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

Friday, August 04, 2006

Because of the Hypocrisy Stupidity!!!

Memo to multi-millionaire and former evil corporate executive Ned Lamont (who is the darling child of the progressive nutroots because he always has the interests of the "common man" at heart):


I mean, come on... if you own stock in Wal-Mart, you're supposed to talk about how great a company they are, bringin inexpensive luxury items to the masses.

Doing the opposite
is just stupid:

Lieberman rival owns stock in Wal-Mart
By Charles Hurt
Published August 4, 2006

Connecticut millionaire businessman Ned Lamont, who sharply criticized the employment practices of Wal-Mart this week in his campaign to unseat Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democrat primary, owns stock in the company, Senate records reveal.

"This is about waking up Wal-Mart, and this is also about waking up corporate America," Mr. Lamont said Wednesday at a Bridgeport rally against the retail giant, hosted by many of the same liberal bloggers who have boosted the former cable executive far ahead of Mr. Lieberman in the polls.

But Mr. Lamont and his family are part owners of the company, according to financial disclosure records he filed earlier this year with the secretary of the Senate. Mr. Lamont, his wife and a dependent child own as much as $31,000 in Wal-Mart stock.

Mr. Lamont and his wife jointly own two accounts containing as much as $16,000 in Wal-Mart stock. Their Wal-Mart holdings spin off as much as $3,500 in annual dividends. In addition, a trust fund he set up for one of his children contains as much as $15,000 in Wal-Mart stock and spins off as much as $1,000 in dividends.

In his remarks at the anti-Wal-Mart rally this week, Mr. Lamont never mentioned his shareholder status in the company. He did, however, criticize Mr. Lieberman for not doing more during this three terms in the Senate to help the workers he says are so mistreated by Wal-Mart.

"We believe that universal health care is a basic right for each and every American," Mr. Lamont said. "It won't take me 18 years to go down to Washington, D.C., and get that done."

Mr. Lieberman attended the same event and took similar whacks at Wal-Mart. But Lamont supporters mercilessly flogged Mr. Lieberman as a hypocrite because he had once received -- but later returned -- a $1,000 contribution from Wal-Mart's political action committee.

Unless of course, you're parroting some stupid line so the nutroots continue to cut checks to with every click of their mouse.

But hey, I'm sure the Kossacks won't mind a little ownership in the most evil corporation to ever be unleased on the common man.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Castro and His Friends

Shamelessly ripped off from RedState.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Know Your Enemy

Great post put together by Jay Tea at Wizbangblog:

Know your enemy

With the rising pressure for Israel to declare a ceasefire in Lebanon, I think it's time to do a quick recap on the differences between Israel and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah: Terrorist organization masquerading as political party, occupying a portion of a sovereign state.

Israel: Sovereign state.

Hezbollah: Brutal theocratic thugocracy.

Israel: Representative democracy, with citizens of all races, sexes, and faiths fully eligible to participate.

Hezbollah: Expulsion of all Jews from Israel, either by death or retreat.

Israel: To be left in peace.

Preferred weapon:
Hezbollah: unguided rockets loaded with ball bearings and other items designed to maximize the death, injuries, and other carnage at civilian targets.

Israel: precision-guided bombs and missiles (often with reduced warheads from standard) to minimize damage beyond their precise targets.

Defense of civilians:
Hezbollah: use civilians as human shields, some willing and some unwilling, to deter Israel from attacking them.

Israel: Requires nearly all buildings to have bomb shelters, evacuates whole cities under bombardment.

Hezbollah: Wear civilian clothes, mingle among actual civilians to be undistinguishable until they pick up their weapons.

Israel: Wear uniforms, display markings that clearly indicate their combatant status.

Conditions for peace:

Israel: End of attacks by Hezbollah, disarming of Hezbollah in accord with United Nations Resolution 1559.

Attitude towards deaths of children (Lebanese):
Hezbollah: Outrage and cause for further attacks on civilians.

Israel: Regrettable, cause for pause and reflection and re-evaluation of tactics.

Attitude towards death of children (Israeli:)
Hezbollah: Cause for celebration.

Israel: Cause for renewed strikes on the attackers, redoubled efforts to protect other children, deep mourning.

Hezbollah: Creation of Iranian thugocracy to strike against Israel.

Israel: Restoration of ancient Jewish homeland by United Nations mandate, in lands where Jews have maintained an uninterrupted presence for roughly 3,000 years.

Hezbollah: Islamic green upraised arm holding AK-47 on field of yellow.

Israel: Blue Star (or shield) of David between blue horizontal stripes on field of white, representing a tallit (prayer shawl).

Is there any question about which side we should be rooting for?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

I'm Not Dead Yet...

... I'm feeling better.... really I am!

Why is it that everytime one of these tinpot dictators nears his all-too-human demise, his apparatchiks have to pretend that he's not dead or dying?

Castro's Final Moment 'Very Far Away'
Aug 01 4:45 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer


Cuba's Communist government tried to impose a sense of normalcy Tuesday, its first day in 47 years without Fidel Castro in charge. A senior Cuban official insisted Castro's final moment was "very far away," despite his handing over power to his brother after surgery.

Parliament Speaker Ricardo Alarcon said the Cuban leader is known for fighting to the very end and that his "final moment is still very far away," the government's Prensa Latina news service reported.

Raul Castro, the island's acting president, was nowhere to be seen as Cubans began to worry about what comes next and exiles in Miami celebrated a development they hoped signaled the death of a dictator. Cuban dissidents kept a low profile while watching for signs of Castro's condition.

"Everything's normal here _ for the moment," said hospital worker Emilio Garcia, 41, waiting for a friend at a Havana hotel. "But we've never experienced this before _ it's like a small test of how things could be without Fidel."

The main newscast on state-run TV gave no details of the 79-year-old leader's condition, but ran a string of man-on-the-street interviews with Cubans wishing him well and professing confidence in the revolution's staying power. The anchor said Castro had the people's "unconditional support."

I seem to recall this same f-ing story when Arafat was pushing up daisies, right?

Meanwhile, this Kossack reports "from the front lines," reassuring her fellow Moonbats that the celebrations in Miami are not representative of how people in Havana feel. I hope this is written with tongue planted firmly in cheek, but for some reason I don't think it is. Extra funny bits emphasized :
The situation in Cuba, from someone who lives in Havana
by SneakySnu
Tue Aug 01, 2006 at 01:00:03 PM PDT

I'm writing this to provide a little more context to enlightened folks like yourselves about the current situation in Cuba. I do not have any privileged information, just observations as I live in Havana. My husband is a foreign service officer from a country that shall remain anonymous in this diary, but I am American. Though I paraphrase statements my husband has made here, any opinions expressed here are my own. To be honest, I have been reluctant to write about my experiences here, not so much because of possible monitoring by the Cuban government as by our own government.

I have satellite TV at home and have been monitoring CNN and MSNBC, since they have provided the most news to Americans about what's going on here. I am dismayed by the amount of attention given to the few dozen people who have gathered to celebrate in Miami. I've been keeping an eye on Cuban news as well, though no more information has been issued since last night's declaration. Several hours will be dedicated to Castro's condition and this temporary government this evening at 6:30 on a debate show called Mesa Redonda (Roundtable). I believe that the same information will be released in the newspaper Granma tonight or tomorrow, available online at

So, what's going on here? Not much. Everybody seems pretty calm, even nonplussed, about the situation. Cubans can't say what they really might be thinking to me; so far, the responses I've gotten are, "Well, he's old," and "It's so just strange because this has never happened before [referring to the handover of power]." They seem to be taking a wait-and-see attitude.
So, while celebrations continue in Miami, don't think for a second that there's some kind of excitement here. I don't get the sense that there is an undercurrent of unrest bubbling to the surface. Cubans have known for many years that Raul would be put in power in Fidel's place. The question is only how long he will remain there. As long as Fidel is alive, Raul is safe.

It is so difficult to explain in a short space what life under Castro is like here. I'm tempted to say something like, "It's not like those other dictatorships!" which of course is of little solace to anyone who believes in democracy. The political repression is very real, from the neighborhood watch groups that report on any potential anti-revolutionary activity to the long prison sentences for political dissidents, to the sudden disappearance of political figures who fall out of favor or are charged with corruption.

Cultural life, however, is very rich and full of possibilities for expression. Through government organs, there is a strong push for women's equality in all aspects of life (even though the government is dominated by men), as well as racial equality (though a subtle racism exists here too). Linked to the concern for health care, sexuality is openly discussed in newspapers and on TV. The successes here in education and health care should not be undermined because they truly create a sense of well being despite a lack of material goods and, occasionally, undernourishment. In fact, my biggest beef with this regime is food distribution. It doesn't seem to take enough precedence and doesn't proceed in any logical manner, even for us wealthy, dollar-wielding foreign types.

Despite the evident hardships, most people seem content, at least in Havana. I say this in an attempt to understand why people would choose to live under a politically repressive regime. There is a strong sense of family and community sharing. They work really hard, but have plenty of time for recreation, as I can tell from the baseball games constantly taking place in the field in front of my house; from the people power-walking and jogging along the Quinta Avenida; and from the kids who make the short trek from their houses to the ocean, dressed in their bathing suits.

Does that mean they wouldn't give up their bicycles and Soviet-era Lada cars for a new car in a heartbeat? Of course they would. But they are equally aware of the emptiness of a life based solely on consumerism, which is what they see of the U.S. And while I see many people here possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, I don't believe they're willing to give up the security that a socialist state offers.

Well, this is a pretty short and oversimplified sketch, but that's it for now. I've only got 30 hours per month of internet access, and I've already used over 2 today, which is why I won't be commenting extensively here. I'll try to respond to any questions you have though.


I hope the bastard rots in hell and the people of Cuba are finally given a chance to openly discuss political (and not just sexual) issues.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

A Year in the Conspiracy

I can not believe it's been a year since I joined this merry band. But Saint has reminded me of this fact today. It seems more like four or five years.

At the risk of being serious for a moment, Saint has been extremely faithful to this blog, certainly more so than myself. It must be a labor of love or something for him. Doing battle with The Moonbats has some special appeal to him.

Who is Penolope anyway? I don't think she exists. I think her name is there just to make us look diverse. Ah, "diversity," now there is one of my least favorite words not to mention concepts. But I won't go off on that tangent... today.

Then there is Brian... I think.

Anyway, we will continue to plod along, sometimes with a serious analysis, and sometimes with a barb of attempted satire. My aim is to try to provoke discussion, and I have come to realize just how difficult that task is. It is worth the effort though if only to clarify my own thinking on matters.

And just who is the guy in the picture? HL Mencken. Not a bad role model in this day and age.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

My Kind of Town...

Chicago is... well, perhaps it isn't if the subject of this post is any indication.

Anyway, my band of conspirators and I are on vacation in the wilderness of Chicago this year... one of last years' vacations is here. Which reminds me, it has been over a year that Monterey John joined the conspiracy! Here's his first post back on July 12th, 2005. You've been a great addition to the team, John...

So, my posting will be limited this week, although I'm sure that my co-conspirators here at ARC to provide plenty of content. I see that MontereyJohn has already posted on the Israeli/Islamist conflict... I'm sure Brian will have a post on something soon... Brian? Penelope? Time to come out of your undisclosed location!

Anyway, while I'm here in Chicago, I thought I'd comment on this story that I saw at Cafe Hayek (one of my fav econ blogs):

That Toddling Town
Russell Roberts

The Chicago City Council approved the ordinance requiring big retailers to pay at least $10 per hour in wages and $3 per hour in benefits. The New York Times story opens with inadvertent irony:
After months of fevered lobbying and bitter debate, the Chicago City Council passed a groundbreaking ordinance yesterday requiring “big box” stores, like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, to pay a minimum wage of $10 an hour by 2010, along with at least $3 an hour worth of benefits.
I'm not sure "groundbreaking" is the right word to use about an ordinance that Target and Wal-Mart have said might keep them from opening new stores in the city.

But the real high point of the story comes here:
Some economists say such measures will stifle development and deprive consumers of access to cheap goods, but many poverty experts say that local efforts elsewhere to raise wages have not choked off growth and that the expanding, low-paying retail sector can be safely pressed to raise pay.

Ah, only some economists are worried. But many poverty experts are not. The implication is that the optimists outnumber the pessimists. There's a comfort, don't you think? The Times lets us hear from one of the optimists:
“We’re very confident that retailers want and need to be in Chicago, and the question for the city is what kinds of jobs they will bring,” said Annette Bernhardt of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School, which helped draft the Chicago bill and has done economic studies of its likely impact.
It's awkward to have a person from a law school make a claim about the economic impact of the ordinance. So to reassure the reader, we are told that she has done economic studies. So she must know, I guess, of where she speaks.

No economists worried about the impact of the law are quoted.

Now, Russell makes some excellent points. My main question is who in the hell determines "big box" retail stores and why do the mom & pop stores get an exemption? Why is it okay for the Mom & Pop capitalists to not pay their workers a "living wage"? And what exactly is the benefits package at a Mom & Pop vs. one of the "big box" retailers?

Clearly this is primarily focused on Wal-Mart and the City council recognizes the devastating impact that a widespread imposition of a "Living Wage" would have on the local economy.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, July 31, 2006

Palestine - Echoes of Ireland?

Have we seen a situation similar to that in Israel before in another place?

A pretty good argument can be made that what is going on in Israel has a strong comparison to what was going on in Ireland in the early 20th century. An indiginous population could be said to be trying to throw off an occupying power. In Ireland it was the Irish trying to rid themselves of the British, and in Israel the Arabs trying to rid themselves of what they perceive to be an occupying power, the Jews. There is not only a historical parallel, but a parallel in the methods used. There is also the obvious parallel in the religious element.

There was a singularly nasty individual by the name of Eamon de Valera in Ireland. He was a member of the "anti-treaty" faction. He was opposed to the Homerule Treaty that brought Ireland a large measure of independence while maintaining its ties to Great Britain. He was a separatist and a terrorist. It is assumed that he ordered the assination Michael Collins.

Collins, himself an Irish terrorist, had turned in his guns and negotiated the treaty bringing homerule to Ireland. That was not enough for de Valera and his people. Civil war among the Irish followed, with de Valera's forces prevailing, resulting in the founding of the Irish Republic. His party, Fianna Fail, with only limited interruptions, has ruled Ireland to this day. De Valera was the Yasser Arafat of his day. De Valera went on the become the long serving third president of Ireland and is a much revered person.

De Valera, interestingly, was a "Black Irish" expatriate Jew. He was born in New York. His ancestors were likely survivors of the Spanish Armada hence the Spanish last name. Not exactly your pure Irishman.

In Palestine the Jews during the 1947 war had some characters not unlike de Valera. The Irgun and The Stern Gang for instance. The assination of Bernadotte and the bombing of the King David hotel being notable examples.

So what is the point here?

These wars are ugly. We should draw some lessons from what has happened in the past, not be bound by them, but to learn from them. There is nothing totally new under the sun.

Are there moral equivalencies here, say between The Fianna Fail, The Stern Gang and and The Martyrs Brigade? An honest appraisal would have to admit that there are. We need to look past that and not react in a reflexive manner when the comparisons are made. The lessons to be learned are too important to reject them out of hand.

The Irish/Palestine comparison breaks down when what is presently going on in Lebanon is considered. That is not an indiginous secular struggle. It is a religious struggle fueled by an outside power, Iran. Have we seen that sort of thing before?

To where do we look for lessons in that type of conflict?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn