Doug Smith: The Trouble with Tribbles

5 Aug


Doug Smith: Author, historian and regular contributor to Free State Patriot.

Star Trek fans will remember the tongue in cheek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles”. (David Gerrold, 1968.)


The episode posits a small, seemingly harmless critter, the Tribble, which emits a soothing sound that makes people want to hold it for comfort and pet it. It is just a small ball of fur, and, again, “seemingly” harmless.

There is just one problem. Tribble only do 3 things. Just three. They purr. They eat. And they, ah, reproduce. They purr in a most lovely manner. And they eat. Everything. As they reproduce. Rapidly. They will quickly eat and, ah, frolic (?) to the point where all food, and space for them to live, is gone. It must be noted, of course, that if you have been petting one for the soothing sounds they make, you, too, will be out of food, and room. Pity Captain Kirk. Commander of a state of the art space ship, he is engulfed in the little critters, at risk of losing a shipment of grain which will cause millions to starve, and barely able to turn around, let alone con his ship, for the soothing little “ purr balls”, still making noises to tell him everything is fine.

Tribbles, it seems, are Progressives. The soothingly tell us that all is well, they have their hearts set on our best interest, but no, fatherless families are not a problem. Meanwhile inner cities burn and writhe in violence.

They assure us that “carbon emissions are at their highest level in 800,000 years”, never mind there was no industry to speak of even 200 years gone, and global “warming” has decreased for 25 years. Get out your long johns, climate change is coming. We can fix it with Solar panels. Pause. From Solyndra?

But don’t worry, here, rub a Tribble. Purr. Purr.

We are assured that spending just a little more on government programs for education will make us the envy of the world. Trillions of dollars later, Johnny can’t read his arrest warrant, or sign his welfare check. No worries, we will go to a card for him. Because the check-out guy can’t read it either, so we’ll just swipe it. Because neither of them can do the math either. But no worries, give us more money and we will really fix it. This time. Here, pet the fur ball. Purr. Purr.

We are told, from the New Deal, to the Great Society, to the War on Poverty, to Obamaphones and Government Motors, that more government spending will eliminate poverty. Meantime, jobs vanish, more people are in poverty than ever before, and fewer than ever are motivated to get out of it. But no worries, they may be poor, but they can Vote! Here, relax, rub a Tribble. Purr. Purr.

What we really need, they assure us, is for everyone to pay their fair share. Never mind that the producers of goods and services are paying 85% of all they take in. Never mind that nearly half are living off the hard work and effort of the other half. Never mind that we have the highest taxes in the corporate world. Never mind that we have the population of Germany (by numbers) unemployed. Never mind that black young men are unemployed at a rate of 45%. Never mind that we have borrowed more than we are ever likely to pay, that in 7 years we have racked up more debt than the entire history of the Republic. It’s not like we are ever going to pay it! Here, rub a Tribble. Purr. Purr??

It is time to stop feeding the Triberals. They never get enough. Every inch is a light year by the time they are done. It is worse than feeding a stray dog or cat.

In the Star Trek episode, they sent all the little pests to the engine room of their enemies to be a nuisance for them for a change. Perhaps deporting 11 million illegal aliens to Mexico is not viable. But might we send a few million Progressives to Iran, or China, or Russia?

Where I’m sure, (sorry, Scotty,) they’ll be no Tribble at all.

Mark Caserta: Scandal characteristic of Obama’s rule

8 Jan

Will the pattern continue into 2015?

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FSP editor – Mark Caserta

Jan. 08, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

While President Obama charged Republicans with probing “phony scandals” in 2014, a look back at the sheer number of aspersions throughout his progressive tenure suggests that abuse of power and corruption are not something being dreamed up by the GOP, but instead a defining characteristic of the Obama administration.

Last year, the president assured Americans there wasn’t “a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS, yet investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform revealed intentional targeting of conservative organizations prior to the 2012 election. IRS Director Lois Lerner was ultimately held in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the committee investigation. Questions remain as to White House involvement and any intent to cover up the scandal.


Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki was forced to resign following an interim independent report showing officials falsified records at a medical center in Phoenix, hiding the amount of time veterans had to wait for medical appointments. Subsequent investigations revealed a systematic breakdown across the country revealing false record-keeping and long waiting lists for veterans, some who died while waiting for care.

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Americans actually witnessed a three-part scandal in the attack on Benghazi: The failure of the administration to protect the Benghazi mission on the anniversary of 9/11, the changes made to the talking points in order to suggest the attack was motivated by an anti-Muslim video, and the refusal of the White House to say what President Obama did the night of the attack.

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Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress over his failure to turn over documents related to the “Fast and Furious” scandal, the first time Congress has ever taken such a dramatic move against a sitting Cabinet official. Then CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson exposed the truth about her investigations into this and other Obama administration’s scandals in her book, “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction and Intimidation in Obama’s Washington.”

While the number of executive orders issued by the president is within the range of recent past presidents, the scope of the orders has gone far beyond what is constitutional. Obama altered Obamacare 38 times by executive fiat despite not having the constitutional authority to unilaterally alter passed legislation. In the face of several Supreme Court decisions that went against him, a defiant Obama mockingly taunted Congress by saying, “So sue me.”

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As the Obamacare “shared responsibility” payment prepares to impact Americans across the country, details of the lies and deception needed to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have emerged. Jonathan Gruber, a health economist who helped design Obama’s health care law, stated during a panel discussion at the University of Pennsylvania that the ACA “was written in a tortured way to make sure” it did not appear to raise taxes, because it would not have passed if voters knew the truth.

With two years remaining in the Obama administration’s rule over the United States, one can only hope the number of scandals will be kept to a minimum. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.


28 Sep

It’s oddly fitting that Attorney General Eric Holder – a stubbornly independent career prosecutor ridiculed by Barack Obama’s advisers for having lousy political instincts— would nail his dismount.


But Holder, who began his stormy five-plus-year tenure at the Justice Department with his controversial “Nation of Cowards” speech, has chosen what seems to be the ideal (and maybe the only) moment to call it quits after more than 18 months of musing privately about leaving with the president and senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, a trio bound by friendship, progressive ideology and shared African-American ancestry.

It was now or never, several current and former administration officials say, and Holder – under pressure to retire from a physician wife worried about a recent health scare, checked the “now” box. “It was a quit-now or never-quit moment,” one former administration official said. “You didn’t want confirmation hearings in 2015 if the Republicans control the Senate. So if he didn’t do it now, there was no way he could ever do it.”

Holder—described by associates as President Obama’s “heat shield” on race and civil rights—sprung it on the president over the Labor Day holidays. Obama didn’t bother to push back as he has in the past, even though staffers say he winces at the prospect of a long confirmation battle, whomever he chooses for the nation’s top law enforcement job.

Holder’s announcement gives Obama several weeks to pick and vet a successor who would face confirmation hearings in the lame-duck session after the midterms. Holder has “agreed to remain in his post until the confirmation of his successor,” a top Justice Department aide said, as an insurance policy against GOP foot-dragging.

His timing also has a personal dimension. The keenly legacy-conscious Holder has never been in better standing, leaving on arguably the highest personal note of his tenure, after a year of progress on his plan to reform sentencing laws and just after his well-received, calming-the-waters trip to Ferguson, Missouri, during the riots in August. In a background email to reporters, a senior Justice Department official struck a victory-lap tone, writing, “The Attorney General’s tenure has been marked by historic gains in the areas of criminal justice reform and civil rights enforcement. The last week alone has seen several announcements related to these signature issues.”

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That’s a striking contrast to the defensive posture of the last few years, when Holder became the first sitting Cabinet official to be found in contempt of Congress. Hill Republicans, who have warred with Holder for years, greeted his departure with don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out glee. “I welcome the news that Eric Holder will step down as Attorney General,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, in an email. “From Operation Fast and Furious to his misleading testimony before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the Department’s dealings with members of the media and his refusal to appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, Mr. Holder has consistently played partisan politics with many of the important issues facing the Justice Department.”


At the moment, there’s no obvious replacement, several officials close to the situation told me. W. Neil Eggleston, the new White House counsel, will lead the search with an assist from Jarrett, Holder’s longtime ally and defender. Obama and his team would probably prefer a known and trusted quantity—like Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a potential future Democratic presidential candidate who served as the head of the department’s civil rights division under Bill Clinton. But Patrick, who is friends with Obama insiders like David Axelrod, who still advises his old boss informally, has repeatedly told them he’s not interested, and – for now—he seems to mean it. When asked by reporters today, Patrick snapped, “I am going to finish my term and then head into the private sector.”

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. is a favorite of Obama’s, and a person valued as a team player inside the West Wing—not as widely known but someone who might have an inside track, thanks to Obama’s penchant for picking trusted insiders over high-profile outsiders. But liberal critics have faulted Verilli for his halting performance defending the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court, as well as his mixed scorecard overall.

In recent days the president’s team has also taken a close look at California Attorney General Kamala Harris, an African-American woman who would likely pursue the same civil rights agenda championed by Holder—but may opt to stay in her state to pursue gubernatorial ambitions.

Other names under consideration, but considered less likely, according to check-ins with half a dozen current and former West Wingers: Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney in Manhattan known for his aggressive Wall Street prosecutions; Ron Machen, the young U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C.—a job once held by Holder; Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a former state attorney general; former Joe Biden aide Neil MacBride, an ex-federal prosecutor in Virginia who is now a partner at the law firm Davis Polk; ex-White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, another Obama favorite; and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, another former head of the civil rights division—and currently the only Latino candidate mentioned by insiders.

There’s also at least one high-profile long-shot on the informal list being circulated inside Obama’s camp: former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who left Washington in 2013 to take over the massive University of California system, according to one Democrat with close ties to the White House. Napolitano was the original choice for the job at the start of Obama’s first term – a favorite of then-Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Holder, who had considered himself the sole front-runner for the job, was startled during the 2008-09 transition period when he was handed a Department of Justice binder that included headshots of himself and Napolitano as potential AGs.

Glenn Thrush is senior staff writer at Politico Magazine


28 Aug

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is crafting a blame-it-on-Congress legal justification to back up President Barack Obama’s impending executive actions on immigration.


Facing an expected onslaught of opposition, the administration plans to argue that Congress failed to provide enough resources to fully enforce U.S. laws, thereby ceding wide latitude to White House to prioritize deportations of the 11.5 million people who are in the country illegally, administration officials and legal experts said. But Republicans, too, are exploring their legal options for stopping Obama from what they’ve deemed egregious presidential overreaching.

A self-imposed, end-of-summer deadline to act on immigration is rapidly approaching. While Obama has yet to receive the formal recommendations he’s requested from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, administration officials said the president is intimately familiar with the universe of options and won’t spend much time deliberating once Johnson delivers his recommendations.

After resisting calls to act alone in hopes Congress would pass a comprehensive immigration fix, Obama in June bowed to immigration activists and said that “if Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours.” The most sweeping, controversial step under consideration involves halting deportation for millions, a major expansion of a 2012 Obama program that deferred prosecutions for those brought here illegally as children.

Roughly half a million have benefited from that program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

But while prosecutors are routinely expected to use their discretion on a case-by-case basis, such blanket exempting of entire categories of people has never been done on the scale of what Obama is considering — potentially involving many millions of people if he extends relief to parents of DACA children, close relatives of U.S. citizens or immigrants with clean criminal records.

“The question is how broadly can the president extend the categories and still stay on the side of spectrum of ensuring the laws are faithfully executed?” said Cristina Rodriguez, who left the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2013 to teach at Yale Law School.

Other options under consideration, such as changes to how green cards are distributed and counted, might be less controversial because of the support they enjoy from the business community and other influential groups. But Derrick Morgan, a former adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and a scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said Obama will still face staunch opposition as long as he attempts an end run around Congress.

Obama’s goal had been to announce his decision around Labor Day, before leaving on a trip next week to Estonia and Wales. But a host of national security crises have pushed the announcement back, likely until after Obama returns, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to comment by name and demanded anonymity.

Obama’s actions will almost surely be challenged in court.

“Any potential executive action the president takes will be rooted in a solid legal foundation,” White House spokesman Shawn Turner said.

What’s more, Obama may have undermined his case because he has insisted time and again that he’s the president, not the king, and “can’t just make the laws up by myself.” In a 2012 interview with Telemundo, Obama defended his decision to defer deportations for children but said he couldn’t go any bigger.

“If we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that’s not an option,” he said then.

Republicans are already hinting that they’ll consider legal action to thwart what they’ve denounced as a violation of the separation of powers. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a conference call this month with GOP House members, accused Obama of “threatening to rewrite our immigration laws unilaterally.”

“If the president fails to faithfully execute the laws of our country, we will hold him accountable,” Boehner said, according to an individual who participated in the call.

The House already has passed legislation to block Obama from expanding DACA and, through its power of the purse, could attempt to cut off the funds that would be needed to implement the expansion. House Republicans could also consider widening or amending their existing lawsuit against Obama over his health care law, a case that both parties have suggested could be a prelude to impeachment proceedings.


Mark Caserta: Conservatives must stand firm for justice

3 Jul


Jul. 03, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

The Obama administration has been so ridden with scandal, Americans are becoming desensitized to the muck and mire surrounding Capitol Hill. But scurrilous behavior and a blatant disregard for the constitutional functions of our republic can’t be ignored.

During the Obama presidency, headlines have been inundated by scandals involving dereliction by the Justice Department such as the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation, the unwarranted surveillance of the media, and most recently the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Liberals may want these stories to just go away, but America deserves better.

But the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, the man charged with upholding our nation’s laws, Attorney General Eric Holder, has instead been grossly negligent in his duties to the American people.

Consider Operation Fast and Furious, the infamous gun-walking program by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms that allowed guns to flow into Mexico in an attempt to track them back to notorious drug cartels.

The program was approved at the highest levels of the Justice Department and put thousands of illegally purchased weapons into the hands of drug lords. One of these guns was found at the murder scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2009. During Congressional investigations, Holder dodged questions, was inconsistent in his testimony and refused to comply with Congress’ subpoena for documents related to the operation. With bipartisan support, Holder became the first head of the Justice Department in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress.

Evidence also shows that Holder committed perjury when he testified under oath to Congress about the Justice Department’s investigation of Fox News Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen.

Last year in May, Holder testified before the House Judiciary Committee that he was not involved in nor had knowledge of a potential prosecution of Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in alleged violations of the Espionage Act. But three days later, the Justice Department released documents authorizing such an investigation of Mr. Rosen, which required approval from the Attorney General. This proved Holder knew of the investigation. Holder has since placed a “gag order” on members of the Justice Department, prohibiting them from answering further questions about the scandal.

Holder is also grievously failing the American people by refusing to appoint a special prosecutor to independently examine the IRS scandal. Mounting evidence shows that IRS officials were directing the illegal practice of targeting groups based on political affiliation, which is a federal crime.

Holder is just a tool in the Obama shed for “progressively” changing America. It’s an indescribable shame that there are liberals willing to compromise the very soul of our nation to propagate their progressive agenda.

Conservatives must not falter during these tumultuous times.

As President Reagan warned, “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”

My advice to conservatives: Become even more tenacious about demanding justice in the United States and speaking out against the progressive movement.

Only conservatives stand between our republic and those who would sacrifice it.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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