The Morning Jolt

‘El Chapo’ Drug Kingpin Had a Rifle from Federal ‘Fast & Furious’ Program

The Fast and Furious gun-smuggling scandal is one of those stories that the government and the media declared over . . . that wasn’t, or isn’t, actually over.

Here’s a nice example:

A .50-caliber rifle found at Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s hideout in Mexico was funneled through the gun-smuggling investigation known as Fast and Furious, sources confirmed Tuesday to Fox News.

A .50-caliber is a massive rifle that can stop a car, or as it was intended, take down a helicopter.

After the raid on Jan. 8 in the city of Los Mochis that killed five of his men and wounded one Mexican marine, officials found a number of weapons inside the house Guzman was staying, including the rifle, officials said.

When agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives checked serial numbers of the eight weapons found in his possession, they found one of the two .50-caliber weapons traced back to the ATF program, sources said.

Also, did you remember this? I didn’t.

This week the scandal took on a new dimension with the revelation that Nadir Soofi, one of two Muslim terrorists killed attempting to murder attendees of a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest held in Texas in May, had acquired one of the guns he owned as a result of the Fast and Furious operation. This meant that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was in the position of indirectly selling Islamic terrorists one of the weapons they may have used in an attack on Americans on American soil.

I wrote after the Inspector General’s report came out:

The inspector general’s report concludes that they can find no evidence Holder knew about Fast and Furious until well after [Border Protection Agent Brian] Terry’s death, but . . . well, the circumstances of Holder being so out of the loop, so in the dark about a major operation certainly appear unusual, perhaps to the point of straining credulity. The report states:

 “We found it troubling that a case of this magnitude and that affected Mexico so significantly was not directly briefed to the Attorney General. We would usually expect such information to come to the Attorney General through the Office of the Deputy Attorney General . . . [Holder] was not told in December 2010 about the connection between the firearms found at the scene of the shooting and Operation Fast and Furious. Both Acting Deputy Attorney General Grindler and Counsel to the Attorney General and Deputy Chief of Staff Wilkinson were aware of this significant and troubling information by December 17, 2010, but did not believe the information was sufficiently important to alert the Attorney General about it or to make any further inquiry regarding this development.”

Not “sufficiently important”? Baffling. Maddening. Some might even say, “implausible” . . .

Repeatedly, everyone under Holder seems to do everything possible to make sure he isn’t informed about an operation that, in the words of the IG report, failed “to adequately consider the risk to public safety in the United States and Mexico”. In fact, information about the program went all the way to Holder’s office — but somehow, the memos, emails and other communications never reached the man himself. It’s as if he wasn’t there. From the IOG report, again:

“As we describe below, we identified information regarding Operation Fast and Furious that reached the Office of the Attorney General in 2010 but not Attorney General Holder himself.”

Well. If you’re wondering if this is covered by some sort of obscure procedure or rules, it isn’t:

“[Holder] should have been informed by no later than December 17, 2010, that two firearms recovered at the Terry murder scene were linked to an ATF firearms trafficking investigation … We found that although [Holder’s then deputy-chief-of-staff Monty] Wilkinson forwarded to Holder during the afternoon of December 15 three emails from the US Attorney’s Office providing further details about the shooting and law enforcement efforts to find and arrest the suspects, he did not notify the Attorney General of the revelation that two weapons found at the murder scene were linked to a suspect in an ATF firearms trafficking investigation.”

See, this all occurred at a time when reining in out-of-control, unaccountable law-enforcement officials wasn’t a priority to the Left. It is now, but, eh, sorry, you missed the news cycle.

Politics Is Downstream from Culture . . . So Where Is Our Culture Going?

Remember how Barack Obama became this pop-cultural force in 2008, where he seemed to be staring out at you from every magazine, depicted in quasi-messianic imagery? It wasn’t just the news and political magazines; it was Men’s Health (the man’s a smoker!), tech magazines, Men’s Vogue, and so on. We had never seen anything like it before in our politics.

Most of us on the right believed we would never see such relentless adoration of a Republican official. Although maybe Donald Trump is creating this he’s-everywhere-all-the-time effect:

But Tevi Troy points out that some of the GOP candidates have the “cool” factor:

There is some evidence that Mr. Cruz’s approach is working. The Washington Post’s Kate Zezima made a list of the seven most surprising things about Mr. Cruz. Number 5 on the list was that despite the fact that he’s “known in Washington for being abrasive and disliked . . . He’s a funny guy.” Her evidence for this assertion was largely based on Mr. Cruz’s impressions of Darth Vader and acting out of scenes from, of course, The Simpsons and The Princess Bride.

Mr. Cruz is not the only candidate to use pop culture on the campaign trail. His fellow Gen Xer Sen. Marco Rubio has shown a similar facility to invoke images and references that go beyond politics. Rubio is a fan of hip-hop — a somewhat unexpected choice for a GOP candidate. He has even weighed in on cultural topics as controversial as anything in politics, viz. the famous East Coast/West Coast rap rivalry. For the record, Mr. Rubio is a west coaster, having told Buzzfeed that “I think 2Pac’s lyrics were probably more insightful in my opinion–with all apologies to the Biggie fans.” Of his three favorite rap songs, two are decidedly West Coast: “Straight Outta Compton” by N.W.A. and “Killuminati” by Tupac. Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is the third. Mr. Rubio also likes movies. His favorites include Pulp Fiction, The Wedding Crashers, and Godfathers I and II. As for the widely panned third entry in that series, he wisely concluded that “No. 3, I can do without.”

Troy also mention’s Jeb Bush’s recent reading choices.

‘Pressing that Manolo Blahnik High Heel Down on Us and Grinding Away’

My friend Kurt Schlichter gets fired up:

Sure, some of us don’t live in coastal cities and our [sic] need SUVs for our families (we still breed out in here in America, you know), and some of us have jobs where we need gas-guzzling trucks. But the elite’s fetish for eradicating the scourge of the fossil fuels that made modern society possible trumps our petty livelihoods. Another couple bucks a gallon, another couple hundred a month for heat? Shoot, the elites can afford that, and the fact that the normals can’t shouldn’t keep their betters from enjoying the moral ecstasy that comes from imposing deep sacrifices on other people!

Of course, we are always those other people.

When elitists talk about how terrible the cops are, guess who gets mugged or worse when the crime rate goes up? Surprise! It’s never the coastal elitists and moral posers who love hamstringing the cops.

And when they talk about “gun crime,” how come the solutions always seem to involve making it harder for normal people to protect themselves and their families? How come these “common sense gun controls” never seem to target actual criminals? Hmmm, it’s almost like they would rather have us vulnerable and docile instead of able to protect ourselves from thugs . . .and tyrants.

Is it a secret where the vast majority of gun crime happens and who commits it? Here’s a hint: Democrat big cities and their residents. How about doubling up the cops in the ghettos, arresting the crooks everyone knows are crooks, and supporting the cops when they do it? Just kidding! There are no poser points to score by cracking down on real criminals; the moral superiority money shot comes from pressing that Manolo Blahnik high heel down on us normals and grinding away.

I would note that Kurt’s painting a vivid portrait of the Democratic elites. The Democratic base is pretty “meh” on climate change, fuel-efficiency standards, and gun control.

ADDENDA: As noted on the NRO homepage, sadly, the spirit of the Tea Party was found dead Tuesday evening, as numerous self-described small-government conservatives enthusiastically applauded a Republican front-runner who called upon federal regulators to increase the amount of ethanol blended into the nation’s gasoline supply. An investigation into the cause of death is focusing on leaders who left office, embarrassing candidates, leaders who became the new “establishment,” and supporters who never actually cared about policy or governing philosophy.

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