August 29, 2011

A Security Turf War?

This is, as we know, a security oriented blog, and as such, there is no way we cannot link this interesting New York Post Op Ed by Stewart Baker, a former mucky muck at the Department of Homeland Security.

What’s the best way to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11? By returning to the mindset of Sept. 10, apparently. At least that’s the message delivered by the Associated Press and a chorus of blogs hyperventilating about the NYPD’s antiterror tactics.

I spent what felt like the better part of a day reading the long AP article and the commentary, thinking that surely there must be a scandal in there somewhere.


When you’re done, you find that the New York Policy Department is uniquely determined to find terrorists before they strike. To do that, the NYPD is willing to go far outside its borders — to London, to Jerusalem, even to New Jersey.

It partners with counterterror analysts at the CIA. It looks for leads in places where terrorists have been found before — in immigrant communities and in mosques, for example — and it doesn’t give terrorists a haven where they know the cops can’t go. It takes advantage of its diversity by asking its officers to hang out in communities where they blend in. It recruits street sources wherever it can find them. It maps the neighborhoods it’s most concerned about.

Shocked yet?

Me neither.

So what gives? How come we’re getting this story, at this length, at this time?

What gives? How come? Read on.

Mr. Baker’s explanation most definitely sounds about right, given the territorialism over teamwork mentality of government agencies and the general state of the liberal media, which seems increasingly to be a general state of anti-United States.

August 25, 2011

New Yorkers? Sheep?

You betcha!

One thing Seth has said in the past that he liked about California is that on election day, Californians get to vote on the passage of issues that concern them. They get propositions to “yea” or “nay” on the voting ballot. When something really socialistic passes out there, it generally means that that’s what the people want, what they voted for, but at least you can know that right or wrong, it’s what the majority of the people wanted.

That, whether the result is good or bad, is democracy.

New Yorkers, however, prefer to simply elect others to do all their thinking for them, then kvetch when taxes are raised or oppressive laws are enacted, then simply grit their teeth and go along with whatever it is.


There is California, supposedly the most gay, most liberal state in the nation last year voting down an initiative to legalize marijuana, and… wow, the people also continue to vote down a same sex marriage amendment, while here in New York…

…the politicians get to make such decisions in their “smoke filled back rooms” with or without the approval of the sheep majority.

Even the Republicans in New York (these people are desperately in need of a visit from the Tea Party) are sheep, to judge by what they’ll tolerate from Republican politicians here.

From World Magazine (a Christian publication):

New York conservatives were thinking through their next steps after four Republican state senators on June 24 joined Democrats in a 33-29 final vote that made New York the sixth state in the nation (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize same-sex marriage. The new law, which takes effect on July 25, will double the number of people now eligible for same-sex marriage in the United States.

Conservatives are likely to hold responsible at the polls the four Republicans who broke ranks to vote for the bill, along with majority leader Dean Skelos, who sent it to the floor for the final vote. But they are equally outraged by the closed-door tactics used to bring the controversial legislation to a vote—and what it means for future deliberations in a statehouse where Republicans hold only a slim majority in the Senate.

“All lobbyists were shut out for two weeks, then it was rammed through the voting process,” said Duane Motley, a pastor who is founder and senior lobbyist of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom. During the vote, he said, state troopers guarded the chambers, with senators locked in while the public remained locked out: “They [Republicans] even let Cuomo’s chief of staff on the floor to hurry the process so it was done for 11:00 news.” Governor Andrew Cuomo orchestrated the campaign and brought together unlikely allies who may bolster his Democratic base—and national profile for a 2016 White House run.

Motley said lawmakers also failed to follow normal rules of debate on the question of a religious exemption. “This was the executive branch telling the legislative branch how to operate,” he said, something he’s not seen in 29 years of closely following statehouse politics.

The entire column can be found here.

For all the blustery toughness associated with our fellow New Yorkers, that’s the long and short of it: They’re sheep, and elect politicians not to serve them, but to lead them around by the nose.

by @ 12:46 pm. Filed under New York, The Fact Of The Matter...

August 16, 2011

The Obama Administration’s “Promotables”

Of all the…

The ATF has promoted three key supervisors of a controversial sting operation that allowed firearms to be illegally trafficked across the U.S. border into Mexico.

All three have been heavily criticized for pushing the program forward even as it became apparent that it was out of control. At least 2,000 guns were lost and many turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and two at the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.

Promoted them!

The three supervisors have been given new management positions at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. They are William G. McMahon, who was the ATF’s deputy director of operations in the West, where the illegal trafficking program was focused, and William D. Newell and David Voth, both field supervisors who oversaw the program out of the agency’s Phoenix office.

McMahon and Newell have acknowledged making serious mistakes in the program, which was dubbed Operation Fast and Furious.

“I share responsibility for mistakes that were made,” McMahon testified to a House committee three weeks ago. “The advantage of hindsight, the benefit of a thorough review of the case, clearly points me to things that I would have done differently.”

Three Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesmen did not return phone calls Monday asking about the promotions. But several agents said they found the timing of the promotions surprising, given the turmoil at the agency over the failed program.

McMahon was promoted Sunday to deputy assistant director of the ATF’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations — the division that investigates misconduct by employees and other problems.

Kenneth E. Melson, the ATF’s acting director, said in an agency-wide confidential email announcing the promotion that McMahon was among ATF employees being rewarded because of “the skills and abilities they have demonstrated throughout their careers.”

Newell was the special agent in charge of the field office for Arizona and New Mexico, where Fast and Furious was conducted. On Aug. 1, the ATF announced he would become special assistant to the assistant director of the agency’s Office of Management in Washington.

Voth was an on-the-ground team supervisor for the operation, and last month he was moved to Washington to become branch chief for the ATF’s tobacco division.

I’ve heard of agencies “looking after their own”, but this is just plain ridiculous. These people should, at the very least, be shown their walking papers if not merely disciplined into the next century, not rewarded! Promoted, no less, so they are in positions wherein their incompetence can promote even larger scale disasters.

Steve Martin, an ATF deputy assistant director, said he urged McMahon as far back as January 2010 to end the operation, and was met with silence. “I asked Mr. McMahon, I said, what’s your plan?” Martin told the House committee. “Hearing none, I don’t know if they had one.”

Newell spent a decade on the border. As Operation Fast and Furious was unraveling, he insisted that his agents never allowed guns to “walk.”

The statement angered many agents. “Literally, my mouth fell open,” said Agent Larry Alt, who worked under Newell. “I am not being figurative about this. I couldn’t believe it.”

Newell has since acknowledged that “frequent risk assessments would be prudent” for operations like Fast and Furious. He also said the slaying of Terry “is one I will mourn for the rest of my life.”

Voth supervised the crew of ATF agents under the operation. As they questioned the wisdom of allowing illegal purchases, he countered that because the weapons were turning up at Mexico crime scenes, cartel leaders had to be involved. He told his crew members they were “watching the right people.”

His agents did not buy it.

“Whenever we would get a trace report back,” said Agent John Dodson, Voth “was jovial, if not giddy, just delighted about that: Hey, 20 of our guns were recovered with 350 pounds of dope in Mexico last night. … To them it proved the nexus to the drug cartels. It validated that were really working a cartel case here.”

Here’s the article.

Just unbelievable…

by @ 2:40 pm. Filed under Border Security, Unbelievable!

August 13, 2011

Ted Nugent on Goons

Here is a former rock star/ NRA member/ conservative of whom the big, bad Wolf has always been a fan, writing, as usual in point blank, no-holds-barred style on the problems brought upon us by the liberal segment of our society.

One needs only to look at goings on in England to confirm what Mr. Nugent is writing about.

Did you really expect anything different? From London to Philadelphia to Milwaukee, goons are rioting in the streets. And guess what? I don’t believe it is the fundamental fault of the goon squads that they’re rioting, although there’s no excuse for beating people and destroying property.

Societies, especially America’s, have created a shattered social system in which lawlessness and irresponsibility are excused by boneheaded liberals because they don’t think government has provided enough for these supposedly disadvantaged and downtrodden people.

The shiftless, looting goons and their liberal allies think rich people should be taxed more, and more economic advantages must be provided to largely uneducated, unskilled, lazy, incompetent goons. Eat the rich, my foot.

The problem, of course, is the exact opposite. For decades, government has provided too many programs, too many checks, too many safety nets, too many handouts and too many taxpayer-provided gimmes. The goons literally expect a handout instead of a hand up.

Right on!

The narrative sounds an awful lot like my hubby might have been dictating it himself, LOL, though there’s no use of one of his favorite terms, “mullet heads”. :-)

Anyway, read on, and “Go, Ted!”

by @ 6:57 pm. Filed under Great Commentary

August 12, 2011

A Little Optimism

Okay, a second post for today, this one from a visit to one of NYC’s free morning papers, A.M. New York, and a column by Todd Harrison titled, You need a storm to experience the calm.

The stock market has been a bipolar stroller this week, and it’s freaking people out.

There are many ways to view the seismic shift we’re witnessing: anger (as expressed by Main Street), sadness (as savings are destroyed), fear (as reality bites) and confusion (as folks try to understand how this could happen).

And there’s anticipation as we cast an eye forward and look for the phoenix that will eventually arise from the scorched earth.

The capital market destruction is a cumulative result of risk gone awry. It’s been percolating under the seemingly calm surface for years, magnified by financial engineering and consumed by an immediate gratification society.

Mother Nature has unleashed her wrath as she explores the other side of the business cycle that politicians have tried so hard to avoid. It’s certainly scary, as new beginnings typically are — therein lies the opportunity.

The media portrays the Great Depression as a time when everyone in America stood on street corners or waited in a bread line. A closer look shows that, similar to our current situation, economic hardship for the middle class began well before 1929.

We’ve got a few lean years ahead, but that’s nothing to fear. In fact, it’s a healthy and positive progression. To get through this, we need to go through this, and as painful as the process is, it takes us one step closer to an eventual recovery.

I view the Great Depression as the framework for optimism. Most of society worked, great discoveries were made and formidable franchises were established.

Disney (DIS) built a global franchise through that period.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) was born on the back-end.

Texas Instruments (TXN), Tyson Foods (TSN) and Continental Airlines (CAL) were birthed.

Read the rest. It’s nice to get a positive commentary on one of the gloomier aspects of our grim economic picture. :-)

by @ 3:26 pm. Filed under Great Commentary, The Economy

Fast and Furious and…The CIA?

I was new to America during the Carter Administration and not really cognizant of the former Georgia governor’s blunders as president, though I used to hear quite a bit of belly-aching about them from the big, bad Wolf (my beloved hubby). The consensus among conservatives I knew then seemed to be that a president couldn’t get any worse than Carter was, though in hindsight, I think they were a little premature along that line. But then, they had never heard of Barack Obama, either. For that matter, neither had Barack Obama, at least in the context we now know him.

Every time I think the present administration has outdone itself where idiocy, too-far-leftism or simply complete failure to embrace reality is concerned, I read something like…

From the Washington Times:

Why did the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) let criminals buy firearms, smuggle them across the Mexican border and deliver them into the hands of vicious drug cartels? The ATF claims it launched its now-disgraced Operation Fast and Furious in 2009 to catch the “big fish.” Fast and Furious was designed to stem the “Iron River” flowing from American gun stores into the cartels’ arsenals. The bureau says it allowed gun smuggling so it could track the firearms and arrest the cartel members downstream. Not true.

During the course of Operation Fast and Furious, about 2,000 weapons moved from U.S. gun stores to Mexican drug cartels - exactly as intended.

In congressional testimony, William Newell, former ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Division, testified that the Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were “full partners” in Operation Fast and Furious. Mr. Newell’s list left out the most important player: the CIA. According to a CIA insider, the agency had a strong hand in creating, orchestrating and exploiting Operation Fast and Furious.

Wasn’t it only a couple of decades ago that the liberals in media and government were attacking the CIA for taking what one might term “initiative” in their pursuit of projecting U.S. policy? Well, now an extremely liberal administration may be using what Wolf smilingly calls Christians In Action to intercede, albeit only semi-directly, in the internal political affairs of another country.

If, that is, this report is correct.

The CIA’s motive is clear enough: The U.S. government is afraid the Los Zetas drug cartel will mount a successful coup d’etat against the government of Felipe Calderon.

Founded by ex-Mexican special forces, the Zetas already control huge swaths of Mexican territory. They have the organization, arms and money needed to take over the entire country.

Former CIA pilot Robert Plumlee and former CIA operative and DEA Director Phil Jordan recently said the brutally efficient Mexican drug cartel has stockpiled thousands of weapons to disrupt and influence Mexico’s national elections in 2012. There’s a very real chance the Zetas cartel could subvert the political process completely, as it has throughout the regions it controls.

In an effort to prevent a Los Zetas takeover, Uncle Sam has gotten into bed with the rival Sinaloa cartel, which has close ties to the Mexican military. Recent court filings by former Sinaloa cartel member Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, currently in U.S. custody, reveal that the United States allowed the Sinaloas to fly a 747 cargo plane packed with cocaine into American airspace - unmolested.

The CIA made sure the trade wasn’t one-way. It persuaded the ATF to create Operation Fast and Furious - a “no strings attached” variation of the agency’s previous firearms sting. By design, the ATF operation armed the Mexican government’s preferred cartel on the street level near the American border, where the Zetas are most active.

Operation Fast and Furious may not have been the only way the CIA helped put lethal weapons into the hands of the Sinaloa cartel and its allies, but it certainly was an effective strategy. If drug thugs hadn’t murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry with an ATF- provided weapon, who knows how many thousands more guns would have crossed the U.S. border?

This is beginning to sound more and more like the kind of thing the Democrats are always accusing Republican administrations of being up to, from Watergate to Contragate.

The ATF has never been an “approved agency” in our household, nor has the BATFE Gestapo been an object of respect or admiration here at Hard Astarboard. I wonder why…

To be sure, Operation Fast and Furious suited the ATF’s needs. It was all too willing to let guns walk to increase its power, prestige and budget in Washington. It actively recruited so-called straw purchasers and happily used American gun dealers as pawns. And it was only one agency in a mosaic of federal agencies helping the CIA actualize its covert plans.

The article in its entirety is here.

by @ 3:11 pm. Filed under General Purpose Morons, Government Stupidity, Unbelievable!, WTF!!!!?

August 7, 2011

It had to be a Democrat, right?

A Democrat, that is, to finally preside over the downgrading of America’s credit rating.

From the Washington Times:

The Obama administration has made history by presiding over the first-ever downgrade in the U.S. credit rating. President Obama has outdone all his predecessors in wrecking America’s good name. His answer to this problem: Spend even more.

Raising the debt ceiling was sold as a way of guaranteeing the U.S. credit rating. It had the opposite effect, which makes sense to anyone who understands credit. Take a family with a median household income around $50,000. If they spend $85,000 a year and have debt at $300,000 and growing, it’d be foolish to let them borrow more because they don’t have the income to pay it back. Raising the debt ceiling ignored this reality. Then, the Obama administration immediately demonstrated its utter lack of creditworthiness by blowing 60 percent of the initial $400 billion increase in one day, the largest single-day accumulation of debt in U.S. history.

While they don’t have Bush to kick around anymore, they kick at him just the same, not out of any sense of vindictiveness, but because one of the hallmarks of today’s liberal dominated Democrats is that taking responsibility for their actions is unheard of, and since Bush has been the all purpose pin cushion for blame since the Obama Empire Administration began, why stop now?

The White House blames the George W. Bush administration for every economic woe, but the numbers speak for themselves. In 2008, the federal budget deficit was around 3 percent of gross domestic product. In 2011, it’s around 11 percent. Total federal debt was $10.7 trillion at the end of 2008 and is currently $14.6 trillion. Debt as a percentage of GDP was a painful 69 percent at the end of the Bush years, but Mr. Obama is pushing it over 100 percent, another disgraceful historic milestone. A record 45.8 million are on food stamps, and the percentage of working-aged Americans who have jobs is the lowest in three decades. According to Gallup’s daily tracking poll, in late January, 44 percent of Americans felt the economy was getting better, and 52 percent thought it was worsening. Now only 17 percent have a positive view; 77 percent understand our economy is nosediving.

Well, like the opening line of the linked article says, The Obama administration has made history

Not the kind of history most presidents would want to be remembered for, but from Obama’s point of view, at least it’s some kind of change.

by @ 7:13 am. Filed under Liberal Agendas, The Economy, The President

August 6, 2011

Good Lord, has it really come to THIS!?

From the Washington Times:

Neighborhood lemonade stands have for generations served as a training ground for budding young capitalists. Boys and girls eager for their first taste of success have recently watched their dreams dissolve as rulebook-toting authoritarians demand little Timmy and Sally show their permits and papers or face the wrath of the state. Americans are fed up with this nonsense. It’s time for a little lemonade liberation.

I had no idea things had gotten this bad in what was once called the Land of the Free. What’s next, the Tonton Macoute?

It’s nice to know that a few of our fellow Americans out there are demonstrating that they’re fed up!

by @ 11:07 am. Filed under Unbelievable!, Weasels

August 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, USCG!

Since Seth is (when he’s around, heh heh) the prime mover here at Hard Astarboard and he is an ex “coastie”:

Coast Guard to Celebrate 221st Birthday

August 04, 2011
U.S. Coast Guard

CLEVELAND — Coast Guard men and women nationwide are making plans to celebrate the service’s 221st birthday Thursday in a variety of ways.

This includes the 6,000 active-duty, reserve, auxiliary and civilian members of the 9th Coast Guard District’s 75 units throughout the Great Lakes region.

The U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, predecessor of the modern-day U.S. Coast Guard, was established at the urging of Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury. Hamilton’s Revenue Cutter Act authorized construction of the original 10 cutters of the Revenue Marine on Aug. 4, 1790.

Read the rest of the article here, and Happy Birthday, U.S. Coast Guard!

by @ 6:38 pm. Filed under U.S. Coast Guard