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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » UN Asshat calls US "Stingy" for "Only" 15 Million in Aid. (Page 0)

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Author Topic: UN Asshat calls US "Stingy" for "Only" 15 Million in Aid.
LoverOfJoy
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Compared to Europe, don't we tax our people significantly less? Some of those governments take half their people's incomes, right? Of course they should be more "generous" as a country. [Big Grin]

Perhaps GDP isn't the best way to guage how much should be donated.

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LoverOfJoy
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What makes it harder to guage is international organizations.

For instance, the LDS church is likely going to donate a lot (both in money and supplies) but how much came from Americans and how much from mormons outside the US?

Many American mormons report on tax forms how much they donated in general to the church but I know many don't. There isn't any breakdown from donations as to how much went to "foreign aid" of some sort.

I'm sure similar things could be said for many other churches and organizations. We donate a lot but it's hard to figure where all those donations actually go to. Not all donations go to a specialized pot.

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Daruma28
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Another aspect that gets completely ignored is tha plain and simple fact that much of foreign aid given by our governmnet to other countries is often subverted for the ruling classes to personally benefit while the people it was intended for continue to suffer from the problems the foreign aid is supposedly meant for.

That is why I too support Tez's view that we should not be giving foreign aid for our tax dollars simply in the name of 'humanitarian' causes. Strategic causes are quite different, but simply humanitarian causes? Since our private charity organizations are more effective, I'd prefer that be the focus, with the only role government plays in is oversight to prevent private charity corruption.

And David, you are partially correct. Apparently I fell for the spin from the CNN article I initially posted....but just because he said 'we' doesn't mean he didn't intend to include the US in it. Given the UN's track record, I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever he definitely meant to include the US in his indictment....afterall, the US is considered part of the "wealthy West."

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Daruma28
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Aside from all this debate, I'd like to call on everyone to contribute to the victims of this tragedy in any way they can. One of our local shipping companies is collecting supplies like tarps, bottled water, canned food etc. to fill up containers to ship to Indonesia. I'm going to donate some supplies today.

Also, here's a useful site for anyone else interested in helping out: http://tsunamihelp.blogspot.com/

This blog has been set up to to consolidate as much information about the Tsunami and aid relief programs into one place in cyberspace to make it easier for the world to help out.

We don't need the government to use our tax dollars for aid to justify our sense of humanitarianism and good will. I think most people in this country can do quite well in that regards on their own, thank you very much.

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carmachu
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quote:
I agree. The numbers I have seen are directly from USAid and the American Philanthropy Association. The only reason Americans are riled about this is because those statistics the UN compiled and use clearly do not give the full picture of American foreign aid.
Lets show the lies of statistics shall we? On another board, someone through up the article(I'll have to drag it back here at a later date).

The mythical UN percentage numbers, Norway gives the recommended 0.7% GNP, which is in real numbers $2 billion. The 'stingy' US, not counting military aid, personel, private agencies and charities, gives "only" 0.15, but in real numbers is actually $15.8 billion dollars.

Now see why US folks are pissy.


carmachu

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Daruma28
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Carmachu, it really boils down to the entitlement mentality that comes with dependance. It's not 'Thank you for your contributions' it's 'why aren't you giving even more.'

To all those people that grumble about the percentage of GDP that America gives to foreign aid and disaster releif, I call on you to put your money where your mouth is and donate to the American Red Cross or some other organization involved in helping the Tsunami victims. Even one dollar per person in the US would be an enormous sum.

If you won't or don't, please....just STFU and spare the rest of us your guilt trip. Just because you voted for a politician that you think would have advocated donating more tax dollars than currently pledged doesn't mean YOU are on some moral high ground to call the rest of our country "stingy" or "greedy."

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KidA
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I don't want to get in the middle of this rather harsh debate. I'd like to offer a few numbers though.

The most generous county thus far in aid to the Tsunami victims appears to be the UK, whose total government aid comes to 50 million pounds, or a little over $96 million. Add to this the 22million pounds ($42.2 million) raised by the public charity, that comes to $138.2 million.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tsunami/story/0,15671,1381100,00.html

I can't find info on American charities yet. I'm not accusing the U.S. citizens of lacking charity.

KidA gave $25 to the Red Cross yesterday, for which he got a tongue-lashing from Mrs. KidA, because KidA "still" has a substantial credit card debt, and KidA - working as he does for a non-profit theater - is not exactly pulling in mad money.

I think the U.S. does pretty well by other countries in general, though I think we could do more. More importantly, I think we could spend our money better. We pledge billions to stop AIDS worldwide, for instance, and then refuse to teach the use of condoms as part of the prevention program. Wasted money, I think.

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Everard
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Some thoughts on why the US might be criticized for its lack of generosity on this matter.

We are currently heavily involved in military action, and our administration is about to ask for another huge chunk of money for the war effort. This war effort is eating up billions of dollars of federal money. Most people in industrialized nations around the world, and approximately half of americans, believe this war is a bad thing.

On the other hand, there are very few people in the world who believe that helping out in the wake of a huge natural disaster is a bad thing.

There are literally millions of people who will need economic assistance in the upcoming months, as a direct result of this earthquake. The US government has just said "We can offer 35 million dollars to ease the suffering. Meanwhile, we are going to ask for 90 billion dollars to continue a war effort in Iraq that most of you don't believe is justified."

Whether or not 35 million dollars is a reasonable sum for the united states to supply, in contrast to our massive spending on an invasion and occupation, it appears, and is, paltry.

There is a sentiment, legitimate or not, that the US right now is more concerned with spreading its power then doing actual good. With that belief, looking at the numbers for foreign disaster relief, and spending for warfare, it can easily appear that the US is donating far less money then it could, and that the reason we don't send more AID is because we are more concerned about waging war then rebuilding homes.

Whether this is a legitimate belief or not, well, its not an argument for this thread. But I think thats WHY there might be criticism aimed at the US for only sending 35 million in aid.

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KidA
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Ditto what Ev said.

Another great example of this is our post-war aid to Afghanistan. The cumulative total for the past 3 years barely tops 3 billion - while the country countinues to struggle to fight the opium growers and warlords who render Karzai little more than the "Mayor of Kabul."

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carmachu
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quote:
Originally posted by KidA:
I don't want to get in the middle of this rather harsh debate. I'd like to offer a few numbers though.

The most generous county thus far in aid to the Tsunami victims appears to be the UK, whose total government aid comes to 50 million pounds, or a little over $96 million. Add to this the 22million pounds ($42.2 million) raised by the public charity, that comes to $138.2 million.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tsunami/story/0,15671,1381100,00.html

I can't find info on American charities yet. I'm not accusing the U.S. citizens of lacking charity.

KidA gave $25 to the Red Cross yesterday, for which he got a tongue-lashing from Mrs. KidA, because KidA "still" has a substantial credit card debt, and KidA - working as he does for a non-profit theater - is not exactly pulling in mad money.

I think the U.S. does pretty well by other countries in general, though I think we could do more. More importantly, I think we could spend our money better. We pledge billions to stop AIDS worldwide, for instance, and then refuse to teach the use of condoms as part of the prevention program. Wasted money, I think.

quote:
Whether this is a legitimate belief or not, well, its not an argument for this thread. But I think thats WHY there might be criticism aimed at the US for only sending 35 million in aid.
Do more? *spits on the ground* Does that total moneis include the marine expedition force, the naval group with aircraft carrier and at least one coast guard boat, and some search and rescue plane units, and of course the personal of all the listed?

I think not.

*Shrug* More than likely, we'll top a billion at the end, as the needs and stuff continue. BUT just to be a REAL cynical bastard, I call on the UN itself to cough up a billion dollars, since hey, HOW much did you steal in the oil for food program?

carmachu

[ December 30, 2004, 07:59 PM: Message edited by: carmachu ]

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KidA
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Lovely.
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JLMyers
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quote:
Do more? *spits on the ground* Does that total moneis include the marine expedition force, the naval group with aircraft carrier and at least one coast guard boat, and some search and rescue plane units, and of course the personal of all the listed?
Does no one read my posts? I made this point on the fifth post of the thread.

quote:
What is the cost of the military aid; ships, planes for recon and airlifting food, and supplies, and soldiers to assist in the rescue and rebuilding efforts? Does that get figured in with the 15 mil? I bet not. I bet that is on top of that figure. I have to agree with Darum; F him.

KE

And I still think it is a good point. One which none of the US-bashers has addressed.

KE

[ December 30, 2004, 10:05 PM: Message edited by: JLMyers ]

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KidA
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"What is the cost of the military aid; ships, planes for recon and airlifting food, and supplies, and soldiers to assist in the rescue and rebuilding efforts? Does that get figured in with the 15 mil? I bet not."

Apparently, it does.

"Pledges of U.S. assistance remained at $35 million, but parallel Pentagon spending was spiraling upward and could not be calculated quickly. The relief included the arrival of four C-130 cargo planes in Thailand loaded with food, water and sheltering material, and a large supply of rice and other food and assistance was due to arrive in Indonesia by New Year's Eve, a senior U.S. official said."

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20041231/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/tsunami_us


The article also notes "Several European countries far outdistanced the United States in pledges. They include Britain, $95 million; Sweden, $75.5 million; Spain, $68 million and France, $57 million."


Anyway, why wouldn't that figure include those things? It's not like we're writing them a check. The aid figure is the total cost of our aid operations.

I'm sure that the U.S pledge is just an initial amount, and that plenty more will follow - if that makes you feel any better.

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KidA
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Ah, I'm a little slow to put 2 + 2 together tonight. The "parallel Pentagon spending" may include some of what you're referring to.

But then, the same may be true of all the other countries....

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Tezcatlipoca
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quote:
The way I see it, when one gives a private donation, they are giving the donation on the behalf of themself or on the behalf of their family. I think of foreign aid as giving a monetary donation on the behalf of the nation, which I think, is important. Regardless of whether or not the United States has something to gain in the situation, we have the moral obligation to help those less fortunate than we. I can agree that some types of foreign aid should come with more strings attached or that we should consider giving out more loans or lessen the amount of aid in certain situations, but in this situation, I clearly think that we, as a nation, have the moral obligation to give what we can to those nations devasted by the tsunami.

Moral obligation? And what code of morals are you talking about? Is there some law in our government that says I must help my fellow man if I don't want to?

All this talk of moral obligation is starting to sound like it is from some religious organization. If you are talking as if you are from a religious organization, why don't you give your money through a religous organization. As far as I can see it you are basically forcing your idea of morals into my pocket, and taking my money without my approval. Would you like it if I wrote a check for you to the Satanic Club, because I felt you had a moral obligation to, even though you aren't a member?

Taxes are not meant to be used for humanitarian aid, charity is. But your religous morals where it belongs, with religous organizations. The government is not a religous organization, that that is not it's purpose. I don't care how morally justified you feel with taking my money and giving it to other people so they will feel better, it is still stealing. If you believe that it is the right thing to do then you are simply a moral relativist.

And you still haven't given me a solid reason for helping these countries. Why don't you appeal to my brain instead of my heart. I might be a cold-hearted calculating bastard, but you can still get money out of me if you make it seem worth my while.

quote:
We are currently heavily involved in military action, and our administration is about to ask for another huge chunk of money for the war effort. This war effort is eating up billions of dollars of federal money. Most people in industrialized nations around the world, and approximately half of americans, believe this war is a bad thing.

On the other hand, there are very few people in the world who believe that helping out in the wake of a huge natural disaster is a bad thing.

So? I believe that spending all that money on the war is worth it, because I see benefits to that investment. I don't see a benefit to the investment of helping a group of people survive simply so they can drain more money from me later. I choose not to be responsible for those people, they need to be responsible for themselves. That is, unless you can convince me that spending billions on them would be to my advantage.

I don't care what you think about the war effort, that is not the issue in this thread. The issue is why bother helping these people when they can offer nothing back? Can you convince me that they actually do have something worthwhile to give me?

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Richard Dey
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Kelcimer doesn't "think these countries are that high on the "hate america" list. They are Asian countries, not muslem." More than half the victims will be Muslims.

Anti-American, Anti-Christian, Secessionist, Homophobic, and rabidly Islamic: that describes Aceh. That's what prompted my snide comment about Allah's Will Be Done. Malaya is not poor. And Ceylon is a pile of gems promoted on three channels of television.

I'm hardly cheap, but the real losers here are the Nicobars (which we should not resettle with one penny of American funds); they are flat, they should never have been settled, and India just HAD to have them because they expanded India's maximum easterly and southerly statistics. It was hubris, and it has proved deadly.

Can we now buy into this sorrow? Can we 'take advantage' of a tragic situation? Can we win the hearts and minds of Muslims of the Indian Ocean? A few billion later we may have an answer: no.

We can't buy friends. I held my nose and wrote a cheque to a bank in Thailand that I know can use it well.

We are not stingey. We use private funds for charity -- and that's the sensible way for charity to be used. I don't trust these huge relief organizations that ignored Uganda, have ignored the Sudan, and squabble it all (squander it all?) in fancy NY restaurants.

Little stories add up. My father crawled naked across New Guinea in 1945 only to be denied a cup of coffee by the Red Cross because he'd lost his dog tag in an air crash. Sorry. I'd give to the pink swastika before I gave to the red cross.

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Daruma28
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Just please note Richard that there is a world of difference between the American Red Cross and the almost viruently anti-American International Red Cross (but I didn't know they were that way even in 1945?!?!?)
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Jon Camp
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As noted here some of the USA's private donation pledges are already over $127 million -- on top of the $35 million pledged by the government. Additionally, as has been noted, we've already got supplies headed that direction by sea nad by air which is in addition to the cash assistance, and there are also 7 water purification ships on the way.

Add all that up and I think we're probably already over a billion with more continuing to be given and pledged over time.

But our government didn't pledge it as straight cash assistance, so I guess it doesn't count. [Roll Eyes]

Some other links:

Bellicose Woman
Daniel Drezner
Glenn Reynolds
CNN Money Report

Edit: From the CNN page alone there is nearly $70 million in cash pledged, plus additional offers of medicines and other assistance of goods that haven't been quantified in hard numbers as to cash value yet. When it all shakes out, I wouldn't be surprised if the US provides somewhere in the neighborhood of 35% of ALL contributions, just like we normally do, all by ourselves.

[ December 31, 2004, 01:48 PM: Message edited by: Jon Camp ]

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Jon Camp
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Was going to edit in an update, but it tells me I can't, so:

UPDATE: Reuters

US Govt now pledges $350 million in cash assistance.

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canadian
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Most countries are willing to be more than generous once the extent of the need is known. Canada's intial pledge was 5 million which has now grown to 40 million. I wouldn't be surprised if that amount is more than doubled in coming weeks as the real severity of the damage becomes more apparent.

Just like the US and UK, we also have enormous sums being donated by corporations and citizenry.

It's too bad that some representatives can't keep their mouths shut. It reminds me of a story a girlfriend told me.

Her mother saw a homeless man sitting outside a gas station, so when she went in to pay for her gas, she also bought a sandwhich for him. She came out and gave it to him. He opened the packaging, turned the sandwich around in his hands and handed it back.

"I don't eat ham."

My point is, be grateful for what you are offered. There's nothing more distasteful than looking a gift horse in the mouth, or complaining when you get one.

Just for some balance, I'll add this:

Maybe giving with a poor and stingy spirit is almost as bad as not being grateful. The truth is, none of know when we might need a little help ourselves. A miserly resentment to giving of ourselves is pretty low.

[ December 31, 2004, 04:18 PM: Message edited by: canadian ]

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DonaldD
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Aw, canadian, you just beat me to this thread...

Since its inception, I've been chuckling at this thread as another example of US navel-gazing. I think every western country saw itself reflected in Mr. Egeland's statement; Canadian's went into hand-wringing mode ("Why are we so stingy, boo hoo") and US'ers (at least as far as Ornerites are concerned) seemed to fall back into a jingoistic "attack the messenger" pose. But only the US, it seems, has the hubris to believe that "we", spoken by a Norwegian, means the US specifically.

At any rate, I think the guy did a great job - with one turn of phrase, yes, he pissed off a lot of people, but he also put the funding issue front and centre on all the major media, in such a way that people just couldn't ignore it.

His gaffe may lead to increased donations and commitments, but it's almost certain that he got the ball rolling earlier than otherwise would have been the case.

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Daruma28
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Donald D, your hypothesis is ridiculous.

If this guy never said a word, I state emphatically that not one iota of donations and aid offered by the US or any other Western country would be a penny less than what is already been promised and/or delivered.

I certainly didn't make my own donations with regards to ANY kind of guilt trip or statement by a UN asshat, and I doubt anyone else did either.

And if anyone tries to posit the notion that Bush has been "shamed" into upping the ante, they are just using this disaster to take another partisan potshot.

Fact is, as Canadian alluded to, when a disaster first occurs, an immediate amount of money is promised at the outset (like the US's initial 15 million pledge), with increases invariably forthcoming as the extent of the damage and casualty count is accurately assesed. And that can be demonstrated by simply looking at our countries track record of disaster aid throughout recent history, regardless of which party occupies the White House.

Anyone who thinks this UN Asshat should be commended for providing motivation is simply projecting their own ideas that the US and other Western countries are not humanitarian oriented and will only do so if shamed into it. [Roll Eyes]

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WarrsawPact
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Oh my God...

And the winner is...

That's *really* tasteless.

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JLMyers
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quote:
And if anyone tries to posit the notion that Bush has been "shamed" into upping the ante, they are just using this disaster to take another partisan potshot.
Daruma,

Nice preemptive strike. [Wink]

KE

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carmachu
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quote:


His gaffe may lead to increased donations and commitments, but it's almost certain that he got the ball rolling earlier than otherwise would have been the case. [/QB]

Bull****.


Folks and countries arent going to fork out huge sums on no data: Powell And Jeb Bush(whose experience in florida is a help) also went over to assess.

No sense giving money to the UN whose habit of stealing is well known.

Personally as the situation continues to be asssessed, I fully expect even more money to go out.


carmachu

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Zacharias Sigismund
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THE thing is that America IS very stingy when it comes to aid in general. the international and historical agreement for al rich nations is to give away around 1 percent of BNP or GNP to poor nations. the us has consistently failed to do so. Actually the number even dropped, through negotiotians to 0.7 percent. But even that was too much for the US, not even less than 1 cent on the dollar, they could spare. Now, if that;s not stingy, i dunno whAT IS. yes, yes other countries are refusing to give too, but in view of the much larger number the us could give ... Besides, the US is always telling countries what to do, so ... What the UN guy was doing, was not just 'his job' as some of you with prolly less values have stated, he was trying to shame you into giving more on a structural basis.
Of course this nice guy from a friendly country like Norway doesn't truly realize that the US mostly consist of people like carmachu who simply have no shame, but only eyes for their ability to eat more pizza and clogging up the health system with their obscene obesity.
the way the us give aid might be through private funding but it goes more or less like this:
"hey we can give you money but not for an abortion or if you associate with abortion organisations you also don't get any money. We don;t care if you already have 12 children, because you were raped or something and you didn't have pills or condoms (we also frown on those) NO ABORTION related issues!!!"
Maybe the reason the us is 'donating' tru these private organisation, is that so they won't be held responsible for this, who knows.

you guys have and attitude like this and you still wonder why you get bombed? unreal.

And to even suggest that military expedition into iraq is aid, is a chutspah of the most devilish and evil kind.

compared to the japanese, 120 million people, 500 million dollar, you ARE stingy, 280 million people, 350 million dollars. And they have a lower BNP ...

I´d love to hear you whine on an on: "but it's our money, our money"

If thats the way you feel retract from the world bring all your troops home and de-invest al US business.

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Dave at Work
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QUOTE: Zacharias Sigismund said
quote:
the international and historical agreement for al rich nations is to give away around 1 percent of BNP or GNP to poor nations.
Name it. What is the name of this international and historical agreement? When did it take place? Where did it take place? Who participated? Who ratified it?

I do not see any information supporting this statement of yours in your post. I do recall reading an article comparing the annual aid donations of various countries as a percentage of their GNP, but there was no mention in the article I read about any international or historical agreement on what is considered an acceptable level of aid donations. Though there was plenty said about what a particular interviewee thought was appropriate.

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WarrsawPact
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Zacharias -
quote:
Of course this nice guy from a friendly country like Norway doesn't truly realize that the US mostly consist of people like carmachu who simply have no shame
Welcome to the Ornery American forums, Zach.
Unsupported blanket generalizations like the quote above don't get you anywhere. You got evidence that most Americans are shameless? Or are you just letting your biases roam free and giving us insight into just how far you're willing to go without providing a shred of proof supporting your description?

Perhaps our unwillingness to spend a certain amonut of money on the UN is how poorly they implement their programs. When UN officials cruise through Kabul in top-of-the-line brand new Toyota Land Cruisers at our expense, we start asking questions. When current and former UN employees release a book that talks about big UN parties involving loads of drugs and sex, and misappropriation of money in "peacekeeping" operations, we start getting digusted. When the UN puts the worst human rights abusers in the world on the Humans Rights Committee but kicks out the US for a year from said committee, we start spitting at their hat-in-hand illegitimacy.

The amount of money we give to the UN is not indicative of how stingy or generous we are. We simply don't have confidence in the UN to handle much of anything outside of health.

But when we see a good cause halfway around the world, the US government puts up $350 million in short order and private Americans and American corporations give over $262 million (as of January 3).
We sent warships into the area that are producing huge amounts of fresh water and we've started using helicopters in relief aid.

What's that UN guy got to say about the UN's role?
quote:
"We are doing very little at the moment," U.N. emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland acknowledged in New York.
What does he have to say about the US military's role?
quote:
The Abraham Lincoln arrived off the coast Saturday and immediately began launching the Seahawks inland to deliver the goods.

"Those helicopters are worth their weight in gold now," said UN emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland.
[...]
The Seahawks were only part of a massive U.S. mobilization to help survivors in the region.

From a Thai air base the U.S. once used to bring about death and destruction in Vietnam, American planes now are bringing hope to millions.

About 400 U.S. troops already have arrived at Utapao Air Base two hours east of Bangkok and more are on the way.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in the Thai capital said the total number of American military participating in the relief effort would likely be in the "tens of thousands."

Almost immediately after they touched down in Utapao, American C-130 aircraft began running supplies down to the stricken areas of Thailand's Andaman Sea coast. The planes disgorged badly needed food and clean water, blankets, temporary housing shelters and dry ice to keep thousands of badly decomposed bodies from wasting away any further.

The American relief operation will be "enormous and continuous," the embassy spokesman said.

And you just HAD to compare our government to that of the Japanese, the people who obviously would have the most sympathy for tsunami victims. How about comparing us with the rest of the world as of today, now that we've gone so far as to *illegally* promise an amount of money that Congress hasn't approved? How about comparing American corporations with others? Phizer's giving $35 million alone, Coca-Cola is giving $10 million, Amazon.com set up a link that's already gotten more than $13.3 million from visitors to the site, Exxon Mobil is giving $5 million, Bristoll-Myers Squibb is giving $5 million. Check out all American contributors as of last night.
How about American charities? Catholic Relief Services ("The official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community") is offering $25 million.
Then there's the American Red Cross with over $44 million. Mercy Corps is giving $4.5 million. Save the Children is giving $5 million. World Vision is giving $8 million. All American.

How about this? Americans don't need our government to give away our cash for us to be the most generous people in the world. Our citizens alone are generous enough to outclass everyone else by orders of magnitude in private donations and philanthropy. Consider the military aid (something we as citizens can't readily do) and $350 million from our government a perk.
American private parties, humph. Not like we've fed literally billions of people in the Third World when our greedy billionaires bankrolled the Green Revolution. Not like our money has been directly responsible for wiping many of the most terrible diseases from the planet. Not like American intervention has done more for the spread of human rights and democracy than any other country on earth. Much better to focus on the kill counts in our wars, focus on us "telling other countries what to do." Top notch, Zach.

And finally, wake up and smell the coffee. You can bitch and moan about how evil and stingy and whiny Americans are all you want, but without us you've got nothing. Remember that. Americans certainly remember the rest of the world, whether it be in charity donations (every day for the last six months at least, there has been one kind of charity promotion or another at my supermarket) when the world turns upside down. Our greedy, capitalist corporations and God-fearing church-goers are giving more than many Western *countries*. In case you hadn't noticed, we always give a lot of money. Not a month goes by without appeals for a specific charity at my church. Some nun who's been working in Central and South America for the last forty years comes in, talks about how terrible it is for some people, describes how far $40 can go there, and asks us to whip out our wallets and do it with a smile. And we do.

Insensitive, blind wrist-slappers and anti-American ivory tower residents need this kind of treatment.

quote:
you guys have and attitude like this and you still wonder why you get bombed? unreal.
And the award for the most shockingly insensitive, ignorant sarcastic remark goes to... Mr. Sigismund!
I mean, wow, consider the attitude of Saddam Hussein for decades. His idea of charity was $25,000 checks to families of suicide bombers who killed civilians at pizza parlors and on buses.
But you're right, it's much worse to send billions of dollars' worth of aid to a laundry list of countries. We're such ingrates. Bomb away!

[ January 04, 2005, 06:43 AM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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ed
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carmachu, an award appears to be in order... :>

ed

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Daruma28
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How about a reality check, Zacharias....pay attention to the bolded parts:

quote:


American stinginess is saving lives
By Mark Steyn
(Filed: 04/01/2005)

A week ago, people kept asking me for my opinion of the tsunami, and, to be honest, I didn't have one. It didn't seem the kind of thing to have an "opinion" on, even for an opinion columnist - not like who should win the election or whether we should have toppled Saddam. It was obviously a catastrophe, and it was certain the death toll would keep rising, and other than that there didn't seem a lot to opine about.

I've never subscribed to Macmillan's tediously over-venerated bit of political wisdom about "events, dear boy, events". Most "events" - even acts of God - come, to one degree or another, politically predetermined: almost exactly a year before the tsunamis, there were two earthquakes - one measuring 6.5 in California, one of 6.3 in Iran. The Californian quake killed two people and did little physical damage. The Iranian one killed 40,000 and reduced an entire city to rubble - not just the glories of ancient Persia, but all the schools and hospitals from the 1970s and 1980s. The event in itself wasn't devastating; the conditions on the ground made it so.

That said, a sudden unprecedented surge by the Indian Ocean is as near to a pure "event" as one can get, and it seemed churlish to huff afterwards about why the governments of Somalia or the Maldives hadn't made a tsunami warning system one of their budgetary priorities.

But the waters recede and the familiar contours of the political landscape re-emerge - in this case, the need to fit everything to the Great Universal Theory of the age, that whatever happens, the real issue is the rottenness of America. Jan Egeland, the Norwegian bureaucrat who's the big humanitarian honcho at the UN, got the ball rolling with some remarks about the "stinginess" of certain wealthy nations. And Clare Short piled in, and then Polly Toynbee threw in her three-ha'porth, reminding us that " 'Charity begins at home' is the mean-minded dictum of the Right". But even Telegraph readers subscribe to the Great Universal Theory. On our Letters Page, Robert Eddison dismissed the "paltry $15 million from Washington" as "worse than stingy. The offer - since shamefacedly upped to $35 million - equates to what? Three oil tycoons' combined annual salary?"

Mr Eddison concluded with a stirring plea to the wicked Americans to mend their ways: "If Washington is to lay any claim to the moral, as distinct from the military, high ground, let it emulate Ireland and Norway's prompt and proportionate attempts to plug South-East Asia's gaping gap of need and help avert a further 80,000 deaths from infection and untreated wounds."

If America were to emulate Ireland and Norway, there'd be a lot more dead Indonesians and Sri Lankans. Mr Eddison may not have noticed, but the actual relief effort going on right now is being done by the Yanks: it's the USAF and a couple of diverted naval groups shuttling in food and medicine, with solid help from the Aussies, Singapore and a couple of others. The Irish can't fly in relief supplies, because they don't have any C-130s. All they can do is wait for the UN to swing by and pick up their cheque.

The Americans send the UN the occasional postal order, too. In fact, 40 per cent of Egeland's budget comes from Washington, which suggests the Europeans aren't being quite as "proportionate" as Mr Eddison thinks. But, when disaster strikes, what matters is not whether your cheque is "prompt", but whether you are. For all the money lavished on them, the UN is hard to rouse to action. Egeland's full-time round-the-clock 24/7 Big Humanitarians are conspicuous by their all but total absence on the ground. In fact, they're doing exactly what our reader accused Washington of doing - Colin Powell, wrote Mr Eddison, "is like a surgeon saying he must do a bandage count before he will be in a position to staunch the blood flow of a haemorrhaging patient". That's the sclerotic UN bureaucracy. They've flown in (or nearby, or overhead) a couple of experts to assess the situation and they've issued press releases boasting about the assessments. In Sri Lanka, Egeland's staff informs us, "UNFPA is carrying out reproductive health assessments".

Which, translated out of UN-speak, means the Sri Lankans can go screw themselves.

One of the heartening aspects of the situation is how easy it is to make a difference. By the weekend, the Australians had managed not just to restore the water supply in Aceh, but to improve it. Even before the tsunami, most residents of the city boiled their water. But 10 army engineers from Darwin have managed to crack open the main lines and hook them up to a mobile filtration unit. This is nothing to do with Egeland and his office or how big a cheque the Norwegians sent.

Indeed, the effectiveness of these efforts seems to be what Miss Short finds so objectionable. Washington's announcement that it would be co-ordinating its disaster relief with Australia, India and Japan smacked too much of another "coalition of the willing". "I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to co-ordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN," she told the BBC. "Only really the UN can do that job. It is the only body that has the moral authority."

I didn't catch the interview, but I'm assuming that the Oil-for-Fraud programme and the Child-Sex-for-Food programme notwithstanding, Miss Short managed to utter that last sentence with a straight face. But, if you're a homeless Sri Lankan, what matters is not who has the moral authority, but who has the water tankers and medical helicopters. President Bush didn't even bother mentioning the UN in his statement. Kofi Annan, by contrast, has decided that the Aussie-American "coalition of the willing" is, in fact, a UN operation. "The core group will support the UN effort," he said. "That group will be in support of the efforts that the UN is leading."

So American personnel in American planes and American ships will deliver American food and American medicine and implement an American relief plan, but it's still a "UN-led effort". That seems to be enough for Kofi. His "moral authority" is intact, and Guardian columnists and Telegraph readers can still bash the Yanks for their stinginess. Everybody's happy.


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WarrsawPact
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If at the end this is still called a "UN-led effort" I'm going to write letters to all my representatives telling them to pull out of the UN and only send our checks to the WHO and their agricultural development program. The rest of the UN is rapidly proving how worthless they really are.
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carmachu
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quote:
Originally posted by ed:
carmachu, an award appears to be in order... :>

ed

Sorry ed, thats a forum special. Their not ready for that here.......

Thanks warrsawpact, you pretty much hit everything I would have.

carmachu

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carmachu
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Oh and just for Zach S. A VERY good reason not to give money to the UN:


More on "The UNcredibles": WFP (World Food Program) has "arrived" in the capital with an "assessment and coordination team." The following is no joke; no Diplomad attempt to be funny or clever: The team has spent the day and will likely spend a few more setting up their "coordination and opcenter" at a local five-star hotel. And their number one concern, even before phones, fax and copy machines? Arranging for the hotel to provide 24hr catering service. USAID folks already are cracking jokes about "The UN Sheraton." Meanwhile, our military and civilians, working with the super Aussies, continue to keep the C-130 air bridge of supplies flowing and the choppers flying, and keep on saving lives -- and without 24hr catering services from any five-star hotel . . . . The contrast grows more stark every minute.

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philnotfil
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From NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF in today's NYTimes:
quote:
In 2003, the latest year for which figures are available, we increased such assistance by one-fifth, for President Bush has actually been much better about helping poor countries than President Clinton was. But as a share of our economy, our contribution still left us ranked dead last among 22 top donor countries.
He isn't biased or anything. DEAD LAST when you stop the list after us.
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carmachu
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
From NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF in today's NYTimes:
quote:
In 2003, the latest year for which figures are available, we increased such assistance by one-fifth, for President Bush has actually been much better about helping poor countries than President Clinton was. But as a share of our economy, our contribution still left us ranked dead last among 22 top donor countries.
He isn't biased or anything. DEAD LAST when you stop the list after us.
Well as someone once said, some countries may contribute the 1-2% but thats only $2 million, we may only give whatever percentage it is, but that is something in the area of $16 million....

But our real generosity comes privately, AS IT SHOULD BE, and that goes to show a Countries heart and giving, not how much a coutries government gives away at gunpoint from its citizens.....

carmachu

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Kit
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If there is a major drop after the top 22, then that may be a valid point. I mean, if #23 is only a tenth as much as the #22, then that is definately a different category.

I doubt that's the case though. [Roll Eyes]

The worst thing is how easily that kind of statement slips past the bs filters.

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Mariner
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It most likely is not an arbitrary cutoff point. There are 22 countries that are in the Development Assistance Committee, and are the ones generally counted when one considers foreign aid (US, Canada, Australia, NZealand, Japan, and pretty much all of Western Europe). Of course, the fact that all of this is related to GDP is bound to hurt the US, since our GDP is so ridiculously high. If you compare aid per capita, for instance, we're about average IIRC.

There's an article over at Foreign Policy in which they created an a commitment to development index for 21 countries (all of those mentioned above except Luxembourg). Basically, they compared the policies on a wide variety of topics related to improving developing nations, weighting various details and so forth. Thus, rather than simply looking at one number for aid, they factor in private giving, how efficiently it's used, and so forth. And then there's trade policies, migration, investments, security, and so forth. Using this index, the US (despite our score in aid and environment) ended up 7th out of 21 nations. So based on this index, we're in the top third, far better than the self-centered, stingy, greedy appearance other's think of us as.

Of course, one could say the index is biased (doubtful) or doesn't accurately take everything into account (more likely), but whatever. Just focusing on one number doesn't take everything into account either, but people love to jump on that as proof that the US is the great Satan. It's the same thing with this disasster- that initial $15 million may look bad at first, but our military's presence and work in setting up relief has proven to be completely invaluable. Whether or not we are dead last on one scale doesn't change the fact that the US has done a heck of a lot of good for the rest of the world.

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JLMyers
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Fox News reported that the US is spending 6 million dollars a day in military assets. And that is above and beyond the 350 million.

Mr. Sigismund,

You think we deserve to be bombed because we reserve the right to donate to charities and countries with values we believe in? Well, like you said; It's our money. Asnd anybody that excuses those cowardly murdering terrorists in any way is a dispicable person.

KE

[ January 07, 2005, 04:25 PM: Message edited by: JLMyers ]

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WarrsawPact
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And as I mentioned, private Americans have already eclipsed our government's offer of $350 million. Private Americans have already given over $400 million, with huge chunks of that coming from pharmaceutical companies and the big charities like Catholic Relief Services and the American Red Cross.
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WarrsawPact
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Oh wow. Check this out:

quote:
"The United Nations and international donors on Thursday faced an unusual problem as they sought to rally help for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami: not a shortage of money, but a surfeit - or at least far more promised cash than they can use in the coming months.

"An outpouring of public donations and government pledges from around the world has created an embarrassment of riches. The $5bn (€3.8bn, £2.65bn) promised amounts to about $1,000 for each of the estimated 5m people affected, much more than the typical annual income of a Sri Lankan fisherman or an Indian villager, let alone an African peasant. [emphasis added]

"UN officials do not want to stop the money flowing, but they admit that it poses some unexpected challenges, not least because the pledges are already five times greater than the $977m appeal launched on Thursday by Kofi Annan, UN secretary general, for emergency tsunami relief efforts over the next six months."

Check out that and more here:
http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/01/friday-tsunami-update.html

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