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

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Does McCain Get the Irony?

After the New York Times hit piece on John McCain, I posted here that the Times wasn't going after the possibility of McCain having an illicit affair with a lobbyist, but that the Times was using a ploy used by Rove (and our merry band of conspirators). Rove has stated, instructed, explained several times that most times, the perceived strengths of a particular candidate (or person in general) are simply attempts by the person to cover up inadequacies in a particular area by portraying themselves as strong in that area.

Thus, John Kerry "reported for duty" and the Dems cheered. thinking they could "out-hero" George W. Bush - while in reality, Kerry's war record, return from Vietnam, and his record in the Congress on military and foreign policy matters were actually his weakness.

Similarly, Algore's strength (he's a wonk and knows more than anyone in the room) was turned into his weakness as people realized that he's really not that smart (although he protrayed himself that way).

Well, this George Will column on McCain is pointing to the same phenomenon. McCain's constant attacks that people with the "appearance" of corruption might as well be corrupt is starting to be turned against him. McCain's holier-than-thou and portrayal of himself as the incorruptible maverick is pointing to the fact that he may not be so much of a maverick and may not be so incorruptible (according to his standards):

[McCain], although no stickler about social niceties[...], should thank the Times, for two reasons.

First, the Times muddied, with unsubstantiated sexual innuendo about a female lobbyist, a story about McCain's flights on jets owned by corporations with business before the Senate Commerce Committee, and his meeting with a broadcaster (McCain at first denied it happened; the broadcaster insists it did, and McCain now agrees) who sought and received McCain's help in pressuring the Federal Communications Commission. Perhaps McCain did nothing corrupt, but he promiscuously accuses others of corruption, or the "appearance" thereof. And he insists that the appearance of corruption justifies laws criminalizing political behavior -- e.g., broadcasting an electioneering communication that "refers to" a federal candidate during the McCain-Feingold blackout period close to an election.

McCain should thank the Times also because its semi-steamy story distracted attention from an unsavory story about McCain's dexterity in gaming the system for taxpayer financing of campaigns. Last summer, when his mismanagement of his campaign left it destitute, he applied for public funding, which entails spending limits. He seemed to promise to use tax dollars as partial collateral for a bank loan.

There are two ways for a candidate to get on Ohio's primary ballot -- comply with complex, expensive rules for gathering signatures or simply be certified to receive taxpayer funding. McCain's major Republican rivals did the former. He did the latter.

Democrats, whose attachment to campaign reforms is as episodic as McCain's, argue that having made such uses of promised matching funds, McCain is committed to taking them and abiding by spending limits -- which would virtually silence his campaign until the September convention. This would be condign punishment for his argument that restricting spending does not restrict speech. But Bradley Smith offers him some support.
In 2001, McCain, a situational ethicist regarding "big money" in politics, founded the Reform Institute to lobby for his agenda of campaign restrictions. It accepted large contributions, some of six figures, from corporations with business before the Commerce Committee (e.g., Echosphere, DISH Network, Cablevision Systems Corp., a charity funded by the head of Univision). The Reform Institute's leadership included Potter and two others who are senior advisers in McCain's campaign, Rick Davis and Carla Eudy.

Although his campaign is run by lobbyists; and although his dealings with lobbyists have generated what he, when judging the behavior of others, calls corrupt appearances; and although he has profited from his manipulation of the taxpayer-funding system that is celebrated by reformers -- still, he probably is innocent of insincerity. Such is his towering moral vanity, he seems sincerely to consider it theoretically impossible for him to commit the offenses of appearances that he incessantly ascribes to others.

Such certitude is, however, not merely an unattractive trait. It is disturbing righteousness in someone grasping for presidential powers.

One wonders whether McCain understands the manner in which he has tied his own hands in this campaign.

Given the way that the McCain-Obama kerfluffle over Al Qaeda in Iraq went, I expect a bloodbath in November. While Obama is uneducated about the realities in Iraq, he is too quick, too eloquent, and lacks enough of a record for McCain to land any hard blows. Add to this the MSM backing and it probably won't be close.

All Hail President Obama!

I can't wait for the Dear Leader to force me to change my ways, make me work hard every day, and repair my soul through his eloquence.

Sí se puede!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr. 1925 - 2008

A great American passed away today. As reported by National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez:

William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008) [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

I’m devastated to report that our dear friend, mentor, leader, and founder William F. Buckley Jr., died this morning in his study in Stamford, Connecticut.

He died while at work; if he had been given a choice on how to depart this world, I suspect that would have been exactly it. At home, still devoted to the war of ideas.

As you might expect, we’ll have much more to say here and in NR in the coming days and weeks and months. For now: Thank you, Bill. God bless you, now with your dear Pat. Our deepest condolences to Christopher and the rest of the Buckley family. And our fervent prayer that we continue to do WFB’s life’s work justice.

02/27 11:13 AM

Over the past few months, I've been wondering where the great conservative, classical liberals of today are. Who is the 21st century Hayek, warning us about the Road to Serfdom on which we trod? Where is the 21st century's Milton Friedman who can eloquently, persuasively, and conclusively demonstrate the folly of the statist/authoritarian agenda? Who will be the next Reagan? Goldwater?

Buckley was one of the few remaining greats in this regard. Others will follow in his footsteps, but his shoes will be difficult to fill.

Some of the comments at The Corner are spot on:
My condolences to all of those at NR/NRO (and anywhere else) who knew and respected the man as I know you did. Mr. Buckley, Goldwater, Hayek and a small band of comrades-in-arms provided a much-needed intellectual antidote to the maladies of the post-war era love affair with planning. As a person who first discovered Buckley as host of "Firing Line" I didn't appreciate the tide against which he was battling until many years later, but as I matured I (as others have before me) came to understand better the meaning behind his call to "[stand] athwart history, yelling stop."

Please pass my condolences on to those who might appreciate the sentiment.

Warmly remembering WFB,

James C

And this:
I am saddened by the passing of William F. Buckley, but our loss is Heaven's gain, and I'm sure the Good Lord told his angels to "Bring me a dictionary, Buckley's coming."


And this from Jonah Goldberg:
Saying Goodbye [Jonah Goldberg]

I just saw Kathryn's post about Bill Buckley. I'm stunned. He will be greatly missed. But we should also remember this was not a life cut tragically short (no matter how much we wish he were still with us). His accomplishments were almost incalculable. As George Will once said, "before there was Ronald Reagan there was Barry Goldwater, before there was Goldwater there was National Review, and before there was National Review there was William F. Buckley." As conservatives — and as Americans — we are all standing on his shoulders.

Moreover, William F. Buckley's life was marked by enormous joy. He had a lust for life as well as for letters and debate. He raised a wonderful and accomplished son, loved and was loved by a formidable and beautiful wife, had more friends than he could count — or, in a sense, even know — and will be remembered for generations to come. Sadness is to be expected at times like this, and I certainly feel it. But let's leave room for, if not a celebration, then at least grateful appreciation, of a singularly remarkable life.

02/27 11:48 AM

YouTube has several clips of Buckley's Firing Line, which was an excellent program.

Embedded here is an interview Buckley gave to Charlie Rose.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, February 25, 2008

Yet Another Inconvenient Truth - Part 1,773

Previous Yet Another Inconvenient Truth posts are here.

Excellent article in today's National Post (Canada) which further points to the fact that Saint Algore is an idiot:

Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age
Lorne Gunter, National Post Published: Monday, February 25, 2008

Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses.

In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

The ice is back.

Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.

But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.

And it's not just anecdotal evidence that is piling up against the climate-change dogma.

According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona -- two prominent climate modellers -- the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong.

"We missed what was right in front of our eyes," says Prof. Russell. It's not ice melt but rather wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics. Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind's effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.

But when Profs. Toggweiler and Russell rejigged their model to include the 40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.

Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats."

He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon.

The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased.

It's way too early to claim the same is about to happen again, but then it's way too early for the hysteria of the global warmers, too.

Add to this the report that Bjorn Lomborg and the Heartland Institute are having a conference in New York this week to discuss sensible responses to solving climate change (ie, technological advances spurred on by free market economies) and it seems that the enviro-nazi positions on climate change are being undermined on a regular basis.

Like the position of abortion-on-demand absolutists from 1973, science will make the extreme positions of the enviro-nazis untenable in the years and decades to come. The only thing we need to do is to not concede to their calls for more government and statist intervention into our economy to "fix" the problem.

Oh, wait - we're nominating John "Carbon Tax" McCain.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler