The corrupt and insulting sense of entitlement of the Clinton campaign is quite remarkable. On Monday, the former Secretary of State, who currently holds no public office, filed her entry as a presidential candidate in the New Hampshire primary. This is a formal requirement which these days candidates turn into a promotional event. However, in the four decades he has served as New Hampshire's Secretary of State, Bill Gardner has never been treated as contemptuously as he was yesterday by Mrs Clinton. Her Secret Service detail required that Secretary Gardner submit to a humiliating pat down for the privilege of entering his own office to participate in Hillary's crappy photo op.
Just to be clear here, on this occasion Mr Gardner is the public official and Mrs Clinton a mere citizen (citizens being these days extremely mere). But, as in her email scandal, the rules that apply to others do not apply to her. So for Hillary, who cared so little for security as America's chief foreign policy official that she let the Russians, Chinese and any other half-competent intelligence service read her emails in real time, the real security threat is dear old Bill Gardner.
As for the Secret Service agents willing to do this, they too are beneath contempt. This is a stupid and wasteful agency that can't secure the White House grounds or keep its hands off Cartagena hookers, and used its money-no-object to budget to fly a bazillion agents into South Africa for Nelson Mandela's funeral to stand the President threee feet away from a violent schizophrenic with a necklacing conviction. Even so, what sort of depraved husk of a human being do you have to be not to understand that what they did to Mr Gardner is not only inappropriate - they're guests of his - but ultimately profoundly corrupting of the integrity of the republic.
My friend Hugh Hewitt has a new bio of Hillary called The Queen, which title I feel is rather unfair to actual monarchs. Can you imagine Queen Elizabeth or Prince William arriving on a formal visit to, say, the Manitoba legislature or the South Australia parliament and having the premiers frisked? This isn't "security", it's intimidation: it's a message to everyone else that she matters - and you don't.
~Speaking of "security", a week or so back I joined Charles Krauthammer et al at the annual New Orleans Investment Conference. One of our fellow speakers, alas, didn't make it - a prominent and respected gentleman from Toronto. A feature attraction at the conference for four decades, this year he was detained en route by an agent of the laughably misnamed "US Customs & Border Protection", who informed him that, as he was receiving a small honorarium for the speech, he required a "work permit".
Which takes what - two years? five years? So, if this were true, it would mean that as a practical matter no foreigner could ever give a speech in America ever again.
But, of course, it isn't true: the twerp from "Border Protection" was just winging it, making up his own freelance immigration policy on the fly. Which is why - as I always advise - at the first sign a routine border crossing is starting to go awry, demand to see a supervisor and make the agent's behavior the issue.
The broader issue remains something I've written about before - the decay of a land of laws into competing zones of the lawless and the tyrannous:
Can you think of anything more risible than working for something called "US Customs & Border Protection"? There is no "border" to "protect". On the Rio Grande, President Obama, the Coyote-in-Chief, has simply erased said border.
So one sympathizes with the psychological burdens of being an employee of "Customs & Border Protection". Perhaps that explains why, as they abandon "border protection" on the southern frontier, they seem to be compensating by obstructing and terrorizing law-abiding persons on the northern frontier...
American life is bifurcating into the undocumented and the overdocumented. On the southern border, the bazillions of US laws are meaningless - proof of identity, medical tests, none of it matters. And the less it matters on the Rio Grande the more the zealots on the 49th Parallel will take apart your car if they think you've got a Kinder egg in there. Anyone who thinks that attitude can be confined to the border and not work its way deep into the rest of American life is deluded.
I had a good time at the New Orleans conference. But I hope the chaps in charge, who are not without influence, put the screws to the thug bureaucracy over this and ensure that this year's absentee will be back at the podium next year.
~A couple of municipal footnotes to yesterday's all Islam, all the time column:
Hamtramck, Michigan has just elected America's first Muslim-majority city council.
Wouldn't it be easier just to hold another Kristallnacht?
Oh, give it a year or two...
~Readers have asked for an update on my troubles with United Airlines, who have blacklisted the website you're reading now. I wish I had something to report. United's "Customer Service" twits asked me to DM them - which we did, nine days ago, since when we haven't heard a word.
Meanwhile, United passenger Rob Hegblom reports that, as of his flight yesterday afternoon, SteynOnline remains blacklisted for "inappropriate" and "unsuitable" content. Jack Marshall comments here:
I'm assuming/hoping that this was a stupid mistake and just incompetence, since incompetence is what United is best at. Yet so far, if the airline has an explanation, it hasn't been publicized.
However, reader Jon Miller was, unlike us, able to elicit a response from United's Department of Customer Bollocks. He wrote:
As a frequent customer I would like to know why Steynonline is "blacklisted" on your WIFI? Exactly what is it that is so offensive as to ban me from reading a wonderful website with no foul or otherwise offensive words or pictures? I have the ability to choose my airline for business travel.
And this is what Carre Bates of United Airlines replied:
Dear Mr. Miller:
I am sorry that you were disappointed when your preferred website was not available during your recent flight. I see that you are a valued member of our MileagePlus program. We thank you for your loyalty.
United Airlines is a family-friendly airline that takes pride in welcoming passengers of all ages on board.
We are concerned that you felt the inflight entertainment selection should not have been edited or restricted. The selections are previewed and edited to industry standards to ensure that the material is suitable for a general audience. The editing standard used is provided by the studios to a number of airlines.
We offer satellite Wi-Fi on more long-haul overseas flights than any other U.S.-based carrier, enabling customers to stay connected while traveling. United Airlines currently offers satellite Wi-Fi on international routes to and from San Francisco â€“ the country's premier trans-Pacific hub â€“ as well as routes to and from Los Angeles. It's outfitted with Panasonic Avionics Corporation's Ku-band satellite technology, offering customers faster inflight Internet service than air-to-ground technology (ATG).
United also offers satellite Wi-Fi on more than half of its combined fleet, which operate in North America markets, and air-to-ground internet connectivity on its entire fleet of Boeing 757 transcontinental Premium Service aircraft, which operate between New York Kennedy and Los Angeles and San Francisco.
We appreciate when customers take the time to share comments and suggestions. Feedback like yours presents opportunities to improve or enhance our products and services.
Rest assured that we want to do everything we can to ensure that your travel needs are met. We understand air travel isn't always easy, which is why we continually focus on improving our products and services.
We appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you on board a future United Airlines flight.
What does any of Carre Bates' answer mean in relation to Jon Miller's question? He responded:
This is a political opinion site, you obviously do not agree with so you've censored opinion on you WIFI. I'd bet PBS and NPR are accessible, aren't they? That's an opinion I find offensive but would never deny a person access to opinion. Try looking into the complaint instead of forwarding your pat answer. Which in this case has no relation.
But Carre Bates' pat answer sounds so soothing and reassuring... Come fly the friendly lies!
I may have to bring this up on Rush or Hannity. By the way, I am unilaterally banning my forthcoming cat album* from for their in-flight music system.
(*now available for pre-order from Amazon)