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

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Steyn - When War is Worth It

Missed this Mark Steyn article.... (bad conspirator, bad conspirator!!!). He pokes fun at the UN and the "pro-peace" Left:

That Iraq is gone now - not because of Unicef and the other transnational institutions that confer respectability on dictatorships, but because America, Britain and a few others were prepared to go to war. As the Guardian harrumphed on Saturday: "People who opposed the war in Iraq will find it hard to stomach attempts to present the referendum as a triumph."

Fair enough. For my part, I find it hard to stomach the degrees of support offered to the "insurgency" by George Galloway, John Pilger, Tariq Ali and Michael Moore. But it's not about what I or the Guardian find hard to stomach. Peripheral though they may be to the concerns of the "peace" crowd, it is in the end about the Iraqi people, and, as with all the previous will-they-won't-they deadlines, at the eleventh hour they managed to rouse themselves and pull it off.

Sixteen out of Iraq's 18 provinces - including Sunni-majority ones - voted for the most liberal, democratic, federal and pluralist constitution in the Middle East. Sorry to make the Guardian throw up, but that is indeed a "triumph".

Whatever the Americans got wrong, they got one big thing right - that, if you persevered, Iraq had the potential to function as a free society in a part of the world where no such thing has ever existed.

That was a long shot, and much sneered at, not least by British "conservatives". But Washington judged correctly: given the radicalisation of the Arab world, and the Arabification of the Islamic world, and the Islamification of much of the rest of the world, in the end you have to fix the problem at source.

In his book The Clash Of Civilizations, Samuel Huntington has a section on "Islam's Bloody Borders". "The overwhelming majority of fault line conflicts," he writes, "have taken place along the boundary looping across Eurasia and Africa that separates Muslims from non-Muslims."

That looping boundary is never not in the news. Last week, it was Nalchik in the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, where the Islamists killed more than 60 people. The week before, it was Bali, again. Different regimes on the looping boundary try different strategies: in Indonesia, appeasement; in Chechnya, the Russians have reduced Grozny to rubble and still not got anywhere. Pushing back the Islamists on their ever expanding margins will never work. Reforming the heart of the Muslim world just might.

Sometimes war is worth it.

Read the whole thing...

Your Co-Conspirator
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, October 21, 2005

Hillary! Supporter says Big Business Give-Away is a great idea

Jami at Hillary!Now! saw this post about GM looking for the Feds to take over their healthcare obligations and she rips out a Deaniac "Yeeeeaaaaaarrrrrggggghhh!!!" (Oh, and why is it that Hillary! always has to have exclamation marks?)

Big Business is about to get behind national health care - and the Democrats are the only ones who will give it to them.

Just wait. Companies can't afford the alternative.

Yep, that's right... The Democratic Party is the friend of Big Business.

Of course, Big Business reluctantly got into sponsoring health care plans in the first place. And now that insurance covers not only catastrophic care, but regular checkups, prescription drugs for everything from cholesterol to erectile dysfunction, the forces of the free market are completely neutered - resulting in (surprise!) increased costs for healthcare.

I commented on her blog... nice girl. Just don't think she's had Econ 101 yet (as with most Lefties).
Yes, Big Business wants nationalized healthcare, because right now healthcare plans are a hindrance to a flexible and mobile labor market. Not only must a company offer competing salaries, they must also compete on the fringe benefits such as healthcare. Oh, and companies like GM are being crushed by the huge increases in healthcare costs.

Ironically, employer-managed healthcare is a throwback to the New Deal and WWII. Ideally, Health Care Savings Accounts (HSAs) would replace the existing systems, with healthy people investing tax free in order to pay for their future healthcare needs. I know that if I had paid my healthcare premiums from when I was 18 through 32 to an HSA, I would not need a plan provided through my employer since I consumed $0 in healthcare expenses during that time. All I would have to pay for is catastrophic health insurance, which is part of a standard HSA plan. In addition to this benefit, I would be more likely to change jobs or careers, resulting in greater economic efficiencies.

Now that I have 2 children and am a bit older, it's almost impossible for me to reap the benefits of an HSA, since my consumption of healthcare services is now on the upward trend. However, had I been saving those premiums (plus my employers costs and annual contributions to the fund, I'd be set... And I'd own the assets in the HSA, meaning that I could switch employers without worrying about the new employer's healthcare plan.

It's interesting that the Dems are willing to subsidize Big Business by removing one of their largest expenditures. At least, until you realize that corporate contributions fill the coffers of the DNC (and Hillary!PAC) as well.

Of course, complaints about the increased costs of healthcare are seen by the statist Left as a cry for a government takeover of the industry. Unfortunately, as the costs for a product or service are further removed from the consumer of the product or service, it becomes more difficult to manage the costs. The primary reason that healthcare costs are increasing rapidly is because individual consumers do not see the true costs (only their co-pays, which most people can tell you immediately). Thus, there is no inhibition to excessively consume healthcare services... which is a clear disruption of free market forces. Single Payer healthcare doesn't work over the long-term... see Canada, Germany, etc, etc... the primary issue in the Canadian political campaign in 2004 was about the length of wait times in the Canadian healthcare system.

Let me ask you this... Would you want Tom DeLay in charge of your healthcare system? Well, I have the same reaction to the thought of Nancy Pelosi being involved in my healthcare decisions.

St Wendeler

But hey... if you want nationalized healthcare, let's do it. I'll start making my daily visits to the local clinic for every ache & pain I've got... as John 'Bluto' Blutarsky from Animal House would say, "See a Doctor - Don't cost nuthin!"

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler


This had better be some sort of Halloween prank:

Reality Check Needed
I can tell you right now, after having coffee with a dozen or so Republican Senators on Tuesday morning, that not only are these pork-barrel spending cuts up in the air, so are the tax cut extensions.

The Senate GOP is very much in danger of forgetting the principles that got them control of the Senate in the first place.

They'll be lucky to get 10% if this is true....

And I'm about to shut down this site if Bush doesn't get his rear in gear:
Question: Why haven’t they come out in favor of the House GOP effort to increase mandatory spending cuts and seek a three-percent across the board discretionary cut as per Marsha Blackburn and others? It would get them $500 billion or $600 billion in 10-year savings estimates. Why didn’t the White House signal help for Senator Coburn’s “Bridge to Nowhere” pork-barrel spending cut?

And why isn’t the White House beating the drum for the tax cut extensions on dividends and capital gains? The latest budget data shows that not only are these cuts are self-financing, but they create powerful growth throughout the economy. Ben Bernanke is making this point, but where are the others? And where is the President? And why aren’t they touting the numerous pro-growth recommendations in the Connie Mack tax reform commission? Mack’s group didn’t go far enough on a flat tax type proposal to reform the income tax system, but there are excellent ideas for corporate tax cuts, savings account expansion and AMT elimination.

Again, I repeat my mantra: The Bush Administration and the Republican Senate and House must return to pro-growth first principles for lower spending, lower tax burdens and energy deregulation. A campaign like this would boost the stock market and help rally the investor class.

Our poll last night on CNBC suggests that investors are deserting the GOP. The poll asked when it comes to pork spending, which party was worse. Republicans earned profligate spending honors by a margin of fourteen points, 57 percent to 43 percent. This is a bad leading indicator for the GOP in terms of next year’s mid-term election.

The Bush Republicans simply cannot afford to lose this key part of their base.

Well, may need to shut down this site anyway after "the boss" forces us to do the perp walk with him. (Actually, he's probably protected us in his testimony so we can continue to do his bidding even though he's otherwise indisposed).

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler


Take a look at this flash cartoon... It's always helpful to understand how the Left views the Right.

Don't want to go through the whole animation? Ok, being a Republican means that you like guns, football, have children, eat meat, Jesus, and (of course) commit the worst offense known to man - hypocrisy!

Unfortunately for them, there are plenty of Dems that are becoming Republicans.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Left finds a "Holiday" They Can Support

While perusing the kookier parts of the Leftist Blogosphere, I've come across the term Fitzmas, referring to the pending conclusion of Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation. I've not commented on this before, but I just couldn't pass this up after I saw this:

The Night Before Fitzmas (An Epic Poem)

'Twas the night before Fitzmas, when all through the house
Not a Republican was stirring, nary a louse;

The stockings hung on the chimney for the season,
In hopes that St. Patrick would soon mention treason.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of indictments danced in their heads;

And pa in his bandanna, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a short evenings nap,

When out on the White House lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the computer I flew like a flash,
Tore open DU and pulled up my wonky stash.

The moon on the mullet of Harriet Miers
Shown the light of mid-day on all that conspire,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature Prius, and eight tiny reindeer,
[St Wendeler interjects: you just KNEW it was going to be a hybrid, right?]

With a little old driver, so lively and phat,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Pat.

More rapid than bald eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Kerry! now, Edwards! now, Clark and Howard Dean!
On, Clinton! on Boxer! Pelosi and Harry Reid!

To the top of the Capitol and over the Hill!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away still!"

As dry leaves that before the Cat 5 hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the White House the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh of accusations and St. Patrick too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
No hemming or hawing just the sound of the truth.

As I read my monitor and was jumping around,
Down the chimney St. Patrick came with a bound.

He was dressed in faux fur, from his head to his toes,
And was bursting with news for DU and Daily Kos;

A bundle of indictments he had flung in his stacks,
And he looked like a prosecutor just stating the facts.

His eyes - how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like John Kerry's!

His droll little mouth was drawn up in a smile,
With a look of resolute in his eyes all the while;

With a brief little hiccup and a slight little burp,
He began talking and describing the perp;

"He has a big round head and a jiggly belly,
That shakes when he laughs like a bowlful of jelly.

He is chubby and plump, a right evil old elf,
And he laughs and he smirks, in spite of himself;"

With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
St. Pat let me know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke no more words, but went straight to his works,
And issue enough indictments to annihilate the jerks,

And laying a finger aside of his nose,
He gave me the signal that he had handled my foes;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a rocket or missile.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Fitzmas to all, and to all a good-night."

And they say they're not deranged... The Clinton-haters in the 90's recognized after '98 that their hatred was idiotic (except for those firebombing pundits like Coulter). I wonder if the Left will similarly awaken from their hatred?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Hijacking of Foreign Policy

The DUers are all atwitter over this article...

Cheney 'cabal' hijacked foreign policy
By Edward Alden in Washington
Published: October 20 2005

Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.

Now, as part of the Rovian Cabal, I can speak directly to this assertion...

First thing that is wrong is that it's "Cheney's" cabal... it's not. It's Rove's cabal damnit!

Second, since when did the implementation of the President & Vice President's foreign policy goals start being viewed as the hijacking of US foreigh policy?

Were Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" and "Evil Empire" speeches considered to be a hijacking of US foreign policy? (Based on my understanding of history, they clearly were regarded in that way.) Was an accurate characterization? No.

This clearly demonstrates that this idiot is simply a establishment Washingtonian who is appalled that we're turning our backs on our great history of realpolitik. I mean, all those years of coddling dictators like Saddam, Mubarak, Arafat, and Assad. If only BushCo took the advice of the enlightened elite, everything would be peachy! Well, 9/11 proved that our past acts come with a price - and we were unwilling to ever pay such a price again.

As we've pointed out, Colin Powell's State Dept was the root of many of the problems involving the Iraq war, from the idiot former Ambassador who lies in a NYTimes Op-Ed about the findings of his trip to the inability to convince the Turks to let the 4th ID into northern Iraq, leaving Saddam's Sunni Triangle untouched until AFTER Baghdad fell.

In addition, it was the State Dept's ineffective Visa Express program which allowed Saudi's (including some of the 9/11 hijackers) to travel freely between Saudi Arabia and the US, without the normal scrutiny afforded to citizens from other countries. They essentially obtained a visa from their local travel agent - not from a US embassy or consulate.

What a great idea!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Notice from the Rovian Administrator

FYI - I've reverted back to Blogger's standard commenting feature, so we no longer will have to deal with the popup comments of Haloscan. Comments previously submitted will only be accessible by viewing the post by using the permalink. You will then see a link to the old commenting system. (Any additional comments should be posted using the Blogger interface).

We removed the Blogger commenting because the response was dreadful when this blog first started. It has since improved and we're going to stick with it. Benefits of using this standard commenting feature is that readers visiting ARC via a direct link to a specific post will see the comments without having to click on the popup and the comments will be indexed by Google (when their friendly search bot crawls across our site).

Any comments/questions, feel free to click the Comments button below...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sirota Is Right about something

Much of what David Sirota says about any number of issues is just plain wrong, but this seems to be accurate:

The first major symptom of Partisan War Syndrome is wild hallucinations that make progressives believe we can win elections by doing nothing, as long as the Republican Party keeps tripping over itself. You can best see this symptom each time another GOP scandal comes down the pike. The scandal hits, Republicans respond with a pathetic “I am not a crook” defense, and both Democratic politicians and grassroots activists/bloggers berate a “culture of corruption.” Yet, then these same critics largely refuse to demand concrete solutions such as public funding of elections that would actually clean up the system, and would draw a contrast between the left and the right. We see hallucinations of a victory in the next election as long as we just say nothing of substance, as we have for the last decade. But like a mirage in the desert, it never seems to materialize.

These hallucinations are the only logical explanation as to why the Democratic Party remains without an official position on almost every major issue in Congress. Just look at the last year: Democrats have no clear party position on Iraq, energy, bankruptcy, trade, tax cuts, Supreme Court nominees or corruption, other than to criticize Republicans.

I recall the GOP's problems during the 90s... simply criticizing every single proposal and initiative that Clinton put forward and pointing to the numerous scandals that plagued the administration, constantly hoping that the public would "get it." While it was entertaining for those that were engaged on the issues, it certainly didn't garner any more support from the voters. The Left is similarly trapped in that crazed state - but unlike the GOP after 1994, does not have the levers of power to get anything done.

He goes on to give his answers to some of the biggest problems facing the Left... and while his framing of the issues is certainly partisan, he does have a point that the Left has GOT to figure out what the hell it stands for (and, for me, I hope it's something other than the same old b.s. from 1964 or 1932). Unfortunately for the Left, most of their ideas come with a price tag... one that is larger than even what that our spending-obsessed President has proposed. And no amount of "framing" or forceful promotion of these policies will be likely to succeed in getting the Dems their only wish - power. Since the Left's ideology really is simply a conglomeration of specific and sometimes conflicting interst groups (eco-nuts and auto-workers, the poverty pimps and the ultra-wealthy, the anarchists and the progressives, the teacher's unions and the poor families trapped in dysfunctional schools), there is only one issue that binds them together - their hatred for Bush. Their unwillingness to recognize that most of the public doesn't view Bush as evil incarnate means that as they grow louder in their protestations, the policy message that they need to sell will lose its effectiveness.

Another (and perhaps bigger) problem for the Dems is the demographic shift... As we lose many Americans from the Greatest Generation, the Dems are also losing rock solid and consistent Democrats who have voted the same way for 60+ years. Heck, FDR saved the world and they all felt like it was their American duty to vote for the Democratic party, regardless of the fact that they wouldn't recognize the party platform if it was shown to them. And those from my generation who have grown up during Reagan, Thatcher, Bush, and even Clinton will recognize that the statism that the Progressives promote is a sure way to economic serfdom.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Investment Advice to All Conspirators

Follow your gut instinct... when a company name/brand becomes a verb, buy, buy, buy.

Especially if the guys running the company see that brand as more than just the current product/service. As a shareholder and regular customer of Yahoo!, I rarely use their search anymore... I just hang on to their My Yahoo! portal and their Instant Messenger because I'm a sticky customer. But, Google's going to do an Open Source Instant Messaging app that will transform the concept.

When they did the IPO and it was announced that it would start at around $100, many scoffed... some said, "It's the dotcom crash coming back guys..." My initial thought was that this was the next FedEx (company as verb) and was cheap at $100, but other matters kept my interest and I never pulled the trigger.

Meanwhile, any stock that I own is flatlining... as Cramer would say, "PADDLES!!!"

uggggghh... Hey, good thing money's not that important...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Oh well...

I guess the Cardinals ran out of miracles.

Thanks guys for a great season.

Thanks especially to Albert for that HR the other night, what a thrill.

Now, is there anything else going on out there in the "world?" I think I heard something about something going on at the Supreme Court. Then there is that unpleasantness in the country sandwiched between Syria and Iran.

The there was the election in that country. An election in Iraq! Imagine that!

Well, I'll get my head back into this stuff now that I won't be wasting anytime watching the World Series.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

God's Advice to the Astros...

Saint is just going to have to carry the politics for awhile.

The Cards have my undivided attention.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Bush's Guest Worker Program

Here's why Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, and most of the base of the GOP are wrong on this issue... Here are the main objections to Bush's guest worker program:

  1. Illegal Immigrants don't get paid minimum wage and thus depress wages for working Americans
  2. Instead of a guest worker program, we should lock down the border to prevent terrorists from coming in
  3. Illegal immigrants have committed a crime and thus should not be funneled through a legitimate guest worker program
  4. We shouldn't be paying for healthcare and public services of illegals
  5. There are plenty of Americans that will do the work if the pay is right
Unfortunately, the GOP base isn't looking at the Guest Worker program objectively. Now, I know that even some of my co-conspirators will disagree with me on this, but here's my take on the matter:
  1. Wage Depression - The free flow of labor is a reality in this global economy. As long as the US economy is 500 times more productive than those of Central & Latin America, workers from those regions will claw their way North for a better life. The concern that the Guest Worker program will depress American workers' wages is unfounded since the reason that employers are able to pay below minimum wage is precisely because these workers are illegal and are therefore afraid to report this mistreatment to the authorities. Legitimizing their hard work through a guest worker program would allow them to push their employers to pay minimum wages.
  2. Terrorism - This is perhaps the biggest reason that I am a proponent of the Guest Worker plan. Currently, millions of Mexicans, Hondurans, and others from Latin America come pouring across our borders without any scrutiny. This is a nightmare from a Homeland Security standpoint. There are two options - Refuse to let anyone in unless they go through the herculean task of applying for an H1B visa OR make migrating into the US with proper background checks easy enough so that you can focus the Border Patrols' efforts on the few criminals and terrorists that are unwilling to go through the background checks. It's impossible to pick out the 100 or so terrorists in a swarm of a million illegal immigrants at the border. But if an orderly, guest worker program was implemented with workers traveling on safe and secure highways and through checkpoints, the Border Patrol could then immediately arrest, detain and/or deport these illegals, since it is likely that anyone skirting the easy process of the guest worker program is participating in criminal activity.
  3. Illegals are criminals - Yes, this is true. However, most illegal immigrants are hard working people who's primary crime is their passion for a better life. The Guest Worker program would make it easier to stop actual criminals (and terrorists) from entering our country
  4. Funding of Healthcare - Guest Workers would immediately become part of the tax base, since their labor is no longer "off the books."
  5. Americans will do the work - Yes, there are Americans that will take the jobs that illegals currently take, if the wages are well above minimum wage. However, as mentioned above, the current system ensures that below minimum wages are paid for this unskilled labor and the new guest worker program would eliminate this reality as these workers are all of a sudden visible. In addition, given our current unemployment rate (equal to that of the economy in the 90s, the argument that there are plenty of Americans that would do these jobs does not seem to be accurate

With our attempts to expand our Free Trade Zone to include all of the Americas, such isolationist and protectionist opposition to programs such as these only hinder our economy and alter the perception of America as the land of opportunity. In addition, in domestic politics it gives the Democrats an opportunity to adopt this sensible policy and court the favor of Hispanic voters.

Monterey John - Feel free to go ballistic over this post. ;-)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

So much idiocy, so little time

And the "Progressives" wonder why we don't take them seriously! I love that this guy gets top billing at Democratic Underground today... God knows that the forums are all abuzz about this guy's ability to "speak truth to power" and hopes that he isn't harmed by the Bush Family Evil Empire.

The Illusion of Normality
October 18, 2005
By Ernest Partridge, The Crisis Papers

Never in the 229 years of United States history has this government "of, by and for the people" been in greater peril. Not during the Civil War, not during the great depression, and not during the Second World War or the Cold War which followed.
I disagree with him here, because I think that the War On Terror is unlikely to be lost given the universal human desire for freedom. I mean, yes... we are definitely in their crosshairs, but is there any doubt as to whether we will prevail? .... Oh, wait... I don't think he's talking about the peril of Islamofascism and terrorism... hmmmm, I'll keep reading
Until today, gross incompetence, abuse of power, corruption, corporatocracy, and federal insolvency could be checked and reversed by balanced and separated governmental powers, and at the ballot box by a citizenry informed and provoked by an alert and independent media. Now all branches of government and the mainstream media are dominated by the wealthy elites in control of a single political party.

OHHHHHhhhhhhhh!!! It's the corporate media and the wealthy elites that are our greatest enemy.
Can you believe this? If not, you are in the company of a majority of Americans who might respond to the above jeremiad with "Oh c'mon now, it can't be as bad as all that! We've always had incompetence, corruption, waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government, and stolen elections are as old as the republic. It's no different now."

So long as that majority of Americans believes this, the rule of the Busheviks and its successor oligarch regimes will be secure. Thus Bush, Inc. and its obedient mainstream media are desperately endeavoring to nourish and sustain this "illusion of normality."

(Otherwise known as sane and rational people... Or "sheeple" to the DUers or a Kossacks.
The illusion has many facets.

Elections? Get over it!

The refusal of the public to believe that national elections can be stolen validates the claim of the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress to political legitimacy – that they "derive their just powers from the consent of the governed" (Declaration of Independence). The evidence clearly indicates otherwise. (For an excellent summation of this evidence, see Dennis Loo's "No Paper Trail Left Behind." See also The Crisis Papers pages on "Election Fraud, 2004" and "Electoral Integrity.")

On the other hand, the evidence for the legitimacy of the elections is virtually non-existent, due to the secrecy of the software and the absence of paper validation. So all that the defenders of the legitimacy illusion have is ad hominem insults of the challengers – "conspiracy theorists," "paranoid," "get over it!"

*crickets chirping*

I just don't know what to say here... This guy is nuts, no?
The mainstream media's response is no response, with the apparent hope and expectation, so far successful, that if it is ignored the ballot fraud issue will go away. The primary aggrieved institutional victim of the fraud, the Democratic Party, simply won't touch the issue, which can only serve to strengthen "the illusion of normality." Thus allegations that the elections were stolen and thus that the government in power is illegitimate are confined to the alternative media and the Internet.

And so the Democrats carry on as if the upcoming elections of 2006 and 2008 are "normal," as they diligently solicit more votes and cheerfully look forward to taking back the Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008 – as if the same "normal" rules and conditions apply as they have before. Those poor, naive saps! Don't they realize that once again, Republican operatives will count the votes? And that the results will be just what the GOP wants them to be, regardless of the wishes of the electorate? Unless, very soon, the people demand reform and restore the integrity of the ballot box.

No word on all of the Democratic precincts which were the main areas of concern for voter fraud in 2004... No word on the razor thin margin in Milwaukee, where clear and convincing evidence of voter fraud is sufficient to bring the result into question. (Ohio was won by 120k, Wisconsin by a mere 11k)
The media are biased in favor of liberals.

The right-wing talk-merchants who, until Air American Radio came along had the AM dial pretty much to themselves, complain constantly that the mainstream media has a left-wing, anti-Bush bias. So too the cable news chatterers. Much of the public believes this myth because it is repeated so often – not, to be sure, on the strength of the evidence which clearly proves otherwise.

Two brief examples: in October, 2004, immediately before the presidential election, the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) released a report that among Bush supporters, 75% believed that Saddam Hussein's Iraq government supported al Qaeda, and 72% believed that Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction, or active WMD programs. In addition, the Bush supporters said that the US should not go to war if it were known that Iraq had no WMDs.

Some supporters think Saddam supported al Qaeda because... you know... al Qaeda was in Iraq and receiving support from Saddam (explicitly or implicitly). (See medical assistance for terrorists in Baghdad, support for Zarqawi after he returned from Afghanistan, Salman Pak, etc.) And the WMD thing... do we really have to go over this? Yes, we thought he had WMD because, you know... he had used them at one time and never documented their destruction. Either he just wasn't good at keeping logs or he ended up transporting them out of the country - BUT WE KNOW HE HAD THEM AT ONE TIME.
Which means, to put it bluntly, that Bush owes his election to this WMD lie (among other lies, but those require separate arguments). Now where did the Bush voters get this misinformation if not from the mainstream media, which obviously passed it on uncritically from the Bush administration?
Well, they got it from Democratic leaders as well, like Bill Clinton, John Kerry, etc, etc.
Torture? It was just a few bad apples.

Few Americans appreciate the depths of moral depravity that are are plumbed by this administration's justification of the use of torture of prisoners captured in this "war on terror," and by its official violation of the Geneva accords – ratified treaties that have the status of US laws. Nor are many of our fellow citizens aware of the disgust and hatred of our country's government engendered throughout the world as a result of these policies.

And why not? The mainstream media do not accurately report the tortures, assess the treaty violations, or inform the public of international opinion. Attorney General Gonzales has effectively "abolished" torture by defining it out of existence, yet the tortures still go on. The Geneva conventions are evaded by the invention of a category of prisoners, "enemy combatants," that is unrecognized by international law. In effect, the government of the United States of America, our country, is an international outlaw.

Sorry, but we are following the Geneva Conventions... just because we aren't following Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions which even Jimmy Carter had the good sense to not ratify does not mean we are in violation of international law. (Protocol I extends POW protections to irregular combatants (ie out of uniform saboteurs and terrorists)). In fact, we would be well within international law to simply shoot on sight any irregular combatant that we capture on the battlefield. Fortunately, our military forces are more restrained and we hold a nice military tribunal to determine their status.
The Busheviks do not care. And sadly, the American people, by and large, do not know. They believe that our treatment of prisoners is justified, and that the opinions of us abroad are "normal."

It is an illusion.

The president, his cabinet, and the Congress will not, as they have all sworn, "protect and defend the Constitution." In fact, American citizens are now being held indefinitely, without charge, without counsel, without trial, in violation of four of the Ten Amendments to the Constitution (The Bill of Rights). The president claims the right to designate any American citizen as a "terrorist suspect" and to arrest and confine that citizen in similar violation of law and the Constitution.
Ummm, last I recalled, you forfeited your rights when you took up arms against the United States.

The same Constitution stipulates that Congress declares war, yet this "war on terrorism" is undeclared. This is but one of many clear violations of law by the Bush Administration (enumerated in my "The Bombs in the Basement"). The conventional attitude that "they all do it" just doesn't begin to excuse the unprecedented lawlessness of this regime.

Except for that Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq... Yep, nothing about war or military in there at all!
Add to this the enormous stake that the Administration, the Republican Party, and their corporate patrons have in perpetuating this "illusion of normality." Billions of dollars of public funds have been snatched from the federal treasury and billions more from the investments, retirement funds, health benefits and social services of private individuals. Add to that the deterioration of educational facilities and public infrastructure.
In short, the malefactors are facing not only the loss of their ill-gained wealth but perhaps federal prison cells. And don't suppose that they don't know it, and that they are not prepared to take extreme measures to avoid it. The injured and cornered beast is the most dangerous, and these critters have some fearful resources at their disposal.

hmmm, what is this guy implying here???
Foremost among the objectives of the progressive resistance must be to disabuse the public at large of its "illusion of normality." We must attack the widespread but understandable unwillingness of that public to face up to the enormity of the crimes that have been perpetrated upon the body politic.

Yes, keep shouting from the rooftops! Nothing could help the Center-Right more than a "progressive resistance" movement trying to get everyone to wake up from reality and enter the dreamworld fueled by the kind bud.

For more "thoughts" from this idiot, check out Crisis Papers... Oh, and here's a good discussion by some DUers suffering from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome). Be sure to read all of the comments. And they wonder why we think they're irrational?

Another Rovian Conspiracy - Reading this mindless pap so you don't have to!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

No Wonder She's Ticked!

I'd be pissed too if I didn't know what the hell I was talking about!

Published on Monday, October 17, 2005 by
Peaceful Day in Iraq
by Cindy Sheehan

I keep hearing on the news that this past Saturday was a relatively "peaceful" day in Iraq. Despite many reports already of alleged election fraud (shades of Ohio and Florida), George and his cronies are cautiously optimistic that the referendum for the constitution will pass. George Bush says that it looks like Iraq is heading for "peace."

I have two points to make about the referendum vote in Iraq on Saturday. First of all, George told us in his headlong rush to disaster in Iraq that Saddam had WMDs and that Iraq was culpable for 9/11. George and his band of war monsters still despicably say 9/11 in every major speech in defense of the invasion and continued occupation. He never said "regime change" or spreading "freedom and democracy." If the constitution passes, what will be the next devious justification for the occupation?

From the House & Senate Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of Armed Forces Against Iraq
Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of American citizens;

Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 or harbored such persons or organizations;

So, yeah... other than an official act of Congress and numerous speeches, Bush was hiding all that regime change and "democracy in Iraq" from the public.

And her reference to fraud from Ohio & Florida? Yeah, she's just an objective, grieving mom.... why is it that every time she opens her mouth or types out her thoughts, she parrots the Kossacks & DUers?

She still doesn't know the reason why Casey went to Iraq - and why he re-upped to go back. Fortunately for us and the Iraqi people, thousands of soldiers like Casey know exactly why they're over there. It's a shame that his mom can't honor his memory by celebrating the democratic transformation that helped bring about.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Meanwhile, In Europe

USA Today had this article in my freebie hotel paper.

Gas woes worse in Europe
By Noelle Knox, USA TODAY

BRUSSELS — Eric Niakissa knows putting cooking oil in his gas tank is illegal in France, but with pump prices at $5.90 a gallon for diesel, he's willing to take the risk.

Prices in Paris Sept. 6, when gas first topped 1.50 euros per liter. They are the equivalent of $6.94 to $5.40 a gallon.

"When I started to put (colza) oil in my car, I only used one or two liters because I was afraid, and I didn't know if it would work," says Niakissa, a student who drives a 2002 Skoda Fabia car.

"After several weeks, everything was fine, so I chose to use more oil. And since December 2004, I've been putting 50% oil in my car and have had no problems," and he saves at least $30 a month.

Americans cringe at the average $2.80-a-gallon pump price, but people in Western Europe haven't seen prices that low in almost two years.

Because European governments tax gas so heavily (taxes account for 70% of the price of gas here, vs. 27% in the USA), the recent rise in oil prices has people here looking for creative, if not always legal, ways to save money when they fill up their cars or heat their homes.

Fabien Kay, who works for the bio-diesel company Prolea in France, says drivers who add cooking oil to their gas tanks are risking "a lot of technical problems in newer cars."

In addition to putting cooking oil in their diesel cars (half of passenger cars sold in Europe now are diesel because the fuel is cheaper and the cars get better mileage), more people are riding bikes to work or taking public transit. They also are crossing borders in search of cheaper fuel, refusing to pay heating bills and switching to wood-burning stoves.

The governments in several countries, including France, Germany and Poland, are giving tax breaks on heating oil to low-income families. France also distributed $450 million to businesses that have been especially hit, such as fishing, trucking and farming.

In France, the price of premium gasoline is $7.18 a gallon.

But Francois Loos, the minister of industry in France, said the government decided against lowering taxes on fuel because people are driving more slowly and less often, and fuel consumption is down 3% this year from last. "Two months ago, everyone thought there could be higher revenues for the state and that we could give this additional revenue to the people ... but we have none."

Higher fee to drive in London

In London, the mayor has tried to discourage driving into the city by doubling the size of the "congestion zone." Drivers must now pay 8 pounds, or almost $16 a day, to drive into London.

"It's outrageous," Edward Stankovic says after paying 54.50 pounds (then about $100) to fill the tank of his Seat Leon sedan at a Shell station in north London last month. "Most of it is going to the government," he says, complaining of how British citizens pay among the highest rate in taxes per liter of fuel: nearly 63% of the price of a liter of gasoline. Stankovic now rides his bike to work.

In Germany, drivers living near the borders of Poland and the Czech Republic drive across to buy gas for about $4.85 a gallon, almost $1 less than they pay at home because fuel taxes are lower.
It's so bad that a number of small community governments are refusing to pay their gas bills or are unilaterally refusing to pay the higher prices. And many Germans are turning to old-fashioned, wood-burning stoves this winter to heat their homes.

"A growing number of people are calling and asking where they can get wood," says Jan Engel, a German forestry service spokesman. "It's really quite economical compared to other heating sources at the moment."

He said the town of Eberswalde, about 35 miles north of Berlin, was even building a wood-fired power plant to supply heat and electricity to some 50,000 homes in the area.

But not everybody is grumbling about their heating bills. In east Germany, tens of thousands of people still use coal predominantly to heat their apartments and homes. Inconvenient and dirty, coal is considerably cheaper than either natural gas or heating oil.

"People always make fun of you for having (coal) heating, but now they're getting theirs," says Franziska Rieder, a 28-year-old graduate student at Berlin's Free University. "A lot of my friends now can't afford to heat their apartments. They're going to freeze the whole winter."
Well, this is just great... Europe is reverting to the middle-ages and turning back to burning wood. I'm sure this won't have any impact on the environment, because trees are eco-friendly right? Oh, wait... they are until they're torched. And this will do wonders for the already fragile European economy.

And for all of the hand-wringing of the Left over the rising costs of gas, this is exactly what they have been calling for over the past 2 decades. (Read AlGore's Earth In the Balance.) It's also interesting that the French minister doesn't realize that when you tax something punitively, you get less of it (and subsequently, lower tax revenues, prompting some to call for even higher taxes).

BTW, I am blogging from an undisclosed location again... en route back to STL. Oh, and this guy happens to be on my plane, too. He assured me that they'll pull another one out on Wednesday.

Here's a pic:

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

It's a Good Thing Oliver Said This

Because, you know... if a Conservative had said this, he'd be a racist.

I think it’s past time for there to be a changing of the guard in black leadership in America. People like Farrakhan, Sharpton and Jackson are no better than hustlers, bigots, and crooks. There are hundreds of black leaders who believe in improving the lives of black Americans, and America in general, but the media keeps giving time to the Axis of Irrelevancy.

It’s time that stopped.
I agree, Oliver. It's a shame that you're late to the discussion, but at least you recognize something that the Right has been pointing out for years. And some of those "hundreds of black leaders who believe in improving the lives of black Americans" are likely to disagree with your politics... or do they not count?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Ho-ly Cow!

You can take the boy out of St Louis, but you can't take the Cardinals out of the boy!
What a night...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bad Poker

As we've pointed out in the past, this is not good poker.

What followed, according to the notes, was a free-wheeling discussion about many topics, including same-sex marriage. Justice Hecht said he had never discussed that issue with Ms. Miers. Then an unidentified voice asked the two men, "Based on your personal knowledge of her, if she had the opportunity, do you believe she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?"

"Absolutely," said Judge Kinkeade.

"I agree with that," said Justice Hecht. "I concur."

Shortly thereafter, according to the notes, Mr. Dobson apologized and said he had to leave the discussion: "That's all I need to know and I will get off and make some calls." (When asked about his comments in the notes I have, Mr. Dobson confirmed some of them and said it was "very possible" he made the others. He said he did not specifically recall the comments of the two judges on Roe v. Wade.)

And yes, I agree with Coulter that we shouldn't blindly support a nominee just because they are likely to overturn Roe v. Wade (or, preferably, provide reasonable restrictions). Instead, we should support nominees based on their abilities and their qualifications. Unfortunately, I have little information to demonstrate that Miers is wholly unqualified - and thought that this was ostensibly the goal of the judiciary committee hearings.

Given all the hand-wringing from the Right, the Bushies have had to reassure the base that Miers is what they need on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, all that this is doing is increasing the likelihood that the nominee will be defeated and Bush will lose political capital on what started out as a sure thing.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler