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April 30, 2004

Justice for Gerald Amirault

Gerald Amirault is a free man.
He was released from prison in Massachusetts this morning, after serving 18 years for a crime that it is almost impossible to believe he could have committed.

It is a joyous day for this prisoner, behind bars for 18 years after his 1986 conviction on charges of child sex abuse based on fantastical testimony dragged from pre-schoolers. Gerald's mother Violet and his sister Cheryl served eight years before their convictions were overturned in 1995.

It is also a happy day for The Wall Street Journal. Readers of this page will be familiar with Dorothy Rabinowitz's accounts of judicial abuse of the Amirault family and others falsely convicted of child sex abuse during a wave of irrational cases that swept the courts in the 1980s.

A truly terrifying example of the power of the state to lock up the innocent.

Posted by David Mader at 09:32 PM | (4) | Back to Main

April 29, 2004

Grapes' Goodbye

Adam Daifallah notes that the CBC may not renew Don Cherry's contract for his popular 'Coach's Corner' segment on Hockey Night in Canada. Daifallah predicts "riots in the streets," recalling the outrage surrounding the (reversed) decision to can Cherry's straight-man Ron MacLean.

I'm not so sure. Canadians love Ron MacLean. Oh, lots of folks like Cherry - and they, like Cherry, tend to be vocal and abrasive. But Canadians, I think, simply love Ron MacLean. He's quiet, well-spoken, polite, intelligent, quite obviously kind - in short, he's everything Canadians think they are, or should be. He's a trusted character on television, and that - more than any connection to Coach's Corner - is why so many were upset when the CBC moved to let him go.

Grapes (that's Cherry, for all you non-hockey types) is a character, and he has a very devoted following, but I think a lot of people have grown tired of his schtick lately. There will certainly be press reports about outrage when he leaves, but I don't think there will be the same broad and vocal protest as returned MacLean to the network. I expect most Canadians will decided that Hockey Night in Canada can do without Cherry, just as long as MacLean is around. And they like that nice Hrudey boy too.

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

April 28, 2004

The Myth of the Massacre

This evening on Global TV in Canada there aired a documentary by Martin Himmel entitled Jenin: Massacring the Truth. The documentary confronts the distortions of truth in media reports about the Israeli incursion into Jenin in April, 2002. Within the first twenty minutes the documentary notes not only the initial accusations of 'massacre' and 'atrocity', as well as the subsequent withdrawals and corrections.

The most eye-opening and damning segment of the program, however, involves Himmel and an Israeli soldier, Jonathan Van Caspel, confronting the (largely European) reporters who made the allegations. Many admit their errors, although some - including the Telegraph's David Blair - maintain that they committed no error in reporting without question the 'eye-witness' accounts of Palestinians who alleged mass-graves and war crimes.

Some stand by their accounts. I was deeply disturbed by the interview with the (London) Times' Janine di Giovanni, who repeated her comparison of Jenin not only with Bosnia but with Rwanda. She refused to speak with Van Caspel, saying she wasn't comfortable with him in the room - and she proceeds to ask Himmel whether he is Jewish.

The National Post has a short article on the documentary here, but it's only available to subscribers. I urge them to make it widely availabe; this is a story that needs to be spread. I'll try and get my hands on a transcript as well, and I'll see if I can post the more astounding exchanges. The documentary can be purchased here.

Jenin: Massacring the Truth was billed as an attempt to set the record straight. But it does more than that. It reveals the deep flaws and continued biases of many of those who continue to shape public discourse. For that reason alone, this is a must-see.

Posted by David Mader at 10:04 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Freedom and Horror

Andrew Sullivan links to this story - which got considerable play some months ago - about the implementation of consentual arbitration panels, established under the laws (and oversight) of the Province of Ontario, which will operate according to Sharia law. Sullivan calls it "a horrifying turn of events."

I couldn't bring myself to condemn this legal development when it was news before, and I haven't changed my mind. I remain worried that individuals within the Muslim community will feel pressured to seek Sharia arbitration, but as long as a) there's some reasonable protection against such pressure, and b) the Sharia panels do not have the power to contradict or supercede the laws of the Province of Ontario, I don't see the problem.

The elimination of the state church can mean one of two things at the extreme. It can mean the total elimination of any public expressions of religion - and France seems to be heading in this direction. Or it can mean a total freedom for individuals to practice their own faith, provided the practice does not infringe on the liberties of others as protected by the state. Yes, this latter option raises the possiblity of ghettoization and group- rather than civic-identity. That's the cost of freedom.

The advent of consensual Sharia arbitration panels has evoked such strong reaction from so many pundits with whom I usually see eye-to-eye that I wonder whether I'm missing something. If I am, please let me know.

Posted by David Mader at 08:19 PM | (5) | Back to Main

This is Sick

Some kids collect baseball cards. Some Palestinian kids, apparently, collect intifada cards:

"This is a woman whose child was killed," an 8-year-old child explains gravely. "This is a boy who was shot when he threw stones at a tank," he goes on.

"This is a 'shaheed,' a martyr," says another boy of about the same age, pointing to a picture of an open coffin, draped in the Palestinian flag, being carried through a street crowded with mourners. "These are all pictures about the misery of the Palestinians," he adds, showing off a whole album of photos of death and destruction.

It's called the "Intifada Album," named after the three-year, Arab uprising in the occupied territories. Its producers say it is the only thing that Palestinian children can identify with now...

There are prizes for the first kids to complete their Intifada album — a football, a bicycle, even a computer — normal, harmless rewards for a game that seems to perpetuate an abnormal culture of suffering, martyrdom and revenge.

I'm actually (perhaps surprisingly) sympathetic to the notion that Palestinian children, who live in a culture of perennial violence, have no role models to look up to or emulate. But filling that void through the glorification of 'martyrs' only perpetuates that culture of violence; worse, it implants that culture in the minds of those who would otherwise represent the promise of peace. Children should never be encouraged to participate in violent acts, regardless of the political context. Abnormal doesn't even begin to describe it. It's tragic.

Posted by David Mader at 07:11 PM | (0) | Back to Main

On the Other Hand...

Maybe I should just work for a few years and then apply to law school here.

Man, the logistics of starting a university must be mind-blowing. McGill started with a private (land) grant, and started small; how do you plan to open a school complete with medical and law faculties in one fell swoop?

Posted by David Mader at 06:50 PM | (1) | Back to Main

The Way of Things

My blogging around here has been pretty weak lately, and I'm the first to admit it. In large part that's due to seasonal factors - the end of the school term, exams and papers, and so on. Another seasonal factor is going to keep me from blogging over the coming weekend - I'm moving back to Ottawa for the summer, and I'll be away from a computer for a few days.

I'm not sure what blogging's going to be like over the summer months. When I'm away from school I tend to say that school gives me more time to blog, and when I'm in school I tend to say that being out of school gives me more time to blog. So who knows.

But it's the long term that I'm thinking about right now. As some of you may know, I'm moving to Austin in late August to attend law school at the University of Texas. I intend to keep blogging, because I love it.

But there will be changes; that's inevitable. For one thing, I'll no longer be in Canada. I've only recently begun to focus on Canadian issues, but since I have I've become enmeshed, to a degree, in the growing Canadian blogosphere. I enjoy my Canadian-themed blogging and I hope to continue that, but living in Texas will necessarily change my approach to Canadian issues.

What's more, I'm anticipating a lot less 'free time' in the fall. An undergraduate schedule is not overly arduous, and I've been able to indulge in the news-reading necessary to keep the blog up to speed. What with reading and assignments and more reading and more assignments, I don't anticipate having as much time to blog in the fall. As I said a year ago, "It doesn't pay me, and it doesn't grade me, so I do it when I can."

The truth is, I don't know what things are going to be like in the fall. All I know is that there will be changes. But I don't intend to stop. I enjoy blogging, and from the feedback I get - and the rise in readership I seem to be seeing - at least some of you enjoy it too. I just want you all to know why things might seem a little different round these parts come September.

Posted by David Mader at 04:23 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Tasteless Headline Alert

NY Ready for Another Hole in the Ground

The story is about proposed construction on a new subway line. Am I the only one for whom the words "NYC" and "hole in the ground" evoke this?

[It's from Reuters]

Posted by David Mader at 01:40 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Presidential Poll Paradox

Daniel Drezner weighs in with perhaps the most persuasive analysis yet. Part of its force is its simplicity. In short: trouble in Iraq keeps the focus on Iraq, which is a national security issue; though the President's disapprove numbers on Iraq (and terrorism) have been creeping up, he still enjoys a considerable lead on those issues over Kerry. And so: a month of turmoil in Iraq and questions about handling terrorism, rather than undermining support for Bush, simply keeps the ball in the President's court.

Posted by David Mader at 11:34 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 27, 2004


Dan may have overstated, but he isn't nearly alone in fearing EU-overreach. The Telegraph reports that British businessmen have turned against further EU integration. In a leader, the paper discusses the ramifications:

Ever since the last referendum in 1979, there has, broadly, been a consensus that most sensible, moderate people were in favour of the EU because it was good for business. The EU was forward-looking and modern. It meant prosperity, lower trade barriers, and easier movement of people, goods and capital. Indeed, it was these noble sentiments that drove the creation of the single market and the launching of the euro.

Now the picture has changed markedly. ICM found that 65 per cent of businessmen believe that handing more powers to the EU would increase the regulatory burden. When it comes to the EU constitution itself, 59 per cent fear it will be bad for their business; and 80 per cent believe powers over employment, trade and civil rights should be returned from Brussels to the British Parliament.

The paper concludes: "Mr Blair has done the country a great favour by promising a referendum, but finds himself a victim of the law of unintended consequences. He has halted the federalist bandwagon, despite being on the wrong side of the argument himself." It's something I've been saying for a while; but I've also long thought that Blair was an exceptional politician. I still can't understand why he would have 'saved' himself from anti-war (and other) criticism by changing the subject to a debate he looks likely to lose.

Posted by David Mader at 11:03 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Terrorism Scare on Vancouver-Bound Jet?

Hadn't heard much about this:

VANCOUVER (CP) - Two fighter planes escorted an Air Canada jet as it landed here Tuesday.

Officials were tight-lipped about the reason for the escort, refusing to confirm even whether a threat was made against the plane, which landed safely. Flight 109, a Boeing 767 aircraft, originated in Halifax and stopped in Toronto before arriving Tuesday afternoon in Vancouver.

Probably nothing serious, but something to keep an eye on all the same.

MORE: From CTV: "Although Air Canada officials said "people came and went," Rossington said the flight's passengers never appeared at their designated baggage carousel.

"We're hearing reports they're being questioned by the RCMP... we don't know if they were spirited away for questioning, we have no idea."

But the Post reports: "Passengers were allowed to collect their baggage and were not detained." And perhaps more importantly: "But two government sources told CBC that there was a threat but it turned out to be a false alarm."

Um, if a threat was made, it wasn't a false alarm. It may have been a false threat, but the alarm was all well and good, as far as I'm concerned. Let's find out who's making threats and why.

Posted by David Mader at 10:05 PM | (0) | Back to Main


Security forces foil a massive chemical weapon attack. Sudan has returned Syrian missiles and chemical weapons components. And the Washington Times' Insight Magazine is taking a closer look at WMD facility discoveries in Iraq.

But, you know, our intelligence was faulty; there was absolutely no reason to believe Iraq was hiding anything dangerous.

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

The Greatest Canadians

My friend Charles, who's a reservist with the Canadian Army, forwarded me this wonderful story and the associated pictures. In short: Canadian women serving with the International Security Assistance Force decided to mark International Women's Day and raise money for women's issues in Afghanistan by releasing a calendar of female soldiers serving with the NATO force. In the spirit of my photographic tribute to American forces, I'm posting the calendar photos below. I'm not sure whether any copies of the calendar are still available, but I'm going to try and find out; as far as I'm concerned, this should be hanging in every house in Canada.

The CBC is currently soliciting nominations for the Greatest Canadian. These women are putting their lives on hold - and on the line - to work towards a more secure Afghanistan - and a safer world. In the midst of their duties they have taken the time to organize a fundraiser for Afghani women. These women are as great as any.

Posted by David Mader at 09:15 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Why I hate the Franco-German Empire

Because they regulate tomatoes.

That's right, tomatoes. And I'm not talking about health and safety regulations. I wouldn't mind too much if they just prevented people from selling rotten tomatoes, or those containing too many chemicals.

In Europe, though, the unnelected super-government specificies which varieties of tomatoes may legally be sold. The list them, in the legislation.

The problem? When they drew up the law a few years ago, they forgot about one kind of tomato. Or, more correctly, they didn't know about it, because it wasn't very popular at th time. Since then, apparently, grape tomatoes have become extremely popular in the US. You can't buy them in Europe, though, because they aren't on the list. If you did try to sell them in Europe, you could go to jail. That's right, jail. For selling a non-prescribed variety of tomato.

I don't just call these people fascists for effect. There really is no part of the economy, no matter how small, that they don't want to control.

Posted by David Mader at 04:36 PM | (7) | Back to Main

Blasts, Gunfire in Damascus

There are reports of explosions and gunfire in Damascus, as security forces have apparently engaged a terrorist group in the Syrian capital. The altercation seems to be focused around the Iranian ambassador's residence, although British and Canadian diplomatic premises may also have been involved.

MORE (15:49 EDT): THe Melbourne Herald Sun reports that a building housing UN offices is on fire following the explosions.

The Latest (17:27 EDT): From the AP:

Attackers firing automatic rifles and grenade launchers attacked a United Nations office in Damascus, the Syrian ambassador in Washington said. A U.N. spokeswoman said a building formerly occupied by a U.N. agency may have been hit.

A gunbattle with police erupted, pelting nearby buildings with bullets and grenades, Ambassador Imad Moustapha said...

"The British ambassador's residence is very close to the UN offcies and there was a random exchange of fire and probably every building in that area was hit by a grenade or a bullet," he said.

That appears to have included the Canadian embassy or residence.

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

The Politics of Hair Parts

Paul Tuns:

Adam Daifallah posts two photos of Joe Clark and wonders if he tints his hair. I think so. I also think that he parts its further left.


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

Turn Iraq Over to the UN?

Bad idea?

Any moral standing the U.N. possessed ended soon after U.N. weapons inspectors returned to Iraq. On January 25, 2003, 29-year-old Adnan Abdul Karim Enad jumped into a U.N. inspector's jeep, screaming "Save me! Save me!" As television cameras rolled, U.N. security guards dragged him from the vehicle and handed him to Iraqi soldiers. The same day, an Iraqi government worker forced his way into the U.N. compound, pleading for protection. U.N. guards evicted him. Hans Blix, then chief weapons inspector in Iraq, criticized the Iraqi asylum seekers, saying they should find "more elegant ways" of approaching U.N. staff. They cannot. Both men apparently disappeared in Iraqi custody, likely executed soon after Blix's team turned them over to their persecutors. Rather than show remorse, Blix suggested to the Danish daily Jyllands Posten on April 7, 2004, that Iraqis were better off under Saddam. With telephone lines open and long-time exiles returning to see their families, the incidents of that day, not broadcast on Iraqi television, have become known. To Iraqis, the U.N. represents moral ineptitude. "They investigated the U.N. workers who allowed the massacre at Srebrenica. How come they don't hold accountable those who handed that poor boy to his death?" one Shia Iraqi asked as we sat in a Baghdad living room.

What Westerners see as a beacon of morality, Iraqis see as a friend to dictators everywhere.

Posted by David Mader at 12:16 AM | (2) | Back to Main

April 26, 2004

And Anti-American Too

Lakhdar Brahimi just keeps on rolling. Less than a week after blaming the 'poison' of Israeli policy for mid-east unrest, the UN official responsible for constructing an interim Iraqi government has demonstrated his contempt for the United States as well:

I think that there is unanimity in the Arab World, and indeed in much of the rest of the world, that the Israeli policy is wrong, that Israeli policy is brutal, repressive, and that they are not interested in peace no matter what you seem to believe in America.

Ah, yes, it's all a grand Americo-Zionist conspiracy to control the world. Well, if that's true, let's demonstrate it by removing this man from his misinformed office.

MORE (23:41 EDT): Mark Steyn:

Meanwhile, Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN’s special envoy to Iraq, has told French radio listeners that "the great poison in the region" is Israeli "domination" and told American television viewers that the Israelis "are not interested in peace, no matter what you seem to believe in America". Well, he certainly hit the ground running. A week in town and he is already sounding like any decades-old Arab despot. In The Spectator a year ago, I warned against handing over Iraq to the UN: it would simply "install as high commissioner a non-Iraqi Arab bureaucrat" who’d "effectively wind up as an Arab League minder, there to ensure that the Iraqis didn’t get any funny ideas (rule of law, representative government) which might unduly discombobulate the Egyptians, Saudis et al." But even I didn’t think they’d ship over such a walking, talking cliché of Arab League man as Mr Brahimi.


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

Memory Lane

My last exam is tomorrow morning, and I've been cleaning up my apartment as I pack. I came across a list of quotes I took in my second year, during my money and banking class. My professor, Tom Velk, was one of the highlights of my undergraduate career - he's a genuinely nice guy, and an old-school Austrian-school economist. (Check this out: "The questions he is currently studying are how far and by what means might governments de-regulate the money market, and whether the elimination of central banks would improve economic performance.") I hope that posting the following quotes won't get him in trouble in any way; I'm doing it mostly for myself. I must make clear that they are out of context and entirely unrepresentative; moreover, Velk purposely and admittedly said things in order to spark discussion.

Jan. 8/02: "Just as a political statement, I feel it's important to drive a really big car."

Jan. 15/02: "All these people sueing Ford Motor Company [about Firestone tires] should be suing these labor gansters [instead]."

Jan. 15/02: "It's one of the ways Hillary Clinton probably stole a lot of money."

Jan. 15/02: [On low income receivers] "They may be dumber, they may work less hard, they may sabotage tires at the Firestone factory."

Jan. 24/02: "Or running to Mr. Clinton, saying 'Here are my daughters, give me some money.'"

Feb. 12/02: "You've been reading your book again, instead of going out smoking and drinking at night."

Feb. 14/02: "The Finns, you know, they lived too close to Communism for too long..."

Feb. 19/02: "People who say Argentina shows that currency boards don't work are like people who say that California shows that energy deregulation doesn't work. These are very dumb people."

Feb. 21/02: "I don't know why they say 'C.I.S.' Why don't they just say 'former Communists?' They should face up to it."

March 7/02: "Don't you guys watch MSNBC? What do you watch, dirty movies all the time?"

March 12/02: "If he was stupid enough to have 100% of his savings in Enron, he deserves to be poor."

March 14/02: "The money can't come from the Baby Jesus, right?"

But wait! There's more!: These are from his Introduction to Political Economy course:

Sep. 5/02: "Edmund Burke wrote about the French Revolution, and like any reasonable person he deplored it."

Sep. 12/02: "The term we use in economics for these things is 'public good' - whatever it may be: the subways, your education, medicare, bla bla bla."

Sep. 17/02: "Now there are many arguments against trade; most of them don't make any sense."

Sep. 26/02: "Economics is so simple it's embarassing to lecture about it, as a matter of fact."

Oct. 3/02: "If the Democrats are in the hands of the trial lawyers and the public-school teachers, the Republicans are in the hands of the highly-productive members of the community."

Posted by David Mader at 11:03 PM | (0) | Back to Main

But what will they run ON?

Greetings from Ottawa, where everyone seems to agree that we'll be going to the polls on June 14.

Jeffrey Simpson asks the Martinites a rather difficult question: if they are in such a hurry to call an election, exactly what are they going to be running on?

They have done next to nothing since Mr. Martin took office, except present a budget that was sensibly prudent, mildly interesting but politically dull.

There has been a blizzard of speeches and prime ministerial travels, pointing rather vaguely in a variety of directions. There have been federal-provincial meetings, a day-long session with aboriginals, new procedures in Parliament and a variety of largely recycled promises on such matters as money from a previously announced infrastructure fund for the Toronto Transit Commission and defence procurement.

There will be other announcements, such as the likely move of the headquarters of the new Public Health Agency to Winnipeg, a political prize for Manitoba's Reg Alcock.

If the Martinites wish to risk their majority in an election on such a flimsy record, they are welcome.

Ouch. Simpson has a point (bet you never thought you'd hear me say that!).

I don't think that Martin really ever planned on having to run on anything. He'd just come into office and coast towards a spring election, content to use his personal popularity to get him through. In that respect the sponsorship scandal has been his undoing. Its not that it knocked his government off track. Its that it both revealed the emptiness of his policy cupboard and was greatly magnified by that emptiness - since the government had no business with which to distract people.

Had they arrived in office with a clear and precise idea of what they wanted to do and how to accomplish it, and acted on that agenda with determination, there would already have been an election called. That there is even a debate about June or the fall illustrates how they have disappointed Canadians.

Again, I agree with Simpson. Scary.

Posted by David Mader at 09:01 PM | (0) | Back to Main


I think Andrew Coyne sums up the brouhaha surrounding Joe Clark's recent comments nicely:

Everyone else in the two parties has had to put a large amount of water in his wine -- everyone, that is, except Mr. Clark and his followers, such as Sen. Lowell Murray, those loud exponents of compromise and tolerance who are utterly incapable of compromise and supremely intolerant of anyone's views but their own.

Joe Clark has made his choice - and when, at least in recent memory, has Joe Clark ever displayed acute discretion? The man's whole political career has been a series of mistakes. And I'm not just saying that out of latter-day spite; I'm pretty sure I've always thought Joe Who to be a useless - and not entirely harmless - 'conservative.'

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

Kerry, Ribbons and Medals

This exchange between John Kerry and ABCNews reporter Charlie Gibson is getting considerable attention (Glen Reynolds calls it 'pretty devastating', and Roger Simon has a good backgrounder). I haven't followed the issue closely - but Kerry's angry response only seems to dig him further into a hole.

The controversy surrounds Kerry's participation in a 1971 ceremony wherein Vietnam vets opposed to the war threw their awards over the White House fence to demonstrate their rejection of US policy. Kerry threw medals - and ribbons - over the fence. Running for office some thirteen years later, Kerry was castigated for throwing away his medals (by 1984 America was 'back' and such activity was not a vote-winner). He responded that he had not thrown away his medals - the medals he threw belonged to two other vets - but that he had thrown away his ribbons. The allegation is that Kerry made the distinction in order to shore up political support. A recently-unearthed interview from 1971 shows Kerry boasting of throwing away his medals, however, and has raised the question anew.

In his interview with ABC, Kerry suggests that he never meant to distinguish between medals and ribbons"

ribbons, medals were absolutely interchangeable - senator simmington asking me questions in the committee hearing, looking at the ribbons and said what are those medals? the u.s. navy pamphlet(?) calls them medals, we referred to them - it is a symbol, representing medals, ribbons, countless veterans through the ribbon -- threw the ribbons back.

All sic, though I've tried to clean it up a little. So where does it leave us? Only here: that John Kerry threw his medals - sorry, ribbons which are interchangeable with medals - back. That was bad politics in 1984 (I'm measuring not by Kerry's alleged obfuscation but by the success of the Reagan campaign), but apparently Kerry thinks it's good politics - or at least neutral politics - in 2004.

Posted by David Mader at 03:32 PM | (3) | Back to Main

The Presidential Poll Paradox

President Bush has a bad month, and his poll numbers go up. I've been exploring it below. Now Mark Steyn says he's got it figured out.

Posted by David Mader at 12:26 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Bad Economy Watch

New home sales were up 8.9% in March. [Corrected: Come on, it said 89% for like two and half hours - did nobody catch that, or is nobody reading my blog anymore?]

Um, I'm sure that's bad for someone, but it sound pretty good to me.

Posted by David Mader at 11:47 AM | (2) | Back to Main

April 25, 2004

One Nation Divisible

Further to my earlier post, here's an article from the Daily News in which pollsters suggest that the failure of the President's numbers to fall over the past month is due to the fact that most voters are already firmly decided.

I tend more towards the Pew position - that around 30% of the electorate may still change their minds - than the Zogby position - which puts that number at 5%. I think it's a simplification and overstatement to say that half of America loves Bush and approves of his presidency while half hate him and have been alienated since September 11 by those same policies. It was clear quite quickly after the eleventh that, declarations of unity to the contary, many Americans would not become Bush supporters unless the president responded to the terrorist attacks by disengaging entirely from the world. Moreover, the continued support for the Iraq war - it's only recently entered the fifties, I believe - makes it hard to believe that half of the electorate has been turned off to a degree that they wouldn't consider voting to re-elect the president.

But the most interesting - and disturbing - passage from the article is this:

"You ask Republicans about the economy, they say it's good and getting better. You ask Democrats, they say it's poor and getting worse," Rasmussen said. "They've learned the scripts."

Um. That isn't a subjective question - at least, not broadly speaking. Yeesh.

Posted by David Mader at 10:41 AM | (3) | Back to Main

Still Standing

MSNBC has an interesting analysis of presidential polling - not particular numbers but the broader trends over the past months. Though both sides are spinning away, I think there is considerable surprise - among Republicans and Democrats alike - that the President enjoys the level of support he currently does. The past month has seen almost continued negative news-coverage of the administration, with the 9/11 hearings and the Sadrite uprising in Iraq. While it's possible that the persistence of these lines of attack will gradually wear away support for Bush, I don't think Democrats can hope for much more than that type of round-the-clock negativity (and I don't mean that in a pejorative sense). And yet the only significant trend in the general poll numbers of the past two months has been a slump for Kerry following the primaries.

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


What happens if you call a referendum and nobody votes yes?

It's far from a done deal - there are apparently a significant number of undecided voters, and the date of the referendum has not yet been set. But if Blair really is trying to simply shift the debate away from Iraq, is it such a good idea to call a vote that he looks likely to lose?

Posted by David Mader at 12:03 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 23, 2004

The American Soldier

In the comments to my post on Pat Tillman, Nick raises an important point. I'm not among those who think that highlighting the service and sacrifice of celebrities in any way diminishes from the service and sacrifice of non-celebrities. I highlighted Tillman's death this morning because I think he was - in part due to his celebrity - an exceptional individual. But I think that all American soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen are exceptional. I want that to be absolutely clear. Tillman was a hero first and foremost not because he was a football player, and not because he was an athelete who gave up his career in order to serve his country. He was a hero because he was a soldier.

Stf. Sgt. John Coughlin from Waltham, MA, aims with his precision rifle with the help of pfc. Daniel Tracy, Mississipi - both of the U.S. Marines 3rd batallion 4th Regiment - during a patrol alongside the road used by U.S. led coalition forces in Central Iraq, to advance to Bagdad in central Iraq, Wednesday, March 26, 2003. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)

Samantha Sheppard, 28, from Plymouth, a soldier with the 2nd Light Tank Regiment, smiles as she receives a flower from an Iraqi man during a patrol on the streets of east Basra, southern Iraq, April 2003. (AP Photo/Jon Mills/Pool)

U.S. Army Spc. Kenneth Clark from Woodward, Okla. puffs up his cheeks like the baby he was handed while being welcomed by Iraqis in Baghdad Wednesday, April 9, 2003. The soldiers from the A Company 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment took over a section of northern Baghdad with a warm welcome from many residents, but under sporadic rocket and small arms fire from irregular Iraqi forces. (AP Photo/John Moore)

U.S. Marine Corps Major Chris Hughes shares some time with an Iraqi girl during an effort to distribute food and water to Iraqi citizens in need, near Al Najaf, Iraq, April 8, 2003. (REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Arlo K. Abrahamson)

A soldier with A Company 3rd Battalion 7th Infantry Regiment, part of the 3rd Infantry Division, walks through the desert near Karbala in central Iraq Thursday, March 27, 2003. (AP Photo/John Moore)

U.S. military commander in Iraq (news - web sites), Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, talks with soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Regiment of the First Infantry Division at a U.S. military base near the Iraqi holy city of Najaf on April 20, 2004. (REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)

Posted by David Mader at 05:55 PM | (0) | Back to Main

The Global War on Terror

The AP notes recent terror arrests around the world.

Posted by David Mader at 04:00 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Unfit To Govern

Lakhdar Brahimi. the United Nations 'special envoy' dispatched to Iraq to forge an interim governing structure acceptable to the UN, has revealed his prejudice regarding the state of affairs in the Middle East:

The big poison in the region is the Israeli policy of domination and the suffering imposed on the Palestinians... [Brahimi said his job was complicated by Iraqi perceptions of] Israel's completely violent and repressive security policy and determination to occupy more and more Palestinian territory.

This is the man responsible for constructing an 'internationally acceptable' interim government in Iraq. This is the man in whose judgement the US and the CPA have already expressed confidence. This is the man who occupies a position of incredible influence over the future of Iraq.

He should be sacked. The UN's response is entirely inadequate. "'Mr. Brahimi was expressing his personal views,' U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said in answer to questions... 'As a preliminary reaction I could say that as you know he is a former foreign minister of Algeria and therefore he brings to the table strongly held and strongly expressed views about the Middle East peace process.'" If Brahimi's personal views are a) informing his decisions about the future of Iraq, and b) contrary to the positions of the United Nations, then he is not fit to continue in his office and must be removed.

This is not, I must make clear, simply about defending Israel. Brahimi's comments are unfortunately typical of the view that all of the Middle East's problems are the result of Israel's actions, and even her very presence. As Iraq moves towards democracy it has the opportunity to become a country which rejects these oversimplifications and engages all parties in order to bring peace and true democratic stability to the region. Under Brahimi's direction, however, Iraq may develop into yet another nation more willing to blame one party and so ignore those issues on which it might act to affect change and progress.

Posted by David Mader at 03:19 PM | (1) | Back to Main


When Pat Tillman signed up, Peggy Noonan wrote this:

We are making a lot of Tillmans in America, and one wonders if this has been sufficiently noted. The other day friends, a conservative intellectual and his activist wife, sent a picture of their son Gabe, a proud and newly minted Marine. And there is Abe, son of a former high aide to Al Gore, who is a lieutenant junior grade in the Navy, flying SH-60 Seahawk helicopters. A network journalist and his wife, also friends, speak with anguished pride of their son, in harm's way as a full corporal in the Marines. The son of a noted historian has joined up; the son of a conservative columnist has just finished his hitch in the Marines; and the son of a bureau chief of a famous magazine was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army last month, on the day he graduated from Princeton.

As the Vietnam-era song said, "Something's happening here." And what it is may be exactly clear. Some very talented young men, and women, are joining the armed forces in order to help their country because, apparently, they love it.

May God bless Tillman and all the men and women who serve to keep us free.

[Via The Corner]

Posted by David Mader at 01:13 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Too Fargin' Bad

A member of Canada's first family of terror has "lost his passport" - a likely story - and has been denied a replacement.

No doubt he misplaced it somewhere between a Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and his cell at Gitmo Bay.

Posted by David Mader at 11:39 AM | (0) | Back to Main

The Emerging Conservative Majority?

Well, maybe not. MSNBC reports that support for Kerry among young Americans is sliding, but the article goes to great lengths to point out that the support is not shifting to Bush. From the article:

But young voters’ faltering approval of Kerry is particularly surprising if only because the senator has sometimes seemed willing to do everything short of appearing in a Jessica Simpson video in order to attract youth support...

Kerry himself has ratcheted up the effort since capturing the nomination, sitting down for an MTV “Choose or Lose” special and strutting around campaign stages with tunes from Bon Jovi and Coldplay reverberating through the air.

Well, there's your problem. Middle-aged white man - politician to boot - fraternizes with rock stars in order to look 'cool.' End result - politician looks lame. If the poll numbers are accurate, they may well demonstrate again that the Democrats have nominated a dud. That doesn't mean he won't win the election; it just means that those on the left - and those in the center - aren't going to be very enthusiastic about voting for him.

Posted by David Mader at 11:34 AM | (1) | Back to Main

Football Hero Dies in Afghanistan

Pat Tillman, a football player who gave up a lucrative career to join the army after September 11, has been killed in action in Afghanistan.

Tillman's decision to forego the wealth and fame of a professional sports career in order to serve demonstrated his commitment to his country. Now Tillman has given the last full measure of his devotion to the United States, its security and the ideals for which it stands. As they grieve, his family should know that Tillman was a model for young Americans, an individual who, presented with the choice of luxury or duty, chose duty. In death, as in life, Pat Tillman is an American hero.

Posted by David Mader at 11:17 AM | (4) | Back to Main


The US is overhauling its de-baathification policy in Iraq with an eye towards letting lower-ranked nominally-baathist officials return to government. Many in the west have been urging such a policy for months, but Iraqis themselves aren't happy with the decision - and they want a say in which baathists get a clean slate.

Posted by David Mader at 11:07 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 22, 2004


I'm spending the afternoon reading for my last exam; if reading's your thing too, you might want to check out Mark Steyn's latest in the Spectator (registration required). As Steyn emphasizes, the historical analogies that will apply to the coming century come not from our immediate past - but from the Dark Ages.

Posted by David Mader at 12:45 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Qaida Goes Regional

Yesterday I suggested that the Basra and Riyadh bomb attacks may have been coordinated, although most press outlets continued to report them as separate incidents.

This morning the meme seems to have spread. Debka whispers: "The horrifying homicide bomb blasts that hit four police facilities and two school buses in the British-controlled south Iraqi port of Basra and the Saudi General Security building in Riyadh on Wednesday, April 21 were part of a wider al Qaeda plot."

The Toronto Star reports the attacks together, but does not draw an explicit link. The Washington Times, on the other hand, declares: "There was no indication of a connection between the two attacks."

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

April 21, 2004

Fuzzy Economics Watch

As you watch the West Wing tonight, keep this in mind: if Indians are doing 'better, higher paying jobs,' that means Americans can become even more productive, moving into even better, even more high-paying jobs. Yes, it sounds like a dream. But that's the thing: productivity gains, at home and abroad, will allow us to engage in economic activity - to found industries and discover technologies - that we haven't even dreamed of.

Posted by David Mader at 09:07 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Adscam Rolls On

Andrew Coyne writes that Liberal insiders seem to be trying to soften the blow soon to fall on Paul Martin as Chuck Guite, the man at the centre of the Adscam affair, testifies before a Commons committee on Thursday and Friday. Coyne worries that early-week leaks and characterizations of Guite as a man with a chip on his shoulder may make late-week revelations seem stale. Let's hope he's wrong; even if Guite simply confirms what the leaks suggest, it would be enough to implicate the Prime Minister very, very closely with the reckless fiscal mismanagement and partisan back-scratching that now appears to have characterized the tenure of this Liberal government since its election in 1993.

Posted by David Mader at 04:17 PM | (0) | Back to Main

C'est Assez

Lorne Gunter at Across the Board (I'd link, but you fellows still don't have hyper-links; your loss) notes that the Conservatives have released their pre-writ campaign ads. I agree with Gunter: they're good.

I think having Harper say his name has less to do with US-style ads (where it's required because of campaign finance laws) and more to do with introducing Harper to Canadians. I also prefer - in fact I love - the French-language slogan. The English slogan is 'Demand Better' - which is good, and may capitalize on voter frustration with the Liberals, but (and) which will undoubtedly make the chattering class/CBC types squawk about violent language or some such. The French slogan is 'C'est Assez' - 'It's Enough.' Yes, yes it is. 'Ask yourself,' Harper says in French, 'have you had enough?' I don't know how the party or the leader will go over with Quebecois voters, but from a small-c conservative standpoint the ad, like its English fellows, is spot-on.

Posted by David Mader at 03:55 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Free Trade and the Welfare State

I have some thoughts over at the Shotgun.

Posted by David Mader at 03:42 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Car Bombs in Iraq, Arabia

Three car bombs detonated during morning rush-hour in Basra today, killing 68 people.

At least one and possibly two car-bombs detonated around 2 p.m. local time in Riyadh this afternoon, destroying police headquarters and killing between 60 and 120 people.

Were the attacks related? It certainly seems so. Car bombs are perhaps not unusual, but the self-detonation of the terrorists is noteworthy. The only significant difference is in terms of targe: the Basra attack seems to have been designed to cause undiscriminating damage, while the Riyadh attack was more specifically targetted at the police building.

If they were related, what does it mean? We know that al Qaida terrorists have been planning and carrying out attacks in Saudi Arabia for some time; perhaps this will convince those few who still refuse to admit a role for the terrorist organization in the violence in Iraq.

LATER (18:36 EDT): It turns out that the Basra attacks were also directed against a police station, although they had more deadly associated effects. Same method of attack (suicide car bomb), same target (police station), same day - I don't think the question is whether these attacks were connected; I think the question is why they're still being treated as separate attacks.

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

Election Call on Sunday?

So says Alberta Premier Ralph Klein.

Posted by David Mader at 12:41 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Vote of Confidence

Despite all the caterwauling about Israel's assassination of Yassin and Rantisi and the 'cycle of violene,' at least one European institution has given a tacit endorsement to the Israeli security policies which have led, over the past months, to a marked reduction in terrorist attacks.

The UEFA - Europe's soccer authority - has lifted a ban on international matches played in Israel. The last international match held in Israel was in October 2001. Perhaps the UEFA realized that a game in Tel Aviv was no more dangerous than a game in Manchester.

Posted by David Mader at 07:56 AM | (4) | Back to Main

Explosion in Riyadh

Few details.

Posted by David Mader at 07:52 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 20, 2004

Blogging, Profit and Attribution

Over at the Shotgun I wade into a discussion about the reproduction of blog posts in print media. Check out the comments to that post for more. For the record, Maderblog is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution License:

You are free: to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; to make derivative works; to make commercial use of the work - under the following condition: You must give the original author credit.

I don't know what weight the license holds or whether it (or any Creative Commons license - see CreativeCommons.Org) has been tested in court. If you're interested in reproducing something you see here at Maderblog, though, feel free - as long as we're credited as the source.

Posted by David Mader at 05:31 PM | (0) | Back to Main


On the back page of the Montreal Gazette's section A today, under the paper's 'Youth Zone' heading, is an article that begins:

On a recent Saturday, Marcel Makovsky-Jovani, 13, was looking forward to seeing a movie with a friend and, when they returned home later, maybe a round or two of poker.

What he didn't expect that Saturday evening as he worked his way out of the Atwater metro and through the Alexis Nihon plaza was to get taxed.

But that's what happened.

Taxing is not unusual. It's so frequent some young people feel it's a fact of life, just a matter of time before they or their best buddy are confronted by thugs and bullies intent on taking cash, bus passes or whatever they can carry off.

And so on. Taxing. Taxed. What word doesn;t appear in the entire article? Mugging. But that's what 'taxing' is, in the context of the article.

I imagine the reporter substituted 'tax' because it's the youth-phrase for the subject. I'm interested by three related aspects of this: first, that the article never explicitly equates taxing with mugging; second, that the phrase 'taxing' is never put in ellipses or distinguished from government taxation; and third, that kids (apparently) actually use the term 'tax' to describe petty property crime and mugging.

Maybe this isn't a new phenomenon - but I hadn't heard the term applied in this manner before. And disturbing as the trend of 'taxing' in Montreal appears to be, the adoption of the term 'tax' for property crime can only warm this neo-liberal's heart.

Posted by David Mader at 05:09 PM | (3) | Back to Main

New York

What a place.

(No, father, that does not mean I'm changing my mind. But I know I'm giving up an opportunity.)

Posted by David Mader at 04:15 PM | (1) | Back to Main

More on the Poll Numbers

Dave mentions the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll below. I found this paragraph particularly interesting:

The survey illustrates Bush's strong edge over Kerry when it comes to national security. By 2-to-1, voters say only Bush, not Kerry, would do a good job in handling terrorism. By nearly as much, 40% to 26%, they say only Bush would do a good job in handling the situation in Iraq. Bush's approval rating on handling terrorism is a muscular 60%.

So, despite all the talk in in the press about how Iraq is hurting Bush, the fighting there actually seems to be helping him vs. Kerry. Interesting.

Posted by David Mader at 02:21 PM | (0) | Back to Main

'Make Sure No One Stretches Our Case'

That seems to be the single most important revelation to come out of Bob Woodward's new book: that the President specifically instructed his intelligence staff to make a solid case and not to stretch evidence; that he was initially skeptical of CIA intelligence, asking "is this the best we've got?"; and that he was assured by CIA Director Tenet that "it's a slam dunk."

Andrew Sullivan calls for Tenet to be sacked. Expect a return to the 'Bush is a moron' trope as the left slides along the moron/evil-genius axis. And yet the public seems to be a lot less upset by the past month of 'damaging' revelations than the Democratic Party must have hoped. The President's poll numbers are up. The Bush camp seems to have pulled a major coup (that's figurative, my tinfoil-hatted friends) in defining Kerry with a series of withering ads last month which brought the Democrat's numbers back down to earth. Since then, the concentration on 9/11 and Iraq seems only to have confirmed for many that the President, far from deceiving or bumbling, has been doing his darndest to keep the nation safe. He's made mistakes, and the public knows it, but they look more and more disinclined to change horses mid-stream. But November's a long way off.

Posted by David Mader at 12:10 PM | (3) | Back to Main


Tony Blair, reversing his own stated policy, has announced a referendum on the European constitution. Dan mentioned the turnabout on Sunday.

I can't quite figure out Blair's motivation. He hasn't announced a date, and a vote isn't expected until after the next general election. Support for further European integration is also at recent lows, below 50% according to a Christmastime poll. And, as the press reports make sure to point out, the reversal is an admission of defeat for the Blair government. It's not exactly operating out of a position of strength. What does it stand to gain? Has Blair decided that European integration isn't, after all, the way to go, and now hopes that the electorate will get him out of his bind? Doubtfull. Does he think he can win, restoring his credibility? Perhaps. Thoughts?

Posted by David Mader at 11:43 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Negroponte - II

That's what I was waiting for. David Adesnik has a lot of interesting thoughts about Negroponte. I guess the questions is this: does Negroponte share the Democratic tendency to fight the last war? Will he compare every situation he faces in Iraq to one he experienced in Honduras? I don't think there's any reason - based on his career since the mid-1980s (a career which I admittedly don't know much about) - to answer in the affirmative.

Posted by David Mader at 10:28 AM | (2) | Back to Main

More on Britain Terror Arrests

This morning (well, yesterday morning) I noted the arrest of ten in Britain on suspicion of organizing a terrorist attack. Now the Sun tabloid reports that the target was a football match between Manchester United and Liverpool. A number of individual suicide bombers planned to detonate themselves at various points around the stadium in order to cause the greatest amout of carnage and confusion.

There's more here, and while the major papers haven't yet reported on the specifics (the Sun has a lower threshold of 'evidence'), all the major sources are reporting that the arrested are of either North African or Iraqi Kurdish extraction. What the involvement of Kurds in Islamist terror means, I'm not sure.

Posted by David Mader at 12:41 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 19, 2004


The AP has a nifty review of popular toolbars, downloadable additions to your web browser that let you search, block pop-up ads and even recommend other sites you might like, based on your browsing habits. I don't use a toolbar myself - though the Google bar, which gets high marks, looks tempting - but more people are using them, and this article offers a pretty good overview.

Posted by David Mader at 08:29 PM | (0) | Back to Main


President Bush has appointed current UN Ambassador John Negroponte to be the first US ambassador to a free Iraq. I'm not sure Negroponte's a doctrinaire neoconservative, but he gained a certain notoriety for his alleged role in Iran/Contra (I think), and has developed a strong record of serving the United States in the diplomatic sphere. This appointment looks like one to be applauded, but I look forward to further blogosphere reaction. (And reader comments!)

Posted by David Mader at 07:43 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Crime in Britain

Quite recently I was discussing with a friend the rise in crime in the UK since the mid-1990s, but I can't remember when that discussion was and with whom. On the off-chance that individual is also a Maderblog reader, I direct him/her - and everyone else - to these thoughts on British crime from Western Standard writer Kevin Steel.

Posted by David Mader at 07:26 PM | (1) | Back to Main

What? Why?

Dave K. forwards this odd and disturbing story which I haven't seen elsehwere in the blogsphere:

The body of a Spanish police officer who was killed in a raid on suspected Islamic terrorists was removed from its tomb Sunday night, dragged across a cemetery, doused with gasoline and burned, a Spanish police official told CNN.

Police do not know who committed the crime, and an investigation is under way.

Although the identity of the deceased suggests the involvement of Islamist-types, the simply bizarre nature of the crime points just as much, I'd think, to local non-Islamist nutters. A very unusual story, and I wonder what's behind it.

Posted by David Mader at 07:17 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Good Point

Paul Wells quotes Norman Spector:

Norman Spector on Newsworld, parsing David Herle's recent sunny comments about internal Liberal polls: "I just think that if the polls were really that good, Paul Martin would already have dropped the writ."

The man has a point...

Posted by David Mader at 05:51 PM | (0) | Back to Main

The Problem with Hate Speech Laws

Check out this great post (more of an essay, really) by David Bernstein, explaining the many dangers of hate speech laws. It talkes specifically of Canada, where such laws are becoming more prevalent.

Key quotes:

There is nothing civilized about putting someone in jail for saying that homosexual acts are a sin. Civilized people settle their differences without violence, and locking someone in jail is a violent act. Threatening someone with jail (or even a fine) for condemning homosexual acts is a threat of violence, albeit state violence. Admittedly, state violence is a "more civilized" form of violence than is the private use of force, but it's less civilized than a pacifistic approach to those who offend you. And in Canada, you don't even have to condemn homosexual acts to be subjected to state violence. Toronto print shop owner Scott Brockie refused on religious grounds to print letterhead for a gay activist group, the local human rights commission ordered him to pay the group $5,000 (approximately $3,400 U.S.), print the requested material, and apologize to the group?s leaders. Brockie had always accepted print jobs from individual gay customers, and even did pro bono work for a local AIDS group. He just didn't want to participate in what he considered sinful activities. Forcing someone to act against his beliefs in this way is not "civilized," but the modern equivalent of compulsory mass.

I think people often forget that the enforcement of laws is a form of violence, carried out be the state. You should never support a law if you don't think it would be justified for the state to employ violence against someone who violated it. The question is, do hate speech laws pass this test?


Despite these examples, on balance, Brian may prefer Canada's current speech-restrictive regime to the U.S.'s libertarian regime. But is he confident he will approve of Canada's speech restrictions in ten years? In twenty-five years? In fifty years? The beauty of liberalism, in the classical sense, is that it's a system designed to work when your friends are in power, and when your enemies are in power, limiting their ability to do harm (and good). I can sleep soundly at night knowing that I won't be arrested for thought or speech crimes regardless of who is in power in the foreseeable future, something I certainly couldn't say if I were Canadian.

Exactly. This is why I'm a libertarian.

Posted by David Mader at 03:59 PM | (3) | Back to Main

More Terror Arrests in the UK

Ten men have been arrested in Manchester this morning "on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism." No details yet.

Posted by David Mader at 10:36 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 18, 2004

Out Come the Knives

Mississauga West MP Steve Mahoney says Martin needs to "bury the hatchets and get rid of the thugs that are now running" the show.

"You now have the impression the B-team is in charge and they're wrecking the place," he said in an interview.
"Brain trust?" snorted one Ontario MP when asked about Martin's advisers. "You mean the no-brainer trust . . . I call it the mistake-a-day club."

I thought the Conservatives were supposed to be the undisciplined party, the party that aired its dirty laundry in public? Wow.

Nothing breeds infighting like a sense of imminent defeat. These guys are scared, they're angry, and they're starting to turn on each other.

Posted by David Mader at 10:32 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Joe Canadian

By the way, this presents a wonderful opportunity for Harper's speech-writer. Something like:

Some people say that fiscal responsibility is un-Canadian. They say that making hard but necessary decisions about our fiscal future - and the future of our country - is a foreign idea. I disagree.

Some people say that a strong and dynamic health-care system is un-Canadian. They say that reforming the Canada Health Act to reflect 21st-century realities and ensure the best, fastest and most trustworthy service for all Canadians is something we just can't do. I disagree.

Some people say that pride in and support for our armed forces is un-Canadian. They say that Canada can be secure in her borders and strong in the world without giving our soldiers the best equipment money can buy. And they're just plain wrong.

I'm Canadian. I'm Canadian, and the men and women across this country who are sick and tired of corrupt, costly and rudderless government in Ottawa - they are Canadian. And we, Canadians, we won't let any group of Liberal politicians tell us what our country is and isn't.

Or some such. You get the idea.

Posted by David Mader at 06:20 PM | (2) | Back to Main


A few months back I suggested that Canadian liberals often labelled conservative ideas as 'un-Canadian' (actually 'anti-Canadian' in that instance) and a few readers challenged me to give evidence. Well, now the federal Liberal campaign co-chair has suggested that it will be the theme of the Liberals' re-election drive:

Speaking with reporters, Herle said the Liberals would have a positive agenda compared to the "anti-Canadian" one of the Conservative Party's Stephen Harper.

Back in December, Matt said that I was "dead wrong" to highlight this leftist tactic, but he didn't explain why. Well, Matt? Are conservative ideas un-Canadian, and if not can we together condemn this vituperative label?

Posted by David Mader at 06:08 PM | (3) | Back to Main

Franco-German Empire Watch

Tony Blair is to seek approval from the Cabinet on Thursday to hold a referendum on the European Union constitution, his most dramatic U-turn since he became Prime Minister.
Its hard to say it better than that. The proposed constitution would further integrate Britain into the Franco-German Empire. Britain would lose much of the power it has now. The constitution represents a massive reduction in British sovereignty. And Tony Blair wanted to sign on without giving Britons a chance to have their say in a referendum.

The Telegraph, in a great example of good journalism, reports that he has now been forced to back down.

This is a great victory for the Tories, who have led the campaign calling for a referendum. It is also a great opportunity for that party. A defeat in the referendum would greatly damage Blair to the point that his position as PM would probably become untenable.

But, even more importantly, a defeat for the constitution would be a great victory for the British People, preserving their hard-won freedoms.

Posted by David Mader at 02:22 PM | (4) | Back to Main

A Jew Killer Pays

Zev Chafets' column in the NY Daily News, is well worth a read:

The predictable Palestinian response to the assassination of Rantisi has been to scream for revenge while calling on European nations to denounce Israel.

Neither response is going to get them much satisfaction, I'm afraid. Israelis are way past fearing wild-eyed threats; the Palestinians are already taking their best shot.

As for the moral indignation of Europe over the death of a professional Jew killer, it isn't likely to sway many Israeli hearts and minds. Especially not on the eve of Holocaust Day.

Posted by David Mader at 02:08 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Chaos and Security

Anne Appelbaum:

Rather than creating a viable Palestinian state, Sharon's roll of the dice is just as likely to create a chaotic, unstable Palestinian Bantustan, with ludicrous borders and no possibility of economic independence. Sharon himself has said that his withdrawal plan is intended to create a status quo that will last "for many years". Yet a fragile, marginal state seething with angry, unemployed young men will hardly co-exist happily with a happy, thriving Israel. Reshuffling the cards only makes sense if the cards subsequently fall in a luckier pattern. I see no evidence that it will happen.

I think, though, that a chaotic Palestinian semi-state is precisely what Sharon expects. Presumably a Palestine at war with itself will divert resources from a war against Israel. But if Gaza becomes another Somalia, Israel - and the US - will sooner or later have to deal with those who use the chaos as a cover for terrorist activities elsewhere. Nor do I expect the world to quietly acquiesce in a Palestinian chaos. Once Palestinians start killing each other in an organized and dedicated fashion I anticipate calls for troop deployment from Europe (and perhaps Russia). How will Israel respond to peacekeeping missions once it has set its (temporary) borders? Such international forces have been resisted to date, but will they continue to be resisted after a withdrawal? It will be interesting to see.

Posted by David Mader at 01:13 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 17, 2004

British Government to Jews: Please Die Quietly

Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, has sent his government's latest message to the Jewish people: please die quietly and stop trying to defend yourselves.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw condemned Israel's killing of Hamas chief Abdelaziz Rantissi, saying that such tactics were both wrong and unhelpful to peace.

"The British government has made it repeatedly clear that so-called targeted assassinations of this kind are unlawful, unjustified and counterproductive," Straw said in a brief statement.

Since the British government has already surrendered to the IRA, its now easier for them to condemn those who would actually choose to fight back. Still, the IRA's "mainland" campaigns were never anywhere near as brutal as Hamas. And still the SAS was allowed to kill terrorist suspects.

Of course, the British are Christians, not Jews, so they are apparently allowed to defend themselves. Its only Jews who have to die in silence.

Posted by David Mader at 06:20 PM | (1) | Back to Main

What do Rantisi and Yassin have in common?

They're both dead.

Rantisi was killed today by an IDF missile.

Its about time.

According to reports, he didn't die instantly but lived long enough to be taken to hospital. That means he died knowing that the Israelis had got him. That won't come as any consulation to the families of the children killed by his bombers, but its still nice to know.

The message to the terrorists is clear - Israel will hunt you down. And then you will die.

Rantisi was a particularly nasty one. He will, most assuredly, not be missed.

UPDATE: As David Bernstein writes, today's missile attack was a great win-win situation:

"We will all die one day. Nothing will change. If by Apache or by cardiac arrest, I prefer Apache," he said. It's nice when cosmic justice and individual preferences can both be satisfied.

Posted by David Mader at 06:13 PM | (1) | Back to Main

April 16, 2004

Attention, Martin Government

This is what's called bad press:

The grandson of a 92-year-old woman says she was strip-searched at Pearson International Airport after returning from a winter in Florida on the same day a family with alleged terrorist links was allowed back into Canada with the federal government's help.

Yeesh. Regardless of the details of the story - and there must certainly be some - I expect this will get considerable play in the coming news cycle, making the Khadr case a lasting headache for the Liberal government.

Posted by David Mader at 05:51 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Thoughts on Algeria

Last week I noted the elections in Algeria, about which I was skeptical but which have since been declared legitimate by international observers. Winds of Change has a background/analysis piece by the Oxford Democracy Forum that's worth a read.

Posted by David Mader at 03:08 PM | (0) | Back to Main

End of the Beginning?

The Telegraph says that the events of the last week mark a turning point in the War on Terror.

After a spell of what seemed incorrigible chaos in the war on terror, there are glimmerings of serious change and even hope. Three significant events have occurred that may well herald the beginning, if not of the end, of a different phase of the international struggle against Islamist terrorism.

The paper points to the back-down of Sadr, the new American policy on Israel and the tone of bin Laden's purported 'truce' offer to Europe.

I hope they're right. Certainly these recent events are noticable signs of something; but I don't think they are inconsistent with the trend that has been very real for many months. The defeat of Sadr was inevitable, Ted Kennedy's concerns notwithstanding. The recognition of Israel's front in the War on Terror - and the role of Palestinian terrorist groups in that war - was only a matter of time after September 11 and the decision to engage terrorists in their home regions. Bin Laden's message - though some have called it a 'new' tactic to divide the Atlantic alliance - was (if authentic) wholly predictable, given the Islamist desire to divide and conquer.

Whether these events were turning points in themselves, or indicative of broader trends, I'm inclined to agree with the Telegraph's bottom line. The world is changing, and thanks to strong action - and strong leadership - it's changing on our terms.

Posted by David Mader at 12:46 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Martin Soft on Terror

Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin says that the Khadr family - known in security and intelligence circles as Canada's "first family of terror" - must enjoy the full rights of citizenship: "I believe that once you are a Canadian citizen, you have the right to your own views and to disagree."

Apparently 'having your own views' and 'disagreeing' extends to taking up arms against the Canadian armed forces, and aiding those who similarly take up arms.

Look, I understand that this puts politicians in a spot: those Khadrs who have returned to Canada probably can't be charged with anything in a Canadian court; to deny them entry and strip them citizenship would set a precedent. But their connections to al Qaida are well known. It's one thing to say 'we aren't welcoming them with open arms, but we can't reasonably keep them out.' It's another thing to say that they have 'a right to disagree.'

Either Paul Martin does not understand who the Khadrs are, or he does not care. Either way, that's damnable and unforgivable in a Canadian Prime Minister.

Posted by David Mader at 11:41 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 15, 2004

Election Timing

I'm kind of agreeing with Stephen Harper right now that Paul Martin isn't really governing...
-Jane Taber of the Globe and Mail, speaking on CBC's the National tonight.

Ouch. Then Chantal Hebert comes on, saying that she saw Harper speaking in a heavily francophone area in Quebec and getting a very open reception form an audience. Money quote: they aren't going to vote Conservative tommorow, but they are open to looking around. And that's in Quebec.

I still see the election happening in June. Martin doesn't want to wait till fall. He's demonstrating that by how hard he's working to be able to call the vote. He's on a full campaign tour and his MPs are working overtime to spin away the scandal.

Why does he want to go so soon? First, he has no plans for governing. This lack of ideas is starting to become a story. If he has to wait till the fall, the bankruptcy of this government will become a big story, quite possibly pulling its numbers even lower by convincing Canadians that its time for a change. Second, he's worried about continued revelations from the scandal. Who knows what will come out once the judicial inquiry get started? Who knows when criminal charges will be laid? Martin wants to get the election overwith quickly.

Chuck Guite is testifying next week. Best case for the Liberals: they use their members of the committee to obstruct: rising on points of order anytime the Conservatives ask tough questions and trying to run out the clock. Then, if nothing major comes out of the testimony, they can continue to downplay the scandal. Three days later, they call the election. Worst case? Guite pins it all on the politicians, implicates Martin, and blows it all open.

Either way, its going to be an interesting week.

Posted by David Mader at 10:26 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Out-Conservating the Conservatives

Ontario's Liberal government will eliminate energy price caps and introduce a market pricing mechanism for power in the province.

Posted by David Mader at 10:19 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Okay, Admit It...

Guess which beer is poised to become the top selling beer in Canada?

Budweiser. That's right, Budweiser.

Now, I don't drink Bud. My friends don't drink Bud. But someone must obviously be drinking it.

So own up. Is it you?

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

Jenin Redux



In protest of the massacre at Fallujah, against the terrorizing of Iraqis
throughout the country, and to demand an end to the illegal occupation, there will be a picket to shut down the US consulate in Montreal on Friday...

The Canadian government has been silent in the face of the massacre that
has taken place in Fallujah, Iraq.

Unbelievable but, alas, to be expected. That's a press release from the Canadian Federation of Students, which, thanks to the mobilization of a small but radical and mobilized constituency, has managed to co-opt the student unions of dozens of Canadian universities and colleges.

Posted by David Mader at 02:50 PM | (0) | Back to Main

No No No - Property Is Theft

Svend Robinson, uh, quits.

Key 'graph: "What psychologists say about these two incidents, is that people who [are] driven and under stress and can't bring themselves to quit, they do something that drives them to quit."

Posted by David Mader at 02:37 PM | (5) | Back to Main

More Ceasing and Desisting

What I find most interesting about the post below, from a legal point of view, is that the government is claiming look and feel as part of its threatened lawsuit.

For me, that expression always brings to mind the pet hamsters (named Look and Feel) kept by the characters in Douglas Coupland's great novel Microserfs. The hamster names were a rather gloating reference by their owners (Microsoft employees) to Microsoft's victory over Apple in the great look and feel lawsuit. In that suit, as far as I remember, a US court ruled that look and feel were not protected by copyright law.

What I don't know is whether this issue has ever been ruled on in Canada. Does anyone know? Are look and feel protected here? If so, could Apple have sued Microsoft in Canada to block sales of Windows here?

Posted by David Mader at 01:52 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Ceasing and Desisting

This is interesting. I think allegations of dissent crushing (ahem) are out of line; I think this is just the usual sort of legal bullying that many large enterprises engage in.

I also happen to think, without having any background in the area, that the Government probably has a case. That's not to say they're right, only that I could see it going before a judge, and going either way. As I understand trademark and copyright, there's a bit of a penumbra around the immediately-protected work; if items within that penumbra are designed to mislead the casual observer, or otherwise capitalize on the similarity, an infringement may have occurred. It's quite obvious that Mr. Elve isn't trying to deceive anyone, and that his site design is tongue-in-cheek parody; but it's also a remarkably close similarity, and I'm not sure his arguments - 3-pixel graphic differences and compound-word tricks - are entirely persuasive.

It will be interesting to see where this goes, though. These first letters are scare tactics, and the question is whether Justice follows up.

Posted by David Mader at 12:38 PM | (3) | Back to Main

Cutting Both Ways

Good catch by David Bernstein of the Volokh Conspiracy, expanding on a Debka note:

By pushing things back to 1949, I wonder if Bush, with Sharon's complicity, isn't hinting that demographic realities run both ways, and that major Arab population centers in Israel--Nazareth, Umm Al-Fahm and surrounding villages--may be transfered to the new Palestinian state in exchange for Jewish settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria.

I think that Sharon has hinted at this before, and I also think that it's probably a 'good deal' - the only problem being that Israeli Arabs have, in general, no desire to live under Palestinian rule. No joke; and can you blame them?

Posted by David Mader at 11:04 AM | (1) | Back to Main

Election Timing

Shopper Girl is recommending a new theme song for Paul Martin, reflecting his indecision on election timing.

Heh. Anyone else have any good suggestions? Post a comment if you do.

Posted by David Mader at 10:34 AM | (2) | Back to Main

If Bush Did This...

... he'd be called an idiot.

I'm just saying.

Posted by David Mader at 09:56 AM | (0) | Back to Main

That Time of Year

Between Passover, playoffs and exams, it's busy. Regular blogging will resume. Honest.

Posted by David Mader at 12:17 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 14, 2004

Dear Islamists and Other Anti-Semites

Eat it:

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Yea, they're going to love that one.

Posted by David Mader at 11:41 PM | (6) | Back to Main

Sadr Backing Down?

Moqtada al-Sadr, who has been leading (or figure-heading) a Shiite uprising against coalition forces in Iraq, has dropped all conditions on a meeting with coalition negotiators. Sadr had earlier demaned the removal of American forces from Iraqi cities and the freeing of coalition prisoners before he would enter negotiations to end the uprising. Now, according to a spokesman, he's dropped those conditions and is willing to talk.

I guess that's what staring down the wrong end of a barrel will do to you.

Posted by David Mader at 02:57 PM | (5) | Back to Main

Well That's Good

AP: Macedonia Votes to Replace Late Leader

What if they'd voted not to replace him?

Posted by David Mader at 02:49 PM | (0) | Back to Main

April 13, 2004

Happy End of Pesach

Patrick Belton with some words of wisdom. For the record, I happen to like matzah, and will happily eat through the box and a half I still have in my cupboard. Not that it's particularly good for me. Atkins holiday indeed.

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

Across the Board

The National Post editorial board's new blog, which Dan mentioned earlier, is a great addition to the Canadian blogosphere - which, by the way, really seems to be coming into its own. But there are two things that could use some looking-in-to. First, it seems to use 'pages' compiled based not on date but on number of posts; the index page shows the most recent fifteen posts, but earlier discussion is relegated to a back-page. Fifteen may sound like a lot, but look at NRO's The Corner - they post dozens of posts a day. Scrolling back two pages to get to the start of a conversation because you didn't check the Board before lunch will get awfully frustrating.

Also, why is it that institutional bloggers have such an aversion to freakin' permalinks?! A simple 'A Name' tag is all it takes, and it makes life ever so much easier for the rest of us. I imagine it has to do with the software used, and making the shift to a more versatile program like Movable Type or Typepad may be more work than the Post gang want to put in, but, really, there are some purists who feel that no permalinks means no blog.

Posted by David Mader at 11:31 PM | (2) | Back to Main

The Miracle of Science

Can a machine read a person's mind? A medical device company is about to find out.

The company, Cyberkinetics Inc., plans to implant a tiny chip in the brains of five paralyzed people in an effort to enable them to operate a computer by thought alone.

How cool is that?

I've been hearing about this research for a while, because Maderblog cousin Abe works for this company. Its sounds like they are doing amazing work. Research like this is going to make life a lot better for a hell of a lot of people.

I could launch into a long lecture here about how research like this happens in the US and is done by private companies because capitalism rewards succesful research. I could talk about how important the free market is to driving innovation.

But you already knew that, didn't you?

Posted by David Mader at 11:15 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Fun with Indeces

Suppose I announced an Easterblogg Happiness Index with these indicators: mortgage interest rates, crime rates, rates of heart disease, life expectancy at birth, rates of car ownership, median home size, air quality, water quality, highest educational degree earned, rates of accidental death, percentage of workforce employed in white-collar professions. Needless to say, I've chosen these because all trends in these categories are favorable. My happiness index would not be a fair assessment of society, because I've excluded the negatives. (Maybe I should throw in "accuracy of NBA jump shots" just to have one negative.) My all-positive index wouldn't tell you the larger trend just as Kerry's all-negative index does not.
Greg Easterbrook doesn't think very highly of John Kerry's so-called "Middle Class Misery Index."

Posted by David Mader at 11:06 PM | (0) | Back to Main


As those of you who watched the Habs game tonight will know, the lesson to the Habs was clear: get your sticks up. The refs whowed that they aren't going to call anything. Usually, even in the playoffs, the refs will at least call high sticking. Not tonight. They even handed the game to Boston by refusing to call a slash that gave the Bruins a break-away.

We'll see if the Habs take the lesson to heart next game. If the Bruins do, as seems likely, get by the Habs, maybe they'll do so without one of their stars.

And they'd have only the refs to blame.

Posted by David Mader at 11:02 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Welcome to the Blogosphere

The National Post's editorial board now does more than just write fine editorials. They now have their own blog!

Check it out.

A fine addition to the blogosphere.

Posted by David Mader at 10:29 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Paul = Ernie??

The fall of the once-mighty Paul Martin continues.

The latest Ipsos-Reid poll has the Liberals back down to 35% support. The Liberal pre-election ad campaign actually cost the party 3 points.

As usual, Wells and Coyne are must-reads. They both agree: no spring vote. Wells:

In the absence of any possibility of a spring election, I have begun planning my summer vacation. The Grits, to judge by David Herle's always-amusing appearances on TV, cannot believe they are doing anything wrong. So rather than make even the slightest effort to amend the perfect trinity of indecision, duplicity and vacuity that made Paul Martin what he is today, the Paul Martin Team will now launch an even more energetic campaign of denigration aimed at the opposition parties, the Chrétien legacy and the media.

After all, when you're dropping like a stone, why change your habits?

Just a few months ago everyone was predicting that Martin would win over 200 seats. Now he'll be lucky to get 150, 5 short of a majority. And, as Coyne points out, the "favourability" rating for the Liberals (how many people have a favourable impression of the party) is half the number who claim to be voting for it. What does that mean? That a lot of people who aren't too impressed with the party would, today, hold their noses and vote for it. That means huge upside potential for the Tories. Half the potential Liberal voters would only vote for that party begrudgingly. Their waiting for someone to convince them otherwise. That is Stephen Harpers task.

And the great Paul Martin? Remember him? It wasn't going to matter how unpopular his party might get. He was so personally popular that he would pull his party up. Woops. His personal pouplarity now trails his party's by a significant margin. Where have I heard this story before? Team Eves, anyone?

Posted by David Mader at 10:53 AM | (1) | Back to Main

April 11, 2004

A New Birth of Freedom

Happy Easter to all my Christian friends and readers. Easter is, as I understand it, a day to celebrate the resurrection, and through it the idea of rebirth and renewal. Tonight also marks the beginning of the second Passover festival. Passover, as Joe Katzman noted last week, is a festival of freedom. Today, then, we - Christians, Jews and everyone else - have an opportunity to celebrate rebirth and freedom together. And, after four years of an American history degree, I cannot help but link those themes in what William Safire has called the greatest short speech since the Sermon on the Mount. As I sign off for the next two days, I leave you with this:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate - we cannot consecrate - we cannot hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863.

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


I don't read Ann Coulter anymore. I'm just too fed up with the ridiculous, racist, offensive things she says.

But every once in a while someone will recommend one of her articles highly enough that I'll read it. Then I get a reminder that if she could just learn to restrain herself she'd be one of conservatisms greatest voices.

In this article, highly recommended by The Transplanted Texan, she lays out the timeline of events leading to 9-11. Its a great response to all the rubish coming out of CNN these days.

On Sept. 11, 2001, when Bush had been in office for barely seven months, 3,000 Americans were murdered in a savage terrorist attack on U.S. soil by Muslim extremists.

Since then, Bush has won two wars against countries that harbored Muslim fanatics, captured Saddam Hussein, immobilized Osama bin Laden, destroyed al-Qaida's base, and begun to create the only functioning democracy in the Middle East other than Israel. Democrats opposed it all – except their phony support for war with Afghanistan, which they immediately complained about and said would be a Vietnam quagmire. And now they claim to be outraged that in the months before 9-11, Bush did not do everything Democrats opposed doing after 9-11.

What a surprise.

Posted by David Mader at 03:06 PM | (3) | Back to Main


Ahhhh, Vancouver, what a place. A proud part of Canada but, at the same time, just a little bit different.

Where else would a university so quickly agree to modify the plans for a proposed residence, so that said residence wouldn't ruin the sanctity of a.... nude beach.

Dennis Pavlich, UBC's vice-president of external affairs, said the university will respect the privacy of nudists.

"We want to be neighbourly," he said. "We are going to ensure we don't encroach on the privacy of the bathers. We will make the necessary arrangements.

"If a building has to have some storeys lopped off, we will."

Pavlich said in June, UBC will be testing the visibility down onto the beach, and will lower the building heights if they're causing a problem.

Posted by David Mader at 02:44 PM | (2) | Back to Main

The Root of the Axis

By the way, it now seems that Iran is funding - and even directing - terrorist activities in both Israel and Iraq.

If Iran were a localized tyranny, we could wait for the inevitable domestic uprising. But the export of terror from Tehran becomes ever more evident. If only the US had the political will - and the resources - to act. If only the US weren't the only power with the capacity to do so.

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


The AP has a fascinating article on the rise of Hezbollah as a - and perhaps the - force behind Palestinian terror. There's too much to excerpt; if you have any interest in the subject you should go read the whole thing. What stands out is the sense among many terrorists that Fatah, isolated and squeezed by Israel (and, tacitly, by the United States), has failed to 'provide' for them, necessitating a turn to another source of funding. Not that Fatah hasn't tried to regain its clout:

Recently, Fatah has tried to regain control of Al Aqsa. Former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas began paying militants a few hundred shekels a month not to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians, said Abdel Fattah Hamayel, a Fatah lawmaker who acts as a liaison to Al Aqsa. About 4.5 shekels make a dollar.

The emphasis is mine. Abbas, you'll recall, resigned when he failed to wrest power away from Arafat. Can you imagine if he'd been successful? Can anyone suggest that he would have been a good-faith negotiating partner? [LATER (14:06 EDT): Yeesh, I need to get my eyes checked. I missed that ever-so-salient word "not."]

Arafat's Fatah/Palestinian-Authority, aware of its impending demise and of the imminent withdrawal of Israeli forces, has been trying to arrange a coalition with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. I had thought that such a coalition would allow the Palestinians to avoid internecine fighting, but if Hezbollah is as involved as the AP suggests, Arafat's machinations might not be coalition-building as much as line-drawing.

Posted by David Mader at 02:00 PM | (0) | Back to Main

What The -

Who broke Instapundit?

Man, I remember the blog*spot days.

Posted by David Mader at 11:42 AM | (1) | Back to Main

April 10, 2004

How bad are things?

Steyn puts things in perspective:

So how bad are things in Iraq?

Answer: not very. Fallujah is not the new Mogadishu, Muqtaba al-Sadr is not the new Ayatollah Khomeini and, despite what Ted Kennedy says, Iraq is not ''George Bush's Vietnam.'' Or even George Bush's Chappaquiddick.

Here's a good rule of thumb: The Pentagon's demonstrated in two wars now that it's got beyond Vietnam. If a politician or pundit can't, pay him no further heed. If Sen. Kennedy wants to give rhetorical aid and comfort to the enemy, he could at least be less lazy about it.

He follows this up with a sobering message, though: Iraqis don't instinctively want to suppor the US, they want to support the winning side. By "showing restraint" the US doesn't gain the support of the Iraqi people. Instead, by appearing weak, they lose support to the thugs, who appear strong by comparison.

The US Army seems to understand this, as the last few days have demonstrated. Lets hope they don't allow Ted Kennedy and his ilk to distract them.

Posted by David Mader at 11:44 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Fallujah Feeling the Pressure

Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah have requested a cease-fire, which will come into effect Sunday morning. This isn't the first, and it's good to see that the Marines are holding fast to their demands:

U.S. commanders demand the handover of Iraqis who killed and mutilated four American civilians on March 31 and the return of Iraqi police to their stations to keep order, Othman said.

Brig. Gen Mark Kimmitt told reporters Saturday that fighters must also "lay down their arms" and renounce their membership in extremist groups to fully end the insurgency that has made Fallujah its stronghold.

Damned straight. Funny, not a week ago these insurgents were boasting of throwing the Americans out of Iraq. Perhaps - and it's important not to be over-confident - but perhaps the tides are turning.

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

What We Knew and When

Here's the text of the August 6, 2001 intelligence briefing which some had alleged contained information indicating that the administration had prior knowledge of the plot behind the September 11 attacks. The most salient pararaphs seem to be these:

We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a xxxxxxxxxx service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" 'Umar 'Abd al-Rahman and other US-held extremists.

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

So intelligence services anticipated hijackings, but not hijackings-turned-missile-attacks. Folks were on the lookout for good-old-fashioned hostage-takings.

If this memo is indeed representative of pre-Eleventh intelligence, it doesn't tell us anything we didn't know; or, put another way, it tells us what we'd expect. There were rumblings of something afoot; with better inter-agency communication, and less politically-correct pussyfooting, some of the hijackers might have been in jail that day. But there was no knowledge of the specifics of the attack, and - perhaps more importantly - no broad-scale recognition of the scale and scope of bin Laden's campaign. The tragedy is that it took September 11 for us all to realize that there's a war on. And still, two and a half years later, many refuse to agree.

Posted by David Mader at 09:44 PM | (1) | Back to Main

April 09, 2004

It's a California Thing

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, vacationing in Hawaii, saved the life of a man foundering in the Pacific - or at least helped him get back to shore.

When he was Governor of California, Ronald Reagan dove into a swimming pool to save the life of a litte girl who had gone under and stopped breathing.

I'm just saying.

Posted by David Mader at 04:29 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Tory Numbers Up

An internal party poll has found the Conservative Party of Canada hot on the heels of the governing and scandal-ridden Liberals. The Western Standard published a similar poll last week (not available on line, alas).

The Globe piece linked above makes a good point about raised expectations, but two polls indicating the same voter movement may indeed denote a trend.

Posted by David Mader at 04:25 PM | (0) | Back to Main

State OK's Algeria Election

The State Department has declared Algeria's election to have been transparent and free from fraud, despite the allegations of irregularities by opposition parties.

I'm a little troubled by the conflicting reports; President Bouteflika, who has apparently won re-election, is generally seen as a US ally in the War on Terror, and his victory would be a bonus for Washington. As much as I'm a supporter of the current administration, and as little as I give credence to allegations of cynical realpolitik machinations, Washington's conduct towards Libya in recent months has raised the possibility that Foggy Bottom might downplay election irregularities in order to present 'proof' of reform.

There were international election observers on the ground in Algeria, and I look forward to hearing what they have to say.

UPDATE (16:12 EDT): here are some international observer reactions:

International observers hailed the vote as a major sign of progress toward reform in a nation emerging from a murderous Islamic insurgency...

"In my view, this was one of the best conducted elections, not just in Algeria, but in Africa and much of the Arab world," said Bruce George, an observer with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe...

Added Anne-Marie Lizin, head of the foreign affairs commission of Belgium's Senate: "We have the feeling of an enormous step forward this vote has reached European standards."

Sounds good.

Posted by David Mader at 04:10 PM | (1) | Back to Main

What it's all about

In the face of recent adversity, its good to remember what the war in Iraq is all about.

Bush doesn't see why children in Mosul are so different from those in Crawford: why shouldn't they have the same freedoms? You can mock this if you wish. It seems very odd that the Left, which routinely bemoans the injustice of Barbara Bush's son having greater opportunities than the son of a crack whore in the inner city merely because of an accident of birth, then turns around and tells 20 million Iraqis that they have to accept their lot and live in a prison state forever. Julian Barnes, Iowa's Democratic Senator Tom Harkin and a zillion others continue to feel this way - even after Saddam's fall.

Steyn was right when he wrote this a year ago and he's just as write today. This is not only a war of self-defence, it is a Just War that will bring freedom to millions of opressed people. Now is not the time to go wobbly.

Posted by David Mader at 03:34 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Alain Richard

Who is Alain Richard? Unless you follow Canadian politics closely, you've probably never heard of him. But you could be very quickly become big, big news. Alain Richard is the person who could make Adscam even bigger than it is now. How? By turning speculation into hard proof.

Richard is a former vice-president of Groupaction, an advertising firm at the heart of Adscam. He made an in-camera presentation to the Commons public accounts committee this week. His accusations are so explosive that the committee wants time to establish his credibility before they bring him out to testify in public.

Richard alleges that Groupaction worked almost for free for the Liberal party during the 1997 election and was rewarded with government contracts that paid it for doing almost no work.

This is Adscam at its worse - a direct allegation, from someone who should know, of the Liberals diverting public money to their election campaign. If Richard's credibility stands up then this will be, to put it mildly, very bad for Paul Martin.

If Richard's credibility stands up. There are, apparently, some serious questions about whether this will be the case. At the very least, he appears to be a rather eccentric individual. So the allegations could end up being discredited. If not, though, you'll be reading a lot about him in the days ahead.

Posted by David Mader at 03:00 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Election Timing

Last week I predicted that the federal election would be called April 19 for a May 25 vote. A week, as they say, is a very long time in politics. Since then, much of the punditocracy has weighed in to say that a May vote is definitely off. While many of these columns were based on the same kind of pure speculation that my post was, some columnists (notably Paul Wells) have great contacts in Ottawa.

The latest rumours coming out of that city are that a couple of days at the end of June remain the only possibly spring election dates. If you're interested, I'd particularly recommend L. Ian MacDonald, who says that the determinant of election timing will be polling numbers in Quebec. He's quiet persuasive.

Posted by David Mader at 02:51 PM | (0) | Back to Main


I can't recommend Michael Rubin highly enough. He recently returned to the American Enterprise Institute after a year in Iraq working for the Coalition Provisional Authority. More than anyone I've read, he seems to really understand what is going on in that country.

He has had a lot to say about the heavy fighting of the past week. You should really read his last three articles, but if you want a quick, easily readable summary of what's been happening, you couldn't do better than this. Excerpt:

The sky is not falling. The decision to confront the Muqtada al-Sadr's challenge to rule-of-law and liberty will cause a short-term spike in violence, but lead to long-term improvement. Iraqis see any failure to defend rule-of-law as Coalition weakness. How could the United States be serious about democracy, Iraqis ask, when we left such a challenge to rule-of-law go unchallenged? Thankfully, Iraqis now know that we will meet challenges head-on. It is a lesson that should also be understood in Syria and Iran.

As they say, read it all.

Posted by David Mader at 02:44 PM | (0) | Back to Main


Apologies for the lack of posts for the past week or so. Luckily my brother has more than made up for my absence, so most of you probably haven't noticed.

For those of you who did wonder what happened to me, I was travelling - first, to Duke University for the MBA Rugby World Championships, then to Montreal for Passover. Duke's campus is lovely, and rugby players are great, especially those who also happen to be MBA students.

I'm back now, and hope to be posting more in the days and weeks ahead.

Posted by David Mader at 02:40 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Fighting Back

Dan Darling notes that Iraqis have started to resist - by force of arms - the uprising of forces under Muqtada al-Sadr. Many Iraqis are afraid of Sadr, it's true, but he is not the face of broad-based resistence; he is, it increasingly appears, an Iranian-backed power-hungry radical. His defeat will be a victory not only for the Coalition but for the people of Iraq.

Posted by David Mader at 01:25 PM | (0) | Back to Main

A New Standard

I've finally managed to get my hands on a hard copy of the Western Standard (thanks Dad!), the new magazine of Canadian conservatism and the new West. It's an impressive publication for many reasons - the number of high quality columnists, the quality of the staff writing, the diversity of topics covered. I particularly enjoy what appears to be a regular feature, an e-mail exchange between Michael Coren and Karen Selick representing the libertarian/social-conservative dialogue which forms such an important part of the conservative movement today.

The standard clearly models itself, to a degree at least, on the American National Review, the unofficial voice of the American conservative movement. The Standard has even set up its own in-house weblog, as I mentioned last week. And - time to declare my interest - the publishers have been kind enough to invite me to blog over there, and I've accepted.

The Shotgun is shaping up to be a great place and a lively addition to the Canadian blogosphere. Long-time and regular readers know that I don't concentrate all that much space here to domestic political issues, and my participation over there will be in addition to, rather than instead of, my blogging here. Just in case you were worried.

Anyway, I'm not tooting my own horn, but trying to get you to a) pick up a copy of the Standard, which - and I say this regardless of interest (i.e. I'm not getting paid) - is great; and b) swing on over to the Shotgun, try it out, and maybe even make it a daily read. Looking for a place to start? If you're not crazy about starting at the beginning, you might be interested in my thoughts on immigration policy.

Posted by David Mader at 12:25 AM | (0) | Back to Main

April 08, 2004

More than Meets the Eye

Something about this story doesn't sit right, but I just don't know what it is:

A Canadian humanitarian aid worker was kidnapped in southern Iraq, the Foreign Affairs Department said Thursday.

Fadi Ihsan Fadel was taken hostage while doing work for the New York City-based International Rescue Committee, a non-governmental organization.

"We are currently seeking further information on his status, whereabouts and well-being and hope he will be released soon," said Foreign Affairs spokesman Sameer Ahmed.

He would not confirm where Fadel was born, his age or where he lives in Canada. Ahmed also would not say where he was abducted or by whom.

"I can confirm a Canadian citizen has been abducted," Ahmed said.

What would allow them to confirm that, in the absence of any further information about the individual in question? And if Fadel is indeed a Canadian citizen, can we expect a stronger reaction from the government than a statement by a DFAIT FAC (ugh, lame acronym) spokesman? After all, when Papa Khadr was seized in Pakistan in 1995, the Prime Minister himself arranged a release. Surely the Liberal government cares more about the fate of a humanitarian worker in the hands of terrorists than it did about a terrorist in the hands of the Pakistani government?

Posted by David Mader at 11:24 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Who's Writing the Headlines?

Get a load of this:

A video purportedly from al-Qaida's chief of operations in Saudi Arabia vowed to avenge the death of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan by expelling Americans from the Arabian Peninsula.

The headline? U.S. May Be Ousted From Arabian Peninsula.

Um. Maybe. Is the headline writer taking bets?

Posted by David Mader at 11:02 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Algerians Tip-Toe Towards Democracy

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has apparently won reelection, although there are allegations of poll fraud and voter intimidation.

I'm not really sure what to make of the situation, not knowing an awful lot about Algeria, but at the very least the attempt to democratize should be applauded - and encouraged.

Posted by David Mader at 11:00 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Got One

Or, well, six: "Six members of the Muslim extremist Abu Sayyaf group, including a senior leader wanted by the United States, were killed in a clash Thursday with Philippine troops on southern Basilan island, officials said."

Posted by David Mader at 10:55 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Hanging Together - II

On monday I noted attempts to bring the Palestinian Authority/Fatah and Hamas together under one administrative structure following an Israeli withdrawal from the territories. More rumblings along the same line today: "Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said Palestinians are "enthusiastic" about new elections after the Israelis leave. 'We hope this (withdrawal) will pave the road for a Palestinian general election with participation with Hamas,' he told The Associated Press."

If this works, the Palestinians achieve some sort of statehood. If it fails, they achieve a Somalia-sort of statehood.

Posted by David Mader at 10:52 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Allies Like These

Who knew genocide was a competition?

And seeing as millions of Indians died within a generation of the Columbian exchange, isn't this really a crack at the Spanish?

Posted by David Mader at 10:44 PM | (0) | Back to Main


It's that time of year. More blogging later.

Posted by David Mader at 07:10 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Property is Sacrosanct

Reader Charles B. asks what I think of this story:

A 26-year-old Los Angeles man who prosecutors say shot at two thieves stealing his car, killing one of them, was charged on Wednesday with murder... Prosecutors say Song came out of his house to find two car thieves pushing his customized Honda out of his driveway in the predawn hours on Monday and opened fire, hitting Martinez, 25, in the back. The second suspect got away.

I freely admit to being something of a radical on this. My opinions are based on two assumptions. The first is that property, and property ownership, forms the basis of a free society, by creating and sustaining notions of contract, right and responsibility. The second is that if violations of contract are not punished, the contractual basis of societal organization breaks down.

The remark, then, that "the fact that your car is being stolen isn't a legal justification for killing somebody" misses the point. Song wasn't firing his gun to kill anyone; he was firing his gun to prevent the theft of his property. Killing the robber was sufficient, but not necessary, to achieve that end.

Song furthermore had a reasonable expectation that had the car left his driveway, he'd never have seen it again. Modern police departments spend untold resources either on big-name crimes or (more often) on a useless drug war and its associated effects; as a result, common crimes - especially property theft - often go uninvestigated and unsolved, the property unrestored and the perpetrators unpunished. When theft is not treated like a crime, it ceases to be a crime. Song had every reason to believe that the theft of his car would not be treated as a crime by the police, so he had every right to prevent that crime himself.

Now, that's not to say Song was without culpability. If he made no attempt to first scare off the theives - by firing in the air, say - then he may well be guilty of either manslaughter or murder. Also, cases like this often involve more than is first reported; it turned out, for instance, that celebrated 'home defender' Tony Martin, who was charged for the murder of one home-invader and sued by another when he opened fire on them, turns out to have waited, in the dark, gun in hand, perhaps specifically to harm or kill the theives. Similarly, there may be more at work in this story. I cannot, however, condemn the use of armed force to protect the private property of a citizen from those who would shatter the most basic tenet of a civilized society.

Posted by David Mader at 02:06 PM | (1) | Back to Main

A Stretch

Anybody looking for some manufactured outrage? Gimme a break.

Posted by David Mader at 01:46 PM | (3) | Back to Main

Iraqi Terrorists Turn to Kidnapping

Iraqi 'insurgents' have kidnapped a number of foreigners in an apparent attempt to force a withdrawal of coalition troops. Three Japanese have been taken along with eight South Koreans (later release, apparently haven been mistaken for Japanese), and al Jazeera is playing demands by the captors that Tokyo withdraw troops.

Tokyo has refused.

Separately, two Arabs - carrying Israeli documentation but apparently not citizens - have been kidnapped, and their captors have demanded they be traded with currently-incarcerated Iraqi insurgents.

The horror at Fallujah was clearly informed, at least passively, by the 'Black Hawk Down' incident, but with this simultaneous rash of kindappings it appears that we're seeing a coordinated campaign of what can only be called terrorism, explicitly designed to alter the policies of coalition countries and shake the confidence of domestic audiences. Though I am a critic of Japan's unresconstructed militarism, I think it's terribly important that we take a page from Tokyo's book and stand strong in the face of this calculated provocation.

Posted by David Mader at 01:41 PM | (1) | Back to Main

April 07, 2004


As the historical analogies fly, there's something important to remember. The Tet offensive was a massive strategic failure for the North Vietnemese and the NLF. It decimated communist forces and failed to capture or defeat any significant US or South Vietnemese position. The Tet offensive was not a turning point in the Vietnam war

The Tet offensive was, however, a turning point in US attitudes towards the war. And yet if it was a US strategic victory, how could this be so? The standard line is that it showed how, after years of conflict, the NLF/North Vietnemese could strike at the heart of US positions. But the real lesson should have been that even with the capacity to strike throughout the south, communist forces did not have the capacity to achieve military victory.

Tet was a turning point in American opinion because the American media, both in Vietnam and at home, did not bother - or could not be bothered - to closely analyse the situation as it occurred. Insofar as the Tet offensive provides a historial lesson, it is a lesson about the failures - and the dangers - of a partisan or sloppy press. That being the case, contemporary analogies to Tet in the media are doubly astounding. Thirty-six years ago, sloppy reporting turned the tide of American public opinion; thirty-six years later, sloppy analogies threaten to do the same.

[¹ Already I anticipate challenges to this assertion from folks who won't give credit to the context provided by the rest of the post, so I'll say explicitly that by 'turning point in the Vietnam war' I mean a turning point in the military conflict strictly defined. I'd actually be prepared to accept the argument that it was in fact a turning point - since the US may have been able to bring the war to an end by exploiting post-offensive NLF/NV weakness, but that this response was stymied by the political situation. My point, though, is that as a military manoevre Tet did not mark the beginning of an NV/NLF military victory over US forces.]

Posted by David Mader at 09:52 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Back, But Beat

The seders were lovely, thank you for asking, and I'm back - but I'm worn out, and there won't be much blogging tonight. The big buzz over the past couple of days seems to have been the violence in Iraq. I stand by my original assertion - this is an act of desparation on the part of those who recognize that the triumph of law and order means an end to tyrannical power. And those who despair would do well to read Andrew Sullivan (see 'Get Sadr') and Alec Russel in tomorrow's Telegraph.

The fact is that, pace Ted Kennedy, the US isn't going anywhere in the next seven months, and probably isn't going anywhere thereafter - even if Kerry wins. This is a challenge. But, as Sullivan says, it's also an opportunity. Why in the world would we capitulate to those who would use terror and murder to assert their political views?

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

April 05, 2004

Happy Passover - Celebrate Freedom

The holiday of Passover begins at sundown tonight, when Jews around the world will commemorate the delivery of our ancestors from tyranny and the dawn of a new freedom with the exodus from Egypt. As Joe Katzman says, "May this festival of freedom herald a new dawn of freedom for many people - and nations - around the world."

Posted by David Mader at 06:51 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Hanging Together

Yassir Arafat's Palestinian Authority is making overtures to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the hope of persuading those terrorist groups to join a new Palestinian leadership organization:

The Al Ayyam daily, which is close to Arafat's Fatah faction, said Arafat was willing to include Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another militant organization, in a unified leadership group, though it did not specify what the group's function would be.

Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, as they say.

Actually, this is a fascinating piece of news. The AP continues: "Over the past several days, the Palestinian Authority has been holding meetings with Palestinian militant groups on how to run the Gaza Strip after a possible Israeli withdrawal." The PA seems to recognize that Israel is committed to withdrawal, and that in the absence of an agreement Hamas and Islamic Jihad will simply take power for themselves - by killing members of Fatah and the other groups which provide the PA's muscle. If the new leadership structure can successfully unify Palestinian factions, we might see the creation of an actual Palestinian political entity - rather than an Arafat-dominated power-structure. If not - and the combination of Arafat's megalomaniacism, Hamas' political aspirations and Islamic Jihad's Islamism presents significant obstacles - the withrdawal will result in an out-and-out civil war in the Palestinian territories. This is one story to watch closely.

Posted by David Mader at 02:44 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Sadr Wanted for Arrest

The shiite cleric who sparked an anti-coalition uprising over the weekend is now wanted for murder. There had been rumours of a warrant out, and the AP suggests Sadr has been wanted for some time, but the announcement comes only after the weekend's violence.

For more on that violence and its portrayal in the press, see Oxblog's David Adesnik.

Posted by David Mader at 11:50 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Israelis, Palestinians Support Withdrawal

Well how about that:

Seventy-three percent of Palestinians and 64 percent of Israelis support Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, according polls released Monday...

However, only 34 percent of Palestinians believe the withdrawal will actually happen, compared with 54 percent of Israeli respondents.

That puts the PA - or whomever rules the Palestinian territories - and pro-Palestinian westerners in a difficult PR situation, since the standard line has been that a withdrawal will create a de facto border and therefore must not happen.

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

Arsonists Attack Montreal Jewish School

Arsonists set fire to the United Talmud Torah school in Montreal early this morning. Accelerants were found at the scene, along with a note described as 'anti-Semitic'. The rumour spreading here in Montreal is that the note described the attack as revenge for the assassination of Ahmed Yassin.

Talmud Torah director Sydney Benudiz put it best: It's an act of terrorism, pure and simple." Yes. A press conference with leaders of the Jewish, interfaith and political communities will be held at the school at twelve noon.

The canaries are chirping in Canada today.

UPDATE (13:51 EDT): Here's a clunky but serviceable press release from the Prime Minister's Office. "Your fight for a society that is free of all racism is one that is shared by us all"? Why not "All Canadians are united in fighting for a society free from racism."

MORE (13:54 EDT): The National Post reports.

[Thanks to Dave K. and Elana S. for the pointers.]

Posted by David Mader at 11:34 AM | (2) | Back to Main

'They are leaning very hard on Fallujah'

The Marines are in Fallujah, and despite the worries of some that the atrocity in that city would provoke no response, the riflemen seem determined to take no s**t:

On Tuesday, the marines deployed tanks and armoured vehicles to block the main exits and entrances to Fallujah for the fourth day... Residents also reported door-to-door house raids by the marines looking for weapons and suspected insurgents on Monday and Tuesday... The marines’ commander, Lieutenant General James Conway, has said the "softer touch" would be applied only when the insurgency ends.

And then there's this: "Americans are referred to as "Zionists" or "Jews", words many Arabs use to refer to Israelis... "To us, the Americans are just like the Israelis," [one student] added." While you're trying to work out what that means, note that the group admitting responsibility for the Fallujah atrocity is named after dispatched Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin.

[Via Winds of Change, and specifically Dan Darling's indispensible "Winds of War" feature.]

Posted by David Mader at 01:06 AM | (0) | Back to Main

A Nice Thing

I just heard a heartwarming piece of news. Apparently the Muslim community and local mosque in Thornhill, Ontario has sent flowers to those families - including the family of my friend and Maderblog reader Elana Setton - whose houses were vandalized with anti-Semitic scrawling last month.

The lovely gesture is all the more noteworthy given the fact that York Regional police have, I understand, arrested a number of white youths in connection with the vandalism. Had the vandals been Muslim, the community's gesture might have been recognized as an appropriate disavowal of the act. In the absence of such motive, the gesture should be recognized simply as a classy, courteous and - dare I say it - Canadian act. Anti-Semitism is an ugly blight on any community, regardless of race or religion, and Thornhill's Muslim citizens have demonstrated their recognition of that simple fact in a laudable manner.

Posted by David Mader at 12:54 AM | (1) | Back to Main

April 04, 2004

Still Coherent?

The conventional wisdom following the arrest of eight Britons last week was that the group had been operating largely at their own discretion, rather than as a part of a closely-knit terror network.

The revelation that the investigations were prompted by a message intercepted by the NSA suggests that the British cell was indeed operating under orders from al Qaida higher ups. "The original tip, picked up by NSA satellites, was given high priority because it appeared to be instructions for an attack passing between Al-Qaida commanders in Pakistan and associates in Britain," reports the Canadian Press. "The sender was apparently in the circle around Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, believed to be the mastermind of attacks in Baghdad and Karbala last month in Iraq that killed 280 people during a Muslim religious festival.

I'm not sure whether this news should make us feel better or worse - better that there aren't - yet - cells organizing attacks on their own; worse that a group of natural-born citizens of a free democratic state are operating on orders from al Qaida.

Posted by David Mader at 10:39 PM | (0) | Back to Main

A Battle Over the Basics

Armed Liberal notes the declaration of an uprising by a radical Shi'ite leader in Baghdad. In the ensuing violence, ten coalition soldiers were killed.

Here's the core of the story, from the Telegraph: "The trigger for the trouble was the arrest on Saturday night of one of Mr al-Sadr's closest aides, Mustapha Yacoubi. He was held in connection with the murder of a rival cleric, Abdul Majid al-Khoei, who was stabbed to death at a Shi'ite holy shrine in Najaf last year."

This isn't about 'American occupation.' This is about law and order. al-Sadr seeks the defeat of those forces who prevent him from running a tyrannical and extra-legal power structure. The trigger for this violence was not some disrespect by American forces, or even the presence of Americans and other 'heathens' in Iraq. The trigger was an arrest for murder. This battle, such as it is, is a battle over the fundamentals of a free society - it's over the rule of law. That point must be made over and again as the neo-isolationists wail 'quagmire' in the coming days.

Posted by David Mader at 10:15 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Fellas, That's a Good Thing

There's some interesting productivity news buried in this scare-story on private operation of 'public' forests in Canada. I'm not sure why private operation of logging ventures on public land is a bad thing, and the story doesn't really try to explain, but then I also think that we could substantially solve the soft-wood lumber dispute over stumpage fees simply by selling off crown forests to forestry companies.

In any case, here's the good news:

Job growth, however, hasn't matched the growth in logging.

Between 1990 and 2001, the annual area logged in Canada rose by 12 per cent while forestry employment rose only four per cent. In 1990, 2.7 hectares were cut for every forest sector job, a figure that increased to 2.9 hectares per job by 2001.

So for each individual forestry employee, more forest is being logged than before. More output, same labor input - why, that's a productivity increase folks. And you know what productivity increases bring? Wealth.

Posted by David Mader at 07:24 PM | (5) | Back to Main

Reynolds North of the Border

I missed it, but apparently Glenn Reynolds was on the CBC's Cross Country Checkup this afternoon, discussing the file sharing decision.

If you caught it, let me know how it was, and what the good professor said.

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

Sharon's Gambit

If you haven't been following the Israeli withdrawal plans closely - and I admit I haven't - this AP story seems to be pretty comprehensive. Sharon will put the Gaza withdrawal to a vote of his Likud party; if it gains party support he will bring it to cabinet, where Likud ministers, even skeptics, are expected to toe the party line regardless of personal reservations. At the same time, Sharon will visit Washington to win the President's approval. If all goes well for Sharon, the withdrawal - including the removal of certain Israeli communities or 'settlements' - could proceed by the early summer months.

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

1, 2, 3, Speculate!

The Chair of the 9/11 Commission says to expect surprises in the report, to be released early this summer.

Posted by David Mader at 12:50 PM | (0) | Back to Main

He Said / He Said

Colin Powell says the intelligence he presented to the United Nations prior to the Iraq war - information he requested to serve a purpose he advocated - may not have been accurate. Powell points the finger at 'intelligence agencies.' Many will applaud the Secretary's forthrightness while simultaneously repeating the mantra that Bush and his administration 'lied.' It takes a certain chutzpah, though, for Powell to point the finger elsewhere when he was one of the key characters motivating President Bush to seek United Nations approval for regime change in Iraq. UN approval required playing up teh WMD card, and the UN stayed mum regardless, and the rest is history.

But no matter; the new chief weapons inspector has contradicted David Kay and now suggests that there is hard evidence that Iraq had the capacity to produce WMD and had plans to expand that capacity. Critics argue that the case for war was not made over 'capacity,' but over really-existing stockpiles. That's not strictly true, but it's true enough that no minds will be changed by either this latest report or by Powell's tua culpa. Still, expect a lot of political hay over both.

Posted by David Mader at 12:47 PM | (1) | Back to Main


Two nationalist candidates, including a former leader who was criticized for his human rights and anti-democratic record while in office, have won the first round of the Slovakian presidential election, and will now face off for the post. Reuters reports: "Former Prime Minister Meciar won 32.7 percent of the vote, the Central Election Committee said on Sunday. His former "euroskeptic" ally Ivan Gasparovic was second with 22.3 percent, just 0.2 points ahead of Dzurinda's Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan, who had led opinion polls."

The result is seen as a major rebuke for Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda, who, according to Bloomberg, "has sold state assets and won contracts to open factories in the country with companies such as Kia Motors Corp... Deutsche Telekom AG... and U.S. Steel Corp... The popularity of the government, which began its second four- year term in 2002, has been falling after it tightened requirements for drawing social benefits and scrapped the reduced value-added tax for food as the former communist country of 5.4 million puts its economy into shape before EU entry."

Now I know absolutely nothing about Slovakian politics, but isn't it at least possible that the victory of two Euroskeptic candidates in a presidential election only weeks before Slovakia enters the European Union might have less to do with economic reforms and more to do with, well, Europe?

I'm just asking.

Posted by David Mader at 12:20 PM | (0) | Back to Main

April 02, 2004

Elect the Executive

Finally, my long-standing proposal to elect our Governor General is getting some popular support. Sort of.

Liberal MP Paul Szabo, the [government operations] committee chairman, said the GG is formally appointed by the Queen. But the PM isn't the only one one with ideas on who would it should be.

"Because the constitution says it's an appointment by the Queen, the latitude is really going to be about what you do prior to the prime minister of the day coming up with a nominee," he said. "I think that opens it up to anything you could imagine, from polling dignitaries and Order of Canada recipients right down to asking Canadians at large to champion people they feel would be reflective of their views or interests as a head of state."

Uh, yea. Why is this such a controversial idea? The Brits chose their monarch, what, three hundred and fifteen years ago. Having a democratic mechanism in the selection of our executive officer would, I think, satisfy at least some of the concerns of Canadian republicans, while maintaining an institution dear to Canadian monarchists and traditionalists. There may be a conflict of interest in giving MPs a say in the selection process, but that's all the more reason to open it up to the people; besides, if there's a conflict in allowing MPs to pick the person who gives royal assent, that conflict is infinitely greater for the Prime Minister.

Posted by David Mader at 05:41 PM | (1) | Back to Main

The Record

A passage from this story on Don Cherry and the CBC jumped out at me:

"I will say this, off the record, that Don's attitude is he wants to be left alone," the source said.

So 'off the record' that it was quoted verbatim by the reporter. Now I don't hold reporters exclusively responsible for this; a reporter is never 'off the record,' and if he chooses not to report a comment he overhears - or is told - that's his decision. But the cynicism of actually including a source's plea not to be quoted is really breath-taking. And reporters wonder why fewer and fewer people see them as trustworthy.

Posted by David Mader at 03:58 PM | (1) | Back to Main

Over the Counter With a Shotgun

Canada's newest print voice of conservatism, the Western Standard, has started a blog of sorts, the Shotgun. It's a group effort, with both magazine staff and prominent Canadian bloggers participating. But it's not quite there yet; first of all, there've been all of two posts today, and second - and critically - there are no permalinks! What's up with that, fellas? No permalinks, no blog.

Like the Standard itself, it's a promising start. But it's not quite there yet. Let's get permalinks, and let's get some more involvement. I want to see the Ez himself posting by next week!

Posted by David Mader at 03:08 PM | (2) | Back to Main

Rail Bomb Found in Spain

Spanish police have discovered a bomb along a bullet-train line from Madrid to Seville. Although 'rail-bomb' evokes 3/11, French authorities have been dealing with almost-regular discoveries of bombs along rail-beds in the past months. Is there a connection, and if so, does that mean domestic terror from France is infiltrating Spain - or that the French bombs were indeed the work of Islamists?

[Thanks to Dave K. for the pointer.]

Posted by David Mader at 12:30 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Mother Parliament

Andrew Coyne compares and contrasts.

It seems to me a parliament stands or falls on the quality of its parliamentarians. Is there a Westminster-style government - strictly Westminster-style, mind you - that does not suffer from Ottawa's amateurism and provincialism? And if so - what's wrong with Canada? Where are all our parliamentarians?

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

Whoops - More Good News

Job creation was up in America last month, though unemployment also rose 0.1% as more people began looking for work again. "The nation's employers added 308,000 new jobs in March, hiring at the fastest pace in four years and providing long-awaited evidence the weak jobs market may be gaining steam," reports the AP. So much for a 'jobless recovery': "I'm not saying the labor markets are back where they need to be, but this latest job advance together with the positive revisions are making this look like a normal recovery," said one economist.

The markets are certainly enthused. The dollar jumped about 1% against other major currencies, while the major stock indeces also climbed on the news.

Quote of the day has to go to California Democrat Pete Stark: "We can't really talk about a jobs recovery until we see robust job creation for several months." Okay, Congressman - and if (when) that happens, can we look forward to you talking about a jobs recovery around, say, November? No?

Posted by David Mader at 11:39 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Deliver Them Up

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - "A cleric in Falluja Friday denounced the mutilation of four U.S. security contractors killed in an ambush, and residents said American forces vowing a response should remember only a few people were responsible...

"The U.S. Army said Thursday it was considering when and how to respond to the violence. It urged local leaders to hand over those responsible, and said the amount of force used would depend on the cooperation of Falluja residents."

Makes sense to me. If this was an outrage to Islam and a stain on the community, those responsible should be delivered to the coalition. If they are not, the community will be understood to be harboring them.

Posted by David Mader at 11:27 AM | (0) | Back to Main

The Fallen

The four Americans killed in Fallujah were contractors, apparently working security for convoys delivering food to that centre of rebel activity. Horrible as their deaths were, it is important to remember that they were men well aware of the dangers of their job, who understood that they played a role in a war of greatest importance. At least three were veterans, but while they may have left the service, they continued to serve. They have fallen, alongside many others, in the service of their country and the people of Iraq.

MORE (12:33 EST): Dave K forwards this story about the fallen men. Said a friend of one, "He knew it was rough over there."

Posted by David Mader at 11:21 AM | (0) | Back to Main


David Adesnik:

The savage brutality of yesterday's murders in Fallujah has shocked the blogosphere into silence. How often does an event of this magnitude provoke only a few lines of commentary from some of the most prolific authors on the web? On the other hand, are there any words that can say as much as the images of joyous young men hacking away at a charred American corpse?

Perhaps it will become possible to think about yesterday's slaughter once the numb and shock begin to wear off.

Perhaps. But what is to be said? Steven den Beste suggests that "the goal of this attack is to inspire American fury. What they hope is that the Americans will be blinded by hatred and will do something extremely stupid: to punish the Sunnis collectively for the actions of the terrorist group." If the goal was to inspire fury, it's working. A thousand years ago, we'd simply raze the city, leaving no survivors. Fifty years ago we'd firebomb it, and let them survive who will. Today we have the faces of the barbarians in pictures and on video. They are marked men: "It will be at the time and the place of our choosing. We will hunt down the criminals. We [will] kill them or we will capture them." Few (if any) of those identified in the pictures of the Horror at Fallujah will live out their natural lives.

But that is not simply vengeange - though it is vengeance indeed. It is also necessary. Peggy Noonan:

If an unforgettable message is not sent to the young men of Fallujah, the young nihilists will be inspired, and the lesson of their nihilism--brutality trumps goodwill--will gain ground. The progressives of Iraq will be further disheartened, and all of those there from the West to help, from contract workers to military troops, will feel more beset, more resentful and less hopeful of a good outcome.

Yes. And, in a way, that's why a patient response is best. An immediate invasion of the city with overwhelming force would be resisted en masse, and any deaths would be glorified as heroic combat deaths. But if, quietly, over the coming months, the perpetrators of this evil start disappearing, ending up in coalition custody; or if, travelling outside of Fallujah, they find themselves face to face with dozens of coalition soldiers, the message will spread: you who have done this thing are being watched; you live on borrowed time; you will pay.

Posted by David Mader at 11:17 AM | (3) | Back to Main

April 01, 2004


Senator Kerry appeared on MTV recently. And yes, he was as bad as you would think.

Luckily we have Lileks to deliver a righteous fisking:

By toppling the fascists in Baghdad without French seal of approval, we have encouraged recruitment in terrorist organizations. It’s not the invasion that ticked off the Man in the Arab Street, it’s the lack of a 17th UN resolution on Iraq. Right now in a café in Beirut an educated man, a chemist by trade, schooled in the ways of the West, is reading an article about how the US will only spent $15 billion on AIDS and probably won’t reduce its carbon emissions to 1817 levels, and he throws down the paper in disgust: bastards! I must join Al Qaeda, move to Iraq and kill the contractors who are upgrading their outmoded infrastructure!

And that's just a small excerpt. Go read it all.

Posted by David Mader at 03:08 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Whitewashing Hate

The EU and its member countries have issued a report descrying the rise in anti-Semitism in Europe and pointing the finger at "young, disaffected white Europeans." But the numbers themselves suggest that anti-Semitic incidents were most often tied to "youth from neighbourhoods sensitive to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, principally of North African descent."

If the EU is serious about combating the rising hatred, it must stop downplaying it for political purposes.

Posted by David Mader at 01:44 PM | (0) | Back to Main

Suddenly, Europe has a Terror Problem

In Spain, three letter bombs addressed to media outlets have been intercepted.

In Italy, two parcel bombs addressed to senior prison officials have been intercepted.

And across Europe, police agencies have arrested fifty-three members of a Turkish marxist terrorist group.

Further east, Uzbekistan is struggling through almost daily bombings and attacks that a top terrorism official has now linked to al Qaida.

Welcome to the new normal.

Posted by David Mader at 01:37 PM | (3) | Back to Main

April Fool's

Call me a spoil-sport, but I've never been crazy about April Fool's Day. It's especially frustrating for a news junkie (and blogger), since one has to give each story that much more scrutiny. For instance, everyone should be a bit hesitant reporting this story, which is unfortunate, since it sounds interesting.

Anyway, if I blog slightly less today, it's because I don't have the energy to second-guess everything I read. Though perhaps it's a discipline I should work on anyway.

Posted by David Mader at 01:07 PM | (1) | Back to Main


I was watching CTV news last night, and their eminent national affairs correspondent, Mike Duffy, was talking about the upcoming election.

He told viewers that his sources were telling him that the election would be called April 19th, for a vote on May 25th.

Could one of those sources be maderblog????

Maderblog - ahead of the pundits yet again!

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

Common Defense

Those British arrests seem to have been part of a much bigger operation than it initially seemed. It may be my own perspective - I first heard of the arrests via this post at Oxblog, which commented: "Be funny if they turned out to just be really serious gardeners." Heh. In fact, the arrests came after a months-long surveillance operation, and has since been tied to the arrest of an Ottawa man yesterday.

Tonight, the family of that man - Mohammad Momin Khawaja - says that his father has been detained in Saudi Arabia for questioning. This is clearly an operation involving a number of cooperating security and intelligence services.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa arrest, on top of an Auditor General's report highlighting weaknesses in Canadian security, seems to finally have woken many to the fact that Canada lies squarely in the bullseye of Islamist terror. That perception is only confirmed by the news that Canada appears on a list of al Qaida targets taken from a site known to be associated with the terror network.

It's a dangerous world, as London's arrests remind us; we're a part of that world, and Ottawa's arrest reminds us that we must never forget.

Posted by David Mader at 01:06 AM | (0) | Back to Main

Necessary and Welcome

The president of the Muslim Council of Britain, Iqbal Sacranie, has called on British Muslims to ostracize extremists who 'brainwash' young men, in the wake of the arrest of eight Muslim Britons on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks.

Adam Daifallah, who forwarded the news, comments: "Rare - need more of it." Absolutely. We non-Muslim pundits are put in an awkward position. We recognize - and I speak only for those who agree - that Islamism can only be truly defeated from within Islam itself; but advocating stronger voices of 'moderation' can sound like interference or condescension (as in, a 'good' Muslim voice is one who says what I believe must be said).

Still, precisely because we believe in the necessity of such voices, it's important to highlight and acknowledge those voices when they speak up. Mr. Sacranie has issued an important and laudable challenge to his community. He deserves the support of all Britons - Muslim and non-Muslim - because the security of all Britons depends on the success of his challenge.

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