Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fast and Furious: A Bloody Scandal & Cover-up

Anyone who wants to know what’s at stake in Congressman Darrell Issa’s investigation of Attorney General Eric Holder should read Katie Pavlich’s book “Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Coverup.”

Pavlich’s “Booknotes” interview (available on YouTube) offers a good introduction. Unfortunately, the damning details about this guns-to-killers scheme are being withheld from Issa’s Oversight Committee because of the President’s recent “executive privilege” claim.

The central question posed by Pavlich is why the Obama Justice Department (specifically its Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms branch) secretly pressured American gun dealers to illegally sell thousands of untraceable weapons to purchasers working for Mexican drug cartels—thus creating a more audacious and dangerous operation than the limited program the Bush Administration (in coordination with Mexico) had abandoned.

The most plausible reason for this decision, Pavlich argues, was Obama’s desire to promote gun control in the U.S. Evidence starts with a coordinated publicity campaign that began shortly after Obama became President.

On April 16, 2009, President Obama said this about Mexico’s drug violence, “This war is being waged with guns purchased not here (in Mexico) but in the United States.” He added that “more than 90 percent of the guns recovered” from Mexican crime scenes were from the U.S.

This mantra was echoed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats, including Senator Diane Feinstein. The truth, as subsequently revealed, was that less than 20 percent of Mexican crime scene guns were traceable to the U.S.

Not long after the 90% claim was debunked, the deadly Fast and Furious scheme was launched—a program that would greatly bolster the argument that American gun dealers were causing mayhem in Mexico.

A major goal of “Fast and Furious,” in other words, was to provide a compelling rationale for gun-control in the U.S. Two-hundred dead Mexicans and at least one dead American Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry, were collateral damage.

It’s a damming indictment that explains the President’s belated “executive privilege” claim and Eric Holder’s prior stonewalling of Issa’s committee--including the Attorney General’s incredible statement (undermined by various memos) that he was unaware of the “Fast and Furious” program until shortly before his testimony in May, 2011.

Pavlich’s charge also makes sense of lies told by various officials, including Assistant Attorney General Lanny Brewer, who in February 2011, sent a letter denying high-level involvement in the program—a letter that was subsequently “withdrawn” because of inaccuracies.

Whistleblowing ATF Agent John Dodson said he never heard an explanation from anyone involved in “Fast and Furious” that would justify the operation. That’s probably because its primary purpose was unspeakably callous and coldly political.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

"Baseball, Dennis & The French": Chronicling a Change of Heart

How do you convince your brother-in-law that conservatives aren’t hate-filled Neanderthals and that you haven’t gone off the deep end by becoming one yourself? A good place to start would be a film called “Baseball, Dennis & The French” that was directed by former Southern California liberal activist Paul Croshaw.

The operative term in the prior sentence is “former.” This lighthearted documentary takes viewers on a ninety-minute journey that begins with a homerun-hungry Little Leaguer whose parents were the lone McGovern boosters on their San Gabriel Valley block.

From there Croshaw focuses breezily on his high-school infatuation with French films and his growing involvement in liberal politics—culminating at one point with a side-by-side photo of the filmmaker-to-be with now Minnesota Senator Al Franken. \

Then comes the troublesome slow-motion “epi-phony” over the car radio—a Los Angeles-based talk radio host named Dennis Prager. When “Dodger Talk” gave way to Dennis, the invitation to philosophical introspection was too much to resist.

At this point moviegoers, like Croshaw himself, get heavier doses of Prager, but not Prager-uncut. Short monologues on various political and moral topics are interspersed with humorous vignettes about baseball, religion, and the French.

(France is the film’s example par excellence of a secular society that values cultural sophistication above all else and whose intellectual sensibilities are offended by traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and objective moral standards.)

At movie’s end Croshaw provides a summary of his intellectual and spiritual journey (in French) while removing mime makeup. Dennis’ happy conclusion is that he’s “thrilled that this Jew (Prager) has helped Paul find his Christian faith. Only in America!”

One viewing of the movie won’t convince hardcore ideologues of anything, but for folks interested in honest dialogue, “Baseball, Dennis, and the French” is a great starting point. Like the homer hit by young Croshaw, the film plants a seed that can grow in several directions—from confronting the practical goodness of most conservatives (cf. the book by Arthur Brooks, “Who Really Cares”) to posing serious questions about God, morality, and The Lawrence Welk Show.

The documentary has recently had several one-night showings at select theaters throughout the Southland. Close to 100 patrons were present at last week’s screening in Riverside. Readers can visit the film’s website for news about future showings.

And if your brother-in-law is averse to visiting a theater space largely populated by conservatives or to reading Dennis Prager’s recent book, “Still the Best Hope,” the fellow who doubts your sanity might be willing to devote an hour-and-a-half to watching a modestly priced gift DVD in his home—if only to understand his sibling’s benighted spouse!