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As Republicans in the House of Representatives continue to politicize and criminalize Operation Fast and Furious, they should at least try to keep their facts straight. But, hey, they're Republicans.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is turning up the heat on the issue, and by his own published statements, we now have further proof that he is a cynic, a fool, or a cynical fool.

After a House committee dominated by Republicans voted today to recommend the entire House hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress in connection with its investigation of the Fast and Furious operation, Grassley -- who has been pushing an investigation for over a year -- said:

“The assertion of executive privilege raises monumental questions. How can the president assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement? How can the president exert executive privilege over documents he's supposedly never seen?”
A better question: How can a sitting, veteran United States senator make such hash of a widely known concept like executive privilege? Or, in plainer English, exactly how dumb can a US senator be?

Grassley apparently is laboring under the illusion -- or, knowing better, hopes to perpetuate the illusion -- that executive privilege pertains only to actions and exchanges involving the president himself. Actually, such privilege, even though it has been constrained by courts on a number of occasions, pertains to the entire executive branch, including cabinet officers.

The issue came up today when, just before GOP Rep. Darrell Issa's Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted to recommend Holder's contempt citation by the full House,  the Justice Department informed Issa that the president had formally asserted executive privilege over documents related to the committee's investigation into Fast and Furious.

Here, via Wikipedia, one of those newfangled encyclopedias that appear on that arcane instrument known as the Intertubes, is what Grassley doesn't know, or pretends not to know (boldfacing is my own):

...(E)xecutive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government. The concept of executive privilege is not mentioned explicitly in the United States Constitution, but the Supreme Court of the United States ruled it to be an element of the separation of powers doctrine, and/or derived from the supremacy of executive branch in its own area of Constitutional activity.

The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of this doctrine in United States v. Nixon, but only to the extent of confirming that there is a qualified privilege. Once invoked, a presumption of privilege is established, requiring the Prosecutor to make a "sufficient showing" that the "Presidential material" is "essential to the justice of the case."(418 U.S. at 713-14). Chief Justice Burger further stated that executive privilege would most effectively apply when the oversight of the executive would impair that branch's national security concerns.

Grassley's misunderstanding of executive privilege is made worse by the fact that he is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Oops.

The Iowan's off-handed willingness to implicate the president in supposed misconduct, malfeasance, or something -- just after Issa and his fellow Republicans on the House committee did that to Holder -- ought to make clear that a large component of the GOP investigation into Fast and Furious is purely political: Embarass the administration, inject the implication of scandal and even criminality, and whip the whole mixture into a delicious, frothy dessert in time for the fall election.

Unfortunately, if the truth will out, it's not just that Grassley is dead wrong when he asserts that by invoking executive privilege the president logically must be implicating himself in some kind of hands-on involvement with the operation. It's that the operation, however misguided or mishandled, isn't even anything new.

Fast and Furious was a so-called "gun-walking" program under the Department of Justice that led to the death of an American law enforcement agent. Gun-walking has for some time, though not always in the public arena, been a controversial tactic. In such operations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms deliberately allowed guns to be bought by suspected arms traffickers working to supply Mexican drug cartels.

The idea behind permitting such gun purchases was that ATF would track the weapons as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and ultimately key suspects in the cartels. The goal was to arrest those higher-ups and break up the cartels.

But ATF lost track of many of the guns it allowed to be sold by the traffickers. The House committee has been investigating that breakdown and allegations that the breakdowns were somehow orchestrated on up to Holder. And now Grassley would like you to think Obama was personally involved somehow, too.

Now, there are legitimate reasons why Congress would like to examine the practice. And there are illegitimate reasons. Interestingly, Republican interest in the success or failure of gun-walking tactics only surfaced after the Obama administration took office.

And why would that matter? Well, because gun-walking operations have been an ATF staple for years. The first known such operation involving Mexican drug cartels, named Operation Wide Receiver, began in early 2006 and ran into late 2007. Again, from Wikipedia:

At the time, under the Bush administration Department of Justice (DOJ), no arrests or indictments were made. After President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the DOJ reviewed Wide Receiver in September 2009 and found that guns had been allowed into the hands of suspected gun traffickers. Indictments began in 2010, over three years after Wide Receiver concluded. As of October 4, 2011, nine people had been charged with making false statements in acquisition of firearms and illicit transfer, shipment or delivery of firearms... .
Catch that? Under the Bush administration, "guns had been allowed into the hands of suspected gun traffickers." No problem, then, though. Wiki continues:
On October 26, 2009, a teleconference was held at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. to discuss U.S. strategy for combating Mexican drug cartels. Participating in the meeting were Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Robert Mueller and the top federal prosecutors in the Southwestern border states. They decided on a strategy to identify and eliminate entire arms trafficking networks rather than low-level buyers. Those at the meeting did not suggest using the "gunwalking" tactic, but ATF supervisors would soon use it in an attempt to achieve the desired goals
So Fast and Furious was going to widen the effort. But then things went askew. ATF lost track of a majority of the newest batch of guns that had been "walked." One of those guns later was implicated in the death of a US law enforcement agent working in the region. Upset ATF employees contacted Grassley and others, and the next thing you know there's the insatiable equivalent of a star chamber in session on Capitol Hill.

Like we said, Congress has every right to look into Operation Fast and Furious. Let's by all means see that our government learns from its mistakes. In trying to interdict murderous Mexican drug cartels, handing out guns might seem a bit over the top but, the particulars of how the program was designed notwithstanding, it's fundamentally no different than having agents hand over tax dollars to drug dealers in an attempt to entrap them. Itself perhaps another bad idea in search of a solution.

In any case, after badgering Holder at numerous sessions and demanding tens of thousands of documents for examination, but receiving "only" 7,000 or so of them, the crusading Republicans have now declared Holder uncooperative, and in turn the administration has decided to let this become a matter for the courts.

That, of course, will slow down the investigation, not speed it up, but that probably doesn't matter to the drama queens in the GOP. It probably won't stop Grassley and his pals from making it seem like Barack Obama and Eric Holder were personally selling guns to drug traffickers in Mexico, and throwing in free D.C. tourist maps. Never mind that the program was somewhat successful, leading to the indictments of 20 traffickers. And, never mind that this sort of tactic was invented during the Bush administration, either.

It's too bad the program, apparently, went off the rails. It really is too bad an American agent was shot by a gun trafficked under Fast and Furious, and that missing guns from the operation have been used in 200 civilian killings.

On the other hand, every day in the Mideast since 2001, a couple of more US soldiers have died serving in US operations that at times over the past decade have been badly designed, managed and executed, and, worse, even based in part on lies. Eric Holder and Barack Obama long ago decided that it would be counterproductive to hold the previous administration starting with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney criminally accountable for those mistakes and lies. Meanwhile, the GOP has no such qualms.

The GOP and even some Democrats are wearing an even bigger set of blinders when it comes to the wider issues that helped drive ATF and higher level policymakers starting way back in the Bush administration to create gun-walking stings in the first place. They simply can't see the forest for the trees. Those issues are stark and simple:

1. Thanks to the NRA and Republican acquiesence, guns are very easy to obtain in the US and very easy to traffic into Mexico for illegal purposes, with or without US government sting operations.

2. The Mexican drug cartels have become murderous and powerful because of the huge market they are serving, which exists almost entirely inside the USA. That market in turn is driven by the very illegality of the drugs that the cartels smuggle to the US.

Strengthen gun laws and decriminalize at least some drug use in the US, and arguably there wouldn't be the kind of pressure and desperation felt inside ATF or government at large, of the kind that pushed gun-walking operations into existence in the first place.

But you won't hear any of that from Grassley. From all indications, he's now busy setting up what he apparently hopes will be the second impeachment of a Democratic sitting president in a row. If you're from Iowa and you ever voted for Grassley, thanks for nothing.

Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 7:29 PM PT: Fortune magazine has just published an extensive investigative article that concludes that ATF "never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels" in the "Fast and Furious" operation. See the Fortune magazine web site or CNN, which co-published the iece.

Originally posted to Ron Legro on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 06:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The only thing... (12+ / 0-)

    ..Grassley is smelling is a right wing conspiracy theory that makes birtherism seem like small potatoes.

    This whole uproar started with the same batshit crazy that told people to  break windows after congress passed health care reform (of course, being the domestic terrorists they are, they complied).

    Here's a brief account of the shit-for-brains nutbag that has our congress acting like a bunch of zonked out cultists...

    Daily Kos Rule of Thumb #1: Any optimistic prediction for a Democratic candidate is a slippery slope to complacency.

    by wyvern on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 06:44:01 PM PDT

  •  The same political instincts (10+ / 0-)

    that brought us the Clinton impeachment is guiding this Fast And Furious witch hunt.

    This is going to end well, too. For the Democrats.

    •  And if the public's reaction has (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Been any indication, they are going to get the same result.  A major ass-kicking in November.

      I think the GOP senses that they are going to get lost in this election if they don't start making some kind of ridiculous noise.  Kind of like when a four-year-old child realizes that nobody is paying attention to him.  He starts breaking things.

    •  Not sure...there are plenty of "bleeders" here (0+ / 0-)

      including one on the wreck list right now.

      •  Yeah, that's our Achilles' heel (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        patchmo13, GoGoGoEverton

        There seems to be a good number of people on the left who are psychologically predisposed to run around shrieking "oh noes, we're doomed" and to form a circular firing squad at the drop of a hat.

        We complain mightily about Democratic politicians lacking spines, but spines seem to be in fairly short supply among the rank and file, too.

  •  and they have the nerve to say the dreamer (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Observerinvancouver, MJB, KayCeSF, JVolvo

    exec order was political

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:02:06 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, that's the Gooper party line (6+ / 0-)

      and all their drones are dutifully repeating it.  

      The right-wing newspaper in San Diego complained "the president is not a king," and argued that only by act of congress could the president do what he did.  

      They are too spineless to argue against it on policy grounds, so they have to argue that Democratic presidents should have less executive authority than Republican presidents.  Just as Grassley is arguing that Democratic presidents should have less executive privilege than Republican presidents.

      Please help to fight hunger with a donation to Feeding America.

      by MJB on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 10:08:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Correctomundo (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina, JVolvo

        GOP presidents issue claims of executive privilege, too, and of the very same variety as this Obama claim. See today's Media Matters piece:

        On Fox News this morning, senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano claimed that President Obama's assertion of executive privilege in response to a congressional subpoena of Justice Department documents related to the ATF's failed Operation Fast and Furious is only valid if he was "personally involved in making decisions" regarding that case. But President Bush previously invoked executive privilege in response to a subpoena of internal DOJ documents.
        •  And we.... (0+ / 0-)

          ALWAYS support Republican presidents when they do.  Remember how the community defended President Bush when he claimed executive priviledge?  

          Its good to see our opinion on EP doesn't change depending on who is the president.

    •  and it asn't even an Exec Order. It was a policy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      decision re prioritizing enforcement (deportation) - lots of MSM were erroneously reporting it as an EO.   FYI

      To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. - Theodore Roosevelt 1918

      by JVolvo on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:36:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Grassley is just spouting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MartyM, MrJersey, millwood

    a RW talking point packaged weeks ago....

    "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

    by durrati on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:24:03 PM PDT

  •  um (0+ / 0-)

    people other than the president can cite executive privilege... but only for communications they had with the President.  

    Either Grassley is correct, or we owe Alberto de Torquemada Abu Abu Ghraib Gonzales a hell of an apology.

    all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

    by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:46:41 PM PDT

    •  Trouble is.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      subtropolis, JVolvo

      In the long history of the executive privilege claim, which claim is not described in the Constitution, no court has ever interpreted exec privilege as you describe. Read the URL below for a concise description of how executive privilege has evolved. Generally, two warring sides (legislative and executive branch) attempt to work out things informally, lest they both be hoist on their petards by the third branch of government.

      Which is a possibility this time around, given that a majority of the Supremes are totally in thrall to GOP Inc. Also, the president is invoking a usage that is not court-tested, namely, that a conversation with a cabinet officer assigned to carry out executive functions -- and not necessarily a conversation between that officer and the president -- can be but is not automatically subject to executive privilege. No definitive court case has said otherwise, as far as I can tell. Everything else is bubblegum.

      In the Nixon case, the Supreme Court recognized "the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties." Note the plural use of the word "officials." There is only one president at a time. Well, there was Dick Cheney, but that's different.


      •  so you're saying (0+ / 0-)

        I owe Alberto Gonzales a hell of an apology?

        all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

        by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 08:31:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm saying no such thing. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          subtropolis, happy camper, JVolvo

          The only executive privilege matter I recall involving Gonzales was his citation of it in his drafting of Bush's infamous executive order delaying release of presidential papers for years. Gonzales got into a ton of trouble with Congress for this and other dumb moves, but I see no consistency with his history at AG and what's happening to Holder. I do see a strong consistency between what's happening to Holder and what happened to President and Mrs. Clinton when the GOP House went insane over the Whitewater nothingness. They were like the Cookie Monster -- insatiable. You could give them every document and then agree to a special prosecutor and they'd still be sharpening their knives over made up crap like Travelgate. Issa has a history of never-ending investigations that mainly serve to task Democrats with endless document requests. If you can't obstruct government, then gum it up.

          I guess someone could claim Holder is lying or is guilty of misconduct, but in this country you have to present the evidence first. Yet I heard a GOP congressman today say that just because Issa's committee voted to recommend citing Holder with contempt, he is therefore guilty of contempt. Oh, really? Not even in a real court of law, not even if the full House goes along with the committee, an untidy little detail the congressman conveniently ignored. But in GOP land, it's "first the sentence, and then maybe some evidence."

          •  If I may point out a few things (7+ / 0-)

            that will show Grassley to be the complete fool he is...
            because the documents Issa is demanding relate to ongoing DOJ criminal investigations and contain names and other identifying information of confidential informants, the DOJ is not at liberty to reveal them.

            See third and fourth paragraphs of the April 8, 2011 letter from the Assistant Attorney General

            Also as per the Office of Legal Counsel under Reagan, Assistant Attorney General Charles Cooper maintained that
            "allowing Congress to have confidential information regarding on-going investigations would place Congress in a position to exert pressure or attempt to influence the prosecution of criminal cases. "..........
             "The executive cannot effectively investigate if Congress is, in a sense, a partner in the investigation. Moreover, providing open investigative files to a Congressional Subpoena could give rise to a claim, by defense counsel or others, of improper Congressional influence over a criminal justice process should it turn out that an indictment was returned in the matter after Congress had obtained access to the files."

            See  2nd page of May 17, 2000 letter to Orin Hatch from Janet Reno at same link as above.  

            Because the DOJ is under the Executive branch and serves at the pleasure of the President, it is the President's  right and responsibility to prevent the potential revelation of evidence in a criminal case such that those suspected of crimes find they are facing possible criminal charges before the DOJ has had time to collect evidence against them.    

             This falls clearly under the Separation of Powers and Grassley and Issa are way out of bounds in their claims.

            Smart people know what they don't know -8.50, -6.92

            by ferallike on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 11:47:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Ha (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Grassley = Randall the evil lizard dude in Monsters Inc.

  •  yeah well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liamladdieo, JVolvo

    Eric Holder and Barack Obama long ago decided that it would be counterproductive to hold the previous administration starting with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney criminally accountable for those mistakes and lies. Meanwhile, the GOP has no such qualms.

    They should undecide and go for the full monty.

  •  where are the democrats (0+ / 0-)

    In response to the usual crap about democrats / democratic humbug......Grow up

    I find it disturbing that A diary on a blog is pointing this out instead of so called journalists and supposedly elected representatives of(cough) the people. Instead we get the mainstream(sic) media  talk trivia.... along with the cowards who beg for campaign donations...

    •  Mostly true, dat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But the PBS Newshour last night did interview Rep. Dennis Kucinich who pointed out that exec privilege extends to cabinet officers. The exception that proves the rule: Mainstream media cover the sizzle more than the steak.

  •  Senate Dems have to start their own hearings. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As I understand it, House Repubs aren't letting anything about the Bush Administration's role in starting the program be discussed in their committee meetings.

    Not sure what parliamentary maneuverings are required for Senate Dems to start a set of hearings on that but, if it is at all possible, they need to do now.

    "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

    by Bush Bites on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:14:04 AM PDT

    •  The origins of the program will come out ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... during Issa's hearings. This is a Fool's errand he is on.

      The GOP will have a heckuva time explaining to their faithful how something they did - the contempt hearings - brought up gun violence issues. Once again, they're going to wind up hurting themselves.

      Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

      by TRPChicago on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 04:35:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And, the Senate Judiciary Committee is controlled by Democrats. Grassley sits on that committee. It would be nice to de-smirkify the smurf.

  •  i seem to remember wikileaks (0+ / 0-)

    coming up with this revelation (tracking guns thru trafficking guns), but of course, no "legitimate" news organization would touch it.

    i wouldn't debate much it's legality here or there... i'm not into beheading as a practice, any more than waterboarding, so i'm for trying to do nearly anything to get a handle on those kinds of freakin' creeps. (not to mention, we have a history of instead giving radio talk-show jobs to military types caught, say, selling arms for hostages; arming central americans with otherwise "untraceable" guns to go soft on a country farther away.)

    not saying it's right. it's just that much fucking equitable, on the face of it. now, what kind of hay do they really want to make of this??

    because the shit-pool's deep for them, when the "reasons" are "right" to the average dick cooking up barbecue this weekend who's more worried about their kid's tuition bills.


    by theChild on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 12:56:51 AM PDT

    •  because the last thing the gop needs now (0+ / 0-)

      are a bunch of internet "memes" and pictures going around this weekend, like of all the bloody "interrogation" rooms post-iraq, of a bunch of headless corpses.

      not this election cycle. those are irrefutable to the face of the electorate.

      when the intent is "intentionally good," even if the program was involved in the death of our border agents, as opposed to searches for non-existent WMDs... the program was not selfishly subverting international trade laws... INSTEAD MEANT TO TRACK AND CONVICT MOTHERFUCKING BEHEADING SONS OF BITCHES...

      don't think many people can figure out the moral difference in this scheme? after all, most people don't really care about laws anymore; they care about RESULTS.

      another thing... shame sure than a border agent got killed through it; there's no end of support a country should give to one of their own.

      but i don't fucking much care anymore WHO GETS KILLED, ANYPLACE, ANY CITIZEN IN ANY COUNTRY who gets killed from criminal activities - or warfare. it's a fucking farce anymore than we have to live with this shit.

      LEGALIZE POT. no more gang warfare. PERIOD. no other drugs need legalized, as far as i'm concerned, but that's fodder for later. no more beheadings. no more fucking stupidity over a such a stupidly fucking simply little thing.

      FEED THE POOR. and make sure the poor are taken care of. rich people only want to steal (and laws can take care of them). poor people need to steal. take care of them; no more theft.


      by theChild on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 01:08:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dems will miss the boat as usual. They need (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, JVolvo, MrJersey

    to hammer on about the fact that it's about 2 guns.  I mean do people realize that the party of guns, gun ownership, open carry laws, get rid of background checks, all guns all the time, is getting very worked up because 2 guns showed up at a crime scene where a border patrol agent was killed?  Doesn't this prove that where there are all these guns, people get hurt and killed?  do the Repubs really want to go there?

    •  A classic case (0+ / 0-)

      ...of Rovian, GOP projection. If you want to know what they are up to, follow the allegations they make against their opponents. It's highly informative almost every time.

    •  No (0+ / 0-)

      It proves that the government purposefully selling guns to violent criminal organizations with no intention or plan to track them, is beyond stupid.

      When the government then casually ponders using the statistics from their own sales to cartel straw purchasers to crow about US guns and border violence as a way to implement new reporting requirements...that is a problem.

      Adding in the constant lies, misdirections, whistleblower retaliation, and a dead federal agent, and maybe...just can get over the fact that Issa is an absolute twit 99% of the time and realize that there is more to this story than "DURRRRRRRR RETHUGLICAN WITCH HUNT!!"

      Or not.

      •  Ah, but I believe I stipulated that. (0+ / 0-)

        Read my whole blog. I specifically mentioned Democratic involvement. But it's this GOP partisan witch hunt that's sucking up all the oxygen. Which was my focus.

      •  I thought the Dems agreed on those points. (0+ / 0-)

        No, what Issa is trying to score points on is the DOCUMENTS.  Because he knows he won't score points on the substance of the investigation.  So he has to spend all his time and phony fucking outrage on the DOCUMENTS.

  •  Let's remember that trafficking in guns goes on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Box of Rain, JVolvo

    every day, does it not?  How many guns are sloshing around North America "illegally"?  I thought the US gun market was regularly supplying Mexican drug cartels.  Weren't the guns at issue here being fed into the existing streams of illegal gun trafficking in order to track them to cartel leaders?  It wasn't about the guns - it was about identifying the cartel leaders, was it not?

    •  The US is (0+ / 0-)

      not the source for most, or even many, of the guns used by the cartels. They much prefer the full-auto military-grade hardware they can get from Central American arms dealers.

      If we were to legalize marijuana it would cut at least half of the cartels' cash flow, which would reduce their purchasing power (and numbers) accordingly, but that would be too easy, I guess...

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:21:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Exec Priv under Bush = bad! (0+ / 0-)

    Exec Priv under Obama = good!

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:34:07 AM PDT

  •  Grassley dumbs down everything he touches. (0+ / 0-)

    Executive privilege and shilling for a brick-thrower-philosopher/bloviator over Holder and the Fast-and-Furious gun-running debacle invented under the last Bush administration (see Rachel last evening) is just the latest Grassley.

    He seems to be looking for issues providing (1) they are so simple, he can understand them, (2) they draw cameras and (3) allow him to vent.

    Perhaps we should start calling him Crab-Grassley.

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 05:36:23 AM PDT

    •  He was the "Death Panel" guy, wasn't he? (0+ / 0-)

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:55:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As a Senator working on the bill, he was! (0+ / 0-)

        Here, according to a HuffPost article in September 2009, is what he said to an Iowa audience:

        "There is some fear because in the House bill, there is counseling for end-of-life," Grassley said. "And from that standpoint, you have every right to fear. You shouldn't have counseling at the end of life. You ought to have counseling 20 years before you're going to die. You ought to plan these things out. And I don't have any problem with things like living wills. But they ought to be done within the family. We should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma."

        So I suppose Crab-Grassley could deny he thought the House bill actually had death panels, only that "There is some fear ..." of them - a third-person allusion that's a typical a cop-out of an opportunist - and so he could assure constituents that he would block any such provision. Even worse, Grassley confabulated end-of-life counseling with death panels, which is precisely what Sarah Palin (who started it all) did.

        Yes, of course, we should think about these things 20 years before Whatever, especially with your family members, preferably all together so everyone can hear (if they listen!) the same thing from you. Also maybe 15 and 10 and 5 and especially 1 year before ... assuming you know when Whatever is coming! What the House provision did - sponsored by a Republican! - was explicitly to encourage just such conversations and to compensate doctors for consulting with their patients on the subject. Not only unobjectionable, but laudable.

        But as has become typical, stupid political chicanery trumped reason and reality ... and away Sarah and Chuck and the media went with a totally concocted story.

        Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

        by TRPChicago on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 11:42:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Democrat's Response (0+ / 0-)

    to EVERYthing:  but but but, there's nothing we can do -- our hands are tied!!  Outsmarted/outmaneuvered again!!  

  •  I'm just waiting... (0+ / 0-)

    ...for Issa and his fellow House Republicans to hold hearings on how the President Obama and the Democrats lied us into a war with Iraq.

  •  How? (0+ / 0-)

    Can someone please explain to me how any of this is illegal? I think the whole thing was incredibly misguided, but perhaps I don't understand the legal issues.

  •  Grassley... (0+ / 0-)

    still tends to have approval in the 60 range, so there are Obama voters that approve of him. This is hard to fathom admittedly, he seems like one of the most mindless, sheepy Senators of all, which is really saying something.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:00:58 AM PDT

  •  exactly how dumb can a US senator be? (0+ / 0-)

    I think I have the answer for you.

    There is a saying that in any group of people the group is only as smart as its dumbest person. With the Tea Party in there, that should have your answer as far as how dumb they can get.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:01:31 AM PDT

  •  Grassley knows exactly what he's doing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrJersey, yet another liberal

    It's straight out of the Corporate Republican playbook.

    Get on television selling stupid shit and count on dumb, brainwashed "consumers" to buy it.

    I want a living planet, not just a living room.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 08:31:51 AM PDT

  •  A supplemental discussion (0+ / 0-)

    of the matter from the Congressional Research Service:

  •  A few mistakes (0+ / 0-)

    The agent, Brian Terry, was NOT shot by an F&F weapon - the weapon was found at the scene but no one has alleged it was used to kill the agent. And Brian Terry was a Border Patrol agent, not ATF.

    On her show last night, Rachel Maddow discussed how the GOP is framing F&F as an attempt to gut the Second Amendment. Some wingnuts have alleged that Holder & Obama deliberately let the guns go missing so they could point to the resulting mayhem as illustrating the need for more gun control (or, in right-wing-nut-speech, eek - they're going to take away our guns - eek!) And of course House & Senate Republicans take their marching orders from conservative radio hosts & bloggers. So all these demands for additional docs is a fishing expedition, looking for proof of a conspiracy that almost certainly doesn't exist. But in GOP-land, it never hurts to get the NRA on your side!

    Democracy - Not Plutocracy!

    by vulcangrrl on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:51:08 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for sharing the Maddow piece (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Scarier than this sounded at first blush, obviously."Obama wants to take away your guns! And give them to crimunuls!"

    •  Thanks for clarification and correction (0+ / 0-)

      I also didn't have time to note that many of the documents still sought by the GOP-dominated House committee involve pending criminal investigations and thus should not be released to politicians who might wreck a case by publicizing sensitive, confidential data. Even so, the Justice Dept was willing to negotiate to allow congressmen to look at some of them but that wasn't the point. The point, from the GOP side, was to embarrass Dems and imagine a coverup.

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