Libertarian Hawk


Secret Service Broke After Paying Biden’s Rent; Skimps Hooker Budget

April 18, 2012 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

The Secret Service paid Vice President Joe Biden over $20,000 in rent last year for the privilege of residing on his property while protecting him.  Apparently one of its agents couldn’t cough up $50 to pay a Cartagenero hooker last week.  Coincidence?

Eleven Secret Service staff members were sent home from tony beach resort city Cartagena and put on administrative leave, ahead of President Obama’s arrival Saturday for the 6th Summit of the Americas, for the indiscretion of having invited a squadron of prostitutes to their hotel rooms.  One of the hookers brought to the posh Hotel Caribe was upset over a lousy $47 an agent had failed to pay her.  She went to complain to the police, who forwarded her case to the State Department.

Several hotel waiters reported that the week before the scandal, agents had been drinking heavily and carousing at the Caribe.  The prostitution scandal broke the day before Obama was scheduled to arrive in South America, and took place just a few blocks from his hotel.

Ten or more military members serving the Southern Command, at least one from each service branch, were also caught up in the scandal, but were allowed to stay in Cartagena over the weekend due to their needed expertise.  The military staff were confined to their living quarters, ordered not to communicate with anyone, and prohibited from ordering anything stronger than virgin piña coladas.

Ronald Kessler, author of the exposé In the President’s Service, calls Colombiagate “the biggest scandal in Secret Service history.”

He names, among other factors responsible for the Secret Service’s laxity in recent years, its failure to keep abreast of the latest advances in firearms—a deficit I’m sure the rabidly pro-Second Amendment Obama administration is quickly working to correct.

Kessler cites as evidence of the Secret Service’s shoddy standards Tareq and Michaele Salahi’s ability to crash the 2009 White House State Dinner, a security breach that became a national embarrassment and stoked fears of future lapses that might endanger the president and his staff.  He also references the recent intruder who managed to scale the fence surrounding the White House and start crawling across the lawn before the Secret Service captured him.

Obama has inexplicably allowed Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan to hold his post despite these screw-ups.

Kessler argues that the president is particularly unsafe now, because replacement agents who were hurried in to replace the Cartagena 11 haven’t had time to acclimate to their new environment.  Secret Service management’s failure to change its attitude has also set the stage for future indiscretions.

New York Representative Peter King and California Representative Darrell Issa, who have proven their national security credentials via their investigation of homegrown Islamic terrorism and the Fast and Furious gunrunning scheme, respectively, have pledged to look into the scandal.

Meanwhile, the toadying media is proclaiming that Obama still has confidence in the Secret Service—without asking whether he should have confidence, or whether the American people have confidence.  Rather than apologizing and accepting responsibility for the incident, Obama and his cronies have chided the media for their “flashy” coverage of a story they label a “distraction.”

(Obama also noted that he would ‘wait until the full investigation is completed until I pass judgment.’  Had the unpaid Cartageno hooker been black, he would have already claimed that the Secret Service “acted stupidly,” and that “If I had a daughter who was a prostitute, she’d look like María.”)

The Cartagena incident is a perfect example of the broader pattern of the Obama administration’s incompetence, abuse of power, sense of entitlement, waste of taxpayers’ money, tin-eared response to scandal, and indifference toward fulfilling government’s legitimate, limited functions.  (Also Democrats’ lax morals and seedy sexual proclivities.)

These sleazy secret service recipients, most of whom are married, may not have cared that they were cheating on their wives.  But their irresponsible actions exposed them to potential blackmail, which could put the president’s life in danger.

As for the sex angle, I know Obama wasn’t directly involved in the affair, but when’s the last time a Republican presidential administration’s reputation was marred by a major sex scandal?  Say what you will about the vastly overblown Tailhook incident under George H. W. Bush: at least its instigators weren’t putting national security at risk.

The Secret Service horndogs also made the administration’s trade and security goals for the Americas Summit more difficult, given that distracted and titillated attendees—including 33 heads of state—spent the weekend winking and elbowing each other over the behavior of the boobs who were supposed to be protecting the president.  The scandal jeopardized Obama’s ability to stand up against Latin America’s overwhelming pressure to end sanctions against communist Cuba and include her in future summits held by the Organization of American States.  (As for other administration goals, such as convincing Brazil and fellow developing nations of the value of reckless U.S. monetary expansionism, I’m happy to have these efforts hampered.)

Before Obama was inaugurated, liberals used to gasp that a black president would be uniquely susceptible to assassination.  It turns out that the greatest facilitator of such a scenario is the bumbling security outfit our incompetent commander-in-chief has retained to protect him.

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Top 10 Conservatives of 2011

November 30, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Miscellaneous

Top 10 Conservatives of 2011

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

10. Andrew Cuomo – Yes, really.  As I wrote earlier this year, “When Democrats cut spending and refuse to raise taxes, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has—i.e. when they abandon their party’s core philosophy and govern like conservatives—they enjoy skyrocketing popularity ratings and set their constituents on a path to financial solvency.”  Cuomo’s late-career, probably temporary, but remarkable conversion followed the example set by New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who also stood up to public sector unions, slashed spending, and held down taxes.

9. Darrell Issa – California Representative Darrell Issa held hearings this summer on the Justice Department’s botched, scandalous Operation Fast and Furious gun-trafficking sting operation, including gripping testimony from ATF officials from Phoenix and Mexico.  Recently Attorney General Eric Holder was forced to admit that Fast and Furious was “flawed in its concept and flawed in its execution”—kind of like his boss’s presidency.  Along with the Treasury Department’s pursuit of the administration’s tainted $535 million loan to solar energy company Solyndra, Issa’s persistent work erased the laughable notion that the corrupt Obama tenure has remained blissfully transgression-free.

8. Peter King – New York Representative Peter King bucked controversy by holding hearings on whether Muslim Americans were becoming radicalized and linking with terrorist groups to plot attacks on home soil.  From my column “Liberals’ Game of Cat-and-Muslim”: “[King] held a hearing on whether al-Qaeda is trying to recruit young Muslims in the U.S. and whether Muslim Americans are sufficiently cooperating with federal officials…  [H]undreds of willfully naïve, politically correct New Yorkers gathered in Times Square, steps from where [Faisal] Shahzad tried to kill hundreds of New Yorkers, to protest King’s hearing as racist and Islamophobic.”

7. Mitch Daniels – Second-term Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels navigated such juvenile obstructions as Democratic legislators walking out to protest Republicans’ agenda, and ultimately got the bulk of long-stalled GOP legislation passed in the state.  Daniels wowed CPAC with a speech on fiscal austerity that included such zingers as “Our morbidly obese federal government needs, not just behavior modification, but bariatric surgery” and his reference to federal debt as “the new red menace.”  One of the only feasible GOP presidential candidates both conservative and articulate, Daniels declined to run this year despite widespread pressure to do so.

6. Pat Toomey – The deficit reduction supercommittee boasted only one reliable fiscal conservative: Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.  All five other GOP members voted for the boneheaded budget bill in August that unnecessarily raised the debt ceiling.  Without Toomey, Republican supercommittee members might have caved to Democratic pressure to raise tax rates on high-income earners.  The committee failed—which, given Democratic intransigence, is the best outcome we could have hoped for.  Toomey’s first year in office after dispensing with Joe Sestak in hostile blue-state territory in the 2010 midterms was a resounding success.

5. Rick Perry – Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry held the distinction of leading the state that oversaw 40% of all new U.S. jobs created since the recovery began, triple the number of the next-closest competitor New York, with over 1 million added since he took office.  Texas’s jobs boom resulted not just from rising oil prices—private sector industries such as construction, hospitality, and professional services also saw growth—but also Perry’s understanding of the hindrance excessive regulation places on incentives to invest and hire.  Perry offered a more conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, thus helping push the GOP front-runner to the right.

4. Herman Cain – Businessman, radio host, rocket scientist, and presidential candidate Herman Cain spent the year touting his 9-9-9 flat tax plan, which would gut the federal tax code and replace it with a 9% federal income tax, 9% corporate tax, and 9% national sales tax.  Rick Perry produced a copycat plan, and Newt Gingrich revived his old plan, and suddenly the nation began seriously debating the merits of flat tax plans for the first time since Steve Forbes’ last run.  And did you know that, back in the day, as president-elect of the National Restaurant Association, Cain was one of the most vocal critics of Hillarycare?

3. Ann Coulter – The left-wing, Obama-endorsed Occupy Wall Street movement that seeped into the national consciousness like a whiff of raw sewage had no concrete antagonists, just the sorry spectacle of a bunch of hippy retreads and trust fund brats battling hypothermia and body lice in tent cities around the country.  Ann Coulter was the conservative who foretold it best, in her bestseller Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America.  From the book jacket: “The Democratic Party activates mobs, depends on mobs, coddles mobs, publicizes and celebrates mobs—it is the mob.”

2. Scott Walker – From “Wisconsin’s Government Cheese Revolution”: “Governor Scott Walker… proposed a bill that would… prevent [public sector] unions from forcing members to pay dues, require annual secret ballots on whether to remain unionized, and ask members to contribute a pittance toward their lavish pensions and health care plans.”  Walker’s courage in standing his ground in the face of protestors calling him Hitler and Hosni Mubarak, and Democratic legislators fleeing the state to avoid voting on the bill, presaged the guts that mayors around the country didn’t have in dealing with Occupy Wall Street.

1. Michele Bachmann – Minnesota Representative and Tea Party leader Bachmann embodied the best combination of conservative/articulate out of all the 2012 GOP presidential nominees; it’s inexplicable that she isn’t doing better in the polls.  From my column “CDC Prepares for Outbreak of Bachmann Derangement Syndrome”: “Bachmann has labeled herself a ‘constitutional conservative’—precisely the correct label to use in this bizarre era of pay czars, light bulb bans, and trillion-dollar deficits…  Bachmann [took] leadership roles on… repealing [Dodd-Frank] and replacing ObamaCare with free market reforms.”  Here’s hoping she can at least snag the VP slot.

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