Shelby’s Antics

The Houston Chronicle weighs in.

I don’t think this is quite correct, though:

Under the current Commercial Crew Development program, SpaceX contracts with NASA for a flat payment. If SpaceX comes in under cost, it gets to keep the profit. If it goes over budget, SpaceX has to make up the difference. This system gives SpaceX more flexibility to operate as it sees fit.

Shelby has inserted language in a Senate appropriations bill that would instead force SpaceX to work on NASA’s old cost-plus model. This would require the private company to track every step of its development, assign a cost to those steps and charge it to NASA, plus an additional fee. This stilted payment model forces engineers to be accountants and removes disincentives for bloated budgets.

Shelby isn’t forcing the company to cost plus. He’s doing something worse (and stupid), forcing them to account for it as though it were cost plus, but on a fixed-price contract.

The IRS’s Illegal Destruction Of Evidence

It’s looking worse and worse:

Any private company that conducted itself in this way would be crucified. It happens from time to time, but rather rarely nowadays, as the duty to preserve evidence is well known in the business world. The IRS’s account of its own behavior is, frankly, shocking. I can hardly imagine what a federal judge would do to a party that took no steps to preserve documents, erased backup tapes, allowed employees to delete relevant emails and memos, and “recycled” the crashed hard drive of its principal witness, all while the lawsuit was pending.

I guess we may find out soon, as True the Vote’s motion is scheduled to be heard on July 11.

Let’s hope. Who will be the equivalent of Judge Sirica in this case?

[Update a while later]

Lois Lerner, Colonel Mustard, and the Blue Screen of Death.

I hope that Megan is feigning credulity to maintain her own credibility when she finally comes down on these serial liars like a hammer.

[Update a while later]

Issa to Koskinen: Want to revise your testimony?

The Huntsville Reality-Distortion Zone

This isn’t new, but I don’t think I linked it at the time. Eric Berger reports on the people working SLS:

May turns the cost issue around.

“My question would be, how could we afford not to do this?” May asked. “Great nations explore. Great nations push their boundaries. And this country has continued to the limits of what we know and learn for a generation, and I think we’ve got to continue to explore.”

And in the larger perspective, he argues, SLS does not cost that much. NASA spends about $1.6 billion a year building it, less than 9 percent of the space agency’s total budget, he said, which is itself less than one half of one percent of the federal budget.

“I think it’s a relatively small amount of money to set the leadership for the world in space exploration,” he says.

Count the number of logical fallacies in just those four grafs.

Obama’s Amnesty Strategy

OK, so it’s not just a partial shambles:

Obama’s pass-a-bill-or-I’ll act strategy was not just tactically dumb (alienating the very House Republicans it was designed to coerce, stoking activist expectations of an imminent executive overreach to achieve a goal that wasn’t popular enough to sustain the overreaching). It was also substantively dumb – the actual policy assumptions underlying Obama’s proposals (that amnesty doesn’t act as a magnet for further illegal immigration) were disproved by the Latin American reaction to his initial pen-and-phone moves before House Republicans had time to be coerced.

Democrats are still putting on their Goodfellas faces and pretending they have leverage. Dem Whip Steny Hoyer promises a “significant change in policy” if the House does not act in July, according Breitbart News. Senator Dick Durbin says that if Speaker Boehner doesn’t act “the President will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.” (I must have been sleeping in Con Law when they taught the Borrowing Clause.) Senator Robert Menendez defensively declares ”the threat of executive action is not a bluff.”

It’s a bluff. House GOPs should feel free to ignore it, at least through November.** If Obama takes any executive action before then, it will be of the most timid, face-saving variety.

Speaking of Con Law, it would have been appalling, if I weren’t used to it, to hear Xavier Becerra say on Fox News Sunday that it was OK for the president to ignore the Constitution and bypass Congress if what he was doing was popular. Those are the words of a caudillo. The Democrats seem ever-more determined to turn us into a banana republic.

Phony Scandals And Election-Year Demons

Very few are buying the IRS’s fairy tales:

In fact, an objective assessment of the Republicans conduct over more the course of the 14 months since this scandal broke has been relatively apolitical, especially considering that the IRS is charged with executing a partisan vendetta against conservatives. By and large, members have avoided bombast and overreach in pursuit of the facts surrounding the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. The Republicans’ prudence in concert with the IRS’s improbable self-defense has resulted in a great majority of the country backing the GOP in this matter.

Republicans and Democrats, women and men, blacks and whites, the rich and the poor, the old and the young; according to a recent poll, the vast majority of the public across the political spectrum believe this matter deserves a thorough investigation – one which results in accountability.

Accountability to these people is like a cross and garlic to a vampire.

And no, it’s not the IRS that’s the victim here:

Specifically, says NOM, the group’s 2008 tax return and donor list was turned over to activist Matthew Meisel, who then gave it to the Human Rights Campaign which distributed it to the media.

Not surprisingly, since the leaked information was used against their last presidential candidate, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee took an interest in the case. Congressional pressure may well have induced the IRS to surrender, admit error, and turn over a little cash it mugged from other taxpayers to make nice with NOM, but it couldn’t get the Department of Justice to take an interest in the case. Shocker.

“The DOJ’s refusal to take any action to protect taxpayers demonstrates why this Committee, and the American people, cannot trust their supposed investigation into the IRS targeting, let alone the protection of the constitutional rights of conservatives,” complained House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) the day the settlement was announced.

Well, same as it ever was. The IRS has never been a safe tool in any administration’s hands. It never will be, so long as it remains such a tempting weapon for whoever wields its excessive power.

Camp wants a special prosecutor to look into the IRS’s behavior. But that behavior is inevitable, so long as a government body as dangerous as the IRS is allowed to exist.

People need to be jailed for this.

More Blows For Liberty From SCOTUS

Shockingly to union supporters, a union can’t force someone taking care of her disabled son to pay union dues for the privilege.

And there’s another blow to ObamaCare’s attempt to run our lives:

The 5-4 decision is a significant victory for those challenging the constitutionality of the President Obama’s health care law. And it strengthens the argument that for-profit entities, like individuals and churches, have religious rights.

So you don’t lose your religious freedom because you make a profit.


[Update mid afternoon]

The funniest thing on Twitter today, amidst all the illogic, hatred and hysteria, is the number of people who think that @SCOTUSblog is actually SCOTUS’s blog (and Twitter feed) and attacking them. The @SCOTUSblog folks are having a lot of fun with it.

The Breakup Of Iraq

Is it good, or bad for us?

All of this makes our leadership in both parties look like idiots, and that is bad for America. Even those of us who think that our leadership are idiots cringe when it becomes obvious to the rest of the world. The American public by a margin of 71:22 thinks that the Iraq War wasn’t worth it. They are against any sort of intervention because there is no-one they trust to conduct intervention sensibly.

Putin is not smarter than we are. He is simply unburdened by the illusion that most of the countries in the region should or will succeed, and he is willing to stay one jump ahead of the game, maneuvering for advantage as opportunities emerge. We are fettered by Obama’s affirmative-action approach to the Muslim world as articulated in his July 2009 Cairo address and numerous subsequent statements, and the Republicans’ ideological belief that the mere form of parliamentary democracy fixes all problems.

The intrusion of reality benefits the likes of Putin, because Putin is a realist. It hurts us, because we refuse to accept reality. Our leaders live in ideological bubbles; they are incapable of considering the consequence of their errors, because they believe in their respective causes (the innate goodness of Islam or the innate propensity of people towards democracy) with religious intensity.

Unfortunately for Obama, Kerry et al, reality has a bias toward realistics. And sadly, their disconnect with reality isn’t confined to foreign policy.