Monday, July 02, 2012


Thursday night, I posted on facebook something very similar to what I posted here on the same evening, a short blurb about how I was enjoying the right-wing freakout over the Supreme Court's healthcare ruling. And, lo and behold, a fun discussion on the Fast and Furious scandal broke out:

Mike If the SCOTUS had gone 5-4 against, the howling, drooling, righteous indignation would be coming from MSNBC. That is why I chose to ignore both talk radio (and Fox News and CNN) and MSNBC. Life is much better when you get information from knowledgeable sources....they do exist if you know where to look. I also recommend reading the source documents when at all possible. Don't let other people develop opinions for you.

Ron @Mike: to be fair, I think this is an awful decision because, you know, a "penalty" is not a "tax." But then, I wanted single payer, anyway, and see the ACA is an industry giveaway. You might be right, however, about the MSNBC reaction, but I'm skeptical. After all, the right has turned indignant outrage into a high art form. From accusations against Clinton about drug running and murder, seizures over an airport haircut, and actual impeachment, to "freedom fries" and branding as traitors people such as myself who opposed the Iraq invasion, the right's had a LOT of practice these last twenty years. I mean, check this out. My favorite is Indiana Republican Mike Pence likening the decision to 9/11:

The 10 Most Hilariously Unhinged Right-Wing Reactions to the Obamacare Ruling

Ron Oh, and let's not forget the current House outrage over Fast and Furious resulting in the first contempt of Congress charge against a sitting Cabinet member, all because conspiracy nuts think the gun-walking operation is an attempt to, get this, cause gun violence so as to sour the US public on guns, which would, in turn, provide political cover allowing Obama to, seriously, take our guns away. You can't make this stuff up.

Gary @Ron: So the fact that 2,000 guns (most of them AK-47s) were allowed to end up in the hands of the cartels isn't reason enough for the House to conduct an investigation of the Justice Dept? We'll never know for certain how many murders those guns were involved in. The Justice Dept screwed up big on this thing, and we need to know the facts about this botched operation. As for the gun control angle I think there isn't enough public will to enact further gun control laws. It isn't necessary to use Fast and Furious to empower the gun rights constituency.

Ron That may very well be true. But what's motivating the probe is the 2nd Amendment conspiracy theory, which is bizarre, and not the program itself.

Gary I don't think that is the motivating factor into the investigation. After all the investigation didn't begin until it was discovered that a gun used in the murder of a border patrol agent originated from federal law enforcement. The investigation seeks to answer why guns were allowed to fall into the hands of the cartels.

Mike The probe is motivated by a letter that the Justice Department sent to Congress in Feb 2011 stating that top officials at the DOJ had just learned of the failed operation (after it was shut down). Several months later, the DOJ withdrew the letter from the official testimony. Congress wants to know what was the reason for the change in testimony. Does the withdraw of that testimony mean that top officials at DOJ knew of the program while it was operational? Why did they testify in front of Congress to the contrary? These are legitimate questions to be answered. As the late congressman Howard Baker - Tenn (R) asked in the Watergate investigation....what did they know and when did they know it?

Ron Actually, it's even more complicated than that, if I'm understanding this correctly. I think Congress would have its answers if they had called the actual people involved to testify, but they didn't. Instead, they've gone after Holder for reasons that appear to be nakedly partisan. If they had done an actual investigation, like this reporter for Fortune magazine did, hardly a lefty journal, they might have found out that the ATF didn't even allow the gun sales to go forward; rather, it was prosecutors refusing to prosecute because of lax gun laws in Arizoina:

The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal

Ron The guy who heads the committee conducting the Fast and Furious probe, California Republican Darrell Issa, DEFINITELY believes the botched ATF operation was about Obama taking our guns away. From the above linked article:

"Issa has alleged on Fox News that Fast and Furious is part of a liberal conspiracy to restrict gun rights: 'Very clearly, [the ATF] made a crisis and they are using this crisis to somehow take away or limit people's Second Amendment rights.' (Issa has a personal history on this issue: In 1972, at age 19, he was arrested for having a concealed, loaded .25-caliber automatic in his car; he ultimately pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered gun.)"

Ron And here's why the Republican witch-hunt-as-political-th​eater is so pathetic:

"Committee chairman Issa (R-Calif.) saw to that when the inquiry began. He laid down the ground rule that no testimony would be admitted that commented on gun-control laws or legislation. Instead, Issa has focused his inquisitorial zeal to achieve one aim: to give the Obama administration a black eye."

And there's also this:

"An extensive investigation by Fortune magazine has shredded the case that ATF agents knowingly let weapons 'walk' -- i.e., fall into criminal hands. And Issa has admitted that he had no evidence that Holder knew that they had walked. What, then, is the point of the sideshow?"

This thing is DEFINITELY yet another example of a Republican freak out.

Sanchez: Issa's Fast and Furious inquiry

Gary 21 Democrats voted to hold Holder in contempt. It's not just Republicans that have concerns over this.

Ron Yeah, those 21 Democrats needed to have good NRA scores. Seriously, the NRA gave members of the House a lower score if they didn't vote for contempt. That's the 2nd Amendment angle coming into play again. This whole thing is mondo screwed up. Apparently, you don't support gun rights if you didn't vote to hold Holder in contempt. So Democrats from red states had to play along. That's what Republican freak outs do. Get everybody freaking out.

NRA Has Democrats Running Scared in Eric Holder Contempt Vote

Gary If it's that easy to get Democrats to cross the aisle then maybe the NRA and other conservative organizations should raise the sword more often during critical votes. The Left has it's organizations too. Why haven't organizations like Planned Parenthood, ACORN or MSNBC threatened Republican members of the House if they voted for contempt?

Ron Well, besides the fact that ACORN no longer exists because of that Breitbart smear, that's a question I've been asking myself for years. The bottom line is that liberals just aren't the influential force Fox News, Limbaugh, and others make them out to be. And the Democrats...well...there's​ that old Will Rogers joke: "I don't belong to any organized political party; I'm a Democrat." It really is a big tent party with some pretty conservative members holding elected office. There are liberals, to be sure, but they're all members of the Progressive Caucus. Republicans have a definite advantage in that they long ago ran out all the moderates and liberals--yes, once upon a time, both parties had both liberals and conservatives; GOP guys like Nelson Rockerfeller and George Romney come to mind. But Democrats have people of all political stripes, and it's really difficult for them to get it together on anything. And don't even get me started on how self-serving and backstabbing the various liberal institutions are. Gets stuck in my craw.
And that's where the discussion stands as of this moment. Again, it amazes me that, when you have the right people participating, facebook can really be much much more than celebrity gossip, various ways that Jesus loves you, and self-pics in the bathroom mirror. I guess that, like all tools, it's how you use it.

Heh. And I'm using it well!