Obama Asserts Executive Privilege: Holder Held in Contempt

Update: Holder was held in contempt. It's meaningless:

The contempt resolution will have little practical effect on Holder or the Obama administration. The Democratic-controlled Senate will not take action on a contempt resolution.
Here's part of Holder's statement calling Issa's action political "election-year tactic intended to distract attention": [More...]

Unfortunately, Chairman Issa has rejected all of these efforts to reach a reasonable accommodation. Instead, he has chosen to use his authority to take an extraordinary, unprecedented and entirely unnecessary action, intended to provoke an avoidable conflict between Congress and the Executive Branch. This divisive action does not help us fix the problems that led to this operation or previous ones and it does nothing to make any of our law enforcement agents safer. It's an election-year tactic intended to distract attention -- and, as a result -- has deflected critical resources from fulfilling what remains my top priority at the Department of Justice: Protecting the American people.

The House Oversight Committee is holding a hearing on whether Attorney General Eric Holder should be held in contempt for refusing to turn over documents in the Fast and Furious Investigation.

You can watch live on C-Span 3.

My view: Republican political grandstanding.

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    That's what we thought about torture (5.00 / 5) (#22)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:57:19 PM EST
    and an illegal war, and warrantless surveillance, and, well, the list is a long one, but I don't see us holding anyone accountable for that, do you?

    Which doesn't mean we shouldn't, it just means that the likelihood that we will - on any of it -isn't great.

    Can you address the contention that Holder is prohibited by federal statute from producing some of these documents?  Or why Issa has not allowed to testify before the committee people who presumably have information to offer?

    What I am coming to suspect is that, while Issa believes he's found a way to stick it to Obama, the reality is that this is a program that was started under Bush, and Obama is putting Holder up as the firewall to prevent people who were "just doing their jobs" then from being forced to account for what they did.

    Maybe that's a completely ridiculous thing for me to be thinking, but when I see how Obama turned away from accountability for the Bush/Cheney gang early on, why would I have any confidence this isn't more of the same?

    It's just a high tech extension (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:08:53 PM EST
    of what the U.S has ALWAYS done when we've gone to war..

    Curtailment of civil liberities..torture..cold-blooded passive-aggressive murder of non-combatants..

    The underlying problem is the continued unexamined belief in certain quarters of this country in war as "diplomacy by other means"..  


    Full circle. (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by lentinel on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:13:35 PM EST
    ...when I see how Obama turned away from accountability for the Bush/Cheney gang early on, why would I have any confidence this isn't more of the same?

    Your quote above expresses my feelings regarding any president who lets former presidents or vice-presidents off the hook for criminal and impeachable offenses.

    They are not doing it to "move on". The only way to move on would be to prosecute those criminals and see to it as best we can that their like will never take power in our country again.

    They are not doing it to spare the country. The country would be educated and could finally breathe again if those who betrayed us were punished for their crimes.

    Presidents who let a former criminal president and vice president go scott free is doing so in the expectation that they will be accorded the same shelter for themselves and officials close to them.

    To me, this feels all too familiar.


    Not sure what you're talking about (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:02:32 PM EST
    Melson testified before the committee last July 4th.

    He did not do so publicly, which (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:13:20 PM EST
    I believe was what had been requested by other members of the committee - that his testimony be public.

    I can't speak for you, but I would prefer to get information like this by watching or reading it directly from the person in question, as opposed to getting it from the media, which is getting it from leaks and anonymous sources.


    Well that may be (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:17:43 PM EST
    But why can't he testify in private (with his own lawyer and not a government one), but it's ok for Eric Holder and the administration to with hold documents?  Do you think that maybe there are security issues involved? I'm all for open government, so why doesn't Holder just speak up and turn over documents?  Why is the WH asserting Executive Privilge?  

    I also prefer to get my information from the people involved - starting with the DOJ and the WH.


    Since you are so good at the (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:41:06 PM EST
    "gotcha" research - and I mean that in the nicest possible way - perhaps you could address the contention being made by Holder that he is legally prohibited - by federal statute - from producing the documents being requested.

    If that is, in fact, the case, what would you suggest he do - violate federal law?  And if it is the case, why does Obama need to assert executive privilege?

    And if it's not the case, there's a whole lot of explaining that needs to be done, and documents that need to be produced.

    I think this whole thing stinks to high heaven, and I do suspect that Holder is protecting his boss and the former administration, but that doesn't mean I don't also think that Issa is not as interested in the truth as he is in sticking it to Obama, Holder and anyone else he can.

    Trust me when I tell you that if there were a Republican in the WH, Darrell Issa wouldn't give two hoots about Fast and Furious, even if he should.


    Then why (none / 0) (#39)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:03:49 PM EST
     did he offer last week to turn them over?

    Holder said he offered to provide the documents to Issa on the condition that Issa provided his assurance that doing so would satisfy two committee subpoenas and resolve the dispute.

    "I think the ball's in their court," Holder told reporters. "They rejected what I thought was an extraordinary offer on our part."

    Asked about whether Issa was open to resolving the issue before the committee meets Wednesday, Holder said: "I think we actually are involved more in political gamesmanship" instead of a sincere effort to get the requested documents.

    A Justice Department spokesman reiterated Holder's position that the documents would show Holder had nothing to hide about his role in Fast and Furious.

    I have no idea; isn't the real question (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:15:03 PM EST
    why, if Holder offered them to Issa, Issa hasn't responded?  I mean, if Issa's really interested in getting to the truth, what would be his rationale for not taking Holder up on access to the documents?

    I'm still not convinced he's talking about "all" the documents - I can't imagine why he would offer them on the one hand and get Obama to assert EP over them on the other - unless we are talking about two sets of documents, and Issa's only interested in the ones Holder won't give him.

    This whole thing is making my head hurt - I don't see any reason to believe what anyone is saying, at this point.


    Which brings us back to (none / 0) (#48)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:16:40 PM EST
    "Polticial grandstanding"

    Thanks for the suggestion, ESteel; (none / 0) (#62)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:06:35 PM EST
    I admit to not having paid as much attention to the details of the Fast and Furious program, other than to be aware that something wasn't right, and it wasn't just that Darrell Issa was on the case.

    As I understand it, though, the contempt hearing has to do with Holder's withholding of documents, and that's been muddied by reports that he has, in fact, offered documents to Issa, and Issa hasn't responded.

    And on that score, I do think Issa's grandstanding, which is too bad, because it ends up distracting from the real issues.


    Actually, it's been extensively covered ... (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:51:10 PM EST
    ... in various print media, such as the Washington Post and even Business Weekly. It's just that most of us have our own lives to lead, and simply don't have the time to keep track of it all and stay current.

    Here's some more info (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:53:04 PM EST

    According to Attorney General Holder, the DOJ has 140,000 documents related to Fast & Furious. Fewer than 8,000 have been provided to Congress pursuant to subpoenas. The contempt vote has been narrowed to 1,300 documents. In refusing to comply with the House subpoenas, the DOJ has refused to create a privilege log-which would identify withheld documents, and the legal reason for their being withheld.

    All the DOJ needed to was submit a privilege log....


    Oooh! Volokh! (none / 0) (#156)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:20:06 AM EST
    Now, there's a reliable trustworthy objective source!

    Ooh! (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:26:08 AM EST
    This blog has it on it's blogrolls of "good" blogs!

    It seems (none / 0) (#65)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:11:46 PM EST
    That Issa responded by demanding that Holder produce all the documents the committee is looking for, but Holder had not listed or catalogued any of the documents he was prepared to turn over.

    Issa also said nothing "short of full compliance" will be "sufficient" for him to "negotiate" a "delay of contempt proceedings" because Holder has not specified what documents he plans to give the committee this week and has not provided a "log that includes descriptions of documents, the dates they were created, who created them, and individualized explanations for why the department believes these documents should not be produced pursuant to the subpoena."

    Now it's a pi$$ing contest.


    Can someone be held in contempt (none / 0) (#68)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:18:36 PM EST
    who has been exempted from compliance by an assertion of executive privilege?

    Yes (none / 0) (#72)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:24:32 PM EST
    See Harriet Miers and Karl Rove

    Don't assume anything (none / 0) (#69)
    by Slado on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:20:12 PM EST
    According to Issa Holder has offered a description of the documents and not all the documents.

    Since Holder isn't he one that's been lying since day one I would not assume he's telling the truth now.

    I hope my government is only covering up an embarrassing incident.   Either way the people that screwed this up should be fired.

    We've appointed special prosecutors over much less .


    If so, Sheryl Attkisson is a hack (none / 0) (#155)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:18:13 AM EST
    on Issa's payroll.

    It's been clear for MONTHS that the Feb 4 memo was based on what the Phoenix people insisted the facts were.  It took a while to find out they were lying through their teeth.

    As soon as that was clear, the DoJ withdrew the letter and stated forthrightly it was full of lies.


    And it seems (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:06:58 PM EST
    That he may have been a whistle blower

    IIRC.... (none / 0) (#28)
    by CuriousInAz on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:11:23 PM EST
    he did seek some level of whistleblower status...

    Isaa did address the following.... (none / 0) (#27)
    by CuriousInAz on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:09:31 PM EST
    Or why Issa has not allowed to testify before the committee people who presumably have information to offer?

    Today he stated that numerous witnesses have been interviewed,  and some over a period of days even.  He stated that since much of the information is sensitive it will not be made public,  BUT that the oversight members of BOTH parties have access to it.


    These hearings aren't to find out who was (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:03:45 PM EST
    responsible for the gun-walking programs the ATF has been running since 2006. Thousands of pages of documents containing that information have been released to the committee, and if Issa et al wanted to they could generate a subpoena list and get to work.

    You should go read the link provided above by Anne. The purpose of this hearing is to determine if the Attorney General can be held in contempt for following US law. It is very much a case of those on the Right slinging mud at those on the Left.

    I'm with you... (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:15:18 PM EST
    this is the type of dangerous does more harm then good lunatic law enforcement tactic that should never see the light of day.  It should be about right and wrong, but it isn't.

    Issa and Brand R don't really care about drug war violence and gunrunning...if they did they would be working to legalize/decriminalize the drug trade and put an economic hurting on the cartels and gunrunners...all they care about is nailing Eric Holder.

    Darrell Issa -- grandstanding? (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:43:52 PM EST
    Gosh. Who'da thunk it?

    That's what he's best at. (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:07:45 PM EST
    He's a politician (none / 0) (#42)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:08:23 PM EST
    That's the number one requirement

    You should know. (none / 0) (#44)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:11:54 PM EST
    Don't you live near his district?

    Yes. Fortunately , though, he is not my Rep. (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:13:24 PM EST
    His more blatant activities make the local paper though.  

    They've also caught the eye ... (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:30:32 PM EST
    ... of the Watchdog Institute at San Diego State University:

    "First as ranking minority member and now as chairman of one of the most powerful committees in Congress, San Diego Republican Darrell Issa has built a team that includes staff members with close connections to industries that could benefit from his investigations. [...] Issa's staff already has released findings sympathetic to industries bent on softening or eliminating certain government regulations. A preliminary report this month, for example, focused largely on Environmental Protection Agency standards and relied heavily on input from industry associations. Other standards the committee is targeting include new regulations on workplace safety and the financial services industry. And some on Issa's staff know this territory from the inside. Several have ties to billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, who have made much of their fortune in oil and chemical businesses and have established a reputation as staunch small-government conservatives. Their influence through campaign contributions, lobbying and nonprofit groups -- such as Americans for Prosperity, an activist organization with connections to the Tea Party movement -- has become more pronounced since the shift in power in the House last November."

    He won big in the June primaries under CA's (none / 0) (#56)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:40:49 PM EST
    new system.  

    (Sigh!) I know, I know ... (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:24:50 PM EST
    To quote one of my all-time favorite films noir, "Forget it, Jake -- it's Chinatown."

    Wide Reciever vs Fast & Furious (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:00:23 PM EST
    One of the talking points relates to the Bush admin program (WR) and F&F.  There was significant differences in the two programs.  The most important being that WR was conducted in coordination and cooperation with the Mexican govt to limit the chance of guns disappearing when they crossed the border.  F&F which was initiated in 2009 was a US only operation without the backstop much less assistance and awareness Mexican govt.

    Thank you for pointing that out (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Slado on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:29:29 PM EST
    one of the pro Obama/Holer arguments is this was a bipartisan fiasco.

    It was not.  Holders DoJ took this to another level.

    The question Issa is asking is what did Holder and Obama know and when did they know it.

    Nixon was taken down for lying about a burglary.  We are talking about people dying because our federal government gave bad guys guns.  

    I can only imagine if Bush was still in charge and his DoJ had done this how many threads would be on TL about it.

    Shouldn't matter that Holder and Obama are in the cross hairs.  This was government law enforcement run amuck and it resulted in innocent people dying.  It should be investigated and Holder and Obama should not be allowed to cover it up.

    It's not the crime it the cover-up that gets you.


    Oh, good grief. (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:50:43 PM EST
    Have you forgotten the recent history of the GOP? The same party that let an incompetent bozo get away with lying about WMD's that cost thousands of soldiers their lives and who also had an impeachment over sex??? The minute the GOP mentions trying to do something the peals of laughter are going to ring out all over the country at the GOP and they have NO ONE to blame but themselves.

    What does that have to do with anything? (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Slado on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:59:47 PM EST
    Is your argument that breaking the law is only bad when republicans do it?

    No (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:07:43 PM EST
    my argument is that the GOP has become a freaking joke so what are they going to do about it? No one believes anything that they say. They blew their wad 15 years ago and destroyed the tool of impeachment is what I'm saying. Cue the laugh track.

    Not to put words in her mouth but GA is (none / 0) (#166)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:25:28 AM EST
    one of the most partisan Demos we have here.

    And she proves my point in her very next comment.


    LOL (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:43:18 PM EST
    You have a weird definition of partisan then unless anything that is "anti-conservative" as partisan. I'm willing to bet that most people around here would not agree with you but I definitely am anti-conservative. Sorry, but I just have no use for fundamentalist freaks.

    If you don't mind, Ga6thDem (none / 0) (#193)
    by christinep on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:05:51 PM EST
    I'd like to offer that you do not appear to me to be "partisan"...certainly in the sense that I am.  If anything, I wish that you were. From my view, your writings suggest someone who has a strong (and dedicated) alliance with Democratic principles as spelled out over the years.  Unlike myself--who allows a broad berth with Democratic candidates in many instances since I come from the incrementalist philosophy--you encourage and push the Democratic candidate to hew to the platform.

    So...for what its worth...Jimaka, you are way off the mark with the "partisan" claim. And, Jim, you are smart enough to realize that, when you let go of your own automoton Repub partisanship.


    Ah yes,. I'm the ole Repub (none / 0) (#194)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:38:50 PM EST
    who believes in a single payer health care plan, gay marriage, LWOP and drug law reform...

    All of which have been in the party platform for years and years and years.

    Should I show a sarcasm alert here or have you caught on??

    As for GA, I really shouldn't have spoken the truth to her about her. It didn't help me or her or the world... a truly lose lose situation.


    Ah yes, the old social liberal (none / 0) (#196)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 06:19:19 PM EST
    who's been consistently going to the mat here for the people most diametrically opposed to all of those things for what, 8-9 years now??

    Rather than a sarcasm alert, maybe something like a dual-personality alert would be more appropriate..


    That's not exactly true. (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:03:30 PM EST
    BTAL: "The most important being that [Operation Wide Receiver] was conducted in coordination and cooperation with the Mexican govt to limit the chance of guns disappearing when they crossed the border."

    At the time "Operation Wide Receiver" was launched in 2006, licensed Tucson arms dealer Mike Detty -- who had been hired by the ATF as a confidential informant for this effort -- was given assurances by ATF that "Mexican officials would be conducting surveillance or interdictions when guns got to the other side of the border."

    However, that clearly doesn't appear to be the case, because of the approximately 450 weapons sold by Mr. Detty in 2006 and 2007 as part of OWR, the overwhelming majority were subsequently lost as they were moved across the border into Mexico.

    So much for "ccordination and cooperation with the Mexican government," huh?

    Further, I'd offer that Congressman Issa's staff has also been deliberately conflating the events of "Wide Receiver" and "Fast and Furious" for partisan political purposes. From the Washington Post (October 6, 2011):

    "But Wide Receiver, conducted in the Bush administration, has not received a lot of attention. According to Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, some of the e-mails used in the attempt to discredit Holder were referring to the Tucson case, Wide Receiver. More specifically, Schmaler said that when the e-mails mention "guns walking," they are referring to the 2006-07 Tucson case, Operation Wide Receiver. Schmaler said neither of the officials knew about guns walking in the Fast and Furious case." (Emphasis is mine.)

    Look, this entire gunwalking scheme concocted by ATF was a half-assed boondoggle from the outset. I'm not going to deny that the Obama administration bears the current responsibility for it because "Operation Fast and Furious" obviously happened on their watch. It's important to take sufficient steps on an administrative level so that such wildeyed nonsense isn't allowed to occur again.

    But those who insist that "Operation Fast and Furious" didn't have its genesis in "Operation Wide Receiver" are being almost completely disingenuous, and are clearly less interested in getting to the bottom of the ATF scandal and resolving the problem, than in scoring partisan political points in an election year at the Obama administration's expense.



    See post 67 above (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:23:06 PM EST
    Agree the concept of gun walking was flawed.  The point of my first comment was the difference between WR and F&F.  At least with WR, the goal and actions included Mexican involvement whereas F&F did not.  F&F was WR put on steroids with a dash of go it alone cowboy seasoning.  

    The other difference is the number of weapons involved and lost.  ~400-450 with WR compared to 1600-2000 with F&F.


    But again, with regards to ... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:44:35 PM EST
    ... "Operation Wide Receiver," I fail to see any evidence of this supposed involvement of the Mexican authorities.

    You know, it's one thing for ATF officials to say that they'd ostensibly wanted the Mexicans involved in "wide Receiver." But the actual reality and results from the Tucson operation clearly and strongly suggest that there was no coordination and cooperation whatsovever with Mexican officials, and that Mr. Detty was probably given false assurances by the ATF in order to secure his own cooperation as an informant.

    As far as the respective number of weapons involved and lost in each operation, I'd offer that difference is primarily semantic. The available evidence clearly supports my two-fold contention that:

    • "Wide Receiver" and "Fast and Furious" were essentially one and the same thing, with the latter being conducted on a broader scale; and

    • Rather than learn its painful and embarrassing lessons from "Wide Receiver," ATF officials apparently decided to double down on stupid with "Fast and Furious."

    That's all.



    Read the second link (none / 0) (#83)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:57:17 PM EST
    provided by vicndabx (#55) from the US Embassy in Mexico.

    From that article:

    "The continued expansion of our enforcement and strategic efforts on the U.S.-Mexico border, in partnership with the government of Mexico and other U.S. agencies, will deny firearms to criminal organizations and combat gun-related violence and homicides on both sides of the U.S.- Mexico border."

    And again, looking at the results, ... (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:29:45 PM EST
    ... that "partnership" quite apparently never happened -- not only with the government of Mexico, but with other U.S. agencies, as well.

    I worked in the legislative brach of government for close to two decades, and I know bureaucratic rhetoric when I see it. I'd bet if we looked hard enough, we'd find a roughly similar justification for "Fast and Furious."


    Getting multiple gov't agencies to play nice (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:51:29 PM EST
    is beyond herding cats. Even if you present them all with a common goal and lay out the benefits of working together, somebody is gonna throw an elbow and somebody else is gonna make an end run. Let the legislative liaisons or heavens forfend, the governor's office, get involved and that goal will be lost - yet everyone will still have to go through the motions.

    Yeah, I did my time working in state gov't... oh, wait, I still am. crap. ;-)


    The ultimate solution to this ... (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 05:07:18 PM EST
    ... may lie on getting rid of autonomous agencies within the Dept. of Justice like ATF and DEA, or at least move them directly under the purview and control of the FBI and its director, who in turn answers to the Attorney General.

    Problems in government will always eventually abound, whenever there is no clearly denoted chain of command and / or demarcated lines of authority and accountability.


    I'm pretty sure that Hammurabi fella might have (none / 0) (#104)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 05:47:06 PM EST
    had an idea or two about what we're talking about.

    Being retired USAF (none / 0) (#93)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:38:11 PM EST
    I too have seen the same bureaucratic BS for many years.  However, there are specific quotes from both sides of the border regarding F&F being a one-sided operation.

    Just a couple examples from the LA Times article I linked to in #67:

    "At no time did we know or were we made aware that there might have been arms trafficking permitted," Morales, Mexico's highest-ranking law enforcement official, said in a recent interview. "In no way would we have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans."

    Patricia Gonzalez, the top state prosecutor in Chihuahua at the time of her brother's 2010 kidnapping, noted that she had worked closely with U.S. officials for years and was stunned that she did not learn until many months later, through media reports, about the link between his death and Fast and Furious weapons.

    Oh, c'mon! Do you seriously believe ... (none / 0) (#99)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 05:00:27 PM EST
    ... that any Mexican official would publicly acknowledge his or her government's prior concurrence of such prepostrous and reckless schemes as "Wide Receiver" and "Fast and Furious"?

    Just for starters, both operations constituted a gross violation of Mexican sovereignty -- and really, what Mexican law enforcement official is going to admit his or her part in that?

    Another skill requirement in BureaucracySpeak is the ability to channel Sgt. Schultz, i.e., plausible deniability -- to conveniently see, hear and know nothing at the appropriate time, particularly when one's own a$$ is potentially on the line.

    Okay, I'm being summoned for breakfast, and I really gotta go now. Fun chatting with you.



    In conclusion, I'm really not interested ... (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:47:46 PM EST
    ... in affixing blame upon this attorney general or the prior administration.

    Rather, I'm far more interested in determining what exactly happened at the administrative level of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and how that agency's chain of command and authority broke down to the point that this prepostrously godawful idea was allowed to first germinate and then take root within the ATF bureaucracy.

    First and foremost, I feel it to be extremely important that we take proactive steps to ensure that this sort of cockamamie yahoo scheme doesn't ever again occur on ANYONE'S watch, regardless of whether the sitting president is a Democrat or a Republican.

    Whereas, by his own actions and statements, Congressman Issa appears to be motivated by something else entirely.

    I've got to go. We have a tour of Ho Chi Minh's tomb in Hanoi today. Talk to you later.



    Another great question.... (none / 0) (#108)
    by CuriousInAz on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 06:59:35 PM EST
    would be why did the DOJ OIG IGNORE multiple requests for 'help' from more than a couple of ATF agents that had concerns about the operation.

    If the OIG is supposed to be the DOJ watchdog,  why did they not act?


    That's a good question. (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 08:06:28 PM EST
    And, given that the ATF's chief counsel and ethics section were also contacted by the same ATF agent (John Dodson) simultaneously, one might just as well ask why none of those offices responded immediately, too.

    As I said above, this is a major bureaucratic snafu of the first magnitude. And honestly, the one person I'd like to question is William Newell, who served as the ATF's Special Agent-in-Charge for the bureau's Phoenix office from 2006 to 2011, and who apparently played a major role in both "Operation Wide Receiver" and "Operation Fast and Furious."

    First question: "Special Agent Newell, exactly WTF were you and the boys in Phoenix thinking, when you guys initially concocted 'Wide Receiver' back in 2005 or 2006?"

    But we're not getting any of that. Instead, Darrell Issa is more interested in playing a game of Gotcha! with the Obama administration, with Eric Holder as the ping-pong ball -- which serves no one except, of course, Mitt Romney, whose presidential candidacy Mr. Issa has endorsed.


    Good descriptor: Disingenuous (none / 0) (#184)
    by christinep on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:17:49 PM EST
    First, thanks Donald for the explanatory background.

    Second, 'heard on the radio this a.m. that Bush II claimed Executive Privilege on behalf of Cheney & his (in)famous notes from/of meeting with energy companies' executives.  (I don't know if that was because of "deliberative process," but guess so.)

    Third, as a stated Dem & Administration supporter, my surmise that this is little more than a Tempest in a Teapot (or Tea Party) won't come as a surprise to anyone.  Nonetheless, it is so manufactured by clean-jeans Issa et al that it is boringly hard to take too seriously. It seems to be veering off into the woods...and of interest primarily to those as stalwart in the Repub land as I am in Dem land or to conspiracy theorists who fear some massive strange take-over of guns (read: Repubs reinforce support among NRA.)  The problem is that most people focus on issue or potential scandals that are fairly straightforward at the outset.  Whatever may have been going on over the years beginning with Bush and continuing until this past year with Obama shows a bumbling ATF....  That happens; unfortunately, it happens & people get hurt.  (Sort of like the Executive Privilege claim related to the arms trading with the Contras, etc., maybe.)

    Fourth, I'm reminded of a well-recognized & utilized "deliberative process" exemption under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA.)

    Fifth, I decided to weigh in attached to your comment, because it read well (as your comments often do)...and because the day has turned lazy as I get ready to put something in the oven for dinner.  (Got to use the oven today as the weekend is expected to be 100 degrees.  That means that we park ourselves in a comfortable, cool restaurant in Denver like Racines.)

    Sixth, Your journey in Vietnam has sounded remarkable on so many levels.  What a daring endeavor for you!


    Beg to differ, got a link? (none / 0) (#55)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:35:43 PM EST
    Seems to me they were all part of project gunrunner w/each state having a particular name for it's individual work effort.

    Special agents have been deployed to Monterrey to support the work of the attachés in the ATF Mexico Office and assist Mexican authorities in their fight against firearms related violence. Three additional ATF intelligence research specialists and one investigative analyst are planned for the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) to support Project Gunrunner, along with one intelligence research specialist in each of the four field divisions on the southwest border (Phoenix, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles).

    See this regarding your claim on lack of coordination


    Your links prove my statement (none / 0) (#67)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:18:32 PM EST
    Both links relate to the WR operation and the e-Trace system.  F&F was initiated in 2009 without coordination with Mexico.

    Here's two that show F&F did not include Mexican involvement.




    wha? (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:10:19 PM EST
    you are in denial.  Neither of my links say anything about Wide Receiver, both refer to Project Gunrunner, which, is the program under which both WR & FF were ran.  Should you be interested, read thru the information here and the DOJ report.

    From the report:

    To assess the impact of Project Gunrunner, we first examined data on ATF's performance in tracing guns, conducting criminal investigations, conducting compliance inspections of gun dealers in the region, and referring leads to ATF's criminal enforcement personnel for action. We compared data in these areas from fiscal year (FY) 2004 through FY 2006 (3 years prior to ATF's implementation of Project Gunrunner), with data from FY 2007 through FY 2009 (the initial 3 full years of Project Gunrunner).

    Clearly ATF needs more oversight and as the report demonstrates, the current administration that was trying to do that.  To say that things were run better under Bush is false.


    There is a difference (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:20:13 PM EST
    between the concept "Project Gunrunner" and the actual field operations of WR and F&F.  As to using a DOJ report, that is equivalent to using Holder's congressional testimonies - which have been proven to be at a minimum in the dark gray side of the truth spectrum.

    Proof? Any at all? (none / 0) (#140)
    by Yman on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:21:32 PM EST
    One of the talking points relates to the Bush admin program (WR) and F&F.  There was significant differences in the two programs.  The most important being that WR was conducted in coordination and cooperation with the Mexican govt to limit the chance of guns disappearing when they crossed the border.

    Where is the evidence that WR was run with the coordination and cooperation of the Mexican government?  Just today, Chuck Grassley contrasted it with a third operation and said it was not:

    Grassley also said the Hernandez operation is fundamentally different from Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious because it involved cooperation with the Mexican government.

    BTW - The second link from vicndabx says nothing about coordinating/cooperation of Wide Receiver.

    Care to try again?


    Tricky Dick is laughing in Hell (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by SeeEmDee on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:56:08 PM EST
    Those old enough will recall that Tricky's Presidency was styled an 'imperial' one by the media of the day.

    This claim of Executive Privilege was bad enough under Bush, but now, like Ford's mistake in pardoning Nixon, has allowed the rot to become even more ingrained, to the point a (putative) Dem is doing it.

    All that's missing now are laurel wreathes and togas.

    Smart spin....but, (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:15:14 PM EST
    You have got to get most of the people interested for it to take off.  Old Tricky Dick publicized his imperial bent, btw, with the trumpeters in full regalia on the DC stairs as he strode by...that got lots of press in lots of US homes during the then highly-watched nightly news.  I'm afraid the there is a long, long way to go--as to any facts or any broadspread public interest--for your type of spin to catch on.  So many things going on, you know.

    GW Bush (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by lentinel on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:35:19 PM EST
    and Tricky Dick were upfront with their imperial designs.

    Obama is more clever, but no less an elitist.

    Whether it's Ford letting Nixon go without bringing him to trial, or Obama letting W. and Cheney "move on" without bringing them to the bar of justice for their unspeakable crimes against the American people, the people at the top wind up sheltering other people at the top.

    Obama knows better. He said good things.
    But his actions drown out his words.
    More's the pity.


    From Pelosi, (5.00 / 0) (#103)
    by lentinel on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 05:42:38 PM EST
    comes a rather odd admission;

    "I could have arrested Karl Rove on any given day," Pelosi said to laughter, during a sit-down with reporters. "I'm not kidding. There's a prison here in the Capitol ... If we had spotted him in the Capitol, we could have arrested him."

    Asked on what grounds she could have arrested Rove, Pelosi replied, "Oh, any number. But there were some specific ones for his being in contempt of Congress. But we didn't."

    My question is: Why the h*ll not?

    This is her response to Republicans holding Holder in contempt?
    That she and the Democrats didn't cite Rove?

    FYI, congressional Democrats ... (none / 0) (#106)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 06:52:00 PM EST
    ... DID cite Karl Rove for contempt of Congress on July 30, 2008, specifically for his failure to answer a congressional subpoena to testify in the U.S. Attorney firing scandal.

    Unfortunately, unless Rove appeared in person in either the U.S. Capitol building or nearby congressional offices, the House Sgt.-at-Arms had no legal authority to arrest him. The power to enforce a congressional subpoena outside the U.S. Capitol complex rests solely with the U.S. Attorney's office for the District of Columbia.

    And -- oh, wouldn't you know it? -- that Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney proved to be less than enthusiastic and cooperative in enforcing the contempt citations and subpoenas against not only Rove, but also Harriet Miers as well.


    Not quite correct (none / 0) (#111)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:07:26 PM EST
    The committee may have voted to hold Rove in contempt but not the House via a floor vote.  Committees do not have the authority to authorize arrest.  Now, Pelosi may or may not have had enough votes on the floor, that we'll never know, so her statement is a bit of a stretch.

    As to the committee vote, your link say's they are going to vote, where as wiki doesn't include any record of Rove actually being cited at the committee level.

    Contempt actions since 1975


    Apologies (none / 0) (#112)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:10:29 PM EST
    the committee did vote but nothing was referred to the full house.

    But the full House voted ... (none / 0) (#125)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:46:16 PM EST
    ... to approve the Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten contempt citations on February 14, 2008. The U.S. Attorney for D.C. subsequently refused to enforce it.

    But I do believe you're right, that the full House did not vote on the Rove citation. I'd have to look at the House rules at the time, but a full House vote may not have been needed. House rules have generally given some individual committees, such as Oversight and Judiciary, wide latitude when it comes to the issuance and enforcement of subpoenas and citations.

    The last administration official to first be cited for contempt of Congress, and then subsequently arrested, was Rita Lavelle back in 1983. She was a deputy EPA official appointed by President Reagan, and was indicted by a federal grand jury for perjury, because she lied to Congress while under oath. She was later convicted, and served six months in federal prison and was fined $10,000.


    In other words, by mutual agreement, (none / 0) (#109)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 06:59:46 PM EST
    we engage in theatrical, toothless, grandstanding and they engage in theatrical, toothless, grandstanding..

    And may the best spin machine win.


    The way (none / 0) (#135)
    by lentinel on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:00:32 PM EST
    I see it is that the Democrats lay down for the Republicans - beginning in the recent past with Daschle whipping all the Dems in line to vote for Bush's authorization resolution.

    In the more recent past, the Democrats were elected in 2006 with an unambiguous mandate to end the war in Iraq. Bush got them to authorize a surge of 20,000 more troops into the war instead. Obama later said on Fox that the surge had been more successful than anyone "dreamed of".

    And here's Pelosi, crowing about letting Rove wander about free to do his dirty work. A professional courtesy.

    And now there's Obama with his countless genuflections to the right-wing in the guise of unity.

    With Dems like these, no wonder the prospect of a empty shell like Romney has a chance.

    Another way of looking at it is that it is a charade. One party with two heads. Both on the take from the same interests. It does seem like a bizarre mutual agreement. It is theatrical, but it is not toothless because we are the ones being bitten. Sent to war. Bailing out banks while people are losing their homes. The government firing workers during a recession.

    So here's Nancy Pelosi, pouting because she let Rove go, and the Republicans won't just let Holder go. It just isn't fair.

    What a bunch.


    Maybe it's time (none / 0) (#148)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:16:39 PM EST
    we delved into the verbotten topic of class interests and how they inextricably connect one side of the imaginary "aisle" to the other..

    The Democrats have nowhere near the kind of pressure from below that they used to have, and they won't probably won't start acting like real Democrats until we have a situation again here in which another FDR becomes genuinely concerned that he may have to interpose himself between the investment bankers and the pitchforks..

    In other words, what we need here are some class checks and balances to give some meaning and sustainability to the other vaunted checks and balances. We don't have 'em now.



    Troubling... (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by CuriousInAz on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:01:21 PM EST
    "If you're going to make an omelet, you've got to scramble some eggs"

    ATF Group VII supervisor David Voth to ATF Agent John Dodson when he expressed concern that this program was going to get people killed.


    For anyone who's interested, (4.80 / 5) (#10)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:09:03 PM EST
    here is a link to David Dayen's post, which contains the full statement of Elijah Cummings (there doesn't seem to be a link directly to the statement), and here is a snip from it:

    For the past year, you have been holding the Attorney General to an impossible standard. You accused him of a "cover-up" for protecting documents he was prohibited by law from producing. You claimed that he "obstructed" the Committee's work by complying with federal statutes passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. And earlier this month, you went on national television and called the Attorney General--our nation's chief law enforcement officer--a liar.

    At the same time, you refused requests to hold a public hearing with Ken Melson, the former head of ATF--the agency responsible for conducting these operations. This refusal came after Mr. Melson told Committee investigators privately that he never informed senior officials at the Justice Department about gunwalking during Operation Fast and Furious because he was unaware of it himself.

    It seems clear that you had no interest in resolving this issue, and that the Committee planned to go forward with contempt before we walked into the meeting with the Attorney General.

    This is especially disappointing since the Department has already turned over more than 1,000 pages of documents that answer your question. You wanted to know why the Department sent a letter to Senator Grassley initially denying allegations of gunwalking. The documents show that when they were drafting this letter, the Department's legislative affairs office relied on categorical and emphatic denials from the leaders of ATF. These are the same ATF officials you now refuse to call for a public hearing.

    I think "grandstanding" is as apt a description as one could use for Issa's actions.

    How long has the investigation been active for? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Steve27 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:20:38 PM EST
    "... For the past year, you have been holding the Attorney General to an impossible standard. ..."

    how long has this investigation been going on? You get all the witnesses on the stand, ask them questions under oath, collect all the documents, whatever defense there is makes its case, then the court reaches a verdict.

    Should take 1 month at the most, right? Then all the documents and testimony are public record and the Congress can do what it does with all the info it needs.


    Steve - turn off Fox News and do some (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:35:12 PM EST
    homework/research, please - or better yet, read the excerpt provided and then do something really daring: follow the links and read what's there, and if there are more links to more info, follow those, too.  You might learn something.

    And this is Congress we're talking about, Steve, not a court of law that is going to reach a verdict.


    Actually (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:42:11 PM EST
    Taking this to the ultimate outcome, "Contempt of Congress" IS a verdict of sorts.  It IS a criminal offense, although since it would be the US Attorney for the District of Columbia who would get the charges from Congress, and since the USA works for Eric Holder, that could be interesting, indeed.

    (See Harriet Miers and Karl Rove re: Us Attorney firing scandal)


    Holder clearly lied ... (none / 0) (#31)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:16:43 PM EST
    to Congress. Even stupidly. As in recent hearings, when he claimed an email wasn't about Fast and Furious. When the email specifically mentioned Fast and Furious. There are numerous other places.

    That's contempt right there. The other stuff is contempt as well.

    This doesn't mean it isn't ALSO political grandstanding by the Republicans. Because of course it is.

    No clean hands here. Lots of grunge under the finger nails. And the soap is nowhere in sight.


    Of course it is (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:19:06 PM EST
    It's ALWAYS about political grandstanding, because as we know, it's an election year. (When ISN'T it an election year any more)?

    An election year...... (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Zorba on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:38:50 PM EST
    Not just every two years, but at least the year ahead of those elections.  Which basically means every other year is an "election year," as you said.  And even the one year that presumably is not, they're still trying to raise money and votes.

    News flash (none / 0) (#153)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:02:40 AM EST
    It's not a court and nobody's actually been indicted (nor will they be).

    Elijah Cummings has been (none / 0) (#152)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:01:51 AM EST
    magnificent.  I saw most of the early session of the committee today, and Cummings was fabulous, as were the several other old Civil Rights guys (yes, all guys) on the committee-- Edolphus Towns, Danny Davis, etc.

    Maybe... (4.67 / 3) (#5)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:28:32 AM EST
    Assange has got the dirt...Issa should ask him for the docs.

    Issa would be too worried... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:35:22 PM EST
    ...his own dirt is mixed right in with all the rest Assange has.

    Whose idea was it? (3.67 / 3) (#9)
    by friendofinnocence on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:05:46 PM EST
    I think Issa is trying to find out who started and implemented "Fast and Furious", and he can't get an answer.

    It's really pretty simple (5.00 / 2) (#151)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:00:16 AM EST
    Nobody argues that it wasn't the apparently rogue Phoenix ATF field office.

    But guess what?  Issa not only has no interest in looking into the ATF field office's behavior over the years, he's actively barred testimony on the subject, whether from witnesses he's called himself whom he out loud forbade to answer questions on the subject, or witnesses he refuses to call when they've been proposed by the Dems. on the committee.

    Darrell Issa is a collossal hack who has no interest in finding out the truth, only in sliming Holder and the Obama administration as thoroughly as he can manage.



    Either the name (none / 0) (#59)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:00:32 PM EST

    Either the name of the one who authorized this should be known, or those responsible for unauthorized gun transfers to the cartels should be charged and arrested.



    I think Holder's failure (3.00 / 2) (#130)
    by Doug1111 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 08:24:47 PM EST
    to supply the Repub House with the documents they demanded is outrageous.

    What the hell is the credible excuse?

    The leftists on this site just seem to be team cheering.  

    There does seem to be real malfeasance.  That (our team) Holder wants to cover up.  

    The main difference between this and other executive privilege scandals is that the left leaning MSM (with the center right Fox as an exception, of sorts) is not baying for impeachment, etc.

    Leftists? (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 08:47:06 PM EST
    What are you? an escapee from Red State? The GOP is just nuts. They don't really want any documents and if you give them the documents they are just going to go on and on. Those of us who remember the 90's remember their ability to make fake "scandals" out of nothing. There is a reason why people laugh at the GOP.

    Hello...allow me to introduce you to (5.00 / 2) (#139)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:17:51 PM EST
    this blog: its name is "Talk Left," and is so named because it has a liberal/progressive/left-of-center orientation.

    The "leftists" on this site have been quite clear in their disapproval of Fast & Furious, and would like to get to the bottom of the whole ugly mess, but are not willing to take either side's talking points as a substitute for facts and information.  Is Holder covering something up? I don't know - but I can assure you that regardless of what team Holder plays for, you won't find much defense for him here if he is.

    And that's where you are wrong about what the "leftists" here are all about.

    How is it that you don't get that yet?

    I'm still trying to take in that you think the MSM is left-leaning or that Fox is "center right," but then again, perhaps it's not so surprising when I consider the totality of your comments.


    Uh, yes - really... (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:56:39 AM EST
    I have not read one single comment by anyone - of any political persuasion - that has defended the program; I have, on the other hand, read numerous comments criticizing it.

    That people have been critical of Issa - whom we know is not really interested in getting to the truth because we've seen this show before - does not translate to approval of the program.  It just doesn't.

    Perhaps if Issa had conducted this investigation with some level of honesty, we might not be where we are now, but he hasn't, and he's still not.  This is how the GOP rolls, ESteel - they hold "hearings" where they routinely deny Democrats the witnesses they want to have appear, and why do you think that is?  Could it be because it doesn't fit where the GOP wants to go with the whole thing?  Could it be that Issa wants to prove his wacky conspiracy theory?  

    Because if getting to the truth was the goal, the process wouldn't need to be manipulated to make sure that in the end, the truth ends up being whatever those in charge decided it should be, and the goal wouldn't be what it always seems to be: to score political points and make Dems look bad.

    So, Issa's tactics may have contributed to obscuring the truth here, and now, instead of the attention being on the program, it's all about "what did people know and when did they know it?"  Is that unimportant?  No, not in a big picture sense, but Issa's not interested in the big picture, he's looking to bag him a couple high-level Dems - in an election year. If he can do that, you won't hear another word about Fast & Furious.  And then you'll know, as we do, that this was never about the program.

    And if you think that the "leftists" here would defend Holder if, in fact, he's covering something up, I don't think you know this group all that well.  Would there be a few who could find some reason to justify or excuse it?  Yeah, I can think of a few who would, but I don't believe the majority would.



    This is a parody right (none / 0) (#170)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:46:51 AM EST
    It hits all the right wing talking points, and then describes FOX as "center right" which I guess it is in the same way that Mussolini was a sensible moderate.

    Are guns brought into Mexico from the US? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Steve27 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:12:36 AM EST
    Didn't this episode originate because the democrats were trying to show that the right to gun ownership in the US was causing Mexico to become lawless?  It never made sense to me that cutting down the flow of weapons from the US into Mexico would prevent Mexican criminals from getting weapons of any kind.

    Only if you believe Darrell Issa (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:27:53 AM EST
    Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this affair is what Issa once suggested his investigation will uncover. In an interview with Sean Hannity, Issa claimed that the Obama administration "made a crisis" when they continued the Bush-era gunrunning operations because they wanted to "us[e] this crisis to somehow take away or limit people's Second Amendment rights." This accusation originates from a former militiaman who supports violent resistance to imagined government attempts to seize his guns. And it amounts to an accusation that a series of botched gun stings that begun during the Bush Administration were actually part of a secret Obama plot to release guns to Mexican drug lords, so that those guns could then be used to kill federal agents, which would then cause a national uprising in support of gun control.


    And I don't - believe Darrell Issa, that is.

    But, thanks for giving us all more clues about where you get your "information."


    Wasn't That Manson's Plan ? (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:40:25 AM EST
    To start an uprising they would ultimately benefit from.  Did Obama get the idea from a song as well ?

    Forgot just how far off the deep end the right can go.


    They're paranoid.. (none / 0) (#189)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:05:27 PM EST
    they've been paranoid since McCarthy's lists (two hundred people in the State Department!) and all that Bircher None Dare Call it Conspiracy lunacy..

    Now ambulatory nitwits like Beck and Hannity feed into it constantly..

    If reality and history doesn't exhibit a conservative bias, it must be due to the machinations of a liberal elite and that liberal Professor Moriarty/evil puppet master George Soros..


    I'm asking this as an honest query (none / 0) (#171)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 11:06:44 AM EST
    How is your internet access, I mean what with the Faraday cage I assume you type in to prevent the the black helicopters hovering over head from logging your keystrokes.

    What documents can the executive shield (none / 0) (#2)
    by Steve27 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:22:17 AM EST
    from congress?

    The congress has oversight authority over the executive, correct?  It can routinely demand any document from the executive branch as long the president is not directly sending or receiving the document?

    For example, if a congressional committee wants to check how a VA hospital is being run, can it send an auditor to read thru the hospitals records without first getting approval of the executive?

    this was the reason given (none / 0) (#3)
    by CST on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:27:02 AM EST
    "Democrats said it would be a violation of federal law for Mr. Holder to provide the documents, because many of them are from grand jury testimony and are part of the Justice Department's continuing prosecutions."


    Not a legal eagle, so I cannot really comment on the merits of this argument.  Doesn't mention which federal law.


    are they dragging out the grand jury? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Steve27 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:36:57 AM EST
    Maybe an over arching solution is to have these grand juries and justice dept investigations to be executed more quickly.

    Sounds like the justice dept is dragging out its investigation with the purpose of shielding the documents from congress for as long as it can.


    Permit me to be a bit more blunt (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:17:25 PM EST
    Stevie: Based upon a number of your comments, there does seem to be an "agenda" which could be described as strongly anti-Obama & more than skeptical of government acts associated or even mentioned in association with his administration.  People surely can believe & speak what the want.  In a discussion with big differences of opinion apparent in the "factual" component, it can be useful to know where someone is coming from...not to discredit, but to consider the perspective underlying the comments.

    From where I sit, it doesn't seem to be (5.00 / 5) (#15)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:27:31 PM EST
    an anti-Obama agenda as much as it is a strong right-wing one, and I think there's a difference.  I say that as someone whom you know has been highly critical of Obama - but not because I think he's too liberal, but because I think he's not liberal enough.  You won't ever find me arguing for conservative, right-wing anything, ever.

    The influx here of conservative/right-wing points of view as a result of the Zimmerman coverage has been and will continue to be challenging; on the bright side, it presents many excellent opportunitues for identifying and honing the Democratic message.  Not that these new commenters are likely to give up the falsehoods and fantasy talking points that keep the right wing alive, but not allowing that kind of misinformation to stand unchallenged is always a worthy endeavor.

    Just my two cents...


    "Fantasy talking points"? (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:25:09 PM EST
    But I thought that "we're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." George W. Bush promised ...



    here from the JustOneMinute site (1.50 / 2) (#64)
    by Steve27 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:09:29 PM EST
    "... The influx here of conservative/right-wing points of view as a result of the Zimmerman coverage has been and will continue to be challenging;  ..."

    It is fun debating libs, but after a while it becomes tedious. Democrats very rarely will admit they are wrong or do not know. They avoid the weaknesses in their positions. I was commenting at the HuffPo site but that got ridiculous with having a moderator review everything that people posted. Liberals are too much into thought control.


    Steve I estimate that your (1.33 / 3) (#77)
    by lousy1 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:35:51 PM EST
    right on the brink of being branded as a racist.

    It is fun debating libs, but after a while it becomes tedious. Democrats very rarely will admit they are wrong or do not know.

    I think two more logical statements will put someone over the edge.

    BTW branding a comment as being spawned by FOX news or Rush Limbaugh has nothing to do with the validity of the comment.


    whereas, if it in actuality WAS (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:51:10 PM EST
    spawned by Fox or Rectal Cysts, It almost certainly has a bearing on the "validity" of the comment..

    Both sources are so brazenly devoted to heavy-handed, non-problem solving and political public relations, that every issue, complex or not, is presented to the public in lurid bumpersticker form for maximum emotional impact and maximum critical thought suppression.

    If Fox and Rectal Cysts turn every issue into a bumpersticker (cuz they's easy ta memorize..) there's always a lot of information they're leaving out.  


    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 11:14:13 AM EST
    So if I quoted Chomsky on Foreign Policy, conservatives wouldn't point that out?

    I wouldn't deem it a worthy endeavor. (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:04:56 PM EST
    Waste of time.  And makes me think there may be a better place for incisive political blogging.  

    I hear there are some conservative (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:19:04 PM EST
    websites from whence our new arrivals came - perhaps those might offer some examples of incisive political blogging?

    And yes, that IS snark...


    it is not about Obama (none / 0) (#60)
    by Steve27 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:03:28 PM EST
    "... there does seem to be an "agenda" which could be described as strongly anti-Obama & more than skeptical of government acts associated or even mentioned in association with his administration. ..."

    I think government is doing great harm to people. It pays them extended unemployment resulting in long term unemployment and loss of work skills. Government also is running up huge debts that will have to be paid back and could destroy our economy. If not Obama doing this, it will be Pelosi or Cuomo or Brown or any number of other leaders of the democrat party.


    Thanks for your response, Stevie (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:08:55 PM EST
    What I glean from your statement is that your position about government & mine are directly opposite in the examples you gave.  As you can easily see from my writings, I'm a Democrate; and, now, I can read your comments in the context of Republican positions.

    (Sigh!) Why can't you stay on one topic? (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:22:18 PM EST
    The issue that's being being discussed in this particular sub-thread is "Operation Fast and Furious," and not unemployment insurance or the national debt.

    Look, if you really want to engage people here in a serious discussion, then you need to stop bouncing all over the map, and learn to stay on point.

    And further, I will strongly echo Anne's earlier suggestion that you turn off Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, and that you actually read the articles and documents for which links have been thoughtfully provided, rather than continuing to mindlessly regurgitate shopworn GOP talking points.

    I know it may surprise you, but the majority of us are fully aware of what's being said on Fox News and other right-wing sites. And I'd bet better than even odds that we could probably recite those same aforementioned talking points better than you can.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with having and holding a conservative point of view. That said, it would be nice if said point of view was, you know, actually an informed one -- don'tcha think?



    just asking or answering questions (none / 0) (#80)
    by Steve27 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:50:44 PM EST
    My initial comments on this thread were questions. When can the executive assert executive privledge.

    At the JustOneMinute site is an answer:
    It references Charles Grassley asking an interesting question. If the President was not involved in F&F how is there any justification of executive privledge?


    FYI, it's spelled "privilege." (none / 0) (#90)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:22:02 PM EST
    That said, the concept of executive privilege is apparently rooted in the Jefferson administration (1801-09), when the president himself refused to comply with a subpoena which would've required him to appear as a witness for the defense in the 1807 trial of former Vice President Aaron Burr.

    Specifically, Mr. Burr had been indicted for treason, and charged with ostensibly plotting to separate the western United States from the rest of the states along the eastern seaboard, with himself as head of state. For his part, Burr claimed that President Thomas Jefferson was fully aware of his activities west of the Alleghenies, and in fact had endorsed his initiatives, which apparently included the not-so-subtle pursuit of American designs on Texas (then part of Spanish Mexico) and Florida (also under Spanish rule).

    Jefferson, for his part, appealed directly to Chief Justice John Marshall, who was the presiding judge at Burr's trial in Richmond, VA. in said appeal, Jefferson claimed "executive privilege," that as president, he was simply too busy with affairs of state in Washington, D.C., to be required to make himself personally available as an eyewitness in a legal proceeding one hundred miles away in Richmond.

    Chief Justice Marshall, for his part, upheld Jefferson's claim of executive privilege, and Burr was subsequently acquitted by the jury. And the concept of executive privilege has since been expanded by subsequent presidents over the next two centuries to cover most of the executive branch under administrative authority and control.

    Therefore, this current president's justification for executive privilege rests upon prior precedent.


    does congress have any oversight authority? (none / 0) (#92)
    by Steve27 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:32:31 PM EST
    "... Therefore, this current president's justification for executive privilege rests upon prior precedent. ..."

    Sounds like congressional oversight is conducted at the pleasure of the president. Can the Congress receive any information re: the conduct of the executive branch without presidential agreement?

    My understanding is the only secrets the Executive branch can keep from the Congress is communication with the President himself.


    Oh, really? (none / 0) (#110)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:01:22 PM EST
    Steve27: "My understanding is the only secrets the Executive branch can keep from the Congress is communication with the President himself."

    Then, pray tell, where were you five years ago?


    Harriet Miers did comply (none / 0) (#157)
    by Steve27 on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:00:22 AM EST
    according to the wall street journal editorial today, Harriet Miers did comply with whatever it was the congress was asking of her. And Miers was an aid to the president. Holder is claiming executive privilege for something entirely in the justice dept.

    The Justice Department is part of (none / 0) (#161)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:19:55 AM EST
    the executive branch. The president has oversight of all departments in the executive branch; Congress does not. Cabinet members and their respective departments are just as much a part of the president's sphere of influence as are White House aides. It's all part of the separation of powers.

    That is incorrect (none / 0) (#162)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:39:59 AM EST
    Congress, as the body who controls the budgets of the agencies within the executive branch, have oversight over those agencies.  It's part of the checks and balances of the system that make it work.

    Government Oversight

    Oversight of the executive branch is an important Congressional check on the President's power and a balance against his discretion in implementing laws and making regulations.

    A major way that Congress conducts oversight is through hearings. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs are both devoted to overseeing and reforming government operations, and each committee conducts oversight in its policy area.

    Congress also maintains an investigative organization, the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Founded in 1921 as the General Accounting Office, its original mission was to audit the budgets and financial statements sent to Congress by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Today, the GAO audits and generates reports on every aspect of the government, ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent with the effectiveness and efficiency that the American people deserve.

    The executive branch also polices itself: Sixty-four Inspectors General, each responsible for a different agency, regularly audit and report on the agencies to which they are attached.

    good article on Executive Privilege (none / 0) (#102)
    by lousy1 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 05:41:19 PM EST

    there are two types of executive privilege. One is a strong form rooted in the Constitution, called the presidential communication privilege. But there is another type, much weaker and rooted in common law instead of the Constitution, called the deliberative process privilege. That second, weaker variety is what President Obama invoked today regarding Holder.

    Breitbart.com? Really? (5.00 / 0) (#107)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 06:56:58 PM EST
    Sorry, but you're going to have to provide a far better source, than one that deliberately smeared Shirley Sherrod a few years ago with some conveniently edited and entirely misleading video.

    It's called "credibility," y'know?


    Is the information (none / 0) (#129)
    by lousy1 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 08:14:40 PM EST

    Or is it just too easy to say bad source and re entrench you head in the sand?


    At least try to find (5.00 / 0) (#134)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 08:48:28 PM EST
    a source in the most knuckle dragging sector of wingnuttia that isn't rife with lies of ommision and spun like a Koufax curve ball, the way Breibart's stuff always is..

    And no, I also don't want any free financial advice from Bernie Madoff, but thanks for asking.


    So if..... (none / 0) (#138)
    by CuriousInAz on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:04:11 PM EST
    ...your preferred sources refuse to acknowledge the story,  then the story does not exist to you?

    Yeah, that is the it works for way too many (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:17:39 AM EST
    commentators.... on both sides.

    This time it is the Left's ox getting gored so HufPost is great and BreitBart is bad.


    The article is a rather dry (none / 0) (#145)
    by lousy1 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 10:38:48 PM EST
    polemic concerning some of the finer points of executive privilege. The author is a professor of law.

     Another corresponding view

    For the most part the facts disclosed are neutral.

    rife with lies of ommision(...)the way Breibart's stuff always is..

    Do you read all the stuff on Breibart?


    one doesn't need to smell (5.00 / 1) (#146)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 10:58:19 PM EST
    every section of a manure pile to recognize it as such.

    But (none / 0) (#147)
    by lousy1 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:04:03 PM EST
    you do need to actually read a document in order to creditably, characterize it.

    yes, I'll pretend that I don't already (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:32:01 PM EST
    know that the Breitbart crowd scrambled to dig up a "dry", sober, equanimous, evenhanded, (christian, no doubt) law professor to put forth a constitutional interpretation that would cast the actions of the administration in the worst possible light.

    It's the way election year GOP hardball is played.
    Go for the throat, with the Good Lord Jesus on your side..


    If something honest and truthful (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:56:23 PM EST
    shows up on Breitbart, it's an accident.

    Don't rot your brain, don't cite something on Breitbart as if it were even remotely possibly truthful, and by all means don't even bother to provide Breitbart links to back up something you're arguing on a left-ish site like this.

    Go hit the Google and find a more rational place to use for a reference.


    Klukowski is a "professor of law"?!? (none / 0) (#195)
    by Yman on Sun Jun 24, 2012 at 02:16:00 PM EST
    Someone should let him know so he'll start to include it in his bio.

    Strange, how a "professor of law" would omit something so obvious ...


    So many fallacies so little time (none / 0) (#173)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 11:19:15 AM EST
    Okay, first things- its the "Democratic Party", its not hard to remember its that thing you guys like to suppress when exercised by minorities and the poor. Additionally, could you tell me when deficits started mattering again? It was around the 20th of January 2009 right? Finally, you do realize that unemployment pays a fraction of what its recipient earned while employed right?

    you are quick with the conspiracy theories (none / 0) (#8)
    by CST on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:51:04 AM EST
    I see.  Sounds Like?  Or you just made that up on the spot with zero basis.

    Like or not but (none / 0) (#11)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:15:47 PM EST
    Holder just convinced Obama to enter the swamp himself.  The asserting of OP brings the WH into the investigation when both DOJ and WH have strongly been on record of no WH involvement in FF.

    The DOJ's credibility went upside down when it retracted its Feb 11th letter to Congress.

    If it's a matter of credibility, Issa has none (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:34:35 PM EST
    Issa has stated that he wants the documents Holder won't turn over because Obama was using the gun-walking program to "somehow take away or limit people's second amendment rights."

    Either Issa's elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor, or he's pandering to the evil-kenyan-gonna-take-muh-guns crowd.

    Regardless, my bet is that saner minds will advise Issa that at some point the GOP is going to be back in the WH, and denying EP now could/will come back to haunt them then.


    Exactly. (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:10:32 PM EST
    But then, Darrell Issa is from San Diego, the land of Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Roger Hedgecock, with a long personal history of not exactly being on the level.

    Issa's been accused of everything from fabricating an account of his military service, to auto theft and insurance fraud, to illegally carrying a concealed weapon -- all of which, of course, renders him the perfect guy to be chairman of the House Oversight Committee.


    Accused but not convicted.. correct? (none / 0) (#143)
    by Cashmere on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 10:27:14 PM EST
    Accused but not convicted.. correct?  I am frankly tired of hearing many imply guilt when no guilt has been found.  But stay on your high road........

    Sure (5.00 / 0) (#154)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:05:54 AM EST
    As soon as Issa shuts his nasty trap and stops calling the attorney general a liar and suggesting this whole thing was a malicious intent to impose gun control.

    Sorry you're so tired.  Listen to your own side for a while and you'll be sound asleep in no time.


    typo: EP not OP (none / 0) (#12)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:16:16 PM EST
    Regarding Holder credibility - strike 2 (none / 0) (#19)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:39:22 PM EST
    The Justice Department has retracted a second statement made to the Senate Judiciary Committee. During a hearing last week, Attorney General Eric Holder claimed that his predecessor, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, had been briefed about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver. Now, the Department is retracting that statement and claiming Holder "inadvertently" made that claim to the Committee.

    From a statement released by Sen. Grassley based on DOJ memo sent to him yesterday.


    So if the EP only applies to.... (none / 0) (#21)
    by CuriousInAz on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 12:55:09 PM EST
    DOJ/WH discussions on responding to Oversight's requests,   I guess that means any and all prior documents related to F&F are not covered by EP?

    Unless the WH wants to admit they were involved in F&F prior to Agent Terry's murder with an ATF/DOJ supplied firearm....

    Murdered with an ATF/DOJ supplied firearm... (none / 0) (#163)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:28:58 AM EST
    So the argument you're making is that guns kill people, not people kill people? Why not also blame everyone else involved, such as the company that made the guns? Why not blame the miners who dug the iron for the guns out of the ground? Or the sun for providing the metal? Or the big bang for starting it all?

    Or is your argument predicated on the idea that if the Mexican drug dealers hadn't bought guns in AZ, they'd have attacked Agent Terry with mean words and harsh glances?

    Or, you could blame his murder on the drug dealers who allegedly pulled the triggers. Your call.


    The boss trying to protect his people (none / 0) (#34)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 01:19:51 PM EST
    is what I believe Holder is trying to do at this point.  Various gunwalker projects have been going on through at least two administrations with not enough oversight apparently. There's a good timeline from CBS here.  AZ attorney general has already resigned over this; approved by unanimous consent I would add, Republicans at this point are trying to find more high-ranking admin officials to throw under the bus.  Fact is everyone was OK w/it until an agent was killed.  IMO, they all bear some responsibility.

    Transparency... (none / 0) (#49)
    by lentinel on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:17:48 PM EST
    The way to make government responsible is to hold it accountable. And the way to make government accountable is make it transparent so that the American people can know exactly what decisions are being made, how they're being made, and whether their interests are being well served...

    Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.

    President Obama - January 21, 2009

    Is the above declaration of principle in any way relevant today?

    Of course it is (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Slado on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 02:32:26 PM EST
    BTD and pro Obama voters can whitewash this but the level this president is willing to turn on his principals is amazing.

    Team Romney and the SuperPacs are all ready spitting out the commercials for this one.

    That quote followed up by a grainy video of Holder soon to follow.

    Obama/Holder have something to hide.   That is why the CBS reporter who first broke this story was ridiculed by team Obama.   They want this story to die and die fast.


    Many of you have much more in depth information (none / 0) (#74)
    by samsguy18 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 03:25:38 PM EST
    Regarding "Fast and Furious" .......I don't understand ...are they hiding something ? Lives were lost protecting this country! All I see is politics being played out.  I find it all very disgusting.

    My two second take... (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Slado on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:08:25 PM EST
    Someone at DoJ (don't know who because Holder won't say) decided in 2009 that the program started by Bush's DoJ wasn't working so they amped it up.

    Instead of working with the Mexican government they went around them hoping that a more covert operation would better lead them to the source of the gun running.

    As with all good government programs what looked good on paper didn't work out and our government lost thousands of weapons that ended up in the cartels hands and eventually killed a boarder agent breaking the story.

    DoJ, namely Holder lied when confronted about it and here we are.  

    They've lied from the get go on multiple occasions and now Issa and the House (obviously originally out to smear Holder and now Obama have knowingly or unknowingly stumbled on a real scandal) have had enough.

    If you put your partisanship aside it's pretty simple.   Someone at DoJ messed up big time.   That is not in doubt.

    The questions are...

    1. Who initially authorized the program?
    2. Did Holder authorize it and if not when did he find out it went bad?
    3. Same for Obama.
    4. Why has DoJ repeatedly lied about it?

    After more than a year the House has not been able to answer any of those questions and it appears that Holder and now Obama's plan is to simply stonewall Issa in the hopes that it goes away.

    Republicans are trying really hard (none / 0) (#88)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:18:42 PM EST
    to disentangle themselves from the poorly run program that had its genesis under Bush.  Maybe if you weren't so concerned about tough border talk you'd have built in better oversight?

    If you really wanted to know, read thru the links and information here.


    OK I read it (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by lousy1 on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 08:41:43 PM EST
    Seems that part ofthe article is concerned with accounting details to show that while stimulus money was allocated to the ATF the specific Phoenix operation was not funded by stimulus money.

    Who cares?
    Money is fungible

    Its not the funding that is at issue - its the operational foul up.

    For some reason Fast and Furious management decided that they didn't really need to recover the bait weapons.

     The pertinent issues under discussion
       1.  No one seems to be responsible for that decision
        2. The DOJ is hindering a congressional  investigation

    That the ATF conducted similar operations earlier without the screw up does not seem germane either

    From the article you linked

    Please Keep in mind that Gunrunner is a long-term cartel weapons interdiction program that kicked off during the previous administration. there is no indication that Gunrunner has ever been anything but above-board. The program/project framework has long been used in business and government, with the program being the general vision, with individual projects/operations as steps towards realizing that vision.


    Gunwalker/Fast and Furious was a specific secret operation or project within the much larger framework of Gunrunner. A list of all operations with the Gunrunner program is not publicly available, but I would be stunned if the total number of projects wasn't several dozen, or more, with many or most of them being covert and unknown to the public.

    Yet you say

    the poorly run program that had its genesis under Bush.

    The article goes to great length to contradict your summary.


    Actually (none / 0) (#98)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:54:08 PM EST
    The House committee voted to recommend Holder be cited for contempt and the measure will now go to the full House next week for a vote.

    This sounds (none / 0) (#101)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 05:39:36 PM EST
    like Janet Reno the return. This just backs up Jeralyn's grandstanding statement. If the GOP was serious about this and if they thought it was something, they would not be doing this nonsense. They would first of all take Issa off of the investigation because nobody believes him and as far as I know they are not doing that.

    Issa (none / 0) (#116)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:18:49 PM EST
    Is the chair of the committee that has jurisdiction. _
     I don't know how they'd "take him off".

    They could have (none / 0) (#121)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:38:22 PM EST
    a committee investigate it--a separate committee led by someone else. Issa is such a joke it's beyond pathetic.

    To get a sense of the (none / 0) (#105)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 06:50:26 PM EST
    way the Republicans disrespected Holder and how political this is, here's a post I wrote after he tesified at a prior hearing.  

    Fast and Furious isn't worth the time being spent on it. Issa's intent should be as obvious here as with his phony outrage over money laundering stings.

    If we're going ot complain about Holder, why not discuss the targeting of medical marijuana businesses or the policy on targeted killings of U.S. citizens rather than guns that ended up in Mexico.

    Oh, cmon, Mom! We're just having fun! (none / 0) (#117)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:24:56 PM EST
    Your posts on George Zimmerman seem to have attracted numerous wingers to TalkLeft. So, on behalf of the regulars here, thank you for the supply of right-wing piñatas to bat around!

    All snark aside, you do raise an entirely valid and really good point. Why DOESN'T Darrell Issa raise those other issues with due regard to AG Holder?

    Well, I would counter that the GOP doesn't really seem all that interested in holding Holder and Obama accountable for stuff with which they're almost entirely in agreement.

    But hey -- when you're talking about the Mexican border, the ATF and the secretive gunrunning of automatic weapons? "Yah-HOOOOooooo ...!!! We hit the friggin' Trifecta!"



    Well (none / 0) (#120)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:38:18 PM EST
    One of those guns ended up killing a border patrol agent.....

    I know law enforcement isn't popular around here, but it was a federal officer wirh a family doing his job.  Are you saying that shouldn't be looked into???


    Why is the GOP (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:40:27 PM EST
    so stinking concerned about this ONE particular gun when this happens everyday. If Obama was looking into it you know they would be screaming that he was trying to take people's guns away. Be honest, you know that's what would be happening. It just shows that the GOP really has NO stances other than a knee jerk whatever Obama is for they are against.

    Of course (none / 0) (#124)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:43:04 PM EST
    But that's a given and I didn't think it needed to be said.

    But the comment was about. "Just guns going to Mexico..."


    It was 1700 guns (none / 0) (#167)
    by Slado on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:45:17 AM EST
    And they killed hundreds of Mexicans as well as a few Amerians and a border control agent.

    Bush's AJ was run through he ringer and forced to resign for firing 9 democratic underlings.  If I remember there where multiple posts on TL about that and nobody thought it was political grandstanding on the part of democrats.

    This seems like a bigger deal to me but hey it's just me.  Don't shoot the messenger.  Sure the republicans smell blood in the water but the blood is there and Holders name and possibly Obama's is all over this.

    Bottom line is they should divulge the documents, say their sorry and move on.   They are only dragging this out by hiding behind executive privilege.  Hard to now say this is an election year stunt when it started back in Feb of '11.  This could have been over last summer if Holder hadn't repeatedly lied and hid documents from Issa.


    Okay (none / 0) (#192)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:12:00 PM EST
    I'm glad to see a conservative finally concede that guns are a problem in our society.

    IIRC Bush' AG was giving people religious litmus tests was she not if you're talking about Monica Goodling.

    I think this is just more wishful thinking from conservatives. I'm glad to know that now conservatives are concerned about people having guns and agents being killed because they sure were advocating for agents to be killed back when Waco happened.

    Issa has no credibility and is a joke. Like I said before, if the GOP really thought this was serious they would take Issa off the investigation. Seems to me if it was so "serious" then Issa is the LAST  person that they would want handling it. The fact that Issa is handling it only lends credibility to the fact that it is political.


    There would be less killing (5.00 / 2) (#126)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:52:05 PM EST
    if we ended the failed War on Drugs.

    Sure (none / 0) (#127)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:56:15 PM EST
    Because all those drug cartels are just going to get legit day jobs.

    they'd make a lot less money (none / 0) (#168)
    by CST on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:59:58 AM EST
    than they do now.  As for the rest of the question, let's look at the past (or at least the wiki version)?

    "After prohibition ended in 1933, organized crime groups were confronted with an impasse and could no longer maintain the high profits they had acquired through the 1920s. The smarter of the organized crime groups acted prudently and expanded into other ventures such as unions, construction, sanitation and drug trafficking. On the other hand, those Mafia families that neglected the need to change eventually lost power and influence and ultimately vanished."

    My hunch is that of the above list, drug trafficking is the one making them the most money.


    Kinda my point (none / 0) (#169)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:25:51 AM EST
    The meme that "violence will go down" if drugs are legalized is completely silly.  It might - a little - in some places, but no one can possibly be foolish enough to think that these guys are going to throw up their hands and say "Oh gosh!  Drugs are legal and have put me out of business - guess I'll clean up my act and go work at McDonald's now!"


    Whether a by-product of their current line of work or just as a result of who is attracted to drug dealing and running (across the border), my guess is these people are more violent by nature, or have more violent tendencies, than the population at large.  They certainly engage in riskier behavior.

    All they're going to do is move into other business, as you pointed out the Mafia did.  In fact, some already are - it's called human trafficking, because as they are finding out, it's much more lucrative than drugs (you can reuse the "product" over and over again, whereas with drugs, once you sell the product, it's gone).  Human Trafficking is not exactly a peaceful and peace-loving occupation.

    And as your quote points out - the Mafia is still in business to this day (and still killing people). Legalizing drugs will neither reduce violence, nor put these cockroaches out of business.


    except (none / 0) (#174)
    by CST on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:21:01 PM EST
    the violent crime rate dropped when it was repealed.  And the mafia is not nearly as powerful or violent today, although there are other groups - namely drug traders.  

    Are there other ways to make money illegally, like gambling, or prosititution?  Yes, I don't think decriminalization will eliminate violence or organized crime.  But I don't think you can say conclusively that "Legalizing drugs will neither reduce violence, nor put these cockroaches out of business".  If we look at what happened after prohibition, there is a good chance that it will reduce (not eliminate) violence, and some of them will be put out of business.


    Hmmm (none / 0) (#175)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:00:54 PM EST
    Seems to me that the Mafia is still in business, and organized crime has now spread to other ethnicities (including the drug lords).  

    Actually, violence (at least homicide) did not decrease after prohibition was repealed.

    And yes, some will be put out of business by legalizing drugs.  Of course, without legalizing drugs, some will be put out of businesses anyway, so would it be the same number?


    Would it? (none / 0) (#176)
    by sj on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:21:20 PM EST
    You tell me, jb.
    And yes, some will be put out of business by legalizing drugs.  Of course, without legalizing drugs, some will be put out of businesses anyway, so would it be the same number?
    Do you have something to back this up or is a conjecture you pulled out of ... the air?

    Yes (none / 0) (#177)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:23:31 PM EST
    It's called "the theory of supply and demand" - maybe you've heard about it?

    Just like any other business - some succeed and some fail.


    Of course (none / 0) (#178)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:25:06 PM EST
    Drug dealers have the added um, pressure, from their competition.  They may not just go out of business - the players get killed and the business is taken over in a hostile take over.

    So the answer is... (none / 0) (#179)
    by sj on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:25:34 PM EST
    so would it be the same number?
    it's a conjecture you just pulled out of ... the air.

    I got it (none / 0) (#180)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:27:47 PM EST
    From the same place as "legalizing drugs will decrease violence" and "look at Prohibition".

    On those issues there are actual studies (none / 0) (#181)
    by sj on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 02:08:10 PM EST
    Please link (none / 0) (#185)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:20:36 PM EST
    Here is one (none / 0) (#187)
    by CST on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:47:26 PM EST
    although your link basically says the same thing


    "Roughly speaking, therefore, there have been two periods with high homicide rates in U.S. history, the 1920-1934 period and the 1970-1990 period (Friedman 1991). Both before the first episode and between these two episodes, homicide rates were relatively low or clearly declining. Prima facie, this pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that alcohol prohibition increased violent crime: homicide rates are high in the 1920-1933 period, when constitutional prohibition of alcohol was in effect; the homicide rate drops quickly after 1933, when Prohibition was repealed; and the homicide rate remains low for a substantial period thereafter. Further, the homicide rate is low during the 1950s and early 1960s, when drug prohibition was in existence but not vigorously enforced, but high in the 1970-1990 period, when drug prohibition was enforced to a relatively stringent degree (Miron 1999).

    To see this more carefully, consider Figure 4, which plots real per capita expenditure by the federal government for enforcement of alcohol and drug prohibition over this same period. As discussed in Miron (1999, 2001), the effect of prohibition on violence depends not just on the existence of a prohibition but on the degree to which it is enforced. Increased enforcement narrows the scope of legal exceptions to the prohibition (e.g., medical uses), thereby increasing the size of the black market, and increased enforcement destroys reputations and implicit property rights within the black market. Both effects increase the use of violence."


    a few things (none / 0) (#182)
    by CST on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 03:21:15 PM EST
    Prohibition was officially repealed in December 1933, including that in the post-prohibition years is very misleading.  Also, at the time of repeal, 29 states (and 50% of the population) still had their own laws on the books banning liquor, and it took time for those laws to go away.

    Also, according to your link the homicide rate steadily increased during prohibition, peaked in 1933, and then steadily decreased.  And mind you, it's not like the economy was going well at that time.  It's not shocking that it wasn't a sudden drop, since you end up with all these organized crime groups jockeying for new power sources, and as I mentioned, a lot of the population still lived under prohibition for some time.  But it did drop steadily and significantly in the years after national prohibition was repealed.  Your chart pretty much confirms what I've been saying, so thanks for the link :)

    Without legalizing drugs, no they really won't go out of business.  Sure some individuals might get out but as long as the business is there another individual will take up that role.  You take away the business and it's a lot more than that.  If anything the drug trade has expanded during the war on drugs.


    I don't buy the (none / 0) (#183)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:16:39 PM EST
    "Look what happened after Prohibition" argument. It's like apples and oranges.

    Maybe it will be the same.  But it's been 80 years and I think society is way too different and some drugs way more potent than alcohol to make a comparison.  There are more people with guns and access to other types of weapons, more people in cars on the road, more people in general who live closer and closer together, and let's face it, way more people with hair-trigger tempers.

    It's like saying "Hey, trench warfare helped us out in WWI, so I think that would be a good military strategy for us to use in Afghanistan."


    and I bet it's a good idea (none / 0) (#186)
    by CST on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:44:28 PM EST
    to invade Russia in winter with ground troops now too, since society has changed so much.

    I guess it's people on drugs with guns that kill people now, not just people with guns, or guns, unless of course it's the guns that the US is running to Mexico, in which case we finally care where guns are coming from and who they're going to.  Or something.  I can never remember when it's okay to care about gun violence and when it's not.  But if you ask me I am firmly in the pro-gun-control camp to reduce access to weapons.

    A little fun with numbers here:
    "In 1999, there were 187 alcohol-induced brawls and 111 narcotic-induced brawls that resulted in murder (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2000)."

    "Murders resulting from drug offenses totaled 564 in 1999"

    It's not the users that are committing the bulk of the drug-associated murders, it's the people controlling the supply chain.  It is true that people under the influence are more likely to commit crimes like larceny and assault, in terms of murders - where people actually end up dead, the drug traders are way ahead of the addicts.  Personally I'd rather be robbed than killed.

    No it's not exactly the same, but that doesn't mean there is no way things will change (per your previous assertion) - given that history suggests it does, and the only thing that suggests it doesn't is your post.

    Speaking of Afghanistan, even if our troops leave, the war on drugs means we'll be there forever.  Waging war on the locals.  I'm sure that's great for national security.


    I realize it's the suppliers (none / 0) (#188)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:48:58 PM EST
    Which brings us back to my original point.  Just because you legalize drugs does not mean that the cartel members are going to just drop everything and get legitimate jobs and they are not going to get any less violent. They will find some other illegal means to make their money and ergo, the violence will not decrease.

    or they won't (none / 0) (#190)
    by CST on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:06:39 PM EST
    and it will.

    There are other lucrative ways to make money illegally, and people are already doing those things.  So unless you create a whole new market for something illegal, I don't see how you can say eliminating one of the largest markets for illegal activity will have no impact.  We already have people who traffic in humans, and prostitution, and run gambling rings.  I don't see that expanding significantly just because you eliminate the illegal drug trade.  Unless the demand for those things go up, you aren't going to see much difference in supply.  Especially considering the legal means now available for a lot of them (like gambling, for example).  You are essentially suggesting that they can make up the money from eliminating one market by diversifying into other markets.  But those markets exist, and if what you said was true, they would have no incentive to be selling drugs today, if they truly thought that eliminating that market would have no financial impact on them.

    Shorter version, if they could make as much (or more) doing something else illegal, why are so many people selling drugs?


    I agree... (none / 0) (#133)
    by CuriousInAz on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 08:48:08 PM EST
    the WOsD has become a war on the Constitution IMO

    And remember (none / 0) (#123)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:42:06 PM EST
    Waco when those people killed those federal agents and the GOP was telling people to kill MORE federal agents. And the idiot GOP was defending David Koresh. More evidence that they are just a bunch of knee jerk idiots with no ideas.

    Agree 100% (none / 0) (#144)
    by Cashmere on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 10:29:30 PM EST
    Agree 100%

    Got to love the GOP's (none / 0) (#113)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:10:37 PM EST
    laser like focus on fixing the economy and jobs, jobs, jobs.

    There are currently (none / 0) (#115)
    by BTAL on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:14:35 PM EST
    30 house passed jobs/economy related bills sitting in the Senate awaiting action.  Call Harry Reid and have him get his laser checked out.

    Why bother? (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:30:11 PM EST
    It's just more failed supply side stuff. When they get rid of their love of disastrous supply side economics I'll be willing to listen to what they have to say.

    You're absolutely right. (none / 0) (#118)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:28:10 PM EST
    And you know something else? I'd bet that almost every single one of them has been the subject of a GOP filibuster.

    Notice I said "fix the economy". (none / 0) (#164)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:47:32 AM EST
    I wasn't referring to their treasonous attempts at selling the country down the river so they can ruin the economy to gain political power in the upcoming election and more effectively lick the boots of their corporate masters.  

    and your point would be? (none / 0) (#114)
    by cpinva on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:11:10 PM EST
    Here's part of Holder's statement calling Issa's action political "election-year tactic intended to distract attention":

    nearly all actions by politicians are at least somewhat political by definition: "pols do what they do"

    so, rep. issa will go home to his district and display his newly bolstered codpiece, to the wild applause and admiring stares of his adoring constituents. and the sun will rise in the east the next morning.

    Senate action not required to proceed? (none / 0) (#136)
    by Raoul on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:01:11 PM EST
    From what I am reading Issa can move on two tracks both crimal and civil without the Senate at all???

    the Senate (none / 0) (#141)
    by Tov on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:38:26 PM EST
    It is my understanding that the Senate has no dog in this hunt. If the full House votes for contempt the matter is referred to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia. The Senate has no say in the matter. I may be wrong but contempt is not impeachment and the new article linked to- is not correct...am I wrong? The Justice Dept. may elect to not forward the request however as has been done in the past.

    reconsidering my reading (none / 0) (#142)
    by Tov on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 09:49:55 PM EST
    of the article quoted...I assume they mean they have no juristiction not because it is a Dem controlled Senate that no action will be taken...oddly worded -thus my potential misreading.