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March 31, 2004


Critiscism of the United Nations? In the Toronto Star? By Richard Gywn??? Wow.

In all kinds of small and practical, and often unnoticed ways, the U.N. and its agencies often do good work. But often, far too often, they fail abysmally.

And, as is really disturbing, the root cause is often the defining characteristic of multilateral projects. This is, that they involve many partners so that no one is responsible nor can be blamed— in contrast to all the contemporary never-ending barrage of criticism of the U.S. and of President George W. Bush. (Not that most of that isn't merited).

For quite a while now, the U.N. has escaped criticism, not least because so many commentators were anxious to shore up its credibility as a counterweight to the overweening power of the U.S.

Suddenly, the U.N. is in the spotlight. And it isn't a pretty sight.

Even Gwyn's attempts to equivocate and balance all critiscism with critiscism of the U.S. can't hide the inescapable conclusion: U.N.-led missions have been giant failures all over the world. More involvement for the U.N. in areas where the U.S. has been taking the lead would mean more suffering for the people living there.

Maybe we're getting somewhere, when even lefties like Gwynn are realizing the weakness of the U.N. as a force for good in the world. Or maybe not - he still thinks its the better way to go, rather than accepting that its time for the world's democracies to cut their losses and move on.

Posted by David Mader at 07:38 PM | (0) | Back to Main

May 25

Victoria Day? How about election day?

Here's the idea:

Chuck Guite, the man at the heart of Adscam, is scheduled to testify before the Commons Public Accounts Committee on April 22. Unless, as Andrew Coyne says, something happens between then and now to stop him from testifying. Something like an election call, for instance. Because if Martin calls an election then Parliament will be dissolved, meaning no more committtee for Guite to appear before.

Canadian federal elections are always held on Mondays after a minimum 36 day campaign. That means that the most likely day for Martin to call and election would be Sunday, April 18th, for a vote on Monday, May 24. Except that May 24 is Victoria Day, a national holiday. This means that Martin could drop the writ on Monday, April 19th, for a vote on Tuesday, May 25.

How likely is this scenario? Well, we've been hearing a lot more out of Ottawa over the last week saying that the spring election is back on. Apparently Martin thinks that Adscam has been dealt with. Also, he seems like he wants to get the election out of the way before any more juicy details have been dug up. That's why the Liberals on the Public Accounts Committee have been working so hard to have the committee release an interim report in time for a mid-April election call.

So, today, I'd say that May 25 is the most likely day for a vote. A guess, sure, since a lot could change between now and April 19. But the opposition had better be ready to go by then.

Posted by David Mader at 07:29 PM | (0) | Back to Main

File Sharing Legal in Canada?

That certainly seems to be the thrust of this story on a decision by a Federal Court judge:

"No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings. They merely placed personal copies onto shared directories on their computers which were accessible by other computer users via an online download service," the judge wrote.

As a result, using an online download service for personal use does not amount to copyright infringement in Canada, Akin said.

So there you go. I expect the RIAA CRIA will resubmit after having done a little homework; I'd also expect to see the argument that users have to specify shared folders when setting up file-sharing software, which is tantamount to authorization of reproduction.

Posted by David Mader at 01:50 PM | (10) | Back to Main

War is a Dangerous Place

This story is pretty horiffying. We should not, perhaps, be surprised by the attacks on contractors and other non-military personnel by those who would frustrate Iraqi freedom and bring back Ba'athist tyranny and tribal rule. But can we all agree to call the mutilation of corpses barbaric?

Though the press agencies are backing away from initial suggestions that the four contractors were Americans, comparisons to Mogadishu are inevitable. Mogadishu is precisely the comparison America's enemies want to see drawn, of course, but I'm not sure the withdrawal from Somalia is seen in America as the catastrophe it was. Some may indeed draw upon this latest tragedy to again urge a removal of all 'foreign' forces from Iraq.

But it's absurd to think that lives will not be lost in war, even - or especially - a war that involves such a high degree of humanitarian effort as does the current coalition operation in Iraq. And yet we still read passages like the following in news articles: "Progress in Iraq in the last year has been "a miracle," he gushed even as the death toll for American G.I.s approaches 600." As if any death toll - and some would argue that given the scope of operations many more lives could have been lost - necessarily and automatically renders impossible any progress.

Once upon a time we believed in sacrifice. Many of us still do. But do we all?

Posted by David Mader at 11:53 AM | (2) | Back to Main

Cold Terror

David Frum plugs a new and important book by the National Post's Stewart Bell. Cold Terror details the use of Canada as a base of terrorist operations, the security services' efforts to frustrate those operations and the complete failure of Canada's political class to address the issue.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan notes that the men arrested by British police this morning were all Britons born. The connection? Terror is in our cities, and it doesn't always carry a foreign passport - or a cell-phone with bin Laden on speed-dial.

I wouldn't be surpised to see this become the predominant criminal/civil-libertarian issue of the next decade. What do you do about suspected terrorists when a) your suspicions do not meet the criteria for a formal charge, b) the suspects enjoy full rights of citizenship and c) politicians refuse to consider or act upon the security threat? ('C' will be an issue for only a short time, but it's the state of affairs in Canada today).

The US, which is now taking domestic terror threats more seriously than any other nation (I think), has some experience with this question - as the controversy over Jose Padilla shows. Canada has its own experience in the person of Maher Arar. The strict civil libertarian will see no controversy: until and unless an individual has committed a crime, he must be free. But when those free men are known to be closely associated with known (even convicted) terrorists, show patterns of terrorist activity - in short, give security professionals every reason to suspect participation in an attack - constitutional liberties approach suicide-pact status.

Another Sedition Act, tailored to the times, would be as unacceptable as the civil-libertarian status quo. A new balance must be found, and I confess I have absolutely no idea what it might be.

Posted by David Mader at 01:01 AM | (2) | Back to Main

March 30, 2004

Suicide Terror in the Americas

A Bolivian miner entered his country's Congress today wearing a dynamite belt, which he detonated, killing two policemen.

It is, perhaps, logical for a miner to express his grievance through the use of dynamite, and this isn't nearly the first suicide protest in the hemisphere. In fact, it wasn't a traditional suicide attack at all. Still, it may be worthwhile to consider whether the rise of suicide terrorism elsewhere - and its acceptance, so to speak, by so many observers - has made it a more acceptable method of expressing discontent.

Based on the preliminary reports, this evening's news out of Bolivia doesnt' sound like anything but an unfortunate tragedy. It may signal something more, though, and that's something to think about.

Posted by David Mader at 07:27 PM | (0) | Back to Main

In the Bullseye

Hundreds of British police officers participated in a series of raids this morning which resulted in eight arrests and the seizure a half-ton of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer used in explosives. Police believe the men planned to bomb 'soft targets' including pubs. The arrested men are all said to be Pakistani. Home Secretary David Blunkette called the raids a "timely reminder that the U.K. and its interests abroad remain a target."

What was that, Petronella?

Posted by David Mader at 02:55 PM | (0) | Back to Main

What Role for the Veep?

Daniel Drezner notes a potential problem that has resulted from the Vice President's active involvement in White House policymaking.

Cheney has been much more closely involved in governing than any Vice President I can think of (suggestions? Hit up the comments). The Vice Presidential office was a late-hour addition to the Constitution in 1787, designed to give some sort of executive power to the 'small states,' since the 'large states' had an electoral college superiority which guaranteed a lock on the White House for some time. (Indeed, four of the first five presidents, who served for thirty-two of the first thirty-six years of the country's Constitutional history, were Virginians). Nor was the Vice Presidency seen as a route to the White House, except when the President died in office. In the twentieth century, the Vice President has either been substantially excluded from governance (as Truman was prior to FDR's death) or focused on the more political aspects of the presidential game (championing presidential initiatives and so on).

The fact is that the Vice Presidency is and has always been an ill-defined institution, and office-holders have often chaffed at its political restrictions and burdens. Sitting around the Senate isn't much fun either. Cheney's close involvement in the day-to-day operation of the White House (he has, or had until September 11, a West Wing office) presented the prospect of a redefinition of the office; Drezner suggests that this redefinition is not to be.

Posted by David Mader at 02:41 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Well, I'm Out to Get Her

Apparently Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish - of 'bastard Americans' fame - believes herself to be a target of those nefarious JOOOOOS.

Ms Parrish, on behalf of the great Zionist conspiracy, let me tell you that there's no need. Whenever your name is mentioned in public discourse - which is rarely - those few who recognize it hardly fail to express the same sentiment, which might roughly be transliterated as follows: "Ugh."

Posted by David Mader at 02:13 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Man of the People

An alert Wonkette reader notes than John Kerry rides a $5,000 bike. Wonkette retorts: "You mean a guy with five homes doesn't ride a Schwinn?"

Should presidential wealth be a factor in the contest? Bush could doubtless afford a $5,000 bike - though he's a runner - but somehow it's not his style. Who's the more superficial - Kerry, who enjoys his (admittedly much greater) wealth in various conspicuous manifestations, or Bush, who applies his wealth to less conspicuous purchases - a bigger ranch, a nicer truck, and so on?

I'm inclined, of course, to view Dubya's discretion more favorably. Kerry, though, has every right to spend his (or, ahem, her) money however he sees fit. Does a $5,000 dollar bicycle suggest that he would, as president, ensure America had the best of the best? Or that he would spend taxpayer money on frivolities? Or does it matter at all? Or does it matter only in a superficial, rather than substantive, manner?

Posted by David Mader at 02:10 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Corroborating Evidence

Glenn Reynolds shares my feeling that it's been a rough week or two for Bush, politically, but points to some more evidence that suggests the President is weathering the storm.

LATER (13:45 EST): The USA Today takes a closer look at the numbers and comes away with some negative spin for Bush - but acknowledges that the overall trend is distinctly in his favor. One number that jumped out at me: 76% of Democrats believe Clarke's testimony (versus 83% of Repulicans who believe the administration). That's an awful lot of Democrats who either don't believe Clarke or aren't willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by David Mader at 09:53 AM | (2) | Back to Main

March 29, 2004

Why I Love Letterman

He has Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Mundell delivering red-neck jokes. Yes, it's urban-elite humour. But it's also hilarious.

Posted by David Mader at 11:53 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Oh, There's the Good News

As recently as this morning I was despairing the effects of the Clarke testimony on American attitudes towards the election and the war (which I see as inextricably related). But Matt Drudge is reproducing two Gallup stories which suggest that I foolishly lowballed the focus of the American people.

The first surpising poll found (over the weekend) that after a week of apparently damning 9/11 commission testimony, Bush leads Kerry by 4 points (the margin of error). I'm not sure how much more the Kerry camp could ask for, but it seems the GOP's ads have done more to bring down Kerry than Clarke's broadside have done to trip up Bush.

That's (apparently) confirmed by the second poll, which found that attitudes towards Clarke correspond very closely with voting intensions. More encouraging is the news that while 54% believe the Bush administration could have done more prior to September 11, 67% believe the President could not have prevented the attacks.

For all the politicking on both sides, the American people seem to have their eye on the ball. I don't mean that they support Bush; the election is a statistical dead-heat. I mean that the electorate doesn't yet seem entirely taken in with the partisan back-and-forth; or rather, they're so much a part of it that these knock-abouts aren't shifting the polls substantially.

Posted by David Mader at 11:51 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Virtual Property Rights

The McGill Daily (of all papers) has an interesting piece on virtual property - specifically the 'property' created in popular online games. I've mentioned this before, but some time ago; at one point shortly after I started blogging, the in-game currency of Ultima Online was trading on E-Bay at par with the Italian lira.

The article is a good introduction to the issue, and introduces some interesting questions. Do gamers have a fundamental property-right to in-game property? A court in China(!) has decided in the affirmative, but user-agreements on American games may prevent similar findings.

I agree with the sentiment expressed by Julien Dibble, quoted in the Daily piece, who makes a living from virtual-currency arbitrage and who has to list his virtual 'property' in his income statements. But I don't agree with those players who demand that publishers like EA keep games running after they cease to be economically viable. The sudden closure of a game, or the sudden inflation of a currency or depreciation of an item due to reproduction, is an economic hazard. A mature virtual market will provide hedging options for players worried about these hazards.

There's lots more to be said; it's a fascinating subject (to a law/economics guy like me), and there will no doubt be more about it in the news in the coming years.

[Thanks to Matt for the pointer.]

Posted by David Mader at 08:41 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Got (Some)One

A senior al Qaida official may well have been killed in Pakistan, but there's a considerable amount of confusion over his identity. The Associated Press identifies the possibly-deceased as 'Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah,' an Egpytian national who was indicted for the 1998 embassy bombings. Dan Darling, on the other hand, is suggesting Abdul Wahab, an Iraqi national.

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

When Did Private Become Public?

Ireland has banned smoking in all 'public' places, including pubs. Similar statutes are on the books in New York City, Ottawa and elsewhere. I think I've gone through this issue before - though it may be in the old archives; I'll try to dig it up. We can go round and round on it again, if you'd like. But my question is this: at one point, historically, did the private become public? States have restricted the right of property-ownership in order to impose safety regulations - fire hazard, crowd management and so on. I suspect this regulation dates back quite some time.

But opponents of the ban argue that smoking does not present the same order of health hazard. Governments have diminished property-right in other ways, however - I'm thinking particularly of racial discrimination in private stores. Can readers think of earlier attempts to override private property ownership in order to impose a social value on citizens?

Posted by David Mader at 04:45 PM | (5) | Back to Main

The Process is All

So the State Department is talking down Israel's planned withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. Foggy Bottom spokesman Richard Boucher wants to ensure that "other steps can be taken to further proceed down the path outlined by the president, of two states living side by side in peace."

Call me crazy, but withdrawing 'occupation' forces and turning Palestinian lands over to an autonomous Palestinian political authority seems like a pretty good way of advancing the two-state plan.

In fact, over the past year it seems the Israelis have quite suddenly found themselves in the driver's seat, despite the PR victories the Palestinian Authority has had in framing the 'intifada' in international media. Once a majority of Israelis came to support withdrawing from the territories - once a desire for integration had been blown apart by an endless campaign of terrorism - the Sharon government found itself able to creat a de facto Palestinian state simply by withdrawing all forces behind a line. A line, for the present, of their own choosing. Sharon will put the plan to his cabinet; he should go ahead with it. When the State Department - and the Palestinian Authority - reject another opportunity to become self-governing, it becomes clear that these parties feel better served by the interminable 'peace process' than the prospect of an actual Palestinian state.

Posted by David Mader at 04:34 PM | (2) | Back to Main

September Tenth World

All this Richard Clarke business is getting me pretty depressed. No, by Democratic friends, that does not mean I'm shattered by his damning testimony. I think the fact that he released his book three days before he was to appear before the Congressional 9/11 comission says everything about his character that need be said.

What's bugging me is the response. As Andrew Sullivan points out, the Administration's claims that it took terrorism seriously before Setpember 11 are ridiculous. And yet the White House has willingly ventured back into the September tenth world, which is where the news cycle - and the presidential contest - is now stuck.

Have a read through ABC's The Note, a daily compendium of all things political. There's almost nothing positive for the president out there; Kerry may soon become the presumptive victor of the November election. The root of this perception is the miserable week Bush has had, thanks in no small part to his White House's bumbling of the Clarke affair.

The proper response - and I don't think it required hindsight - would have been this: "Yes, we - as an Administration, as a government, as a society - dropped the ball on terrorism prior to September Eleventh. Yes, immediately after that terrible day the President demanded that his staff examine all avenues in order to determine culpability. Yes, that included Iraq. And in the months since September Eleventh, America has, with the leadership of this President, toppled two tyrannical regimes and brough the first taste of liberty to millions. He has dedicated the country to defeating Islamist terrorism by helping to liberate the millions of Muslims who suffer under brutal and arbitrary government. September Eleventh woke us from an unforgivable slumber - and we're back."

But instead the White House plays the Richard Clarke game, all the while lulling the nation back into September Tenth complacency, to the advantage of a candidate who's given no sign he'd do anything but reinstitute the very approach to terrorism which failed, for eight years, to stem the threat.

Posted by David Mader at 11:38 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 28, 2004


Speaking of the Spectator, the latest issue has a fascinating and disturbing piece by lifestyle columnist Pertonella Wyatt (reproduced in Sunday's Montreal Gazette, and available through the Speccie's registration-only website).

Wyatt opens: "On a scale of one to ten, one being the least often, how frequently do you think about terrorism? [...] I would register as a definite and unashamed one." She contrasts this attitude to that of an American friend who "was expressing concern that there would be another assault on New York or Washington." "Imagine," Wyatt writes, "the torture of spending every day in a state of nerves. Before it was cholesterol and fags, but now even the dreaded weed has been overtaken by the extraordinary Bush/Blair conviction that everyone in the West is going to die under a pile of rubble."

And then this: "Yet I live in the Middle East. Honestly. The population of St John’s Wood is made up mainly of Arabs and Jews. The shops in the high street are owned by Arabs and Jews. Up the road is a synagogue and down the road is a mosque. Yet though I apparently walk in the valley of death I fear no evil."

Look, it was some years ago, and I was young, but I've lived in St. John's Wood, and the notion that it's some microcosm of the Middle East is laughably preposterous. It's an high-middle-to-upper-class residential neighborhood not a half hour's walk from the City, lined with rows of spacious flats and townhouses. In fact, the very phenomenon Wyatt sees in the neighborhood - typified by Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Christians rubbing shoulders at Lord's Cricket Ground - is what will eventually make St. John's Wood a target, rather than a breeding ground, of those who want to cover us in rubble.

The fact that many Britons are going on with their lives is laudable - because life must go on, even in the wake of a terrorist attack. Ask the people of New York, which remains the most dynamic city on earth, despite - and because of - that black day which has only added to its character.

And when a bomb goes off in the Baker Street tube station, Londoners will share the feeling. And the voices of the dead will haunt the Petronella Wyatts of the world, who refused to admit that they, too, lived in the bullseye.

Posted by David Mader at 10:50 PM | (3) | Back to Main

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say

In his latest Spectator piece Mark Steyn mentions this column from the International Herald Tribune by Geoffrey Wheatcroft. Steyn has his own reasons for mentioning it, but I was struck by this passage: "Anyone who wants to know the names of the neocon elite has only to look at the masthead of [Conrad Black's] Washington magazine The National Interest. Luminaries such as Henry Kissinger and Richard Perle were recruited onto his boards and handsomely rewarded, even if they seem to have taken their fiduciary duties somewhat lightly."


Look, I know I'm just some no-good 'self-hating Canadian' (to borrow Wheatcroft's lovely term), but a fact's a fact: when you cite Kissinger and Perle as defining examples of neoconservatism, you announce to the world that you don't know what the s**t you're talking about.

Pardon my French.

Posted by David Mader at 10:35 PM | (2) | Back to Main

No Tories Here

The National Post's Adam Daifallah has a great column in Saturday's paper on the use of the term 'Tory' to describe members of the new Conservative Party of Canada. Insofar as the term evokes the party's emotional ties to the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, I think it's acceptible; still, as an Americanist, 'Tory' has distinctly negative connotations.

In fact, I'm a proponent of the one alternative appelation that Daifallah explicitly slags: "Heaven forbid that 'Whig' be resuscitated." Bah! While tories were Irish bandits, whigs were Scottish horse-thieves, and we all know that the Scots were midwife to liberal democracy (see "Smith, Adam"; "Civil Wars, The" and "Presbyterianism").

The truth is, the dedication to free markets and laissez-faire social policy which defined the best of Whiggism is the great strength of Harper-stream (and Clement-stream) Conservatism. Let the social conservatives and reds fight over the court-party label 'tory.' Real modern Conservatives - as neo-liberals - will glory in the label 'whig.'

Posted by David Mader at 10:11 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Congo Coup Averted?

There are reports out of Congo-Kinshasa that an attempted coup by supporters of former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko has been suppressed.

Congo is just months out of a ruinous civil war - really a permanent form of internal chaos, rather than a conflict between well-delineated parties - and much of the country is still outside of the control of either the central government under Joseph Kabila or the UN peacekeeping force. A coup could certainly signal a return to the chaos of previous years.

Posted by David Mader at 04:59 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Democracy in the Arab World

The Associated Press has two fascinating pieces on the efforts to democratize the Arab states. The first is an analysis of the breakdown of talks at an Arab summit organized to hash out a common approach to the question of reform. The second is a nifty roundup of the state of democracy in the various Arab states. Both are must-reads.

While both are interesting for their substance, they're equally interesting as indicators of a tremendously important trend. This sort of AP coverage would have been unimaginable five years ago (as would a summit on democratic reform). What's changed? The introduction of the Bush doctrine, which holds that the only true 'root cause' of terrorism is tyranny, which breeds a contempt for freedom and which allows for the free operation and support of terrorist organizations.

The AP now reports the democratization of the Arab world as a matter of course. Take, for example, this passage: "Ben Ali is hardly alone in the Arab world, one of the last bastions of authoritarianism holding out against the global trend toward democracy." The AP hardly understates the challenges democracy faces, but the very fact that democratization is seen as a) a very real program, b) a desirable program and c) a program with a hope of success suggests that a change in attitudes is taking place.

That commotion you see? That's the shifting of goalposts. That doesn't happen very often, but when it does, great things happen.

Posted by David Mader at 02:14 PM | (0) | Back to Main


Toronto police are widening their probe into the rash of anti-Semitic incidents following the discovery of an e-mail campaign which named Jewish Torontonians by name.

Posted by David Mader at 02:02 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Neale is Back

Brian Neale has teamed up with an entertainment website in order to keep his much beloved NealeNews going. That's great news, and I know the Maderblog team and readership send our best to Mr. Neale and welcome him back from his brief but nonetheless lamented absence.

Posted by David Mader at 02:01 PM | (1) | Back to Main

It's Working

Glenn Reynolds highlights another of Wolfowitz' Dominos.

Posted by David Mader at 10:19 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 26, 2004

York Update

[For background on the situation at York see here and here.]

I've received in my Inbox two interesting statements regarding the situation at York. One is from Marty Lockshin, director of York's Center for Jewish Studies; the other is a statement by the University administration. Both should be read by those following the situation, and are reproduced below.

Lockshin chides those who have attacked York as racist or anti-Semitic, noting the school's commitment not just to diversity but to Judaica. He suggests that while Hillel students were right to counter-protest the SPHR, they were nonetheless engaging in disobedient behaviour and so should accept the consequences.

The University's statement is little more than a presentation of the facts as it sees them. Interesting to me is this passage: "On March 26, 2004, letters were sent to the presidents of the relevant student groups informing them that the temporary suspension of club privileges would be lifted as of Monday, March 29, 2004." March 26 - that would be, you know, today. The orginial Globe article suggested that the groups had been suspended for the remainder of this week. The point is that there seems to have been confusion over the duration of the suspension, and observers can be forgiven for assuming it was to be indefinite.

As for Locksin's piece, I think it illustrates the counter-productiveness of accusations of racism and anti-Semitism. By refuting those allegations, Lockshin and the school can ignore the real problem at York - and at campuses across the country (and beyond). As I said in my original post, by suspending both groups (Hillel and SPHR) York gives a veto on campus activism to those who would stir up controversy. Hillel is not beyond reproach, but can any doubt that in the absence of the controversy-mongering of SPHR there would have been no altercation?

The fact is that Universities, faculties and student governments are terrified - terrified - of those campus groups who raise controversy through accusations of racism and anti-progressiveness. If the courage to stand up to these groups requires bad publicity for the school and backlash from the alumni, then so be it.

Posted by Prof. Marty Lockshin to a faculty e-mail list:

I am the Director of the Centre for Jewish Studies at York University. I
have been at York for 26 years.

The students of Hillel at York this year are better organized and more
politically active than at any point previously in the last 26 years. They
have accomplished wonderful things, including successfully supporting a
reasonable slate of candidates (with a very high percentage of Hillel
members) to take over the student government. I am very proud of them.

I was even proud of them when, last week, they broke the rules of the
university in an act of civil disobedience. Their wrist was slapped for
doing so by a generally sympathetic administration. Anyone who indulges in
an act of civil disobedience must expect that there will be consequences and
must hope that the consequences will be light. This time they definitely

The postings about York on this list are very troubling. We are being urged
to drag out the donors to fight the administration. Pardon me? We are
being told that York is an antisemitic environment. Pardon me?

York University is one of the few universities (other than Yeshiva U) that
has no classes on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. York University is one of
the few universities in North America that has a "no exams on Passover"
policy. York University is one of the few universities in North America
that has a kosher restaurant, serving three meals a day. York University
has the largest Jewish Studies program in Canada and one of the largest in
North America. York University has one of the most liberal policies in
North America for credit for study in Israel. York University continues to
send students to study in Israel even in these troubled times.

An anti-Semitic environment?

Yes, York also has strong and vocal anti-Israel (and anti-American) groups.
They make the work environment less pleasant for a supporter of Israel like
me and they make the study environment less pleasant for Hillel students.
Professors on a list like this should realize that in a country that
respects freedom of speech that is something that can happen. That does not
make an antisemitic environment.

I believe that antisemitism is a serious problem in our world, and even here
in North America. Can we concentrate on fighting it where it actually

Marty Lockshin

Released by York University:

The following statement, issued by York University, outlines the University's actions in response to the March 16, 2004 student protest involving York student clubs Hillel and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights:

Both Hillel and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) were aware that, as of Feb. 1, 2004, Vari Hall, an academic building, was no longer available for events. This deadline was imposed in response to previous events that disrupted academic lectures for our students.

Nonetheless, on March 16, 2004, approximately 20 members of SPHR decided to stage an "impromptu" demonstration and around 100 members of Hillel quickly counter-demonstrated. The result was the disruption of classes in the Vari Hall building. The police were in attendance at the University's request but were not deployed and the crowd eventually dispersed.

While we understand that one side may see the other's demonstration as a provocation, nonetheless both clubs were aware of the rules and knew that they were not permitted to demonstrate in Vari Hall. As a consequence of the counter-demonstration, it was much more difficult for York security staff to deal with two demonstrations versus one.

Consequently both Hillel and SPHR had their privileges suspended for one week while the situation was investigated. From the University's point of view, particularly as exams approach, we must ensure that academic activities of York community members come first. We will not allow approximately 100 demonstrators to prevent the 55,000 members of the York community from going about their academic lives in a safe and secure environment.

On March 26, 2004, letters were sent to the presidents of the relevant student groups informing them that the temporary suspension of club privileges would be lifted as of Monday, March 29, 2004. Student clubs were reminded that they are signatories to a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that requires them to abide by York University's Student Code of Conduct. The letter also warned that future infractions will result in disciplinary proceedings.

As a University, we call upon the leaders of the respective communities to support York as it deals with these difficult global issues, and to encourage students to express their beliefs in a way that is respectful of the rights of others and consistent with the best values of Canadian society.

Posted by David Mader at 01:07 PM | (3) | Back to Main

Farewell to NealeNews

Brian Neale, publisher of NealeNews, has decided to shut down his site. He cites both declining traffic, which I don't understand (I checked NealeNews at least three times daily, usually more) and the tremendous amount of work it takes to keep a site like that updated. I certainly understand that.

NealeNews very rapidly became the best man-made news aggregator in Canada, and it will be missed. Best of luck to Brian, and here's hoping he'll stay involved in the online news world - perhaps with a good old fashioned weblog?

Posted by David Mader at 11:21 AM | (4) | Back to Main

March 25, 2004

Welcome to Canadia

Associated Press, March 25: U.S. Envoy Applauds Canadia for Terror Aid.


Posted by David Mader at 10:42 PM | (5) | Back to Main

Sail With Me Into La-La Land

I mentioned Myriam Bédard's testimony yesterday in order to highlight the alleged 'sponsorship' of F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve, but most have focused on her allegations of drug involvement at ad firm Groupaction.

I didn't mention the drug business just because it seemed so, well, weird. Groupaction promptly denied the allegation of course; today, Villeneuve's people have done the same.

There are more denials, too, such as Andrew Coyne notes. Of course, denials are to be expected in a scandal of this scale (and scope, apparently).

Still, something doesn't smell right. Coyne says the whistle-blowers, so to speak, have no obvious reason to lie. But I wonder. The Liberal government is getting hit weekly - even daily - by more and more scandalous allegations of corruption. They all seem to be sticking - indeed, they're sticking so well that Canadians are becoming willing to believe allegations regardless of the availability of proof. As each new allegation arises and sticks, the Liberals lose any grace or credibility.

How do you restore that credibility? By refuting allegations on the merits. But if all the allegations coming against you are substantial, where do you find insubstantive allegations to refute?

Hey, I told you we were going to la-la land. But think about it - having a very public figure (like Bedard) make absurd allegations about the Liberals which can be factually refuted allows them to turn the rhetorical tables, calling into question all the allegations being made against them. It's a gamble - lots of people apparently have no trouble believing the Liberals were laundering drug money - but it seems just crazy enought to work.

Just for the record: Paul Martin and his 'new' government have done absolutely nothing thus far to suggest an ability to either think up or execute a conspiracy like this. Now Chretien, he'd have done it before the thought had become fully articulated in his head. Which is my way of saying: of course I don't think this is going on, but it's the most rational explanation for Bedard's testimony that I can think of, unless a) she's just hella-bitter, or b) she's telling the truth.

Posted by David Mader at 06:32 PM | (2) | Back to Main

One Cheer for Amnesty

Amnesty International has condemned the use of children as suicide bombers and attackers, in the wake of this story.

Amnesty's response, while late, is welcome. Their message contains surprisingly little equivocation and equivalence on the issue. That's good: no cause can excuse this murderous exploitation of children.

Posted by David Mader at 06:01 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Harper Steps Up

Andrew Coyne excerpts Stephen Harper's response to Paul Martin's first budget, and - as Coyne says - it's devastating. I can't excerpt it with any justice; go read it.

Posted by David Mader at 02:02 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Almost There

Sorry for the lack of posting. As usual when I go quiet, I like to say it's probably a good thing, especially since I've been dreading the inevitable follow-up post to this, which mercifully has not yet had to be written.

In any case, the Big Honkin' Paper gets handed in shortly, so regular posting should resume quite soon.

Posted by David Mader at 01:26 PM | (0) | Back to Main

March 24, 2004

How Old Was the Teen Bomber?

Lots of folks have highlighted the story of a Palestinian teenager stopped at an Israeli checkpoint wearing an explosive vest (not to be confused with the eleven year old boy found to be carrying explosives at a checkpoint last week).

There seems to be disagreement, however, over the boy's age. The AP maintain's that he is sixteen, while the Israeli Defense Force says he is fourteen. Reuters holds with the IDF; though if you follow the Ha'aretz link, it credits the AP wire for elements of the story. Also, the stories present differing ages for the boy stopped last week.

Fog of war? A little; but there's also a question of trust here. I imagine one of the wires is taking the IDF at its word, while another is running on the word of Palestinian officials (or, more likely in this instance, family or friends).

Posted by David Mader at 11:12 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Where's My Twelve Mil?

Dave K forwards me this story about the latest adscam/sponsorship controversy embroiling the Liberal government. It seems Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve was paid $12 million to sport a Canada logo (yes, our government is branded) on his racing suit.

You know, the one he wears while racing. In a car. A car with a cockpit. A cockpit with no windows. It's like paying him to wear the logo on his boxers.

As a matter of fact this seems more like an instance of a massive misuse of government funds than a kick-back scandal; it's possible that some knucklehead actually thought that Villeneuve's suit would get a lot of exposure in Quebec. (Number of times Villeneuve has placed on the podium since the 2000 Formula One Season: two).

Andrew Coyne has more so you can make up your own mind. Even if it weren't a straight kick-back, though, it's yet more evidence of the terrible fiscal (mis-)management which has, it is now becoming clear, been a rule of the Liberal government since at least 1995.

Dave K. asks: "Does this mean Quebec stars can be bought?" Apparently so. The next question is: who else is on the take?

Posted by David Mader at 08:30 PM | (1) | Back to Main

McGill Question

Anyone know why there was a kilted piper walking around campus shortly after six this evening? Is it some special Montreal/Canadian/Scottish day of which I'm not aware?

Not that it has to be a special event; I think we should have bagpipes playing on campus every evening.

Posted by David Mader at 06:28 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Another French Rail Bomb Found

French authorities have discovered yet another explosive device buried in the track-bed of a rail line, although it's not clear whether this bomb was planted by the same group that has been threatening the French government in recent months.

You know, sooner or later one of these things is going to go off.

Posted by David Mader at 02:46 PM | (1) | Back to Main

York Blowback

Early this morning I mentioned the suspension of Hillel at York University. In reply to one of the group e-mails spreading the message, a friend's father sent the following e-mail:

I am shocked, angered and greatly saddened by the turn of events at York University. I am as you know a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University Class of 1973. During my studies at York the vice president of the school was Walter Tarnapolsky, a champion of Human Rights and later to become Mr. Justice Tarnapolsky of the Ontario Court of Appeal. During that time York was a safe haven for all thought, religion, nationality and protest without violence. I know that sometimes your parents seem ancient but protest in the late 60's early seventies was a common method of exerting one's viewpoint but I would like to think that a common thread of respect for human rights, and dignity was part of our university community...

I am about to resign my membership in the York University Alumni Association. I no longer wish to be associated with York University.

I wonder whether we'll see more of this; if you know of someone who's taken the same step, please let me know. As my own father points out in the comments to my earlier post, it's only though this kind of agitation that a message will be sent - and felt.

Posted by David Mader at 01:23 PM | (1) | Back to Main

I Had a Dream Last Night

It was the spring of 2000. I was in an airport in London. I passed a booth where an engineering company was advertising by displaying a video of mock-disasters; the video showed pennies or pocket-weights thrown at glass replicas of major landmarks.

I stopped, approached the table. "What about the twin towers," I said. "What's it's disaster plan like?"

The guy started tapping excitedly on his key-board. "I can't find it," he said, "why?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," I replied. But then I thought: if he doesn't believe me, so what? But if he does believe me...

So I told him. "On September 11, 2001, terrorists will crash two airplanes into the World Trade Center. The buildings will fall - do you understand? They will implode. At the same time terrorists will crash a plane into the Pentagon. A fourth plane will crash in Pennsylvania, thanks to the actions of its passengers; it will have been heading for Washington."

The guy called over his boss. He made me repeat what I'd said.

They started laughing. They didn't believe me.

It's a dream; it's only a confirmation of what I think would have happened had anyone said that then. But it gives you sympathy for guys like this:

On a brisk October day in 2000, [Army Special Forces colonel Mike] Sheehan stood with me on West Executive Avenue and watch[ed] as the limousines left the White House meeting on the Cole attack to go back to the Pentagon. ‘What’s it gonna take, Dick?’ Sheehan demanded. ‘Who the shit do they think attacked the Cole, fuckin’ Martians? The Pentagon brass won’t let Delta go get bin Laden. Hell, they won’t even let the Air Force bomb the place. Does al Qaeda have to attack the Pentagon to get their attention?

None of us were prepared to do what it takes to 'prevent' September 11, because it would have taken what we are now trying to do to win the war on terror. It would have taken invasion and regime change and reconstruction, airport vigilance and a Patriot Act, international and domestic law enforcement cooperation. And still there would have been no guarantees.

And had you tried to explain why all of this was necessary, we would have laughed at you.

Posted by David Mader at 10:37 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Taking Terror Seriously

Lileks, as always, is right on:

One thought after hearing much of the 9/11 committee testimony. Eventually the 1993 bombing of the WTC was revealed as an act of Islamicist terrorism. Let’s imagine the effect of the following scenario: President William J. Clinton invites the Saudi ambassador to the White House. Ushers him into a room with several TV monitors, clicks the remotes. There are four TV s with labels: Baghdad, Tehran, Damascus, Riyadh. President Clinton turns on the first three monitors, and as he’s talking with the ambassador the monitors light up with huge explosions. Government buildings and leadership HQ s evaporate. The President turns to the Saudi ambassador and says “this here is just a taste. Now you need to stop it, and stop it now.” The Riyadh monitor remains blank. The President sets out terms and conditions for the cessation of all terrorist activities against the United States, and takes his sweet time – because the dark monitor is doing all the talking.

Posted by David Mader at 10:04 AM | (0) | Back to Main

York Hillel Banned?

There's an e-mail going around containing two press releases (reproduced below) from York University's Hillel (Jewish Students Organization). The story, as reported by Hillel, is that the pro-Palestinian group SPHR set up a 'mock checkpoint' inside an academic building without a permit. Hillel confronted them, and has since been barred from holding any activities, political or otherwise, on York campus.

The Globe has an article that fills in some of the gaps. SPHR has similarly been barred, though since they are an explicitly political organization, the impact isn't quite the same. Also, it seems that while Hillel was authorized to hold a vigil outside the building, SPHR had no permit to hold any demonstration anywhere, though their demo was 'anticipated.'

Hillel, I hear, is now seeking an injunction. It sounds like York simply doesn't want to confront controversy, and so is throwing out the bathwater, baby and all. Hillel doesn't sound beyond reproach, but SPHR has more or less perfected the tactic of stirring up controversy in order to shut down debate. York is playing their game by gagging the groups rather than addressing the actual rule violations.

I think, though, that this also suggests the importance of separating cultural and political organizations on campus. The combination of Jewish cultural and pro-Israeli political advocacy only encourages the racialization of the Israeli-Palestinian political discussion, and places many Jewish students and pro-Israeli advocates in an uncomfortable situation. I understand that a new campus group will be launched in the coming months to focus expressly on political issues; hopefully they will be better equipped to deal with instances such as this.

Here are the press releases:

Jewish Student Community Shocked as York University Suspends Hillel

Club status and privileges revoked leaving students feeling vulnerable,
silenced and fearful.

For Immediate Release

Toronto (Mar. 22, 2004) - Students at York University are shocked by news that the university administration has suspended the club privileges of Hillel @ York, the recognized voice of York ' s Jewish students. This statement from the university, which is purportedly based on the confrontation last Tuesday, March 16 in Vari Hall, where Jewish students defended themselves against an incendiary form of anti-Israel guerilla theatre, has left Jewish students on campus feeling betrayed, silenced and vulnerable.

"As a group that has always respected university directives and strives to pursue a healthy working relationship with the administration, we are shocked by this heavy-handed crackdown, which affects all areas of our religious, social and cultural activities, not only our political advocacy," said Jordie Saperia, the President of Hillel @ York. "We are also extremely nervous at the message that this disproportionate response to the Jewish student voice on campus sends to the entire student body."

"We feel betrayed."

On Tuesday, March 16th, members of Hillel @ York clashed verbally with pro-Palestinian activists who set up provocative and instigatory mock Israeli checkpoints in Vari Hall, an academic building off limits to political demonstrators. University administration and security officials stood by, watching, during almost an hour of intense confrontation. "The disciplinary measures taken against Hillel are allegedly in response to Tuesday's clashes," said Seth Winberg, Vice-President of Hillel @ York. "But the record shows that the university has turned a blind eye to dozens of illegal and unauthorized rallies by opposing groups. It is only when Hillel members chose to begin defending themselves that the university decided to punish us."

Students are furious that such disproportionate, harsh action has been levelled against them for the simple act of verbally and non-violently opposing a highly insensitive and unauthorized demonstration, while in the past, rallies held in direct contravention of university guidelines have been ignored and glossed over.

In contrast, the location of a Jewish Unity rally scheduled by Hillel for last Thursday was dutifully changed only twenty-four hours in advance when the university.s Office of Student Affairs backtracked on permission granted weeks earlier.

"We are confused and hurt by the university's actions," said Talia Klein, the Director of Hillel @ York. "Despite the marked instability at the Office of Student Affairs over the past few months, we have always maintained a close and mutually beneficial working relationship with university officials. Now it seems as if York has turned into Concordia."


For more information:

Jordie Saperia Talia Klein
President, Hillel @ York Director, Hillel @ York
(416) 419-6096 (416) 910-9032


Fact Check: York's Response to Illegal Rallies

Record shows undeniable bias in official reaction to unauthorized activities on campus

For Immediate Release - Toronto (Mar. 22, 2004) . York University has suspended the club privileges of Hillel @ York, the Centre for Jewish Campus Life, purportedly in response to clashes last week that began when pro-Palestinian activists set up an unauthorized demonstration in Vari Hall, an academic building.

But the record shows a disturbing phenomenon. The following is a list of unauthorized rallies and demonstrations over the past year or so, and the
university response to each.

January 28, 2003 - Anti-Israel groups protest without authorization in
Vari Hall against Daniel Pipes' appearance on campus. A megaphone is used


March 5, 2003 - Anti-war groups march without authorization through Vari Hall and other academic buildings, disturb classes, use illegal megaphone
and drum, and physically and verbally assault Jewish students.


March 20, 2003 - Unauthorized rally and snake march through academic buildings and classes is organized and implemented by anti-war campus groups.


October 22, 2003 - Anti-Israel groups protest an authorized pro-Israel
display in Central Square and meet without authorization to 'confront fascism' in Vari Hall, an academic building. Illegal megaphone used.


November 26, 2003 - Anti-American groups protest campus visit by Former CIA Director James Woolsey inside Fine Arts Building, an academic
building. Illegal megaphone used.


January 30, 2004 - Without authorization, student activists protest
postponed student government elections in Vari Hall, an academic building, and use illegal megaphone.


March 16, 2004 - Palestinian activist groups plan illegal demonstration of Israeli checkpoints inside Vari Hall, an academic building. Illegal megaphone used. Jewish students respond with a vigil for the victims of suicide bombings, which became a confrontation as Jewish students defended themselves inside Vari Hall with retaliatory chanting, including 'Checkpoints Save Lives' and 'We Want Peace.'

UNIVERSITY RESPONSE: Hillel @ York is suspended as a club.

March 18, 2004 - Hillel @ York plans Jewish Unity rally and reserves the space outside of Vari Hall with the Office of Student Affairs.

UNIVERSITY RESPONSE: Forced relocation to Founders College with less than
24 hours notice.

Does this seem like a fair pattern of response?

Posted by David Mader at 12:09 AM | (1) | Back to Main

March 23, 2004

Cheers to Ralph Goodale

For uttering the phrase 'absolutely flippin' nuts' in public.

More comment on the budget tomorrow, when the right-wing media tells me what to think.

Posted by David Mader at 11:05 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Busy Day

It's paper-writing season this week, which is why posting has been less frequent. In the meantime, read about the upcoming Harry Potter movie. You know you want to.

Posted by David Mader at 08:27 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Breaking News: Our Tax Dollars At Work

I don't know how I missed this, as it was obviously the most important story of the day on March 12, if not the most important story of the entire week.

Apparently, the Canadian government has launched an important anti-dumping investigation. The future of the Canadian economy is at stake.

Thank heavens we have our ever-vigilant federal government to protect us from cheap frozen self-rising pizza!! I'm so happy the government's on the case here. The Liberals must have realized that even people on welfare were able to afford to eat pizza, and that just wasn't acceptable.

Either that or they owe a favour to McCain's. No, couldn't be that.

Great to see our tax dollars at work.

Posted by David Mader at 07:00 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Frum on Clarke

David Frum says some things that need to be said about the Clarke business. Especially this:

Why oh why is the Bush administration sending its representatives onto the airwaves to claim that the administration was totally focused on terrorism before 9/11? Or that everything was done that could have been done to prevent it? Almost nobody was totally focused on terrorism before 9/11. That’s why we say “9/11 changed everything.” George Bush has been an effective war leader because he responded with vision and courage to a world-changing event – not because he had perfect foreknowledge of events yet to come. Out of a commendable desire to smack down unfair allegations against the president, the president’s spokespeople are backing themselves – and him – into untenable positions.

Yea, I've been feeling that myself, and trying to avoid it. But I think it's a similar point to the one I made earlier. We all dropped the ball; the question now is how we propose to pick it up and run with it.

Posted by David Mader at 11:42 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Good Economic News from Britain

Tony Blair has taken a stand against trade barriers as a means of counteracting the effects of global integration, advocating instead a more productive economy.

The Prime Minister said it was time to "take on and defeat" the resurgent voices of protectionism.

His remarks appeared to be aimed at politicians in the United States, including John Kerry, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, who has called for measures to protect American jobs from global competition.

Hear hear. And in economically-related political news, the British anti-Euro campaign is closing up shop - as the prospects of Britain joining the European currency dwindle. I'm still not sure how I feel about currency unification, but giving Brussels any more control over British policy is a no-win scenario. Two heartening stories out of the patriam, then.

Posted by David Mader at 11:30 AM | (0) | Back to Main


Jewish Center in France Attacked.

[For an explanation of the 'chirp' series see here.]

Posted by David Mader at 11:14 AM | (0) | Back to Main

But Will They Fight As Well?

AP: EU Ministers Warn Others to Fight Terror.

Just, you know, don't fight it too hard.

Seriously, that headline writer deserves a prize. I didn't write much about reaction to the Yassin attack yesterday, since I figured it was more or less predictable. I was encourged, however, by the muted response from the White House, not because it indicated support for Israeli policy but because it indicated a strengthening of US policy. By refusing to condemn the attack, Washington made clear that it would consider doing the same in similar circumstances. It not only recognized that Israel is at war, it reemphasized that America is at war too.

Posted by David Mader at 11:13 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 22, 2004

The Blogosphere is Complete

The internet was said to bring all the information in the world to one's fingertips. I'm prepared to say that the project is complete: we can now peruse Andrew Coyne's rap playlist.


Posted by David Mader at 11:53 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Right General Idea. Almost.

Paul Wells contrasts excerpts from Bill Clinton's last State of the Union and George Bush's first, and suggests that the lengthier treatment of terrorism shows a deeper consideration of the problem on the part of the outgoing President.

I wonder, though, if this isn't a problem of symantics. Look at the type of terrorism Clinton discusses: "the major security threat this country will face will come from the enemies of the nation state: the narco-traffickers and the terrorists and the organized criminals, who will be organized together, working together, with increasing access to ever-more sophisticated chemical and biological weapons." He goes on to talk about alleviating poverty and treating AIDS. For Clinton, then, terrorism was a threat that came primarily from Latin America, and perhaps from Africa. You'll notice the region and movement which are conspicuously absent from Clinton's remarks.

Clinton's talk about terrorism and 'root causes' reflects precisely the blinkered thinking that failed on September 11. Again, that doesn't excuse any short-sightedness on the part of the Bush administration; but to suggest that Clinton somehow had a better hold on the issue seems amiss.

Posted by David Mader at 06:49 PM | (3) | Back to Main

More Questions on Clarke

In today's Best of the Web James Taranto mocks Richard Clarke for his role in the 1998 missile attack on a Sudanese pharmeceutical plant. But Dan Darling points out that the factory was thought to be engaging in terrorist activities with Iraqi backing:

As any number of media reports indicate from the time period in question, those US officials who ordered the cruise missile attack on the al-Shifa plant did so because they believed that bin Laden was producing precursors for VX there with Iraqi assistance.

Darling has links. Clarke has alleged that attacking Iraq after September 11 was a distraction. If he's right, what was his role in the 1998 decision? And if he was already marginalized within the anti-terrorist infrastructure in 1998, should we really be worried about what he's saying now?

Posted by David Mader at 06:42 PM | (0) | Back to Main


Here's an interesting profile of Andrew Coyne, columnist and blogger extrordinaire!

Its a few years old, but still very interesting.

Posted by David Mader at 02:10 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Money, Mouth, Etc.

Canadian Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci is retiring after thirteen years on the high court. Iacobucci's retirement will open up a second spot on the Court, as Justice Louise Arbour departs in June to become UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.

Paul Martin has talked a lot of talk about a democratic deficit. Now's his chance to back it up with some action. Any appointment to the Supreme Court should be submitted to a comittee of the House of Commons (until it's reformed the Senate just won't do), and that committee's - or the House's - opinion should be considered binding.

The question is this: will Martin try to railroad his Court appointments before the next general election, which he's expected to call for June as well?

Posted by David Mader at 01:54 PM | (0) | Back to Main


More anti-Semitism in Toronto.

Hmm. Anti-Semitism spikes in Europe; anti-Semitism spikes in Canada. But the US is the fascist state.


Posted by David Mader at 01:49 PM | (3) | Back to Main

The World Still Says YES To Liberty

We had a great time on Saturday, counter-protesting the idiotarians. You really should go out to one of their protests sometime, just to see how ridiculous they really are. Trust me - I thought I knew how stupid they are, but I still wasn't prepared for what I saw.

There were about 30 of us, protected by 20 of Toronto's finest. The cops were great. Without them, there's no way we would have been able to get our message out.

We got a bit of coverage on the local all-news station. Click on the link at the top of the page to get the video.

There are also lots of pictures here.

Posted by David Mader at 12:50 PM | (1) | Back to Main

The Protests

I'll have a full report on the "The World Still Says YES to Liberty" rally coming later today.

For now, go read Lileks. He's angry. Very angry. As we all should be.

A small example:

This has nothing to do with Iraq. This is all about the hard left’s worse nightmare. For years they have insisted that every occupant of the White House is a sawdust puppet whose limbs jerk to the strings of International Finance (cough Jews cough) and this satisfies the faithful; the President doesn’t have to be explicitly evil to be inherently evil. He’s the President. Say no more, nudge nudge. But Bushitler is explicitly evil. He attacked Afghanistan for that oil pipeline deal. He attacked Iraq for no reason whatsoever. It’s almost a godsend; finally, a homicidal maniac president who lives up to his advance. And the beauty of it, really, is that you can pinpoint the date when the mask came off. September 12, 2001. For some reason – Gaia knows what – he just decided to crank up the war machine and start killing brown people. Well, at least it’s all in the open now. Put on the old Crosby Stills and Nash albums. Tin soldiers and Nixon coming. It never changes. Us vs. them. Start printing the fliers. Contact the GLBT office in Kabul for a statement of solidarity with the protestors in Paris and London

Posted by David Mader at 12:39 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Guess Who's Back

Gone since last Wednesday, Glenn Reynolds makes a triumphant return to the blogosphere.

Well, he's back, anyway.

Posted by David Mader at 11:03 AM | (1) | Back to Main

More On Clarke

I'm afraid my earlier post was slightly too partisan, and I want to emphasize that I am indeed troubled by Clarke's allegations. I think it's important to note, however, that more or less everyone dropped the ball on pre-September 11 intelligence, especially broad trends regarding Islamist terror. While certain institutions, especially the FBI, can be singled out for blame, we as a society in North America shared a singular determination to ignore the realities of a world that was far more dangerous than we cared to admit. For those who recognized the danger - and it's quite possible Clarke was one - trying to get the attention of an apathetic public must have been terribly frustrating; when you try - and fail - to get the attention of people who have the power to make a difference, the frustration can only increase.

So if it turns out that elements in the White House underestimated the threat posed by al Qaida, I think that will demonstrate more than anything the dangers of a lackadaisical approach to terrorism. The issue, then, is not how we all low-balled the threat before, but how we are prepared to deal with the threat now. Clarke has made clear his disagreement with Bush over how to prosecute this war, but once his allegations of pre-9/11 error are addressed he becomes yet another nay-sayer, unconvinced by or unwilling to recognize the value of the campaign to democratize the Arab-Muslim world in order to address the real 'root-causes' of Islamist terror.

Posted by David Mader at 12:56 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 21, 2004

Hold On to Your Hats

It's about to get bumpy.

UPDATE (23:39 EST): Check out this story from earlier today quoting Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz announcing a 'war on Hamas.' Via Winds of Change.

Posted by David Mader at 11:37 PM | (0) | Back to Main

IDF: 1, Yassin: 0

Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him!

The Israelis have reportedly killed Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas.

If so, this is a great victory in the War on Terror. Yassin was the "spiritual" leader of one of the nastiest terrorist groups in the world. He had been held in jail for several years, but was released under the Oslo Accords - another great moment in international diplomacy.

He will not be missed.

Posted by David Mader at 11:30 PM | (2) | Back to Main

What Took Him So Long?

Richard Clarke, who retired as a White House counter-terrorism official last year, is publishing a book accusing President Bush and his administration of ignoring the threat of al Qaida in the months prior to September 11, 2001. Clarke also suggests that the invasion of Iraq has exacerbated terrorist activity across the globe.

Clarke's accusations are serious, and supporters of the President and the war should carefully evaluate them. It's absolutely true that elements in the US government missed warning signs and mishandled responsibilities prior to September 11, and these failures have yet to be satisfactorally addressed.

Still, there are hints that Clarke is motivated as much by politics as by principle. The story linked above suggests a degree of professional animosity towards National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice who "effectively demoted [Clarke] within the national security council."

What I can't figure out, however, is this: Clarke is said to have retired from a thirty-year career in counter-terrorism. He suggests that he asked for a meeting with senior officials to discuss the "imminent al Qaida threat" immediately after Bush took office. Did Clarke not have the same concerns prior to January, 2001? If he did, why was he not able to move the previous administration to action on the issue? Clintonian inaction would not excuse inaction by the Bush White House, of course, but the logical discrepancy in Clarke's story certainly raises the possibility of a political motivation - not to mention after-the-fact auto-hagiography.

MORE (3/22/04 00:57 EST): Chris Green casts further doubts on Clarke's record.

Posted by David Mader at 10:35 PM | (2) | Back to Main

The Drawbacks of Law Enforcment

The AP has an interesting piece on the difficulties of prosecuting the war on terror in the courtrooms of democratic nations. The story seems to hint that the failures of the law-enforcement approach denote failures for the war on terror itself. This isn't entirely untrue; law enforcement remains a very important component of the anti-terrorist effort, and difficulties will have to be overcome. Still, the difficulties also indicate the problems involved in applying domestic law to what is, in the end, a war beyond domestic legal structures.

Posted by David Mader at 10:17 PM | (0) | Back to Main


Daniel Drezner has a great article on outsourcing in the latest Foreign Affairs. Some excerpts are included below.

The reaction to Gregory Mankiw's remarks on outsourcing has reminded me to a degree of the reaction to DARPA's Policy Analysis Market (see here, here and here) last July. When the Republican Speaker of the House says things like "we cannot have a healthy economy unless we have more jobs here in America," it betrays such a basic lack of economic understanding that you can't help but wonder why we trust these folks to govern us at all.

It's all politics, of course, and there's a reason economists don't run the country. Still, I continue to advocate insterting basic micro-economics into the elementary school curriculum, so that disagreement and discussion will at least be based on some sort of common knowledge, as opposed to a scare-mongering that should leave all politicians ashamed.

From the Drezner piece:

On manufacturing:

There is no denying that the number of manufacturing jobs has fallen dramatically in recent years, but this has very little do with outsourcing and almost everything to do with technological innovation. As with agriculture a century ago, productivity gains have outstripped demand, so fewer and fewer workers are needed for manufacturing. If outsourcing were in fact the chief cause of manufacturing losses, one would expect corresponding increases in manufacturing employment in developing countries. An Alliance Capital Management study of global manufacturing trends from 1995 to 2002, however, shows that this was not the case: the United States saw an 11 percent decrease in manufacturing employment over the course of those seven years; meanwhile, China saw a 15 percent decrease and Brazil a 20 percent decrease. Globally, the figure for manufacturing jobs lost was identical to the U.S. figure -- 11 percent.

On comparative advantage:

The current trend of outsourcing business processes overseas is comparative advantage at work.

On noneconomic benefits:

Outsourcing also has considerable noneconomic benefits. It is clearly in the interest of the United States to reward other countries for reducing their barriers to trade and investment. Some of the countries where U.S. firms have set up outsourcing operations -- including India, Poland, and the Philippines -- are vital allies in the war on terrorism. Just as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) helped Mexico deepen its democratic transition and strengthen its rule of law, the United States gains considerably from the political reorientation spurred by economic growth and interdependence.

On white-collar outsourcing:

Technological innovation has converted what were thought to be nontradeable sectors into tradeable ones. Manufacturing workers have long been subject to the rigors of global competition. White-collar service-sector workers are being introduced to these pressures for the first time -- and they are not happy about it. As Raghuram Rajan and Luigi Zingales point out in Saving Capitalism From the Capitalists, globalization and technological innovation affect professions such as law and medicine that have not changed all that much for centuries. Their political reaction to the threat of foreign competition will be fierce.

On legislative responses to outsourcing:

As Robert McTeer, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said when asked about policy responses to outsourcing, "If we are lucky, we can get through the year without doing something really, really stupid."

You haven't read this far, because if you were this interested you'd have already gone to read the whole piece.

Posted by David Mader at 10:01 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Not Anti-War

Just on the other side.

Posted by David Mader at 09:14 PM | (2) | Back to Main

How Do You Say Reichstag in Chinese?

Following a mysterious assassination attempt late last week, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian was reelected over the weekend in a contest that has been hotly contested by the opposition. Now, with thousands demanding a recount and violence flaring as opposition supporters attack police positions, China has put its army on combat alert, threatening to declare a state of emergency and to invade the island to restore order.

I don't want to venture too far into tinfoil-hat territory here, and while I don't know much about Taiwanese or Chinese politics it seems to me the prospect of collusion between Beijing and the Taiwanese opposition - a certain Kuomintang - is close to nil.

Still, this is precisely the sort of below-the-radar crisis a government like Beijing's could well exploit to achieve its longstanding goal of reunifying China. With the US military deployed around the globe, a quick invasion could allow Beijing to present Washington with a fait accompli which would be very difficult to reverse.

Yet another spot to keep an eye on, I think.

Posted by David Mader at 09:12 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Still Saying Yes to Liberty

I haven't spoken to Dan, but I hear via my usual channels that the rally for liberty went well yesterday. Hopefully we'll get a report - and might we even see pictures? - in good time.

UPDATE (22:04 EST): Kelvin at Blue Revolution has some pictures. What a miserable day; and I hate to say it, but there seem to have been as many cops as counter-protesters. Still, it only takes a pebble, and kudos to all who ventured out to give voice to those who support America and its allies in this war.

Posted by David Mader at 08:57 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Sorry Indeed.

Laurent at Polyscopique notes the extremely disturbing story of a Palestinian terrorist group apologizing for murdering an Arab mistaken for a Jew:

"The fighters thought he was a settler jogging in an area full of settlers. It was a mistake and we extend our apology to his family," a leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed group in President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, told Reuters.

Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

As Laurent says, this would seem to undermine the notion that Palestinian terrorists seek only the end of Israeli 'occupation.' The transparent and unapolagetic racism inherent in the statement above only underlines the brutality that motivates these terrorist groups. Is it too much to ask that this racist reality be recognized in the popular press?

Posted by David Mader at 08:25 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Moderates Defeat Islamists in Malaysia Poll

A moderate or 'secular' coalition led by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has scored a resounding victory over the opposition Islamist party in Malaysia. I don't know much of anything about Malaysian politics, but this certainly sounds like a Good Thing.

Most encouraging, perhaps, is the news that Badawi's party polled well not only with the country's 40% non-Muslim population but with Muslims in the country's 'Green belt' of Islamic concentration.

Posted by David Mader at 11:45 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 20, 2004

Harper Wins Conservative Leadership

Stephen Harper has won the race for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. Harper cleaned up out west, did extremely well in Ontario and was very competitive in Quebec. Here's hoping he can fire up the newly reunited party and take the fight to the Liberals starting... now.

Posted by David Mader at 07:26 PM | (3) | Back to Main

One Year Later

Mark Steyn evaluates some predictions about Iraq.

Posted by David Mader at 07:22 PM | (0) | Back to Main

March 19, 2004

Rally for Freedom Tomorrow

This is Dan's thing rather than mine, but I want to remind everyone of the World Still Says Yes to Liberty rally tomorrow in Nathan Phillips Square beginning at 12:00. Thanks so much to those bloggers who have already helped to spread the word; I hope everyone else passes the message along, and that those in the GTA will go and show their support for freedom.

Posted by David Mader at 02:41 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Senate Reform

The Conservative Party of Canada has made senate reform a top policy priority, and polls suggest that the idea has broad support across the country. Reform is generally taken to mean some combination of equality of provincial representation and election of senators. (An 'effective' senate rounds out the 'Triple-E' catchphrase).

I'm all for senate reform, but I've been thinking about it a bit and I have a question for Maderblog readers: can anyone point to a jurisdiction which has a bicameral elected legislature but which does not independently elect its executive (or the official who exercises executive power)? Britain may soon become such a jurisdiction, but it is not quite yet and has not been historically. No more than one or two States (of the US), I believe, are unicameral, and all States elect their executives. I'd look first to the Commonwealth: Australia may fit the bill, and I'm not sure about New Zealand. But there are quite a few democracies with bicameral legislatures, and I imagine there are some provincial or lesser jurisdictions with this type of arrangement.

Again, I'm looking for jurisdictions in which two legislative houses are elected but the officer exercising executive powers is not elected directly and separately from legislative elections.

You can drop your suggestions in the comments or e-mail mader-at-maderblog-dot-com.

Posted by David Mader at 02:35 PM | (5) | Back to Main

de Villepin's 'Peace'

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin says that the war in Iraq has created a "more dangerous and unstable world," according to an Associated Press report.

Apparently the French Foreign Minister believes peace and stablity are best ensured by intimidating nascent democracies with military shows of force.

Glenn Reynlods often quips that far too many 'anti-war' activists aren't so much 'anti-war' as simply on the other side. De Villepin's views on Iraq are hardly unusual, and ultimately come down to a disagreement over whether the world was dangerous before the Iraq campaign. When his government engages in activities widely recognized to be part of a campaign to bully Taiwan to reintegrate into a totalitarian society, though, it's hard to argue that the French foreign minister - or his government - are on the side of freedom and democracy.

Posted by David Mader at 02:13 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Shoulda Thought That One Through

China is banning a Norwegian computer game because it "blackens the country's image":

The State Press and Publication Administration said the game, "Project IGI2: Covert Strike," violates Chinese regulations prohibiting games that hurt China's national dignity and interests, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

And banning games and other entertainments just does wonders for the reputation, eh comrade? Honestly, if they're so sensitive about dignity they might want to stop spending so much time censoring computer games.

Posted by David Mader at 02:01 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Taiwan President, VP Shot

Taiwan's president and vice-president have been shot (not critically) while campaigning for re-election in a vote to be held this weekend. No arrests have been made and the motive for the shooting is unclear, though China is strongly (and I mean strongly) opposed to both the vote and the prospect of an incumbent victory.

Posted by David Mader at 10:00 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Can't Get No Rest

John Kerry is taking a vacation at his wife's estate in Idaho in order to revitalize for the coming presidential campaign, but he can't seem to escape his own mis-steps:

He had just sat down for a bite to eat on the crowded patio near the lift line when a waiting skier, John Norris, shouted: "Hey, John! What foreign leaders talked to you?"

Mr. Kerry beat a retreat back into the lodge, to an upstairs, out-of-the-way dining area where he would be sure to draw even less attention.

Heh. But I think it's this episode which will be getting the most press:

His next trip down, a reporter and a camera crew were allowed to follow along on skis — just in time to see Mr. Kerry taken out by one of the Secret Service men, who had inadvertently moved into his path, sending him into the snow.

When asked about the mishap a moment later, he said sharply, "I don't fall down," then used an expletive to describe the agent who "knocked me over."

Expletives, haughtiness - that'll play well, Senator.

Posted by David Mader at 09:52 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 18, 2004

Qaida #2 Cornered?

That's the rumour getting air on CNN:

The Pakistani military was preparing to launch a heavy air assault after sunrise Friday on al Qaeda troops believed to be protecting a "high-value" leader near the Afghanistan border, Pakistani sources told CNN.

Intelligence indicated the surrounded figure is Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, two Pakistani government sources told CNN.

More than 200 well-trained and well-equipped al Qaeda fighters are trying to prevent al-Zawahiri's capture, an official in the intelligence services and another in the interior department said.

Dan Darling has the inside goods. Keep your eye on this one.

Posted by David Mader at 07:05 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Free Burma Event at McGill

The McGill chapter of the Free Burma Coalition is hosting two speakers this evening who will discuss the situation in Burma, where a military junta continues to erode human rights and democracy. The event is at 6PM in room 204 of the McConnell Engineering Building. I'm not sure I'll be able to make it, but if someone does, feel free to send in a report. It's a good cause.

Posted by David Mader at 03:28 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Threat Closes French Rail Line

French police discovered a suspicious package along a rail-line after receiving a telephoned threat earlier today. It's not clear whether the threat came from the same group which has planted a number of bombs along rail-lines in France over the past month.

Posted by David Mader at 11:59 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Get Stufft. Sorry, 'Stuffed'.

And I though I was pedantic.

The unfortunate truth is that if you mispronounce certain words, people will assume not that you have a unique dialect but that you don't know what the word is or means. I say unfortunate because I believe in an organic language, and I've studied enough middle-English (it doesn't take much) that I see the idea of an orderly language as completely absurd.

And while saying 'nucular' might get you laughed out of some Parisian salon, saying 'miniature' is going to sound stupid pretty much anywhere outside of England. I don't think there's anywhere you wouldn't sound stupid saying 'parliament.' I'm hardly one to talk, but it just sounds ostentatious.

[Via the Volokh Conspiracy]

Posted by David Mader at 11:55 AM | (2) | Back to Main

Friends Like This

David Frum on Zapatero:

Fighting terrorism with bombs, with Tomahawk missiles, isn't the way to beat terrorism, but the way to generate more radicalism.” Well of course there’s nobody, least of all in the Bush administration, who thinks that bombs and Tomahawks alone are right way to fight terrorism.... [But] the Europeans did not object very much over the dozen years that the US was bombing Iraq and periodically Tomahawking terrorist training camps Afghanistan. It was not the use of violence that frightens them, but the talk of democracy.

Ouch. Frum also looks more closely at Zapatero's explicit endorsement of John Kerry, repeated after Sunday's election. As I mentioned before, this has got to be way out of bounds by more or less anyone's standards. What kind of treatment does Zapatero expect from a second Bush administration? The President knows well how to isolate an antagonistic 'friend', as Canadians know well.

Or is that the point? Is Zapatero so convinced of American error that he's willing to wreck Spanish-American relations in order to advance his career as champion of European anto-Americanism?

Posted by David Mader at 09:42 AM | (1) | Back to Main

Gaza Sliding into Chaos?

Many observers have predicted that the factionalism within the Palestinian territories would result in an eventual descent into warlordism and chaos; indeed, many Palestinian advocates have accused Israel of isolating Arafat in order to achieve just this result. Whatever the background politics, it appears to be taking place:

Gunmen from the Islamic Resistance Movement clashed with Palestinian security forces early Wednesday in central Gaza City, leaving one bystander dead and 17 injured and underscoring the deteriorating relations between radical groups and the Palestinian Authority.

The firefight erupted during morning rush hour when a carload of Palestinians belonging to the Islamic Resistance Movement, known as Hamas, pulled up to a police checkpoint outside the Saraya prison and police compound and were ordered to stop and allow a search of their vehicle, according to a statement by the Palestinian Authority's Preventative Security service.

The occupants of the car responded by throwing grenades at uniformed officers manning the checkpoint and opening fire with automatic weapons, the statement said.

The incident illustrated the tense and unstable security situation in the Gaza Strip, where the popularity of such groups as Hamas and Islamic Jihad has increased so much during the 41-month-long Palestinian uprising against Israel that they are challenging the governing Palestinian Authority for control of the streets.

This sort of thing will get more common, I think.

Posted by David Mader at 12:31 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 17, 2004

A Time to Choose

A group which has admitted responsibility for the 3/11 attacks now says it has declared a truce with Spain "to give the new government time to withdraw troops from Iraq." Intelligence sources are casting doubt on the legitimacy of the group, suggesting they may simply be taking credit for the work of others. Still, if legitimate it would seem to put the debate over the consequences of 3/11 in pretty sharp relief. The new Spanish government has a choice 'granted' them by these terrorists: to do their will, and so hope escape further attack, or to remain committed to freedom in Iraq, and so reject the terrorists' attempt to dictate Spanish policy. Unfortunately, I think we can all guess what the new government will decide to do. Will it make Spain safe? On the contrary.

Czechoslovakia. Just give them Czechoslovakia, and we'll all be safe.

Posted by David Mader at 09:53 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Child Sacrifice

The Jerusalem Post has a must-read editorial on the shocking story of an eleven-year-old Palestinian boy who was stopped at an Israeli check-point and found to be carrying a bomb in his school-bag.

Abdullah wasn't merely a courier. He was, unknowingly, a guided missile. A cellphone connected to the 10-kilo bomb he lugged was primed to detonate the bomb by remote control, if his dispatcher considered it expedient.

The boy told the border policewoman whose suspicions he aroused that someone promised him "lots of money" if he took the heavy backpack through the IDF checkpoint outside of Nablus. Had the precocious smuggler succeeded, the contraband would have been set off in an Israeli bus or similar crowded civilian target.

However, the plan called for detonating the charge on the boy, if he were stopped. Indeed, as sappers handled his bag's contents, someone dialed the cellphone trigger. A technical failure prevented the death of the child and many of those around.

The Post also laments the lack of world-media coverage: "One might think the story of this child would evoke a modicum of human interest from a world that claims to care about Palestinian children. Is no one interested when Palestinian children are systematically indoctrinated by official media into a cult of suicide and murder, and if that doesn't work, they are employed as unknowing cannon fodder?"

I'm proud to be involved in an organization, McGill Operation SICK, which has started to highlight the incitement of children to violence in the Palestinian territories and around the world. Our OpSICK chapter believes that no ideology can justify this sort of terrible manipulation of society's most vulnerable members.

Unfortunately, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, an activist group in Montreal which was involved in the Netanyahu riots at Concordia University, are trying to get OpSICK thrown off the McGill campus. SPHR has accused OpSICK of having a racist ideology and is campaigning to deny it full club status under the auspices of the Students' Society.

As the Jerusalem Post notes, this is an issue that should be beyond dispute and contention. The use of children in the perpetration of violent acts, especially acts of terrorism, should be universally condemned. Unfortunately, it seems that there are still many people who believe that inciting children to acts of violence and murder is in their best interests.

[If you're interested in helping McGill OpSICK overcome its challenges and spreading the word about child incitement and child soldiering, send them an e-mail at opsick@hotmail.com.]

Posted by David Mader at 05:08 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Is Zapatero Kerry's 'Foreign Leader'?

Much has been made of John Kerry's claim that "I've met foreign leaders who can't go out and say it all publicly, but boy they look at you and say, you gotta win this, you gotta beat this guy, we need a new policy, things like that." Kerry has since refused to identify those leaders, even telling one man who confronted him that it was "none of your business.

The White House has challenged Kerry to put up or shut up; Kerry's camp has retorted that the Senator was not necessarily talking about heads of state or government but rather generic 'leaders' elsewhere in the world.

Kerry's obviously trying to have it both ways, but I wonder if he isn't telling a degree of truth. The thought struck me after reading this story which I discuss in the post below. It contains this passage:

Zapatero had signaled his dislike of President Bush's policies during the Spanish election campaign when he said he hoped Democratic challenger John Kerry would win in November.

The International Herald Tribune recently quoted Zapatero as saying, "We're aligning ourselves with Kerry. Our allegiance will be for peace, against war, no more deaths for oil, and for a dialogue between the government of Spain and the new Kerry administration."

It's not unusual for similarly-oriented political parties in different countries to talk about policy and politics; the Democrats and the British Labour Party do it all the time. But if Kerry had indeed been talking to Zapatero, if Zapatero had given Kerry his support, and if Kerry had turned around and announced that support in public - without naming names - that could have some pretty significant political consequences. For one, it would mean that Kerry has aligned the Democratic Party with Spain's Socialists. For another it would mean that Kerry had, prior to the Spanish general election, implicitly endorsed the opponent of the party controlling one of America's allies, which must be some sort of political no-no. (Remeber when the Canadian Ambassador to Washington effectively endorsed Gore in 2000?)

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, it would make the connection between Zapatero and Kerry - which now appears a one-way street from Spain - into a mutual and hard reality. It's not clear how the American public has reacted to the Spanish election, but there is, at the very least, a strong current of disappointment and the reaction by the Spanish electorate to last week's terrorist attacks. An association between Kerry and Zapatero could be an important, if not major, political liability.

Instead of asking Kerry to name names, some astute reporter should start listing names and demand that Kerry affirm or deny. That reporter should start with Zapatero.

Posted by David Mader at 02:07 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Zapatero Preaches Civil Response to Terror

Spain's incoming Prime Minister says that law enforcement, not military force, is the appropriate response to terrorism:

In the hourlong interview Wednesday on Onda Cero radio, Zapatero said that "fighting terrorism with bombs ... with Tomahawk missiles, isn't the way to defeat terrorism. ...

"Terrorism is combatted by the state of law. ... That's what I think Europe and the international community have to debate," he said.

Zapatero has blamed the Iraqi campaign for the deaths in Madrid last week. Perhaps he will explain how his law enforcement approach, which allowed a number of the Madrid murderers to walk free despite serious concerns over their terrorist-linked activities, will work better in the future.

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

Baghdad Bomb Levels Hotel

A suspected car bomb has destroyed a Baghdad hotel, killing several inlcluding foreigners. Residents suggest the explosion was caused by a rocket of some sort, but military personnel say the scope of the destruction points to a land-based device.

Posted by David Mader at 01:46 PM | (0) | Back to Main

March Madness

Hugh Hewitt has developed an ingenious system for picking winners in the NCAA's basketball tournament. Have a look.

Posted by David Mader at 10:37 AM | (3) | Back to Main

The World STILL Says YES to Liberty -- Rally March 20th

On March 20th, Toronto "anti-war" activists are planning a protest to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the commencement of operations to liberate the people of Iraq. Sadly, groups such as this often receive media coverage far exagerating their public suppport, partly because of the passivity of supporters of liberty.

With this in mind, the Campus Coalition for Liberty is proud to host "The World STILL Says YES to Liberty" rally in support of last year's liberation of the Iraqi people and in support of coalition troops who are fighting hard to maintain this freedom in the face of insurgent attacks.

The purpose of this event is to illustrate to the public that there are people who see beyond anti-war rhetoric and support the positive results that Coalition involvement in the Middle East has yielded.

Our rally/counter-protest will be held at Nathan Phillips Square on Queen St. W. in downtown Toronto on Saturday March 20th. We ask that those interested in joining us assemble at this location between 12:00pm and 12:30pm. The "anti-war" protest is scheduled to commence at 1:00pm, so we would like to get there prior to their march. We may proceed from the Square to the US Consulate depending on our turnout and how events transpire.

Posted by David Mader at 08:47 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Something's Going On

There are reports coming out of Iran of some sort of uprising or civil disturbance, first in the North and now in Tehran. Other blogs have linked to rumours; all of the stories I've seen have come from the wonderful folks at ActivistChat/Free-Iran and while they are - as I say - wonderful, real champions of liberty, I haven't seen other reports so I've held off saying anything. Still, it's worthwhile mentioning, not least because there are also rumours of an uprising in north-east Syria. Those reports are also sketchy, though slightly less so.

So I guess this is the lamest blog-post ever, in which I'm saying that something's probably going on but I don't know what it is. So there you have it.

Posted by David Mader at 12:08 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 16, 2004

John Kerry, call your office...

Have you ever been caught in a lie while running for President of the United States? If you want to make a current president jealous, look better in front of your political buddies who have real foreign relations experience, or if you are just a liar who got called out on your bogus campaign lies, this is the auction for you!!! I’ll pretend that I am the leader of a foreign nation that supports your candidacy for President of the United States until the elections in November.

You can get anything on E-Bay these days. Absolutely hilarious.

Posted by David Mader at 01:54 PM | (1) | Back to Main

The Next Stage?

Daniel Drezner suggests that while Madrid-style attacks, which may soon be repeated in France, may have the backing and basic organization of al Qaida, they are likely implemented by other groups; he cites the non-symbolic nature of the 3/11 attacks.

I think this is a mistake. First, as I noted earlier, Qaida has had to change significantly in the months since September 11, and can now be best seen as a loose network of small radical cells and nationally-based groups. Also, while symbolism plays well at home, we may be seeing the start of a campaign to affect attitudes abroad. That is to say, the September 11 attacks demonstrated to an Islamist constituency the weakness of the United States, but the 3/11 attacks seem to have been designed to demonstrate the strength of al Qaida to a European audience. If that's the case, 'non-symbolic' attacks targetting people rather than notable buildings may become much more common in the coming months and years.

Posted by David Mader at 01:31 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Is France Next?

French authorities are investigating a threat against French interests worldwide, apparently issued by a radical Islamist group and received by the Parisien newspaper.

In the past months France has received a number of threats from such groups, and the discovery of explosive devices along rail-lines has rendered them credible.

Posted by David Mader at 01:30 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Got One

A random altercation at a checkpoint in Saudi Arabia has resulted in the death of a major al Qaida personality - perhaps the most important character in the Arabian theatre.

Saudi security forces killed two militants, including one considered al-Qaida's chief of operations on the Arabian Peninsula, in a shootout in the capital of Riyadh on Monday, U.S. and Saudi officials said...

Abu Hazim al-Sha'ir, a Yemeni believed to be about 30, was the senior al-Qaida figure in the region, a U.S. counterterrorism official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The official said his death represented a "major, very significant blow" to al-Qaida. "This guy was involved in ongoing terrorist planning and plotting," the official added...

The suspects were riding in a vehicle and refused to stop for a spot identification check by members of the security forces. The suspects began shooting at the security forces, who returned fire, killing the two, the statement said.

And the war goes on.

Posted by David Mader at 12:52 AM | (0) | Back to Main

They Meant It

Andrew Sullivan catches this interesting development from CNN:

CNN also has obtained a document posted on an Internet message board analysts believe is used by al Qaeda and its sympathizers that spells out the terrorist group's plan to separate Spain from the U.S.-led coalition on Iraq.

The strategy spelled out in the document, posted last December on the Internet, calls for the use of terrorism to drive Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party from power and replace it with the Socialists.

That was expected to drive a wedge between Washington and Madrid and result in the withdrawal of Spanish military forces from Iraq.

"We think the Spanish government will not stand more than two blows, or three at the most, before it will be forced to withdraw because of the public pressure on it," the document says.

"If its forces remain after these blows, the victory of the Socialist Party will be almost guaranteed -- and the withdrawal of Spanish forces will be on its campaign manifesto."

I guess that settles that.

Posted by David Mader at 12:07 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 15, 2004

The Recruiters

Canadian viewers are strongly urged to tune in to CBC's National broadcast tonight at 11:30 for the documentary the Recruiters. Terence McKenna tracks the al Qaida network across Europe, focusing on the role of 'religious leaders' in various European cities, deciphering the chatter that preceded September 11 and illustrating the link to last week's attacks in Madrid. For all, and especially for those who continue to reject the notion of an al Qaida campaign to destroy the free west, this is a must-see.

SPEAKING OF WHICH (23:41 EST): The DoJ has excerpts from an al Qaida 'training manual' here.

Posted by David Mader at 10:56 PM | (2) | Back to Main


This morning, Randy Barnett noted that "Jews are the canary in the coal mine of civilization." In Toronto tonight, the birds are chirping:

York Regional Police are anxious to find out who spray painted a series of swastikas on the homes of Jewish residents in Thornhill Monday.

The offending symbols were discovered on 13 cars and garages around Beverly Glen Blvd., in the Bathurst and Centre St. area. Residents who live there are both saddened and disappointed such a senseless desecration has reared its poisonous head again.

A friend's house was among those defaced, and she tells me that individual cars were also vandalized. Thankfully, Toronto's finest are striking the right note: “It's anti-Semitic. It's racism, and it won't be tolerated," vows Detective Sgt. Tony Brown. "So whether it's a joke or whether it's serious, we will treat it seriously.” Good. We can't treat this kind of thing like some harmless aberration.

Posted by David Mader at 10:11 PM | (0) | Back to Main

You Don't Say

Associated Press: "al-Qaida Recruiting Made Web of Militants"

No kidding.

Actually, the article is well worth a read, as it explains how Qaida has mutated - under intense US and coalition pressure - from a coherent organization to a loose network of smaller groups and cells united by ideology and method.

Posted by David Mader at 07:19 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Move Along; No War Here To See

I've been away from the compu most of the afternoon, so I've only just opened my e-mail to receive a pointer to this story: Huge Car Bomb Found Near U.S. Consulate in Pakistan:

Police in Pakistan defused a huge car bomb found outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi on Monday, two days before Secretary of State Colin Powell visits the country...

Police in the volatile port city said a van packed with explosives was towed away from the consulate to a sports ground where investigators defused it.

"If this exploded it would have caused massive destruction," Munir Ahmed Sheikh, a sub-inspector at the city's bomb squad, told Reuters. "God has saved us."[...]

A 750-liter drum containing a mixture of chemicals, including ammonium nitrate, was found in the van, police said.

Detonators were also found but apparently they had not been connected to the drum of chemicals, police said.

I think the word you're looking for is 'yikes.' It may be something else, but I can't publish that here. This war goes on, folks, whatever the Spanish electorate might hope. We can't forget that - and al Qaida isn't going to let us.

[Thanks to Dave K. for the heads up.]

Posted by David Mader at 07:15 PM | (0) | Back to Main

What Cause, What Effect?

Jacob Levy of the Volokh Conspiracy rejects the suggestion that the 3/11 attacks "toppled the Spanish government."

If the Socialists were not appeasers before M-11-- if a victory on their part wouldn't have been a victory for terrorism-- then the intervening act of terrorism doesn't change that.

I'd like to agree, but I think he misses a crucial point which Dan Darling highlights:

without the Madrid bombings the Popular Party would almost unquestionably have been re-elected today. Those bombings, regardless of whether or not the government was correct to respond in the manner that it did, caused a change of events to be set into motion that resulted in Socialist victory that would have been all be unthinkable last Wednesday.

It's possible that the Socialists would have won anyway, but polling strongly suggested otherwise. It's not important, therefore, that Spanish voters ended up choosing a party that may well be more isolationist and appeasing; the important point is that Spanish voters changed their behaviour in response to a terrorist attack.

Now any terrorist attack will necessarily change voter behavior, though it's an effect that's impossible to measure since we can't know how they otherwise would have voted. But the effect of an attack so soon before an election that seemed so certain in terms of outcome does suggest that al Qaida now has - or, perhaps more importantly, thinks it has - a tool with which to alter the results of a democratic election.

So I take Levy's point about equating opposition to the Iraq war and opposition to the war on terror - in fact I've made the same point myself. At the same time, I think he misses the point about the power al Qaida now has, or will presume itself to have, over democratic elections - and therefore the policies of democratic nations.

Posted by David Mader at 02:27 PM | (0) | Back to Main

The Emerging Conservative Majority

A little more evidence.

[Via Instapundit]

Posted by David Mader at 01:41 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Means and Ends

I can't bring myself to get worked up about this story which reports that an overwhelming majority of Canadians believe "Bush lied" in order to go to war, and that a similar majority believe Canada was right to stay out of the war. It is noteworthy that 90-odd percent believe the world is better off without Hussein, showing once again that Canada is happy to enjoy a paid dinner as long as she can hit the bathroom when the check comes.

I did, however, notice this:

These results show Canadians are pleased with the regime change in Baghdad, but "they believe the means did not justify the end," said John Wright, senior vice-president of Ipsos-Reid.

Um, no, Mr. Wright. Let's work through this. War was the means by which regime change was affected. The ouster of Saddam was the end of the war policy. Canadians overwhelmingly support the end. They overwhelmingly oppose the means. They believe - or appear to believe - that the end did not justify the means.

Yea, I'm being pedantic. It's one of those days.

Posted by David Mader at 12:36 PM | (4) | Back to Main

March 14, 2004

So Much for Logic

The conventional wisdom on the Spanish election seems to be doing a number on anti-war arguments. Below I note that "one cannot link Iraq to Madrid without admitting the reality of a global terrorist threat" - which the anti-war left has so ardently denied.

Eric Olson makes the point more explicitly: "I thought al Qaeda and Iraq had nothing to do with each other. I thought Iraq had nothing to do with the War on Terror."

And Eugene Volokh suggests that the election result may offer the strongest argument against Kerry-style multilateralism: "Doesn't it show that we can't allow our foreign policy to be vetoed by other nations? After all, if we agree that we may not do what we think is right and necessary for our national security if any one of England, France, Russia, or China says "veto," then our enemies can paralyze us simply by influencing one foreign country." Indeed.

Posted by David Mader at 09:25 PM | (0) | Back to Main

It Should be Noted...

As the right-of-center blogosphere reacts strongly and negatively to the election in Spain, it's important to remember two things. First, the incoming Socialist Prime Minister has pledged to " beat all forms of terrorism," despite his party's policy of removal from Iraq without greater UN involvement. It's quite possible that the 3/11 attacks have shifted the calculus in Spain, and that voters in general and lawmakers in particular, as individuals, will be more dedicated to the war on terror than party platforms suggest.

Second, we should remember that millions of Spaniards poured into the streets late last week to protest quite explicitly against terrorism, regardless of its perpetrators. Anger at the incumbent party, and even opposition to the Iraq war, does not immediately translate into capitulation, as even I suggest below. The real consequences of this election have yet to be seen.

I think the next forty-eight hours will be massively important for Spain and the world. Incoming Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero could strike a blow against terror in general, and al Qaida in particular, by declaring his personal and political dedication to the eradication of the terrorist network around the globe. I would also certainly welcome an explicit distancing of the new governing party from the Spanish voice which blames Aznar and the PP for the Madrid attacks. I have a feeling that a plurality, and even a majority, of Spaniards hold the al Qaida murderers responsible for the Madrid bombings. I hope that feeling finds a voice in the new government - for all our sakes.

Posted by David Mader at 06:43 PM | (4) | Back to Main

Spain pays the Danegeld

IT IS always a temptation to an armed and agile nation, To call upon a neighbour and to say:— “We invaded you last night—we are quite prepared to fight, Unless you pay us cash to go away.” And that is called asking for Dane-geld, And the people who ask it explain That you’ve only to pay ’em the Dane-geld And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation to a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say:—
“Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray,
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to says:—

“We never pay any one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost,
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that plays it is lost!”

-Rudyard Kipling

The Spanish people today voted to pay the Danegeld. They do not want to fight against the terrorists, but instead are happy to comply with their demands. They will now run away from Iraq. And then? When they have done their best to appease the murderers? Will they then be safe?

Of course not. The enemy is not out to secure small concessions. Their goal is the destruction of Western civilization. They are not opposed to the war to liberate Iraq. They are opposed to freedom, to democracy, to rights for women, gays and other minorities.

On this, I turn back to Kipling's poem, one that Thatcher used to quote. You can't say it better than this:

But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.

Posted by David Mader at 06:40 PM | (0) | Back to Main

"They Are All Infidels"

Mark Steyn reminds us that no capitulation or surrender can end the campaign being waged against the non-Islamist world, for the simple reason that it's a campaign to the death, and nothing less than our death with suffice.

Posted by David Mader at 06:24 PM | (3) | Back to Main

The New Isolationism

The rapidly developing conventional wisdom on the Spanish elections is that voters punished the governing Popular Party for 'playing politics' with the investigation into the Madrid bombings. The suggestion is that by so quickly focusing on ETA, the conservative incumbents hoped to avoid the suggestion that pro-American policies had brought about the terrorist attacks. By pushing this 'domestic' interpretation, therefore, the PP was seen to play politics with a national tragedy. (See here, here and here).

But while such manipulation may have taken place - and I argue below that it's an unfair interpretation of the government's reaction - it's simply disingenuous to suggest that the counter-argument is any less political. What's the consequence of the left's argument that involvement in the Iraqi campaign brought about the bombings? We can expect the consequence to be a withrdawal from the 'coalition of the willing'. But will such a withdrawal end terrorism? Of course not. The purpose is not to defeat - and so end - terrorism. The purpose of capitulation and appeasement is - and has ever been - to end attacks on the country in question. Terror will continue but, the proponents of this argument suggest, Spain will be safe.

In the years following the Great War, many European countries returned their currencies to the gold standard at lower-than-market values, allowing cheap exports which undercut neighboring country economies. This is known in economic history as the 'beggar-thy-neighbor' policy. We're now seeing a 'terror-thy-neighbor' policy. Global terrorism continues; indeed, one cannot link Iraq to Madrid without admitting the reality of a global terrorist threat. The only and unavoidable purpose of a capitulation on security must be to shift that threat to other nations in order to save one's own. Since September 11, 2001, that has not been America's policy. That has not been Britain's policy. But as of today, March 14, 2004, it is Spain's policy. Spain would see any other country sacrificed to the butchers of Madrid so that the streets of Madrid can once again be quiet.

Tell me again about unilateralism, and I'll tell you about isolationism and the fall of the free west.

Posted by David Mader at 06:22 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Islamofascists leading in Spain...

With 56% of the votes counted, Spain's conservative government appears headed for defeat.

If this holds, it will be a massive victory for the Islamofascists.

It will also mean that we are all a little more likely to die in a terrorist attack. If they do succeed in influencing the vote in Spain, then we have to believe that the terrorists will try to duplicate their success elsewhere.

Its a sad, sad day for the free world.

UPDATE (17:17 Eastern): The terrorists won. We're all a little less safe today.

MORE (18:23 Eastern): Damian Penny says that he feels sick. Me too.

If the Spanish people have ousted their government because of a major terrorist attack, I really fear we'll see an attack on the scale of 9/11 in the United States before the Presidential election. If the people of the West are going to blame their leaders for terror instead of the people actually committing the attacks, why wouldn't Al-Qaida try it again?

Posted by David Mader at 04:17 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Fog of Polls in Spain

Polls have closed in the Spanish general election, and there are conflicting exit-poll stories spreading on the wire. The AP has the opposition socialists winning a plurality and suggesting that Spanish voters are punishing the incumbent conservative party for its stance on Iraq which many blame for last week's terror attacks. Reuters, meanwhile, says exit polls are a mixed bag, and that in any case the numbers are extraordinarily tight:

Telecinco television's exit poll showed the PP winning 40.6 percent of the vote to 38.3 percent for the Socialists. This would mean the PP taking 169 seats, short of the 176 needed for an absolute majority.

State television had the Socialists winning 41.4 percent of the vote and the PP 36 percent. Private radio Cadena Ser's poll gave the Socialists 40.5 percent and the PP 39.5 percent.

I don't know anything about Spanish politics, so I hesitate to hazard any punditry, but in any case it looks like the conservative Popular Party will lose seats. As many others have noted, an election resulting in a weakening of Spain's position in the War on Terror would be a huge victory for the Islamist perpetrators of last week's attack. That's not politics, that's logic: if the consequence of a murderous attack is a weakening of opposition to Islamism, there's a stronger incentive to press on with murderous attacks.

Of course these murderous attacks will continue regardless, as I've long argued; and besides, it's not necessarily true that a socialist government would be any less dedicated to the War on Terror, especially now that the threat of terror has been so immediately demonstrated Still, an opposition victory in Spain today would at the very least raise questions about European resolve in the face of terror, and that would itself be tragic.

MORE (15:32 EST): It's probably a mistake to see a PP vote as a vote for the War and an opposition vote as a vote for withdrawal; both stories focus on the supposed voter anger at the government not for its Iraq stance but for its initial handling of the 3/11 investigation. From the AP story:

Critics accused the government, which had trumpeted its crackdown on ETA, of manipulating the investigation for political gain. That struck a chord with voters.

"I didn't intend to vote, but changed my mind,'' said Javi Martin, 30, who works for a TV station in Madrid. "And not because of the attacks, but because of the responsibility of the Popular Party. They gave out information drop by drop. It would have benefited them if it were ETA.''

And Reuters:

Some Spaniards were vitriolic in accusing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar of "manipulating" public opinion by spending three days blaming the bombings on the Basque separatist group ETA, despite denials from the guerrillas.

I personally don't think the accusations are fair - there was considerable and legitimate discussion here and elsewhere over who was responsible, and there were very good reasons to believe that ETA had in fact perpetrated the attacks. I also think there's probably a correlation between a Spaniard's propensity to believe the 'Aznar lied' theory and his position on the war in Iraq. Still, the two issues are not identical, and the distinction should be made.

Posted by David Mader at 03:30 PM | (0) | Back to Main


Two hundred people died in Madrid because of a war Democrats refuse to admit exists. But, hey, you never know: Maybe the guy who did it will be a third cousin twice removed of Karl Rove.
Mark Steyn takes the press (and Democrats) to task for their lack of seriousness. He says that its one more reason why Bush will win in November.
But we don't have a serious press for these serious times. Boring and self-important is not the same as serious. But one reason why John Kerry calculates he can get away with damning the Bush administration as ''crooks'' and ''liars'' is because he figures he can count on the mainstream media doing what the Post-Intelligencer did -- instinctively framing every issue in anti-Bush terms, no matter how ludicrously. I suppose it's not entirely impossible that one reason the Post-Intelligencer guys went with their spy-Bush linkage is because Lindauer has been accused of betraying her country and Al Gore accused Bush of ''betraying'' the country, too. But that's one more reason why Bush will win in November: The media and the Democrats are sustaining each other in their delusions.
I agree. Bush will win, and the seriousness issue will be a key reason.

Posted by David Mader at 03:05 PM | (0) | Back to Main


If someone with no knowledge of Canadian politics in general, or the Conservative party in particular, wrote an article about the Conservative Party leadership race, what would it look like?

Probably something like this.

Look, I'm not saying that Belinda has no chance to win, or that predicting her victory is a sign of ignorance. I'm just saying that citing the opinions of designers, restauranteurs and American tabloids undermines the quality of the article in a pretty substantial way.

By the way, I've been able to find one refernce to Belinda as the "it girl of Canadian politics." It's in a Globe piece from January: "She has been called everything from “Belinda Who?” to the new “It Girl” of Canadian politics." So can anyone actually cite a primary example of this term, or is it all just second- and third-hand? I'm just wondering.

Posted by David Mader at 02:33 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Uprising in Northern Iran?

Mar 13, 2004 The demonstrations began some hours ago. Fereydunkenar is a small town in the northern province of Mazandaran. The people attacked and were able to liberate a building used by the Islamic Republic's security forces (Sentry Post #2). They then started moving to the city of Babolsar, but were soon confronted by Mazandaran's provincial security forces. They've been pushed back into Fereydunkenar and the latest news I've heard is that the small town is now divided between the rebels and the security forces and the scene of fierce street battles.

At least 5 people have been killed and scores injured.

Damian Penny blogged this. Its worth looking at, though this isn't exactly an independet report and it may entirely lack credibility. Anyone else heard anything, or have thoughts about this?

Posted by David Mader at 02:17 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Good Riddance

Joe Peschisolido has lost his nomination fight.

Who is Joe Peschisolido? Good question. He was elected in 2000 as a Canadian Alliance MP and then crossed the floor to the Liberals, apparently fearing that he would lose his seat if he stayed with the Alliance. This must now be recognized as a profoundly stupid decision. He has now lost the Liberal nomination to the former MP he beat in the last election.

What will he do now? Certainly not politics. He sure as hell won't be welcome back in the conservative movement, where he's regarded as a traitor. And a stupid one at that.

He will not be missed.

Posted by David Mader at 02:10 PM | (0) | Back to Main

The World At War

As one of the Islamic fanatics who inspired al-Qa'eda said: "We are not trying to negotiate with you. We are trying to destroy you." The Islamic terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center, those who bombed Bali, and whoever it is in Spain who has now demonstrated a comparable appetite for indiscriminate killing, do not have specific political goals, in the way that terrorists such as the IRA or Eta have.

They wish to destroy the whole basis of Western society - secular democracy, individual liberty, equality before the law, toleration, and pluralism - and replace it with a theocracy based on a perverted and dogmatic interpretation of the Koran.


The idea that we should try to appease the terrorists is wrong in every respect. It would not protect us, for nothing acts as a greater incentive to terrorists than the realisation that their target is weak and frightened. And it would only weaken the institutions we are trying to protect, and demonstrate to the terrorists that we are - as they frequently allege - too decadent and craven to defend the way of life to which we claim to be attached.

The Daily Telegraph gets it right. This is a global war.

Posted by David Mader at 01:02 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Slightly-Less-Red China Watch

China has officially amended its constitution to include the phrase: "Private property obtained legally is inviolable." China therefore now has stronger constitutional protection of private property than, say, Canada.

Of course China doesn't have a common-law tradition, or a functioning democratic governing structure. Still, those who believe that property right lies at the heart of liberal government will be encouraged by the Chinese development, and will be slightly disturbed at the lack of similar protection here.

Posted by David Mader at 10:28 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 13, 2004

Outsourcing: the People's Choice

Daniel Drezner notes that outsourcing is often preferred by consumers because it results in faster processing times, and discusses some of the economic-policy ramifications.

I'm intruiged by the political ramifications. Democrats are demonizing outsourcing because (unionized) workers, who are a big and vocal constituency, are opposed. But there's a bigger constituency that's more or less always silent, and which - according to the article Drezner notes - may well favour outsourcing. Are the Democrats falling victim to the message-distortion of a special interest? Or will Labor vote on the issue while the bigger constituency, general consumers, put outsourcing much lower on their list of electoral priorities?

Posted by David Mader at 08:46 PM | (0) | Back to Main


Dan's been citing Andrew Sullivan a lot recently, and now I'm going to get in on the act. Whatever your stance on his social/domestic positions, you should have a look at his translated excerpts from the French newspaper Le Monde. Money quote:

Like the Americans, [Europeans] may now be forced to admit that a new form of world war has been declared, not against Islam but against totalitarian and violent fundamentalism. That the world's democracies are confronted with the same menace and should act together, using military means and waging at the same time a war for their ideals.

Yes. I've actually found that in certain ways I've personally reacted to this Eleventh much as I reacted to the first. That mix of fear, anger and resolve, that indescribable but unique feeling is back. I didn't feel it after Bali, or after the UN attack in Baghdad, or after Mombassa, or after Turkey - though I was angered and upset after each of those outrages.

Is it Eurocentrism? In part. I think I see terrorism in the developing world as simply more likely, if no more acceptable. That's partially cultural prejudice, but I think it's also fairly rational. When terrorists strike in a developing country with relatively weak security infrastructure, it illustrates the necessity of development. When terrorism strikes in the heart of the developed world, it illustrates the precariousness of our security situation. If Australians aren't safe in Bali, they may at least be safe in Australia. When Spaniards are not safe in Madrid, we none of us are safe. Period.

Posted by David Mader at 08:23 PM | (5) | Back to Main

It Was al Qaida

Spanish authorities have discovered a videotape of a man speaking in Arabic with a Moroccan accent admitting responsibility for the 3/11 bombings on behalf of al Qaida. Five men, including three Moroccans, have been arrested in connection with the attacks. Writes the Telegraph:

As one of the Islamic fanatics who inspired al-Qa'eda said: "We are not trying to negotiate with you. We are trying to destroy you." The Islamic terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center, those who bombed Bali, and whoever it is in Spain who has now demonstrated a comparable appetite for indiscriminate killing, do not have specific political goals, in the way that terrorists such as the IRA or Eta have.

They wish to destroy the whole basis of Western society - secular democracy, individual liberty, equality before the law, toleration, and pluralism - and replace it with a theocracy based on a perverted and dogmatic interpretation of the Koran.

That is why the suggestion that we should try to negotiate with such terrorists is so fatuous: there is nothing whatever to negotiate about.

And yet so many still refuse to believe that we're at war.

Posted by David Mader at 08:08 PM | (1) | Back to Main

NYT on Adscam

Nowhere is the anger more extreme than on the oil rigs in rural Alberta, where workers typically say their hard work is drained away by high taxes to satisfy Quebecers and welfare recipients.
Couldn't have put it better myself. Bet you thought you'd never hear me say that about an article in the New York Times!

It won't contain any news for a Canadian, but it is interesting to see how things are reported abroad.

Posted by David Mader at 04:18 PM | (3) | Back to Main

March 12, 2004

ETA Denies

As millions of Spaniards take to the streets to show their contempt for yesterday's terrorist attacks, callers to Basque-region radio stations and newspapers have been denying ETA involvement in the attacks. Of course ETA has good reason to distance itself; culpability would not only erase any potential support within Spain, but would lead quite quickly to much more strident efforts to destroy them.

I think that'll happen anyway, though. Now we're left with two terrorist groups, one which admits responsibility but is not thought responsible, one which denies responsibility but remains the prime suspect.

Here's my suggestion: let's be equal opportunity about this - and destroy them both.

Posted by David Mader at 04:12 PM | (1) | Back to Main

We're All In It Together

This morning's papers have some interesting reaction from within Spain to yesterday's horrible terrorist attack. From the Telegraph:

"Madrid, like New York, like Jerusalem, like Baghdad and Karbala, has had its terrorist holocaust and, from now on, nothing will be like before," said the ABC newspaper...

"It's horrible. I take the train every day. Tomorrow, when I take the train to go to work, sure I will be scared. What do you expect me to say? The victims are simple commuters," said 23-year-old Angela Iranzo, waiting in a queue to give blood.

It's natural that the connection be made. We in the Americas can only feel blessed that the same daily uncertainty hasn't hit us. Yet. But we're all in this together; all free nations are the targets of terrorist attack, because they're free. That's why the response has to come not from a heterogenous block like the UN, but from an alliance of free and democratic nations, united in resolve.

Posted by David Mader at 12:27 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Protecting the Sanctity of Marriage

Andrew Sullivan blogs this interesting story that was emailed to him:

Amy Jenniges lives with her girlfriend, Sonia, and I live with my boyfriend, Terry. Last Friday I accompanied Amy and Sonia to room 403, the licensing division, at the King County Administration Building. When Amy and Sonia asked the clerk for a marriage license, the clerk turned white. You could see, "Oh my God, the gay activists are here!" running through her head. County clerks in the marriage license office had been warned to expect gay couples sooner or later, but I guess this particular clerk didn't expect us to show up five minutes before closing on Friday.
The clerk called over her manager, a nice older white man, who explained that Amy and Sonia couldn't have a marriage license. So I asked if Amy and I could have one--even though I'm gay and live with my boyfriend, and Amy's a lesbian and lives with her girlfriend. We emphasized to the clerk and her manager that Amy and I don't live together, we don't love each other, we don't plan to have kids together, and we're going to go on living and sleeping with our same-sex partners after we get married. So could we still get a marriage license?
"Sure," the license-department manager said, "If you've got $54, you can have a marriage license." ... It's not the marriage license I'd like to have, of course. But, still, let me count my blessings: I have a 10-year relationship (but not the marriage license), a house (but not the marriage license), a kid (but not the marriage license), and my boyfriend's credit-card bills (but not the marriage license). I don't know what a guy has to do around here to get the marriage license. But I guess it's some consolation that I can get a meaningless one anytime I like, just so long as I bring along a woman I don't love and my $54.

A questions for my social conservative friends: how exactly is this defending the sanctity of marriage? Put aside the civil rights issues for a second here and just think about this: Is it really better to allow a "meaningless" marriage between 2 people who don't love each other than to allow a marriage between two people of the same sex who do love each other?

Posted by David Mader at 12:13 PM | (6) | Back to Main

The War Comes to Europe

Somehow this evil puts everything else in perspective, doesn't it? If it is the beginning of an Islamist terror campaign throughout Europe, then we will witness a cultural and military war on that continent not seen since the last world war. We can only hope it won't transpire, that we have managed to keep al Qaeda at bay. But if it does, we can equally hope that the democratic nations of Europe will begin to realize what Tony Blair and George Bush have been warning about for so long. The enemy is clear. The question is not whether it will strike, but whether the West can strike back and decisively defang and defeat it. It's up to Europe now. Maybe now they'll get it.
Andrew Sullivan on yesterday's attack.

Posted by David Mader at 12:02 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Overnight Thoughts

I'm off to bed, where I'll be pondering this question. (Well, I'll be sleeping, mostly, but maybe subconsciously I'll be pondering this question:) The letter by which al Qaida admitted responsibility (whether truthfully or not) for the Madrid bombing metioned an upcoming attack on America, promising the arrival of "the black wind of death." Wild speculation time, for you conspiracy nuts and hard-core intelligence guys alike: what are we looking at here? Dirty bomb? A bio-attack? Be creative, but not too creative, which is more or less how Qaida seems to operate: in other words, 'black wind' may well be allegorical, but odds are 'black' means 'dark' in some sense (physical or otherwise) and 'wind' means uncontrolled movement through the air. Have at it.

Posted by David Mader at 12:53 AM | (0) | Back to Main

"A Negative Credit Event"

That's how one official at a ratings firm is describing the South Korean parliament's vote to impeach President Roh Moo-hyun.

Just in case there wasn't quite enough instability in the world.

Posted by David Mader at 12:47 AM | (0) | Back to Main

New Bush Ads

You can view the new Bush re-elect ads here. I don't like 'em as much as the last batch. "100 Days" has that sort of doomsday tone that just makes me stop listening, and it's also a little bit silly: the defining moment in the Bush presidency (to date) came well after his first 100 days; that first period did not, in fact, set the tone for his Presidency.

"Forward" is good - even very good - but it's not quite great. The tone is good, the message is good - or at least it starts good (well? No. It starts as a good message. It starts good). Bush is security and the future, Kerry is head-in-the-sand and the past. But then we get a list of economic 'ways forward' - with no corresponding suggestion of a Kerry economic reversal. It just throws everything off, and leaves you wondering.

Just one question: have they always done that "I'm [Insert Name] and I approve this message," or is that a Bush thing - or a campaign finance thing?

Posted by David Mader at 12:17 AM | (1) | Back to Main

March 11, 2004

Price Gouging in Beef?

CTVNews is reporting that an Alberta government panel has found no evidence of price gouging in the beef industry.

Beef producers, consumers and some politicians have been asking why beef prices have remained virtually constant, even while cattle prices have plummeted and Canadian beef producers have struggled through the crisis.

I don't know all that much about the beef or cattle industries, but let's think this through. A major scare hits the cattle industry in the form of mad cow. Demand for cattle falls. Less demand with constant supply forces ranchers to cut prices in order to clear their herds. Result: Cattle prices fall.

But less demand for cattle means less supply of beef. Fewer people want to eat beef, but there are fewer cows available to be made into beef. Supply falls, demand falls. Result: Beef prices remain constant.

That's a simplification, of course, but I think it's a generally sound model. Actually, when the news of BSE first hit, I wondered out loud - Dan might be able to back me up - whether the fall in cattle supply mightn't offset the fall in beef demand. Maybe I was on to something.

Posted by David Mader at 11:30 PM | (4) | Back to Main


Wonkette criticizes - in the second degree - the Bush re-elect team for its portrayal of a terrorist in a new campaign ad:

Ryan Lizza blogs on another Bush first: First candidate to use 9/11 in an ad, and now the first candidate have an ad that includes "the image of a dark-skinned man who is obviously meant to be a terrorist." They must be so proud!

They should have portrayed the terrorist as being a Basque separatist, obviously. Or maybe an Irish republican. Or a Morman extremist. Or one of those other groups of people who have, in the past presidential term, perpetrated a terrorist attack on American soil which claimed the lives of three thousand people.

But certainly not an Arab. Why, that would be inaccurate! Well, no. But misleading! Well, not really. But racially insensitive!

As racially insensitive as murdering three thousand people for being heretics? Not quite, I think.

As a quick aside: Not that I don't like Wonkette, of course. Ms Cox can dish it out every which way, and it's always entertaining. And as soon as I update my blogroll, well, you'll all be seeing more Wonkette links here at Maderblog.

Posted by David Mader at 07:23 PM | (6) | Back to Main

How Low Can They Go?

It's one thing for us right-wing nutbars to come down hard on the Liberal Government for its seemingly endless effort to waste taxpayer money through programs that range from the sloppy to the potentially criminal. It's another for the Agence France Presse to write this headline: "New Bombshell Hits Canada's Scandal-Plagued Government."

Memo to Paul Martin: you can whine all you want about how yours is a new government, but this is now the international press line. You're the head of a scandal-plagued government. Have fun with that.

Posted by David Mader at 07:16 PM | (1) | Back to Main


Dan Darling has thoughts on the potential al-Qaida strike.

Lest anyone claim that this attack was retaliation for supporting the war in Iraq, al-Qaeda has hated Spain for years ... because of the Reconquista over 400 years ago...

The ultimate goal behind these attacks is to make the European public believe that they would not have been attacked had they not gone to war in Iraq and thereby spur public demand to withdraw European troops from the country in order to weaken coalition efforts there.

If al Qaida was responsible, I do think we'll see not a few voices within Spain calling this the consequence - justly deserved - of supporting the US in Iraq and in the wider war on terror. When that message starts to spread, it will be important for the counter-message to be ready. The war on terror did not begin on September 11, 2001. Those terrible attacks simply made clear the reality of the conflict. At that point, Spain - like all nations - faced a choice between America and its enemies. Joining America did not mean instigating a war on anyone; it meant standing up to an active and hostile entity. Spain, even in this time of suffering, should be proud of the stance they took then, and should know that all those who cherish democracy and freedom stand with them tonight.

Posted by David Mader at 06:54 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Another Scandal

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin promised an investigation into the latest scandal to shake his government, as the National Defence department reeled from a multi-million dollar fraud claim.

The department allegedly spent 160 million dollars (120 million US) for a computer service which was never delivered.

It just won't stop, will it? Here's the story from, of all sources, AFP.

All together now: Its time for them to go.

Posted by David Mader at 04:14 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Good Ridance

The Daily Telegraph carries an obituary of terrorist Abu Abas, who died in American custody this week after living out his last years in Baghdad. Not that Sadham Hussein allied himself with terrorists, or anything.

He will not be missed.

Posted by David Mader at 04:10 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Two and a Half Years

It didn't strike me until just now - today's terrorist bombing, apparently an al Qaida attack, comes two and a half years - to the day - after the September 11 attacks. I don't know that it means anything - the Qaida claim is unverified, and I tend to think al Qaida is driven more by opportunity than such precise symbolism. In either case, something to keep in mind.

Posted by David Mader at 03:39 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Al Qaida Claiming Madrid Bombing

The Beeb is now breaking that an al-Qaida letter to a London paper (al Quds?) has admitted responsibility for this morning's bombings.

It's war, folks.

MORE (15:48 EST): Reuters:

"We have succeeded in infiltrating the heart of crusader Europe and struck one of the bases of the crusader alliance," said the letter which called the attacks "Operation Death Trains." There was no way of authenticating the letter, a copy of which was faxed to Reuters' office in Dubai by the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.

The letter bore the signature "Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades." The newspaper received similar letters from the same brigade claiming responsibility on behalf of al Qaeda for a November bombing of two synagogues in Turkey and the August bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.

Posted by David Mader at 03:15 PM | (4) | Back to Main


The Beeb is reporting, citing Reuters, that an 'Arabic tape' has been found in a 'suspect van' in the vicinity of the Spanish attacks.

MORE: The Interior Ministry is reporting that a stolen van has been found with seven detonators as well as Arabic-language tapes and other material quoting the Quran, apparently having to do with education. The van was found about half an hour from Madrid.

LATER (15:12 EST): AP has the first link I've found.

Posted by David Mader at 02:32 PM | (0) | Back to Main

The NHL Punts

The NHL had a chance to show players that violent thuggery wouldn't be tolerated. They declined to take that chance, instead giving Todd Bertuzzi a slap on the wrist.

If they NHL actually wants this to stop, they should have given Bertuzzie a lifetime ban. At the very least, he shouldn't be allowed to play until Moore is able to return.

And yes, I do believe that the severity of the punishment should depend on the severity of the injury. In general, I think that suspended players who injure another player should be out till the injured player returns.

If you end a player's career with an illegal hit, then your career should be over. Period.

Posted by David Mader at 02:29 PM | (2) | Back to Main

More on Madrid

The Command Post has a pretty comprehensive post here, although it hasn't been updated in a couple of hours.

This link should bring you to the latest CNN report, which as of 13:30 EST places the death toll at 190. Also from the report: "Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar addressed the nation and condemned the terrorists attack, saying ETA must be crushed, and opposed negotiations with them. 'There is no possible negotiation with these killers,' he said." Right on; but how do you take a war to people who carry your passports? Its something we're going to have to figure out, and soon.

Meanwhile, this UPI story has a list of ways in which the attacks don't fit an ETA pattern - and do fit the pattern of "global Jihad." Whoever's responsible, though, they seem to have finally opened some European eyes: "'It's a declaration of war against democracy,' said Pat Cox, the president of the European Parliament, of Thursday's attacks in Madrid." Quite so. In the words of an anonymous German intelligence official, "now the war has reached Europe."

The Beeb has a gallery of photos from the attack, which is now said to have involved more than ten separate explosions.

Posted by David Mader at 01:36 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Bertuzzi Update

Todd Bertuzzi has been suspended for the remainder of the season - including playoffs - for his cheap-shot sucker-punch attack which left Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore with a broken neck.

Bertuzzi's eligibility for next season will be reviewed by the League at training camp in late summer.

For discussion of the hit, see my post here, which has links to a CTVNews story and video. I know a lot of folks are going to be upset about this decision, arguing that the League has overreacted in response to popular pressure; still, I think popular pressure is what the League needs right now. Most people I talk to seem to agree with me that in some way Bertuzzi crossed the line, and should face serious consequences (such as today's decision). As I said before, I have no interest in making an example - or a martyr - out of Bertuzzi, but I do think that the kind of behaviour he engaged in needs to stop. Hopefully his will be the last such case; if not, let the suspensions continue.

Posted by David Mader at 01:27 PM | (0) | Back to Main


A co-ordinated terrorist attack has killed more than 150 people in three separate bombings in Madrid.

Speculation over the perpetrators continues; while the assumption lies with the Basque separatist terrorist group ETA, some suggest this is beyond their capabilities. Here's Dan Darling:

The ETA certainly maintains the capability to strike inside Madrid with impunity, but their organization has been heavily depleted over the last several years as a result of arrests and greater anti-terrorist cooperation between France and Spain...

Al-Qaeda is also a distinct possibility - the coordination, sophistication and the body count all point to their involvement. Both bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have vowed to attack Spain for supporting US military action in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq and this could easily be the fullfillment of those threats.

ETA's long campaign of terror in Spain certainly makes them the prime suspect, despite denials from their quasi-political front. I hope that in either case, the repsonse will be the same. I think there's been a tendency to feel that while Islamist terror represents a declaration of war on the west, 'domestic' terror is somehow still a local, policing matter. It's not; if ETA is responsible, it deserves to be crushed with all the might brought to bear on al Qaida (though I certainly recognize the difficulties given questions of citizenship, etc).

The other thing to note, as I often do, is that this morning's attack was no abberation. This is the new normal. I won't be so crass as to say 'get used to it' - but we can't pretend this sort of stuff is going to go away - not without a long campaign to end it.

MORE: The latest news sees al Qaida admitting responsibility and Spanish authorities discovering Arabic-language materials along with detonators near one site of attacks. Check out Maderblog's main page for more.

Posted by David Mader at 10:10 AM | (1) | Back to Main

March 10, 2004

Things I Didn't Know About Australia

A barkeep in Syndey threw out a group of people because, he said, they were casting spells. You know, like magic spells.

"People found their behavior strange and threatening ... casting spells on bars in the hotel or clearing bars with certain spells," Tony Green, owner of the Greenwood Hotel, told "The Sydney Morning Herald."

That's odd enough; but then there's this: "In Australia, many bars are called hotels." It explains so much.

Posted by David Mader at 07:04 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Laying Out the Welcome Mat

It's some sort of Frank Klees party in the comments to this post wherein Dan was foolish enough to call out Klees' youth supporters. Welcome to them, and to all the other good folks who seem to be discovering the Maderblog experience.

Of course, all this talk (and talk and talk and talk) about Canadian politics is giving my Yankee-loving self a headache, so I'd just like to say, for the record, that in the upcoming Ontario Tory leadership race I'll be supporting Ronald Reagan as a write-in candidate. As John Robson once said, the Gipper can always use the help.

Posted by David Mader at 06:36 PM | (2) | Back to Main


Ontario Liberal Attorney General Michael Bryant was recently scheduled to visit York University.

The campus Tory club decided to set up a little welcoming committee.

I especially love the picture, though what's really pathetic is the turnout the Fiberals managed. 30 people, about 5 of whom were VIPs and 5 were Tories. So about 20 regular students. Pathetic.

Posted by David Mader at 04:51 PM | (3) | Back to Main

Massive Fraud?

More and more stories are emerging of problems with the membership list for the Conservative party leadership.

There are allegations, as yet unproven, that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of supporters of candidates other than Stephen Harper have apparently been left of the list.

Those making the allegations point to the fact that the process is being administered by staff hired by Stephen Harper when he was leader.

Of course, the allegations may turn out to be groundless, but if true they would be a serious blow to the credibility of the new party.

I'll keep reporting what I hear...

Posted by David Mader at 04:13 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Take the Libertarian Purity Test.

Take the Libertarian Purity Test. I scored an 84. Apparently that means that:

You are a medium-core libertarian, probably self-consciously so. Your friends probably encourage you to quit talking about your views so much.

If you get much over 100 (its out of 160) then I'm a bit worried about you.

Take the test. You'll understand. And post your score in the comments.

Posted by David Mader at 03:54 PM | (11) | Back to Main

The Fascist Left

(Via Damian Penny)

When I looked into their faces, I could imagine young Nazis in the 1930s in Hitler's Germany. They had no doubt that they were right and that I was pure evil for my support of the Jewish state, despite my public disagreement with some of Israel's policies and despite my support for Palestinian statehood. There was no place for nuance here. It was black and white, good versus evil, and any Jew who supported Israel was pure evil, deserving of torture, violence, and whatever fate Hitler and Goebbels deserved.

Alan Dershowitz recently gave a lecture in Boston. This is the reception he received from the crowd of terrorist supporters outside.

Although the signs they were carrying were not anti-Semitic, the sign carriers were shouting epithets at me that crossed the line from civility to bigotry. "Dershowitz and Hitler, just the same, the only difference is the name." The sin that, in the opinion of the screamers, warranted this comparison between me and the man who murdered dozens of my family members was my support for Israel. It was irrelevant to these chanters that I also support a Palestinian state, the end of the Israeli occupation and the dismantling of most of the settlements. They also shouted "Dershowitz and Gibbels [sic], just the same, the only difference is the name" - not even knowing how to pronounce the name of the anti-Semitic Nazi propagandist.

One sign carrier shouted that Jews who support Israel are worse than Nazis. Another demanded that I be tortured and killed. It wasn't only their words; it was the hatred in their eyes. If a dozen Boston police were not protecting me, I have little doubt I would have been physically attacked. Their eyes were ablaze with fanatical zeal.

If you don't think we're really engaged in a war of self-defence against people who want to kill us all, then, please, read the whole thing. This is the enemy we face.

Posted by David Mader at 03:45 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Liberal Infighting

Via Inkless Wells

Peter Donolo, who used to be Jean Chrétien's director of communications, was at a birthday party, when he came across Karl Littler, Paul Martin's chief organizer in Ontario.

"Karl, what are you doing here?" Mr. Donolo kibitzed, "aren't you supposed to be out there destroying the Liberal Party?"

As reported by John Ibbitson in today's Globe. Sure brings a smile to my face.

Posted by David Mader at 03:33 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Free to Choose

Matt Fletcher comes out strongly against mandatory voting: "I don't want people who have no interest in casting an informed, meaningful vote to be in the polling booth."

I was particularly impressed by his fundamental argument: "All rights to do something must necessarily include the right not to do something." Quite so. I expect, then, that Matt will join me in calling for an end to closed-shop unionism, one of the most serious affronts to liberty in Canada.

After all, the right to unionize must necessarily include the right not to unionize. Right?

Posted by David Mader at 02:03 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Flaherty vs. Tory

There have been rumours for quite a while that John Tory was thinking of running for the leadership of the Ontario PC Party. He was certainly campaigning hard at the party's policy conference in January - hanging around all weekend chatting with party members.

Now Ian Urquhart is reporting that he has made up his mind to run, setting up a classic red-blue fight with Jim Flaherty for the soul of the party.

Oh yeah, and Frank Klees is also running. No offence to my two friends who are supporting him, but I know a lot of young Tories and literally two of them are supporting Frank. One other is supporting Tory and the rest are with Jim. Klees may be able to position himself as a king-maker but I think its more likely that he's going to be marginalized in this race. He is VERY similar to Flaherty ideologically, while Tory is from the absolute opposite side of the party.

Its going to be a great race. My early prediction: Flaherty will win, but Tory will make it close.

Posted by David Mader at 10:01 AM | (17) | Back to Main

March 09, 2004

Stronach Battles for Nomination

The race for the Conservative Party nomination in Newmarket-Aurora is going down to the wire. Party leadership contender Belinda Stronach, who is seeking her first elected office, had expressed confidence in her ability to win the support of the Conservative Party riding association, but as of eleven o'clock the race was said to be neck-and-neck. Lois Brown, a community activist, had been campaigning for the nomination long before Stronach announced her intention to run for the party leadership, and refused to step aside.

UPDATE (00:32 EST 3/10/04): Stronach has won the nomination by a margin of 100 votes in a 924-vote contest.

Posted by David Mader at 11:19 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Kick Him Out. For Good.

The vicious cheap-shot by Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi is national news here in Canada. Video of the assault is available here (for now).

My general attitude is that when players intentionally cause injury - that is, when they are guilty of an on-ice infraction which results in injury - they should be suspended for the duration of that injury. Bertuzzi broke Steve Moore's neck. The viciousness of his attack, on top of the severity of the injury, should put Bertuzzi out for at least the season.

Bertuzzi is also under investigation by the Vancouver Police. While I generally think that a certain level of - well, to be frank, of violence - is part of the game, I also believe that the police have every right to treat on-ice attacks as potential criminal behaviour. It should go without saying that any player convicted of an assault should be kicked out of the league.

I'm no visor-wearing European of the type Don Cherry would lambaste; I'm a hockey fan. Bertuzzi's attack was no part of hockey. It couldn't have been worse if he had kicked with his skates on. It was the cheapest, most dirty of acts. He deserves to be booed at every game he plays for the rest of his career. I would not be unhappy if that career were already over.

Posted by David Mader at 11:11 PM | (9) | Back to Main

Tempered Sanity

The British government has finally approved genetically-modified crops for planting - after fifteen years of trials:

Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, announced the decision to go ahead with a herbicide-resistant GM maize after 15 years of field trials and four years of farm-scale evaluations.

She told the Commons that the GM maize, Chardon LL, made by Bayer Cropscience, could be grown as soon as next year but insisted that it would be accompanied by a statutory framework to ensure that non-GM farmers who suffered financial losses because of crop contamination were compensated by the industry not the taxpayer.

Once again the Tory party has whored itself to politics, abandoning principle to condemn the decision:

John Whittingdale, the shadow agriculture spokesman, said it was an "outrage" that the Government had approved GM maize after an all-party committee of MPs unanimously recommended refusal last week and while an estimated 90 per cent cent of public opinion was against.

What a shame. Labour level-headedness provides an opportunity for the Conservatives to push a bi-partisan program of education in order to overcome the fear-mongering of anti-GM organizations. Once again, though, the Conservatives seem more power-hungry that principled.

Posted by David Mader at 10:27 PM | (0) | Back to Main


There's been considerable coverage of the all-too-rare human rights protests in Syria; also of note is this story from the Telegraph:

In the unlikely setting of a rebuilt terminal at Cairo International Airport, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt spoke with furious candour, betraying the pressure that his ally, America, has suddenly put on his regime.

"Nobody imagines that we can press a button and freedoms will arrive, otherwise it would lead the country to chaos," he said. "If you opened the door wide open without any controls, it would be anarchy."

To his critics, Mr Mubarak, 75, sounds like an old autocrat trying to fend off any suggestion of democratic reform pressed on him by a troublesome ally. But President George W Bush has declared the spread of democracy in the Middle East a vital American interest and called on Egypt to lead the way...

Observers believe that he has no doubt about his predicament. "Suddenly he is losing his grip. His modus operandi is unsustainable," said Hisham Kassem, publisher of the Cairo Times and president of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights. "He's responding. He knows that he is cornered."

The result of some piercing diplomatic initiatives, no doubt. Absolutely nothing to do with that unfortunate war business last spring.

Posted by David Mader at 09:47 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Abu Abbas Dead

Mohammad Abbas, mastermind of the Achille Lauro terrorist attack in 1985, has died.

Finally, a time for reckoning.

Posted by David Mader at 07:29 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Blair's Speech

Watch Tony Blair's Friday speech on the decision to go to war in Iraq, and the necessity for continued vigilance in the war on terror, here.

[Via Andrew Sullivan]

Posted by David Mader at 03:17 PM | (0) | Back to Main

March 08, 2004

Free Iraq

Today an interim constitution was signed bringing Iraq a step closer to normal, democratic and free government. The text of the document is available from the Coalition Provisional Authority here.

Posted by David Mader at 11:52 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Classic Steyn

My brother already blogged this Steyn column, but, in my humble opinion, he missed the best quote...

I'm a small-government guy, so my default position on any issue is that, generally speaking, I'm on whichever side the government's not.

Exactly. I coulnd't have put it better myself. In fact, I couldn't have put it half as good myself, which is why I read Steyn every day.

UPDATE: Steyn on the deficit questions: It's the expansion of the state that's wrong. The funding of it is secondary.

Posted by David Mader at 11:46 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Blood Libel?

I wasn't in any hurry to see the Passion of the Christ before, but after reading what Adam Daifallah and, especially, Charles Krauthammer have to say about it, I can safely say that I'll be giving it a pass.

Adam is not impressed with those who maintain that Jews should not feel threatened by the movie:

I'm finding it difficult to agree with the contention that the movie is not anti-Semitic in any way. I won't go as far as to call it anti-Semitic, but Jews are depicted horribly in this film. I did not leave angry at Pontius Pilate and the Romans or sensing that they were responsible for the crucifixion. It seemed to me that Pilate caved into the will of the Jewish mobs. Gibson makes it seem that the real culpability lies with them. The Jews shown in such an unflattering light; there is a Satanic figure that appears in the crowds a couple of times among the Jews, and the faces of Jewish children in one scene morph into something Satanic .

And that's tame compared to what Krauthammer has to say.

In none of the Gospels does the high priest Caiaphas stand there with his cruel, impassive fellow priests witnessing the scourging. In Gibson's movie they do. When it comes to the Jews, Gibson deviates from the Gospels -- glorying in his artistic vision -- time and again. He bends, he stretches, he makes stuff up. And these deviations point overwhelmingly in a single direction -- to the villainy and culpability of the Jews.

Krauthammer is especially insenced by the same scene as Adam:

The most subtle, and most revolting, of these has to my knowledge not been commented upon. In Gibson's movie, Satan appears four times. Not one of these appearances occurs in the four Gospels. They are pure invention. Twice, this sinister, hooded, androgynous embodiment of evil is found . . . where? Moving among the crowd of Jews. Gibson's camera follows close up, documentary style, as Satan glides among them, his face popping up among theirs -- merging with, indeed, defining the murderous Jewish crowd. After all, a perfect match: Satan's own people.

Lovely. Truly lovely. And what about Gibson's comments?

Perhaps this should not be surprising, coming from a filmmaker whose public pronouncements on the Holocaust are as chillingly ambiguous and carefully calibrated as that of any sophisticated Holocaust denier. Not surprising from a man who says: "I don't want to lynch any Jews. I mean, it's like it's not what I'm about. I love them. I pray for them."

Spare us such love.

I'm with Krauthammer on this one.

Posted by David Mader at 11:43 PM | (5) | Back to Main

Searching for Steyn

Mark Steyn's latest in the Telegraph is a fun little romp through the past week's news, but I'm interested mainly in this little tidbit:

Martha may, indeed, be a bitch, though she's always been rather droll and charming to me (I once baked her a cranberry pecan pie with lattice crust).

I think it only adds to my pet theory that Mr. Steyn is in fact a sinister cadre of conservative columnists located on either side of the Atlantic. I have a further pet theory that the British "Steyn" is a woman, though I have less 'evidence' for that one (and no, it's not because (s)he talks about baking pies).

I just want to make sure I'm on record, is all.

Posted by David Mader at 11:22 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Is Clinton Eligable?

ConLaw junkies will want to have a look at Eugene Volokh's post on whether Bill Clinton could run as VP on a Democratic ticket this fall. The answer: probably not.

Posted by David Mader at 10:42 PM | (0) | Back to Main

That's the Problem

Speaking of Taranto, in his Best of the Web column he catches this gem from a former John Kerry counsel: "John takes the opposite approach: 'Don't assume you know where I am. Don't assume I know what I think.'"

Don't assume I know what I think!?

It's Thursday, March 24, 2005. The port of Baltimore is so much rubble. Jazeera is running a celebratory tape from al Qaida; the terrorist-Baathist coalition is pushing down from the Syrian border with increased intensity against the massively reduced American troop presence in Iraq. Surveying the destruciton in Maryland, Kerry comes upon a group of dock-workers digging out a building. One calls out, his voice breaking, "We gonna go get these sons of bitches, Mr. President?"

Replies Kerry, "Don't assume I know what I think."

Of course, that's just the problem. No-one will assume Kerry knows what he thinks. Not Kim Jong Il; not Vladamir Putin or Jacques Chirac; not Hu Jintao; not Pervez Musharraf; and not Osama bin Laden, or whoever is calling the shots in a year. In fact, they'll assume just the opposite. They'll assume that Kerry doesn't know what to think; is over-interested in absurdities of nuance; is so tied up in himelf that he won't recognize the prevarications and machinations of hostile enemies - and two-timing friends. They'll assume that Kerry will hesitate and stutter and ultimately fail to respond.

And they'll be right.

"Don't assume I know what I think." They won't, Senator Kerry. That's the problem.

Posted by David Mader at 04:21 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Race, Politics and the New South

Longtime readers will remember my periodic discussions of voting patterns in the American South, and particularly my argument that the notion that Republican successes in the South stemmed from the Democratic passage of the Civil and Voting Rights Acts and the subsequent defection of Southern whites to the GOP is false.

In today's Wall Street Journal online edition, James Taranto adds more perspective to the discussion and takes it a step further by suggesting some other reasons for continued Democratic weakness in the South (which I'd actually date after 1980, since Wallace was no Republican).

[Thanks to my father for the pointer.]

Posted by David Mader at 04:09 PM | (2) | Back to Main

March 07, 2004

Tony on 2nd Ballot

Another journalist is writing something that I've been saying all along. There's a very plausible scenario that has Tony Clement winning the Conservative leadership on the second ballot. If Harper is held to 40% or less and Tony is ahead of Belinda, then Belinda's votes will go to Tony and he'll win.

Despite the published polls, the key thing is that each riding counts equally. Danielle Smith of the Calgary Herald reports one attempt to crunch the numbers province by province and predicts that this scenario will, in fact, occur.

The one thing I disagree with her on is the assumption that Tony's supporters would go to Belinda on the 2nd ballot. My prediction is that they'd split 50-50 between her and Harper.

That's why people who want someone other than Harper to be leader need to ensure that its Tony facing off against Harper on second ballot.

Posted by David Mader at 11:01 PM | (5) | Back to Main

Politicking Away Our Future

Senior Martin officials are said to be considering cancelling a visit to the White House because it might hurt the Prime Minister's re-election chances (given the President's unpopularity among Canadians).

We all know that I've long since thrown my lot in with the Stars and Stripes, but I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that such a cancellation would formalize in a most immediate way the reduction of Canadian-American relations to a point unseen in decades. Yes, cooperation still goes on at all levels of government. Yes, our border-regions are heavily integrated. Yes, Canadians and Americans still have more in common with one another than either has with any other region or country in the world.

But to cancel what amounts to a state visit for the most crass of political concerns would be to subsume our most important international relation to those same crass politics. That would be a terrible, terrible mistake - regardless of the fact that most Canadians would probably support it.

Posted by David Mader at 09:50 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Kerry's Vietnam Deferral

The London Daily Telegraph is reporting that Sen. John Kerry, who often speaks of his voluntary and decorated service in Vietnam, in fact tried to defer that service by extending his education following his graduation from Yale.

He wrote to his local recruitment board seeking permission to spend a further 12 months studying in Paris, after completing his degree course at Yale University in the mid-1960s...

The Harvard Crimson newspaper followed a youthful Mr Kerry in Boston as he campaigned for Congress for the first time in 1970. In the course of a lengthy article, "John Kerry: A Navy Dove Runs for Congress", published on February 18, the paper reported: "When he approached his draft board for permission to study for a year in Paris, the draft board refused and Kerry decided to enlist in the Navy."

The story is noteworthy not only for its political ramifications, but for its source. Earlier today I noted the ties between the Labour and Democratic Parties. The Telegraph's muckracking might not demonstrate any institutional link to American conservatism, but it certainly suggests a broad sympathy; combine that with Fleet Street's willingness to publish more racy - and so politically sensitive - articles, and you have a powerful new force in presidential politics.

Posted by David Mader at 10:23 AM | (1) | Back to Main

Labour: The Democratic Connection

A very interesting piece in the Scotsman on the ties between the various wings of the British Labour Party and the various wings of the American Democratic Party. Those interested in British politics, American politics or Anglosphere affairs will want to have a read.

[Via Neale News]

Posted by David Mader at 01:36 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Cutting Both Ways

It seems a lot of partisans are upset with their party's flag-bearer for endorsing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

And I'm not talking about the GOP:

I've been trying, really I have. As a charter member of the ABB Society -- Anybody But Bush -- I've tried not to fret over the alarmingly tautological nature of John Kerry's victory...

And I've labored to turn my eyes from his career-long opportunism, the knowledge that Bay State political junkies trade their favorite Kerry flip-flops like baseball cards...

I finally lost my grip, though, when I opened my newspaper a few days ago to read of Kerry's latest lunge in the direction of some politically feasible position on gay marriage.

And this is from a supporter.

Posted by David Mader at 01:15 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 05, 2004

Give Me A Break

I've been a regular reader of Andrew Sullivan for a while now. I've always found him interesting and witty, and he almost always has something important to say. In the lead-up to the Iraq war he made clear and explicit the reasons for toppling the Baathist regime - reasons that extended well beyond WMD. His coverage of the US media - as a sort of prodigal son - is excellent and influential. His opinions are well formed, well thought out, and well worth reading.

Lately, Sullivan has turned sour on President Bush - a man he'd long defended. I continue to read Sullivan - not out of habit, but rather because I believe he's just as interesting as ever, and I don't restrict my reading by party or policy.

But. But when Sullivan starts reproducing the paranoid drivel of Howard Stern, and treating it as legitimate criticism of the President, my patience is tested.

"It's time for him to leave. Having said that pushed me off the air in six markets." - Howard Stern, venting. I have no idea whether Stern is being paranoid or not... But I like his spirit; and I do think that Howard Stern and Howard Stern listeners are not people the president needs to alienate in an election year. And it says something about the fragility of the Republican coalition that he feels he has to.

I wish Sullivan felt he had to, you know, find some shred of evidence to support this most absurd of allegations. And did you notice that Sullivan has adopted the same style of accusal used by Wesley Clark and so many others to criticize the President? "I don't believe X, but lots of people are saying X so we have to treat X as a legitimate issue."

Sullivan is angry at President Bush for rational as well as personal reasons, and that's great. That's understandable, and it's respectable. But grasping at absurdities to vent frustration at the President doesn't make for good reading. In fact, from as strong a critic of intellectual sloppiness as Sullivan, it's downright shameful.

Posted by David Mader at 11:58 AM | (2) | Back to Main

March 04, 2004

Bush the Federalist - ? - II

In today's Best of the Web James Taranto notes that Sen. Orinn Hatch [R-Utah] has introduced a generally federalist marriage amendment.

The conventional wisdom will be that this demonstrates how much the President's position on a marriage amendment is outside of the mainstream, and that it illustrates how even Republicans don't support it.

But as I've noted, the President's announcement was hardly an explicit endorsement of a particular amendment. Here's a thought: what if legislators, afraid of a generally-conservative electorate but unwilling to pass a 'religious-right' amendment, rally around - and pass - a federalist alternative? Such an amendment wouldn't have had a hope of passing even a month ago; now it seems like a politically viable solution to a lot of problems. What changed? Why, the President's public remarks, of course, which were in turn a response to facts on the ground.

In other words, the effect of the President's remarks may well be a reservation of further yet-unenumerated powers to the several states. Attack on the Constitution indeed.

Posted by David Mader at 06:15 PM | (0) | Back to Main

He's Not Kinky, He's My Governor

Kinky Friedman is throwing in his cowboy hat and running as an independent for Governor of Texas.

[Thanks to Dan Stern for the update.]

Posted by David Mader at 05:47 PM | (3) | Back to Main

101 Dalmation Watch

Andrew Coyne has nailed the real story behind the hilarious news that parts of a federal Liberal Ontario caucus meeting were televised.

Its not just that the MPs are terrified that the sponsorship scandal will mean that they might actually have to work to get re-elected.

Its that not one of them cared ONE BIT about the substance of the scandal - like punishing the guilty. All they cared about was keeping their seats.

All together now: Its time for them to go.

Posted by David Mader at 02:53 PM | (0) | Back to Main


Venezuela's Ambassador to the United Nations has resigned in protest and response to the erosion of human rights in his homeland.

Posted by David Mader at 01:21 PM | (1) | Back to Main

More on Jean Carle

The activities of Jean Carle make matters all the more suspicious. He is the utterly loyal aide who once lived in Mr. Chrétien's basement. As the former PM's chief of operations, Jean Carle headed up the crackdown on dissent at the infamous APEC conference in Vancouver. He was then appointed by Mr. Pelletier to the Business Development Bank. There he partook in the vendetta campaign against Mr. Beaudoin.

Just last month he denied knowing anything about sponsorship transactions at the bank. This week the head of the bank filed a report identifying Mr. Carle as the executive who approved $393,000 worth of sponsorships.

Are we to believe that in all his sordid activities Jean Carle was operating independently, as a freelancer? Or was he a jackal for those at the highest levels?

The stench grows.

Posted by David Mader at 12:54 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Jean Carle

Today's mandatory Adscam reading is Margaret Wente's column in the Globe. Its a profile of Jean Carle, one of Chretien's most senior cronies. Wente compares him, physically at least, to Tony Soprano. When you read the rest of the article, it doesnt' sound like such a bad comparison. As is becoming more and more obvious, the way this country is run sounds like something our of the Godfather.

Mr. Beaudoin was president of the Business Development Bank when he met Mr. Carle in a corporate box at a hockey game one night in 1997. "It was Mr. Pelletier who introduced Jean Carle to me," he recalls. "He indicated to me that Mr. Carle was seeking a return to the private sector."

Jean Pelletier, who was fired as Via Rail chairman this week, was then Mr. Chrétien's chief of staff. Also enjoying the game that night were Marc LeFrançois, the currently suspended president of Via, and Jean Lafleur, who runs one of the ad agencies that raked in millions in commissions. At the time, Mr. Beaudoin wanted to hire someone who would handle corporate affairs and be a liaison to Ottawa. He told Mr. Pelletier he was in the process of choosing a recruiting firm. Mr. Pelletier recommended Manon Vennat, who also happened to be the former wife of the chairman of the bank. By a miraculous coincidence, Ms. Vennat found that the best-qualified man for the job was Mr. Carle. The search fee was between $50,000 and $100,000.

It stinks to high heaven. Read the whole thing.

Posted by David Mader at 12:40 PM | (0) | Back to Main

March 03, 2004


See, the thing about a 'culture of corruption' is that it's pervasive.

Posted by David Mader at 06:55 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Morning in America

That seems to be the theme of the newly-released TV ads from the Bush campaign. Well, sort of. Reagan's '84 campaign ("Morning Again in America") played on the situation prior to his election in '80; with Bush, things is 2000 were getting bad, but they weren't bad yet. And yet the message of turning a corner certainly rings true.

With the war increasingly neutralized as an issue, Democrats are playing up the economy as an issue where they are more trusted than the incumbent. This seems a little bit reckless to me, since the economy has been improving steadily and look set to continue to do so over the summer months. The fact is that we're no longer in the trough that marked the first two-and-a-half years of Bush's tenure, and whether or not his tax cuts are responsible for the recovery (my inclination is no, though I obviously support them anyway) the question of economy is a question of future policy, not past actions.

I think I quite like the campaign slogan - 'Steady Leadership in a Time of Change." I wonder if it was chosen from a number specifically because it plays to Kerry's waffling on so many issues. It certainly seems to work - Bush has been largely consistent, often to the consternation of his opponents (and supporters), and none can deny that these are changing times. Actually, whether or not you believe these are changing times may be the single greatest indicator of how you will vote in November.

So, in sum, I like the ads, but I'm not the target audience. Will they work in general broadcast? I think the digs at Kerry are subtle enough that the overriding tone of optimism - which is almost overdone - will predominate. I think they'll remind people of how much the nation has changed in the past three years, and that will make at least some people acknowledge the importance of strong and steady - and forward-looking - leadership.

Still, it's no sure thing. And these won't be nearly the last of the campaign ads.

[Via Instapundit]

Posted by David Mader at 03:51 PM | (3) | Back to Main


Jacob Morse at 2 Cents @ Least has some long and thoughtful comments on Gibson's film. I was encouraged by this observation:

While Jews were responsible for Christ's death, it was not the Jews (i.e. - a race) that sent Him to the cross.

As Jacob points out, and as I mentioned, Jews were the predominant people in the region at the time, so it was inevitable that some be involved in the narrative.

There are also some very interesting comments by readers who both agree and disagree with Morse. I'm still not sure where I stand. One comment: the argument that 'Jesus and the Disciples were Jews' doesn't hold water, since each of them accepted Jesus as the Christ, either immediately or in time. There should be a recognition - not in the movie but in general theology - that these individuals were, from an early stage, distinct from the mass Jewish population. To portray them as Jews is to suggest that Jews either accepted Jesus or ought to have accepted him. Of course that later position remains a central tenet of so much Christian belief - and it's in dealing with that tenet that I believe Christianity remains ambivalent towards Judaism.

Posted by David Mader at 10:21 AM | (0) | Back to Main

John Kerry: Leader

What his critics see as an inability to take strong, clear positions seems to us to reflect his appreciation that life is not simple. He understands the nuances.
-The New York Times on John Kerry, quoted by Mark Steyn.

And that's in the paper's endorsement. Ouch.

Posted by David Mader at 08:43 AM | (0) | Back to Main

The Passion

Mark Steyn weighs in. He says fears of anti-Semitism are misplaced.

Posted by David Mader at 12:28 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Generation Next

Andrew Sullivan:

When you visit college campuses as I do all the time, you realize that the gay issue is basically over for the younger generation.

I think that's about right. I'm not sure it necessarily follows that the younger generation sees marriage rights as universal; I also think the point can be overstated. There's still resistence, and there's still quiet - and spoken - discrimination. But I also think there's been a sea-change on the issue of homosexuality over the past decade - at an increasing pace in the past three years - and I think the generational gap in attitudes is quite pronounced.

But maybe I'm wrong. I know there are a lot of university-aged readers here at Maderblog - what's your take?

Posted by David Mader at 12:17 AM | (2) | Back to Main

March 02, 2004


Through Superior Firepower.


[Via the Blogads at DanielDrezner.Com]

Posted by David Mader at 11:54 PM | (0) | Back to Main


Opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have fought a long campaing to test the president's popularity - and mandate - in a popular referendum. About 3.4 million signatures were collected in a recall petition, far more than the 2.4 million needed to trigger a constitutionally-mandated referendum.

Today, the National Electoral Council declared 1.6 million signatures invalid, leaving the campaign with 1.8 million signatures - below the trigger threshold.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to falsify one million six hundred thousand signatures in a non-conspicuous manner? Because I don't, but I think it would have to be pretty damned hard.

So what next for Venezuela? Bruce Gottfried at Autonomous Source says it may go the way of Cuba and Zimbabwe - at least to judge by Chavez' friends. He also has links to some Venezuelan blogs worth watching.

Posted by David Mader at 10:38 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Super Tuesday

I think we can all agree that tonight's big story is that Howard Dean finally won a primary.

Posted by David Mader at 09:30 PM | (0) | Back to Main

The Passion

I haven't said much about the controversy surrounding The Passion of the Christ, in part because I haven't yet seen the movie, and in part because I'm not sure how I feel. If nothing else, I think the prime focus of the controversy - accusations of anti-Semitism - are misplaced. I think the film may be far more dangerous because of deeper theological consequences, rather than societal or sociological consequences such as anti-Semitism.

David Frum has posted reader e-mail, and one passage in particular caught my eye. A reader writes: "Jews are seen [in the movie] as both supporters and accusers."

My question - both rhetorical and to those who've seen the movie - is this: are Jews seen as anything else? This is very important. If Jews are seen as accusers, there is a suggestion of deicide - even if deicide is necessary. If Jews are seen as supporters, they are in fact seen as pseudo-Christians - individuals who recognize the special nature of Jesus but who have not - yet - accepted him as Messiah.

But what about Jews who neither support Jesus nor condemn him? Does the film allow for a coexisting, legitimate and ongoing Jewish faith?

I ask because it seems ever more to me that Mel Gibson does not. And I think the film is at the very least revealing that he is far from alone.

Posted by David Mader at 01:26 PM | (3) | Back to Main


Here's a pretty comprehensive report on how things stand.

What caught my eye, actually, was the ambiguousness of the headline "Haiti's Conflict Moves to Political Front." The article casts this in a negative light: the confrontation which brought down Aristide now threatens the Haitian political process. But it seems to me a movement to the political front is precisely what is desired, isn't it? The alternative - a violent conflict alongside a conflict-free political system - smacks a little too much of totalitarianism for my tastes. If political conflict is going to replace violent conflict, I for one am all for it.

Posted by David Mader at 09:53 AM | (0) | Back to Main

March 01, 2004

Aristide Claims American Coup

And, as you might expect from this flag-waving, drum-beating corner, I don't buy it a piece. He says:

They were telling me that if I don't leave they would start shooting, and be killing in a matter of time,.

Now I'm prepared to believe that American troops were at the presidential palace on Saturday night to see through a smooth departure. I'm quite prepared to believe that they repeated a State Department message to Aristide, that unless he left 'they' would start shooting, and be killing in a matter of time. But if those two things are true, I think it's almost self-evident that the Americans would have been talking about the Haitian rebels, who at that very hour stood on the ouskirts of the capital and had promised to march on the palace itself.

Did Aristide in his paranoia misunderstand the American message - suggesting a profound unfitness for his role as the head of the Hatian government? Or is he doing some after-the-fact spinning, hoping once again to be restored to power?

I'm inclined to say that it's a little bit of both.

Posted by David Mader at 08:48 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Palestinian "Victim" Fraud

Over the years, the Palestinians have become very good at playing to the media. They know when the cameras are around and know what kind of images get on the news. Images of poor, defenceless children hurt by the evil Jews, for example.

So they make sure that the journalists get lots and lots of these images to pawn off on viewers. Sometimes these images are even real. But, quite often, they are rather questionable. There are reports of whole incidents being faked, of ambulances appearing instantly as if by clockwork, and of the same "patients" being repeatedly rushed to hospital.

LGF has a great example of this. Remember this next time you see the CBC reporting on how brutal the Jews are.

Posted by David Mader at 08:17 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Whither Palestine?

This morning:

Palestinians Monday demanded the execution of four men for the rape and murder of a Gaza girl of 16, a rare sex crime that has deepened fears of a slide into lawlessness accelerated by the conflict with Israel...

Palestinians are grappling with a breakdown in law and order they say has been accelerated by Israeli army raids. Israel says the raids are to pre-empt Palestinian militant attacks, but Palestinians say they have also crippled their security services.

This afternoon:

Gunmen shot and killed a well-known adviser to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City early Tuesday, security officials said. Khalil al-Zaben, 59, was hit by 12 bullets has he left his office in the Sabra neighborhood, hospital and security officials said...

In recent weeks, Gaza has been rocked by internal Palestinian violence, as rival groups vie for control. There is concern that with the weakening of Arafat's Palestinian Authority and a planned Israeli pullout from most of the Gaza Strip, a chaotic situation might result.

So the Israeli occupation prevents law enforcement, but an Israeli withdrawal will result in chaos. Hmm.

Claims of Israeli interference in law enforcement are highly overstated. The uncomfortable truth is that all too many of the men nominally part of the Palestinain police force are (also) members of the various terrorist organizations, or at the very least armed partisans of the various politico-militarist factions such as Arafat's Fatah. What we're now seeing - this slide into gang-landism and lawlessness - is the necessary consequence of Arafat's autocratic rule in the Palestinian territories. It was inevitable after his death, and his marginalization has only hastened its arrival. It has not caused it.

Posted by David Mader at 07:24 PM | (0) | Back to Main


The conservative backlash against "The Passion of the Christ" seems to be gathering speed. William Safire asks:

And there's the rub. At a moment when a wave of anti-Semitic violence is sweeping Europe and the Middle East, is religion well served by updating the Jew-baiting passion plays of Oberammergau on DVD? Is art served by presenting the ancient divisiveness in blood-streaming media to the widest audiences in the history of drama?

Exactly. As Safire explains, this is a very problematic movie.

What are the dramatic purposes of this depiction of cruelty and pain? First, shock; the audience I sat in gasped at the first tearing of flesh. Next, pity at the sight of prolonged suffering. And finally, outrage: who was responsible for this cruel humiliation? What villain deserves to be punished?

Not Pontius Pilate, the Roman in charge; he and his kindly wife are sympathetic characters. Nor is King Herod shown to be at fault.

The villains at whom the audience's outrage is directed are the actors playing bloodthirsty rabbis and their rabid Jewish followers. This is the essence of the medieval "passion play," preserved in pre-Hitler Germany at Oberammergau, a source of the hatred of all Jews as "Christ killers."

Doesn't sound good to me.

Posted by David Mader at 01:55 PM | (4) | Back to Main

Tories Pull Out of Iraq Probe

Conservative leader Michael Howard has withdrawn his party from a probe into Britan's pre-war intelligence.

The probe into intelligence about Iraq, led by former top civil servant Lord Butler, was seen as a late effort by Blair to clear the air over Iraq. The Conservatives, who supported the war, had agreed to play a part in the probe, although the other opposition party, the Liberal Democrats, opposed it.

But Conservative leader Howard said in a letter to Blair he had decided to withdraw his backing for the probe because Butler had announced he would look only at "structures, systems and processes" and not at the actions of individuals.

"There is no basis in the terms of reference for that and I consider it a quite unjustifiable restriction of the committee's approach," Howard wrote.

I'll be interested to read more about this, but from a purely superficial perspective it's hard not to side with Blair on this one. By withdrawing support for the probe into a war the Tories ought to have supported - but have been shamefully ambiguous about - Howard appears the crass opportunist. From a political standpoint he may be right to kick Blair while he's down; but if the Tories can only win the Commons by playing dirty, they shouldn't win the Commons. I sure hope there's more to the story than this.

Posted by David Mader at 01:48 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Where's the Outrage?

India Finishing Fence on Disputed Border:

Despite objections from its nuclear-armed rival, Pakistan, India will finish building an electric fence along the Kashmir border this summer, the Indian army chief said Monday.

Pakistan fears the fence is a move toward making the cease-fire line into an official boundary, which it opposes. The Line of Control was drawn up after the two countries' last war in 1971.

Indian officials say the fence will help block infiltration by Pakistani-based separatist rebels who have been fighting since 1989 for independence for India's portion of Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan. More than 65,000 people have died in the fighting.

Obviously this is an unwarranted land-grab by India, and will serve only to perpetuate the cycle of violence. By, uh, ensuring that, uh, the perpetrators of that violence, will, uh, be unable to, uh, be violent.

Or something.

Good fences, folks. And is it just me, or is that last sentence astounding? "More than 65,000 people have died in the fighting."

Posted by David Mader at 01:43 PM | (0) | Back to Main

On Aristide

The Wall Street Journal:

Yesterday's events vindicate U.S. restraint in dispatching troops, notwithstanding John Kerry's ill-timed assertion last week that they should have been sent in earlier to support Mr. Aristide.

I also advocated an earlier deployment, although not to support Aristide but to replace him. Was I wrong? I'm not sure; but I think the administration deserves more credit than it's received. Either a series of remarkable coincidences allowed the (relatively) peaceful departure of Aristide and the deployment of an interim force as desired, or else Washington picked its goals quite early on and worked steadily and succesfully towards them.

Opponents of the administration should take note.

Posted by David Mader at 09:58 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Eleven for Eleven

Huzzah! Eleven academy awards, not just for Return of the King but for the whole trilogy, a remarkable motion-picture achievement. It makes you care even less that Sean Penn would see Saddam in power tonight.

I'm re-reading LOTR, and it really is amazing how far the movies part from the story - and how wonderful they still are, and how they capture the spirit of the books.

Just one more thing: there were lots of cracks about all the Kiwis - but there were also prominent Australian and South African voices (and, in fariness, Canadian). Is Hollywood going anglosphere? Just a thought.

Posted by David Mader at 12:11 AM | (2) | Back to Main