NYC Mayor DeBlasio appoints tax-cheat to high office

January 7, 2014
NYC city council

NYC city council meeting

Another scandal involving Democrats. Color me shocked:

City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito fessed up Monday, admitting she failed to disclose years of rental income she received, as first revealed by the Daily News.

The East Harlem Democrat, who is Mayor de Blasio’s choice for Council speaker, acknowledged the lapse after The News reported that several people lived in a three-unit building she owns during a period when she reported no rental income on her city ethics forms.

“This was an unintentional mistake,” her spokesman, Eric Koch, told The News on Monday night.

“We will be pulling the necessary documents and will be updating the Conflicts of Interest Board disclosures as soon as we have them.”

Still unclear is whether Mark-Viverito reported the rental income to the IRS. Her aides did not respond to a request by The News to examine her income tax returns.

I don’t see what the problem is: She’s just practicing to be US Treasury Secretary.

Between this and Stacy McCain’s investigation into the real reason New York City’s new, Sandinista-loving mayor wants to ban horse-drawn carriages, I predict Manhattanites will in about two years be begging Giuliani to come back.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Culture of corruption: The Dems’ dangerous DHS pick

December 13, 2013

Ah, a throwback to the days of Bill Clinton and his Blue-Light Sale on pardons. We’re in the best of hands.


If you still think the MSM is unbiased and nonpartisan…

October 16, 2013
"Thumb on the scale"

“Thumb on the scale”

Then here’s a needed reality check:

Bob Filner, the former San Diego mayor forced out of office in a storm of sexual harassment allegations, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a series of false imprisonment and battery charges involving three women.

The episode for Mr. Filner and the city he led for less than a year ended at a swift 16-minute court hearing in Superior Court, where Mr. Filner, dressed in a crisp blue suit and a gold tie, entered his plea with a series of “yes, sirs” as the judge described the scope of the one felony charge and two misdemeanor charges.

It was a sharp contrast from his resignation speech in August, when the mayor said he had been the victim of a “lynch mob.” His lawyer, Jerry Coughlan, said afterward that the once-defiant Mr. Filner, who faced sexual harassment allegations from 17 women, had “learned to get beyond denial” during his treatment for sexual disorders at a facility in Los Angeles in September.

Notice what’s missing? Any mention of “Filthy Filner’s” political party. If he had been a Republican, his affiliation would have been all over the page. Read the rest of Charlie Cooke’s article for the proof.

Don’t tell me liberal media bias is a myth.


Oh, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby…

June 23, 2013

Tell me Senator Menendez, did the married woman you were having an affair with know you were also hiring (and not paying) underage Dominican call girls?

Sen. Robert Menendez wooed a married newspaper publisher, taking the attractive brunette on a romantic getaway to the Caribbean, a tipster alleges.

The New Jersey Dem and Cecilia Reynolds jetted to Puerto Rico, where they stayed at the isolated beach retreat of the island’s then-governor, Anibal Acevedo Vila.

In a photo provided by the anonymous informant, Reynolds is sitting naked on a beach and suggestively smiling at the camera. In another set of pictures, they take turns posing against the same sunset backdrop.

The happy couple, dressed in shorts, also appeared to tour a national park and pose for a photo at a waterfall, Menendez wrapping his arm around Reynolds’ waist.

Of course, she was separated at the time (so she and her husband claim), so it isn’t as scandalous as it might be, except for:

The trip came at a time when the senator was trying to thwart the appointment of Rosa Emilia Rodriguez-Velez as the US attorney for Puerto Rico. He placed a “senatorial hold,” or block, on the appointment, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

Rodriguez-Velez was the interim US attorney, and her office had turned its sights on Menendez’s pal, the former Puerto Rico governor, investigating him for alleged campaign-finance violations and other wrongdoing. She was later confirmed despite the senator’s interference, and Acevedo Vila was indicted in 2008 on 19 criminal counts. He was found not guilty.

So, at the time Bob “Pass me another Viagra” Menendez was trying to scotch the appointment of a US attorney who was after the island’s governor, he just happened to also get to use the governor’s beach house as a love-shack.

Surely a coincidence.

By the way, Senator Menendez (D – Cialis), just how were those romantic getaways paid for? Might be interesting to see if these were listed as “official travel” and charged to the taxpayers.

via Moe Lane

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS scandal: Officials in Washington, California targeted Tea Party groups

May 13, 2013

Hey, remember when IRS official Lois Lerner said that only a wayward local office in Cincinnati was improperly investigating conservative groups?

Yeah, well… about that:

Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved in the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea party-affiliated groups.

IRS employees in Cincinnati also told conservatives seeking the status of “social welfare” groups that a task force in Washington was overseeing their applications, according to interviews with the activists.

Lois G. Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt groups for the IRS, told reporters on Friday the “absolutely inappropriate” actions were undertaken by “front-line people” working in Cincinnati to target groups with “tea party,” “patriot” or “9/12” in their names.

In one instance, however, Ron Bell, an IRS employee, informed an attorney representing a conservative group focused on voter fraud that the application was under review in Washington. On several other occasions, IRS officials in D.C. and California sent detailed questionaires to conservative groups asking more than a dozen questions about their voter outreach and other activities, according to the documents.

“For the IRS to say it was some low-level group in Cincinnati is simply false,” said Cleta Mitchell, a partner in the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP who sought to communicate with IRS headquarters about the delay in granting tax-exempt status to True the Vote.

“True the Vote” is an organization dedicated to election integrity and fight vote fraud. What a shock it was hassled during… an election year.

So, we’ve gone from “front-line people” to the agency’s General Counsel, one step below the Commissioner, who, um… testified there was no such thing going on.

Except there was, and it wasn’t just local and it wasn’t just “front-line people.”

Between this, Benghazi, the DoJ-AP scandal, and the budding Sebelius/HHS solicitations scandal, this week has already turned bad for Team Hopenchange.

Can’t wait to see what comes out between now and Friday. smiley devil

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh, gee. Look at that. Pro-Obama voter fraud in… Ohio — Updated

February 8, 2013
"I get to vote twice? Gee, thanks, pal!"

“I get to vote twice? Gosh, thanks, pal!”

No, I’m not one of those who believe Obama stole the 2012 election. He won that fair and square through superb organization. (And a pathetic GOTV effort by the Romney campaign.)

But there are persistent reports of voter fraud: people voting twice, “dead people” voting, non-citizens voting, et cetera. Mention these concerns, dare to suggest that voter rolls be cleaned up and identification be required to vote, and you get dismissed by the Left and the media (but I repeat myself) as some sort of paranoid crank, or even a racist. (As we all know, requiring IDs in order to vote must be a form of racism.) Voter fraud, they assure us, is vanishingly rare.

And yet it keeps showing up. This time, as John Fund describes, in the perennial nail-biter state of Ohio. Nineteen voters  in Hamilton county, including poll worker Melowese Richardson, a (you’ll be shocked to learn) Democrat:

According to county documents, Richardson’s absentee ballot was accepted on Nov. 1, 2012 along with her signature. On Nov. 11, she told an official she also voted at a precinct because she was afraid her absentee ballot would not be counted in time.

“There’s absolutely no intent on my part to commit voter fraud,” said Richardson. . . .

The board’s documents also state that Richardson was allegedly disruptive and hid things from other poll workers on Election Day after another female worker reported she was intimidated by Richardson. . . .

During the investigation it was also discovered that her granddaughter, India Richardson, who was a first time voter in the 2012 election, cast two ballots in November.

So, she was just concerned that her vote get counted. An innocent mistake. But then there’s this:

Richardson insists she has done nothing wrong and promises to contest the charges: “I’ll fight it for Mr. Obama and for Mr. Obama’s right to sit as president of the United States.”

Why do I get the feeling poll worker Richardson might have been more concerned that Obama win a state that was expected to be tight, than she was for the integrity of the electoral system?

I must be racist.

Like I said, I don’t think fraud swung the presidential race. But I do think it had the possibility corrupting state and local races. Recall that former Congressman Allen West lost his reelection bid, in which he was a prime Democrat target, under very suspicious circumstances. (Recently the election integrity advocacy group True the Vote filed suit against the St. Lucie county elections supervisor over the “oddities” in the West election. Discovery should be very interesting.)

There’s no question our election system has problems and, given the number of times Democrats are caught stuffing the ballot box (1), it shouldn’t be a surprise that they resist any real efforts to fix it.

Footnote:
(1) As Fund has sometimes pointed out, electoral corruption by Republicans usually takes the form of voter intimidation. Democrats more often engage in ballot-box fraud.

UPDATE: Former DoJ attorney J. Christian Adams writes about the Ohio case, citing the possible federal law violations and comparing it to another infamous example of Democratic voter fraud:

This is the same sort of behavior which occurred in Noxubee County Mississippi in the case of United States v. Ike Brown  that I discuss in detail in my book Injustice – double voting, poll worker collusion, absentee fraud, false voting at the polls. Her double voting sounds like Carrie Kate Windham’s behavior in Mississippi. Windham was a Democrat Party official that cast votes illegally for other people.  In that case, many in the Justice Department didn’t want to do anything about it either.  They were willing to give Brown a pass because of who he was and who the victims were.  Meanwhile, the sanctity of our elections corrode.

Funny how Eric Holder never seems anxious to prosecute these cases.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Your DHS professionals in action: maturity is a relative thing

August 10, 2012

It’s nice to see that the women’s movement in this country, at least on the Left, has come so far that they now feel free to subject their male colleagues to the same frat-house disdain and abuse they and their forebears endured:

Janet Napolitano-run Homeland Security treated male staffers like lapdogs, federal discrimination lawsuit charges

A blistering federal discrimination suit accuses agency honcho Janet Napolitano of turning the department into a female-run “frat house” where male staffers were banished to the bathrooms and routinely humiliated.

James Hayes Jr., who now is New York’s top Homeland Security cop, claims Napolitano filled top spots in Washington, D.C., with two of her gal pals who were bent on tormenting male employees.

The suit identified them as Dora Schriro, who is now running the city Department of Correction, and Suzanne Barr, the chief of staff for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Soon after Schriro and Barr were hired in January 2009, male staffers were treated like lapdogs, Hayes claims.

Barr “moved the entire contents of the offices of three employees, including name plates, computers and telephones, to the men’s bathroom at ICE headquarters,” the suit says.

Barr also stole a male staffer’s BlackBerry and fired off a message to his female supervisor indicating that he “had a crush on [her] and fantasized about her,” Hayes claims.

Sometimes, Barr took a more direct approach. In one case, she called a male colleague in his hotel room and screamed at him using sexually humiliating language, the suit says.

Hayes claims that after he reported the abuse to the Equal Employment Opportunity office, Napolitano launched a series of misconduct investigations against him.

And this is the mindset of people charged with the solemn responsibility of protecting us from another 9/11.

I feel more secure, don’t you?

Now, of course, we don’t know the truth of Mr. Hayes’ claims; he could just be an embittered ex-employee who’s just making stuff up for some reason. But it rings true. For some reason, and to put it bluntly, many on the Left lack maturity. Whether it’s vandalizing the White House or excusing people who poop on police cars — and now, it seems, workplace sexual harassment– time and again Our Betters on the Left (all bow) seem to think it’s okay for them to do things they would denounce as crimes against nature, were they committed by Republicans.

That’s not to say Republicans and conservatives don’t have their problem children, too. (John Ensign, anyone? Larry Craig?) But we, at least, usually police our own and send the offenders away. That’s because conservatives recognize that this behavior is juvenile, wrong, and unworthy of someone granted the public trust and the dignity of office.

For many on the Left, that seems to be a feature, not a bug.

via izzysroses

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama/Holder Department of Justice now the Department of Cronyism?

May 7, 2012

Back before the 2010 midterm elections, President Obama went on Univision radio and made this revealing claim:

“We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends…”

Now, at the time, Obama was talking about Latino voters. But it also seems to be his  guiding philosophy when rewarding supporters, and he’s not above using the Department of Justice to dish out those rewards and punishments.

In this case, PJMedia reveals that the DoJ has quietly reinterpreted the 1961 Wire Act to allow the online sale of lottery tickets, something no administration of either party has ever done before. Two companies and two states are the big beneficiaries. “Why,” you wonder,” would they do this?” Say it after me:

“Reward our friends!”

GTech and Scientific Games both have strong connections to the Democratic Party, according to Federal Election Commission records. Scientific Games’ chairman is Lorne Weil. According to the FEC, Weil has given more than $22,500 to political campaigns and committees since 2008, with over 80% of that sum going to Democrats. Jaymin Patel is president and CEO of GTech. Patel has donated $9,300 since 2008, with over 90% of his generosity going toward Democrats.

So we have two companies whose leaders donate heavily to the Democrats, benefiting from a Democratic administration’s reinterpretation of the Wire Act, and one of those two companies has a history of corruption. But the ultimate beneficiaries of lottery systems are state budgets, right?

Two states seem to have gotten the jump on the other 48. They just happen to be Illinois, home state of President Obama, and Delaware, home state of Vice President Joe Biden. How did that happen? Illinois and New York, two states addicted to government spending and apparently incapable of living within their means, specifically asked for the Wire Act’s reinterpretation in 2011. And they got it. Delaware was poised to get in on the action early.

As for the “punish our enemies” part, Bryan Preston reminds us of the Republican-lead states that have opposed Obama and are now facing the wrath of the Department of Injustice Justice, which has been repurposed from the evenhanded enforcement of our laws to race-based “payback” and handing out door-prizes to Democratic donors.

And you can bet the MSM will be all over this… just as soon as they figure out a way to blame Republicans.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


DOJ: First “Fast and Furious,” then bribery, and now kiddie porn?

February 2, 2012

Oh, for Pete’s sake! (1)

Looking at child porn online is a sure-fire way to get yourself into serious legal trouble — even if you were only looking at it for the sake of academic research. Internet law guru Eric Goldman calls child porn “toxic;” any brush with it results in potential criminal charges as well as civil liability if the victim decides to seek damages. The war on child porn is the justification given for many a government initiative to curb Internet freedoms and reduce Internet users’ ability to stay anonymous on the Web.

So, it was with a great deal of surprise that Senator Chuck Grassley learned that an Assistant U.S. Attorney had child porn on his computer (for his pleasure, not as part of an investigation) — but faced no legal consequences.

This is from 2011, and guess who was the Attorney General?

Worst. Attorney. General. In. History.

Via Christian Adams, whose post gives further examples of corruption at the Obama-Holder Department of Justice.

Footnote:
(1) Hey, ST! Remember when I mentioned on Twitter what happens to my language when I get really mad? Yeah, I had to edit this post.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Operation Fast and Furious: it looks like I was wrong

December 8, 2011

Several bloggers and writers have speculated that advancing a left-wing gun-control agenda was the reason behind the mind-bogglingly idiotic operation to allow and encourage gun dealers in the American Southwest to sell firearms to “straw buyers” — people operating as agents for the Mexican drug cartels who would then smuggle the weapons back to their murderous bosses in Mexico. I’ve been resistant, thinking to myself that, whatever the reason behind the operation also known as “Gunwalker,” it couldn’t be something this asinine, this stupid.

My friends, I’m here to admit I may very well have been wrong. CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who’s been almost the sole MSM voice following this story, has the details:

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

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

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

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

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

In other words, the ATF wanted to link gun violence in Mexico to firearms sold in the United States in order to justify a further regulatory burden on Americans’ rights under the 2nd Amendment. The only problem here is that the government created this “crisis” by pressing gun dealers into selling the weapons to suspected straw buyers… when it wasn’t selling them to the cartels directly.

Pretty slick, isn’t it? The government wants a new regulation that’s been resisted by gun dealers and 2nd Amendment advocates, so it feeds guns to the murderous cartels, inciting the violence and giving it a reason to say “Hey, there’s a real problem here” and argue for more restrictions on firearms. Circle closed, astroturf laid.

Meanwhile, legitimate gun dealers are made to look like idiots who’d sell any amount of weaponry to anyone with enough cash without batting  an eye. Far from it: some dealers did see a big looming problem and wanted to make sure they weren’t left to hang for it. Attkisson quotes an email from one to the ATF:

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

That was from spring, 2010. US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot dead the following December by cartel operatives using guns obtained through Operation Fast and Furious.

I don’t know whether “Demand Letter 3” was the reason for Operation Fast and Furious, or if the operation was already underway and someone saw an opportunity to advance the gun-control agenda, but it really doesn’t matter. In addition to Agent Terry, two other US agents were shot in Mexico, perhaps with “walked” guns. One, Jaime Zapata, died. Over two hundred Mexican soldiers, marines, federal agents, and civilians have died thanks to Operation Fast and Furious.

Someone, meaning several people, up to and including the Attorney General of the United States and even his boss, needs to be held to account for this fiasco.

And that includes jail time.

RELATED: AG Holder is scheduled to testify today before Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) House committee. In the wake of this news, it should be interesting, to say the least. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), who’s been spearheading the investigation in the upper chamber, has called for the resignation of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer for deceiving Congress. Breuer has admitted to knowing about Fast and Furious, but tried to pass the blame to an earlier Bush-era program. Earlier posts dealing with Operation Fast and Furious.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Eric Holder cracking under pressure?

November 30, 2011

The Daily Caller has been carrying lots of articles about the growing calls for Attorney General Holder’s resignation over the Fast and Furious gun-trafficking scandal. And apparently it’s getting to him: when a TDC reporter tried to ask him a question about the growing clamor, Holder snapped:

Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder today demanded The Daily Caller stop publishing articles about the growing calls in Congress for his resignation because of the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program.

As Holder’s aide was escorting the attorney general offstage following his remarks Tuesday afternoon at the White House, a Daily Caller reporter introduced himself and shook Holder’s hand. The reporter asked him for a response to the growing chorus of federal legislators demanding his resignation.

Holder stepped towards the exit, then turned around, stepped back toward the reporter, and sternly said, “You guys need to — you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”

Holder then walked offstage without answering TheDC’s request for comment about calls for his resignation.

Visit TDC for the video.

I honestly feel sorry for our Attorney General; after all, it’s not easy being an admitted incompetent who doesn’t read memos on major DoJ operations and who thinks voting rights laws protect only some Americans, based on their skin color. For the worst AG since Wilson’s A. Mitchell Palmer, these have got to be tough, stressful times.

Which is why I think the poor dear should do the right thing and resign to “spend more time with his family.”

Before he does any more damage.

PS: Bravo, TDC!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Solyndra: taxpayer-funded bonuses for the bankrupt — Update: subpoena issued

November 3, 2011

Remember when Congress, the MSM, and President Obama were all aghast and outraged at the bonuses paid to AIG execs after the 2008 crash?

So you can be sure they’ll be pounding the podium over bonuses paid to executives of now-bankrupt Solyndra:

Karen Alter, senior vice president of marketing, received two $55,000 bonuses on April 15 and July 8 of this year, on top of her $250,000 annual salary.

Ben Bierman, executive vice president of operations and engineering, received $120,000 in bonuses this year on top of his $276,000 salary.

Paula Camporaso, vice president of information technology — $80,000 in bonuses on top of her $107,000 salary.

Dave Sanat, vice president of supply chain — $80,000 in bonuses on top of his $111,000 salary.

Bill Stover, the company’s CFO who took the fifth before Congress at a September hearing, was awarded at least $120,000 in bonuses on top of his $367,000 salary.

The document also reveals that Chris Gronet, one of Solyndra’s founders, was “transitioned to the role of adviser and consultant” from his position as CEO on July 1, 2011, and negotiated a severance package worth more than $450,000.

I especially like paying a hundred grand in bonuses to a “marketing” exec for a company that couldn’t sell enough product to stay in business.  I bet they all had MBAs, too.

Bear in mind that Solyndra was a failing company: it was paying out more than it was taking in. The bonuses were essentially made possible by the loans Solyndra received from the Department of Energy. Even if no loan cash went directly into these bandits’ paychecks, the loans made them possible — money is fungible.

Meanwhile, as Stiles points out in the article, these clowns get to keep their money, but, thanks to the loan “deal” agreed to by the DoE, the taxpayer (that’s you and I) has a lower claim to any money recovered through a sale of Solyndra’s assets than do the private investors.

Obama is so good to his “friends!”

RELATED: Earlier posts on Solyndra.

PS: As a friend pointed out, isn’t it interesting how the various Occupy groups who are so angry at the banks have had nothing to say about the money the Obama Administration has blown on various “Green schemes?” Guess that’s different… somehow.

via Power Line, which also lists the… interesting pattern of political donations made by these executives.

UPDATE: The House Energy and Commerce Investigations subcommittee has lost patience with the White House’s stalling and has issued a subpoena for documents relating to Solyndra. (h/t Hot Air)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gunwalker: panic at the Justice Department

October 7, 2011

Not surprising, since the Attorney General of the United States has been exposed for lying to Congress. According to the NY Post’s Michael Walsh (via ST’s Hot Headlines), DoJ and Obama administration spokesmen have been coming up with one fig leaf after another to explain why Eric holder isn’t culpable in this fiasco:

And coverup there seems to be. On top of stonewalling Rep. Darrell Issa’s House investigation of the mess, Justice has floated a series of contradictory excuses:

  • There was no such program.
  • Even if there were, Holder never knew about it.
  • Even if he should have known about it, he might not have read Breuer’s memos.
  • Even if he read Breuer’s memos, he misunderstood the simple question: “When did you first know about the program, officially, I believe, called Fast and Furious?”

With the recent exposure of another apparent “gunwalking” operation, Wide Receiver, that may date back to the Bush administration, some are already pushing a “Bush-did-it-too” meme. If true, it shows the rot at Justice goes deeper than we thought — but it has nothing to do with whether Holder may have committed perjury.

If Holder is so innocent, why, sources inside Justice say, are folks there engaging in a panicked orgy of finger-pointing and blame-shifting?

Good question. I’m waiting for the “The dog ate the memo” excuse. Should be coming right up.

In his article, Michael Walsh says the panic has reached “stage two.” On the contrary, inside Main Justice at least, I’m sure it’s reached stage three with a bullet, since the President yesterday gave Holder the dreaded “vote of confidence:”

President Barack Obama said Thursday he has complete confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder amid Republican accusations that the attorney general was aware months sooner than he’s acknowledged about a flawed operation to stem gun-smuggling.

At a White House news conference, the president said Holder has been very aggressive in pursuing gun-running and cash transactions that support drug cartels in Mexico.

Holder “indicated that he was not aware of what was happening in Fast and Furious,” the president said. “Certainly I was not, and I think both he and I would have been very unhappy if somebody had suggested that guns were allowed to pass through” to arms traffickers rather than being seized by agents.

(Emphasis added)

We all know what it means when a president expresses confidence in a controversial cabinet secretary, right? It’s usually followed in short order by a resignation “to spend more time with my family” or to “pursue other opportunities,” while the president crosses his fingers behind his back in the hope this makes the scandal go away before it gets to him.

In other words, that sound you hear is the Obama bus warming up — always room for one more under it!

Oh, and regarding that “Bush did it too” diversion, Operation “Wide Receiver:” Bob Owens at Pajamas Media shoots that down in short order. “Wide Receiver” and “Fast and Furious” were fundamentally different operations.

While it’s fun to engage in a bit of schadenfreude at Eric Holder’s expense (Lord knows, he richly deserves it), let’s keep in mind that this is a very serious scandal, in which agencies of the federal government are accused of allowing Mexican drug cartels to obtain heavy firearms in violation of US law — perhaps even selling to them directly. This has been done without the knowledge of our agents in Mexico or of the Mexican government, which is waging a violent war against those same cartels.

And, unlike Watergate or other big federal scandals, this one has resulted in death: three US federal agents have been shot with guns tied to Fast and Furious, two of whom have died. Over 200 Mexicans have died at the hands of gunmen wielding “walked” firearms. If the situation had been reversed, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Even if Eric Holder does resign, the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious must go on and the demand for a special prosecutor must be relentless and loud.

Justice for the dead demands no less.

RELATED: Prior Gunwalker posts.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gunwalker: three more murders linked to Obama admin. scandal

September 15, 2011

CBS reporter Cheryl Attkisson has done the best work among MSM journalists on the growing scandal surrounding Operation Fast & Furious, having been on it since it broke early this year. Now she’s filed a report about three more murders tied to guns the US government knowingly let fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels:

Weapons linked to ATF’s controversial “Fast and Furious” operation have been tied to at least eight violent crimes in Mexico including three murders, four kidnappings and an attempted homicide.

According to a letter from U.S. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the disclosed incidents may be only a partial list of violent crimes linked to Fast and Furious weapons because “ATF has not conducted a comprehensive independent investigation.”

When added to the guns found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in the U.S., the newly-revealed murders in Mexico bring the total number of deaths linked to Fast and Furious to four.

According to the Justice Department letter:

One AK-47 type assault rifle purchased by a Fast and Furious suspect was recovered Nov. 14, 2009 in Atoyac de Alvarez, Mexico after the Mexican military rescued a kidnap victim.

On July 1, 2010, two AK-47 type assault rifles purchased by Fast and Furious suspects were recovered in Sonora, Mexico after a shootout between cartels. Two murders were reported in the incident using the weapons.

On July 26, 2010, a giant .50 caliber Barrett rifle purchased by a Fast and Furious suspect was recovered in Durango, Mexico after apparently having been fired. No further details of the incident were given.

Click through for the rest.

So, which scandal do you think will bring about the first cabinet-level resignations and/or a special prosecutor? Gunwalker, in which people have died, or Solyndra, into which the White House sank one-half billion of our dollars into a company it knew was failing? I think it’s almost a dead heat.

So many scandals, so little time.

via Moe Lane

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh my. FBI raids bankrupt Obama-favorite Solyndra

September 8, 2011

That’s the California solar-power manufacturer that somehow managed to secure a $535 million, federally-guaranteed (1) loan through the Department of Energy at a sweetheart interest rate, even though their financial condition and business plan never warranted it. But, and I’m sure it’s a coincidence, the major shareholder is a top Obama donor and donations bundler.

And now they’re bankrupt, the investor gets reimbursed with taxpayer money, and the FBI is kicking-in the door:

Just days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection, federal agents swarmed around the Solyndra facilities in Fremont to execute a search warrant.

FBI agents were joined by officials from the Department of Energy’s Office of the Inspector General in the early morning operation.

Officials would say little about the search, which seemed to center on the Solyndra buildings on Page Avenue off Interstate 880.

“Everything is under seal,” said Julianne Sohn, a spokeswoman for the FBI.

Agents began executing their search about 7:30 a.m., Sohn said. More agents arrived in SUVs at 8:40 a.m.

The action by federal agents comes a week after the solar manufacturer abruptly closed, laying off about 1,000 workers, and two days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection.

Solyndra spokesman Dave Miller said the search came as a surprise, but he emphasized the company is “fully cooperating” with federal officials. He said he did not know the purpose of the search, but he speculated it could have something to do with the $535 million in loan guarantees the Department of Energy awarded to Solyndra.

Gee, ya think??

Read the report from ABC yesterday on the loan guarantees and unusually low interest rates for background, but here’s an excerpt that I’m sure you’ll find entertaining:

Solyndra’s most prolific financial backer is George Kaiser, an Oklahoma oil billionaire who was a bundler of campaign donations for Obama’s 2008 race. Kaiser’s Argonaut Ventures and its affiliates have been the single largest shareholder of Solyndra, according to SEC filings and other records. The company holds 39 percent of Solyndra’s parent company, bankruptcy records filed Tuesday show.

Under terms of the bankruptcy filing, investors including Argonaut — which led a $75 million round of financing for Solyndra earlier this year — will stand in line before the federal government and other creditors.

You know, I do believe I hear the House Energy Committee warming up in the wings.

Kaiser, not surprisingly, was a frequent White House visitor.

Without a doubt, this deal stinks to the heavens. Not only is it a perfect  illustration of why “green jobs” –or any uneconomic, government-subsidized industry– is a doomed-from-the-start waste of public money, but it also reeks of political favoritism, backroom deals, and downright corruption.

What was it Sarah Palin said the other day? Oh, yeah

They use [public money] to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power.

And I’ll bet you my last dollar that Solyndra is a $535,000,000 example of just what she was denouncing.

Between this and Gunwalker, Obama is going to have an… “interesting” 2012.

via Zombie

RELATED: Also check out Power Line and Hot Air.

UPDATE: At Power Line, historian Steven Hayward raises an interesting possibility — What if the raid is an attempt by Holder to cover-up what happened at Solyndra and block any congressional inquiry by hiding behind the privilege of a claim of an “ongoing investigation?”

Footnote:
(1) As in, guaranteed with our money.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gunwalker comes to… Indiana?

September 7, 2011

This has to qualify as a “WTF? moment ” in a growing scandal that itself that should itself have the acronym retired in its honor. There have already been credible rumors that Gunwalker-like operations (1) were also operated from Texas and Florida. Like the Arizona-based original, these involved purchases of guns for criminal gangs (2) outside of the US.

Now, however, according to information gleaned by David Codrea and relayed by Bob Owens, it looks as if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) was allowing guns to “walk” in Indiana to US gangs:

Per Owens, quoting Codrea:

David Codrea of the Examiner has been at the forefront of the investigation, and reveals that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)  and FBI — two of the agencies that played key rolls in Operation Fast and Furious — conducted a remarkably similar operation … in Indiana.

  • “At the very least, as with “Project Gunwalker,” they indicate straw purchased guns ended up in crime traces, something those directing surveillance were well aware of.  It also indicates the FBI and ATF were once again involved with allowing transactions rejected by NICS to proceed, indicating this practice could be more widespread than has been previously documented, and not confined to Southwest border operations….
  • It’s also fair to ask if it seems credible that such similar operations would develop independently in the Southwest (“Project Gunwalker”) and the Midwest (“Project Gangwalker’?), without authorization from and oversight coordination by Main Justice.

Codrea goes on to suggest that the special agent in charge (SAC) of the Columbus Field Division and the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana need to answer whether they played a role in a plot to “walk” guns to criminals in the Midwest that sounds eerily like the Gunwalker plot in Arizona.

(Emphasis added)

Be sure to read all of Codrea’s article. The Indiana operation came to light because of a demand letter sent to a gun dealer requiring details about firearms transactions because the weapons had either shown up at crime scenes or fallen into the hands of known criminals, meaning the dealer could be in trouble. The dealer’s attorney contacted BATF and said, in effect, “Hey, my client let those sales go through because he was cooperating with you guys,” after which two different BATF officials left voice-mails for the gun dealer saying, again, in effect, “Oh, okay, no problem.”  In addition, when straw buyers with felony records were flagged by the monitoring system (3), BATF agents may have cleared them so the purchases could go through.

To convicted felons.

Gunwalker-style operations took place in Arizona, maybe in Florida and Texas, and now it looks like Indiana, too. Fair question: Where else have agencies of the United States government run interference on behalf of criminals illegally buying firearms?

This is well-past the point where a congressional inquiry will suffice; it is time for an independent prosecutor, too. Unlike Owens, I’m not ready yet to declare some deep conspiracy against the Second Amendment; I’m a firm believer that malice isn’t necessary when stupidity will suffice for an explanation. But it gets harder and harder to avoid, when no other rational reason presents itself. Thus it’s time for the people involved, up to and including Attorney General Eric Holder, to answer hard questions under oath, whether before a House committee or a grand jury.

Remember, US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed with a Gunwalker gun. At least 150 Mexican soldiers, federal agents, and civilians have been killed with guns linked to Gunwalker. And now we have to wonder what crimes “walked” guns have been part of in Indiana and elsewhere.

It’s time for answers.

Footnotes:
(1) That is, allowing “straw buyers” to purchase weapons at US gun shops that would then be shipped over the border to Mexican drug cartels, an activity that under law should be blocked, the idea being that we could the trace the guns to the drug lords… No, it makes no sense to me, either.
(2) I know, I know. “WTF??”
(3) You know, the one that’s supposed to keep bad guys from getting guns.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gunwalker: “What did he know and when did he know it?” UPDATE: ATF armed Sinaloa cartel?

July 27, 2011

Oh, my. I think the fuse has been lit on blowing this fiasco wide open, and the spark is headed right for the White House:

At a lengthy hearing on ATF’s controversial gunwalking operation today, a key ATF manager told Congress he discussed the case with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010. The communications were between ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office, Bill Newell, and White House National Security Director for North America Kevin O’Reilly. Newell said the two are longtime friends. The content of what Newell shared with O’Reilly is unclear and wasn’t fully explored at the hearing.

It’s the first time anyone has publicly stated that a White House official had any familiarity with ATF’s operation Fast and Furious, which allowed thousands of weapons to fall into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to gain intelligence. It’s unknown as to whether O’Reilly shared information with anybody else at the White House.

Congressional investigators obtained an email from Newell to O’Reilly in September of last year in which Newell began with the words: “you didn’t get this from me.”

“What does that mean,” one member of Congress asked Newell, ” ‘you didn’t get this from me?’ “

“Obviously he was a friend of mine,” Newell replied, “and I shouldn’t have been sending that to him.”

Newell told Congress that O’Reilly had asked him for information.

So now we are certain that someone senior at the White House knew about Operation Fast and Furious (aka “Gunwalker”) in late 2010, yet as late as this last spring, Holder and Obama were claiming they had learned of it only much later.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told Issa that he did not learn about Fast and Furious until this spring. President Obama said that Holder told him he would not have allowed guns to go into Mexico.

Hmmm… We’ve already established that it’s about as likely as the Sun rising in the West that Holder didn’t know, but what about Obama? If this org chart (PDF) is still accurate (1), then NSC staffers with regional responsibilities report to the Deputy National Security Adviser, who reports to the National Security Adviser, who reports to… the President of the United States.

Very suggestive, but not proof-positive.

As Ed Morrissey asks, why did O’Reilly want to know, and why did Newell feel compelled to say “You didn’t get this from me?”

Either O’Reilly was attending a meeting of peers and wanted to be brought up to speed — it  is in his purview, after all, but then why the “cloak and dagger” stuff? — or was he briefing those above him? And how high did the briefing go?

Let’s keep in mind that this debacle has cost the lives of at least one US federal agent and roughly 150 Mexican civilians, federal agents, and soldiers. Agencies of the US government supplied weapons to criminal cartels that threaten the stability of our large southern neighbor and then lost track of nearly 2,000 of those guns. It is a monument to gross stupidity and incompetence — and very possibly criminal, what Rep. Darrell Issa has called “felony stupid.”

With the revelation that people on the President’s national security staff knew about Gunwalker, it’s about time for subpoenas.

Footnotes:
(1) While O’Reilly’s office doesn’t appear on this org chart, I think it’s reasonable to assume that, whether it’s new or renamed from “Western Hemisphere Affairs,” he too would report to the Deputy NSA.

UPDATE: “The ATF armed the Sinaloa Cartel. It’s disgusting.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Well, that didn’t take long

July 26, 2011

Troubled Congressman David Wu has resigned:

Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., announced his resignation today following allegations he engaged in “aggressive and unwanted sexual behavior” with a young woman.

“The time has come to hand on the privilege of high office,” Wu said in a statement. “I cannot care for my family the way I wish while serving in Congress and fighting these very serious allegations.”

Wu said that his resignation would be effective upon the resolution of the debt ceiling crisis.

“This is the right decision for my family, the institution of the House, and my colleagues,” he said. “It is also the only correct decision to avoid any distraction from the important work at hand in Washington.”

After which he will go into the Halloween costume business.


Oregon scandal, another special election in the offing?

July 23, 2011

What is it with congressmen and their evident inability to keep their pants zipped? Now it’s Democrat David Wu of Oregon, who stands accused of making unwanted sexual advances to a teenaged girl:

According to the Beaver State-based outlet, the daughter of a longtime friend and campaign donor accused the Democratic congressman of pursuing an unwanted sexual encounter said to have occurred last year. The young woman reportedly raised the matter in a voicemail left at Wu’s Portland office this past spring. An unnamed source tells the Oregonian that she sounded “distraught” in her message.

This is not the first time that Wu has come under scrutiny over matters unrelated to his work in the political domain. Earlier this year, the congressman found himself combating calls to resign in the wake of demonstrating questionable behavior. In February, Wu cited a reaction to mental health drugs in resisting calls to step down.

Apparently Wu’s behavior has been so erratic that his staff staged an intervention:

Three days before the Nov. 2 election, U.S. Rep. David Wu’s most loyal and senior staffers were so alarmed by his erratic behavior that they demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment.

Their concern had been spiking for weeks in tandem with the Oregon Democrat’s increasingly unpredictable performance on the campaign trail and in private. He was loud and sometimes angry, some of them told The Oregonian. He said kooky things to staff and — more worrisome with a tough election fast approaching — around potential voters and donors.

Most of all, they were worried for Wu, a 55-year-old single father of two children.

Earlier and gentler efforts had failed, so the tight-knit group of high-level staff took other steps, including quiet inquiries about the availability of beds in hospitals in Portland and Washington, D.C., multiple sources familiar with the effort told The Oregonian.

Several staff members confronted Wu for the final time on Oct. 30. Wu’s psychiatrist was brought into that meeting as well, joining the group at the Portland campaign headquarters by speaker phone. The meeting was held after four consecutive days of troubling behavior that led the staff to agree that Wu needed a higher level of medical care, according to people intimately familiar with the events of that period.

“This is way beyond acceptable levels and the charade needs to end NOW,” wrote Lisa Grove, a senior and long-serving campaign pollster, in an e-mail to colleagues that day. “No enabling by any potential enablers, he needs help and you need to be protected. Nothing else matters right now. Nothing else.”

Wu, however, remained defiant, sources said. He left the meeting and said he was going to a movie.

Oregon Live details further bizarre behavior by Congressman Wu. It seems as if he has serious mental health problems and is in need of treatment; his staff surely thought so. Perhaps the best thing for all concerned would be for him to resign so he can get the help he needs, and so the people of his district can choose a better representative.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Gunwalker becomes a real threat to the Obama administration

July 21, 2011

When even a Democratic Party house-organ such as the Los Angeles Times begins to take notice, you know the wall of obstruction and denial is crumbling fast.

via Melissa Clouthier and others

RELATED: Earlier posts on Gunwalker.

 

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)