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

Friday, June 17, 2005

Durb's Next Charity Case

It's good to see that Dick Durbin's population of captured terrorists that he can advocate for continues to grow... (is that cruel of me to say? If it takes you more than 5 seconds to answer, you've got a problem.)

MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) - A top aide to Al-Qaeda frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been captured in Iraq's northern city of Mosul, the US military revealed.

Mohammed Khalaf Shakar, also known as Abu Talha, is "Zarqawi's most trusted operations agent in all of Iraq," a military statement said Thursday.

"This is a major defeat for the Al-Qaeda's terrorist organisation in Iraq. Zarqawi's leader in Mosul is out of business," said US Air Force Brigadier General Donald Alston.

According to the military statement, he surrendered to US and Iraqi forces on Tuesday without a fight in "a quiet neighbourhood in Mosul" after they were led to his whereabouts by "multiple intelligence sources."

"According to former Talha associates, Talha never stayed more than one night at any one residence," the statement added.

Alston, the new top military spokesman, told reporters in Baghdad: "Numerous reports indicated he wore a suicide vest 24 hours a day and stated he would never surrender. Instead Talha gave up without a fight."

Iraqi authorities said recently they had captured one of Abu Talha's most trusted aides and his financial manager, Motleq Mahmud Motleq Abdullah, also known as Abu Raed, in Mosul on May 28.

They had also announced the arrest of another Zarqawi aide in Mosul known as Mullah Mehdi.

Abu Talha is accused of masterminding some of the deadliest attacks against US and Iraqi forces in Mosul. Iraq's third-largest city, it has been a major front for the insurgency since November.

"Talha fell like so many others fall, and that is through a combination of factors that ultimately catch up to him," Alston said.

"In his case like so many others along the way, civilians helped us get closer to him."

Jordanian-born Zarqawi, who is the most-wanted man in Iraq and has a 25-million-dollar bounty on his head, is believed to have been wounded but the severity of his wounds are not known.

He confirmed in an Internet audio message posted in May that he had been "lightly" wounded but claimed he was still fighting in Iraq. [IT IS BUT A FLESH WOUND!!!]

Several aides to Zarqawi have been arrested recently, according to Iraqi authorities, but his organisation is still active.

The group has claimed many of the bloodiest attacks in Iraq since the fall of
Saddam Hussein in April 2003.

The Iraqi government said in early March that 11 of Zarqawi's top aides were captured and seven killed and that Abu Talha was the most significant man in the network left standing.

In a diagram of the network released at the time Abu Talha is shown mustachioed with a full head of hair and appears to be in his 30s.

Also good to see that another "I'll die for my cause" terrorist is led away in handcuffs. I hope he was extremely bragadocious to his fellow terrorists about how he would take them down with him if they ever captured him.

Even more heartening is the fact that IRAQI CIVILIANS in Mosul led us to him...


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Durb'

Sorry for this aside, but I must mention that Oliver Willis keeps changing his site, but it still looks terrible. Thought I'd give him this example of how to change your site design so that it is an IMPROVEMENT on the previous design.

Take a look at the Washington Times today vs a couple of days ago.

The new look is cleaner, well organized, etc, etc.

Oh, and it has informative and insightful content... that's important as well, Ollie...

Now for the real content of this post.... Here's the text of the Dickie (aka The Durb) Durbin story from the Washington Times:

The Senate's No. 2 Democrat has compared the U.S. military's treatment of a suspected al Qaeda terrorist at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay with the regimes of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot, three of history's most heinous dictators, whose regimes killed millions.

In a speech on the Senate floor late Tuesday, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, castigated the American military's actions by reading an e-mail from an FBI agent.

The agent complained to higher-ups that one al Qaeda suspect was chained to the floor, kept in an extremely cold air-conditioned cell and forced to hear loud rap music. The Justice Department is investigating.

About 9 million persons, including 6 million Jews, died in Hitler's death camps, 2.7 million persons died in Stalin's gulags and 1.7 million Cambodians died in Pol Pot's scourge of his country.

No prisoners have died at Guantanamo, and the Pentagon has acknowledged five instances of abuse or irreverent handling of the Koran, the holy book of Muslims.

After reading the e-mail, Mr. Durbin said, "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

Mr. Durbin also likened the treatment of terror suspects at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision to authorize the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

"It took us almost 40 years for us to acknowledge that we were wrong, to admit that these people should never have been imprisoned. It was a shameful period in American history," Mr. Durbin said. "I believe the torture techniques that have been used at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and other places fall into that same category."

The White House yesterday reacted angrily to Mr. Durbin's remarks.

"It's reprehensible, as Defense Secretary [Donald H.] Rumsfeld said, to suggest that the Guantanamo Bay facility is anything like a gulag or a mad regime or Pol Pot," White House spokesman Trent Duffy told The Washington Times.

"It is reprehensible, has no place in the current debate, and as we've seen over several years, the detainees in Guantanamo Bay are being treated humanely," he said. "What this is is a disservice to any man and woman serving in the U.S. military who's putting their life on the line each day, because they're trying to paint all military with a broad brush because of the actions of perhaps a few bad apples, who are being punished severely."

At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld spokesman Larry Di Rita said of Mr. Durbin's remarks: "I didn't hear what he said, but any such comparison would obviously be outrageous and not remotely connected with reality."

I just don't see how this is political "gold" for the Dems. What's the new bumper sticker for '06?
  • Vote Democrat! We Coddle Terrorists!
  • 2 Chickens in Every Pot! OR 3 Chickens and a nice rice pilaf if you're an enemy of the US who is willing to kill innocent women and children! Vote Democrat!
  • GOP is for torture! They turned the Air Conditioning on too low!!
  • Vote Democrat! We don't believe in religious texts in government institutions. Unless it's Korans for the Terrorists!!!"
  • Vote Democrat! The enemy (al qaeda) of my enemy (Bush) is my friend (alqaeda)

Too many possibilities... I can see why Ollie is pushing for this to continue...

Now I don't think Durbin realizes that he's helping the enemy - I really don't think that. I think his view of the world is focused on the beltway politics and the politics of his home state. Surely he wouldn't say such things if he realized that the Islamofascists of the Middle East would now take his words and use them as justification for the murder and slaughter in Iraq (against Iraqis and soldiers such as my brother-in-law) or in the US itself. I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he doesn't realize the magnitude of what he's done - I'll assume for the moment that he's just completely incompetent and shouldn't hold an office higher than dog catcher for Carbondale, Illinois. I would say East St Louis, but apparently you have to be pretty street smart to play there, since everyone's on the take and someone like Durbin wouldn't last 15 minutes over there.

It's a good thing Durbin wasn't around 63 years ago..

For those thinking Durbin's remarks were taken out of context, here's the text of Durbin's Gitmo speech from the Congressional Record.

And now that people have pointed out to Dick that his remarks are over the top and might be beneficial to the enemy, it's good to see that he's retracted them... Oh, wait

Like putting out a fire with gasoline... Here's how Al Jazeera covered his unwillingess to retract:
US senator stands by Nazi remark
Thursday 16 June 2005, 21:38 Makka Time, 18:38 GMT

A US senator has refused to apologise for comparing the actions of US soldiers at Guantanamo Bay to those of Nazis, while others have decried or defended the mandate and method used to hold prisoners there.

US Senator Dick Durbin on Wednesday refused to apologise for comments he made on the Senate floor referring to Nazis, Soviet gulags and a "mad regime" like Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Illinois Republican party chairman Andy McKenna had demanded he apologise.

"Senator Durbin's comments come as a great disservice to our military personnel in Guantanamo," he said.

"They are also a great disservice to all US soldiers and veterans who have fought, and continue to fight, to overcome evil regimes and spread democracy around the world."

Durbin did not plan to apologise for the comments, spokesman Joe Shoemaker said.

"This administration should apologise to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorising torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure," Durbin had said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

Hmmm, last I checked, the Geneva Convention didn't protect illegal combatants (ie those without uniforms and in a "regular army"). The precise reason for the Geneva Conventions not being extended to cover illegal combatants is TO PROTECT CIVILIANS. The message is: If you want to get the protections of the Geneva Conventions, you should wear a uniform to distinguish yourself from the civilian population and not hide within civilian population centers. Otherwise, innocent civilians die...

And trust me, I would not characterize the tactics used in Gitmo as "torture." When I turn the AC down so low that my wife starts to shiver... sure, she gets ticked. But is it torture? When I cook her up some nice honey glazed chicken with rice pilaf and fruit on the side, is that torture? No, it's probably a romantic dinner.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

To Infinity And Beyond!!!

Well, not quite... but you have to give me credit for my enthusiasm.

If you would've told me back in early March that in 3 months we'd have had 10,000 visitors and a steady group of return visitors commenting on the matters of the day, I would've thought you were crazy.

I wasn't sure that I'd have the time to post on a regular basis, since there's plenty of other things pulling me in different directions. However, I've found that this is better for me than a smoke / coffee break that others may take throughout the day. It allows me to "tune out" the other matters for a few minutes and still engage that blob of gray matter that everyone says is so important.

And besides, there's nothing funnier than a conspirazoid Leftist spouting off about some right-wing, Carlysle Group/Triumverate/Rovian plot. And I don't forsee the Leftists getting away from that pasttime, given their push to "give socialism just one more try!" under the aegis of the "Progressives." I suppose that to some, just because something hasn't worked over a 100 year span, it's still worth promoting. ("Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Einstein) It seems that the patina of the "center-left" party under Bill Clinton has melted away and all that remains are the rabid Lefties. I say that makes for some great entertainment, as long as they're out of power. And how will they ever get in power with all that patouli and poor hygiene? I mean, who wants to go to one of their political rallies? And don't get me started on fundraising... how many times have you given them some cash, only to learn later that it was "fired up" in the bong.

Will let my co-conspirators comment on their own, but thanks to them (Brian & Penelope) for helping with the posting. I know they've got important matters to attend to and appreciate their contributions. As everyone knows, a conspiracy that involves only one person (while difficult to uncover) is just pathetic.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Not your Father's Democratic Party

From today's WSJ. Get a subscription if you don't have one.

Some damning commentary of the Democratic Party from the WSJ.

The Doughnut Democrats
June 16, 2005

Tim Russert: "In your home state of Vermont there is a vacancy for the United State Senate. Bernie Sanders wants to run for that seat. He is a self-described avowed socialist. Is there room in the Democratic Party for a socialist?"

Howard Dean: "Well, he's not a socialist really. ... He is basically a liberal Democrat."

-- NBC's "Meet the Press," May 22

No, we aren't saying that modern Washington Democrats are socialists, Party Chairman Howard Dean notwithstanding. [...]

The Democratic leadership has arguably never been more overtly hostile to free markets, deregulation, tax reform and free trade than it is today. The National Taxpayers Union reports that last year the House Democrats recorded their lowest taxpayer rating ever, having voted just 13% of the time for smaller government and less taxes.

A centrist group of Democrats called Third Way recently issued a report explaining the Democrats' 2004 election debacle. It concluded that voters with incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 a year, or almost half the electorate, delivered "healthy victories" for President Bush and Republicans in Congress. The report concludes: "Rather than being the party of the middle class, Democrats face a huge crisis with middle-income voters."

Why is that? One reason is that the party of FDR and JFK no longer seems to have a moderate wing; they have become doughnut Democrats with no middle. [...]
• [...] there are virtually no Scoop Jackson defense hawks remaining in a party that has made Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo its main policy touchstones for the war on terror.

• The party that voted en masse for income and capital gains tax cuts under JFK now has but one message on taxes: Raise them.

• On trade, the Democrats who delivered 102 House votes for Nafta [..] will, at last count, provide [...] five House votes for CAFTA.

• The Clinton Democrats helped enact the most momentous social policy legislation of the past generation: welfare reform. Now Democrats conspire every day to gut work-for-welfare requirements and prevent the renewal of welfare reform by Congress.

• Above all, there's the know-nothing-ism on Social Security. [ala Sgt. Schultz] [...]

But wait. How dangerous can this idea really be? After all, only a few years ago there was a long and esteemed list of elected Democratic leaders who endorsed personal accounts. John Breaux. Chuck Robb. Bob Kerrey. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Charles Stenholm. Tim Penny. Today in the entire United States Congress there is exactly one Democrat, Allen Boyd of Florida, who has endorsed personal accounts, and he has been shunned for his apostasy.

In 2000 Senator Moynihan declared that a personal thrift savings plan for Social Security would allow hourly wage earners to "retire not just with a pension but with wealth. And the doorman will have a half million dollars, not just the people in the duplexes." Share the wealth. What could be a more traditional Rooseveltian idea than that?

Mr. Bush has spent the past six months reaching out on Social Security to centrist Democrats, only to discover that there aren't any. [...]

And to what obstructionist end? Even if Democrats succeed in stopping Mr. Bush's plan, FDR's legacy that they say they are trying to protect is every day getting closer to $10 trillion of unpayable debts. As for political strategy, Democrats seem to believe that just saying no will help them gain House and Senate seats in 2006. Perhaps. But Tom Daschle's early retirement testifies that it is [unlikely.]

The next test of whether the party of Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy is capable of anything but obstructionism will come later this summer on tax reform. The President's bipartisan tax reform panel, chaired by former Senators Connie Mack and Mr. Breaux, is expected to launch the debate by proposing some form of flat tax.

Democrats may again try to tar and feather this plan as a giveaway to the rich. But polls show over and over that the broad middle class wants tax simplification and pro-growth reform. And in the past a form of the flat tax was endorsed by such Democratic leaders as Dick Gephardt, Bill Bradley, Jerry Brown and Leon Panetta. They didn't believe the flat tax was such a radical idea. Will the enlightened Democrats sit this debate out too?

[...] The country would benefit from two vibrant parties competing on innovative freedom-enhancing initiatives. The problem is that the Democrats are running on empty when it comes to policy ideas other than big government, and this lack of competition has had deleterious effects on Republican behavior, as witnessed by their lack of any spending discipline.

Howard Dean observed recently that he hopes to "galvanize the Democrats into being the party of individual freedom and personal responsibility." That's a wonderful idea -- just the kind that would put the Democrats back on the road to national viability. But that leaves unanswered the question of how a party that opposes voluntary personal accounts for Social Security, school choice for parents, tax and welfare reform, free trade and limited government broadly defined can sell itself as the freedom and responsibility party.

We really do need a center-left party that isn't anti-thetical to free market capitalism. Unfortunately, we get the likes of Pelosi, Harry Reid, and their supporters, like Downer.

Or, David Sirota - who's just giddy that the Dems are against CAFTA, resulting in billions of dollars of working class incomes being wasted on artificially high-priced US sugar. Sure, Warren Buffett, Ted Kennedy and the rest can afford the extra cost. But protectionism on sugar eats right into the incomes of the poor.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Sr Wendeler

Like Twinkies to Oliver Willis, Part 2

Good to see that Ollie's finished with his 35th redesign of his website. Now, if he could only work on the content and logic of it. I suppose if you're having one of those blah days, just change things up!!

By the way, Ollie - you really need a new tagline. "Like kryptonite to stupid???"

Ollie has this post today, which I find hilarious.

You Caused This, Too
June 15th, 2005

Democrats have been almost as feckless as the media and the Republicans in defense of America when it comes to Iraq. Essentially I blame the leadership, who in fall of 2002 simply wanted to get Iraq off the table in the hopes of social security, health care, and other domestic issues coming to the forefront. As numerous Democrats like Max Cleland can tell you - not only was that a bad move politically, it was a disservice to our nation and the soldiers who defend it. It’s time for it to end. Democrats must now stop being so gun-shy about standing up for what’s right and use whatever is at their disposal to demand a full accounting from the Bush administration of what’s been done in Iraq and what they plan to do.

Every time a bill related to the war comes up, Dems scurry around like chickens with their heads cut off in fear of being smeared as “against the troops”. If you continue to allow yourselves to be led around by the nose by the Republicans and the media, more people will die, our economy will be slammed again, and America becomes a lesser nation. You aren’t the majority but you still have power and responsibilities above the average citizen. You are our voice in the decision making process and its time now to stop simply kicking the ball down the street as the Republicans yet again mockingly wrap themselves in the flag, and be true patriots in pursuit of a nation’s defense.

What I want to know is: when did the party who beat the Nazis, and who served as the voice of America’s moral conscience when it would be politically expedient to do otherwise, decide to be run over by a bunch of zealots and serial liars?

And guess what? It’s the politically right thing to do as well. In case you haven’t noticed, being the squishy party is a losing electoral strategy. America is ripe for vigorous questioning of the entire Iraq war rationale, strategy, and morality - and the Democrats need to be that voice.

to which I say... please please please... let me... let me... let me... let me - get what I want... this time.

or something like that... Because, you know... What does your average Joe-Sixpack love to do more than anything else? They love to L-O-S-E.

Anyway, I had NO IDEA that during Word War II every single person was part of the Democratic party. I'll have to talk to my grandpa about his being a New Deal dem! Perhaps the Republicans were shipped off to fight Tojo and the New Dealers were sent to Germany?? I'm confuuuused.

OLLLIE!!! YOU IGNORANT GASBAG!!! World War II wasn't won by a Political Party. IT was won by a country that was united!!! And with idiotic opposition pols like Dick Durbin and his apologists like yourself, our chances of winning this war are diminishing rapidly. And being anti-war certainly is a winning strategy. A majority of Americans feel that we have to stay in Iraq to make things better... and a majority feel that a democratic Iraq will result in a democratic Middle East... something your side will never understand.

And moral conscience of our country? Are you talking about all of those Southern Dems like Al Gore, Sr. who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (39% of Dems voted against it vs 19% of Republicans)? Or are you talkig about Lincoln... oh, wait... he was a Republican.

Now... put down that Twinkie and go educate yourself on how the world works.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Photo Update from the Front Lines

Here are a couple of photos from my brother-in-law who is serving in Qatar/Iraq. I've previously posted here on the work that he's doing to save the lives of Iraqis, Afghanis, and US servicemen.

These pics are from his trip into Iraq and I would post his email, but I'm not sure it's a wise thing to do. Needless to say, he lost his lunch a couple of times during the flights due to the various manuevers they take to get into Iraq. Their location came under mortar fire a couple of times while they were there, but no one was hurt.

Click on each picture to see a larger image. I've blurred out any unit insignia, faces, etc.

No, this isn't a room in Gitmo. It's the
accomodations for our servicemen
Free Image Hosting at
Great shot of a helo
taking off at night.
Free Image Hosting at
Giddy Up!
Free Image Hosting at
At the Ready
Free Image Hosting at
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usHelo in the distance
Free Image Hosting at
Free Image Hosting at
Free Image Hosting at
Up-Armored Hummer
Free Image Hosting at

Keep all of our soldiers in your prayers...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Downer wants to get rid of even more Illinois Jobs

You'd think DownLeft doesn't like the state he lives in or something. He's got a post proclaiming the terrible nature of Coal powered electricity and the saving grace for Illinois should be... wait for it... WIND!

Wind farms, in combination with ethanol plants, would put central Illinois on the cutting edge of establishing clean, renewable energy sources. That will not only keep local citizens healthier over the years, but will also benefit the local economy. The old polluter's line that it always costs jobs and raises prices to keep the environment clean just isn't true anymore.

Well it won't benefit the local economy that provide the mines. According to the state government, "Illinois has the largest reported bituminous coal resource of any state in the United States." Or is Downer only for shutting down the Coal plants in his own state, and selling all that nasty coal to the other states just fine.

Bituminous coal is the low carbon, high-efficiency kind too, making it possible to generate more electricity with less fuel (and less particulate matter).

It is mined in 12 Illinois counties, and is nearly a Billion (yeah thats a Billion with a B) dollar industry in Illinois.

I agree that it looks like wind power is becoming more efficient, and it appears that that big bugaboo of Downer, "Private Industry," is the one bringing the power of the market to bear by researching potential deployment of wind farms. But there are several points not mentioned in the article Downer cites:

  1. The plans are all preliminary. It mentions that the energy companies have to do many studies to determine if wind power is sufficient for a given area. North Dakota is seen as the best state in the land with regards to sustainability of wind and wind speed.
  2. Wind power will require a LOT of land. Unless downer is for mowing down the National Forests in Illinois, it will take farmers allowing the use of those wind generation on their land. I'm sure Downer will be the first to volunteer to live beneath a Wind Turbine and the high power lines that will be required. Plans like these always seem to have problems when it becomes your back yard they are putting that 400 foot tower in.
  3. All those birds that will die when they go into the turbine blades. I hope Downer won't be there 10 years from now talking about how terrible it is that those nasty power companies aren't providing bird warning devices to save the speckled, spotted, North American twinkle toed goose.
  4. Wind power does not provide the "base load" required of an electrical grid. Wind power is intermittent, since the wind does not always blow or at the same speed. As such, those nasty coal plants will still be needed... Or some other fuel burning plant (oil, natural gas, *shudder* nuclear power!)

thought I'd contribute with this graphic:

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Father of the EU Constitution: "What Me Worry?!"

This article in the NY Times is just great... for its insight into the thinking of the EU bureaucrats. Truly amazing.

European Charter Architect Faults Chirac for Its Rejection
Published: June 15, 2005

PARIS, June 14 - As the architect of the European Union constitution, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing seemed at the top of his game, praised as "the Mozart of politics" and poised to go down in history as the founding father of a new Europe.

Only two months ago, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing, a former French president, called the constitution "as perfect as, perhaps less elegant than, the Constitution of the United States of America." Ratification by member countries was supposed to have been easy, and Mr. Giscard d'Estaing, now 79, might even have been asked to become the first president of the entire the 25-country bloc.
As perfect, except for the fact that it was 3,000 pages... Yeah, that's GOT to be just as good as the US Constitution which deals with specific founding principles instead of individual issues best handled through the legislative process

But now that his countrymen have rejected the constitution, setting off declarations that it is doomed, he assigns blame not to himself or his document, but largely to the man who currently inhabits Élysée Palace: President Jacques Chirac.
This tactic is also known as the Wookie or Chewbacca Defense:

"This is Chewbacca. Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now why would an 8-foot tall wookie wanna live on a planet with a bunch of 3-foot tall Ewoks? Why, I tell you why: because it doesn't make sense, that's why. So when you go into that jury room, I want you to think about your answer, about Chewbacca. And ask yourself, 'Does my vote make sense?'" - Johnnie Cochran on SouthPark

"This was not a vote on the constitution," Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said in his first interview since the French rejected it in a referendum last month. "That is the key point that has been missed by the political leaders, because political leaders don't normally like to say that the vote could have been against them."

Speaking in English in the library of his Paris home, he added, "The French message was, 'We want change in our political leadership.' "

They want change b/c they saw the EU Constitution as a giveaway to those "rabid capitalists" across the Channel. Of course, the UK is just slightly less socialist than the Continent, but that's alright from where I'm sitting here in the US (at least until Downer's crowd gets into power).

A crucial turning point for the fate of the constitution in France came last March, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said, when he phoned Mr. Chirac to warn him not to send the entire three-part, 448-article document to every French voter. The third and longest part consisted only of complicated treaties that have already been in force for years.

He said Mr. Chirac refused, citing legal reasons. "I said, 'Don't do it, don't do it,' " Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said. "It is not possible for anyone to understand the full text."

Ahh, the "Voters are Stupid" argument that's apparently not only popular in France but in the US, as well!

There is no indication that the French would have voted any differently had they decided on only the new document. In retrospect, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said the Parliament should have ratified the constitution, even though he said he previously endorsed Mr. Chirac's decision to put it to a referendum.

And here is where d'Estaing's true preference comes out. We shouldn't let the people decide (they're stupid, rememeber?). Let's just let the National Assembly rubber stamp this puppy and screw the opinions of the people on the political system that they'll live under!

Still, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing said that until the end he believed the French people would vote "yes," and pointedly criticized them. "I thought at the end the French people would be rational people," he said.

"But they're just too stupid, apparently. Like Bush voters in the US"

The blame spreads even further.

He also said that, had the European Union leaders not left open the possibility of full membership for Turkey in their bloc, the constitution probably would have passed in France. Mr. Giscard d'Estaing is a fierce opponent of membership for Turkey, arguing that it is not part of Europe and deserves only a lesser partnership status.

"I mean, the Turks are fine and all for running German factories and doing the menial labor in Europe. But, dear God, man... You don't expect us to give those barbarians full membership!?!?!
In a Louis Harris poll published two days after the referendum, however, only 22 percent of the "no" voters said that among their reasons was opposition to Turkey's entry into the European Union. The issue of Turkey was more important in the decision of Dutch voters to reject the constitution in their own referendum three days after the French vote.

Despite declarations throughout Europe that the constitution is dead, because all 25 member countries of the European Union must ratify it, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing is convinced that it will succeed eventually.

What Me Worry?!?
He said the ratification process should continue across Europe, and envisions a sequence of events in which most members pass what he referred to at one point as "my document." "In the end, it will pass," he added. "There is no better solution."


His rosy analysis, he insists, has nothing to do with his legacy, which certainly has been burnished since his experience as the president of the constitutional convention.

In 2003, Mr. Giscard d'Estaing was inducted as an "Immortal" into the august Académie Française. Earlier this year, he bought a 15th-century chateau in a small French village named Estaing, helping to solidify his family's tenuous claim to nobility.

But he admits disappointment that his constitution has been rejected. "I wasn't hurt; I wasn't humiliated," he said of the French vote. He added, "I was deprived of a cause for happiness."

How.... "French." Based on this delusion, I have to say that the EU will NEVER be the full, integrated political entity that it was envisioned to be. At least not with guys like d'Estaing and the Brussels/Strasbourg bureaucrats running the show.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

For Those Looking for a Gulag

In light of the criticisms of Gitmo and the fact that the rice pilaf and honey glazed chicken being served there is just a tad overcooked, I thought I'd link to this story from the American Enterprise from a German humanitarian/journalist.

Might provide some... you know.... perspective.

Bird's Eye
By Norbert Vollertsen
A Depraved Society We Can’t Ignore

The authors in this issue of The American Enterprise paint a sometimes terrifying picture of North Korea. Kim Jong Il’s mad regime has never formally renounced its pledge to swallow up the southern half of the Korean peninsula, even if it takes a devastating conventional war to do it. And its recent nuclear announcements have given citizens of Tokyo—possibly even Los Angeles—cause for serious concern.

It’s clear the United States and the world have to do something to end, or at least control, this potential nuclear nightmare. But the real problem of North Korea goes beyond the crazy bluster of its leaders, the appeasement of the South Koreans, the lack of cooperation from China, and the other subjects discussed on pages 36-45. There’s a human element that sometimes gets lost in the Washington debates. Very few Westerners understand what life is really like for the average North Korean, because the country’s dictatorship keeps all conduits of information and trade sealed as tight as a drum.

I know, because I’ve witnessed the stunning reality of daily existence in the North.

In July 1999, I traveled to North Korea as a member of a German medical aid organization offering humanitarian medical assistance. I remained in North Korea for 18 months, and worked in ten different hospitals around the country.

Early on during my stay, I was summoned to treat a factory worker who had been badly burned by molten iron. A colleague and I volunteered to donate our own skin tissue for a skin graft—in order to help the patient, and also as a gesture of friendship with ordinary North Koreans. For this action, we were nationally acclaimed by the state-run media and awarded the Friendship Medal, making us the only two Westerners ever to receive this high honor. Along with this recognition came two fringe benefits that would later prove very valuable: a “VIP” passport, and a driver’s license. These allowed me to travel to many areas of North Korea inaccessible to foreigners, and even to its ordinary citizens.

In my role as an emergency doctor, I also visited a number of other medical institutions besides the ten hospitals and three orphanages to which I was assigned. In every locale, I witnessed horrific conditions. There were no bandages, no scalpels, no antibiotics, no operating rooms—only ramshackle wooden beds supporting starving children waiting to die. Doctors used empty beer bottles as vessels for intravenous dripping. Safety razors were used as scalpels. I even witnessed an appendectomy performed without anesthesia. Meanwhile I found out, through my own investigations, about government storehouses and diplomatic shops carrying large stocks of bandages and other medical supplies for privileged classes.

There are two worlds in North Korea: One is the world of senior military officers, Communist Party members, and the country’s ruling elite. They enjoy a lavish lifestyle, fancy restaurants, diplomatic shops with European foods, nightclubs, even a casino.

The world for ordinary people in North Korea is completely different. In their world, one can see young children, undersized, undernourished, mute, with sunken eyes and skin stretched tight across their faces, wearing uniform blue-and-white-striped pajamas. Anyone who’s seen pictures of Dachau or Auschwitz would find the scene distressingly familiar.

Most of the patients in the hospitals suffer from psychosomatic illnesses. They’re worn out by compulsory drills, innumerable parades, mandatory assemblies beginning at the crack of dawn, and constant, droning propaganda. They are tired and at the end of their tether. Clinical depression is rampant. Alcoholism is common. Young adults have no hope, no future. Everywhere you look, people are beset by anxiety.

Everyday workers and farmers are starving and dying. Unwarranted arrest and detention are common, and one can only imagine what the conditions are like in the so-called “reform institutions,” where entire families are imprisoned when any member does or says something to offend the regime. These camps are closed to all foreigners, even to stringently non-confrontational organizations like the International Red Cross. If the main “medical” diagnosis of North Korea’s sick society is fear and depression brought about by a horrendous government, what is the cure?

The only way to rescue the people of North Korea from obscene poverty and hardship is to let the world know the real state of this country. In the fall of 2000, using the unprecedented freedom granted me when I was awarded the Friendship Medal, I guided a group of journalists around Pyongyang who had arrived to accompany Madeleine Albright, then Secretary of State. While traveling on a highway north of the capital, we came across a soldier lying dead in the middle of the road. Over the objections of my government minder, we stopped to investigate. The signs that the soldier had been tortured were obvious.

In response, I handed over a statement of humanitarian principles to the North Korean government. My government minder at that time—who had been given the responsibility of controlling my activities closely—was abruptly exchanged. I never saw him or his family again.

My behavior offended the party leaders, who of course prevented me from attending at any more hospitals. My car was sabotaged, and finally I was forced to leave the country. Against the wishes of the North Korean authorities, I went directly to Seoul instead of going home to Germany, where I spoke to international journalists.

I interviewed hundreds of North Korean defectors at the Chinese-North Korean border and elsewhere, in order to learn more about the cruel realities of life in their home country. Former prisoners of North Korean concentration camps told me about mass executions, torture, rape, murder, and other crimes against humanity—all performed as punishment for “anti-state criminal acts.”

The international community, working closely with the media, must put serious pressure on the North Korean regime to open up to the outside world and save the lives of their ordinary citizens. As a German born after World War II, I know all too well the guilt of my grandparents’ generation for remaining silent while the Nazis committed indescribable crimes. I believe it is my duty as a human being to expose the crimes and tyranny of the North Korean regime.

I have visited the United States, Japan, and Europe with my findings, and I will continue to travel the world for the express purpose of exposing the criminality of the secret state of North Korea. My hope is that someday soon I will have much company, and that a resulting wave of international pressure will lead to the reform of this depraved and mad corner of humanity.

Of course, the conditions in North Korea are the direct result of us imperialist yankees... I suppose "solidarity" on the left means you have to support your whackjob communists AND your ultra-evil, "concentration-camps-are-fun" communists like Kim. I mean, look at that smile! what a huggable little rogue!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Whackos are Right

9/11 was perpetrated by Bush...

from the Washington Times:

A former Bush team member during his first administration is now voicing serious doubts about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11. Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7. Reynolds, who also served as director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas and is now professor emeritus at Texas A&M University said, "If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an 'inside job' and a government attack on America would be compelling." Reynolds commented from his Texas A&M office, "It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause of the collapse of the twin towers and building 7. If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis is not likely to be correct either. The government's collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms. Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings."

Of course, this is insane - and has been discredited by actual engineers at Popular Mechanics...(Thanks to Flopping Aces for reminding me of this debunking) but The Raw Story is all over it.

Despite Popular Mechanic's debunking, there are some that just won't allow their political wishes to bend to the laws of physics.

Brian queries:
I never understand what the significance of WT7 is to the conspiracy theories. The various theories talk about how its amazing that WT7 failed the way it did and when it did, etc. But what is that supposed to prove?

I suspect it's like the Kennedy assasination. If you can posit the grassy knoll shooter, then it must have been a conspiracy, and at that point you can bring in whatever pet black helicopter theory you want. Still the WT7 "evidence" just seems like such silliness.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Single Payer without a Prayer

Ok, Lefties... You all get giddy when you mention the Canadian healthcare system, despite the evidence that shows that it's a disaster. Well, it appears that the Canadian courts have recently ruled that some form of competition (private insurance) should be allowed in order to provide more equitable care:

From Monday's Wall Street Journal, which if you don't subscribe to, you should:

Unsocialized Medicine
June 13, 2005; Page A12

Let's hope Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy were sitting down when they heard the news of the latest bombshell Supreme Court ruling. From the Supreme Court of Canada, that is. That high court issued an opinion last Thursday saying, in effect, that Canada's vaunted public health-care system produces intolerable inequality.

Call it the hip that changed health-care history. When George Zeliotis of Quebec was told in 1997 that he would have to wait a year for a replacement for his painful, arthritic hip, he did what every Canadian who's been put on a waiting list does: He got mad. He got even madder when he learned it was against the law to pay for a replacement privately. But instead of heading south to a hospital in Boston or Cleveland, as many Canadians already do, he teamed up to file a lawsuit with Jacques Chaoulli, a Montreal doctor. The duo lost in two provincial courts before their win last week.

The court's decision strikes down a Quebec law banning private medical insurance and is bound to upend similar laws in other provinces. Canada is the only nation other than Cuba and North Korea that bans private health insurance, according to Sally Pipes, head of the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco and author of a recent book on Canada's health-care system.

"Access to a waiting list is not access to health care," wrote Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin for the 4-3 Court last week. Canadians wait an average of 17.9 weeks for surgery and other therapeutic treatments, according the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute. The waits would be even longer if Canadians didn't have access to the U.S. as a medical-care safety valve. Or, in the case of fortunate elites such as Prime Minister Paul Martin, if they didn't have access to a small private market in some non-core medical services. Mr. Martin's use of a private clinic for his annual checkup set off a political firestorm last year.

The ruling stops short of declaring the national health-care system unconstitutional; only three of the seven judges wanted to go all the way.

But it does say in effect: Deliver better care or permit the development of a private system. "The prohibition on obtaining private health insurance might be constitutional in circumstances where health-care services are reasonable as to both quality and timeliness," the ruling reads, but it "is not constitutional where the public system fails to deliver reasonable services." The Justices who sit on Canada's Supreme Court, by the way, aren't a bunch of Scalias of the North. This is the same court that last year unanimously declared gay marriage constitutional.

The Canadian ruling ought to be an eye-opener for the U.S., where "single-payer," government-run health care is still a holy grail on the political left and even for some in business (such as the automakers). This month the California Senate passed a bill that would create a state-run system of single-payer universal health care. The Assembly is expected to follow suit. Someone should make sure the Canadian Supreme Court's ruling is on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's reading list before he makes a veto decision.

The larger lesson here is that health care isn't immune from the laws of economics. Politicians can't wave a wand and provide equal coverage for all merely by declaring medical care to be a "right," in the word that is currently popular on the American left.

There are only two ways to allocate any good or service: through prices, as is done in a market economy, or lines dictated by government, as in Canada's system. The socialist claim is that a single-payer system is more equal than one based on prices, but last week's court decision reveals that as an illusion. Or, to put it another way, Canadian health care is equal only in its shared scarcity.

When asked whether he was worried about being known as the man who helped bring down his country's universal health-care system, Mr. Zeliotis told the Toronto Star, "No way. I'm the guy saving it." If the Canadian ruling can open American eyes to the limitations of government-run health care, Mr. Zeliotis's hip just might end up saving the U.S. system too.

Cox & Forkum provides this on Wednesday...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Lileks on Gitmo

LILEKS on Gitmo - a Must Read. (Provided in full below because I know folks like Downer just don't want to be shown how idiotic they are):

"06 13 05- The true horror of American Torture has been revealed. Let me make light of it. Says Time:
” On Dec. 2, Rumsfeld approved 16 of 19 stronger coercive methods. Now the interrogators could use stress strategies like standing for prolonged periods,

What, he made them stand in line for eight hours to vote? Fiend.
isolation for as long as 30 days, removal of clothing, forced shaving of facial hair, playing on “individual phobias” (such as dogs) and “mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger and light pushing.”

If you’ve read accounts of the Soviet gulag you may recall the tales of men forced to march ten miles to a labor site in shoes made of cardboard and frozen spit, and digging hard dead beets from permafrost with hands that hadn’t seen mittens in three years. “Light pushing” in this context was a rifle butt to the chin, twice. Did the 19 methods in the Bill of Cruelty itemize “poking in the chest with the finger” as a separate method, or was it folded into a general go-ahead for acting like a high-school gym teacher?
According to the log, al-Qahtani experienced several of those over the next five weeks.

The techniques Rumsfeld balked at included “use of a wet towel or dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation.” “Our Armed Forces are trained,” a Pentagon memo on the changes read, “to a standard of interrogation that reflects a tradition of restraint.” Nevertheless, the log shows that interrogators poured bottles of water on al-Qahtani’s head when he refused to drink. Interrogators called this game “Drink Water or Wear It.”

This is how articles are written, conventional wisdom chopped pressed and formed: the techniques Rumsfeld “balked at” – meaning, I assume, did not permit – did not include actual suffocation, but the use of a wet towel that would induce the misperception of an emanation of a penumbra of suffocation. NEVERTHELESS. Key word, that. Lines crossed not in fact but in spirit. He balked at fake suffocation, aye; NEVERTHELESS the climate of pain and retribution did not forbid men from freely dumping bottles of Dasani on the heads of the detainees. Why, it was a game to the interrogators. “Drink Water or Wear it.” Spiritually, it’s a first cousin to Saddam’s game, “Use Tongue Then Lose It.”
After the new measures are approved, the mood in al-Qahtani’s interrogation booth changes dramatically. The interrogation sessions lengthen. The quizzing now starts at midnight, and when Detainee 063 dozes off, interrogators rouse him by dripping water on his head or playing Christina Aguilera music.

Djinni in a bottle, no doubt.
According to the log, his handlers at one point perform a puppet show “satirizing the detainee’s involvement with al-Qaeda.”

So Doug is part of the torture crew, then. From the ever-prescient Pythons:
Vercotti: Doug (takes a drink) Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I've seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug.

2nd Interviewer: What did he do?

Vercotti: He used... sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and... satire. He was vicious.

And at one point the reader might assume that if something really bad had happened, we might have read about it by now. I know a little bit about modern journalism, and we tend to emphasis the splintery plunger up the butt over the mocking puppet show. In any case, this detail makes you almost want to weep in frustration; domestic politicians are posturing for the camera, huffing about then horrors of Gitmo, insisting that the rest of the world won’t forgive us until we close the joint down and pave it. Over what? A Punch and Judy show? If we gang-mimed the guy and had 17 men in striped shirts with white makeup pantomime falling out of a burning skyscraper, would the critics demand we not only let the guy go but pay him a per diem for his troubles? I’ve read the story twice, and I keep wondering if I missed the part where the suspected 20th hijacker spits teeth into a chamberpot rimming with own bloody urine while massaging the welts the jumper cables left on his groinal division. I mean, I take all that for granted, because our soldiers are all killbot brutes - except for the lower-class ones who got drafted against their will and can only hope Bruce Springsteen sings a monotonal account of their disaffection.

Puppet shows and secret code / I don’t know who to trust / I’m the metaphorical twin of old Tom Joad / inasmuch as we both dealt with dust / his was the kind that got in your eyes / mine gets in your gun / but they both get down deep in your soul / whaddya mean, sing “Born to Run”?
He is taken to a new interrogation booth, which is decorated with pictures of 9/11 victims, American flags and red lights. He has to stand for the playing of the U.S. national anthem.

Okay, this is torture. But only if you’re interrogating a poster on the Democratic Underground.
His head and beard are shaved. He is returned to his original interrogation booth. A picture of a 9/11 victim is taped to his trousers. Al-Qahtani repeats that he will “not talk until he is interrogated the proper way.”

Meaning what? Forced to kneel before a camera and confess you’re a Jew before your head is sawed off?
Invasion of Space by Female: Over the next few days, al-Qahtani is subjected to a drill known as Invasion of Space by a Female

Mind you, this is considered punishment. Right now across America there are guys who are seriously peeved because they ordered “Invasion of Space by a Female IV” on pay-per-view and the cable went out. They’re on the phone admitting they wanted it, and demanding they get IV and V no charge, understood?
and he becomes especially agitated by the close physical presence of a woman. Then, around 2 p.m. on Dec. 6, comes another small breakthrough. He asks his handlers for some paper. “I will tell the truth,” he says. “I am doing this to get out of here.” He finally explains how he got to Afghanistan in the first place and how he met with bin Laden. In return, the interrogators honor requests from him to have a blanket and to turn off the air conditioner.

One suspects it isn’t the presence of a woman that bothers him; it’s the fact that she doesn’t take any guff, looks him in the eye, laughs at him, blows smoke rings in his face and generally fails to behave like one of the 72 docile celestial whores he was promised. In short: he was broken by the concise application of cultural insensitivity.

You know, there’s a word for college professors who get freaked out by women in positions of confident authority, and it isn’t “tenure.”

Do you have a problem with that? Then this will freak you out anew:
Soon enough, the pressure ratchets up again. Various strategies of intimidation are employed anew. The log reveals that a dog is present, but no details are given beyond a hazy reference to a disagreement between the military police and the dog handler.

This is one of those telling details that describes the chasm between the culture of the American soldiers and the culture of the terrorists. What can you make of men who are scared of women and dogs?
But a much more serious problem develops on Dec. 7: a medical corpsman reports that al-Qahtani is becoming seriously dehydrated

Because they’ve been withholding water and beating him in the kidneys with the Brooklyn Yellow Pages while the guards belt out “Singin’ in the Rain”?
, the result of his refusal to take water regularly.

Remember drink or wear it? So he doesn’t want to drink it. Under Rummy’s Rules of Torture, no bout #19 is “Let him die, if that’s his wish. Scratch one off, move along.” Right after #18, “Poke him in the sternum, but not more than five times in 30 seconds.” But no:
He is given an IV drip, and a doctor is summoned. An unprecedented 24-hour time out is called, but even as al-Qahtani is put under a doctor’s care, music is played to “prevent detainee from sleeping.” Nine hours later, a medical corpsman checks al-Qahtani’s pulse and finds it “unusually slow.” An electrocardiogram is administered by a doctor, and after al-Qahtani is transferred to a hospital, a CT scan is performed. A second doctor is consulted. Al-Qahtani’s heartbeat is regular but slow: 35 beats a minute. He is placed in isolation and hooked up to a heart monitor, TIME reports.

Because he didn’t drink the water. This guy got more medical care than anyone in non-Gitmo Cuba, and of course he survives to experience additional indignities, such as having a picture of a nude woman hung around his neck.

That’s where the story ends in the web version. You’ll have to read the cover story to learn the entire tale. Because it’s the most important story in the world this week.

If the 20th hijacker had been on a plane, and the author of the Time story had been killed fighting with him in the aisle before the plane hit its target, and we knew this from cell-phone dispatches, there would be an award named after the journalist. With a yearly banquet. Chicken, probably; it’s always chicken. With some limp asparagus no one ever eats, but it looks nice on the plate.

After three years, the award would go to someone who exposed how soldiers in Afghanistan used a Koran as a doorstop. Or so sources said.

Given the hand-wringing over Gitmo (now that we know the "worst" of what goes on there), I can accurately say that we have lost the will to exist...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Ted Rall is "Stupider"

Rall weighs in on Dean's idiotic antics of recent weeks, poking fun of the Washington establishment Dems that say it's a bad idea to insult voters.

Apparently, the GOP hates the American people and wants to make their lives miserable. And Rall basically says that people MUST be stupid if they vote against the Dems. and the Dems shouldn't respect the voters if they choose a different path.

And then Rall shows how dumb he really is..

"Which makes us even stupider than they are"

What a tool... I can't believe he gets paid for his 2nd grade drawing and his kindergarten grammar.

And I'm not even criticizing his politics here... what a GREAT strategy. A clarion call to the masses - "YOU ARE SOOO F-ING STUPID!!!!"

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Times - They Are a Changin

H/T PubliusPundit

It seems that even in Iran women have decided that they who are tired of being oppressed. Only prob is the MSM's collective response to this story: *yawn*

The images that you see in these pages were taken by some of the members of Women's Cultural Center, which called for a protest (see the call for protest) against constitutionally-sanctioned discriminations against women outside the main gate of Tehran University. The peaceful protest first started when a dozen women from WCC dismounted a bus on a street across from the University. They then crossed Enqelab St and sat in front of the gate.

The police were present and at first prevented both men and women from joining the protest. Eventually, however, more women joined the group and formed a large crowd. Poet {Simin Behbahani} was the first to read a poem she had written especially for the occasion, followed by some of the organizers who read the protest declaration. Some of the slogans of this protest were as follows:

"Unequal laws, Inhuman rights, must be challenged"
"We are women, citizens of this city, but we have no rights"
"Anti-women laws are at the root of despotism Legal justice is our minimum requirement"

The protest ended peacefully (no doubt because of the impending election) at 6 pm.


By the way, did you notice that the most of the women were beyond University age? It's no longer a student movement in Iran.

Duers react: *crickets chirping*
Duers thoughts: "Damn you, Chimpy-Bush-McHitler! (apologies to ProteinWisdom)How dare you try to change the Middle East!!! These women should have burqas ON!!! How dare you impose the Western objectification of women on these Muslims!!!"

It's good to see that the protests are starting to attract a larger portion of the Iranian population.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, June 13, 2005

Mark Steyn on Gitmo as Gulag

A Must Read... Especially if you're a deranged nutter from the Left.

For userid/password, I always use which provides the following
pw: splatter

Calling Guantanamo a ‘gulag’ is the sort of thing you’d expect from some nutter in the comments section of a kook website. Why would an organisation in the human rights business want to trivialise the murder of millions in totalitarian death camps by comparing them with a non-death camp where you’re at risk of having the frontispiece of your book moistened by a drop of urine if the wind’s blowing in the right direction? If Gitmo’s a gulag, what words does that leave for the systemic rape being practised by the butchers of Darfur? Or is it because they’ve so exhausted the extremes of their vocabulary on Guantanamo that the world’s progressives have so little to say about real horrors like Sudan? Warming to his theme, Amnesty International USA’s executive director William Schulz then declared Donald Rumsfeld the ‘high-level architect of torture’. Asked what evidence he had for his assertion that the defence secretary had approved the use of torture at the camp, Mr Schulz said, ‘It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea.’

Can anyone play this game? Can I declare that Mr Schulz and the Amnesty board get together every Saturday night and piss all over the Koran? I hasten to add that I’ve no idea whether that’s true, but it would be fascinating to find out.

Guantanamo exists in a legal limbo about which different opinions can be held. And, as in every prison camp, there are no doubt foolish and wicked things that go on. But no serious allegation of torture has been substantiated, and in the al-Qa’eda training manual found in Manchester a couple of years back Rule 18 couldn’t be more explicit: when held captive by the infidel, members ‘must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them’ and ‘complain to the court of mistreatment while in prison’. A healthy scepticism would seem to be advisable, especially when the alleged forms of torture involve lurid, if psychologically rather obvious, fantasies of menstruating Western women. Instead, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times runs around shrieking like a hysterical ninny that Washington needs to shut down Guantanamo right now — not because of anything that actually occurred there but because of negative ‘perceptions’ of the camp in the overseas press.

And would caving in to those negative perceptions lead to any better press from the Guardian or Le Monde? Nobody got killed in Gitmo, so instead America is being flayed as the planet’s number one torturer for being insufficiently respectful to the holy book of its prisoners, even though the Americans themselves supplied their prisoners with the holy book, even though the preferred holy book of most Americans is banned in the home country of many of the prisoners, even though Americans who fall into the hands of the other side get their heads hacked off, even though the prisoners’ co-religionists themselves blow up more mosques and Korans than Americans ever do, and even though the alleged insufficient respect to the prisoners’ holy book occurred at a rate of one verified incident of possibly intentional disrespect per year. But sure, go ahead, close Gitmo and wait for the torrent of rave reviews — right after the complaints that it is culturally insensitive to rebuild the World Trade Center when it’s the burial site of ten devout Muslim flying enthusiasts.
In the Middle East, as Baby Assad’s pitiful ‘State of the Union’ speech underlined, free Iraq is a more potent force than all the stagnant dictatorships. In Afghanistan the other day, 600 clerics participated in a ceremony stripping Mullah Omar of his religious authority. And, if it’s Koranic desecration you’re after, how about this under-reported news item from the original Islamic republic a few weeks back? In Iran, revellers marked Tchahr Shanbe Souri, the traditional Persian fire festival, by chanting ‘Down with the Islamic Republic!’ and hurling Islamic texts, including the Koran, into the bonfires. The politicised Islam promoted by the Ayatollah, Osama and the Taleban is already on the wane. It was in essence a parasite leeching on to Western decadence and lack of will. And that’s always been the real issue, as the bogus Guantanamo furore demonstrates only too well.

for more insight, check out and BOOKMARK:

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Naivete of the Left

DUer posts this without any commentary and appears to do it with a straight face.

US behind Bolivia crisis - Chavez
And on our own continent...

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has blamed Washington's brand of capitalism for the recent troubles in Bolivia.

Speaking on his weekly TV programme, he said US open market policies in Latin America had led to "exclusion, misery and destabilisation".

He called President George W Bush's proposal for a regional free trade agreement a "medicine of death".

Bolivia was brought to a virtual standstill by protesters calling for economic and constitutional reforms.

Of course, the Dems and the Democratic Party has a rich history of coddling Communist/Socialist dictators in our own back yard... that is, when they're not coddling communists & socialists abroad.

And nevermind that Chavez is destablizing the entire South American continent, from his neighbor Colombia to Bolivia. He looks dashing in a red beret, so it's time to make up some t-shirts!

And by the way, what is it with the Leftist leaders and their insatiable desire to hold forth on TV? Chavez had a 7 hour TV program on Sunday.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wacko Jacko

AOL Users - Welcome to Another Rovian Conspiracy. Be sure to check out other content from the main site.

OK, so Michael Jackson is "not guilty" on every single count... poor prosecution in my opinion, especially given the juries and cult of celebrity that is California. But, there are TWO extremely important questions that are not being asked right now:

  1. WHO IN THE HELL ARE THESE PEOPLE CHEERING FOR JACKO RIGHT NOW?!?! SURELY THEY DON'T LIKE HIS MUSIC? (I like old school Jackson, but anything in the last 20 years has been pure cr@p)
  2. Now that Jacko is "not guilty," would any parent feel comfortable letting their kid stay over at Neverland?
I hope the answer to the last question is an emphatic "No!" If you let your kid hang out with Jacko, you children should be taken away from you for negligence. I would hope that Jackson's world from now on does not involve children at Neverland (other than his own and I sure feel sorry for those kids).

I'm at a losfer words.... stunning. I can't believe there are people crying out for joy that he wasn't convicted of a single count. It's like I'm in Downer's bizarro world.


IF Michael Jackson was an ordained priest, would he have received the same verdict?

Discuss amongst yourselves - I'm verklempt...

Malkin, Conservative Outpoust, California Conservative, Newz, and the inestimable folks at Wizbang have more

See Ace, too

***UPDATE 2***
DUers see this as a victory over the corporate media and characterize the trial as a witchhunt. When someone says, hey... we shouldn't rejoice when a pedophile is found not guilty, they slam them. I'm sure they'll defend NAMBLA members next. Oh, and see this post where they're hoping that Jacko's acquittal will free up time for MSM to cover the Downing Street Memo. Does every topic have a "how can this help us take down bush" twist?

(Sure, they couldn't convict him... but anyone who doubts that he's a pedophile is nuts. See Jury Selection skit by Dave Chappelle (where he talks about Jackson being innocent b/c he's black, etc... then the prosecutor asks if he'd let his kids stay the night at Neverland. Chapelle's response? "#$%# NO!!!")

***UPDATE 3***
Scared Monkeys weighs in
Because its completely normal to have little boys admittedly sleep in your bed.

Does it really seem appropriate to cheer a man or whatever who admits to sleeping with boys?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Bush v Bush

Humorous.... but, this is the prob with getting your news from Comedy Central.

It seems that Jon would have Bush post-9/11 act in a manner similar to Bush pre-9/11. And then you have the problem of statements taken out of context. But, hey... it's just comedy, right?

Well, that's true... but some of folks actually get their news AND FORM THEIR OPINIONS based on what they see on The Daily Show. And Stewart's defense that "My show is followed by puppets" is pretty lame and doesn't remove the fact that his show is providing commentary on current events - and it rarely pokes fun at liberal idiocy.

If only he was as funny as Dave Chappelle... Who'd better get his stuff together and get back on the air soon.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Downer's Reading List

Check out Downer's reading list. No wonder he's a loony.

Read the comments as well, as he and I go back & forth...

The last book I bought:
- The Exception to the Rulers by Amy Goodman [uggh!!!]

The last book I read:
- The Republican Noise Machine by David Brock

Right now I'm also reading:

Five books that mean a lot to me:
Rules for Radicals and Reveille for Radicals by Saul Alinksy. These two books go together. They were given to me during an important time in my life and they completely changed the way I think about organizing and politics. These are essential reads for any activist or organizer who believes in the ability of the people to rule themselves. [rule themselves as in the example set by the USSR]

Tao Te Ching. Inspirational. It brings balance to my life and it applies to politics as well since it was written for the governing class. [Hey, good for you, Downer!]

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. The incredible must read for everyone who wants to know the real story of the American people that wasn't approved by the court historians. This is one of those books that completely changes how a person understands the world. Declarations of Independence is another favorite Zinn book of mine.

Yikes... No wonder his view of Amerika and history is twisted! from Publisher's Weekly
According to this classic of revisionist American history, narratives of national unity and progress are a smoke screen disguising the ceaseless conflict between elites and the masses whom they oppress and exploit. Historian Zinn sides with the latter group in chronicling Indians' struggle against Europeans, blacks' struggle against racism, women's struggle against patriarchy, and workers' struggle against capitalists. First published in 1980, the volume sums up decades of post-war scholarship into a definitive statement of leftist, multicultural, anti-imperialist historiography. This edition updates that project with new chapters on the Clinton and Bush presidencies, which deplore Clinton's pro-business agenda, celebrate the 1999 Seattle anti-globalization protests and apologize for previous editions' slighting of the struggles of Latinos and gays. Zinn's work is an vital corrective to triumphalist accounts, but his uncompromising radicalism shades, at times, into cynicism. Zinn views the Bill of Rights, universal suffrage, affirmative action and collective bargaining not as fundamental (albeit imperfect) extensions of freedom, but as tactical concessions by monied elites to defuse and contain more revolutionary impulses; voting, in fact, is but the most insidious of the "controls." It's too bad that Zinn dismisses two centuries of talk about "patriotism, democracy, national interest" as mere "slogans" and "pretense," because the history he recounts is in large part the effort of downtrodden people to claim these ideals for their own.

Back to the list for some normality??
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. My favorite work of fiction.

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald. The authorative Lincoln biography of this generation. I'm a Lincoln lunatic like everyone else in Springfield.

Ahh, Downer... we ARE from two different planets!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

French non Vote as Protest against Globalization

Saw this in yesterday's Post-Dispatch. I have to say, it's difficult to disagree.

France's "non" vote on EU is protest against globalization
The "Second Revolution" seeks to isolate the French from the rest of the world.

As soon as the results were announced in France last month that amidst a record turnout of 70 percent of French voters, an enormous 55 percent rejected a constitution for the European Union, supporters of the "non" vote symbolically thronged the square adjacent to the Bastille, the imposing Parisian prison, the storming of which heralded the original French revolution. The latest thronging of the Bastille is revolution indeed, except that it is a retrograde one in attempting to isolate France not only from Europe but also from the rest of the world.

The French vote is a protest vote. It is a vote against free markets and capitalism. It is a vote against welfare reform. It is a vote against international exchange of goods, services, and the two factors of production - labor and capital (the definition of globalization). Thus, the French vote is indeed a vote against globalization and international business/marketing.

After the Second World War, France embarked on a "middle ground" model to capitalism and communism by the creation of a cradle-to-grave welfare state and excessive government regulation of enterprise.

Meanwhile, the Berlin Wall collapsed spectacularly with a very short notice and the Soviet Union fell like a pack of cards.

Welcome to the 1990s - billions joined the free market system, the Internet was commercialized and the great tech boom transformed the world. In other words, globalization, as we know it, commenced.

Add to this the rapid aging of Western Europe with government initiatives to increase birth rates making no headway. For example, it is estimated that by 2030, 60 percent of Germany's population will be over the age of 50, making it almost a republic of grandparents. A declining labor pool means a declining economy - it is that simple.

The "middle ground" in Western Europe was caught off guard with the developments in the 1990s. Western European socialists, always numbering in the many, lost the quasi-protection of the Soviet Union and felt rudderless. Instead of following the British example of liberalization, they dug their heels in the trenches and resisted change. They still do. The ramifications of this are felt in the French vote.

The "second revolution" is essentially based on the fear of change and a last ditch attempt to maintain the status quo, whereas the original revolution was to advance change.

If anyone wonders why the final vote was based on fear, it is partly because both sides of the campaign used fear appeals. The "yes" side argued that a federal Europe was necessary as a counterweight to the United States and a rising China and India, the argument made by President Jacques Chirac himself. Noted "yes" campaigner Dr. Dominique Moise argued that a "no" vote meant that the French would "unwillingly and unknowingly herald in the Asian century."

The "no" side pandered to the protectionists by raising the bogey of Polish plumbers - cheap handymen that would invade France from Eastern Europe and take away all those French jobs in the midst of a 10 percent unemployment. The seemingly logical fear on the surface hides some bitter internal truths.

A plumber in France typically earns only a few hundred dollars more than what he would earn by being on welfare. With such a pampered welfare state, the incentive to work is simply lost. No wonder the high unemployment numbers have to do with this "middle ground" legacy than with the mythical Polish plumber.

Contrary to France, where there are only a few hundred Polish plumbers, Britain has legally allowed 100,000 handymen from Poland to live and work. Even as France is complaining about the imposition of the Anglo-Saxon model and its economy is stagnating, the British economy is enjoying the fastest pace of economic growth since the Industrial Revolution. The British Labor party has transformed itself into a "New Labor Party" under Tony Blair, who ardently believes in the efficiency of free markets.

Apparently, the fear appeals of the "no" side worked better than the fear appeals of the "yes" side. The immediate threat for the French was from the Polish plumber just a train ride away from snatching jobs.

So, what was the much maligned "EU constitution" all about? It is a lengthy compendium of all previous economic treaties that consolidates the 25-member union and also provides for some federal offices such as the EU president and a foreign minister.

It does not clearly articulate some basic concepts such as separation of powers among the legislature, executive and judiciary. Since it is primarily a compendium of economic treaties, the document has more commercial terms than any typical constitution would have.

The EU constitution states that Europe would be a "highly competitive social market economy and one large internal market where competition is free and undistorted."

For the socialists and market skeptics, making free markets and free trade a constitutional obligation was more than waving a red flag in front of a bull. With the EU already a common market with nearly half of its members using a common currency, the constitutional statement on free markets/free trade was simply redundant and an unnecessary provocation. It turned off a lot of people.

Even though the EU would continue to function under existing treaties, further integration, especially at the political level, is likely to be stalled. The EU still has not completely achieved its cherished goal of having a common foreign policy and the "non" vote is not going to make things better in this regard.

The French vote is not going to stop globalization. No one country can halt the process of globalization. Globalization is like a wind. Trying to stop it is rather unwise and a colossal waste of one's time and energy. Governments across the world will have to harness this wind to energize their economies and make it work for their citizens. France is no exception.

Any country that tries to stop globalization and free markets will inevitably hurt their own economy... If we were to do that in the US, here comes the next Great Depression - Yeah!!!

By the way, Downer... did you have any idea that you, Bernie Sanders, and Michael Savage agree on globalization??? As I've mentioned previously, the political spectrum truly is round, with extremes on both sides meeting at some point.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Update from the Front Lines

Here's an update from my brother-in-law, now serving on the Front Lines of the War On Terror in Qatar/Iraq. Previous posts about him are here and here. He's probably going to rotate out of Qatar and into Iraq, switching with his team members that are already in Iraq.

Hello everyone,

I thought you all would like to read some articles on what we do over here and the importance of our jobs. Both articles are good. They discuss one of our Patients we moved who had a novalung. We actually moved two Patients on this new device they are using in Europe and the funny thing is it isn't approved in the US but it saved both of these young men's lives. So we are giving it a push to be approved by the Surgeon General for use in the US. Also to give you all a update I have been in country for 50 days I have 129 more to go. Our Team has moved over 1300 Patients by Air Evacuation and many more intra theater. We see many Battle Injuries and we also see many foreign nationals who have been injured by IED, GSW or other means. Our team has moved a couple children who were severly burned to the US for difinitive treatment - that was a good feeling to help the less fortunate. They were both Afgany girls and both survived and doing well. We are saving many the lives of many young men and women. Technology does help and the speed of communication of our highly trained medical personel makes all the diffrence. Almost all military attitudes and morale are high and we feel we our fighting for someone elses freedom - it truly is a sense of accomplishment. I am also doing well and morale is good. I also feel this is a great tour and that I am helping out alot. Thanks for all the support for my family and I. Also for support of our soldiers and sailors. Love you all family and friends.
Help me to remain strong and steadfast so that other are safe behind me.

Here are the two articles that my brother-in-law referred to. This article from the Charlotte Observer (userid, pw notgona)
and this one from Knight-Ridder (excerpted below). Be sure to look at the slideshow from the Charlotte Observer as well:
peed, technology have reduced mortality among U.S. troops
By Mark Washburn, Knight Ridder Newspapers Tue Jun 7, 2:06 PM ET

Iraq - First, the grievously wounded arrive for the flight on stretchers, some carried by volunteers who show up for special duty in the middle of the night after working on the base all day.

After the last stretcher is loaded aboard the military evacuation plane, the ambulatory patients prepare to ascend the ramp, one after the other.

Volunteers and staff from Camp Anaconda's tent hospital flank their path.

They clap vigorously and cheer loudly as the first patient appears, and they do this until the last one makes the climb, the circle closing, the salute echoing through the cavernous C-141 cargo plane.

This is the last sound the wounded American warriors hear in Iraq.

Speed, technology and advancements in armor have made the battlefield in Iraq one of the most survivable in the history of warfare:
  • A new blood-clotting powder for major bleeds has proved so effective that it's being issued for medical kits.
  • U.S. forces in the field are heavily populated with combat lifesavers, soldiers with training comparable to emergency paramedics back home.
  • A fleet of aircraft - including helicopters and cargo planes - is on call to rush casualties to medical care.
  • Physicians with advanced skills, such as neurosurgery and cardiology, practice in field hospitals.
  • In extreme cases, patients are flown to the storied military medical center in Landstuhl, Germany, within hours of their injuries, in airborne intensive-care units.
After two years, the U.S. death toll is rising toward 1,700, far lower than the 3,000-plus deaths estimated for the initial invasion.

Body armor saves lives, but explosions still leave hideous injuries.
Modern lifesaving techniques have reduced mortality dramatically among U.S. troops in Iraq over previous wars.

Revolutionary War / 4,435 / 42 percent
Civil War (Union Force)* / 140,414 / 33 percent
World War I / 53,402 / 21 percent
World War II / 291,557 / 30 percent
Korean War / 33,741 / 25 percent
Vietnam / 47,424 / 24 percent
Desert Storm / 147 / 24 percent
Operation Iraqi Freedom / 1,665** / 10 percent

*Authoritative statistics on Confederate forces aren't available.
** As of June 1; comprises killed in action, natural and accidental deaths.

The differences between Desert Storm and the War on Terror in terms of lethality of wounds is amazing.

Keep all of those serving our country in your prayers.

On the lighter side, my brother-in-law sent us this pic of him enjoying a little reminder of home (click on image for larger size):
Free Image Hosting at

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler