Land of infinite “second” chances

Last month, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General released a report about the Infernal Internal Revenue Agency.  That Agency, as you will recall, has been shown to have discriminated against conservative organizations trying to obtain certain tax statuses.  Nearly five years after the first revelation of this, there has been NO accountability.  Lois Lerner is gone, but was not penalized in any way for the wrongdoing on her watch (she was allowed to take full retirement).

Now the IG reveals the Agency rehired 200 (that’s “two hundred“) former employees who had either been terminated for cause or left while under substantiated investigation of wrongdoing.  That included four who were fired for “willful failure to properly file their Federal tax returns.”

To be fair to the IRS (…yeah, right…), they’re only following the example of the Veteran’s Administration, whose Human Resources department shuffles failing or criminal employees from post to post rather than letting them go.  (Yes, I know the VA now touts having fired 500+ employees recently… but the list shows these are mostly lower-level employees and a handful of physicians, not the highly paid failing leadership.)

THIS is the “swamp” many people elected Trump to “drain.”  THIS is why people have no faith in their government anymore.  Congress is bad enough, but the various Minions of MordorTM are like an infection you can’t cure.  In fact, much like an infection they seem to become more resistant every time there’s an attempt to fight them.

This permeates the whole of government.  As a supervisor I saw this first hand, as it took me over a year to discipline an employee who was unqualified to be in their position in the first place (and who made no effort whatsoever to become so).  There needs to be a wholesale overhaul of the Civil Service; one that ensures government “service” doesn’t become a lifetime gravy train regardless of performance (or misconduct).

I guess the Republican Congress could get around to that after finally fulfilling their pledge of many years to repeal Obamacare.  But that, of course, now has to wait until they’ve raised the debt ceiling (yet again). Oh, and a new fiscal year starts October 1st, but there’s no budget in place yet (status normal).  Then there’s the promise of trying for tax reform…   You get the picture: accountability isn’t very high on the list.

It never is…

A slow-motion coup

Pat Buchannan’s column today looks at how government officials are breaking the law to “leak” sensitive information in order to damage the Trump administration, and asks the question — where does this all lead:

Before Trump departed D.C., The Washington Post ran transcripts of his phone conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.
Even Obama administration veterans were stunned.
So, it is time to ask: If this city brings Trump down, will the rest of America rejoice?…

Our media preen and posture as the defenders of democracy, devoted to truth, who provide us round-the-clock protection from tyranny. But half the nation already sees the media as a propaganda arm of a liberal establishment that the people have rejected time and again.

Consider the (Washington) Post’s publication of the transcripts of Trump’s calls with Mexico’s president and Australia’s prime minister.  The Post was letting itself be used by a leaker engaged in disloyal and possibly criminal misconduct. Yet the Post agreed to provide confidentiality and to hide the Trump-hater’s identity…

…there is a far larger story here, of which this Post piece is but an exhibit. It is the story of a concerted campaign, in which the anti-Trump media publish leaks, even criminal leaks, out of the FBI, CIA, NSA and NSC, to bring down a president whom the Beltway media and their deep-state collaborators both despise and wish to destroy...

The Justice Department is now running down the leaks, and the ACLU’s Ben Wizner is apoplectic: “Every American should be concerned about the Trump administration’s threat to step up its efforts against whistleblowers and journalists. A crackdown on leaks is a crackdown on the free press and on democracy.”

That’s one way to put it. Another is that some of these “whistleblowers” are political criminals who reject the verdict of the American electorate in 2016 and are out to overturn it. And the aforementioned “journalists” are their enablers and collaborators.

Read the entire piece hereNot every leak qualifies as “whistleblowing.”  In fact, I’d say that most leaking in D.C. is done out of political motivation of some sort.  True whistleblowing is the release of information a government, business or organization is holding back simply because it reveals wrongdoing.  The classic case of this is, of course, the Pentagon Papers.  The Supreme Court upheld the publishing of the papers because they clearly showed the Johnson administration had lied multiple times to the American people about the progress (or lack thereof) in Vietnam, and because revealing the contents posed no direct national security risk (only a political risk!).  When such a concerted effort is being made to conceal the truth, going outside the system as a whistleblower can be justified.  There are, of course, many other examples of people who took great personal risk to expose wrongdoing.

But that’s not what’s happening today.  Nobody is claiming the release of presidential telephone transcripts reveals devious doings and attempted cover-up.  In fact, most of the “leaks” are more like the National Enquirer’s gossip-mongering (“you won’t BELIEVE what Steve Bannon and H.R. McMaster said to each other today!”).  It’s a scattershot rumor mill enabled by spineless weasels who put their vanity as an “unnamed source” to a reporter above their duty to the country.  The ACLU has it all wrong here.  Cracking down on leaks doesn’t threaten whistleblowing — it protects it from abuse.  Protecting whistleblowing means bestowing that status only on courageous individuals who see clear, unaddressed wrongdoing in a failing system and literally blow the public whistle on it.

Speaking of failing systems, that now seems to include our entire crony-infested government bureaucracy.  The public has a right to know a great many things, but their are legitimate reasons for the government to protect certain types of information.  Those who abuse that trust need to go to jail, period (including Her Hillariness and Huma Abedin, among many others).

The corporate press is also a failing system.  The Washington Post’s new motto is that “Democracy dies in darkness.”  Fair enough.  It can also be murdered in broad daylight by irresponsible officials working with reporters who simply want to delegitimize the last election because it didn’t go their way.

Because once the government is seen as completely and hopelessly illegitimate, it’s only a matter of time before the true “Resistance” begins. THAT’S where the road we’re on seems to be headed.

That this even has to be said…

…shows how much the media and public in general lack critical thinking.  There needs to be a thorough housecleaning regarding leakers.  It’s one thing to be a whistleblower; it’s something entirely different to abuse your position of confidence to score points on the gossip circuit.  Have the guts to come forward, or shut your yap.  As for the media: your credibility is already in the toilet, and some of us didn’t need the press release below to know that most of what you have to say these days must be taken with a grain silo of salt.

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Knowing how this ugly business works, I’m hoping this was just a reminder born of frustration at all the leaks to this point, rather than a pre-emption of a shoe likely to drop in the near future. Every day it seems there’s some new bizarre angle that will be “investigated.”  It’s like one side is throwing around as much poo as they can, hoping something will stick.  Our government is paralyzed by all these circuses… and that’s by deliberate calculation.

Final unrelated thought: the copycatting of yesterday’s shooting has begun.

Where are the grown ups?

So the former FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress about his prior investigations and his dealings with President Trump (it’s still strange to type that).  Here’s how much of a circus this has become:

  1. The Director admitting leaking information to the NY Times via a friend
  2. The leak supposedly contained notes he wrote after meeting with Trump
  3. When asked for his notes, he claims he no longer has a copy
  4. Congress has to ask his friend for any copies he received

Really?  Really?  Either the former Director or the President (or, quite likely, both) is shading the truth considerably.  If it can be shown the Director broke rules on protecting information, or has perjured himself before Congress, there needs to be severe penalties.  Congress also needs to take Trump up on his offer to testify under oath.  And finally, it appears former Attorney General Lynch put more pressure on Comey than Trump ever did… something you likely won’t hear played up in the press.

Meanwhile, both Nancy Pelosi and John McCain are amply demonstrating in a bipartisan fashion how geriatric Congress has become (and how much we need term limits).

Any last vestiges of credibility our government may miraculously have seem to be vanishing right before our eyes.  At this point, maybe an EMP blast from North Korea would be an improvement.  At least then we wouldn’t have to listen to these idiots and their pageantry on radio or TV anymore.  And we’d all be too busy scratching out an existence to care about anything beyond the next town.

Quote of the day

“We have always known that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. It’s worse now, because capture of government is so much more important than it once was. There was a time when there was enough freedom that it hardly mattered which brand of crooks ran government. That has not been true for a long time — not during most of your lifetimes, and for much of mine — and it will probably never be true again.”

Jerry Pournelle, noted Military-Science-Fiction author and occasional pundit, written shortly after the 2008 election.

Leaders literally with no future

As we celebrate motherhood today, there is a significant trend worth noting.  We often hear “think of the children” when an unpopular or unwise piece of legislation is being proposed.  And yet, few of our leaders have “skin in the game” when it comes to their nation’s future:

Emmanuel Macron founded a new party, and his election as France’s president is said to herald the “revival of Europe.” Interestingly, Macron has no children.

This is not that notable in itself. After all, George Washington had no biological children. But across the continent Macron wants to bind closer together, there’s a stark pattern:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also has no children. British prime minister Theresa May has no children. Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni has no children. Holland’s Mark Rutte has no children. Sweden’s Stefan Loumlfven has no biological children. Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel has no children. Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon has no children. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has no children.

This is too remarkable to ignore. While Macron is young—39 years old—the rest of Europe is being governed by childless Baby Boomers

It’s clear which side has political power now. But the demographics point to a different future. In 2009 Phillip Longman noted that in France (for example) a tiny minority of women are giving birth to over 50% of the children every year. These women are either practicing Catholics or immigrant Muslims.

Contemporary childless leaders, however ascendant they feel today, may be the last gasp of secularism. The future is won by those who show up, and only the religiously orthodox are having children.

Those still swimming in the ancient streams of Faith and Culture in France will have the observant offspring of two rival religions living within the borders of one nation. The second Battle of Tours, (or Vienna, or Lepanto) might be extra bloody due to the policies of today, but the authors of those policies will not be around because they will be dead, and their offspring will not be around, because they do not exist.

Surely Macron, Merkel, Juncker, and the rest would argue that they can do their crucial jobs better because they don’t have children to distract them. C.S. Lewis provides the rebuttal: “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

The elite have long been insulated from the effects of their piously pie-in-the-sky policies by doing such things as living in gated communities and sending their children to high-priced private schools.  As this article points out, they have even less reason today to worry about the effects of their futile utopianism.  This is probably a key reason why our leadership seems so out of touch with the people they allegedly lead, especially in the area of immigration.  It won’t be their children suffering from the resurgence of long-controlled diseases like measles and whooping cough.  It won’t be their children who will either have to fight or conform to alien ideologies that were allowed in through millions of adherents’ migration.   It won’t be their children who face falling wages due to competition from cheaper labor overseas and immigrant labor at home.  They can afford to wear utopian blinders in a way no parent can.

While I’ve excerpted a good bit, read the entire piece for yourself here.

Wars and rumors of wars

The United States has enjoyed a century and a half with no broad-scale combat taking place within its borders.  That said, I’m far from being the only one who sees those days may be coming to a tragic end:

Sinisa also pointed out that most civil wars start after a loss of trust in the government, particularly law enforcement: “One of the defining features of any state is a legitimate monopoly on the use of violence.” In other words, if we trust the police to handle bad guys better than armed groups of vigilantes, we’ll probably trust the government more than armed groups of insurgents.

“And if police are not seen as doing their job … I think that certainly has an impact.”

Colonel David Couvillon, a Marine Reserve officer who governed the Wasit province of Iraq after the start of the occupation, pointed out that insurgents can win without convincing anyone that they’re “right.” It’d be enough to push most Americans into the “both sides are evil” camp, which … isn’t an unfamiliar place for most of us to be…

And that no doubt feeds the fact that Americans bought enough guns on Black Friday this year to arm the entire United States Marine Corps.

I’m increasingly of the opinion the United States will not survive my lifetime in its present form.   When it breaks up, it’s going to be a bloody, confusing mess of various factions.  Over the past 10 years, I’ve been taking steps to prepare my family for this eventuality.

You need to be doing the same, because we may not have another 10 years.