So many things are happening now that, as I take time off to participate in the Tea Party in Newport News, Virginia on April 15, I have decided to devote just brief commentary on a selection of events.
Presumably to give themselves more time to sweeten the idea of slavery or indentured servitude for future “volunteers,” Congressmen have dropped a provision from the GIVE Act, HR 1388, to establish a commission to study the idea, and included it in HR 1444 and called the provision the “Congressional Commission on Civic Service Act.” “GIVE’ is the acronym for the hokey, cumbersomely named “Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act,” passed by the House in March. That bill is intended to rope all Americans into servitude, regardless of age. The HR 1444 commission’s focus, however, is specifically Americans about to embark on adulthood. It is to ruminate on:
“The effect on the Nation, on those who serve, and on the families of those who serve, if all individuals in the United States were expected to perform national service or were required to perform a certain amount of national service.
“Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.”
This bill and its predecessor are absolutely immoral and antithetical to the idea of this country being a society of free individuals. What I found especially curious about HR 1444 was the term “social fabric” and the idea that it needed “strengthening.” Are the bill’s sponsors and advocates worried that the nation’s “social fabric” is coming apart at the seams? They would do well to worry, for there are signs it is, and they would need to look no further for its cause than the floor of the House, the scene of so much fiscal improvidence, theft of wealth, abridgement of liberty, and collectivist arrogance (not to mention pork barrel corruption).
But, whether or not HR 1444 reaches the Senate and passes there unmolested, the more unsettling news is a phenomenon I call “SDS: The Next Generation.” The White House and cabinet, agency, and department realms are now top-heavy with the Left of Old, from the 1960’s and 1970’s. Barack and Michelle Obama, ideally representing that next generation, are the plastic figures fixed atop the wedding cake. And far, far below in our “social fabric” is the generation educated and indoctrinated by the lefties who careered into education, à la William Ayers of the Weathermen, or by former Students for a Democratic Society and their countless fellow travelers who decided to wreak their vengeance on America by drilling its young in so many boot camps of selflessness and sacrifice, from kindergarten up through college. The new bills will ensure the line of succession of the Old Left so that the New Left can continue the campaign of producing selfless drones of service.
The New York Times of April 12 reported that many college graduates no longer look to Wall Street, business, industry, medicine, and science as fields of potential employment. An increasing number aspire to become community organizers, “just like the world’s most famous one, Barack Obama.”
“A job that has not been all that alluring to college graduates is in resurgence, according to leading community organizers and educators. Once thought of as a destination for lefty radicals committed to living lives of low pay, frustration and bitter burnout, community organizing is now seen by many young people an exciting career.
“With their jobs, students envision helping communities address urgent issues — economics or the environment, education or social justice — while developing leadership skills. And these jobs, students say, can actually lead to…well, you know.”
To the chancellorship of Nazi America? Well…you know. Further on in the article, its writer notes:
“Dr. [Marshall] Ganz, the veteran organizer, trained thousands of Obama campaign volunteers to organize communities and voters….Three years ago, Dr. Ganz, who earned a doctorate in sociology and is now a lecturer at Harvard, taught 40 students in his community organizing class at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government….Three years ago, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, began using Dr. Ganz’s curriculum. It is now taught at the College of the Holy Cross, Providence College and Wellesley. And more institutions, like M.I.T. and Northwestern, are calling him.”
The article does not once mention Ganz’s Old Left mentor, but clearly he, Obama, and thousands of college students and their current mentors are avid disciples of Saul Alinsky, the patron saint of “community organizers” everywhere.
Speaking of Harvard, Democratic congressman and domestic Somali pirate Barney Frank spoke at the Kennedy School of Government on April 13 and got into a verbal brouhaha with a law student who asked a fair question: “How much responsibility, if any, do you have for the financial crisis?” Note that the student did not accuse Frank of being up to his ears in responsibility.
Frank, of course, took personal exception to the question, as any guilty liar would, and accused the student of repeating what he called “right-wing talking points” and of ignorance of the issue. He more or less implied that the student should have come armed with all 1,000+ pages of the first stimulus package, or perhaps a copy of the Community Reinvestment Act and Frank’s voting record on the matter or perhaps a transcript of his statements from five years ago, which would contain, for example, Frank’s assertion that “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not facing any kind of financial crisis.”
To his credit, the student stuck to his guns, and repeatedly asked Frank to simply answer the question. Frank repeatedly subjected the student and the audience to a bewildering kaleidoscope of half-truths and contextless concretes no one could examine and refute in anything less than a book, all the while the fingers of his left hand twitching nervously and his posture betraying a man on the point of panic.
On April 3rd, an article by Democratic Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland appeared in The Washington Post, “A Plan to Save our Free Press.” I have already reported on this move to establish a more financially sound but suborned press in “Freedom of Speech: Silence is Not Golden,” about the plan to convert failing newspapers into nonprofit entities such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Aside from the fact that Cardin’s Newspaper Revitalization Act would relieve these papers of significant tax obligations not enjoyed by papers not tottering on the brink of bankruptcy, it would be a first step to bring all newspapers under federal control, or at least marginalize those which do not succumb to the temptation to “go public.”
“My bill would allow newspapers — if they choose — to operate under 501(c)(3) status for educational purposes, similar to public broadcasters [read, government or tax-supported TV and radio stations]…. Under this arrangement, newspapers would not be allowed to make political endorsements but would be permitted to freely report on all issues, including political campaigns. They would be able to editorialize and take positions on issues affecting their communities. Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax-exempt, and contributions to support coverage or operations could be tax-deductible.”
How can a newspaper editorialize without making political endorsements? By doing exactly what PBS and all its affiliates around the country do every day: propagate ideas advocated by the persons they are not allowed to politically endorse or favor. That is, for example, editorialize positively about “hope” and “change,” wealth “redistribution” and “social equity,” but not blatantly agree with Obama or any other politician or candidate who promotes those things.
The Confiscation of Offshore Wealth
Reuters reported on April 13 that Credit Suisse will enable the U.S. government to more easily tax and/or confiscate money Americans once thought was safely deposited in Swiss bank accounts.
“Sonntagszeitung [a Swiss newspaper] said the bank had about 2,500-5,000 U.S. clients with undeclared offshore accounts worth about 3 billion francs….The paper said that Credit Suisse had started parting company with its U.S. offshore clients, giving them the option of moving their accounts to its CS Private Advisors subsidiary, which would report the accounts to the U.S. tax authorities, or writing them a check.
“The move comes after rival UBS said last year it would stop offering offshore services to U.S. citizens after U.S. authorities alleged that the Swiss bank has helped rich Americans hide money away from the taxman in Swiss accounts.”
Switzerland isn’t what it used to be. The Associated Press also reports that UBS, aside from losing about $18.41 billion in the subprime mortgage fiasco, also stands to lose about $14.8 billion in American deposits when it turns over the records of about 52,000 Americans to the IRS.
“UBS already has agreed in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department to pay $780 million and disclose up to 300 UBS account holders suspected of tax fraud.
“Oswald J. Gruebel told staff the bank had to stick strictly to the law in order to protect its reputation.”
Whose law? Swiss law, or American? What reputation? A Swiss bank now is no better a “safe” deposit vault than the shoe boxes of American banks.
When a politician, American or foreign, talks about the benefits of a global economy, take it for granted that he means a fascist global economy in which there are no sanctuaries or safe havens from government theft and pillaging. When Obama, a celebrity sensation at the G20 summit in London, where he agreed to place American companies under the authority of an international Financial Stability Board (with no recognized recourse to American courts) assured Joe the Plumber during the campaign that he just wanted to “spread the wealth around,” he meant instead that he intended to spread the poverty around. For that is his and his administration’s aim, to ensure that the rich are as destitute and defenseless as the middle class, and unable to escape anywhere from their “duty“ to sacrifice and serve. The U.S. government and the European Union have pressured Swiss banks to betray their customers.
Of course, the “undeclared” billions in those banks are but a drop in the bucket, compared to the Niagara Falls of trillions Obama and Congress wish to create out of nothing and spend on rearranging America along fascist/socialist lines. One might then ask: If that is true, why send posses after the individuals who own those billions? How can destroying that wealth make a difference? The answer: envy. To leave no slave behind in the quest for totalitarian control. To leave no cent behind that could be tossed into the bottomless pit of need. And the root motive behind such a quest is hatred of the good for being the good — in this instance, hatred of anyone who has outwitted the looters and pillagers by preserving his wealth beyond their grasp. It is destruction for the sake of destruction.
The next time you hear someone ask, “Have you paid your taxes?” you should answer, “Whose taxes?”
Profile Muslims, no! Profile “Rightwingers,” si!
And the next time you brace yourself for a frisk and a search at the airport and watch helplessly as some otherwise unemployable drudge rifles through your luggage, you might also be want to be prepared to account for the copy of Atlas Shrugged you might have in your carry-on. Or perhaps one of those specially trained attitude detectors might interpret the sour look on your face as evidence of a probable terrorist, and have you pulled from the line to be interrogated in the TSA version of George Orwell’s Room 101.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on April 7 released (or leaked) a “threat assessment” memo called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” The Solons of the DHS just might correctly consider Ayn Rand’s novel as “radical,” though in its fathomless wisdom they wouldn’t be able to explain why. You, the advocate of individual rights, of limited, rights-protecting government, of the rule of objective law and not of power-lusting men, would be lumped together with racists, anarchists, neo-Nazis, basement-bomb conspirators, and any other group that could be identified as “anti-government” and your identity red-flagged for special attention. You, the cleanly rational radical for capitalism who opposes the initiation of force by criminals and government alike, might someday be locked in a holding pen with the ilk of Timothy McVey, the Unabomber, anti-abortion assassins, and other unsavory company.
The two troubling terms in the memo’s title and their usage throughout the memo itself are extremism and rightwing. Nowhere are they defined. The irony is that the term extremism is meaningless. As Ayn Rand notes in her 1964 essay, “Extremism, or the Art of Smearing”:
“The concept of ‘extreme’ denotes a relation, a measurement, a degree. The dictionary gives the following definitions: ‘Extreme, adj. — 1. of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average. 2. utmost or exceedingly great in degree.’ It is obvious that the first question one has to ask, before using that term, is: a degree — of what?”*
In the context of the memo and the alleged function of the DHS, which was created shortly after 9/11 to deter further terrorist attacks on the U.S., the term implies an unspecified potential for violent acts against the government and/or American citizens in this country. Michelle Malkin, in her dissection of the memo, questions the timing of the memo’s release a week before the hundreds of Tax Day Tea Parties and concludes that the memo exclusively targets conservatives, noting that no left-wing groups are cited.
“In Obama land, there are no coincidences. It is no coincidence that this report echoes Tea Party bashing left-wing blogs (check this one out comparing the Tea Party movement to the Weather Underground!) and demonizes the very Americans who will be protesting in the thousands on Wednesday for the nationwide Tax Day Tea Party.”
She managed to speak with persons in the DHS but was not able to persuade them to identify which “rightwing extremist” groups were busy “recruiting” people to join them, and no one in the DHS was willing to identify for her the nature of the “rightwing extremist chatter” on the Internet that alarmed the authors of the memo. (And the memo’s mention of that chatter confirms that the DHS, and probably the National Security Agency, monitor not only domestic phone calls but the Internet, as well.) Section U of the memo cites one cause of the alleged increase in “rightwing extremist” activity: the “economic downturn.” Another alleged cause is dissatisfaction with the new administration’s economic, spending, and social policies.
“Rightwing extremists are harnessing this historical [sic] election as a recruitment tool. Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use….From the 2008 election timeframe to the present, rightwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential sympathizers.”
Surely a news media in lockstep with promoting the administration’s policies would have jumped at the chance to report a swelling of the ranks of “rightwing” vigilante groups or a dramatic growth in subscriptions to conspiracy-theory newsletters, and issued their own dire warnings. But, as Malkin and other commentators point out, the DHS offers no evidence that substantiates the memo’s assertions. The only concrete thing that might have given insecure Homelanders the jitters is the reported spike in gun sales, but even the news media concedes that this is a result of the administration’s wish to gut the Second Amendment.
Every other section of the memo similarly smears anyone who opposes the new administration’s policies by implying that he is a potential terrorist or an unhinged malcontent frothing at the mouth, ready to mow down Mexicans, Muslims, blacks, and IRS clerks. Malkin is wrong to conclude that the memo libels only conservatives. Its insinuating language is broad enough to include all men of reason who oppose the socialization of America, and to include all Americans who know that Obama and Congress are guilty of exacerbating the logical and inevitable destructive consequences of government interventionist policies and of implementing a socialist agenda that would destroy what liberties remain to them.
All of which renders the term rightwing meaningless, as well, if it is implied that “rightwingers” are “capitalist” fascists, which would necessarily include left-wingers, or those who advocate government management of the economy, of private property, and the scrapping of the Bill of Rights. Fascists are fundamentally socialists. The terms left-wing and rightwing constitute a bait-and-switch game of terms. (I lost count of the number of Tea Party protesters I spoke with who no longer see a difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties.)
Further, it is noteworthy that the DHS felt it necessary to circulate the memo to law enforcement agencies and departments around the country on the eve of a phenomenon, the nationwide Tea Party. But the DHS and the Obama White House cannot but have helped to observe months before a grassroots opposition to Obama’s and Congress’s policies, long before the first Tea Parties in February.
The Wall Street Journal on April 15 ran an excellent analysis of the Tax Day Tea Party phenomenon, tracing its roots and discussing its portentous political consequences, and also the role of the Internet in making it possible. It concludes with these predictions:
“This influx of new energy and new talent is likely to inject new life into small-government politics around the nation. The mainstream Republican Party still seems limp and disorganized. This grassroots effort may revitalize it. Or the tea-party movement may lead to a new third party that may replace the GOP, just as the GOP replaced the fractured and hapless Whigs.”
The Republicans will ignore the Tax Day Tea Party at their own peril. The Democrats are not ignoring it, even though the news media largely did ignore it or downplayed the significance of over half a million Americans saying “No!” to the Obama administration.
Those half million Americans, drawn from almost every thread of the country’s “social fabric,” may be the answer to the government’s worried “Who is John Galt?” and may represent an unwelcome species of “volunteerism” that can scuttle the plans of “community organizers” everywhere. The Internet, as The Wall Street Journal article suggests, can turn all liberty-valuing Americans into Minute Men.
*In Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. New York: Signet softcover, 1967, pp. 173-182. The reader is urged to read the entire essay for how the term “extremism” has been and continues to be employed politically to smear advocates of capitalism or anyone who takes a rationally principled stand on any given issue.