Friday, June 16, 2006

The Office of the Mysteries

How big is the UN? Physically, anyhow. The question arises because of a media advisory from U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) indicating he's concerned about the proposed renovation costs to the UN headquarters under its Capital Master Plan.


Dr. Coburn met with top leaders of the U.N. in New York on Monday to warn them that U.S. support for a costly renovation of its headquarters, known as the Capital Master Plan, may not go forward unless the United Nations significantly improves the level of financial transparency in its budget and accounting practices.

The estimated cost of the planned renovation skyrocketed in the past year, increasing 45 percent from $1.2 billion in July 2005 to $1.7 billion today. In terms of cost per square foot, the U.N. renovation ($697/sq. ft.) is expected to cost nearly three times what we are spending to build the new State Department offices across the street from the U.N. building in New York ($283/ sq. ft.). Leading New York City developers have warned the U.N. cost estimates far exceed local real estate market values.

“The Capital Master Plan will be carried out by the same system responsible for the Oil-for-Food scandal. The U.N.’s own internal audits suggest that the entire procurement system is plagued by corruption,” Dr. Coburn said.

The United Nations has also refused to grant Congress access to construction contracts, outlays and disbursements related to the project – items the Federal Financial Subcommittee chaired by Dr. Coburn requested in July 2005.

“Congress should withhold funding for this renovation, which has already been mismanaged, until the United Nations casts more sunshine on its budget practices,” Dr. Coburn said.

These issues were publicly raised in November, 2005 in the NY Sun, except that the reported per square foot costs then was  $613.76 per square foot. John Hinderaker writing in the Weekly Standard underscored the murky nature of the debate by raising the question of how big the UN buildings were to start with.

The U.N.'s Capital Master Plan states that a total of 2,651,000 square feet will be renovated. Assuming that figure to be correct, the per square foot cost would be $452. But, as reported by the Sun, real estate experts question whether the U.N.'s facilities contain anywhere near that amount of space. According to the U.N.'s website, the organization's headquarters include four main structures, whose size has been estimated as follows:

  • Secretariat Building: 39 floors and three subfloors, approximately 500,000 square feet.
  • General Assembly Building: Five total floors, approximately 380 ft. by 160 ft., or 304,000 square feet.
  • Conference Building: Four stories, approximately 115,000 square feet.
  • Dag Hammarskjold Library: Four stories and two sublevels, 219 ft. by 84 ft., total 110,376 square feet.

If these estimates are correct, only around 1,029,000 square feet will be renovated under the U.N.'s proposal. At a total cost of $1.2 billion, the project would then weigh in at over $1,100 per square foot. Either of these figures is regarded by local real estate developers as stunning.

A UN "Fact Sheet" website gives the Secretariat Building as having "20 acres" of office space (or 871,200 square feet) and the Dag Hammarskjold Library dimensions as reported by Hinderaker, bringing the total floor areas of the two buildings to 981,575, assuming the Library's office area to be the product of its dimensions. But that would mean the General Assembly and Conference buildings together would have to be 1,669,425 square feet for the total to reach the 2,651,000 size reported by the UN Capital Master Plan. They would have to contain twice the office space of the Secretariat Building. Likely? Mysteries.

UN Undersecretary Mark Malloch Brown, speaking at a recent conference had this to say about American resistance to the renovation.

Exacerbating matters is the widely held perception, even among many U.S. allies, that the U.S. tends to hold on to maximalist positions when it could be finding middle ground.

We can see this even on apparently non-controversial issues such as renovating the dilapidated UN headquarters in New York. While an architectural landmark, the building falls dangerously short of city codes, lacks sprinklers, is filled with asbestos and is in most respects the most hazardous workplace in town. We are doing everything we can to address these problems, even as we press Member States to sign off on a complete and proper overhaul. But the only government not fully supporting the project is the U.S. Too much unchecked UN-bashing and stereotyping over too many years—manifest in a fear by politicians to be seen to be supporting better premises for what they unjustly regard as overpaid, corrupt UN bureaucrats—makes even refurbishing a building a political hot potato.

Maybe it would help if the UN could clear up the matter of just exactly how big are the UN buildings are.

Update

A reader (Jason) links to this Senate document that lists out the floor areas of the UN. Note that this posts calculations are approximately correct. The huge increase in floor area for renovation is due largely to the inclusion of the parking lot.

 

General Assembly

263,600

square feet

Secretariat

812,500

square feet

Conference Building

320,000

square feet

Basement (Parking)

856,800

square feet

South Annex Building (Cafeteria & Training Classrooms)

42,000

square feet

Dag Hammarskjold Library

115,600

square feet

North Lawn Building (Printing facility)

95,800

square feet

United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

144,300

square feet

TOTAL

2,650,600

square feet

The same Senate document continues, also by comparing each UN facility with its equivalent type in New York City.

Dividing the total cost of the renovation project by the square footage to be renovated, Ms. Clyne notes, “Using the space figure cited in the Capital Master Plan yields a per-squarefoot cost of $452 for the renovation.” ... My office has communicated with Charles Matta, FAIA, who is the Acting Director of the Center for Federal Buildings and Modernizations in the Office of the Chief Architect at the General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service. Mr. Matta has kindly provided that some useful information. He notes, for example, that the building type and square footage of a New York courthouse will bear some similarities to the New York General Assembly building that has 263,600 square feet. He makes the other following comparisons, complete with comparable square footage and comparable cost per square foot:

General assembly: (equivalent to Courthouse 263,600 s.f low rise): $360-416 per Gross Square Foot
Secretariat (equivalent to high end tall Office Building 812,500 s.f high rise): $282 per Gross Square Foot
Parking Garage modernization: (equivalent to new inside parking structure with secure 200 spaces): $125 per Gross Square
Foot Conference facility: (equivalent to 320,000 s.f low rise): $303 per Gross Square Foot
Cafeteria & Training: (equivalent to 42,000 s.f 2-story): $331 per Gross Square Foot
Library: (equivalent to 115,000 s.f low rise): $290 per Gross Square Foot
Printing Plant: (equivalent to warehouse 95,800 s.f one level): $256 per Gross Square Foot

Note that not one single comparable facility in NYC, even the General Assembly or the Cafeteria and Training type come close to $452 per square foot.

44 Comments:

Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Let us contact our Congressional and Senate representatives and tell them to give nothing more to the U.N.

In its present form, the United Nations is not just worthless. It is actively a dangerous organization; a money-laundering front for a congeries of murdering thugs. The good done in its name is only window-dressing to distract from (1) the multiple ongoing disasters to which it has substantively contributed; (2) the obscene misbehavior of its own staff in the sexual exploitation of children and women in many chaotic regions where the U.N. has been allowed to operate; and (3) the flagrant corruption and criminally-negligent financial mismanagement which taint all of its transactions.

At least when one is mugged on the public ways by regular highwaymen, a sanctimonious lecture is not part of your bill.

6/16/2006 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger BeefStu said...

One of the most interesting things I remember hearing on this topic last year was Donald Trump's testimony before the Senate International Security Subcommittee. The man is definitely an expert on commercial construction/renovation in NYC, and he spells out the problems in terms simple enough for a Congressman to understand.

Transcript and audio are here at Radioblogger.

Brief quote: "But the fact is that the United Nations building, with all of its buildings, with its parking, should be completed, and I mean completed at a cost of $700 million dollars. And it's my opinion that it will not be completed for less than three to three and a half billion dollars. They don't know what they're getting into."

6/16/2006 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

beefstu,

Trump's statement is a good catch. I like the part where he went to see Kofi Annan, convinced he could save them a bundle. That there was no way they could spent so much money on what is, by NYC standards, a medium-sized building. Then the conversation with the UN project "expert" called Conners, who knew absolutely nada about nothing.


When I went to see the administration, and when I went to see Kofi Annan, I was actually quite excited. Because I thought that I could save this country, this world, everybody, including myself, a lot of money, just by sitting down and having a meeting. Unfortunately, as our great Senator to my right said, There was just no response. They didn't really care. It got a lot of press. I walked into the room, and I sat down. I felt like a head of state. I was sitting with Kofi Annan, and a door opened, and there were literally hundreds of reporters taking my picture. I said, "What are we doing? I just want to tell you, I can build a building a lot cheaper." And that was the end of it.

I wrote letters, and you have copies of the letters. I wrote letters after the meeting. I thought the meeting went amazingly well. I was expecting a call the following day from...whether it's Kofi Annan or his people. At that time, it was a man named Conners. I met with Mr. Conners. Mr. Conners didn't know the first thing about what he was doing. He didn't know whether or not the curtain wall was going to be new, old, and didn't even know what a curtain wall was. I said, "What are you going to be doing with the curtain wall?"

He said, "What is a curtain wall?" Now, he was in charge of the project. The curtain wall is the skin of the building.

I said, "Will it be new or old?"

He said, "I don't know."

I said, "Are you using New York Steam? Or are you using a new boiler system?"

He said, "I don't know what New York Steam is."

6/16/2006 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Once Mr Clinton gets Kofi's job, well, most of the problems will be solved. Except, perhaps, for the unending sexual harassment complaints coming from Turtle Bay.

Not to worry though, with a Clinton in the White House and at the helm of the UN, the New World Order will be all the closer to reality, and the complaints of US citizens, ignored as usual.

6/16/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I too, recalled the Trump comment. But what I most recalled about it was that Trump made clear that he would take his usual approach and negotiate as required to expedite the process - in other words, bully, cajole, manhandle and steamroller anyone who got in the way. The alternative, Trump warned, was to let the unions and contractors take you to the cleaners.

And how could we ever expect the U.N. to understand that? Getting taken to the cleaners is what they do best.

6/16/2006 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Bob Novack describes how the UN and it's "leaders" are attempting to influence US elections and Foreign Policy. Quite interesting reading, really.

$700 million or $1.3 billion USD to update and improve the UN complex, what's the beef?
It's only money, peanut dough compared to Iraq and Katrina "reconstructions".

A $600 million USD spread, for the cause of "World Government" and improved working conditions, ain't nothin'. Especially compared to the $409 Billion USD the US has spent on Iraq and Afghanistan operations, in pursuit of Peace.

If US citizens could just get the UN in the proper perspective, well then, all would be fine.

It is our problem, not the UN's.

Read the Authorization for Use of Force in Iraq, the US is the action arm of the UN, get used to the idea, learn to live with it.
We are the World, you know.

6/16/2006 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

I'm fairly sure that no Security Council resident will be "elected" to the Secretary General position, DR.

Haven't memorized the charter, but I believe the Sec-Gen is taken from the General Assembly.

Although, there may be some back-side deal "under the table", for Bill, so to speak....

Sorry Wretchard, didn't mean to drag us to the gutter....

6/16/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

danmyers,
This from:
THE NEW WORLD DISORDER
Bill Clinton: Next U.N. chief?
Report: Former president eyed to replace Kofi Annan

© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

Has former President Bill Clinton hit the campaign trail again?

That's the word according to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist who reports a "major international move" is afoot to help install the ex-CEO of the most powerful nation as the CEO of the most powerful world body – the United Nations.

Sunday's "Dateline D.C." column, which the paper says is written by a Washington-based British journalist and political observer, named no names but cited reports that Clinton had already lined up support for his candidacy for the secretary-general position from Germany, France, England, Ireland, New Zealand, a handful of African states, Morocco and Egypt. The Tribune-Review also reports Russia has made it known it would not object and added that China is also a big fan of the former president. ..."


and from Wikipedia

"... Rumours have recently surfaced that former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos have set their sights on becoming Secretary-General; however, the nomination of Mr. Clinton, who is from a Security Council state, would be a break from tradition. Other possible candidates are South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, undersecretary general for the department of public information Shashi Tharoor of India, Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director General of the WHO, Tarja Halonen the current President of Finland and Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, the current President of Latvia. However, some consider it to be Asia's turn to fill the post and both Clinton and Lagos have denied that they have aspirations to hold the job. No announcement has been made, but behind the scenes China is already pushing the candidacy of Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, who also seems to have the support of the U.S., Russia, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Jayantha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka is also considered a strong candidate. Dhanapala is well reputed in UN circles especially for his contribution to disarmament issues. ..."

A "Break from tradition"...
That is what Mr Clinton has always been about, isn't it?

6/16/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Yup, a break from tradition.... Breaking things was his forte'. Fixing them, well that's another thing...

(Had to erase 3/4 of my post - poor taste).

6/16/2006 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

New York Construction Unions and The United Nations. Now that is synergy.

6/16/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Human Events online has series of interesting stories revolving around the "North American Union".

One Worlders unite!
The North American NAFTA Super Highway is about to begin construction, in Texas.
Read more here

A map of the new NAFTA Highway is it's called the NASCO Corridor.

Finally a linked article
North American Union to Replace USA? shows the length that Mr Bush has gone to, to create a combined North America, as part of dad's New World Order "vision thing".

"In March 2005, the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States adopted a Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), establishing ministerial-level working groups to address key security and economic issues facing North America and setting a short deadline for reporting progress back to their governments. President Bush described the significance of the SPP as putting forward a common commitment "to markets and democracy, freedom and trade, and mutual prosperity and security." The policy framework articulated by the three leaders is a significant commitment that will benefit from broad discussion and advice. The Task Force is pleased to provide specific advice on how the partnership can be pursued and realized.

To that end, the Task Force proposes the creation by 2010 of a North American community to enhance security, prosperity, and opportunity. We propose a community based on the principle affirmed in the March 2005 Joint Statement of the three leaders that "our security and prosperity are mutually dependent and complementary." Its boundaries will be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter within which the movement of people, products, and capital will be legal, orderly and safe. Its goal will be to guarantee a free, secure, just, and prosperous North America. ..."


Also in the linked article there is this part of the SPP agreement

The three governments should commit themselves to the long-term goal of dramatically diminishing the need for the current intensity of the governments’ physical control of cross-border traffic, travel, and trade within North America. A long-term goal for a North American border action plan should be joint screening of travelers from third countries at their first point of entry into North America and the elimination of most controls over the temporary movement of these travelers within North America.

Interesting times, indeed.

6/16/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Wells said...

Good grief. The plan is a complete overhaul of the NYC complex, not just the office space. If you want to know more about it, find the plan. Start here and scroll down to A/59/441. That is the UN naming scheme for the document. And yes, I know having a naming scheme sounds like waste but it isn't when each document must be produced in 6 languages and there are thousands of documents produced each year, a good number of which are secretariat responses to questions and concerns such as the US has. In this case the A means GA, the 59 means the GA's 59th session, and 441 is the document number.

From the report I see they need to rent some space during the transition and that cost is included in the estimates, which also included building a new building of about 900,000 square feet in addition to renovating the existing structures. Sounds like they are getting a good deal to me.

As for the size of the buildings, it is due to the sense of scale of what they are doing there. I've been there several times and the main conference rooms are massive. There are a lot of smaller conference rooms for the various meetings that take place, many of which are hosted by the UN even though they aren't UN bodies, such as G77 meetings. The hallways are built to handle all of this and so they are about 20 feet wide, not only to handle the people but to leave enough room for side discussions to take place, which are inevitable with this sort of work. Contrasting all this is the secretariat building, which was straight out of the 50s and had extremely swamped office space. Their data center looked like it was crammed in a walk in closet because there simply wasn't enough space to put it anywhere else.

Don't get me wrong - the Oil for Food scandal is atrocious and much more oversight is needed of the UN, but that sort of thing isn't going to happen until some serious discussions take place. Please take some time to get to know the organization so you can make complaints and suggestions they will listen to. Tours of the NYC HQ may be arranged here. Be sure to send a postcard to someone as it will have the UN mail stamp on it, which is a fairly cool gift for less than a buck.

6/16/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger cathyf said...

Jason, Trump's calculations are based upon square footage. The $700 million number was already inflated to be significantly more than the highest $$/sqFt number from the most luxurious buildings built recently in Manhatten.

He said that the UN could have a completely reasonable complex (better than what they have, certainly) for a couple of hundred million, although of course there would be compromises for the lower price. His point is that a "bloat" multiplier of 2-3 may or may not be objectionable, but 10-15 is just obscene.

cathy :-)

6/16/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Jason,

A lot of Trump's presentation was devoted to arguing that a temporary relocation of the offices was actually a recipe for disaster. Here, for whatever it's worth is Trumps argument against going out and renting 900,000 square feet for a year or two.

I don't think you need swing space. First of all, what landlord in New York is going to rent space for a year and a half or two years? Who's going to do that? You're going to give up a building for a year and half or two years, and say oh, good. You just go in, mess up my building for a short term, and then move out? Nobody's going to do that ...

It's going to be a disaster. And if you know your New York City landlords, and some of you do, there is no worse human being on Earth, okay? They are going to have more fun with these folks from the United Nations, when it comes to signing that lease. And the United Nations, their heads will be spinning. Assuming there's honesty, their heads will be spinning. ...

Space is constantly being renovated. Asbestos is constantly being gotten rid of, with tenants in possession. You sit there. They wrap it, they conceal it, they do it. They do it in many professional firms. They move the asbestos. Estee Lauder's company, they did it while they were in possession. I could name a hundred tenants where it's been done while they sit in their offices, literally working.

6/16/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ahh, but wretchard, Mr Trump knows what he is talking about. A distinct liability at the United Nations.
Reality does not trump a endless supply of US cash, though.

Mr Bush is going to make the UN "relevent" whether they deserve it, or not.
As with most of Mr Bush's quotes that have real meaning, we have to go back, to 2002.

"...All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?

The United States helped found the United Nations. We want the United Nations to be effective, and respectful, and successful. We want the resolutions of the world's most important multilateral body to be enforced. ...
...My nation will work with the U.N. Security Council to meet our common challenge. If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately, decisively to hold Iraq to account. We will work with the U.N. Security Council for the necessary resolutions. But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced ...
... By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand. And, delegates to the United Nations, you have the power to make that stand, as well. ..."


As is well known the UN Security Council did not see fit to be relevent and authorize US engagement in Iraq, 'til well after the fact.

While the United Nations stood down, the US enforced the UN Resolutions, without UN support.
Why, because the "idea" of the UN was more important than US self interest, Mr Bush would make the UN relevent whether they approved, or not.

Because as Mr Bush put it
"But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced.

6/16/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/16/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Foobarista said...

One thing I've noticed whenever I read about people interacting with the UN on a business basis is the wierdly amateurish nature of the place. Don't they hire experts?

Even the US government is better run than this...

6/16/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Jason Wells said...

Well I'll good grief myself! I got stuck on Wretchard's calculations of the office space. I've found a better doc detailing it all. Bottom of page 7 and top of pg 8. Top of page 9 lays out the square footage prices for each building with comparable buildings. They've also eliminated the new building I mentioned (4th paragraph).

By the way: Manager of UN Capital Master Plan resigns, citing lack of stakeholder support. From 5/4/06. Maybe they could hire Trump. :-)

Foobarista: Have a look at the employment page, especially Competitive Examinations. When I wanted to work there the US wasn't on the list, so I couldn't even apply. Simple as that. For the folks who can apply, as I could now, the pay is bad by any standard and in one of the most expensive cities to live in. The folks there all seemed stressed beyond belief, and since the territory is international the rules are different. Smoking was allowed all over the place, the insanely cramped space, etc.. I've never figured out how those folks get anything done considering the conditions they are working and living under. It says a lot about the people but not much for the org. I don't think the people have the resources they need to do a good job, by today's standards.

6/16/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Foobarista said...

I quickly took a look at the employment page; among other things, the age rules would be illegal in the US. More importantly for the UN, the age rules would preclude hiring experienced managers, especially in technical and operations areas; they'd usually be too old...

After all, if these rules were strictly followed, the UN couldn't hire Donald Trump to be its facilities guy...

6/16/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Meanwhile, some REAL News:
---
Kool Aid Drinkers Alert:
SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, "MAN" of "FAITH"

Bush snubs border sheriffs President refuses to meet coalition as lawmakers prepare hearings:
President Bush has refused to meet with border law enforcement officials from Texas for a second time. His response to their request came in the form of a letter Monday, angering both lawmakers and sheriffs.

In fact, some Republican members of Congress, upset by what they call the administration's seeming lack of concern for border security, are preparing to hold investigative hearings in San Diego and Laredo, Texas, early next month.
Members of the House subcommittee on international terrorism and nonproliferation hope to expose serious security flaws that could potentially lead to terrorist attacks in the country, said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who is a member of the panel and has pushed for the hearings.

"The next terrorist is not going to come in through (Transportation Security Administration) screening at Kennedy airport," Poe said. "We already have information that people from the Middle East have come through the border from Mexico. They assimilate in Mexico learning to speak Spanish and adopt customs and then they cross the border into the United States."

Poe requested the meeting for members of the Southwestern Sheriffs' Border Coalition -- a group that includes all 26 border county sheriffs from California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. The sheriffs wanted to speak to the president about the increasing dangers in their communities and along the border.

6/16/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Mr Bush is going to make the UN "relevent" whether they deserve it, or not.
As with most of Mr Bush's quotes that have real meaning, we have to go back, to 2002.
"
---
Depends on the meaning of "real" "meaning" "we" "have" "to," and etc.

6/16/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

We'll be discussing Kofi's haircut as LA is nuked.

6/16/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

""We need to expose the lack of border security before it is too late," Poe said. "We're fighting a war on terror in Iraq, and we're winning, but we're losing our own border war. These hearings will be a necessary step in the right direction."

Andy Ramirez, chairman of the Chino-based Friends of the Border Patrol, said he has been called to testify before the panel in San Diego. Ramirez said he has turned in two years of Border Patrol documents and memos, which he will discuss before the committee.

"The president has basically pushed his whole administration's agenda toward the war on terror yet he can't find the time to meet with law enforcement leaders responsible for border security," Ramirez said. "It is appalling and outrageous that the war on terror and border security does not extend to the U.S. border."
"
---
Andy Ramirez, Racist, Nativist, Ignorant Scumbag.
According to El Presidente Jorge the Great.

6/16/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That is because border security is in direct contradiction to the Goals of the SPP, doug.
Border Enforcement. The United States and Mexico will form joint intelligence-sharing task forces along the U.S.-Mexico border to target criminal gang and trafficking organizations and reduce violence along the border.

Target gangs and traffickers, but not increase security for the US.
Not to stop the illegal crossings, 'cause as the Mexicans will tell US, those are legitimate, if technically illegal.
It will require US to implement a "Comprehensive reform", to come into complience with the Goals of SPP.

United States and Mexican officials recently agreed to establish a standardized Alien Smuggler Prosecutions Program, which expands upon previous efforts to identify and prosecute violent human smugglers

Violence is the key, not smuggling humans. We have to stop the violence, not the smuggling, according to the DHS.

Before you know it, fait acompli, without further debate, done deal, just like giving the 12 to 20 million undocumented criminals already in the US citizenship, for $2,000 USD.

6/16/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We're all "Americans" now, doug.
May as well get used to it.

The Mexicans always thought they were Americans, as do the Brazilians I've known.

The US citizens will just have to get up to speed, their cousins to the south are already ahead on the "new" curve.
Because yes,

We're all "Americans"

6/16/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In North and South America.

6/16/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

2164th at 8:47

Maybe even symbiotic.

6/16/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

I totally agree with the mad fiddler, except that his language is insufficiently exprssive to render my opinion of these vermin. Nothing more should mean just that, nada, bupkis zilch.

6/16/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

9:29 AM
That Sucking Sound Ross talked about was tens of millions of
"Conservatives" servicing el Presidente Bush.

6/16/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger snowonpine said...

The UN runs on paper, lots and lots of documents, with very interesting things buried in them. However, the UN uses a hellacious identifying system for these documents. The research organization I used to work for had one expert on this system who was basically the only one who could quickly and easily find necessary documents. Boy, did she have a sweet deal! She was basically like an old european robber baron who controlled access to the one bridge everyone needed to cross and, because of this, got away with a lot of stuff nobody else could get away with.

I've described the UN elsewhere as clown college run by the most malevolent and corrupt of the clowns. We, more than any other country, pay these clown's salaries and underwrite not only their lavish lifestyles and perks but also all the death and misery they've visited on those unfortunate enough to come under their control as well as their schemes to gather ever more control of the world unto themselves.

Time to shut this very long running scam down and drop kick it to somewhere more in keeping with its behavior, say, Nigeria.

6/16/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

BeefStu's, excellent link says it all.
I had never been a fan of Trump, knew next to nothing about him, didn't like his hair, but listening to him last summer was like basking in a cool spring breeze of truth and knowledge of the subject.
Exactly the opposite of all the Bovine Scat that emanates from the mouth of POTUS when he talks about how great it will be when Americans can all share in World-Class Wages.
Except for the Elite of course, who will continue to rake in the wages of sin.
Hell is too good a place them.

6/16/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Why can't the United Nations headquarters relocate to a place with much lower land prices?

Here are some ideas:

Paris
Jerusalem
Sydney
International Peace Garden (at the Canadian & U.S. border)

6/16/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I could also add Denver as a possibility. The land prices are lower than New York, and there would still be a sufficient number of prostitutes to cater to the desires of the diplomatic corps.

6/16/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Can anyone recommend a site as a concise reference explaining how the European Union works? I sure would appreciate a couple of links.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My brother occasionally makes some observation so succinct and pithy I suspect he is channeling the spirit of Churchill or de Tocqueville or Soupy Sales.

Today, he commented that the European Union doesn’t seem to get much examination in the MSM, but presumably must be in competition with the United Nations for budgets and influence. He went on to muse that the states of the Confederacy which seceded in 1861 from the Union had mainly pre-dated the Union itself. And however violent and horrifying the war between the states, the Federal government in time restored the same level of autonomous self-government to all states. By contrast, it appears that the transition from the European Common Market of the 1960’s is transforming the continent into vassal states in the style of the subjugated respubliks of the USSR under Stalin. The major difference — so far — is the absence of a ruthless secret police empowered to snatch citizens on a whim and summarily execute them. But the totalitarian impulse is there and growing.

Meanwhile, decade by decade, the American experiment has extended suffrage. At this time, the main reason one can say that a small minority of people have decided some great issue, is that the greater majority of enfranchised voters didn’t get off their asses to go stand in line at the polls and cast a vote. Evidently the citizens of the EU member nations have universal suffrage at least to cast votes for their representatives in the European Parliament (i.e., their MEPs.) But the governing factor is that they are citizens of states which are now almost entirely socialist, with restricted access to the media, restrictions on dissent, and growing control by politically correct government bureaucrats over every citizen’s access to jobs, education, housing, medical treatment, and even food.

Even without the ratification of the European Constitution, a suffocating political correctness is being imposed on all, with laws criminalizing the publication in one country of ideas that might offend a reader in some other country. Of course we would never consider any such thing in America... * Europe does NOT have the enduring passion to protect free speech we have here in the U.S. The European Union seems to be intended as an economic solution to conflicts, which sought POLITICAL power in order to impose the economic scheme. But the yielding of sovereignty to the socialist homogenized super-bureaucracy is unfolding with unexpected vulnerabilities.

A critical unforeseen consequence of the European rush to the welfare state is their dependence on importing unskilled foreign workers for the wage-tax revenues they provide to prop up the precarious Ponzi schemes they’ve made of their welfare systems. Most of the immigrants solicited by Europe have been from Islamic nations that were conveniently nearby — tens of millions of Muslims eager for European wages because they were largely unemployed in their own countries. The consequences of this policy have been dramatically demonstrated by the London Tube Bombings, the prolonged rioting of unassimilated Muslim youths in France and Denmark, the political execution of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim, and the rapes, muggings, and general intimidation of native Europeans by Muslim militants all over.

European natives are increasingly at risk of betrayal by faceless appointed bureaucrats who are unaccountable to them, and insulated from the consequences of the politically correct gags they impose to accommodate the militant Muslim immigrants, most of whom are not citizens, but whose economic importance outweighs any quibble over citizenship. (Try looking up Germany’s standards for granting citizenship.)

It cannot be insignificant that the citizens of Europe have almost universally been stripped of their right to own firearms, where they ever had any such individual rights. Consider this along with plunging European native birth rates alongside soaring immigrant (i.e., “Islamic”) birthrates, and the future of Europe will clearly be written right-to-left on the page.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The most coherent and comprehensive online source I’ve been able to find to begin making sense of the EU is the maze of interlinked articles available through Wikipedia. Wikipedia may not be a peer-reviewed journal, subject to the rigorous scrutiny of flinty-eyed academics of impeccable credentials, but it’s a start.

6/16/2006 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

* (asterisk from my previous post)

Unless you consider the current attempt of the Philadelphia municipal authorities to bully a sub shop there for posting a sign telling costumers to order in English. I’m trying to imagine what these thugs would dictate to a recent Vietnamese immigrant setting up a Vietnamese restaurant? Would they insist that the Vietnamese owner provide translators for patrons speaking only Spanish? And if it’s bigoted and racist for a Philadelphia son of non-English-speaking immigrants to insist his patrons order in English, then it’s equally bigoted and racist for a Polish restaurant in Chicago to expect its patrons to speak Polish, or for the Francophone population in Montreal to insist on French Signage and the use of French for commercial contracts, and it’s equally bigoted and racist for Mexico to insist that visitors there speak Spanish.

6/16/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Excuse me, but isn’t there undeniable racist bigotry in the imposition of a single metric system like meters, kilograms, and seconds for all calculations, whether scientific or commercial? Or more basically, why don’t we discuss the inherent bigotry and racism involved in imposing the ARABIC number system? Surely we could use the Old Roman Numerals, eh? All we need is a Latin symbol for Zero... Long division should be no problem so long as we’re allowed to do it on an electronic calculator.
Except... Ooops! There has to be some evil racist reason why computers use binary code.

It’s probably because ones and zeros protect the BEAST from having his name spelled out with SIXES!!!!!!

Oh, yeah! And MUSIC... Why should anyone ever be required to use a system designed by old dead WHITE GUYS five or six centuries ago for writing music. Isn’t it totally racist and bigoted to ignore all the other possible ways there are for writing music? Hmmm. Well, there’s guitar tablature, and banjo tablature...

Hey, my membership card for the Luddite Society just arrived!

Uh, oh, it’s a mud tablet...

6/16/2006 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Talk about a confidence game. It looks like Kofi & Co., plan to red-carpet the parking area without actually buying the carpet. I suspect Kofi & Co., plan to pocket the proceeds.

I say not one more dollar be spent on the UN until a through financial audit of operations be presented to the public - including the "Food for Oil" scam.

6/16/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger John Samford said...

DR, I hadn't ran across the SPP before.
It certainly sounds better then my idea of trading New England for the Northwest Territories and British Columbia.We would get a lot of empty land and they would get New York and a bunch of welfare mothers. Sounds like a deal to me. While there isn't much in that part of Canada now, once global warming kicks in good, that will be the most valuable real estate on earth. Prime farming and ranching country. That and Siberia will be the only hope of feeding a population that doubles every 40 years. There may be 6 billion of us now (if you believe the UN. If you don't there is about 8 billion) but by 2025, that number will be past 10 and by 2050 between 15 and 20 billion. We will need to grow beans for all those folks. Or at least rice, although I doubt it will warm up that much.
Yep, instead of a trade, with the SSP we get it all for free. I realize that some people are fearfull of losing their minumim wage jobs, but to butcher a line; 'they have nothing to fear but fear itself'.
BTW, I thought Clinton would end up as the first President of the EU.
Just think, between him and Hill-de-beast as POTUS, they could control the 1st and 2nd worlds.

6/17/2006 01:48:00 AM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...

alexis:

Better choices would be Port-au-Prince, Kinshasa, or if the prostitutes there are inadequate, Rio de Janiero.

6/17/2006 02:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

1:48 AM
"Day after Day,
Head in the Crowds,
The Gal with a thousand answers
Squawking Perfectly Loud,
And she never has a feeling,
She knows that they're the fools,
Just keep them Bells a Peeling,
The Hill gets a thrill,
As she sends out the Shills
with a Socialist Pill.
And the Sun's Going Down,
and the Eyes in Their Heads,
See the Beast on the Hill"

6/17/2006 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Wow, doug... I heard the music as soon as my eyes took in the first line.

You any relation to Weird Al?

6/17/2006 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...

This maybe too late in the debate but the UN should be relocated outside the US. Anywhere but here.

Secondly should Hillary become President and Bill SecGen of the UN AND it is still in this country it will create a cleveage not seen since the pre Civil War days. That cleveage will be irreconcilable.

Armed factions within this country will grow and the ballot box will be replaced with power from the end of a gun. Too many of us are already poised for such action.
Philosophy and conflict resolution jaw-jaw will be suspended for the killing fields.
We did not go through 1776- WWII to see this nation continue to lose on the battlefield because of an organization like the UN. This is dangerous ground because I am a dangerous man with legions of brothers who feel as I do.
Best remove the UN from US soil.

6/17/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

http://70.168.46.200/

The URL cited here is the website of the Foreign Military Studies Office, where you can see the translations (and listen to some audiofiles) of documents captured in the invasion of Iraq.

First one I viewed was a single-page letter from Qusai (Son of Saddam) with instructions to move some 400 Kuwaiti captives to use as human shields around military facilities, more than a dozen years after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

Another is a translation of a Russian report shared with Saddam detailing U.S. troop dispositions immediately before the launch of the 2003 military offensive.

A proper leftist caveat would be that our government can't be trusted to do accurate translation; these gotta be propaganda.

I suppose that's possible, but if you want your whiskey neat — undiluted — you're gonna have to go learn colloquial Iraqi arabic and read the documents yourself.

There are some audio and video files. Of course, they might have been staged by U.S.-paid look-alikes.

Yeah. And the landing on the moon in 1969 was just a studio-fake.

6/17/2006 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe THAT's why everybody calls me weird.
Behind my back.

6/18/2006 05:44:00 PM  

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