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GOP Debate Ignores Fact That America Is Least Generous In Foreign Aid



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 — Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Luxembourg—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 Italy’s 2009 aid figures. Bob Geldof put it well when he said the Italian government is suggesting “they want to balance their budget on the backs of the poor—how shameful.” 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 Obama’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 communiqué 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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‘It Won’t Fare Well’: Legal Expert Trashes Trump’s Hopes for ‘Hail Mary’ Appeal This Week



The fate of the $250 million Manhattan fraud trial brought against Donald Trump and his Trump Organization by New York Attorney General Letitia James could be determined in two separate court rulings this week with one legal insider claiming Trump shouldn’t get his hopes up.

What is at stake is an expected Tuesday ruling from Judge Arthur F. Engoron on what charges he will accept against the former president for massively overstating the value of his properties, and a “Hail Mary” bid to the appeals court to delay the trial or dismiss it altogether with a deciosn expected on Thursday.

According to a report from the New York Times, Engoron is set to make his ruling after a contentious hearing last Friday where he repeatedly chastised the former president’s legal team and abruptly cut them off.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to run for office?

That led former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner to suggest on Sunday that the future of the fraud case does not look good for Trump’s legal team.

Kirschner told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart, “He [Engoron] called those arguments ‘borderline frivolous.’ He was considering sanctions against Donald Trump’s attorney,” and later added, “I don’t think that hearing went all that well for Trump.”

As for the appeals court, the Times is reporting, “Mr. Trump’s lawsuit — and in turn the fate of Ms. James’s case against him — hinges on a passage in the June appeals court ruling that has become a legal Rorschach test of sorts, in which each side sees what they want. Mr. Trump’s lawyers are convinced that the June ruling effectively tossed out the claims against him, while Ms. James’s team has argued that it had little effect on the accusation at the heart of her case — that Mr. Trump overstated his net worth by billions of dollars in his annual financial statements.”

After noting that, should the appeals court side with Trump, it would likely delay or “defang the case before the trial even begins,” the Times is reporting that some legal experts aren’t expecting Trump’s legal team to come out on top.

According to David B. Saxe, who previously served nearly on the same appeals court, “I think it won’t fare well.”

You can read more here.

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Pete Buttigieg Nails Trump for His Ugly Comments About Wounded Vets



During his Sunday morning appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called out Donald Trump over reports he told military leaders he didn’t want wounded vets to be seen by the public while he was president.

In a recent Atlantic profile of General Mark Milley, the retiring military office recounted the former president telling him “no one wants to see” wounded soldiers, with Milley adding he found Trump’s attitude to those serving their country “superficial, callous, and, at the deepest human level, repugnant.”

Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan during his 8 years while in the Naval Reserve, was asked by CNN host Dana Bash about the former president’s apparent distaste for service members.

“I want to ask you about a new Atlantic profile that says that then President Trump complained to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley after an Army veteran who lost a leg in combat sang at an event at the Pentagon,” Bash prompted her guest. “Trump reportedly told Milley, ‘Why do you bring people like that here, no one wants to see that, the wounded.'”

“After that article came out, Trump attacked Milley on social media, kind of a rambling post, but suggested that milley deserved the death penalty. You’re a veteran– what’s your response?” she asked.

“It’s just the latest in a pattern of outrageous attacks on the people who keep the country safe,” the Biden administration official replied.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to run for office?

After pointing to fellow vets who suffered horrific injuries, he added, “These are the kind of people that deserve respect and a hell of a lot more than that from every American, and definitely from every American president.”

“And the idea that an American president, the person to whom service members look at as a commander in chief, and the person who sets the tone for this entire country could think that way or act that way or talk that way about anyone in uniform, and certainly about those who put their bodies on the line and sacrificed in ways that most Americans will never understand, and I guess wounded veterans make president Trump feel uncomfortable.”

Watch below or at the link.



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‘Scared to Death’: Trump’s Prison Panic Admission Means He Knows He’s Doomed Says Legal Expert



Reacting to a report that Donald Trump has been quizzing his attorneys about what type of prison he likely will be sent to, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner stated that is not only an indication that he knows he’s going to be convicted but also an admission of guilt.

Speaking with MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart, the attorney was asked about a recent Rolling Stone report about Trump’s prison panic.

As Rolling Stone reported, Trump asked if he’s “be sent to a ‘club fed’ style prison — a place that’s relatively comfortable, as far these things go — or a ‘bad’ prison? Would he serve out a sentence in a plush home confinement? Would government officials try to strip him of his lifetime Secret Service protections? What would they make him wear, if his enemies actually did ever get him in a cell — an unprecedented set of consequences for a former leader of the free world.”

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to run for office?

According to the attorney, Trump is revealing himself by asking for so many details.

“What does this tell you about Trump’s mindset?” host Capehart asked.

“It tells me he is scared to death” Kirschner quickly answered. “It tells me he has overwhelming consciousness of guilt because he knows what he did wrong and he knows he is about to be held accountable for his crimes. So it is not surprising that he is obsessing.”

“If he was confident that he would be completely exonerated, would he have to obsess about what his future time in prison might look like?” he suggested. “I think the last refuge for Donald Trump can be seen in a recent post where he urged the Republicans to defund essentially the prosecutions against him. which, to this prosecutor, Jonathan, smells a lot like an attempt to obstruct justice.”

Watch below or at the link.


Image via Shutterstock

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