After Moammar Gadhafi's downfall as Libya's tyrannical ruler, politicians and "experts" in the U.S. and elsewhere, including French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, are saying that his death marked the end of 42 years of tyranny and the beginning of democracy in Libya. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Gadhafi's death represented an opportunity for Libya to make a peaceful and responsible transition to democracy. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, "Now it is time for Libya's Transitional National Council to show the world that it will respect the rights of all Libyans (and) guide the nation to democracy." German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "Libya must now quickly make further determined steps in the direction of democracy." It's good to see the removal of a tyrant, but if we're going to be realistic, there's little hope for the emergence of what we in the West call a democracy. Let's look at it. Throughout most of mankind's history, personal liberty, private property rights and rule of law have always won a hostile reception. There's little older in most of human history than: the notion that a few people are to give orders while others obey those orders; the political leadership classes are exempt from laws that the masses are obliged to heed; and the rights of individuals are only secondary to the rights of the state. The exception to this vision feebly emerged in the West, mainly in England, in 1215 with the Magna Carta, a charter that limited the power of the king and required him to proclaim and recognize the liberties of English subjects.
What will the Arab Spring mean to Christians in the Arab world? Persecution of Christians in Muslim countries has been well documented; however, ominous signals are emerging of escalating violence against them — even in schools. Egyptian media reported that as a result of a fight over a classroom seat in a school in Malawi, Egypt, on October 16, a Christian student was killed. The news source Copts Without Borders, which covers stories affecting Coptic Christians around the world, described the killing very differently, reporting that the student was murdered because he was a Coptic Christian wearing a crucifix. Activist Mark Ebeid acknowledged that this conclusion was reached reluctantly: “We wanted to believe the official version because the Coptic version was a catastrophe as it would take the persecution of Christians also to the schools.” Parents of Ayman Nabil Labid, the slain Christian student, have broken their silence and confirmed that their son was killed "in cold blood because he refused to take off his crucifix as ordered by his Muslim teacher." Ayman’s father, Nabil Labid, noted that the boy also had a cross tattooed on his wrist, in keeping with Coptic traditions, as well as another cross which he wore under his clothing. Ayman’s classmates, who were at the hospital where Ayman was taken and at his funeral, told his parents what they had seen in the room when the attack occurred. They recounted that Ayman was told to cover his wrist tattoo. His mother continued: “The teacher nearly choked my son and some Muslim students joined in the beating.”
The drunk-driving illegal alien who killed a nun in August 2010 may go to prison for 70 years. On Monday, a judge convicted him of felony murder. Carlos Martinelly-Montano, a 24-year-old Bolivian illegal and habitual drunk driver, was convicted in Prince William County, Virginia's circuit court of killing Sister Denise Mosier, a Benedictine nun. Martinelly-Montano plowed into Mosier and two fellow sisters in Bristow, Virginia, on Aug. 1, 2010. National Rage After Martinelly-Montano killed Sr. Mosier, a national outrage ensued when the public learned the details of his criminal career behind the wheel. He had been twice convicted of drunk driving and was awaiting a deportation hearing when he killed Mosier and sent the two other sisters, Charlotte Lange and Connie Ruth Lupton, to the hospital. Although immigration authorities had him in custody, the Washington Post reported at the time, they released him when they determined he wasn’t a flight risk. Prince William County, as The New American reported last week, sued the Department of Homeland Security to determine how Martinelly-Montano escaped deportation. It learned that DHS twice delayed his deportation hearing, which is why he was still in the country and in the position to kill Sr. Mosier.
Having been officially recognized as a “drive for human rights” by the European Parliament, the movement known as the “Arab Spring” is now extending itself into other nations and being re-branded as the “Arab Winter.” The boundaries of the Arab Spring are difficult to define precisely. Most reports set the birth of the movement on December 18, 2010. On that date, protests erupted in Tunisia following the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, an act taken to draw attention to and protest the corruption of police and the mistreatment of citizens by the same. Emboldened by this uprising, citizens of Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, and Algeria joined in similar protests of government corruption and authoritarianism. Libya, as has been well-chronicled, is the latest country to witness the toppling of an autocratic regime. Moammar Gadhafi, the ruler of Libya since taking office in a coup in 1969, was deposed by anti-government rebels on August 23, 2011 and was killed by the transitional governing body of Libya after that group took control of Gadhafi's hometown, where the former dictator was hiding out. While the spirit of freedom undoubtedly resides in all men, often there is as much to be feared from “democrats” as despots. Tyranny of the many is no less oppressive than tyranny of the few. In the case of the Arab world and the supposed “liberation” of its people that comes with the Arab Spring/Winter, there seems to be as much corruption in the liberators as in the former oppressors whose palaces they now occupy.
A three-judge panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled that it is permissible for the state to acknowledge its dependence upon God. The decision overturns a 2009 lower court ruling that a state law requiring the acknowledgement of God “created an official government position on God.” Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Kentucky state lawmakers issued a legislative “finding” that “the safety and security of the commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance on Almighty God.” And in 2006, as it passed legislation creating the state Office of Homeland Security, the legislature included a requirement that the executive director acknowledge “dependence on Almighty God” in training manuals and on a plaque at the entrance to the department’s headquarters. In 2008, after a group of individuals challenged the legislation in a lawsuit, 35 of Kentucky’s 38 state senators and 96 of its 100 state representatives signed friend-of-the-court briefs defending the law.
After initially claiming it would not execute a minister for converting from Islam to Christianity, the Iranian government is — in the words of one analyst — engaging in a “variety of tactics in an effort to neutralize a situation that has called into question its flaunted commitment to religious freedom.” In an article (“Deny, Deceive, Discredit: Iranians Try Range of Tactics to Resolve Apostasy Case”) CNSNews writer Patrick Goodenough observes that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s conviction — and looming execution — for "apostasy" from Islam to Christianity led to an avalanche of letters of support pouring into Iran’s diplomatic missions. However, according to Goodenough, the Iranian government has attempted to sow confusion regarding Nadarkhani’s case, by spreading disinformation regarding the actual charges leveled against him: Nadarkhani, who embraced Christianity aged 19, was sentenced to death late last year for apostasy. Last July the Supreme Court considering his appeal ordered the sentencing court to reexamine whether he had been a practicing Muslim at the time of conversion. “If it can be proved that he was a practicing Muslim as an adult and has not repented, the execution will be carried out,” the ruling stated. Back before the lower court in his home province of Gilan, Nadarkhani was asked repeatedly to renounce his faith, and refused.
Although his commitment to “limited government” is unsurpassed, establishment Republicans in both politics and the so-called “conservative media” labor incessantly to discredit Texan Congressman and GOP presidential contender, Ron Paul. On its face, who couldn’t judge this phenomenon, the phenomenon of the most vocal champions of liberty ridiculing and trivializing the most vocal champion of liberty, as anything other than bizarre? Any remotely curious observer couldn’t resist the impulse to inquire into the roots of this enigma. We needn’t dig too deeply to discover that the establishment Republican’s apparently irrational conduct toward Paul stems from his angst regarding Paul’s foreign policy vision. Paul, you see, rejects in no uncertain terms the notion that Big Government is not only permissible, but desirable, as long as it is non-American citizens abroad upon whom our government’s designs would be brought to bear. Loudly and unapologetically, he rejects the idea that “social engineering” is a good thing as long as it is other societies that our government seeks to “engineer.” Paul makes no secret of his utter contempt, a contempt born of his passion for liberty and individuality, for the belief that policies rooted in utopian fantasy are worthy of pursuit as long as it is not America, but the world, that our government seeks to perfect.
California is a great place for studying the thinking — or lack of thinking — on the political left. The mindset of the left was recently displayed in a big, front-page story in the October 30th issue of the San Mateo County Times. It was an investigative reporter's exposé of the "payday loan" business and its lobbyists. According to the reporter: "In California lenders charge up to $45 in fees on a maximum $300 loan. This amounts to an interest rate of 460 percent, trapping some borrowers into a never-ending cycle of debt." Let's take this one step at a time. Whatever the merits or demerits of the rest of the argument, $45 is not going to trap anyone in a never-ending cycle of debt, even if they are making only the bare minimum wage. Personal irresponsibility in managing money can trap anyone, but that is regardless of whether or not they take out payday loans. Now to the 460 percent rate of interest. You don't need higher math to figure out that $45 is 15 percent of $300. How did we get to 460 percent? Very simple: By distorting the actual conditions of most payday loans.
A little-noticed event occurred at approximately midnight on Monday, October 31, 2011: The national debt of the United States exceeded, for the first time in history, the country’s gross domestic product. The website USDebtClock.org showed the gross domestic product crossing the $15 trillion mark for the first time on Monday, while earlier in the day the numbers from TreasuryDirect showed the total public debt outstanding at $14.993 trillion and growing by more than seven billion dollars a day. Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s campaign manager, John Tate, noted the passing of the milestone: We can no longer afford politicians who play games with America’s future. As President, Ron Paul will treat the American people with the respect they deserve by being honest about our nation’s situation and implementing fundamental reforms to return America to prosperity. A closer look at the USDebtClock.org website reveals the size of the problem facing Paul if he wins the White House: U.S. federal revenues are running at $2.3 trillion while government spending is at $3.6 trillion, leaving a deficit just for the fiscal year 2011 at $1.3 trillion. If those levels hold for the next 12 months, the national debt will be at $16.3 trillion, and counting. But this is far from the entire picture. Unfunded liabilities facing the government in Social Security alone amount to $15.3 trillion while Medicare and the prescription drug programs’ liabilities exceed $100 trillion.
Prime Minister George Papandreou’s surprise call for a referendum on the new austerity measures demanded by last week’s eurozone “deal” caught everyone off guard, including his own finance minister. Analysts immediately accused Papandreou of seeking political cover for the increasingly unpopular increased austerity measures to be imposed as a condition for the next insertion of funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in two weeks. Knowing that citizens would likely vote against the measures if given the chance, the PM could then pass the blame for failure onto the citizens, leaving himself and his party, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), absolved from blame as the new measures failed.