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Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I suppose there will be much more to say about the ATF gunwalking scandal, which today led a House subcommittee to cite Eric Holder for contempt of Congress after Obama went the executive privilege route. As most of you know, this scandal is about an ATF program (which ran contrary to official policy) of turning a blind eye to "straw man" purchases of of weapons in the states so that the guns could be traced to their ultimate buyers in Mexico.

This tactic actually began under Bush. The right-wing blogs, which are going to town on this one, usually don't tell you that fact.

What I find grimly amusing about this business is that the scandal wouldn't even be a scandal if we had laws on your books against making straw purchases of arms on behalf of Mexican drug cartels. Last year, the Democrats came up with a bill to prohibit firearms trafficking. Naturally, the NRA and the Republicans screamed that this bill was a harbinger of the Great Gun Round-Up that they've been predicting since I was a tyke.

We need to close the gun show loophole, which allows unregulated sales of weapons by private sellers. (Such sellers may move hundreds of items each year.) Alas, any attempt to close this loophole will cause the Second Amendment fundamentalists to caterwaul about how Bolshevism is just around the corner.

The wingnuts are also claiming that ATF gunwalking was intended not to trace weapons to the Mexican drug lords but actually to supply those drug lords. Why? Because Obama is Just That Evil -- that's why.

Conservatives are also making a very strained -- in fact, downright ridiculous -- argument that Operation Fast and Furious was intentionally designed to make it possible for Obama to curtail the Second Amendment. Somehow. Some way.

And they call me a conspiracy theorist.

Expect them to keep pushing the paranoia. Any story that can be used against the ATF (long reviled by the NRA) and the Obama Justice Department is catnip to our reactionary conspiracy mongers.

Speaking of the ATF: I just saw Kevin Smith's Red State, an absolutely terrific movie. Even if you don't care for Smith's comedies (which I usually enjoy, although I don't lose my mind over them), you must see this film. In fact, see it twice: Once for everything about it, and a second time just to savor the phenomenal performances by Michael Parks and John Goodman. Parks, playing a psychotic cult leader, is an absolute revelation. I had no idea that the guy from Then Came Bronson was damned near our greatest living actor.

The only problem with the film is the title, which implies a story about partisan politics. In fact, it's about religious fanaticism.

Of course, I can understand how folks nowadays might confuse the two topics.
When the Bush administration started selling guns for drug "information", why didn't the democrats suggest simply putting tracers in luxury cars and sell those to alleged Mexican drug lords instead?

I recall reading rumors about the Bush family and their ties to the Mexican Drug Cartel. so it is very suspicious that they would come up with a such a ridiculous plan involving gun sales.
I was wrong, I thought that the House republicans would go after Obama's Rezko/Blagojevich problem.
I am glad you liked Red State, it was an incredible movie, I have been trying to get everyone to see it. Kudos must also be given to Melissa Leo, who played the Parks' oldest daughter. She was also the mother of the two brothers in The Fighter.

If you like Smith's comedies, you should check out his Q&As, where he talks about making movies and working with celebrities. There's some funny stuff.
There's already lots of laws on the books against straw purchases. This is how it all starts, when FFLs called the ATF to report obvious straw purchases and were told to let them walk.

There are not any laws on the books regarding private sales, face to face, of merchandise, gun or not.

When you cross statelines, or deal with an FFL, you fill out a 4473.

Finally, less than 0.7% of crime guns actually come from face-to-face purchases at gun shows.

Alot of "gun nuts" believe this was hatched to try and give credence to the gussied up numbers of American guns being used in Mexican wars so that they could in turn be used to tighten the rules in America.

At this point, watching how it plays out, I'm sadly prone to agree they might be more right than wrong.
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