Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Abstraction vs. Reality 4

Today’s look at the United Nations will involve a lot of linking to various sites for the full story on each outrage. They are all worth the effort unless you are already convinced that the United Nations has little worth and is actually a serious detriment to the United States. Please note that most of the resources used are either from other web sites or from newspapers in other countries.

With a very few and notable exceptions our national media are hard wired by a leftist bias to be pro-UN and eager to turn a blind eye to their shenanigans. Rather than fill the historic and important role of the fourth estate and actually insist on transparency, truth, and sunshine for that body; they would rather cover up, excuse and shield the perpetrators of the various crimes.

The overall size of the UN, its budget, and staff size make management nearly impossible. I spent hours in research attempting to put a reasonable number on the total number of people employed by the UN. Almost at wit’s end, I finally came across a piece from the Cato Institute with the best estimates they could come up with. The entire piece is fascinating, but long, so I shall excerpt some of that which I feel is pertinent:

“Since the Third World majority took control of the United Nations and its budget, total UN employment has ballooned from 1,500 to more than 50,000 worldwide. The latter figure does not include the nearly 10,000 consultants or the peacekeeping forces, which at their height in 1993 numbered some 80,000. No exact figure on total employment including consultants—the hiring of consultants is a popular and much-abused practice at the United Nations—can be given. That is because until 1994 there was no central, computerized list of personnel. Even today there are no records of many appointments in the Secretariat.[18]

The personnel costs—including generous pension benefits—of that army of bureaucrats consume an estimated 70 percent or more of the UN operating budget. Given the lack of transparency, the percentage could be even higher. That leaves relatively few financial resources for the actual missions of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, including the organization's much-touted humanitarian programs.

The salary and benefits packages of UN employees based in New York City are incredibly lucrative. Statistics compiled in 1995 revealed that the average annual salary for a midlevel accountant at the United Nations was $84,500. The salary for a comparable position in non-UN businesses and agencies was $41,964. A UN computer analyst could expect to receive $111,500 compared to $56,836 paid counterparts outside the UN bureaucracy. An assistant secretary general received $190,250; the mayor of New York City was paid $130,000.[19]

The raw figures do not convey the extent of the disparity, however, since the salaries of UN employees are free of all taxes. In addition to their bloated salaries, UN bureaucrats enjoy an array of costly perks, including monthly rent subsidies of up to $3,800 and annual education grants (also tax-free) of $12,675 per child. The UN pension program is so generous that entry-level staffers whose pay rises only as fast as inflation can retire in 30 years with $1.8 million..”

Please note that these figures are over ten years old and there is no reason to doubt they have increased markedly since Cato compiled them. The UN offers many publications for sale regarding the interior workings of the organization but I have little confidence they would really have any further information than that which I have managed to extract. They also have a price structure for their books which would give Bill Gates pause. I thought college text books were outrageously priced until I inquired about the UN tomes.

Moving on to further malpractice; I guarantee the next one will make your blood boil. A large portion of tsunami deaths might have been prevented if only the entire UN staff had not been released to go on vacation at the same time. For more details on this boondoggle, go here.

I can think of no business I have ever heard of that would release every employee to go on vacation at the same time. Especially one charged with the safety of millions in the face of possible climatological disaster. Imagine, if you will, a fire department all off on a fishing trip.

Once the undetected tsunami had done its damage, the fraud that is the United Nations heightened the misery of the victims by turning a blind eye to corruption in the delivery of aid packages. If you are interested, the details are here.

Some problems arise because agents of the United Nations fail to do things. In other cases, it is overt activity on the part of those charged with keeping the peace that cause the problem. In this case It was Pakistanis in the blue helmets who were supposed to be suppressing the violence in the Congo. Read the whole thing to understand the role of “peacekeepers.”

No matter how incompetent, no matter how vile, no matter how criminal, there will always be an apologist to rise in defense. 'Kofi Annan has not been shy about confronting the US. That is his role and that is why some people are going after him,' said Warren Haffar, a UN expert at Arcadia University. Haffar is named in David Horowitz’s book 101 most Dangerous Professors in America. His left wing bias is comprehensively outlined in this excerpt.

There seems to be no end to what can be uncovered concerning the United Nations. One of the few things that I have been able to pin point with reasonable accuracy is the role of the various nations and their share of the financing. If you are up for more sickening details, be with us tomorrow and we will look at comparative shares of the financial load.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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