Eric Holder and Operation Gunrunner

Operation Gunrunner, also known as Operation Fast & Furious, has been a bit of an embarrassment to the BATFE to say the least.  The operation, which knowingly permitted illegal straw purchases to go through, knowing that the guns would be send south of the boarder to Mexican drug gangs, hasn’t gone as sunny as planners had hoped.  Now, the spotlight in turning onto Attorney General Eric Holder and his Justice Department.

From a New York Post article on the whole mess:

The ATF’s acting director, Kenneth Melson, has been singing like a canary to congressional investigators as he pushes back against administration pressure for him to resign and take the fall for something that, at the very least, had to include the US Attorney’s Office, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and possibly the Homeland Security Department.

In a letter to Holder released yesterday, Rep. Daryl Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley accused the Justice Department of blocking their investigation into the burgeoning scandal (which has resulted in the deaths of at least two American agents and countless Mexican civilians), muzzling the ATF and involving other federal agencies, including the FBI and the DEA, in funding the crackpot scheme.

“The evidence we have gathered raises the disturbing possibility that the Justice Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons, but that taxpayer dollars from other agencies may have financed those engaging in such activities,” they wrote.

MIAC Report: Ron Paul Supporters Labeled Domestic Terrorists?

Ron PaulThe general rule for me is if Alex Jones says it, don’t take it seriously. And that’s what I said on Thursday to several friends that e-mailed me a link to a story about how the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) basically correlates libertarians and more specifically supporters of Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin, with potentially being a domestic terrorist or member of a militia.

Here we go again: King Obama will bypass Congress on immigration

President Barack Obama is going at it alone yet again on immigration, announcing yesterday that he plans to sidestep Congress to send more federal agents to the U.S.-Mexico border after Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told him that immigration reform was dead for the year.

The White House asked congressional leaders for $2 billion and new powers to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children at the United States’ Southwest border, a crisis that Boehner and Republicans say President Obama created.

“I believe Speaker Boehner when he says he wants to pass an immigration bill. I think he genuinely wants to get something done,” President Obama told reporters on Monday at the White House. “But last week, he informed me that Republicans will continue to block a vote on immigration reform at least for the remainder of this year.

“Some in the House Republican Caucus are using the situation with unaccompanied children as their newest excuse to do nothing,” he said. “Now, I want everybody to think about that. Their argument seems to be that because the system is broken, we shouldn’t make an effort to fix it. It makes no sense. It’s not on the level. It’s just politics, plain and simple.”

Today in Liberty: Harry Reid is the new Nancy Pelosi, taxpayers subsidize state-owned businesses

Today in Liberty is a daily roundup of recent political news and other interesting stories presented with liberty-minded commentary. We frequently keep tabs on liberty-minded politicians and candidates in these updates. We also inject some humor on occasion. Click here to receive Today in Liberty every weekday morning via email.

— Harry Reid is the new hotness: The Senate majority leader is the villain in this year’s mid-term election, in case you haven’t already noticed, and he’s one that can be used in both House and Senate races. “A GOP strategist said Pelosi is still No. 2 on the list of liberal villains that scare conservative donors into action, after President Obama. But others say Reid has become a more compelling bogeyman,” The Hill explains. “The main reason? Pelosi no longer runs the House after the GOP reclaimed the lower chamber in 2010. Republicans have been unable to strip Reid of his majority leader title, but they think this will be the year they do that.”

— Al Gore is still around: And he’s stull super serial about climate change. After three  pretentious opening paragraphs, Politico Magazine catches us up on what former Vice President Al Gore is doing these days and his frustrations with the lack of action on climate change. Basically, big money and the Koch brothers are blamed. Oh, and when asked if he’ll run for president again, Gore said this: “I am a recovering politician. And the longer I avoid a relapse the more confidence that I will not succumb to the temptation to run yet again. But I’m a recovering politician. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Another Fast and Furious Gun Turns Up at Mexican Resort Shootout

Guns from the failed “Fast and Furious” operation continue to turn up in murder scenes along the Arizona-Mexico border. The latest gun linked to the owner of the Lone Wolf gun store, who had been cooperating with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, turned up after a shootout in Puerto Peñasco on December 18th. The shootout took place at a resort in Mexico that left at least five suspected cartel gunmen dead.

The shootout involved suspects and the police. According to Fox News at least one gun found at the scene was traced back to the Lone Wolf gun store owner. The firearm was reportedly purchased on September 14, 2010.

The ATF-run Fast and Furious operation carried out within the period between 2006 and 2011 made it possible for Mexican drug traffickers to purchase hundreds of guns provided by the government agency through the owner of Lone Wolf gun store. The goal was to find cartel leaders by tracing the weapons back to its ultimate owners, however, several guns used in the operation began turning up at different murder scenes, including the 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

The ATF has already accepted responsibility for the mistakes the agency made concerning the execution of Fast and Furious. According to the ATF’s official statement, the agency acknowledges that “firearms related to the Fast and Furious investigation will likely continue to be recovered at future crime scenes.”

Obama admits he learns about NSA surveillance from the press

Back when the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups became public knowledge, President Barack Obama said he first learned of the scandal through the news since senior White House officials opted not to make him aware of the investigation. He later said the same thing about the Justice Department’s chilling targeting of journalists.

It became a joke for pundits like Jon Stewart, who told his audience that he “wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama learned Osama bin Laden had been killed when he saw himself announcing it on television!”

Unfortunately, Obama has admitted once again that he learned about the NSA’s surveillance programs through the media.

The admission came on Friday during a press conference St. Petersburg, Russia at the G-20 summit. President Obama spent much of his time trying to build world support for his administration’s proposed strike against Syria, though unsuccessfully.

President Obama was asked about the concerns expressed by world leaders over the NSA’s spying on Brazil and Mexico, which was another topic of discussion at the summit. He said that he had spoken to the leaders of the two nations, but his answer led to a stunning admission.

Two more deaths tied to Operation Fast and Furious

Operation Fast and Furious

While congressional investigations into Operation Fast and Furious have stalled because of the White House and Justice Department’s refusal to cooperate, the failed gun-walking scheme is back in the news again. The Los Angeles Times reports that a semi-automatic rifle used in the murder of a Mexican police chief and a body guard has been traced back to Operation Fast and Furious:

Luis Lucio Rosales Astorga, the police chief in the city of Hostotipaquillo, was shot to death Jan. 29 when gunmen intercepted his patrol car and opened fire. Also killed was one of his bodyguards. His wife and a second bodyguard were wounded.

Local authorities said eight suspects in their 20s and 30s were arrested after police seized them nearby with a cache of weapons — rifles, grenades, handguns, helmets, bulletproof vests, uniforms and special communications equipment. The area is a hot zone for rival drug gangs, with members of three cartels fighting over turf in the region.

A semi-automatic WASR rifle, the firearm that killed the chief, was traced back to the Lone Wolf Trading Company, a gun store in Glendale, Ariz. The notation on the Department of Justice trace records said the WASR was used in a “HOMICIDE – WILLFUL – KILL –PUB OFF –GUN” –ATF code for “Homicide, Willful Killing of a Public Official, Gun.”

Will Obama Live Lavishly Again During His Visit to Mexico?

Back in February, Vice President Joe Biden spent over $1 million dollars on a trip to London and Paris. Such an extraordinary expense in the run up to the sequester shows how out of touch this administration is.

But with President Barack Obama visiting Mexico and Costa Rica over the next few days, the Weekly Standard reminds us the $2.5 million dollar trip he took last year and questions as to whether the White House will spend taxpayer funds so freely this time around:

[T]he trip won’t exactly be cheap for taxpayers, assuming the costs mirror those incurred by the American taxpayers for President Obama’s last trip to Mexico, for the G-20 summit in June 2012. According to recently discovered documents relating to the costs of that trip, taxpayers paid nearly $2.5 million for hotel and “vehicle rental.”

Remember all the politically-motivated “cuts” the Obama Administration has been making? Guess the sequester isn’t hitting the White House as hard as they claimed they’re spending like this.

Mexican Cartels Invade America: End The Drug War To Stop Them

Last week, a scary new report came out from the Associated Press on the drug cartels presence in the continental United States:

Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States — an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world’s most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.

If left unchecked, authorities say, the cartels’ move into the American interior could render the syndicates harder than ever to dislodge and pave the way for them to expand into other criminal enterprises such as prostitution, kidnapping-and-extortion rackets and money laundering.

Cartel activity in the U.S. is certainly not new. Starting in the 1990s, the ruthless syndicates became the nation’s No. 1 supplier of illegal drugs, using unaffiliated middlemen to smuggle cocaine, marijuana and heroin beyond the border or even to grow pot here.

But a wide-ranging Associated Press review of federal court cases and government drug-enforcement data, plus interviews with many top law enforcement officials, indicate the groups have begun deploying agents from their inner circles to the U.S. Cartel operatives are suspected of running drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South and Northeast.

“It’s probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime,” said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office.

The Fire Next Door: Mexico’s Drug Violence and the Danger to America

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Since the Mexican government initiated a military offensive against its country’s powerful drug cartels in December 2006, some 50,000 people have perished and the drugs continue to flow. The growing violence has created concerns that Mexico could become a failed state, and U.S. political leaders also worry that the corruption and violence is seeping across the border into the United States.

In his compelling new book, Ted Galen Carpenter details the growing horror overtaking Mexico and explains how the current U.S.-backed strategies for trying to stem Mexico’s drug violence have been a disaster. Boldly conveyed in The Fire Next Door, the only effective strategy is to defund the Mexican drug cartels by abandoning the failed drug prohibition policy, thereby eliminating the lucrative black-market premium and greatly reducing the financial resources of the drug cartels.

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