Saturday, May 10, 2008

Abstraction vs. Reality 3

The continuing saga of United Nations inefficiency, unmanageability, and outright criminality proceeds today with a brief examination of the Oil for Food program. In a nutshell, the program was initiated after the Gulf War to provide an opportunity for Saddam Hussein to convert oil resources, otherwise under sanction by direction of the UN Security Council, in exchange for food and other domestic necessities for the people of Iraq. In 2004 it had become apparent that the program had been corrupted sufficiently to gain the attention of the US Congress—finally!

A commission was appointed with former Fed chair, Paul Volker as its head, to investigate and report to the congress. The amounts of money involved were staggering, and like bears to a beehive, it attracted grifters and thieves of every description. Unfortunately, the investigating committee was not endowed with the legal and law enforcement powers to be in any way effective. It came to be popularly described as “a toothless tiger.”

A Swiss company, Cotecna, was hired—on a percentage basis, 2.2%—to oversee the operation to insure the propriety of fund use and delivery of the supplies to the Iraqi people. In an unusual “coincidence,” Secretary General Kofi Annan’s son Kojo happened to be employed by this firm at the time the contract was awarded. When this impropriety surfaced, he resigned his “position” but was still retained as a “consultant.” His knowledge and experience must have been very valuable to the company and rare in a 22-year-old. As a result, this precocious lad was allowed to continue his association with Cotecna.

Even if you are not actively engaged in commodity trading, the basics are relatively simple.. If one holds the rights, through ownership, to buy a product at a stated price in a specified quantify then any rise in the commodity price will result in an immediate profit upon sale. In a declining market one simply waits it out. Since it is all on paper, no infrastructure is required to store it. Saddam sold Oil For Food vouchers to nations and individuals at bargain basement prices to generate revenue not for the people, but to enhance his depleted military and reinforce his power over the people. Selection of the lucky recipients was determined mainly by the size of the kick back to Saddam. Over the years of the program a limited amount found its way to the populace but in no way comparable to the billions generated by the program. Any unredeemed vouchers would be worth—at Friday’s market close—$126.00 per barrel. The market closed on July 31, 1996 at $16.60

One interesting figure and story in this is that of Benon Sevan, the former head of Oil for Food at the UN. Upon investigation it was determined he had a recent unaccounted for deposit of $160,000 to his personal account at the bank. He claimed it as a gift from his kindly and beloved old aunt. The investigators planned to visit her at her two room apartment in Cyprus. Before the story could be confirmed, she fell down an elevator shaft and died.

In January of ’07 in avoidance of the statute of limitations an indictment was returned naming Benon Sevan. He had previously fled to Cyprus to avoid his comeuppance and now faces a possible 50 years for conspiracy to commit fraud. Being holed up in a small apartment in Nicosia has not prevented him from contact with various UN officials. People in New York would like to be able to speak with him about Ephraim “Fred” Nadler, also indicted, Egyptian by birth and the brother in law of Boutros Boutros-Gahli, the former Secretary General before Annan.

No one is accusing Boutros-Gahli but his name keeps coming up in various investigations. As a frequent visitor to Boutros-Gahli at his home in New York, Tongsun Park of Korea has cast a long shadow on the former Secretary General. Park is currently behind bars for his part in the conspiracy to illegally milk the Oil For Food program.

When programs become measured in billions of dollars, the temptations to manipulate them for minor percentages in out right fraud and kickbacks become too great to resist. Without accountability, it is equally difficult to assign blame to illegal acts. This is especially true when those charged with that accountability are administering the program. In our government, the General Accountability Office (recently renamed) has a mandate which separates it from the branches and agencies which it monitors. It more closely resembles a bank audit which insures trust in that system and provides the opportunity for the government to insure (FDIC) the depositors.

These numbers pass the comprehension of the average person as do the strange sounding names coming from an international pool. This does not mean that the huge sums should be ignored and the miscreants allowed to fall through the cracks of a widely variant set of legalities. Each $6 billion which disappears is $1.00 per person, world wide. Each $60 billion becomes $10.00 per person. For those of us in a successful republic, it is chump change. For some poor guy tending rice in a paddy of Southeast Asia it represents 10% of his monthly income and is therefore extremely important. If he has a wife and three kids it becomes 50%. The billions which find their way into the coffers of ruthlessly corrupt leadership are funds which cannot rightfully be offered to the relief of the deserving poor.

The gap between abstraction and reality widens. We shall continue our look at the United Nations in the coming week. In the meantime, celebrate your mother; honor her, praise her and thank your loving God for her care for you and your family. She represents one of your greatest blessings.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Friday, May 9, 2008

Abstraction vs. Reality 2

WARNING! Our subject matter today involves sexually oriented material. If you are sensitive to such matters, do NOT follow the links provided.

While researching the behavior of UN “peacekeepers” in various locations throughout the world, I found several common threads. Sexual predation against the indigenous population is practiced regardless of the nationality of the victims. Complicity of the officer corps and other administrators is the norm. Reporting of crimes and general indignities is not encouraged. Reparations, counseling, prosecution and other indices of responsible action are rare to non-existent.

If you have the stomach for it, these are just a few of the 201,000 responses to a request to Google for the subject “UN scandals,” here, here, here, and here. Most of the current information which has been released is a result of our administration offering confidential information from the UN to the general public. Former Ambassador, Josh Bolton, during his term was a champion of open records and giving the public access to all of the happenings in the world body.

Keep in mind that these are not a handful of infractions but in some cases number in the hundreds. Neither are they limited to a single or a couple of operations. In the multi-national force they are not the result of a single warped cultural response of a specific nation’s troops. Like a cancer, these occurrences are random and equally hard to defeat. One is as likely to be abused or raped by a guy in a blue helmet in Congo or Kosovo. Where ever destitute refugees huddle homeless and hungry; the threat is constant. This assault on the helpless is the antithesis of everything which our nation stands for. This is probably the reason we occasionally hear of an American who refuses to don the blue helmet and be subject to a foreign command structure.

Women have long been the object of rapine by invading and conquering armies. Historically, it was often part of the overall battle plan and encouraged. It served, at a horrible cost to the victims, a national interest for the oppressors. Since there is no national interest for the perpetrators within the UN the criminal acts are all the more heinous. Also, the age of the victims of both sexes has dropped to the accepted definition of children. Without supervision, prosecution, or legitimate investigation the practice has become a recreational outlet for the troops.

If you check the links and read the accusations—well founded—you will note references to reports from nearly every year since the turn of the century. These are not isolated in time, venue, nationality (either victim or perpetrator) or rank. All of this evidence points to that which has become the rule and not the exception.

One of the most outrageous aspects of the whole matter is the necessity of trading sexual favor in exchange for foodstuffs and other relief supplies. As the good people and nations gather material to ease the suffering of refugees they are in fact supplying the coin of prostitution. To have to exchange the use of one’s body for a bottle of clear untainted water is the height of subjugation.

We display high dudgeon when the governor of New York pays a high priced prostitute for a night of self-satisfaction. In the world of moral equivalency does this compare to a man with a gun and blue helmet raping a 12-year-old girl in exchange for a pound of ground flour? At least the governor’s shenanigans had the necessary quid pro quo. Both parties were at liberty to decline the encounter. What choice does the twelve-year-old have? Will her future husband understand her lost virginity? Will her lowered expectations of men in general even allow her to pursue the joys of marriage which so many women treasure? These are people; and, they are being abused under the auspices of the United Nations.

As a father of five and the grandfather of twenty, I may rightly be accused of reacting strenuously to these matters. I have lived the life of “protector” far too long to be able to ignore these rotten apples in the United Nations. I continually ask myself what I would do in response to these crimes. I am not necessarily proud of my inner thoughts on the whole affair. Retribution comes to mind far quicker than reconciliation. God will deal with me for those thoughts and I have confidence he will also deal with the perpetrators.

Watch for Abstraction III and notes on Oil for Food.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Abstraction vs. Reality

The leftists claim reality in their ongoing struggle against faith. They turn to “scientists” as the foundation for every cause which denigrates the presence and importance of a Creator in our lives. They claim the pursuit of their selfish goals has sound evidence for the “good” it will produce to mankind. They further maintain the availability of hard facts to substantiate every assertion of success in directing the lives of their followers.

Abstraction however, has proven to be the only master stroke they have been able to deliver. A classic example of abstraction is the United Nations.

The great advertised dream at it inception was a conception of member nations all sitting at a round table of equality seeking the ideals of world peace and justice for all men. From the onset, the stress was placed on peaceful negotiation and reason to seek solutions to solve the problems facing mankind. It projected a conclave of benign administrators with noble intentions casting aside national interest, tribal aims, and selfish goals to achieve universal peace.

What could possibly go wrong there? The answer in a nut shell is: everything! The organization has proven the most strident claims of its opponents. It has shamed every concept of human dignity, wasted 100’s of billions in treasure, harmed the most defenseless of God’s creatures, committed endless felonies, and served as a feather bed full of posturing fools and opportunists. It is an endless round of bureaucratic nightmares and waste which these popinjays continue to tout as a solution to world’s problems. These are just observations of the positive things they have accomplished.

We shall over the course of the near future, examine in detail some of the threats which are posed by this body. We shall also examine actual historical evidence of inefficiency, avarice, cronyism, criminal activity, and endless failures of the United Nations. We shall examine finance, “peacekeepers”, ecological/political postures, food programs, medical resources, and, most telling, a membership made up of tin pot dictators, tyrants, scoff-laws, and buttoned down purveyors of every failed political dogma known to man.

This abstraction (the United Nations) became a reality at a time when the world was weary of an all pervasive war which had touched the lives of every living person on the planet. Seen as the solution to so much pain and suffering, it was eagerly embraced and foolishly endowed with power well beyond its moral capacity to execute. War brought the issue of self-preservation to the front of every sane mind. Survivors of the world conflict then provided a pool of talent who had demonstrated their skills in protecting themselves. Those same attributes were revealed in surviving nationalism and were then funneled into the world body. Therefore, each member’s first duty was to his own country’s self interest and goals.

In the convoluted assignment of power, the Security Council became the most powerful authority and seats were awarded on the basis of the “spoils of war.” From the onset, the absolute veto awarded to members, crippled the organization and set the stage for the circus it became. The now defunct USSR, which had slain far more of its own citizens than it had the enemy, became the moral equivalent of the US, Britain and others who strove to defeat a worldwide threat and seek peace without slavery.

In the beginning, the Security Council had ten members with five assigned permanent status – China, France, USSR, United States and the United Kingdom. The rotating non-permanent member’s number was increased in 1965 to ten making the total currently sixteen. I am certain you would have no difficulty naming them.

I’ll admit, I did have some difficulty with one of them; Burkina Faso (land of upright men.) I turned to the name of the capitol city for a clue – Ouagadougou – and found no help there. A bit of research revealed a country slightly larger than Texas with a population about 55% of that state, located in west central Africa, land locked and one of the poorest in the world – average monthly income $107. Formerly know as Upper Volta – renamed in 1984 -- it has made strides in education by doubling literacy to 25.3% over the last 18 years.

Their presence on the Security Council is probably as warranted as any of the other members.. These spots are rotated among nations representing various geographical areas throughout the globe. Most of the membership squabbles arise over criticism of the five permanent members. Since the principal job of the Security Council is maintaining peace and security, the status of the five permanent members is backed by them being legal possessors of nuclear devices. Although a clumsy apparatus the lack of nuclear attack since 1945 does speak to some success.

We shall revisit this subject soon and review some classic boondoggles. In the meantime, say a prayer of thanks for our Constitution and its origin and its outright superiority to any other system.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Any dogma that requires belief in things unseen and unquantifiable necessarily leads to a religion We have discussed this aspect of the global warming cult ad nauseum. In the interest of encouraging our readers to read, investigate and think for themselves, we shall continue to beat this dead horse incessantly.

Apologists for the “global warming” movement are even further embarrassed today by the release by a group of actual scientists in Germany, of sound data on the reality of projected climate changes. Unimpressed by factual research, the “warmers” continue their gloom and doom scenario and continue to assign blame for every breeze and shower to man made causes accompanied by predictions of the end of civilization as we know it.

In an interesting piece in the Telegraph of London, we find confirmation of the false and hysterical claims of the sect. Unlike much of our press, they—the Telegraph—are not hesitant to accept and print the debunking of the “computer model” predictions which have alarmed many of our people and legions of celebrities.

Perhaps the most amusing aspect of all of these stories is the rush by the AlGorigists to mask the obvious cooling trends and charge the threat from man made causes of any size to man’s output of carbon. Like many churches,(see yesterday’s Rant) they are reluctant to link the miraculous reality of our creation and its subsequent continuance to our Divine Creator. Never mind that it has functioned for eons and will continue to do so with us or without us.

Everything on this earth has the capacity to be beneficial or to destroy. It is a matter of use and also recognition of that capacity in the extreme. What is more welcoming than to come in out of the cold and wet to a blazing fire on the hearth which provides the warmth and comfort we so desire? What is also more terrifying than watching a forest or a home burn in an out of control conflagration? It is a matter of degree. The showers upon the earth which render the ground receptive to fields of grain, flowers, and grasses for the animals become a terrifying extreme in excess as manifest by flood, tsunami, and tidal surge. Both of these examples often result in massive loss of life, property, and general comfort. Does this mean that our lives are out of control?

No, God has equipped us with the ability to make decisions which ameliorate the hazards and enjoy the benefits. The presence of a well maintained flue, a fire screen, supervision and other precautions may prevent tragedy. Keeping ground fuels at a safe level, properly extinguishing camp fires, avoiding inflammables in tinder dry conditions and a general sense of “where you are” are all aids to escaping the natural and inevitable possibility of fire in a forest. For those who insist upon living by the sea (lake, river, bayou, pond, etc.) the eventuality of flood water having a disastrous affect is only a matter of time. There is much to recommend life near the water but the downside is the constant threat.

Unlike many others on the planet, we have dual agency. We have that which is inherent in our creation and a gift from God, plus; we have the liberty provided by our constitution which protects our rights as free men and women. We may make decisions both wise and importune. If we choose to be careless, we may witness the sight of a towering fire, up close and personal. If we implement our dream of a watery view, we may experience it in undesired amounts. As individuals, we have right to make these choices and therefore share the responsibility of the result.

We also need to accept that the planet offers other more cataclysmic events which appear totally out of control. For example: earthquake predictability is a rough science at best. Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes and excessive straight line winds while predictable in the short term are subject to the whims of nature. Who is to say exactly what and where the next event will be.

This morning we were alerted to a storm in Burma (Myanmar) with confirmed dead in excess of 15,000 with 30,000 reported missing. It will undoubtedly rank with the deadliest recorded killer storms. With a coast line of 1199 miles, it is especially vulnerable since the population is closest to the lowest elevations. Their problems are exacerbated by the presence of huge rice fields in the Irrawady Delta which were largely destroyed and an already incompetent infrastructure supplying water and electricity to the victims. The local oppressive regime further complicates matters by resisting relief attempts.

The natural mechanisms of the planet will prevail. The most prevalent of those is “change.” It was created by God to develop of its own accord. This sometimes involves extreme danger to those who live here and is often unavoidable. Rather than be constantly intimidated by the possibilities—which will occur—it seems a better course to live in preparation of the next life—which will also occur.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, May 5, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 36

I can’t think of a better way to get your blood boiling on a Monday morning than to share a quote with you from a Mrs. Gretta Vosper. She is the minister of a United Church – the merged Congregationalists, Methodists and Presbyterians – which is anxious to get past this “whole Jesus thing.” Mark Steyn reports on NRO’s Corner.

“Though an ordained minister, she does not like the title of reverend. It is one of those symbols that hold the church back from breaking into the future — to a time "when the label Christian won't even exist" and the Church will be freed of the burdens of the past. To balance out those symbols of the past inside West Hill, there is a giant, non-religious rainbow tapestry just behind the altar and multi-colored streamers hang from the ceiling.
"The central story of Christianity will fade away," she explained. "The story about Jesus as the symbol of everything that Christianity is will fade away..."

Ms. Vosper does not believe in the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the miracles and the sacrament of baptism. Nor does she believe in the creeds, the presence of Christ in communion or that Jesus was the Son of God.
In With or Without God, her book that was formally launched this week, she writes that Jesus was a "Middle Eastern peasant with a few charismatic gifts and a great posthumous marketing team."

The head of the United Church of Canada, the Reverend David Giuliano, feels "it is not his job to condemn":
Even Rev. Giuliano agrees that the name Christian — which carries the baggage of colonialism and other ills — should probably be phased out. Instead, he would replace "Christian" with "Follower of the Way" or "Follower of Jesus."

Why not just replace the Cross with a giant version of Robert Ferrigno's "I'm Sorry" button?”
If you are somewhat confused by all of this, join the club. When they meet on Sunday morning to worship, what exactly is left to worship? For all the doctrinal problems within the Restoration, I don’t believe we have come quite this far. Have we?
While on the subject of “faux” faith, another author, David Berlinski, has a new book called The Devil’s Delusion. His subject is “scientism,” and is a furious response to the ongoing war between science (Darwin?) and faith. His scientific credentials include books on mathematics and logic with numerous additional lengthy essays on physics, biology, psychology and yet more math. He maintains the existence of an “anti-God fetish” which has brought about an insane nihilism which is harming ongoing scientific work.

He has isolated the thread of influence from Darwin to Hitler’s extermination of Jews and other specific categories of undesirables in Germany, pre WWII. The argument proceeds as follows:

A. “If God does not exist, then everything is permitted.”

B. “If science is true, then God does not exist.”

C. “If science is true, then everything is permitted.”

The horrors perpetrated against those innocents have been blamed on everything from the Vatican to the Jews themselves for being intentionally divisive. The folly lies in the assumption of non-convergence of moral and physical laws. He asserts that science does not hold the faintest idea of how this world we live in evolved from the particle disorder of universe. They willingly seek as many particles as there is funding to pursue them.

He introduces us to the “Boeing 747 gambit.” An astrophysicist named Fred Hoyle claimed that spontaneous emergence of life was as likely as a tornado roaring through a junk yard and creating a 747 out of the debris. It was offered as humorous but other scientists picked up on the idea and claimed that indeed if a tornado couldn’t do the job of creating the plane, God couldn’t create the universe either. It all comes close to claiming that God does not exist. These examples of circular reasoning have become all too common among those trained to know better according to Berlinski. Absent the thought of “God in a hierarchal universe is essential to coherent thought or uplifting culture,” they become “obsessed with the fascination of evil.”

Even though the “hard” sciences are less susceptible to total non-belief than the social dogma curricula, ego plays a heavy role in the failure to assign the credit to God where it often belongs. I am happy to be aware that some in the field “get it.” Even though I don’t see it occurring, I hope David Berlinski sells a gazillion books.
So, how was your Sunday? Mine was superb. About 15% of us drove more than 140 miles to attend. Each one reported they were very comfortable with the Miami Restoration Branch and we all love the people there. I am under the impression that many in the Restoration are “settling in” with those who share their beliefs. I am convinced they are seeking Jesus Christ and not leadership of the man-made variety.

After the service, we all retired to the local Chinese buffet for dinner. And they say we are not diverse. I really think we need to reread the Word of Wisdom prior to our next trip. In case you are close to Miami, OK on the 18th of May, please join us for Celebration Day. This will be the 2nd anniversary of acquiring the church. Watch this space on the 18th for the full story of God working a genuine miracle in our daily lives.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon