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Discussion Starter #1
From LewRockwell.com. Not an endorsement of Obama but something to be concerned about in my opinion.



Is McCain Able?
by Fred Reed

I frankly don’t believe John McCain’s medical records, or at any rate the portions released to the New York Times. The man was held in solitary for years, tortured until bones fractured, until he confessed to war crimes, until he tried to hang himself.

That he broke can’t be held against him: Almost anyone would have. (In my view GIs should be told to confess to anything whatever right from the start.) But the assertion that he came through unscathed, warm and humorous and psychically sound, just isn’t plausible. It doesn’t happen that way.

Now, PTSD. A lot of people, including vets, don’t believe that PTSD exists. I didn’t. One reason is that they tend to think of it as something verging on the psychotic, as for example seeing nonexistent snipers in the hedgerows of suburban Philadelphia. The other common notion is that those who have it dive under tables at the sound of a backfire. Vets tend to think, “I don’t know anybody like that. I certainly don’t see snipers in the rafters. This whole PTSD business sounds like a crock.”

So it does. But it isn’t.

And of course many people, chiefly men, regard with suspicion anything that smells of psychobabble, anything touchy-feely. To them PTSD sounds like Can’t-Get-a-Date Personality Disorder – something for Oprah to talk about to bored housewives. So they dismiss it.

Let me de-babble the discussion and state a simple fact: A lot of guys come back from wars really, truly messed up in the head, and it doesn’t go away. They aren’t going to talk to you about it. They figure it’s none of your goddamned business. If you push, they will tell you so, angrily.

If you weren’t in those forsaken paddies, they think, if you didn’t go through what they did, you’re off their radar screens. They’ll talk to you about football, the weather, and whatever happened in the newspaper yesterday. Just don’t even try to talk about Viet Nam. Or whatever war it was. They don’t want to think about it, and talking about it to weenies feels like being naked in a train station.

There are a lot of these brain-burnt guys out there. They don’t want your pity. They don’t pity themselves. They just don’t want to expose that part of themselves to you. They put a wall around themselves. You can’t see it. It’s there.

Often they seem like fairly normal guys with three divorces who drink too much and their children say, “It was like he was somewhere else.” Perfectly normal guys who have had seventeen jobs because their bosses are always useless bastards. Perfectly normal guys who live out in the desert and do serious scuba or hang glide because they just don’t give a ****.

Not all. Some manage to hold it together and become things thought to be respectable, such as senators or writers or defense attorneys. A subsurface lode of hostility can be useful in a trial lawyer. Anger is energizing. It can fuel a career.

With PTSD, or whatever you want to call it, the anger is the giveaway. These vets carry a load of subterranean fury that you don’t want to look at. As they would say, I **** you not one pound. I know a lot of these guys. A buddy of mine – two tours in bad places, killed a whole lot of people up close – now has no tolerance for frustration. He's ready to spread your teeth over a wide radius if you even seem to think about getting in his face. Admirable? No. But don’t make the experiment.

Sounds like McCain. His explosiveness is notorious.

Another guy I know, writer, freelanced all his life because he couldn’t get along with people in offices. A writer can package this as sturdy independence, as being a colorful maverick. The fellow is approximately sane, or at least apparently sane. Get three drinks in him, bring up the war, and his voice starts shaking and it’s time to change the subject right now.

A fair few PTSD guys become writers: It’s solitary, you don’t have to put up with bosses, and you don’t have to be stable.

How do these vets get this way? Not by anything you want to hear about, anything that you will see on the nightly news. The RPG hits your tank, the cherry juice cooks off, and three of your buddies burn to death screaming because they couldn’t get out fast enough. You lose a leg and half your face to a mortar round. You just see things: A Chicom 122 cuts a cyclo driver in half and you watch him trying to crawl with his guts hanging out. He doesn’t crawl long. You get shot down over Hanoi and spend years being tortured. The military is a fun place. You have all sorts of unusual experiences.

It messes your head up. I promise.

I said anger – yes, but anger at what? At whom? Here I’m on soft ground because vets don’t talk much about this stuff among themselves. At least those I know don’t. But, to the extent that I am competent to judge, they aren’t mad at those who shot them, or shot at them. “The VC were only doing their job.” They hate those who sent them to a pointless war, who exposed them in thousands to Agent Orange, knowing that it was poisonous and carcinogenic, at those posing fat-ass pols who sent them to die for nothing while they ate prime rib in DC.

Or they just hate. Psychologically the verb can be intransitive. They don’t know what they hate, but don’t get in the way of it.

Not all respond this way. Some choose to intensify their patriotism – it avoids admitting that you have been suckered – and direct their hatred at the hippies, the liberals, the press, all of whom they figure lost the war. But the anger is still there. Most of the time, you don’t notice it. They turn off, often seem emotionally cold. But that explosive venom remains. We’re not talking about a fiery Irish temper. We’re talking half crazy.

Those who seek help, typically from the VA, end up on Thissa-dol and Thatta-dol, on antidepressants and calmants and even antipsychotics. They sorta help. Sorta isn’t good enough with men who control carrier battle groups.

From the New York Times story, “Mr. McCain also learned to control his temper and not to become angry over insignificant things, the doctors said.” I don’t believe it. It doesn’t fit accounts of people who know him. It isn’t how heads work.

McCain is well known for his violent and irrational temper. A friend of mine, Ken Smith, was flack for Governor Mecham of Arizona during a meeting with McCain. The governor somehow irritated McCain. Says Ken, “McCain was leaning forward with a clinched fist. I reached out my left arm, as politely and as non-threatening as I could, and I pushed McCain back. What I remember is how taut and hard his body was, not from working out and lifting weights, but rather from anger and adrenalin. I made an excuse to leave and get them apart.”

For what he went through in Vietnamese jails he deserves sympathy and admiration. It isn’t qualification for the presidency.

October 4, 2008

Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well and the just-published A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be. Visit his blog.
 

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well I guess we have to vote for bracak hussien Obama then. I wanted to pay a lot more taxes, give up my right to own guns and Lord knows we need to give 32 million Illegal aliens free health care and socail security
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That was not the point.
 

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:eek: :eek: Let the fire works begin!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My main issue with McCain has always been his temperament and its impact his decision making and F/D policy. I think this commentary makes an interesting point about one possible driving force of that temperament. I think its a fair question to ask. To insinuate that it is somehow pro Obama is mistaken - that's all.
 

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Coldair, other than fully automatic weapons and explosives, when was the last time you were denied your right to own a weapon? How many people on this message board bought a semi-automatic assault weapon during the assault weapons ban? I know I did. Hey, I get it. I love my weapons too and when somebody comes along and tells me I can't have them I'll be right there with you guys fighting back for my 2nd amendment right. But, the bottom line is our right to own firearms is in absolutely no danger. Any gun control legislation that gets passed in the near future will be absolutely toothless, just like the assault weapons ban was.
 

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PTSD = Post Traumatic Sit on My Butt Disorder.
"Crap, I'm having that dream where I get run over by the Iraqi BMP" - Oh wait, was that the video game or the real stuff I did? Dang OIF daily LAN parties.

PTSD in the media today is just as bad as the desire today for doctors to blame everything a kid does wrong on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Job security for the docs and medicine sellers.

Grandpa had it 100 times worse than any OIF/OEF vet and he led a perfectly normal and morally upright life with no desire to harm himself or others.

There I've spoken my peace and counted to three. What happened to the good ol' days of WWII.
 

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SGT Rob said:
Coldair, other than fully automatic weapons and explosives, when was the last time you were denied your right to own a weapon? How many people on this message board bought a semi-automatic assault weapon during the assault weapons ban? I know I did. Hey, I get it. I love my weapons too and when somebody comes along and tells me I can't have them I'll be right there with you guys fighting back for my 2nd amendment right. But, the bottom line is our right to own firearms is in absolutely no danger. Any gun control legislation that gets passed in the near future will be absolutely toothless, just like the assault weapons ban was.
toothless? are you crazy Obama is not only going to ban guns he is already got a bill going that gives the UN the right to come in here and confiscated weapons and he gives the UN control of 65,000 american troops to get the job done
 

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Discussion Starter #9
coldair said:
SGT Rob said:
Coldair, other than fully automatic weapons and explosives, when was the last time you were denied your right to own a weapon? How many people on this message board bought a semi-automatic assault weapon during the assault weapons ban? I know I did. Hey, I get it. I love my weapons too and when somebody comes along and tells me I can't have them I'll be right there with you guys fighting back for my 2nd amendment right. But, the bottom line is our right to own firearms is in absolutely no danger. Any gun control legislation that gets passed in the near future will be absolutely toothless, just like the assault weapons ban was.
toothless? are you crazy Obama is not only going to ban guns he is already got a bill going that gives the UN the right to come in here and confiscated weapons and he gives the UN control of 65,000 american troops to get the job done
Interesting, I haven't heard that before. Can you show me where he says that? :roll:
 

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coldair said:
SGT Rob said:
Coldair, other than fully automatic weapons and explosives, when was the last time you were denied your right to own a weapon? How many people on this message board bought a semi-automatic assault weapon during the assault weapons ban? I know I did. Hey, I get it. I love my weapons too and when somebody comes along and tells me I can't have them I'll be right there with you guys fighting back for my 2nd amendment right. But, the bottom line is our right to own firearms is in absolutely no danger. Any gun control legislation that gets passed in the near future will be absolutely toothless, just like the assault weapons ban was.
toothless? are you crazy Obama is not only going to ban guns he is already got a bill going that gives the UN the right to come in here and confiscated weapons and he gives the UN control of 65,000 american troops to get the job done
That is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous things I've heard about this campaign thus far hah hah. I mean can't we come up with something better? You sure he's not one of the evil lizard race that controls everything and is descended from transvestite witches that live in the temple of Morlok?
 

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On the Second Amendment, Don't Believe Obama

The presidential primary season is finally over, and it is now time for gun owners to take a careful look at just where nominee Barack Obama stands on issues related to the Second Amendment. During the primaries, Obama tried to hide behind vague statements of support for "sportsmen" or unfounded claims of general support for the right to keep and bear arms.

But his real record, based on votes taken, political associations, and long standing positions, shows that Barack Obama is a serious threat to Second Amendment liberties. Don't listen to his campaign rhetoric! Look instead to what he has said and done during his entire political career.

****Numbers in Brackets correspond to supporting evidence below****

FACT: Barack Obama opposes four of the five Supreme Court justices who affirmed an individual right to keep and bear arms. He voted against the confirmation of Alito and Roberts and he has stated he would not have appointed Thomas or Scalia. (17)

FACT: Barack Obama voted for an Illinois State Senate bill to ban and confiscate "assault weapons," but the bill was so poorly crafted, it would have also banned most semi-auto and single and double barrel shotguns commonly used by sportsmen. (18)

FACT: Barack Obama voted to allow reckless lawsuits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry. (1)

FACT: Barack Obama wants to re-impose the failed and discredited Clinton Gun Ban. (15)

FACT: Barack Obama voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting. (3)

FACT: Barack Obama has endorsed a 500% increase in the federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition. (9)

FACT: Barack Obama has endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership. (2)

FACT: Barack Obama supports local gun bans in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other cities. (4)

FACT: Barack Obama voted to uphold local gun bans and the criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in self-defense. (5)

FACT: Barack Obama supports gun owner licensing and gun registration. (6)

FACT: Barack Obama refused to sign a friend-of-the-court Brief in support of individual Second Amendment rights in the Heller case.

FACT: Barack Obama opposes Right to Carry laws. (7)

FACT: Barack Obama was a member of the Board of Directors of the Joyce Foundation, the leading source of funds for anti-gun organizations and "research." (8)

FACT: Barack Obama supported a proposal to ban gun stores within 5 miles of a school or park, which would eliminate almost every gun store in America. (9)

FACT: Barack Obama voted not to notify gun owners when the state of Illinois did records searches on them. (10)

FACT: Barack Obama voted against a measure to lower the Firearms Owners Identification card age minimum from 21 to 18, a measure designed to assist young people in the military. (11)

FACT: Barack Obama favors a ban on standard capacity magazines. (12)

FACT: Barack Obama supports mandatory micro-stamping. (13)

FACT: Barack Obama supports mandatory waiting periods. (2)

FACT: Barack Obama supports repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, which prohibits information on gun traces collected by the BATFE from being used in reckless lawsuits against firearm dealers and manufacturers. (14)

FACT: Barack Obama supports one-gun-a-month handgun purchase restrictions.(16)

FACT: Barack Obama supports a ban on inexpensive handguns. (9)

FACT: Barack Obama supports a ban on the resale of police issued firearms, even if the money is going to police departments for replacement equipment.(9)

FACT: Barack Obama supports mandatory firearm training requirements for all gun owners and a ban on gun ownership for persons under the age of 21. (9)

******

1. United States Senate, S. 397, vote number 219, July 29, 2005. (http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_
cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00219)

2. Independent Voters of Illinois/Independent Precinct Organization general candidate questionnaire, Sept. 9, 1996. The responses on this survey were described in "Obama had greater role on liberal survey," Politico, March 31, 2008. (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0308/9269.html)

3. United States Senate, S. 397, vote number 217, Kennedy amendment July 29, 2005. (http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/
roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00217)

4. David Wright, Ursula Fahy and Sunlen Miller, "Obama: 'Common Sense Regulation' On Gun Owners' Rights," ABC News' "Political Radar" Blog, http://blogs.abcnews.com, 2/15/08. (http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/02/obama-common-se.html)

5. Illinois Senate, SB 2165, March 25, 2004, vote 20 and May 25, 2004, vote 3.

6. "Fact Check: No News In Obama's Consistent Record." Obama '08, December 11, 2007. (http://www.barackobama.com/factcheck/2007/12/11/fact_check_no_news_in_obamas_c.php)

7. "Candidates' gun control positions may figure in Pa. vote," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Wednesday, April 2, 2008, and "Keyes, Obama Are Far Apart On Guns," Chicago Tribune, 9/15/04. (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_560181.html)

8. 1998 Joyce Foundation Annual Report, p. 7.

9. "Obama and Gun Control," The Volokh Conspiracy, taken from the Chicago Defender, Dec. 13, 1999. (<http://www.volokh.com/posts/1203389334.shtml)

10. Illinois Senate, May 5, 2002, SB 1936 Con., vote 26.

11. Illinois Senate, March 25, 2003, SB 2163, vote 18.

12. "Clinton, Edwards, Obama on gun control," Radio Iowa, Sunday, April 22, 2007. (http://learfield.typepad.com/radioiowa/2007/04/clinton_edwards.html)

13. Chicago Tribune blogs, "Barack Obama: NIU Shootings call for action," February 15, 2008, (http://blogs.trb.com/news/politics/blog/2008/02/barack_obama_comments_on_shoot.html)

14. Barack Obama campaign website: "As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment . . ." (http://www.barackobama.com/issues/urbanpolicy/#crime-and-law-enforcement.)

15. Illinois Senate Debate #3: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes (http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Barack_Obama_Gun_Control.htm
and http://www.ontheissues.org/IL_2004_Senate_3rd.htm) Oct 21, 2004.

16. Illinois Senate, May 16, 2003, HB 2579, vote 34.

17. United States Senate vote 245, September 29, 2005 and vote 2, January 31, 2006 and Saddleback Forum, August 16, 2008.

18. Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee, March 13, 2003. To see the vote tally go to:
http://www.nrapvf.org/Media/pdf/sb1195_obama.pdf.
 

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Global Gun Control Conference Harpooned by U.S. Opposition
by Haider Rizvi

UNITED NATIONS - Following the collapse of diplomatic talks at a recent world conference on small arms, many governments and international civil society groups who want to see a global crackdown on the multibillion-dollar illegal business in guns are now looking to the United Nations General Assembly for help.
Last Friday, negotiations at the two-week conference broke down at the last minute as the United States and a handful of other nations refused to endorse a document that proposed a wide range of international measures against the illegal trade in guns and other small weapons of various descriptions.


It is unacceptable for two weeks of talking to produce no outcome, particularly when 1,000 people are still dying at gun point every day.

Rebecca Peters, International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) Though much less promising than what they had actually hoped for, proponents of the gun control efforts say the final draft of the Conference's outcome document was fully acceptable to a vast majority of governments, including the European Union and those from Latin America and Africa.

The review conference was held to assess progress made by the world community on implementation of the UN Program of Action, which was adopted by all member states, some five years ago. At a meeting held in 2001, they made commitments to collect and destroy illegal weapons, curb their trafficking, regulate the activities of brokers, and impose trade controls.

Since its adoption, the program has stimulated a wide range of initiatives at the national, regional, and international level, with more than 50 countries having strengthened their laws to control the illegal business in guns, according to UN officials, who, nevertheless, believe that still a lot more needs to be done.

"The problem remains grave," said Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, at the beginning of the conference. "Small arms are easy to buy, easy to use, easy to transport, and easy to conceal."

"Their continued proliferation exacerbates conflict, sparks refugee flows, undermines the rule of law and spawns cultures of violence," he added in a statement.

Currently, about 25 percent of the $4 billion annual trade in small arms is either illicit or not recorded as required by law, according to the Small Arms Survey, an independent research project at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

During the conference, while many countries agreed that practical actions against the illegal business in small arms required further cooperation on the global level, the United States delegation stressed the need for regional efforts and reasoned that there was no need for further review meetings at the international level.

"The U.S. views on the follow-up (to the conference) are very different," Sri Lankan ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam and president of the conference told OneWorld. "Their position was unique. It focused more on regional action."

Though the U.S. opposition proved fatally damaging for the conference, moves to agree on global controls on the small arms trade were also blocked by Cuba, Iran, Israel, India, and Pakistan, according to those who closely watched the negotiation process.

Their negative role has caused a lot of anger and resentment among those who represented civil society groups at the conference.

"The world has been held hostage by a tiny minority of countries," says Anna Macdonald of Oxfam International, an human rights and development group that is at the forefront of the global civil society campaign against the proliferation of illegal small weapons.

Last year, small arms alone were responsible for the deaths of over half a million people--10,000 per week--according to UN officials.

Oxfam researchers estimate that during the conference held in New York from June 26 to July 7, at least 12,000 might have been killed by small arms. Macdonald thinks that by failing to reach a consensus governments have "betrayed" thousands of people who are vulnerable to gun-related violence.

Rebecca Peters of the London-based International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), a coalition of various groups campaigning against the spread of illegal small arms, agrees.

"It is unacceptable," she says, "for two weeks of talking to produce no outcome, particularly when 1,000 people are still dying at gun point every day."

Though disappointed with the outcome of the conference, Peters and her like-minded colleagues working with other advocacy groups think that no international efforts could succeed unless governments agree to impose an international ban on the illegal sale and transfer of small weapons.

"The world desperately needs a tough and well-enforced arms trade treaty to stop the present flow of weaponry to serious abusers of human rights," said Amnesty International's research manager for the arms trade.

Like other arms control campaigners, Amnesty International hopes that the 191-member UN General Assembly will take the gun trade issue seriously during its coming session due to start in September.

Disappointed with the outcome of the conference, many diplomats said last week they intended to support a resolution in the First Committee of the General Assembly calling for negotiations on a legally binding global arms control treaty.

The move is likely to succeed because, unlike international conferences, the General Assembly decides controversial issues on the basis of a majority vote, which the opponents of the proposed treaty certainly do not enjoy.

The proposed outcome document has already been sent to the First Committee for its consideration.
 

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May 15, 2008

Obama's Global Poverty Act Bill S 2433 - Wolf In Sheeps Clothing?
There has been alot of uneasiness in regards to a bill Obama introduced which is scheduled to be introduced to the Senate today. Besides more of our tax dollars going to aid global poverty what else is in the bill?

S.2433The following summary is provided by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan government entity that serves Congress and is run by the Library of Congress. The summary is taken from the official website THOMAS.
4/24/2008--Reported to Senate amended.

Global Poverty Act of 2007 - Directs the President, through the Secretary of State, to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the U.S. foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.

Requires the strategy to contain specific and measurable goals and to consist of specified components, including:

(1) continued investment or involvement in existing U.S. initiatives related to international poverty reduction and trade preference programs for developing countries;
(2) improving the effectiveness of development assistance and making available additional overall United States assistance levels as appropriate;
(3) enhancing and expanding debt relief as appropriate;
(4) mobilizing and leveraging the participation of businesses and public-private partnerships;
(5) coordinating the goal of poverty reduction with other internationally recognized Millennium Development Goals;
(6) integrating principles of sustainable development and entrepreneurship into policies and programs.

The Millenium Development Goal keeps popping up.

Nat'l Ledger The bill defines the term “Millennium Development Goals” as the goals set out in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, General Assembly Resolution 55/2 (2000).[...]
In addition to seeking to eradicate poverty, that declaration commits nations to banning “small arms and light weapons” and ratifying a series of treaties, including the International Criminal Court Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol (global warming treaty), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Millennium Declaration also affirms the U.N. as “the indispensable common house of the entire human family, through which we will seek to realize our universal aspirations for peace, cooperation and development.”
This "wonderful" UNDP program has helped the Maldivians to write the world's first Muslim criminal code. It is one of the most comprehensive modern criminal codes in the world - modern Sharia Law is a better word. Same law but now will have a "penal code" that co-ordinates with the Koran. The code now awaits action by the parliament.

The Ugandan's also have been affected by the "wonderful" UNDP program. They were disarmed under the UN gun control mandate. Now they joyfully are being brutalized by the same government that was suppose to protect them.

Be wary, very wary of Obama's bill. The Global Poverty/UNDP is very dangerous to our own democracy.

Related Obama's bill to hand US sovereignty to UN

UNDP Countries Check out the US, we are listed as "partner". Will that change to full fledged country if and when this bill passes?

h/t to Wm Teach for his link to
the National Ledger article on this.

Also, h/t to ST for his link to Reason's article on Uganda and how the Kyoto Protocol fits in with this.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well your UN article doesn't mention Obama having anything to do with that initiative. In fact, it doesn't mention any US politician having anything to do with that initiative. Actually, it doesn't even mention any American having anything to do with that initiative.

coldair - I respect your opinion and agree with you - our 2A rights are a fundamental right and its a slippery slope when you start taking away people rights. But everyone needs to take a breathe on Obama and the gun issue. He is not going to enact gun control at the national level and when the far right starts pushing stories like that one or trying to scare people, all it does is divide the country and make respectable firearm advocates look like conspiracy theorists. Please dont take offense to that comment - its just my opinion and I am not sure its worth that much anyway :)
 

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All he needs to do is appoint some lib supreme ct justices.

Look at that 5 to 4 decision along idealogical lines recently.

It could easily have been the other way. We can't chance that.
 

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Barack Obama's Global Tax Proposal Up for Senate Vote
By Cliff Kincaid
Feb 12, 2008

A nice-sounding bill called the "Global Poverty Act," sponsored by Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama, is up for a Senate vote on Thursday and could result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States. The bill, which has the support of many liberal religious groups, makes levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations.

Barack Obama's Global Tax Proposal Up for Senate Vote

Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has not endorsed either Senator Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in the presidential race. But on Thursday, February 14, he is trying to rush Obama’s “Global Poverty Act” (S.2433) through his committee. The legislation would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends.

The bill, which is item number four on the committee’s business meeting agenda, passed the House by a voice vote last year because most members didn’t realize what was in it. Congressional sponsors have been careful not to calculate the amount of foreign aid spending that it would require. According to the website of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, no hearings have been held on the Obama bill in that body.

A release from the Obama Senate office about the bill declares, “In 2000, the U.S. joined more than 180 countries at the United Nations Millennium Summit and vowed to reduce global poverty by 2015. We are halfway towards this deadline, and it is time the United States makes it a priority of our foreign policy to meet this goal and help those who are struggling day to day.”

The legislation itself requires the President “to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.”

The bill defines the term “Millennium Development Goals” as the goals set out in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, General Assembly Resolution 55/2 (2000).

The U.N. says that “The commitment to provide 0.7% of gross national product (GNP) as official development assistance was first made 35 years ago in a General Assembly resolution, but it has been reaffirmed repeatedly over the years, including at the 2002 global Financing for Development conference in Monterrey, Mexico. However, in 2004, total aid from the industrialized countries totaled just $78.6 billion—or about 0.25% of their collective GNP.”

In addition to seeking to eradicate poverty, that declaration commits nations to banning “small arms and light weapons” and ratifying a series of treaties, including the International Criminal Court Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol (global warming treaty), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Millennium Declaration also affirms the U.N. as “the indispensable common house of the entire human family, through which we will seek to realize our universal aspirations for peace, cooperation and development.”

Jeffrey Sachs, who runs the U.N.’s “Millennium Project,” says that the U.N. plan to force the U.S. to pay 0.7 percent of GNP in increased foreign aid spending would add $65 billion a year to what the U.S. already spends. Over a 13-year period, from 2002, when the U.N.’s Financing for Development conference was held, to the target year of 2015, when the U.S. is expected to meet the “Millennium Development Goals,” this amounts to $845 billion. And the only way to raise that kind of money, Sachs has written, is through a global tax, preferably on carbon-emitting fossil fuels.

Obama’s bill has only six co-sponsors. They are Senators Maria Cantwell, Dianne Feinstein, Richard Lugar, Richard Durbin, Chuck Hagel and Robert Menendez. But it appears that Biden and Obama see passage of this bill as a way to highlight Democratic Party priorities in the Senate.

The House version (H.R. 1302), sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), had only 84 co-sponsors before it was suddenly brought up on the House floor last September 25 and was passed by voice vote. House Republicans were caught off-guard, unaware that the pro-U.N. measure committed the U.S. to spending hundreds of billions of dollars.

It appears the Senate version is being pushed not only by Biden and Obama, a member of the committee, but Lugar, the ranking Republican member. Lugar has worked with Obama in the past to promote more foreign aid for Russia, supposedly to stem nuclear proliferation, and has become Obama’s mentor. Like Biden, Lugar is a globalist. They have both promoted passage of the U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty, for example.

The so-called “Lugar-Obama initiative” was modeled after the Nunn-Lugar program, also known as the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, which was designed to eliminate weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. But one defense analyst, Rich Kelly, noted evidence that “CTR funds have eased the Russian military’s budgetary woes, freeing resources for such initiatives as the war in Chechnya and defense modernization.” He recommended that Congress “eliminate CTR funding so that it does not finance additional, perhaps more threatening, programs in the former Soviet Union.” However, over $6 billion has already been spent on the program.

Another program modeled on Nunn-Lugar, the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP), was recently exposed as having funded nuclear projects in Iran through Russia.

More foreign aid through passage of the Global Poverty Act was identified as one of the strategic goals of InterAction, the alliance of U.S-based international non-governmental organizations that lobbies for more foreign aid. The group is heavily financed by the U.S. Government, having received $1.4 million from taxpayers in fiscal year 2005 and $1.7 million in 2006. However, InterAction recently issued a report accusing the United States of “falling short on its commitment to rid the world of dire poverty by 2015 under the U.N. Millennium Development Goals…”

It’s not clear what President Bush would do if the bill passes the Senate. The bill itself quotes Bush as declaring that “We fight against poverty because opportunity is a fundamental right to human dignity.” Bush’s former top aide, Michael J. Gerson, writes in his new book, Heroic Conservatism, that Bush should be remembered as the President who “sponsored the largest percentage increases in foreign assistance since the Marshall Plan…”

Even these increases, however, will not be enough to satisfy the requirements of the Obama bill. A global tax will clearly be necessary to force American taxpayers to provide the money.

* Americans who would like their senators to know what they are voting on can contact them through information at the official Senate site.

Cliff Kincaid is the Editor of Accuracy in Media
 
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