Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

LinkSwarm for January 9, 2012

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Like a squirrel hording nuts for winter, I’ve set aside a few tasty links for you to chew on:

  • George Will offers up a masterful column on why big government actually increases, rather than decreases, inequality.

    Liberals have a rendezvous with regret. Their largest achievement is today’s redistributionist government. But such government is inherently regressive: It tends to distribute power and money to the strong, including itself.

    Government becomes big by having big ambitions for supplanting markets as society’s primary allocator of wealth and opportunity. Therefore it becomes a magnet for factions muscular enough, in money or numbers or both, to bend government to their advantage.

    Not only does redistributionist government direct wealth upward; in asserting a right to do so, it siphons power into itself. A puzzling aspect of our politically contentious era is how little contention there is about the ethics of coercive redistribution by progressive taxation and other government “corrections” of social outcomes it considers unethical or unaesthetic.

    This reticence, in an age in which political reticence is rare, reflects the difficulty of articulating principled defenses of these practices. They go undefended because they are generally popular with a public that misunderstands their net effects and because the practices are the political class’s vocation today. The big winners from these practices are that class and the interests adept at collaborating with it.

    Government uses redistribution to correct social outcomes that offend it. But government rarely explains, or perhaps even recognizes, the reasoning by which it decides why particular outcomes of consensual market activities are incorrect. When taxes are levied not to efficiently fund government but to impose this or that notion of distributive justice, remember: Taxes are always coerced contributions to government, which is always the first, and often the principal, beneficiary of them.

    Call it The Dennis Moore Effect. “He steals from the poor, and gives to the rich…”

  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindel makes the case for Rick Perry:

  • Mark Styen on the left’s idea of empathy: “In 2008, the Left gleefully mocked Sarah Palin’s live baby. It was only a matter of time before they moved on to a dead one.”
  • Speaking of Steyn, here are his wishes for a Happy New Year in his usual gloomy, depressing, acerbic way.
  • And speaking still further of Steyn, he once noted that China will get old before it gets rich. And just what is it like to be old in China now? It really sucks. It turns out Communism’s claims of taking better care of the helpless was just as big a lie as all communism’s other claims…
  • “Detroit is Ground Zero for the breakdown of the Blue Social Model.
  • There are at least 28 different drug cartels the Mexican government is fighting. (Hat tip: Bruce Sterling)
  • How Clinton’s FBI tried to entrap Newt Gingrich. (Hat tip: Sipsey Street.
  • A fuller list of speakers for Saddle Up Texas. Dick Armey and some of the U.S. reps certainly add some luster to the proceedings. I still don’t see anyone ponying up $20,000 to be a top-level sponsor. Or $1,000 for a booth.
  • Hat tips: Real Clear Politics, Insta, Ace.

    LinkSwarm for December 26, 2011

    Monday, December 26th, 2011

    Still getting back up to speed after Christmas, so here are a few links that I’ve been squirreling away like nuts for winter:

  • Is Obama preparing for war with Iran? This interview with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta sure makes it sound that way…
  • If I’m reading these tea leaves correctly, Gary Johnson is about to give up running as a Republican and run as a Libertarian. Which is a shame, because the Republican Party needs more libertarians. But his campaign never caught fire. Alternately, he’s going to pull out and endorse Ron Paul, which his front page sort of hints at.
  • To clear the air on Ron Paul: He’s not an Anti-Semite, he just wishes Israel didn’t exist, and he’s not a homophobe, he just refuses to shake gay’s hands or use their bathrooms.
  • Amy Alkon gets a TSA agent patdown. And by “patdown” I mean “repeatedly stick their fingers in her vulva.”
  • Jill Stanek on Christopher Hitchens and abortion. And Hitchens’ own, fairly conflicted thoughts here.
  • The Zeta Drug cartel has built their own national radio system. Let’s hope that Eric Holder didn’t give them that as well. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Rebel Syrians holding a sign slamming Obama and praising Bush. Real, or Photoshop? I try to have a healthy suspicion of things that fit too neatly into my worldview.
  • Additional hat tips to Insta and Ace.

    Documents Shows Fast and Furious WAS About Promoting Gun Control

    Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

    Continuing her excellent reporting on the issue, Sharyl Attkisson drops another bombshell: Just like us “paranoid” right wingers thought all along, Fast and Furious was about promoting gun control:

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


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

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

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

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

    Read the whole thing.

    The best, most favorable explanation is that Fast and Furious was instituted for some still-undisclosed purpose, and that some ATF agents saw it as a ghoulish opportunity to promote gun control.

    The worst: The Obama Administration designed and implemented Fast and Furious in a premeditated fashion, breaking the law and helping kill hundreds of Mexican citizens and U.S. border patrol agent Brian Terry, all for the sole, express purpose of promoting gun control.

    They had to kill people with guns in order to save them from getting killed by guns.

    It shows that just because your paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

    Hat tip: Powerline, where John Hinderaker says: “If the Obama administration did arrange for the shipment of arms to Mexican drug gangs, not for any legitimate public purpose but in order to advance a left-wing political agenda, and those guns were used to murder hundreds of Mexicans and at least one American border agent–which they were–then we are looking at a scandal that dwarfs any in modern American history.”


    Fast and Furious Update: Obama Administration Now Laundering Drug Cartel Money?

    Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

    So says that bastion of right-wing propaganda, The New York Times:

    Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington’s expanding role in Mexico’s fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials.


    The officials said that while the D.E.A. conducted such operations in other countries, it began doing so in Mexico only in the past few years. The high-risk activities raise delicate questions about the agency’s effectiveness in bringing down drug kingpins, underscore diplomatic concerns about Mexican sovereignty, and blur the line between surveillance and facilitating crime. As it launders drug money, the agency often allows cartels to continue their operations over months or even years before making seizures or arrests.


    Another former agency official, who asked not to be identified speaking publicly about delicate operations, said, “My rule was that if we are going to launder money, we better show results. Otherwise, the D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”

    Those are precisely the kinds of concerns members of Congress have raised about a gun-smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious

    I suppose it’s progress of a sort when even The New York Times realizes something went horribly wrong in Fast and Furious. And even if the money laundering program was working, what chance does it have now that the cover has been blown?

    Does anyone actually believe the Obama Administration has an effective, coherent plan to take down the cartels?

    What next? Will we find out that U.S. agents actually carried out cartel assassinations?

    Also this:

    The former officials said that federal law enforcement agencies had to seek Justice Department approval to launder amounts greater than $10 million in any single operation. But they said that the cap was treated more as a guideline than a rule, and that it had been waived on many occasions to attract the interest of high-value targets.

    If Fast and Furious is any guide, those “hundreds of thousands of dollars” will turn out to be tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    LinkSwarm for Friday, November 11, 2011 (11/11/11)

    Friday, November 11th, 2011

    I hope you’re celebrating both Veterans Day and Nigel Tufnel Day (11/11/11) today. A few bits of news:

  • Willisms debunks a lot of false claims about Texas jobs.
  • He also notes that Texas leads the nation in exports.
  • Care for a disabled child in Michigan? The SEIU can deduct union dues from your social security check. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • I’ve not been keeping up with the situation in Killeen, but evidently City Council members voted to give the City Manager a $750,000 buyout, then refused to justify their actions to the taxpayers. The result? All five remaining City Council members were successfully recalled. Note to politicians across the state: Texas is not California. Try to get away with this sort of self-dealing here and we will boot your ass out of office. (Hat tip: Blue Dot Blues.)
  • Mexican cartel gunmen crossed into the small Texas town of Escobares in the Rio Grande Valley.
  • Speaking of cartel violence, the Mexican government evidently has the La Familia Michoacana drug gang on the ropes. La Familia was previously allied with the Gulf Cartel, but more recently worked with the Zeta cartel. I’d previously mentioned La Familia (and their activity in Austin) here.
  • Obama to tax Christmas trees in order to pay for a board to promote Christmas trees.
  • Democrats on the “SuperCommittee” propose…wait for it…wait for it…spending more money! Remember, any time a congressional Democrat says they want to cut spending, they’re lying. (If a Republican says they want to cut spending, there’s at least a possibility that they’re telling the truth.)
  • David Brooks praises Mitt Romney as “smart” and “sophisticated.” Yeah, like conservatives needed another reason to vote against Romney…
  • By contrast, George Will says that in Romney “Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis.” (What’s the difference between David Brooks and George Will? One is a well-dressed, articulate, sophisticated, respected conservative columnist, and the other is David Brooks.)
  • Related.
  • Search and Rescue trailer stolen from NW Austin. Contact your local police if you spot the trailer shown in the picture.
  • I already mentioned this yesterday, but here’s the video of Sen. John Cornyn laying the smackdown on Eric Holder as to the difference between Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious.

  • I’ll try to do a Greek/Euro debt update just as soon as I figure out just what the hell Europe is actually doing…

    Fast and Furious Update for October 11, 2011

    Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

    Either I’m getting a little better handle on things, or Fast and Furious revelations have slowed down just enough for me to keep up.

  • Looks like a subpoena is heading Eric Holder’s way.
  • Holder does not look like a happy camper:

  • The DEA appears to be even more involved with Fast and Furious than previously reported.
  • Obama’s popularity is dropping steeply with Hispanics…and Fast and Furious isn’t helping.
  • The MSM seems to have noticed that the Mexican cartels employee heavily armed paramilitary units, which anyone following the story on blogs would have known for, oh, at least a year.
  • The myth of the good drug cartel.
  • Report from the front lines of the Mexican drug war.
  • (Hat tips: Sipsey Street, Say Uncle, and the usual suspects.)

    Fast and Furious Update For October 10, 2011

    Monday, October 10th, 2011

    You know, when I started doing Fast and Furious updates, I didn’t realize I’d have to update this daily. But events are moving at a pretty brisk pace:

  • Rep. Daarrell Issa says to Holder that he owns Fast and Furious, no matter how much distance he may put between himself and the scandal.
  • Sipsy Street puts up a third post on Hillary Clinton’s possible involvement.
  • In the Washington Post, Marc A. Thiessen calls Eric Holder “Obama’s albatross,” and lists a litany of bad decisions coming out of his office.
  • You know what’s worse for Obama than if Eric Holder is lying? If he’s telling the truth.
  • The Truth About Guns explores why Fast and Furious seemed to be arming the Sinola cartel in particular.
  • M. Catharine Evans compares Holder to Anthony Weiner.
  • She also links to this April 2009 transcript of a joint White House press conference with Mexico President Felipe Calderon, in which arms being smuggled to Mexico is the central topic.
  • Investors Business Daily says that “Either Holder is the most aloof attorney general in American history or the most incompetent — or worse.”
  • Large swathes of the press may love Obama, but David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun says that Fast and Furious shows that Obama doesn’t return the favor, at least when reporters actually do their jobs. “Team Obama is in full campaign mode, and because of their fundamental contempt for the press, that means they reward those who come on bended knee and they punish those who dare to question them. The bended knee boys include Brain Williams, the bowing anchorman. Have you noticed how many “exclusive” interviews Obama has given NBC recently? Oh yeah, NBC is kowtowing to Obama.” Zing!
  • The economics behind weapon smuggling. Don’t expect anything to change soon…
  • Indirectly related: Jeremy Schwartz at the Statesman has been doing some interesting reporting on the La Familia cartel, which has been using Austin as a base of operations.
  • Finally, not related at all (except also involving guns), but I wanted to point out that Adam Winkler, author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, points out that yes, the roots of gun control in America are racist in nature.

    Fast and Furious Update for October 9, 2011

    Sunday, October 9th, 2011

    Updates to the Fast and Furious scandal are coming…well, you know.

  • Here’s the complete text of the memo that Sharyl Attkisson quoted from on Friday. It’s even less believable and more self-serving than the excerpts alone.
  • Rep. Darrell Issa is going to issue some new subpoenas.

  • Ten Arizona Sheriffs call for a special consul to investigate Holder.
  • Mexico is not wild about Fast and Furious either.
  • Richard A. Serrano reports that many Fast and Furious weapons were found in a Mexico cartel enforcer’s home.
  • A primer on the big differences between Operation Wide Receiver and Operation fast and Furious. At least Wide Receiver attempted to track the guns being sold.
  • Texas Sen. John Cornyn says Holder has to come clean:

  • And, by way of Sipsey Street and Belmont Club, here’s the inevitable Hitler parody:

  • (Hat tips: Instapundit, Sipsey Street, etc.)

    Holder Goes With The “I’m Incompetent and Let My Subordinates Handle All Memos” Defense

    Friday, October 7th, 2011

    CBS lets Sharyl Attkisson decloak long enough to print Eric Holder’s “I didn’t lie, I swear, I was just incompetent” defense for the Fast and Furious scandal:

    Holder says that his testimony to Congress, stating he first heard of Fast and Furious earlier this year, “was truthful and accurate… I have no recollection of knowing about Fast and Furious prior to the public controversy about it.”

    In other words: I’m so out-of-the-loop that I didn’t know my underlings were involved in a massive, illegal, and deadly plot to break the law resulting in over 200 deaths. Way to be on top of things, Mr. AG!

    Holder maintains he didn’t know about the controversial gunwalking tactics used in the case.

    The Sgt. Schultz defense.

    The Attorney General says that while he was sent received memos on Fast and Furious, they are “actually provided to and reviewed by members of my staff and the staff of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.”

    The Richard Nixon “I was out of the loop” defense. Didn’t work so well for him either.

    As CBS News has reported, the Deputy Attorney General during Fast and Furious, Gary Grindler is now Holder’s Chief of Staff. Documents provided to Congress indicate Grindler received a detailed briefing on Fast and Furious in March of 2010 and made handwritten notes on briefing materials.

    However, in the letter, Holder says Grindler “was not told of the unacceptable tactics employed in the operation in his regular monthly meetings with ATF…”

    “I now understand some senior officials within the Department were aware at the time there was an operation called Fast and Furious although they were not advised of the unacceptable operational tactics being used in it,” says Holder’s letter.

    There’s a word for this sort of denial: it’s called bullshit. Bureaucracies are good at one thing: Following the rules. Even as stupid as some of the cowboys in ATF are, there’s no way some field-level supervisor got the bright idea: “Hey, let’s directly violate the federal laws we’re supposed to enforce! Plus I won’t tell anyone higher up! What’s the worst that could happen?” Doesn’t pass the smell test. You don’t isolate top officials from this sort of info, you make sure they’re in the loop to cover your own ass. Fast and Furious is so far off the reservation that the order for it had to come from way up high. Not necessarily Holder (though that’s a distinct possibility), but someone far enough up the food chain to make such an outrageous order stick. Like Obama.

    Plus this:

    In his letter, Holder also criticized the House Committee investigating Fast and Furious, saying he cannot sit idly by “as law enforcement and government employees who devote their lives to protecting our citizens be considered ‘accessories to murder’.”

    Well then, maybe you should have, oh, I don’t know, provided enough oversight to make sure they weren’t accessories to murder. Shouldn’t be that hard.

    There are two possibilities:

    A. If Holder knew about Fast and Furious, he’s an accessory to murder, and shouldn’t be Attorney General.
    B. If Holder didn’t know about Fast and Furious, then he’s manifestly incompetent, and shouldn’t be Attorney General.

    There is no option C.

    Democratic Senate Candidate Ricardo Sanchez Comes Out for Illegal Alien Amnesty, Teachers Unions, and…Tax Cuts???

    Saturday, June 11th, 2011

    Ricardo Sanchez finally has a website up, though Google still can’t find it, and it was only announced on his Facebook page yesterday. I wonder why it took so long, since he announced back on May 11; it doesn’t take a month to put up a website.

    Also, he’s apparently going to be running as “Ric Sanchez,” though most of the media (save the Dallas Morning News) don’t appear to have gotten the memo.

    The website actually contains some policy substance, though you have to wade through lots of vague, boilerplate, focus-group tested blather to get to it:

  • Sanchez, after some hemming, hawing, and hand-wringing, supports the Dream Act illegal alien amnesty. Despite some vague comments on “enforcement of our existing immigration laws” and a nod to the drain illegal aliens put on state and federal budgets, there’s absolutely no mention of completing the border fence, and no mention of the narco-terrorist war raging in Mexico.
  • He also supports teachers unions. He mentions vouchers (but not school choice or charter schools), but in the sort of highly-qualified way that makes you think he only wants them for public schools. And he slams the No Child Left Behind Act, critics of which are not exclusive to the left.
  • So far, so standard for liberal Democrats. However, in “The Economy and Job Creation” section, in addition to the usual “green jobs,” “social safety net” and “infrastructure” blather all Obama-era Democrats parrot, there’s this: “The best approach to creating jobs in Texas is for us to provide tax cuts, incentives, and increase financing support for small businesses.” Never mind that the entire page is vague to the point of distraction, never mind that the words “budget deficit” and “national debt” are nowhere to be found; the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for the Texas Senate seat actually came out for tax cuts. Even more shocking is that there’s no mention of that holiest of Democratic talking points, “tax hikes on the rich.” Indeed, a Democratic candidate calling for tax cuts is so out of character that I feel compelled to take a screen shot in case the Nutroots read him the riot act and force him to scrub it, so here it is:

  • It’s in the third paragraph. Click to embiggen.

    Granted, anyone can say anything on their website; it doesn’t mean they believe in it, and it doesn’t mean they won’t jettison it ten minutes after they’ve won election. But for a major Democratic candidate to call for tax cuts not before the general election, but even before the Democratic primary, suggests that either Texas is even more conservative a state than even we on the right realize, or (and I mention this only as a possibility) Ricardo Sanchez actually believes in tax cuts as a way to create economic growth. That would put him in agreement with the all the major Republican candidates, but it’s pretty close to heresy in today’s Democratic Party.

    We’ll see what sort of reaction his positions get, assuming people can actually find his website…