Foreign Aid

Stop Obama’s green energy cronyism: Kill the Export-Import Bank

Barack Obama and Solyndra

One of the Export-Import Bank’s main goal, as it appears stated on its “About Us” page, is to “provide[s] export financing products that fill gaps in trade financing,” and effectively support U.S. companies that export “primarily to developing markets worldwide.”

The noble mission of filling in the gaps in trade financing, working as if the institution exists to fill in for an all-seeing eye and making sure that the developing world is being coerced into purchasing American products, doesn’t seem all that noble once you explore what the agency has accomplished in the last 80 years.

While the export credit firm offers financial incentives that promote a few amongst the greats of American corporations so that poor countries can afford U.S. products, one of the agency’s least publicized but extremely essential functions is to pick winners and offer them a striving market that is ready for their subsidized – therefore artificially affordable at the final consumer level – goods.

According to a research published by the Mercatus Center, the Export-Import bank’s most pressing problem is its procedural favoring of politically-connected corporations, which ultimately undermines competition, offering a disloyal and unjust environment to other companies that are not even allowed to compete with the government’s protégé abroad.

One of the industries that have been recently picking up steam with the help of the Ex-Im Bank is the green energy and sustainability sector.

What Is Going On In Egypt?

Over the past week, swelling protests in Egypt against the ruling regime boiled over, finally giving way to violence. Clashes erupted between secularists (who are aligned with the military) and Islamists (who are aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood); eventually Mohamed Morsi was ousted from the Presidency, exactly one year after he was democratically elected to the office. Egypt now stands on the brink of descending into full-blown chaos, and while Egyptians attempt to move the nation “back to democracy,” they risk losing their whole nation to civil war. This past week has left some wondering what Egyptian democracy even means anymore.

If Romney Wants to Win Libertarian Votes – He Has the Chance Tonight

I know that I am in the minority among the contributors to UL in that I will cast my vote on Election Day for Mitt Romney. I laid out my reasons for switching my vote from Gary Johnson to Mitt Romney in The Blaze a couple of weeks ago.

I was no fan of attempts to bully or shame libertarians into voting for Romney before I made my endorsement and I am no fan of those tactics now. I tried in my piece in The Blaze to lay out reasons why a libertarian should consider a vote for Romney – reasons that are obviously compelling enough for me personally to cast that vote.

If Romney wants to win over libertarians he doesn’t need his supporters trying to bully or shame libertarians who plan on voting for Gary Johnson. Instead, to win the votes of libertarians, Romney needs to actually take positions advocated by libertarians. I know this isn’t rocket science, but considering some of the pieces I have seen written by Romney supporters with the supposed objective of winning over Johnson voters, this actually needs to be said.

Tonight, Governor Romney has an opportunity to win over libertarians in the foreign policy debate.

First, let me say that I am realistic about what Romney could do to win over libertarians tonight. I know, unfortunately, that he will not repudiate the failed nation-building and interventionism that has been the hallmark of the Bush and Obama foreign policies.

That having been said, here is what Romney could say that would set his approach apart from the disastrous Obama foreign policy and win over libertarians:

Romney’s Praise of Israeli Healthcare Shows GOP Blind Spot

Earlier this week, Mitt Romney visited Israel, and in a speech praised the Israeli healthcare system for keeping down costs. This sounds like an utterly uncontroversial statement (Republican politician praising Israel), until one realizes that Israel has a single-payer, universal health care system.

OH BOY.

Yet, oddly, there was very little mention of this in conservative spots. I checked The Weekly Standard, Hot Air, the Washington Times, even The Blaze, but none of them talked about Romney’s statement. Not even Fox News seemed to have an article about it. Instead, places like the Boston Globe, the Washington Post (in particular, Ezra Klein), Matt Yglesias at Slate, and Steven L. Taylor at Outside the Beltway were the ones who seemed to actually notice what Romney said.

Ron Paul’s Poor Choice of Words

Yesterday, Rep. Ron Paul gave a speech on the House floor in regards to situation in Syria. Syria has descended into bloody civil war with rebel groups trying to oust Syrian dictator Bashir Assad. There have been reports of massacres and atrocities being committed by forces to loyal to the Assad government. In response, there have been increasing calls for intervention by United States and NATO forces, in the mold of the recent Libyan adventure, to remove the Assad government from power.

Rep. Paul spoke out against the proposed intervention and will file legislation to stop President Obama from launching a war against the Assad regime without Congressional authorization. This is legislation I would strongly support because only Congress has the constitutional duty to declare and authorize war. Plus, I believe intervention in Syria would be a huge mistake because it would likely ignite a larger Middle Eastern war involving Israel and Iran. However, the Paul speech unfortunately I believe did harm to supporters of non-interventionism and confirmed many negative stereotypes about them.

The speech included a few troubling passages, such as:

We are already too much involved in supporting the forces within Syria anxious to overthrow the current government. Without outside interference, the strife—now characterized as a civil war—would likely be non-existent.

Who Has The Party Delegates?

What all the GOP candidates are after, are so-called ‘delegates.’Elected officials that will broker the convention of either party this fall. Officials are parcelled by the amount of votes, the candidates receive in the primary.

During Michigan’s primary recently, for instance, there were 30 official delegates, state-wide. Two were ‘at-large’ candidates, which meant they could be assigned individually to any winning candidate. The other 28 were ‘proportional’ ones, alotted through 14 congressional districts. During the push for the nominations in Michigan last night, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum spent millions of dollars to influence the voting population; with TV ads, pamphlets, media, interviews, rallies, stickers, and much more. Michigan’s grand sum of politcal expenditure was near six million bucks.

Delegates are what really counts at the GOP convention. What looks to be happening, is that no clear winner will come out victorious. There’s a righteous number: 1444 delegates will win any nominee the victory-nod of the Republican National Committee. Nationwide, 2169 delegates are extended for contestation, until the RNC celebration in Tampa, Florida. From the RN Committee, an additional 117 delegates are added into the mix, ostensibly to keep debate lively and clear-up dead locks. So what appears, on first looks, to be a rather hot-headed and fast paced Republican rocket-launch to the RNC, is more like a jammed or misfired pistol in a duel.

Momentarily, Mitt Romney is in the lead, with 167 total delegates. Rick Santorum is second with roughly half, at 87. Newt Gingrich won only one state and has 32, while Ron Paul has 19 carefully collected delegations. The count may reshuffle at any moment, since constitutionalism and populism together, ring alarm-bells in states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

US taxpayers on the hook for foreign bailouts

You may have heard about that Greece will be receiving $146 billion from the International Monetary Fund and European countries to help bring the country back to financial solvency, provided the country make cuts in spending and increase taxes.

The cuts in spending and new taxes have led to mass riots and protests, including a strike by government workers, who have been hit with cuts in pension and pay due to the agreement with the IMF (overly generous government benefits are a problem that we’ll eventually have here in the United States).

American Taxpayers have endured much since the fall of 2008, from endless bailouts to private sector companies (financial institutions and automakers) that now know they are “too big, too fail” and can run to the federal government for a bailout, the passage of ObamaCare, plans to pass cap-and-trade and budget deficits as far as the eye can see. It has seemed like an endless assault.

It’s bad enough that our tax dollars are being used so irresponsibly, but what many taxpayers may not know is that they are on the hook to bailout Greece.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) explains:

G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors asked the United States, the IMF’s largest contributor, for a whopping $108 billion to rescue bankers around the world and the Obama Administration quickly obliged.

From Haiti to Ft. Hood, Ron Paul’s Words Ring True

President Obama’s recruitment of Presidents Clinton and Bush to help in the process of raising funds for relief in Haiti brought to mind memories of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. Back then, President Bush recruited his father and President Clinton to take up a similar task.

At the time, the US response was certainly adequate, at least. Criticism was present, as President Bush couldn’t do much of anything without inciting outrage from someone, but the US response was robust and focussed just as the response to Haiti’s earthquake is.

However, when Hurricane Katrina hit, the US government seemed as if it didn’t care. For some reason, the undeniably horrible, delayed response by the Bush administration to Katrina has been compared to Obama’s Haiti. A more appropriate comparison would be comparing Katrina to the recent Ft. Hood and attempted Detroit attacks, in which the government which is there primarily to protect us seemed as bumbling and disconnected as it did under President Bush after Katrina.

That comparison leads to an important point, which is that the United States government and military seems better able to respond to disasters overseas than it is in its own country. This is undeniably a result of countless foreign wars and of being the world’s foremost superpower. We have military personnel at the ready to respond in Port au Prince, Kabul, Baghdad and Okinawa, but not on our very own shores.

One Small Round of Applause for Israel

I’d like to echo the comments of my fellow contributors here at United Liberty in a call for a non-interventionist foreign policy on the part of the United States when it comes to the situation in Gaza. This conflict is complicated and poses no real threat to our national security. The U.S. should discontinue its foreign aid to Israel as well as Egypt, Jordan and all other countries receiving the largesse of the American taxpayer.

Independent of any opinion regarding who is “right” and who is “wrong” in this conflict (I think there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides), I do have to stand up and give Israel a small moment of applause for standing up to the United Nations. Israel is a sovereign nation and has the right to make its own military decisions. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently reacted to the UN Security Council’s recent resolution on the situation in Gaza:

Rand Paul and Aid to Israel – He Was Right the First Time

Just a week ago, PolitiFact.com’s Truth-O-Meter gave Sen. Rand Paul a “pants on fire” rating for the following statement:

I haven’t really proposed that in the past. We’ve never had a legislative proposal to do that. You can mistake my position, but then I’ll answer the question. That has not been a position — a legislative position — we have introduced to phase out or get rid of Israel’s aid. That’s the answer to that question. Israel has always been a strong ally of ours and I appreciate that. I voted just this week to give money — more money — to the Iron Dome, so don’t mischaracterize my position on Israel.

Is this “pants on fire” rating fair? PolitiFact goes into quite a bit of detail and it does seem that Sen. Paul’s statements are demonstrably false and the only person mischaracterizing his statements is Rand Paul himself.

When Sen. Paul was promoting his 2011 budget, he repeated on several occasions that his budget would eliminate foreign aid to all countries, including Israel. There was even a section of the budget which addressed Israel directly:


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