Tag Archives: Dictatorship

U.S. taxpayers pay $3 billion to United Nations budget

Secretary of State John Kerry, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (center) and United States National Security Advisor Susan Rice
National Security Advisor Susan Rice, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Secretary of State John Kerry

CNS News has the story on how much we give the United Nations.

Excerpt:

American taxpayers will once again be liable for more than one-fifth of the United Nations’ regular budget next year, as well as more than one-quarter of the much-larger peacekeeping budget – a total of approximately $2,957,000,000.

[…]U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power tweeted her congratulations to the U.S. team involved in committee haggling over the budget – or what she described as “tough negotiations to secure more fair UN budget to slow growing costs & take steps to streamline UN ops.”

[…]There are 193 U.N. member-states. When decisions are made on the U.N. budget, the U.S. has the same (one) vote as does every other member, despite the size of its contribution. America’s 22 percent contribution comes with no more weight in the budget process than the 0.001 percent paid by the lowest-assessed nations.

We’re paying the bill, but other nations – often with gross human rights abuses – are calling the tunes. What kinds of tunes are they calling?

Well, they are promoting abortion, for one.

Life News explains:

The United Nations’ treaty monitoring body for the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) ignored the pro-life laws of four countries under review during its recent 55th session and strongly urged the countries to change their laws or policies on abortion, despite the fact that the treaty does not mention abortion.

And the United Nations is very concerned with promoting gay rights, too.

Life Site News explains:

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon promised that homosexual and transgender rights would advance at the United Nations despite the strain it will cause within the organization and between states.

[…]“This is not just a personal commitment, it is an institutional commitment,” he said, promising that he would “continue to fight” and that he would be the “first of many” Secretary Generals to take up LGBT rights, as part of the UN’s “sacred mission” to promote human rights.

Now for those who are more concerned about fiscal issues than social issues, you shouldn’t like the United Nations either.

Here’s a column by Claudia Rossett in The Tower:

The results range from Security Council paralysis to watered-down resolutions that too often fail to solidly reflect U.S. interests. This has not been helped by U.S. policies outlined by President Obama when he told the UN General Assembly in 2009 that “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation” and “No balance of power among nations will hold.” Far from taking this as an inspiration to live in brotherly peace and fill the communal pot, some of the more opportunistic UN member states appear to have received it as an invitation to grab whatever they can get. Russia and China have been ever more aggressively pursuing anti-American interests, including increasing engagement with terror-sponsoring Iran and actively preventing action to stop the atrocities in Syria. Following a spate of Security Council sanctions resolutions meant to stop Iran’s rogue nuclear program, in 2006, 2007, and 2008, the Council has not produced another since 2010. When civil war engulfed Syria starting in 2011, Russia blocked Security Council action for more than two years, until finally, in Sept., 2013, the U.S. deferred to a Russia-brokered deal to relieve Syria’s Assad regime of its chemical weapons in exchange for effectively shoring up Syria’s President Bashar Assad—and allowing the killing to continue unabated.

In the General Assembly, U.S. money has similarly not bought friendship. On the contrary, U.S. funding has fostered an entitlement culture, in which the U.S. is not only taken for granted as a cash dispenser, but also systematically denounced and defied. Nations deeply hostile to the U.S. have made an art of twisting the UN system, flush with U.S. resources, for their own aims. A prime exhibit is Iran’s current three-year chairmanship (2012-2015) of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement, which with 120 members is the second-largest voting bloc in the UN General Assembly. At the UN’s New York headquarters, the largest voting bloc, the Group of 77, with 133 members, is currently chaired by Bolivia—where the anti-American government maintains close ties to Iran.

The practical results of such arrangements can be found in the annual reports submitted by the State Department to Congress on “Voting Practices in the United Nations.” The most recent report, released last April and covering 2012, records that of all General Assembly resolutions put to a vote, fewer than half the UN member states—just 42.5 percent—aligned themselves with the U.S. For votes on resolutions the State Department judged “important,” the coincidence of countries voting with the U.S. was even lower: a mere 35.4 percent.

We’re not getting good value for money here… we’d be better off using that money on our own military and military alliances, e.g. – NATO.

And if you care most about foreign policy, well… the United Nations is still not for you.

Claudia Rossett reports on that in Forbes magazine:

Founded in 1945 to promote global peace, human dignity and freedom, the United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary — with a parade of dictators. The ceremonies will peak on Monday, at U.N. headquarters in New York, when the General Assembly opens its annual debate with a lineup starring the presidents of such notorious tyrannies as China, Russia, Iran and Cuba.

[..]Monday’s opening of the U.N. general debate will also feature the despots who bestride such countries as Belarus, Turkmenistan, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Ethiopia and Gabon.

[…]Today, according to the rankings of Washington-based Freedom House, more than half the U.N.‘s 193 member states are only partly free, or not free at all. During the entire general debate, a six-day marathon of speeches, from Sept. 28 – Oct. 3, all members get a 15-minute turn (though some take more) on the main stage.

What’s historic, however, is the procession of high-profile despots planning to appear in person in Monday’s starting lineup, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and Cuba’s Raul Castro… [M]aking his third appearance at the U.N. general debate, comes Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, clutching the freshly minted Iran nuclear deal and fronting as head of state for Tehran’s terror-sponsoring tyranny run by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

That’s right. The United States is handing billions of taxpayer dollars to an organization that has large numbers of dictators calling the shots. It’s really time to cut off funding for this corrupt, anti-American organization. But that will never happen while the Democrats are in charge. Think of that when you are voting next November.

Anti-government protesters shot to death by pro-Yanukovych gunmen in Ukraine

From the leftist New York Times.

Excerpt:

Security forces fired on masses of antigovernment demonstrators in Kiev on Thursday in a drastic escalation of the three-month-old crisis that left dozens dead and Ukraine reeling from the most lethal day of violence since Soviet times.

The shootings followed a quickly shattered truce, with enraged protesters parading dozens of captured police officers through Kiev’s central square. Despite a frenzy of East-West diplomacy and negotiations, there was little sign that tensions were easing.

President Viktor F. Yanukovych lost at least a dozen political allies, including the mayor of the capital, who resigned from his governing Party of Regions to protest the bloodshed. Mr. Yanukovych conferred with three foreign ministers from the European Union who had come to press for a compromise solution, practically within sight of the main conflict zone in downtown Kiev.

The sights of bullet-riddled bodies slumped amid smoldering debris, some of them shot in the head, and screaming medics carrying the dead and wounded to emergency clinics, including one in a hotel lobby, shocked the country and the world. The opposition said that at least 70 and as many as 100 people had been killed, while municipal authorities put the day’s death toll at 39.

[…]Sviatoslav Khanenko, a lawmaker and a head of the medical service of the National Resistance Headquarters, said by telephone that about 70 people had been killed and more than 1,000 had been wounded. Some news reports said 100 people had been killed.

The death tolls could not be corroborated. But even at the lower casualty numbers reported by Kiev’s municipal health authorities, Thursday was the most lethal day in Ukraine since independence from the Soviet Union more than 22 years ago.

Negotiations are underway, but no deal has been reached:

The foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France met with Mr. Yanukovych for more than four hours on Thursday, and then announced that they would stay in Kiev overnight to continue their discussions. “Ahead of us is a night of heavy negotiations,” Marcin Wojciechowski, a spokesman for the Polish foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, wrote on Twitter.

After the initial round of meetings, the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, said at a news conference in Warsaw that there were some indications that Mr. Yanukovych would be willing to schedule earlier parliamentary and presidential elections, something he had previously resisted. The presidential elections are scheduled for March 2015.

The great fear now is that the pro-Russia government will declare a “state of emergency”, which would mean the deployment of the army and more killing of innocent protesters.

The protests were started by the pro-Russia President’s refusal to sign a free trade deal with the European Union. A free trade deal would displease his Russian masters, even it would help lift Ukraine out of poverty. 

As usual, conservative Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper is leading the way.

Excerpt:

Canada is expanding a travel ban on senior members of the Ukrainian government and imposing economic sanctions on President Viktor Yanukovych, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in an emailed statement Thursday.​

“Canada continues to be outraged by the ongoing violence in Ukraine,” Harper said in the statement.

“Our government has responded by introducing a travel ban on the regime’s senior leaders and announcing medical aid to assist the protesters in their time of need.”

Ukrainian citizens, Harper said, “must be allowed to exercise their democratic right to peaceful protest without being subjected to deadly force and appalling brutality.”

The government is expanding travel restrictions originally announced on Jan. 28 and imposing economic sanctions on the Yanukovych regime and its supporters, the news release said.

The travel ban means the officials sanctioned won’t be allowed into Canada.

“You are not welcome in Canada and we will continue to take strong action until the violence against the people of Ukraine has stopped and democracy has been restored,” Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said at a press conference to announce the sanctions.

[…]The economic sanctions are to “freeze any assets in Canada belonging to senior Ukrainian government officials,” according to a release from Harper’s office.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech asserting that global warming is as big a threat to the world as terrorism.

Treasury Department threatens private companies for responding to Obamacare incentives

Investors Business Daily reports on how the Treasury Department is threatening private companies who lay off employees because of the costs imposed on them by Obamacare.

Excerpt:

In what may be considered an ObamaCare loyalty oath, the Treasury Department orders employers to attest that any employee layoffs are not due to its imposed costs under penalty of perjury.

The first rule of business is to stay in business, something which is accomplished by doing what government is incapable of doing — controlling costs and making a profit by giving customers a product or service they need or want.

ObamaCare is obviously a product neither business nor the individual wants, so coercion is necessary under penalty of law.

Enforced by the Internal Revenue Service, individuals must enroll in government-approved plans or be fined.

Individuals are not allowed, despite presidential promises, to keep the plans and doctors they like and can afford.

Instead, they must accept plans they don’t like and can’t afford, some getting subsidies extracted from other taxpayers or China. They must grin and bear their reduced health care choices and higher costs.

Even though ObamaCare’s employer mandate has once again been illegally and unconstitutionally extended by the president who would be king, business still faces ObamaCare’s punitive cost increases down the road and its own form of government coercion.

Layoffs are an unfortunate but sometimes necessary means for a business to control costs and stay in business.

On Monday, a Treasury Department unconcerned with the necessities of the free market said that businesses will need to “certify” that they are not shedding full-time workers simply to avoid the mandate and its costs.

Officials said employers will be told to sign a “self-attestation” on their tax forms affirming this, under penalty of perjury.

What happens when a government passes regulations that make it harder for employers to lay off workers if they are forced to? Well, companies stop hiring workers, and expand their operations elsewhere. That’s exactly what has happened in countries like France, where the government makes it nearly impossible to get rid of workers, even when circumstances warrant it. So the net effect of policies that reduce the freedom to hire/fire as needed is to raise unemployment.

Here’s the economist Aparna Mathur of the American Enterprise Institute to explain.

Excerpt:

Labor market regulations often take the form of employment protection rules that govern the hiring and firing of workers. These were originally introduced to enhance workers’ welfare; for instance, by reducing unfair dismissals. The same provisions that protect employees, however, translate into cost for employers, leading an employer to think twice (at least) before hiring a new employee.

Theoretical economic models have shown that, in general, the effect of such laws is to reduce job flows (broadly, the sum of jobs created and jobs destroyed). In my paper, I show that these reduced job flows could have negative effects on investments in education because they reduce the expected returns on a job search; and they lower the value of education as a signaling device.

Under rigid labor market regulations, employers have a stronger disincentive to create new jobs, so there are fewer available jobs on the market. As a result, one’s likelihood of earning a productive wage is reduced. Moreover, firings under a system of strong labor market regulations are less frequent than they would be otherwise, so even workers with jobs expect to face fewer opportunities to search for re-employment. As a result, they will have less use of education as a signaling device to secure their next job.

With flexible labor markets and higher job mobility, these conditions are reversed. Job flows are higher, leading to more vacancies per unemployed worker. This yields a higher expected return on a job search for educated workers since the likelihood of finding a job is higher. Further, workers are either fired or they quit more frequently (i.e., job destruction is higher), leading to a greater use (or need) of education as a signaling device.

Put simply, imagine a developing country with rigid labor markets leading to few vacancies. For a low-income worker, the cost of getting educated may outweigh the prospective benefits since the likelihood of finding a job in this scenario is fairly low. On the other hand, for the same worker, if the likelihood of finding a job goes up when labor market restrictions are removed, the incentive to invest in education may be higher since the returns to investing in this costly activity are higher. Countries such as France, Germany, and Italy, which consistently have strict labor regulations, would do well to heed these results (see figure). It is also true in general that developing countries have stricter labor regulations than the OECD economies.

All these regulations sound so good, but we have to think beyond stage one in order to see the real results of the happy-sounding speeches. These things are understood by economists, but we didn’t elect an economist.