New York bomb case widens with Pakistan arrests

(Reuters) – A Pakistani-American accused of driving a car bomb into New York’s Times Square will be charged with an act of terrorism, U.S. authorities said on Tuesday as Pakistan arrested several relatives of the man.

Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, told authorities he acted alone in Saturday’s failed bombing, but skeptical investigators are looking into his recent trip to Pakistan, a U.S. law enforcement source said.

Shahzad, 30, was arrested late on Monday night after he was taken off an Emirates airline plane that was about to take off for Dubai. Hours later, several relatives and a friend were arrested in Pakistan.

“We have picked up a few family members” related to Shahzad, a security official in Karachi said. A friend of Shahzad was also detained.

Shahzad is from the disputed Kashmiri region but it is not known if he was affiliated with any militant group, a source familiar with the investigation said. The source asked not to be named because the issue is sensitive.

“Which group he may have belonged to and how he became radicalized, we don’t know yet,” said the source.

Although markets shrugged off the New York car bomb attempt as a one-off situation, tensions are high among investors. News that police in London closed a subway station to investigate reports of a suspect package pushed U.S. stock index futures to session lows before the market opened on Tuesday.

Shahzad was due to appear in federal court later on Tuesday and would likely be charged with an act of terrorism and the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction among other offenses, Holder said. Had the bomb detonated, many people could have died, experts said.

“He’s admitted to buying the truck, putting the devices together, putting them in the truck, leaving the truck there and leaving the scene,” the law enforcement source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He’s claimed to have acted alone.

SUSPECT GIVES INFORMATION

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Shahzad has provided investigators with useful information, but declined to discuss specifics at a news conference in Washington.

“It is clear that this was a terrorist plot aimed at murdering Americans in one of the busiest places in our country,” Holder said. “If successful it could have resulted in a lethal terrorist attack, causing death and destruction.”

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said it was the 11th thwarted attack on New York City since September 11, 2001.

President Barack Obama said the investigation would seek to determine if the suspect in custody had any connection with foreign extremist groups.

The Taliban in Pakistan claimed responsibility for the plot though several officials voiced scepticism about the claim.

If links were found between the failed bombing and Pakistan’s Taliban, which claimed responsibility for it, Pakistan could come under renewed U.S. pressure to open risky new fronts against Islamic militants.

Shahzad and two others were arrested on board the plane after it had pulled away from the gate and was recalled, but the other two were cleared and allowed to travel, the Emirates airline said.

“Clearly the guy was on the plane and shouldn’t have been and we got very lucky,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a news conference. However, Holder said Shahzad was being tracked and there was no danger of losing him.

Shahzad, who became a U.S. citizen last year, recently visited Pakistan for about five months, returning to the United States in February, the U.S. law enforcement source said.

“Based on our collective experience it’s hard to really believe that this is something someone would do on their own. It seems hard to pull off alone. There’s a lot we don’t know yet,” the source said.

Shahzad worked for about three years as a junior financial analyst in the Norwalk, Connecticut, office of the Affinion Group, a marketing and consulting business, the company said on Tuesday. Shahzad worked there until June 2009.

Shahzad is suspected of buying a 1993 Nissan sport utility vehicle used to carry the crude bomb, made of fuel and fireworks, into Times Square as the theatre and shopping area was packed with people on a warm Saturday evening.

Authorities searched Shahzad’s home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the FBI said on Tuesday. An FBI spokeswoman did not say what authorities had found.

Saturday’s failed bombing was the second significant plot in nine months targeting New York City. An Afghan immigrant, Najibullah Zazi, has pleaded guilty to plotting a suicide bombing campaign on Manhattan’s subway system last September.

U.S. authorities disrupted that plot before Zazi and his accused accomplices were able to carry it out. Another Afghan-born man has pleaded guilty for his role in the plot.

Zazi admitted to receiving al Qaeda training in Pakistan.

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York; Jeremy Pelofsky, Jeff Mason, JoAnne Allen and Will Dunham in Washington; and William Maclean in London; Editing by Anthony Boadle)

GOP poll confirms that lots of people don’t like the Value-Added Tax

By Jon Ward – The Daily Caller

More than two thirds of Americans oppose the imposition of a Value-Added Tax, according to a new poll released Tuesday which also shows that voters, by a two-to-one margin, think the government needs to rein in its rate of spending.

“Voters think a VAT is a bad idea by 67 to 21 percent,” says the polling memo written by veteran Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, for the group Resurgent Republic.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters found that even among Democrats, 53 percent think a VAT is a bad idea, versus 31 percent who think it’s a good one. Among Independents, 67 were opposed and 19 were in favor, while 82 percent of Republicans opposed the European-style consumption tax, with 12 percent in favor.

Public discussion of a VAT has increased in recent weeks as President Obama’s fiscal commission has held its first meeting and the debate over how to fix the nation’s surging deficit and debt has begun to make its way out of the think tanks and into the political arena.

But those who might be in favor of a VAT are by no means embracing it wholeheartedly. Obama adviser Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve Chairman under President Carter and President Reagan, has more than once said a VAT should be considered, even while acknowledging the political difficulties involved in pursuing it.

But the White House has denied the idea is even being considered.

Yet a recommendation of a VAT by the fiscal commission, which will issue a report after this fall’s midterm elections, could give the White House the political cover it would want to begin discussing such a measure.

And members of the commission have already said that higher taxes are inevitably going to be part of the solution they propose.

The Resurgent Republic survey asked respondents about their views on the VAT after giving them these two options:

A value added tax is a good idea. It could raise billions of dollars in new revenue for the federal government, reduce the federal deficit without raising income taxes, and would be paid only by people who purchase certain products.
OR
A value added tax is a bad idea for America. It would be a massive hidden tax that would not appear on a bill, it would increase the price of almost everything, it would be paid primarily by the middle class, and it would hurt our economic recovery.

The poll also found that while the economy remains the number one issue on voters’ minds, other issues like health care and government spending have become more prominent. Last year, a RR survey found 57 percent said the economy was their top priority, while this year that number was down to 38 percent.

Amending or repealing Obama’s recently passed health law was supported by 72 percent of voters, with 53 percent of Independents saying they oppose the law.

Even Democrats survey agreed with an overwhelming number of Independents and Republicans that the health law is going to reduce quality of care and increase spending and costs.

One of the results heralded most loudly in Gillespie’s memo was the fact that 61 percent of Independents polled said the Congress is too dominated by Democrats and that “Republicans are needed to provide a check and balance.”

Gillespie also signaled that the issue of government worker pay – with wages for the public sector outpacing private sector pay – may become more of a GOP talking point in the coming months. The survey found that 62 percent of voters think this development is a bad thing, with only 19 percent saying it’s a good thing.

And, Gillespie noted, “the fact that 19 percent answered ‘don’t know’ to the question indicates that further public discussion of the fact may be warranted.”

By nearly two to one, (59 percent to 34 percent), those polled said reducing spending should be the government’s priority, rather than increasing stimulus spending to help the economy recover.

Notably, 43 percent of those surveyed said they support a comprehensive immigration reform plan that would include a “path to citizenship” for immigrants currently in the country illegally, while 24 percent said they support a temporary worker program but not a path to citizenship.

Only 24 percent of those polled said they wanted the government to focus on border security and do nothing to deal with the roughly 12 to 20 million immigrants already in the country illegally.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/05/04/gop-poll-confirms-that-lots-of-people-dont-like-the-value-added-tax/#ixzz0mzcl7aMx

The Disappearing religion

by Monica Crowley

Islam? Islam? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

We awake to news that after extraordinary police work, investigators have made an arrest in the attempted car bombing of Times Square in New York. Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani native-turned-naturalized-U.S.-citizen, was taken into custody late last night. He was naturalized last year, and shortly thereafter, made a trip to Peshawar, Pakistan–a hotbed of Islamic terrorist activity and recruitment.

I have read countless reports about the arrest, in newspapers and websites big and small. So far, I have not seen a single mention of his faith. Not a single reference to his being Muslim. We’re left to deduce that by his Pakistani ethnicity and name.

Political correctness has stripped us of our ability to be brutally honest about the nature of the threat we face. It’s not from a bunch of maniacal Catholics or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists. The lethal threat is coming from radical Muslims. Even after September 11, even after repeated terror attacks and attempts here and abroad, we still cannot be truthful and outspoken about it? Pathetic.

This suicidal inability to call the enemy what it is comes straight from the top: the President will not go anywhere near the words “Islam” and “terror” together. His administration has contorted itself into all kinds of politically correct gymnastics to avoid making the connection, going so far as to term acts of terror as “manmade disasters” and the fight against it as “overseas contingency operations.”

He refused to speak the truth about the motivation of Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 13 fellow Americans in the name of Islam, and would not make the connection with the Christmas Day bomber, Abdulmutallab. He refused to “jump to conclusions” about what propelled them to try to kill Americans (although he had no problem “jumping to conclusions” about Sgt. Crowley of the Cambridge Police and the Arizona immigration law.)

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a ridiculous statement before the arrest, suggesting it could be “someone…that doesn’t like the health care bill.”

Bloomberg’s comment was idiotic, but he’s not the Commander-in-Chief. Obama was notified of the arrest five minutes after midnight. We’ve gotten a statement from his Attorney General, but as of 8:30am ET, still no statement from the Commander-in-Chief.

Unless and until we can call the enemy and what drives him to kill us what they are—Muslims propelled by their religious belief—we cannot and will not win this war.

Their Terrorism Problem — And Ours

[Jonah Goldberg]

When the Times Square story first broke there was a part of me that said, “Man, I hope it’s not some white militia nutjob.” When I saw the news this morning that it was a Pakistani, the same small part of me was relieved. I don’t want to speak for many conservatives on this, but I know I’m speaking for more than just myself.

And, I will simply assert that I believe lots of liberals had something very close to the opposite series of reactions (here’s one small example of what I’m talking about). If this had been some Tim McVeigh type, Frank Rich would know exactly what he was going to write for his Sunday column, and he would be excited about writing it. I don’t want to say he’d be happy about it (and he certainly wouldn’t be happy about the murder victims if the bomb went off). But he would certainly be smug and righteous and full of a certain emotion that looks a lot like the glee one feels when you get to say “I told you so.”

Instead, that state of mind no doubt describes quite a few conservatives this morning.

Now, which side is “worse” in their schadenfreude or I-told-you-sos doesn’t really interest me right now. But even if both sides were equally guilty of the tendency, it hardly means that both sides have morally equivalent positions.

A lot of liberals seem very keen to minimize or dismiss the reality of Islamic terrorism while working devilishly hard to create a false reality that the real threat is from American citizens American “rightwingers.” [See update II below — JG]

And I’m not just talking about bloggers and pundits. This has been the project of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano for quite some time. As has been discussed around here at great length, she has repeatedly discounted or downgraded Islamic terrorist attacks as everything from mere “man-caused disasters” to “isolated incidents” even as her agency has eagerly hyped the threat from American veterans and militias. Obama himself has certainly aided in these attempts to spin away Islamic terrorism as a law enforcement issue, while he and his subalterns – including Bill Clinton — play this subtle game of imputing that conservatives are, at minimum, providing rhetorical aid and comfort to domestic terrorists.

Are some conservatives sometimes too eager to look for an Islamic terrorist angle? Sure. Does this cause some on the right to paint with too broad a brush about Islam or to leap to conclusions about future threats? Arguably so. But that tendency is backed up by some massive empirical justification: hundreds of terrorist attacks aimed at America and her allies all over the world by known terrorist organizations that loudly proclaim their views and intentions to wage Jihad on America.

Now consider Michael Bloomberg. He glibly announces on the CBS Evening News that if forced to bet on who had left the bomb in Time Square he’d bet on the terrorist being “Homegrown, or maybe a mentally deranged person, or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health care bill or something.” Homegrown, mentally deranged, doesn’t like the healthcare bill: These are the three best guesses of the mayor who works a few minutes from ground zero could come up with. To which I say, stick it up your memory hole Mayor.

This liberal tendency is not just offensive because it assumes that American citizens – including vets – are somehow an under-appreciated terrorist threat. Though that is plenty awful in and of itself.

It is also disgustingly undemocratic. Why? because so many of these people, starting with Obama himself but including former Presidents Clinton and Carter, the Democratic Party, the editorial pages of the New York Times, and much of the rest of the liberal dominated media, use this talk about the “rhetorical climate” on the right as a means to bully it into silence. That’s what Obama did in his recent commencement address and that’s what hundreds of commentators and bloggers have been doing in response to the tea parties.

They’re saying, “You people need to shut up because you’re aiding and abetting terrorists.” They’re also trying to say to independents: “If you think the rightwingers are persuasive, you need to think again. They’re all just mouthpieces and stalking horses for the homegrown terrorists and the mentally deranged.”

And, last, it’s also dangerous. Not because it will breed frustration and anger among Americans who feel unfairly demonized for simply voicing their objections ( though if liberals really believe the nonsense they spew about conservatives, they might ponder that). No, it’s dangerous because it causes the country to look for terrorists where they aren’t while telling them not to look for them where they are.

Update: Well, I dashed this off on the plane, and I see Mark Steyn covered some of the same territory already.

Update II: Good point, from a reader:

Interesting ideas, and I know you write “on the fly”- but note from your posting,

“A lot of liberals seem very keen to minimize or dismiss the reality of Islamic terrorism while working devilishly hard to create a false reality that the real threat is from American citizens.”

The man who was arrested last night WAS an American citizen. Your story contains the implicit assumption that ” American citizens” are people like us, while the Islamic terrorists are the “others”. Something you need to be aware of. I hope you take this as an observation, more then a criticism.

Where the Contract with American Failed, the Freshmen 5o Will Succeed

Where the Contract with American Failed, the Freshmen 5o Will Succeed.

Rush Limbaugh suggests environmentalists planned oil spill

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh suggests environmentalists planned the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to derail support for offshore drilling.

On his show,
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh suggests environmentalists planned the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to derail support for offshore drilling

Limbugh expressed suspicion about the timing of the BP oil well explosion, which occurred April 20 — shortly before U.S. senators were expected to unveil a compromise energy bill that included offshore drilling.

Now, lest we forget, ladies and gentlemen, the carbon tax bill, cap and trade that was scheduled to be announced on Earth Day. I remember that. And then it was postponed for a couple of days later after Earth Day, and then of course immigration has now moved in front of it. But this bill, the cap-and-trade bill, was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants, nuclear plant investment. So, since they’re sending SWAT teams down there, folks, since they’re sending SWAT teams to inspect the other rigs, what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I’m just noting the timing here.

Has Limbaugh, known for blasting environmentalists, gone too far?

His conspiracy theory gained traction today, reports the Climate Progress blog. On Fox and Friends, President George W. Bush’s press secretary Dana Perino said she was “not trying to introduce a conspiracy theory” before asking, “But was this deliberate?”

Limbaugh’s comments hardly surprise opponents. Nikki Gloudeman of Change. org., a self-described “online hub for social change,” writes:

He’s been spouting anti-environment rhetoric for so long, the Environmental Defense Fund issued a report on errors in his eco-attacks back in 1994. More recently, he hyped coal and overconsumption on Earth Day and said he hoped New York Times environment reporter Andrew Revkin would “kill himself.”

The question is: Do these attacks matter? Have they mattered?

In one way, it feels silly to turn Limbaugh’s eco-outbursts into news. He says offensive things about different people all the time, so it’s hardly shocking. But on a deeper level, his words reveal a sad truth about conservatism and environmentalism; that in some cases, the antagonistic relationship is reactionary rather than ideological.

From USA Today

EPA Rules Oxygen As “Dangerous Pollutant”

Written by Chris Davis

Washington—Now that the scourge of carbon dioxide is under way to elimination, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson has now declared that “oxygen is a dangerous pollutant and threat to the Earth.” So, the EPA has begun the process of rapidly eliminating the oxygen from the Earth’s atmosphere.

In order to accomplish this mean feat, Jackson has ordered the construction of a giant OSM—a veritable Oxygen Sucking Machine. The OSM is capable of sucking the oxygen completely out of the atmosphere within 20 years. The EPA is calling the machine, “ The Pelosi 3000.” It has a suction stronger than 40,000 Oreck vacuums.

“Naming the machine was simple,” stated Jackson. “I’ve always heard rumors on Capitol Hill that Pelosi could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch, or even a golf ball through a garden hose, whichever congressman or woman you ask. It was a no brainer! She should be proud to have a legacy like that. I only wish I did! I can barely suck soda through a straw.”

Jackson, however, does admit that sucking the oxygen out of the air would likely destroy every living thing on Earth. But she also noted that “it’s what’s best for the planet.” Her feeling is that maybe the viruses that survive would repopulate a more humane planet. “Our concern is for the planet,” added Jackson. “Those murderous ingrates have to go! And what better way to repopulate than with viruses.”

Conservative talk radio host Mark Levin agrees with naming the OSM “The Pelosi 3000,” claiming that he’d always heard of those very same rumors. “I’ve always heard Pelosi could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch,” claimed Levin, “but I can’t prove it. Uh…maybe we should ask Harry Reid. I’m just sayin.”

Either way, the EPA has laid down the law. Oxygen is a “dangerous pollutant,” and must be eliminated if the planet is to survive.

Man Arrested in Karachi in Connection With Times Square Bombing Attempt

May 4: Police vehicles fill a street as officers search the home of the suspected Times Square bomber in Bridgeport, Conn.

A man has been arrested in Karachi in connection with the investigation of the Times Square bombing attempt, Pakistani intelligence sources told Fox News.

The capture comes after the arrest of a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, who was minutes away from fleeing the U.S. when his Dubai-bound flight was returned to its gate at New York’s Kennedy Airport and U.S. officials escorted him from the plane, along with two other men.

The suspect, Faisal Shahzad, will appear in court Tuesday to face charges that he tried to set off a massive fireball and kill Americans after parking his car on a street lined with restaurants and Broadway theaters, federal authorities said.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan was handling the case against Shahzad, 30, but has not yet made the charges against him public. FBI agents searched the home at a known address for Shahzad in Bridgeport, Conn., early Tuesday, said agent Kimberly Mertz, who wouldn’t answer questions about the search.

Authorities removed filled plastic bags from the house overnight in a mixed-race, working-class neighborhood of multi-family homes in Connecticut’s largest city. A bomb squad came and went without entering as local police and FBI agents gathered in the cordoned-off street.

An image taken from surveillance video released by the NYPD shows a man changing his shirt near the area of Times Square where the car bomb was found.

Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American, has been arrested after he and two others were removed from a Dubai-bound flight at JFK airport.

In all, three passengers were removed from Emirates Airline Flight EK202 late Monday night as Shahzad was taken into custody by FBI agents and New York Police Department detectives.

But Shahzad told investigators he acted alone and denied any ties to radical groups in his native Pakistan, a U.S. law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told Reuters.

Though Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that Shahzad was identified by customs agents and taken into custody before boarding his flight, a representative for Emirates Airlines confirmed to Fox News that Flight 202 “was called back by the local authorities prior to departure,” and that the three passengers who were removed had already boarded the plane.

“Full security procedures were activated including the deplaning of all passengers and a thorough screening of the aircraft, passengers, and baggage,” the airline representative told Fox News. “Emirates is cooperating with the local authorities.” The plane was delayed about seven hours and took off for Dubai at approximately 6:30 a.m. ET.

Shahzad is a naturalized U.S. citizen and had recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan, where he had a wife, according to law enforcement officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation into the failed car bombing.

Law enforcement officials say Shahzad became a U.S. citizen in April 2009 and passed all the criminal and national security background checks required for citizenship.

The officials familiar with the inquiry say investigators plan to go through his citizenship application line by line to see if he lied about anything. He became a citizen in Hartford, Conn.

Shahzad was being held in New York overnight and couldn’t be contacted. A phone number at a listed address for Shahzad in Shelton, Conn., wasn’t in service.

Law enforcement officials say Shahzad bought the SUV, a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder, from a Connecticut man about three weeks ago and paid cash. The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.

The vehicle identification number had been removed from the Pathfinder’s dashboard, but it was stamped on the engine, and investigators used it to find the owner of record, who told them he had sold the vehicle to a stranger.

As the SUV buyer came into focus, investigators backed off other leads, although Holder said U.S. authorities “will not rest until we have brought everyone responsible to justice,” suggesting additional suspects are being sought.

The SUV was parked on Saturday night on a busy midtown Manhattan street near a theater showing “The Lion King.” The explosive device inside it had cheap-looking alarm clocks connected to a 16-ounce can filled with fireworks, which were apparently intended to detonate gas cans and set propane tanks afire in a chain reaction “to cause mayhem, to create casualties,” police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

A metal rifle cabinet placed in the SUV’s cargo area was packed with fertilizer, but NYPD bomb experts believe it was not a type volatile enough to explode like the ammonium nitrate grade fertilizer used in previous terrorist bombings.

Police said the SUV bomb could have produced “a significant fireball” and sprayed shrapnel with enough force to kill pedestrians and knock out windows.

A vendor alerted a police officer to the parked SUV, which was smoking. Times Square, clogged with tourists on a warm evening, was shut down for 10 hours. A bomb squad dismantled the explosive device, and no one was hurt.

But Holder said Americans should remain vigilant.

“It’s clear,” he said, “that the intent behind this terrorist act was to kill Americans.”

In Pakistan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said authorities had not been formally asked for help in the probe.

“When the request comes, we will cooperate with the U.S. government,” he told the AP.

The Pakistani Taliban appeared to claim responsibility in videos that surfaced after the weekend scare, monitoring groups said, but police had no evidence to support the claims.

More than a dozen people with American citizenship or residency, like Shahzad, have been accused in the past two years of supporting or carrying out terrorism attempts on U.S. soil, cases that illustrate the threat of violent extremism from within the U.S.

Among them are Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, a U.S.-born Army psychiatrist of Palestinian descent, charged with fatally shooting 13 people last year at Fort Hood, Texas; Najibullah Zazi, a Denver-area airport shuttle driver who pleaded guilty in February in a plot to bomb New York subways; and a Pennsylvania woman who authorities say became radicalized online as “Jihad Jane” and plotted to kill a Swedish artist whose work offended Muslims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

President Obama: GOP Opposition to Stimulus ‘Helped to Create the Tea-Baggers’

Three days after he decried the lack of civility in American politics, President Obama is quoted in a new book about his presidency referring to the Tea Party movement using a derogatory term with sexual connotations.

In Jonathan Alter’s “The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” President Obama is quoted in an interview saying that the unanimous vote of House Republicans vote against the stimulus bills “set the tenor for the whole year … That helped to create the tea-baggers and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party to where it now controls the agenda for the Republicans.”

Tea Party activists loath the term “tea baggers,” which has emerged in liberal media outlets and elsewhere as a method of mocking the activists and their concerns.

On Saturday, the president delivered a commencement address at the University of Michigan where he said one way “to keep our democracy healthy is to maintain a basic level of civility in our public debate … But we can’t expect to solve our problems if all we do is tear each other down.”

The book also describes many of the president’s top advisers cautioning him against trying to tackle health care reform in the first year because it might be too much to take on at the same time as the recession.

“‘I begged the president not to do this,” White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel says.

“They’ll give you a pass on this one,” Vice President Biden told the president.

-jpt

UPDATE: Some liberal bloggers, taking issue with this post, have noted that some Tea Partyers coined and embraced the term “tea-baggers.” That seems true, and I didn’t address the coinage of the term above. But it was fairly soon, by April 2009, when anchors on CNN and MSNBC were employing the term with mocking innuendo, as seen in the links above, and pretty quickly after that Tea Party activists began taking umbrage with it. It’s now a common way for some on the left to mock Tea Partyers.

Public Sees Beyond Hysterics on Immigration

By George Will

WASHINGTON — “Physician, heal yourself,” said the founder of the church in which Roger Mahony is a cardinal. He is the Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles and he should heed the founder’s admonition before accusing Arizonans of intemperateness. He says Arizona’s new law pertaining to illegal immigration involves “reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation.”

“Our highest priority today,” he says, “is to bring calm and reasoning to discussions about our immigrant brothers and sisters.” His idea of calm reasoning is to call Arizona’s new law for coping with illegal immigration “the country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law.” He also says it is “dreadful,” “abhorrent” and a “tragedy,” and its assumption is that “immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder and consume public resources.”

The problem of illegal immigration is inflaming Mahony, who strongly implies, as advocates for illegal immigrants often do, that any law intended to reduce such illegality is “anti-immigrant.” The implication is: Because most Americans believe such illegality should be reduced, most Americans are against immigrants. This slur is slain by abundant facts — polling data that show Americans simultaneously committed to controlling the nation’s southern border and to welcoming legal immigration.

Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, said, “And now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Mahony uncharitably judges Arizona legislators and the constituents they represent to be “mean-spirited.” His evident assumption, one quite common today, is that certain ideas cannot be held by any intelligent person of good will.

But what does — what can — Mahony mean by asserting that Arizona’s law is “useless”? He must believe either it will have no effect on illegal immigration or that any effect must be without social value. He can know neither to be true.

Late night comedians, recalling World War II movies in which Gestapo officers demand “show me your papers,” find echoes of fascism in Arizona’s belief that there are occasions when police officers can reasonably ask for someone’s documentation. On Tuesday, Barack Obama, showing contempt for the professionalism and character of police officers, said: “Now suddenly if you don’t have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you’re going to be harassed.”

Time was, presidents were held to higher standards than comedians. Today’s liberals favor indignation over information, but lawyer Obama must know that since 1952 federal law has said: “Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him.”

In today’s debate, the threshold question is: Should the nation have immigration laws? Until 1875, there were none. There are strict libertarians who believe there should be none. But the vast majority who do not favor completely open borders believe there should be some laws restricting who can become residents, and presumably they believe such laws should be enforced.

Once Americans are satisfied that the borders are secure, the immigration policies they will favor will reflect their — and the law enforcement profession’s — healthy aversion to the measures that would be necessary to remove from the nation the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants, 60 percent of whom have been here for more than five years. It would take 200,000 buses in a bumper-to-bumper convoy 1,700 miles long to carry them back to the border. Americans are not going to seek and would not tolerate the police methods that would be needed to round up and deport the equivalent of the population of Ohio.

Meanwhile, hysteria about domestic fascism is unhelpful, even though it is a liberal tradition. In his 1944 State of the Union address, FDR identified opponents of his domestic agenda as fascists. Declaring that his “one supreme objective” was “security,” including “economic security, social security, moral security,” he issued a dire warning: Woodrow Wilson’s progressive policies had been frustrated by “rightist reaction” and “if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called ‘normalcy’ of the 1920s — then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.”

Today’s hysterics are unoriginal. But they learned their bad manners from a master.
georgewill@washpost.com