Tag Archives: Tobacco

Operation Fast and Furious: The ATF gunrunning scandal

From the Heritage Foundation think tank, the latest on the Obama administration’s facilitation of assault weapon sales to Mexican drug cartels. (I.e. – “gun control”)

Excerpt:

The U.S. government intentionally sells assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels. Those cartels use those weapons to kill, among others, a U.S. law enforcement officer. The White House deflects questions on the subject. The director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), who watched the gun sales on video in his office, stonewalls Congress. So does the Justice Department. The whistleblower that exposed it all is fired.

Paperback novel or real-life Obama Administration scandal? Time’s up.

Just last week, Vince Cefalu, a special agent in the ATF for 24 years, was dismissed from his job after helping expose an operation code named “Operation Fast and Furious,” which was designed to purposefully put assault weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels so they could then be tracked to collect intelligence.

The operation itself is an exhausting series of unbelievable mistakes and lapses of judgment, but the Administration’s response is even more disturbing, as is the subdued media reaction.

According to the written testimony of Supervisory Special Agent Peter Forcelli: “ATF agents assigned to the Phoenix Field Division, with the concurrence of their local chain of command, ‘walked’ guns. ATF agents allowed weapons to be provided to individuals whom they knew would traffic them to members of Mexican drug trafficking organizations.”

The goal was to uncover larger criminal conspiracies across the border. Without informing Mexican authorities, the ATF facilitated over 2,500 assault weapons entering Mexico illegally. The only modern “tracking” method was a rigged-up GPS from Radio Shack that Forcelli took it upon himself to install, since the only other tracking method would be serial numbers on the guns. That device failed.

ATF agent John Dodson, who feared that this operation would cost lives, was told to stand down and “fall in line” by supervisors. Dodson testified to Congress: “Although my instincts made me want to intervene and interdict these weapons, my supervisors directed me and my colleagues not to make any stop or arrest.”

ATF agent Olindo James Casa agreed. Casa testified:

On several occasions I personally requested to interdict or seize firearms, but I was always ordered to stand down and not to seize the firearms.

Later, guns sold in this operation were discovered at the scene of a shootout in Arizona in December 2010 in which Customs and Border Protection agent Brian Terry was killed. As Forcelli testified: “To allow a gun to walk is idiotic.… This was a catastrophic disaster.”

Since then, we have learned that this operation had support in Washington and that its tactics were not a secret. Forcelli testified that Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley helped orchestrate the operation and that U.S. Attorney Dennis Burk “agreed with the direction of the case.” E-mails show that Deputy Assistant Director for ATF Field Operations William McMahon was “so excited about Fast and Furious that he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix.”

Acting ATF director Kenneth Melson actually watched—yes, watched—live video surveillance of the operations from his office in Washington. He and his deputy were briefed weekly on the operation.

[…]As of today, the only person punished for Operation Fast and Furious has been someone who helped expose the details. Accountability for this massive operational failure is essential, and it will come only with more media attention.

It’s a mighty peculiar kind of gun control, isn’t it? But I could see how it would help the Obama administration to lobby the public to support increased gun control laws. All it cost was the lives of a few law enforcement agents. I’m sure that their families will understand.

Obama had the reputation for being soft on crime and criminals going as far back as his days as a state senator.

Excerpt:

As a state senator, Obama has been no defender of the unalienable right to life. He twice voted against bills prohibiting tax funding of abortions. In April 2002, he voted against a bill to protect babies born alive after a failed abortion procedure. A similar federal law passed later that year. In 1997, Obama twice voted “present” on an Illinois partial-birth abortion ban. He absented himself from a third vote on the measure. In 2001, he voted “present” on a bill to notify parents when their minor children seek an abortion. He also voted against a cloning ban in 2000, although he voted for it in 2001. In 1999, Obama voted against requiring school boards to put Internet pornography filters on school computers meant for students’ use. In 2001, he voted “present” on a bill to keep pornographic book and video stores and strip clubs from setting up within 1,000 feet of schools and churches. In 2003, he voted in the Health and Human Services Committee for a bill requiring “age appropriate” sex-education for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Despite his talk of promoting reading among inner-city youth, Obama has repeatedly opposed bills designed to promote discipline in public schools. In 2001, he twice voted “no” on a bill to let school districts require unruly students to complete suspensions before they can be shuffled into a new school district. He voted “present” on an almost unanimously passed bill requiring adult prosecution for students who fire guns on school grounds. Obama has been markedly soft on crime. In 2001, he voted against a bill that added extra penalties for crimes committed in furtherance of gang activities. He also voted against a bill making it a criminal offense for accused gang members, free on bond or on probation, to associate with known gang members. In 1999, he was the only state senator to vote against a bill prohibiting early prison release for criminal sexual abusers.

That article was written in 2004. If only we had looked at Obama’s record before we elected him.

Average Canadian family spends 42% of its income on taxes

Story here from the libertarian Fraser Institute.

Excerpt:

The total tax bill for the average Canadian family has increased at a much faster rate since 1961 than any other single household expenditure, according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think tank. The Canadian Consumer Tax Index 2010, which calculates the total tax bill of the average Canadian family, found that taxes have increased by a whopping 1,624% since 1961. In contrast, expenditures on housing increased by 1,198%, food by 559%, and clothing by 526% from 1961 to 2009. “Taxes have grown much more rapidly than any other single expenditure item for Canadian families to the point where taxes from all levels of government take a greater part of a family’s income than basic necessities such as food, clothing, and housing,” said Niels Veldhuis, the study’s co-author and the Institute’s senior economist.

How much do Canadians pay in taxes?

The Canadian Consumer Tax Index calculates the total tax bill of the typical Canadian family by adding up the various taxes that the family pays to federal, provincial, and local governments. These include direct taxes such as income taxes, sales taxes, Employment Insurance and Canadian Pension Plan contributions, as well as “hidden” taxes such as import duties, excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol, amusement taxes, and gas taxes.

This year’s index shows that even though family incomes have increased significantly since 1961, the total tax bill has increased at a much higher rate.

  • In 2009, the average Canadian family earned an income of $69,175 and paid total taxes equaling $28,878-41.7 per cent of its income.
  • In 1961, the average Canadian family earned an income of $5,000 and paid $1,675 in total taxes-33.5 per cent of its income.

Taxes have become the most significant item that Canadian consumers now face in their budgets,” Veldhuis said.

So the typical Canadian family, pays 42% of their family income in taxes. FORTY-TWO PERCENT. Remember, Canada has a VAT tax, which is what Obama is apparently considering to pay for all his spending on bailouts for his rich Democrat buddies.

The Fraser Institute is the equivalent of our Cato Institute. I don’t agree with either of them on many things, (e.g. – Darwinism), but on the topic of taxes being too high, I agree with them both.

Canadian study suggests how parents can influence children’s sexual choices

Story here at No Apologies. (H/T Andrew)

This is based on a study by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. (IMFC)

Excerpt:

Parents’ behaviour and attitudes during childhood shape a teen’s sexual choices. Based on our findings we recommend:

• Parents should be the prime sex educator. Parents are the most influential force in a teens life

• Parents should work to create a healthy, stable home characterized by warmth, open communication and clear expectations

• Parents should model a healthy lifestyle and positive choices. Your children are watching

• Sex education should engage parents and recognize their role as the primary sex educators

• Sex education should acknowledge that girls face unique risks compared to boys when it comes to early sexual engagement

While it may seem daunting to see correlations between family behaviours years ago and sexual activity in your children today – the news is positive. Teens do listen and want to listen to their parents, as indicated by surveys and polls. It’s something to remember next time your teen slams the door and turns up the music.

Here are the four practical tips discussed in the IMFC article:

  • Eliminate parental use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco
  • Involved and engaged fathers and increased parent-child communication
  • Increased community involvement by parents, especially church
  • Married parents biologically linked to the children