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The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

WASHINGTON -- Millions of American boys have dreamed of hitting a grand slam or pitching a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium because baseball's greatest have performed there. Talented musicians and singers aspire to New York's famed Carnegie Hall, for they know it represents the pinnacle of their profession. For gifted physicians and medical researchers, the Mount Everest of medicine is the Mayo Clinic.

But certain institutions can bring out the worst in people. For the professional peddlers of anti-Americanism, haters of free enterprise, and true believers in global government, there is only one place that it really pays to perform: the United Nations.

The U.N. headquarters, in Manhattan, has become the venue of choice for "diplomats" and foreign leaders to condemn America, our values and our virtues. Since the 1960s, star billing has been promised to any dictator or despot who takes to this "world stage" for the purpose of denigrating the United States and our bounty, wealth and power. When they show up for the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, it is guaranteed that their horrible harangues will be broadcast around the planet.

Soviet tyrant Nikita Khrushchev was one of the first to grasp this opportunity, and he did so repeatedly. Since then, totalitarians Fidel Castro, Yasser Arafat, Robert Mugabe, Daniel Ortega, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Idi Amin and Hugo Chavez have used the U.N.'s bully pulpit to denounce the United States. Next week's gathering of the U.N. General Assembly promises more of the same.

Just to make sure that no one has any doubts as to how things are going to go in the days ahead, the members of the General Assembly selected Miguel d'Escoto -- a prominent America hater -- as their president. When the 63rd UNGA convenes Tuesday, d'Escoto will "moderate" this year's assaults on the United States.

For those too young to remember the portly d'Escoto, he was one of the original founders of the communist-inspired Sandinista movement, which seized control of Nicaragua in 1979. His U.N.-published biography proudly proclaims that he "spearheaded the Nicaraguan Government's decision, in 1984, to bring to the International Court of Justice a claim against the United States for supporting military and paramilitary actions against the country, with the Court subsequently ruling in favor of Nicaragua."

Notably, the bio makes no mention of d'Escoto, a Maryknoll priest, being publicly reprimanded by Pope John Paul II during the pope's 1983 visit to Managua. Nor does d'Escoto's resume reflect his tenure as a paid asset of the Central Intelligence Agency in Chile. Apparently, the U.S. haters at the U.N. just missed those facts.

None of this has deterred the utopian d'Escoto from serving as the "warm-up act" for this year's Bash America Fest in the Big Apple. The visibly well-fed d'Escoto already has announced that this UNGA session should "go down in history as the 'Assembly of Frankness' for the sake of world peace and the eradication of poverty and hunger from the earth."

D'Escoto previously has referred to President Ronald Reagan as a "butcher," called President George W. Bush a "liar," and now promises that under his leadership, the UNGA will redress the "sad, but undeniable fact that serious breaches of the peace and threats to international peace and security are being perpetrated by some members of the Security Council that seem unable to break what appears like an addiction to war."

All this is but preamble to what we can expect to hear from the likes of Iran's Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Chavez. Both "leaders" will be there representing states that have been accused of supporting terrorism, drug running, human rights abuses, and -- in the case of Tehran -- pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program. Yet d'Escoto claims: "No state should appropriate the right to decide on its own which states are terrorists or sponsors of terrorism and which are not. Less still should states that are guilty of wars of aggression, the worst form of terrorism imaginable, presume to arrogate that right unto themselves and further, to unilaterally take action against those it has stigmatized."

When he goes before this august body next week, President Bush needs to encourage d'Escoto -- and the entire Blame America First crowd gathered in the General Assembly -- to read Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations: "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security."

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