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July 08, 2011

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Cecil Turner

[reposted in part from last thread]

My favorite bit was a rather silly quote from Matt Yglesias:

Many people in the United States of America believe quite sincerely that over-taxation of rich people is among the most serious problems the country faces. And the Affordable Care Act does a great deal to increase taxes on rich people and use the funds thereby raised to provide Medicaid to currently uninsured people. Those who oppose such measures want to deny life-saving medical care to the poor and near-poor in order to maintain a low tax burden on the wealthy. In order to justify this proposition politically, it would be useful to pretend to believe that giving uninsured people access to Medicaid doesn't actually benefit them at all.
To which I'd respond:
  • Over taxation of "rich people" (and corporations) is the main reason private job creation is shrinking, rather than growing at a pace with the population . . . it's a problem;
  • The Affordable Care Act primarily raises costs for employers, who respond by not hiring more people;
  • The Act doesn't provide "life-saving medical care," it provides insurance . . . there's a difference; and finally,
  • The recent study shows the "benefit" of Medicare is primarily in one's head:
    "Overall, the evidence suggests that people feel better off due to insurance, but with the current data it is difficult to determine the fundamental drivers of this improvement." [emphasis added]
The bottom line is that the Dems have constructed a medical program that serves to constrain job growth, and make all of us (and especially poor people looking for a job) worse off . . . without providing any demonstrable medical benefits. When combined with the other business-unfriendly and redistributionist policies of this Administration, it's little wonder this is the most anemic recovery on record. But hey, nice strawman.

Donald

Hate to OT, but is there any evidence that Gunwalker was the brain child of the Bush administration, and did the Bush administration take any steps to enact the policy?

I would assume that Holder would have been holding up charts, memo's, letters, the whole shebang.

Ignatz

Medicaid in practice is awful. Many of the docs are subpar and the wait times are insane. My wife's cousin was permanently disabled passively waiting for care from Medicaid for a ruptured disk. Early intervention would easily have negated permanent nerve damage but Medicaid wouldn't pay for treatment until it was too late.
By the time Obamacare is fully implemented that is the template the whole country will be stuck with.
There's the change 52% of our fellow voters were apparently hoping for.

narciso

So, this is why all the Koch hate, being spewed by the usual urukhai, they were softening up the beachhead,

Ignatz

--Hate to OT, but is there any evidence that Gunwalker was the brain child of the Bush administration, and did the Bush administration take any steps to enact the policy?--

Under Bush it was project Gunrunner and was merely an attempt to trace and track guns used by Mexican nationals in crime after the fact in order to find any illegal sources on our side of the border. Perfectly sensible.
The evidence I've seen is incontrovertible that it was transformed in February or March of 2009 into the insanity of letting known strawmen walk into Mexico with weapons illegally obtained.

Melinda Romanoff

Donald-

Started in '06, I read somewhere, then got retooled in '09 to the current model.

Nader still not heard from...

They don' like no steekin medicaid, either


Pivot
by Tim F.

In about six months, when it’s too late to do anything about it, the GOP will start to talk about jobs again. By ‘talk’ I mean screaming slogans and mobbing every event with signs that say ‘Where Are The Jobs?!?’ Now imagine that the Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps releasing reports as bad as the one that came out today. Not too hard when the left and the right side of every economics conversation focuses on nothing but deficit, as if we already solved the jobs problem and nine ten percent unemployment* is hunky dory.

Will people care that Obama gave up talking about jobs because Republicans had the votes to kill any program that might help? I guess we will find out.

Pox on Fox

ore trouble for the Australian-American media mughal Rupert Murdoch and his family. It is likely that Andy Coulson, a former News Of The World editor who most recently worked as the chief spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government, would be arrested Friday on suspicion of illegally paying the police for information during his editorship of Murdoch-owned tabloid.

[UPDATE: He has been arrested. The Washington Post reports:

The former editor of the British tabloid at the heart of a growing media scandal and the journalist who used to cover the royal family were arrested Friday in connection with allegations of hacking into mobile phones and bribing police to get news stories, British media reported.

Andy Coulson was editor of the News of the World when the newspaper allegedly engaged in illegal hacking of the cellphones and voice mails of the royal family, celebrities, politicians and relatives grieving from the loss of loved ones from the London terrorist bombing in 2005.

Coulson later served as a top communications official in the government and was Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman at No. 10 Downing Street until he resigned from that job in January.

Coulson has denied any knowledge of the hacking, and the top executives at the parent company, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., have described the illegal snooping as the work of a rogue reporter and a private investigator.

London’s Metropolitan Police said they had a arrested a 43-year-old man “in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking” but could not release his name until he was formally charged. British media, citing law enforcement sources, said the man arrested was Coulson.

Clive Goodman, the former News of the World royal editor, was also reported to have been arrested on Friday over “allegations of corruption.” Goodman was jailed in 2007 after he pleaded guilty to hacking into private phone messages in connection with pursuing stories about the British monarchy.

The scandal, which is roiling London’s political and media circles, began after Goodman wrote stories in 2005 about Prince William that contained details known to very few people. The articles raised alarm bells in the royal household.

Uncle Tom

Bachmann Overdrive
by BooMan
Fri Jul 8th, 2011 at 10:03:46 AM EST

It's comforting to know that Michele Bachmann has pledged to protect "the innocent fruit of conjugal intitmacy" and to protect women from the "seduction into promiscuity and all forms of pornography…and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.” That's precisely what I'm looking for in a president. And there's a bonus. She's also pledged “vigorous opposition to any redefinition of the Institution of Marriage…through statutory, bureaucratic, or court-imposed recognition of intimate unions which are bigamous, polygamous, polyandrous, [or] same-sex.”
I think they left out the man-on-dog.

So, anyway, it looks like Bachmann is now sworn to protect the womenfolk from the porn industry.

What will Clarence Thomas say?

Jim Ryan

So a person who is unable to look after himself waits until he must use the ER for his maladies, whether he has Medicaid or not? He doesn't magically gain prudence and personal competence from carrying a Medicaid card? Huh.

narciso

I know I plead guilty from 'reading from the
Necronomicon' and invoking Ctluthu, ' I apologize unreservedly'

Cecil Turner

Will people care that Obama gave up talking about jobs because Republicans had the votes to kill any program that might help? I guess we will find out.

Heh. Heh, heh. Bwaaaaahaaaahaaaa! Love it. More stimulus?! Great plan. (Thanks for that chuckle, the job numbers had me a bit bummed.)

Y'know, I think if the Dems just shut up about raising taxes, unemployment would go down. But whatever they want to do, a casual glance at recent history shows more "program[s]" isn't the answer.

Clarice

Round up the kulaks and shoot them. That always stimulates the economy. Also arrest all the engineers and managers. Let's get the country rolling again.

Appalled

I see on memeorandum the unemployment went up. Judging from what NPR was saying this morning, that's another "unexpectedly".

Donald

Ignatz,

Were they knowingly allowing and following guns into Mexico?

What you're saying if I understand correctly, is that they were after the fact, tracing numbers. Ok.

Did they know the guns were going?

I'm not getting it.

Payback

Cannonfire (Wienergate goes both ways)

Andy Coulson, the former communications director for conservative British PM David Cameron (and former editor of a Murdoch tabloid), has been arrested in connection with the phone hacking scandal. Cameron's response is of some interest. In essence, he has said "How could I have known?" But look closer...
But Cameron is now playing the innocence card, saying he “wasn’t given” specific information about Coulson. He then corrected himself, sayng he didn’t “recall” any specific information. And it’s in the vagueness and lack of commitment to certain words that Cameron appears to be leaving himself plenty of wriggle-room.
The most intriguing response to all of this came from Stacy Herbert at MaxKeiser.com. I take the liberty of reprinting most of it, adding paragraph breaks for readability.
Hey, David Cameron – Ask Your Friend, Andy Coulson, What He Knew About the Tap on Alistair McGowan’s Phone

Most are going to say Alistair McWho? But I mention this only because in August or September of 2003, I had lunch with a freelance journalist who worked for UK tabloids. At the time I had lunch with her, she had been working for News of the World for several months. When she arrived at lunch, she was very frazzled.

She went on to explain that she had just come back from a meeting at which Andy Coulson and one other male employee of NoTW was in the room. The reason she was so shocked was that one of the stories she was pursuing involved an entertainer in the UK named Alistair McGowan. If I recall, they thought he (though single) was having an affair with someone else that was famous. Anyway, she had reported that she couldn’t find anything and she alleged that Andy Coulson responded with something along the lines of, “Don’t worry we have a tap on his phone.”

She was so shocked and mortified that he was doing this but so openly stating this. She wondered why a man in such a powerful position needed to bother doing this to someone so relatively unimportant. As I said, she worked for other tabloids as well and said she had never seen anything like working for News of the World. At the time, I didn’t really understand who Andy Coulson was but I certainly didn’t forget the conversation.

Cut to eight years later and Coulson is due to be arrested tomorrow.
There's more. Apparently, Coulson is taking the fall to prevent investigation of Murdoch himself -- and his activities in America.
Several journalists, even senior ones from News of the World, have provided testimony that Coulson knew about phone hacking, ordered phone hacking and/or listened to hacked phone messages. Somehow there is never enough evidence to charge him with anything. Let’s see what happens with the latest arrest.

Update: 2215 GMT: Hugh Grant just called the Murdoch Empire a protection racket live on Question Time.
Here's what Stacy Herbert tweeted about that.

Of course, only a conspiracy-crazed churl would suggest that any of this might have something to do with the Weiner scandal.

Ranger

Will people care that Obama gave up talking about jobs because Republicans had the votes to kill any program that might help? I guess we will find out.

Funny, cause the only "Job Saving" actions the Obama administration has taken in the last year was to issue waivers for Obamacare to keep a few well connected businesses from lay off even more people.

Meanwhile, Obama seems intent on causing even more economic damage through executive action, such as maintaining the unofficial ban on any new domestic energy production, while having the EPA rachet up the cost of energy.

Obama had two years with a Democrat controlled congress (and a good part of that was with a filibuster proof Senate) to get "any program that might help" he wanted passed. Instead he gave us the Porkulus and Obamacare. And now America sees the results in persistantly high unemployment.

Ignatz

If the Republicans are going to be accused of intentionally sabotaging the economy by trying to do the right thing why not go with the flow and say "we see the light and will do whatever President Barry says, including any tax increase he wants. He's right we were wrong we will follow Dem policies all the way."

Since Even Lord Keynes knew that raising taxes in a weak or recessive economy is disastrous how does Barry slip out of the trap laid for him when the economy tanks?

Payback

I told you this Murdoch Hacking story was a big fuckin deal.

Appalled

Payback:

What's a UK scandal got to do with the US? Do you read and process your cut/paste jobs?

Army of Davids

Thomas Donahue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on the mandates, new taxes, uncertainties and new regulations put upon Main Street business by ObamaCare...

"it's a job killer"

Ranger

Were they knowingly allowing and following guns into Mexico?

What you're saying if I understand correctly, is that they were after the fact, tracing numbers. Ok.

Did they know the guns were going?

I'm not getting it.

My understanding of the program at that time was they were co-operating with Mexican LE to trace guns orginally manufacutured in the US and used in Mexico back to their pruchasing source in the US. That is where the bogus '90% of the guns used in Mexican crimes come from the US' data comes from. It was in fact 90% of the guns reported to the US by Mexican LE (because Mexico suspected they came from the US originally).

We don nee no steekin jobs

Marcy Wheeler


Who Knew Firing Public Workers Increases Unemployment?

By: emptywheel Friday July 8, 2011 6:09 am

Total nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in June (+18,000). Following gains averaging 215,000 per month from February through April, employment has been essentially flat for the past 2 months. Employment in most major private-sector industries changed little in June, while government employment continued to trend down.

[snip]

Employment in government continued to trend down over the month (-39,000). Federal employment declined by 14,000 in June. Employment in both state government and local government continued to trend down over the month and has been falling since the second half of 2008.

Meanwhile, wages declined.

In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 1 cent to $22.99. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 1.9 percent. In June, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees declined by 1 cent to $19.41.

And DC’s solution is going to be to fight about corporate jet tax breaks for another week while cutting more government jobs.

narciso

It's nothing, Appalled, it's like Kudzu, it just throws a spanner into the works. So even in the progressive paradise of Oregon, 'it's
turtles all the way down,

Worser

news reports had exposed the U.S. role in both the Iran deals and the secret support for the Contras, but Reagan's announcement, in which he named two subordinates -- National Security Advisor John M. Poindexter and NSC staffer Oliver L. North -- as the responsible parties, was the first to link the two operations.

The scandal was almost the undoing of the Teflon President. Of all the revelations that emerged, the most galling for the American public was the president's abandonment of the long-standing policy against dealing with terrorists, which Reagan repeatedly denied doing in spite of overwhelming evidence that made it appear he was simply lying to cover up the story.

Despite the damage to his image, the president arguably got off easy, escaping the ultimate political sanction of impeachment. From what is now known from documents and testimony -- but perhaps not widely appreciated -- while Reagan may not have known about the diversion or certain other details of the operations being carried out in his name, he directed that both support for the Contras (whom he ordered to be kept together "body and soul") and the arms-for-hostages deals go forward, and was at least privy to other actions that were no less significant.

In this connection, it is worth noting that Poindexter, although he refused to implicate Reagan by testifying that he had told him about the diversion, declared that if he had informed the president he was sure Reagan would have approved. Reagan's success in avoiding a harsher political penalty was due to a great extent to Poindexter's testimony (which left many observers deeply skeptical about its plausibility). But it was also due in large part to a tactic developed mainly by Attorney General Edwin Meese, which was to keep congressional and public attention tightly focused on the diversion. By spotlighting that single episode, which they felt sure Reagan could credibly deny, his aides managed to minimize public scrutiny of the president's other questionable actions, some of which even he understood might be illegal.

Twenty years later, the Iran-Contra affair continues to resonate on many levels, especially as Washington gears up for a new season of political inquiry with the pending inauguration of the 110th Congress and the seeming inevitability of hearings into a range of Bush administration policies.

For at its heart Iran-Contra was a battle over presidential power dating back directly to the Richard Nixon era of Watergate, Vietnam and CIA dirty tricks. That clash continues under the presidency of George W. Bush, which has come under frequent fire for the controversial efforts of the president, as well as Vice President Richard Cheney, to expand Executive Branch authority over numerous areas of public life.

Iran-Contra also echoes in the re-emergence of several prominent public figures who played a part in, or were touched by, the scandal. The most recent is Robert M. Gates, President Bush's nominee to replace Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense (see below and the documents in this compilation for more on Gates' role).

This sampling of some of the most revealing documentation (Note 1) to come out of the affair gives a clear indication of how deeply involved the president was in terms of personally directing or approving different aspects of the affair. The list of other officials who also played significant parts, despite their later denials, includes Vice President George H.W. Bush, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger, CIA Director William J. Casey, White House Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan, and numerous other senior and mid-level officials, making this a far broader scandal than the White House portrayed it at the time.

In that connection, what follows is a partial list of some of the more prominent individuals who were either directly a part of the Iran-Contra events or figured in some other way during the affair or its aftermath:

Elliott Abrams - currently deputy assistant to President Bush and deputy national security advisor for global democracy strategy, Abrams was one of the Reagan administration's most controversial figures as the senior State Department official for Latin America in the mid-1980s. He entered into a plea bargain in federal court after being indicted for providing false testimony about his fund-raising activities on behalf of the Contras, although he later accused the independent counsel's office of forcing him to accept guilt on two counts. President George H. W. Bush later pardoned him.
David Addington - now Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, and by numerous press accounts a stanch advocate of expanded presidential power, Addington was a congressional staffer during the joint select committee hearings in 1986 who worked closely with Cheney.
John Bolton - the controversial U.N. ambassador whose recess appointment by President Bush is now in jeopardy was a senior Justice Department official who participated in meetings with Attorney General Edwin Meese on how to handle the burgeoning Iran-Contra political and legal scandal in late November 1986. There is little indication of his precise role at the time.
Richard Cheney - now the vice president, he played a prominent part as a member of the joint congressional Iran-Contra inquiry of 1986, taking the position that Congress deserved major blame for asserting itself unjustifiably onto presidential turf. He later pointed to the committees' Minority Report as an important statement on the proper roles of the Executive and Legislative branches of government.
Robert M. Gates - President Bush's nominee to succeed Donald Rumsfeld, Gates nearly saw his career go up in flames over charges that he knew more about Iran-Contra while it was underway than he admitted once the scandal broke. He was forced to give up his bid to head the CIA in early 1987 because of suspicions about his role but managed to attain the position when he was re-nominated in 1991. (See previous Electronic Briefing Book)
Manuchehr Ghorbanifar - the quintessential middleman, who helped broker the arms deals involving the United States, Israel and Iran ostensibly to bring about the release of American hostages being held in Lebanon, Ghorbanifar was almost universally discredited for misrepresenting all sides' goals and interests. Even before the Iran deals got underway, the CIA had ruled Ghorbanifar off-limits for purveying bad information to U.S. intelligence. Yet, in 2006 his name has resurfaced as an important source for the Pentagon on current Iranian affairs, again over CIA objections.
Michael Ledeen - a neo-conservative who is vocal on the subject of regime change in Iran, Ledeen helped bring together the main players in what developed into the Iran arms-for-hostages deals in 1985 before being relegated to a bit part. He reportedly reprised his role shortly after 9/11, introducing Ghorbanifar to Pentagon officials interested in exploring contacts inside Iran.
Edwin Meese - currently a member of the blue-ribbon Iraq Study Group headed by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, he was Ronald Reagan's controversial attorney general who spearheaded an internal administration probe into the Iran-Contra connection in November 1986 that was widely criticized as a political exercise in protecting the president rather than a genuine inquiry by the nation's top law enforcement officer.
John Negroponte - the career diplomat who worked quietly to boost the U.S. military and intelligence presence in Central America as ambassador to Honduras, he also participated in efforts to get the Honduran government to support the Contras after Congress banned direct U.S. aid to the rebels. Negroponte's profile has risen spectacularly with his appointments as ambassador to Iraq in 2004 and director of national intelligence in 2005. (See previous Electronic Briefing Book)
Oliver L. North - now a radio talk show host and columnist, he was at the center of the Iran-Contra spotlight as the point man for both covert activities. A Marine serving on the NSC staff, he steadfastly maintained that he received high-level approval for everything he did, and that "the diversion was a diversion." He was found guilty on three counts at a criminal trial but had those verdicts overturned on the grounds that his protected congressional testimony might have influenced his trial. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate from Virginia in 1996. (See previous Electronic Briefing Book)
Daniel Ortega - the newly elected president of Nicaragua was the principal target of several years of covert warfare by the United States in the 1980s as the leader of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front. His democratic election in November 2006 was not the only irony -- it's been suggested by one of Oliver North's former colleagues in the Reagan administration that North's public statements in Nicaragua in late October 2006 may have taken votes away from the candidate preferred by the Bush administration and thus helped Ortega at the polls.
John Poindexter - who found a niche deep in the U.S. government's post-9/11 security bureaucracy as head of the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness program (formally disbanded by Congress in 2003), was Oliver North's superior during the Iran-Contra period and personally approved or directed many of his activities. His assertion that he never told President Reagan about the diversion of Iranian funds to the Contras ensured Reagan would not face impeachment.
Otto Reich - President George W. Bush's one-time assistant secretary of state for Latin America, Reich ran a covert public diplomacy operation designed to build support for Ronald Reagan's Contra policies. A U.S. comptroller-general investigation concluded the program amounted to "prohibited, covert propaganda activities," although no charges were ever filed against him. Reich paid a price in terms of congressional opposition to his nomination to run Latin America policy, resulting in a recess appointment in 2002 that lasted less than a year. (See previous Electronic Briefing Book)

Captain Hate

Since Even Lord Keynes knew that raising taxes in a weak or recessive economy is disastrous

Milton Friedman on at least one occasion referred to Keynes as a brilliant individual whose concepts were mostly erroneously grasped and applied by those that claimed to be his acolytes.

Danube of Thought

Why are so many guns found at the scenes of these crimes in Mexico? Do the bad guys shoot people up, then drop their guns and take off?

Ranger

Do you read and process your cut/paste jobs?

No. His job is to engage in a combination of spamming the threads to make them unreadable, while also trying to distract from what ever the really bad news for Obama happens to be today. On top of that, he has to throw in enough far lefty critique of Obama to disguise the fact that he's an Obamabot.

Extraneus

People, do you realize you're carrying on a conversation with someone who's defecating on the floor?

Cecil Turner

Employment in government continued to trend down over the month (-39,000). Federal employment declined by 14,000 in June.

The left's solution? Government jobs? Are they really that dumb? (Hate to say it, but . . . apparently so.)

Appalled

Worser:

So what do you think of Fast & Furious? And the Obama admin's response? More of the same? Just as bad? No opinion at all, because you are really 1000 monkeys with access to the internet?

Danube of Thought

The mind boggles. For two-plus years every business organization in America has told Obama that his agenda is a job-killer: Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, drilling moratoria, EPA strangulation, and the constant promise to raise taxes.

Then when no one gets hired, he and his pathetic crew sit and scratch their heads in wonderment.

It's always rather sweet to say I told you so, but not when so many people are hurting. This administration is a tragedy.

narciso

This line, from 'Annie Hall' covers much of the nutroots, reaction, and this administration's policies:

"You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong. How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing"

Bill in AZ sez it's time for Zero to resign

This site is covering a lot of the GunWalker, errr, "project". http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/

Ignatz

--Ignatz,

Were they knowingly allowing and following guns into Mexico?

What you're saying if I understand correctly, is that they were after the fact, tracing numbers. Ok.

Did they know the guns were going?

I'm not getting it.--

No. Under Bush they were tracing guns found in Mexico back to the original source in the US to identify who had sold and bought them. If they identified a strawman purchaser I believe they arrested and attempted to turn him and the same if they found an FFL who was knowingly making strawman sales.
It was under Barry that the cynical idea of allowing known straw purchasers to cross the border with weapons and it happened so soon in the administration it had to have been ready to go at inauguration.
The only logical conclusion is that the policy was only for propaganda purposes because even 30 seconds of thought leads one to conclude it had no chance of success in its asserted purpose.
What is truly astounding is they could not see the inevitable denouement of dead, innocent people on their hands and that it would be impossible to cover up, considering the fast and furious feedback they were getting from field agents and gun dealers.

Juicy stuff

appallingly ignorant;

You DO know Wiener was hacked? Right?

Stay tuned

Rob Crawford

Hate to OT, but is there any evidence that Gunwalker was the brain child of the Bush administration, and did the Bush administration take any steps to enact the policy?

No. The project began in the fall of 2009.

Chubby

((Then when no one gets hired, he and his pathetic crew sit and scratch their heads in wonderment.))

no they go on teevee and blame Republicans for not giving him the money he needs to fix the economy. and all the economic illiterates out there believe him

Rob Crawford

You DO know Wiener was hacked? Right?

Not even Wiener claims that anymore, idiot.

Rick Ballard

"This administration is a tragedy."

Dunno, DoT. What's the value of the education regarding the destructive nature of the left? A truly ignorant President was elected in '08 by a truly ignorant electorate. The fact that the President doesn't have the innate intellectual ability to learn doesn't mean that the electorate isn't learning.

Rick Ballard

"This administration is a tragedy."

Dunno, DoT. What's the value of the education regarding the destructive nature of the left? A truly ignorant President was elected in '08 by a truly ignorant electorate. The fact that the President doesn't have the innate intellectual ability to learn doesn't mean that the electorate isn't learning.

The foolishness is self-imposed.

Ah, how they blind themselves. Note the attitude by those selected? Placebo effect is powerful, and can't be disaggregated in one year.
==============

Appalled

Juicy:

You DO know Wiener was hacked? Right?

Yep, and the Mossad did 9/11, RFK, MLK and JFK. I do waste my time with idiots, sometimes.....

narciso

"Mission accomplished" with David Plouffe,
facepalm with an octopus, to see how bad,
'Gunrunner' and it's sequel, Castaway, was, imagine if Iran Contra had knowingly sold weapons to Hezbollah, just to show they could,
and the weapons blew up one of the Beirut
missions.

Cecil Turner

Then when no one gets hired, he and his pathetic crew sit and scratch their heads in wonderment.

Unexpectedly! (BTW, I'd add the stimulus--and the CBO study predicting it would be worse than doing nothing--to your list. Otherwise, pretty much perfect.)

If wishes were horses, buzzards would gorge.

Ignatz, the early implementation is why I'm so sure this will be eventually tied to Obama. There is probably no written trail recoverable, but the finger-pointing and firing circle will rise slowly and slowly higher, like buzzards in an air lift.
==================

Rob Crawford

Were they knowingly allowing and following guns into Mexico?

What you're saying if I understand correctly, is that they were after the fact, tracing numbers. Ok.

Did they know the guns were going?

I'm not getting it.

Bush administration -- dealers ("FFL" for "Federal Firearms Licenses") blocked obvious third-party ("straw buyer") sales or, when ATF ordered them, allowed purchases and ATF arrested straw buyers. Firearms found in Mexico were traced -- on the rare occasions the firearms may have come from the US. Most of the firearms found in the possession of the cartels came from the Mexican military and police.


Obama administration -- dealers ORDERED BY ATF to carry through with obviously illegal purchases, and the illegal buyers were not arrested EVER.

Why did the dealers go along with it? Because the ATF can cook up a reason to pull your license and you're out of business.

Ranger

So, the ultimate irony would be if Mexico ended up going to the International Criminal Court to ask them to charge Holder and Obama becuase the US doesn't. That would be such a dilema for the lefties who have been pushing so hard for the US to join the ICC treaty.

MayBee

In California, Medicaid kills emergency rooms. It doesn't pay enough to cover the patients' costs.

Chubby

per Powerline, the scandal of how Holder's department kept Melman from knowing the full extent of his rights to talk is almost as bad and scary as the gunrunning scheme.

Captain Hate

I just heard that the positive private sector employment numbers were offset by employment reductions at the state and local level. Weren't those jobs that were slashed supported over the last two years by porkulus funds helping the locals balance their budgets and producing no real gains?

Danube of Thought

Ah yes--the Failed Stimulus. How could I have left it out?

Melinda Romanoff

Ranger-

You are killing me!

matt

I'm going to guess that the statists have assigned a high level operative to plague us. The gibberish is simply amazing and exhibits a puerile intellect.

I'm with you DoT. The only thing I can figure out is that the guns they're finding were in the hands of the dead. Even then, most crooks will police up any firearms that are lying around. The Mexican gangs really don't have to worry too much about CSI style forensics.

Threadkiller

That Tribe opinion piece was written very cleverly.
Obama is not the target. Tribe is putting the debt problem square on the shoulders of Congress and the blame for the suggestion of using the 14th is shared between “Several law professors and senators, and even Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner”.

Obama is left perched on the moral high ground.

” A core function of the Constitution is to “force us into a conversation” about our future, Mr. Obama once wrote. Sometimes, it does this by establishing principles citizens can invoke when they believe the government has overreached. At other times, it does so by directing us back to the political drawing board.

“Can’t we all just get along?” is the President’s position.

Clarice

I sent this post to my brother in law, a doctor in Calif who is semi retired and practices just to keep his hand in. Here's what he said:

"'ve seen a number of articles on the Oregon Medicaid study...and the run of each piece tends to follow the political ideology of the writer; surprise! Medicaid is a terrible program from the medical practitioner point of view; we can't afford to participate. We did play the game years ago, when reimbursement at least covered our overhead; we would fill empty spots with Medicaid patients and just see them "free"...then reimbursement went down below overhead and we had to stop. We're close to that point now with Medicare, and the private insurers base their allowable payments *on* Medicare rates! Good thing I'm not practicing for a living now!"

Chubby

sorry, not Melman, MELSON

"Fast and Furious Blows Sky High"

Powerline - LUN

Captain Hate

LOL Chubby; did you think it was Larry "Bud" Melman from back when Letterman was kind of funny?

Dave (in MA)
Hate to OT, but is there any evidence that Gunwalker was the brain child of the Bush administration, and did the Bush administration take any steps to enact the policy?

Instapundit:

BOB OWENS: Don’t be confused on that ATF Gunrunning scandal. There’s a difference between the “Gunrunner” program, and “Operation Fast And Furious.”

BOB OWENS: DOJ INSPECTOR GENERAL CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO INVESTIGATE GUNWALKER. “Ultimately, the operation led to the murder of two U.S. federal agents and an estimated 150 Mexican law enforcement officers and soldiers. The strong implication is that those individuals and agencies responsible for allowing Gunwalker to proceed aided and abetted murder, committing felonies as accessories before the fact. Such serious charges, potentially reaching the highest levels of the Department of Justice and possibly higher, should not be undertaken by an acting inspector general, which is typically a caretaker role until a new inspector general has been appointed.”
Clarice

Insty links to this piece which is really brilliant:
http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/07/07/beyond-the-big-city-blues/

Chubby

glad you found that amusing Cap :)

remembering names has never been my strong point

Melinda Romanoff

PL-

Me either.

Cecil Turner

Supporting Bob Owens's post above, on page 7 of that recently released e-mail was a short description of the program:

We must identify, investigate, and eliminate the sources of illegally trafficked firearms and the networks that transport them. Since 2006, Project Gunrunner has been ATFs comprehensive strategy to combat firearms-related violence perpetrated by the drug cartels along the Southwest Border.
Sounds like "gunrunner" is the overarching program to interdict the flow of arms, and "gunwalker/fast and furious" is a later sub-program that actually allows guns to travel to Mexico (with the ostensible purpose to identify networks for interdiction). Unfortunately, many use the terms interchangeably, and it's very difficult to figure out where the lines are. But there's no evidence AFAICT that the early (Bush) program intentionally allowed guns across the border.

Paks and Pushpins doin what they do

PAKISTAN

Kyodo / AP Photo
5. Mullen: Pakistan 'Sanctioned' Killing of Journalist
Tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan aren't getting any mellower. U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said he believed the Pakistani government "sanctioned" the killing of Saleem Shahzad, whose tortured body was found in May, shortly after he'd told friends he'd been threatened by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency. A Pakistani government spokesman immediately fired back, calling Mullen's comments "extremely irresponsible." Shahzad wrote for Asia Times Online and other publications, often on dangerous topics, such as the alleged ties between militants and the Pakistani government.

narciso

In light of this, what do you think the Administration's new initiative is, think of Nixon campaigning against surveillance, from the Tatler:

Administration officials were coy on the specifics, from the reforms the Department of Justice would recommend or when it would actually make those recommendations.

“The president directed the Attorney General to form working groups with key stakeholders to identify common sense measures that would improve American safety and security while fully respecting Second Amendment rights,” Carney said at Thursday’s briefing. “That process is well underway at the Department of Justice with stakeholders on all sides working through these complex issues and we expect to have more specific announcements in the near future.”

Just how near? Carney would only say “not far in the future.” Another administration official said weeks would be an appropriate measurement.

Jane

As I understand it, Project Gunwalker was a back door attempt at gun control. The administration wanted to be able to claim that all the bad gun dealers in the US were causing all the problems in Mexico and to fix that, we had to ban automatic weapons in the US. It was illegitimate from the start and completely consistent with Obama's habit of doing things by fiat instead of law.

This is impeachment stuff. And it gets worse every day. The media is still ignoring it of course. It will be interesting to see who on the left breaks the ice.

The Invisible City.

Mead surely has the finger on the pulse of the fevered patient, Progressivism. The dissonance he hears is still largely unfelt by the true believers, but the disease process is progressive.

One irony is that the intellectual drive for this deluded progressivism comes from 'Blue Heavens' like college towns across America. The 'Blue Hells', which follow like darkness after day, are not seen.
==================

Prominent Persons

BBC

In April, the News of the World admitted intercepting the voicemail messages of prominent people to find stories.

It came after years of rumours that the practice was widespread and amid intense pressure from those who believed they had been victims.

Royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for hacking in January 2007 after it was found they targeted Prince William's aides.

Detectives recovered files from Mulcaire's home which referred to a long list of public figures and celebrities.

The scandal widened this week when it emerged that a phone belonging to the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler had also been hacked into, and some messages deleted.

Melinda Romanoff

kim-

If they put their fingers in their ears any harder, they'd cross in the vacuum.

MarkO

He's just not that smart and he's a liar.

Melinda Romanoff

And David Plouffe is a perfect example of somebody jamming his thumbs in his ears, while talking to himself.

narciso

I think of him, much in the way I do about Jose Baez, he is willing to assert ridiculous
claims, knowing full well they are not true.

Murdoch wiener caught in zipper

Will Bunch (Robert Perry Blog)

Murdoch had help from brilliant, cynical aides on both sides of the pond. In England, it was the massively ethically challenged, wild-eyed redhead Rebekah Brooks; in America, it is the frumpy and grumpy Roger Ailes, the only man to run the Fox News Channel since it was launched in the mid-1990s. As recent documents have shown, Ailes -- who learned the American conservative politics of middle-class resentment at the foot of the master, Richard Nixon -- was long involved in a scheme for a conservative TV counterweight to the so-called "liberal media." But it took the arrival of Murdoch years later to execute the plan with the vision that a conservative cable news network could make millions in profits while wielding influence on a scale that a "Headless Body in Topless Bar" newspaper could only dream of.

But Ailes and Murdoch -- with a typical disregard for the consequences -- created a monster as their FNC grew in popularity over the course of the 2000s. They held onto to their millions of viewers by playing to their emotions, and to what they felt was true about America -- regardless of whether it was actually true. Over the years, misinformed Fox viewers wielded more and more clout over a directionless Republican Party that in turn drove the U.S. body politic, with disastrous consequences.

You want examples?

Iraq and the war on terrorism: America's misguided "pre-emptive war" in the oil-rich Persian Gulf would not have been possible unless the 9/11 attacks and a response to terrorism became conflated with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which for all its horrors had nothing to do with the assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Fox News Channel, and its parade of GOP-talking-point infused hosts and military "experts," helped to make sure that wrongful conflation took place, as later evidence proved.

A 2003 poll by the Program on International Policy (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and Knowledge Networks found that regular Fox News viewers were significantly more likely than other news consumers to believe one of three significant falsehoods about the Iraq war -- that Iraq was somehow connected to 9/11, that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, or that global opinion was in favor of the war. These jingoistic myths -- most heavily adopted by Fox viewers -- fueled years of continued fighting in a war in which thousands of Americans and Iraqi civilians died needlessly.

Climate change: It's hard to believe in 2011, but there was a time a few years ago when a majority of Republicans, just like a majority of all Americans, believed that man-made global warming was real and needed to be addressed in some fashion. That was before a parade of global warming skeptics and outright deniers on Fox News Channel -- a development that was actually encouraged by FNC top management. Most famously, FNC's Washington bureau chief wrote in a December 2009 memo " we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question."

In recent years, Fox News Channel has found a variety of ways to spread misinformation and outright lies about the state of the world's climate -- claiming, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that the world is actually cooling -- and the plan has worked. A majority of Republicans now believe that climate change theories endorsed by 90 percent of the world's leading climatologists are a hoax, and more importantly, so do the political leaders they elect. Fox-fueled opposition scuttled what appeared to be momentum for climate change legislation in Washington, even as the planet records its hottest years on record and predictions of future food shortages and natural disasters grow more dire.

The 2010 elections: The right-wing tide that changed the direction of Congress last November was powered by a large turnout of conservative voters, who once again -- as research showed -- were misinformed on the issues if their primary source of information was Fox News. It started with what the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking outfit Politifact called its Lie of the Year for 2010 -- the reporting on Fox News that President Obama's health care plan was "a government takeover" of the system.

But that was just one area where Fox News viewers had bad info, according to a new report (PDF) by the Program on International Policy Attitudes; this study found that FNC watchers were much more likely to think that their taxes went up (they were cut in 2009 for most Americans) or that health care reform increases the deficit (it lowers it) or that Obama was possibly not born in the United States.

There's more, but I think you get the idea. Meanwhile, misinformed Fox viewers are the tail wagging the dog of American politics; just ask the now former South Carolina congressman who had the nerve to criticize the then-popular, now-departed FNC host Glenn Beck before his 2010 primary defeat. Increasingly, it's impossible to tell where Fox News stops and the Republican Party begins, which is why it wasn't surprising to hear that FNC's Ailes even lobbied a would-be candidate, New Jersey's Chris Christie, to enter the 2012 White House race. Did Ailes think that would be good for the country or good for ratings?

That's the kind of ethical question that doesn't get asked any more at Murdoch's Fox News Channel than it was asked at Murdoch's News of the World. But the stakes in this country -- endless wars, looming environmental disasters, lousy policies that are leaving America mired in economic despair -- are far greater. So if you are outraged tonight by what the Murdoch empire was up to in Great Britain all these years -- and you should be -- than you should be doubly outraged by what they've pulled off here.

The only real question for America is what are we going to do about Rupert Murdoch now?
_______

Janet

Interesting connection between Leal's attorney & Bernadine Dohrn.

Ranger

Another interesting point on the Fast and Furious operation, is that, in a very technical way, it was essentially an act of war against Mexico. The US Government knew some of the weapons would fall into the hands of people who were engaged in what is effectivly a rebelion agains the Mexican government. My understanding is that such actions, when done by the Intel community, require a signed finding by the President to authorize them. Not sure what the rules are for law enforcement operations, but there must be some level of offical documentation to both justify and authorize enabling the arming of foreign rebels.

SADLY

Ross Douthat

July 7, 2011, 1:57 Pm

The Semi-Inevitability of Mitt Romney

Yesterday’s big news in Republican presidential politics was a poll showing Michele Bachmann within single digits of Mitt Romney … in New Hampshire. Jon Chait, who’s been beating the “Bachmann can win” drum for months now, naturally claims vindication. I’m going to stick with my boring “Bachmann can’t win, and her rise is good news for Romney” conventional wisdom, buttressing this CW with a great passage from a Will Wilkinson dispatch from Bachmann’s Iowa kick-off:

At Sunday’s “Welcome Home Michele!” reception in Waterloo’s Electric Park Ballroom, one table of three older ladies—all with some relation of marriage, blood, or friendship to [Michele] Bachmann’s family—were uniformly impressed with Ms Bachmann’s integrity, commitment to principle, and attendance at family reunions. But when I asked whether they would be backing Ms Bachmann, one of the ladies sighed “Welllll, yeah…” somewhat warily as she opened the purse on her lap and discreetly flashed a glimpse of a campaign greeting card bearing a picture of Mitt Romney and his handsome family. “I supported Romney, and I think I’ll support him again because of his experience, which I think is more than what she has.” She was not the only one who suggested to me that Mr Romney and Ms Bachmann might make a good ticket.
And to add data to anecdote, I’ll further buttress my view with this Gallup survey, cited by Daniel Larison, which shows that at present only 3 percent (!) of Republican primary voters have a “strongly unfavorable” view of Mitt Romney, compared with 73 percent who feel “favorable” or “strongly favorable” toward the former Massachusetts governor. Of course those numbers will come down as negative campaigning highlights Romney’s various sins and deviations. But they’re grist for my recurring argument that opposition from movement institutions, talk radio and the like are not insuperable obstacles for a well-funded Republican frontrunner to overcome.

Romney remains a weak frontrunner, to be sure — weak enough that I was sure he was a dead man walking a year ago. But the candidate who beats him has to peel off some of his moderate-establishment support as well as mobilizing Tea Party voters, and such a candidate hasn’t yet emerged. It might — might — be Rick Perry, but it isn’t Michele Bachmann. I have no doubt that she can give him a serious scare, but it will be the kind of scare that Jesse Jackson gave Michael Dukakis in 1988, or Jerry Brown gave Bill Clinton in 1992 — enough to earn her a nice convention speaking slot, but not the nomination.

Janet

Interesting observation by Ann Barnhardt- (the Gunwalker Laying it all out post)

"2. Now we know why Hillary Clinton and Obama were falling all over themselves to support and prop-up the Honduran Marxist dictator-wannabe, Manuel Zelaya back in 2009. I never could figure out why they would create such blatantly unflattering, pro-Marxist optics for the Obama regime for a small country like Honduras. Now it all makes perfect sense. Zelaya attempted to overthrow the Honduran constitution and install himself as dictator for life, a la Hugo Chavez. The Honduran Congress AND Supreme Court followed their Constitutional Rule of Law to the letter and removed Zelaya. Within hours Obama and Clinton were threatening Honduras and demanding that the Marxist dictator Zelaya be re-installed. Now we know why. Obama and Clinton were arming Zelaya and were coordinating with Zelaya to run arms through Honduras. Presumably the deal was that some of the arms would stay with Zelaya and most would move into Mexico from the South. Then, Obama and Clinton could "find" U.S. guns in Southern Mexico and Central America, and thus use these optics to bolster their false contention that "90%" of Mexican guns were sourced directly from the U.S. "See? U.S. guns are all the way down in Chiapas State and Guatemala. U.S. guns are everywhere! The Second Amendment simply is not feasible any longer!"

PD

Lt. Governor Cawley Says Marcellus Shale Creating Jobs in Western PA

WARRENDALE, Pa., July 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During a tour of Talisman Energy's regional headquarters, Lt. Governor Jim Cawley today pointed to how the Marcellus Shale natural gas production industry is creating jobs, even in communities where drilling is not taking place.

"Natural gas is already providing thousands of jobs for Pennsylvania. You can see it right here in suburban Pittsburgh," Cawley said. "Producers may not be drilling here in Warrendale, but jobs are being created here and across the state."

Clearly we need more regulation to make sure this job creation doesn't get out of hand.

narciso

It is, actually like an episode of that old series 'Wiseguy' when a certain faction, used
an 'independent contractor' like Mel Proffitt,
with this Hugh Crumpler character,

Melinda Romanoff

Ooooh, DoJ declines to file charges against a Federal prosecutor with child pornography on his work computer.

Can NOT makes the s*&t up! (Fast enough).

Ignatz

--Ignatz, the early implementation is why I'm so sure this will be eventually tied to Obama.--

kim,
I'm pretty sure it should be but I'm not too sure it will.

Clarice

Janet, I think that may be far fetched. The Honduran reconciliation commission just ruled that Zelaya's removal was a coup. Now, I don't know how impartial that commission is or how meaningful their ruling but I do think the idea we were deliberately arming his supporters is not sufficiently sourced to be credible.

Melinda Romanoff

Janet-

Great find! Makes more sense now.

Danube of Thought

"Tribe is putting the debt problem square on the shoulders of Congress"

I think the constitution puts it there.

Clarice

AFP: "
Zelaya victim of Honduras coup: truth commission
(AFP) – 16 hours ago
TEGUCIGALPA — Manuel Zelaya was deposed in a 2009 coup and not removed from the presidency in a "constitutional succession" as his opponents claimed, the Honduras Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded.
But the panel also pinned some blame for his overthrow on Zelaya himself, reproaching him for alleged "interference" with the other branches of Honduras's government -- conduct that the commission said precipitated his overthrow."

Want vs Need

via delong;


Krugman:

Falling Wages: Ugh. That was a seriously ugly jobs report (pdf). Almost no job creation, with slow private-sector growth offset by falling public-sector employment; a falling employment-population ratio; and (I don’t know how many people have picked this up), an actual [monthly] decline in wages, albeit a small one. Let me emphasize that last point. My bottom line on the inflation-deflation issue has always been to look at wages; you can’t have a wage-price spiral if wages ain’t spiraling. And they aren’t, to say the least. It’s important to realize, by the way, that stagnant wages are NOT good for recovery; all they do is ensure that the burden of debt relative to income remains high, keeping demand and employment down.

The situation cries out for aggressively expansionary monetary and fiscal policy. Instead, however, all the political push is in the opposite direction.

And:

NEC and NEC: Laura Tyson — who headed the National Economic Council under Clinton — has an excellent, clear, sober discussion of the economic problem at the FT. She calls for long-run fiscal restraint, but more, not less, spending right now, with the economy deeply depressed. Laura is anything but a radical; what she’s saying is basically macroeconomics 101. Meanwhile, the current NEC director, Gene Sperling, is spouting right-wing talking points, essentially claiming that you can do the opposite of what macro 101 says you should do, and the confidence fairy will make everything OK.

You can argue that Laura’s program is politically infeasible; but that doesn’t mean that the administration has to embrace right-wing nonsense. Unless, of course, it actually believes it.

Melinda Romanoff

Scissors and glue. Scissors and glue.

May I have some more construction paper, please?

narciso

Clarice, you know how I feel about 'reconciliation commissions,' agarando las
pistolas, is the general sentiment.

They call it class warfare when you fight back

No more Mister Nice Blog


Last night Humberto Leal, a Mexican national convicted of the rape and murder of a teenager, was executed in his state, after the White House sought a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that Lael wasn't informed by police of his legal right to seek assistance from the Mexican consulate. The high court rejected that argument and the execution took place -- but come on, Rick: if you want the Republican nomination for president, you should have linked an announcement of your candidacy to the execution! You should have held a press conference saying, "The SOB's dead, Texas justice has been served, and guess what? I'm running for president. YEE-HAW! U-S-A! U-S-A! Praise Jesus!"

Rick, I'm telling you: instant #1 in the polls in Iowa if you'd done that.

Oh, sure: some handwringing pantywaist liberal journalists would have declared such an announcement to be unseemly. Your obvious response would have been to denounce "political correctness" and walk away smirking. Objection rebutted!

C'mon, Rick, you missed your chance. Look at what's been the lead story all morning at Fox Nation -- a story about this case. This is the media organization that has its finger on the pulse of your potential voter base:

(Strange: You know the media cliche "If it bleeds, it leads"? At Fox, that cliche seems to have been turned on its head. You've got a Mexican accused of rape and murder who's been facing execution and is now dead -- and yet the story is about the Supreme Court rejected an Obama administration appeal. At Fox, therefore, it's "If it rebuffs Democrats, it leads, even if something else bleeds.")

A real coup for Perry would have been to wangle a postponement of the execution so that it took place on the same day as his big prayer meeting, which, of course, will take place one week before the Iowa straw poll. Pray to Jesus, kill the brown guy, flip off the Mexican consulate and the Obama administration, then announce for president -- that would have to be any Republican's idea of a perfect day! Michele who? Mitt who? The nomination would be Perry's for the asking.

Threadkiller

--""Tribe is putting the debt problem square on the shoulders of Congress"

I think the constitution puts it there."--
Agreed. I should have written ”Tribe is correctly putting….”
The greater point I’m making is that the opinion piece was not a hit job on Obama.

OPERATION GUN_HAWKER

SP Walsh Contra report;


Part XI
Concluding Observations

The underlying facts of Iran/contra are that, regardless of criminality, President Reagan, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and the director of central intelligence and their necessary assistants committed themselves, however reluctantly, to two programs contrary to congressional policy and contrary to national policy. They skirted the law, some of them broke the law, and almost all of them tried to cover up the President's willful activities.

What protection do the people of the United States have against such a concerted action by such powerful officers? The Constitution provides for congressional oversight and congressional control of appropriations, but if false information is given to Congress, these checks and balances are of lessened value. Further, in the give and take of the political community, congressional oversight is often overtaken and subordinated by the need to keep Government functioning, by the need to anticipate the future, and by the ever-present requirement of maintaining consensus among the elected officials who are the Government.

The disrespect for Congress by a popular and powerful President and his appointees was obscured when Congress accepted the tendered concept of a runaway conspiracy of subordinate officers and avoided the unpleasant confrontation with a powerful President and his Cabinet. In haste to display and conclude its investigation of this unwelcome issue, Congress destroyed the most effective lines of inquiry by giving immunity to Oliver L. North and John M. Poindexter so that they could exculpate and eliminate the need for the testimony of President Reagan and Vice President Bush.

Immunity is ordinarily given by a prosecutor to a witness who will incriminate someone more important than himself. Congress gave immunity to North and Poindexter, who incriminated only themselves and who largely exculpated those responsible for the initiation, supervision and support of their activities. This delayed and infinitely complicated the effort to prosecute North and Poindexter, and it largely destroyed the likelihood that their prompt conviction and appropriate sentence would induce meaningful cooperation.

These important political decisions were properly the responsibility of Congress. It was for the Committees to decide whether the welfare of the nation was served or endangered by a continuation of its investigation, a more deliberate effort to test the self-serving denials presented by Cabinet officers and to search for the full ramifications of the activities in question. Having made this decision, however, no one could gainsay the added difficulties thrust upon Independent Counsel. These difficulties could be dealt with only by the investment of large amounts of additional time and large amounts of expense.

The role of Independent Counsel is not well understood. Comparisons to United States attorneys, county district attorneys, or private law offices do not conceive the nature of Independent Counsel. Independent Counsel is not an individual put in charge of an ongoing agency as an acting U.S. attorney might be; he is a person taken from private practice and told to create a new agency, to carry out the mission assigned by the court. It is not as though he were told to step in and try a case on the calendar of an ongoing office with full support of the Government behind him, as it would be behind the United States attorney. He is told to create an office and to confront the Government without any expectation of real cooperation, and, indeed, with the expectation of hostility, however veiled. That hostility will manifest itself in the failure to declassify information, in the suppression of documents, and in all of the evasive techniques of highly skilled and large, complex organizations.

The investigation into Iran/contra nevertheless demonstrates that the rule of law upon which our democratic system of government depends can be applied to the highest officials even when they are operating in the secret areas of diplomacy and national security.

Despite extraordinary difficulties imposed by the destruction and withholding of records, the need to protect classified information, and the congressional grants of immunity to some of the principals involved, Independent Counsel was able to bring criminal charges against nine government officers and five private citizens involved in illegal activities growing out of the Iran/contra affair.

More importantly, the investigation and the prosecutions arising out of it have provided a much more accurate picture of how two secret Administration policies -- keeping the contras alive ``body and soul'' during the Boland cut-off period and seeking the release of Americans held hostage by selling arms to Iran -- veered off into criminality.

Evidence obtained by Independent Counsel establishes that the Iran/contra affair was not an aberrational scheme carried out by a ``cabal of zealots'' on the National Security Council staff, as the congressional Select Committees concluded in their majority report.1 Instead, it was the product of two foreign policy directives by President Reagan which skirted the law and which were executed by the NSC staff with the knowledge and support of high officials in the CIA, State and Defense departments, and to a lesser extent, officials in other agencies.

1 Majority Report, p. 22.

Independent Counsel found no evidence of dissent among his Cabinet officers from the President's determination to support the contras after federal law banned the use of appropriated funds for that purpose in the Boland Amendment in October 1984. Even the two Cabinet officers who opposed the sale of arms to Iran on the grounds that it was illegal and bad policy -- Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger and Secretary of State George P. Shultz -- either cooperated with the decision once made, as in the case of Weinberger, or stood aloof from it while being kept informed of its progress, as was the case of Shultz.

In its report section titled ``Who Was Responsible,'' the Select Committees named CIA Director William Casey, National Security Advisers Robert C. McFarlane and John M. Poindexter, along with NSC staff member Oliver L. North, and private sector operatives Richard V. Secord and Albert Hakim. With the exception of Casey who died before he could be questioned by the OIC, Independent Counsel charged and obtained criminal convictions of each of the men named by Congress. There is little doubt that, operationally, these men were central players.

But the investigation and prosecutions have shown that these six were not out-of-control mavericks who acted alone without the knowledge or assistance of others. The evidence establishes that the central NSC operatives kept their superiors -- including Reagan, Bush, Shultz, Weinberger and other high officials -- informed of their efforts generally, if not in detail, and their superiors either condoned or turned a blind eye to them. When it was required, the NSC principals and their private sector operatives received the assistance of high-ranking officers in the CIA, the Defense Department, and the Department of State.

Of the 14 persons charged criminally during the investigation, four were convicted of felony charges after trial by jury, seven pleaded guilty either to felonies or misdemeanors, and one had his case dismissed because the Administration refused to declassify information deemed necessary to the defendant by the trial judge. Two cases that were awaiting trial were aborted by pardons granted by President Bush. As this report explained earlier, many persons who committed crimes were not charged. Some minor crimes were never investigated and some that were investigated were not solved. But Independent Counsel believes that to the extent possible, the central Iran/contra crimes were vigorously prosecuted and the significant acts of obstruction were fully charged.

Fundamentally, the Iran/contra affair was the first known criminal assault on the post-Watergate rules governing the activities of national security officials. Reagan Administration officials rendered these rules ineffective by creating private operations, supported with privately generated funds that successfully evaded executive and legislative oversight and control. Congress was defrauded. Its appropriations restrictions having been circumvented, Congress was led to believe that the Administration was following the law. Numerous congressional inquiries were thwarted through false testimony and the destruction and concealment of government records.

The destruction and concealment of records and information, beginning at the twilight of Iran/contra and continuing throughout subsequent investigations, should be of particular concern. Oliver North's destruction of records in October and November 1986 caused an irretrievable loss of information to the executive agencies responsible for regulating clandestine activities, to Congress, and to Independent Counsel. John Poindexter's efforts to destroy NSC electronic mail nearly resulted in comparable damage. CIA Costa Rican Station Chief Joseph F. Fernandez attempted to hide phone records that would have revealed his contacts with Enterprise activities.

This sort of obstruction continued even after Independent Counsel's appointment. In the course of his work, Independent Counsel located large caches of handwritten notes and other documents maintained by high officials that were never relinquished to investigators. Major aspects of Iran/contra would never have been uncovered had all of the officials who attempted to destroy or withhold their records of the affair succeeded. Had these contemporaneous records been produced to investigators when they were initially requested, many of the troublesome conflicts between key witnesses would have been resolved, and timely legal steps taken toward those who feigned memory lapses or lied outright.

All of this conduct -- the evasions of the Executive branch and the Congress, the lies, the conspiracies, the acts of obstruction -- had to be addressed by the criminal justice system.

The path Independent Counsel embarked upon in late 1986 has been a long and arduous one. When he hired 10 attorneys in early 1987, Independent Counsel's conception of the operational conspiracy -- with its array of Government officials and private contractors, its web of secret foreign accounts, and its world-wide breadth -- was extremely hazy. Outlining an investigation of a runaway conspiracy disavowed by the President was quite different from the ultimate investigation of the President and three major agencies, each with the power to frustrate an investigation by persisting in the classification of non-secret but embarrassing information. Completing the factual mosaic required examining pieces spread worldwide in activities that occurred over a three-year period by officials from the largest agencies of government and a host of private operatives who, by necessity, design and training, worked secretly and deceptively.

Chubby

((Scissors and glue. Scissors and glue.

May I have some more construction paper, please?))

LOL!!!!

DebinNC

That Mead piece is a must-read. He perfectly describes the problem, but doesn't offer answers that will work, except on paper, as long as the blue-hells are run by Democrats..i.e. forever.

narciso

An interesting filip to the Carle story, more likely than not, he was serving in Alec Station, under the aegis of not Scheuer, but his successor, a long time Agency legacy, who had previously been part of the 'Renditions Branch' who would subsequently end up the station chief in Kabul, after the initial insertion, he was the one who was running the TRODPOINT teams, out of Uzbekistan, that did try to get Bin Laden, but according to various post 9/11 inquests, failed to properly flag Al Midhar and Al Hazmi, the two 9/11 hijackers tied to Awlaki in San Diego. Interesting this same officer, had been posted to Niamey,Niger, in the early part of his career.

Danube of Thought

Tribe would never write a hit-piece about Obama. Tribe is his patron.

Melinda Romanoff

Interesting Niger bit.

And I'm out of paper again.

"I'm up to my keister with these leaks...RWR

Because the United States was prohibited by law to sell weapons to Iran, another plan used Israel as a go-between. This plan also failed. Desperate for a workable solution, the Reagan administration turned to the National Security Agency (NSA) for assistance. The NSA formulated a new strategy for providing arms to Iran, and placed Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North in charge of coordinating the implementation of that covert plan. Thus the seeds of what would become the Iran-Contra affair were planted.

The NSA's plan included a bold and legally questionable decision to inflate the price of any arms sold to Iran in exchange for the release of the hostages. At first, Iran refused to pay the significant mark-up on the weapons but later agreed after realizing other sellers were not forthcoming. The extra money collected from the sale of weapons to Iran would later be used to fund another project already in operation in Nicaragua.

The leftist regime led by Daniel Ortega ruled Nicaragua with an iron fist, and the Reagan administration supported the right-wing Contra fighters seeking to overthrow it. Direct funding of the Contras would violate international law, but the Contra fighters could not sustain their attacks without financial assistance. During this critical portion of the Iran-Contra affair, Oliver North, with the tacit approval of his superiors in the White House and NSA, decided to divert the excess money from the Iranian arms sales to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

The precise details of how this illicit "arms for hostages" and funding of the Contra rebels played out may never be known, since many of the documents concerning the Iran-Contra affair were subsequently destroyed by North, his secretary Fawn Hall, and other members of the Reagan administration. Many of those officials directly involved with the Iran-Contra affair resigned in disgrace or were summarily dismissed.

During the actual Tower Commission investigation into the Iran-Contra affair, President Reagan was questioned about his personal knowledge of the NSA's plans. Reagan categorically denied any involvement in the planning or approval of the covert arms sales. His faulty memory, however, did create some public controversy. Reagan did imply that his vice-president, George H.W. Bush, may have been present at certain meetings in which the details of the Iran-Contra affair were discussed. The testimony of Oliver North himself became a riveting televised event, although he claimed not to recall numerous specifics about his covert operation.

Melinda Romanoff

What Would Halsey Say?

narciso

Didn't the House basically pass a Boland sub chapter C, to the Libyan rebels, not to the serving military personnel. count on Obama to go around it, somehow.

Porchlight

DebinNC, nice to see you. I like WR Mead but he occasionally does a little too much of the "President Obama is an exceptionally smart man, but...."

At a certain point one has to conclude that President Obama is in fact not an exceptionally smart man.

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Wilson/Plame