Tuesday, October 22, 2002

UNbothered by U.N.

Anyone who pays attention to story bylines will notice that I like anniversaries.

Just the other day — Saturday to be precise — I noted that it was the 80th anniversary of Lockport's first radio transmission.

Thursday will be the 57th anniversary of the official forming of the United Nations — or United Nations Day if you're a stickler for names.

Now, I've never been quite sure why, but the United Nations is one of those things that people just love to hate.

Exhibit A: A little over a month ago, this paper ran a letter to the editor written by a Town of Lockport man who said we could be paying taxes to the U.N.

According to the writer, a U.N. meeting took place in Monterrey, Mexico, where a plan was hatched to tax airfare, coal, guns, fishing, space exploration and the Internet.

A-ha!

Keen on the art of Internet-inspired hoaxes, I caught the error (after it ran of course) and called the gentleman, ever-so-rudely demanding to know what his source was for the information that I'm sure he will recall I called "implausible."

I also called two congressmen and the White House hoping to quickly disprove this heinous hoax and run a quick correction in your favorite daily. Contrary to what some believe, we actually make every possible effort to print the truth and want to see it fixed whenever we accidentally make a mistake, such as when we ran that letter about U.N. taxes.

I mean, really, who would believe that we're going to pay taxes to the United Nations. The U.N. can't levy taxes, it has no sovereign rights.

So I got ahold of this man, who kindly gave me his source: American Policy Center President Tom DeWeese.

Then I called DeWeese and told him the funny story about how the Town of Lockport man must have misunderstood the magazine or report that led him to believe that the U.N. was going to levy taxes.

"They did have this conference in Monterrey Mexico in the Spring and Kofi Annan did write this report called 'Innovative Source of Finance,' " he said. "They had hoped at that meeting to push (President George W.) Bush into accepting these ideas."

Yeah, that's what I thought. This guy must have misunder ... huh?

"One of the biggies they're looking at is a currency tax," DeWeese said. "There have been estimates that this would raise the U.N. anywhere from $150 billion to $1 trillion."

Oh. Um — my bad.

"The U.N. has gotten very arrogant," DeWeese said. DeWeese and the Warrenton, Va. based American Policy Institute are one of those United Nations haters.

"We work on issues of national sovereignty," as DeWeese explained.

I, for one, am not so worried about giving up our sovereignty to the United Nations.

Truth be told, the United Nations taking over doesn't look all that bad compared to what we've got now, which is a complete lack of representation.

Our congressman-to-be is from Erie County. Our state assemblyman-to-be is from Erie County. Our state senator is great for going to barmitzvahs and whathaveyou, but ask him to actually fix something and you get, "I'm just one man, Scott." At least, that's what he tells me. He might call you something different.

Our governor can't find Lockport and hasn't been here since he became governor, despite the occasional chide from this paper.

Our (s)elected president got less votes than the other guy.

The guy that's really running the country now has been hiding in a cave since September of last year. No, not bin Laden. Dick Cheney.

And yes, I'm serious as a heart attack.