Filed under: Foreign Policy, Islam, Middle East, Military, Terrorism, United Nations | Tags: Catastrophe in Syria, The Hungry Looking for Food, Yarmouk Refugees
The Obama administration’s Syria policy has been a blunder of historic proportions. When he might have intervened effectively, he dithered, When he did intervene it was ineffectual. When the situation was manageable, it was neglected. Nevertheless, this is not the responsibility of the U.S. government. It is the responsibility of Bashar Assad and his supporters, al Qaeda and other radical Muslims who have forcibly taken over the opposition to Assad.
This photograph was taken late last month. The scene is Yarmouk, a district of Damascus that is populated mostly by Palestinian “refugees” and has been the scene of heavy fighting. The U.N. is passing out food packages and the starving people are hoping to get something to eat. This is truly an example of a picture being worth more than a thousand words. (Click to enlarge)
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Middle East, Politics, United Nations | Tags: Human Nature and Human Rights, Saudi Arabia, The U.N. Human Rights Council
The United Nations was the culmination of fuzzy ideas that somehow an organization with the proper administration would let us all get along by talking things over, or something like that. United in our diversity, a bastion of tolerance, no competition, passivity and sufferance. There is always some new idea for unity, but pretty thoughts don’t overcome basic human nature.
Newly elected members Britain and France will serve on the U.N. Human Rights Council with — Saudi Arabia, one of the worlds most notorious abusers of human rights. No one opposed giving Riyadh the authority to pass judgment on the West’s record of human rights: yet as the delegates were voting, the Saudi religious police were killing and raping Christian migrant workers from Africa and Asia as part of a countrywide crackdown on foreigners.
Reports show that at least 10 Ethiopians have been killed and more than a dozen raped since the Kingdom began its immigrant roundup in early November. Saudi police rounded up Filipino workers, mostly Catholic and threw them in crowded cells where they were “treated like animals.” Police chained their feet together and left them shackled for several days. An estimated 6,700 Filipino workers are being held in Saudi prisons. Saudi Arabia only renounced slavery in 1973, more or less.
Amnesty International found last May that workers were being subjected to slave-like conditions and many had been tortured. A Sri Lankan was found to have had 24 nails and a needle driven into her hands after she complained about her heavy workload.
Non-Muslim migrants with legal permits to work in the Kingdom were denied fundamental rights, including the right to work. This is a hallmark of Saudi religious and racial bigotry. It is hoped, though unlikely, that the Saudi government will decline the invitation to serve on the Human Rights Council, as it recently did its seat on the U.N. Security Council.
But they wonder why we don’t have much respect for the United Nations.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, History, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Russia, United Nations | Tags: Bill Whittle Explains, Nations Have Interests, The UN is Corrupt and Ineffective
Once Upon a Time, there was Munich, and Neville Chamberlain waving a piece of paper and proudly proclaiming “Peace in Our Time!” If we don’t learn from history, we’re apt to get in trouble.
Filed under: Cool Site of the Day, Developing Nations, Foreign Policy, United Nations | Tags: 40 World Maps, Expanding your Knowledge, Useless Knowledge?
A Visual Representation of World Population Distribution. (click to enlarge)
U.S Map of the Highest Paid Public Employees by State. (click to enlarge)
Here are the entire 40 maps. They make you think a little differently about the world from the distribution of McDonald’s across the world to which side of the road the world drives on.
Filed under: Capitalism, Developing Nations, Economy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, United Nations | Tags: Economics Professor Mark Perry, Ending Extreme Poverty, Free Market Capitalism
From Economist Mark Perry at AEI, an excerpt from The Economist:
The world’s achievement in the field of poverty reduction is, by almost any measure, impressive. Although many of the original Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) —such as cutting maternal mortality by three-quarters and child mortality by two-thirds—will not be met, the aim of halving global poverty between 1990 and 2015 was achieved five years early.
The MDGs may have helped marginally, by creating a yardstick for measuring progress, and by focusing minds on the evil of poverty. Most of the credit, however, must go to capitalism and free trade, for they enable economies to grow—and it was growth, principally, that has eased destitution.
The world now knows how to reduce poverty. A lot of targeted policies—basic social safety nets and cash-transfer schemes help. So does binning policies like fuel subsidies to Indonesia’s middle class and China’s hukou household-registration system that boost inequality. But the biggest poverty-reduction measure of all is liberalizing markets to let poor people get richer. That means freeing trade between countries (Africa is still cruelly punished by tariffs) and within them (China’s real great leap forward occurred because it allowed private business to grow). Both India and Africa are crowded with monopolies and restrictive practices.
Many Westerners have reacted to recession by seeking to constrain markets and roll globalization back in their own countries, and they want to export these ideas to the developing world, too. It does not need such advice. It is doing quite nicely, largely thanks to the same economic principles that helped the developed world grow rich and could pull the poorest of the poor out of destitution.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, Islam, Middle East, Progressivism, The Constitution, United Nations | Tags: A Legacy of Failure, Mistakes and Misjudgments, President Barack Obama
Walter Russell Mead, registered Democrat and excellent essayist, Friday:
We should all be very glad that we have a Democratic president right now; otherwise the news would be terrible. We would be seeing a rash of horrible and depressing stories in the newspapers about strategic failure, with unremitting second guessing and belittling of a president who agonized for months before the surge and then saw his plan fail. We’d be hearing non-stop reports in the media about the incompetent and klutzy leader who torpedoed his own policy by announcing a withdrawal date; the man who tried to please everybody and do everything—and failed at all he tried.
This whole thing is really difficult for Mr. Obama. He had a view of the Middle East that has not, shall we say, turned out well. He believed firmly that his experience of growing up in Indonesia, and his memories of the call to prayer in the morning hours, would be meaningful to Muslims. He believed that the previous administration’s War in Iraq was wrong, largely because anything done by the Bush administration had to be wrong, and if he, as a new president, disavowed everything Bush and apologized for being the American bully that Muslims seemed to think we were; then we would have a new era of peace and goodwill, and he would be celebrated as a hero and a peacemaker.July 2012
Didn’t work out that way.
In a May, 2011 speech at the State Department, Obama took credit for the Islamists’ rise to power as part of his broader Mideast strategy to free them from the “repression” of despots, while ending their “suspicion” and “mistrust” of America resulting from the War on Terror.
“That’s why, two years ago in Cairo, I began our engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect,” Obama announced. IBD listed the steps Obama has taken :
- 2009 — Obama made a pilgrimage to Cairo to deliver an apologetic speech to Muslims, and managed to infuriate the Mubarak regime by inviting the banned Muslim Brotherhood leaders to attend. Obama snubbed Mubarak, who was not present nor mentioned.
- 2009 — Obama blamed Mideast hostility toward Israel and the West on “Colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to Muslims” He also promised to withdraw U.S. troops from Muslim lands and push for the creation of a Palestinian state, saying “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. The Brotherhood applauded wildly.
- 2009 — Obama appoints Rashid Hussain — an Islamist tied to the Brotherhood, as U.S. envoy to the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation which works closely with the brotherhood.
- 2010 — Hussain travels to Egypt to meet with the Grand Mufti of the Brotherhood, followed by Obama who makes another trip to Egypt.
- 2010 — Sec. of State Clinton lifts visa ban on Egyptian-born grandson of Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna. Tariq Ramadan, a suspected terrorist on the U.S. watch list, is warmly received in Washington. (Clinton’s closest adviser Huma Abedin has extensive brotherhood ties in the region.)
- 2011 —White House fails to back Mubarak in a coup organized by the Brotherhood
- 2011 — Obama sends intelligence Czar James Clapper to testify at Capitol Hill. He tells Congress the Brotherhood is a moderate “largely secular” organization.
- 2011 — Clinton sends special coordinator for Middle East transitions William Taylor to Cairo to give Brotherhood leaders special training to prepare for the post-Mubarak elections.
- 2011 — State Department formalizes ties with Egypt’s once-outlawed, terror-tied Brotherhood, allowing diplomats to deal directly with Brotherhood party officials.
- April 2012 —The administration quietly releases $1.5 billion in military aid to the new Egyptian regime and vows to get additional billions from the IMF and World Bank. It also taps Overseas Private Investment Corp, a US agency, to underwrite $2 billion in private investment in Egypt and other Arab Spring states. And it forgave up to $1 billion in Egyptian debt. Aren’t we generous!
- June 2012 — Clinton granted visa to banned Egyptian terrorist who with Brotherhood officials from Egypt met with Obama’s deputy national security adviser to demand the release of the Egyptian Blind Sheik terrorist sentenced to life in prison for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
- July 2012 — Obama invites Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi to visit the White House in September. He is expected to demand Obama free the Blind Sheik.
- September 2012 — Mr. Obama plans to address the United Nations next week to apologize to all the Muslims of the World for our First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech, even unpleasant speech. He will undoubtedly say that violence is never the answer. Except when it is.
This is potentially the biggest scandal of Obama’s presidency, although he’s garnering quite a few. The Blind Sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman, is a convicted terrorist rivaling Osama bin Laden in importance and reverence among al Qaeda followers. Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the Blind Sheik expects the plan is to agree to the terrorist’s release, but not to have it become public — until after the election. So many things are being put off till after the election that one would think that Mr. Obama is trying to put something over on the public.
His craven apologies to Muslims because they riot and storm embassies and kill our Ambassador and each other is beyond shameful. Barack Obama came to office promising to repair relations with the Islamic world. What he could not accomplish with his own presidency, his name, his childhood in Indonesia, he would achieve through “smart diplomacy.” Instead his efforts have been crowned with mistakes, incompetence and failure.
Filed under: Capitalism, Election 2012, Freedom, Islam, Middle East, Progressivism, United Nations | Tags: Islam, Respecting All Religions, The United Nations
Last December, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) pushed through a U.N. resolution with the enthusiastic cooperation of the Obama administration, which was to condemn the stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of people based on their religion. Team Obama led the way. No member state called for a recorded vote on the text, so it was adopted “by consensus.”
They have been trying to pass this for years, though strongly opposed by Western democracies. The resolution received a smaller number of votes each year. Critics regard this as a measure to outlaw valid and critical scrutiny of Islamic teachings. Many OIC states have controversial blasphemy laws at home.
This year the text was revised, dropped the “defamation” language, and included a paragraph that reaffirmed “the positive role that the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information can play in strengthening democracy and combating religious intolerance.”
More bureaucratese about discrimination on the grounds of religion, violations of human rights, concern about incitement to religious hatred and the failure of some states to “combat this burgeoning trend.” Also knock off the religious profiling.
This has had the expected influence in Islamic countries to control storming embassies, crucifying Copts, shooting rockets at Israeli civilians, killing American ambassadors, and that sort of thing. That is, no influence at all.
The intent, of course, is to make people stop criticizing Muslims. You are not supposed to notice the screaming angry Muslims firing RPGs and climbing the walls of the embassies. And stop claiming that Iran is trying to perfect a nuclear weapon, when it’s only about peaceful nuclear energy.
A Senior Iranian official says U.S. President Barack Obama could face legal action in connection with the production of an anti-Islam movie by an American Jew. “A complaint could be filed with US courts against Obama for his violation of articles 18 and 27 of the ICCPR, adopted by the United Nations, which stipulates that the religion and the rights of minorities should be respected, said Javed Mohammadi, the deputy head of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution.
I think this falls under the category of “Hoist with his own petard”, or maybe not, I’m not too sure about my understanding of petards. Maybe it’s just tit for tat.
Filed under: Capitalism, Environment, Global Warming, Junk Science, Politics, Religion, United Nations | Tags: Conference on Sustainable Development, Hold Back Human Progress, World Wildlife Fund
Are you familiar with the World Wildlife Fund? Huge, wealthy worldwide organization, preserving wildlife, caring for the environment, doing good environmental works. If you visit their website and look at their board of directors, it’s an impressive list of the prominent and very well-to-do.
The other face of the World Wildlife Fund is as an extremist green campaigning group. In their just-issued Living Planet Report for 2012, they state that economic growth should be abandoned, that citizens of the world’s wealthy nations should prepare for poverty and that all the human race’s energy should be produced as renewable electricity within 38 years from now.
The hard greens demand that the enormous numbers of wind farms, tidal barriers and solar arrays required under their plans should be built while at the same time severely rationing supplies of concrete, steel, copper and glass. The document is endorsed by the European Space Agency (ESA) an organization which would cease to exist were the document’s recommendations to be fully carried out. They’re important. Nobody said they had to make sense.
Ben Pile, the convenor of the Oxford Salon, said simply: “The real enemy is humanity itself.”
At Rio+20 next month, the world’s elites will meet in Brazil with the aim of holding back human progress.
Forty years ago, two ideas about humanity’s relationship with the natural world caught the imagination of the richest and most influential people. The first was that the demands of a growing population were taking more from the planet than could be replaced by natural processes. The second, related idea was that there exist natural ‘limits to growth’. These two reinventions of Malthusianism became the basis of a new form of global politics, which has sought to contain human industrial and economic development ever since.
Organizations like the WWF draw their supporters for emotional reasons. Love of baby animals, love of large and noble species like African elephants, pandas, rhinoceros, giraffes; beautiful photography can be very moving.
Fears of out-of-control population growth led Malthus and then Paul Erlich, author of the 1968 prophecy The Population Bomb to fear that we would run out of food, and humanity would starve. Fortunately Norman Borlaug came along with the Green Revolution, and put that worry aside.
The Club of Rome, a talk-shop for diplomats, noted politicians and researchers fostered the development of all sorts of organizations and conferences and commissions designed to save the world. An entire ecosystem of global, national, governmental and non-governmental organizations has emerged to advocate closer integration of human productive life with environmental care and to observe “the limits to growth.” Most notable is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which seeks a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Well, all the predictions of doom didn’t happen. Average life-expectancy has increased by 10 years, the number of infants dying before the age of five has fallen from 134 per thousand to 58 per thousand. Human population has nearly doubled, and we are healthier, wealthier (even in spite of the recent downturns) and global GDP has risen threefold. We’ve learned to grow more food on less land, cured diseases, and made amazing progress, but those who joined the church of the doomed have established “sustainable development’ as an imperative of global politics. The first ‘Earth Summit’ was held in Rio leading to Agenda 21 and ‘the blueprint for a sustainable planet.’
If you are perpetually worried about very big things, with other, um, planetary leaders, you are moving in rarefied circles.The conferences are held in the world’s finest resorts, the finest people attend, the finest food and drink is served, and you discuss the finest subjects. It seems quite proper to be discussing surrendering national autonomy, solving the problem of world poverty, solving the problems on inequality.
What if you think we do pretty well with progress, that an emphasis on sustainability is not particularly useful, and that in general the planet is in pretty good shape? Doesn’t matter. These NGOs, world leaders, celebrities, and environmentalists have moved to a higher level where no such dissent is allowed. These meetings are already far beyond democratic control. The slogan is “global problems need global solutions.”
It is simply another political drive for power, this time on running the world. The participants, drunk on the association with the most important people and the most important ideas, think big thoughts. Easy. All the real dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and the real enemy is humanity itself.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Election 2012, Law, The United States, United Nations | Tags: Photo ID Required, U.S. Voter ID Laws, UN Human Rights Council
Most of us have to show our driver’s license so frequently that we don’t give it much thought — at the bank, the drug store, the doctor’s office, the hospital, to buy alcohol, to fly, to go to an R movie or every time you pay by check, in my state when I vote, but this is not a uniform requirement. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is currently blocking implementation of voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas.
This is just the latest battle in the fight for voter integrity at the ballot box, and the reason why two supporters of voter ID are launching a robust defense of the laws.
“We believe this offensive by the Justice Department must be met with a counteroffensive,” said Ken Blackwell, Ohio’s former secretary of state. He is working on the project with Ken Klukowski, a fellow with the American Civil Rights Union and faculty member at Liberty University’s School of Law The two will launch their project in the coming days. Blackwell and Klukowski warn that liberals will stop at nothing in their quest to topple voter ID laws.
“The Obama-Holder Department of Justice has launched an all-out war on voter ID and other measures,” Blackwell said. “Although Holder’s actions are purported to prevent African-Americans from being disenfranchised, in reality they serve as a crass political attempt to ensure his boss gets re-elected this year.”
One might conclude that Democrats want to keep their options for fraud open at the voting booth. ACORN is an organization whose members have been arrested and convicted in several states, and are well known for registration drives that elicited voters named Mickey Mouse, and Donald Duck. The organization has changed its name, but still operates in the same way. Congress has attempted to eliminate funding for them. Then the Democrats had the “Secretary of State Project” during the last elections that was specifically designed to elect Democrats to the office in charge of voter registration, and the voter rolls, as well as supervising electoral results.
Officials from the NAACP are presenting their case against U.S. voter ID laws to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. They argue that requiring voters to show a picture ID disenfranchises voters and suppresses the minority vote. Saudi Arabia is a member of the Council, and they don’ t allow women to drive, let alone vote. A number of other members have only very recently allowed women to vote.
The civil rights group will present Kemba Smith Pradia, as a witness. She lives in the Midwest and has a criminal conviction on her record. She is concerned that if she moves back to Virginia from the Midwest, state law will block her voting because of her record, even though she was granted clemency by President Clinton.
If they can create enough controversy, perhaps they can keep South Carolina and Texas from enforcing their voter ID laws at least until after the election in November.
Filed under: Freedom, History, Israel, Middle East, United Nations | Tags: History, The State of Israel, There Is No State of Palestine
Filed under: Developing Nations, Environment, Junk Science, United Nations | Tags: Global Government, Going Green, The United Nations
The United Nations has issued a new 251 page report with the benign sounding name of the “World Economic and Social Survey 2011” and it is filled with interesting phrases like “a radically new economic strategy” and “global governance.” Add in “national energy use caps” and a massive redistribution of wealth and the survey is trying to remake the entire globe.
The report is an official United Nations document and the preface is signed by U.N, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon — all part of the “goal of full decarbonization of the global energy system by 2050.” But it seems that it is not just about climate.
The U.N. has been a remarkably ineffective and corrupt organization, but people assume that its role as a meeting place where all nations can be heard is somehow useful. Ineffectiveness aside, the U.N. has always been notable for its ambitions to be in charge of the government of the world. It has been their hope to accomplish this takeover by way of the climate debate — “going green.” Unfortunately U.N. funds have a way of ending up in the Swiss bank accounts of corrupt 3rd world dictators. And Maurice Strong, who founded the IPCC, is now living in China supposedly with the benefit of his proceeds from “Oil for Food.”
The climate debate has expanded to eradicating hunger and overcoming poverty. The report says that the need is to “achieve a decent living standard for people in developing countries, especially the 1.4 billion still in extreme poverty, and the additional 2 billion people expected worldwide by 2050.
Just two years ago, U.N. researchers were claiming that it would cost “as much as $600 billion a year over the next decade to “go green.” The new report has more than tripled that number to $1.9 trillion per year for 40 years, or more than five times the entire Gross Domestic Product of the United States. This is a “technological overhaul” “on the scale of the first industrial revolution.” Except in this case the U.N. will control this next industrial revolution. Ambitious! The U.N. calls for a push toward the “green economy” even though it freely admits “there is no unique definition of the green economy.”
The survey’s introduction rationalizes the massive cost by explaining “the green economy concept is based on the conviction that the benefits of investing in environmental sustainability outweigh the cost of not doing so.” So, by that rationale, any cost is sustainable.
And, as in all things from the U.N., government is the solution: “Governments will have to assume a much more central role” in making the change to a green economy. Where there’s government, there must be control and “active industrial and educational policies aimed at inducing the necessary changes in infrastructure and production processes.”
Well, “going green.” The Kyoto Protocol, the only binding international agreement signed since the global warming scare began, expires after 2012. Canada, Russia and Japan have declared that they will not renew. China and the United States have never signed it, and are not about to. Poor countries are losing their enthusiasm as they realize that hard economic times mean less restitution money coming their way.
While it is encouraging that the global warming camp no longer has things entirely its own way, celebration would be premature. For all the gnashing of teeth and complaining about corporate influence we hear from global warming bureaucrats and campaigners, the truth is that, today, the warmists are the establishment.
Billions are being redistributed to researchers, developing nations, carbon speculators, alternative energy investors and other carbon profiteers – who would like to turn billions into trillions. Pity the poor carbon traders whose markets expire with Kyoto. Not all have their villa in the sun yet.
But rest assured, they will do whatever is necessary to get theirs. Big Warming will not surrender its hold on Western taxpayers without a fight.