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Old 06-08-2005, 01:58 PM   #1
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Crumbs for Africa - NY Times

NY Times
June 8, 2005
Crumbs for Africa
President Bush kept a remarkably straight face yesterday when he strode to the microphones with Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, and told the world that the United States would now get around to spending $674 million in emergency aid that Congress had already approved for needy countries. That's it. Not a penny more to buy treated mosquito nets to help save the thousands of children in Sierra Leone who die every year of preventable malaria. Nothing more to train and pay teachers so 11-year-old girls in Kenya may go to school. And not a cent more to help Ghana develop the programs it needs to get legions of young boys off the streets.

Mr. Blair, who will be the host when the G-8, the club of eight leading economic powers, holds its annual meeting next month, is trying to line up pledges to double overall aid for Africa over the next 10 years. That extra $25 billion a year would do all those things, and much more, to raise the continent from dire poverty. Before getting to Washington, Mr. Blair had done very well, securing pledges of large increases from European Union members.

According to a poll, most Americans believe that the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent. As Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist in charge of the United Nations' Millennium Project, put it so well, the notion that there is a flood of American aid going to Africa "is one of our great national myths."

The United States currently gives just 0.16 percent of its national income to help poor countries, despite signing a United Nations declaration three years ago in which rich countries agreed to increase their aid to 0.7 percent by 2015. Since then, Britain, France and Germany have all announced plans for how to get to 0.7 percent; America has not. The piddling amount Mr. Bush announced yesterday is not even 0.007 percent.

What is 0.7 percent of the American economy? About $80 billion. That is about the amount the Senate just approved for additional military spending, mostly in Iraq. It's not remotely close to the $140 billion corporate tax cut last year.

This should not be the image Mr. Bush wants to project around a world that is intently watching American actions on this issue. At a time when rich countries are mounting a noble and worthy effort to make poverty history, the Bush administration is showing itself to be completely out of touch by offering such a miserly drop in the bucket. It's no surprise that Mr. Bush's offer was greeted with scorn in television broadcasts and newspaper headlines around the world. "Bush Opposes U.K. Africa Debt Plan," blared the headline on the AllAfrica news service, based in Johannesburg. "Blair's Gambit: Shame Bush Into Paying," chimed in The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia.

The American people have a great heart. President Bush needs to stop concealing it.

.................I wonder if an editor at the Times likes U2?
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Old 06-08-2005, 02:06 PM   #2
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So shameful to even publicly announce something that is such a slap in the face to so many people that just want to live. I suppose Bush's idea of equality ends on American soil...
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Old 06-08-2005, 02:08 PM   #3
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in ends in his living room...to Bush not all Americans are created equal
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Old 06-08-2005, 02:11 PM   #4
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To be fair, a number of European countries have also failed thus far to meet their % targets regarding aid.
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Old 06-08-2005, 02:12 PM   #5
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and i am angry at them too
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Old 06-08-2005, 02:14 PM   #6
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Re: Crumbs for Africa - NY Times

Quote:
Originally posted by blueyedpoet
According to a poll, most Americans believe that the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor
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Old 06-08-2005, 02:17 PM   #7
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that really comes as no suprise...americans blindly trust the government too easily here
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Old 06-08-2005, 03:53 PM   #8
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I can't believe I'm about to defend Bush, but there's a first time for everything.

The government represents the people and it is clear and obvious to any sentient being that the majority of American public is simply either not interested in making African relief and aid a priority or they have not been adequately convinced that it is a necessity and a necessity right now.

So why are we constantly ragging on Bush when in fact it is the complacency of the public which makes it difficult if not impossible for the politicians to act, even if they wanted to.

There are a lot of grassroots organizations working on this issue and most of them are wonderful. But they have just not been effective on a massive scale, they've not managed to convince a majority and I am not sure why. But here we are.

It's simplistic to blame Bush, IMO.
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Old 06-08-2005, 03:56 PM   #9
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I believe people have been very vocal on how they feel about this.
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Old 06-08-2005, 04:02 PM   #10
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How many people? 5%? 10%? 1%?

I bet you could come up with 50 issues off the top of your head that people have been more vocal about.

Africa is not seen by the general populace as one of the main priorities. Of that, I'm certain.
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Old 06-08-2005, 08:00 PM   #11
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anitram, you're correct - Africa is not now seen by the general U.S. populace as one of their main priorities.

But ONE is dedicated to making sure that it is - no matter what it takes!

Who in this thread is making sure that they contribute to saving a future for Africa's people?
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Old 06-08-2005, 08:01 PM   #12
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GREAT editorial, btw.

Thanks for posting it - I agree 100% with the N.Y. Times.
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Old 06-08-2005, 08:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
I can't believe I'm about to defend Bush, but there's a first time for everything.

The government represents the people and it is clear and obvious to any sentient being that the majority of American public is simply either not interested in making African relief and aid a priority or they have not been adequately convinced that it is a necessity and a necessity right now.

So why are we constantly ragging on Bush when in fact it is the complacency of the public which makes it difficult if not impossible for the politicians to act, even if they wanted to.

There are a lot of grassroots organizations working on this issue and most of them are wonderful. But they have just not been effective on a massive scale, they've not managed to convince a majority and I am not sure why. But here we are.

It's simplistic to blame Bush, IMO.
But anitram - he is the US leader and he is very educated in what needs to be done. The indifferent people in this country would listen to him if he spoke. I am disappointed in Bush for not making winning a vote for this a priority. We can spend - what - 87 billion for our war in Iraq - but can't kick in our share of 25 billion to bring equity to a whole continent and then some? Bush should be vocal about what we need to do and lead things to a massive scale.
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Old 06-08-2005, 09:01 PM   #14
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It's sad, but obviously the message isn't getting through. I was listening to my morning show today and when I heard them discuss the Brad Pitt special last night, my ears perked up. I got very angry and dissapointed, however, when the one said, "All I really watched that for was to see if he's banging Angelina Jolie."

I immediately went to the ONE site and emailed my local volunteer center to ask what I can do. Wearing the band and telling people what it's for so they can go, "Oh." isn't enough anymore.
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Old 06-09-2005, 08:33 AM   #15
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I agree, current tactics are failing the continent. I really don't know what we're to do though. I mean one year I emailed the President everyday asking for more money - should we all do this? Will it make a difference?
Maybe if we email our Reps in the House and our senators we'll have more success.
I don't know, this whole thing depresses me.
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