How to Stop the Elites…

 

congress-fe08-intro-tease

 

The STOCK Act would do little to address the problem of insider trading on Capitol Hill, says Hoover Institute fellow Peter Schweizer.

“My biggest concern is enforcement,” Schweizer told The Daily Caller.

He cited the example of former Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson, who famously stored $90,000 in cash bribes in his freezer.

“He had been taking bribes,” Schweizer explained. “The FBI heard about this, so they did everything they were supposed to do. They got a search warrant from a federal judge and they went in and searched his congressional office. … Congress went absolutely ballistic and said this was an infringement of constitutional rights and authority and there were actually threats to cut the FBI budget as a result of doing this.”

“I just don’t see the SEC wanting to have a fight like that,” said Schweizer. ”And that is why I think law is only as good as its likely or willing to be enforced.”

Remember, this is the SEC that was too busy taking bribes and watching porn at work to see the Mortgage/Banking Meltdown coming!!

Schweizer says the STOCK Act might do some good, but he prefers a bill called the RESTRICT Act, sponsored by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy.

“The RESTRICT Act basically says to members of Congress, number one, you need to put all of you assets into blind trust,” Schweizer explained. ”You know blind trusts aren’t perfect, but I think they are a help. And if you don’t want to do that then you have to disclose, I think on your website within three business days any financial transactions that you engage in.”

Schweizer says that transparency, above all else, is of paramount importance in wringing out lawmakers’ bad habits.

During congressional hearings on the STOCK Act, Schweizer noted, the Securities and Exchange Commission said that it has never charged a member of Congress with insider trading.

“If there was a health care bill going through Congress and people found out in real time that their congressman was trading stocks in the health care sector, I think they would be outraged and vote them out of office or take some sort of recourse,” he said. “The biggest issue is empowering individual voters in terms of disclosure, so I think the STOCK Act is important to pass because it makes clear that the same rules apply to members of Congress.”

The STOCK Act is insufficient because it doesn’t cover investments made in private companies, something he says has been a problem in the past.

In his book ”Throw Them All Out,” Schweizer discusses Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, who during the health care debate of 2009 bought millions of dollars’ worth of equity in BridgeHealth International, a private medical tourism company. Polis suspected, as did many, that health care reform would cause medical expenses to increase and that more people would seek medical procedures outside of the United States.

BridgeHealth is a private company, and therefore would not fall under the jurisdiction of the STOCK Act.

“He could go ahead and make that kind of trade and potentially use inside information, and he would not be prevented from doing that based on the way that this law currently exists,” Schweizer explained.

The STOCK Act also makes no attempt at guarding against conflict of interest in earmarks proposed by members.

“Bar is so low that basically so long as they can demonstrate at least one other person will benefit from the earmark, it is OK for them or their family members or whoever to profit from the use of taxpayer monies in this way,” Schweizer said. “That is an abysmally low standard.”

Several leaders in Congress have repeatedly sought earmarks that benefit their personal investments. Nancy Pelosi pushed for a $20 million earmark in 2005 “for waterfront redevelopment only two blocks away from the Belden Street property. The earmark was killed in July of that year. The Pelosis increased their financial stake in the property, and the next year Pelosi asked for the earmark again and this time she succeeded,” Schweizer noted in his book.

Earmarks like the Pelosi redevelopment example would not be considered an abuse of insider information under the STOCK Act.

While examining trades made around the time of the 2003 Medicare overhaul, Schweizer experienced what he calls his “Holy crap!” moment. The legislation, which created a new prescription-drug entitlement, promised to be a huge boon to the pharmaceutical industry—and to savvy investors in the Capitol. Among those with special insight on the issue was Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the health subcommittee of the Senate’s powerful Finance Committee. Kerry is one of the wealthiest members of the Senate and heavily invested in the stock market. As the final version of the drug program neared approval—one that didn’t include limits on the price of drugs—brokers for Kerry and his wife were busy trading in Big Pharma. Schweizer found that they completed 111 stock transactions of pharmaceutical companies in 2003, 103 of which were buys.

“They were all great picks,” Schweizer notes. The Kerrys’ capital gains on the transactions were at least $500,000, and as high as $2 million (such information is necessarily imprecise, as the disclosure rules allow members to report their gains in wide ranges). It was instructive to Schweizer that Kerry didn’t try to shape legislation to benefit his portfolio; the apparent key to success was the shaping of trades that anticipated the effect of government policy.

Remember, currently, Insider Trading will get YOU thrown in jail. It just makes Congressman richer. 🙂

Now that’s “fair” 🙂

Throw Them All Out

Fast & Furious

Former Tucson Drug Enforcement Administration chief Tony Coulson told The Daily Caller that Attorney General Eric Holder either knew guns were walking during Operation Fast and Furious, or should have known about the deadly practice.

“[Fast and Furious] was driven locally and it was driven from Arizona, from the ground up, I mean it was not much oversight,” Coulson said in a phone interview. “And, I mean, I can only speak to the reporting, but people all the way up to the attorney general knew what was going on.”

Coulson, who ran the DEA’s Tucson office during Fast and Furious’ implementation, told TheDC he learned that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was letting guns walk back in 2009 or 2010. He said he learned this from people who were working in the Phoenix Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. He didn’t know it was called “Fast and Furious,” but said it was widely known guns were walking.

“Nothing that [ATF] was doing was running into what we were doing at DEA from the Tucson level,” Coulson said. “Now, Phoenix was a little bit different. They were, their targets kept running into DEA cases and I think that was reported out of the House letter last week. But in Tucson, we weren’t running into them. How I became aware of it was through Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

“At the time, [ATF’s] boss here, Bill Newell, was the face and the voice of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms,” Coulson added. “If you go back during this time, he’s the one who’s on every major national news station. He’s talking about weapons in Mexico. You know, he was the voice of ATF. I mean, he was driving ATF’s policy. There was very little oversight at the time from anyone on what was going on. I became aware of it because ICE interceded on more than one occasion to seize weapons at the port of entry that ATF was trying to walk into Mexico.”

ICE falls under the Department of Homeland Security, and with the news that Holder hasn’t discussed Fast and Furious with its Secretary Janet Napolitano or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, there are likely to be new questions into what, if anything, those cabinet officials were told of Fast and Furious.

And, contrary to the picture Holder has tried to paint during his congressional hearing appearances, Coulson said that “yeah, absolutely” law enforcement officials were widely aware the ATF was using gun-walking tactics in Arizona. Coulson went so far as to say he suspects Holder himself was aware of the tactic, or was willfully unaware — meaning he didn’t want to know and made sure he wasn’t informed of gun-walking.

“If someone brings something to your attention and not really all the facts are brought to your attention, yeah we’re sending guns into Mexico, if he [Holder] chooses not to ask the next question, and then makes a statement ‘I didn’t know about that then’ but did find out about it when it became a hot topic issue when he decided well, ‘I should ask that next question now: Are you really walking guns into Mexico?’” Coulson said. “That leads to the next question, which is: ‘Are the Mexicans seizing, recovering those weapons before they’re used in a crime?’ The answer is no.”

And with the widespread knowledge of gun-walking among federal officials in Arizona, Coulson said there’s “no way” people in Washington, D.C., at ATF headquarters and in the Department of Justice didn’t know what was going on.

“I don’t have any firsthand knowledge, but there’s no way people [in Washington, D.C., at ATF headquarters and Main Justice] can say they didn’t know,” Coulson said. “Whether they paid attention to it, whether they thought it was important, how much information exactly did they have? But, you know, at the time, ATF was really laying the story on about these weapons and how this is how they were following investigations to the next level, and how this was leading to ‘big arrests’ and Mexicans tracking guns, which was all kind of smoke and mirrors.”

Coulson also said most other law enforcement officials in Arizona knew Newell had a gun control agenda behind his actions with Fast and Furious and other operations. “Whenever Bill would make those [anti-gun rights] statements [with inflated gun trafficking statistics], everyone would roll their eyes and say, ‘when is someone going to call him on this?’” Coulson said. “That’s because it was only weapons which the Mexican government seized which they chose to trace back to the United States.”

“[Newell] is trying to make this political statement that there is this river of guns, which then the Mexican government picked up on, and said ‘it’s your guns, that’s why we’re having all this violence here,’” Coulson added. “And there’s never any accounting for the fact that probably a majority of the guns, in terms of what law enforcement generally knows, are coming up through Central America and they’re coming from other countries. The 90 percent figure has been debunked as you go along the way. It’s actually something considerably less. … They’re just picking a figure and saying 90 percent of the weapons they seized come from the U.S. Well, really, it’s 90 percent of the weapons that they choose to do a search on results in it originating from the U.S.” (Daily Caller)

So is Holder lying or incompetent or Both!

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

 Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

De-Railing Reality

The amount of money the federal government takes out of the U.S. economy in taxes will increase by more than 30 percent between 2012 and 2014, according to the Budget and Economic Outlook published yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office.

At the same time, according to CBO, the economy will remain sluggish, partly because of higher taxes.

“In particular, between 2012 and 2014, revenues in CBO’s baseline shoot up by more than 30 percent,” said CBO, “mostly because of the recent or scheduled expirations of tax provisions, such as those that lower income tax rates and limit the reach of the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and the imposition of new taxes, fees, and penalties that are scheduled to go into effect.”

The U.S. economy, CBO projects, will perform “below its potential” for another six years and unemployment will remain above 7 percent for another three.

Now that”Hope and Change” you can believe in!

California has a huge state debt and Washington has a huge national debt. But that does not discourage either Governor Jerry Brown or President Barack Obama from wanting to launch a very costly high-speed rail system.

Most of us might be a little skittish about spending money if we were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. But the beauty of politics is that it is all other people’s money, including among those other people generations yet unborn.

The high-speed rail system proposed for California has been envisioned as a model for similar systems elsewhere in the United States. A recent story in the San Francisco Chronicle used the high-speed rail system in Spain as an analogy for California.

Spain is about the same size as California, and has a similar population density — and population density is the key to the economic viability of mass transportation, from subways to high-speed rail.

It so happens that I have ridden on Spain’s high-speed rail system. It was very nice, especially since I did not have to pay the full costs, which were subsidized by the Spanish taxpayers.

While the Spanish government has been subsidizing the passengers on its high-speed rail system, the European Union has been subsidizing the Spanish government. Someone once said that government is the illusion that we can all live off somebody else. Spain’s high-speed rail system is not even covering its operating costs, never mind the enormous costs of setting up the system in the first place. One reason is that half the seats are empty in the high-speed trains in Spain.

That is what happens when you don’t have the population density required for passengers to cover the operating costs. You would need the hordes of Genghis Khan riding the high-speed rail system to cover the additional costs of the rails and the trains.

An economics professor at the University of Barcelona says that Spain “has not recovered one single euro from the infrastructure investment.”

The most famous high-speed rail system is that in Japan, one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The “bullet train” between Tokyo and Osaka has 130 million riders a year. Tokyo alone has more than three times the population of San Francisco and Los Angeles put together.

In California, an element of farce has been added to the impending economic tragedy, if the envisioned high-speed rail system actually materializes.

The first leg of the system is planned to run between Fresno and Bakersfield. If those names don’t ring a bell with you, there is a reason. They are modest-sized communities out in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley, well removed from San Francisco or Los Angeles.

You can bet the rent money that high-speed rail traffic between Fresno and Bakersfield will never come within shouting distance of covering the operating costs. Some people have analogized putting such a rail line between these two towns to the infamous “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska.

Why are they doing it? Because they can.

If they began this project where they want it to go — between San Francisco and Los Angeles — they would run into so much opposition from the environmentalists, and from local politicians influenced by the environmentalists, that the delays could take the high-speed rail advocates beyond the time limit for using the federal subsidy money. But the green fanatics have not yet taken over politically out in the San Joaquin Valley.

The only reason for even thinking about building a high-speed rail line between Fresno and Bakersfield is just to get the project underway with federal money, making it politically more difficult to stop the larger project for a similar rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In other words, they are going to start wasting money out in the valley, so that they will be able to waste more money later on, along the coast. This may not make any sense economically, but it can make sense politically for Jerry Brown and Barack Obama.

An old song ended, “You’ve been running around in circles, getting nowhere — getting nowhere very fast.” On high-speed rail.

But since it’s all about the Politics of Me, it works for them.

And the Money and the debt, who cares.

FAST & FURIOUS

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are officially trying to cover for Attorney General Eric Holder just before he testifies on Thursday about Operation Fast and Furious, with anti-Second Amendment Ranking Member Elijah Cummings leading the way. Last night, Cummings released a 95 page waste of paper and taxpayer money report, alleging that top Justice Department officials did not authorize the program, despite evidence showing otherwise.  The report tries to pin the blame back on a few “rogue” managers in the ATF Phoenix Field Division. This is the same argument we’ve heard since the beginning of the scandal: it was a local operation, nobody important knew anything.

A few important points:

First, Deputy Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer (the number two man in DOJ), approved wiretaps for Operation Fast and Furious. Wiretap applications require excruciating detail about a case to be presented before approval. Wiretaps are considered the most intrusive tool law enforcement can use. Breuer, who read through the wiretap applications, knew details of the strategy used in Fast and Furious, letting guns walk into Mexico without alerting Mexican authorities, yet he approved it anyway. New emails released last Friday in a late night document dump, show Attorney General Eric Holder was briefed about Brian Terry’s death just hours after he was murdered in the early morning hours on December 15, 2010. Later in the day, Holder’s deputy chief of staff at the time Monty Wilkinson, was told directly by former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke that the guns found at the murder scene were part of Operation Fast and Furious. According to the report, Wilkinson doesn’t “recall” that email, despite replying to it with, “Call you tomorrow.” Burke, who resigned from his position as U.S. Attorney in August, was in “complete agreement” with former ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Division Bill Newell about Fast and Furious tactics according to a January 8, 2010 briefing memo.

If Wilkinson’s “I don’t recall,” argument sounds familiar, there’s a reason why. On May 3, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder testifed before the House Judicary Committee that he had only known about Fast and Furious, “for a couple of weeks.” Five months later, memos addressed directly to Holder surfaced, with details and discussion about the program. In defense, Holder said he didn’t read the memos and that his staff didn’t inform him of their content.

Second, the report claims Fast and Furious was not used as a way for the Obama administration to push through back door gun control measures.

“The report debunks many unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. Contrary to repeated claims by some, the Committee has obtained no evidence that Operation Fast and Furious was a politically-motivated operation conceived and directed by high-level Obama Administration political appointees at the Department of Justice,” Cummings wrote in the report.

But whenever catch a Liberal with his hands in cookie jar, just remember ” Nothing to see here…move on…” 🙂

More Posterior Worship

More kissing up to future Democrats and social welfare recipients by Obama:

Illegal immigrants closely related to U.S. citizens would no longer have to leave the country to try to obtain legal status under a proposed change in immigration policy announced Friday by President Barack Obama’s administration.

The change, which would greatly reduce the amount of time U.S. citizens are separated from undocumented family members seeking legal status, is the latest attempt by the Obama administration to use its authority to implement some immigration reforms without congressional approval.

Some analysts also said the proposed policy change was likely an election-year ploy meant to bolster the president’s standing among Latino voters unhappy with the record numbers of immigrants deported under his administration.

The proposal, published in the Federal Register, does not require congressional action to become final.

The agency will accept public comment about the proposed change, with a goal of implementing it this year, Mayorkas said.

Here’s mine: F*UCK YOU!

But I’m just a “racist” and insensitive. 🙂

“We are proposing a process change to better serve the current law’s goal, a change that will reduce the time of separation and thereby alleviate the extreme hardship to the United States citizen,” Mayorkas said.

How about stopping them from coming here illegally in the first place. Thus alleviating the hardship all together! :0

He said the high standard for obtaining a waiver would not change. To be granted a waiver, illegal immigrants would still have to prove that their separation would harm their citizen spouses or parents.

Oh, like squishy “fair” Liberals who are kissing up to Illegals and Latinos would be so “heartless” and unfair.

The change, however, would likely spur a larger number of waiver applications because the requirement to leave the country has been a deterrent to applying, he said.

And we wouldn’t want to deter Illegal Immigration now would we…

Eli Kantor, an immigration lawyer in Beverly Hills, Calif., said he is worried that illegal immigrants without strong hardship cases might rush to apply for the waivers and then be subject to deportation if they lose.

He also fears the proposed change was politically motivated to gain support from Latinos as the presidential election heats up.

Ya Think?! 🙂

“I’m sure there are people out there who say it’s political, but family separation is real, it’s not political.”
Oh, yes it is. Everything is political to Liberals and Especially Obama.

Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington, D.C.-based immigration-enforcement group, said the proposed change would undermine laws aimed at discouraging illegal immigration by effectively nullifying the 10-year ban on returning to the U.S.

He also called the change the latest attempt by the Obama administration to weaken immigration enforcement.

Last year, the Obama administration announced policy changes to focus on deporting immigrants who commit serious crimes instead of those whose only offense is being in the country illegally.

Immigration officials are currently reviewing thousands of deportation cases and closing the files of illegal immigrants who have not committed serious crimes.

Critics say that policy is de facto amnesty.

Given that policy, Mehlman expects the government to make it easier for illegal immigrants to be approved for hardship waivers.

“In the political context of the way this administration is operating, this is just one more step in their effort to basically say we are going to disregard the fact that people violate immigration laws unless they have gone on to commit some other crime here in the United States,” Mehlman said.

MORE ASS KISSING

Documents released in a classic Friday afternoon news dump show that labor unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers from President Barack Obama‘s signature legislation since June 17, 2011.

By contrast, private employers with a total of 69,813 employees, many of whom work for small businesses, were granted waivers.

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Emperor Obama Update

Election season is here, and you might think President Obama would be going out of his way to show voters that he can be trusted with the powers of the presidency. But you would be wrong. Just a few days before Christmas, Obama served notice to all Americans that he will continue to abuse executive privilege by seeking new ways to vilify gun owners and further his anti-gun agenda.

But with this being the “Civility” anniversary of the Gifford’s shooting in Tucson I bet no one on the Left of the Leftist Media will talking about it. 🙂

“I don’t have anything new for you,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday when asked about the anniversary.

And why was the NIH involved in gun issues to begin with??
Congress placed a provision in the $1 trillion omnibus spending bill for 2012 designed to bar the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from using any of its $30.7 billion taxpayer funds to “advocate or promote gun control.” However, upon signing the bill into law, President Obama issued a caveat of his own:

I have advised Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility to recommend to the Congress’s consideration such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient.

In other words: “Congress may pass laws, but I decide which of its laws are constitutional and which I can simply choose to ignore.”

Of course, the Constitution doesn’t actually give the president this power, but Obama won’t allow a little thing like the U.S. Constitution get in his way. And in the present case, Congress is right to try to prevent him from using a federal health agency, not to mention our tax dollars, as a weapon in his ongoing war against the Second Amendment. As The Washington Times reports, NIH has wasted over $5 million since 2002 producing deceptive studies aimed at furthering gun control — including one study that tried “to prove that a home without firearms was essential to a child’s safety and well-being.”

Even more importantly, Congress knows that there is no scheme too radical, or dangerous, for the Obama administration when it comes to using federal agencies to push its anti-gun agenda.

Last month, email exchanges surfaced between employees at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) that show the administration helped illegally transfer guns to violent Mexican drug cartels in order to manufacture a case for gun registration. Now gun dealers in four Southwest border states must abide by a new gun registration requirement, courtesy of BATFE, that forces them to register the sales of any law-abiding American who purchases more than one semi-automatic rifle within five business days.

Congress never passed any law like this. Rather, Obama’s BATFE orchestrated the deadly “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal to give cause for its unconstitutional gun-control edict. Given this, how hard is it to envision the Obama administration issuing a phony “health” study that maligns gun owners?

Obama may not have a majority in Congress, or the will of the people, behind his anti-gun agenda. But that isn’t stopping his administration from finding deceitful ways to evade Congress and build public support for gun bans, gun registration and other regulations designed to weaken and destroy our Second Amendment rights.

But first we have shooting anniversary to celebrate. That’ll distract them…

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

 Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Post Racial

President Obama led us to believe that he would be a post-racial president who would bring the races together, but it’s gotten to where you can’t criticize this most leftist administration in American history without someone accusing you of racism.

The most recent example involves criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder over Fast and Furious, an operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which was overseen by the Justice Department. It involved the indirect sale of weapons to Mexican drug cartels, which resulted in some 300 killings in Mexico, including the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Throughout, despite having received detailed memos from DOJ officials about it, Holder has denied he was aware of it.

The scandal and Holder’s stonewalling have led to some 60 congressmen demanding his resignation, and 75 cosponsoring a House resolution calling for a “no-confidence” vote on his performance as attorney general.

Holder has defiantly denied culpability, and President Obama, without betraying the slightest concern, has proclaimed his complete confidence in Holder. In a New York Times interview, Holder suggested race was partially driving a “more extreme segment” against him and Obama.

Holder said, “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, both due to the nature of our relationship, and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.” When pressed for some proof to support Holder’s allegation, the Justice Department did not respond. Nor has the White House distanced itself from Holder’s comments.

Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson had earlier played the race card regarding Fast and Furious, calling it “another manufactured controversy by the Second Amendment, NRA Republican tea party movement.” He said, “Now, how many firearms are sold to al-Qaida terrorists, to other convicted felons, to domestic violence perpetrators, to convicted felons, to white supremacists?”

And Biden says The Taliban aren’t our enemy.

Nor was this the first time Holder had invoked the issue of race. During a speech commemorating Black History Month shortly after he became attorney general, Holder said the American people are “essentially a nation of cowards when it comes to racial matters.”

This seemed to many a curious way to celebrate the election of an African-American president, not to mention reflecting Holder’s sizable preoccupation with race and his apparent perception of societal problems through a racial lens. It could also help to explain his Justice Department’s indefensible dismissal of an already won voter intimidation case against New Black Panther Party members using the specious excuse that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

None of this comes as any surprise, however, because President Obama had telegraphed his race-oriented mindset in his book, in his church association and in his projecting statement that small-town people “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” He has worn race on his sleeve numerous times as president.

When a white police officer in Cambridge, Mass., arrested Harvard professor Henry Gates, an African-American, Obama, without having heard both sides of the case, publicly injected himself into the local matter and gratuitously smeared the entire police department as having “acted stupidly.” In addition, Obama told guests at a private dinner at the White House that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency, especially among tea party members.

Not only has Obama made these viscerally charged racial statements, he has also consciously appealed to minority groups with specific reference to their race. In a Democratic National Committee video in April 2010, he urged “young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women … to stand together once again.” Shortly before the November 2010 congressional elections, he told an audience that Republicans “are counting on black folks staying home.” Separately, he appealed to Latino voters not to stay home at election time but to “punish our enemies” and not go along with the Republicans’ “cynical attempt to discourage Latinos from voting.”

These developments are most disturbing and discouraging. There exists a great ideological divide in this nation over which of two primary sets of policy prescriptions ought to be adopted to rescue America from its economic malaise, its bankrupting debt and a host of other major issues.

Conservative opposition to Obama isn’t about race, and I’m confident this administration is well aware of that but is using the race card anyway, out of political desperation, to the destruction of the nation, and to racial relations. It’s disgraceful and unconscionable. (David Limbaugh)

Alabama’s unemployment rate fell at a record pace in November amid stepped-up efforts by President Barack Obama’s deputies to frustrate enforcement of the state’s popular new immigration reform.

The state’s unemployment rate fell 0.6 percent in November to 8.7 percent, according to new state reports, partly because the state’s employers opened up jobs to Americans after shedding illegal immigrants.

The unemployment rate is far below October’s rate of 9.3 percent and September’s rate of 9.8 percent.

“The continued drop is proof that people — American Citizens [and] legal migrants, have suffered at the hands of politicians who choose politics over economics,” said Chuck Ellis, a council member in Northern Alabama’s Marshall County.

“What’s really amazing is that in Marshall County, a county of 95,000 residents, 30,000 workforce eligible, there are over 600 people who now have jobs that they didn’t have 6 months ago,” he said.

In November the county’s unemployment rate dropped 0.7 percent, from 8.1 percent to 7.4 percent.

“Is that a difference of great significance? Ask those families for an answer as they undertake the Christmas season,” Ellis said.

Department of Justice officials, including civil-regulation chief Tom Perez, have repeatedly visited the state to invite people to make claims of discrimination.

Perez is pushing ahead with a lawsuit intended to gut the reform, which was supported by members of both parties, and by both white and African-American legislators.

Perez’s efforts have been broadcast by many established media outlets, many of which have also highlighted the reform’s painful impact on illegal immigrants. Few outlets, however, have detailed the beneficial impact of the state’s falling unemployment rate.

Administration officials have cracked down on immigration enforcement by several states in partial exchange for promises by the Hispanic lobbies to spur turnout by Democratic-leaning Hispanic voters in 2012.

The lobbies had sought a federal amnesty, but rising public opposition has deterred Democrats from seriously promoting any amnesty since Obama’s 2008 election.

In compensation for their inaction, the federal government and allied Hispanic lobbies have already sued several other states, including New Mexico, South Carolina, Georgia and Arizona.

On Thursday, Perez also announced a litany of complaints about the sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz. Perez, who opened his Thursday press conference by saying “Buenos Dias,” also said he would stop helping the sheriff enforce federal immigration laws.

“We’re going to fight back, we’re going to show the politics involved. … The president wants to get the Hispanic vote,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a Fox interview Dec. 16.

The Alabama reform copied federal immigration laws, making it more difficult for local entrepreneurs and businesses to hire or trade with illegal immigrants. Top state officials, including Gov. Robert Bentley, have said they’ll make some trims to the law in the new year to defeat the legal challenges by Obama’s deputies, business lobbies and immigration advocates.

In October, Alabama was ranked 37th-worst in the nation for unemployment. November’s numbers pushed the state up to 30th place, based on the October rankings.

In a complex economy, “it’s certainly plausible that immigration enforcement — and the subsequent drop in the number of illegals — enabled unemployed Americans to find work,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a D.C. -based advocacy group.

“Americans with the highest unemployment rates — young workers, less-educated workers, minority workers — are the ones facing the greatest job competition from illegal aliens, and thus would benefit the most from the departure of those illegal aliens,” he added.

The state’s new immigration reform gets much of the credit from local boosters, although stepped-up Christmas hiring likely played some role. However, Alabama reduced its unemployment much more than the adjacent states of Mississippi and Georgia.

In Georgia, the unemployment rate fell to 9.9 percent in November, down from 10.2 percent in October and 10.3 percent in September.

In Mississippi, the November numbers have not been released, but the state’s unemployment rate stayed steady at 10.6 percent in October and 10.6 percent in September.

In Alabama, the unemployment rate is lower in northern counties.

For example, Madison County’s rate was 6.9 percent in November, down from a September level of 8.2 percent, according to the state’s Department of Industrial Relations.

The highest rate of unemployment are in the southern, majority-black districts of WIlcox, Perry, and Bullock. In November, their unemployment rates were 15.5 percent or greater. (DC)

But that’s probably racist too… 🙂

Political Cartoons by Gary McCoy

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

 

Lying is Complicated

Last week, the DOJ took the rare step of formally withdrawing a letter it sent to Congress in February that falsely claimed the program being executed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not allow guns to “walk” into Mexico.

Confronted about this by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., Holder defended the DOJ.

“Nobody at the Justice Department has lied,” Holder insisted.

When Sensenbrenner pressed Holder on the distinction between lying and misleading Congress, Holder said it was a matter of a person’s “state of mind.”

Lying’ Is Such A Complicated Concept.

“First let me make something very clear, in response to an assertion you made, or hinted at: Nobody in the Justice Department has lied,” Holder said in response to accusations that he or his confidantes lied to Congress. “Nobody has lied.”

“Then why was the letter withdrawn?,” Sensenbrenner retorted, referring to a factually inaccurate letter one of Holder’s deputies, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, sent to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley on February 4. In that letter, Weich claimed that guns were never allowed to walk.

Holder and one of his other deputies, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, have both admitted that statement was false in recent Senate hearings.

“The letter was withdrawn because there was information in there that was inaccurate,” Holder replied to Sensenbrenner’s question.

Still unsatisfied, Sensenbrenner followed up again. “Tell me what the difference is between lying and misleading Congress in this context?,” he asked Holder.

Holder responded that whether a statement is a lie or misleading comment depends on what the person making it is thinking at the time.

“If you want to have this legal conversation, it all has to do with your state of mind, and whether or not you had the requisite intent to come up with something that can be considered perjury or a lie,” Holder said. “The information that was provided in that February 4 letter was gleaned by the people who drafted the letter after they interacted with people who they thought were in the best position to have the information.

I guess it depends on the definition of what “is” is.

Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation “Fast and Furious” to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.

PICTURES: ATF “Gunwalking” scandal timeline

In Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the “big fish.” But ATF whistleblowers told CBS News and Congress it was a dangerous practice called “gunwalking,” and it put thousands of weapons on the street. Many were used in violent crimes in Mexico. Two were found at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

ATF officials didn’t intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called “Demand Letter 3”. That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or “long guns.” Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.

On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.” 

More Fast and Furious coverage:
Memos contradict Holder on Fast and Furious
Agent: I was ordered to let guns “walk” into Mexico
Gunwalking scandal uncovered at ATF

On Jan. 4, 2011, as ATF prepared a press conference to announce arrests in Fast and Furious, Newell saw it as “(A)nother time to address Multiple Sale on Long Guns issue.” And a day after the press conference, Chait emailed Newell: “Bill–well done yesterday… (I)n light of our request for Demand letter 3, this case could be a strong supporting factor if we can determine how many multiple sales of long guns occurred during the course of this case.” 

This revelation angers gun rights advocates. Larry Keane, a spokesman for National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group, calls the discussion of Fast and Furious to argue for Demand Letter 3 “disappointing and ironic.” Keane says it’s “deeply troubling” if sales made by gun dealers “voluntarily cooperating with ATF’s flawed ‘Operation Fast & Furious’ were going to be used by some individuals within ATF to justify imposing a multiple sales reporting requirement for rifles.” (DC)

The Gun Dealers’ Quandary

Several gun dealers who cooperated with ATF told CBS News and Congressional investigators they only went through with suspicious sales because ATF asked them to.

Sometimes it was against the gun dealer’s own best judgment.

Read the email

In April, 2010 a licensed gun dealer cooperating with ATF was increasingly concerned about selling so many guns. “We just want to make sure we are cooperating with ATF and that we are not viewed as selling to the bad guys,” writes the gun dealer to ATF Phoenix officials, “(W)e were hoping to put together something like a letter of understanding to alleviate concerns of some type of recourse against us down the road for selling these items.”

Read the email

ATF’s group supervisor on Fast and Furious David Voth assures the gun dealer there’s nothing to worry about. “We (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into detail.”

Two months later, the same gun dealer grew more agitated.

“I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys. I guess I am looking for a bit of reassurance that the guns are not getting south or in the wrong hands…I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents (sic) safety because I have some very close friends that are US Border Patrol agents in southern AZ as well as my concern for all the agents (sic) safety that protect our country.” 

“It’s like ATF created or added to the problem so they could be the solution to it and pat themselves on the back,” says one law enforcement source familiar with the facts. “It’s a circular way of thinking.”

The Justice Department and ATF declined to comment. ATF officials mentioned in this report did not respond to requests from CBS News to speak with them.

The “Demand Letter 3” Debate

The two sides in the gun debate have long clashed over whether gun dealers should have to report multiple rifle sales. On one side, ATF officials argue that a large number of semi-automatic, high-caliber rifles from the U.S. are being used by violent cartels in Mexico. They believe more reporting requirements would help ATF crack down. On the other side, gun rights advocates say that’s unconstitutional, and would not make a difference in Mexican cartel crimes.

Two earlier Demand Letters were initiated in 2000 and affected a relatively small number of gun shops. Demand Letter 3 was to be much more sweeping, affecting 8,500 firearms dealers in four southwest border states: Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. ATF chose those states because they “have a significant number of crime guns traced back to them from Mexico.” The reporting requirements were to apply if a gun dealer sells two or more long guns to a single person within five business days, and only if the guns are semi-automatic, greater than .22 caliber and can be fitted with a detachable magazine.

On April 25, 2011, ATF announced plans to implement Demand Letter 3. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is suing the ATF to stop the new rules. It calls the regulation an illegal attempt to enforce a law Congress never passed. ATF counters that it has reasonably targeted guns used most often to “commit violent crimes in Mexico, especially by drug gangs.”

Reaction

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is investigating Fast and Furious, as well as the alleged use of the case to advance gun regulations. “There’s plenty of evidence showing that this administration planned to use the tragedies of Fast and Furious as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement. But, we’ve learned from our investigation that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions. It’s pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements.”

On July 12, 2011, Sen. Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department oversees ATF. They asked Holder whether officials in his agency discussed how “Fast and Furious could be used to justify additional regulatory authorities.” So far, they have not received a response. CBS News asked the Justice Department for comment and context on ATF emails about Fast and Furious and Demand Letter 3, but officials declined to speak with us.

“In light of the evidence, the Justice Department’s refusal to answer questions about the role Operation Fast and Furious was supposed to play in advancing new firearms regulations is simply unacceptable,” Rep. Issa told CBS News.

Oh and by the way:

Selling weapons to Mexico – where cartel violence is out of control – is controversial because so many guns fall into the wrong hands due to incompetence and corruption. The Mexican military recently reported nearly 9,000 police weapons “missing.”

Yet the U.S. has approved the sale of more guns to Mexico in recent years than ever before through a program called “direct commercial sales.” It’s a program that some say is worse than the highly-criticized “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal, where U.S. agents allowed thousands of weapons to pass from the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels.

The problem of weapons legally sold to Mexico – then diverted to violent cartels – is becoming more urgent. That’s because the U.S. has quietly authorized a massive escalation in the number of guns sold to Mexico through “direct commercial sales. It’s a way foreign countries can acquire firearms faster and with less disclosure than going through the Pentagon.

Here’s how it works: A foreign government fills out an application to buy weapons from private gun manufacturers in the U.S. Then the State Department decides whether to approve.

And it did approve 2,476 guns to be sold to Mexico in 2006. In 2009, that number was up nearly 10 times, to 18,709. The State Department has since stopped disclosing numbers of guns it approves.

Mexico is now one of the world’s largest purchasers of U.S. guns through direct commercial sales, beating out countries like Iraq.

Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee continually asked Holder what Congress can do to stop the trafficking of firearms into Mexico, implying Congress should be implementing more gun control as a result of this program.(DC)

DOH!

At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Security, It’s Our Job

Notes on that “more secure” Border.

PHOENIX (KPHO) –   A suspected human smuggler who  has been deported 14 times was among a group of illegal immigrants  arrested Monday night in Arizona, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office  said.

Juan Ramos-Alegria was most recently arrested one week ago in Colorado, MCSO said.

Five suspected illegal immigrants, including Ramos-Alegria, were apprehended without incident.

Sheriff’s investigators said the immigrants  had paid anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 each to be smuggled into the  U.S. Those arrested reported to be heading to Arkansas and Georgia as  their final destination, MCSO said.

So how long before #15??

Just days prior to that:

(Maricopa County, AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio reports that the Maricopa County
Sheriffs Office Human Smuggling Unit arrested 12 illegal aliens involved in
smuggling operations last night in the north valley, including the smuggler Ivan
Lara-Roque who has been previously deported from the United States 13 times
and has been permanently banned from entering the United States.

But don’t worry, if you want to enforce the law Attorney General Holder will just sue you and sell guns to the Drug Cartel members who are trying to kill you.

No Problem. If they, the Government, want to ignore the law and the security and safety of the US Citizens there is nothing you can do. Just suck it up, even if it’s lead.

Documents show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation “Fast and Furious” to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.

In Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the “big fish.” But ATF whistleblowers told Congress it was a dangerous practice called “gunwalking,” and it put thousands of weapons on the street. Many were used in violent crimes in Mexico. Two were found at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

ATF officials didn’t intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called “Demand Letter 3”. That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or “long guns.” Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.

On July 14, 2010 after ATF headquarters in Washington D.C. received an update on Fast and Furious, ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait emailed Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.”

At least 300 people in Mexico have been killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry who records were sealed by the Administration so no one can see them. But they have nothing to hide. 🙂
And who will Holder through under the bus tomorrow to deflect blame from himself and his cronies???
Now, Would you like some salt for those wounds?
Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

The House committee probing government gun-running now sets it sights on possible money-laundering involving drug cartel funds run in the name of drug enforcement. Why should we believe DOJ this time?It’s an old adage that when investigating criminal activity you should follow the money. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has announced an investigation into a money-laundering operation allegedly run by the Drug Enforcement Administration. We may need to follow the people following the money.

Just as Fast and Furious was allegedly intended to track and interdict gun-trafficking into Mexico, this operation, detailed in a New York Times article Sunday, is said to have as its purpose to follow how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are.

But the question once again arises: Have the feds interrupted or aided the flow?

After a Friday document dump showing how deliberately deceptive the Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder were regarding Operation Fast and Furious, the government’s gun-running operation that led to the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, it’s hard to believe this latest scheme was well-run.

In a Monday letter to Holder, Issa noted that as in Fast and Furious “this same goal of dismantling Mexican drug cartels motivated the Drug Enforcement Administration in aiding and abetting these same cartels in laundering millions of dollars in cash.”

It may have produced equally tragic results.

According to the Times report, agents said the requirement that the laundering of amounts greater than $10 million get formal DOJ approval was routinely waived.

According to Issa, that means “hundreds of millions of dollars” could’ve been “laundered” into the hands of drug cartels by the Obama administration and Holder’s Justice Department.

The Times quoted an agency official, who asked not to be identified: “My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the DEA could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”

Is that the case?

In anticipation of Holder’s testimony on Thursday, Issa requested that his staff be fully briefed on the money-laundering operation no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday and that he would not accept on Thursday another my-dog-ate-the-memo excuse for not knowing what his department and its agencies were doing.

If this was a clone of Fast and Furious, this time involving money rather than guns, we need to know the extent of the damage. Money is the lifeblood of drug-trafficking, and we may have only succeeded in giving the drug lords a transfusion.

We have argued the possibility that Fast and Furious was a planned attempt to augment gun violence in Mexico using U.S. weapons as a predicate to pushing for more gun control.

Aiding and abetting the money laundering of these same drug cartels is equally unconscionable.

We agree with Issa that it is “almost unfathomable to contemplate the degree to which the United States government has made itself an accomplice to the Mexican drug trade, which has thus far left more than 40,000 people dead in Mexico since December 2006.”

This latest scheme involves handling blood money.

Some 52 GOP congressmen and two senators have called for Eric Holder’s resignation or firing. Maybe when President Obama gets back from his 17-day vacation. (IBD)

Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

Poke the Tiger


Now that the Justice Department got Brian Terry’s record sealed and it’s Friday (so the news media is away for the weekend) they finally decided who to throw under the bus for “Fast & Furious” and then baffle everyone else with bullshit.

Not Holder. It would never have been Holder.

With Grassley and Issa on their trail like a pack of raptors they threw one of their own out and apparent “apology” for lying as a distraction.

Just two days ago: The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.

Yep, we’ve been lying, but here’s why…  (that beeping bus noise you here is Eric Holder driving)…

The Justice Department on Friday provided Congress with documents detailing how department officials gave inaccurate information to a U.S. senator in the controversy surrounding Operation Fast and Furious, the flawed law enforcement initiative aimed at dismantling major arms trafficking networks on the Southwest border.

The materials contain clues into how misleading information about the botched gun trafficking operation made it into a Feb. 4, 2011 letter to Congress that department leaders have since acknowledged was false.

The February 2011 letter said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives makes “every effort” to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally before they cross into Mexico. It added that the allegation that the ATF had “sanctioned or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons” to suspicious people was false.

— Jason Weinstein, a senior aide in the Justice Department’s criminal division, played a key role in drafting the February 2011 letter. So he’s a target for “underling” assassination. 🙂

7 Months later and with no buying the bovine fecal matter, Time to get out the bus and start baffling them with bullshit.

Misleading Congress can be a prosecutable offense if a person who makes the statements knows they are false. But Attorney General Eric Holder has told lawmakers that so far he has no evidence anyone intended to deceive them. The matter remains under investigation not only by Republicans in Congress but also the Justice Department’s inspector general.

This distraction brought to you by Attorney General Eric Holder.

In a letter last February to Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had not sanctioned the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser and that the agency makes every effort to intercept weapons that have been purchased illegally. In Operation Fast and Furious, both statements turned out to be incorrect.

The Justice Department letter was responding to Grassley’s statements that the Senate Judiciary Committee had received allegations the ATF had sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to suspected straw purchasers. Grassley also said there were allegations that two of the assault weapons had been used in a shootout that killed customs agent Brian Terry.

In an email four days later to Justice Department colleagues, then-U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke in Phoenix said that “Grassley’s assertions regarding the Arizona investigation and the weapons recovered” at the “murder scene are based on categorical falsehoods. I worry that ATF will take 8 months to answer this when they should be refuting its underlying accusations right now.” That email marked the start of an internal debate in the Justice Department over what and how much to say in response to Grassley’s allegations. The fact that there was an ongoing criminal investigation into Terry’s murder prompted some at the Justice Department to argue for less disclosure.

Some of what turned out to be incorrect information was emailed to Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s criminal division. Breuer sent an email saying “let’s help as much as we can” in responding to Grassley.

The emails sent to Capitol Hill on Friday showed that Burke supplied additional incorrect information to the Justice Department’s criminal division that ended up being forwarded to Breuer. For example, Burke said that the guns found at the Terry murder scene were purchased at a Phoenix gun shop before Operation Fast and Furious began. In fact, the operation was under way at the time and the guns found at the Terry murder scene were part of the probe. Breuer was one of the recipients of that information. In written comments this week to Grassley, Breuer said that he was on a three-day official trip to Mexico at the time of the Justice Department response and that he was aware of, but not involved in, drafting the Justice Department statements to Grassley. Breuer says he cannot say for sure whether he saw a draft of the letter before it was sent to Grassley.

And with the records sealed who can argue? 🙂

Attorney General Eric Holder said it’s not fair to assume that mistakes in Operation Fast and Furious led to Terry’s death.

He’s sorry, and the records are sealed, so just forget it.

Where Burke got the inaccurate information is now part of an inquiry conducted by the inspector general’s office at the Justice Department.

But since some of those records are likely sealed unless there is more pressure what do you want to bet nothing new will come out until…2013 or never! 🙂

Burke’s information was followed by a three-day struggle in which officials in the office of the deputy attorney general, the criminal division and the ATF came up with what turned out to be an inaccurate response to Grassley’s assertions.

Meaning no one bought the bullshit, now what!?

The process became so intensive that Breuer aide Jason Weinstein emailed his boss, “The Magna Carta was easier to get done than this was.” A copy of the latest draft was attached to the emails.

Initial drafts of the letter reflected the hard tone of Burke’s unequivocal assertions that the allegations Grassley was hearing from ATF agents were wrong. Later drafts were more measured, prompting Burke to complain in one email: “Every version gets weaker. We will be apologizing” to Grassley “by tomorrow afternoon.” Regarding the allegation that ATF sanctioned the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser, the Justice Department denial was scaled back slightly from “categorically false” to “false.” ”Why poke the tiger,” Lisa Monaco, the top aide to the deputy attorney general, explained in an email to Ron Weich, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs whose signature was on the letter.

In another email, Burke wrote, “By the way, what is so offensive about this whole project” of response “is that Grassley’s staff, acting as willing stooges for the Gun Lobby, have attempted to distract from the incredible success in dismantling” Southwest Border “gun trafficking operations” and “not uttering one word of rightful praise and thanks to ATF — but, instead, lobbing this reckless despicable accusation that ATF is complicit in the murder of a fellow federal law enforcement officer.”

It just more and more incredible doesn’t it. 😦

On Friday night, Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine said that “Burke personally apologized to Sen. Grassley’s staff for the tone and the content of the emails” after learning from the Justice Department that the emails would be released.

Whoops! 🙂

It is unusual for the Justice Department to provide such detail of its internal deliberations as it did on Friday with Congress.

The department turned over 1,364 pages of material after concluding “that we will make a rare exception to the department’s recognized protocols and provide you with information related to how the inaccurate information came to be included in the letter,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is looking into the Obama administration’s handling of Operation Fast and Furious.

Please Make this go away…Please!! (Holder and the ATF to Grassley and Issa)

“After a first glance at today’s document dump from the Justice Department, there appears to be even more questions for Assistant Attorney General Breuer, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Weinstein and former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke,” said Beth Levine, spokesperson for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IW), who has been leading a congressional investigation of the gunrunning program. “The congressional investigators will continue to scour the documents over the upcoming days and will have further questions for department officials.”

Operation Fast and Furious involved more than 2,000 weapons that were purchased by straw buyers at Phoenix-area gun stores. Nearly 700 of the Fast and Furious guns have been recovered — 276 in Mexico and 389 in the United States, according to ATF data as of Oct. 20.

Amid probes by Republicans in Congress and the IG, the Justice Department in August replaced Burke, acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson and the lead prosecutor in Operation Fast and Furious.

But they were too cowardly to do any other time than late on Friday when everyone had gone home.

And remember, Burke is the one guy in all of this that quit. The others were merely “reassigned” to other desk jobs in Washington where Daddy Holder can keep an eye on them.

Grassley, who has been leading an investigation into what went wrong in the Fast and Furious operation for most of this year, says, “the Justice Department can’t have it both ways.” He took to the Senate floor Thursday night to raise a series of new questions about the operation. Many of them could emerge anew next week, when Attorney General Holder testifies in a House oversight hearing December 8th.

“It is not about one person,” said Mr. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, during a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

“It is about a failure that seems to be pervasive within Justice that investigations play fast and loose with the expectations of what is right or wrong when it comes to what I am going to call collateral damage,” he said.

Like Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. 😦

Political Cartoons by Steve Breen

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez