The top United Nations climate change official said today that he has made the “difficult decision” to step down from his position, citing his desire to pursue new opportunities to advance progress on the issue in both the private sector and academia.
.... Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that he was informed by Mr. de Boer of his decision two days ago and respected his decision, but “with regret.”
“Developing countries need to move as quickly as possible toward a future of low-emissions growth and prosperity,” he stressed, noting that millions of people in Africa and around the world are suffering from climate change’s effects.
These people are still living in the fantasy world they have constructed over the past two decades.
Regular viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are accustomed by now to the verbal battles that ensue when Stewart brings conservative guests on his show. The guests usually leave with a bit of egg on their faces, and Stewart comes off as the hard hitting, divisive and sarcastic critic.
But viewers were treated to a rare dose of sincerity and intelligent debate on Monday, when Stewart hosted former legal counsel for the Bush Justice Department John Yoo. Following up on what was a meaningful and intelligent interview Monday night, Stewart apologized to his audience on Tuesday for not being his usual cutthroat self, and daring to discuss issues in a civilized tone.
Yoo and Stewart duked it out for almost 30 minutes (videos below the fold), but the host did not manage to get the better of Yoo, who is now infamous among liberal circles for writing the legal briefs justifying expanded executive powers to combat terrorism under the previous administration.
Stewart ended the segment with a very uncharacteristic--given his tendency to demonize conservatives--call for civility in the public discourse (brief partial transcript after videos):
Former American Ambassador to the UN John Bolton took MSNBC's Keith Olbermann to task last week for accusing US intelligence agencies of deliberately ignoring red flags that led to the failed Christmas day bombing plot (h/t Johnny Dollar).
Olbermann suggested that the CIA and other agencies might have been engaged in some sort of turf war, and allowed the plot to move forward. He insinuated that there was "at least a possibility somebody understood how serious this could be and yet withheld information to make some other part of the counterterrorism system look bad".
Bolton, speaking on the late night Fox News show Red Eye, said Olbermann was making accusations of attempted murder against American intelligence officials. He noted that Olbermann carefully crafted his accusations to avoid legal complications, but that the libtalker's point was quite clear.
Are the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks really about nothing more than hammering out a world-wide agreement about carbon emissions to curb warming? Not according to martial arts professional and actor Chuck Norris.
CNN’s White House correspondent Dan Lothian, on Friday's American Morning, saw nothing but pluses for President Obama’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize. Lothian guessed that “the President obviously is getting an ‘A’ for effort here,” and even went so far to speculate about whether the reward could help the Democrat “push through on...health care as well...so this could help him.”
Anchors Kiran Chetry and John Roberts turned to the correspondent right out of the gate at the beginning of the program at 6 AM EDT. Chetry asked if there had been any official reaction from the White House at that early hour, and Lothian confirmed that the administration hadn’t released any statement at that point. He continued that “two things came to mind when this shocking announcement was made. First of all, that the President obviously is getting an ‘A’ for effort here. The President has made overtures and talked about, since he was running for president, that he wanted to be one who would engage in dialogue.” The White House correspondent cited the Obama administration recent work with Iran and the President “trying to get both the Israelis and the Palestinians to jump-start the peace process there.”
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria gave President Obama’s diplomacy-first foreign policy a ringing endorsement on his program on Sunday, lauding it as a breath of fresh air: “Obama is betting that America has matured, and that we recognize that...without the cooperation of other countries, America cannot be secure at home or prosperous. It’s a bold gambit. Here’s hoping it pays off.”
Zakaria also slammed the Democrat’s critics on the right, hinting that conservatives were out of touch: “Obama’s talk at the U.N. was well received all over the world, except in the right-wing stratosphere in the United States. There, he was accused of selling out America, mounting a coup against the country, siding with dictators, and wishing America would perish. If you heard or read the speech, you would be hard pressed to find a single word that Obama said that fits these descriptions. But that is the nature of political attacks in America these days. They are totally divorced from reality.”
With a beaming Mr. Obama standing next to him, Mr. Medvedev signaled for the first time that Russia would be amenable to longstanding American requests to toughen sanctions against Iran significantly if, as expected, nuclear talks scheduled for next month failed to make progress.
China will not support increased sanctions on Iran as a way to curb its nuclear program, a government spokeswoman said Thursday. Although China has generally opposed the use of sanctions, the announcement is sure to complicate President Obama ’s efforts to impose tougher penalties on Iran, should international talks over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, scheduled for Oct. 1, fail to make headway.
Even if China had supported sanctions - and Obama may yet find concessions to bring them on board - there's no particular reason to think Russia would abide by them.
In a somewhat schizophrenic report on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Chip Reid proclaimed President Obama is: "still the darling of the international community. Warmly welcomed by a world that grew weary of President Bush’s brash go-it-alone style." But also admitted: "But with scant progress on a long his of issues, the question now is what does he have to show for it?"
Anchor Katie Couric opened the segment by asking Reid: "Can the President be anything other than the center of attention? Can he do more with that?" Reid replied: "He sure would like to be, Katie. You know, at every international summit he has attended he has been the most popular person in the room. But now many people are asking what good is popularity if it doesn’t lead to concrete results?" After denouncing President Bush’s "brash style," Reid praised Obama for his "sharp departure" which " has recommitted the United States to working with the U.N. and engaging the world."
There is an inside joke for the veteran viewers of MSNBC’s morning show, ‘Morning Joe,’ which refers back to a time when Joe Scarborough was in a heated debate with Zbigneiw Brzezinski (Mika’s father) over the behind-the-scenes content of President Clinton’s Camp David accords. The elder Brzezinski grew rather frustrated with being out-shouted by Scarborough, and delivered the following zinger:
“You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you.”
This crushing critique could also be applied to today’s appearance of the New York Times’ Sam Tanenhaus, author of 'The Death of Conservatism,' on that same show. Tanenhaus delivered the following two opinions with an admirably straight face:
SAM TANENHAUS: Yeah, and it was interesting to go to the Clinton school and tell the audience there that the last conservative president in America was Bill Clinton.
"President Obama reeling back the Bush administration's plans for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, instead opting for a new system he says is better equipped to fend off an Iranian threat," "Fast Money" host Melissa Lee said on her Sept. 17 show.
Readers are advised to make peace with the Maker soon. If we are to believe the recent utterings of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (pictured at right), humanity -- or at least humanity living life as we know it -- is not long for this earth.
The Sec-Gen's August 11 speech at the Global Economic Forum in Incheon, South Korea, was so over the top that it's likely the world's media kept its coverage of the event relatively muted to spare the poor man from worldwide embarrassment. There is nothing about the speech that I could find in searches on "Ban Ki-Moon United Nations" (not typed in quotes) at the New York Times or the Washington Post. A search on the same string at AP.org at 3:30 p.m. came up empty. An identical Google News search came back with a very light total of 42 results.
Here are key paragraphs from the Sec-Gen's hysterical speech, where he also (surprise, surprise) demands large sums of money "from public and private sources":
On Monday’s Newsroom program, anchor Rick Sanchez trumpeted a United Nations investigator’s apparent finding against Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld concerning torture: “...[W]e’re making news here, because I just heard you on the record say that there does seem to be enough evidence to be able to make a case against Donald Rumsfeld specifically.” He also asked why Rumsfeld had been “singled out [and] not Cheney [or] Alberto Gonzalez?”
Sanchez had Manfred Nowak, the United Nations special investigator on torture, as a guest beginning at the bottom half of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. He introduced Nowak by reading a quote by the investigator himself: “The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court.” Sanchez highlighted how the statement “isn’t being said by just anyone. This is being said, again, by Mr. Nowak, who is the United Nations special investigator on torture -- specific enough and important enough for us to have him on to talk about this now.”
In a report on Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Richard Roth declared: "With Gaza City bombed and burning, Palestinians heeded Israel's warning to get out of the way, but found they had nowhere to go...Not the U.N. compound, where 700 people took shelter. Israeli artillery hit it, then hit it again...Israel claimed it was returning fire from militants. Burning with rage, the U.N. denies that."
Roth quoted one Israeli General: "We need to use force like Americans in Iraq. Hamas needs to be snuffed out." He went on to describe other victims of Israeli attacks: "But the attack also hit the Reuters News Agency office, threatening the small press corps in Gaza, which Israel is keeping small by keeping most foreign reporters out. Two journalists from Abu Dhabi were wounded. And at Gaza's biggest hospital, there were more small children in the stream of casualties than men of fighting age. Palestinians say the war's death toll is above 1,000 now, with at least half the casualties civilians."
Time magazine’s Jeff Israely compared Pope Benedict XVI to Charles Dickens' most famous character in his latest column, which focuses on the “tough line on Church doctrine” the pontiff has taken: “...[T]here is growing proof that the 82-year-old Pope is...quite willing to play the part of Scrooge to defend his often rigid view of Church doctrine.” Israely later put Scrooge’s characteristic anti-Christmas exclamation in the mouth of the Holy Father: “...[O]ne can imagine Benedict flashing that gentle smile, tilting his head ever so slightly and declaring: Bah Humbug!”
The correspondent’s Thursday column on Time.com, titled “The Pope’s Christmas Gift: A Tough Line on Church Doctrine,” began with Israely apparently lamenting that the old nicknames for the Pope are no longer effective tools: “Those nicknames from the past — God's Rottweiler, the Panzercardinal — don't seem to stick anymore. After acquiring a reputation as an aggressive, doctrine-enforcing Cardinal, Pope Benedict XVI has surprised many with his gentle manner and his writings on Christian love.” He then saw it fit to give the Pope the “Scrooge” nickname, just in time for Christmas: “But with the Christmas season upon us, there is growing proof that the 82-year-old Pope is also quite willing to play the part of Scrooge to defend his often rigid view of Church doctrine.”
CNN’s Ed Henry introduced a new and odd adage about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s trip to the United Nations on Tuesday’s American Morning. Instead of trying something similar to the "education" line that CBS’s Julie Chen used, the White House correspondent focused on how the McCain campaign was "trying to cram a lot in for Sarah Palin over the next two days in New York:" "It's like speed dating with world leaders. In the span of just 30 hours in New York, Sarah Palin will meet with nine major international players during the U.N.'s General Assembly meetings, from the presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan, to Henry Kissinger and the rock star Bono -- all aimed at beefing up Palin's thin foreign policy chops" [see video at right].
Without going into the grouping of a mega-rock star like U2 front-man Bono with Hamid Karzai, Henry’s "speed dating" line might raise some eyebrows over possible sexism in the media, given how the female Alaska governor is meeting with these nine world leaders, all of whom are men. Katie Couric could be consulted with this matter, given what she said about the coverage Hillary Clinton received during the Democratic primaries.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith interviewed Hillary Clinton on the government’s financial bailout plan and quoted Democratic talking points: "Is there a sense of urgency? Dick Durbin went into the well of the Senate the other day and said ‘why does this feel like Iraq all over again? Why does there feel like there has to be a rush to get this done?’" Clinton replied: "Well, something has to happen because of the neglect of the administration in handling this problem in the past. You know, you covered the campaign. I talked about this for 18 months. I said this is coming."
One question that was absent from the interview was why Clinton pulled out of a rally protesting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressing the United Nations this week. In a report by correspondent Bill Plante that immediately preceded Smith’s interiview, Sarah Palin being dis-invited from the rally was mentioned: "In New York, thousands protested Ahmadinejad's pro-nuclear, anti-Israel stance. A rally at which John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin had been scheduled to speak before her invitation was withdrawn." That occurred after Clinton decided not to attend the rally because of Palin’s attendance, yet Smith did not ask the New York Senator about the issue.
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on Sarah Palin meeting with world leaders at the United Nations by declaring: "The education of Sarah Palin. The Alaska governor has her first meetings with world leaders as they gather at the U.N. How will she do?" While Chen wondered about Palin’s understanding of foreign policy, on May 22, she thought Hawaii was located in the Atlantic Ocean. [see embedded video of that after the page break]
In a later report correspondent Bill Plante proclaimed: "Palin, who got her first passport just last year, is here and will get a crash course in international affairs. The Alaska governor will be meeting with the leaders of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Georgia and Ukraine, as well as with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and U2's Bono."
Rush Limbaugh highlighted this report the other day on child sexual abuse committed by United Nations peacekeepers from the charity Save the Childrren UK. He called it's the UN's "Abu Grab." This report came from Edith Lederer of the Associated Press:
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "deep concern" Tuesday after a leading children's charity said it uncovered evidence of widespread sexual abuse of children at the hands of U.N. peacekeepers and international aid workers.
The report by Save the Children UK, based on field research in southern Sudan, Ivory Coast and Haiti, describes a litany of sexual crimes against children as young as 6.
It said some children were denied food aid unless they granted sexual favors; others were forced to have sex or to take part in child pornography; many more were subjected to improper touching or kissing.
"The report shows sexual abuse has been widely underreported because children are afraid to come forward," Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children UK, told Associated Press Television News.
Imagine for a moment the race card had been used during the Republican presidential nomination process, and the United Nations was sending an envoy to investigate racism in America. Do you think the media would report it?
Probably 24 hours a day, seven days a week until every person in the country had heard about it, right?
Well, the U.N. announced on Friday that it is sending its "Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" to visit our country from May 19 until June 6.
Although Reuters reported this at 2:48 PM EDT Friday, and strongly suggested the investigation is due to racism in the Democrat presidential campaign, LexisNexis and Google searches identified no other American news outlet covering this story. Not one!
How do you get a better air safety record? Try not crashing first.
The New York Times reported that outside the United States the Federal Aviation Administration is considered a "role model" and "first-rate regulator," because it has the lowest accident rate in the world. The Times' viewed regulation rather than market based innovation as the solution to accident rates in foreign countries.
In Latin America, "accidents number one for every 600,000 flights" and "Africa is the least safe region in the world for air travel, with one accident for every 244,000 flights," said the Times.
One source, Giovanni Bisignani, secretary general of the International Air Transport Association, lamented the "the lack of a common regulatory framework" and failure to live up to standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations specialized agency.
But the success of accident records in the United States doesn't lie solely in regulation. Safety looks good to consumers too.
If they had a reality show for international politicians called "Biggest Loser" the most popular nominee for the title would be Mikhail Gorbachev, the man that lost his whole country, not merely an election. Yet, every once in a while and for some untenable reason, this communist loser is trotted out by the US media as some sort of expert on international politics. Unsurprisingly, his opinion is always sought to act as an attack on a Republican politician or policy. This time it is the All Headline News service trotting out old spotty in order to wag a finger at GOP presidential candidate John McCain.
Back on March 18th, McCain reiterated his idea of creating a new international organization styled as a "League of Democracies." McCain imagines this organization as a chance to renew the commitment of the world's democratic nations to the concept of helping others grow as well as lending more support to those already so formed.
The day after Pope Benedict XVI departed the U.S. after a six-day visit, Blaine Harden of the Washington Post lamented the Catholic Church’s influence in the Philippines, specifically, the government of Philippines "acceding to Catholic doctrine" by "supporting only what it calls ‘natural’ family planning," rejecting "modern contraception" as part of family planning." Throughout his article, titled "Birthrates Help Keep Filipinos in Poverty," Harden painted a bleak picture of "the fastest-growing segment of the Philippine population," which is "very poor people with large families," and sought to blame their poverty and backwardness on their following Catholic teaching, brushing aside corruption and other factors that contribute to poverty. A photo accompanying the article in the print-edition of the Post showed a poor Filipino mother in her shack with her four children, two of whom are naked.
Harden described the Church’s influence throughout the article, hinting that it had created a climate of fear in the country "An organization that is helping Espinoza [a poor Filipino woman who plans to get a contraceptive intrauterine device] agreed to introduce this reporter to her on condition that it not be named. The group’s health workers said they fear retaliation and harassment from officials in the national and city government, as well as from the Catholic Church." He immediately mentioned after this that in 2005, the "Catholic bishops in the southern Philippines announced that they would refuse Communion to government health workers who distributed birth control devices."
We better hope there are some big-time technological advances in the science of home air conditioning by the year 2040. According to the outlook offered by Dr. James Lovelock in the March 22 issue of The Daily Mail (U.K.), we're in for some dire consequences.
"By 2040, the world population of more than six billion will have been culled by floods, drought and famine," Sands wrote. "The people of Southern Europe, as well as South-East Asia, will be fighting their way into countries such as Canada, Australia and Britain. We will, he says, have to set up encampments in this country, like those established for the hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by the conflict in East Africa. Lovelock believes the subsequent ethnic tensions could lead to civil war."
In a recent op-ed published in the Washington Post, an unusual call for the USA to stay in Iraq rang out with pleas for the US to commit even more money and resources to help rebuild that war torn nation. Published under the byline of Angelina Jolie, the piece said that, "we have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance, from us and others, can have an impact." This editorial is unusual because the Washington Post is usually filled with tales of how we have failed in Iraq and how we should just get out, but here is this one saying we are now at a place where leaving would be the worst thing we could do. One wonders if this article will find the name of Angelina Jolie used as an epithet by the get-out-now, anti-war set from among the netrooters and the MSM? Or will her celebrity and long standing interest in humanitarian efforts give her cover with the same sort of people?
What ever treatment we'll see meted out by the far left to the Hollywood star whose name graces this interesting piece, the fact that a call has been made to stay in Iraq by someone other than the conservative movement here is interesting if not amazing. It strikes a little heard note of optimism in news coverage that usually focuses only on the so-called failures of US forces in Iraq.
In another blow against freedom of speech on the Internet, Fox News is reporting that Google has taken the measure of de-listing the work of an anti-UN blogger named Matthew Lee. For several years, Lee has run the Inner City Press, a small news/opinion site that is focused on criticizing the United Nations. But since Google has teamed up with the UN on recent initiatives, Google has found that Lee's criticism is too much for them to handle.
Mr. Lee has been taking after big targets for a long time, so he is no newcomer to the scene. In 1987 he went after Citigroup with his corruption exposes, but since 2005 the United Nations has been his favorite target. He has especially focused on the "inner workings of what could be called the practical-applications arm of the international organization, the United Nations Development Programme."
We are told over and over again that the United Nations is the answer to all the world's ills. It is often claimed that without the UN things would be so much worse in troubled spots around the world. But, when we look at the pernicious effect the UN has where ever it goes, it's awfully hard to reconcile the claims with the hard truth. For one thing, we've seen the UN responsible for turning indigenous teens into prostitutes for UN workers in Cambodia, Africa, and Bosnia. Well, now we can add vandalism of sacred, ancient wall-art to the ever growing list of evils perpetrated by UN operatives.
But, where is the media to report this outrage against human history and sacred religious relics and sites? About the same place they were when underplaying the reports of UN peacekeepers and employees forcing young women into prostitution the world over... absent from the scene.
The mainstream media turned a deaf ear to Canada's conservative government as they withdrew support for a United Nations led anti-racism conferenceon charges that the conference itself is a "a systematic promotion of hatred and bigotry". One Canadian official called the U.N. Durban II conference a "gong show" as Ottawa withdrew all support in protest of the escalating rhetoric against Israel. This of course comes as no surprise considering that the United Nations, in all its limited wisdom, elected Libya to chair the conference, Cuba as the vice chair and named Iran to the organizing committee. (h/t Girl on the Right)
I wasn't aware that Michael Hirsh of Newsweek magazine was a writer of such biting satire but after reading his latest titled, "Why Isn't Al Gore Running?," I found myself marveling at his wit... or sad for his intellectual incuriosity should he be serious for an Al Gore candidacy for president in 2008. Unfortunately, my hope that he was displaying a Swiftian penchant for satire is easily overcome by the impression he is, indeed, seriously touting another Gore run for the White House. You Lilliputians be damned because Hirsh's Goreliver stands astride the country -- nay the world -- like a colossus of Brobdingnagian proportions. And that is really, really big you should know. Not bad on Goreliver's part for a drop out of divinity school, eh?
A long and carefully-worded December 14 Washington Post article about this week's climate change conference in Bali portrayed President Bush as the reason that the United States is not following Kyoto and the sole roadblock to saving Mother Earth.
On top of that, even while presenting the eco-blame-game's backstory, the reporter never mentioned the Clinton/Gore administration's involvement or that they set the standard for how America handles Kyoto.
On Sunday’s "Face the Nation" on CBS, host Bob Schieffer aksed in his commentary at the end of the show: "Have we helped our cause with the rest of the world when they come to believe we have sunk to using the tactics of those who oppose us?" Speaking in reference to the recent news that the CIA destroyed videotapes of the interrogations of terrorists, which some believe may have involved water boarding, Schieffer began his rant by invoking the name of the great liberal icon, Edward R. Murrow (video available here):
Finally today, Edward R. Murrow was one of the first to understand the power of worldwide communications, but it was the message, not the power to reach so many people, that concerned him...I thought about that as we learn more about the C.I.A.'s use of what our own Army and the Geneva Conventions define as torture and how officials destroyed evidence when a federal judge demanded tapes of the interrogation episodes.