Patterico's Pontifications

2/22/2012

Open Thread: Debate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:51 pm

Who won?

Patterico as Carnac the Magnificent, Redux: More on the Connections Between Project Gunrunner and Jaime Zapata’s Murder

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:52 pm

On March 4, 2011, I asked of the murder of Jaime Zapata:

Was this murder also the result of guns that the Obama administration deliberately allowed into Mexico?

It was known at the time that a Project Gunrunner gun had been found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. My question was: did the DoJ and/or ATF also “walk” the gun that had been used to kill ICE agent Jaime Zapata? This was a question I had not heard asked publicly before it was asked on this blog. (As I explained at the time, I cannot take credit for asking this question: as often happens, it was a perceptive reader who tipped me to the possibility.)

I elaborated on the thesis on March 29, 2011, asking: Should the ATF Have Prevented the Sale of the Gun that Killed ICE Agent Jaime Zapata?. I followed it up with a post the next day in which I said:

I think the feds had Zapata’s murder weapon in their hands, and let it go. I think that, in February 2011, Zapata was murdered with a gun that literally slipped through the fingers of ATF agents.

The documents upon which I based my analysis related to ATF surveillance of a weapons trafficker named Otilio Osorio and his confederates. It has since been revealed that, just as I had speculated, a shipment of guns delivered by the Osorio crew to a confidential informant in November 2010 included a gun found at Zapata’s murder scene. What I didn’t predict is that one of the other murder weapons involved in Zapata’s murder was also linked to a second illegal firearms trafficker who was being surveilled by ATF:

In a related development, CBS News has obtained documents showing that Barba was under ATF surveillance for at least six months before a rifle he trafficked was used in Zapata’s murder. Zapata’s government vehicle was ambushed by suspected cartel thugs in Mexico Feb. 15, 2011.

Documents indicate ATF opened its case against Barba, entitled “Baytown Crew,” in June of 2010. During the investigation, court records state Barba recruited straw purchasers and “facilitated the purchase and exportation of at least 44 firearms” including assault rifles. On August 20, 2010 Barba took delivery of the WASR-10 semi-automatic rifle later used in Zapata’s murder, obliterated its serial number, and sent it to Mexico with nine others just like it. Nearly two months later, on Oct. 8, 2010, ATF agents recorded a phone call in which Barba “spoke about the final disposition of … firearms to Mexico and also about the obliterating of the serial numbers before they were trafficked.” Barba told straw purchasers the guns were destined for the Zeta drug cartel.

A warrant wasn’t issued for Barba’s arrest until four months later; coincidentally, the day before a rifle he trafficked was used against Zapata.

Barba is now the second weapons trafficker who had been under ATF surveillance to be linked to Zapata’s murder. As CBS News previously reported, ATF had also been watching suspect Otilio Osorio during the time he trafficked a different weapon used in Zapata’s assault. Records show ATF watched on Nov. 9, 2010 as Osorio, his brother Ranferi and Kelvin Leon Morrison transferred a cache of illegal weapons to a confidential informant but failed to arrest the men at the time.

Note the November 9, 2010 date that the Osorio crew shipped weapons to a confidential informant. Then read my March 29, 2011 post again, in which I conducted an extensive examination of the available court documents, and asked:

Was the gun used to kill Zapata part of the shipment that was delivered to the CI [confidential informant] in November 2010? Was that gun allowed to “walk” into Mexico?

It now appears, if you don’t mind my tooting my own horn, that I was dead on. I just didn’t realize that the Osorio gun wasn’t the only gun the U.S. Government had walked into Mexico that ended up being associated with Zapata’s murder.

So the moral of the story is: always trust content from Patterico — but understand that sometimes what the government has done is even worse than Patterico suspected.

Anthony Federico Speaks Out

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:44 pm

The evident unfairness of ESPN’s firing of the editor for his “chink in the armor” headline about Jeremy Lin becomes even more evident:

I wrote the headline in reference to the tone of the column and not to Jeremy Lin’s race. It was a lapse in judgment and not a racist pun. It was an awful editorial omission and it cost me my job.

I owe an apology to Jeremy Lin and all people offended. I am truly sorry.

Actions speak louder than words. My words may have hurt people in that moment but my actions have always helped people. If those who vilify me would take a deeper look at my life they would see that I am the exact opposite of how some are portraying me.

They would see that on the day of the incident I got a call from a friend – who happens to be homeless – and rushed to his aid. He was collapsed on the side of the road due to exposure and hunger. They would see how I picked him up and got him a hotel room and fed him. They would see I used my vacation time last year to volunteer in the orphanages of Haiti. They would see how I ‘adopted’ an elderly Alzheimer’s patient and visited him every week for a year. They would see that every winter I organize a coat drive for those less fortunate in New Haven. They would see how I raised $10,000 for a friend in need when his kids were born four months premature. They would see how I have worked in soup kitchens and convalescent homes since I was a kid. They would see my actions speak louder than my words. They would see that these acts were not done for my glory, but for God’s. They would see that each day I live and will continue to live a life of joy and service.

It never has been or will be my intention to hurt anyone.

Not only a racist but a Godbotherer too? Good riddance.

In all sincerity, people really should rally around this guy and insist that he get his job back. Starting with Jeremy Lin, and continuing with all his former colleagues at ESPN.

Then someone needs to explain to him that he doesn’t owe an apology to anyone.

Via Hot Air Headlines.

UPDATE: Via Dana, here is the ESPN contact form. I just wrote them to express my disgust and to urge them to give Federico his job back. I encourage readers here to do the same.

Obama Campaign Official Gave Schoolkids Class Credit for Volunteering for Obama; UPDATE: And Plans to Do It Again!

Filed under: 2008 Election,2012 Election,General,Obama — Patterico @ 11:39 am

At the blog for the Nevada Policy Research Institute, it is revealed today that a woman named Loretta Harper was recently chosen to be a national co-chair of Obama’s re-election campaign. Why is this important? Because in 2008, Harper used her position at a Nevada high school to award extra credit to students who volunteered for Obama.

The NVPR blog archly wonders if 2012 will bring similar efforts nationwide:

No word on [whether] Harper, who makes $74,000 a year plus benefits, plans to expand outreach “efforts” like this nationwide now that she’s a co-chair of Obama’s re-election campaign, but if you’ve got “free labor” available, why not take advantage?

Never mind that Nevada’s high school graduation rate currently sits under 45 percent, liberals have a president to elect. We all have to get our priorities straight now, people.

Your tax dollars hard at work, re-electing the Democrat.

P.S. This news came originally from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. But that paper buried the lede, and also has a habit of facilitating lawsuits against bloggers for fair use quotes. So they get no quote and no link. Thanks to Victor Joecks of the Nevada Policy Research Institute for the hat tip.

UPDATE: Victor has now spoken with Loretta Harper and has updated his post to reflect the following:

  • The students actually got class credit in 2008, and not merely “extra credit” as the Las Vegas Review-Journal had claimed. The headline of this post has been changed accordingly.
  • Harper admits she approached children (as well as vice versa) about volunteering for Obama. She claims she would also give credit to students for volunteering for Republicans but “no students have asked her about that.” (Gee, I wonder why not? Could it have anything to do with her very public pro-Obama activism? Nah, that couldn’t be it.)
  • She is indeed planning to have students volunteer for Obama for class credit again this year.

This is a big story, folks. Expect to see much more on this. Nice job by Victor Joecks.

Rick Santorum, Food Stamps and Big-Government Conservatism

Filed under: 2012 Election — Karl @ 7:18 am

[Posted by Karl]

Like other candidates for the GOP presidential nomination, Rick Santorum does not have kind words for food stamps:

Santorum told the group [in Le Mars, IA] he would cut the food stamp program, describing it as one of the fastest growing programs in Washington, D.C.

Forty-eight million people are on food stamps in a country with 300-million people, said Santorum.

“If hunger is a problem in America, then why do we have an obesity problem among the people who we say have a hunger program?” Santorum asked.

Indeed, Santorum has described the food stamp program as part of a culture of dependency not unlike Mussolini’s fascist Italy:

One wants to talk about raising taxes on people who have been successful and redistributing money, increasing dependency in this country, promoting more Medicaid and food stamps and all sorts of social welfare programs and passing Obamacare to provide even more government subsidies. More and more dependency, more and more government — exactly what my grandfather left in 1925.

Yesterday, Santorum suggested an approach to such programs not unlike the welfare reform of the 1990s:

We need to take everything from food stamps to Medicaid to housing programs to education training programs, we need to cut them, cap them, freeze them, send them to the states, saying that there has to be a time limit and a work requirement.

However, Santorum’s record on food stamps does not quite match his rhetoric.  At Verum Serum, Morgen details how then-Sen. Santorum blocked a 2005 attempt by the Bush Administration to close a loophole that allowed states to confer automatic eligibility for food stamps by simply handing out an informational pamphlet to potential beneficiaries, bypassing the means testing required under normal program rules.  The change would have resulted in a reduction in spending of only three tenths of one percent — but a $574 million reduction over five years  would have set an important precedent.  Santorum, then a member of the Agricultural Committee, not only helped block this reform, but bragged about it.  Apparently, magically making people eligible for food stamps by handing them a pamphlet was much less fascist and did not breed dependency just a few short years ago.

As is so often the case in life, timing is important.  Folks like the Weekly Standard’s Jeffrey Anderson have contested the claim made by Mitt Romney (among others) that Santorum was a big-spending, big-government conservative in the Senate.  Anderson’s case rests on ratings issued by the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) of Santorum’s two-term tenure in the Senate:

Across the 12 years in question, only 6 of the 50 senators [who served the entire period] got A’s in more than half the years.  Santorum was one of them.  He was also one of only 7 senators who never got less than a B.  ***  Moreover, while much of the Republican party lost its fiscal footing after George W. Bush took office — although it would be erroneous to say that the Republicans were nearly as profligate as the Democrats — Santorum was the only senator who got A’s in every year of Bush’s first term.  None of the other 49 senators could match Santorum’s 4.0 GPA over that span.

Anderson highlights the period of Bush’s first term, ending in 2004-05.  However, as the Club For Growth notes in its white paper on Santorum:

An examination of his scores in the NTU rating of Congress shows that Santorum compiled a very strong record on taxes and spending in the first four years of each of his two Senate terms, then a sharp swing to below the Senate Republican average in the Congress before his reelection campaign.  In the 2003-2004 session of Congress, Santorum sponsored or cosponsored 51 bills to increase spending, and failed to sponsor or co-sponsor even one spending cut proposal.  In his last Congress (2005-2006), he had one of the biggest spending agendas of any Republican — sponsoring more spending increases than Republicans Lisa Murkowski, Lincoln Chafee and Thad Cochran or Democrats Herb Kohl, Evan Bayh and Ron Wyden.

It was during this latter period that Santorum championed creeping food stamp fascism.

Granted, this is not as sexy a story as Santorum’s 2008 claim that America is under attack by Satan.  However, Santorum probably really believes that America is under attack by Satan.  Would that we could say the same about his food stamp rhetoric.

–Karl


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