Day: February 3, 2010

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? 🙁

Barack Obama And Clean Coal Technology Task Force

President Obama has called for a task force to work on the issue of clean coal technology over the next decade, in order to deal with the energy crisis that faces this nation as we struggle to deal with global warming in future decades.

Governors of both parties, cabinet members, and Vice President Joe Biden participated in the meeting to emphasize the importance of this initiative.

As Obama said, the goal in the next ten years, and long term, is to have “clean” technology, so that we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Part of that goal is also to promote more use of nuclear energy, and more offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.

Movement Forward On Gays In The Military!

The testimony of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff head Mike Mullen before the Senate Armed Services Committee, endorsing moves toward the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military, are a wonderful first step toward eventual end of the policy that forces gay service members out of the military, despite their ability to make a major contribution to our national defense.

Also, the statement of former Joint Chiefs of Staff and former General Colin Powell that he now backs what he opposed in 1993 during the Clinton Administration is an important moment in the fight against discrimination in our armed services.

It is clear that many service members did not like integration of African Americans in the military when President Truman ordered it in 1948, and also many do not like that women have served alongside men in recent years. But this is not a question of voting or personal feelings. It is an issue of basic fairness and human rights.

If some service member has a problem with gays, they will simply have to adapt and adjust, or leave the military early. The military services cannot allow discrimination or personal feelings to intervene, when it has been demonstrated that many NATO nations and Israel have long had gay members, and have adjusted and adapted well to it.

As former Senator and presidential nominee Barry Goldwater once said, who cares if someone is gay, as long as he can shoot straight on the battlefield? Good quote, and the successor to Senator Goldwater, Senator John McCain, should rethink his position and stop being critical, and support what so many people high in the military have now accepted: It is time for gays to be able to serve openly in the military alongside their brethren, as much as African Americans and other minorities and women!

Bill Clinton To Oversee Haiti Reconstruction: A Good Move By The UN!

Former President Bill Clinton, already the UN Special Envoy to Haiti, has agreed to head the reconstruction effort in that earthquake ravaged nation.

Clinton will coordinate work of relief agencies and the activities of donors, investors, international activities, and non government organizations.

Bill Clinton may have his faults and shortcomings, but like Jimmy Carter, he has dedicated himself to doing good deeds around the world, and he should be applauded and commended for his willingness to make this major commitment of his time and labors to a nation which desperately needs the attention and focus of the international community.

Time To Reform The Filibuster As It Is Out Of Control! :(

It is time for Senate rules to be changed and the filibuster to be reformed, if not, ended!

President Obama made the assertion, in a meeting with Senate Democrats today, that the Republicans had abused the filibuster, and the need for a cloture vote of 60 senators to end a filibuster had gotten out of hand.

He is totally right, as CNN proved! From 1949-1970, records show that a total of 30 cloture votes were needed, with no more than seven in any session.

Starting in the 1970s, with cloture possible with 60 votes, rather than 67, the tactic was used more often, with the 110th Congress in 2007-2008 using it 112 times, a record.

So far, in the 111th Congress, it has been used 41 times, with 39 last year and two this year so far.

Obama’s statement is that the present Congress had used it more than all the Congresses in the 1950s and 1960s combined, and he is totally correct! Remember, the number is 30 over twenty two years from 1949-1970, and now 41 in a year and a month.!

This tactic must be fought against, as it blocks progress and allows a minority to abuse its position. The minority has the right to its views; it does NOT have the right to deny the majority its rights to pass legislation, as a simple majority in the House is enough to pass a bill.

This is not democracy in action; it is obstructionism, pure deception and truculence, and it is time it ended! The majority should have the power, not the minority! Enough of this dirty tactic which has never contributed to anything good, as for years it prevented civil rights laws! Now it is negating the results of the Presidential election of 2008! The people voted, and their will should be obeyed and respected! 🙁