Saturday, 23 June 2012

Fast, Furious & an Un-Scrutinised President

Elections have a pattern. Those patterns are based on the weaknesses of people & their ignorance of the real ability of the elected politician to improve their lives. No candidate or party gets votes by telling voters that their own efforts in a free market will do more for their prosperity than any politician or government fiat. The competition is to promise that government will do more, extend its hand into new areas faster & more convincingly than the alternative candidates.

Facts that government decree cannot decree wealth, free markets protect consumers & sellers with an efficiency that no bureaucracy can match are unspeakable blashphemy. With Government lies wisdom, prosperity & the great modern witch-word, fairness. Democracy has become deliberately ignorant of how it became wealthy, the enemy of its own very prosperity.

Journalists & editors are no wiser than the rest of the electorate & it may be cogently argued,not even be as wise. Group think & selection are more rigorous in media outlets than machine shops if only because machine operators only have to show dexterity with tools, not the received ideas & tropes of the age. Few come to journalism un-tainted by a university education & it is in the universities that the failure of free market advocates is the most pernicious. The left offer compassion, action & a framework for analysing the world, free market capitalists merely freedom & individual responsibility both for oneself & ones relations with others.

That desire for that wise governmental benevolence  saw it's zenith in the 2008 US Presidential election. The previous incumbent,George Bush, inarticulate at the best of times, looked overwhelmed by economic disaster & as a prisoner of his neo-con conversion post 9/11, embroiled in a sequence of bloody, protracted, un-winnable wars. Although Bush was not the Republican candidate, it was next to impossible for John McCain, a decent man with a heroic Vietnam war record, to escape the administration's shadow or mistakes.

Barrack Obama caught the public imagination not just in the US but internationally. Young, articulate but most importantly, black he was the embodiment of promise. And did he promise! Not alone would he symbolise a new post-racial America but he would put government at the service of every citizen. The campaign slogan Hope & Change allowed every voter their own wish in this modern electoral paradigm of unlimited government.

The fourth estate played their part by giving the relatively unknown first term senator an examination of of cotton wool reverence. Obama was taken at his own unquestioned word.   The real news-story that now emerges from the lies & deceit of his auto-hagiography "Dream from My Father" is not the his ridiculous portrayal of himself as the persecuted scion of a brave & persecuted line but the complete failure of journalists to examine his claims & career. If the Birthers are crazy their madness has a root in the frustration at how little documented facts either existed or tallied with Obama's own story. He arrived in the Oval office the least scrutinised president  in a century: Harvard Law Review Editor who had forfeited his bar license, radical on social issues & maybe even on socialism,much of his past mysterious.

Obama came to power saddled with the hopes he had engendered & the promises he had made. Nothing short of a divinity could have lived up to those expectations but the Obama that came to power was a creature of both his own & his supporters imaginations. The reality, a man saddled with beliefs he never had to rigorously defend & with no experience of executive office, could but disappoint.

All of this serves as a prelude to the scandal that is shaping the dying days of his (first? only?) administration. 

Eric Holder, Obama's AG, had a record of involvement in questionable decisions both as Deputy AG under Clinton (pardon of the Boricua Popular Army & Marc Rich) and as AG (dropping voter intimidation law suits) but none compared with Gun Walking.

AFT had used the tactic of "gun walking", allowing guns to be purchased for export to Mexico to identify both the straw purchasers & the criminal purchasers in several cities under various code names in order to catch higher level criminals.. The supposed strict policy of the AFT as understood by agents was that guns would never reach Mexico, law enforcement officials would interdict any weapons in the programme before they left US jurisdiction. At least twice, in 2006 and on a smaller scale in 2007, this policy failed miserably with Guns reaching Mexican criminals & no high level gang members caught.

Operation Fast and Furious,begun in late 2009 was both bigger & had the strange policy change of not interdicting guns. As the operation progressed AFT agents became more & more concerned that huge amounts of guns were reaching dangerous Mexican drug gangs. So called straw buyers continued to purchase guns (from legal gun dealers co-operating with the AFT) for over a year while agents of the bureau were not allowed intercept those guns.

So bizarre was the policy that in an effort to explain or make some sense of it some have latched on to Holder's previous Gun Control sympathies & speculate that he was trying to provoke an a backlash to gun s & gun ownership.

This insane policy came to an end after the murder in December 2010 of a US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Although the bullet that killed Terry could not be forensically linked to a particular gun, two Fast ans Furious guns were found abandoned near the shooting. Mexican drug criminals abandon any gun used in a killing.

AFT agents no longer were prepared to stay silent, informing not just a senator but leaking information into the blogosphere.

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has been investigating Gun Walking and pursuing Holder. The fact that much heavier, military grade weapons which were almost impossible to purchase from the co-operating legal gun dealers surfaced in Mexico in caches of Fast and Furious weapons meant that Fast and Furious had deeper roots & more greater scope than the stated AFT operation.

Obama's March 23 2011 TV appearance denying that either Holder or himself authorised Fast & Furious is widely available on the internet. In May that year Holder testified under oath that he did not know who authorised it.

Last week the clash between Issa's investigation & Holder's determination not to divulge about the operation his department of Justice had run reached a crisis. With over seven thousand pages of documentation turned over, Issa held to his demands for another  known one thousand three hundred pages on the threat of holding the AG in contempt. In response the President placed an Executive Immunity order on the unseen documentation relating to Fast and Furious.

Holder went from denying all knowledge of the operation to sheltering the Fast and Furious from oversight under Executive Privilege. Next week Congress will vote on whether to hold him in contempt.

Up to now the over one thousand guns out standing in criminal hands, even the presence of military grade weapons from the operation, were at worst, a bad mistake by the AFT & US Attorneys. Everyone is dispensable & even Holder could have been thrown under the bus. Now Holder is merely a surrogate for Obama himself who has linked himself to Fast and Furious if only in the cover-up.

The President who came to power with such hope & goodwill faces into an election hiding the details of an insane, deliberate policy of arming Mexican Drug Cartels. Over two hundred men, women & children  in Mexico with and US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry were murdered as a direct result of a policy which may have been a criminal conspiracy. 

The cover up, the arrogant belief in his own righteousness all part of the Obama pattern. This time, the veneer worn thin & citizen journalists parsing every piece of information, Obama will not escape scrutiny.

Follow me on Twitter