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

Friday, November 16, 2007

Barry Bonds for President

News Flash:

Bonds Faces 30 Years For Federal Charges
Bonds Indicted; Greg Anderson Freed

POSTED: 2:08 pm PST November 15, 2007
UPDATED: 7:34 am PST November 16, 2007

'Homerun King' Barry Bonds could spend 30 years in prison if he is convicted of felony charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in the BALCO steroid investigation.

Bonds was charged Thursday with perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying when he said he did not use performance-enhancing drugs.

Just over an hour after the Bonds indictment, a judge ordered Greg Anderson to be freed from a federal facility behind the Santa Rita jail in Dublin.

Paula Canny, criminal attorney and friend to Anderson, told NBC11's Ethan Harp that Anderson will not testify against Bonds.

"Greg has to be released under the law because you can only hold a recalcitrant witness for the length of the grand jury or until the purpose of the grand jury subpoena ends," Canny said. "Once they indicted Barry, Greg has to be released by operation of law."

"(Anderson's release) has nothing to do with 'did he cooperate or not,'" Canny said.

Anderson was first ordered to prison in July 2006 for contempt of court after he refused to testify before the grand jury investigating Bonds. There has been speculation that Anderson, Bonds' longtime personal trainer, would testify against the homerun king.

The indictment, unsealed Thursday by federal prosecutors in San Francisco, is the culmination of a four-year federal probe into whether he lied under oath to a grand jury investigating steroid use by elite athletes.
[...]

What a waste of taxpayer money. To spend 4 years to trip a guy up on perjury and obstruction of justice... over what? performance-enhancing drugs? Come on!!!
The indictment comes three months after 43-year-old Bonds, one of the biggest names in professional sports, passed Hank Aaron to become baseball's career home run leader, his sport's most hallowed record.
[...]
"My reaction is that, quite frankly, I was surprised that this indictment came down given the evidence that I knew that the government had as of today that would not support a conviction," said Bonds' attorney John Burris. "So therefore I'm thinking that you're not going to indict unless you're pretty comfortable that you can get a conviction. Now it may be that they feel that way. But if the evidence is based upon statements from ex-girlfriends or former business partners, they're not going to get a conviction. It's just not going to happen."

"If there's other evidence that I'm unaware of, and certainly they make reference to records and things of this nature, then that only means to me… they have to be authenticated," Burris said. "Someone has to testify as to these records; someone has to indicate that what's there is true and that therefore Barry knowingly made a false statement at the time he said that he was unaware and did not knowingly take steroids.

"So I think those are tough questions. I think the government has a tough case in front of them. Barry's going to plead not guilty. He's going to fight these charges vigorously. That's all there is to it."


Why are we even going through this? No one ever gets convicted of perjury, right?
Canny spoke with NBC11's Ethan Harp before she picked up Anderson at the Dublin facility.

"I'm sure (Greg is) disappointed for Barry and I'm sure he's disappointed for himself," Canny said. "He just spent a year in prison. One year in prison."

"The reality is after I reviewed the indictment, they could have released this indictment a year ago, two years ago," Canny said. "There's nothing new in any of the media accounts."

After Harp asked Canny to go on the record about whether Anderson would testify against Bonds or not, she said in fact that Anderson would not testify against the slugger.

Bonds, who parted ways with the San Francisco Giants at the end of last season and has yet to sign with another team, also holds the game's single-season home run record of 73.
[...]
While Bonds was chasing Aaron amid the adulation of San Franciscans and the scorn of baseball fans almost everywhere else, due to his notoriously prickly personality and nagging steroid allegations, a grand jury quietly worked behind closed doors to put the finishing touches on the long-rumored indictment.

"There's been an effort to get Barry for a long time," Burris said. "I'm curious what evidence they have now they didn't have before. The only thing that raises a red flag is... is Greg Anderson testifying?"

And you know what? This is — the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast anti-Bonds conspiracy that has been conspiring against Barry since the day he started beating home run records.
The indictment charges Bonds with lying when he said that he didn't knowingly take steroids given to him by his personal trainer Greg Anderson. He also denied taking steroids at anytime in 2001 when he was pursuing the single season home-run record.

Bonds' defense: It depends on what the meaning of the word "knowingly" is.
"During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing substances for Bonds and other athletes," the indictment reads.

He is also charged with lying that Anderson never injected him with steroids.

It depends on what the meaning of the word "injected" is. Bonds isn't an MD, so he shouldn't be expected to know all that medical jargon.
"Greg wouldn't do that," Bonds testified in December 2003 when asked if Anderson ever gave him any drugs that needed to be injected. "He knows I'm against that stuff."

Bonds became the highest-profile figure caught up in the government investigation launched in 2002 with the raid of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), the Burlingame-based supplements lab at the center of a steroids distribution ring.

Bonds has long been shadowed by allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs. The son of former big league star Bobby Bonds, Barry broke into the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986 as a lithe, base-stealing outfielder.

By the late 1990s, he'd bulked up to more than 240 pounds -- his head, in particular, becoming noticeably bigger. His physical growth was accompanied by a remarkable power surge.

Speculation of his impending indictment had mounted for more than a year.

In July 2006, the U.S. attorney in San Francisco took the unusual step of going public with the investigation. After the previous panel's 18-month term expired, he announced he was handing it off to a new grand jury.

Anderson was at the center of the investigation. He spent most of the past year in a federal detention center for refusing to testify to the grand jury.

According to testimony obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, Bonds testified in 2003 that he took two substances given to him by Anderson -- which he called "the cream" and "the clear" -- to soothe aches and pains and help him better recover from injuries.

The substances fit the description of steroids distributed by BALCO founder Victor Conte. But when questioned under oath by investigators, Bonds said he believed Anderson had given him flaxseed oil and an arthritic balm.

Investigators and the public had their doubts.

Aiming to prove Bonds a liar, prosecutors tried to compel Anderson to testify. When he refused, they jailed him for contempt.
[...]

Hmmm... reminds me of Susan McDougal going to jail in contempt of court instead of testifying against the Clintons. Unfortunately, I don't think Anderson is going to get the sympathetic coverage that Susan received.

Anyway, what's the big deal here? I mean, perjury and obstruction of justice isn't a big deal, right? And he was only lying about a private, consensual use of performance-enhancing substances... And everyone does that, right? It's an issue between him and his trainer and really shouldn't be criminalized.

Now, it's time for Bonds to get back to the work that Major League Baseball and the American people want him to do - knocking home runs freakishly out of the park.

Just saying... Perhaps Bonds could enter the Democratic Presidential field?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Defeat In Iraq Has Many Fathers

Victor Davis Hansen, my favorite Democrat, provides this analysis on the lack of news about anything that's taking place in Iraq:

When Good News is No News
By Victor Davis Hanson
Thursday, November 15, 2007

There’s an old expression about war: “Victory has many fathers, while defeat is an orphan.” But in the case of Iraq, it seems the other way around. We’ve blamed many for the ordeal of the last four years, but it is the American victory in Anbar province that now seems without parents.

Over the last few months, the U.S. military forced Sunni insurgents in Anbar to quit fighting. This enemy, in the heart of the so-called Sunni Triangle, had been responsible for most American casualties in the war and was the main cause of unrest in Iraq. Even more unexpectedly, some of the defeated tribes then joined in an alliance of convenience with their American victors to chase al-Qaida from Iraq’s major cities.

As President Bush recently told U.S. troops about Anbar province: “It was once written off as lost. It is now one of the safest places in Iraq.”

But that dramatic turnabout in Iraq is rarely reported on. We know as much about O.J.’s escapades in Vegas as we do about the Anbar awakening or the flight of al-Qaida from Baghdad. When we occasionally do hear about Iraq, it is just as likely through a Hollywood movie — “In the Valley of Elah,” “Redacted,” “Lions for Lambs” — preaching to us how the U.S. was mostly incompetent or amoral in fighting a hopeless war.

The Abu Ghraib prison scandal of 2004 warranted 32 consecutive days on The New York Times’ front page. Congressional appeals for timetables and scheduled withdrawals, amid cries of “fiasco” and “quagmire,” were regularly reported this summer. Now, though, there is largely silence in newspaper headlines about the growing peace in Anbar province.

Why this abrupt amnesia about Iraq, given a radical drop in American casualties and entire cities now largely free from serial violence?

Many anti-war critics are so invested in the notion of the Iraq war as the “worst” something or other in U.S. history that they cannot accept the radical turnaround after over four years of war.

Other opponents have simply changed their argument from “Iraq is lost” to “Even if we do win, it will not have been worth the cost.” Either way, good news from the front seems to translate into no news.

Even some supporters of the war are leery and hesitant to tout American success. Maybe they remember past optimism over successful elections and the euphoria over the purple fingers — all occurring prior to the Shiite/Sunni sectarian bloodletting of 2006.

New uncertainties elsewhere also overshadow Iraq — the falling dollar, martial law in Pakistan, skyrocketing oil prices, and fear of a soon-to-be nuclear Iran. Amid all that chaos, Iraq may no longer be our chief worry.

The military — unlike the Bush administration — is strangely silent about its recent successes. The caution is not just due to uncertainty over whether the Sunni Triangle will stay won for good.

Instead, the September testimony of Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and the reaction to it — whether the “General Betray Us” Moveon.org ad or Sen. Hillary Clinton’s jab that to believe the general’s testimony required a “willing suspension of disbelief” — reminded officers how Iraq will loom large in election-cycle domestic politics. Getting drawn into such politicking is something responsible military leaders try to avoid.

Nevertheless, we may be witnessing one of those radical, unforeseen reversals in America’s wars that have often changed our history.

The White House was burned by British forces in late August 1814; a little more than four months later, the British were routed at New Orleans. During the Civil War, the Union army was on the ropes in July 1864 yet outside Atlanta by September. The Germans were driving through France in March 1918, but fleeing toward the Rhine by August. The communists took Seoul in early January 1951, yet were pushed back across the Demilitarized Zone a little more than three months later.

Of course, we don’t know the final outcome in Iraq, given the remaining problems of Shiite militias and diehard al-Qaidists — and the question of our own remaining resolve.

The U.S. Army and Marine Corps may well soon stabilize the Iraqi democracy once deemed lost. Or perhaps, in the manner of Vietnam between 1973-5, the public may have become so tired of Iraq — despite the improvement — that it simply wants it out of sight and out of mind.

Either way, history is now being made while we sleep.

Meanwhile, in tonight's Democratic debate, the focus will be on the illegal war in Iraq and which of the Democratic candidates will pull our troops out soonest, regardless of the consequences of such an action.

Many on the Left are only interested in defeat in Iraq for political purposes... sure, they'd like to win and for Iraq to be a stable, but that doesn't provide them with any personal political benefit.

And, more than anything else, their irrational hatred for Chimpy W. McBushitler is more important than any victory over a true enemy.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mizzou...Mizzou...Mizzou-Rah! - Who Are Those Masked Men?


For 30 years living in Missouri I waited for the University of Missouri football team to amount to something. Occasionally they had a promising start only to fizzle out. Sometimes they were awful from start to finish. In 2004 I moved home to California having lost all hope. I thought I had left my unrequited love behind.

Well! This year they are nationally ranked having lost only one game, that to the sometimes number one team in the country, Oklahoma. They have a huge game coming up against Kansas, also nationally ranked, at the end of the season. This could be the year for a BCS bowl.

Mizzou..Mizzou...Mizzou-Rah!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Progress in Health Care

Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review has this excellent article in Time that points to how it's the GOP that is really "progressive" when it comes to health care:

Thursday, Nov. 08, 2007
The Real Health Care Radicals
By Ramesh Ponnuru

Most Americans of working age get their health insurance through their employers. The Democrats running for President want to keep it that way. The Republicans don't.

If you listen to what each party says about the other, you would get a very different impression. To hear the Democrats tell it, the Republicans are happy with the health-care system we have: all they do is stand in the way of Democratic improvements.

But the truth is that it's the Republicans who make more radical proposals. They want to make a break with more than six decades of government policy. During World War II, employers started giving workers health benefits to get around wartime wage controls. Since then, the government has continued to give a tax break for employer-provided health insurance; it isn't taxed, the way wages are.

That's how we ended up with the health-insurance system we have now, based on employers. You get a tax break if you get your insurance through your job. If you get a raise and use it to buy your own insurance instead, you have to pay taxes on that money. (Ditto if you use your raise to pay doctors directly.) Almost everyone takes the tax break. The market for insurance bought by individuals is, as a result, small and stunted, which is all the more reason to stay in the employer system.

Republicans used to consider health care a Democratic issue--not something they needed to do anything or even think much about. But in recent years, most Republicans have come to believe that our health-care system is dysfunctional because it is employer-based and that this dysfunction has to be attacked at the root.

In this view, everything people dislike about our system results from the tax break for employer coverage. It makes costs rise, since people are less careful when they're not paying out of pocket. It means people often lose their insurance when they switch jobs. And it keeps a lot of people--those who don't have employers who provide coverage--from having much access to health insurance.

In his State of the Union Address this year, President Bush proposed letting people who buy insurance for themselves qualify for the break too. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that his plan would help 7 million people who don't have insurance get it. But its main point is to offer individuals more control over their health care--to make it possible, for example, for them to keep their policies when they switch jobs.

Free-market health-care experts note that most types of insurance--think of homeowners' insurance--cover major expenses that have a low likelihood of happening to any individual rather than routine and predictable expenses. Thanks to the existing tax break, health premiums have become a way of prepaying for medical care. Under Bush's plan, a lot of people would buy cheap insurance policies that cover emergencies while paying for routine care out of pocket. Cost-conscious consumers could drive down the price of health care.

Rudolph Giuliani has adopted elements of Bush's plan as his own. Mitt Romney and John McCain also have plans that would reduce the tax code's favoritism toward employer-based care.

Liberal health experts worry that these plans would cause the employer-based system to unravel. But it's already unraveling. As health costs increase, companies are cutting back on their coverage or dropping it altogether. The Democratic solution to the problem is to find new ways to bolster the employer-based system and fill in its gaps.

The federal government long ago got into the business of insuring two groups that the job-based system excludes: Medicare covers retirees, and Medicaid covers the jobless and indigent. These programs have been expanding. The Democratic plans would expand the federal backstop still more to achieve universal coverage. So both parties would shift responsibility for health care away from business. The main difference is whether government or individuals would get control of the money business now spends on health care.

The Democrats have hardly noticed the turn in Republican thinking on health care, in part because the Republicans seem so weak right now. But the Democrats have already started to emphasize how incremental and unthreatening their plans are. In the months to come, look for them to start accusing Republicans of being radicals who want to end health insurance as we know it. The accusation will be true.
This of course fits with my my previous post on how "liberals" and "progressives" are incorrectly classified as such. Unfortunately, progress in the 21st century often means protecting (aka conserving) and expanding the programs of the early 20th century.

I don't know about you, but that's not progressive in my book.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler