Those that do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
– George Santayana (1863–1952)
We can learn a lot from history. If only we pay attention, that is. But the Obama Administration seems Hell-bent for leather to ignore all the lessons they coulda/shoulda/woulda learned, had they just been paying attention to the end of the Nixon Administration. Case in point, you can’t expect to hang someone out to dry without them turning stool-pigeon and singing for the grand inquisitors. Word is now trickling out about the testimony of ATF’s Acting Director, Kenneth Melson. Testimony that would indicate that AG Eric Holder has, in the words of Ricky Ricardo, got some ‘splainin’ to do…
In closed-door testimony to Congressional investigators, Kenneth Melson sang like the proverbial canary, rather than doing his previous dead-on impression of Sgt. Shultz from Stalag 13. The statements won’t come as any surprise to members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia, any more so that the concept that “water is still wet.” However, and for the record, Melson owned up to the fact that his jackbooted elves, in at least one instance, allowed the sale of weapons to weapons traffickers without intercepting them.
Still a little weasel-ish (one instance, Kenny-Boy? Just one?), but progress is progress. But the bread and circuses part was still to come: the assertion that his superiors at Justice (that would be Eric Holder) have been stonewalling Congress (no, DUH) to protect political appointees in the scandal. To which political appointees could Melson be referring?
Allow me to count the knaves – Holder, natch. DHS Head Cheese Janet Napolitano, and Sec-State Hillary Clinton. Ruh-rho, Reorge! Let’s face it. Given that since this misbegotten passion play began, it’s been called a “joint operation involving the ATF, FBI, DHS, ICE and US Border Patrol.” Throw in the international angle, and you’ve got agencies who need approval of the Attorney General, the Sect. of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of State.
This represents the first direct testimony by any senior ATF honcho that confirms accusations coming from GOP members on the Hill. It also gives credence to the complaints from Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley, namely that Holder has been circling the wagons and refusing to cooperate.
Now, here’s a little secret that we writers know. If you wanna fess-up, own-up or otherwise take credit for something, good or bad, you write/speak in active voice. If you’re gonna try to weasel out of it, you write/speak in passive voice. Thusly, here’s two quotes from Herr Melson:
There were some mistakes made [in Fast & Furious by the Phoenix division of the ATF].
For those of you who slept through English class, that was passive voice. “Mistakes were made,” but it’s anybody’s guess who made ’em.
It was very frustrating to all of us, and it appears thoroughly to us that the Department (of Justice) is really trying to figure out a way to push the information away from their political appointees at the department.
This statement is much more clear-cut. Melson was frustrated as he watched Holder arrange the musical deck chairs in such a way as to protect the Obamanauts, but leave him chairless, holding the proverbial bag. Here’s another humdinger of a quote:
I think they were doing more damage control that anything [at the Justice Department].
Ya THINK? And now for the Understatement of the Year, may I have the envelope, puh-leeeze?
Lets not forget, campers that if this were a Hans Christian Andersen tale, what we’re looking at here is the first crack in the dyke. That water dribbling down from the fissure? Just watch. It’s gonna become rivulets, then a stream, then a spout and suddenly we’ll see the hydroscopic pressure break down that dam like a wrecking ball crashing through abandoned public housing.
The only thing Holder’s got going for himself at this point, is that he probably knows where to find a good attorney. Here’s hoping he’ll eventually turn State’s Evidence, and do the canary thing for his boss.
If the damn cracks wide open, what is expected to happen? I would be very surprised if the politicians pay any penalty much less a severe (as in jail time) penalty. Mr. Holder knows Congressional investigations hold little water. He has nothing to worry about even if President Obama is voted out of office. Unlikely since the majority of the masses seem to vote the way of their favorite celebrity. The administration will continue to follow their self-righteous path with little regard to anyone who disagrees with them. After all they are protecting us from ourselves.
Haven’t we learned anything from history? Joey B’s first official act as Pres will be to pardon everyone involved.
That is, if there’s any country left TO fail.
Just the thought of a Biden presidency is enough to induce vomiting.
Projectile vomiting of “The Exorcist” kind.
“If the damn cracks wide open, what is expected to happen?”
Those who are attempting to plug the leak will be swept away by the flood of evidence.
Since we cannot seem to remember most of the actors from the bygone Nixon administration who went to jail for obstruction of justice, I suppose we are condemned to seeing it repeated. ;^)
Santayana’s quote did not refer to or mention history and was intended to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. The actual passage is: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (Santayana, a fine writer, would never write “Those that…”). It was not an admonition to study history but an observation that humanity is largely incapable of learning from its mistakes — as reflected in another famous Santayana quote: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
“humanity is largely incapable of learning from its mistakes”
I’m sure it applies universally. It’s a key feature of the human condition.
Santayana is an interest of mine and it’s disappointing to see him constantly misquoted. Almost no one actually reads his work anymore, though everyone quotes him — and invariably gets it wrong.
Check it out guys! Magoo finally put up a post with some kind of sourcing to back it up!!
Too bad it’s completely off topic and adds nothing to the conversation.
Maybe he is remembering the past, and no longer condemned to make the same mistakes?
Mr. Felix, what does your post have to do with the topic at hand? Mine is, of course, off topic as well but I’ll add the following. As bad as the gun walking is, it is more disgusting that we are too lazy to take back our Republic from the Tyrants on all sides of the isle.
“Those who argue over the authenticity of quotes of dead men, who did nothing but write and think, are doomed to be smacked upside the head for idiocy.”
BTW Red herring. I call shenanigans. Back to the discusion.
“… suddenly we’ll see the hydroscopic pressure break down that dam like a wrecking ball crashing through abandoned public housing.”
How long do yall think it will take for the proverbial wrecking ball to rip through the ATF offices and hopefully leave a wake of resignations?
Old government agencies never die, they just smell that way.
James Felix says: “Check it out guys! Magoo finally put up a post with some kind of sourcing to back it up!!
Too bad it’s completely off topic and adds nothing to the conversation.”
I completely agree that the Santayana quote has no relevance to the topic. But as long as you are quoting Santayana, he should be quoted accurately. That’s all I’m saying.
Also, just so you are totally clear on this, you are trolling. As I have noted, many of you guys can’t see what you are doing, or hear what you are saying. Here, you are trolling, FYI.
There is nothing about this story that legitimately compares with Watergate and it is not going to bring down the Obama adminstration. You guys are building a castle in the air. Classic conspiracy theory. We don’t have to argue about it. We can just wait and see.
Actually, just to be totally clear on this, I was calling attention to the fact that for all your blustering, hot air and expressions of a desire to “elevate the conversation” you never cite any actual data and you never have a logical rebuttal for someone who cites data to you. Your opinions are made up of 50% misinformation and 50% pure emotion.
That’s all I’m saying.
It looks like you make up 100 percent of your statistics on the spot.
Care to support that comment with some proof?
Whom am I kidding? Of course you don’t.
Magoo, I’m wondering when the power’s gonna run out on that Reality Distortion Field generator of yours. Ah, well, perhaps you’ll be the only one able to afford power, once Obama gets done closing all the coal plants.
When the break-in at the Watergate office building occurred, nobody – not the WaPo, Ben Bradlee, the NY Times, CBS, or any other mainstream media outlet thought it was worthy of covering. Woodward and Bernstein did. Had Nixon simply let the legal system do it’s thing, it might have been embarrassing to him, but certainly not fatal to his campaign. His campaign staff went overboard, and crossed the line into criminal activity. It happens. One campaign’s “dirty trick” is another’s “criminal intent.” But when Nixon and his inner circle decided to cover up any involvement, THAT became a criminal conspiracy – and an impeachable offense.
If you think this can’t hurt Obama, you are wrong. Just like Nixon was wrong. It is pretty clear from where I sit, that there’s a whole lot of stonewalling and covering up going on. And if there’s any lesson to be learned from Watergate, it’s the COVER-UP that will get you – not the crime.
Now of course, Obama has a couple of things going for him. A news media that has, so far, proven themselves to be his lapdogs, and a Senate that all but worships him. BUT…politics is weird. Allegiances can change in the twinkling of an eye. And nobody goes down faster than a leader, when his followers smell blood (his) in the water.
BTW – aside from the fact that I (unfortunately) misquoted Santayana, I disagree with you (big surprise) about the relevance of his quote – mangled or otherwise. If we don’t learn from our past, we will continue to make the same mistakes. In that spirit, I’ve decided to take the advice of quite a few of the TTAG Armed Intelligentsia, namely don’t feed the Tr0lls. As such, this will be my final reply to your comments, both in this thread and elsewhere on TTAG. You add nothing to the discourse, and I see no more value in engaging you in conversation than I would with a brick wall. Should you say anything in the future that is particularly inflammatory, we’ll simply send it to that great recycle bin in the cloud.
It’s not a troll to note the lack of substance in your attempts to manufacture a major scandal from this story.
And it’s hardly incendiary, or even very bold, to note that instead of facts, your story is built from one conjecture on top of another.
And we needn’t argue about the outcome. As I said, we can just watch and see. The Obama administration is not going to fall as a result of this so-called scandal. When all your drumming comes to nothing, what then? You will be proven wrong and that is my prediction.
Also, please repair the Santayana quotation. The actual passage is: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
“Those that” is very poor grammar. Santayana could never write such an ugly phrase . If nothing else, he was a technically superb writer. Thanks, I appreciate it.