Welcome to our Blog

In March of 2011 my wife and I quit or jobs, cashed in our chips and left the big city behind to move to our farm hidden away in northeast Georgia. These are our observations on the news of the day and our adventures in homesteading, becoming self reliant, prepping and living a simpler, more fulfilling life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Report on the Nation

A Monumental Disregard For the Truth
    According to the mainstream media... chuckle ...The One's administration is going through a bit of a rough patch... Methinks it may be a bit more serious than that.

"Fire somebody. No- Fire a lot of people. This may be news to you but this is not going well"- James Carville

The One and his Handlers have shown a distinction for multifaceted ineptness few thought possible.
The economy continues it's slow sink, as we drown, Obama promises us air but just gives us more water. His Administration stumbles  from one fiasco to the next- with little time to recover. The scandals now come in waves, eroding what little confidents still remains. The never ending blame game, Green Jobs, Solyndra, Rewriting loans, the EPA, SEC, Gunwalker... on and on with the promise of more to come. The Obama administration unknowingly has re-branded itself as either a modern day comedy of errors or an inept, inadequate and unlawful gang of elitists who's deeply flawed vision is based on incomplete analysis and unsound theory. The nation does a collective facepalm in acknowledgement of it's own frustrations.
     Scandals come and scandals go... but not "Gunwalker" it will linger for a bit. For Obama and more specifically Eric Holder- plausible deniability is giving way to memos, emails and fact. We are fortunate to have many good and patriotic soldiers serving under these two, still fighting the good fight. Particularly since Holder's time these days is spent alternating between deflecting knowledge, pointing fingers and staring at his shoes. I suspect there will come a day... probably soon when Barry will call Eric into a somewhat darkened and very private room in the White House. Upon entering Eric will notice a large plastic sheet covering the floor, the curtains drawn tight, a mop and bucket in the corner.  There... Barry will hand Eric a sword... and ask him in his most heart felt reflections to do the right and honorable thing...... for President and country. There will be much falling on swords before November 2012..... It's going to be a bloody mess.- JP

Gunwalker: Dems Abandoning Ship?

The typical gun-control advocates don't have the president's and attorney general's backs this time.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has come under fire this week: evidence revealed he either ignored weekly reports in the summer of 2010 that discussed Operation Fast and Furious, or he committed perjury when he claimed he first found out about the program in early 2011. The former suggests incompetence, the later criminality — either would be legitimate reasons to see him removed from office.
Read more...http://pajamasmedia.com

Issa to Holder: “You Own Fast and Furious”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder responding to his letter of October 7. The text of Chairman Issa's letter to Attorney General Holder is below:
Dear Attorney General Holder:
From the beginning of the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice has offered a roving set of ever-changing explanations to justify its involvement in this reckless and deadly program. These defenses have been aimed at undermining the investigation. From the start, the Department insisted that no wrongdoing had occurred and asked Senator Grassley and me to defer our oversight responsibilities over its concerns about our purported interference with its ongoing criminal investigations. Additionally, the Department steadfastly insisted that gunwalking did not occur.
Once documentary and testimonial evidence strongly contradicted these claims, the Department attempted to limit the fallout from Fast and Furious to the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). When that effort also proved unsuccessful, the Department next argued that Fast and Furious resided only within ATF itself, before eventually also assigning blame to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona. All of these efforts were designed to circle the wagons around DOJ and its political appointees.
To that end, just last month, you claimed that Fast and Furious did not reach the upper levels of the Justice Department. Documents discovered through the course of the investigation, however, have proved each and every one of these claims advanced by the Department to be untrue. It appears your latest defense has reached a new low. Incredibly, in your letter from Friday you now claim that you were unaware of Fast and Furious because your staff failed to inform you of information contained in memos that were specifically addressed to you. At best, this indicates negligence and incompetence in your duties as Attorney General. At worst, it places your credibility into serious doubt.
Following the Committee's issuance of a subpoena over six months ago, I strongly believed that the Department would fully cooperate with Congress and support this investigation with all the means at its disposal. The American people deserve no less. Unfortunately, the Department's cooperation to date has been minimal. Hundreds of pages of documents that have been produced to my Committee are duplicative, and hundreds more contain substantial redactions, rendering them virtually worthless. The Department has actively engaged in retaliation against multiple whistleblowers, and has, on numerous occasions, attempted to disseminate false and misleading information to the press in an attempt to discredit this investigation.
Your letter dated October 7 is deeply disappointing. Instead of pledging all necessary resources to assist the congressional investigation in discovering the truth behind the fundamentally flawed Operation Fast and Furious, your letter instead did little but obfuscate, shift blame, berate, and attempt to change the topic away from the Department's responsibility in the creation, implementation, and authorization of this reckless program. You claim that, after months of silence, you "must now address these issues" over Fast and Furious because of the harmful discourse of the past few days. Yet, the only major development of these past few days has been the release of multiple documents showing that you and your senior staff had been briefed, on numerous occasions, about Fast and Furious.
The Mexican Cartels
A month after you became Attorney General, you spoke of the danger of the Mexican drug cartels, and the Sinaloa cartel in particular. The cartels, you said, "are lucrative, they are violent, and they are operated with stunning planning and precision." You promised that under your leadership "these cartels will be destroyed." You vowed that the Department of Justice would "continue to work with [its] counterparts in Mexico, through information sharing, training and mutual cooperation to jointly fight these cartels, both in Mexico and the United States."
Under your leadership, however, Operation Fast and Furious has proven these promises hollow. According to one agent, Operation Fast and Furious "armed the cartel. It is disgusting." Fast and Furious simply served as a convenient means for dangerous cartels to acquire upwards of 2,000 assault-style weapons. On top of that, the Government of Mexico was not informed about Fast and Furious. In fact, DOJ and ATF officials actively engaged in hiding information about Fast and Furious from not only Mexican officials, but also U.S. law enforcement officials operating in Mexico for fear that they would inform their Mexican counterparts. This strategy is inapposite and contradicts the promises you made to the American people.
Your September 7, 2011 Statement
On September 7, 2011, you said that "[t]he notion that [Fast and Furious] reaches into the upper levels of the Justice Department is something that at this point I don't think is supported by the facts and I think once we examine it and once the facts are revealed we'll see that's not the case." Unfortunately, the facts directly contradict this statement.
Lanny Breuer, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, clearly a member of the Department's senior leadership, knew about Fast and Furious as early as March 2010. In fact, I have learned that the amount of detail shared with Breuer's top deputies about Fast and Furious is simply astounding.
For example, Manuel Celis-Acosta was the "biggest fish" of the straw purchasing ring in Phoenix. From the time the investigation started in September 2009 until March 15, 2010, Manuel Celis-Acosta acquired at least 852 firearms valued at around $500,000 through straw purchasers. Yet in 2009, Celis-Acosta reported an Arizona taxable income of only $15,475. Between September 2009 and late January 2010, 139 of these firearms were recovered, 81 in Mexico alone. Some of these firearms were recovered less than 24 hours after they were bought.
This information, and hundreds of pages worth of additional information, was included in highly detailed wiretap applications sent for authorization to Breuer's top deputies. It is my understanding, the Department applied to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona for numerous wire taps from March 2010 to July 2010. These wire tap applications were reviewed and approved by several Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals, including Kenneth A. Blanco, John C. Keeney, and Jason M. Weinstein. Breuer's top deputies approved these wiretap applications to be used against individuals associated with the known drug cartels. As I understand it, the wire tap applications contain rich detail of the reckless operational tactics being employed by your agents in Phoenix. Although Breuer and his top deputies were informed of the operational details and tactics of Fast and Furious, they did nothing to stop the program. In fact, on a trip to Mexico Breuer trumpeted Fast and Furious as a promising investigation.
Gary Grindler, the then-Deputy Attorney General and currently your Chief of Staff, received an extremely detailed briefing on Operation Fast and Furious on March 12, 2010. In this briefing, Grindler learned such minutiae as the number of times that Uriel Patino, a straw purchaser on food stamps who ultimately acquired 720 firearms, went in to a cooperating gun store and the amount of guns that he had bought. When former Acting ATF Director Ken Melson, a career federal prosecutor, learned similar information, he became sick to his stomach:
I had pulled out all Patino's -- and ROIs is, I'm sorry, report of investigation -- and you know, my stomach being in knots reading the number of times he went in and the amount of guns that he bought. Transcribed interview of Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson at 42.
At the time of his briefing in March of last year, Grindler knew that Patino had purchased 313 weapons and paid for all of them in cash. Unlike Melson, Grindler clearly saw nothing wrong with this. If Grindler had had the sense to shut this investigation down right then, he could have prevented the purchase of an additional 407 weapons by Patino alone. Instead, Grindler did nothing to stop the program.
Following this briefing, it is clear that Grindler did one of two things. Either, he alerted you to the name and operational details of Fast and Furious, in which case your May 3, 2011 testimony in front of Congress was false; or, he failed to inform you of the name and the operational details of Fast and Furious, in which case Grindler engaged in gross dereliction of his duties as Acting Deputy Attorney General. It is fair to infer from the fact that Grindler remains as your Chief of Staff that he did not engage in gross dereliction of his duties and told you about the program as far back as March of 2010.
In the summer of 2010, at the latest, you were undoubtedly informed about Fast and Furious. On at least five occasions you were told of the connection between Fast and Furious and a specific Mexican cartel – the very cartel that you had vowed to destroy. You were informed that Manuel Celis-Acosta and his straw purchasers were responsible for the purchase of 1,500 firearms that were then supplied to Mexican drug trafficking cartels. Yet, you did nothing to stop this program.
You failed to own up to your responsibility to safeguard the American public by hiding behind "[a]ttorneys in [your] office and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General," who you now claim did not bring this information to your attention. Holder Letter, supra note 1. As a result of your failure to act on these memos sent to you, nearly 500 additional firearms were purchased under Fast and Furious.
The facts simply do not support any claim that Fast and Furious did not reach the highest levels of the Justice Department. Actually, Fast and Furious did reach the ultimate authority in the Department – you.
Your May 3, 2011 Statement
On May 3, 2011, I asked you directly when you first knew about the operation known as Fast and Furious. You responded directly, and to the point, that you weren't "sure of the exact date, but [you] probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks." This statement, made before Congress, has proven to be patently untrue. Documents released by the Department just last week showed that you received at least seven memos about Fast and Furious starting as early as July 2010.
In your letter Friday, you blamed your staff for failing to inform you about Operation Fast and Furious when they reviewed the memos sent to you last summer. Your staff, therefore, was certainly aware of Fast and Furious over a year ago. Lanny Breuer was aware of Fast and Furious as early as March 2010, and Gary Grindler was also aware of Fast and Furious as early as March 2010. Given this frequency of high level involvement with Fast and Furious as much as a year prior to your May 3, 2011 testimony, it simply is not believable that you were not briefed on Fast and Furious until a few weeks before your testimony. At the very least, you should have known about Fast and Furious well before then. The current paper trail, which will only grow more robust as additional documents are discovered, creates the strong perception that your statement in front of Congress was less than truthful.
The February 4, 2011 Letter
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this intransigence is that the Department of Justice has been lying to Congress ever since the inquiry into Fast and Furious began. On February 4, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote that "ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transport into Mexico." This letter, vetted by both the senior ranks of ATF as well as the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, is a flat-out lie.
As we understand it, in March 2010, top deputies to Lanny Breuer were informed that law enforcement officers intercepted calls that demonstrated that Manuel Celis-Acosta was conspiring to purchase and transport firearms for the purpose of trafficking the firearms from the United States into Mexico. Not only was ATF aware of this information, but so was the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This information was shared with the Criminal Division. All of these organizations are components of the Department of Justice, and they were all aware of the illegal purchase of firearms and their eventual transportation into Mexico.
These firearms were not interdicted. They were not stopped. Your agents allowed these firearms purchases to continue, sometimes even monitoring them in person, and within days some of these weapons were being recovered in Mexico. Despite widespread knowledge within its senior ranks that this practice was occurring, when asked on numerous occasions about the veracity of this letter, the Department has shockingly continued to stand by its false statement of February 4, 2011.
Mr. Attorney General, you have made numerous statements about Fast and Furious that have eventually been proven to be untrue. Your lack of trustworthiness while speaking about Fast and Furious has called into question your overall credibility as Attorney General. The time for deflecting blame and obstructing our investigation is over. The time has come for you to come clean to the American public about what you knew about Fast and Furious, when you knew it, and who is going to be held accountable for failing to shut down a program that has already had deadly consequences, and will likely cause more casualties for years to come.
Operation Fast and Furious was the Department's most significant gun trafficking case. It related to two of your major initiatives – destroying the Mexican cartels and reducing gun violence on both sides of the border. On your watch, it went spectacularly wrong. Whether you realize yet or not, you own Fast and Furious. It is your responsibility.
Darrell Issa
  Below: Issa holds one of the many Redacted documents from the Department of Justice
It appears the Obama Administrations definition of transparency has evolved somewhat from that of Danial Websters- JP

GOP Presidential debate on September 22, 2011
QUESTION: My question is, if you were forced to eliminate one department from the federal government, which one would you eliminate and why?

HERMAN CAIN: The first -- the first department, if I were forced to eliminate a department, I would start with the EPA and start all over. It's out of control. 
Now, I know that makes some people nervous, but the EPA has gone wild. The fact that they have a regulation that goes into effect January 1, 2012, to regulate dust says that they've gone too far.So rather than try to fix it, eliminate all of the things that they have right now and then start rebuilding a responsible EPA.

     A trap question does not have to be answered as asked. Cain's cringe inducing response is understandable considering recent history with the EPA but it shows a lack of understanding as to why Nixon created the department in the first place. I'm not a history teacher and can offer no lessons here. Suffice to say many areas of the country were a toxic mess with dead streams and rivers, chemical dumps, radioactive dirty sites (one 24 miles from where we now live) smog and acid rain. The EPA contributed greatly in turning all that around. 
    In resent years the EPA has been enlisted as a tool of the environmental movement and specifically the new and somewhat failing religion of global warming. In their rush to control.... well.... everything, the environmentalists ... through the EPA using over reaching regulation, terminally flawed and illogical scientific data and  fabricated conclusions have succeeded in severely stunting economic growth throughout the country. These are not my theories, they are decisions by Federal Judges in lawsuits brought against the EPA. If unchecked the climate control groupies may well turn America into Reagan's "Shining City Upon a Hill" but with little going for it except food stamps.
    The EPA can and needs to be fixed. "There was an old Bill Cosby skit about a kid needing his tonsils removed. The doc explained that he needed the operation because that instead of protecting him as they should, "They have joined the other side". Surgery on the EPA seems just as warranted."- JII2297  
We can no longer afford to put minnows, snails and chemistry calculations ahead of human value and economic need. If one is worried where their next meal is coming from, they are more likely to fillet that minnow... regardless of the laws on the books to protect it.- JP

Although the message from the Occupy Wall Street protesters is convoluted and many the media interview sound like Jeff Spicoli after a burn there are some worthy messages mixed in. While some denigrate the protesters and others try to shape them into Democrat votes the overall causes of the protests are a system skewed in favor of the 1%  at the expense of the other 99% and where our government sets rule and regulation from the influences of good lobbying and political favor rather than sound economic policy and it's citizens needs. I have one question for our government "are we... the 99% .. also to big to fail"?- JP 

Photos of the Week:

Image: Alexandra Knight with son Truett and gun
This photograph of Alexandra Knight with her son, Truett, appears in the book “Chicks with Guns.

A row of old tractors

File:Day 12 Occupy Wall Street September 28 2011 Shankbone 33.JPG
Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street

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