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

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I Am On the Dark Side of the Force

Other say the conservatives are nutty for seeing an anti-Bush bias in the new Star Wars movie (which I haven't seen yet, thanks to school & work). Well, Downer sees the anti-Bush bias and says "yippeee!" (frankly, I think only people looking for an anti-bush message (on either side) will find one.)

Darth Dubya
[...]
In the movie, the Senate passes more powers to the executive again and again to maintain order and defeat the enemies of the Republic (See Patriot Act, Iraq War Resolution, and ending the filibuster). As Anakin Skywalker turns to the Dark Side he claims the Republic must become an Empire to protect justice and bring an end to the war. It reminded me of Bush's speech at the Lincoln Museum dedication where he defended American military aggression in the name of spreading democracy and justice around the globe.

Trouble also comes when Anakin Skywalker decides that the only way to serve the Republic is to blindly follow the head of the Republic, Chancellor Palpatine. By equating the Republic with an individual leader he eventually facilitated the Republic's transition to Empire. I think this is a common mistake by partisan Republicans who equate supporting Commander Cuckoo Bananas, and any war he starts, with supporting America. There's an important difference between those who define patriotism as loyalty to a leader and those who feel it is more patriotic to defend the principles of peace, freedom and justice that America should stand for.

If I could find quotes from the movie it would be difficult to tell which ones were from Darth Vader and which ones were from Bush, such as "If you're not with me, then you are my enemy." It's all very fitting for a President who won re-election by exploiting fear, hate and anger about terrorists and homosexuals. Clearly, Republicans are the dark side of the force.

This is one of the reasons for the hyperpartisan and caustic atmosphere today... Dean calls the GOP evil, Downer agrees... when you're opponents are evil, you feel personally justified to take almost any action and say almost anything. Does the Left really think we're evil? I think they do...

Do I think the Left is evil? Misguided and blind to the history and success of free market capitalism, sure... but evil? no. There are some folks out there who are Stalinists and seek not to persuade their fellow citizens to their side but to impose a communist, command-and-control economic system (with its requisite political control) and these folks, if they truly understand what they're trying to impose, could be considered evil. But, I don't think you could say that mainstream politicians and their supporters in either party are "evil"... although, that hasn't stopped Downer, Dean, the Kossacks, the DUers, and the Willies from making those assertions. I just wonder where the HECK my laser gun or light sabre is... I mean, how can I impose our imperial destiny without the proper tools???



Interestingly... even the racists over at National Vanguard (formerly the National Alliance) echo the Lefties (amazing what a google image search will return)... As I've always thought, the political spectrum is linear, it's round.... and the extremes of each side have more in common than is normally recognized.
The Empire Strikes Back: Lessons for the Next Four Years

In the days following the 9/11 attacks, Bush enjoyed the highest approval rating of any president in history. America simultaneously received an outpouring of sympathy and support from a large multitude of countries – even France. Bush and his gang of neoconservative supporters realized that they had been given a blank check to pursue their Zionist ambitions abroad, and thus they squandered the political prize that had been handed to them in the few weeks after Sept. 11, 2001. Bush and the neocons quickly alienated America from our allies, and shamelessly hastened the transformation of the American republic to a police state. The creation of an Orwellian bureaucracy called the “Department of Homeland Security,” the passing of the tyrannical and misnamed “Patriot Act,” the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the failure to live up to his numerous campaign promises from 2000 created a plethora of adversaries for Bush and his administration. Additionally, Bush’s vexing arrogance, which he displayed by advising foreign states that they “are either with us or with the terrorists” and by dubbing Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as an “axis of evil,” cost him and our country the foreign support that had been bestowed shortly after the 9/11 attacks. More importantly, Bush cost America what little respect we still maintained abroad.

The stage was set for a colossal political struggle between Bush's horde of neoconservatives, Zionists, and big business capitalists -- and just about everyone else on the other side. On Nov. 3rd we learned who the victor of that battle was, and this result paints a dismal, gloomy picture of America’s future.

They also echo the Left on free trade issues, but I'm not going to give any of their positions credibility by discussing them here... what a disgusting group.

***update***
forgot to mention the MoveOn.Orgers ad with Frist as the evil Emperor from Star Wars...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Quran in Gitmo vs the Bible in Saudi Arabia

More evidence that Muslims have gone overboard in their indignation over the Newsweak story about the Quran being descrated at Gitmo (which can't be corroborated).

Hypocrisy Most Holy
Muslims should show some respect to others' religions.

[...]
As a Muslim, I am able to purchase copies of the Quran in any bookstore in any American city, and study its contents in countless American universities. American museums spend millions to exhibit and celebrate Muslim arts and heritage. On the other hand, my Christian and other non-Muslim brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia--where I come from--are not even allowed to own a copy of their holy books. Indeed, the Saudi government desecrates and burns Bibles that its security forces confiscate at immigration points into the kingdom or during raids on Christian expatriates worshiping privately.

Soon after Newsweek published an account, later retracted, of an American soldier flushing a copy of the Quran down the toilet, the Saudi government voiced its strenuous disapproval. More specifically, the Saudi Embassy in Washington expressed "great concern" and urged the U.S. to "conduct a quick investigation."

Although considered as holy in Islam and mentioned in the Quran dozens of times, the Bible is banned in Saudi Arabia. This would seem curious to most people because of the fact that to most Muslims, the Bible is a holy book. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia we are not talking about most Muslims, but a tiny minority of hard-liners who constitute the Wahhabi Sect.

The Bible in Saudi Arabia may get a person killed, arrested, or deported. In September 1993, Sadeq Mallallah, 23, was beheaded in Qateef on a charge of apostasy for owning a Bible. The State Department's annual human rights reports detail the arrest and deportation of many Christian worshipers every year. Just days before Crown Prince Abdullah met President Bush last month, two Christian gatherings were stormed in Riyadh. Bibles and crosses were confiscated, and will be incinerated. (The Saudi government does not even spare the Quran from desecration. On Oct. 14, 2004, dozens of Saudi men and women carried copies of the Quran as they protested in support of reformers in the capital, Riyadh. Although they carried the Qurans in part to protect themselves from assault by police, they were charged by hundreds of riot police, who stepped on the books with their shoes, according to one of the protesters.)

As Muslims, we have not been as generous as our Christian and Jewish counterparts in respecting others' holy books and religious symbols. Saudi Arabia bans the importation or the display of crosses, Stars of David or any other religious symbols not approved by the Wahhabi establishment. TV programs that show Christian clergymen, crosses or Stars of David are censored.
[...]
The lesson here is simple: If Muslims wish other religions to respect their beliefs and their Holy book, they should lead by example.

Mr. al-Ahmed is director of the Saudi Institute in Washington

Add to this information the collective yawn from Islamic leaders and Middle East governments over the destruction of the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan by the Taliban...

***update***
forgot to mention the official US Policy regarding how the Koran should be handled (white gloves, held in a certain manner, etc, etc).

It truly is hypocrisy on a massive scale.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Elevating the level of the Debate

H/T Drudge

Yeah, the Left really likes to discuss the issues. They're never the ones to come up with simple, bumper-sticker slogans (can't believe I just wrote that). It's the Left that is truly from the intellectuals.... (or that!) They're always interested in discussing the issues and elevating the level of the debate.

Oh, wait... Everything above is b.s. Check this out. Frist as the the evil emperor from Star Wars, blowing the US Capitol into oblivion.

[ed - Or it could be Frist as evil Anakin]

Thanks, Moron.Orgers - There's NO WAY that this ad persuades anyone to your side.

By the way, it's interesting that when you put the issues that these judges have ruled on in front of the American people, a majority of the people agree with their decisions, such as Owen's decision to enforce a statute passed by the Texas legislature that required parental notification for girls under 14 to have an abortion. Oh, and check out this post with the links to the Pew results on the issues...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Beyond Red vs. Blue

Jonah Goldberg links to this Pew Research Center study which delves into indicators of party affiliation. Jonah pulls out these gems:

According to the Pew Center, the less you like to fly the American flag, the more likely it is you are Democrat. The more you think hard work and personal initiative aren’t the ticket to the good life, the more likely you are to be a Democrat. The more you believe the United Nations is a better steward of international relations, while America is a negative actor on the world stage, the more likely you are to be a Democrat. The more you believe that the government is there to help, the more likely it is you are Democrat. The less seriously you take religion, the more likely you are to be a Democrat. Flip all of these values around and the more likely it is you are a Republican — or that you vote that way.

Of course, I’m speaking in terms of statistical generalities. Obviously, there are a great many flag-waving, God-fearing, government-mistrusting, U.N.-hating Democrats out there. But they are the exceptions to the rule. [Why do I have a feeling that Downer isn't an exception to this rule?]

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this study is what it says about class and ideology in America. And what it says is that they don’t have that much to do with each other, which runs contrary to generations of leftish stereotypes. Poor Americans who believe in the American ideal of by-your-bootstraps success are likely to vote Republican. And rich Americans who cringe at the idea of hanging a flag from their porch vote Democrat. Wealth has become a poor predictor of political affiliation. The richest blocs in the GOP and Democratic parties — Pew calls them “Enterprisers” and “Liberals” — are roughly equally affluent. Forty-one percent of both groups make more than $75,000 per year (though there are nearly twice as many “Liberals” as there are “Enterprisers”). The largest segment of the Republican base — “Social Conservatives” — make less than Liberals.

So, that explains why some of my friends that make 2x what I make are kneejerk lefties. I fit solidly in the Enterpriser camp, by the way... Which I had expected. Overall it's a good set of questions, although it would've been nice to have a neutral option for some of them (or perhaps a rewording of the question).

Where do you fit? (Post results in Comments)

***UPDATE****
wait a second... I thought Soshsecurity Reform/Personal Retirement Accounts were dead? It doesn't look like it to me... 46% approve PRAs vs 44% against. and given the trends in each demographic, I'd say that reform/PRAs as a solution looks to be more promising politically than the Democratic position (which ranges from increase taxes, cut benefits or stick your head in the sand...)

***UPDATE 2 - Issue Analysis***
Check some of these out... it seems that the Libs (Downer, that's you) and the press seem to be way out of the mainstream
Tort Reform
creationism & evolution in the classroom (wouldn't have predicted those results)
Display 10 Commandments in government buildings
Gay Marriage
War in Iraq
Policy of Preemptive Force
Free Trade - Good or Bad? [Sorry Downer, you're in the minority of your own cohort]
Bush Approval Rating
UN - Favorable / Unfavorable - Looks like there's an opportunity to educate some folks here...

This pair is interesting... Note the swing in the Liberal cohort... it's the only group that has a substantial movement.
Fav / Unfav of Christian Conservatives
Fav / Unfav of Muslims

Interesting stuff....

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Coulter on Newsweak

Ann Coulter certainly is a firebrand (and often makes inane arguments when on the talk shows), but she definitely has a point here:

'NEWSWEEK DISSEMBLED, MUSLIMS DISMEMBERED!'
By Ann Coulter Wed May 18, 7:01 PM ET

When ace reporter Michael Isikoff had the scoop of the decade, a thoroughly sourced story about the president of the United States having an affair with an intern and then pressuring her to lie about it under oath, Newsweek decided not to run the story. Matt Drudge scooped Newsweek, followed by The Washington Post.
ADVERTISEMENT

When Isikoff had a detailed account of Kathleen Willey's nasty sexual encounter with the president in the Oval Office, backed up with eyewitness and documentary evidence, Newsweek decided not to run it. Again, Matt Drudge got the story.

When Isikoff was the first with detailed reporting on Paula Jones' accusations against a sitting president, Isikoff's then-employer The Washington Post -- which owns Newsweek -- decided not to run it. The American Spectator got the story, followed by the Los Angeles Times.

So apparently it's possible for Michael Isikoff to have a story that actually is true, but for his editors not to run it.

Why no pause for reflection when Isikoff had a story about American interrogators at Guantanamo flushing the Quran down the toilet? Why not sit on this story for, say, even half as long as NBC News sat on Lisa Meyers' highly credible account of
Bill Clinton raping Juanita Broaddrick?
[...]
Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas justified Newsweek's decision to run the incendiary anti-U.S. story about the Quran, saying that "similar reports from released detainees" had already run in the foreign press -- "and in the Arab news agency al-Jazeera."

Is there an adult on the editorial board of Newsweek? Al-Jazeera also broadcast a TV miniseries last year based on the "Protocols of the Elders Of Zion." (I didn't see it, but I hear James Brolin was great!) Al-Jazeera has run programs on the intriguing question, "Is Zionism worse than Nazism?" (Take a wild guess where the consensus was on this one.) It runs viewer comments about Jews being descended from pigs and apes. How about that for a Newsweek cover story, Evan? You're covered -- al-Jazeera has already run similar reports!

Ironically, among the reasons Newsweek gave for killing Isikoff's Lewinsky bombshell was that Evan Thomas was worried someone might get hurt. It seems that Lewinsky could be heard on tape saying that if the story came out, "I'll (expletive) kill myself."

And as others have mentioned on radio and online (Jonah Goldberg), why do we excuse the riots in Afghanistan, with a concerned and earnest nod? Why do we "understand" their rage?
During the first few months after 9/11, many U.S. commentators did a great job of blaming us for the attacks. It is hard to remember now, but there was enough self-flagelation in liberal intellectual circles to put the entire S&M industry out of business. We had it coming, because of Israel, because of our greedy need for oil (which powers an economy, which has pulled billions of people out of poverty), because we imposed sanctions on Saddam, because of the Crusades(!), because we are “arrogant.”
[...]
Andy McCarthy is absolutely correct. Newsweek screwed-up a story which would have been the 73,087,733th tale of America showing very little respect for the religious sensibilities of murderous terrorists who call themselves Muslims. In response to the story, fanatical young men rioted and people died. The story turned out not to be true. Shame on Newsweek. But what if it were true?* Would that mean the rioters were right to indulge their epilepsy of hatred?

I don’t know how to read the minds of Islamist fanatics, but it seems to me they have all the excuses in the world they’ll ever need to hate us. Osama bin Laden says the Crusades are reason enough. When he blew up that train in Spain, he said it was partly out of a desire to avenge the taking of Andalusia — i.e. Muslim Spain in the 15th century. At some point you need to start saying, “Who cares what makes these people angry?” As Mark Steyn put it beautifully during the whole “blame the Crusades” moment:
Shortly after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese took Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands and arrested 22 British watchkeepers. The following year, they tied them to trees, beheaded them, and burned their bodies in a pit. You won't find that in the Geneva Convention. The Japanese fought a filthy war, but here we are less than 60 years later, and Britain and Japan sit side by side at G-7 meetings. If America is really "paying for" events that occurred seven centuries before the Republic's founding, then that's the Muslim world's problem, not ours.

Remember all the Ramadan-a-ding-donging about how we should have postponed hostilities in Afghanistan out of respect for the Holy Month of Ramadan? Muslims around the world wouldn’t tolerate such an affront, even though Mohammed himself became a helicopter of fists against his enemies during Ramadan. My absolute favorite complaint from the “respect Muslim sensibilities” crowd was when the FBI came out with a new “Most Wanted List” immediately after 9/11 and we were told this was “counterproductive” because it singled out Arabs and Muslims. Reuters favorably quoted Hussein Amin, an Islamic intellectual and former Egyptian ambassador to Algeria, "Why pick on Arabs? Are there no South Americans, Irish, Serbs, Japanese among the most wanted?"
[...]
Yes, yes, the irony is rich that for all the bleating from the blame-America crowd about how this war or that invasion will ignite the “street” in the Muslim world it ended up being a ten-line item in the “Periscope” section of Newsweek. But that’s life.

Call me crazy but if we’re talking about insults to Islam, I’d have a lot more respect for the “Muslim street” if there were just a few more riots against jihadists for equating beheadings, terrorist attacks, hosannas for the Holocaust, and random slaughter on the streets of Amsterdam with a faithful reading of the Koran.

This entire story tells us sooo much about our press and the sensibilities with which we fight this war on terror.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Flush this....

One thing about the Huffington Post. It sure is fun to fisk the articles. I thought the Kossacks and Oliver were whacko, nothing compared to the whacko's at the Huffington Post.

Today, there is a post by Kristen Breitweiser, equating the NEWSWEEK scandal with the information the CIA disseminated about potential chemical weapons in Iraq. Information they got from a source called Curveball.

In Kristen's twisted logic, because there have been calls for Isikoff's resignation for pushing a story that was false and caused loss of life, so to there should be calls for Bush to leave for believing the information from the CIA.

This is laughable, simply because of one fact. Bush was the consumer of the information, just like the public was the consumer of the NEWSWEEK story. Nobody is saying the public should be fired because NEWSWEEK got it wrong.

The one who should be fired for Curveball was George Tenet. And while it took a while, that's exactly what happened.

But in the left's worldview, everything is a Rovian Conspiracy, and Bush is the ultimate target for any action. The American people had a chance to fire Bush just a few months ago, you may have remembered it, it was called an election. They elected to keep him on for another four years.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Schroeder's SPD is Toast

BusinessWeak has this snippet on upcoming elections in Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia region:

Another Defeat For Germany's SPD?

Voters are expected to deliver a huge setback to German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 22. The Christian Democrats look set to take control from Schröder's Social Democrats, who have led the state for 39 years. A survey by Berlin pollster Forsa shows the Christian Democrats [Center-Right party] winning the election 45% to 34%. There is even speculation that a defeat for the Social Democrats in Germany's most populous state may prompt Schröder to resign. Most analysts think he'll tough it out until national elections in 2006, hoping that an economic upswing will restore his popularity. He's likely to veer left to fire up his party's core voters.
As I've mentioned previously, if Schroeder's Party (The Socialist Social Democrats) lose in this Bundesland (German state), it'd be equivalent to a GOP takeover of New York, New Jersey, Massachussetts, and Connecticut. For more info on where this region is in Germany and what cities it includes, check out this previous post (Deutschland, Deutschland, ueber... someone? - a twist on their national anthem - Germany, Germany, over everyone [else])

I wouldn't be surprised if Schroeder is pushed aside, but we'll see.... It seems that the German experiment with "The Third Way" is about to end. I just don't see an upswing in the german economy... not with stories like these.

However, given BW's prescription for Schroeder, look for more anti-Americanism from Germany's leaders.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi, President & CFO of PepsiCo gave a commencement speech to Columbia Business School. Here's the full transcript of her speech. (PDF Format)

This has grabbed attention from PowerLine Blog as well as the New Criterion

I have to say that I think Powerline may be too critical. She probably could've used a more appropriate metaphor, but the example she provides of the US businesspeople laughing about the toilets in Beijing is all too common.

A U.S. businesswoman was recently in Beijing, China, on an international training assignment for a luxury hotel chain. The chain was rebranding an older Beijing hotel. As such, the toilets in the hotel had yet to be upgraded. There were no porcelain commodes, just holes in the floor. Until recently, this was the standard procedure in China.

Now, eight-thousand-miles removed from the scene, you and I – and most Americans – can shake our heads and giggle at the physical contortions and delicate motor skills necessary to make the best of this situation. We’re simply not used to it. But to loudly and insultingly verbalize these feelings on site – in front of the employees and guests of the host country is bush league. And, yet, that’s exactly what this woman observed.

In the hotel’s bar, the woman overheard a group of five American businessmen loudly making fun of the hotel’s lavatory facilities. As the drinks flowed, the crass and vulgar comments grew louder, and actually took on an angry, jingoistic tone. While these Americans couldn’t speak a word of Chinese, their Chinese hosts spoke English very well … and understood every word the men were saying.

And we wonder why the world views many Americans as boorish and culturally insensitive. This incident should make it abundantly clear. These men were not giving China a hand. They were giving China the finger. This finger was red, white and blue and had “the United States” stamped all over it.

Graduates, it pains me greatly that this view of America persists. Although I’m a daughter of India, I’m an American businesswoman. My family and I are citizens of this great country.

It's clear that she's trying to convey to these graduates that they need to be culturally sensitive when abroad and when dealing with others in this world economy. I don't read her statement to have any political thrust... because in some instances, the middle finger is appropriate for international relations (see Iraq, N. Korea, Iran, etc, etc).

I think we may be too eager to criticize for statements that we think are anti-American.... In this regard, I don't think Nooyi was being anti-american... Again, I think the metaphor is kind of a stretch (i'd put the EU or heck, perhaps the UN, as the finger) and the US as the index finger.

***Update***
Apparently some are calling for a boycott of Pepsi. I'm not sure this is wise or necessary. Slublog agrees, although apparently it's only due to the fact that Pepsi is caffeine vehicle of choice over there...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Norman Mailer Is Batty

I wanted to comment on the Mailer item that the good Saint linked to below. It's short so bear with me as I excerpt it again:

Intelligence 101A

I'm beginning to see why one would want to write a blog. At present, I have a few thoughts I can certainly not prove, but the gaffe over the Michael Isikoff story in Newsweek concerning the Koran and the toilet is redolent with bad odor. Who, indeed, was Isikoff's supposedly reliable Pentagon source? One's counter-espionage hackles rise. If you want to discredit a Dan Rather or a Newsweek crew, just feed them false information from a hitherto reliable source. You learn that in Intelligence 101A.
This pre-supposes one thing. That your false information won't be discovered as false before its used. Then you've "burned" your source. In these particular instances, its even easier than in the espionage game since all the reporters in the NEWSWEEK and CBS stories had to do was to not publish! Then no trap is sprung and the indvidual reporters (as well as the media as a whole) keeps its credibility.
Counter-espionage often depends on building "reliable sources." You construct such reliability item by secret item, all accurate. That is seen by the intelligence artists as a necessary expenditure. It gains the source his credibility. Then, you spring the trap.
The easy solution to a reporter caught in this trap is to simply reveal his source. Then the swarm (blog and MSM) will descend on the source, questions will be asked, truths will be revealed. Including, if it was all just a sting by administration officials. But the reason the sources haven't been revealed in just these two examples is simple. The sources, if exposed, would be proven to be people with axes to grind against the current administration, and as such, would further diminish the credibility of the reporters in question. So instead they "half-retract" the story, continue with the "fake but accurate" line, and rely on media defenders to whip up conspiracy theories about a Rovian plot.

Revealing the sources also insures that such a trap could never be sprung again, since the risk would be too great for the source.
As for the riots at the other end, on this occasion, they, too, could have been orchestrated. We do have agents in Pakistan, after all, not to mention Afghanistan.
Wow, imagine if that was actually the case. What a story! It would make Watergate look like a 3rd rate burglary. Bush, or Cheney, or Rumsfeld, would be removed from office in relatively short order. The reporter responsible for discovering the story would be rich and be the preeminant journalist of the new century. And it would be discoverable. Such an operation would require lots of resources, government records, agents willing to spill the beans. If there's anything Harlot's Ghost taught me (other than Mailer has a serious kink about homosexuality), it's that the government can't do anything without a lot of people eventually finding out.

But of course you can't even get to that story until you REVEAL THE SOURCE!

p.s. Norman, when is the sequal to Harlot's Ghost supposed to be released? Its been almost 15 years! Or was the "to be continued" an inside joke? Rumor was that the Kennedy assasination and Watergate were to be perused in your followup to the novel, after you reviewed all those papers about Lee Harvey Oswald. Anything? An outline? If I went through 1400 pages to leave that much unresolved (other than a lot of the CIA in the 50's, 60's were bisexual, or at least thought about being bisexual) then I want my money back. With interest. And 15 years worth of interest is not pretty.


The Conservative Cat weighs in as well.... heh


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Scylla & Charybdis on Newsweak

Here's an interesting post from BummerDietz at Scylla & Charybdis who is a veritable one-stop shop for all matters media & legal related.

Let BummerDietz tell you a little bit about what the Corporate Legal Department does at a media company, since that is BummerDietz’ business….

"...When a publication has a Legal Department that has no check-and-balance function but instead exists only to insert minor text edits that maintain the thrust of the story but sidestep libel law, you have a yellow rag."

The attorneys The National Enquirer have perfected a strategy that is being copied by other media, such as CBS Legal. We call it “Head In the Sand.” The publication goes to great lengths to prevent rebuttal facts from coming into its possession, prior to deadline. To a journalist, the possession of rebuttal facts is like holding contraband - possession is punishable by a finding of Actual Malice. So journalists have changed the way they operate, in order to avoid being caught with the hot potato of rebuttal facts.

Why? Because the Legal Department might step in and delay or kill the story, if there are any rebuttal facts lying around. This manifests itself in several media bahaviors:
Click on this link to see what ends up happening...

It sure does explain a lot...

Brian adds: It sure does explain a lot. So basically what Glenn has been talking about with respect to the NEWSWEEK story bears fruition. The MSM is sliding down the scale of media credibility to National Enquirer levels. All so that they can provide "gotcha" journalism and attack their favorite targets.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Madame Huffenstuff's Huffington's Blog

Ok, reading Arianna Huffington's site (The Huffington Post - how friggin' original) is making my eyes bleed...

here are two posts that I'm s'posed to click the "read more" button...

There's this gem... by Norman Mailer:

Intelligence 101A

I'm beginning to see why one would want to write a blog. At present, I have a few thoughts I can certainly not prove, but the gaffe over the Michael Isikoff story in Newsweek concerning the Koran and the toilet is redolent with bad odor. Who, indeed, was Isikoff's supposedly reliable Pentagon source? One's counter-espionage hackles rise. If you want to discredit a Dan Rather or a Newsweek crew, just feed them false information from a hitherto reliable source. You learn that in Intelligence 101A.

Counter-espionage often depends on building "reliable sources." You construct such reliability item by secret item, all accurate. That is seen by the intelligence artists as a necessary expenditure. It gains the source his credibility. Then, you spring the trap.

As for the riots at the other end, on this occasion, they, too, could have been orchestrated. We do have agents in Pakistan, after all, not to mention Afghanistan.

Obviously, I can offer no proof of any of the above. There still resides, however, under my aging novelist's pate a volunteer intelligence agent, sadly manque. He does suggest that the outcome was too neat. It came out too effectively for one side, one special...

followed by this, from richard bradley (?)
Was Newsweek Set Up?

Interesting post by Norman Mailer. I know what he means: The way this Newsweek fiasco has played out is a little too neat, and the White House has jumped on it almost as if they knew it was coming.

The question I'd ask, though, is not whom, but why? Would Karl Rove or someone at the Pentagon really plant such a volatile item just to discredit the MSM? The MSM seems to have done a pretty good job of that all by itself of late.

Granted, the leaker couldn't have known just how violent the reaction would be, but still, it seems like playing with fire for a relatively trivial benefit.

Unless, maybe, it was someone inside the Administration who wanted to discredit the "war on terror," or the Pentagon, or the White House, and was willing to use Newsweek to do it. Someone trying to oust Don Rumsfeld, for example. Now, that would be interesting.....

Holy cr@p.... there's no way this site will make it. Occam's Razor my friends... or see the old Chinese adage at the bottom of this site (The longer the explanation, the greater the lie)

Besides, she's got too many folks writing for the site, thus there's no "voice" for the site. And then you add all the nutballs that Arianna loves to surround herself with (perhaps in order to make her feel more sane?), and you've got a disaster. Add to that the elitism that this site just oozes and you have something which is difficult to stomach.

I think she sees it, too... doesn't look to happy...



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Rather Delusional

H/T Ed Morrissey at CQB.

"The Peabody Awards, administered by the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, honor excellence in both radio and television broadcasting."

Somehow, the good folks at UGA's college of Jounralism thought Mary Mapes & Dan Rather personified this. Although, to be fair... it was for their abu ghraib story and not the TANG story. Sure, the US Military was already investigating it, but man... they had the PHOTOS!

Here's a link to the other winners of the award

Well, I'm sure it was great times when Dan & Mary got to see each other again. Unfortunately, Mary still thinks the docs are real.

Rather, Mapes Reunited at Peabodys

By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/16/2005 4:21:00 PM

Mary Mapes, the producer of the 60 Minutes II Abuse At Abu Ghraib, was on hand as the 64th Annual Peabody Awards were officially handed out at a New York luncheon Monday, and so was Dan Rather.

Neither she nor correspondent Dan Rather spoke publicly about the elephant in the room—the later discredited 60 Minutes II report about President Bush’s National Guard record that got Mapes and others fired, and led to Rather’s accelerated departure from anchoring The CBS Evening News.

Rather, accepting the award, thanked producers and behind-the-scenes folks at CBS News for the Abu Ghraib effort, but never mentioned CBS News President Andrew Heyward. [He especially thanked Specialist Lynndie Englund, whose natural abilities in front of the camera made his job that much easier.]

After the ceremony, Mapes, who is writing a book, said she never believed that CBS News investigated whether the disputed facts behind the National Guard story, were in fact true. “They made a corporate decision, not a journalistic one,” she said. She also defended the suspect documents, which many said were phonies because they produced a small “th” typically used with dates (like 30th) that experts say typerwriters of the Vietnam War era were incapable of producing. “We know it was possible because we have other documents” from the same era, she said.

Not a journalistic decision??? And honey... (and B&C) - there was much more that was wrong with those docs besides just the "th." Oh, and if you really want to authenticate those puppies, give us your source so we can trace them, you ingnorant .... TWIT!!!

She's delusional... I'm deeply concerned. I wonder what percentage of MSM journalists think the way she does... it would be an interesting poll.



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Biased BusinessWeek - A (Long) Fisking

This is an example of why BusinessWeek is losing its credibility, especially in the business community (which I think is their target marketing demographic, but I coould be wrong).... I'm sorry for the length of this post... it was a cover story in BusinessWeek.

The cover story from the May 16th issue was a totally slanted piece on Social Security reform and only at the end did they even provide a pro-reform opinion, as voiced by a bush adminstration official.


It starts out this way:

"I Want My Safety Net"
Why so many Americans aren't buying into Bush's Ownership Society

George Silli, a 66-year-old waiter from suburban Philadelphia, had a brush with President Bush's Ownership Society, and it was an experience he'll not soon forget. Silli's psyche and his wallet still bear the scorch marks of the 2000 market meltdown. He saw the value of his mutual funds drop by 60% and is convinced that opening Social Security to individual investing would produce similar results on a massive scale. ``If people are left to their own devices, we'll become top-heavy with poor people,'' Silli says.

A political independent, Silli has learned enough about the market to be pessimistic about a small fry's chances. He not only wants to leave Social Security alone but also thinks politicians should expand entitlements by mandating near-universal health insurance as a shield against soaring medical bills.

Ok, so their frontpage poster guy is someone who is 66 years old (exempt from any reform) and who calls himself an independent, but sounds more like Marx.

Next up is a 30-yr old Republican, in that red of red states, Maryland (Kerry by 13% - heh)
But, says Tsirigotis, the divorced mother of a 7-year-old, ``I disagree with the idea of giving people private accounts in which their annual returns and their eventual benefits would be based on the stock market. It's too risky. No one knows how much will be there in the end.''

Hmmm... nevermind that she could choose (magic word that the Left supposedly loves) to instead hold Treasury Bonds... the very same investments which SS is currently based (so no net change in risk). However, if she did that, she'd still fare better , since it would be an asset that she owns and cannot be stripped away by the Feds. Oh, and that 7-yr old of hers? She could inherit whatever Ms. Tsirigotis bequeaths to her.
In an era of rampant job insecurity, when employer-provided pensions and health coverage can no longer be taken for granted, they want a middle-class security blanket that gives them protection as they build wealth.

Exactly.... the Ownership Society and SS Reform is about building wealth and removing benefits as the purview and bargaining chip of employers.
Even houses -- most Americans' entrée to the Ownership Society -- are increasingly in hock: In the past 15 years, mortgage and home-equity borrowing has risen from 35.1% of home values to 43.9%. That has made families, especially those with unskilled workers, more vulnerable to a catastrophic jolt such as job loss or serious illness. Personal bankruptcies increased fivefold from 1980 to 2002, with many filers citing a layoff or medical emergency as the tipping point.

Yes... mortage amounts have increased... But it's a rational thing when rates are at historic lows. Lock in more of your house's value at a low rate which you can pay off and convert that high-interest debt into your low interest mortgage. (Keep in mind, this is from BusinessWeek writers...) Also, with regard to bankruptcies, I'm sure those filing are reluctant to check off the "I got carried away with the bling and the bigscreen" box...
But despite such gambits, the President has little to show for a 60-day national sellathon that took him to 23 states. If Congress enacts Social Security reform this year, it could be a far cry from reformers' dreams of big private accounts carved out of payroll taxes.

4%.. yep, big private accounts carved out of payroll taxes... Heck, I'm all for choice and flexibility. Give me the choice to keep, save, and invest all 12.5%.
The result is riskophobia. ``With a far greater portion of family budgets devoted to the mortgage, car payment, and health insurance, a transitory shock to wages becomes much more menacing,'' says Raj Chetty, a University of California at Berkeley economics professor who studies risk. ``Equities are seen as risky, and if people aren't jumping for the investment option [as part of Social Security reform], there's a reason. Risk in general has become a much more pervasive issue.''

Which is riskier? Investing in a diversified group of stocks & bonds, shifting to bonds as retirement nears? Or "investing" in a big mortgage and car payment?
``Bush's timing is not good,'' notes Eva Bertram, a political scientist at the University of California at Santa Cruz. ``The public is leery of becoming more dependent on the market, and there is great anxiety over employment prospects and stagnant incomes. Right now it's just very hard to give up the security offered by things like Social Security and traditional Medicare.''

Ummm... if no one wants to set up a private account, then fine... no one will. And the system will continue as it does today. But I think all of these people in this article KNOW that millions will flock to the accounts and they're afraid of what removing this political tool will do for Left-of-center politics when they can't trot it out every 2 years.

Finally, into the 6th page of a 7 page article, BusinessWeek gives us this info:
What the White House proposes, in fairness, is not a complete swap of a public retirement supplement for a private one. Bush says that letting workers voluntarily set aside a chunk of their payroll taxes -- say, 4 points of the 12.4% tax -- in conservative investment options will let retirees reap a richer reward than the government system's puny 2% return. But if guaranteed benefits are slashed for the middle class and above, more Americans will be drawn into private accounts to make up the difference, changing the nature of Social Security. ``The plan does have a guarantee in it in the form of the core benefit,'' says Kent Smetters, a Wharton School associate professor and former Bush Treasury official. ``Since it's only partial privatization, Bush needs to play up the safety net angle.''
Perhaps you could've mentioned the 4% before page 6!

Finally, the political angle is uncovered on Page 7:
But in today's hyper-partisan climate, the fight over the ownership agenda has taken on a larger dimension. Bush wants to wind down dependence on the bureaucratic welfare state. Democrats want to revalidate government by weaving costly new safety nets for workers. It's an elemental struggle, but one in which outcomes can be perverse.

Ok, so the GOP wants people to be less dependent on bureaucratic welfare state.... Dems think it's a great idea.

The sidebar on Page 7 has a Q&A with Allan B. Hubbard, head of the White House National Economic Council. FINALLY, BusinessWeek gives us some details about what the President is proposing, instead of just giving us the tales of woe... Here's a link to the Q&A It seems that the online version has more Q&As than the print edition, but here's a good example:
Q: But what specifically do you tell the risk-averse people who worry about your ownership prescriptions?
A: There's risk in staying with what has been traditionally defined as a safety-net program. The least risk is investing yourself, and you can [always] decide to invest in risk-free investments, such as Treasuries. A perfect example is the Health Savings Account, which gives people more control of their health-care dollar and is a pool of savings to deal with future health challenges. It's affordable, which is important. When you change jobs, you can go for several months without coverage, or run into problems with a preexisting condition. This is a device for greater financial security.


*****
Now, here's a slideshow of the people that BW decided to highlight throughout the story:
George Silli - 66 Year Old Waiter in Philadelphia, PA - EXEMPT FROM S.S. REFORM
Mary Beth Griffis - 41 of CO - Bush Voter.
[If Americans have personal accounts,] they'll have a false sense of security... and get even deeper in debt, spending for that trip to Mexico or Michael Jordan shoes they can't afford
huh?!?! First, we have to trust BW that she's talking about PRAs and not people relying on Social Security. Assuming that, she doesn't make any sense. Should we give people a sense of insecurity!???
Douglas Turner - 38 from Chattanooga, TN -
Social Security will be gone by the time I retire. Or the retirement age will be bumped up to such a level that you'll work until you die."

No further elaboration as to whether he'd be for S.S. reform or not...
Karen Marshall Hudson - 43 of Houston -
I've learned that there's no such thing as a permanent job. Anyone can be removed from a job at any time"

Her bio says that she worked for 12 years as a bank vice-president at Chase in Houston and was a manager at Enron when it crashed, wiping out much of her 401(k). "While she likes the idea of investing a portion of her payroll taxes, the Enron experience left her with a diminished appetite for risk. An independent, she voted for Kerry last November.

I have to say two things... based on her bio, I bet Karen did quite well for herself. I also am assuming that she go caught in the Enron dive, where employees were buying up shares as the bottom dropped out to lower their average cost - and were stuck holding the bag as Enron switched plan managers for their 401(k), which requires a freeze in buying/selling until the switch has been completed. Second - NO ONE has talked about investing funds in a single stock, a single segment of the stock market (ie Biotech, IT, Petroleum, etc)...

Bruce Zeestraten, 46 of Hugo, Minn - A UAW member who voted for Bush whose son suffers from cystic fibrosis and faces huge healthcare costs. He's leery of Healthcare Savings Accounts (which allow for tax free savings during younger years when healthcare consumption is minimal and taxfree withdrawals for normal medical care in later years and insurance to cover catastrophic conditions, such as cystic fibrosis). Had HSA's been around when he started as an employee of the Ford Motor plant, he'd probably have a ton of cash to cover normal healthcare expenses (taxfree) and insurance would cover the rest.

Cyl Proufx, 53 of Michigan - Bush voter, who'll be exempt from any reform. Sorry, honey... you don't have any benefit b/c past presidents didn't have the courage to fix the ponzi scheme.

My take on the article?
They never communicated facts to the people, never asked questions which in anyway could be from someone who had considered that it might be a good idea to reform the system. They finally give a single sentence assessment of the 4% contribution under Bush's proposal on the second to the last page and finally interview someone from the Bush Administration in a sidebar on the last page. Their primary "emotional-tug" interviews are from people that are either exempt or are comparing their personal experiences with investing in individual high risk stocks to a measured social security reform plan that in my opinion is too timid as it is. The folks they highlight are actually mixed on the aspects of SS Reform and would propobably support the presidents plan if they sat in a room with two options (keep it or reform it) and enough information to make a decision (instead of relying on BW and the NYTimes for their information).

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, May 16, 2005

We're Progressive: We Fear Economic Activity!

I saw this group blog over the weekend as I was looking for interesting posts about the National Media Reform Conference here in St Louis. The members of the NewsHounds blog started out strong, complaining about how their matching tie-dyed t-shirts didn't stand out at the conference... *yawn*

And then... they... just... seemed to forget to post. I guess they got to enthralled with the conference. I mean, they've got two posts from Saturday of the conference. I guess I was just hoping for something beyond the normal cliches and banalities... Anyway, I decided to return today to check out whether there was any "there" there... and saw this post:

Lakshman Achuthan said the economy's looking good because incomes have been able to "largely, completely outpace the rise in energy prices" except for in some lower income groups. He said the recent $10.00 decline in oil makes it higher than it was in 2000, "so what's different is we're making much more money than, we're actually, the increase in the energy price, even though that increase in energy price is a drag, and in particular on the lower income, overall, for the overall US economy, our incomes are actually rising quite a bit faster, and they're overwhelming the rise in energy prices." (Comment: This study was released last week: Real Wages Fall at Fastest Rate in 14 Years. For someone who advises clients on the future of the economy and Wall Street not to know about this seems to me to be either a sign of incompetence or negligence.)

Cavuto asked if what seem to be good fundamentals will last for an extended period, and Gary B. Smith said traditionally we see a "pump up" in gas prices during the summer months but "SUV sales have not gone down, they've remained about level, people are just switching to the smaller SUVs." (Comment: Maybe so but Detroit's still hurting, industries and communities connected to the auto industry are still hurting and workers are still hurting!) Smith said he sees "the overall economy as just fine."

Cavuto wondered whether it would be "an issue" if oil went to $60.00 a barrel and "stayed there." Duessel said "we are far less reliant on oil than we were, if you remember in the 70's when we were sitting in those long lines, as a percentage of our income it's less of a hit to us." (Comment: Do you believe we're less reliant on oil now? I don't.) Duessel said that "if we are employed and if we are working then we are going to be spending money and that's good for the economy." (Spend, drone citizen, spend!)

Achuthan said mortgage rates are low and the housing market is still strong which "makes people feel wealthier and they're going to continue spending." (Charge it!)

Smith ended the discussion by saying that if people "are employed and they're making money, they're going to be traveling, they're going to be buying." (Will that be cash or charge?) Smith said he liked "the action today" (on Wall Street) and he hoped that instead of "trailing off through October," the market has a good summer.
It's interesting to see the Left not only distrusts capitalism and free markets, but they also don't like it when prices to low-income consumers are decreased. You see, you slobbering newshounds, you... when the price of gas increases dramatically, it hits the lower income citizens more, since they have less discretionary income. I know, I know... we should have electric-powered cars, but until you develop one that goes faster than 55mph and that doesn't require the excavation of an entire coal mine in W. Virginia to power it, I'll stick to my internal combustible engine, thank you very much.

And by the way... what's wrong with consuming? Without consumption, there would be no production... no production = no jobs. no production and no competition means stagnation and decay... Or do you think that we've reached the epoch of civilization and we can just make the world stop? If you really fear the pace of economic activity in today's world, just head up to Lancaster, PA and take residence there. Or better yet, head on south to Castro's little theme park that he's set up there. Or North Korea, the land that time and economic activity forgot.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Endorsements of ARC


Well... it looks like we have an endorsement not only from the First Baptist Church, but also from el Presidente...

H/T to good buddy (and whacky leftist) Downer (from DownLeft).

click

Support your Local Communist!

Okay, okay... based on the fact that I've now made 2 posts in one day that link to Common Dreams (Breaking News & Views for the Regressive Communist Pogressive Community), I've GOT to add them to my kooks blogroll.

Jeff Cohen at Common Dreams today implores his readers to buy their gas from Citgo, since the company is owned by the Venezuelan government.

Buy Your Gas at Citgo: Join the BUY-cott!
by Jeff Cohen

Looking for an easy way to protest Bush foreign policy week after week? And an easy way to help alleviate global poverty? Buy your gasoline at Citgo stations.

And tell your friends.

Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. The President is Hugo Chavez. Call him "the Anti-Bush."

Citgo is a U.S. refining and marketing firm that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company. Money you pay to Citgo goes to Venezuela -- not Saudi Arabia or the Middle East. There are 14,000 Citgo gas stations in the US. (Click here http://www.citgo.com/CITGOLocator/StoreLocator.jsp to find one near you.) By buying your gasoline at Citgo, you are contributing to the billions of dollars that Venezuela's democratic government is using to provide health care, literacy and education, and subsidized food for the majority of Venezuelans.

Instead of using government to help the rich and the corporate, as Bush does, Chavez is using the resources and oil revenue of his government to help the poor in Venezuela. A country with so much oil wealth shouldn't have 60 percent of its people living in poverty, earning less than $2 per day. With a mass movement behind him, Chavez is confronting poverty in Venezuela. That's why large majorities have consistently backed him in democratic elections. And why the Bush administration supported an attempted military coup in 2002 that sought to overthrow Chavez.

So this is the opposite of a boycott. Call it a BUYcott. Spread the word.

Of course, if you can take mass transit or bike or walk to your job, you should do so. And we should all work for political changes that move our country toward a cleaner environment based on renewable energy. The BUYcott is for those of us who don't have a practical alternative to filling up our cars.

So get your gas at Citgo. And help fuel a democratic revolution in Venezuela.
Last I heard, Chavez' Oil-For-Chickens program wasn't doing so well... It's sure to bankrupt a country when you take oil revenues and "invest" them in chickens... not chicken raising/production facilities or anything..just chickens.

Hey, I'm sure Castro will keep him afloat.

In an unrelated story, Jeffrey asks everyone to only buy their organic, wild grass and seaweed from North Korea. Since this is one of the primary foodstuffs for many in North Korea, if everyone in the US bought North Korean grass to use in their lawns & landscaping and North Korean seaweed for their fish tanks and sushi, the N. Koreans could then make enough money to plant something else. Wait.. that would be exploiting the working poor in N Korea, right? I mean, buying their only food crop??? Perhaps Chavez's Oil-For-Chickens program could be extended to his ideological brethren in Pyongyang...

They certainly make a cute couple!





Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

I agree with Bill Moyers (?!?!?!?!)

Well, not totally and I'm sure he would take exception to that assertion.... You see, Bill gave a keynote speech at the National Conference on Media Reform here in St Louis over the weekend. Unfortunately, my butt was in a classroom all weekend, otherwise I would've been there with a video camera. His message was that corporate media and media consolidation was hurting our democracy. He is especially concerned about the print media.

I have to say, I agree.... I totally think that the print media really should stop treating the B.S. that comes out of the NYTimes and its sister publications (Boston Herald, etc, etc) as news and start covering stories for themselves. Also, given the ideological bent of Reuters with their scare quotes for terrorists (eg "terrorist") and the AP's inability to cover anything from a conservative perspective without an obligatory smirk & wink to the reader, it's high time that local papers start reporting for themselves, accurately and without bias.

And Moyers is concerned about the possible joining of government and media...

What would happen, however, if the contending giants of big government and big publishing and broadcasting ever joined hands? Ever saw eye to eye in putting the public’s need for news second to free-market economics?
Indeed... Hmmm.... What about if there's less an interest in free-market economics and an eyer towards putting the "public's need for news" (as they saw it) in the forefront? I think you'd have some pompous @-hole from Texas getting paid millions to air left-wing diatribes, all subsidized by the taxpayer thanks to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting! How 'bout them apples!

Of course, this is what happened in the arena of broadcast journalism - market forces reared their ugly heads when Rupert launched a network that wasn't center-left.
Which brings me to the third powerful force – beyond governmental secrecy and megamedia conglomerates – that is shaping what Americans see, read, and hear. I am talking now about that quasi-official partisan press ideologically linked to an authoritarian administration that in turn is the ally and agent of the most powerful interests in the world. This convergence dominates the marketplace of political ideas today in a phenomenon unique in our history. You need not harbor the notion of a vast, right wing conspiracy to think this more collusion more than pure coincidence. Conspiracy is unnecessary when ideology hungers for power and its many adherents swarm of their own accord to the same pot of honey. Stretching from the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal to the faux news of Rupert Murdoch’s empire to the nattering nabobs of no-nothing radio to a legion of think tanks paid for and bought by conglomerates – the religious, partisan and corporate right have raised a mighty megaphone for sectarian, economic, and political forces that aim to transform the egalitarian and democratic ideals embodied in our founding documents. Authoritarianism. With no strong opposition party to challenge such triumphalist hegemony, it is left to journalism to be democracy’s best friend. That is why so many journalists joined with you in questioning Michael Powell’s bid – blessed by the White House – to permit further concentration of media ownership. If free and independent journalism committed to telling the truth without fear or favor is suffocated, the oxygen goes out of democracy. And there is a surer way to intimidate and then silence mainstream journalism than to be the boss.
Moyers also decries the lack of participation by youth in politics, despite the surge in 2004 which couldn't counter the conservative get-out-the-vote efforts.
The Carnegie Corporation conducted a youth challenge quiz of l5-24 year-olds and asked them, “Why don’t more young people vote or get involved?” Of the nearly two thousand respondents, the main answer was that they did not have enough information about issues and candidates.
Last I checked, 15 year olds couldn't vote... but hey, I'm not in a dem-run district, so what do I know? But seriously, can't get enough info about the issues and candidates? Perhaps they should stop getting their news from MTV, Comedy Central, or Saturday Night Live? Perhaps they get their news from there because in reality they don't give a damn? Or perhaps they're talking about the fact that coverage provided by the nets is so slanted and consumed by the horserace or the latest scandal that they can't get info on where the candidates stand on any given issue.

So yes, Bill...let's tear down the monolithic thinking that has now come to infect the entire washington press corp, whose questions appear to have been drafted by International ANSWER, MoveOn.org, and DailyKos. Let's end it right now... Let's end the temptation of Newsweek's writers to publish claims from terrorists that they're unable to corroborate... simply because the claims fit with their worldview (ie America is evil)... and let's end all that public money that goes to pay your salary, you twit.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Da Mayor as King....

From today's AVweb:

Daley's Chicago Wants F-16s, Too
While the Cessna 150 was "threatening" Washington, D.C.,Chicago Mayor Richard Daley wasn't taking any chances. According to the Chicago CBS affiliate, emergency officials in Chicago were "put on notice" about the Washington alert. Chicago officials took an immediate defensive stance" (whatever that means). While his staff was manning the ramparts, the enigmatic mayor was gearing up his public-relations
machine. "We need the same protection as Washington, D.C.," Daley said, and he means F-16s. "We do not have any jets here. This city does not have a military force," he said. "I mean, this is in this day and age after 9/11," he said. "That this can take place is very sad comment." Daley didn't forget to take credit for making the city safer by destroying Meigs Field. He told reporters the incident in Washington (somehow) shows his decision to tear up Meigs was correct. He also renewed his call to ban small aircraft flights over downtown Chicago and suggested that anyone violating a Chicago no-fly zone face fines in the order of $500,000.


Someone needs to tell "Da Mayor" that its not the small planes that pose a threat. It's the large ones. A small plane the size of the Cessna 150 that flew near the White House only weigh's (at gross) 1400 pounds. Payload is around 350lbs including the pilot. It would barely make a dent in a building the size of the Sears Tower, etc.

Since the final approach for 27R and 27L of O'hare (ORD) pretty much goes over the north side of downtown, however, Da Mayor may want to stop all those 747's coming into his city. Oh wait, I guess that would pretty much cripple his city.

Someone also needs to inform Da Mayor that the airspace above his city is not controlled by him. It's controlled by the Feds. Long standing case law in that matter. And to fly anywhere "above" downtown you pretty much have to be in O'hare's Class B airspace, which requires positive Air Traffic Control (similar to the same control over the ADIZ around Washington). In fact, it used to be that you couldn't fly up Lake Michigan near downtown without talking with Air Traffic Control, because of Meigs fields airspace. But since Da Mayor bulldozed the field and made it into just a park (casino plans pending), you can now fly (at low level) up the coast Lake Michigan right off of downtown without talking to anyone. So bulldozing Meigs didn't make Chicago safe, it made it less safe.

No, this is obviously about Da Mayor wanting the land that Meigs was on to be used as a casino, and needing to justify his actions. And for his ego. So who's for joining Da Mayor's new air force? I hear they are going to have spiffy new uniforms.

Update: Apropos to the discussion about the Cessna 150 over Washington the following was included in the short final in today's Avweb (keep scrolling). Short final is a section for jokes, or funny things heard on the frequencies by pilots.

Short Final...
Overheard and unfortunately timely...

Pilot: Unknown airport with Cessna 150 circling overhead ... Identify yourself!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Newsweek Lied - People Died

Yep, Newsweek lied, people died... I expect International ANSWER to begin their protest at Newsweek hq today.

It appears that Newsweek "sexed-up" the report about abuses at Gitmo.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Newsweek magazine said on Sunday it erred in a May 9 report that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, and apologized to the victims of deadly Muslim protests sparked by the article.

Editor Mark Whitaker said the magazine inaccurately reported that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that personnel at the detention facility in Cuba had flushed the Muslim holy book down the toilet.

The report sparked angry and violent protests across the Muslim world from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan to Indonesia to Gaza. In the past week it was condemned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and by the Arab League.

On Sunday, Afghan Muslim clerics threatened to call for a holy war against the United States.

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Whitaker wrote in the magazine's latest issue, due to appear on U.S. newsstands on Monday.
Newsweek to the families of those that died as a result: "Sorry 'bout that! Our bad!"

good information on the story from PowerLine...
So Isikoff relied on a telephone call with an anonymous government official paraphrasing a forthcoming report, confirmed by placing a draft of the Periscope item before another anonymous government official. Isikoff never saw the underlying report or even had it read to him.

And ScrappleFace doesn't pull any punches, as usual:
Newsweek Told Koran Flush Story Was 'Slam Dunk'
by Scott Ott

(2005-05-15) -- An unnamed former top government official told a Newsweek magazine reporter that his story, about a U.S. military guard at Guantanamo prison flushing a Koran down a toilet, was "a slam dunk," according to the latest apology from Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker.

The magazine's uncorroborated, single-source, hearsay report of the Koran desecration sparked riots in several Muslim countries, killing at least 15 and injuring perhaps 100.

While the magazine has apologized publicly to the riot victims and their families, Mr. Whitaker told the New York Times, "We're not retracting anything. We don't know what the ultimate facts are."
Understandable for Time... but Newsweek? Com'on!!

I wonder whether Newsweek will have an up or down arrow in the Conventional Wisdom page... or wherever they do that stupid chart. (Whenever I happen to read a Newsweek - dentist office, etc - I check out that chart and know that they've got it almost completely wrong...)

Update 8:30pm CDT (Brian):
As a rejoinder to DownLeft's comment (below), it appears that NEWSWEEK has now officially retracted their story
``Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an
internal military investigation had uncovered Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay,''
Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker said in an e-mailed statement.

What I don't understand is why reporters will continue to defend their source, even after they feed them bogus information. If a reporter's job is to report the "truth", then as soon as one is lied to, it should be fair game to out your source. By doing so, you may just restore some of your lost credibility.

***WRESTLES CONTROL OF THIS POST BACK FROM ARC:BRIAN***
Not only that, but you'll discourage other liars from giving you a bunch of b.s.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

ScrappleFace on the HRC fundraising scandal

Nothing to see here... unless you're apparently a "rabid right-winger" like me.

DNC Poll: Clinton Fundraiser Trial a 'Yawner'
by Scott Ott

(2005-05-12) -- According to a new poll by the Democrat National Committee (DNC), the trial of Sen. Hillary Clinton's former campaign finance director, David Rosen, is "insignificant and uninteresting to 97 percent of all Americans."

The DNC-New York Times survey consisted of one question with two possible answers. The poll showed that among the two percent of Americans who had seen news coverage of the case, 97 percent chose: "It's a yawner -- nothing to see here folks."

The other three percent selected the alternative choice: "I'm a rabid right-winger so blinded by my hatred of the Clintons that I can't reasonably answer the question."
it goes on... check it out.

:-)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler