The Beltway beat

Posted: Jan 03, 2003 12:00 AM
Don't look now, but Americans are "Immoral, Fat, Lazy, Stupid." That's the title of Chapter 1 of veteran newspaper editor Joseph Farah's new book, "Taking America Back: A Radical Plan to Revive Freedom, Morality and Justice" (WND Books). "I love America," Farah stresses from the start. "I love the spacious skies. I love the amber waves of grain, the purple mountains' majesty, and the fruited plains. But what I love most about America is the God-breathed revolutionary spirit that led its founders to risk everything in a desperate fight for freedom and a noble effort to write the greatest Constitution the world has ever known. "However, something dreadful has happened to that spirit," he says. "It's gone." Not everybody is without spirit, says Farah, former editor of the Sacramento (Calif.) Union, among other newspapers, who has since founded, the Internet's largest independent news site. But apparently the vast majority of Americans are clueless about it. "They have no sense of history," he explains. "They have no connection with their revolutionary past. They have no idea how blessed they are to live with even the fleeting legacy of freedom they inherited. They don't want to know what they can do for their country. They want to know what their country can do for them. "It's enough to make you sick." Farah provides myriad recipes for reclaiming the United States' heritage of liberty and self-governance. As he puts it, "It's time to wake up your neighbors." LAW AND ORDER Several groups are monitoring the U.S. government's new anti-terrorism order to register and fingerprint men from selected countries, among them the Council on American-Islamic Relations, American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Immigration Law Foundation and the National Immigration Forum. Like it or not, the Immigration and Naturalization Service initiative - intended to more closely track visitors to this nation - has led to the arrest or detention of hundreds for having expired visas, among other infractions. The above groups are now gathering the experiences of those who have registered with the INS, via a written questionnaire being disseminated within this nation's Arab and Muslim communities. The questionnaire seeks to identify problems and potential violations of rights during the registration process. ANTI-BORDERS Speaking of more closely monitoring those who cross our nation's borders, the immigration watchdog group ProjectUSA is giving a thumbs down to incoming Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who "will not likely be the champion of responsible immigration policy." Another group, Americans for Better Immigration, claims Frist is "even worse" on immigration than former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, the man he is replacing. "Even more ominous," adds ProjectUSA, Frist shares the immigration philosophy of the Bush White House, an administration "that has shown itself to be anti-borders." FIGHTING BACK Defending the homeland begins at home. Or so opines Chris Weinkopf in the American Enterprise magazine. "For all the nation's much-trumpeted beefing-up of security at airports and on planes, terrorists will most likely shift their attacks elsewhere - supermarkets, amusement parks, sporting events - the list of potential targets is endless," he warns. "Because it's unclear where or how terrorists will strike next, it's also virtually impossible for the government to develop the appropriate safeguards for any potential attack." So what's an ordinary American to do? "Terrorists with guns can only be stopped with other guns," writes the Los Angeles Daily News editorialist and columnist, who cites the July 4, 2002, shootings at Los Angeles International Airport by heavily armed Egyptian Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, who only managed to kill two and wound five before guards fatally shot him. "Our world has changed over the last year, and with it our moral responsibility to defense ourselves," he says. "Effective homeland security is not a political abstraction, but an individual duty - a duty to be alert, to be prepared to strike back, and to be willing to do so when called." As the scribe puts it, who wants to be quivering behind a potted plant as a terrorist unloads his rifle into a crowded theater? HARSH LESSON Yours truly has just returned from the Big Sky country of Montana, where I read in the Missoulian newspaper that Uncle Sam's efforts to "level the playing field" with the Canadians has "backfired." For decades, the newspaper writes in an editorial, U.S. lumber producers leaned on the federal government for protection from Canadian competition. So last May, Uncle Sam imposed tariffs averaging 27 percent on softwood lumber imported from Canada. (This was supposed to have made Canadian lumber 27 percent more expensive to buy in this country.) "However, the tariffs produced the exact opposite effect. Canadian sawmills and their workers agreed to contract concessions, mills added shifts and many mills are sawing lumber from cheaper, beetle-killed timber," the editorial states. "At one (Canadian) mill, workers eke out an extra half-hour of production per shift by staggering their coffee breaks . And guess what? Canadian mills are churning out more lumber than before. Profits are up and employment has increased. "Meanwhile, the Canadians' surge of production has driven U.S. lumber prices to new lows, leaving many U.S. sawmills in worse shape than they were before the government came to their aid." PASS THE LIGHTER Sign posted in the Spencer & Co. Steakhouse in Kalispell, Mont.: "Yes, you can smoke. No, you can't vote for Gore." DOUBLE STANDARD? So much for rewarding whistleblowers. Clinton "Sexgate" whistleblower Kathleen E. Willey has just granted an interview to WABC radio in New York on the heels of Time Magazine naming FBI agent Coleen Rowley, ex-Enron employee Sherron Watkins and WorldCom worker Cynthia Cooper "Persons of the Year." "I found it very interesting that all of a sudden we're looking at the 'Persons of the Year' and there are three female whistleblowers," Willey told the station's "Batchelor & Alexander Show," as reported by the Internet site "I guess that if you blow the whistle against somebody that Time magazine doesn't like, it's OK to be a whistleblower," she said. "(Time magazine) really, really trashed me. Their writers were just brutal to me and about me." Perhaps referring to one particular magazine issue in which Time scribe Margaret Carlson suggested former President Clinton - not Willey - was the real victim of their November 1993 encounter. During the Oval Office visit, Willey claims, Clinton suddenly tried to fondle and kiss her. In fairness to Clinton, we pulled up his response to the unwanted sexual advance accusations leveled by Willey. "I have a very clear memory of that meeting," Clinton told inquiring reporters, one of whom pointed out, "You can't both be telling the truth, can you?" "I have said that nothing improper happened," replied Clinton. "So, I - you'll have to find the answer to that riddle somewhere else." CLINTON MONUMENT It vibrates, it tickles, it stimulates, it vacillates, it talks, it exaggerates. What is it? It's the Talking Slick Willie Presidential Massager, with batteries included at a bargain price of $29.99. "It's just our little way of erecting a monument to a great American tradition," explains Austin, Texas-based JJK Industries, makers of the red, white and blue (gray on top) massager. "So the Slick Willie Presidential Massager is in no way aimed at demeaning or insulting the man or the office." Of course not. So, how does one turn on Slick Willie? To make Slick Willie talk, simply press the white button below his feet on the pedestal. Each time, Slick Willie recites one line. (He says seven funny phrases in all.) To make Slick Willie vibrate, simply turn on the switch on the back of the pedestal. Slick Willie vibrates at one speed. Of course, care should be taken when using any massager, especially this one. Slick Willie is a toy, a novelty massager, and should be treated as such. Who would buy such a toy? Lobbyists and politicians alike, we're told, have purchased Slick Willie massagers to soothe their, um, political kinks. "I wish he'd (Clinton) been this forthright and entertaining during the impeachment trial," said a former Starr prosecutor. This column, as a rule, does not publish product sales information, but in this case, knowing readers will inundate us with queries, here it is: 1-877/456-7742 or After all, says one anonymous former senatorial source: "Bob Dole thinks this is the best thing since Viagra."