The drama in Libya reached a conclusion with the violent deathof Moammar Khadafy. He scurried from a filthy drainpipe where hewas cowering and ran smack into rebel troops near Sirte whoafforded him the same measure of mercy he gave his opponents.He was a violent and cruel person who met a violent and cruel end.We should not debate or exult in the fact that he is dead. Now isthe time for the Libyan people to choose a new government. Theyneed assistance to assure that another dictator does not takeKhadafy’s place. It is vitally important for the people of theUnited States and the people of Libya to make every effort to havea democratic, pluralistic and stable government lead the people ofLibya out of darkness.Many people bemoan the fact that the U.S. is involved in worldpolitics. However, the U.S. is involved with the world and theworld is involved with the U.S. Some call for an end to alleconomic and military aid to the world community, but if we don’tgive assistance then other nations will fill the vacuum. Thesedonors will influence world politics in a way that may beantagonistic to U.S. interests.The U.S. provides between $50 and $60 billion in aid to countriesaround the world. This aid gives us a voice and credibility aroundthe globe. This amount will not retire the national debt and is asmall amount compared to the military and social expenditures inour annual budget.In fact, as a percentage of our GDP, the amount is somewhat stingycompared to other nations. Americans by their nature are generousand donate considerable sums to many charities. Our governmentneeds to be involved on the world stage and it costs money to dothat. We could trim our national debt by 25 percent over 10 yearsmerely by reducing military and agricultural subsidy expendituresalone. We need to take a cue from the American people and realizethat our generosity is a strength and not a weakness.**Governor Cuomo appointed Joe Lhota as the new CEO of the MTA. Mr.Lhota was a deputy mayor and an MTA board member, so he should havethe experience to do something with the troubled agency. He mustcut the waste in the bureaucratic authority while directing limitedcapital funds to its most pressing infrastructure needs.**Viewers enjoyed great entertainment while watching the Republicanpresidential candidates’ debates. Rick Perry of Texas showed thenation he was no pushover when he vigorously attacked front-runnerMitt Romney on several issues.The charismatic Herman Cain gave no reasonable defense to attackson the simplistic 9-9-9 economic plan. It sounded more like ajingle for a famous chain of sandwich shops. The debates didprovide a service to the American people by showing it will be atwo-person race between Romney and Perry.**Conservative commentators personally blame President Obama for oursluggish economy but cannot report any good economic news. Ordersfor manufactured goods have risen and first-time jobless claimshave declined. Now we need a plan to stabilize the foreclosureprocess, which would be a great boon to homeowners and the economy.A progressive Medicare tax, an increase to the age of retirement,and a means test for Social Security benefits would be helpful inturning our fiscal problems around.Brian Kieran is a community activist who works for the State ofNew York and is a Democrat.
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