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The tab for U.N.’s Rio summit: Trillions per year in taxes, transfers and price hikes

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By George Russell
Published April 20, 2012
FoxNews.com

The upcoming United Nations environmental conference on sustainable development will consider  a breathtaking array of carbon taxes, transfers of trillions of dollars from wealthy countries to poor ones, and new spending programs to guarantee that populations around the world are protected from the effects of the very programs the world organization wants to implement, according to stunning U.N. documents examined  by Fox News.

The main goal of the much-touted, Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, scheduled to be held in Brazil from June 20-23, and which Obama Administration officials have supported,  is to make dramatic and enormously expensive changes  in the way that the world does nearly everything—or, as one of the documents puts it, “a fundamental shift in the way we think and act.”

Among the proposals on how the “challenges can and must be addressed,” according to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

–More than $2.1 trillion a year in wealth transfers from rich countries to poorer ones, in the name of fostering “green infrastructure, ”  “climate adaptation” and other “green economy” measures.

–New carbon taxes for industrialized countries that could cost about $250 billion a year, or 0.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product, by 2020. Other environmental taxes are mentioned, but not specified.

–Further unspecified price hikes that extend beyond fossil fuels to anything derived from agriculture, fisheries, forestry, or other kinds of land and water use, all of which would be radically reorganized. These cost changes would “contribute to a more level playing field between established, ‘brown’ technologies and newer, greener ones.”

— Major global social spending programs, including a “social protection floor” and “social safety nets” for the world’s most vulnerable social groups  for reasons of “equity.”

–Even more social benefits for those displaced by the green economy revolution—including those put out of work in undesirable fossil fuel industries. The benefits, called “investments,”  would include “access to nutritious food, health services, education, training and retraining, and unemployment benefits.”

–A guarantee that if those sweeping benefits weren’t enough, more would be granted. As one of the U.N. documents puts it:  “Any adverse effects of changes in prices of goods and services vital to the welfare of vulnerable groups must be compensated for and new livelihood opportunities provided.”

Click here for the Executive Summary Report.

That  huge catalogue of taxes and spending is described optimistically as “targeted investments  in human and social capital on top of investments in natural capital and green physical capital,” and is accompanied by the claim that it will all, in the long run, more than pay for itself.

But the whopping green “investment” list  barely scratches the surface of the mammoth exercise in global social engineering that is envisaged in the U.N. documents, prepared by the Geneva-based United Nations Environmental Management Group (UNEMG), a consortium of 36 U.N. agencies, development banks  and environmental bureaucracies, in advance of the Rio session.

An earlier version of the report was presented  at a closed door session of the U.N.’s top bureaucrats during a Long Island retreat last October, where Rio was discussed as a “unique opportunity” to drive an expanding U.N. agenda for years ahead.

Click here for more on this story from Fox News.

Under the ungainly title of Working Towards a Balanced and Inclusive Green Economy, A United Nations System-Wide Perspective,  the  final version of the 204-page report is intended to “contribute” to preparations for the Rio + 20 summit, where one of the two themes is “the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. ”  (The other theme is “the institutional framework for sustainable development” –sometimes known as global environmental governance.)

But in fact, it also lays out new roles for private enterprise, national governments, and a bevy of socialist-style worker, trade and citizens’ organizations in creating a sweeping international social reorganization, all closely monitored by regulators and governments to maintain environmental “sustainability” and “human equity.”

“Transforming the global economy will require action locally (e.g., through land use planning), at the national level (e.g., through energy-use regulations) and at the international level (e.g., through technology diffusion),” the document says. It involves “profound changes in economic systems, in resource efficiency, in the composition of global demand, in production and consumption patterns and a major transformation in public policy-making.”  It will also require “a serious rethinking of lifestyles in developed countries.”

As the report puts it, even though “the bulk of green investments will come from the private sector,” the “role of the public sector… is indispensable for influencing the flow of private financing.”  It adds that the green economy model “recognizes the value of markets, but is not tied to markets as the sole or best solution to all problems.”

Among other countries, the report particularly lauds China as “a good example of combining investments and public policy incentives to encourage major advances in the development of cleaner technologies.”

Along those lines, it says, national governments need to reorganize themselves to ” collectively design fiscal and tax policies as well as policies on how to use the newly generated revenue”  from their levies. There,  “U.N. entities can help governments and others to find the most appropriate ways of phasing out harmful subsidies while combining that with the introduction of new incentive schemes to encourage positive steps forward.”

U.N. organizations can also “encourage the ratification of relevant international agreements, assist the Parties to implement and comply with related obligations…and build capacity, including that of legislators at national and sub-national levels to prepare and ensure compliance with regulations and standards.”

The report declares that “scaled-up and accelerated international cooperation” is required, with new coordination at “the international, sub-regional, and regional levels.”  Stronger regulation is needed, and “to avoid the proliferation of national regulations and standards, the use of relevant international standards is essential” — an area where the U.N. can be very helpful, the report indicates.

The U.N. is also ready to supply new kinds of statistics to bolster and measure the changes that the organization foresees—including indicators that do away with old notions of economic growth and progress and replace them with new statistics. One example: “the U.N. System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), which will become an internationally agreed statistical framework in 2012.” 

These changes, the authors reassure readers, will  only be done in line with the “domestic development agendas” of the countries involved.

“A green economy is not a one-size-fits-all path towards sustainable development,” an executive summary of the report declares.   Instead it is a “dynamic policy toolbox” for local decision-makers, who can decide to use it optionally.

But even so, the  tools are intended for only one final aim. And they have the full endorsement  of U.N. Secretary General Ban, who declares in a forward to the document that “only such integrated approach will lay lasting foundations for peace and sustainable development,” and calls the upcoming Rio conclave a “generational opportunity” to act.

Click here for the full report.

George Russell is executive editor of Fox News and can be found on Twitter @GeorgeRussell

Click here for more stories by George Russell.

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U.N. to debut plan for world socialism in June–time for US to exit?

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Jeffrey Klein
Political Buzz Examiner

The United Nations is holding its’ “Conference on Sustainable Development” in Rio de Janero, Brazil, over three separate sessions in June, to which organizers, led by UN Conference Secretary-General of Rio+20, Sha Zukang [who ‘really doesn’t like Americans’], expect 193 attendees from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders, according to the Sarah de Sainte Croix March 20, 2012 article in The Rio Times.

The stated themes of this colossal conference, which is structured around a 204-page report titled, “Working Towards a Balanced and Inclusive Green Economy, A United Nations System-Wide Perspective,” are “the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,” … [by and through] … “the institutional framework for sustainable development,” according to George Russell’s excellent and quoted-filled FOXNews article today.

More specifically, the debates will cover a … ‘breathtaking array of carbon taxes, transfers of trillions of dollars from wealthy countries to poor ones, and new spending programs to guarantee that populations around the world are protected–from the effects of the very programs the world organization wants to implement.

According to Russell, the Obama Administration officials have supported this “agenda,” which is designed to ‘make dramatic and enormously expensive changes in the way that the world does nearly everything—or, as one of the documents puts it, “a fundamental shift in the way we think and act.”

According to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, proposals on how the “challenges can and must be addressed,” include:

–‘More than $2.1 trillion a year in wealth transfers from rich countries to poorer ones, in the name of fostering “green infrastructure … climate adaptation … other green economy” measures.’

–‘New carbon taxes for industrialized countries [amounting to] about $250 billion a year, or 0.6 percent of [US] GDP by 2020. Other environmental taxes are mentioned, but not specified.’

–‘Further unspecified price hikes … derived from agriculture, fisheries, forestry, or other kinds of land and water use [industries], all of which would be radically reorganized–[to] “contribute to a more level playing field between established, ‘brown’ technologies and newer, greener ones.”‘

— ‘Major global social spending programs, including a “social protection floor” and “social safety nets” for the world’s most vulnerable social groups for reasons of “equity.”’

–‘Even more social benefits for those displaced by [this] green economy revolution—such as those put out of work in undesirable fossil fuel industries. The benefits, called “investments,” would include “access to nutritious food, health services, education, training and retraining, and unemployment benefits.”‘

–‘A guarantee that if those sweeping benefits weren’t enough, more would be granted … “Any adverse effects of changes in prices of goods and services, vital to the welfare of vulnerable groups, must be compensated for and new livelihood opportunities provided.”‘

“Transforming the global economy will require action locally (e.g., through land use planning), at the national level (e.g., through energy-use regulations) and at the international level (e.g., through technology diffusion),” the document says.

It involves “profound changes in economic systems, in resource efficiency, in the composition of global demand, in production and consumption patterns and a major transformation in public policy-making.”  It will also require “a serious rethinking of lifestyles in developed countries.”

This ‘UN guidebook for global social engineering,’ was prepared by the Geneva-based United Nations Environmental Management Group (UNEMG), a consortium of 36 U.N. agencies, development banks and environmental bureaucracies–all of which rely on the contributions, from tax collecting nations for their very existence–not a single entity engaged in the production of goods or services, producing a profit and owning singular wealth.

This UN doctrine seems to directly channel Marx and Engel’s scribe of 1848, “The Communist Manifesto,” wherein its’ organizational and operational structure appears to largely be a paraphrasical equivalent to the 10 short-term demands Marx prescribed in section II., “Proletarians and Communists.”

However, instead of the UN overthrowing the capitalist system, it simply wants to tie it to a leash and be subject to the UN … [a] ‘dictatorship of the proletariat,’ to redistribute wealth around the world to “magically elevate the poverty class to the middle class.

The United States, arguably the most fertile and favorable ground for such a massive experiment, has already spent $15 [T]rillion in taxpayer treasure over the past 47 years attempting to circumvent market forces and eliminate poverty–with no affect.

Additionally, study after study has revealed the UN to have grown into an impossibly dysfunctional gargantuan, having negligent management skills, metrics and accountability, and a source of financially wasteful pandering–second only to the U.S. General Services Administration.

Actually, as this directly smacks of the long-discussed “UN Agenda 21,” America must treat this audacity of the United Nations as a wake up call, and say “[last] check please”–then hit the UN exit doors without delay.

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Jeffrey Klein, Political Buzz Examiner

Jeffrey Klein, BSBA and MBA finance and economics, is a Conservative born and raised in Michigan who is well known for his political analysis, commentary and forecasting. Mr. Klein’s 33 years of business experience, most of which has come as a serial entrepreneur, has given him hands-on…

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EXCLUSIVE: UN chief, aides plot ‘green economy’ agenda at upcoming summit

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By George Russell
Published February 09, 2012
FoxNews.com

At a closed-door retreat in a Long Island mansion late last October, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his topmost aides brainstormed about how the global organization could benefit from a “unique opportunity” to reshape the world, starting with the Rio + 20 Summit on Sustainable Development, which takes place in Brazil in June.

A copy of the confidential minutes of the meeting was obtained by Fox News. According to that document, the 29-member group, known as the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), discussed bold ambitions that stretch for years beyond the Rio conclave to consolidate a radical new global green economy, promote a spectrum of sweeping new social policies and build an even more important role for U.N. institutions “ to manage the process of globalization better.”

At the same time, the gathering acknowledged that their ambitions were on extremely shaky ground, starting with the fact that, as Ban’s chief organizer for the Rio gathering put it, “there was still no agreement on the definition of the green economy, the main theme of the [Rio] conference.”

But according to the minutes, that did not seem to restrain the group’s ambitions.

Its members see Rio as the springboard for consolidation of an expanding U.N. agenda for years ahead, driven by still more U.N.-sponsored global summits that would, as one participant put it, “ensure that the U.N. connected with the roots of the current level of global discontent.”

Click here for the minutes of the retreat.

Among other things, the CEB heard Ban’s top organizer, a U.N. Under Secretary General from China named Sha Zukang, declare that the wish list for the Rio + 20 meeting, already being touted as a landmark environmental conclave on the issue of “global environmental governance,” included making it:

  •   “the catalyst” for solidifying a global economic, social and political agenda, built around “green economy” goals
  •   a means to “reorient public and private decision-making” to make the world’s poorest people the new economy’s “main beneficiaries,”
  •   a method of also reorienting national decision-making in countries around the world to put the new agenda “at the heart of national ministries,”
  •   the occasion to create new bodies, like a U.N. Sustainable Development Council, similar to the U.N. Human Rights Council, to help guide the global process further in the years ahead, or give additional responsibilities to the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP), the world body’s chief environmental agency..

Other participants chimed in with additional ideas, including the notion from one key organizer that “the U.N. in Rio should be the voice of the planet and its people.”

At the same time, conference organizer Sha noted, “2012 was not the best year” for driving new environmental bargains, due to the global financial crisis walloping the world’s rich economies, a prevalent “atmosphere of general trust deficit” between the world’s rich and developing countries and that many countries (notably including the U.S.) were holding national elections that left their future policies up in the air.

Those realities had already stymied the latest attempt to forge a multi-trillion-dollar bargain to transfer wealth from rich nations to poor ones in the name of controlling “climate change,” at a meeting last December in Durban, South Africa.

As one of the participants, Achim Steiner, head of the UNEP, put it, according to the minutes: “In framing its role and mission, the U.N. not only had the preoccupations of the financial and economic crisis, but also had to grapple with the phenomenon of a geo-economically transformed world that was not yet geopolitically articulated.”

Translation: One of the U.N.’s challenges is that the world had not been globally reorganized in political terms — yet — to the same extent that it had been globally reorganized in economic terms.

But in general, the members of the CEB saw that as an opportunity for the world organization, which they clearly hoped to make central to that global re-articulation.

Citing a CEB high-level committee report entitled Moving towards a fairer, greener, and more sustainable globalization, a top CEB staffer, Elliot Harris, told the gathering that the issue was not to reverse globalization, “but rather to harness it to generate better outcomes.”

Among other things, the clearly left-leaning report underlined that “inequity” was the “single greatest challenge and threat” to the world, and that “any new approach needed to address the root causes of the imbalances,” which the report associated with the “liberalization of trade and finance.”

Among the “opportunities” that the current global crisis had provided, Harris said, was “a renewed recognition of the role of the State,” and “an appreciation of the value of collective and coordinated action at the global level.”

When it came to global issues, the U.N. chieftains were encouraged to think well beyond the environment and the international economy into a wide variety of social spheres, from human rights to health and education, where there was a “need for a global framework and national frameworks” for the development of new policies. The national policies “should be derived from the core values and norms that the U.N. system embodied, to ensure coherence between national level and global goals and aspirations”

For some of those present at the gathering, those values seemed to include a heavy reliance on populist methods to push the U.N.’s Rio message to a global audience, bypassing member governments along the way.

Rio conference coordinator Brice Lalonde (a onetime Green Party candidate for the French presidency), according to the minutes “stressed that Rio + 20 was not a routine conference but one of few opportunities to hold a real People’s Conference.” He informed Board members, intriguingly, that “the U.S. Government was working on the virtual conference angle,” the document reported.

(In fact, on Feb. 2-4, 2012, U.S. State Department, EPA and other officials took part in a conference at Stanford University, entitled Rio + 2.0, which examined, among other things, ways that the latest “connection technology”—from Facebook to mobile phones—could be used in furthering global sustainable development.)

Lalonde added that “a conceptual move was also needed toward much more redistribution and much more equity around the world,,i.e., One Planet,” the minutes said.

But whatever other values the CEB’s internal report, and its deliberations, were supposed to embody, transparency was apparently not one of them. According to the confidential minutes, UNEP head Steiner said that the high-level committee report, and the CEB’s feedback about it, are never supposed to become public.

Instead, they are apparently to circulate within the CEB and its high-level program committee, “and help the system rally around an agenda that guaranteed the future of the U.N.”

George Russell is executive editor of Fox News and can be found at Twitter@GeorgeRussell

Click here for more stories by George Russell.

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Burma Today

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Darlene Casella
November 22, 2011

Evolved from the colonial poems of Kipling to the specter of nuclear weapons, world leaders are taking a renewed look at provocative Burma.

Rudyard Kipling wrote The Road to Mandalay; a poem about the sometime capital of the British Colony, Burma.

“Come you back to Mandalay, Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay on the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’ fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!”

Kipling’s poem became a song for Paramount’s first “Road “picture, with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. The Road to Mandalay was renamed The Road to Singapore. Frank Sinatra made the song a hit in his Come Fly With Me album.

Songs and laughter are not the reality of Burma today. Myanmar was renamed after the brutal uprising in 1998. Yangon, formerly Rangoon, means “End of Strife.” This name is an antonym to Burmese life. Pervasive government control, electricity and food shortages, corruption and rural poverty abound. State assets have been “privatized” to military families and government cronies. In spite of abundant natural resources, Burma remains one of the world’s poorest countries.

Human trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation; conscription of child soldiers, and forced labor camps are found. Extreme human rights violations cause the United States, the European Union, and Canada to impose financial and economic sanctions.

Myanmar sits at the crossroads of Asia’s great civilizations between India, Bangladesh, Laos, China, and Thailand. Strategically located on the vast Indian Ocean; she stretches to the Eastern Himalayan Mountains, but is smaller than Texas.

Ancient cities, spectacular monuments, well preserved pagodas, stupas, and temples make Myanmar a rich archaeological find. People communicate in their own languages, wear their own style of clothing, celebrate festivals, and perform rituals that have existed since time immemorial. Buddhism is influential. Most boys, and many girls, take part in novitiation which is a temporary monastic life; which includes a shaved head, wearing a robe, and staying in a monastery (a nunnery for girls). Monks in yellowish robes hold alms bowls, heads bowed, humbly asking for whatever food is offered.

The George Soros Foundation created The Burma Project in 1994 to increase international awareness of conditions in Burma and help the country to make transition from a closed to an open society.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese national hero, a Noble Laureate, and head of the pro democracy movement. She was under house arrest for most of the last 20 years; during this time her husband died in England. At the age of 65, she was released in November 2010 and saw her son for the first time in ten years. Bono wrote the song “Walk On” for Kyi. She has millions of supporters worldwide.

Former First Lady Laura Bush, an advocate of Suu Kyi, worked with 16 women senators to draft a letter to the UN to secure Kyi’s release. Mrs. Bush wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, was interviewed in Time Magazine, and personally called General Secretary Ban Ki Moon asking him to pressure the Burmese regime to release Suu Kyi. In 2010 Laura Bush made a U Tube video about Suu Kyi. Happily Laura Bush spoke by phone with the recently freed pro democracy activist. Encouraged by recent developments, Aung San Suu Kyi announced a return to politics. She had meetings with President Thein Sein.

Burma remains a close ally of China. China and Myanmar have multibillion dollar joint venture pipelines to transport oil and gas. It will link refineries in Western China across Myanmar. Offshore natural gas will go to China. Under civilian control since March 2011, Myanmar has embarked on a series of reforms; released 220 political prisoners, relaxed media control, and legalized trade unions. Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has named Burma as the Chair starting in 2014. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has accepted an invitation to visit the country as soon as possible.

Troubling aspects of Sein’s new government include their nuclear ambition, and their military relationship with North Korea. Norway based “Voice of Burma” broadcast this in a one hour documentary film on Aljazeera television in the Middle East. A young Burmese military specialist on rocket engines shows that Burma has components for a nuclear weapons program, including technology for uranium enrichment and long range missiles.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are climbing on the Burma bandwagon. Mr. Obama called Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit to Australia last week. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to visit next month.

Let us pray that the Obama Administration does better with nuclear weapons in Burma than it has done with nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran.

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