"Catch-22 states that agents enforcing Catch-22 need not prove that Catch-22 actually contains whatever provision the accused violator is accused of violating." Another character explains: "Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing." . . . Yossarian comes to realize that Catch-22 does not actually exist, but because the powers that be claim it does, and the world believes it does, it nevertheless has potent effects. Indeed, because it does not exist, there is no way it can be repealed, undone, overthrown, or denounced. The combination of force with specious and spurious legalistic justification is one of the book's primary motifs. -- Wikipedia, Catch 22.
"Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing."When I wrote "The Stone Albatross: Assisted Mass Political Suicide by Drowning in Mexican Blood. Obama's Decision to Embrace the Horror and Make the Gunwalker Scandal a Centerpiece of His Re-Election Campaign" this morning, I was unaware of two important articles that broke today. The first was an outstanding piece of detective work on the part of John Richardson at No Lawyers, Only Guns and Money, entitled "Dennis Burke And Gun Control." Richardson recounts former US Attorney Dennis Burke's recently revealed Gunwalker emails indicating his penchant for gun control. Then he tells us some stuff that I am ashamed I didn't turn up earlier myself:
It should be noted that Burke is not a newcomer to the business of gun control. In an article in the Arizona Republic about the political ramifications on Arizona politicians for supporting gun control, former Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ), a supporter of the Clinton "Assault Weapons Ban", had this to say about Dennis Burke:DeConcini credits Judiciary Committee staff aide Dennis Burke, now the U.S. attorney for Arizona, for much of the work in developing the ban, which became law during DeConcini's final year in the Senate but expired after 10 years.Burke also was Senior Policy Analyst for the White House's Domestic Policy Council from 1995 to 1997. This time overlaps with when Elena Kagan - now Justice Kagan - served as its Deputy Director. It was during this time that Executive Orders were used to further extend the ban on so-called assault weapons and to implement the Brady Act. Given his prior work on the Assault Weapons Ban in the Senate, it would not surprise me that Burke assisted in this effort.Looking at Burke's background and his attitude towards gun rights and those who support them, I see this as even further confirmation that the intent of Operation Fast and Furious from the very beginning was to build support for another so-called assault weapons ban. I just don't think it was coincidental that Operation Fast and Furious was centered in Arizona as opposed New Mexico or west Texas where the U.S. Attorneys have long careers as prosecutors.
Richardson is on to something here. While we know that there other gunwalking operations elsewhere, none seems to have been carried out with the enthusiasm of the Phoenix ATF office and U.S. Attorney's office. We now know that the first face-to-face meeting between William "Gunwalker Bill" Newell, the Phoenix Field Division Special agent in Charge, and White House personnel, including, according to sources, State Department employee and National Security Council adviser Kevin O'Reilly, took place in early March, 2009, right after Eric Holder had his political ass whupped by Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel for advocating another assault weapons ban in public on 25 February. (See "In at the beginning." The State Department & the Gunwalker Scandal. Part 2. The 90% Myth. "I have not backed off" an AWB.
Newell, of course, was the guy on the Southwest Border with the most experience with gunwalking, when an operation in the Bush administration, Wide Receiver, had gotten out hand and Newell was chided by his superiors for screwing up.
If you read DOJ's announcement file on Dennis Burke, you will note that Burke, who had come over with Janet Napolitano to the Department of Homeland Security and became her "senior adviser on border security and law enforcement" was nominated on 14 July 2009.(Burke had been Napolitano's chief of staff when she was governor of Arizona.) He was confirmed by the Senate with unanimous consent on 15 September 2009 -- the month that everyone now agrees is when Fast and Furious began.On 25 October 2009, Eric Holder announced nine appointees -- one of them Burke -- to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys. And what is that?
"The Advisory Committee has two functions. It gives United States Attorneys a voice in Department policies and advises the Attorney General of the United States.In advising the Attorney General, the Committee conducts studies and makes recommendations to improve management of United States Attorney operations and the relationship between the Department and the federal prosecutors. It also helps formulate new programs for improvement of the criminal justice system and the delivery of legal services at all levels.In serving the United States Attorneys, the Committee coordinates the collective efforts of the United States Attorneys with the divisions and agencies of the Department of Justice, and departments and agencies external to the Department of Justice. It also represents the United States Attorneys with the Department of Justice, other departments and agencies of the government, and occasionally private organizations." -- Wikipedia.
According to the DOJ, "In August, Holder tapped Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones to chair the committee, an influential policy-making and advisory body that serves as the voice of the U.S. Attorneys at Main Justice." Jones is now the Acting Director of the ATF. As for Burke, his bio provided to the Senate at that time indicated a slim experience as an Assistant United States Attorney from 1997 to 1999, but otherwise he had been a very political animal. His appointment to both the U.S. Attorney's office in Phoenix followed almost immediately by the plum appointment to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys, indicates according to one of my sources "a fair-haired boy, fast tracked for some compelling reason."
It is not that much of a leap to think that such an anti-firearm political animal who had essentially written the original Assault Weapons Ban was put in Phoenix for a "compelling reason" -- Operation Fast and Furious.
That was then, 2009. This is now, on the verge of what is going to prove to be a very unhappy New Year, 2012. And today, the New York Times ran a Charlie Savage interview with Eric Holder entitled "A Partisan Lightning Rod Is Undeterred". It is a piece of work. It is a declaration of war with Darrell Issa, Charles Grassley, the GOP and the American people. In the context of what has happened in the Gunwalker Scandal prior to today, it is as close as one can come to expressing Catch 22 in modern political terms. Obama, through the mouth of Eric Holder, has just declared "We can do anything you can't stop us from doing."
In an interview last week, Mr. Holder said he had no intention of resigning before the administration’s term was up, although he said he had made no decision about whether he would continue after 2012 should the president win re-election.“I think that what I’m doing is right,” Mr. Holder said. “And election-year politics, which intensifies everything, is not going to drive me off that course.”. . . But Mr. Holder contended that many of his other critics — not only elected Republicans but also a broader universe of conservative commentators and bloggers — were instead playing “Washington gotcha” games, portraying them as frequently “conflating things, conveniently leaving some stuff out, construing things to make it seem not quite what it was” to paint him and other department figures in the worst possible light.Of that group of critics, Mr. Holder said he believed that a few — the “more extreme segment” — were motivated by animus against Mr. Obama and that he served as a stand-in for him. “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” he said, “both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”Mr. Holder, however, attributed most of the hostility to underlying ideological differences. “I think that people, despite my law enforcement background, view me as taking these consistently progressive stands, and I think that, philosophically, there is a desire to get at that person,” he said. “But I think the stands I have taken are totally consistent with a person who is looking at things realistically, factually.”
There is more, and you should go read the whole thing, but the first time I read it, I said aloud, "Why the sonofabitch is declaring Catch 22." I'm not the only one who thinks so. Readers will recall a source I occasionally refer to as "Alvin Wombat." That nom de guerre conceals the identity of a long-time government employee, a fellow who has watched scandals large and small come and go. When he read the Savage interview with Holder, he was appalled.
After reading the Charlie Savage article in today's New York Times in which he deifies Attorney General Holder and dismisses Fast & Furious and related issues . . . I have concluded that(1) President Obama is either behind and/or has consented to the Fast & Furious activities, and(2) President Obama has utterly NO intentions of changing ANYTHING. That is, what's coming down here is President Obama directly signaling F--K YOU, and that the future is only going to get a lot worse, because that's exactly what he wants. The New York Times is nothing but an uncritical syncophantic beacon for the Obama Administration.It has long been clear that President Obama and Attorney General Holder understand perfectly the motivations behind and what happened regarding Fast & Furious, and the (continuing) breakdown in top ATF leadership. It isn't though there has been any lack of information in that regard, or in their abilities to obtain whatever other information they want. To suggest otherwise is a joke. The only thing left to conclude is that President Obama WANTS this sort of disruption, and that it is only a prelude to whatever else he's got on his agenda. Whatever that is, isn't good.He added,"(This) is a political agenda, and can at this point only be interpreted to represent how things are going to (continue) to go down politically in the future. That means even further breaches of and trashing of civil liberties, and a continuation of the march down the road to liberal fascism (how's that for being oxymoronic?). We'll see if the Congress has the balls to intercede."
Catch 22 indeed.
"Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing."
Remember, personnel is policy. Burke, Newell and O'Reilly were the personnel and gun control was the policy. The Richardson article confirms what we knew all along, that the Gunwalker Scandal was crafted for the political purpose of justifying more citizen disarmament in the United States by arming murder gangs in Mexico.
The Holder interview is Obama speaking through Holder's lips. This isn't about law, or elections, or any other passe concept. This is about raw power, pure and simple. They can do anything we can't stop them from doing.
So now we know. This is political war to the knife and knife to the hilt. And if the political war fails to dislodge these practitioners of depraved murder for political points, then the only way they can be removed will involve resort to defensive violence on the part of the people. That is what Obama and Holder just told us.
Issa, Grassley and the other elected representatives in the Congress who have asked for the truth about the Gunwalker Scandal should understand this. They should understand that they are now the last threadbare hope of maintaining the legitimacy of this two-party regime. After them, if they fail, comes the deluge. Failure is not an option. Either they enforce the rule of law, or the law of the jungle will devour us all. And they should remember what Ben Franklin is reported to have said at the time of the crafting of the Constitution: "It is good that we have provided for impeachment, for the alternative is assassination."
I don't know about you, but I prefer impeachment. I'm sure everybody else does too.