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

Saturday, July 08, 2006

NYT Covers the Holland Tunnel "Terror Plot"

News story from the New York Times, similar to other NYTimes stories we've uncovered from the past. Strangely it seems to follow very closely the story about the SWIFT Program. Just one more piece of evidence that BFEE needs to be reigned in. I can believe we've let it get to this...

[Disclosure - The attached is a fictional story which uses much of the text from the Time's SWIFT Story (linked above). I feel that this dislcosure is necessary because one my co-conspirators could not tell whether this was a real story or a parody. This speaks volumes about the current state of the New York Times.]

Internet "Chat Rooms" Secretly Reviewed by U.S. to Fight Terror
June 22, 2006

Editors Note: The Bush Administration has requested that the Times hold the publication of this story, expressing concern over the fact that publicizing it could have an impact on on-going investigations. However, given the Administration's secrecy in this and other programs, we here at the Times felt that it was in the public's interest to learn as much as possible about the program. Now that it has been confirmed that we are living in a fascist state, governed by a leader that does not even read this paper and deserves impeachment, it is our duty to expose these dangerous infringements on the privacy of all Americans.

WASHINGTON, July 7 - Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to internet "chat rooms" records from a vast internet database and examined discussions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and internet officials.

The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing discussions of people with suspected of ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing chat logs from the nerve center of the global chat room industry. The logs of chat rooms mostly involve discussions about teens' personal lives and other subjects, but on occassion the talks turn to an even more disturbing subject - terrorism.

Viewed by the Bush administration as a vital tool, the program has played a hidden role in domestic and foreign terrorism investigations since 2001 and helped in the capture of three New York City area youths, the officials said. The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and the FBI, "has provided us with a unique and powerful window into the operations of terrorist networks and is, without doubt, a legal and proper use of our authorities," Stuart Levey, an undersecretary at the CIA, said in an interview Thursday. The program is grounded in part on the president's emergency powers, Mr. Levey said, and multiple safeguards have been imposed to protect against any unwarranted searches of Americans' chat logs.

The program, however, is a significant departure from typical practice in how the government acquires the thoughts of Americans. FBI officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific chat room discussions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records.

That access to large amounts of sensitive data was highly unusual, several officials said, and stirred concerns inside the administration about legal and privacy issues.

"The capability here is awesome or, depending on where you're sitting, troubling," said one former senior counterterrorism official who considers the program valuable. While tight controls are in place, the official added, "The potential for abuse is enormous." Critics and independent technology consultants have identified the method of eavesdropping used by the Administration and recommend that chat room participants leave the room immediately if a user with the screen name of "Barney777" enters the room. Barney is the Bush's Scottish Terrier and the 777 is clearly a religious reference. Using this screen name, the FBI has been monitoring thousands of chat room over the past five years.

The program is separate from the tracking of international financial records and the National Security Agency's efforts to eavesdrop without warrants and collect domestic phone records, operations that have provoked fierce debate by journalists and moonbats alike, spurring lawsuits against the government, telecommunications companies, and banks. But all of the programs grew out of the Bush administration's strange desire to exploit technological tools to prevent another terrorist strike, and all reflect attempts to break down longstanding legal or institutional barriers to the government's access to private information about Americans and others inside the United States.

Congressional oversight of such programs is certainly warranted and, under US law it is imperative that warrants be issued for each chat room that is monitored, even if the participants of the chat room are based entirely overseas, legal scholars and civil rights advocates said on Friday.

It has been suggested that this controversial program was directly responsible for breaking up a "terror network" and the arrest of three gentlemen who were allegedly planning to blow up the Holland Tunnel. The gentlemen had suggested that blowing up the tunnel would flood New York's financial district, which independent analysis by hydraulic engineers has shown would be highly unlikely. The ridiculousness of the plot suggests that perhaps the plot was either a joke between the three gentlemen or that there was no serious threat to the United States.

The three men arrested overseas on Friday have been detained by their home countries, a troubling prospect given the common use of torture. The Supreme Court, fresh on the heels of its repudiation of the Administration's use of Guantanemo Bay to hold detainees in Hamdan, will surely intercede and extend protections to these gentlemen held by foreign governments under the auspices of international law regarding the treatment of prisoners.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, July 07, 2006

Chancellor Commits Suicide - Let's Blame Michelle Malkin

H/T OliverWillis

UC-Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton committed suicide in late June and the possible reason are still being determined. Denton came under criticism from Michelle Malkin and the blogosphere when the UC-Santa Cruz students protested against military recruiters on campus. Oh, and the Opinion Journal highlighted some other, minor issues involving the Chancellor.

The take from the Moonbats at the American Prospect? Here you go:


You may have missed this story, but it's worth a look. It appears that Michelle Malkin is taking some heat from her compadres on the right because she failed to apologized after heaping a great deal of vitriol on a woman who subsequently committed suicide.

Well, now Malkin has lashed back at her critics. Her response? She smeared the dead woman again, calling her a "corruptocrat."

This is quite a tale. Here's what happened: Not long ago the news broke that some military recruiters fled a University of California Santa Cruz job fair after some protestors forced their way into the fair. Malkin immediately sprang into action. She wrote that "UC Santa Cruz hates our troops," described the school as "seditious" and instructed her on-line army of pod people to direct their wrath at UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denise Denton, even though it wasn't at all clear why she should be held responsible for the protests. Naturally, Malkin posted contact info so the pod people could more easily shriek and howl about what a traitor this Chancellor apparently was.

Well, on June 24, Denton, 46, went and jumped from the roof of one of the tallest buildings in San Francisco. The reasons are murky, though news reports say that politics, scandal and her high public profile may have played a role. Did the attacks from Malkin and her marching followers play a role, too? No one has alleged that, in fairness. On the other hand, being fingered by the Malkin gang wouldn't exactly ease one's mental anguish, obviously.

Note the glossing over of the "scandals" which in all likelihood was the primary reason for Denton's suicide. Here's more info on that from the Mercury News:
San Francisco police said Denton's body was reported at 8:17 a.m. Saturday outside the Paramount apartments where her partner, Gretchen Kalonji, lives. The luxury rentals on Mission Street at Third feature a 44th-story rooftop deck.

Officials at the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office, who are treating the death as a suicide and leading the investigation, said Sunday an autopsy and toxicology tests will not be complete for about a week. San Francisco police spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens would not confirm or deny reports that Denton's mother was in the apartment at the time of her death.
But almost from the moment she took the $275,000-a-year job as UC-Santa Cruz's ninth leader, she faced turmoil.

The UC system did not initially reveal it had also hired Kalonji to a newly created position in the UC Office of the President that paid $192,000 annually, which drew calls of nepotism from employee unions. Kalonji, an engineering professor, was Denton's romantic partner for nine years.

More recently, Denton's name surfaced in a UC executive compensation scandal because she received benefits that weren't disclosed when she was hired. She also came under fire for adding a $30,000 dog run as part of $600,000 in renovations to the chancellor's campus home.

At the same time, Santa Cruz residents organized to try to fight the university's planned expansion to 21,000 students, student groups protested tuition increases, and conservative commentators criticized her vehemently after student protesters forced military recruiters to leave the campus during a job fair.

So, she gets a fat paying job... sets her partner up with a job in the office of the President (they now have a combined annual income of almost half a million), gets the University to pony up an additional $120k for her and her partner to move into their respective residences, adds a dog run to her home at the expense of the university, and then wants to jack up the tuition and expand the size of the student body to 21,000... and what ultimately caused her death was "vehement" criticism from commentators over her students' anti-American / anti-military views?

yeah, that makes sense. These are just the scandals that we know about... and in addition, who knows what other personal troubles she might have been dealing with.

It's a sad story, for sure. But it's even sadder when the folks at the American Prospect, OliverWillis, and Reason use it to score political points against Malkin.

Here's Malkin's response, which provides a good rebuttal...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Taepodong Missile - Aimed at Hawaii

He is truly insane...

N. Korea missile aimed at area off Hawaii - report
TOKYO (Reuters) - A North Korean missile launched on Wednesday was aimed at an area of the ocean close to Hawaii, a Japanese newspaper reported on Friday.

Experts estimated the Taepodong-2 ballistic missile to have a range of up to 6,000 km, putting Alaska within its reach. Wednesday's launch apparently failed shortly after take-off and the missile landed in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan, a few hundred kilometres from the launch pad.

But data from U.S. and Japanese Aegis radar-equipped destroyers and surveillance aircraft on the missile's angle of take-off and altitude indicated that it was heading for waters near Hawaii, the Sankei Shimbun reported, citing multiple sources in the United States and Japan.

North Korea may have targeted Hawaii to show the United States that it was capable of landing a missile there, or because it is home to the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific fleet, the paper said.

An alternative explanation might be that a missile could accidentally hit land if fired towards Alaska, the report said.

A separate report in the Mainichi Shimbun daily cited U.S. and Japanese government officials as saying a piece of the Taepodong-2 missile fell off immediately after take-off, strengthening the view that the launch was a failure.

Was watching a commentator on TV state that the N. Koreans were basically using 1940s technology... while that gives me some assurance that the missile defense system provides some protection (since they're decades away from MIRV technology which could overwhelm such a system), it's still a scary prospect that a nutcase like Kim Jong Il has any technology that can have such a range.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, here's a summary of the reaction of the Moonbats:
  1. The DUers think it's all just a bunch of propaganda (Still early, though...)
  2. DailyKos is covering the MOST IMPORTANT POLITICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR: the ned lamont / joe lieberman debate.
  3. Firedoglake has not one, but six posts about the Lieberman/Lamont situation.
  4. Atrios "Lord of the Open Thread" Eschaton has couple of posts on Lieberman/Lamont in between a variety of open threads (of course)
  5. TruthOut is still trying to get to the bottom of why Fitzy's not publicly announcing that Rove's already indicted

etc, etc, etc

The only encouraging thing that I saw was this comment from a DUer, no less. I have to give them credit when they make such an effort.)
Pavulon (1000+ posts)
Thu Jul-06-06 10:44 PM
Response to Original message

6. IF this is true that is an act

that would have triggered a nuclear launch in 1970. Firing ballistic missiles at other nations is not acceptable, negotiations, bush or not.

Kim is playing with the lives of millions in his country. If it had reached its apogee and started to drop onto hawaii what do you think the ballistic missile fleet would be ordered to do?

The us could have assumed it was armed and fired back.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Experimenting with your sanity...

H/T Corner

Just looking a little ahead of the "news cycle". Enjoy

Local Man Arrested For Setting Fire
Taken to Hospital, Shocking Claims

Dateline: Somewhere, USA

A small fire was set by a local man today. The damage of the fire was limited to some chicken wire, newspaper, a plastic cup, and a slightly singed left sneaker, Reebok brand. The fire was noticed by his neighbors who immediately called 911. After questioning the man and fearing for his own safety, police officers on the scene sent him to the hospital for observation by mental health professionals. Although the physical damage was rather limited, the fire also frightened several bunnies in the nearby garden. The incident was apparently brought about by a psychotic episode suffered by the man.

Reached at the hospital, the man, only willing to be identified by the phrase "spooked911", claims that a series of "experimental" fires were set to demonstrate the complicity of some group or entity he only referred to by the acronym "BFEE" in the events of September 11. On that day 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked 4 planes and flew them into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA. The man, later identified as Cletus Spuckler, claims that his experiments prove "without a doubt that BFEE brought about the events on that day."

The local Sheriff, when asked as to the nature of the experiments and the significance of "BFEE", commented, "We don't know what the heck he's talking about. He kept jumping on this cinder block on top of this chicken wire, saying 'See, See, it can't be hot enough! HALLIBURTON!!!'. We pulled him down and he started stammering about how the BFEE was all around and asking us to prove to him how the towers could have fallen." "It wasn't until he saw the bunnies in his garden," the Sheriff continued, "that we decided it would probably be prudent to take him to see the psych guys here at the hospital. He kept saying that they were agents of Halliburton." It was later revealed that Cletus had used garden fencing, not chicken wire, in his "experiment" which he had acquired from a local hardware store to keep rabbits from "terrorizing" his garden. Officials now believe that this might be the reason that Cletus thought the bunnies were agents of Halliburton.

The in-house psychiatrist at the hospital explained that "BFEE" was a term used by many so called "bloggers" to reference the Bush administration and the Bush family throughout history. "In short, it stands for Bush Family Evil Empire", said the Doctor, "and it's a term they use to identify a sort of wide-ranging conspiracy that effects all things within their lives. It's tied to a new syndrome called BDS, or Bush Derangement Syndrome. Basically, the subject feels that Bush doesn't belong in the White House and constructs elaborate fantasies to rationalize that." The doctor mentioned this is the first time in his professional career that he's seen it associated with destructive actions, such as setting fires. "Usually its just harmless posting on underground leftist websites such as Democratic Underground."

Spooked911 is to remain for an indeterminant time for further observation by a team of psychiatrists.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Moonbats React to Ken Lay's "Death"

If you've got a few minutes and are willing to lose some brain cells, check out this post from Democratic Underground which appeared shortly after the news of Ken Lay's death hit. I was going to post on this yesterday, but sometimes it's best to let the paranoia build for a while before checking the net.

It's amazing... This is why I have such trouble engaging Leftists in thoughtful discussions and debates - they clearly have cornered the tinfoil market.

Here are a few examples (but by no means is this a comprehensive sampling). First, the DUers seem to have a desire to desecrate Ken's body and or run it through an extensive autopsy.

Posted by Sentinel Chicken on Thu Jul-06-06 07:18 AM

I want to poke his corpse in the eye with a stick to make sure ..
he's not faking it.

Posted by yurbud on Wed Jul-05-06 12:14 PM

Bush will have to put him on display like Uday & Qasay. Did he have

any metal plates in his bones like Uday, or a pacemaker or something we could pull out to verify it's him?

Next, the conspiracy theories... We're all just sheeple for believing that it was an actual heart attack.
Posted by ToolTex on Wed Jul-05-06 04:05 PM

I want to see DNA, fingerprints, dental records, etc.
I just don't buy that he is dead. Way, way, too, convenient.

Posted by jasop on Wed Jul-05-06 10:56 AM

This is so typical...
how many people are so blind as to think that everyone connected to something sinister with a reason to expose it will just suddenly have a heart attack. One of the EASIEST types of deaths to induce.

It is amazing how many rich and powerful guys have been disappearing, found dead, etc. in the last 7 years. Google it.. you will be amazed.

Oh, I'm amazed, jasop - By your stupidity.

Posted by goclark on Wed Jul-05-06 11:20 AM

And what was he ready to tell on Bush to get off?
He knew a LOT and I bet he would be ready to TALK big time now.

Posted by wallwriter on Wed Jul-05-06 10:53 AM

I say it was the BFEE [ed - Bush Family Evil Empire for you home-gamers]

All the time that Chimpy spent on ENRON's corproate jet? I'm sure Kenny Boy knew way too much and that he was too much of an albatross to pardon. They might as well have sent him hunting with Cheney...

Then the talk about this being a Bush coup. Of course, someone chimes in to remind the faithful that the coup already occured in Bush v Gore.
Posted by Prophet 451 on Wed Jul-05-06 11:04 AM

Is it too early...
to start thinking that there's a real possibility that BushCo will stage a coup rather than leave office?

Posted by QuettaKid on Wed Jul-05-06 11:08 AM

a little late with the coup talk. that happened in Nov. 2000. nt.

Next comes the speculation about the wider implications... Cheney energy task force, Abramoff, etc:
Posted by havocmom on Wed Jul-05-06 11:37 AM

Anybody else hearing the theme from Godfather movies just now?
All that evening up of old scores and tying up loose ends while the family held parties and such?

Maybe the room where bush was walking around with the cake yesterday really was that hot. Nobody else seemed drenched in sweat though.

Was Ken Lay at Cheney meetings to determine national energy policy with energy execs? You all remember those meetings... the ones Dick won't release notes on? Who all was there? What was discussed that Dick defies oversight and transparency? What might Kenny-boy know that he could bargain with?

It isn't always tin-foil thinking. Some of us have detectives in the family. ;)

Edited to add:

Message to Abramoff?

Posted by FighttheFuture on Wed Jul-05-06 11:04 AM

Very suspicious!! Bu$hitCo dodges another bullet! Or, did they...
actually fire one at Lay? I give it better than 90% that foul play was involved.

And now, the DUers provide their medical opinions of Mr. Lay:
Posted by Prophet 451 on Wed Jul-05-06 11:12 AM

It's not difficult to induce a heart attack and half the drugs wouldn't stand out unless you specifically looked for them. Hell, it's possible to induce a heart attack using pure psychology.

Posted by Alcibiades on Wed Jul-05-06 08:01 PM

He had no earlobe crease
as everybody knows, a diagonal crease in the earlobe is quite possibly one of the best indicators of coronary disease, yet Lay has none in any of the photos I've seen.

I don't think this was a coincidence.

Ahh, the base of the Democratic party in all of its glory.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Democrats Can See the Writing on the Wall

It seems that even the Dems are recognizing the financial, economic, and political benefits of tax cuts.

Democrats for Tax Cuts
July 5, 2006

Democrats in Congress should get out more -- out of Washington, that is, and into state capitals, where some of their fellow party members are embracing tax cuts, and even supply-side logic in the bargain.

Only last week, the very blue state of Rhode Island adopted one of the most sweeping pro-growth tax reforms in any state in recent years. Democrats, who control 70% of the state legislature, teamed up with Republican Governor Donald L. Carcieri to enact a plan that allows residents the choice of a flat tax that cuts the top tax rate on high income earners to 5.5% from 9.9% if they voluntarily give up deductions. In an instant, Rhode Island has gone from the state with the third highest income tax rate in the nation to the 27th, according to the Tax Foundation.

For good measure, the state also cut property taxes, passed a tax credit of up to $1 million for businesses to help fund private school tuition, and reformed the health insurance market by allowing small businesses to buy "stripped down" health insurance free of many costly mandates. The latter could save employers 25% while expanding the number of insured workers.

Just as impressive is the economic logic that Rhode Island Democrats used to justify the tax cuts. "Our high tax rates make us uncompetitive," says Democratic House Speaker William Murphy. "Business leaders with incomes of more than $250,000 look at Massachusetts and see a 5.3% income tax, Connecticut with a 5% tax, and Rhode Island with a 9.9% tax. They make a choice on where to move and create jobs, and that difference in tax rates is a big factor in where they go." Art Laffer couldn't have said it better.

A handful of Democratic Governors have also signed tax cut bills in recent weeks. Arizona's Janet Napolitano agreed to a 10% across-the-board cut in income tax rates, and Oklahoma's Brad Henry signed into law a budget that will cut rates by nearly 20%, from 6.25% to 5.25% and abolish the state estate tax.

Governors Henry and Napolitano resisted the tax cuts for much of this year, but now they are taking political credit for signing them. Maybe they learned from Bill Clinton, who signed a reduction in the capital gains tax in 1997 after campaigning against "tax cuts for the rich" and basked in the stock market rise and strong economy for much of the rest of his second term.

Another Democratic Governor who's embraced tax cutting and benefited politically is New Mexico's Bill Richardson. Since winning the state house in 2002, he has cut the state's top income tax rate to 4.9% from 8.2% and cut the capital gains tax in half. "This was our way of declaring to the world that New Mexico is open for business," Mr. Richardson tells us. "After all, businesses move to states where taxes are falling, not rising." But don't tax cuts produce budget deficits? Not in New Mexico, which now has a half-billion-dollar surplus and has seen tax revenues soar by 27% this year, faster than in any other state over the past year, according to the Rockefeller Institute state revenue report.

We asked Mr. Richardson how he thought his party could regain its competitiveness with the GOP on the national level. His answer is good advice for Democrats everywhere: "We have to be the party of growth and the American dream, not the party of redistribution."

More of this, please... Now, if only we could get the US Congress to consider going forward with a flat tax.

And no word from the "People-Powered Movement" on how this impacts their desire to increase taxes on the people. I'm sure that the Moonbats will now target each of the Democrats referenced in the article, since it's heresy to go against the dogma of the Left.

But I think this clearly demonstrates that the US isn't as "progressive" as the Kossacks would have you think. (And by "progressive," I mean socialist.)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Small Town 4th

An old fashioned 4th of July here in California, who would have thought it? A very pleasant surprise. I won't bother to tell you what was going on up the road in San Francisco. But here it was flags, ice cream, strawberries, kids, dogs, fire fighter review, old car parade and good music. America lives! God bless the USA. Happy Birthday! (More photos at my photoblog.)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Scenes from the White House

Staff Aide, running into the room: Mr. President... Mr. President!!!

W: Hey, John... how's it going?

John: I just read this story on the interweb. It looks like we could be in trouble with the Iraq War and the larger War On Terror. Here, look... [hands a printout of this news story to the President]

W, reading: "Star Hollywood actor-activists including Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon and anti-war campaigners led by bereaved mother Cindy Sheehan plan to launch a hunger strike, demanding the immediate return of US troops from Iraq."

John: Don't you see? Now that the Hollywood elites are going on a hunger strike, the American people will surely call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, regardless of the long term implications of such a rash move.

W, continuing reading: John.... look a little further down this story... read these three paragraphs for me, would you? [hands the paper to John]

John, reading out loud: "The hunger strike will see at least four activists, Sheehan, veteran comedian and peace campaigner Dick Gregory, former army colonel Ann Wright and environmental campaigner Diane Wilson launch serious, long-term fasts.

'I don't know how long I can fast, but I am making this open-ended,' said Wilson.

Other supporters, including Penn, Sarandon, novelist Alice Walker and actor Danny Glover will join a 'rolling" fast, a relay in which 2,700 activists pledge to refuse food for at least 24 hours, and then hand over to a comrade."

W: Listen, they're not talking about going on a hunger strike... just forgoing their bon-bons for a few hours. If this is how serious they are, then I don't think we need to worry much, right? And Hell... Susan could use a break from them anyway, you know what I mean?

ProteinWisdom pokes fun as well.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day

Happy 4th of July to everyone. Remember the courage and fortitude that was required 230 years ago to seek out our independence from the British crown. Would we be as resolute and successful today?

Here are some photos to remind us of those days - two historic, 1 from modern cinema... Independence Hall, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) kicking some British butt.

Now, I'm off to go to a small town parade to see some jingoistic displays of the American flag and our military might. That will be followed by 6 hours of slow-smoking a beef brisket and pulled pork, followed by a birthday celebration with friends & family which will include sparklers, bottle rockets, and other assorted fireworks.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tax & Gamble Corzine

At least I don't live in Jersey... the government has shut down!!! And the Dems are the ones that have allowed it to happen...

Atlantic City Casinos Ordered to Close
Jul 2, 7:45 PM (ET)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Atlantic City's casinos were ordered to close Wednesday, the latest casualty of a state government shutdown that entered its second day Sunday after the Legislature failed to adopt a budget by its July 1 deadline.

The head of the Casino Control Commission ordered gaming in Atlantic City to cease at 8 a.m. Wednesday - the day after the July Fourth holiday - if New Jersey fails to enact a budget by then.

Atlantic City's 12 casinos, which require state monitoring, have waged a court battle to remain open, and an appeals court was weighing the matter Sunday. There was no word on when a ruling would be made, courts spokeswoman Winnie Comfort said.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Sunday there was "no immediate prospect of a budget." State parks, beaches and historic sites also were expected to shut down Wednesday.

If the casinos shut down, the state would lose an estimated $2 million in tax revenue each day they stayed closed. Republican Assemblyman Francis Blee, whose district includes the casinos, said it was important for them to remain open.

"We will have tens of thousands of individuals, real people, that are going to be hurt by this," he said. "There will be bread-winners who are not bringing home a paycheck."

Corzine shut down nonessential government services Saturday after the Legislature failed to adopt a budget by its July 1 deadline, leaving the state without the means to spend money. Budget talks became heated this year as Corzine, a Democrat, proposed increasing the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to help overcome a $4.5 billion budget deficit.

Most Democrats in the Assembly and several Senate Democrats oppose the sales tax increase, fearing voter backlash and reserving any tax increase for property tax reform. Assembly Democrats proposed a series of alternatives, some of which Corzine accepted, but both sides remained $1 billion apart as the budget deadline passed.

About 45,000 state employees were furloughed Saturday. Corzine's order allows him to keep 36,000 state employees working without pay. Services such as state police, prisons, mental hospitals and child welfare were to keep operating.

The lottery and road construction projects were among the first to close. A state appellate panel on Sunday ordered horse tracks closed at the end of business Tuesday. It was not immediately known Sunday whether the horse racing industry would file further appeals to keep harness and thoroughbred tracks open past July 4.

Corzine was expected to meet in private Sunday with top Assembly and Senate leaders. Assembly Budget Committee members were called to the Statehouse and were discussing alternatives to a sales tax increase, panel chairman Lou Greenwald said.

The Senate is scheduled to meet on Monday, and Senate President Richard J. Codey has told senators to be ready to stay in session until a budget is adopted.

"Let's get on with getting this problem solved," Corzine said while touring a state police dispatch center in Hamilton on Sunday, emphasizing he couldn't "sign a bill that doesn't exist."

Republicans, the minority party in both the Assembly and Senate, have expressed frustration.

"I'm appalled that this reached this stage," said Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance, R-Hunterdon. "It is very unfortunate that the Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in the Legislature could not achieve a budget in place by June 30, and now all the people of New Jersey suffer as a result."

Some lottery sellers - and many customers - were surprised to learn that the games were being put on hold until the budget impasse is resolved.

And it all comes down to the political reality that people (and especially voters) don't like tax increases. Even in liberal states like New Jersey. No word on the impact this might have for the People-Powered Movement who keep pushing for tax increases for a variety of social programs... and by "people powered", I'm specifically referring to the top-down, autocratic movement set up by Kos and his friend with SEC problems.

Having to shut down the state lottery will have a huge impact on the electorate once they realize it's because of the Democrats in Trenton.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Justice John Paul Stevens & his Alice-In-Jihadland Ruling

Mark Steyn echoes my sentiments about the Hamdan ruling. The incentive for being a lawful combatant under the Geneva Convention and even under some of the provisions to which the US is not a signatory (ie, wearing a uniform and carrying your arms openly) is that you get protective status if you are captured by the enemy.

Extending those very protections to our terrorist enemies who do not and will not comply with its provisions in essence encourages them to continue in their disgusting practices. Well, here's Steyn on the matter:

Court finds a right to jihad in the Constitution
July 2, 2006

There are several ways to fight a war. On the one hand, you can put on a uniform, climb into a tank, rumble across a field and fire on the other fellows' tank. On the other, you can find a 12-year-old girl, persuade her to try on your new suicide-bomber belt and send her waddling off into the nearest pizza parlor.

The Geneva Conventions were designed to encourage the former and discourage the latter. The thinking behind them was that, if one had to have wars, it's best if they're fought by soldiers and armies. In return for having a rank and serial number and dressing the part, you'll be treated as a lawful combatant should you fall into the hands of the other side. There'll always be a bit of skulking around in street garb among civilian populations, but the idea was to ensure that it would not be rewarded --that there would, in fact, be a downside for going that route.

The U.S. Supreme Court has now blown a hole in the animating principle behind the Geneva Conventions by choosing to elevate an enemy that disdains the laws of war in order to facilitate the bombing of civilian targets and the beheading of individuals. The argument made by Justice John Paul Stevens is an Alice-In-Jihadland ruling that stands the Conventions on their head in order to give words the precise opposite of their plain meaning and intent. The same kind of inspired jurisprudence conjuring trick that detected in the emanations of the penumbra how the Framers of the U..S Constitution cannily anticipated a need for partial-birth abortion and gay marriage has now effectively found a right to jihad -- or, if you're a female suicide bomber about to board an Israeli bus, a woman's right to Jews.

The old-school wars were Britain vs. Germany, Japan vs. Russia, that sort of thing. But we don't hold those as often as we once did, so, for the new school of warfare, Justice Stevens and his chums took refuge in Geneva's Common Article Three, which begins as follows:
In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties . . .

The "High Contracting Parties" are nation states that are signatories to the treaties: America, Belgium, Fiji, Peru and so on. So what might an "armed conflict not of an international character" mean? Well, it refers mostly to civil wars and internal conflicts -- say, when the Northern Wackistani Liberation Army takes on the Southern Wackistani Patriotic Front. As a cursory glance at Rwanda, Sudan or the Balkans shows, these are some of the most depraved slaughterfests. But the aim of the article is the same as that for your full-scale France vs. Prussia fixture: to persuade the parties to wage war in a ''civilized'' manner.

And what did the Supreme Court do? They decided first that Afghanistan was a signatory to the Conventions and thus the various ructions were ''occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties.'' They then decided that it was an ''armed conflict'' and not only that -- here it comes, folks -- but it was an ''armed conflict not of an international character.''

Hang on a minute. At the time most of the Gitmo detainees were picked up, Afghanistan had more teams than the World Cup: There were Americans, Brits, Aussies, Saudis, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Iranians, Chechens, Uzbeks and all kinds of other fellows running around. Few ''armed conflicts'' have had so many ''international characters.'' The country was in the process of being bombed by the U.S. Air Force from bases on the British colony of Diego Garcia. It was being invaded by two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

Ah, but you're not a Supreme Court justice. The reason why this was an ''armed conflict not of an international character'' is that al-Qaida is not a nation. So an article designed to cover internal local conflicts in signatory states within a convention designed to exclude unlawful combatants has been extended to cover non-signatory unlawful combatants in a global jihad taking place on every continent -- and, in effect, read into U.S. law. Congratulations! Why not throw in a complimentary gay marriage for Osama and Mullah Omar while you're at it? Justice Stevens and his pals have now upgraded every terrorist to the rank of field marshal. Wherever you're picked up by the United States anywhere on the planet, chances are it's the ''territory of one of the High Contracting Parties'' -- Afghanistan, Brazil, Singapore, the world's your oyster -- and therefore, as you're a member of al-Qaida, by definition it's an "armed conflict not of an international character.''

And, of course, al-Qaida never need to sign the Conventions now, do they? As the ultimate beneficiaries of the progressive mindset, they get all the benefits with none of the obligations. We're bound, they're not. If you're captured with the severed head of a U.S. soldier in your knapsack, you're covered by Geneva -- and, as your victim learned a mile back up the road, it's too late for him to call his lawyer.

In the broader scheme, Justice Stevens and co, in torturing the language to explain why the international jihad is not "international," have paradoxically conferred quasi-sovereignty on al-Qaida and its affiliates. The obvious question then is: doesn't that also apply to every other "non-state actor" out there? When Hezbollah blew up that Jewish community center and killed 100 people in Buenos Aires in 1994, surely that too was (as Justice Stevens would see it) an "armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting States." In fact, under this definition, what isn't?

It seems that we have a lot of work left to do on the Supreme Court...

Also check out this exchange on Hugh Hewitt's radio show on Thursday:
And this is a very good decision for every jihadist who now knows that he has...basically, he will be treated like a U.S. citizen if he falls into the hands of the U.S. military. Meanwhile, if the U.S. military fall into their hands, they get their heads cut off and left by the roadside.

HH: Mark Steyn, it seems to me, and I was trying to describe this earlier today. We have a 9/11 President, and a 9/11 military, and a 9/11 cabinet, and there are some members of Congress who are 9/11 Congressmen and Senators. But we've got a 9/10 Court majority, and we've got a 9/10 Senate and House leadership, it appears, and certainly a 9/10 Democratic Party. What's it going to take?

MS: Well, you know, you said you thought that we would in the end win this war. I think it is entirely possible that we could lose, simply because at the heart of all these things is the idea that somehow, you demonstrate your moral virture by bending over backwards to be as accommodating as you can at people who want to kill you. And that is generally not a good idea. I don't like Vladimir Putin, but when he reacted to this business with the four Russian hostages by saying that he was dispatching Special Forces on a mission to hunt down and kill the guys who did it, I did...I was very heartened at a guy who just actually sees it that clearly. I mean, we complain a lot of the time about the unassimilated Muslim population. But in fact, when it comes to things like this, our enemy are incredibly assimilated. They understand the legalisms very well. They understand how to play the court systems, how to play the media extremely well.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler