A challenge facing America is deciding the right balance between safety from those who would harm us and security provided by government agencies like the NSA, which under the Patriot Act have the right to scrutinize personal e-mails and phone messages. Everyone wants to be safe from another 9/11, yet no one wants some government bureaucrat reading his or her personal e-mails or listening in on calls. The freedoms we cherish will be lost if it means always living under the omnipresent eye of “big brother.” But if one is killed in a terrorist attack because of an absence of vigilance, then all that freedom would have come to naught. A life lived freely but subject to an attack, may be good for the mind, but not the body; while a fully secured life may save the body, but entrap the mind.

The debate is as old as democracy, but remains crucial. Cicero wrote, “In time of war, the laws are silent.” Benjamin Franklin admonished: “If we give up freedom to gain security, we lose both.” While there is Cicero’s statement, Franklin’s is too absolute. It ignores the likelihood that such laws do, at times, catch enemies before inflicting damage. Additionally, his statement overlooks the fact that in the past when rights have been suspended during time of war, they have been reinstated upon the arrival of peace. In a democracy, life is lived along a spectrum between anarchy and totalitarianism. That exact spot changes, depending on circumstances. While I would prefer erring on the side of freedom, I don’t want to live foolishly.

However, before attempting to determine the proper balance, the first questions that must be answered are: Are we at war? Is our homeland threatened? If the answers are ‘no’ then acts such as the Patriot Act have no place. According to David Stockman, writing on his blog on Friday, individuals from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) testified on Capitol Hill just hours before the President spoke on Wednesday evening. They stated that the closest they could come to a credible threat of ISIS planning an attack on the U.S. was chatter on Twitter. If that is true, the Patriot Act should be repealed.

But the DHS’s response begs a larger question: Is Islamic fundamentalism at war with the West, and particularly with the United States? Keep in mind, as a free people we culturally and morally represent everything Islamists hate – from our legal system, to or politics of inclusion, to our support for women’s and minority rights.

A Court’s Collapse :The International Criminal Court Gives up on Its Prosecution of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. By Eugene Kontorovich

The International Criminal Court earlier this month suffered its biggest setback since its establishment at the turn of the century amid hopes that soft power and legalism could deter atrocities. The court’s chief prosecutor announced that she was shelving the prosecution of Uhuru Kenyatta, accused of abetting thousands of murders and rapes in Kenya’s 2007 interethnic election violence.

The prosecutor said the three-year-old case could not go on because Kenya’s government would not cooperate with requests for evidence. As it happens, Kenyatta is the country’s president (and son of post-colonial founder Jomo Kenayatta); his co-defendant, William Ruto, is the deputy president. They were democratically elected last year, having run for office while under the ICC indictment, cracking jokes about The Hague on the stump.

So the court decided to prosecute a sitting head of state in its most high-profile case to date and then packed it in when — surprise — Kenyatta’s regime decided to make its job difficult. It is an embarrassment of the highest order because the case is the first in which the court has sought to execute what many see as its core mission: prosecuting world leaders for mass atrocities.

The creation of a permanent international criminal tribunal with authority over public officials was a dream of cosmopolitan thinkers for much of the 20th century. The end of the Cold War created a unique moment when the dream seemed to have been achieved: The Rome Statute creating the court was ratified in 1998, with the court itself coming into existence a few years later. The court has jurisdiction over the territory and nationals of states that accept its jurisdiction, and it deals with war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Kenya is a member of the court; the U.S., Israel, Russia, and much of the Arab world and the major Asian powers are not.


‘Free’ Speech at Yale
A letter to the Muslim students protesting Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s lecture.

To the Yale Muslim Students Association and its many sister organizations that have co-signed a letter protesting Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s lecture on Monday:

I love your new free-speech concept! Obviously this woman should have been banned from campus and had her face stomped in; why couldn’t they have just quietly murdered her in Holland along with her fellow discomfort-creators? These people are worse than tweed underwear! They practically live to make undergraduates uncomfortable. But let’s deal with the harsh realities. Your inspired suggestion, having Official Correctors speak right after Ali to remind students of the authorized view of Muslim society, is the most exciting new development in Free Speech since the Inquisition — everyone will be talking about it! You have written, with great restraint, about “how uncomfortable it will be” for your friends if this woman is allowed to speak. Uncomfortable nothing. The genital mutilation of young girls is downright revolting! Who ever authorized this topic in a speech to innocent Yale undergraduates? Next thing you know, people will be saying that some orthodox Muslim societies are the most cruel and benighted on earth and that Western societies are better than they are (better!) merely because they don’t sexually mutilate young girls! Or force them into polygamous marriages, countenance honor killings, treat women as the property of their male relations, and all that. Can’t they give it a rest? You’d think someone was genitally mutilating them.

We all know that Free Speech doesn’t mean that just anyone can stand up and start spouting. Would you let your dog talk for an hour to a Yale student audience? What’s next, inviting Dick Cheney? Careful study of contemporary documents makes it perfectly clear that when the Bill of Rights mentions Free Speech, it is alluding to Freedom of Speech for the Muslim Students Association at Yale. We all know that true free speech means freedom to shut up, especially if you disagree with your betters. And true free thought means freedom to stop thinking as soon as the official truth is announced by the proper Authorities — and freedom to wait patiently until then.

Islam’s Nightclub Brawl : Jihadis From Britain are Acting out a Brutality Learned at Home. By Theodore Dalrymple

Youth, as everyone knows who has passed through it some time ago, is the age not of idealism but of self-importance, uncertainty masked by certitude and moral grandiosity untouched by experience of life — or, of course, the age of total insouciance. It is not surprising that ideology makes young men dangerous, for it is in the nature of ideology to answer all the difficult questions of human existence while giving believers the illusion of special understanding and destiny not available to others.

With the downfall of the Soviet Union, Marxism lost almost all of its appeal for hormonally disaffected young men of the West, leaving them bereft of significance and purpose. Except for one group among them, they now had only a potpourri of causes (sexism, racism, the environment, etc.), none of which quite met the need or filled the gap.

The group excepted, of course, was the Muslims. Islam was waiting in the wings with a ready-made ideology. Nature hates a vacuum, especially in young men’s heads, which are all too easily filled with quarter-baked ideas. Islamism is so stupid, so preposterous and intellectually nugatory, and so appallingly catastrophic in its actual effects, that it makes one almost nostalgic for the days of Marxism. At least Marxism had a patina of rationality, and most of its adherents (in the West at any rate), while not averse to violence in the abstract, were willing to postpone the final, extremely violent apocalypse to some future date and did not believe that by blowing themselves up or cutting people’s throats they would ascend directly to the classless society or meet Marx in his pantheon. You could be a martyr in the Marxist cause, but only on the understanding that death was final. The best you could hope for was that, after the final victory of the proletarian revolution, you would have a postage stamp issued in your memory. This does not have quite the same attraction as an everlasting orgy in a cool desert oasis while everyone else is roasting eternally in Gehenna (no bliss is quite complete without someone else’s agony).


The Islamic State is not only Islamic, it is the very paradigm of Islam.

There’s a lot of competition for Barack Obama’s biggest lie. The man who could assure the American public with a straight face over thirty times that they could keep their doctor under his health plan, when he knew that to be completely false, is one hellluva fibber.

But execrable as that serial prevarication may have been, it doesn’t hold a proverbial candle to his most recent whopper — that the Islamic State is not Islamic — not to mention its corollary, or perhaps subsidiary lie, that real religions do not indulge in murder. Islam has been doing that pretty much straight through for fourteen centuries, both outwardly toward Christians and Jews, and inwardly in its unresolved pathological conflict between its Sunni and Shiite strains that continues, as the world well knows, to this day and undoubtedly into the foreseeable future, spewing an uncountable number of corpses as it goes.

The Islamic State is not only Islamic, it is the very paradigm of Islam, Islam distilled to its essence as practiced by Mohammed, massacring local tribes, raping and enslaving their women, and making war against everyone in his way until he had subdued as much of Arabia as possible. Who knows how many beheadings were involved, but can we assume the total significantly outstrips the Islamic State’s, at least for now ? Islam is far from the only violent religion — almost all have had their moments — but it is unquestionably the most unremittingly so. If Islam is said to have been hijacked, it is not by the thugs of the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra, Ansar al Islam, Ansar al Sharia, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Jemaah Islamiyah, Hamas, Hezbollah and on and on. They are the true practitioners of the faith, following in the footsteps of Mohammed and obeying the prescriptions of the Koran and the Hadith to make the whole world Islamic or else. They don’t need to communicate with each other. They just do their thing, because the playbook has been written for them and they have studied it well. It is they who have been temporarily hijacked by a few whirling pacifistic Sufis or other moderate outliers before getting down to the unfinished business of finally crashing through the Gates of Vienna or defeating Charles Martel at Toulouse and returning Al Andaluz to its rightful owners. As one will recall, that was the stated intention of the al Qaeda maniacs who blew up the train at Madrid’s Atocha station just a few years ago.

The War at Home By Robert Spencer

As the Islamic State beheads a third hostage and the world recoils in horror and reassures itself that all this has nothing to do with Islam, it is useful to remember that jihad activity continues in the United States – although hardly anyone notices amid the rush to dissociate Islam from the mounting violence committed in its name and in accord with its literal teachings.

Take, for example, a Muslim from Seattle, Ali Muhammad Brown. KING 5 News reported that Brown is “currently in jail on $5 million bail for the alleged murder of a college student in late June.” He has “already been charged with gunning down two men at 29th and King Street in Seattle’s Leschi neighborhood on June 1.” And he is “now the prime suspect in a fourth homicide.”

The report noted laconically in its fifth paragraph, without elaboration, that “multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation say Brown told police he carried out the murders because he was on a jihad to kill Americans.” added, also deep in its story on Brown’s murders: “Prosecutors say Brown is a devout Muslim who had become angered by U.S. military intervention in the Islamic world, which he referred to as ‘evil.”

That report also noted: “Ali Muhammad Brown said he considered it his mission to murder 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin as an act of ‘vengeance’ for innocent lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran. ‘All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life.’” This is a reference to the Qur’an: “We ordained therein for them: ‘Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal’” (5:45).

New York radio host Todd Pettengill, host of WPLJ’s “The Todd Show,” said that Brown’s murder of Tevlin was evidence that “domestic terrorism is already here.” Pettengill declared: “It was in fact an act of jihad, perpetrated by a fellow American who sympathized more with those who want to annihilate us than with his own country and its people.”

Pettengill is right. Domestic terrorism is indeed already here. And it was here before Ali Muhammad Brown went on his killing spree. Another Muslim from Seattle, Musab Mohamed Masmari, was sentenced on July 31 to ten years in prison for pouring gasoline onto a stairway in a famous gay nightclub, Neighbours, and setting the stairway on fire last New Year’s Eve, when the club was crowded. If the fire had not been put out – the carnage would have been great.


The Middle East as it exists now has no future. Its borders were drawn by European colonial powers for their own purposes. The political agendas behind those borders are long dead. The kings and coalitions they were meant to protect have vanished.

ISIS is determined to tear apart the borders of the region and it’s not alone. Iraq and Syria are caught in cycles of violence because their national borders are prisons trapping incompatible religious and ethnic populations in multicultural tyrannies. The world has spent a lot of time trying to redraw Israel’s borders when it should have been redrawing the borders of the entire region.

There are only two solutions for ending the violence in Iraq and Syria; tyranny or denationalization.

As long as Sunni and Shiite Arabs and the Kurds are trapped together in a single country they will never be at peace.

All of this is really bad news for Arab Christians because they are a fragile religious minority in a region swiftly redefining itself by religion. The Arab Nationalism that shielded them is dead. That leaves them with few options except to form temporary coalitions with the representatives of older systems, the Baath Party and the Egyptian military, or the minority Shiite Islamists.

There is no future in such coalitions. The Egyptian military was nearly toppled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Next time the Brotherhood might finish the job.

The Baath Party in Syria has become a Shiite Alawite front and an arm of Iran. Hezbollah is even more so. Christians are persecuted in Iran. When Shiite Islamists gain the absolute power to impose their clerical will, that will lead to Christians becoming an even more persecuted minority.

It’s inevitable that the lines will be redrawn, whether by international agreement or by ethnic cleansing. ISIS is pursuing the latter course. Even if we destroy ISIS, the best way to preempt it is by redrawing the lines to create countries based on stable ethnic and religious majorities.

Heather Has Two Genders : Meghan Cox Gurdon…..see note please


The latest publishing boom: children’s books with transgender themes. Here’s hoping it has an unintended positive effect.

Once upon a time, there was a red crayon that could only draw blue: blue fire engines, blue strawberries, blue hearts—all things we know to be red he could only draw in blue. No matter how hard the crayon tried, no matter how critical the remarks of others, the crayon couldn’t behave in accordance with the label on his side.

“He was red, but he wasn’t very good at it,” Michael Hall explains in “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” a forthcoming picture book that reads like a fable of gender identity.

“I have a girl brain but a boy body,” says a young child in “I Am Jazz,” a picture book by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings that came out earlier this month. In Shelagh McNicholas’s sherbet-hued illustrations, Jazz looks like a typical girlie-girl who likes to dance and play princess dress-up with her friends. She is also genetically male.

It is not a wholly new thing for a transgender person to appear in children’s books, but soon they will abound. Last February, Susan Kuklin’s “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out” brought a series of riveting first-person accounts of teenagers who are grappling—some successfully, some less so—with sexual dysphoria, or the profound dissatisfaction with the gender of one’s biological DNA.

“I Am Jazz” was next and will be followed later this month by two memoirs for older adolescents that describe either side of the much-publicized romance of two transgender teens, Arin Andrews (“Some Assembly Required”) and Katie Rain Hill (“Rethinking Normal”).

We’re Number 32! A New Global Index Highlights the Harm From the U.S. Tax Code.

Any day now the White House and Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) will attempt to raise taxes on business, while making the U.S. tax code even more complex. The Obama and Schumer plans to punish businesses for moving their legal domicile overseas will arrive even as a new international ranking shows that the U.S. tax burden on business is close to the worst in the industrialized world. Way to go, Washington.

On Monday the Tax Foundation, which manages the widely followed State Business Tax Climate Index, will launch a new global benchmark, the International Tax Competitiveness Index. According to the foundation, the new index measures “the extent to which a country’s tax system adheres to two important principles of tax policy: competitiveness and neutrality.”

A competitive tax code is one that limits the taxation of businesses and investment. Since capital is mobile and businesses can choose where to invest, tax rates that are too high “drive investment elsewhere, leading to slower economic growth,” as the Tax Foundation puts it.

By neutrality the foundation means “a tax code that seeks to raise the most revenue with the fewest economic distortions. This means that it doesn’t favor consumption over saving, as happens with capital gains and dividends taxes, estate taxes, and high progressive income taxes. This also means no targeted tax breaks for businesses for specific business activities.” Crony capitalism that rewards the likes of green energy with lower tax bills while imposing higher bills on other firms is political arbitrage that misallocates capital and reduces economic growth.

The index takes into account more than 40 tax policy variables. And the inaugural ranking puts the U.S. at 32nd out of 34 industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

With the developed world’s highest corporate tax rate at over 39% including state levies, plus a rare demand that money earned overseas should be taxed as if it were earned domestically, the U.S. is almost in a class by itself. It ranks just behind Spain and Italy, of all economic humiliations. America did beat Portugal and France, which is currently run by an avowed socialist.

Portugal’s Jihadists by Soeren Kern

Portugal, like Spain, also figures prominently in a map produced by the jihadist group Islamic State [IS] that outlines a five-year plan for expanding its Islamic Caliphate into Europe.

“Holy War is the only solution for humanity.” — Abdu, Portuguese jihadist.

“Every time these jihadists groups mention the recovery of al-Andalus, they are also referring to Portugal. Jihadists do not believe in national divisions, but in the existence of a single Muslim community that embraces the entire Iberian Peninsula.” — Miguel Torres Soriano, Spanish terrorism expert.

At least a dozen Portuguese nationals have joined jihadist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria, according to new estimates by Portuguese counter-terrorism officials.

All of the Portuguese jihadists (ten men and two women) are under the age of 30 and most of them are children of immigrants, but so far none of the individuals is known to have returned to live in Portugal.

Portuguese authorities are—for now—downplaying the threat these individuals may pose to Portugal upon their return home from the battlefields.

Security analysts from Spain, however, are warning the Portuguese government against complacency. They argue that although the number of Portuguese jihadists may be small compared to other European countries, radical Muslims are becoming increasingly strident in their vows to reconquer Al-Andalus—of which Portugal is a key component—for Islam.

Al-Andalus is the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492, when both the Moors and the Jews were expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Most of the territory of modern-day Portugal was occupied by the Moors for more than 500 years, from 711 until 1249. During that time, the territory was known by its Arabic name, Gharb Al-Andalus (The West of Al-Andalus) or Al-Gharb (The West).