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Monthly Archives: October 2009

It’s bad enough that the War on Terror has been reduced to “Overseas Contingency Operations.” Now the UN has come up with a report urging us to fight terrorists with Overseas Gender Operations.

You can read all about it in this Fox News article on “U.N. Report Demands Repeal of Counter-Terrorism Laws to Promote ‘Gender Equality.’ ” This is yet another product of the same UN Human Rights Council which in April brought us the Durban Review Conference in Geneva (with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a star speaker) and recently  adopted the Goldstone Report on conflict between Israelis and Hamas in Gaza (with a Human Rights Council resolution slamming Israel and excusing the terrorists of Hamas).

The author of this UN report, Finnish law professor Martin Scheinin, wants counter-terrorism policies replaced with gender-equality policies at all costs, such as loosening terror-financing restrictions to help organizations that promote gender equality. In Afghanistan, he wants an end to force and a new policy responsive to the concerns of  “women, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex individuals in local contexts.”

With the UN at the center of U.S. foreign policy, we may never defeat Al Qaeda, but we can go forwad with confidence that every effort is being made to ensure the ranks of terrorists worldwide include not only women, but a full complement of every gender permutation dreamt of in Martin Scheinen’s counter-terrorism philosophy. Just another case of your tax dollars, and UN diplomacy, at work.

Good News on a Bad Story

October 23rd, 2009 - 2:24 am

It’s unusual enough these days to qualify as a man-bites-dog story, but in the Obama White House war on Fox News, four other MSM TV networks finally got something right. The administration tried to knock Fox out of a pool interview Thursday with White House pay czar Kenneth Feinberg. The networks closed ranks and told the administration they would refuse the interview unless Fox was included. Credit to CNN, NBC/MSNBC, ABC and CBS.

In the assault by America’s own government on America’s freedoms, that’s a skirmish won for free speech. But then we get to the story the networks were trying to cover, before the administration’s attempt to exile Fox turned the pool coverage itself into a story.  The interview was full of bad news for free markets. A Wall Street Journal editorial today sums it up: “Our New Paymasters: Wage controls are politically easier than genuine reforms.” The government bails out, regulates, and then decides who may get paid how much. The Journal correctly concludes: “Once politicians feel free to regulate executive pay for one industry, it is no great leap to do it for everyone.”

First They Came for Fox News…

October 19th, 2009 - 1:11 am

You don’t have to love Fox News to see how dangerous it is when the President of the United States gives his staff and advisers a green light to single out and denigrate by name a specific news organization. As we surely all know by now, this is what the White House has been doing to Fox.

The Sunday morning talk shows just brought us White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod opining to George Stephanopoulos, on ABC’s “This Week,” that Fox is “Really – not news — it’s pushing a point of view.” Axelrod advised that ABC and other non-Fox outlets take his cue and expunge Fox from the brethren of news services: “And the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way, and we’re not going to treat them that way.” Meanwhile, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was hammering home the same message, that Fox “is not a news organization so much as it has a perspective,” and urging “More importantly is not have [sic] the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization… .”

This would be a very good moment for all those other news organizations — CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, the newspapers and the news web sites – to offer President Obama the perspective that it is utterly inappropriate for White House personnel to be opining publicly on the overall fitness of specific news outlets. The president has sworn to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That includes protecting free speech, not dispatching White House staff and advisers to hold forth publicly as media critics denouncing news outlets they don’t like.

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For Nepotism, Dial U-N-J-O-B-$-$

October 14th, 2009 - 9:13 pm

Over at United Nations, lynchpin of America’s new Nobel-prize-winning multilateralism, it’s shaping up as the Year of Nepotism — again. Inner-City Press reports that the new president of the General Assembly, Libya’s Ali Treki, has his daughter, Amal Ali Treki, working in his UN office.

As Inner-City further notes, this follows the previous president of the UN General Assembly, Nicaragua’s Miguel d’Escoto Brockman, hiring a niece and nephew (Michael Clark, who likes the idea of a world without money) during his 2008-2009 stint presiding over the Parliament of Man.

This comes on top of the UN Development Program biting-and-nepotism ruckus earlier this year; while Inner-City’s questions about the ascent at the UN of Ban Ki-Moon’s son-in-law apparently remain lost in the labyrinth.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Mission to the UN has been promising to bring to America’s dealings with the UN — have you heard this before? — “high expectations for its performance and accountability,” including “financial accountability, transparency, ethics and internal oversight“…etc…. etc…. etc. Maybe the Obama adminstration should think smaller, and start simply by assembling, and releasing for the perusal of U.S. taxpayers, a directory of all family relationships in the UN system.

What Price for Obama’s Nobel Prize?

October 9th, 2009 - 11:57 am

What do the Norwegian Nobel arbiters expect to collect from President Barack Obama? They have just awarded him a peace prize which Obama himself suggests was extended on credit — or so he implied in telling reporters Friday morning that he wasn’t sure he’d done enough to deserve it.

But the Nobel Norwegians express not only their hope that he will play out their fantasies, but their confidence that he is “now the world’s leading spokesman” for their preferred “international policy and attitudes.”

Who are these folks issuing Obama a prize on credit to steer America along their preferred course? The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of five Norwegians, whose members are appointed by the parliament of Norway. Ever heard of Thorbjorn Jagland? Active for decades in the Socialist International, a collectivist who navigated a long series of embarrassing moments in Norwegian politics to become current Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Jagland now heads the Norwegian Nobel Committee. His fellow members who have just issued this Nobel IOU to a sitting American president are — are we ready for global policy guided by this crowd? – Kaci Kullman Five, Sissel Marie Ronbeck, Inger-Marie Ytterhorn and Agot Valle.

What, more specifically, might they be expecting of Obama? For starters, Norway, along with neighboring Sweden and Denmark, has been banging the drum for America to hand over to the United Nations enormous control over and constraints upon the U.S. economy, in the name of (warming/cooling/take-your-pick) climate change. Thus did Norway’s Nobel committee bestow its favors in 2007 on Al Gore and the UN’s Self-Interested Panel of Politically Corrupted Science — excuse me, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And this December the UN is convening a big climate conference in Copenhagen, with which the U.N. hopes to “seal” its growth-stunting UN-enriching climate “deal.”

Whatever Obama’s instincts to sign on wholesale, one might hope they would be balanced by the realities of the huge cost and burden this would impose on Americans. This is what hangs in the balance for the overlapping crew of U.N. and Scandinavian gurus who have carved out a profitable niche for themselves as doom-saying oracles of world weather. If Obama was in any way put off by the Olympic slap in Copenhagen last week, Norway has just handed him a feel-good consolation prize; a message that he can return to Scandinavia without losing face.

More broadly, Norway’s Nobel grandees have presented themselves in recent years as cheerleaders for some of the UN’s more grossly embarrassing performances. Recall the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the UN and its former secretary-general, Kofi Annan, in 2001 — during the period in which, with Annan at the helm, Oil-for-Food mushroomed into the most massively corrupt endeavor in the history of humanitarian relief. And of course there was the Nobel in 2006 for the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei – who, if he deserves any award, really ought to get one from Tehran for his convenient and apparently endless existential doubts over the Iranian bomb program.  

For more than 60 years, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and for that matter the rest of Western Europe, have basked in relative peace. This is not thanks to the conversational charms of select members of the Norwegian parliament. America’s system of individualism and free enterprise produced the wealth and — yes — the weapons that went into winning both World War II and the Cold War. Americans have fought and died in a series of wars to keep the totalitarian shadows at bay. Americans are at the forefront of those fighting and dying along those same front lines today, notably in Afghanistan – where Norway is part of the coalition, but among those serving, 869 Americans have died, versus 4 Norwegians (even taking into account Norway’s much smaller population, this means that, proportionally, more than three times as many Americans have sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan than have Norwegians). And this is part of a broader conflict, with flashpoints ahead that years of dialogue, U.N. resolutions and Nobel prattle have all failed so far to defuse.

America, in the course of defending its own freedoms, has long extended to the likes of Norway, Denmark and Sweden a protective umbrella. Under that shelter, too many Europols have come to believe that peace is a function of nothing more than talk and hope and dreams and …premature prizes.

Obama said on Friday morning that he will accept this award as “a call to action.” Action on whose behalf? The five Norwegians who make up the Nobel peace prize committee chose to give him this award, for their own purposes. Obama, and America, owe them nothing. The real hope is that Obama will remember he took an oath (twice) not to serve as global spokesman for the Norwegian Nobel Committee, but ”to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Before his presidency is over, keeping faith with that oath may require him to do things would knock the stuffing out of the featherbed philosophy of this sanctimonious crowd of Scandinavian free-riders.

Olympic Boost for U.S. Foreign Policy

October 2nd, 2009 - 10:29 am

Rio beats out Chicago for the 2016 Olympics, in the first round of voting, no less – despite the hands-on, closeup and personal fly-by from President Barack Obama himself. This is the best shocker to hit the White House since Obama took office.

Why? A Drudge Report headline sums it up: “The Ego Has Landed.”

So much for Obama’s starry-eyed assumption that by flashing a smile and reaching out his hand, he can prevail in the global arena. It’s a world of often-competing interests, some far more horrendous than the prospect of the Olympics going to Rio. Iran is right now taking America and U.S. allies for an enriched-uranium ride, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez has been making common cause in America’s backyard with the likes of both Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi (Here’s my Forbes.com column this week, on “Despots are happy to cooperate – with each other”), and Russia and China are getting a lot of big, bad ideas about how far they can push their own undemocratic agendas without the U.S. pushing back.

To whatever extent this Olympic decision in Copenhagen brings Obama’s thinking down to earth, and grounds much bigger matters of foreign policy in the realities of world politics, this is an Olympic win for the United States.