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

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bill kneecaps Obama in Vegas

Bill Clinton attacked Obama for his heresy about Reagan being an inspiration to him and that the GOP has had all the new ideas since 1992. Other than installation of a socialist health care system and retreat in the War On Terror, I'm not sure I know of too many "new" ideas from the Left. Here's the story:

Bill also hits Obama on GOP ideas
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2008 5:22 PM by Mark Murray
Filed Under: 2008, Clinton, Obama

PAHRUMP, NV -- Bill Clinton joined his wife in targeting Barack Obama's statement about Republican ideas, saying that his "legs fell out" when he read it.

"Her principal opponent said that since 1992, the Republicans have had all the good ideas," Clinton told a crowd in Pahrump this morning. "It goes along with their plan to ask Republicans to become Democrats for a day and caucus with you tomorrow, and then go back and become Republicans so they can participate in the Republican primary. I'm not making this up, folks."

He then asked which ideas were better in the last 15 years "than the new ideas I brought to Washington," outlining issue-by-issue where Republicans stood on his accomplishments.

"I can't imagine any Democrat seeking the presidency would say they were the party of new ideas for the last 15 years. But it sounded good in Reno I guess," he said. "So now it turns out you can choose between somebody who thinks our ideas or better or the Republicans had all the good ideas."

Now, I suppose that school uniforms (never implemented) and a variety of the other mini-issues that Clinton offered could be considered by the Left as "new" ideas, but I'd be curious to know exactly what "accomplishments" Clinton referenced at this event.

Did he simply rehash the GOP's Contract with America (Anti-crime laws, the Child Tax Credit, Welfare Reform, Tort Reform, etc), Free Trade, etc and claim those accomplishments as his own?

I seem to recall the Left going apoplectic each time that Clinton signed into law of these GOP ideas.

But, hey... I'm part of the (actual) reality-based community.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, January 18, 2008

David Limbuagh Endorses Fred

David Limbaugh: New Column: Answering Fred's Call

Commentators are citing the unpredictability of the Republican primary
contests as proof that Reagan conservatism is dead when precisely the opposite
conclusion is warranted.

The main reason the conventional wisdom is being shattered in the primaries
is that conservative voters, so far, have not been persuaded there is an
electable, reliable conservative in the race. But as I've stated before, I
believe Fred Thompson is a reliable, consistent conservative. There are others
in the field I could support, but not without some reservations.

The more I learn about Fred and observe him in action, the more convinced I
become that he's the right choice. I was among those who urged Fred to step up
and prove to the people he wanted the job. Regardless of whether Fred actually
had "fire in his belly," the unmistakable perception out there was that he did
not, so I encouraged him to add a little spring to his step.

But I've also appreciated Fred's unwillingness to be somebody he is not. He
will not respond like a puppet when a debate moderator tells him to raise his
hand to signify a childishly simplistic approval or disapproval of a certain
policy. He will not be goaded by interviewers into saying things he doesn't feel
comfortable saying. He won't divide us with class envy or pretend we can be
friends with rogue regimes or terrorists. He does not promise a chicken in every
pot or pander to liberals on global warming.

He will not otherwise tailor his positions to suit the demands of
particular constituencies. For example, he has the courage to preach that Social
Security is in trouble, but unlike most others, he doesn't surrender to the
oppressive populist seduction to urge government fixes for it or for health
care. Instead, he courageously tells us -- if we'll listen -- that the answers
lie in greater market forces. (Listen up, conservatives.)

Fred does not run from his record -- more to the point, he doesn't need to.
He shoots straight without the constant self-serving reminders that he does, as
in telling us he's driving the "Straight Talk Express. "More importantly,
Fred is right on the issues, and there's little doubt his positions are firm.

Research his stances; read his position papers. You'll find he's very
strong in all areas important to mainstream conservatives, including national
defense, taxes, spending, life, immigration, federalism, appointing originalist
judges, health care and education.

I'm not drooling over Fred or saying his record is flawless, but I am
saying he's the real deal, and it's a bit disappointing that more haven't taken
a closer look.

I think this is due partly to his laid-back personality and partly to his
timing. He peaked about the time he was contemplating entering the race but not
acting on it. By the time he jumped in, it was anticlimactic, and he still
hasn't recovered from that reversal. There has also been a negative
momentum hovering over his already-stalled campaign, acting as a psychological
barrier to his catching fire among conservative voters.

There is simply too much herd mentality among us about electability. We
tell ourselves a candidate is not inspiring, then pretty soon we're convinced
he's unelectable, and, voila, he almost becomes so. Yet, at that very moment,
he's proving to us that he is quite presidential, quite electable and quite
motivated for the job -- if we can only shed our predispositions against his
"electability." Since electability is often a matter of collective perception,
it can turn on a dime, as with the reversal of the respective fortunes of
screaming Howard Dean and somniferous John Kerry in 2004.

This primary season, relatively speaking, has just begun. But Fred is now
up against the wall. How can we expect him to have done much better than he has
to date with everyone prattling on about the overwhelming odds against him? The
"experts" continue to be wrong at almost every turn, so why can't they be wrong
about Fred, too?

It's time to quit empowering them by following their dictatorial
doom-prophecies. It’s encouraging that John Zogby's latest South Carolina poll
shows that while levels of support for McCain and Huckabee "have remained
static," Fred is starting to move up. Supporters have asked Fred to step up, and
he has -- he has shone brilliantly in the last month, setting himself head and
shoulders above the pack in many cases.

Now it's time for conservative voters to step up and quit placing
artificial limitations on Fred, and on themselves. Fred has answered the
conservatives' call. Shouldn't we answer his?

Posted by David Limbaugh on January 17, 2008 07:32 PM to David Limbaugh

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

"Electile Dysfunction"

From The Corner at NRO

Even Cialis won't fix this.... [Lisa Schiffren]
Going around: "Electile Dysfunction ....the inability to become aroused by any of the choices for president put forth by either party in the 2008 election year."
08:51 AM

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Global Warming Protest in Maryland Snowed In

Protestor's entry in daily diary, "Memo to self: fire the media consultant. "

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Bernanke Speaks, People Listen

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn


Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) was questioning Ben Bernanke (Fed Chairman) at a hearing yesterday, and demonstrated the current mindset of Democrats. Attack based on false information.

Lawmaker mistakes Bernanke for Paulson at hearing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur came to a House committee hearing on Thursday prepared to ask U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson tough questions about his involvement in the subprime mortgage crisis.

Unfortunately, she was questioning the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The Ohio Democrat, at a House of Representatives Budget Committee hearing, said she wanted to know what Wall Street firms were responsible for the securitization of subprime mortgages.

She then asked: "Seeing as how you were the former CEO of Goldman Sachs ..." But the only person testifying at the hearing interrupted.

"No, no, no, you're confusing me with the Treasury Secretary," said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

"I've got the wrong firm? Paulson, Oh, OK. Where were you sir?" Kaptur said.

Bernanke noted that he was head of the Princeton University economics department.

"Oh, Princeton, oh, all right, sorry. I got you confused with the other one ... I'm glad you clarified that for the record," she said.

Paulson was chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs before Bush tapped him to head the U.S. Treasury Department.
I wonder what question she was going to ask? Obviously some liberal crap about how the CEO of a trading firm can't possibly know whats good for the economy. And whats with "the other one" language.

*** UPDATE ***
Here's the Video:

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Bernanke is an Idiot

This Reality Check from CNBC's Diana Olick is great:

Stimulus Package Won't Do Very Much For Housing
Posted By:Diana Olick

I’m very glad that the chairman of the Federal Reserve thinks the economy needs a stimulus package. Yep, the idea of a potential tax rebate check is a great thing for those of us who are having trouble meeting that monthly gas bill or paying for the sundries at the Stop and Shop.

But what in the name of credit crisis, Batman, does that have to do with the fundamental cause of the spiral in this current economy?? I’m talking, you guessed it, about my little beat: housing.

Not only will 600 bucks not make a particle of difference for a homeowner stuck with a mortgage rate that just reset from 2 percent to 8 percent, nor for a potential home buyer looking for that little extra bit of courage to jump into a contract for a brand new home.

Until the housing market stabilizes, builders start building again, and home prices find their feet beneath them, consumers aren’t going to budge, and I don’t just mean buying houses. I mean spending money on houses and the things that go into them.

At the same time as the Fed Chairman was using all that blunt language about a stimulus package, I received a new study from the mortgage bankers in my email box. It reports that “the mortgage industry modified an estimated 54,000 loans and established formal repayment plans with another 183,000 borrowers during the third quarter of 2007.

By comparison, foreclosure actions were started on approximately 384,000 loans.” So the mortgage industry is trying, and stemming the tide, but certainly not all of it. 62 percent more loans went into foreclosure than were modified. And despite all these efforts, by the industry and the federal government, the ratings agencies continue to downgrade the value of mortgage securities, causing massive losses on Wall Street.

I’m not saying I’m on the side of a government bailout, because I’m actually not. I’m a homeowner who actually read the terms of my mortgage, and questioned my lender over and over on each point. But if the government is going to step in, how about coming up with something better than a little post-Christmas cash that won’t even buy a month’s worth of groceries for a family of five.

Watching Kudlow & Company last night, you could see that all of the panelists had lost confidence in Bernanke. They all pointed to the fact that his testimony yesterday was terrible and Kudlow remarked that it would be better if he didn't open his trap, since every time he does, the market takes a nose-dive. And all of the panelists agreed (even those that did not want any rate cut) that if a rate cut was a likely action by the Fed, Bernanke should make it immediately and decisively, not the cautious gradualism that he has demonstrated in the past.

The Fed delaying any action until the end of the month only means that the market and economic actors will hold off economic activity until that date. If you're a business interested in borrowing money for a capital project, do you pull the trigger now or do you wait until the end of the month when you expect the Fed to cut rates by 50 basis points? If Bernanke comes out with a 25 basis point at the end of January and announces that future cuts are in the making, this will be a very long year.

Ideally, the Fed should cut the funds rate 75 or even 100 basis points immediately and indicate that they will keep an eye towards inflation throughout the year, signaling that the current rate is likely only available in the short-term.

And for Bernanke to throw even partial support behind increases in Food Stamps and short-term unemployment insurance is just astounding. Panelists on K&C remarked that Bernanke may have backed that up with the expectation that Congress wouldn't be able to do anything and he could then point to a recommendation which they didn't follow, shifting the blame to them.

Want an economic stimulus? Here's my plan:
  1. Cut the corporate tax rate immediately to a rate that is comparable to the rest of the world - perhaps the 12.5% rate in Ireland is a good target.
  2. Cut and simplify the income tax rate to a two tiered system or immediately enact Fred Thompson's tax plan
  3. Eliminate the Capital Gains tax
  4. Announce that ANWR is open for exploration
  5. Ease the Fed Fund's rate by 75 basis points immediately.

Alas, it's unlikely that any of that could be enacted in a decade, much less in a month.

Cramer was right... "They know nothing."

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vegas, Baby

Las Vegas Review-Journal endorses Romney and provides a pretty clear analysis of why he's my 2nd pick (behind Fred):

Mr. Romney's economic agenda includes several pro-growth policies, including a plan to eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends for any household earning less than $200,000 a year. He backs a line-item veto, favors making the Bush tax cuts permanent and understands that imposing higher taxes as a means of fixing Social Security will only make the problem worse.

He's supportive of free trade, rejects protectionism, backs tort reform, supports school choice and accountability, and while governor was even able to successfully push a handful of spending reforms through Massachusetts' overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Mr. Romney vows to exercise his veto power if Congress doesn't embrace spending restraint and understands the drag that excessive federal regulation imposes on the innovation and the economy.

Mr. Romney did push a measure to ensure universal health insurance in Massachusetts, but says as president he'd offer incentives for states to experiment with their own solutions, rather than embrace a top-down, national single-payer system. He also understands that a sensible energy policy will require developing more of America's domestic resources.

Now, if he could only make himself look less like Guy Smiley and convince the born-again that his religion isn't a cult.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

New Fred Ad

Fred's laying it on the line in South Carolina and I sure hope that the conservatives in the Palmetto State come through for him. Here is the latest ad that is going to start airing in South Carolina today:

I've tried to get two members of the conspiracy down to South Carolina this weekend, but the one with the pilot's license isn't available (or willing?) to go.


Alicia Colon at RealClearPolitics likes Fred and here's her final assessment:

Yet according to Dick Morris, the Republican Party is fractured into three factions. The social conservatives are for Huckabee; the economic conservatives are for Romney and the national security crowd is for Giuliani. Oddly enough, Fred Thompson meets the criteria of all three blocs and sooner or later it's going to dawn on all these Republicans that they like Fred, too.
Let's hope so!

Finally, Quin Hillyer provides this excellent analysis of Thompson and why South Carolina voters should vote for him:
It's Fred's Turn
By Quin Hillyer
Published 1/17/2008 12:08:06 AM

If I were a South Carolina Republican voter on Saturday, then for parochial, tactical, and philosophical reasons, I would vote for Fred Thompson.

This doesn't mean that I would not have voted for Mitt Romney in Michigan on Tuesday, if I were a Michigander, or that I would not vote for Rudy Giuliani in Florida later this month. Voting in each state, especially in a drawn-out nomination battle, involves particularly local considerations as well as national ones.

But for South Carolinians who are mainstream conservatives, those local considerations seem to cry out for a boost for Fred Thompson.

First, there is this purely parochial consideration: Not only is Thompson of a neighboring Southern state, but, more importantly, he gives South Carolinians a chance to set out a marker and decapitate the presidential electoral primacy of Iowa and New Hampshire. Think of it this way: In every Republican presidential contest beginning in 1980, South Carolina has chosen the winner... but, and this is a very big "but"... it always has been forced to choose from a field already narrowed by the two smaller, front-running states. In effect, South Carolina was told it could take the Iowa winner or the New Hampshire winner, but nobody else.

But this time could be different. This time South Carolina could drive a stake through the two-headed Dracula once and for all by choosing its own candidate to push to the fore. When New Hampshire saved George H.W. Bush's candidacy in 1988, he publicly thanked the state a full nine months later when he won the general election, and New Hampshire enjoyed disproportionate influence during his presidency. If South Carolina chooses its own candidate this time, and he goes on to win, November's final election night could hear that candidate say "Thank you, South CarolinaĆ¢€ in front of all the world.

In this case, Fred Thompson is the man whose entire career rests on South Carolina, and he is the only one who would thus owe the state so much. Not only that, but the race is wide open for South Carolinians to lay down just such a marker. After three major contests so far, GOP voters have chosen three different winners in Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Mitt Romney. Why shouldn't the Palmetto State make it four for four, especially for somebody who is the closest thing in the race to a native son?

For that reason, if I were a Rudy Giuliani man on Saturday, I would cast a tactical vote for Thompson, thus giving the former New York mayor a clear shot at Florida without a clear front-runner to overcome. I might even do the same if I were a Romney man seeing a Thompson surge in the state, figuring that one more loss by a suddenly shaky McCain or Huckabee in a state in which each was supposed to be strong might knock at least one of them out of the race and out of Romney's hair. Tactically, it also makes sense for any mainstream conservative to want to give a boost to the most consistent conservative in the race, just to send a message to those who say the old Reagan coalition no longer has relevance. A win for Thompson on Saturday would tell the world that consistency across the full gamut of conservative issues still carries weight at the ballot box.

The final tactical consideration is the province of Evangelical, conservative Christians. It has now become increasingly clear, from exit polls, that Mike Huckabee has not effectively expanded his appeal beyond the Christian Right -- not in Iowa, not in New Hampshire, not in an unexpectedly poor, momentum-killing vote performance in Michigan. Continued insistence on such a one-trick pony could easily have the effect of marginalizing the Christian Right, especially considering the phenomenal number of respected conservative leaders who have warned that a Huckabee win would mean disaster. A healthy Thompson campaign, on the other hand, gives pro-life, pro-Second Amendment voters another viable option. It is for good reason (Thompson's solid record) that the National Right to Life Committee endorsed Thompson, and a discernibly strong move of Evangelicals to the Tennessean would give them a huge amount of influence in a Thompson presidency while realigning social conservatives with their brethren among economic- and strong-defense conservatives.

Next, and most importantly, we move to purely philosophical considerations. It is here that Fred Thompson shines. His voting record in eight years in the Senate was sterling. He often stood alone for the principle of federalism -- "states' rights,Ć¢€ correctly understood -- a principle particularly appreciated by South Carolinians who want Washington to leave them alone on matters of economics and regulation. He had a 100 percent pro-life record. He stood tall against wasteful spending and high taxes. He pushed hard for high ethical standards and for efficient government reform. He's the only candidate thoroughly trustworthy on judicial nominations. And he never wavered from a Reaganite position in favor of a strong defense and foreign policy.

Thompson's campaign, meanwhile, has been the most specific and solidly conservative in its issue stances, with thoughtful and brave position papers on saving Social Security, cutting taxes, strengthening the military, and cutting spending. What George Will wrote of longshot presidential candidate Pete DuPont in 1988 applies to Thompson today: Of all the candidates in the race, he has shown "the highest substance-to-blather ratio."

Granted, Fred Thompson stumbled out of the gate in this campaign. But for the past month he has fully hit his stride, and South Carolinians can reward him for deliberately timing his all-out run to really begin in their state.

One thing Fred Thompson has been right about all along is that these presidential campaigns start way too early. South Carolina can force the pundit class to slow things down in an intelligent way and let voters take a good, long time examining all the candidates, by keeping the solidly conservative Thompson alive in the race and keeping the entire outcome well up in the air. Iowans or Floridians might have other agendas, but Carolinians know the value of taking the time to get things right.

Go Fred Go!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Conspiracy is Alive and Well

The Architect outlines some strategeries for the 2008 contest against the Dems:

Rove outlines plan to beat top ’08 Dems
By Sam Youngman
Posted: 01/17/08 07:48 AM [ET]

Karl Rove provided state Republican officials Wednesday with his strategy for winning the 2008 presidential election, suggesting the party hammer the top Democrats on taxes, immigration, national security and a lack of experience.

Speaking to a group of state GOP executive directors from around the country at the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) winter meeting, Rove said Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) are beatable.

The former adviser to the president made no mention of former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), who is trailing both Clinton and Obama in most polls.
For good reason... Even the Democratic base recognizes that he's a lightweight with no chance for sucess
On Clinton, Rove said the senator talks about fiscal responsibility but has introduced “$800 billion in new spending and the campaign is less than half over.”

Snippet from the upcoming general election ad: "I have a million ideas. The country can't afford them all."
Rove said that Clinton wants to repeal all of Bush’s tax cuts, and that she can be targeted for opposing “troop funding” by highlighting her votes against supplemental spending bills to pay for the Iraq war.
Snippet from another ad: Mrs. Clinton told General Petraeus that his progress report on Iraq required "a willing suspension of disbelief."
Specifically, Rove hit Clinton for an awkward moment in her campaign last year, when she had trouble answering a question about driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants at the Democratic debate in Philadelphia.

“I thought that was an incredible moment,” Rove said. “In the course of 15 minutes, I counted her giving about four different answers.”


Rove also questioned why Sen. Clinton and her husband, President Bill Clinton, have declined to release records from their time in the White House, a familiar attack already employed by the RNC.

Rove said that “raises legitimate questions about what she’s hiding.”

The other 800-lb gorilla in the room is Bill Clinton - what would his role be in a Hillary!TM administration?
The former White House adviser also noted that likeability is an issue the party can exploit against Clinton, pointing to her victory in Michigan. Though she received more than 55 percent of the vote, Edwards and Obama did not appear on the ballot and nearly 40 percent of Democrats voted “uncommitted” on Tuesday.

“Now think about that, she’s running against nobody, and nobody got 40 percent of the vote,” Rove said.

Rove outlined a different strategy regarding Obama that would focus on his limited experience.

“He got elected three years ago, and he [has] spent almost the entire time running for president,” Rove said.

Rove said Obama often voted “present” instead of “yes” or “no” during his time in the Illinois Senate.

Can we trust someone who is such a lightweight with the responsibility of presidential power? David Broder provides evidence that all three of the Democratic candidates are lightweights when it comes to their resume, especially as it pertains to running large organizations. With regard to Obama, Broder points out that Obama "acknowledged a degree of disorganization in his personal and business life and said he needs help 'keeping track' of things." And he wants to be president?
And as Obama’s critics were prepared to do during his Senate race in 2004, Rove said the party could go after Obama for voting “present” and “no” on state legislation that would have stopped a process whereby an infant is left to die after being born alive during a botched abortion procedure.

Rove said that nonpartisan ratings show Obama is more liberal than Clinton, which he said is “pretty hard to do.”

Time and again, however, Rove returned to the trump card he used in the 2002 and 2004 elections, saying neither Obama nor Clinton is prepared to protect the country from terrorists.

Rove served notice that Obama and Clinton would be targeted for how they vote on any Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation that comes before the Senate this year.

“Do they or do they not want our intelligence officials to be listening in on terrorists’ conversations in the Middle East who may … be plotting to hurt America?” Rove said.

Karl - We all know that the answer is yes. If a communication between an Al Qaeda terrorist in Pakistan and an Al Qaeda terrorist in Afghanistan is routed through the US (thanks to the fact that the global telecom providers have centralized their technology here in the US), the Democrats do not want to know what those terrorists are saying.
Rove told the state officials that it would be their responsibility to find “creative and sustaining ways” to “talk about these contrasts.”

Rove also offered advice to whoever ultimately wins the GOP nomination.

He said the candidate had to first “create a sustaining narrative about [himself].” Then he said the candidate should “immediately engage” on the “kitchen table issues,” like healthcare, education, jobs and the economy.

Third, Rove said the GOP nominee has to show that he is serious about campaigning “aggressively in places where Republicans don’t usually campaign.” Rove said that includes among black, Latino, Asian and union voters.

“We’re going for everybody,” Rove said.

And lastly, Rove said the Republican candidate must show the electorate “that they understand the surge is working.”

Rove said the candidate should get firmly behind the war effort, painting the Democratic nominee as “defeatist.”
And of course, this last point is going to be the easiest to make, given the consistent and ridiculous discussions about the Surge by the Dems over the past year.

It should be an interesting Fall!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Voter ID

Excellent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal today regarding the Dems and their selective opposition to Voter ID Laws. It seems that requiring an ID for a Democratic primary or caucus is okay, but requiring one to vote in a presidential election is not:

Voter-Fraud Rethink
January 17, 2008; Page A16

Both Democrats and Republicans are good at practicing hypocrisy when they need to. But it's still breathtaking to see how some Democrats ignore that it was only last week they argued before the Supreme Court that an Indiana law requiring voters show ID at the polls would reduce voter turnout and disenfranchise minorities. Nevada allies of Hillary Clinton have just sued to shut down several caucus sites inside casinos along the Las Vegas Strip, potentially disenfranchising thousands of Hispanic or black shift workers who couldn't otherwise attend the 11:30 a.m. caucus this coming Saturday.

D. Taylor, the president of the Culinary Workers Union that represents many casino workers, notes that legal complaint was filed just two days after his union endorsed Barack Obama. He says the state teachers union, most of whose leadership backs Mrs. Clinton, realized that the Culinary union would be able to use the casino caucuses to better exercise its clout on behalf of Mr. Obama, and used a law firm with Clinton ties to file the suit.

Mr. Taylor exploded after Bill Clinton came out in favor of the lawsuit on Monday, and Hillary Clinton refused to take a stand. "This is the Clinton campaign," he said. "They tried to disenfranchise students in Iowa. Now they're trying to disenfranchise people here in Nevada." He later told the Journal's June Kronholz, "You'd think the Democratic Party elite would disavow this, but the silence has been deafening." (Late Tuesday the Democratic National Committee quietly filed a motion supporting the Nevada party's rules.)

However, the lawsuit has created an uproar among voters. It was the No. 1 issue among 30 Nevada Democrats participating in a Fox News focus group on Tuesday night; the anger among rank-and-file voters was palpable. The left-wing Nation magazine has denounced the suit as an attempt to "suppress the vote."

The case goes before a federal judge in Las Vegas this morning. Plaintiffs argue that the caucus sites on the Strip unfairly discriminate against other workers on-duty that day. Lynn Warne, president of the teachers union, insists "our only interest is fairness." But instead of seeking additional at-large locations, they want to close down the casino sites.

Backers of the suit claim they didn't learn of the caucus rules until recently, although they were approved at a party convention nine months ago. Nevada Democrats are free to set their own rules for a caucus, which isn't a government-run election. And as in Iowa, the Nevada caucus is designed to be unfair to many people, including those who are out of town, sick or value a secret ballot (since all voting must be public).

But the time to argue about the rules has passed. As Rob Richie, executive director of the liberal group FairVote, says, "You simply don't want to reduce the number of places to vote or do a last-minute change if you want people to participate."

Meanwhile, Democrats will also be asking for identification at caucus sites. The nine at-large casino sites are meant only for workers who can prove they are employed within 2.5 miles of the Strip, an area that Barack Obama notes includes thousands "working at McDonald's" as well as gas stations and bodegas.

Democratic leaders insist workers need only show an employee badge. If they don't have one, a party spokeswoman lamely says "we'll somehow accommodate them." The Las Vegas Review Journal notes "some Strip workers will have no alternative but to provide photo identification." For a party that compares photo ID requirements to Jim Crow poll taxes, even when state governments distribute the IDs for free, the irony is rich.

And it doesn't stop there. Opponents of the Indiana photo ID law used Faye Buis-Ewing, a 72-year-old retiree who had trouble getting a state-issued ID, as a poster child for how the law would block voters. Then it was learned Ms. Buis-Ewing lives most of the year in Florida, has claimed residency there, and was illegally registered to vote in both states. Confronted with these facts, Ms. Buis-Ewing was unrepentant. "I feel like I'm a victim here," she told the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. "I never intended to do anything wrong. I know a lot of people in Florida in this same situation."

She's right. But "snowbird" registrations in multiple states can swing skintight elections, and are a good reason to tighten both identification and absentee ballot laws. In Florida, where the Bush-Gore presidential election was decided by 537 votes, the New York Daily News found in 2004 that between 400 and 1,000 voters registered in Florida and New York City had voted twice in at least one recent election.

Selective outrage, anyone? In 1995, Barack Obama sued Illinois over its voter registration rolls on behalf of the radical group ACORN, and he now rails against Clintonista attempts to shut down Nevada caucus sites and photo ID laws. But just last September, Oprah Winfrey held a lavish fundraiser for Mr. Obama at her California estate. None of the 1,500 guests could enter until they presented a government-issued photo ID that could be compared to a guest list. When asked about this, the Obama campaign had no comment.

Me? I think we should have some sort of voter ID requirement and implement the use of indelible ink on the index finger; why is it that on election day in a 3rd world country, it's easy to tell who's already voted whereas it's almost impossible here?

Just a thought.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

McCain & Class Warfare

Here's a link to a great compilation of previous McCain statements on Human Events:

John McCain's Top 10 Class-Warfare Arguments Against Tax Cuts
by Human Events (more by this author)
Posted 01/16/2008 ET

1. “I don’t think the governor’s tax cut is too big—it’s just misplaced. Sixty percent of the benefits from his tax cuts go to the wealthiest 10% of Americans—and that’s not the kind of tax relief that Americans need. … Gov. Bush wants to spend the entire surplus on tax cuts. I don’t believe the wealthiest 10% of Americans should get 60% of the tax breaks. I think the lowest 10% should get the breaks. …

“I’m not giving tax cuts for the rich.”

—Discussion with media, reported in “Bush, McCain Snip Over
Tax Cut Plans,” Los Angeles Times, and “GOP Rivals Bicker on Taxes,”
Washington Post, Jan. 5, 2000.

2. “I have never engaged in class warfare. I am very much in favor of tax cuts for middle-income and lower-income Americans. I’m deeply concerned about a kind of class warfare that’s going on right now. It’s unfortunate. There’s a growing gap between the haves and have-nots in America, and that gap is growing, and it’s unfortunately divided up along ethnic lines.

“I feel very strongly that we ought to have middle-income and lower-income tax cuts, and we’ll be getting into it, I’m sure, later on in this program. Mine are basically comparable to Gov. Bush’s, in some cases far better. But I’m not sure we need to give two-thirds of that tax cut, of that money, to the wealthiest 10% of America.”

—Michigan Republican Debate, Jan. 11, 2000.

3. “I always thought that class warfare was to take away from the rich. I always believed that that was what class warfare was all about. As I said, there are tax breaks and money for the richest in America and the very rich, but I think that it’s clear that there’s a growing gap between rich and poor in America, the haves and the have-nots. And many studies have indicated that, and I think that the people who need it most and need the relief most are working middle-income Americans and that’s what I want to give to them. And at the same time, the greatest benefit that I can give them is to make sure that their Social Security benefits are there. And I also don’t think it’s fair for us to lay a $ 5.6 trillion debt down on future generations of Americans.” —NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Jan. 16, 2000.

“We give the millionaire a $2,000 refund. Gov. Bush gives him $50,000.”

—Quoted in “John McCain: How Straight a Shooter?”
by Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, Jan. 27, 2000.

4. “There’s one big difference between me and the others—I won’t take every last dime of the surplus and spend it on tax cuts that mostly benefit the wealthy. I’ll use the bulk of the surplus to secure Social Security far into the future to keep our promise to the greatest generation.”

—McCain campaign commercial, January 2000.

5. “I don’t think Bill Gates needs a tax cut. I think you and your parents do.”
—Michigan State University rally, Feb. 20, 2000.

6. “Mr. President, the principle that guides my judgment of a tax reconciliation bill is tax relief for those who need it the most—lower- and middle-income working families. I am in favor of a tax cut, but a responsible one that provides significant tax relief for lower- and middle-income families. And I commend Sen. Grassley for moving in that direction. But I am concerned that debt will overwhelm many American households. That is why tax relief should be targeted to middle-income Americans. The more fortunate among us have less concern about debt. It is the parents struggling to make ends meet who are most in need of tax relief.

“I had expressed hope that when the reconciliation bill was reported out of the Senate Finance Committee, the tax cuts outlined would provide more tax relief to working, middle-income Americans. However, I am disappointed that the Senate Finance Committee preferred instead to cut the top tax rate of 39.6% to 36%, thereby granting generous tax relief to the wealthiest individuals of our country at the expense of lower- and middle-income American taxpayers.”

—Senate floor statement during debate over
President Bush’s tax relief package, May 21, 2001.

6. “During the debate on the Senate version of the tax reconciliation bill, I had urged my colleagues that substantial tax relief to middle-income Americans should be our top priority. While I regret that my amendment to cut the top rate by one percent to 38.6% so millions more middle-class Americans would fall into the 15% tax bracket failed on a tie vote, Sen. Grassley did move in that direction in the Senate bill by insisting that the top rate should be cut to only 36%. As a result, I reluctantly voted for the bill but pledged to vote against the conference report should further reductions in the top tax rate be made at the expense of the majority of Americans who are in much greater need of tax relief.

“Unfortunately, the conference report did just that by jettisoning the commendable work both Senators Grassley and Baucus did in crafting a Senate reconciliation bill that provided more tax relief to middle-income Americans. This conference report lowers the top rate cut to 35%, at the cost of delaying, for several years, much needed tax relief for married couples unfairly penalized by our tax code. …
“We had an opportunity to provide much more tax relief to millions of hard-working Americans. . . . I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.”

—Senate floor statement before voting against President Bush’s tax cut, May 26, 2001.

7. “I am concerned that repeal of the estate tax would provide massive benefits solely to the wealthiest and highest-income taxpayers in the country. A Treasury Department study found that almost no estate tax has been paid by lower- and middle-income taxpayers. But taxes have been paid on the estates of people who were in the highest 20% of the income distribution at the time of their death. It found that 91% of all estate taxes are paid by the estates of people whose annual income exceeded $190,000 around the time of their death. …

8. “We have no idea what our financial or economic situation will be ten years from now. … We may want to have the flexibility to provide significant tax relief for lower- and middle-income taxpayers. Other unforeseen issues may arise. The point is that we must think beyond the horizon. Making the repeal of the estate tax permanent fails to take these new circumstances into account.

9. “We will need resources to deal with … responsible tax reform that benefit lower- and middle-income taxpayers.”

—Senate floor statement opposing HR 8, a bill to
permanently eliminate the death tax, June 11, 2002.

10. . MCCAIN: “Shouldn’t we give relief to average citizens who also are double taxed every single day?”

HOST KATIE COURIC: “But, Sen. McCain, if you listen to Commerce Secretary Don Evans, and he just appeared on this program, working Americans, the middle-class Americans, under the Bush proposals will get a major break. A family of four making $39,000 a year, according to Mr. Evans, will get a $1,100 tax cut for several years, allowing them to plan their individual budgets. That sounds like something that won’t just simply benefit the wealthy.”

MCCAIN: “Well, I think it will. But when you look at the percentage of the tax cuts that—as the previous tax cuts—that go to the wealthiest Americans, you will find that the bulk of it, again, goes to wealthiest Americans. … A lot of Americans now are paying a very large a—low and middle-income Americans are paying a significantly larger amount of their income in taxes. I’d like to see them get the bulk of the relief.”

—NBC’s “Today,” Jan. 7, 2003.
Again, I ask this question. If Olympia Snowe or Linc Chafee were septuagenarians with a military record (including time spent as POWs), would we be nominating them as our presidential nominee? Heck, those words could come from any of the Democratic nominees!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Huckabee Self-Destructs - What, If Anything, Was He Thinking?

In one swell foop (apologies to Inspector Cluceau) he confirmed all the Lefties' worst fears.

He wants to amend the Constitution to conform to God's Word. I can hear James Madison's scream from the grave. This is total insanity.

The Ayatollah could not have said it better.

Good night, Huck, you are toast.

*** UPDATE ***
Let's go to the tape!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Citigroup ne Citicorp Meltdown Update

Still not worried? Perhaps we should be.

AP - Citigroup May Cut Thousands of Jobs Tuesday
January 15, 8:01 am ET

Citigroup Is Expected to Announce Thousands of Job Cuts After Posting Dismal

NEW YORK (AP) -- Citigroup Inc. is expected to announce thousands of
job cuts after posting dismal results for the fourth quarter, when the bank's
mortgage-riddled portfolio lost billions of dollars in value.

Citigroup swung to a loss of nearly $10 billion in the fourth quarter as it took a
write-down of $18.1 billion for bad bets related to the mortgage industry, the
bank said on Tuesday.

On the hunt for cash, the nation's largest bank said Tuesday it also got a $12.5 billion investment from outside investors, including $6.88 billion from the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.

Other investors were Capital Research Global Investors, Capital World Investors, the Kuwait Investment Authority, the New Jersey Division of Investment, shareholder Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia and former chief executive Sanford Weill and his family foundation. Citigroup also took a net charge of $3.31
billion for loan-loss reserves in its U.S. consumer credit business-- primarily
for delinquencies on mortgages, credit cards and auto loans. A year earlier it
reversed $127 million in loan-loss reserves. Citi cited increasing signs of
weakness among the consumer -- something many others have pointed to as a
potential indicator of a recession.

Fourth-quarter losses totaled $9.83 billion, or $1.99 per share, compared with earnings of $5.13 billion, or $1.03 per share, during the same quarter in 2006. Citigroup's revenue fell to $7.22 billion in the fourth quarter, down 70 percent from $23.83 billion generated during the final quarter of 2006.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial, on average, forecast a loss of $1.03 per share for the quarter on revenue of $10.64 billion. The biggest loss estimate for the quarter was for a loss of $1.43 per share, while the lowest revenue estimate was for $6.47 billion.

Citigroup was hit hard for the second straight quarter by rising delinquencies and
defaults in the mortgage market -- especially among subprime loans given to
customers with poor credit history. The New York-based bank cut the value of
bonds and debt backed by the troubled loans by $18.1 billion. During the third
quarter, Citigroup took about $6 billion in write-downs.

It was not all bad news for Citigroup, though, as the bank recorded record results in its international consumer, transaction services and wealth management segments.
International consumer revenue increased 45 percent, due to a 21 percent
year-over-year increase in average deposits and a 30 percent jump in loan
volume. Citigroup's international consumer unit also benefited from a $507
million pretax gain on Visa Inc. shares and a $313 million gain on the sale of
Nikko Cordial's Simplex Investment Advisors.

Transaction services revenue increased to a record $2.29 billion, driven by growing customer volume. For the full year, Citigroup posted net income of $3.62 billion, or 72 cents per share.

As part of a plan to boost capital on its balance sheet after the
fourth-quarter losses, Citigroup said it raised $12.5 billion in new cash from
outside investors, including $6.88 billion from the Government of Singapore
Investment Corp. Citigroup also cut its quarterly dividend to 32 cents per
share from 54 cents per share to save money. Shares of Citigroup fell 85
cents, or 2.9 percent, to $28.21 in premarket trading from a $29.06 close

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Monday, January 14, 2008

What worries financial advisors?


The fourth-quarter edition of the Brinker Barometer, which polled 236 advisers in December, found that 22% indicated that a "Democrat in the White House" worried them more than all other economic or geopolitical concerns.

Rounding out the list of concerns was "global unrest" (15%), "U.S. economic growth" (15%), "a terrorist attack" (13%) and "a recession" (13%).

That means that in their opinion, a Democrat controlling the levers of power will do more damage than a terrorist attack.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Dr. Evil Demands $3 Quadrillion for Katrina

This story is just hilarious and reminds me of the running joke in the Austin Powers films, where Dr. Evil asks for some ridiculous sum (either too low or ridiculously high) from the government or he'd fulfill his diabolical plan.

Katrina victim sues U.S. for $3 quadrillion
Federal government hit with 489,000 damage claims after hurricane

NEW ORLEANS - Hurricane Katrina's victims have put a price tag on their suffering and it is staggering — including one plaintiff seeking the unlikely sum of $3 quadrillion.

The total number — $3,014,170,389,176,410 — is the dollar figure so far sought from some 489,000 claims filed against the federal government over damage from the failure of levees and flood walls following the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

Of the total number of claims, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it has received 247 for at least $1 billion apiece, including the one for $3 quadrillion.

"That's the mother of all high numbers," said Loren Scott, a Baton Rouge-based economist.

For the sake of perspective: A mere $1 quadrillion would dwarf the U.S. gross domestic product, which Scott said was $13.2 trillion in 2007. A stack of one quadrillion pennies would reach Saturn.
Unfortunately for the plaintiff, I doubt that they have a "death ray" on the moon targeting the US, which means that they'll get bupkis.

I love New Orleans - as a fan of jazz, cajun/creole, and everything else in New Orleans, I hope it's rebuilt and is successful. However, as American Digest says in this post, it's time for us to just say "No" to these continuous drumbeat about Katrina. It was two years ago; If you're still waiting for the government (or anyone else) to come put your life back in order, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's not going to happen.

Here is just an excerpt from American Digest:
This chunk of legalized slunk trading may or may not include the Washington con job currently being floated in Swampy Bottom -- "Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking the Congress for $250 BILLION to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number." But it hardly matters.

I've considered the matter of New Orleans carefully.

I've weighed the never-ending, and now maudlin, saccharine suffering of its people against my now limitless cache of compassion fatigue. They have been found wanting.

To be fair and just, here's what I propose we give New Orleans from this day forward. Nothing. Niente. Zip. Zero. Nada. And a full-scale barium enema just for asking for one more thin dime. Did you send money to this barrage of bozos? I did and I want it back. With interest.

The city and its long line of corrupt citizens and politicians have already managed to hoover $127 billion out of the federal government and that, as they say, should be enough for any cluster of crooks. On a per person basis that comes to $425,000 for each of the 300,000 fools still living in that pulsating pustule on the bayou.
We've already poured billions over this raw festering sore of a city. The infection is still there and it gets more virulent by the day. And now we find that the denizens of this sewer want us to actually pay billions and trillions more to keep this chancrous old collection of corruption afloat? I don't think so. But con-artists don't stop conning until you stop them.

Perhaps if they had asked for "1 billion, gagillion, fafillion, shabolubalu million illion yillion...yen."

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Holy Cr@p Bat Man - What's Going on at Citicorp?

Well, if you needed something to worry about this Monday morning, you might give Citicorp some thought.

Citigroup plans to announce a writedown of as much as $24 billion and layoffs that could total as much as 24,000 due to subprime and credit-related losses, CNBC has learned.

Oliver Quillia for
Citigroup plans to announce a $24 billion writedown and layoffs that could total as much as 24,000.

The plans will be unveiled Tuesday by Citigroup's new CEO, Vikram S. Pandit, after the banking giant reports fourth-quarter earnings. At the same time, Citigroup could also announce that it is cutting its dividend payment.

Citigroup is likely to cut between 17,000 and 24,000 positions over the course of the year through a combination of layoffs. attrition and selling off businesses as part of Pandit's cost-cutting plan, sources said. Previously, it was estimated that the layoffs could reach 20,000.

Pandi is looking to avoid taking a charge to earnings that's usually associated with large-scale layoffs, which is one reason he's considering a number of staff-cutting initiatives besides outright firings. It's unclear if he'll announce a specific number of job cuts on Tuesday.

A Citigroup spokesman had no immediate comment.

More at CNBC.

Is anyone asking the question, "What will happen if one of these behemoth banks fails?"

Then we have Bank of America buying Countrywide which looks to me like Cunard buying the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.

This is unnerving.

Maybe there was a reason we had banking regulations that came into existence during the Depression that prevented this sort of centralization of banking power.

What would happen indeed.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

A Little Reality for the Reality-based community

We've had many moonbat comments here since the start of the Surge, claiming that any decrease in violence was 1) all in our imagination and only due to the fact that the Iraqis have run out of people to kill; or 2) meaningless since no national political reconciliation had been achieved.

Our consistent retort was that national political reconciliation was meaningless if there wasn't reconciliation at the local level - and that the Sunni Awakening was just one sign of such reconciliation. We also pointed out that without a sense of security at the local level, it would be impossible for local reconciliation (and thus impossible for reconciliation at the national level).

One of our favorite moonbats, Stupid Country, who's blog features some children dressed up in KKK uniforms (no word on whether Sen. Robert Byrd is one of them), provided this analysis of our argument (emphasis in the original):

Some of us are simply not convinced that tamping down the violence equals victory. Reducing the bloodshed is a tactical plus, but "victory" has to be at the strategic level. That means it has to be built on a sustainable political settlement. I get the point that reduction in the violence is linked to political conciliation, but it isn't a precondition for a political accord.

In order to get excited about the military gains, we have to see some evidence of political gains. We need to see movement in the Iraqi parliament. There has been none. Until there is some reason to hope for a meaningful settlement, there's no reason to reassess what still looks like a pointless diversion of resources from genuine anti-terrorist objectives and a futile bloodbath. A quiet Iraq is nonetheless a fragmented society still at war with itself.

It. Is. A. Loss.
Let me restate the flawed thinking here: I get the point that reduction in the violence is linked to political [reconciliation], but it isn't a precondition for a political accord.

So, a national law without a reduction in violence would be a sign of success in Stupid Country's eyes, while a recution in violence without a national accord would still be a failure...

Well, it seems that Stupid Country and the other defeatists on the Left will have to eat crow now:
Iraqi Lawmakers Pass Key Benchmark De-Baathification Law
Saturday , January 12, 2008

BAGHDAD — Iraq's parliament adopted legislation Saturday on the reinstatement of thousands of former supporters of Saddam Hussein's Baath party to government jobs, a key benchmark sought by the United States as a step toward easing sectarian tensions.

The bill, approved by a unanimous show of hands on each of its 30 clauses, is the first piece of major U.S.-backed legislation approved by the 275-seat parliament. Other benchmarks languish, including legislation to divide the country's vast oil wealth, constitutional amendments demanded by minority Sunni Arabs and a bill spelling out rules for local elections.

The bill approved Saturday, titled the Accountability and Justice law, seeks to relax restrictions on the rights of members of the now-dissolved Baath party to fill government posts.

It is also designed to reinstate thousands of Baathists dismissed from government jobs after the 2003 U.S. invasion — a decision that deepened sectarian tensions between Iraq's majority Shiites and the once-dominant Sunni Arabs, who believed the firings targeted their community.
Traveling with President Bush in Manama, Bahrain, White House press secretary Dana Perino said the legislation, coupled with a pension measure approved by the parliament, "is important especially not just for the Iraqis but it shows the American people that our troops and Americans that are there working hard to help them get this to the point, are doing the job, they are fulfilling their mission. It also shows the region that they should have some confidence in what is happening in Iraq."

The Bush administration initially promoted de-Baathification but later claimed that Iraqi authorities went beyond even what the Americans had contemplated to keep Saddam's supporters out of important jobs.

With the Sunni insurgency raging and political leaders making little progress in reconciling Iraq's Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish communities, the Americans switched positions and urged the dismantling of de-Baathification laws.

Later, enacting and implementing legislation reinstating the fired Baath supporters became one of 18 so-called benchmark issues the U.S. sought as measures for progress in national reconciliation.

The legislation can become law only when approved by Iraq's presidential council. The council, comprised of Iraq's president and two vice presidents, is expected to ratify the measure.

Yes, there are additional benchmarks to achieve, but without the Surge (and perhaps more importantly, the change in tactics to those outlined by Capt Travis Patriquin and Gen David Petraeus) any law passed at the national level would provide little reassurance that a reconciliation was actually happening.

It's actions, not laws or proclamations that matter in this fight.

As Pete Hegseth writes today at NRO:
For anyone who truly understands the stakes in Iraq, the achievement of national “political benchmarks” has never been an effective metric of success. Sure, Iraqis passing laws at the national level is important, but not more important than neighborhood-level security and grassroots political progress.

I learned this the hard way in Samarra, Iraq. Absent strong local security forces and fair, representative government at the neighborhood level, local populations never felt “more secure,” no matter how much useless (or useful) legislation was passed at the national level. Iraqis need to see a better life in their neighborhood, not hear more promises from Baghdad.
The Iraqi parliament, flaws and all, came together — Sunni, Shia, and Kurd — to craft a law that relaxes restrictions on the right of former-members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party to fill government posts. The law will reinstate thousands of Baathists in government jobs from which they had been dismissed shortly after the war.

In short, less than five years after the fall of a genocidal Sunni dictator — who killed thousands of Shiites and Kurds — a democratically elected Shia government granted de-facto “amnesty” to former Baathist co-conspirators. Kind of makes our domestic illegal-immigration “amnesty” debate look silly, doesn’t it?

We should expect more progress in Iraq, although results will be mixed and the streets will not be quiet soon. But this groundbreaking settlement is a testament to the potential for political reconciliation, provided the security environment is stable enough to allow politicians to peek out from behind their sectarian divisions.

The Iraqi government still has a great deal left to achieve, but today they’ve shown us what real political reconciliation looks like. Democratic leaders in Congress — and on the campaign trail — should take a lesson from the Maliki government. Swallow your pride, admit you were wrong about the surge, and get behind our courageous military.
Well, Stupid Country, you said that you "need to see movement in the Iraqi parliament." Now you have it. Time to turn the flag right-side up and admit that the Surge is working and that we are beginning to see victory, not defeat in Iraq.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler