Saturday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesYes, this site is still a work in progress after a gremlin wiped out my home page. For those who like seeing a full post, rather than a tease, do not despair. That shall return . . . eventually. Until then, I’m just happy that I have a home page. And now, to the links!


To begin, a brief IRS round-up:

A Democrat House Member says that Republicans are estopped from inquiring into the lost IRS emails because, back in October, they caused a government shutdown. Please see Bill Whittle’s video, below, to explain how the Congressman could say something so unutterably stupid.

Bill Henck continues his ongoing explanation about what the heck is going on with the IRS, with the latest being the Commissioner’s refusal to apologize for violating the law, destroying evidence, etc. There is a culture of entitlement and arrogance there directly attributable to decades without oversight or accountability.

If you’re not accountable to anybody, you can easily lie. For example, you can say that you have no backups. Who cares if the evidence shows that you had a contract with a third-party email backup company? W#e keep telling our young’uns to be careful because, once things get into cyberspace, they’re there forever. Apparently that’s true for everything except IRS data subject to congressional subpoenas.

Power Line asks if the IRS’s disgraceful and illegal behavior came about because both Sen. Carl Levin and the IRS were completely ignorant about the law governing 501(c)(4)s.

Walter Olson points out the suspicious timing for the lost emails:  The hard drives got wiped immediately after Congress starts expressing interest in the IRS’s illegal conduct. You don’t have to be a lawyer to think the IRS is hiding something.

Fundamentally, the IRS has been all-powerful for so long that its whole strategy seems to be “Eff You!” What worries me is that Congress is so spineless on the Right, and so “Dems must prevail at any cost” on the Left, that the IRS’s assumption about its untouchable status could prove to be true.

And of course, here’s the obligatory Paul Ryan video, which may put the lie to my concern about the Republicans’ spinelessness. When someone as perennially mild-mannered as Paul Ryan gets upset, maybe others are also revving their engines:


Some people have guilt by association; others have glory by association. I can boast of the latter, since fellow Watcher’s Council member Tom White, who blogs at VA Right, is getting the kind of attention he deserves for nailing the Brat win over Cantor in VA-7.


JKB brought to my attention an article from the Middle East Quarterly, explaining why Arab standing armies do so poorly in battle. They’re much better at guerrilla warfare, as Iraq has demonstrated for more than a decade. The article was written in 1999, but it applies as perfectly today as it ever did. Arab armies have ferocity, but little else.


The pictures are in from the 2014 Annual San Francisco Battle of Midway commemoration. (And no, there aren’t any of me.) As you can see, only two battle veterans were able to attend this year. The greatest generation is fading away. It’s up to us not to forget them or to forget the lessons they so painfully learned about giving lebensraum to tyrants.


I missed this post back in January, but it’s still timely; indeed, as events of the last week or two show, possibly more timely: Is Obama going rogue? Nat Hentoff, who is a true liberal, not a party loyal DemProg, thinks he is, and William Hamilton used Obama’s military purges as evidence. We can now add the border crisis to the evidence list.


I wrote my Gun Manifesto because I was frustrated about Facebook arguments I’ve had with liberal friends. They all live in a logic-free world. When they’ve been forced to concede that every one of their facts is wrong, they still announce that the Second Amendment should be ditched because guns are dangerous — never mind that I’ve systematically proven that, in a free society, guns in civilian hands are less dangerous than guns only in government hands.

There’s a major flaw in my argument, of course. I keep thinking that there is an actual truth predicated on real facts. But as Bill Whittle explained back in 2011, in liberal land, there is no “truth” or “logic.” There is only “your truth” versus “my truth,” a slippery slope of relativism that makes possible the worst kind of evils. (Hat tip: Earl)


Here’s a flying pigs moment: An uber-liberal friend of mine is touting IBD’s opinion article urging support for a Republican-drafted bill. The reason is that Marinites have suddenly realized that the federal government has big, urban, government-managed plans for Marin. Having spent enormous sums of money to live here, Marinites don’t want to see Marin turned into a government-planned urban sprawl. They’ve successfully won the first phase in the battle, but are beginning to figure out that the problem isn’t local; it’s federal.


Taki’s Magazine isn’t always my favorite place, because it too often has a vaguely anti-Israel edge. Nevertheless, it also occasionally has right-on-the-money articles. A perfect example is the one looking at 15 myths that millennial accept as received wisdom. These myths cover everything from stealing the land from the Indians, to racism, to gays. I particularly like the one about gays, because it goes to a point I often make, having grown up around gays:


I’ve heard Jon Stewart say this and it often comes up when discussing gay marriage and adoption. Do any of these people know any fags? They are perfectly wonderful human beings with whom I spend much of my time, but they are also hair-whiteningly decadent. They call me an amateur for having participated in a couple threesomes. They’ve had dozens of eightsomes.


I’m always baffled by the ferocious opposition the Left has against genetic modification. Humans have been genetically modifying food forever. Heck, they’ve also been genetically modifying dogs and cats. Whenever they use traditional breeding methods to “improve” something, humans are engaged in genetic modification. Doing it in a lab is just more precise.

To prove the point about GMOs throughout human history, the Genetic Literacy Project has some pictures of what your favorite foods would look like if mankind hadn’t messed with them:

Non-genetically modified food


One of the things the Soviet Union liked to do was to make people disappear, not just be killing them, but by erasing them from memory. That’s why the story about the New York Times‘ decision not to include Dinesh D’Souza’s top-selling book, America: Imagine a World without Her, into its bestsellers’ list reminded me of this:

Before:  Joseph Stalin with Nikolai Yezhov; After the purge: Joseph Stalin without Nikolai Yezhov
Before: Joseph Stalin with Nikolai Yezhov; After the purge: Joseph Stalin without Nikolai Yezhov


Erasing a person is low. But the Grey Lady always impresses me with how much lower she can go. For example, she’s terribly disappointed that the Met, responding to a furor about its staging the antisemitic opera The Death of Klinghoffer, decided not to broadcast the opera for fear of further inflaming the rising tide of antisemitism around the world. Harking back to the Bill Whittle video, above, the Grey Lady thinks that the Palestinian truth (about tossing a wheelchair-bound old man overboard simply because he was Jewish) deserves a world-wide operatic hearing.

See also Jonathan Tobin’s post about the New York Time’s response to the Met’s decision to stage the opera. While you’re there, considering signing up for Commentary’s new subscription package. If you don’t subscribe, you save $12 a year and get to see only 8 articles per month. However, if you do become a digital subscriber, for a mere $12 per year (less a few cents), you get access to everything Commentary offers: the magazine, the blog, and the archives. It’s a great deal and one I highly recommend.


While I’m talking about antisemitism, the Presbyterian Church USA is a disgrace because it’s officially joined the Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement. I’ve seen on my conservative Facebook timeline that principled members of the PCUSA are resigning from the church based upon this decision. (My Christian cousin, who converted from Judaism, resigned some time ago precisely because the PCUSA was getting so antisemitic.) I applaud those who are making the break, and wish them the best of luck in finding a more principled spiritual home.


So the U.S. Patent and Trademark office decided that the Washington Redskins should lose their interest in their Trademarked image, something into which they’ve poured millions, perhaps billions, of dollars over the past 80 or so years, all because five people, plus the drive-by media, complained. Inspired by the Patent Office’s power, The Daily Caller went searching for other trademarked names that the Patent Office should erase on the grounds that they’re offensive, but somehow hasn’t yet done so. This isn’t just a double standard. It’s a triple loop, back-flip kind of standard.


A few on Iraq:

If we’re playing the blame game, yes, it’s Obama’s fault — and an insult to all who suffered and died there.

Even moderate liberals are watching in horror as Obama sets Afghanistan up for the same end-game Iraq is now experiencing. They note that George Bush learned from his mistakes and express the faint hope that Obama will too.

I know that Obama is sending 300 “military advisors” to Iraq. The last time 300 went to meet a foe, they all died:


The good part of the Spartan’s story was that, back in the day, their sacrifice inspired the remaining Greeks to fight against foreign tyranny. It’s unlikely that, thirteen years into an existential war against radical Islam, the Left has learned anything at all.


Yet more evidence that, when it comes to Mother Nature, we know almost nothing: Unexpectedly, Marin’s salmon population is thriving thanks to the drought. Our hubris in thinking we can predict the climate decades in advance, and draw conclusion about the effects flowing from that future climate, is appalling.


In my pro-gun manifesto, I said that accidents in the home should not be factored into deciding gun safety because, almost invariably, the problem isn’t the guns, but the home. When I made that statement, I didn’t have these numbers before me:

Accidental gun deaths