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Story 1: President Trump United Nations Speech Calling For The End of Religious Persecution and Protecting Religious Freedom — Videos —

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Religious persecution

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Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof. The tendency of societies or groups within society to alienate or repress different subcultures is a recurrent theme in human history. Moreover, because a person’s religion often determines to a significant extent his or her morality, worldview, self-image, attitudes towards others, and overall personal identity, religious differences can be significant cultural, personal, and social factors.

Religious persecution may be triggered by religious bigotry (i.e. members of a dominant group denigrating religions other than their own) or by the state when it views a particular religious group as a threat to its interests or security. At a societal level, this dehumanisation of a particular religious group may readily turn into violence or other forms of persecution. Indeed, in many countries, religious persecution has resulted in so much violence that it is considered a human rights problem.

Contents

Definition

Religious persecution is defined as violence or discrimination against religious minorities, actions intending to deprive political rights and force minorities to assimilate, leave, or live as second-class citizen.[1] In the aspect of state policy, it may be defined as violations on freedom of thoughtconscience and belief spread by systematic and active state policy and actions of harassment, intimidation and punishment that infringes or threatens the right to lifeintegrity or liberty.[2] The distinction with religious intolerance is that the latter in most cases is in the sentiment of the population, which may be tolerated or encouraged by the state.[2] Denial of civil rights on the basis of religion is most often described as religious discrimination, rather than religious persecution.

Examples of persecution is confiscation or destruction of property, incitement to hate, arrest, imprisonment, beatings, torture, murder, and execution. Religious persecution can be considered the opposite of freedom of religion.

Bateman has differentiated different degrees of persecution. “It must be personally costly… It must be unjust and undeserved… it must be a direct result of one’s faith.”[3]

Forms

Cleansing

“Religious cleansing” is a term that is sometimes used to refer to the removal of a population from a certain territory based on its religion.[4] Throughout antiquity, population cleansing was largely motivated by economic and political factors, although ethnic factors occasionally played a role.[4] During the Middle Ages, population cleansing took on a largely religious character.[4] The religious motivation lost much of its salience early in the modern era, although until the 18th century ethnic enmity in Europe remained couched in religious terms.[4] Richard Dawkins has argued that references to ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq are euphemisms for what should more accurately be called religious cleansing.[5] According to Adrian Koopman, the widespread use of the term ethnic cleansing in such cases suggests that in many situations there is confusion between ethnicity and religion.[5]

Ethnicity

During Nazi rule, Jews were forced to wear yellow stars identifying them as such. Jews are an ethno-religious group and Nazi persecution was based on their race

Other acts of violence, such as wartorture, and ethnic cleansing not aimed at religion in particular, may nevertheless take on the qualities of religious persecution when one or more of the parties involved are characterized by religious homogeneity; an example being when conflicting populations that belong to different ethnic groups often also belong to different religions or denominations. The difference between religious and ethnic identity might sometimes be obscure (see Ethnoreligious); cases of genocide in the 20th century cannot be explained in full by citing religious differences. Still, cases such as the Greek genocide, the Armenian Genocide, and the Assyrian Genocide are sometimes seen as religious persecution and blur the lines between ethnic and religious violence.

Since the Early modern period, there were increased religious cleansing entwined with ethnic elements.[6] As religion is an important or central marker in ethnic identity, some conflicts can be described as “ethno-religious conflicts”.[7]

Nazi antisemitism provides another example of the contentious divide between ethnic and religious persecution, because Nazi propaganda tended to construct its image of Jews as race, and de-emphasized Jews as being defined by their religion. The Holocaust made no distinction between secular Jews, atheistic Jews, orthodox Jews and Jews that had converted to Christianity. The Nazis also persecuted the Catholic Church in Germany and Poland.

Persecution for heresy and blasphemy

The persecution of beliefs that are deemed schismatic is one thing; the persecution of beliefs that are deemed heretical or blasphemous is another. Although a public disagreement on secondary matters might be serious enough, it has often only led to religious discrimination. A public renunciation of the core elements of a religious doctrine under the same circumstances would, on the other hand, have put one in far greater danger. While dissenters from the official Church only faced fines and imprisonment in Protestant England, six people were executed for heresy or blasphemy during the reign of Elizabeth I, and two more were executed in 1612 under James I.[8]

Similarly, heretical sects like CatharsWaldensians and Lollards were brutally suppressed in Western Europe, while, at the same time, Catholic Christians lived side-by-side with ‘schismatic’ Orthodox Christians after the East-West Schism in the borderlands of Eastern Europe.[9]

Persecution for political reasons

Protestant Bishop John Hooper was burned at the stake by Queen Mary I of England

More than 300 Roman Catholics were put to death by English governments between 1535 and 1681 for treason, thus for secular rather than religious offenses.[8] In 1570, Pope Pius V issued his papal bull Regnans in Excelsis, which absolved Catholics from their obligations to the government.[10] This dramatically worsened the situation of the Catholics in England. English governments continued to fear the fictitious Popish Plot. The 1584 Parliament of England, declared in “An Act against Jesuits, seminary priests, and such other like disobedient persons” that the purpose of Jesuit missionaries who had come to Britain was “to stir up and move sedition, rebellion and open hostility”.[11] Consequently, Jesuit priests like Saint John Ogilvie were hanged. This somehow contrasts with the image of the Elizabethan era as the time of William Shakespeare, but compared to the antecedent Marian Persecutions there is an important difference to consider. Mary I of England had been motivated by a religious zeal to purge heresy from her land, and during her short reign from 1553 to 1558 about 290 Protestants[12] had been burned at the stake for heresy, whereas Elizabeth I of England “acted out of fear for the security of her realm.”[13]

By location

The descriptive use of the term religious persecution is rather difficult. Religious persecution has occurred in different historical, geographical and social contexts since at least antiquity. Until the 18th century, some groups were nearly universally persecuted for their views about religion, such as atheists,[14] Jews[15] and Zoroastrians.[16]

Roman Empire

Saint Peter, an apostle of Jesus, was executed by the Romans

Early Christianity also came into conflict with the Roman Empire, and may have been more threatening to the established polytheistic order than had been Judaism, because of the importance of evangelism in Christianity. Under Nero, the Jewish exemption from the requirement to participate in public cults was lifted and Rome began to actively persecute monotheists. This persecution ended in 313 AD with the Edict of Milan, and Christianity was made the official religion of the empire in 380 AD. By the eighth century Christianity had attained a clear ascendancy across Europe and neighboring regions, and a period of consolidation began marked by the pursuit of hereticsheathensJewsMuslims, and various other religious groups.

Early modern England

One period of religious persecution which has been extensively studied is early modern England, since the rejection of religious persecution, now common in the Western world, originated there. The English ‘Call for Toleration’ was a turning point in the Christian debate on persecution and toleration, and early modern England stands out to the historians as a place and time in which literally “hundreds of books and tracts were published either for or against religious toleration.”[17]

The most ambitious chronicle of that time is W.K.Jordan‘s magnum opus The Development of Religious Toleration in England, 1558-1660 (four volumes, published 1932-1940). Jordan wrote as the threat of fascism rose in Europe, and this work is seen as a defense of the fragile values of humanism and tolerance.[18] More recent introductions to this period are Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England, 1558–1689 (2000) by John Coffey and Charitable hatred. Tolerance and intolerance in England, 1500-1700 (2006) by Alexandra Walsham. To understand why religious persecution has occurred, historians like Coffey “pay close attention to what the persecutors said they were doing.”[17]

Ecclesiastical dissent and civil tolerance

No religion is free from internal dissent, although the degree of dissent that is tolerated within a particular religious organization can strongly vary. This degree of diversity tolerated within a particular church is described as ecclesiastical tolerance,[19] and is one form of religious toleration. However, when people nowadays speak of religious tolerance, they most often mean civil tolerance, which refers to the degree of religious diversity that is tolerated within the state.

In the absence of civil toleration, someone who finds himself in disagreement with his congregation doesn’t have the option to leave and chose a different faith – simply because there is only one recognized faith in the country (at least officially). In modern western civil lawany citizen may join and leave a religious organization at will; In western societies, this is taken for granted, but actually, this legal separation of Church and State only started to emerge a few centuries ago.

In the Christian debate on persecution and toleration, the notion of civil tolerance allowed Christian theologians to reconcile Jesus’ commandment to love one’s enemies with other parts of the New Testament that are rather strict regarding dissent within the church. Before that, theologians like Joseph Hall had reasoned from the ecclesiastical intolerance of the early Christian church in the New Testament to the civil intolerance of the Christian state.[20]

Europe

Religious uniformity in early modern Europe

The St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of French Protestants in 1572

By contrast to the notion of civil tolerance, in early modern Europe the subjects were required to attend the state church; This attitude can be described as territoriality or religious uniformity, and its underlying assumption is brought to a point by a statement of the Anglican theologian Richard Hooker: “There is not any man of the Church of England but the same man is also a member of the [English] commonwealth; nor any man a member of the commonwealth, which is not also of the Church of England.”[21]

Before a vigorous debate about religious persecution took place in England (starting in the 1640s), for centuries in Europe, religion had been tied to territory. In England there had been several Acts of Uniformity; in continental Europe the Latin phrase “cuius regio, eius religio” had been coined in the 16th century and applied as a fundament for the Peace of Augsburg (1555). It was pushed to the extreme by absolutist regimes, particularly by the French kings Louis XIV and his successors. It was under their rule that Catholicism became the sole compulsory allowed religion in France and that the huguenots had to massively leave the country. Persecution meant that the state was committed to secure religious uniformity by coercive measures, as eminently obvious in a statement of Roger L’Estrange: “That which you call persecution, I translate Uniformity”.[22]

However, in the 17th century writers like Pierre BayleJohn LockeRichard Overton and Roger William broke the link between territory and faith, which eventually resulted in a shift from territoriality to religious voluntarism.[23] It was Locke who, in his Letter Concerning Toleration, defined the state in purely secular terms:[24] “The commonwealth seems to me to be a society of men constituted only for the procuring, preserving, and advancing their own civil interests.”[25] Concerning the church, he went on: “A church, then, I take to be a voluntary society of men, joining themselves together of their own accord.”[25] With this treatise, John Locke laid one of the most important intellectual foundations of the separation of church and state, which ultimately led to the secular state.

Russia

The Bishop of Vladimir Feodor turned some people into slaves, others were locked in prison, cut their heads, burnt eyes, cut tongues or crucified on walls. Some heretics were executed by burning them alive. According to an inscription of Khan Mengual-Temir, Metropolitan Kiril was granted the right to heavily punish with death for blasphemy against the Orthodox Church or breach of ecclesiastical privileges. He advised all means of destruction to be used against heretics, but without bloodshed, in the name of ‘saving souls’. Heretics were drowned. Novgorod Bishop Gennady Gonzov turned to Tsar Ivan III requesting the death of heretics. Gennady admired the Spanish inquisitors, especially his contemporary Torquemada, who for 15 years of inquisition activity burned and punished thousands of people.[citation needed] As in Rome, persecuted fled to depopulated areas. The most terrible punishment was considered an underground pit, where rats lived. Some people had been imprisoned and tied to the wall there, and untied after their death.[26] Old Believers were persecuted and executed, the order was that even those renouncing completely their beliefs and baptized in the state Church to be lynched without mercy. The writer Lomonosov opposed the religious teachings and by his initiative a scientific book against them was published. The book was destroyed, the Russian synod insisted Lomonosov’s works to be burned and requested his punishment.[citation needed]

…were cutting heads, hanging, some by the neck, some by the foot, many of them were stabbed with sharp sticks and impaled on hooks. This included the tethering to a ponytail, drowning and freezing people alive in lakes. The winners did not spare even the sick and the elderly, taking them out of the monastery and throwing them mercilessly in icy ‘vises’. The words step back, the pen does not move, in eternal darkness the ancient Solovetsky monastery is going. Of the more than 500 people, only a few managed to avoid the terrible court.[27]

Contemporary

President Donald Trump meets with survivors of religious persecution from 17 countries in July 2019

Although his book was written before the September 11 attacks, John Coffey explicitly compares the English fear of the Popish Plot with the contemporary Islamophobia in the Western world.[28] Among the Muslims imprisoned in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp there also were Mehdi Ghezali and Murat Kurnaz who could not have been found to have any connections with terrorism, but had traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan because of their religious interests.

By religion

Persecutions of atheists

Used before the 18th century as an insult,[29] atheism was punishable by death in ancient Greece, in ancient Israel,[30] in Christian countries during the Middle Ages and in Muslim countries. Today, atheism is punishable by death in 13 countries (AfghanistanIranMalaysiaMaldivesMauritaniaNigeriaPakistanQatarSaudi ArabiaSomaliaSudanUnited Arab Emirates and Yemen), all of them Muslim, while “the overwhelming majority” of the 192 United Nation member countries “at best discriminate against citizens who have no belief in a god and at worst can jail them for offences dubbed blasphemy”.[31][32]

State atheism

State atheism has been defined by David Kowalewski as the official “promotion of atheism” by a government, typically by active suppression of religious freedom and practice.[33] It is a misnomer referring to a government’s anti-clericalism, which opposes religious institutional power and influence, real or alleged, in all aspects of public and political life, including the involvement of religion in the everyday life of the citizen.[34]

State atheism was first practised during a brief period in Revolutionary France[citation needed] and repeated only in Revolutionary Mexico and Communist states. The Soviet Union had a long history of state atheism,[35] in which social success largely required individuals to profess atheism, stay away from churches and even vandalize them; this attitude was especially militant during the middle Stalinist era from 1929-1939.[36][37][38] The Soviet Union attempted to suppress religion over wide areas of its influence, including places like central Asia,[39] and the post-World War II Eastern bloc. One state within that bloc, the Socialist People’s Republic of Albania under Enver Hoxha, went so far as to officially ban all religious practices.[40]

Persecution of Baha’is

The Bahá’ís are Iran’s largest religious minority, and Iran is the location of one of the largest Bahá’í populations in the world. Bahá’ís in Iran have been subject to unwarranted arrests, false imprisonment, beatings, torture, unjustified executions, confiscation and destruction of property owned by individuals and the Bahá’í community, denial of employment, denial of government benefits, denial of civil rights and liberties, and denial of access to higher education.

More recently, in the later months of 2005, an intensive anti-Bahá’í campaign was conducted by Iranian newspapers and radio stations. The state-run and influential Kayhan newspaper, whose managing editor is appointed by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei[3], ran nearly three dozen articles defaming the Bahá’í Faith. Furthermore, a confidential letter sent on October 29, 2005 by the Chairman of the Command Headquarters of the Armed Forced in Iran states that the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei has instructed the Command Headquarters to identify people who adhere to the Bahá’í Faith and to monitor their activities and gather any and all information about the members of the Bahá’í Faith. The letter was brought to the attention of the international community by Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on freedom of religion or belief, in a March 20, 2006 press release [4].

In the press release the Special Rapporteur states that she “is highly concerned by information she has received concerning the treatment of members of the Bahá’í community in Iran.” She further states that “The Special Rapporteur is concerned that this latest development indicates that the situation with regard to religious minorities in Iran is, in fact, deteriorating.” [5].

Persecution of Buddhists

Persecution of Buddhists was a widespread phenomenon throughout the history of Buddhism lasting to this day, beginning as early as the 3rd century AD by the Zoroastrian Sassanid Empire. Anti-Buddhist sentiments in Imperial China between the 5th and 10th century led to the Four Buddhist Persecutions in China of which the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution of 845 was probably the most severe. In the 20th century Buddhists were persecuted by Asian communist states and parties, Imperial Japan and by the Kuomintang among others.

Persecution of Christians

According to tradition, early Christians were fed to lions in the Colosseum of Rome

The persecution of Christians is for the most part, historical.[41] Even from the beginnings of the religion as a movement within JudaismEarly Christians were persecuted for their faith at the hands of both Jews and the Roman Empire, which controlled much of the areas where Christianity was first distributed. This continued from the first century until the early fourth, when the religion was legalised by the Edict of Milan, eventually becoming the State church of the Roman Empire.

Today, Christians are persecuted in Iran for proselytising.[42][43] Proselytising is illegal in Iran.[44]

Persecution of Falun Gong

The persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice began with campaigns initiated in 1999 by the Chinese Communist Party to eliminate Falun Gong in China. It is characterised by multifaceted propaganda campaign, a program of enforced ideological conversion and re-education, and a variety of extralegal coercive measures such as arbitrary arrests, forced labor, and physical torture, sometimes resulting in death.[45]
There have being reports of Organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Several researchers—most notably Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, former parliamentarian David Kilgour, and investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann—estimate that tens of thousands of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience have been killed to supply a lucrative trade in human organs and cadavers.[46]

Persecution of Hindus

The Bangladesh Liberation War (1971) resulted in one of the largest genocides of the 20th century. While estimates of the number of casualties was 3,000,000, it is reasonably certain that Hindus bore a disproportionate brunt of the Pakistan Army’s onslaught against the Bengali population of what was East Pakistan. An article in Time magazine dated 2 August 1971, stated “The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Muslim military hatred.”[47] Senator Edward Kennedy wrote in a report that was part of United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations testimony dated 1 November 1971, “Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, painted with yellow patches marked “H”. All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad“. In the same report, Senator Kennedy reported that 80% of the refugees in India were Hindus and according to numerous international relief agencies such as UNESCO and World Health Organization the number of East Pakistani refugees at their peak in India was close to 10 million. Given that the Hindu population in East Pakistan was around 11 million in 1971, this suggests that up to 8 million, or more than 70% of the Hindu population had fled the country.The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Sydney Schanberg covered the start of the war and wrote extensively on the suffering of the East Bengalis, including the Hindus both during and after the conflict. In a syndicated column “The Pakistani Slaughter That Nixon Ignored”, he wrote about his return to liberated Bangladesh in 1972. “Other reminders were the yellow “H”s the Pakistanis had painted on the homes of Hindus, particular targets of the Muslim army” (by “Muslim army”, meaning the Pakistan Army, which had targeted Bengali Muslims as well), (Newsday, 29 April 1994).

Hindus constitute approximately 0.5% of the total population of the United States. Hindus in the US enjoy both de jure and de facto legal equality. However, a series of attacks were made on people Indian origin by a street gang called the “Dotbusters” in New Jersey in 1987, the dot signifying the Bindi dot sticker worn on the forehead by Indian women.[48] The lackadaisical attitude of the local police prompted the South Asian community to arrange small groups all across the state to fight back against the street gang. The perpetrators have been put to trial. On 2 January 2012, a Hindu worship center in New York City was firebombed.[49] The Dotbusters were primarily based in New York and New Jersey and committed most of their crimes in Jersey City. A number of perpetrators have been brought to trial for these assaults. Although tougher anti-hate crime laws were passed by the New Jersey legislature in 1990, the attacks continued, with 58 cases of hate crimes against Indians in New Jersey reported in 1991.[50]

In Bangladesh, on 28 February 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, the Vice President of the Jamaat-e-Islami to death for the war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Following the sentence, activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked the Hindus in different parts of the country. Hindu properties were looted, Hindu houses were burnt into ashes and Hindu temples were desecrated and set on fire.[51][52] While the government has held the Jamaat-e-Islami responsible for the attacks on the minorities, the Jamaat-e-Islami leadership has denied any involvement. The minority leaders have protested the attacks and appealed for justice. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has directed the law enforcement to start suo motu investigation into the attacks. US Ambassador to Bangladesh express concern about attack of Jamaat on Bengali Hindu community.[53][54] The violence included the looting of Hindu properties and businesses, the burning of Hindu homes, rape of Hindu women and desecration and destruction of Hindu temples.[55] According to community leaders, more than 50 Hindu temples and 1,500 Hindu homes were destroyed in 20 districts.[56]

Persecutions of Jews

Woodcut of the Seleucid persecution depicting martyrs refusing to sacrifice from Die Bibel in Bildern

A major component of Jewish history, persecutions have been committed by Seleucids,[57] ancient Greeks,[15] ancient Romans, Christians (Catholics, Orthodox and Protestant), Muslims, Nazis, etc. Some of the most important events constituting this history include the 1066 Granada massacre, the Rhineland massacres (by Catholics but against papal orders, see also : Sicut Judaeis), the Alhambra Decree after the Reconquista and the creation of the Spanish Inquisition, the publication of On the Jews and Their Lies by Martin Luther which furthered Protestant anti-Judaism and was later used to strengthen German antisemitism in pogroms and the Holocaust.

Persecution of Samaritans

The Samaritan Temple at Mount Gerizim was destroyed by John Hyrcanus in about 128 BC, partly because it was attracting some northern Jews as a place of worship. In 107 BC, Hyrcanus destroyed Schechem.[58] In the seventeenth century, Muslims from Nablus forced some Samaritans to convert to Islam and forbade access to Mount Gerizim.[58]

Persecution of Muslims

The French military in Algeria

Persecution of Muslims is the religious persecution inflicted upon followers of the Islamic faith. In the early days of Islam at Mecca, the new Muslims were often subjected to abuse and persecution by the pagan Meccans (often called Mushrikin: the unbelievers or polytheists).[59][60]

Muslims have been the target of persecution ever since the emergence of Islam, sometimes to the point of being martyred for their faith.[61]

In the 20th century, Muslims were persecuted by various governments including MyanmarFrenchItaliaChina, and many more.

Persecution of minorities in Islamic lands

Victims of Muslim persecution include JewsChristiansZoroastriansHindusBuddhists,[62][63][64][65][66] Bahá’ís,[67] Serers[68][69] and Atheists. Muslim persecution of fellow Muslims include as victims ShiaAhmadisSufiAlevisand Salafis.

Persecutions of Sikhs

The 1984 anti-Sikhs riots were a series of pogroms[70][71][72][73] directed against Sikhs in India, by anti-Sikh mobs, in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. There were more than 8,000[74] deaths, including 3,000 in Delhi.[72] In June 1984, during Operation Blue StarIndira Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to attack the Golden Temple and eliminate any insurgents, as it had been occupied by Sikh separatists who were stockpiling weapons. Later operations by Indian paramilitary forces were initiated to clear the separatists from the countryside of Punjab state.[75]

The violence in Delhi was triggered by the assassination of Indira Gandhi, India’s prime minister, on 31 October 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards in response to her actions authorising the military operation. After the assassination following Operation Blue Star, many Indian National Congress workers including Jagdish TytlerSajjan Kumar and Kamal Nath were accused of inciting and participating in riots targeting the Sikh population of the capital. The Indian government reported 2,700 deaths in the ensuing chaos. In the aftermath of the riots, the Indian government reported 20,000 had fled the city, however the People’s Union for Civil Liberties reported “at least” 1,000 displaced persons.[76] The most affected regions were the Sikh neighbourhoods in Delhi. The Central Bureau of Investigation, the main Indian investigating agency, is of the opinion that the acts of violence were organized with the support from the then Delhi police officials and the central government headed by Indira Gandhi‘s son, Rajiv Gandhi.[77] Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as Prime Minister after his mother’s death and, when asked about the riots, said “when a big tree falls (Mrs. Gandhi’s death), the earth shakes (occurrence of riots)” thus trying to justify communal strife.[78]

There are allegations that the Indian National Congress government at that time destroyed evidence and shielded the guilty. The Asian Age front-page story called the government actions “the Mother of all Cover-ups”[79][80] There are allegations that the violence was led and often perpetrated by Indian National Congress activists and sympathisers during the riots.[81] The government, then led by the Congress, was widely criticised for doing very little at the time, possibly acting as a conspirator. The conspiracy theory is supported by the fact that voting lists were used to identify Sikh families. Despite their communal conflict and riots record, the Indian National Congress claims to be a secular party.

Persecution of Serers

The persecution of the Serer people of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania is multifaceted, and it includes both religious and ethnic elements. Religious and ethnic persecution of the Serer people dates back to the 11th century when King War Jabi usurped the throne of Tekrur (part of present-day Senegal) in 1030, and by 1035, introduced Sharia law and forced his subjects to submit to Islam.[82] With the assistance of his son (Leb), their Almoravid allies and other African ethnic groups who have embraced Islam, the Muslim coalition army launched jihads against the Serer people of Tekrur who refused to abandon Serer religion in favour of Islam.[68][83][84][85] The number of Serer deaths are unknown, but it triggered the exodus of the Serers of Tekrur to the south following their defeat, where they were granted asylum by the lamanes.[85] Persecution of the Serer people continued from the medieval era to the 19th century, resulting in the Battle of Fandane-Thiouthioune. From the 20th to the 21st centuries, persecution of the Serers is less obvious, nevertheless, they are the object of scorn and prejudice.[86][87]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_persecution

United Nations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Map showing the member states of the United Nations[a]

Headquarters New York City(international territory)
Official languages
Type Intergovernmental organization
Membership 193 member states
2 observer states
Leaders
António Guterres
Amina J. Mohammed
Tijjani Muhammad-Bande
Mona Juul
Vasily Nebenzya
Establishment
• UN Chartersigned
26 June 1945 (74 years ago)
• Charter entered into force
24 October 1945 (73 years ago)
Website
UN.org
UN.int

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tasked with maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international co-operation, and being a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.[3] It was established after World War II, with the aim of preventing future wars, and succeeded the ineffective League of Nations.[4] Its headquarters, which are subject to extraterritoriality, are in ManhattanNew York City, and it has other main offices in GenevaNairobiVienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law.[5] The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193.

On 25 April 1945, 50 governments met in San Francisco for a conference and started drafting the UN Charter, which was adopted on 25 June 1945 in the San Francisco Opera House, and signed on 26 June 1945 in the Herbst Theatre auditorium in the Veterans War Memorial Building. This charter took effect on 24 October 1945, when the UN began operations. The organisation’s mission to preserve world peace was complicated in its early decades during the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union and their respective allies. Its missions have consisted primarily of unarmed military observers and lightly armed troops with primarily monitoring, reporting and confidence-building roles.[6] The organization’s membership grew significantly following widespread decolonization which started in the 1960s. Since then, 80 former colonies had gained independence, including 11 trust territories, which were monitored by the Trusteeship Council.[7] By the 1970s its budget for economic and social development programmes far outstripped its spending on peacekeeping. After the end of the Cold War, the UN shifted and expanded its field operations, undertaking a wide variety of complex tasks.[8]

The UN has six principal organs: the General Assembly; the Security Council; the Economic and Social Council; the Trusteeship Council; the International Court of Justice; and the UN Secretariat. The UN System agencies include the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization, the World Food ProgrammeUNESCO, and UNICEF. The UN’s most prominent officer is the Secretary-General, an office held by Portuguese politician and diplomat António Guterres since 1 January 2017. Non-governmental organizations may be granted consultative status with ECOSOC and other agencies to participate in the UN’s work.

The organization, its officers, and its agencies have won many Nobel Peace Prizes. Other evaluations of the UN’s effectiveness have been mixed. Some commentators believe the organization to be an important force for peace and human development, while others have called the organization ineffective, biased, or corrupt.

Contents

History

Background

In the century prior to the UN’s creation, several international treaty organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross was formed to ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and strife.[9]In 1914, a political assassination in Sarajevo set off a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. As more and more young men were sent down into the trenches, influential voices in the United States and Britain began calling for the establishment of a permanent international body to maintain peace in the postwar world. President Woodrow Wilson became a vocal advocate of this concept, and in 1918 he included a sketch of the international body in his 14-point proposal to end the war. In November 1918, the Central Powers agreed to an armistice to halt the killing in World War I. Two months later, the Allies met with Germany and Austria-Hungary at Versailles to hammer out formal peace terms. President Wilson wanted peace, but the United Kingdom and France disagreed, forcing harsh war reparations on their former enemies. The League of Nations was approved, and in the summer of 1919 Wilson presented the Treaty of Versailles and the Covenant of the League of Nations to the US Senate for ratification. On January 10, 1920, the League of Nations formally comes into being when the Covenant of the League of Nations, ratified by 42 nations in 1919, takes effect.[10] However, at some point the League became ineffective when it failed to act against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria as in February 1933, 40 nations voted for Japan to withdraw from Manchuria but Japan voted against it and walked out of the League instead of withdrawing from Manchuria.[11] It also failed against the Second Italo-Ethiopian War despite trying to talk to Benito Mussolini as he used the time to send an army to Africa, so the League had a plan for Mussolini to just take a part of Ethiopia, but he ignored the League and invaded Ethiopia, the League tried putting sanctions on Italy, but Italy had already conquered Ethiopia and the League had failed.[12] After Italy conquered Ethiopia, Italy and other nations left the league. But all of them realised that it had failed and they began to re-arm as fast as possible. During 1938, Britain and France tried negotiating directly with Hitler but this failed in 1939 when Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. When war broke out in 1939, the League closed down and its headquarters in Geneva remained empty throughout the war.[13] Although the United States never joined the League, the country did support its economic and social missions through the work of private philanthropies and by sending representatives to committees.

1942 “Declaration of United Nations” by the Allies of World War II

1943 sketch by Franklin Roosevelt of the UN original three branches: The Four Policemen, an executive branch, and an international assembly of forty UN member states

The earliest concrete plan for a new world organization began under the aegis of the U.S. State Department in 1939.[14] The text of the “Declaration by United Nations” was drafted at the White House on December 29, 1941, by President Franklin D. RooseveltPrime Minister Winston Churchill, and Roosevelt aide Harry Hopkins. It incorporated Soviet suggestions, but left no role for France. “Four Policemen” was coined to refer to four major Allied countries, United StatesUnited KingdomSoviet Union, and Republic of China, which emerged in the Declaration by United Nations.[15] Roosevelt first coined the term United Nations to describe the Allied countries.[b] “On New Year’s Day 1942, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, Maxim Litvinov, of the USSR, and T. V. Soong, of China, signed a short document which later came to be known as the United Nations Declaration and the next day the representatives of twenty-two other nations added their signatures.”[16] The term United Nations was first officially used when 26 governments signed this Declaration. One major change from the Atlantic Charter was the addition of a provision for religious freedom, which Stalin approved after Roosevelt insisted.[17][18] By 1 March 1945, 21 additional states had signed.[19]

A JOINT DECLARATION BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND, THE UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS, CHINA, AUSTRALIA, BELGIUM, CANADA, COSTA RICA, CUBA, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, GREECE, GUATEMALA, HAITI, HONDURAS, INDIA, LUXEMBOURG, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NORWAY, PANAMA, POLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, YUGOSLAVIA

The Governments signatory hereto,

Having subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint Declaration of the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of Great Britain dated August 14, 1941, known as the Atlantic Charter,

Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world,

DECLARE:

  1. Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military or economic, against those members of the Tripartite Pact and its adherents with which such government is at war.
  2. Each Government pledges itself to cooperate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies.

The foregoing declaration may be adhered to by other nations which are, or which may be, rendering material assistance and contributions in the struggle for victory over Hitlerism.

During the war, “the United Nations” became the official term for the Allies. To join, countries had to sign the Declaration and declare war on the Axis.[20]

Founding

The UN in 1945: founding members in light blue, protectorates and territories of the founding members in dark blue

The UN was formulated and negotiated among the delegations from the Allied Big Four (the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China) at the Dumbarton Oaks Conferencefrom 21 September 1944 to October 7, 1944 and they agreed on the aims, structure and functioning of the UN.[21][22][23] After months of planning, the UN Conference on International Organizationopened in San Francisco, 25 April 1945, attended by 50 governments and a number of non-governmental organizations involved in drafting the UN Charter.[24][25][26] “The heads of the delegations of the sponsoring countries took turns as chairman of the plenary meetings: Anthony Eden, of Britain, Edward Stettinius, of the United States, T. V. Soong, of China, and Vyacheslav Molotov, of the Soviet Union. At the later meetings, Lord Halifax deputized for Mister Eden, Wellington Koo for T. V. Soong, and Mister Gromyko for Mister Molotov.”[27] The UN officially came into existence 24 October 1945, upon ratification of the Charter by the five permanent members of the Security Council—France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the UK and the US—and by a majority of the other 46 signatories.[28]

The first meetings of the General Assembly, with 51 nations represented,[c] and the Security Council took place in Methodist Central HallWestminsterLondon beginning on 10 January 1946.[28]The General Assembly selected New York City as the site for the headquarters of the UN, construction began on 14 September 1948 and the facility was completed on 9 October 1952. Its site—like UN headquarters buildings in GenevaVienna, and Nairobi—is designated as international territory.[31] The Norwegian Foreign Minister, Trygve Lie, was elected as the first UN Secretary-General.[28]

Cold War era

Dag Hammarskjöld was a particularly active Secretary-General from 1953 until his death in 1961.

Though the UN’s primary mandate was peacekeeping, the division between the US and USSR often paralysed the organization, generally allowing it to intervene only in conflicts distant from the Cold War.[32] Two notable exceptions were a Security Council resolution on 7 July 1950 authorizing a US-led coalition to repel the North Korean invasion of South Korea, passed in the absence of the USSR,[28][33] and the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement in 27 July 1953.[34]

On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly approved a resolution to partition Palestine, approving the creation of the state of Israel.[35] Two years later, Ralph Bunche, a UN official, negotiated an armistice to the resulting conflict.[36] On November 7, 1956, the first UN peacekeeping force was established to end the Suez Crisis;[37] however, the UN was unable to intervene against the USSR’s simultaneous invasion of Hungary following that country’s revolution.[38]

On 14 July 1960, the UN established United Nations Operation in the Congo (UNOC), the largest military force of its early decades, to bring order to the breakaway State of Katanga, restoring it to the control of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by 11 May 1964.[39] While travelling to meet rebel leader Moise Tshombe during the conflict, Dag Hammarskjöld, often named as one of the UN’s most effective Secretaries-General,[40] died in a plane crash; months later he was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[41] In 1964, Hammarskjöld’s successor, U Thant, deployed the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, which would become one of the UN’s longest-running peacekeeping missions.[42]

With the spread of decolonization in the 1960s, the organization’s membership saw an influx of newly independent nations. In 1960 alone, 17 new states joined the UN, 16 of them from Africa.[37] On 25 October 1971, with opposition from the United States, but with the support of many Third World nations, the mainland, communist People’s Republic of China was given the Chinese seat on the Security Council in place of the Republic of China that occupied Taiwan; the vote was widely seen as a sign of waning US influence in the organization.[43] Third World nations organized into the Group of 77 coalition under the leadership of Algeria, which briefly became a dominant power at the UN.[44] On 10 November 1975, a bloc comprising the USSR and Third World nations passed a resolution, over strenuous US and Israeli opposition, declaring Zionism to be racism; the resolution was repealed on 16 December 1991, shortly after the end of the Cold War.[45][46]

With an increasing Third World presence and the failure of UN mediation in conflicts in the Middle EastVietnam, and Kashmir, the UN increasingly shifted its attention to its ostensibly secondary goals of economic development and cultural exchange.[47] By the 1970s, the UN budget for social and economic development was far greater than its peacekeeping budget.

Post-Cold War

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006

Flags of member nations at the United Nations Headquarters, seen in 2007

After the Cold War, the UN saw a radical expansion in its peacekeeping duties, taking on more missions in ten years than it had in the previous four decades.[48] Between 1988 and 2000, the number of adopted Security Council resolutions more than doubled, and the peacekeeping budget increased more than tenfold.[49][50][51] The UN negotiated an end to the Salvadoran Civil War, launched a successful peacekeeping mission in Namibia, and oversaw democratic elections in post-apartheid South Africa and post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia.[52] In 1991, the UN authorized a US-led coalition that repulsed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.[53] Brian Urquhart, Under-Secretary-General from 1971 to 1985, later described the hopes raised by these successes as a “false renaissance” for the organization, given the more troubled missions that followed.[54]

Though the UN Charter had been written primarily to prevent aggression by one nation against another, in the early 1990s the UN faced a number of simultaneous, serious crises within nations such as Somalia, Haiti, Mozambique, and the former Yugoslavia.[55] The UN mission in Somalia was widely viewed as a failure after the US withdrawal following casualties in the Battle of Mogadishu, and the UN mission to Bosnia faced “worldwide ridicule” for its indecisive and confused mission in the face of ethnic cleansing.[56] In 1994, the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda failed to intervene in the Rwandan genocide amid indecision in the Security Council.[57]

Beginning in the last decades of the Cold War, American and European critics of the UN condemned the organization for perceived mismanagement and corruption.[58] In 1984, the US President, Ronald Reagan, withdrew his nation’s funding from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, founded 1946) over allegations of mismanagement, followed by Britain and Singapore.[59][60] Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General from 1992 to 1996, initiated a reform of the Secretariat, reducing the size of the organization somewhat.[61][62] His successor, Kofi Annan (1997–2006), initiated further management reforms in the face of threats from the United States to withhold its UN dues.[62]

In the late 1990s and 2000s, international interventions authorized by the UN took a wider variety of forms. The UN mission in the Sierra Leone Civil War of 1991–2002 was supplemented by British Royal Marines, and the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was overseen by NATO.[63]In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq despite failing to pass a UN Security Council resolution for authorization, prompting a new round of questioning of the organization’s effectiveness.[64] Under the eighth Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the UN has intervened with peacekeepers in crises including the War in Darfur in Sudan and the Kivu conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and sent observers and chemical weapons inspectors to the Syrian Civil War.[65] In 2013, an internal review of UN actions in the final battles of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009 concluded that the organization had suffered “systemic failure”.[66] One hundred and one UN personnel died in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the worst loss of life in the organization’s history.[67]

The Millennium Summit was held in 2000 to discuss the UN’s role in the 21st century.[68] The three day meeting was the largest gathering of world leaders in history, and culminated in the adoption by all member states of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a commitment to achieve international development in areas such as poverty reductiongender equality, and public health. Progress towards these goals, which were to be met by 2015, was ultimately uneven. The 2005 World Summit reaffirmed the UN’s focus on promoting development, peacekeeping, human rights, and global security.[69] The Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015 to succeed the Millennium Development Goals.[70]

In addition to addressing global challenges, the UN has sought to improve its accountability and democratic legitimacy by engaging more with civil society and fostering a global constituency.[71] In an effort to enhance transparency, in 2016 the organization held its first public debate between candidates for Secretary-General.[72] On 1 January 2017, Portuguese diplomat António Guterres, who previously served as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, became the ninth Secretary-General. Guterres has highlighted several key goals for his administration, including an emphasis on diplomacy for preventing conflicts, more effective peacekeeping efforts, and streamlining the organization to be more responsive and versatile to global needs.[73]

Structure

The UN system is based on five principal organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the International Court of Justice and the UN Secretariat.[74] A sixth principal organ, the Trusteeship Council, suspended operations on 1 November 1994, upon the independence of Palau, the last remaining UN trustee territory.[75]

Four of the five principal organs are located at the main UN Headquarters in New York City.[76] The International Court of Justice is located in The Hague, while other major agencies are based in the UN offices at Geneva,[77] Vienna,[78] and Nairobi.[79] Other UN institutions are located throughout the world. The six official languages of the UN, used in intergovernmental meetings and documents, are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.[80] On the basis of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, the UN and its agencies are immune from the laws of the countries where they operate, safeguarding the UN’s impartiality with regard to the host and member countries.[81]

Below the six organs sit, in the words of the author Linda Fasulo, “an amazing collection of entities and organizations, some of which are actually older than the UN itself and operate with almost complete independence from it”.[82] These include specialized agencies, research and training institutions, programmes and funds, and other UN entities.[83]

The UN obey the Noblemaire principle, which is binding on any organization that belongs to the UN system. This principle calls for salaries that will draw and keep citizens of countries where salaries are highest, and also calls for equal pay for work of equal value independent of the employee’s nationality.[84][85] In practice, the ICSC takes reference to the highest-paying national civil service.[86] Staff salaries are subject to an internal tax that is administered by the UN organizations.[84][87]

Principal organs of the United Nations [88]

UN General Assembly
— Deliberative assembly of all UN member states —
UN Secretariat
— Administrative organ of the UN —
International Court of Justice
— Universal court for international law —
UN General Assembly hall
Headquarters of the UN in New York City
International Court of Justice
  • May resolve non-compulsory recommendations to states or suggestions to the Security Council (UNSC);
  • Decides on the admission of new members, following proposal by the UNSC;
  • Adopts the budget;
  • Elects the non-permanent members of the UNSC; all members of ECOSOC; the UN Secretary General (following his/her proposal by the UNSC); and the fifteen judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Each country has one vote.
  • Supports the other UN bodies administratively (for example, in the organization of conferences, the writing of reports and studies and the preparation of the budget);
  • Its chairperson – the UN Secretary General – is elected by the General Assembly for a five-year mandate and is the UN’s foremost representative.
  • Decides disputes between states that recognize its jurisdiction;
  • Issues legal opinions;
  • Renders judgment by relative majority. Its fifteen judges are elected by the UN General Assembly for nine-year terms.
UN Security Council
— For international security issues —
UN Economic and Social Council
— For global economic and social affairs —
UN Trusteeship Council
— For administering trust territories (currently inactive) —
UN security council
UN Economic and Social Council
UN Trusteeship Council
  • Responsible for co-operation between states as regards economic and social matters;
  • Co-ordinates co-operation between the UN’s numerous specialized agencies;
  • Has 54 members, elected by the General Assembly to serve staggered three-year mandates.
  • Was originally designed to manage colonial possessions that were former League of Nations mandates;
  • Has been inactive since 1994, when Palau, the last trust territory, attained independence.

General Assembly

Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet general secretary, addresses the UN General Assembly in December 1988.

The General Assembly is the main deliberative assembly of the UN. Composed of all UN member states, the assembly meets in regular yearly sessions, but emergency sessions can also be called.[89] The assembly is led by a president, elected from among the member states on a rotating regional basis, and 21 vice-presidents.[90] The first session convened 10 January 1946 in the Methodist Central Hall in London and included representatives of 51 nations.[28]

When the General Assembly decides on important questions such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, a two-thirds majority of those present and voting is required.[91][92] All other questions are decided by a majority vote. Each member country has one vote. Apart from approval of budgetary matters, resolutions are not binding on the members. The Assembly may make recommendations on any matters within the scope of the UN, except matters of peace and security that are under consideration by the Security Council.[89]

Draft resolutions can be forwarded to the General Assembly by its six main committees:[93]

As well as by the following two committees:

  • General Committee – a supervisory committee consisting of the assembly’s president, vice-president, and committee heads
  • Credentials Committee – responsible for determining the credentials of each member nation’s UN representatives

Security Council

Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, demonstrates a vial with allegedIraqi chemical weapon probes to the UN Security Council on Iraq warhearings, 5 February 2003.

The Security Council is charged with maintaining peace and security among countries. While other organs of the UN can only make “recommendations” to member states, the Security Council has the power to make binding decisions that member states have agreed to carry out, under the terms of Charter Article 25.[94] The decisions of the Council are known as United Nations Security Council resolutions.[95]

The Security Council is made up of fifteen member states, consisting of five permanent members—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with end of term date)—Belgium (term ends 2020), Côte d’Ivoire (2019), Dominican Republic (2020), Equatorial Guinea (2019), Germany (2020), Indonesia (2020), Kuwait (2019), Peru (2019), Poland (2019), and South Africa (2020).[96] The five permanent members hold veto power over UN resolutions, allowing a permanent member to block adoption of a resolution, though not debate. The ten temporary seats are held for two-year terms, with five member states per year voted in by the General Assembly on a regional basis.[97] The presidency of the Security Council rotates alphabetically each month.[98]

UN Secretariat

The UN Secretariat is headed by the secretary-general, assisted by the deputy secretary-general and a staff of international civil servants worldwide.[99] It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by UN bodies for their meetings. It also carries out tasks as directed by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and other UN bodies.[100]

The secretary-general acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the UN. The position is defined in the UN Charter as the organization’s “chief administrative officer”.[101] Article 99 of the charter states that the secretary-general can bring to the Security Council’s attention “any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security”, a phrase that Secretaries-General since Trygve Lie have interpreted as giving the position broad scope for action on the world stage.[102] The office has evolved into a dual role of an administrator of the UN organization and a diplomat and mediator addressing disputes between member states and finding consensus to global issues.[103]

The secretary-general is appointed by the General Assembly, after being recommended by the Security Council, where the permanent members have veto power. There are no specific criteria for the post, but over the years it has become accepted that the post shall be held for one or two terms of five years.[104] The current Secretary-General is António Guterres, who replaced Ban Ki-moon in 2017.

Secretaries-General of the United Nations[105]
No. Name Country of origin Took office Left office Notes
1 Trygve Lie Norway 2 February 1946 10 November 1952 Resigned
2 Dag Hammarskjöld Sweden 10 April 1953 18 September 1961 Died in office
3 U Thant Burma 30 November 1961 31 December 1971
4 Kurt Waldheim Austria 1 January 1972 31 December 1981
5 Javier Pérez de Cuéllar Peru 1 January 1982 31 December 1991
6 Boutros Boutros-Ghali Egypt 1 January 1992 31 December 1996
7 Kofi Annan Ghana 1 January 1997 31 December 2006
8 Ban Ki-moon South Korea 1 January 2007 31 December 2016
9 António Guterres Portugal 1 January 2017

International Court of Justice

The court ruled that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independencefrom Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), located in The Hague, in the Netherlands, is the primary judicial organ of the UN. Established in 1945 by the UN Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The ICJ is composed of 15 judges who serve 9-year terms and are appointed by the General Assembly; every sitting judge must be from a different nation.[106][107]

It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, sharing the building with the Hague Academy of International Law, a private centre for the study of international law. The ICJ’s primary purpose is to adjudicate disputes among states. The court has heard cases related to war crimes, illegal state interference, ethnic cleansing, and other issues.[108] The ICJ can also be called upon by other UN organs to provide advisory opinions.[106] It is the only organ that is not located in New York.

Economic and Social Council

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) assists the General Assembly in promoting international economic and social co-operation and development. ECOSOC has 54 members, which are elected by the General Assembly for a three-year term. The president is elected for a one-year term and chosen amongst the small or middle powers represented on ECOSOC. The council has one annual meeting in July, held in either New York or Geneva. Viewed as separate from the specialized bodies it co-ordinates, ECOSOC’s functions include information gathering, advising member nations, and making recommendations.[109][110] Owing to its broad mandate of co-ordinating many agencies, ECOSOC has at times been criticized as unfocused or irrelevant.[109][111]

ECOSOC’s subsidiary bodies include the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which advises UN agencies on issues relating to indigenous peoples; the United Nations Forum on Forests, which co-ordinates and promotes sustainable forest management; the United Nations Statistical Commission, which co-ordinates information-gathering efforts between agencies; and the Commission on Sustainable Development, which co-ordinates efforts between UN agencies and NGOs working towards sustainable development. ECOSOC may also grant consultative status to non-governmental organizations;[109] by 2004, more than 2,200 organizations had received this status.[112]

Specialized agencies

The UN Charter stipulates that each primary organ of the United Nations can establish various specialized agencies to fulfil its duties.[113] Some best-known agencies are the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Food and Agriculture OrganizationUNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO). The UN performs most of its humanitarian work through these agencies. Examples include mass vaccination programmes (through WHO), the avoidance of famine and malnutrition (through the work of the WFP), and the protection of vulnerable and displaced people (for example, by UNHCR).[114]

Organizations and specialized agencies of the United Nations
No. Acronym Agency Headquarters Head Established in
1 FAO Food and Agriculture Organization Italy RomeItaly Brazil José Graziano da Silva 1945
2 IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency Austria ViennaAustria Japan Yukiya Amano 1957
3 ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization Canada Montreal, QuebecCanada China Fang Liu 1947
4 IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development Italy RomeItaly Nigeria Kanayo F. Nwanze 1977
5 ILO International Labour Organization Switzerland GenevaSwitzerland United Kingdom Guy Ryder 1946 (1919)
6 IMO International Maritime Organization United Kingdom LondonUnited Kingdom South Korea Kitack Lim 1948
7 IMF International Monetary Fund United States Washington, D.C.United States France Christine Lagarde 1945 (1944)
8 ITU International Telecommunication Union Switzerland GenevaSwitzerland China Houlin Zhao 1947 (1865)
9 UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization France ParisFrance France Audrey Azoulay 1946
10 UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization Austria ViennaAustria China Li Yong 1967
11 UNWTO World Tourism Organization Spain MadridSpain Jordan Taleb Rifai 1974
12 UPU Universal Postal Union Switzerland BernSwitzerland Kenya Bishar Abdirahman Hussein 1947 (1874)
13 WBG World Bank Group United States Washington, D.C.United States United States David Malpass (President)
Bulgaria Kristalina Georgieva (CEO)
1945 (1944)
14 WFP World Food Programme Italy RomeItaly United States David Beasley 1963
15 WHO World Health Organization Switzerland GenevaSwitzerland Ethiopia Tedros Adhanom 1948
16 WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization Switzerland GenevaSwitzerland Australia Francis Gurry 1974
17 WMO World Meteorological Organization Switzerland GenevaSwitzerland Finland Petteri Taalas (Secretary-General)
France Michel Jarraud (President)
1950 (1873)

Membership

With the addition of South Sudan 14 July 2011,[115] there are 193 UN member states, including all undisputed independent states apart from Vatican City.[116][d] The UN Charter outlines the rules for membership:

  1. Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states that accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.
  2. The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. Chapter II, Article 4.[117]

In addition, there are two non-member observer states of the United Nations General Assembly: the Holy See (which holds sovereignty over Vatican City) and the State of Palestine.[118] The Cook Islands and Niue, both states in free association with New Zealand, are full members of several UN specialized agencies and have had their “full treaty-making capacity” recognized by the Secretariat.[119]

Group of 77

The Group of 77 (G77) at the UN is a loose coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the UN. Seventy-seven nations founded the organization, but by November 2013 the organization had since expanded to 133 member countries.[120] The group was founded 15 June 1964 by the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries” issued at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The group held its first major meeting in Algiers in 1967, where it adopted the Charter of Algiers and established the basis for permanent institutional structures.[121] With the adoption of the New International Economic Order by developing countries in the 1970s, the work of the G77 spread throughout the UN system.

Objectives

Peacekeeping and security

Bolivian “Blue Helmet” at an exercise in Chile, 21 October 2002

The UN, after approval by the Security Council, sends peacekeepers to regions where armed conflict has recently ceased or paused to enforce the terms of peace agreements and to discourage combatants from resuming hostilities. Since the UN does not maintain its own military, peacekeeping forces are voluntarily provided by member states. These soldiers are sometimes nicknamed “Blue Helmets” for their distinctive gear.[122][123] The peacekeeping force as a whole received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.[124]

In September 2013, the UN had peacekeeping soldiers deployed on 15 missions. The largest was the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), which included 20,688 uniformed personnel. The smallest, United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), included 42 uniformed personnel responsible for monitoring the ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir. UN peacekeepers with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) have been stationed in the Middle East since 1948, the longest-running active peacekeeping mission.[125]

A study by the RAND Corporation in 2005 found the UN to be successful in two out of three peacekeeping efforts. It compared efforts at nation-building by the UN to those of the United States, and found that seven out of eight UN cases are at peace, as compared with four out of eight US cases at peace.[126] Also in 2005, the Human Security Report documented a decline in the number of wars, genocides, and human rights abuses since the end of the Cold War, and presented evidence, albeit circumstantial, that international activism—mostly spearheaded by the UN—has been the main cause of the decline in armed conflict in that period.[127] Situations in which the UN has not only acted to keep the peace but also intervened include the Korean War (1950–53) and the authorization of intervention in Iraq after the Gulf War (1990–91).[128]

UN Buffer Zone in Cyprus was established in 1974 following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

The UN has also drawn criticism for perceived failures. In many cases, member states have shown reluctance to achieve or enforce Security Council resolutions. Disagreements in the Security Council about military action and intervention are seen as having failed to prevent the Bangladesh genocide in 1971,[129] the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s,[130] and the Rwandan genocide in 1994.[131] Similarly, UN inaction is blamed for failing to either prevent the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 or complete the peacekeeping operations in 1992–93 during the Somali Civil War.[132] UN peacekeepers have also been accused of child rape, soliciting prostitutes, and sexual abuse during various peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,[133] Haiti,[134] Liberia,[135] Sudan and what is now South Sudan,[136] Burundi, and Ivory Coast.[137] Scientists cited UN peacekeepers from Nepal as the likely source of the 2010–13 Haiti cholera outbreak, which killed more than 8,000 Haitians following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[138]

In addition to peacekeeping, the UN is also active in encouraging disarmament. Regulation of armaments was included in the writing of the UN Charter in 1945 and was envisioned as a way of limiting the use of human and economic resources for their creation.[94] The advent of nuclear weapons came only weeks after the signing of the charter, resulting in the first resolution of the first General Assembly meeting calling for specific proposals for “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction”.[139] The UN has been involved with arms-limitation treaties, such as the Outer Space Treaty (1967), the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (1968), the Seabed Arms Control Treaty (1971), the Biological Weapons Convention (1972), the Chemical Weapons Convention (1992), and the Ottawa Treaty (1997), which prohibits landmines.[140]Three UN bodies oversee arms proliferation issues: the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission.[141]

Human rights

One of the UN’s primary purposes is “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”, and member states pledge to undertake “joint and separate action” to protect these rights.[113][142]

In 1948, the General Assembly adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted by a committee headed by American diplomat and activist Eleanor Roosevelt, and including the French lawyer René Cassin. The document proclaims basic civil, political, and economic rights common to all human beings, though its effectiveness towards achieving these ends has been disputed since its drafting.[143] The Declaration serves as a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations” rather than a legally binding document, but it has become the basis of two binding treaties, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.[144] In practice, the UN is unable to take significant action against human rights abuses without a Security Council resolution, though it does substantial work in investigating and reporting abuses.[145]

In 1979, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, followed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.[146] With the end of the Cold War, the push for human rights action took on new impetus.[147] The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was formed in 1993 to oversee human rights issues for the UN, following the recommendation of that year’s World Conference on Human Rights. Jacques Fomerand, a scholar of the UN, describes this organization’s mandate as “broad and vague”, with only “meagre” resources to carry it out.[148] In 2006, it was replaced by a Human Rights Council consisting of 47 nations.[149] Also in 2006, the General Assembly passed a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,[150] and in 2011 it passed its first resolution recognizing the rights of LGBT people.[151]

Other UN bodies responsible for women’s rights issues include United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, a commission of ECOSOC founded in 1946; the United Nations Development Fund for Women, created in 1976; and the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, founded in 1979.[152] The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, one of three bodies with a mandate to oversee issues related to indigenous peoples, held its first session in 2002.[153]

Economic development and humanitarian assistance

Millennium Development Goals[154]
  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development

Another primary purpose of the UN is “to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character”.[142] Numerous bodies have been created to work towards this goal, primarily under the authority of the General Assembly and ECOSOC.[155] In 2000, the 192 UN member states agreed to achieve eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015.[156] The Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015 to succeed the Millennium Development Goals.[70] The SDGs have an associated financing framework called the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP), an organization for grant-based technical assistance founded in 1945, is one of the leading bodies in the field of international development. The organization also publishes the UN Human Development Index, a comparative measure ranking countries by poverty, literacy, education, life expectancy, and other factors.[157][158] The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), also founded in 1945, promotes agricultural development and food security.[159] UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) was created in 1946 to aid European children after the Second World War and expanded its mission to provide aid around the world and to uphold the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[160][161]

Three former directors of the Global Smallpox Eradication Programme read the news that smallpox had been globally eradicated, 1980.

The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are independent, specialized agencies and observers within the UN framework, according to a 1947 agreement. They were initially formed separately from the UN through the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944.[162] The World Bank provides loans for international development, while the IMF promotes international economic co-operation and gives emergency loans to indebted countries.[163]

In Jordan, UNHCR remains responsible for the Syrian refugeesand the Zaatari refugee camp.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which focuses on international health issues and disease eradication, is another of the UN’s largest agencies. In 1980, the agency announced that the eradication of smallpox had been completed. In subsequent decades, WHO largely eradicated polioriver blindness, and leprosy.[164] The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), begun in 1996, co-ordinates the organization’s response to the AIDS epidemic.[165] The UN Population Fund, which also dedicates part of its resources to combating HIV, is the world’s largest source of funding for reproductive health and family planning services.[166]

Along with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the UN often takes a leading role in co-ordinating emergency relief.[167] The World Food Programme (WFP), created in 1961, provides food aid in response to famine, natural disasters, and armed conflict. The organization reports that it feeds an average of 90 million people in 80 nations each year.[167][168] The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), established in 1950, works to protect the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless people.[169] UNHCR and WFP programmes are funded by voluntary contributions from governments, corporations, and individuals, though the UNHCR’s administrative costs are paid for by the UN’s primary budget.[170]

Other

Since the UN’s creation, over 80 colonies have attained independence. The General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in 1960 with no votes against but abstentions from all major colonial powers. The UN works towards decolonization through groups including the UN Committee on Decolonization, created in 1962.[171] The committee lists seventeen remaining “Non-Self-Governing Territories“, the largest and most populous of which is Western Sahara.[172]

Beginning with the formation of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) in 1972, the UN has made environmental issues a prominent part of its agenda. A lack of success in the first two decades of UN work in this area led to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which sought to give new impetus to these efforts.[173] In 1988, the UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), another UN organization, established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which assesses and reports on research on global warming.[174] The UN-sponsored Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, set legally binding emissions reduction targets for ratifying states.[175]

The UN also declares and co-ordinates international observances, periods of time to observe issues of international interest or concern. Examples include World Tuberculosis DayEarth Day, and the International Year of Deserts and Desertification.[176]

Funding

Top 25 contributors to the United Nations budget for the period 2019–2021[177]
Member state Contribution
(% of UN budget)
United States

22.000

China

12.005

Japan

8.564

Germany

6.090

United Kingdom

4.567

France

4.427

Italy

3.307

Brazil

2.948

Canada

2.734

Russia

2.405

South Korea

2.267

Australia

2.210

Spain

2.146

Turkey

1.371

Netherlands

1.356

Mexico

1.292

Saudi Arabia

1.172

Switzerland

1.151

Argentina

0.915

Sweden

0.906

India

0.834

Belgium

0.821

Poland

0.802

Algeria

0.788

Norway

0.754

The UN is financed from assessed and voluntary contributions from member states. The General Assembly approves the regular budget and determines the assessment for each member. This is broadly based on the relative capacity of each country to pay, as measured by its gross national income (GNI), with adjustments for external debt and low per capita income.[178] The two-year budget for 2012–13 was $5.512 billion in total.[179]

The Assembly has established the principle that the UN should not be unduly dependent on any one member to finance its operations. Thus, there is a “ceiling” rate, setting the maximum amount that any member can be assessed for the regular budget. In December 2000, the Assembly revised the scale of assessments in response to pressure from the United States. As part of that revision, the regular budget ceiling was reduced from 25% to 22%.[180] For the least developed countries (LDCs), a ceiling rate of 0.01% is applied.[178] In addition to the ceiling rates, the minimum amount assessed to any member nation (or “floor” rate) is set at 0.001% of the UN budget ($55,120 for the two year budget 2013–2014).[181]

A large share of the UN’s expenditure addresses its core mission of peace and security, and this budget is assessed separately from the main organizational budget.[182] The peacekeeping budget for the 2015–16 fiscal year was $8.27 billion, supporting 82,318 troops deployed in 15 missions around the world.[125] UN peace operations are funded by assessments, using a formula derived from the regular funding scale that includes a weighted surcharge for the five permanent Security Council members, who must approve all peacekeeping operations. This surcharge serves to offset discounted peacekeeping assessment rates for less developed countries. the largest contributors for the UN peacekeeping financial operations for the period 2019–2021 are : the United States 27.89% China 15.21%, Japan 8.56%, Germany 6.09% , the United Kingdom 5.78%, France 5.61%, Italy3.30% and the Russian Federation 3.04%. [2]

Special UN programmes not included in the regular budget, such as UNICEF and the World Food Programme, are financed by voluntary contributions from member governments, corporations, and private individuals.[183][184]

Evaluations, awards, and criticism

The 2001 Nobel Peace Prize to the UN—diploma in the lobby of the UN Headquarters in New York City

A number of agencies and individuals associated with the UN have won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their work. Two Secretaries-General, Dag Hammarskjöld and Kofi Annan, were each awarded the prize (in 1961 and 2001, respectively), as were Ralph Bunche (1950), a UN negotiator, René Cassin (1968), a contributor to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the US Secretary of State Cordell Hull (1945), the latter for his role in the organization’s founding. Lester B. Pearson, the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs, was awarded the prize in 1957 for his role in organizing the UN’s first peacekeeping force to resolve the Suez Crisis. UNICEF won the prize in 1965, the International Labour Organization in 1969, the UN Peace-Keeping Forces in 1988, the International Atomic Energy Agency (which reports to the UN) in 2005, and the UN-supported Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in 2013. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees was awarded in 1954 and 1981, becoming one of only two recipients to win the prize twice. The UN as a whole was awarded the prize in 2001, sharing it with Annan.[185] In 2007, IPCC received the prize “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”[186]

To mark the UN’s 70th anniversary – Budapest, 2015

Since its founding, there have been many calls for reform of the UN but little consensus on how to do so. Some want the UN to play a greater or more effective role in world affairs, while others want its role reduced to humanitarian work. There have also been numerous calls for the UN Security Council’s membership to be increased, for different ways of electing the UN’s Secretary-General, and for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Jacques Fomerand states the most enduring divide in views of the UN is “the North–South split” between richer Northern nations and developing Southern nations. Southern nations tend to favour a more empowered UN with a stronger General Assembly, allowing them a greater voice in world affairs, while Northern nations prefer an economically laissez-faire UN that focuses on transnational threats such as terrorism.[187]

After World War II, the French Committee of National Liberation was late to be recognized by the US as the government of France, and so the country was initially excluded from the conferences that created the new organization. The future French president Charles de Gaulle criticized the UN, famously calling it a machin (“contraption”), and was not convinced that a global security alliance would help maintain world peace, preferring direct defence treaties between countries.[188] Throughout the Cold War, both the US and USSR repeatedly accused the UN of favouring the other. In 1953, the USSR effectively forced the resignation of Trygve Lie, the Secretary-General, through its refusal to deal with him, while in the 1950s and 1960s, a popular US bumper sticker read, “You can’t spell communism without U.N.”[189] In a sometimes-misquoted statement, President George W. Bush stated in February 2003 (referring to UN uncertainty towards Iraqi provocations under the Saddam Hussein regime) that “free nations will not allow the UN to fade into history as an ineffective, irrelevant debating society.”[190][191][192] In contrast, the French President, François Hollande, stated in 2012 that “France trusts the United Nations. She knows that no state, no matter how powerful, can solve urgent problems, fight for development and bring an end to all crises … France wants the UN to be the centre of global governance.”[193] Critics such as Dore Gold, an Israeli diplomat, Robert S. Wistrich, a British scholar, Alan Dershowitz, an American legal scholar, Mark Dreyfus, an Australian politician, and the Anti-Defamation League consider UN attention to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to be excessive.[194] In September 2015, Saudi Arabia‘s Faisal bin Hassan Trad has been elected Chair of the UN Human Rights Council panel that appoints independent experts,[195] a move criticized by human rights groups.[196][197]

Since 1971, the Republic of China on Taiwan has been excluded from the UN and since then has always been rejected in new applications. Taiwanese citizens are also not allowed to enter the buildings of the United Nations with ROC passports. In this way, critics agree that the UN is failing its own development goals and guidelines. This criticism also brought pressure from the People’s Republic of China, which regards the territories administered by the ROC as their own territory.[198][199]

Critics have also accused the UN of bureaucratic inefficiency, waste, and corruption. In 1976, the General Assembly established the Joint Inspection Unit to seek out inefficiencies within the UN system. During the 1990s, the US withheld dues citing inefficiency and only started repayment on the condition that a major reforms initiative was introduced. In 1994, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) was established by the General Assembly to serve as an efficiency watchdog.[200] In 1994, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN to Somalia Mohamed Sahnoun published “Somalia: The Missed Opportunities”,[201] a book in which he analyses the reasons for the failure of the 1992 UN intervention in Somalia, showing that, between the start of the Somali civil war in 1988 and the fall of the Siad Barre regime in January 1991, the UN missed at least three opportunities to prevent major human tragedies; when the UN tried to provide humanitarian assistance, they were totally outperformed by NGOs, whose competence and dedication sharply contrasted with the UN’s excessive caution and bureaucratic inefficiencies. If radical reform was not undertaken, warned Mohamed Sahnoun, then the UN would continue to respond to such crisis with inept improvization.[202] In 2004, the UN faced accusations that its recently ended Oil-for-Food Programme—in which Iraq had been allowed to trade oil for basic needs to relieve the pressure of sanctions—had suffered from widespread corruption, including billions of dollars of kickbacks. An independent inquiry created by the UN found that many of its officials had been involved, as well as raising “significant” questions about the role of Kojo Annan, the son of Kofi Annan.[203]

In evaluating the UN as a whole, Jacques Fomerand writes that the “accomplishments of the United Nations in the last 60 years are impressive in their own terms. Progress in human development during the 20th century has been dramatic and the UN and its agencies have certainly helped the world become a more hospitable and livable place for millions.”[204] Evaluating the first 50 years of the UN’s history, the author Stanley Meisler writes that “the United Nations never fulfilled the hopes of its founders, but it accomplished a great deal nevertheless”, citing its role in decolonization and its many successful peacekeeping efforts.[205] The British historian Paul Kennedy states that while the organization has suffered some major setbacks, “when all its aspects are considered, the UN has brought great benefits to our generation and … will bring benefits to our children’s and grandchildren’s generations as well.”[206]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ This map does not represent the view of its members or the UN concerning the legal status of any country,[1]
  2. ^ Roosevelt suggested the name as an alternative to the name “Associated Powers.” The British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, accepted it, noting that the phase was used by Lord Byron in the poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (Stanza 35).
  3. ^ Poland had not been represented among the fifty nations at the San Francisco conference due to the reluctance of the Western superpowers to recognize its post-war communist government. However, the Charter was later amended to list Poland as a founding member, and Poland ratified the Charter on 16 October 1945.[29][30]
  4. ^ For details on Vatican City’s status, see Holy See and the United Nations.

References…

External links

Official websites

Others

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations

 

Story 2: Driving The Repo Rate Higher — Cash For Collateral — Fed Conducts Even More Repo Operations Through Middle of October 2019 — Videos

See the source image

Here’s what drove the repo rate higher

Fed Announces Plans to Provide More Support for Repo Market

Federal Reserve announces it will supplying infusions of cash into repo market in coming weeks.

The Associated Press

FILE – In this Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 file photo, Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks at a news conference following a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee in Washington. A peculiar thing is happening in financial markets this week _ a corner of the financial system where banks and others go for billions of dollars in short-term loans is suddenly in need of cash. To that end, the Federal Reserve has stepped in to inject about $200 billion into the market over the past three days, with plans for another $75 billion on Friday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BY MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

 The Federal Reserve will keep pumping cash into a vital but obscure corner of U.S. financial markets in coming weeks.

The New York Federal Reserve Bank, which handles the central bank’s interactions with financial markets, said Friday that it will offer daily repurchase, or “repo,” operations of at least $75 billion through Oct. 10. The aim is to maintain the Fed’s key policy rate within its target range.

For the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed this week conducted a series of major repo operations, injecting $278 billion into the market to deal with a jump in short-term interest rates.

Officials say this week’s spike in rates is not a precursor of the type of underlying troubles that preceded the 2008 market meltdown.

In addition to the daily overnight operations of $75 billion, the New York Fed said it would conduct longer 14-day repo operations of at least $30 billion on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of next week.

The Fed said that it would be ready to conduct further operations as needed after Oct. 10 but the amount and timing of those auctions has not been determined.

In the fourth operation on Friday, banks asked for $75.55 billion in reserves, only slightly higher than the $75 billion limit set by the Fed.

The Fed began conducting these operations to calm money markets. Rates on short-term repo agreements had briefly spiked to nearly 10% earlier this week as financial firms scrambled to find short-term funding.

The Fed seeks to manage its operations to keep the repo rate near the target it has set for its key policy rate, the federal funds rate, the interest that banks charge each other for overnight borrowing.

The Fed announced on Wednesday that it was cutting the benchmark rate by a quarter-point to a new range of 1.75% to 2% as it seeks to cushion the U.S. economy from various threats, ranging from a slowing global economy to shocks from President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.

The repo market covers billions of dollars of daily operations in which one party lends out cash in exchange for a roughly equivalent value of securities, usually Treasury notes. The market allows companies that own lots of securities to get the cash they need at cheap rates.

The borrower of the cash agrees to repurchase the securities it has loaned as collateral at a later date, often as soon as the next day.

The turbulence this week has been attributed to various factors, including corporations needing to come up with cash to settle quarterly tax payments.

Analysts do not believe the rate spike this week is similar to the troubles seen as the nation was heading into the 2008 financial crisis. They believe banks are much better capitalized now due to the reforms put in place after the crisis.

 

Fed Mulls Lessons of Money-Market Spike After Curbing Volatility

New York Fed officials examining whether distribution of reserves contributed to cash shortages earlier this week

The New York Fed said it would continue to offer to add at least $75 billion daily to the financial system through Oct. 10. PHOTO: CLAUDIO PAPAPIETRO FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Federal Reserve officials are studying whether market plumbing issues contributed to a spike in short-term lending rates this week, after the central bank said it would extend recent operations to inject cash into money markets.

Investors this week have highlighted declines in bank deposits held at the Fed, known as reserves, as a driver of this week’s funding volatility. But New York Fed officials said Friday they were also examining whether the distribution of those reserves across the banking system—and not just the absolute level—had contributed to cash shortages earlier this week.

“That ability of the system to move money around and redistribute—it didn’t work the way we’ve seen in the past,” said New York Fed President John Williams in an interview on Friday.

The New York Fed said on Friday it would continue to offer to add at least $75 billion daily to the financial system through Oct. 10, prolonging its efforts to relieve pressure in money markets.

In addition to at least $75 billion in overnight loans, the Fed said it would also offer three separate 14-day cash loans of at least $30 billion each next week. The Fed will conduct further operations as needed after Oct. 10.

“This is, I would say, Central Banking 101,” said Mr. Williams. “This is what the Fed’s open-market operations are designed to address—directly provide liquidity into the system, which supports market functioning.”

On Monday, corporate tax payments were due to the Treasury, and Treasury debt auctions settled, leading to large transfers of cash from the banking system.

The level of reserves in the system at the beginning of the week appeared “above what we thought banks’ minimum level of reserves was,” said Lorie Logan, the New York Fed executive who is interim manager of the portfolio.

But those reserves can be concentrated in a few institutions, and officials weren’t sure “what the distribution process would look like as different shocks like this take place and how those reserves would then redistribute to other entities that needed liquidity,” she said.

One of the lessons this week was that this distribution process “was definitely stickier than we expected,” and repo markets experienced greater dysfunction than anticipated as a result, she said.

The Fed is adding money to the financial system through the market for repurchase agreements, or repo. In those transactions, banks offer collateral such as government bonds in exchange for short-term loans, for periods as brief as overnight. The market is a major way that banks and financial firms raise capital to fund their businesses.

But the Fed restored confidence, particularly through its decision Friday to offer two-week cash loans. “Everybody saw that as their bazooka,” Mr. Carpenter said.

The newly scheduled operations give financial markets an assurance that the Fed will continue adding liquidity through the end of the coming quarter. Banks tend to hold on to cash at the ends of quarters because that is when regulators typically examine their balance sheets to ensure they are following rules that safeguard the banking system.

“It doesn’t take a lot of cash to right the system,” said Glenn Havlicek, the chief executive at GLMX, which provides technology to repo trading desks, and who formerly oversaw the repo desk at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The timing is also important because there have been periods in the past year when demand for cash has exceeded the ability or willingness of investors to provide it, leading to spikes in the rates investors charge banks in repo.

That happened at the end of last year when the repo rate traded as high as 6%, pushing the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.’s GCF Repo Index to a then-record 5.14%. Repo rates also notably rose in April when people withdrew cash from the banking system to pay federal income taxes.

Separately, the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee lowered its benchmark federal-funds rate by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday to a range between 1.75% and 2%.

As a result of volatility in the repo market, the fed-funds rate spiked to trade outside of its range on Tuesday, but by Thursday was again trading firmly within the target band.

Mr. Williams said the central bank had effectively diagnosed and deployed its tools to take “forceful, decisive action that addressed the problem,” he said. “We are consistently and constructively supporting stability in these markets, and supporting the FOMC’s desired interest rate.”

On Friday, banks asked for $75.55 billion in reserves, $550 million more than the amount offered by the Fed, offering collateral in the form of Treasury and mortgage securities.

The New York Fed hasn’t had to intervene in money markets since 2008 because during and after the financial crisis, the Fed flooded the financial system with reserves. It did this by buying hundreds of billions of dollars of long-term securities to spur growth after cutting interest rates to nearly zero.

Reserves over the last five years have been declining, especially over the last two years, when the Fed began shrinking securities holdings. Reserves fell to less than $1.4 trillion this week from a peak of $2.8 trillion in 2014.

The Fed stopped shrinking its asset holdings last month. But because other Fed liabilities such as currency in circulation and the Treasury’s general financing account are rising, reserves are likely to grind lower in the weeks and months ahead.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fed-adds-75-billion-to-financial-system-in-fourth-repo-transaction-this-week-11568984725

Repo and Reverse Repo Agreements

The New York Fed is authorized by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to conduct repo and reverse repo operations for the System Open Market Account (SOMA) to the extent necessary to carry out the most recent FOMC directive. The New York Fed’s Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) executes these repo and reverse repo operations in the tri-party repo market.

Repurchase agreements (also known as repos) are conducted only with primary dealers; reverse repurchase agreements (also known as reverse repos) are conducted with both primary dealers and with an expanded set of reverse repo counterparties that includes banks, government-sponsored enterprises, and money market funds.

Repo and reverse repo operations were used prior to the financial crisis to adjust the supply of reserve balances and keep the federal funds ratearound the target level established by the FOMC. At that time, repo operations were typically conducted daily to fine-tune the supply of reserves in the system.

In a repo transaction, the Desk purchases Treasury, agency debt, or agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from a counterparty subject to an agreement to resell the securities at a later date. It is economically similar to a loan collateralized by securities having a value higher than the loan to protect the Desk against market and credit risk. Repo transactions temporarily increase the quantity of reserve balances in the banking system.

In a reverse repo transaction, the opposite occurs: the Desk sells securities to a counterparty subject to an agreement to repurchase the securities at a later date at a higher repurchase price. Reverse repo transactions temporarily reduce the quantity of reserve balances in the banking system.

Overnight Reverse Repo Operations
Currently, the Desk conducts overnight reverse repo operations daily as a means to help keep the federal funds rate in the target range set by the FOMC. The overnight reverse repo program (ON RRP) is used to supplement the Federal Reserve’s primary monetary policy tool, interest on excess reserves (IOER) for depository institutions, to help control short-term interest rates. ON RRP operations support interest rate control by setting a floor on wholesale short-term interest rates, beneath which financial institutions with access to these facilities should be unwilling to lend funds. ON RRP operations are conducted at a pre-announced offering rate, against Treasury securities collateral, and are open to a wide range of financial firms, including some that are not eligible to earn interest on balances at the Federal Reserve.

Story 3: Alarmist Adult Abuses of Climate Change Children — Hysterical Greta Thunberg — A Very Ignorant and Abused Child — Brainwashed Indoctrination of Children By Parents and Schools –Seek Professional Help — Weather and Climate Have Always Been Changing — Adapt and and Live With It — Get Your Priorities and Solutions in Order — Videos —

See the source image

School strike for climate – save the world by changing the rules | Greta Thunberg | TEDxStockholm

Greta Thunberg Rips World Leaders at the U.N. Over Climate Change

Bjorn Lomborg: Global priorities bigger than climate change

Greta Thunberg

Adolescent climate change protester Greta Thunberg has stage parents, literally. Her mother sang opera internationally until the teenager convinced her to quit due to greenhouse gas emissions from flying, and her father and grandfather both gained fame through acting and directing.

Now, they’ve pivoted into the parental act of every stage parent looking to secure the next generation of fame. Apparently, the Swedish version of a Teri Shields is pimping her kid out, not to Penthouse, but to the cause of climate apocalypse.

For all that, conservatives have rightly griped at the performative pointlessness of Thunberg’s schtick, and for all that, liberals have rightly griped that a waning but still significant segment of conservatives deny the reality of anthropogenic climate change; the biggest travesty lost in the hype about the Swedish activist who recently sailed to American shores is that her parents, the media, and the climate alarmist Left are basically engaging in child abuse.

Cases of kids entering public discourse out of sheer discourse, such as Parkland survivors Cameron Kasky and Kyle Kashuv, are sometimes inevitable and sometimes valuable. Some political causes require spokesmen with lived experiences. But even as we saw in the aftermath of Parkland, putting children in the public spotlight is more likely to backfire on them than not.

The case of Thunberg is even more egregious. She began suffering from depression as a child, by her own admission, in part because she learned about climate change at age 8. She was later diagnosed with autism and obsessive compulsive disorder and gradually became despondent as she obsessed over her fear of climate change. She developed mutism and an eating disorder so severe that she once went two months without food, and she stopped going to school. Her only sibling, a sister named Beata, also suffers from Asperger’s and OCD, as well as ADHD.

Now tell me, does it seem healthy to place a child with this many mental illnesses under the spotlight of public scrutiny, with a sole focus on the very phenomenon and associated alarmism that triggered her in the first place?

If you’re a fading opera starlet married into a family of fame, and your only two children are having exceptional trouble even attending school, then I suppose you can secure a bit more fame by milking your child’s clinically diagnosed obsession. But given that Greta’s mental struggles and triggers actually led her to the brink of death, the whole thing smacks of child abuse.

Conservatives shouldn’t mock her. They should worry for her. Social media has made it too easy to prop up children as moral authorities — even children especially predisposed to crack under the pressure.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/this-greta-thunberg-thing-is-child-abuse

 

 

Greta Thunberg

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Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg au parlement européen (33744056508), recadré.png

Thunberg in April 2019
Born 3 January 2003 (age 16)

Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation Environmental activist
Years active 2018–present
Movement School strike for climate
Relatives
Malena Ernman (mother)
Svante Thunberg (father)
Olof Thunberg (grandfather)

Greta Thunberg[a] FRSGS; (born 3 January 2003[1]) is a Swedish environmental activist focused on the risks posed by global warming.

In August 2018, when she was 15, Thunberg took time off school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament, holding up a sign calling for stronger climate action. Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together they organized a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over one million pupils each.[2][3]

Thunberg is known for her blunt,[4] matter-of-fact speaking manner,[5] both in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she urges immediate action to address what she describes as the climate crisis. At home, Thunberg convinced her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint, including giving up air travel and not eating meat.

In May 2019, Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a “next generation leader” and noted that many see her as a role model.[6] Thunberg and the school strike movement were also featured in a 30-minute Vice documentary titled Make the World Greta Again. Some media have described her impact on the world stage as the “Greta Thunberg effect”.[7]

Contents

Life

Greta Thunberg was born on 3 January 2003 in Stockholm,[8][9] the daughter of opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg.[10] Her paternal grandfather is actor and director Olof Thunberg.[11]

Thunberg says she first heard about climate change in 2011, when she was 8 years old, and could not understand why so little was being done about it.[12] Three years later she became depressed and lethargic, stopped talking and eating, and was eventually diagnosed with Asperger syndrome,[13] obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD),[13] and selective mutism.[13][14] While acknowledging that her diagnosis “has limited me before”, she does not view her Asperger’s as an illness and has instead called it her “superpower”.[14]

For about two years, Thunberg challenged her parents to lower the family’s carbon footprint by becoming vegan and giving up flying, which in part meant her mother had to give up her international career as an opera singer.[10][15] Thunberg credits her parents’ eventual response and lifestyle changes with giving her hope and belief that she could make a difference.[10] The family story is recounted in the 2018 book Scenes from the Heart.[16]

In late 2018, Thunberg began the school climate strikes and public speeches by which she has become an internationally recognized climate activist. Her father does not like her missing school, but said: “[We] respect that she wants to make a stand. She can either sit at home and be really unhappy, or protest, and be happy”.[15] Thunberg says her teachers are divided in their views about her missing class to make her point. She says: “As people they think what I am doing is good, but as teachers they say I should stop.”[15]

Thunberg published a collection of her climate action speeches, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, in May 2019[17] with the earnings being donated to charity.[18] In one of her first speeches demanding climate action, Thunberg described the selective mutism aspect of her condition as meaning she “only speaks when necessary”.[12] In 2019, Thunberg also contributed a voiceover for a release of “The 1975”, the theme song of an English band by the same name. Thunberg finishes by urging: “So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.” Proceeds will go to Extinction Rebellion at Thunberg’s request.[19]

Transatlantic voyage

In August 2019, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth, UK, to New York, US, in a 60 ft racing yacht equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines. The trip was announced as a carbon-neutral transatlantic crossing serving as a demonstration of Thunberg’s declared beliefs of the importance of reducing emissions.

The voyage lasted 15 days, from 14 to 28 August 2019. While in the Americas, Thunberg attended the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City, and will attend the COP 25 Climate Change Conference in Santiago, Chile, in December.[20][21]

School strike for climate

Inspiration

Thunberg in front of the Swedish parliament, holding a “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (transl. School strike for the climate) sign, Stockholm, August 2018

Bicycle in Stockholm with references to Thunberg: “The climate crisis must be treated as a crisis! The climate is the most important election issue!” (11 September 2018)

Sign in Berlin, 14 December 2018

In an interview with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now!, Thunberg said she first got the idea of a climate strike after school shootings in the United States in February 2018 led to several youths refusing to go back to school.[10]These teen activists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, went on to organize the March for Our Lives in support of greater gun control.[22][23]

In May 2018, Thunberg won a climate change essay competition held by Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. In part, she wrote that “I want to feel safe. How can I feel safe when I know we are in the greatest crisis in human history?”[24] The paper published her article after which she was contacted by Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland, a group interested in doing something about climate change. Thunberg attended a few of their meetings, and at one of them, Thoren also suggested that school children could strike for climate change.[25] Thunberg tried to persuade other young people to get involved but “no one was really interested” so eventually, she decided to go ahead with the strike by herself.[10]

Beginning

On 20 August 2018, Thunberg, who had just started ninth grade, decided to not attend school until the 2018 Swedish general election on 9 September after the heat waves and wildfires during Sweden’s hottest summer in at least 262 years.[15] Her demands were that the Swedish government reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement, and she protested by sitting outside the Riksdag every day for three weeks during school hours with the sign Skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for the climate).[26] She also handed out leaflets that stated: “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.”[15]

Role of social media

Thunberg posted her original strike photo on Instagram and Twitter and other social media accounts quickly took up her cause.[27] According to Ingmar Rentzhog, founder of a Swedish climate-focused social media company, We Don’t Have Time (WDHT), her strike began attracting public attention after he turned up with a freelance photographer and then posted Thunberg’s photograph on his Facebook page and Instagram account. He also made a video in English that he posted on the company’s YouTube channel that had almost 88,000 views.[28] A representative of the Finnish bank, Nordea, quoted one of Thunberg’s tweets to more than 200,000 followers. Thunberg’s social media profile attracted local reporters whose stories earned international coverage in little more than a week.[27]

After the general elections, Thunberg continued to strike only on Fridays. She inspired school students across the globe to take part in student strikes.[29] As of December 2018, more than 20,000 students had held strikes in at least 270 cities.[29]

After October 2018, Thunberg’s activism evolved from solitary protesting to taking part in demonstrations throughout Europe; making several high-profile public speeches, and mobilising her growing number of followers on social media platforms. By March 2019, she was still staging her regular protests outside the Swedish parliament every Friday, where other students now occasionally join her. Her activism has not interfered with her schoolwork, but she has had less spare time.[13]

Support

In February 2019, 224 academics signed an open letter of support stating they were inspired by the actions of Thunberg and the striking school children in making their voices heard.[30] United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres also endorsed the school strikes initiated by Thunberg, admitting that “My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.”[31]

In June 2019, Thunberg spoke by video link with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who had submitted the Green New Deal to the U.S. House of Representatives in February 2019, which calls for the United States to achieve “net-zero” greenhouse gases within a decade. They discussed how it feels when their views are not taken seriously because they are young, and what tactics really work.[32]

Speaking at an event in New Zealand in May 2019, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said his generation was “not winning the battle against climate change” and that it’s up to youth to “rescue the planet”.[33]

Thunberg’s message

File:Greta Thunberg- World Economic Forum (Davos).webm

Thunberg promoting her campaign at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos

When Thunberg began her protest outside the Swedish Parliament in 2018 at age 15, she had two simple messages: a sign which said “school strike for the climate” and leaflets she handed out which said: “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.”[34] As her protest gained momentum, she was invited to give speeches at a variety of forums which enabled her to expand on her concerns. So far, she has espoused four interwoven themes. Thunberg argues that the crisis caused by global warming is so serious that humanity is facing an existential crisis,[35] “that will most likely lead to the end of our civilization as we know it,” and that she holds the current generation of adults responsible, with statements such as “You are stealing our future”.[36][37] She is especially concerned about the impact the climate crisis will have on young people like her. Speaking at Parliament in London she said: “You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to.” Thunberg also states that we need to wake up and change[38] because very little is being done to solve the problem.[39] She says the situation is so dire, we should all panic.[40] She feels that that politicians and decision-makers need to listen to the scientists,[41] pointing out in 2019 that “according to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes.”[42]

Thunberg uses graphic analogies to highlight her concerns and speaks bluntly to business and political leaders, often scolding them for their lack of action. For instance, she told a panel of prominent business and political leaders at Davos: “Some people, some companies, some decision-makers, in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”[43] She went on to say: “I want you to act as if the house was on fire—because it is”.[40] In London in October 2018, she said: “We’re facing an immediate unprecedented crisis that has never been treated as a crisis and our leaders are all acting like children.”[44]

Thunberg points out that the strategies adopted by various governments to limit global warming to 1.5 °C as part of the Paris Agreement are insufficient and that the greenhouse gas emissions curve needs to start declining steeply no later than 2020.[45] In January 2019, she told the UK parliament that Britain needs to stop talking in terms of “lowering” emissions and start thinking in terms of eliminating them.[46] In February 2019, at a conference of the European Economic and Social Committee, she said that the EU must reduce their CO
2
 emissions by 80% by 2030, double the 40% goal set in Paris.[47][48]

Thunberg’s main theme is everyone needs to unite behind the science. She says if everyone listened to the scientists and acknowledged the facts, “then we (students) could all go back to school”.[49] On Thunberg’s trip across the Atlantic Ocean (en route to New York City) she travelled via a carbon-neutral yacht. Emblazoned on the yacht’s sail in capital letters were the words “UNITE BEHIND THE SCIENCE”.[50] In one of her first statements after arriving in New York, she had a similar message for Donald Trump, admonishing him to “listen to the science”.[51]

Impact

“Greta Thunberg effect”

Thunberg has inspired a number of her school-aged peers in what has been described as the “Greta Thunberg effect”.[52] In response to her outspoken stance, various politicians have also acknowledged the need to focus on climate change. Britain’s secretary for the environment, Michael Gove, said: “When I listened to you, I felt great admiration, but also responsibility and guilt. I am of your parents’ generation, and I recognise that we haven’t done nearly enough to address climate change and the broader environmental crisis that we helped to create.” Labour politician Ed Miliband, who was responsible for introducing the Climate Change Act 2008, said: “You have woken us up. We thank you. All the young people who have gone on strike have held up a mirror to our society … you have taught us all a really important lesson. You have stood out from the crowd.”[7] In June 2019, a YouGov poll in Britain found that public concern about the environment had soared to record levels in the UK since Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion had “pierced the bubble of denial”.[53]

In August 2019, a doubling in the number of children’s books being published which address the climate crisis was reported, with a similar increase in the sales of such books—all aimed at empowering young people to save the planet. Publishers attribute this to the “Greta Thunberg effect”.[54]

Inspired by Thunberg, wealthy philanthropists and investors from the United States have donated almost half a million pounds to support Extinction Rebellion and school strike groups to establish the Climate Emergency Fund.[55] Trevor Neilson, one of the philanthropists, said the three founders would be contacting friends among the global mega-rich to donate “a hundred times” more in the weeks and months ahead.[56]

In February 2019, Thunberg shared a stage with the then President of the European CommissionJean-Claude Juncker, where he outlined “In the next financial period from 2021 to 2027, every fourth euro spent within the EU budget will go towards action to mitigate climate change”.[57] Climate issues also played a significant role in European elections in May 2019[58] as Green parties nearly doubled their vote to finish second on 21%,[59] boosting their MEP numbers to a projected 71.[60] Many of the gains came from northern European countries where young people have taken to the streets inspired by Thunberg.[59] The result gives the Greens a chance of becoming ‘kingmakers’ in the new European parliament.[60]

In June 2019, Swedish Railways (SJ) reported that the number of Swedes taking the train for domestic journeys had risen by 8% from the previous year, reflecting growing public concern about the impact of flying on CO
2
 emissions that is highlighted by Thunberg’s refusal to fly to international conferences. Being embarrassed or ashamed to take a plane because of its environmental impact has been described on social media as ‘Flygskam’ or “Shame of flying”, along with the hashtag #jagstannarpåmarken, which translates as #istayontheground.[61][62]

Criticism and response

Criticism of Thunberg and her campaign

In an opinion column, Christopher Caldwell has claimed that Thunberg’s simplistic, straightforward approach to climate change will bring climate protesters into conflict with the complexities of decision-making in Western democracies.[63][64] The French philosopher Raphaël Enthoven claims that many people “buy virtue” with their support for Thunberg but do not actually do anything to help.[65]

In July 2019, Agence France-Presse reported that OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo “complained of what he called ‘unscientific’ attacks on the oil industry by climate change campaigners, calling them ‘perhaps the greatest threat to our industry going forward'”, and said he was apparently referring “to the recent wave of school strikes inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg’s ‘Fridays for Future’ movement”.[66] Thunberg and other climate activists responded by calling his remarks a badge of honour.[67][68]

In the United States, opinion writer Tiana Lowe, of the Washington Examiner, stated that Thunberg’s “fame-seeking”, “stage-parents”, particularly her “fading opera starlet mother” who performed internationally, were “pimp(ing) her out” without regard for Thunberg’s alleged mental problems, which included Lowe’s long list of disabilities, by which Greta and her sister were claimed to be handicapped. By so doing, Lowe wrote, they were subjecting her to “child abuse.”[69]

Swedish opinion writer Paulina Neuding invoked mental health issues to question the idea that Thunberg should be leading climate change activism.[70] Thunberg has also been criticised by the Australian climate-change denier Andrew Bolt[71] after Thunberg announced she would travel to the United States in a carbon-zero yacht. Bolt said she had a cult following, calling her “freakishly influential”[72] for a “girl so young and with so many mental disorders”.[73]

Following Thunberg’s filing of a lawsuit against France, Germany and other countries for not being on track to meet the emission reduction targets they committed to in their Paris Agreement pledges, French president Emmanuel Macron criticized her, saying that “such radical positions (as held by Thunberg) antagonize our societies”. He added that “she should focus on those that are blocking, those that are the furthest”, and that “he doesn’t feel like either the French or the German governments are trying to block”. French secretary of state for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition Brune Poirson also criticized her, saying that “she doesn’t know what solutions she is putting forward”, adding that “you can’t mobilize with despair, even hate”.[74]

Criticism of attacks on Thunberg

By August 2019, Scientific American was reporting that Thunberg’s detractors have “launched personal attacks”, “bash (her) autism”, and “increasingly rely on ad hominem attacks to blunt her influence.”[75]

Writing in The Guardian, Aditya Chakrabortty said that columnists including Brendan O’NeillToby Young, the blog Guido Fawkes, as well as Helen Dale and Rod Liddle at The Spectator and The Sunday Times had been making “ugly personal attacks” on Thunberg.[76] As part of its climate change denial, Germany’s right wing Alternative for Germany party has attacked Thunberg “in fairly vicious ways”, according to Jakob Guhl, a researcher for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.[77] British businessman Arron Banks released a post on Twitter appearing to wish harm upon Thunberg as she began her transatlantic voyage warning that “Freak yachting accidents do happen in August”.[78]

Banks’ comments outraged a number of MPs (Member of Parliament), celebrities and academics. Tanja Bueltmann, founder of EU Citizens’ Champion, said Banks had “invoked the drowning of a child” for his own amusement, and noted that most of those attacking Thunberg “are white middle-aged men from the right of the political spectrum”.[79] Writing in The GuardianGaby Hinsliff, said Thunberg has become “the new front in the Brexit culture war” arguing that the outrage generated by personal attacks on Thunberg by Brexiteers “gives them the welcome oxygen of publicity”.[80] British philosopher Julian Baggini said ‘thuggish’ personal criticisms of Thunberg are indicative of “a moral and intellectual bankruptcy”.[65]

Essayist Steve Silberman, writing in Vox, points out that being on the autism spectrum enables Thunberg to be fearless in her rhetoric.[81] In an interview with Suyin Haynes in Time magazine, she addressed the criticism she has received online saying: “It’s quite hilarious when the only thing people can do is mock you, or talk about your appearance or personality, as it means they have no argument or nothing else to say.”[82]

Misuse of her name

In late 2018, Ingmar Rentzhog, who claims to be one of the first to publicize Thunberg’s climate strike, asked her to become an unpaid youth advisor to his climate startup company. He then used her name and image without her knowledge or permission to raise millions for a WDHT for-profit subsidiary, We Don’t Have Time AB, of which Rentzhog is the chief executive officer.[83] Thunberg received no money from the company.[28] She terminated her volunteer advisor role with WDHT once she realised they were making money from her name, stating “[I am] not part of any organization… am absolutely independent… [and] do what I do completely for free.”[84]

List of speeches

Extinction Rebellion

In London in October 2018, she addressed the ‘Declaration of Rebellion’ organized by Extinction Rebellion opposite the Houses of Parliament. She said: “We’re facing an immediate unprecedented crisis that has never been treated as a crisis and our leaders are all acting like children. We need to wake up and change everything”.[44][85]

TEDxStockholm

On 24 November 2018, she spoke at TEDxStockholm.[12][86] She spoke about realizing, when she was eight years old, that climate change existed and wondering why it was not headline news on every channel, as if there was a world war going on. She said she did not go to school to become a climate scientist, as some suggested, because the science was done and only denial, ignorance, and inaction remained. Speculating that her children and grandchildren would ask her why they had not taken action in 2018 when there was still time, she concluded with “we can’t change the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.”[87]

COP24 summit

Thunberg addressed the COP24 United Nations climate change summit on 4 December 2018,[29] and also spoke before the plenary assembly on 12 December 2018.[88][89] During the summit, she also participated in a panel talk together with representatives of the We Don’t Have Time foundation, in which she talked about how the school strike began.[90]

Davos

On 23 January 2019, Thunberg arrived in Davos after a 32-hour train journey,[91] in contrast to the many delegates who arrived by up to 1,500 individual private jet flights,[92] to continue her climate campaign at the World Economic Forum.[93][94] She told a Davos panel “Some people, some companies, some decision makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”[43]

Later in the week, she warned the global leaders that “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire—because it is”.[40] She wrote in an article for The Guardian in January 2019: “According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including a reduction of our CO
2
 emissions by at least 50%”.[42]

European Economic and Social Committee

On 21 February 2019, she spoke at a conference of the European Economic and Social Committee and to European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, where she said that to limit global warming to less than the two degrees C goal established at the Paris Agreement, the EU must reduce their CO
2
 emissions by 80% by 2030, double the 40% goal set in Paris. “If we fail to do so” she said, “all that will remain of our political leaders’ legacy will be the greatest failure of human history.” Later, she joined 7,500 Belgian students in a climate protest in Brussels.[47][95]

Berlin

File:FFF Berlin 2019-03-29 262 Greta Thunberg.webm

Thunberg speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate on 29 March 2019

In the weekend 29–31 March 2019, Thunberg visited Berlin. She spoke in front of some 25,000 people near the Brandenburg Gate on 29 March, where she argued that “We live in a strange world where children must sacrifice their own education in order to protest against the destruction of their future. Where the people who have contributed the least to this crisis are the ones who are going to be affected the most.”[96] After the speech, Thunberg and fellow climate activist Luisa Neubauer visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and met with scientists there. On 30 March, Thunberg received the ‘Golden Camera‘ Special Award on Germany’s annual film and television award show. In her acceptance speech at the gala, Thunberg urged celebrities everywhere to use their influence and do their fair share of climate activism to help her.[97][98][99]

EU leaders

At an April 2019 meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg with MEPs and EU officials, Thunberg chided those present “for three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and the environment”. Climate change discussions have not been dominant at EU summits because other issues have taken precedence.[100] She said the world is facing its “sixth mass extinction” and said: “We have not treated this crisis as a crisis; we see it as another problem that needs to be fixed. But it is so much more than that. It’s an existential crisis, more important than anything else.”[100][35]

Austrian World Summit R20

In May 2019, Thunberg met with Arnold Schwarzenegger, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen at the launch of a conference organised by Schwarzenegger to speed up progress toward the Paris Agreement.[101] Quoting the most recent IPCC report she said: “If we haven’t made the changes required by approximately the year 2030, we will probably set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control. Then we will pass a point of no return which will be catastrophic.” 17,000 people attended the event from 30 different countries.[102]

Prix Liberté Normandy: 2019 Freedom Prize

On 21 July 2019, Thunberg received the Normandy’s Freedom Prize. In her speech she said: “Yesterday I spent the day with the D-day veteran Charles Norman Shay at Omaha beach. It was a day I will never forget. Not only because of the unimaginable bravery and sacrifices made by those who gave their lives to defend the freedom and democracy of the world. But also because they managed to do the seemingly impossible possible. I think the least we can do to honour them is to stop destroying that same world that Charles, Léon and their friends and colleagues fought so hard to save for us.”[103]

U.S. Congress on climate change

On 18 September 2019, Thunberg appeared before the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis: “Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis” and delivered an eight sentence statement instead of offering testimony. She said: “My name is Greta Thunberg. I have not come to offer prepared remarks at this hearing. I am instead attaching my testimony. It is the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C [SR1.5] which was released on October 8, 2018. I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take action.”[104]

New York City: 2019 Global Climate Strike

On 20 September 2019, Thunberg spoke to New York City’s contingent of the Global Climate Strike. The demonstration in New York City was one of hundreds around the world with millions of people taking part. Young people were joined by adults for the first time since the strikes began. Thunberg drew laughter when she described how the politicians that she met asked her for selfies and “tell us they really, really admire what we do yet have done nothing to address the climate crisis.” [105][106]

United Nations: Climate Action Summit 2019

On 23 September 2019, Thunberg addressed the assembled world leaders at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit held in New York City. Accusing world leaders of stealing her dreams and her childhood by their inaction on climate change, she opened her speech to the General Assembly with an impassioned introduction, which was widely covered by the media.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”[107]

US President Donald Trump, who had attended the meeting for 10 minutes and then left, tweeted a video of her opening remarks and commented: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”[108] Thunberg did not directly comment on Trump’s tweet but she did make a change to her Twitter bio wherein she described herself as “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”

Legal actions

Thunberg, et al, v. Argentina, et al

On 23 September 2019, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) hosted a press conference where Thunberg joined 15 other children (Ayakha MelithafaAlexandria VillaseñorCatarina LorenzoCarl Smith, et al) and together the group announced they had filed a lawsuit against five nations that are not on track to meet the emission reduction targets they committed to in their Paris Agreement pledges: Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey.[109][110] The lawsuit is challenging the nations under the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (specifically the right to life, health, and peace). If the complaint is successful, the countries will be asked to respond, but any suggestions are not legally binding.[111][112]

Honours and awards

Svenska Dagbladet: writing competition: Before starting her climate strike, Thunberg was one of the winners of Svenska Dagbladets debate article writing competition on the climate for young people in May 2018.[24]

Children’s Climate Prize: In November 2018, about three months into her school climate strike, Thunberg was nominated for the Children’s Climate Prize, which is awarded by the Swedish electricity company Telge Energi. However, Thunberg declined to accept the award because many of the finalists would have to fly to Stockholm for the ceremony and a required meeting with one another.[113][114]

Fryshuset Scholarship: 2018 Young Role Model of the Year: Thunberg was awarded the Fryshuset scholarship of the Young Role Model of the Year.[115]

Time Magazine: 2018 World’s 25 Most Influential Teenagers: Time magazine named Thunberg one of the world’s 25 most influential teenagers of 2018.[116]

International Women’s Day: Swedish Woman of the Year: On the occasion of International Women’s Day Thunberg was proclaimed the most important woman of the year in Sweden in 2019. The award was based on a survey by the institute Inizio on behalf of the newspaper Aftonbladet.[117]

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee: On 13 March 2019, two deputies of the Swedish parliament and three deputies of the Norwegian parliament nominated Thunberg as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. The nominating politicians explained their decision by arguing that global warming will be the cause of “wars, conflict and refugees” if nothing is done to halt it. Thunberg responded that she was “honoured and very grateful” for the nomination.[118] If Thunberg receives the Prize later this year, she will become the youngest person ever to receive it.[119]

Golden Kamera 2019: On 31 March 2019, Thunberg received the German Goldene Kamera Special Climate Protection award.[120]

Prix Liberté Normandy: 2019 Freedom Prize: On 1 April 2019, the Prix Liberté from France’s region Normandy was awarded to Thunberg, which she received in Caen on 21 July that year.[121] Thunberg is the first recipient of this new award, which was designed to honour a young person engaged in a fight for peace and freedom.[122] Thunberg said she would donate the $25,000 Euro prize money to four organisations working for climate justice and helping areas already affected by climate change.[103]

Fritt Ords Prize: On 12 April 2019, Thunberg shared the Norwegian Fritt Ords Prize, which celebrates freedom of speech, with the Nature and Youth organization. The conferring organization, Fritt Ord noted their determined committed activism even in the face of pervasive online and media harassment. Thunberg donated her share of the prize money to a lawsuit which seeks to halt Norwegian oil exploration in the Arctic.[123]

Time Magazine: 100 Most Influential People of 2019: In April 2019, Time magazine named Thunberg as one of the 100 most influential people of 2019.[124] In the same month, the Chilean-based organization, Fundación Milarepa para el Diálogo con Asia, headed by Mario Aguilar of the University of St Andrews, announced that Thunberg had been selected as the recipient of the organization’s Laudato Si’ Prize.[125]

Doctor Honoris Causa: On 16 May 2019, the University of Mons announced it had awarded a doctor honoris causa (honorary degree) to Thunberg. The doctoral diploma and insignia will be bestowed at the official opening of the university’s 2019-2020 academic year on 10 October 2019.[126]

Thunberg mural: In May 2019, artist Jody Thomas painted a 50-foot-high (15 m) mural of Thunberg on a wall in Bristol. It portrays the bottom half of her face as if under rising sea water.[127]

Time Magazine: In May 2019, Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time magazine where she was described as a role model,[82] and one of the “next generation leaders”.[6]

Vice Documentary: In May 2019, Vice released a 30-minute documentary, Make the World Greta Again. It features interviews with a number of youth protest leaders in Europe.[128][129]

Amnesty International: Ambassador of Conscience Award: On 7 June 2019, Amnesty International announced that it will give Thunberg their most prestigious award, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, to Thunberg for her leadership in the climate movement. Thunberg then said the prize equally belongs to everyone who has taken part in the Fridays for Future Movement in school strike for climate.[130]On 17 September 2019, Thunberg received the award during a ceremony that took place in Washington D.C. The activist said the award is “for all those millions of people, young people, around the world who together make up the movement called Friday’s for Future.”[131][132]

Royal Scottish Geographical Society: Geddes Environment Medal: On 12 July 2019, Thunberg was awarded the Geddes Environment Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society,[133] which automatically granted her its Honorary Fellowship.[134]

British Vogue: The September 2019 issue of British Vogue magazine’s cover featured Thunberg (along with fifteen women); the cover was created by guest editor Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.[135]

Right Livelihood Award: On 25 September 2019, Thunberg was named as one of four winners of the 2019 Right Livelihood Award, known as Sweden’s alternative Nobel Prize. Thunberg won the award “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts,” the Right Livelihood Foundation said in a statement.[136]

See also

Notes

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_Thunberg

Bjørn Lomborg

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Bjørn Lomborg
Bjørn Lomborg

Bjørn Lomborg
Born 6 January 1965 (age 54)
FrederiksbergDenmark
Occupation Author, visiting professor, think tank director
Subject Environmental economics
Website
lomborg.com

Bjørn Lomborg (Danish: [pjɶɐ̯n ˈlɒmpɒːˀʊ̯]; born 6 January 1965) is a Danish author and President of his think tankCopenhagen Consensus Center. He is former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute (EAI) in Copenhagen. He became internationally known for his best-selling and controversial book, The Skeptical Environmentalist (2001), in which he argues that many of the costly measures and actions adopted by scientists and policy makers to meet the challenges of global warming will ultimately have minimal impact on the world’s rising temperature.[1]

In 2002, Lomborg and the Environmental Assessment Institute founded the Copenhagen Consensus, a project-based conference where prominent economists sought to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methods based on the theory of welfare economics.

In 2009, Business Insider cited Lomborg as one of “The 10 Most-Respected Global Warming Skeptics”.[2] While Lomborg campaigned against the Kyoto Protocol and other measures to cut carbon emissions in the short-term, he argued for adaptation to short-term temperature rises, and for spending money on research and development for longer-term environmental solutions. His issue is not with the reality of climate change, but rather with the economic and political approaches being taken (or not taken) to meet the challenges of that climate change. He is a strong advocate for focusing attention and resources on what he perceives as far more pressing world problems, such as AIDS, malaria and malnutrition.[3][4] In his critique of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Lomborg stated: “Global warming is by no means our main environmental threat.”[5]

Contents

Education

Lomborg was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, earned an M.A. degree in political science at the University of Aarhus in 1991, and a Ph.D. degree in political science at the University of Copenhagen in 1994.

Career

Lomborg lectured in statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus as an assistant professor (1994–1996) and associate professor (1997–2005). He left the university in February 2005 and in May of that year became an adjunct professor in Policy-making, Scientific Knowledge and the Role of Experts at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School.[6]

Early in his career, his professional areas of interest lay in the simulation of strategies in collective action dilemmas, simulation of party behavior in proportional voting systems, and the use of surveys in public administration. In 1996, Lomborg’s paper, “Nucleus and Shield: Evolution of Social Structure in the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma”, was published in the academic journalAmerican Sociological Review.[7]

Later, Lomborg’s interests shifted to the use of statistics in the environmental arena. In 1998, Lomborg published four essays about the state of the environment in the leading Danish newspaper Politiken, which according to him “resulted in a firestorm debate spanning over 400 articles in major metropolitan newspapers.”[8] This led to the Skeptical Environmentalist, whose English translation was published as a work in environmental economics by Cambridge University Press in 2001. He later edited Global Crises, Global Solutions, which presented the first conclusions of the Copenhagen Consensus, published in 2004 by the Cambridge University Press. In 2007, he authored a book entitled Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming.

In March 2002, the newly elected center-right prime ministerAnders Fogh Rasmussen, appointed Lomborg to run Denmark’s new Environmental Assessment Institute (EAI). On 22 June 2004, Lomborg announced his decision to resign from this post to go back to the University of Aarhus,[9] saying his work at the Institute was done and that he could better serve the public debate from the academic sector.

Lomborg has created several short videos for the educational website Prager University, a US-based conservative think tank founded by talk show host Dennis Prager. His videos focus on environmental science.[10]

Copenhagen Consensus

Lomborg (right) with DeAnne Julius (center) and Stephen Sackur (left), at WTTC Global Summit 2014

Lomborg and the Environmental Assessment Institute founded the Copenhagen Consensus in 2002, which seeks to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics. A panel of prominent economists was assembled to evaluate and rank a series of problems every four years. The project was funded largely by the Danish government and was co-sponsored by The Economist. A book summarizing the conclusions of the economists’ first assessment, Global Crises, Global Solutions, edited by Lomborg, was published in October 2004 by Cambridge University Press.

In 2006, Lomborg became director of the newly established Copenhagen Consensus Center, a Danish government-funded institute intended to build on the mandate of the EAI, and expand on the original Copenhagen Consensus conference.[11] Denmark withdrew its funding in 2012 and the Center faced imminent closure.[12][13] Lomborg left the country and reconstituted the Center as a non-profit organization in the United States.[14][15] The Center was based out of a “Neighborhood Parcel Shipping Center” in Lowell, Massachusetts, though Lomborg himself was based in Prague in the Czech Republic.[16] In 2015, Lomborg described the Center’s funding as “a little more than $1m a year…from private donations”,[13] of which Lomborg himself was paid $775,000 in 2012.[16]

In April 2015, it was announced that an alliance between the Copenhagen Consensus Center and the University of Western Australia would see the establishment of the Australian Consensus Centre, a new policy research center at the UWA Business School. The University described the Center’s goals as a “focus on applying an economic lens to proposals to achieve good for Australia, the region and the world, prioritizing those initiatives which produce the most social value per dollar spent.”.[17] This appointment came under intense scrutiny, particularly when leaked documents revealed that the Australian government had approached UWA and offered to fund the Consensus Centre, information subsequently confirmed by a senior UWA lecturer.[18] Reports indicated that Prime Minister Tony Abbott‘s office was directly responsible for Lomborg’s elevation.[19] $4 million of the total funding for the Center was to be provided by the Australian federal government,[13] with UWA not contributing any funding for the centre.[20]

On 8 May 2015, UWA cancelled the contract for hosting the Australian Consensus Centre as “the proposed centre was untenable and lacked academic support”.[21][22] The Australian federal education minister, Christopher Pyne, said that he would find another university to host the ACC.

In July 2015, Flinders University senior management began quietly canvassing its staff about a plan to host the renamed Lomborg Consensus Centre at the University, likely in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. A week later the story was broken on Twitter by the NTEU (National Tertiary Education Union)[23] and Scott Ludlam.[24] The story appeared the next day in The Australian,[25] but described as “academic conversations” with no mention of Bjorn Lomborg’s involvement and portrayed as a grassroots desire for the Centre by the University.[26] The following week, a story appeared in The Guardian quoting two Flinders University academics and an internal document demonstrating staff’s withering rejection of the idea.[27] Flinders staff and students vowed to fight against the establishment of any Centre or any partnership with Lomborg,[28] citing his lack of scientific credibility, his lack of academic legitimacy and the political nature of the process of establishing the Centre with the Abbott federal government. The Australian Youth Climate Coalition and 350.orglaunched a national campaign to support staff and students in their rejection of Lomborg.[29]

On 21 October 2015, education minister Simon Birmingham told a senate committee the offered funding had been withdrawn.[30] It was subsequently unclear whether the Australian Government would honour its original commitment and transfer the funds directly to the Centre to cover the costs incurred, in particular given Lomborg’s unique expertise and contribution.

Several of Bjørn Lomborg’s articles in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph have been checked by Climate Feedback, a worldwide network of scientists who collectively assess the credibility of influential climate change media coverage. The Climate Feedback reviewers assessed that the scientific credibility ranged between “low” and “very low”. The Climate Feedback reviewers come to the conclusion that in one case Lomborg “practices cherry-picking”,[31] in a second case he “had reached his conclusions through cherry-picking from a small subset of the evidence, misrepresenting the results of existing studies, and relying on flawed reasoning”,[32] in a third case “[his] article [is in] blatant disagreement with available scientific evidence, while the author does not offer adequate evidence to support his statements”,[33] and, in a fourth case, “The author, Bjorn Lomborg, cherry-picks this specific piece of research and uses it in support of a broad argument against the value of climate policy. He also misrepresents the Paris Agreement to downplay its potential to curb future climate change.”[34]

The Skeptical Environmentalist

In 2001, he attained significant attention by publishing The Skeptical Environmentalist, a controversial book whose main thesis is that many of the most-publicized claims and predictions on environmental issues are wrong.

In the chapter on climate change in The Skeptical Environmentalist, he states: “This chapter accepts the reality of man-made global warming but questions the way in which future scenarios have been arrived at and finds that forecasts of climate change of 6 degrees by the end of the century are not plausible”.[35] Cost–benefit analyses, calculated by the Copenhagen Consensus, ranked climate mitigation initiatives lowest on a list of international development initiatives when first done in 2004.[36] In a 2010 interview with the New Statesman, Lomborg summarized his position on climate change: “Global warming is real – it is man-made and it is an important problem. But it is not the end of the world.”[37]

Formal accusations of scientific dishonesty

After the publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist, Lomborg was formally accused of scientific dishonesty by a group of environmental scientists, who brought a total of three complaints against him to the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD), a body under Denmark’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MSTI). Lomborg was asked whether he regarded the book as a “debate” publication, and thereby not under the purview of the DCSD, or as a scientific work; he chose the latter, clearing the way for the inquiry that followed.[38] The charges claimed that The Skeptical Environmentalist contained deliberately misleading data and flawed conclusions. Due to the similarity of the complaints, the DCSD decided to proceed on the three cases under one investigation.

In January 2003, the DCSD released a ruling that sent a mixed message, finding the book to be scientifically dishonest through misrepresentation of scientific facts, but Lomborg himself not guilty due to his lack of expertise in the fields in question.[39] That February, Lomborg filed a complaint against the decision with the MSTI, which had oversight over the DCSD. In December, 2003, the Ministry annulled the DCSD decision, citing procedural errors, including lack of documentation of errors in the book, and asked the DCSD to re-examine the case. In March 2004, the DCSD formally decided not to act further on the complaints, reasoning that renewed scrutiny would, in all likelihood, result in the same conclusion.[38][40]

Response of the academic community

The original DCSD decision about Lomborg provoked a petition[41] signed by 287 Danish academics, primarily social scientists, who criticised the DCSD for evaluating the book as a work of science, whereas the petitioners considered it clearly an opinion piece by a non-scientist.[42][43] The Danish Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation then asked the Danish Research Agency (DRA) to form an independent working group to review DCSD practices.[44] In response to this, another group of Danish scientists collected over 600 signatures, primarily from the medical and natural sciences community, to support the continued existence of the DCSD and presented their petition to the DRA.[42]

Recognition

The alumni network of the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) voted The Skeptical Environmentalist among its list of the top 50 sustainability books.[45]

Continued debate and criticism

The rulings of the Danish authorities in 2003–2004 left Lomborg’s critics frustrated. Lomborg claimed vindication as a result of MSTI’s decision to set aside the original finding of DCSD.

The Lomborg Deception, a book by Howard Friel, claims to offer a “careful analysis” of the ways in which Lomborg has “selectively used (and sometimes distorted) the available evidence”,[46] and that the sources Lomborg provides in the footnotes do not support—and in some cases are in direct contradiction to—Lomborg’s assertions in the text of the book;[47] Lomborg has denied these claims in a 27-page argument-by-argument response.[48] Friel has written a reply to this response, in which he admits two errors, but otherwise in general rejects Lomborg’s arguments.[49]

Arthur Rörsch, Thomas Frello, Ray Soper and Adriaan De Lange published an article in 2005 in the Journal of Information Ethics,[50] in which they concluded that most criticism against Lomborg was unjustified, and that the scientific community misused its authority to suppress Lomborg.

The claim that the accusations against Lomborg were unjustified was challenged in the next issue of Journal of Information Ethics[51] by Kåre Fog, one of the original plaintiffs. Fog reasserted his contention that, despite the ministry’s decision, most of the accusations against Lomborg were valid. He also rejected what he called “the Galileo hypothesis”, which he describes as the conception that Lomborg is just a brave young man confronting old-fashioned opposition. Fog and other scientists have continued to criticize Lomborg for what one called “a history of misrepresenting” climate science.[52][53]

In 2014, the government of Australia offered the University of Western Australia $4 million to establish a “consensus centre” with Lomborg as director. The university accepted the offer, setting off a firestorm of opposition from its faculty and students and from climate scientists around the world. In April 2015 the university reversed the decision and rejected the offer. The government continued to seek a sponsor for the proposed institution.[54] On 21 October 2015 the offered funding was withdrawn.[30] (For further details see the “Copenhagen Consensus” sub-section of the “Career” section, above.)

Lomborg’s approach evolved in directions more compatible with action to restrain climate change. In April 2015 he gained further attention when he issued a call for all subsidies to be removed from fossil fuels on the basis that “a disproportionate share of the subsidies goes to the middle class and the rich”…making fossil fuel so “inexpensive that consumption increases, thus exacerbating global warming”.[55] In publications such as the Wall Street Journal he argued that the most productive use of resources would be a massive increase in funding for research to make renewable energy economically competitive with fossil fuels.[56]

Personal life

Lomborg is gay and a vegetarian.[57] As a public figure he has been a participant in information campaigns in Denmark about homosexuality, and states that “Being a public gay is to my view a civic responsibility. It’s important to show that the width of the gay world cannot be described by a tired stereotype, but goes from leather gays on parade-wagons to suit-and-tie yuppies on the direction floor, as well as everything in between”.[58]

Recognitions and awards

Discussions in the media

After the release of The Skeptical Environmentalist in 2001, Lomborg was subjected to intense scrutiny and criticism in the media, where his scientific qualifications and integrity were both attacked and defended. The verdict of the Danish Committees for Scientific Dishonesty fueled this debate and brought it into the spotlight of international mass media. By the end of 2003 Lomborg had become an international celebrity, with frequent appearances on radio, television and print media around the world. He is also a regular contributor to Project Syndicate since 2005.

  • Scientific American published strong criticism of Lomborg’s book. Lomborg responded on his own website, quoting the article at such length that Scientific American threatened to sue for copyright infringement. Lomborg eventually removed the rebuttal from his website; it was later published in PDF format on Scientific Americans site.[67] The magazine also printed a response to the rebuttal.[68]
  • The Economist defended Lomborg, claiming the panel of experts that had criticised Lomborg in Scientific American was both biased and did not actually counter Lomborg’s book. The Economist argued that the panel’s opinion had come under no scrutiny at all, and that Lomborg’s responses had not been reported.[69]
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! — the U.S. Showtime television programme featured an episode entitled “Environmental Hysteria” in which Lomborg criticised what he claimed was environmentalists’ refusal to accept a cost-benefit analysis of environmental questions, and stressed the need to prioritise some issues above others.[70]
  • Rolling Stone stated, “Lomborg pulls off the remarkable feat of welding the techno-optimism of the Internet age with a lefty’s concern for the fate of the planet.”[71]
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists strongly criticised The Skeptical Environmentalist, claiming it to be “seriously flawed and failing to meet basic standards of credible scientific analysis”, accusing Lomborg of presenting data in a fraudulent way, using flawed logic and selectively citing non-peer-reviewed literature.[72] The review was conducted by Peter GleickJerry D. MahlmanEdward O. WilsonThomas LovejoyNorman MyersJeff Harvey, and Stuart Pimm.

Publications

  • Lomborg, Bjørn, “Nucleus and Shield: Evolution of Social Structure in the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma”, American Sociological Review, 1996.
  • Lomborg, Bjørn, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World, Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 0521010683
  • Lomborg, Bjørn (ed.), Global Crises, Global Solutions, Copenhagen Consensus, Cambridge University Press, 2004
  • Lomborg, Bjørn (ed.), How to Spend $50 Billion to Make the World a Better Place, Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-521-68571-9
  • Lomborg, Bjørn (ed.), Solutions for the World’s Biggest Problems – Costs and Benefits, Cambridge University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-521-71597-3, offers an “… overview of twenty-three of the world’s biggest problems relating to the environment, governance, economics, and health and population. Leading economists provide a short survey of the state-of-the-art analysis and sketch out some policy solutions for which they provide cost-benefit ratios.”
  • Lomborg, Bjørn, Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming, 2007, argues against taking immediate and “drastic” action to curb greenhouse gases while simultaneously stating that “Global warming is happening. It’s a serious and important problem …”. He argues that “… the cost and benefits of the proposed measures against global warming. … is the worst way to spend our money. Climate change is a 100-year problem — we should not try to fix it in 10 years.”
  • Lomborg, Bjørn, Smart Solutions to Climate Change, Comparing Costs and Benefits, Cambridge University Press, November 2010, ISBN 978-0-521-76342-4.[73][74]
  • Lomborg, Bjørn, The Nobel Laureates Guide to the Smartest Targets for the World 2016–2030, Copenhagen Consensus Center, April 2015. ISBN 978-1940003115
  • Lomborg, Bjørn (editor), Prioritizing Development: A Cost Benefit Analysis of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Cambridge University Press 2018 ISBN 1108415458

Documentary film

Bjørn Lomborg released a documentary feature film, Cool It, on 12 November 2010 in the US.[75][76] The film in part explicitly challenged Al Gore‘s 2006 Oscar-winning environmental awareness documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, and was frequently presented by the media in that light, as in the Wall Street Journal headline, “Controversial ‘Cool It’ Documentary Takes on ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.”[77][78] The film received a media critic collective rating of 51% from Rotten Tomatoes[79] and 61% from Metacritic.[80] The Atlantic review by Clive Crook, who describes himself in the article as a “friend” of Lomborg’s and having taken “his side in the controversy that followed the publication of the Skeptical Environmentalist–a terrific book,” called it “An urgent, intelligent, and entertaining account of the climate policy debate, with a strong focus on cost-effective solutions.”[81]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bj%C3%B8rn_Lomborg

Story 4: WeWork Initial Public Offer Postponed Over Big Losses — Pushing For CEO Adam Neumann Removal — Videos

Kara Swisher: WeWork has gotten out of control

Some WeWork board members discuss replacing CEO Adam Neumann

WeWork’s business model depends on raising more money: WSJ reporter

SoftBank has been throwing money around: WSJ reporter Liz Hoffman

SoftBank CEO: We’ve invested around $65-$70 billion

Masa Son on SoftBank’s WeWork Investment

WeWork’s board is responsible for CEO Neumann’s conflicts, says Charles Elson

Adam Neumann, the sometimes over the top chief executive of the company that owns WeWork, is facing a possible coup by investors unhappy with the shared office space startup’s widening losses and his grip over the firm.

Japan‘s SoftBank, the biggest investor in WeWork’s parent, We Co, is exploring how to replace Neumann, four people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

The plan to ouster Neuman would have support from some on the We company board of directors, the sources said. The exact number of directors opposed to Neumann is not clear, reports the Wall Street Journal.

One option that SoftBank is considering is asking Neumann to serve as interim chief executive officer while a headhunting firm finds an outside replacement, one of the sources said.

A WeWork location (pictured above) in Manhattan's financial district

No challenge to Neumann has yet been tabled, the sources said. A We board meeting will be held this week, and the issue of his leadership could be raised then, according to the sources.

The possible ouster comes after We put off its initial public offering last week, with investors unhappy over losses, as well as Neumann, who was alleged to have smoked marijuana with friends on a private jet flight from New York to Israel, reports the Journal.

The plane’s operator, after discovering pot concealed in a cereal box for the return flight, was so upset that Neumann was ditched and had to find another flight back, the Journal reports.

Neumann has not only been a standout for co-founding WeWork with with Miguel McKelvey nine years ago, he’s also been known for his energetic style and penchant for excess.

Combined with his entrepreneurial skill and and a willingness to take risks, Neumann helped WeWork rake in more than $2 billion in annual revenue to become the country’s most valuable startups.

His style, however, has come under fire for mounting problems at WeWork. Investor concerns include special voting shares that Neumann holds, allowing him to dismiss dissident board directors and shoot down challenges to his authority.

It was a bad sign for relations between SoftBank and WeWork when Neumann last week passed on a meeting of executives backed by the bank and organized by its CEO Masayoshi Son (pictured above)

It was a bad sign for relations between SoftBank and WeWork when Neumann last week passed on a meeting of executives backed by the bank and organized by its CEO Masayoshi Son (pictured above)

In a sign of souring relations between SoftBank and WeWork, Neumann did not participate in a meeting of executives of companies backed by SoftBank that took place in Pasadena, California, last week.

The gathering was organized by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, according to two people familiar with the matter.

SoftBank had been hoping boost profits to woo investors for its second $108 billion ‘Vision Fund.’ But the postponement of We’s IPO last week derailed that plan.

The bank already was sore that it had invested in We at a $47 billion valuation in January, only to see it drop to as low as $10 billion this month, due to stock market investor skepticism, Reuters reported.

Venture capital firm Benchmark Capital, another big investor in We, would also like him to step aside, one of the sources said.

Benchmark, SoftBank and Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital each have one representative on We Company’s seven-member board, that includes Neumann.

Hony Capital’s position on whether Neumann should remain CEO could not be immediately determined.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

We and SoftBank declined to comment, while Neumann, Schwartz, Benchmark Capital and Hony Capital could not be immediately reached for comment.

Were a board challenge against Neumann to prove successful, it could end up follwoing what happened to Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, who resigned as CEO of the ride-hailing start-up in 2017 after facing a rebellion from his board over a string of scandals, including allegations of enabling a chauvinistic and toxic work culture.

Uber replaced Kalanick with an outsider, former Expedia Group Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and completed its IPO last May.

Were a board challenge against Neumann to prove successful, it could follow what ended up happening to Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick (pictured above), who resigned as CEO of the ride-hailing start-up in 2017

Were a board challenge against Neumann to prove successful, it could follow what ended up happening to Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick (pictured above), who resigned as CEO of the ride-hailing start-up in 2017

Uber replaced Kalanick with an outsider, former Expedia Group Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (picture above), and completed its IPO last May

Uber replaced Kalanick with an outsider, former Expedia Group Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (picture above), and completed its IPO last May

It is not uncommon for founders of fast-growing start-ups to be eccentric and control their companies tightly, even as they seek to attract stock market investors.

Neumann, however, has been criticized by investors and corporate governance experts for arrangements that went beyond the typical practice of having majority voting control through special categories of shares.

These included giving his estate a major say in his replacement as CEO, and tying the voting power of shares to how much he donates to charitable causes.

Neumann pictured above with his wife Rebekah, who at one time was part of a plan to help pick his successor. The pan was scrapped following criticism by potential investors

Neumann pictured above with his wife Rebekah, who at one time was part of a plan to help pick his successor. The pan was scrapped following criticism by potential investors

Neumann also entered into several transactions with We over the years, making the company a tenant in some of his properties and charging it rent. He has also secured a $500 million credit line from banks using company stock as collateral.

Following criticism by potential investors, Neumann agreed to some concessions without relinquishing majority control. He agreed to give We Company any profit he receives from real estate deals he has entered in to with the New York-based start-up.

No member of Neumann’s family will be on the company´s board and any successor will be selected by the board, scrapping a plan for his wife and co-founder, Rebekah Neumann, to help pick the successor.

WeWork coup: Investors plan to force the startup’s chief Adam Neumann out after its IPO was postponed amid big losses and anger over his tight grip on the company and news that he smoked pot on a private plane

  • Japan’s SoftBank, the biggest investor in WeWork’s owner, We Co, is exploring ways to replace the firm’s head, Adam Neumann
  • Softbank’s move to ouster Neumann comes after We cancelled its IPO last week, following pushback from investors over widening losses
  • It’s also revealed that Neumann smoked marijuana with friends on a private jet to Israel that ditched him on the return after discovering cannabis on the plane
  • Investors aren’t happy either with Neumann’s control over the startup.  He can dismiss dissident board members and shoot down challenges to his authority
  • Frictions were noticeable when Neumann passed on a meeting of executives of companies backed by SoftBank that took place in Pasadena, California, last week
  • We’s last potential valuation was $10 billion, down from $47 billion in January, under pressure from investor skeptism

Adam Neumann, the sometimes over the top chief executive of the company that owns WeWork, is facing a possible coup by investors unhappy with the shared office space startup’s widening losses and his grip over the firm.

Japan‘s SoftBank, the biggest investor in WeWork’s parent, We Co, is exploring how to replace Neumann, four people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

The plan to ouster Neuman would have support from some on the We company board of directors, the sources said. The exact number of directors opposed to Neumann is not clear, reports the Wall Street Journal.

One option that SoftBank is considering is asking Neumann to serve as interim chief executive officer while a headhunting firm finds an outside replacement, one of the sources said.

A WeWork location (pictured above) in Manhattan's financial district

A WeWork location (pictured above) in Manhattan’s financial district

WeWork slashes IPO valuation to under $20 billion

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No challenge to Neumann has yet been tabled, the sources said. A We board meeting will be held this week, and the issue of his leadership could be raised then, according to the sources.

The possible ouster comes after We put off its initial public offering last week, with investors unhappy over losses, as well as Neumann, who was alleged to have smoked marijuana with friends on a private jet flight from New York to Israel, reports the Journal.

The plane’s operator, after discovering pot concealed in a cereal box for the return flight, was so upset that Neumann was ditched and had to find another flight back, the Journal reports.

Neumann has not only been a standout for co-founding WeWork with with Miguel McKelvey nine years ago, he’s also been known for his energetic style and penchant for excess.

Combined with his entrepreneurial skill and and a willingness to take risks, Neumann helped WeWork rake in more than $2 billion in annual revenue to become the country’s most valuable startups.

His style, however, has come under fire for mounting problems at WeWork. Investor concerns include special voting shares that Neumann holds, allowing him to dismiss dissident board directors and shoot down challenges to his authority.

It was a bad sign for relations between SoftBank and WeWork when Neumann last week passed on a meeting of executives backed by the bank and organized by its CEO Masayoshi Son (pictured above)

It was a bad sign for relations between SoftBank and WeWork when Neumann last week passed on a meeting of executives backed by the bank and organized by its CEO Masayoshi Son (pictured above)

In a sign of souring relations between SoftBank and WeWork, Neumann did not participate in a meeting of executives of companies backed by SoftBank that took place in Pasadena, California, last week.

The gathering was organized by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, according to two people familiar with the matter.

SoftBank had been hoping boost profits to woo investors for its second $108 billion ‘Vision Fund.’ But the postponement of We’s IPO last week derailed that plan.

The bank already was sore that it had invested in We at a $47 billion valuation in January, only to see it drop to as low as $10 billion this month, due to stock market investor skepticism, Reuters reported.

Venture capital firm Benchmark Capital, another big investor in We, would also like him to step aside, one of the sources said.

Benchmark, SoftBank and Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital each have one representative on We Company’s seven-member board, that includes Neumann.

And then there’s retired Goldman Sachs investment banker Mark Schwartz, an unaffiliated member of We’s board, previously sat on SoftBank’s board.

Hony Capital’s position on whether Neumann should remain CEO could not be immediately determined.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

We and SoftBank declined to comment, while Neumann, Schwartz, Benchmark Capital and Hony Capital could not be immediately reached for comment.

Were a board challenge against Neumann to prove successful, it could end up follwoing what happened to Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, who resigned as CEO of the ride-hailing start-up in 2017 after facing a rebellion from his board over a string of scandals, including allegations of enabling a chauvinistic and toxic work culture.

Uber replaced Kalanick with an outsider, former Expedia Group Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and completed its IPO last May.

Uber CEO Kalanick resigned over harassment scandal in 2017

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Were a board challenge against Neumann to prove successful, it could follow what ended up happening to Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick (pictured above), who resigned as CEO of the ride-hailing start-up in 2017

Were a board challenge against Neumann to prove successful, it could follow what ended up happening to Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick (pictured above), who resigned as CEO of the ride-hailing start-up in 2017

Uber replaced Kalanick with an outsider, former Expedia Group Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (picture above), and completed its IPO last May

Uber replaced Kalanick with an outsider, former Expedia Group Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (picture above), and completed its IPO last May

It is not uncommon for founders of fast-growing start-ups to be eccentric and control their companies tightly, even as they seek to attract stock market investors.

Neumann, however, has been criticized by investors and corporate governance experts for arrangements that went beyond the typical practice of having majority voting control through special categories of shares.

These included giving his estate a major say in his replacement as CEO, and tying the voting power of shares to how much he donates to charitable causes.

Neumann pictured above with his wife Rebekah, who at one time was part of a plan to help pick his successor. The pan was scrapped following criticism by potential investors

Neumann pictured above with his wife Rebekah, who at one time was part of a plan to help pick his successor. The pan was scrapped following criticism by potential investors

Neumann also entered into several transactions with We over the years, making the company a tenant in some of his properties and charging it rent. He has also secured a $500 million credit line from banks using company stock as collateral.

Following criticism by potential investors, Neumann agreed to some concessions without relinquishing majority control. He agreed to give We Company any profit he receives from real estate deals he has entered in to with the New York-based start-up.

No member of Neumann’s family will be on the company´s board and any successor will be selected by the board, scrapping a plan for his wife and co-founder, Rebekah Neumann, to help pick the successor.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7494507/WeWork-Chief-Adam-Neumann-targeted-coup-startup-suspends-IPO-news-smoked-pot.html

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North Korean Threat U.S. Pentagon Beefing Up Missile Defense in Response – Kim Jong-un

Published on Mar 16, 2013

The Pentagon is beefing up the nation’s missile defense in the wake of provocative nuclear threats from North Korea and is set to deploy 14 additional ground-based interceptors at missile silos in Alaska and California, congressional and U.S. officials tell Fox News.

The extra interceptors on the West Coast, designed to counter attacks from an intercontinental ballistic missile, would bring the total number of interceptors to 44, a plan originally proposed by the Bush administration. President Obama stopped the deployment of the additional interceptors when he took office in 2009, leaving the total number at 30.

Congressional sources claim that by stalling the original plan and forcing the military to bring back on line silos that otherwise would have been operational, the Obama administration has effectively wasted millions in taxpayer’s dollars.

It’s a sentiment that is not likely to sit well with conservative lawmakers when the plan is announced on Monday, particularly as they seek new austerity measures.

A senior Pentagon official hinted at the decision Tuesday in a speech to the Atlantic Council in Washington just days after Pyongyang threatened a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike on the United States.

“North Korea’s shrill public pronouncements underscore the need for the U.S. to continue to take prudent steps to defeat any future North Korean ICBM,” James Miller, undersecretary of Defense for policy, said.

Upon completion of Missile Field Number One at Fort Greely, Alaska, Miller said, “we have the ability to swiftly deploy up to 14 additional ground-based interceptors if needed.” In addition to Fort Greely, current interceptors are set up at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Missile Field Number One was one of the areas where the Obama administration stopped construction in 2009. Congressional sources say it will cost at least $205 million to bring that missile field up to speed, more than it would have cost four years ago. These officials say the price of the missiles themselves also has increased.

An Obama administration official tells Fox News that the increase in interceptors is a logical response to an evolving threat from North Korea and that “anyone who suggests we should have stayed the course” with the Bush administration’s plan is engaging in “Monday morning quarterbacking.”

This official says the North Korean threat is much different from what it was in 2009. Along with the continued testing of nuclear weapons and longer-range delivery systems, the North Koreans have advanced their mobile missile capability, even within the last six to eight months.

“What we were defending against (from North Korea) four years ago was a single rogue missile, now with the mobile missile developing you have got to be able to counter multiple missile threats … so you have to expand your capability.”

Whether intentional or not, the announcement also coincides with 30th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative speech. The nation’s first ground-based interceptors were set up in 2002 under President George W. Bush.

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ALERT: Kim Jong Un Orders Nukes to be Readied for Use After UN Toughest Sanctions on North Korea

Published on Mar 3, 2016

North Korean state media is reporting that Kim Jong Un has ordered nuclear weapons to be readied for use “at any time.” Leader reportedly tells military to adopt ‘pre-emptive’ posture after imposition of toughest UN sanctions to date
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has ordered his country to be ready to use nuclear weapons “at any time” in the face of a growing threat from enemies, according to official media.

Kim also said the North should turn its military posture to a “pre-emptive basis” because enemies were threatening the state’s survival, the regime’s KCNA news agency announced on Friday.
According to the agency, Kim made his comments while monitoring the test firing of a new large-calibre multiple rocket launcher on Thursday, just hours after the UN security council unanimously adopted a resolution penalising the North for its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

South Korea’s defence ministry said the North fired half a dozen rockets about 100-150km (60-90 miles) into the sea off its eastern coast on Thursday.

In a clear threat to neighbouring South Korea, Kim said the new rocket launcher should be “promptly deployed” along with other newly developed weaponry.

“At an extreme time when the Americans … are urging war and disaster on other countries and people, the only way to defend our sovereignty and right to live is to bolster our nuclear capability,” Kim said.

The US-drafted UN resolution adopted by the security council late on Wednesday laid out the toughest sanctions imposed on Pyongyang to date over its nuclear weapons programme and will, if implemented effectively, apply significant economic pressure to Kim’s regime.

North Korea’s Nuclear Threat: VICE News Interviews Victor Cha

Published on Mar 9, 2016

Victor Cha was President George W. Bush’s top advisor on North Korea and participated in the Six-Party Talks, in which the US, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea tried to negotiate with the regime of late leader Kim Jong-il to halt North Korea’s nuclear program. The talks were unsuccessful, and North Korea’s nuclear capabilities have never been greater.

In January, North Korea conducted a nuclear test for the fourth time since 2009, successfully detonating what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb. A month later, North Korea launched a satellite into orbit, violating an international ban on ballistic missile testing. The UN Security Council recently voted to enact harsh new sanctions, which prompted young leader Kim Jong-un to publicly order his military to ready their nukes for use at any time.

VICE News sat down with Cha, now a senior adviser and the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to talk about North Korea’s nuclear threats, Pyongyang’s uneasy alliance with China, and the state of the Kim regime.

Photo

Researchers at the Earthquake and Volcano Monitoring Division, in Seoul, the South Korean capital, checking the seismic waves that were measured on Friday. CreditWoohae Cho/Getty Images

North Korea said it conducted its fifth underground nuclear test on Friday. Since the first test, almost a decade ago, the size of the resulting earthquakes from the country’s test site have increased, indicating that the devices are becoming increasingly powerful.

The device detonated on Friday looks to have had a force equivalent of 10 kilotons of TNT, according to the South’s Defense Ministry. In contrast, the last device tested by the North, in January, had a force equivalent of six kilotons of TNT, the South’s intelligence agency said. The aboveground Trinity Test in New Mexico in July 1945, which ushered in the nuclear age, had a yield of 20 kilotons.

But power is not the only measure of a device’s lethality. The weapon must also have a way to be delivered. South Korean, American and Japanese officials want to determine whether the North Koreans are capable of building a miniaturized nuclear device that can be mounted on a ballistic missile and successfully detonated at a target hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from the launch site. In the past decade, South Korean and American experts have said that the North appears to be closer to achieving that goal.

Here is a timeline of how North Korea built up the capability of its nuclear weapons. The earthquake magnitudes are from the United States Geological Survey, which differ from those measured by the South Korean authorities. They may also be slightly revised from numbers reported immediately after the events.

Oct. 8, 2006: 9:35 p.m. E.T.

Magnitude of Earthquake: 4.3

Device: United States officials said at the time that the weapon usedplutonium and had a yield of less than one kiloton.

Missiles: Three months before the nuclear test, North Korea fired a barrage of missiles into the Sea of Japan, including a Taepodong 2 intercontinental missile designed to be capable of reaching Alaska. The Taepodong 2 test was a failure, with the missile falling into the sea before its first stage burned out.

Photo

A screen showing the seismic waves on Friday. The device detonated on Friday appears to have been the equivalent of 10 kilotons of TNT, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.CreditAhn Young-Joon/Associated Press

May 24, 2009: 8:54 p.m. E.T.

Magnitude of Earthquake: 4.7

Device: Chinese scientists estimated that this bomb had a yield of 2.35 kilotons.

Missiles: A failed satellite launch using a Taepodong 2 missile in April 2009 sent its payload into the Pacific Ocean. On July 4, 2009, North Korea launched three missiles into the sea, with none apparently flying more than 300 miles.

Feb 12, 2013: 9:57 p.m. E.T.

Magnitude of Earthquake: 5.1

Device: North Korea said this bomb, stronger than the first two tests, was miniaturized. After the launch, the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agencyestimated with “moderate confidence” that North Korea had learned how to make a miniaturized nuclear weapon capable of being delivered by a ballistic missile. But the report said the weapon’s “reliability will be low.” Military officials in the United States and South Korea publicly expressed doubt that North Korea had actually developed such a warhead.

Missiles: In May 2013, North Korea launched three short-range missilesinto the Sea of Japan.

Jan. 5, 2016: 8:30 p.m. E.T.

Magnitude of Earthquake: 5.1

Device: North Korea claimed this device was a hydrogen bomb. In May, American and South Korean intelligence officials concluded that North Korea was now able to mount nuclear warheads on short- and medium-range missiles that would be capable of hitting Japan and South Korea.

Missiles: In April, North Korea launched a missile from a submarine.

Sept. 8, 2016: 8:30 p.m. E.T.

Magnitude of Earthquake: 5.3

Device: South Korean officials said this was North Korea’s most powerful device to date.

Missiles: In June, North Korea successfully launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile into high altitude after five consecutive failures. The missile may be capable of reaching American forces based on Guam, in the Pacific Ocean.

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Democrats wonder and worry: Why isn’t Clinton far ahead of Trump?

September 9 at 8:23 PM
With Election Day less than two months away, Democrats are increasingly worried that Hillary Clinton has not built a formidable lead against Donald Trump despite his historic weaknesses as a national party candidate.

Even the Democratic nominee’s advisers acknowledge that she must make changes, and quickly. Clinton leads Trump by three percentage points, having fallen from her high of nine points in August, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average. That tightening has frustrated many Clinton allies and operatives, who are astonished that she isn’t running away with this race, given Trump’s deep unpopularity and his continuing stream of controversial comments.

“Generally, I’m concerned, frankly,” said former Democratic Senate leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.). “It still looks positive, and I think if you look at the swing states and where she is right now, she’s got a lead. But it’s certainly not in the bag. We have two months to go, and I think it’s going to be a competitive race all the way through. I would say she’s got at least a 60 percent chance of winning.”

At the same time, Daschle said, “all the things that Trump has done, the numbers should be far more explicitly in her favor, but they’re not.”

Among Democrats’ concerns is the fact that Clinton spent a great deal of time over the summer raising millions of dollars in private fundraisers while Trump was devoting much of his schedule to rallies, speeches and TV appearances — although many of those didn’t go as well as his campaign may have hoped.

Clinton has focused more heavily on fundraising than Democratic strategists had hoped would be necessary at this stage, partly to help Democrats running for Congress and state offices who would be useful to Clinton if she is president and partly to hold off further erosion in the polls.

One new goal for Clinton now, aides said, is to spend more time trying to connect directly with voters by sharing a more personal side of herself — and by telling them where she wants to take the country.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-wonder-and-worry-why-isnt-clinton-far-ahead-of-trump/2016/09/09/543f3342-7693-11e6-8149-b8d05321db62_story.html

 

Trump closes in on Clinton’s projected electoral lead: Reuters/Ipsos Poll

By Chris Kahn

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Republican Donald Trump appears to have carved out a wider path to the White House as a number of states including Florida and Ohio are no longer considered likely wins for Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project released on Saturday.

The project, which combines opinion polls with an analysis of voting patterns under different election scenarios, still shows Clinton would have the best chance of winning the presidency if the Nov. 8 election were held today. Yet Trump has caught up to her level of support in several states.

Clinton now has an 83 percent chance of winning the election by an average of 47 votes in the Electoral College, the body that ultimately selects the president. In late August, the States of the Nation estimated that Clinton had a 95 percent chance of winning by an average of 108 electoral votes.

Over the past few weeks, Clinton’s lead in the national polls has slipped considerably. Polls tend to narrow as Election Day nears, and the Clinton campaign has struggled to overcome controversy about how she handled classified information while serving assecretary of state.

A separate Reuters/Ipsos poll of likely voters showed an 8-point lead for Clinton has vanished since the last week of August.

Clinton is still favored to win 17 states, including many with large, urban populations such as New York, New Jersey and California that heavily influence the outcome of the election. Trump would likely win 23 states, many of them with smaller populations.

The number of states projected for Clinton has dropped over the past few weeks. Two of those states, Ohio and Florida, were considered likely wins for Clinton in late August. Now the candidates are about even in support. Five more states, including Michigan and North Carolina are also up for grabs.

The sample size was insufficient to determine the outcome in Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska and the District of Columbia, though Alaska usually votes Republican and Washington D.C. for the Democratic Party candidate.

The Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project is driven by an online survey that gathers responses from about 15,000 people per week. Their responses are weighted according to the latest population estimates, and each respondent is ranked according to their likelihood to vote.

Once the poll is complete, the project tallies the levels of support and estimated error for both candidates, and then runs multiple election simulations given their respective support.

 http://www.reuters.com/statesofthenation for the project’s interactive tool that allows users to set turnout targets for various voter groups.)

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 184, December 19, 2013, Segment 0: God Is Behind Going Duck Crazy — Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson Suspended From Show For Expressing Views On Gays — Will Not Inherit The Kingdom of God — I’m With Phil — Photos & Videos

Posted on December 19, 2013. Filed under: American History, Baseball, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Computers, Culture, Education, Employment, Football, History, Media, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Pro Life, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Security, Sports, Success, Taxes, Videos, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 185: January 2, 2014

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Segment 0: God Is Behind Going Duck Crazy — Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson Suspended From Show For Expressing Views On Gays — Will Not Inherit The Kingdom of God — I’m With Phil — Photos & Videos

Phil-Robertsonphil-robertson-meme_2A&E Networks 2012 Upfront - InsidePhil-Robertson5jpgphil_on_foundersA+E Networks 2013 Upfront-3Si-Robertson

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The Robertson’s of Duck Dynasty Talk About How Their Faith in Jesus Turned Around Their Lives!!

Duck Commander Phil Robertson Talks About Why This Country Needs More Jesus

Duck Commander Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty spoke to the congregation of Saddleback church in July on why people need Jesus and why the founders would agree — and I gotta say it was awesome. I watched it last night and knew I had to post it for you guys. Duck Commander’s message is really simple, that people need to love God and love each other and he delivers it beautifully. He really is a fantastic preacher.

‘Duck Dynasty’ star: Homosexuality wrong

Phil Robertson Duck Dynasty Suspended GQ Anti-Gay -Black Racist Comments Suspension

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Duck Dynasty dared to mention Jesus

Duck Dynasty Family “Very Serious” About Leaving the Show

by Kristin Dos Santos

Duck Dynasty Family

Duck Dynasty could very well be done.

Sources connected to the hit A&E show, and the Robertson clan, tell E! News that the family is “very serious” about leaving the reality series, after the network suspended patriarch Phil Robertson for his GQ interview, in which he grouped homosexuality in with bestiality as deviant behavior.

“They’re an extremely tight-knit family and they’re not going to let this get in the way,” a source connected to the family explains. “[Phil] is the reason for their success—they’re not going to abandon him. They’re also not about to let anyone threaten their religious beliefs.”

WATCH NOW: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert mock Phil Robertson

 

Says one insider who works on Duck Dynasty, “People who work on the show feel like it’s a big pissing match and there is no way that anyone can win.”

The current plan is to include Robertson in the upcoming fourth season, set to premiere Jan 15 on A&E. Season four had wrapped production before the controversy began. “Phil might be diminished but there’s no way to cut him out altogether,” says a source.

But can the family really walk away? Will a fifth season even happen?

The network owns the series and all of the intellectual property behind it, for at least one more season. But as one source points out, “The family could do appear on another network once their exclusivity is up with A&E. Under a normal contract, that usually means anywhere from six months to a year after the final episode has aired. However, if the family breaks their agreement with the network, the network could hold them for longer.”

NEWS: Phil Robertson suspended from Duck Dynasty over anti-gay comments

It’s also fair to assume that A&E needs the series more than the family does. Duck Dynasty is A&E’s highest-rated show of all time, and has put the cable network on the map. It is the second-biggest cable series of the year, behind AMC’s The Walking Dead, and the Christmas special pulled in nearly 9 million viewers.

Meanwhile, the Robertson family has plenty of financial stability (for, arguably, future generations), thanks to their estimated whopping $400 million fortune. More than half of that comes from their retail brand, currently being sold at Wal-Mart, which could possibly get pulled in the wake of the scandal, as the mega-chain did with Paula Deen in the wake of the N-word controversy. But even still, the family’s Christmas album also hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. They appear to remain a viable brand, for the time being. And they also have a show called Buck Commander on the Outdoor Channel. (A rep for the Outdoor Channel has not responded to request for comment regarding the future of the show.)

A source who works on Duck Dynasty believes the Phil Robertson controversy “can’t end well,” citing that the network has nowhere now to go. And the most likely scenario is that the series will end up being cancelled.

NEWS: Duck Dynasty‘s $400 million forture: will Phil Robertson’s comments crumble the empire?

“If the network backs down and they bring Phil back, they look weak,” one insider explains. “If they stand their ground, the family probably won’t move forward and A&E loses their highest rated show.” Not to mention,
“No one can really imagine the show going forward without Phil. It would be too weird.”

A&E has not responded to request for comment.

http://www.eonline.com/news/492909/duck-dynasty-family-very-serious-about-leaving-the-show

‘Duck Dynasty’ star slammed over anti-gay rant

By Andrea Morabito

Phil Robertson, patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” clan, is being slammed for controversial comments he made about homosexuality in an interview in the January issue of GQ.

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me,” Robertson told the magazine. “I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

When the reporter asked Robertson what he found sinful, he said “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”

The self-proclaimed Bible-thumper then went on to paraphrase Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

On Wednesday, GLAAD called Robertson’s statements “vile” and “littered with outdated stereotypes.”

“Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe,” said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz. “He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans — and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.

“Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”

An A&E spokesman had no comment, but Robertson released his own statement responding to the controversy.

“I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior,” he said. “My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.

“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

“Duck Dynasty” has been a ratings phenomenon for A&E, drawing 11.8 million viewers to its fourth season premiere last August, the most-watched nonfiction series telecast in cable history.

Its fifth season premieres on Jan. 15.

http://nypost.com/2013/12/18/duck-dynasty-member-slammed-for-comments-on-homosexuality/

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