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Old June 18, 2011, 12:01 AM   #301
alan
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Bartholomew Roberts
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When do these hearings resume?

That represents all the hearings that have been scheduled at this time. Rep. Issa proposed a compromise solution where DoJ would grant Congressional staff an opportunity to examine the documents they seek "in camera" (means DoJ retains control of them and the information within them would not be for public consumption).

Not suprisingly, the person DoJ sent, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich (which I have been mistakenly spelling as Welch) does not have the authority to agree to such a deal, so there is a temporary lull.

If DoJ continues to be obstructionist, both Rep. Issa and Sen. Grassley have indicated they will escalate until they get cooperation. Of course, the President, who promised the most transparent administration ever (and I suppose it is in some ironic sense), could simply order the DoJ to comply but despite his claim that neither him nor AG Holder knew anything about this operation, he has backed DoJ in ignoring the Congressional subpoena.

-----------------------------------------------

Seems to me that about all we have had, or are at all likely to have, absent U.S. Marshals dragging ATF/DOJ/Administration types off in chains for contempt is what used to be described as "shucking and jiving". Call it something else if you like. As for the transparent administration Obama spoke of, that's kind of like his "change you can believe in", something of that proverbial crock.

I guess that a great deal, possibly virtually the entire business revolves on how ****** off The Congress might become, enough to cut off funding, and we will likely see something really interesting, As for falling short of that, or its' equivalent, which I suspect is more or less what will happen, this entire business will simply be swept under the carpet, as has happened time and time again, under various administrations, Democratic and Republican.
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Old June 18, 2011, 08:39 PM   #302
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The Wall Street Journal claims to have sources implying that Melson will be removed. Apparently, Andrew Traver (remember him?) is flying to Washington for a meeting with Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole next week.
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Old June 18, 2011, 08:49 PM   #303
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The big fish they were after were you and me. This was never about anything but padding the numbers to justify new and more restrictive anti-firearms laws. When their lies about firearms traces was found to be false, they needed to do something to make them more believable.
Amen.

It was a criminal idea. It was a stupid idea. The scheme fell apart, as irrational schemes are wont to do.

Firing the current head of the BATFE and replacing him with a known anti-Second Amendment bigot is most emphatically not the needed result.
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Old June 18, 2011, 08:52 PM   #304
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The Wall Street Journal claims to have sources implying that Melson will be removed. Apparently, Andrew Traver (remember him?) is flying to Washington for a meeting with Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole next week.
Can't Senator Grassley singlehandedly prevent the appointment? (actually, prevent Obama from appointing *anybody* and keep the position vacant)
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Old June 18, 2011, 10:01 PM   #305
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Firing the current head of the BATFE and replacing him with a known anti-Second Amendment bigot is most emphatically not the needed result.
It is, however, a tacit admission of guilt.

If Traver is appointed "acting" director, I don't believe confirmation is necessary. I do think it would be politically unwise to do so at this point, though.
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Old June 18, 2011, 10:49 PM   #306
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Melson-Traver/Traver-Melson. It gets to sound like Mutt and Jeff, though here one wonders which is which or who.

It's serious business though, not a slapstick comedy routine, though the way BATFE runs things, one might wonder about that too, and then there is the DOJ, so-called.

I guess that we did get "change that you can believe in", didn't we. One wonders as to how it will all end up, poorly I suspect.
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Old June 18, 2011, 11:29 PM   #307
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Tom, you're correct. Promoting someone from within the ATF to "acting director" status is not an appointment. Congressional approval is not needed.

You're also correct that this is an implicit admission of guilt. It may be enough to mollify the Congress, in which case, the "probe" will go no further.

Sacrifice made and accepted.
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Old June 19, 2011, 07:51 AM   #308
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Old June 19, 2011, 10:18 AM   #309
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The idea has been mentioned before, but I don't believe this little scheme was ever about trying to catch drug lords. Even the dolts at the BATFE and DEA know that the kingpins have their own private armies. The chances of finding one of these perambulatory weapons in the possession of anybody of major consequence was always zero and they knew it.

IMHO, this was ALL about getting U.S. guns into Mexico, from where they could be traced to "prove" that America's "lax" gun laws are the source of "most" of the crime guns in Mexico, thus giving the Obamanation an excuse to push for more anti-2A legislation.
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Old June 19, 2011, 10:59 AM   #310
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Al Norris wrote:
Tom, you're correct. Promoting someone from within the ATF to "acting director" status is not an appointment. Congressional approval is not needed.

You're also correct that this is an implicit admission of guilt. It may be enough to mollify the Congress, in which case, the "probe" will go no further.

Sacrifice made and accepted.

Al:

Correct me if I'm wrong here, or if I've misconstrued your position/statement however what I get from the the above is as follows. I believe that people here should think long and hard on this too.

The same old Dog and Pony Show will have been run, congress folds its' tents, quietly stealing away, perhaps to raise its' pay, the bureaucratic fiasco, the antics of BATFE, DOJ and perhaps Dept. of State too are all swept under that to often used carpet. Oh lest I forget, the Anti Gun Nuts get a big boost, all the while the interests and rights of the law abiding are still more damaged. "Change you can believe in" I suppose.
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Old June 19, 2011, 01:26 PM   #311
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You're also correct that this is an implicit admission of guilt. It may be enough to mollify the Congress, in which case, the "probe" will go no further.

Sacrifice made and accepted.
I wouldn't be so sure. A scandal can be very valuable politically and we're not all that far away from the 2012 election. Both Grassley and Issa are Republicans and, even if the "probe" ultimately leads to a dead end, the attention that it draws could be very politically damaging to the administration and, by extension, the Democratic party. Keeping this whole thing simmering for the next year and a half and ramping things up close to the election could be a very viable strategy to take the White House.

What I see happening here is throwing people lower on the totem pole under the bus in hopes of tying the whole thing off before it gets too high. An indictment or two, however, could probably counter that because people seem to be much less willing to "take one for the team" when prison time is involved. I think obstruction of justice could probably work nicely here.
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Old June 19, 2011, 01:40 PM   #312
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I think the Wall Street Journal article is telling on two levels. On one level, the first guy under the bus is acting director Melson. That is fairly high up the tree; but we already know from testimony that Fast & Furious was authorized at a higher level than that.

Also, when the President's press secretary was asked to comment he said "President Obama did not know about and did not authorize the opeartion."

Not only did the White House skip an opportunity to pontificate that they used in the past; but they also stopped speaking up for AG Holder.

I think there is still some significant leverage here.
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Old June 19, 2011, 03:18 PM   #313
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End the ATF

It is my position that this is the scandal needed to finally bring an end to the thuggish and lawless behavior employed by the ATF for far too long.

This scandal has put the agency on the ropes. Now is not the time to give up. Time to double down and make this congress, who claims an interest in cutting budgets, to de-fund the ATF. Put them out of business and I do mean out of business not consolidate them into some other alphabet soup agency.
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Old June 19, 2011, 03:27 PM   #314
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This scandal has put the agency on the ropes. Now is not the time to give up. Time to double down and make this congress, who claims an interest in cutting budgets, to de-fund the ATF. Put them out of business and I do mean out of business not consolidate them into some other alphabet soup agency.
You may very well be on to something. I can see a very good argument for simply transferring the responsibilities of the ATF to the FBI particularly when they're both part of the DOJ now. The FBI seem better equipped to handle such things and, as of late, seems to be able to more successfully and responsibly conduct an investigation than the ATF does. Also, it seems to me that the FBI has better things to do than try to turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals as the ATF seems to try as of late.
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Old June 19, 2011, 05:42 PM   #315
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Webleymkv quoted and wrote:

You're also correct that this is an implicit admission of guilt. It may be enough to mollify the Congress, in which case, the "probe" will go no further.

Sacrifice made and accepted.

I wouldn't be so sure. A scandal can be very valuable politically and we're not all that far away from the 2012 election. Both Grassley and Issa are Republicans and, even if the "probe" ultimately leads to a dead end, the attention that it draws could be very politically damaging to the administration and, by extension, the Democratic party. Keeping this whole thing simmering for the next year and a half and ramping things up close to the election could be a very viable strategy to take the White House.

What I see happening here is throwing people lower on the totem pole under the bus in hopes of tying the whole thing off before it gets too high. An indictment or two, however, could probably counter that because people seem to be much less willing to "take one for the team" when prison time is involved. I think obstruction of justice could probably work nicely here.
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--------------------------

Concerning the foregoing, might I point out the following. The AFT, and it's criminal antics have been ongoing through administrations both Democratic as well as Republican.

Under either of the above, have ANY of the ridiculous federal gun laws been repealed? The answer is NO, none have been so treated. Matter fact, members of congress have, on an ongoing basis, bent over backwards to defend the ATF, notwithstanding its' antics, the nature of which are criminal, in my view. As I said in a recent, lengthy post, all manner of garbage has accumulated in the closet where legislation is found. A wholesale house cleaning, especially re firearms, is very long overdue, yet from the congress, that is the very last thing that one might reasonably expect, judging from the historical performance of The Congress, either Democratic or Republican controlled.

Last edited by alan; June 19, 2011 at 05:56 PM.
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Old June 19, 2011, 05:55 PM   #316
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Webleymkv quoted and wrote:

This scandal has put the agency on the ropes. Now is not the time to give up. Time to double down and make this congress, who claims an interest in cutting budgets, to de-fund the ATF. Put them out of business and I do mean out of business not consolidate them into some other alphabet soup agency.

You may very well be on to something. I can see a very good argument for simply transferring the responsibilities of the ATF to the FBI particularly when they're both part of the DOJ now. The FBI seem better equipped to handle such things and, as of late, seems to be able to more successfully and responsibly conduct an investigation than the ATF does. Also, it seems to me that the FBI has better things to do than try to turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals as the ATF seems to try as of late.
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------------------------------

This business of moving ATF responsibility for firearms enforcement to some other agency, AFT personnel too, would be tantamount to "mixing dirty water with clean water", action that creates more dirty water, it has been noted. Respecting moving ATF duties to the FBI, the following question comes to mind, and by the way, this question must be answered. Is the FBI all that clean? I doubt it, but I could be wrong. While the ATF is problematic, this coming from the antics and attitudes of its' management, in some cases, the individual agent is no damned good,the real problem, in my view, lies in and with the really abhorrent nature of the legislation it enforces, this Viorginia falling under the purview of The Congress.
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Old June 19, 2011, 07:31 PM   #317
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I can see a very good argument for simply transferring the responsibilities of the ATF to the FBI particularly when they're both part of the DOJ now.
I've had ATF agents tell me that such a scenario is their fondest wish. The internal workings are a mess, they're understaffed and overworked, and the general working atmosphere is very hostile in some field divisions.

Quote:
A scandal can be very valuable politically and we're not all that far away from the 2012 election.
I wish I shared your optimism, but memories are very short. I had a guy shouting at me the other day about how "they" were going to take his guns any day now, and that we never should have elected the current President.

When I asked him who he voted for, he said, "the other guy." OK, which "other guy?" He couldn't remember who ran on the Republican ticket less than three years ago.

As such, it would be quite a stretch for him to remember (for him) a minor political scandal that never made the evening news. Heck, he probably won't even get off the couch long enough to go vote.

They are trying to brush this under the rug by firing Melson. This whole situation has probably reached its apex for media exposure. Barring any sudden, drastic revelations, I really don't see it getting much traction in terms of Joe Sixpack's perception.

I hope I'm wrong.
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Old June 19, 2011, 08:14 PM   #318
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Now is not the time to give up. Time to double down and make this congress, who claims an interest in cutting budgets, to de-fund the ATF. Put them out of business and I do mean out of business not consolidate them into some other alphabet soup agency.
If that was a motion, 2guns, please consider it seconded.

Do we need a massive federal law enforcement bureaucracy to make sure alcoholic beverages and tobacco products get taxed, as well as enforce federal firearms laws? Is it worth what we, the tax payers have been forking over? Considering the record of the BATFE over the past few decades, why don't we just pull the plug on tax dollars for abuses of law?
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Old June 19, 2011, 08:45 PM   #319
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Tom Servo Quoteed and wrote:

I can see a very good argument for simply transferring the responsibilities of the ATF to the FBI particularly when they're both part of the DOJ now.

I've had ATF agents tell me that such a scenario is their fondest wish. The internal workings are a mess, they're understaffed and overworked, and the general working atmosphere is very hostile in some field divisions.


Quote:
A scandal can be very valuable politically and we're not all that far away from the 2012 election.

I wish I shared your optimism, but memories are very short. I had a guy shouting at me the other day about how "they" were going to take his guns any day now, and that we never should have elected the current President.

When I asked him who he voted for, he said, "the other guy." OK, which "other guy?" He couldn't remember who ran on the Republican ticket less than three years ago.

As such, it would be quite a stretch for him to remember (for him) a minor political scandal that never made the evening news. Heck, he probably won't even get off the couch long enough to go vote.

They are trying to brush this under the rug by firing Melson. This whole situation has probably reached its apex for media exposure. Barring any sudden, drastic revelations, I really don't see it getting much traction in terms of Joe Sixpack's perception.

I hope I'm wrong.

----------------------

Tom:

Sad to note, I'm very much afraid that you are more right than wrong re your comments, and the antics/actions of Joe Six Pack, whom you referenced, though not by that name.

Seems that the few carry the water for the masses, who all to often will, in a most idiotic manner, turn on those who had the guts to fight the battles that they didn't. Oh so sad a picture.
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Old June 19, 2011, 10:10 PM   #320
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Firing Melson shouldn't be the end of it. Issa should continue to build his case. If he can build a criminal case against him he just might roll over on someone higher up.
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Old June 20, 2011, 04:50 AM   #321
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Firing Melson shouldn't be the end of it. Issa should continue to build his case. If he can build a criminal case against him he just might roll over on someone higher up.
I agree. Don't stop digging until the whole truth is known.
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Old June 20, 2011, 12:21 PM   #322
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Firing Melson shouldn't be the end of it. Issa should continue to build his case.
He can't build much of a case when the people under investigation control the supply and quality of evidence.
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Old June 20, 2011, 01:06 PM   #323
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On a bright note, it looks like the NY Post at least is starting to look at the evidence and reach the conclusion that this was likely more about generating support for policy than it was a law enforcement effort.

Hopefully more major media outlets will start doing some real journalism and ask how this program was supposed to aid law enforcement when the ATF had no way to surveil the weapons once they entered Mexico? I keep seeing news reports that repeat the stated goal of Gunwalker without ever questioning it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Servo
He can't build much of a case when the people under investigation control the supply and quality of evidence.
Ah; but there is the rub - they don't control all the evidence or the investigation would never have gotten this far. Issa has something like 19 cooperating witnesses, including the Assistant SAIC at Phoenix. I'm hoping he is feeding out that evidence slowly and strategically withholding some of the key stuff to help evaluate what kind of cooperation DoJ is actually providing.

As for ATF going away, I don't see that happening. As problematic as ATF is, giving their responsibilities to another agency will just make that agency stronger and less responsive to Congress. Ultimately, one of the advantages of being regulated by ATF is that ATF is a weak agency with a history of incompetence so it is easier to challenge them when they are wrong. If we faced this same program being run by the Director of the FBI, that would be a much tougher fight I think.
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Old June 20, 2011, 01:50 PM   #324
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Melson is working up his resignation according to the news outlets, USAToday, CNN etc.

http://content.usatoday.com/communit...esign/1?csp=34
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Old June 20, 2011, 02:09 PM   #325
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Bartholomew Roberts:

I could be completely wrong here but re the antics of the BATFE, it's "checkered past", the problem arises from the nature of the laws, re firearms, that it "enforces", questions of it's competence or incompetence aside.

The entirety of the existing body of federal firearms law, with few exceptions, amounts to a closet overburdened with "stuff" that should have long since have been thrown away. That strikes me as the problem, that the congress has not only failed to check the antics of the BATFE, but that it has failed to clean out the closet. The question of whether The Congress can be looked to for the above mentioned, needed effort, is another matter.
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