Ice Follies of 2019

Programming note: Tonight, Monday, I’ll be checking in with Tucker Carlson, live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific, with a rerun for the West Coast at midnight Eastern. If you’re in the presence of the receiving apparatus, I hope you’ll dial us up.

Meanwhile, a few notes on the passing scene to start the week:

~Because AOC and the open-borders left want to abolish ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the right is obliged to defend it. This is a pity, because ICE is a deeply weird agency with, to put it mildly, increasingly curious and eccentric priorities.

Last week, for example, under crack agent Tatum King, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit staged (that seems the appropriate word) a raid in Oakland of the Oakland Raiders game:

ICE targeted vendors of unauthorized T-shirts, hats, caps and bandannas. The agency said the raid was done in partnership with NFL brand security representatives and state and local law enforcement. The Oakland Police Department said it was not involved.

Officials said they seized about $11,000 worth of illegal swag — undoubtedly, most of it silver and black — during the ‘Monday Night Football’ game and its pre- and postgame tailgate parties.

Tatum King, special agent in charge of the San Francisco Homeland Security Investigations unit, said about 400 pieces of merchandise were seized but no one was arrested. NFL brand officials issued warning letters and may be pursuing civil action, he said.

As they should – and in small claims court, if eleven grand is the best a no-expense-spared federal-state-local raid with everyone in the full Robocop can come up with.

But what business is it of ICE’s “Homeland Security Investigations” division? This arrest-less “raid” and its attendant publicity ballyhoo undoubtedly cost US taxpayers more than the barely five figures’ worth of Oakland Raiders swag they’re now passing round the office.

Like ICE, HSI was created post-9/11 – to enforce four hundred laws “combating terrorism and enhancing national security”. How did staging dinner-theatre raids to seize eleven grand’s worth of knock-off NFL merchandise become an ICE priority? Which it undoubtedly is:

King said the agency is committed to ensuring the public purchases ‘legitimate products’ instead of cheaper knockoffs often sold outside stadiums like the Coliseum.

Indeed. The Oakland raid is part of a well-established pattern. Me five years ago:

Thirteen years ago, I opposed the creation of the ‘Department of Homeland Security’ – on the classic Thatcherite ground that if you create a bureaucracy to deal with a problem you’ll never be rid of it. I had expected the usual ‘mission creep’ but that term barely covers what’s happened in the last decade. There is no ‘homeland security’: At the southern border, the homeland is wide open, and ICE and the Border Patrol, which (like CBP) are both part of DHS, are actively colluding in homeland insecurity.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security ‘agents’ busy themselves raiding the Foxy Lady strip club in Brockton, Massachusetts, because the foxy ladies were giving away knock-off Red Sox or Patriots merchandise with every two lap dances, and dispatching six vehicles to a home in Statesville, North Carolina to seize an imported Land Rover that doesn’t meet EPA emissions standards.

Tatum King appears to be the usual showboating tosspot in this regard. The picture above shows him after a previous raid netted him some Golden State Warriors merchandise. Agent King can’t keep actual MS-13 warriors out of the Golden State, but he can crack down on underpriced baseball caps and sweatshirts.

The President has declared, repeatedly, that there is an emergency at the southern border. I agree with that. He has also said that, therefore, he needs more resources. That’s harder to agree with when a rogue bureaucracy refuses to act as if there’s an emergency and deploy its existing resources accordingly.

In fact, I’m not sure the left’s alleged war on ICE isn’t just their usual sly deflection, intended to provide a bit of useful cover for a subversive immigration bureaucracy to carry on doing as it’s done for a generation now and refuse to enforce existing immigration law – at least for anything that matters. (As I mentioned on Clubland Q&A last week, the zealots of Homeland Security managed to prevent Douglas Murray giving a speech on immigration to an immigration-enforcement group in Washington – which is almost as impressive a demonstration of priorities as raiding Oakland Raiders and the Foxy Lady strip club.)

In support of my modest conspiracy theory, I note that Special Agent King’s $11,000 haul was procured “in partnership” with “state and local law enforcement”. Oakland is a “sanctuary city” and California is a “sanctuary state”. Which supposedly means that “state and local law enforcement” won’t cooperate with ICE.

Except when it comes to cracking down on knock-off NFL T-shirts.

So much of the ruling bureaucracy, at all levels, is a joke. Donald Trump was elected, in part, because his voters wanted government to get real. Their refusal to do so, and his inability to force them, is disturbing, and an affront to the American people.

~Speaking of jokes, I give up. Just a few days ago, I did an impromptu parody of a Joe Biden anecdote:

But you can’t parody the master. Here’s Joe Biden in Wilmington with what sounds like a Biden parody of a Steyn parody of a Biden anecdote. The Esther Williams bit is truly inspired. Floundering above, I threw in Brigitte Bardot towards the end, but really Esther Williams is way funnier:

As a fearsome gang, Corn Pop and the Romans would make a pretty good mid-Fifties doowop group. Truly, a genius at work.

~Guest-hosting for Rush the other day, I had a lively exchange with a caller who wanted me to join him in blaming America for polluting the oceans. I pointed out that the United States’ ocean pollution is minimal, and doesn’t even rank in the Top Ten – unlike Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, etc. I ended the call by advising him to call Bangladesh’s Number One talk show instead, and gave him the name of the relevant radio honcho to get in touch with.

In fairness, I should modify my previous breezy assurance that Americans don’t pollute the oceans. It turns out there is one group of serial ocean polluters in the United States – those citizens who, instead of just tossing their garbage in the landfill, faithfully separate out their plastics for “recycling”. This touching ritual of civic virtue-signaling recently ended in Franklin County, Virginia when the public works department announced the end of plastics recycling:

The decision stems from an announcement from China two years ago that it would no longer accept plastic recycling. Much of the plastic recycled in the United States was taken to China.

With the change, EMI Recycling in Bassett began charging Franklin County for its recycled plastic, according to Don Smith, director of Franklin County Public Works. The cost, Smith said, became too great to transport the plastic to Bassett, and he also questioned what was being done with the plastic since China was no longer accepting it.

Smith said plastic now goes to other countries such as Malaysia, Thailand or Indonesia. These countries take portions of plastic that are the cleanest and easiest to recycle, and either burn the rest or dump it in the ocean.

Malaysia, Thailand or Indonesia: Now where have I heard those names before? Oh, yeah – as three of the Top Eight global ocean polluters. So American “environmentalists” get to feel virtuous by ostentatiously setting out their recyclables on suburban sidewalks – and then it gets shipped to south-east Asia and tossed in the ocean.

~Thank you to everyone who helped make the Second Annual Mark Steyn Cruise also our second fully sold-out voyage. After a week in Alaska’s Inside Passage, we returned to Vancouver a few days ago after a grand survey of magnificent glaciers (studded with recyclable plastic that had floated over from Indonesia). I’m grateful to all my special guests, and above all to our hundreds of cruisers. Gilbert and Sarah Mane, who were assuredly the best dancers on this year’s Steyn cruise, write from Down Under:

My wife, Sarah and I are from Sydney Australia and we committed months ago to join the Second Mark Steyn Cruise to Alaska. We had pretty high expectations and they were met and, indeed, exceeded. It was well-organised, we loved Mark’s steady hand on the tiller, the guests, the music, the poetry and the stories. Mark’s afternoon conversations with special guests were thought-provoking and entertaining. A highlight was the camaraderie of fellow Steyn Fan boys and girls from around the English speaking world – and the Czech Republic – especially at mealtimes when there was a good opportunity for in-depth conversation. We met up with a half dozen or so fellow Aussies and have already made plans to form a Steyn Support Group, Southern Hemisphere Branch… We have already put in our application for the Mediterranean. 6 Stars out of 5.

Thank you for that, Gilbert. See you on the Med for our Third Annual Steyn Cruise, with the Trump-pardoned Conrad Black, the above-mentioned Douglas Murray and of course the consummate cruiser Michele Bachmann among our shipmates. As ever, we’ll be attempting some seaboard versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Tales for Our Time, our Sunday Poem and other favorite features. If you’re minded to give it a go, don’t leave it too late, as the price is more favorable the earlier you book.

~We had a busy weekend at SteynOnline, starting with the latest edition of our Clubland Q&A, in which I answered a host of questions from Mark Steyn Club members live around the planet, on a slew of subjects from the Democrat debate and the Felicity Huffman sentence to creeping kritarchy and binary economics. You can listen to the full show here. Saturday’s movie date was a honeypot hit for Peter Fonda, and Sunday’s song selection went “Swingin’ on a Star“.

We also reached the conclusion of our audio adaptation, for Mark Steyn Club members, of our enviro-bestseller Climate Change: The Facts. You can listen to the final episode here, but, if you’ve yet to hear any of this very popular series, you can always sign up for the Steyn Club and have a good old-fashioned binge-listen starting with Episode One. If you were too busy raiding your local little-league team’s T-shirt stand this weekend, I hope you’ll want to check out one or three of the foregoing as a new week commences.

See you on the telly with Tucker.