Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, and the militias

-- by Dave

On the same day he was decrying a Missouri State Patrol's intelligence report on militia activity in their state by pointing to a black cop-killer in California, Glenn Beck brought on his old friend Ron Paul for an interview.

It was mostly a chance to sneer at the report because it mentioned the likelihood that some extremists might display third-party political stickers for such candidates as Paul and Chuck Baldwin. The purpose of the exchange was to sneer at the report's concerns, and of course eventually veered into distortion falsification on Beck's part, and paranoia on Ron Paul's part:

BECK: Let me ask you this. We looked up today, and we couldn't figure out why Missouri was putting this whole report together because nobody has been killed in Missouri by a militia member. There was one that I think — where did we find it, in Michigan? And it was an alleged militia member. Yet, ELF has done unbelievable damage, 2,000 crimes since 1979 and over $110 million in damage, but nobody seems to be looking at radicalized terror groups like ELF. Why is that?

Factual point here: Obviously Beck didn't look very hard, since Missouri was notable for having law enforcement officers tangle with hardline "Patriots" during the 1990s, as we detailed here. Did he and his crack research squad somehow overlook Timothy Thomas Coombs?

PAUL: Well, I guess they're in charge and we're not. Sometimes I think, you know, when they attack anybody outside the mainstream means that if our conclusion is correct, that both major parties are about one party, then they want no opposition whatsoever.

But those who are in charge of this must have liberal leanings if they never addressed any liberal groups that commit violence. So it is a pretty good question or pretty good point. Hopefully, it will wake up more Americans to what is going on.

BECK: I mean, we called the FBI. The FBI has four ELF members on their most wanted list — four. But there's not a single person from a militia. Congressman Paul, do you believe this is some sort of a setup? I mean, why all of a sudden the interest in these militias?

Once again, this is a flat-out falsehood. One of the most prominent names on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list is Edward E. Harper, wanted on a variety of child-molestation charges; Harper, as you can see, "reportedly subscribed to Sovereign Citizen ideology and claimed to be a member of the Montana Freemen, a group involved in domestic terrorism activities".

PAUL: Well, it may be a backhanded compliment, because a lot of us have worked real hard to change our government. We have addressed the subject of sound money and foreign policy and limited government. And you know, we even mentioned the Constitution.

And if you have too many people believing that way, we challenge the status quo. So I think if they see us as a threat, they may come out with these tactics to try to demonize us. So it's best to look at it as a more positive thing.


PAUL: And interestingly enough, you know, we are having a rally out there in St. Louis, Missouri coming up this weekend. Maybe it had something to do with them. Maybe they wanted to discredit what we were trying to do in St. Louis.

The whole episode was designed to let Beck and Paul scoff at the accusations that Ron Paul's followers might be militia members, or that Ron Paul himself might promote Patriot-movement beliefs.

The problem with that: Paul in fact has a long history not just of associating with the extreme populist right, but of promoting their beliefs in the public square:

-- He has been proclaiming that Obama is installing a "New World Order" regime for months now.

-- This reflected his long record of public associations with the far-right Patriot movement in the 1990s.

-- These views were manifested in his 1990s newsletters.

-- They were also reflected in his radical-right record in Congress.

-- This included a horrendous record on the Martin Luther King holiday.

More on that record here and here.

-- As a result of all this, he also has attracted a powerful bloc of militiamen and white supremacists.

-- This turned up especially in his recent presidential campaign. More on that here and here.

Somehow, I bet that Glenn Beck never winds up discussing this.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is Oakland somewhere near Missouri? Watching Glenn Beck, it's hard to tell

-- by Dave

Glenn Beck spent a little while on his Fox News show yesterday explaining to his audience that law enforcement in Missouri shouldn't be concerned about right-wing extremists because the real problem is cop-killing parolees on the loose in Oakland, California.

Or something like that. It was hard to piece the argument together, but the nub of it seemed along those lines. First he went on at length about how the weekend's horrible shootout in Oakland, which left four police officers dead alongside the shooter/parolee, was another sign of things going to hell in California. OK, whatever. But then he makes the big leap:

Beck: Next, look at the government's priorities. This is an actual cop killer, who clearly wasn't rehabilitated. But the Missouri State Troopers now -- and wait until you hear the rest of the story, the update on this one coming up in a few minutes -- they're worried about militias.

Beck then goes on to mostly regurgitate last week's rant about a Missouri State Patrol intelligence report discussing the recent resurgence of militia activity in their neck of the woods specifically and in the country generally.

But as we reported then, the report (you can read it for yourself here) is in fact entirely factual, and simply a normative report giving an accurate profile of right-wing extremists' behavioral tendencies.

Beck added some new charges to his already dubious case:

Beck: Let's put this into perspective here: Our researchers couldn't find a single report of a single death specifically linked to a militia group, or an individual member of a militia, in over a decade. Yet an average of more than 150 officers die every year nationwide. Have you counted the number of dead police officers in Philadelphia? And militia numbers are reportedly down after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 -- seems it gave them a bad name. So why are militias getting so much attention from Missouri?

Well, it might just have something to do with the fact that, per square mile, the Ozarks have as rich a history of right-wing extremism as any section of the nation. And while they haven't been making news in recent years, the very report that Beck dismisses in fact details not just the decline of the militias after 1995, but also their current ongoing revival, particularly in the wake of Barack Obama's presidential victory.

Included in the report are such incidents as the Montana Project 7 gang, which was plotting to kill local police officers; a plot by Idaho militiamen to murder a federal judge; and the Alabama militiamen who were plotting to murder as many Hispanics as they could get away with in a shooting spree.

What all of these cases have in common, of course, is that in fact they were all potentially deadly situations all nipped in the bud. And how did that happen? Through effective local law-enforcement work that relied on intelligence-gathering like this.

Beck wants to fob this kind of activity off as disenfranchisement, but when it comes to these folks -- especially in places like rural Missouri -- it's something much deeper and much uglier. (Just read the above link to the piece about Ozark extremism to see what I mean.) So while he's busy showing off pictures of black cop killers from Oakland by way of attacking a police intelligence report in Missouri, I'd like to introduce to him to someone from Missouri.

Glenn Beck, please meet Timothy Thomas Coombs:


Here's what Coombs did back in 1994:

In 1994 authorities in McDonald County raided the Sacerdotal Order of the David Company and were stunned at what they found.

Stockpiled inside the compound were weapons, ammunition and dynamite. The group's leader, Pastor Robert Joos, claimed the weapons were meant for trading.

Unfortunately for Joos, authorities didn't see it his way. Police say the religious leader forged an illegal court document and served it to a Missouri State Trooper.

When authorities went to his compound to arrest Joos, cops say he put up a fight and had to be maced. Joos was released from jail in April of 1997, but one member of his militant group vowed revenge---that man was Timothy Coombs.

Investigators say that on the evening of September 16, 1994, Timothy Coombs went to the home of the man who busted his friend and religious leader.....Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Bobby Harper.

Harper, who was recovering from liver transplant surgery, was making a bowl of ice cream when he was shot sniper-style through the kitchen window of his McDonald County home. The bullet ripped through his stomach and newly transplanted liver.

The Trooper's 12-year old daughter, who was standing near him when he was shot, wasn't hurt in the attack.

Yes, you say. This was back in 1994. But Coombs is in fact still at large.

Indeed, right-wing extremists -- not just militiamen, but their more virulent cousins, the white supremacists -- are still a potent presence in Missouri. See, for instance, the ADL's reported activity in Missouri just in 2009:


In recent years, there have in fact been killings in Missouri (not to mention elsewhere) associated with the extremist right: A white supremacist who stomped to death a man he thought was Jewish. A white supremacist who stabbed his African-American co-worker to death. Five men charged in a brutal, racially motivated assault. You get the idea.

And it's particularly a challenge for law enforcement, who face special risks from right-wing extremists that we know about:

Law enforcement officers have many safety concerns, ranging from domestic disputes to belligerent drunk drivers, and they will likely face those situations far more often than situations involving extremists, who by their nature are a minority of the population.

Nevertheless, officers need to be alert to possible encounters with extremists and the safety issues involved. Even if members of hate groups are less common than spouse abusers, officers will eventually encounter them. Generally speaking, extremist criminals pose all the same risks to officer safety as other criminals. However, because of their beliefs, extremist criminals also pose additional risks and concerns.

Three particular factors underscore the importance of officer safety when dealing with extremists.

* First, law enforcement officers are often the people most likely to confront extremists who have committed criminal acts.
* Second, criminals motivated by extremism very often act in distinctly different ways than criminals motivated by traditional motives such as greed or anger.
* Third, for a variety of reasons, extremist criminals may often specifically target law enforcement officers.

It's true that in the past eight years, while going mostly into hibernation, the violent side of right-wing extremists has been largely dormant. But it's worth remembering what occurred in the 1990s, when they were very active:

* June 1994: White supremacist Robert Joos is charged with resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon following a traffic stop confrontation with Missouri State Highway Patrol officers.

* July 1994: Steven Garrett Colbern is pulled over in a traffic stop in Upland, California, but resists arrest and has to be subdued by five officers. His car is found to contain an assault rifle, a silencer, and a part necessary to convert the rifle to full automatic file (he is later briefly thought to be the John Doe #2 sought after in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation).

* October 1994: A routine traffic stop of three Michigan militia activists near Fowlerville, Michigan, uncovers loaded three semi-automatic rifles, four other guns, armor-piercing ammunition, and night vision goggles. The militiamen are arrested but never show up in court for their trial (later, one of the fugitives allegedly murders another one).

* Early 1995: Tim Hampton is charged with assaulting a police officer near Dallas, Texas, over an incident that occurred at a traffic stop.

* May 1995: James Boran is pulled over because of outstanding traffic warrants in Massachusetts. Boran refuses to exit his van and instead drives away. After his path is blocked, he continues his escape on foot, barricading himself in his apartment. After he finally surrenders, police find bombmaking materials and militia manuals.

* June 1995: Michael Hill, a militia and common law court activist in Ohio, is shot and killed by a Frazeysburg, OH, police officer after pulling a gun on the officer during a traffic stop.

* October 1995: Donald Lee Smith, of Cherokee County, Georgia, is pulled over for a traffic stop, resists arrest and is found to be in possession of a concealed assault weapon.

* November 1995: "Sovereign citizen" Reinaldo A. DeJesus of White Creek, New York, is arrested for numerous traffic and vehicle charges, and two charges of resisting arrest, following a traffic stop for a burned-out headlight.

* January 1996: Larry Martz, a militia and common law court activist in Ohio, attacks a Highway Patrol trooper during a traffic stop near Cambridge, OH. Martz had 23 weapons in his truck.

* February, 1996: Washington militia leader Bruce Alden Banister is pulled over for expired license tabs. The confrontation which follows ends with him eventually convicted of third-degree assault of a police officer and resisting arrest.

* August 1996: Kim Lee Bonsteel of Franklin, North Carolina, is convicted on 18 charges stemming from a 1994 incident in which he led law enforcement officers on a chase through three counties after he refused to produce his driver’s license or get out of his truck at a traffic stop. The chase destroyed several patrol cars, injured three officers, and caused a sheriff’s deputy to die of a heart attack.

* January 1997: A routine traffic stop involving skinhead and militia leader Johnny Bangerter of Utah turns into a chase and brief standoff at a trailer park.

* February 1997: Cheyne and Chevie Kehoe engage Ohio law enforcement officers in two well-publicized gun battles following a traffic stop in Wilmington, Ohio.

* March 1997: Aryan Nations member Morris Gulett rams a police cruiser during a chase following an attempt to pull him over for going the wrong way down a one-way street. Gulett claimed he drover away because he did not have a drivers’ license and he "was just in one of those moods." One week earlier, another Ohio Aryan Nations member was arrested following a traffic stop during which police found that he had a loaded handgun stuffed in a beer carton.

* August 1997: In New Hampshire, Carl Drega is stopped near a supermarket in Colebrook, New Hampshire, because of the rust holes in his pickup. Drega opens fire on the state trooper, killing him, then kills his partner as well. Drega then drives into town and kills two more people before fleeing into Vermont, where he has a final gun battle with police there. He dies, but not before injuring three more officers.

* September 1997: Craig and Doug Brodrick, two brothers who had recently moved to Boise, are stopped for failing to signal. They begin a gun battle which results in their own deaths as well as the death of a Boise police officer and the wounding of another.

If they become active again, these kinds of incidents will return. Glenn Beck may weep for Ron Paul bumper-sticker owners. The rest of us will weep for the widows of the police officers killed by the violent nutcases Beck wants you to forget about. When he's not busy promoting them and their conspiracy theories, that is.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fox News' ambush crews: A flagrant abuse of media power

-- by Dave

Gobsmacking. There's no other word for it. What else can you call it when a national TV network's most popular anchor goes onscreen and reports a story that not only completely inverts reality, but does it by unleashing a camera crew that engages in the behavior of stalkers, actually tracking down a woman blogger on her weekend getaway and ambushing her at her hotel? It's not just hypocrisy: This is a psychotic perversion of press rights in a way that violates basic American privacy rights. And it's dangerous as hell.

That's what Bill O'Reilly did tonight on the O'Reilly Factor. Here's the report from O'Reilly's own sector of Planet Wingnuttia:

O'Reilly: Now, for the evil part. Last month, after the charitable event was announced, a bunch of far-left loons picked up some propaganda from the hate group Media Matters, that said I am unsympathetic to the plight of crime victims -- a preposterous lie. Along with America's Most Wanted, the Factor has done more for the victims of crime in America than any other television program on the air. The loons pointed to a Radio Factor episode from three years ago. We've posted the entire commentary on

Elements at NBC News then encouraged the loons to protest the Alexa Foundation, causing Alexa and her family major grief.

That's right: O'Reilly is claiming that these reports actually harmed rape victims, since the Alexa Foundation was probably acutely embarrassed by the reports. So to prove his sensitivity to rape victims, he sent out a news crew to stalk a woman on her private weekend getaway.

What so infuriated O'Reilly was a Think Progress report -- itself a pickup from NewsHounds, and which in turn was picked up by MSNBC -- pointing out that while O'Reilly was going to give a speech before the Alexa Foundation, which benefits rape victims and their families, he had something of a history of gross insensitivity to the victims of rape himself. Here's what Amanda Terkel at Think Progress actually reported:

Our post — which never criticized the Alexa Foundation — highlighted the fact that in the past, O’Reilly has implied that women who dress in a certain way or consume too much alcohol should perhaps expect to be raped. Here is what he said on his radio show on Aug. 2 about Jennifer Moore, an 18-year-old woman who was raped and murdered:

Now Moore, Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. She’s walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug. All right. Now she’s out of her mind, drunk.

O’Reilly’s comments about Moore were part of a larger segment about the dangers of drunkenness. His other example was Mel Gibson going on a drunken tirade and yelling anti-Semitic comments. “I think it’s safe to say that if Mel Gibson didn’t get drunk, he wouldn’t be in this terrible situation he finds himself in,” said O’Reilly. “And if a young woman, 18-year-old Jennifer Moore of Harrington Park, NJ, didn’t get drunk, she’d be alive today.”

No doubt O'Reilly is still reeling from the embarrassment of a previous case where his grotesquely insensitive remarks came back to haunt him: namely, the Shawn Hornbeck incident, in which O'Reilly first suggested that a boy who had been kept a captive of a child molester for years had somehow "wanted it." As it happened, he was scheduled to speak before a conference for the families of missing kids. The ensuing uproar didn't subside until his appearance was cancelled.

In other words, the guy who should have at some time apologized for belittling the victims of sexual assault -- and never has -- instead is claiming that his critics "hurt a rape victim and her family."

The Alexa Foundation is sticking with O'Reilly (a spokesperson was on afterward to fiercely denounce the protests). There apparently were pickets outside O'Reilly's appearance, and a groups called Concerned Women Against Sexual Violence created a petition of protest as well -- which got a big shout-out from Keith Olbermann.

So of course, Bill O'Reilly sent out his flying monkeys -- namely, the same ambush news crews, headed by an uber-cretin named Jesse Watters, who have attacked other hapless miscreants who had the audacity to bother O'Reilly's august ego -- in swift and nasty retaliation, as Terkel describes:

- The Stalking: Watters and his camera man accosted me at approximately 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, in Winchester, VA, which is a two-hour drive from Washington, DC. My friend and I were in this small town for a short weekend vacation and had told no one about where we were going. I can only infer that the two men staked out my apartment and then followed me for two hours. Looking back, my friend and I remember seeing their tan SUV following us for much of the trip.

– The Ambush: Shortly after checking into our lodgings, we emerged and immediately saw two men walking toward us calling out my name. Watters said he was from Fox News, but never said his or his companion’s name, nor did he say he was with The O’Reilly Factor.

Read the rest to see how the rest of the encounter went. Then compare it to O'Reilly's version above.

This whole episode itself is a gross bit of hypocrisy, considering that O'Reilly himself has complained about journalists invading celebrities' privacy -- a point for which he was recently slammed by Jon Stewart.

And that raises an important point about press ethics. O'Reilly's ambush crews claim to be "investigative journalists" acting in the crusading tradition of the old '60 Minutes' crews of the '70s and '80s. And indeed those journalists did excellent and serious work tracking down various official miscreants.

But they did it at their offices or their places of work. They didn't invade their homes.

Moreover, there is a big difference between people who anger you, or people with whom you disagree, and public officials or powerful people who have abused their positions. I think we all can understand why it's ethical for journalists to pursue the latter, and why everyone who has a shred of ethical decency as a journalist pauses long and hard while considering the former.

The power of the press is very easily abused, especially against ordinary private citizens who aren't celebrities, and whose privacy is every bit as sacred as Bill O'Reilly's.

If this kind of harassment continues, however, then it may comes time to turn the tables -- and they've picked a set of victims more capable of fighting fire with fire than they reckon. O'Reilly and his crew may not like it when bloggers start camping out on their lawns and demanding answers to insultingly partisan questions, shouted aggressively, as they try to get to their cars. Jesse Watters, what's your address?

In the meantime, here's John's now-classic guide for dealing with O'Reilly. We recommend frequent if not constant repetition of the words, "Andrea Mackris."

UPDATE: Amanda Terkel chimes in on tonight's BillO report. As noted above, there was a lot edited out by O'Reilly.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pelosi outrages wingnuts with cold truth: Immigration raids are "un-American"

-- by Dave

Greater Wingnuttia wants to get all in an uproar about Nancy Pelosi's remarks the other night in San Francisco before a pro-immigrant gathering:

"Who in this country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families? It must be stopped. ... What value system is that? I think it's un-American."

Of course, Michelle Malkin and her wingnutospheric band of flying monkeys are in a nice little tizzy about this.

The clip also has been all over Fox News. Sean Hannity was all outraged about it Thursday night, and then yesterday it turned up again with the "All Star Panel."

But Juan Williams -- who often goes soft on liberal issues -- hit back hard at Charles Krauthammer, affirming that, indeed, these kinds of raids are un-American. He also managed to get to the heart of the matter -- namely, that our immigration laws themselves are profoundly un-American:

Williams: That's an unjust, wrongheaded law, and you see people who are benefiting this economy, people who are struggling for American values, absolutely being abused. It's an outrage.

Krauthammer: Controlling our borders is un-American?

Williams: It's not controlling our borders to go knocking on somebody's door in the middle of the night!

Krauthammer: You're enforcing the law.

Williams: You're enforcing an unjust law, and they are right to challenge it. She's saying it's wrong.

Williams is right, while Krauthammer is, well, Krauthammer. Ever since Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents began their campaign of massive raids last spring, they have terrorized Latino communities -- including the substantial portion of those communities that are here legally. There was also, from the outset, a decided and obvious racial component to the raids.

Perhaps the most searing indictment of the raids was Roberto Lovato's portrayal in The Nation of the situation in Georgia:

From the living room of the battered trailer she and her mother call home, Mancha described what happened when she came out of the shower that morning. "My mother went out, and I was alone," she said. "I was getting ready for school, getting dressed, when I heard this noise. I thought it was my mother coming back." She went on in the Tex-Mex Spanish-inflected Georgia accent now heard throughout Dixie: "Some people were slamming car doors outside the trailer. I heard footsteps and then a loud boom and then somebody screaming, asking if we were 'illegals,' 'Mexicans.' These big men were standing in my living room holding guns. One man blocked my doorway. Another guy grabbed a gun on his side. I freaked out. 'Oh, my God!' I yelled."

As more than twenty Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents surrounded the trailer, said Mancha, agents inside interrogated her. They asked her where her mother was; they wanted to know if her mother was "Mexican" and whether she had "papers" or a green card. They told her they were looking for "illegals."

After about five minutes of interrogation, the agents--who, according to the women's lawyer, Mary Bauer of the Southern Poverty Law Center, showed no warrants and had neither probable cause nor consent to enter the home--simply left. They left in all likelihood because Mancha and her mother didn't fit the profile of the workers at the nearby Crider poultry plant, who had been targeted by the raid in nearby Stilwell. They were the wrong kind of "Mexicans"; they were US citizens.

That was in one state. As I described elsewhere, this happened all over the country, producing scenes like the one in Idaho:

One family with members who are U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents said they were terrified by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who came to their home in the predawn hours accompanied by Blaine County sheriff's deputies. No one in their home was arrested.

"They pounded on my door so hard that my walls shook," Dana Ayala, a Wood River Valley resident and U.S. citizen, told the Idaho Community Action Network. "My 19-year-old son opened the door to see what was happening, and six agents armed with guns, Tasers and flashlights pushed their way into my home."

... "It is clear that ICE agents terrorized the community, including U.S. citizen children who were sleeping when the raid occurred," said Leo Morales, a community organizer for ICAN. "In several homes, children were left crying as ICE agents interrogated parents and hauled them away.

Testimonies gathered on Tuesday also indicated that in several instances ICE agents walked into the home looking for individuals not living there, then arrested the people in the home with no proof of immigration status.

In some instances, federal agents rushed into the house when a child opened the door."

Once arrested, the detainees were treated like cattle, too. The most public of these raids was the mass crackdown in Postville, Iowa, where the federal legal apparatus crossed the line into outright police-state behavior.

The most pointed portrait of this came in the form of an essay by Erik Camayd-Freixas, a Spanish-language court interpreter who was called in to help process detainees in the raid. It makes the devastating case that the Department of Homeland Security, in collusion with the Justice Department, is (in the words of one observer we heard from about this case) "basically gaming the Federal judiciary using existing law, rules and regulations to force the judiciary to act as a coerced agent of the executive to imprison undocumented workers, after which they are deported with a prison record."

As Camayd-Freixas makes clear, these workers were charged improperly with a crime of which they were innocent as the means of forcing them to plead guilty to a lesser charge, for which they then accepted five-month prison sentence.

The New York Times, in reviewing the evidence, editorialized:
Under the old way of doing things, the workers, nearly all Guatemalans, would have been simply and swiftly deported. But in a twist of Dickensian cruelty, more than 260 were charged as serious criminals for using false Social Security numbers or residency papers, and most were sentenced to five months in prison.

What is worse, Dr. Camayd-Freixas wrote, is that the system was clearly rigged for the wholesale imposition of mass guilt. He said the court-appointed lawyers had little time in the raids’ hectic aftermath to meet with the workers, many of whom ended up waiving their rights and seemed not to understand the complicated charges against them.

I particularly found this portion of Camayd-Freixas' essay chilling:

When the executive responded to post-9/11 criticism by integrating law enforcement operations and security intelligence, ICE was created as “the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)” with “broad law enforcement powers and authorities for enforcing more than 400 federal statutes”. A foreseeable effect of such broadness and integration was the concentration of authority in the executive branch, to the detriment of the constitutional separation of powers. Nowhere is this more evident than in Postville, where the expansive agency’s authority can be seen to impinge upon the judicial and legislative powers. “ICE’s team of attorneys constitutes the largest legal program in DHS, with more than 750 attorneys to support the ICE mission in the administrative and federal courts. ICE attorneys have also participated in temporary assignments to the Department of Justice as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys spearheading criminal prosecutions of individuals. These assignments bring much needed support to taxed U.S. Attorneys’ offices”. English translation: under the guise of interagency cooperation, ICE prosecutors have infiltrated the judicial branch. Now we know who the architects were that spearheaded such a well crafted “fast-tracking” scheme, bogus charge and all, which had us all, down to the very judges, fall in line behind the shackled penguin march. Furthermore, by virtue of its magnitude and methods, ICE’s New War is unabashedly the aggressive deployment of its own brand of immigration reform, without congressional approval.

This, I suspect, may be what Pelosi had in mind in her fuller remarks on this matter:

"Also of great importance to the border communities is of course the issue of immigration. And by that I mean we need comprehension immigration reform. For the first time in a long time, the opportunity exists to enact comprehensive legislation. President Obama has made this a priority for his Administration. I know that yesterday he met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to reiterate his commitment to immigration reform.

"The CHC, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has long taught the House Democratic Caucus and indeed the entire Congress what comprehensive immigration reform would look like. It would of course, secure our border, it would protect our workers, it would prohibit the exploitation of workers coming into our country and it would unite our families. Family unification is an important principle of our immigration and always has been.

"About a week and a half ago, Congressman Gutierrez was in San Francisco on a Saturday night. We were packed and jammed in St. Anthony's Church, hundreds and hundreds of people came. We heard from families who have had raids into their homes and into their families where families were separated. And at the time, I said it there and I'll say it here, that raids that break up families in that way, just kick in the door in the middle of the night, taking father, a parent away, that's just not the American way. It must stop. It's just not the American way. So we need this comprehensive reform, and we need it soon. And we need to stop those kinds of ICE raids in the meantime.

The wingnuts may stamp their feet and have a fit. But what must really anger them -- and maybe frighten them a little -- is the knowledge that a lot of Americans very much agree with her.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.