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

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Dems Aggressive Pursuit of Failure

This article by Jonah Goldberg of NRO reminded me of one of my posts from 2005, this email from a soldier serving on the front lines during Christmas time. Read the whole text....

Here's Jonah's column:

The Body Democratic
Fight today or occupy forever.

By Jonah Goldberg

"As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general and soon-to-be-President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the Korean War, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. 'When comes the end?' ... And as soon as he became president, he brought the Korean War to an end." This was part of freshman Virginia Sen. Jim Webb's much ballyhooed stentorian Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union address.

One wonders if the untold millions of North Koreans who've starved, bled, and died since then would similarly applaud Eisenhower's courage and wisdom. For more than half a century, North Korea has been a prison-camp society beyond the imagining of George Orwell, where public executions for stealing food are familiar events. The man-made famine of the 1990s alone claimed the lives of up to 1 million people (hard data from Stalinist regimes are difficult to come by).

One also wonders: When are our troops going to come home? Technically, the Korean War isn't really over. We're merely enjoying a ceasefire — much like the one we had with Iraq in the 1990s.

While Webb favors a "formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq," our forces in South Korea have been there for nearly six decades. Something tells me the antiwar base of the Democratic party doesn't have that sort of timetable in mind for Iraq.
So, except for the fact that the Korean War didn't end, our troops are still there, and the outcome has been the source of humanitarian and national-security nightmares, Webb's salute to Eisenhower's statesmanship really strikes home.

In fairness, Webb is a thoughtful man who takes foreign affairs more seriously than most politicians. But his closest-weapon-to-hand style of attack against Bush does not reflect well on him or the Democratic party that chose him to be its representative.

But it is revealing. Indeed, the Democratic party's most honest moment Tuesday night came not in Webb's brusque words but in the Democrats' brusquer body language.

The president asserted that no one wants failure in Iraq. Understandably, the commander in chief wanted to avoid conceding how very real a possibility failure is, so he chose his rhetoric carefully. He spoke in the abstract about the bipartisan desire for victory and success.

And yet the Democrats for the most part sat on their hands, refusing to applaud, never mind rise in favor of such statements from a wartime president.

Then, when the president mentioned ending genocide in Darfur, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her party leaped to their feet.

Perhaps such applause is mere grace on the cheap. Democrats know they can count on their beloved United Nations to prevent serious intervention in Sudan's civil war. Or maybe the Democrats really want action in Darfur, even though that would put us smack dab in the middle of a civil war, which Jack Murtha, Joe Biden, and other war critics invoke as a classic blunder the way Vizzini referred to land wars in Southeast Asia in The Princess Bride.

The 11th Commandment for liberals seems to be, "Thou shalt not intervene out of self-interest." Intervening in civil wars for humanitarian reasons is O.K., but meddling for national-security reasons is not. This would explain why liberals supported interventions in civil wars in Yugoslavia and Somalia but think being in one in Iraq is the height of folly. If only Truman had called the Korean civil war a humanitarian crisis, Ike might not have called the whole thing off.

None of this explains why Democrats are so eager to support continued U.S. fighting against the Taliban as part of NATO forces in Afghanistan, even though that puts us between two sides in what amounts to an Afghan civil war. But maybe Afghanistan is a humanitarian crisis too. Or maybe it's an excuse for Democrats to prove they are still tough as far as foreign policy. Or maybe Democrats simply think the war in Iraq is lost, while there's still hope in Afghanistan ... assuming there's a principle in there somewhere.

There seems to be only one hope for persuading the Democrats to support staying in Iraq. Let's just beat the rush and call Iraq a humanitarian crisis now. It surely is already. And if we leave prematurely, Iraq will undoubtedly give Darfur and Yugoslavia a run for their money as a humanitarian horror show. Why wait for calls to return to stop the bloodshed?

It's even possible that an Iraq left to fend for itself might become a national-security threat on a par with nuclear-armed North Korea.

Not that national security should factor into it.

I guess one sign of success in Iraq will be when we begin to view Iraq in the way that we view Germany, the UK, Japan, and South Korea - as welcoming countries for our forward deployed forces.

As the email from the soldier pointed out, do we really need to have such a significant presence in Germany? Isn't our strategic interest for the 21st century in the Middle East and Asia?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Chimpy W. McBushitler's Strategery Appears to be Working

Could it be that the Dems - after aggressively committing themselves to the defeatist positions in the past few months - are proven wrong?

Two stories which are very important demonstrations that W's Surge Strategy appears to be working - and that we may ultimately prevail in Iraq.

First, This audio story from that right-wing bastion, NPR Radio's All Things Considered. Click Here for Windows Media audio, here for RealPlayer.

The story is about Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki's Baghdad Security Plan being approved by the Iraqi Parliament, receiving votes from both Shiites and Sunnis. While the key component of "Maliki's Plan" is the surge of 17,000 US troops into Baghdad, the more important items are the disbanding and disarming of all militias (bye-bye to Sadr's Mahdi army!), the negotiation with militias to hand over militants that might have been involved in terrorist activities for prosecution, and provision of security by US & Iraqi forces (which were previously provided by the militias). Listen to the audio to hear interviews with ministers, locals, Sunnis & Shias, etc. This is a significant event.

Second, this story ("Turnaround in Baghdad") from The New York Sun. I've excerpted a post from Jeff Goldstein's ProteinWisdom, which provides additional and helpful commentary.

From the New York Sun (I know, may as well have been written by Bill Kristol on a sheet of two-ply toilet paper and edited by the ghost of Jeanne Kirkpatrick) comes this rather lengthy op-ed from Nibras Kazimi, ominously titled (if you happen to be, say, Barack Obama) “Turnaround in Baghdad”. Allow me to excerpt at length:
There has been a flurry of press reports recently about insurgents battling American and Iraqi security forces on Haifa Street in Baghdad, and around the rural town of Buhruz in Diyala Province. These same insurgents also claimed to have shot down a Black Hawk helicopter near Buhruz. At the same time, the Americans and Iraqis are declaring a major victory as evidenced by the increased number of dead or captured militants, and the uncovering of massive weapons caches. So, what is going on?

What needs to be understood is the central role that Al Qaeda — or more accurately its successor organization, a group called the Islamic State of Iraq — is playing on these fronts and the diminishing role of all the other insurgent groups.

The wider Sunni insurgency — the groups beyond Al Qaeda — is being slowly, and surely, defeated. The average insurgent today feels demoralized, disillusioned, and hunted. Those who have not been captured yet are opting for a quieter life outside of Iraq. Al Qaeda continues to grow for the time being as it cannibalizes the other insurgent groups and absorbs their most radical and hardcore fringes into its fold. The Baathists, who had been critical in spurring the initial insurgency, are becoming less and less relevant, and are drifting without a clear purpose following the hanging of their idol, Saddam Hussein. Rounding out this changing landscape is that Al Qaeda itself is getting a serious beating as the Americans improve in intelligence gathering and partner with more reliable Iraqi forces.

In other words, battling the insurgency now essentially means battling Al Qaeda. This is a major accomplishment.


Of course, run those paragraphs through the anti-war Democrat’s filter and you come away with something like this: “There is not now, nor has there ever been, any connection between Iraq and Islamic terrorism. Oh, and QUAGMIRE!”

Of course, this is not to argue that Iraq is once again a paradise filled with frolicking children and their omnipresent kites. Iraq is still a war zone—hardly surprising, given that the country has been playing host to a war, though it seems more than a few Congresspeople, on both sides of the aisle, are indignant that a war can create such a prolonged state of untidyness.

Nor is this to suggest that there haven’t been strategic missteps along the way, as Kazimi himself is careful to point out. In fact, if Kazimi is to be believed, the “turnaround,” as he calls it, is the result, simply, of doing what the President has called for all along: staying the course.

Add these developments to this recent video showing gunships blasting at the Mahdi army (which may have pushed Moqtada Sadr to realize his days were numbered) and victory in Iraq may not be so elusive. The Rules of Engagement were changed in Baghdad, resulting in the Iraqi politicians finding the will to disband the militias and the militias realizing that they couldn't continue.

Of course, now that the Dems and the MSM are totally invested in the defeat of America in Iraq, expect that the Dems become more subversive to our interests than Moqtada....

Oh, wait.... although the Sunnis & Shias appear able to reach a bipartisan agreement on security for Baghdad, there are those in the bubble that is Washington, DC who still don't get it.

Only time will tell how these events play out. And while many in the Democratic Party and many in the Senate are hoping and praying for an American defeat, they may not get their wish.

*** UPDATE ***
H/T to HotAir

Compare this story in the NYTimes with the NPR audio clip above. Is it just me or is the Times focusing on the divisions prior to the vote for the security plan, rather than the actual vote or the actual security plan?

And no mention of the quote of the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, featured in the NPR clip, which called for Iraqi nationalism and unity... and was received with cheers and applause.

hmmmm... it's almost as if the Times is trying to spin the great news out of Iraq into a story of doom & gloom. Weird.

*** UPDATE 2 ***
Donald Sensing also feels that we're starting to see success in Iraq, thanks to the change in the ROE and the domestic political situation in Iraq - ie, the passage of the new Security Plan.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Try Saying Thank You...



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Overheard Inside a Mahdi Bunker, Baghdad

A version of Jeff Goldstein's conceptual series, Overheard Inside a - insert middle eastern hell-hole here - Bunker. Apologies to Jeff...

H/T to HotAir

First Mahdi Militant: So, Ahmoud. I hear the glorious Senator Kerry is not running for president so that he can concentrate his efforts in the Senate on getting our hated enemies out of our country. You know that he also lead the effort to lose the war in Vietnam.

Second Mahdi Militant: If you don’t stop with the jokes, Raed, so help me I’ll shoot you my goddamn self, peace be upon you.

First Mahdi Militant: No, Ahmoud... I am serious. And the cowardly Democrats are going to pass a non-binding resolution objecting to the Satan's surge in troops. And a Republican even voted for it! And more Republicans are expected to vote to spare our lives!

Second Mahdi Militant: Well, In sh'Allah, perhaps this is good news.

First Mahdi Militant: Yes, Ahmoud.... we just need to hold out and kill as many American soldiers as we can in the next 90 days and the Americans will surely turn against Satan and pull out. I heard that Rosie O'Donnell called for Satan's impeachment, death be upon that lesbian whore.

Second Mahdi Militant: In sh'Allah, death be upon that lesbian whore. But she does speak the truth, no?

Here... help me load this RPG. I hear a Humvee.

First Mahdi Militant: Raed.... do you hear a helicopter? and loud cheering from the American monkey occupiers?

Second Mahdi Militant: I thought you said they voted to stop the surge, Ahmoud?

First Mahdi Militant: I told you it was NON-BINDING!!! NON- *BOOOM!!!!!*


Here's the video from the US perspective... strong language... but, if you're watching war-footage, you probably shouldn't be offended.



Message to the Dems & Chuck Hagel: I think it's important to put yourself in the shoes of our enemies and ask what kind of message your public statements are sending to them.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kerry Realizes What Everyone Already Knew

From the local section of his hometown paper:

Kerry won't run for president in '08
By Rick Klein, Globe Staff | January 24, 2007

WASHINGTON --Senator John F. Kerry plans to announce today that he will not run in the 2008 presidential race, and will instead remain in Congress and seek reelection to his Senate seat next year, according to senior Democratic officials.

Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, plans to say he will remain in the Senate to recommit himself to efforts to extricate the United States from the war in Iraq. His decision to stay out of the presidential race reflects a realization that he would have had an uphill climb in capturing the Democratic nomination, given the other party heavyweights who are already in the race, according to the officials, who spoke to the Globe on condition of anonymity.

Kerry plans to make his plans known with a speech on the Senate floor this afternoon, and is taping a message to e-mail his [two] supporters to explain his decision.

I wonder how his two supporters (himself and his wife) will react upon receiving the email...

And yes, they did mention Kerry's Vietnam service... although, not the service in support of his country, but against it:
On Iraq, Kerry has emerged as a fierce war critic after initially supporting the invasion of Iraq. He has spoken of his war opposition in a similar vein to his efforts to bring the Vietnam War to a conclusion in the early 1970s.

Because that withdrawal from Vietnam - one in which Kerry lobbied to not even send materiel to the South Vietnamese - really turned out well for the region.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Fitz call your office part 1672

If you aren't aware, Media Bloggers is liveblogging the Libby trial. For analysis go to Tom Maguire's site at JustOneMinute.

The latest doozy? The second prosecution witness, one of the ones that will confirm that Libby "knew" before he said he "knew". Isn't too sure now on his memory. In fact,

Robert Grenier, the second prosecution witness against Scooter Libby, testified that, although he had told the FBI and the grand jury that he really wasn’t sure whether he had mentioned to Libby that Joe Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA, eventually came to “feel guilty” thinking “maybe I had revealed too much” and, over time, came to think he had probably mention that fact.

Not particularly compelling testimony, frankly.


Nope it isn't. This is why trying to get the "big fish" when there is no big fish to get, isn't a very smart prosecution tactic.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Nothing to See Here

It appears that the strategery of the Surge might work:

Sunni sheik declares war on the insurgency
A business-minded tribal leader in Al Anbar forges an alliance with U.S. forces.
By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
January 23, 2007

RAMADI, IRAQ — At 35, he is younger than many sheiks. And his Sunni Arab tribe is not one of the largest in Al Anbar province. But Sheik Sattar Bazeaa Fatikhan projects the aura of power and seriousness that comes to a man who has taken a stand.

After Sunni insurgents killed his father and four of his brothers last year, Fatikhan declared war against the insurgency.

He convened a summit of about a dozen prominent sheiks. From that meeting came a document called "The Awakening," in which Fatikhan persuaded all but one sheik to join him in opposition to the insurgency.

The sheiks pledged to encourage young men to join the police force and even the Shiite-led army. The document states that killing an American is the same as killing a member of their tribes. Since the gathering, Fatikhan said, the sheiks have "eliminated" a number of insurgents.

U.S. officials regularly visit Fatikhan, seeking his counsel, showing him the kind of deference one might expect for a leading government official. When a British general visited recently, Fatikhan, the sheik of the Abo Resha tribe, noted that his great-grandfather had fought against the British in the early 1940s.

Still, he said, "The British respected the sheiks."

In a two-hour interview in his large, carpeted meeting hall, a stream of underlings whispered to Fatikhan or handed him messages. He nodded or spoke a few words, and they hurried off. Later, he allowed himself to joke about the duties of being a sheik.

"They give me a headache," he said through an interpreter.

Drinking tea and smoking Marlboros, Fatikhan listened to questions and then gave an unvarying response: The U.S. military and Iraqi tribes must unite to rid Sunni-dominated Al Anbar province of men who would "try to engineer our future with mortars and roadside bombs."

For U.S. forces, Fatikhan's stand is a significant boost in a bitter fight with insurgents who, until recently, controlled large segments of Ramadi, the provincial capital.


Army Col. Sean MacFarland, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, credits Fatikhan and other sheiks for an increase in police enrollment, a decrease in insurgent recruitment and new courage among Iraqi forces.

A year ago, insurgents blew up every police station in Ramadi, and officers were afraid to return to duty. The U.S. military rebuilt many of the stations. During a recent attack, Iraqi police officers stood their ground.

"They would not be intimidated," MacFarland said. "Why? Because their sheik, whom they respect, told them, 'You must do this.' "

Fatikhan ordered his followers to "adopt" the U.S. Army's liaison to the tribes and give him an Arabic name, Wissam, which means warrior. After the officer, Capt. Travis Patriquin, was killed by a roadside bomb, the sheik ordered that one of the new police stations be named in his honor.

This month, Fatikhan was host of the first Ramadi reconstruction conference, held behind the high walls of his family compound. Contractors, sheiks and others met with U.S. officials to discuss projects to pave roads, rebuild schools and improve electrical, sewer, phone and water systems.

Fatikhan, who wears tailored suits when not in traditional clothing, understands U.S. politics. He told a visiting journalist, "Please take a message to the Democrats: Let the American forces stay until we can hold Iraq together. Then we will have a party when American forces go."

Interesting that the Sheik is more attuned to the politics in the US than many of those in the MSM.

It should be noted that Travis Patriquin, who graduated from the same high school as me, died in Ramadi from a roadside bomb and obviously had a significant impact on the situation in Ramadi now. All accounts of Travis' service in the War On Terror show that he was truly an American hero.

Here is Travis' PowerPoint (in PDF) on How to win in Al Anbar, which appears to be coming to fruition... he calls on the US to engage a Sheik who can bring other sheiks to the table.

Travis shows an understanding of Iraq that L. Paul Bremer, the State Dept Bureaucrat, couldn't comprehend.

To Captain Patriquin - Godspeed and may your sacrifice not be in vain.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Keith Olbermann - Liar or Fool?

Last night, Keith Olbermann demonstrated that he is either a liar or a fool. Check the video:



I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he's just a fool - not intentionally lying to the hundreds of thousands of moonbats that tune into him nightly.

Oh, and here's the relevant text of the LA Times story:

For all the aggressive rhetoric, however, the Bush administration has provided scant evidence to support these claims. Nor have reporters traveling with U.S. troops seen extensive signs of Iranian involvement. During a recent sweep through a stronghold of Sunni insurgents here, a single Iranian machine gun turned up among dozens of arms caches U.S. troops uncovered.
If you didn't catch it, answer this question. Where would you be most likely to find Iranian weapons and expertise, in Sunni or Shia areas of Iraq?

Dork...

***** ARC: Brian adds ******

I've got an idea! We can send Joe Wilson to Tehran to sip abdugh and ask about Iranian arm shipments. I'm sure he'll find that it's all a bunch of hogwash, and Bush Lied!TM in order to send us in a war with Iran.

I notice that Keith repeats the Wilson lie about the 16 words:
Those 16 words in which Mr. Bush had claimed in 2003's address that Iraq had tried to secure weapons grade uranium from Niger, ultimately proving[sic] to be false.

Let's go back to the 2003 State of the Union speech. The "16 words" from that speech were as follows:
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

To anyone with that isn't a liar or a fool, those two statements are not synonymous. Uranium is not "weapons grade" uranium. Africa is not Niger. And there has been no proof (other than Wilson's op-ed) that Iraq didn't try and obtain Uranium from Niger. [Added link to daily howler showing the text of the NIE disputing this charge from Olberman back in April]

I expect the propoganda on behalf of Tehran--and lets be honest, thats EXACTLY what is being done here--just to score political points against Bush will continue among left wing circles. Much to the delight of President Tom.

*****************

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SOTU - A Dignified Peformance

Pretty darn good.  It's pretty clear victory is still the only option in Iraq.  I felt proud of our President tonight.  To get up before that crowd and this nation given the election results and the polls was not an easy thing to do, and he did it about as well as anyone could.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC:  MontereyJohn

Who does the seating chart at the SOTU speech?

Did I see Hillary(!) Clinton sitting right behind Barack Obama? In this day of hyper-managed candidacies, what does this mean? Was Hillary planning on sitting behind him, or was Barack planning on sitting in front?

Just saying...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

If It Ain't Broke

Don't fix it...

So says Larry Kudlow:

An Excellent Economic State of the Union
Parsing through a dozen or so newspapers and websites this morning, I was stunned not to find a single reference to the very strong economic state of the union. Sure, there’s plenty about global warming, carbon caps, President Bush’s poor polling numbers, Republican opposition to the troop surge in Iraq, and the usual horse-race speculation about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic primary race for presidency. But there’s nothing -- and I mean nothing -- about the excellent economic state of the union.

I did manage to find one article, buried deep in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Class of ’07 Gets Plenty of Job Offers.” It talked about employers planning to hire 17 percent more graduates this year than they did last year. This happens to top the college-hiring peak of the last economic boom in 2000.

There’s also an interesting op-ed by Deputy Treasury Secretary Bob Kimmet (an old friend with lots of supply-side blood in his veins), who notes the positives of “job churn.” More than 55 million Americans, or four out of every ten workers, left their jobs in 2005. Since there were more than 57 million new hires that same year, this is good news. It also means that new hires exceeded employee separations by an average of 364,000 per month. Per month!

Eat your heart out Lou Dobbs.

The fact is, jobs continue to boom. So do real incomes, productivity, and profits. Economist Michael Darda points out that real wages over the first five years of the Bush expansion are actually growing more rapidly than over the first five years of the Papa Bush/Bill Clinton boom.

Meanwhile, unemployment today is only 4.5 percent. Federal, state, and local tax collections are soaring through the roof. Budget deficits are plunging. Inflation-adjusted GDP is averaging just more than 3 percent. Family wealth stands at a record of slightly more than $54 trillion. Total employment is at a record 146 million.

Stock markets, as you might have noticed, also continue to rise. They have done so, almost without interruption, for four years, on the shoulders of a remarkable surge in business profits -- which itself is a function of the high-tech, knowledge-based product explosion.

These corporate profits, along with our record-setting stock markets, have enriched the more than 100 million investors who are participating in this prosperity. In fact, this America boom is spearheading a global economic surge. While the American free-market model is often derided as “cowboy capitalism,” imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery. And it isn’t just China, India, and Russia who are acquiescing to the worldwide spread of American capitalism. It’s also Eastern Europe and parts of South America. Heck, even the socialists in Old Europe -- like France and Germany -- are getting into the act by reducing individual and corporate tax rates to promote growth.

Note to John Edwards and other modern-day class warriors: The best anti-poverty plan is a growing economy, one that creates jobs and higher middle-class living standards. As free enterprise has been unleashed around the world, government planning once again has been rejected. This is the spirit of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, where he argued almost 250 years ago for free markets, free trade, and a very light touch with respect to taxes and regulations.

Someone should be making the point that if the economy ain’t broke, there’s no need to fix it. Taxing the rich will not make the non-rich rich. Attacking businesses will not produce more jobs and investor-class profits. Imposing trade barriers will not help high-quality, low-cost consumer imports, nor will it promote job-enhancing business exports or help poor nations grow richer.

[...]

Government meddling and failed liberal social policies are precisely what we don’t need today.

As President George W. Bush takes the podium tonight for his seventh State of the Union message, his policy of lower marginal tax rates and a general absence of overregulation (with the exception of Sarbox, but including the opposition to carbon caps) has succeeded in nurturing low inflation and entrepreneurial economic growth.

Of course, Bush gets very little credit for this in the mainstream media or in the polls, which is a shame. The truth is, the president has had the economic story basically right for six years. His overall economic record is rather solid.

But the bottom line is the bottom line: As we enter 2007, the economic state of the union is excellent.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That Lou Dobbs, John Edwards, and the rest of the econ-idiots still garner press in the midst of this economy is a travesty.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, January 22, 2007

National Gas Temperature Map

Interesting map at this site. Shows the average price of gas on a per county basis. It appears that the source data is based on user input, so some error may be prevalent. In addition, taxes appear to be included in the price.

I'd love to see a similar map that showed state taxes per gallon....

http://www.gasbuddy.com/gb_gastemperaturemap.aspx

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Perhaps if she had asked for a Hookah?

H/T to Lileks

It appears that in addition to not being able to get a taxi ride if you might be bringing back a liter of single-malt Scotch from Scotland, the infidels can't buy a pack of smokes at their local quickie-mart:

Muslim store worker refuses smoker cigs

A 31-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified, was shocked when she attempted to buy a pack of 20 cigarettes at the WH Smith store in Market Street and was turned down.

She said: "I asked for a pack of 20 Lambert & Butler and the woman behind the desk asked me if they were cigarettes.

"When I said they were she told me that it was against her religion to sell them - I couldn't believe my ears.

"I rang up the manager to complain and he said the shop assistant has to ask someone else to serve them for her if a customer wants tobacco.

"If she had just said, I can't serve you, then that would have been fair enough, but the thing that really annoyed me was the way she gave me a lecture as well.

"She started saying she doesn't agree with smoking, that it kills you - I was really gob-smacked."

When contacted by the News, the store's assistant manager, who refused to give her name, said: "It is true that Muslims can't sell cigarettes - I used to be Jehovah's Witness and I wouldn't on religious grounds either."

She said the customer should have realised the shop assistant was a Muslim, and would not sell her tobacco, because she was "sitting there in her full robes".

Asked why the store had someone who would not sell tobacco working behind the till, she said: "It is against the law to discriminate against people on religious grounds".
[...]
The store manager, self-confident and smug in her "worldly understanding," is a complete idiot. I mean, to assert that because someone is dressed in a robes means I should assume that I can't purchase tobacco from them?

I suppose that I could also take this to the other extreme and assume that anyone "sitting there in her full robes" is a terrorist with a belt of explosives concealed underneath.

As the story goes on to explain, it's not against Islam to sell cigarettes or tobacco. I mean, has the gal ever heard of a hookah and its historical prominence in the Middle East? Perhaps if the customer had asked for a hookah, she would've been accommodated.

From Wikipedia:
William Hickey wrote in his Memoirs that shortly after his arrival in Calcutta in 1775:
The most highly-dressed and splendid hookah was prepared for me. I tried it, but did not like it. As after several trials I still found it disagreeable, I with much gravity requested to know whether it was indispensably necessary that I should become a smoker, which was answered with equal gravity, 'Undoubtedly it is, for you might as well be out of the world as out of the fashion. Here everybody uses a hookah, and it is impossible to get on without'.....[I] have frequently heard men declare they would much rather be deprived of their dinner than their hookah.
I can just imagine the smug levels that must hang throughout that little shop... I wonder if they sell liquor in that store... and what the reaction would be should someone dare to ask for a bottle from someone dress in full robes.

*** UPDATE ***
OliverWillis points to this story about a new UK cop who wouldn't shake the hand of the head of the Metropolitan Police (ie, her boss) because it was against her faith. To which I commented:
Great points, Oliver... your detractors notwithstanding.

Of course, now Muslim taxi drivers refuse to pickup travelers at the airport, lest they have liquor or a seeing-eye dog in their midsts. Oh, and forget about buying cigs from a Muslim. That's apparently verboten to some, as well.

I'm surprised that the officer isn't being more true to her religion - donning a hijab, refusing to operate an automobile, refusing to get an education, and submitting to her male overlords.

It seems that (to her) some Islamic customs require absolute dedication, while others can be ignored.

I think it's great that a female Muslim has chosen to become a police officer and wish her luck. It's one of a million indications of how accepting the West can be - and it certainly is an accomplishment for her, given her faith's view of women.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sen Dorgan - Helmet Head from North Dakota


And when I refer to Dorgan as Helmet Head, it's not just a jab at his apparent helmet of hair atop his dome, but his apparent inability to absorb the realities of the global economy - an economy in which the US is the leader.

Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek has this excellent post on Dorgan's idiocy. It's a must read.

Don also qoutes a response from Dan Griswold from the Cato Institute which is a total slam:

[...] the Cato Institute's Dan Griswold has Dorgan's number. For example, discussing Sen. Dorgan's book on trade, Dan writes that:
As a nation grows wealthier, the share of the workforce in agriculture invariably falls and the share in the service sector rises. The share in manufacturing typically rises and then falls. According to the World Bank, countries with the lowest share of the work force in the service sector include Uganda, Vietnam, Romania, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Mongolia. Countries with the highest share in the service sector include, along with the United States, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and Luxembourg. The first group is among the poorest nations, the second among the richest. Apparently one goal of Dorganomics would be to shift America from the rich group to the poor group.

In a typical flourish of hyperbole, the senator warns that “our manufacturing base is shrinking.” But here the senator confuses jobs with output. America’s manufacturing base has been both growing and changing. American factories are producing more aircraft and pharmaceuticals, more sophisticated machinery and semiconductors, more chemicals and even more passenger vehicles and parts than a decade ago. In fact, America’s factories are currently cranking out 50 percent more stuff by volume than they did in the early 1990s, before NAFTA and the World Trade Organization came into being. They can produce more with fewer workers because manufacturing productivity has been growing so rapidly.
This is an instructive point. As our country has grown richer - and there is no doubt that we are the richest economy in the world, thanks to the rule of law and our economic liberalism - there has been a steady shift in the nature of that economy.

That political leaders - and idiots like Ross Perot - decry the change in our economy either demonstrates their inability to grasp economic realities or their willingness to play on the fears of a public that is under-equipped to deal with the new reality.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler