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

Friday, September 30, 2005

C-Span now part of the Rovian Cabal

It seems that the always heretofore objective Brian Lamb of C-Span has been slipped some of the koolaid by Herr Rove & Scooter Libby.

and the DUers are ticked:
Post 1
Post 2 (Warning: Coarse language which is often considered by the Left to be the highest form of discourse.)
Post 3

2 of the Conspirators are going to be out of pocket for the weekend. May have an opportunity to post on Saturday... However, have a couple of interesting topics for next week which should be worth coming back to see. (Note - This usually means that we'll be poking fun at the nuttier side of the Left.)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Press Passes for Al-Qaeda

DUers are buzzing about this story in the "middle of the road" British paper, The Guardian.

US forces 'out of control', says Reuters chief
Julia Day
Wednesday September 28, 2005

Reuters has told the US government that American forces' conduct towards journalists in Iraq is "spiralling out of control" and preventing full coverage of the war reaching the public.

The detention and accidental shootings of journalists is limiting how journalists can operate, wrote David Schlesinger, the Reuters global managing editor, in a letter to Senator John Warner, head of the armed services committee.

The Reuters news service chief referred to "a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by US forces in Iraq".

Mr Schlesinger urged the senator to raise the concerns with Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is due to testify to the committee this Thursday.

He asked Mr Warner to demand that Mr Rumsfeld resolve these issues "in a way that best balances the legitimate security interests of the US forces in Iraq and the equally legitimate rights of journalists in conflict zones under international law".

At least 66 journalists and media workers, most of them Iraqis, have been killed in the country since March 2003.

Now, I remember the story about the "Iraqi journalist" who was arrested (or perhaps killed?) b/c he was shooting video of Iraqi insurgent activities. I'll see if I can dig up that story.

But, if you read further down in the Guardian story, you'll find that similar instances are the primary cause for the shootings and/or arrests. My question back to David Schlesigner would be to ask "Why are you employing fighters in the insurgency and handing out video cameras?"

It seems that all Bin Ladin and Abu Musab al Zarqawi need is press passes and the Left will uncritically defend them.

Some of the "insightful commentary" from the DUers:
Mr_Jefferson_24 (330 posts) - Wed Sep-28-05 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
21. No accidents, this is the Pentagon's directive. They know it would only take a few honest journalists doing their job on the ground in Iraq to make the American public see this brutal and illegal occupation for what it is. Honest in-your-face journalism is what media did at the scene on the ground in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina. The boys in the Pentagon aren't gonna let that happen in Iraq. To stop it they invoke their favorite solution for dealing with any perceived threat---eliminate it.

The world in the mind of a conspirazoid Lefty (or Jon Stewart, or the head of Reuters):

Bush: Hey, Rummy... think we can take out a few of those journalists in Iraq? Don't like the cut of their jib... hehe

Rummy: Jawol, Herr Fuehrer!

mrfrapp (624 posts) - Thu Sep-29-05 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
35. Kate Adie Revelation

Just prior to the invastion of Iraq, Kate Adie (a veteran BBC war correspondant) revealed the Pentagon's strategy with regard to non-embedded journalists. From the interview:
" I was told by a senior officer in the Pentagon, that if uplinks --that is the television signals out of... Bhagdad, for example-- were detected by any planes ...electronic media... mediums, of the military above Bhagdad... they'd be fired down on. Even if they were journalists."

Kate Adie is a very well respected journlist and I was astonished her comments didn't get more exposure at the time.

Complete transcript and link to audio.

Yes, Yes... it's a real scandal that the military would try to attack Saddam's abilities to communicate during the war... It's a good thing this person doesn't hold a position of power. (John Kerry - is that you?!?)

NVMojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) - Thu Sep-29-05 01:28 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. I agree, they were whores for Bush at the beginning but we have no way of knowing that these journalists who have been "killed" were the ones doing the whoring for bush at the beginning. Did they deserve to die? At these rates? Remember the story about all the excess rounds being used by our troops? Wild target practice???

It is a shameful thing to be an American these days. Too bad most people are still drinking bush-coolaid...

So, which is it... did these journalists deserve to die or not? I suppose that if they were working for the insurgency, this guy would defend them. If they supported the war in the beginning, he'd be all for shooting them. Hmmmmm.... Do I dare question this guy's patriotism? Interesting that he's a 1000+ poster AND a donating member to DU. George Soros - Is that you?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Not Good...

Well, The Lefties are going to have just a grand time with this. I suspect it's all BS, but we might as well hunker down and wait and see what develops. A really unfortunate development.

If a prosecutor so desires, he could have a ham sandwich indicted as the old expression goes.

From Drudge:

DELAY: 'I have notified the Speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican Conference and the actions of the Travis County District Attorney today' ...


Delay Spokesman: 'These charges have no basis in the facts or the law. This is just another example of Ronnie Earle misusing his office for partisan vendettas'... MORE...

Hastert taps Dreier...

WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: DeLay 'a good ally, a leader who we have worked closely with to get things done for the American people. I think the president's view is that we need to let the legal process work'...


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Better Late Than Never

Friend sent me this link regarding New Orleans' finest. (FYI - I do not make any representations about the rest of the site, as I have not reviewed it.)

I'm afraid I didn't catch the original report on Olberman's Countdown. Based on his ratings, I have a feeling that many didn't catch this either.

Click Here for Video

But yeah, New Orleans was well prepared and the police were just in that Wal-Mart looking for some necessities... like women's shoes. I could understand if they were in the sporting goods dept or something.

And I love Olberman's attempt to give the officers some cover... Imagine Olberman's reaction if instead of these police officers, FEMA Director Mike Brown was in the Wal-Mart.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Too Good Not to Pass Along

I got this from frequent commentor Desert Rat, but I'm afraid I don't know who the original author is. I'll link it when and if I find out.

How often the simple solution eludes us...

Shocked by the widespread suffering of those displaced from their homes by the flooding in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) offered to plug one of the holes in the Lake Pontchartrain levee with his own ample body.

"The Bush Administration has failed to stem the tide of this cataclysm," said Kennedy. "I have had some experience with aquatic mishaps. This experience will bolster me in this hour of desperation as I plug one of the leaks myself."

Kennedy has arranged to have the Air Force transport him by helicopter and lower him into the easternmost breach in the levee. The hope is that the senator's doughy frame will be pliable enough to conform to the hole's dimensions and halt or, at least slow, the flow of water from the lake into the city.

President Bush praised Senator Kennedy's decision. "I think it's mighty big of him to offer so much for the good of the country," said Bush. "There aren't many who could fill such a large role in this disaster."

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Monterey John

Commander In Chief

Well, I missed the first few minutes of Commander in Chief last night, but stuck it out 'til the end. Geena Davis is a former University Chancellor and Independent who's picked as Veep by some GOP president who ends up croaking. The rest of the party leadership wants her to step down (which by the way, includes the President, who asks her to resign on his deathbed). Needless to say, she refuses.

First, the GOP Speaker is clearly wearing a black hat in this one - and you also get the sense that the former President isn't exactly a kind fellow.

Second, I think it's interesting to see the praise that the show is getting from the Left side of the blogosphere. The speech that Geena Davis gives to the Joint Session could be cut directly from one of W's recent speeches. She talks about the universal value of freedom and liberty and how it's America's responsibility to promote it around the world. Certainly not the realpolitik as voiced by the Left these days.

And the writers choose the evil Speaker of the House to best express the realpolitik point of view, saying (paraphrased): "Do you want to risk losing face [of the US] over some woman who couldn't keep her legs closed [and is about to be stoned by the Nigerian government under Sharia law]?"

Geena ends up sending in the military to rescue the Nigerian woman from the oppression of the Sharia court - and she didn't go to the UN for approval. If the Left cheers this approach, then apparently they don't mind unilateralism - just as long as it's for protecting women's rights.

If only Bush had focused on the rape rooms and kidnappings instead of the WMD angle. Who am I kidding - it wouldn't have made a difference to the Left. And the plot line is based on the true story of Amina Lawal, who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery but was subsequently freed in 2003 after international pressure. Here's an article on the situation from 2003 in National Review.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Energy Prices - The Rest of the Story

There's an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal today:

Giant Squid in Wild Is Captured on Film By Japanese Team
Associated Press
September 28, 2005 8:48 a.m.

TOKYO -- When a nearly 20-foot-long tentacle was hauled aboard his research ship, Tsunemi Kubodera knew he had something big. Then it began sucking on his hands. But what came next excited him most -- hundreds of photos of a purplish-red sea monster doing battle 3,000 feet deep.

woooops, wrong story.

Here we go. (get a subscription if you don't have one... great publication!)
Refining Incapacity
September 28, 2005

Midway through his press appearance Monday, we wondered if President Bush was going to don a cardigan. He was waxing on about energy "conservation," a la Jimmy Carter, and at one point he even said Americans should "curtail nonessential travel." Maybe they should turn down their thermostats and let their kids tap their keyboards with gloves on, too.

Only belatedly did Mr. Bush get around to the real energy problem that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita revealed for all Americans to see: the degree to which government policy has limited energy production so that a single big storm can deliver a supply shock that sends prices through the roof. Exhibit A is the oil refining industry, which hasn't built a new refinery in America since ... before Jimmy Carter was in office (1976).

Rita shuttered 27% of the nation's capacity to refine crude oil into gasoline, heating oil and other products. This followed Katrina, which shut down 10% of capacity, sending the average price of gasoline up to $3.07 a gallon. Things are now slowly getting back to "normal," though normal is not a synonym for good.

In 1981, there were 325 refineries in the U.S. with a capacity of 18.6 million barrels per day. Today, there are 148, with a capacity of about 17 million barrels -- though U.S. demand for gasoline has increased more than 20%. From 1993 to 2002, the average return on investment in the refining industry was 5.5%, or less than half the S&P industrials average of 12.7%.

One explanation for this performance is the historically low gas prices over much of the past 20 years; there has often been little incentive to build new capacity. But just as big a problem are onerous and costly regulatory burdens that have sucked profits from the industry. This includes a permitting process that is subject to endless bureaucratic delay and court challenges. The one company that is even considering building a new refinery -- Arizona Clean Fuels Yuma -- has been trying to obtain its necessary air permits for nearly seven years.

I watched the Today show as they talked about how tapping the Strategic Oil Reserve would be a temporary solution. They mentioned that refining capacity was a problem, but didn't indicate that it was the main issue which is causing the high gasoline prices.

I also heard on Smash & Allman in the Morning (on FM 97.1 here in St Louis and available via streaming over the web) that this study by the RAND Corporation that there are millions of barrels of oil in the US, primarily shale oil in Colorado. The only problem with this technology is that it is essentially strip mining and can have a devastating environmental impact. I don't know the details of what new technology could be implemented (or developed) to minimize that impact, but I know that Canada's primary oil fields are made up of shale oil and there is growing concern regarding the environmental impact there. (In fact, it was a red herring used by the Leftists as to why ANWR shouldn't be tapped... like comparing apples and oranges from an environmental impact standpoint).

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Greenspan to Deliver Speech Today On... Possible Housing Bubble

Well, if I'm "silly" in my concerns about a possible housing bubble and raising the question is "dangerous" and/or "defeatist," I have some very good company, Alan Greenspan.

My physical pffftness campaign put me in bed bright and early last night. As a consequence I awoke at an obscene hour here on The Left Coast, in time to catch Ron Insana on Imus. I was just rolling over to go back to sleep when Insana mentioned Alan Greenspan is to give a speech today cautioning folks to watch out for buying into the bubble.

So, I flew out of bed, flipped on the computer just to make a hearty nah-nah-nah!

Man, was THAT a timely blog.

I'm going back to bed.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Davis-Bacon Act

Many bits have been used by the Lefty blogosphere to attack the President's suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act, which is a New Deal era law that requires all companies involved in Federally financed construction projects to pay their workers a "prevailing wage." Contrary to what Jesse Jackson & DailyKos will tell you, suspension of Davis-Bacon is not a suspension of minimum wage... Now, who determines what the appropriate wage should be? Why, the government! (Any free-market economist cringes at the thought...)

Rather, the Davis-Bacon Act requires that employers pay at least the "prevailing wage" to their workers. In the city of St Louis, this means that a carpenter makes $58k/year (at least) without overtime. You can imagine that if a novice carpenter makes $58k/year, the skilled carpenter is going to require a higher wage than that.

Now, why would Bush suspend this regulation? In addition to the higher costs to the taxpayer, Davis-Bacon also has significant bureaucracy to monitor compliance. (Imagine having to verify and audit that every company on a federal project pays their employees per the guidelines.) The end result is that the only companies that are likely to be able to meet the Davis-Bacon guidelines are the companies that already do business with the federal government (can anyone say Halliburton?). And, if one of the stated goals of this federal largesse is to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship, Davis-Bacon could be just enough red-tape to kill that initiative. Imagine an entrepreneur, looking to start up his business in New Orleans and help rebuild. His friends, neighbors, and former coworkers all decide they want to work for him and he's got to train them on the job. Since they don't have any skills, he pays them correspondingly - at least until they become skilled. Now the federal government is telling him that he has to pay them $30/hour

Is this a politically smart move? No... the 30 second ads and the press releases attacking the President (and the GOP) are too easy to write. I am frankly surprised that Karl actually allowed that to go in. Only time will tell whether it is a correct decision...

Mickey Kaus has more

We've Redefined the Democratic Party and Rediscovered Our Core Value--The Davis-Bacon Act!
Some emailers argue that Kevin Drum and Bruce Reed were merely pointing out that Bush has a political motive in suspending Davis-Bacon Act wage rules in the Katrina rebuilding effort. Sure. But it's cheap to condemn someone for having a political motive for doing X without assessing whether X is the right thing to do. JFK had a political motive for phoning Martin Luther King in jail! The ideal, if you are a politician, is to come up with a policy that's a) the right thing to do and b) causes huge political problems for your opponents. Welfare reform used to be such an issue for the GOPS. Now Bush is making an issue of various indefensible regulations that Democrats defend at the behest of public employee unions--the civil service rules that cost the Dems the 2002 election when Bush suspended them as part of the Homeland Security bill (prompting many Democrats to oppose it), and now Davis-Bacon's wage regs. The way to defuse this new Bush weapon is for the Dems to stop defending the indefensible regulations! Not to accuse Bush of playing "politics" or exploiting a "wedge issue." ("Politics" is how the general public interest in efficient government can be brought to bear against the special union interest in a government gravy train.)

Now, Mickey Kaus goes on to say that the Dems should trade Davis-Bacon for an across the board increase in the minimum wage - not exactly a position that a free market libertarian such as myself would suggest. However, it is a good political strategy.

And James Taranto of the WSJ's Best of the Web pokes fun at blogger Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo.
We haven't been reading Josh Marshall's blog much recently, because he is off on another one of his manic and utterly tedious crusades. This one concerns what Marshall describes as the "Gulf Coast wage cut"--i.e., President Bush's decision to suspend the Davis-Bacon Act, which mandates "prevailing" (read: union) wages for government contractors, in the Katrina reconstruction programs.
Anyway, we bring this up because a reader pointed out this post from Marshall's blog yesterday:

TPM is looking for a new web intern who'll be responsible for various aspects of on-going site design, site maintenance, assistance administering the TPM community site, TPMCafe, and work on our various projects like . . . our new tracking of which members of Congress are supporting President Bush's Gulf Coast Wage Cut. . . .

This is an unpaid internship.
When your money is at stake, Marshall is willing to let unions dictate wages. When it comes to his own money, he not only refuses to pay prevailing wages, he won't even pay the minimum wage--or indeed any wage at all! Just who is trying to bamboozle whom here?


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, September 26, 2005

Stuffing Money Under the Mattress and Consequences Thereof

From Reuters:

"The national median home price rose to $220,000, up 15.8 percent from a year ago, the report showed. That was the largest annual increase in prices since July 1979."
I may be crazy, but with what is going on in the housing market, the incessant bidding war among buyers that is driving the price of housing to astronomical levels, looks to me like the behavior of folks expecting the next deluge and their house is their ark.

Is there anyone that thinks the intrinsic value of housing is actually rising at 700% the rate of inflation? Does that make sense to anyone? And if it does not make sense, just what is going on here and what are the likely consequences of this behavior?

I have a conservative bent (duh!), but my suspicion is that we may see something that makes the dotbomb look like a Sunday school picnic. This has been going on way too long. Something has to give.

What happens when a bank that is carrying on the books a property against which it has a mortgage for $500,000 and suddenly the property is worth say $400,000? Multiply that by thousands of such properties and loans. What are the bank examiners going to do when they look at the books? Does ANYONE remember the S&L crisis?

Our banking system is far more centralized then it used to be. The failure of one large bank in Chicago nearly brought the whole system down a number of years ago (the Feds bailed them out). What would happen if the behemoth in Charlotte failed? Or the big boys on Wall Street? I shudder at the thought. I have visions of Weimar Germany and wheel barrels full of money that is worth nothing.

Just a thought.

Have a peachy day and sleep well.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

The Twinkie-meister (Oliver Willis) Against his Left Flank

Oliver Willis (affectionately known here as the Twinkie-meister) makes this excellent post regarding the political reality of the rallies on Saturday and gets immediately lambasted by his left-flank.

That’ll Show Them!

Whew, I bet the Republicans are quaking in fear from Saturday’s protest in D.C. Surely now they’ll

1. End the war in Iraq
2. Free Mumia
3. Make love, not bombs
4. End the capitalist super hiearcrhy
5. End racism

Seriously, folks, can we get back to the real work of spreading the progressive message and end these useless noisefests?

Check out the comments, including one from some St Wendeler guy (if the link doesn't work, I apologize for Ollie's unwillingness to allow logic to persist on his blog):
# stwendeler Says:
September 26th, 2005 at 2:04 pm

Ollie, you should know better than to go against the Leftist Convential Wisdom. At least you recognize the problem that the Democratic Party will have with its Left flank… The protests won’t play in Peoria and it’s good that you recognize that. It’s a shame that many of your readers feel that you’ve betrayed them by pointing out such political realities.

So much for open debate, eh?

St Wendeler


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Gannon Sighting

Now, a few weeks ago I removed ARC's 2nd Law from the heading of this site. For those that don't recall, ARC's 2nd Law (in addition to ARC's 1st Law which remains above) was:

ARC's 2nd Law: As a Lefty online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Jeff "JD" GannonGuckertGosch approaches one.

We developed this law as a play on Godwin's Law, since (at the time) it seemed like the Lefty blogosphere was absolutely fixated on Jeff Gannon and almost all news was either attributed to a conspiracy led by Karl Rove, Jeff Gannon, or a combination of the two.

Well, a reference to Gannon appears in this DU post about the rally on Saturday.

Nikki Stone 1
ANSWER's idiocy plays into Right Wing talk radio today

Just saw a local news report on Saturday's rally. A local talk radio host was interviewed (it's a usual segment on this CBS station) and he just laughed about the rally, calling it the "Cindy Sheehan Save the Gay Whales" rally. He had watched the C-SPAN coverage of the rally and said the procession of speakers spewing on all their diffuse topics reminded him of a Saturday Night Live skit. (And many of us who saw it cringed at these speakers, even if we agreed with their general points.) He summed it all up by saying that this was not America, that none of the people at the rally was anyone he would recognize, and that the rally was pretty much laughable.

Now, RW talk radio would make fun of the rally anyway. But, had there been ONE consistent message with compelling speakers, one after another, televised, it would have been harder for the neocon media to dismiss it. Talk radio hosts would still have ignored the vast numbers of people, the fact that so many of the people were first time attendees, etc but they could not have denied that there was a singular message.

Thanks to ANSWER, the RW media can laugh at the rally and tell the general public that it didn't miss much.

ANSWER is a liability--no question.
1. And we can laugh right back at them
he just laughed about the rally, calling it the "Cindy Sheehan Save the Gay Whales" rally.

Now, now ... Jeff Gannon has already been saved!

It's interesting to note that Nikki Stone (who seems to be make a reasonable post) is totally slammed by her "comrades" at DU.

If this continues, I may have to reinstate the Gannon law at the top of this site.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Roundup of The Rallies

Well, I wish I could've been in D.C. I believe there was supposed to be a rally in St Louis as well, but it must've been rained out. Unfortunately, I was instead having fun supporting my St Louis Rams (who looked pathetic, despite the win over the Titans) and then had an evening dinner engagement. Oh, and it was my birthday.

Since I wasn't able to attend, here are some excellent posts on the blogosphere about the rallies. The media plays this as a mainstream movement, but if you see any closeups or hear any of the speeches, it's quite apparent that these rallies are no different than previous ones - with their multitude of leftist causes (FREE MUMIA!!!), etc.

The inestimable Gateway Jim has these great posts:
Leftists Unleashed
Cindy says "Forget Boring Rita, It's all about me!!!"
Waiting on Ramsey Clark!

Also, check out these pics from Getty Images

And no, I don't think the Leftists hit 1 million...

And be sure to check out Mudville Gazette's evaluationof how DailyKos' Do's & Don'ts were heeded on Saturday. It's hilarious.

Nothing says you're opposed to the Bush Administrations policy on transformation of the Middle East like an effective artistic dance to the beat of erratic drums while waving a flag that says absolutetly nothing. Oh, and don't forget your mask of crazy hair (or is that straw?) and your hemp pants...

Just your average mainstream Americans... For more pics, check out this site. The camera does not lie.

CSPAN has video of the Int'l ANSWER Anti-War rally and the Rally to Honor Military Families. Compare, Contrast
(RealPlayer Required)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler