Posts Tagged ‘Road Map’

New report on Fast & Furious blasts ATF, U.S. Attorney

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

This is article 168 of 244 in the topic Congressional Investigations

Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday announced the release of the first of three new reports laying out the facts about what Issa termed the reckless Obama/Holder program commonly known as Operation Fast and Furious.

“The [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] ATF and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office failed to consider and protect the safety of Americans, Mexicans, and fellow law enforcement personnel throughout Operation Fast and Furious,” stated Issa upon promulgating his committee’s report throughout the nation’s capital.

“Testimony and a persistent reluctance to fully cooperate make clear that many officials at ATF and the Department of Justice would have preferred to quietly sweep this matter under the rug. Though they are among the most vocal objectors to oversight by Congress, this investigation has also shown that both agencies are among those most in need of additional scrutiny and attention from Congress,” claims Chairman Issa.

“The ATF wasted time, money and resources on wiretaps and put agents in harm’s way trying to learn about the links that other agencies had already made,” Sen. Grassley said.

“It’s a classic case of government agencies’ failure to connect the dots. The ATF leadership claims it didn’t get the full picture from the FBI until after the case was over. We know the [Drug Enforcement Administration] DEA was actively giving information to the ATF, but the ATF dropped the ball. Whistleblowers put the spotlight on Operation Fast and Furious. The ATF clearly needs to clean up its act, and the Department of Justice needs to make certain this kind of program is never allowed to happen again. This report provides a road map of what went wrong,” noted the Republican Senator.

The report, titled “Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation, Part I of III,” is based on transcribed interviews with 24 individuals, some covering multiple days; informal interviews with more than 50 individuals; and the review of more than 10,000 pages of documents.

Issa and Grassley allege that while Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department withheld tens of thousands of pages of documents and denied access to numerous witnesses, the investigation did “find sufficient evidence to draw conclusions concerning the origins of Operation Fast and Furious, the detrimental effect of inter-agency miscommunications and turf issues, flawed strategies, delays, and an overall failure to effectively supervise subordinate offices.”

According to the report: “From the outset, the case was marred by missteps, poor judgments, and an inherently reckless strategy. In the summer of 2009, the Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. promulgated a ‘Strategy for Combating the Mexican Cartels.’ The new aim was to zero in on the firearms trafficking networks. Agents were advised that ‘merely seizing firearms’ purchased illegally by straw buyers should take a back seat to gathering information in hopes of dismantling entire firearms trafficking networks. To effectuate the new plan, ATF agents in Phoenix convinced local gun dealers to cooperate by supplying ATF with real-time information on the straw purchases, even though ATF knew the buyers were illegally obtaining firearms destined for the Mexican drug cartels. The gun dealers were reassured that ATF was closely monitoring the transactions, and interdicting the weapons.

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About That Special Relationship

by Daniel Greenfield on Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

This is article 749 of 1228 in the topic International

Romney has landed in Jerusalem and Obama is threatening to visit Israel in his second term. This seems like good news for Americans, but presidential and pre-presidential visits are often bad news for Israelis.

Romney’s trip itinerary covering the UK, Israel and Poland is a clever road map critique of Obama’s foreign policy. Kerry and Obama both campaigned on a promise to fix America’s broken relations with its allies. Romney is subtly doing the same thing, paying a visit to allies alienated by the last three years.

When Obama first visited Israel the contentious Democratic primaries had just wrapped up and Jewish voters and organizations had thrown their support to Hillary Clinton. Obama had Jewish leftists, but he didn’t have more middle-of-the-road Jewish Democrats. And additionally paying a visit to the home of the Little Satan was a way of dispelling suspicions about his Muslim roots.

Obama hasn’t bothered with a visit to Israel, but he hasn’t bothered appearing in person at the NAACP either. And that’s all for the best. Israel needs a visit from Obama about as much as it needs more of the “mysterious fires” being set as part of the Arson Jihad.

A presidential visit to most other countries is a formality while a presidential visit to Israel is an unpleasantness. Presidents who visit Israel must also stop off for a visit with the terrorist leaders. Presidents don’t just stop by, have a pita, smell the flowers and do some handshakes. Instead they arrive tasked with peacemaking duties and then they task everyone else with their peacemaking.

There is something intriguing, though little good, about Putin’s visit to Israel, because it at least has the air of unpredictability. Presidential visits to Israel however are painfully predictable. There is never anything new that comes out of those trips and nothing good either. They are a lot like family reunions, pleasant in theory, but uncomfortable in practice. Both have a special relationship that they can never quite define and the visits always carry with them an aura of disappointment.

A Presidential visit has the air of a boss coming downstairs to check up on a lazy employee. On arrival, there are the customary expressions of a hope for peace. In private whatever Prime Minister is in office will be upbraided for still not having achieved peace. At a joint press conference in a capital that the United States still doesn’t recognize,  after the usual formalities about the special relationship and the commitment to Israel’s security, the President will tell reporters that more sacrifices are needed for peace.

“And next time I talk to you there had better be peace,” is the unspoken message always left hanging in the air.

The pre-presidential visits are less of a chore, but no more significant. Candidates stop by Israel the way that they do any other state. They visit a few significant places, have their picture taken there, get a brief tour from local officials and fly over the narrowest point in Israel’s border as a demonstration of just how strategically precarious the situation is.

Like all practiced politicians they are very understanding of the problems that their hosts have, whatever those problems might be.

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GOP and Obama talk of compromise but circle each other warily, with eye toward 2012

by Jon Ward on Friday, January 7th, 2011

This is article 157 of 522 in the topic Government Spending

The talk is of jobs and fixing the nation’s fiscal problems, but both sides in Washington are keeping their powder dry at the moment, looking for political advantage over the other.

House Republicans are spending the next week in what is largely a symbolic act to repeal President Obama’s health care bill, which will likely go nowhere in the Senate and would be vetoed anyway by the president if it did pass.

But when it comes to putting forth ideas for how to cut spending, or how to make Medicare and Medicaid solvent, the GOP has been clear about one thing only: they have little intention of making politically perilous proposals before the president does.

“Entitlement reform will only be done on a bipartisan basis. So we’re waiting for signals from the president as to whether or not that’s a discussion he’s willing to have,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, in a Thursday press conference. “The president must embrace it.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, acted on Tuesday as if Obama was the one who was just elected based on promises to cut government spending.

“Once we get to the State of the Union, I can tell you, I expect this president to put some action behind the words that he has been using,” Cantor said. “Number one, I am looking to see some significant spending cuts proposed by the president that we can work on together.”

Cantor was pressed for what cuts the GOP will propose, and whether any will come before the State of the Union speech on Jan. 25. He mentioned only a five percent cut to congressional offices, totaling $35 million, and nothing further.

House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, had no answer Thursday for NBC’s Brian Williams when asked to name “a program right now that we could do without.”

“I don’t think I have one off the top of my head,” Boehner said.

Even House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who has been the closest thing to a political kamikaze in the House GOP over the last few years by proposing a plan to completely overhaul Medicare and Medicaid, was on Thursday backing off a push he indicated he might make weeks ago to include the plan in the House budget.

“I never intended, when I wrote the Road Map, that this was going to be the budget or the platform for the Republican Party,” Ryan said at a forum sponsored by E21, a conservative economic group.

Yet just a month ago, Ryan told reporters that he would like to include the “Road Map” in the budget, though he acknowledged then he would have to persuade other Republicans to go along with him.

“I know what I want to do but I don’t know what I can do,” he said.

On Thursday the writing was on the wall that Ryan has received the message from House GOP leadership that the “Road Map” is a no go: “I’m not suggesting that Congress is going to propose this,” he said.

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House GOP leaders mum on whether they’ll stand behind Paul Ryan’s ‘Road Map’

by Jon Ward on Thursday, December 30th, 2010

This is article 8 of 8 in the topic Entitlement Programs

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, talks about an alternative Republican budget plan he is pushing in the House, Wednesday, April 1, 2009, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

For years, House Republicans have held Paul Ryan’s plan to revamp Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security at arm’s length, deeming it politically unwise to embrace it.

Now that the GOP controls the House, however, John Boehner and Eric Cantor, the incoming speaker of the House and majority leader, face a choice: Do they keep Ryan’s “Road Map” plan in the background, or embrace it and use it to present the country with a clear contrast to President Obama?

Ryan has said he wants to include his plan – which would move entitlements and health care in a more free market direction than Obama’s health plan, seeking to lower prices through consumer purchasing power – in the budget that comes out of his committee in April, but that he does not know if leadership will support him.

“I know what I want to do but I don’t know what I can do,” he said earlier this month.

Passing the Road Map as part of the House budget would likely go nowhere in the Senate and would undoubtedly draw the president’s veto even if it made it to his desk. But it would be a conscious decision by Republicans to do more than say no to Obama’s plan, moving beyond mere opposition to advocating a vision of their own.

“We will be choosing what kind of future we want to have for the rest of this century in the very near future in this country, probably in 2012. So I believe we owe it to the country to give them an alternative choice than the path we’re on right now,” Ryan said.

One week before the 112th Congress begins, Boehner and Cantor have kept mum about their intentions. They declined to answer questions from The Daily Caller on the matter.

A survey of Republican and Tea Party leaders found some support for the idea of embedding the Road Map in the budget, though there was also some at the grassroots level who demonstrated a lack of familiarity with the plan.

Doug Mainwaring, a Tea Party activist in the Maryland suburbs north of Washington, was unequivocal about his desire to see the Road Map banner picked up by Republican leaders in Congress.

“If the Republican leadership doesn’t get behind Mr. Ryan and actively promote the Road Map, I predict that Tea Partiers will be looking for a new crop of congressmen in 2012,” Mainwaring, a real estate agent, told TheDC.

Mainwaring said that the Road Map is “the only sincere attempt to deal with serious structural and systemic problems our nation now faces,” and said Tea Party activists are “suspicious” about why Ryan’s plan has not been put “front and center” by House GOP leaders.

Bob MacGuffie, a grassroots Tea Party activist in Connecticut, said the grassroots conservatives in his state would support the Ryan plan “100 percent” if it was introduced in the House budget.

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Granholm to Obama Pre-Auto Bailout: I Hope You Know What You’re Doing

by Doug Powers on Monday, September 6th, 2010

This is article 18 of 52 in the topic Bailouts

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As the Obama administration continues to founder, administration “insiders” will write more and more “tell-all” books — not that I’ll buy any of them. I refuse to give any money to anyone who signed on to help sell a sham but then bailed out when it all went south and later tried to profit from telling everybody how awful the sham was.

Former “Car Czar” Steve Rattner has written the first book of this nature, and there’s an item alleged in Rattner’s book that piqued my interest, mainly because it has a certain “Three Stooges questioning the competence of the Keystone Cops” feel to it:

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D), dejected about the possibility the automakers would have to file for bankruptcy, tells Obama in a voice barely above a whisper: “I hope you know what you’re doing.”

Of course he knew what he was doing — it was a huge union bailout without regard to the economic consequence to the rest of the country. Besides, Obama didn’t have to know how to run a car company, he did the logical thing and hired a telecommunications executive with no auto background to do that. What’s the problem?

This comment is alleged to have come from one of Obama’s economic advisors (I guess Obama wanted to make the economy of the whole country look like Michigan’s and needed Jenny to serve as a road map for how to get there) from an auto-producing state — shouldn’t she have known if what he was doing was the right thing or not? Trick question — of course not — look at Michigan’s economy after many years of Jennifer Granholm’s leadership.

The Blog Prof examines a few more choice quotes from Rattner’s book that paints Obama as an economically clueless community organizer.

With that in mind, in his speech in Milwaukee today, President Obama will announce an additional $50 billion in infrastructure spending. Yeah, that’s what voters have been waiting for — more spending. Should be a good sell on the campaign trail.

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