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The End of Sovereignty :: by Steve Myers

Advisory Commission, Oct. 5, 1999 :: Electronic Commerce

Public School Vouchers :: by Dr. Nick Begich



Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce
Posts Transcripts from New York City Meeting
OCTOBER 5, 1999

WHAT:

The Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce has posted transcripts from its New York City meeting on the Commission's website, www.ecommercecommission.org. The federal commission, appointed by Congress to debate the complex issue of Internet taxation, met in New York City on September 14 and 15. Commissioners discussed local, state, and federal tax issues associated with Internet access, telecommunications, and electronic commerce. The New York City meeting also featured many guest speakers, including: Charles Bayless, chairman, president, and CEO, Illinova Power Dan Bucks, director, Multistate Tax Commission Kaye Caldwell, CommerceNet Annabelle Canning, vice president, Committee on State Taxation Gary Cornia/Kendall Houghton, National Tax Association Communications and Electronic Commerce Tax Project Harley Duncan, director, Federation of Tax Administrators Jim Eads, Ernst & Young Jeffery A. Eisenach, president, The Progress & Freedom Foundation George Issacson, Direct Marketers' Association Commissioner Randy Johnson, chair of the Hennepin, MN County Board and Joseph Brooks, councilman , City of Richmond, VA Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Raymond Keating, chief economist, Small Business Survival Committee Matthew Kisber, representative, TN Steven Rauschenberger, senator, IL Michael Mazerov, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Terrence Ryan, director of State and Local Taxes, Apple Computer Ed Shimizu, director, National Regulatory Relations, GTE Fran Smith, Consumer Alert Wm. Gregory Turner, California Taxpayers' Association In addition to the meeting transcripts, which were posted today, many of the guest speakers' presentations will be available to the public and the media on Monday, September 27. Additionally, the audiocast and Webcast from the proceedings will remain on the site until October 15, 1999.

 

WHERE:

http://www.ecommercecommission.org/calendar.htm

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Debbie Neville, O'Keeffe & Company, Inc. (703) 883-9000, x104 or dneville@okeeffeco.com

 

ABOUT THE COMMISSION:

Appointed by Congress in October 1998, as part of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, the 19-member Commission is tasked with studying the impact of federal, state, local, and international taxation and tariffs on transactions using the Internet and Internet access. The Commission's recommendations are due to Congress by April 21, 2000.

Chairman The Honorable James S. Gilmore, III Governor Commonwealth of Virginia

Members Mr. Dean F. Andal Chairman California Board of Equalization

Mr. C. Michael Armstrong Chairman and CEO AT&T

Mr. Joseph H. Guttentag Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy U.S. Department of the Treasury

The Honorable Paul C. Harris, Sr. Delegate Virginia House of Delegates

Ms. Delna Jones Commissioner Washington County, Oregon

The Honorable Ron Kirk Mayor City of Dallas

The Honorable Michael O. Leavitt Governor State of Utah

Mr. Gene N. Lebrun President National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws

The Honorable Gary Locke Governor State of Washington

Mr. Grover Norquist President Americans for Tax Reform

Mr. Robert Novick General Counsel U.S. Trade Representative

Mr. Richard Parsons President Time Warner, Inc.

Mr. Andrew Pincus General Counsel U.S. Department of Commerce

Mr. Robert Pittman President & Chief Operating Officer America Online

Mr. David Pottruck President & co-Chief Executive Officer Charles Schwab and Company

Mr. John W. Sidgmore Vice Chairman MCI WorldCom and Chairman UUNET

Mr. Stanley Sokul Independent Consultant Association of Interactive Media

Mr. Theodore Waitt Chairman and CEO Gateway, Inc.

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Public School Vouchers: Who Controls What Our Children Think?
by Dr. Nick Begich

The issue of vouchers is a recurring theme which will become
part of the political debate in the United States during the 2000 election
season.The issue is being framed as a conservative political idea but it
is not. The issue of vouchers is about who will decide what is best for our
children's education - Parents or Government. The issue impacts everyone - 
conservative, liberal and those in between. The form, character, content
and quality of education will, in many respects, determine the future
for us all.

        I served as President of the Alaska Federation of Teachers/AFT
and the Anchorage Council of Education during the 1980's, which gave me a
unique opportunity to become immersed in educational issues. I worked
for the Anchorage School District for ten years in mid-management, which
gave me the chance to see how managers, teachers and educators actually
function and how educational leadership sees its role in communities.  I also
come from a family of educators. Prior to becoming an Alaska State Senator
and later, a U.S. Congressman, my father was a high school teacher, principal,
school superintendent, university educator and a counselor. When elected to
the State Senate four years after statehood he authored most legislation
forming the foundation of modern education in Alaska.

        Education is foundational to the smooth operation of a democratic
republic. The fuel for educational delivery is the money provided in
budgets. At the state and local level about half of all public funds
collected are spent in public education efforts. Education quality and
values are the out-product of those expenditures.

        Over time, schools have gone "value neutral" in trying to
accommodate every belief system in a "politically correct context." Even
in this context value judgments are being made about what is taught, how it
is taught and what limits are placed on teachers and parents regarding
their choices in education. When parents control the money - education will
be responsive to their desired options for their children.

          My oldest two children were educated and graduated from
religious schools. My middle child was home schooled and publicly educated until
these options no longer met his needs and he is now in an outstanding
private school. My two youngest children are getting a good education in
the public schools. The point being, each system was selected based on
what my children needed and not a limited government created option. These
choices required sacrifices which, without my family's help could not
have been made. I thank God and my family that these choices were available
and they should be available to everyone - rich, poor or in between. The
arguments against vouchers coming from the National Education Association
and others are the standard propaganda designed to keep control of this
country's process and content of education. I believe all of the
detractors arguments against parental choice can be dismantled.

        Vouchers are not just about money. Vouchers are about who will
control what goes into our children's heads and what is best for the
individual child - parents or government. Because most people want to
only talk about the money, let's start there. The average cash allocation for
publicly schooled children is between $5,000 and $7,000 a year or about
$150,000 per classroom per year. This does NOT include the allocations for
special needs children which can be as high as $40,000 per student. The
allocation of resources to special needs children is weighted and should
be. The amounts of money being spent for them could have much greater
results if the private sector had an equal opportunity to compete with
the government monopoly. This could be accommodated with vouchers. The real
question is - are you getting $150,000 worth of education per classroom
per year for your community's children?

        Parental choice does not work against the poor and underprivileged. 
The fact that the poor are somehow disadvantaged by parents deciding
what makes the most sense for their children is untrue. A well thought out
system could weight the formula so that poor children could still get a
subsidized lunch and subsidized transportation and, on an equal basis,
attend any school private or public. All issues of equity could be
accommodated as they are now with the choice of where to spend the
resources resting with parents.

        Parental choice would not violate any constitutional separations
of church and state if well thought out. While it is true that most state
constitutions do not allow for public money to flow directly to private
and religious schools there are no restrictions on funds going to parents
for paying tuition to schools of their choice. If this were unconstitutional
how is it that recipients of state and federal student loans and grants
are able to spend the money on schools like Brigham Young, Catholic
University and countless other private institutions? It is the way the 
allocation takes place which determines its legality.

        Given the fact that special interests would litigate the validly
of school choice the issue should be addressed by placing this question on
the ballot for a change in State Constitutions providing clarity and
assuring parental choice.

        The idea that parental choice works against teachers is also
untrue. Teacher's organizations should be initiating leadership in this
area. The traditional teachers guild or union does not have to be
diminished in advocating for fairness and quality education. Teachers
could still be given access to centralized retirement programs and insurance
pools with all other salary and benefit questions developed at the school
level. Unions form because employees feel that employers are unfair. The
utilization of a union to effect fairness would not be abridged as
teachers would still freely associate, form professional organizations, guilds or
unions so their interests could be expressed if they so desired. The
question is - what could educators design with $150,000 per classroom?

        Detractors of parental choice in education attack the issue as
an issue of the "religious right" and paint the right as a villain in even
raising the concept of parental choice. This is not only an issue for
the political right. Parental choice is increasingly becoming a mainstream
nonpartisan issue for everyone seeking better use of educational dollars in
order to achieve better educational outcomes. The NEA's position
demonstrates their lack of sensitivity and tolerance for the beliefs of
many people. The "spinning" of this issue as a religious issue only is
false and designed to protect their own self-interests. I believe that the
NEA's attack on religion is also an insult to many of their own members who
embrace their personal religious beliefs as the foundation for their
values, values which make them the compassionate and committed teachers
that most educators are.                

	Beyond questions of choice the issue of the best education for our 
children is on the mind of every parent. Even parents who are otherwise 
intimidated by the education system, feeling powerless in the face of the 
bureaucracy, would make good choices if given the checkbook for their child's 
education. Teachers would be free to establish good schools and could purchase 
what centralized administrative services they needed. Safeguards could be 
established to assure these dollars are spent in education and full accountability
achieved.

        The NEA suggests that teachers are better off with the existing
system or a system requiring even more money to deliver education. Right
now, about 80%-85% of education dollars flow to salaries and benefits in
most school districts. A significant portion of these funds is for staff
that does not teach or deliver direct educational services. It makes sense
that labor costs are the biggest part of the budget because, after all, we
are not building cars we are building intellects and that is a labor
intensive enterprise.

        The community needs to be central to all expenditures of public
monies in a way which best reflects its diversity and values. As a second
generation public servant, heavily involved in education, I know one
thing - cash ultimately drives the system and determines what happens. The way
the dollars are allocated determines what mix of possibilities evolve
for our children and this community's work force. Centrally controlled
top-down large organizations are inflexible, impersonal and intimidating. Public
institutions, particularly educational institu-tions, should be much
better than this. When average parents begin to vote their educational dollars
by spending them where their children get the greatest benefit the public
system will improve. The small neighborhood schools where teachers have
the latitude, hardware and labor resources to do their jobs could revolutionize
education in the United States.

        If you asked any good teacher what they could do with their
student's education dollars ($150,000 per classroom plus the special needs
allocations) you would hear a lot. Good teachers could deliver a great deal
more than the public system even begins to deliver. Teachers could still
get the salaries, benefits and retirements they have now. They could still
cover the costs of overhead including buildings/space, utilities and
related expenses and guess what - without some special bond issue they
could buy every child a computer, new books and supplies each year. I
believe that if teachers had a choice they would dump the top-down-pack-
the-curriculum-full-mandates they receive and welcome the
opportunity to set up and run their own schools. If teachers had the real
resources that were available they could finally do what the vast majority
of teachers want to do - teach children.

        I am, perhaps, the only person in the United States to ever have
held the office of President of a statewide teacher's union and taken a
position in favor of vouchers - in favor of parental choice. I believe that
every argument against parental choice in education can be overcome by a
logical set of solutions. The NEA and others will use fear to motivate
teachers and parents because fear is the tool of those who can't make
decent arguments.

        Another consideration deals with the choice of private schools
which do not wish to accept vouchers because of concern that this might
subject them to external control of their programs. Such controls should
be avoided in the basic design of the transfers from government to parents
and then to schools so that maximum autonomy exists. Private schools could
elect to not accept this type of funding as well.        

	A good example of how a government driven value system works
against culture, beliefs and freedom can be illustrated in what happened
historically to Native American children, not so long ago. These children
were removed from their homes to be educated in boarding schools divorced
from family and culture. Many of the problems of Native American children
have more to do with cultural genocide by public education systems than
perhaps any other reason. This type of cultural genocide, imposed by a
system which has lost touch with many average people's hopes and realities,
is now shaping all of our children's futures.

School Violence: What Solutions?

        In the last year we have seen the media turn its attention to the
issue of school violence. Having seen school shootings, violent outbreaks
and increases in juvenile crime, how are many educational bureaucrats
reacting? Many are preparing for increased security by installing metal
detectors, hiring police or security guards, conducting random searches of
lockers and cars and through increased electronic monitoring. What lessons
are we teaching our children in the way we adults are reacting? What are we
teaching about our national values as they relate to liberty, privacy and
young non-voting citizens?

        I had the recent experience of going to a local high school
during a school dance. I reflected on my own memories of high school
twenty-five years ago and how things had changed. At that moment I noticed 
security staff in the school parking lot. As children arrived they were asked to
get out of their cars whereupon the school security staff searched the car
and the purses of the students. I could not believe my eyes as students with
no thought of their individual privacy conceded one after another to the
intrusion. These children had been taught by the public education system
that their individual freedom was not relevant.

        In most schools of the past and today the real problems in
schools can be isolated. Those students who continuously act out violent
behaviors represent 1-3% of student populations yet the other 97% are conditioned
to give up their freedoms in order to create the illusion of safety. The real
solution is not to make our schools look and function like prisons where
fear and insecurity rule but to create environments where students acquire
the skills to work, function and protect the values which drive our
democratic republic, build culture and create compassionate human
beings.

        Schools can be made safer by removing violent children and
placing them in schools designed for them. I do not believe that children with
accumulating criminal records and a history of violence should be allowed
in regular educational programs. This small percentage of the student
population either ends up expelled and on the street unrestrained or are
allowed to disrupt others. Once expelled, for many young people, it is the
first step toward a new educational system with a history of failing 85% of
the time - correctional institutions, rehabilitation centers and prisons.
Over regulation of the freedom of young people who do not create these
problems should be avoided. School Districts zero tolerance policy for
violence should not create a new or growing class of unrestrained young
people by abandoning them to city streets and perhaps a much more expensive
criminal justice system costing anywhere from $20,000 - $45,000 per
year.

        Mandatory attendance at specially designed schools should be
required for expelled students. The goal of the facility should be to
reform these students behavior before it results in more serious criminal
or violent activity. Leaving children in educational programs where they
endanger themselves and others is no longer a reasonable option. Increasing
security in high schools creates an environment not particularly conducive
to education and is not the answer. These resources could be better spent
elsewhere in delivering a program to students who want to learn.

        There are also educators in every educational system who are
skilled and interested in working with troubled youth. By matching the
right teachers to the task we might even see some real results with the
children rather than just passing the problem on to other government
organizations which are less skilled in solving these problems.

School/Teacher Independence

        The debate surrounding vouchers is often raised as a "teachers
issue" on one side and a "far right" idea on the other. As the past
President of the Alaska Federation of Teachers/AFT I heard all of the
arguments against vouchers and how they could be answered. The arguments
against can all be resolved. As I analyzed the arguments against parental
choice they didn't make sense because each could be answered with a
sensible solution. Arguments that teachers would be hurt, the poor would
be under-served, transportation unfairly available or other reasons are
often raised. Each argument can be met with a fair solution which places all
children on an equal footing just as is the case now with special education
funding, migrant education funding and numerous other sources of special
program funds.

        Parental choice will allow any good group of educators a
tremendous opportunity to create every kind of school imaginable, get funding,
control class size, staffing and capital equipment to build truly effective
schools. If parents and teachers developed good programs they could
determine what services they want to purchase from the central District
administration, if any. They could take control of their budgets and
accountability methods could be introduced. The ultimate circumstance
would be real parent/teacher/student controlled schools.

        A state monopoly on education violates foundational separations
in the way modern schools teach values. The word religion comes from the
root words which mean "to regulate belief" - education in schools is the
training box in which society attempts to regulate beliefs. Those opting to
leave public schools are doing so because they are unsafe, inefficient,
offend their belief systems/religion, interfere in their private lives,
fail to teach their children or fail to provide the best value for the
educational dollar. A monopoly does not have to be responsive to its
customers, especially if they are not perceived as controlling the one
thing any enterprise recognizes public or private - he who has the gold
rules.

        Teachers would still be required to be certified under the
appropriate teaching certificate. The Department of Education could 
provide access to centralized benefits for teachers. Access to Teachers
Retirement Systems and perhaps a menu of benefits could be centrally 
administered and purchased according to individual need by teachers 
and employees where appropriate. Other services could be centralized to get the best
purchasing value for education by using economies of scale where they are shown
effective and selected by independent schools.

Secondary Schools

        A more focused method of meeting individual educational needs must
be established within the funding limits available. There needs to be a
number of learning tracks which better meet the needs of students,
particularly in their last two years of high school. By the end of a
student's sophomore year career counseling with parents, staff and students
should be initiated and decisions made on how to best use the remaining
two years of publicly funded education. This should be implemented so the
individual students long term needs are addressed. The choices could be
several and might include the following by way of example:

a. The academic track. This course of education would follow what is offered now and would be oriented towards those interested in either college or non-trade related careers.

 

b. The skilled trades/business track. Ideally this would be developed to a high level by creating joint ventures with trade unions and business organizations which create apprenticeship programs. This could represent\ two year or four year programs which would lead to real employment possibilities in the future in higher paying positions. This would give graduating seniors in this track the opportunity to leave school having gained either two years towards being skilled in a trade/business and the possibility of meaningful employment. Skilled people tend to earn good salaries and are better equipped to contribute to their communities. This would provide excellent opportunities for kids to gain skills and have "hope" for their futures. This track could include two academic classes and the rest of the day working in an apprenticeship/internship program. The academic classes would be based on the child's needs in addition to receiving a certificate of training in their skill area. These academic classes could be scheduled after the normal school day in order to better utilize buildings and could be centralized for transportation using the city bus system and other modes of transportation. This would also relieve some of the overcrowding problems in secondary schools and avoid new capital expenditures on new facilities.

c. The academic/trades track. This would combine elements of both of the above and would be oriented to students desiring a foundational education which includes both trade and other professional skills they will gain in post secondary education.

d. The life skills track. This educational track would be oriented to transitioning special needs children into meaningful inter-actions with the elements of the community they will deal with as adults. The intention of this track would be to individually address the best options for assuring a relevant set of skills to help these children reach their highest potentials.

There are a number of needs in high schools which are not being
met. Approximately ten years ago the traditional metal shops, wood shops
and what would be considered industrial training classes were eliminated
from our schools in Anchorage. This pattern is being repeated around the
country. Retired teachers and others were able to buy some of the finest
equipment in Anchorage at auction for a few cents on the dollar and
these programs were replaced by "tech labs." The rationale put forward at the
time was that these old trades were gone and that we needed to educate
the new tech worker for the next century's jobs. These tech classes are
important but attract a different type of student and the loss of
traditional trades related education leaves a void for students who have
an interest in filling these jobs of the future. The idea put forward by
the person in charge was that the trades related jobs were no more and would
quickly disappear. This was the view of someone obviously from "out of
town" or lost in their own delusion. The idea that the skilled trades,
in Alaska and the United States, has gone away is ridiculous on its face.
The fact is that schools are not providing the basic backgrounds for entry
into these jobs. These higher paying jobs are then filled by others as our
children fill the lower paying service sector jobs.

Summary

        The shape of our future as a nation is formed to a great extent
by our educational institutions. These institutions represent the greatest
concentration of state and local government expenditures. The old models
for delivering education are in need of significant reforms which can
not continue to wait for educational bureaucrats to respond to the demands
for change.

        All citizens are impacted by education of our young people. The
investments we make are instrumental in creating future generations with
hope, skills, compassion and capability. Change will come when parents
gain control of their children's educational futures.

Nick can be contacted at: http://www.earthpulse.com

Dr. Nick Begich
P. O. Box 201393
Anchorage, Alaska 99520
Voice Mail: 907-249-9111
Earthpulse Press
DrNick@alaska.net
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THE END OF SOVEREIGNTY
STEVE MYERS
April 17, 1999


With this edition, this column celebrates its fourth birthday, and my, how it has grown!  
Thanks to our devoted readers, this small soapbox has grown into a podium from which to 
share observations about the onward march of history.  Thank you so much for your 
encouragement, guidance and comments.  We are celebrating with a double length edition.

When we began, I'll admit I was naive.  I thought Republicans and Democrats
were opposites.  I still had faith in justice, politics, the electoral system, the 
integrity of the British Royal Family and the sovereignty of nations.  I believed that 
politicians really intended to keep their promises.  I no longer believe any of those things.  
It isn't that I've become cynical: cynicism is skepticism without knowledge.  Rather, I now 
know how things work.  I now understand almost all politicians are actors, some more 
polished than others, who play different roles in a worldwide repertory company owned and 
operated by a surprisingly few multinational business leaders.  And the leading actor, he who 
remains in the White House despite all the odds, has ensured that we have not lacked for stories.  
He has never disappointed us:  he has gone from bad to worse, from mischievous
playboy to demonic tyrant.

Above all, these four years have confirmed two trends: first, a considerable acceleration of 
the pace at which Western nations are discarding the sanctity of national sovereignty in their 
unseemly rush toward a global government for which there seems to be little popular support;  and 
secondly, the systematic hypnotization of the American people into an Orwellian trance, never 
better illustrated than in the current rash of propaganda about the bombing of Yugoslavia:  "War 
brings Peace!  Killing is the way to save people.  Ignorance is Strength!  Freedom is Slavery!"  
Ah yes, and at Clinton's Animal Farm, some animals are most definitely more equal than others:  
indeed, some are still alive, but others are not;  some are wealthy, others are neglected;  some 
are intimidated, yet others tell the truth.

According to the governments participating in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, 
the justification for this military operation is to stop the "ethnic cleansing"
in Kosovo, never mind that the West ignored it in Bosnia, Tibet, Rwanda and elsewhere.

It is said that Kosovo is seeking independence from Yugoslavia, a sovereign
nation which has not attacked or threatened any of its neighbors.  Maybe
so, but what differentiates it from Chechnya, Scotland or the Palestinians?
Are we going to bomb Moscow, London and Jerusalem too?  Shall we bomb
Istanbul and Athens in protest at the Cyprus problem?  Shall we bomb Ottawa
to help the cause of Quebec?  How about bombing China to free Tibet?

Amnesty International's 1998 Report describes one nation where torture and
racial abuse and aggravated sexual abuse by the police is common, as well
as ill-treatment of immigrants, the use of chemical sprays against non-violent 
demonstrators, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in prisons, including 
rape and sexual assault of female prisoners, and racially motivated prosecutions.  
The same nation is described in the 1998 report of Human Rights Watch:  they 
refused to ratify several human rights treaties, obstructed the development 
of international human rights, and used assault vehicles and chemical weapons 
against its civilian population, including women and children.

Shall we bomb that nation too?  And which nation are the reports describing?  
You guessed it: it's the United States of America.  Are we going to bomb ourselves too?

This is a civil war, though the occupant of the White House, whom other NATO 
nations seem reluctant to criticize, has led the Western world into a ferocious 
assault on the pretext of a humanitarian right and duty to intervene in that 
civil war.  The excuse is flimsy and the real truth lies elsewhere.  If the bombing 
of Yugoslavia has removed most other stories from the newspapers and electronic 
media, who benefits?  If the American people have been seduced into forgetting 
about Chinese espionage, the serial rapist in the Oval Office, and more scandals 
than anyone can mention, who benefits?  Which American companies are being hired 
to rebuild Yugoslavia's infrastructure?  Who will benefit financially from that?

Militarily, enormous miscalculations were made.  The White House erroneously 
believed that the Yugoslav military would shy away from a confrontation, and that 
President Milosevic would back down at the last moment. As a result of this incorrect 
assumption, the NATO countries maintained their hyperbole, but failed to match it 
with military preparations.  They believed their own rhetoric, but Yugoslavia did not.

They also wrongly believed that Yugoslavia would surrender after a few bombing raids.  
In fact, every bomb has strengthened Slobodan Milosevic's position.  He is now supported 
even by his political enemies and those who had previously campaigned against him.  
Like Bill Clinton, just 25% of Yugoslav people voted for him, but, thanks to the Clintonesque 
blunder, he is now supported almost universally.  And finally, as the folks in the White 
House, The Pentagon and NATO headquarters were issuing sinister threats to Yugoslavia, 
they were simultaneously reassuring their own publics that the bombing raids would be 
limited and very specific. They even named the targets they would hit.  Apparently they 
forgot that Milosevic watches CNN too.

The cost of Mr. Clinton's latest and greatest folly is beyond calculation in every other 
way.  In financial terms, it is enormous, and has disposed of any US budget surplus 
there may have been.  In military terms, it has further depleted the United States' stock 
of ordnance, especially Cruise missiles.  In terms of the diminution of America's national 
stature, Mr. Clinton has dragged his nation down to his own sordid level:  he is a 
self-confessed liar and deceiver and now a murderer too.  Most importantly, in human terms, 
it has been catastrophic.  America and its reluctant allies have brought death and 
destruction to innocent people, the scars of which will take decades to heal.  How many 
have died as a result of Mr. Clinton's war?  Shall we just add these few thousand to the 
body count, or do they deserve a special category of their own?

So let's get some perspective.  The war was started unilaterally by a discredited, impeached 
President,  devoid of any moral authority and of dubious sanity, a proven liar, held in 
contempt, who has bombed a sovereign nation which has never remotely threatened the United 
States or any of its allies or interests.

He is supported in this gross abuse of International Law by his idiotic left-hand puppet and 
sidekick, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who frankly, should know better.  Mr. Clinton's 
aggression was not authorized or recommended by the Constitution, by the United Nations, by 
Congress or even by his own military advisers.  He has tried to justify the wholesale slaughter 
of innocent people as a "moral imperative".  What utter nonsense.  Is he giving himself a pep 
talk?  All he has done is united a divided Yugoslavia behind President Milosevic and ensured 
that US troops have sort out the mess he has created.

Mr. Clinton's war is costing $40 million a day, so we won't expect to hear any more blather 
about the cost of Kenneth Starr's investigation.  And maybe it will continue until the threat 
of exposure of Chinese espionage inside the White House is deemed to have passed.

No matter what the results on the ground, at the very moment when Mr.Clinton's business allies 
and masters decide they have all the rebuilding contracts they can handle for a while, and 
presumably when his Swiss bank account has been sufficiently replenished, he will suddenly 
order the bombing stopped, declare victory and hail himself as a hero, ordering the ludicrous 
US media to join in the sycophantic applause.  Perhaps he'll arrange a tickertape parade 
for himself down Fifth Avenue.  As the rest of the world already knows, he is, of course, 
quite insane.

One of our most reliable sources in Yugoslavia reports that John Heard,
formerly a major in the US Army, who now serves as the Macedonia country
manager for the U.S. energy, services and construction group, Brown & Root
Services company, said that "the U.S. Army had instructed him to build a
military infrastructure in Macedonia that can operate for three to five years."  Brown & Root 
is a subsidiary of the Dallas-based Halliburton Company, which has a five-year, almost $1 
billion "life cycle management" contract to support the US Army in the region.

Is it possible that all the death and destruction has been created simply to divert attention 
from other scandals, to make Mr. Clinton look like the presidential timber he has never been?  
Is it to line the pockets of the American companies which will rebuild the devastated bridges 
and buildings?  It is all the above and much more:  it is an effort to impose an international 
'new world order' on even those who prefer not to participate.  It was actually Tony Blair who, 
writing in Newsweek this week, spelled out the real agenda.  He called for a "new 
internationalism" in which the world never again tolerates the repression of an ethnic group by 
a dictator struggling to remain in power.  Sovereignty becomes irrelevant.

So the concept of the nation state is superseded by the New World Order.
If they can't get their way by persuasion, they will use bombs.  Sorry about the "collateral 
damage".  Mr. Blair goes on to suggest that NATO's action in Yugoslavia could be a model for 
future international relations:  "This is a conflict we are fighting not for territory but for 
values, for a new internationalism where the brutal repression of whole ethnic groups will no 
longer be tolerated, for a world where those responsible for such crimes have nowhere to hide.  
We are fighting for a world where dictators are no longer able to visit horrific punishments on 
their own peoples in order to stay in power." It may be an idealistic and even well-intentioned 
notion.  The only obstacle is the concept of the sovereign nation state.  If the principle is 
established that nations may intervene in the business of other sovereign states to halt conduct 
they dislike, we have arrived at a world government, where nations conduct their affairs only at 
the behest and sufferance of socialist do-gooders who will bomb them if they digress from their 
arbitrary standards.

Perhaps the real point is the utter duplicity of the world community as
represented by the leaders of the "new world order", i.e. Bill Clinton and those who pull his 
strings.  The atrocities committed in China, just to mention one of many nations, are far worse 
than anything seen in Yugoslavia.  Yet they have been given unlimited access to America's top 
military secrets, freedom to roam the White House and various government departments, and even 
encouraged to build an air base less than 50 miles from Washington!

The most difficult dilemma confronts us when we try to see the current Balkan War in Christian 
terms.  On one hand, how can killing people ever be right?  On the other hand, if we see people 
being hurt and killed, have we not a moral duty to try to stop it?  Alas, we have the worst of 
both worlds.  The killings have not been stopped, and we have killed thousands more by trying 
to do so.  Does it matter that we are killing people in order to save them?  It not only matters 
greatly, it is insane, criminal and absolutely tyrannical.

The China story hides many well-known personalities who press China's case
like George Bush, Henry Kissinger and, interestingly Sandy Berger, who currently serves as 
National Security Adviser.  As "Heads Up" reports, prior to joining the Clinton Administration, 
Berger practiced law with the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson, where he was a partner and 
director of the firm's international trade group, specifically dealing with the trade office of 
the Chinese Government.

We know the White House is desperately trying to keep the lid on the Cox
Report into Chinese espionage at the highest levels of the US Government.
We know that the National Security Adviser has recently been a paid lobbyist 
for the Chinese Government, that he authorized the sale to China of America's 
most sophisticated satellite and missile technology, that Chinese spies were 
allowed to steal the United States' most sensitive secrets, and that the Chinese 
donated millions to keep Mr. Clinton in office.  Might those be the reasons why 
they wish to conceal the report?  And not for the first time, we are left to 
wonder exactly whose interests Mr. Clinton and his cronies are representing, 
and where this will all lead.

To nobody's surprise, Mr. Clinton was held in Contempt of Court this week.
The word suits him:  he has contempt for the law, for the Constitution he
swore to protect and for human life.  He has been ruthless and profane.  He
is a charlatan without a conscience who dismisses hundreds of civilian deaths 
as "regrettable but inevitable", without a second thought.  There are already 
so many descriptions attached to Mr. Clinton.  Only two need now be added:  
ruthless war criminal and mass murderer.

Hundreds of innocent people are dying, losing limbs, loved ones, homes and
livelihoods as a result.  In one sense, it indeed creates a diversion and
secures contracts for American companies.  But in a greater sense, it is
part of the great scenario of the End Times described in Matthew 24:  "You
will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. 
Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against 
nation, and kingdom against kingdom." (Matthew 24: 6-7).  Note the phrase: 
"such things must happen".  And if you think that's bad, look and see what 
happens next!

As I look back over four years of writing this column, I realize the enormous 
privilege it has been and continues to be, as we observe history in the making, 
try to see it in the perspective of Biblical predictions and prophecies, 
and offer what help and encouragement we can in order to sustain ourselves 
through this nightmare of an era when the devil himself seems to be running 
the affairs of this world.  Thank you for these first four years.  If you enjoy 
Exegesis, please tell your friends and support us with a subscription and by 
using one or more of our telephone services.  Thanks!

The most encouraging thoughts I can share with you this week are these.
God will ultimately triumph.  What we see before us seem to be the "birth
pangs" of the End Times.  Therefore, we must always be ready:  we do not
know at what moment the Lord will intervene.  We must be prepared for the
unexpected, and keep our lives simple and devoted to God.  We must pray
constantly and remain faithful.

May God bring peace where there is trouble, light where there is darkness,
truth where there are lies and deceptions, justice where there is injury,
deliverance where there is evil, and comfort for all who suffer in body,
mind and spirit.  May God bless you, and God bless America.  

Steve Myers
Editor
http://www.sm.org/exegesis      
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