Tuesday, September 27, 2011

LA Times: "Government by crime syndicate." "Let me tell you how important this is, the White House started their morning with a briefing on you."

"You just described my country."

The remarkable public confrontation between the Gandhi-like ascetic Anna Hazare and the government of India — which came to a triumphant end last month with a glass of orange juice and a government promise to create a strong, independent anti-corruption agency — is the latest manifestation of a worldwide explosion of outrage at what historians may someday come to deem humanity's latest form of tyranny: the capture of states by criminal syndicates. Otherwise known as rampant public corruption.

In early 2010, I was asked to make a presentation to a counter-narcotics symposium at the Marshall Center in Germany. In attendance were several hundred high-ranking military and law enforcement officers from around the world. I dutifully explained the opium economy in Afghanistan, which I've had a chance to observe during nearly a decade living and working in Kandahar. But I could not resist inserting two slides at the end of the talk. They depicted the phenomenon that really interests me: the increasingly structured capture of the Afghan government by what amounts to a set of interlocking, vertically integrated criminal networks.

I have watched the phenomenon evolve over the last 10 years. At first, there was a furtive testing of the limits, as Kalashnikov-toting ruffians shook down travelers for "sweets" (as extorted bribes are prudishly called). Over time, the corruption expanded and evolved, and today, Afghanistan is controlled by a structured, mafiaesque system, in which money flows upward via purchase of office, kickbacks or "sweets" in return for permission to extract resources (of which more varieties exist in impoverished Afghanistan than one might think) and protection in case of legal or international scrutiny. Those foolish enough to raise objections are punished. The result is a system that selects for criminality, excluding and marginalizing the very men and women of probity most needed to build a sustainable state.

When I finished my presentation, to my astonishment, the participants rose in a standing ovation. Many came down to the front of the room to talk further. "You just described my country," they chorused.

Yes, well, my country too. Michael Barone called the Obama administration "gangster government" for the bailouts, picking winners and losers with taxpayer dollars like Solyndra based on political dogma, rewarding campaign supporters like the unions with the NLRB decisions they want, you name it. The list could go on and on. Sometimes the Great Eye of Mordor-on-the-Potomac focuses on you for the most trivial of reasons.

Read this story about how a car dealer in Missouri ran afoul of the White House. Neil McCabe writes in Human Events:

Max Motors targeted by ATF, banks and General Motors

Despite the White House harassment, and the loss of financing and insurance arrangements that came in the past, the Butler, Mo., car dealer who will be giving away AK-47’s again starting in October.

“Guess what? We are doing it again! It is the Fourth Annual Great Guns and Gas Give-Away!” said Mark Muller, the owner of Max Motors, whose July 17, 2009 interview with CNN’s Carol Costello about his promotion was great publicity, but brought him unwelcome attention.

Within days of the CNN broadcast, three agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrived at the dealership, he said.

“I was not there, they identified themselves and asked who was in-charge, and everybody pointed at each other,” he said.

Undeterred, the agents demanded to see the guns, he said. When it was explained that there were no actual guns, and that the promotion was really for vouchers towards the purchase of an AK-47, the agents did not believe it.

“There was an empty gun box here from a gun dealer in North Carolina, and they took that and demanded to see the gun that came with that box,” he said. The agents also went into storage rooms and took photos.

The next day, Muller received a call from the ATF asking him to come in for a meeting with all of his personal guns, which they insisted they had to authority to order, he said. Muller held his ground and refused to submit to the audit without first going through due process.

“The ATF people were just as nice as can be. They were not mean or hateful—and finally I asked the lady on the phone: Don’t you have something better to do?” he said. He then re-explained that there were vouchers for guns and that no guns were being given away.

“She said: ‘Let me tell you how important this is, the White House started their morning with a briefing on you. We got a call from Washington, D.C. this morning. They wanted you checked out,” he said. (Emphasis supplied, MBV.)

“That’s your big government in action. I’m a guy exercising his constitutional rights and I’m such a threat to security that the White House has to check in on me?” he said.

At the end of his conversation with the ATF agent, she threatened to raid his house to audit his personal firearms, but it never happened, Muller said.

Folks, we may not have the government we deserve, but we certainly have the government we tolerate. And whose fault is that?


RJIII said...

Left a comment about that new favorite word "Botched". Don't think they cared for it much. It hasn't shown up yet. It wasn't a botched Op. It was a subversive Op.

Anonymous said...

The Constitution is TOILET PAPER.

Those wiping their posteriors with it are traitors and murderers.

They will not leave willingly nor ever give back the freedom, the liberties, that they have STOLEN.

I suggest hemp rope and by the looks of the situation it will be a lot of hemp rope that is needed.

Anonymous said...

As I see it, the fact than an ATF agent thought she had the power to demand that a citizen bring in their guns for an "audit" is only part of the problem, and maybe not even the biggest part. The real problem is the percentage of American gunowners who would either cheerfully or with minimal grumbling, pack up their guns and trundle them down to the ATF office as ordered.

Longbow said...

My Grandparents used to tell me what a "Great Man" Franklin D. Roosevelt was. I innocently asked, as a child does sometimes,

"Why do you think he is so great? He was a Socialist."

The response I got was one of anger.


That is the response people see when ever they attempt to uncover corruption in local police departments. To penetrate "the gang" and expose its lies and control mechanisms is the silver bullet and the power structure knows it.

The problem with my grandparents generation was that there were two great fratricidal wars which stripped our country and every country of Europe of the flower of its manhood. Whenever there is a war, any war anywhere, all the type A personalities go rushing to the front. In the two great fratricidal wars of the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of the best, brightest, noblest, and most virile went to the front and were slaughtered. These were the men who should have built businesses, run for office and taught the concepts of freedom and independence to the next generation.

That left people like my grandparents, type B and C personalities, to accept the next phase of Government Control. They then, worshiping their chains, bleated to me how FDR was a "Great Man".

I can't tell you how many times I have attended local "conservative" or "Tea Party" events where people cheer for smaller government and more freedom, and in the next breath exclaim, "But I WANT my Socialist Security and my Medicare!"

Now, what is OUR excuse?

Anonymous said...

He should be giving away "GEN-YEW-WINE ATF GUNWALKER RIFLES ! ....Autographed byyyyyyyy-

(in super bass/reverb SUNDAY! SUNDAY!SUNDAY ! voice)


I am shocked that no-one's selling them on gunbroker yet as an epic gag , but then I realize pretty much everyone is entrained with an irrefutable subconscious fear of the ATF and the IRS . To a degree that they afraid to even make fun of them .

Look at what happened to Zumbo , and he didn't kill anybody . I saw that all in real time and it was amazing how swiftly the new media can work . If it isnt afraid of being audited , over , and over and over .


Ashrak said...

LongBow, folks want what they paid for. There is nothing wrong with that.

To those within the TEA Party who say such a thing, ask them if they would take all the money they paid in to a system they had no choice but to pay into, along with not one more penny taken from them for those programs and you might just be surprised by how many answer with a firm "Of Course!".

TEA party folks do not more than they are owed, they want what they are owed. There is no injustice there and there is no hypocrisy there either. Don't take that latest attempt at bait presented by the leftist progressives. Don't fall into that trap.

Just for the record, my solution to Social Security and medicare problem is really quite simple. Set America free once again, so that Americans can prosper once again, and there won't be any "need" for either of those "programs".

When it comes to the destitution of some, well, with Americans prospering, our kind hearts and our giving nature will see every one of those folks taken care of by folks, individuals and groups of them, who spend their lives, and their wealth, doing so by their own choice.

I liked your ABC bit and I agree with it to a large degree. Remember though, please, that many participants in the TEA party are not in tune with just how bad things are. They are just getting started at understanding what the real problems are. Nurture that urge to figure out the problem by sharing information rather than slam them and turn them away.

What is at stake is far too important........

Anonymous said...

Michael Savage has been talking about Barry's gangster government for over a year. It's all outlined in his book: TRICKLE UP POVERTY. It's a good read if you can control your outrage.

Robert Fowler said...

At the end of his conversation with the ATF agent, she threatened to raid his house to audit his personal firearms, but it never happened, Muller said.

Good for him. The ATF has no business demanding he bring in his private guns. Until he has committed a crime. they should mind their own business. Don't they have enough problemsw without going looking for more?

Longbow said...

Ashrak said: "...Set America free once again, so that Americans can prosper once again, and there won't be any "need" for either of those "programs". "

We agree. I do not denigrate people demanding to receive what they paid for.

Those programs were never "needed".

Socialism is NOTHING more than a control mechanism. The gang which proposes more socialism knows full well that it is not economically viable. That doesn't matter. It is a mechanism of control.

My point was that people voluntarily submitted to it. Some people, including some "tea party" types, are terrified at the prospect of true political and economic liberty.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Sorry, Mike, comments hijack now over.

Dedicated_Dad said...


I see PLENTY of outrage at typical ATF abuses -- so common that they usually don't cause much more than an "and....?" in response...

What I DO NOT see is outrage at the fact that ATF is being used as a de-facto Gestapo, directed by Der Fuhrer in 'Da WHITE House to go harass those who obviously disagree with Dear Reader!

Are we all just so accustomed to THIS TOO that we don't even notice any more?

Anonymous said...

Before there was Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Mark Levin there was Howard Ruff.

Those of you not familiar with Ruff might remember his book "How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years."

The reason I mention him is that in one of his books or on his TV show he told of a conversation he had with Sen. Orrin Hatch about a conversation Sen. Hatch had had with Sen. Ted Kennedy. I can't find the quote just now and it would be a quote of a quote of a quote anyway, but I will paraphrase it to the best of my ability. It says a lot about where we've been, where we are, and where "The Left" want to take us.

Hatch said that after one of Kennedy's bills or amendments had been defeated in The Senate, Kennedy buttonholed him as he was leaving the Senate cloakroom. The gist of Hatch's quote of what Kennedy said was: "Orrin, you beat us today. But in the near future we're going to have more than 60% of Americans receiving some kind of federal assistance check. That's a voting block you will never be able to overcome."

TEA Partyiers saying "Tell the government to keep their hands off my Social Security" makes a little bit more sense now doesn't it? Most of us now take the handouts, tax deductions, and "earmark" pork like we breath the air, drink the water and/or the "KoolAid". As if there were nothing remarkable about it.

The first step to kicking an addiction is to acknowledge to ourselves that we are addicted. On the other hand, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy and their ilk have been pushing their poison for so long that withdrawal for us may well be as fatal as it was for Amy Winehouse. Many if not most Americans are going to swear they are not addicted, and are going to refuse all efforts to get them into any kind of rehab.