June 19, 2014

Hayek and you

Having quoted at some length Hayek’s condemnation of the pretend proponents of free enterprise whose pragmatic policies, were they to be generally adopted would just as assuredly lead to socialism as those of the avowedly socialist, Mark Levin concluded his show last evening thus:

This to me, ladies and gentlemen [...] defines the modern day Republican Party.  They are just as guilty of promoting big government socialism as the left.  They’re just a little slower about it.  Because they’ve abandoned first principles.

[my emphasis]

Hayek’s complaint was against the corporatism and cronyism that camouflaged itself as free market enterprise, which in the long term was simply socialism under a different guise, namely, liberal fascism.  Levin’s characterization of the GOP ruling class — which is right now, in its effort to get Democrats to vote in the GOP runoff, breaking Mississippi election law in order to secure Thad Cochran’s victory over a constitutional conservative, the dual purpose of which is to protect their leadership hierarchy and to handpick his successor when he steps down mid-term — similarly speaks to the lack of principle endemic in the phony “pragmatism” and “realism” of those entrenched elite Beltway operators who chide we, the people, for our unnuanced “purity,” even as it is they refuse to back candidates chosen by the party base in primary elections, and in fact actively work to defeat them, even if to do so means the ascendency of a liberal Democrat, a “progressive,” to take the seat.  For my own part, I’ve long talked about the contemporary GOP’s obvious political philosophy, which boils down to losing more slowly – that is, to allow, either intentionally or through a lack of intellectual rigor and an entrenched, incurious, and rote governing (technocratic) template, for the institutionalization of kernel assumptions (in my case, I concentrated on linguistic and hermeneutic assumptions, because it is they that predicate epistemic narratives) that infect prevailing “truth” paradigms and lead inexorably and inevitably toward collectivism by way of structural imperatives built into those institutionalized assumptions.

– Which I don’t point out to compare myself in any way to important voices for constitutionalism,  classical liberalism, and free market capitalism like Hayek or Levin, but rather to suggest that this argument has persisted, and yet in large part been actively resisted by those who claim to champion us — to our growing national and individual peril.

It takes an army of dedicated and idealistic crusaders to break through the status quo, entrenched as it is through a political machinery designed to protect and insulate it, and structured in such a way that it creates massive burdens on any challenge to its presumed political and incumbent entitlements.  For whatever reason, my attempts have be largely thwarted — though I do believe I’ve succeeded as an unnamed instigator toward a resistance to linguistic tyranny, however nascent that battle is within the internal machinery of liberty-minded resistance movements.  Perhaps I lack the tact or the diplomacy to be successful as a voice in the political process — at least among those who at some point (roughly 5 years or so ago) decided my ideas and the ways I expressed them did more harm than good, and so were worth marginalizing, either through a frontal attack on my “pseudo-intellectuality” or through the mere airbrushing of me out of forefront of “conservative” commentary.

Which would matter less to me were we now more further along in our outlawry, rather than suddenly awakening to its necessity.

I want to end this post, which may be my last of day (depending on my state of mind, which just now, were it to be gauged by a mood ring, would show black as the shadow of a charcoal briquet), by excerpting a bit from the piece that, in many ways — though wildly popular and at the time widely read — precipitated the orchestration of my marginalization.  Because though it over a half-decade old now, it expresses many of the arguments that we’ve heard before, whether through Hayek or Friedman or others, and that now we’re hearing again, as we of necessity scurry to find our way back toward constitutionalism as a matter of civil survival:

[...] [T]o avoid being misrepresented in a soundbite culture is, frankly, a fool’s game — and, even more frankly, it is indicative of a political strategy that amounts to conceding loss, with the concomitant hope that perhaps we’ll lose more slowly.

– Which is not to say this is a conscious part of the strategy of the realists, just that it is the inevitable effect of backing such a strategy. Because even were Republicans to begin winning elections based on their newly found ability to negotiate a hostile media bent on misrepresenting them, they’d be compelled to maintain the practice of carefully parsing their words, which means they’d always be at the mercy of those looking to attack and discredit. And such has the effect both of chilling speech and of determining in what way a message must necessarily be delivered.

And when your opponents are making the rules, you are necessarily playing their game.

To put it more forcefully, it is a fact of language that once you surrender the grounds for meaning to those who would presume to determine your meaning for you, you are at their mercy. [....] And that way lies totalitarianism and, to borrow from both G.B. Shaw and Jonah Goldberg, “liberal fascism.”

[...] As many pundits will patiently explain to you, ideological purity and idealism doesn’t win elections, so if not pragmatism, what?

To which I reply, pragmatism is fine. But why not use our idealism pragmatically — which is to say, why not make it our strategy to use idealism as our cudgel against the media and the left in such a way that their tactic of misrepresentation and outrage no longer pays dividends? Why not make it our strategy to destroy their tactics — and in so doing, reaffirm the very principles at the heart of classical liberalism?

A few people took up the mantle at the time — this kind of pushback was, in fact, in the air, coalescing into what became the TEA Party movement, and a number of groups and sites speaking for that movement that to this day haven’t read what I think was, at the time, a rather seminal piece in the right-side blogosphere’s nascent divide between establishment pragmatists and constitutionalists and legal conservatives; but for the most part it has remained a relic.

And yet the ideas expressed in it are in keeping with a trajectory that has not changed:  we, the people, are not to be subjects; and if we wish to stop our subjugation, we must do so not by worrying ourselves into casting our beliefs in pale pastels, so as not to upset the fictional “independent swing voter;” but rather to by speaking boldly about the very ideals and principles that made this country the envy of the world and history’s greatest success, one that, alas, today finds its way back on that road to serfdom.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:26am
72 comments | Trackback

Comments (72)

  1. - I don’t believe they do it for any competent reason or intent. I believe both parties have decided that the only way to survive is full on pandering, and socialism is always the result of unbridled governmental pandering.

  2. [I]f we wish to stop our subjugation, we must do so not by worrying ourselves into casting our beliefs in pale pastels, so as not to upset the fictional “independent swing voter[.]

    You must not have heard. The information about independents being the sine qua non of electoral victory is no longer operative. Probably because they went for Romney instead of Obama.

    Now you need the hispanics and/or the latino vote to succeed politically.

  3. Jeff, I think a part of me died today, at least in regards to the viability of the US.

    I’ve accepted the rule of law is truly dead in this country and, at this point, we’re only going through the motions. The only thing holding this country together is the belief there is still rule of law. That, and the inherent morality of Judeo-Christian values.

    Fortunately, I have my faith to fall back on and keep me going. What happens when the people who have no faith, except in Government, finally figure out Government is a false god and exists only for itself?

    …and you thought your mood ring was black.

  4. What happens when the people who have no faith, except in Government, finally figure out Government is a false god and exists only for itself?

    What happens Blake is that they die.

    [C]ulture performs a role among human beings similar to the role species plays for animals. …. Insofar as an animal can be said to experience an impulse toward the future beyond his own life, that impulse is fulfilled by the propogation of the species. But individual human existence looks forward to the continuation of the culture that nurtures, sustains, and transmits our contribution to future generations. Culture is the stuff out of which we weave the hope of immortality –not merely through genetic transmission but through inter-generational communication.

    In the absence of religious faith, if our culture dies, our hope of transcending mere physical existence dies with it. Individuals trapped in a dying culture live in a twilight world. They embrace death through infertility, concupiscence and war. A dog will crawl into a hole to die. The members of sick cultures do not do anything quite so dramatic, but they cease to have children, dull their senses with alcohol and drugs, [and shopping, and entertainment and sexual promiscuity] become despondent, and too frequently do away with themselves. Or they make war on the perceived source of their humiliation.

    …. When men and women lose the sacred, they lose the desire to live. Despairing of immortality, we stand astonished before the one fact we know with certainty –that some day we must die. This is as true of modern homo sapiens sapiens as it was of our remotest ancestors. …. “Man does not live by bread alone,” Moses said on the east bank of the Jordan River. The affluent peoples of the world have all the bread they need, but they have lost the appetite for life.

  5. which boils down to losing more slowly

    I think that for the nonce we’ve already lost. Not the battle: the war.

    We’re about to experience the merciless law of the harvest. Having sown the east wind, the whirlwind is now bearing down.

    Shelter in place.

  6. How ’bout we ride out and meet it instead?

  7. Put it against the wall. That’s what it wants, so give it a heaping dose.

  8. Kinda off topic (except that “words, just words” and “ideas have consequences” are always topical):

    Anybody else notice that all of Obama’s empty talk on Iraq tends to legitimate ISIS and an Islamic takeover of Iraq –should that be the outcome of our decision to not decide?

  9. In an effort to calm the fuck out and burn off some stress, I decided I’d try to out-deadlift (total pounds. reps*weight) my 19 year old son (just home from air assault.. AIR ASSAULT! (he told me to write it that way)).

    I won by smarts (reverse pyramid, steady 85% max vs 5 – 3 -1 sets @ 75-85-100%) but it’s prolly the last time, kid’s a fucking BEAST. I also got my cargo shorts wrapped around my knee and squatted too low (wife HATES it when I drop the bar) while putting the weight down and split my shorts all the way from my back surgery scar to my taint. I can’t feel my forearms and I still have tunnel vision. I can barely move and my jaw hurts… and I still have one meeting left today before I funnel a handle of cheap gin and a can of cheaper tonic and try to sleep in a position that hopefully I won’t be locked in to for the next several days.

    He, of course, just took my bike and went fishing and then he’s going to a bonfire out in the county, and running a 13 mile “fun run” tomorrow.

    I’m hoping that I hurt so bad tomorrow that I have to call in sick and can stay in bed and watch Looney Tunes DVDs all day. No Internet, no news. Just me, my hernia, and Bugs Bunny.

  10. Oh, and when ISIS gets too close to Bag-a-dad, Iran will invade to “protect” the Shia.

    We’ll complain, but won’t do shit.

  11. Iran will invade to “protect” the Shia.

    Which, I think, is exactly what ISIS wants, otherwise their whole mission is for naught.

  12. Ernst, great link, promptly ordered. Thanks.

    I think this line answers my question very well: “Or they make war on the perceived source of their humiliation.”

  13. And when Saudi Arabi invades fromt he opposite direction to “protect” the Sunni from the Shia, will we complain then?

  14. We might just wait to complain further when the Israelis go ahead with their urgent business in Iran.

  15. I suspect the Israelis not only will not ask permission, they will also not seek forgiveness.

  16. Ledeen on “cooperation” with Iran.

  17. I suspect the Israelis not only will not ask permission, they will also not seek forgiveness.

    True, but it is essential that the United States be seen to be standing “on the right side of history”.

  18. “[T]hey make war on the perceived source of their humiliation.”

    The ones that aren’t preoccupied with the feelies and soma and orgy-porgy might.

  19. By the by, over the Republicans yet? How about you, Mr. Levin?

  20. That’s the entire problem with the current administration. They’d rather be seen standing on the right side of history than be busy making the right side of history.

    Or is it?

  21. Yay, go GOP!!!………………………………..straight to hell

  22. Ernst, pffft. The current administration thinks being “busy” and “doing something” is #busy #doingsomething

  23. Glenn Beck has decided to say that it was wrong to invade Iraq (contrary to his earlier position) because it’s wrong to try to impose liberty on those who don’t understand or want it. He’s decided on “nuke ‘em into the stone age & leave” is the only moral thing to do. IOW, “Leftists, you were right (except those who were arguing disingenuously — note to Glenn: That’s all of them.)

    Dude. It’s one thing to decide to bury hatchets and make common cause with strange bedfellows, but it’s another to ignore what happened and why.

    Iraq is on fire because of ISIS, and ISIS exists because Obama released its leader from prison some years back.

    Something that neither McCain nor Romney would have done for love or money. (Though I’m not sure how a routing protocol can invade Baghdad. Ah, well.)

    Add to that the piss-poor management (or the effective undoing) of the Iraq situation for the past 5 years, plus the fact that many of the factions who did not want Iraqi democracy to succeed were in our own government and were actively sabotaging the Iraq effort.

    You can hardly blame the initial invasion for the current situation, given all that has happened since. If anything, it was wrong to invade Iraq because the mission couldn’t be accomplished during one presidential term. Our left wing is so malicious that it will actively and viciously tear down anything they didn’t build.

    Had we not deposed Saddam, he’d still be financing and encouraging and sheltering our enemies, and who knows what other havoc he’d have wreaked on the world. ISIS guy would still be free to work his deviltry, all those other jihadis would be alive, and they’d all be working against the West AND trying to form the Caliphate instead of expending blood and treasure to take back Iraq.

    Wrong to invade Iraq? Only because we elected Obama after Bush.

    ONLY because of that.

  24. I have been in the grip of an opinion Ernst, which holds that the right side of history is the substitute (new) way of expressing what once was put as ” . . . appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions . . . and for the support [thereof] . . . with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence . . . “.

    But one doesn’t so much “make”, in the sense of “create” an appeal to a condition or a reliance upon a condition, those both [appealing and relying] being towards something outside our control or horizon. History just looks like an entirely different deal. What a nice smuggle, though.

  25. Dude. It’s one thing to decide to bury hatchets and make common cause with strange bedfellows, but it’s another to ignore what happened and why.

    Leads me back to my current obsession or hobby-horse, whathaveyou: Weber’s essay Politics as a Vocation, and the following paragraph in particular in this context:

    *** But first, let us free ourselves from a quite trivial falsification: namely, that ethics may first appear in a morally highly compromised role. Let us consider examples. Rarely will you find that a man whose love turns from one woman to another feels no need to legitimate this before himself by saying: she was not worthy of my love, or, she has disappointed me, or whatever other like ‘reasons’ exist. This is an attitude that, with a profound lack of chivalry, adds a fancied ‘legitimacy’ to the plain fact that he no longer loves her and that the woman has to bear it. By virtue of this ‘legitimation,’ the man claims a right for himself and besides causing the misfortune seeks to put her in the wrong. The successful amatory competitor proceeds exactly in the same way: namely, the opponent must be less worthy, otherwise he would not have lost out. It is no different, of course, if after a victorious war the victor in undignified self-righteousness claims, ‘I have won because I was right.’ Or, if somebody under the frightfulness of war collapses psychologically, and instead of simply saying it was just too much, he feels the need of legitimizing his war weariness to himself by substituting the feeling, ‘I could not bear it because I had to fight for a morally bad cause.’ And likewise with the defeated in war. Instead of searching like old women for the ‘guilty one’ after the war — in a situation in which the structure of society produced the war — everyone with a manly and controlled attitude would tell the enemy, ‘We lost the war. You have won it. That is now all over. Now let us discuss what conclusions must be drawn according to the objective interests that came into play and what is the main thing in view of the responsibility towards the future which above all burdens the victor.’ Anything else is undignified and will become a boomerang. A nation forgives if its interests have been damaged, but no nation forgives if its honor has been offended, especially by a bigoted self-righteousness. Every new document that comes to light after decades revives the undignified lamentations, the hatred and scorn, instead of allowing the war at its end to be buried, at least morally. This is possible only through objectivity and chivalry and above all only through dignity. But never is it possible through an ‘ethic,’ which in truth signifies a lack of dignity on both sides. Instead of being concerned about what the politician is interested in, the future and the responsibility towards the future, this ethic is concerned about politically sterile questions of past guilt, which are not to be settled politically. To act in this way is politically guilty, if such guilt exists at all. And it overlooks the unavoidable falsification of the whole problem, through very material interests: namely, the victor’s interest in the greatest possible moral and material gain; the hopes of the defeated to trade in advantages through confessions of guilt. If anything is ‘vulgar,’ then, this is, and it is the result of this fashion of exploiting ‘ethics’ as a means of ‘being in the right.’ ***

  26. All Y’all need to think of this administration as being overrun with diabolical bene gesserits,

    predicting the future while conspiring to make it so.

    As far as I’m concerned, Obama wants ISIS in charge of Iraq and the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan.

  27. dicentra, I think there is another part of the argument: When one goes to war, at least in our form of government, one not only has to think about now, but one also has to take into account future administrations.

    What happened in Vietnam should have been an object lesson when it comes to asking the question: “What happens if we’re not re-elected?” or “What happens when when the war has to be handled by a subsequent administration?”

    Iraq should have been a “bomb them back into the stone age, then turn the stones into gravel” then leave.

  28. - The Left in all its many forms will always find a new enemy of America to embrace and love.

    - With that firmly in place for the duration, since we are too high minded to destroy them outright as they will try to destroy us relentlessly, we may well lose in the long run.

    - Either we want to survive or we don’t, and which ever way it goes is the way it should go if we lack the balls to finish the job. History is always hard on pussies.

  29. As far as I’m concerned, Obama wants ISIS in charge of Iraq and the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan.

    - Among the most dangerous of the lefts delusions is the idea that they are so smart they can control whatever problems their dalliances with the enemy create. Thus they will never see it coming when the next Hitler arrives. They never do and they always die for their narcissism.

    - Which unfortunately, always entails taking a lot of innocents with them. Fuckers. ::spit::

  30. - nr, and the young turk moron Prog gaggle doesn’t trust her even, that’s how bad it is, because they will generally trust anyone who will buy them lunch.

  31. - H.C.: “I’m not making it out to him.”

    - J.M.: “What difference does it make?”

    …..Classic.

  32. I have been in the grip of an opinion Ernst, which holds that the right side of history is the substitute (new) way of expressing what once was put as ” . . . appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions . . . and for the support [thereof] . . . with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence . . . “.

    I’d concluded that “being on the right side” was shorthand for “the winning side,” so you don’t come out as the throwback who resisted progress, such as Bob Jones university and its anti-mixed-race-dating policy. Which everyone thought was OK back in the day but now knows to be wrong, the scales having fallen from our eyes (without new ones being put back on, of course).

    And then I realized that the phrase originated with the Marxoid vision of a history that progresses inevitably toward something, it being a corruption of Darwinism wherein the new is inevitably better and more advanced rather than “better adapted to the new situation.”

    So I don’t use it anymore.

  33. Iraq should have been a “bomb them back into the stone age, then turn the stones into gravel” then leave.

    At the time, it seemed that the Iraqis, having lived under a type of self-rule prior to Saddam, needed merely to have the thorn removed from their sides so they could get on with life. A little training and support and they’d take the ball and run with it, if not in a Jeffersonian republic then something like Latin America where it limps along but isn’t strong enough to cause problems.

    And who knew we’d elect someone with THAT much sympathy for Jihad? Obama wasn’t even a thing in 2003.

    But yeah, Viet Nam should have taught us that a goodly portion of the political class is willing to subvert and sabotage military efforts out of spite, if not ideological sympathy for the enemy, and that the hoodlums that protested the war in 1968 were in office, for the sake of Pete.

    And that waging a “clean war” with restrictive ROE only prolongs the misery until the next administration “ends the war” by letting the enemy win.

  34. Aha! At last. By Jove, I’ve got it: hermeneutic

  35. Groan!

    You can interpret that as the appropriate response to a triple-pun or otherwise.

  36. What we should have done in Iraq is the same thing we did in the Phillipines and Germany and Japan.

    Kill enough of them to make the survivors grateful.

  37. Problem is we weren’t at war with the nation of Iraq, just with the Ba’athists and the Wahhabis. We saw it as a war to liberate the population from a tyrant.

    Which, it was.

    Likewise, in Afghanistan, the Taliban were mostly interlopers from Pakistan and other countries. Just cut out the cancer, do a spot of chemo, and the patient survives.

    What we didn’t count on was a president being more sympathetic to the Islamists than with the American people.

    Seriously, before Obama hit the scene, did anyone anticipate such a thing?

  38. Seriously, before Obama hit the scene, did anyone anticipate such a thing?

    Not a soul. Well, save the ClownDisaster himself.

  39. I think the Democrats had made their sympathies pretty clear by 2004.

    And if losing a war they all voted for when it was politically convenient to do so was the price of power, well, they were only too eager to pay it.

  40. And if losing a war they all voted for when it was politically convenient to do so was the price of power, well, they were only too eager to pay it.

    Ernst, your thought leads me to a disturbing and disgusting thought: Democrats are overjoyed when body counts start rising, because they see direct correlation between body counts and vote tallies.

  41. Except when the bodies being counted are American bodies. Those tallies are inversely correlated.

    Fortunately, four dead Americans can be blamed on a movie nobody saw. So no biggie.

    Besides, with a little luck, a Republican will be in the White House when Obama’s chickens come home to roost.

  42. come mister tally man, tally me dead hillary clinton state department flunkies

    daylight come and I’m a put my basil out on the balcony to enjoy the early summer sun

    if you leave it out at night the rats eat it

  43. The west probably began to crumble when the Left arrogated unto itself the right to reset anything it wanted. Why the Citizens United decision and the 2nd Amendment can be ignored until they are formally repealed while Brown vs Board and Obamacare is the “law of the land” forever, which once adopted, immutable. Does a state pass a marriage act? Invalidate it by some court order.

    The same is true for international relations. The NVA were beaten by the Tet. Someone in the Left decided victory was irrelevant when you could throw in the towel the next time it took office. From then on “no more Vietnams” became immutable law. They watched US troops beat the Baathists in Iraq equanimity. Let them bust their butts, they said, for we can always throw it away when our president takes office. The Left decries the threat of secession, but it is the prime example of internal secession, a nation unto themselves, content to enter into alliance only when they are calling the tune.

    It doesn’t matter if the another point of view temporarily takes power. Did Ronald Reagan win the Cold War. Silly him. Throw it away. When they are in charge it will be CTRL-F5. Reload and override cache. Delete all cookies, erase all browsing history and erase all passwords. In fact they even called it Reset.

    That “reset” button, that stupid mis-spelled joke, it was really on us after all wasn’t it?

  44. Affiliates of the Iraqi terror group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, are praising and potentially recruiting extremists based on controversial tweets by a senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) adviser who recently claimed that ISIL is proof that a Muslim “caliphate” is making an “inevitable” return.
    [...]
    As I’ve said b4 inevitable that ‘Caliphate’ returns,” Elibiary tweeted in response to a question about ISIL, which is currently seeking to overthrow the Iraqi government and instate strict Sharia law in the country.

    “Choice only whether we support [European Union] like Muslim Union vision or not,” continued Elibiary, who has “advised numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement organizations on homeland security-related matters,” according to his biography on DHS’ website.

    Additionally, Elibiary claimed that conservatives “misread” the 9/11 terror attacks and “should reassess” their “belligerence.”

    Crumbling along with the crumbling crumble bums.

  45. I suspect “the right to reset anything” in want of resetting was baked into the West ’round about the time it became the west. After all, what were first the Reformation and the Enlightenment all about if not about resetting kernel assumptions about, well, about everything really.

    But yeah, things didn’t really start getting out of hand until the left embraced Nietzsche by way of Freud, Weber, Heidegger. et alia.

  46. Take it away, Sons!

  47. ” Iraq should have been a “bomb them back into the stone age, then turn the stones into gravel” then leave. ”

    Which would have had Iran knocking on Saudi Arabia’s door.

  48. palaeomerus, remember, Gaddafi thought it prudent to give up his WMD programs after the US invaded Iraq and defeated Saddam Hussein.

    It is pretty much a given that countries like Iran only understand force. A destroyed Iraq would, more than likely, be an object lesson to the rest of the ME.

  49. *note to self: Remind the left they originally broke Iraq when Carter deposed the Shah.

  50. *second note to self, the Shah was in Iran, not Iraq.

    Sigh.

  51. Iran is a different scale of foe compared to Libya. Libya is like 6 million people. That’s about like Israel and Jordan. Syria has around 20 million. Iraq is 30 something million. (Kuwait was 3 million). Saudi Arabia is also around 30 million. Lebannon is 4 million. Afghanistan is 30 million. Pakistan is 179 million. Turkey is

    Iran is 72 million. That’s about the size of Turkey. Iran has not exactly failed many gut checks against us or Baathist Iraq. I think if you shoot Bad Bill, they’ll take Bill’s stuff and use it to go after George. They aren’t going to keep their heads down.

  52. *** A Hillary Clinton donor who serves as dean of the University of Arkansas libraries has banned the Washington Free Beacon from the school’s special collections archives, after the news outlet published revealing stories about Hillary Clinton based on documents available at the university library. ***

    Well hey now, come on. That’s what library archives are for: to store and keep safe things you must not read. Please, don’t let’s be acting like they’re supposed to be open to inspection.

  53. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen seems to think double-down lying is the best way out of his miserable trap.

  54. And what surprise, the Democrat members of the committee agree with him.

  55. “Dude, you’re fucked anyway. How many times can you be damned to eternal fire?”

  56. Sure. “Implausible Deniability”.

    “Yeah, we’re lying, and yeah, the lies are utterly ridiculous, but our boss* is protecting us. So what are you gonna do about it? All we need to do is continue to stonewall and obfuscate until after the midterms and he’ll pardon us all on his way out of office. Then you will never be able to touch us for any of it… Sucka!”

    * – the guy who asserted on national TV that there was “not a smidgen of corruption”. Because it isn’t corruption, it’s simple obedience.

  57. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (that’s two ells) intends to be famous.

    “IRS Commissioner Koskinen, have you ever been to Benghazi? Have you ever had custody of President Obama’s birth certificate? Have you ever been to Area 51?”

  58. Dave Reichert is Good Cop/Bad Copping Koskinen.

    Busted! Not that it matters.

  59. Let’s bemoan the impossibility of production gains through technological progress, but insist that only more employees can be the solution to greater workloads at the IRS. Not until we all work for the IRS will the IRS be capable of doing its assigned work.

  60. ‘Cause y’know, budget cuts cost the Federal Government its proper income.

  61. palaeomerus, well, if Iran is emboldened, lather, rinse, repeat.

    Iran hasn’t failed gut checks, because they haven’t had a true gut check.

    If we had gone into Iraq with a violent plan, executed now, then left (with apologies to Patton) it would have sent a much different message than the “winning the hearts and minds” message we tried to send.

  62. 6 or 7 key players have suffered a “hard-drive crash” losing everything, yet no tax payer information has been lost?

    How can this be?

  63. Now, mow, the dog really did just eat everyone’s homework. It happens when you are obliged to write it on steak.

    The email policies in place made it quite easy to evade any oversight of any email that you didn’t want seen by others, download it from the server and then delete it from your own file. In 6 months it never happened because the backups recycled. Unless that is someone demanded that your hard-drive be gone over by recovery experts. To make that impossible requires a crash and then policy will be that your drive is destroyed completely.

    Setting policy to make it easy to do the nefarious things they want done is a hallmark of the left’s “committee-men.” An example from years past.

    On 17 April 1995, President Clinton lent his authority to an “openness” initiative championed by Mrs. O’Leary, the current White House Chief of Staff, John Podesta, and then-NSC staffer Morton Halperin 3 with his signature of Executive Order 12958. This order called for the automatic declassification by 17 April 2000 of all documents containing historical information that are 25 years or older.

    To be sure, Mr. Clinton’s directive did not try explicitly to override the 1954 Atomic Energy Act, a statute designed permanently to protect nuclear weapons-relevant — or “restricted” — data. The practical effect of Executive Order 12958, however, has been greatly to abbreviate the time and necessarily to diminish the care with which classified documents are scrutinized prior to their release to the public.
    [...]
    Mrs. O’Leary banned personnel badges that clearly indicated whether the bearer had a security clearance and, if so, how high. Her reasoning: Such badges were discriminatory. And second, she ended the practice of requiring reports to DOE headquarters about foreign nationals from “sensitive countries” who visited the unclassified areas of the Nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories.

    Then too there is the policies that were put in place at the DNC by “New Left” activists and their fellow travelers which led dierctly to the left taking complete control of that Party which I wrote on in a PW post a few years ago.

  64. ****The protracted war between these neighboring Middle Eastern countries resulted in at least half a million casualties and several billion dollars’ worth of damages, but no real gains by other side.

    Started by Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein in September 1980, the war was marked by indiscriminate ballistic-missile attacks, extensive use of chemical weapons and attacks on third-country oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

    Although Iraq was forced on the strategic defensive, Iran was unable to reconstitute effective armored formations for its air force and could not penetrate Iraq’s borders deeply enough to achieve decisive results.

    The end came in July 1988 with the acceptance UN Resolution 598.

    During the eight years between Iraq’s formal declaration of war on September 22, 1980, and Iran’s acceptance of a cease-fire with effect on July 20, 1988, at the very least half a million and possibly twice as many troops were killed on both sides, at least half a million became permanent invalids, some 228 billion dollars were directly expended, and more than 400 billion dollars of damage (mostly to oil facilities, but also to cities) was inflicted, mostly by artillery barrages.

    Aside from that, the war was inconsequential: having won Iranian recognition of exclusive Iraqi sovereignty over the Shatt-el-Arab River (into which the Tigris and Euphrates combine, forming Iraq’s best outlet to the sea), in 1988 Saddam Hussein surrendered that gain when in need of Iran’s neutrality in anticipation of the 1991 Gulf War.****

    For those of you keeping score at home.

  65. *for (sic) its air force*

  66. Possession of flying tanks have been the fondest and highest dream of many a forward looking nation: hence their reluctance to cease seeking them out, despite any and all obstacles.

  67. Mi-24 - flying tank.

  68. How much tanks could a nukechuk-chuk, if a nukechuck could chuck tanks?

    Beats me.

  69. We may, but perhaps ought not, equivocate between lift capacities on the range of 13-14 tons and those of the more formidable 50-70 tons. Be that as it may, we can only wish those forward looking nations well in their search.

  70. General Ripper and I suggest megatons.

    Ahyep.

  71. Sometimes you feel like a record, sometimes you don’t.

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