by Anura Guruge
I saw this map on ‘marketwatch.com’ on Friday. Of course I checked to see how Sri Lanka was doing. I was pretty amazed BUT not that surprised.
Sri Lanka has never figured much in U.S. politics or aid. Some of it goes back decades, even to the 1950s, when Ceylon (as it was then), was a leading light in the so called ‘Non-Aligned Nations’. Well, the U.S. never liked that. It was, in those days of the Cold War, “if you are NOT with us, then you must be AGAINST us”. They never appreciated “Non-Aligned”. To be fair Ceylon/Sri Lanka did get a lot of USSR and Chinese aid. The ‘Russians’ sent n to Ceylon in 1961 — which is how I got to shake his hand! I do not think the Americans sent Alan Shepard or John Glenn to Ceylon.
Yes, it cuts both ways. It is very much a ‘you scratch my back, I will scratch yours’ when it comes to the U.S. and foreign aid. I know some of this first hand in that my adoptive father was the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the U.S., in D.C., from 1992 and 1994. U.S. Congressmen would approach him will all sorts of requests on the understanding that in return they will help Sri Lanka get more aid. That is all part of the diplomatic culture. Yes, he had his K-street accounts to entertain whoever warranted entertaining. One Congressman asked him, point blank, whether ‘he’ (meaning Sri Lanka) would pay the rent, for ‘x’ number of years, for the Congressman’s mistress in D.C. My adoptive father could not oblige. This was during the Civil War and Sri Lanka didn’t have that kind of money.
Anywho, here is the map. You can do the maths.
Don’t Think Pope Francis Is A Marxist, But He Sure Is Very Cheap For Somebody Who Commands Billions In Tangible Assets.
.by Anura Guruge
>> Charity begins at the Vatican
>> — Nov. 26, 2013.
>> Francis’ gold pallium pins
>> — July 28, 2013.
>> “Prayer of ‘WHY'”
>> — Nov. 21, 2013.
>> To read his exhortation …
>> — Dec. 1, 2013.
>> 100 Day Report Card
>> — Jun. 19, 2013.
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I like this pope. Plus, unlike ANYBODY else, I cited him, in print, in my 2011 ‘The Next Pope 2011‘, as one of the Top 10 papabili.
So, don’t even try and get on your high horse and start accusing me of having a go at the pope etc. Not so. As one of the most prolific papal historians around, all that I am doing is pointing out some hard facts the way they are.
As somebody who is a great believer in charity, I am beyond delighted by this pope’s commitment towards the poor and downtrodden. I can’t be happier.
I am overjoyed that he is trying to eschew the extravagant, lavish, ‘dripping gold’ lifestyle adopted by some popes — especially the last one who was an unashamed dandy.
But, as I pointed out in this 100-day report there is a difference between being a pope for the poor and a ‘poor pope’. This pope is not poor. A modern pope, by definition, is not poor.
A pope has absolute, unfettered, unilateral, uncontested control over billions of liquid and tangible assets.
Compared to a pope, a U.S. President is a powerless, pauper.
The pope has no Congress, judicial branch, re-elections or mid-terms to contend with.
He is not answerable to anyone on Earth!
Then I have also made my point about how charity HAS to begin at the Vatican.
So let us just look at a very public recent example.
The devastating typhoon that crippled the Philippines.
The Philippines is overwhelmingly a Roman Catholic country.
So now let us look at some of the foreign aid provided to the Philippines post typhoon:
So how much do you think the Pope agreed to give?
This is what drives me NUTS about this
$150,000 in aid … to the Philippines … which considers itself the most Catholic of countries?
This pope is cheap!
As I have said so many times till I am brown in the face, this pope can raise a billion dollars in a day by selling 400 random items from around the Vatican.
He claims he is not materialistic.
OK. Show me the proof.
Sell some of the unused, unseen, stacked away in basements, Vatican treasures.
That is all.
D.C. Sequestration Hits Close To Home: West Point Band Cancels Dartmouth Performance Due To Budget Constraints. Blue Angels Also Cancel Shows!
..by Anura Guruge
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I actually talked to the Hopkins Center’s extremely motivated and energetic Publicity Coordinator/Writer, Rebecca Bailey, about this yesterday. Appears that you can’t even get the band to perform further than 100 miles from West Point even if you offered to pay ‘all’ the costs — since the Pentagon insists that there are still ‘hidden’ costs that are being incurred.
This is a shame.
This, ‘stick to the public, to make them squeal’ stuff with the sequestration, does not sit well with me. This is D.C. playing games with us. Yes, I am totally in favor of them cutting expenditure and increasing revenues. But, this petty sequestration stuff is pathetic and is just trying to get a raise out of the public — when the only thing they should trying to raise is taxes.
The Band can’t make it to Dartmouth but how much foreign aid are they giving to Israel and Egypt this year? Yes, MY PRESIDENT should stop using the gas guzzling ‘Air Force 1’ as if it was a golf cart. Scale back on his trips or use a more cost effective plane. If you look at some of the cuts, in addition to the White House tours, Military Bands and the Blue Angels, they are all to do with the elderly, the poor and kids. This is crazy. There are 30,000 troops in the DMZ in Korea. In my estimation it would take about 20 minutes to achieve a successful and permanent regime change in North Korea. Rather than spending all this money they should just eliminate the North Korean ‘problem’ and just have a united Korea. That would save billions.
Yes, this stuff makes me livid. I hold MY PRESIDENT responsible for some of this. He loves to play his little games too. I guess we now have to wait for Hillary.
The good news is that the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble is proceedings with their concert despite the let down. It should, as with everything Hopkins’ related, be another great concert. We won’t be able to make it, but I am sure it will be a blast.