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WarrsawPact
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Bush Raises Tsunami Aid Tenfold to $350 Million


quote:
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush, under pressure over the pace and scale of American aid to Asian tsunami victims, abruptly raised the U.S. contribution to $350 million on Friday, 10 times the amount pledged just two days ago.

The White House suggested U.S. assistance could rise still higher after a delegation headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell tours devastated areas next week and reports back to the president on the needs of an estimated 5 million tsunami survivors.

"The disaster around the Indian Ocean continues to grow," Bush said in a statement that emphasized U.S. intentions to coordinate immediate humanitarian relief to Asia through an international coalition including India, Japan and Australia.

"Our contributions will continue to be revised as the full effects of this terrible tragedy become clearer," said the statement released by the White House while Bush vacationed at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

The president said the dramatic increase in assistance, which eclipsed a $250 million aid pledge from the World Bank, was based on the initial findings of U.S. assessment teams in hard-hit areas of southeastern and central Asia, and on recommendations from senior officials including Powell.

The White House said Bush spoke to the prime ministers of Britain, Italy and Canada on Friday about the relief effort under way in devastated coastal areas of the Indian Ocean region.

Two key Republican lawmakers -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois -- said they would support White House requests next year to pay for the higher contribution.

The increased assistance was only the latest step the Bush administration and Congress to bolster America's contribution to relief efforts amid criticism that its initial response had been slow and miserly.

The $350 million sum far outstripped relief contributions from any other country and increased total aid pledges from nearly 40 nations by about 28 percent to nearly $1.36 billion. Before Friday's announcement, the biggest donors had been Britain with $96 million and Sweden with $80 million.

WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE CRITICIZED

But the larger number did not insulate the Bush administration from critics.

"It became more evident that $35 million was just not appropriate to the scale of the disaster. And $350 million is not appropriate either," remarked Brookings Institution analyst Ivo Daalder, who said the daunting humanitarian need could require major involvement by the U.S. military and NATO.

"The administration's tendency has been to approach this like any other natural disaster," he added.

Bush initially waited until Wednesday, three days after the tsunami struck 13 countries from Malaysia to East Africa, to announce $35 million in aid for the region where at least 124,000 people have died in the catastrophe.

Critics quickly compared the dollar sum to $13.6 billion in aid for hurricane-battered U.S. states that Congress passed speedily in the run-up to last month's U.S. elections.

On Thursday, the president announced that his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Powell would lead a delegation of experts to the region to assess the need for further U.S. assistance.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are set to work on an tsunami aid package that lawmakers promised would provide generous assistance soon, while the U.S. military has sent about 20 cargo and patrol planes and an aircraft carrier group to assist in relief efforts.

It was not clear which government programs were being tapped for the $350 million in tsunami aid.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said none of the funds were from an $18 billion sum set aside for reconstruction in Iraq, which some lawmakers have identified as a ready source of relief financing.

And then...

quote:
Powell, during a visit to U.N. headquarters for talks with Secretary-General Kofi Annan, also denied that President Bush had just increased U.S. disaster aid to $350 million from $35 million because he had been stung by criticism that wealthy nations were stingy.

"This ten-fold increase is indicative of American generosity but it also is indicative of the need," Powell told reporters when asked if the increase announced by Bush on Friday had been the result of a "bidding war."

The announcement had been timed around completion of the necessary assessments and "not just that each day everybody was trying to play, 'Can you top this,"' Powell said. "The need is great, not just for immediate relief but for long-term."



[ December 31, 2004, 07:23 PM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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Adam Lassek
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I would take this criticism with a grain of salt... Mr. Daalder was directly involved in Clinton's policy on Bosnia.
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JLMyers
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Don't we already have a thread on US contributions?

KE

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Snowden
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quote:
I would take this criticism with a grain of salt... Mr. Daalder was directly involved in Clinton's policy on Bosnia
Flydye, if you are reading this thread. You can see how arguements from authority cut both ways.
They give themselves to unthinking support and unthinking denial with equal ease.

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Adam Lassek
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I don't know how to interpret your post, Snowden. My gut reaction is condescension.
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WarrsawPact
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U.S. Tsunami Aid May Be Billions of Dollars
quote:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States may eventually spend billions of dollars to help Asia recover from last week's devastating tsunami, a leading Republican U.S. senator said on Sunday as the Bush administration battled criticism it had been slow to respond.

The $350 million in aid pledged so far by President Bush represents the entire U.S. foreign disaster assistance budget, and Congress will work to pass emergency legislation to go "well beyond" that figure, said Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican and head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Lugar, asked on "Fox News Sunday" whether U.S. aid could reach billions of dollars, said "ultimately there could be, given all that is occurring in Indonesia."

An earthquake and subsequent tsunami last Sunday devastated coastal areas in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and as far away as East Africa. The death toll will probably exceed 150,000, and recovery could take five to 10 years and cost billions of dollars, U.N. officials said.

Secretary of State Colin Powell set off on a visit to the region and will participate in an aid-donors' conference in Jakarta on Thursday. He defended the Bush administration against complaints it took too long to comprehend the scale of the crisis or respond with money.

"We have nothing to be embarrassed about. Our response scaled up as the scope of the disaster scaled up," Powell said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Bush, who returned to Washington on Sunday from a Christmas break at his Texas ranch, had been following the disaster "very closely from the beginning," Powell told CNN's "Late Edition." As of Sunday, the U.S. military had delivered 430,000 pounds (195,000 kg) of food, supplies and equipment for immediate relief in the tsunami-stricken region, spokesmen for the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii said at a briefing.

Some 12,000 U.S. military personnel had been deployed to aid the tsunami relief effort, most of them aboard Navy ships and U.S. ships and aircraft also were ferrying aid from other donors, the spokesmen said.

The Asian disaster caused tens of billions of dollars of damage, and as many as 5 million people may need assistance, U.N. emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland told Fox. He told a news conference 1.8 million people now needed food aid.

'ENORMOUS DEVASTATION'

The recovery could take five to 10 years, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. "The devastation is enormous. It will require billions of dollars. Of course, the governments themselves will have to do what they can. But they need international support to be able to do it," Annan said on ABC's "This Week."

So far, countries have pledged $2 billion in assistance, led by Japan's contribution of $500 million. The World Bank's contribution could rise by two to three times the $250 million already offered, bank President James Wolfensohn told ABC.

The U.S. Congress passed $13.6 billion in domestic disaster aid last October, mostly for Florida, a state which was vital to Bush's campaign for reelection and which was struck by four hurricanes. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the U.S. president's brother and a possible candidate to succeed him in 2008, accompanied Powell on the Asia trip.

A possible source of additional U.S. assistance for Asia could be money earmarked for reconstruction in Iraq, lawmakers said. That money has remained unspent due to a violent insurgency.

Quick side note: Gee, I had almost forgotten.

quote:
Powell disputed accusations that the United States had failed to deliver on past aid pledges. "When we pledge an amount, we plan to deliver that amount," he said.

Egeland, who drew a sharp rebuke from Bush last week after he said rich countries had been relatively stingy with foreign aid in the past, said the United States and other countries had been generous in their response to the tsunami.

But he defended his assertion that wealthy countries could do more to help poor ones. "I will always be of the view that as the rich world is getting richer -- Europe, North America, Japan, Asia, the Gulf countries -- it should be possible to feed all the world's children, and we are not at the moment," he said.

I don't even know how to respond to that last point. Egeland needs to crawl out of the rabbit hole. This is just one of many reasons why I hate the word "should."
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Daruma28
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Here's some more info about the process of allocating disaster funds from the Instapundit:

quote:
When there is a local disaster, US ambassadors can call on a pot of discretionary funds–usually in the $50-100 thousand range–that can be spent immediately. In the case of the tsunami, it soon became clear that these funds would be insufficient, and the USG announced $35 million in already allocated funds It’s a federal crime to commit funds that are not authorized by Congress, which happens to be out of session. If it is a major disaster (which usually involve only one country), US Agency for International Development (USAID) sends out Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DART) to assess the scope of the disaster and what types of assistance are most needed. These teams then report back to Washington on their assessment and start working with local NGOs and other groups to ensure that the aid is directed appropriately and efficiently. This is exactly what was done in the case of the tsunami. As a result of these DART assessments, the USG has pledged $350 million.

What the USG failed to do was to make this process clear from the beginning. Instead, official silence led to editorials talking about how $35 million was insufficient. Of course it was insufficient, but that was the only money that could legally be committed at that time. The full $350 million (and I’m sure the figure will go much higher) cannot be committed until Congress authorizes it.

In a “normal” disaster, these steps would go largely unnoticed, but in this instance, the need was so great that silence was taken by some journalists to mean indifference. It was not.

I think this is just a little bit off. The silence was an OPPORTUNITY to yet again criticize an administration many of these journalists oppose.
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Hannibal
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what about saudi arabia? Kuweit? the emirates? how many hundreds of million dollars did they donate to their muslim brothers in indonesia?
if you as me, they should be the major donors

i am israeli as you know, and i do think that america's donation is needed since america is the "worlds leader" but with all due respect how dare people critisize how much money the donation is? its a donation after all, and they all know that eventually america will donate the most. no body counts the money donated by private american companies, and by the american people.


note how the media "expects" the US to send its army over there for support. i mean, if i was an american such BS whould annoy me, but that is probably because i have a crappy israeli personality

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Everard
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Well, we've sortof taken it upon ourself to send money in these cases, and then amplified the world's expectations with the rest of our foreign policy.
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WarrsawPact
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quote:
no body counts the money donated by private american companies, and by the american people.
Uh, not true.

http://blog.simmins.org/2004/12/tsunami-stingy.html
So far, as of this writing, over $236,496,471 donated by private Americans.

Lots of people are talking about corporations, especially those like Phizer and Coca-Cola who have given very large amounts. Google it.
quote:

Pfizer: $35 million
Coca Cola: $10 million
Exxon Mobil Corp: $5 million
Citigroup Inc.: $3 million
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: $3 million

Merck & Co. Inc. is giving $3 million in cash while Johnson & Johnson and Abbott Laboratories Inc. are each donating $2 million; each of the three are also sending drugs and other health care supplies to the region. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is donating $1 million in cash and $4 million in antibiotics and antifungal drugs. Roche Group and GlaxoSmithKline PLC were also planning to donate supplies and/or cash. Nike Inc., American Express Co., General Electric Co. and First Data Corp. are each giving $1 million.

Amazon.com had collected about 87,000 donations totaling more than $5.4 million for the American Red Cross as of Thursday afternoon. [Now $6,286,000]

Wal-Mart Inc. is setting up collection containers at all of its stores, in addition to a $2 million donation from its foundation.

AOL members donated more than $1 million in less than 48 hours, according to spokesman Nicholas Graham.

Catholic Relief Services is pledging $25 million

U.S. rap/rock quartet Linkin Park: $100,000
The American Red Cross reported $18 million in donations over the past three days while CARE USA has taken in $6.5 million.
Wells Fargo & Co. donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross, as did Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Kaiser also pledged to send doctors to needed areas.[snip]

Cisco Systems and its employees have pledged $2.5 million and will also provide communications equipment in disaster areas.[snip]

San Mateo-based tech company SuccessFactors said it would match donations made by its 100 workers, which so far amounted to $10,000.

San Jose-based software company Realization Technologies Inc. has donated $10,000 so far and said one of its consultants in India will be committed to the relief effort for six months while donating use of its business software for 18 months.

And a note:
quote:
The list goes on and on. We don't need the Government of the United States to take our money and give it away. We are perfectly capable of taking care of our charitable choices ourselves.

So as Americans give from their hearts, in the hundreds of millions of dollars, don't call us stingy. We are not. And don't tell us we don't care. We do.

For a total list of American donations, look at this pdf. Look at all those big greedy capitalist corporations.

[ January 04, 2005, 03:22 AM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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Redskullvw
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Well here is something to ponder. I saw on Sunday a report by CNN during an annual review of the year's events that the hurricanes that hit the Gulf were still being cleaned up. Of interest was the fact that they stated that in Florida alone the ammount of damage was an estimated 4 billion dollars.

Noting that, did any nation offer any aid to the disaster of having 3 hurricanes hit the same geography in less than a month?

Current UN statements seem to indicate that the relief and rebuilding in South East Asia will be approximately 4 billion dollars, and that according to the Sec General, some of the incoming aid earmarked for SE Asia is likely to eventually be rolled over into other UN activities and programs. This being the case, what is the acctual property loss that has hit SE Asia, and why is 4 billion apparently more than enough to completely rebuild the effected areas, when our own 4 billion dollar loss in Florida is still largely uncovered and rebuilding and demolition still going on several months after the fact? Shouldn't some of that disaster surpluss the UN is anticipating go to other member states who have suffered worse natural disaster based losses? If the cost to Florida is 4 billion, and other Gulf States were simmularly effected, where is the United Nation's offer to help the American people? In Georgia alone the costs of the degraded hurricanes was estimated to be 300 million dollars. Seems the US taxpayer takes care of others before looking to his own affairs, and gets neither the credit for his good works nor economic relief from his own damages.

Just a series of questions to put in perspective comments coming from the UN and other states. I particularly loved the comments of a Saudi Arabian religious leader who declared that God did this act to punish evil christians for their activities durning Christmas. Wonder why God choose to focus his wrath on predomnately Islamic nations.

Oh yeah thats right, I forgot God already punished the Christians during Ramadan with hurricanes.

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vulture
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quote:
Originally posted by Redskullvw:


Current UN statements seem to indicate that the relief and rebuilding in South East Asia will be approximately 4 billion dollars, and that according to the Sec General, some of the incoming aid earmarked for SE Asia is likely to eventually be rolled over into other UN activities and programs. This being the case, what is the acctual property loss that has hit SE Asia, and why is 4 billion apparently more than enough to completely rebuild the effected areas, when our own 4 billion dollar loss in Florida is still largely uncovered and rebuilding and demolition still going on several months after the fact? Shouldn't some of that disaster surpluss the UN is anticipating go to other member states who have suffered worse natural disaster based losses? If the cost to Florida is 4 billion, and other Gulf States were simmularly effected, where is the United Nation's offer to help the American people? In Georgia alone the costs of the degraded hurricanes was estimated to be 300 million dollars. Seems the US taxpayer takes care of others before looking to his own affairs, and gets neither the credit for his good works nor economic relief from his own damages.
Oh yeah thats right, I forgot God already punished the Christians during Ramadan with hurricanes.

You can't really compare the two. In SE Asia there are 5 million people homeless and without clean drinking water as a result of the tsunami. The cost of each building destroyed in Sri Lanka or Indonesia is far, far less than the cost of each building destroted in Florida, and represents far less damage to 'luxuries'.

Next time you have 150,000 dead in Florida and the entire state homeless and facing starvation and disease (coupled with a government largely incapable of dealing with the disaster) you can certainly look for foreign aid to help rebuild. You'll also be looking at far, far higher rebulding costs though, compared to a disaster of similar magnitude in the Indian ocean.

Put simply, although the numerical costs are the same, the scale of damage caused by hurricanes is miniscule compared to the damage done by this tsunami.

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Shane Roe
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Here's a great clip on how much aid the U.S. is actually giving: U.S. Stingy?

Shane

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Dagonee
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The link is giving 404 now.
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WarrsawPact
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vulture -- All the same, do you think that the US is the only one that must be concerned about soft power? The only disaster in my lifetime that I can recall the US being helped out with was 9-11.

So let's see: Americans help basically everyone else. We send charity out to the entire world.
And nobody sends charity here. As if we have no problems. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, massive earthquakes, etc.
But we're expected to care about everyone else without asking anything in return? Because that would be us intruding on their business... "telling them what to do"...

What a deal!

Just go to this webpage and start listening. Now. It was a radio broadcast by Gordon Sinclair back in 1973.
Does this sound like it could be broadcast again today?

[ January 04, 2005, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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Lewkowski
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You know private donations will probably be more then this. The government IMO shouldn't be in the business of providing aid. That should be left to each private citizen to do his or her part if they feel its necessary. I'd be interested in seeing a study of portion of income donated to this disaster compared to portion of the US budget donated to the disaster.

I think its a good thing that we use our military to aid in disaster relief because thats not something you have people vote for. Not enough time to get a vote going ect ect.

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carmachu
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quote:
Current UN statements seem to indicate that the relief and rebuilding in South East Asia will be approximately 4 billion dollars, and that according to the Sec General, some of the incoming aid earmarked for SE Asia is likely to eventually be rolled over into other UN activities and programs.
I'm really not confortable with that. Feels like legalized theft, personally. Its like the red cross during 9/11 saying its gonna take the donations for other stuff. The outrage was enormous enough to make'em back down.

Personally, if more money is given than needed, still give it to the countries evenly. Something freely given shouldnt be stolen away by a third party....

carmachu

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rolva
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I disagree that the U.S. government does not gain anything by helping the victims. Just as each one of us donates out of self-interest as discussed in another thread, the U.S. government determines that it is in its own self-interest to donate. Perhaps it is because those in government think that it reflects the values of the U.S. or because the consequences of not-giving may be detrimental to the vision this government wants to achieve in the world.
In any case, some americans did not agree to go to war in Irak. Yet the government made the decision. How can you justify allowing the government to decide to go to war but not to donate money in international catastrophes? How are they different if both are done in self-interest?

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Lewkowski
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"I disagree that the U.S. government does not gain anything by helping the victims. Just as each one of us donates out of self-interest as discussed in another thread, the U.S. government determines that it is in its own self-interest to donate. Perhaps it is because those in government think that it reflects the values of the U.S. or because the consequences of not-giving may be detrimental to the vision this government wants to achieve in the world.
In any case, some americans did not agree to go to war in Irak. Yet the government made the decision. How can you justify allowing the government to decide to go to war but not to donate money in international catastrophes? How are they different if both are done in self-interest? "

I disagree because one falls under defense. The lay person doesn't have the information to make these decisions. Thats why we elect people and have the military.

The government shouldn't be doing whats best for the government, it should be governing for the people because the people need to have the freedom to go on about their lives without having to vote for every little thing that needs a vote on. Thats why we have elected officals. Something like aid... thats a decision that can be made by the average person. And because it can, the government should not be involved in that decision.

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rolva
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But what about donation as a defense strategy? The government could decide that donating money and resources to fight poverty and helping in the event of natural disasters is a strategy to win over future allies or prevent the domination of these countries by the enemy. Consider it a preemptive strategy.
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carmachu
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Unfortunately rolva, money and resources wont stop a determined enemy like good old fashion bullets and bombs.

Folks will love you while things are good, but quickly turn when things go bad. History seems to show that.


carmachu

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Lewkowski
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"Folks will love you while things are good, but quickly turn when things go bad. History seems to show that. "

As does that guy who wrote The Prince. its better to be feared then loved, if your running or are a country.

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WarrsawPact
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Donations from private Americans have surpassed what our government is giving.

http://blog.simmins.org/td.pdf

As of this writing, the total contributions by private Americans (individuals and corporations and charities) is $401,784,551.28.

The biggest givers?

Purdue Pharma - $50 million
American Red Cross - $44 million
Pfizer - $35 million
Catholic Relief Services - $25 million
Save the Children - $25 million
Doctors Without Borders USA - $20 million
Oxfam - $15 million
Amazon.com link - over $14.7 million
ComCast - $10.1 million
Coca Cola - $10 million
World Vision - $8 million
CARE - $6.5 million
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. - $5 million
Dow Chemical Company - $5 million
Newmont Mining Corporation - $5 million

A few celebrities -
(Bill & Melinda) Gates Foundation - $3 million
Steven Spielberg - $1.5 million
Sandra Bullock - $1 million
Kimberly Clark - $500,000
Carl Linder (owner of Cincinnatti Reds) - $200,000
Linkin Park - $100,000
George W. Bush - $10,000

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