Skip navigation


Politics

Ed Mazza, HuffPost 4 hours ago

CNN’s Chris Cuomo reached into the Republican Party’s past to find a quote that could haunt GOP lawmakers today as the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump gets underway in Congress.
In 1950, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine) took on Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy, a member of her own party, in a speech she called a “Declaration of Conscience.” While Chase didn’t mention McCarthy by name, she urged her fellow Republicans to stand up for the basic American values being trampled by McCarthyism:
It is high time that we stop thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom. I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horsemen of calumny: fear, ignorance, bigotry, smear.
“Wow, did she resonate,” Cuomo said before noting that Chase’s words served as a reminder to her fellow politicians.
“She reminded them your duty was to the people,” he added. “Not to party alone.”
Then, Cuomo called on today’s lawmakers to follow Smith’s example.
“Please give the people a reason to believe again, Mr. and Mrs. Office Holder,” he said. “If you are not man or woman enough to say it out loud like Margaret Chase Smith, then listen to her words and let it guide your actions.”

Cuomo Prime Time

@CuomoPrimeTime

CNN’s @ChrisCuomo cites Sen. Margaret Chase Smith’s 1950 speech, “Declaration of Conscience,” for how to deal with the “tactics of division.”

“She reminded them, your duty was to the people, not to party alone,” Cuomo said.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate

Advertisements

Apparently, it is OK for the United States to blacklist 28 Chinese companies over alleged human rights violations but still commit similar abuses on our Southern border. Our own policies of denying entrance to immigrants seeking asylum and changing the rules at the same time is not much different than the actions of China against the Ethnic Yughuirs (pronounced Wee-gurs). Is this a case of the “pot calling the kettle black?” This administration could conceivably be listed as one of the worst in our history or at best the creator of the worst policies at home and abroad. All of this abetted by a neer do well Congress lead by the GOP and Mitch McConnell (who sits on legislation  “he” thinks the President will not support). All of the above illustrates where we are as a country even if we as a country (voters) are ignorant of the machinations of this administration and it’s allied Congressional supporters. The choice we voters have is to take any information coming from the current administration with some skepticism and an eye on their personal ambitions and how that affects their judgment and our lives.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


Compounding the immigrant crisis created by an inept “leader” is the loss of aid to our less fortunate world neighbors. The idea of aid is to assist these countries in improving their countries and their citizenry.  This allows the fleeing citizens to remain at home and improve their own lots.MA

September 17, 20199:48 AM ET
Tim McDonnell

Eulalio Barrera Barrera’s family was one of 6,000 to receive a monthly stipend funded by USAID that was cut off last month because of President Trump’s foreign aid funding freeze. Like many families in the program, he spent the last cash on chickens.
Tim McDonnell for NPR
For Carlos Marroquín, the chickens are all that’s left.
For the past several years, Marroquín has struggled to feed his wife and five children with the proceeds from their 10-acre corn farm. They live in a mud-brick house with a sloped terra cotta roof, nestled among pines, acacias and prickly pear cactus in Guatemala’s mountainous northern Quiché region, part of the country’s Dry Corridor that has been gripped by a multiyear drought.
Last November, his family was one of the 6,000 poorest families here to be selected for a U.S. government-backed humanitarian relief program. The family began receiving a monthly cash transfer of around $60, which it was encouraged to spend on fresh fruit, cereal, dairy products and other grocery staples to supplement a diet that rarely varied beyond black beans and homemade corn tortillas.

Goats and Soda
How To Fix Poverty: Why Not Just Give People Money?
“The first time we got the money, we thought it was a dream,” he recalls. “How was it possible to get money we hadn’t earned? It was only when we had it that we believed it was real.”
But this summer, as Marroquín watched his corn wither once again, he noticed that the cash was also starting to dry up. The $60 became $40, which became $18. Then he learned that in the last week of August, the program would come to an end, at least a year earlier than its organizers had hoped.
The reason: a decision in April by President Trump to freeze $450 million in U.S. foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — what’s known as the Northern Triangle — over what he described as their failure to stem the outflow of northbound migrants.
Sign Up For The Goats and Soda Newsletter
From A to Zika, get the latest global health and development news, sent weekly.

E-mail address

By subscribing, you agree to NPR’s terms of use and privacy policy.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
In 2018, at least 116,000 Guatemalans crossed the southern U.S. border — more than from any other country except Mexico. Its people were fleeing rural poverty, food insecurity, climate change and drug-related violence. Over the past few decades, the U.S. government has sought to remedy these internal problems by channeling hundreds of millions of dollars through dozens of local and international nongovernmental organizations that carry out development and humanitarian programs on its behalf.
The months since the freeze was announced have been chaotic for those groups, which in the Northern Triangle usually rely on the U.S. for the lion’s share of their operating budget. Now, as their coffers run dry, they’re scaling back programs or ending them early, closing their offices and laying off dozens of staff. And from the highlands to gang-ravaged urban neighborhoods, as America closes down its foreign aid operation in this region, people like Marroquín are being left stranded.
Marroquín, like several of his neighbors, spent his last transfer on a few adolescent chickens, an investment in eggs and meat that could last into the uncertain months ahead.
“The money kept us from falling into extreme poverty,” he says. “At least we are left these little chickens, like a souvenir.”
Leslie Karina Azañón González, another beneficiary of the cash transfer program in the neighboring town of Las Rosas, says U.S. aid was the community’s only lifeline.
“There’s no support from our government at all,” she says. “Any aid or investment the government sends goes to the municipal government, and then everyone takes a piece and nothing gets to us.”
The cash transfer program was implemented by Save the Children, a Washington, D.C.-based NGO that has worked on food insecurity, primary education and other issues in Guatemala for more than 40 years. It was financed by Food for Peace, a long-standing global initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development that since 2017 has invested nearly $60 million to fight hunger in Guatemala.
It’s far from the only program facing the ax, according to interviews with more than a dozen NGO administrators, independent researchers and American and Guatemalan government officials. Groups like Mercy Corps, Project Concern International, Catholic Relief Services, CARE International, Cristosal and others active in Guatemala all report that they are being forced to curtail or terminate programs. The projects in jeopardy include a series of discount agricultural supply markets in the highlands; rural health clinics; community savings and loans funds; after-school tutoring for kids in violent urban neighborhoods; shelters for victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking; re-integration services for returned migrants; trainings aimed at improving the transparency and effectiveness of local governments; and support for conserving ecologically sensitive landscapes.

Guatemala’s rural highlands have suffered from a multiyear drought. This year the corn crop across much of the region was completely lost.
Tim McDonnell for NPR
A USAID spokesperson responded to NPR’s questions about the closures via email, noting that the agency is “working to ensure responsible closeout of those programs, consistent with our obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer funds.” The spokesperson added that the U.S. government “expects the Northern Triangle governments to keep their commitments to stem illegal immigration to the United States.”
Not every USAID-affiliated program is shutting down immediately. The freeze only affects money that was moving through the multiyear USAID approval pipeline and hadn’t yet been transferred into an NGO’s bank account. So in some cases groups are finding ways to stretch the money they already have or piece together funding from European development agencies, private donors or other sources. But others, like Save the Children, have had to shut down programs completely. The situation is “really like the Hunger Games for funding right now,” says Alejandra Colom, an independent development researcher in Guatemala.
“This is unprecedented,” says Paul Townsend, the Guatemala country representative for Catholic Relief Services. “Public funding is always subject to political decisions, but you almost never see this scale of a cut.”
The freeze comes at a particularly bad time: Fall is the beginning of the dry season, when food and rural employment opportunities are scarce even in the best years. And the cutoff may undermine the very foreign policy objective — reducing migration to the U.S. — that prompted it. An April survey by Mercy Corps of 400 people who had participated in a two-year agricultural support program in Guatemala found a 30% drop in “youth who reported seriously considering migrating ‘all the time’ or ‘frequently’ ” after participating in the program.
“Nobody thinks these programs are going to magically stabilize Central America or reduce migration figures overnight,” says Geoff Thale, vice president for programs at the Washington Office on Latin America, a think tank. “But cutting them off just increases peoples’ vulnerability and can make a real difference in peoples’ calculations to leave.”
Elvis Flores runs a hole-in-the-wall juice and sandwich shop in La Verbena, a notoriously high-crime neighborhood in Guatemala City where he grew up. Four years ago, several of his family members fled to Los Angeles after their cousin, a 21-year-old mother of three, was killed in a gang shooting in the neighborhood.
In February, Mercy Corps spent $100,000 from USAID to clean up a street facing Flores’ shop that had become a de facto trash dump and gang member hangout. In its place, the organization installed a small concrete park with benches, lighting, a pastel-colored mural and exercise equipment.
Since then, the street has emerged as a community gathering place, Flores says — and his business has boomed as people stop in for a post-workout refreshment. The park alone hasn’t done much to curb gang violence, he says, but it has made his neighbors feel safer and renewed their sense of investment in the community.
“This park really helps people feel like they can stay here,” Flores says.
Mercy Corps originally had plans to build up to 80 parks like this across the city. After the cuts, that number was reduced to around a dozen.
Although the April freeze was extreme, it was in line with a longer-term drawdown in U.S. foreign aid funding in Central America that has been in process since Trump took office. Between fiscal years 2016 and 2019, the aid budget for the region dropped from $750 million to $530 million, according to WOLA. Under that umbrella, the biggest reductions have been to programs that target rural economic growth and food security. The budget for programs that support border enforcement and drug control has gone slightly up.
Congress may be able to reinstate some of the frozen funding in the latest round of budget negotiations that will be gathering steam in the coming months. The current version of the House of Representatives bill that dictates foreign aid funding contains a new clause that would require the executive branch to spend money appropriated for that purpose. That’s a critical change from the existing, long-standing language that merely allows it to do so, says Congressman Jim McGovern, a Democrat who represents central Massachusetts.
McGovern was a member of a congressional delegation to the Northern Triangle led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August. Dismantling foreign aid to those countries is especially cynical, he says, given that, in his view, the U.S. has a decades-long history of interfering in the region’s tumultuous politics and civil conflicts behind the poverty and instability that drive migration today. During the trip, he says, career development officers privately expressed concern about the impact of undoing years of their work.
“The embassy staff in all three countries dutifully gave us the administration line,” McGovern told NPR. “But under questioning, they basically conceded that this freeze is a rotten thing to do. Rather than trying to fix the situation, we’re making it worse.”
By the end of this month, the Save the Children office in Santa Cruz del Quiché, the regional capital where the cash transfer was administered, will close. Before the cuts, it employed more than 200 people, all Guatemalans. During my visit this month, the office had the feeling of a ghost town. The few remaining staff sat on the floor to sort through a pile of three-ring binders, office supplies, plastic boxes, a megaphone and other trappings of development work.
Josefa Inés Molina González had worked as a janitor there for 16 years. U.S.-backed NGOs were a rare opportunity for steady, relatively high-paying employment in the community, she says. During her time there, she says, she also picked up some computer skills she would never have learned otherwise.
“With the work I had here, I was able to educate all of my children, thank God,” she says. She’s not sure what she’ll do next.
Even if some funding is reinstated, or if NGOs manage to scrounge up money from other sources, the sudden disappearance of U.S. funding threatens to topple the years of painstaking trust-building with local governments and community leaders that makes foreign aid possible.
“There’s always going to be that sense of distrust: ‘You came and then left us,’ ” says Pascale Wagner, Guatemala country director for Project Concern International. “You close a program, and it will affect all of us for years to come.”
Given the failure of the maize harvest, some people may not be able to wait to see whether aid comes back, says Francisco Chibalán, a community leader in Cimientos, another town in the cash transfer program.
“With the drought there’s no work here, and without the transfer many of us may need to travel again,” he says. “That small stipend was so important to us. We really hope the U.S. president will reconsider.”

Tim McDonnell is a journalist covering the environment, conflict and related issues in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
U.S. foreign aid
migration
Guatemala

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


“Facts are facts and will not disappear on account of your likes.”
― Jawaharlal Nehru

In this administration, facts appear to be restricted or banned. TOTUS is in keeping with his real asset (lying) is and has been conning the American voter for the past 3 years. His following is shrinking down to a smaller and smaller core group. While he has twitter followers in the millions, the entertainment factor will fail him as his policies strike home for them in a negative way. Many of his core followers have not yet felt or realized the folly of his tenure and the future which will result from them. This is not a normal Presidency and it will not have a normal legacy. While the GOP largely unabashedly supports this office holder as a matter of party unity, it is clear that his tenure has reduced us to being an ineffective member of NATO and on the world stage. The constant stream of lies and inept policies will plague the country for a number of years. It is and always has been incumbent on Voters to regulate how government works by who they elect to represent them. Ignoring the actions of this Presidency and the actions of the majority party on his behalf is tantamount to ceding your Constitutional rights to a foreign government.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


Begs to wonder what else is bogus about funders of this institution since they spent millions to restrict their company insurance from allowing certain female health issues to be covered. MA 

KEN MILLER,Associated Press Sat, Oct 5 9:14 AM CDT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Museum of the Bible in Washington quietly replaced an artifact purported to be one of a handful of miniature Bibles that a NASA astronaut carried to the moon in 1971 after an expert questioned its authenticity.
The move follows an announcement last year that at least five of 16 Dead Sea Scroll fragments that had been on display at the museum were found to be apparent fakes.
The museum replaced the original microfilm Bible with one that was donated by an Oklahoma woman who wrote a book about the Apollo Prayer League, which arranged for Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell to carry tiny Bibles to the moon.
“We know for sure that one on display right now went to the moon, but we could not verify for sure that the one we had originally on display had gone to the moon,” museum spokeswoman Heather Cirmo said. “We couldn’t disprove it, it just wasn’t certain.”
The $500 million museum was largely funded by the Green family, evangelical Christian billionaires who run the Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores. The purported “lunar” Bible is just the latest item purchased by the family to come under scrutiny.
Steve Green, museum founder and president of Hobby Lobby, also purchased thousands of Iraqi archaeological artifacts for a reported $1.6 million, but was forced in 2018 to return them to the Iraqi government and Hobby Lobby paid a $3 million fine after authorities said they were stolen from the war-torn country and smuggled into the U.S. Museum officials have said none of those items were ever part of its collection.
As for the Dead Sea Scrolls that were called into question, the 11 remaining fragments are being tested, with results expected by the end of the year, Cirmo said. Two of the fragments remain on display with signs noting that they are being tested.
The museum did not announce that it was replacing the lunar Bible — a decision Cirmo defended.
“It’s pretty ridiculous to think that any museum, that every time you switch something out you’re going to announce it on plaques,” Cirmo said. “Collectors make mistakes all the time. … This is not something that is unique to Steve Green.”
The item that was previously displayed is now in storage, Cirmo said.
Tulsa author Carol Mersch, who had raised concerns about its authenticity, donated the replacement Bible.
“(Green) is thankful, as is the museum, that someone came forward and donated one that actually went to the moon … and that one didn’t cost anything,” Cirmo said.
Mersch was given 10 lunar Bibles by then-NASA chaplain the Rev. John Stout, a co-founder of the Apollo Prayer League.
Green, chairman of the museum’s board, bought the original Bible for about $56,000. It had also been displayed at the Vatican.
Mersch questioned its authenticity because it had a serial number that was only three digits; she said Stout engraved the authentic lunar Bibles with five-digit numbers. Mersch said the Bible she provided was authenticated by both Stout and Mitchell.
“I thought (donation) the best thing I could do to honor Rev. Stout. He had asked me to donate them to museums,” Mersch said.
Green bought the item that was originally on display from Georgia-based Peachstate Historical Consulting, which acquired the Bibles from Stout’s brother, James Stout. The Stout brothers are both dead, as is Mitchell. Peachstate owner David Frohman did not respond to requests for comment.
In an interview with The Associated Press a month before the museum’s 2017 opening, Green acknowledged the museum had made some mistakes early on.
“There’s a lot of complexities in areas that I’m still a novice at,” he said. “But we are engaging the best experts we can to advise and help us in that process.”

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


If you are enamored with TOTUS then the current impeachment activities are upsetting. If you are the dyed in the wool American you think you are then impeachment is still upsetting but necessary to ensure we have an honest (?) government as provided for under the Constitution. If you are anti TOTUS then these issues delight you and make you eager to see it go forth. We should remember that the bigger issue is that our neer do well Congress is doing little to none of the work they are supposed to be doing and have been negligent in their duties for at least the past ten years. In the grand scheme of things (or politics) any or all Congressional members of the GOP  who are campaigning are downplaying the Presidential misdeeds and ignoring the glaring facts that this White House resident is totally inept in his job and cannot tell the truth if it’s written down for him. It is the duty of Congress to act as a part of the check and balance government system, not as an adjunct to the misdeeds of the current occupant of the Oval Office and his minions. It is our duty as voters to elect representatives who work for us (voters), not themselves. Election to public office (supposedly) elevates a person to place that would enable them to do the best for ALL voters. When I read and hear the statements issued by our elected officials on a daily basis I am reminded of the Movie quote “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate”. This trend will continue until voters remove them.

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


Is this a blip or is there some sort of sanity here? MA.

Conrad Duncan, The Independent 2 hours 41 minutes ago

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has criticised Donald Trump for encouraging Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden in a rare break from his staunch support for the president.
Mr. Carlson, who is one of Fox News’ leading presenters, fell short of backing impeachment in an op-ed on Friday but admitted that Mr. Trump should not have raised the prospect of an investigation into Mr. Biden and his son Hunter.
“Donald Trump should not have been on the phone with a foreign head of state encouraging another country to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden,” he said.
“Some Republicans are trying, but there’s no way to spin this as a good idea.”
Mr. Trump is accused of using the call with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, as part of a wider campaign to force Ukraine into investigating the Bidens that may have included withholding a White House visit and financial aid to the country.
The Fox News host co-wrote the op-ed for The Daily Caller, the right-wing website he helped set up, with fellow co-founder Neil Patel.
Mr. Carlson added: “Our leaders’ official actions should not be about politics…
“Once those in control of our government use it to advance their political goals, we become just another of the world’s many corrupt countries.”

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


As usual, TOTUS is blaming someone else for his own mistakes, the only person who can make one look like an idiot is a person themselves, ergo TOTUS is the perp in this case and possibly many others. When you are not the smartest person in the room, you have to surround yourself with smart people or at least people with the knowledge to assist you. In this case, a Dictatorial, micromanager with dubious intelligence has continually shot himself in the foot and blames it on the weapon while his finger is on the trigger. MA.

Vincent Wood, The Independent 3 hours ago

Donald Trump reportedly told aides and cabinet ministers they were making him look like an “idiot” in an expletive-laden rant over his failure to clamp down on the nation’s southern border.
In a March Oval Office meeting in which he called for entry to the US from Mexico to be completely shut down, the president is said to have berated officials including secretary of state Mike Pompeo, aide Stephen Miller and former homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
“You are making me look like an idiot,” he said, according to an excerpt of a new book featured in The New York Times, which said the statement also included an expletive.
Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D Shear, also claims that Mr Trump considered a range of increasingly bizarre border policies – including fortifying the wall with a moat filled with snakes or alligators.
The week ended with the firing of Ms Nielsen after the 45th President said he wanted a cement wall on the Mexican border, despite contracts having already been secured for a steel barrier.
Asked by Mr Trump to erect such a barricade, Ms Nielsen replied: “Sir, I literally don’t think that’s even possible”.
This prompted the president to request her resignation by saying he wanted “to make a change”.
In another reported exchange between the pair, Ms Nielsen attempted to focus on subjects beyond the wall including requests for legal powers to take down drones.
But she was cut off half way through her request.
“Kirstjen, you didn’t hear me the first time, honey,” Mr. Trump said. “Shoot ’em down. Sweetheart, just shoot ’em out of the sky, OK?”

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate



Headshot of  Stable Genius

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate


Recently I received a comment on a small article regarding TOTUS. The question was asked” Why do I hate Trump?, I replied I didn’t hate Trump but I hated Con men! It is and has been evident from day one that this current administration is incorrigible and corrupt. TOTUS has been incorrigible and corrupt since his “deal”. TOTUS is no more than “a rich guy wannabe” who shows a persona of more wealth than he has and is smarter than he is. Using the perceived wealth factor to promote himself he has managed to essentially “rent out” his name for use on buildings while having a possible tentative hold on the ownership on them. The well documented bankruptcies enriched TOTUS and not his partners (including the banks). This has led to a perceived wealth that is dubious at best. The European banks that have been victims of Trump enterprises have mainly maintained silence since the publicity would not be good for their stockholders and clients. We are currently experiencing the era of a person who has aspirations beyond his abilities and has made enough outrageous statements to garner a following. This following can see no evil or wrong in this much like they see no harm or wrong in a reality show. The office of President IS NOT A REALITY SHOW! but it is a reality that what comes out of the Oval Office has a wide-ranging and detrimental effect on all of us and our long term allies elsewhere. The “stable Genius” is more of a horse ass!

btn_donateCC_LG

Please Donate

%d bloggers like this: