During last night’s CNN GOP debate a typically ignorant Republican voter asked the candidates if they thought we should cut foreign aid around the world because Americans at home are hurting. Yes, Americans at home are hurting, but human beings around the world are hurting a great deal more.
And, typically, Americans are not only selfish, but ignorant about how much foreign aid we deliver around the world to the poor, the starving, the homeless and the helpless. Republicans love to talk about American exceptionalism, and about religion, and about being “pro-life,” and on and on and on. Yet, they want to defund the United Nations, which is singularly responsible for feeding millions of children that without that assistance, would die.
Indeed, Rick Perry said last night, “I think it’s time we had a very serious discussion about defunding the U.N.,” and asked, “Why are we funding that organization?
Well, Mr. Perry, and all you isolationist ignorant selfish self-centered hypocrites, the U.S. cannot “defund” the U.N. We pay for a mere 22% of its operating budget (when we actually agree to pay our bill, which former President Bush refused to do for years.) And that money goes to what you no doubt would consider frivolity, like peacekeepers, and educating women, and keeping poor starving infants from dying. So much for your religion and your “pro-life” policies.
It’s incredible, but Republicans want America to end all aid to foreign countries. Do you know how much America gives to other countries? Not 10% of our GDP, but less than 1% of our GDP. Yes, America, in 2008, gave to the world zero point one nine percent: .19% of our GDP goes to help the rest of the world.
Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and now head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in his 2010 letter, “Rich Countries’ Aid Generosity,” wrote that wealthy countries’ “generosity represents a much smaller portion of foreign aid than many people realize.”
The best way to measure aid generosity is to look at it as a percentage of GDP. The most generous countries â€” Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Luxembourgâ€”give 0.72 to 1 percent of GDP to foreign aid, which is phenomenal. Most other European donors give between 0.3 and 0.5 percent, and a majority have committed to get to 0.51 percent by 2010. France has traditionally been the strongest giver of this group, but in the mid-2000s their aid actually decreased a bit. Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom have all made significant increases over the last few years and are now close to or ahead of France. Italy was at the low end of European givers even before the Berlusconi government came in and cut the aid by over half, making them uniquely stingy among European donors. These cuts will show up in Italyâ€™s 2009 aid figures. Bob Geldof put it well when he said the Italian government is suggesting â€œthey want to balance their budget on the backs of the poorâ€”how shameful.â€ In June, I met with Prime Minister Berlusconi personally to make the case for more support, but I was unsuccessful. This is a huge disappointment since I still think the Italian public wants to be as generous as people in other countries.
Canada and Australia are significant givers, at about 0.32 and 0.29 percent, respectively. Japan used to be a generous giver and has made some strong promises, but they are down at 0.20 percent. Unless the new government changes things for the better, they will fall short of their commitments.
There has been an effort to get Russia, China, and the rich oil countries to do substantial giving, but so far the numbers have been modest. South Korea, however, has become a significant giver, providing over $800 million last year, which is 0.09 percent of its GDP, with a commitment to increase to 0.25 percent by 2015.
The United States is the biggest giver in absolute terms, but in percentage terms gives only 0.19 percent. In recent years, a significant portion of this assistance went to reconstruction in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. If Congress passes President Obamaâ€™s proposal to double giving, however, the United States will get up into a very respectable range. [Did not happen.]
Deficits are not the only reason that aid budgets might change. Governments will also be increasing the money they spend to help reduce global warming. The final communiquÃ© of the Copenhagen Summit, held last December, talks about mobilizing $10 billion per year in the next three years and $100 billion per year by 2020 for developing countries, which is over three quarters of all foreign aid now given by the richest countries.
I am concerned that some of this money will come from reducing other categories of foreign aid, especially health. If just 1 percent of the $100 billion goal came from vaccine funding, then 700,000 more children could die from preventable diseases. In the long run, not spending on health is a bad deal for the environment because improvements in health, including voluntary family planning, lead people to have smaller families, which in turn reduces the strain on the environment.
(Apologies for the poor video but it’s the best available.)
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‘Oddest’: Legal Experts Mock Trump’s ‘Nutty’ and ‘Doomed to Fail’ Emergency Supreme Court Motion
It weighs in at 240 pages but legal experts are still mocking Donald Trump’s emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an 11th Circuit Court ruling and allow the special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents retrieved from him Mar-a-Lago home.
“Oddest SCOTUS petition. Very technical and not terribly logical,” observed Andrew Weissmann, an NYU School of Law law professor and former DOJ official who served as the General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as special counsel to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The motion was addressed to Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees the 11th Circuit courts. His wife, Ginni Thomas, is an avowed supporter of Trump and his “Big Lie” claims he won the 2020 election.
“SCOTUS should send him packing,” tweets former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. “No surprise here, this was why he paid former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise $3 million to sign on, no one else on his team could handle this.”
“Just watch SCOTUS turn Trump down 9-0. (Or 8-1 if Thomas dissents . . . ),” writes retired Harvard professor of law Laurence Tribe. “Will The Donald start calling ‘his’ three justices traitors? Will he say they have a ‘death wish’ as he did with McConnell?”
Weissmann took another hit at Trump’s Lawsuit, declaring it “nutty.”
“Trump argument to SCOTUS: 11th circuit had power to stay Cannon decision BUT it [could] not take the classified docs away from SM Dearie review. Nutty and if he won Dearie wd just say he won’t review the docs bc they are not Trump’s.”
University of Texas School of Law professor of law Steve Vladeck says that while the lawsuit is “not *entirely* laughable,” but he thinks “it’s both (1) doomed to fail; and (2) unlikely to accomplish much even if it succeeds.”
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti says, “I would not be surprised if the Supreme Court decides not to hear it.”
Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case
Donald Trump on Tuesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his classified documents case, and reverse a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the U.S. Dept. of Justice access to the more than 100 classified and top secret documents federal agents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago residence and resort.
Trump is asking the nation’s highest court to order a special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents, despite the special master emphatically stating the government, not Trump, gets to decide what is classified and what is not, especially when Trump refused to provide a list of what he considered declassified.
The lawsuit, which is a massive 240 pages, mostly made up of other documents including the now infamous FBI photo of the classified documents on the Mar-a-Lago rug, is addressed to “The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit,” and refers to the former president as “President Trump.”
The lawsuit also mentions the contents that federal agents took, including “89 empty envelopes,” while not noting they were classified document envelopes.
“As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized documents, something [Judge] Cannon had previously barred,” The Washington Post notes. “Trump’s filing seeks only to reverse the appeals court’s ruling on the special master’s access to the documents, not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
Biden Will Include DeSantis in His Visit to Support Florida Hurricane Victims
President Joe Biden will travel to Florida Wednesday to support families devastated by Hurricane Ian, and will include the state’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, in his trip, the White House announced Tuesday.
Last week, asked if he would meet with DeSantis, a top detractor of the president, Biden told a reporter who asked, “I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.”
President Biden on whether he plans to meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) when he goes to Florida:
“I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.” pic.twitter.com/nJvW9kKH7T
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2022
“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically, this is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses,” Biden also said last week.
President Biden says he’s had good conversations with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) about Hurricane Ian aid:
“He complimented me, he thanked me for the immediate response we had, he told me how much he appreciated it … This is not about … our disagreements politically.” pic.twitter.com/SymBlqG75X
— The Recount (@therecount) September 29, 2022
DeSantis asked President Biden for financial assistance for his state, battered by what experts say is one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history. DeSantis voted against relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy when he served in Congress.
President Biden and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel via Air Force One to Fort Myers, one of the hardest-hit areas of Florida by Hurricane Ian.
But Fort Myers is also part of Lee County, where officials delayed evacuation orders.
“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” The New York Times reported. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”
“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” the Times added. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”
The St. Louis Post Dispatch blasted the Florida GOP governor, calling his “flip-flop on hurricane relief” a “study in right-wing hypocrisy.”
“DeSantis’ willingness to shelve his usual attacks on the Biden administration to politely request emergency federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Ian is an inspiring example of constructive bipartisanship — as is Biden’s announcement that the government will bear a big part of the expense,” the Dispatch Editorial Board stated. “It’s interesting, though, that DeSantis took exactly the opposite stance a decade ago when he joined other hard-right members of Congress who argued against generous federal recovery aid when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast.”
Over the weekend DeSantis was blasted by volunteer relief aid workers who were delayed for hours in distributing “food, water, medicine, diapers, and anything else people needed” so Gov. DeSantis could get a photo-op.
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