04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., the sponsor



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House on Thursday voted to end federal funding to National Public Radio. Republican supporters said it made good fiscal sense, and Democratic opponents called it an ideological attack that would deprive local stations of access to programs such as "Car Talk" and "All Things Considered."

The bill, passed 228-192 along mainly partisan lines, would bar federal funding of NPR and prohibit local public stations from using federal money to pay NPR dues and buy its programs. The prospects of support in the Democratic-controlled Senate are slim. Seven Republicans broke ranks to vote against the bill.

NPR received almost $5 million in federal funding in fiscal year 2010. In that year its revenues also included $2.8 million in dues and $63 million in programming fees from local stations, its largest single source of revenue. Under the bill, stations would still be allowed to buy NPR programs using private funds and use federal funds to produce their own programs.

"It is time for American citizens to stop funding an organization that can stand on its own feet," said Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., the sponsor. He said it was not a question of content - which many conservatives say has a liberal bias - but whether taxpayer dollars should go to nonessential services. "As a country we no longer have this luxury."

Other Republicans also denied that the measure was a vendetta against NPR, although the organization left itself open to conservative attacks last week when an executive, talking to conservative activists posing as members of a fake Muslim group, was caught on camera deriding the tea party movement and saying the NPR would be better off without federal funding. Both the executive and the president of NPR resigned after the incident.

"Nobody's on a rampage," said Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who also asked "why should we allow taxpayer dollars to be used to advocate one ideology?"

Democrats retorted that the legislation would do nothing to reduce the deficit and would be a blow to local public stations that rely on the national programs that include "Morning Edition" and "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me" to attract listeners. "This bill would pull the plug," said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass. "It would snuff out stations from coast to coast, many in rural areas where the public radio station is the primary source of news and information."

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., displayed a blow-up photo of the two brothers who host the car advice show "Car Talk" with the caption, referring to their nicknames, reading "Save Click and Clack."

The White House said it "strongly opposed" the bill and voiced similar objections, saying "undercutting funding for these radio stations, notably ones in rural areas where such outlets are already scarce, would result in communities losing valuable programming, and some stations could be forced to shut down altogether."

The move to curtail federal subsidies for NPR follows a House vote last month, as part of the GOP plan to cut federal spending for the remainder of this budget year, to take back some $86 million budgeted for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the parent organization of NPR. That proposal, which also faces opposition in the Senate, eliminates $430 million in planned future spending for CPB.

In a statement following the vote, CPB President and CEO Patricia Harrison said Americans "overwhelmingly agree that public broadcasting is a service worthy of the federal government" and "rather than penalize public broadcasting, the debate should focus on strengthening and supporting this valuable national asset."

In fiscal years 2009 and 2010 the CPB distributed federal grant money to more than 600 public radio stations, which used that money to buy programs and pay dues to NPR.

NPR says that of its $145.5 million in budgeted revenues in the fiscal year ending last September, only 1. 9 percent came from station dues. The biggest chunk, $63 million or 43 percent, came from station program fees. Another $36 million, or 24.7 percent, was derived from corporate sponsorships. About 3 percent came from grants from federally funded agencies such as the CPB and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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