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

Friday, March 24, 2006

Once Upon a Time in Mosul

Watch this video... produced by a soldier on the front lines, Buck Sargeant at American Citizen Soldier:

Watch the Video Tribute HERE

Filmed, Edited, and Produced by Buck Sargent

It is a worthy thing to fight for one’s freedom; it is another sight finer to fight for another man’s.
-Mark Twain

On April 4th, 2004 Army Specialist Casey Sheehan and seven fellow soldiers were killed during protracted combat with Shi'ite insurgents in Sadr City, Iraq. Sheehan, a Humvee mechanic, had volunteered for the rescue mission to relieve his besieged comrades only to be ambushed himself while en route. He had been in country for five days.

President Bush has made it clear that "America will not abandon Iraq" on his watch, yet he has acknowledged that the mission will likely continue on well past his presidency. And as in any long war, what is required most is a long lens and a long-run perspective in order to fully comprehend what is at stake and what he have to lose by declaring unconditional surrender. Such were the days when the American people demanded it of our enemies, not our own armies.

Ours has become an instant gratification nation, the countdown to ADD-Day stalking the horizon. Heading into its fourth year, the Iraq War has now lasted longer than most celebrity marriages. (Correction: Desert Storm lasted longer than the average celebrity marriage). It has been said that the Vietnam War was lost on television, and that was when there were only three channels on and they all screamed: RETREAT! But soldiers don’t watch the news, we make it. That is why the MSM refuse to tell our story, that is why they continue to poison the well back home, and that is why soldiers have taken it upon ourselves to “tell it like it is” on the internet.

Casey Sheehan's mother asks, “What did my son die for?” as she hops the globe with her traveling Cirque du Solemnity. His actions that fateful day provide the answer. Her son -- regrettably, now the second most famous Sheehan -- and the thousands of others like him, died for their brothers in arms. For their families at home. For their country. For a people they had little in common with other than a desire to live free from fear. For children that were not their own, but that reminded them of home. For the same thing forgotten Americans have long died for in forgotten places like Takur Gahr, Mogadishu, Hue City, Inchon, the Ardennes, Cold Harbor, and Bunker Hill.

They died not for "nothing," but for no thing. They died for a set of ideals, principles, a creed. Imaginary concepts impossible to “deconstruct,” yet born out of war and nourished by the blood of patriots in a long line of succession that remains unmoved, unbroken, and unmatched. Displaying the best known side of human nature: steadfast opposition to its worst. Becoming intimate with war, thus allowing others to know peace. Sacrificing their future progeny for another's, in defense of the weak and the vulnerable. Avenging the ghostly remains left behind from a tyrant unburdened by conscience. To protect the right of lesser men (and women) to freely and openly ridicule their sacrifice.

“What did my son die for?” A question better left to Iraqis themselves to answer. Take the mayor of Tall’Afar, Najim Abdullah Abid al-Jibouri:

“To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.”

Casey Sheehan was killed defending freedom on Palm Sunday.

Cindy, says Mayor Najim, let not your heart be hardened. Be not bitter, but proud. None that walk among us are immortal, and to bury a child is forever a tragedy. Yet your son lost his life in the most honorable manner possible. He died so that others may live.

I’d say that puts him in pretty good company.

Compare this uplifting video with anything created by that psychopath Erich Blumrich....

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

So, I'm in Canada...


... and watching the weather report while I'm waiting for my flight back to the US. I'm in Quebec and I think the dual languages on the signs are appropriate. However, I think there should be a rule that the names of places do not require translation. For example, Montreal is shown twice on the TV when discussing the weather, like this:

Montréal / Montreal

I'm sorry, but I think any English speaker would recognize Montréal... But if they think their citizens are so sensitive and dense that they can't understand that spelling, that's their call. Fine.

BUT, I have to say that they should refrain from doing the same with cities outside of Canada. For example, they spelled "New Orleans" as "Nouvelles Orleans" as well. They also spelled "Francfort / Frankfort," nevermind that the latter spelling is incorrect in English (and German), as well. On and on it goes here in Quebec.

Oh, and it is no wonder that the Canadians have the attitudes about Americans that they do. While eating dinner last night, three loud Americans played to type. They were loud and obnoxious, denigrating everything from Canadian currency to hockey. If you're proud to be an American, the best way to demonstrate your pride is to keep it to yourself. The "big man on campus" doesn't have to tear down the little guy - because everyone knows the score.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Baa-Baa Black Rainbow Sheep...

... have you any [rainbow-colored?] wool?"

Here's the story from the UK:

Nursery Rhyme 'Un PC'
Updated: 11:57, Tuesday March 07, 2006

The 'PC Brigade' have caused another storm by rewriting a favourite nursery rhyme. They have changed Baa Baa Black Sheep to - Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep. Several nurseries have changed the traditional rhyme so as not offend ethnic minorities, it has been reported. They say the words "black sheep" alienate and offend young black children.

And that's not the only rhyme to get a 2006 makeover. Humpty Dumpty has a miraculous escape from impending disaster when he falls from his wall - and stays in one piece. Teachers say they do not want children to be upset by the human egg's scrapes.

The controversial changes, which have been seized on as political correctness gone mad, have been introduced by some nursery schools in Oxfordshire. Stuart Chamberlain, manager of the Family Centre in Abingdon and the Sure Start centre in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, defended the move. He told the Courier Journal newspaper: "We have taken the equal opportunities approach to everything we do. This is fairly standard across nurseries."

But parents are reported to be unhappy with the move. "Baa Baa Black Sheep is one of the most well-known nursery rhymes for generations," one parent told The Times. "For people to come and fiddle with it is ridiculous."

Now, this is just insane. I don't think that even Oliver Willis would object to this classic nursery rhyme. Here is the "offensive" rhyme in full (for those that are hyper-sensitive, it's best to avert your eyes.... now):
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

One for the master,
One for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

One to mend the jerseys
one to mend the socks
and one to mend the holes in
the little girls' frocks.

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.

The racist overtones certainly come right through, don't they? And what is the educational reason for the "overly offensive" Baa Baa Blacksheep?:
"Baa, baa black sheep" Nursery Rhyme History

Educational reasons for the poem "Baa, baa black sheep"poem
The reason to the words and history to this song were to associate wool and wool products with the animal that produces it, not to mention the sound that a sheep would make! The first grasp of language for a child or baby is to imitate the sounds or noises that animals make - onomatopoeia (words sound like their meaning e.g. baa baa in "Baa, baa black sheep"). In some of the earlier versions of "Baa, baa black sheep" the title is actually given as "Ba, ba black sheep" - it is difficult to spell sounds!

The History and Origins of Baa Baa Black Sheep Nursery Rhyme
The wool industry was critical to the country's economy from the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century so it is therefore not surprising that it is celebrated in the Baa Baa Black Sheep Nursery Rhyme. An historical connection for this rhyme has been suggested - a political satire said to refer to the Plantagenet King Richard III (the Master) and the the export tax imposed in Britain in 1275 in which the English Customs Statute authorised the king to collect a tax on all exports of wool in every port in the country. But our further research indicates another possible connection of this Nursery rhyme to English history relating to King Edward II (1307-1327). The best wool in Europe was produced in England but the cloth workers from Flanders, Bruges and Lille were better skilled in the complex finishing trades such as dying and fulling (cleansing, shrinking, and thickening the cloth). King Edward II encouraged Flemmish weavers and cloth dyers to improve the quality of the final English products.

Words and Music
The earliest publication date for the "Baa, baa black sheep" rhyme or poem is dated 1744. Music was first published for "Baa, baa black sheep" was in the early nineteenth century making it into a song for children.

So, not only is the Oxfordshire school district embarrasing itself, it's failing to educate the children by removing the onomatopoeia and replacing it with "baa baa Rainbow." And who in the heck wants rainbow colored wool????

As Jeff Goldstein demonstrated with the "controversy" over King Kong a few months ago, any story can be twisted to assign meanings which clearly weren't the intent of the authors:
Long-time readers of this site have heard me mention this before, but several years back, while teaching an honor’s seminar in interpretation theory, I made the intentionalist argument via a backhanded play: having assigned H.A. and Margret Rey’s Curious George to my class, I supplied along with it three essays (ostensibly from scholarly journals), each purporting to analyze the story through a specific theoretical lens.

The essays were fakes (see a portion of one here)—I had written them myself and attributed them to professors and academic journals I’d invented (without making my students aware of this just yet)—but each one represented a well-argued reading of the story: one from the perspective of queer theory and iconography (the tension created in the interpretive space between experiencing the illustrations and “reading” the text; the shape of the Big Yellow Hat; the tall, phallic tries in the foreground; an illustration of George and the Man in the Big Yellow Hat being rowed out to a waiting steamship by a sailor, whose crotch and straining muscles provided the focal point of the illustration—all while George smiled, his tongue exposed; George slipping in the Man in the Big Yellow Hat’s pajamas, etc); one that drew on feminist theory (the notable lack of women in the story); and finally, one from post-colonial theory (the Man in the Big Yellow Hat goes to Africa, traps the native Other, and brings him home as a trophy/pet, where he sets out to try to domesticate the troublesomely curious monkey).

Ultimately, my point was to argue that, though all of these interpretations were plausible and, indeed, coherent and compelling, if argued persuasively—in what way could H.A. and Margret Rey’s Curious George be said to mean any of these things?

Clearly, the “meaning” here was being derived from what we were able to do with the signifiers—with how we were able to resignify them so that they fit a narrative of our own interpretive process. What was missing, however, was the final (and most important) step: what is the likelihood we had correctly reconstructed the Reys’ signs? And of course, to decide that, we had to focus on the Reys’ intent. Were the Reys—either consciously or unconsciously—writing a homoerotic narrative (or, more literally, a narrative implying approval for bestiality)? A misogynistic narrative? A racist, imperialist narrative of subjugation of the native other? Or were they simply interested in writing a story about a man and a monkey?

Not surprisingly, the class—after careful consideration of the evidence—decided on the last.

The bottom line being, that though Curious George could come to mean a lot of things, what that meaning is remains dependent upon how the signifiers (both verbal and iconongraphic) are resignified and shaped into a narrative of our own process of decoding and re-encoding. And in both principle and kind, some of the “meanings” we considered in class were derived no differently than were the meanings early Puritan settlers took from a locus infestation (which, when seen through a particular interpretive worlview, suggests a sign of God’s wrath), or those a child sees in clouds, where he discovers a fluffy bunny or a rocking chair; because without appealing to authorial intent, we become the authors of the text; and because we are in effect rewriting that text, we have created an entirely new text.

Clearly, the Oxfordshire school administrators are not as intelligent as Jeff's students. Perhaps they could enroll in one of his classes?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Just in case you don't read the Jerusalem Post...

This Mark Steyn is a must read... as always, he puts everything into perspective:

Down with stability
mark steyn, THE JERUSALEM POST Mar. 22, 2006

Three years ago, in the weeks before the invasion of Iraq, it fell to the then prime minister of Canada to make the most witless public statement on the subject by any G7 leader.

"Your president has won," Jean Chretien told ABC News in early March 2003. So there was no need to have a big ol' war because, with 250,000 American and British troops on his borders, Saddam was "in a box." "He won," said Mr. Chretien of Bush. "He has created a situation where Saddam cannot do anything anymore. He has troops at the door and inspectors on the ground... You're winning it big."

That's easy for him to say, and committing other countries' armies to "contain" Iraq is easy for him to do. A quarter million soldiers cannot sit in the sands of Araby twiddling their thumbs indefinitely. "Containment" is not a strategy but the absence of strategy - and thug states understand it as such. In Saddam's case, he'd supposedly been "contained" since the first Gulf War in 1991, when Bush Sr. balked at finishing what he'd started. "Mr. President," Joe Biden, the Democrat Senator and beloved comic figure, condescendingly explained to Bush Jr. in 2002, "there is a reason your father stopped and did not go to Baghdad. The reason he stopped is he didn't want to be there for five years."

By my math, that means the Americans would have been out in spring of 1996. Instead, 12 years on, in the spring of 2003 the USAF and RAF were still policing the no-fly zone, ineffectually bombing Iraq every other week. And, in place of congratulations for their brilliant "containment" of Saddam, Washington was blamed for UN sanctions and systematically starving to death a million Iraqi kids - or two million, according to which "humanitarian" agency you believe. The few Iraqi moppets who weren't deceased suffered, according to the Nobel-winning playwright and thinker Harold Pinter, from missing genitals and/or rectums that leaked blood contaminated by depleted uranium from Anglo-American ordnance. Touring Iraq a few weeks after the war, I made a point of stopping in every hospital and enquiring about this pandemic of genital-less Iraqis: not a single doctor or nurse had heard about it. Whether or not BUSH LIED!! PEOPLE DIED!!!, it seems that THE ANTI-WAR CROWDS SQUEAK!!! BUT NO RECTUMS LEAK!!!!

A NEW study by the American Enterprise Institute suggests that, aside from the terrific press, continuing this policy would not have come cheap for America: if you object (as John Kerry did) to the $400-600 billion price tag since the war, another three years of "containment" would have cost around $300 billion - and with no end in sight, and the alleged death toll of Iraqi infants no doubt up around six million. It would also have cost more real lives of real Iraqis: Despite the mosque bombings, there's a net gain of more than 100,000 civilians alive today who would have been shoveled into unmarked graves had Ba'athist rule continued. Meanwhile, the dictator would have continued gaming the international system through the Oil-for-Food program, subverting Jordan, and supporting terrorism as far afield as the Philippines.

So three years on, unlike Francis Fukuyama and the other moulting hawks, my only regret is that America didn't invade earlier. Yeah yeah, you sneer, what about the only WMD? Sorry. Don't care. Never did. My argument for whacking Saddam was always that the price of leaving him unwhacked was too high. He was the preeminent symbol of the September 10th world; his continuation in office testified to America's lack of will, and was seen as such by, among others, Osama bin Laden: In Donald Rumsfeld's words, weakness is a provocation. So the immediate objective was to show neighboring thugs that the price of catching America's eye was too high. The long term strategic goal was to begin the difficult but necessary transformation of the region that the British funked when they cobbled together the modern Middle East in 1922.

THE JURY will be out on that for a decade or three yet. But in Iraq today the glass is seven-ninths full. That's to say, in 14 out of 18 provinces life is better than it's been in living memory. In December, 70% of Iraqis said that "life is good" and 69% were optimistic it would get even better in the next year. (Comparable figures in a similar poll of French and Germans: 29% and 15%.)

I see the western press has pretty much given up on calling the Ba'athist dead-enders and foreign terrorists "insurgents" presumably because they were insurging so ineffectually. So now it's a "civil war." Remember what a civil war looks like? Generally, they have certain features: large-scale population movements, mutinous units in the armed forces, rival governments springing up, rebels seizing the radio station. None of these are present in Iraq. The slavering western media keep declaring a civil war every 48 hours but those layabout Iraqis persist in not showing up for it.

True, there's a political stalemate in Baghdad at the moment, but that's not a catastrophe: if you read the very federal Iraqi constitution carefully, the ingenious thing about it is that it's not just a constitution but also a pre-nup. If the Sunni hold-outs are determined to wreck the deal, 85% of the Iraqi population will go their respective ways creating a northern Kurdistan that would be free and pro-western and a southern Shiastan that would still be the most democratic state in the Arab world. That outcome would also be in America's long-term interest.

Indeed, almost any outcome would. In 2002, Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, warned that a US invasion of Iraq would "threaten the whole stability of the Middle East." Of course. Otherwise, why do it?

Diplomats use "stability" as a fancy term to dignify inertia and complacency as geopolitical sophistication, but the lesson of 9/11 is that "stability" is profoundly unstable. The unreal realpolitik of the previous 40 years had given the region a stability unique in the non-democratic world, and in return they exported their toxins, both as manpower (on 9/11) and as ideology. Instability was as good a strategic objective as any. As Sam Goldwyn used to tell his screenwriters, I'm sick of the old clich s, bring me some new clich s. When the old clich s are Ba'athism, Islamism and Arafatism, the new ones can hardly be worse, and one or two of them might even buck the region's dismal history. The biggest buck for the bang was obvious: prick the Middle East bubble at its most puffed up point - Saddam's Iraq.

YES, IT'S come at a price. In the last three years, 2,316 brave Americans have given their lives in Iraq, which is as high as US fatalities in Vietnam - in one month, May 1968. And, if the survival of Saddam embodied the west's lack of will, the European-Democratic Party-media hysteria over the last three years keeps that question open. But that doesn't change the facts on the ground. Instead of relying on the usual ineffectual proxies, Bush made the most direct western intervention in the region since General Allenby took Jerusalem in the Great War. Now on to the next stage.

With regard to Civil War, the points Steyn makes are valid and have been on my mind for some time. If this is civil war, why hasn't Sadr formed his own theocracy in exile? Where is the massive unrest, with neighbor killing neighbor over the future of their country? No, it's merely thugs taking potshots at civilians and targets of opportunity when they are at their most vulnerable.

And we do need to keep things in perspective as it relates to the cost of this war (both in terms of the lives of our soldiers and in the financial expenditure). My brother-in-law and his joint force TRANSCOM unit, based out of Scott Air Force Base in Illinois and assigned to Qatar, Iraq, and Afghanistan, helped to increase the chances that a US soldier will survive their time on the battlefield. And much of the criticism about Iraq fails to recognize that the "box" that Saddam was in was quickly evaporating... as UN Security Council members continued to receive Oil-for-Fraud money and actively pursue the elimination of sanctions against Iraq. Had H.W. had the cojones of W, his son wouldn't have had to deal with Saddam in 2003... and I would venture to suggest that his son wouldn't have had to deal with 9/11, either.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

NOTHING TO SEE HERE!!! NOTHING TO SEE HERE!!!

Whatever you do, don't click on this link

link

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Well, here you go... ABC News has 1 item related to the Russians potentially leaking the US war plan to Iraq, and 4 (out of 6 total) items related to Saddam and Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and French collusion with the Oil-For-Fraud scandal, hiding WMDs, etc.... strange that they picked the headline highlighted in bold below...

Did Russian Ambassador Give Saddam the U.S. War Plan?
Iraq Archive Document Alleges Russian Official Described Locations, Troops, Tanks and Other Forces Before Operation Iraqi Freedom Began
[...]
"Osama bin Laden Contact With Iraq"

A newly released prewar Iraqi document indicates that an official representative of Saddam Hussein's government met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan on February 19, 1995, after receiving approval from Saddam Hussein. Bin Laden asked that Iraq broadcast the lectures of Suleiman al Ouda, a radical Saudi preacher, and suggested "carrying out joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. According to the document, Saddam's presidency was informed of the details of the meeting on March 4, 1995, and Saddam agreed to dedicate a program for them on the radio. The document states that further "development of the relationship and cooperation between the two parties to be left according to what's open [in the future] based on dialogue and agreement on other ways of cooperation." The Sudanese were informed about the agreement to dedicate the program on the radio.

The report then states that "Saudi opposition figure" bin Laden had to leave Sudan in July 1996 after it was accused of harboring terrorists. It says information indicated he was in Afghanistan. "The relationship with him is still through the Sudanese. We're currently working on activating this relationship through a new channel in light of his current location," it states.

(Editor's Note: This document is handwritten and has no official seal. Although contacts between bin Laden and the Iraqis have been reported in the 9/11 Commission report and elsewhere (e.g., the 9/11 report states "Bin Ladn himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995) this document indicates the contacts were approved personally by Saddam Hussein.

It also indicates the discussions were substantive, in particular that bin Laden was proposing an operational relationship, and that the Iraqis were, at a minimum, interested in exploring a potential relationship and prepared to show good faith by broadcasting the speeches of al Ouda, the radical cleric who was also a bin Laden mentor.

The document does not establish that the two parties did in fact enter into an operational relationship. Given that the document claims bin Laden was proposing to the Iraqis that they conduct "joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia, it is worth noting that eight months after the meeting -- on November 13, 1995 -- terrorists attacked Saudi National Guard Headquarters in Riyadh, killing 5 U.S. military advisers. The militants later confessed on Saudi TV to having been trained by Osama bin Laden.)


"Osama bin Laden and the Taliban"

Document dated Sept. 15, 2001

An Iraqi intelligence service document saying that their Afghan informant, who's only identified by a number, told them that the Afghan consul Ahmed Dahastani claimed the following in front of him:

That OBL and the Taliban are in contact with Iraq and that a group of Taliban and bin Laden group members visited Iraq
That the U.S. has proof the Iraqi government and "bin Laden's group" agreed to cooperate to attack targets inside America.
That in case the Taliban and bin Laden's group turn out to be involved in "these destructive operations," the U.S. may strike Iraq and Afghanistan.
That the Afghan consul heard about the issue of Iraq's relationship with "bin Laden's group" while he was in Iran.

At the end, the writer recommends informing "the committee of intentions" about the above-mentioned items. The signature on the document is unclear.

(Editor's Note: The controversial claim that Osama bin Laden was cooperating with Saddam Hussein is an ongoing matter of intense debate. While the assertions contained in this document clearly support the claim, the sourcing is questionable -- i.e., an unnamed Afghan "informant" reporting on a conversation with another Afghan "consul." The date of the document -- four days after 9/11 -- is worth noting but without further corroboration, this document is of limited evidentiary value.)

"Election Campaign Laws in France"

Documents dated July-August 1999

Correspondence regarding election campaigns in France. This includes a document from the Iraqi intelligence service classified as "secret," ordering the translation of important parts of a 1997 report about campaign financing laws in France. It also includes a document from the foreign minister's office indicating the report was attached. The attached translated report included very detailed information about all the regulations regarding financing of election campaigns in France. Translation was done by someone called Salam Abdul Karim Mohammed.

(Editor's Note: This is an intriguing document that suggests Saddam Hussein's regime had a strong interest in the mechanics and legalities of financial contributions to French politicians. Several former French politicians are implicated in receiving oil vouchers from Iraq under the U.N. Oil for Food program.)

"Hiding Docs from the U.N. Team"

Document dated March 23, 1997

A letter from the Iraqi intelligence service to directors and managers advising them to follow certain procedures in case of a search by the U.N. team, including:

Removing correspondence with the atomic energy and military industry departments concerning the prohibited weapons (proposals, research, studies, catalogs, etc.)
Removing prohibited materials and equipment, including documents and catalogs and making sure to clear labs and storages of any traces of chemical or biological materials that were previously used or stored
Doing so through a committee which will decide whether to destroy the documents
Removing files from computers.

The letter also advises them on how they should answer questions by U.N. team members. It says the intelligence service should be informed within one week about the progress made in discarding the documents.

(Editor's Note: This document is consistent with the Report of the Special Adviser to the Director of Central Intelligence, which described a pattern of deception and concealment on the part of Saddam Hussein's government toward the U.N. inspectors in the mid to late 1990s. Hussein halted all cooperation with those inspectors and expelled them in October 1998.)

"Al Qaeda Presence in Iraq"

Document dated August 2002

A number of correspondences to check rumors that some members of al Qaeda organization have entered Iraq. Three letters say this information cannot be confirmed. The letter on page seven, however, says that information coming from "a trustworthy source" indicates that subjects who are interested in dealing with al Qaeda are in Iraq and have several passports.

The letter seems to be coming from or going to Trebil, a town on the Iraqi-Jordanian border. Follow up on the presence of those subjects is ordered, as well as a comparison of their pictures with those of Jordanian subjects living in Iraq. (This may be referring to pictures of Abu Musaab al Zarqawi and another man on pages 4-6.) The letter also says tourist areas, including hotels and rented apartments, should be searched.

(Editor's Note: This document indicates that the Iraqis were aware of and interested in reports that members of al Qaeda were present in Iraq in 2002. The document does not support allegations that Iraq was colluding with al Qaeda.)

and it's so helpful that the Editor felt obligated to discount each and every one of these newly translated documents.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Hasta La Vista, Vista - Parte Dos

Well, it looks like someone else has the same opinion of the delay of Microsoft's Vista:

Microsoft Vista: Not 'People Ready'
Daniel Lyons, 03.22.06, 11:45 AM ET
Boston -

The new version of Microsoft Windows, called Vista, has slipped again. It was originally going to ship in 2003. Then 2005. Then 2006. Now in early 2007. I'm not surprised, having seen a demo of Microsoft's new programs at an "event" for tech buyers in New York last week.

The new programs are phenomenally complex, with scores of buttons and pull-down menus and myriad connections among various applications. A Microsoft VP zipped through a demo, moving information from Outlook to Powerpoint to Groove to some kind of social networking program that lets you see how your colleagues and your colleagues' colleagues rate various Web sites.

Meanwhile, 500 tech buyers sat there in the dark, their eyes glazing over from the sheer mind-numbing pointlessness of most of this stuff. The audience laughed out loud when the Microsoft guy showed off a kludgey system that lets you fetch Outlook e-mail messages using voice commands from a cell phone.

The system has all the charm of those automated phone systems you encounter when you call customer service: Your call is very important to us. And while it is cool and futuristic to have a computer "read" your e-mail to you, uh, dude--we all have BlackBerrys anyway. In fact, many in the audience weren't even watching the voice-activated e-mail demo--they were checking mail on their BlackBerrys.

Even more ironic is that Microsoft has ginned up a new slogan, "People Ready," which apparently is meant to describe its software, or maybe it describes companies that use its software, or whatever. Who knows? It's one of those phrases that means anything, and so means nothing. Who makes this stuff up? Do they actually pay this person? And is Microsoft just figuring out now that its programs are used by--gasp--people?

Microsoft execs also talked about "Impacting People," then they dragged out fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, who seemed very "impacted" as he sang praise for Microsoft programs. Actually, he was reading meaningless statements from a TelePrompTer. Here is one of his quotes, verbatim: "When you combine people and technology, you have a very powerful combination." Think about that. Just let it sink in for a minute.

And then there were the hacks. The press folks. Corralled down in back. Some were just talking out loud during SteveBallmerSteve Ballmer's keynote speech, not even bothering to keep their voices down. Yeah. It was that kind of show.

Worse yet was the grumbling afterward in the press room. Why the hell did they drag us here? we wondered. We'd been promised big news and some earth-shattering announcements by Microsoft flacks who insisted this was something we shouldn't miss. Instead, we got a demo that was about as compelling as a root canal followed by a 15-minute press conference with Ballmer, the Microsoft chief executive who seems incapable of speaking at any level softer than a bellow. Ballmer took a few potshots at IBM, claiming the computer giant doesn't innovate anymore.

No one mentioned the fact that in 1997, Microsoft held a similar event in New York City to declare that IBM's "big iron" was dead, because Windows NT--remember Windows NT?--was going to "scale up" and replace the mainframe. I wonder if Ballmer ever feels like the guy in Groundhog Day, reliving the same press conference, over and over. I know I do.

Oddly enough, some of the language of the Microsoft event was eerily similar to language about innovation in the new huge advertisements that IBM started running a few days later in newspapers. Did Microsoft somehow get wind of the ads? Who knows. But the event seemed thrown together to blunt the new ad campaign from IBM.

Worst of all, I can't believe Microsoft actually held this big nonevent "event" only a few days before announcing another screw-up in Vista. If Ballmer knew he was about to announce a delay and still had this event, he's crazy. If he didn't know Vista was about to slip again, then Microsoft is in worse shape than anyone realizes.

Microsoft can't afford to screw up like this. There are free alternatives to everything Microsoft sells, like the Linux operating system and the Open Office application suite. Rivals like Novell, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems and, yes, IBM are pushing those programs big time.

Given Microsoft's delays I can't believe open-source stuff still hasn't caught on for desktop computers. It's amazing, but people will wait months and months for products that are so complicated that no ordinary person can figure out how to use them.

Why not at least switch to an Apple Computer Mac? Apple's new operating system is stable, reliable and easy to use. The applications are simple, gorgeous and work well together. And they're here. Today. SteveJobsSteve Jobs must be waking up a happy man this morning.

Well, I'm sure Vista's desktop icons will look 10x better than those on XP. That seems to be all that they upgrade from version to version. Of course, it'll require a new graphics card for almost all PCs, but what the heck. It's worth a couple hundred bucks!

And I do think the "event" was in response to the upcoming release of the "innovation" campaign by IBM. They knew that they're losing ground and, in MSFT fashion, brought in some idiotic presenters (see Ballmer & Hilfiger (!?!?)) to make sure that everyone understands that Microsoft is "way cool!"

(OH, and one final thing.... WHERE IS BRIAN WHEN YOU NEED HIM?! This is totally his area of expertise!)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hasta la Vista, Vista

Is anyone surprised?

March 22, 2006
Microsoft to Delay Next Version of Windows
By STEVE LOHR and LAURIE J. FLYNN

Microsoft's long effort to deliver the next version of its Windows operating system suffered another setback yesterday when the company said that the system would not be ready for consumer personal computers for the holiday sales season.


The Microsoft announcement, made after the close of the stock market, came as a surprise. For more than a year, the company had said it would deliver the new operating system, Windows Vista, sometime in the second half of 2006.

Yesterday, Microsoft said Vista would be ready for large business customers, who typically buy the company's software in multiyear licenses, in November. But the consumer rollout will be pushed back to January 2007.

The slippage, analysts said, is likely to have little lasting impact on Microsoft or PC sales. But it points to the trouble the company has had designing and debugging the new operating system, brimming with features, complexity and an estimated 50 million lines of code.

The analysts said the delay would be a disappointment for electronics store chains, like Circuit City and Best Buy, and for PC makers. "This hits retailers and it hits PC makers that were looking toward Vista for a surge in consumer PC sales at the end of the year," said Tim Bajarin, principal analyst at Creative Strategies, a technology consultant.

The Windows delay follows Microsoft's difficulties in meeting its production goals for its Xbox 360 video game console after its release last November. Yesterday, however, Microsoft said it was accelerating output of the devices, potentially helping it capitalize on the postponement of Sony's rival PlayStation 3. Microsoft attributed the further delay in Windows Vista as a matter of a few weeks to ensure quality and security testing.

Over the last year, Microsoft executives have emphasized the importance of reducing the vulnerability of their products to computer viruses and other malicious code. If the security focus means product development takes longer, they have said, so be it.

"We won't compromise on product quality, and we needed just a few more weeks," James Allchin, co-president of Microsoft's Windows division, said in a conference call with analysts and journalists.

In an interview after the conference call, Mr. Allchin said that he made the decision to take a few more weeks yesterday mornning after a meeting with the leaders of the Windows development team. No single feature or problem prompted his move, he said.

"But I wanted to push up the quality even higher," Mr. Allchin said. "And the balance between usability and security is a tricky one."


The security testing process, for example, has included dozens of outside computer security consulting companies — known as blue-hat hackers — who are given access to the Windows Vista code and its documentation and asked to try to find any ways to break in. Mr. Allchin characterized that program alone as the "largest penetration-testing effort ever conducted on a commercial software product."

The shipment delay, he conceded, was "a bit painful, but we're trying to take a leadership role here and do the right thing."

The new version of Windows has encountered repeated delays. The last major release of Microsoft's operating system, Windows XP, was in 2001. The gap of more than five years is a long one for Microsoft, which has generally shipped a new version of Windows every three or four years.
[...]
Now, I was in a meeting with MSFT in NYC a month or two ago... and they hinted that Longhorn (the new windows server OS) wasn't going to hit the street until 2007 and Vista was scheduled to go live in 4Q 2006. And when the Microsoftian said 4Q 2006, he didn't seem to confident...

Add to this the fact that most PCs will require added graphics cards just to run all the gee-wiz wonder stuff that Vista invludes and you've got to wonder why anyone would upgrade - other than the fact that XP will eventually be unsupported like past MSFT Operating Systems.

Of course, the other great thing about Vista is that it will take about 30 minutes to boot up and will likely still have holes in it from a security standpoint. Given these facts, the revelation that MSFT is still trying to figure out how the interweb thingy affects their business, and their woefully inadequate attempts to get the Joe-Mentum back, I'd say that MSFT is in trouble. Sure, they've got a buttload of cash on hand. But at some point, their business model which did so well in the 80s and 90s will need to be changed to address the demands 21st century customers.

(Oh, and it looks like Internet Explorer might finally be separated from the OS (Podcast)? Could this be the opening that Mozilla Firefox needs?)

Finally, if you're looking for the stock play here, don't short or sell MSFT - that's probably already factored in. Look at the retailers and notebook makers and get the pin action. (Who's going to buy a laptop with the expectation that they'll have to buy an upgrade license in a month or two, only to find out that their new pc doesn't handle the new o/s?)

And not to toot my own horn, but this was one of my predictions for 2006... at least, it was one that I offered up in the comments section. ;-)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Next Illinois Governor Wins Republican Primary

Does Blago even have a chance? He's such a dork.

Judy Baar Topinka wins GOP primary
STAFF AND WIRES
Wednesday, Mar. 22 2006

CHICAGO (AP) -- Judy Baar Topinka, the favorite of the Republican Party
establishment, defeated a conservative outsider to win a shot at knocking off
Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich this fall.

Blagojevich had no trouble winning his own primary, but the challenger's
strong showing suggests weaknesses that may trouble Blagojevich in the general
election.
[...]
Topinka, a social moderate and three-term state treasurer, will face Democratic
Gov. Rod Blagojevich in what is forecast to be a stormy general election Nov.
7. Blagojevich easily dispensed with little-known challenger Edwin Eisendrath
in his party's primary Tuesday, setting up the first Illinois gubernatorial
race between two proven statewide vote-getters in more than a decade.

Of course, this is Illinois, so anything can happen. But, here is the last poll on the race (pre-primary results, so probably not worth much):
Illinois Governor: Topinka (R) Leads Blagojevich (D)

February 7, 2006--State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R) leads Governor Rod Blagojevich in an early look at the 2006 campaign for Governor of Illinois.

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey shows Topinka with 48% of the vote while the incumbent Governor attracts 37%.

Blagojevich does better against two other potential challengers. Blagojevich is tied with Ron Gidwitz at 40%. The Governor holds a very slight lead over Jim Oberweis, 43% to 39%.

None of the candidates are viewed favorably by 50% or more of Illinois voters. Blagojevich and Topinka have far higher name recognition than the other candidates.

Topinka is viewed favorably by 46% of voters and unfavorably by 30%. For Blagojevich, it's 40% favorable and 49% unfavorable. For Gidwitz and Oberweis, a plurality don't know enough about them to have an opinion.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The "News" from W's Presser

All of the talk on the radio & TV is the "news" that US forces will be in Iraq well after Bush's presidency is over.

President Bush said during a press conference on Tuesday that he expected U.S. troops to be in Iraq into and perhaps past the end of his second term in January 2009, and that the decision to pull all American forces out of the country would be left up to "future presidents and future governments in Iraq." It was the first time the White House had indicated that U.S. military involvement in Iraq would extend beyond Bush's term.
While most do accurately report that the size of the US forces will be significantly less than it is today, they seem surprised that the US would have a presence in Iraq, even after Chimpy W. McBushitler leaves office.

I'm sorry, but you have to be an idiot to think that the US presence in Iraq, which essentially is comparable to Britain in WWII, will be completely eliminated after November, 2008. This might be news to those in the media bubble of Washington, DC and New York, but anyone who has listened to the words coming out of the President, Vice President, Sec Defense, Sec State, etc, etc, etc, etc would recognize that this isn't "news."

We won World War II. We still have "occupation forces" in Germany and Italy, as well as "forward staging" bases in Britain. Some of our soldiers are none too pleased about the length of the occupation, by the way. I received this email a while ago and commented on it at length.

We had a draw in the Korean war... we still have forces in South Korean

We won the Spanish American War, and we still have forces in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines.

Get with the program people... understand what our objective is here. It's not oil, Israel, or the enrichment of Halliburton (HALLIBURTON!!!!!). It's the transformation of the Middle East by welcoming them into the 21st century. (Heck, I'd be elated if we could get them into the 20th century.)

Oh, and regarding the "good news" vs. bad news that's covered incessantly by the MSM. I heard Russert & Co arguing that, "hey... we covered the toppling of the statue, the purple fingers, and operation swarmer... that's good news."

Sorry, but the daily barrage of death reported by the MSM does not get balanced out by one story each calendar year of good news. The good news that is not getting out of Iraq is overwhelming and its absence in the US media is telling. Let's have a few stories about the restoration of the Marsh Arabs. How about a story about the new businesses that are opening up? How about a story about the schools and hospitals that are getting established. And these are just stories about everyday Iraqis... You could do entire programs about the heroic deeds of our military, from the medics and the US TRANSCOM group (the unit which my brother-in-law served) to the soldiers on the front lines, helping to rebuild Iraq.

Until I see those stories, I will still contend that the media's primary mission when it comes to the War on Terror is to undermine our efforts and endanger our lives.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

War Ain't Beanbag

I have been chewing on this thought for some time. Perhaps W.T. Sherman said it best, "War is Hell." One applies the force necessary to accomplish the end as quickly as possible with the least possible loss of life on your side as possible.

Sherman burned Atlanta to the ground prior to setting out on the March to Savannah. He destroyed everything in his wake. Does anyone doubt this sped the end of The Civil war?

The Brits bombed Hamburg into dust. My step-mother, Helga, is a survivor of those horrendous bombings. Does anyone doubt this action sped the end of the war against Nazi Germany?

Truman authorized the nuclear bombings of Japan. Does anyone doubt these sped the end of the war against Japan and saved countless thousands of American troops?

What in the long run works best to accomplish the desired ends? Does a warring country have the will to use the means necessary and available?

What is the greater good and what is the higher morality?

I pose the question because I do not think anyone is addressing it.

War is called war for a reason. The rules of civil life have little applicability in war. The object of war is to get it over with. Anything that blocks that end is counter-productive. Any reasonable means to achieve that end, short of war crimes, is proper.

One can argue over what is "reasonable." But let us not lose sight of what we are trying to get done. War is hell, so let us end it successfully and quickly as possible.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

W

Wife comes into my office and tells me that W is on the Tv. I flip it on and see this:



AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I see her badgering the President and realize that she might as well be Ramsey Clark, clearly an unhinged moonbat who would love nothing more than to impeach W. People always make fun of the President's intelligence (Primarily due to his difficulties with extemporaneous remarks), but the logic behind Helen Thomas's questions calls into serious question her faculties.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Algore - Yet Another Letdown for the Left

The Left is quite infatuated with Algore these days. Oliver Willis and Ezra Klein both can't wait for their "alpha male" to throw his hat in the ring for '08. Most likely, this is due to the following reasons:

  1. Algore doesn't hold any political office, so he's got license to say some of the most extreme things without repercussion from the press or the right.
  2. They've been hooked on algore ever since his airbrushing on the cover of Rolling Stone - such "manliness!!!" - and his lip-lock attack on Tipper at a political convention

Either that, or they just love the ueber-nanny state that Tipper is for, as evidenced by her Explicit Lyrics campaign several years ago. (Who says the Dems don't like to get involved in your life?) Here's OW:
Gore Returns?
by Oliver Willis | March 20th, 2006 | 4:23 pm

I am an Al Gore guy. Gore was the first politician I liked (in ‘88 when he first ran for president) and while he was veep, Clinton had the heart but Gore had your brain. I’ll go to my grave believing Al Gore would have been a truly great president.

And read this piece by Ezra Klein:
The New New Gore
Five years ago, Al Gore was the much-mocked pol who blew a gimme with his stiff demeanor [insert joke here] and know-it-all style. Today? C’mon, admit it: You like him again.
[...]
Since his loss, Gore has undergone a resurrection of sorts, shrugging off the consultants and the caution that hampered him during the campaign and — aided by new distribution technologies — evolving into perhaps the most articulate, animated, and forceful critic of the Bush administration. And now, with Democrats taking a fresh look at a man they thought they knew and speculation mounting around his ambitions in 2008, it seems that the man much mocked for inventing the Internet is in fact using the direct communication it enables to reinvent himself.

Anyway, it appears that Gore is going to let down the base, yet again:
Gore Not Planning to Run for President

Mon Mar 20, 8:43 PM ET

Former Vice President Al Gore said Monday he's not planning to run for president in 2008 but hasn't ruled out a future in politics.

"I'm enjoying what I'm doing," Gore told an audience at Middle Tennessee State University, where he gave a lecture on global warming.

"I'm not planning to be a candidate again. I haven't reached a stage in my life where I'm willing to say I will never consider something like this. But I'm not saying that to be coy; I'm just saying that to be honest — that I haven't reached that point."

Gore, a Democrat, in 2000 lost to President Bush in one of the closest presidential elections in history.

Gore, who has previously said he had no plans to be a candidate, occasionally delivers speeches on global warming other environmental issues, often criticizing Bush administration policies.

He has also helped found a new television network, Current TV, that started in August and mostly features documentaries by young filmmakers.

Gore told the audience Monday that the world faces a "planetary emergency" caused by global warming and must take immediate steps to reverse the atmospheric changes.

Well, this is just great... I was looking forward to Gore finally shutting up after his second defeat for President. Now we'll have to listen to his Unabomber rantings for the rest of his life. While he doesn't feel confident enough in his positions to run for office again, he's more than comfortable heading overseas to attack the US.

Perhaps this whole story is just setting him up for the next round of elections in Saudi Arabia or Syria?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

It must be an election year

and those in Congress think the press is who shows up to vote for them:

Stop the Obesity!
The Republican-led Senate stiff-armed President Bush’s call for belt-tightening yesterday and adopted a $2.8 trillion fiscal 2007 budget resolution, after adding over $16 billion in spending to Bush’s request and rejecting calls to rein in entitlements. The Senate snubbed even modest attempts to slow mandatory spending programs, which Bush had targeted for $65 billion in net savings over five years. Almost all of the proposed amendments sought to increase spending.

Republicans in Congress are riding roughshod, violating all budgetary principles. It’s real simple. The architects are using gimmicks, like Arlen Specter’s “advanced appropriations.” Specter got $7 billion for education and other programs under the jurisdiction of the Labor, Health and Education Appropriations Subcommittee which he chairs, according to Congressional Quarterly.

Specter’s blatant disregard for any sort of budget discipline was summed up with his smug remark, “It’s not sort of a gimmick; it is a gimmick.” It is precisely this attitude which is likely to haunt the GOP come November, as the small government conservative base of the party stays home. Specter also got commitments from Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran for another $3 billion that will be added to the budget resolution.
[...]
There are two big holes being dug here with this GOP budgetary misbehavior:

The first hole is that the GOP overspending and over borrowing jeopardizes investor tax cut extensions. The extensions remain unsettled.

The second hole being dug is that the GOP risks further demoralizing an increasingly frustrated Republican base. These folks are getting fed up. Discouraged Republican voters could very well stay at home come November, thereby producing a Democratic Congress. This could unveil a nightmare scenario. Let’s suppose that Harlem Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel becomes Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. (I’ll allow you to wager a bet as to what will happen to those investor tax cut extensions.)

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told me in an interview last night on CNBC’s “Kudlow & Company” that he agreed that busting the budget could cost the GOP both houses of Congress. But apparently the leadership is powerless to stop the budget busting activity.

Bush has submitted much leaner budgets in his second term, but it is Congress now which has come down with a serious budget obesity addiction. (Perhaps Peggy Noonan’s recent column directed at Bush entitled “Hey Big Spender” might be directed at Congress instead.)

This is not good for a variety of issues. In addition to those outlined by Kudlow, it gives the Dems yet another message to use in their campaigns - that Republicans are borrow & spenders without fiscal discipline. While this rings hollow with me (b/c I know that the Dems are tax & spenders), it isn't exactly received that way by the voters. And nothing gets the base energized more than hearing Schumer et al saying that the GOP budget is a "dagger at the heart" of the working poor, the Constitution, etc, etc.

With Senators like Specter, what's the point? Yes, to keep Charlie Rangel from becoming chair of Ways & Means, but that's so inside baseball that it doesn't make the sale on Main Street USA. There should be a rule for Republicans in election years: If you're getting good press, you're not trying hard enough.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, March 20, 2006

No Progress Here...

Each year, this religious celebration freaks me out, but hey... I'm just not into the cutting-your-head-with-a-dagger thing. I know, I know... very ethnocentric of me, but I've just never been into self-mutilation. Anyway, the interesting thing about this story is towards the very bottom:

Security Tight As Shiites Gather at Shrine
By QASSID JABAR, Associated Press WriterMon Mar 20, 4:18 PM ET

Millions of Shiite pilgrims, some of them flogging themselves with chains, surrounded a shrine in the holy city of Karbala on Monday to commemorate the 40th and final day of symbolic mourning for the Prophet Muhammad's grandson.

Tight security appeared to be holding sectarian violence at bay in the city, though five pilgrims making their way to Karbala were attacked in a drive-by shooting in Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of Baghdad. All survived, police said. In Karbala, the day passed without major reported violence.

On Sunday, insurgents fired a mortar round into a parking lot near the shrine 50 miles south of Baghdad, but no one was hurt.

"We are not deterred by the attacks by terrorists and extremists, who want to prevent us from doing our rituals," said Mohamed al-Khazali, a 58-year-old Shiite pilgrim from Najaf.

Some 4 million pilgrims had arrived at the city, said Karbala Governor Akeel al-Khuzai, who expected more to pour in through Tuesday. Many performed rituals of self-flagellation with chains and hit themselves with machetes to display grief over Imam Hussein's death.

Some Sunni Muslims were among those gathered.

"Imam Hussein is a symbol for all Muslims, not just for Shiites," said Amer al-Nuami, 55.

The commemoration has been marked by deadly insurgent attacks in the past. In 2004, coordinated blasts involving suicide bombers, mortars and planted explosives hit Shiite shrines in Karbala and in Baghdad, killing at least 181 people.

An increased number of Iraqi soldiers and police officers patrolled the streets and manned several checkpoints Monday.
Baghdad International Airport also was ordered closed through Tuesday "to avoid any violence during the (religious) commemoration," Transportation Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abdul-Wahab said.

The airport has been closed in the past for security reasons, including during elections.

So, two years ago, 181 people were killed by "insurgents" (aka terrorists). No numbers were provided for 2005 (presumably because the numbers weren't as dramatic). This year, no deaths - just a drive-by that probably involved the Crips. And for some reason, despite Murtha's protestations to the contrary, Iraqi soldiers and police officers are patrolling the streets and manning checkpoints. I thought I heard yesterday that these guys didn't exist?!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Learn to Love the Market

Cafe Hayek (an excellent blog) has this excellent post on letting the markets drive solutions to our problems:

Simple Rule for a Complex World
Don Boudreaux

"'Let the market handle it! Let the market handle it!' Don't you tire of muttering this simplistic formula?" So ended an e-mail that I received from a reader.

It's true that all of us sometimes are tempted to avoid thinking hard about complex issues and, instead, to fall back lazily upon simplistic mantras. We should guard against this weakness, in ourselves and in others.

At the same time, though, we shouldn't confuse consistency with simplicity. The two are different. Just because I instruct my eight-year-old son to be always truthful does not mean that I'm a simpleton offering simplistic advice; it means, instead, that truthfulness is a virtue that should be pursued consistently -- even if in a handful of instances my son might be made better off by telling a lie.
[...]
Saying "Let the market handle it" is to reject a one-size-fits-all, centralized rule of experts. It is to endorse an unfathomably complex arrangement for dealing with the issue at hand. Recommending the market over government intervention is to recognize that neither he who recommends the market nor anyone else possesses sufficient information and knowledge to determine, or even to foresee, what particular methods are best for dealing with the problem.

To recommend the market, in fact, is to recommend letting millions of creative people, each with different perspectives and different bits of knowledge and insights, each voluntarily contribute his own ideas and efforts toward dealing with the problem. It is to recommend not a single solution but, instead, a decentralized process that calls forth many competing experiments and, then, discovers the solutions that work best under the circumstances.
[...]
This process is flexible and it encourages creativity. It also denies to anyone the power to unilaterally impose his own vision on others.

In brief, to advise "Let the market handle it" is a shorthand way of saying, "I have no simplistic plan for dealing with this problem; indeed, I reject all simplistic plans. Only a competitive, decentralized institution interlaced with dependable feedback loops -- the market -- can be relied upon to discover and implement a sufficiently detailed way to handle the problem in question."

None of this is to say that getting the government out of the way is sufficient to create peace and prosperity. Markets require a rule of law to ensure that, among other blessings, property rights are secure and exchangeable. At their best, governments can help to protect our rights. Markets also require a culture in which commerce flourishes.
[...]
So yes, show me a problem and I'll likely respond "Let the market handle it." I'll respond this way because I know that not only is my own meager knowledge and effort never up to the task of solving big problems but that not even the Einsteins or Krugmans or Bushes amongst us can know the best solution to any social problem.

Solutions to complex social problems require as many creative minds as possible -- and this is precisely what the market delivers.

Markets are complex, chaotic, and difficult to predict. This is one of the primary reasons that the "progressives" refuse to believe in them and instead prefer the centralization of decisions with the apparatchiks in D.C. I am frankly amazed that, given their hatred for Bush, the Left still seeks to have his administration take over control of their healthcare or any other activity.

If you think they're full of wild-eyed conspiracy theories now, just imagine that we had socialized medicine and a Howard Dean or Russ Feingold ends up in a government-run hospital and meets their demise. Of course, even with socialized medicine, we all know that there would be one system for joe-sixpack (aka get in line and we'll get back to you in 12 months) and one for the elites.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

On Meet the Left Press This AM

Well, it's just great... the Left bumps up their ratings on National Security by attacking an Arab ally through xenophobic charges and lies and then it immediately seeks to undermine this very success by:

  1. introducing a motion of censure against President Bush for infringing on the rights of terrorists in the US
  2. putting John Murtha back on the stage to continue his moonbat rantings calling for our withdrawal from Iraq. [By the way, if we don't have the political courage to stay in the fight while we're in it, how does Murtha expect that we'll have the political courage to re-enter the fight when it's required in the future? Our pull-out from Vietnam decreased on willingness to intervene militarily in subsequent battles over 3 years!!! This guy is clearly off his rocker
It's almost as if the Left doesn't have a political strategist...

Now, why is it that I'm supposed to be worried about the Dems in '06?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

On C-Span this AM

After having Paul Mirengoff of Powerlineblog.com and Christy Hardin Smith of firedoglake.com, C-Span opened up to international callers to ask them what they thought of the US. After the first few calls, a Canadian called in and said

We love Americans, we love your country. We think it once was great and think it can be great again. But, you should understand that we differentiate between the American people and your leaders.

And George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove terrify us.

To the caller from Canada:

BOO!!!!


Then, this call from Munich:
The jewish lobby controls American foreign policy.
[...]

Uh-Oh.... last time we heard this language from Munich, it was over a few liters of bier at the local bier hall.

Frankly, I don't give a damn about what the rest of the world thinks of us. In most instances, the opinions formed by those calling into C-Span are just as uninformed as those on display on Jerry Springer. Keep in mind that this comes from a guy who has a degree in international business, speaks a foreign language, and has lived abroad, etc, so it's impossible for anyone to characterize the previous statement as isolationist and xenophobic. We all know that while the press in these countries continually spouts anti-American views and goes unchecked by alternative opinions, the leaders of those countries are pleased that the Americans are on the world stage, saving their bacon.

50 years from now, given the added perspective of time, our efforts today will be looked upon as necessary steps in continuing Western Civilization.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler