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

Thursday, July 07, 2005

We're All Brits Now

From Bull Moose Blog



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Al Qaeda - Sick, twisted cowards

No country that believes in human rights and liberty is immune from Al Qaeda. Until the entire world is under the fist of Al Qaeda and the oppression of Sharia and the burqa, we will continue to see attacks such as this.



Let's all hope that the amount of destruction is limited... but I fear that the number killed & injured will be significantly higher than original estimates. Everyone should pray for the families that were unimaginably changed because of today's events.

***UPDATE***
Meanwhile, this DUer says: Hey, Rove won't get away with the Plame leak because of this!

And these DUers see an opportunity to criticize Bush's extemporaneous remarks...

And these DUers blame Bush

***UPDATE 2***
These Kossacks compare this attack to the "illegal" invasion of Iraq. One Kossack objects to the assertion... the rest think it's fitting.

And this Kossack's solution to the problem of terrorists? Instead of spending money for our troops in Iraq, give more money to Africa.

[...]
G8 concert was an effort to end suffering in Africa. If USA had spent the 300 billion plus from Iraq and spent it on any other worthy cause- say Africa- I think the world would be more peaceful and free of these awful terrorists. We need to be better than the terrorists morally, not decend to their level.

***UPDATE 3***
Text of statements given by Blair & Bush .

***UPDATE 4***
This DUers solution to the problem? Let loose the dogs of... police (instead of those nasty military types). In an email sent to the British embassy (it starts out well enough, but seems to be lacking towards the end):
My heart and prayers go out to the people of London and Great Britain during this tragic time. This is a tragedy for all the world. Your country is far more prepared than we to cope with the destruction and horror of these attacks, and I am confident the British people will triumph. I'm sure the perpetrators of this horrible crime will be pursued, caught and prosecuted, and it will be done through the good old fashioned intelligence and police work for which the British are justifiably famous.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Rove, Plame, & the Rove-obsessed Left

The Left is so warped that it believes that Rove is the source for Cooper & Miller knowing that Plame was a CIA agent. However, there are a number of reasons why this makes no sense, chief among them being that Rove isn't an idiot. Even if he did mention that Wilson was married to Plame, he wouldn't lie about this fact in front of a grand jury and perjure himself.

But, if you want some speculation regarding the Plame affair, I'm willing to speculate! Wizbang offers that it might've been THE REPORTERS that leaked plames cover to government officials...

Fitzgerald may learn more details from Cooper's notes. Sources close to the investigation say there is evidence in some instances that some reporters may have told government officials -- not the other way around -- that Wilson was married to Plame, a CIA employee.

As has been stated numerous times before, many folks in the cocktail circuit around D.C. knew that Plame was an agent.

Meanwhile, Powerline shoots down a lot of the inaccuracies in the media about the entire story...

and finally my speculation... This man (or someone in his organization) leaked that Plame was in the CIA, probably as part of background as to why Wilson was selected for the mission to Niger.
  1. Wilson attacks administration on yellowcake story
  2. reporters dig in to find out how someone who appears to be a critic of the administration gets such a critical assignment
  3. On background, they describe why he was selected.
Rove had already signed an agreement with Fitzgerald releasing any and all reporters involved from their confidentialiy obligations - months ago. If you're cooper or miller and you know Rove is the guy, do you go to jail to protect him or do you let his head roll and see whether you can be the next Woodward & Bernstein?

And a key point revealed today... Cooper received a phone call from his source telling him that it was okay for him to reveal his name. Cooper already had that authorization from Rove - in writing. Why would a phone call be made by Rove on top of that AND change cooper's position?

Just my $0.02... Much more logical than anything the left has offered. It's either a reverse leak (ie press to government, which would explain why Miller is in jail, but hasn't written a story on the matter) or it's someone in the State Dept that organized the trip to Niger.

BTW, if you want to damage a guy who's telling lies about your administration and the facts, you don't "out" his wife. No, you publish his contradictory statements and the evidence - oh, and get the FBI under that evil bastard John Ashcroft to search his library records, tap his cellphone, and photoshop some images of him with hookers (and send them to his wife).

;-)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

(Wilson, Plame, Powell)

Meanwhile, the Left has its own form of McCarthyism

The strange thing is, the ueber-Kossack recognizes that the Islamofascists are anti-thetical to our liberal heritage (in a traditional sense, not in the progressive/statist sense so beloved by the Left today), you would think they would actually support the overthrow of this repressive ideology... soooo 1950s.

;-)

They are more like our enemy, Part II
by kos
Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 12:56:25 PDT

Last night I wrote "How the Islamic crazies are like the Right" to hammer home how fundamentalist Islam has more in common with the radical religious right, the American Taliban, than it does with the American Left.

This is a key point-- it was easier for the Right to tie the American Left with our previous boogeyman, the communists, since we technically were nearer to the extreme left than where conservatives.

But today, things look quite different. I started the ball rolling on similarities on that previous post. Here are more similarities, as submitted by readers:

Foreign Policy
Al Qaida/Taliban: World domination - do it our way or we attack
American Taliban: World domination - do it our way or we attack
Liberals: Peace and international cooperation

Executing Minors
Al Qaida/Taliban: Executing Minors OK
American Taliban: Executing Minors OK
Liberals: Find this to be a barbaric and embarrassing practice

Pop Culture
Al Qaida/Taliban: Hate it... kill it
American Taliban: Hate it... ban it
Liberals: Laugh at it... boycott it

Self-image
Al Qaida/Taliban: Belief in their own infallibility
American Taliban: Belief in their own infallibility
Liberals: Willingness to consider other viewpoints

God
Al Qaida/Taliban: God is on our side and will help us kill our enemies
American Taliban: God is on our side and will help us kill our enemies
Liberals: God may or may not exist and will not help us kill anyone

Stem Cell Research
Al Qaida/Taliban: No Stem cell research
American Taliban: No Stem cell research
Liberals: Stem cell research

Leaders
Al Qaida/Taliban: God choose Osama Bin Laden to defeat the Great Satan
American Taliban: God choose George W. Bush to lead us
Liberals: God didn't choose anyone

Use of Force
Al Qaida/Taliban: As a means of propagating a world view
American Taliban: As a means of propagating a world view
Liberals: As a last resort

Bush's War in Iraq
Al Qaida/Taliban: Love it!
American Taliban: Love it!
Liberals: It's a disaster

Press
Al Qaida/Taliban: Control of the Press
American Taliban: Manipulation of the Press
Liberals: Freedom of the Press

Free Speech
Al Qaida/Taliban: Anyone who disagrees with us is an infidel and must be silenced
American Taliban: Anyone who disagrees with us is a traitor and must be silenced
Liberals: Anyone who disagrees with us is in for a spirited discussion

Individuals
Al Qaida/Taliban: Conform or else
American Taliban: Conform or else
Liberals: Embrace diversity

Cooperation
Al Qaida/Taliban: You're either with us or against us
American Taliban: You're either with us or against us
Liberals: We're all in this together

Tolerance
Al Qaida/Taliban: Death to the infidels
American Taliban: Kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity
Liberals: Live and let live

Conscience
Al Qaida/Taliban: Obedience to authority
American Taliban: Obedience to authority
Liberals: Critical reflection

Origins
Al Qaida/Taliban: Universe and man created 6,000 years ago by God
American Taliban: Universe and man created 6,000 years ago by God
Liberals: The Universe began as we know it at least 14 billion years ago, maybe more

Leaders
Al Qaida/Taliban: Subservient to will of its leaders
American Taliban: Subservient to will of its leaders
Liberals: Will served by Representative government

Fear
Al Qaida/Taliban: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in moral absolutes and scorn those that threaten those absolutes
American Taliban: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in moral absolutes and scorn those that threaten those absolutes
Liberals: Life is scary and uncertain, seek refuge in accepting that respect for our fellow man and the individual choices he/she makes is eminently moral

Women
Al Qaida/Taliban: A woman's place is in the home
American Taliban: A woman's place is in the home
Liberals: A woman's place is wherever she wants it to be

Marriage
Al Qaida/Taliban: Marriage is only between a man and a woman
American Taliban: Marriage is only between a man and a woman
Liberals: Marriage is between any two people who love each other

We could keep this up all day, I suspect. Remember, the point isn't that the American Taliban is just like Al Qaida (though given the chance...), the point is that there's no reason that liberals would ever "root" for Al Qaida or the Taliban or any of the crazies in the Islamic fundamentalist world.

The reasons we hate the American Taliban are the same reasons we hate fundamentalists of all stripes -- they seek to impose their own moral code on the rest of society, and do so with the zeal and moral absolutism possible only from those who believe they are doing "God's work".

And of course, his assessments couldn't be further from the mark on these items... but let's stipulate as a fact that there is no difference between the GOP and the Taliban (a ridiculous claim, but for discussions sake, let's just agree). Why would the left shrink from its desire to turn back the oppression of women and minorities throughout the world?

no... better to get out the tired cliches of "American Taliban" even as the "American Taliban" takes down the illiberal islamofascists around the world.

do they realize how stupid they sound? For comparing the GOP to the Taliban in the first place and then failing to recognize that their position on the WOT has the consequence of MORE illiberal and fascistic oppression in the developing world.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Keeping your powder dry

Lawrence O'Donnell isn't one to keep his powder dry for the right moment... instead he blurts out b.s. as it comes to him.



It seems that he's starting to back-off his previous comments regarding Mr. Rove:


Larry O’Donnell’s Story Changes
Posted by H-Bomb on Wednesday, 06 July 2005 (05:04:30) EDT
Contributed by H-Bomb

I can’t assert Larry O’Donnell is incorrect in saying Karl Rove “outed” Valerie Plame to reporter Matt Cooper. But I do know that Larry O’Donnell’s story has changed. A little.

Here’s what O’Donnell said on July 2nd:
Quote:
I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's emails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury.


Here’s what O’Donnell said on July 5th:
Quote:
I have a call in to Bob Luskin, Karl Rove’s lawyer, but I’m not holding my breath for a call back. He knows I know too much, since I broke the story last week that his client is one of the secret sources Matt Cooper has been protecting for the last two years.


Rove has gone from “Matt Cooper’s source” to “one of the secret sources Matt Cooper has been protecting for the last two years.” If O’Donnell downgrades Rove any more, O’Donnell will officially be branded a liar in this affair.

Moreover, some of O’Donnell’s other evidence hasn’t panned out as he promised. On July 2nd, he wrote, “I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow.” Well, the story broke. But it wasn’t an “It’s Rove” story, it was a “Rove talked to Matt Cooper the week before Plame was outed” story, which -- considering Rove’s job is to talk to the press -- is hardly damning.

Again, I have no clue who is telling the truth and who is lying. But O’Donnell’s story is beginning to look rickety.


No doubt he got a call (link to DU) from Karl and was threatened with a rubber hose or a cell in Gitmo... You know, the usual treatment

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Lower Barriers to Free Trade to Reduce Poverty

This op-ed in the WSJ is perfect. There are a multitude of problems in Africa, but one of the surest ways to improve their situation is to remove the subsidies that the developed nations pay to its agricultural segment.

Note to US farmers - you can compete through innovation.

Who's Stingy?
July 6, 2005; Page A14

Of all the earnest good intentions offered about African poverty in the lead-up to this week's G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, the most powerful wasn't from a concert stage accompanied by a guitar riff. It was President Bush's challenge to Europe regarding the farm subsidies that cripple African agriculture.

In an interview broadcast in Britain on Monday, Mr. Bush said the U.S. would "absolutely" drop its system of farm subsidies if the European Union eliminated its $40 billion a year Common Agricultural Policy. Now, that's a radical idea. It certainly trumps the calls by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others to double official development aid to sub-Saharan Africa or to forgive more debt. Getting rid of U.S. and EU farm subsidies -- and the protectionism they entail -- would do far more to address what liberals like to call a "root cause" of poverty.

Too many African exports, particularly farm commodities, are kept out of Western markets by tariffs, import quotas and price supports for domestic producers. Open those markets and encourage better African governance and, as history has proven over and over, you'll unlock the door for poor nations to generate wealth and free themselves from dependence on handouts. But don't expect the leaders assembled in Scotland to rally behind Mr. Bush's idea; they aren't about to take on powerful domestic interests.

Instead, it's so much easier to demand that American taxpayers pony up ever more money. But as even the likes of rockers Bono and Bob Geldof have acknowledged, the U.S. has hardly been stingy. Mr. Geldof told Time magazine last month, "Actually, today I had to defend the Bush Administration in France again. They refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that he has actually done more than any American president for Africa. But it's empirically so."

Last year U.S. bilateral aid to Africa was $3.2 billion compared with $1.1 billion in the final year of the Clinton Administration. The Treasury Department says nearly one-quarter of every dollar in development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa last year came from the U.S. Last month Mr. Bush committed another $674 million in humanitarian aid to the region, which exceeds the entire U.S. budget for sub-Saharan aid in 1997. Amid such facts, it takes nerve for such former Clinton officials as Susan Rice to lecture Americans as ungenerous, as they've been doing for weeks now on op-ed pages.
[...]

And it's good to see that the contribution of the US to solving the problems of Africa are being recognized by some of the glitterati. Bush has done so much more than previous administrations on this matter. Just like he has done so much more for R&D in environmentally friendly technologies - but the Left keeps howling about Halliburton & Kyoto and doesn't acknowledge the facts.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

GM, Pensions, and the Governmnet

I doubt you'll see this key piece of information elsewhere related to this story. Thankfully, the Wall Street Journal exists:

GM Wins Ground
In U.S. Pension Suit
A Federal Court Backs Effort
To Recover $253 Million
For an Underfunded Plan

By ELLEN E. SCHULTZ
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
July 6, 2005; Page A3

A federal court has ruled in favor of General Motors Corp. in its bid to recover as much as $253 million from the federal government for one of its underfunded pension plans.

The decision, by Judge Nancy Firestone of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, is the first of its kind and may precipitate moves by other government contractors to try to recoup some of the underfunding of pension funds that existed when the contractors closed or sold divisions.

GM's suit comes at a time when corporate pension plans, which were robustly overfunded in the 1990s, have become collectively underfunded for a variety of reasons, including stock-market losses, low interest rates and corporate decision-making. Pension plans in the Standard & Poor's 500 had a net underfunding of $159 billion at the end of 2004, compared with net overfunding of $263 billion at the end of 1999. (See related article.)

The U.S. government is likely to appeal the court's decision in the case of GM vs. U.S., and any potential recovery could take years. A spokesman for GM says it wouldn't be appropriate to comment until the matter has been fully resolved.

Still, the decision is significant. When companies have contracts with the government to provide goods or services, the government pays for salaries and pays a portion of the pension costs. When companies subsequently close or sell a unit with an overfunded pension plan, the government generally recovers the portion of the pension surplus attributable to the amounts it contributed to the pension fund.

GM argued that the government was similarly obligated to make contributions to an underfunded pension of a division GM sold in 1993, Allison Gas Turbine, which provided services to the government. In 1996, GM filed a claim for $253 million, and sued the government on Jan. 27, 2000, in the federal court of claims, which handles contract disputes.

Now, I think it's stupid for the federal government to go around bailing out pension funds - the more you subsidize a thing (poor pension fund management in this case) the more you'll get. (The same could be said about foreign economic aid to corrupt dictators.)

But, I have to say that the practice of recovering the portion of an overfunded pension plan seems just as ridiculous.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Live8 - Misdirected & Naive

As always, Mark Steyn skewers the conventional wisdom... As I've said, the developing world needs more capitalism (and the rule of law), not less. Protectionism here and abroad will only lead to economic ruin.

What rocks is capitalism... yeah, yeah, yeah
By Mark Steyn
(Filed: 05/07/2005)

'To sneer at such events," cautioned The Sunday Telegraph apropos Live8, "demeans the generosity which they embody".

Oh, dear. If you can't sneer at rock stars in the Telegraph, where can you? None the less, if not exactly a full-blown sneer, I did feel a faint early Sir Cliff-like curl of the lip coming on during the opening moments of Saturday's festivities, when Sir Paul McCartney stepped onstage.

Not because Sir Paul was any better or worse than Sir Elton or Sir Bob or any other member of the aristorockracy, but because it reminded me of why I'm sceptical about the "generosity" which these events "embody".

Seven years ago, you'll recall, Sir Paul's wife died of cancer. Linda McCartney had been a resident of the United Kingdom for three decades but her Manhattan tax lawyers, Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts, devoted considerable energy in her final months to establishing her right to have her estate probated in New York state.

That way she could set up a "qualified domestic marital trust" that would... Yeah, yeah, yeah, in the immortal words of Lennon and/or McCartney. Big deal, you say. We're into world peace and saving the planet and feeding Africa. What difference does it make which jurisdiction some squaresville suit files the boring paperwork in?

Okay, I'll cut to the chase. By filing for probate in New York rather than the United Kingdom, Linda McCartney avoided the 40 per cent death duties levied by Her Majesty's Government. That way, her family gets all 100 per cent - and 100 per cent of Linda McCartney's estate isn't to be sneezed at.

For purposes of comparison, Bob Geldof's original Live Aid concert in 1985 raised £50 million. Lady McCartney's estate was estimated at around £150 million. In other words, had she paid her 40 per cent death duties, the British Treasury would have raised more money than Sir Bob did with Bananarama and all the gang at Wembley Stadium that day.

Given that she'd enjoyed all the blessings of life in these islands since 1968, Gordon Brown might have felt justified in reprising Sir Bob's heartfelt catchphrase at Wembley: "Give us yer fokkin' money!" But she didn't. She kept it for herself. And good for her. I only wish I could afford her lawyers.

I don't presume to know what was in her mind, but perhaps she figured that for the causes she cared about - vegetarianism, animal rights, the usual stuff - her money would do more good if it stayed in private hands rather than getting tossed down the great sucking maw of the Treasury where an extra 60 million quid makes barely a ripple.

And, while one might query whether Sir Paul (with his own fortune of £500 million) or young Stella really need an extra 15 million or so apiece, in the end Linda McCartney made a wise decision in concluding that her estate would do more good kept out of Mr Brown's hands, or even re-routed to Africa, where it might just about have defrayed the costs of the deflowering ceremony for the King of Swaziland's latest wife.

And that's why the Live8 bonanza was so misguided. Two decades ago, Sir Bob was at least demanding we give him our own fokkin' money. This time round, all he was asking was that we join him into bullying the G8 blokes to give us their taxpayers' fokkin' money.

Or as Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd put it: "I want to do everything I can to persuade the G8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the Third World. It's crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations."

No, it's not. It's no more crazy than Linda McCartney giving such a paltry percentage of her estate - ie, 0 per cent - to Gordon Brown. And, while Britain may be a Bananarama republic, it's not yet the full-blown thing.

Africa is a hard place to help. I had a letter from a reader the other day who works with a small Canadian charity in West Africa. They bought a 14-year-old SUV for 1,500 Canadian dollars to ferry food and supplies to the school they run in a rural village. Customs officials are demanding a payment of $8,000 before they'll release it.

There are thousands of incidents like that all over Africa every day of the week. Yet, throughout the weekend's events, Dave Gilmour and Co were too busy Rocking Against Bush to spare a few moments to Boogie Against Bureaucracy or Caterwaul Against Corruption or Ululate Against Usurpation. Instead, Madonna urged the people to "start a revolution". Like Africa hasn't had enough of those these past 40 years?

Let's take it as read that Sir Bob and Sir Bono are exceptionally well informed and articulate on Africa's problems. Why then didn't they get the rest of the guys round for a meeting beforehand with graphs and pie charts and bullet points in bright magic markers, so that Sir Dave and Dame Madonna would understand that Africa's problem is not a lack of "aid". The tragedy of Live8 is that its message was as cobwebbed as its repertoire.

Don't get me wrong. I love old rockers - not for the songs, which are awful, but for their business affairs, which so totally rock. In 1997, David Bowie became the first pop star to hold a bond offering himself. How about that? Fifty-five million dollars' worth of Bowie "class A royalty-backed notes" were snapped up in minutes after Moody's in New York gave them their coveted triple-A rating.

Once upon a time, rock stars weren't rated by Moody, they were moody - they self-destructed, they choked to death in their own vomit, they hoped to die before they got old. Instead, judging from Sir Pete Townshend on Saturday, they got older than anyone's ever been. Today, Paul McCartney is a businessman: he owns the publishing rights to Annie and Guys & Dolls. These faux revolutionaries are capitalists red in tooth and claw.

The system that enriched them could enrich Africa. But capitalism's the one cause the poseurs never speak up for. The rockers demand we give our fokkin' money to African dictators to manage, while they give their fokkin' money to Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts to manage. Which of those models makes more sense?


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

On Consulting with the Minority Party for SCOTUS Nomination

Byron York provides insight (and a rebuttal) to all the Lefties talking about how Bush should consult with Ted Kennedy before making a pick. Sure, Bush should give them a call... but that doesn't remove Bush' right to nominate a candidate that is in-line with his philosophy that a Supreme Court justice should be bound by the texts of the Constitution (THE U.S. CONSTITUTION, JUSTICE BREYER!!!)

Sure, Clinton talked to Hatch... but Clinton got his two liberal appointments, as is his perogative.

Advice and Consent? How Clinton Chose Ginsburg
Did Clinton really let Republicans guide his decision-making?

After Republicans cited the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a model of how a Senate confirmation should work — Ginsburg went from nomination to confirmation in less than seven weeks with little Republican opposition and was not forced to give her opinions on hot-button issues like abortion, gun control and gay rights — some Democrats have countered by arguing that Ginsburg succeeded so quickly because President Bill Clinton consulted closely with Republicans, then in the minority in the Senate.

Democrats have cited a portion of Sen. Orrin Hatch's autobiography, Square Peg: Confessions of a Citizen Senator, as evidence that Clinton worked extensively with Republican senators. In the following passage, Hatch discusses telling Clinton that his top choice, Interior secretary and former Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt, would have a hard time in the Senate:
I told him [Clinton] that confirmation would not be easy. At least one Democrat would probably vote against Bruce, and there would be a great deal of resistance from the Republican side. I explained to the President that although he might prevail in the end, he should consider whether he wanted a tough, political battle over his first appointment to the Court.

Our conversation moved to other potential candidates. I asked whether he had considered Judge Stephen Breyer of the First Circuit Court of Appeals or Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. President Clinton indicated he had heard Breyer's name but had not thought about Judge Ginsberg.

I indicated I thought they would be confirmed easily. I knew them both and believed that, while liberal, they were highly honest and capable jurists and their confirmation would not embarrass the President. From my perspective, they were far better than the other likely candidates from a liberal Democrat administration.


The lesson, writes Markos Moulitsas of the left-wing website DailyKos, is that "Bush should follow Hatch's wise example." But a look at another account of the Ginsburg case suggests that while Clinton did consult with Hatch — just as President Bush has with some Democrats today — Clinton's preeminent concern was making sure that, after a series of failed executive-branch nomination, members of his own party, then in the majority in the Senate, would support his nominee. And in Babbitt's case, a powerful argument against his nomination was made by a Democratic senator from Babbitt's own state.

The best inside account of the selection process is in George Stephanopoulos's Clinton memoir, All Too Human. Stephanopoulos writes that Clinton's first choice for the court was New York Governor Mario Cuomo, but that Cuomo put the White House on an extended and frustrating period of waiting as he tried to make up his mind about whether to accept a nomination. "Clinton was ready to appoint Cuomo," Stephanopoulos writes — the president had even crafted his description of the idea justice with Cuomo in mind — but "Clinton hated how Cuomo always made everything so difficult."

So the president turned to other candidates. There were dozens. Clinton's next favorite was his friend from Arkansas, Richard Arnold. Liberals wanted Harvard's Laurence Tribe. Yale professor Stephen Carter's name came up, as did that of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
[...]
After two months, Stephanopoulos writes, the top of the list came to include Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Breyer, and a group of candidates Stephanopoulos calls "firsts" for diversity purposes: David Tatel, who was blind, Jose Cabranes, was Hispanic, and Ginsburg, who, Stephanopoulos writes, "would be the first Jewish justice since Abe Fortas, and the first woman to be appointed by a Democrat. More important, she was a pioneer in the legal fight for women's rights — a female Thurgood Marshall."

Babbitt was first to go. [...]

Breyer was next to go. Even though he was strongly supported by his old boss Sen. Edward Kennedy, Breyer not only had a "nanny problem," then a fashionable issue on Capitol Hill, but he also failed to impress Clinton during a one-on-one meeting.

That left Ginsburg, whom Clinton, after months of deliberating, nominated on June 14, 1993.[...]

Name one centrist/moderate in that list of judges. Arguably, Babbit was perhaps the most centrist of the bunch, and Hatch advised Clinton that even the Dem party wouldn't support the nomination. He certainly was more centrist than the General Counsel of the ACLU who is now the most liberal Justice on the court.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Another Liberal/Progressive of the Democratic Party

Apparently, even the CPUSA has political conventions. (you know, someone should tell them that elections are every 4 years and the next one is in 2008 - oh, that's right, they don't really like elections because it's some construct of the bourgeois construct and they prefer revolution).

Anyway, why is it that everytime I read something from this site, I have visions of Dean?

Press Release
July 1, 2005

Contact: Libero Della Piana,
(cell) 917-710-1814, (email) communications@cpusa.org

Communist Party National Convention Opens Today
Chairman Webb Says “Socialism is Necessary and
Possible”

(Chicago)— The 28th National Convention of the Communist Party, USA was convened here this morning. Nearly 500 delegates and guests crowded into the main
hall at the historic Palmer House Hotel to hear the opening remarks by Party Chairman Sam Webb.

Webb noted that the convention is being held on Independence Day Weekend, a holiday where millions of Americans celebrate the revolution that gave birth to the United States. “Revolutions are never complete,” said Webb. He argued that the Communist Party seeks a new revolution that will fulfill the democratic promise and ideals of the American Revolution.

Webb said that President George W. Bush and his extreme rightwing policies are a threat to the democratic traditions of the United States. “Not since the Great Depression of the 1930s has the working class experienced such an assault on its living standards, rights, and conditions of work,” said Webb. “While Bush won by a sliver, he was denied a popular mandate for his reactionary policies.”

“We communists feel very strongly about Social Security, a program whose roots we helped plant in the fight for workers’ rights and lives,” said Webb. “We say to the right-wingers: Hands off Social Security!” From tax breaks for the wealthy, to attacks on affirmative action, to the war in Iraq, the Bush administration is hostile to the needs of working Americans, Webb argued.

Racism is alive and well in U.S. life, said Webb. Discrimination, social and economic inequality, and racial profiling are persistent across the country. Once again he targeted Bush administration policies: “On the strength of his record, Bush is a racist president. Scratch George Bush and you will find the ghost of Strom Thurmond.” Strom Thurmond was the notorious segregationist US Senator from South Carolina.

Webb reminded the assembly of the Communist Party’s long history of struggle against racism and all oppression. “We are resolute fighters for racial and gender equity and against racism and male supremacy. We defend gay and lesbian rights and oppose homophobia. We are convinced that socialism is both necessary and possible.”

The convention will conclude on Sunday after electing a new National Committee.

Transcript of Sam Webb’s speech is available from the Communist Party web page, www.cpusa.org.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Army of Leftwing Hacktivists Caught

You've got love the Left's tolerance for debate:

Hacker Caught

In January 2005, Jeremy Hammond and the hacker group collectively known as the "Internet Liberation Front" gained illegal access to the ProtestWarrior server. Thousands of customer credit card numbers were then stolen for the purpose of making millions of dollars in donations to various leftwing organizations. In early February, ProtestWarrior discovered the illegal breach and the identity of the criminals responsible.

Using the hacker recruiting ground www.hackthissite.org, Jeremy Hammond put together and led a team of politically motivated "hacktivists" to probe the ProtestWarrior server for months until an exploit was found. When an obscure vulnerability was discovered in the PW server's newsletter subscription code, they managed to upload malicious files that gave them the ability to execute commands on the server.

Upon discovering the hack, we immediately began collecting information on the breach and managed to penetrate Jeremy's inner circle. We then collected evidence that more than 5,000 credit card numbers had been stolen by Jeremy and the "Internet Liberation Front" and that they were planning on doing the following:

*charge hundreds of dollars per stolen credit card number as donations to various left-wing organizations by using an automated donation submission script

*send the entire ProtestWarrior HQ database (complete with usernames, passwords, and operation details) to left-wing groups hostile to ProtestWarrior (including the entire contents of our mail server)

*upload all credit card numbers and other sensitive customer information to hundreds of anarchist and left-wing sites (specifically Indymedia) as a downloadable zip file

*anonymously send press releases and material to thousands of media contacts to boast of the malicious hack and the millions of dollars defrauded, and to publish any and all sensitive information regarding the ProtestWarrior organization

*erase the entire PW server

*launch simultaneous attacks on other conservative sites

Upon discovering their plans, we contacted the FBI and the Secret Service, who immediately began investigating the case. We were able to provide them with a tremendous amount of evidence regarding the breach, the criminals responsible, and their plans to commit massive credit card fraud. We also reported the incident to all credit card companies involved to make sure that ProtestWarrior's customers were protected. With our help, the FBI was able to thwart Jeremy and his army of "hacktivists".

After contacting the FBI, we immediately hired a security consultant and removed all sensitive information from the server. We eventually moved the server to a new box, where we blocked off the system and data files from the web server and changed the online store software to a super-secure system that stores zero sensitive customer information. In addition, we hired an internet security firm to run a series of vigorous vulnerability tests on our server, which our server all passed.

The reason we haven't made this announcement earlier is that our customers were already protected and we didn't want to jeopardize the ongoing FBI investigation of Jeremy and his "hacktivist" army.

The reason we're posting this now is that Jeremy, in a desperate move, is publicly appealing to the internet community regarding his pending FBI investigation. Using his site www.freejeremy.com, he is trying to solicit donations for his defense fund and generate public sympathy while spreading slanderous disinformation regarding ProtestWarrior and the events leading up to the FBI investigation.

We will soon be releasing much more information and details regarding the incident and the ongoing FBI investigation. Rest assured, justice will be served.

-Kfir and Alan
www.protestwarrior.com

I hope he gets a nice, cozy cell... 30 years would give him some time to reflect.

His defense? Hey, while I stole the credit card and personal info, I hadn't used it yet! Oh, and the FBI is just coming after me because Bush=Hitler.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Hermit Nation in the LA Times

The LA Times has a disturbing and lengthy piece about the North Korean town of Chongjin. This is a must read and is the first of a two part piece.




His day begins at 4:30 a.m. The 64-year-old retired math teacher doesn't own a clock or even a watch, but the internal alarm that has kept him alive while so many of his fellow North Koreans have starved to death tells him he had better get out to pick grass if his family is to survive.

Soon the streets of his city, Chongjin, will be swarming with others doing the same. Some cook the grass to eat. The teacher feeds it to the rabbits his family sells at the market.

At 10 a.m., he eats a modest meal of corn porridge. A late breakfast is best as it allows him and his wife to skip lunch. Then he goes with a hand cart to collect firewood. He has to walk two hours from Chongjin, mostly uphill, to find a patch that has not been stripped bare of vegetation.

"There is no time for rest. If you stand still, you will not survive," said the teacher, a lean, soft-spoken man with salt-and-pepper hair who could be described as elegant if not for his threadbare trousers and his fingernails, as gnarled as oyster shells from chronic malnutrition.

Later, if it is one of the rare evenings when there is electricity, he might indulge in reading Tolstoy. More often than not, he collapses for a few hours of sleep before the routine is replayed for yet another day.

Such is the quest for survival in North Korea, an impoverished country that is the most closed in the world.
[...]

It discusses average life in North Korea for a school teacher, children, parents, workers, doctors.... just disturbing what this extreme ideology has wrought on the people of North Korea. It's a shame that some think that the plight of North Korea is the fault of the US.

Physician Kim Ji Eun worked for nearly a decade at Chongjin's Provincial Hospital No. 2. It is the teaching hospital for the city's main medical school and is located in Pohang, the district of the party elite.

In the 1960s, much of its equipment and some staff came from Eastern Europe. Older Chongjin residents still proudly refer to it as the Czech hospital. But Kim, 40, cringes with embarrassment as she recalls its privations.

Her patients were expected to bring their own food and blankets. There often were no bandages, so they would cut strips of their own bedding. To hold their intravenous fluid, patients usually brought empty bottles of Chongjin's most popular beer, Nakwon (Paradise).

"If they would bring in one beer bottle, they'd get one IV. If they'd bring two bottles, they would get two," Kim said.

It wasn't always that way. Until the 1990s, North Korea provided free healthcare to its citizens and its pharmaceutical factories produced medicines. But when the economy collapsed and the factories closed, drugs became scarce. Doctors could prescribe medicine, but the prescriptions could be filled only if the patient had the money and the luck to find the pills at a private market.

Traditional remedies began to play a bigger role. Twice a year, in spring and autumn, the physicians at Kim's hospital would be required to travel into the mountains for up to five weeks to hunt for medicinal plants. They would collect peony root to treat nervous disorders, and wild yam, dandelion and atractylodes for digestive disorders.

Each doctor had a quota, and the herbs were weighed and inspected for cleanliness by the hospital's chief pharmacologist.

But herbs could not take the place of powerful anesthetics. Doctors would use acupuncture for simple surgeries such as appendectomies.

"When it works, it works very well," Kim said. As for when it doesn't, she said, "North Koreans are tough and used to bearing pain. They're not like South Koreans who scream and shout about the slightest thing."

Kim had wanted to be a teacher or journalist. But North Koreans aren't allowed to chose their own professions, and because of her good grades in science, she was assigned to medical school. She graduated in 1988.

Early in her career, Kim recalled, she saw a 27-year-old patient recently released from a prison where he had been sent for "economic crimes." That meant he had engaged in private business. He was malnourished and badly bruised from a beating.

The hospital director forbade Kim to give him medicine. "He's a convict," the director told her. "Let's save it for someone else." Kim protested.

The clashes with her boss prompted Kim to switch to pediatrics. But she found that even more frustrating.

"I saw a lot of 2-year-olds to 4-year-olds dying of malnutrition. Often it was not the starvation itself. They would get a minor cold that would kill them," said Kim. "They would look at you with these big eyes. Even the children always knew they were dying."

The Times also has video here and here, as well as pictures from North Korea - extremely rare.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Happy Birthday, America!

Here's a great article in The Scotsman:



Revolutionary principles stand the test of time
Alex Massie

IT'S NOT easy being an Atlanticist these days. Turn on the BBC or read almost any newspaper and it seems all but certain that you will find some pundit quietly, if rarely openly, rejoicing in George Bush's difficulties in Iraq.

Many of the thousands of protestors gathering in Edinburgh this week will not be so coy. You know the script: Bush This is curious as only the US president and Tony Blair among western leaders appear still to believe in the existence of Kipling's "white man's burden". That politically incorrect term is nonetheless an apt description of US-UK policy and a recognition that wealth and power imposes certain demands and responsibilities upon the world's most successful nations.

The mission cannot be accused of selling itself short. It is, as the 2002 US National Security Strategy put it, "to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets and free trade to every corner of the world". Heady stuff, indeed. Will it work? It's impossible to say. But you either believe in these values or you don't. And if you do, it seems incumbent upon you to do what you can to promote them. To do otherwise is to deny the less fortunate citizens of the world the luxuries of freedom we take for granted.

As Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, has put it, we are engaged in a great struggle in which "both our security and our moral conscience tell us that this [the Middle East] is a part of the world that can no longer be isolated from the prosperity and human dignity that freedom brings".

In Paris this year, she said: "This is not an issue of military power. This is an issue of the power of ideas."

Those ideas are what made the American revolution. The idea that all men - and now women too - are conceived in liberty and granted certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Revolutionary stuff in 1776 - and still, alas, far from self-evident in the dark corners of the world today.

Two centuries later these ideas have not lost their power, or their appeal, which helps to explain why young men from Tulsa or Omaha are giving what Abraham Lincoln called "the full measure of devotion" in far-off Mesopotamia.

Michael Ignatieff noted in the New York Times recently that Thomas Jefferson's final letter, written just before the Republic's 50th birthday celebrations in 1826, expressed the desire that the great American experiment would spread across the world, "to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all".

Mr Jefferson died before Queen Victoria was crowned and in some respects America is the world's last great Victorian nation. This goes beyond the American belief in a supreme deity benevolently watching over the United States.

Unlike every other western country, the US retains a purpose greater than maintaining the comfort of its present circumstances. Highfalutin words such as liberty and progress have not been stripped of their meaning and - at its best - modern America still looks to the future with confidence, not trepidation, confident in its ability to stare destiny in the eye and not shirk from the challenges ahead.

This confidence can be disconcerting when first encountered but - as any honest survey of public opinion in eastern Europe or the world's remaining dictatorships will demonstrate - it is also inspiring.

But if modern America retains many of the confident virtues of the 19th century, so too does it exhibit some of Victorian Britain's vices. The greatest of these is hypocrisy and a weakness for humbug; there are dangers in proclaiming one's own virtue.

The promise of the American Revolution was not fulfilled until the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s - yet that failure scarcely prevented a succession of American presidents lecturing the world's other countries on their shortcomings.

Thus the damage done today by Abu Ghraib is not measured by the pain felt by maltreated prisoners but by the gulf between those too-familiar pictures and the promise of America. Once again the charge of hypocrisy - familiar from Chile to America's support for Saddam Hussein in the 1980s - can be heard.

The Bush administration has declared an end to the hypocrisy of preaching the virtues of democracy while pandering in fact to tyrants who promise an elusive stability.

But if the administration's rhetoric has changed in a fast-moving, internet world where access to information is freer than it has been in human history, its actions - from Saudi Arabia to Uzbekistan - have struggled to keep up. Realpolitik keeps trying to muscle rhetoric aside.

But it is also important to say, this 4 July , that one need not have ever visited the US to feel in tune with what it means to be an American. It is an empire of the mind (and the imagination) as much as it is a military and economic superpower. The principles of the American Revolution remain sound. The World Trade Centre no longer stands, but the language of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights does.

No other country has embedded the "pursuit of happiness" - the great goal of mankind - in the foundations of the state; nowhere else is the idea of liberty so revered. There is such a thing as an American sensibility and it can be felt from the Baltic to the Pacific.

Could the United States be doing better? Wrong question. If not America, then who? No-one, that's who. At its best, America and American ideals remain, in Lincoln's famous words, "the last, best hope of mankind". The United States still believes in a place called hope. As it celebrates its 229th birthday today, we should too.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The left gets their hopes up....

Downer posted the following comment to the Saints post on the latest WOT polls for the President:

uh oh. It looks like your hero may have committed treason and perjery. He could face jail time. Or his boss could even be impeached since Rove follows orders.

http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/ n...t_id=1000972839
As everybody probably already knows, the link of course is to the Editor and Publisher piece detailing Lawrence O'Donnell's latest charge on Karl Rove being associated with the Plame case:
I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's e-mails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury.
I've been thinking about this over the past day or so, and thought I'd post my comments on this whole kerfuffle.

The perjury issue is a serious one (if true) and if it comes out that Karl did lie to the grand jury then he deserves to be indicted and tried for the crime.

I'm not going to hold my breath though....

As CaptainsQuarters notes, the issue is the relevant section of the law we're dealing with.
[241]Sections (a) and (b) differ slightly. The first applies to "whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent," while the second applies to "whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identify of a covert agent."
Emphasis is Dafydd's.
All in all, pretty easy defense for Rove, even if he was the source for the leak of Plame's identity as a CIA agent. Note however, that it isn't a defense for perjuring oneself to a grand jury.

Now here's my question. Surely Rove had to have known the relevant statute in question before testifying to the grand jury, either through his own knowledge or from legal advice. So why lie to the grand jury saying you weren't the one? And have to rely on the ethical values (and the willingness to cause contempt of court! -ed) of two reporters who are potentially politically hostile to your boss.

Why not simply take the 5th, or alternatively, utilize the defense of the Plame investigation itself, namely: Plame wasn't a recent NOC, had already been "outed" on the cocktail circuit, and the final defense, simply state that the particular law doesn't apply to you, since you were never authorized to the information in the first place.

Simply speaking, it makes no sense that Rove would lie about something where the lie would cause him greater harm than the original crime.

Combine this with the fact that Rove has publicly released any obligations reporters have to him as a source, therbye alleviating any reason for Miller or Cooper to continue to withhold their notes from the grand jury.

That's an awful lot of mistakes by someone who's credited as being "Bush's Brain" and a master dirty trickster.

More likely is that O'Donnell was told Rove was a source for Matt Cooper, but not the source. Ol' Lawrence and the rest of the lefty blogosphere immediatley starting drawing up articles of impeachment and grand conspiracies involving Jeff Gannon.

I'm dying to see for myself the original source of the Plame investigation, as well as the information contained in the notes of Miller and Cooper. I want to see whats so important that they are risking contempt of court for it. My guess is that it doesn't lead to Rove....and certainly not to Bush.

Any bets?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian