“Born in other countries, yet believing you could be happy in this, our laws acknowledge, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming, as I doubt not you will do, to our established rules. That these rules shall be as equal as prudential considerations will admit, will certainly be the aim of our legislatures, general and particular.” –Thomas Jefferson
Government & Politics
Arizona Immigration Brouhaha
Last week, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, signed a tough new law designed to crack down on the flood of illegal immigration in the state and the violence and mayhem that has accompanied it. Political mayhem is the price of the law’s enactment.
Stepped-up enforcement of the border in California and Texas has funneled much of the illegal alien traffic and cross-border smuggling through Arizona. A sharp increase in crime has resulted, with Phoenix now being the kidnap capital of the United States. Ranchers near the border live under a state of siege, but demands that the federal government take aggressive remedial action have been unavailing. The recent murder of Rob Krentz, a kind-hearted rancher who often assisted desperate immigrants abused and abandoned by their “coyote” guides, prompted widespread outrage at the federal government’s fundamental failure to protect its citizens against a dangerous foreign invasion.
The race-baiting grievance mongers wasted no time in denouncing the law. Vandals smeared refried beans in the shape of a swastika on the Arizona Capitol building (which we find to be an incredibly strange mixed message). Some leftist church leaders denounced the law as “hateful.” Race hustler Jesse Jackson called it “terrorism.” Calling it “stupid,” “an embarrassment” and “racist,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik (Tucson) said he would refuse to enforce it.
Latino activist and far-left Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) called for a boycott of his own state, saying, “I support some very targeted economic sanctions on the state of Arizona. We will be asking national organizations – civil, religious, political – not to have conferences and conventions in the state of Arizona. There has to be an economic consequence to this action and to this legislation.” We’re sure Arizona’s 2.3 million unemployed will thank Grijalva for his principled stand.
Meanwhile, in a stunning display of hypocrisy, the government of Mexico issued a travel advisory and expressed concern about the rights of its citizens in the United States. Of course, Mexico plays by much more stringent rules when dealing with its own immigration issues.
These critics either haven’t read the law or, more likely, don’t want to be bothered with reality. Among other things, Arizona’s new law makes it a state crime for people to be in Arizona if they are in the United States illegally. If the police have an otherwise lawful encounter with someone, and if they have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the United States illegally, the police are required to ask for documentation of immigration status. An Arizona driver’s license is presumptive proof of lawful status.
The law specifically forbids police from basing their actions solely on someone’s race or ethnicity. It also compels the police to base their “reasonable suspicion” on criteria that are permissible under the U.S. and Arizona constitutions. Moreover, when she signed the bill, Gov. Brewer issued an executive order directing additional training specifically to avoid racial profiling when the law is enforced.
The new law, which in many places quotes federal law verbatim, was enacted because of the failure at the federal level to enforce those same laws. None of this matters to the Left. With tactics straight out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” they have demonized everyone who dares stand up for responsible enforcement of our laws and for the protection of our citizens.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama declared that the nation may not have the “appetite” for an immigration fight this year, so he removed the issue from his agenda. That’s a relief.
Quote of the Week
“So Arizona passes a tough law against illegal immigration and suddenly they’ve got Washington’s attention. One poll finds 70 percent of Arizona voters support this new law, so, ‘Hey, maybe we better do something, too.’ And like the lemmings they are when they smell a chance to score some political points, and some of them need a lot of help with the midterms coming up, there is now talk of rushing immigration reform through Congress. President Obama called the Arizona law ‘misguided.’ What’s misguided, Mr. President, is the federal government’s ongoing refusal to enforce the laws that are already on the books. Read the Arizona law. Parts of it are word-for-word the same as the federal statutes which continue to be all but ignored. Now we’ll hear all sorts of blathering from our Washington gerbils about the need for a new federal law. There’ll be news conferences and interviews and committee hearings and draft legislation and polling – all the usual carnival acts that accompany any hot button Washington issue. Instead of simply closing the borders and enforcing the existing law so they could turn their attention to something like the national debt and the fact that the country is bankrupt, instead we’re going to get this freak show. Washington’s position on illegal immigration is patently dishonest from the top down. No enforcement, no border security, just pandering to the Hispanic voters and the corporations that hire the illegals. And then, when one of our states that’s being ravaged by the presence of 460,000 illegal aliens inside its borders does something about it, the president says that’s misguided. What a shame.” –CNN commentator Jack Cafferty
Headline of the Week
“Illegal immigrants plan to leave over Ariz. law” –Associated Press
Isn’t that the point?
More on the Ft. Knox Security Scenario
Regarding Mark Alexander’s essay, “Army Preps for Tea Party Terrorists,” the update on this story issued yesterday was not a correction or retraction, but additional information about the security scenario circulated at Ft. Knox.
In response to our initial inquiries regarding this scenario, security staff at Ft. Knox responded, predictably, “We are not authorized to discuss this exercise.”
Before publishing this story, we established that there was, indeed, a security exercise at Ft. Knox this week, and that the security scenario Mr. Alexander described was, in fact, circulated among officers, security personnel and civilians involved in that exercise.
After publishing yesterday, Mr. Alexander was contacted by Command Staff at Ft. Knox who confirmed that there was a security exercise, but that the scenario circulated among officers, security personnel and civilians, had been altered to include “Tea Party” and “anti health care” protesters “in order to make it more realistic.”
The fact that any officer would associate Tea Party folks with “white supremacists” armed with “military grade weapons” and “bomb making components,” and believe that association would make this scenario “more realistic,” is troubling, at best.
In his essay, Mr. Alexander wrote, “It’s not likely that Ft. Knox Commanding General James Milano or Deputy Commander Col. David Teeples, or even the regimental and brigade commanders for the 16th Cav and 194th AB, actually read the exercise scenario…”
Indeed, Command personnel informed Mr. Alexander that they had neither read the scenario nor authorized it.
Further, Mr. Alexander was informed that the officer who authored the scenario had been identified and would be brought in for “appropriate counsel” to ensure no such highly politicized scenario finds its way into official channels again.
Mr. Alexander says he accepts the explanation provided by Command staff with the caveat that it is not clear why objections to this scenario were not raised within the command by those who received it, thus requiring objections to be raised by The Patriot Post.
In regard to the verbatim scenario documentation we posted, even though those documents were not classified, Command staff asked that we remove them for specified security reasons.
As our mission is not only to uphold our Constitution by holding those in positions of authority accountable to their oaths, but also to support our uniformed Patriots, Mr. Alexander agreed to remove the documents from our Web site.
The facts remain: The security exercise scenario was described in Alexander’s essay, exactly as it was written and circulated at Ft. Knox to both military and civilian personnel with security responsibilities. A handful of Patriots, at risk to their careers, came forth with this information and expected us to handle it honorably and accurately, and we did just that.
In conclusion, Mr. Alexander says, “It is important to note that the vast majority of uniformed officers and enlisted personnel serving our country are right-thinking Patriots who are serving their country with honor and integrity, who are true to their oaths. For sure, one Army officer will think twice about politicizing a security exercise scenario in the future, if he or she still has a future in the Army.”
From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File
SWAT teams and snipers deployed against Tea Partiers? The National Guard sent to combat crime in Chicago? Suing gunmakers in international court? Welcome to ObamaWorld. Read more here.
News From the Swamp: Financial Regulation Bill
After a week of parliamentary motions by Republicans and political mudslinging by Democrats, the Senate has begun debate on Sen. Chris Dodd’s financial overhaul bill. Dodd (D-CT), who’s hoping to make this his swan song before retiring at the end of this session, drafted the original legislation several weeks ago with a number of provisions meant to put America’s financial system firmly under the boot of the federal government. Read more here.
This Week’s ‘Alpha Jackass’ Award
“Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” –Barack Obama
Of course, the Obamas reported $5.5 million in income last year. When will it be enough, Barack?
New & Notable Legislation
The Senate climate bill crafted by John Kerry (D-MA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) nearly went up in smoke this week when Graham threatened to walk away from the tenuous triumvirate if the Senate chose to work on immigration reform before the climate package. As mentioned above, however, immigration appears to be off the table. The climate bill, which is meant to reduce emissions that have been blamed for global warming, has been months in the making. The original Democrat draft of the legislation threatened to hamstring America’s energy production and manufacturing sectors by placing onerous and unrealistic targets on those industries. Then again, how realistic can a bill be when it seeks to curb a problem that many legitimate scientists aren’t even sure exists? But we digress. In the end, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that climate change would be the Senate’s next project, and, by extension, the American energy and manufacturing would be their next target.
The House voted 223-169 Thursday night to allow the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico to decide its future political relationship with the United States – meaning the protectorate could become the 51st state. According to Fox News, “The bill introduced a two-step ballot measure for Puerto Rico to decide if its residents want to change their current relationship with the United States. If they vote to change their status, they can then choose to become a state, pursue independence, or seek some other ‘political association between sovereign nations.’” Even if Puerto Ricans choose statehood, Congress would have to vote again to admit the island to the union.
Crist Announces Independent Bid
As expected, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced that he will continue his quest for a Senate seat as an independent. Crist said that his decision to leave the Republican party is “the right thing for America” and “the right thing for Florida.” Primarily, though, he thinks it’s right for Charlie Crist.
His poll numbers have been declining steadily for months as former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio – an actual conservative – has won over Republicans in the primary race. Rather than admit defeat, the “moderate” Crist will try to duplicate the success of Joe Lieberman, who lost the Connecticut primary in 2006 to left-wing loon Ned Lamont, but bounced back to win re-election in the general as an independent. This situation differs in that Florida features a legitimate three-way race, with the advantage now going to Democrat Kendrick Meek. Crist may also have trouble hanging on to campaign donations from Republicans now angry that he has abandoned ship.
Warfront With Jihadistan: The Fight to Come
The fighting in Afghanistan is tough and looks to get tougher. A major offensive is planned for this summer to secure the Kandahar region, anchored by 30,000 U.S. troops in the surge ordered by Barack Obama. This offensive was supposed to build on the current, much smaller offensive that began in late winter with the aim of securing the smaller Marjah area in southern Afghanistan. However, the current offensive has slowed significantly, according to military officials. Local villagers, upon whom troops rely for intelligence, haven’t rallied to the Afghan government in large numbers and are afraid to back the government, even if they hate the Taliban. U.S. military officials fear the opportunity to win them over is fading fast.
If U.S. troops can’t win over Marjah, they will have little hope of winning the trust of the much more heavily populated Kandahar area, birthplace of the Taliban and the staging ground for al-Qa'ida’s 9/11 attacks. Most of Kandahar’s one-million-plus inhabitants are viewed as sympathetic to the Taliban, if not actively helping them. Obama has said U.S. troops will start leaving Afghanistan in 2011. If so, and if victory is America’s goal, U.S. troops could be facing the heaviest and bloodiest fighting of the war.
Speaking of al-Qa'ida, a former associate of Osama bin Laden made an interesting assertion. Noman Benotman, who was head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and allegedly a close OBL confidant, said bin Laden had no idea the U.S. would hit al-Qa'ida as hard as we did after 9/11, saying, “What happened after the 11th of September was beyond their imagination.” While Benotman has several reasons to make this assertion, there are U.S. intelligence reports that back him up. And if true, they are all the more reason to continue taking the fight to the jihadis, no matter how long it takes for victory.
Department of Military Readiness: Women on Submarines
The United States Navy announced Thursday that the military’s ban on women serving on submarines is no longer in force. Defense Secretary Robert Gates notified Congress in February that the Navy would lift the ban unless legislators took action. The deadline for action passed Thursday at midnight.
“There are extremely capable women in the Navy who have the talent and desire to succeed in the submarine force,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said. “Enabling them to serve in the submarine community is best for the submarine force and our Navy.” According to the Associated Press, “Women make up 15 percent of the active duty Navy – there are 52,446 out of the force of 330,700.” In order to accommodate women, many submarines will require expensive modification, which will be done in phases.
Profiles of Valor: U.S. Army Major Robert Eldridge
United States Army Major Robert Eldridge enlisted in the Special Forces Reserves in December 1986. “My father was in Special Forces and I knew quite a few people in Special Forces. I liked it. It sounded like what I wanted to do, so I pursued it,” he said. In 2004, Eldridge deployed to Afghanistan, where, on Dec. 17 of that year, his vehicle struck an IED while on patrol. Eldridge was seriously injured, but the team medic began treating him within minutes. Eldridge lost a leg as a result of his injuries and spent six months recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center.
He then fought to re-enlist. “I wanted to go back,” he said, “and my group commander and battalion supported my coming back.” In March 2007, Eldridge redeployed to Afghanistan with his Special Forces unit. “Within a month and a half of getting back to my unit, I started conducting airborne operations again,” he said. For the events of that December day, Eldridge received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with combat “V” for valor.
Business & Economy
Income Redistribution: Debt Commission Meets and Geithner Speaks
With Barack Obama and Congress spending money at an appalling pace, the idea of a bipartisan commission to address the deficit problem was hatched earlier this year. This 18-member panel was designed to give Obama plenty of cover – it’s composed of 12 Democrats and only six Republicans, and their report isn’t due until after the 2010 elections have safely passed. Its primary purpose is to allow Obama to claim to be doing something about the deficit.
The commission, which met for the first time Tuesday, will recommend ways to pare down the annual deficit to $550 billion by 2015. But it’s not as if the red ink will magically stop flowing even if the commission achieves its stated goal. With the creative accounting of our federal government, the result will likely be yet another shell game not unlike those we’ve seen before, such as with the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
TARP made news last week as well, as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner claimed that our bailouts of the financial and auto industries may cost taxpayers “only” $87 billion – a win considering the $700 billion we expected to throw down the rat hole. As much a Pyrrhic victory as it may be (assuming Geithner is telling the truth – a major assumption), any good financial news out of Washington is welcomed by nervous Democrats worried about their re-election.
Needless to say, this will make the shell game a little easier for the debt commission. While the GOP members of the panel aren’t willing to raise taxes to address the deficit, their counterparts on the left are more than happy to consider the familiar “soak the rich” play to mollify Medicare and Social Security special interest groups that want their programs to remain untouched – regardless of the ticking time bomb they present. Indeed, when Washington speaks on the deficit, the only thing we’re assured of is a lot of hot air.
This Week’s ‘Braying Jackass’ Award
“Now, the thing I didn’t anticipate up until a few months before my election was the fact that we were gonna be in such a deep crisis that I’d be inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit, $8 trillion worth of accumulated national debt that we’re gonna have to deal with. And that’s why I’ve appointed this bipartisan fiscal commission to give me recommendations in terms of how do we deal with this in a serious way moving forward.” –Barack Obama, still in blame-Bush mode, still refusing to accept any responsibility for our record deficits
Beware ObamaCare Scams
Many of us knew that Obama’s health care overhaul was a scam from the start, but now states are warning the public to beware of the insurance frauds cropping up in our fearless leader’s name. According to The New York Times, ObamaCare has opened up a niche market in the world of confidence schemes, namely the selling of fraudulent policies that promise “affordable compliance” with the new law. These policies are usually named “Obamacare” or “Obama Health Plan” (which don’t exist); promise to do things like “expedite Medicare drug coverage rebates” (which the government doesn’t allow); and are priced under $30 (which is just laughable). One promised protection from “death panels”; another targeted Spanish-speakers. How ironic that the vulnerable populations that the Left claims to protect are the ones being targeted by these schemes.
Michael T. McRaith, director of the Illinois Department of Insurance, advised people to be “aggressive and informed” because “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” If only that advice had been heeded by Congress before the bill was passed.
Founding Father John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” Fast forward to today, where noted historian-in-chief Barack Obama has yet to learn that wishing growth upon the economy doesn’t change the facts. Read more here.
Ford Profits – GM Flounders
While Government Motors is running an ad campaign touting the supposed repayment of its government loans, Ford Motor Co. released its quarterly earnings report. It appears that the one Detroit-based automaker that didn’t seek either financial support from the taxpayers or bankruptcy protection from its creditors has generated its fourth sequential quarterly profit. Ford attributes those profits to effective asset allocation, increased operational efficiency, and product development that meet the needs and desires of consumers. In other words the company practices that cornerstone of free-market capitalism, good business management.
The return to profitability was not driven by growth alone. The company has discontinued non-profitable operations and eliminated the hourly and salary jobs associated with those facilities. Again we state the obvious: that such actions are the responsibility of business managers who are not only accountable for the immediate performance of the firm, but also for its long-term viability. Ford also acknowledges that it benefited from the current woes experienced by Toyota, but the latter’s recall problems didn’t hit until the first quarter of 2010. All things aren’t perfect at Ford, but with GM still majority owned by the U.S. government and losing billions all the while, it’s refreshing to see Ford succeed.
Cape Cod Wind Farm a Go
“The Obama administration Wednesday approved what would be the nation’s first offshore windmill farm, delivering a major victory for the wind energy industry after years of delays,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The Cape Wind project, approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, would occupy a 25-square-mile section of Nantucket Sound and generate enough energy to power over 200,000 homes in Massachusetts. But the project could still face financial and legal challenges.”
One of the main opponents over the years was the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who thought that the windmills might sully his view of Nantucket Sound. Sen. Scott Brown, who was elected to “Kennedy’s seat” in January, also criticized the plan, saying it will cause job losses in Cape Cod’s tourism and fishing industries. Supporters, on the other hand, claim that the farm will deliver enough reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to equal taking 175,000 cars off the road. It seems we’ll soon find out who’s right.
Culture & Policy
Climate Change This Week: Clean Air Causes Warming
The United States government, beginning in 1955, enacted a series of laws intended to decrease air pollution. Indeed, the EPA recently announced that such pollution has been significantly reduced since the 1980s. Other scientists, however, are concerned that reducing certain kinds of pollutants, such as sulfate aerosols, may actually increase global warming. Welcome to the Land of Unintended Consequences.
Scientist and writer Eli Kintisch, in an interview with NPR, explained that aerosols, while polluting the air and contributing to respiratory issues, also block sunlight; this makes clouds more reflective and helps to cool the planet. Kintisch even went so far as to write in a recent L.A. Times op-ed, “If we continue to cut back on smoke pouring forth from industrial smokestacks, the increase in global warming could be profound.” Both Kintisch, and NPR, of course, were careful to distinguish between aerosols and greenhouses gases like CO2, which are still leading to our “demise.”
In the ever-growing mountain of environmental “facts,” there are a few kernels of truth that continue to emerge: that the science of “global warming” is unsettled; that we do not yet know everything about the planet on which we live; and that we must stop the government from passing uninformed environmental legislation, lest we deal with worse “unintended consequences” in the future.
In other global warming news, Al Gore doesn’t appear to be too worried about rising sea levels after all. He just purchased an $8.8 million ocean-view villa in Montecito, California. The mansion comes complete with six fireplaces and nine bathrooms – entirely appropriate when one considers how full of it Gore is.
Faith and Family: Oklahoma Enacts Abortion Laws
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma legislature overrode vetoes on two abortion measures, one that requires women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion and one that prevents women from suing doctors for withholding information about possible birth defects. “These laws all have the same goal, and that’s to discourage women from seeking abortions in the first place,” complained Anita Fream, the chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma. “They just throw down one roadblock after another in front of women and hope maybe they will give up.” Of course, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, has a vested financial interest in more abortions. As State Senator Todd Lamb, the majority floor leader, put it, “The goal of this legislation is just to make a statement for the sanctity of human life.”
Judicial Benchmarks: SCOTUS Rules That Mojave Cross Can Stay
The Supreme Court declared Wednesday that the Mojave War Memorial Cross in California need not be taken down to accommodate the atheists who had sued for its removal. Veterans of Foreign Wars erected the cross more than 75 years ago in the Mojave National Preserve to honor the military dead, but it has been desecrated by a plywood cover for several years pending litigation.
As is the preference of Chief Justice John Roberts, the case was decided on narrow grounds, returning the issue to the lower courts with instructions to give heed to the fact that Congress has already enacted legislation transferring the parcel of land with the war monument into private ownership. As Associate Justice Samuel Alito pointed out, this congressional act, in response to the lawsuit, was a practical accommodation serving the interests of tolerance and comity.
It’s outrageous that the case got this far and took this long. Beyond that, the decision was a 5-4 split among the Justices. That four of them believed the nonsense peddled by the ACLU is indicative of how precarious the balance is between originalists and proponents of the so-called “living constitution,” especially as Obama’s next Court pick will be announced this summer.
To Keep and Bear Arms
Two robbers with masks entered a Walgreens Pharmacy in Omaha, Nebraska, one of them carrying a short-barrel shotgun. According to Officer Jacob Bettin, the suspect with the gun was pointing it at customers. However, a customer by the register pulled out his pistol and fired at the suspect, hitting him several times. After trying to run, the intruder collapsed and later died at the hospital. The other suspect, only 17 years old, was held by the customer until police arrived and took him to the local Youth Center under suspicion of robbery and using a weapon to commit a felony.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a radical leftist organization that tracks so-called “hate groups” in America, recently released a “definitive” report on groups or individuals that it considers to be dangerous. The report, entitled “Meet the ‘Patriots,’” explains, “In the last year and a half, militias and the larger antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement have exploded, accompanied by the rapid expansion of other sectors of the radical right. This spectacular growth is the result of several factors, including anger over major political, demographic and economic changes in America, along with the popularization of radical ideas and conspiracy theories by ostensibly mainstream politicians and media commentators.”
In a report with such a title, we were dismayed to find that The Patriot Post was not among the listed troublemakers. So we sent them a letter with the following language: “We are shocked – shocked – that you did not include The Patriot Post among your ‘Patriot’ movement hate list. As much as we write about constitutional integrity and Rule of Law, surely you would believe that we’re masking our ultra-rightwing agenda and are clearly among the most dangerous threats to the continuity of America’s democracy.”
No word yet from the SPLC as to whether they’ll reconsider this grievous omission, but we’ll keep you posted.