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Apr 15, 2011

Urgent Alert

Dear Friend of Justice and Peace,

We face an urgent, significant threat to U.S. humanitarian aid. A new proposal in the House of Representatives will eliminate 43% of the funding for international affairs requested by Obama. This vote on 2012 funding comes right after activity over 2011 funding, and could easily be missed. A 43% cut would seriously imperil the ability thofe United States to meet needs for humanitarian aid or genocide prevention.

If possible, please call your member of Congress, and forward to other individuals interested networks urging them to call their Representative in opposition to H.Con.Res.34. The call would have to be made this morning. More details are in the 'Save Darfur' sample email below to share with your friend list.

Please be in touch with LPF or Save Darfur with questions, and thanks for all you do.

All the best,
Glen Gersmehl, LPF
Joe Maddens, Save Darfur

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SAMPLE EMAIL

Fight Devastating Cuts to the International Affairs Budget
Dear _________,
Please call your Representative today or tomorrow morning and urge him or her to vote against H.Con.Res.34.
Tomorrow the House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.Con.Res.34. If passed, H.Con.Res.34 would drastically reduce the spending level in the international affairs account for the 2012 fiscal year. The account is critical because it:

  • Ensures that the United States has the diplomatic capacity to support peace in Darfur and throughout Sudan;
  • Saves lives by supporting humanitarian aid programs in countries where populations are the most vulnerable. Examples include Sudan, Burma, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Works to ensure more effective genocide and mass atrocity prevention and civilian response; and
  • Furthers the United States’ national security interests.
The House Budget Committee’s proposal would slash the international affairs account by $27 billion over the President’s request. This marks a 43% reduction in funding from what the president requested. The disproportionate targeting will put lives at risk in Sudan and jeopardize national interests.
A robust international affairs account is essential for national security and is supported by top military officials including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen and Commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan General David Petraeus. Last year, Secretary Gates appeared alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to speak out against cuts to the international affairs budget because of their risk to national security.
Please call your Representative today or tomorrow morning and urge him or her to vote against H.Con.Res.34 due to its drastic cuts to the international affairs budget.
Thank you.

Apr 7, 2011

Just how much is a BILLION dollars?

Its budget time in Washington and we hear a lot of big numbers being thrown around. But just how big are these numbers?


Thanks to Wayne Cornelius of the Raleigh, North Carolina LPF Chapter for this piece.

I saw this image in the latest issue of the statistical journal, Significance. (Our friend, Dennis Boos, has contributed to Significance on other topics, by the way. But he’s not involved with this work.) It reminded me of the accordion-folded graph about the U.S. national budget that was circulated at last year’s State Fair Peace Booth. The author is a London-based journalist. In his own words,

This image arose out of frustration with media reporting of billion dollar amounts. That is, that they’re meaningless without context. But they’re continually reported as self-evident facts. 500 billion for this war. 50 billion for this pipeline. Literally mind-boggling amounts of money.So here we’ve scraped reported figures from The New York Times, The Guardian, and other news outlets and visualized them as a treemap (?). So you can see in one place figures that would otherwise be scattered across multiple news reports.

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/the-billion-dollar-o-gram-2009/. Credit for the graphic and interpretation, David McCandless,2009 Creative Commons license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). Data: http://bit.ly/bndollar


One further note: When you see a BILLION mentioned in the foreign press, it could be off by a magnitude because there is no common definition of how much a billion or a trillion is!
see: http://eyeful-tower.com/muse/billion.htm