Are we losing it?
It's hard to win a war that you pretend you're not fighting: http://t.co/08jTD5TBuY
— Rand Simberg (@Rand_Simberg) March 9, 2014
This isn’t a full transcript, but it’s a good selection of key points made during last week’s Senate Appropriations hearing.
These simple questions – each based on indisputable facts – establish that somebody outside of the IRS told her they wanted the tax agency to “fix” something involving groups seeking 501(c)(4) tax status, that she directed subordinates to begin a (c)(4) project she feared could be seen as “political,” that she viewed Tea Party groups as “dangerous,” and that she ordered that such groups be subjected to “multi-level review.” Those are the four essential points of the IRS scandal: Who ordered the tax agency to get involved, who in the tax agency responded, who they targeted and what actions they took. She cannot answer these questions because, as she herself has claimed, that would be incriminating. Lerner and others must hope Issa doesn’t already have the answers.
Gee, I kind of hope he does. I’m guessing White House counsel’s office, myself.
Here’s a novel concept. A White House petition demanding that it actually be based on science.
It’s certainly a good idea in concept, but the morons probably already think it is.
That’s certainly true in the longer term. I don’t know if Putin understands that, though, or cares enough to use it as leverage in Ukraine.
We’ve been thinking about getting a set of barbells.
…is based in fantasy:
For five years, the Obama administration has chosen to see the world as they wish it to be, not as it is. In this fantasy world, the attack in Fort Hood is “workplace violence.” The Christmas Day bomber is an “isolated extremist.” The attempted bombing in Times Square is a “one-off” attack. The attacks in Benghazi are a “spontaneous” reaction to a YouTube video. Al Qaeda is on the run. Bashar al-Assad is a “reformer.” The Iranian regime can be sweet-talked out of its nuclear weapons program. And Vladimir Putin is a new, post-Cold War Russian leader.
In the real world, it was a pen pal of the late jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki who opened fire on soldiers at Fort Hood. The Christmas bomber was dispatched from Yemen, where he was instructed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Times Square bomber was trained and financed by the Pakistani Taliban. Benghazi was a deliberate attack launched by well-known terrorist groups. Al Qaeda is amassing territory and increasing its profile. Assad is a brutal dictator, responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 Syrians. The Iranian regime is firmly entrenched as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror and remains determined to lead a nuclear state. And in Russia we face a Cold War throwback willing to use force to expand Russian influence.
Well, to be fair, his domestic policies are based on fantasies, too.
Some thoughts on the real “war on science”:
This, of course, is a charge that Democrats usually love to levy against Republicans. When Barack Obama took office in 2008, Democrats swooned that we finally had a “pragmatist” back in the White House after eight years of a Republican president who supposedly favored ideology to facts on everything from science to foreign policy. Translation: Democrats act based on knowing things because they are smarter and think about them rationally and scientifically, while Republicans act based on believing things because they are religious, ill-informed, or misled by powerful interest groups.
The last few years have supplied ample evidence of the opposite — namely, that Democrats are the ideologues wearing blinders to shield themselves from inconvenient realities. Indeed, it is worth reviewing a list of items on which Democrats seem incapable of overcoming preconceptions and interest groups.
The long standing deceit and conceit of the left, as Jonah Goldberg has documented in his books, going all the way back to John Dewey, is that they are “pragmatic” and that everyone else is “ideological,” when of course it’s exactly the opposite. The great irony of last year’s election was that the nation actually had a choice between an leftist ideologue and a pragmatist: Romney truly doesn’t seem to have any political principles, and just wants to do what “works.” They chose the ideologue.
Some thoughts from Lileks:
Oh grow up. Please. Any form of disputation is now “Bullying,” as if the act of being less than supportive is a passive version of pushing someone down in the mud in the playground. The spread of the term beyond school infantilizes everyone and dilutes the term. Criticism is bullying; failure to agree with someone else’s precepts is “hate.” The internet did not invent this; it just allowed people with mushy noggins to retreat into supportive spaces where everyone outside the wall was a meany.
And there are a lot of mushy noggins out there.
Stock up on the popcorn, he maybe running for president. Troy Senik has taken a start at helping him craft a platform.
Dennis Wingo has the 2014 edition. Long but worth a read. I disagree with him on the first flight for commercial crew. I think it may happen as soon as next year.
The 9th Circuit seems to be taking Heller seriously. We really do have the gun grabbers on the run, constitutionally.
The headline of this good National Journal article on yesterday’s Senate Appropriations hearing is very misleading. One would think from it that’s it’s about the commercial crew competition between Dragon and CST, when in fact it’s about the competition between SpaceX and ULA for milsat launches. I assume that the copy editor screwed up, not the author. Anyway, note the typical socialist argument against competition that Dick Shelby uses.
Eileen Collins explains why it will be successful.
Schoolkids apparently hate Michelle Obama’s lunch menu, and they know whom to blame it on.
…with seven energy policies.
They’d have the additional benefit of sparking economic growth.
“These people shouldn’t be allowed around children. In fact, they shouldn’t be permitted to breed.”
The biggest implication is that the models are worse than useless as a guide to policy on climate. And places like California are taking a wrecking ball to their economy for nothing.
I say it’s time to end it, over at PJMedia.
Did Obama blow up the Mideast peace “process”?
Kerry’s a dolt, but he probably has some smart people working for him. Obama’s just got Valerie Jarrett.
A live blog of the Senate hearing, with Elon Musk and Michael Gass. ULA is running scared, and Shelby is running interference for them, spouting economic lunacy.
A brief review of the stupid movie by Lileks:
I made two attempts this weekend to watch “Elysium,” but was hampered by the fact that it was stupid.
There’s actually a little more, but that’s the bottom line.
…and is totally owned on Twitter, largely by @iowahawkblog.
It’s frightening to think how close that fool came to being president.
…is a myth. Eric Raymond on the history of open source, and the ahistorical knowledge of young programmers.
How they so badly misjudged it:
Russia and the West do indeed have competing interests in the post-Soviet space. The problem with the realists is that they fail to see the moral, tactical and legal disparities that exist between the aims and methods of East and West. When Brussels and Washington propose EU and NATO membership, they are offering association in alliances of liberal, democratic states, achieved through a democratic, consensual process. Russia, meanwhile, cajoles, blackmails and threatens its former vassals into “joining” its newfangled “Eurasian Union,” whose similarity to the Soviet Union of yore Putin barely conceals. The right of sovereign countries to choose the alliances they wish is one Russia respects only if they choose to ally themselves with Russia. Should these countries try to join Western institutions then there will be hell to pay.
Despite all this, Cohen complains of a “Cold War double standard” in the ways we describe Western and Russian approaches to the former Soviet space. The West’s “trade leverage” to persuade Ukraine is treated benignly, Cohen writes, while Putin’s use of “similar carrots” is portrayed as nefarious. A crucial difference, however, is that when a country turns down a Western diplomatic package, as Ukraine did at the November Vilnius Summit (thus sparking the massive protests in Kiev that ultimately overthrew Yanukovych), the EU does not invade.
It should not come as a surprise why countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and other former Warsaw Pact nations that lived under the heel of Russian domination for so long might want to join the NATO alliance, which, according to its charter, is purely defensive. NATO has no designs on Russian territory and never has. But in the fervid and paranoid minds of the men running the Kremlin (and, apparently, in that of Stephen Cohen and other opponents of NATO expansion), the alliance’s defensive nature is irrelevant. If Russia were a healthy, liberal, pluralistic society at peace with itself and its neighbors, it would have nothing to fear from America, the EU, or NATO. Indeed, as crazy as it may sound today, in the 1990s, some Russian and Western leaders spoke optimistically of Moscow joining the latter two institutions. But these hopes of a European Russia were dashed when Putin came to power.
If it hadn’t been Putin, it might have been someone else. There may be something in the Russian character that wants a czar.