Recently in United Nations Category


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They do not understand how irrelevant they really are - from Reuters News Service:

U.N. council mulls call for U.S. Jerusalem decision to be withdrawn
The United Nations Security Council is considering a draft resolution that would insist any decisions on the status of Jerusalem have no legal effect and must be rescinded after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital.

The one-page Egyptian-drafted text, which was circulated to the 15-member council on Saturday and seen by Reuters, does not specifically mention the United States or Trump. Diplomats say it has broad support but will likely be vetoed by Washington.

The council could vote early next week, diplomats said. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Britain, Russia or China to pass.

And theUSA will be cutting even more funding from the UN in 3... 2... 1...

Winnowing the wheat from the chaff

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A two-fer. First, even a stopped clock is correct twice each day - one of Obama's policies was a good one and President Trump is taking the bone in his teeth and running with it. From The Washington Post:

Trump puts the world’s worst crooks and killers on notice
After months of conflicting messages, last week the Trump administration took a big step toward drastically expanding punishments for human rights abusers and kleptocrats all over the world. The move also reveals how government professionals and political officials inside the administration are finding ways to work together one year into the Trump presidency.

There was understandable skepticism that the Trump team would enthusiastically enforce the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, signed by President Barack Obama in his final days in office, which authorizes the president to block visas and sanction individuals and entities from any country that abuses human rights or engages in “acts of significant corruption.” But the first-ever list of 51 such targets, announced by the State and Treasury departments on Dec. 21, was a clear sign the Trump administration is supporting the law and implementing it in good faith.

And second - not just talk at the United Nations - from the New York Post:

Nikki Haley negotiates $285M cut in ‘bloated’ UN budget
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced Sunday that the United States negotiated a $285 million cut in the United Nations’ “bloated” budget for next year.

“The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known,” Haley said in a statement from the US Mission. “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked.”

Haley added that the “historic reduction” in spending is a step in the right direction and that the US would make many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN.

Heaven help that these kleptocrats would actually have to work for a living. Anyone remember Kofi Annan and his son Kojo? (here, here and here) How about the Oil for Food program? (here, here, here and here) How about the rampant sex trafficking? (here, here and here) Anyone? Bueller?

Australia to the United Nations - stuff it!

From Joanne Nova:

Australia says 'No' to UN wish list of billions - will 'not support socialism masquerading as environmentalism'
The UN wants $100 billion from wealthier countries (about $2.4 billion from Australians or $100 a person). The Australian government has produced a position statement for the Warsaw UNFCCC conference. It is unusually brutal. I don't think I remember seeing the phrase about socialism 'masquerading as environmentalism' in an official statement before. (I'm sure readers will correct me). It's good to see some recognition that the science has become less clear, and that it may become more so.

Essentially, the new Australian government's message to the UN is: we are reducing CO2, but we're not giving you a cent. Furthermore, if the science becomes muddier, we might drop it. We don't think this UN meeting is remotely important and we have better things to do. And when it comes to wealth transfer through the UN the answer is No. Thank. You.
The Australian has seen part of the document and it declares that, while Australia will remain 'a good international citizen' and remains 'committed to achieving the 5 per cent reduction' by 2020 of the 2000 levels of emissions, it will not sign up to any new agreement that involves spending money or levying taxes.
--The Australian

Excellent move -- the United Nations only gets power when nations contribute money to it. The USA needs to reclaim the valuable Manhattan real estate and let some other nation play host to these kleptocrats for a while. Some of their smaller agencies do good work but the various councils are useless...

Pond Scum in the news

Every so often, something really weird pops up over the horizon only to sink back down quietly.

Case in point -- from FOX News:

Mystery organization with UN ties issues diplomatic IDs -- except they aren't
EXCLUSIVE: A controversial organization with tenuous ties to the United Nations -- and which counts Kenyan relatives of Barack Obama among its good-will ambassadors -- is supplying its officials and advisers with travel documents designed to look much like U.N.-affiliated diplomatic passports. The problem is, they aren't.

The documents, known in diplomatic parlance as 'laissez passers,' or LPs, ask national authorities to grant privileges and immunities to their holders on official business for the grandly named International Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition (IIMSAM), which claims that it will solve the world's hunger problems through the cultivation of algae as food.

Photocopies of IIMSAM documents examined by Fox News show that bearers have titles such as special adviser, and special envoy, as well as good-will ambassador, and that the documents have been issued to people born in a variety of countries, including Iran, Jordan, India and Germany, as well as Hong Kong, which is a special administrative region of China.

The most recent photocopy of the identity pages of an IIMSAM LP examined by Fox News showed the date of issuance as April 21, 2013.

All were signed by IIMSAM's Secretary General, Remigio Maradona, who has apparently held that position since IIMSAM's inception about a decade ago. Emails sent by Fox News to various email addresses used by Maradona had not been answered by the time this article was published.

Some more:

The brick-red IIMSAM travel documents are a different color than U.N. diplomatic passports, which come in a brighter red (for senior officials) and light blue (for lesser functionaries), and are prominently labeled with the full name of IIMSAM, the organization's logo, and the words DIPLOMATIC LAISSEZ PASSER. U.N. passports bear the name of the United Nations in English and French, and the words LAISSEZ PASSER only.

The misleading travel documents are the latest manifestation of the strange existence of IIMSAM, which claims its main purpose is to make spirulina, a type of algae, "a key-driver to eradicate malnutrition, achieve food security and bridge the health divide with a special priority for the developing world and the least developed countries."

IIMSAM has reinforced its claim of U.N. affiliate status with a voluminous but erratic flow of press releases since 2006, urging support for its work; extolling the health and nutritional advantages of spirulina platensis, a common algae that is used as a dietary supplement and fish food; issuing elaborate statements on various U.N. issues; and announcing partnerships and projects involving various organizations, corporations, international institutions and individuals -- including the Kenyan branch of the Obama family.

And a bit more -- this stuff is unreal:

Whether President Obama's Kenyan relatives are aware of their current status with IIMSAM is another intriguing question. On its current website (, IIMSAM prominently lists President Obama's grandmother, Sara Obama, and his uncle, Said, as goodwill ambassadors for the program in East and Central Africa, and says they will play a pivotal role in an IIMSAM feeding program 'to alleviate severe malnutrition and hunger.'

The Obama photographs, and similar claims about the relatives, had appeared on IIMSAM's website for years, but disappeared for a time after Fox News noted on their existence in January 2011, and reported that the White House is not familiar with this organization, nor with the photographs of the President. Questioned again about the website this week, the White House said it was unaware of it.

According to an email examined by Fox News, Said Obama and his mother apparently resigned their goodwill ambassador status with IIMSAM in mid-2012, citing dissatisfaction with "the ongoing negativity of the organization." Among other things, the email charged that IIMSAM's Kenyan staff had not been paid in a year and were themselves malnourished.

If I didn't know for a fact that Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was dead and buried, I would suspect his hand behind this -- it is just that twisted. Their website is a mish-mash of cut and paste and bad graphics...

Could have guessed - Kofi Annan

Annan is a delusional moron. I apologize to all the wonderful morons out there but Annan is in a case all by himself.

Just look at his "legacy" as El Supremo at the United Nations (and talking about delusional morons).

I'm not even getting into his son (Kojo) and his own corruption (here, here and here)

Kofi got tied up with Jimmy (spit) Carter in a group called The Elders (their website here) and one of their recent triumphs is:

The Elders call for an immediate halt to violence in Syria
As violence in Syria continues to threaten the safety of thousands of people, The Elders call on the Syrian government to halt its military assault and enable a "humanitarian pause"
to allow medical assistance and basic supplies to reach those in need.

Kofi was their point man flying over there for some "dialogue"

From the UK Telegraph:

Syria's nightmare is reaching its bloody nadir, despite Kofi Annan's ineffectual efforts
Even the most incurable pessimist might have been surprised by how quickly and completely the Kofi Annan peace plan for Syria has unravelled. Just as a ceasefire was supposed to come into effect, the killing has dramatically escalated. Today was planned to be the day when Syrian troops and tanks would leave major cities, in preparation for a total ceasefire from 0600 Thursday onwards.

What has happened? The army is reported to have bombarded Homs and Hama, killing some 11 people in the last few hours. And yesterday saw one of the most serious incidents of the entire conflict, when Syrian troops fired across the border into Turkey for the first time, wounding refugees inside a camp located near the frontier.

All this carries an unmistakable message: President Bashar al-Assad's word is clearly worth nothing. He officially accepted the Annan plan a fortnight ago, but the idea of actually keeping his promise does not seem to have occurred to him. Instead, Syria's regime scents a decisive victory against its armed opponents and the army wants to press home its attack. Any claims about a willingness to accept a ceasefire or negotiations are clearly just gambits to avoid international pressure for another day.

A month of promises with zero capitulation. This is what a dictator's word is worth and the very idea that an idiot like Kofi Annan would accept al-Assad's word at face value shows the simple portrait of a brain that does not operate in the real world. Annan has been delusional and still is delusional. A moron. A useful idiot.

Glad to see that there is some shred of brain function operating at The Elders:

Kofi Annan temporarily withdraws from The Elders following his appointment as Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis
In respect of the requirement that Elders are free to speak and act independently, and to allow him to devote his full energies to his critical new assignment, Kofi Annan has decided to recuse himself as a member of The Elders.

I was talking about the Peter Principle a few days ago in this post

Looks like The Elders just laid down a case of "Lateral arabesque" on Annan's ass. At least someone there has the good sense to keep fools like Annan and Carter in a small playpen and away from the press.

From FOX News:
Eritrea to U.N.: Take This Aid And Shove It
In a stinging rebuff to the United Nations and its anti-poverty efforts, Eritrea, one of the poorest countries in Africa, has told the world body that it wants out of its long-term development agreement because the U.N. makes the problem worse, not better.

The reason, given in a January 26 notification letter from the country�s powerful Finance Minister, obtained by Fox News, is that �aid only postpones the basic solutions to crucial development problems by tentatively ameliorating their manifestations without tackling their root causes. The structural, political, economic, etc. damage that it inflicts upon recipient countries is also enormous.� In other words, the government argues, U.N. aid does more harm than good.
I can only imagine the layers of corruption that would drive them to refuse all help. The United Nations is a mockery of governance. Some small offices of the UN do good work but in large, the place should be burned down and the land salted...

Is the UN ever going to do anything useful.

Oil for Food, sex crimes of the peacekeepers, corruption at all levels, they just do not get it -- they are a bunch of six year old Kleptocrats only interested in consolidating their own power and not in securing world peace.

Here is the latest from the New York Times:

Scientists Project Path of Radiation Plume
A United Nations forecast of the possible movement of the radioactive plume coming from crippled Japanese reactors shows it churning across the Pacific and touching the Aleutian Islands on Thursday before hitting Southern California late Friday.

Health and nuclear experts emphasize that radiation in the plume will be diluted as it travels and, at worst, would have extremely minor health consequences in the United States, even if hints of it are ultimately detectable. In a similar way, radiation from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 spread around the globe and reached the West Coast of the United States in 10 days, its levels measurable but minuscule.

What a load of codswallop. Local climate scientist and University of Washington Professor (Climate Sciences) Cliff Mass had this to say on Monday:

The U.S. West Coast is NOT at Risk from Radiation
Today I got calls and emails from all sorts of folks, worrying about the Japanese radiation reaching the Northwest in dangerous quantities. Potassium iodide pills, used for thyroid protection from radioactive iodine have been stripped from the shelves in Seattle.

I think the reality is clear...there is no serious radiation threat to us here in the Northwest.

First, I should note that the weather pattern is shifting and the latest trajectories show that the low-level trajectories don't reach us.(see below) The low-level trajectories circle around in the Pacific and the upper one heads south of us. (Yes, there is uncertainty with this and it is only as good as the National Weather Service GFS model)

More at the link. And what is the organization that issued this dire warning?

The projection, by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, an arm of the United Nations in Vienna, gives no information about actual radiation levels but only shows how a radioactive plume would probably move and disperse.

Emphasis mine.

First of all, it is a projection and not an analysis. Big difference.

Second, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization is a fscking political organization and not a scientific one. They have an ax to grind and the worse light they can use to paint Nuclear Power, the more they are going to do so. Shame on these morons for spreading fear at a time when the truth is needed.

Shame on the New York Times for not having a scientist check out this article before running with it.

Well someone has a pair

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From Sun Tzu writing at Breitbart's Big Peace:
US Walks Out of Ahmadinejad UN Speech
The U.S. delegation walked out of the U.N. speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday after he said some in the world have speculated that Americans were actually behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks, staged in an attempt to assure Israel�s survival.

He did not explain the logic of that statement that was made as he attacked the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Our recent arms sale to Saudi Arabia is interesting -- the Kingdom does not like Iran either.
The should be defunded and sent home. A clueless bunch of corrupt congenital idiots. From Yahoo News/Associated Press:
UN panel: New taxes needed for a climate fund
Carbon taxes, add-ons to international air fares and a levy on cross-border money movements are among ways being considered by a panel of the world's leading economists to raise a staggering $100 billion a year to fight climate change.

British economist Nicholas Stern told international climate negotiators Thursday that government regulation and public money also will be needed to create incentives for private investment in industries that emit fewer greenhouse gases.

In short, a new industrial revolution is needed to move the world away from fossil fuels to low carbon growth, he said.

"It will be extremely exciting, dynamic and productive," said Stern, one of 18 experts in public finance on an advisory panel appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

A climate summit held in Copenhagen in December was determined to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poor countries adapt to climate change and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide trapping the sun's heat. But the 120 world leaders who met in the Danish capital offered no ideas on how to raise that sum � $1 trillion every decade � prompting Ban to appoint his high-level advisory group.
And the ring-leaders of this folly:
Potential revenue sources include auctioning the right to pollute, taxes on carbon production, an international travel tax, and a tax on international financial transactions, as well as government grants and loans. Each could produce tens of billions of dollars a year, Stern said.

"No one single source will deliver $100 billion by itself. There is no silver bullet, no hole in one," he said.

Private capital also will be crucial, and governments must adopt policies reducing the risk to investors, he said.

The panel's recommendations will weigh the practicality, reliability, and political acceptability of each method, he said.

The advisory panel is chaired by the prime ministers of Norway and Ethiopia and the president of Guyana. Its members include French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers, billionaire financier George Soros and public planners from China, India, Singapore and several international banks.
The usual gang of kleptocrats -- it will be a great day for this planet when George Soros crosses over and finds himself being processed for entry into Hell. These people could not find their own assholes with both of their hands. Raising this money to fight something that is not happening is outright theft. Time to defund the United Nations, raise the building and put in more office space and a park. Remove all traces of the UN so that people will eventually forget that we were so profoundly stupid. Be sure to page through the 1,200+ comments -- fun reading.

Haiti in the news again

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Since Helen from my last rant post mentioned Haiti, I did some checking and found this wonderful little bit of news.

From FOX News:

U.N.'s Ballooning $732 Million Haiti Peacekeeping Budget Goes Mostly to Its Own Personnel
The United Nations has quietly upped this year's peacekeeping budget for earthquake-shattered Haiti to $732.4 million, with two-thirds of that amount going for the salary, perks and upkeep of its own personnel, not residents of the devastated island.

The world organization plans to spend the money on an expanded force of some 12,675 soldiers and police, plus some 479 international staffers, 669 international contract personnel, and 1,300 local workers, just for the 12 months ending June 30, 2010.

Some $495.8 million goes for salaries, benefits, hazard pay, mandatory R&R allowances and upkeep for the peacekeepers and their international staff support. Only about $33.9 million, or 4.6 percent, of that salary total is going to what the U.N. calls "national staff" attached to the peacekeeping effort.

Presumably, the budget also includes at least part of some $10 million that the U.N. has spent on renting two passenger vessels, the Sea Voyager (known to some U.N. staffers as the Love Boat and the Ola Esmeralda, for a minimum of 90 days each, as highly subsidized housing for some of its peacekeepers and humanitarian staff. The tab for the two vessels, which offer catered food, linen service and comfortable staterooms and lounges, is about $112,500 per day.

And why we should care:

Under a cost-sharing formula, the U.S. pays a 27 percent share of the entire $732.4 million peacekeeping tab for Haiti during this 12 month period, or about $197.7 million.

We should take the $200M and gave it to agencies like Team Rubicon or Doctors without Borders. Even the Red Cross has a lower administrative overhead. Our funding the United Nations has probably resulted in several thousand preventable deaths in Haiti had competent medical care been present.

Great idea - move the United Nations

From Forbes Magazine:
Move The U.N. To Dubai
The opening last week of the world's tallest building, the half-mile-high Burj Dubai, has largely been greeted with guffaws and groans. The Daily Telegraph labeled it "the new pinnacle of vanity"--"a purposeless monument to the subprime era." The Wall Street Journal compared it to the Tower of Babel. (When the Empire State Building was completed in 1931, in the throes of the greatest financial crisis of the 20th century, it was met with similar jeers. The then-tallest building in the world was called the Empty State Building, and it remained vacant for several years.)

Yet the Burj's completion--indeed the whole wild enterprise known as Dubai--could signal a potential opportunity to the global community: turning the place into the headquarters for that other misguided ship, the United Nations.

Let's spell out the logic. The United Nations is a pain in the butt. It pays no taxes and annoys hard-working New Yorkers with its sloth, pretensions and cavalier disregard for traffic laws. The place is a sinkhole dominated by anti-American, anti-Semitic and authoritarian fantasies. It is far from the elegant crown jewel that celebrated the U.S.'s global ascendancy after the Second World War.

Today the U.N. building is a mostly empty shell--water dripping through its roof, asbestos lining its ceiling and an erratic heating and cooling system have forced most UN workers to new facilities. The building is in the midst of a $1.87 billion overhaul--of which the U.S., which could use the cash for myriad other things, would be on the hook for $437 million.

And the U.N. may be leaving anyway. A relocation committee has recommended that the organization move temporarily to Singapore by 2015. It will be hard to vacate Asia again for New York, which is far away from the bulk of the world's largest population centers.

Singapore might make a fine world capital, since it does work like a fine watch. But it's already crowded, expensive and highly regulated. You have to wonder if hard-working, rational Singaporeans would want to drive up costs and lose their ability to run things as they see fit to accommodate the U.N. bureaucracy.

In contrast, the al-Maktoum family has transformed a once vast, empty landscape into a Star Wars-like capital city of the future. There is no skyline more arresting than the one built over the past 15 years by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Absolute Ruler of the tiny Emirate. In just 500 square miles, about half the size of Orange County, Calif., the sheikh has created a monument to modern architectural engineering.
Makes a lot of sense. Getting that bunch of professional whiners and crybabies out of the United States would be a great thing...

The joys of United Nations Management

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The United Nations is the body that organized the Copenhagen conference. This is a very high-profile event and there is a lot of media coverage. Too much it turns out. From Anthony:
AP�s Seth Borenstein left out in the cold at Copenhagen for 7 hours thanks to U.N. incompetence
I try to remind people that the U.N. has not succeeded at much of anything during its history. Mostly it just makes pronouncements and consumes cash. When it comes to doing any real work, they fall down on the job, because most of the people that make up the U.N. have never had to do any real work themselves.

So I hope this lesson on the U.N. to Seth Borenstein sinks in. He�ll hardly forget his day in the cold I�m sure.
And the reason for this delightful experience:
With U.N. security letting in only those cleared last week, hundreds of accredited delegates, journalists and NGO representatives were left to stand for hours in near-freezing temperatures before being let through. �It was crazy,� AP�s Seth Borenstein said. �You couldn�t leave the line. You couldn�t go to the bathroom, you couldn�t eat. Then snowflakes started falling. One woman even said, �if lightning strikes me, would they take me out of line?��
With 40,000 people registered and Bella Center�s capacity only 15,000, the U.N. introduced a new quota system and ordered NGOs to cut down their numbers. Police shut down the Bella Center�s subway stop in a bid to ease the congestion. The situation can only get worse as more than 100 heads of state and government, including President Obama, show up this week with their entourages.
And these are the people who plan to administer these treaties? They cannot even administer their own conference.

A Colonel visits the United Nations - photo op

PWND!!! From The National Post:
KFC 'colonel' dupes UN security
Red-faced United Nations officials on Monday admitted to a major security lapse after a UN guard helped Kentucky Fried Chicken's "Colonel Sanders" gain access to restricted areas.

The guard escorted the white-suited intruder past security barriers, where he got a handshake from the UN General Assembly president, Dr. Ali A. Treki of Libya.

The faux fast food chain founder also posed for a picture beneath the assembly's giant UN logo, which overlooks the spot where world leaders address their international counterparts.

"It should not have happened -- that I will stress, and very strongly," said Michele Montas, spokeswoman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Heh -- nothing like being seriously punk'd to show your relavence...
Say what you will about the Catholic Church, they have a long long history and you do not rise far in the Catholic hierarchy if you are stupid. From the Catholic News Service:
Economist: UN could create economic body with teeth, as pope suggested
Pope Benedict XVI's call for an international authority with "real teeth" to guide the global economy could be realized with the creation of a U.N. "socio-economic security council" to stand alongside the current Security Council dedicated to peacekeeping, said an economist who advises the Vatican.

Stefano Zamagni, a professor of economic policies at the University of Bologna, Italy, and a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, spoke July 7 at the Vatican press conference held to present Pope Benedict's encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in Truth.")

Pope Benedict wrote that the current financial crisis demonstrated just how little control national governments have over the process of globalization and the interdependence of the world's economy.

The pope called for the reform of the United Nations, as well as of international bodies involved in economics and finance. The reform, he said, should help ensure that the world's poorer countries have a voice in economic decisions impacting everyone. The reform should aim to revive ailing economies, protect the environment, provide food security and promote peace more effectively, he said.
Benedict16 doesn't come out and call the United Nation a bunch of weasels and incompetent kleptocrats but he says as much in Latin with a nicer turn of phrase. Readers may remember that I was raised as a Church of England Episcopal but I am leaning more to the Catholic Church as the COE veers off the rails with its all-inclusiveness. If I wanted to be a member of an all-inclusive Church, I would join UCC. I do not.
I ran into the concept of Satoyama the other day and saw this entry for it. It is a six minute video produced by the United Nations University -- Institute of Advanced Studies. Here is part of the blurb from their website:
Harvest time in satoyama
For many Japanese, satoyama represents the ideal of coexistence between humans and nature. It is commonly described as secondary woodlands and grasslands adjunct to small villages, and is the scene of rich biological diversity.

The first written reference to satoyama dates back to 1759. Forester Hyoemon Terauchi recorded the livelihoods of rural mountain woodland communities and used the term satoyama to describe the human managed landscapes surrounding those communities.
So far, it sounds wonderful that the United Nations would be exploring this idea (some of their child organizations actually do good work). The concern in Japan is that the farmer population is aging, few young people are interested in farming and Japan currently produces only 39% of its food. How they choose to go about changing this makes my skin crawl:
In 2006, the United Nations University-Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) initiated a comprehensive national ecosystem assessment focusing on satoyama. Referred to as the Satoyama-Satoumi Sub-Global Assessment, it is intended to be part of the network of over 30 sub-global ecosystem assessments. To ensure an in-depth report, Japan was broken down into 5 clusters (one of which is the Hoku-Shinetsu Cluster and the work of UNU-IAS Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa featured in the video).

Focusing on the last 50 years of satoyama landscape change, each cluster report follows the framework of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. The findings will be integrated into a national report to be published in time for the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.

Many of the writers assessing the ecosystem services provided by satoyama landscapes hope that their findings will feed into designs for a sustainable society that draw from the past to forge a contemporary model for sustainability; a model that contributes not only to sustainable food and fuel production but also to biodiversity conservation strategies and initiatives in Japan.
What they are doing (this is mentioned in detail in the video) is setting policies designed to get younger people into farming. These policy papers will be given to the Japanese Government who will turn them into law administered by a new government bureau. This sort of top-down nanny-statism is the absolute worst kind of soft tyranny that I can imagine. If they want to make young Japanese people get interested in farming, how about some tax breaks? How about rolling broadband out to these areas? How about an infrastructure -- agricultural colleges, banks giving long-term low interest rates for farm machinery. All of these would jump-start agriculture without having to form another branch of government. The methods employed by the United Nation would require subsidies, higher taxes, bigger government and would not be effective. The methods I jotted down would reduce taxes, keep government the same size, stimulate both the national and the local economies and, as long as the tax breaks are in place, be highly effective. Here is some more on Soft Tyranny. A contemporary view here.
Just wonderful -- reports like this have been around for years and they still keep coming in. From United Press International:
Report: Peacekeepers abusing children
A British non-profit organization called for an international investigation of alleged sexual abuse of children by aid workers and U.N. peacekeepers.

Save the Children said its research found children as young as 6 were forced to parlay sex for food, money, necessities, even cell phones in theaters of war and disaster, The Times of London reported Monday.

The organization said it researched conditions in the Ivory Coast, Southern Sudan and Haiti.

In one instance, a 12-year-old Ivory Coast girl said she was raped by a U.N. peacekeeper but village elders claimed their reporting the attack was ignored.
Time to disband the UNited Nations and start over. This gaggle of corrupt kleptocrats is worse than useless.
From the BBC:
UN troops 'armed DR Congo rebels'
The UN has covered up claims that its troops in Democratic Republic of Congo gave arms to militias and smuggled gold and ivory, the BBC has learned.

The allegations, based on confidential UN sources, involve Pakistani and Indian troops working as peacekeepers.

The UN investigated some of the claims in 2007, but said it could not substantiate claims of arms dealing.
So they investigated themselves and found nothing bad. How strange... Some more:
But an 18-month BBC investigation for Panorama has found evidence that:

- Pakistani peacekeepers in the eastern town of Mongbwalu were involved in the illegal trade in gold with the FNI militia, providing them with weapons to guard the perimeter of the mines

- Indian peacekeepers operating around the town of Goma had direct dealings with the militia responsible for the Rwandan genocide, now living in eastern DR Congo

- The Indians traded gold, bought drugs from the militias and flew a UN helicopter into the Virunga National Park, where they exchanged ammunition for ivory
Nope - nothing happening here, everything is just peachy.
Two FNI leaders known as "Kung-fu" and "Dragon", who have been jailed in the capital, Kinshasa, have stated publicly that they received help from the UN.

The BBC managed to get into the maximum security jail and both confirmed this.

Kung Fu, whose real name is General Mateso Ninga, said: "Yes, it's true, they did give us arms. They said it was for the security of the country. So they said to us that we would help them take care of the zone."

The FNI has been described by Human Rights Watch as "some of the most murderous individuals that operate in eastern Congo".
Just wanna sit down and have a beer with these nice gentlemen.
UN insiders close to the investigation told the BBC they had been prevented from pursuing their inquiries for political reasons.

Our correspondent says that in short, the Pakistanis, who are the largest troop contributors to the UN in the world, were too valuable to alienate.

Pakistan has said it has no means of influencing the UN and that there is no evidence that its troops were involved in an illegal gold trade or re-armed militia, describing the allegations as baseless.
Hmmm... Pakistan. From this information, we see that they share a border with Afghanistan and Iran, they are 97% muslim, 49% of the total population over 15 years old can read and write. Sounds like a nice place to visit. A bit of terror anyone? The United Nations is a corrupt body, it is acting for its own benefit as a political organization and is operating as though it was beyond the control of any nation. United Nations delenda est

Kofi Annan - non-stop corruption

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Even after he left the United Nations, Mr. Annan is up to his old tricks. From The Rosett Report:
Kofi Annan's Money and Mystery Digs
Kofi Annan�s post-UN publicity shop bestirred itself this week to deny a report by the New York Sun that Annan had bought a multi-million dollar home in Morocco.

That�s helpful of Kofi Annan to be so forthcoming, at last, with information pertaining to his personal finances and real estate arrangements. But it would look a lot better if Annan were at least as helpful about telling us not only what he doesn�t own, but what he does � and how and when he got it.

This is the Kofi Annan who as Secretary-General set up a financial �disclosure� policy for UN senior staff which did not actually entail disclosing anything to the public � and even under those conditions, he refused for months to file any �disclosure� form himself, finally doing so only confidentially, in-house, and only after many queries from the press.

This is the Kofi Annan who while still serving as Secretary-General of the UN apparently saw no problem with pocketing a $500,000 environmental prize from the ruler of Dubai, and gave it up only after running into the embarrassment of press reports that he had subsequently appointed as head of the UN Environment Program a member of the prize jury. Annan never did admit that taking the money was a conflict of interest in the first place.

This is the Kofi Annan who never did answer questions about what finally became of any UN documentation pertaining to the Mercedes shipped duty-free by his son, Kojo Annan, into Ghana under false use of Kofi Annan�s name and UN perquisites.

This is the same Kofi Annan who never did explain why, before he became Secretary-General, he and his Swedish wife felt justified occupying a spacious NY State taxpayer-subsidized apartment while drawing a high-level tax-exempt UN salary. This is the same Kofi Annan who managed to depart the UN without ever giving a straight answer to the question of how that NY State taxpayer-subsidized apartment, on Roosevelt Island, somehow ended up in the hands of the family of his brother, Kobina Annan � who for part of that time has been serving as Ghana�s ambassador to Morocco.

Had Kofi Annan served for years as CEO of a private company, it might be expected that he limit his disclosures to denials and statements about what he doesn�t own. But Annan worked until last December in a position involving public trust at a public institution, where everything from his jet travel to his self-glorifying speech-writing shop was funded by public money. He has spent years trotting around the world lecturing us all on how to behave. If Anann wants to do more of that, it would be a lot more seemly for Annan to produce that financial disclosure form he refused last year to disclose, and tell us not only what he doesn�t own by now, but what he does.
The absolute venality of this man is beyond belief. And the liberals still think that the United Nations is the future of world government... They tried it with the League of Nations and it didn't work. Time to disband the UN or at least get it moved out of New York City -- let some other nation deal with it.

Say what you like about Donald Trump but the guy knows large buildings inside and out. he got to where he is today with this knowledge and here, in a rather lengthy speech, he lays out what he thinks about the proposed United Nations building remodel in NYC.

From the Democracy Project:

Rebuilding the U.N.: You're Fired!
Law professor Maimon Schwarzschild and I were email reminiscing this morning about our 1950's and 1960's idealism of the United Nations' mission and impressive building in New York.

I told Maimon that I was listening on the car radio to a speech by Donald Trump a few years ago, about the U.N.'s ripoff plans for reconstructing the U.N. building, and laughed so hard I almost crashed. It seems that Maimon wrote about the Trump speech and linked to its text and tape.

The Washington Times this month updated us on the U.N.'s building renovation. As Donald Trump would say, You're Fired! Or, should be, and would be, if anyone else but at the U.N.
The proposed $2 billion renovation of the United Nations headquarters building in New York is proceeding with little outside oversight or control.

Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, said cost estimates for the proposed five-year project have ballooned, while U.N. officials have yet to release basic audit, contracting and procurement data.

"If they don't want transparency, then they have something to hide," he said.

The entry then goes on to post the entire transcript of Mr. Trump's speech -- here are a few choice nuggets:

My involvement with the United Nations began with a letter, which I will give to the committee, from the Ambassador to the United Nations from Sweden. And it's a long letter, and a very beautifully written letter, and essentially, he read an article about the success of Trump World Tower, which is the building that I can show you, right here, which is, as you can see, very, very substantially taller than the United Nations, bigger than the United Nations.
And he read an article in the New York Times, saying that the building cost approximately $300 million dollars to build. So, he wrote me a letter, and ultimately called me, and said is it possible that that building cost $300 million dollars, because it just seems so much bigger, and so much better, and so much more expensive, and so much more luxurious. And how could you have done that for $300 million dollars, when, at that time, Senator, they were talking about $1.5 billion dollars to renovate the United Nations. And this was around December of 2000. And I said well, there's only two reasons. Either gross incompetence, or something far worse than that. And you know what the something is, and that's corruption. Because there's absolutely no way that that building could have cost $1.5 billion dollars to build.


So, I looked at it, and I added up some of my costs, and for Trump World Tower, across the street, built not long ago, I spent approximately $258 a foot. It's the tallest building, tallest residential building in the world. $258.32 a foot. I have 871 thousand feet. It cost $225 million dollars to build. Now, anybody that says a building of renovation is more expensive than building a new building, doesn't know the business. Because you have a frame built. You have your foundations built. You have, in many cases, elevators that could be re-utilized in their entirety, but fixed. You have many, many components that can be used. And only a only costs a fool more money. I did the Grand Hyatt hotel from the old Commodore Hotel. I did Trump International Hotel and Tower from the old Gulf and Western building at 1 Central Park West, if you remember. I did the Trump Park Avenue Building from the Delmonico Hotel. I love doing renovation, because it costs you half. It doesn't cost you more.

Trump met with Kofi Annan and was connected with the UN's Project Manager for the remodel - a Mr. Conners:

I met with Mr. Conners. Mr. Conners didn't know the first thing about what he was doing. He didn't know whether or not the curtain wall was going to be new, old, and didn't even know what a curtain wall was. I said, "What are you going to be doing with the curtain wall?"

He said, "What is a curtain wall?" Now, he was in charge of the project. The curtain wall is the skin of the building.

I said, "Will it be new or old?"

He said, "I don't know."

I said, "Are you using New York Steam? Or are you using a new boiler system?"

He said, "I don't know what New York Steam is." It's a very common form of heating in the building. He had no clue. And the price, at that time, was $1.5 billion dollars. I mean, I don't know why it came down, because the world has gone up. But it came down. That was in the year, approximately 2000-2001. So he didn't have a clue. I don't know if he's still there. Perhaps he is. The one thing I found him very, very good at, is that he didn't want to lose control of this project. He was a man that absolutely wanted to keep control of the project, but he didn't have even the slightest inkling of what it was all about. Knew nothing about it. He then told me that he may move people out. He may not move people out. He didn't know. He thought he might. He wasn't sure. He had no...he just didn't know.

Two more:

But the fact is that the United Nations building, with all of its buildings, with its parking, should be completed, and I mean completed at a cost of $700 million dollars. And it's my opinion that it will not be completed for less than three to three and a half billion dollars. They don't know what they're getting into. And please remember this, as somebody that's probably built as much as anybody my age anywhere. I don't know of anybody that's built more. If you don't have a complete set of plans and specifications, there is no way you can build. And from what I understand, they don't even have an architect.

And he concludes with:

So, that's it. Congratulations. You've got yourself a mess on your hands.

It is well worth reading the entire thing -- Trump knows what he is talking about and he is smelling the strong stench of corruption and incompetence. For the United Nations, this does not surprise me at all...

I had hopes that incoming Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would be more enlightened than outgoing Koffi Annan.

Unfortunately, he is showing some serious moonbat colors... From Breitbart/AFP:

Climate change behind Darfur killing: UN's Ban
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the slaughter in Darfur was triggered by global climate change and that more such conflicts may be on the horizon, in an article published Saturday.

"The Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change," Ban said in a Washington Post opinion column.

UN statistics showed that rainfall declined some 40 percent over the past two decades, he said, as a rise in Indian Ocean temperatures disrupted monsoons.

"This suggests that the drying of sub-Saharan Africa derives, to some degree, from man-made global warming," the South Korean diplomat wrote.

"It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought," Ban said in the Washington daily.

When Darfur's land was rich, he said, black farmers welcomed Arab herders and shared their water, he said.

With the drought, however, farmers fenced in their land to prevent overgrazing.

"For the first time in memory, there was no longer enough food and water for all. Fighting broke out," he said.

Overgrazing happened a long long time before this century.

The Sahara desert used to be a forest. What is happening in Darfur is a Muslim tribe trying to enslave a Christian one and succeeding while the world is watching and while nobody is lifting a finger.

The "World Bank" inaction

Another sterling example of the World bank at work. From The Guardian:
Vast forests with trees each worth €4,000 sold for a few bags of sugar
Congo village chiefs not told value of concessions
World Bank blamed over deals causing 'catastrophe'

Lamoko, 150 miles down the Maringa river, sits on the edge of a massive stretch of virgin rainforest in central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On February 8 2005, representatives of a major timber firm arrived to negotiate a contract with the traditional landowners.

Few in the village realised that the talks would transform all their lives, but in just a few hours, the chief, who had received no legal advice and did not realize that just one tree might be worth more than €4,000 in Europe, had signed away his community's rights in the forest for 25 years.

In return for his signed permission to log thousands of hectares for exotic woods such as Afromosia (African teak) and sapele, the company promised to build Lamoko and other communities in the area three simple village schools and pharmacies. In addition, the firm said it would give the chief 20 sacks of sugar, 200 bags of salt, some machetes and a few hoes. In all, it was estimated that the gifts would cost the company €10,000.

It was the kind of "social responsibility" agreement that is encouraged by the World Bank, but when the villagers found out that their forest had been "sold" so cheaply, they were furious.
And the World Bank's involvement:
It is believed that 20 foreign-owned forestry companies are active in the DRC, and that Chinese and other logging groups are also seeking to gain concessions. The companies should be prevented from doing so by a moratorium negotiated by the World Bank in 2002 as part of an initiative to control the forestry industry.

Most of the major logging companies, including Danzer, Trans-M, TB, NST, Olan, and Sicobois, have concession contracts signed after the World bank moratorium, but although there is an investigation into their legality the majority are expected to be rubber stamped this year.

"Most of the companies have benefited from the World Bank's failure to ensure that the moratorium it negotiated with the transitional Congo DRC government has been enforced," said Greenpeace's Africa forests campaigner, Stephan van Praet.
Yet another example of the wisdom of a world governing body. The United Nations and it's offshoots really need to be disbanded. The really effective people like John Bolton are quietly moved out while the corrupt plutocrats are honored. Sickening...

Like we didn't already know this.

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From The Telegraph:
Rats stalk UN corridors of power
The United Nations headquarters in New York is infested with rats, mice, worms and even salt-water eels, according to staff members.

The crumbling 40-acre complex on Manhattan's East River, built in the 1950s, is due to undergo a $1 billion five-year refurbishment starting next year � a renovation, it seems, that cannot come soon enough. Staff have complained to Aramark, which provides food to the thousands of delegates and assistants who work there, that some lunches served in the canteen have been nibbled by rodents.

An insider told the New York Post: "In some instances the rats have beaten the UN staffers and delegates to the daily buffet. All of this has been reported to Aramark, which has done nothing."

The source said that infestations of mice and worms had been found throughout the UN campus, in offices and restaurants.

Security officers told the newspaper that leaks have developed in the subterranean levels that allowed river eels to wriggle through.
Like propagates like.

Knock me over with a feather...

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From The Telegraph:
'Incompetent' refurbishment costs UN �1bn
The United Nations is facing fresh accusations of bureaucratic incompetence after the disclosure that renovation costs for its vast New York headquarters have rocketed to nearly �1 billion.

The projected bill for the scheme, which includes updating the 1950s building and a makeover for the Secretary General's New York residence, has risen by nearly two-thirds from an original 2002 estimate of $1,170 million (�600 million) to $1,900 million.

Kofi Annan, the departing Secretary General, presented a confidential progress report at a closed-doors meeting of the UN General Assembly last week, of which The Sunday Telegraph has obtained details.

The document's revelations will be seized on by critics of the world body, who have often viewed its sprawling 38-floor offices as a symbol of UN incompetence and inefficiency in the wider world.

John Bolton, the outgoing American ambassador to the UN and one of its fiercest critics, famously once remarked that if the building lost its top 10 storeys, "it wouldn't make a bit of difference".
And some people in NYC who know what it costs to build a building have expressed a bit of surprise:
The spiralling figures involved have astonished New York property moguls such as Donald Trump, who claimed that the costs were being pushed up by "incompetents".

"It's the most ridiculous construction development I have ever witnessed," he said. "It's being run by a bunch of incompetents, and it's a disgrace to this country. It should cost $700 million, but I bet it will now end up costing $3.5 billion."

Meanwhile, Ban Ki Moon, the South Korean diplomat who is due to take over from Mr Annan in the New Year, will spend the first nine months of his tenure in a hotel while his Manhattan residence receives an urgent $4.3 million makeover.
The only bright side is that this is a fitting capstone for Kofi Annan's tenure at the UN. All of the Oil-For-Food scandals, his son Kojo with the $500K Mercedes and the villa in Switzerland and lavish lifestyle, the horror in Darfur that kept going on for six years until it finally got 'noticed' and now, the UN is unable to stop the slaughter. Good riddance and let us hope that Mr. Ban Ki Moon will bring some fresh air into that corrupt cesspit.
Roger L. Simon points to a wonderful article by Claudia Rosett:
The Unreality of U.N. Reform
What If �Later� Never Comes?

Not to be outdone by his own ruckus-raising deputy, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself is now instructing the U.S. on how to treat the corruption-plagued, unreformed and unrepentant U.N.

Writing in the June 12 Financial Times, Annan reminds us that the U.S. has been threatening to block U.N. spending unless the organization shows serious progress toward reform. So, declares Annan, �The U.N. faces a moment of truth.�

Passing the Buck to Us
But don�t get your hopes up. The rest of Annan�s article, like most of his record during his more than nine years as secretary-general, suggests that when it comes to U.N. failings he wouldn�t recognize the truth if it drove up in Kojo�s green Mercedes and offered him a ride. Noting that �A minor storm broke out last week when Mark Malloch Brown, my deputy, made a speech,� Annan goes on to reprise Malloch Brown�s argument that the U.N.�s failure to reform is not really the fault of the General Assembly, nor of the U.N. top management, and certainly it has nothing do with Kofi Annan.

Nope. The culprit according to Kofi and Malloch Brown is � you guessed it � the United States.
Time to pull the plug -- although some branches of the U.N. serve useful functions, the Security Council is useless and needs to be simply disbanded.

In serious need of a clue

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From The United Nations Conference on Disarmament webpage:
The Conference on Disarmament, the world�s sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, this morning held its thousandth meeting, an anniversary that was highlighted by all the speakers who urged further cooperation, compromise and change in order to break the deadlock and return the Conference to the successes of the past.

Addressing the Conference, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva and Secretary-General of the Conference, said without political decisions at the highest levels, even the most determined efforts of the existing multilateral disarmament bodies, including the Conference on Disarmament, would not succeed. The Conference should not be discouraged from using existing and potential mechanisms available to it now, such as debates on issues on the agenda, for mutually influencing policies and security perceptions of Member States and for furthering the consensus building process. In parallel, the Conference should review its working methods and seek new approaches that could make it more responsive to contemporary security threats and challenges.
Emphasis mine -- the successes of the past? You would think that after meeting one thousand times and accomplishing exactly zero, it might be time to think about disbanding and moving the resources to something more productive.


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I want some of what they are smoking. From the UK Independent comes this story:
UN unveils plan to release untapped wealth of...$7 trillion (and solve the world's problems at a stroke)
The most potent threats to life on earth - global warming, health pandemics, poverty and armed conflict - could be ended by moves that would unlock $7 trillion - $7,000,000,000,000 (�3.9trn) - of previously untapped wealth, the United Nations claims today.

The price? An admission that the nation-state is an old-fashioned concept that has no role to play in a modern globalised world where financial markets have to be harnessed rather than simply condemned.
WTF? They cannot manage a simple Oil-for-Food program and now they propose to delete the concepts of nation-states (ie: national sovereignty) and we all are just one big happy family... C'mon now, let's have a big group hug. Some more:
At the heart of the proposal, unveiled at a gathering of world business leaders at the Swiss ski resort of Davos, is a push to get countries to account for the cost of failed policies, and use the money saved "up front" to avert crises before they hit. Top of the list is a challenge to the United States to join an international pollution permit trading system which, the UN claims, could deliver $3.64trn of global wealth.
You want to get rid of the cost of failed policies? Hey, the United States contributed Three Billion Dollars to the UN in 2002 and was expected to do the same in 2003 according to this report (PDF). A few examples of what they are trying to do:
Millions of people across the developing world have died from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids, as well as from other pandemics. Vaccines needed to avert them require much-needed investment.

SOLUTION: An advance commitment by rich countries to buy $3bn (�1.7bn) worth of vaccines would be enough to encourage pharmaceutical giants to invest in finding medicines that would eliminate these pandemics.
SAVING: $600bn
Hey -- how about letting people use DDT again. That would save about 2,000,000 lives per year. The majority of everything else could be greatly minimized (ie: brought down to western levels) if there was better education. For example, some cultures view Vaccines as something that the "west" is doing to sterilize them or make them weak. Same thing with AIDS/HIV and the use of condoms. Another example:
Big business and global money ignore countries where they see the risk of conflict outweighing their potential profit margins.

SOLUTION: Guarantees by international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund to lower the cost of borrowing for poor nations by underwriting investors' loans to conflict-torn states.
SAVING: $22bn
Pariah States are generally the result of corrupt government. Nobody in their right mind would invest in a nation ruled by a despot. In this case, it is the United Nations' own fault that this level of corruption still exists. This was one of the things they were supposed to be doing wasn't it? Look at their track record... One more:
Poor countries suffer most from swings in investment tastes by the big global investors that means money can leave as soon as it arrives.

SOLUTION: Enable countries to buy "insurance policies" against big swings in growth that would ensure that they did not have to cut public spending every time. In 1997 it wreaked havoc across South-east Asia.SAVING: $2,900bn
I am sorry but this one rates a big frickin' Boo-Hoo on my Care-O-Meter. A company invests in a nation with resources but a corrupt government. A company is initially optimistic and more than willing to spread the wealth around (after all, a healthy, well educated populace is a potential customer base). Said company sees all of it's investments going into corrupt government, local contractors who are 'cousins' of the 'president' and the factories never get built to specifications. When they finally manage to get something marketable, pirates come in and kidnap people or steal product. For a classic example of this read the following: News from Russia:
Nigeria continues search for hostages after oil platform attack
Nigeria authorities continued the search Saturday for four foreign nationals abducted by gunmen who attacked an oil platform last week.
And this:
Nine killed in Nigeria oil raid
An armed gang dressed in military fatigues has attacked the offices of Agip oil company, a unit of Italy's ENI, in Nigeria, killing nine people.
So... Do you think that I would be interested in investing in Nigeria's Oil Resources? I may have placed a bunch of investments in the country but now, I am figuring out how to cut my losses and get the hell out. Corrupt government again. The shear gall that the United Nations would propose to eliminate national sovereignty and put itself up as the nanny for the world is unreal. They have no grasp of reality.

Look overhead

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Charles at LGF links to this not-so-unexpected news item at United Press International:
Overheads take up to 1/3 of tsunami funds
Up to about a third of the $590 million U.N. fund spent for the Indian Ocean tsunami relief may have gone to pay for overhead.

The Financial Times says its two-month investigation showed the money appears to have been spent on administration, staff and related costs. The $590 million was part of the United Nation's $1.1 billion disaster flash appeal.

The newspaper also found several U.N. agencies continue to refuse to disclose details of their relief expenditure in spite of earlier pledges of transparency by senior officials.
As one person commented at Charles' site: "What restraint!" I guess those limos and gourmet meals really eat into the budget...

John Bolton - the UN's future

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I have written about John Bolton several times (here are two). Here is his latest on the United Nations from the Washington Times:
Can the U.S. find a substitute for the U.N.?

America's representative at the United Nations said yesterday that the organization must become better at solving problems and more responsive to U.S. concerns or Washington will seek other venues for international action.

During a luncheon with reporters and editors at The Washington Times, U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton said repeatedly that the Bush administration requires nothing less than "a revolution of reform" at the world body, encompassing everything from U.N. Security Council engagement to management changes to a focus on administrative skills in choosing the next secretary-general.

The United Nations, he said, "has got to be a place to solve problems that need solving, rather than a place where problems go, never to emerge."
And a bit more:
"The U.N. is one of many competitors in a marketplace of global problem solving," Mr. Bolton said. That realization "should be an incentive for the organization to reform."

One alternative, he said, is for regional organizations to play a larger role. He praised the Organization of American States for its work in Haiti and said he would like the African Union to take on greater responsibilities in Africa.

Mr. Bolton, who has been directly or indirectly involved in U.N. affairs since the Reagan administration, said he has found little surprising in his 3� months in Turtle Bay.

"It's exactly what I expected," he said. "It does move in many ways that lead you to think it's caught in a time warp, with discussions they could have had in the '60s, '70s, '80s."

Referring to obsolete mandates and bodies, he said: "Even though the Cold War is over and many of these issues are over, frankly, the mind-set in the U.N. complex hasn't changed much. I don't think that it's a philosophical point of view. ... There is a culture of inaction."
Classic -- one begins to understand why so many liberals and democrats heads exploded when Bush handed him the ambassadorship.

John Bolton shows the right stuff

George Bush picked the right person when he chose John Bolton to be the Ambassador to the United Nations.

From Bloomberg:

Bolton Rebukes UN Vote Against Cuba Embargo for 'Irrelevancy'
The United Nations General Assembly voted for the 14th consecutive year to call for an end to the 43- year-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, drawing a rebuke from John Bolton, the new U.S. envoy to the world body.

"This is a complete exercise in irrelevancy," Ambassador Bolton told reporters in New York. "For a General Assembly that has not yet seriously attempted to reform the UN Human Rights Commission to adopt this exercise in Cuban propaganda really tells you something."

Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau joined the U.S. in voting against the non-binding resolution, which urges the U.S. to "repeal and invalidate" the embargo that has been in effect since 1962, three years after Fidel Castro seized control of the Caribbean island and transformed it into a bastion of communism. Micronesia abstained. The resolution was adopted today by a vote of 182 to 4.

The Bush administration said the resolution was an attempt to shift blame for Castro's shortcomings and that the General Assembly should not deal with the question.

"The United States trade embargo is a bilateral issue and should not come before the General Assembly," U.S. envoy Ronald Godard said. "If the people of Cuba are jobless, hungry or lack medical care, as Castro admits, it is because of his economic mismanagement, not the embargo."

Godard said the U.S. would ease restrictions on trade and travel after Cuba allows "free and fair" elections and the formation of independent trade unions.

Bolton is not afraid to see the UN as the irrelevant corrupt organization that it is. World Government indeed...

John Bolton at work

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According to this article at the Washington Post, John Bolton has wasted no time getting down to work at his new job.
U.S. Wants Changes In U.N. Agreement
Less than a month before world leaders arrive in New York for a world summit on poverty and U.N. reform, the Bush administration has thrown the proceedings in turmoil with a call for drastic renegotiation of a draft agreement to be signed by presidents and prime ministers attending the event.

The United States has only recently introduced more than 750 amendments that would eliminate new pledges of foreign aid to impoverished nations, scrap provisions that call for action to halt climate change and urge nuclear powers to make greater progress in dismantling their nuclear arms. At the same time, the administration is urging members of the United Nations to strengthen language in the 29-page document that would underscore the importance of taking tougher action against terrorism, promoting human rights and democracy, and halting the spread of the world's deadliest weapons.

Next month's summit, an unusual meeting at the United Nations of heads of state, was called by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to reinvigorate efforts to fight poverty and to take stronger steps in the battles against terrorism and genocide. The leaders of 175 nations are expected to attend and sign the agreement, which has been under negotiation for six months.

But Annan's effort to press for changes has been hampered by investigations into fraud in the U.N. oil-for-food program and revelations of sexual misconduct by U.N. peacekeepers.

The United Nations originally scheduled the Sept. 14 summit as a follow-up to the 2000 Millennium Summit, which produced commitments by U.N. members to meet deadlines over the next 15 years aimed at reducing poverty, preventable diseases and other scourges of the world's poor. But the Bush administration is seeking to focus attention on the need to streamline U.N. bureaucracy, establish a democracy fund, strengthen the U.N. human rights office and support a U.S. initiative to halt the trade in weapons of mass destruction.

The U.S. amendments call for striking any mention of the Millennium Development Goals, and the administration has publicly complained that the document's section on poverty is too long. Instead, the United States has sought to underscore the importance of the Monterrey Consensus, a 2002 summit in Mexico that focused on free-market reforms, and required governments to improve accountability in exchange for aid and debt relief.

The proposed U.S. amendments, contained in a confidential 36-page document obtained by The Washington Post, have been presented this week to select envoys. The U.N. General Assembly's president, Jean Ping of Gabon, is organizing a core group of 20 to 30 countries, including the United States and other major powers, to engage in an intensive final round of negotiations in an attempt to strike a deal.

"Now it is maybe time to go on some key issues where we still have controversies and negotiate on these key issues," he said Tuesday.

The proposed changes, submitted by U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton, touch on virtually every aspect of U.N. affairs and provide a detailed look at U.S. concerns about the world body's future. They underscore U.S. efforts to impose greater oversight of U.N. spending and to eliminate any reference to the International Criminal Court. The administration also opposes language that urges the five permanent members of the Security Council not to cast vetoes to block action to halt genocide, war crimes or ethnic cleansing.
What's that Carpenters song title again? Oh yes: "We've Only Just Begun" Heh... A much needed breath of fresh air. How could anyone have opposed him so much?

The United Nations -- 60 years old

And Blogger Zombie has photographs and trenchant commentary from the San Francisco celebration:

The United Nations 60th Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco on June 25, 2005
A zombietime exclusive on-site report

On June 26, 1945, The United Nations was founded in San Francisco, when delegates from around the world formally signed the U.N. Charter. Ever since then, the city of San Francisco has hosted 10-year U.N. anniversary celebrations in years that end in "5." I decided to attend this year's shindig, celebrating the U.N.'s 60th birthday.

In most decades, the U.N. birthdays have been major events, with presidents and world leaders showing up to mark the day. Truman was there in 1945; Eisenhower made an appearance in '55; Johnson showed up in '65; and Clinton in '95. (In 1985 Reagan sent Secretary of State George Shultz. 1975 was the exception, when the event was intentionally low-key and President Ford skipped the party entirely.)

So, this year, the event's organizers (the United Nations Association, or UNA) invited President Bush, Secretary of State Rice and many other leading national and international public figures, hoping to create a blockbuster celebration.

Only this time around, something went wrong. The White House seemed to ignore the invitation, and the head of the UNA started to gripe to the press. A weekend of celebrations and speeches was scheduled for June 25th and 26th, and soon it become quite clear that no one of significance was going to show up.

Much to the dismay of the organizers, the nonattendance of any real political celebrities became itself the one newsworthy aspect of the event.
The absence of the world's key players from the recent United Nations 60th anniversary in San Fransisco surprised even the U.N. members themselves. The disinterest came as a stark reminder that the world body is facing a crisis and is in desperate need of reform. There was no Blair, Bush, Chirac or Putin and not even the top UN official, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, bothered to front up. Such indifference has to be an indication of the current lack of enthusiasm of the world's major players for the organization that is theoretically supposed to monitor and guide the course of world affairs. Instead, the various events were attended by a crew of political "has-beens" and second-rank officials.

Considering President Bush's well-known distrust of the U.N., it could be expected that he'd give the anniversary a pass. More painful was the snub from Kofi Annan, who also stayed away and sent an underling in his stead.

But the press missed the biggest insult of them all. Both California Senators -- Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer -- as well as Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, had all been invited, and were all in San Francisco on June 25th (the opening day of the celebration), but they all skipped the U.N. festivities and instead spent the day at a private party held by filmmaker George Lucas just two miles away at the Presidio. (The SF Chronicle's coverage of the Lucas event mentions them by title only, but the Chronicle did provide a photo of Boxer laughing it up with Lucas.)

That's gotta hurt. Especially since these three leading Democrats have been strong pro-U.N. voices in Congress. I guess partying with George Lucas is more important than world peace.

Well darn our irrelevance, full speed ahead -- Zombie has some photos that are not to be missed. Here is one sample:

During a break for "High Tea," audience members mingled with actors hired for the occasion to dress as if it was 1945. Which was quite telling, actually; just as the modern-day anti-war protesters wish it was 1968 all over again and want to recreate the ambience of that year, U.N.-boosters wish it was 1945 all over again and want to recreate the feeling of that year. This was their one opportunity to turn back the clock, not just fashion-wise but philosophically as well.
Interesting article from openDemocracy. Unfortunatly, they seem to miss one point. From the website:
The hidden history of the United Nations
Dan Plesch rediscovers a forgotten story of the 1940s: how the United Nations was forged, beat the Nazis and established a lasting peace.

The history told about the defeat of Nazism and the founding of the United Nations in the 1940s has become distorted. A false view of the past is being used today to shape how we think about our future. The military power of the victorious wartime allies is offered as a model for running the world, while the UN�s supposed utopianism is seen as ineffective and irrelevant.

This is a travesty of the facts. We are taught that the UN began with the signing of the Charter in 1945. In fact, that agreement was the culmination of a complex military and political effort that began in 1941. Understanding the UN�s wartime origins provides a powerful and much-needed reminder that the UN is not some liberal accessory but was created out of hard, realistic political necessity.

The historical records show how Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt created the United Nations to win the war both militarily and politically, and to create the foundations for a lasting peace. Their first expression of Anglo-American policy was in the Atlantic Charter of 1941; this included freedom from want, social security, labour rights and disarmament as well as self-determination, free trade and freedom of religion. Churchill himself remarked during the height of the fighting in 1944 that the "United Nations is the only hope of the world".
The article starts to nose off in the right direction by talking about Coalitions but it also takes note of the first of the Marxist Idealogues who have made the United Nations what it is today:
A real coalition
The "United Nations" had been the official name for the coalition fighting the axis powers since January 1942, when Roosevelt and Churchill had led twenty-six nations, including the Soviet Union and China, in a "Declaration by United Nations".

The declaration committed the twenty-six not to cut separate peace deals with the Nazis and to subscribe to the principles of the Atlantic Charter for the post-war world. The Charter provided the political basis for countering Nazi ideology; it caught the imagination of people around the world, including the young Nelson Mandela and other anti-colonial activists.

The United Nations was a real entity, not a spin-doctored slogan offering a gullible public the promise of world peace at the end of the war. The allies fought the war as the United Nations and created organisations in its name and on its foundation. The British Library holds scores of wartime publications by or about the United Nations. It was celebrated in music, prayer and exhibitions. Anthologies were published of the exploits of "Heroes of the United Nations".
No problem there -- back then, the United Nations had stones. They had their MOJO working. Now? They have taken a few wrong turns, tried to be everything for everybody, failed to prevent real human-rights abuses from happening on their watch and done fuck-all to try to stop the USA and 30 other nations from forming another coalition that might overtake it in terms of real world security.
Memo to Kofi:

I am reminded of Simon Keeper's Job Description(1):
A job in the towers cooking the books for the shills that grease the skids.

And of the nameless writer of The Memo to Turner(2):
You're the man who squats behind the man who works the soft machine.
(1) - Cowboy Junkies: Simon Keeper/Irony (2) - Rolling Stones: Memo to Turner

Suppose they gave a party...

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A certain organization is having its 60th B-Day but who will be showing up for the cake? The NY Times has the story:
U.N. Party Planners Wonder, Will Bush and Friends Attend?

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has indicated she will not attend. So has former President George H. W. Bush. The controversial nominee for United Nations ambassador, John R. Bolton, has not been heard from, nor has President Bush, who was sent an invitation in February.

Getting big-name administration officials to attend events outside Washington is always a long shot because of their busy schedules. But in the case of the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the United Nations, which will take place in San Francisco late next month, some organizers are wondering if something beyond scheduling conflicts is at play.

Nancy L. Peterson, president of the United Nations Association of San Francisco, a nonprofit group that has been planning the celebration, said no explanation had been offered by the White House. But she said some members were worried that President Bush's seeming disdain for the world organization might be behind the silence and no-shows.

"We are a month out, and that's cutting it close," Ms. Peterson said. When asked if San Franciscans felt slighted, she said, "I think the administration is slighting the American people by not stepping forward on behalf of the United Nations at this turning point."

At the last big anniversary celebration, 10 years ago in San Francisco, where the United Nations charter was signed in 1945, President Clinton played a prominent role. Sherri Ferris, who is organizing the 60th anniversary invitations, said Mr. Clinton's office had indicated that an appearance next month "is still under consideration." She expects many invitees will fix their June calendars next week.
So, ten years ago, someone in SF hosted a big party and wants to do it again. Sorry Nancy and Sherri -- looks like a small din-din with Kofi. Bill may show up but don't count on it, Hillary wants to distance herself from the Moonbats. 2008 'ya know... And excerpting from the penultimate paragraph:
I think the administration is slighting the American people by not stepping forward on behalf of the United Nations at this turning point.
Exscuse me -- the turning point would be if the United Nations DID SOMETHING EFFECTIVVE!

A snapshot from New York

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An awesome photograph from DEADPR0GRAMMER'S CAFE From the website:
Resolution 4711: UN Reiterates that It Deplores, Deeply Regrets and Strongly Condemns Deadprogrammer�s Smartass Photography
-- or --
What John Bolton Sees

I took a nice long walk after visiting Trump Tower today, and on my way finally got to see the ungracefully aging United Nations building. There�s this weird fence on a little terrace across from it, and the shot framed itself�.
As in the MasterCard commercials -- Priceless...
This must be United Nations day. Here is another story, this one from SciTech Today and deals with the #1 Killer in Africa. Malaria.
Report: Malaria Kills One Million a Year
Insecticide-treated bed-nets can halve malaria illness and more countries are increasing their use of them. However while 30 million -- 40 million nets are needed each year to protect all young children and pregnant women in Africa, fewer than 15 million were produced last year.

Malaria kills more than one million people and sickens between 350 million and 500 million people a year, mainly in Africa, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday.

The report, released by the World Health Organization and the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, is the first comprehensive report on malaria worldwide.

Nine out of 10 malaria deaths are among sub-Saharan African children under the age of 5; an African child dies of the disease every 30 seconds.

"The numbers are astounding and unacceptable," said Ann Veneman, the executive director of UNICEF. She said the disease is "largely preventable and utterly treatable."

"At present malaria remains the infectious disease that takes more lives of children in Africa than any other -- three times as many as HIV," she said.
Emphasis mine: " the first comprehensive report on malaria worldwide..." They have the gall to complain about the inefficiency of other nations and yet, with a health problem that is killing one million people per year and which can be fixed simply and effectively, the United Nations is only NOW getting around to writing "reports" on the "problem". Want a definition of hubris -- take a look. The article then goes on to talk about the UN's promotion of fancy drugs and insecticide-treated mosquito netting for over beds but the article (and the United Nations) fails to talk about the one known compound that can stop Malaria dead in its tracks. I am talking about a compound so powerful that a few ounces spread throughout a house over the course of a year will kill any mosquito that lands on it. This compound is harmless to mammals, the Mosquitoes do not have the chance to develop resistance and, icing on the cake, it is cheap to produce. This miracle compound -- DDT -- was unfortunately declared to be environmentally bad and it was therefore banned. What was not looked at was at the time of its banishment, people were using handfuls of the stuff and it was starting to accumulate in the ecosystem. Much smaller amounts are equally effective and if people are educated in its use, Malaria can become a very rare things in ten years.
From the Financial Times comes this tale of woe from Kofi Annan: UN chief Kofi Annan warns of nuclear catastrophe

An international conference on the future of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty opened on Monday with demands from the US and its allies that Iran and North Korea give up and dismantle nuclear programmes that could be adapted to deliver weapons.

Accusing Iran and North Korea--which the US has accused of forming an �axis of evil� - of being in breach of the 1970 treaty, the US delegation reiterated proposals by George W. Bush, US president, for closing NPT �loopholes�.

Such states should be denied assistance in developing their civilian nuclear programmes, Stephen Rademaker, assistant secretary of state for arms control, told the NPT review conference, held every five years.

Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, warned the 188 parties to the treaty that a nuclear catastrophe would have global consequences. But he also reminded the five nuclear-armed states that are signatories of their duty to make progress in reducing their arsenals. Hey Kofi -- this problem you are warning us about happened on your watch and it would not be a problem if the United Nations has exhibited proper leadership and shown some teeth in its Nuclear or its Human Rights program. You need to find the problem and you can start by talking a long look in a mirror sometime... I'll give you a big hint -- the problem is not the USA.

An interesting take on John Bolton

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Will Franklin at WILLisms has a wonderful thought about how the Democrats are actually helping John Bolton become an effective force for change at the United Nations when he becomes nominated:
He Wishes He Had John Bolton's Reputation.
This weekend, while watching The Interpreter, with Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, ruminating upon the UN's Human Rights Commission re-electing serial abuser Zimbabwe to a three year term, it hit:

Although the smear campaign against John Bolton has become increasingly absurd, wouldn't it be nice if it were all true? Wouldn't it be great if John Bolton were the caricature the left is making him out to be, of a rabid rageaholic who nearly bites heads off of unsuspecting bureaucrats? Isn't that precisely what the United Nations needs, someone to knock some heads together, someone to call out certain fellow democracies for their moral ambivalence, someone to rip fear societies a new one?

The United Nations should be a force for good in the world. It has been reduced to, at best, an enabler of tyrants, and, at worst, run by them.
Will sets the stage and then presents this scenario:
Now, this scrutiny, this delay, may end up being Bolton's greatest gift, his most effective asset. He will go to the United Nations, and people will quiver and quake before his anticipated wrath. He will speak, and people will expect thunder. And when he does speak, and his words are reasonable, lucid, succinct, and rational, the world will wonder "who is this man? He isn't the man we've been reading about these past several weeks. He's not so bad."

But one day, when something absurd happens at the United Nations (and it will), Bolton, backed by the reputation he has earned over the past few weeks, will only have to furrow an eyebrow and raise his voice a bit, and people will know that America means business.

It's easy to wish that Bolton were as ill-tempered as Senate Democrats describe him. It's easy to imagine him walking into the UN and quite literally ripping the appendages off of the representatives of brutal dictators, utilizing them as weapons to pummel the enablers and equivocators.

John Bolton just is not that guy.

Isn't it nice, however, that the world, thanks to the Democrats, now thinks he is?
Once again Dems -- thanks! From the bottom of our hearts. Sincerely. Heh...
WOW! Sounds like he means it -- here is an excerpt:
The United Nations has already put in place a sweeping set of improvements, with Secretary-General Kofi Annan reorganizing and streamlining the world body to bring about, according to a U.N. reform dossier, "a culture of greater openness, coherence, innovation and confidence." A blue-ribbon panel has "set more stringent standards for judging the performance of peacekeepers, in the field and at Headquarters." And there is now a system for dealing with U.N. staff, that "gives more precedence to merit and competence and less to tenure and precedent."
Only one problem here -- this was written in 2002 and the reforms in question were started in late 1990's. Claudia Rosett has the goods:
Stale Kofi
Annan wants to "reform" the U.N. again. He must be in trouble.

Yet more scandal at the United Nations? Secret deals, millions in bribes, leading to billions in global kickbacks? What to do?

Have no fear, reform is here. The United Nations has already put in place a sweeping set of improvements, with Secretary-General Kofi Annan reorganizing and streamlining the world body to bring about, according to a U.N. reform dossier, "a culture of greater openness, coherence, innovation and confidence." A blue-ribbon panel has "set more stringent standards for judging the performance of peacekeepers, in the field and at Headquarters." And there is now a system for dealing with U.N. staff, that "gives more precedence to merit and competence and less to tenure and precedent."

All of which sounds terrific. Except that the reforms cited above, heralding the new era of openness, coherence, competence, integrity and improved peacekeeping are all plucked from a U.N. dossier released almost three years ago, in June 2002. These reforms were shepherded through by Mr. Annan starting in the late 1990s, with the help of his handpicked special adviser, Undersecretary-General Maurice Strong.

In the course of telling the press on Monday that he "cannot recall a single instance" of contact or discussion with officials responsible for the scandal-plagued Oil for Food program, Mr. Strong did confirm that he has been friendly for years and had a business relationship back in 1997 with a Korean, Tongsun Park. Mr. Park achieved prominence in the 1970s as the go-between who shuttled hundreds of thousands in bribes from the regime of former South Korean dictator Park Chung-Hee to assorted members of the U.S. Congress, in the scandal that became known as Koreagate.

Even if Mr. Strong had the best of intentions, his decision as a high-ranking U.N. official to be involved in any business relationship with the star bag man of Koreagate suggests seriously odd judgment. That should have been obvious even before U.S. federal prosecutors charged Mr. Park last week with accepting some $2 million from Saddam Hussein to convey yet more millions to two (so-far unnamed) high-ranking U.N. officials in an effort to shape the 1996-2003 Oil for Food program to facilitate Saddam's sanctions-busting embezzlement of billions meant for the people of Iraq.
United Nations hits bottom, continues digging...

Blogger Roger L. Simon has been doing a wonderful job of following the developments in the Oil For Food scam the United Nations aided a few years ago. Recently he has developed a source close to the investigation and has been breaking some fascinating stories. Today's is no exception:

The Food-for-Kojo Program
I respect the right of the Wall Street Journal to keep much of their newspaper on a subscription-only basis, but today's Oil-for-Food tidbit is too good not to quote:

Among all the leads and clues churned up in the wake of Paul Volcker's second interim report on the United Nations Oil for Food scandal, one strikes us as especially deserving of further scrutiny. It is the news, first reported by the Financial Times, that in 1999 Secretary-General Kofi Annan's son Kojo invested $235,000 in an ailing Swiss soccer club called Vevey-Sports and was elected the club's president. Yet, according to the FT, Kojo had little to do with the club's management and was never once seen at a match.

The Volcker Committee's recent report does not address Kojo's investment in Vevey-Sports. But here's a question it might wish to pursue: Where did the 25-year-old Annan -- who comes from a family of moderate means and who, until 1998, was making some $2,500 a month -- get that kind of throw-around money?

Good question, isn't it? Maybe Senators Dodd and Boxer will go onto that one since "reform" of the United Nations seems so high on their agendas.

Indeed - Roger's commentors have some interesting things to say too -- scroll down and read...

A possible replacement for Kofi Annan

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Kofi is out -- his son is corrupt and thinking that Kofi is not stretches the imagination too far for even the most die-hard UN groupie.

This is just from the Oil For Food scandal. We haven't even gotten to the rape and pedophilia scandals, the cafeteria trashing, the horrible deaths of the Bosnians "protected by UN Forces", the unpaid parking tickets, the slaughter in Darfur. The big and the small are dragging this august institution into irrelevancy.

Glen Reynolds writing in The Wall Street Journal suggests Vaclav Havel as a replacement. Portland blogger Michael J. Totten has another suggestion which didn't make sense at first but actually does after thinking about it:

How About Howard Dean?
...Standing up to the Bush Administration earned him plenty of street cred all over the world. UN fetishists and apparatchiks go for that sort of thing. He's also earning some street cred with me because he at least partly understands what's wrong with the so-called "international community."

Dean may have opposed the Iraq war, but he's not a foreign policy limp noodle like Kerry. He just thought that one war in particular was dumb. Say what you will about him, but he doesn't shrink from a fight. He's the kind of man who likes to roll up his sleeves and get scrappy.

Michael then quotes from Dr. Dean:

Europeans cannot criticize the United States for waging war in Iraq if they are unwilling to exhibit the moral fiber to stop genocide by acting collectively and with decisiveness. President Bush was wrong to go into Iraq unilaterally when Iraq posed no danger to the United States, but we were right to demand accountability from Saddam. We are also right to demand accountability in Sudan. Every day that goes by without meaningful sanctions and even military intervention in Sudan by African, European and if necessary U.N. forces is a day where hundreds of innocent civilians die and thousands are displaced from their land. Every day that goes by without action to stop the Sudan genocide is a day that the anti-Iraq war position so widely held in the rest of the world appears to be based less on principle and more on politics. And every day that goes by is a day in which George Bush's contempt for the international community, which I have denounced every day for two years, becomes more difficult to criticize.

Michael then makes this trenchant comment:

Kofi Annan would never, ever, think or say anything like that. And I seriously doubt his replacement will ever think or say anything like that. Howard Dean might not be ideal, as Vaclav Havel would be. But he'd be such an improvement over Kofi Annan I'd pop a champagne cork if somehow, miraculously, he got the job.

He'd be at least slightly more likely to get Europeans to listen and work with us. He'd also be willing to kick some ass when it needs some kicking. As far as domestic politics go, he might help bridge one gap between American liberals and conservatives. He could make conservatives happy because he'd do a much better job than Kofi Annan. And because he's such a hero to activist liberals, he could help them see that the UN really is broken. They won't listen to Bush, but they will listen to him.

It is not a matter of listening to what people say -- it is also trying to figure out what they would not say. I still think that Vaclav Havel would be the best person for the job but Dean has my interest.

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