Thursday, March 29, 2012


Imagine you are an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agent working on a clandestine operation designed to snag members of Mexico’s gun-smuggling drug cartels—especially Mr. A. The program involves tracking weapons that have been knowingly and illegally sold to persons associated with those cartels.

Now imagine you’ve caught Mr. A red-handed at an Arizona border town while he’s attempting to drive a BMW brimming with hidden ammunition into Mexico. What do you do? Here are your options:

A. Arrest Mr. A. and declare your operation a success.
B. Take Mr. A into custody and begin plea-bargain negotiations in hopes of securing more valuable information.
C. Talk with Mr. A about his connections, confiscate his ammo, give him your phone number jotted on a ten-dollar bill, then release the trafficker based on a promise of further cooperation.

If you answered C, you may have a future with ATF. That seems to be the route chosen by Hope MacAllister when, according to recently revealed documents, she interrogated a major gun-runner named Manuel Celis-Acosta on May 29, 2010.

Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, Acosta chose to continue his smuggling enterprise instead of keeping in touch with Special Agent MacAllister.

Perhaps Acosta mistakenly used MacAllister’s bill to buy some cigarettes and couldn’t remember the initials of the agency that stopped him on the border with an "AK type, high capacity drum magazine loaded with 74 rounds of 7.62 ammunition” hidden beneath his spare tire.

Or maybe Acosta just had a good laugh at the expense of government gringos who apparently released a prime target based on little more than hopes of landing bigger fish.

In the following months Acosta continued his gun-smuggling activities and ATF continued its gun-selling operation. The agency, however, lost track of about 1700 guns, many of which were discovered at crime scenes in Mexico and two of which were linked to the death of U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry near Tucson in December of 2010.

It’s hardly a shock that ATF documents related to the botched release of Acosta weren’t provided by Attorney General Eric Holder to Congressman Darrell Issa’s House Oversight Committee—despite a subpoena covering documents related to this “Fast and Furious” operation.

Apparently what was touted as “the most transparent administration” in the nation’s history is only transparently interested in covering its tracks—as it was when it kept information about Solyndra’s moribund financial situation under wraps until after the 2010 elections.

Acosta was eventually captured in El Paso in February of 2011—but only after distributing hundreds of government-tagged guns to folks like the ones who murdered Agent Terry.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


It would have been nice if George Will had worn flashing-light glasses with Elton John flair when, a month ago, he made this statement on ABC’s “This Week”:

“This is what liberalism looks like. This is what the progressive state does. It tries to break all the institutions of civil society, all the institutions that mediate between the individual and the state. They have to break them to the saddle of the state.”

Put simply, Will’s comment means that the “progressive state” increasingly tells both individuals and institutions what they may or may not do and say—imposing mandates that extend even to the type of light-bulbs folks buy.

One legal rationalization for this huge expansion of government power was Hugo Black’s 1947 Supreme Court opinion that claims the Constitution erects a “wall of separation” between church and state—a phrase subsequently used to eradicate vestiges of common religious belief and practice (like the Mt. Soledad cross) from the public square.

Consequently, a Constitutional amendment designed to protect the “free-exercise” of religion from federal coercion is now employed to prevent invocations at high school graduations. Similarly, because the Boy Scouts’ beliefs conflict with progressive ideology, they are denied municipal concessions for Balboa Park facilities that would be available to “non-religious” groups.

Novel renderings of “equal protection” laws are also utilized by progressives to break individuals and institutions to the saddle of the state.

Thus, a medical group in North County that refused to provide artificial insemination for a lesbian—based on the respectable belief that children shouldn’t be intentionally deprived of both a father and a mother—was told by the California Supreme Court in 2008 that its religious convictions violated state law when applied to professional services.

Similarly, Catholic Charities in Massachusetts gave up their longstanding work in the adoption field when that state required the organization to place adopted children in same-sex households.

With the expansion of federal power into insurance mandates, the potential for eroding liberty is almost limitless. A government that can require individuals to purchase health insurance is a government that can also require religious institutions (and insurance companies) to provide policies that cover abortions or other procedures that might violate their consciences. Such was the case with directives recently inserted into the massive Obamacare legislation.

Put succinctly, the vastly expanded government of a largely religious people is now expected to be rigorously secular and to reflect the condom-dispensing, abortion-ready convictions of secular elites.

Moreover, for progressives, religious liberty is largely restricted to the walls of a church. Soon, it may be confined to the space between the ears of their serfs.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


Laurie Boruff enthusiastically describes her husband of thirty-three years as a “tenacious” worker who can “move mountains.” John Boruff now has an opportunity to display those qualities in his bid to become the Republican candidate for Senate against Dianne Feinstein.

I chatted with John and Laurie last week in Escondido and asked the North County businessman what motivated him to undertake what many pundits believe is an impossible task—unseating California’s twenty-year incumbent Democratic senator. John responded as follows:

First, he has personally experienced the onerous burdens that governments at all levels place on business. He also knows first-hand that laws aimed at huge corporations are preventing businesses from expanding due to the additional regulations that typically kick in when an enterprise reaches the dreaded fifty-employee level.

Put succinctly, Boruff said he has more real-world business experience than all his Republican competitors—and certainly more than Dianne Feinstein.

Secondly, Boruff is convinced there are enough dissatisfied independent voters in California to make possible a GOP Senate victory in November. Moreover, he didn’t want to sit idly by while Feinstein was given a free pass for another six-year term—as was the case in 2006. The GOP, Boruff contends, needs a candidate who will do more than mail in a campaign—someone who can passionately articulate a set of policies that will, first and foremost, stimulate the state’s economy.

Neither Laurie nor John expressed reservations about the possibility of dirt being dredged up as a result of entering a senatorial campaign. The father of three said that his personal life has been quite regular. (An impartial observer, noting John’s civic involvement, his work as a Scoutmaster, and his stint as a Reserve Police Officer in Carlsbad, might employ the term “exemplary.”)

The fact that an individual whom Boruff once fired recently volunteered to work in his campaign suggests the kind of loyalty he inspires, even when John (as that former employee now confesses) is the bearer of deserved bad news.

Beyond reducing burdens on business, Boruff voiced support for expanded but sensible energy exploration, for second amendment rights, and especially for restricting the federal government’s intrusion into matters that are constitutionally reserved to the states and people.

Concerning immigration, Boruff stressed the need for both border enforcement and work visas. He also rejects forms of amnesty that put illegals in front of legal immigrants.

If Boruff succeeds in getting out his carefully-considered limited-government message, Californians may actually have an opportunity to vote for a genuine citizen legislator and to send packing one of the professional politicians so many folks claim to despise.

That would certainly be a mountain-moving political event.