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

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Reason for the Lack of Posts

It's ALL BLOGGERS FAULT!!! IT'S ALL BLOGGERS FAULT!!!

My blog disappeared from Blogger some time Tuesday. All I get is a message that my blog wasn't found on their server. When I go to my Edit page, it doesn't show Betsy's Page as one of my blogs anymore. It's as if my identity was erased.

I just get this very irritating message:
"The blog you were looking for was not found." It doesn't show up on my dashboard at all.

Now, somebody has started a blog using my address and hijacked it. This is not me, but it is my URL. How despicable is that?

Instead of our blog being wiped out, Blogger just wouldn't let us post. At least, that's what I could've said.

Actually, was traveling all last week and have trouble with connectivity for a variety of reasons, except for the few moments in the hotel room before I crash. Add to that the fact that when I did try to post, the darn thing came up with errors. I attribute it either to Google's need to log everything so they can hand it over to the Bush Family Evil Empire (BFEE) or Google's need to filter anything "controversial" from its Chinese customers. Anyway, upon my return to my rovian lair, it was straight to getting the house in order for our upcoming birthday bash... Yes, my son and daughter are having birthdays this weekend (4 and 1 respectively) and we're having one big party.

And it's also the birthday of someone else near & dear to The Conspiracy... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PENELOPE!!!!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

But, hey - We're really serious about the War on Terror!

Well, with the news that Massauoi may become the Left's latest cause celeb for Life In Prison vs. the Death Penalty and the fact that Russ Feingold has totally gone off his rocker, I laughed out loud when I saw the following post on DU:

ECH1969
Wed Mar-15-06 04:36 AM
Original message
It's Time To Forget September 11th

It’s time to forget September 11th. That’s right. You heard me. It’s time to push it out of our minds.

You can hoot and holler all you want about this concept. You can say I’m anti-American. You can even accuse me of spitting on the memories of all those who died. But you would miss the point of what I’m about to say here, because this has nothing to do with the heroes or victims, and nothing to do with politics.

This has to do with us. At this point, that’s all 9/11 is: Just one crazy day that happened four and a half years ago. It sucked, but we can’t change it. We shouldn’t let it change the American dream.

Look around, and you’ll find the only thing America’s confident in anymore is its military. Take that away—take the pageantry, the yellow ribbons, and the thanks to “our men and women serving abroad” before sporting events—and it’s clear that we think we have nothing to offer. We’ve grown soft in the era of get-rich-quick McDonald’s lawsuits. Our culture is vacuous, and our belief in it is missing. Even the best stuff we have—like our colleges—are too busy being reviled to be respected and enjoyed.

Yes, just "one crazy day"... full of laughs & hilarity... it was an aberration, yes... except for all of those prior terrorist attacks spanning decades.

However, after I wiped the coffee off of my laptop screen, the laughs kept coming as I scrolled down to the comments.... as always, the DUers always start off with a bang:
Syrinx Donating Member
Wed Mar-15-06 04:41 AM
Response to Original message
1. Exactly Wrong

Edited on Wed Mar-15-06 05:28 AM by Syrinx
9/11 didn't change everything (unless we let it), as so many people mindlessly parrot.

But it was a chillingly audacious crime. And we mustn't forget about it. We must get to the bottom of it. And hold the true perpetrators (or "traitors" for short) responsible in a real and meaningful way.

EDIT:

I don't know exactly (almost, I do) who THEY are.

But THEY killed Kennedy. They killed King. And they killed Kennedy again.

They tried to kill Reagan.

They promised weapons to Iran if they continued to hold the hostages.

They tried to frame John Lennon to have him deported.

They protect oil interests and military contracts above all else.

To which I can only say...

muuuhaaaaahhaaaaahaaaahaaa... If you only knew, Syrinx... if you only knew.

Then, this commenter takes the kindler, gentler approach to terrorism:
Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts)
Wed Mar-15-06 05:02 AM
Response to Original message
4. I have to disagree. Updated at 7:41 AM

Edited on Wed Mar-15-06 05:18 AM by Behind the Aegis
We should never forget the tragedy of 9-11! To say something like that is akin to asking people to forget the Challenger disaster, the assassination of JFK or MLK, Jr., or Pearl Harbor. All of those tragedies shape who we, as Americans, are.

I agree that it shouldn't change the American dream, nor should it be used as political leverage of "you are with us or against us," but we mustn't ever forget! Forgive...perhaps, but not forget!

You say, "...that’s all 9/11 is: Just one crazy day that happened four and a half years ago." It is much more than that! It was the day that many Americans finally realized, what many other nations have known for years...NO COUNTRY is immune to terrorism! It was a "wake-up" call that we, Americans, are not untouchable. I don't EVER want my country to return to that ignorant and arrogant state of bliss! We are a part of this world, and we must act as such. The world is not our "playground" based on our terms.

I am proud to be American, but I don't want my home to return to a feeling of superiority (the current government has that covered). We must see the tragedy on our shores and empathize with the tragedies of other nations.

So, NO! It is not time to forget 9-11! It's time to remember that we are one race, human! It is time to remember that, on 9-11, the world said, "we are all Americans today." It is time to remember, that as Americans, "we are of the world, and they are of us. Their pains, should be our pains!" So, I say again, it is NOT time to forget 9-11!

Ahh, feel their pain. Perhaps Aegis will only truly understand the threat when he/she is in an orange jumpsuit, appearing in the latest flick on Al Jazeera.

And finally, here's yet another "progressive" view of the War on Terror - it's a criminal matter, nothing more... (there are more hilarious comments, but I won't bore you):
LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts)
Wed Mar-15-06 05:17 AM
Response to Original message
9. It's history. As such, it must be put in context.

Studied, understood, and the like. The old adage holds true: "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it"

Sad thing is, there are things that should have been done after 9/11, just as there were things to be done after the Twin Towers were attacked during Clinton's presidency. And he did them. He reacted like it was a criminal act, and he brought those criminals to justice.

What we need is to stop letting Republicans beat us over the head with 9/11, using it to bludgeon dissent.

Ahh, Bushco crushing dissent in the country... dissent such as a US Senator trying to censure the president... or dissent such as that aired every single day against the President and the majority party in Congress.

Yes, we just haven't had enough dissent in this country since 9/11...

And what better way to show OBL & Co that you're serious about "bringing them to justice" than to send the fuzz (either the FBI or Interpol) after them? What in the hell is littleJackie smoking? The perpetrators of 9/11 were incinerated with their victims... who in the hell would he arrest?

Perhaps if Clinton had treated the first WTC attack as a military attack, the towers would still be standing today.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

USA Today: Don't Know Much About History...

From USA Today's Letters to the Editors section:

While they rail against same-sex marriages or remain silent, one hopes that black ministers would remember that it wasn't that long ago that blacks and whites were not permitted to marry. Fortunately, regulations against interracial marriage were struck down in a blow against discrimination.

They also should remember that the Republican-controlled South started as a backlash against Democrats who fought for equal rights for blacks.

One must pray that in the forthcoming elections, blacks do not let themselves be used on an issue such as same-sex marriage by Republicans and an administration that is seemingly insensitive to lower-income blacks and the poor of all races.

Claude M. Gruener
Austin

Emphasis mine... I don't seem to recall southern Democrats fighting for equal rights for blacks in the South. The Civil Rights movement and its political ramifications could be described and debated in a variety of ways, but to suggest that the Dems were the ones that "fought for equal rights for blacks" is simply incorrect.

I realize that the editors didn't pen this inaccuracy, but they did select the letter for publicaion. Perhaps the editors at USA Today should spend some time in a history book... or check out Wikipedia. It was more of a North vs. South issue than one of party affiliation.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Or Someone In His Organization

9:18 pm, July 6th, 2005:

and finally my speculation... This man [Colin Powell] (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.

From today's Washington Post (H/T ARC:Brian):
Magazine: Bradlee Knows Woodward's Source on Plame

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 14, 2006; Page A02

Vanity Fair is reporting that former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee says it is reasonable to assume former State Department official Richard L. Armitage is likely the source who revealed CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward.

In an article to be published in the magazine today, Bradlee is quoted as saying: "That Armitage is the likely source is a fair assumption." Armitage was deputy secretary of state in President Bush's first term.

Well, all I have to say is...

I was right. Although I probably wasn't the first to identify Powell (or someone in his organization) as the source.

First, I did call out "someone in his organization"... back in July 2005, when the MSM was still calling for Herr Gruepenfuerher Rove's head. When Libby was identified as Fitzy's target, I still held out that Powell ("or someone in his organization") was the source of the leak. Second, we all know that Armitage can't blow his nose without Colin Powell's permission. If the DUers can claim that Cheney/Bush/Rove knew about the Plame leak simply b/c Libby was involve, I can make the preceding assertion.

As always, check out Tom Maguire at Just One Minute for all your Plame coverage.

Good Night and Good Luck!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Dominique de Villepin: Capitalist Pig

First, I should note that both ARC:Brian and I are conspiring from an undisclosed location. Needless to say, we're behind enemy lines, but have kept our profile low over the past few days.

Now, whenever I'm searching for something to comment on, the International Herald Tribune (aka the international NYTimes w/o the b.s. TimeSelect) always provides the cure. Apparently, even Dominique de Villepin is too hard core for the cheese-eating surrender monkeys:

Even those it's supposed to help, it seems, oppose French jobs law
By Katrin Bennhold International Herald Tribune

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2006
CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, France Donga Brahim is the kind of young person Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin might have had in mind when he drew up a new labor law that has set off student protests across France.

Brahim, 21, a Frenchman of Malian descent, left high school without a diploma. For the last three years he has struggled to make ends meet via short- term contracts followed by bouts of unemployment.

His world in Clichy-sous-Bois, the rundown immigrant suburb northeast of Paris where last year's riots started, could not be further from that of the students blockading most of France's universities. But Brahim is just as opposed as they are to the new labor law, which seeks to encourage companies to hire young people by making it easier to lay them off.

"The students are also demonstrating for us," he said, leaning against a friend's dilapidated car outside a row of suburban tower blocks. Like the protesters, he says he believes the law will make young people more vulnerable to losing their jobs. "This is not about color or about whether you are in the suburbs or not," he said. "This is about all young people - white, black and Arab."

For Villepin, who has made the new law a symbol of his leadership, this could be about his political future. The Gaullist prime minister faces a crucial week, with protests against the legislation growing stronger by the day and even those it was designed to help speaking out against it.

The measure was conceived in the wake of the November riots, which took place in neighborhoods with jobless rates that sometimes reach 40 percent among the young. Passed last week and due to take effect in April, it created a new contract allowing employers who hire people under the age of 26 to fire them without justification during the first two years.

This sharp departure from standard French ideas about job security was pounced on by students and labor union members, who marched in the hundreds of thousands last week to protest the law. Villepin's political opponents have joined the fray, with the opposition Socialists vehemently denouncing the law and even some politicians on the right now questioning its wisdom.

Villepin went on television Sunday night and refused to withdraw the law, sparking new protests by students. The disturbances have disrupted about 45 French campuses, the Education Ministry said, and a growing number of deans are calling for the legislation to be suspended. More nationwide protests are set for Thursday and Saturday.

As students in Paris's Latin Quarter prepare for the protests, Brahim, in Clichy-sous-Bois, proudly exhibits the back of his hooded black sweatshirt: It bears the outlines of a large "93," the number identifying the Seine-Saint Denis department north of Paris that is home to a large immigrant population.

Brahim says he does not know any university students in Paris and has little in common with them. He is now employed at a car workshop on a temporary contract. But he says he prefers that to the contract proposed by Villepin, which he says would make young people of immigrant origin even more vulnerable to being fired for no reason, without creating any more jobs.

"They say this is their answer to the riots," he said, "but what we really need is a law against discrimination."
[...]

Now, I think the law is stupid. But not b/c I think it should be difficult to fire those under 26... it should be easy. But it should be easy to fire anyone you want that works for you. The inability to fire someone may seem like job security, but it is the surest way to business failure - and without business, there are no jobs (despite what the folks at DU & Kos will tell you). The more difficult it is to fire anyone, the more careful that business will be when it looks for new employees. Thus, there is a direct correlation between strict laws regarding termination and unemployment.

With political realities such as this, it's difficult to imagine that France (or Europe as a whole for that matter) is headed for anywhere but the ash-heap of history. This is a simple regulation... perhaps if de Villepin had more political courage, he would recommend that it apply to any employee. However, I have a feeling that the poet is not interested in taking chances.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

After-Effects of Our DPW Hysteria

In addition to the potential loss of Boeing's number 1 customer (Dubai), it looks like there could be significant ramifications in terms of the valuation of the US dollar:

Arab central banks move assets out of dollar
By Philip Thornton, Economics Correspondent
Published: 14 March 2006

Middle Eastern anger over the decision by the US to block a Dubai company from buying five of its ports hit the dollar yesterday as a number of central banks said they were considering switching reserves into euros.

The United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, said it was looking to move one-tenth of its dollar reserves into euros, while the governor of the Saudi Arabian central bank condemned the US move as "discrimination".

Separately, Syria responded to US sanctions against two of its banks by confirming plans to use euros instead of dollars for its external transactions.

The remarks combined to knock the dollar, which fell against the euro, pound and yen yesterday as analysts warned other central banks might follow suit.

Last week the US caused dismay after political opposition to the takeover of P&O by Dubai Ports World forced DPW to agree to transfer P&O's US port management business to a "US entity" .

The governor of the UAE central bank, Sultan Nasser al-Suweidi, said the bank was looking to convert 10 per cent of its reserves, which stand at $23bn (£13.5bn), from dollars to euros. "They are contravening their own principles," he said. "Investors are going to take this into consideration [and] will look at investment opportunities through new binoculars."

Hamad Saud al-Sayyari, the governor of the Saudi Arabian monetary authority, said: "Is it protection or discrimination? Is it okay for US companies to buy everywhere but it is not okay for other companies to buy the US?"
[...]
The euro rose a quarter of one percentage point against the dollar to a one-week high of $1.1945, although it retreated in later trading.

Monica Fan, at RBC Capital Markets, said: "The issue is whether we will see similar attitudes taken by other Middle Eastern banks. It is a question of momentum."

Middle Eastern anger over the decision by the US to block a Dubai company from buying five of its ports hit the dollar yesterday as a number of central banks said they were considering switching reserves into euros.

The United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, said it was looking to move one-tenth of its dollar reserves into euros, while the governor of the Saudi Arabian central bank condemned the US move as "discrimination".

Separately, Syria responded to US sanctions against two of its banks by confirming plans to use euros instead of dollars for its external transactions.

The remarks combined to knock the dollar, which fell against the euro, pound and yen yesterday as analysts warned other central banks might follow suit.
[...]
The governor of the UAE central bank, Sultan Nasser al-Suweidi, said the bank was looking to convert 10 per cent of its reserves, which stand at $23bn (£13.5bn), from dollars to euros. "They are contravening their own principles," he said. "Investors are going to take this into consideration [and] will look at investment opportunities through new binoculars."

In addition to the whole hyperbolic reaction by the press and Congress, it's not good business practices to reverse course on a deal that has already been inked. While I wouldn't be surprised for the People's Republic of China to step in and cancel a deal, that isn't supposed to happen in the US. Of course, domestic political considerations seem to trump common sense and a rational discussion at every turn these days.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, March 13, 2006

Daily Quote

From my planner thingy....

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way to of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.

Benjamin Franklin, 1766

It's amazing which quotes the "progressives" like to use from our founding fathers.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, March 12, 2006

As Predicted

As I predicted on Friday (see comment), now that the Dems have attacked W. for being weak on terror by letting an ally in the WOT go forward with the acqusition of operations at our ports, they're shifting to attacking W. for being too aggressive in the War On Terror.

Senator Feingold is going to push for articles of impeachment unless Bush goes in front of a prayer breakfast and says he's really, really sorry for listening in to terrorist calls back to their handlers abroad and accepts a censure from the Congress.

It's interesting that when there's an issue which has little or no effect on the security of the US (management of ports by the very country that has our fleet docked in their country), the Dems champion that issue (in this case, terminating the deal). When an issue arises which has a clear and effective mission in the war on terror (as in the NSA terrorist surveillance program), the Dems attack the president for being so effective.

Let me pose this hypothetical... Suppose a dirty bomb arrives in a container in a US port (operated by someone other than DPW) and a phone call is made from Jiddah, Saudi Arabia (favorite vacation spot for algore) to a sleeper cell that has an operative working at the port, instructing them to expode the device. If the international call is intercepted and the dirty bomb is never detonated, do the Dems champion the fact that the ports are operated by a US (or Chinese?) company, while at the same time attacking the "illegal" use of the wiretap which ultimately was the reason for averting the attack?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Times Chicago Tribune: All the News that's Fit to Print

Interesting article in the Chicago Tribune... This is one of the few stories that I've seen looking into the fundamental question as to whether Plame was actually undercover, given her daily trips to Langley, her assignment to an embassy, etc.

Plame's identity, if truly a secret, was thinly veiled

BY JOHN CREWDSON
Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON - The question of whether Valerie Plame's employment by the Central Intelligence Agency was a secret is the key issue in the two-year investigation to determine if someone broke the law by leaking her CIA affiliation to the news media.

Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald contends that Plame's friends "had no idea she had another life." But Plame's secret life could be easily penetrated with the right computer sleuthing and an understanding of how the CIA's covert employees work.

When the Chicago Tribune searched for Plame on an Internet service that sells public information about private individuals to its subscribers, it got a report of more than 7,600 words. Included was the fact that in the early 1990s her address was "AMERICAN EMBASSY ATHENS ST, APO NEW YORK NY 09255."
[...]
According to CIA veterans, U.S. intelligence officers working in American embassies under "diplomatic cover" are almost invariably known to friendly and opposition intelligence services alike.

"If you were in an embassy," said a former CIA officer who posed as a U.S. diplomat in several countries, "you could count 100 percent on the Soviets knowing."

Plame's true function likely would have been known to friendly intelligence agencies as well. The former senior diplomat recalled, for example, that she served as one of the "control officers" coordinating the visit of President George H.W. Bush to Greece and Turkey in July 1991.
[...]
Two years later, when Plame made a $1,000 contribution to Vice President Al Gore, she listed her employer as Brewster-Jennings & Associates, a Boston company apparently set up by the CIA to provide "commercial cover" for some of its operatives.

Brewster-Jennings was not a terribly convincing cover. According to Dun & Bradstreet, the company, created in 1994, is a "legal services office" grossing $60,000 a year and headed by a chief executive named Victor Brewster. Commercial databases accessible by the Tribune contain no indication that such a person exists.

Another sign of Brewster-Jennings' link to the CIA came from the online resume of a Washington attorney, who until last week claimed to have been employed by Brewster-Jennings as an "engineering consultant" from 1985 to 1989 and to have served from 1989 to 1995 as a CIA "case officer," the agency's term for field operatives who collect information from paid informants.
[...]
After Plame left her diplomatic post and joined Brewster-Jennings, she became what is known in CIA parlance as an "NOC," shorthand for an intelligence officer working under "non-official cover." But several CIA veterans questioned how someone with an embassy background could have successfully passed herself off as a private-sector consultant with no government connections.

Genuine NOCs, a CIA veteran said, "never use an official address. If she had (a diplomatic) address, her whole cover's completely phony. I used to run NOCs. I was in an embassy. I'd go out and meet them, clandestine meetings. I'd pay them cash to run assets or take trips. I'd give them a big bundle of cash. But they could never use an embassy address, ever."

Another CIA veteran with 20 years of service agreed that "the key is the (embassy) address. That is completely unacceptable for an NOC. She wasn't an NOC, period."

After Plame was transferred back to CIA headquarters in the mid-1990s, she continued to pass herself off as a private energy consultant. But the first CIA veteran noted: "You never let a true NOC go into an official facility. You don't drive into headquarters with your car, ever."

I think it's clear that her "undercover" status is probably more of a technicality than an actual status. In all likelihood, given the Walter Mitty mindset of her husband, she liked playing the role of an undercover. I think it's interesting that the Chicago Tribune is the first paper (that I'm aware of) to actively find out information about Plame from public sources, instead of simply accepting the assertions of Amb. Wilson.

Interesting that she donated to Algore's campaign... I wonder if that had anything to do with her trying to discredit the Niger story by sending her incompetent husband to look into the matter?

I'm sure ARC:Brian will want to comment, since he's been on top of this story since its inception.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Newspaper Recognizes Internet - Admits Defeat

H/T Drudge

It appears that the NYTimes has finally recognized that most people don't actually read the stock quote pages, preferring instead up to date information. This is specifically due to the fact that if you're interested in the price of the stock, you have about thousands of resources which are more time sensitive (and thus accurate) at your fingertips, from the interweb thingy that Algore invented to the 24 hour cable financial channels.

April Fool’s: No NYT Stocks

No, that won’t be an April Fool’s Day prank by The New York Times. I’m told that, on April 1st, the Grey Lady is planning to drop its Monday-through-Friday stock listings and to replace them with some kind of new web access. In the paper will be a very limited 1 1/2 pages, trimming those thousands of stock tables to just hundreds. Plans are being finalized what to do on the weekends. Newspaper industry sources tell me that this could represent a $10 million savings to the NYT in newsprint costs and editorial space: ”The way for papers to save money short of getting rid of people is to get rid of stock pages.” For years, the nation’s 900+ newspapers have run the AP’s stock tables, so the trend is going to hurt non-profit AP’s revenues. In the past month alone, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, and the Denver Post are just some of the papers that have eliminated their stock listings. But the NYT is the biggest newspaper yet to follow the trend: after the Grey Lady, comes le deluge. Could it be possible that the Wall Street Journal is next? Speaking of the WSJ, I’m told to expect another round of staff cuts through layoffs and attrition.

Heck, I would trade all of the pages of stock quotes for more insight and analysis in the markets, business, etc.

I expect that the WSJ to be the last holdout in this regard, but ultimately all dead tree publisher will all submit to the will of the Internet.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler