Americans already expressed record satisfaction on economic conditions in the U.S., over three years…
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Image of the Day: Economy Even Better Than We Realized

Americans already expressed record satisfaction on economic conditions in the U.S., over three years into President Trump's tenure.  Turns out that things are even better than we initially realized, as employment data from the end of 2019 was just significantly updated:

. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="480"] Even Better Than First Realized[/caption]

 

.  …[more]

February 14, 2020 • 10:06 am

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Operation Castaway, Another ATF Gun Scandal Print
By Ashton Ellis
Tuesday, July 19 2011
To date, there are an estimated 1,400 guns from Phoenix’s 'Operation Fast and Furious' whose whereabouts are unknown. Adding Tampa’s 'Operation Castaway' to the mix may increase the number of by another 3,000.

Who knew the federal agency that brought us the idea of letting guns illegally “walk” into Mexico would also oversee a similar program connecting Florida and Honduras?

Apparently, no one in senior management at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), or its parent organization, the Department of Justice.  ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and United States Attorney General Eric Holder have both claimed ignorance of the Phoenix-based “Operation Fast and Furious.”  Congress is still waiting for either man’s reaction to new revelations about a Tampa program, “Operation Castaway,” that seems suspiciously similar to its southwestern cousin. 

In both the Phoenix and Tampa field offices, ATF agents – with approval from Washington, D.C., managers – wanted to trace the illegal sale of firearms from straw men (legal buyers who then sell to people who can’t legally own guns) to “bigger fish” in the international criminal community.  The plan was to nab the leaders of street gangs and drug cartels instead of picking off their errand runners.

The deadly failure of that plan became apparent when U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed with one of those guns in a shootout with illegal crossers near the Arizona border last December.  Since then, congressional focus has fixed on the flow of Arizona guns allowed to wash into Mexico.  House Government Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have been applying increasing amounts of pressure to Melson and Holder, and those under them, to get straight answers about who knew about Operation Fast and Furious. 

Melson and Holder will be getting even more questions in the wake of the information uncovered by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).  As a member of House committees on Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs, Bilirakis found out about another ATF program monitoring illegal firearm sales going into a foreign country.  This time, the destination was Honduras, and the point of origin was ATF’s Tampa field office. 

Though the details are still being sorted out, Bilirakis and guns rights reporters David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh indicate that ATF’s Tampa office knew that guns it monitored through third-party sellers were finding their way to Honduras.  Bilirakis wants to know if members of the international crime syndicate “MS-13” are known to ATF or DOJ to be in possession of guns that were once supposedly under surveillance. 

To date, there are an estimated 1,400 guns from Phoenix’s “Operation Fast and Furious” whose whereabouts are unknown.  Adding Tampa’s “Operation Castaway” to the mix may increase the number of by another 3,000. 

In response, President Barack Obama is listening to advice from the ultra-liberal Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the highest profile gun control lobby in Washington, D.C.  According to Brady’s Acting President Dennis A. Henigan, ATF’s deliberate escalation of the arms flow to Mexican drug cartels means that gun store owners who followed ATF orders (even after some questioned those orders) should now be regulated even more than before. 

On July 12, the Department of Justice publicized President Obama’s executive order requiring gun store owners to report multiple firearm sales to DOJ and other federal agencies like ATF. 

But if increasing reporting requirements is so easy, why wasn’t it done before?  Because there is no statutory authority to enforce such a requirement.  A press release from the Brady Campaign praising Obama’s executive order acknowledges as much by saying “We need to give the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sufficient legal authority to crack down on corrupt dealers who feed the stream of trafficked guns.”  (Emphasis added) 

By the Brady Campaign’s own admission, the Obama Administration does not have “sufficient legal authority” under current law to enforce this new burden on gun store owners.  In a sane world, the political leaders on both sides would root out the bureaucrats gone wild, and then get what’s left of ATF back to policing crime for which it does have authority. 

Alas, as the debt ceiling debate is proving, this is far from a sane moment in our nation’s history.  As that circus continues to distract, responsible members of Congress shouldn’t forget to hold rogue or willfully negligent law enforcement agents to account. 

Question of the Week   
How many Members of the House of Representatives have been on the general election ballot for President while they were still sitting House Members?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"For those who can do simple arithmetic, here are some fun numbers on Bernie Sanders' harebrained socialist schemes:Bernie Sanders said at the debate last night that he wants minimum wage to be $15 per hour.15$ X 40 per week = $600600$ X 52 weeks per yr = $31,200Bernie Sanders wants free health care for all and was asked how he would pay for it. His answer was raise taxes to 52% on anybody making…[more]
 
 
—Tweet By James Woods, Actor, Social Commentator (and MIT graduate)
— Tweet By James Woods, Actor, Social Commentator (and MIT graduate)
 
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