I originally posted a report on this on EDUCATION WATCH, on 9th. I headed the story: "CA: An education Dept. SWAT raid???". I added the subhead: "SWAT teams have become America's Taliban. They can brutalize you without trial and on suspicion only. Now even the Education Dept. is deploying them"
Clearly, what troubled me was the fact of the raid, not its justification. I did note the official claim that the raid was "not related to student loans".
Yesterday on DISSECTING LEFTISM, I posted a wide-ranging post about the steady transmogrification of the USA into a police state. In that report the claim was repeated that the raid was related to student loan repayments. I included that despite the official denials. Anybody who takes official denials at face value is naive, in my opinion. The claim that student loans were the issue apparently came from the man who was raided and I make no apology for preferring his word over the word of anybody in the Obama administration.
A regular reader of this blog has however been digging further into the matter and offers some interesting observations. I reproduce his comments below. You will note that the reason for the raid given on the search warrant has been deleted. That seems to me to be remarkably poor practice and great grounds for suspicion of impropriety or folly. Until that part of the document is revealed, nothing is certain about the motive for the raid.
You will also note my reader's conclusion that the raid WAS related to student loans -- albeit the fraudulent obtaining of them rather than being in default on repayments. One wonders how that squares with the statement by U.S. Department of Education spokesman Justin Hamilton that the search was "not related to student loans". Dishonesty abounding is what I see.
As recently pointed out by no less than eminent sociologist Peter Berger, symbols of tyranny are on the rise in America -- such as the body pat downs at airports, the legal "degradation rituals" of putting criminal suspects through a "perp walk" even though there is supposedly a presumption of innocence, the revival of old fashioned "chain gang" prisoner work crews, and the arrangements of Congressional hearings where the interrogators sit on raised platforms over the "serfs" who are summoned to appear before them.
Of greater concern are the reported tragic cases of SWAT team raids where nervous police have targeted the wrong person and ended up killing them.
But the recent report at NetRightDaily.com is also symbolic of a widespread paranoia initially triggered by liberal-tabloid TV broadcast media that spreads virally through both Right and Left-wing websites without any fact checking on the truth.
Let's take a look at the case in Stockton, California where KXTV Channel 10 in Sacramento initially reported that a local police SWAT Team had raided a home purportedly because the "estranged wife" of the male occupant of a home had failed to pay student loans.
First, I called the Stockton PD and they told me they only had a backup "black and white" unit at the scene and that the raid was conducted by theFederal Office of Inspector General (OIG) acting on a search warrant. The Stockton PD public affairs officers told me that an unpaid student loan would be a civil, not criminal, matter and would not ever trigger a police raid on a home.
I checked online and KXTV had already issued a correction on their online webpage indicating that the raid was not by the Stockton Police but they stuck to their erroneous story about an unpaid student loan as the legal grounds for the raid.
I then found online the actual Search Warrant issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gregory G. Hollows on June 3.
I had a retired prosecutor friend of mine look at the warrant. Here is what he indicated: He noted that the Search Warrant is missing the statement of the Affiant (officer who describes the basis for why the warrant is necessary). This statement should include a factual rundown of the alleged criminal activity, how the activity was executed, and why the criminal activity is reasonably ties to the suspect, etc.
Later, the Inspector General's Office released a statement that the raid did not involve a mere unpaid student loan but a case involving student aid "fraud, bribery and embezzlement."
This squared with what both the Stockton PD and my prosecutor friend told me. He said that his reading of the warrant and his experience suggests that the suspect was using phony I.D.'s and documents to obtain a large number of student loans. "The total amount of the student loans obtained probably constitutes a very significant amount of money, which is what triggered such a major response for serving the warrant," my source said. He added that it is "just a guess, but I'll bet the figure is in the millions. It also may be part of a larger ring."
My prosecutor source also said he doubted whether you could find a judge anywhere that would issue a "no knock" search warrant on a civil matter of an unpaid student loan, which would be a violation of the 4th Amendmentagainst illegal searches and seizures.
The alleged female defendant in this case was not at home at 6 a.m. and no one reported whether she had fled, been detained and was being held in jail, or had failed to appear or produce records in response to a bench warrant. It later was reported in the media that the alleged victim of the raid, a male ex-spouse, was also named as a suspect in the case.
Coincidentally, I also found online that on June 8 in South Carolina a different woman had pled guilty of student loan fraud she had pulled off while an inmate at the Leath Correctional Institute in Greenville, South Carolina. She used phony I.D.'s to apply for 23 student loans totaling $467,500 while working as an inmate in the educational department of the prison.
Apparently under the Obama Administration, student loans are so easy to apply for if you use a false ID that it is being used as a form of welfare. My guess is that there is a widespread informal criminal network involved with the Internet being the facilitator both with how to apply for student loans and how to pull the crime off.
Coming back to the situation in Stockton, it is now apparent that the raid involved gathering information about stolen IDs used to obtain fraudulent student loans. The media story about a raid aid on an ex-spouses home for unpaid student loans was in error. And the so-declared victim boyfriend was an apparent accomplice in this case. How much more could you get wrong in a news story?
The initial media story of the Stockton SWAT raid was overblown but was great "news" for a slow TV news day. It resonated with a fearful audience overloaded with debts.
I followed up on the story and could not find one media source that has come out with the true context of the SWAT raid in Stockton.
In a scene from some sort of parallel universe, coincidentally a Florida couple that had erroneously had their house foreclosed on by a bank were able to secure a court judgment to "raid" branch of the Bank of America to seize furniture, computers and cash on the premises to recover their legal fees. The legal system in the U.S. isn't entirely broken or corrupted.
There is a bigger story here about institutional corruption that breeds both loan fraud and police raids, albeit legal. What the Stockton SWAT case reflects is the metastasizing of a government loan program into what political scientist Walter Russell Mead calls a Great White Hope, then into a Great White Father, then into a Great White Elephant, and finally aGreat White Shark. At the "shark" stage of such government programs they turn criminal and deadly. Recipients turn into criminal plunderers of the system and those that administer the program have to turn into police or hire paramilitary units to keep the criminality in check. But the criminality is so widespread that they mainly focus on only the most flagrant violators involving the largest sums of money.
This is reminiscent of what we just experienced with the sub-prime loan scandal and Bank Panic of 2008, only with foreclosures instead of police raids. There is an institutional basis to both. This is what we can expect with Obamacare.
Here we seem to be facing what historian Klaus Bringmann describes in his book A History of the Roman Republic where free distribution of grain hastened the collapse of the empire.
Sarah Palin email frenzy backfires on her media antagonists
This whole affair is extraordinary. When have all the emails of any other politician been released to the public? What a wonderful precedent it sets, however. It should now be possible to demand ALL the emails of ANY politician! I doubt that many of the current crop of Democrat politicians could survive that!
The trove of more than 13,000 emails detailing almost every aspect of Sarah Palin’s governorship of Alaska, released late on Friday, paints a picture of her as an idealistic, conscientious, humorous and humane woman slightly bemused by the world of politics.
One can only assume that the Left-leaning editors who dispatched teams of reporters to remote Juneau, the Alaskan capital, to pore over the emails in the hope of digging up a scandal are now viewing the result as a rather poor return on their considerable investment.
If anything, Mrs Palin seems likely to emerge from the scrutiny of the 24,000 pages, contained in six boxes and weighing 275 pounds, with her reputation considerably enhanced. As a blogger at Powerline noted, the whole saga might come to be viewed as “an embarrassment for legacy media”.
Mrs Palin, who suddenly resigned as Alaska governor in July 2009, is no longer a public official. She holds no position in the Republican party. Despite the media hubbub that surrounds her every move, she is unlikely to be a candidate for the White House in 2012.
She is, however, viewed with a kind of horrified fascination by many in the media, who faithfully records everything she says and does while at the same time decrying her as ignorant and even evil.
Whether or not she runs for the White House – and the solid consensus among Republican leaders is that she won’t – the scramble over the Palin emails confirms her status as a pivotal figure in the race to challenge President Barack Obama next year.
It comes at a moment when the battle for the Republican nomination appears set to be transformed by the late entry of Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a social conservative and Palin ally who could almost immediately leap to the front of a currently lacklustre field.
Sources close to Mr Perry have confirmed that he is “highly likely” to announce a presidential run in the coming days. Intriguingly, they have also hinted at a something they believe would increase immeasurably Mr Perry’s chances of winning the White House – an endorsement from Mrs Palin.
On policy, Mrs Palin and Mr Perry, who succeeded George W Bush in 2000 and has since become the longest-serving governor in Texas history, are in almost perfect alignment. In addition, they are both beloved of the Tea Party, highly suspicious of Washington and physically attractive (Mr Perry is often likened to the Marlboro Man), charismatic figures.
Mrs Palin has repeatedly said that she believes Mr Obama can be defeated and that she will do everything to achieve that. With her popularity among independent voters very low, despite the intensity of her core support, throwing her weight behind a stronger candidate would be a better way of preserving her political capital and earning power than being one of the losing candidates in the Republican primaries.
The notion of Mrs Palin as White House kingmaker would have seemed wildly improbable if anyone had raised it before August 2008.
It was then that she was catapulted to international fame by Senator John McCain’s surprise decision to make her his vice-presidential running mate. Her reaction? “Can you flippinbelieveit?!”
This was a world, as the emails reveal, in which the then Alaska governor fretted about things like there being alcohol in her official residence, that might be a temptation to the teenage friends of her children.
In May 2007, she sought help from her staff in keeping the alcohol in the governor’s mansion away from young people, stating that it should be boxed up and “removed from the People’s House” – both for practical reasons and as a statement about her administration.
“Here’s my thinking: with so many kids and teens coming and going in that house, esp during this season of celebrations for young people – proms, graduations, etc, I want to send the msg that we can be – and ‘the People’s House’ needs to be – alcohol-free. There’s a lot of booze there – its too accessible and may be too tempting to any number of all those teens coming and going.”
In a February 2007 exchange, one adviser recommended that when she was in Washington she meet Pete Rouse, a Senate official who had lived in Alaska. “He’s now chief-of-staff for a guy named Barack Obama,” the aide wrote, adding that Mr Rouse “wants to help Alaska however he can”. Far from shrinking at the idea of conferring with a Democrat, Mrs Palin replied: “I’m game to meet him.”
The emails will finally confirm – in all but the darkest recesses of the world of Left-wing conspiracy theories – that Mrs Palin is, in fact, the mother of her youngest son Trig, who has Down’s Syndrome.
After relentless promotion by Andrew Sullivan, the British blogger who now works for Daily Beast/Newsweek, of the proposition that the mother was in fact Mrs Palin’s daughter Bristol, a teenager at the time, the subject had become part of mainstream debate.
The emails show Mrs Palin’s determination to protect Bristol but also her desire for a degree of privacy. “I wish I could shame people into ceasing such gossip about a teen, but I can’t figure out how to do that,” she wrote.
Communications from her children and husband make her family appear close and loving. An email from Bristol, referring to her younger sister, said: “Hello Mother, Um, I’m sitting in library and I really thing you need to get Piper a cell phone!! Wouldn’t that be so adorable! She could text me while she was in class!! It’s a done deal right?! Perfect! Ok, I will talk to you later and I need some cash flow! Love ya!”
To an extent, the emails remind Americans of the person they saw take the state at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota nearly three years ago – refreshing, plain-speaking, open and uncomplicated.
Since then, her image has hardened into one of a brittle, even paranoid, politician who seethes with resentment, feels aggrieved and entitled and is intent on pursuing celebrity even at the expense of her family.
Mrs Palin as a person has become so remote that it is hard for to assess how much, if any, of that widely-held caricature has a basis in truth. The email release could mark the end of a chapter of what conservatives have termed “Palin Derangement Syndrome”. Her enemies in the media appear to have overplayed their hand.
Expressing a sentiment that will resonate with many, Greta Van Susteren, a Fox News anchor who is close to Mrs Palin, argued that she had been subjected to “a media colonoscopy” by news organisations on “a mission to destroy”.
With a film entitled The Undefeated, chronicling Mrs Palin’s rise to prominence, about to air, the former Alaska governor is doubtless hoping that harsher perceptions of her can be blunted.
Probably the person who has damaged her most, apart from perhaps the CBS anchor Katie Couric who elicited blank stares when she asked what Mrs Palin read, was Tina Fey, the Saturday Night Live comedienne and impersonator.
It was Fey who seared into the popular imagination the Palin phrase: “I can see Russia from my house!” Mrs Palin had never said any such thing but it encapsulated the feeling that she was frivolous and lacked any foreign policy credentials.
Three days later, a staffer called Patrick Galvin emailed Mrs Palin saying: “My suggestion is you offer to go on SNL and play Tina Fey, and you interview her as she plays you.”
Fey’s impersonation was so powerful that the two women are inseparable in some minds. Fox News, for which Mrs Palin works on a lucrative contract as a commentator, recently aired a picture of Fey instead of Mrs Palin by mistake. Perhaps now might the time for Mrs Palin to take up Mr Galvin’s suggestion.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)