The Devil Has Come to Roost

 

The Devil Has Come to Roost

On Monday the International Criminal Court (ICC) ordered Thomas Lubanga to stand trial “for war crimes consisting of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15.” This will mark the first trial of the ICC, and a giant leap backward for democratic autonomy.

The ICC officially came into existence on July 1, 2002, after being created under the 1998 Rome Statute, an international treaty signed by almost 140 countries. Despite strong opposition by the Bush administration, 99 countries have ratified the Statute to date. The significance of the ICC cannot be understated. Hans Corell, a Swedish judge and international lawyer, aptly told NY Times columnist Barbara Crosette, “A page in the history of mankind is being turned.”

The Court will claim jurisdiction over American citizens whether we ratify the treaty or not, and that itself should give cause for alarm. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan tried to allay our fear by saying, “The court will prosecute in situations where the country concerned is either unable or unwilling to prosecute. Countries with good judicial systems, who apply the rule of law, and prosecute criminals and do it promptly and fairly, need not fear. It is where they fail that the court steps in.” The problem is that the court decides when a country “fails.” Simply put, the Court will step in when a country is out of line with its expectations.

As with most big government creations, a large fear centers on the “slippery slope” it could send us down. Currently supporters argue the ICC will be limited to only the most heinous crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. But the ICC treaty already covers such vague offenses as causing “serious injury to mental health” and committing “outrages upon personal dignity.” Moreover, amendments to the treaty and expansion of its jurisdiction are almost certain in the future.

Indeed, just what are the benefits to such a Court? Will we be better able to prosecute murderers such as Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein? Not likely. The international community has already condemned these sorts of criminals. The ICC will only be another body working to prosecute them, without the enforcement to do any good. It will have, however, the opportunity to go after individuals not yet labeled criminals by the international community, such as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

So now we’re left with a power hungry, unaccountable World Court that claims vast jurisdiction. What is our recourse? A couple years ago the Bush administration’s initial response was to threaten withholding US troops in UN peacekeeping missions unless the troops are shielded from the Court’s reach. Congressional Republicans even threatened to withhold US funds for UN peacekeeping missions altogether. Considering the US already owes millions to the UN, withholding more funds may not yield the most leverage.

The threat of the ICC will not go away simply by refusing funds. The ICC is the realization of a long-time dream by Europeans, born first through the EU and now through the ICC. The ICC represents an ideology bent on matching or besting American might, and evolving into consolidated governments as part of humanity’s march toward utopia. The threat is deeper than an unfair trial for Americans, or even the loss of some autonomy. The ICC is a great leap forward toward subordination of the American political and legal system into a global order. This should be cause for alarm; the threat is real and dangerous.

Labor Controls the Liberals

Labor Controls the Liberals

American labor unions are pushing candidates for the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential nomination toward expansion of the welfare-state and massive inflation of the sort that the Great Society spawned.

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After both World War I and World War II, the British Labour Party led England into its destructive liaison with socialism that destroyed British industry and reduced England to the “sick man of Europe.”

Harold Meyerson’s January 31, 2007, column in the Washington Post describes the behind-the-scenes power exerted by labor unions, especially the government employees unions.  Their immediate goal is imposition of universal, socialized medicine, of the sort championed in 1993 by Hillary Clinton.

If labor unions succeed, two results are inevitable.

First is a resumption of the devastating inflation caused by President Johnson’s Great Society, the most recent push forward of socialism.  Raising taxes to pay for socialized medicine will throw business into another recession, thereby reducing income tax revenues at the same time that Federal expenditures will be required to expand.  Even if business later booms, the funding requirements for present Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs, before universal socialized medicine, dwarf the prospective tax revenues.

The only way to finance socialized medicine, in the final analysis, will be the Federal Reserve’s creating more money via bookkeeping entries.  By definition, more money without an offsetting increase in production of goods and services is inflation.  And it is always the working people who get wiped out by inflation. 

The second result will be the sine qua non of socialism: further steps toward collective tyranny.

Anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, opposing Marxian collectivism in 1872, described what life was to be under socialism:

The government will not content itself with administering and governing the masses politically, as all governments do today.  It will administer the masses economically, concentrating in the hands of the State the production and division of wealth, the cultivation of land…All that will demand the reign of scientific intelligence, the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant, and elitist of all regimes.  There will be a new class, a new hierarchy…the world will be divided into a minority ruling in the name of knowledge, and an immense ignorant majority.  And then, woe unto the mass of ignorant ones! (quoted in David Horowitz’s, The Politics of Bad Faith).

Sir William Beveridge, one of the British Labour Party authors of socialized medicine and other welfare-state services after World War II, stated the necessity quite forthrightly. 

…the State,” he wrote, “ in this field is not wholly master of events so long as it desires to preserve the freedom of individuals……the State cannot undertake the responsibility for full employment without full powers.

In other words, central planning necessary for imposition of socialism can not become effective without subordinating the rights of individuals to the goals of the planners.

Socialist Paul Ricoeur, writing in the American socialist journal Dissent, put it this way: 

…the problem of political power in a socialist economy is not fundamentally different from the same problem in a capitalist economy;…political power in a socialist economy offers comparable or even greater possibilities of tyranny.…One must go still further and assert that the socialist state requires a more vigilant popular control than the bourgeois state.  And this precisely because the socialist state is the more rational, extending design and planning to areas of human existence that previously had been left to chance or improvisation.  Since the rationality of a state which plans to end class division is greater than that of its predecessors, its potential power and the opportunities offered to tyranny are also greater.

America After The Next Attack

America After The Next Attack

by Christopher Adamo

 

It is neither alarmist nor prophetic to state with grim certainty that America will, in the not too distant future, suffer yet another major Islamist attack, possibly dwarfing the enormity of 9-11. Since shortly after that event, forces both within our nation and abroad have diligently sought to undermine American resolve to appropriately respond to the enemy. As a result, that enemy now perceives a growing and broadening opportunity to eventually hit us again.

 

Barring a nearly miraculous rebirth of American determination to avert that possibility (and any remnants of such determination are rapidly dissipating from the mainstream of society), the Islamists will, sooner or later, fall upon a feasible occasion to strike, and they will use it.

 

Shortly after the American embassy workers were taken hostage by Iranian militants in November of 1979, Senator Ted Kennedy (D.-MA), who was vying for a presidential run, seized upon the situation as an opportunity to deride then President Jimmy Carter.

 

Unfortunately for Kennedy, his tactic proved to be badly timed, happening as it did during a period when the nation was attempting to rally around its leader. The backlash against Kennedy permanently ended his presidential ambitions.

 

Of course Carter’s performance during that crisis was just as abominable and inept as it was in any other, and the nation soon completely lost faith in him. Had Kennedy waited only a few months, he might have made his move with greater success. But by then, the stain on Kennedy’s reputation was indelible. Admittedly, Kennedy has never had much luck with his timing.

 

Similarly, those who in the immediate aftermath sought to turn the 9-11 attacks back on America and the current Presidential administration were themselves discredited. Yet as time has worn on, and the perseverance of the Islamists has strained the patience of a softened America, the invertebrates among us have desperately been searching for an easy way out of the present situation.

 

As cover for their cowardice, they claimed ownership of the presumed “moral high ground” and have set out to define the debate of the day, shifting traditional definition of patriotism and victory to the losing side. Ever since, they have been increasingly emboldened with their anti-American rhetoric and agenda. And among many whose singular goal has only ever been to find the comfortable “center,” the illusion of a peaceable solution becomes increasingly appealing.

 

However, a single obstacle presents itself to this scenario. America’s enemies in the Muslim world cannot and will not be placated or appeased. They must either be destroyed, or they will in turn destroy. In their pursuit of a global Islamic order, America stands as the biggest roadblock. If left unchecked, they will back up. They will reorganize. They will find a weakness. And they will attack again.

 

Now, with each passing day, increasingly dominant political forces in this country are sending signals that the time is right to renew their onslaught. In one area of the nations defenses after another, guards are being taken down. Only last week, President Bush announced his abandonment of an autonomous approach to the surveillance of incoming phone calls from overseas terrorists. Henceforth, this sensitive business will be handled by the FISA court.

 

The nature of the surveillance program was originally made public in a clear effort to create political scandal, and with total indifference to the harm that this revelation caused to national security. Does any sensible person believe that the same people who blew the lid off of the program in the first place will now keep quiet regarding its current operation parameters in order to prevent such invaluable information from falling into the hands of the nation’s mortal enemies?

 

Meanwhile, the ability of American troops to wage war, interrogate prisoners, or neutralize military threats have been systematically hamstrung by liberal politicians.

 

At stake in the minds of such people is the outcome of the 2008 elections. And even a compromise of national security, regardless of the horrendous consequences it might reap, must first be measured from the perspective of how it will help or hurt Democrat chances in ‘08.

 

Extreme as this accusation might seem, it is no more difficult to believe than that these people are, on a day-to-day basis (and despite their occasional “lip service” given to the troops), calculating their stance on the conduct of the war based solely on the political gain or liability it presents. In no other way can their constant, drastic flip-flops be explained.

 

So, in a manner every bit as reprehensible as Nero’s violin solo while Rome burned, the American left is playing a despicable game of “Russian Roulette” with the country’s future, banking on the misbegotten notion that they are either immune to attack, or that a future attack will not directly or personally affect any particular one of them. After all, even on the night of September 11, 2001, though badly shaken by the events of the day, most Americans went to bed safe and secure.

 

Ultimately, America cannot achieve victory against the forces of militant Islam, whether across the ocean or within its own borders, until it recognizes and effectively confronts the threat posed by the other war, being waged against its own traditions and culture. Present gaping holes in its defenses, the result of internal cultural rot, virtually beg for another attack.

 

And just how bad will that attack be? In stark simplicity, it will either be sufficient to convince America once and for all, to stiff-arm the absurdities of “political correctness” and properly deal with its own cultural insurgents as well as the Islamists, or it will be followed by others in its wake.

 

Christopher G. Adamo is a freelance writer and staff writer for the New Media Alliance. He lives in southeastern Wyoming. He has been active in local and state politics for many years. His contact information and archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com

Ayatollahs feeling the heat over nukes

Ayatollahs feeling the heat over nukes

‘PEACE’ OFFENSIVE

Amir Taheri, NY POST

January 31, 2007 — IS the Khomeinist leadership preparing to retreat from confrontation over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions?

Until recently, the answer was an emphatic “No.” According to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, such retreat would limit Islamic sovereignty by giving the United Nations a veto on Iran’s energy policy.

But now Tehran is trying to forestall the passage of a second, and presumably tougher, resolution by the Security Council in March.

Several versions of the presumed Iranian initiative are in circulation. Former President Muhammad Khatami presented one to American and European personalities on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos last week.

In this scheme, Tehran is prepared to comply with the Security Council demand to suspend uranium enrichment – as part of a diplomatic package. In this plan, an arbitration group would inspect and assess Iran’s nuclear program, reporting back after six months. The group would include the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany, and India on behalf of the nonaligned movement. During the six months in question, the Islamic Republic would suspend enrichment of uranium.

In exchange, the Security Council would postpone its March session on the issue and would suspend the sanctions it already approved. Tehran would also insist on an undertaking from the United States not to take military action against Iran.

There are other signs that Tehran is trying to cool things down:

    * It has not carried out its threat of suspending relations with countries that voted for sanctions, nor has it organized demonstrations by the usual suspects around the embassies of those nations.* The regime has shown uncharacteristic timidity on the issue of its senior Revolutionary Guard commanders and intelligence officers who were arrested and are being interrogated by U.S. forces in Iraq.

    * The Islamic Republic did not vote against a resolution passed by the U.N. General Assembly last week condemning the denial of the Holocaust. (This was an indirect correction for Ahmadinejad, who re-launched the Holocaust-denial debate last year.)

“We hear a moderate message from Tehran,” says a senior British official. “And that in a tone we had not heard since Ahmadinejad [became president].”

That at least part of the Khomeinist leadership might want ways to defuse the situation is not surprising. The sanctions, though nothing more than a gentle rap on the knuckles, have already started to bite – with a disproportionate psychological impact on some players in the Iranian economy. Iranian businessmen see the measures as a kind of aperitif for a deadlier main course to be served later.

The Iranian currency, the rial, is showing the jitters as never before. Thousands of contracts remain frozen, pending the outcome of the crisis. If current trends continue, hundreds of thousands of Iranian workers may be thrown out of work within months.

The plummeting of oil prices has also done its bit. Over the past year, the Islamic Republic has seen oil revenues decline by almost 20 percent – even as Ahmadinejad’s largesse, designed to bribe his constituency, has pushed public expenditure to an all-time high. In recent months, the government has been unable to pay the salaries and bonuses of some employees, including teachers, on time.

The perception that the Bush administration may be preparing military action has sent shivers down the spines of many mullahs and Revolutionary Guard commanders who account for a good part of the wealthy elite.

Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, the richest man in Iran, has seen contracts negotiated by his agents with European, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese companies put on hold because of fears of sanctions and war. Not surprisingly, he decided to send Khatami, one of his protégés, to Davos to look for a deal.

However, economic hardship alone would have no effect on a regime that, according to its founder, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, is about “jihad and martyrdom, not worldly goods.” But the Khomeinist leadership is also trying to cope with political setbacks.

Its attempt at seizing power in Lebanon, through Hezbollah, has split the Shiites and hit a wall of resistance from other Lebanese communities and from Western and Arab powers.

In Iraq, the Islamic Republic’s principal clients, Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army, have their backs pressed to the wall because of a new aggressive policy unveiled by President Bush and approved by the Iraqi parliament.

During the past two weeks, Iraqi and U.S. troops have killed some 400 Mahdist fighters and rounded up another 1,000. Sadr, who only last December announced a plan to topple Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has been forced to eat humble pie by announcing the return of his group to the parliament and the end of his boycott of the Maliki government. Sadr made that move after Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani told him at a meeting this month that neither Sistani nor other senior clerics would oppose the disarming of the Mahdi Army.

Ahamdinejad’s hope of seizing control of radical Palestinian movements has also run into trouble. He unrolled the red carpet for visiting Hamas leaders and signed checks worth $150 million – but failed to buy their exclusive allegiance. Worse, Hamas has now responded to a higher bid from Saudi Arabia, and is to attend a Mecca meeting to resolve intra-Palestinian differences, in preparation for talks with Israel.

In Iran itself, Ahmadinejad has failed to persuade the ayatollahs of Qom and Mashad to issue anti-American “jihad fatwas” in anticipation of a clash with the “Great Satan.” One prominent cleric, Ayatollah Muhammad-Reza Shabestari, has made his rejection of Ahmadinejad’s demand public. “I would rather defrock myself than issue a fatwa in support of wanton adventurism,” he told his Qom seminary last week.

There may be one more reason why the Khomeinist leadership might wish to cool things down. Sources say the “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei’s health is in decline. This does not mean that he may be incapacitated, let alone die, anytime soon.

But there is no doubt that the establishment is preparing for all eventualities. One sign was a surprise television program this month in which the Islamic TV’s popular star Farzad Hassani invited viewers to name their “favorite living theologian apart from the current Supreme Guide.”

Clearly, picking a fight with the rest of the world while coping with a crisis of succession at the top of the regime is not a prospect the Khomeinist establishment would cherish.

What should the United States and its allies do when, and if, the Khomeinist regime offers a partial retreat?The temptation to make a deal – as well as the pressure in its favor – would be immense. The Bush administration would face a crucial question: Allow a dangerous but wounded enemy to recover, or go for the kill?

Amir Taheri is an Iranian-born journalist and author based in Europe.

Free Speech in an age of terrorism

What does it take to shock San Francisco?

What does it take to shock San Francisco?

Thomas Lifson
Most of the country already thinks of San Francisco as a den of iniquity and licentiousness, dedicated to self-indulgence and heedless of the consequences. The political leadership of the city, specifically Gavin Newsom, hizzoner da mare, is doing what it can to confirm the judgment.

Today, the San Francisco Chronicle’s ace investigative reporters Phi Matier and Andrew Ross are joined by Cecelia M. Vega in exposing a sex scandal that might actually succeed in generating some disgust among the city’s voting public.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s re-election campaign manager resigned Wednesday after confronting the mayor about an affair Newsom had with his wife while she worked in the mayor’s office, City Hall sources said.
Alex Tourk, 39, who served as Newsom’s deputy chief of staff before becoming his campaign manager in September, confronted the mayor after his wife, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, told him of the affair as part of a rehabilitation program she had been undergoing for substance abuse, said the sources, who had direct knowledge of Wednesday’s meeting.
Rippey-Tourk, 34, was the mayor’s appointments secretary from the start of his administration in 2004 until last spring. She told her husband that the affair with Newsom was short-lived and happened about a year and a half ago, while the mayor was undergoing a divorce from his then-wife, Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, said the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified.
Alex Tourk “confronted the mayor on the issue this afternoon, expressed his feeling about the situation in an honest and pointed way, and resigned,” said one source close to Tourk and his wife.

I confess that my gut reaction to Gavin Newsom has always been on of mistrust of what seemed to me to be an obvious phony. A friend who has built a very successful business in San Francisco has been known to be cordial with him, and insisted he was a decent man. But I was also disconcerted by the public displays that both he and his ex-wife Kimberly made of their sexual involvement, slyly hinting at sexual gymnastics and oral sex. Too much information. Both members of the failed marriage were physically fit, well-dressed, and possessed model-like poise. That such an image of latent eroticism required further strengthening in their minds suggested to me an insatiable appetite for something best left unexplored.
In addition to being his ex-campaign manager, Tourk is also an old (ex- presumably) friend of the mayor. So what kind of man has an affair with an old friend’s wife, keeps it secret, and then entrusts his campaign to same cuckolded buddy?
My gut tells me it is a man who thrills at getting away with stuff. A stress junkie who thinks he is smarter, luckier, handsomer, and more deserving than everybody else, including people who have befriended and helped him along. Someone who wants to live on the edge because ordinary life is too boring. Very San Francisco but not what one should want in a public servant with great responsibility for the safety and welfare of hundreds of thousands.
There are certainly lower forms of human life. Politics attracts more than its share of monstrous people. But screwing around with the spouses of friends is awfully low, and something to which ordinary people of all sorts of sexual inclination can relate.
Newsom is up for re-election in the November. He will be looking for a new campaign manager. The question for San Franciscans is whether or not he will be looking for a new career.

Polls have consistently shown Newsom’s approval ratings among city voters topping 70 percent, unusually high for a politician in his fourth year in office. Although his relations with the Board of Supervisors have deteriorated over the past year, no competing candidate has emerged for this year’s mayoral race.
One person who says he intends to challenge Newsom, former Supervisor Tony Hall, said Wednesday night that he hoped news of the affair was not true. But if it is, he said, “the city deserves much better than what it’s getting.”

In San Francisco, all politics is local, and the local political establishment is highly incestuous. This diagram  from the Fog City Journal portrays some of the family and financial connections between Speaker of the House Pelosi and Newsom. They are related by virtue of marriage.
One can only assume that in her role as a grandmother, Speaker Pelosi will decry the concept of adultery. But will she urge Newsom to retire from politics? I doubt it very much.

Public Education and the Liberal Way of Conflict

Public Education and the Liberal Way of Conflict

By Christopher Chantrill

Our public schools, liberals teach us, are a foundation of democracy. Without a socialization in which every child partakes of the democratic culture of the public schools we would divide into warring classes and subcultures. That is the liberal line.  But some have dared to question it. 

In Market Education: The Unknown History, Andrew Coulson suggested an alternate narrative.
Back in the old days, say about the time that Tocqueville was marveling at Americans and their voluntary associations, Americans educated their children in what we would now call diverse ways.  There were public schools.  There were charity schools.  There were city academies.  Schooling was a complete mish-mash, but Americans were about 90 percent literate, and parents could educate their children at the school of their choice.

Then along came Horace Mann with a better idea.  He persuaded the people of Massachusetts to centralize and rationalize their schools into a state-run system..  His idea would help unify the people and it would cut crime, he predicted. In fact, according to Coulson, it set the people at each others’ throats. When there is only one system of education then people must enter the political arena to fight for their beliefs.  And too often politics is winner-take-all.
The first notable result of government education was the Philadelphia Bible Riots of 1844.  Catholics wanted the Catholic Bible to be allowed into the public schools of the City of Brotherly Love alongside the Protestant Bible.  The Protestant majority said: No.
Things can’t be that bad today, surely? In Why We Fight: How Public Schools Cause Social Conflict” released last week, Neal McCluskey of Cato Institute looked at the recently concluded 2005-06 academic year.  He found 150 notable conflicts over public school policy.

“Whether over the teaching of evolution, the content of library books, religious expression in the schools, or several other common points of contention, conflict was constant in American public education last year.”

Hot issues included Intelligent Design, Freedom of Expression, Book Banning, Multiculturalism, Integration vs. Segregation, Sex Education, and Homosexuality.  The incident count is probably on the low side because McCluskey only included incidents that hit the media.

“In 2004 [American Library Association] executive director Beverly Becker said her groups received reports of 547 book challenges and estimated that perhaps three times that many went unreported.”

But how can we keep the nation together without the public schools to provide a “foundation for democracy?”  McCluskey asserts that we have got the cart before the horse.  Humans find unity because we want to work together, not because some authority has forced us to get along.
In the absence of authority what is it that makes us want to get along?

“The answer is commerce.  While suspicion, animosity, and prejudice have been inescapable components of American society… Americans have been very adept at overcoming their worse natures by letting their desires for mutual gain overcome those natures.”

Most recently, it is illegal Mexican immigrants and American employers that have been indulging their “desires for mutual gain.”
So what went wrong?  Why have our liberal friends, high-minded to a fault from Horace Mann to John Dewey, from James Conant to Derek Bok, built a system of such eternal conflict?
The answer according to Matthew d’Ancona has been developed by philosopher John Gray in The Two Faces of Liberalism. Gray argues that there is a

“fundamental tension in the modern world between the centre-Left belief that liberalism leads to ‘consensus on the best way of life’ and the classical liberalism that seeks only peaceful co-existence between radically different value-systems.”

Of course when our liberal friends say “consensus” they refer to the outcome of a trial by political combat in which the liberal winner takes all.
The classical liberal and modern conservative concept of “peaceful co-existence” is different.  It grows out of Burke’s little platoons and Hayek’s assertion that millions of ordinary people engaged in voluntary cooperation will always outperform in aggregate the expert and the activist, the “man from Whitehall” or Washington.
This difference between the “Two Faces of Liberalism” is nowhere more keen than in the current debate over gay adoption in Massachusetts and Britain.  The issue is not whether gays may be allowed to adopt.  That is already legislated into law.  The issue is whether Catholic adoption services should be allowed to opt out of the center-Left consensus that gay adoption is a “right.”
Let us frame the issue another way.  On gay adoption will the orthodox center-Lefties allow Catholics to practice a heresy?  Or will they instruct the Holy Office of the Consensus to show the heretics the instruments of torture?
In both the United States and in Britain the center-Left speaks with one voice, whether the issue is education, abortion, gay adoption, or Social Security.  It’s our way or the highway.
It’s a way that leads to conflict.
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker, and blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com. His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.