Restoring UNESCO Funding: Obama Promotes Funding for Organization Proclaiming Palestinian Statehood

Source: Adam Kredo Feb.16, 2012

A footnote tucked into the president’s recently unveiled budget proposal reveals the administration’s intent to resume funding for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, otherwise known as UNESCO.

UNESCO caused an international firestorm last year when it accepted Palestine as a member – despite the fact that Palestine is neither a state nor a full member of the U.N.

Congress responded to UNESCO’s unwarranted intrusion into the Middle East peace process by invoking a U.S. law that prohibits funding of any international organization that recognizes a Palestinian state.

Now, however, Obama is aiming to resume UNESCO’s funding – ignoring the Palestinians’ ongoing quest to establish a state via the U.N., rather than through direct negotiations with Israel.

According to a footnote in the White House’s budget summary: “The Department of State intends to work with Congress to seek legislation that would provide authority to waive restrictions on paying the U.S. assessed contributions to UNESCO. Should the Congress pass this legislation, this funding is sufficient to cover the FY 2013 UNESCO assessment and the balance of the FY 2012 assessment.”

Foreign policy voices in Congress – and well as former government officials – tell the Washington Free Beacon that this simply won’t happen.

“This decision once again proves that the President is no friend to Israel,” Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) told WFB. “Once again, the president is trying to skirt the law and Congress so that he can hurt our ally Israel and reward the enemies of peace. Why else would he request full funding for an organization that has allowed totalitarian regimes to hijack its agenda and further their single-minded campaign to destroy Israel?”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “has made it very clear that he’s going to continue to pursue this effort” to achieve statehood at the U.N., said Richard Schifter, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs during the Reagan administration.

Schifter, chair of the American Jewish International Relations Institute, went on to describe Obama’s move as “troublesome,” and noted that there would likely be “overwhelming Congressional consensus to not go in this direction – and when I say overwhelming, I mean overwhelming.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also expressed vehement opposition to resuming U.S. funding for UNESCO.

“I am deeply disappointed that, rather than standing up for U.S. law and for our key ally, Israel, the administration is seeking to remove this roadblock to the unilateral recognition of a ‘Palestinian state,’” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. “Any effort to walk back this funding cutoff will pave the way for the Palestinian leadership’s unilateral statehood scheme to drive on, and sends a disastrous message that the U.S. will fund U.N. bodies no matter what irresponsible decisions they make.”

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Cell Phones for the Poor Costs Consumer $1.5 Billion Annually


According to Fox News, a subsidized federal phone program for poor people cost consumers more than $1.5 billion last year.

The Lifeline system provides low-income Americans with free basic cell phones or land-lines and covers up to 250 free minutes each month.

Telecom companies are required to foot the bill and generally pass along those fees to consumers.

Lifeline enrollment has jumped dramatically in the past few years and costs have more than doubled.

Last month the FCC announced an overhaul of the program after an audit showed subscribers were abusing the system.

Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill complained she received an invitation in the mail to apply for the program even though she is a multimillionaire.

Read more:

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Regardless of $1 Billion U.S. Annual Aid, Egypt Set to Try 19 American Citizens


Feb.5, 2012

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian investigating judges on Sunday referred 43 NGO workers, including 19 Americans, to trial before a criminal court for allegedly being involved in banned activities and illegally receiving foreign funds, security officials said.

The decision marked a sharp escalation in a dispute between Cairo and Washington over Egypt’s crackdown on U.S.-funded groups promoting democracy and human rights. The two countries have been close allies for more than three decades, but the campaign against the organizations has angered Washington, and jeopardized the more than $1 billion in annual aid Egypt receives from the U.S.

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Senator Coburn Spotlights Federal Waste: Hundreds of Thousands spent to Study the Effect of Cocaine on the Sex Drive of Quail

The University of Kentucky received a grant of $181,406 in 2010 from the National Institute of Health to study how cocaine enhances the sex drive of Japanese quail. An almost equal amount was granted in 2011.

Senator Coburn lists 100 examples of wasteful governmental spending in this year’s edition, and it offers a frightening and somewhat surreal look into the spending habits of the United States government. Just a few examples directly from “Wastebook- 2011” include the following:

The IRS approved roughly $1 billion in tax credits intended for energy recipients which included prisoners and children, some probably not even old enough to own a doll house. (At least the doll house replacement windows would be small.)
While Congress bickered over whether or not the salaries of federal employees should be frozen, the federal government paid $120 million to federal employees who were deceased. The federal government sent an average of $120 million in retirement and disability payments to deceased former federal employees every year for at least the past five years. (This just proves perhaps you really can take it with you.)
The bridges to nowhere in Alaska may be the most infamous symbols of government excess and waste. Both bridges are still going nowhere and may never go anywhere. However, the bigger of the two bridge projects cost taxpayers more than $15 million in 2011, even though it may never be constructed. (Rumor has it that Sarah Palin can see Russia from the top of the bridge.)
Taxpayers might be shocked to learn that each year the United States provides millions in aid to China. In 2011, the U.S. government spent nearly $18 million on foreign aid programs to its biggest sovereign lender. This included $2.5 million for social services and about $4.4 million for programs to improve China’s environment. (Something is truly wrong with this picture!)
“Yule” be happy to know that $75,000 of your tax dollars went to increase awareness about the role Michigan plays in the production of trees and poinsettias. (O tannenbaum, O tannenbaum)
Study Looks for Connections Between Cocaine and Risky Sex Habits of Quail. The University of Kentucky received a grant of $181,406 in 2010 from the National Institute of Health to study how cocaine enhances the sex drive of Japanese quail. (There is absolutely nothing worse than a cocaine addled, oversexed quail.)


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National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, White House Rural Council: United Nations Agenda 21 at Work?

source: in Fiscal Year 2010

The White House Rural Council is an Executive Branch entity that consists of only high level Administration officials (such as Energy Secretary, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, etc.). At this time, no members are from outside of the Administration’s highest level appointees. The Council will work to enhance and promote public-private partnerships across Rural America. The NARC&DC will work to ensure that the RC&D Program and RC&D Councils are known entities with an established track record of project implementation through an effective public-private partnership.

A few of the many RC&D accomplishments in FY2010:
■808 new businesses were created;
■6,199 businesses were expanded or retained;
■5,929 jobs were created and 6,398 retained;
■Improvements were made on 2,800,000 acres of wildlife habitat, 169,000 acres of lakes and other water bodies, and 7,182 miles of streams;
■1,140,000 people acquired new knowledge or skills;
■2,200,000 economically or socially disadvantaged people were helped nationwide;
■Formation of 135 cooperatives was facilitated;
■Agri-tourism activities were developed on 1,182 farm or ranch operations;
■849 farms or ranches were assisted through direct farm-to-consumer marketing – community supported agriculture groups, restaurants, stores, or farmers markets;
■6,276 instances of Tribal Nations served;
■Over 2,100,000 acres of agricultural land were preserved or protected;
■Water quality projects at 1,649 animal agricultural operations were assisted;
■Construction or rehabilitation of 413 flood control structures;
■Over 3,963 workshops, tours, and seminars were conducted on agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, and wildlife issues;
■Over 4,837 training sessions on leadership development, grant writing, business development, non-profit management and environmental education were held; and
■RC&D Councils in twenty states implemented renewable energy projects, including biofuels from soybeans, ethanol production from corn, and energy production from other biomass, solar, water, and wind sources.
More than 4,738 projects that focus on the goals of the RC&D program were completed in FY 2010. More than 7,472 projects will continue in FY 2011. Since 1964, RC&D Councils have completed over 100,000 projects.

In FY10, RC&D Councils were able to raise an average of $6.93 in funding (from private foundations and government grants) for every $1.00 provided by Congress.

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Federal Government borrows Trillions to spend on items like $10 million for a remake of “Sesame Street” for Pakistan.

Examples of wasteful spending highlighted in Senator Coburn’s “Wastebook 2011” include:

• $75,000 to promote awareness about the role Michigan plays in producing Christmas trees & poinsettias.

• $15.3 million for one of the infamous Bridges to Nowhere in Alaska.

• $113,227 for video game preservation center in New York.

• $550,000 for a documentary about how rock music contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

• $48,700 for 2nd annual Hawaii Chocolate Festival, to promote Hawaii’s chocolate industry.

• $350,000 to support an International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy.

• $10 million for a remake of “Sesame Street” for Pakistan.

• $35 million allocated for political party conventions in 2012.

• $765,828 to subsidize “pancakes for yuppies” in the nation’s capital.

• $764,825 to study how college students use mobile devices for social networking.

In the report “Wastebook 2011: A Guide to Some of the Most Wasteful and Low Priority Government Spending of 2011,” Coburn swings his fiscal watchdog hatchet at a Las Vegas Beltway beautification project, a Henderson “tree census” and an exhibit at the Western Folklife Center in Elko, home of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

“The Wastebook,” compiled annually by Coburn and his staff, questions the need for dozens of federal programs that are labeled duplicative, unnecessary or “just plain stupid,” and cites 100 examples of what they call federal waste in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia, costing $6.9 billion.  (source:

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Forbes: Brazil Overtakes Britain as Sixth Largest World Economy

According to, December 26, 2011:

The U.K. is no longer the world’s sixth-largest economy thanks to booming Brazil.

That’s according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) latest World Economic League Table which notes that Brazil’s economy grew by 7.5% last year. One reason: The South American country is exporting more goods to China than it is importing from it.

CEBR’s chief Douglas McWilliams told BBC Radio 4′s that Brazil overtaking the U.K. was part of a growing trend. ”I think it’s part of the big economic change, where not only are we seeing a shift from the west to the east, but we’re also seeing that countries that produce vital commodities – food and energy and things like that – are doing very well and they’re gradually climbing up the economic league table,” he told the program.

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