Covering Over Islam’s Treatment of Women
by JBS President John F. McManus
Ayaan Hirsi Ali hails from Somalia. As a youngster, she endured the kind of treatment many female Muslims are forced to endure. Genital mutilation, forced marriage, and severe punishment for honor crimes are common in lands dominated by Islam. She eventually fled her home country and, with a sizeable group of other women who had left their homelands for similar reasons, participated in the making of a film entitled “Honor Diaries.”
Hirsi Ali rose to win election to the Dutch parliament. While living in Holland, she wrote the screenplay for “Honor Diaries” and then saw her colleague, the film’s producer, murdered. Even though the film includes respect for moderate Islam, she received threats that she too would be assassinated so she fled her adopted country. Her 2010 book, “Nomad: My Journey from Islam to America” contributed further to creating awareness about the extremes practiced on women by well-entrenched Islamists. She is now a fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and holds similar status with the American Enterprise Institute.
An outspoken foe of the extremely harsh treatment accorded women and girls in Muslim-dominated societies, Hirsi Ali accepted an invitation to receive an honorary degree from Brandeis University, a non-sectarian Jewish-sponsored institution in Massachusetts. Her work as a crusader for women’s civil rights seemed worthy of special acknowledgement by Brandeis officials. But the U.S.-based Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) thought otherwise and successfully stirred up resistance to the plan on the campus. The invitation was withdrawn. Of note is the fact that this brave woman doesn’t completely condemn the religion in which she was raised, only its extreme practices. Her urging that there be alterations in the Koran to reflect more modern values regarding women surely upset the more militant elements within the Muslim religion.
As a supposed champion of civil rights, especially women’s rights, Brandeis leaders would likely have been wiser to have scheduled a debate in which Hirsi Ali could have merely participated. But perhaps even that would have stirred up CAIR and likeminded Islamists. Ironically, the cancellation of her appearance and the withdrawal of the honorary degree have generated far more attention to the cause she represents than the scheduled visit to Brandeis. The Wall Street Journal even published the speech she intended to deliver.
We hear a great deal about the need for devoting attention to women’s rights but not much at all about Muslim treatment of females. Feminists across the land who should have been revolted by the treatment given Hirsi Ali and other women in Muslim lands have almost universally remained silent. All of which confirms that fear of retaliation to any amount of criticism of Islam exists here in America. This is certainly not good. If Catholics, fundamental Bible believers, and others can be criticized when a need for condemnation about deficiencies is obvious, the obvious inhumane practices within Islam shouldn’t be ignored.
Oil, Ukraine, and a Sweet Deal for Putin
by JBS President John F. McManus
The Bakken energy field amounts to the largest domestic oil discovery since the one at Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay. Stretching over North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana (also into Canada’s Saskatchewan province), the amount of recoverable oil in this region could do away with any need to import the precious commodity. Small cities in western North Dakota have been overrun with eager job seekers who are benefitting greatly from the need for more and more workers. But there’s a need for a pipeline to transport this oil to refineries in states to the south.
Not only is the Bakken capable of releasing OPEC’s hold on our nation, additional discoveries now known to exist under the Rocky Mountain states hold an estimated three to four times what is being tapped in North Dakota and its neighbors. Shortly after beginning his second term in 2005, President George W. Bush gave the order for extracting this treasure. But nothing has been done.
The Keystone pipeline project proposes to ship crude oil from the Bakken and from Canadian oil sands projects to refineries in our nation’s southern states. But hurdles are still blocking its construction. If the Keystone pipeline were constructed, there would be no need for imports from unfriendly Venezuela and unpredictable Russia.. Yes, our nation does import oil from these two countries while also continuing to receive imports from the Middle East.
Environmental groups continue to block development of known resources and needed pipelines. Is it possible that nations who benefit financially and diplomatically from impediments placed in the way of energy independence are financing some of these environmental organizations? Also, why does our own government continue to be a hindrance rather than helping America to become independent?
On the other side of the globe, we see that energy starved Ukraine is highly dependent on Russia for natural gas. But Ukraine is also in dire financial straits, owing many billions for energy already received from its eastern neighbor. American foreign aid, supplied to Ukraine in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, ends up in the coffers of Russia’s Vladimir Putin for natural gas payments. Is this why he ordered the occupation of Crimea? Should the American people fill Putin’s pockets?
The need for oil and natural gas is obvious. But, if our nation acts in proper self-interest, America can gain release from dependence on foreign energy suppliers. Will the Obama administration continue to drag its feet on energy matters? Will the environmentalists be told to get out of the way of progress toward energy independence? Time will tell. Energy independence can be had if U.S. leaders do what good sense calls upon them to do.
New Taxes in ObamaCare
by JBS President John F. McManus
There are plenty of sound reasons why Congress and the Supreme Court should never have saddled the American people with ObamaCare. Beyond the simple fact that the federal government has no authorization to meddle in the fields of health and medicine, Senator David Vitter (R-La.) has provided several more reasons to detest the law.
He deliberately chose the widely dreaded Tax Day of April 15 to send a letter to his constituents about new taxes contained within President Obama’s invasion into the field of medical care. The Louisiana senator stated his awareness that April 15th “is always one of the most painful days of the year.” But he wanted to let fellow Louisianans know that ObamaCare has “20 new taxes.”
Pointing to what he termed “the more egregious” levies contained in ObamaCare,” Vitter listed only four of the twenty. These are:
- The Medicine Cabinet Tax. ObamaCare does away with a citizen’s use of pre-tax dollars in a health savings account, a flexible spending account, or a health reimbursement account to purchase over-the-counter medicines.
- The “Special Needs Kids” Tax. Many parents of special needs children have relied on allowable flexible spending accounts to pay for special needs education. The amount a family can use for this purpose has been cut significantly.
- The Employee Mandate Tax. Employers who do not offer health care coverage must now pay $2,000 or more for each full-time employee.
- The Individual Mandate Tax. Any person who does not have health insurance and doesn’t participate in ObamaCare will be taxed.
As painful as it may be to learn of these new taxes, Vitter then pointed to the outrageous arrangement whereby members of Congress have exempted themselves and their staffs from participating in the new healthcare program. Instead, as he noted, each of these federal employees receives a “lucrative health care subsidy” with which to purchase his own healthcare program. Obviously, these privileged government personnel don’t have to live under the provisions of ObamaCare. Vitter notes in his message that he has personally refused the subsidy.
The Vitter letter contains his no-holds-barred assertion that there’s a need to “repeal” ObamaCare. It’s comforting to know that a U.S. senator holds such a view because that’s precisely what is needed. But expecting the current Congress to take such a step is unrealistic. Perhaps membership of the new Congress scheduled for election in November will contain enough Vitter-like individuals who will, indeed, cancel one of the most dangerous, costly, and unconstitutional programs ever created.
Go to our “Choose Freedom — STOP ObamaCare” action project page to learn more about stopping ObamaCare and how your state legislature can nullify the ObamaCare law in your state.
Destroying Wealth and Curtailing Freedom: Time to Reclaim America
by JBS President John F. McManus
How often have you heard someone claim, “America is a wealthy nation”? Such a declaration is usually followed by demands that our nation solve the entire world’s problems, bail out a host of other nations whose leaders are known miscreants, and even police the world while the hidden beneficiary of lost American blood and treasure turns out to be the United Nations.
The insistence that America is wealthy omits both a definition of “wealth” and any correct awareness of how the American people succeeded where so many others haven’t. So let’s correct these deficiencies by first insisting that America became wealthy, not because of what government did but because of what government was prevented from doing by the limitations on it imposed in the U.S. Constitution. Also, add the system that has states in peaceful competition to be the best state, the one where people would want to raise a family, create a business, and produce wealth. There you have the two extremely beneficial foundations propelling America to become the envy of mankind.
Next, let’s offer wealth’s definition. It doesn’t consist of a pile of documents (stocks, bonds, titles of ownership, etc.). Wealth results from productivity, the taking of the raw materials of the earth and fashioning them into goods. This means creation of wealth relies on manufacturing, farming, and mining. Whatever impedes these tasks impedes the nation’s wealth.
Both of these foundations of America’s unparalleled success are under severe attack. The national government, supposedly restrained by the Constitution to “few and defined” powers according to James Madison, now constrains wealth production with an array of costly, unnecessary and unconstitutional regulations, edicts, and dictates. Then, of course, there are taxes to pay for the growing bureaucracy and the foreign adventures. All of this has led to what is called “outsourcing” that sees closed factories and loss of jobs. How many jobs have disappeared? Since the passage of NAFTA in 1994, estimates vary from one million (cited by the Public Citizen organization) to five million (attributed to the Congressional Research Service). And increasingly, the general public has been steered toward a belief that the remaining producers of wealth are thieves, enslavers of workers, and mere money-grubbing cretins.
Any honest surveyor of these developments has to conclude that NAFTA (the pact involving Canada, Mexico and the U.S.) has been a disaster for our country. So what have our leaders proposed? Even larger and surely more harmful trade agreements, one with the 28 formerly independent nations now entangled in the European Union (the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP) and the other with a dozen Pacific nations (the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP). If Congress approves these pacts, expect even more outsourcing, job losses, and declining wealth production. Click here to communicate this to Congress.
Is this sheer stupidity? It is madness? Or is it sinister planning? Since our leaders are neither stupid nor deranged, the undeniable results should be credited with wanting to see America’s decline. Why? To build a world government more commonly known as the New World Order.
No world government can exist if once-free nations aren’t similarly brought to heel and once-free people become forced downward economically. Nothing else makes sense.
America still has its Constitution. And Americans, despite government interference in so many ways, are still producing some wealth. But the goose that laid the golden egg has been scheduled for the guillotine. Will still free Americans resist and reclaim their hard-won legacy? That’s the big question.
The John Birch Society provides such an outlet for concerned Americans to organize, educate, and reclaim its founding principles. Join today to get started!
Why No Condemnations of Soviet Criminals?
by JBS President John F. McManus
Twenty years ago, more than 800,000 members of Rwanda’s Tutsi tribe were systematically murdered during a mere 100 days by members of the dominant Hutus. In the years since that hard-to-believe massacre, there have been several thousand trials and convictions – as there should have been. Amazingly, Hutus and Tutsis now live side-by-side in relative calm.
In Spain, claims by some left-leaning individuals who insist that they were tortured by government police during the 1970s are being investigated by today’s authorities. But not much attention is being directed at the murders committed by the communist left during the 1936-9 Spanish Civil War.
Both in Europe and America, headline-grabbing attention has been directed to apprehensions and prosecutions of 90-year-old German ex-corporals who served during World War II. These individuals face being tracked down and tried for their roles in the horrors perpetrated in Nazi concentration camps.
Justice, however late, seems to be winning. But what about the many other criminals who enslaved millions and ruled with incredible brutality during most of the 20th century? What about those responsible for undeniable atrocities committed by communists?
After the Soviet Union imploded and after the Chinese Communist leaders diverted their attention to out-producing the West, why wasn’t attention given to those communist leaders who were responsible for mass murders, widespread imprisonment in gulags and worse, and across-the-board denial of fundamental rights? The answer is that communist designs for mankind – under whatever name now covering their deeds – are still triumphing.
Consider some of the history of Mikhail Gorbachev. A life-long Communist Party functionary who has never renounced his oft-stated devotion to communism, he rose steadily in the Party to become its leader in 1985. He and his many colleagues should have been held accountable for the crimes perpetrated on the people in many Soviet bloc nations of Europe and Asia. As a member of the ruling Politburo and then absolute leader of the USSR, he shares much of the blame for the decade-long rape of Afghanistan (1979-1989) that led to the deaths of more than one million Afghans and the uprooting of more than six million more. Among the many crimes committed by the Soviet forces under Gorbachev, perhaps the worst was the spreading of booby-trapped toys that exploded when picked up by innocent children who were immediately maimed or killed.
Gorbachev, however, was converted into a humanitarian, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, given the distinct honor of speaking before assembled members of the U.S. Congress, and feted worldwide. Converted into a champion of environmental causes, this arch-criminal should have at the very least been shunned by honorable people everywhere.
Gorbachev isn’t alone among Soviet-era criminals deserving of ostracism or prosecution. Sadly, hardly any have been held accountable. We live in a world where establishment thinking has made heroes out of criminals and criminals out of heroes. It’s not difficult to conclude that the wrong side is winning and that evil is triumphing.
Making the Case for Higher Inflation? Krugman’s Cockamamie Economics
by JBS President John F. McManus
A correct definition of inflation, something increasingly hard to find, appeared in “Webster’s New 20th Century Unabridged Dictionary (1957)”. It said that inflation is “an increase in the amount of currency in circulation, resulting in a relatively sharp and sudden fall in its value and rise in prices.” Note that what is inflated is the amount of currency. The effect of inflating the amount of currency is a rise in how much more of the less-valuable currency is needed to purchase anything.
In 1920, in a burst of youthful honesty, British economist John Maynard Keynes wrote a book entitled “Economic Consequences of the Peace.” In it, he correctly identified inflation as an increase in the amount of currency and then summarized, “By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens …. The process engages all of the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner that not one man in a million can diagnose.” Here we see that inflation constitutes thievery by government. Keynes, however, didn’t stand firmly by his correct 1920 attitude. His later twisted thinking greatly influenced President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the socialistic New Deal of the 1930s.
Jump ahead to 1946 and the publication of economist Henry Hazlitt’s book “Economics in One Lesson.” It presents the absolutely correct definition of inflation. A prominent columnist whose work appeared regularly in Newsweek and other publications, Hazlitt minced no words when he wrote that inflation “tears apart the whole fabric of stable economic relationships. Its inexcusable injustices drive men toward desperate remedies. It plants the seeds of fascism and communism. It leads men to demand totalitarian controls.” The correctness of his dire forecasts was demonstrated in recent years as inflation ravaged Zimbabwe, Argentina and elsewhere. Hazlitt’s warnings should have been heeded in our country but they haven’t been listened to by most Americans. In our nation, inflation (courtesy of the Federal Reserve and a compliant Congress) continues to erode the value of everyone’s dollars.
Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman writes about economic matters for the New York Times. On April 7th, without ever defining inflation, he told readers that more inflation is needed. He proposed a “compelling case for raising inflation targets above 2 percent.” In presenting “the case for higher inflation” he stated that “moderate inflation turns out to serve several useful purposes.” Not only did he rely on the false notion that inflation’s definition is rising prices, he proposed that America needs those prices to rise even higher.
No, Mr. Krugman. America needs honest money whose value can’t be manipulated by government, the Federal Reserve, or even by Nobel Prize winners. Americans also need a correct definition of inflation, not a confusing mishmash of highbrow economic verbiage that cloaks the real truth about thievery, solves no problems, and destroys the people’s wealth – in their paychecks, savings, pensions, insurance policies, investments, etc. The value of all dollars continues to sink, something every supermarket shopper experiences week to week and wonders why. The cause is inflation and its continuing toleration by a government that allows the Federal Reserve to produce a continuous stream of freshly created cash.
Could the people of our nation become desperate and “demand totalitarian controls” as Henry Hazlitt soberly suggested? The answer is obvious. But Paul Krugman doesn’t tell Americans what they need to know. Without the truth about inflation, the people will continue to worry about their future, maybe even begin to “demand totalitarian controls.”
Mr. McManus has written “Dollars & $ense,” a booklet explaining solutions to the economic meltdown.