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April 19th, 2011
04:39 PM ET

Should U.S. be funding Mideast rebel groups?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In the abstract, it's a noble calling: Support oppressed people's yearning to breath free. Over the years, the United States has made a general practice of coming down on the side of people who are fighting for their freedom. But now that there are a dozen uprisings in the Middle East, it's probably worth taking a closer look to see if it's really that good of an idea.

Syria, for example, has been the scene of unrest since mid-March. The Washington Post reports that the U.S. State Department has secretly financed several Syrian political opposition groups since 2005. The Post reporting was based on diplomatic cables the folks at Wiki-leaks got a hold of. The State Department refused comment on the authenticity of the cables, but a deputy assistant secretary of state said the State Department does not endorse political parties or movements. Baloney.

If you provide aid - military, financial, humanitarian - you do.

In Libya, nobody knows who we are supporting but by participating in NATO-led air strikes, we're supporting someone. And as tensions continue to rise in Yemen, Bahrain, Iran, and elsewhere, we may want to exercise caution about who we are getting into bed with...

Oh, and the other part is we don't have any money. We really don't have any money. And for people in this country who have been unemployed for years, can't find a job and are faced with the thought of their unemployment benefits running out, telling them we're giving cash to a shadowy poorly organized dysfunctional group of malcontents in some faraway middle eastern country ain't going to go down so well.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. be funding rebel groups in the Middle East?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • Government • Middle East • Senate • Senate and Congress • United States
April 19th, 2011
04:35 PM ET

Should states require drug tests for public assistance?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Twenty-seven U.S. states, as red as Arizona and Georgia and as blue as New York and California, may soon be adding another requirement for those applying for aid such as unemployment or welfare: Being clean.

More than half the states in this country are considering legislation that would require recipients of public assistance to pass a drug test before getting their handout from the government.

The details vary from state to state, of course.

A bill in the South Carolina state senate, for example, would suspend unemployment checks to any person who didn't get a job because of a failed drug test. A measure in Arizona would call for random drug testing for all people who receive welfare. In Massachusetts, a bill has been introduced requiring random drug tests for recipients of public assistance who have prior drug convictions. If you fail the drug test, you would be placed by the state into a rehab program because of the state's mandatory health care program.

Of course, if these measures pass, they will likely be opposed by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches. In 1989, the Supreme Court ruled that "suspicionless searches," like many drug tests, violate Fourth Amendment rights, unless those tests are conducted for specific reasons like public safety.

On the other hand, I don't want my tax money being used to buy illegal drugs. And that seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Here’s my question to you: Should states require drug tests in exchange for public assistance?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: United States