Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A bailout for human life

What does $50 billion get you these days?

Not as much as it used it, at least according to the headlines. The U.S. government is doling out that amount right and left to various mega-industries in the form of "bailouts" and Madoff singlehandedly swindled his clients out of a similar amount.

However – last week the U.S. government decided it could not afford to spend $50 billion to save and improve the lives of millions of men, women and children around the world. Instead, it cut almost $5 billion from the International Affairs Budget. This is an extremely dangerous and short-sighted move by Congress.

The International Affairs Budget funds essential diplomatic and development programs that improve the lives of millions of people around the world, while protecting our national security, promoting economic prosperity, and demonstrating our humanitarian values. Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates and other respected military leaders support increased funding for the International Affairs Budget as essential to national security and to implementing a "smart power" strategy in U.S. foreign policy.

A mere 1.4% of the entire FY10 Budget request, our nation cannot afford to shortchange these vital programs, especially during these difficult economic times. Our support for the Kerry-Lugar Amendment to restore critical funding to the International Affairs Budget will ensure America has the "smart power" tools and resources it needs to strengthen U.S. national interests and restore America's image abroad.

Senator Burr and Senator Hagan must support the Kerry-Lugar Amendment to restore the full FY10 International Affairs Budget in the Senate Budget Resolution and oppose any further cutting amendments.

We’re #1!

This is one race you don't want to win. Forbes Magazine today released the list of the world's most corrupt countries and guess which one made a return to the top? Yep, Chad. Check out the story by clicking here.

Chad even beat out its genocide-promoting neighbor, Sudan, to take top honors. My quick takes on this news:

  • This explains why a country rolling in oil money can still not afford to pay its teachers and doctors.
  •  From my experience, the rural populations are so marginalized, do they even realize they are being conned out of all this money?
  • It's a sad day when the only way to succeed is by cheating and bribing – this turns even good people bad.
  •  How does this affect the large humanitarian presence in Chad? Are the UN, World Relief, Doctors without Borders, etc playing along with corruption (justifying the means for the end) or are they taking a stand?