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

Saturday, June 25, 2005

An Example of a True Patriot (to the Left)

Week in, Week out - Ted Rall displays his patriotic fervor in his "cartoons." Friday's is no exception!

A great example of what patriotism means to the Left, week in and week out.

I just love the satirical "Support Our Goons!" car magnet I'll have to send that one to my brother-in-law in Iraq! I'm sure he won't be able to stop laughing!

(BTW, the attack on the Marine women occurred while he was on duty and he assisted in their transportation to better facilities. Here's his email about the matter:


Last night we had 5 female marines burned by IED blast. I don't know if it was on the news yet, but it happened on my shift. All 5 females were MP's for the Marines doing female searches at an ECP or Entricate Control Point. They got into a 6 ton vehicle and the IED went off. All five had less than 15% TBSA (or Total Body Surface Area), all to hands and face. All had second degree burns and all were put on vents except one. The sixth patient was an Urgent male driving the truck - he had both arms amputated and also was on vent. We got them on a plane and regulated within 12 hrs. Pretty impresive. The females came in as Priority patients, but Per SecDEF (since they were all women and it is a high visibility case) we upgraded the females to urgent. Thought you would all like to know some of the cases I am working.

Help me to remain strong and steadfast so that other are safe behind me.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, June 24, 2005

Mugabe Consistent with SCOTUS Kelo decision

Mugabe acts on the Kelo decision
How is Mugabe's recent bulldozing of blighted areas of Harare different from the USSC's Kelo decision?

Mugabe defends demolitions drive
Zimbabwe's president has defended his government's campaign of demolitions and evictions which the UN believes has left about 250,000 people homeless.

Robert Mugabe said the removal of illegal homes and market stalls was part of a bid to fight crime and clean up cities.

At least three children have been crushed to death during the campaign.

Earlier, the African Union rejected calls from the UK and US to speak out against President Mugabe's government.

An spokesman said the organisation had many more serious problems to consider.

In remarks broadcast on state television, Mr Mugabe said: "As much as 3 trillion [Zimbabwe dollars - about $3bn] has been committed to this programme... There is a clear construction and reconstruction programme.

"We pledged to revitalise our cities and towns and to deliver as many as 1.2 million housing units and residential stands by the year 2008. We also undertook to reorganise our SMEs [small and medium business enterprises] so they could grow and expand in an environment that is supportive, clean and decent."

Zimbabwe's Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, said he was happy with what he described as a normal clean-up operation.

Speaking to the BBC, he denied that it had created widespread humanitarian problems, and said the demolitions had been welcomed by all patriotic Zimbabweans.

The opposition says the demolitions - codenamed Operation Restore Order - are meant to punish urban residents, who have rejected President Mugabe in recent elections.
The children who have died were crushed to death when their homes were knocked down during Operation Murambatsvina [Drive out rubbish].

The police have moved across Zimbabwe's urban areas, armed with bulldozers and sledge-hammers, destroying shacks and informal markets.

Often, residents have been made to demolish the structures themselves.

The UN is due to send a special envoy to Zimbabwe to investigate the demolitions.

Many people are living on the streets, while others have returned to their rural homes, encouraged by the government.

Sounds like the situation in the Kelo decision... Mugabe's just looking for increased tax revenues.

The effects of Eminent Domain in Zimbabwe
(Before & After)

Brian J. Noggle's Musings on the Kelo decision.

Related Query II
Does the Supreme Court's Kelo decision mean that my municipal government can determine that food products I have already ingested could better serve the public as fertilizer in the flower bed in the median of the Maryland Heights Expressway and compel me to report, finger in throat, to expel the contents of my stomach for public use?

If so, I hope the soil is very basic as I drink a lot of coffee and don't want to burn the petunias.

And check out this one, too

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

And Finally...

Charles Krauthammer on the Dems and their lack of ideas

A Party Without Ideas

Charles Krauthammer
June 24, 2005

WASHINGTON -- What has happened to the Democrats over the past few decades is best captured by the phrase (coined by Kevin Phillips) "reactionary liberalism." Spent of new ideas, their only remaining idea is to hang on to the status quo at all costs.

This is true across the board. On Social Security, which is facing an impending demographic and fiscal crisis, they have put absolutely nothing on the table. On presidential appointments -- first, judges; and now ambassador to the United Nations -- they resort to the classic weapon of Southern obstructionism: the filibuster. And on foreign policy, they have nothing to say on the war on terror, the war in Iraq or the burgeoning Arab Spring (except the refrain: ``Guantanamo'').

A quarter-century ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan noted how it was the Republicans who had become a party of ideas, while the Democrats' philosophical foundation was ``deeply eroded.'' But even Moynihan would be surprised by the bankruptcy in the Democrats' current intellectual account.

Take trade and Central America. The status quo there is widespread poverty. The Bush administration has proposed doing something about it: a free trade agreement encompassing five Central American countries plus the Dominican Republic.

It's a no-brainer. If we have learned anything from the last 25 years in China, India, Chile and other centers of amazing economic growth, it is that open markets and free trade are the keys to pulling millions, indeed hundreds of millions of people, out of poverty. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is a chance to do the same for desperately poor near-neighbors.

You would think this treaty would be a natural for the Democrats, who have always portrayed themselves as the party with real sympathy for the poor -- in contradistinction to the Republicans who have hearts of stone, if they have any at all. The Democratic Party has always seen itself as the tribune of the oppressed of the Third World and deeply distressed by the fact that ``the United States by far is the stingiest nation in the world for development assistance or foreign aid,'' to quote Jimmy Carter, former Democratic president, current Democratic saint.

You would think, therefore, that Democrats would be for CAFTA. Not so. CAFTA is in great jeopardy because Democrats have turned against it. Whereas a decade ago under President Clinton, 102 House Democrats supported NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), that number for CAFTA is down to 10 or less. In a closed-door meeting this month, reports Jonathan Weisman of The Washington Post, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi put heavy-handed pressure on all congressional Democrats to observe party discipline in killing the treaty.

Arguing free trade is particularly tiresome because it is the only proposition in politics that is mathematically provable. It was proved by British economist David Ricardo in 1817 that even if one country is more efficient in producing two items, trade between two countries based on the relative efficiency of production is always beneficial to both countries.

Mathematics does not change, but calculations of political expediency do. After all, it was the Democrats who, when Central America was aflame in the 1980s, argued strenuously against Ronald Reagan's muscular approach of supporting the government of El Salvador and the anti-communist revolutionaries in Nicaragua. Democrats voted time and again against Reagan's policy because, they claimed, it ignored the root causes of the widespread discontent in Central America, namely poverty and hunger.

Their alternative? Economic help, not guns. In 1983, when Reagan made a speech asking for support for El Salvador's embattled government, Sen. Chris Dodd made a nationally televised response on behalf of the Democratic Party in which he called Reagan's policy a failure and demanded instead that we deal with the underlying economic and social conditions: ``We must restore America as a source of hope and a force for progress in Central America. ... We must hear the cry for bread, schools, work and opportunity that comes from campesinos everywhere in this hemisphere.''

There is no better way to bring bread, work and opportunity to the campesinos of Central America than with markets and free trade. To his credit, Dodd supports CAFTA, which represents precisely the kind of deployment of soft power that he was advocating on behalf of his party 22 years ago. Today, however, his party has overwhelmingly abandoned his -- and its own professed -- ideals.

Eighty percent of goods from these countries are already entering the United States duty-free, so CAFTA would have a minimal impact on the United States. It would, however, have a dramatic impact on these six neighbor countries -- countries that Democrats used to care about. Or so they said.

But, the Dems are so confused as to what they should do... what is the intelligent and beneficial for the country? Or what satiates the "progressive" base and might end up hurting Bush?

Good to see that Krauthammer drives home the point that the Ricardian model of free trade is a MATHEMATICAL FACT!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Kudlow on China

A Must Read column from Larry Kudlow.

by the way, what happens to a person when they get into the Senate? All of a sudden they start playing to the cameras... something about being 1 of a hundred, I s'pose.

The Insanity of Smoot Schumer and Hawley Graham

Larry Kudlow
June 24, 2005

If a store is selling quality products at low prices, why would anyone want to shut it down? This rhetorical question was asked by economist Arthur Laffer last week in connection to an unprecedented attack on China trade by numerous U.S. senators. In response to the China bashing, the stock market plunged.

How fitting that such a misguided approach to both the economy and national security would come on the 75th anniversary of the infamous Smoot-Hawley tariff bill. According to economist Thomas Sowell, that massive tariff helped trigger the Great Depression, with U.S. unemployment rising from 9 percent in 1930 to 16 percent in 1931 and 25 percent in 1932.

Today, senators Smoot Schumer and Hawley Graham have proposed a 27.5 percent tariff on Chinese imports unless China raises significantly the value of its yuan currency. The senators seem to be angry at a rising bilateral trade deficit resulting from Chinese imports to the U.S. But so what? Free trade only empowers our consumers. In the last couple of years the U.S. has created about 3.5 million new jobs, the unemployment rate is only 5.1 percent, and the nation’s GDP is expanding at a 4.5 percent pace. Meanwhile, China’s economy continues to climb near a 10 percent rate, with the heretofore impoverished Chinese population slowly but surely entering the modern realm of rising global prosperity.

Schumer and Graham believe that a higher yuan would narrow the trade deficit. But Alan Greenspan completely disagrees. The Fed chairman told a Senate panel that “some observers mistakenly believe that a marked increase in the exchange value of the Chinese renminbi [yuan] relative to the U.S. dollar would significantly increase manufacturing activity and jobs in the United States. … I am aware of no credible evidence that supports such a conclusion.”

More, Art Laffer argues that a stable yuan linked to the dollar has promoted strong economic growth at low inflation for the U.S., China, and the rest of the world. “We have outsourced Alan Greenspan to China,” said Laffer, “and that’s a good thing for everyone.”

Think of the dollar-link as China’s gold standard, stabilizing the value of its currency and attracting foreign investment inflows to rebuild its economy. Destabilizing the yuan would be just as disastrous as the so-called Asian contagion of 1997-98 when Robert Rubin and the IMF forced the smaller Asian Tiger economies to de-link from the greenback. That only led to recession in the Pac Rim and intense deflation around the world.

Ironically, since the dollar has been floating freely, the dollar-linked yuan has also floated compared to a market basket of currencies. Between 1995 and 2001 the yuan-dollar appreciated by nearly 50 percent and in recent years has fallen by about 30 percent. Both the U.S. and China adjusted internally to deflation and inflation. But the common link between the two has given the yuan global financial confidence while at the same time giving the U.S. enormous leverage over the Chinese economy. What’s wrong with that? We buy their goods and they invest in our country through the purchase of Treasury bonds and more recently through direct investment in large U.S-based corporations (like Maytag and Unocal).

Unlike the sale of defense-related technologies there’s no national security problem here. American firms like Anheuser-Busch, the Bank of America, and numerous tech firms are all investing in China. This is free and open trade for the mutual benefit of both nations. Trade and monetary cooperation also provide the basis for national security cooperation, especially in the areas of stopping nuclear proliferation in North Korea and protecting a free Taiwan.

Clearly China is not perfect, though it has reduced government ownership of the economy from 90 percent twenty years ago to about 30 percent today, according to Laffer. Yes, the communist government in Beijing prevents free elections and free speech, continues to persecute religious groups, and has a record of pirating music and software as well as other intellectual property. But according to a recent study by the Council on Foreign Relations, China has also changed 2,600 legal statutes to comply with World Trade Organization rules.

The freedom to trade and the freedom to choose are central to the economic freedom that’s necessary for nations to grow and prosper. Centuries of economic history confirm this, and yet some people seem to want to repeat the worst mistakes of the past. Open trade and currency stability enormously benefit both the U.S. and China and may well lead to improved international relations. Why do senators Smoot Schumer and Hawley Graham want to disrupt the 21st century march to peace and prosperity?

Cutting off your nose to spite your face makes no sense for individuals, nor for nations. Hasn’t history taught us that free trade is part of the solution -- not the problem?

Now, the biggest problem with China is its One Country, Two Systems approach - free markets as long as the government allows it. The biggest problem with this is that it is unsustainable in the long run. At some point the authoritarian government will either collapse or the free market economy will collapse. But whether they're currency is pegged to the US Dollar or not is the least of our concerns.

And as I asked above... what's up with Graham? If you look across the aisle and see Shumer as your partner on something, chances are you're making a big mistake. Lieberman? Go for it... there are any number of other Dems that are closer to the center than Shumer!!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Insightful Political Diary in the WJS

Since Best of the Web is off today, they posted John Fund's Political Diary and it's extremely insightful. Click the link, but if it's expired, here's the text in full:

Shaw It All

We sat down with Rep. Clay Shaw, a Florida Republican, to talk about the deal to create private Social Security accounts that he helped hammer out this week. He's a soft-spoken man but what he had to say was explosive. The bill now moving forward in Congress would create the accounts by using Social Security's "surplus," the money paid in payroll taxes every year but not used to pay benefits. The program is going to remain in surplus until 2016. Asked if Republicans could pass this reform to the system on a party-line vote he answered simply, "Yes. We could roll Democrats on this."

This from the man who crafted his own Social Security plan earlier this year to create private accounts without scaring off all the Democrats. His plan was to leave the system intact and to create "add-on" private accounts of up to $1,000 a year with money from the general revenue -- in effect a new program. His confidence in moving forward now even without Democratic support stems from what he's hearing from his constituents back home. Social Security isn't the third rail in politics it used to be, but voters are still angry over Congress raiding the program and spending the surplus every year. The question Democrats now have to answer, he said, is: "What are they going to do with the surplus?"

He also believes that when it comes to a vote, as many as 30 or 40 Democrats will likely jump onboard for two reasons. One, this bill is going to be rolled into a larger package to include pension and other reforms aimed at helping older Americans. And secondly, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have put a "gag order" on their party, preventing members from saying anything positive about Republican reform proposals. [How democratic of them!!] "But you can't stay silent on a vote," he said.

What's more, this bill isn't the "exit strategy" everyone was looking for, "it's an entrance strategy," he said. Once the 130 million Americans who would be eligible start to see their personal accounts grow, "the comfort level" with private accounts will grow too. In other words, look for other, more sweeping reforms to come down the road. Not that Mr. Shaw hopes the Democrats will get rolled on every reform. On Thursday Rep. Charlie Rangel, a New York Democrat, was seen chatting with Rep. Paul Ryan, one of the key Republican architects of the recent deal, at a hearing and saying positive things about the plan. "I could do business with Rangel," Mr. Shaw told us.

-- Brendan Miniter

The Young and the Ripped-off

It was just about 35 years ago that the youth movement made one of its most famous imprints on American history when thousands of college kids and 20-somethings marched on the capital in Washington to protest the Vietnam War. The peacenik hippies commanded headlines by burning their draft cards and reciting the memorable chant: "Hell no, we won't go."

Well, the youth movement is alive and well in America, but this time the students aren't denouncing war, but taxes -- Social Security payroll taxes to be precise.

This Sunday, several thousand college-aged kids (Generation Y) and young professionals (Generation X) will participate in the Storm for Reform protest in Washington on Capitol Hill. Students will be bused in from across the east coast, from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. And how's this for a blast from the past: Instead of burning draft cards, these student protestors plan on shredding their Social Security cards. "Social Security is a miserable deal for today's young people," says event organizer Jessica Colon, director of Fix Our "My generation gets the joke that we will have to pay in all this money in taxes, and won't get anything out of it."

On a separate track, another youth group, Students for Saving Social Security, will be pounding on Senate and congressional office doors this week and next to demand a modernization of the system. Olympia Snowe's Senate office will be one of the first to be visited.

What these students want is large personal accounts for Social Security so they can invest the money themselves. As. Ms. Colon points out, today's youth are equally distrustful of big government and big business. "They're hostile to the idea of someone else controlling their money." The polls support this conclusion. By about a two-to-one margin, young voters support personal investment accounts.

Whether the voice of the young will be able to alter the dismaying direction of the Social Security debate is an open question. The political system is heavily titled in the direction of seniors because old people have a much higher propensity to vote than do their grandkids. But at least it's encouraging to learn that not all young people in America today are socialists who get their news from MTV and

-- Stephen Moore


After celebrating the Supreme Court's decision yesterday to effectively give local governments carte blanche to seize land for private development, some local officials began quickly moving to use their new unlimited authority. Officials in the beachfront town of Freeport, Texas, announced they would move forward with plans to commandeer property owned by two seafood companies in order to allow the construction of a 900-slip private marina. Freeport will even be loaning the developers $6 million to finance the project, and if it fails the town won't be getting its money back. What is certain is that the displacement of the two seafood companies will cost scores of jobs.

The Supreme Court's decision, by a narrow majority with Justice Anthony Kennedy as swing vote, has prompted state Rep. Frank Corte, a Republican from San Antonio, to propose a state constitutional amendment limiting the power to condemn private land for use by other private entities. He says the amendment is now necessary in order to "limit a local governmental entity's power of eminent domain, preventing them from bulldozing residences in favor of private developers." No doubt there will be similar moves in other states as voters wake up to the realization that the Supreme Court has granted revenue-hungry local governments more or less unlimited authority to seize homes and businesses in order to achieve a "higher use" of the property.

-- John Fund

Quote of the Day

"The question answered yesterday was: Can government profit by seizing the property of people of modest means and giving it to wealthy people who can pay more taxes than can be extracted from the original owners? The court answered yes... During oral arguments in February, Justice Antonin Scalia distilled the essence of New London's brazen claim: 'You can take from A and give to B if B pays more taxes?... That is the logic of the opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens and joined by justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer" -- Washington Post columnist George Will, writing on yesterday's Supreme Court ruling upholding a city's right to seize private property for the benefit of a private developer.

Myth Ohio

Remember the Internet conspiracy theories that President Bush had won Ohio -- and therefore the presidency -- through fraud? Those theories fueled a challenge to the certification of Mr. Bush's victory last January when Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer forced Congress to debate the issue when it counted the Electoral College votes.

Well, the conspiracy theorists are now accusing the Democratic National Committee of "surrender" for this week issuing a report that finds no support for claims that fraud caused the votes of John Kerry to be misallocated to George W. Bush. Perhaps in anticipation of their outrage, DNC Chairman Howard Dean tried to claim that the report nonetheless backed up charges that there was widespread "voter suppression" in Ohio involving long lines at polls due to a misallocation of voting machines and unlawful voter identification requirements.

Mr. Dean also indicated that the report backed up his belief that Republicans actively worked to suppress black voter turnout. "It's been widely reported over the past several years that Republicans do target African-Americans for voter suppression," he told reporters. "It's very clear here while there was no massive vote fraud, and I concur with the conclusion -- it's also clear that there was massive voter suppression."

But Mr. Dean's statement landed him in hot water when a scholar involved in writing the DNC report, Cornell University Professor Walter Mebane Jr., explained to the media that while the report had found numerous irregularities, it could not determine whether there was any partisan intent behind them. He also noted that county election boards in Ohio, which determine the distribution of voting machines, are bipartisan. Mr. Dean then had to return to the microphones to revise his remarks: "While we certainly couldn't draw a proven conclusion that this was willful, it certainly has the appearance of impropriety."

But William Anthony, a Democrat who is chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Party in Ohio's capital of Columbus, rejects any suggestion of voter suppression. "Most of the precincts that stayed open late because of long lines were in the suburbs," he told the Columbus Dispatch last November. Mr. Anthony, who is also chair of the Franklin County elections board, acknowledged that the high turnout and a ballot that involved more than 100 choices for some voters did create lines, but added that he was offended by allegations from "a band of conspiracy theorists" that voter suppression had occurred. "I am a black man. Why would I sit there and disenfranchise voters in my own community?" That, in turn, raises the question: Why do Democrats like Mr. Dean persist in inciting racial tensions with wildly exaggerated claims that black voters are being disenfranchised?

-- John Fund

great stuff...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

They've Lost It

H/T to Hillary Now!



And notice the URL of the petition....

I'm sure name-calling will play real well in Peoria!

They really just don't get blogs, blog swarms, or (more importantly) picking your battles. A comment about Libs being weak in the War on Terror now is front page news thanks to their overreaction - and it gets validated thanks to all the whacko things that they've said over the years.

And they never denounced all the "we must understand why they hate us" B.S. years ago and they're not denouncing it now.


previous post here

***UPDATE 2***
From one of the petitions signatories:

How are KKKarl's comments more offensive than mine? I take great pride in my ability to spew forth pure divisive venom every time I open my enormous cake-hole. Yeeeaaaarrghhhh!

#2601 - Howie Dean
I find this funny that they are calling for Rove to resign. He isn't going to resign. Nobody is going to pay a political price if he doesn't resign. The president surely won't. Karl Rove certainly won't. Congressman won't either.

He's a staffer at the White House. He doesn't have to run for election. His boss doesn't have to run for election any longer. Compare and contrast to Durbin, who does have to run for reelection. And with Daley calling for an apology (could Daley be thinking of running for the Senate sometime soon?) Durbin had to acquiesce.

Also note that by calling for Rove's resignation they will only draw this out, and make themselves look more like shrill idiots. It would be one thing if they actually had a chance to make him resign. But there's no chance of that, based on what he said. So the more they demand resignation, the longer this is in the news cycle, the more Rove gets to defend his remarks. Which still presents the Dems (some of who would like to run for president) to side with the MoveOn crowd or not.

I can't imagine that Bill Clinton's team would have been suckered by this move. Does anybody think that the Rajin Cajun would recommend calling for Karl Rove's resignation? The longer this debate is in the news cycle the worse it will be for the Dem's.

ARC: Brian

***UPDATE 3***
Even John Kerry is getting in on the act

They have NO CLUE!!! How politically deaf are they?

I humored Kerry and submitted the following:

First Name: Dennis
Last Name: Kucinich
Zip: 20515

I mean... we ALL KNOW that we need a Dept of Peace instead of a Dept of Defense (or Dept of HAlliburton Wars!!)

I sincerely hope that you'll fire Karl Rove so we can let our Islamic masters come show us the light of Sharia!

Dennis Kucinich
Democrat & Venutian

No doubt they won't realize that this is satire... And why is it that each time you question the Left's ability to understand that we're at war, they rhetort with:
[don't] challenge the patriotism of your political opponents

It's like they're hypersensitive about the subject... I don't get my panties in a bind when someone says the republicans are killing iraqi children for halliburton oil... because I know they're stark raving lunatics and their charges have no basis in fact. Ohh... I see... now that I put it that way...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Listen up, Lefites, Pat Buchanan, and Michael Savage!!!

Friedman in the NYTimes today...

I'm disgusted by the lack of support in Congress for CAFTA. When did the Dem party move away from the free-trade policies of Bill Clinton and become the protectionist idiots ala Pat Buchanan and Michael Savage? Those two are the leading opponents of free trade - along with Bernie Sanders, a self-described Socialist (or Progressive Democrat according to the current DNC Chair).

Do you REALLY think these guys know what the heck they're talking about? Or are they whipping up the passions and fears of everyday Joe's out there who don't understand that OUR ECOONOMY DOESN'T NEED TO HAVE A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN SEWING TEXTILES!!!

It's more profitable and beneficial to our economy to make machines that can do that work, develop the dyes used in the proccess, utilize top notch engineering and construction skills in creating textile plants overseas, etc, etc. God knows that if I had the choice between a job of sewing white cotton socks or designing a machine that would do it, I'd take the latter - not just because of the fact that the pay would be much higher, but also because it wasn't mind-numbingly boring!

This is a must read and excerpted in its entirety here:

We Are All French Now?
Published: June 24, 2005

Ah, those French. How silly can they be? The European Union wants to consolidate its integration and France, trying to protect its own 35-hour workweek and other welfare benefits, rejects the E.U. constitution. What a bunch of antiglobalist Gaullist Luddites! Yo, Jacques, what world do you think you're livin' in, pal? Get with the program! It's called Anglo-American capitalism, mon ami.

Lordy, it is fun poking fun at France. But wait ...wait ... what is that noise I hear coming from the U.S. Congress? Is that ... is that members of the U.S. Congress - many of them Democrats - threatening to reject Cafta, the Central American Free Trade Agreement? Is that members of the U.S. Congress afraid to endorse a free-trade agreement, signed over a year ago, with El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic? Mon Dieu! I am afraid it is. And for many of the same reasons France has resisted more integration: a protectionist fear of competition in a world without walls.

Yes, we are all Frenchmen now.

Well, not quite. But that is where we are heading in the U.S. if we let the combination of the sugar lobby, which wants to block more imports from Central America; the A.F.L.-C.I.O., which doesn't like any free trade agreements; and Democrats who just want to defeat Cafta so they can make President Bush a lame duck have their way and block Cafta ratification. I understand Democrats want to stick it to Mr. Bush, but could they please defeat him on a policy he is wrong about (there are plenty) and not on expanding free trade in this hemisphere, which he is right about.

The French economic instinct is not one we want to start emulating now, just as the global playing field is being flattened, bringing in more competitors from Poland to China to India. This is a time to play to our strengths of openness, flexibility and willingness to embrace creative destruction, and lead on free trade.

The McKinsey Global Institute just published a study of how both Germany and France have suffered, compared with the U.S., by trying to put up walls against outsourcing and offshoring. It noted: "A new competitive dynamic is emerging: early movers in offshoring improve their cost position and boost their market share, creating new jobs in the process. Companies who resist the trend will see increasingly unfavorable cost positions that erode market share and eventually end in job destruction. This is why adopting protectionist policies to stop companies from offshoring would be a mistake. Offshoring is a powerful way for companies to reduce their costs and improve the quality and kinds of products they offer consumers, allowing them to invest in the next generation of technology and create the jobs of tomorrow."

Cafta is critical for enabling U.S. and Central American textile firms to compete with China. U.S. firms specialize in the more sophisticated work of making dyes, designing patterns and manufacturing specialized yarns, threads and fabrics, and the Cafta countries specialize in the labor-intensive sewing. Because the Cafta countries are right next door, U.S. retailers can respond quickly to changes in the marketplace, which far-off Chinese factories cannot do as easily. That's also why, explains Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, that a shirt that says "Made in Honduras" might contain 60 percent U.S. content, while a similar shirt that says "Made in China" most likely would have none.

Finally, there is geopolitics. In the 1980's, we were worried Central America was going to go communist. Now we are worried it is going to go capitalist? We spent billions fighting communism there. Now we have a chance to help consolidate these fragile democracies by locking in a trading relationship with the U.S. that is critical for their development. Shame on us if we balk.

But President Bush needs to spend some political capital and sell this deal in these terms. "The administration has to get out and connect the dots for people," said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a thoughtful new book on foreign policy, "The Opportunity: America's Moment to Alter History's Course." "Otherwise the vocal minority will trump the interests of the majority. We should not assume that this backlash [against free trade] that is going around is just a French malaise or Dutch elm disease. It could happen here." But if we think we can indulge protectionism and not worry about the geopolitical spillovers in our own backyard, that is a real illusion. "The world is not Las Vegas," added Mr. Haass. "What happens there will not stay there."

And I like the fact that Friedman recognizes that the driving force behind almost EVERYTHING THAT THE DEMS are doing these days is their hatred for Bush. However, I think he gives them a pass on this matter, since the forces of anti-globalization are found primarily on the far-left (ie the Base and leadership of the Democratic Party these days). There are similar sentiments on the far-right, but they're a small percentage of the GOP base and are just as likely as the Left to hate Bush.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Leftists on Property Seizure Ruling

The Leftists respond to yesterday's US Supreme Court ruling with:


That's it... Either they don't understand the implications of the USSC ruling yesterday OR they agree that it's a great ruling OR they're disinclined to "judge" their favorite justices that just severely reduced private property rights for average citizens in favor of developers.

Actually, there is this post on Which applaudes the state government of Arizona for having a law against seizures such as this. And it's gotten ZERO comments from anyone. And the poster misses two points

  1. State Laws don't trump federal laws (remember that Civil War thingy?)
  2. Arizona is a state that is DOMINATED by the GOP, showing exactly which party has respect for private property in this country
Or, perhaps they're lack of outrage over the ruling is based on their predisposition that private property is the root of all evil (ala Marx). I bet that if private property could be seized if a socialized healthcare clinic was going to be developed, they'd be cheering.

Nothing on Kos
Nothing on (except some guy drooling over a twinkie)
David Sirota has commented... not outraged over the ruling, just concerned about the political implications this will have on appointing justices in the future... serioulsy.
Nothing on The Raw Story (although there is a story about some woman suing because of a seizure allegedly caused by her bra.)
Nothing on
Nothing from Downer
Nothing from Majikthise

Meanwhile, Cox & Forkum provide this:

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

I'm Long on the Anglosphere

Not surprisingly, the amount of Foreign Direct Investment (read capital investments from foreigners into a country) in the continent of Europe is far below the investment in the more free-market friendly confines of the UK. And of course, Germany, France, and the UK do not come close to the FDI inflows/outflows by the US. I think the phrase goes, money flows to where it is appreciated most (and where high returns are anticipated). EU Rota has provides this analysis:

EU Economies: A Benchmark Year
The OECD has published a report detailing the flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to/from OECD member nations and others. Inflows of FDI can provide jobs, capital, and knowledge into a particular economy. Outflows of FDI can represent the possible strengths or weaknesses, in economic terms, of a country.

In regards to the EU the picture FDI inflows have been bleak the past few years, the exception of course is the UK. The OECD chalks most of the drop to multi-nationals paying dollar debt with the stronger euro. I can buy that, to a point. Moving forward from 2004 both France and Germany will no longer be able to point to the debt pay-off suggestion offered up by the OECD. 2004 must be viewed as the nadir of FDI inflows for both countries (France halved from 2003 to 2004, Germany fell off the table completely). Of course, if Franz Müntefering gets all he desires and rids Germany of the evil locusts, 2004 may be looked back upon fondly in terms of FDI for Germany.

Click the link to see the nifty graphs that illustrate the point.

Of course, all of this just shows that the capitalists a zionist manipulations of the free markets are in full throttle.

(BTW, if you read that last sentence and nodded your head or didn't laugh immediately, you should seek counseling - immediately.)

Ultimately, the Anglosphere (ie the US, UK, Australia, India, and other former British colonies) are going to lead the world economy for the foreseeable future (assuming that the EU Continent doesn't all of a sudden get free market liberalism). I'd also throw in Central European countries like Poland as "outperform" for the other European economies, who understand that the bigger the welfare state is, the less economic freedom one actually has.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My Goosestepping Puppet Master, Herr Grüppenfuhrer Rove

I HAVE GOT to defend my puppet master (aka Karl Rove) here, but I can't find the full text of the speech he gave, just the snippet that has the MSM and the Dems' panties in a bind.

From what I've been instructed told, Herr Grüppenfuhrer Rove was referring to a MoveOn.Org petition that was signed by 700,000 US citizens and presented to Congress to argue AGAINST going to war in Afghanistan.

Here's a snippet of the petition verbage from Peter Beinart, that ueber righty... (NOT!):


Wes Boyd and Joan Blades write that I am "simply wrong to state that MoveOn opposed the war in Afghanistan." But the petition MoveOn circulated after September 11 speaks for itself. It demands that the United States: ["support justice, not escalating violence. To combat terrorism, we must act in accordance with a high standard that does not disregard the lives of people in other countries. If we retaliate by bombing Kabul and kill people oppressed by the Taliban dictatorship who have no part in deciding whether terrorists are harbored, we become like the terrorists we oppose."]

By any reasonable standard, that is opposition to war in Afghanistan. War, by definition, does not end "the cycle of violence." And any military action that avoided "bombing Kabul" would have left the deeply interwoven Taliban-Al Qaeda regime in power. Had the United States done as MoveOn counseled, we might have avoided killing Afghan civilians. But prolonged Taliban-Al Qaeda rule would surely have killed many more while threatening American lives as well. It is this insistence on absolute American purity, and the refusal to make real world moral tradeoffs, that produces the practical hostility to U.S. power that Arthur Schlesinger Jr. termed in The Vital Center "doughface" progressivism.

Here's what Rove said (at least, the only part that's quoted ANYWHERE):
Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. [...]

Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.

Now, let's "deconstruct" the statement (as my post-modernist friends on the left would say). Libs such as John Kerry WERE arguing that the War On Terror was primarily one of Law Enforcement and they even had a TRACK RECORD of handling terrorism in this manner (see WTC bombing in 1993, Khobar Towers, USS Cole, etc, etc).

As far as therapy was concerned, I don't think the libs wanted to give therapy to our enemies. HOWEVER, they certainly were in the sobbing, introspective, let's have a perpetual mourning of the event and maybe it'll all just go away. And they kept asking "WHY DO THEY HATE US?!?!" or out and out saying that 9/11 was "chickens coming home to roost" and that we deserved it. It was when we decided to take action and send in brave souls such as my brother-in-law that the liberals progressives got ticked... How DARE YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!! The "cycle of violence!! The Arab Street!!! UNILATERALIST!!"

So, I'm waiting for Rove HQ to send me the transcript... and will post in full. Also, apparently Herr Grüppenfuhrer Rove will be on Scarborough Country tonight, so be sure to tune in. He'll be sure to expand on what he said.

So, yeah... sure... it's like Durbin. Except that Herr Grüppenfuhrer Rove has some factual evidence to back up his claim. Durbin just has his tears and blubbering.

CQB has the text of the MoveOn.Orger's petition.
UPDATE & BUMP TO TOP: I got this from anonymous CQ readers. Why did Rove say the liberal response was to beg for moderation and restraint? Perhaps it has to do with and its petition drive less than 48 hours after the collapse of the Twin Towers (emphases mine):
Petition 1: "We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of the United States of America and of countries around the world, appeal to the President of The United States, George W. Bush; to the NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson; to the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi; and to all leaders internationally to use moderation and restraint in responding to the recent terrorist attacks against the United States. We implore the powers that be to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction."

It could also have been these quotes:

- Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), 10/1/01, Roll Call: "I truly believe if we had a Department of Peace, we could have seen [9/11] coming."

- Al Sharpton, 12/1/02, New York Times, on the 9/11 attacks: "America is beginning to reap what it has sown."

- Rep. Marcy Kaptur, 3/1/2003, Toledo Blade: "One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped cast off the British crown."

Have the Democrats actually retracted any of these statements? It sounds to me like truth is an absolute defense for Rove.

More facts for alll of you reason-challenged lefties.

ARC: Brian adds:
This truly illustrates the genius of Karl Rove. Dick Durbin was out of the news cycle. His "apology" had played its course, and by Monday, it would have been over. Forgotten in the news cycle.

So Karl goes out, makes an obvious targeted statement (including the magic searchable phrase used in the original petition, "beg for moderation and restraint") and practically begs the democratic leadership to throw him into the briar patch.

They of course, blinded by their partisanship, jump right in with both feet. Now the weekend news cycle (or longer?) will be dominated by calls for Karl Rove to resign, and the comparison of what he said to what Durbin said.

They have two options:
1. Defend Durbin and the 9/10 attitude they've advocated all along: "close Gitmo; indict terrorists, dont make war with them; why are we hated, etc". Basically "defend"


2. Tack to the right and a pro-war stance. Avoid talk about Durbin, establish national security credentials, etc. Basically disavow MoveOn's stance. This provides Bush cover for the abuse issues, Iraq insurgency, etc.

Either way, the debate is now on a 9/10 vs. post-9/11 stance.

PostWatch compares the media treatment, particularly by the WaPo, of Durbin vis-a-vis Rove. Great stuff... And concurs with ARC: Brian's assessment.

And let's not forget ueber-Lefty Richard Gere's words DURING A FRIGGIN CONCERT in Madison Square Garden to honor the firefighters and police at the World Trade Center!!!
"In a situation like this, of course you identify with everyone who's suffering. [But we must also think about] the terrorists who are creating such horrible future lives for themselves because of the negativity of this karma. It's all of our jobs too keep our minds as expansive as possible. If you can see [the terrorists] as a relative who's dangerously sick and we have to give them medicine, and the medicine is love and compassion. There's nothing better."

Or any quote documented on this webpage.

California Conservative on the topic

***Further Update ***
Looks like Jonah came to the same conclusion I did... just a day later... It's nice to have company like that. Course his writing is much clearer than my rantings... :-)

ARC: Brian

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Bat Man in International Policy

Mark Steyn's Action Stations ties Bat Man with the ineffective multilateralism that has plagued tsunami relief, Kosovo, and transformation in Afica. A little free trade and some real, honest to goodness action would go a long way.

Use BugMeNot for userid/pw if you don't have one....(never hurts to register, though)

A couple of days later I read that Oxfam had paid the best part of a million bucks to Sri Lankan customs officials for the privilege of having 25 four-wheel-drive vehicles allowed into the country to get aid out to remote villages on washed-out roads hit by the Boxing Day tsunami. The Indian-made Mahindras stood idle on the dock in Colombo for a month as Oxfam’s representatives were buried under a tsunami of paperwork. Aside from the ‘tax’, they were charged £2,750 ‘demurrage’ for every day the vehicles sat in port.

This was merely the latest instalment in what’s becoming a vast ongoing Tsunami Tshakedown Of The Day retrospective — you can usually find it at the foot of page 37 in your daily paper, if at all. Fourteen Unicef ambulances sent to Indonesia spent two months sitting on the dock of the bay wasting time, as the late Otis Redding so shrewdly anticipated. Eight 20ft containers of Diageo drinking water shipped via the Red Cross arrived at the Indonesian port of Medan in January and are still there, because the Indonesian Red Cross lost the paperwork. Five hundred containers, representing one quarter of all aid sent to Sri Lanka since the tsunami hit on 26 December, are still sitting in port in Colombo, unclaimed or unprocessed. At Medan 1,500 containers of aid are still sitting on the dock.

The tsunami may have been unprecedented, but what followed was business as usual — the sloth and corruption of government, the feebleness of the brand-name NGOs, the compassion-exhibitionism of the transnational jet set. If we lived in a world where ‘it’s what you do that defines you’, we’d be heaping praise on the US and Australian militaries who in the immediate hours after the tsunami struck dispatched their forces to save lives, distribute food, restore water and power and communications.

Instead, a fellow Quebecker of my acquaintance sneered, ‘Can you believe those Americans? A humanitarian disaster strikes and they send an aircraft carrier!’ Er, well, yes. Because for large-scale humanitarian operations it helps to have a big boat handy. It seemed unlikely to me that even your average European politician would utter anything so fatuous in public, but Clare Short came close. The sight of Washington co-ordinating its disaster relief efforts with Australia, India and Japan outside the approved transnational structures was too much for her. ‘This initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to co-ordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN,’ she told the BBC. ‘Only really the UN can do that job. It is the only body that has the moral authority.’

Whether or not it has ‘moral’ authority, the UN certainly can’t do the job. It becomes clearer every week that Western telly viewers threw far more money at tsunami relief than was required and that much of it has been siphoned off by wily customs inspectors and their ilk. If you really wanted to make an effective donation to a humanitarian organisation, you’d send your cheque to the Pentagon or the Royal Australian Navy.
The passionate hostility of Miss Short and co to action — to getting things done — is remarkable, but understandable. Getting things done requires ships and transport planes and the like, and most Western countries lack the will to maintain armed forces capable of long-range projection. So, when disaster strikes, they can mail a cheque and hold a press conference and form a post-modern ‘Task Force’ which doesn’t have any forces and doesn’t perform any tasks. In extreme circumstances, they can stage an all-star pop concert. And, because this is all most of the Western world is now capable of, ‘taking action’ means little more than taking the approved forms of inaction.

For example, I’d be far more amenable to criticism of American policy in Iraq if it weren’t being levelled by the same folks — notably Do-Nothin’ Doug Hurd — who fiddled transnationally while Yugoslavia burned. Bosnia is, in fact, everything the anti-war crowd predicted Iraq would be: 250,000 people were killed, which is what the more modest doom-mongers estimated would happen in Iraq, and that’s 250,000 out of a population a fifth the size of Iraq’s. We were told that toppling Saddam would do nothing but create thousands more radical Islamists across the Middle East. In fact, it’s Bosnia where, under the nose of its EU viceroy, Wahabist infiltration is recruiting tomorrow’s jihadi. Week after week, we’ve seen sob stories on the TV news in which some hapless Baathist clerk from the Department of Genital Severing reveals that he’s been out of work now for two years, but when was the last time you read a piece on unemployment rates in Paddy Ashdown’s Bosnia? It’s officially 45 per cent, and it’s only the drug-dealing, child sex and white slave trade that boom around every UN mission that’s holding it down that low. However Iraq turns out, it’s already a hundred times healthier than Bosnia, and its effects are rolling on through Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. But because Bosnia is the quintessential expression of international lack of will, it will always get a better press than Bush’s ‘war for oil’.
Anyway, the 2002 initiative was called ‘NEPAD’, pronounced ‘kneepad’. And not having heard a thing about it in the three years since a Canadian G8 official triumphantly handed me the press release, I wondered how it was getting on. Well, there’s an official report on ‘NEPAD’s Achievements In The First Three Years’, but even on a close reading it’s kind of hard figuring out what’s actually happening:

‘On the development front, the African leaders launched comprehensive studies covering conflict resolution, political, economic and corporate governance, education, health, science ...Official Direct Assistance (ODA) reforms ...debt cancellation ...foreign direct investment....’

Gotcha. They launched ‘comprehensive studies’ of a lot of things. And why did they do that? ‘The primary objective was to develop a comprehensive development framework based on a thorough understanding of the most up-to-date information and trends in each area.’

Terrific. So they launched comprehensive studies to develop a comprehensive development study for holding meetings on developing more comprehensively a framework for studying the development of further meetings. So comprehensively did they do this that in 2004 the NEPAD secretariat overspent its seven-and-a-half million-dollar budget by more than two million dollars. Still, I’m sure the taxpayers of Finland, who chipped in half a million bucks to NEPAD’s ‘communications and conferences’ bill, ‘travelling costs’, ‘corporate services’ and other expenses, enjoyed the delicious frisson of ‘doing something for Africa’.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Dante's 7th Level of Hell

The Kossacks are torturing me with this:

If Democrats ran the House
by kos
Thu Jun 23rd, 2005 at 09:31:07 PDT

To all the idiots who say there's no difference between certain Democrats and Republicans. Just remember. Every Democrat will vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. And if she got elected Speaker, we'd get:

Government Reform
- Henry Waxman

- John Conyers

Getting the idea? Is your mouth watering yet?

Ways and Means
- Chuck Rangel

- David Obey

Energy and Commerce
- John Dingell

And so on.

With Democrats in charge, we'd have Waxman and Conyers investigating every bit of administration malfeasance, helping restore some sanity and accountability in our government.

So forgive me if I pull my hair out when someone says there's no difference between any single Democrat and the Republicans.

Update: What if we got 51 Democrats elected to the Senate?

Majority Leader
- Harry Reid

- Robert Byrd

- Patrick Leahy

Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
- Edward Kennedy

Full list here.


BYRD with the purse strings? Imagine how the entire US would become big byrd's KKK wonderland!

Course, Kos just made my 2006 ad campaign for the GOP!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Supreme Court allows stealing...

as long as its for "increased tax revenues...."

From the Washington Post - (H/T Drudge):

In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld the ability of New London, Conn., to seize people's homes to make way for an office, residential and retail complex supporting a new $300 million research facility of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. The city had argued that the project served a public use within the meaning of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution because it would increase tax revenues, create jobs and improve the local economy.

By that logic, we might as well turn over the entire country. Where is it written in the constitution that increased tax revenues is an aim for the government? Or even a public good?

It was a 5-4 decision. I wonder who voted for this massive power grab?
Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens....

Oh. Well I'm not surprised by that name. Who else?
He was joined in that view by justices Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Dissenting were justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, as well as Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

In a strongly worded dissenting opinion, O'Connor wrote that the majority's decision overturns a long-held principle that eminent domain cannot be used simply to transfer property from one private owner to another.

"Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power," she wrote. "Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded -- i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public -- in the process."

And howdy! A 200 unit condo brings in more tax revenue than 10 single family homes. A parking lot can bring in more revenue than a house. It can go on forever. Now your ability to stay in a location is not dictated by the laws of
economics, but rather by the whims of a local politician.

Commentary over at The Volokh Conspiracy here. My favorite comment so far:

In other news, splitting 6-3, the Supreme Court ruled on Petember 11th that harvesting organs was a legitimate state interest, and that strict scrutiny governed overruling anything any government agency wanted, any time. Now, a word from our sponsors: Kraft; the choice of a new Congress!
Update II:
Oops! Looks like my co-conspirator beat me to it. Thats what I get for not reading before posting.

*** Update St Wendeler ***
The Therapist weighs in... hilarious!
DC Mayor To Bulldoze Ruth Bader Ginsberg's House For Homeless Shelter
ABC 'Home Makeover' team commissioned to evict Justice

Washington-In an immediate municipal action based upon the just-released ruling by the United States Supreme Court, Dc Mayor Anthony Williams has announced that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg "needs to start packing" as the city's plans for a suburban homeless shelter have finally been vetted.

Read it all!!
*** End Update ***

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

USSC Ruling - According to St Wendeler

H/T InstaPundit

See Legalized Stealing by ARC: Brian as well.

For all those leftists that complain about the center-right justices on the court, two recent rulings would seemingly go against their conventional wisdom on what it means to be an originalist.

In the medical marijuana case, Justice Thomas (true to original intent) argued that medical marijuana was outside of the jurisdiction of the Commerce Clause (although growing wheat for the consumption of one's own livestock was ruled to be in violation of the Commerce Clause during the Great Depression and this ruling seems to be consistent with the "logic" employed at that time).

In the most recent case, the most conservative justices sided with "the little guy," opposing businesses and local governments that seize property for private development. The über-lefties on the court however think it's just a grand idea for the government to seize private property - and they prevailed.

High court OKs personal property seizures
Majority: Local officials know how best to help cities
Thursday, June 23, 2005; Posted: 10:50 a.m. EDT (14:50 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- -- The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development.

It was a decision fraught with huge implications for a country with many areas, particularly the rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, facing countervailing pressures of development and property ownership rights.

The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

As a result, cities have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes to generate tax revenue.

Local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community, justices said.

"The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.

He was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use."

Susette Kelo and several other homeowners in a working-class neighborhood in New London, Connecticut, filed suit after city officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices.

New London officials countered that the private development plans served a public purpose of boosting economic growth that outweighed the homeowners' property rights, even if the area wasn't blighted.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a key swing vote on many cases before the court, issued a stinging dissent. She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers.
"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Who's standing up for the little guy again????

Oliver - Put down that Twinkie and RESPOND!!!

Wizbang, Malkin covering...

*Crickets chirping on the left side of the blogosphere...*
Nothing on Kos, DemocraticUnderground,, DavidSirota,, or even local lefties like Downleft or HillaryNow.

I bet they're all out looking for Rove to apologize or to find the latest pics of GannonGuckert...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Flag Burning

Well, the House passed the flag burning amendment...

US House passes flag-burning ban
Burning US flag
Flag desecration is a sensitive issue in the US
The US House of Representatives has approved a constitutional amendment allowing lawmakers to ban flag burning.

The Republican-led House voted 286-130 on the divisive measure, which now goes before the Senate.

Similar moves in the past have failed to gather the three-thirds majority required for constitutional amendments in both houses of the US Congress.

The draft amendment aims to override a 1989 Supreme Court ruling protecting flag desecration as free speech.

The issue has been a rallying cause for conservatives ever since.

It gathered political momentum in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

"Ask the men and women who stood on top of the World Trade Center," said Republican Randy Cunningham, a Californian congressman.

"Ask them and they will tell you - pass this amendment"

I have to say, I think it's stupid to have a constitutional amendment on the matter. And I think that anyone that burns the flag is a complete @sshole that should be the object of derision, not applause, from his/her compatriots in protest.

Those that burn flags are the first to get their panties in a bind when they hear about a Quran being handled inappropriately - and hypocritically are likely to cheer when they see an art exhibit that defiles Christian symbols.

But, back to the topic at hand... Let's not pass a Constitutional amendment on flag burning... but let's lock up every tool that does it for breaking local ordinances of an uncontrolled open flame.

BTW, given this and my previous post - you'd think there weren't any major issues on the table... Come ON GOP!!! YOU HAVE THE LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE BRANCH - GET TO WORK ON MATTERS THAT THE VOTERS CARE ABOUT!!!!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

"Killing Big Bird"

Previous post on the matter here

Note that a 25% cut in requested funding for CPB is being mischaracterized by the Left as the GOP wanting to kill Big Bird. Some, from the libertarian camp (ahem), think that the government shouldn't be in the business of broadcasting or broadcast journalism.

BTW, I think there's a missing piece of info about Ken Tomlinson, the current "ceo" of the CPB. He was actually appointed to the CPB board by Bill Clinton in 1999 and elevated to chair of the board by Bush in 2003.

I've graphed the funding that CPB has received from the feds since it was created in 1969... Click on each thumbnail for a larger image. If only my annual salary had that same trajectory.
Free Image Hosting at

Ahh, then I adjusted for inflation, moving everything back to 1969 dollars. Note the trajectory... from $5m in funding in '69 to 77m (of 1969 dollars) in 2005 - an increase of 1358.95%.
Free Image Hosting at

Besides, look at some of the things that the characters on Sesame Street have been involved in... disturbing



The CPB "financial statements" are available on their website. I use scare quotes because there's nothing that even resembles an income statement. Anyway, one interesting measure for CPB is their recent increase in cash & cash equivalents. At the end of 2003, they had $35 million. At the end of 2004, they had $177.5 million. Thus, Congress is telling them - Hey, if you've increased your CASH (ie non-interest bearing) holdings by $140 million, can we cut our annual contribution to you by $100 million???

Does it make sense to ask this question? Yes...

Is this smart politics? No...

the GOP has bigger fish to fry (see Soshsecurity, Tax Reform, border security, guest worker program (which I'm for for a VARIETY of reasons)... oh, and that pesky War On Terror!!! And given the way that the media will jump on this, it's won't be pretty. When there's a rational reason for doing something (on paper) but the emotional aspect is against you (Big Bird & Kids instead of idiotic reportage from Moyers), you probably should tread lightly.

Anyway, the following is from Cato, that argues that the feds shouldn't be involved in broadcasting diddly-squat.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Defund PBS
by David Boaz
David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer (1998).

Congressional Republicans have proposed to cut the funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds public radio and television stations. Chances are, this is just summer playfulness, and Republicans will back down when they've had their fun. But they shouldn't. In fact, they should finish the job: End all taxpayer funding for government broadcasting stations, and let them compete in the marketplace like other broadcasters.

In a 500-channel world, why do the taxpayers need to subsidize one more channel? Defenders of National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System tell us it's because we need "independent journalism." But can we really expect to get truly independent journalism from a government-funded network?

It’s time to establish the separation of news and state. Journalists should not work for the government. Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize news and public-affairs programming.

Tax-funded broadcasters are up in arms these days over what they see as political interference from the Bush administration. Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the Bush-appointed chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, has proposed to make a Republican activist president and CEO of the CPB. Like many Republicans, he has also complained about liberal bias at PBS and NPR, both of which receive funding from CPB.

Public opinion polls commissioned by PBS have found that most Americans don't perceive tax-funded radio and television as politically biased. Of course, the most effective bias is bias that the listener doesn't perceive. That can be the subtle use of adjectives or frameworks -- for instance, a report that "Congress has failed to pass a health care bill" clearly leaves the impression that a health care bill is a good thing, and Congress has "failed" a test. Compare that to language like "Congress turned back a Republican effort to cut taxes for the wealthy." There the listener is clearly being told that something bad almost happened, but Congress "turned back" the threat.

A careful listener to NPR would notice a preponderance of reports on racism, sexism, and environmental destruction. David Fanning, executive producer of "Frontline," PBS's documentary series, responds to questions of bias by saying, "We ask hard questions to people in power. That's anathema to some people in Washington these days." But it seems safe to say that there has never been a "Frontline" documentary on the burden of taxes, or the number of people who have died because federal regulations keep drugs off the market, or the way that state governments have abused the law in their pursuit of tobacco companies, or the number of people who use guns to prevent crime. Those "hard questions" just don't occur to liberal journalists.

Anyone who got all his news from NPR would never know that Americans of all races live longer, healthier, and in more comfort than any people in history, or that the environment has been getting steadily cleaner.

One dirty little secret that NPR and PBS don't like to acknowledge in public debate is the wealth of their listeners and viewers. But they're happy to tell advertisers -- oops, I mean sponsors -- about the affluent audience they're reaching. A few years ago NPR enthusiastically told advertisers that its listeners are 66 percent wealthier than the average American, three times as likely to be college graduates, and 150 percent more likely to be professionals or managers. Tax-funded broadcasting, like tax-funded arts, is a giant income transfer upward: the middle class is taxed to pay for news and entertainment for the upper middle class. It's no accident that you hear ads for Remy Martin and "private banking services" on NPR, not for Budweiser and free checking accounts.

Under threat from the House Republicans, NPR and PBS are using their tax-funded airwaves to reach their millions of affluent, influential fans. Local stations are running 30-second ads over and over urging their listeners and viewers to call members of Congress. Their websites offer instructions on how to "call, fax, or e-mail Congress." With some 800 radio and television stations running these ads, this is a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign.

It's simply wrong for tax-funded broadcasters to use our tax dollars to lobby on behalf of getting more tax dollars. When government money is used to influence the government, it's like putting a thumb on the scales of public debate. Government itself is tipping the scales in one direction.

Tax-funded broadcasting has become a vast $2.5 billion enterprise, with more than 350 television stations and 780 radio stations reaching every corner of the country. It's time to cut this "infant industry" loose and let it make its own way in the marketplace, without any more money from the taxpayers.

Sound advice...

From Ann Coulter:

Here's a foolproof method for keeping America safe: Always do the exact 180-degree opposite of whatever Jimmy Carter says as quickly as possible.
Works for me. Let's make it a rule.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Milblogger Injured in Iraq

H/T to Monterey John (Thanks for the email)

From My Position... On the way! is a Milblog from Charles Ziegenfuss, who is with the Fighting Aces and arrived in Iraq in January of this year. Apparently, he was wounded by an IED sometime between Sun night and today....Here is some relevant info.

Chuck has been injured, but is stable
This is Carren writing to tell Chuck's faithful readers that he has been injured, but is in stable condition. I won't give details for fear of misinformation (and the fact that this can be accessed by millions of people).

In general... Chuck sustained shrapnel wounds to his legs and arms from an IED. He and an Iraqi civilian were the only ones injured. The Good Lord above was looking out for him in a BIG way! He is probably in Landstuhl (sp?), Germany by now and will be back in the states in the next week to 10 days (as far as I know right now). He still has his eyesite and has not sustained internal injuries that I know of. I have not talked to him yet... they have kept him sedated for his trip to Germany, as well as for pain management. He also has some injuries to his face, but I think it is just bruised/scratched up quite a bit.
Just so everyone knows, Chuck did not lose his humor in all of this mess... I was told the first thing he asked when he was pulled from the canal (the blast blew him into a canal) was: "Be honest with me, guys. Do I still have my face and my 'package'?" That is sooooo Chuck. Always worried about his "manliness."

That's all I have for now. Please keep him and all of our deployed men and women in your prayers. I never thought my husband was immune to injury, but this was definitely a shock to the whole family.

Take care and God Bless,
Carren (a.k.a. The Mrs.)

And an update:
Chuck is in Landstuhl in the ICU. He will have another surgery tomorrow. These are the "basics" of his injuries, although none of them are fun to talk about.

1. He has severe nerve damage in his left hand and has lost his left pinky (all of it). It will be a long recovery for his hand due to the nerve damage.
2. His right thumb is pretty messed up and the docs are not sure how much he will lose or keep... he may be okay and keep his thumb, we just don't know yet.
3. ALL of his internal organs are okay. One of his lungs is bruised, but not damaged.
4. His brain, spine, and neck are all okay... paralysis is not an issue.
5. He has no muscle damage in his legs or arms, but his right thigh has been damaged.
6. His face was "peppered" by shrapnel. He has a cut on his right cheek, which has been stitched up.

He MIGHT be headed back to the states as early as Friday. I should know for sure what the short term plan is by noon tomorrow. I will keep you all posted as much as possible.

For those who may be thinking, "We just need to bring all the troops home and forget this war," let me tell a quick story.

As you know I told Creighton that his daddy was hurt and that he will be okay and coming home soon. One of the questions he asked was, "Why did Daddy have to go so far away to get the bad guys?" I said, "Daddy had to go far away to fight the bad guys so we are safe here in the US. We don't want the bad guys to be here in our country, so brave men and women like Daddy go far away to make sure that never happens." (A side note... a 5 year old is too young to understand that bad guys are here in the US and managed to do some serious damage on 9/11).

I'll be in touch soon

Again, I can not thank you enough for everything you all have done, said, prayed, etc.

God Bless!

We should keep all of our soldiers and their familiies in our prayers.

See the comments here...

Your Co-Conspirator
ARC: St Wendeler

Meanwhile, the Deaniacs...

...have released their report on voter irregularities into the narrowly won state of Wisconsin, won by just 10k votes... errr, wait... Ohio??? Which had a margin of 120,000?????

huh? But, instead of just "long lines" in poorly run, democrat precincts, Wisconsin had actual FRAUD which might have had an impact on the result!

Tell you what, Lefties... I'll give you a 140,000 vote swing in Ohio due to long lines, giving you the 20 EVs. But you've got to give me a 15,000 vote swing in WI for the fraud that was committed in heavily democratic Milwaukee which included such things as buses of illinois voters going to milwaukee to vote, since IL was already a "lock."

Margin in victory Wisconsin - 0.2% of the 2000 population
Margin of victory in Ohio - 1.1% of the 2000 population

Net result - Bush wins.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler


Dean will be on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show

Lovefest anyone? Need to get my photoshop out...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Politics of Gitmo... not look good for the Dems. H/T Michelle Malkin

here are the specific questions and the responses:

- As you may know, since 2001, the United States has held people from other countries who are suspected of being terrorists at a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Based on what you have heard or read, do you think the US should continue to operate this facility or do you think the US should close this facility and transfer the prisoners to other facilities?

Continue to operate: 58
Close facility: 36
No opinion: 6

- In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way the US is treating the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba?

Approve: 52
Disapprove: 37
No opinion: 11

- Do you approve/disapprove strongly, or not strongly?

Approve, strongly: 33
Approve, not strongly: 19
Disapprove, not strongly: 14
Disapprove, strongly: 23
No opinion: 11

Perhaps this is the impetus for Durb's apology?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away...

The Dems have found the cause celeb that will bring them back to power. Funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (seriously, their panties are in... a... bind over this one)

Markey - "Hey... you can't look at NPR/PBS for bias!!! That's OUR TURF!!! Why, NOW with Bill Moyers david pinnochio is plenty balanced! I mean, when they're not throwing darts at fiscal conservatives, they're throwing jabs at religious conservatives.... if that ain't balanced, I don't know what is!'

Massachusetts Democrat calls for Tomlinson to quit
By Jonathan Singer

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), ranking member of a House panel on telecommunications, called at a rally yesterday in support of public broadcasting for the resignation of Kenneth Tomlinson.

“In his zeal to impose his own view of ‘political balance,’” said Markey, “Ken Tomlinson has lost sight of his core mission — to protect the children’s-television network of the Public Broadcasting System of America. And he should resign from his position as the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting” (CPB).

Tomlinson has come under fire recently for hiring an ombudsman to gauge perceived biases in PBS shows such as “Now,” previously hosted by Bill Moyers. Liberals say such an action is tantamount to government censorship.

Markey also called on Tomlinson to resign as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the Voice of America, Alhurra and other government-sponsored international broadcasting operations.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) echoed Markey’s sentiment, calling Tomlinson “a propagandist.”

At the rally in front of the Cannon House Office Building, House and Senate Democrats presented Congress with more than 1 million signatures calling for the restoration of full funding for public broadcasting. The fiscal year 2006 labor-HHS-education appropriations bill sent to the House floor for debate this week mandates cuts in excess of $100 million for public television and radio, including a 25 percent cut for the CPB.

It's good to know that Hinchey is opposed to propaganda and is a real level-headed guy... oh, wait... oooops... I was wrong.

What I really love is how masterfully the Dems turn this from a question of bias at CPB/PBS/NPR and into the GOP wants to take away Big Bird.

Libs don't know what censorship is... and by the way, I thought the Libs were all for the "Fairness Doctrine" which required the government to monitor broadcasts to make sure that both sides of an issue got a fair hearing. Apparently, they like that for Talk Radio, but not for Now with Bill Moyers David Pinnochio.

And the GALL for Tomlinson to request that someone look into it... I mean... We HAVE GO TO FIRE HIM RIGHT NOW!!! We must censor the censors!!!!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Dickie's "apology"


Ok, I put a counter up at the top for the Durb and sure as @#% he goes out and apologizes... Fortunately for my counter code, it was a non-apology apology. Here's video (good for a laugh b/c of the blubbering)

Sen. Durbin Apologizes for Gitmo Remarks
By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer Tue Jun 21, 6:06 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Under fire from Republicans and some fellow Democrats, Sen. Dick Durbin apologized Tuesday for comparing American interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to Nazis and other historically infamous figures.

"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," the Illinois Democrat said. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."

His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks.

"They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them," he said.

The apology came a week after Durbin, the Senate minority whip, quoted from an FBI agent's report describing detainees at the Naval base in a U.S.-controlled portion of Cuba as being chained to the floor without food or water in extreme temperatures.

"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," the senator said June 14.

Here's the full transcript from the PoliticalTeen... note the Lincoln quote:

Some may believe my remarks crossed the line. To them I extend my heartfelt apologies. There’s usually a quote by Abraham Lincoln that you can turn to in moments like this. Maybe this is the right one. Lincoln said “If the end brings me out right what is set against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong ten thousand angels swarming at his right won’t make any difference.” In the end I don’t want anything in my public career to detract from my love of this country, my respect for those who serve it, and this great Senate. I offer my apologies for those who were offended by my words, I promise you that I will continue to speak out on the issues I think are important to the people of Illinois and to the Nation. Mr.
President I yield to the floor.

1 - "Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line"... Ummm, Dickie... You need to recognize and admit that your remarks... no, YOU... crossed the line. This is akin to Lott saying that he "has a bunch of black friends" after he disgraced himself at Strom's birthday party... Fortunately, the GOP has more cojones than the Dems and they called for Lott to step down from his leadership position. The Dems? Well, most of them agree with Durb, so they don't see what the big whup is.

2 - I assume that by using that phrase, Dickie's saying "To those whackos who keep pestering me over something so inconsequential as a Senator aiding the enemy..."

3 - What's with the blubbering? Come On, man!! stiff upper lip and all that!

4 - There's one thing that still has to be rememdied Mr. Senator... you HAVE TO STRIKE THAT PARAGRAPH FROM THE HISTORICAL RECORD. Lies such as that should not be passed down to future generations.

So, I'm keeping the counter up... tttthhhhppppptttt

Thank you and GOOD NIGHT!!!

Michelle Malkin has a roundup

This is one of the reasons that people hate politicians... this non-apology apology stuff. it depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is... pulling the Lincoln quote out of his rear. Dick - don't worry, you're wrong on this one... There's no conceivable way that Gitmo = gulag/konzentrationlagern/pol pot's demented killing fields. That you think you will be vindicated and proved correct shows how much of a nutter you really are.

Well, unfortunately, I have a feeling the Durb won't be offering any more apologies. This won't be like Lott, where we got an apology a day - since the MSM just wouldn't cover his original remarks in a substantial way, nor the calls for his apology. So, fine... thanks for the "apology," dickie.

But, please retract your statements from the record... you twerp. I hope Frist keeps the focus on that as well.

And let me concluded by being the first to say, to any Senator from Illinois who is offended by being called a twerp and having their patriotism and their intelligence questioned due to idiotic statements that they make on the Senate floor, bite me. I meant all of the disrespect that you felt.

See, Dickie!! Isn't that a great apology!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Next Big Left Wing movie....

Jeff Goldstein is looking for title suggestions for the new Billy Jack movie. His is:

Billy Jack Goes To Washington To Protest, Tries to Pick Up An Anti-War Chick, and Gets Kicked in the ‘Nads by Her Angry Anarchist Boyfriend Who Calls Him a ‘Dirty Old Bag of Hippie Dust’ Who ‘Needs to Lose That Stupid Hat If You Want Anybody To Take Your Old Ass Seriously’, but that might prove a bit too unwieldy to fit on the poster art.

As to ol' Billy himself. From the NYTimes piece:
"We the people have no representative of any kind," he continued. "It's now the multinationals. They've taken over. It's no different than the 70's, but it's gotten worse. And if you use words like 'impeachment' or 'fascist' you're a nut on a soapbox."

Uh yeah. Billy, you know when people start talking like that, its because they aren't even on the same plane as "We the people" any longer. "Impeachment" and "Fascist" are the trigger words for pretty much confirming you as a nut... Soapbox not required....

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian


From the Wall Street Journal, to which you should subscribe if you don't already.

President Encourages Bill That Lacks Private Accounts

Associated Press
June 21, 2005 3:20 p.m.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush encouraged a Republican senator Tuesday to offer Social Security legislation that wouldn't include the private investment accounts that were the centerpiece of the plan Bush has promoted all year.

Mr. Bush's nod to Utah Sen. Bob Bennett comes as public polls show that most Americans don't support the president's handling of the Social Security issue. Congress has been deadlocked on it.

Mr. Bennett said that during a luncheon with other Republican senators at the White House, he told the president of his plans to introduce the bill as early as next week.

See expanded coverage of the debate over Social Security reform, including a primer on private accounts and benefits calculators. Plus: the weekly Social Anxiety looks at the best writing on Social Security and Medicare from around the Web, and our Social Trends charts look at Americans' attitudes on Social Security over the past decade.

"He indicated that I should go forward and do that," Mr. Bennett said. "And I'm grateful to have him do that even though his own preference would be to have personal accounts included."
"I've decided that the Democrats have made it clear that they will not back personal accounts," Mr. Bennett said outside the White House. "And in response to the president's position that let's try to get something done, I will be proposing a bill that does not include personal accounts."
"We've had a lot of interest," he said. "We have a lot of hope that we can use this bill to break the logjam and move forward on Social Security. We'll find out in the weeks to come."

Mr. Bennett said when he told Mr. Bush of his plans, "He just said, 'I like your bill.' Period."

This despite the fact that the "internals" on social security polling show that it's the current beneficiaries of Soshsecurity that oppose PRAs (but won't be affected by them) and that younger voters (ie future voters) are all for them.

And what does social security reform look like without PRAs? Higher retirement ages (new retirement at 72), increased payroll taxes, and/or benefit cuts. This is kicking the problem down the road for future generations...

But hey, there is some a silver lining... The first 150 days of this presidency have been productive, despite all of the conventional wisdom.

... and I think perhaps Bush/Rove might be setting up Bennet to be the untenable alternative to his plan. Ok, the Dem's won't put a friggin' plan in place, so we'll propose one that ostensibly is what they'd have to do... And I'll do the compare/contrast thingy and show that PRAs are the wave of the future.

You heard it here first - it's Another Rovian Conspiracy!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler