet.

It’s legal if His Royal Majesty says it is. His minions, lackeys, and satraps in the bureaucracy that really rules us are just following his lead and, as Noonan says, doing so with no fear of repercussion. Hey, they won, after all.

Update! Progressing beyond Progressivism and its boundless regulatory state.

You must read this excellent piece by Megan McArdle, It’s Normal for Regulators to Get Captured. “regulatory capture is not some horrid aberration; it is closer to the natural state of a regulatory body.”

This is true. That is why the entire modern administrative state has to be re-thought, re-configured and replaced. It does not work, it never worked, it cannot work.

The regulatory state is the defining feature of the Industrial Era, America 2.0 state. It needs to be shut down, wrapped up and replaced.

This does not mean return to the law of the jungle. It means making laws that actually align incentives with desired ends, as imperfect as that always is.

It also means sunsetting and doing away with those laws–and the vast, unaccountable bureaucracies they inevitably establish–once those “desired ends” are achieved…and most especially when they aren’t.

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I don’t know what you’re talking about, it never happened, and anyway it was three other guys and their sister’s cat’s grandmother that did it

I exaggerate but slightly.

The elements of the administration’s blame, deny, and wait-it-out communications strategy has been front and center amid all the recent controversies. When the administration badly botched the launch of the health care exchange website, Obama said he was “not informed directly that the website would not be working the way it was supposed to.” This, for his signature achievement in office. Blame was later pinned on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who left the administration in April.

When officials at the Internal Revenue Service improperly targeted conservative outside groups for scrutiny, Obama first feigned outrage, saying he had “no patience for” the misconduct. But months later, as the public’s anger subsided, Obama said there “wasn’t even a smidgen of corruption” at the agency, and the administration has done little to hold anyone accountable since.

After CNN reported that Veterans Affairs Department offices covered up long wait times at several of its facilities, former Obama press secretary Jay Carney said, “We learned about them through the [news] reports.” Long wait times were hardly a secret, with Obama himselfcampaigning on VA reform as a candidate. To his credit, Obama signed legislation reforming the VA and replaced embattled Secretary Eric Shinseki. But the president himself escaped much of the blame, even though he was clearly familiar with the long-standing problems that the agency faced.

The administration’s approach to controversies was best crystallized by former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, who deflected criticism about allegations that talking points on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were altered for political reasons. “Dude, this was two years ago,” he told Bret Baier of Fox News. The remarks were perceived as flippant, but they underscored the success of the administration’s public-relations strategy. Buy enough time, and inevitably problems tend to go away—especially in today’s attention-deprived environment.

And most especially when you have a trusting, supportive, adoring establishment media running interference for you every step of the way, along with an out of touch and uninformed polity willing to lap up every morsel of the swill that media serves up without question or reflection.

Absolutely hilarious update! Let’s be clear on this: there are those who say it wasn’t me.

President Obama wasn’t passing the buck by saying intelligence officials underestimated the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the White House said Monday.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said officials were aware of the threat posed by ISIS, but misjudged the will of the Iraqi military to fight back and how successful the terror group would be at capturing territory. He said “everybody” — from the intelligence community to the White House — made the same mistake, but that Obama was ultimately responsible.

“The president’s commander in chief and he’s the one who takes responsibility for ensuring that we have the kinds of policies in place that are required to protect our interests around the globe,” Earnest said.

Y’know, it must be just hell on earth being the spokeshole for this douchebag. Anybody with even a shred of integrity would be forced by their conscience to publicly commit seppuku within no more than a month’s time.

(Via Insty)

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“Remember when he gave that godawful No Strategy presser a couple weeks ago and you thought it couldn’t get worse? It got worse”

Apparently, some fool made some kind of speech last night wherein he droned endlessly about things he knows nothing whatever about (the Islamic State isn’t Islamic, and isn’t a state? Really?); proposed taking actions he only a short while ago derided as “fantasy” (he’s right about that bit, actually); declared we’d be going to war without actually going to war in Iraq (slogan: “Iraq War III: now with more Syria!“); pimped for the usual Progressivist “global coalition” bullshit, trying to tie a bunch of completely unrelated problems (including not a few of his usual halt and lame domestic hobbyhorses) together with a pretty Tranzi bow; demonstrated that–as with any other faculty-lounge muttonhead with absolutely no experience of the real world–calling his grasp of reality “feeble” is being far more charitable than he deserves; underpinned the whole squalid mess with the usual fabric of lies; and just generally beclowned not only himself but the idiots who voted for him.

So off we go, mincing to the sound of the guns in yet another futile war to bring “freedom” and “democracy” and “stability” to people who neither desire nor comprehend any of those things. As is usual with any war liberal fascists run (other than the mostly clandestine, mostly cold war on real Americans here at home), we’ll be dragged along into it incrementally, a few dead “advisers” at a time, with no compelling national interest at stake, no idea of what victory (a word His Most Puissant Majesty didn’t deign to utter in his Big War Speech even once) might look like, and no meaningful strategy at all.

We’ll be telegraphing our reluctance, distaste, and overwhelming desire to get out every step of the way, thereby assuring the enemy that all he really has to do to defeat us is wait until the poll numbers shift a bit and then just sit back and laugh at the inevitable chaotic skedaddle as we beat feet, hurling empty threats most dire and bloodcurdling over our slumped shoulders every step of the way. We’ll waste bucketloads of men, materiel, money, and weaponized rhetoric to no discernible good purpose. Eventually, we’ll look around to find ourselves having passed so many “grim milestones” (hey, remember that one?) as to be fully locked into an unwinnable quagmire (hey, remember that one?) with the only options available to us being humiliation, enfeeblement, and further sapping of the national will, treasury, and armory.

Oh, and whatever few freedoms you still have left? They’ll be revoking those, of course. Hey, it’s “wartime,” people; for God’s sake, where is your patriotism?

What can one say but: UNEXPECTED!™ And: what difference, at this point, does it make?

A little cold-water reality for ya:

Obama talks about countering the Islamic State’s ideology. How, and, more important, why, is the United States supposed to be in charge of that? On what planet are any Islamists, let alone Sunnis so hardcore al-Qaeda doesn’t want them, susceptible to the moral suasions of secular America? Maybe it’s the planet where all the peaceful, moderate, freedom-loving Muslims live.

It’s Obama’s world; unfortunately, we have to live in it. What I find perhaps most amusing about that bit, though, is Obama’s positing the necessity of countering an “ideology” that he earlier stuttered has “no vision.” Um, they’re not exactly antonyms, Perfessor Lunkhead. But nobody by now expects him to know anything, or tell the truth about anything, or properly lead anything, or…well, you get the picture, dark though it is.

Since it’s my firm belief that there’s never a bad time to trot out another LOTR analogy, let’s do so here:

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was sometimes faulted by literary critics for caricaturing the evil orcs as uniformly bad. All of them were as unpleasant to look (at) as they were deadly to encounter. There is not a single good orc or even a reformed orc in the trilogy. The apparent one-dimensional assumption of men, hobbits, dwarves, and elves is that the only good orc is a dead orc. So the absolutist Tolkien tried to teach us about the enduring nature of absolute good and evil. Apparently he did not think that anything from his contemporary experience might allow him to imagine reforming or rehabilitating such fictive folk.

Tolkien’s literary purpose with orcs was not to explore the many shades of evil or the struggle within oneself to avoid the dark side; he did that well enough in dozens of once good but weak characters who went bad such as the turncoat Saruman the wizard, his sidekick Wormtongue, a few of the hobbits who had ruined the Shire, and, best of all, the multifaceted Gollum. Orcs, on the other hand, are unredeemable. Orcs, goblins, and trolls exist as the tools of the even more sinister in proud towers to destroy civilization, and know nothing other than killing and destruction. Their reward is to feed on the crumbs of what they have ruined.

Evil is ancient, unchanging, and with us always. The more postmodern the West becomes — affluent, leisured, nursed on moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multicultural relativism — the more premodern the evil among us seems to arise in nihilistic response, whether it is from the primordial Tsarnaev brothers or Jihadi John. We have invented dozens of new ways to explain away our indifference, our enemies hundreds of new ways of reminding us of our impotence. I suppose we who enjoy the good life don’t want to lose any of it for anything — and will understandably do any amount of appeasing, explaining, and contextualizing to avoid an existential war against the beheaders and mutilators, a fact well-known to our enemies.

The Europeans are shrugging that Ukraine is lost and will soon sigh that the Baltic states are a far-off place not worth risking the coffee shops of Amsterdam to defend. Westerners lament beheadings but then privately mutter that journalists know just what they are getting into when they visit the Middle East. Murdering and abusing a U.S. ambassador on video is not such a big deal anymore and is worth only a second or so mention on Google News.

So we wait behind our suburban Maginot Lines, arguing over our quarter- and half-measure responses, refighting Iraq and Afghanistan as if they were the Somme and Verdun, assured that we can distract ourselves from the horrors abroad with psychodramas about Ferguson, the president’s golfing, his lectures on fairness, and which naked celebrity photo was hacked on the Internet.

Meanwhile the orcs are busy and growing and nearing the ramparts…

Hey, I don’t call it Mordor on the Potomac for nothing, y’know. Although I realize that doesn’t quite jibe with VDH’s usage there.

We’re actually sort of a cross between Rohan and Isengard at this point: many among us remain stalwart, valiant, and true, but like Eomer and his small band roving through the countryside doing their personal best against the forces of evil, those voices are either ignored or actively suppressed. And we’ve not even allowed ourselves the dignity of having a clever if flawed Saruman leading us on to ultimate disaster; no, our Fiend In Charge is the weak, hapless, short-sighted, self-serving, and cowardly Grima Wormtongue.

How fucking embarrassing for us, eh? In sum: three groans for the Part-Time pResident and his shiny new half-a-war! Rally ’round the flag, boys! Onward To…uhh, Whatever!

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Stop helping!

Politicians: useless.

Senator Paul will come out of his vacation looking pretty good. Given the political class’s endless appetite for self-serving theater, I found myself wondering why President Obama, Mrs. Clinton, or Vice President Biden did not choose to spend their vacations in a similar way, offering to put their skills and abilities to use on behalf of others. And then I realized that this was a deeply stupid question on my part.

What the hell would they do?

What they always do: order people around; feed their own monstrous egos; line their own pockets; lecture and hector everyone else about the vital importance of a morality they neither possess nor respect themselves; and confiscate wealth for redistribution according to their own ass-backwards notions of what’s “fair” and “effective.” I’ll never understand how it came to pass that we accepted this agglomeration of leeches–call ’em the Parasite Class–as in any way necessary to human existence.

They live in their secure, palatial enclaves, enjoying the bounteous fruits of labor they didn’t perform and wealth they didn’t earn–rather than spending most of their daily existence running for their very lives, as would be truly just. They wallow swinishly in the golden sun in luxury vacation spots the rest of us can’t afford and wouldn’t be allowed into anyway, and the only pitchforks they ever see are in the hands of those laboring to feed and support them as their motorcades flash past, rather than being pointed at their flabby, overfed bellies.

Yep, it’s a real mystery, all right.

Unlike Senator Paul, neither the president nor the vice president nor the former secretary of state has anything that one might describe as a useful skill. That’s not quite right: They have skills that are useful…to themselves. As for skills that are useful to other people — you’d be hard pressed to think of one. If you were a poor family in Guatemala, which would you rather have: the services of a pretty good ophthalmologist, or those of an excellent orator? (Never mind that, unlike Senator Paul, President Obama does not speak Spanish — or, indeed, any foreign language.) Imagine dispatching Hillary Rodham Clinton to Calcutta or Joe Biden to Conakry and then expecting them to do something useful. The idea is preposterous.

Politicians do not provide health care. Doctors, nurses, technicians, orderlies, pharmaceutical researchers, medical-device manufacturers, and junior senators from Kentucky volunteering in Guatemala provide health care. Politicians do not feed the hungry — farmers, grocers, long-haul truckers, and Monsanto feed the hungry. They neither sow nor reap. Barack Obama gives the impression of being a man who probably couldn’t change a tire, but we have persuaded ourselves — allowed ourselves to be persuaded — that such men must be central to our lives. The wheat farmer in Kansas or the contractor in Pittsburgh? All they do is keep the world fed and housed.

Politicians can redistribute wealth, but they do not create any. They can attempt to command the energies of those with the ability and inclination to produce valuable goods and services, but as politicians they do not produce. The entire idea of politicians as society’s leadership is an inversion of the real order of things: Government is not here to lead anybody anywhere — it is here to serve us in the important but limited role of coordinating collective action toward such ends as physical security and the enforcement of contracts.

Well, ideally, yes. Constitutionally, yes. But we’ve come a very long way indeed from either of those eminently desirable states.

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Coincidence, or just bad luck?

Neither.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson is, to the surprise of all thinking people, right about something: “A spark has exploded,” he said, referring to the protests and violence in Ferguson, Mo. “When you look at what sparked riots in the Sixties, it has always been some combination of poverty, which was the fuel, and then some oppressive police tactic. It was the same in Newark, in Chicago, in Detroit, in Los Angeles. It’s symptomatic of a national crisis of urban abandonment and repression, seen in Chicago.”

A question for the Reverend Jackson: Who has been running the show in Newark, in Chicago, in Detroit, and in Los Angeles for a great long while now? The answer is: People who see the world in much the same way as does the Reverend Jackson, who take the same view of government, who support the same policies, and who suffer from the same biases.

This is not intended to be a cheap partisan shot. The Democratic party institutionally certainly has its defects, the chronicle of which could fill several unreadable volumes, but the more important and more fundamental question here is one of philosophy and policy. Newark, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles — and Philadelphia, Cleveland, and a dozen or more other cities — have a great deal in common: They are the places in which the progressive vision of government has reached its fullest expressions. They are the hopeless reality that results from wishful thinking.

This is yet another Williamson piece I could happily repost every word of, but fair use restrains me from doing so. it’s chock full of eminently quotable bits–“The philosophy of abusive eminent domain, government monopolies, and opportunistic taxation is also the philosophy of police brutality, the repression of free speech and other constitutional rights, and economic despair…” being but one example. I’ll lift the closing paragraph from it and then say what I always do:

The Reverend Jackson should not be surprised that places such as Ferguson, Mo., have feckless police departments. He himself has spent his career helping to ensure that they have feckless schools, self-serving bureaucracies, rapacious public-sector unions pillaging the municipal fisc, and malevolent political leadership that is by no means above exploiting racial sentiment in order to hold on to power. His allies have been running U.S. cities for a generation, and it takes a considerable measure of brass for him to come in decrying the results as though he had no hand in them.  

You know what you must do, Grasshopper.

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High crimes and misdemeanors: the fruits of weakness and collaboration

Yes. This.

Yet even if you assume, as the Republican establishment appears bent on doing, that Obama is right and that his knowingly false alarm about imminent impeachment is bad for Republicans, the solution is simple: Just make it very clear that there is no plan to file articles of impeachment against Obama — not now, and not in the foreseeable future. It is already clear that that is the case to sensible people, and after a short while it will be clear to everyone — the Democrats’ cynicism will be seen for what it is.

But no, the GOP can’t leave it at that. For whatever reason they feel compelled to say not only that they will not impeach Obama but that Obama’s systematic refusal to execute the laws faithfully does not rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the Constitution’s impeachment standard.

Wrong. To repeat, “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a British term of art borrowed by the Framers, does not refer to penal offenses. It refers to what Hamilton called “the misconduct of public men, or in other words…the abuse or violation of some public trust.” Such misconduct need not be an indictable wrong. It could involve dereliction of duty, lies to Congress or the public about serious matters, the failure to honor an oath (such as the oath to execute the laws faithfully), and any conduct that intentionally undermines the governing framework that safeguards our liberties and security (the president, of course, takes an oath to preserve the Constitution).

The border is being overrun and the president, far from taking action to stop it, is encouraging it. Illegal aliens are being smuggled throughout the country by the federal government without notice to the states. The president refuses to enforce the immigration laws. The president is usurping the power of Congress to confer federal benefits on aliens. The president is unilaterally rewriting Obamacare, the drug laws, and other congressional statutes that are inconvenient to him. The president willfully lied to the country to get Obamacare enacted and to get reelected. The commander-in-chief took no meaningful action to protect Americans before and during the terrorist siege of Benghazi, and then he and his administration willfully lied to the country about the cause of the massacre in order to get reelected. The president has used the federal bureaucracy to harass and punish his political opponents. Evidence of the IRS’s wrongdoing has been destroyed. Evidence about the Justice Department’s Fast & Furious scandal, which resulted in the murder of a Border Patrol agent, has been withheld from Congress — with the attorney general held in contempt. The VA cooked its books to conceal the mistreatment of our veterans, some of whom died.

How does it help Republicans to assert, and how do they justify asserting, that none of this misconduct rises to the level of profound breaches of the public trust — high crimes and misdemeanors? Do they really believe the failure to recognize the seriousness of Obama-administration malfeasance makes them more attractive to voters?

Yes, they do–to Obama voters and illegal aliens, none of whom will ever vote for a Republican under any circumstances whatsoever. Bill lays out exactly why the idea of impeachment–the proper remedy for an overreaching tyrant, more than justified by this particular megalomaniacal cretin’s actions to date–is a nullity, a non-starter, as disgraceful and piss-poor a reflection on the polity as that sad fact is. It may not be precisely what you think:

It’s the proper constitutional method for remedying the problem of a lawless, rogue president.  I’d love to see Obama impeached, convicted, removed from office, and then prosecuted for his many crimes, bankrupted, and jailed.

That would be proper, and as the Framers envisioned it.

Unfortunately, ever since the Senate was given to the mob with the 17th Amendment, the application of that remedy has become almost impossible.

I’ve long said that many if not most of our current problems began with the 17th, and its removal of due and proper representation of the states in the eternal struggle with the greedy, grasping Federal monolith. I was right then, and I’m right now.

Meanwhile, Obama is fully cognizant of the fact that with his and his henchmen’s raising of the impeachment alarums, he’s once again run rings around the damned-fool GOP, and is now announcing his intention to spike the ball in their slackjawed faces:

White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer responded to the House vote to sue President Obama for abusing his executive authority by announcing another executive order.

Pfeiffer also promised that Obama would take unilateral action on immigration.

“The President is not going to back away from his efforts to use his authority to solve problems and help American families,” Pfeiffer wrote following Wednesday’s vote. “In fact, tomorrow, President Obama will announce his next executive action to crack down on federal contractors who put workers’ safety and hard-earned pay at risk. It’s just the next in a series of steps this Administration will be taking this year to make sure that American workers are getting a fair deal, and he has pledged to take executive action to deal with our broken immigration system in the months ahead.”

“Make sure that American workers are getting a fair deal”–by end-running around them and destroying their ability to make a living with an invited horde of illegals eager to do “the jobs Americans just won’t do.” And why not? He’s colonizing the FUSA with a more-malleable class of future Democrat Socialist voters, and abandoning his old-guard supporters secure in the knowledge that the union thugs, urban socialists, and sundry ignoramuses comprising that old guard have nowhere else to go. Useful idiots, after all, are forever.

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Grond crawls on

Just in case anybody had any doubt: there is none.

To summarize: The IRS (famed for nitpicking and prosecuting the tax law), chose to authorize hundreds of billions of illegal subsidies without having performed a smidgen of legal due diligence, and did so at the direction of political taskmasters. The agency’s actions provided aid and comfort to elected Democrats, even as it disenfranchised millions of Americans who voted in their states to reject state-run exchanges. And Treasury knows how ugly this looks, which is why it initially stonewalled Congress in its investigation—at first refusing to give documents to investigators, and redacting large portions of the information.

Administration officials will continue to use the IRS to try to improve its political fortunes. The subsidy shenanigans are merely one example. Add Democrats’ hijacking of the agency to target and silence political opponents. What you begin to see are the makings of a Washington agency—a body with the power to harass, to collect, to fine, to imprison—working on behalf of one political party. Richard Nixon, eat your heart out.

Somewhere, though, Stalin is standing up and cheering.

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Impeach Obama the voters

Short of delivering myself of a semi-pedantic lecture on the futility and irrelevance of our show elections, I can’t find a lot to disagree with in the central thrust of his argument, honestly.

I understand all of the talk on the right about impeaching President Obama, I really do.

It’s not just incompetence that has led to the collapse in Iraq, to renewed conflict with Russia, to the fact that the Germans hate us now, to the chaos at the border, and so on. It’s the president’s dereliction of duty. It’s not that he is trying his best and getting it wrong. It’s the suspicion, the near-certainty, that he’s flubbing everything because he just doesn’t care. Or worse, it’s the suspicion that American failure—particularly American failure overseas—neatly fits with his ideological prejudices.

Yet talk of impeachment is premature and misplaced. The fact is that Obama’s worst failures have been in the areas—foreign policy and diplomacy—where the president has the most unilateral authority, where he is supposed to be able to act without really having to answer to Congress.

Which is to say that the proper constitutional remedy is for the American people to not vote for the SOB. But they did vote for him, so unfortunately the public is just going to have to suffer the consequences.

It’s not like they didn’t have lots of evidence already about his outlook and intentions. And it’s not like they weren’t warned about everything that could go wrong, from Iraq to Russia. I never thought I would find myself pining for the lost Mitt Romney presidency, but I have to admit that on a whole slew of issues, Romney was right.

The American people heard these arguments, and they went with the other guy. So we have to remember H.L. Mencken’s dictum: the people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. They voted for Obama, they got him, and now they have to lump it. If they don’t like the results, they can choose better next time.

That’s the crux of the issue. Instead of wasting our efforts on impeachment, we should be focused on helping the American people learn from their mistakes. They need to learn about the perils of believing in a great leader who will solve all their problems. They need to learn about the stupidity of voting for a candidate in order to symbolically repudiate the legacy of racism (or, in 2016, sexism), rather than voting for an actual leader. And they need to learn the specific lessons about Obama’s peculiar combination of domestic statism and blame-America-first foreign policy, an ideology in which our government can do no wrong at home and do no right overseas.

The most damning indictment against the ostensible wisdom and good judgment of Duh Peepul is that such a vile mountebank could ever get within visual distance of the White House in the first place–except, as I’m fond of saying, as part of a guided tour. So…good and hard, people.

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IRS doubling down

Ace’s headline pretty well sums it up:

IRS: Hey Sorry We “Lost” Lois Lerner’s Emails
GOP: It’s Not Credible You Only Lost Lois Lerner’s Emails
IRS: Oh Right We Lost Other Emails Too
GOP: Whose?
IRS: Other People Involved in the Targeting of Conservatives
GOP: Oh

At this point, I’d have to say that it’s that final strongly-worded, forceful GOP response that’s problematic here. We know by now, if we have the stomach for admitting it, that the IRS, like most other FederalGovCo bureaucracies, is heavily politicized and exists not only to perform whatever (Constitutionally illegitimate) functions they purport to be all about, but also to perpetuate, consolidate, and expand the Left’s gains in their incremental soft coup against Constitutional government and any limits at all on their own power. The question now, as I keep droning on about, is: what are we gonna do about it? More to the immediate point: what is the GOP–as the supposed “opposition” party and therefore the last desperate resort for those who still naively believe that we’ll ever be able to vote our way out of this–gonna do about it?

Lois Lerner indirectly answered that question with an oh-well, up-yours response:

Lois G. Lerner, the employee at the center of the IRS tea party targeting scandal, wanted to recover files from her computer hard drive after it crashed in 2011, but when told it was impossible, she took a philosophical view.

“Sometimes stuff just happens,” she said in a 2011 email to the IRS tech staff that tried to recover documents from the hard drive.

Lerner knows full well, as does everybody else at the IRS and throughout the federal tyranny, that there ain’t gonna be one damned thing done about them. They are perfectly secure in their position as unquestioned lords and masters of a cowed and enervated populace. They clearly believe that they can lie with utter impunity; that their near-baroque perversion of our former system of government will stand without meaningful consequence to themselves; that their power over us is absolute and eternal, and they may blithely commit atrocities against the very idea of legitimate self-government and then cover up their abuses in the most lackadaisical and nonchalant fashion without fear of repercussion; that the “liberal”-dominated Court Jester-media complex will be both compliant and effective in helping them cover up those abuses and conceal the truth.

They know, in short, that they’ve won.

They need to be taught otherwise, at long last and for all time. I only wish I could say I thought there was a snowball’s chance of it.

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Let’s not be too hasty in blaming the professional politicians

Instead, let’s be sure idiot “liberals” get some recognition too.

“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchin Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8500 this year.

“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings [of “irate homeowners”]. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore.”

One suspects this dumbass is incapable of perceiving the slight problem with her statement. As Tigerhawk says:

Anyway, that Ms. Gardner can say such a thing without the slightest recognition that — oops — all the things she voted for have now cost so much that she cannot afford to live in Austin is both comic and tragic and, in the end, a painful reminder that most voters do not have an even tenuous grip on cause and effect. Indeed, hard as it may be to believe, it gets better. Gardner goes on to say that “[s]omeone needs to step in and address the big picture.” How, pray tell, are even honest and competent politicians to make sense of constant demands for new services and howls of outrage over higher taxes from the exact same voters?

Always remember, though: “liberals” are the smart ones. And if you don’t believe it, just ask ’em.

(Via Maet)

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Accountability at last!

King Sleazeball’s self-serving notion of it, anyway:

News quiz: President Obama and his communications team hope that Americans are: 1) Dumb; 2) Distracted; 3) Numb to government inefficiency; 4) All of above.

Answer: 4, all of the above.

That answer along with utter incompetence are the best explanations for why the White House thought it could get away with claiming that the departure of Veterans Affairs official Robert Petzel was a step toward accountability for its scandalous treatment of war veterans.

Fact is, the department announced in 2013 that Dr. Petzel would retire this year.

It being Ogabe and Pals we’re talking about here, of course there’s more and worse. After Lois Lerner, it’s looking like this early-retirement ploy is beginning to be the Liar In Thief’s preferred MO when it comes to protecting his hatchet-men, stooges, and stalking horses in the bureaucracy after they’ve done his dirty work for him.

Attaboy, Barky–you “bring ’em to justice” now, y’hear? We all know you’re “madder than hell” at everything your ruling junta has been caught doing at your sly behest, and we’re relying on you to “get to the bottom” of it all. Three groans for our scrupulous and incorruptible Dear Leader, everybody!

Update! Of course and also as usual–this being another of the lying son of a bitch’s usual dodges–Barky only heard about all this when he read it in the newspapers. Y’know, just like all the other scandals he’s eyeballs-deep in. This, despite having been informed of the mess at VA many years ago.

It’s perhaps our greatest national disgrace that this villainous, amoral scumbag ever became president in the first place.

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Told ya so

And all any of us had to do to know exactly what was coming was look at the history of every damned place it’s ever been tried. Now we all get to enjoy the (entirely predictable) socialist disaster. Thanks a pantload, morons.

It directly affects the personal life of every American, and it controls or regulates a complex sector of the American economy that is slightly larger than the entire economy of France.

If you guessed Obamacare, you’ve been paying attention for the past four years.

Four years ago, many health policy analysts, including those at The Heritage Foundation, predicted some of the effects this law would have on Americans. These are all coming true. Here are nine of our predictions that have come to pass—and it’s not over yet.

All of it going according to plan, working as intended to destroy the last vestiges of free market capitalism in health care to allow for the complete federal takeover the Left wanted all along; as Trojan horses go, this one has been every bit as effective as the original. You guys will all know this stuff already. But read ’em anyway–and weep.

(Via Sarah)

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“The scandal itself is not very difficult to understand, unless you have a personal commitment to not understanding it”

But then, you could say that about so many of the scandals the Democrat Socialists find it useful to wax pedantic over in hopes of sowing obfuscation and confusion.

“Where’s the scandal?” Bill Maher shouted, and if you want the voice of the incoherent and self-satisfied progressive id, you could do worse than to take the temperature of Bill Maher. The scandal, if you don’t know, is the White House’s maliciously misleading the American public about four dead Americans killed by preventable al-Qaeda attacks on the anniversary of 9/11 in order to serve its own narrow political purposes. The scandal itself is not very difficult to understand, unless you have a personal commitment to not understanding it. Such commitments frequently are rooted in partisanship and ideology, but in the case of our supine media and Democrats occupying the commanding heights of culture, it may be simple shame. They were intentionally misled by an administration that holds their intelligence in light esteem even as it takes for granted their support.

The odd thing is that Benghazi did not have to be a scandal. We may be used to, if not exactly resigned to, politicians who distort the facts or fabricate outright lies when it seems politically necessary to do so; nobody really expected Bill Clinton, a man constitutionally incapable of honestly answering a question about what he wants for lunch, to simply confess to what he was up to with the White House intern pool. What’s unusual in this case is the unnecessary dishonesty, as though the Obama administration simply reflexively recoiled from the truth.

That’s a pretty good description of both the “man” himself and his entire misbegotten ruling junta, the comprehension and acceptance of which is an absolutely essential prerequisite to understanding both him and them.

In other words, the Obama administration did not mislead the American public about Benghazi out of political necessity; it misled the American public out of habit. And why wouldn’t it? From the economic effects of the stimulus bill to the GM bailout to blaming last quarter’s poor economic numbers on the fact that it is cold during the winter, the Obama administration has an excellent record for wholesaling fiction to the American electorate, which keeps enduring it. There is apparently enough collective intelligence in the Obama administration to hold in general contempt the wit and attention span of an American public that has elected it twice. Or perhaps the administration is fooling itself, too. A good huckster knows that he is a huckster, but a great huckster comes to sincerely believe in his own shtick, and perhaps somebody at the White House has read Good to Great.

If Americans have grown tired of being lied to, they are not showing much sign of it.

Which of course is the real problem here, and one that will continue to plague us and poison our sordid, depraved, and dysfunctional politics long after the Benghazi atrocity has been forgotten more completely than it already has been.

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Whatcha gonna do?

Big fuckin’ deal.

The explosive e-mails that have surfaced thanks to the perseverance of Judicial Watch make explicit what has long been obvious: Susan Rice, the president’s confidant and ambassador to the U.N., was strategically chosen to peddle the administration’s “Blame the Video” fairy tale to the American people in appearances on five different national television broadcasts the Sunday after the massacre. She was coached about what to say by other members of the president’s inner circle.

One of the e-mails refers expressly to a “prep call” that Ambassador Rice had with several administration officials on late Saturday afternoon right before her Sunday-show appearances. The tangled web of deception spun by the administration has previously included an effort to distance the White House (i.e., the president) from Rice’s mendacious TV performances. Thus, Carney was in the unenviable position Wednesday of trying to explain the “prep call” e-mail, as well as other messages that illuminate the Obama White House’s deep involvement in coaching Rice. The e-mails manifest that Rice’s performances were campaign appearances, not the good-faith effort of a public official to inform the American people about an act of war against our country. Her instructions were “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy”; and “To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges” (emphasis added).

Carney risibly claimed that the “prep call” was “not about Benghazi.” Instead, according to him, it was “about the protests around the Muslim world.”

Two points must be made about this.

Actually, there’s only one that matters, in the form of a question: just what are you gonna do about it? These are patently impeachable offenses, the more so because it is absolutely clear that the Obama junta is going to go right on lying, secure in the knowledge that nothing whatsoever is going to come of any of this. Republican congressional shitweasels aren’t going to impeach His Royal Majesty because there’s no political support for such a move, and there wouldn’t be even if more than a handful of Americans were even aware of or cared about any of this, which they aren’t, and don’t. He damned sure ain’t going to resign, no matter how vociferously truth, justice, and even the barest modicum of decency may demand it.

Much self-congratulatory, exultant puffing and blowing all this past week about Obama’s “cratering” poll numbers, which are now down to a “catastrophic” low of…41%. This happens every time he takes a “nosedive” of a percentage point or two, as if that meant anything at all. It still adds up to the same thing: half the damned country agrees with the guy–likes him, approves of what he is doing to the (small) degree they’re even conscious of it in the first place, and will support him no matter what. Until that sad, sorry fact is addressed, everything else is just pissing in the wind, and no amount of high dudgeon about Obama’s high crimes and misdemeanors is going to make any difference at all.

Not that we shouldn’t continue pointing out that he’s a lying, communist reprobate every chance we get, mind. It’s just that sometimes, the truth has to be its own reward.

Update! What difference, at this point, does it make?

In Sir Henry Wotton’s famous formulation, an ambassador is a man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country. In the case of Susan Rice, a UN ambassador is a broad sent to lie to her country for the good of her man — President Obama. Happily, it worked.

Steyn, of course. He continues:

Decency, I argued, required that Obama & Co be voted out of office as an urgent act of political hygiene. The electorate felt differently – and still does. Democrat spinners openly giggle when a TV interviewer uses the word “Benghazi”: It’s a big nothingburger; the American people have, in that Clintonian formulation, “moved on”; this is the tired old “partisan politics as usual…”

In that sense, this week’s emails are superfluous. The facts about Benghazi have been clear to anyone willing to see them, as those Autumn 2012 columns of mine illustrate. But the American people were disinclined to see them – like the dysfunctional rural family in that Sam Shepard play where everyone knows there’s a baby buried in the backyard but they’ve all agreed not to talk about it.

Well, Benghazi’s a long way away. Who cares? It’s not like Washington’s Libya policy makes any difference to the average guy in Des Moines, is it? Ah, but if you swallow Benghazi you’re not really in any position to complain about the IRS or if-you-like-your-plan-you-can-keep-it or whatever’s next down the pike, are you? Healthy political cultures punish the first lie – because otherwise it never stops.

The truth is, not all that many of us ARE complaining about the IRS, or Obamacare, or ubiquitous spying by an omnipotent and invulnerable federal leviathan, or any of the rest of the statist reverse-décolletage creeping up to wind ever more tightly around our throats; we’re fatalistic about it, we expect it in a grim, helpless way. Our political culture is anything but healthy. In the end, that’s what really matters.

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Here to stay, get used to it

Get mad if you like, he’s telling the simple truth. If anything, he’s being too optimistic; there is NO chance–none–of Obamacare being either “repealed” or “replaced.”

“I think it’s going to be difficult to turn the clock back. People get assumed and accustomed to receiving things, particularly things that they get for free,” he told a crowd of students at Harvard’s Institute of Politics on Friday.

“I think one of the practical things you might be able to do, and I think the public at large might accept this, is to make ObamaCare voluntary. You make it voluntary, basically you get rid of the coercion,” he said, presumably by eliminating the penalty those without insurance are required to pay, known as the individual mandate.

He said he may keep some parts of the law, like the subsidies to help poor Americans afford insurance, or the Medicaid expansion — two of ObamaCare’s more popular provisions but potentially its more expensive.

“Does that get rid of the subsidies? Not necessarily, or the Medicaid. But I think also we’re going to find out we can’t afford to have everybody on Medicaid, we can’t afford to have everybody on subsidized insurance,” Paul said.

Obamacare will be repealed only when FederalGovCo itself is, and not a moment before. AP says:

Alternate headline: “Ted Cruz’s ad team pulls all-nighter” — which would be ironic, since Paul’s logic here about the difficulty of weaning people off subsidies once they’ve begun is the same as Cruz’s was back in October in pushing the “defund” effort (which Paul tepidly supported). All Rand’s saying, really, is that repeal becomes much harder once a program’s in place and people have come to rely on it. Cruz couldn’t agree more, I assume, which is not to say he won’t have lots of fun punishing Paul for his “defeatism” in the primaries.

And the circus sideshow will continue, and O-care will grind on, chewing up what tiny shards of free-market health care remain in this country until there are none at all left. Paul is doing his part in the distraction by softening the expectations of those of us who still believe in Constitutional government and yet still retain some vain hope that this can all be fixed with more “elections” with the naked truth: it can’t, and it won’t.

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Identifying a police state

Clark’s done it for us.

Clark’s suggestion:

1) Do go read the Marthew’s paper. I approach all social science papers with an attitude of skepticism…and in this case I was surprised (pleasantly so) by table 6, where statistical confidence is specified.

2) Add warrantless.org to your RSS reader and follow @rebelcinder on Twitter.

3) Put aside existing models of how and why the US government works and approach it as a forensic anthropology question:

  • Note that the NSA, the DoD, and the State Department are regulated by the government, but regulation does not work they way one might expect.
  • Note that no matter which party seems to win an election, the bureaucracy always stays in place, and has its own agenda.
  • Note that elections do not create moral government or consent.
  • Note that the DNA of the government is not just the Constitution, but the extended phenotype of defense oriented firms, police departments, bureaucrats, dependents, and more.
  • Ask yourself if people of good will tried to reform the government in 1980, and 1990, and 2000, and 2010, and it has gotten larger and more intrusive every year, what effect people of good will trying to reform the government in 2014 will have.

4) Withdraw your consent from the system.

Amen to all that, and he has plenty more. As for the poor old Constitution, a link found in the post immediately following Clark’s is instructive:

Article 35
Citizens…enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.

Article 36
Citizens…enjoy freedom of religious belief.

Article 37
Freedom of the person of citizens…is inviolable.

Article 38
The personal dignity of citizens…is inviolable. Insult, libel, false accusation or false incrimination directed against citizens by any means is prohibited.

Article 39
The residences of citizens…are inviolable. Unlawful search of, or intrusion into, a citizen’s residence is prohibited.

Go have a look to see what it was I replaced with the ellipses there. Gee, looks like they’re every bit as “free” as we are, their “freedoms” as secure and “inviolable” under their most excellent Constitution as ours. And, y’know, vice very much versa.

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Hypocrisy, bias, propaganda, and lies

Bill says it plainly: “Sorry, I don’t know how to illustrate the disparity any more plainly.” Go have a look at what he’s talking about, and then mull the idea that this (via Glenn) is…well, John has done some damned fine and admirable work on this ought-to-be scandal, so “pathetic” is hardly the right word. But I still don’t see why he’s pulling punches and giving them the benefit of the doubt at this point:

Another shoe dropped a few days later, when Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Henry Waxman wrote a long letter to the President of Koch Industries, posing a series of questions about Koch’s ostensible relationship to the Keystone Pipeline and requesting that Koch produce a long list of documents on the same topic. The letter repeatedly footnoted the March 20 Washington Post article and the IFG report on which it was based.

That raised another series of questions: did Eilperin and Mufson write their article not just to advance a Democratic Party talking point, but in explicit collaboration with Whitehouse, Waxman or other representatives of the Democratic Party? Was the article a put-up job, written for the specific purpose of being used by Whitehouse and Waxman in their attack on Koch? I asked those questions here, in a post titled, “Bombshell In WaPo/Keystone Scandal: Did the Post Coordinate With Congressional Democrats?” In order to get to the bottom of the scandal, I emailed Eilperin, Mufson and others at the Post and asked a series of questions, and requested production of documents, about the reporters’ contacts with Whitehouse, Waxman and others in connection with the March 20 story. Having received no answer, I sent a follow-up email to the Post employees. I also sent a similar series of questions and requests for documents to Waxman and Whitehouse.

Still unanswered is the question why it was published. Why did the Washington Post print an article on Keystone that was entirely false and that had no apparent news value, based, as it was, on a six-month-old report by a goofy left-wing organization that hardly anyone has heard of? Why was the Post’s story–published, as the authors acknowledge, for political reasons–almost immediately seized on by Congressional Democrats to justify an attack on Koch Industries? Did the Washington Post act in cooperation with Congressional Democrats? That is a very serious question, to which I do not know the answer. But the facts that we do know are damning. So is the fact that neither the Washington Post nor Senator Whitehouse nor Congressman Waxman will respond to our questions about whether they did or did not collaborate on the March 20 story.

There are serious questions here that need to be answered. Let’s not let the Washington Post get away with stonewalling.

Of course they did, and do, and will continue to. We all know it. Might as well just say it right out loud.

It reminds me of those people out there who still insist on referring to Obama’s “misstatements” or some such euphemism on his “you can keep your plan/doctor/etc” lies. He was lying, ferchrissakes; he knew he was, and we know he was. There is simply no reason to call these things anything other than what they were: a direct, brazen lie in Obama’s case, and naked collusion in the Post’s. The WaPo is in fact a propaganda organ for the Democrat Socialist Party and the Left generally, and should have no more credibility with well-informed and honest observers than, say, the NYT does. We owe it to posterity to say so, without equivocation, throat-clearing, or weaseling around with them.

They’re liars, manipulating and obscuring the truth about what they are for nefarious purposes. They’re intent on helping to dismantle this nation top to bottom and remake it as something in direct conflict with the principles it was based on at its founding. I know John has to watch his step and all that, and I don’t really blame him for being the careful sort; we all know how thin the veneer of reasonableness and politesse is over the snarling, vindictive fascist just under the skin of every Progressivist. I just wish we could say so upfront and get on with the struggle to defeat them; that ain’t gonna happen as long as we feel we have to tiptoe around the truth.

And they’re not even the biggest part of the problem.

The war between Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa and the committee’s ranking member, Elijah Cummings, rages on.

Issa on Wednesday accused the Maryland Democrat of colluding with the Internal Revenue Service in its targeting of the conservative nonprofit group True the Vote, whose founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, said she received multiple letters from Cummings in 2012 and personal visits from the IRS and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives. Engelbrecht’s True the Vote is one of the many conservative groups that claims to have been improperly targeted by the IRS while it scrutinized the applications of tea-party groups.

In a letter signed by his five subcommittee chairmen, Issa raised the possibility that Cummings coordinated with the IRS, “surreptitiously” contacting the agency to request information about True the Vote.

Hand in glove, people. Leftist criminal conspiracies, working together to influence “elections” we willfully deceive ourselves into believing are free, fair, and competitive. Hand. In. Glove.

And if you’re still telling yourself it’s all mere coincidence, you’re a damned fool.

Even as the IRS faces growing heat over Lois G. Lerner and the tea party targeting scandal, a government watchdog said Wednesday it’s pursuing cases against three other tax agency employees and offices suspected of illegal political activity in support of President Obama and fellow Democrats.

In one case the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates federal employees who conduct politics on government time, said it was “commonplace” in a Dallas IRS office for employees to have pro-Obamascreensavers on their computers, and to have campaign-style buttons and stickers at their office.

In another case, a worker at the tax agency’s customer help line urged taxpayers “to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by repeatedly reciting a chant based on the spelling of his last name,” the Office of Special Counsel said in a statement.

OSC said it is seeking “significant disciplinary action” against that employee.

What, you mean like this?

Another IRS employee in Kentucky has agreed to serve a 14-day suspension for blasting Republicans in a conversation with a taxpayer.

“They’re going to take women back 40 years,” the IRS employee said in a conversation that was recorded. The employee also said that “if you vote for a Republican, the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer.”

That employee went on to tell the taxpayer she knew she wasn’t supposed to be voicing her political opinions, and asked the taxpayer not to say anything.

Ooooh, a fourteen-day suspension! My God, the OSC is a bunch of veritable Torquemadas here, aren’t they? Wonder if they’re going to torment this woman by going so far as to suspend her without pay. Well, not really; I think we all already know just how likely that is.

I repeat: the federal-government monolith is Leftist to its very core; it is actively and very nearly openly conspiring with the criminal conspiracy masquerading as a political party known as the Democrat Socialist Party to see to it that its opposition is thoroughly muzzled, hamstrung, and frozen out of any meaningful participation in the political process; it is aided and abetted in the crime of stealing liberty and legitimacy by a media complex that dishonestly claims impartiality, but in truth is actively and aggressively partisan.

The whole stinking system is illegitimate and corrupt, rotten from top to toe. There is no longer the slightest valid reason to pretend otherwise, except when trying to avoid scrutiny from or other dealings with its various thugocracies and enforcement arms–as a matter of personal convenience or safety. None.

The only question remaining is what we’re gonna do about it. If anything.

Spoke too soon update! Looks like John is toughening up some on the liars and frauds. Once again: good on ‘im.

Over the last few minutes, I sent the following four tweets to Washington Post reporter/Democratic Party propagandist Juliet Eilperin:

Why won’t you answer my questions about whether your false reporting on Keystone is coordinated with the Democratic Party?

You know perfectly well that Keystone has nothing to do with Koch. Why do you perpetrate a lie, along with Whitehouse and Waxman?

You know that Keystone would damage Koch economically. Why do you perpetrate a falsehood based on 3% leasehold ownership?

The public demands answers. You are going to have to account for your false reporting. Did you coordinate with the Dem Party?

If you follow me on Twitter @jhinderaker–as you should!–you can retweet these tweets. You can also tweet messages directly to Ms. Eilperin @eilperin. We are not going to let this rest until we get answers from the Washington Post and from Henry Waxman and Sheldon Whitehouse.

They’re not going to answer, because they know they don’t have to. They know their “liberal” readers are a smug, supercilious bunch who have no problem with getting their tainted “information” from a propaganda outfit. They know the part of the public they care about isn’t “demanding answers,” considering what the WaPo is doing to be perfectly justified, a laudable case of “sticking it to the man” and going after misfeasance capitalists who need to be reined in, brought to heel, and punished for their views and their success; the part of the public that IS “demanding answers” they simply don’t give a tinker’s damn about.

Which is not to say that John is wasting his time here. Holding their feet to the fire, making sure they know not everyone is being fooled, is a worthwhile endeavor in and of itself. Hats off to Hinderaker; he also has a worthwhile suggestion for Jeff Bezos, the response to which will tell us a lot about just who and what he is, too. Keep right after the slimeballs, buddy.

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UNEXPECTED STUNNER: Everything you already knew turns out to be true!

Earth-shattering, blockbuster news that’s so shocking you just won’t be able to believe it’s even possible:

IRS agents testified before Congress that the agency’s political targeting did not apply to progressive groups as Democrats and the media have claimed, according to a bombshell new staff report prepared by the House Oversight Committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa.

IRS agents testified before Oversight that ACORN groups were scrutinized because the agency thought they were old organizations applying as new ones. Emerge America was scrutinized for potential “improper private benefit.” No evidence exists that the IRS requested additional information from any Occupy Wall Street group.

“Only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word ‘progressive,’ all of which were then approved by the IRS, while Tea Party groups received unprecedented review and experienced years-long delays. While some liberal-oriented groups were singled out for scrutiny, evidence shows it was due to non-political reasons,” according to the Oversight staff report, which was obtained by The Daily Caller.

Yawn. Wake me when the shooting starts, willya?

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“It’s working”

Yes, actually, it is. At its intended goal, which is very different from the stated lie.

Talk about spiking the ball.

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden yesterday afternoon, President Obama declared flatly that the Affordable Care Act, which he proudly referred to as ObamaCare, “is doing what it’s supposed to do; it’s working.”

He slipped up and told the truth again, which he will do now and then, once in a rare while. Obamacare is entrenched, will never be removed or much altered until the FUSA Imperial Government itself is, and is speedily destroying the health care industry. Look for the calls to “replace” it with a nationalized system to begin very soon now.

The president had reason to be pleased. According to the White House, 7.1 million Americans signed up, slightly more than the Congressional Budget Office had said was necessary for the law to work as planned. Considering the Web-site disaster and all other problems that we’ve seen so far, this represents a significant accomplishment.

It might be, were it even remotely true. It isn’t. Well, unless you count every hit on the still-fucked website as a “sign-up,” which is pretty much what they’re doing.

But while the president basked in his success and predictably castigated his critics, he took no questions. Perhaps that’s because some of them would have been hard to answer. For instance:

How many new enrollees have paid their premiums? The numbers above include everyone who has “picked” a health plan, even if they haven’t yet paid for it, sort of like Amazon counting every item a shopper puts in their “cart” as a sale. Even Health Secretary Kathleen Sibelius concedes that only 80 percent of those who’ve picked a plan have actually paid the first month’s premium. Insurance executives also report that another 3 percent to 5 percent paid once, but then stopped.

If these numbers hold, it would mean that just 5.6 million Americans (and 312,000 New Yorkers) really bought insurance through the exchanges.

And that’s most likely a lie too, inflated beyond reality’s ability to sustain. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. If three people had verifiably signed up and paid, Obama would have still held his little in-your-face photo op; he would’ve had to. And he’d have lied through his teeth even harder.

He has to do that too, and keep right on doing it for a little while yet. The illusion only has to be maintained just a little longer; as new bureaucrats and IRS goons are brought in to secure the beachhead and expand the territory held by the enemies of freedom, Obamacare is made more secure, and VE day is pushed further off. Meanwhile, the Republicans will continue to squawk and dither, maneuvering for electoral gains in 2014 with which they will do absolutely nothing that matters. Among other good but mostly irrelevant questions, Tanner winds up with this one:

Who signed up? Far more important than the raw number of enrollees is the mix of people signing up. ObamaCare depends on young and healthy people overpaying for insurance in order to subsidize coverage for older and sicker individuals. In order to make that work, 38 percent to 40 percent of those enrolling need to be young and healthy.

In fact, estimates suggest that less than 30 percent of enrollees are under the age of 35. This will mean hefty premium hikes next year, and could eventually lead to a meltdown of the entire insurance market.

And we get all of this for the low, low price of just $2 trillion in taxpayer spending over the next 10 years.

See? It’s working, all right–exactly as intended. Congrats to the Emperor: it is indeed another success story for him and his malevolent marauders.

Update! I find this bit absolutely hilarious:

Declaring that “Armageddon” hasn’t occurred since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama did a victory lap in the Rose Garden and declared 7.1 million had signed up for Obamacare.

“The truth is, even more folks want to sign up. So anybody who was stuck in line because of the huge surge in demand over the past few days can still go back and finish your enrollment — 7.1 million, that’s on top of the more than 3 million young adults who have gained insurance under this law by staying on their family’s plan,” Obama said with Vice President Joe Biden smirking over his shoulder.

A “huge surge in demand”? It isn’t “demand,” in the sense of people queuing up to buy iPhones or something they choose freely to buy out of a personal desire to own the damned thing. It’s coercion. They’re unconstitutionally required by an illegitimate fascist government to buy something they don’t necessarily want or need, in order to finance a redistribution of wealth over the muzzle of the government gun. They’re not masses of people dancing merrily into line to wait their turn to avail themselves of “coverage” they were desperate but unable to get until Obamacare set them free; they’re benighted cattle grumbling and lowing their way into the slaughterhouse chute under threat of pain and punishment to do what they must–what their masters require them to do.

He knows all this, of course. But he has to keep the illusion going. Perhaps I should stop referring to him as Emperor or King and start calling him by a more accurately descriptive title: Shaman Obama. Read the rest of it for more sick-making propaganda bullshit; as for me, I’ll offer one more correction to the Liar in Thief:

“In the end, history is not kind to those who would deny Americans their basic economic security,” he said. “Nobody remembers well those who stand in the way of America’s progress or our people. And that’s what the Affordable Care Act represents. As messy as it’s been sometimes, as contentious as it’s been sometimes, it is progress.”

It isn’t “progress”; it’s Progressivism–two things that couldn’t be more dissimilar. And in the past, “history (was) not kind” to “those who would deny” Americans their right to freedom and self-determination. There’s still a good few of us left out there, Barky. You and your despicable ilk would do well to remember it, lest you be reminded of it very forcefully, and soon.

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