Saturday, January 08, 2005

About that United Nations "moral authority"

David Frum in the Telegraph - This disaster exposes the myth of the UN's moral authority
The helicopters are taking off and landing now in the tsunami-shattered villages and towns. The sick are being taken for treatment. Clean water is being delivered. Food is arriving. Soon the work of reconstruction will begin.

The countries doing this good work have politely agreed to acknowledge the "coordinating" role of the United Nations. But it is hard to see how precisely the rescue work would be affected if the UN's officials all stayed in New York - or indeed if the UN did not exist at all.

The UN describes its role in South Asia as one of "assessment" and "coordination." Even this, however, seems to many to be a role unnecessary to the plot. The Daily Telegraph last week described the frustration of in-country UN officials who found they had nothing to do as the Americans, Australians, Indonesians, and Malaysians flew missions.
I guess they'll just have to work on their expense accounts. But then there's the big picture:
In a notable interview on December 31, Clare Short, the former international development secretary, explained that the UN possessed a unique "moral authority", and without this authority, the relief effort would be in trouble because … well, after that it gets hazy.

It is obviously not because of the UN that countries like Britain, the United States, Germany, Japan, Australia, and India are donating so generously to the countries in need. Nor, even more obviously, is it because of the UN that the afflicted countries are accepting aid. Nor again has the so-called authority of the UN induced Burma to accept any aid that Burma's rulers find politically threatening.
The UN's authority is instead one of those ineffable mystical mysteries. The authority's existence cannot be perceived by the senses and exerts no influence on the events of this world.
But its "authority" is so beloved by those of the leftoid persuasion that the rest of us get to hear about it constantly.
In a world that contains – among others – the EU, Nato, the World Trade Organisation, and literally hundreds of regional and global governmental and non-governmental associations, it seems bizarre to describe the UN as the sole legitimate international actor.

But of course the UN is the only one of these actors consistently to come into conflict with the United States. It is this bias of the UN system – and not any of the UN's meagre list of achievements – that causes so many on the global Left to regard it as legitimate in a way that they do not regard, say, international treaties for the protection of patents.
I rather figured it was something like that.

More by following the link.

Splitsville for leftoid power couples!

I suppose the ever changing mating habits of the glitterati aren't really news, but for the leftoids it means we don't have to see any more of the smarmy couple photo-ops, which is good news.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston Separate
Superstar Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have separated after 4 1/2 years of marriage, but they remain "committed and caring friends," they said on Friday.
Yadda, yadda. In case you've forgotten:
October 31, 2003 - Conan O'Brien joked during his Late Night monologue on Tuesday night, "In celebrity news, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have gone to the Middle East to get Israelis and Palestinians to start working together. Apparently it is working, too, because Israelis and Palestinians are going up to each other saying, 'What the hell are those two doing here?'"
October 22, 2003 - The new Us Weekly includes photos of Brad and Jennifer's double date with Courteney Cox and David Arquette. Brad drove to Spago in a new Toyota Prius hybrid. "They like to use their celebrity status to support causes they believe in," a source said.
Darn, I can't find the famous picture of them wedged into their Prius demonstrating the right lifestyle to the little people.

And speaking of lifestyle - Newsom, wife file for divorce:
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his wife, Court TV legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, are filing for divorce after three years of marriage.

In a joint statement issued by the mayor's office Wednesday, the Newsoms cited the strain posed by their high-profile careers on opposite ends of the country as the reason for the split.
Rumors have circulated in San Francisco that the pair's marriage was in trouble almost since Newsom became mayor last January. Newsom, a Democrat, made headlines last year by granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Besides the difficulty of living apart, the demands of their jobs occasionally posed conflicts. In August, for example, Harper's Bazaar magazine published a lavish fashion spread showing the pair posed in the Getty mansion, the mayor an obvious accessory to his couture-clad wife. The photos, coupled with a headline that dubbed the couple "The New Kennedys," was decidedly at odds with the common man image Newsom was trying to cultivate in San Francisco.
Yeah, that was a pip.

And so was this:
Then in October, while filling in for her husband at a gay rights gala in New York, Guilfoyle Newsom loosened up the audience by praising her husband's anatomy in graphic terms and suggested that her own talents in the bedroom had kept the mayor in the heterosexual camp.
Actually, it was a tad more graphic.

And while there really isn't a couple involved, unless you count his mirror, LGF alerts us to "Palestinians" rise up against Richard Gere
One day after actor Richard Gere released a television commercial in which he ordered the Palestinian people to go out and vote, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip staged a violent uprising against the Hollywood star.

Mr. Gere's commercial, in which he said, "Hi, I'm Richard Gere and I'm speaking for the entire world," infuriated Palestinian militants, who were seen smashing "Pretty Woman" DVDs and shouting anti-Gere slogans throughout Gaza today.

While Mr. Gere's high-handed command may not succeed in motivating Palestinians to go to the polls, it could ultimately foster peace in the Middle East, since many Palestinians now hate Richard Gere more than they hate Israel.

"For years, I thought that Ariel Sharon was the enemy," said Abed Zobaidi, 29. "Now I realize that the real enemy is that 'American Gigolo' bastard."
It really isn't that bad, but it's bad enough.

I'd be a tad grumpy too, if I had to hang out with UN kleptocrats

Bad news at The Diplomad:
The Chief Diplomad is just back from the office. It's 4 am. Mosquitoes are everywhere. The internet is painfully slow. Your "friendly" Chief Diplomad's plan to move on to another set of duties, for now, has fallen by the roadside. He must remain in the current job for now. The local Guardian correspondent has called the Embassy; he is doing a negative story on the US relief effort based on "information" provided by the UN at a press conference. The Diplomad is in a dark, dark mood. So, of course, just as anyone else would do in such circumstances, The Diplomad writes about the UN.
Me too! The United Nations is such an utter farce, and the usual suspects so oblivious to its irrelevance, that it's a salve for any rancor I might have. As Robert Clayton Dean observes at Samizdata:
Every self-absorbed, self-interested, counterproductive flaw you ever imagined the UN had, has been on display in response to the tsunami, and Diplomad has the goods.
This Embassy has been running 24/7 since the December 26 earthquake and tsunami. Along with my colleagues, I've spent the past several days dealing non-stop with various aspects of the relief effort in this tsunami-affected country. That work, unfortunately, has brought ever-increasing contact with the growing UN presence in this capital; in fact, we've found that to avoid running into the UN, we must go out to where the quake and tsunami actually hit. As we come up on two weeks since the disaster struck, the UN is still not to be seen where it counts -- except when holding well-staged press events. Ah, yes, but the luxury hotels are full of UN assessment teams and visiting big shots from New York, Geneva, and Vienna. The city sees a steady procession of UN Mercedes sedans and top-of-the-line SUV's -- a fully decked out Toyota Landcruiser is the UN vehicle of choice; it doesn't seem that concerns about "global warming" and preserving your tax dollars run too deep among the UNocrats.
We can never get too much UN-bashing here at the Rancho Dean. Add 'em to your blogroll, sez R. C.
Amen, brother.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Nothing like a Senator with principles!

Sen. Boxer Quits 'Flawed' Political System
Just minutes after failing to halt the certification of President Bush's electoral victory, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, announced her resignation from the Senate today, saying she is "wracked with doubt" about the precise margin of her own victory in November.

While the official vote count showed that Mrs. Boxer trounced Republican Bill Jones by nearly 2.4 million votes, she said today that if even one voter was disenfranchised in California, then her "election is tainted and American troops in Iraq are dying in vain."

"I feel dirty," she said at a hastily-called news conference. "I'm leaving the senate so I can sleep at night and face myself in the mirror. If I stayed, I would be no better than George W. Bush."
Don't get too excited, it's ScrappleFace.

Good ole "rail accident" Babs. By the way, do you remember Babs marrying off her daughter to Hillary Clinton's brother, Tony Rodham? Not the fat, pardon-selling brother; the carousing brother. I guess that makes her Bubba's aunt-in-law or something. One big dysfunctional family.

Do any of these folks watch Law and Order?

Michelle Malkin notes the goings-on on Bizarro World detailed by Heather Mac Donald - "PRETTY, PRETTY PLEASE":
Gitmo personnel disagreed sharply over what tools interrogators could legally use. The FBI took the most conservative position. When a bureau agent questioning Mohamedou Ould Slahi—a Mauritanian al-Qaida operative who had recruited two of the 9/11 pilots—was getting nothing of value, an army interrogator suggested, “Why don’t you mention to him that conspiracy is a capital offense?” “That would be a violation of the Convention Against Torture,” shot back the agent—on the theory that any covert threat inflicts “severe mental pain.”
Give me a huge honking break.

Thanks, Vincente!

News you can use! If you're an illegal alien.

Saltpeter for illegal aliens
TRANSLATION: If you will be crossing the Rio Grande, your wife or girlfriend may try to interfere with your adventure by putting saltpeter in your water supply. Do not let her interefere! She is a woman, and cannot understand the bond that forms between men.
Bummer. But she may be doing you a favor:

Large breasts defense

TRANSLATION: If the Americans catch you, they will have large-breasted women in tight dresses trying to give you documents to sign. The documents will be in English, and you won't understand them, but the Americans are hoping that you'll be so entranced by the large American breasts of their women that you will sign anything just to please them. Don't let the little head do the thinking for the big head. For instance, if you've signed a murder/kidnapping confession, it's a little too late to try for a "Large Breasts" defense in an American courtroom. Besides, no American state even allows the "Large Breasts" defense. Except California.
Much more hilarity by following the link.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


I take a couple of days off for the demands of gainful employment and a horde of barking moonbats makes a break from the asylum. A couple of the choicest specimens (1, 2) are pictured above. Well at least John F*ing Kerry turned out to be just as big a f*ing traitor as we thought. More on the intellectual, moral, and spiritual defects of the usual suspects tomorrow, but speaking of gainful employment: Tim Blair's got a real Dibert-style gig! Hopefully, without a pointy-haired boss.
It's a full-time office job, the first I've had - or seriously considered - since 2000. Various proposals have been discussed over the past few months. One option was a Bulletin-financed blog; another involved managing The Bulletin's online feed. Yet another involved me running for Parliament, which I shunned due to the possibility of a brutal pay reduction.
Follow the above link for one of Tim's readers channeling the response of the feral girl.

Gadget Fun!

This year's Consumer Electronic Show (CES 2005) is running in Las Vegas and you can fill buckets with techie and gadget hype, as usual. However, there was also plenty of fun in Bill Gates' keynote:
Gates started out by giving an overview of Microsoft's digital media strategy, assisted by talk show host Conan O'Brien. Gates said Microsoft would continue to make it easier to unite digital experiences.

"If you look at today's living room, you have five remote controls and you still can't get your music where you want it," Gates said.

The presentation was marred by several technical glitches, including a Windows XP Media Center slide show that couldn't be launched and an Xbox game demonstration that abruptly ended with a blue-screen memory error.

"Right now, nine people are being fired," O'Brien joked after the first snafu. "Who's in charge of Microsoft?"
I only have one remote control so I must be low tech. But then I knew that. On the other hand, it never pops up a Blue Screen of Death.

More coverage over at CNET including this scary article:
Bill Gates is coming to your living room, whether you like it or not.
Bar the door and grab the 12 gauge!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

So many idiots, so little time

But at least the moonbats at the Independent (UK) have collected a bunch of them in one spot - Could the tsunami disaster be a turning point for the world?
As the international aid effort grows and George Bush launches a fresh appeal, we ask politicians and commentators if 2005 might see a new determination to tackle global poverty.
And the relationship to tsunami relief is what, exactly? If developed countries were hit by a tsunami, wouldn't they need help too?

Western capitalism demands that people must be impoverished. I cannot think that anything will change this year, because we are the ones who have made the world the way it is. I don't believe in altruism.
Gosh, offensive and stupid.
TONY BENN, Former cabinet minister

It may make people realise that the UN needs to be well-equipped and funded. If people diverted money from weapons and war, we have the technology and money to be able to help - if we decide to do that.
Good ole Tony never changes.
STEPHEN TINDALE, Executive director, Greenpeace

It seems churlish to say it, but while it's relatively easy for most of us to give £50, it would be much harder for us to make the changes in our modern lifestyles that are needed if we are to move to a fairer world.
OK Stevie! I won't donate to Greenpeace in the future. Of course, I don't now.

On an individual level, it is not just about what we are prepared to give, but what we are prepared to give up. Having left Afghanistan and Iraq in their wake, can our leaders be trusted to fight a war on poverty?
Rory is always a source of laughs - on him.

Then there are the master bureaucrats at the United Nations

Diplomad has today's scoop on the United Nations' Potemkin village version of tsunami disaster relief:

More UNreality . . . But the Dutch Get It
Aussies and Yanks continue to carry the overwhelming bulk of the burden, but some other fine folks also have jumped in: e.g., the New Zealanders have provided C-130 lift and an excellent and much-needed potable water distribution system; the Singaporeans have provided great helo support; the Indians have a hospital ship taking position off Sumatra. Spain and Netherlands have sent aircraft with supplies.

The UN continues to send its best product, bureaucrats. Just today the city's Embassies got a letter from the local UN representative requesting a meeting for "Ms. Margareeta Wahlstrom, United Nations Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Secretary-General's Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance in Tsunami-affected countries." Wow! Put that on a business card!
The letter, in typically modest UN style, goes on to explain that "Ms. Wahlstrom's main task will be to provide leadership and support to the international relief effort. She will undertake high-level consultations with the concerned governments in order to facilitate the delivery of international assistance."
Once, again, a hearty Diplomadic "WOW!" She's going to do all that in two days! The Australians and we have been feeding and otherwise helping tens-of-thousands of people stay alive for the past ten days, and still have a long, long way to go, but she's going to wrap the whole thing up in a couple of days of meetings. Thank goodness she's here to provide the poor lost Aussies and Yanks with leadership. The Diplomad bows in awe to such power and wisdom. The letter is signed, by the way, by the same UN official who suggested a couple of days back that the Australian and US air traffic controllers in Aceh should don UN blue
See my "Go Blue" post below. But wait, there's more - Just TOO Good for a Mere Update!
She has spoken! At a large meeting this afternoon, she and the local UN rep, Mr. Bo "Please Wear Blue" Asplund have announced the arrival of yet another "United Nations Joint Assessment Team." But this one is very, very ultra- special. According to the UNocrats, it's not "just another assessment team." Oh, no, banish that thought! You see, "This assessment team will coordinate all the other assessment teams." In addition, the UN will set up a "Civil-Military Coordination Office to coordinate [that word! that word!] all military assistance because the military do not have experience in disaster relief (!)"

Let the mockery begin . . . .
More by following both links. I don't know about you, but I'm doing my bit to "Go Blue!"

Ah, to be a bureaucrat!

At Brothers Judd, Peter Brunet is keeping us apprised of the latest fearless exploits of UK bureaucrats. Take NOW THAT’S ANAL RETENTIVE:
It is a story that might have been dreamt up by the authors of Yes, Minister - except that most viewers would have found it too far-fetched to be believed. For 18 years, according to documents published today under the new Freedom of Information Act, civil servants pushed papers around Whitehall as they grappled with one of the great policy issues of the late 20th century: should government departments be supplied with hard lavatory paper, or soft?
No squeezing the Charmin! And after they wiped out that painful problem - Anti-bullying alliance 'bullies members':
Critics, including MPs, have accused the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), an umbrella group of more than 50 voluntary, private and professional organisations backed by £570,000 government funding, of using bullying tactics itself in trying to suppress criticism.
The alliance, founded in 2002 but launched as a full government-backed programme last July, is charged with promoting national anti-bullying campaigns and providing national and regional support for schools and other organisations in tackling bullying.

It has set up a structure of nine regional anti-bullying coordinators, with a brief to create local anti-bullying networks among schools and social services and promote schemes to tackle the problem.

Bullying Online, run by nine unpaid volunteers and trustees, has attacked the scheme, arguing that five of the coordinators - each paid £30,000 a year for two days' work a week - already work addressing bullying for local education authorities. Another, coordinator for the south-west region, runs a commercial firm, Lucky Duck publishing, whose publications include materials for addressing bullying.
Forget starting your own business - form an NGO and suck up some government largesse!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Looking Good!

General Order 03-01-2005.1

To: All military and civilian tsunami relief personnel

Subject: Proper method to "Go Blue"

I know
you have all been rather busy delivering relief supplies and helping the sick and injured, but the recently arrived United Nations "coordinator" has requested that we "go blue". That is, we should wear United Nations uniforms and insignia.

However, since the coordinator has not been able to displace any food and medicine shipments yet in order to provide the requisite uniforms, he has provided a large quantity of UN logo stickers that he apparently had with him on his Lear jet. These should be applied prominently in the prescribed manner shown in the illustration attached for your guidance.

Please be sure to show them to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan if visits your area on his grand coordination tour later in the month.

How to "Go Blue" correctly!

Wait, there's more!

Diplomad weighs in with today's United Nations tsunami relief japery - it's almost fUNnny . . .
I know I had promised to lay off the UN for a bit . . . but I can't. As one reader commented on a previous Diplomad posting on the UN, "it's like watching a train wreck" -- you know it's horrible, but you've just got to look at it.
The relief effort continues to be a US-Australia effort, with Singapore now in and coordinating closely with the US and Australia. Other countries are also signing up to be part of the US-Australia effort. Nobody wants to be "coordinated" by the UN. The local UN reps are getting desperate. They're calling for yet another meeting this afternoon; they've flown in more UN big shots to lecture us all on "coordination" and the need to work together, i.e., let the UN take credit. With Kofi about to arrive for a big conference, the UNocrats are scrambling to show something, anything as a UN accomplishment.
More on "The UNcredibles": WFP (World Food Program) has "arrived" in the capital with an "assessment and coordination team." The following is no joke; no Diplomad attempt to be funny or clever: The team has spent the day and will likely spend a few more setting up their "coordination and opcenter" at a local five-star hotel. And their number one concern, even before phones, fax and copy machines? Arranging for the hotel to provide 24hr catering service.
Hopefully haute cuisine and a fully stocked bar! But I'm sure they brought a few bags of rice in their luggage.

And speaking of gifts that keep on giving, there's the United Nations

Via Instapundit we discover that
SUPPORTERS OF THE UNITED NATIONS have reportedly staged an intervention with Kofi Annan at Richard Holbrooke's home...
You mean the Richard Holbrooke that was the Clinton administration's designated UN suck-up? Yup - cut to the article:
The others there were John Ruggie, assistant secretary general for strategic planning from 1997 to 2001 and now a professor of international relations at Harvard's Kennedy School, Leslie Gelb, the former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Timothy Wirth, the president of the Washington-based United Nations Foundation.
The usual Democrat UN lovers. Tim Wirth's actual job title is "Deployer of Ted Turner's Depleted Billion."
The crisis meeting of veteran foreign policy experts in a Manhattan apartment one recent Sunday was held in agreed-upon secrecy.

The high profile guest of honor came unaccompanied by his usual retinue of aides and without the knowledge of most of his closest advisers. The mission, in the words of one participant, was clear - "to save Kofi and rescue the UN."
It must be serious if the usual hangers on didn't get to have their limos park in a no parking zone!
At the gathering, Secretary General Kofi Annan listened quietly to three and a half hours of bluntly worded counsel from a group united in their personal regard for him and support for the United Nations, but deeply concerned that lapses in his leadership over the past two years had eclipsed the accomplishments of his first term and were jeopardizing chances of making the remaining two years of his term meaningful.
The secret gathering came at the end of a year that Annan has described as the organization's "annus horribilis," a year in which the United Nations faced charges of corruption in the way it ran the oil-for-food program in Iraq, evidence that blue-helmeted peacekeepers in Congo ran prostitution rings and raped women and teenage girls and formal motions of no confidence in the organization's senior management from staff unions.
Lots of luck, Kofi!

Frankly when your mission statement seems to be "Pontificate endlessly while spending other people's money liberally," it's hard to see how much Kofi could really do to change things. Check out the WInds of Change's The Toyota Taliban, but only if you have low blood pressure:
I've often seen the term "Toyota Taliban" used to refer to non-governmental 'aid' agencies and U.N. bureaucrats. I've even used it myself on occasion. What does it mean, and where does it come from? Here's an excerpt from U.N. Insider's June 04 summary:
In a letter from Kabul, British satirical biweekly Private Eye reported on the private life of international community members in the Afghan capital. It claims that only 16% of the $4.5 billion pledged at the Tokyo conference goes to the government; the rest in the hands of NGO; a term used to refer to "the well heeled" international staff of the U.N. and aid organizations who reportedly spend time shopping for wide screen tvs and laptops at a new Sony Centre. "Most other shopkeepers only ever glimpse them as they are driven past in one of the $75,000 Toyota Landcruisers most of them owned by the U.N. -- known here as the Toyota Taliban," the letter says, adding that the cruisers ferried them from office to restaurant to guest house. It continues: "There's a swimming pool at a central U.N. compound and regular parties and barbecues. Memories of a party held by the DHL courier group last November, when an opium pipe was passed around by U.N. staff, are still fresh. If boredom strikes, aid workers might also sign up for Tai Chi and Argentinean tango lessons."
There's more by following the Winds of Change link including a Roger L. Simon commenter with 18 years experience in Afghanistan:
An enormous and highly profitable international aid apparatus has assembled in Kabul and has largely ignored the input of the Afghan people or their largely American liberators; the latter stand by in disbelief as taxpayers contributions to Afghanistan disappear into outfitting the extravagant needs of European aid community. The UN pays $400 a day (more than a year’s pay for an average Afghan ) plus a generous per diem. This enormous aid infestation has fostered rightful resentment. The UN and associated NGOs ran through years of aid funding in a matter of months. Now when money cannot be found for reconstruction, the UN issues reports criticizing the parsimonious Americans. Meanwhile, the UN and NGOs live like pashas. Hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for Afghans have been transformed into fleets of top-of the-line Toyota Landcruisers, villas and estates to house their workers complete with swimming pools, an endless supply of underpaid servants, luxurious furnishings (accented with looted antiquities,) the latest laptops, video equipment, cases of Johnny Walker Blue and the bling bling ...perks that might even seem excessive to Ken Lay are justifiable expenses charged off to the US. No accountability, no oversight. They don’t bother cooking the books, they don’t even keep the books!

Afghan citizens fear that vocal objections to this patronizing treatment will result in economic reprisals by the UN. They’ve looked to the Americans and ISAAF to clean up the mess to no avail. Rents have skyrocked for the Kabulis as every decent habitat in the city has been purchased by NGOs at ten times its face value. Many citizens now find their new landlords are NGOs! Everywhere in that country this toxic scenario is daily repeated--the condescending class of chauffered Eurotrash grief-relief workers are now hated and despised as the new Toyota Taliban.
There's more there too, but if that doesn't have you reaching for your holster, nothing will.

I hate to seem repetitive, but it's time to put the UN of its misery. And everybody else's misery too.

Biscuits and Gravy - January 3, 2005

I don't think Mrs. Philosopher is going to go for this
In Labour Britain, we all need a tax break. Now it seems, if you want to stop the government taking its bite, you'd do well to become a Muslim, marry four wives, and declare each spouse a tax write-off.
They had a hot time in the old town on New Year's Eve!
More than 330 cars were set on fire in the suburbs of Paris. Since the number increased a mere nine from the previous year, the Interior Ministry noted that there is "stability in the phenomena of urban violence."
To add to this sad comedy, one imbecilic French apologist, sociologist Michel Wieviorka, stated the violence is "response from victims of social exclusion to our society of consumption."
Sheesh, a French sociologist. What could be lower?

I am sure Anders Jacobsen's heart is pure, but if you are going to give money to the United Nations, you might as well throw it in the toilet. (Via JustOneMinute who probably wouldn't approve of my take on this.)

That Sounds About Right: Opponents of the Death Penalty Murder 23 People in "Protest"

Campus life, fully exposed
In the fall of 2000, I promised my daughter the freshman that I wouldn't write about Wesleyan University (Middletown, Conn.) until she graduated. As a result, you readers learned nothing from me about the naked dorm, the transgender dorm, the queer prom, the pornography-for-credit course, the obscene sidewalk chalking, the campus club named crudely for a woman's private part, or the appearance on campus of a traveling anti-Semitic roadshow, loosely described as a pro-Palestinian conference.

Instead of hot news items like these, you usually just hear that Wesleyan is very "diverse." Newsweek once hailed the school as the "hottest" diversity campus in America, apparently using the word diversity in its normal campus meaning of "no diversity at all." A one-liner about the campus is that "Wesleyan is so diverse that you can meet people here from almost every neighborhood in Manhattan." And the students tend to have opinions from every known corner of
Sounds like a class joint. (Via Betsy's Page)

New details of billionaire trader Marc Rich's shady oil deals under the U.N. oil-for-food program are emerging, The Post has learned.

These include deals with front companies that have connections to Saddam Hussein's underground financial network.

In particular, prosecutors are probing four suspicious deals that took place in February through April 2001.

In these cases, Rich was listed as a secondary buyer of oil contracts originally allocated by Saddam to mysterious French and Egyptian companies.

The questionable deals began a month after sanctions-buster Rich, a convicted tax dodger, received his midnight pardon from then-President Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton, the gift that keeps on giving.

Still crazier than an outhouse rat
Unknown to practically everyone except windy Cindy is that Mr. Soros is quietly divesting himself, even as we speak, of anything in his private equity group that contains Third Party money. To circumvent what he frets could be the Bush Cabinet, a k a The Grim Reapers, coming after him in terms of SEC, FTC, IRS or any other initials, all's being sold off or spun away from him. Even shucking some stuff he personally owns outright. However, whatever's retained will be whatever has him as its sole investor with his own money of which he has approximately $16 billion, give or take an IRA. All will be placed into some newly defined entity.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Good news, tsunami victims!

Bobby Mugabe is coming to town!
Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has taken his family on a month-long annual holiday to Malaysia despite the loss of life caused by Sunday's disastrous tsunami wave, which devastated resorts there and along the coasts of many nations bordering the Indian Ocean.

State radio reported on Tuesday the 80-year-old head of state and his delegation were seen off at Harare airport by vice-presidents Joseph Msika and Joyce Mujuru and members of his elite policy-making body, the Politburo.
Politburo? Catchy name! Actually, they were probably at the airport to make sure he really left. But based on last year's road trip, it will be good news for the Malaysian economy:
January 18 2003

By Douglas Carew

When it comes to lavish Christmas spending, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is king.

Mugabe has outdone his big-spending spin doctor Jonathan Moyo by flying to Singapore to indulge in a huge shopping spree of his own, while back home millions of his countrymen face starvation, partly because of Mugabe's failed policies.

Information Minister Moyo's two week spending spree in Johannesburg received extensive news coverage this week, but Mugabe went to even greater lengths to stock up on expensive goods for himself and beat the shortages caused by the Zimbabwean economy's state of near paralysis.

Singapore is south-east Asia's premier shopping destination, with thousands of shops selling the best the world's manufacturers have to offer, and Mugabe stocked up with 15 trolley loads, including high-tech electronic goods.
I'm sure it gets real tedious hanging around the palace and trying to ignore the whining from the starving population.

But something more seems to be going on:
The Zimbabwe government has denied media reports that controversial information minister Jonathan Moyo has tendered his resignation to acting president Joyce Mujuru.

Moyo allegedly sent his resignation by fax from Kenya, where he is on holiday, but Mujuru reportedly refused to accept it, referring the matter to President Robert Mugabe who is on vacation in Malaysia.
However, senior official sources confirmed the story, and said Moyo's decision to quit was linked to his removal from the ruling ZANU-PF's powerful Soviet-style politburo and central committee.

Moyo's political fortunes started to wane in December after he organised a meeting of key party members in his rural home of Tsholotsho ahead of ZANU-PF's congress, allegedly aimed at thwarting Mugabe's candidate for the post of vice-president, Mujuru.
Moyo's misfortunes coincide with those of colourful business man and high-profile ZANU-PF member, Philip Chiyangwa, who was also opposed to Mugabe's choice of vice president.

Chiyangwa and four senior ruling party officials, including Zimbabwe's ambassador to Mozambique, have been in solitary confinement for two weeks on charges of spying for "foreign powers".

They allegedly provided confidential ZANU-PF information to spy masters based in South Africa.
Looks like ole Bobby has been making a list and checking it twice! On the other hand, can you imagine anything more laughable than spying on Zimbabwe? Sheesh, I could do it without even taking off my jammies - "Everyone is starving but Bobby's pals, and his thugs are killing people. Just like yesterday."

We're from the United Nations!

We're here to, er, coordinate! That's it, coordinate! The Diplomad who is all over the UN tsunami relief farce like dirty on a duck says The UN Begins to Act . . .
In these times of gentleness and political correctness, we all must acknowledge that we're all special in our own way. We each do what we can best do. Americans and Australians are good at saving lives and the world; the UN is good at asking for money and going to conferences. We're sure both talents are equally valid; we shouldn't judge one better or worse than the other.
But wait, there's more!
A colleague came back from a meeting held by the local UN representative yesterday and reported that the UN rep had said that while it was a good thing that the Australians and Americans were running the air ops into tsunami-wrecked Aceh, for cultural and political reasons, those Australians and Americans really "should go blue." In other words, they should switch into UN uniforms and give up their national ones.

Now you all know that The Diplomad is not a cynical or suspicious being, but there is something funny going on here . . . what could it be? Could it be a genuine concern for local "cultural and political sensitivities" that would be offended by the presence of Aussies and Yanks in their own military uniforms saving thousands of lives? Maybe . . . or, might it not be an odd coincidence that just after the infamous Mr. Annan (see prior posts) says the UN will be setting up air traffic control in Aceh, the UN wants to show that it has an ATC system operating? What better way than to continue in the UN tradition of taking credit for others' work? And this just before Mr. Annan arrives in Indonesia on January 6.
Gosh, that's a surprise!

Anyhow the Diplomad is a little tired of being such a gloomy Gus:
I promise, after this I'll stop posting for awhile on the UNresponse to the tsunami disaster, it's just too depressing and UNbelievable.
Hey, keep the fun coming! Otherwise, we are stuck listening to the pontificating kleptocrats groaning as they pat themselves on the back.