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September 30, 2003


Like many other right-of-center bloggers, I'm trying not to trivialize the Plame affair, and it bears repeating that any wrongdoing - any level - should be punished. Nonetheless, I'm quickly getting tired of reading the media reports on the whole issuse. The source of the confusion - Novak's July column - was vague enough; in the past couple of days we've seen a number of further 'developments' that only compound the confusion.

The problem is the media's propensity to quote 'sources' - and to presume that because the reporter knows the identity of the source, the readership should take that source's information at face value. There's a fair degree of hubris involved in that, when you think about it: it depends on the notion that reporters are trustworthy and impartial figures. Many on the right have long since rejected that conceit, but in the wake of the Blair scandal and all it represents I wonder whether more people aren't similarly disinclined to trust Big Media employees. I wonder whether Big Media employees would even be able to recognize the problem.

I'm confident everything will be sorted out in time, but to speed up the process I say haul 'em on the stand. It clearly wouldn't be a case of intimidation or reporters, which is the best legal-philosophic justification for the protection of reporters' anonymous sources; and as for the common justification given by the reporters themselves - their integrity and ability to do their jobs - well, they made their collective bed, and it's bed-time.

Posted by David Mader at 11:09 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Pop Quiz

My regulars will no doubt have noticed the new banner, and since I've already received one query I'm going to open it up to the floor: what's it a picture of? I know it's kind of blurry, but it should be recognizable to a particular subset of my regulars. If you think you know, e-mail me at mader-at-maderblog.com and I'll announce the winners - and the answer - on Friday.

(What do they win? -- Ed. Good question. How about one's name in (electronic) print on MaderBlog? Who can put a price on that?)

ALSO (17:05 EST): While I know some of you liked the old banner, rest assured the above isn't a permanent change. My vague intent is to have a new banner weekly. I guess it's part of my anti-sentimentalism. In any case, the ideal would be to give readers the ability to choose between the 'classic' and the alternating banners. Seems a bit beyond my technical know-how, though; and there's a good chance I'll just go back to how things were. But just in case you think this banner gnaws, I wanted to assure you it's not here for good.

CLARIFICATION (21:50 EST): I'm looking for a specific location, here, not 'a street'.

Posted by David Mader at 04:13 PM | (1) | Back to Main

September 29, 2003

Everyone Likes a Good Scandal

The Plame Affair is getting a good deal of attention in the blogosphere (and elsewhere I presume, though I don't have cable and I cancelled my paper recently). Every post I come across seems link-filled and cross-referenced, so I'm just going to point you here and here and you can do your own selective reading.

Everyone likes a good scandal: do I mean that? It seems to trivialize the potential impact of the allegations; for if they are true, the effect will be felt not only by this administration but by any White House which would hope to assert itself on the world stage; all Americans - and all their protectorates - would be negatively impacted as a result. So perhaps 'likes a good scandal' is off-base.

Perhaps 'everyone' is off-base too. This story seems to have found its legs over the weekend (because of Congressional testimony, I think - the alleged leak happened in July), and as I say I haven't seen the papers or the talk-shows. But we should keep in mind that most folks don't spend their days debating the finer points of beltway conspiracies, regardless of the potential impact. There's a certain class of people who can tell you every detail about Whitewater, but most of the country thinks Nixon was impeached. When something big happens, we'll get the idea; until then, what do we need to know?

And what do we know? I'm with Professor Reynolds on the skepticism: this is a story that just doesn't make sense. Stupidity, of course, is not checked at the door of any political office; but in a White House renound for its tight-ship, such a lapse would have to be seen as highly irregular.

That may have been the point, of course: maybe Dubya and Karl figured no-one would believe they'd be so stupid. But if we follow that path we quickly approach the realms of conspiracy-hysteria that seem to be guiding the initial reaction. The fact that the CIA is involved only compounds the un-reality of the whole question: when no-one will confirm or deny the allegation at the center of the storm, everything else becomes possible.

But ultimately I think it's the unanswered questions that carry the day, and counsel not just patience but a deep breath and a valium. Here's a question for everyone: where did Valerie Plame work? Oh, we all know now that she worked for the CIA, even if her husband won't confirm it. But did she work at the CIA's 'head office' outside of DC? What did she do there? She was a WMD expert, we're told: what did that entail? What did she tell people she did? What did people assume she did? What, en fin, are the consequences of her blown cover? None of the critics can say. They can project: her overseas contacts may be compromised. But what were the nature of her contacts? And isn't it a bit much to say that Plame's career is ruined - that she won't be able to continue her work - when no one knows what her work entailed?

Outing an intelligence employee is, according to all good sources, a felony, and the narrowest understanding of this tempest involves actions that must be condemned and punished. But before we start impeaching President Bush, let's make sure we ask all the questions. And let's recognize that the answers aren't going to be available, at first, to anyone but the select committees of Congress. Says Reynolds: "there's obviously something going on here that I don't fully understand." The same holds true for the rest of us. Let's keep that in mind.

LATER (15:30 EST): James Taranto seems to have much the same take:

A couple of caveats are in order here. First, it remains unconfirmed that Plame was in fact working covertly for the CIA. Novak described her as a CIA "operative," but not an undercover operative. Wilson and the CIA both imply that she was an undercover operative, but they employ various circumlocutions to avoid actually saying so...

Then there's this, also from the Post account:

When Novak told a CIA spokesman he was going to write a column about Wilson's wife, the spokesman urged him not to print her name "for security reasons," according to one CIA official. . . .

Novak said in an interview [Saturday] night that the request came at the end of a conversation about Wilson's trip to Niger and his wife's role in it. "They said it's doubtful she'll ever again have a foreign assignment," he said. "They said if her name was printed, it might be difficult if she was traveling abroad, and they said they would prefer I didn't use her name. It was a very weak request. If it was put on a stronger basis, I would have considered it."

If the revelation of Plame's name was such a serious breach of national security, why didn't the CIA make a stronger pitch to Novak to withhold it? Indeed, as blogger Donald Luskin asks, why did the CIA answer Novak's questions at all?

Instead of saying "Valerie who? We've never heard of anyone named Valerie" or simply that "We don't answer media inquiries about CIA personnel"--the CIA itself confirmed [her identity], and in so doing the CIA itself leaked it.

EVEN LATER (21:15 EST): Robert Novak now says (alternate link) that the administration didn't call him for a leak.

Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this. In July I was interviewing a senior administration official on Ambassador Wilson's report when he told me the trip was inspired by his wife, a CIA employee working on weapons of mass destruction.

"Another senior official told me the same thing. As a professional journalist with 46 years experience in Washington I do not reveal confidential sources. When I called the CIA in July to confirm Mrs. Wilson's involvement in the mission for her husband -- he is a former Clinton administration official -- they asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else.

"According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operator, and not in charge of undercover operatives.

This doesn't mean everything's hunky-dory, but the whole thing undoubtedly seems a lot less nefarious.

Twenty-four hours may be a long time in politics, but I wonder how many news cylces this story will have dominated before it begins to sag. Though I haven't been watching cable; maybe I've missed the coverage. Still, I wonder if most Americans will encounter this issue tonight or tomorrow morning through a story that begins: "The source of claims that the administration leaked the identity of a CIA agent now says the White House didn't call him..."

WHY NOT A LITTLE MORE? (21:53 EST): Is Robert Novak lying? Or was he just sloppy back in July?

STILL READING? (22:02 EST): Then you might want to check out this round-up by Daniel Drezner, courtesy of the Volkh Conspiracy. And for the record, I just heard the CTV News teaser: 'accusations the Bush administration outed a CIA spy because her husband disagreed with the President.' Boy, nothing like taking an objective approach to the issue.

Posted by David Mader at 12:22 PM | (0) | Back to Main

September 28, 2003

The Atlantic

This month's Atlantic is full of great stuff, and most of it is available free online. Read Jonathan Rauch's great piece on genetically modified food - and why he thinks they'll be embraced by Greens before the decade is out.

Read Mark Carson's review of Virginia Postrel's latest, a celebration of consumer culture.

And read this wonderful piece by Christopher Hitchens on Englishness. I can't recommend this one highly enough. A taste:

For good measure, Johnson was a staunch Shakespearean, and a close reader of Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy, which, Boswell records, "was the only book that ever took him out of bed two hours sooner than he wished to rise." Getting up early in order to scrutinize Burton seems pretty English to me.

Each of these pieces deserves its own discussion; but it's late, and I'll forget to mention them otherwise.

Posted by David Mader at 11:36 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Campus Conservatism

A number of bloggers have mentioned this David Brooks piece on anti-conservative academic bias.

Being a conservative at the academy, I figured I'd throw my hat in, and for the record I've never had a problem stemming from my (often-outspoken) conservatism. I should say that I've been lucky (in a manner of speaking), in that I've had a long string of relatively conservative professors, both in history and in economics. (Quick story: my Money&Banking professor once gave a lecture on his suggestions for the creation of an optimal banking system. His primary recommendation: abolish legal tender. This prof was so Austrian he made Hayek look like a Frenchman. Oh, and the prof who taught me my micro writes for the Financial Post.)

But though McGill might be unusual for its high concentration of conservative (or centrist or traditional or whig or otherwise non-elitist-liberal) professors, I wouldn't exactly say I'm among kindred spirits. Nonetheless, my intellectual encounters with liberal-minded professors - and TAs, and students - has been generally, perhaps even overwhelmingly positive. I have never felt uncomfortable stating a contrary argument; I have never feared that my conservatism would impact my grades. On the contrary: I've asked perhaps my most liberal professor for a recommendation, precisely because of the way he's received my questions and challenges.

What's my point? I forget; I started writing this about 45 minutes ago, and it went somewhere I didn't really want to take it, and now here I am. But I think the point is this: I haven't met a more outspoken conservative on this campus than myself. Period. I've challenged profs; I've taken on whole discussion sections. I'm not boasting; in fact I most commonly come away from such confrontations slightly ashamed of being so forward, so arrogant, so loud-mouthed. But I've never come away from any such confrontations feeling disheartened or discouraged because of my conservative views.

Maybe it's me. But maybe conservative academics just need to buck up a little. If we believe, if we really believe in our conservative approaches to our disciplines, then a phalanx of liberal professors, advisors and colleagues shouldn't keep us from pursuing our studies - from the undergrad lounge to the faculty club.

ALSO, I should probably reiterate that I'm not headed towards post-graduate studies in my undergraduate discipline. I therefore don't really have the standing to comment on hiring committees and the like. Also, I suppose it's possible that if I expressed my interest in graudate studies, I would be discouraged because of my conservatism. But I doubt it.

Posted by David Mader at 10:47 PM | (0) | Back to Main

September 26, 2003

Shanah Tovah

And a happy weekend to all.

Posted by David Mader at 04:51 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Life Is Good

If you read only one thing today, read Lileks.

Posted by David Mader at 12:14 PM | (0) | Back to Main

That's My Gramps

Tie the knot with Scott.

Posted by David Mader at 11:47 AM | (0) | Back to Main

September 25, 2003


Moveable ink.

[Via Oxblog]

Posted by David Mader at 10:06 PM | (0) | Back to Main

At the Office

Pejman's mention of the new West Wing season reminded me of an irksome detail in last night's episode. The acting President, a Republican (played by John Goodman), brings to the Oval Office not only his own approach and staff, but his own pet - an ugly little dog of some sort.

Now, I realize that the dog is little more than a device to show the discord that results from Goodman's character making himself at home in the Bartlett White House (and the Republican staff's 'pillaging' of furniture for their temporary offices served the same purpose). I also realize that one oughtn't generalize according to political parties.

But consider this: Jimmy Carter wore sweaters around the West Wing. President Reagan never - never - loosened his tie, to say nothing of removing his jacket, in the Oval Office. I don't know whether President Bush allows his dogs into the Oval Office (though, given the new white carpet, I'd doubt it); but we all know what Bill Clinton got up to in there.

So Goodman's dog might be a device, but given the recent partisan presidential history, it rankles: recent Republicans have by-in-large shown themselves much more actively aware of the solemnity of the Oval Office.

Posted by David Mader at 04:46 PM | (2) | Back to Main


Apropos of the below discussion of relativism at the academy, I give you Allan Bloom:

The [present] study of history and of culture teaches that all the world was mad in the past; men always thought they were right, and that led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism, and chauvenism. The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all.

Closing of the American Mind. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987. 26.

Posted by David Mader at 04:15 PM | (0) | Back to Main


Edward Said is dead. His legacy, however, lives on: this term, at least two of my courses - and one course that I decided not to take - have Orientalism, or a section thereof, on the syllabus. Nor is Said's impact limited to Eastern Studies; the relativism that lies at the heart of his critique has become a central tenet of any study of European interactions with any 'other'.

In part because of the aforementioned courses, and in part becuase of prior reading I've done, I've been thinking quite a lot about historiography, and especially the impact of post-Orientalism attitudes towards the past. I can't say these thoughts are anywhere near a coherent thesis, but it seems to me there's a very close connection between Orientalism, Marxist-historical interpretation and what Allan Bloom called the "Nietzscheanization" of the modern academy.

I also think, or am finding, that the ideological opponents of this trend have largely abandoned the academy, or at least the study of history, to its proponents. Critics like Bloom have pointed out the weaknesses - indeed, the errors - of relativism, but I've come across few works that conciously respond to this historical interpretation by presenting a coherent and alternate understanding of those events which lie at its heart.

This is, I think, an important and lamentable concession. The neoconservatives of the later 1970s (the only real neoconservatives) emphasised the importance of ideas in contemporary politics, both domestic and international; and the modern right fancies itself the more intellectually rigorous branch of the contemporary political dialogue. It goes without saying that an understanding of where we are and where we're going depends on an understanding of where we've been - where we've come from - but the right seems to have allowed its ideological opponents to write the history books.

This is, I grant, a generalization: whig history - the demesne of the dead white men - still holds considerable appeal, though not at the academy. But this history contain its errors, and the real concession comes in allowing relativism not only to define those errors but to assert the corrections.

I imagine this trend is not limited to the field of history. And I think it would be a mistake to write off the academy as a liberal/relativist milieu. If relativism - and the legacy of Edward Said - really does have negative repercussions for our intellectual community, it's fundamentally important to refute it. This means not simply returning to a pre-Orientalist historiography, but constructing a new historiography that better explains the dynamic course of human history.

As I say, thoughts in process, not a thesis in form.

Also, the obits are saying that he was born in Jerusalem, but I'm fairly certain I read a piece a couple of years ago suggesting that Said (like Arafat) was in fact an Egyptian by birth. I was sure it was an article from Commentary, but I can't find it in the archives, so perhaps I'm confusing sources.

UPDATE (9/26/03 11:48 EST): Reader M. Simon provides this link with the full text of the Commentary article I mentioned; the site has another link to a fully annotated version of the same.

With regard to M. Simon's comments on relativism, I think it is, to a degree, a matter of symantics. Certainly the recognition that a number of moral codes can peacefully co-exist is basic to modernization and progress; but there are some things - not morals, mind, but basics that result from human interaction - that are not subject to relativist dismissal. That's where I'd disagree with the assertion that 'the relativists are absolutely correct'. And relativism in academia - and most particularly in history - is even more off-base, in that it essentially removes the possibility of discovering any truth in the past.

But that's probably another discussion, for another post.

Posted by David Mader at 04:09 PM | (3) | Back to Main

Racism On Campus

Only allowed at the admissions office.

UPDATE (12:41 EST): Eugene Volokh comments:

[A] university that takes the side of the would-be attackers against students who are expressing their viewpoints (and doing so peacefully and calmly, if provocatively) deserves to be condemned.

Posted by David Mader at 09:40 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Genetically Modified

An interesting juxtaposition in the Telegraph this morning.

First, this:

An overwhelming majority of people do not want genetically modified crops to be commercially grown in Britain, according to a Government consultation published yesterday.

Prof Malcolm Grant, chairman of the GM Nation? steering group, said the public mood "ranged from caution and doubt, through suspicion and scepticism, to hostility and rejection".

Then, this:

Giant avocados, large enough to make three gallons of avocado soup or two pounds of guacamole, are about to go on sale in Britain.

Fourteen inches in circumference and as large as a water melon, the naturally grown pears are eight times the size of a normal avocado and will feed a family of six.

The monster fruit are all descended from a single, ancient tree at Devil's Cliff, a town in South Africa's Northern Province. At the time of the Dutch Settlers, the tree was discovered to produce bumper-sized avocados, probably the result of a genetic mutation.

So let's see: controlled genetic mutation is bad, but uncontrolled genetic mutation is just peachy.

One wonders whether this passage from the former story isn't unintentionally telling: "Most people were "profoundly mistrustful" of the Government's motives in pushing GM on an unwilling public." Are the crops making people mistrustful - or is the Blair government?

Posted by David Mader at 09:37 AM | (2) | Back to Main

September 24, 2003

Free to Choose in California

Arnold Shwarzenegger outlines the most free-market oriented platform that the United States has seen since 1980.

I have often said that the two people who have most profoundly impacted my thinking on economics are Milton Friedman and Adam Smith. At Christmas, I sometimes annoy some of my more liberal Hollywood friends by sending them a gift of Friedman's classic economic primer, Free to Choose. What I learnt from Friedman and Smith is a lesson that every political leader should never forget: that when the heavy fist of government becomes too overbearing and intrusive, it stifles the unlimited wealth creation process of a free people operating under a free enterprise system...

My plan to rescue the economy is based on the opposite set of values: I want to slash the cost of doing business in California; I want to unburden businesses from regulations that strangle growth; I want to bring taxes down to levels competitive with neighbouring states. Within three years, I want businesses to trumpet the fact that California is again one of the best places in America to do business. To accomplish this, I believe four sets of policies are urgent.

First, on taxes, I believe that not only should we not raise tax rates on anyone in California, but we have to reduce taxes that make our state uncompetitive. I married a Kennedy and I have always believed that President John F. Kennedy was absolutely right when he said: "When taxes are too high, there will never be enough jobs or enough revenues to balance the budget."

Our tax system, as Arthur Laffer [the father of supply-side economics] recently told me, seems designed to make rich people in California poorer, not to make poor people richer.

Second, the state budget should not grow faster than the family budget. We need to put teeth into a spending limit law through a constitutional amendment that caps state budget growth. If we had a strong spending limit in the 1990s, the state would have a budget surplus today.

Third, the worker's compensation system needs an overhaul. When I have asked business people around the state what is restraining their ability to expand here, they cite high taxes and unbearable worker's compensation costs.

Businesses in California pay workers compensation costs that are more than double other states.

Fourth, I am a fanatic about school reform. To attract world-class, 21st-century businesses, we need a world-class education system. I will maintain the state's testing programme and bring school authority and spending closer to students, parents and local taxpayers and take it away from Sacramento bureaucrats.

Our state will prosper again when we commit ourselves in California to "Free to Choose" economics. This means removing one by one the innumerable impediments to growth - excessive taxes, regulations, and deficit-spending.

Will a Governor Shwarzenegger act upon these planks? It is, of course, difficult to tell; the Reagan example suggests that even a determined adherence to set principles can lead to mixed outcomes. Moreover, Arnold the candidate seems to be avoiding in-depth discussion of these policies, hewing more closely to the self-deprecation of Hollywood jokes. Still, it is an audacious program, and it's most refreshing to see such an unabashed declaration of the virtue of free-market principles.

Posted by David Mader at 11:32 PM | (2) | Back to Main

September 23, 2003


Read this column from yesterday's Wall Street Journal on Yasir Arafat's Soviet upbringing. I don't know how much of this is old news and how much of it falls into that mess of 'unverifiable' material that comes from ostensibly-solid intelligence sources. Still, it's an interesting read. And it begs the question: is the current (or pre-2003) Israeli-Palestinian dynamic a vestige of the Cold War? And if so, are we now simply seeing, with the marginalization of Arafat and the increasingly free hand given to Israel, a shift to a September 12 approach?

[Cheers to Andrew Sullivan for the link]

Posted by David Mader at 08:39 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Last Test. Honest.

It all may be coming together.

Posted by David Mader at 12:56 AM | (1) | Back to Main

One Last Test

And all the dæmons of MT may be banishèd!

(Gimme a break, it's late.)

Posted by David Mader at 12:42 AM | (0) | Back to Main

September 05, 2003

Battle Lines

Daniel Pipes writes that you can't tell a supporter of Israel by his faith - but that his political bent is a likely giveaway:

Ethnicity and religion certainly play a role in shaping attitudes but ideas matter more. One telling symbol of this was in 1998, when The Nation magazine called on a leftist Jew (Andrew N. Rubin) to savage a book by a conservative Muslim (Fouad Ajami) for being too friendly to Israel.

In many other countries, as Charlotte West observes, Israel also finds its most solid support among conservatives; Australia, Canada, France, Italy come to mind.

This is a new development. Twenty years ago, liberal or conservative outlooks had little bearing on one's views of Israel or other Middle East issues. During the Cold War, Middle Eastern problems stood largely outside the great debate of that era -- policy toward the Soviet Union -- so views of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iraq, militant Islam, and other topics were formed in isolation from larger principles.

Today, all that has changed. The Middle East has replaced the Soviet Union as the touchstone of politics and ideology. With increasing clarity, conservatives stand on one side of its issues and liberals on the other.

Posted by David Mader at 08:14 AM | (0) | Back to Main

September 04, 2003

Meme Watch

Speaking of the Second Cup, I noticed some interesting bathroom graffiti:

Les Islamistes sont des Nazis du 21 siecle: Vrai ou Faux?

Granted, there was another line mentioning Bush that I didn't quite catch, and so the author might have tended towards 'Faux', but it's interesting nonetheless to see that idea in that venue - and in this city.

Posted by David Mader at 01:48 PM | (0) | Back to Main


The Second Cup in the McGill ghetto is now WiFi enabled. Alas, I don't have a wireless card. Or a lap-top, come to think of it. But perhaps it's a blessing in disguise; I spend enough time there anyway.

In any case, tell me again about how the tech boom proved hollow...?

Posted by David Mader at 01:36 PM | (1) | Back to Main

September 03, 2003


Not sure if this has already made it's way around the blogosphere - it's care of the 75th Ranger Regiment Quartermaster site.

Yes, we're perhaps a bit beyond the boundaries of 'political correctness' here, but war is an ugly thing - and if you're an individual who is hellbent on martyrdom by attacking America or her deployed servicemen and women, we'd like to see you hooked up with 72 Virgins as soon as possible. 'Nuff Said. High quality 'virgin'-white all cotton tees.

Nice. And poke around the site for lots of great Ranger merchandise. War, profiteering - it's a right-wing paradise!

Posted by David Mader at 06:16 PM | (1) | Back to Main

School Days

Fall term starts today here at McGill, so my schedule returns to something approaching normal. To mark the occasion I bring you, via Tim Blair, an interview with PJ O'Rourke, National Lampoon alumn and politial humourist extrordinaire:

O: Going back to what you were saying about the need for dissident conservative voices: What's different about being a conservative commentator now as opposed to the Clinton era, or even the Reagan era?

PO: Well, I think in the Clinton era, if people hadn't been spending vast amounts of time attacking Clinton, they would have found that they had essentially the same problems as they do now. It is very hard now to shock people into thinking about government regulation and the extent of government involvement in life... about fundamental Hayekian ideas. Ever read any [Friedrich] Hayek? He's great. The Road To Serfdom is like... I'm not a big political-science reader, but I actually dog-eared my copy. I ended up going back through it and writing a précis, I was so impressed by this book. It's all about what happens when government tries to make everything right. I mean, Hayek is not protesting that things like child labor and stuff are good. He's just trying to show that when government undertakes to make everything good for everybody, this is what happens. And he addresses it to socialists of all parties. It was written during WWII, and basically it's an anti-Nazi, anti-communist thing, but also it's an anti-Conservative and anti-Labor-party thing aimed at the British. He was an Austrian, writing in Britain. And I feel like now, I guess, everybody pays lip service to libertarian—and, indeed, many conservative—ideas, and yet they keep moving forward with an increasingly bureaucratic state.

Ever read any Hayek? He's great.


Posted by David Mader at 10:50 AM | (2) | Back to Main

September 02, 2003

The Temporary Convenience of the Present

Andrew Sullivan returns from summer hiatus and slams the Bush administration for surrendering the hold on public spending. A President who was so often, only a year ago, compared to Reagan is now cast beside Dick Nixon.

It may be instructive, then, to revisit the first day of President Reagan's tenure:

But great as our tax burden is, it has not kept pace with public spending. For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.

You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?


Posted by David Mader at 06:24 PM | (0) | Back to Main

September 01, 2003


There's been a considerable amount of speculation that the recent bombing of a Muslim holy site in Najaf would backfire, a perception that can only be strengthened by this report:

Two Saudis arrested after the Najaf attack in Iraq that killed leading Shiite cleric Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim were picked up after sending an e-mail saying "mission accomplished: the dog is dead", The Times reported today quoting a source close to the Iraqi inquiry.

The men were grabbed by a crowd and taken to the nearest police station after being seen sending the e-mail from an Internet cafe, the source said...

The two suspects apparently attracted the attention of the son of the cafe owner after having "offered a larger than usual sum of money to use a computer", the British daily said.

It was then that the son saw the men send a message saying "mission accomplished: the dog is dead".

Grabbed by an angry crowd of Shiite Muslims, the two men "admitted they were Saudi Wahhabis working for al-Qaeda", Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, the source was quoted as saying.

Of course the notion of a crowd of Iraqis angry at someone other than the Americans would seem quite impossible, if you only read, say, the New York Times.

MORE: Also read this.

Posted by David Mader at 01:33 PM | (0) | Back to Main