July 2002 Archives
July 30, 2002
From Price Roe:
In "European Paradoxes," Victor Davis Hanson has authored an insightful (and very fun) article that exposes the shallows of European public opinion about the U.S. and its global role:
Part envy, part adolescent resentment toward a supportive but interfering parent, part simple confusion — the Europeans seem to think they are the brain to our brawn, fascinated with our wealth and power, but saddened that such splendid assets could not be directed in a more focused and supplicated manner to do the world real good.The Euros are a like a petulant and inferior older brother who is enraged by his younger sibling's successes. Their opinions are almost relevant enough to matter.
July 29, 2002
George McGovern, a former U.S. senator from South Dakota, 1963-81, and the Democratic presidential nominee in 1972, writes this rather funny editorial in today's WSJ. He has a point that airport security is deeply flawed, but is wrong to suggest this rises to the level of weakening our civil rights--we ought not use that standard cavalierly. He's also wrong to pin this on Bush--Democrats, more than Republicans, wanted to federalize airport security and impose the bureaucracy we are now confronted with. This brings up an important issue: the one-size-fits-all solution for airport security was flawed.
Robert Bartley makes the case against requiring accross the board for options to be expensed. Excerpt:
Because some CEOs and CFOs have abused options and earnings reports, we're now going to put the Black-Scholes equation in all earnings reports? Take another look, and imagine what a corner-cutting CFO could do with that! Earnings reports should be accurate, but they should also be transparent, that is, easily understood. Certainly options should be prominently included somewhere in financial statements, but using some guess at their present value to calculate earnings is the opposite of transparency.
Would that all the energy now going into this accounting crusade were directed at another message. To wit, there is not and never will be a perfect number to sum up a company's results. Earnings per share is a good starting point, but you have to go deeper for real understanding. Getting this message home to Wall Street and beyond would do more than a peck of laws and bushel of accounting changes to prevent future WorldComs and Enrons.
Thanks to Rob Reid for this:
I guess this is a small price to pay to keep the KING OF ENGLAND from taking
The most radical and belligerent of London's Islamic clerics, Abu Hamza, told ABCNEWS in a phone call that America's gun laws make such paramilitary training easy, "like a picnic."
The New York Times apparently thinks Colin Powell is the great liberal hope and that he desperately needs their encouragement to "stand his ground." Not only is this wishful thinking, but fairly condescending to Secretary Powell, whose conflicts with Rumsfeld and Cheney, I think, get far more attention then they merit. Just read this silly excerpt:
The administration, and the nation, would be better served if Mr. Powell's views prevailed more often. The time has come when he should not be so accommodating. He might even throw a tantrum or two.Please! Does the NYTimes really feel that the path to virtue is to be found with the abandonment of decorum? This editorial, meant as a patronizing shot in the arm, is merely an insult and probably does Powell more harm than help by portraying him as weak.
MIT Tech Review gets the technology right but the politics and economics terribly wrong in their piece on why software is so bad. They point out many of the problems with software development but their suggestion, not fully developed, that the solution is litigation and regulation is absurd. There is massive competition for effective software and clear market incentives to get it right. Amazing that Tech Review can't realize that trial lawyers and politicans are enemies, not friends, of innovation.
David Horowitz discusses Martin Amis' new book, "Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million" and laments the "destructive romance of the intellectuals." A must read column. Excerpt:
Deutscher, Lenin, Trotsky and Marx all staked their claims on the belief that socialism would produce abundance and freedom. A terrible history has shown us irrefutably that it doesn’t. Socialism is really a theory of economic theft and what it produces is poverty. Socialist systems are unable to even keep pace with the technological development necessary to sustain a modern economy. Moreover, they are fundamentally incompatible with human liberty.
None of these four revolutionaries still admired by the left had a clue about the critical importance of private property in making political liberty possible. Equally telling, none of them understood the necessity of a capitalist economy to technological progress or to economic well-being. In the last half of the 20th Century, vast masses of humanity -- hundreds of millions in fact -- were lifted out of subsistence poverty in those countries that protected and supported private property and free markets. This liberation of poor people into lives of relative dignity and modest luxury by capitalist economics represents a revolution unprecedented in the 5,000-year history of human societies.
An older piece but worthwhile by Tom W. Bell, a visiting professor at the University of San Diego School of Law and an associate professor at Chapman University School of Law and an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute, on how the attempt at creating Internet taxes out of "fairness" is really unfair and opportunism. An important distinction is made here between equality of results vs. equality under the law. Excerpt:
Now compare Alan and Beth. Alan drives on police-patrolled streets to a mall protected by the local fire department, buys a shirt and drives back home. Beth stays in the comfort and safety of her den and purchases a book online. Should Alan and Beth pay the same sales and use taxes? No. Alan places far greater demands on state and local government operations than Beth does.
True, Beth enjoys some police and fire protection even as she sits at her computer. But Alan consumes those same services once he brings his shirt home, in addition to the extra services he consumes during his real-space shopping trip. Fairness here calls not for equal taxation, therefore, but for equal treatment. No one should be forced to pay for services that go unwanted and unused.
July 28, 2002
Ward Connerly critiques the NAACP and the "the triumph of intellectual laziness over intellectual advocacy." They are paving the way to irrelevance as they have become practitioners of hyperbole and a Democratic shill--which has compelled them to take positions, such as their one against school vouchers, that put them at odds with their constituency. It is sad to see such a great organization cede the moral high-ground through misplaced moral indignation.
Does anyone, other than the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, really take the NAACP seriously anymore? An organization with such a glorious history of championing equal treatment for all Americans now finds itself in the position of being largely irrelevant in the ongoing national dialogue about race. What a tragic farce this group has become.
Richard Gilder & Thomas Rhodes, co-chairmen of the Club for Growth, a political action committee in Washington, argued on July 16th for pro-growth strategies--and they are absolutely right. This is the REAL way to "protect" investors: clear the way for economic growth. Will the Bush administration have the strength to follow their advice? I strongy doubt it.
The investor voters who elected George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress are getting restless. Has anyone in Washington noticed the market collapse? The losses are approaching $3 trillion. Yesterday, the dollar fell below parity with the euro for the first time in more than two years, reflecting the investment community's loss of confidence in the U.S. economy; the unemployment rate grew again last month; household debt is rising rapidly; and the states are in their worst fiscal shape in a decade. Consumer confidence is sagging, unusual in the first stages of a "recovery." Yes, there are some positive signs, but the optimism of earlier this year is long gone.
Transfixed on terrorism and corporate corruption, the Bush White House should remember that since 1900 no president has been re-elected in a stock market with such poor performance. To emerge from our economic miasma, the Republicans must advance economic growth policies -- off the table since the passage of the Bush tax cut in April 2001.
They'll get no help from the Daschle Democrats, who oppose speeding up the Bush tax rate cuts; oppose reducing the capital gains tax (permanently or even temporarily); oppose death tax repeal; oppose deregulation of the telecommunications markets; oppose expanding free trade; oppose common sense litigation reform and reasonable expenditure caps to control a runaway federal budget. They believe there is political gain to be gleaned from continued economic turmoil, for the Republicans will be blamed. Do the congressional Democrats understand or care that the damage from a double-dip recession will hit hardest America's most vulnerable -- the poor?
The Daschle Gang is already on the warpath blaming President Bush for the poor economy; blaming him for the absence of bipartisanship; blaming him for the reemergence of deficits and for corporate executives' malfeasance. These howls will grow louder and more persistent as the midterm election nears -- especially if the economy doesn't show signs of improvement.
Here is a tax package that can rally the economy and the market:
July 26, 2002
From the Cato Institute on August 1:
"Copy Fights: Are Intellectual Property Rights Best Protected by Government Mandates or Market Solutions?" co-sponsored by the Cato Institute and The Economist on Thursday, August 1, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Cabaña hotel in Palo Alto. You can view the program and register on-line here:
This promises to be a lively and thought-provoking event with opening remarks by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) followed by a debate on intellectual property rights featuring James V. DeLong, senior fellow, Project on Technology and Innovation at the Competitive Enterprise Institute; Mitch Glazier, senior vice president of government relations and legislative counsel at the Recording Industry Association of America; Joe Kraus, co-founder of DigitalConsumer.org; Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of Consumer Electronics Association, and Ronald Wheeler, senior vice president-content protection at Fox Entertainment Group.
For additional information, please feel free to contact Samantha Dooley at 202-789-5268 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Bartley on why the US was right not to reject the International Criminal Court.
After the carnage at Srebrenica and in Rwanda, the goal of putting the world's butchers on trial surely strikes sympathetic chords. But in rejecting the new International Criminal Court last week, the Bush administration struck an important blow for the cause of justice in the world.And George Will tackles the same issue:
The court's charter establishes a prosecutor who is literally irresponsible, not accountable to any democratic authority or even the United Nations Security Council. The prosecutor will be "elected by secret ballot by an absolute majority" of the ratifying nations. He would serve a nine-year term, and have the authority on his own initiative to launch investigations into "a. The crime of genocide; b. Crimes against humanity; c. War crimes; d. The crime of aggression."
This brainstorm is popular in all of the usual high-minded quarters. The treaty negotiated in Rome in 1998 has been ratified by 66 nations, including France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, etc. It will open its doors in the Hague next year, with jurisdiction over crimes committed after next July 1.
The American representative to the Rome conference testified to Congress that the U.S. continued to object not only to the "self-initiating prosecutor" and the sweeping inclusion of the crime of aggression, but to the court's jurisdiction over American peacekeepers on the territory of a state that had ratified the treaty. President Clinton signed the treaty on his last New Year's eve in office, in the same last-minute rush that three weeks later produced the Marc Rich pardon.
Although the ICC is supposed to advance the rule of law around the world, it is potentially--even inherently--inimical to the rule of law. And it is retrograde--premodern, actually--because it affronts the principle that every institution wielding power over others should be accountable to someone....
Because the ICC is a facet of the European elites' agenda of disparaging and diluting the sovereignty of nations, it is especially ill-suited to this moment, when the primacy of the nation-state needs to be reaffirmed. Terrorism is the leakage of violence out from the control of nations. And it cannot be controlled without enforcing the principle that a nation is accountable for terrorism that emanates from its territory.
In asserting these principles, and in other defenses of U.S. interests, the Bush administration is accused of "unilateralism." That term has become more than a mere antonym for "multilateralism." And more than (although it is this) a carrier of European resentment about U.S. refusal to pretend that Europe is a coherent and formidable political entity comparable to the United States.
Rather, the root of the European complaint of "unilateralism" concerns the U.S. refusal to move "up from" the defense of national sovereignty. The ICC--"up" there, untethered to the governance of any nation or settled legal system--presupposes, among much else, the universality of a common conscience. That presupposition is refuted by the very nature of the ICC's principal enthusiasts, the Europeans elites who are incorrigibly tolerant of Yasser Arafat's terrorism, but scandalized by U.S. "unilateralism."
Posted by Rob Reid:
What is the national priority - securing the homeland from terror, or securing lifetime employment and guaranteed pay raises for government employees, regardless of their competence or performance? The unionists and their shills in Congress predictably put the latter first. From the Wall Street Journal:
The reasons to shelve President Bush's proposed Homeland Security Department grow daily, the latest being a pair of back-door efforts to pay off labor unions at the expense of taxpayers. The worst of the two would, for the first time ever, apply the notorious Davis-Bacon law to all federal emergency spending.
Unions love the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, which dramatically drives up the cost of any federal construction project by requiring contractors to pay local union-scale wages. The law has an ugly pedigree, dating back to the Jim Crow era, when the mostly white construction unions wanted to exclude blacks from lucrative projects. It has the same effect today, especially in inner cities, where federal construction dollars can't go to hire unskilled workers, who are mostly minorities without union connections.
July 25, 2002
Milton Friedman turns 90 and Thomas Sowell reflects on his achievements. Excerpt:
Milton Friedman's enduring legacy will long outlast the memories of his students and extends beyond the field of economics. John Maynard Keynes was the reigning demi-god among economists when Friedman's career began, and Friedman himself was at first a follower of Keynesian doctrines and liberal politics.
Yet no one did more to dismantle both Keynesian economics and liberal welfare-state thinking. As late as the 1950s, those with the prevailing Keynesian orthodoxy were still able to depict Milton Friedman as a fringe figure, clinging to an outmoded way of thinking. But the intellectual power of his ideas, the fortitude with which he persevered, and the ever more apparent failures of Keynesian analyses and policies, began to change all that, even before Professor Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976.
July 23, 2002
If you haven't read "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by now, what are you waiting for? Don't you care about the environment? (For more information on TSE read this R21 post.) Actually, The Skeptical Environmentalist is a "scam," a "polemic," a "waste of time," and something serious people should "distance" themselves from. This according to the prominent environmentalists who have reason to be upset with, or, more accurately, embarrassed by, TSE's author Bjorn Lomborg. Their criticism can be found in this "skeptical look at The Skeptical Environmentalist" in Grist Magazine.
But of course, one should be skeptical of skepticism of The Skeptical Environmentalist when it comes from the folks that Lomborg critiques (and quite effectively so). It is no wonder that these prominent environmentalists, whose very raison d'etre is in a sense challenged by Lomborg, attack him personally but it is embarrassing (again) for them. According to James Glassman:
...calm is not the word for [Lomborg's] critics. They have gone berserk. Nasty, bitchy, hysterical, paranoid--those are apt adjectives to describe the response to the book. The Economist, which, despite its own green leanings, lavishly praised Lomborg’s book when it came out, last week reported that “Mr. Lomborg is being called a liar, a fraud and worse. People are refusing to share a platform with him. He turns up in Oxford to talk about this book, and the author (it is claimed) of a forthcoming study on climate change throws a pie in his face.”
July 22, 2002
Clearly the President's proposal to reform how this country deals with homeland security has merit--there is a new security environment and many of the current structures our outdated and strange: the Coast Guard shouldn't be in the Department of Transportation. But there is real concern about how we approach reform. There is something to be said for ramming through reform before the vested interests and turf battles minimize the efforts to bureaucratic bedlam, but haste can also make waste (excuse the cliché). The last thing we need now are officials who are supposed to be protecting us obsessing on internal politics. The rush is mostly political: Bush said the reorg would happen by year end and Daschle and co challenged him to finish it before Sept. 11, 2002. Yet another example about how our politicians do us a great disservice by focusing on elections and not on governing. The WSJ got it right in this editorial and, amazingly, Rep.s Henry Waxman and David Obey, who can be wrong about so much, provide an excellent overview of the issues with this reorg in this letter to Tom Ridge.
July 19, 2002
You have to watch these slippery suckers. The senate is trying to pass Kyoto without owning up to it!
On June 27, 2002, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed S.556. This bill, which resembles the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, would lump carbon dioxide with three recognized pollutants -- nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, and mercury -- and would limit CO2 emissions.
See this piece in the WSJ on the perils of legalizing drugs. I tend to break with many libertarians on the subject of drugs. First, drug usage is not a victimless crime and society bears a huge burden for the costs inflected by drug users. So the point that it isn't the government's business is just false. Second, drug laws, despite fanciful claims to the contrary, actually work. When prohibition was ended, alcohol usage tripled. The government can protect (in part) its citizens from the dangers of drugs and spare taxpayers much (though not all) of the burden of caring for a drugged up society--and it should.
CASE AGAINST LEGALIZING DRUGS
Recently, Britain went one stop closer to legalizing drugs by decriminalizing the possession of cannabis. John P. Walters argues that legalizing drugs will merely trade a crime problem for a public health problem.
Here's an important story about the state of the venture industry from BusinessWeek, which concludes:
Venture capitalists, who kept the champagne flowing during the tech bubble, are now nursing their own hangover. They'll continue to attract a trickle of money, even during tough times, because they're an important asset class to big pension funds and foundations. But to persuade investors to return in force, they'll have to keep sight of the lessons of the bust.
But the notable thing about this story, with its stunning insights, is the timing: it's astoundingly late. Red Herring addressed this issue in February and I think THEY were late to the party (though perhaps before everyone else.) And compare the BW story to this one from Herring dated July 16th. This is a clear example of the different approaches between the traditional business publications and the premium business pubs. BusinessWeek, Forbes, and Fortune seem all too often to be content with Monday morning quarterbacking, describing the trends that have happened over the past year that are painfully obvious to all who lived through them and not too meaningful to those in other industries. The Red Herrings of the world, when at their best, get ahead of the curve by following the money flow, polling investors, entrepreneurs, insiders and strategic executives, and writing predictive journalism at the time when it is actually useful for those people that will be affected by upcoming trends. The risk, of course, is that often these trends don't materialize as predicted, and thus rises the ugly specter of "hype." But it is better to be armed with hypotheses of the future, even imperfect one, than inutile postulations of the past. That’s my opinion and there’s just a slight chance that I could be biased.
I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.
-- John Cage
July 18, 2002
Bob Pittman resigns under pressure from AOL Time Warner. This continues the transition of leadership internally from the AOL team to the Time Warner vetrans as the corporate structure gradually shifts to reflect the reality that AOL is, its prior bubble stock price notwithstanding, the junior partner. Is Steve Case next?
And more analysis from NYTimes. Excerpt:
America Online, it turns out, was not some sort of jet fuel that could turbo-charge the rest of Time Warner's businesses. But it is a big, profitable operating division that fits naturally into a company with major holdings in magazines and cable television, which also merge subscription and advertising revenue....
Investors, advertisers and subscribers alike were promised far more than the company could deliver. Fairly or not, the resignation yesterday of Robert W. Pittman, the chief operating officer and previously America Online's president, is seen as a repudiation of many of those promises, because Mr. Pittman was the executive most responsible for keeping them. ...
Mr. Levin promised that the deal would add $1 billion to operating cash flow in 2001, creating a 30 percent growth rate — far higher than that of other media conglomerates. This promise, and the company's insistence that it could keep it for much of last year — is the source of much of Wall Street's anger today. The growth rate last year was 13 percent.
The "talent myth" is debunked in this piece by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker. Gladwell has a point that MBAs can be overrated, "B" players can be ignored in favor of the "A" players, and that inordinate amount of attention on star management talent can leave systemic problems untreated to the detriment of the organization. But the piece is unbalanced in that it doesn't acknowledge the values of talent and suffers, as so much journalism does these days, in using the Enron anecdote as a substitute for broad, informed analysis.
For a few years now, a battle has been raging in Sacramento over financial privacy legislation. Senator Jackie Speier wants to pass opt-in legislation (where banks cannot share customer information with anyone, including affiliates, unless they get the customer's written consent in advance). Banks, on the other hand, support an opt-out approach (where the default is sharing unless the customer contacts the bank and asks for more restrictive information practices). There are a whole host of reasons why opt-out is better than opt-in and you can read about that here. What's new in the debate now is that Chris Larsen of E-Loan just gave $1 million dollars to help the opt-in side win the battle. Larsen argues that opt-in is in the best interests of business. But that argument doesn't make much sense. If business really got better with opt-in laws, all the banks would be doing it. And if they didn't, then those financial institutions who did have opt-in would beat out their competitors. Larsen's argument is a thin veil for his real motivation: entry into politics.
July 16, 2002
Wind-generated energy is hyped as one of most environmentally beneficial sources of renewable energy. However, according to the Heartland Institute, the costs of wind-powered energy far outweigh the benefits.
I strongly recommend reading this provocative and insightful essay by Robert Kagan in the Hoover Institution's Policy Review called “Power and Weakness.” It explores how the perspectives of Europe and America are diverging dramatically and primarily because of the dramatic shift in their relative power in the world.
Europeans love to criticize Americans for being self-interested and inward looking, while trumpeting the European Union as the model for the world. But the European attitude is one derived not from ideology but from realpolitik--their ever-weakening position in the world compels them now (in stark contrast to their imperialist past) to seek international collaboration and consensus. And while the Europeans may feel enlightened while the Americans lack the sophistication to appreciate the importance of international cooperation and fraternity, their harmonious European Union (to the extent that is really is harmonious) depends on the power of the Americans—who solved the “German Problem,” protected Europe from the Soviet Empire during the Cold War, and protects Europe from international threats today. Far from being isolationists, America is the only cop on the beat around the world and the US’s machtpolitik, while scorned by the Europeans, is the only thing that protects Europe from itself and others and gives it the luxury of creating utopian unions. It is the European who live in a bubble—and the Americans who have to deal with the real world.
Here is the opening paragraph from Kagan’s essay:
It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world. On the all-important question of power — the efficacy of power, the morality of power, the desirability of power — American and European perspectives are diverging. Europe is turning away from power, or to put it a little differently, it is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation. It is entering a post-historical paradise of peace and relative prosperity, the realization of Kant’s “Perpetual Peace.” The United States, meanwhile, remains mired in history, exercising power in the anarchic Hobbesian world where international laws and rules are unreliable and where true security and the defense and promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might. That is why on major strategic and international questions today, Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus: They agree on little and understand one another less and less. And this state of affairs is not transitory — the product of one American election or one catastrophic event. The reasons for the transatlantic divide are deep, long in development, and likely to endure. When it comes to setting national priorities, determining threats, defining challenges, and fashioning and implementing foreign and defense policies, the United States and Europe have parted ways.
July 15, 2002
The latest studies show electric automobiles and "hybrid" cars are destined for failure. The attempt to reduce auto emissions and reduce energy consumption -- which are sometimes incompatible goals -- through emissions and mileage mandates is foolish, researchers say. Among recent findings:
Count the "F's" in the following text:
FINISHED FILES ARE THE
RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC
STUDY COMBINED WITH THE
EXPERIENCE OF YEARS
Click more when you are done...
July 13, 2002
Was it pure coincidence what brought you together with your mate? Are you sure? He/she could have been a client of Coincidence Design...
Tom Daschle has accused the current administration of being, gasp, "laissez faire"! (definition: An economic doctrine that opposes governmental regulation of or interference in commerce beyond the minimum necessary for a free-enterprise system to operate according to its own economic laws.)
But Fred Barnes makes the case in the WSJ that this attack by the Democrats will fail:
See if you can follow this logic: There's a scandal involving some egregious wrongdoing in the business community. President Bush is favorably disposed toward the business community. Therefore, President Bush is part of the scandal and in big trouble. Or check out this logic implicating congressional Republicans: There's a scandal involving some egregious wrongdoing in the business community. After winning Congress in 1994, Republicans talked up deregulation and other steps to aid the business community. Therefore, Republicans created the conditions that caused the wrongdoing.
Now, it's obvious that both of these are faulty syllogisms. And there's no evidence the public is buying either one, even a little bit. The terrorist threat, the economy, moral values--the list is long of issues of greater national interest and concern. The president's approval rating hasn't dipped a whit. And just last weekend, a Gallup poll found Americans evenly divided on whether we'd be better off with Congress controlled by Democrats or Republicans. This is exactly what the same poll found last January and last November.
David Limbaugh on how the Democrats are trying to make political hay out of the spate of corporate scandals.
Pop Quiz: What is the primary theory Democrats are using to establish Republican culpability regarding the series of corporate fraud scandals?
The painfully obvious answer is: guilt by association. Since some companies are engaged in misconduct, business, on the whole, is corrupt. And, Republicans, based on their presumed association with business, are scoundrels.
July 12, 2002
When, if ever, should new technologies be illegal?
By Jason Pontin
“I just think it’s wrong, that’s all.” So George W. Bush, explaining why he supports a bill that would permanently ban all reproductive and therapeutic cloning in the United States. Justifying his position last April, President Bush was admirably clear: He opposes the cloning of cells for therapeutic purposes because it would set us on the slippery slope to reproductive cloning—and that, Bush says, is repugnant to “most Americans” because it might hurt the cloned child, and because it would alter our essential human nature. Any cloning at all, Bush says, “would be… a significant step toward a society in which human beings are grown for spare body parts, and children are engineered to custom specifications.”
Contributed by Cynthia McCulloh:
I was talking with a friend the other day and said that in these times I was feeling fervently patriotic. I could tell by the silence on the other end of the phone that my friend was trying to reconcile what she knows to be my progressive political convictions with such a statement.
The very concept of 'patriotism' has been so effectively bastardized to mean blind acceptence of whatever our government officials espouse, that the real meaning of patriotism is not just obscured, it is lost.
Our American patriotic heritage is steeped in the notion that active dissent is the citizen's first duty. To question, engage and challenge our govenment's actions and policies is the highest form of patriotism.
July 3, 2002
Writer Mark Steyn argues that Osama bin Laden is obviously dead. Steyn makes a good case and he's funny too. Here's an excerpt:
Here's what we know about al-Qaeda: the Number One and Two guys haven't been heard from since December; Number Three, Mohammed Atef, is dead; Number Four, Abu Zubaydah, is in U.S. custody; so are hundreds of others, 80% of them Saudis captured in Afghanistan. Not all Osama's lieutenants are dead or in detention, but intelligence reports have spotted surviving individual members of his elite personal bodyguard in various spots around the globe, which would appear to suggest that they've been reassigned: There's no point being a bodyguard when the body's no longer in a state worth guarding.