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Brave New World 

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Our world has changed forever.” We’ve heard it over and over again since the events of Sept. 11. In reality, it’s only the events of that day that have opened our eyes to a world many Americans never wanted to see in the first place. President Bush rejected the Kyoto Accord, put events in the Middle East on the backburner and barely paid attention to U.N. meetings. Who cared what the rest of the world thought? America could stand alone.

How quickly we’re coming up to speed. Now we learn of years-old “Homeland Defense” reports by U.S. intelligence that our elected representatives never bothered reading. Now we learn of the 1994 attempt by an Algerian-based terrorist group to fly a France Airbus into the Eiffel Tower. Back then, however, the terrorists didn’t know how to fly. They fixed that glitch easily with American flight lessons, didn’t they? Now we learn that Reagan’s 1986 bombing of Libya resulted in both the Lockerbie bombing and Libyan arms shipments to the Irish Republican Army. Now we know that the Taliban, through their connections in the Balkans, are major suppliers of heroin and hashish to Western Europe. That trade, in turn, helps them buy black-market weapons with U.S. dollars. And now we learn—for the umpteenth time—that the rest of the Muslim world is a bit uneasy entering into an anti-terrorist alliance with us when we’re so chummy with an Israeli government that refuses to give up its occupied territories to Palestinians. Isn’t it amazing how the entire world is sort of, well … interconnected.

Now we have little appetite for haunted houses this Halloween. Parents are weaning their children off of violent toys. Even the president of MTV has said future Hollywood entertainment will have to be less trivial if it wants to be taken seriously.

• Meanwhile, the good, forward-thinking people of La Verkin, Utah, have their own plans for making sure America’s isolationist attitudes live on and on and on. For a $10 check to La Verkin’s City Council, you can be an honorary citizen of this anti-United Nations bastion. Of course, you could also send your hard-won dinero to the Red Cross or some other Sept. 11 benefit. But hey, why not? Send your $10 to La Verkin and you, too, can stick your head in the sand and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Stick it to those pro-environment, birth-control pushing meanies at the U.N. At a time like this, who needs cooperation between nations?

Starbucks’ incredible gaffe in charging New York City rescue workers $130 for water to treat shock victims is well-known by now. (The company later apologized and hand-delivered a reimbursement check.) But did you know the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control wants anti-drinking messages posted in liquor stores and on brown bags? So there you have it. While the DABC can advertise all it wants, they don’t want liquor and wine companies doing the same. Come to think of it, don’t liquor companies already do their fair share of responsible drinking messages?

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More by Ben Fulton

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