ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Thanks, Ted Rall!

Just when you start to worry that the Left will at some point wake up and take the War On Terror seriously, they offer up some more stupidity.

Ted Rall's comic from Thursday is a great example:
Ted Rall is a horse's hind end

Here he's attacking the soldiers who fired upon Sgrena's car as it sped at them at 100 mph in Baghdad...at night. They ended up killing an Italian agent and wounding several others in the car. I haven't ventured into blasting the Left on this one because it's being handled by some major blogs, such as Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs (case in point).

While the Left laps up Sgrena's conflicting accounts of her own story (failing to show any skepticism of a reporter for a Communist rag), they immediately criticize the US military. Ted Rall & his ilk should be ashamed.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Too few teachers?

Interesting op-ed in the WSJ yesterday (subscription required) from Chester Finn Jr.

The statistic that jumped out on the page to me, was that although students have increased 50% in the last 50 years, the number of teachers has increased almost 300%.

He notes that if the teaching force increase had just remained in-line with enrollments, teachers would earn an average of $100,000 a year.

He outlines several areas of interest:

What America has done, these past 50 years, is invest in more teachers rather than better ones, even as countless appealing and lucrative options have opened up for the able women who once poured into public schooling.

No wonder there are shortages in key branches of this sprawling profession. When you employ three million people and you don't pay very well, it's hard to keep a field fully staffed, especially in locales (rural communities, tough urban schools) that aren't too enticing and in subjects such as math and science where well-qualified individuals can earn big bucks doing something else.

He also outlines how we got to this point:
[T]he seductiveness of smaller classes. Teachers want fewer kids in their classrooms and parents think their children will be better off, despite scant evidence that students learn more in smaller classes, particularly from less able instructors.
...
[T]he institutional interests that benefit from a larger teaching force, above all dues-collecting (and influence-seeking) unions, and colleges of education whose revenues (tuition, state subsidies) and size (all those faculty slots) depend on their enrollments.
...
[T]he social forces pushing schools to treat children differently from one another, creating one set of classes for the gifted, others for children with handicaps, those who want to learn Japanese, who seek full-day kindergarten or who crave more community-service opportunities.

All of these make a lot of sense in my opinion. Limiting the influence of the NEA and the Education cabal at the university level and instead focus on allowing subject matter experts in the classroom, rewarding good teachers instead of those that just put in their time, and provide pay for the most needed areas.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

The WiFi revolution

Echoing my co-conspirator's comments below, I also frequent Panera quite a bit. There is usually one nearby at most of the places I frequent, its food service is consistent, its staff varies from extremely friendly, to more than adequate, its food is tasty, and its wireless service is very functional. Oh, and free.

Free is so much more than cheap though too. There's no accounts to worry about, no usernames or passwords to remember, etc. No having to account for the bill, or worrying if the monthly charge is worth it or not.

And I can't see how its not a money-maker for Panera as well. Its costs per month for a hotspot can't be much, and if it drives traffic to their store to sell an extra 10 latte's a week, I would think it would pay for itself. And it keeps me out of the starbucks across the street.

One aspect of the Panera service is that when you first connect it presents you with a terms of service agreement for you to agree to, before letting you onto the Internet at large. During that time Panera makes an offer to you to sign up for their email newsletter for "follow-up" marketing. It seems to me that any of the "fee" wifi providers could do something similar. I'd be happy to sit through an 60 second ad for an hour or two's worth of internet service.

I also wonder the same thing about the airport WiFi services. The last 3 large airports (non-GA) that I've flown through have had internet service, but they all charge $3-7 per hour or a flat $10 per day for service. If I had a 3-4 hour layover I suppose that wouldn't be so bad, but for the 20 minutes before the gate agent starts boarding the flight it has little value. But wouldn't marketers like to be able to show me an ad, or get marketing info from me in exchange for those 20 minutes? Wouldn't an airport authority like a survey of all travelers traveling through their airport? I'll gladly part with some of that information, in exchange for the connection to the world.

The killer WiFi location for me however would be the local bar. There is an Irish pub within walking distance of my house. When I've been there for a late lunch (2-5) during afternoons, etc, the place is dead. If they sell 3 beers during that timeframe they are ahead. Why not put a wifi hotspot in, and allow me to browse the internet while drinking from my pint? Sell even 1 beer to me more than you used to, and you've paid for the bandwidth I've consumed. During peak periods, where you may not want people "chilling out", simply turn the service off (with sufficient warning).

Laptops are a commodity, WiFi is integrated and will only become more so. Hooks in the major OS's make signing up for any "open" hotspot trivial. With a free service, you don't have to provide technical support (beyond maybe a brochure), you increase the network effect of your brand, and you drive customers during your "off" times when your paying for the lights and electricity and employee's anyway.

I may just need to go down and talk to my local barkeep...... Maybe I can work out a "beer" for service arrangement.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that the entire day's worth of blogging was done from a Panera in Hillary!'s home town. No, her real hometown. My in-laws live just a few miles, and this is a great place to catch up on work, etc., while they get visiting time with my Emma-Doll.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

60 Minutes Rendition Story - Missing Info

H/T Registan.net
***UPDATE***
More info on the specific Uzbek allegations by Murray from Registan.net here.

I watched 60 minutes last sunday (I know, I should know better) and they featured this former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, seen here with Scott "The Chin" Pelley.



***Clarification***
The story was on a process called rendition (originated in the Clinton administration) whereby foreign nationals caught by US troops in battle are returned to their native country. This is not done 100% of the time, and depends on the nature of those captured (ie if we captured OBL, we wouldn't send him back to Suadi Arabia). CBS is concerned that when these foreign nationals are returned to their home countries, they will be tortured - which probably does occur. They relied heavily on an interview with Craig Murray, former Ambassador to Uzbekistan (which borders Afghanistan) and who was apparently aware of some harsh torture taking place in that country.
***End Clarification***

Well, it turns out that this guy (Craig Murray) isn't just any former ambassador... he's a candidate for a Member of Parliament (MP) slot in the UK. And his website features the following reasons for the people of Blackburn to vote for him:

Why Vote Against Jack [Straw and for Craig Murray] ?
  1. A vote for Jack Straw is a vote for a dossier of lies. Jack Straw was in charge when MI6 when produced its "dodgy dossier" on Iraq. Then he led us into an illegal war, based on lies, against the wishes of the UN security council.
  2. A vote for Jack Straw is a vote for torture. Jack Straw expressly agreed that MI6 should use intelligence material obtained under torture, in tyrannical regimes like Uzbekistan.
  3. A vote for Jack Straw is a vote for George Bush. Under Jack Straw, our Foreign Office has slavishly sold out Britain's principles for blind support of the USA.
Now, this doesn't eliminate the concern over torture of people in Uzbekistan - although what the Uzbeks do with their own citizenry that we capture on a battlefield is really not something we have control over. I would guess that if were instead to take the Uzbeks we capture in Afghanistan and transfer them to Gitmo or some other US facility, little Craiggie would be all atwitter about the US kidnapping foreign nationals and not returning them to their home governments... I feel that this may be less about what happens to those captured and more about Craig Murray/Bush. We can pressure them diplomatically, or I supposed we could invade them too and enforce democracy and human rights on them, too... although I suspect Craig wouldn't approve that either, based on his statement above about Iraq.

Other interesting info from his website:
Like so many of the British people, I was aghast as we launched an illegal war, plainly against the wishes of the UN Security Council. We were so sure we would lose at the UN we didn’t even put it to the vote.

Like many in the FCO I knew in advance that the so-called dossier on weapons of mass destruction was full of lies. 152 of its alleged "facts" are now known to be complete fabrication.
When my weatherman incorrectly predicts the weather, do I call him a liar and demand that he resign? No, I understand that his predictions for the future were based on information he currently has - and with time and more information, his predictions would become more accurate.
Now they tell us the WMD were not the reason for war but rather it was to bring democracy to Iraq. Yet at the same time the West is giving financial and military support to the Karimov regime in Uzbekistan, one of the most brutal regimes in the World.
Have patience, Craig.. have patience, my good man... sometimes, convincing your friends to follow your lead is easier than forcing your enemies... Or, I s'pose we could invade on Monday, if you'd like... Now, we should remember that Bush has been talking about the spread of freedom into the Middle East as an issue of US National Security for 4 #$%ing years, but yeah... we were totally blindsided by this democracy in the middle east argument... where in the heck did THAT come from? (those wily neocons)
We appear to have sold out the principle of support for international law and the United Nations. We have replaced it with the notion of a new world order based on one superpower, led by George Bush, and that we will benefit from being his best friend.
Nevermind that the UN has its own torture camps running in Africa - in the form of sexual abuse and pedophilia networks.
This is a website for those who wish actively to work against the neo-conservative world order.
Hmmmm, if he's using the term NeoCon as it's used by the hardcore Left, I'd have to say that he's an Anti-Semite, too! Perhaps he really just means "hard right-wingers who used to be Lefties"... well, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.
If we can defeat Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, in Blackburn we can send the strongest possible signal of disapproval of the Bush/Blair foreign policy.
ahhhh, his election is about stickin' it to Bush! It might have helped put Craig's information in perspective if CBS had disclosed that Craig isn't exactly a "fan" of the War On Terror, democracy in the Middle East, etc, etc. Or mentioned that Craig was not just some former ambassador, but a political candidate running against a top Blair cabinet minister? But hey, we're talking CBS' 60 Minutes here, so we shouldn't expect them to question the biases of anti-Bushies.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, March 11, 2005

Condi '08

Must credit Drudge on this one, too...

Rice yesterday pointedly declined to rule out running for president in 2008 on Friday during an hour-long interview with reporters in office of the editor in chief WASHINGTON TIMES, top sources tell DRUDGE. Rice gave her most detailed explanation of a 'mildly pro-choice' stance on abortion, she would not want the government 'forcing its views' on abortion... She explained that she is libertarian on the issue, adding: 'I have been concerned about a government role'... Developing late Friday for Saturday cycles... MORE...

Condoleezza Rice Does Not Rule Out Prez Run 2008; 'Mildly Pro-choice' Stance On Abortion
And you know what this means? Perhaps we'll have Rovian conspiracies for another four eight years!!

Yeah, Condi!!!

Now, what will be really interesting is the way that the MSM will fawn all over Hillary and her "centrist" positions... while attacking Condi as a neocon nutjob.

Now, abortion certainly isn't the only issue that we choose a President on... and her position is probably closer to that of the American people in general (it's terrible, limits are appropriate, outright prohibition isn't the solution, education (ultrasounds pre-procedure) is beneficial, etc.) The key thing we know about a Condi presidency is that it'd be a continuation of the Bush Doctrine and the continuation of the expansion of freedom abroad. HRC would likely be something much different... to say the least.

***Update, 3/12 - Comments from Captain Ed ***

And this transcript from the Washington Times.

***UPDATED, 3/13***
Ugggh... she just said "I will not run" Meet the Left Press with former Cuomo aide Tim Russert. That sucks. Perhaps this is like Kerry's "promise" about Form 180 on Meet the Left Press a couple of weeks ago and there's some "nuance" to the statement? Perhaps it depends on the meaning of "will"?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

N Korea - Things are likely to get worse before they improve

H/T - Drudge

InterestAlert.com has an interesting article about a crackdown in North Korea.

N. Korea launches harsh crackdown
By JONG-HEON LEE

SEOUL, March 11 (UPI) -- North Korea has recently tightened state control over its hunger-hit population amid U.S.-led pressure over its nuclear weapons program and human right conditions, sources here say.

South Korean officials and analysts interpret the move as part of efforts to prevent mounting outside threats over the nuclear standoff from triggering internal threats or opposition to the Stalinist leadership.

[...]

According to North Korean defectors and intelligence sources in Seoul, human trafficking is rampant in North Korea for sex trade and labor. "Attitudes towards sex have changed dramatically in North Korea," said a defector who resettled in Seoul last year.

"North Korean women who illegally crossed the border into China for food were sold into the sex trade," he said. "Female fugitives are working in restaurants and karaoke in China to earn money," the defector said.

The open execution comes at a time when outside influence is seeping in the watertight society. North Koreans traveling to China are exposed to the rapidly spreading capitalist culture there, and some of them smuggle radios and CDs containing South Korean songs and TV dramas, which are popular in most of Asia.

With no signs of a revival of the country's tattered economy, cracks were starting to show in North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's dynastic control. Leaflets and posters against Kim's rule appeared in the nation.

In the face of growing cracks in the system, North Korea amended its criminal code last year increasing penalties for expressing criticism of the government and other "anti-state" crimes. The revision, the fifth since 1950, also calls for tougher regulation on new crimes caused by infiltration of outside information.

North Korea also postponed its legislative session, which was due to open this month, in an apparent bid to tighten domestic control over the people by fanning a sense of crisis across the country.

In its New Year message, North Korea put top priority on preventing the influx of any capitalist culture into the closed society. Under the message, North Korean security agents have launched aggressive crackdown on "anti-socialist" behaviors in border areas since January.

So far this year, North Korea has executed more than 60 citizens to warn its people against committing any "anti-republic" behaviors, such as illegal border crossing and information leakage, according to a Seoul-based relief group.

[...]

Hundreds of households close to China were also forced to relocate to remote areas farther from the border to prevent their involvement in illegal border activities, such as human trafficking.

The North's authorities have also banned the use of mobile phones and confiscate them to prevent information from being leaked to the outside world.

North Korea introduced mobile service in November 2002, with cell phones from Motorola Corp. of the United States and Nokia Corp. of Finland, and Nokia is available in the market in Pyongyang. The number of mobile phone users increased to more than 20,000 in 2003, according to Chosun Sinbo, a newspaper run by pro-Pyongyang ethnic Koreans in Japan.

But the use of mobile phones has helped pierce North Korea's Iron Curtain and break down the Pyongyang regime, which insulates itself through isolating citizens, curbing the spread of information.

Many North Koreans, including border peddlers and border guards, have Chinese cell phones, and they easily contact South Koreans with them in the border areas. They make cell phone calls to their South Korean relatives or North Korean defectors to ask for cash or other economic aid, South Korean officials say.

North Koreans are using Chinese telecommunication networks to reach South Korean phones, intelligence sources here say. Chinese communication firms, which have rapidly expanded their cell phone services, recently installed relay stations along the border with North Korea, which has kindled a cell phone boom in North Korea.

The Chinese devices are charged using pre-paid phone cards, and cost some 400 Chinese yuan (less than $50) for three month's use.

Despite the strict measures, mobile phones have served as conveyer belts of information from the outside world to help combat decades of state-sponsored propaganda and misinformation, defectors say.

How to maintain the closure of the society in this globalized world community? This is a huge dilemma for North Korea to keep the hermit kingdom afloat.
Kim will (incorrectly) assume that he can stop this spread of information... heck, he could succeed at it, but not without slaughtering thousands. Imagine being executed because you own a cell phone... or being relocated because you lived too close to the Canadian border? Or, heading into Canada for food, being taken advantage of and sold into sex slavery, and then returning to US and being shot... difficult to imagine the insanity that is North Korea under Kim Jong Il. But, seriously....we shouldn't call North Korea part of the Axis of Evil... Let's go back to "a State of Concern" (ala Clinton/Albright)... It has a much warmer feel to it.

And of course, the LA Times piece from Barbara Demick (who was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt) went into every detail of this crackdown and the growing oppression in North Korea. Most interesting quote from the interview (IMO)?
[Hewitt:] If North Korea were to open its borders and pursue an economy with the same policies as South Korea, do you expect it would be as successful as the South has been in building an industrial base and economic growth?

[Demick:] No
Ummm, she's either a commie or an idiot. Does she think that the South Koreans became successful because they're that much different than the North?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Bloggonetrix - I signed up and so should you!!!

IowaHawk has a great post on his new Blogger consulting service: Bloggonetrix... Since I've only been on for a few weeks, I've signed up! So should you! Just look at the insight he provides:

Welcome, everybody, to the exciting new hi-tech world of internet-based blogging! Did you know that today, over 7 million Americans are writing their own blogs -- and nearly 1.2 million Americans are actually reading them? With mind-boggling numbers like that, no wonder you are thinking about "taking a high dive" into the red-hot blogosphere jacuzzi. But as a multi-month veteran of the "scene," I have too often witnessed the same tragic story -- a naive rookie sets up a blog, posts a few articles, gets stymied by the lack of site hits, and quits in frustration to spend more time with his family. When I developed Bloggonetrix™, I vowed that my system would help prevent another repeat of this senseless heartbreak.

Everyday, I hear the same frustrated questions -- "Dave, why isn't my blog attracting more anonymous strangers?" or "Dave, where is that twenty I loaned you last week?" My answer is always the same -- you didn't plan to fail, you failed to plan. In a rush to hop the gravy train to the blogosphere Klondike, many nascent bloggers forget to prepare properly. Without the proper toolkit, they end up being jolted from the gravy train, roll down a rocky embankment, and end up under a trestle -- cooking soup over a can of Sterno, while the other blog hoboes play mournful tunes on their harmonicas.

Which brings us to lesson #1 in the Bloggonetrix™ system: Always start with the right equipment. Even though blogs come in all shape and sizes and coherences, they all start with the same basic building blocks. The key here is to make sure that you have "all your cows in a row" before you "take the plunge." Here are some of the basic items you'll need:
  1. A computer. When John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry developed the first digital computing machine at Iowa State University in 1937, little did they know that their invention would become an integral part of a sophisticated worldwide cat picture distribution system. Today, you can buy a miniature commercial version of that same machine at local retailers, such as Best Buy or Wal-Mart. If you search around enough, you can find great bargains from independent resellers like Larry, the nervous guy in my neighborhood who has a camper full of gently used computer and car stereo gear. Ask your salesman to help you select the right model, and don't forget to buy a keyboard and monitor, the thingy that looks like a TV set.
[...]
read it all for more helpful insights.

I'm using a sure-fire tool for traffic (Chp 32): If hyperblogs won't link to you, send them a trackback! They can delete it, but a few secs is enough!

Now, just have to sit back and wait for the Insta IowaHawk-alanche... or whatever it'd be called. While I wait, I'll go notify my blog ads and update my going rate!

IowaHawk - great job as usual... (assuming you EVER click on that trackback links before you delete it.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Rather Redux

Jonah Goldbergh on Rather's departure in today's NRO ("The Big 'I' Retires"):

Sentimentalism about the victims of society may be an admirable trait in a man, but in a journalist who claims to prize objectivity above all else it’s a betrayal. How do you define “victim”? How do you define “looking out” for him? For Rather’s critics it was always clear that he saw the government as the protector of the little guy. And that meant anyone who favored reducing the role of the federal government was automatically the bad guy.

“The new Republican majority in Congress took a big step today on its legislative agenda to demolish or damage government aid programs, many of them designed to help children and the poor,” Dan Rather began one typical segment. That these programs didn’t do what they were designed to do wasn’t an important part of the story for Rather.

Rather could always be counted on to elevate certain facts, certain experts, certain arguments as more important than others. Perhaps that’s an inevitable feature of all media — but especially of TV and print, where a few players have enormous influence. One needn’t be a postmodern relativist to understand that journalistic objectivity — the ideal of reporting the facts without prejudice or favor — is an unattainable goal.

I have no objection to journalists having biases, much as I have no objection to two plus two equaling four. One may choose to accept the fact or not, but it is a fact nonetheless. Dan Rather, however, always insisted his reporting was bias-free, that he was calling the facts, and just the facts. His career as anchor ended in large part because he couldn’t accept that something he had reported wasn’t true and that he had rushed to report it because of an agenda that wasn’t stamped with an “I” [for Independent.] The irony is that that’s what his career was always about.
And this is exactly the point... While those of us on the Right see this bias in a majority of news stories, those on the Left fail to recognize it at all and still cling to the concept of journalists as objective arbiters of the Truth.

As I mentioned here, the key points about Rathergate isn't that Dan Rather is a liberal stooge, but that there is no such thing as an objective journalist anywhere. Sure, some are better at considering both sides than others (and Dan certainly wasn't one of those), but there will always be bias when someone puts pen & ink to paper (or bytes to a harddrive).

The benefits of the blogosphere is that, while people don't know what my opinion on any given issue is going to be (we're not all cookie cutter reproductions of each other), there's a little section in the upper right of this blog that explicitly tells you my inclinations. The fact that the MSM keeps up the facade of their objectivity is what drives us nuts. It's like looking outside and seeing rain and your friend tells you it's sunny and clear out... you just don't understand why your friend can't see the millions of raindrops or feel the water hit his face and you either think he's absolutely insane or thinks he can lie to you about it and you'd be stupid enough to believe him.

***UPDATE***
Thomas Sowell on the issue...
H/T - DoublePlusGood

BTW, if you don't ready Thomas Sowell, you're missing out... Here's one of his fine books that I enjoyed... good primmer.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Bankruptcy Bill

RedState contributor Josh Trevino provides some pretty effective arguments against the Bankruptcy reform bill. However, I think that some reform is required, although perhaps not in the form recommended by the the Congress.

First, there should be restrictions to keep consumers from abusing the bankruptcy system. The nature and form of those restrictions can be discussed, but the fact that consumers should be responsible for their over-consumption is something that I'm in favor of.

Second, there should've been added restrictions on the enticements that the credit card companies currently engage in. Their aggressive lending practices to those that are clearly unable to sustain the credit levels offered to them is problematic. However, I do NOT want to move to the European system (or return to 1970s America), where credit cards are virtually non-existent (resulting in fewer commercial transactions). Imposing cap on amount of credit extended to a person based on their income would suffice.

Credit should not be extended to those under the age of 18, given that they can quickly become saddled with debt before they even enter into the workfoce.

The protections for seniors is a noble gesture... however, imposing a cut-off on those protections based on age would be unfair (e.g. someone at 64, saddled by debt wouldn't receive the same protections as someone who is 12 months their senior). Protections (or lack thereof) should be applied across the board... if you're not willing to extend them to everyone, then perhaps you recognize the costs of this loophole.

Credit interest rates used to be low until the Carter years, when all interest rates skyrocketed. While other financing rates dropped, the credit card rates didn't and people continued to use them. Prior to the carter years, use of credit was limited as a percentage of US transactions... While our economy has become more sophisticated, some of its consumers have not. and this is the kicker.... what is really required is education education education about finance, economics, etc. Based on some of the idiocy coming from the Left, Center, and even some on the Right, there is an across the board lack of understanding about the economy, finance, or how the free market works.

But hey, I'm just a jerk posting on some blog...

***** UPDATE *****
JustOneMinute has an interesting proposal... force those offering credit to explicitly identify penalties, % of those paying those penalties/fees, etc. (instead of burying that info in the fine print).

I'm all behind it. Let's push for it. Sending a copy of his recommendations to my Senators/congressman.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Free WiFi

Can I just say that Panera Bread Company (aka St Louis Bread Company in my region) has really won my favor with their free WiFi. I've been visiting their locations over the past year and a half with my laptop... And did I mention that it's free?

The interesting thing is that free WiFi fits in with their corporate strategy. In addition to early morning, lunch, and "lunch in the evening" business, Panera directly targets what they call AM & PM "Chill-out," those times between meals where they'd like patrons to come in and spend some time. With their 700+ locations, they are now the largest free WiFi provider in the country.

As Panera continues to offer its access free of charge, will other business in the same market space follow their lead? For example, at one location in my area, St Louis Bread Co shares a building with Starbucks. I would assume that Panera's signal bleeds over into the Starbucks area (who charges for WiFi as part of their T-Mobile partnership). At what point does Starbucks realize that chill-out enhances their business?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: StWendeler

*posted from a St Louis Bread Co... somewhere in the Midwest.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hate Mail

Don't want to get in a Left/Right pissing match over who sends/receives more hatemail. But, can we all agree that hatemail such as that received by Charles @ Little Green Footballs is wrong and should be denounced by both sides?

Of course, Charles did his cybersleuthing and traced them to this guy at wagnews.blogspot.com who - based on his posts - is either completely unhinged or is slated to be the next DNC Chair! (but in all seriousness, I wish that the DUers/Kossacks/Ollie's weren't parroting this type of idiocy on their sites...

http://wagnews.blogspot.com/2005/03/sgrena-hit-how-they-did-it-and-why.html

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Slip of the tongue

H/T InDC Journal

ConfederateYankee has caught that cute little irrelevant Ollie in a little slip of the tongue misstatement or perhaps Ollie has had passionate manlove with Mr GuckerGoschGannon (whatever the heck his name is!).

Oliver's Credibility Problem
A few weeks ago, Oliver Willis went on C-Span with Patrick Ruffini. Glenn Reynolds caught the same comment from O-Dub that several of us did, that, "I'm just not willing to launch a headhunting campaign against someone based on secondhand reports."

Ollie went on to email Glenn: "Now, am I willing to launch a campaign based on firsthand knowledge? You bet."

So now, I am terribly confused.

By quick review of O-Dub's site, I counted at least a dozen posts about Jeff Gannon, including one where he called Gannon a male hooker.

But based upon Oliver's insistence that he wouldn't launch a headhunting campaign on secondhand reports, we are left to assume Oliver has firsthand, personal knowledge to corroborate this claim, correct?


Ollie, have you ever watched any Gladiator movies?



Why, yes... yes, I have!

*Not that there's anything wrong with that. Oh, and it's all about the hypocrisy... ummm, and Ollie (and his party) is just so darn huggably irrelevant. We Love ya, Ollie!!! Keep it up, buddy! Some day, you'll convince us!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

HRC's Hat is in the ring

Well, we already knew that she was going to run for Pres back in 2000. But, I think any pretending that she's still undecided can be dismissed...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/10/politics/10hillary.html

With her up there next to Santorum and Lieberman, she's positioning herself for the center already, as she's probably already got the Kossacks, the MoreOns, and the Ollies in the bag.

Oh, Joy...


Hillary and her good buddies... Can you say "Triangulate?"

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

My name is Rather. And I'm a dick

Whenever you find yourself in need of a laugh (say, after you've peered into the deep, deep darkness that is the habitat of the Left's conspirazoid mind), a quick click over to Mr. IowaHawk cures what ails ya.

Latest involves the adventures of a detective named Rather.

I stared blankly out the window, deep in thought, as the Zephyr raced westward toward L.A. The questions kept pouring out of my mind like the cheap rotgut at a Bill Moyers PBS fundraiser. Were the Blog Boys planning another fake-but-true document heist? Was Fat Man Rove laying another ingenious forgery trap? Why were all those people outside the train window waving with one finger? I would have my answers soon enough, and I knew where to get them.

When the train pulled into L.A. Union Station, I grabbed a cable car for Los Feliz and a little jazz dive called "The Proportional Font." I had a surprise date with a certain zoot suit hepcat bloghopper, name of Charlie Johnson, and I was packing a .38 caliber corsage. I had tangled with this dangerous jazzbo before (Dan Rather #31: My Teleprompter is Deadly) and thought I'd bring a little insurance in case he went into one of his narcotic reefer-pill laughing fits.
I won't ruin it, so pop on over to IowaHawk.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Anatomy of a Conspiracy - Lefkow-Hale-GANNON-ROVE-BUSH!!!

Subtitle: How is it that these Lefty's end up spouting some of the strangest theories that have no basis in reality?

Let's take a look at a recent piece of news... the Lefkow murders in Chicago. (This analysis could be done with almost any piece of news, but I was interested to see how this might be tied to Bush and found some Lefties that just couldn't resist the urge.)

This DU post starts out innocent enough, wondering why the word terrorist wasn't used to describe the murders of Judge Lefkow's husband and her mother. Now, the poster wants the terrorist tag to apply to Matthew Hale (who's a scumbag white racist), but they fail to characterize him as I do... they just mention that he's a white Christian (which happens to be a pretty inaccurate description in my opinion). It's like calling Kim Jong Il a Democrat.

Now, seeing as how there hasn't been a reference to GannonGuckerRoveBush yet, this DUer bellies up to the bar and decides to elevate the conversation and enlighten his comrades by throwing this nugget out there. Contains a link to a hilarious dubious source, but b/c it ties EVERYTHING together, it must be true (counter to Occam's razor or the Chinese Adage at the very bottom of this page)

Here's the source, which I won't bother fisking... apparently, Gannon has given Arlen Specter AIDS and is in some super-black op organization. He's also tied to Plame, Abu Ghraib, you name it.

This opens the floodgates and they spiral down the rabbit hole (all too eagerly):

Now, to their credit, some of the posters on this thread kept up a reasonable discussion. However, they didn't counter any of the wild-eyed theories and attacks that were being thrown around - no doubt they were afraid of being called sheeple and getting flamed. Although, this could change given the board is still active.

In light of this and previous posts such as this one, I've formulated two new adages, which are extensions of Godwin's law:
  1. ARC's 1st Law: As a Lefty online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one.
  2. ARC's 2nd Law: As a Lefty online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Jeff "JD" GannonGuckertGosch approaches one.
***UPDATE - MUST CREDIT ARC***

After some careful investigation (folks, I comb through DU just so you don't HAVE to have your intelligence insulted ate every click), I've found clear and convincing evidence that GannonGuckert is connected to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon as well.

And when presented with evidence from Popular Mechanics about the "inside job" theories, the Left loses it. Frankly, I thought that this was settled on 9/12/01, but was glad to see PM come out with its report. If you google Popular Mechanics 911 Theory, you'll see that the crackpots are still throwing logic to the wind and attacking the magazine.

Truly a sight to behold... At least it's entertaining for me. Just as long as they're never in power.

***UPDATED 2 - MUST CREDIT ARC*** (Seriously, I have to read threw this bile, so please credit me... ;-)

This tolerant DUer is implying that Bush is gay. See responses below it.
Oh, and this idiotic insightful discussion, plus this accusation about GOP Pedophilia

***UPDATE 3 - YOU KNOW THE ROUTINE***
Hunter S. Thompson's death - a "hit" by the Pentaverate/Illuminati/Bush Family Evil Empire/You Name It

***UPDATE 4 ***
I cannot take this anymore... my brain feels like it's a twinkie that's being eyed by the pudgy one (aka OliverWillis)


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Rovian Cabal Uncovered

Subtitle: Citizen Journalists Demand an Investigation into GannonGuckert connection and whether the cabal will return so they can prepare the proper poison

DUers are all a-twitter over this report in the objective, non-partisan Raw Story. Rumsfeld allegedly had dinner with Paul Gigot, John Thune, and (most damaging) Roger Ailes, the head of "faux" news, obviously to discuss the new plans to build the re-education camps for those in the Blue States. I'll bet that they also consumed beef, chicken, and perhaps even a lobster or two.

When will our government officials finally do what the DUers want and not meet or talk with ANY REPORTERS? I mean, isn't it inappropriate for a journalist to talk to a government official? Doesn't this inevitably lead to articles being published, commentaries and opinions being expressed? As a citizen journalist, I DEMAND THAT THESE MEETINGS BETWEEN JOURNALISTS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS STOP IMMEDIATELY! it's time to close the WH press room.

Oh, and be sure the read the comments on Raw Story... here are some high lowlights:

  • 1. Wow. A couple undercooked chickens would’ve solved a lot of the world’s problems. AC
    Comment by Andy — 3/9/2005 @ 9:59 pm

  • 2. Where does Gannon/Guckert, the whore posing as a republican journalist, fit into this? Was he at the dinner? If so which man was using his services?
    Comment by Anonymous — 3/9/2005 @ 10:16 pm

  • 17. where’s the Ukranian soup when you need it?
    Comment by Silverseas — 3/10/2005 @ 11:33 am
Apparently, the Left's concern for animal rights is waved aside if the animals can be used as weapons. And the Gannon reference is now a requirement for any Lefty discussion, despite their "tolerance"... BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY!!!

**Edit - 12.00 - Blogger seems to be having problems, so posting is on a best efforts basis right now... Uggh, if I paid for a service, would I get faster load times/service? Or is this SNAFU ***

**Edit - 2.00 - It seems to be back up. Yeah, Blogger!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Vision Thing

The Dems don't have it... as Goldbergh points out.

This is the relevant passage:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore, " he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Since then liberals have adopted their residence in the "reality-based community" as a badge of honor. Left-wing bloggers prominently affirm that they are a "proud member of the reality-based community" or that theirs is a "reality-based weblog." Suskind himself continues to proclaim himself a prophet-with-honor(arium) for calling attention to the administration's "kill-or-be-killed desire to undermine public debate based on fact." Paul Krugman, Molly Ivins, and the rest of the usual suspects have a grand time bebopping over the Right for its supposed faith in fantasy over facts as if this phrase is a cross every conservative everywhere must bear.

[...]

Take the second point first [that the Bush aide was largely right]. Imagine that what the aide really meant by "reality-based community" was in fact "the status-quo community." The promising developments toward peace and liberalization throughout the Middle East were considered unimaginable to the status-quo community not very long ago. But Bush found them quite imaginable and he acted to make what his opponents considered to be a fantasy into a reality. Well — fingers crossed! — it looks like Bush is finding considerable success in his efforts to, in the words of that aide, "create a new reality." For good or for ill, who can doubt that Bush is one of "history's actors" at this point?

This dynamic is actually something I've been interested in for a very long time. [...] As you can tell, the first place I read about it was in a phenomenal essay by George Orwell in which he derided the tendency of Western intellectuals and journalists to worship the status quo because that's where the power was. "Power-worship blurs political judgment because it leads, almost unavoidably, to the belief that present trends will continue," he wrote in 1946. The power-worship — i.e. status-quo based — community suffers from a failure of imagination to see how fragile contemporary arrangements can be, particularly if they are fond of those arrangements for ideological, political or financial reasons. The idea that Iraq could have a democratic "teaching effect" on the region was most vociferously pooh-poohed by the Islamist voluptuaries in academia and by various journalists who either subscribe to anti-American or, more often, anti-Bush views. Maureen Dowd time and again has referred to the "discredited domino theory" as if all she needs to do is say something is discredited in order for it to be so. She's really got to stop believing her own press releases.

[...]

"Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid," proclaimed the writer Dorothea Brande (though the movie Almost Famous attributes the line to Goethe). In the Middle East there had long been unseen forces that are now suddenly visible because the president acted boldly. That doesn't mean he deserves all of the credit, of course. But it's impossible to imagine that we'd be seeing this bloom if Bush had not tilled the soil.
But don't worry, 20 years from now they'll take credit for any changes in the region and say that it was the Dems that pushed for human rights and liberty, while Bush just changed the nature of the region for cheap oil. HALLIBURTON!!!

Fortunately for our nation, Bush isn't concerned about who takes credit 20 years from now - he'll know that he was the major actor that kicked off this phenomenon.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Doomed to Failure

Rolling Stone had this article about Morons.Org MoveOn.Org posted on 2/24... sorry that I didn't see it earlier as I could've used the laughs. It dissects the Moron-ers MoveOn-ers and it has some very insightful information.

Personally, the internet is useful... however, a million folks online across the country don't mean sqwat when it comes to winning an state in the electoral process. That takes hard, personable hand-to-hand persuasion and communication.

Here are some all of the funnier more interesting parts, but it's worth reading the entire article (not too lengthy as this is Rolling Stone) don't bother reading the original as I've apparently fisked the entire thing here... *sigh*:

But many party insiders worry that an Internet insurgency working hand in hand with a former Vermont governor will only succeed in pushing the party so far to the left that it can't compete in the red states. "It's electoral suicide," says Dan Gerstein, a former strategist for Joe Lieberman's presidential campaign. MoveOn committed a series of costly blunders last fall: It failed to remove two entries that compared Bush to Hitler from its online ad contest, and its expensive television spots barely registered in the campaign. One conservative commentator, alluding to MoveOn's breathless promotion of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, branded the group the "MooreOn" wing of the party. All of which leaves political veterans wondering: As MoveOn becomes a vital part of the Democratic establishment, will its take-no-prisoners attitude marginalize the party and strengthen the Republican stranglehold on power?

"My view of MoveOn is that they're like muscular adolescents," says Rosenberg. "Their body has grown too quickly -- they're going to make mistakes."
Ummm, ditt-O! And YES, it will strengthen the republican stranglehold on power, thank you very much.
That's the part that worries moderate Democrats. For now, party insiders are playing nice with MoveOn, which could contribute millions to their campaigns. They recognize, after all, that an active left is as crucial if the Democrats are to regain power as the Christian right has been to the GOP. When asked about MoveOn, two prominent Democratic strategists feed me the exact same talking point: "We've got to learn how to walk and chew gum at the same time" -- meaning, as one of them explains, "If you're going to be successful, as Bush has proven, you have to energize your base, and you've got to appeal to swing voters."

But some insiders worry that putting left-wing idealists in charge of speaking to the center seems about as likely to work as chewing gum with your feet. "There's a built-in tension between the views of people who are part of MoveOn and contribute to it, and the people they're trying to reach," says Ed Kilgore of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.
And, as the message of the Activist Left is AMPLIFIED, the center turns away. The Left has NEVER openly expressed their policies or messages. It's always been masked as jibberish during election years, which was the main reason Kerry failed in 2004 - he had to hide his dovish history, his inconsistent and wavering positions on Iraq and the Middle East, etc, etc, etc. So, let's make sure that MoveOn (and to a certain extent DailyKos) continue to be highlighted, as this is sure to signal to the center of American politics that the only safe refuge is on the right side of the line.
But there's little evidence that the huge investment yielded a political profit. If speaking to the center was MoveOn's goal, "they failed miserably," says Greg Strimple, a media consultant who advised the Senate campaigns of three GOP moderates. "None of their ads had an impact on the center electorate that needed to be swung." If the group's leadership saw anything broken with its advertising during the campaign, though, it shows no signs of fixing it. In a rush to get its new Social Security ad on the air, MoveOn didn't even test it.

The ad, which depicts senior citizens performing manual labor, was not only paid for by MoveOn members but was also created by them. This kind of closed feedback loop is indicative of a larger problem: the group's almost hermetic left-wing insularity. "We don't get around much," acknowledges Boyd. "We tend to all stay in front of our keyboards and do the work."

For MoveOn, "the work" consists of looking for spikes in e-mail traffic and monitoring online forums to divine the issues that drive its members. Boyd and Blades have bitten hard on the "wisdom of crowds" concept. They believe that strategies posted and rated by fellow activists provide the basis for picking campaigns that members will pay to support. "We've discovered a way to engage people so that they want to open their wallets," says Boyd. "If we can come up with a great campaign, we know it will get funded."
And this is the OTHER problem... they're holed up in their bastions in the Blue States, insulated from anything approaching a conservative thought and swim in the fishbowl with like minded folks on the internet. One benefit of the Liberal bias in the MSM for conservatives is that we're exposes to their worldview day in and day out since childhood and have developed critical thinking abilities and can counter most of their agruments. But, back to the work and how MoveOn determines what's "Hot"
Boyd is a whip-smart man with a deep passion for populist democracy. But speaking to him about MoveOn's constituency is like speaking to someone who spends all day in an Internet chat room and assumes the rest of the world is as psyched as he and his online compatriots are about, say, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He seems to conflate MoveOn with the rest of America. "We see ourselves as a broad American public," he says. "We assume that things that resonate with our base resonate with America."

In fact, there appears to be an almost willful ignorance about who actually composes MoveOn. "We're pretty light on the demographics," Boyd says without apology. "It's funny, when we talk to people in Washington, that's the first question we're asked." He adds with note of self-satisfaction: "We've been largely nonresponsive."
Okay, this just re-emphasizes the point that they're in the fishbowl and need to get into the ocean. If you're trying to determine what's important from email traffic, posts flying across Lefty discussion boards, etc, chances are that you're going to develop campaigns around something that 80% of Americans do not care about. Question: Is MoveOn putting together a campaign based on Jeff JD GannonGuckert right now? (queue gay porn evil music) Will it focus on the gay prostitution? Or the definition of "what is a journalist?" Or perhaps whether Gannon is a Rove plant that fed the faked documents to CBS? Inquiring Lefties without Minds want to know!!! BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY!!! However no one who pays a mortgage or buys groceries for their family gives a crap.

We're "almost home," folks...
"The GOP is painting us as socialist radicals," Blades tells me with seeming disbelief over Thai chicken salad at the Berkeley Art Museum. "And if you'd been reading any of their publications, you'd think that we were a bunch of wildass lunatics." Does MoveOn have a branding problem? "I think it might," she says.
Marketing 101 - If you ever find yourself saying, "I think [we] might [have a branding problem]," this is the FIRST SIGN that you do. In terms of brand... let's see. They're name is MoveOn.org, originally started to "move on" (clever) from President Clinton's impeachment hearings. However, they've failed to "move on" since then and are still pissed about the 2000 election fracas. MoveOn, indeed. Let's MoveOn to a new century and leave the lefty socialism you promise where it belongs - on the ash-heap of history. When I see a MoveOn ad on TV, I certainly want to MoveOn (to the next channel), so I s'pose it's appropriate.

Now, Rolling Stone finally addresses the real problem with MoveOn... not bad marketing, not insulation from the outside world, but their actual @#$ing politics
So who is MoveOn? Consider this: Howard Dean finished first in the MoveOn primary. Number Two wasn't John Kerry or John Edwards -- it was Dennis Kucinich. Listing the issues that resonate most with their membership, Boyd and Blades cite the environment, the Iraq War, campaign-finance reform, media reform, voting reform and corporate reform. Somewhere after freedom, opportunity and responsibility comes "the overlay of security concerns that everybody shares." Terrorism as a specific concern is notably absent. As are jobs. As is health care. As is education.
I'd have to say that if you were to poll these issues, you'd find an negative correlation between issues that mattered to the American peopel and those that matter to MoveOn.org. The only issue in their top 6 that would be in the Top 5 for the American people would be the Iraq War, and I can't say that those selecting that would be all against it. The only other item in their TOP 6 that would even register would be the environment, but it polls so low as to almost not exist (primarily because of the great strides we've made over the past 20 years).

Now, for the gentle let down after exposing the core problem. they're frank, but almost disappointed. You can tell that Rolling Stone wants so desperately to help... Rolling Stone is gentle, it's hand caressing MoveOn's soft... sorry
There's nothing inherently good or bad in any of this. It's just that MoveOn's values aren't middle-American values. They're the values of an educated, steadily employed middle and upper-middle class with [too much] time to dedicate to politics -- and disposable income to leverage when they're agitated [which is like every @#$ing day!]. That's fine, as long as the group sticks to mobilizing fellow travelers on the left. But the risks are greater when it presumes to speak for the entire party. "The decibel level that MoveOn can bring is very high," says Bill Carrick, a longtime Democratic strategist.

Like so many other Internet start-ups, MoveOn has raised -- and burned through -- tens of millions of dollars, innovating without producing many concrete results. Any reasonable analysis shows its stock may be dangerously overvalued. Those banking on MoveOn had better hope it is more Google than Pets.com. Because should the group flame out, the Democrats could be in for a fall of Nasdaq proportions.
What I really like is the fact that their darling is now the DNC Chair, and (assuming HRC doesn't get his twigs & berries in a deathgrip) MoveOn.Org will feel empowered as the mouthpiece for the party. And Dean (insulated in his cozy, Vermont cottage... wearing a warm sweater by the fireplace, reaches over and pats MoveOn on the head. He thinks to himself: "Ahhh, I told my friends that it wasn't our message that was wrong - but our ability to communicate it to the American people. Well, now we've going to shout our message out loud and clear, eh? Just wait... Just you wait... They'll EAT IT UP in Peoria and Paducah.

I VOTE PETS.COM

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Dems Benefit from "Freedom Breaking Out?"

BeldarBlog covers a hilarious piece by Noam Scheiber in The New Republic.

Here are a couple of items that I'd like to comment on from the piece.

[I]n the long-term, I think Bush's democratization initiatives clearly benefit Democrats, assuming they don't find a way to screw it up. Here's why: The Republican base consists primarily of Southern and lower-midwestern isolationist/realist types, Western libertarians, conservative evangelicals, and K-Street taxcutters. (As far as I can tell, no one ever lost a Republican primary by failing to win the neocon vote.) None of these groups gets particularly excited about democratizing foreign countries — either because they think it's a utopian project doomed to fail, or because they think it's likely to do more harm than good, or because they think we could put the money and effort we'd spend promoting democracy abroad to better use at home. Except for a small circle of neocons, the only reason most conservatives support Bush's democratization rhetoric is partisanship — because, absent the democratization rhetoric, Bush's entire foreign policy would look like one big disaster, which would be devastating for the party.

The Democratic base, by contrast, consists of a bunch of activist types who love spending time and money on idealistic causes, and who can be convinced to spend it abroad as long as you persuade them the motivation is pure. They believe in things like democracy, human rights, civil society, responsible governance, etc. with every fiber of their being. (If you don't believe me, just ask yourself which party you think, say, most third world debt-relief activists cast their vote for, or members of the free-Tibet movement, or the groups who lobby for equal rights for women in the Muslim world.) Democrats, in other words, have principled reasons for supporting democratization abroad, which, in many cases, even outweigh their intensely partisan dislike for this administration.
This reminds me so much of liberal activism. Construct the big, paper mache' charicature of Bush eating an Iraqi baby and give speeches and talks calling for debt-relief. Or the Free Tibet bumper sticker that Mark Steyn alluded to in his Spectator piece this week. His wife pushed the no doubt sandal-clad hippie with the Free Tibet sticker on his bumper. Here's how Mark retold it:
The other day I found myself, for the umpteenth time, driving in Vermont behind a Kerry/Edwards supporter whose vehicle also bore the slogan ‘FREE TIBET’. It must be great to be the guy with the printing contract for the ‘FREE TIBET’ stickers. Not so good to be the guy back in Tibet wondering when the freeing thereof will actually get under way. For a while, my otherwise not terribly political wife got extremely irritated by these stickers, demanding to know at a pancake breakfast at the local church what precisely some harmless hippy-dippy old neighbour of ours meant by the slogan he’d been proudly displaying decade in, decade out: ‘But what exactly are you doing to free Tibet?’ she demanded. ‘You’re not doing anything, are you?’ ‘Give the guy a break,’ I said back home. ‘He’s advertising his moral virtue, not calling for action. If Rumsfeld were to say, “Free Tibet? Jiminy, what a swell idea! The Third Infantry Division go in on Thursday”, the bumper-sticker crowd would be aghast.’

But for those of us on the arrogant unilateralist side of things, that’s not how it works. ‘FREE AFGHANISTAN’. Done. ‘FREE IRAQ’. Done. Given the paintwork I pull off every time I have to change the sticker, it might be easier for the remainder of the Bush presidency just to go around with ‘FREE [INSERT YOUR FETID TOTALITARIAN BASKET-CASE HERE]’. Not in your name? Don’t worry, it’s not.
If they only spent as much time and effort DOING SOMETHING, maybe they'd actually achieve results. But no, it's the neocons that liberate millions of oppressed in the Middle East. It's the neocons that liberate women and minorities abroad. It's neocons that appoint American minorities to some of the highest posts in the land...

And to be frank... I bet you that Bubba down in backwater Mississippi knows something that panty-waisted Noam doesn't... That democracy in the middle east isn't just about democracy and freedom in the middle east. It's about eliminating the hatred and idiocy which resulted in the death & destruction that hit the likes of Noam in New York City on 9/11. Unlike Michael Moore (who wondered why they didn't target the red states), Bubba didn't look at the smoldering ruins in NYC and think "Hey... at least they were libs!" And Bubba probably realizes something else that Noam doesn't: Again, from Mark: "You don’t invade Iraq in order to invade everywhere else, you invade Iraq so you don’t have to invade everywhere else."

I have never seen such unity in the GOP due to the terrible attack from 9/11. Now, if you're a Lefty, the previous sentence suddenly morphs into a motive behind another rovian conspiracy, where Atta and the other 18 were actual CIA agents... and the JEWS were warned ahead of time. But, that's the state of the Left today. They've become so illiberal, so anti-Semitic, and so tolerant (and even supportive) of oppression abroad that they're moving closer and closer to the very political ideology that they purport to hate...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

We Fear Love Bashar!

Opinion8 has info from the please-don't-kill-me, I'll-do-whatever-you-want-me-to-do "pro-Syrian" rallies in Lebanon...

H/T Ace of Spades

You just have to hope that Bashar doesn't let this kind of thing go to his head and that the "international community" doesn't go weak in the knees. Of course, we know based on track record that W. will stay the course. Will Chirac? Will the UN?

**Update***
Should've included this Cox & Forkum ed-cartoon..... (BTW, Ted Rall - this is what talent looks like)


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

THIS INJUSTICE MUST STOP!

Ace of Spades HQ found that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) regularly discriminates against recruits who admit that they... they... well, you know...

...play dungeons & dragons.

BTW, is that GannonGuckert in the Orc mask? THE FUTURE OF OUR DEMOCRACY HANGS IN THE BALANCE!!!

Be sure to watch the video linked above... and read Ace's post. ;-)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Freedom Breaking Out All Over, Part Deux

Follow-Up to Part Un

There's something in politics called Joe-mentum momentum, and this applies to foreign policy/international relations as well. As each new experiment in democracy succeeds, others experiments will follow. The hopes of billions of people are that at some point in the future (distant? near? who knows!) all people will have self-determination for their government (I believe it was Mr. George Jefferson Thomas Jefferson who wrote that all men humankind is endowed by its Creator with certain inalienable Rights, [and] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, so if you disagree with my previous statement, you probably do not subscribe to the fundamental ideas on which our country was established.)

Well, WSJ's Opinion Journal has a nice op-ed from Claudia Rosett about this desire for Liberty and Freedom as expressed by the tireless opposition of one Dr. Nguyen Dan Que to his oppressive government in Vietnam. The courage that this man faces in light of his 20+ years in jail is amazing. Will we see a wave of democracy throughout the authoritarian countries in Asia as well as in the Middle East (I know, M.E. = SW Asia, but you know what I mean... you know who I'm referring to... fine, lemme spell it out: PRC, NK, Vietnam, etc, etc)?

Only time will tell... I'm sure Mr. Jefferson is casting a watchful eye on the process


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Saving Soshsecurity

H/T BeldarBlog

VodkaPundit (a fellow Tigers fan, I'll presume?) has a great post regarding the cold hard truths about Social Security reform. As Beldar puts it, TANSTAAFL, or There ain't no such thing as a free lunch... (I've heard the same sentiment this way: TINSCTINFL, There Is No Santa Claus and There Is No Free Lunch (which I s'pose is more grammatically correct, lest the Libs think that "ain't no" means that there IS a free lunch (and that there IS a santa claus)).

Anyway, read the post and Vodka's criticism of the GOP's inability to assert their case and provide people with the facts. He even provides a response that he would've given if he had been in McConnell's shoes on Sunday's Meet the Left Press with former Cuomo aide journalist Tim Russert. I would've jumped out of my chair and cheered had I heard these words come from McConnell, or any GOPer frankly.

Here's Vodka's suggested response:

Look, Tim, Social Security is never going to be as good of a deal for today's young people as it was for their grandparents, or even their parents. With people living longer, and fewer younger people having been born to pay into the system, the demographics just won't allow it, and we're coming up fast on a time when there simply won't be enough money available to pay out like we've been paying out for the last several decades.

The time is going to come--and we can argue about when this will be, but it is going to happen one day--when we can't keep the old promises any more without either cutting benefits, or having a huge tax increase, or realistically, doing both. That's a pretty rotten thing to do to people who're paying money out of their paychecks every day to support the current system, and reasonably enough think they ought to get a decent return on their money.

What private accounts can do, but the pay-as-you-go system can't, is grow the pot of money available for people to retire on. The government can't grow money, all we can do is tax or borrow, but the market can. With a private account that'll grow for the next 35 years, a 30-year-old will have a cushion against the benefit cuts that will have to happen at some point in their lives--not tomorrow, not next year, but someday--to keep the government from going broke and their taxes from growing to Swedenesque levels.

We can't tax ourselves out of this problem. There aren't going to be enough people to tax. But we can use time and the market to give people a fair shake. We just have to start now, or the situation is only going to get worse.
The problem is that the GOP seems to still be arguing the Social Security issue in the framework established by the Dems.... not a good sign for a party in the majority, although the MSM certainly amplifies the Dem's frame of reference on almost every issue. As I've said previously, my 3 year old grasps the unsustainability of Social Security... At what point will the rest of the country catch up?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Key Points from Rathergate

Well, tonight is Dan's last night... an end to a rather biased (ahem) career. Rathergate was merely the final exclamation point on his career of journalism on behalf of the liberal worldview, as Brent Bozell's Media Research Center has demonstrated so well on their website here, here, here, and here.

But what do we really know about this episode? What has Rathergate really taught us? Here are the key points that I learned:

  1. the Mainstream Media (MSM) often times treats "partisan political operatives" of the left as unimpeachable and objective sources.
  2. When presented with information from the Left, the MSM will perform a cursory review and corroboration (or none at all).
  3. When caught and exposed, the MSM will attack its critics as "partisan political operatives." (perhaps a bit of projection here?)
  4. After stonewalling, the MSM will launch an investigation that will not answer the tough questions, will not address the key issue at hand, and will not correctly assign responsibility. Once completed, the MSM will consider this the end of the discussion.
In the end, the only way that the MSM can regain their credibility and increase their trustworthiness above that of used-car salesmen salespersons is for them to admit their slant of the news (based on the editors running the organization), or to at least state that their previous claims of objectivity are incorrect and each story is reported with some degree of bias in it. Admit that they try their best to remove bias, but they're all human and are unable to remove it entirely. If there's a consistent bias in their coverage (from story to story and reporter/editor to reporter/editor), they should state so openly.

I won't hold my breath...

Courage indeed, Dan... puhleasse...




Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

HA HA HA HA - ARC UNCOVERED!!

Well, it looks like they've unraveled another rovian conspiracy (ARC). They keep finding some of our best efforts...

Hat Tip to Ollie... you pudgy little ragamuffin! Here, have a twinkie... Now go demand that Brit Hume resign... so, adorable that little guy.

Jan Frei (of those objective "news" organizations AlterNet and TomPaine.com) writes about how the South Dakota blogs influenced the S.D. Senate race between John Thune and Tom Daschle and the resultant upset victory by Thune. It's a rather long story (presumably to keep us neanderthals from reading it), but here are the main points:

1 - Right-of-Center blogs set up
A couple of bloggers feel that their most influential newspaper in the state has an uncritical eye for Daschle. Before the senate campaign kicked off, 3 conservative blogs were created and they started sharing news about the campaign. (As is common in the blogosphere, themes develop and people banter back & forth on the issues.) Apparently, they all felt that the Argus Leader (the main paper in S.D. and called the Grey Lady of SD by Frei himself) had consistently given Daschle favorable coverage over the years. The paper failed to investiage questionable tax deductions and presumably other issues.

2 - Facts & Truth come out
Doing some research, they find out that the editor/report covering politics and the campaign for the Argus Leader is an old college buddy of Daschle. Apparently, they get this information from Jeff Gannon (insert gay porn evil music here) and one of Daschle's former opponents from the 1980s. This is not disputed by anyone... not even Jan Frei. The concern here is that while the information about the relationship between Daschle and AL reoporter is TRUE, it was discovered by someone who has political views that are more conservative than Ted Kennedy's (hard to imagine, I know) - this is the damning piece of information which threatens the Republic. Oh, and the fact that Gannon was a gay prostitute - you know, BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY!!!

3 - Blogs make sure that facts/information is covered by Argus Leader
These three bloggers target the Argus Leader to cover stories which are reported by newspapers out of the state, but not by the Argus Leader. (Question: If a story was released in washington that was damaging to MY Senator here in Missouri, would I expect it to be covered by the St Louis Post-Dispatch???? You betcha). Jan and presumably the Kossacks and Willies all see this as some sort of right-wing agenda.

4 - Conflicts of Interest by Bloggers
One of the bloggers worked for Thune's 2002 campaign, which lost to Johnson by 500 votes (where there was evidence of voter fraud which the Argus Leader didn't investigate too much). This blogger and another were both paid several thousand dollars for what they claim was strategery consulting. Who knows what they actually did. They both now admit that this should have been disclosed. (Oh, Jan - be sure to question their conflict of interest, but DO NOT question the COI of the editor/reporter at the Argus Leader.)

So, that's it in a nutshell. I read through the entire story, looking for the boogeyman (aka Karl Rove) to turn up, but he didn't. Per his M.O., he keeps to the inky shadows... I'm sure the Kossacks are scouring gay porn sites looking for some pics of these 3 bloggers in South Dakota. The FUTURE OF OUR DEMOCRACY DEPENDS ON IT, DAMNIT!!!


Oh, and by the way... Speaking of HYPOCRISY and CONFLICT OF INTEREST.... DID I MENTION THAT JAN FREI WORKED FOR DEAN's PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN!!!!

a little ironic that a partisan political operative writes a story about some center-right bloggers and uses the term "partisan political operatives" to describe them. Do they know that we're laughing at them? Do they care? Do they really think that this insanity matters?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: StWendeler

Um... hi.

Couple of brothers from Missouri, huh? You boys aren't those Pitt fellas from Springfield, are ya?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Penelope

Watch out the mother machines are going to take control....

H/T Drudge

The Seattle-Post Intelligencer has an article today that details remarks THK made at a recent lunch for Rep. Adam Smith. Looks like she's been watching the Matrix too many times on TBS.

"Two brothers own 80 percent of the machines used in the United States," Heinz Kerry said. She identified both as "hard-right" Republicans. She argued that it is "very easy to hack into the mother machines."
Um... Yeah.....

Did they use those "mother machines" in the Senate race, Teresa?

***Edit - ARC: StWendeler ***
Ok, I have to say H/T LGF as I was mid-post when you submitted this... ;-)

So, does ANYONE who voted for JFK now think, "Man, it's a good thing we got Laura." Or do they think that Laura just doesn't know how to party and THK would've been so much more fun? Personally, THK would've made publishing to this blog a whole lot easier. I mean, she's contributing now and her hubby's just a "former presidential candidate!"
***End Edit***


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

The Party of Death

I had no idea that the Terry Schiavo case was a left/right issue... I mean, we're not talking about a baby in the womb/fetus, but a grown woman with a feeding tube. But, thanks to that super-squishy Oliver Willis (and I mean literally, not figuratively), I find that the Left just can't WAIT to pull the plug on Terry. I had no idea that the liberals in their caucusing decided that Death was what sold... (I'm sure the conversation was probably similar to the famous scene in This is Spinal Tap about their new album, Smell the Glove.)

Anyway, this sardonic Lindsay Beyerstein/Majikthise (who btw is going for her PHD in philosophy at Tufts (YEAH), a sure sign that things are improving in academia), goes through the "propaganda" spouted by Terry's parents. She fails to address many of the issues surrounding the case. For example, she downplays any chance that Terry could regain minimal brain functions with a more stimulating environment (despite claims from some in the medical community *ahem* who've been nominated for Nobel Prizes in the field) and simply writes off anyone who suggests otherwise is a quack. Since the injury occured, Terry has yet to receive any stimulation other than the white walls of her hospital room.

Terry doesn't require life support, other than a feeding tube. Once the tube was removed for a period of several days, Terry continued to live until a judge ordered that it'd be reinserted. Her husband cannot marry his current girlfriend (who he's fathered several children with) until his wife dies (because he can't divorce her) and he stands to gain financially upon her death, either from insurance benefits or just from the fact that he no longer would bear the burden of expenses for her current care.

Now, the parents of Terry Schiavo have video of her following a balloon, making audible noises, etc.. clearly responses to stimuli similar to the woman who came out of a coma after 20 years. I had no idea that the Left would see this case as some right-wing agenda, but they do. Given their position on this and other matters, along with some statements from their hero Peter Singer, the Left is becoming more and more like the NSDAP - and they don't even see it. I suppose that I should rely on Lindsay's judgement regarding life and death and throw caution to the wind.

My position on this issue: when in doubt, err on the side of sustaining life.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY

No, this isn't a Gannon/Guckert gay prostitution update... Yes, it's the same phrase employed by Protein Wisdom to make fun of the Kossacks, but this is about actual hypocrisy.

Captain's Quarters Blog has an excellent post regarding McCain's apparent hypocrisy over his connections to Cablevision. Here we see that McCain, who has less than an arm's length relationship with cablevision and echosphere, has lobbied the FCC on their behalf - looks like a quid pro quo from my perch here in the Midwest. This is from the guy who chases down any reporter willing to listen to tell them about how money in politics is corrupting the politicians and whose partnership with Sen Feingold on Campaign Finance Reform has resulted in the contemplation that Blogs such as this should be regulated by the FEC. (BTW, my take on the matter is $*CK the FEC. I'd like to see them go after the blogs...
FEC: "You can't say THAT! That's political speech and THAT'S regulated!"
blogger: "Dude... let go of my mouse and let me get back to making fun of Hillary.")

McCain is a media hog who takes every opportunity to blast republicans b/c he knows that's the best way to get on TV. While I don't like this practice, I'm happier that he's a republican and not a dem. However, when he elevates himself to the protector of democracy because he's willing to legislate the removal of money from politics (*LOL*), he'd better be ready for the MSM/DailyKossack tsunami when it comes out that he got caught with his hand in the till.

[EDIT - I'm a TOOOOOOOL for my inability to posting 3 times to CQB. What a dork. But, hey.. unlike some others, I'm willing to admit my stupidity.]

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Freedom Breaking Out All Over

H/T Glenn

Gateway Pundit has posted news about protests taking place throughout the Middle East, but specifically about those in Iran, where students are calling for a referendum on the nature of their government (instead of the traditional election which only allows it to continue in its current form).

As I've mentioned previously (here and to some extent here) George W. Bush is such an idiot for thinking that this will work. I mean, what we need is stability in the region - not a bunch of yahoos trying to instill human rights, equality, and freedom. I mean, c'mon. What this region needs is a strongman like Saddam Hussein... someone we can trust. We all KNOW that those in the Middle East are incapable of being able to govern themselves, right?

**sarcasm off**
10 or 20 years from now, we'll look back on this period in a way that is similar to our views on the 1980s, when the US re-engaged in rolling back the Soviet empire. Yes, there were problems and misteps, but can anyone argue that our victory was the best thing that could've happened to the world. (And when I say anyone, I don't mean Ward Churchill, Cynthia McKinney, etc, etc). Will Bush get his due? Not likely... The Left will once again revise history to make it seem like they were with us all along. Unfortunately for them, there are a lot of people paying attention and tracking their nutty thoughts (such as yours truly).

***UPDATE - See Part Deux above ***

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

African-American Churches: The New Battleground

Opinion Journal's Best Of The Web, an indispensable roundup of the news and politics (Kudos to James Taranto!), has an interesting section today discussing the rise of Christian Conservatives from outsiders to insiders within Washington. The press still treats them as weirdos (see the article about Sen John Thune), but the most interesting part is the following snippet:

The New York Times, meanwhile, looks at another interesting development involving the intersection between religion and politics:
A tug of war is under way inside black churches over who speaks for African-Americans and what role to play in politics, spurred by conservative black clergy members who are looking to align themselves more closely with President Bush.

At the heart of the debate, church leaders say, is whether to stay focused primarily on issues like job creation, education, affirmative action, prison reform and health care, which have drawn blacks closer to the Democratic Party, or whether to put more emphasis on issues of personal morality, like opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, which would place them deeper in the Republican camp.
In other words, black ministers are debating the same issues that concern all Americans--surely a sign of progress toward racial equality.
Now, this was clear display in Tavist Smiley's State of the Black Union conference a week ago (Part 1 and Part 2 from CSPAN), which I watched 1.5 times (caught the last 1/2 and watched the whole thing later in the weekend). Preachers that had met with Bush in the White House were called out by the panelists, but many in the crowd backed their leader's decision to meet with anyone in high office.

I think that the Democratic coalition, which is becoming more centered around the social philosophy of Vermont, is becoming antithetical to the message of the black churches, who preach personal responsibility, morality in private life, and an inner strength for individuals, etc. I think the one gap here is that some African-Americans still do not see that the economic philosophy's of the Left have not improved their lives one bit - instead of the cruel and inhumane slavery and second class citizenship of the past, they now are subjected to the "soft bigotry of low expectations" by their supposed leaders, their party, and government bureaucrats. I think once the message of free markets, education, and entrepreneurship begin to hit the African-American conversation, you'll start to see many votes peel away from the Democratic party, as they'll no longer represent the core issues of this constituency. One day, they'll return to the party of Lincoln and reject the party of Jefferson Davis, Woodrow Wilson (racist pig), Albert Gore Sr (voted against 1964 VRA), and Bobby "Sheets" Byrd.

During the conference, one of the biggest applause lines was "SCREW THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY!" Now, this did come from Rev. Louis Farrakhan, so he was probably talking about creating a separatist party, but I'm sure some in the audience were thinking, "exactly... why do we throw our votes to them every year, without THINKING about it?"

***UPDATE***
Laura Ingraham is talking to Dr. O'Neil Dozier, who was one of the ministers that was "called out" by the black "leadership" at the State of the Black Union conference
***END UPDATE***

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, March 07, 2005

Fair Tax

If you don't have a subscription to The Wall Street Journal, you're missing out...

Today's edition has commentary by Laurence Kotlikoff, promoting the concept of the Fair Tax bill. Some snippets... (again, if you don't subscribe, do so ASAP)

Our tax code is a mess for a reason. Special interests pay for special favors. And with 17,000 pages and counting, there's plenty of places for our politicians to hide the kickbacks. Meanwhile, all the exemptions, deductions, exceptions and special provisions reduce the tax base, which means higher tax rates and smaller incentives for individuals and companies to produce income. And whether the tax breaks are set in fine print or spelled out in bold type, they generally favor the rich, making our tax system less progressive than is generally believed.
[...]
When tax rates get really high, people stop working and saving altogether. At that point, everyone can see the system's nuts. But even moderate tax rates can cause major economic distortions. Unfortunately, our tax rates, particularly on labor earnings, aren't moderate. They're high. This is true despite recent federal tax cuts. Add together all the federal and state personal income, payroll, excise and sales taxes, and you quickly reach effective wage tax rates of 50% -- and not just for the rich and middle class. For the poor, the rates reach this level thanks to their loss of welfare and health-care benefits as well as tax credits from earning more money.
[...]
The FairTax proposal, which awaits Congressional passage as H.R. Bill 25, would greatly rectify this intra- and inter-generational inequity and do marvelous things for our economy. The FairTax (details at www.FairTax.org) replaces not just the federal and corporate income taxes, but also the federal estate and gift taxes, and the highly regressive FICA payroll tax with one simple and fully transparent federal retail sales tax. In addition, the FairTax provides a highly progressive rebate to each household of their sales tax payments on consumption expenditures up to the poverty line
[...]
Over the next few decades, the FairTax would likely raise U.S. GDP by 15% relative to its alternative value. Here's why. The FairTax generates much bigger incentives to work and save. It also redistributes from rich older spenders to younger savers. While it's not widely known, America's biggest spenders are actually the elderly, and for good reason. They know they have fewer years left to spend their resources and, consequently, are consuming their resources at more than twice the rate of the young.

What about the poor, both young and old? Wouldn't they be worse off under the FairTax? No. The FairTax's rebate would leave poor young households paying a zero net sales tax. And it would leave poor elderly households better off thanks to both the rebate and Social Security's automatic adjustment of benefits to any increase in prices.
[...]
Fundamental tax reform is long overdue. Consumption taxation is the way to go. The FairTax is a reform every Democrat who cares about equity should love. And it's a reform every Republican who cares about efficiency, transparency and growth should champion.
I read this article by Neal Boortz (Imagine receiving 100% of your paycheck!) several months ago and while I was skeptical of a consumption tax at first (preferring a Flat Tax proposal), I'm now considering the Fair Tax as the better (and more politically realistic) alternative.

So, fellow conspirators... Any thoughts on The Fair Tax? Imagine 100% of your paycheck and a rebate for consumption as outlined in greater detail in Boortz' piece. Add to that the freeing-up of all of those IRS auditors and bureaucrats who could spend their time doing something useful. and the Tax Accountants... and the software developers working for Inuit and Kiplingers, etc, etc to make filing a return easy. Oh, I suppose the dems would take this opportunity to finally get their grubby little hands on "lost *cough* revenues" from internet commerce, but let's not talk hypotheticals of the legislative process. Would the Fair Tax be more preferable to the current system? How about when compared to the Flat Tax (which I think is politically untenable)?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler