Saturday, 31 January 2009

Australian Prime Minister Rudd reaches back to the 1920s for economic inspiration

I tell you who is sleeping more soundly tonight and that's former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.


Well, Whitlam's government was a shambles that wrought chaos upon Australia's economy that took many years to overcome.

Whitlam himself has long been viewed as the worst PM we've ever had (for the Seppos - think of him as an Aussie Jimmy Carter) and for good reason.

But with the current Labor PM Kevin Rudd's 8,000+ word socialist screed published in the leftist The Monthly this week Whitlam can let out as big a sigh of relief as his 92 year old body will allow now that the mantle of Australia's worst ever PM has been lifted from him by Rudd's unbelievable incompetence.

Andrew Bolt
pointed out that when Kevin Rudd was wooing the Australian public in the run up to the federal election of 2007 he described himself as an 'economic conservative'.

So how's this for economic conservatism?
KEVIN RUDD has denounced the unfettered capitalism of the past three decades and called for a new era of "social capitalism" in which government intervention and regulation feature heavily.

In an essay to be published next week, the Prime Minister is scathing of the neo-liberals who began refashioning the market system in the 1970s, and ultimately brought about the global financial crisis.

"The time has come, off the back of the current crisis, to proclaim that the great neo-liberal experiment of the past 30 years has failed, that the emperor has no clothes," he writes of those who placed their faith in the corrective powers of the market.

"Neo-liberalism and the free-market fundamentalism it has produced has been revealed as little more than personal greed dressed up as an economic philosophy. And, ironically, it now falls to social democracy to prevent liberal capitalism from cannibalising itself."

Mr Rudd writes in The Monthly that just as Franklin Roosevelt rebuilt US capitalism after the Great Depression, modern-day "social democrats" such as himself and the US President, Barack Obama, must do the same again. But he argues that "minor tweakings of long-established orthodoxies will not do" and advocates a new system that reaches beyond the 70-year-old interventionist principles of John Maynard Keynes.

"A system of open markets, unambiguously regulated by an activist state, and one in which the state intervenes to reduce the greater inequalities that competitive markets will inevitably generate," he writes.
"Social Capitalism in which government intervention and regulation feature heavily"... well that's something to look forward to. Imagine being so clueless as to refer to FDR as the man who rebuilt capitalism after the Great Depression? That beggars belief.

Rudd has hardly covered himself in glory by sacrificing $10 billion of taxpayers' money on the altar of Keynsian economics less than a couple of months ago in order to ensure the Australian economy didn't follow the rest of the world into recession.

The result?

Australia is headed for an unavoidable recession and Rudd's $10 billion giveaway has been destroyed. That's what consumption does to money.

Good work, Kev.

If Kevin Rudd wants to go back just a few years before Keynes then there was a fellow who was lionized around the world for his success in balancing the public and government need, for intervening in the economy in just the right way so as to create national prosperity that hadn't been seen before and for creating a 'model society'.

Who was this man, this giant who Churchill dubbed 'the world's greatest living lawgiver', who was lauded by Freud and Einstein, and who earned the praise of leading Fabian Socialists of the time such as H.G. Wells?

In 1927 the Literary Digest conducted an editorial survey posing the question: "Is there a dearth of great men?"

The person who topped the list, ahead of Lenin, Edison, Marconi, Orville Wright, Henry Ford and George Bernard Shaw was...

...Benito Mussolini.

I wonder whether Kevin Rudd would appreciate, intellectually, the comparison?

The way that he struts the world stage like a peacock on heat would suggest that rising to the level of 'great man' is one of his aspirations.

It was only after Italy's invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 and alliance with Hitler that Mussolini's name lost its lustre.

Is Kevin Rudd a fascist?

Obviously not...or not yet.

However, fascism can only ever be implemented by the left and for two major reasons.

Firstly, fascism is simply another form of socialism.

Secondly, only the left believes that more government is the answer to society's problems.

Every time a new law is enacted citizens lose a little bit of liberty. The left has government expansion and enacting of laws built into its DNA, which it justifies on the grounds of fairness and equality of outcome. On the other hand the right values small government, individual liberty and equality of opportunity. It's a bit hard to end up with a fascist state if those are one's principles.

It's easy to see why Keynesian economics has not withered on the vine of historical failure. Keynes' remedy to a slowing economy is government spending and if there's one thing that left wing governments don't need any encouragement to do it's increasing spending.

When the real remedy is to give tax cuts, reduce government and then wait for the market to correct itself it's easy to see why populist leaders reach for the Gospel According to Keynes when the economy slows.

With the world heading into deeply troubled waters that most of the population have never experienced, the call for governments to 'do something' is going to become a deafening roar as unemployment and inflation head towards, or above, 10%.

Who among Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and Kevin Rudd has the backbone to do what is right rather than what is popular?

None of them, as far as I can see.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 30 January 2009

Gitmo detainees. What would Che do?

The left has been bleating on for years about the 'shocking' treatment and 'illegal' detention of terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

Never mind that Alain Grignard, deputy head of Brussels' federal police anti-terrorism unit, said "At the level of the detention facilities, it is a model prison, where people are better treated than in Belgian prisons."

There is a reason that terrorists enter looking like they've caught a serious dose of anorexia and leave looking like the Michelin Man.

Now that Obama is president and has order the closure of Guantanamo within 12 months the question is what should be done with them?

The left wants to give the terrorists the same rights as US citizens and moving them to the US mainland.

Leaving aside that extraordinary position, what is a very possible outcome of doing so?

Let's imagine for a moment that one of the masterminds of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is moved to somewhere like Fort Leavenworth.

Let's suppose that his lawyer appeals that his client has been denied fair justice because he wasn't read his Miranda rights.

Then let's suppose that the court upholds the appeal and orders KSM released into the community. You'd think there'd be a heap of Americans who'd want to do him some physical damage and perhaps continue his waterboarded simulated drowning except this time without the board and without the simulation. No doubt there'd be hundreds of liberal organisations who would be prepared to protect him. Columbia University would be a good place to try if the United Nations turned him away.

Naturally, KSM would fear for his life if he were returned to his homeland.

So what does he do?

He claims political asylum...

Farfetched? Maybe, but it just goes to show that people haven't thought this whole issue through very hard.

But back to the main question.

Given that the left wants to shut down Gitmo then what should be done with the prisoners.

Is there someone who has shown the way previously on what to do to prisoners?

Someone who the left looks to for inspiration?

Someone lionized by Hollywood?

Of course there is...

...Ernesto Che Guevara.

What would Che do?

Oh, yeah.

He'd have them shot.

And then want to make sure they were dead.

Which just goes to show how leftwing positions tend to clash with themselves.

Mind you, it's worth remembering that under the Geneva Conventions the US had every right to execute them rather than send them to Gitmo.

How would China or Russia have treated them?

Or even France or Germany?

Not anywhere near as well as the United States has, that's for sure.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Climate Faithful made from 100% pure hypocrite

Has there ever been a crowd more in the do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do camp than the pack of hypocrites known as the Climate Faithful?

Seriously, Al Gore is somehow hailed as an oracle while at the same time consuming more energy than most outback towns.

Leaders all around the world preach abstinence while practising indulgence and yet are not called on it by a mainstream media apparently completely in the tank with the idea of socialising Western economies.

How, then, does one recognise a Climate Hypocrite, someone who is not prepared to lead by example by reducing their own ‘carbon footprint’?

Here are some signs:
  • They partake of carbonated drinks – soda pop, soft drinks, beer – all release CO2 into the atmosphere.
  • They drive a car instead of walking, riding a bike or taking public transport when they can. Cars are big, gassy things and even Climate Bling like the Prius still have a negative impact on the environment.
  • They travel on aircraft while whining on that we must all cut back on our overseas trips.
  • They eat imported food. Oh, dear, how could they? How could they buy food that has needed large
  • amounts of oil to transport it from a faraway place?
  • They turn on the heater or air-conditioner. I don’t care how hot or cold it is; if you’re going to be true to your climate beliefs heating and air-conditioning is out.
  • They use plastic shopping bags.
Remember, these are the same type of people for whom Chickenhawk became the insult du jour to refer to anyone who agreed with the war in Iraq but hadn’t joined the military.

So what term do we apply to this lot?

Weather hawk?

Climate rat?

Oh, that’s right, plain old hypocrite will do just fine.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Australian culture blamed for African's killing of Asian man

I have been giving the UK a decent bollocking over the last few months because of its cultural capitulation to the violent, racist, misogynist terrorism supporters and perpetrators in its midst known as the Muslim community.

However, here in Australia we have our own problems, as exhibited by the following
ridiculous story...
An African migrant who viciously bashed a father to death with a full bottle of wine in a random attack has been jailed for eight years.

Leong Lim, 45, was walking home from a pokies venue when he was attacked in a Springvale park and repeatedly hit over the head with a bottle of Passion Pop on March 3 2007.

A Victorian Supreme Court judge said on Wednesday that Australian culture was partly to blame for the attack.

The court was told the 16-year-old attacker, identified only as AO, had been drinking in the park with his friends in the lead-up to the bashing.

Mr Lim, a Malaysian father-of-four who was in Australia to make money to send to his family, died of a severe head injury.

AO also stole Mr Lim's wallet and mobile phone.

He was originally charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery.

On Wednesday, he was ordered to serve a minimum of four years in prison.

The court was told AO came to Australia from Ethiopia at the age of 12 to flee violence between troops from his homeland and Somalia.

He witnessed people being killed and his family lived in extreme poverty, the court was told.

But Victorian Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan said it was a culture of drinking alcohol AO learnt after he arrived in Australia that led to him being in the park that night.

"Drinking of this kind is more a product of our culture than the culture and background from which you come," Justice Coghlan said.

"It is imperative that our community take a stand.

"It needs to become clear to our young men and women that enjoyment of life and position in society is not to be measured or driven by ever-increasing consumption of alcohol."

Justice Coghlan described the attack on Mr Lim as "vicious and sustained".

He said AO bent over Mr Lim's body and shook it.

But Justice Coghlan said AO, who was tried as a child in the Supreme Court, had shown some remorse.

The court was told AO was convicted and fined last year in the Children's Court over a similar attack in which he seriously injured his victim. That attack happened just six days after Mr Lim's killing.

Although he ordered AO to serve a minimum of four years in prison, he will be eligible to serve the sentence in a Youth Justice Centre.
It's terrific that the piece of human excrement showed 'some' remorse, isn't it?

What has happened to society when a clearly violent individual is able to get away with murder by receiving such as short sentence?

How is it that someone who had supposedly fled violence and death should take advantage of the free society he now finds himself in to commit murder?

Why is it that when an African kills an Asian a Victorian Supreme Court Justice can still find a way to blame the attack on Australian culture?

That says far more about the culture of the court than of Australia.

The Somali and Ethiopian communities have made quite a name for themselves in Victoria for the level of violence attributed to their members, a fact that has been scandalously covered up by the Victoria Police but has come to light due to the good work of a few journalists.

And talking of communities, the fact is that these groups stick together like glue and hardly interact outside their group (apart from driving cabs, as they seem to have taken most of those jobs).

So how does it come about that in just 4 years an Ethiopian lad can be so corrupted by the Australian culture of enjoying a drink?

Where are his parents in all of this?

Why am I and my fellow law abiding, decent Australians having our names dragged through the mud for the actions of one piece of murderous crap like AO?

AO needs to be put away for the rest of his life and Justice Paul Coghlan needs a good kick in the arse.

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

How can there even be climate change skeptics?

There's been a mild kerfuffle in the climate change interested blogosphere due to retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist Dr. John S. Theon's statements on serial Climate Fraudster James Hansen and NASA's climate models.
NASA warming scientist James Hansen, one of former Vice-President Al Gore’s closest allies in the promotion of man-made global warming fears, is being publicly rebuked by his former supervisor at NASA.

Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen, NASA’s vocal man-made global warming fear soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that Hansen “embarrassed NASA” with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen was “was never muzzled.” Theon joins the rapidly growing ranks of international scientists abandoning the promotion of man-made global warming fears.

“I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made,” Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results,”

“Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress,”

Theon declared “climate models are useless.” “My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit,” Theon explained. “Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy,” he added.
etc etc

Now, if you are one of those promoting the whole climate change scam then the onus is on you to definitively prove your position.

"Assertions without proof can be dismissed without proof" - Christopher Hitchens.

With each passing day the climate change scam is being revealed for all to see and, critically, the so called evidence is crumbling faster than the Larsen Ice Shelf isn't.

For climate change to be something worth spending trillions of dollars of the world's formerly strong economy on three conditions must be proven (not theorised):

1) temperatures are rising;
2) the rise is caused primarily by man made CO2 emissions; and
3) the consequences for the planet will be catastrophic.

Nearly everyone accepts 1) but 2) and 3) are far from proven. Luckily for Climate Astrologers at NASA and elsewhere else that the Democrats have porked up the non-stimulus bill with hundreds of millions of dollars for climate models so they can be back-fitted and tweaked into proving exactly what politicians, envirofascists and financial industry players who'll make millions from trading carbon credits want to see.

But that's not the point of this post.

The point is this.

How can John Theon, a well regarded atmospheric scientist, not believe in global warming?

How is it that highly, highly qualified scientists (with higher academic qualifications than most of the Hokey Stick team, for example) do not believe in catastrophic global warming?

How is it that Roy Spencer is a skeptic?

Or Bob Carter?

Or Tim Ball?

Or John Christy?

If 'the science is settled' and the proof is so definitive then how does it come about that people such as Christy who have been involved in the collection of climate data via satellites do not believe that there's a problems?

If a spokesman for the Climate Industry would like to let me know how that's possible then I'd be most appreciative.

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 26 January 2009

Is George W Bush's speechwriter working for Obama?

While George W Bush was a disappointment to some of his supporters, especially for the increase in spending on his watch, I'm prepared to bet that Obama will be an even greater disappointment to those on the left.

He's already made a number of appointments that have sent the kooks who comment at DailyKos and HuffPo nuts with Robert Gates' extension as Defence Secretary being the most obvious; though he has appointed a few true nutjobs such as Susan Rice to the UN so the left still has some hope.

And if you think he's really different from any other president then click on the following and check out how many times past presidents used the words hope and change in an inaugural address...

Since the inauguration there has been nothing but fawning praise for what he's been saying.

But is it any different to what we've heard before?

I suspect it's the way he says it and not what he's saying.

Andrew Bolt has a list to compare...
Obama: Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.

Bush: Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists.

Obama: We will not apologise for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defence...

Bush: We will work with our friends and allies across the world to defend our way of life.

Obama: . . . the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free...

Bush: Freedom is a universal gift of almighty God.

Obama: America must play its role in ushering a new era of peace...

Bush: We can usher in a new era of enhanced prosperity and peace.

Obama: We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers ...As the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself...

Bush: America values and welcomes peaceful people of all faiths - Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and many others. Every faith is practised and protected here, because we are one country.

And, most crucially:

Obama: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more...

Bush: All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression . . . When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

Obama: To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist...

Bush: The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know to serve your people, you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.
In the end, all presidents lose popularity and it's just the degree that counts, as shown in the following graph:

You can see why the comparison to Truman is so apt. Going on popularity Truman would be ranked way down there, along with Nixon, but what he did has been shown to have been very wise and he is now ranked highly among US presidents.

What's also interesting is how high Eisenhowser was for all of his term and the Clinton became more popular (off a low starting point) as his presidency progressed in spite of telling porky pies about Monica Lewinsky.

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Sunday night rock 'n' roll covers

"Mad World" is a song by the British band Tears for Fears. Written by Roland Orzabal and sung by bassist Curt Smith, it was the band's third single release and first chart hit, reaching #3 on the UK Singles Chart in November 1982. Both "Mad World" and its b-side, "Ideas As Opiates", would turn up on the band's debut LP The Hurting the following year. The song would eventually become Tears for Fears' first international success, reaching the Top 40 in several countries between 1982 and 1983.

Two decades later, the song made a popular resurgence when it was covered by composers Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the soundtrack to the movie Donnie Darko. This version reached no.1 in the UK in December 2003.

Tears For Fears were really a very good band. Songs like Mad World, Shout and Change set them apart from other artists in the 1980s - rock music's 'lost decade'.

The Original - Tears For Fears

The Cover - Gary Jules

(Nothing Follows)

Saturday, 24 January 2009

The UK really is in the poo

I have written previously that I think it's a race between the UK and Germany as to which country will install Europe's next fascist government.

In the UK the critical factors are a failing economy with high unemployment and unchecked immigration of groups of people who see the UK not as a place of opportunity to build a better life, as in the example of the United States, but as a soft touch, one in which they don't need to integrate into society, accept its norms and contribute.

At some point this clash of cultures will lead to a similar situation in the UK as what Spain suffers with ETA - bombings, kidnappings, extortion and the like - as unassimilated immigrant groups, particularly Muslims, demand their own 'home' state within UK.

In Germany the factors are a bit different.

The combination there includes a failing economy, though it's in better shape than the UK because Germany actually builds things whereas the UK staked its future on becoming a financial services economy, high immigration and, critically, the rise of the far left as a political force.

The German people have a much less tolerant attitude to nonsense in their own backyard than do the UK or France. You'll notice that 'youths' don't go around burning 100+ cars a night in Germany. There's a reason for that.

In fact, one of the reasons is that Germany's Muslim population comes from Turkey and not from Pakistan, as in the UK, or North Africa, as in France. The Turks come from a secular culture in which religion takes second place to the state.

However, that will not stop them from getting the blame for rising unemployment if the German economy hits the skids good and proper.

Fascism can only ever be implemented off the back of left wing governments for the quite logical reason that fascism is simply another form of socialism.

Die Linke (The Left) is the rising force in Germany. It is a fair way to the left of what currently exists in the Bundestag. To get an idea of its philosophy Die Linke's constituent groups comprise: the Anticapitalist Left, the Communist Platform, the Democrat Socialist Forum, the Emancipatory Left, the Reform Left Network, the Socialist Left and Marx21.

These are not groups for whom tolerance is a natural state of being and therefore it's likely that if Die Linke manages to win government in Germany things will descend into fascism in short order.

At this stage my money is on the UK but not by much.

Consider these factors:

Britain's Economy Faces Ruin
There can come a time in the life span of a government when it suddenly loses its authority.

From that moment it is finished - unable to shape events. Thereafter it becomes a matter merely of waiting until the end.

This happened to the John Major government as the 1997 general election approached.

It was also the melancholic fate of Jim Callaghan's administration as Britain drifted towards anarchy at the end of the 1970s. Similarly, Neville Chamberlain's administration lost the ability to cope in the late spring of 1940.

And so it happens that now there is only one question on the lips of many MPs: has Gordon Brown, too, entered the exit lounge?

The decline in Brown's authority shares the same fundamental cause that lay behind the fall of both Callaghan and Major: economic incompetence.

...Since then, however, Brown has reverted to partisanship. More important, it is now evident that the initial bail-out has failed and that Britain, for the first time since the Callaghan administration 30 years ago, faces the prospect of national bankruptcy.

This terrifying predicament highlights the lack of calibre in the country's economic management.

It is now clear that Brown and his Chancellor, Alistair Darling, have made a series of fundamental mistakes.

First, it emerged this week that their £37 billion bail-out of taxpayers' money last autumn was done without the necessary groundwork needed to check the health of the banks they were rescuing.

Staggeringly, Treasury officials do not appear to have inspected the banks' loan book before committing these astronomic sums of public money.

As a result, almost all the money invested in October has now almost entirely been lost because the value of the banks has reached rock bottom and meant that this
week fresh public money had to be made available which is also being poured down the drain.

...Twelve years ago, Gordon Brown inherited from the then Tory Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke, the most benign economic situation in living memory.

Since then, however, he has squandered it. At worst, we face national insolvency and Latin-American-style inflation. At best, our living standards will fall, our public services must be cut and Britain will decline to become a middle-ranking political power.

Yet Gordon Brown still seems unable to grasp the truth. Oblivious to the national financial disaster, he believes in ever more impossible levels of public spending.

Blind to the economic realities, he thinks that Britain is 'uniquely well-placed' to ride out the recession.
Break Down Of Security
Eighty foreign killers are exploiting the chaotic asylum system to set up home in Britain, it was revealed yesterday.

The convicted murderers from Albania have been given British passports despite being officially listed as 'wanted' by Interpol.

Most slipped across the Channel from Calais to Dover hidden in the back of lorries on ferries. They used bogus names and false papers to claim asylum, often pretending to be from the war-torn Balkan republic of Kosovo.

The scandal came to light when Albania's chief of police complained that 100 criminals from his country have been granted British citizenship and now live here.

The police chief said the criminals have been allowed to stay
even though the Albanian government has informed the Home Office of the true identities of the men and their crimes, which also include rape and robbery.

Many of the convicted criminals have been living in the UK for up to ten years and have started new families here.
Employment Pressure
Ministers were criticised last night for issuing a record 151,635 work permits to foreigners as Britain slid into recession.

The document lets non-EU workers take or keep jobs here, even though hundreds of thousands of Britons are losing theirs.

Unemployment rose by 290,000 in the same period, from December 1, 2007 to November 30, 2008, to reach 1.92m - the most since September 1997.
Up to 2,500 workers a day are losing their jobs.

MPs said it made a mockery of Gordon Brown's promise in 2007 to deliver 'British jobs for British workers'.

The number of permits given to non-EU citizens is crucial to protecting British jobs as ministers have no control over the movement of EU nationals.

But rather than cutting the permits in 2008, the total increased. In 2007, when the economy was growing, 129,700 were approved. In 1997, the year Labour came to power, only 42,800 were handed out.
Muslims Want Own Communities
MUSLIMS want to create their own communities and remain segregated from British society.

A shocking 44% think they should be free to develop along separate lines.

But critics claim Muslims will create their own ghettos if they are left to their own devices.

The poll found religion has replaced race as the biggest equality issue, with six in 10 Brits thinking it is more divisive. Mass tension has grown following terror attacks from Muslim fanatics, including the 7/7 Tube bombings in 2005.

The war in Iraq has also added to divisions leaving many communities split.

But critics are fuming Muslims are refusing to fit into our way of life.

English Democrats’ chairman Robin Tilbrook said: “As far as I’m concerned, what we want to be about is having an integrated society.

“If people don’t want to integrate, they shouldn't be here.

“It’s not at all right to have what’s really a sort of ghetto situation developing – it’s going to lead to trouble.

“We can’t have a single society with lots of different rules.” Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said: “I’m not surprised because there are already Muslim enclaves all over the country. They keep themselves to themselves anyway.”

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission poll found 67% of Muslims would not be happy for their child to marry someone of a different religion. But marrying someone from a different race bothers them less, with 61% content with the idea.

The shock results come a day after commission chairman Trevor Phillips said Britain was “by far” the least racist country in Europe.
Killing For Islam
Nearly one third of Muslim students believe it can be acceptable to kill in the name of religion, according to a survey published yesterday.

It also found that 40 per cent want to see the introduction of Islamic sharia law in Britain, 40 per cent think it wrong for Muslim men and women to mix freely together, and 33 per cent want to see a worldwide Islamic government based on sharia law.

The findings were described by researchers at the Centre for Social Cohesion think tank, which commissioned the poll, as 'deeply alarming'.
Now, if someone can convince me that the UK will navigate these problems without a significant increase in social disorder then I'd be happy indeed.

The Tories will win the next UK election. They will need to implement a Thatcheresque reform program to rebuild the economy that will be unpopular with an electorate used to living in the fantasy land of government handouts. This will give Labour the chance to regroup and win power after two terms.

That will be crunch time for the UK.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 23 January 2009

What if there had not been a war in Iraq?

Many foreign policy analysts, mostly on the left but also a few on the right, see the Iraq war as the worst US foreign policy mistake since at least World War Two.

History will be quite unkind to not only these analysts but also George W Bush's opponents on the Hill who initially supported the war and then backpeddled when things when sour, claiming that they'd somehow been misled by the same intelligence reports that led to Bush's decision in the first place.

To the left the enemy was Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, as they'd carried out the attack and therefore Afghanistan is a 'just' war while Iraq is unjust and simply a cover for US imperialism/war for oil et blah.

Bush understood better than any of his critics that 9/11 was the harbinger of great danger to United States' and the free world's interests not only from Al Qaeda but also from a bevy of like minded Islamist terrorist groups.

Therefore, the answer was to take on them and their state sponsors.

But what if Bush had never taken out Saddam Hussein?

Don Surber provides a
nice analysis.
Now that the war in Iraq is won - it was in pretty good shape when President Bush left office - and a new era dawns over Baghdad, it is worth reviewing the claims by liberals that this was an unnecessary war.

Suppose there had been no war in Iraq.

Saddam Hussein would still be in charge. Abu Ghraib would still exist. Instead of placing hoods on inmates and making them stand on chairs and otherwise humiliating them, as a few disgraced troops did, inmates would be tortured, bodies mutilated and people executed by Hussein's henchmen.

Headless torsos would still be thrown on lawns in the dead of night, the Hussein equivalent of burning a cross.

And families would still be billed for the bullets that killed their loved ones

Hussein's insane sons, Oday and Qusay, would still be alive. Women would still be raped on their wedding days. Olympic teams would still be physically punished for losing a game.

Maybe Hussein would have invaded another country or two. He tried Iran and then Kuwait. Would Saudi Arabia have been next on his list?

Crooks would still be trading oil for bribes under the Oil for Food program operated by the United Nations. Billions would still be going into the wrong hands. And those German contractors would still be building bunkers for Hussein.

When it comes to bunkers, no one builds them better than the Germans.

And of course, Israel would continue to be terrorized by suicide-bombers financed by Saddam Hussein.

CNN's bureau in Baghdad would still be ignoring all this for fear of losing its bragging rights to having the only bureau in Baghdad. It was only after America liberated Iraq that Eason Jordan, then president of CNN, admitted to CNN's complicity.

The average Iraqi would still be living in fear and poverty.

But liberals would call this peace. They would still be standing up for Hussein because, after all, he is an enemy of George W. Bush, and liberals figure the enemy of mine enemy is my friend.

Look at the support Joe Stalin got from the left

I doubted all along (and my columns in 2002 reflect this) the existence of weapons of mass destruction. I had two reasons.

The first was when Sen. Robert C. Byrd said Hussein had WMD and they were supplied by American companies.

The second reason is that if Hussein had them, he would have used them.

I sided with the invasion simply because Iraqis deserved better than Saddam Hussein, a known sponsor of terrorism.

I believe in a free people.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men are created equal, he did not limit his definition to all the white male property owners in a skinny sliver of land along the Atlantic.

He meant all men. Everywhere.

The hanging of Saddam Hussein ended a reign of terror in one small nation, because his sons Oday and Qusay were sent packing long before that. Unlike Kim Jong-Il in North Korea, he had no heir.

To insist today that we should never have gone to Iraq is to say that Iraq should be like North Korea. That is stubborn, that is ignorant, and that is not liberal.

I leave readers with this thought from the Dalai Lama, as reported by the Times of India on Sunday: "I love George W. Bush."

So do I.

So should all freedom-loving people.
Amen to that.

The other point that is missed by the critics of the Iraq war is that it opened up a second front against Al Qaeda that split their resources and led to their near destruction. An action only in Afghanistan could not ever achieve this result.

For that reason I am quite bearish about the US escalating activities in Afghanistan. Large troop numbers risk being seen as an occupying force that will turn the locals against them.

(Nothing Follows)

Thursday, 22 January 2009

John Stewart spots Obama's similarity to George W Bush

You know, I don't care that John Stewart is a lefty, that he spent eight years making fun of the way George W Bush speaks (and badly, I always thought) or that he asks a dopey question the other day about why Israel can't be criticised in the media (proving that he doesn't actually read the media; but that's another story).

He is a funny guy and The Daily Show is generally great viewing.

He also has at least a modicum of honesty, which he displays here in a very funny and biting look at Obama's inauguration speech.

Obama's first official call was to terrorist Fatah leader Abbas.

He then signed an order to close Gitmo but is going to take his time doing it. What odds can I get that it's still open in a year?

Surely, that's going to give John Stewart more material to work with, as will the massive Porkathon disguised as a stimulus package.

Let's hope he continues to skewer those things that deserve skewering.

(Nothing Follows)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Good luck, President Obama

It is sheer, unbridled churlishness for those on our side of politics to not wish President Obama well over the next four years.

We leave churlishness like that to those on the other side of the aisle.

I love the whole inauguration shtick and today's inauguration was a huge event from start to finish.

Given the tension that could develop between the Supreme Court and the executive branch the fact that John Roberts mangled the oath of office while Barack Obama tried to give him a chance to get it right could be a poor omen.

To the speech and while the usual suspects were mesmerised by the President's eloquence they completely missed the fact that it was just adequate; not great and not bad.

I thought that the overall tone was a bit down. I would have focused on the magnificence of a country that could elect a black man to its highest office given its history of slavery and racism.

The highlight of Obama's speech was this:
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West -- know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
That really was great. I mentioned the other day that I thought Obama's foreign policy wouldn't look too much different to George W Bush's and I reckon I'll be right. Obama will try to pick a signature issue to solve, as all presidents do, but the foreign policy part of his speech could have come straight from any Republican since World War II.

There were a few quite low points including:
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
A 'working' government is meant to help find people jobs as a 'decent' wage? Really? 'Provide care they can afford...' sounds like socialised medicine to me and a 'retirement that is dignified' sends a signal to young taxpayers that they're going to be paying for retirees for decades to come. If all that doesn't keep the economy in depression then nothing will.

He then talked about markets:
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favours only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.
Unfortunately, nobody understands that the market spinning out of control was caused 100% by the government and Fed; one with its ridiculous requirement to give people loans they couldn't afford and the other by keeping interest rates below their market clearing rate, which created a bubble that had to burst. There's more to come, too.

This bit here got me:
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
Firstly, I wonder whether Obama's administration will face down the fascism of the Environmental movement? Seems unlikely, doesn't it?

But 'our security emanates from the justness of our cause'?!?!

What the hell is he talking about?

If security emanated from the justness of a cause then Mao, Stalin and Hitler would not have been able to murder tens of millions of innocent people...

...and Amnesty International would not exist.

He then finishes well and I've just noticed something interesting from the transcript of his speech on Australia's ABC site (with an AFP tag):

I wonder whether Obama's final line
"God bless you and God bless the United States of America."
was deliberately left out or was not included in transcripts provided to the press. I've seen a few transcripts and they all lack this final line. Seems odd given that's what he said.

So, overall an adequate speech but lacking the soaring rhetoric we've become used to.

He now has to deal with the reality of a rough world, the evil of terrorism, the threat of nuclear Iran (or Syria) not to mention an economy that's heading into depression.

Best of luck to him in his efforts to get things back on track.

(Nothing Follows)

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Thank you, Mr Bush

Dear Mr Bush,

Thank you for the grace and class you have shown from day one of your presidency in spite of the constant attacks on you from cultural elites and the mainstream media. There are many examples of this grace but the two most memorable for me have been "Tonight, I have a high privilege and distinct honor of my own — as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these words: Madam Speaker" and your recent statements wishing Mr Obama well in his presidency and his family all the best for their time in the White House.

Thank you for taking the tough decisions when they were there to be made. Through your actions you have laid the platform to make the world a safer place, which you have clearly done give that there have been no attacks on US soil since 9/11.

Thank you for appointing General David Petraeus and ordering the surge at a time when a weaker president would have crumbled to public pressure and given up.

Thank you for freeing 60 million Afghanis and Iraqis from the murderous regimes that ruined their lives and destroyed their hope.

Thank you for your resolute resistance to the ecofascists of the climate change movement whose intention is not to 'save the world' but to bring down free societies.

Thank you for supporting Israel through thick and thin in spite of the best efforts on the United Nations, terrorist organisations and their soul mates on the left who are trying to wipe it off the map.

Thank you for delivering sustained economic growth while at the same time trying to introduce regulations to limit Fannie's and Freddy's ability to wreak the financial havoc that they did at the end of your presidency.

Thank you for appointing judges Roberts and Alito who will serve long terms and help temper the influence of whomever Obama appoints to the bench by focusing on what is stated in the Constitution and not whatever position du jour that elite talking heads have taken up.

Thank you for your commitment to dealing with the AIDS problem in Africa. No other president in history, or any other world leader, has provided so much aid to help people in need in the third world.

Thank you for the massive bilateral engagements you undertook that saw relations with India, the Asia Pacific region, Mexico and Columbia become stronger to the benefit of all concerned.

Thank you for commuting the sentences of border agents Ramos and Compean, who committed no crime and did not receive a fair trial.

Best of luck to you and Laura for a happy, health future.

(Nothing Follows)

Air Force One - Outside and In

A few years ago I arrived at Canberra airport for a flight to Melbourne.

It was 5.30 in the afternoon and the airport was packed, as it always is at that time of day. However, on this day it was even busier than usual because domestic flights were delayed.

What delayed us all?

President George W Bush had been in town and Air Force One (and support aircraft) were in the process of leaving.

Canberra Airport has a 10,000 foot runway and while it can easily handle a fully laden 747 for landing it's much more difficult to get one out of the place.

As Air Force One taxied to the end of the runway and out of my sight I took up the best vantage point I could.

I heard it fire up its engines to full throttle and shortly afterwards appear from behind the terminal on its take off roll.

The wings on a 747 are so wide that the outside engines sit over the sides of the Canberra airport runway meaning that huge amounts of dust and grass were being kicked up into the air by the mighty plane's engines. As it was going on dusk the combination of setting sun, grass, dust and thundering aircraft made a terrific spectacle.

The nose pulled up near the end of the runway and it began a slow, slow climb out of the nation's capital the like of which I had never seen.

To round out the entertainment it was followed by two other 747s packed with support staff, journalists and vehicles.

To this aircraft aficionado it was a great day and well worth the hour and a half delay.

I read the other day that the President's pilot is also retiring from the Air Force after taking what will then be ex-President Bush back to Texas. Apparently, it's convention and the First Officer then becomes the new President's pilot.

Wanting to know more about Air Force One I went hunting on Youtube and came up with the following clips that are well worth watching.

Air Force One Tour: The Outside

Air Force One Tour: The Inside

Air Force One: Reporters tag along

That last one is also interesting, as it shows how well treated the journalists are.

And how much fun will it be for the Obama's kids to travel on Air Force One?

I'd like one of my own (Air Force One, that is).

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 19 January 2009

TARP sure smells like PORK to me

Like a lot of people I thought that TARP stood for Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Who would have thought that at the beginning of the financial crisis it would become the Incompetent Liabilities Pork Program?

There's a great new website that I encourage you all to visit

They've taken the PDF files of the stimulus package and put them in one easy to search location.

Check out how US taxpayers' money is being spent. Remember that this is to avert a crisis.
Provided further, That in awarding competitive funds, the Secretary shall give priority to projects that will spur construction and rehabilitation and will create employment opportunities for low-income and unemployed persons. COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FUND For an additional amount for ‘‘Community Development Fund’’ $1,000,000,000, to carry out the community development block grant program under title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (13 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.)
That's right, folks. A billion dollars for ACORN and similar organisations. No doubt they will all be working hard to get Obama re-elected in 2012 so they can get another billion. And not one sustainable job created.
For an additional amount for ‘‘Capital and Debt Service Grants to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation’’ (Amtrak) to enable the Secretary of Transportation to make capital grants to Amtrak as authorized by section 101(c) of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–432), $800,000,000: Provided, That priority shall be given to projects for the repair, rehabilitation, or upgrade of railroad assets or infrastructure: Provided further, That none of the funds under this heading shall be used to subsidize the operating losses of Amtrak.
And here's $800 million for one of the greatest burdens out there, Amtrak. Note that the money is to be used for upgrades and not to subsidise losses. The joke is that it allows Amtrak to divert maintenance funds to the bottom line and use TARP money for the infrastructure work. Again, no sustainable jobs created.
Subtitle C—Education DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION EDUCATION FOR THE DISADVANTAGED For an additional amount for ‘‘Education for the Disadvantaged’’ to carry out title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (‘‘ESEA’’), $13,000,000,000: Provided, That $5,500,000,000 shall be available for targeted grants under section 1125 of the ESEA, of which $2,750,000,000 shall become available on July 1, 2009, and shall remain available through September 30, 2010, and $2,750,000,000 shall become available on July 1, 2010, and shall remain available through September 30, 2011: Provided further, That $5,500,000,000 shall be available for education finance incentive grants under section 1125A of the ESEA, of which $2,750,000,000 shall become available on July 1, 2009, and shall remain available through September 30, 2010, and $2,750,000,000 shall become available on July 1, 2010, and shall remain available through September 30, 2011: Provided further, That $2,000,000,000 shall be for school improvement grants under section 1003(g) of the...
My eyes are watering. Here's a huge handout to one of the Democrat's primary supporters - the Teachers' Union.
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION OPERATIONS, RESEARCH, AND FACILITIES For an additional amount for ‘‘Operations, Research, and Facilities’’, $400,000,000, for habitat restoration and mitigation activities. PROCUREMENT, ACQUISITION AND CONSTRUCTION For an additional amount for ‘‘Procurement, Acquisition and Construction’’, $600,000,000, for accelerating satellite development and acquisition, acquiring climate sensors and climate modeling capacity, and establishing climate data records: Provided further, That not less than $140,000,000 shall be available for climate data modeling.
James Hansen and his band of Merry Modelers will be thrilled with that. Clearly, Congress used a Hansen model to create the funding and a zero or two got added to the end.
ENERGY EFFICIENT FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE FLEET PROCUREMENT For capital expenditures and necessary expenses of the General Services Administration’s Motor Vehicle Acquisition and Motor Vehicle Leasing programs for the acquisition of motor vehicles, including plug-in and alternative fuel vehicles, $600,000,000.
All that and not one sustainable job yet created.

This is the greatest pork barrel in the history of the world.

Failed companies get bailed out.

Well managed companies not only get nothing but have competitors who have the unfair advantage of government backing.


Unfortunately for them, it's the wide-eyed, idealistic youngsters who are so adoring of Mr Obama that are going to have to foot the bill.

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Sunday night rock 'n' roll covers

"Mr. Tambourine Man" is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan and featured on his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home, produced by Tom Wilson. After Dylan wrote it, he produced a demo in December of 1964, which The Byrds' version is based on. It was a number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 by The Byrds, recorded on January 20, 1965, before the release of Dylan's own version. The single arrived in the shops on April 12, 1965, and was later included on their debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, released around the time the single topped the charts. The album brought the folk rock sound into mainstream American consciousness.

The song as sung by The Byrds is #79 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. As sung by Bob Dylan it is listed as #106 on the same list. It was one of three songs to place twice, with "Walk This Way" by both Aerosmith and Run-DMC with Perry and Tyler, and "Blue Suede Shoes" by both Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley.

The Original - Bob Dylan

Great Cover - The Byrds

(Nothing Follows)

OK. After that little aside I should be back regularly!

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last week.

My time was taken up by an unforeseen situation that has worked out fine.

(Nothing Follows)

Monday, 12 January 2009

The United Nations - the world's worst institution

In this time of conflict in the Middle East it's timely to remind people of why the United Nations is my #1 institution that ruins the world. Originally posted in February 2007. How sad that the place is even worse now than then...

#1 - The United Nations

...And to the surprise of absolutely nobody, the United Nations in my number one institution that ruins the world. It's not even close, either, the UN wins by further than Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes.

The Preamble to the UN Charter states:

  • to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
  • to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,


Now, if good people, earnest and strong in their belief to make a difference to the world, were to get together today to create a new organisation that actually does some good then you'd have to think that it wouldn't have a much different set of goals than does the UN.

How has it come about that the UN is now such a hopelessly corrupt, racist and destructive institution? The short answer is that these traits are the end result of socialist ideology practised to their full extent. In that regard it is similar to the EU or USSR; power without accountability leads to totalitarian institutions.

In October 2006 the Heritage Foundation hosted a speech by Dr Nile Gardiner, Director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre For Freedom, which provides some very succinct analysis of the decline of the UN.

Human Rights Failures

The United Nations has let down millions of the world's weakest and most vulnerable people in Africa and the Balkans. The U.N.'s failure to prevent the slaughter of thousands of Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 and the mass kill­ing of hundreds of thousands of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 are shameful episodes that will haunt the United Nations for generations.

There are echoes today of Bosnia and Rwanda in the killing fields of Darfur in the Sudan, a trag­edy that the U.N. initially refused to categorize as genocide. Over 200,000 people have lost their lives, many of them at the hands of the Janjaweed militias, backed by the Sudanese government. Sudan, a country with an appalling human rights track record, was an active member of the now-defunct U.N. Commission on Human Rights from 2002 to 2005. It used its membership to help block censure from the United Nations. Zimba­bwe, another African country with a horrific record of abusing the rights of its citizens, sat on the council from 2003 to 2005.

The commission reached its low point in 2003 when Libya was elected chairman with the backing of 33 members, with just three countries voting against. It was eventually replaced amidst much fanfare in 2006 by the new United Nations Human Rights Council. Unfortunately, the 47-seat body is not a significant improvement over its hugely dis­credited predecessor. The council's lack of member­ship criteria renders it open to participation and manipulation by the world's worst human rights abusers. Tyrannical regimes such as Burma, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Zimbabwe all voted in favor of establishing the council in the face of strong U.S. opposition. The brutal North Korean dictatorship also gave the council its ringing endorsement. When council elections were held in May, leading human rights abusers Algeria, China, Cuba, Paki­stan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia were all elected.

The United States was right in its decision not to seek a seat on a council tainted by the odor of despo­tism and tyranny. While making every effort to push for reform within the U.N., the United States must seek the creation of a complementary human rights body outside of the U.N. system that would be com­posed solely of democratic states that adhere to the basic principles of individual liberty and freedom.

Who among you in the general population was aware that the UN Human Rights Council, and formerly the Commission, was run by the actual despots whose activities that it was meant to oversee? Makes it pretty easy to understand why nothing gets done in Africa, doesn't it?

UNESCO and Hugo Chávez

The Human Rights Council is far from being the only U.N. body to serve as a platform for despots and dictators. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) awarded its 2005 José Martí International Prize to Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Cuban president Fidel Castro per­sonally handed the award to his leading imitator as an estimated 200,000 people in Revolution Plaza watched. The Martí prize is intended to recognize those who have contributed to the "struggle for lib­erty" in Latin America. Chávez is clearly not among this group, and the award was a major embarrass­ment to the United Nations, illustrating a long­standing lack of moral clarity within the world body on issues of individual freedom and liberty.

Founded after the Second World War, UNESCO was established "to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world."

What sort of organisation is it that recognises people like Chavez who drive their own people even further into poverty while strutting the world stage like a preening chicken? What sort of organisation is it that Chavez can turn up to a General Assembly and refer to the President of the United States as 'the Devil'? Regardless what you think of people the UN is either a place of respect or it isn't.

Peacekeeping Failures: The Congo Peacekeep­ing Scandal

The U.N.'s human rights failure has been compounded by a series of peacekeeping scan­dals, from Bosnia to Burundi to Sierra Leone. By far the worst instances of abuse have taken place in the Congo, the U.N.'s second largest peacekeeping mis­sion, with 16,000 peacekeepers.

In the Congo, acts of barbarism have been perpe­trated by United Nations peacekeepers and civilian personnel entrusted with protecting some of the weakest and most vulnerable women and children in the world. Personnel from the U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) stand accused of at least 150 major human rights violations. This is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg: The scale of the problem is likely to be far greater.

The crimes involve rape and forced prostitution of women and young girls across the country, including inside a refugee camp in the town of Bunia in north­eastern Congo. The alleged perpetrators include U.N. military and civilian personnel from Nepal, Morocco, Tunisia, Uruguay, South Africa, Pakistan, and France. The victims are defenseless refugees— many of them children—who have already been brutalized and terrorized by years of war and who looked to the U.N. for safety and protection.

The sexual abuse scandal in the Congo makes a mockery of the U.N.'s professed commitment to upholding basic human rights. U.N. peacekeepers and the civilian personnel who work with them should be symbols of the international community's commitment to protecting the weak and innocent in times of war. The exploitation of some of the most vulnerable people in the world—refugees in a war-ravaged country—is a shameful episode and a massive betrayal of trust.

"...acts of barbarism have been perpe­trated by United Nations peacekeepers and civilian personnel entrusted with protecting some of the weakest and most vulnerable women and children in the world." Kofi Annan's reponse? "Deep concern." What is it with this guy and his varying levels of concern? No action but lots of concern, that's for sure.

Corruption: The-Oil-for-Food Scandal

The scandal surrounding the U.N.-administered Oil-for-Food Program has also done immense damage to the world organization's already shaky credibility. The Oil-for-Food scandal is undoubtedly the biggest scan­dal in the history of the United Nations and probably the largest financial fraud in modern times. It has shattered the illusion that the U.N. is the arbiter of moral authority in the international sphere.

Oil for Food became the hottest investigative issue on Capitol Hill in a generation. Investigators exam­ined huge amounts of evidence relating to corrup­tion, fraud, and bribery on an epic scale; French and Russian treachery; and the attempts of a brutal total­itarian regime to manipulate members of the U.N. Security Council.

Set up in the mid-1990s as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, the U.N.-run Oil-for-Food Program was subverted and manipu­lated by Saddam Hussein's regime, allegedly with the complicity of U.N. officials, to help prop up the Iraqi dictator. Saddam's dictatorship was able to siphon off billions of dollars from the program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil, and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq—all under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats.

The 18-month, $34 million U.N.-appointed Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) documented a huge amount of evidence regarding manipulation of the $60 billion program by the Saddam Hussein regime with the complicity of more than 2,200 companies in 66 countries as well as a number of prominent international politicians. The three-member committee was chaired by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. The other two committee members were South African Justice Richard Goldstone and Swiss profes­sor of criminal law Mark Pieth.

According to the IIC's report, "Oil surcharges were paid in connection with the contracts of 139 compa­nies and humanitarian kickbacks were paid in con­nection with the contracts of 2,253 companies." Companies accused of paying kickbacks to the Iraqi regime include major global corporations such as DaimlerChrysler, Siemens, and Volvo. The Saddam Hussein regime received illicit income of $1.8 billion under the Oil-for-Food Program. $228.8 million was derived from the payment of surcharges in connec­tion with oil contracts. $1.55 billion came through kickbacks on humanitarian goods.

The 500-page report painted an ugly tableau of bribery, kickbacks, corruption, and fraud on a glo­bal scale. It amply demonstrates how the Iraqi dic­tator generously rewarded those who supported the lifting of U.N. sanctions on Iraq and who paid lip-service to his barbaric regime. Oil-for-Food became a shameless political charade through which Sadd­am Hussein attempted to manipulate decision-mak­ing at the U.N. Security Council by buying the support of influential figures in countries such as Russia and France.

The evidence presented was comprehensive, damning, and a wake-up call to those who naively believed that the Saddam Hussein regime could be trusted to comply with U.N. sanctions. Saddam's multibillion-dollar fraud, carried out with the com­plicity of prominent political figures across Europe as well as thousands of international companies, was halted only by the liberation of Iraq by the Unit­ed States and Great Britain, in the face of deter­mined opposition by France and Russia. It is not difficult to see why powerful political interests in Paris and Moscow were so fundamentally opposed to a war that would open the archives of Baghdad to close scrutiny and subsequently cause huge politi­cal embarrassment.

The report should prompt widespread soul-searching within the United Nations, whose admin­istrators turned a blind eye to massive wrongdoing in a humanitarian program designed to help the weakest and most vulnerable in Iraq. The fact that the Baathist regime was able to get away with such a vast scandal under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats, and in some cases with their complicity, represents both spectacular incompetence and extremely poor leadership at the top of the world body.

The overall IIC investigation should not, though, be viewed as the final say on the Oil-for-Food scan­dal. It should be seen as an important but at times flawed and incomplete inquiry that left many ques­tions unanswered in relation to the role of senior U.N. officials, including Kofi Annan and his chief aide, Iqbal Riza.

According to the second interim report released by the Volcker Committee, Iqbal Riza, Kofi Annan's chief of staff, authorized the shredding of thousands of U.N. documents between April and December 2004. Among these documents were the entire U.N. Chef de Cabinet chronological files for 1997, 1998, and 1999—many of which related to the Oil-for-Food Program. Riza approved this destruction just 10 days after he had personally written to the heads of nine U.N.-related agencies that administered the Oil-for-Food Program in Northern Iraq, requesting that they "take all necessary steps to collect, preserve and secure all files, records and documents…relating to the Oil-for-Food Programme." The destruction con­tinued for more than seven months after the Secre­tary-General's June 1, 2004, order to U.N. staff members "not to destroy or remove any documents related to the Oil-for-Food programme that are in their possession or under their control, and to not instruct or allow anyone else to destroy or remove such documents."

Significantly, Kofi Annan announced the retire­ment of Mr. Riza on January 15, 2005—the same day that Riza notified the Volcker Committee that he had destroyed the documents. Riza was immedi­ately replaced by Mark Malloch Brown, Administra­tor of the U.N. Development Programme. Riza was chief of staff from 1997 to 2004, almost the entire period of the Oil-for-Food Program's operation, and undoubtedly possessed intricate knowledge of the U.N.'s management of it. He was a long-time col­league of Kofi Annan and served as Annan's deputy in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations from 1993 to 1996.

The destruction of highly sensitive documents by Iqbal Riza was an obstruction of justice that demands congressional investigation. It gave the impression of a major cover-up at the very heart of the United Nations and cast a dark cloud over the Secretary-General's credibility. It projected an image of impunity, arrogance, and unaccountability on the part of the leadership of the United Nations.

The Volcker investigation may have ended, but several other major inquiries will continue to gain momentum and reveal new findings relating to the Oil-for-Food scandal. These include the leading investigations on Capitol Hill, led by the House International Relations Committee and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in addition to the Department of Justice inquiry. It will be many months, even years, before the full extent of the corruption and mismanagement within the United Nations is completely exposed.

An unelected, undemocratic organisation with a questionable history of openness and integrity (do some research on former Secretary Boutros Boutros Ghali; you'll be shocked at what he got up to) is managing a multi-billion dollar program and people are surprised that it's completely corrupt? The French and Russians were the most vocal opponents of taking real action against Iraq and it transpires that they were the countries with their snouts most firmly in the trough? The French really are the pits; they have long been the worst country in the world in terms of inflicting damage through unprincipled self interest.

Questions About the U.N. Tsunami Relief Effort

The Oil-for-Food Program is one of several U.N. operations to raise major concerns over trans­parency and accountability. The U.N.'s much-vaunted tsunami relief operation has also sparked doubts regarding the U.N.'s ability to manage a huge humanitarian project.

The tsunami disaster which struck large sec­tions of Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Afri­ca on December 26, 2004, claimed some 231,000 lives and displaced 2 million people. It prompted an outpouring of humanitarian help from around the world, with an estimated total of $13.6 billion in aid pledged, including $6.16 billion in govern­ment assistance, $2.3 billion from international financial institutions, and $5.1 billion from indi­viduals and companies.

The huge international relief effort was co-coor­dinated by the United Nations and involved an astonishing 39 U.N. agencies, from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO).

When the U.N. took over the tsunami relief oper­ation in early 2005, the world body pledged full transparency, in light of its disastrous handling of the Iraq Oil-for-Food Program. The U.N.'s Under-Secre­tary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Jan Egeland, boasted in an opinion editorial that "only the UN has the universal legitimacy, capacity, and credibility to lead in a truly global humanitarian emergency."Egeland had earlier criticized the U.S. contribution to the tsunami relief effort as "stingy."

An investigation by the Financial Times, however, raised serious questions regarding the U.N.'s han­dling of the tsunami relief effort, in particular the way in which it spent the first $590 million of its $1.1 billion disaster "flash appeal." The appeal included nearly $50 million from the United States. The two-month FT inquiry revealed that "as much as a third of the money raised by the UN for its tsu­nami response was being swallowed up by salaries and administrative overheads." In contrast, Oxfam, a British-based private charity, spent just 10 percent of the tsunami aid money it raised on administrative costs.

Unable to obtain figures from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the FT approached several U.N. agencies directly to establish exact numbers for tsunami relief expendi­ture. Many "declined or ignored" requests for infor­mation, while others offered incomplete data. The newspaper found that of the $49 million spent by the World Health Organization as part of the tsuna­mi appeal, 32 percent had been spent on "personnel costs, administrative overheads, or associated ‘mis­cellaneous' costs." At the World Food Program, 18 percent of the $215 million spent by the agency went toward "staff salaries, administrative over­heads and vehicles and equipment. The Financial Times concluded that:

A year after the tsunami, pledges of trans­parency and accountability for the UN's ap­peal appear a long way from being realized. This is primarily blamed on dueling UN bu­reaucracies and accounting methods plus what in many cases appears to be institu­tional paranoia about disclosure.

Australia was second only to the United States in terms of its relief effort and had the highest per-capita contribution of all countries. People would be thrilled to bits to find that this bureaucratically bloated catastrophe of an organisation was spending one-third of all donations on itself.


The United States should call for a Security Coun­cil–backed, fully independent investigation into the MONUC abuse scandal, to cover all areas of the MONUC operation. In addition, there should be independent investigations launched into allegations of abuse by U.N. personnel in other U.N. peacekeep­ing operations, including Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Burundi. Fully independent commis­sions of inquiry should handle all future investiga­tions into human rights abuses by U.N. personnel.

The United States government should pressure U.N. member states to prosecute their nationals accused of human rights violations while serving as U.N. peacekeepers. The U.N. should lift diplomatic immunity for its own staff accused of criminal acts in the Congo, opening the way for prosecution. The Security Council should exclude countries whose peacekeepers have a history of human rights viola­tions from future operations. The U.N. should pub­licly name and shame those countries whose peacekeepers have carried out abuses in the Congo.

The U.N. should make publicly available all internal reports relating to the Congo scandal and outline the exact steps it plans to take to prevent the sexual exploitation of refugees in both existing and future U.N. peacekeeping operations. Serious con­sideration should be given to the establishment of an elite training academy for U.N. peacekeeping commanders. This effort should be backed by the U.N. Security Council.

Hold on. Isn't living in a more peaceful world one of the UN's Charter statements? It would be nice to see them actually DO something that ensure peace.

Human Rights

In an ideal world, membership in the United Nations should be restricted to free democracies. According to Freedom House, just 89 of the U.N.'s 192 member states are "fully free" (i.e., 46 percent). There can be little doubt, though, that any attempt to limit membership in the U.N. would be strongly opposed by the G-77 countries. U.S. interests are best served at present by building an alliance of democracies within the U.N. as well as developing human rights structures outside of the United Nations.

As human rights scholar Joseph Loconte has argued, Congress should appoint an independent Human Rights Ambassador to head a new U.S. Commission on Human Rights. It could be mod­eled on the U.S. Commission on International Reli­gious Freedom, a quasi-governmental group that monitors religious liberty abroad and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.

The United States should mobilize a "Democracy Caucus" to protect human rights and expand dem­ocratic freedoms. The new U.S. Human Rights Ambassador would lobby other governments in the fledgling Community of Democracies, founded in 2000 in Warsaw, to establish their own human rights commissioners and advisory bodies. They must be a morally serious coalition of the willing— operating both within and outside the official U.N. system—that offers a bright alternative to the exist­ing Human Rights Council.

Given the undeniable fact that democratic countries with free markets, free speech, freedom of the press enjoy better health, have longer life expectancies, a high standard of living and lower environmental impact than dictatorships and other totalitarian regimes, it makes complete sense that in order to achieve the goals of the UN's own Charter its members should pursue a democratic path. How is it that representatives from undemocratic countries have an equal voting weight to democracies? How does that advance the world?

For being the most corrupt and ineffective international organisation, one that goes nowhere near to living up to its ideals, whose only priorities seem to be destroying Israel and damaging the United States, whose approach to African genocides is to be 'deeply concerned' and that gives an international stage to lunatics like Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Mugabe and Castro, the United Nations takes the #1 position on my list of 10 Institutions That Ruin The World.

#2 - The European Union
#3 - Expansionist Islam
#4 - The Environmental Movement
#5 - The Mainstream Media
#6 - Education Institutions and Education Unions
#7 - Government
#8 - The Social Justice Movement
#9 - The Peace Movement
#10 - The Intelligent Design Movement, Discovery Institute

(Nothing Follows)