From Steyn’s weekend column, comparing accountability in the private sector (News of the World) to accountability in the public (ATL public school system, Fast&Furious):
Or consider “Operation Fast and Furious,” about which nothing is happening terribly fast and over which Americans should be furious. The official explanation is that the federal government used stimulus funding to buy guns from Arizona gun shops for known criminals to funnel to Mexican drug cartels. As I said, that’s the official explanation: As soon as your head stops spinning, we’ll resume the narrative. Supposedly, United States taxpayers were picking up the tab for Mexican drug lords’ weaponry in order that the ATF could identify high-up gun-traffickers. But, as it turns out, these high-up gun-traffickers were already known to other agencies — FBI, DEA, and other big-spending acronyms in the great fetid ooze of federal alphabet soup in which this republic is drowning. And, indeed, some of those high-ups are said to have been paid informants for those various federal agencies. So, in case you’re wondering why Obama’s second annual Recovery Summer is a wee bit sluggish at your end, relax: Stimulus dollars went to fund one federal agency to buy guns for the paid informants of another federal agency to funnel to foreign criminals in order that the first federal agency might identify the paid informants of the second federal agency.
Meanwhile, what did the drug cartels, the recipients of the guns, do with them? Well, they used them to kill at least one member of a third federal agency: Brian Terry of the United States Border Patrol. If that doesn’t bother you, well, they also killed not insignificant numbers of Mexican civilians. If, by this stage, you’re wondering why U.S. stimulus dollars are being used to stimulate the Mexican coffin industry, consider the dark suspicion of many American gun owners — that the real reason the feds embarked on this murderous scheme was to plant the evidence that the increasing lawlessness on the southern border is the fault of the gun industry and the Second Amendment, and thereby advance its ideological agenda of ever greater gun control.
We’re not talking about hacking a schoolgirl’s cellphone here. Real people are dead. Yet nobody’s going to close down any wing of the vast spendaholic DEATFBI hydra-headed security-state turf-war. And while Eric Holder, the buccaneering attorney general at the center of this wilderness of mirrors, doesn’t yet have as many Distinguished Public Servant of the Year awards as Beverly Hall, judging from his cheerfully upfront obstruction of the congressional investigation, he’s not planning on going anywhere soon.
So, at the News of the World, every single employee is clearing out his desk. But, at the Atlantic Public Schools, at the DEATFBI, life goes on. A curious contrast. The striking feature of Big Government, from Athens to Sacramento, is its imperviousness to any kind of accountability — legal, fiscal, electoral, popular. A media mogul, a bank chairman, an oil executive, a corporate-jet depreciation-claimant are easily demonizable