Bill Clinton’s Favorite Serial Killer

Today’s Headlines from Libertarian

Presidential Scorecard on Trade
by Aaron Lukas (CATO Institute)

Air Traffic Control To A User-Funded Corporation
by Robert W.
Poole, Jr. (Reason)

Advancing Free Trade In Latin America: The Test Of Leadership

by Ana Eiras And Gerald P. O’Driscoll, Jr. (Heritage Foundation)

Why The Case For Tax Cuts Is Failing (And What Should Be Done About
by Bruce Bartlett, Stanley Collender, and Grover Norquist
(Heritage Foundation)

and Businessmen
by Andrew Lewis (Capitalism Magazine)


Imagine a serial killer
who managed to murder literally thousands of people over the course of
a few years. Upon his capture, our killer argues in his defense that while
he may have killed a couple thousand people at the beginning of his murderous
career, in the year before he was apprehended he only murdered a handful
of people. Our hypothetical serial killer goes on to argue that he is
clearly mending his ways and if only society would help him to get on
his feet and established he can dispense with murdering innocent people

Certainly any reasonable person
would find such an explanation beyond absurd. Only the most depraved of
individuals would buy into this sort of twisted logic — which is exactly
why it is so appealing to the Clinton administration.

The serial killer in this case
is the Colombian army and the Clinton administration wants to reward its
murderous ways by giving Colombia $1.6 billion in “aid.” Ahead of a vote
on the aid package, Colombian President Andres Pastrana made the rounds
in Washington, DC, meeting with Clinton for 45 minutes. Pastrana beamed
about how human rights violations by the Colombian army had fallen from
about 2,000 per year to about 70 per year.

For his part Clinton, who not
that many months ago promised that the world would do everything in its
power to stop human rights violatiosn, could only manage a typically lame
“see no evil” policy. “There’s always a risk when you go out on a limb
to try to save a neighbor and help people to help themselves, that it
won’t work,” Clinton told reporters. “I believe the risk in the investment
is something that we ought to do.”

But the risks of the U.S. policy
are not to Clinton or Americans, but rather to poor Colombians. The only
reason that the Colombian Army no longer participates in massive human
rights violations is that it outsourced that job to ultra-right wing death
squads which the Army both aids and protects. The paramilitary death squads
are among the most brutal in the region.

Several days before the Clinton
met with Pastranas, for example, Leftist guerillas blew a power pylon.
Right wing death squads immediately announced that they would execute
10 leftist sympathizers for every power pylon destroyed. To back up that
threat, the paramilitaries murdered 26 peasants who they claimed were
sympathetic to the guerillas.

Of course one of the main reasons
many peasant farmers are sympathetic to the Marxist guerillas is because,
unlike the Colombian military, the guerillas tolerate and benefit from
the coca and poppy fields. The war against drugs is really one against
poor peasants, and in exchange for its $1.6 billion aid package, the Clinton
administration wants Colombia to accelerate its war against farmers growing
coca and opium poppies.

Colombia’s defense minister,
Luis Fernando Ramirez, admitted to U.S. reporters recently that a planned
push to eradicate coca crops in southern Colombia will likely ratchet
violence up another notch. “It’s predictable that there’s going to be
violence and marches,” Ramirez said as he showed off three Blackhawk helicopters
donated by the United States to help the eradication efforts.

Ironically Ramirez acknowledged
the Colombian government has a plan to permanently move farmers from the
coca regions — a tactic which the Clinton administration called a war
crime when Serbia tried it.

When critics rightly complained
that the United States had no business fighting a war against Serbia,
Clinton ridiculed his domestic opponents as isolationists who would gladly
sit around while a new Hitler (the third or fourth “new Hitler” in as
many administrations) emerged to conquer the world. But what is the point
in defending the world against the machinations of men like Hitler and
Stalin only to make it safe for paramilitary death squads in Colombia?

Americans should be outraged
at the thought of a single penny of their tax dollars going to help dislocate
and kill poor peasants in Colombia.

U.S. President Wants to Lift Ban on International Aid Spending on Abortion

       In a speech calling for increased
funding for family planning services in the United States, US President
Bill Clinton urged Congress to remove restrictions on international family
planning funds that prevent such monies from being spent to perform abortions.
Clinton and others maintain that increased family planning services actually
reduces the number of abortions by allowing women to better control whether
or not they get pregnant.

       Clinton wants to increase overseas
family planning spending by $169 million — a 45 percent increase over
the international family spending level in the 2000 budget.

       “I am asking Congress to support
these funds, and to provide them without restrictions that hamper the
work of family planning organizations, and even bar them from discussing
or debating reproductive health policies,” Clinton said.

       The odds of removing such barriers
are almost zero. Several months ago Clinton had to cave on the abortion
issue to get Republican support for paying the United States’ debt to
the United Nations. Given the importance of the abortion issue to core
Republican voters, it is all but inconceivable that such a change would
happen in an election year.


Clinton calls for $35 million increase in family-planning funds. Associated
Press, January 9, 2000.

WorldWatch Kicks Off a New Millennium of Doomsaying

       In this century the material
well-being of human beings around the world increased more than in the
previous 40,000+ years. So how did the perennial doomsayers at WorldWatch
choose to greet the new century — by again predicting a coming apocalypse.

       The latest installment in the
ongoing WorldWatch soap opera has an interesting twist — with its past
major predictions of worldwide famine and other disasters consistently
failing to come to pass, WorldWatch smartly chose to make its message
of gloom as vague as possible this time around. WorldWatch’s Chris Bright
told the BBC that,

As pressures on the Earth’s natural systems build, there may
be some disconcerting surprises as trends interact, reinforcing each other
and triggering abrupt changes…

       Translation: they don’t have
a good disaster story of the week on hand, but certainly after decades
of such prophecising something, anything, must go wrong at some
point in the next century. This is, after all, a strategy that has worked
rather well for numerous failed religious prophets and psychics (in my
crystal ball, I see the assassination of an important world leader and
a deadly natural disaster sometime in the next century as well).

       According to WorldWatch’s Lester
Brown, the two major threats to the environment are global climate change
and population growth (which, of course, makes climate change worse).
The interesting thing about these threats is the level of uncertainty
in them. On the climate change fonrt, the amount of temperature increase
is constantly being revised downward (remember when environmentalists
were saying world temperatures were going to rise 5 to 7 degrees? Now
we’re talking about at most a 2 to 3 degree rise and there is an incredible
amount of uncertainty in that figure). More importantly, nobody has any
idea of exactly what a rise in temperature will mean for human beings.
Speculation about different scenarios that might happen abounds, but hard
facts about the implications of a temperature rise are rare — scientists
can’t even agree whether rising temperatures will cause a rise in sea
levels around the world.

       The same holds true for population
growth. The world is well on it sway to achieving a stable population
of somewhere between 8 and 10 billion people. Brown claims universal access
to family planning services sna decuation for women are key requirements
for achieving population stability. This is quite a heady retreat from
Brown’s days of predicting imminent famine and from when population advocates
shrilly called for everything from military intervention to boycotts of
food aid to certain parts of the world.

       The world certainly faces challenges
in the coming century, but we are not on the verge of an environmental
apocalypse. Policies designed to avert such an apocalypse will likely
be counterproductive as they divert resources away from pressing and easily
solved problems that don’t fit in the environmentalist paradigm, while
focusing resources on exotic problems where it’s still difficult to know
exactly what impact human intervention will have.

       The true environmental apocalypse
is not some vague “surprise” that may happen 50 years from now, but the
millison of Africans infected with malaria today and the millions
of children suffering from malnutrition, and the hundreds of thousands
of women dying from pregnancy-related complications.


World ‘faces environmental upsets.’ The BBC, January 15, 2000.

Researchers stop BSE in mice

    A couple months ago, animal
rights activists trumpeted research providing the closest thing yet to
proof that bovine spongiform disease likely causes the human spongiform
disease CJD. Of course, the research in that case was done in mice which,
according to animal rights activists and groups, can never be accurately
applied to human beings. Now comes word of more such “useless” spongiform
research. An article in The Lancet reports that experiments in mice conducted
by scientists at the Serano Pharmaceutical Research Institute managed
to stop transplanted CJD from growing in mice.

    Spongiform diseases cause nerve
tissue proteins in the brain to fold abnormally, leading to the build
up of a destructive “beta sheet.” The Serano researchers exposed tissue
from the brains of CJD-infected mice to peptides which reversed the structure
of the proteins back to a form similar to the safe original.


CJD treatment ‘draws closer.’ The BBC, January 14, 2000.


Easter Seals gets PETA "Seal of Approval"

    A December 22 press release
from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced that Easter
Seals has been given PETA’s seal of approval for signing an agreement
with the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine certifying it
“does not conduct, commission, or in any way fund experiments on animals
and will not do so in the future.”

    Oddly enough, although PETA
announced this deal, neither PCRM nor Easter Seals has any mention of
such an agreement on their respective web sites.


Easter Seals Confirms “No Animal Tests” Policy, Gets PETA “Seal
of Approval”. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals press release,
December 22, 1999.

New Russian President Rejects Animal Protection Bill

Russia’s Acting President,
Vladimir Putin, was in office less than a week when on January 6 he vetoed
an bill passed by the Russian Duma and the Russian Federation Council
designed by its advocates to prevent animal cruelty. The bill would have
made it illegal to use certain species of animal for food and fur, banned
the harming of animals in the making of films and television programs,
and mandated sterilization/contraception for pets according to a press
release from the Human Society of the United States.

What ultimately killed the
bill, however, were provisions which the Russian fur industry feared would
put a halt to the hunting of seals for furs. Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency
quoted spokespersons for the governors of Russia’s Arkhangelsk region
as urging rejection of the bill to protect that area’s fur industry. “More
than a thousand people involved in the hunting and skinning of seals will
lose their jobs in villages in the Arkhangelsk region,” the spokeswoman
said. “Big losses will be experienced in the fur industry and this may
lead to a mass exodus from the northern polar areas.”

According to Reuters, furs
are relatively common in Russia where the winters are extremely cold.
In the northern regions, for example, temperatures can fall below minus
30 degrees centigrade.

In an odd postscript to Putin’s
veto, the acting president sent a gushing email to animal rights activist
Brigitte Bardot who had urged Russia to pas the bill. No word of a response
from Bardot who has a habit to making extremely disparaging, often ethnocentric
comments about nations that fail to follow her policy recommendations.

It will be interesting to see
how well the animal rights movement fares outside of Western nations.
In the United States and Europe, the animal rights movement tries to piggyback
on highly influential and, in some cases, centuries old philosophical
movements interested in rights issues. Whether or not the animal rights
argument will be able to find a similar cache outside of the industrial
West remains to be seen.


Arctic leaders oppose Russian animal rights bill. Reuters, December 23,

No revolution for Russia’s animals. Humane Society of the United States
press release, January 7, 2000.