Re: R.J. Lehmann's Happy Birthday, Thomas Jefferson:
I have sympathy for Ms. Oberwetter and the rest of the Jefferson celebrators. The police were dunces without a doubt. Nevertheless, I would have advised following a general principle: don't argue legal points with the cops in the street -- take it up with a judge.
In the question of "interfering with an agency function," I am afraid Ms. Oberwetter had made a mistake in not following (if not interfering) a police order to clear public grounds. Going back to English Common Law, the police have the "presumption of authority" during encounters with citizens. This does not mean they are acting correctly or using sound judgment. It is for the most part to keep peaceful order. The proper place to peacefully resolve issues of improper use of authority is in a court before a judge.
Our dancers were perfectly in the right to make merry before Jefferson's monument. They were not harming anyone and the event had the virtue of being a little funny even to the dancers themselves. But don't be so gung ho to cast yourselves in the grand notions of little David fighting nasty Goliath much less liberty taking down tyranny.
A little proportion is called for here. There are far too many places in the world where the people would gladly welcome a rule of law legal system where the police occasionally make goofy decisions such as telling people to go home.
Fight "the power"? Take it to court. Save the "bloodletting" for when you really need it.
-- Mike Dooley
I'm dumbfounded after watching the video and reading the article. What in the hell does the U.S. Park Police think they are doing? I called the Public Information Orifice at (202) 619-7163 and apparently they do not have any comment on the incident. Never mind. I gave my own comments and I suggest anyone with a phone and a working index finger also call them and "comment" on the Jefferson 1 arrest. The behavior of the officers was completely unacceptable and Spectator readers, as well as all freedom-loving Americans, should call them on it. BTW, the Office of the Chief's phone number is (202) 619-7350 if you would like to comment; be polite but firm.
-- Michael C.
The last time I looked into this and adding some of my own experience with Federal Park Police in the mix, most of the people who work for the Park Service lean towards Sierra Club mindsets or couldn't get a job with TSA. If the arresting officer(s) had any functional knowledge of the man whom this very large and expensive government monument honors they would have taken the event at midnight for what it was and moved on to something important. That's not the mindset of small-minded people when you give them authority power and a gun. This kind of event is one of the reasons I tend to favor having all government monuments charge admission and pay for themselves. The rent a cops won't have a job if they chase all the paying customers off. Self-interest is missing from this picture. Perhaps the officers in question should be transferred to the Clinton Library, where such behavior would fit right in. It the dance group plans to do this next time at midnight, I would suggest they bring some basketballs with them and play a game of hoops while they are at it. Midnight Basketball is protected speech, from what I remember.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia
Read the article and ya know, we are getting exactly what we deserve by allowing a feeble-minded and grossly incompetent man lead an assault on our rights. I won't mention any names seeing as how I don't want my door booted in. Somehow being "safer" has become synonymous with complete compliance AND complicity!
When the frog's totally boiled, the whining can begin in earnest.
THEIR FAIR SHARE
Re: Doug Bandow's Voluntary Clinton Surtax Day:
I will go Mr. Bandow one better. I suggest that all of the liberal Democrats -- most of whom like Kerry, Kennedy, Obama, Clinton, Reid and Pelosi to name a few -- and each of the fat cat union bosses and the glitterati who support the pitiful liberal cries for increased taxes really lead the way.
I urge each and every one of them to donate a mere 50% of their full worth to any government give-away program they think worthy. It is certainly not unfair or even particularly burdensome. It would leave the Clintons, for example, with about $50,000,000 to play with. My family could easily survive and improve our financial position greatly by living on the 2.5% interest on that sum.
It would raise billions and go, unimpeded by any extraneous government waste, directly to the specific waste they support. That would inspire me greatly!
-- Jay Molyneaux
Re: W. James Antle III's Cup of Jim:
I would invite you to check out www.jeffbeatty.com to learn more about Jeff Beatty who is also running as a Republican to replace John Kerry as the Commonwealth's Senator.
Jeff has served this nation for most of his adult life. First as a Delta Force commando who was involved in the mission to rescue American medical students in Grenada. He has also served with the FBI's hostage rescue team and with the CIA's counterterrorism center. For the past 15 years he has managed TotalSecurity.us, a security consulting business. He has appeared over 300 times on CNN, FOX, MSNBC and the leading networks on to provide expert commentary on topics ranging from defense, security, to foreign policy.
Most telling though is Jim Ogonowski's refusal to debate Jeff Beatty. In fact, there was to be a debate tonight at Boston College but Mr. Ogonowski refuses to discuss the issues with Jeff. Instead, Jeff will lead a forum where he will discuss the issues with the audience.
I think we are all in agreement that John Kerry should be retired. However, the citizens of Massachusetts deserve a first-class Senator with the relevant experience in these dangerous times. That person is Jeff Beatty.
Again, please check out the website. It will be time well spent.
-- James J. McDonnell
Chief of Staff, Beatty for U.S. Senate
A BRIDGE TOO FAR
Re: Roger Kaplan's The Democrats' Messiah Complex:
If Obama is a "bridge builder," we could hope he is one in the mold of Colonel Nicholson in The Bridge On the River Kwai: after he realizes the bridge he has "built" is one of total radical socialism, racial divides and Muslim extremism, he should cry out "what have I done" and blow it up.
-- Cookie Sewell
Socialist Republic of Maryland
Mr. Kaplan's column today was excellent but one fact is inaccurate, to wit: "I spent a few moments trying to see what the fuss there was about. Jon Stewart, the news anchor, "
Jon Stewart is no newsman, he is a middling comedian and reporter of inaccurate facts to a sub-group of uninformed members of the general public; to Mr. Stewart credit he does not hold himself out a news person.
-- Anthony D. Toscano
Re: Jeffrey Lord's A Question of Character:
It was the late Frank Herbert (author of DUNE) who noted: "Scratch a liberal and you will find an aristocrat."
-- Martin Owens
I can find no fault with Jeffery Lord's expose of Obama, as the facts seem undisputed, if unreported by those who should report. While agreeing in content, I am a bit more charitable in tone, because I suspect Obama is still going through an extended adolescence, and knows not of what he speaks.
Obama comes across like a naive college kid with a head pumped full of the stale mush passing as progressive thought. Unlike ninety percent of college kids who outgrow such nonsense within two years after leaving college, it seems Obama internalized the whole manifesto and never looked back.
This reveals an uncritical way of thinking. Such intellectual laziness has apparently prevented him from examining other ideas that may challenge his ossified worldview. Indeed, his personal "growth" -- if you can call it that -- consisted of hand-picking a "church" that only confirmed what he already knew: the world is divided between oppressors and the oppressed, between evil white society and victimized minorities. After all, the essence of Black Liberation Theology, upon which Trinity United COC is based, is little more than Marxism in blackface.
So, Obama's comments regarding those bitter bigoted gun-clinging Penn-heads makes perfect sense once you understand where he's coming from. And where he's coming from is not a place where adults dwell. I expect he will avoid unscripted comments in the future.
-- Doug Roll
Right on the button, Mr. Lord. May I add that Barack Obama has the special skill of separating words from truth, which we forget at our peril.
Obama made quite an issue about words not being "just words," making me wonder why he is so shifty with them himself.
Who does he think he's fooling with his apology that "I'm sorry if my words hurt," or "I could have chosen better words," etc.?
It's not the WORDS that hurt, O Twinkle-Tongued Orator -- it's the meaning behind the words (though we may all rest assured that he darn well knows that).
If I were to label him a hypocritical lying bigot, and he were offended, so then I "apologize for the words I used" and explain that what I really meant was that he was a two-faced prevaricating racist, and he were offended by THAT, so then I say I'm "sorry that I had not chosen better words" and say that he says one thing and does another while telling falsehoods about someone of a different race and social standing, then I guess everything would be alright.
Words changed, insult gone.
Yeah right, in wonder-filled Obama World. In my world, he insulted me and my fellow Pennsylvanians with four insults. The same one worded three different ways, plus the fourth by assuming I'm too stupid to notice.
-- A. C. Santore
A question of character? That's obvious.
How about questions of sanity, identity and ignorance?
Regarding sanity, the more I read what Barack Obama has said over these past months and his lame attempts to sanitize what he's said or his reaction to what he's said -- as in: "They're upset at that? -- the more I think he's deluded.
Regarding identity, I think it would be polite to call him a cipher, albeit a well-educated one who's a skillful rhetorician and who's gravitated to his blackness because he's got one very dangerous long-term burr in his urban cowboy's saddle about whites, anyone other than who he considers the elites, people with faith and democratic government itself.
Regarding ignorance, I think he's clueless about what most Americans' lives and dreams are, but also woefully underestimates their ability to detect a charlatan and act on that knowledge.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
Jeffrey Lord is only half-right. Obama's character may be his fatal flaw, but it is only fatal if enough of it is revealed. That would require responsible journalists asking responsible questions. The latest flap was the result of a private citizen sneaking a recording device into the meeting in San Francisco.
If that hadn't happened, the public wouldn't have known a thing.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
If readers would like to find out how Obama learned his oratory techniques, I am going to link you to an Astute Blogger article, "Jeremiah was once a Muslim." However, the real link is in the first paragraph, which will send you to an interview of Barack Obama by the New Republic (that link is "old article by Ryan Lizza in the New Republic"). This New Republic article appeared prior to Obama's announcing for the presidency. It is quite revealing.
-- Fred Edwards
I have to laugh at all of the venom being spewed about Senator Obama's elitism. The conservative elite has been absolutely brilliant in the way they are playing this theme to distract us common folk from thinking about the current recession and rising inflation.
-- Mike Roush
Re: Mark Shea's Benedict's Big Week:
Mr. Shea makes a remarkable statement regarding our national press and its collective attitude toward Pope Benedict, and how we might be impressed by him, namely that he "does not seem to be as...anti-intellectual as members of our journalistic class have been assuring one another he is." This is an incredible statement regarding one of the leading intellects of our time, who also happens to be a spiritual leader of great courage and conviction.
For a national press that is woefully ignorant of anything of significance, whose superciliousness knows no bounds, to be dismissive of the intellect of this Pope, is like Alfred E. Newman being dismissive of the intellect of Einstein. Benedict puts virtually all leading secular thinkers to shame. His recent conversations with Jurgen Habermas, for example, followed an acknowledgment by that philosopher (one of our time's leading philosophers) of communicative reason and discourse in the public sphere, of our modern, as well as post-modern, debt to Faith:
"Christianity has functioned for the normative self-understanding of modernity as more than a mere precursor or a catalyst. Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights, and democracy, is the direct heir to the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in the light of the current challenges of a post-national constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle post-modern talk."
Benedict XVI is the world's current leading proponent of the necessary synthesis of Reason and Faith. Would that we had a press corps that could come close to fathoming this simple fact. His perspective, indeed, holds the key to the (secular, not just spiritual) salvation of the post-modern world.
-- Kent Lyon
College Station, Texas
Re: Paul Dorell's letter (under "Going It Alone") in Reader Mail's American Noises:
Wow! Paul Dorell's letter really knocked me for a loop. America ain't that great? Sounds like Michelle Obama's next stump speech, but I think his letter provides a window to the progressive mindset. Paul, if your analysis about taxation is correct, then perhaps your underlying assumption is wrong -- that wealthy conservatives don't like taxes because they believe that "greed is good". Maybe -- just maybe -- there are philosophical reasons why conservatives chafe at feeding an ever growing, ever more intrusive state. In fact, I'd be happy to fork over more money, under 2 conditions: 1) none of it goes to the government, but instead to the charity of my choice; and 2) the federal budget is reduced by an equal amount.
As to your contention that America's wealth is only an accident of history and/or geography, that is just classic collectivist thinking -- that wealth is more or less a natural resource, and therefore the problem of government is how to distribute it all equally. Wealth is not a resource -- it is a creation of the human intellect and the work of human hands, and the greatest duty of any government is to set those minds and hands free.
-- Pete Chase
San Diego, California
Re: Beverly Gunn's letter (under "Hunting Season") in Reader Mail's American Noises:
To Beverly Gunn, (East Texas Rancher), who just spoke to my heart about how she and her husband raised her children after D.C. She said it all, concerning these so-called Democratic presidential candidates and their intentions as I could never. They just don't get it.
Anyway I just want to tell her that she and her family are what real Americans are all about. I also agree that I do not want Hillary or Bill on my TV every night and certainly not Obama, who appears to have no love for our Country. I too am not enthused about McCain but at least he appears to CARE about this our America.
Beverly has written before, as I recognize her fervor. I also pray for her son every night.
-- Marie Simmons
Schoharie, New York
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