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Can someone explain the whole Fast and Furious news flap without getting political? Just the facts in simple language? I keep reading articles but there's so much political mayhem involved, I'm not understanding what's going on.
It appears to be political theater and there is a lot of posturing going on. Neither side looks good doing that. That being said, I am not overly fond of Holder at all. And I won't shed a tear if this brings about his resignation.
Fast and Furious is supposed to be about getting guns out of the 'wrong' hands. Some folks are afraid that 'wrong' hands means 'their' hands, and started an investigation. (Darrell Issa, has been quoted as saying that Obama was using the program to "somehow take away or limit people's Second Amendment rights.") Holder has said he's willing to let the panel review certain documents but Ilsa wasn't please with the offer to 'review.' I'm not sure if that means Holder would let them look at papers but not keep them for long-term study. It's a great big kerfuffle with nothing at it's core, from what I understand.
It should also be noted that F&F got started in the Bush(43) administration. The idea behind it was to put certain guns on the black market to be sold to Mexican drug lords. The guns would have already been fired a few times and the bullets analyzed for the unique scratch patterns of the barrel bore. Once sold, the guns are eventually fired and end up in dead people - sort of a cause-and-effect thing - and forensics would then show that the bullets were fired from these specific guns, thus showing that ~some~ drug biggie is operating in a particular area using guns that were sold on the black market. In short, it was a way to build up charges and evidence to prosecute the drug cartels in Mexico.
What's happened is: (leaving political labels out of this...) Someone, and we know who he is...* who maintains a blog decided that this was a scheme that President #44 planned and convinced President #43 to do even prior to #44 considered running for his present job. And, as this blogger extrapolated, the reason for doing this was to have "proof" that violent crime involving guns was now rampant and we must have strong gun control laws and remove the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and thus, from the Constitution.
Said blogger has met with Issa and other Congressmen, and that's what began the investigation. The committee has asked for internal emails and document that contain the names and locations of certain agents and informants. By law, Holder cannot provide those documents to anyone because it compromises the safety of the people in the field, and Holder could then be arrested and put on trial for leaking classified information. (Kind of makes me wonder why the people who leaked Valerie Plame's name were never held accountable, except for the one they 'threw under the bus'. But I digress.)
In short, this seems to be much ado about nothing for political gain. The investigation is based on conspiracy-theory rantings; The committee is placing the burden on Justice Department to prove the rantings are untrue by demanding access to document, thus putting them into the public record, for which they know cannot be unclassified, and are using that to say that Holder is in contempt of Congress. (Nowadays, I think that applies to almost everyone!)
(Politics? You betcha! Why? Because if you can't put a dent in your opponent's armor, you can always go after his horse. Why now (and why ~this~ horse)? Because if you 're trying to rig an election by disenfranchising as many voters as you can, you take out the guy who has the power to stop you from doing that.)
*I don't recall his name, but he's the same blogger who, just prior to the vote for the health care bill, wrote an inspirational (to some) blog where he passionately implored for people to throw rocks and bricks through the windows of political figures who supported the bill.
And, yeah, I know we're not supposed to talk politics and/or religion here, but this is where the question was asked. Parenthetical text should be considered as my snarky opinion and/or commentary.
Everything else is fact-checked information.
It seems pretty factual aside from a little snark. I think it's okay as long as it's left as that. It's a bit more clear to me now. Thanks.
Me too, Morphidae, and thanks for asking the question in the first place.
WHL - Thank you for some of the subtleties which had escaped my notice.
Yea! I am certain that it is no accident that this is coming up in the political season rather than at any other time! It may indeed be a lot of sound & fury signifying nothing! 8^)
PS i don't know if that is the correct quote but you get the picture.
Found this, with an explanation of what F&F is about (from a UK source):
Here’s what Fast and Furious is all about – and for the uninitiated, be prepared for a shock. In 2009, the US government instructed Arizona gun sellers illegally to sell arms to suspected criminals. Agents working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were then ordered not to stop the sales but to allow the arms to “walk” across the border into the arms of Mexican drug-traffickers. According to the Oversight Committee’s report, “The purpose was to wait and watch, in hope that law enforcement could identify other members of a trafficking network and build a large, complex conspiracy case…. The ATF initially began using the new gun-walking tactics in one of its investigations to further the Department’s strategy. The case was soon renamed ‘Operation Fast and Furious.”
Tracing the arms became difficult, until they starting appearing at bloody crime scenes. Many Mexicans have died from being shot by ATF sanctioned guns, but the scandal only became public after a US federal agent, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, was killed by one of them in a fire fight. ATF whistle blowers started to come forward and the Department of Justice was implicated. It’s estimated that the US government effectively supplied 1,608 weapons to criminals, at a total value of over $1 million. Aside from putting American citizens in danger, the AFT also supplied what now amounts to a civil war within Mexico.
It’s important to note that the Bush administration oversaw something similar to Fast and Furious. Called Operation Wide Receiver, it used the common tactic of “controlled delivery,” whereby agents would allow an illegal transaction to take place, closely follow the movements of the arms, and then descend on the culprits. But Fast and Furious is different because it was “uncontrolled delivery,” whereby the criminals were essentially allowed to drop off the map. Perhaps more importantly, Wide Receiver was conducted with the cooperation of the Mexican government. Fast and Furious was not.
So Obama’s operation is subtly different. But just as concerning is the heavy-handed way that the administration has handled criticism. Obama says that the Oversight Committee has been hijacked by Republicans who would rather talk about politics than creating jobs (because Obama is oh so very good at generating those). But there has been Democratic criticism too, and the Prez’s determined defence of Holder will only encourage conspiracy thinking that the scandal has hidden depths. Executive privilege is usually associated with protecting information that passes through the Oval Office. What did the documents reveal about Obama’s association with the operation?
Again, it’s important to contextualise. Executive privilege has been invoked 24 times since Ronald Reagan, and attempts to over-ride it rarely reach the courts. Moreover, Holder’s request for executive privilege made no reference to White House involvement in Fast and Furious, which seems to have been run exclusively by the ATF. Nevertheless, by refusing to sack Holder or push him to come clean, Obama may have made a very Nixonian mistake.
A lot of conservatives are writing at the moment that not only is Obama turning into Nixon Mark II, but Obama is worse because no one actually got killed during Watergate. The comparison is based on the myth that Nixon ordered the Watergate break in and that’s what he eventually had to resign over. But that’s not true. Nixon’s guilt was in trying to pervert the course of justice by persuading the FBI to drop its investigation of the crime. Mistake number one, then, was to involve the White House in covering up the errors of a separate, autonomous political department. Mistake number two was that when Congress discovered that evidence about the scandal might be recorded on the White House bugging system, Nixon invoked executive privilege to protect the tapes. In both cases, it was the cover up that destroyed Tricky Dick – not the original crime.
And, forty years later almost to the day, here we have Obama making the same mistake. Perhaps it’s an act of chivalry to stand by Holder; perhaps it’s an admission of guilt. Either way, it sinks the Oval Office ever further into the swamp that is Fast and Furious. Make no mistake about: Fast and Furious was perhaps the most shameful domestic law and order operation since the Waco siege. It’s big government at its worst: big, incompetent and capable of ruining lives.
Meh. It seems pretty politically inflammatory. Something I'm trying to stay away from.
Yeah - I was reading it along nicely until I came across: "because Obama is oh so very good at generating those." As soon as a piece of reporting has a phrase like that, no matter 'what side of the aisle' it comes from - I immediately stop reading, because it is clear the reporter has an agenda other than stating the facts - they have an agenda of shaping opinion.
And where oh where can one find "just the facts?" This is what annoys me so with modern (or past, to be truthful) journalism. The journalists do not trust the readers to be intelligent enough to come to conclusions of their own from reading the facts. Instead, they want to report events in such a way that the reader will come to the same conclusion the writer has made. Bah.
Here is an editorial page opinion column which is a signed piece, and does show some liberal bias, however it did explain the original situation in a way which made sense to me. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2018504861_robinson23.html
(12) And there you have it, MrsLee: read all the opinions, and between the lines you can find the truth.
But in obedience to the 'rule' about no politics here, I will forego any further discussion. :)
The best idea I've ever heard is to put ALL the politicians (and "spin" doctors)on a boat, send it out to sea AND TORPEDO IT!!!!!
16 - LOL
Cracked had a pretty good article about spotting "spin" in journalism, but I can't remember the name of it now. It was referring especially to election years, I believe, but also about the "us vs. them" philosophy of politics.
...maybe line 'em all up against a wall & shoot 'em?
that is entirely the problem, "Us vs. Them". There is a Walt Kelley "Pogo" cartoon that shows Pogo jumping up and back in shock from a full length mirror, the caption reading," We hast met the enemy, and he is US."
Benjamin Franklin supposedly said, in the Continental Congress (and apparently during great disagreements), "Gentlemen, if we don't hang together, surely we shall be hanged separately".
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