I recently received a hysterical email from someone on a mailing list I subscribe to, ranting and raving about the dangers of the Global Poverty Act, which was authored by Barack Obama and is currently up for consideration by the Senate. Apparently it’s also being spammed all over the internet, even on craigslist. While I agree that any program which could potentially send a great amount of US taxpayer money overseas ought to be opposed on principle, what troubles me about the email I was sent, is that it is chock-full of blatant lies about the content of the act.
I should have known something was fishy when I saw a link at the end of the email to infowars.com, and I suspect that site or one of the many associated conspiracy fringe sites is where the text of the message originated, despite its attempt to establish some legitimacy with conservatives by referencing citizensunited.org, which is run by the very conservative but relatively respectable documentarian David Bossie who is closely associated with Newt Gingrich. The style of fearmongering seems much more characteristic of the Alex Jones fringe than anything more mainstream.
Here’s the text of the email I received:
IT’S ALREADY STARTED FOLKS..BE AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON….
SENATE BILL S. 2433 THE GLOBAL POVERTY ACT
According to David Bossie, President of the group ‘Citizens United for American Sovereignty’, based out of Merrifield Virginia , website: http://www.citizensunited.org/ the above-mentioned Senate Bill (S. 2433) is a piece of legislation in the works that all Americans need to know about and know now!
This bill, sponsored by none other than Sen. Barack Obama, with the backing of Joe Biden on the Foreign Relations Committee, and liberal democrats in Congress, is nothing short of a massive giveaway of American wealth around the world, and a betrayal of the public trust, because, if passed, this bill would give over many aspects of our sovereignty to the United Nations.
The noble sounding name of this bill, ‘The Global Poverty Act’ is actually a Global Tax, payable to the United Nations, that will be required of all American taxpayers. If passed in the Senate, the House has already passed it, this bill would require the U.S. to increase our foreign aid by $65 BILLION per year, or $845 BILLION over the next 13 years! That’s on top of the billions of dollars in foreign aid we already pay out!
In addition to the economic burdens this potential law would place on our precarious economy, the bill, if passed in the Senate, would also endanger our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms by obligating us to meet certain United Nations mandates.
According to Senator Obama, we should establish these United Nations’ goals as benchmarks for U.S. spending. What are they?
• The creation of a U.N. International Criminal Court having the power to try and convict American citizens and soldiers without any protection from the U.S. Constitution.
• A standing United Nations Army forcing U.S. soldiers to serve under U.N. command.
• A Gun Ban on all small arms and light weapons –which would repeal our Second Amendment right to bear arms.
• The ratification of the ‘ Kyoto ‘ global warming treaty and numerous other anti-American measures.
Recently, the Senate Subcommittee on Foreign Relations (where Sen. Joe Biden sits) approved this plan by a voice vote without any discussion! Why all the secrecy? If Senators Obama and Biden are so proud of this legislation, then why don’t they bring it out into the light of day and let the American people have a look at it instead of hiding it behind closed doors and sneaking it through Congress for late night votes
It may be only a matter of time before this dangerous legislation reaches a floor vote in the full body of the Senate.
Please write or call, email your representatives, the White House, the media, or anyone you think will listen, and express your opinions regarding this Global Tax giveaway and betrayal of the American people at a time when our nation and our people are already heavily burdened with the threats to our freedoms and economic prosperity.
Please send this email to as many folks out there in your networks as you can. And ASAP!
The questionable part begins when the email starts listing the supposed “benchmarks” which Obama is setting for US spending. While Obama may believe in some of these things, he’s certainly never publicly endorsed them, and they are absolutely not included in the bill. If you read the text of the bill which is linked at the start of this article, it says not one word about giving up US sovereignty to the international criminal court, a UN army, a gun ban or the Kyoto treaty. Those are all terrible ideas which I would certainly oppose, but they are just not in this bill at all.
Those issues are ones which the extremist fringe seems to trot out whenever they want to do a little fearmongering. I’m surprised there’s nothing in there about open borders or immigration, since that usually goes hand in hand with these other hot-button issues.
What’s more, even the part about the cost of the bill is a complete fabrication. The bill includes no appropriations and only requests the president to come up with a plan to address the international poverty issues which the bill raises. The bill is entirely without cost as it is written and obligates us to not one single cent of spending, though what it proposes would certainly eventually have a pretty hefty cost. The figures included in the email appear to be just made up on the spot.
The association with David Bossie is very clever. He apparently has expressed opposition to the bill at some point, but most of what is said after he is mentioned seems not to have come from him in any way. Where some of the various issues raised in the email do come from is the UN’s Millenium Declaration, a document which the US has not signed on to support and which this bill explicitly does not require us to sign on to. The Millenium Declaration does include an endorsement of Kyoto, support for strengthening the International Criminal Court and language about restricting the traffic in firearms, but even it doesn’t include a full gun ban or the standing UN army idea. Most importantly the Global Poverty Act doesn’t require signing on to the entire Millenium Declaration, it just requests that the president look into the best way to implement the section of that plan which applies to global poverty. It’s a costly proposal, but it is not the same as agreeing to all the provisions of the Millenium Declaration.
This kind of deceptive email propaganda gets repeated and distributed and expressed in posts and comments all over the internet every day. I understand and agree with the sincere desire to defeat this bill which could lead to huge amounts of spending we can ill-afford, but it ought to be sufficient to oppose it based on its very real flaws and excessive cost. Disseminating a bizarre array of untruths and misrepresentations of the bill just gets those who oppose it for legitimate reasons written off as part of the lunatic fringe and by association it reduces the credibility of any opposition to the bill. That’s just conterproductive.