State of the Union

SWATting Patriots

A couple of days ago, Jim Hoft “reported” that, as the headline reads “Team Obama Calls Out Swat Team on Tea Party Patriots!” It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Hoft, that his report is baloney. Dave Weigel links to the real story:

There were a few tense moments when the crowd moved west down York toward Third Street after the president’s motorcade arrived. A Secret Service agent asked the crowd to move back across the street to the north side.

When the crowd didn’t move and began singing “God Bless, America” and the national anthem, Quincy Deputy Police Chief Ron Dreyer called for members of the Mobile Field Force to walk up the street.

The officers, mainly from Metro East departments near St. Louis and dressed in full body armor, marched from the east and stood on the south side of York facing the protesters.

There was no physical contact, and the officers did not come close to the crowd, but there were catcalls and more than a few upset tea party members, including a woman who shouted, “This is communism!”

I wasn’t reading Hoft back in those days, but I can only assume that he was all over this TAC article by James Bovard in 2003:

When Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up “free speech zones” or “protest zones” where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event.

When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, “The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us.” The local police, at the Secret Service’s behest, set up a “designated free-speech zone” on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush’s speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president’s path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign. Neel later commented, “As far as I’m concerned, the whole country is a free speech zone. If the Bush administration has its way, anyone who criticizes them will be out of sight and out of mind.”

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Stand Up for Arizona

Major demonstrations are to be held in 70 cities on May 1 to protest the new Arizona law to cope with an army of half a million illegal aliens now living there.

Since Gov. Jan Brewer signed that law a week ago, Arizona has been subjected to savage attack as the modern embodiment of Jim Crow, apartheid and Nazism. Few have risen in her defense.

In San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., moves are afoot to boycott Arizona and cancel conventions to break the state, as it was broken when Arizona declined to set aside a holiday for Martin Luther King.

Republican leaders like Jeb Bush, Karl Rove and even the rising Marco Rubio of Florida have declared themselves “troubled” or “concerned” and washed their hands of Arizona, which suggests they have not read the law — or the party remains captive to country-club political correctness.

In a particularly offensive smear, Mexican President Felipe Calderon charged Arizona with opening the door “to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse in law enforcement.”

And what was the reaction of the Great Apologist to this slander of an American state by the leader of a neighboring nation?

None. One wonders if Barack Obama will ever stand up to foreign leaders’ abusing the nation that awarded him its highest honor. Or has he been marinated since birth in the “Blame America First” mindset of the San Francisco Democrats who sneer at the real America? Read More…

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Spill, Baby, Spill . . .

Back in March Sarah Palin concluded her criticism of Obama’s offshore drilling plan in National Review‘s Corner by stating that “Next week I’m headed to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where I look forward to discussing what ‘Drill, baby, drill’ really means.” Unfortunately, we have been finding out in the few days what it can mean (via John Cole):

A 120-mile oil slick advanced to within a few miles of the mouth of the Mississippi River on Thursday as authorities scrambled to keep the spill from damaging wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico . . .

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Thursday declared a state of emergency ahead of the oil slick’s arrival, warning it covered as much as 600 square miles of water.

Ten wildlife refuges in Mississippi and Louisiana are in the oil’s likely path, with the Pass-a-Loutre Wildlife Management Area at the tip of the Mississippi River likely to be the first affected, Jindal announced. Wildlife conservation groups said Thursday the oil could be a disaster for coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

“For birds, the timing could not be worse; they are breeding, nesting and especially vulnerable in many of the places where the oil could come ashore,” said Melanie Driscoll, director of bird conservation for the Louisiana Coastal Initiative.

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Transatlantic Immigration

If you think the heap of abuse being piled on Arizona is unique to America’s ethnically fractured politics, you should take a look at England.  British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is running for reelection, encountered yesterday a 66 year old woman who asked him why so many immigrants from Eastern Europe were receiving government benefits when so many Brits experiencing difficulties were unable to receive any assistance at all.  She also asked why there were so many foreigners attending British universities, making it difficult for children like her own grandchildren to attend. 

I don’t know the extent to which EU residents can claim British benefits when unemployed, but certainly the woman’s first question was a reasonable one, without any racial overtones about immigrants, and the comment about foreigners at taxpayer supported universities would also seem to be within the realm of polite discourse.  Brown apparently did not agree.  Not knowing that his microphone was still on, he muttered about how the woman was a “bigot” as he returned to his car.

For me the problem is one of government accountability.  No one in government has ever asked the British people whether they want large scale immigration any more than anyone in Washington has ever posed that question to Americans about our 8 to 22 million illegals.  Every major political party in both countries reflects the elite consensus view that immigration and “diversity” are good.  Opinion polls reveal, however, that the elite view is far from popular, with up to 80% of the indigenous population in both countries opposed to large numbers of immigrants.  For the average Brit as for the average American there is, unfortunately, no recourse.  If you vote for one of the candidates who is actually likely to win in an election his position on immigration will likely be identical to that of his opponent. 

In the essentially two party system prevailing in Britain and America, even when you vote the bum out you are just as likely to get another bum.  If you voted for a Democrat or a Republican (or Conservative or Labour)  in 2002 you still got a war with Iraq in the following year just as everyone’s vote will be irrelevant if America’s elites decide to go to war with Iran and the British poodle goes along for the ride.

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Whose Country Is This?

With the support of 70 percent of its citizens, Arizona has ordered sheriffs and police to secure the border and remove illegal aliens, half a million of whom now reside there.

Arizona acted because the U.S. government has abdicated its constitutional duty to protect the states from invasion and refuses to enforce America’s immigration laws.

“We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act,” said Gov. Jan Brewer. “But decades of inaction and misguided policy have created an unacceptable situation.”

We have a crisis in Arizona because we have a failed state in Washington.

What is the response of Barack Obama, who took an oath to see to it that federal laws are faithfully executed?

He is siding with the law-breakers. He is pandering to the ethnic lobbies. He is not berating a Mexican regime that aids and abets this invasion of the country of which he is commander in chief. Instead, he attacks the government of Arizona for trying to fill a gaping hole in law enforcement left by his own dereliction of duty.

He has denounced Arizona as “misguided.” He has called on the Justice Department to ensure that Arizona’s sheriffs and police do not violate anyone’s civil rights. But he has said nothing about the rights of the people of Arizona who must deal with the costs of having hundreds of thousands of lawbreakers in their midst.

How’s that for Andrew Jackson-style leadership?

Obama has done everything but his duty to enforce the law. Read More…

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Red Tory, Myth of a Catholic Crisis, and More

In the brand new June 2010 issue of The American Conservative:

— Phillip Blond makes the case for Red Toryism. Drawing from Wilhelm Roepke, Hilaire Belloc, and the traditions of British conservatism, Blond offers an alternative to corporate capitalism and state socialism alike

— A symposium on Blond’s ideas and their applicability to the U.S., with contributions from Patrick Deneen, Nicholas Capaldi, and myself

— Philip Jenkins explains why there’s nothing uniquely Catholic about pedophilia scandals

— Steve Sailer on Joel Kotkin’s multicultural futurology

— Chase Madar on how liberal legal guru Harold Koh learned to love bomb power

— Jeremy Beer and Gregory Wolfe discuss the art of conservatism

Plus columns by Pat Buchanan, Bill Kauffman, and Stuart Reid, reviews by Patrick Allitt, Claude Polin, and Eamonn Fingleton, and much more.

Don’t miss out — subscribe to TAC. (And spread the word by giving a friend a gift subscription.)

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Smoke and Mirrors from the Washington Post

There were two odd intelligence related articles in today’s Washington Post.  The first , on the front page, was “Discontented Iranian Officials Provide Wealth of Intelligence.”  The article relies on unnamed intelligence sources to claim that the CIA has been receiving so much information from disgruntled Iranians that it has delayed the completion of the next National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.  Having worked as a CIA case officer against the Iranian target, I am deeply skeptical of the article’s thrust and suspect that the piece is itself disinformation designed to convince the Mullahs that Washington knows just about everything going on inside Iran.  The Post and its government contacts might be wanting to induce a panic so the Iranians clamp down hard on their own officials.  That said, I do accept that US intelligence might well be receiving a flood of well meaning volunteers, many supporters of the so-called reform movement, who are willing to tell what they know.  As I know the US is poorly informed on many critical issues relating to Iran, I believe that the Agency might well be debriefing lots of walk-ins offering information that is more-or-less garbage, nevertheless requiring lots of time and effort to sift through. 

The article is anonymously sourced and mentions only one name, that of Sharam Amiri, a nuclear scientist whose defection to the west was revealed last month.  It attributes to him discovery of the “long hidden uranium enrichment plant near the city of Qom,” which contradicts some other reports that western intelligence has known about the facility for years based on satellite photography.  There is general agreement that Amiri was likely able to confirm that Iran has not restarted its nuclear weapons program, suspended in 2003, but he would have been too young and junior to know what the government’s long term intentions are, so he is no Oleg Penkovsky.  Decisions related to pursuing nuclear weapons would be made by a handful of Iran’s senior leaders, a group that is considered inpenetrable from an espionage point of view.

The other article is by the ever slippery David Ignatius, “Leon Panetta Gets the CIA Back on Its Feet,” a song of praise for the job that Leon Panetta is doing as director of CIA.  Ignatius, the consummate insider, describes the decor in the DCI’s office and no doubt obtained the information he reports from Panetta himself.  He is eager to cement that relationship, so the article is largely a puff piece.  At one point, Ignatius opines that the recent appointment of senior analyst Michael Morell as the Agency number two to replace clandestine service officer Stephen Kappes will “give the clandestine service more running room.”  It is not possible to understand what that is supposed to mean.

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Revolutionary Phoniness

While reading about the Tea Party activists as radical rightists, I had the sense that these critics and I see the world very differently. The New York Times and then the Lancaster papers, on April 16, released polling data that offers a revealing picture of these activists. Most of them believe that their current share of taxation is “fair” and they watch Fox-news as their major source of information. 57% of those responding to last month’s New York Times poll believe that George W. Bush was an excellent president, and an even higher percentage identifies itself as Republican. Most of those interviewed are also high on social security and Medicare. The fact that most of them are at least middle-aged may help explain their predilection for these entitlements.

With due respect to the New York Times’ characterization of these activists on April 15 as “driven more by ideology than financial anxieties,” what I’m seeing here are middle-aged Republicans. They seem to belong to a Republican offensive, featuring such now conventional Republicans as Sarah Palin and retreads from the Bush administration, who are being presented as anti-government revolutionaries. Karl Rove has been conveniently reinvented for Tea Party gatherings, as a political outsider, and lest former Bush-McCain supporters act out of turn, FOX is there to coach them.

A difference between these Tea Parties and even such a modest event as the transition from Ford to Reagan is the lack of any changing of the guard. When Reagan ran for president, he let it be known that under no circumstances would he appoint those who were responsible for the foreign policy of the Nixon-Ford administration. Reagan was on record rejecting the Nixon-Kissinger policy of détente with the Soviets, and he stressed that he was breaking from what he considered Republican politics as usual.

It would be nice if the Tea Party activists insisted on such a break. But of course they won’t because for the most part they are McCain-Bush supporters or else Democrats, who are upset with Obama’s health care plan. In his syndicated column (April 22), Jonah Goldberg has addressed the charge that the Tea Party activists are Republicans by another name. Some of their critics have noticed the Tea Partiers were not up in arms when Bush expanded the federal sector; and this has been interpreted to mean they are Republicans in eighteenth-century wigs. Contrary to this opinion, Goldberg argues that the Tea Partiers represent a “delayed George Bush backlash.” These people put up with Bush because he was attacked from the left. “Besides, where were conservatives supposed to go [in the 2004 election]? Into the arms of John Kerry?” Read More…

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If you can’t beat ’em, join em

The possibility of a left-right alliance has been discussed here at TAC and I have written about the possible reaction anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan might possibly receive at a Tea Party. It seems as though Medea Benjamin of Code Pink has gone to a Tea Party and tried outreach on her own.

Well, if one wants to bring forth or at least begin a left-right alliance, then perhaps Sheehan and Benjamin and other members of Code Pink and those on the antiwar Left, should simply declare that they are Tea Partiers too and organize Tea Party events as well.

Why not? Is it against the law? Are there rules or bylaws saying they can’t be Tea Partiers? Who are Sarah Palin or Dick Armey to say who can or cannot be Tea Partiers? Political parties have always had Left, Right, libertarian and centrist wings, why not the Tea Party?

Of course there have got to be a few principles one should adhere or acknowledge at least to mark things off:

1).   Smaller government – Certainly the members of Code Pink wouldn’t object to a smaller government, especially when it comes to reducing the number of U.S. military bases around the world and the size of the military industrial complex. Or opposing the Patriot Act, Real ID or warrantless wire-tapping, all “big government” things.

2).  Opposing taxpayer bailouts and “too big to fail” corporations – I’m sure agreement can be reached in this area.

3).  Opposing wasteful spending, such as the spending for for undeclared, overseas wars for example and all the wasted money that goes towards them and the corruption they have spread throughout the government.

4).  Opposing taxes,  especially when those taxes pay for bombs dropped on innocent civilians.

So with these principles in mind, there’s no reason why Code Pink or Cindy Sheehan or Noam Chomsky or others on Left can’t be Tea Partiers. And as Tea Partiers, it would be hard for the media or the Tea Party’s critics to suggest the movement is nothing more than an “angry white male” caucus. In fact, such a movement could easily reconstruct politics no more on the worn-out Right-Light paradigm, but along the lines of insider-outsider, cosmopolitan vs. provincial or better yet centrist vs. populist. And for those who would cry “Infiltrator!” one can respond that since neither Ms. Sheehan or Mr. Chomsky or the members of Code Pink will be invited to the White House anytime soon or will taking part in Democratic Party fundraisers (while Fox News reporters and contributors happily give to the establishment Republicans) such a charge is certainly not true.

They say if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. But being a Tea Partier isn’t simply jumping on a bandwagon, it’s keeping that bandwagon moving and moving faster past the powers that be.

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Another Reason for the Economic Crash

The SEC was keeping itself busy with something other than investigations into the doings of Goldman Sachs…

A regional office staff accountant tried to access pornographic Web sites nearly 1,800 times, using her SEC laptop during a two-week period. She also had about 600 pornographic images saved on the hard drive of her laptop.

Separately, a senior attorney at SEC headquarters admitted to downloading pornography up to eight hours a day, according to the investigation.

“In fact, this attorney downloaded so much pornography to his government computer that he exhausted the available space on the computer hard drive and downloaded pornography to CDs or DVDs that he accumulated in boxes in his office,” the inspector general’s report said.

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