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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Hugo Chavez’

Iran – Yes, That Iran – Picked as a Leader of UN Disarmament Committee

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Admit it.  How many of you secretly enjoyed eating popcorn while watching the circus show the United Nations had become?  Who can forget the performance given by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, which featured invocations of sulphurous smoke and the devil himself; or wily Yassir Arafat the gunslinger; or even the slightly more refined Nikita Kruschev, the shoe banger?

Despite the passing of those three, and the sartorial splendor of Muammar Gaddafi joining the others in clown heaven, or elsewhere, the U.N. is back in the entertainment business.

The international body has chosen the Islamic Republic of Iran as rapporteur of the U.N. Disarmament and International Security Committee. While it is true that the rapporteur is not the same as the chairman, it is still a leadership position with a seat on the dais of this 193 member committee. The position also has enough teeth to cause problems.

The rapporteur of a U.N. committee is responsible for various written documents produced by the committee, it maintains the speakers list, is in charge of the roll call and has responsibility for other administrative tasks.

One should first ask how it is possible that Iran is even a member of the committee which oversees all international security matters within the purview of the U.N. Charter.

Here’s something that should tickle the irony bone of all readers. This committee oversees “the general principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as principles governing disarmament and the regulation of armaments; promotion of cooperative arrangements and measures aimed at strengthening stability through lower levels of armaments.”

How many years has it been that the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors were led down endless hallways leading to shut doors in their quest to uncover Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons?  And the guys who slam shut, lock the door and throw away the keys are among those in charge of those inspections? Actually, this farce is at least as good as anything Chavez ever did.  But far more dangerous.

“Allowing Iran to be on the U.N. committee dealing with nuclear disarmament and weapons proliferation is like inviting Assad, the Syrian dictator responsible for the death of 100,000 of his own people, to be the head of the population census bureau,” Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor said last month in response to Iran’s initial bid to become the rapporteur of the U.N. committee.

HOW UN COMMITTEE LEADERSHIP IS SELECTED

How is this possible?  Here is the how U.N. committees are constructed.

There are six main U.N. committees, the Disarmament and International Security Committee being the First Committee.  Any member of the U.N. is eligible for membership on any committee.  The members choose a chairman before the U.N. session begins, and then the members chose three vice-chairmen and a rapporteur. Any committee member (other than special technicians or experts who do not represent member nations) is eligible to hold any of these positions.

Although the rules provide that “These officers shall be elected on the basis of equitable geographical distribution, experience and personal competence,” the elections are held by secret ballot. There’s the problem right there.

And Rule 111 is a tad alarming.  It provides that the chairman as well as the rapporteur of a committee “may be accorded precedence for the purpose of explaining the conclusions arrived at by their committee.”

Some may take cold comfort that at least Iran was not chosen as the chairman of the Disarmament Committee.  Don’t. Committee chairmen do not have a vote; rapporteurs do.

SELECTION SEEN AS INSULT TO ISRAEL

The selection of Iran in this official capacity, on the heels of the Israeli Prime Minister’s two public appearances forcefully laying out the existential dangers and fundamental untrustworthiness of Iran must be considered a slap in the face. One minor mitigating factor is that the only other nominee for the position was Kuwait, not exactly a model of best behavior, but also a country not engaged in a race to destroy first the Jews and then the rest of the kuffar.

It was no surprise that the BBC represented its version of a report card on Netanyahu’s speeches, concluding that most Israeli newspapers and all the Iranian media gave him failing grades. “Iranian media criticized the speech as “Iranophobic” while some Israeli newspapers found it unconvincing.”  Thanks, guys. No popcorn for you.

Savages of Socialism

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

In Venezuela, savvy shoppers are hunting down scarce supplies of toilet paper with a smartphone app. The smartphones, compact packages of electronics, are several generations more advanced than the white square, but they are available when the toilet paper isn’t, because unlike the toilet paper they aren’t subsidized and price controlled.

While Hugo Chavez did at one point unveil a Chavezphone for the poor, he succumbed to the wonders of Cuba’s Socialist medicine before they could become as big as Obamaphones. But if Venezuela ever falls to the dumbphone, then there won’t be a smartphone app to find a smartphone with.

The sight of modern men and women hunting down toilet paper with smartphones seems like the Soviet Union as reimagined by William Gibson, but it’s a common enough outcome in an economy that is really a patchwork of uneven subsidies.

The Arab Spring was fueled by the social media apps of smartphones and anger over insufficient subsidies for staples such as bread and fuel. The smartphones may bring you the revolution, but it’s the toilet paper and bread shortages that set them off.

The problem is a commonplace one that Americans will shortly begin experiencing with the subsidized medicine of Obamacare.

Most governments subsidize or price control some necessities to win over the underclass… or at least keep them from burning down everything in sight.

The Arab Spring took place in countries where government subsidized food and fuel existed side by side with monopolies over nearly everything held by cronies if the ruling class. Bread was temporarily cheap, but nearly everything else was either substandard or nonexistent… except for the American-designed and Chinese-built smartphones being used to document the food and fuel revolution.

A society stuck somewhere along the way in the transition between Socialism and a free economy finds itself in these savage intersections in which high technology is available, but the basic needs which the underclass is bought off with aren’t.

Manhattan, that glittering island of towers rising between the waters of two rivers that are one, values real estate above gold. A square foot of dirt in Manhattan might as well be marble for what it fetches.

Finding an apartment in Manhattan is a challenge worthy of a treasure hunter and Bloomberg recently unveiled a plan for micro apartments that would be little more than closets with kitchen sinks.

Manhattan is a small and narrow strip of land which accounts for some of the high prices, but its real estate is also a crazy quilt of wildly overpriced market housing and subsidized housing projects. In some tenements rent-controlled apartments that cost less than anywhere else in the city coexist with 5,000 dollar a month pads and the only difference between them is regulation.

Downtown grim blocs of housing project towers crowd out riverfront views that would be worth hundreds of millions while the bankrupt city Housing Authority fights pitched battles with residents to sell a few scraps of empty land to developers to finance the welfare castles.

Uptown, large lots sit empty and bound to a covenant of affordable housing signed during the city’s lean years that now make the land worthless for anything except growing weeds.

A booming housing market in the city is built on runaway prices caused by artificial shortages. Manhattan is really two islands, one is being built up and torn down again every few years, while the other is stuck in a state of permanent slumhood since the seventies. One pays for its organic grapes with smartphone apps and the other buys everything with food stamp cards.

The gap between these extremes is where the shortages form and the Middle Class eventually falls into that hole between the extremes of the liberal poor who want to be subsidized and the liberal rich who want someone to do something about the poor. The welfare class is relieved not to be burdened with the slog to the Middle Class and the crony capitalists are not interested in more competition. Both agree on a static society managed with subsidies and monopolies. This system had more than a passing resemblance to the dysfunctional countries of the Middle East. The only difference is that America still has a Middle Class for the system to drink dry.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/sultan-knish/savages-of-socialism/2013/06/19/

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