Archive for the ‘Allen West’ Category

Drudge has a link to Krugman’s piece at the NYT as his big headline today.  Why?  Because Krugman, ever the idiot that he is, is rambling on about a 91% tax rate from 1950, and how the “rich must pay their fair share”.

the ’50s — the Twinkie Era — do offer lessons that remain relevant in the 21st century. Above all, the success of the postwar American economy demonstrates that, contrary to today’s conservative orthodoxy, you can have prosperity without demeaning workers and coddling the rich.

Today’s conservative orthodoxy isn’t about either coddling the rich or demeaning workers.  Bosses don’t get good results from employees who are hurt, and bosses who are favored by government (like Obama and bestest buddy Jeffrey Immelt from GE) means that there is no free market as the govt. picks winners and losers.  A rising tide raises all boats.

Consider the question of tax rates on the wealthy. The modern American right, and much of the alleged center, is obsessed with the notion that low tax rates at the top are essential to growth. Remember that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, charged with producing a plan to curb deficits, nonetheless somehow ended up listing “lower tax rates” as a “guiding principle.”

Yet in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income, as in recent years. The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today.

And here we’re going to begin the misty-eyed dreaming of days gone by from the leftist perspective.  Lower tax rates at every level are necessary for growth.  Lower tax rates at the top free up capital, and stability in government and politics establishes confidence in business owners to go out and expand their businesses, leading to more and better paid employees.  The current administration’s populist “eat the rich” attitude is something that’s setting back business development, and their fickle and flawed creation of a socialist health care system is causing businesses to respond to that uncertainty as well.

The tax rates of the 1950s, with a lot of analysis, could also be looked at as why the economy didn’t develop even faster.  Let’s keep in mind that there were still bureaucrats from the FDR era in government, and the government was still busy being huge, still impacted in size by WWII and going off to Korea to fight another war as well.  Also, ask what amount of those rates were actually paid versus what the rates were.

Nor were high taxes the only burden wealthy businessmen had to bear. They also faced a labor force with a degree of bargaining power hard to imagine today. In 1955 roughly a third of American workers were union members. In the biggest companies, management and labor bargained as equals, so much so that it was common to talk about corporations serving an array of “stakeholders” as opposed to merely serving stockholders.

Squeezed between high taxes and empowered workers, executives were relatively impoverished by the standards of either earlier or later generations. In 1955 Fortune magazine published an essay, “How top executives live,” which emphasized how modest their lifestyles had become compared with days of yore. The vast mansions, armies of servants, and huge yachts of the 1920s were no more; by 1955 the typical executive, Fortune claimed, lived in a smallish suburban house, relied on part-time help and skippered his own relatively small boat.

Putting burdens on businessmen ignores that that’s also putting burdens on the business.  Also keep in mind that the character of the nation was different then.  In 1955, unions hadn’t become as bad as they are today, with things like “job banks“:

One of the benefits negotiated by the United Auto Workers was the former jobs bank program, under which laid-off members once received 95 percent of their take-home pay and benefits. More than 12,000 UAW members were paid this benefit in 2005

Union sloth is legendary, but the character of the country also worked against it in those days.

Executives weren’t the only ones relatively impoverished.

The average American in 1955 wasn’t very well off, either.  The were better off than in the Depression (some of them), and they were better off than when they were conscripted, but they weren’t well off.  Consider this (pulled off the net in 2 seconds):

Average Yearly Wages $4.130.00 (around $2/hour, or alternately TheCostofLiving.com says average yearly wages were only $3301, and so does the Social Security Adminstration at $3301.44)
Minimum Hourly Rate $1.00
Average Cost of a new car $1,900.00
Black and White TV $99.95

Right now, I’m sitting typing at a computer that can instantly communicate with millions of people across the world, with processing power unimaginable in 1955.  If you’re reading this, it’s most likely also on an incredibly powerful computer that would still be deep in the realm of science fiction for 1955, or even reading it on a handheld tablet, phone, or some other device that could not exist in 1955.

Right now, the average American wage is around $43,000, hardly a trifiling amount.  A new car in 2011 can run you as low as $13,600… of course, that’s before taxes and government fees.  Let’s say you don’t want a Kia as a price point even, and would prefer something made by an American-owned company.  You can get a Ford Fiesta for around $14,200, before the government gets involved with tax, title, and license fees.  Now the average cost might be a little higher, but the substantive cost is very different.  The lowest-grade car you can find today has technological advances that did not exist in 1955.  The Fiesta gets 29 mpg on a bad day.  A car from 1955 would be running in the 10s for fuel efficiency.  And how about safety?

As for the cost of a B&W TV set… well, those are difficult to find anymore.  Consider that your phone can probably watch youtube videos with a lot more choices than CBS, ABC, NBC and maybe a local station or two.  But what kind of TV can we get today for $99.95?  How about a 19″ LED ($99.98 online)Compare the size and performance with back then.

Using the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Inflation Calculator, $99.95 in 1955 would get us $862.69 in today’s money.  Let’s see what we can get for a TV now.  With online purchasing, I can find an $828 TV that’s a color LCD TV with a 55″ screen.  Notice a quality of life difference yet?

Going back to the car really quickly, the $1900 for a car translates to $16,399.  So you can still afford an average car or light SUV that will last much, much longer than an old car, will require less maintenance, get better mileage, be safer with regards to crash ratings and brakes and belts and airbags, and provide features like power windows, AM/FM/CD/aux jack radio, AIR CONDITIONING, and other features that simply didn’t exist in 1955, or were prohibitively expensive.

Krugman’s desire to see the US reduced to the 1950s ignores a massive substantive increase in quality of life as he tries to reduce the rich to groveling at the temple of the state.

The data confirm Fortune’s impressions. Between the 1920s and the 1950s real incomes for the richest Americans fell sharply, not just compared with the middle class but in absolute terms. According to estimates by the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, in 1955 the real incomes of the top 0.01 percent of Americans were less than half what they had been in the late 1920s, and their share of total income was down by three-quarters.

Why are lower incomes for anyone a good thing?  There was also a depression in the 1930s and there was that war thing in the 1940s, and the 1920s were a time of prosperity.  By the 1950s, there were still two decades worth of monetary policy damage and war costs being recovered from.

Today, of course, the mansions, armies of servants and yachts are back, bigger than ever — and any hint of policies that might crimp plutocrats’ style is met with cries of “socialism.” Indeed, the whole Romney campaign was based on the premise that President Obama’s threat to modestly raise taxes on top incomes, plus his temerity in suggesting that some bankers had behaved badly, were crippling the economy.

Yes, for many reasons.  Eating the rich is foolish.  They’re the most prosperous in society, often for good reason. They produce things – often capital for others’ ideas, but often the ideas themselves.  Consider this guy:

He makes some music that lots of folks really, really like.  His music talents and his ability to spot others with musical talent has led him to becoming a very, very rich man.  He’s worth $460,000,000.  Half a billion dollars.

The comical hypocrisy of Obama visiting a self-made man worth nearly half a billion dollars to beg for money so he can screw the rich and hiding a $280,000 tower of champagne so no one can see how rich he is… is, well… rich.  Jay-Z isn’t going to get hit with 91% taxes anyway (if you hang out with the pres, you get favors), and his success wouldn’t have been possible in the 1950s, either.  If he wants servants and yachts, good for him.  He earned them (and his employment of them helps them as well).

If Jay-Z were taxed at a 91% rate, however, what would his music empire be worth?  If every year, rather than be able to reinvest in new promotions, reinvest in new shows, put money down to back new artists, or even to just lavishly spend stuff on himself, which improves those who provide luxury goods, how much poorer would we as a nation be?  Maybe that last phrase is a bit over the top for somebody who’s a rapper, but consider that his money is spent somewhere, it goes somewhere, it’s reinvested somewhere, and there are a lot of people whose lives do depend or are at least influenced by, whether directly or indirectly, how much he makes and spends.  And not just the champagne producers.  Every small venue that hosts somebody he promotes is making money, the sound and lighting guys at those venues are getting paid because the venue’s full, everybody who’s making merchandising and t-shirts and everybody who’s providing concessions to the shows – that’s a lot of income and improvements in life that come from one man’s large amount of wealth being directed back into his own business.

Krugman’s statement about Obama’s connection with bankers is equally stupid.  Obama was elected in no small part by bankers donating to him in 2008.  And he’s put those big banks in charge of everything.  And even though they elected him in 2008 and has spent four years demonizing his old friends, he still has friends in those big banks.  The bankers who “behaved badly” are those who are in collusion with him.

Surely, then, the far less plutocrat-friendly environment of the 1950s must have been an economic disaster, right?

Actually, some people thought so at the time. Paul Ryan and many other modern conservatives are devotees of Ayn Rand. Well, the collapsing, moocher-infested nation she portrayed in “Atlas Shrugged,” published in 1957, was basically Dwight Eisenhower’s America.

Yes, Eisenhower’s America, where individual wealth was confiscated and ideas were confiscated and man was forced to serve man under the cruel collectivist boot of the state.  /sarc  Krugman, you’re an idiot, and have clearly never read the book (then again, Paul Krugman doesn’t read his own books, so who knows).  Krugman, please watch:

Strange to say, however, the oppressed executives Fortune portrayed in 1955 didn’t go Galt and deprive the nation of their talents. On the contrary, if Fortune is to be believed, they were working harder than ever. And the high-tax, strong-union decades after World War II were in fact marked by spectacular, widely shared economic growth: nothing before or since has matched the doubling of median family income between 1947 and 1973.

“Strange to say?”  Krugman’s worldview is so warped he doesn’t understand, and perhaps can’t understand.

The decades after World War II were because war-footing ended.  The decades after World War II were because World War II ended the idiotic New Deal.  The New Deal is what caused the Great Depression – governmental policies that established uncertainty in markets, governmental policies that picked winners and losers, governmental policies that sucked up the labor force into the CCC and other make work programs while simultaneously draining the rest of society and screwing up monetary policy.

The 1950s were a recovery from FDR years.  They were a recovery from a decade of the New Deal and the war years.  There was much to be improved on yet, but rest assured, 91% tax rates do not spur people to work harder.

Which brings us back to the nostalgia thing.

There are, let’s face it, some people in our political life who pine for the days when minorities and women knew their place, gays stayed firmly in the closet and congressmen asked, “Are you now or have you ever been?” The rest of us, however, are very glad those days are gone. We are, morally, a much better nation than we were. Oh, and the food has improved a lot, too.

Let’s see… people in political life who want minorities to know their place…

Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops of the KKK

And women to know their place…

Democrat Ted Kennedy’s car that he drowned Mary Jo Kopechne in… as he left her and went back to a party… and called his lawyer to figure out how best to proceed since he’d left her to die…

Krugman is just trolling here.  The only people who agree with it, already agree with it.  Those who look at it critically suddenly find his statements there, which are typical leftist slop, to be nonsense.

A couple paragraphs before he’s citing Ayn Rand, a female Russian Jew as an exemplar of right thought, and then suddenly women and minorities are supposed to “know their place?”  I guess if their place is at the head of the table with ideas about equality based on character, then sure, absolutely.

Krugman is as ignorant of history as he is of basic economic laws.  Let’s look at the civil rights act from the 1960s and who voted for it, just to torpedo this idiocy, just the very first stat here:

  • Democratic Party: 152–96   (61–39%)
  • Republican Party: 138–34   (80–20%)

In the 1950s even moreso, who was it that integrated schools?  Let’s look at the Little Rock Nine from 1957.  Segregation was pushed and integration resisted by DEMOCRAT Governor Orval Faubus.  Integration was forced by Republican President Eisenhower.

As for the gay issue, there’s a difference between asking for special priviledges, special laws (hate crime laws are idiocy in many ways), and special treatment rather than asking for equal treatment (exercising equal rights prevents so-called “hate” crimes, too).  Removing fedgov from marriage entirely, and leaving it up to religious organizations, would solve the issue entirely.  And I’ve covered the issue with regards to the military before, which comes with a seperate set of problems that aren’t the same in regular society, and would make this long post even longer.

As for asking “Are you now or have you ever been?”… well, normal nations do that sort of thing anyway.  Also, McCarthy, though overzealous, was often right.  Consider just a few of those with communist sympathies in US government right nowAllen West makes the point quite well:

Moderator: What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialist?

West: It’s a good question. I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Congressman West’s office responded to questions from CBSMiami.com with the following statement:

“The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.  The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies.   The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself.  These individuals certainly aren’t proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom.”

As for the food being better… being a leftist who wants to control people’s lives, Krugman probably believes the death of the Twinkie is a good thing, but even factoring that out, the reason food has improved has been due to the ideas and implementation of people in agribusiness and food industries.  Those who put their money behind new technology from the 1950s to now, even such things as microwaves, tv dinners, frozen pizzas, organic arugula and whatever else – these things have improved not because of labor or high taxes, but because of those who push the ideas forward.  (Yes, laborers contribute by doing the grunt work, but they don’t do the skull sweat as laborers… though some who do grunt work also do skull sweat.  The two aren’t exclusive by any means.)

And we finally get to the last part of this fisking of Krugman’s current Keynesian idiocy… except today he’s a lot more socialist.

Along the way, however, we’ve forgotten something important — namely, that economic justice and economic growth aren’t incompatible. America in the 1950s made the rich pay their fair share; it gave workers the power to bargain for decent wages and benefits; yet contrary to right-wing propaganda then and now, it prospered. And we can do that again.

Economic justice is socialism.  It’s the idea that everyone should be equal, and that the state should make them so.  That’s not equal justice under the law, that’s the demand for “justice” for the proletariat raging against the bourgeoisie; defining a caste system by economic income, pitting man against man, rather than acknowledging that everyone in their own capacity as an individual can earn and live as best they earn.

America in the 1950s was still influenced heavily by decades of powerful progressive politicians, and “their fair share” is quite subjective.  Fair in the use of “fair share” is typically taken as “marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism”.  Not as in “that’s a fairly stupid thing to say, Krugman”, which would be fair in this definition: “moderately numerous, large, or significant <takes a fair amount of time>.”

Krugman, who ends by saying “right-wing propaganda” immediatly preceeds it with the union fairy tale of “gave workers the power to bargain for decent wages and benefits”.  Workers always have the power to bargain.  Person A selling Person B his labor in exchange for a wage and/or benefits is exercising his freedom as an individual to sell his skills at the highest level.  Person B can take it or leave it, as can Person A, both free from interference.  When Person B wants to pay for Person A’s labor, and Persons J,K,L,M, and O all are threatening Person B, suddenly Person A and B don’t have good footing to work anymore.  Persons J,K,L,M, and O are busy telling Person B that they own Person B’s capital that Person B wants to pay for Person A’s labor with because they work at Person B’s shop.  Now Person B can’t even hire Person A because he’s busy fighting with Persons J,K,L,M, and O, who have formed a gang against Person B… and against Person A.

Or let’s assume Person B and J,K,L,M, and O get along fine.  Well when Person A shows up, he’s the junior guy.  J,K,L,M and O get favorable treatment, while Person A gets shafted, and has to pay J,K,L,M, and O in order to work.  Person A loses part of his salary just to be able to work at Person B’s business.  And Person A has to pay for Person O, who’s JKLM’s representative, to tell him not to work while they fight with Person B.

Now, let’s assume there’s Person C.  Person C is in a right-to-work state.  Person C can see that Person A wants to work in B’s field.  Person C offers a better rate to A than B can offer, and A doesn’t have to live under JKLMO anymore.

I’ve rambled a bit here (thanks for sticking with me, reader), but unions pit one group of workers against another.  We’ve seen this just this last week in how the Teamsters union got screwed over by the Baker’s union.  Normally it’s most easy to see in how the one man is isolated from the union, but here we have an even better example in how the Teamsters had reached a deal with Hostess, but te Bakers screwed them over and killed the company – and thus the Teamsters’ jobs are now gone.

Krugman’s entire piece is a vivid leftist fantasy about how eating the rich is great, how good unions are, and how big government is good.  He’s a firm believer in Keynesian top-down economics (as has been detailed many, many times).  His title of “The Twinkie Manifesto” is perhaps more appropriate than he thinks it is.   It’s saccharine fluff for those who are already inclined to it, and distasteful to those who don’t like it.

I’m partial to Zingers myself.

As a final note here, and something I may make it’s own post (as this has gotten a bit long… though by fisking a “manifesto” it’s to be expected), an anecdote.  My grandfather worked for a railroad for decades.  In the 1950s, he was still working for the railroad, and the railroads are rather famous for their own unions, as well as having their own retirement programs that pre-date Social Security.  Well, in this wonderful union world in which he worked, he would spend days after work at his house disassembling an old cistern in the backyard and breaking the bricks to make gravel for the driveway.  In this rich, wonderful world of “decent wages and benefits”, my grandpa would take bricks from a broken cistern in the backyard at his house and break the bricks – by hand with a hammer – to make gravel for the driveway.

I’m not averse to hard work, but the 1950s economically were a relative improvement over previous decades.  The Democrat economic issues Krugman brings up as good things to his mindset are just as abhorrent as bringing back Democrat racists and misogynists.  We don’t need any of those ideas.

The nostalgic looks that many people have on the right are about going back to a time of much more moral certainty, and equality under the law.  Communism was identified for what it was, a murderous statist ideology that killed millions.  America was recognized for its greatness in allowing people freedom – which is why the struggle for civil rights came about, and often primarily driven by people on the Republican side of the house.  Welfare was looked at derisively, hard work was a virtue (which also meant the character of unions, by their people, was different).  The law was still respected, and though flawed, people sought to work to change it – again, the struggles of the civil rights era were about people defending themselves within the law.  Civil disobedience works in a moral nation – not in an immoral one – and that’s why it did work in America, and improved the American condition.

No one wants to go back to cars with drum brakes and no seatbelts, no one wants to go back to black and white TV and no computers; no one wants to go back to segregation (though there are some places where it exists by choice of the residents, but that’s because of welfare and economic policies).  No one wants to go back to the days when Democrat sheriffs, governors, mayors, congressman, and senators oppressed minorities and women.  They do that enough today.  Nobody wants government in their bedroom, and only the left wants discriminatory laws for different people.

And only self-named progressives want to go back to regressive, destructive taxes and powerful government controls.

Alfonso Rachel is a very, very sharp guy.

Can we have Colonel Allen West in 2016, please?

He may not be busy, depending on how many extra votes the Democrats find.

Via The Blaze & Drudge:

Too Far? New Attack Ad Targeting Allen West Depicts Him Beating Women

It is hard to think of an attack ad lower than the one essentially blaming Mitt Romney for a woman’s death, but we may have just found one.

It’s from Florida, and it depicts Allen West (R-FL) in a boxing ring with red gloves on.  The cartoon-like video then shows West punching an old woman, a young lady and seemingly a family with children.  He also steals cash from the hands of the family and pockets it, all while laughing like a gremlin.

The ad is starting to garner attention from critics, including one who thinks there are some racial undertones.  Javier Manjarres, who is following the race closely, notes:

 ”The ad slyly uses a caricature of West and portrays him as a bully who hits women- more specifically, a white women- while he grabs money away from a “middle class” family that just happens to be a black family.”

The American Sunrise PAC is responsible for the video.  The group was incidentally founded by the father of Congressman West’s general election opponent, Democrat Patrick Murphy, who has funneled $250,000 into the PAC. 

Here’s the ad:

It was nice that they put the dates in there for their supposed citations.  Here’s the only Palm Beach Post story on Allen West between 11/23/11 and 11/25/11.

Rep. Allen West, a Plantation Republican, disagreed, saying the 10-year, $600 billion cut in defense spending included in the $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction plan would be devastating.

“I am not for these automatic cuts. It disproportionately will affect the military,” West, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, said.

..

West said Congress should revamp the nation’s tax code by broadening the tax base and eliminating some tax subsidies. He favors a plan floated by U.S. Rep. Patty Toomey, R-Pa., that would make tax cuts initiated by President George W. Bush permanent and would lower taxes from 35 to 28 percent for the wealthiest Americans. To make up the difference, Toomey’s plan would eliminate about $250 billion in tax breaks, including for college tuition and mortgages.

But at the top of the list, West said, Congress should pare back government spending by an estimated $200 billion.

“The most important thing is people need to go up thereand start doing the hard surgical scrutiny of looking for failed government programs that can be eliminated,” said West.

But some politicians of both parties appear to agree that cuts to Medicare should be averted and that tax reform is essential the nation’s economic security.

The across-the-board cuts, not scheduled to go into effect until January 2013, also hit Medicare providers, including a 32 percent reduction for in-patient hospital care, a 15 percent cut for physicians and a 7 percent cut for nursing homes.

“We don’t want to see that happen,” West said.

Wow, West really does want to beat white seniors and women and black families and steal their money… by extending the Bush tax rates, rather than letting them expire… so they can keep more of their money.  And he wants wealthy Americans to have less of their money stolen by the government.  And he doesn’t want people’s money stolen from government and redistributed through failed programs.  And he wants to make sure Medicare doesn’t take a hit.  That makes perfect sense to make Allen West into a boxer who takes people’s money… if you’re a Democrat ad writer.

So the exact same article, from 10 months ago, states he wants to extend the Bush tax rates, also known as the Bush tax cuts.  Those were broad cuts for everyone.  If West extends those, everyone gets to keep more of their own earnings.  If he shuts down failed government programs, there are some welfare leeches that might lose handouts that were taken from the working man’s pocket.  The only people who have a problem with that are welfare leeches who demand government steal from the working to give to them.  West wants tax cuts for the wealthy, which means business owners – people who turn around and generate jobs and spur the economy on. West wants to not make blind cuts to the military, though I’m sure he’d agree there are wasteful programs that could be cut, he also knows that the military projects that get cut aren’t necessarily the ones that should go when DC is making the decisions and not unit commanders.  West is concerned that Medicare cuts proposed by the super committee would harm Medicare providers, ultimately hurting those on Medicare.

He doesn’t “steal money” from anyone.  He’s for stopping the government from plundering one family to give to a mooching parasite.  Ending a handout is not stealing money.  It’s stopping the theft from someone else.  If A has been subsidized by the government and given favors and money from B’s pocket, saying B should keep their money is not stealing from A.  A loses nothing out of their own pocket, they have the same amount they started with – the same potential for income based on their own effort.  B gets to keep a larger percentage of their income because that money isn’t taken by government to give to A so A can indulge in sloth.

There’s also the racial component to this ad, which is almost inevitable with Democrats due to their own intrinsic racism, but it’s subtle.  The choice of “victims” is specific, but they don’t go over the top.  I’m sure were it directed the other way, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would scream racism, but realistically, it’s not terribly racist in its presentation.  It would be interesting to hear what was going on in the studio where they were making it, but ultimately in the final version of the ad, it’s only subtly racist.  It’s still offensive, but also so profoundly stupid and contrary to the story it quotes that it’s a toss-up between offensive and stupid.

Congressman Allen West brings up how this was a complete end run around congress and “the consent of the American people”.

From Real Clear Politics:

“Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America,” Rep. Allen West (R-FL) said at the Palm Beach County Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner. West represents the district in the U.S. Congress.

And now today, from Newser:

GOP Erasing District of Tea Party Star

Strong conservative, Tea Party favorite, and rising star Allen West could find his congressional seat gerrymandered Democrat—by none other than the Republican Party. West’s “sacrifice” at the hands of his own party smells like the latest example of the establishment fighting back against the Tea Party, according to Legal Insurrection. One Florida legislator, who happens to be working for the Mitt Romney campaign, “tried to hide behind a need to comply with [state and] federal law, but that’s obviously a dodge since there could have been many ways to comply yet not sacrifice West,” writes William Jacobson.

And more from CBS:

it’s becoming increasingly likely that West will have to take his message somewhere other than Congress. That’s because under a redistricting plan put forth by the GOP-controlled Florida legislature, West could have a hard time winning a second term – a situation that has some conservatives suggesting a conspiracy by establishment Republicans, including GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Allahpundit’s big question at Hotair:

Why hand over a congressional seat held by a guy who’s capable of raising boatloads of money for the party and of reconciling tea partiers to a party apparatus from which they feel disaffected?

Seems pretty stupid.  But so is a choice between Mitt and Newt.

Or for another take on it, the Palm Beach Post:

Does Democrat-dominated Palm Beach County still have enough red precincts to help two Republican congressmen?

Although Democrats hold a 45.3-to-28.9 percent registration advantage countywide, GOP-leaning areas in the county’s north end and along the coast help form the backbone of Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West’s District 22, which also extends into Broward County. And northern Palm Beach County Republican strongholds are a smaller but important piece of Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney’s eight-county District 16.

When the Republican-controlled Florida legislature draws new political boundaries next year, lawmakers’ traditional reflex will be to try to protect rising GOP stars West and Rooney. But a new law and old-fashioned math could bring headaches for Republicans.

The voter-approved “Fair Districts” law forbids drawing districts to favor incumbents or political parties. Even if opponents succeed in getting the law tossed, or if lawmakers figure a creative way around it, it’ll be tough to find enough Republicans in Palm Beach County to help both West and Rooney.

These may just be the breaks.  And it isn’t as if Allen West isn’t popular enough to go for a higher office.

Via HotAir and the Weekly Standard:

“I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.

“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?

“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.

“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.”

Amazing what transpires in two weeks…

Canada Free Press simply calls it “Obama’s Watergate”, with an excellent piece here.

Nearly forty years later, another “scandal,” exponentially larger than Watergate, has the potential to bring down the occupant of the oval office along with other high ranking officials. While no one was murdered as a result of Watergate, two law enforcement officers are dead because of the current “scandal” that is leading closer and closer to the highest levels of the Obama administration, including the Department of Justice and the U.S. State Department.

Folks over at ARFcom digging through the DOJ’s speech archives found that Eric Holder mentioned Fast & Furious in the past.  AWR Hawkins at Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government site picked up on that here:

News about Operation “Fast and Furious” is now ubiquitous. Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson’s Fourth of July testimony to Senator Charles Grassley and Representative Darrell Issa blew the cover off what appears to be one of the biggest political cover-ups in the last 50 years.

In the middle of it is Attorney General Eric Holder, who now feigns a blissful ignorance about the whole mess: having nothing to say about its beginnings as Operation “Gunrunner” or its latest incarnation as “Fast and Furious.”

For those who might not know, Operation “Gunrunner” was the plan to sell guns to “straw purchasers” with suspected ties to the Mexican cartel. Apparently, ATF was then banking on those purchasers to walk the guns across the border into Mexico. Operation “Fast and Furious” was the plan to follow those guns until they were in cartel hands and then make apprehensions. (For the record, I concur with those who believe this was all an attempt to flood the border with weapons in order to create a degree of chaos sufficient to convince us of the supposed-need for more gun control in America.)

Anyway, the problem with Holder’s feigned ignorance is that he gave a speech in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on April 2, 2009, in which he boasted about Operation “Gunrunner” and told Mexican authorities of everything he was doing to insure its success.

Salem News also has a piece here on Holder’s lies.

Pajamas media notes an email about the ATF’s Fast & Furious from SAC Newell let Eric Holder and numerous other high-ranking DOJ officials know about it as well:

An email cited in Senator Charles Grassley’s testimony in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Operation Fast and Furious indicates that knowledge of the program was spread across the highest levels of the Justice Department. This lends even greater suspicion to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s claim that he knew nothing about the program until well after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed.

The October 27, 2009 email from ATF Phoenix Field Division Special Agent in Charge (SAC) William Newell regarded a Southwest Border Strategy Group meeting that focused on Fast and Furious. It contained a laundry list of high ranking Justice Department officials that attended the meeting, including:

  • Assistant Attorney General (Criminal Division) Lanny Breuer,
  • Kenneth Melson, Acting Director, ATF
  • William Hoover, Acting Deputy Director, ATF
  • Michele Leonhart, Administrator, DEA
  • Robert Mueller, Director FBI

Pajamas Media makes note that with the entire DOJ complicit in Gunwalker, no acting Inspector General could be trusted to investigate the ever-expanding list of crimes.

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.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) made that very observation in a March 8 letter to Kevin L. Perkins, chair of the Integrity Committee for the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.

Grassley asks – who watches the watchers?

Lori Jane Gliha of ABC 15 in Arizona has been reporting on ATF Fast & Furious guns turning up in Arizona on 6/30:

The ABC15 Investigators uncovered documents showing guns connected to at least two Glendale criminal cases and at least two Phoenix criminal cases also appear in the ATF’s Suspect Gun Database, a sort-of watch list for suspicious gun sales.

All four cases involve drug-related offenses. In one Glendale police report dated July 2010, police investigators working with DEA agents served search warrants at homes near 75th and Glendale avenues in Glendale, and 43rd and Glendale avenues in Phoenix as part of a “large scale marijuana trafficking” investigation.

Police investigators reported they “obtained information that members of the (trafficking) organization were using the homes…as stash houses used to store large amounts of marijuana temporarily.”

They reported finding hundreds of pounds of marijuana, more than $63,000 in U.S. currency and three guns inside the homes. One of the recovered weapons, a Romarm/Cugir WASR-10 rifle, appeared in an official ATF Suspect Gun Summary document in November 2009, proving agents knowingly allowed the suspicious gun sale, months before the weapon turned up at the crime scene.

And on 7/6, 43 ATF Fast & Furious guns were caught at a stop with a group of illegal aliens and meth:

PHOENIX – The ABC15 Investigators have linked an additional 43 weapons recovered during a Phoenix traffic stop to the controversial Fast and Furious ATF case.

According to court paperwork, Phoenix Drug Enforcement Administration agents discovered the guns in mid-April. They pulled over a vehicle near 83rd Avenue and Interstate 10, near the Phoenix and Tolleson border.

Documents filed in federal court reveal five suspects named in the case are accused of conspiring to possess and distribute “500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine…”

Four of the suspects are listed as undocumented immigrants. The fifth suspect had been admitted to the United States under a non-immigrant visa, according to court documents.

David Codrea of Examiner.com brings Operation Castaway to light:

Virginia O’Brien, Special Agent in Charge at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives  Tampa Field Division, ran a gun-running investigation that was walking guns to Honduras using the techniques and tactics identical to Fast and Furious, it was reported to these correspondents this evening via private correspondence from a proven credible source.

Some folks on AR15.com mention that the timing of Operation Castaway and the illegal walking of guns to Honduras by the ATF may have coincided with Honduran President Manuel Zelaya’s decision to make an illegal referendum on allowing him to serve a second term.  Honduras’ Constitution limits presidents to one term in an effort to prevent a dictatorship from developing, and Honduras’ Supreme Court ordered the Honduran Army to remove Zelaya, who found refuge in Venezeula… the same place he was going to acquire (already-filled-out) ballots from.

John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, has this piece at FOX News on 7/8 asking when will the Obama Administration come clean on Gunwalker – since there can be no good behind any motivations here:

Here are just some of the questions that the Obama administration still has not answered:

1. Why would the government go through with the policy when it was seemingly obvious to everyone that there was no law-enforcement benefit to the operation?

2. Why won’t the Obama administration remove Acting Director Ken Melson from continuing to run the agency?

Turns out the Stimulus bill funded an expansion of the original Operation Gunrunner, that turned into Gunwalker/F&F:

For an additional amount for ‘State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance’, $40,000,000, for competitive grants to provide assistance and equipment to local law enforcement along the Southern border and in High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas to combat criminal narcotics activity stemming from the Southern border, of which $10,000,000 shall be transferred to ‘Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Salaries and Expenses’ for the ATF Project Gunrunner.

(Link that leads directly to that section of the bill here.)

Remember ATF Director Melson?  He talked to Congress last week with his lawyer present and started singing – he knows he needs to pick a side before he ends up indicted.

Remember Agent CelafuHe has some things to say about Melson’s testimony to Congress.

Cefalu said the operation was never about actually arresting cartel members for arms trafficking, it was about headlines for the ATF and its upper echelons, more budget, more gun control, and more media attention for ATF:

There’s no Mister Big in Mexico, there’s no … Iron Pipeline. It doesn’t exist.

When everybody is screaming terrorism and counterterrorism no one wants to talk to anyone but the FBI. If there’s gunrunning on the border and thousands of guns flowing into Mexico it’s more headlines for ATF.

It’s fame and glory and grabbing headlines.

But it’s like the ATF says…

Florida Representative Allen West is calling for Holder’s resignation.

Mike Walsh at the NY Post points out that the official story of Gunwalker is falling apart fast, and that Holder and Obama can expect to have to answer for it.

So if the identities of the Mexican criminals were known to the feds, what was the point of Project Gunrunner — and why is Holder so desperately trying to stonewall by withholding hundreds of documents from Congress?

Law-abiding gun owners and dealers think they already know. With the Obama administration wedded to the fiction that 90 percent of the guns Mexican cartels use originate here — they don’t — many suspect that “Fast and Furious” was a backdoor attempt to smear domestic gun aficionados as part of its stealth efforts on gun control by executive fiat.

“I just want you to know that we’re working on it,” Obama was quoted as saying to gun-control advocate Sarah Brady in March. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

Unfortunately for the administration, this one’s out in the open now.

Melson testified behind closed doors on July 4, but the country needs to hear him speak — loudly and publicly. “Let me be clear,” Issa wrote to Melson in April, “we are not conducting a concurrent investigation with the Department of Justice, but rather an independent investigation of the Department of Justice.

Holder and Obama better take note.