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The Guiding Premise of the U.N.

Communist North Korea has removed U.N. monitoring seals and cameras at the country’s main nuclear complex, a clear signal that they fully intend to step up their efforts to build (and eventually use) nuclear weapons against people they don’t like.

The U.N. is outraged and is blasting the North Korean government — and well they should. However, it’s interesting that the U.N. becomes outraged when their power is threatened, while the same understanding is not granted to the United States for its perfectly legitimate efforts to protect itself from chemical attacks from Iraq or, for that matter, nuclear attacks from North Korea.

It seems like the guiding premise of the U.N. is: threaten our power, and you’re toast; threaten the United States, while being nice to us, and we’re definitely open to discussion.

Hypocrisy seems like too kind a word here. Why do we still belong to such an organization? Exactly how does it benefit our safety? It’s time to start asking these questions — and answering them.

Islamic Fashion Police–With a License to Kill

A Reuters report from Jammu, India indicates just what the Islamists want for women:

Suspected militants killed three young women in their homes just days after posters appeared in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state ordering women to wear a veil.

Two of the women, both aged 21, were shot dead in their house in Rajouri district in the south of the revolt-torn Muslim-majority state Thursday night. The third woman, 22, was taken away and beheaded, an official said….

The Lashkar Jabbar sprayed acid on two women in Kashir’s main city Srinagar last year for defying its Islamic dress code.

The group then had threatened to shoot Muslim women if they failed to wear veils. [Washington Post, 12/20/02]
“Suspected militants”? Res ipsa loquitur.

“Retailers Face Worst Holiday in Decades”: Sales Increase By Only 1.5%

The headline to Emily Kaiser’s Reuter’s wire story is “Retailers Face Worst Holiday in Decades,” and it reports that US stores are “reeling from a lackluster holiday season that is forecast to be the weakest in more than 30 years.” As usual, analysts are quoted, dire consequences are predicted.

The scary impression given is that sales this holiday season will run lower than in the pit of the 1974-1975 recession, when the economy was not only in deep trouble but far smaller than it is today. But in the third paragraph it is finally revealed that exactly what may be the weakest in more than 30 years is not sales, but growth in sales.

In a weekly report, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and UBS Warburg forecast holiday sales in November and December would be up an anemic 1.5 percent over last year, the smallest gain since the banks began tracking weekly sales in 1970.

We’re not talking even about negative growth — just smaller growth than some expected. The analysts quoted are forecasting 1.5% growth in holiday sales, which is defined as “the smallest gain since… 1970″ [emphasis added].

Embryos Are Not People

IRVINE, CA–“All who value human life should applaud legislation just passed by Australia’s Senate–legislation that removes some restrictions on scientific research using stem cells from human embryos,” said David Holcberg from the Ayn Rand Institute.

“Such legislation,” explained Holcberg, “will help free Australian researchers to discover new treatments for an immense variety of medical conditions, from diabetes to cancer to Parkinson’s disease.

“American legislators,” Holcberg continued, “should go even further than their Australian counterparts. They should rescind all laws that restrict or ban research involving stem cells and embryos. The government should be stripped of its power to regulate scientific research and man’s quest for knowledge. The government’s only proper function is to protect individual rights. But an embryo–which is, in the time-frame relevant here, a primitive cluster of cells–has no rights. Only independent, living human beings do.

“To sacrifice the lives of countless actual human beings, whose illnesses will go untreated, for the sake of the non-existent rights of a few cells, is an unspeakable crime.”

Iran is Iraq plus Saudi Arabia

The December 23rd issue of Newsweek has an article called “Time to Expose the Mullahs” by Fareed Zakaria with the opener, “What country in the Middle East supports a flourishing terrorist network and is steadily acquiring weapons of mass destruction? If you said Iraq, you’re one letter off. It’s Iran, which the State Department has long branded “the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” The article makes many other excellent points,

…Iran is also a vigorous exporter of Islamic fundamentalism. For two decades now Tehran has funded radical Islamic movements, scholars and centers around the world….Iran’s democracy is a sham. The president, Mohammed Khatami, is a figurehead, allowed to give high-minded speeches and do little else…The fundamental mistake people make about today’s Iran is to assume that the reformers–who speak in tones that the West can understand–wield power…Iran is a theocracy; the reformers and moderates are window dressing. Real power rests with a tiny clerical establishment.

Most distressing is this paragraph,

The clerics have created a network of supporters and enforcers who keep things tightly under control. There are several shadowy gangs of thugs–the largest of them a Hitler Youth-type group called the Basij–that go around terrorizing people. They operate above and beyond the law, breaking up demonstrations, even those that have been approved by local authorities. Then there is the secret police. One of the ironies of Iran today is that the mullahs came to power riding a wave of fear over the shah’s dreaded Savak. But the only institution of the old regime that has been maintained, indeed fortified, has been the Savak, now called the Savama.

Senator Murray’s 911 Lesson: Americans are slave labor to feed and house the rest of the world

Readers probably already heard about this story from a few days ago that received national coverage. As reported in the Seattle Times:

At an appearance before a high school honors class, [Senator Patty] Murray, D-Wash., offered what her spokesman called an intentionally provocative challenge for students to ponder.

“We’ve got to ask, why is this man (bin Laden) so popular around the world?” Murray asked during an appearance Wednesday at Columbia River High School. “Why are people so supportive of him in many countries that are riddled with poverty?”

The answers may be uncomfortable, but are important for Americans to ponder – particularly students, Murray said.

“He’s been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building health-care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven’t done that,” Murray said.

“How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?”

Murray is implying that Americans deserved to be punished for not sacrificing our wealth to placate backward populations. This is morally reprehensible: Americans are not slave labor to feed and house the rest of the world. We have no moral obligation to help other countries.

Rather what Americans should do is to understand what makes some countries wealthy and others poor.

Countries are impoverished to the degree that they lack political and economic freedom. (Some countries, like Saudi Arabia and Iraq, are wealthy despite their horrible governments because they expropriated oil industries that Western countries developed. Before American, British, and Dutch companies discovered the oil and created a market for it, the indigenous people were impoverished and backward.) Bin Laden’s “gifts” to Islamic countries are his means to promote a radical, death-worshipping sect of Islam.

In the same newspaper article an expert on Bin Laden said that “Mostly he did underwrite – and so did many Arab charities – several fundamentalist Muslim schools throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan that teach a very, very, fundamentalist, right-wing version of Islam that preaches hatred for the West.”

The fact is that Bin Laden offers impoverished people a philosophy of suffering on this earth, of hatred, and of death. Whereas America offers the world a model for escaping their earthly misery in this lifetime.

America was founded on the principle of individual rights and its corollary politico-economic system of capitalism, where the government’s powers are limited to protect people’s rights to economic, political, and religious freedom. That is the key to happiness on earth, and the means by which impoverished peoples could rise up from their filthy and miserable existence. Millions of such Muslims have already escaped their oppressed and poor countries and immigrated to America to enjoy a life they would otherwise be deprived, because of the evil ideas of men like Bin Laden.

Senator Murray performed a grave injustice against America, and it is appalling that a woman such as she can hold public office. A Senator, of all people, should know that it is Americans who give the impoverished and backward countries hope; it is America that should be loved. It is not Bin Laden, and if people are swayed by his hatred and death-worship instead of the American dream, they deserve their misery.

The U.S. Constitution vs. the U.N. Charter

IRVINE, CA–By waiting for U.N. approval to attack terrorist regimes, President Bush is violating his sworn oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” said David Holcberg, senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute.

“The U.S. Constitution,” noted Holcberg, “was created to protect the individual and his rights from power-lusters at home and tyrants abroad. It does the latter by providing ‘for the common defense,’ which means: the executive branch of the government is charged with defending America from foreign threats. But by surrendering to the United Nations the responsibility to judge whether or not Iraq is a threat that warrants going to war–by placing our self-defense at the mercy of an international body full of appeasers and dictators–President Bush has undermined America’s security.

“He, like his father in the Gulf War, is helping to establish the most dangerous of precedents: he is substituting the U.N. Charter for the U.S. Constitution–as the supreme law of our nation.

“While the Iraqis play shell games with the U.N. weapons inspectors, the danger of evil regimes arming terrorists with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons increases. We should, therefore, demand that President Bush uphold his sworn oath to the U.S. Constitution. Our lives depend upon it.”

Innocents and War in Korea

The citizens of still democratic South Korea recently voted into office a candidate who advocates open appeasement of North Korea — after the truth came out that Communist North Korea is actively developing nuclear weapons.

Imagine if Canada was run by a violent dictator who was openly developing nuclear weapons. Would American voters, soon after discovering this information, vote into office a presidential candidate who favors appeasing Canada? Would Americans vote into office a candidate who openly favored appeasing Osama bin Laden?

Clearly something is deeply wrong with most South Koreans. It’s sad. However, it’s not our problem. When the time comes for us to confront North Korea, as we now seek to disarm Saddam Hussein, we will then (as now) hear cries that war is wrong because it risks the lives of “innocents.” How innocent are people who make mistakes such as the one South Koreans just did? Just because they want to commit suicide does not obligate us to go down with them.

Nobody Deserves the Betrayal More

Apparently the Iraq Daily misquoted Sean Penn:

Penn’s flack howled in protest, claiming her boss was the victim of terrorist misquotes. “Oh, please! I don’t know where those statements are being fabricated from,” said spokeswoman Mara Buxbaum. “This is specifically propaganda. It’s a twisted interpretation of what he said. They are twisting his words.” According to Buxbaum, Penn never even spoke with the Iraq Daily. [New York Post, 12/18/02]

New World Trade Center Proposals: Buildings Should Not Look Like Gumby

Some places to view the new proposals for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center:

Also, detailed plans are available at a few of the architects’ sites:

What a relief that seven of the nine proposals call for towers taller than the original WTC! Just the fact that they were proposed makes me feel like we’re not living in a nation of cowards and compromisers without vision or ambition.

James Gardner comments on the World Trade Center proposals, in today’s New York Sun:

What is so striking about most of these projects is that, beyond their individual infelicities of style, incommodities of structure, and illogicalities of thesis, they partake in almost equal measure of the two besetting sins of architecture in our time: indifference to beauty and an excessive attachment to meaning….The newest generation, however, creates a single form, or at best a sequence of forms, that has been twisted, facetted, knotted and distressed in slavish obedience to the Deconstructivist style that, for the moment at least, dominates “quality” architectural discourse….[C]ould it be that architecture that departs radically from symmetry and a circumscribed number of basic forms–most atrociously the hulking clusters of towers put forward yesterday by SOM and United Architects–is simply and irredeemably obnoxious to the human eye…?

One is reminded of adolescents trying to express their individuality, whether through Afros, Quiana shirts, or piercings, in such a way that, absurdly, they all end up looking the same….The team led by Richard Meier claimed that its five joined towers were supposed to suggest clasped hands, which would be goofy enough. What they really resembled were five Gumbys in a chorus line. Buildings should not look like Gumby.

Just about the only firm that managed not to follow fashion slavishly was Peterson/Littenberg. And while there was something almost consoling about the rectilinearity of their plan, the two lofty towers at its center seem poorly conceived….Probably the best project is the first of three submitted by Think, led by Raphael Viñoly. It appears to be the most coherent and the least irritating, even though it feels completely contemporary.

Colin Powell Must Go

Colin Powell continues to erode administration policy on Iraq with his completely unprincipled approach to foreign affairs:

Secretary of State Colin Powell is assuring the Arab world the Bush administration’s demand for regime change in Iraq aims at disarmament, not ousting President Saddam Hussein. “If he cooperates, then the basis of changed-regime policy has shifted because his regime has, in fact, changed its policy to one of cooperation,” Powell said…

Powell said the policy of regime change in Baghdad was inherited from the Clinton administration by the Bush administration. [Associated Press, 12/16/02]

In other words: We’re not trying to change the regime, and if we are, it’s not our fault–it’s the Clinton Administration’s. And then there’s the fantasy that Hussein suddenly becomes legitimate because he knuckles under when threatened by force! The lead editorial in today’s New York Sun notes that Powell’s interview effectively drops three of the conditions President Bush had set out for Iraq.

Sean Penn, Super-Hero, Fighting for International Justice

Today’s Drudge Report links readers to a December 16th article titled, “Sean Penn condemns US threats against Iraq” in the Iraq Daily newspaper, Baghdad’s official paper:

The American movie star, Sean Penn has condemned the US-British threats to wage war against Iraq. He told press conference that there is no legitimate justification for the brutal campaign against an authentic state like Iraq. He confirmed that Iraq is completely clear of weapons of mass destruction and the United Nations must adopt a positive stance towards Iraq. He also condemned the US misleading claims arguing that it is the US and not Iraq who is practicing such illegal behavior.

Mr. Penn went on saying that he would convey to the public opinion in US the real situation that the Americans should force the US administration to stop such aggressive campaign. Finally, Mr. Penn passed a written communiqué in which he declared that his visit to Iraq is to evaluate the humanitarian situation of Iraqis and to reject the crippling sanctions on Iraq since 1991.

Bush Orders Missile Defense System

The Bush Administration is generally timid and appeasing of countries that are threatening America. However, the President and his Administration should be commended for initiating a missile defense system to protect Americans. This is a major improvement in this country’s foreign policy, made possible only by the Administration’s earlier abandonment of the ABM Treaty. Every American should be grateful for this monumentally important decision–and condemn anyone who dares to criticize this rational policy.

Mr. Penn Goes to Bagdad

The actor and director Sean Penn arrived in Baghdad on Friday morning at the start of a three-day visit to Iraq. He said of his trip:

By the invitation of the Institute for Public Accuracy, I have the privileged opportunity to pursue a deeper understanding of this frightening conflict,” Penn said in a statement released in Washington and Baghdad on Friday. “I would hope that all Americans will embrace information available to them outside conventional channels. As a father, an actor, a filmmaker, and a patriot, my visit to Iraq is for me a natural extension of my obligation (at least attempt) to find my own voice on matters of conscience.

Penn’s visit to Iraq has been organized by the Institute for Public Accuracy, “a national U.S. organization of policy analysts with offices in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.” The founder, Norman Solomon, endorsed–and indeed participated in–the visit of three Democratic Congressmen to Iraq earlier this Fall. In an article he wrote for the Baltimore Sun, Solomon quoted his fellow traveler Congressmen David Bonior: “It seems to me that if we are going to deal with this in a real and honest way, we have got to create dialogue.”

“Dialogue” is what Neville Chamberlain offered to Hitler. It is a euphemism for appeasement, which is a euphemism for capitulation. There is nothing to gain from dialogue with a totalitarian dictator. Such an act is, to use Ayn Rand’s phrase, “the sanction of the victim.” It is acts of appeasement like this that make the Saddam Husseins of the world possible. Otherwise, Saddam would be a street thug.

Now a note on Sean Penn: what a moron. Regardless of whether he thinks there should be “dialogue,” why does he think that he, a movie actor, is the one to do it? He will be nothing more than a stooge for the Iraqi regime, another photoshoot opportunity for Saddam to shove in the faces of the terrorized, and terrified, Iraqi people. Penn will surely smile and shake hands and tell the whole world how nice the country of Iraq is, and how Saddam cares about his people.

Having the excellent fortune of living in America, like Mr. Penn, I do not know how demoralizing such a story of his visit would be to victims of Iraqi totalitarianism. Maybe they are cynical enough not to believe anything from their government. Or maybe, on some level, it crushes, even more, their hope for justice in the world–which they have never once seen. Mr. Penn should have thought about that.

Iranians Protest Carter Peace Prize

“Nobel laureate Jimmy Carter warns that war only leads to more war,” reports the Associated Press:

“For powerful countries to adopt a principle of preventative war may well set an example that can have catastrophic consequences,” he said.

Carter cited another American Nobel peace laureate, Ralph Bunche, winner of the 1950 prize.

“To suggest that war can prevent war is a base play on words and a despicable form of warmongering….”

In his Nobel address, Carter urged respect for the United Nations as an international forum for solving disputes.

Why the respect for statements that are so clearly intellectually deficient? Because Carter rationalizes the desire to avoid the responsibility of passing moral judgment and of standing behind that judgment. Hence the blanket condemnation of preventive war–even in the face of a real, objective threat–the treatment of all parties as morally equal, the call to abdicate judgment in favor of the UN. Meanwhile…

A group of exiled Iranians … shouted “Shame on the Nobel Committee” and “Shame on Carter” as they demonstrated outside Norway’s National Theater. The theater is located near the Oslo City Hall, where Carter was awarded the Peace Prize in a traditional annual ceremony.

The demonstrators claimed that both the US and Jimmy Carter, as a former US president, share responsibility for the revolution in Iran in 1979 that unseated the shah and allowed the Ayatollah Khomeini to seize power. [Aftenposten]

Every American ought to have joined them in denouncing Carter.

Preemptive Strikes Authorized? Let’s Hope There Is Resolve Behind the Policy

Good news comes from the Washington Post on December 11. “Preemptive Strikes Part of Strategy, Official Say ‘All Options’ Open for Countering Unconventional Arms”:

A Bush administration strategy announced yesterday calls for the preemptive use of military and covert force before an enemy unleashes weapons of mass destruction, and underscores the United States’s willingness to retaliate with nuclear weapons for chemical or biological attacks on U.S. soil or against American troops overseas.

The strategy introduces a more aggressive approach to combating weapons of mass destruction, and it comes as the nation prepares for a possible war with Iraq.

A version of the strategy that was released by the White House said the United States will “respond with overwhelming force,” including “all options,” to the use of biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear weapons on the nation, its troops or its allies.

However, a classified version of the strategy goes even further: It breaks with 50 years of U.S. counterproliferation efforts by authorizing preemptive strikes on states and terrorist groups that are close to acquiring weapons of mass destruction or the long-range missiles capable of delivering them. The policy aims to prevent the transfer of weapons components or to destroy them before they can be assembled.

There Are No Necessary Evils

According to former President Jimmy Carter, on accepting the so-called Nobel Peace Prize: “War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good.”

First of all, there are no necessary evils. If something is truly evil, there’s no way it can be necessary. And if it is truly necessary to the well-being of a rational man’s life — then it’s not evil, but good. Secondly, there is such a thing as a good war. A war against Adolph Hitler was good. A war to decimate the likes of Osama bin Laden and others of his ilk is equally necessary and good.

Given the premise that evil exists, and that certain people will act in an evil and violent manner, a rational and just war is synonymous with self-defense. Self-defense is good. Only someone like Jimmy Carter — whose policies nearly lost the Cold War against the Soviet Union and contributed to the establishment of the number one sponsor of terror in the world today (Iran) — could utter such a statement. To honor him with this prize shows that the true motives of the award are neither noble nor peaceful.

Jimmy Carter and the Blood Soaked Nobel Peace Prize

Jimmy Carter is the most culpable U.S. official with regard to terrorism. He did nothing when the Ayatollah took power and kidnapped Americans in Tehran. Iran immediately became the premier sponsor of terrorism against the U.S. and set the tone that America is afraid to defend itself. If anyone event caused 9/11 this is it.

That being said today President Carter accepted the blood-soaked Nobel Peace Prize and his acceptance speech was typical of him:

Citizens of the 10 wealthiest countries are now 75 times richer than those who live in the 10 poorest ones, and the separation is increasing every year, not only between nations but also within them. The results of this disparity are root causes of most of the world’s unresolved problems, including starvation, illiteracy, environmental degradation, violent conflict and unnecessary illnesses that range from Guinea worm to HIV/AIDS.

The existence of such a disparity causes nothing of the sort. What does cause problems are bad ideologies such as collectivism, socialism, and theocratic and other forms of dictatorships: they cause poverty, ignorance, and war. Individualist, free, secular, wealthy countries are not to blame for other countries being backward–indeed they are often victimized by them.

Then Carter said,

But tragically, in the industrialized world there is a terrible absence of understanding or concern about those who are enduring lives of despair and hopelessness. We have not yet made the commitment to share with others an appreciable part of our excessive wealth. This is a potentially rewarding burden that we should all be willing to assume.

After enduring the twentieth century and the deaths of literally hundreds of millions–if not billions–of people as the direct result of socialist wealth redistribution policies (the USSR, Red China, and Nazi Germany as the big examples); a forty-year “war on poverty” in America that has redistributed hundreds of billions of dollars for naught; probably a trillion dollars of US taxpayer money expropriated and given to “developing countries” that despise America, some being fountainheads of terrorism, and seeing without exception how socialist schemes fail 100% of the time they are tried, how dare President Carter dig up this rot.

Not only is Carter blameworthy of laying the ground on which terrorism spawned, to this day he is prescribing the same poison that made so much of the work sick in the first place, and he calls it a cure. He deserves the Nobel Peace Prize because it’s become a symbol of death–especially since Arafat won it.