Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

How much does it cost if it’s free?

And what’s its real value?

The British government-run National Health Service on Tuesday ordered every hospital in England to cancel all non-urgent surgeries in order to free up staff and beds for emergency patients.

The NHS order will result in around 50,000 operations being postponed until at least February as overcrowded hospitals struggle to tend to everyone, the Telegraph reported. A spike in winter flu has forced frail patients to face 12-hour waits while some hospital corridors are running out of space.

The NHS order followed claims by senior doctors that patients were being treated in “third world conditions,” as more people flood hospitals in England with colder-than-usual winter weather bringing more cases of the flu and related issues, including respiratory illnesses.

One London-based doctor said that he was practicing “battlefield medicine” because conditions were so bad.

On the bright side, though, as Dave at Moonbattery says: “At least the government has a solution: displace the native population with people who take third-world conditions for granted.” As will we all, soon enough.

But even with the ongoing collapse of government health care, I guar-on-tee that if you asked Brits whether they’d like to see the abomination done away with, unchaining the health care system to operate under a far more productive, humane, and beneficial system of competition and a more open marketplace—run by caregivers themselves, with direct input from their patients and without interference from a remote national capital—nearly all of them would look at you as if you had two heads. That, too, is an attitude we’ll see developing here soon enough.

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Compromise, or surrender?

Much as I love him, and you all know I do, I fear I’m gonna have to raise a quibble or three with Schlichter on this one.

We conservatives need to get our heads right about the mid-terms or liberals will end up guzzling patriot tears and their gloating will be flat-out intolerable. We’re not doomed in 2018 – I mean, it’s not like tax reform or pulling out of the Paris Climate Scam, which have already killed millions of people, including me and you. But, if we fail to get on course for victory then we’re going to see Nancy Pelosi and the Gropeocrats back in charge and trying to make America into California.

Trust me. You do not want to live in the United States of California.

Right as rain there, and nothing but the inarguable truth. Onwards.

So, the first step toward victory is some real talk about us normals – you know, conservatives who are more concerned with our country than with muttering about principles and trying to sell cruise cabins. We need to talk about how we’ve screwed up and how we need to change what we’re doing wrong. We got lazy after we vanquished Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit and installed what has turned out to be the most conservative president since St. Ronald. We had the House, and we had the Senate, so we relaxed. Sure, we’ve gotten some great things done, but every step has been a battle thanks to the enraged Dems, their lying media pals, and that cheesy bunch of Never Trump weasels who are motivated by rage at how we dissed them and their Conservative, Inc., cronies. The enemy is creating a sense of permanent chaos, and they intend to present themselves as a return to normality. “Vote for us liberals and everything goes back to normal,” they’ll lie. They’ll actually amp up the insanity with impeachment shenanigans and obstruction, and they’ll probably bumble their way into provoking a short and hilarious civil war.

Quibble One: “Vote for us liberals and everything goes back to normal” is a…umm, LIE? No, actually, that sounds like nothing but the naked truth to me. The problem here is, what they think of as “normal” IS pretty much accepted as normal now: a hamfisted, incompetent, bloated, meddlesome, and tyrannical government; a moribund, zombified socialist economy unresponsive to any and all attempts at “fixing” it; the scorn and contempt of governments around the world as our “leaders” bumble their way into foreign policy disasters one right after another; traditional American values and institutions, the long-cherished pillars of our strength and prosperity, now in smoking ruins; our soldiers’ lifeblood spilled on ground not worth holding—half-heartedly fought, miserable little wars we don’t intend to win against enemies we’re too squeamish to name, in places where we have no discernible national interest, our soldiers crippled by ridiculous ROEs that render them little else but walking targets; yielding the leadership role to a morally bankrupt and wholly corrupt UN that regards us only as a cash cow and a source of blue-helmeted cannon fodder to be squandered pursuing unworthy objectives and enforcing unenforceable edicts—and a sense of doomed hopelessness about it all enervating the Normals, who are rightly disgusted by the whole dismal tarpit and despairing of finding a means to extricate ourselves from it.

Yep, that would be Progressivist “normal” all right, and has been our unpleasant reality for at least a decade if not longer. It is by no means any kind of lie to say a vote for them is a vote to go back to that. After all, the restoration of that dysfunctional, destructive order remains the only program they have on offer.

We have to stop them, but stopping them starts with us fixing what we’re doing wrong. We can only change ourselves, so we need to do that.

Not at all sure I’m down with that one either, but I’ll leave it for now and come back to it.

Yeah, I know the Trumpaphobic True Conservatives™ are desperately trying to regain their power and prestige after we rejected them along with the rest of the Jeb!-loving Establishment Fredocons who never managed to conserve anything except the cash they raked in falsely promising to fight fight fight. But we’re not talking about them now.

We’re talking about us now. Let’s talk about what we did wrong. Let’s talk about what we need to change, because if we don’t change The Swamp is going to swamp us. Our opponents are motivated. They are organizing. They are targeting the weakest Republicans, and in Virginia and Alabama they snatched seats we should have kept or taken.

Quibble Two: we didn’t have any real chance of taking anything in Virginia. As basically the physical home of the Deep State, it’s long been as blue as blue states come. The recent Democrat-Socialist win there shouldn’t have come as any surprise to anybody, and the prospects for “taking it back” (actually, converting it) aren’t going to be any too good for a long while yet, most likely. Ambitions are fine and all, but tempering them with a bit of hard-nosed realism is probably the wise course.

In Virginia, we had a huge, bloody primary fight that left the winner weak going into the general. Ed Gillespie is an Establishment meat puppet, but he would have been okay, and “okay” is better than any commie Dem. We need to pick our fights. Here’s a news flash – the most conservative candidate won’t win every time. We need to figure out who is the most conservative candidate who can win, and back him/her – that’s the old Buckley rule. The purge of the squishes must come later. We need raw numbers, and if that means accepting the occasional Susan Collins, fine. She’s the closest thing to a win in Maine, so accept that and move on.

Um. Okay, let’s call it Quibble Three: I agree that insistence on ideological purity is likely to prove self-defeating sure enough, but Collins is probably a lousy example of a reasonable, worthwhile compromise which demands anything more of us in the way of “support” than simple resignation to the world’s imperfect nature. Truth is, she can be relied upon to vote against anything remotely “conservative” way more often than not (her almost shocking vote for the tax reform bill notwithstanding), and that just ain’t good enough. Any compromise that requires backing her is going to end up costing way more than we’ll ever get back. It ain’t a “compromise” at all, really. It’s closer to a surrender. Losing her seat to a Democrat Socialist wouldn’t make a difference worth discussing; as a practical matter, it’s a de facto wash.

A better example of effective realpolitik would be, say, Rudy Giuliani. You won’t find any electable soul more conservative than him in NYC, and nobody should be wasting any time looking. He’s far, far preferable to nearly any other New Yorker you could name—even with his stated enthusiasm for “assault weapon” bans and other such tramplings of the 2A thrown into the mix. And since there’s no more prospect of New York’s suddenly going from blue to red (or even a light-ish purple) in the near future than there is in Virginia, Giuliani is definitely somebody I could imagine supporting, maybe even for Prez should Trump suddenly become unavailable or disinclined. A fair bit more than reluctantly, too. Again: onwards.

I get mad too. I’m furious with the Elderly Mutant Establishment Turtle. But I’m an adult, not a child, and sometimes I have to delay my unholy vengeance. We worry too much about purging our ranks and not enough about making sure we still have ranks to purge. Oh, the accounting shall come – we will have our revenge. But today we need to keep control of Capitol Hill so Donald Trump can keep packing the courts, gutting the bureaucracy, and winning the war against jihadi dirtbags.

We can wait to get even.

Exhibit A is Roy Moore. Face it – we screwed that up bad. He was a terrible candidate, and terrible candidates lose.

Let’s concede he was treated unfairly by the lying media. Gloria Allred and her scuzzy minions lied about him. Team McConnell spent a ton of much-needed money trying to force a GOPe stooge down Alabamians’ throats so The Tortoise wouldn’t have to deal with the uppity Mo Brooks. Maybe there was some voter fraud. All that’s irrelevant.

Quibble Four: no, it most certainly is NOT. Not when Moore’s loss is directly attributable to the Deep State GOPe’s treachery: his margin of defeat appears to have corresponded almost exactly to the write-in votes encouraged by the Vichy GOPe (caveat: there’s some reasonable dispute about this, and not all of those votes have been counted yet as far as I know).

I’m perfectly willing to countenance throwing some (tepid) support behind a squish here and there when it’s necessary, just as a matter of recognizing certain sad realities about where we are as a country. Not so for treacherous Deep State shitweasels like Yertle McTurtle or Jeff Flake—or, yes, Juanny Mav. They’ve put knives enough into our backs already, will never be anything other than what they are, and my concern over whether a Democrat Socialist might replace them or not couldn’t be discernible with an electron microscope. One more time: onwards.

We have a lot of Senate races coming up. I like some of the more conservative folks – Dr. Kelli Ward in Arizona, Austin Petersen in Missouri. But here’s the thing – if they, fairly or not, allow themselves to be marginalized such as they are less likely (to) win the general than their GOP primary opponents, I’ll toss them over. Nothing personal, just business.

Quibble Five: they most certainly WILL be marginalized, and it will NOT be fair. Anybody who considers regaining the Alabama seat a gimme, a sure thing, is kidding himself. The Left WILL pull out all the stops next time. They saw how well their smear campaign against Moore, bereft of a shred of credible evidence behind it, worked for them: the Vichy GOPe accepted their premise and stampeded from Moore as if he’d been a leper, just like they’ve always done, and led a lot of others over the cliff with them.

If McConnell hadn’t piled on Moore from the very start—which, of course he did, having been in on the scam from go—and had instead gotten behind him wholeheartedly, we wouldn’t be talking about any Senator Jones right now. As such, announcing your willingness to “toss them over” beforehand—i.e., preemptively agreeing to accept the premise of their smear campaign before they’ve even ginned it up—seems like a terrible, terrible mistake to me.

And yes, I do in fact see the irony in being annoyed with McYertle over his refusing to do the very same thing I’m jumping on Schlichter for suggesting. In my humble defense, the difference—slight though it may seem—is that McYertle’s refusal got us Jones in Alabama. Whereas, all we get from going along with Schlichter’s proposal is…McYertle. Who do you think will wind up doing more damage long-term? Jones is a pipsqueak who’s already backpedaling a bit on his hardcore Marxism and declared his willingness to cooperate to at least some small degree with Trump. McYertle has smugly sabotaged most of Trump’s legislative agenda, Obamacare reform among other things, his unexpected ramrodding of the Gorsuch appointment via the so-called “nuclear option” being a highly laudable exception.

I firmly believe that, instead of “cleaning our own house,” it’s both more productive and more vital to crush the Left, and keep right on crushing them. Any time spent on walking around the battlefield shooting our own wounded is time not spent taking the fight Leftwards, although it’s surely true that we’re going have to fight the Vichy GOPers as well sooner or later.

Rather than debating whether we ought to be lending any helping hands to affirmed Deep State tapeworms like McConnell, McStain, or Flake, we ought to be attacking the Left every chance we get, with everything we’ve got, until they’re down to stay. To recycle one of my favorite old metaphors: after we’ve severed the head, burned the corpse, scattered the ashes, and salted the ground under the Left there’ll be time enough to deal with the traitor scum in our own ranks.

But all of this kind of misses the real point anyway: it’s now bootless to talk about Republican this or Democrat that, liberal me or conservative you, as if any of those terms still had much in the way of either relevance or meaning. As my old friend Chris Pfouts used to like to say, it’s worse than a waste of time. The real distinction is to be made elsewhere now:

One of the telling aspects about the Trump phenomenon was just how over-the-top many of these first wave alt-media types were in their opposition to Trump. Guys like Erick Erickson and Glenn Beck were such rabid Trump haters, it was assumed they were being paid to do it. PJ Media had a gaggle of unhinged Trump haters on their site. Red State turned itself into such a clown show, they endorsed Hillary Clinton. The hipster conservatives of a decade ago were now the squares wagging their fingers at the kids.

There are a couple of lessons here for the people forging ahead with alt-tech as well as alt-media. One is that to be an alternative, to truly challenge the status quo, the nature of the alternative has to be incompatible with the nature of the orthodoxy. Otherwise, the big fish eat the little fish, so the little fish of alternative media get gobbled up. This is why Andrew Torba is adamant about his stance on terms of service. He has correctly discovered that to be a challenge to Twitter, Gab has to be a break from the orthodoxy.

That’s something the Left quickly understood in their march through the institutions. What was set up to keep the old WASP elite in power, could easily turn them into shaggier versions of the people they replaced. That and those institutions failed to defend the old guard against the radicals. The Left has systematically altered the institutions of American life to maintain their dominance. The Left did not just march through the institutions. They altered them, like a virus alters the host’s healthy cells to replicate itself.

That’s another lesson. The people in charge are well aware of how they gained their position. They are not about to make the same mistakes as their predecessors. When Siaka Stevens gained power in post-colonial Sierra Leone, one of the first things he did was destroy the rail line between Bo and Freetown. The reason is it crippled the economy of his primary political rivals. Even though it damaged the nation’s economy as a whole, what mattered to Stevens is it helped him stay in power. The Left thinks the same way.

What that means for alternative media and alternative tech is they have to remain independent and hostile to the orthodoxy. A guy like Richard Spencer, racing to be on liberal media when they call, is going to be destroyed eventually. He’s not as clever as he thinks and Lefty plays for keeps. The same holds for technology. Again, Gab is a good example of how to do it right. They are building their own financing mechanism so they don’t have to sell their souls to the Silicon Valley oligarchs.

Finally, the PJ Media experience says something else. Even as these first wave populist outlets were absorbed by the blob, the audience continued to grow. This is another lesson of history. Once people break free from the old intellectual and moral restraints, they don’t go back to the old ways. We are in the midst of an intellectual revolution, where the old modes of thought are challenged by new modes of thinking about politics, society and the human condition. Old media has the money, but new media has the numbers.

In the end, it is always about the numbers.

Which means Old Media won’t have the money a whole lot longer, either. Back to Schlichter:

The lessons are clear. We need to understand that our enemy is serious, motivated and intent on finding and exploiting the weaknesses in our candidates. We need to be ruthless in deciding who is most likely to win, even if it means backing someone who is 80% with us instead of 90%. It means being coldly rational instead of over-heatedly emotional.

We need to win the midterms next year. We need to get our heads right to do it. Yeah, our enemies are horrible and politics is unfair. Boo hoo. We can’t change that. The only thing we can change is ourselves, and we need to or we’ll get crushed.

I won’t argue with that too much, other than to note that the only real change we need to make is to realize fully how the ground has shifted under everyone’s feet. The Left has been thrown into confused despair by it—those among them who are even aware of it at all, that is, which would seem to be a pitiful minority—and is lashing out in every direction both futilely and hilariously. It’s Liberal Sideshow Bob in his field full of rakes; he can’t help stepping on one no matter which way he turns.

I can see Schlichter’s point, I guess, just a little bit. But in the final analysis, as Kurt himself said, it’s the rough equivalent of the old Buckley argument: we must support the most conservative candidate who can win. That proposition got us McCain; it got us Romney, and it would have gotten us Jeb if we had yielded to its temptation last time around. And it’s never gotten anybody a single damned thing else.

Which is all the more reason why we need to keep our focus on seeding that field with more rakes for Liberal Sideshow Bob, over and above any other consideration. It ain’t no time to be navel gazing, therefore I don’t see any pressing need to worry about throwing away any effort in the direction of propping up untrustworthy mountebanks like McYertle, Flake, or any other Deep State puke just because they ain’t Democrats. Not if it means loosening our strangling grip on Lefty’s throat before he’s well and truly out, I don’t.

It’s beginning to look now as if the most positive thing likely to come out of any of this might be the final destruction of the Republican Party, with its Statist charlatans and con-men shuffling on off to the Democrat Socialists where they belong, and the rest of them joining the rest of us in inaugurating a real opposition party at last. That redrawing of the battle lines into something more accurately representing the situation as it actually exists would be welcome indeed as far as I’m concerned.

The creation of the Republican Party and its relatively rapid emergence as a viable alternative during the turmoil of the pre-Civil War period seems to me to be worthy of consideration here. Would anybody want to argue that the times we’re now living in are very much less turbulent, the struggle less existential, the stakes less consequential? Could be it’s another of those ideas whose time has finally come, as I always say. It’s a cinch that Republican perfidy and overall uselessness has made it a whole lot more likely.

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A consummation devoutly to be etc

We can only hope Lifson is onto something here.

When Rod Rosenstein evaded the answers being sought in a congressional hearing and deferred to the inspector general investigation underway, I thought it a reasonable response, even though Rosenstein is now a hate-object for having appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel. The I.G., Michael E. Horowitz, is no political stooge. (For background on the inspectors general, see Ed Lasky here and here. There are unsung heroes of our constitutional republic among them, hero-federal bureaucrats.)

And letting any of the I.G.’s cats out of the bag early could have serious consequences.

He then points us over to another of Sundance’s thoroughly researched and insightful posts, to wit:

The text messages between FBI Agent Peter Strozk and his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, have been released to both Fox News and CBS.

The messages reflect a strong bias against President Trump. However, the bigger story is not the anti-Trump bias within the text communication, the BIGGER story is why the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General (OIG), began even looking at Agent Peter Strozk’s communication in the first place.

Remember, the original mandate by the Inspector General’s office was initiated to review and discover any politicization of the FBI and/or DOJ officials.

After news broke of Strzok’s removal from investigative duty within the FBI counterintelligence unit, what the OIG responding statement said was for 11 months the Dept of Justice OIG office has been investigating the politicization within the DOJ and FBI and deciding if the actions, or lack of action, was driven by the political ideology of the participants therein…

Getting caught as a leaker is likely the reason Strzok was removed and reassigned to the HR post; not the bias. The bias, writ large, is essentially a snipe hunt; it makes good media clicks, it feeds a good headline, but ultimately it’s a nothingburger. The reports on this angle are flak and countermeasures.

However, Agent Strzok leaking information to the media; his changing the outcome of an FBI investigation into a political ally, Hillary Clinton; and his investigative involvement in the Trump Russia Conspiracy, via the Steele Dossier and FISA warrant, well, that’s the real issue evident here.

Interesting indeed. Without falling into the old wishful-thinking trap of assuming that Trump is some sort of 3D chess-playing wizard here, I will note that he’s shown himself to have patience enough to be capable of playing a longer game than people often assume, in both business and politics. This is convoluted, twisty, tangly stuff for sure; also, Occam’s Razor still makes for an excellent guide in most circumstances, and should perhaps be carefully borne in mind in this case, too.

All that said, though, I wouldn’t bet against Trump playing a pretty Machiavellian game here himself: one of his most under-acknowledged and useful skills throughout his career has been his ability to get adversaries to underestimate him to their own great detriment, as we’ve seen demonstrated again and again since the beginning of the Republican primary campaign. And Sundance himself has been adept enough at seeing forests instead of trees for long enough now that I ain’t willing to bet against his having the right of things here, either. Not quite yet, I ain’t. I seem to recollect seeing somewhere or other that Horowitz’s final report is scheduled to drop in April of next year; all will come clear by then, I guess. Back to Lifson:

We should be hearing from the I.G. in the early part of next year, in time for this to start to unfold in TV prior to the November midterm elections.

Sundance looks ahead the next couple of steps, toward prosecution, and follows the potential chain upward. Momentum, and consequently timing, is critical because of the expected all-out resistance. Watergate was nothing compared to this.

Well, no, it wouldn’t be, would it? I mean, Watergate was a bungled coverup of a penny-ante burglary—which, I think, hardly rises to the level of a soft coup aimed at nullifying the results of a legitimate presidential election and removing a duly-sworn-in chief executive from office without real justification. Not to even mention the revelation of partisan corruption from top to bottom of entire federal agencies, with arguably treasonous treachery and manipulation at the very highest levels.

Update! Steyn on the big picture:

Politically, America is a bitterly divided 50/50 nation, where a few hundred thousand votes in a dwindling number of swing states determines control of the national (it’s no longer really “federal”) government. That places an ever greater burden on the professional civil service to behave professionally, and to be perceived as behaving professionally. Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Ohr, Strzok, Page and the rest have engineered a situation that ensures half the country will never accept the legitimacy of whatever their “investigation” concludes. If they indict Trump, one half will regard it as a coup by Deep Staters in the bag for Hillary. If they exonerate Trump, the other half of the country will blame Trump for discrediting these fine upstanding career public servants.

So Mueller and his team have made things worse. Thanks a lot, corruptocrats.

It is not unreasonable to conclude that this pseudo-investigation is an elaborate bit of FBI dinner theatre to obscure Strzok and others’ attempt to subvert the election. What Strzok and Ohr have done is far worse than anything Flynn and Papadopoulos did: why should only the latter face jail time?

Why, because Stroke and Ohr are liberals, see. That makes it diff’runt.

Until we reach the heads-on-pikes stage, I mean. At which point I will eagerly look forward to Obama, Hillary!™, and the rest of the dirty gang sharing the same fate.

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Get your grubby government fumble-fingers off

Shoulda never let Big Nanny meddle with it in the first place, it was working quite well as it was.

The one thing we’re all told about net neutrality is that it’s meant to keep internet service providers from discriminating between websites, speeding access to some and throttling it to others. In theory, according to the ubiquitous fans of net neutrality, evil ISPs would charge content providers more to provide fast access to their sites, while also charging customers more, for reasons that are never made exactly clear.

The truth is that ISPs have been doing the exact opposite, with deals like AT&T’s, or T-Mobile’s Binge program, which didn’t count data used to stream Netflix, Spotify, and other popular sites.

Also, ISPs already provide super-fast access to the biggest sites on the web, from Facebook to Google to Netflix, even hosting their servers in order to give customers the fastest connection possible. This is why the debate is misnamed. ISPs already discriminate; it’s working fine.

The lawsuits make it even clearer that the advocates for regulation aren’t really looking out for the interests of the consumer. John Oliver once boiled down the issue pretty well. Instead of “net neutrality,” he said, the issue should be called “preventing cable company f****ery.”

He’s right. The real issue has nothing at all to do with network peering between internet giants (those direct pipes to Google) or free data plans. It is at best an attempt to control the behavior of cable companies, who have poor reputations.

We all know that cable companies offered terrible service when they were monopolies, and their service is still lousy where they’re not faced with competition. When they realized my brother up in Idaho was a cord-cutter, they jacked up his internet fees to $200 a month. In my neighborhood, where I’ve got a few options, the cable company called me up the other day to offer some extra premium channels for the rate I was already paying.

Competition in the market for internet service is still somewhat limited by the physical necessity of connecting your home to the network, but even a battle between the phone company, the cable company, a satellite company, and your cell service provider does a decent job of keeping prices in check. They’re all offering more of what we want for lower prices, and they’re about to face more competition still, once wireless goes 5G.

While the scare stories are legion — my favorite is a bizarre rant in the Globe and Mail arguing that the end of net neutrality would mean doom for “the resistance” — and the technical details are often mind-numbingly complex, this is still a simple story. Between 2005 and 2015, competition produced an 1150 percent increase in broadband speeds. Free markets and unfettered capitalism built out the fast internet. Now the government wants to step in and help.

It’s an old story, and we all ought to know by now exactly how it always turns out. It’s been demonstrated again and again and again: competition in a relatively unfettered, open market will produce lower prices, more innovation, and generally better results than government control each and every damned time.

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Gone rogue?

BEEN rogue. Always HAS been rogue. Was never anything BUT rogue.

In order to boost the credibility of the FBI’s investigations of the Trump team, much of the media is whitewashing the bureau’s entire history. But the FBI has been out of control almost since its birth.

A 1924 American Civil Liberties Union report warned that the FBI had become “a secret police system of a political character.” In the 1930s, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court feared that the FBI had bugged the conference room where justices privately wrangled over landmark cases, as Tim Weiner noted in his “Enemies: A History of the FBI.” In 1945, President Harry Truman noted that “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction.” And FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover compiled a list of 20,000 “potentially or actually dangerous” Americans who could be rounded up and locked away in one of the six detention camps the federal government secretly built in the 1950s.

From 1956 through 1971, the FBI’s COINTELPRO program conducted thousands of covert operations to incite street warfare between violent groups, to get people fired, to smear innocent people by portraying them as government informants, to sic the IRS on people, and to cripple or destroy left-wing, communist, white racist, antiwar, and black organizations (including Martin Luther King Jr.). These operations involved vast numbers of warrantless wiretaps and illicit break-ins and resulted in the murder of some black militants. A Senate Committee chaired by liberal Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) issued a damning report on FBI abuses of power that should be mandatory reading for anyone who believes the bureau deserves deference today.

According to Politifact, the FBI is not a “secret police agency” because “the FBI is run by laws, not by whim.” But we learned five years ago that the FBI explicitly teaches its agents that “the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others.” No FBI official was fired or punished when that factoid leaked out because this has been the Bureau’s tacit code for eons. Similarly, an FBI academy ethics course taught new agents that subjects of FBI investigations have “forfeited their right to the truth.” Are liberals so anxious to get Trump that they have swept under the rug the 2015 Washington Post bombshell about false FBI trial testimony that may have sentenced 32 innocent people to death?

Politifact quotes a professor who asserts that “any use of unnecessary violence (by the FBI) would be met with the full force of the criminal law.”Is that why an internal FBI report claimed that every one of the 150 shootings by FBI agents between 1993 and 2011 was faultless?

Bovard lists plenty more—amounting to a mere handful of the things we know about—winding down here:

The so-called fact checkers insists that any comparison of the FBI and KGB is “ridiculous” because the FBI is “subject to the rule of law and is democratically accountable.” But there is little or no accountability when few members of Congress have the courage to openly criticize or vigorously cross-examine FBI officials. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs admitted in 1971 that Congress was afraid of the FBI: “Our very fear of speaking out (against the FBI)…has watered the roots and hastened the growth of a vine of tyranny…which is ensnaring that Constitution and Bill of Rights which we are each sworn to uphold.”

Well put indeed, sir. It’s funny to see Leftards, once so contemptuous of J Edgar Hoover and filled with dread at the unchecked power of the FBI, now supportive of them in their desperation to get Trump someway, somehow—and I don’t mean ha-ha funny, either. Then again, the Left has always been very, shall we say, liberal when it comes to their choice of allies-of-convenience.

The American Stasi, somebody called ’em, which is neither hype nor exaggeration. It’s nothing but the dismal truth. Trump has every reason now to make a serious attempt at reining them in, and is probably the only President one might reasonably expect to try. Along with the IRS—another unaccountable, out of control agency whose power is without meaningful limit, and whose serial abuse of that power is legendary—the FBI is indisputable proof of the existence of the Deep State, in complete contravention of the Constitution’s long-abandoned limits on federal power. If any further proof were needed of just how far we’ve strayed from the vision of our Founders (and it isn’t), these two rogue agencies provide plenty enough.

(Via WRSA)

Update! After reading Hale Boggs’s statement above, I found myself a wee mite curious if he was still around, or if not, what the circumstances of his death might have been.

Now I don’t want to come off all paranoid or flaky or anything here, but…well, imagine my surprise.

Thomas Hale Boggs Sr. (February 15, 1914 – presumably October 16, 1972 but not declared dead until January 3, 1973) was an American Democratic politician and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the House majority leader and a member of the Warren Commission.

In 1972, while he was still Majority Leader, the twin engine airplane in which Boggs was traveling disappeared over a remote section of Alaska. The airplane presumably crashed and was never found. Congressman Nick Begich, of Alaska, was also presumed killed in the same accident.

WELL. Interesting, innit? Kinda spooky, too. But just you wait.

As Majority Leader, Boggs often campaigned for others. It was also in his interest to cultivate support from those Congressmen who had voted against him for Majority Leader, as Representative Nick Begich of Alaska had done in 1970. On October 16, 1972, Boggs was aboard a twin engine Cessna 310 with Representative Begich, who was facing a possible tight race in the November 1972 general election against the Republican candidate, Don Young, when it disappeared during a flight from Anchorage to Juneau. Also on board were Begich’s aide, Russell Brown, and the pilot, Don Jonz; the four were heading to a campaign fundraiser for Begich.

The search for the missing aircraft and four men included the US Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Air Force, Civil Air Patrol and civilian fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

The Cessna was required to carry an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) per Alaska state statutes section 02.35.115, Downed Aircraft Transmitting Devices, which took effect on September 6, 1972, five weeks before the plane disappeared. This statute incorporated by reference, except for the effective date, Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 91.52, which mandated ELTs on most non-jet powered fixed wing civil aircraft, including those used for air taxi and charter services. FAR 91.52, published on September 21, 1971, had an effective date of December 30, 1973 for existing aircraft.

No ELT signal determined to be from the plane was heard during the search. In its report on the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that the pilot’s portable ELT, permissible in lieu of a fixed ELT on the plane, was found in an aircraft at Fairbanks, Alaska. The report also notes that a witness saw an unidentified object in the pilot’s briefcase that resembled, except for color, the portable ELT. The NTSB concluded that neither the pilot nor aircraft had an ELT.

Bold mine. I hasten to declare that I’m making no accusations here, mind. Nope, none at all, and no assumptions neither. I’m just gonna give all that a quiet wow and a shake of the head, and leave it at that.

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Trump at war

As are we all.

Steve Bannon: This is a war. This is a war for our country. This country, we’ve been in this war for a while. It’s going to take another 15, 20, 25 years and we’re going to be one thing or the other on the other side of this. We’re either going to be the country that was bequeathed to us by the 14 or 15 generations that came before us, or it’s going to be something radically different.

What do you think was the specific messaging that drove those low propensity voters to actually, at the end of the day, pull the trigger for Trump?

Pat Caddell: Yeah, as I said, my question all along had been whether those voters would respond.  Alienation can often make people depressed and not participate. What did it, I think, is if you look at the last 8 to 10 days of Trump’s message, where he said, “This isn’t about me and Hillary. This is about you and them.”  Essentially a campaign that said your country is going to hell. You have to do something. And whether it was on immigration, which was a big issue, trade, where the country had taken a huge leap, or basically the idea, which I think was the most powerful of all, of “drain the swamp” and the corruption. Enough people felt that they, with good reason, would want a change, and they took the biggest gamble in history.

By every other measure we have had, this never should have happened. But the reason it did is because the country has never been where we are except twice before. I believe in the 1820s and the Civil War – well three times – and the Great Depression.  And what we have is a new paradigm in politics. This isn’t the traditional Democrat/Republican, Liberal and Conservative. This is inside, outside, us, them and the question of who’s country it is, and I have said to Steve the other day, and I’ll end on this note: At the heart of it is a perception. The subtext is that they know that their leaders are trying to manage the decline of America.

Steve Bannon: No, the issue of the polling and the analytical work, which was so thorough — this is not some slapdash poll like is done all the time. This was really deep analytical work. The question that the American people answered — 75 percent of your countrymen think America’s in decline. And what they understand is the country is in decline, right?  Particularly vis-à-vis the rest of the world. And that’s what the elites, that was the whole contrast in the campaign. Hillary Clinton and the Republican elites are very comfortable managing that decline.

Pat Caddell: Yes, they believe their destiny, I think, is to make sure it’s soft, we’ll be like the British. I have news for them: this election in 2016 and the ones that are coming are really about the fact that this country will not go gently into that good night of decline. They will rage, rage against the dying of the light.

We can only hope that there are enough stout American souls left among ‘us to stem the dismal tide. I especially like this part:

Pat Caddell: The issue is the country. It’s not which party. It’s going to be who owns the country, them or you. And the question is is America going to go into general night of decline or are we going to turn things around for our children and grandchildren. These are great moral questions.  And that is the new battleground that needs to be fought. And let me just say something. The media. The press, which was you could argue is adversarial, but what we have is not adversarial. We have a partisan opposition press which works hand in glove with the Democrats, which is the most corrupt media, and which, by the way, as a believer in the First Amendment, totally threatens the First Amendment, because as I have tried to say to people, when they figure out, which they have, that they can not only tell you who you must vote for, but they can tell you what truth you’re allowed to know or not to know, as we have seen in all of this other stuff with Russia, all of the stuff with the Clinton Foundation, all these things. The real question becomes why do we need a First Amendment if they’re not going to do their job, which is to be the tribune of the people and instead become the outriders of one political movement or another.

Steve Bannon: See, I look at it differently than Pat. I like having the media as the opposition party because they’re so dumb and lazy. I detest them. I detest them. Dumb, lazy, worthless. A great opponent. One last thing, we’ve got to wrap up here, is that it’s about the President. It’s about Donald J. Trump. Look, I got the great opportunity. I’ve known him for years, but I didn’t know him that well until I got into the campaign. I saw it every day. Here’s a guy, everything you see in the mainstream media is basically nonsense. Here’s a guy that was worth, I don’t know, five, six, seven, eight billion dollars. I don’t know the exact number, but a lot of money. He was 70 years old. He has a lovely wife, a great family, great kids, grandchildren. The friends he’s got from the sports and entertainment world and the business world are so close to him and such great people. He just had a perfect lifestyle. I mean here’s a guy at 70 years old that’s going around not just buying great hotels and refurbishing them and making them part of his Trump organization, but buying great golf courses and making them better and getting them in the U.S. Open or the Open Championship. It’s the kind of thing you would do, all of us would do when we’re 70 years old.  He ran for President of the United States. He’s not a narcissist and not in it for his ego or anything like that. You couldn’t do it for that. I saw this guy every day on the politics of personal destruction where they came after him hammer and tong. And you guys only saw a tenth of it. If you saw the other 90 percent, you’d just be stunned. These people know no bounds. I don’t really disagree with it because I see what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to take control of the most powerful nation on earth, and they’re prepared to do anything to do that.

Donald Trump is an American hero because he had the courage to step up and run. In that primary, if you think about it, with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and Christie, go through all of them, 16. That was the Republican Party’s an entire generation of their best politicians that have been kind of bred for 10, 20, 30 years. And as good as those gentlemen are and Carly Fiorina, there’s not one, or even combined could they have taken on the Clinton apparatus. The Clinton apparatus is a killing machine, and it took somebody like Donald Trump, a blunt-force instrument, to defeat it.

Bang ON. You’ll want to read all of this one, gang; it’s just slap full of good, fascinating stuff. It’s a pity Bannon isn’t still working directly for Trump; this is a guy who truly gets it, with insight more penetrating than just about anybody else, and ingenuity and aplomb enough to have pulled together a cohesive, long-term vision for how to straighten out the mess fifty or sixty years of Progressivist misrule has wrought. Both Bannon and Caddell have some pretty choice things to say about Her Herness that you’ll get a solid giggle out of, too.

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Gone rogue

In fact, the very definition of a rogue agency: completely out of control, ignoring its proper mission and responsibilities when it’s not trampling them actively, with no real checks on the ability to abuse their excessive power, no boundaries, no meaningful oversight.

In Washington, the ostensible story is rarely the real story. We know, for example, that former President Clinton engineered a meeting with President Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch, on the tarmac of the Phoenix Airport on June 27, 2016.

That’s the official story, replete with the charming and intentionally disarming detail that all they talked about was their grandchildren. It was just coincidental, don’t you know, that at the time the FBI was looking into Hillary Clinton’s use of a “personal” email server to send, receive and store classified information.

And it was also simply coincidental that just a few days later, the director of the FBI – who served under Attorney General Lynch – announced that he wouldn’t recommend a prosecution of Hillary Clinton.

What we haven’t known, until now, is that a frantic scramble erupted in the halls of the FBI to cover up this meeting. In fact, the FBI turned its sharp light not on the scandalous meeting between the attorney general and Bill Clinton – but rather on one of the whistleblowers who got the word out.

The organization I head, Judicial Watch, asked the FBI on July 7, 2016, for any records that might pertain to the infamous tarmac meeting. We had to sue after we were ignored by the agency.

There’s more, of course. And it’s a drop in the bucket. Roger Simon pours more in:

In a series of heavily criticized tweets (aren’t they always) Trump is asserting that the FBI’s reputation is in tatters. Of course, he’s right. This isn’t justice as it’s supposed to be, not even faintly. It’s Kafka meets Orwell in the Deep State.

Robert Mueller may not realize it, but the conclusion of his investigation, whatever it is, will never be accepted by a huge percentage of the public. As the French say, Mentir est honteux. Lying is shameful. Mike Flynn may have lied, but so, undoubtedly, has the FBI, multiple times, more than Flynn could ever dream of doing or be capable of doing. And they’re the ones we’re supposed to trust in the end.

UPDATE:  Apparently my attack on the FBI was understated.  Peter Strzok, it turns out, was the man who was responsible for changing “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” in Comey’s final report on the Clinton email investigation, thus setting Hillary free for a crime the world knows she committed.

Steyn redirects the flow:

Martha Stewart wound up behind bars for telling a lie in a matter in which there was no underlying crime. In the case of Flynn, I heard some bigshot in Congress argue that Flynn’s lies were somehow “material” to the investigation. But, as Professor Jacobson points out, it’s hard to see how Russia can “interfere” with the election after it’s been held. Flynn’s conversations occurred in his capacity as a senior figure in the incoming administration. That’s the normal business of diplomatic relations – and it is most emphatically not the business of minor policemen within a leaky and insecure permanent bureaucracy.

So Flynn’s “lies” are not material – unless the Deep State is “investigating” the winning side in the election for engaging in the usual business of government.

Actually, it’s not for “engaging in the usual business of government” at all; it’s for having won election on a platform promising to dismantle the Deep State. All of this—all of it—is just part of the larger and ongoing soft-coup attempt by Shadow Government minions determined to protect their positions and hold onto their (excessive, routinely abused) power.

Second, I happened to speak to the FBI about a certain matter a couple of months back. Very pleasant lady. Thought it all went well. But my lawyers were dead set against it – because, if you go to see the Feds in the context of some or other investigation and you chance to be infelicitous about this or that, you’ll find that suddenly you’re the one being investigated for, as noted above, the one-way crime of lying to the authorities. Did Flynn, in fact, lie? When you’re shooting the breeze with G-men, mistakes or faulty recollection can be enough to land you in prison – if the Feds think it useful to them to threaten you with that. When Flynn pleaded guilty, was he, in fact, guilty? Or was he rather a ruined and broke man who could no longer withstand the pressure of the metaphorical electrodes with attendant billable hours?

I think we all know the answer to that. As I always say, the process is the punishment. And the Federal Government (which wins 97 per cent of cases it brings to court) can inflict a more punishing process than anyone this side of Pyongyang. This is a vile business that does no credit to a civilized society.

Indeed it doesn’t. But worse, none of it would even exist in a truly free society whose government operated within the limitations specified in its Constitution. Worse still, Steyn has more—a LOT more.

Third, as longtime readers, listeners and viewers know, I strongly dislike the uniquely American “presidential transition” period. As you know, in, say, the Westminster system, if a prime minister loses on a Thursday, his goes to the Palace to resign on the Friday, and he moves out of Downing Street on the weekend. The new cabinet ministers are in place the following Monday or Tuesday. The “transition” is part of the general institutional sclerosis of Washington, and certainly no friend to swamp-drainers: A year after Trump’s election, key positions in every cabinet department – Deputy Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Under-Secretaries, Deputy Assistant Secretaries, Assistant Deputy Secretaries, Deputy Assistant Under-Secretaries – are still held by Obama appointees.

Since January 20th, the party that lost the election has been, supposedly, out of power. But its appointees remain in charge – to the point where the President has to go to court to evict the in effect self-appointed head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – a lawless and unaccountable body so beyond the much vaunted “checks and balances” of the US Constitution that it can shake down its targets (banks) and transfer the proceeds to its ideological allies (anti-capitalist activist groups). The permanent bureaucracy’s argument re the CFPB is that elections don’t matter. Primitive countries have coups against the president; subtler systems have a thousand below-the-radar coups in every rinky-dink bureau and agency.

Trump may be the elected president, but at the CFPB, the Justice Department, State, Homeland Security et al the self-selected permanent state cruises on.

It’s actually frightening, is what it is. Because what it means is that, in truth, elections really DON’T matter. Until the unmasking of the Deep State brought about by Trump’s election, such a statement would have been dismissed by almost everybody as mere paranoia and loony-tunes conspiracy-theorizing. Now, the proposition is so brazen and in-your-face as to be impossible to credibly argue against. Steyn calls that an inversion in his post, but the overarching inversion here is that only a lunatic would deny a reality that not very long ago would have—hell, did—get you dismissed as, umm, a lunatic for suggesting.

Now, there’s an irony so caustic it would scorch the non-stick right off your best T-Fal skillet, people. To sum up:

There are lots of powerful people in both political parties and around the globe who didn’t want Trump to win the election. They were afraid, and rightly so, that he meant it when he said he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Trump is the enemy of the plans they have made at places like Davos and other global gatherings where the left-liberal clique that has run the world since the 1960s gathers to plot out the future course of events.

Trump threatens their interests. It’s a matter of simple economics. As so he must be removed, one way or another. Mueller is their tool for doing so, whether the president actually broke the law or not.

We’re approaching a constitutional crisis that gets at the essence of self-government. Should “We, the people” be in charge of the U.S. government or should that role be ceded even further to the career bureaucrats, members of the Foreign Service, Capitol Hill staff, K Street lobbyists, media stars and others who make up the permanent government? The day of reckoning is coming, something the president could bring about sooner rather than later by – now that he has pleaded guilty to something – pardoning Flynn in order to destroy Mueller’s ability to put pressure on him. It would be something to see, watching the special prosecutor and his minions try to move ahead in their effort to construct a semblance of proof the Trump campaign coordinated activities with the Russian government to the detriment of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign without being able to squeeze a key player in this fantastic fantasy. It’s not a matter of Flynn not being able to talk as much as it is liberating him to talk about the pressure applied to him by the prosecutor – which, if past behavior is any indication, probably should itself constitute some kind of a crime.

The deep staters are dancing tonight because they believe they are one step closer to their objectives. Again, maybe so, but it would be wrong for the president to go down without fighting, bare knuckles, against the trends that could very well, in the long run, destroy our democratic institutions as designed by the founders and as we’ve come to know them.

They’ve already been destroyed. More precisely, they’ve been co-opted, perverted, and transformed into the very thing the Founders warned us against. There is no hope of fixing them; the more people become aware of that, the more imminently dangerous the ground we tread becomes.

Damning update! From Scott McKay:

Peter Strzok is everything, as it turns out. Strzok looks like the man at the center of what can best be described as the complete collapse of the FBI and Justice Department’s trustworthiness and credibility, a collapse which is triggering a crisis in the public confidence in the federal government as an institution we consent to have power over us.

To summarize, the Mueller probe is rotten to the core. It’s been nearly a full year in existence and is no closer to finding evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians than he was when he started, and to date all he’s managed is a pair of guilty pleas based purely out of conduct during the investigation, with Flynn’s the most significant.

This isn’t a banana republic, at least not yet. But it’ll become one on Trump’s watch if the president doesn’t act to put a stop to the runaway corruption in the Justice Department.

Here’s how to do that. First, Trump should pardon Flynn for the lie he admitted to the FBI, immediately. Only that, though — Flynn shouldn’t get a free pass for other things he’s done, like for example his Turkish escapades which might well bear further investigation.

Next, Trump should see to it that Strzok and Weissmann, and a number of others on Mueller’s team who are clearly compromised — they’d be disqualified as jurors on any case involving the president as having conflicts, much less as investigators — are fired. Not tomorrow. Today. This minute.

And Trump should tell Mueller he has until Christmas to bring an indictment against someone for collusion with the Russians, or else he’s fired and his probe gets disbanded. This investigation can’t be open-ended, and it also can’t be allowed to be a perpetual motion impeachment machine — not because it’s bad for Trump, but because it is poisonous to American democracy that this witch hunt might go on while the same people involved in it were actively at work exonerating Clinton.

Trump should also fire assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and assistant FBI director Andrew McCabe, both of whom are hopelessly compromised as well, and conduct a top-down review of FBI and DOJ personnel to rid those agencies of the partisan political corruption that clearly pervades them.

There can now be no mistake about the legitimacy of the Deep State coup against Trump his supporters have claimed. It’s real. The question now is what the president is going to do about it. The Democrats will use the 2018 midterm elections as a public referendum on whether they’re to be given the political power to impeach the president, and Mueller’s probe is nothing more than an effort to legitimize that naked grasp at the brass ring. Trump may have been practicing a bit of a rope-a-dope to smoke out just how empty this “collusion” narrative has been, but we’re past that now. Now it’s time to end the circus and turn out the clowns.

Enough already. Get rid of these people.

Amen—to include every last Obama stay-behind agent in the government he can reach. I’m highly skeptical that a massive round of firings at the FBI could ever be enough to undo the rot there, but it would at least be a start at something productive, and would indicate the seriousness of Trump’s commitment to draining the swamp…or the lack thereof.

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“The income tax system cannot be fixed. It must be destroyed”

I don’t know if “fix” is the right word anyway. It’s working as intended. It’s just that it has no place in any legitimate Constitutional government, is a wholly corrupt abomination, and is a tyrannical affront to the ideals of the Founders, that’s all.

The income tax is applied in a deceptive manner, in that by withholding taxes from paychecks, it becomes effectively invisible to the lower-level wage-earner once he gets over the initial shock of seeing his first paycheck arriving at far fewer dollars than he had counted on.

Not coincidence. Not accident. Not happenstance. On purpose.

The need to abolish the income tax permanently has become glaringly apparent. Congress has become paralyzed trying to reform a system that is beyond broken. Any fix in any one part of the tax code causes it to break somewhere else. It is a system of exemptions for favored portions of the population, who are in effect subsidized unfairly by those less favored.

The tax code has created the insane idea, ingrained into those who make laws, that your money is not really yours at all, but rather, it belongs to the government. Government takes what it wants, gorging itself in wasteful profligacy, and then doles what is left of it back to you, as if it were doing you a favor.

Worse yet, tax laws are used (in effect) to buy votes. Politicians adjust the tax laws to help their campaign donors, reducing their taxes at your expense. They then get re-elected to repeat the process.

Let’s just all repeat my mantra together now, shall we? Not coincidence. Not accident. Not happenstance. On purpose. Every bit of it.

Rough justice update! Sic simper tyrannis.

Former IRS executive Lois G. Lerner told a federal court last week that members of her family, including “young children,” face death threats and a real risk of physical harm if her explanation of the tea party targeting scandal becomes public.

Ms. Lerner and Holly Paz, her deputy at the IRS, filed documents in court Thursday saying tapes and transcripts of depositions they gave in a court case this year must remain sealed in perpetuity, or else they could spur an enraged public to retaliate.

“Whenever Mss. Lerner and Paz have been in the media spotlight, they have faced death threats and harassment,” attorneys for the two women argued.

“Not a smidgeon of corruption,” eh, Barky? I’ll toss in another good old quote: “When the people fear government, there is tyranny. When government fears the people, there is liberty.” With that truism in mind, I can’t restrict my reaction to mere indifference to Lerner’s plight, but find it positively encouraging. It says good things about the possibility of the political pendulum swinging back in the right direction, if nothing else.

Despite having gotten death threats before now as claimed above, I very much doubt her fear of attempted physical assault or murder is really justified by any real chance of its actually happening. She’s not likely to suffer anything but occasional inconvenience and discomfort for her criminal efforts to stifle dissent, to disenfranchise and harass people for daring to harbor views unapproved by the ruling Deep State/Progressivist cabal—people who mistakenly expected the First Amendment to apply to them, or to have any meaning at all.

She and every other petty despot embedded in every dark corner of the Deep State ought to be fearful, or at least cognizant of a very real risk concomitant with any depredation or transgression against the rights of the people they supposedly “serve.” Swift and severe retribution against them by an outraged populace would amount to no more than justice being served at last, and ought to be expected rather than shocking or rare. Complacent, fatalistic acceptance of such depredations is a large part of why we’re in the mess we’re in.

Far from receiving any just punishment at all, though, Lerner didn’t even lose her fucking pension, and was allowed to retire in peace after first lying about the targeting and harassment; then making a pre-emptive statement of “confession” calculated to shield her from justice for her inexcusable cooperation in subverting democracy and flouting the core principles of the Republic; then pleading the Fifth, thereby piling outrage upon outrage by seeking the protection of the very Constitution she had willfully and knowingly trampled underfoot. She was found to be in contempt of Congress, which matter was quickly and quietly dropped with no consequence to her. Incredibly, she even collected over a hundred thousand dollars in bonuses while presiding over banana-republic style suppression of the right to express dissent.

Then stir this into the noxious stew:

On June 13, 2014, the IRS first stated that it lost Ms. Lerner’s emails from 2009 to 2011.

The IRS said hard drives and backups are destroyed for six other IRS employees too. The IRS spent $10 million unsuccessfully trying to recover them, but much later, the Inspector General found them, noting that IRS IT professionals said no one ever asked for them. It is still possible Ms. Lerner could be queried over the hearings revealing 32,000 more emails, and possible criminal activity.

But on his last day in office, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen concluded that Ms. Lerner’s statement was not a waiver of her constitutional right against self-incrimination. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz complained that, “Mr. Machen attempted to absolve Ms. Lerner of her actions by substituting his judgment for that of the full House of Representatives. It is unclear whether the Administration directed Mr. Machen not to prosecute Lois Lerner, or whether he was motivated by an ideological kinship with IRS’s leadership.”

Ms. Lerner will probably not face any further action. 

“Not a smidgeon of corruption”? My God, the whole thing was a pluperfect example of nothing BUT pure corruption, complete corruption, from start to finish and top to bottom. Obama’s preposterous assertion was never anything but laughable on its face, and was itself an example of his own sense of invulnerability, and his smug contempt for not just the rule of law but the American public itself.

Make no mistake: the weaponization of the IRS by the Obama junta and its deployment to harass people guilty of nothing whatsoever was a crime—a despicable one, a heinous one, a legally-actionable one, and one that should never have been dismissed, denied, excused, or accepted by any real American. It was a particularly odious abuse of power perpetrated by the most feared agency in the federal government—an agency long drunk on its own near-limitless power, capable of destroying lives permanently for the most minor of infractions with total impunity. It can—it has—wiped out the fruits of a lifetime’s work, struggle, and sacrifice over a trifling error of its own commission. It is a monstrous bureaucracy unfettered by meaningful oversight or restraint. It’s difficult to imagine anything more un-American.

These crimes cry to the heavens for redress. And we’re never going to get it.

In a more righteous era, with a government restrained by a healthy and proper reluctance to run roughshod over the rights of its people, enforced by the dauntless self-respect and vigilance of those people, she’d have been swinging by her neck from a DC lamppost long ago, just as soon as she openly confessed to her crime. But then, as the bumper sticker says: The Founders would have been shooting by now.

Lerner fears for her life? Good. She deserves a whole hell of a lot worse than that in payment for her despicable, immoral, and unforgivable suppression of the most fundamental rights of wholly innocent Americans. That she has the unbelievable audacity, the pure gall, to whine about her situation now just makes her even more contemptible. She is a vile worm; a blight on the landscape, a miserable excrescence without character, courage, virtue, or any other redeeming quality. Indeed, she’s far worse than that: she and her cohorts are dangerous, and are exactly what the Founders warned us against.

And once again, make no mistake: the IRS and every other Federal agency and department is staffed full to brimming with people just like her. Yes, there are exceptions. But she was by no means singular or extraordinary; she is the rule, the norm, and they’re all there still, beavering away in obscurity, eating away at our national foundation every minute of their busy workday.

Taken together, they in their thousands constitute a truly daunting problem, one that may well be insuperable. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and Lois Lerner is an air-tight argument for doing away with the nest of vipers that is the IRS all by herself.

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Unity now nah

The last desperate resort.

One of the weirder aspects of the modern age is the endless calls for unity from our superiors, particularly those in the Progressive camp. It’s weird for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact the Left is endlessly trying to marginalize anyone that disagrees with them. It is how diversity came to mean rigid homogeneity. Putting aside the hypocrisy, it’s weird because it is fairly new and very un-American. It also contradicts the very premise of democracy, which is about competing opinions, jostling for support.

It seems that the calls for “unity” have coincided with the spread of the American civic nationalism stuff. Thirty years ago, no public figure talked about “who we are” or made grand claims about a unified America culture. In fact, the lack of conformity was the gold standard of intellectual rigor. Democrats used to claim they had so much internal debate, it was like herding cats. Republicans used to crow about being the party of ideas, meaning that they had the bulk of free thinkers and dissident chattering skulls.

It’s not a coincidence that the flowering of the civic religion stuff has coincided with increasing calls for unity and now the un-personing panics. Religions, particularly in their growth phase, are highly intolerant of competing religions. It’s why the Left, even today, attacks Christianity. They see it as competition. In order to have a civic religion, it means stamping out ideas and movements that contradict it, even if those ideas are rooted in observable reality. In the name of unity, dissent must be crushed, along with the dissenter.

The unintended result of this is to de-legitimize the Right half of the ruling class. A so-called conservative with a twitter account, especially one with a blue check, will now be seen as nothing more than an organ grinder’s monkey. The civic religion only works when political debate is confined to the tiny ideological space occupied by Progressives and their hand-picked opposition. Strip away the legitimacy of the so-called conservatives and the civic religion is revealed to be a public relations campaign by the ruling oligarchs.

That’s the core reason that American public debate seems so uncivil. In an effort to defend the status quo, the ruling elites have become increasingly aggressive at stamping out dissent. The whole “Russian hacking” nonsense was a thinly veiled way of saying that those who voted for Trump were either stupid or un-American. The fact that it appears the purveyors of this story were themselves in cahoots with the Russians suggests there are no limits to what they will do to crush their opposition. Torquemada would be proud.

Eric Hoffer said, “Fanatical orthodoxy is in all movements a late development. It comes when the movement is in full possession of power and can impose its faith by force as well as by persuasion.” It’s also a late phase effort, a rearguard action, intended to defend the status quo, despite there no longer being an obvious use for it. The current arrangements in America no longer serve anyone other than the relatively small number of people who live like royalty in the Imperial Capital and its satellite cities.

At some point, the cost of maintaining unity among increasingly hostile tribes outweighs the benefit. The increasingly shrill demands for unity and obedience, along with the corresponding fissures opening up in public life, suggest we’re following a familiar path that leads to a break down. Some social scientists seem to get, to some degree, what is happening, but no one knows what comes next. Maybe it is just too frightening to consider or maybe it is impossible to know. What’s not coming, though, is national unity.

There can be no real or lasting unity joining people who desire freedom with those who wish to take it from them. There can only be conflict—which one side must win, and the other…lose.

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The Long March

How we got here, and where it’s all leading.

Disabling of independent thought. Nothing is more threatening to petty dictators than a citizenry’s widespread ability to think clearly and independently. Radical education reformers have sought for generations to drum the capacity for independent thought out of students. “Critical thinking” has been made into a garbage term for fads that have students doing anything but gain content knowledge.

Most college students today probably could not answer even a fraction of the questions on an eighth grade general knowledge exam from 1912. Without core knowledge, people have a difficult time putting any knowledge into its proper context. After decades of such politicizing reforms, you can end up with college students so muddled in their thinking that they need “trigger warnings” before reading anything that might conflict with the social and emotional programming they’ve experienced. In the propaganda phase, we’ll see how political correctness compounds this problem by cultivating the fear of rejection for expressing one’s thoughts.

Ever more bureaucratization. Human freedom is inversely proportional to the bloat of the administrative state. I’m not sure who should be credited with first making this observation. It resounds in the work of the American Founders, Alexis de Tocqueville, Friedrich Hayek, and even the psychiatrist Carl Jung, among many others. But the piles of regulations that put businesses, as well as personal lives, into straitjackets attest to this destabilizing trend for human freedom.

You can trace this back quite a ways, particularly with President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs put into place to address the Great Depression. But it certainly helped put into high gear the bloat we see today. Compounding the problem is the notion that immigration should be limitless and the nation borderless, despite a national debt of $20 trillion. The metastasis of bureaucracy is a huge indicator we’ve been on the path to centralized power that feeds corruption and lays groundwork for communism.

Erasure of collective memory. Another crime of radical education reform is its attack on the study of history, civics, and the classics of literature. Today we can see the bitter fruits of such 1960s radical education reform, which has roots going back to 1920s with John Dewey. If we are no longer able to place ourselves and society into the context of historical events, our vision going forward will be blurred at best.

It gets even worse if we don’t learn how our form of government functions. Today fewer and fewer college students have the capacity to understand that the First Amendment serves as a buffer against totalitarianism, not something to be abolished under the pretext of “hate speech.” And depriving students exposure to literary classics like Shakespeare (based on the charge that such works are “Western” and therefore ethnocentric) prevents them from discussing the universal human condition and our common humanity.

Instead, students are increasingly fed grievance studies and identity politics. As universities go this route, it trickles down to K-12 education. As a result, we are losing the social glue of our common traditions and heritage—not just as a nation, but as human beings. This cultivation of ignorance by the education establishment over the years compounds the isolating effect on people. It makes youth especially vulnerable to becoming fodder for power elites.

That’s from part two of a truly monumental work, a near-comprehensive primer on the mechanisms by which communism has infiltrated our society. I excerpted that bit because it underlines what I’ve always believed is the single most important step of the early stages: the infiltration and takeover of the educational system, and its subsequent use to not only promote communism, but also erode respect for American values, distort historical fact, erase knowledge of our Founding and our civic structure, and diminish the very idea of the value of liberty and the concept of unalienable, God-given rights themselves. From part three:

Once communism gained a foothold in Russia, it doomed its citizens to lives of scarcity, misery, social distrust, terror, and mass murder. The same goes for China. Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, the Castros, Che Guevara, Joseph Stalin, the Kims of North Korea—all of them were brutal dictators enabled by a system that always places too much power into the hands of too few people. It’s a corrupt and cruel system that allows an elite oligarchy—which Lenin called a “vanguard”—to enslave the entire population.

But what about a nation like America, which was built on the idea that every human being is endowed by our Creator with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? We have a Constitution that guarantees these rights and separates the branches of government, placing restraints on government so individuals may live freely. Furthermore, this document intentionally contained the seeds of slavery’s destruction. Americans shed a lot of blood to protect the freedoms enshrined in that document for us and for our posterity.

So is it possible that we, a free people, could ever throw it all away? Could we sell ourselves into the slavery called communism? Sadly, of course we could. Anyone who forgets his birthright is more likely to squander it. And there has been a lot of forgetting. As Ronald Reagan warned, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

Chillingly prophetic words, those. And then there’s this:

Nearly 100 years ago, the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci declared that the key to achieving global communism was through culture, not promoting socialist economic policies that had little appeal in the West. This would require a “long march through the institutions” of society, destroying them from within so communism could fill the vacuum.

Radicals of the 1960s like Saul Alinksy picked up on this theme, noting that “the system” (i.e., American freedom) could only be destroyed once radical operatives had secured control over society’s institutions. The deep state is one example of institutional takeover that’s been building through decades of bureaucratic bloat, with operatives embedded in the military and intelligence agencies. The cultural takeover of media outlets, academia, and entertainment is both broad and deep today, after decades of creep.

But it is the mediating institutions have been most relentlessly attacked—family, church, and voluntary organizations—because they serve as buffer zones of influence that help shield individuals from abuses by the state. Today they are more vulnerable than ever to total absorption by the Mass State, a prerequisite for communism.

Such has been their success that to even take note of this sinister “progress,” much less suggest that it should be seriously pondered or examined, is to hazard getting oneself labeled as a deluded headcase, an irrational, conspiracy-theorizing lunatic. Which in turns suggests just how difficult a struggle lies ahead of us, and how long it might take us to turn the tide—assuming that’s even possible at this late date.

Like I keep saying: not by accident, no coincidence. Once you acknowledge that, the rest follows as surely as dawn follows dark. These articles make an ironclad case for the proposition, and specific as they are, backed up by plenty of supporting links, amount to damned useful support for any good-faith discussion of the matter you might happen to find yourself involved in. From part one:

Although communist and socialist governments murdered well more than 100 million people in the course of the twentieth century, that number spikes even further when you include the practical bedfellows of communism, like Nazism and fascism, for example. According to the calculations of Professor R. J. Rummel, author of “Death by Government,” totalitarian regimes snuffed out approximately 169 million lives in the twentieth century alone. That number is more than four times higher than the 38 million deaths—civilian as well as military—caused by all of the twentieth century wars combined.

As Rummel states: “Power kills. Absolute power kills absolutely.” The common thread that runs through communist and fascist ideologies is their totalitarian nature, which means they control people by breeding scarcity, ignorance, human misery, social distrust, the constant threat of social isolation, and death to dissenters. All in the name of justice and equality.

They cannot abide any checks or balances, particularly checks on government power as reflected in the U.S. Bill of Rights. They fight de-centralization of power, which allows localities and states true self-governance. Such restraints on the centralized power of the state stand in the way of achieving the goal of communism: absolute state power over every single human being.

Which is why they’ve worked so diligently to neuter the Constitution, to dismiss it as a document of only historical interest with merely notional, glancing relevance to life in America today—”how could they have foreseen” etc and blah blah blah—or, alternatively, to promote it as a “living document” infinitely malleable to more comfortably suit the whims and fads of the moment.

It has become fashionable in some quarters on the Right to bash the Constitution as a failed document, a near-useless, poorly-conceived, slapdash botch doomed to said failure by its own in-built flaws right from the start. I never have subscribed to that theory myself; it has admittedly failed as the primary guardian of our rights, sure enough. But it’s my belief that the failure, just as Adams warned, was ours. Had we demanded strict adherence to its policies and prescriptions as we should have, and raised a real howl every time it was traduced or ignored by maleficent politicians with barely-clandestine designs on our natural rights, it would still be functioning perfectly well as the blueprint for proper governance of a free people.

The Constitution didn’t break down on its own; because of a soft complacency going back many, many years, it was broken. I have serious doubts as to the possibility of putting it back together again; I consider civil war or partition or both to be far more likely, sobering as it is to anticipate. But if repair and restoration is ever to happen, a clear understanding of who and what broke it, and why, would have to be a vital first step.

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Clueless about communism

A grim portent.

A recent poll found that fifty percent of millennials say they would rather live in a communist or socialist country than in a capitalist democracy. These numbers can’t be laughed off — they should frighten you. Maybe they don’t know what communism means.

I do. I lived in Communist Poland.

Perhaps those fifty percent of millennials were not properly taught about communism in school. That’s too bad, and dangerous.

Certainly is. But it’s more than that. It’s on purpose, and done with malign intent. As such, it graduates from merely deplorable to outright criminal.

Do you millennials enjoy having electricity on demand to charge your devices? Then you would hate Action “O.” Action “O” stood for “Oszczednosc,” which translates to “Savings.” Poland’s communist government would notoriously turn off electricity to various areas of the city to “save” energy.

They had an interesting system which they described as “customer oriented”: they would turn the electricity off for one minute and turn it back on for five minutes as a warning that a shutoff was coming. You had exactly five minutes to find your matches and candles, because after that electricity would shut off for several hours.

If that wasn’t bad enough, we suffered under a shortage of matches.

Follows, a very long litany of the usual commie “success” stories, none of which will or should surprise any of you. As TB has so pithily and perceptively said: “North Korea isn’t a failed socialist state, it’s a perfected one.

Far as I’m concerned, a state that uses mass starvation as a tool of government can’t reasonably be considered by any decent, knowledgeable person as anything but purest evil. Full stop, end of story, no elaboration necessary. But hey, THIS TIME we’ll get it right, eh, Leftards?

This also seems like a good time to repeat a favorite idea of mine: that every Left-leaning college student should be required—no ifs, ands, or buts—to spend a year after graduation in the commie or Moslem shithole of their choosing; it is self-evident that, should they ever get a real taste of the genuine article, they would be MOST unhappy about it, and the lesson learned would last their whole lives long. Every one of their seditious professors should have to do two years upon hiring, then a year at regular intervals, just as a refresher. That would be the end of this sort of nonsense, guaranteed.

As for that fifty percent of millennials, their cluelessness is their only defense as an explanation for their fondness for communism, albeit a mighty weak and unflattering one. They need to get themselves a real schooling before they do any more damage to the country than their equally witless parents have.

I think I’m gonna have to bookmark this piece, if not just download it entire. It makes for a highly useful primer course, seems to me, and ought to be spread around as widely as possible; my cap is duly doffed to Ryszard for writing it. Nobody is ever more horrified by the prospect of creeping communism here than those who have escaped it themselves, nor makes a more convincing case against it…and there’s a reason for that.

Update! Yet another commie “success” story…and another example of media propagandizing, too.

You know how Dem politicians who get in trouble suddenly become party-less. While GOP pols are always identified as such. Front and center.

Here’s a similar phenomenon when it comes to countries.

At the very bottom of a CNN story about Venezuela’s default and economic collapse is this correction. “This story has been updated to characterize Venezuela’s government as socialist.”

It’s right below the line, “The International Monetary Fund predicts that inflation in Venezuela will hit 650% this year and 2,300% in 2018.”

Why did that happen?

Boy, talk about a question that answers itself. Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia all come in for dishonorable mention in Daniel’s post, too. As well they might, and should. But not in our Praetorian Media. Such inconvenient truth is Not Helpful, don’tchaknow.

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Is America a failed state?

Francis mulls it over.

Corruption is pervasive inside many governments. The majority of Latin American nations, if their officials and lesser functionaries were to be denied the “privilege” of bribery, probably couldn’t function at all. Hernando de Soto could tell you all about it. Indeed, such practices are hardly confined to the Western Hemisphere.

Yet Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and so forth are never described as failed states. Clearly, the term doesn’t apply to corrupt regimes simply because they’re corrupt. What, then, is the distinguishing characteristic?

Is it a failure to enforce the law? But most nations have many, many laws that go unenforced. The United States of America is one such. Enforcement power is always insufficient to enforce all the laws on the books, because governments enact laws without regard for that consideration. The firearms laws of the U.S. provide an exceptionally compelling case.

Is it some characteristic of the law itself – some quality that the laws of a failed state must possess (or lack) that’s not present in (or absent from) the laws of other nations? That’s too nebulous to explain why the term has been applied so sparely. The luxuriant proliferation of law in every nation on Earth would reveal the presence (or absence) of any proposed characteristic in at least some of the laws of each nation.

Here’s an interesting case: Was South Vietnam, just before its conquest by North Vietnam, a failed state? It lacked the will, the power, or both to defend itself against the invasion, which is an important aspect of sovereignty. But at what point would that begin to matter? A number of smaller nations are probably just as ill-prepared to defend themselves against their neighbors, even if those neighbors haven’t troubled them yet.

No, there’s something else involved…some other characteristic of a nation that qualifies it as a “failed state.” It’s about the nature of the state itself.

More precisely, whether and how fully it lives up to its declared intentions and principles. The supposed intention of our government, its raison d’être, is to safeguard the natural rights and ordered liberty of its citizens, to regulate interstate commerce, and to provide for their common defense. Or so the documents that defined its original structure and guiding philosophy say.

By that measure, it isn’t completely failed but is inarguably well along the road to ruin, and our Ruling Class seems determined to continue along to the dismal terminus. On the other hand, the distance we’ve strayed from the vision of those documents, well into a territory the writers of those documents would consider entirely alien, argues that ours is indeed a failed state. But as Francis notes, our government is stable and secure, and is in no realistic danger of collapsing or being toppled at present—which would seem to argue against its being a failed state. Francis later considers an additional metric:

The defining characteristic of a state is an organization that possesses the pre-immunized privilege of coercion over those within its scope. Note the qualifier pre-immunized. Many non-state organizations can and do use coercive methods to attain their objectives. However, they remain liable to pursuit and penalty under the law, whatever it might be, should the state decide to act against them. Only the agents of the state are granted immunity – i.e., the presumption of lawfulness – for specified uses of coercion.

A state which can operate under the presumption of immunity for its deeds is a functioning one. Regardless of the laws it promulgates and whether or not it chooses to enforce them, it has not failed. It maintains its defining difference from the other organizations within its jurisdiction. Inversely, a state whose agents and other subunits are routinely punished for their actions by non-state actors is at the very least in danger of failure.

The federal government of the U.S. is not a failed state by that criterion. At this time there is no force in existence that threatens the immunity of its agents from punishment. Ruby Ridge and Waco provide clear demonstrations, regardless of our opinion of what happened in those two incidents.

You can say that again, buddy. Our government has inarguably failed to live up to its original principles and objectives; it has far exceeded the clear and specific limitations placed on it by its founding documents, casting the lofty ideals of its origin aside while still publicly claiming to abide by them and revere them. Its claim to moral rectitude and its very right to govern as defined in the Declaration is forfeit, voided by its own illegitimate actions. Its claim to the consent of the governed is maintained only by the populace’s terror of the State’s ability to, as Francis says, “operate under the presumption of immunity for its deeds,” which is all but unquestioned at this point.

Does that make it a failed state? Or just a successful tyranny?

I’ve always maintained that every government has one de facto purpose, whether acknowledged openly or (more commonly) concealed or denied: to consolidate and expand its power over those it governs. From that admittedly cynical perspective, our government has been spectacularly and depressingly successful. The irony is that that success always leads to failure in the long run: government’s encroachment on its subjects, gradually evolving into tyranny and abuse, breeds the discontent among the ruled that will sooner or later lead to its abolishment by them.

Think now of how many of us blithely evade or disregard on a daily basis many of the tens of thousands of regulatory restrictions they’ve burdened us with. It’s estimated that the average American commits between three and five felonies a day, each and every day. How could such an absurd state of affairs help but breed anything but contempt for the hapless government that seeks such total control over its subjects…but is obviously powerless to enforce it? That contempt may start out as a source of mild bemusement, but can and likely will degenerate into something a lot more dangerous to the grasping government should it ever seriously attempt to bring its subjects more fully to heel.

Think, too, of the sorry degeneracy of the appalling swine who run the government; not just the politicians, but the inept bureaucrats who actually do run the damned thing. The politicians alone are enough to reveal how far we’ve fallen. When was the last time you heard any of these contemptible cretins referred to as a “statesman”? The very idea of comparing any of the villainous poltroons currently in Congress to, say, James Madison, James Monroe, or, for that matter, Peter Muhlenberg of the first Federal Congress is risible on its face. The kind of people drawn these days to “serve” in Congress couldn’t be trusted to walk your damned dog. You certainly wouldn’t dream of hiring them to babysit your daughter, even for five minutes.

The profligate treachery and self-serving arrogance of John McCain; the addled witlessness of Maxine Waters; the complete mendacity and dishonesty of Nancy Pelosi; the smug double-dealing of Harry Reid; the slimy disingenuousness of Mitch “Yertle” McTurtle—these aren’t exactly ringing endorsements of the caliber of people in charge of government in the modern era. Some of them—most, probably—might be vain and presumptuous enough to think they’d fare well in a comparison to the true statesmen of an earlier age. But that only adds “delusional” to the litany of their inadequacy.

The character traits of those attracted to national elective office effectively guarantee that they’ll be the very type of person we wouldn’t want there. An overblown sense of self-importance; a desire to lord it over others, and an unswerving belief in their competence to do so; a monstrously and unjustly inflated ego; a mania for attention and affirmation; a near-sociopathic lack of interest in the needs or desires of other people; dishonesty and shamelessness; short-sightedness and disinterest in long-term consequences; basic fiscal greed—these pathologies, crippling disqualifications in just about any other field, are now requirements for success as an American career politician.

As for the bureaucrats, anybody who has spent a nightmarish afternoon struggling to deal with just about any government agency for just about any reason knows that they might be even worse. Hide-bound obstinacy; dull-wittedness; inflexibility; inability to distinguish between the trivial and the significant, or to usefully prioritize them; a bone-deep affinity for obsequiousness to superiors and bullying everyone else; an absolute dearth of creativity or empathy, and a loathing of any departure from routine to indulge them, even to their own inconvenience—these are the watchwords of the career bureaucrat. There are exceptions, of course; I’ve been pleasantly surprised to have run across one or two of late myself. But surprise only underlines the rarity of that deviation from the usual round.

Really, one could argue that EVERY state is a failed one eventually; that’s the evident historical pattern, at any rate. The amusing thing to me is how completely that implacable reality demolishes the core conceit of the Progressivists who are the driving force behind the growth of the Almighty State: namely, the belief in the perfectibility of the human animal. Unhappily for them, the harder they try to manipulate and reshape us according to their idea of “perfection”—the more encompassing the scope of their meddlesome interference—the quicker the seeds of our eventual rejection of them will flower into open rebellion against them. One of the “flaws” of human nature that they will never be able to correct to their satisfaction is our obstreperous, seemingly inborn resistance to the very kind of manipulation they envision.

If Progressivists and other Almighty State devotees had sense enough to leave us mostly alone as the Founders intended, their control over those aspects of life they might be permitted to oversee would be prolonged, and more stable. In an irony of nearly galactic proportions, their megalomania guarantees the undoing of their ambition…precisely because there IS such a thing as “human nature,” and the aspects of it they most dislike don’t easily yield to Progressivist tinkering or “perfecting.”

But then, if they had that much sense, or any at all, they wouldn’t be Progressivists or statists in the first place, and would recognize the fundamental truth of Thoreau’s (or O’Sullivan’s) axiom: that government governs best which governs least. Governs longer, too.

And that’s the crowning irony: by discarding the Founder’s ideal of limited government, the proponents and architects of the hoggish Superstate ensure its own inevitable devolution into a failed one. Call it karma, if you like.

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Trojan Horse

That’s all Obamacare ever was, you know.

The “Medicare for All Act of 2017” would repeal Obamacare, along with most other private and public insurance, and replace it with a government-run, one-size-fits-all, centrally directed system of reimbursement for medical expenses. Sanders, who honeymooned in the Soviet Union, holds the same opinion of health insurance as he does antiperspirants: “You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different sneakers when children are hungry in this country.”

Senators Harris, Booker, Gillibrand, and Warren, who in addition to cosponsoring the bill may soon be fighting each other, as well as Sanders, for the Democratic nomination, are generals re-enacting the last war. They saw how well Sanders did against Clinton, they have marched in the anti-Trump “resistance” movement, and they want to inoculate themselves from accusations of ideological heresy.

Which is why they embrace the thin-skinned and irritable senator whose wife is under federal investigation. What the copycats forget is the future in politics is never a straight-line projection of the present, much less of the bizarre circumstances surrounding the 2016 Democratic primary. “Medicare for All” might strike Warren & co. today as legislation worthy of support for reasons both moral and self-interested. In time, however, palling around with Bernie Bros may become a liability.

For one thing, the policy is remarkably vague. “Mr. Sanders did not say how he would pay for his bill,” writes Robert Pear of the New York Times. “Aides said he would issue a list of financing options.” The “options” are not included in the bill—but they are enough to raise the hair on the back of one’s neck.

The experiences of Vermont, whose single-payer system collapsed several years ago, and of California and New Jersey, whose true-blue legislatures can’t carry single payer across the finish line, and of Colorado, which voted overwhelmingly against a similar plan last year, suggest the tax increases necessary to sustain expanded coverage frighten even Democrats.

Hey, I thought you morons fixed all that with Obamacare, right? You remember, the “Affordable” Care Act? It was supposed to guarantee universal access to health care—for FREE, no less—and at the same time lower the cost, wasn’t it?

And now here they come again, peddling that same old pig in a poke; they’re even by-God brazen enough to use the exact same damned words. “Universal access.” “Lower costs.” I heard some Democrat-Socialist Congressprick on NPR doing precisely that just yesterday. Even the liberal NPR hack interviewing the lying putz seemed flabbergasted by the sheer twisted illogic of the thing. I would love to have seen video footage of the interview, just to see if the greasy shitweasel managed to keep a straight face.

And once they finally do get total government control over the health care system—and make no mistake, they will—well, that’s it, game over. It will NEVER go away short of an actual violent overthrow of the government. After all, it never has, in any and every other country in which it’s been tried.

Nope, the government-health-care “solution,” like love and diamonds, is forever. Just another of those things we’ll all have to learn to get used to and “absorb,” like the occasional Muslim terrorist atrocity, I guess.

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Getting to the root of the problem

It didn’t start with Obama. Nor Clinton, Carter, JFK, or even FDR.

In 1913, Woodrow Wilson was the newly elected president. Wilson and his fellow progressives scorned the Constitution and the Declaration. They moved swiftly to replace the Founders’ republic with a new regime.

There is widespread agreement that Wilson did not always show good judgment – for example, in his blunders in international relations – but in the project of overturning the Founding, he and the movement he led selected their targets shrewdly. By the time he left office, the American republic was, as they say, history. The fundamentals of the new regime were in place, and the expansion of government under FDR, LBJ, and Obama was made easy, perhaps even inevitable.

Nineteen-thirteen gave us the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution. That year also saw the creation of the Federal Reserve. This burst of changes marks the effective beginning of the Progressive Era in American politics, the era in which we now live. Wilson was to do much more that would once have been considered out of bounds, but these three changes were enough to change everything. In 1913, the fundamental agreement the Founders made with the American people about the relation of the states and the federal government was broken.

Here is the Founders’ original bargain, stated by James Madison in Federalist 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce…The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

It is important to remember that when we speak of the ratification of the Constitution, this is what was ratified. But this is not the government we now have. Today’s central government is not the federal government of the original Constitution.

Boy, he said a mouthful there. He mentions the three pillars of Progressivism that were the first big steps on the road to undoing America as founded; the 17th Amendment, the abomination that allowed for direct popular election of Senators, is mentioned first, as well it ought to be. I’ve certainly railed about it here often enough.

Clearly, the bargain, honorably entered into by the Founders’ generation, was broken. It was broken by the 17th Amendment, which instituted the direct election of U.S. senators. That amendment struck directly at the heart of the Founders’ design.  According to the original Constitution, senators were chosen by the state legislators. Unlike the members of the House, who represent the people of their district, the senators had a special responsibility to represent their states in the deliberations having to do with the those “few and defined” powers the Constitution transferred from the states to the federal government. That is why the states with small populations and the states with larger populations got the same number of senators and the same number of votes in the Senate. It is also why the Constitution gives the Senate power over treaties and over the appointment of the senior officials of the executive, those whose responsibilities include “war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” The 17th Amendment eliminated the fundamental electoral guarantee of the Founders’ vision of a federal government with limited powers.

The system we have today bypasses the state legislatures. The consequences have been many and profound. Probably the most obvious has been the inevitable erosion of the independence of the states and of their ability to counterbalance federal power.  The Senate was a barrier to the passage of federal laws infringing on the powers reserved to state governments, but senators abandoned that responsibility under the incentives of the new system of election. Because the states no longer have a powerful standing body representing their interests within the central government, the power of the central government has rapidly grown at the expense of the states. The states increasingly are relegated to functioning as administrative units of today’s gargantuan central government.  

To my way of thinking, this was the Big One, the one crucial step to transforming Constitutionally limited government into something the Founders would have abhorred. He goes on to make the case against the 16th and the creation of the Federal Reserve, winding up thusly:

It is perfectly obvious that we are far down the path to a new kind of tyranny by way of endless bureaucratic regulation and confiscation. If we are to recover and secure our liberty, much must be done, and much must be undone. We cannot succeed unless we carefully remove these three pillars of the Progressive State.

Again: he said a mouthful there. But to accomplish that would require the determined and unequivocal insistence of a benighted and historically-ignorant populace well-indoctrinated via a monolith consisting of government schools, the media-entertainment complex, the university system, and the government itself to regard a too-powerful central government as the natural order of things, and the answer to all their problems. Frankly, I don’t see it happening—not now, not ever. The country will break apart long before that ever happens…and I don’t see that as being particularly likely, either.

But at least we all have the satisfaction of knowing that Woodrow Wilson—a hateful, conniving, treacherous, rancidly evil bastard—will burn in Hell for a thousand years.

Update! Related? Oh, you better believe it is.

Yet another Orwellian restatement of the obvious: Marxism isn’t done. It’s alive and well. Every time it fails, it re-brands itself, peddles itself to the next generation of wishful thinkers, and wrecks another country. Venezuela is the most recent, glaring example. The U.S. may be wrecked in time, too, because the proselytizers of Marxism (under various types of shiny Christmas wrapping) infest our university system, the entertainment establishment, the news media, and government.

Think Marxism will never happen here? Upton Sinclair—the ardent socialist intellectual—said: the American people will never accept socialism when it’s labeled as socialism, but they *will* accept socialism under different names.

Which is why modern American Marxists will so hotly and adamantly deny that their brand of socialism, is in any way Marxist, or especially communist. Because they know Marxism and communism have a bad rap. They are depending on their ability to re-brand the same bad ideas (which “sound good” in the words of Thomas Sowell) in order to push those ideas forward.

In the end, every time socialism fails, the Marxists will claim it’s magically not socialism. We have had numerous examples of different interpretations of Marxist theory implemented at the national level, and those examples speak of unprecedented human suffering. Which somehow doesn’t count, we are told, because these countries weren’t doing it right.

So, clearly, we have to try again.

And destroy another nation.

And another. And another. And another.

And now, at long last, they have America itself squarely in their crosshairs—making it a bitter irony indeed to hear people talk about how we “won” the Cold War. But hey, THIS time they’ll get it right for SURE. Right, libtards?

(Via Sarah Hoyt)

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The “liberal” bait and switch

Hawkins explains how it works.

Furthermore, not only are you never really arguing about what you think you’re arguing about with a liberal, liberals will paint you as evil for continuing to support something they were backing five minutes ago. How many liberals did you hear demanding gay marriage 20 years ago? Almost none. Then, the second Barack Obama changed his mind about it, everyone who disagreed with gay marriage became a gay-hating homophobe. Did you notice the shocking speed with which we moved from “Liberals would never demand that women share bathrooms with men. That’s crazy….” to, “Anyone who doesn’t support men and women in the same bathroom is transphobic”?

Along similar lines, condemning whatever liberals want you to condemn to try to win favor with them is pointless. Go ahead and support their call to take down Confederate monuments. Do that and they’ll then demand that you oppose any sort of efforts to prevent voter fraud. Agree to that and they’ll insist that you admit that you’re racist by default since you’re white. Go along with that and they’ll say you have to vote for whatever tyrannical socialist they run in 2020 to be a good person. Then finally, if you say that’s a bridge too far, they’ll say, “Ha! Knew it! You’re just another one of those white supremacist Republicans!” There is no win/win to be had. There is no honest debate. There’s only a bait and switch designed to elevate liberals at everyone else’s expense.

Let me also note that I am not against apologizing when you’re wrong. I do it. It’s the right thing to do….except when you’re dealing with liberals. Never apologize to liberals. But, what if you’re 100 percent wrong? Still, don’t apologize. Why? Because liberals don’t view apologies like normal human beings. They view even the most sincere apology from a non-liberal as a club they can use to beat you. If you get in the crosshairs of some mob of social justice warriors, you’re a fool if you think that they will let you be because you were big enough to admit you were wrong. To the contrary, they will demand that you be fired, that you be scorned, that no good person could ever have anything to do with you again and they will point to your own apology as absolute proof that they’re right.

Other times, the liberal bait and switch is more insidious. Remember how it worked with Obamacare?

Democrats promised Obamacare would dramatically cut the cost of health care, that people could keep their doctors and plans if they liked them and everything was going to be wonderful, amazing and better in every way. Of course, none of that turned out to be true. Later, after trying to blame the failures of Obamacare on Republicans, liberals admitted that they had to lie to get the bill passed and said we should all be grateful that they did. Besides, everyone knew they were lying, right? Now that the system that they promised would be the best thing ever is falling to pieces, their solution is single-payer health care, which coincidentally turns out to be what many Republicans said they were trying to do all along. According to Republicans, the idea was to design a plan that would fail so they could try to do a full government takeover. That might sound a bit conspiratorial, except as it turns out, that’s exactly what happened. Going along with a bad liberal idea almost inevitably turns out to be a set-up or justification for an even worse idea down the road.

You want intellectual honesty from liberals? You’re not going to get it.

Of course not. What you WILL get instead is more demands, each more outrageous than the last, every time you give in to them. Their insistence on not just winning each and every time, but on the utter annihilation and humiliation of their opponents by rubbing their noses in their defeat might just be the single most annoying thing about them. It’s one reason why, say, the 2A folks are absolutely correct to be worried about the slippery slope where gun laws are concerned. They know very well that if you give them an inch on “reasonable, common sense gun safety laws” or “assault weapon” restrictions, the next thing you know they’ll attempt to have their jackbooted gendarmerie kicking your door in and seizing every firearm within reach the moment they think they can get away with it.

And that’s just one example. Every single slope is a slippery one indeed where these greedy fascists are concerned, on every issue you care to consider, from free speech to health care to business overregulation to all the various culture clashes. In the end, when it comes to the Left, the only sensible rule of thumb must be: never give in. Not one inch, not one time. Because whenever they win, America loses. And freedom becomes an ever-fading vision in the rearview mirror as we trundle along the road to abject servitude and despotism.

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Imagine there’s no countries

It’s easy if you try. And never mind the nightmare.

What you see here is the core issue between Poland and the EU over accepting migrants into Poland. It’s not about whether Poland or the EU gets to determine how many and what type of migrant Poland must take. It’s whether anyone can set any limits at all. The UN is making clear that no country can determine who may enter its lands for settlement. All the blather in that report about human rights is just filler. The issue here is whether countries should exist and the UN is making clear they think the future is post-national.

Part of what you see with the open borders people is their belief that their unique situation can scale up to the stars. The UN is a heavily guarded playpen for the rich brats of the world’s political elite. These brats look around and see a rainbow of colors getting along like old chums. They jump from there to assuming that this can be done everywhere, not realizing the global elite can only get along when there are men with guns keeping the peace. They live in a fortified compound and they want that for everyone.

Another aspect to this is simply spite. Ruling elites have always, at some level, been at odds with those over whom they rule. The “burden of leadership” means giving up time and energy to the maintenance of order and the perpetuation of society. It’s only natural to resent it a little. What we have today is a ruling elite that hates the majority of the people, namely the white people. Notice the UN is not making open borders arguments for Africa or China. Open borders only applies to white countries, never anywhere else.

Yeah, well, I’m sure we can all think of a few pretty good reasons for that easily enough. But noticing them would be racist, and speaking of them aloud would be criminal. Or will be shortly.

Christopher Caldwell famously pointed out that “One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong.” The same thing is happening with whites in their own lands. At first, the number of non-whites was too small to make a strong case against immigration. Now, the numbers are too large to do anything about it. The West is about to be over run.

Parts of it—namely Western Europe—have already BEEN overrun, and it’s far too late to do anything about it except learn to live with it, to docilely “absorb” regular atrocities committed by the intractable savages in their midst as routine. The US is well on its way down the same path; it remains to be seen if the will can be mustered to even slow it—much less halt or reverse it—in defiance of a smothering avalanche of Progressivist propaganda and protest. But even if they succeed, ironically enough, things aren’t likely to work out quite like the Tranzi globalists imagine. As always, they fail to take human nature into account:

Of course, the question sensible whites ask is how exactly the borderless world is going to function. The West exists because whites buy into the system. As America careens into a dystopian nightmare where feral mobs pull down the symbols of the nation, how much longer will those Constitution loving, patriotic Americans, who keep the country running, buy into the system? In Europe, hardly anyone is willing to fight for their country when asked by pollsters. Why would they? Their countries no longer exist.

In a borderless world, why would anyone have any loyalty to anyone or anything outside their tribe? How could there even be a state? In theory, the custodial state solves this by having corporations police the people, but as we see with the high tech firms, tribalism begins to rot them out from the inside. The cost of propping up cash furnaces like Twitter eventually becomes too much to bear, even for the true believers. Large scale social institutions can only exist in a world of large scale social trust.

The cucks can mew about identity politics, but tribalism is the inevitable politics of multiculturalism. In fact, in a multi-ethnic, multicultural world, there can only be identity politics. Everyone is forced to root for their own team exclusively.

The New World Order was unsustainable, and is now blowing up in the faces of its architects, to the horrendous detriment of its subjects. The UN couldn’t run a circle-jerk in a Tijuana whorehouse; it’s somewhat suitable as a meeting ground and discussion forum among independent nations, but not at all as an omnipotent governing body charged with directing the entirety of human affairs as the Tranzis dream of, because such is not only undesirable but impossible.

If there’s one thing we in the US should have learned by now, it’s the long-neglected adage of our Founders that a smaller, restricted government kept close to the governed and accessible by them works best for everyone…except for the rapacious, thieving despots who wish not to govern, but to rule. We abandoned that essential truth. Failing to renew our commitment to it will cost us dearly, and sooner rather than later too.

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Creeping Orwell

“Creepy” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Ontario announced earlier this month that it will become the fourth Canadian government to fund a behavioral modification application that rewards users for making “good choices” in regards to health, finance, and the environment. The Carrot Rewards smartphone app, which will receive $1.5 million from the Ontario government, credits users’ accounts with points toward the reward program of their choice in exchange for reaching step goals, taking quizzes and surveys, and engaging in government-approved messages.

The app, funded by the Canadian federal government and developed by Toronto-based company CARROT Insights in 2015, is sponsored by a number of companies offering reward points for their services as an incentive to “learn” how to improve wellness and budget finances. According to CARROT Insights, “All offers are designed by sources you can trust like the BC Ministry of Health, Newfoundland and Labrador Government, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Diabetes Association, and YMCA.”  Users can choose to receive rewards for companies including SCENE, Aeroplan, Petro-Canada, or More Rewards, a loyalty program that partners with other businesses.

Carrot Rewards is free to download, and users receive 200 points just by downloading the app and answering a few questions (the answers don’t have to be correct). Sending an invitation code to friends will also gain users points, as the government is happy to track the daily activity of as many citizens as possible — which, by the way, the app can do even when it is not “active.” In order to use the app, users are giving Carrot Insights and the federal government permission to “access and collect information from your mobile device, including but not limited to, geo-location data, accelerometer/gyroscope data, your mobile device’s camera, microphone, contacts, calendar and Bluetooth connectivity in order to operate additional functionalities of the Services.”

Now watch the sheep line up, pat each other on the back over how forward-thinking they are, and sniff down their noses at anyone who seems the least bit hesitant about opening themselves up to such comprehensive government snooping, surveillance, and manipulation. Thank goodness such a thing could never, ever happen here.

Yeah, I know, that last line wasn’t funny at all.

(Via Hoyt)

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We’re from the government, and we’re here to help

Having them in charge of our health care is going to work out just fine though, I’m sure.

Who would make a can without a vent unless it was done under duress?

That sound of frustration in this guy’s voice was strangely familiar, the grumble that comes when something that used to work but doesn’t work anymore, for some odd reason we can’t identify.

I’m pretty alert to such problems these days. Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice.

It’s like the barbarian invasions that wrecked Rome, taking away the gains we’ve made in bettering our lives. It’s the bureaucrats’ way of reminding market producers and consumers who is in charge.

How many other things in our daily lives have been distorted, deformed and destroyed by government regulations?

Ask yourself this: If they can wreck such a normal and traditional item like this, and do it largely under the radar screen, what else have they mandatorily malfunctioned? How many other things in our daily lives have been distorted, deformed and destroyed by government regulations?

Oh, most of them, really. We ARE after all talking about the same fumblefingered numbskulls who mandated that we all start running ethanol in our vehicles and lawn care equipment, a fuel that A) destroys engines, B) costs more to produce, C) creates more pollution, and D) is less fuel-efficient than regular gasoline.

If FederalGovCo were to set out to bake you a nice apple pie, it would require 200 paper-pushers to oversee the job; it would take ten years for the FDA to approve the recipe; it would end up costing about 700 dollars; and it would be so disgusting as to be inedible. If your grandma—who had baked a million of the things, all of which were perfectly delicious—tried to come into the kitchen to help out, she would be jailed for not having the proper license. If you complained about the taste, your honesty would get you a serious denunciation for “hate speech” for hurting the feelings of the eighteen transgender lunatics involved in the process as mandated by law, despite the fact that not one of them had ever baked so much as a Swanson’s chicken pot pie in their entire lives.

Then a blue-ribbon panel would be appointed to get to the bottom of the whole disaster, and Congressional Republicans would spend the next fourteen years holding hearings about it. In the end, we’ll all agree that it’s Trump’s fault—working together with the Russians, no doubt—and just say to hell with it and go to McDonald’s instead.

Government is supposed to be for building roads, securing the borders, and providing for national defense…and it can barely even get those things right. What it now is is a jobs program for morons too incompetent for useful work, and/or those drawn to it because of their megalomaniacal penchant for bossing others around. The more things we allow it to get its grubby fingers into, the more things it will wreck, and the unhappier we will all be.

And, well, here we all are.

(Via Glenn)

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Drain that swamp!

Let’s get on with it. It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick. But it couldn’t be more vital.

Anxious Trump voters have been understandably frustrated by the lack of speed with which President Trump is able to force the MAGA agenda onto an unwilling DC political apparatus. However, if you step back and look at the scope of the challenge, the situation is entirely understandable.

Donald Trump was a 100% pure political outsider, a citizen politician. There was never any underlying organizational apparatus to support victory. There was Dan, Hope, Michael and Corey; later Paul then Kellyanne and Steve. Everything else needed to be constructed from scratch and even the party apparatus didn’t support candidate Trump.

On November 9th 2016 President-elect Trump did not wake up with a staff of 50 political career employees sitting at Trump desks with Rolodexes filled with a network of affiliate political allies, personnel and associates to call upon to create the Trump administration. Consequently President Trump needed to import the entire administrative personnel architecture to support the move to the White House.

President-elect Trump approached that challenge by hiring the Chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus to fill out the hundreds of empty chairs. Priebus brought a staff mostly from the RNC and his own network of contacts. Many of those people were not self-described deplorables, or MAGA-minded; hence, the leaking etc.

The Heritage Foundation, and a few other late-coming allied political groups were brought on to provide some more legislative-minded bodies to help turn the Trump populist and pragmatic campaign platform into actionable policy and legislation. There simply wasn’t a decades old MAGA think tank as a resource.  Again, sub-contracting needed.

Understanding the dynamic of building out the administrative architecture leads to an understanding of the visible frustration. However, this is exactly what citizen political operations look like absent of career political operatives familiar with all historic national political efforts.

Many people might wonder what took so long. However, when we take time to understand the nature of a complete political outsider winning the office of the Presidency and all that encompasses, we begin to understand the best part of what we voted for is only possible when the architecture to support it is fully in place.

We are nearing that point.

Winter is coming for the intransigent professional political class.

We can only hope. The very idea of a “professional political class,” of such creatures as “career politicians,” was anathema to the Founders, and very rightly so. It’s the source of nearly all our current woes that it hasn’t remained so with us, and until the idea of ordinary citizens doing their term or two of public service and returning to private life becomes the norm again rather than a concept as bizarre and alien to us as…well, as three-headed aliens from Mars walking the streets among us, we will have little hope of putting things right again.

The very notion of an enormous, intrusive, all-powerful central government ruling us via a “professional political class” of supposed “experts” is surely Progressivism’s greatest triumph. But our having allowed ourselves to be trained to humble acceptance of it as simply the natural order of things would have to rank near the top of the list, too.

If he can pull it off, Trump’s most resounding and meaningful achievement will probably be to clear out the DC rat’s nest of every last Obama appointee; thoroughly and entirely fumigate the out-of-control bureaucracies and burn out the deadwood therein; remind the vermin in the executive-branch departments so clearly determined to cripple his agenda a-borning of just who it is they’re supposed to be working for; and bring the Ruling Class firmly to heel at last. I repeat: not easy, not quick. But absolutely vital.

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A little useful knowledge

About another useless federal program.

ProPublica has been researching why the U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world. One answer, broadly, is waste — some of it buried in practices that the medical establishment and the rest of us take for granted. We’ve documented how hospitals often discard pricey new supplies, how nursing homes trash valuable medications after patients die or move out, and how drug companies create expensive combinations of cheap drugs. Experts estimate such squandering eats up about $765 billion a year — as much as a quarter of all the country’s health care spending.

What if the system is destroying drugs that are technically “expired” but could still be safely used?

In his lab, Gerona ran tests on the decades-old drugs, including some now defunct brands such as the diet pills Obocell (once pitched to doctors with a portly figurine called “Mr. Obocell”) and Bamadex. Overall, the bottles contained 14 different compounds, including antihistamines, pain relievers and stimulants. All the drugs tested were in their original sealed containers.

The findings surprised both researchers: A dozen of the 14 compounds were still as potent as they were when they were manufactured, some at almost 100 percent of their labeled concentrations.

“Lo and behold,” Cantrell says, “The active ingredients are pretty darn stable.”

Naturally, and as is almost always the case, Leviathan exempts itself from the rules it forces the rest of us to labor under. Which amounts to a pretty good working definition of tyranny, if you ask me.

The federal agencies that stockpile drugs — including the military, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — have long realized the savings in revisiting expiration dates.

In 1986, the Air Force, hoping to save on replacement costs, asked the FDA if certain drugs’ expiration dates could be extended. In response, the FDA and Defense Department created the Shelf Life Extension Program.

Each year, drugs from the stockpiles are selected based on their value and pending expiration, and analyzed in batches to determine whether their end dates could be safely extended. For several decades, the program has found that the actual shelf life of many drugs is well beyond the original expiration dates.

A 2006 study of 122 drugs tested by the program showed that two-thirds of the expired medications were stable every time a lot was tested. Each of them had their expiration dates extended, on average, by more than four years, according to research published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Some that failed to hold their potency include the common asthma inhalant albuterol, the topical rash spray diphenhydramine, and a local anesthetic made from lidocaine and epinephrine, the study said. But neither Cantrell nor Dr. Cathleen Clancy, associate medical director of National Capital Poison Center, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the George Washington University Medical Center, had heard of anyone being harmed by any expired drugs. Cantrell says there has been no recorded instance of such harm in medical literature.

And there’s your pretty good working definition of the federal goobermint itself: an all-powerful bureaucracy eternally searching for “solutions” to “problems” that don’t actually exist, mucking things up entirely in the process. See also: “climate change,” just for one obvious example. You can be sure that this same sordid story of overregulation, obsessive control, red tape, and senseless, destructive, costly waste is repeated throughout any federal agency you’d care to examine.

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Deep State dinner theater

Good line. I’ll be using it again, I expect. Although it could be argued that it amounts to making way too light of what actually is a serious attempt at a coup, an overthrow of a duly elected President for no cause other than the Democrat Socialist Party refuses to recognize the right of the people to have any say in how they’re governed.

Further to my observations on Deep State dinner theatre, the “Russia investigation” show goes on, undeterred by the lack of any evidence of actual crime: The more obvious the absence of any crime to investigate, the bigger the investigation gets. As I’ve said before, in Hitchcockian terms, this is a thriller without a MacGuffin: instead, it’s one big MacNuffin – unless you count the “collusion” between government bureaucracies and the Hillary campaign in surveilling their political opposition before the election, or FBI honcho Jim Leaky leaking material to The New York Times to get his buddy Bob Mueller appointed as “Special Counsel”.

That last one worked – notwithstanding calls for a Special Counsel to investigate the Special Counsel over his ties to the FBI Director who wanted the Special Counsel. This is a very Washington creature-feature: the Blob feasts on nothing. So at the Deep State dinner theatre Mr Mueller is now casting an army of extras. With the usual money-no-object lavishness of the world’s premier five-star swamp, the Special Counsel has appointed, to date, 14 lawyers to his “investigation”, “with more still to come”. In a fascinating column, my old colleague Andrew McCarthy puts this prosecutorial football squad in perspective:

Andy was the lead counsel in the prosecution of the Blind Sheikh for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. It led to a nine-month trial of twelve defendants. The Government somehow managed to pull that off with three prosecutors plus an appellate lawyer.

A couple of years before that, Andy was on the “Pizza Connection” Mafia case – a 17-month trial of 22 defendants. In that one, he was the junior member among five government lawyers, and many of his peers thought the size of the prosecution team was “excessive”.

But McCarthy’s column contains an even more sobering context for Bob and his Fantastic Fourteen:

Does it seem strange to anyone else that, by comparison, the president of the United States has managed to get—count ’em—three appointees confirmed to Justice Department positions in five months?

So in one month Mueller has managed to put five times as many people on the DoJ payroll as Trump has since January.

Well, naturally. I mean, Mueller is an integral cog in the machinery of what he considers to be the only “legitimate” government of the former USA: the Deep State. Trump is a mere elected President; what sort of right to any authority could HE possibly have? Why, he’s not even a professional politician, for Christ’s sake! But there’s a larger issue here, and Mark knows what it is:

Recently I had occasion to speak with an FBI agent myself in connection with a matter rather closer to home for me than the Kremlin. After a couple of hours of going over all the details, I leaned back in my chair and said, “What do you think’s really going on here?” And the G-Man, who was actually a G-Woman, replied that, in her experience, you could investigate someone for two or three years and never know the answer to that question. So you nail them on mail fraud. And we all had a good laugh and went on our merry way.

But I confess I feel a little queasy about that. If you investigate someone long enough, you may not get the goods on them, but you’ll certainly get some goods. And so much of American justice seems to involve designating the guy you’re gonna get, and then figuring out afterwards what it is you can get him on – Al Capone for tax evasion being merely the most celebrated example thereof. But there are a zillion lesser examples and Jim Comey has made his own famous contribution to the pantheon: He got Martha Stewart banged up in the Big House for lying to the FBI in a matter for which there was no underlying crime.

Incidentally, why is it a crime for Americans to lie to the FBI but not for the FBI to lie to Americans? As when Comey testified – just a month ago – that Huma Abedin had forwarded hundreds of thousands of emails to the laptop of her sex-fiend husband. Like so much Comey grandstanding, it was a great story – but it wasn’t true:

The problem: Much of what Comey said about this was inaccurate. Now the FBI is trying to figure out what to do about it.

If Martha Stewart or Scooter Libby had done that, “what to do about it” would be easy: They’d be headed to the slammer. But, when the FBI Director makes false statements under oath in a matter for which he is giving expert, prepared testimony, he gets to skate.

If I have one large disappointment with Trump so far, it’s that he hasn’t been aggressive enough in fighting these assholes. They’re certainly not pulling their punches, and the “liberal” media is going to trash him no matter what he does or says. He’s never going to catch a break of the smallest kind from any of these Deep State vermin; they certainly shouldn’t be catching any from him. Play hardball with ’em, Donald—rough ’em up, let ’em know they’ve been kissed, as the military types say. I guarantee your supporters will LOVE it.

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Lee knew

Fred gets back on track. He doesn’t really mention Trump at all here, which surely helps.

“The consolidation of the states into one vast empire, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of ruin which has overwhelmed all that preceded it.” Robert E. Lee

The man was perceptive. Amalgamation of the states under a central government has led to exactly the effects foreseen by General Lee. 

Democracy works better the smaller the group practicing it. In a town, people can actually understand the questions of the day. They know what matters to them. Do we build a new school, or expand the existing one? Do we want our children to recite the pledge of allegiance, or don’t we? Reenact the Battle of Antietam? Sing Christmas carols in the town square? We can decide these things. Leave us alone.

States similarly knew what their people wanted and, within the limits of human frailty, governed accordingly.

Then came the vast empire, the phenomenal increase in the power and reach of the federal government, which really means the Northeast Corridor. The Supreme Court expanded and expanded and expanded the authority of Washington, New York’s store-front operation. The federals now decided what could be taught in the schools, what religious practices could be permitted, what standards employers could use in hiring, who they had to hire. The media coalesced into a small number of corporations, controlled from New York but with national reach. More recently we have added surveillance of everything by Washington’s intelligence agencies.

Tyranny at home, said General Lee. Just so. This could happen only with the consolidation of the states into one vast empire.

Which is why the Constitution says what it does, and why the failure is not in it, but in us: we neglected to uphold it, and its noble promise thereby slipped from our grasp. This bit explains the Founders’ reasoning well enough:

Tyranny comes easily when those seeking it need only corrupt a single Congress, appoint a single Supreme Court, or control the departments of one executive branch. In a confederation of largely self-governing states, those hungry to domineer would have to suborn fifty congresses. It could not be done. State governments are accessible to the governed. They can be ejected. They are much more likely to be sympathetic to the desires of their constituents since they are of the same culture.

Well, we can’t say we weren’t warned.

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The last word on Comey

Steyn has earned it on merit.

Comey’s rationale for refusing to announce in public that Trump isn’t “under investigation” was that that situation might conceivably change in the future. That’s like the sheriff refusing to confirm that I’m not under investigation because he doesn’t know whether I’ll hold up a liquor store next week. Given the damage done by the leaking of every vague guilt-by-association rumor but not the central fact of the case, Trump was right to fire this guy – in the national interest.

As is now plain, it’s a “Russia investigation” because Russia is the easiest MacNuffin. Anything else is too complicated: If Trump were alleged to be an agent of the ayatollahs or Kim Jong-Un, that would place it too close to the real world of actual geopolitical concerns. But “Russia” is just the generic Cold War bad guy from byzantine double-agent plots like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, New York Real Estate Developer.

The real scandal here is that the vast all-seeing permanent bureaucracy is investigating its political opponents – for no good reason, only for a general fishing expedition. The “Russia investigation” is a misnomer for what it really is: a domestic investigation of US citizens without any probable cause. They’ve come up empty, or you’d know it by now.

We’ve probably heard just about the last either from or about Comey; his usefulness as a cat’s paw for the Treasonous Left and their Vichy GOPe enablers and co-conspirators is just about expended, so we’ll be on to the next SCANDAL OF THE CENTURY™ ‘long about next week—possibly after the next regularly-scheduled Muslim terrorist atrocity none of our “leadership” will ever do anything about.

It’s all slowly degenerating into Coup Theater, in its way, and it leaves us…well, right where we have been right along. The real danger here, the fire the DC establishment is busy flipping matches at, is something entirely else:

Forlorn liberals took refuge at the American Constitution Society’s national convention in Washington this week, discussing whether to encourage the growth of the “deep state” resistance inside the government or fight President Trump from outside.

Okay, right off the bat: anybody else appreciating the jawdropping irony of “liberals” doing anything but protesting vehemently at something called the American Constitution Society?

“The election of Donald Trump was an assault on the federal bureaucracy,” William Yeomans said to a room full of students and civil servants, including those recently displaced by Trump’s administration.

Well, uhh, yes. Yes, it was. That was kind of the whole point, really. We wanted the swamp drained; you’re the alligators. What about that didn’t you understand before? Seems simple enough to me.

“His values are simply not consistent with the values of people who are committed to public service fascist tyranny and who believe deeply in the importance of public service fascist tyranny.”

Fixed it for ya. And yes, American values themselves—real ones, that is, the core American values of freedom, independence, and limited government upon which this nation was established—are most assuredly not consistent with the “liberal” values of top-down management, government intrusion and interference, and fascist tyranny. To say that our values are not those of our would-be lords and masters is not nearly the crushing insult this dimestore dictator thinks it is. Not to us, anyway.

UCLA law professor Jon Michaels said he favors filling the Trump administration with liberals opposed to Trump’s agenda.

“We hear a lot of language about draining the swamp and this idea about a deep state that somehow was going to thwart the intentions or the political mandate of the president,” Michaels said. “I kind of embrace this notion of the ‘deep state.'”

Of course you do, chum. Nice to finally hear one of you evil bastards finally confess to it. The real takeaway from this article is that now, once and for all, the masks are one hundred percent, completely OFF. Yes, Virginia, there IS a nest of treasonous, counterrevolutionary vipers slithering around the tottering foundations of the house of Constitutional liberty, laboring mightily to bring it crashing down from within.

And that, quite naturally and inevitably, brings us to this:

America is in the throes of revolution. The 2016 election and its aftermath reflect the distinction, difference, even enmity that has grown exponentially over the past quarter century between America’s ruling class and the rest of the country. During the Civil War, President Lincoln observed that all sides “pray[ed] to the same God.” They revered, though in clashing ways, the same founders and principles. None doubted that those on the other side were responsible human beings. Today, none of that holds. Our ruling class and their clients broadly view Biblical religion as the foundation of all that is wrong with the world. According to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.”

The government apparatus identifies with the ruling class’s interests, proclivities, and tastes, and almost unanimously with the Democratic Party. As it uses government power to press those interests, proclivities, and tastes upon the ruled, it acts as a partisan state. This party state’s political objective is to delegitimize not so much the politicians who champion the ruled from time to time, but the ruled themselves. Ever since Woodrow Wilson nearly a century and a half ago at Princeton, colleges have taught that ordinary Americans are rightly ruled by experts because they are incapable of governing themselves. Millions of graduates have identified themselves as the personifiers of expertise and believe themselves entitled to rule. Their practical definition of discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, etc., is neither more nor less than anyone’s reluctance to bow to them. It’s personal.

On the other side, some two thirds of regular Americans chafe at insults from on high and believe that “the system” is rigged against them and, hence, illegitimate—that elected and appointed officials, plus the courts, business leaders, and educators are leading the country in the wrong direction. The non-elites blame the elites for corruptly ruling us against our will, for impoverishing us, for getting us into wars and losing them. Many demand payback—with interest.

So many on all sides have withdrawn consent from one another, as well as from republicanism as defined by the Constitution and as it was practiced until the mid-20th century, that it is difficult to imagine how the trust and sympathy necessary for good government might ever return. Instead, we have a cold civil war. Statesmanship’s first task is to prevent it from turning hot. In today’s circumstances, fostering mutual forbearance may require loosening the Union in unfamiliar and unwelcome ways to accommodate differences that may otherwise become far worse.

This one’s from Codevilla, who has been brilliantly analyzing the struggle we’re now firmly and fully engaged in for longer than just about anybody. So naturally you’ll want to read it all; somehow, he manages to hang onto a tiny little spark of optimism, but it’s pretty plain that that’s getting tougher and tougher to do, even for him.

Update! Glenn sees what’s happening too, and is growing more and more…ummm, feisty, shall we say, about how he expresses himself regarding it:

Watching the ongoing clown show in Washington, Americans can be forgiven for asking themselves, “Why did we give this bunch of clowns so very much power over our nation and our lives?”

Well, don’t feel so bad, voters. Because you didn’t actually give them that much power. They just took it. That’s the thesis of Columbia Law Professor Philip Hamburger’s new book, The Administrative Threat, a short, punchy followup to his magisterial Is Administrative Law Unlawful? Both deal with the extraordinary — and illegitimate — power that administrative agencies have assumed in American life.

How did a system designed to provide government of, by, and for the people devolve into a system in which bureaucrats unaccountable to voters (though exquisitely accountable to political players and special interests) produce masses of law that was never voted on by an elected official? Simple: on purpose.

In the early days of the Republic, the franchise was limited. But as the mass of voters became larger, more diverse, and less elite, those who considered themselves the best and brightest looked to transform government into something run not by those deplorable unwashed voters but by a more congenial group. As Hamburger says, “They have gradually moved legislative power out of Congress and into administrative agencies — to be exercised, in more genteel ways, by persons like…themselves.”

It has been, in essence, a power grab by what Hamburger calls the “knowledge class,” or what others have called the New Class.

Or what can just be shorthanded into Progressivists, who are merely putting the finishing touches on implementing a sinister agenda they’ve been working on for a century now. But when even a guy like Glenn—law professor, family man; settled, secure, and happy, a thoroughly decent fellow for whom the thought of such dire upheaval and potential violence would have to be dismaying at best—in sum, just about the unlikeliest of revolutionary firebrands—begins speaking openly about the “illegitimate” nature of our Imperial Federal Government in a major mainstream daily newspaper, well, you can be assured the gloves are really beginning to come off.

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Root causes

Still wondering how our once-mighty economy got turned into a staggering, anemic, dysfunctional parody of its former robust self?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Teens in Gardendale are in for a rude awakening this summer when it comes to cutting grass. According to the city’s ordinance, you must have a business license.

Teenagers have been threatened by officials and other lawn services to show their city issued license before cutting a person’s lawn for extra summer cash.

Cutting grass is often one of the first jobs many have in the summer. But a business license in Gardendale costs $110. And for a job, just for a couple of months, that can be a bit extreme.

“I have never heard of a child cutting grass had to have a business license,” said Elton Campbell.
Campbell’s granddaughter cuts grass around the neighborhood.

“She charges one lady $20, and another lady $30, and another girl $40 besides what we pay her,” said Campbell.

For her, this was the perfect summer gig!

“Just helping out and raising money for admissions and trips,” said Alainna Parris.

But now, it’s becoming a hassle.

Which is kind of the whole point. But lest anyone thinks it’s all the fault of greedy, grasping government, think again:

“One of the men that cuts several yards made a remark to one of our neighbors, ‘that if he saw her cutting grass again that he was going to call Gardendale because she didn’t have a business license,” said Campbell.

And there you have it. Government will always be ready, willing, and eager to step through the doors opened for it by medddlesome fools like this putz.

“He’s coming after a kid when a kid is at least trying to do work. There’s kids at home on iPads and electronics and not wanting to go outside,” said Parris.

And that presents a larger conundrum: how do we foster anything resembling a good work ethic and a sense of responsibility in our youths when they’re faced with horseshit like this? Assuming, of course, that we want to inculcate those values in the first place. Clearly, that can no longer be taken as a given.

Mayor Stan Hogeland said when operating a business for pay within the city limits, you must have a business license. He said sending someone after a child making extra money over the summer, is not a priority. But he is committed to find a way to make this less of an issue for teens.

“I would love to have something on our books that gave a more favorable response to that student out there cutting grass. And see if there’s maybe a temporary license during the summer months that targets teenagers,” said Mayor Hogeland.

Seems reasonable enough. But is a kid out mowing lawns in and around his neighborhood for a few bucks really “operating a business” in any truly meaningful sense? If a kid helps an elderly neighbor rake some leaves or paint his house or mend a fence, say, and the neighbor throws him twenty bucks for his trouble, is that “operating a business for pay” too? If not, why not?

I look back on my own childhood experience mowing lawns, and I can’t help but wonder: how in the world did we all ever manage to survive our own childhoods without the Nanny State watching over us and making sure we were all in full compliance with its edicts, anyway? And what about safety? Lawnmowers are dangerous devices; shouldn’t these kids be wearing helmets, gloves, goggles, full suits of medieval armor—shouldn’t ALL of us be?

And finally: is it too much to ask for the busybodies to finally admit that they’ve badly overstepped their bounds, and to willingly relinquish some of the outrageous power and control they’ve asserted over us—without our having to string a bunch of them up from lampposts first, that is?

Does the word “tyranny” have any meaning at all anymore?

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The need for speed

And rationality.

Every year, traffic engineers review the speed limit on thousands of stretches of road and highway. Most are reviewed by a member of the state’s Department of Transportation, often along with a member of the state police, as is the case in Michigan. In each case, the “survey team” has a clear approach: they want to set the speed limit so that 15% of drivers exceed it and 85% of drivers drive at or below the speed limit.

This “nationally recognized method” of setting the speed limit as the 85th percentile speed is essentially traffic engineering 101. It’s also a bit perplexing to those unfamiliar with the concept. Shouldn’t everyone drive at or below the speed limit? And if a driver’s speed is dictated by the speed limit, how can you decide whether or not to change that limit based on the speed of traffic?

The answer lies in realizing that the speed limit really is just a number on a sign, and it has very little influence on how fast people drive.

And that our current speed limits are based not on reason or the limits the highways themselves were designed to safely sustain, but on the Left’s will to absolute power over its subjects and its lust to make driving as miserable and inconvenient as possible, carefully masked by their desire to Save Gaia™.

Traffic engineers believe that the 85th percentile speed is the ideal speed limit because it leads to the least variability between driving speeds and therefore safer roads. When the speed limit is correctly set at the 85th percentile speed, the minority of drivers that do conscientiously follow speed limits are no longer driving much slower than the speed of traffic. The choice of the 85th percentile speed is a data-driven conclusion—as noted lieutenant Megge and speed limit resources like the Michigan State Police’s guide—that has been established by the consistent findings of years of traffic studies.

Yet most speed limits are set below the 85th percentile speed. We first investigated this topic at the urging of the National Motorists Association, a “member-supported driver advocacy organization” that has made raising speed limits to the 85th percentile one focus of its efforts.

One member pointed us to a 1992 report by the US Department of Transportation on the “Effects of Raising and Lowering Speed Limits,” which, beside making the same arguments described above, noted that the majority of highway agencies set speed limits below the 85th percentile, leading over 50% of motorists to drive “in technical violation of the speed limit laws.” lieutenant Megge believes the compliance rate in Michigan to be well under 50%.

It seems absurd that over half of drivers technically break the law at all times. It’s also perplexing that speed limit policy so consistently ignore traffic engineering 101. So why do people like lieutenant Megge need to spend their time trying to raise speed limits?

A very interesting article, all of which you should definitely read—including, as it does, this subhead: “HOW SAUDI ARABIA GOT US ALL DRIVING 55 MPH.

Yep, we all have so, so much to thank Our Friends The Saudis for, don’t we?

(Via Insty)

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