The Quranyon: A Sign of Islamic Decline

The Quranyon: A Sign of Islamic Decline

There are indications that many Muslims are deserting the mainstream Islam to the less known Islamic sect called the Quranyon. Any observer of the religious debates in the Middle East, whether in the printed press or the Internet, must notice the growth of this rather new Islamic sect under the name of the New Ahnaf. Even the once extinct Islamic sect known as Almutazella seems to have been resurrected in some Middle Eastern countries. These new groups are currently neither well organized nor influential and probably will never be, but their rising number is significant because it reflects the deepening cracks in the Islamic structure.
The Quranyon and the Sunna

The Quranyon build their argument on the false assumption that the Quran is Allah’s preserved word and, therefore, is infallible. They claim the Quran is a complete book; therefore Muslims do not need any other sources of information. In effect, they promote an essentially different brand of Islam based only on the Quran. Although they promote themselves as Islamic reformers and defenders of the Quran, but to the other Muslims, they are simply heretics.

The Quranyon have full knowledge of Mohammed’s history (Sira) and his example (Sunna), but their knowledge leads them to a laughable conclusions. In effect, their argument goes like this: ‘because the history of Mohammed is disgraceful, and because his ahadith (deeds and sayings) are filled with nonsense, then these ahadith must be wrong!’ This is like saying ‘because all the available evidence incriminates the suspect, then all the available evidence must be wrong! This back to front irrational analysis is not unique to the Quranyon but common among Muslim scholars in general and reflects the extent of damage that Islam inflicts on human wisdom.

By rejecting the Sunna, the Quranyon free themselves from the impossible task of defending Mohammed’s conduct. They are aware that the charges against him, like the ones published in FFI and IW are indefensible because they are based on authentic Islamic sources. Having denied the most authentic Islamic sources, the Quranyon have one answer to all the charges against Mohammed, which is: ‘it is all history, so it may not be true’. The Quranyon may not be aware of it, but their intense inclination to deny the Sunna, is an indirect admission from them that Mohammed is a liability rather than an asset to Islam.

The Quranyon and the Quran

The Arabic word Qurani (Quranist) relates to the Quran, a group of Quranists is called Quranyon. The Quranyon are extremely happy to be given a name that relates them to the Quran. It gives them some protection against the inevitable charges of being infidels. Their association with the Quran gives them a false sense of security; after all it is not easy to describe people who believe in the Quran as infidels.

It looks bizarre that the Quranyon reject the Sunna because they believe it shames Islam and Mohammed but they are happy to accept the Quran. Any objective reading of the Quran reveals as many absurdities in it as in the Sunna, if not more. So why are the Quranyon happy to defend the Quran?

To explain such a strange attitude let us take the hypothetical example of a thief who is confronted with a rather blurred video footage for him while shoplifting in a supermarket. The video footage may be a little blurred yet clear enough to prove the crime. The thief then uses that slight lack of clarity in the footage as a basis for his defense, he might claim that he wasn’t shoplifting or that it wasn’t him at all.

The Quran is an ambiguous book filled with repetitions and contradictions. In various chapters of the Quran there is enough nonsense to prove its gross inanities. The Sunna’s role is to clarify the Quran and puts it in focus, thereby highlighting further its absurdities. This is why the Quranyon prefer to read the Quran without the Sunna; they prefer some darkness to give them a free hand to articulate the language to come up with the meaning that suits their desires.

In their efforts to preserve the Quran, the Quranyon are not ashamed to present some of the most stupid argument. Their rationalization for explaining the Quranic blunders by creating an entirely new meaning for the Quranic verses goes like this: “Because the obvious meaning of the verse is logically wrong and unacceptable, then it cannot be the meaning intended by the Quran!” They even claim that the Quran has its own Quranic (not Arabic!) language to justify their extraordinary interpretation of its blunders! This may explain why this trend appeals to some dissatisfied Arab Muslims who are not ashamed to violate all the rules and principles of their language to justify the Quranic errors. They find in such false cosmetic repairs a comfortable compromise that allows them to believe in Islam without having to believe in its absurdities.

Muslims consider the Sunna as complementary and explanatory to the Quran. This is quite true. However, acceptance of the Sunna leaves the Quranyon with little room to practice their skills in distorting the language. The Quranyon cannot apply their skills of language trickery to the ahadith because these come in different books and in different wordings, which denies the Quranyon their only weapon of language falsification to come up with their desired new meaning.

A Quran only Islam

The Quranyon like to be seen as Muslim intellectuals (although the two words should not come together) and Islamic reformers. Their desperation to present Islam as a modern and civilized religion forced them to adopt a strategy of self-deceit to accept the Quran and self-deceit to believe that the rest of Muslims will accept them.

The Quranyon’s claims about the unreliability of Sunna because it reached us through history is another laughable argument. It must have escaped their minds that everything about Islam, from the Quran to Mohammed’s history and his Sunna, have all reached us through the same history. The Quran was written by humans, kept by humans and collected by humans. The Quranyon cannot dispute the fact that Caliph Uthman, who ordered the writings of the official four state copies of the Quran, did so to avoid the problems caused by the existence of too many different versions. Indeed, Uthman ordered all other copies of the Quran to be destroyed because they were dissimilar from his version. The burning of the other copies has outraged many important figures in Islam, like Ibn Masoud, who refused to recognize Uthman’s official version of the Quran.

The Quran repeatedly asks the Muslims to follow Mohammed’s example (Sunna). If the Quranyon discount the Sunna then they have to answer the important question: How can Muslims follow Mohammed’s example if they do not recognize that example?

The Quranyon are not a well-defined group and they do not all agree on clear and recognized teachings. They even accuse one another of being infidels! By definition, the Submitters are Quranyon, but are branded as infidels by all the others. Probably the only thing the Quranyon have in common is their rejection of the Sunna and their determination to justify the Quranic blunders at all costs. However, a Quran only Islam looks so weird to be recognized as Islam at all. Although the Quran is Islam’s holy book, but the bulk of the religion is made of Sunna. All the details of Islam like how to perform the prayers are completely distorted by the Quranyon because they are only briefly mentioned in the Quran. For example, in the case of prayers, they only recognize three prayers rather than five, which they perform differently from the mainstream Muslims.

In reality, The Quranyon make fundamental changes to the core issues of Islam, in other words they introduce Bidaa (innovation) on a major scale, which is a lethal sin in Islam. Their practice has precedence in Islamic history, like the members of Al-Mutazela group who were completely eradicated during the Abbasid dynasty. The current violence between the various Islamic sects is another reminder of the non-existent Islamic tolerance. Indeed some Quranyon have already been murdered on the basis they were infidels in disguise.

The Quranyon’s state of mind is another sad demonstration of the damage that Islam can inflict on the human mind. These people have spotted more than enough of the Islamic garbage to wake them up to the fact that Islam is just a mad man’s cult. Instead of leaving Islam, they embark on a desperate process of self-deception because their confused minds cannot imagine that life can exist outside Islam.

The rising number of the Quranyon reflects the damage control being carried out by some Muslims to conceal the deepening cracks in Islam. But these are cosmetic and superficial repairs and can never hold the structure together for long. We must also keep in mind that not all the Quranyon truly believe in what they say. Many unconvinced Muslims think of this group as a safe sanctuary from the real Islam. Some of the Quranyon reject the Quran soon after they reject the Sunna, and continue their journey to enlightenment and freedom. Indeed many of the Quranyon only pretend to be so to stay legally alive in the Islamic societies. The current apparent Islamic tolerance to their existence may not be long lasting. Probably the reason they are left alone is because they are considered as a disillusioned group of non-practicing Muslims who will eventually return to the circle of Islam.

Pakistani jihad leader: “We want to eradicate Britain and America…We pray that Allah will enable us to destroy the White House, New York, and London”

January 30, 2008

Pakistani jihad leader: “We want to eradicate Britain and America…We pray that Allah will enable us to destroy the White House, New York, and London”

Maybe he thinks he and his fellow jihadists will destroy us from within. In any case, note the strong Islamic content of his appeal — while the learned Western analysts continue to dismiss this, the most prominent feature of what he is saying, as mere window dressing that manifests a deep misunderstanding of the religion.

“Pakistani Taliban Emir By’atullah Mahsoud: We Will Destroy America and Britain, But Won’t Use Nuclear Bombs,” from MEMRI (thanks to Mackie):

Following are excerpts from an interview with By’atullah Mahsoud, the Emir of the Pakistani Taliban, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on January 25, 2008. Throughout the interview, the assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto was not mentioned, and it seems the interview was recorded earlier.To view this clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1668.htm.

“Musharraf is Merely the Slave of Bush, the West, and the Infidels”

Interviewer: “Did you pledge allegiance to Mullah Omar?”

By’atullah Mahsoud: “We pledged allegiance to the Emir of the Believers in the past, and Allah willing, our allegiance to him will continue infinitely. He is our religious Emir, and our allegiance to him stems from the love and respect we have for him.”

The Emir of the Believers is a title of the Caliph — so apparently Mahsoud accepts Omar’s shaky claim to the caliphate.

Interviewer: “What do you hope to achieve by this coalition? What are your goals? What are your plans for the future?”By’atullah Mahsoud:”The goal of our coalition is to conduct defensive jihad. The Pakistani army is induced by Bush to send its forces here, and it bombs our homes and fights us. Therefore, we established this coalition in order to provide security to Muslim individuals and Muslim society. The Pakistani army employs tactics of deceit. It wages war in South Waziristan, while it maintains a truce in North Waziristan. Then it wages war in North Waziristan, and maintains a truce in Bajaur. Then it wages war in Bajaur, and maintains a truce in Swat. This is a policy of deceit. We established this coalition in order to confront the deceit of the army and its soldiers’ attacks.

[...]

“Musharraf is merely the slave of Bush, the West, and the infidels. Musharraf is subjugated to his masters. The Muslims in the tribal regions have suffered greatly at his hands, while our Arab and non-Arab brothers who have come here in order to defend Islam and the people, and in order to protect Pakistan – Musharraf has declared war against them, at the direct command of Bush. Some of them have been martyred, and others have been handed over to the Americans. All this did not satisfy Musharraf, who attacked the mosques, killing women, children, and youth inside. His motivation in doing this was to please Bush. We say that Musharraf persecuted the Muslims, demonstrated injustice towards them, and destroyed mosques.”

[...]

Above all, we are Muslims, Allah be praised. Islam does not allow us to kill women and children. Using a nuclear bomb leads to the killing of children, women, the weak, and the elderly. We cannot kill all these people, and so we do not think about using a nuclear bomb.

[...]

“All Muslims are brothers. The Taliban have the Emir of the Believers. He is not only the Emir of the Afghani people, but the Emir of the Believers throughout the world. We pledged allegiance to him, and we have the strongest ties with him. We consider Muslims – even in America – to be our brothers. With regard to Al-Qaeda, they are Muslims, and the Islamic zeal that runs in their veins is very rare. Al-Qaeda has fought heresy head-on, and confronted it with their weapons. They are our brothers, and Allah willing, we will remain brothers, and we will serve them, even if they ask us to sacrifice our heads for their sakes.”

“I Have the Utmost Love and Respect For [bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri], Because of their Enmity towards the Jews and the Christians”

Interviewer: “Have you ever had any connection with Al-Zarqawi, Al-Zahawiri, or bin Laden?”

By’atullah Mahsoud: “Before Al-Zarqawi left for Iraq, he was in our region with us. We had strong relations with him. After America began committing injustice in Iraq, he went over there, and he had an extraordinary role. With regard to Osama and Al-Zawahiri, I never met them, but I have the utmost love and respect for them, because of their enmity towards the Jews and the Christians. The Muslims must be harsh towards the infidels and compassionate among themselves. These two men reflect this Koranic verse. Their enmity towards the Jews and the Christians is strong, and therefore, I respect them.[...]

That’s Qur’an 48:29: “Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are merciful to one another, but harsh to the unbelievers.”

“We Muslims are united, and we will wage jihad in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. We will fight jihad in Palestine, Bosnia, and Iraq as well. This is our religious duty, and in Islam, there is no text that says that a certain place is Pakistan, and another place is Afghanistan. There are no borders in Islam. We fight the Jews and the Christians in Afghanistan out of ideological motives.”Interviewer: “Did you send your fighters to Afghanistan to participate in battle alongside the Taliban?”

By’atullah Mahsoud: “We fought alongside the Taliban, and we will continue to do so full force. The enemies have come from distant places. They have come from many Western countries, for the sake of money, and they kill for the sake of money. We, on the other hand, are Muslims. Our goal is to please our God and to raise the banner of monotheism. Yes, we send and will continue to send young men to the battlefronts in Afghanistan.”

[...]

By’atullah Mahsoud: “We are by no means sorry when we kill them. They carry out the orders of the West and America, and destroy our homes. That is why we kill them, although I pray that Allah will guide them, because Pakistan is an Islamic country. But when the army soldiers come here to fight us, we will kill them, because the presence of the army and its soldiers here is in response to the orders of the infidels and Bush.

[...]

We want to eradicate Britain and America, and to shatter the arrogance and tyranny of the infidels. We pray that Allah will enable us to destroy the White House, New York, and London. We place our trust in Allah. Soon, we will witness the miracles of jihad. I myself have experienced many miracles. Every time I was determined to do something, I prayed to Allah, and he made it possible. Our jihad is defensive jihad. Our determination is great, and it is directly entirely against Britain and America. The soldiers of heresy who have come here to oppress the Muslims – we will respond to their injustice and tyranny. One of the miracles of jihad will be that sooner or later, we will destroy their countries.”

Obama Wants Summit With Muslim Countries; Sound Familiar?

Greg Strange

Obama Wants Summit With Muslim Countries; Sound Familiar?
This is what will happen if America makes a left-wing multiculturalist its president. Barack Obama told a French magazine that if he is elected, he will hold a summit with Muslim countries in order to try and improve the United States’ image around the world.

Hmm, this sounds vaguely familiar. Oh yeah, now I remember. A few months ago he said if he was elected he would have face-to-face meetings with every deranged, enemy dictator on the planet, presumably to show how open-minded an Obama-led America would be and presumably to show that if you just sit down and talk to your enemies, everything can easily be straightened out to everyone’s liking.

He got hammered by Hillary and others in his own party for that display of childlike naiveté, after which, in order to show his toughness, he promised to invade Pakistan should the need arise.

Can’t reasonable people of all stripes and political persuasions come together and agree that this guy would be a disaster as commander-in-chief? Actually, no, of course not. That would be naiveté on my part. The fact is that millions of misguided Americans agree with Obama that the United States is the reason for most of the friction that exists between it and the Middle East, as well as other troublesome areas of the world.

Well, I’ve got a question for those millions and for Mr. Obama himself: Given that the Middle East and most of the Islamic world is a poverty-ridden basket case of ignorance, fanaticism, squalor, terror fomentation and tribal violence from one end to the other, why is it America’s image that needs repairing? Why isn’t it their image that needs the fix-it job instead, or rather, their way of life, which creates so many nettlesome problems for the rest of the world?

But Obama can’t be bothered by such technicalities. He just wants to find “ways to bridge the gap that grows every day between Muslims and the West. . . . We must also listen to their concerns.”

We already know what their primary concerns are (destroying the Zionist regime and eventually making the entire world Islamic) and they don’t deserve a serious hearing. Just yesterday, Iran’s madcap President Ahmadinejad called on the West to acknowledge Israel’s “imminent collapse” as he bragged about Iran’s nuclear program going into its final stage. It shouldn’t be too hard to connect those dots.

He’s already on record as saying that “the basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime, and the Islamic world and the region must mobilize to remove this problem.” The guy is the equivalent of a rock star all over the Islamic world. Why would you want to have a summit with such psychotics?

But that’s what Obama wants and if he’s elected that’s probably what we’ll get. It would all be in the spirit of tolerance, of course, but the problem is, the other side has no tradition of tolerance and only sees anyone else’s tolerance as weakness.

In an age of apocalypse-minded Islamic terrorists itching to get their paws on weapons of mass destruction, tolerance, which equates to perceived weakness, is not the course to take.

Cut Off the UN

Cut Off the UN

By Brett D. Schaefer
Heritage Foundation | 1/31/2008

In the past two years, a large majority of United Nations member states has decided to ignore U.S. objections to increases in the U.N. regular budget and its lack of progress on reform. In three critical votes, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) of the U.N. General Assembly has broken a 20-year tradition of adopting budgetary decisions only by consensus. These votes–which approve unprecedented budget increases while rebuffing reform efforts–hearken back to the late 1970s and early 1980s. In those years, similar practices led Congress to adopt legislation withholding 20 percent of assessed U.S. contributions to the U.N. regular budget and specialized agencies until the U.S. was given more influence over budgetary matters. This move prompted the U.N. to adopt the informal rule requiring consensus on budgetary matters, after which Congress then rescinded the legislation.

The recent votes indicate that the U.N. has forgotten the impetus behind the consensus-based budgeting process and illustrates the shortsightedness of Congress in rescinding the legislation backstopping the process. Congress should rectify its error and adopt new provisions for restrictions on U.S. contributions to the U.N. if the budget is adopted over U.S. objections.

Violating 20 Years of Tradition

For the past 20 years, the U.N. has operated under a tradition of adopting budgetary decisions only by consensus. This informal process was adopted under threat of U.S. financial withholding under the Kassebaum-Solomon Amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for fiscal years 1986 and 1987. At the time, diplomatic efforts were proving insufficient to arrest the increasing politicization of U.N. operations and programs and the organization’s rapidly increasing budgets.

The United States and other Western countries had sought unsuccessfully to hold the U.N. to a zero-growth budget in the first half of the 1980s. This led former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Jeane Kirkpatrick to testify that “[t]he countries which contribute more than 85 percent of the U.N. budget regularly vote against that budget, but are unable to prevent its increases because the countries who pay less than 10 percent of the budget have the votes.” [1]

This frustration led Congress to adopt the 1985 Kassebaum-Solomon Amendment, which withheld 20 percent of U.S. assessed contributions to the U.N. regular budget and specialized agencies until weighted voting on budgetary matters was adopted. [2] As noted by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Charles Lichenstein:

… there was a consensus in the United States that radical surgery was called for. Numerous studies and investigations, many of them instigated by the U.N. itself, had revealed a pattern of waste, mismanagement, and duplication. The U.N.’s socioeconomic agenda called for the redistribution of wealth from the industrialized democracies to the less-developed countries of the Third World…

As a result, a Democratic-controlled Congress in 1984 overwhelmingly approved the Kassebaum-Solomon Amendment to the authorization of the U.S.’s 25 percent share of the U.N.’s administrative budget. The terms of the amendment seemed unambiguous: Shape up, impose fiscal discipline on yourself, and move toward some form of weighted voting on the U.N. budget in the General Assembly, with “bonus” votes for big contributors in rough proportion to their contributions, or else suffer an annual 20 percent withholding of the U.S. payment.. [3]

The Kassebaum-Solomon Amendment was a modest success. Weighted voting was not adopted, but the U.N. did informally agree in 1986 to the consensus-based budgeting process, under which every country theoretically had a “veto” in that it could vote “no” and halt the process. [4] This allowed the President to waive the 20 percent withholding restriction based on a determination that the U.N. had made substantial progress toward procedures called for in Kassebaum-Solomon. [5] Congress later rescinded the Kassebaum-Solomon Amendment based on the determination that the U.N. had largely addressed U.S. concerns.

Under the consensus-based budgetary process, the U.S. was able to prevent excessive growth in the U.N. budget for nearly 20 years. Recently, however, a coalition of U.N. member states has violated this informal process:

  • In the wake of numerous U.N. scandals, the U.S. and other major donors sought to reform the U.N. Secretariat. In 2005, the General Assembly approved a broad reform agenda and asked the Secretary-General to submit detailed reform proposals. To put teeth behind the reform effort, the U.S. led a campaign to cap the U.N. assessed regular biennial 2006-2007 budget at $950 million, with the remaining budget to be authorized after the reforms were adopted. Annan’s reform proposals were, however, blocked by an overwhelming majority led by opposition from the G-77. On April 28, 2006, when the G-77 forced a vote, the South African resolution was approved by a vote of 108 to 50 with three abstentions. [6] The General Assembly subsequently passed the resolution by a margin of 121 to 50 with two abstentions on May 8, 2006. [7] These votes were the first major break with this consensus tradition in two decades.
  • The vote to oppose Annan’s reforms precipitated a showdown over the $950 million U.N. budget cap, which was projected to be exhausted by the end of June 2006. The United States and Japan, which together provided nearly 42 percent of the U.N. budget, opposed approving the rest of the U.N. budget unless the General Assembly passed the reform proposals. Again led by the G-77, the cap was eliminated and the remainder of the U.N. budget was approved without adopting the reforms sought by the U.S. and other major contributors. [8] Although the U.S. did not vote against the resolution, it disassociated itself from the consensus position. [9]
  • This past December, a large majority of U.N. member states again violated the informal rule on consensus-based decision-making on budgetary issues. Over strong resistance from the U.S. delegation, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) recommended a $4.17 billion biennial budget for 2008-2009 on December 22, 2008. The U.S. delegation objected to specific provisions included in the budget, such as funding for the “Durban Review Conference,” [10] and out of concern “that the final 2008-2009 budget for the biennium will be significantly higher than this initial budget.” [11] Indeed, a number of projected expenses were not included in the budget, and the overall budget is projected to be more than $1 billion over the approved budget, representing the largest increase in U.N. history. [12] The budget was approved by a recorded vote of 141 in favor and the United States was the only country to vote “no.” [13] The decision to overrule the U.S., which is by far the largest contributor to the U.N. regular budget, [14] was met with a standing ovation by the other member states. The General Assembly later adopted the budget by a vote of 142 to 1. [15]

These votes signal that the majority of U.N. member states who contribute very little to the budget no longer feel the need to listen to the concerns of its largest contributor–not even to the minimal extent imposed under the consensus-based decision-making process. This attitude has predictably led to unprecedented budgetary increases and undermined efforts to reform the United Nations.

What Congress Should Do

Congress should use the limited success of the Kassebaum-Solomon Amendment as a model and a lesson. The amendment demonstrated that the threat of financial withholding is an effective lever in getting the U.N. to make changes to address U.S. concerns.

However, the solution of consensus-based budgeting was limited. It was relatively successful in constraining growth of the U.N. budget by providing every country a theoretical veto over the budget. If it chose, the U.S. generally could block initiatives it opposed or prevent large budget increases through this process. However, the rule also made it difficult to eliminate outdated or ineffective U.N. activities as long as they had a single champion among the member states. This proved to be a substantial impediment to U.N. reform. Worse, the fact that consensus-based budgeting is an informal agreement rather than a hard rule has allowed a majority of member states to override the U.S. and other major contributors without consequence.

Congress should use its power of the purse to withhold U.S. contributions to the U.N. regular budget if the membership adopts a budget over the objection of the United States. In return for the release of these funds, Congress should demand that the U.N., at a minimum, reinstitute the consensus-based budgeting process as a hard rule. Ideally, however, Congress should go further and emulate the original requirement of Kassebaum-Solomon: Require the U.N. to adopt weighted voting on budgetary matters or eliminate the practice of assessing member states for most U.N. activities in favor of voluntary funding. [16]

Conclusion

Congress should act to protect U.S. interests at the U.N. by announcing that its failure to act on reform and its approving budget funds over the objection of the U.S. will lead to financial withholding. Outside pressure from Congress has been effective in the past and should be used again. The U.N. has repeatedly demonstrated that financial leverage is the most effective way to force the organization to take U.S. concerns into account. Congress should pass an updated version of the Kassebaum-Solomon Amendment that would withhold 20 percent of the U.S. contribution to the U.N. regular budget if the membership adopts a budget over the objection of the United States or until it adopts new voting procedures to provide major contributors more influence in budgetary matters.

Brett D. Schaefer is Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

ENDNOTES:

[1] Edward C. Luck, “Reforming the United Nations: Lessons from a History in Progress,” Academic Council on the United Nations System Occasional Paper No. 1, 2003, at www.globalpolicy.org/reform/intro/2003history.pdf.

[2] Department of State Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1986 and 1987, Public Law No. 99-93, August 16, 1985.
[3] Charles M. Lichenstein, “We Aren’t the World,” Policy Review, Spring 1995, at www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/3567807.html.
[4] While the consensus budgeting process helped to constrain budget growth, it failed either to force a review of mandates and spending priorities or to reduce the budget. Consensus makes opposing budget increases easier, but it also makes eliminating programs more difficult–it takes only one sponsor to block action. For more information, see Brett D. Schaefer, “A Progress Report on U.N. Reform,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1937, May 19, 2006, at www.heritage.org/Research/InternationalOrganizations/bg1937.cfm.
[5] Technically, no resolution requiring consensus was adopted. However, the form of words agreed to for a Statement by the President of the General Assembly (“all possible efforts with a view to establishing the broadest possible agreement,” Annex II, paragraph 7 in Resolution 41/213, December 19, 1986) was instantly invoked by the United States and its supporters as meaning full consensus.
[6] U.N. General Assembly, Department of Public Information, “Budget Committee Approves Management Reform Text by Vote of 108 in Favour to 50 Against, with 3 Abstaining,” GA/AB/3732, April 28, 2006, at www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/gaab3732.doc.htm.
7] U.N. General Assembly, Department of Public Information, “Acting on Budget Committee Recommendations, General Assembly Adopts Text on Management Reform Proposals by Vote of 121-50-2,” GA/10458, May 8, 2006, at www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2006/ga10458.doc.htm.
[8] United Nations General Assembly, Department of Public Information, “General Assembly Lifts Spending Cap, Allowing United Nations Operations to Continue for Remainder of 2006, 2007,” GA/10480, June 30, 2006, at www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/ga10480.doc.htm.
[9] United Nations General Assembly, Department of Public Information, “Budget Committee Recommends Lifting of Spending Cap for 2006-2007 Biennium; Also Considers Procurement Reform, Geneva Office Requirements: Australia, Japan, United States Disassociate Selves from Budget Cap Consensus,” GA/AB/3748, June 28, 2006, at www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/gaab3748.doc.htm.
[10] Durban II is the follow-up to the notorious 2001 U.N. “World Conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” held in Durban, South Africa. The conference degenerated into a poisonous series of attacks on America and Israel causing the U.S. to walk out of the conference. For more information, see Claudia Rosett, “Destination: Durban II,” National Review Online, December 21, 2007, at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OGE3NGMyOWEwNDA3MzMyNjM3MjAzMDM3NzllNThmMDU.
[11] Ambassador Mark Wallace, , “Explanation of vote on Agenda item 128: Questions relating to the proposed program budget for the biennium 2008-2009, in the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly,” United States Mission to the United Nations, USUN PRESS RELEASE #387(07), December 22, 2007, at www.un.int/usa/press_releases/20071222_387.html.
[12] See Brett D. Schaefer, “The U.S. Should Oppose the Largest Budget Increase in U.N. History,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 1741, December 13, 2007, at www.heritage.org/Research/InternationalOrganizations/wm1741.cfm.
[13] U.N. Department of Public Information, “Fifth Committee Recommends 2008-2009 Budget of $4.17 Billion, as it Concludes Work for Main Part of Current Session: Financing for Darfur Hybrid Mission, International Tribunals, Administration of Justice among Issues Addressed by Wide Range of Texts,” General Assembly Document GA/AB/3835, December 21, 2007, at www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2007/gaab3835.doc.htm.
[14] The U.S. is assessed 22 percent of the U.N. regular budget. The combined assessment of the 128 least-assessed countries–two-thirds of the General Assembly–is a paltry 0.919 percent of the regular budget. In 2006, the U.S. paid $439 million to the U.N. regular budget. The 54 countries assessed the lowest rate of 0.001 percent of the regular budget each paid less than $21,000 a year. See Brett D. Schaefer, “Who Leads the United Nations?” Heritage Foundation Lecture No. 1054, December 4, 2007, at www.heritage.org/Research/InternationalOrganizations/hl1054.cfm.
[15] “General Assembly Approves Nearly $4.2 Billion UN Budget Despite US Opposition,” UN News Centre, December 23, 2007, at www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=25159&Cr=Assembly&Cr1=budget&Kw1=budget&Kw2=&Kw3.

[16] For more detailed discussion of these proposals, see Brett D. Schaefer, “Enough Reports: More Action Needed on U.N. Reform,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 1988, December 8, 2006, at www.heritage.org/Research/InternationalOrganizations/bg1988.cfm; Brett D. Schaefer, “Keep the Cap on U.S. Contributions to U.N. Peacekeeping,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2067, September 6, 2007, at www.heritage.org/Research/InternationalOrganizations/bg2067.cfm; and Brett D. Schaefer, “Who Leads the United Nations?” Heritage Foundation Lecture No. 1054, December 4, 2007, at www.heritage.org/Research/InternationalOrganizations/hl1054.cfm.


Brett D. Schaefer is Jay Kingham Fellow in Inter­national Regulatory Affairs in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

Mexico’s Border War, Version 2.0

Mexico’s Border War, Version 2.0

By Tom Fitton
FrontPageMagazine.com | 1/31/2008

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you a 2006 Border Patrol report highlighting incursions into the United States on the part of Mexican government officials, including armed members of the Mexican military.  Now, we’ve got the latest information from 2007.  And it is downright frightening.

The report, titled, “Mexican Government Incidents – 2007 Fiscal Year Report.” describes 25 confirmed incursions in 2007 along the U.S. – Mexican border involving Mexican military and/or law enforcement personnel.  Among the incidents cited:

·         MEXICAN MILITARY INCURSION (ARMED/INTENTIONAL)  TUCSON/TUCSON – On April 23, 2007, Border Patrol Agents…reported a Mexican military incursion on the Tres Bellotas Ranch near Arivaca, Arizona.  The agents were using night vision equipment and observed…seven to ten Mexican military personnel in Humvees carrying long arms…The agents continued to back away from the [soldiers] when they heard [one] soldier chamber a round into his rifle.  The agents observed…that the military personnel had fanned out in a tactical formation on both sides of the US/Mexico International Boundary.

·         MEXICAN MILITARY INCURSION (ARMED/INTENTIONAL)  TUCSON SECTOR/SONOITA SECTOR – On July 5, 2007 a Border Patrol Agent…encountered six subjects dressed in tan colored BDU style clothing…A military style Humvee and a black Suburban were parked on the Mexican side of the border…Two of the subjects appeared to be carrying bundles of narcotics on their backs.

·         MEXICAN POLICE INCURSION (ARMED/INTENTIONAL)  EL CENTRO SECTOR/CALEXICO STATION – On August 26, 2007, Remote Video Surveillance System operators…observed a red Ford F150 south of the All American Canal between the United States and Mexico…Agents…encountered the vehicle and performed a vehicle stop…The agents found credentials on the driver indicating that [name redacted] is an Agent of the Mexican Agencia Federal de Investigation.  The agents searched the vehicle and discovered several items to include: guns, ammunition, narcotics, night vision equipment, cell phones, a walkie talkie and a ski mask.

It appears the Bush administration had no intention of releasing this information to the public.  Just like past Border Patrol reports of this nature, we had to file a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain them.  And the Department of Homeland Security evaluated the information in the report as “For Official Use Only.”  In my view this information must be made public.  The American people should know the truth about the violence on the southern border so we can demand that our public officials take action. 

Our sovereignty is being violated with impunity by Mexico and it must stop.

Obama was for it before he was against it — decriminalizing marijuana

Obama was for it before he was against it

Thomas Lifson
Decriminalizing marijuana, that is. Jen Haberkorn of the Washington Times reports that last Fall during a presidential debate Barack Obama

“hesitantly raised his hand and joined with most of his Democratic rivals to declare that he opposed decriminalizing marijuana,” and provides a video clip showing the event.
But there is a second video available in her article, one showing Obama running for the Senate four years ago and telling college students:
“”I think we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws,” Mr. Obama told an audience during a debate at Northwestern University in 2004. “But I’m not somebody who believes in legalization of marijuana.”
Asked about the two different answers, Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign said he in fact has “always” supported decriminalizing marijuana as he answered in 2004, meaning the candidate mistakenly raised his hand during the presidential debate last fall. [emphasis added]
That position leaves Mr. Obama as the lone presidential candidate among the four leading challengers in either party who supports eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana.
So the candidate mistakenly took a position counter to his real views and has not corrected the mistake over a period of several months. Did he really believe the other candidates supported decriminalization?

Haberkorn also reports that there are several other positions on which Obama has taken varying positions, and promises a full report in tomorrow’s paper.

Obama would hold Muslim summit: interview

Obama plans to organize a Muslim summit

January 30, 2008

Obama plans to organize a Muslim summit

Ed Lasky
Barack Obama told a French magazine that he would organize a summit of the Muslim world if he is elected. AFP reports:

Muslim and Western leaders would be invited to the summit for “a discussion about how we can prevent the widening misunderstandings and gaps between the Muslim world and the West,” Obama said in the interview to Paris Match.
“I will ask them to join us in battling terrorism but we should also be willing to listen in terms of some of their concerns,” he said in the interview to be released Thursday.
Listen to the concerns the Muslim world has? I wonder what those concerns might be? How about letting the Muslim world know about our concerns? Terrorism, denial of human rights, teaching of hatred, the death penalty (which Obama opposes), the impoverishing of the world because of sky high extortionate oil prices which ahs made a few rich and many desperately poor?

“We Will Not Rest” — George W. Bush

d48006d0-f253-481a-9a1b-1218e80f4e0a.gif 

“We Will Not Rest”

By Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | 1/29/2008

For a president often regarded as naïve and intellectually underdeveloped, last night President Bush gave the Congress a lesson in the powers of the Executive Branch and of the Bully Pulpit. He again displayed his steel spine and boundless fortitude, but brought them into a new arena. And he taught the chattering classes that, for a man who longed to be “a uniter not a divider,” he may multiply the good he does the nation through further division.

George W. Bush’s final State of the Union Address will not be noted for its eloquence nor ambitious agenda: it should, however, go down in history as one of the few times this president has effectively exercised his ability to go directly to the American people. Ironically for a president so defined by foreign policy, the president’s best performance came in the first half of the address, dedicated to domestic policy. It will also provide an object lesson in how the opposition party should not respond. When Bush humorously underlined the often contentious debates that marked Washington, and when cameras caught Harry Reid’s sour-puss response, it provided a stark contrast of personalities. Likewise, water cooler discussions and talk radio today will focus on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s seemingly disrespectful decision to read the text of the speech rather than listen to its delivery and refusal to indulge the president in unnecessarily frequent spurts of polite applause, and her wooden demeanor – with the exception of her perpetually twitching mouth.

Neither were the Democrats helped by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ vacant and incoherent “rebuttal,” at once too civil to be effective and too dull to be inspiring. Jim Webb this was not.

Bush acknowledged the slowing economy, a message the media had hammered home for months, yet he also went over the heads of network executives to point out his unacknowledged successes: “America’s added jobs for a record 52 months…wages are up…exports are rising…In the long run, Americans can be confident about our economic growth.” Yet in remembering John Maynard Keynes’ dictum – “In the long run, we’re all dead” – and underscoring the economic uncertainty many are facing, he made his most perfect rhetorical pivot since the 2004 State of the Union. (“The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule.”) He offered two antidotes: a stimulus bill – which he would veto if the Senate passed it laden with pork – and the necessity to make his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, noting the cost to the average family if this went undone. (I would have preferred he also added the cost to American business and its likely effect: deepening any coming recession or creating a recession ex nihilo.) One of these objectives will become reality; the other will leave his political opponents, at all levels of the federal government, reeling in the upcoming election. Further weakening his opposition, he volunteered:

Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm, and I am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders.

The sentiment perfectly connected with the American taxpayer’s view of his own plight and his view of Congressional elitism. Not all populism is on the Left, and not all is false.

 He further peppered his speech with crowd-pleasers:

  • We must trust people with their own money”;
  • “With all the other pressures on their finances, American families should not have to worry about the federal government taking a bigger bite out of their paychecks”; 
  • “The people’s trust in their government is undermined by Congressional earmarks”;
  • “Expanding consumer choice, not government control”;
  • “American families have to balance their budgets, and so should their government”; and
  • “If any bill raising taxes reaches my desk, I will veto it.

And thus he keeps his father’s 1988 campaign pledge.

The true story of the speech is President Bush’s discovery of the veto and his newfound anti-pork barrel crusade. His vow to eliminate $18 billion in spending scattered over 151 wasteful or bloated federal programs harkened back to President Reagan – and his executive order ignoring “any future earmark not voted on by Congress” to a nearly bygone era of fiscal sanity. He again tapped into grassroots common sense, saying, “If these items are truly worth funding, the Congress should debate them in the open and hold a public vote.” It will make his actions hard to oppose.

His proposal should be distinguished from impoundment – a budget-cutting measure abolished by the last insurgent, leftist Congress. Presidents from Jefferson forward could impound, or refuse to spend, monies allocated by Congress. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson refused to allot up to five percent of federal layouts at times during their presidencies. President Nixon raised the ceiling to seven perfect of domestic spending, triggering the Watergate Congress to pass the Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, effectively ending the practice. Although the bill has not yet been tested in the Supreme Court, no administration has forced the case. Neither will Bush. This measure applies only to earmarks not voted on by Congress.

The impoundment ban, in part, led President Gerald Ford to issue a whopping 66 vetoes, many against pork-laden spending bills that would further dampen the economy. So, too, did Bush’s father, issuing 44 vetoes himself. As the most veto-less president in recent memory, Bush-43 has the political capital to further punish an uncooperative Congress without being viewed as the source of gridlock.

Elsewhere, he hit a rhetorical stride. His statement pushing Pell Grants for Kids – a fancy name for parochial vouchers – seemed culled from How to Beat the Democrats, calling on the Left – the pretended champion of inner city minorities – “to help liberate poor children trapped in failing public schools.” It is certainly an issue to be ignored, though not, perhaps, in the 2008 campaign.  

Nor will candidates ignore the issue of immigration, wherein the president last night showed his steely resolve to the 70-80 percent of the American people who opposed his last proffered amnesty plan. Even a stopped watch swiftly struck against a hard surface refuses to budge once in awhile. So has the president, to our detriment.

Rather than pan the specter of another McCain-Kennedy-Vicente Fox immigration bill, many have criticized the president for the foreign policy content of his speech. True, he did not unveil new initiatives to curb nuclear proliferation. True, he made more references to Zimbabwe and Lebanon than North Korea. True, his references to Iran were muted and formulaic. And true, his hardest foreign policy darts targeted, not at the Axis of Evil, but the “the purveyors of false populism in our hemisphere.” Nonetheless, the president took the opportunity to communicate the success of the surge to the American people. He noted, “One year ago, our enemies were succeeding in their efforts to plunge Iraq into chaos” and – in a pointed reference to Madam Speaker to his literal and figurative left – the Iraqi people “worried that America was preparing to abandon them.” Instead, he pursued a strategy all his own, and “the American and Iraqi surges have achieved results few of us could have imagined just 1 year ago”:

  • “high profile terrorist attacks are down, civilian deaths are down, and sectarian killings are down”;
  • “Coalition and Iraqi forces have killed or captured hundreds of militia fighters”; and
  • “over the past year, we have captured or killed thousands of extremists in Iraq, including hundreds of key al Qaida leaders and operatives.”

He then sounded the voice of stability and patience that has underscored every aspect of his presidency: “Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al-Qaeda is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated.”

Nancy Pelosi looked depressed throughout the speech, especially the second half, when she looked up at all. Even Cheney seemed to cast a concerned glance in her direction at one point. She had read far enough to know the president had spiked her.

 “In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to protect our nation,”  he said to an enormous standing ovation. “And I ask the Congress to meet its responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops.” He then turned to Homeland Security, battering down the Democratic Congress’ non-feasance in renewing the intelligence community’s “ability to monitor terrorist communications.” “We’ve had time for ample debate. The time to act is now!

And he again underscored his resolution: “We will not rest until this enemy has been defeated.”

And, as with immigration, he pursued a foreign policy item unlikely to have any discernable benefit: inking a peace agreement that “defines” a Palestinian state by the end of this year. As in the Soviet Union, plans are the one thing the Middle East has never had in shortage.

Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews savaged the speech as dull, a “greatest hits” list of nostalgic promises. It was, however, vastly superior to Bill Clinton’s au revior, when the Supreme Court justices refused to attend, and even Hillary did not answer when he mouthed, “I love you” to her. It was not a rhetorical powerhouse, but it is easy to understand why this speech earned the president universally positive reviews among the American people and 70 rounds of Congressional applause in a 53-minute-long speech.

And is it clear from the president’s demeanor, unlike his predecessor, he could not care less. He remains dedicated to defeating America’s enemies, foreign and domestic.


Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and author of the book 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Charitable Giving.

Immigration Reform Failure, Economic Downturn Linked

01/24/2008
Immigration Reform Failure, Economic Downturn Linked
By: Joe Murray , The Bulletin
Faced with a 5 percent national unemployment rate in December, 1 in 6 manufacturing jobs vanishing since President George W. Bush took office, and an unimpeded flow of illegal immigrants into the country, immigration reform activists are calling on Washington to stave off a recession by passing the SAVE Act to secure the U.S. border with Mexico; thus protecting the American worker and taxpayer.

“In order to save the U.S. economy, we must change the equilibrium by permitting only those legally authorized to hold jobs to actually compete for employment,” stated Chris Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. “Citizens do not want to keep working harder with fewer results and fewer benefits in order for our government to continuously reward the criminal behavior of illegal aliens successfully cheating the system.”

According to Mr. Simcox, once the illegal immigrant enters the United States he obtains an unfair advantage in his competition with the American worker because he is able to work for a depressed wage and is permitted to receive social welfare benefits without having to contribute to the public trust. Such a situation has placed the U.S. worker in a Darwinian competition with the illegal immigrant and has resulted in the taxpayer shouldering an increased tax burden.

Despite the conventional wisdom holding the free flow of illegal immigrants across America’s southern border is beneficial to the economy, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found the cost of illegal immigration outweighs the benefits, thus creating a net fiscal drain on the U.S. economy.

When the costs of illegal immigration are tallied against the benefits, most studies, including the NAS study, show there is, at minimum, an $87 billion fiscal loss. Such a loss is attributed to the following factors: 30 percent of those in federal prisons are illegal immigrants, in Los Angeles 95 percent of all warrants for homicide target illegal aliens, and diseases once all but eliminated from U.S. soil, like drug resistant TB, syphilis, and leprosy, are now reappearing in urban centers.

To immigration reform activists, the largest impact illegal immigration has on the economy centers upon the fact that the U.S. employers hiring such workers eliminate job opportunities for American workers, while increasing the financial obligations of the American taxpayer. Because of this Mr. Simcox is urging elected officials in Washington, D.C. to pass the SAVE Act, a measure securing the border and requiring all employers to participate in an E-verify electronic employment verification program. Mr. Simcox has begun an intense grassroots lobbying effort to pass the bill this year arguing the verification would make the U.S. less attractive to illegal immigrants and potentially create a reverse trend where such immigrants must leave the U.S., alleviating some economic pressure.

Mr. Simcox also stresses passage of the SAVE Act is crucial this year because failure to do so will result in “the possibility of a President Hillary Clinton having veto power over this bill.” But given the White House’s support of the failed McCain-Kennedy immigration plan this summer, it is questionable whether Mr. Bush would not veto the measure.

Joe Murray can be reached at jmurray@thebulletin.us

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers