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

Saturday, April 12, 2008

When It Strikes Home

I had the honor of preparing the visuals for the local Red Cross Heroes Breakfast this year. Among those selected was Nathan Krissoff, a local boy. He was killed in Iraq last year.

Nathan came from Truckee up in the Sierra. His father was a doctor there with a successful practice. Nathan came to our area to go to school.

Nathan graduated from The Stevenson School in Carmel in 2001 I believe, it could have been 2000. He was a fabulous student, a poet, president of the student body and captain of the swim team.

After graduation he went to Williams College. He earned his degree and wanted to serve his country in the wake of 9/11. He applied to the CIA as he had a gift for languages and wanted to be involved in human intelligence. The CIA thought him too young for that sort of work. The Marine Corps thought otherwise.

While performing that duty last year, 1st LT. Nathan Krissoff was killed.

After his death, his father at age 61 gave up his practice, and with a special dispensation from President Bush, was allowed to re-enter the military and he went on to serve in Iraq. His brother, also a Marine, is prohibited from serving in Iraq as he is a sole surviving son.

What can you say about the Krissoff family?

Semper Fidelis indeed.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Obama to Pennslylvania Dems - Ignorant S.O.B.s

At least, that's what I get from Obama's speech to - wait for it - high-net worth, limousine liberals in San Francisco.

“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” Obama said. “And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Karl at Protein Wisdom provides excellent analysis.

In addition, if Obama thinks these voters are clinging to anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment because of US economic policy, he ought to explain why he is exploiting anti-trade sentiment on the campaign trail, but advocating lax policies on illegal immigration, including (but not limited to) providing government benefits like drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens and allowing criminals to become citizens. Once he does that, Obama can explain how he squares his stated position on trade with the advice of his top economic adviser. And when he does that, Obama can explain how his stated position on immigration squares with his labor-induced vote that killed the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill last summer.

While Obama is busy with those explanations, Democrats — particularly superdelegates — may want to consider what David Frum wrote about the Thomas Frank thesis:
Suppose you believed that liberal economic policies were not only good for America, but also potentially popular. And suppose you also believed that the only reason that these policies kept losing elections was the Republican success in misrepresenting Democrats as snobbish, effete, weak, and godless. What conclusion would follow from these premises? Seems to me it would be: “We Democrats have to find a way to separate economic populism from cultural liberalism - and we have to start finding candidates with whom the voters can identify.” Obvious, right?

Apparently not, given that the Democrats have a tendency to nominate candidates like Mike Dukakis, John F. Kerry and probably Barack Obama.

Instapundit also has a roundup of links on the topic, including this post by the Gateway Pundit and this hilarious post by Ace.

My only comment on the subject is that if Hillary!TM doesn't seize on this to increase her lead in Pennsylvania (voting occurs just over a week from today), she is too clueless to be considered for the Dem nomination, much less the presidency.

Perhaps this is Obama's next campaign event?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Intellectualism and Nuance of the Left

We're often lectured on how the Right is filled with people who are either evil, unable to grasp the enlightened thougt of the Left, or even mentally deficient. That conservatives (classical liberals) can't grasp the nuance and complexities of progressive thought.

In reality, the Left is often projecting their own deficiencies on their opponents. This staging of Verdi's A Masked Ball could not conceivably be described as nuanced or subtle.

Here are a few pics - I apologize if your eyes start to bleed.

The above photo of "naked [pensioners] stand for people without means, the victims of capitalism, the underclass, who don’t have anything anymore."

This despite the fact that they're living in an economy that is more socialist than the slightly freer US economy. Also interesting to note that regardless of whether you're a pensioner relying on a corporation or a central government, you're without means, a victim of capitalism or socialism. Individual control of retirment - a classically liberal concept - is the only way to eliminate your status as a victim of someone else (although you may be a victim of your own poor choices).

The second photo provides an evil looking Uncle Sam, an actress with the Hitler 'tache, and a militaristic character - who's next seen helping Uncle Sam lay the Stars & Stripes over some dead cows (?). (Perhaps the theme is Meat Is Murder?)

Oh, and did I mention that all of this takes place in front of a backdrop of 9/11 wreckage?

Ahh, the subtlety and nuance of the statement being made here... how intellectual!

What this may have to do with Verdi's original opera, I don't know...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, April 11, 2008

Jonah Goldberg Gives ARC a Tip of the Hat

We are referenced on the Liberal Fascism blog at NRO.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Rovian Conspiracy on LF


Normally I would not write anything about a book under review until I had finished it, but this book is the exception.

I bought Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism a week or so ago, but have found myself busy and have been slow to get into it. But I finally got a chance yesterday. My family did not hear from me for hours. I was totally absorbed.

My initial review of the book is here.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" at First Blush - A must Read

Normally I would not write anything about a book under review until I had finished it, but this book is the exception.

I bought Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism a week or so ago, but have found myself busy and have been slow to get into it. But I finally got a chance yesterday. My family did not hear from me for hours. I was totally absorbed.

"It can't happen here," is a commonly heard expression when it comes to fascism in the United States. Goldberg demonstrates that not only can it happen here, it has happened here. The adminstration of Woodrow Wilson is the case in point.

The chapter is hair raisng.

Goldberg starts with tracing the routes of fascism to the Progressive Movement of people like Robert LaFollette, John Dewey, H.G. Wells et al and periodicals like the New Republic and it's first editor in the late 1800s and early 20th century. These people inspired not only men like Wilson but also later Mussolini in Italy. They were folks who stood foresquarely for the proposition that individual rights were secondary to the common good.

World War I provided Wilson with the rationale they needed to implement this collectivist/statist philosophy. Oh brother, did they ever. The infamous "Palmer Raids" were only the surface evidence of this totalitarian state. Police state tactics, suppression of free press, propaganda and more flourished. Of course it was all done for the common good in the eyes of these Progressives.

I was a history major in college and have continued my studies throughout my 60 years. I fancy myself as something of an expert in U.S. history. Not so much. I have had my eyes opened by Goldberg, I have a lot more to learn... and to be wary of.

The echoes of that time are ringing loudly today as we listen to election year debate. On the Left we are hearing the same old stuff and it again seems to be resonating, particularly in the voice of Obama, but also, more faintly, in others.

It is interesting the modern Liberals seem now to prefer being called "Progressives." I wonder if they knew what was comitted in the name of Progressivism whether they would be so eager to take on that title. I rather doubt it. But then again, history has been so sanitized, maybe they would.

I will be writing a complete review of the book, but I did want to get something out while this initial impact was fresh in my mind.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Right-Wing New York Times Journalists are Shills for the Bushies

At least, that's the impression you get from the comments left by the Moonbats over at Charlie Rose's site.

For those that missed it, Charlie Rose interviewed, John F. Burns, Dexter Filkins - two journalists from that right-wing rag, the New York Times - on Wednesday night. The video is an hour, but more actual information about the facts on the ground is discussed in this one hour interview than all of the hearings this week in the Senate. (Memo to the US Senate - It seems that if a the person who's supposed to ask questions actually, you know - ask questions instead of making statements, information can actually be exchanged and people can learn something.)

One of the most interesting statements in the video comes from Dexter, who mentions that today soldiers returning from some parts of Iraq are not getting combat medals - because they are not encountering any combat operations during their tour!

Here are a few of the deranged comments left on the site:

Comment by JAL on Thursday, Apr 10 at 03:32 AM

Congratulations, Charlie! You managed to find not one, but TWO apologists for this insane, catastrophic, totally unjustifiable invasion and occupation. How could you sit there for SO long with this gibberish going on in front of you?

Comment by Respond to RJSiegel on Thursday, Apr 10 at 03:15 AM

You are correct, my friend. Charlie has gone hard right proven constantly by guest selection. Last night's guests were laid out in yesterday's blogs, aweful, failed to disclose key conflicts of interests to his listeners. Rose gave the desk to Bill Kristol when Rose left town, that says it all. Rose has been in sheeps clothing too long. Bill gets a big laugh at it. You can make Rose do anything if you show him a little intrigue, he's hooked. He's now with the intrigue sect of the war party. Rose can't adjust, it's too late.

Comment by heyubob on Thursday, Apr 10 at 03:13 AM

Gee thanks, One pro war, pro status quo (Burns) vs. one we must stay the course Filkin (4th rate general supporter (Gen. Betray us), plus a Gadfly (Rose). Not very fourth estate kinda stuff, shame on you, cowards.

Perhaps these hippie scumbags should be sleeping at 3.00 in the morning and commenting when they're not so...err... under the influence.

I left the following comment:
Comment by St Wendeler on Thursday, Apr 10 at 11:00 AM
Great program, Charlie! It's great to see the moonbats carping on you featuring two journalists from that right-wing rag, the New York Times. I also see that you have that ultra-conservative George Soros on tonight. Throughout the interview (as with his interview with David Kilcullen) Charlie kept grasping at how the US could leave Iraq in the near term... not sure how that shows his bias in favor of continuing our support for Op Iraqi Freedom.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Surge is a political victory

Michael Yon, a freelance journalist who has been "in country" with our forces from the get-go, has an excellent Op-Ed in the WSJ this morning:


Let's 'Surge' Some More
April 11, 2008; Page A17

It is said that generals always fight the last war. But when David Petraeus came to town it was senators – on both sides of the aisle – who battled over the Iraq war of 2004-2006. That war has little in common with the war we are fighting today.

I may well have spent more time embedded with combat units in Iraq than any other journalist alive. I have seen this war – and our part in it – at its brutal worst. And I say the transformation over the last 14 months is little short of miraculous.

The change goes far beyond the statistical decline in casualties or incidents of violence. A young Iraqi translator, wounded in battle and fearing death, asked an American commander to bury his heart in America. Iraqi special forces units took to the streets to track down terrorists who killed American soldiers. The U.S. military is the most respected institution in Iraq, and many Iraqi boys dream of becoming American soldiers. Yes, young Iraqi boys know about ""

As the outrages of Abu Ghraib faded in memory – and paled in comparison to al Qaeda's brutalities – and our soldiers under the Petraeus strategy got off their big bases and out of their tanks and deeper into the neighborhoods, American values began to win the war.

Iraqis came to respect American soldiers as warriors who would protect them from terror gangs. But Iraqis also discovered that these great warriors are even happier helping rebuild a clinic, school or a neighborhood. They learned that the American soldier is not only the most dangerous enemy in the world, but one of the best friends a neighborhood can have.

Some people charge that we have merely "rented" the Sunni tribesmen, the former insurgents who now fight by our side. This implies that because we pay these people, their loyalty must be for sale to the highest bidder. But as Gen. Petraeus demonstrated in Nineveh province in 2003 to 2004, many of the Iraqis who filled the ranks of the Sunni insurgency from 2003 into 2007 could have been working with us all along, had we treated them intelligently and respectfully. In Nineveh in 2003, under then Maj. Gen. Petraeus's leadership, these men – many of them veterans of the Iraqi army – played a crucial role in restoring civil order. Yet due to excessive de-Baathification and the administration's attempt to marginalize powerful tribal sheiks in Anbar and other provinces – including men even Saddam dared not ignore – we transformed potential partners into dreaded enemies in less than a year.

Then al Qaeda in Iraq, which helped fund and tried to control the Sunni insurgency for its own ends, raped too many women and boys, cut off too many heads, and brought drugs into too many neighborhoods. By outraging the tribes, it gave birth to the Sunni "awakening." We – and Iraq – got a second chance. Powerful tribes in Anbar province cooperate with us now because they came to see al Qaeda for what it is – and to see Americans for what we truly are.
Equally misguided were some senators' attempts to use Gen. Petraeus's statement, that there could be no purely military solution in Iraq, to dismiss our soldiers' achievements as "merely" military. In a successful counterinsurgency it is impossible to separate military and political success. The Sunni "awakening" was not primarily a military event any more than it was "bribery." It was a political event with enormous military benefits.

The huge drop in roadside bombings is also a political success – because the bombings were political events. It is not possible to bury a tank-busting 1,500-pound bomb in a neighborhood street without the neighbors noticing. Since the military cannot watch every road during every hour of the day (that would be a purely military solution), whether the bomb kills soldiers depends on whether the neighbors warn the soldiers or cover for the terrorists. Once they mostly stood silent; today they tend to pick up their cell phones and call the Americans. Even in big "kinetic" military operations like the taking of Baqubah in June 2007, politics was crucial. Casualties were a fraction of what we expected because, block-by-block, the citizens told our guys where to find the bad guys. I was there; I saw it.

The Iraqi central government is unsatisfactory at best. But the grass-roots political progress of the past year has been extraordinary – and is directly measurable in the drop in casualties.
We know now that we can pull off a successful counterinsurgency in Iraq. We know that we are working with an increasingly willing citizenry. But counterinsurgency, like community policing, requires lots of boots on the ground. You can't do it from inside a jet or a tank.

Over the past 15 months, we have proved that we can win this war. We stand now at the moment of truth. Victory – and a democracy in the Arab world – is within our grasp. But it could yet slip away if our leaders remain transfixed by the war we almost lost, rather than focusing on the war we are winning today.
As the conspirators here have pointed out numerous times (here, here, here, and here for example), the Sunni and the reversal of the security situation in Iraq is not merely a sign of military progress - it's sign of political progress at the local level. Regardless of the laws that are written in the national assembly, reconciliation has to take place at the local level.

Security gains are achieved not through the US guns being pointed at average citizens, but through average citizens preferring to deal with the US and their fellow Iraqis rather than the foreign Islamofascists. This is reconciliation and a political decision, by definition.

Finally, most folks on capitol hill and in the bubble-media speak about "The Surge" only in terms of the increase in troops. In reality, The Surge was about a change in tactics and a recognition of the Iraqi cultural realities. Given that we are seeing success and are even seeing the Shiite-led government take on Shiite Islamists, now is not the time to go wobbly.

I'm sure Stupid Country will recognize this reality and admit how stupid his earlier comments sounded.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Free Trade Agreements - More about Opening Markets than Imports

This Wall Street Journal Editorial describes Nancy Pelosi's double-cross on the Colombian free trade agreement and her infantile understanding of foreign policy.


Pelosi's Bad Faith
April 10, 2008; Page A14

The Democratic Party's protectionist make-over was completed yesterday, when Nancy Pelosi decided to kill the Colombia free trade agreement. Her objections had nothing to do with the evidence and everything to do with politics, but this was an act of particular bad faith. It will damage the economic and security interests of the U.S. while trashing our best ally in Latin America.

The Colombia trade pact was signed in 2006 and renegotiated last year to accommodate Democratic demands for tougher labor and environmental standards. Even after more than 250 consultations with Democrats, and further concessions, including promises to spend more on domestic unemployment insurance, the deal remained stalled in Congress. Apparently the problem was that Democrats kept getting their way.

So on Monday, President Bush submitted the bill to Congress over liberal protests, which, under a bargain between Congress and the White House for trade promotion authority, mandated an up-or-down vote within 90 days. Today Ms. Pelosi will make an ex post facto change to House rules to avoid the required vote, withdrawing from the timetable and thus relegating the Colombia deal to a perhaps permanent limbo.
Yesterday Ms. Pelosi said the bill would harm "the economic concerns of America's working families." Yet over 90% of Colombian imports enter the U.S. duty-free, while the agreement would open the Colombian market to American goods that face tariffs as high as 35%.

Even if the free trade agreement is somehow removed from cold storage, Ms. Pelosi's cheating is a first-order strategic blunder. Colombia is one of America's closest friends in a hostile region menaced by Hugo Chávez's Venezuela. For all the talk of repairing the U.S. "image" in the world, the Democrats don't really mind harming that image if it pleases the AFL-CIO.

Two points:
  1. The US has very few tariffs on imports, so most free trade agmts are focused on reducing tariffs on US exports to other countries or improving the efficiency of trade.
  2. The Wall Street Journal Editorial board makes the mistake in assuming that Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats, and their supporters share their views on Presidente Chavez.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The General and the Ambassador - Round 2

Well, at least there was no "willing suspension of disbelief" or "General Betrayus" yesterday. I guess that is a step in the right direction. Nonetheless, the Copperheads are still hard at work.

Joe Biden raised a valid question that needs to be addressed (he usually does). The debate has been framed around the cost of pulling out of Iraq. The reverse needs to be addressed also, i.e. what is the cost of remaining in Iraq?

I do not think Joe would like the answer, but it is a fair question.

The American people are asking themselves the same questions.

A cost/benefit analysis needs to be laid out.

Brent Scocroft addressed this issue this morning on Morning Joe. He has credibility. He was an opponent of the war at the outset, as I was. But the cost of pulling out far outweighs the cost of completing the mission in his view, and again, in my view.

This is going to be a tough and long debate, so let it begin now.

Your Co-Conspirator,

Monday, April 07, 2008

Time to Donate to McCain - A Buck A Day

It was 25 years ago that John McCain was released from the Hanoi Hilton POW camp and was returned to the United States. To commemorate that event, the McCain campaign website has a video which is dedicated to the "heroes that have sacrificed so much for our freedom."

I realize that the John McCain and his campaign are honorable people and aren't tacky enough to make such a request, so I'm making it on their behalf. Heck, Mack won't even mention that his son is on active duty in the War On Terror.

But as one of the main conspirators here at Another Rovian Conspiracy, I make the following request for everyone to donate to the McCain Campaign.

Here's my sales pitch:

John McCain spent 5 1/2 years in the Hanoi Hilton. Shortly after being captured, McCain was given the option to leave the POW camp (due to his father's recent ascension within the US military to commander of all US forces in Vietnam). McCain, understanding the propaganda that such a return would generate, refused to be released and instead told the N. Vietnamese that he would only go home after all of the men who had been in captivity before him were released.

McCain was shot down and captured on October 26, 1967.
He was released by the North Vietnamese on March 15, 1973.

John McCain spent 1,967 days as a POW.

John McCain needs our support now more than ever - and we need him to be successful in November.

It's time for conservatives to rally around McCain and donate to his campaign.

It's time for a $1,967 donation to the campaign to commemorate John's service to his country. It's time to donate one dollar for each day John endured the brutality of our communist enemies.

I'd certainly say that such an amount would seem trivial given John's treatment in the Hanoi Hilton, but anything more might eclipse the campaign finance regulations. *ahem*

Can't give that amount? How about the following amounts:

  • $0.50 for each day ($983.50); or
  • $0.25 for each day ($491.75); or
  • $0.10 for each day ($196.70); or
  • $0.05 for each day ($98.35)
What's important is that we rally behind our nominee and kick the pants (or pantsuit) off of our opponent in the Fall. Any amount will help our cause in November.

Click Here to visit McCain's donation page.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Shut Up & Brew My Coffee

(rip off of Laura Ingraham's Shut Up and Sing).

A bit of light news today... in the WSJ today, David Boaz found that Starbuck wouldn't print a customized gift card with the text "Laissez Faire" on the front. However, no worries with "Si se puede" or "People Not Profits::

Starbucks and 'Laissez Faire'
April 7, 2008; Page A12

Laissez-faire. It's a policy that made Starbucks vastly successful. But don't try to put that phrase on a customized Starbucks Card.

The cards are supposed be personalized to reflect customers' tastes and uniqueness. They are available in a range of colors, often given as gifts and used by regular customers who prefer to prepay for their java.

But when my friend Roger Ream, president of the Fund for American Studies, received a Starbucks gift card for Christmas, he found there was a limit to how personalized a card could be. His card required him to customize it on the company's Web site. So he went to the site and requested that the phrase "Laissez Faire" be printed on his card. A few days later he was informed that the company couldn't issue such a card because the wording violated company policy.
And so, at my suggestion, my friend went back to the Web site and asked that his card be issued with the phrase "People Not Profits." Bingo! Starbucks had no problem with that phrase, and the card arrived in a few days.

I wondered just what the company's standards were. If "laissez-faire" is unacceptably political, how could the socialist slogan "people not profits" be acceptable?

My assistant and I tried to get the company to explain its policy. We started by trying to purchase a card with the phrase "Laissez Faire," and were rejected as my friend had been. We then asked a company spokesperson why. He suggested that it might be because "laissez-faire" is a foreign phrase. That seemed possible and a reasonable precaution.

So we tried another foreign phrase – "Si Se Puede," or "Yes we can." It's the United Farm Workers slogan, now adopted by Barack Obama's presidential campaign. That sailed right through. The senator's political campaign slogan was acceptable.

We called again. Several spokespeople at Starbucks and at Arroweye, the company that actually creates personalized cards for Starbucks and other retailers, said that they couldn't be sure, but that the phrase was probably rejected because it is political. They explained that they would not allow a customer to print "McCain for President" or "Support the Democratic Party" on a Starbucks card. And they noted that they had rejected a request for "My coffee is a weapon." But fewer than 1% of card requests are rejected.

They had no explanation as to how "People Not Profits" and "Si Se Puede" could be regarded as less political than "Laissez Faire."

I'm still hoping that it was all a computer glitch, and that some day my latte-drinking, non-tax-hiking friends will be able to get their very own customized Starbucks gift card with "Laissez Faire" emblazoned on it – even if it does risk a sneer from the barista.

Starbucks has prospered mightily in a free economy. For the most recent fiscal year, the company earned $672.6 million on revenue of $9.4 billion, a very healthy profit. And these days, in the wake of a California Superior Court judge's order that the company repay $100 million in back tips that were shared by shift supervisors, Starbucks honchos just might like a little less government intervention in their affairs and a little more laissez-faire.

Mr. Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute and the author of "The Politics of Freedom" (Cato Institute, 2008).

I am going to be ordering several Starbucks cards with the following political statements and see which ones are acceptable by the coffee corporation:
  • Viva el Che!
  • Viva la Revolucion!
  • From each according to his abilities, to each according to his means
  • you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet
  • Live Free or Die
  • Don't Tread On Me
  • I believe in the 2nd amendment

And I wonder what the reaction of the barista will be when I hand them the card...

Should be an interesting experiment. Anyone want to help out?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler