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Politics Heating Up – Justice Department Scorching

October 6, 2011 Leave a comment
Politics is heating up across America, and one place the heat is getting absolutely scorching is within the Justice Department. Internal Justice Department documents obtained by media outlets on October 3, 2011 reveal that Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial ATF gun-running program known as Fast and Furiousin July, 2010, directly contradicting Mr. Holder’s statement to Congress.

On May 3, 2011 Holder stated in a Judiciary Committee hearing “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”Of course, the Justice Department now claims that the released memos were discussing a “different case started before Eric Holder became Attorney General”, and Mr. Holder claims to have “misunderstood” the question from the Committee back in May.Operation “Fast and Furious” was a covert ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) program where firearms were legally purchased by straw buyers in the U.S. and then smuggled into Mexico to be sold to drug cartels. Letting the guns “walk” was the term used for allowing the straw purchases to be sent south. The operation remained secret until last December when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered during a drug interdiction operation. Two guns were recovered from the scene that proved to be part of the Fast and Furious straw purchases, and the operation was publically revealed by ATF whistleblower, John Dodson.

The ostensible purpose of the operation was to track the weapons in order to combat the drug cartels, but many political rivals of the Administration see the operation as cynical ploy to push a domestic gun control agenda, and point to numerous instances of left wing commentary before the Fast and Furious story broke that claimed a connection between lax U.S. gun laws and gun violence in Mexico. Others on the opposite side of the spectrum claim that these operations were the work of “rogue” elements within the ATF and that the gun running operations originated under the auspices of the Bush Administration.

What is clear is that William Newell, the ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix area where most of the straw purchases occurred, has admitted in sworn testimony that “the DHS, IRS, DEA, ATF, ICE and the Obama Justice Department were all involved” in the Fast and Furious operation. President Obama says he knew nothing about Fast and Furious, even though $10 million in stimulus funds were set aside for the operation in February of 2009 and he referred to “gun tracing” and “gun enforcement policies” in a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in April 2009.

The media’s reluctance to report on this story lends credence to the claim that the media is largely compliant and partisan, but as more facts come to light that illuminate trails leading high up into the Justice Department, the media can no longer ignore the story, and Operation Fast and Furious may become the singular issue of the 2012 Election.

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Haiti – Consistency Amidst Disarray

January 5, 2011 1 comment

Haitian citizens are in a heated and violent debate related to the presidential election.  The first round of voting was controversial with no clear outcome decided.  Protests followed which were violent but also awakening as accounts of fraud were made public.  Originally, the first round votes were supposed to be announced three weeks ago on the 20th of December.  Since a decision has not been made, the runoff vote scheduled for Jan 16th will also have to be pushed back.  It’ll likely be at least a month after the original results are finally tallied before a second round of votes can be held.  The Organization of American States is handling the review of results from the first round.  The political chaos is just one of many issues that continue to weigh on Haitian citizens.  Recurring problems still remain from the earthquakes and the more recent Cholera outbreaks.  The death toll continues to rise but despite all that some citizens amazingly maintain relatively positive spirits – finding comfort in the “consistency” of all of the political debates throughout a nation of disarray.  The overwhelming sentiment for many Haitians is that the matter is in God’s hands, their only true incorruptible leader, keeping their faith that things will be okay.

Obama on Fox News is Smart Politics

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Obama on Fox News is Smart Politics

Author: Julia Piscitelli, Thomas Jefferson Street Blog

Source: U.S. News and World Report, November 18th, 2009, Obama on Fox News is Smart Politics, Retrieved November 19th, 2009 from http://www.usnews.com/blogs/julia-piscitelli/2009/11/18/obama-on-fox-news-is-smart-politics.html

If you’ve been watching Fox News Channel at all over the past few days you have seen a barrage of ads for tonight’s airing of President Barack Obama’s sit down (read: long) interview with the networks’ Major Garrett.

I guess the president never heard the rumor that the White House was trying to squelch Democrats from appearing on Fox. And that’s good. That alleged squeeze seemed to only cover “Democratic strategists,” the catch-all term networks use for those of us with Democratic Hill, campaign, and/or non-profit backgrounds.

It is best that the Fox freeze out was short lived. I can’t imagine those same people would dare call anyone to keep them off of the network after the president himself reverses it. It is bad press relations and the Obama administration has otherwise demonstrated smart communications strategy from the start, so the turn around makes sense. According to swamppolitics.com:

“….White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said Thursday [11/6/09] night that she had checked with colleagues who ‘deal with TV issues” and they had not told people to avoid Fox. On the contrary, they had urged people to appear on the network, Dunn wrote in an email.”

Alas, I didn’t make it onto the White House’s warning call list. And frankly, I think some consultants are feeling pretty important that the White House calls to threaten them. KTLA.com reports that a Fox Dem contributor who did not receive a call sounded a bit miffed when he postured:

” ‘[The White House staffers] know better than to tell me anything like that,’ ”

Wise Democratic Members of the House and Senate have remained regular fixtures on the network. During their campaigns, their media buyers purchase time for their commercials to run on local, state and cable news. You had better believe that Fox News Channel is always at the top of that list because it is the number one cable news station in the country.

Categories: Current Events, News Feed Tags: , ,

Hillary Clinton’s Camp is Election-Ready

July 30, 2009 Leave a comment

No Political Race in Sight, but Hillary Clinton’s Camp is Election-Ready

Author: Michael Mcauliff – DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

Source: NYDailyNews.com DAILY NEWS, Updated Wednesday, July 29th 2009, 10:32 AM, No Political Race in Sight, but Hillary Clinton’s Camp is Election-Ready, Retrieved July29th 2009 from: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/07/29/2009-07-29_hillary_camp_is_election_ready.html

WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton says running for office isn’t on her “radar,” but she still has an eight-person political team and sports two overflowing campaign war chests.

Her team transformed the former Democratic White House contender’s massive campaign debts into a $3 million mountain of political cash, according to federal fund-raising records through the end of June.

Clinton’s failed presidential bid is now $1 million in the black, and her old Senate campaign committee has $2.1 million in the bank, much of it transferred in from the presidential account.

The former First Lady paid eight staffers nearly $100,000 in the second quarter of the year to tend to the remains of her political empire.

She officially pulled out of the political arena in January when she became secretary of state. But Clinton’s campaign Web site continues to accept contributions.

Democratic operatives were surprised at the size of the operation. “She’s got eight?” said one Democrat. “Can I get a job there?”

By comparison, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is up for reelection next year, had just three people on staff last quarter.

One of Clinton’s remaining campaign workers said they were just there to wind down what was essentially a $250 million business, and would soon cut staff to five people.

The worker noted John Kerry didn’t terminate his 2004 White House campaign for more than three years after he lost.

The aide also said Team Clinton is looking to liquidate her presidential bank account, either by giving the money to other candidates or donating it to charity.

Clinton is adamant she’s not running for anything, telling a Thai TV station recently, “That’s not anything that is at all on my radar screen.” And she told ABC News on Sunday, “I’m out of politics.”

But analysts said as long as Clinton has a campaign committee with millions of dollars in it – dormant or not – she has weight in the political world.

“It raises questions about that nascent presidential campaign for 2016 – and she didn’t close the door on that, if you read her remarks carefully,” said the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato.

“Just having the committee and the money gives her political clout, if she ever needs it,” Sabato said.

A former Clinton senior campaign aide told the Daily News that her current job running the State Department would position her perfectly for a White House campaign redux.

“It answers the last question about her: can she run something?” the aide said. “And it’s a huge platform.”

Palin-Hillary Clinton Political Alliance

May 20, 2009 Leave a comment

A Sarah Palin-Hillary Clinton Political Alliance? Someone Actually Tried

Author: Robert Schlesinger

Source: U.S. News and World Report, May 19, 2009 09:55 AM ET, A Sarah Palin-Hillary Clinton Political Alliance? Someone Actually Tried, Retrieved May 19, 2009 from http://www.usnews.com/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2009/05/19/a-sarah-palin-hillary-clinton-political-alliance-someone-actually-tried.html

If you haven’t already, I commend to you this bizarre story from Politico’s excellent Jonathan Martin: Apparently an otherwise-Democratic donor who is married to Fox News personality Greta Van Susteren tried to arrange a political alliance between Hillary Clinton and … Sarah Palin.

According to the story, one John Coale tried to convince Palin to help the secretary of state retire the debt left over from her most recent campaign, which you might recall was for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Democratic Party, of course, being the major political party of which Sarah Palin is nota prominent leader. And Hillary Clinton being a prominent politician who is—how to put it?—about as popular with the GOP base as Sarah Palin is with the Democratic base. So yeah, helping Clinton retire her campaign debt would make a great deal of sense if Palin planned to immediately withdraw from politics.

The story is worth reading in full for the comedic details of the alliance that was never going to happen and for the Keystone Kops picture it paints of post-election Team Palin. Apparently Coale was an adviser who continuously pushed this stuff. One can imagine the alternating impulses in Palin World to laugh, cry, and yell: Shut up! Then there’s the other Clinton:

Former President Bill Clinton placed a friendly call to Palin after the election, and Coale sought to use that as an opportunity to play matchmaker.

“Matchmaker.” Nice.

And there’s this E-mail from Palin campaign aide Meg Stapleton suggesting that the idea had a Polar Bear’s chance in Little Rock:

“While we appreciate your efforts and recognize that a friendship with the Clintons is appropriate, the governor believes (and I concur) that using SarahPAC to pay down Hillary’s debt is not a prudent use of the money,” Stapleton wrote to Coale in a Feb. 17 e-mail, a few days after he made his pitch to the governor. “Contributors who chose between heating their homes and sending in a contribution because they believe in Sarah would be crushed.”

Contributors who chose between heating their homes and sending in a contribution? That’s a joke, right?

Coale conceded that he urged Palin and her advisers to consider helping Clinton, but he said it was part of a larger campaign to align the Alaska governor with prominent women in politics, including Republicans Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, both of whom are prospects for elective office in California.

“It was a women thing and not a Hillary thing,” said Coale, who was angered at what he saw as sexism aimed at Clinton during last year’s campaign and who has long taken an interest in promoting female politicians.

A women thing and not a Hillary thing? I guess that means that gender trumps things like issues, qualifications, positions, policies, and so forth? Isn’t that sort of Cro-Magnon thinking what got the GOP into Palin trouble in the first place?