Foreign Aid

Two Women Politicians Who Have Lost Esteem Recently: Kirsten Gillibrand And Nikki Haley, Both Potential Presidential Candidates In Future

Two women politicians—Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Republican Governor of South Carolina—have both been in the news this year, but both, in different ways, have done harm to their reputations by recent actions.

Gillibrand, hailed for working on the subject of sexual harassment in the military and on college campuses, recently became the leader of a group of women Senators of her party going after fellow Democratic Senator Al Franken of Minnesota for incidents of sexual harassment. Originally this blogger, being shocked by instances of Franken acting inappropriately, saw Gillibrand become engaged in what seems as bullyism, pressuring Franken to resign rather than face a Senate Ethics Committee hearing, getting his “day in court”, and seeing if the charges are legitimate, and serious enough to force him out of the Senate. Franken caved in, and will leave, and just gave his farewell address in the Senate. It seems very unfair and a mistake in political judgment by Gillibrand and others against a fellow Senator with an excellent record of public service, including forcing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself in the Russian collusion scandal, a major factor in the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Franken deserved a chance to defend himself, but now that is gone.

Nikki Haley has had an admirable record as South Carolina Governor and now, UN Ambassador, and this blogger thought she was the best person in the Trump Administration by far. But now, suddenly, she has become a bully at the United Nations, demanding loyalty on the US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, which did not convince any major country to support the United States on this non binding resolution. She embarrassed herself and the American people, by claiming she was going to “take names”, and that foreign assistance to various nations might be affected, forgetting that our foreign aid to other nations benefits us, as well as those nations. And now she is holding a party for the small number of insignificant nations who supported us, a laughable and ridiculous action.

So this blogger would say that while Kirsten Gillibrand and Nikki Haley once had stars that shone brightly, now both women have lost a great amount of credibility, and future Presidential yearnings have been heavily damaged by their recent actions.

Rand Paul: An Interesting, But Flawed Candidate For President Who Cannot Fulfill His Promises!

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky became the second declared candidate for President yesterday, and he gave a fiery speech, surrounded by his admirers who are clearly very loyal and committed to him.

But to believe that Rand Paul can become the GOP nominee for President, and occupy the White House after January 20, 2017, requires a lot of illusion, and “smoke and mirrors”. It will, most certainly, NOT happen!

Rand Paul has appealing elements, no question about it. These include the need to protect our civil liberties from government encroachment by the National Security Agency; the need to rebuild our economy and help forgotten Americans to gain economic advancement, both middle class and poor; the need to stay out of foreign intervention unless essential, and avoid so many bases and expenses overseas, including no more increased spending on foreign aid; and changing the law enforcement system, including the unfair justice system that imprisons too many young African Americans for overly severe jail terms.

But at the same time, Rand Paul talks about balancing a budget, by cutting fundamental programs that are an entitlement for Americans through their payment of taxes (including Social Security and Medicare); has no solution for health care for millions on ObamaCare and those without ObamaCare and not able to gain Medicaid; talks about limiting federal intrusion in our privacy, a goal almost impossible to accomplish in an age of terrorism; has expressed doubts about the civil rights laws, including the basic one passed in 1964 under Lyndon B. Johnson; has to deal with the influence of his father, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul who is much more controversial with his public record of actions and utterances that many Paul supporters seem to be aware of; and has major opposition and criticism from the massive hawkish influence within his party in the Senate and from the neoconservatives, who seem to want war with Iran, and do not want to cut defense spending dramatically, if at all!

Additionally, Rand Paul is anti abortion and anti gay marriage, and while that will please the Republican Party, it will undermine his opportunity to attract a majority of women and young people, despite the fact that many young people claim to be libertarian, but mostly because they are truly ignorant of what the true nature of libertarianism is. Libertarianism will NOT gain power in America, and is a bankrupt philosophy not achievable in the real world!

Rand Paul will certainly make the Presidential race more interesting, but his connection to the Tea Party will also undermine him, and no scenario that is realistic puts him down as the 45th President of the United States!

Jon Huntsman: A Rare, Sane Voice Among Today’s Republicans In Foreign Policy!

Sane Republicans, the small number that seem to exist these days, should mourn that Jon Huntsman, the former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China, who was the only legitimate GOP candidate for President this year, before his withdrawal in January, was one of the few of that party to express the proper thoughts on the Middle East situation that blew up this week, with the death of the US Ambassador to Libya.

Huntsman said this is not the time for someone to be impetuous, to be reacting without all of the facts, or to suggest that foreign aid should be cut, or that we should withdraw from the region of the Middle East altogether!

This was Huntsman’s reaction to Mitt Romney’s impetuosity; to Bill Bennett’s justifying that impetuosity; and to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s call for a cut in foreign aid and withdrawal from involvement in the controversial area of the Middle East—all signs of just how nuts much of the Republican Party has become!

There are Republicans who are silently, and quietly, whispering privately how crazy the Romney campaign has become, and all that they hear is that Romney and Paul Ryan are accusing the Barack Obama Administration of sympathizing with terrorists and the thugs that attacked the Libyan Consulate and killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others!

The incompetence and recklessness of both Romney and Ryan is literally terrifying, politicizing a national tragedy! And when the former Secretary of Education under George H. W. Bush (Bill Bennett) can double down on what Romney said after the first reports of the attack, and Rand Paul and other crazies can talk about losing all influence in the Middle East by punishing nations for the actions of a few, and even advocate total withdrawal and isolating ourselves, it makes one quiver at the thought of a Republican in the White House!

And when aides to Romney say that if he was in the White House, what happened this week in the Middle East would not have happened, one has to shake his head in disbelief, as if a President or anyone can control what goes on in other nations and prevent mobs or hoodlums from taking action, simply by the image of his presence! How egotistical and arrogant can someone get in the pursuit of becoming President, that his aides have the gall to state such an imbecilic assertion!

This is not the sanity of George H. W. Bush and his foreign policy advisers, or even the statesmanship of Condoleezza Rice or Colin Powell!

This is the insanity of people who have no respect for foreign countries, no knowledge of the world, and no understanding of what the use of language can do in relations among nations!

How far the Republican Party has fallen, from an image of being expert in foreign policy, to one of total irresponsibility and looniness, and in so doing, giving the Democratic Party and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the distinction of being the grown ups in the room!

Mitt Romney has dug a hole for himself that he will be unable to dig himself out of at the last Presidential debate on October 22, devoted solely to foreign policy. We will see the final disintegration of his candidacy on that evening, just 15 days before the election!

Jon Huntsman And Ron Paul Shine At CNN National Security Debate, And Newt Gingrich And Rick Santorum Have Some Sensible Thoughts!

CNN held a National Security debate in Constitution Hall in Washington, DC this evening, and it is clear that two laggards in the public opinion polls, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, shone brightly in the Republican debate.

Both Huntsman and Paul came out against the Patriot Act as a denial of civil liberties, with both warning that losing liberty for security is a bad bargain!

Also, both came out for withdrawing from Afghanistan as soon as possible, and focusing on America’s needs, with Huntsman saying intelligence gathering, special forces, and the use of drones could resolve the problems in Afghanistan, and that having large numbers of troops in a foreign country in the modern world was counterproductive. Paul, of course, came out for American withdrawal from the world, an isolationist nation, which as great as it might sound to many, is totally impractical! Huntsman did not go that far in his comments.

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum also had moments of good thoughts, with Gingrich arguing that we cannot deport illegal immigrants who have been here for a long time and been lawful, and that children of illegal immigrants who wish to serve in the military should be given the chance to become citizens, in effect supporting the DREAM Act. Meanwhile,Rick Santorum backed foreign aid as important to continue, while Ron Paul called for an end to all foreign aid, not a great position making any sense in the modern world, particularly when foreign aid is only less than one percent of the national budget.

By comparison, Mitt Romney did not do as well as he has in the past, coming across as very hawkish, and hardline on illegal immigration, both views probably part of his plan to attract more support from right wing Republicans and conservative talk show hosts.

Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann continued their downward spiral, none of them making any impressive statements during the debate.

So, if all things are equal, we might see the rise of Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul in the public opinion polls, as they both stood out dramatically from the other six candidates!

The Myth About Foreign Aid: Rick Santorum, Of All People, Exposes It!

During the Republican debate on foreign policy Saturday night in South Carolina, Rick Perry said that foreign aid should be zero budgeted, and nations be evaluated as to whether they should gain foreign aid from the United States.

Newt Gingrich seconded what Perry said, and both talked very toughly. And then Rick Perry was caught in a bind when asked if Israel was part of that strict attitude, with him saying that they were a special case.

Then, of all people, Rick Santorum actually said something intelligent for once, that foreign aid was based on American interests, and that to cut off aid would undermine American foreign policy, using the example of Pakistan specifically as his view that we as a nation need to be engaged with that country, and that Pakistan needed to be a friend, to help counterbalance radical Muslims who have influence in that country.

Santorum was absolutely right, and he pointed out today on MSNBC that foreign aid is only about one half of one percent of our national budget, and that we do not give foreign aid to be nice, but rather for our strategic interests, and that it would hurt us if we abandoned foreign aid, much of which is spent in the United States for military hardware by other nations.

So the great myth about foreign aid was again exposed, but this time by a candidate who generally comes across as not very reputable in anything he believes or says–Rick Santorum.

The average American thinks foreign aid is 10-20 percent of our budget, another indication of how ignorant and lacking in knowledge and insights our citizenry is, and how easily manipulated they can be by candidates such as Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, who should be ashamed of themselves!

The Budget Crisis And “False” Solutions: Earmarks, Space, And Foreign Aid

As the debate continues over how to deal with the national deficit and the national debt, we hear simple but false solutions, which demonstrate the total ignorance, or the total demagoguery of those who profess those solutions!

We hear so much about “earmarks”, the awarding of federal money to congressional districts and states, brought about by Congressmen and Senators who are bringing home the “pork” or the “bacon”. We are told that such expenditures are a pure waste of taxpayer money, even though such spending is part of the lifeblood of American politics, the expectation that those who are elected to represent us have a responsibility to promote substantial improvements to the infrastructure, and which help to create economic growth and development. This is, in fact, one of the most important roles of a member of Congress until now, but apparently such earmarks will not be allowed over the next two years, something that will not please voters and citizens of our congressional districts, likely to lead to discontent and possible defeat of those who refuse to do what is the whole basis of the political system!

The point is one would think inordinate amounts of funds go to earmarks, when in actuality, it is only between one and two percent of the entire national budget!

Then we have those who condemn any investment in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the space program, failing to see the scientific advances promoted by such investment. But it is part of the anti-science mentality of many, who however are only too willing to give tax breaks to churches and synagogues and allow clergy to avoid paying taxes. It is part of the KNOW NOTHING mentality, that science is unimportant, next to the all powerful force of organized religion gaining subsidies. And the reality is the space investment of the US government is one half of one percent, as so emphasized by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist and leader at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

Additionally, we have complaints that we are giving away taxpayer money to foreign governments, including Israel and Egypt, as well as other nations around the world that we wish to create a stable influence on, to promote American national security and defense, but one must understand there are those who would wish to put America into an isolationist foreign policy. In any case, the total foreign aid budget is no more than one percent annually, but one would get a different impression from those who decry any foreign aid investment.

So while it is fine to waste money on many defense programs, and give tax breaks to the wealthy, many corporations, and religious institutions, we should go ahead and fail to improve the physical plant and infrastructure of the nation, dismiss the importance of promoting science, and take a utopian view of the world and bring ourselves back to pre 1941 mentality!

It is the unfortunate stupidity and ignorance of many that leads to these ridiculous beliefs and promotion of a world view that will set America back to the 19th century! πŸ™

Senator Rand Paul Of Kentucky: Center Of Controversy And Nightmare For The Republican Party! :(

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has had to learn to live with fellow Kentucky Senate colleagues that have both embarrassed him and made his life miserable! If only one could read his mind, as his body language regarding past Senator Jim Bunning and his successor Rand Paul reveals discomfort, it would be an interesting analysis of how a party leader must survive both fools and loons! πŸ™

Rand Paul may only have been in the Senate now for one month, but he is like a hurricane in his promotion of ideas that almost no one will accept, even in his own party, but yet saluted by the Tea Party movement!

Rand Paul seems to love introducing legislation that will never pass, just to draw attention to his looniness and his weird libertarian ideas which will never go anywhere, except into the minds of those who believe that government is a total evil and that we must isolate ourselves from the outside world! πŸ™

Rand Paul, in association with Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, is promoting a Life at Conception Act, which he believes would overrule Roe V. Wade, and in the process take a woman’s right over her own body totally away! πŸ™

He is also sponsoring legislation to prevent the children of illegal immigrants born in America from being citizens, thereby introducing a new interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which grants birthright citizenship!

Additionally, Rand Paul wants all foreign aid to our ally, Israel, ended, as part of his proposal to cut $500 billion from the present year’s national budget with only eight months left in the fiscal year. He wants the $3 billion aid to Israel ended, along with massive cuts in education, housing and energy programs, the most extreme idea of cuts proposed by any Republican, with the party shooting for only $100 billion cuts this fiscal year, with no cut in aid to Israel and other foreign aid, which he wants cut by $20 billion!

Republican leaders such as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ilena Ros-Lehtinen of Florida have condemned a cutoff of aid to Israel, and Jewish groups in both major political parties, and both conservatives and liberals have made clear their opposition to such a cutoff, so Rand Paul’s advocacy has no chance of success, anymore than his other ideas mentioned above!

And get this: this past week, the Senate unanimously, except for Paul, adopted a measure making it a federal crime to aim a laser point at an aircraft, with the Kentucky senator feeling that should be an issue for states to handle individually, even though aviation is interstate, and there has been a growing problem of such incidents, thankfully without a disaster occurring!

It is clear that Rand Paul will be a center of attention over the next six years with his outrageous statements and actions, and imagine this. It is rumored that his father, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, may run for the soon to be open seat in that state after Kay Bailey Hutchison decided not to run for re-election in 2012!

If Ron Paul were to win that seat, he would be the oldest first time freshman at age 77 to take a seat in the US Senate!

Can one imagine having two Senators Paul at the same time? πŸ™

The only worse scenario is the nightmare of either Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann as President of the United States in 2013!

If both scenarios were to occur, the nation would be in a living hell of its own making, due to stupidity, ignorance, and lack of common sense of the American people! πŸ™

The Truth About Pork Projects And Foreign Aid: Not The Villains Creating Our Budget Deficits!

We see over the years a constant attack on foreign aid and pork projects (earmarks) as the major problems preventing a balancing of the federal budget and causing our tremendous deficits.

This is as far from the truth as one can get, as President Obama indicated in a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday. An investigation proves that only one percent of the budget is foreign aid, and earmarks, despite all the complaints and publicity about them, only add up to three tenths of one percent of the federal budget!

Demagogues on the right love to complain about earmarks, and yet it is both parties and all politicians who come to Washington with the intention of accomplishing improvements for their districts and states. But even with that reality, it is less than one third of one percent of the budget, so neither that nor foreign aid to support stability in foreign nations come anywhere near solving or dealing with our national budgetary crisis.

However, fighting two wars at once, neither one of which really makes for national security and kills off so many young men and women, is the real villain in our budgetary crisis! Will we ever learn that what we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq is not accomplishing anything, except to antagonize that part of the world and bleed us dry, both in manpower and in finances? πŸ™