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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Aid’

A Dangerous Opinion – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 15, 2020

It is a dangerous opinion to say that the U.S. government should take resources from Americans who have them and give them to foreign countries that “need” them. It is a dangerous opinion because if the government can legitimately take resources from Americans and give them to foreigners, then the government can certainly also legitimately take resources from Americans and give them to other Americans. A defense of foreign aid is a defense of the welfare state.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/12/laurence-m-vance/a-dangerous-opinion/

By Laurence M. Vance

Some opinions are unprovable, but innocent; others are clearly false, but harmless; and some are downright dangerous.

Some people think that brown eggs taste better than white eggs. Others think that the earth is flat. But some people think that the government should take resources from those who have them and give them to those who “need” them.

Like the woman who wrote me back in September.

On September 9, I wrote an article about foreign aid titled “Foreign Aid Folly.” But it wasn’t until just the other day that I noticed an e-mail in my in-box dated September 9 (Yes, I am drowning in e-mails.) Here is the complete e-mail I received in response to my article that was critical of foreign aid:

Stop it. We have more than enough to aid foreign countries. The problem is greed here in this country.

First of all, who are the “we” who have more than enough to aid foreign countries?

It can’t be the U.S. government. Uncle Sam has nothing of his own. Every dime in his bank account has been confiscated from American taxpayers.

It can’t be all Americans. Ask the people that work at fast food restaurants, convenience stores, and day care centers if they have more than enough to aid foreign countries. Ask the single mothers trying to raise their children if they have more than enough to aid foreign countries. Ask the families trying to make ends meet if they have more than enough to aid foreign countries. Ask those living paycheck to paycheck if they have more than enough to aid foreign countries. Ask those with college degrees who are waiting tables and struggling to pay their student loans if they have more than enough to aid foreign countries. Ask those on the verge of bankruptcy if they have more than enough to aid foreign countries. Ask those who have lost their job or business due to the government’s draconian and ridiculous response to Covid-19 if they have more than enough to aid foreign countries.

And while you’re at it, go to rich neighborhoods and knock on the doors and ask the people who do have more than enough to aid foreign countries if they would like to write a check to the countries of Egypt, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Columbia, Ukraine, Thailand, Indonesia, Mongolia, Poland, Croatia, Romania, Peru, or Zimbabwe? You wouldn’t collect enough money to buy a ham sandwich. Go to evangelical churches and ask Christians who do have more than enough to aid foreign countries, but think the U.S. government should give billions in foreign aid to Israel, how much they are willing to give to Israel out of their own pocket. You wouldn’t collect enough money to buy a bowl of matzah ball soup.

Second, is it greed to want to keep your own money?

Is it greed to not want to give money to countries that vote against the United States in the UN? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries with authoritarian governments? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries where U.S. jobs have been outsourced? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries that will waste it? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries so they can buy weapons? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries that never gets to the people in the countries that actually need it the most? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries with socialist governments? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries that violate human rights? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries that are nothing more than bribes? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries because it crowds out private charity? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries that has been confiscated from U.S. taxpayers? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries with corrupt regimes? Is it greed to not want to give money to countries that benefits their privileged contractors?

It is a dangerous opinion to say that the U.S. government should take resources from Americans who have them and give them to foreign countries that “need” them. It is a dangerous opinion because if the government can legitimately take resources from Americans and give them to foreigners, then the government can certainly also legitimately take resources from Americans and give them to other Americans. A defense of foreign aid is a defense of the welfare state.

Sorry lady, I will not “stop it.” I will continue to point out the folly of foreign aid. I will continue to point out that no American should be forced to “contribute” to the aid of foreigners, their governments, or NGOs working in other countries. I will continue to point out that the decision to aid foreigners should be a decision left up to each individual American. I will continue to point out that all charity should be private and voluntary. And I will continue to point out that charity that is not voluntary is theft.

The Best of Laurence M. Vance Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society.

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Foreign Aid Folly – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 9, 2020

Throughout these essays, there are five things relating to foreign aid that resonate:

  1. Foreign aid is simply money confiscated from American taxpayers and sent to countries that many Americans couldn’t locate on a map and may have never even heard of.
  2. Foreign aid is both foreign welfare and foreign bribery.
  3. No American should be forced to “contribute” to the aid of the people or the government of any other country.
  4. All charity should be private and voluntary. Charity that is not voluntary is theft.
  5. All foreign aid should be ended, and no exceptions should be made for natural disasters, humanitarian concerns, national interest, or political objectives.

To those Americans who think that aid should be given to foreign countries, I say put your money where your mouth is.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/laurence-m-vance/foreign-aid-folly/

By

The Trump administration is threatening to withhold nearly $130 million in U.S. foreign aid to Ethiopia.

Good. But this is simply another case of the right policy for the wrong reason.

The reason is not important. I will make it as simple as I can.

Ethiopia wants to build a dam on the Nile River. Egypt and Sudan oppose the dam “until the countries reached a legally binding deal that would address how to manage water flows during droughts or dryer rainy seasons, and established a mechanism to resolve disputes regarding the dam.” The United States is trying to mediate the dispute.

According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in fiscal year 2019, the United States provided $829 million in foreign assistance to Ethiopia. That amount is “only” supposed to be $144 million for fiscal year 2020. Motion Picture Money P… Buy New $14.99 (as of 02:21 EDT – Details)

The United States is threatening to withhold funding for security assistance, counterterrorism and military education and training, anti-human trafficking programs, and broader development assistance funding, but not funding for emergency humanitarian relief, food assistance, or health programs aimed at addressing COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS.

How many Americans know that the U.S. government gives millions of American taxpayer dollars to Ethiopia every year? Even back in 2001, American taxpayers handed over $151 to Ethiopia.

How many Americans would willingly give some of their money to the government of Ethiopia, NGOs that operate in Ethiopia, or directly to the Ethiopian people?

Americans are a generous people. Perhaps some of them would. Maybe they have family in Ethiopia, maybe they trace their ancestry back to Ethiopia, maybe they have a bleeding heart, maybe they want to do it for the children in Ethiopia, maybe they want to make the world a better place, or maybe they feel guilty about living a comfortable life in America?

But if the government of Ethiopia or the government of the United States sent a letter to every American household appealing for funds for Ethiopia, how many Americans would get out their wallet, checkbook, or credit card?

I think you know the answer.

And, of course, it’s not just Ethiopia.

According to ForeignAssistance.gov:

Today, the U.S. manages foreign assistance programs in more than 100 countries around the world through the efforts of over 20 different U.S. government agencies. These investments further America’s foreign policy interests on issues ranging from expanding free markets, combating extremism, ensuring stable democracies, and addressing the root causes of poverty, while simultaneously fostering global good will.

One hundred countries? If you think that sounds expensive, then you are right. The amount of foreign assistance requested for fiscal year 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020-Sept. 30, 2021) is $31.2 billion. This includes 3.3 billion for Israel, 124.5 million for Iraq, $371.8 million for Afghanistan, 1.381 billion for Egypt, 102.3 million for South Sudan, 90.7 million for India, and $316.9 million for Ukraine.

Again, how many Americans know this and how many Americans would willingly give some of their money to government of, or the people in, these countries?

The answer to both questions is undoubtedly the same: not too many.

Yes, foreign aid should be withheld from Ethiopia this year, next year, and every year after that. But it should also be withheld from every other country as well.

Fortunately, I have a new publication that tells the unvarnished truth about foreign aid.

Foreign Aid Folly is a collection of eleven essays written over the past ten years for six different publications. The contents include:

“The Foreign Aid Debacle”
“Not Tax-Funded Aid to Myanmar”
“Should the U.S. Military Go to Haiti?”
“Egypt and U.S. Foreign Policy”
“Condolences Yes, Assistance No”
“Republicans and Foreign Aid” “Exporting Welfare”
“Conservatives and Foreign Aid”
“Time to End All Foreign Aid”
“Conservatives and the Looting of America”
“The Question that Is Never Asked About U.S. Military Aid to Ukraine”

Throughout these essays, there are five things relating to foreign aid that resonate:

  1. Foreign aid is simply money confiscated from American taxpayers and sent to countries that many Americans couldn’t locate on a map and may have never even heard of.
  2. Foreign aid is both foreign welfare and foreign bribery.
  3. No American should be forced to “contribute” to the aid of the people or the government of any other country.
  4. All charity should be private and voluntary. Charity that is not voluntary is theft.
  5. All foreign aid should be ended, and no exceptions should be made for natural disasters, humanitarian concerns, national interest, or political objectives.

To those Americans who think that aid should be given to foreign countries, I say put your money where your mouth is.

 

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Washington Complains: China is Doing What We Always Do! | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on June 20, 2020

The U.S. has long used foreign aid as walking around money for the secretary of state. Countries with American bases have always gotten more cash, as have nations that have made peace with American allies, such as Egypt and Jordan.

America will be sorely disappointed if it believes it can convince—or compel with money and threats—its allies into following whatever policies it promulgates. Joining an American campaign against China looks suicidal to Seoul.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/washington-complains-china-is-doing-what-we-always-do/

Beijing is using threats and aid to pressure other governments to toe the line. Wherever did they get that from?

In a new official strategy of confrontation against the People’s Republic of China, the Trump administration has announced its intention “to compel Beijing to cease or reduce actions harmful to the United States’ vital, national interests and those of our allies and partners.”

Explains the strategy paper:

Given Beijing’s increasing use of economic leverage to extract political concessions from or exact retribution against other countries, the United States judges that Beijing will attempt to convert [One Belt One Road] projects into undue political influence and military access. Beijing uses a combination of threat and inducement to pressure governments, elites, corporations, think tanks, and others—often in an opaque manner—to toe the CCP line and censor free expression. Beijing has restricted trade and tourism with Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, and others, and has detained Canadian citizens, in an effort to interfere in these countries’ internal political and judicial processes.

All true. But which government pioneered the use of economic resources to reward and punish other nations? Hint: it was not China.

The U.S. has long used foreign aid as walking around money for the secretary of state. Countries with American bases have always gotten more cash, as have nations that have made peace with American allies, such as Egypt and Jordan.

In contrast, governments that have crossed Washington have lost money. In 1956, the Eisenhower administration punished Egypt’s Nasser government by revoking its offer to finance the Aswan High Dam. In 1990, Secretary of State James Baker told Yemen’s UN ambassador, “that was the most expensive no vote you ever cast,” after he voted against the UN Security Council resolution authorizing war against Iraq.

Washington has also used trade barriers to reward and punish other states. The U.S. embargoed Cuba six decades ago, and has since applied secondary sanctions that have hit other nations as well. The use of financial sanctions has become Washington’s modus operandi.

Indeed, the Trump administration has dramatically escalated economic warfare, applying “maximum pressure” to Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, hitting Cuba, Russia, and Syria with multiple new penalties, threatening to sanction Europeans if they try to avoid Iranian restrictions, and targeting Germany’s Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline to Russia. The White House treats sanctions as the default response to governments that resist Washington’s dictates.

All of these measures were imposed “in an effort to interfere in [other] countries’ internal political and judicial processes.” In fact, despite Washington’s fervent objections to Russian election meddling in 2016, the U.S. has intervened in more than 80 democratic elections in other nations, including the 1986 presidential contest in Russia.

Yet although America remains number one, China’s economic clout is significant, including with important countries such as South Korea. Indeed, without any sense of irony, Matthew Ha of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently expressed concern that China was thwarting U.S. pressure on Seoul to follow Washington’s policies. For instance, Beijing “launched an economic warfare campaign that cost South Korean companies operating in China at least $15.6 billion in losses” because the Republic of Korea deployed the THAAD missile defense system.

Complained Ha: “To placate China, Seoul eventually agreed not to deploy further THAAD systems, not to join a U.S.-led regional missile defense architecture, and not to form a trilateral U.S.-Japan-ROK alliance.” Moreover, claimed Ha, “due in part to concerns over Chinese retaliation, Seoul has not completely divested its telecommunications infrastructure from the Chinese company Huawei.” Further, “China’s hand is also evident in Seoul’s aversion to the U.S.-and Japan-led ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ (FOIP) initiative,” instead favoring its own policy directed at Southeast Asia.

If all this is due to a $15.6 billion hit, then Washington should take lessons. The Trump administration has caused economic damage to many countries, yet its wrecking-ball sanctions have so far failed in every case: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela all have refused to give into U.S. demands.

The president has been reduced to begging Tehran to negotiate, promising a better deal if it surrenders before November 3 to help his reelection prospects. Iran and Venezuela ridiculed Washington’s threats to interdict Tehran’s tankers. The communists still rule Cuba. Despite two summits, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is strengthening his country’s nuclear deterrent. No one believes that Russia will give up Crimea.

No doubt, South Korea worries about China’s clout, since the Chinese trade more with them than America and Japan combined. But Beijing is also a good excuse to resist U.S. demands seen as unreasonable, especially given that the current president is Moon Jae-in, a man of the left who has no natural affinity for President Trump.

China sees THAAD as part of a U.S.-directed containment system. And South Korea is not the only ally less than enthused by the administration’s demand to displace Huawei. These issues are about more than money. China will always be South Korea’s neighbor and has a long memory. The U.S.’s national government effectively bankrupt and beset with manifold other challenges, is not likely to stick around Korea forever.

The point is, contra Washington’s delusions, South Korean officials do not believe that taking part in an anti-China campaign serves South Korea’s interests. Ha writes: “Beijing’s sway over this key U.S. ally is especially risky amid growing Chinese aggression and competition with the United States. Most recently, Beijing pushed Seoul to bless China’s new national security law designed to crack down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Seeking to avoid conflict, Seoul took a neutral position, thereby undermining the protesters and revealing an alarming inability to support the liberal democratic values that underpin the ROK-U.S. alliance.”

What evidence does Ha have that Seoul wanted to join the complaint? Most of America’s European allies and Asian friends took similarly cautious positions. Even Tokyo ostentatiously refused to join America’s statement on Hong Kong, though the former now says it wants to take the lead on the issue at the next G-7 meeting, to uncertain effect.

Moreover, the U.S. routinely sacrifices other people’s democratic aspirations and human rights for policy ends. Without shame, the administration is assisting the brutally totalitarian and aggressive Saudi dictatorship as it slaughters Yemeni civilians and denies its own people political and religious liberty. Washington stands by as the Egyptian and Bahraini dictatorships brutally crush democracy activists and protesters.

Yet Ha demands action to push—or is that force?—South Korea onto the battlefield against China. He writes: “If its China strategy is to succeed, the Trump administration must counter Beijing’s attempts to undermine U.S. alliances.” Which requires that Washington “assuage ROK concerns about Chinese coercion by committing to proportionately punish China for any attempted coercion and to provide South Korea with immediate economic support to cope with Beijing’s retaliation.”

So Washington, the world’s chief proponent of economic warfare, is going to sanction another country because it organizes a boycott, cuts investment, or restricts trade to another country? And Washington, with a skyrocketing national debt, is going to create a new dole for wealthy countries like South Korea? Imagine the long line of claimants that will develop demanding compensation for following America! But what if Washington’s friends still balk at following U.S. dictates? Will America then sanction them, making them pay for their perfidy?

This bizarre strategy is doomed to fail. Despite Washington’s presumption that it speaks for the world, its allies often disagree. Seoul currently disputes American policy toward North Korea. Unsurprisingly, South Korean policymakers want to preserve peaceful, stable relations with both the U.S. and China.

“If we antagonize China,” observed Moon Chung-in, an adviser to South Korea’s president, “China can pose a military threat to us. Plus, China can support North Korea. Then, we will really have a new Cold War on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.” Of course, some Americans don’t care about the possibility of war “over there,” as Senator Lindsey Graham famously put it. South Koreans understandably see it very differently.

When I ask South Korean diplomats whether they are prepared to allow the U.S. military to use their bases against China in a war over Taiwan, they blanch. There ain’t no way their country is going to be turned into a battleground and made an enemy of the Chinese at Washington’s command.

Washington has enough problems dealing with China without creating a new battleground with little practical benefit to America. The U.S. already is running a trade war, seeking to force compensation for the COVID-19 outbreak, and threatening Chinese concerns with sanctions tied to Iran and North Korea.

America will be sorely disappointed if it believes it can convince—or compel with money and threats—its allies into following whatever policies it promulgates. Joining an American campaign against China looks suicidal to Seoul. Demanding that South Korea choose between Washington and Beijing could wreck the alliance. Right now, hubris poses a bigger threat than China to U.S. foreign policy.

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Foreign Aid Can’t Fix Bad Economics | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on May 7, 2020

All things considered, foreign aid is a feel-good policy that strokes the egos of DC do-gooders but has suboptimal results in the real world—the one place politicians seem to be perpetually detached from.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/foreign-aid-cant-fix-bad-economics/

by

Some myths in politics die hard.

We are constantly reminded by the managerial classes that foreign aid is crucial to lifting the developing world out of poverty. With the magic wand of public spending, money is sent to the developing world in hopes of pushing these countries out of their economic stupor. We’ve seen this story play out domestically when politicians call for wealth transfer programs with the purported intent of “investing” in economically beleaguered sections of America. With the universalist ethos of American politics, inevitably the domestic redistributionist logic is taken to the international level.

The mythos of foreign aid lives on in politicians’ constant appeals to the Marshall Plan as a source of inspiration for pushing new foreign aid ventures. The Marshall Plan refers to the economic recovery package sent to western European countries after World War II. Per conventional wisdom, Europe’s ability to bounce back from the devastation wrought by World War II is largely attributable to the Marshall Plan’s disbursements of aid, which totaled more than $100 billion in 2018 dollars.

Using the western European foreign aid program as a template, policymakers regularly search for the next region to experiment on. During a news conference at the 2017 G-20 summit, French president Emmanuel Macron was asked about the viability of a Marshall Plan for Africa. In a surprisingly brusque manner, Macron threw cold water on the idea. The French leader averred, “The Marshall plan was a reconstruction plan, a material plan in a region that already had its equilibriums, its borders, and its stability. The problems Africa faces are completely different, it is much deeper. It is ‘civilizational.’” Macron’s blunt commentary disappointed the journalist class, who were hoping to get a politically acceptable response.

Political commentators did not have to wait long. When former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro Julian Castro ran for the 2020 presidential candidacy, one of his selling points was a Marshall Plan for Central America—a region notorious for its socioeconomic and political strife. In the former 2020 Democratic Party candidate’s view, a Marshall Plan is the missing ingredient in getting Central America over the hump.

Allow me to express some skepticism. I previously noted that foreign aid is no silver bullet for the developing world. As a matter of fact, foreign transfers can foster bad behavior and prop up regimes with long-standing records of corruption. Macron was correct in his assessment of the Marshall Plan and why replicating it in Africa will not yield similar results. Europe was already prosperous and institutionally stable before most of the continent was ravaged during World War II. It was only a matter of rebuilding infrastructure and letting private actors return to the private sector to resuscitate many of the factors of production that had been destroyed during the war. Strictly speaking, the Marshall Plan wasn’t working with a blank slate, and functioned as a reconstruction plan that nominally sought to restore the pre–World War II equilibrium in the region. Europe already had enough know-how and capital accumulated in previous decades that it could work around the tragic circumstances of World War II and get back on its feet in no time.

Like most historical narratives of twentieth-century events, several key points tend to be omitted about the Marshall Plan. Contrary to what many court historians would have us believe, the Marshall Plan may have not been the sole cause of Europe’s success in the postwar period. Historian Tom Woods has argued convincingly that the economic liberalization in countries such as West Germany facilitated robust economic growth more than the aid from the Marshall Plan.

West German minister of economic affairs Ludwig Erhard’s economic reforms, such as lifting price controls and ending rationing, contributed to Germany’s incredible comeback after World War II. Other countries such as Austria and Greece, which received considerable aid on a per capita basis, witnessed more sluggish growth and didn’t really take off until aid was phased out. Despite what college textbooks say, the lifting of wartime economic controls was the decisive factor behind many European countries’ growth following World War II, not the Marshall Plan.

All things considered, foreign aid is a feel-good policy that strokes the egos of DC do-gooders but has suboptimal results in the real world—the one place politicians seem to be perpetually detached from. Due to institutional shortcomings inherent to the region and the flawed nature of foreign aid, a Marshall Plan for Central America would not pan out the way that many of its boosters such as Julian Castro would have us believe. Just look at the region’s corruption levels.

According to Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua are ranked 113th, 146th, 146th, and 161st, respectively, for overall levels of corruption. On the Heritage Foundation’s 2020 Index of Economic Freedom, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are middle-of-the-road countries at best, ranked 90th, 73rd, and 93rd. Nicaragua found itself in shoddy 113th place. Sending the modern-day equivalent of a Marshall Plan to the aforementioned countries is asking for corruption to proliferate and the compounding of previous problems.

Central America does find itself in a bind, but it can look at other developing countries for inspiration. For example, Panama has steadily become one of the more unheralded economic success stories in the last three decades due to its efforts to open up its economy to trade and foreign investment. Now Panama is being dubbed the Dubai of Central America. Chile is another successful model for Central America to look at. The Southern Cone country escaped the clutches of Marxism and became Latin America’s greatest economic miracle of the last century by adopting deregulatory measures, privatizing previously state-owned enterprises, and opening up trade. Even Botswana, which is situated in a part of the world not known for its stability, freed itself from the typical stagnation that marks the developing world. By embracing the rule of law, defending property rights, and opening up its economy, it has separated itself from its Sub-Saharan rivals, such as South Africa and Zimbabwe, both of which have witnessed their share of economic trials and tribulations, the latter being a poster child for hyperinflationary collapse.

When most developing countries have been buying into Keynesian or Marxist development ideas hook, line, and sinker, we should not be surprised when they continue languishing. Intricate policy papers calling for tweaks in foreign aid won’t cut it. The idea of the developing world breaking out of its self-imposed shackles is not so far-fetched thanks to a select few countries that have broken from the interventionist norm. The question is: Will their political elites ignore Western policy wonks’ half-baked advice and embrace markets instead?

The key to economic success is not a matter of technocratic rocket science. Comedian Jane Bussman has spent years abroad in Africa trying to figure out how to alleviate the region’s poverty. After witnessing the foreign aid racket firsthand, she came to the following conclusion:

If you want to help a country that’s troubled, buy their s&*t. Do a three-day stopover, even, and spend spend spend.

Economist Joseph Salerno simplified Bussman’s observation: “In other words, trade (and investment) and not aid” will break the poverty cycle. At this point, the developing world should take its chances by following the advice of comedians rather than that of haughty elites who do not understand the intricacies of wealth creation.

At least the comedians actually understand the concept of value creation. The same cannot be said about your typical IMF or USAID bureaucrat.

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Woe unto you, elitists! – Dissident Mama

Posted by M. C. on December 31, 2019

As the brilliant Father Seraphim Rose once opined, “Philosophers and other supposedly responsible men in governmental, academic, and ecclesiastical circles, when they do not retreat behind the impersonal and irresponsible facade of specialization or bureaucracy, [they] usually do no more than rationalize the incoherent state of contemporary man and his world.” Today’s elitists do both.

http://www.dissidentmama.net/woe-unto-you-elitists/

Just before Christmas, Christianity Today published an article entitled “Trump Should Be Removed From Office.” It was written by editor Mark Galli, who said the facts surrounding the case are “unambiguous” and that the president’s alleged quid pro quo with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky was “not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

I am not here to defend Trump as a saint. Sure, there are reasons to impeach this president, just as there have been grounds for kicking to the curb each and every president from Abraham Lincoln onward. We have an “imperial presidency,” as historian Brion McClanahan aptly describes it.

McClanahan rightly states that foreign aid (which is at the heart of the manufactured Trump brouhaha) is itself unconstitutional, yet all presidents sign off on it. Hell, virtually all foreign policy has been unconstitutional since 1861.

As an example of the selective-outrage lunacy of Trump’s impeachment, McClanahan cites the Marshall Plan as one giant quid pro quo, yet no Democrat worth his salt ever complains about that. Well, it was just smart post-WWII policy, they say, certainly not bribery. What are you, a pinko commie? Read the rest of this entry »

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Foreign Aid That Costs an Arm and a Leg – Literally – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 24, 2019

The US-funded Israeli military is shooting so many unarmed Palestinians that the UN is warning of an amputation crisis in Gaza

Throw a rock, loose the arm that threw it.

https://original.antiwar.com/phyllis-bennis/2019/05/23/foreign-aid-that-costs-an-arm-and-a-leg-literally/

My friend Andrew Rubin is an amputee. He’s lost his right hand, lower arm, right foot, and lower leg.

He used to be an avid runner and cyclist. He can’t do much of that anymore, although his walking is getting much better. Soon he might be able to run with his artificial leg.

Andrew is incredibly lucky.

The medical catastrophe that left his hand and foot so terribly damaged didn’t kill him. But when his limbs never healed even after a decade, he decided to undergo the amputations. It was his choice, and it was made much easier because he knew what lay ahead: the most advanced artificial limbs ever imagined. The kids call him Bionic Man now.

Andrew is lucky for another reason: He doesn’t live in Gaza.

According to the United Nations, 1,700 young Gazans are facing amputation, mainly of their legs, in the next two years. They’re among the 7,000 unarmed Palestinians in Gaza shot by Israeli snipers over the last year.

Since last spring, thousands of Palestinians in Israeli-occupied Gaza have poured out of their teeming refugee camps and houses every Friday to join nonviolent protests, demanding an end to the siege that’s destroying their lives, and the right to return to the homes Israel displaced them from.

Even though they were nonviolent, they were met by Israeli snipers from the beginning. Children, journalists, and medics were targeted too.

International law prohibits using live fire against unarmed civilians unless the police or soldiers are in imminent danger of death. That’s not the case in Gaza. A UN investigation of 189 killings during the first nine months of the protests found that Israeli forces may have committed war crimes

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aipac

 

 

 

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Abolish Foreign Aid, All of It – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on April 20, 2019

If U.S. officials were honest, they would acknowledge that foreign aid is nothing more than bribery.

https://www.fff.org/2019/04/18/abolish-foreign-aid-all-of-it/

by

On the welfare-state side, the big-ticket items are Social Security and Medicare, the two crown jewels of the American welfare state. Abolishing them would go a long way toward resolving the fiscal problem.

Yet, to even suggest such a thing brings howls of lamentation, despair, and rage from both conservatives and liberals. These two socialist programs go to the core of their joint statist philosophy. They’re not about to touch either one, especially since that would alienate seniors, who unfortunately have grown dependent on the government dole.

On the warfare-state side, the big-ticket items are the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA, along with their foreign and domestic empire of military bases and their forever wars, occupations, regime-change operations, coups, invasions, wars of aggression, and ongoing assassination program. Dismantling America’s national-security establishment and restoring a limited-government republic to our land would go a long way toward resolving the fiscal problem.

Yet, to even suggest such a thing brings howls of lamentation, despair, and rage from both conservatives and liberals. The warfare state goes to the core of their joint statist philosophy. Moreover, there is no possibility that the national-security establishment would ever consent to its own dismantling or to even a major reduction in the amount of tax money that it expects to be allocated every year.

In the middle of this fiscal morass are a multitude of mid-sized or small-sized federal programs, such as the drug war, farm subsidies, education grants, the SBA, and Radio Martí. Abolishing all of them would go a long way toward resolving the fiscal crisis. But conservative and liberal supporters maintain that abolishing any one of them would do nothing significant to reduce overall federal spending and, therefore, they say, each and every one of them should be left intact.

So, where does that leave the nation?

Think Greece. At some point, things could get pretty nasty, with the feds desperately looking everywhere they can to seize money, such as IRA accounts and 401k accounts, and replace them with government bonds, much like President Franklin Roosevelt did during the emergency economic crisis in the 1930s when he seized everyone’s gold and replaced it with government bonds.

But here’s an idea: Why not abolish foreign aid, all foreign aid?

After all, foreign aid is really nothing more than welfare for foreign officials. Like other welfare-state programs, it’s funded by money that the IRS extracts from American taxpayers…

If U.S. officials were honest, they would acknowledge that foreign aid is nothing more than bribery. The foreign aid is never “free.” It comes with strings. The strings say: Do as we say or you will lose your dole. So, when the U.S. government needs votes in the United Nations, international dole recipients know full well what their duty is. Or when the U.S. government needs a “coalition of the willing” to support one of its imperialist adventures, it knows that it can call on its international dole recipients. Even when the U.S. Empire is going it alone in some foreign escapade, it knows it can count on no criticism from its dole recipients, or else.

There is also a moral element to foreign aid — the fact that American tax money is being used in immoral ways, including oppression of innocent people. Two good examples of this phenomenon involve Israel and Egypt. U.S. foreign aid to Israel helps the Israeli government maintain its brutal system of oppression against the Palestine people. U.S. foreign aid to Egypt enables the Egyptian military dictatorship to maintain its brutal system of oppression against the Egyptian people…

Be seeing you

 

 

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More on Foreign Bribe…Aid

Posted by M. C. on February 14, 2012

Your tax dollars at work.  Egypt using foreign aid for extortion.  How much of that aid allocation has reached the common folk over the years?  Not much unless you count what was spent on tear gas.

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