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

Friday, May 04, 2007

The GOP Debate

I watched the GOP debate on MSNBC last night. First, the horse race:

  • I think Romney probably made the most traction
  • Giuliani really needs to stop talking about stopping crime in NYC
  • McCain is the grouchy old man telling the kids to get off his lawn
  • Gingrich and Thompson had the best performance by not being there. What's the point of 30 sec responses with 10 other candidates?

I can't believe the questions from ThePolitico.com and Chris Matthews. There wasn't a single question which could be described as coming from a serious, conservative perspective. Politico.com's questions from its users, invariably from San Francisco, CA, Madison, WI, and New York, NY, were terrible and clearly were from the nutroots.

It's a good thing that the GOP isn't a bunch of wussies like the Dems vis a vis Fox News, since they'd only be able to appear on one channel.

But, why didn't Tucker Carlson, Joe Scarborough, or even Tim Russert moderate the debate? At one point, as a candidate was responding to one of Matthew's idiotic questions, Chris "Softball" Matthews actually provided his own rebuttal by saying loudly "Oh, God...." - dismissing whatever it was that the candidate just said.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hugo - Economic Genius

Wow.... After Hugo Chavez came up with the brilliant idea of lopping off 3 zeros from the currency valuation, who would've thought that he would have the cojones to simply nationalize the private banking system in Venezuela:

Chavez Threatens to Nationalize Banks
May 3, 4:53 PM (ET)

By JORGE RUEDA

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday threatened to nationalize the country's banks and largest steel producer, accusing them of unscrupulous practices.

"Private banks have to give priority to financing the industrial sectors of Venezuela at low cost," Chavez said. "If banks don't agree with this, it's better that they go, that they turn over the banks to me, that we nationalize them and get all the banks to work for the development of the country and not to speculate and produce huge profits."

It was not clear if Chavez was only referring to Venezuelan banks like Mercantil Servicios Financieros CA and Banco Provincial SA, or if he was also aiming the threat at major international banks with subsidiaries in the country, such as Citigroup Inc. (C) and Spanish banks Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBV) and Banco Santander Central Hispano SA. (STD)

Chavez also warned the government could take over steel producer Sidor, which is majority controlled by Luxembourg-based Ternium SA. (TX) Shares of Ternium fell 3.9 percent to $26.15 in U.S. trading after Chavez's comments.

Sidor "has created a monopoly" and sold the bulk of its production overseas, forcing local producers to import tubes and other products from China and elsewhere, Chavez said.

"If the company Sidor ... does not immediately agree to change this process, they will obligate me to nationalize it," Chavez said.

"I prefer not to," Chavez added, as he ordered Mining Minister Jose Khan to depart immediately for the company's headquarters and come back with a recommendation with 24 hours.

"Sidor has to produce and give priority to our national industries ... and at low cost," he said.

Chavez initiated a nationalization drive in January that is bringing the country's largest telephone company CANTV and the electricity sector under state control. The state oil company also took over the last privately run oil operations in the country from major international oil companies on Tuesday.

Chavez, a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, says the nationalization of "strategic" companies are part of Venezuela's transition to a socialist system.

"I'm not deceiving anyone," Chavez said. "I'm only governing the country, and the country has elected me various times ... All of those who voted for me backed socialism, and that is where we are heading."

This man is a mental midget, but the people of Venezuela and the moonbat blogosphere just love him as he does the most illiberal and un-progressive things.

He has no idea how his Oil For Chickens economy is going to work.

Previous Chavez posts which demonstrates his idiocy here

If Venezuela was a stock, I'd be shorting the piece of junk to no end. Nothing like watching a self-immolation and profiting. (Is that wrong of me?)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The House Regrets the Founding of the United States of America

Jonah Goldberg participated in debate at Britain's Oxford Union. The proposition was "The House Regrets the Founding of the United States of America." The proponents of the proposition were an Oxford student, two Islamists and, believe it or not, a Communist they found somewhere.

Jonah's prepared remarks were fabulous and I present them in their entirety here.

Mr. President, Members, thank you.

As both a committed Anglophile and patriotic American, I am honored to be here. Though, I must say that the proposition tonight saddens me. Until recently, it never would have dawned on me that good, decent, and wise Britons, proud of their heritage, proud of their culture, honored to call themselves sons and daughters of this great nation and co-authors of its future achievements, would lament the birth of a sister democracy and comrade-in-arms — particularly when that democracy stands upon the shoulders of British giants. There is no denying the question before this house is shameful.

No decent mother questions whether her daughter should ever have been born lest she already has an answer in mind. And whatever regrettable commentary it may be on the child, the mere posing of the question is even more pitiable comment upon the mother. Unless. Unless, of course this is all a grand joke in the great satirical tradition of Monty Python, Simon Pegg and the farcical oxymoron that is David Cameron’s “conservatism.”There is hopeful evidence on this front.

When I learned that tonight’s proposition would have as its champions two passionate defenders of sharia law and the hijab plus one spokesman for the Communist party, it dawned on me: “Aha, this is all a joke.”

This house regrets the birth of America as much as Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail had naught but a “flesh wound.”

[pause]

I don’t know how it is in Britain, but in America, Communists are nearly extinct. A few aging relics do linger on — like Japanese soldiers refusing to surrender long after the war. They live in an archipelago of academic backwaters, their bunkers brimming with yellowing copies of The Daily Worker and the Guardian, saturated with the strong stink of despair mixed with the suggestion of old urine.

Communists are more commonly seen as comic-book villains or mythical creatures rumored to have once existed in fairy tales or, perhaps, James Bond movies. A Communist!? My goodness, were Dr. Doom, Lex Luthor, and Ernst Blowfeld unavailable? Did the most sagacious pundits of the Klingon Empire not return the Oxford Union’s phone calls?Do the Oompah Loompahs refuse to fly coach?

I’m sorry, but my honorable opponent’s party stands — as a matter of principle! — in lockstep solidarity with the murderocracy of Kim Jong Il’s North Korea. He stands as the living exponent of the criminal tradition of Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung, and he dares damn the United States of America from the safety of history’s dustbin. Please. Surely, this evening was intended as a gag.

Where is the hidden camera? When will my opponents tear off their masks and laugh at the put on, joining us at the pub for beer and cigars giggling at the whole thing? As they say on MTV, Am I being punked?

And then there are my other “honorable” opponents: The gentlemen representing the “moderate” face of political Islam. The Islamic Party of Britain holds that open homosexuals may receive the death sentence. Hizbut-Tahrir openly desires a world — not merely a United Kingdom — where rejection of Islam by its adherents would bring a death sentence, and where Jews and Christians must live in official ghettos.

Both represent theocratic visions that make President Bush’s supposed “theo-conservatism” seem like a lapsed Unitarian’s weekend hobby. Indeed, despite some vein-popping hysteria here and in Europe, the fact is that America is no theocracy, and it mixes religion and government less you folks in Britain and Europe do. However, on the off chance that there are some in the room who do not get the joke, or — worse — that someone here isn’t kidding, let me make a few brief points.

First, there is no objection my honorable opponents could make to the existence of America that could not be made about the existence of Great Britain herself.

At least two of these men reject the Enlightenment. And I’m not talking about the French one. But the good one from Scotland. (When it comes to Enlightenments, as Michael Meyers says in So I Married an Ax Murderer — “if it’s not Scottish, it’s crap.”)

And all three of my opponents stand against the kind of Liberalism the United States, the United Kingdom, and this very Union represent. The United States is not flawless, to be sure, but we are the fruit of freedom, the flawed champions of liberty and defenders of decency. And, if you are honest with yourselves, you know — KNOW! — that should any of my opponents succeed in having their perfect world realized, those of you who did not stay in Britain to fight such oppression would count yourselves lucky to find asylum in the United States of America. And, you know full well, that the United States of America would gladly offer it.

Second, whatever causes some of you to roll your eyes or titter at these statements must either be of very recent vintage indeed or, again, you must stand athwart Britain’s own history yelling, “Stop.” And, if the case is the former, then your vote against America will be a badge of honor, for I want the support of no man who counts the United Kingdom as a villain. But, if your position is the latter, if you were a fan, friend, or ally of the United States, until George W. Bush was elected — or until he allegedly seduced your own prime minister with some sort of Jedi Mind Trick into going into Iraq or some other recently minted grievance, let me say this: How childish of you.

To reject a former colony or ally for most of the last 400 years only to say that it was all for nothing because of a war you honorably enlisted in yourselves?

For shame.

If in 2001 you would have voted against this proposition but today you want to vote for it, if you honestly think the last six-plus years erase all that was good about and of America for the previous four centuries, then you are either suffering from what we in the United States call Bush Derangement Syndrome or your friendship was never worth anything to begin with.

The proposition is not that the Bush presidency, the war, slavery, or even disco should be regretted. It is that the United States of America should be. And that proposition would reap the scorn of Edmund Burke, William Gladstone, Winston Churchill, and countless others.

Please, my friends, let us be grownups.

This is not Cambridge.

Lastly, let me just note that if the ugly fantasy at the heart of the proposition were somehow made real and America had never been born, then a lot more than democracy and freedom would suffer. America is the engine of global prosperity — a job we inherited from Britain.

From penicillin to the iPod, the artificial heart to rising crust pizza, jazz and the Simpsons to the Marshall Plan, America — through its ingenuity, openness, generosity, and adherence to the liberal principles it inherited from this great land — has championed the relief of man’s estate (in the words of Francis Bacon) and the liberty to let your freak flag fly (in the words of David Crosby).

Yes, anti-Americanism fashions itself a form of anti-globalization. But this is most often a ruse. Do keep in mind that my opponents represent a truly tyrannical form of globalization. Whether it’s “Workers of the World Unite” or the World Caliphate, the choice they are presenting is globalization for losers, while America, to the extent it represents globalization at all, offers the globalization of liberty.

The mere fact that you had to select three men from outside this heritage to defend the proposition, is proof enough that it is indefensible from within it. For, again, if you want to lament the birth of America, you must lament all that has been born of America. And if you are prepared to do that, you are prepared to regret all that was born of Britain as well.

To which I say again: Surely you must be joking.


Jonah could just as well delivered these remarks to the Democratic House and Senate Caucuses.

Bravo Jonah!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Monterey John

Gonzales has got to go

No, not for the attorney filings, or for any nefarious conspiracy with Karl Rove, but rather for this statement:

Since the April 16 shootings that left 33 people dead, including the gunman, at Virginia Tech, some have suggested that the carnage might have been lower if a student or professor with a gun had stepped in.

“I don’t think that is the answer quite frankly,” said Gonzales, who was participating in a governor’s task force to study safety and security on Oklahoma college campuses.

Instead, authorities should enforce existing laws concerning the ownership and use of handguns, he said.

“We can’t guarantee complete security,” Gonzales said. “We need to see what we can do as a government — on the federal level, on the state level — to ensure the safety of our students.”


Of course you can't gaurantee complete security, which is why you shouldn't hobble those that want to take the responsibility for their own security. Instead, "gun-free" zones, such as the one at Virginia Tech, ensure that the only ones with guns are the ones that will not follow the law.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Your Constitutional Right to be a Sick, Twisted Freak

Ready for a disgusting development coming out of the Lawrence v. Texas case (which basically threw out anti-sodomy laws because it's unconstitutional for a community to establish laws based on that community's moral standards).

H/T Captain's Quarters, who has an excellent post on the subject that you should read.

Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe writes [emphasis throughout is mine]:

Lawful incest may be on its way
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | May 2, 2007

WHEN THE BBC invited me onto one of its talk shows recently to talk about the day's hot topic -- legalizing adult incest -- I thought of Rick Santorum.

Back in 2003, as the Supreme Court was preparing to rule in Lawrence v. Texas, a case challenging the constitutionality of laws criminalizing homosexual sodomy, then-Senator Santorum caught holy hell for warning that if the law were struck down, there would be no avoiding the slippery slope.

"If the Supreme Court says you have the right to consensual sex within your home," he told a reporter, "then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

It was a common-sensical observation, though you wouldn't have known it from the nail-spitting it triggered in some quarters. When the justices, voting 6-3, did in fact declare it unconstitutional for any state to punish consensual gay sex, the dissenters echoed Santorum's point. "State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are . . . called into question by today's decision," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the minority. Now, Time magazine acknowledges: "It turns out the critics were right."

Time's attention, like the BBC's, has been caught by the legal battles underway to decriminalize incest between consenting adults. An article last month by Time reporter Michael Lindenberger titled "Should Incest Be Legal?" highlights the case of Paul Lowe, an Ohio man convicted of incest for having sex with his 22-year-old stepdaughter. Lowe has appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, making Lawrence the basis of his argument. In Lawrence, the court had ruled that people "are entitled to respect for their private lives" and that under the 14th Amendment, "the state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime." If that was true for the adult homosexual behavior in Lawrence, why not for the adult incestuous behavior in the Ohio case?

The BBC program focused on the case of Patrick and Susan Stubing, a German brother and sister who live as a couple and have had four children together. Incest is a criminal offense in Germany, and Patrick has already spent more than two years in prison for having sex with his sister. The two of them are asking Germany's highest court to abolish the law that makes incest illegal.

" We've done nothing wrong," Patrick told the BBC. "We are like normal lovers. We want to have a family." They dismiss the conventional argument that incest should be banned because the children of close relatives have a higher risk of genetic defects. After all, they point out, other couples with known genetic risks aren't punished for having sex. In any event, Patrick has had himself sterilized so that he cannot father any more children.

Some years back, I'd written about a similar case in Wisconsin -- that of Allen and Patricia Muth, a brother and sister who fell in love as adults, had several children together, and were prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned as a result. Following the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence, they appealed their conviction and lost in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Lowe will probably lose too.

But the next Lowe or Muth to come along, or the one after that, may not lose. In Lawrence, it is worth remembering, the Supreme Court didn't just invalidate all state laws making homosexual sodomy a crime. It also overruled its own decision just 17 years earlier (Bowers v. Hardwick, 1986) upholding such laws. If the court meant what it said in Lawrence -- that states are barred from "making . . . private sexual conduct a crime" -- it will not take that long for laws criminalizing incest to go by the board as well. Impossible? That's what they used to say about normalizing homosexuality and legalizing same-sex marriage.

In Germany, the Green Party is openly supporting the Stubings in their bid to decriminalize incest. According to the BBC, incest is no longer a criminal offense in Belgium, Holland, and France. Sweden already permits half-siblings to marry.

Your reaction to the prospect of lawful incest may be "Ugh, gross." But personal repugnance is no replacement for moral standards. For more than 3,000 years, a code of conduct stretching back to Sinai has kept incest unconditionally beyond the pale. If sexual morality is jettisoned as a legitimate basis for legislation, personal opinion and cultural fashion are all that will remain. "Should Incest Be Legal?" Time asks. Expect more and more people to answer yes.

And this is the problem with the Supreme Court seeking a particular result when deciding a case instead of looking to the original intent and boundaries of the Constitution. There isn't a Constitutional right to homosexual sodomy. Nor is there a Constitutional right for bestiality, polygamy, prostitution, or even extreme and violent sado-masochism between consenting adults.

These are issues which are best left up to communities to decide through their legislative process. Think that homosexuals should not be thrown into jail for having consensual sex? Great - I agree with you. Let's persuade some other people and strike down a law and/or pass one. This process insures that: 1) we would have to convince a majority of people, meaning that the result would mirror the moral sentiments in the community in which the law applies; and 2) if we goof or if the law in a few years no longer reflects the moral sentiments of the community, it can be changed.

Unfortunately, Lawrence has removed our ability to impose moral standards - ie, what the community feels is in our best interests - and instead has made sure that the sickest and most twisted among us can claim a Constitutional right to incest.

Deviancy is now a Constitutional right. Who are we to judge what is right or wrong?

Ahhh, the glory days of American Jurisprudence.

Here is how Captain Ed summarized the issue:
In the end, the honest and real community interest in these laws are moral -- and Lawrence removed that as a basis for law.

The dissenters were right. Based on the logic of their reasoning, the Supreme Court in Lawrence opened the floodgates for these challenges, and until the Court allows that law can validly reflect a moral consensus of the community without violating an emanation of a penumbra of the Constitution, eventually those challenges will succeed. At some point, this court or a future one will have to overrule Lawrence or have us forego any limitations on sexual practices in our society, regardless of legitimate state interests.

I'm not so confident that a future court will have the cojones to overturn Lawrence .

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Yet Another Inconvenient Truth - Part 1,767

Glenn Beck had an excellent show tonight on the fear that is driving the global warming debate. The net is that the scientific debate is not over, especially if you're debating something other than that the earth has warmed by 0.4 degrees. You see, as we've pointed out here on this blog several times, the cause of the warming is still to be determined.

And as we've also pointed out several times here on ARC, Global Climate Change and Environmentalism is more of a religious faith than science - because science is not determined by consensus. e=mc2 is not determined by scientific consensus; Newton's theory of gravity is not determined by consensus.

Oh, and the consensus from the UN's IPCC report is not scientific consensus - it's consensus from scientists, policymakers, and NGO representatives.

Anyway, to prove the point that global warming is now religion, check out this article from Bloomberg:

California Hotels Go Green With Low-Flow Toilets, Solar Lights
By Ari Levy and Carole Zimmer

April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Visitors to the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa won't find the Gideon Bible in the nightstand drawer. Instead, on the bureau will be a copy of ``An Inconvenient Truth,'' former Vice President Al Gore's book about global warming.

They'll also find the Gaia equipped with waterless urinals, solar lighting and recycled paper as it marches toward becoming California's first hotel certified as ``green,'' or benevolent to the environment. Similar features are found 35 miles south at San Francisco's Orchard Garden Hotel, which competes for customers with neighboring luxury hotels like the Ritz-Carlton and Fairmont.

``I'm not your traditional Birkenstocks and granola type of guy,'' said Stefan Muehle, general manager of the Orchard Garden, who said green measures are reducing energy costs as much as 25 percent a month. ``We're trying to dispel the myth that being green and being luxurious are mutually exclusive.''

The Gaia and Orchard are seeking to be the first hotels in California certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, which has authenticated 800 buildings across the U.S. and has about 6,000 in the process, including 30 hotels. San Francisco and other cities offer financial incentives to lessen water and energy use and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Seven years ago, the Green Building Council developed a rating system called the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. Buildings are certified based on their use of environmentally friendly features such as recycled construction materials, solar lighting, and efficient energy and water systems. Older buildings may be retrofitted.

Sleeping Well

``If that choice is available, why not take advantage of it,'' said Josh Dorfman of New York, founder of furniture company Vivavi Inc. and a frequent traveler. ``It's a way to be able to enjoy traveling and to still feel good that I'm doing it in a way that supports a cleaner planet. It's a win-win.''

Building green isn't a priority for most publicly traded hotel chains, said Robert Lafleur, a hotels analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group in Stamford, Connecticut.

``The only green investors care about is the green that's on the money, not the green that's in the hotel rooms,'' Lafleur said. For visitors, ``it's location, price, convenience and brand affiliation.''

Some chains are participating on a limited basis. Marriott International Inc., the biggest U.S. hotel operator, has one LEED-certified hotel in Maryland and seven under construction. Hilton Hotels Corp., the second-largest, received its first certification in January for a hotel in Vancouver, Washington.

``We have a social responsibility,'' said Pat Maher, a senior vice president of Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott. ``It also makes good business sense.''

`A Sea Change'

Swinerton Inc., a San Francisco-based construction company, has worked on more than 20 buildings seeking certification. The 86-room Orchard Garden, completed last year, was its first hotel, said Grant French, a Swinerton engineer.

``There's been a sea change,'' said French. Some companies ``are considering rolling out entire product lines of green hotels.''

Wen-I Chang opened the 132-room Gaia in the town of American Canyon last year. He's building other green hotels in Anderson and Merced and said he hopes to develop at least six more within three years.

Shorter Showers

Chang said he became an environmentalist in 1999, when he couldn't get a glass of water at a restaurant in Santa Cruz, California, because of a shortage in the area.

``I started thinking that there are many ways I can save water,'' said Chang, 62. ``I changed my shower habit from eight minutes to two minutes.''


Then he changed his building habits, after 10 years of developing Holiday Inn and Hilton franchises.

Chang said 43 cities have asked him to build green hotels. Some offer incentives to help cover construction costs, which were about 15 percent more for the Gaia. Chang said it's saving 25 percent on electricity and almost 50 percent on water, which may enable the hotel to turn profitable next month.

American Canyon slashed Gaia's transient occupancy tax by $1 million over three years. Anderson waived a $100,000 environmental impact fee, in part because a green hotel may encourage tourists to stay longer, said Scott Morgan, city manager.

San Francisco began giving priority to green projects last year. A developer may have to wait only four weeks to start construction instead of eight months, said Richard Chien, residential green building coordinator with the San Francisco Department of the Environment.

Getting Traction

``We need to get more traction,'' Chien said. ``We're facing problems with global warming and climate change and we're taking a cue to develop programs to address that at a citywide level.''

Any big new buildings California's government erects must be designed for LEED certification, by order of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The state is working to enact green construction standards for all buildings, said David Walls, executive director of the California Building Standards Commission.

Efforts by the state and cities have contributed to a surge in green development, said Bill Worthen, a senior associate at Simon & Associates Inc. in San Francisco. The consulting company is getting a call a day for projects, he said.

``It's a hip and trendy thing to do and one that's actually good for the planet,'' he said.

Nevermind the uselessness of our actions - it makes us feel good.

Chang doesn't even understand the simple fact that water that he uses to take a shower ends up remaining as water. He seems to think that once he scrubs his stinky armpits with soap & water, the water disappears into space, never to appear again. Therefore, if he only partially cleans himself, he'll be doing something that benefits the planet. Not only is he ineffective, but he smells.

That he is replacing the bible with An Inconvenient Truth is the perfect irony. Because there is more religion and unworthy faith in An Inconvenient Truth than in the Holy Bible.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Just a Marvelous Quote - The Media and the Word "Conservative"

From The Corner at NRO:

Quote of the Day, Yesterday [Jonah Goldberg]

I think I'm going to start posting quotes I like — perhaps often of dubious relevance to today's events — in the Corner. Why? Why not?

So, today: From Wikipedia, a great quote from, Norman Tebbit, a former Thatcher cabinet member:

"The word 'conservative' is used by the BBC as a portmanteau word of abuse for anyone whose views differ from the insufferable, smug, sanctimonious, naive, guilt-ridden, wet, pink orthodoxy of that sunset home of the third-rate minds of that third-rate decade, the nineteen-sixties. "

05/01 02:36 PM

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Postponing the Day of Reckoning - BOOMSDAY!

Investor's Business Daily has a good editorial lambasting the Washington Media establishment for their complacence in allowing politicians (and the AARP) to downplay the looming Social Security Crisis.

The Washington Post, New York Times and Associated Press all led off their stories on the latest Social Security and Medicare trustees' projections by pointing out that Social Security isn't expected to deplete its trust fund reserves until 2041. This supports the contention of Democratic politicians and the AARP that the day of reckoning is more than three decades away, so reform is not an urgent need,
The reality of situation is more dire. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. It cannot continue forever under its current incantation. It must either raise taxes on the young, cut benefits on the old (or worse, on the young through diminished social services) or borrow money (pushing the problem further down the road).
"While current trust fund reserves provide the authority to cover the first $2 trillion of this funding shortfall before being depleted, Treasury must still come up with this amount in future cash," wrote John Palmer, a Democrat, and Thomas Saving, a Republican.
In other words, the trust fund "reserves" are not reserves at all. How do goverments raise cash? Raising taxes. Or doing away with their previous obligations.

Which brings me to one of the most recent books I read, Boomsday! by Christopher Buckley. It's a hilarious illustration of a very near future when Baby Boomer retirees are living in gated communities, as the youth of America faced with increasing taxes on their livelihood while they watch Boomers ride around on their segways and playing golf, effectively riot.

Buckley accurately describes the incest that goes on in modern day Washington. At one point in the book, a "voluntary transitioning" bill to---ahem, "move"---Boomers off of the Social Security roles, gets loaded with extra Boomer pork. Free healthcare, free Segway maintenance, etc completely ignoring the problem the legislation was supposed to solve, and in fact making things worse.

Highly recommended.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Scott Pelley Has a Problem with Comprehension


In his interview of George Tenet on Sunday's 60 Minutes, it became clear that Scott Pelley has a serious problem with comprehension - the act or action of grasping wit the intellect.

This is demonstrated in one simple exchange between the former CIA director and Scott:

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS' "60 MINUTES": January '03, the President, again: "imagine those 19 hijackers this time armed by Saddam's Hussein," is that what you're telling the President?

GEORGE TENET: No.

[narrating voice]

The Vice President up the ante, claiming Saddam had nuclear weapons when the CIA was saying he didn't.

PELLEY: What's happening here?


TENET: I don't know what's happening here. The intelligence community's judgment is he will not have nuclear weapons until the year 2007, 2009.

PELLEY: That's not what the Vice President is saying.

TENET: Well I can't explain it.
First, Tenet tells him that the CIA predicted that Saddam would have nukes by 2007 or 2009. Now, I know this comes from the CIA - the very organization that has been so terrible at anything relating to intelligence for several decades (from recognizing the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait to the first WTC bombing to the Khobar Tower bombing to 9/11) - but, let's give them the benefit of the doubt that this information is somewhat correct. Or let's put a margin of error on the statement and say that Saddam would have nukes by 2010 or 2012.

Scott either doesn't understand what he's just heard or is too busy trying to find evidence for his point that Chimpy W. McBushitler took us to war on lies - LIES!!!! - that he ignores information that is being provided to him throughout the course of the interview.

Second, Pelley's accusatory question is erroneous to begin with. I'd appreciate it if someone could point to the statement where Dick Cheney said that Saddam "had nuclear weapons." What Cheney did say was that Saddam was in the process of trying to reconstitute his weapons programs and that it would be more costly to try and take out Saddam in a few years - after which time he may have developed nuclear weapons as part of his arsenal:
There’s no question about who is going to prevail if there is military action. And there’s no question but what it is going to be cheaper and less costly to do it now than it will be to wait a year or two years or three years until he’s developed even more deadly weapons, perhaps nuclear weapons. And the consequences then of having to deal with him would be far more costly than will be the circumstances today. Delay does not help.

Now, I realize that facts are difficult for people with agendas. But, words mean things (as a famous broadcaster is known to say). The CIA informed the administration that Saddam was likely to develop nuclear weapons in a few years time (let's hypothesize that it was 5-10 years instead of the 4 to 6 years according to Tenet himself). Combined with the fact that Saddam was harboring a known Al-Qaeda operative in Iraq; had previous working relationships with other terrorist organizations; had previous experience in using weapons of mass destruction; had just received aluminum tubes which the CIA and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory believed to be for the purposes of nuclear enrichment; and was seeking to dismantle the very box that we had put him in, it would be irresponsible for Bush to allow Saddam to continue to remain in power.

The MSM continues to ignore the facts - facts which they report on the buried pages of their own newspapers and which are exposed in the very books and bipartisan committees from which they like to cherry pick information damaging to the Bush administration.

Anchoress also has this post about the NYTimes admitting that Saddam was closer to nukes than we had expected.

Tip of the hat to Lori Byrd at Wizbangblog

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, April 30, 2007

Oakland Bridge Collapse Did Not Happen

Either the bridge collapse in Oakland was caused by Another Rovian ConspiracyTM to make Rosie look bad or Rosie's metallurgical skills aren't as precise as we once thought.



OAKLAND, Calif. - A stretch of highway near the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapsed Sunday after a gasoline tanker crashed and burst into flames, leaving one of the nation's busiest spans in a state of near paralysis.

Officials said traffic could be disrupted for months. Flames shot 200 feet in the air and the heat was intense enough to melt part of the freeway and cause the collapse, but the truck's driver walked away from the scene with second-degree burns. No other injuries were reported.

So, we have this "collapse" of a bridge in Oakland due to fire. If it really was fire that caused this, I suppose it would be only the second time that a fire caused steel to melt.

From Rosie:
"[The Collapse of World Trade Center Tower 7 was] the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel."

Ahem.... that bastard Karl Rove!!! How dare he inconvenience the commuters of San Francisco just to make Rosie look like an ass. Of course, you don't see an overpass being "collapsed" in a Red State, do you?

That evil genius!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Yet Another Inconvenient Truth - Part 1,766

Or, Global Climate Change - We must act now to ban Martian SUVs!!!!

This story points to the dire situation we are facing:

April 29, 2007
Climate change hits Mars

Mars is being hit by rapid climate change and it is happening so fast that the red planet could lose its southern ice cap, writes Jonathan Leake.

Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.

The mechanism at work on Mars appears, however, to be different from that on Earth. One of the researchers, Lori Fenton, believes variations in radiation and temperature across the surface of the Red Planet are generating strong winds.

In a paper published in the journal Nature, she suggests that such winds can stir up giant dust storms, trapping heat and raising the planet’s temperature.

Fenton’s team unearthed heat maps of the Martian surface from Nasa’s Viking mission in the 1970s and compared them with maps gathered more than two decades later by Mars Global Surveyor. They found there had been widespread changes, with some areas becoming darker.

When a surface darkens it absorbs more heat, eventually radiating that heat back to warm the thin Martian atmosphere: lighter surfaces have the opposite effect. The temperature differences between the two are thought to be stirring up more winds, and dust, creating a cycle that is warming the planet.

Just some more evidence that the real cause behind "climate change" is solar radiation (as discussed in this BBC film which I posted on in Part 1,765). Global Warming is not likely to be reversed by everyone returning to a Medieval lifestyle of crappy clothes, a lack of personal hygiene products, and a few fraudulent carbon offset schemes.

But hey, it'll make us all feel good that we're "doing something." Or something like that.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler