March 1, 2017

April 18, 2013

Beware the Next Reichstag Fire

Back in February, I called attention to the 80th anniversary of the Reichstag fire. In summary, the German parliament building caught fire, a loopy perpetrator was captured, and the Nazi party managed to blame the whole thing on their political rivals (the Communists in particular) and seize government power. Their ensuing Holocaust and World War are still with us in all kinds of geopolitical tensions, from a Jewish state’s lightning rod status for Islamic terror to the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world.

The American left probes for a Reichstag fire moment. There is a quest for an incident that will allow more centralization of emergency power in the federal government, the elimination of constitutional rights and, it would appear, the advent of a functionally single party state. Even the big government Republican “Bush 41” and the rather pragmatic liberal Bill Clinton kept poking around for that militant right wing movement to suppress, leading to the overkill operations at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

The current crazed chase for some gun control, any gun control, even laws that would have no impact on the kinds of crimes used to justify the crusade, culminated in a presidential tantrum last night. Screaming advocates in the Senate chamber, an angry president on TV, parades of white, suburban shooting victims (rather than the actual face of most gun crime, which is black and from a Democrat run urban area with strict gun laws), all put the weight on single, horrific events rather than the broader social problems contributing to American violence today. In other words, the search is for that Reichstag fire, to which only a strong, national party can respond.

While that approach fails for the moment, the left’s communications agencies are at work on the Boston Marathon bombing. Faster than the lawyers lining up to sue the city and the Marathon itself, liberal media voices expressed hope that a right wing white guy could be identified as the bomber. Despite Massachusett’s liberal leanings, breathless newspeople found possibilities in the Bay State’s “Patriots’ Day” celebrations. The bomber must be some self-styled new Minuteman, firing the new shot heard ‘round the world, the agent of a national conspiracy that requires consolidation of federal power to save us all.

Then there were the murders of several court officers in Texas. The media announced “white supremacist prison gangs” as the culprits almost before the blood was dry. Turns out it was a former employee in the system - a nutcase who had been fired for bad conduct - and his wife. But the “right wing conspiracy” angle is what’s left echoing in public ears.

A crazy guy sent toxic letters to government officials, including the President. The nut even put his own initials on the notes. But he’s white and from the South. So the right wing, anti-government angle will be the news, even though one letter went to a more conservative Congressman and the sender claims to be a Democrat.

Now there’s a lethal factory explosion - in Waco, of all places - and I’m sure the conjecture will point to “domestic right wing terror.”

Beware. That’s all I can say. It is obvious that Rahm Emmanuel’s “Never let a crisis go to waste” dictum isn’t just his eccentric opinion; it is a front and center strategy of the Democratic Party and the interest groups it represents. They want their Reichstag fire.

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There is a photgraph circulating on the news, alleged to be the toxic letter guy pointing to a bumper sticker [his car?] that says “Christian and Democrat”.

I agree 100% that there are those in Washington who want civil unreast very very bad so they can use that as a pretext to grab power.

While most of those are probably on the left [or at least the most vocal ones], I am not so sure that some anarchists on the right wouldn’t be pleased with the same thing.

What is most concerning and what I assume most of us don’t want to think about is the worst case scenerio:  that some terrible event will be “created” to spawn the desired unrest.  That is the “top down, bottom up” scenerio made famous by Van Jones among others.

Most people will call that “crazy talk”.  I remember years ago how talk that we were electing a President who didn’t like America was also “crazy talk”.

[1] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 4-18-2013 at 01:23 PM · [top]


They have pretty much chalked the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion up to an industrial accident.  At least, that is in the local media here in North Texas.  There are no grand conspiracy plans.

I am about 46.25 miles from the place and I heard the blast

[2] Posted by BillB on 4-18-2013 at 01:24 PM · [top]

#2 - Well, it could be an industrial accident, but if that’s the case it was likely due to man-made climate change or lack of safety due to sequestration.

Captain in #1 - I don’t think that’s crazy talk at all.  I was going to express some of that in the post, but simply ran out of time due to work obligations today.  “Fast and Furious” might have been just such an engineered crisis.  A flood of American guns for Mexican drug gang violence, leading to calls for more gun control.  Except it was the US Administration sending the guns.

[3] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 4-18-2013 at 01:32 PM · [top]

I am rereading C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength with a new and increasingly horrified eye.  The manufactured crisis is indeed one aspect of the N.I.C.E. conspiracy to take over the world, as well as many other features which we see in the present liberal agenda.  I recommend it to everyone.

[4] Posted by Ann Castro on 4-18-2013 at 01:54 PM · [top]

#1 “I am not so sure that some anarchists on the right wouldn’t be pleased with the same thing.”

Undoubtedly, but it would only be a few isolated cases on the right, whereas on the left, it seems to be mainstream (think Cloward/Piven, Alinsky, Al Gore, etc.).

Also, given what the left is looking to achieve (a greater measure of control), an artificially created crisis is of more tactical use to them. It puts people in a panic, and the hope is that when people are in a panic, they’ll willingly cede powers and rights to the government that they wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s hard to see how this could benefit someone with conservative aims.

[5] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 4-18-2013 at 03:34 PM · [top]

“(think Cloward/Piven, Alinsky, Al Gore, etc.)” And how could I forget Bill Ayers? He’s hardly become ostracized among the left because of his past activities.

To quote Dave Burge: “The worst part about being a domestic terrorist is all those midterms you have to grade in 20 years.”

Gotta love Dave.

[6] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 4-18-2013 at 03:36 PM · [top]

The quote attributed to Emmanual is right out of the Alinsky play book.  It will be interesting what develops after the bombing matter resolves.  Certainly something will be suggested that will enhance the federal profile.

[7] Posted by aacswfl1 on 4-19-2013 at 10:21 AM · [top]

Thanks for the history lesson, Timothy - a very useful tidbit.  When you said There is a quest for an incident that will allow more centralization of emergency power in the federal government, the elimination of constitutional rights I thought you would mention 9/11, but you didn’t.  hmm…  Thoughts?

[8] Posted by Michael D on 4-19-2013 at 11:45 AM · [top]

9/11 was an actual attack on the nation - seriously, you can’t compare it to Newtown, Waco, or pretty much any of the other events, horrific as they were.  It appeared to include an intended strike on the nation’s capitol.

Now, it is a fair argument, made by civil libertarians on both the right and left, that the Patriot Act and other responses were just the kind of things a Constitutional republic should resist.  “Don’t let the terrorists turn us into something we’re not” is an important argument.

We might likewise fault the GOP efforts to “build democracy” in the Middle East - Sarah has an interesting post up today in which she notes that many on the right want to see our global military efforts circumscribed by Constitutionally defined war powers instead of launched as emotional crusades.

So I would agree with you that to some extent, the GOP screamed “Emergency!” and did some unwelcome stuff after 9/11.  But they’ve not kept up a sustained and unified narrative since then, and, while they might have set some stuff in place that can be used improperly against U.S. citizens, they’ve not been the party pushing for greater control over domestic policies.

And at a very practical level, the GOP is not a popular party right now, and many look critically at what it says and does.  The Democrats pose a much greater domestic danger, with a large chunk of popular media essentially propagandizing for them and their manifest zeal to create a nanny state.  Well intentioned, maybe, like GOP “nation building” abroad, but really the biggest threat to make us something other than a free people.

[9] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 4-19-2013 at 12:31 PM · [top]

1.  Fast and Furious WAS supposed to be a “manufactured crisis” - how else can you explain a “program” that deliberately encouraged guns to be given to gun cartels without any means to track them?  The stonewalling of Obama’s administration ought to be all the evidence anyone needs to see “this just isn’t right”.

2.  The Democrats have had a very simple and effective plan to get and stay in power going for several decades:
    a.  Use tax dollars to buy votes by providing government services to 51%+
    b.  Ensure 51%+ of the population pay no income taxes
    c.  Ensure voter ID never comes to pass
    d.  Confiscate law-abiding citizens guns a little at a time
    c.  “Blame it on the Christians” and other right-wing “nuts”

We are at a tipping point.  We better start reversing course or we will be “The United States Socialist Party” in 20 years.

[10] Posted by B. Hunter on 4-19-2013 at 01:38 PM · [top]

Oh, one additional ironic thought. 

The very free press we have today, who is deliberately misleading the reader by taking a liberal view of things, and by not reporting stories that don’t put the liberal agenda in a good light (Gosnell trial), should the US become a socialist country, will no longer be free, but will be slaves of the state.

How do they not see that coming?  They are marching right over the cliff and believe they are heading to the promised land…

[11] Posted by B. Hunter on 4-19-2013 at 01:44 PM · [top]

#11 But would the loss of a free press really bother them? Why would they not assume they wouldnstill be on the payroll?

[12] Posted by Doug A on 4-19-2013 at 02:00 PM · [top]

Oops! “wouldnstill” > “would still”

[13] Posted by Doug A on 4-19-2013 at 02:03 PM · [top]

Thanks, Timothy, I thought you’d have interesting thoughts on it.

I was not implying that 9/11 was the same, but it is striking (and we should not forget) how much it has been used (by multiple administrations) as an excuse to centralize power and infringe consitutional rights (e.g. against search and seizure).  It may give bad people bad ideas.

[14] Posted by Michael D on 4-19-2013 at 07:00 PM · [top]

I don’t disagree with your thesis, Tim, but I just point out that the Ruby Ridge incident was when G.H.W. Bush was still President.  On Waco, it seemed clear to me that Clinton had personally authorized the federal assault with tanks.  Reno took the fall for Bill, and retained her job for eight years because she had the goods on him.

[15] Posted by Katherine on 4-22-2013 at 06:17 AM · [top]

Thanks, Katherine… indeed, Ruby Ridge was in August, 1992, prior to the election.

[16] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 4-22-2013 at 06:38 AM · [top]

Anyone that says that tanks were used at Waco has forfeited all right to be taken seriously when discussing matters of defense, law enforcement, and security.

It reminds me of the people that claim that Homeland Security is buying tanks when what they really bought was surplus MRAPs, which are essentially glorified up-armored SUV’s and trucks.

[17] Posted by AndrewA on 4-22-2013 at 07:46 AM · [top]

I don’t know who you believe is saying DHS is buying “tanks” but look at the pictures of what DHS IS buying.

To describe those purchases as “essentially glorified up-armored SUV’s and trucks” is something that I would expect to hear from Jay Carney’s lips.

No Sale.

[18] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 4-22-2013 at 07:55 AM · [top]

The DHS is buying surplus Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. 

They were developed by the military to protect troops against those IED’s much like those used in Iraq and now Boston.

They are not, however, by any stretch of the imagination, “tanks”.  Just like the vehicles at Waco were not tanks.  Yet just as alarmists on the Left were quick to point out the supposed connection between the Tea Party and a bombing on Patriot Day, alarmists on the Right that clearly don’t know a engineering vehicle from a main battle tank, much less what a MRAP is, always seem to be calling things “tanks” whenever the police drive anything that can’t be shot through with a .38 cal.

I support the right of Americans to buy high powered rifles, even so called assault rifles.  However, the correlary to that is that I also support the right of the police to use protective gear that is suitable to defending themselves against criminals with the same.  “Due Process” means that you have the right to a fair trial, not the right to a fair firefight.

[19] Posted by AndrewA on 4-22-2013 at 08:49 AM · [top]

Glad you agree that an MRAP is not a souped up version of your neighbor’s SUV.

[20] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 4-22-2013 at 08:56 AM · [top]

In the military, they play essentially the same role that various all terrain vehicles and trucks played in the early occupation of Iraq until they the need for defense for IED’s became obvious.  Recall if you will the big flap about the shortage up uparmored humvees.  Then the uparmored humvees starting getting displaced in part by various MPRAPs, which had the advantage of a chassis designed from the start to deflect blasts. 

However, in esence, they are still just vehicles for carrying people from point A to point B, as opposed to tanks with cannons and such.  Just like what was used at Waco was just an armored engineering vehicle used breaking up opstacles.  Not shelling civilians with high explosive antitank rounds, which is what people try to imply when conjuring up images of a “federal assualt with tanks.”

Anyway, my real point is that mischaracterizing events in an alarmist fashion to demonize ideological opponents is hardly confined to the Left.  Pretty much nothing in the article above is that essentially different from what the leftwing moonbats were saying about Bush II while he was in office.  Alarmists have been occusing the other party of being one step away from a putsch for longer than I’ve been alive.

[21] Posted by AndrewA on 4-22-2013 at 10:07 AM · [top]

Actually, both parties, and in particular Bush and Obama, have been steadily erroding our rights, making nice with the Saudi’s, and vastly expanding the size of government.

True conservatives are alarmed by all of them and we see Timothy’s analysis as being pretty spot on.

I don’t care which party sits in the WH.  When DHS has a huge stockpile of ammunition and MRAPS well equipped for the DHS mission [whatever that is], sounding the alarm is a good thing.

[22] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 4-22-2013 at 10:14 AM · [top]

“huge stockpile of ammunition”

Interesting claim.

Perhaps you can tell us: 

How much ammuntion does the DHS have in total?

What is their annual purchase rate?

How many armed federal law enforcement officers do they have on their payroll?

How many rounds do they fire on an annual basis on training ranges?

How does the ratio of bullets “stockpiled” to agents compare to DOJ, State or local federal law enforcement agencies?  What make DHS unique?

How do these number compare to pre-Bush federal law enforcement ammuntion purchases?

Based on real numbers, how much ammuntion should an American law enforcement agency be buying in any give purchase in order to get the most cost effective results for supplying their training and operational needs?

I find it interesting that everytime I see a leftist complaining about an American gun owner having hundreds of rounds on hand, a gun rights advocated rightfully points out that it is cheeper to buy ammunition in bulk, and how quickly one person can go through rounds on the range.  Do the same considerations not apply when you are wearing a badge? 

While we are on the topic, which federal law enforcement missions do you think that we need to drop or at least cut back on?  Enforcing child pornography laws?  Drug laws?  Border control?

When is the last time you argured for reducing border security?  Maybe you have, but my general experience has been that the people that want to fortify the border to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs are the same people complaining when the agencies with the responsiblity for border security and immigration enforcement buy ammunition and armored vehicles.

[23] Posted by AndrewA on 4-22-2013 at 10:48 AM · [top]

Well Andrew, “huge” is a relative term.

I run a parish so I don’t personally keep up with what DHS has on hand.  But others do.

For instance, Sen. Tom Coburn,

According to information obtained and published by Senator Tom Coburn, Customs and Border Protection [CBP] purchased 36,475,000 rounds of ammunition at a cost of $12,255,040 for fiscal year 2012. CBP plans to purchase more for fiscal year 2013 at a cost of $12,528,146. In total, DHS plans to spend $37,263,698 on ammunition for all sub-agencies this year. As of November, 20, 2012, CBP had 94,404,329 rounds of ammunition in its inventory. DHS had 263,733,362 rounds available.

The information released by Coburn also states, “Approximately 70 percent of CBP ammunition is used for quarterly qualifications, mandated firearms training, advanced firearms training, as well as testing and evaluation. Twenty percent of CBP ammunition is allocated to maintaining CBP’s operational posture. This includes rounds for duty use, as well as for maintaining CBP’s special response teams. The remaining 10 percent is dedicated to maintaining ammunition reserves at both the national and local levels.”

So, DHS has [or had] 264 million rounds available.  Is that huge?  Is it a pittance?  I don’t know because frankly, I don’t know what the DHS mission is.

Are they Obama’s “civilian army” that needs to be equipped for domestic use as well as our military is?  If so, maybe 264 million is not enough.

In order to decide if “huge” is “huge”, perhaps DHS could tell us what their real mission is, then we would be able to calibrate “huge”.

[24] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 4-22-2013 at 11:01 AM · [top]

As is obvious to AndrewA and others, I am not in any way an expert in military matters.  I have read these comments, and read some reports online, and I withdraw the misuse of “tank,” which they was not.  They were, according to what I read, “armored CEVs,” and if I recall reports at the time, the vehicles were borrowed from a military unit.  There was controversy at the time about the propriety of that.  So let me rephrase.  I believe Bill Clinton directly authorized the use of military tactics and equipment in the assault.  While I always knew that what I was seeing on TV (CEVs, apparently) were not Sherman tanks, still, in those relatively innocent days the sight of federal authorities attacking a civilian compound with large military equipment like that was shocking, however screwball the residents of the compound.  I cannot recall the precise year, but previously there had been an assault on a black separatist group in Philadelphia in which the building they were in was described as being “bombed” and the inmates incinerated.  With our now casual acceptance of SWAT teams and the paramilitary raids which occur fairly often, as Tim points out, we are at risk for overreaction to traumatic public events.  Incidents under both Republican and Democratic administrations have raised these concerns.

[25] Posted by Katherine on 4-22-2013 at 04:18 PM · [top]

“Which they were not,” in my second sentence above.  Ouch.

[26] Posted by Katherine on 4-22-2013 at 04:19 PM · [top]

From Wikipedia, if one considers it reliable:  “Assault (April 19): Hundreds of federal agents; military vehicles (with their normal weapon systems removed): 9–10 M3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, 4–5 M728 Combat Engineering Vehicles (CEVs) armed with CS gas, 2 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, 1 M88 tank retriever.”

[27] Posted by Katherine on 4-22-2013 at 06:24 PM · [top]

And that’s what I get for going on decade plus old memories of discussions of videos of things that are explicitly CEV’s being mistaken for tanks.  I guess maybe there were two tanks out of all the other vehicles.  It is worth noting that they never used their guns though.  Anyway,  my apologies.

[28] Posted by AndrewA on 4-22-2013 at 07:27 PM · [top]

Since the source of that wikipedia quote, Katherine, is the US Department of Justice report on the events at Waco, TX, all you have now demonstrated is that, along with you, they also have forfeited all right to be taken seriously when discussing matters of defense, law enforcement, and security, [she squeaked] .

[scuttling away]

[29] Posted by Sarah on 4-22-2013 at 07:30 PM · [top]

That was a forthright and manly apology, AndrewA.

I was trying to think of a way for you to get out of it, and the best I could come up with was that you could assert that *no actual “assault” per se* took place at Waco, and therefore no tanks were used in an assault, since there was none and they were not, actually, “used.”


I am *very* impressed that you didn’t travel down that long and weary road.

[30] Posted by Sarah on 4-22-2013 at 07:34 PM · [top]

Thanks, AndrewA.  I saw video of the assault at the time, and I thought I did remember seeing a tank, but all you military types convinced me I was in error.  The Justice Dept. materials cited did say the various military equipment had munitions removed before use.

So, in the general line of Tim Fountain’s original post about government excess being possible, if you haven’t heard about this you soon will.  On Friday, the impression was that Watertown, MA, residents allowed searches of their homes.  This report alleges that residents were forced out of their homes by SWAT teams at gunpoint and ordered to run down the street for further frisking by police.  None of these people, presumably, resembled the injured nineteen-year-old terrorist.

[31] Posted by Katherine on 4-22-2013 at 08:32 PM · [top]

Well, that mistake was a little lesson in humility for me.  Turns out what I was thinking of was an discussion I had previously where an CEV was being refered to as a tank, but I should have looked it up to confirm that there was no other vehicles there that were in fact tanks.

Still, I think we can all agree that Waco was one big mess up even before they borrowed the Army vehicles.  ATF and then the FBI had fouled that up beyond belief from the very start.

In response to the original article:  I would certainly agree that the Left was over eager to find a right wing scapegoat. 

Still, my biggest concern on civil rights right now in relationship to the current terrorist incident is allegations I’m seeing that Republicans like Graham and McCain are saying that the surving suspect should be treated as an enemy combatant under military law.

Now, apparently the FBI did invoke a “public safety” exception to the Miranda Warning and not give it to him right away, but apparently that allows only a delay in the warning but doesn’t allow to to not give it ever.

Yet several articles are suggesting that those two and other Republic congressmen think he shouldn’t even have a civilian trial.

So some questions for discussion:

Have they been misinterpeted? 

What do people think about the “Public Safety” rule that apparently allows police to delay the Miranda Warning.

What do people think of suggestions that the guy should be prosecuted through the military justice system instead of a civilian trial?

Keep in mind that we are talking about a US citizen who violated US laws on US soil.  Not someone taken on the battlefields of Afghanistan. 

Personally I’d rather this be dealt with in state courts first, and the only advantage of making a federal case now that they’ve been caught is that the MA death penalty statues are apparently not enforceable.

[32] Posted by AndrewA on 4-23-2013 at 07:22 AM · [top]

RE: “What do people think of suggestions that the guy should be prosecuted through the military justice system instead of a civilian trial?”

I guess my question has been and continues to be: “are we are war?”

During the cold war, had an American citizen gone over to the other side and become a Russian agent [albeit without transferring citizenship], and then, say, killed some American spies, what would we have done?  What *did* we do, for that matter?

[33] Posted by Sarah on 4-23-2013 at 07:44 AM · [top]

“During the cold war, had an American citizen gone over to the other side and become a Russian agent [albeit without transferring citizenship], and then, say, killed some American spies, what would we have done?  What *did* we do, for that matter? “

Interesting question.  Do you know of any examples of that happening?

Closest example I can think of is various spies that betrayed secrets leading to the death of American recruited spies within Communist Bloc countries.

[34] Posted by AndrewA on 4-23-2013 at 07:54 AM · [top]

AndrewA, that is an interesting question and it is being extensively discussed in various conservative places.  The “public safety” exception to allow early questioning doesn’t appear to have been taken, which is naive, in my opinion.  Now reports are saying Djokhar Tsarnaev denies anyone else was involved, and that seems to settle that.  This may also be naive.  I did learn something surprising from Orin Kerr at, a legal blog.  There is no requirement that a suspect be given a Miranda warning either immediately or at all, despite what we all think from watching crime shows.  In court, prosecutors cannot use statements made by the suspect if he wasn’t given the Miranda warning, but they can use any physical evidence developed as a result of non-Miranda interrogation.  That I didn’t know.  So, since the physical evidence against the Boston bomber is likely to be quite strong, there was no actual prosecutorial need to Mirandize him at all.

He is an American citizen, and I believe he should be prosecuted in American courts, and you’re right, AndrewA, he’s more likely to be executed if he is convicted on federal charges.  And, frankly, given the charade which the military tribunals have become, he’s more likely to be convicted at all, within a rational amount of time, in our justice system than he would be at Guantanamo.

[35] Posted by Katherine on 4-23-2013 at 11:58 AM · [top]

Just to be a little bit of a stickler, the fertilizer plant explosion was in Waxahachie, not Waco, Fr. Tim.  There are 65 miles between those towns, though both are located along I-35, between Dallas and Austin.  Waxahachie is home to a large Czech community and produces the best kolaches on the planet, in case you ever get to visit.

[36] Posted by Cindy T. in TX on 5-4-2013 at 11:45 PM · [top]

Cindy… I really hate to do this…  Perhaps it was late when you posted last night (and I’ve fallen in that trap too).

The plant explosion happened in West, not Waco or Waxahachie.  West is about 18 miles north of Waco on I-35.  As a former Wacoan, I can say Cindy is correct about the Czech flavor of West and the kolaches.  If you’re ever on the road between D/FW and Waco, you should really stop in for one.

[37] Posted by Reformed Wanderer on 5-5-2013 at 05:12 AM · [top]

Does anyone think that the chemical weapons attack in Syria might be a Reichstag fire moment?

[38] Posted by Betty See on 9-14-2013 at 03:40 PM · [top]

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