May 1, 2010

Obama Stormtroopers stamp out racist violence in Quincy, Illinois

MARK STEYN: Bigotry label for thee, not me - Washington Times

As I write, I have my papers on me - and not just because I'm in Arizona. I'm an immigrant, and it is a condition of my admission to this great land that I carry documentary proof of my residency status with me at all times and be prepared to produce it to law enforcement officials, whether on a business trip to Tucson or taking a 20-minute stroll in the woods back at my pad in New Hampshire.

Who would impose such an outrageous Nazi fascist discriminatory law?

Er, well, that would be Franklin D. Roosevelt.

But don't let the fine print of the New Deal prevent you from going into full-scale meltdown. "Boycott Arizona-stan!" urges MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, surely a trifle Islamophobically: What has some blameless Central Asian basket case done to deserve being compared with a hellhole like Phoenix?

Boycott Arizona Iced Tea, jests Travis Nichols of Chicago. It is "the drink of fascists." Just as regular tea is the drink of racists, according to Newsweek's in-depth and apparently nonsatirical poll analysis of anti-Obama protests. At San Francisco's City Hall, where bottled water is banned as the drink of climate denialists, Mayor Gavin Newsom is boycotting for real: All official visits to Arizona have been canceled indefinitely. You couldn't get sanctions like these imposed at the U.N. Security Council, but then, unlike Arizona, Iran is not a universally reviled pariah.

Will a full-scale economic embargo devastate the Copper State? Who knows? It's not clear to me what San Francisco imports from Arizona. Chaps? But, at any rate, like the bottled-water ban, it sends a strong signal that this kind of hate will not be tolerated.

The same day that Mr. Newsom took his bold stand, I saw a phalanx of police officers doing the full Robocop - black body armor, helmets and visors - as they marched down the street. Goosestepping? No, it's actually quite hard to goosestep in those steel-reinforced kneepads. So just regular marching. Naturally, I assumed they were Arizona state troopers performing a routine traffic stop. In fact, they were the police department of Quincy, Ill., facing down a group of genial Tea Party grandmas in sun hats and American-flag T-shirts. They were acting at the behest of President Obama's Secret Service, which rightly recognized a polite knot of citizens singing "God Bless America" as a clear and present danger to the republic.

If I were a member of the Quincy PD, I'd wear a full-face visor, too, because I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror. It's a tough job making yourself a paramilitary laughingstock. Yet the coastal frothers denouncing Arizona as the Third Reich or, at best, apartheid South Africa, seem entirely relaxed about the ludicrous and embarrassing sight of peaceful protesters being menaced by camp storm troopers from either a dinner-theater space opera or uniforms night at Mr. Newsom's re-election campaign.

Meanwhile, in Britain, the flailing Prime Minister Gordon Brown was on the stump in northern England and met an actual voter, one Gillian Duffy. Alas, she made the mistake of expressing very mild misgivings about immigration. Not the black, brown and yellow kind, but only the faintly swarthy Balkan blokes from Eastern Europe. And actually all she said about immigrants was that "you can't say anything about the immigrants." The prime minister brushed it aside blandly, made some chitchat about her grandkids and got back in his limo, forgetting that he was still miked. "That was a disaster," he sighed. "Should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? ... She's just a sort of bigoted woman."

After the broadcast of his "gaffe" and the sight of Mr. Brown slumped with his head in his hands as a radio interviewer replayed the remarks to him, the prime minister found himself going round to Mrs. Duffy's home to abase himself before her. Most of the initial commentary focused on what the incident revealed about Mr. Brown's character, but the larger point is what it says about the governing elites and their own voters. Mrs. Duffy is a lifelong supporter of Mr. Brown's Labor Party, but she represents the old working class the party no longer has much time for. Travis Nichols may be joking about "the drink of fascists," but, in the same way as Gavin Newsom and Keith Olbermann, Gordon Brown genuinely believes Gillian Duffy has drunk deeply from the drink of bigots for so much as raising the subject of immigration. How dare she, ungrateful bigot!

Mrs. Duffy lives in the world Mr. Brown has created. He, on the other hand, gets into his chauffeured limo and is whisked far away from it.


April 27, 2010

"You guys sign the checks. Seig Heil. Ann Frank is upstairs, third door to the right, the room behind the bookcase."

Jon Stewart Flunks His Spartacus Test

By Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator

"I am Spartacus."

It is one of the iconic lines from an iconic film.

Remember Spartacus? The 1960 Stanley Kubrick film based on a Howard Fast novel about a slave rebellion back in the glory days of Rome? Kirk Douglas -- father of Michael -- played the heroic slave leader Spartacus, his good friend Antonius played by Tony Curtis. In the signal moment from the film (said to be a slap at McCarthyism by the film's blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo), re-captured slaves, back in chains, are offered leniency. They will not face crucifixion if they will but give up Spartacus, who sits in their midst unrecognizable to the Romans. Waiting for the answer is Spartacus's foe, the Roman General Crassus, played by Laurence Olivier. After a moment of silence, as Spartacus is about to give himself up to be crucified, one by one the slaves stand and announce "I am Spartacus!" -- signaling their willingness to share their compatriot's fate. The scene epitomizes courage, a willingness to take a stand when the all-too-easy thing to do would be to simply say nothing and get off the hook.

One of the grim facts of war is that one never knows where and when these moments will present themselves. The question always is: when presented with this moment, what would you do?

Most probably, you will never know until the moment arrives.

The passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 were presented with just such a moment on the opening day of this war. One minute they were average Americans flying peacefully from Newark to San Francisco on a beautiful late summer day. The next they found themselves shockingly confronted with their Spartacus moment. Four hijackers had taken over their plane during what the Americans quickly learned from family cell phone calls was an all out attack on their country. The World Trade Center towers were in flames, soon to collapse. The Pentagon had just had a jet ram into it. The plane they were on -- United 93 -- was clearly headed back East to Washington -- on target to destroy either the White House or the U.S. Capitol.

The fact that the story is history now doesn't make it any easier to recall. The passengers, doubtless scared witless, decided to rebel. They would not be passive participants in the destruction of their country. One by one they stood up and said, in effect, "I am Spartacus." Or, in the words of passenger Todd Beamer, "Let's roll." A horrific struggle raged, the plane went down in a farmer's field in Pennsylvania. Every single passenger and hijacker died. The White House and the United States Capitol, not to mention an unimagined number of lives on the ground, were spared.

"I am Spartacus," these people were saying to the rest of us. "I am Spartacus."