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

Saturday, June 04, 2005

A Photo Submission from Monterey John

Here are some photos sent in by Monterey John. Click on each thumbnail image below and you'll see the fullsize image.

A little something to complement the wandering conspirator's photgraphic master pieces...

  1. Da bridge
  2. still da bridge
  3. sunset means FOG
  4. Big Sur
  5. Pacific Grove (Monterey... West Coast conspirator's lair)
  6. Faurot field October 2003 (sometimes even hardcore conspirators get homesick)
  7. Overaged new recruit in his mileu in Big Sur


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
The Golden Gate
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
The Bridge 2
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Fog
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Big Sur
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Pacific Grove
Faurot Field - Home of the MU Tigers
Faurot Field, Home of the Univ. of Missouri Tigers. For some reason, whenever I see that field, this starts playing in my head.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Monterey Jim

Thanks to Monterey Jim for sharing. And thanks to ImageShack for the Free Image Hosting (although you need to tighten up the user interface and the login process).

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, June 03, 2005

Nail: Meet Hammer. Friedman on EU & Globalization



Great article by Tom Friedman in the NYTimes on globalization, the non vote on the EU constitution by France & the Netherlands, and why India truly will be a powerhouse in the future. It's a good thing the Bush administration has recognized that and announced as much recently.

A Race to the Top
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: June 3, 2005

Bangalore, India

It was extremely revealing traveling from Europe to India as French voters (and now Dutch ones) were rejecting the E.U. constitution - in one giant snub to President Jacques Chirac, European integration, immigration, Turkish membership in the E.U. and all the forces of globalization eating away at Europe's welfare states. It is interesting because French voters are trying to preserve a 35-hour work week in a world where Indian engineers are ready to work a 35-hour day. Good luck.

Voters in "old Europe" - France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy - seem to be saying to their leaders: stop the world, we want to get off; while voters in India have been telling their leaders: stop the world and build us a stepstool, we want to get on. I feel sorry for Western European blue collar workers. A world of benefits they have known for 50 years is coming apart, and their governments don't seem to have a strategy for coping.

One reason French voters turned down the E.U. constitution was rampant fears of "Polish plumbers." Rumors that low-cost immigrant plumbers from Poland were taking over the French plumbing trade became a rallying symbol for anti-E.U. constitution forces. A few weeks ago Franz M√ľntefering, chairman of Germany's Social Democratic Party, compared private equity firms - which buy up failing businesses, downsize them and then sell them - to a "swarm of locusts."

The fact that a top German politician has resorted to attacking capitalism to win votes tells you just how explosive the next decade in Western Europe could be, as some of these aging, inflexible economies - which have grown used to six-week vacations and unemployment insurance that is almost as good as having a job - become more intimately integrated with Eastern Europe, India and China in a flattening world.

To appreciate just how explosive, come to Bangalore, India, the outsourcing capital of the world. The dirty little secret is that India is taking work from Europe or America not simply because of low wages. It is also because Indians are ready to work harder and can do anything from answering your phone to designing your next airplane or car. They are not racing us to the bottom. They are racing us to the top.

Indeed, there is a huge famine breaking out all over India today, an incredible hunger. But it is not for food. It is a hunger for opportunity that has been pent up like volcanic lava under four decades of socialism, and it's now just bursting out with India's young generation.

"India is the oldest civilization, the largest democracy and the youngest population - almost 70 percent is below age 35 and almost 50 percent is 25 and under," said Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express. Next to India, Western Europe looks like an assisted-living facility with Turkish nurses.

Sure, a huge portion of India still lives in wretched slums or villages, but more and more of the young cohort are grasping for something better. A grass-roots movement is now spreading, demanding that English be taught in state schools - where 85 percent of children go - beginning in first grade, not fourth grade. "What's new is where this movement is coming from," said the Indian commentator Krishna Prasad. "It's coming from the farmers and the Dalits, the lowest groups in society." Even the poor have been to the cities enough to know that English is now the key to a tech-sector job, and they want their kids to have those opportunities.

The Indian state of West Bengal has the oldest elected Communist government left in the world today. Some global technology firms recently were looking at outsourcing there, but told the Communists they could not do so because of the possibility of worker strikes that might disrupt the business processes of the companies they work for. No problem. The Communist government declared information technology work an "essential service," making it illegal for those workers to strike. Have a nice day.

"This is not about wages at all - the whole wage differential thing is going to reduce very quickly," said Rajesh Rao, who heads the innovative Indian game company, Dhruva. It is about people who have been starving "finally seeing the ability to realize their dreams." Both Infosys and Wipro, India's leading technology firms, received more than one million applications last year for a little more than 10,000 job openings.

Yes, this is a bad time for France and friends to lose their appetite for hard work - just when India, China and Poland are rediscovering theirs.


Paul Krugman is on vacation.
[It seems that Pauly has lost his appetite for hard work as well... course, who am I to criticize as I'm on vacation, too... Although, I did work work today and am doing school work this evening. I wonder what Paul is doing???]

I predict that if "Old Europe" (which appears to have been an appropriate description) doesn't reform its social welfare policies in the next elections (in Germany & France primarily), the convulsions of the european economic collapse on the continent (not the UK, for now) will be quite devastating. It could be a hard leftward turn or a hard rightward turn, but make no mistake - It's unlikely that it will be towards market liberalization (Downer - that means free markets, not the progressive/leftist/statist thoughts running through your head). The citizens in those countries will seek out any leader that will promise to protect them from the Polish plumber and keep their cushy welfare benefits in place - regardless of the effects.

With regard to India, it's great to see that the poor now realize the ticket to economic prosperity is education. One wonders whether the breakdown in the caste system in India will be an evolutionary process or whether there will be a backlash. Given that there are already more applicants than jobs available (due to idiocy here in the US and abroad that outsourcing/free-markets are bad), this could prove troublesome. I say let's send them some more jobs and focus our talents on what we do best. So, marketing, finance, and high-technology. If you've got a student getting ready to head to college to study philosphy or Greek mythology, watch out. Take the money and invest it elsewhere and the kid will be better off financially. That is, unless you can steer them to a degree that will have some economic benefit in the new, global economy.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Updates a comin....

Bear with me our fine Co-Conspirators and readers. I've been meaning to post, I really have, but been busy wrangling network bits and making them go. You know sort of like on the Schoolhouse Rock short "Conjunction Junction", but at light speed. Also known as the work I get paid for.

Also had to take the plane in for its annual lookie over by an approriately federally certificated mechanic. Looks like it made it through without too many issues.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

JFK - Is he really this stoooopid?

And we thought the Sore-Loserman tag was appropos in 2000.... Could he really be this stupid?

Fortunately, Rove and his cronies in the corporate media have this whole situation under control... LOL

Friday, June 3, 2005 12:02 a.m. EDT
Kerry Touts Bush Impeachment Memo

Failed presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday that he intends to confront Congress with a document touted by critics of President Bush as evidence that he committed impeachable crimes by falsifying evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"When I go back [to Washington] on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," Kerry said, referring to the Downing Street Memo in an interview with Massachusetts' Standard Times newspaper.

"I think it's a stunning, unbelievably simple and understandable statement of the truth and a profoundly important document that raises stunning issues here at home," the top Democrat added.

The Downing Street Memo, first reported on May 1 by the London Times, was drafted by a Matthew Rycroft, a foreign policy aide to Prime Minister Tony Blair. It is said to be minutes of a July 2002 meeting where Blair allegedly admitted that the Bush administration "fixed" Iraq intelligence to manufacture a rationale for war.

Citing the Downing Street Memo, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader called for an impeachment investigation on Tuesday in an op-ed piece published by the Boston Globe.

"It is time for Congress to investigate the illegal Iraq war as we move toward the third year of the endless quagmire that many security experts believe jeopardizes US safety by recruiting and training more terrorists," wrote Nader with co-author Kevin Zeese. "A Resolution of Impeachment would be a first step."

The British memo, however, contains no quotes from either Bush or Blair, and is notably slim on evidence implicating Bush in a WMD cover-up.

Though largely ignored in the U.S. outside of rabid anti-Bush Web sites like MichaelMoore.com, the Downing Street Memo won Sen. Kerry's endorsement in the Standard Times interview:


"It's amazing to me," the top Democrat said, "the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that."

It seems that Kerry has decided that Michael Moore's deranged camp is "the place to be" politically.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Conspirator On Leave, Part Deux

Since this is a team blog, ARC: Brian will give his thoughts on current events *ahem*

But here's a photo update from St Wendeler -courtesy of ImageShack


Golden Gate Bridge, with a seagull


It truly is a Sea Lion's life on Pier 39... (except for those sharks & stuff)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Conspirator on Leave

Well, I'm not in good ol' St Louis this week... taking the family out to the bluest of blue states for a friend's wedding. (Don't worry, Downer, I'm not in Blagoland.) Here are a few pics. Should be easy to guess where we are...


Future conspirator gets a few moments behind the wheel. Thanks to the good folks at Southwest


A seagull, waiting for a few scraps


hey, what's that island doing out there???

As I find connectivity, I'll post updates... ARC-Brian will be posting on events of the day, as it will be difficult for me to react to breaking news (considering I have a 3 year old and a 2 month old on this trip). I did read this article in Business 2.0, which discusses how IBM, Sony, and Toshiba have partnered to develop a multi-core chip processor, meaning that systems that use it will make X-Box 360 look like a Commodore 64. The example of the article takes satellite photography (publicly available) and topographical information (also publicly available) about a certain set of mountains and it recreates it 3-D, in real time. Current technology took about a day to create a single frame using this data. Not only does this have implications for ultra-real video and gaming, imagine the military uses for this as well. In addition, the sheer ability of this core processor to crunch data is so far beyond what current processors can do, so the application of this new technology is endless.

Business 2.0 also had this story about blogging...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Soshsecurity Reform, Part 8163

H/T to Willisms, which you should check out for other insightful comments, including the detail that PRAs are even popular (48% support to 44% oppose) in BLUE STATES.

Parts 0001 through 8162 available here ;-)

The Washington Times has this poll from Zogby, showing that Social Security Personal Retirement Accounts (PRAs) are anything but "dead in the water," despite what CBS' John Roberts says after the Presidential press conference today. The MSM's reaction to the new poll? "What new poll? *yawn...* is Michael Jackson in the courtroom today???"

Social Security plan backed in new poll
By Donald Lambro
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Most likely voters continue to support President Bush's proposal to let younger workers invest some of their Social Security payroll taxes through personal accounts, a new survey finds.

The poll by independent pollster John Zogby for the Cato Institute, which is being released today, found that when voters understood the benefits of personal investment accounts, including a better financial rate of return than the current system, the Bush plan was supported by 52 percent of Americans and opposed by 40 percent.

"The thing that is compelling in this poll is that this is the response you get when you use a positive approach on Social Security reform," Mr. Zogby said. "If you use the 'Chicken Little, sky-is-falling' approach, then voters understand that something has to be done, but don't see the connection between personal accounts and fundamental reform of Social Security."

"There are a large number of voters, especially those under 50, who don't think they are getting the best possible deal from Social Security," he said.

As in past surveys on the president's personal-accounts proposal, strongest support comes from younger voters under age 30, who embrace the idea by a margin of 66 percent to 23 percent. Support declines somewhat among voters between 30 and 50, with 58 percent in favor versus 37 percent who oppose it.

Voters over 65 oppose personal accounts 52 percent to 40 percent and those over 70 oppose them by 55 percent to 38 percent.
[ed - This seems to be the folks that the Dems are targeting with their message... unfortunately, if you explain to this group that the PRAs won't affect them at all, their opposition diminishes.]

The survey also contained a warning for the Democrats about how their opposition to any reform of the Social Security system is playing with the electorate.

"By an overwhelming 70-22 percent margin, voters believe that opponents of President Bush's proposals for Social Security reform have an obligation to put out their own plan for reforming the program," including 55 percent of Democratic voters, Mr. Zogby said in a report of his findings.

Among supporters, the most popular reason for supporting private accounts was, "It's my money; I should control it," Mr. Zogby said. "This was true for every group except African-Americans, who chose inheritability as their biggest reason for supporting accounts."

That doesn't sound like the type of constituency that the Dems like... I'm sure Howard Dean will straighten them out and get them back on the Nanny State express!

Oh, and this isn't the first time such news has been released...
see this Pew Research Center poll...

And all of this despite the pervasive bias by the MSM, including once respectable publications such as BusinessWeek, which carried a coverstory on SS reform that I fisked...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day - A Parting Thought

Matthew Heidt of Froggy Ruminations has this post on Memorial Day (HT Michelle Malkin):

At this time of year I feel compelled to remember some of my comrades that are no longer with us.

The first close friend I lost in the Teams was HM1 Brad Tucker who died while conducting a K-duck in 1997. A K-duck is a way to drop an inflatable boat from beneath a Blackhawk helicopter onto a body of water. Brad and I went to BUD/S, 18D (Special Forces Medical Sergeant Course), and follow on training on the East Coast. He was also very close to my wife as we all shared this time together. Brad was an ebullient man, who put a smile on every face when he walked into a room. The K-duck was dropped at night at an altitude of 160 feet over the waters off the coast of the Bahamas which is obviously way too high. Brad, ever the aggressive frogman, followed the duck soon after it was suddenly released and fell to his death.

BM1 Neil Roberts was the LPO (Leading Petty Officer) of Brad’s and my BUD/S class. He fell out of a helicopter as the pilot attempted to avoid enemy fire in the mountains of Afghanistan. The helo pilot flew away not knowing that Neil had fallen, and landed a km away once Neil’s teammates had informed him what had happened. Neil’s boat crew and several Rangers regrouped and went back in under heavy fire to retrieve Neil’s body. Predator drones in the area recorded a critically injured Roberts fighting all the way up until he was captured and executed by AQ/Taliban forces. After a pitched battle which claimed the lives of at least four Rangers, Neil was recovered and dozens of enemy were killed. Neil’s boat crew leader was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions that day, and there has STILL never been a Navy SEAL left behind in combat … dead or alive. Greyhawk had this link to an eyewitness account of the actions occurring at Robert's Ridge (Takur Gar)

HMC Matthew Bourgeois died in Afghanistan as a result of a land mine probably left by the Soviets decades earlier. He was a good ole boy from waaaaaaay down South, and his accent might as well have been Mongolian if I didn’t know he was a proud southerner. I met him at SEAL Team ONE, and he was just a fantastic person in every way. His death may not have been a glorious as some of my other deceased comrades, but that did not diminish his sacrifice in any way. The story related by Dave Rogers (Congressional Candidate from RI) is classic Matt, and gives some insight into a man of extraordinary dedication to his brothers in arms and the Teams.

BM1 Brian Oullette was all Boston, all the time. It is a shame that he didn’t get the chance to witness the Red Sox break the curse this year. Brian was in my first platoon at SEAL Team FOUR, and we had something of a rivalry going. Before the Patriots were any good, we had a $50 bet on the outcome of the Raiders-Pats game. The Raiders won that time and Brian had to pay up so he went into the bank and came back with a sack of $50 worth of pennies. I was a little miffed at the time, but Brian was so competitive and spiteful that his beloved Patriots had lost that he had to make his statement. Brian was killed by a land mine in Afghanistan on Memorial Day this year while out on patrol in Afghanistan.

There are many other Teamguys that have given their all for our country and for their platoons in the vaunted history of the Teams. Unfortunately there will likely be more. I encourage my readers to contemplate these sacrifices and thousands of others in the US military as the Christmas season approaches, and say a prayer for those who remain. Until you have spent Christmas in some third world $hithole, you will never know the loneliness and longing of the American fighting man.

Take some time today to reflect on the people in your life that have sacrificed for you and I. That might be a fallen hero or a veteran that lives nearby. Thank them. Show them your support.

I attended a ceremony on Saturday marking the opening of a Veteran's Historial Plaza in my community with my mother (Navy) and father (Air Force). Even though the ceremony was really not much more than a place for local politicians to show their mugs, I cannot tell you how proud I felt to stand with my mother and father as veterans while we were recognized by the assembled crowd. When the bagpiper played "Amazing Grace" while the colors were on parade, I cried quietly to myself thinking of the men I wrote about here. That is why we have Memorial Day; so we can take a moment to remember fallen comrades... and perhaps cry a little.



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Memorial Day for the Left

Downer's post from the other day is the motivation for this post... My Memorial Day tribute is here.

The Left's idea on how best to honor our troops currently serving?

LET'S REPEAT EVERY MISTAKE FROM VIETNAM!!

Let's increase the number of troops on the ground, increasing the American presence in the country when we should be increasing the native forces.

Let's bring the troops home now, despite the fact that the foreign government wants us to stay, the "freedom fighters" are still killing innocent civilians (including women and children). God knows that our soldiers were never more respected than after our "success" in Vietnam.

The Left's idea of a war hero? A guy who was so self-absorbed and thought he was the second coming of John F Kennedy (you know, because he had the same initials) that he signed up for duty reminiscent of PT-109. Someone who is so convinced that he'll want to cash in on his valor in the future that he takes his comrades in arms back to the scene of battle, to re-enact events. Someone who, upon his return to the states, publicly denigrated his fellow soldiers still are fighting and dying on the battlefield. Someone whose vision of victory in Vietnam was "Peace through Defeat". Someone who wanted to remove US presence from Vietnam and reduce the fighting capability of the native forces in South Vietnam so Ho Chi Minh's forces could roll through Saigon, forcing many to leave their country in order to escape the depravity and cruelty of communism. Someone who years later, after seeing Apocalypse Now, creats a story of running a CIA agent and weapons into Cambodia... without any facts to support it.

Downer - if you truly wanted to give a less partisan Memorial Day "tribute" to the troops, you could've posted the following... feel free to copy/paste into your blog, if you wish... just give me a H/T. ;-)

Happy Memorial Day!

Just wanted to remind everyone of the true reasons for this day - to honor all of those throughout our history who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. This includes those that have fallen in wars which I don't support, such as our current efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. But now that we're committed to these efforts, let's achieve our objective as quickly as possible, so that those still serving in Iraq can return home safely. A hasty retreat this Memorial Day would likely cause Iraq to spiral out of control and thereby ensure that those who made the ultimate sacrifice would truly have died in vain. So, let's accomplish the mission and get our people back home - and give the Iraqis and the rest of the Middle East a brighter future.

While I may not always agree with the mission assigned to our soldiers, they deserve the support of the entire country in any endeavor upon which this country sends them. And yes, I don't agree with the President - but more Americans apparently do, as evidenced by the election in 2004. So, for today, I'll just say - Let's Roll!

It's your inability to pass up an opportunity for a partisan shot, even when it's a time to honor our country's war dead, that makes me recognize that you are truly a fringe extremist.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

System of a Downer

Update - Memorial Day for the Left!

Nice try, Downer... I appreciate you trying to make a coherent statement for a change, but you've failed yet again. Here is what you wrote about me:

Finally, the conservative heckler St. Wendy from RovianConspiracy wrote:
"The official US Govt Policy regarding how the Koran should be handled is official government policy. If a soldier violated that policy (after the policy was put in place), that soldier is subject to disciplinary action."
In other words he's blaming the troops for whatever happened. Holding Bush responsible for anything is completely out of the question. That's very much like the Administration's approach to prosecuting Abu Ghraib. The Defense Department is perfectly happy prosecuting enlisted soldiers who all claim they were following orders. They're not going up the chain of command to determine ultimate responsibility because who knows where that might lead?

In other words??? If you're going to lie, you really should alert your readers in a more appropriate way, such as replacing "In other words" with "Now, I'm a humorless, kneejerk Anti-American Leftist and although there are no facts to support the following..."

If a soldier violated official US government policy, what should be the recourse? Should they not receive disciplinary action? If not, why would any soldier follow official government policy? Failure to enforce US policy through disciplinary action would bring about the chaos that you seem to want... Also, if you don't enforce US policy, wouldn't THAT be a reason to blame Bush for the inappropriate conduct of the soldiers? You seem to want to hold Bush and his administration accountable for the actions of some soldiers, even if their actions are against US policy.

With regard to the specifics of the Koran "mis-handling" situation, I believe that the "mishandling incidents" took place BEFORE an official policy was developed, so soldiers were treating it like they would treat the Bible or other books. The US government instituted stricter guidelines to prevent such insensitive handling in the future. If Bush and the Dept of Defense failed to enforce these guidelines, wouldn't THAT mean that they were complicit in any mishandling incidents? I'm not sure you know how things work in the real world, Downy...

And where do you think those Koran's came from?? The US government gave them to the detainees, has now trained the guards on how to handle them, and now provies them with visitation from US Army imams and time for prayer. Meanwhile their compatriots and our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan sever heads with dull blades on TV, burn people alive and place their bodies on display, and target innocent civilians that are simply looking for a better future. That we have only 5 incidents of mishandling the Koran in 4 years of the War on Terror is quite an accomplishment in my opinion. For some reason, nothing that our soldiers or our President does will satisfy you... And you'll believe the worst about both the soldiers and their leadership, regardless of the source. I'm not clear how President Bush or Secretary Rumsfeld can be held responsible for a Koran dropping out of the hands of a prison guard thousands of miles away... You seem to find Bush, Rumsfeld, and Rove behind every negative incident - assigning them responsibility for things far beyond their control. Yet, this isn't a standard that you apply equally to Kofi Anan (Oil-For-Fraud, Pedophilia Peace Keeping, etc, etc). It seems that only certain leaders can be faulted by you...

Do you want to honor the troops? Then let them finish their job without your constant harping that they're not acting in a manner that you find unacceptable. The best way to dishonor the troops would be to bring them home - that would truly demean the effort of those that paid the ultimate price for the freedom and safety of Iraqi civilians and Americans alike. If you want a soldier's death or injury to be in vain, then fail to accomplish the strategic goal for which they died. As you know, my brother-in-law is one of those soldiers in Qatar/Iraq and you're one lucky SOB that he's over there representing the American people - even sick, twisted freaks like yourself. If you knew any servicemen/women, you'd understand that bringing them home without allowing them to complete their mission is the worst thing that we could do... I know, I know - You just want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, primarily to further your political aims. But fortunately, you're definitely in the minority on this and other issues.

You criticize Rumsfeld for using an autopen to sign condolences to families that have lost a loved one in service to this great country. Do you think Eisenhower signed these letters? Do you think McNamara signed them during Vietnam??? No, in many instances they were simple telegraphs to the next of kin...

Downer, I've told you numerous times to "chill out," take it easy, and have extended a friendly hand in our discussions, closing with "Howdy, Neighbor" or asking what part of IL you're in. I've tried to meet you on common ground over Child Labor laws and how best to combat it, yet you immediately sought out the differences in our positions instead of recognizing the opportunity to agree on something. I tried to engage you on a personal level so there'd be more comity between us. But your hatred for anyone to the right of Lenin has really consumed you... Well, after these past few weeks, I realize that you may be a lost cause... there may be no hope to have an actual discussion of the issues with you. When you say that I'm blaming the troops, you're completely off your rocker.

Besides, anyone who laments that MayDay isn't a national holiday here in the US and only uses Memorial Day to make cheap political jabs is someone who represents the most extreme of extremists. Compare your Memorial Day "tribute", full of its partisan shots and mine, which truly hopes that those that read it will remember all of those who "gave the last full measure of [their] devotion." Do you see any reference to politics in my post about Memorial Day?

I am truly sorry for you... Please read this Memorial Day article from Mark Steyn in 2004 - perhaps it will help provide you with some perspective. Or I'd also recommend anything from my favorite historian (who happens to be a Democrat), Victor Davis Hanson.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, May 29, 2005

La Constitution d'EU: Fin

Despite the requests for support from Chirac and other elites in the EU, the European Union Constitution was rejected by the French voters. Unfortunately, the French people rejected it for a variety of reasons... some because they felt it gave too much power to the UK and not France... some because they recognize that the term "european" does not really mean much, when it involves Spaniards, French, Germans, Italians, and Turks. Also, the constitution was apparently a laundry list of issues that are more appropriate for follow-on legislation.

Despite this loss, Chirac has said he won't step down and that they will attempt again... if at first you don't succeed... (Of course, their second attempt will bypass the people and rely solely on the National Assembly which can't wait to line up to vote oui!

French Reject Europe's First Constitution
By JOHN LEICESTER
The Associated Press
Sunday, May 29, 2005; 5:01 PM

PARIS -- French voters rejected the European Union's first constitution Sunday, President Jacques Chirac said _ a stinging repudiation of his leadership and the ambitious, decades-long effort to further unite the continent.

Chirac, who urged voters to approve the charter, announced the result in a brief, televised address. He said the process of ratifying the treaty would continue in other EU countries.

"France has expressed itself democratically," Chirac said. "It is your sovereign decision, and I take note." [but screw you ignorant peasants... this will pass over your objections soon!]

Earlier, the Interior Ministry said that with about 83 percent of the votes counted, the referendum was rejected by 57.26 percent of voters. It was supported by 42.74 percent.

All 25 EU members must ratify the text for it to take effect as planned by Nov. 1, 2006 _ and nine already have done so. The Dutch vote Wednesday, with polls showing opposition to the constitution there running at about 60 percent.

France's rejection could set the continent's plans back by years. The nation was a primary architect of European unity.

"There is no more constitution," leading opponent Philippe de Villiers said. "It is necessary to reconstruct Europe on other foundations that don't currently exist."

De Villiers called on Chirac to resign _ something the French leader had said he would not do _ and called for parliament to be dissolved.

"Tonight we face a major political crisis," he said.

Extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who campaigned vigorously for the constitution's defeat, also called for Chirac's resignation.

Chirac "wanted to gamble ... and he has lost," Le Pen said.

The rejection could kill any hopes Chirac may have had for a third term. His approval ratings have plunged to 39 percent in recent weeks, and there was widespread speculation a "no" vote would prompt him to fire unpopular Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

European leaders negotiated the treaty in October in Rome. EU officials said before the vote that even if France rejected the treaty, efforts to ratify it in other countries would proceed.

On Friday, the constitution's main architect, former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, said countries that reject the treaty will be asked to vote again.

***UPDATE***
Captain's Quarters blog is on this story as well...
While Americans might take some well-earned schadenfreude at Chirac's plight, given his efforts to turn France into our diplomatic enemy, in fact this shows that France as a whole still deeply believes in its socialist model. That attitude does not spring from its ruling class but from its electorate, which has gladly accepted a stagnant economy and double-digit unemployment because its nanny state still buffers the effects of those conditions from the individual workers.

In fact, the 'Non' may be irrelevant in the end. The society that the French defended in their vote today will disappear soon enough, as the rest of Europe will not long support the French in their self-indulgence. While Germany and France controlled the union, they could get away with breaking the debt ceilings and budgetary expectations set by the existing EU compact. Now that they have thumbed their noses at the new constitution, that control and influence will rapidly dissipate -- and they will find themselves forced to reform or face expulsion and devastating trade disputes with an otherwise united Europe.

The far left and far right in France are celebrating tonight on the streets of Paris, delighted in their rejection of the sensible market-based reforms that the rest of Europe wants. They may have won the battle, but that victory will only be temporary, and will consign them to second-tier status in Europe from this point forward.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Mark Steyn on Memorial Day

Mark Steyn provides us with this from May 31, 2004... one year ago. It's amazing that nothing has changed regarding the elites' current view of war and our times...

MEMORIAL DAY

Memorial Day in my corner of New Hampshire is always the same. A clutch of veterans from the Second World War to the Gulf march round the common, followed by the town band, and the scouts, and the fifth- graders. The band plays "Anchors Aweigh," "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," "God Bless America" and, in an alarming nod to modernity, Ray Stevens' "Everything Is Beautiful (In Its Own Way)" (Billboard No. 1, May 1970). One of the town's selectmen gives a short speech, so do a couple of representatives from state organizations, and then the fifth-graders recite the Gettsyburg Address and the Great War's great poetry. There's a brief prayer and a three-gun salute, exciting the dogs and babies. Wreaths are laid. And then the crowd wends slowly up the hill to the Legion hut for ice cream, and a few veterans wonder, as they always do, if anybody understands what they did, and why they did it.

Before the First World War, it was called Decoration Day -- a day for going to the cemetery and "strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion." Some decorated the resting places of fallen family members; others adopted for a day the graves of those who died too young to leave any descendants.

I wish we still did that. Lincoln's "mystic chords of memory" are difficult to hear in the din of the modern world, and one of the best ways to do it is to stand before an old headstone, read the name, and wonder at the young life compressed into those brute dates: 1840-1862. 1843-1864.

In my local cemetery, there's a monument over three graves, forebears of my hardworking assistant, though I didn't know that the time I first came across them. Turner Grant, his cousin John Gilbert and his sister's fiance Charles Lovejoy had been friends since boyhood and all three enlisted on the same day. Charles died on March 5, 1863, Turner on March 6, and John on March 11. Nothing splendid or heroic. They were tentmates in Virginia, and there was an outbreak of measles in the camp.

For some reason, there was a bureaucratic mixup and the army neglected to inform the families. Then, on their final journey home, the bodies were taken off the train at the wrong town. It was a Saturday afternoon and the stationmaster didn't want the caskets sitting there all weekend. So a man who knew where the Grants lived offered to take them up to the next town and drop them off on Sunday morning.

When he arrived, the family was at church, so he unloaded the coffins from his buggy and left without a word or a note to anyone. Imagine coming home from Sunday worship and finding three caskets waiting on the porch. Imagine being young Caroline Grant, and those caskets contain the bodies of your brother, your cousin and the man to whom you're betrothed.

That's a hell of a story behind the bald dates on three tombstones. If it happened today, maybe Caroline would be on Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric demanding proper compensation, and the truth about what happened, and why the politicians were covering it up. Maybe she'd form a group of victims' families. Maybe she'd call for a special commission to establish whether the government did everything it could to prevent disease outbreaks at army camps. Maybe, when they got around to forming the commission, she'd be booing and chanting during the officials' testimony, as several of the 9/11 families did during Mayor Rudy Giuliani's testimony.

All wars are messy, and many of them seem small and unworthy even at the moment of triumph. The sight of unkempt lice-infested Saddam Hussein yanked from his spider hole last December is not so very different from the published reports of Jefferson Davis’ capture in May 1865, when he was said to be trying to skulk away in women's clothing, and spent the next several months being depicted by gleeful Northern cartoonists in hoop skirts, petticoats and crinolines (none of which he was actually wearing).

But, conquered and captured, an enemy shrivels, and you question what he ever had that necessitated such a sacrifice. The piercing clarity of war shades into the murky greys of post-war reconstruction. You think Iraq's a quagmire? Lincoln's "new birth of freedom" bogged down into a century-long quagmire of segregation, denial of civil rights, lynchings. Does that mean the Civil War wasn't worth fighting? That, as Al Gore and other excitable types would say, Abe W. Lincoln lied to us?

Like the French Resistance, tiny in its day but of apparently unlimited manpower since the war ended, for some people it's not obvious which side to be on until the dust's settled. New York, for example, resisted the Civil War my small town's menfolk were so eager to enlist in. The big city was racked by bloody riots against the draft. And you can sort of see the rioters' point. More than 600,000 Americans died in the Civil War -- or about 1.8 percent of the population. Today, if 1.8 percent of the population were killed in war, there would be 5.4 million graves to decorate on Decoration Day.

But that's the difference between then and now: the loss of proportion. They had victims galore back in 1863, but they weren't a victim culture. They had a lot of crummy decisions and bureaucratic screw-ups worth re-examining, but they weren't a nation that prioritized retroactive pseudo-legalistic self-flagellating vaudeville over all else. They had hellish setbacks but they didn't lose sight of the forest in order to obsess week after week on one tiny twig of one weedy little tree.

There is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites -- from the deranged former vice president down -- want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it's pain-free, squeaky-clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we're supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day.

Playing by Gore-Kennedy rules, the Union would have lost the Civil War, the rebels the Revolutionary War, and the colonists the French and Indian Wars. There would, in other words, be no America. Even in its grief, my part of New Hampshire understood that 141 years ago. We should, too.
The Chicago Sun-Times, May 30th 2004


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler