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Our man in Washington

I note that the first piece of legislation that Raymond Cravaack saw fit to propose involved defunding the U.S. Institute of Peace, a $46.5 million budgetary rounding error responsible for useless projects like the Iraq Study Group.

[The USIP is currently raising money to complete a relatively fancy headquarters on the Mall, but has for years been located on the second floor of the National Restaurant Association’s palatial headquarters in DC.]

This concludes today’s object lesson in the fact that Elections Matter.

23 Comments

Bret

about 8 years ago

For Chip, is peace a need, a want, or neither?

zra

about 8 years ago

For Chip, Government is a Business, and should be run as such.

Bret

about 8 years ago

Government is not a business.  Someone should inform him of this fact.

zra

about 8 years ago

Government as Business doesn't work because Business has no compassion for those in its employ or those who rely on its services. Business is only concerned with profit.

edgeways

about 8 years ago

As far as I can tell he still does not have an office in Duluth (biggest city in his district) where you have to travel 110 miles away to North Branch ... and hell help you if you live somewhere like I-Falls (250 miles), or Grand Marais (220 miles).

udarnik

about 8 years ago

I've written to him twice and haven't heard back from him.  Maybe I should run against him.

Bruce

about 8 years ago

Democrats screwed up and did not come out in numbers.
Sad. :(

Baci

about 8 years ago

Investing in an educated and informed populace is an investment in national security with the greatest return. Divert defense spending to education now!

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

I'm very interested in this topic.  I look forward to more debate PDD style on it here.  I too find it noteworthy that this is so early in his legislative agenda, I mean ... why this?

The cynic in me wonders if it is not a "bone" thrown his way from some other neo-con type nefarious person who's been tracking the issue, doesn't want to take credit for it but wants to "bolster" Chip's record among ... people who think this is a great idea.

Sam

about 8 years ago

Here was a response I made to someone who thought the Peace Institute was a waste of money...
"It isn't so obvious to me that an institute that prevents war and political crises is a waste of money. This may be an example of "penny wise, pound foolish." The $42 million is chump change compared to the cost of international conflicts and political instability.

President Ronald Reagan set up the United States Institute of Peace in 1984 to save money (among other things). I would think that, in the long term, peace building SAVES money.

Had the institute not been doing its job? There is no mention of it in the article. This news article did not give one bit of evidence that the institute is not doing the job that President Reagan intended it to do. We need to know more before shutting it down.

The reasoning Cravaack gave would also be an argument for shutting down the NSA, since the CIA and military also do much of what the NSA does. But the question is really do we do the jobs BETTER with the NSA and the Peace Institute?

It might just be a matter of Cravaack trying to score points with constituents, even though the institute is doing its job AND saving us money in the long run. If it wasn't named "Peace Institute," I doubt Cravaack would have bothered. But the name makes it "sound liberal" (even though it was Reagan who helped create it)."

Here was Patrick Dunn's thoughts on the matter...
"The United States Institute of Peace's entire budget is less than a single F-15. Their actions in Iraq (alone) have saved countless lives (both American and Iraqi). They've helped bring down dictators across the globe and restore the rule of law to war torn countries. Since Rep. Craavack's ill-conceived resolution, General David Petraeus (United States Central Command, Office of the Commander), Former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Admiral G. Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, US Navy, Lieutenant General, Robert L Caslen Jr, US Army have written letters supporting the Institute."

http://topics.areavoices.com/2011/02/17/cravaack-moves-to-cut-funds-for-peace-institute/

Rougement

about 8 years ago

The current economic climate coupled with the Repubs gaining some measure of power while veering off to the far right is a recipe for disaster. Now they're going after all kinds of programs for ideological reasons and justifying this in the name of cutting spending.

It's spurious, disingenuous bullshit but people get the elected officials they deserve, either by voting for them or not bothering to go out and cast their vote against them.

Cutting spending on things like the Institute of Peace, Public Broadcasting, etc. is almost irrelevant from a fiscal standpoint. If you want to save real money let the Bush tax cuts expire and take a hard look at military spending.

pax eh?

about 8 years ago

Who knows what Cravaack's motivations are, but it is weird to see progressives rally around the Ministry of Peace.  Peace loving, former USIP board members Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld would be heartened.

carla

about 8 years ago

From their website
ISG Quick Stats
Ten public servants—five Democrats, five Republicans—made up the ISG.
The ISG's budget was $1 million, approved by Congress
Three organizations joined USIP in facilitating the ISG.
44 people served in four Expert Working Groups to advise the ISG.
The Iraq Study Group spent 4 days in Iraq in August/September.
There were 9 plenary meetings of the ISG.
The Iraq Study Group consulted with 136 people in and out of government before September 19, and 170 people total as it prepared its report.
Members of the Iraq Study Group were not paid in any way for their work.

carla

about 8 years ago

And PS:
"Knowledge is power."

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

Rougement:  "Now they're going after all kinds of programs for ideological reasons and justifying this in the name of cutting spending."

This just seems to be so true.  That's why I found this timing so curious.  I wrote a letter to Chip on another matter but arguing the value of prevention.  Sometimes if we cut government spending in another area it just means that we have higher, sometimes exponentially higher, costs down the road.  In the realm of Peace, Diplomacy and War, in 2003 the USA rolled in to Iraq with a bunch of phony intelligence and a whole lot of shock and y'all plus thousands genuinely heroic, patriotic and well meaning military personnel.  The thing is they didn't have much of a plan for what would happen next (or a reason for being there it turned out).  They say that on the first day there the USA secured the Iraqi Oil Ministry while the Museum of Antiquities was left unguarded.  It turns out that the Iraqi's were not thrilled to have us there and the USA went down one of the longest, bloodiest, and most expensive rabbit trails in our entire history.  

But ... I kinda knew that was how it was going to turn out.  See, I study peace, not war.  And everything that happened right down to the thousands of those aforementioned American heroes who have come home with PTSD and incurable Traumatic Brain Injuries, in addition to the more visible wounds of war.  We weren't prepared for that, either.  And we weren't prepared for the unprecedented wave of suicides among our returned warriors, either.  But I remember talking with Dr. Gary Kohls, MD before the war and he said this is exactly what was going to happen.  He had all kinds of facts, figures and projections to show it was true and if our leaders had been listening to the people who study peace we would've saved billions, trillions, along with all those precious, precious drops of blood that have spilt over this.  

Anyway, I just went off on a little rant there, I guess.  I'm all for living within our means but I just think a government needs to spend money to save money.   People whine about health care, and Chip says its a top priority to repeal it, but I know that it's cheaper to have a person go to their family doctor with a mild cough then come into the emergency room with pneumonia.  It's cheaper for our elders to have adequate care at home or in the community than to lose everything, become destitute and rely on government funded 24 hour nursing homes.  I could go on and on.  

Are people thinking these things through?  Do you think Chip is thinking these things through?

Rougement

about 8 years ago

I'm not sure it's a matter of thinking things through,

I am deeply cynical though. Certain people made a hell of a lot of money out of the Iraq War. The cheapest kind of healthcare is single payer, that's just a fact. However single payer would hit the insurers and drug companies hard:- they lose, the people win. So, they made sure it didn't happen and these corps even strengthened their position because soon, the people will be required by law to purchase the insurer's product. Pretty smart business.

So yeah, you'll not be seeing any moves from pols like Chip to tackle the issues that would really help out. Those things are off the table, what's left are cuts here and there for political reasons and for the sake of being seen to be doing something.

The only solution are laws and regulations governing who politicians work for. Right now, they look down the donation roster and see who's contributed. That needs to end before they'll start listening to the people.

Lojasmo

about 8 years ago

As much as I miss Duluth, and hate Rochester, I'm glad as hell that my man in Washington is representative Walz.

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

Hmmm

You know, I think Chip got a lot of help in his campaign from regular people like Mrs. Goose's aunt, who just loves him. I'm still really confused that it seems to me like he's working against those salt of the earth types that say they wanted him in office, along with the rest of us.  Anyway, to me Chip actually appears to have been a grass roots candidate in our region that got swept up in a national wave.  The national wave, I will certainly concede, was driven by funds that poured in after the Citizens United supreme court decision.  I'll also say that many of the campaign tactics, such as the shouting match that should have been a debate with Oberstar at the DECC and the slick, sound-byte heavy, content light web videos that circulated after it were pretty ugly politics.  And it turns out, they say that a lot of those groups (529, I think they are called) are linked back to one man, Karly "Turd Blossom" Rove.  One of the authors of this new brand of ugly politics.

Timk

about 8 years ago

$325,000 per minute is the current cost of our Afgan/Iraq adventure. We could end the war a month early and balance the budgets of all 50 state governments. End the war a day early and fully fund higher ed. End the war 10 minutes early and inspect every bridge in the country. How money is spent (and revenue raised) is purely ideological. The house-passed spending bill headed to the senate defunds public TV and radio, Planned Parenthood and the Inst. for Peace among other things. It's 100% ideology.

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

Sorry.  I meant Karl rove not Karly.  And the "turd blossom" thing was just  flourish, not a put down.  That's what "W" calls him.

patty

about 8 years ago

Interesting how our Congressman decides what should be funded and what should not.  I wonder where he stands on the Army continuing to be financial sponsors of NASCAR?  The Republicans are in total support of funding NASCAR, but opposed to funding peace.  Very odd.

tom

about 8 years ago

Tim K - $325,000/min, is that for real?  That's 0.5 billion per day!?  A million here and a million there starts to add up to some real money.  This is fun...If we come home 42 hours early, we could fund "the total cost of building, launching, landing and operating the [Martian] rovers on the surface for the initial 90-Martian-day primary mission."-wikipeidia

Timk

about 8 years ago

Yes- $325,000 a minute. Has military spending been discussed in the mainstream media? Oh wait, NBC is owned in part by GE.....

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