United Nations Archives

UN Data Shows More Guns, Less Violence

“More guns, more violence”, so goes the mantra that, apparently, many liberal politicians and their voters keep chanting. In one way, it sort of makes sense, if you think about it without considering anything else other than the number of guns.

However, there were some maps made by the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime that tend to set this mantra on its ear. Remember, now; this is data from the UN, not some conservative think tank.

The map shows that where gun ownership is higher, the number of homicides is, generally speaking, lower. In most cases, where the country is orange or red on the gun ownership map – the high end of the scale – they’re green on the homicides map, meaning the low end. Places like the US, which no one would deny is awash in guns, to those places in Europe where you can still get them, more guns mean fewer homicides. And all these values are population based; per capita.

And to just reinforce the point, when the country is green on the gun map – where it’s difficult to get guns – you’re extremely likely to see red on the homicide map; one might say figuratively and literally. Fewer guns in Central and South America, Africa and Russia don’t translate into rainbows and unicorns, unfortunately.

It’s time to stop chanting and take an honest look at the facts. The unicorns might just be grazing in another field entirely.

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    Friday Link Wrap-up

    When the minimum wage goes up, low-wage jobs are lost. This isn’t a prediction, it’s an observation. The Wall St. Journal notes it’s happening again, at the worst time for it, and mostly for minorities.

    Syria pulled out of the running for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. The problem is that they pulled out rather than being pushed. Given the number of human rights violators on that council, they could have easily been approved.

    "I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic." Read why here.

    The headline says it all: "WikiLeaks Threatens Its Own Leakers With $20 Million Penalty If They Leak Elsewhere". Transparency for thee but not for me.

    Green energy losing green: A solar farm in Texas is losing money because the property taxes are so high.

    High-speed rail losing speed: "California’s much-vaunted high-speed rail project is, to put it bluntly, a train wreck." Of course, the solution, according to the LA Times, is do it over, throwing good money after bad ($43 billion of bad money).

    What a shock! "Autotrader survey shows most motorists go green to ‘save money, not the environment’." Make green energy affordable, and the world will beat a path to your door.

    A big reason health care costs are rising so fast is because of central planning (aka Medicare, Medicaid). The Democrats solution? More central planning.

    Civility Watch: Wisconsin Attorney General releases 100 pages of threats against lawmakers during the budget battle.

    The White House shut out a reporter from the Boston Herald because of a critical editorial that the Herald put on their front page. The issue with Obama is not Fox News; it’s anyone who disagrees with him. But if you didn’t know about this, it’s not your fault. The rest of the media, who you’d think would be all over this treatment of colleagues, were virtually silent on the matter.

    The anti-war crowd has seemingly melted away into the woodwork with the election of President Obama. I mean, if George W. Bush had violated federal law by invading a country without, within 60 days, getting congressional approval, how loud would the outcry have been, from the Left and the Media? Instead, a collective yawn.

    (Sorry, no cartoon this week.)

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      Friday Link Wrap-up

      Question: What government program costs us 7 times what NASA does?
      Answer: The department of Improper Payments.

      Question: In a study looking at data from over 50 years, towards which political party does the NY Times lean? 
      Answer: Well, do you really have to ask? And it’s more about what stories are covered than about bias within stories.

      Question: Why do movements like pro-democracy or the Tea Party seem to balloon overnight?
      Answer: The "Preference Cascade".

      Question: What are 5 truths about Planned Parenthood that you’re not likely to hear in the media?
      Answer: Read them here.

      Question: How could you defend the use of sola Scriptura, "Scripture alone", to someone who objects on the basis that humans are fallible, so you just can’t be sure what is Scripture?
      Answer: C. Michael Patton has a good response.

      Question: Has Paul Krugman ever flip-flopped on an issue for politics’ sake? Not a little quibble, but on really substantial stuff?
      Answer: Oh yeah, he has.

      Question: Has Nancy Pelosi ever flip-flopped on an issue for politics’ sake?
      Answer: Well, she blamed high gas prices on "two oil men in the White House" before. Wonder who she’s blaming now.

      Question: Is Syria, a country that is killing its own citizens for protesting the government, really being considered for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council?
      Answer: Oh yeah, it is. And the UN is divided on whether it should even investigate their recent human rights abuses.

      Question: Was Stanley Ann Dunham punished with a baby.
      Answer: No, the baby (Barack Obama) was not a punishment, even though Barack’s campaign rhetoric would tend to suggest otherwise.

      Question: Has Hamas moderated, since it had to take on political leadership and run the Palestinians?
      Answer: Oh no, it hasn’t.

      Question: Did Fox News push the whole "birther" issue the most?
      Answer: Oh no, they didn’t.

      Question: Does Europe want us Yanks, with our neo-con aggression, out of their backyard?
      Answer: According to this Norwegian liberal, oh no, they don’t.

      Question: Shouldn’t the federal government be a limited one?
      Answer: Click for a larger image.

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        Reconsidering Praises

        …of Libya’s Human Rights record, such as it is.

        The U.N. Human Rights Council has postponed consideration of a report that praises Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi’s government for its human rights record.

        The report was written several months before the uprising in Libya — which has pitted Qaddafi, as well as armed loyalists and mercenaries, in a violent battle against his own people. But it was nevertheless scheduled for consideration and a vote on March 18, even as the U.N. General Assembly voted Monday to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council.

        Because everything was pretty good in Libya under a 40+ year dictator until just a couple weeks ago. Look, real human rights are the result of an underlying belief in the principle. If, at the drop of a hat, you’re dropping bombs on your own people, they never really had human rights to begin with; just a convincing façade.

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          Friday Link Wrap-up

          Unrest in the Arab world. Autocrats killing their own people. Hezbollah working with Mexican drug cartels. And what’s the UN most concerned about? Israel. Right. Meryl Yourish has more.

          Speaking of which, the Saudis tried to "stimulate" their economy in hopes of avoiding the same unrest plaguing other Arab nations. Doesn’t look like the citizens will be bought off that easily. (Pity that ours are so easily bought off.)

          The inverted morals of the Left; killing babies is OK, but circumcising them once their born should be against the law. Even if you’re Jewish.

          Worried about an oligarchy where the rich and powerful pay to have laws favorable to them? Then never mind the Koch brothers, it’s labor unions you should be worried about. (But the Left won’t worry about them, because they’re the right kind of money and power.)

          The headline reads, "Gaza militants fire missile at Be’er Sheva for first time since Gaza war". Technically correct, but Qasams fall there virtually daily, but you wouldn’t know from our news media.

          The Left is still pushing the meme that "right wing ‘hate’ groups" and their uncivil rhetoric caused the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

          Civility Watch: The uncivil discourse has not been just in Wisconsin. Nazi imagery and racial slurs have been used in protests around the country, most recently in Massachusetts, Washington, DC, and Colorado. And while fully documented, none were mentioned by the media. Think it may have something to do with the fact that the protests were all for liberal causes?

          In order to find that the ObamaCare individual mandate is constitutional, a judge had to somehow equate action with inaction. The result was never in doubt, it’s just how to get there that is the issue for these liberal judges.

          CNN’s Candy Crowley put on her rose-tinted glassed once Obama was elected. I mean people were burning Bush in effigy for the previous 8 years, and now people love us. Donald Rumsfeld disagrees, and Lori Ziganto has evidence to the contrary.

          It’s official: The State Department supports expelling Libya from the UN Human Right Council. Where in the world were these guys when Libya was put on the UNHRC? Back in May, we just called the HRC "flawed", which may be last year’s biggest understatement. In fact, it’s the whole UN that is flawed.

          And finally, oh, that liberal media. A comparison of Tea Party protest coverage, and union protest coverage. Love that independent, unbiased media.

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            Friday Link Wrap-up

            Venezuelans are getting tired of the food shortages, the electricity shortages, the soaring crime, the deep recession (i.e. everything that comes part and parcel with socialism) and have started taking back the country, starting with last weekend’s elections.  American voters are poised to do the same in November.

            The "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza is apparently mostly about symbolism, false narratives and propaganda.  Flotillas are required to keep up the narratives.

            The United Nations will appoint an Earth contact for aliens.  No, really.  "Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire."  Doesn’t it strike anyone as unintentionally humorous that "Unoosa" sounds like some alien specie you’d see on "Star Trek"?

            When the Bilderbergers met last June (cue paranoid music), one of the topics they discussed was Global Cooling.  No, really.  (Al Gore was apparently not invited.)  But indeed, global cooling, were it happening, would be worse than global warming.  Crops, for starters, kinda’ like the heat.

            Tea Partiers uncover rampant voter fraud in Houston.  Would it surprise you if I said that most of this was related to a former SEIU employee’s voter registration group?  Yeah, me neither.

            "Scientists have invented an efficient way to produce apparently safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos…."  They start with ordinary skin cells.  As Glenn Reynolds would say, "Faster, please."

            And finally, from Mike Lester, two views of the Constitution.  (Click for a larger image.)

            Mike Lester

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              Abortion Issue Update

              A couple of encouraging pieces recently regarding the abortion issue in American and the world.  First, Ramesh Ponnuru notes that 2010 looks to be the Year of the Pro-Life Woman.  Having little to show for itself in Washington, DC, the pro-life movement is getting some allies.

              Two pro-life women won Republican nominations for the Senate this week. A Tea Party favorite, Sharron Angle, and the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina are running for the Senate from Nevada and California, respectively.

              A third pro-life woman, Susana Martinez, became the party’s nominee for governor of New Mexico, and a fourth, Nikki Haley, a South Carolina state legislator, is expected to be a gubernatorial nominee in her state. If they win their primaries, Kelly Ayotte, the former attorney general of New Hampshire, and Jane Norton, the former lieutenant governor of Colorado, will also be pro-life Senate candidates in November.

              None of these candidates is a single-issue pro-lifer. But these women have not been shy about discussing the issue, either. Neither Ms. Fiorina nor Ms. Haley would have been likely to get Ms. Palin’s endorsement — valuable in a Republican primary — without firmly opposing abortion. Likewise, Ms. Angle would not have been able to unite populist conservatives and beat the party establishment’s candidate had she been pro-choice.

              Why this is happening is seemingly paradoxical, but read the whole thing for his excellent analysis.

              In other news, the United Nations is having trouble forcing the issue overseas.  Seems its reasons for funding abortions worldwide has fallen apart under scrutiny\.

              Deep divisions with top United Nations (UN) officials and abortion activists on one side and maternal health researchers on the other became public this week during the Women Deliver 2 conference in Washington DC.
              The dispute threatens to derail hopes of raising $30B for family planning at international development conferences in the coming months. These include the Group of Eight summit this month and the UN High Level Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Review in September.

              The medical journal The Lancet published a study in April refuting UN research claiming 500,000+ annual maternal deaths has remained unchanged for decades. The new study put the figure at 342,900 with 60,000 of those from HIV/AIDS, and said the number has been declining since 1980.

              [...]

              Scientists flatly refused to back up the 20 year-old claim by UN agencies and activists that family planning improves maternal health. The Guttmacher Institute’s president, Sharon Camp, asked Murray whether his study’s finding linking declining global fertility rates to better maternal health supports the idea that more family planning will reduce maternal deaths. Murray replied that "there is no scientific way to prove that."

              Scientists also undercut UN staff’s use of the world’s slow progress toward MDG 5 as a basis for urgent pleas for family planning funds. Boerma and Murray both said that its aim of reducing maternal deaths 75% by 2015 was unrealistic since it was not based upon "historical trends." The world would need an 8% annual drop, whereas 4% has been the best so far.

              Downplaying the remarks, Guttmacher’s Camp defended a joint Guttmacher-UNFPA report which was based on the now discredited UN figures, and which calls for a doubling of family planning funds in order to reduce maternal deaths by 70%. Camp did not explain why the same amount of funding would be required for a smaller overall reduction.

              Leftists have so much pull at the UN, and hence big (really big) government solutions have been all the rage.  It’s just that their appeal to science has pretty much failed.  Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll stop pushing their agenda, but it’s interesting to hear this from liberals who accuse conservatives of being anti-science.

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                Aid NGOs Complain Military is Doing Their Job

                From Instapundit yesterday:

                HAITI RELIEF? Soldiers told to stop handing out food. “Food handouts were shut off Tuesday to thousands of people at a tent city here when the main U.S. aid agency said the Army should not be distributing the packages. It was not known whether the action reflected a high-level policy decision at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) or confusion in a city where dozens of entities are involved in aid efforts.”

                One is likely to assume that the lack of a cohesive government down there and logistical problems would be to blame.  However, one of Glenn’s readers replied with his first-hand experiences.

                The “aid” agencies did the same thing in Afghanistan. Being a logistics specialist, I volunteered to help an American NGO with rebuilding schools, and was on the ground in Kabul in January of ‘02. (I later ended up in charge of UNICEF’s warehouse/distribution operation for all of the new school supplies…leaving me with a complete and total disdain for all things UN-related.)

                For the NGO community, to be seen co-operating with the US military was the kiss of death. NGO co-ordination meetings specifically warned against co-operation with the US military, as opposed to UN agencies. The supposed reason was that they wanted a clear line between the “killers” and those that were “there to help”.

                Hey folks, get over it.  Stereotyping the military in this way does no one any good.  How many NGOs have facilities to desalinate ocean water and provide food as much as an aircraft carrier does?  Yeah, thought so.  America is using it’s vast resources to help and all you can do is this:

                They would actually COMPLAIN that the military was out doing things like rehabilitating wells and such, whining that these were things that should be left to the aid agencies. The irony of the fact that we were all sitting in a meeting, DISCUSSING it, while the US military had already been out DOING it, was completely lost on them.

                Sounds like it’s same-old, same-old. Nothing but tools, the lot of them.

                Yup, ya’ gotta’ get over it.

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                  United Nations Hit With a Clue-by-4

                  Was this really a surprise?

                  The United Nations atomic agency has lost confidence that the Persian Gulf country is telling the whole truth about its nuclear program and isn’t hiding additional secret facilities.

                  Iran’s Qom enrichment facility, revealed in a Sept 21 letter, “reduces the level of confidence in the absence of other nuclear facilities under construction and gives rise to questions about whether there were any other nuclear facilities in Iran which had not been declared,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said today in a 7-page report obtained by Bloomberg News.

                  This just in: Governments that rig the election system to make sure their hand-picked guy gets elected, and have genocidal designs on other countries can’t be trusted.  United Nations shocked

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                    That Nutty United Nations

                    A couple of recent articles demonstrate just how off-track this august body has become.

                    First, an opinion article from USA Today that speaks out against UN efforts to criminalize the criticism of religion.  This is as clear-cut a free speech issue as you can get, and the cure is worse than the disease.

                    Thinly disguised blasphemy laws are often defended as necessary to protect the ideals of tolerance and pluralism. They ignore the fact that the laws achieve tolerance through the ultimate act of intolerance: criminalizing the ability of some individuals to denounce sacred or sensitive values. We do not need free speech to protect popular thoughts or popular people. It is designed to protect those who challenge the majority and its institutions. Criticism of religion is the very measure of the guarantee of free speech — the literal sacred institution of society.

                    You don’t destroy free speech in order to save it.  There are clear exceptions to this rule, but "offense" isn’t one of them.  Thank you, UN

                    Second is a special report submitted to the UN by its Human Rights Council that has in it a definition of gender that the UN itself has been trying to get enough nations to agree with.  In a report entitled, “Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism” (which clearly involves genders, right?), we find this:

                    Gender is not synonymous with women but rather encompasses the social constructions that underlie how women’s and men’s roles, functions and responsibilities, including in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity, are defined and understood. This report will therefore identify the gendered impact of counter-terrorism measures both on women and men, as well as the rights of persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. As a social construct, gender is also informed by, and intersects with, various other means by which roles, functions and responsibilities are perceived and practiced, such as race, ethnicity, culture, religion and class. Consequently, gender is not static; it is changeable over time and across contexts. Understanding gender as a social and shifting construct rather than as a biological and fixed category is important because it helps to identify the complex and inter-related gender-based human rights violations caused by counter- terrorism measures; to understand the underlying causes of these violations; and to design strategies for countering terrorism that are truly non-discriminatory and inclusive of all actors.

                    Emphasis mine.  Is the UN really unaware of biology?  No, they’re just trying to bend it to their will in order to mainstream behaviors that they deem okey dokey.

                    This is way beyond a big diplomatic table where nations can work out their differences.  As with any political body, they expand to fill any area they wish, not being otherwise constrained.  This is a body badly in need of remaking from the ground up.

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                      Straining at a Gnat

                      And missing the larger threat.

                      Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said Sunday that "Israel is number one threat to Middle East" with its nuclear arms, the official IRNA news agency reported.

                      At a joint press conference with Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran, ElBaradei brought Israel under spotlight and said that the Tel Aviv regime has refused to allow inspections into its nuclear installations for 30years, the report said.

                      "Israel is the number one threat to the Middle East given the nuclear arms it possesses," ElBaradei was quoted as saying.

                      Right, because Israel has said they want to wipe Iran off the map.

                      Oh…wait…

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                        Can Diplomacy Fail?

                        The answer is "Yes", but when it does, this is not necessarily a failure of those trying to prevent conflict.  At times, this is simply a result of the motivations of the belligerent. 

                        In response to my post about the delusions of negotiating with Iran, commenter Dan Trabue responded with why negotiation and pressure should be able to convince Iran not to go nuclear, and if it didn’t then it was a failing on our part.  If we go to war, it is an admission of failure on our part "that we’ve failed to outsmart this particular unreasonable leader."

                        I disagree.  Let’s look at some major cases.

                        Saddam Hussein had been negotiated with for decades.  Not even the first Gulf War was enough to keep him back.  Iraq regularly fired at coalition planes enforcing the No-Fly zone after the liberation of Kuwait (a country, by the way, that we liberated even though they had been a close ally of the Soviets and were extremely anti-Israel).  The UN and most Western governments (and in the US, both Democrats and Republicans) believed that Hussein was hiding WMDs.  He hindered UN weapons inspectors.  The threat of war from the US didn’t even move him.  This was a madman bent on both personal power and funding anti-Semitism.  There was nothing to give him that would take away those desires. 

                        Let’s go back a little further…

                        Read the rest of this entry

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                          It’s Time to Dump the UN

                          Leave it to Mike Huckabee to nail the issue in the video below. In light of last week’s circus in New York it’s time to dump the UN.

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                            Diplomacy With Iran, and Other Delusions

                            From Eliot Cohen:

                            Unless you are a connoisseur of small pictures of bearded, brooding fanatical clerics there is not much reason to collect Iranian currency. But I kept one bill on my desk at the State Department because of its watermark—an atom superimposed on the part of that country that harbors the Natanz nuclear site. Only the terminally innocent should have been surprised to learn that there is at least one other covert site, whose only purpose could be the production of highly enriched uranium for atom bombs.

                            Pressure, be it gentle or severe, will not erase that nuclear program. The choices are now what they ever were: an American or an Israeli strike, which would probably cause a substantial war, or living in a world with Iranian nuclear weapons, which may also result in war, perhaps nuclear, over a longer period of time.

                            Understandably, the U.S. government has hoped for a middle course of sanctions, negotiations and bargaining that would remove the problem without the ugly consequences. This is self-delusion. Yes, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy stood side by side with President Barack Obama in Pittsburgh and talked sternly about lines in the sand; and yes, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev hinted that some kind of sanctions might, conceivably, be needed. They said the same things to, and with, President George W. Bush.

                            That’s right, the much-maligned diplomat George W. Bush was part of a diplomatic effort, continued by Barack "Change" Obama, to get Iran to abandon the nuclear weapons program that they’ve denied but that the world knows they’re gearing up.  The talk and the Sternly Worded Letters(tm) from the United Nations have bought Iran the time they needed and brought us to the brink of either war on Iran or war from Iran. 

                            Rock, meet hard place. 

                            Cohen goes on to say that, at this point, it’s really too late and too difficult to remove the threat via a tactical strike, as Israel did in 1981, and an all-out war with Iran is a difficult proposition, because of the consequences to oil production, a potentially expanded war in the region, and because the Obama administration can’t even sell Afghanistan as "the good war" anymore. 

                            His suggestion is the kind of "meddling" that Democrats have shown distaste for in the past but which we’re left with after all the talking has proved fruitless; overthrowing the regime through something other than overt war.  The alternative is living with a nuclear Iran, and if you think they’re bothersome now, what with financing terrorism in the region, just wait until they have a  missile with a nuke on top and no one dare cross them.

                            At least we won’t have a nuclear Iraq with a regime also bent on terrorism.  You can thank Dubya for that, and reserve your thanks from the UN.  Over a decade of what passes for diplomacy and negotiation got us precisely nowhere.  History is repeating itself.

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                              UN v Human Nature

                              Scott Ott nails it, as usual.

                              Following President Obama’s visionary speech to the United Nations Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council today passed a resolution altering human nature to comport with "Obama’s hope-saturated view of our global future."

                              The measure comes a day after the council adopted a resolution aimed at "ridding the world of nuclear armaments, and replacing such weapons of mass destruction with fuzzy bunnies, warm chocolate and purple petunias."

                              The Obama administration worked diligently through the night to secure the support of Russia and China for the series of resolutions — a task complicated by the fact that the two superpowers are major exporters of nuclear-enrichment gear to totalitarian states, but lack a strong presence in the bunny, chocolate and petunia industries.

                              Human nature, a perennial obstacle in the implementation of U.N. resolutions, faced inevitable obsolescence in the face of Obama’s nuclear disarmament measures, which rely on ill-willed megalomaniacs to put the good of the global community ahead of their own ceaseless thirst for power.

                              The new U.N.-approved human nature will cause world leaders to set aside their self-interest in order to pursue goals that ultimately reduce their personal influence and subjugate them to the collective will of "the people of the world."

                              Hilarious and pointed, but this paragraph is the kicker.

                              "Without this change," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "the U.N. would be consigned to more decades of hollow words backed by empty promises and futile actions. But thanks to the new human nature, the president has finally fulfilled the promise of the U.N. Charter. Why it took so long for the global community to deal with this obvious challenge, no one knows. But now, tomorrow is a brand new day."

                              Essentially, this is what Saddam Hussein knew all along; nothing

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