Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Judge orders DOJ to release Fast and Furious documents blocked by Obama

Katie Pavlich reports on it for Townhall.com.

Excerpt:

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit pursued against the Department of Justice by government watchdog Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled documents being withheld from Congress under President Obama’s claim of executive privilege must be turned over. Obama made the claim on the same day Attorney General Eric Holder was voted in criminal and civil contempt of Congress in June 2012.

“This order forces the Obama DOJ, for the first time, to provide a detailed listing of all documents that it has withheld from Congress and the American people for years about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal,” Judicial Watch released in a statement.

The FOIA lawsuit has been ongoing for 16-months and is now proceeding after a lengthy delay. The Justice Department originally asked the court for an indefinite hold on a FOIA request from Judicial Watch, citing executive privilege and an ongoing investigation. That indefinite hold request was shot down more than a year ago.

The documentation DOJ is required to now turn over is a “Vaughn index” of “all requested Fast and Furious materials from a June 2012 Judicial Watch FOIA request.”

A Vaughn index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.” In ordering the DOJ to provide Judicial Watch the Vaughn index, the Court ruled, “In this circuit, when an agency is withholding documents under exemption claims, courts require that the agency provide a Vaughn index so that the FOIA requester – at a distinct informational disadvantage – may test the agency’s claims.”

“Once again, Judicial Watch has beat Congress to the punch in getting key information about another Obama scandal – this time, the Fast and Furious outrage,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “A federal court has ordered the Obama administration to produce information that could, for the first time, provide specific details who in the administration is responsible for Fast and Furious lies to Congress and the American people. This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in face of all this lawlessness. Finally, we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the countless others murdered as a result of the insanely reckless Obama administration program.”

Unfortunately, this is coming too late for Obama’s 2012 re-election contest, and the mainstream media is unlikely to report it, just like they failed to report the IRS scandal. But if we all share this story, it will help people to realize how lawless and corrupt this administration really is. It’s gangster government, as Michele Bachmann said. The crooks are in charge.

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Democrats try to block whistleblower’s Fast and Furious expose

Fox News reports on the latest Democrat cover-up scandal. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

The ATF agent who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious has been denied permission to write a book on the botched anti-gun trafficking sting “because it would have a negative impact on morale,” according to the very agency responsible for the scandal.

After first trying to stop the operation internally, ATF Agent John Dodson went to Congress and eventually the media following the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010. Two guns found at the murder scene were sold through the ATF operation.

Dodson’s book, titled “The Unarmed Truth,” provides the first inside account of how the federal government permitted and helped sell some 2,000 guns to Mexican drug cartels, despite evidence the guns killed innocent people.

Dodson, who is working with publisher Simon & Schuster, submitted his manuscript to the department for review, per federal rules. However, it was denied.

Greg Serres, an ATF ethics official, told Dodson that any of his supervisors at any level could disapprove outside employment “for any reason.”

[...]Dodson says “The Unarmed Truth” will come out in January, with or without the ATF’s permission.

I hope this book sells a lot of copies.

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19 facts about illegal immigration

From Doug Ross’ blog.

Excerpt: (links to mainstream sources removed)

The following are 19 very disturbing facts about illegal immigration that every American should know…

#157 percent of all households that are led by an immigrant (legal or illegal) are enrolled in at least one welfare program.

#2 According to one study, the cost to U.S. taxpayers of legalizing current illegal immigrants would be approximately 6.3 trillion dollars over the next 50 years.

#3 The Obama administration has distributed flyers that tell illegal immigrants that their immigration status will not be checked when they apply for food stamps.

#4 The Department of Homeland Security says that it has lost track of a million people that have entered this country but that appear never to have left.

#5One out of every five children living in Los Angeles County has a parent that is in the country illegally.

#6 In one recent year, taxpayers in Los Angeles County spent 600 million dollars on welfare for children of illegal immigrants.

#7 Thanks to illegal immigration, California’s overstretched health care system is on the verge of collapse. Dozens of California hospitals and emergency rooms have shut down over the past decade because they could not afford to stay open after being endlessly swamped by illegal immigrants who were simply not able to pay for the services that they were receiving. As a result, the remainder of the health care system in the state of California is now beyond overloaded. This had led to brutally long waits, diverted ambulances and even unnecessary patient deaths. At this point, the state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

#8 It has been estimated that U.S. taxpayers spend $12,000,000,000 a year on primary and secondary school education for the children of illegal immigrants.

#9 It is estimated that illegal aliens make up approximately 30 percent of the population in federal, state and local prisons and that the total cost of incarcerating them is more than $1.6 billion annually.

#10 The federal government actually has a website that teaches immigrants how to sign up for welfare programsonce they arrive in the United States.

#11 The Obama administration recently introduced the very first “unmanned” border station along the Texas-Mexico border.

#12 The Obama administration has sued individual states such as Arizona that have tried to crack down on illegal immigration.

#13 According to the FBI, there are approximately 1.4 million gang members living in our cities. Illegal immigration has been one of the primary factors that has fueled the growth of these gangs.

#14 As I have written about previously, there are only about 200 police officers assigned to Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit to handle the estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city.

#15 Mexican drug cartels make approximately 6.6 billion dollars a year “exporting” illegal drugs to the United States.

#16 It is an open secret that Mexican drug cartels are openly conducting military operations inside the United States. The handful of border patrol agents that we have guarding the border are massively outgunned and outmanned.

#17 According to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, Mexican drug cartels were actively operating in 50 different U.S. cities in 2006. By 2010, that number had skyrocketed to 1,286.

#18 Overall, more than 55,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006. That same level of violence will eventually show up in major U.S. cities unless something dramatic is done about illegal immigration.

#19 It is being projected that the Senate immigration bill will bring 33 million more people to the United States over the next decade.

Please click through to Doug’s blog post to get the links if any of these surprise you. They shouldn’t.

As always, I am in favor of increasing legal immigration by skilled immigrants. But illegal immigration is something else entirely. It is infuriating to me that the costs for all of this Democrat “generosity” to law-breaking illegal immigrants is going to be paid for by our children, who are on the hook for a $17 trillion national debt. Not only that, but it’s the poorest of the poor who have to face the problem of the drug cartels and pay the costs for the schools, hospitals and social programs that support illegal immigration.

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National Review and Weekly Standard agree: kill the immigration bill

Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard) and Rich Lowry (National Review) write about immigration reform in National Review.

Excerpt:

We are conservatives who have differed in the past on immigration reform, with Kristol favorably disposed toward it and Lowry skeptical. But the Gang of Eight has brought us into full agreement: Their bill, passed out of the Senate, is a comprehensive mistake. House Republicans should kill it without reservation.

[...]The bill’s first fatal deficiency is that it doesn’t solve the illegal-immigration problem. The enforcement provisions are riddled with exceptions, loopholes, and waivers. Every indication is that they are for show and will be disregarded, just as prior notional requirements to build a fence or an entry/exit visa system have been – and just as President Obama has recently announced he’s ignoring aspects of Obamacare that are inconvenient to enforce on schedule. Why won’t he waive a requirement for the use of E-Verify just as he’s unilaterally delayed the employer mandate? The fact that the legalization of illegal immigrants comes first makes it all the more likely that enforcement provisions will be ignored the same way they were after passage of the 1986 amnesty.

Marco Rubio says he doesn’t want to have to come back ten years from now and deal with the same illegal-immigration problem. But that’s exactly what the CBO says will happen under his own bill. According to the CBO analysis of the bill, it will reduce illegal immigration by as little as a third or by half at most. By one estimate, this means there will be about 7.5 million illegal immigrants here in ten years. And this is under the implausible assumption that the Obama administration would administer the law as written.

The bill’s changes in legal immigration are just as ill considered. Everyone professes to agree that our system should be tilted toward high-skilled immigration, but the Gang of Eight bill unleashes a flood of additional low-skilled immigration. The last thing low-skilled native and immigrant workers already here should have to deal with is wage-depressing competition from newly arriving workers. Nor is the new immigration under the bill a panacea for the long-term fiscal ills of entitlements, as often argued, because those programs are redistributive and most of the immigrants will be low-income workers.

Finally, there is the sheer size of the bill and the hasty manner in which it was amended and passed. Conservatives have eloquently and convincingly made the case against bills like this during the Obama years. Such bills reflect a mistaken belief in central planning and in practice become a stew of deals, payoffs, waivers, and special-interest breaks. Why would House Republicans now sign off on this kind of lawmaking? If you think Obamacare and Dodd-Frank are going swimmingly, you’ll love the Gang of Eight bill. It’s the opposite of conservative reform, which simplifies and limits government, strengthens the rule of law, and empowers citizens.

My position on immigration is simple. Build the fence first. Implement e-verify for employers and harsh penalties for hiring anyone without a work permit. Automatic green cards for skilled workers who prove they can work here, pay taxes, obey the law, and not collect federal benefits of any kind, for a period of six years (cumulative). A robust program to allow temporary low-skilled workers to work here temporarily, with no path to permanent residency or citizenship. No permanent residency for illegal immigrants. No path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

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Democrat-run California now leads America in poverty rankings

From the Daily Caller, a story about what happens when you allow Democrats to dominate at every level of government for years and years and years.

Excerpt:

The Golden State has reached a poverty rate that is now twice as bad as West Virginia’s and substantially worse than the rates of poverty in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas, according to a new measure of poverty developed by the federal Census Bureau.

Democrat-run California earned its last-place rank under the federal government’s new measure of poverty, which incorporates more detailed analyses of welfare payments and the local costs of food, gasoline and housing. (View the new census data report)

The state’s costs are boosted by its environmental and workplace regulations, and by 38 million residents’ competition for housing close to the sea.

[...]Democratic California Gov. Gerry Brown’s office did not release a comment Nov. 15 about the new ranking, but did note that he would be attending a housing conference, the “Greenbuild International Conference and Expo,” in San Francisco Nov. 16.

[...]The report estimates that roughly 8.8 million people in California were poor during between 2009 and 2011, when Democrats controlled the state legislature and governorship, as well as the White House.

The stunning reversal in fortunes for the Democrat-dominated state — once a worldwide symbol of glitz and wealth — is underlined by previous census reports, which showed that only 11.1 percent of the state’s population was poor in 1969.

Only 13.7 percent of Americans were poor in 1969, and many of them were found in the agricultural states of the Old South. A third of Americans in Mississippi, and a quarter of Americans in Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Western Virginia, were poor.

Forty years later, after waves of federal and state regulations on housing, banking, health care and air quality, and amid increased financial aid for unmarried parents, youth, immigrants and unskilled people, the national poverty rate has climbed to 15.8 percent, according to the new Census Bureau measure.

The new measure supplants a poverty gauge developed in the 1960s. It incorporates the economic impact of welfare programs, transportation and child-care costs, changes in child-rearing practices — especially the impact of single parents raising kids — plus differences in the region’s average prices and health care costs.

The new ranking leaves California at the bottom, along with and close to the 23.2 percent poverty rate in the District of Columbia.

[...]The well-being of Californian children has also shriveled in recent decades, partly because of the state’s declining education sector, according to a July report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

California just voted to raise their state income tax. Because they do not understand economics. They do not ask how a policy impacts all people. They do not think beyond stage one. They do not learn from history and experience. Economics is just not what socialists *do*. The primary goal of the socialist is to demonize the other, to feel good about himself, and to project an image to others of being “nice” in order to be liked. When you elect narcissists like this, all you get is rhetoric, never results.

That rhetoric certainly seems to work on certain segments of the electorate – those who don’t follow current events and who don’t understand economics. The truth is that hard-headed capitalism, the rule of law, free trade and property rights, helps the poor more – by growing the economy so that the poor will have jobs. We need to learn as a nation that demonizing “the rich”, raising taxes and spending ourselves into enormous debt is not going to help the poor. Self-aggrandizing talk doesn’t help the poor.

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