U.S. spends $38 billion on foreign aid? (Not nearly enough)

May 22, 2014

Glenn Beck got all worked up over this chart, as if it revealed some great, cardinal sin:

Chart on foreign aid as a part of the U.S. budget, from http://www.financedegreecenter.com/foreign-aid/

Chart on foreign aid as a part of the U.S. budget, from http://www.financedegreecenter.com/foreign-aid/

FinanceDegreeCenter.com is a mysterious organization that does no-one-really-will-say what on the internet.  A few months ago I got a series of e-mails from the group, telling that they were changing their name from an earlier iteration and claiming my links to one of their charts jeopardized all the good work they did for people seeking higher education, merely by accurately citing where I got the chart.  That sounded fishy, so I asked them what they did, really, and I got a barrage of e-mails . . .

I think they get paid to steer people to for-profit, on-line schools.  That doesn’t mean their charts are inaccurate, though it does mean I don’t post them without a lot of checking first (this is the first one I’ve posted since then).

Which is a long way of saying, Beck sure has crumby sources.

Bad as the source may be, the information isn’t far off.  But there’s the problem.

Beck’s audience probably believes, as Beck has told them, that the U.S. pays way too much in foreign aid.  Polls repeatedly show most people think we spend anywhere from ten times to a hundred times what we do.  A great little article with charts at the Washington Post explained:

The poll result that seems to most frustrate budget analysts is the apparent belief among Americans that foreign aid is a huge cost to the federal government. The latest poll that my colleague Ezra Klein cites finds that the average American thinks the United States spends 28 percent of the federal budget on aid to foreign governments — more than the country spends on Social Security or Medicare or defense.

In reality, we spend only 1 percent on foreign aid.

This gap between perception and reality is ridiculously large. That’s depressing, but it also presents an opportunity. The case that 28 percent of the budget should go to foreign aid is very strong. And if Americans already think we give that much — well, the least we could do is accommodate them!

We don’t spend enough.  Yes, we spend $38 billion.  That’s less than 1% of total U.S. outlays, and it’s been declining as a share of our Gross National Income and Gross Domestic Product since 1960.

Glenn Beck gets outraged, and shouts away, “$38 billion,” hoping that his shouting will make the number appear larger than it is.  He thinks, and says, it’s too much.

$38 billion?  Less than 1% of the budget.  Less than one penny of every dollar.

As a nation, the U.S. does not spend enough on foreign aid.  We should spend more.

Think of the good that could be done, if our nation actually did increase foreign aid to equal 25% of the federal budget (without taking it out of the hides of poverty-struck, homeless newborn babies and baby ducks as GOP legislators would insist).  How would the world be different?

More, and resources: 


CSCOPE chart Glenn Beck doesn’t want you to see

April 2, 2013

. . . because he screwed it up.

Thanks to Morgan Freeberg over at House of Eratosthenes — shows he’s a fair player (I doubt he’s got much sympathy with the CSCOPE project).

Here’s the chart Glenn Beck, or perhaps his partner-in-calumny David Barton, appears to have mis-identified, the one that no one else who joined his witch-hunt bandwagon bothered to read:

CSCOPE chart on economics

CSCOPE chart on rise of economic systems in the 19th century that critics claim, erroneously, promotes socialism and Marxism. This is copyrighted material, posted here in the interests of correcting false claims. Will CSCOPE complain?

I’m not sure which episode of “The Blaze” this appeared on in the fuzzy version in my earlier post (anyone know?); but it’s clear that it’s been grotesquely mischaracterized by CSCOPE critics.  Think about a Texas high school kid; the readings say communism prohibits private property ownership.  Given that, how do you think a Texas high school student — generally a sophomore for  world history —  would answer the questions in the “Communism” box:

What about Private Property?

How much government control?

(Say it ain’t so, Glenn Beck:  Did David Barton really complain that Texas’s curriculum puts the family at the the foundation of our culture, and our government?  (Yes, he did.)  He fought to get that in; is Barton on drugs, or depressed, or drunk?  If so, get him help.  If not, he’s corrupt.)

More, from the rational world:

More from the irrational world, the Wall of Shameful reporting:

English: Cropped from a photo of a group of pr...

Cropped from a photo of a group of predominantly anti-Glenn Beck protesters holding home-made placards in Beck’s hometown of Mt. Vernon, Washington, outside the venue where Beck received the ceremonial key to the town. Even his home town people don’t believe him. Photo via Wikipedia


Changing Glenn Beck

October 26, 2010

Who created this?

Glenn Beck, in a Fairey mode

The Fairey-esque Glenn Beck

Tip of the old scrub brush to Kenny and the Great Firewall of China.


“Rivers of blood,” Beck says — then denies he said it

August 30, 2010

In 1954, the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told Douglas Stringfellow that, for the sake of honesty, he had to end his run for Congress.

Is there any sense still in Salt Lake City?  Have they been listening to Glenn Beck, lately?

Tip of the old scrub brush to MediaMatters and Crooks and Liars.


Compare and Contrast assignment: Martin Luther King, Jr., and Glenn Beck

August 29, 2010

From The Other 98%:

MLK's and Glenn Beck's achievements compared - from The Other 98%

Which one would you choose to follow? Which one would you choose to emulate?

Teachers, don’t you wish a student would turn in something like this from time to time?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Earthaid3.


Kudos to Glenn Beck (oops)

July 26, 2010

Van Jones, who is a reliable source, said that Glenn Beck refused to jump on the bandwagon of those calling for Shirley Sherrod to step down — Jones said Beck had doubts about the story told by the video tape Breitbart and Fox ran.

Is that true?

Jones talked about the flap caused when Andrew Breitbart and Fox News teamed up to spread the false story that Shirley Sherrod had acted in an illegally racist fashion:

In an interview with NPR’s Michele Norris, Jones said that, although his background is “much more colorful” than Sherrod’s, he can empathize with what it is like to be at the center of a media firestorm.

According to him, “we are in an age where people can absolutely engineer false stories and inject them into the media blood system in a way that we just don’t know how to deal with very well.”

Jones said that dirty tactics — selective editing, smear campaigns and a lack of reportorial due diligence — damage American society as a whole.

“One of the things that I think we’ve got to be clear about is that these kinds of attacks are not just attacks on individuals,” he said. “They’re attacks on the democratic system.”

Listen to the NPR interview — Jones credits Beck with doing the right thing near the end of the interview.

See!  (If Jones is right about Beck) It just shows that there is hope for the temporal and secular salvation of all humans.

Good on Glenn Beck.

That’s one small step for a conservative, leading — we hope — to a giant leap for Glenn Beck, coming back from the Dark Side.

Update:  Snatching a smear from the jaws of ethical behavior:

Beck couldn’t just do the right thing and leave it there — he worked to find ways to attack the reputation of Shirley Sherrod.

Damnation!  If one of these Tea Party conservatives does something right, ethical and just, they get itchy, and have to go find a cat to throw, a dog to kick, and an old lady to push down in a mud puddle.  They are just congenitally incapable of virtuous action.  Van Jones caught Glenn Beck doing something right, so Beck, hating Jones, America’s future and the left so much, retracted it.


Top 10 Courses at Glenn Beck’s “University”

July 12, 2010

Summers for teachers fill up quickly with various training courses — right now, somewhere in America about a thousand teaches gather every morning for a week of AP course training, for example. In larger districts like Dallas, classes convene for teachers in a dozen different locations.

Some teachers scramble to complete courses for advanced degrees, packing a semester or two into a few weeks in the summer.

Our friend Jim Stanley suggested some training we might find out of the catalog of Glenn Beck’s new, for-Glenn-Beck’s-profit school; heck, anyone could profit from these:

The Top Ten Course Offerings at Glenn Beck’s New “University”

10. Chalkboard Management

09. Making Friends with Cocaine

08. How to Weep Like a Televangelist

07. Hatriotism 101: An Overview

06. How to Link Absolutely Anything or Anyone to Marx, Lenin or Hitler

05. Hysterics: Reclaiming An Artform For the Angry, White Male

04. Screw The Bible! (And Turn to Chapter Four of Atlas Shrugged)

03. How to Ban Scientific Darwinism, While Simultaneously Advancing Social Darwinism

02. Alan Keyes: Proof That There Are, Indeed, Some “Good Ones”

And the number one course offering at Glenn Beck University . . .

01. Washed Up Disc Jockeys. Is There Anything They DON’T Know?

Glenn Beck U recruiting poster, from All hat No Cattle

Glenn Beck U recruiting poster, from All hat No Cattle

Tip of the old scrub brush to Jim Stanley, with many thanks.

Matriculate your friends:

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Glenn Beck doesn’t know Canadian health care

September 22, 2009

Just one more thing Glenn Beck doesn’t  know that he spreads disinformation about.

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Van Jones: LGF got it right

September 6, 2009

Van Jones’s advantages, added together, summed too closely to the detrimental sum of having him as an advisor in the executive branch, I think.

But Glenn Beck’s unprincipled attack on Jones as a “9/11 truther” brought up issues that were not among the baggage Jones carried. Little Green Footballs explained that Jones’s statement that he didn’t call for an investigation of George Bush seems to be accurate.  LGF has no authors who trend to the liberal side (are there even any Dems there?).

With such a target-rich guy as Jones, why does Beck go with the least credible evidence possible?  When the facts flow your way, why make stuff up?  Beck’s bizarre claims about DDT offer more evidence the guy has just floated around the bend in the reality and ethical river.  More on that later.

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub said Little Green Footballs was right? Better spread that news!

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Another way to tell Republicans and opponents of health care reform have lost their minds, or their hearts, or their conscience

August 1, 2009

Republicans and opponents of health care reform make Dave Barry look like the prophet Isaiah with greatly improved accuracy.  You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried, as Dave Barry often says.

I have the right to protection, pleads this innocent little boy, in a poster for the State of Arizona Crime Victims Services division of the Department of Public Safety.  The Heritage Foundation ridicules federal support for child abuse prevention programs as unnecessary federal intrusion.

Included in the massive health care reform bill is some extra money to help out states and communities that have had difficulty getting effective programs going to combat child abuse.  Pilot programs demonstrated that community health workers could provide a few parenting programs and dramatically reduce child abuse.

These are programs that prevent dead babies.

According to the text of H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act,” starting on page 838 is a description of a program under which states and communities can get money to fight child abuse, if they have large populations of poor families, where child abuse is a problem, and where anti-child abuse programs need more money.  That’s pretty straightforward, no?  [That's a hefty .pdf file, by the way -- more than 1,000 pages.]

Parenting instruction and help can be offered, in private settings, and in homes where struggling parents need help most.

Money goes to states that want it and can demonstrate a need.  Parenting help programs are purely voluntary under H.R. 3200.

Who supports child abuse?  Who would not support spending some of the money in health care reform to save the saddest cases, the children who are beaten or starved or psychologically abused?

Is it not true that the prevention of child abuse would contribute to better health care for less money?

This is politics, you know.  Non-thinking conservatives pull out the stops in their desire to drive the health bill to oblivion, claiming that these anti-child abuse sections are socialism, liberty-depriving, and a threat to the designated hitter rule.  (I only exaggerate a little on the third point.)

This isn’t stripping liberties is it, we want someone else coming into our homes and telling us how to raise our children and live our lives.

This is right out of the Book 1984. If you had not read it I suggest it.

“Right out of 1984?”  Isn’t this a violation of  Godwin’s Law?

The Heritage Foundation appears to have taken a turn to radicalism, now advocating against fighting child abuse, and calling anti-child abuse programs a “stealth agenda.”

Have the Heritage Foundation, and these other people, lost their collective minds? They complain about the provisions of this bill because — this is their words:

One troublesome provision calls for a home visitation program that would bring state workers into the homes of young families to improve “the well-being, health, and development of children”.

Well, heaven forbid we should improve the well-being, health and development of children!

It is fair to conclude from this report that the Heritage Foundation does not want to prevent dead babies.

Years ago, when Father Reagan presided over the Conservative Church, one of the Heritage Foundation favorite deacons, a guy named Al Regnery, was appointed to be assistant attorney general over programs dealing with youth — juvenile delinquents, drug users, etc.  His chief qualifications for the job included that he was a faithful aide to Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt, and that he toed the party line on almost all issues, including shutting down federal funding for programs that might prevent juvenile delinquency, or treat it.

Republicans controlled the Judiciary Committee under Sen. Strom Thurmond, so Regnery’s confirmation was never doubted.  But as if to throw gasoline in the face of advocates of anti-delinquency programs, When Regnery drove up to the Senate office buildings for his nomination hearing, his car had a generally humorous bumper sticker.  “Have you hugged your kid today” showed on about 200 million of the 100 million cars in America at the time — it was a cliché.  To fight the cliché, Regnery had the anti-fuzzy bumper sticker, “Have you slugged your kid today.”

When the issue hit the news, Regnery backpedalled, and said it was just a joke sticker that he probably should have taken off his car under the circumstances, but he forgot — and Regnery disavowed the bumper sticker, as humorous or anything else.

Comes 2009, we discover that the Heritage Foundation wasn’t kidding — slugging your kid is acceptable behavior to them, and creating programs to fight child abuse, is evil — to the Heritage Foundation.

Ronald Reagan would be ashamed of them.  Somebody has to be ashamed — there appears to be no shame at Heritage Foundation offices.

One wouldn’t worry — surely common sense American citizens can see through these cheap deceptions —  except that Heritage has a massive public relations budget, and there is a corps of willing gullibles waiting to swallow as fact any fantasy Heritage dreams up — see this discussion board on ComCast, where the discussants accept Heritage claims at face value though anyone with even a dime-store excrement detector would be wary; or see this blogger who says he won’t let the feds “take away” his liberties (to beat his children, or the children of others?); or this forum, where some naif thinks the bill will create a federal behavior czarGlenn Beck, whose religion reveres children, can’t resist taking a cheap shot at Obama, even though doing so requires Beck to stand up for child abuse.

Beck falls into the worst category, spreading incredible falsehoods as if he understood the bill:

This doesn’t scare me! No way. Just the crazies like Winston Smith — you know, the main character from “1984.”

When did we go from being a nation that believed in hard work and picking yourself up by the bootstraps, to a nation that wants government to control everything from our light bulbs to our parenting techniques?

This bill has to be stopped.

Gee, Glenn — when did we go from a nation that thought government was for the people, as demonstrated by the Agricultural Extension Service, or the Air Traffic Control System, or the Tennessee Valley Authority, to a nation that fights to bring back Czarist Russian government in the U.S.?  Stopping this bill won’t resurrect Czar Nicholas, and it will kill at least a few hundred American kids.  Excuse me if I choose living American kids over fantasies of a new and oppressive monarchy.

These people are not journalists. Beck isn’t like Orwell — maybe more like Ezra Pound, in Italy.  These people are not commentators, or columnists.  These people are not editorial writers.  They are not, most of them, lobbyists who give out  information for money, having sold their souls away from the angels of serious public discourse.

They are crass propagandists. They should be regarded more like the guy Tom Lehrer warned us about, the old dope peddler in the park, who always has just a little bit of poison for the kids or anyone else.  (“Don’t worry; you won’t get hooked.”)

How many other provisions of the health reform act are being distorted by conservatives in a desperate attempt to keep President Obama from “looking good,” despite the costs to America’s children and families?

These attacks on the health reform bill fall out of the category of robust discussion.  They disgrace our polity, and they erode the dignity of our democratic system.

Please share the information on this bill:

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Below the fold:  An example of the type of program Beck and Heritage call socialism, 1984-ish, and dangerous.

Read the rest of this entry »


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