Sunday, October 02, 2011

Old Obama had an albatross, BATFE-I-E-I-O!

Rumors are circulating that the whole agency might go under the bus between now and Votin' Season if this turns out to be a big enough millstone around the administration's neck. Seeing as how the BATFE is basically a taxpayer-funded GOP Vote-Generating Machine and has been for more than twenty years now, I am less skeptical about this than I would be otherwise.

While I wouldn't hold my breath expecting common sense from the federal government, if they were at all serious about reform, they'd roll the firearms industry regulation and tax-collecting functions back into Treasury, and ditch the redundant field agents.

Having a dedicated Agency responsible for "gun crimes" creates an incentive to find and, if necessary, manufacture gun crimes in order to justify their existence.

Sure, the FCC and FAA and USDA are no fun to deal with, but they rarely burn down churches full of people or smuggle machine guns to Mexican dope gangs.

31 comments:

Joseph said...

Sure, the FCC and FAA and USDA are no fun to deal with, but they rarely burn down churches full of people.

Whatever coffee you're drinking, can I have some? Who knew BR hippie coffee could fuel such snark.

Also, who knew that the BATFE-I-E-I-O was just a GOP scheme for votes?

Brilliant post.

Tam said...

I'm actually kinda surprised that the supremely cynical Clinton administration never threw ATF under the bus, since their goat-ropes at Ruby Ridge and Waco made them key players in the "Republican Revolution" of '94.

Tango Juliet said...

Reduce the size and scope of the federal gov? Never happen under the Obama watch.

Robert Fowler said...

Don't forget sending innocent people to prison for a malfunction (David Olafson).

Tam said...

Robert Fowler,

I'm sure other federal agencies have sent their share of innocent people to prison, but they seem to be able to do it without putting as many innocent people in the graveyard. I'll take that as a net gain.

Tam said...

TJ,

"Reduce the size and scope of the federal gov? Never happen under the Obama watch."

If it meant holding on to the Senate and the White House, I don't think that the Dems would leave anything off the table in this election cycle. There's a definite scent of fear and desperation in the air right now.

Stranger said...

A man in the Senate told me Clinton tried to combine the ATF with another agency after the Branch Davidian auto da fe a por fuego. The deal would have moved the BATmen sideways to another law enforcement agency.

Neither the FBI nor the Secret Service wanted any part of the ATF's "cowboys." I think they had good reason.

But since every Federal law enforcement agency has been tainted by participation in the various ATF "Operations," there is not much reason for the Feebs to object.

Stranger

Peter said...

Ten will get you one that if the ATF is disbanded, none of its employees will actually be out of a job. They'll all get moved sideways into other agencies. Sure, the FBI or Secret Service may not want anything to do with them, but the IRS is allegedly to hire 'many thousands' of new tax enforcement agents to enforce Obamacare. Can you imagine a better fit for a former ATF goon than the IRS?

Anonymous said...

+1 to Stranger

With the exception of the explosives group and dog handlers, ATF are the scarlet letters to all other agencies.

It would make perfect sense to roll the tax revenue enforcement into Treasury. That's probably why it won't happen.

Gerry

John Stephens said...

The alcohol and cigarette guys seem to be able to go about their business without winding up in the papers. Maybe that's because they're more interested in collecting taxes than making ugly public examples of people?

Tam said...

John Stephens,

AFAIK, the Alcohol and Tobacco guys are still part of Treasury. I could be wrong.

Kristopher said...

Ermmm .. wasn't Bush the Elder in charge during the Ruby Ridge goat rope?

Clinton got smart about guns and the public far too late. He could have used Ruby Ridge as an excuse to shut down these clowns. Instead he gave them and Reno free reign to alienate damned near all gun-owners.

Kristopher said...

The revenue collecting portion of the BATF was moved to Treasury, and the LE part was moved to the BATFE under Justice.

And the FBI now has it's own bomb unit ...

If we can get the NFA registry ( You lost your Form 4? Go to the post office and buy another one. ) and that illegal 4473/bound book repository deleted, we CAN fire the lot of them.

Tam said...

Kristopher,

"Ermmm .. wasn't Bush the Elder in charge during the Ruby Ridge goat rope?"

Yes, but people had largely forgotten that by 1994, conflating Ruby Ridge, Waco, the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, "jack-booted thugs", and the '89 Assault Weapons Ban into one big Democrat initiative. I've even heard the thumbhole stock on a MAK-90 referred to as a "Clinton Stock", despite it predating the Clinton administration by three years.

Anonymous said...

"AFAIK, the Alcohol and Tobacco guys are still part of Treasury. I could be wrong."

F Troop was moved to DOJ in the HSA of '02. It was funny to see the letterhead change overnight.

Give ATF back to IRS when it was ATF at the IRS. Institute Title II reform including the Gun Collector's License and, above all, take any their guns and badges, go back to being tax clerks.

Shootin' Buddy

NJT said...

I'd guess that this white paper that started the rumor, is more in the nature of a threat to the rank and file to stop blowing whistles or the whole agency can go away.

Gewehr98 said...

Tam,

Having been courted by the ATF for a GS-11 position at their crime lab in Walnut Creek, Kalifornia, I can attest to the fact that their firearm, alcohol, and tobacco forensic operations all happen under one roof. It was pretty cool seeing the huge collection of reloading components in one shop (drool!), then walking across the hall to watch a technician pour a sample of Crown Royal into an HPLC for analysis. I was giggling to myself, "Some for the machine, some for me..."

I also got to see some of the Unabomber evidence up close and personal.

Gewehr98 said...

BTW, my tour was in 1999. A lot could've changed in the intervening years.

And I don't believe ATF will ever simply go away. Maybe they can become part of the no-notice, gun-toting Department of Education? ;-)

Tam said...

G98,

Prior to '02, they were still part of the Treasury Department, though.

Tam said...

Here we go:

"Additionally, the task of collection of federal tax revenue derived from the production of tobacco and alcohol products and the regulatory function related to protecting the public in issues related to the production of alcohol, previously handled by the Bureau of Internal Revenue as well as by ATF, was transferred to the newly established Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which remained within the Treasury Department. These changes took effect January 24, 2003."

Ken said...

Sure, the FCC and FAA and USDA are no fun to deal with, but they rarely burn down churches full of people.

From a certain point of view, those are features....

Bubblehead Les. said...

So Bush the Younger realized that one should not mix Booze and Firearms at the same time? And Hippies called him Stupid.

I think the only reason BATFEIEIO hasn't gone away is that A) Congress would have to change some Gun Laws, which would let the Pro-Gun Groups do some serious Lobbying, which may undermine the Anti-Gunners in the Legislature, and B) when the ATF screws up, this allows the FBI and other Federal LEOS to say "Not MY Fault!" at the Congressional Hearings.

But hey, who can tell with this Admin?

Standard Mischief said...

IIRC, the tobacco ninjas blew the original raid.

They got pulled off the job and we have the FBI to thank for What A Cook Out.

+1 to Shootin' Buddy @12:41 PM

Stephen said...

I wish, but I will not hold my breath.

Matt G said...

"Reduce the size and scope of the federal gov? Never happen under the Obama watch."

While I happen to agree, I hasten to point out that our federal government's agencies expanded almost geometrically during the Bush years, following 9/11/'01.

Hell, W. even created a new Cabinet position, to take the bloat.

Tango Juliet said...

You're right Matt, Bush wasn't much better. The "compassionate conservative" line was a giveaway.

Either the Constitution means what it says or it doesn't.

Chas S. Clifton said...

The sad thing is that Fast & Furious still does not have much traction outside the gunnie world--despite Glen Reynolds' best efforts.

It needs to somehow be connected with something else that will raise its profile.

Anonymous said...

It needs a sexual angle to really start flying.

Surely there was a stripper involved at some point?

jf

Mad Saint Jack said...

http://jpfo.org/images02/bootpin.jpg

Anonymous said...

"Sure, the FCC and FAA and USDA are no fun to deal with, but they rarely burn down churches full of people."

The USDA has been responsible for the most deaths of the bunch. Granted facilitating the food poisoning of the young and elderly isn't as glamorous...but it's a lot more lethal.

Sigivald said...

Sure, the FCC and FAA and USDA are no fun to deal with, but they rarely burn down churches full of people or smuggle machine guns to Mexican dope gangs.

Or they're just a lot better at covering it up!

(What, you've never heard of the FCC death squads?

Their plan is working!)