Jun. 21st, 2012

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There's a current fracas going on in the US that must baffle people abroad.

A while ago, there was a US sting operation called Fast & Furious that aimed to feed a few marked weapons into the Mexican drug cartel system so the guns could be tracked and the good guys could find out where the cartels were getting their weapons from. It's a no-brainer that this was a clever plan.

Every now and then, though, good plans go wrong. The operatives lost track of the guns. One of their number was murdered by a DoJ gun.

There has been vast Tea Party hoo-ha over this, just as there was when the solar-power company Solyndra failed despite having had US Government investment. Ignored in that abysmal round of chest-huffing hoo-ha were two actual write-'em-down facts:
  • The investment in Solyndra was a Bush Administration venture;
  • The way that investments work -- just look at your portfolio! -- is that essentially you bet on companies and sometimes lose but you come out on top if your winners do better than your losers.
So what have have we in the Fast & Furious case? Yeah, it did go wrong; no one's much cheered by that.

What else? Well, Darrell Issa, head of the House Oversight Committee has declared war on the issue. He wants to find out what, goldarnit, went wrong. That's a not unreasonable request, and Attorney General Eric Holder has bent over backwards to help out, giving Issa most of the relevant documents.

Holder has retained some, on two grounds. First is that he'd be breaking the law if he released certain classified documents. (You know, it's that very same branch of the law that got people executed for leaking national secrets to the Soviets.) Second, if the documents became public, various US agents in the field might pay with their lives for any leaks.

Darrell Issa doesn't care about these things. He's decided to hold Holder in contempt of Congress because . . . because . . . because, well, the Attorney General, is, y'know, obeying the law.

Let's follow this through. Let's imagine Holder gives in to Issa and reveals the details. The next thing that happens is that various extraordinarily brave Americans who've been going undercover to infiltrate the Mexican drug cartels find themselves tortured to death in the desert with their dicks stuck in their mouths.

Those deaths would be the direct responsibility of Representative Darrell Issa and his cronies on the House Oversight Committee.

What Issa wants to do is create embarrassment for Obama in the leadup to the November election. He doesn't actually care if a few hundred of America's finest get slaughtered; he just wants to score some cheap political points.

I've had Republican friends ask me why so many of us in the center have such difficulty accepting their views; they do, after all, agree we should be doing more to counter climate change, help the poor, make sure Creationist claptrap isn't taught in the schools, and so on. I couldn't agree more; let's accept the reality-based world as a common ground and work from there. The trouble is that they then go out and vote for manifest traitors like Darrell Issa, factually challenged lunatics like James Inhofe, and water-poisoners like Smoky Joe Barton or (locally) Rep. Scott Garrett and State Senator Joe Pennacchio, who yesterday wrote me with the gobsmackingly ignorant/stupid statement that the political debate on climate change is "backed-up with scientific information on both sides of this issue"; yep, and likewise on whether the moon is or is not made of green cheese.

What we don't see are hordes of sane conservatives, of whom there must be many, calling out these idiots. Why not? Is it that hard for conservatives to get it through to their leadership that they decline to think contraception's a sin, or that betraying the bravest undercover agents is a bad thing, or that John Boehner should not be sitting on an act that could create three million jobs?

It's about time US conservatives reclaimed their party from the fundaloons who've taken it over. What's depressing is that, come November, they'll probably ignore reality and just go out and vote for their favorite football team.
  • That Darrell Issa? He's a traitor isn't he?
  • Hey, who cares, there's an (R) by his name. And he just kicked a goal.

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