George W. Bush didn’t get a whole lot of attaboys on his way out of the White House. But on World AIDS Day near the end of last year, the outgoing U.S. President was the man of the hour, fielding praise from global health advocates and world leaders for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPfAR, which increased tenfold the number of HIV-infected patients in Africa who receive antiretroviral treatments.
But now some critics are wondering if Bush’s successor is doing enough. Many global health advocates worry that the success of PEPfAR — an initiative that has consistently enjoyed broad bipartisan support — may be jeopardized by harsh economic realities and shifting political priorities. Although Barack Obama pledged during the 2008 campaign to boost PEPfAR funding by $1 billion each year, his first budget proposed just $366 million more for fiscal year 2010 than the current year, and a majority of the 15 countries that receive PEPfAR funds will see no increase.
I never understood the point of PEPFAR as opposed to pledging full support to the already established and internationally acclaimed multilateral initiative known as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This was true particularly since PEPFAR created a duplicate bureaucracy with lower funding versus the Global Fund (as well as typical Bushco nonsense such as prioritizing abstinence-until-marriage programs – this and more is discussed here).
Also, as noted here, Obama has promised to double aid over the next years (sic), according to an interview with Bono, “because even though (President George W.) Bush tripled it … the United States is still about half as what European countries give as a percentage (sic), and I think he knows that’s not right.”
(It should be noted, though, that concerning the claim that the U.S. is supposedly giving half of what European countries give, Bono was talking about all foreign aid and not just anti-AIDS funding, as the story tells us.)
I will also acknowledge that the Obama Administration has more work to do on this score (just add this to the pile of the mess he inherited). And even though Number 43 was easily the worst president I’ve ever seen or hope to ever see, if he’s legitimately entitled to some credit for African AIDS relief, then let him take a bow, and then disappear.
A handful of Democrats pushing for a new jobs bill are criticizing the $787 billion economic stimulus for not creating enough jobs.
“To the extent that I would have criticism of the stimulus, it was that it didn’t sufficiently meet the three-T test: ‘targeted, timely, temporary,’ ” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
In response, this tells us the following…
…the stimulus bill goes right to the heart of many of the conversations I heard in my three months going town-to-town in North Dakota, including:
• more than $170 million toward road improvement projects in North Dakota – a critical, job-creating need, as many county commissioners told me;
• more than $85 million the state government can use to help our public universities and colleges meet high-priority projects, from making buildings more energy efficient to updating classroom technology;
• more than $25 million toward weatherizing homes to improve energy efficiency, and more than $24 million in energy-related funding;
• more than $39 million for high priority water projects;
• more than $266 million in middle-class tax relief, or about $860 for the average family at a rate of savings of more than $70 a month; and
• $156 million in relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax.
The bill also includes hundreds of millions of dollars for North Dakota health care and to update the electrical transmission grid. There is no doubt in my mind that these are important priorities for North Dakota that deserve my support.
So now that you have the chance, you’re trying to “wash your hands” of the stim, Conrad? I guess that’s to be expected, though, from someone who laughed about others in your state without health care (here).
The fact that I have to share a party allegiance with life forms like Kent Conrad continually disgusts me.
With that in mind, writer David S. Reynolds claimed here that Brown should receive a presidential pardon, since Brown’s plan “was (only) to create panic by arousing fears of a slave rebellion, leading Southerners to view slavery as dangerous and impractical,” and (the thinking may go) Brown was thus trying to head off The Civil War which followed his seizure of the Harper’s Ferry armory.
Besides, as Reynolds puts it, “none of the heroes from that period is unblemished. Lincoln was the Great Emancipator, but he shared the era’s racial prejudices, and even after the war started thought that blacks should be shipped out of the country once they were freed. Andrew Jackson was the man of his age, but in addition to being a slaveholder, he has the extra infamy of his callous treatment of Native Americans, for which some hold him guilty of genocide.”
Oh, I can just picture what would happen if this country’s first African-American president pardoned a guy who attacked a federal armory in an effort to free slaves (and who also murdered pro-slavery southerners in Kansas three years prior to his Harper’s Ferry raid). If that wouldn’t be giving the green light to every teabagger and right-wing militia nut case out there (who, ironically, would believe they have common cause over removing their newfound benefactor from office any way possible), then I don’t know what would.