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Oxfam pays $1m tsunami aid duty (posted 6/18/05)
6/17/05 BBC Added to 'Tsunami Tyranny' and 'Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations'.
charity Oxfam has had to pay the Sri Lankan government $1m in import duty for vehicles used in
tsunami reconstruction work.
Paperwork had kept the 25 four-wheel drive vehicles idle in the capital, Colombo, for a month. <.> Britain's Daily Telegraph said Sri Lankan customs had charged $5,000 a day while the vehicles were processed. Oxfam was given the choice of handing over the vehicles to the government, re-exporting them or paying the 300% import tax. <.> Some aid workers have expressed anger that reconstruction is being slowed by red tape and inefficiency. What is happening in Sri Lanka is outright theft. The government holds Oxfam's vehicles for a month, charges $5,000 a day, and then says, "well, if you don't want to pay us 1 million dollars, we'll just keep the vehicles!" These are the actions of a mafia, not a government. This, of course, has been a central point I've been trying to make throughout this website. All governments act like mafias, some are just worse than others. The richest countries have smaller governments, with less corruption, the poorest have larger governments with more corruption. This is the difference between rich and poor countries. It is that simple. We should all be thankful that our founders had the wisdom to craft the most limited government ever created in the history of the world.
Why do incumbents have something like a 90% re-election rate here in the United States? Because they shake down businesses in their districts for cash. If you're not buddy buddy with your congressmen, or support his rival, he might try to ruin your business. After all, the congressmen needs tax money in the budget to redistribute to all of his extra generous supporters (who aid his re-election) and it has to come from somewhere. Might as well come from his enemies, or non supporters. Additionally, his next opponent might have trouble challenging him with his support base ruined.
Untangling a Lobbyists Stake in a Casino fleet
5/1/05 Washington Post The dead man was Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, a volatile 51-year-old self-made millionaire, a Greek immigrant who had started as a dishwasher in Canada and ended up in Florida, where he built an empire of restaurants, hotels and cruise ships used for offshore casino gambling. Boulis's slaying, still unsolved four years later, reverberated all the way to Washington. Months earlier he had sold his fleet of casino ships to a partnership that included Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff.
What it looks like happened was that government passed laws and regulations making Boulis's prosperous businesses illegal and then demanded Boulis sell a stake in the business to their cronies in order for it to remain operational. They then ruined his business and he ended up dead in murky circumstances. Government was able to do this because the apathetic people give it the power to pass these sorts of laws and regulations, enabling a mafia to exist within the law.
So, don't think we're all that different from Sri Lanka. If this is what Sri Lanka does to a charity, can you imagine what they would do to a business? If you were an entrepreneur and started up a company in Sri Lanka and created wealth and employment guess what would happen? The thieving government would come in and threaten to steal everything you've created. You'd probably have to pay them heavy bribes in order to prevent this. The government of Sri Lanka causes more deaths, more misery, and more destruction than was caused when the Tsunami hit, yet, no one seems to care about this. People would rather give money, and therefore power, to the government that is responsible for the misery of its people.
Why the West's billions may end up in the Wrong Hands
6/9/05 Times Online Details how the much ballyhooed Blair/Bush debt relief plans for Africa will most likely just prop up the thieves that rule those countries. However, we're in a for a little surprise. Guess who is an advocate for debt relief?:
Anna McDonald, campaigns director for Oxfam, said: “The world's poorest countries need full cancellation of their debts now to pay for the hospitals, the medicines, the schools that will enable them to pull out of poverty in the long term.
Oxfam is just as just as guilty as Sri Lanka because, besides acquiescing to the thievery of it's donors' property in Sri Lanka, they appear to have no clue as to what really defeats poverty! The solution to poverty is not giving government more power to control education, health etc...! How can a charity, whose specialty is, ostensibly, poverty reduction, be so misguided? Perhaps because its donors are misguided, fed all this rot in the media about how Western Governments are to blame for Third World poverty and believe by throwing money at a problem they can assuage their guilt and do some good. Again, just like education reform and welfare reform, money is not the problem. We could give 10 times, 100 times, more aid and money to Africa and Sri Lanka and the people of those countries would, in all probability, suffer MORE, not less!
So, you ask, what can we do to help the people of these desperately poor countries? Well, we have a few options:
1. Do nothing. When the corrupt and thieving governments realize that they must let their citizens create some wealth in order to have a tax base to steal from, then their economies will begin to grow.
2. Donate money to pro-democracy type organizations that work on educating people of impoverished countries and lobby for political reform. These organizations often establish freedom promoting media and occasionally aid revolution.
3. Donate money to religious charities/evangelical groups. Generally these charities operate outside the role of government and take power from government. Churches often illustrate that morality trumps legality. Just because thievery is legal in a country doesn't make it right. In fact, Churches can become quite powerful political movements. In Africa, the thriving Christian communities are playing important roles in challenging government thievery and regulatory tyranny. This is why non state controlled religions are discriminated against or outlawed in most of the corrupt countries of the world.
4. Donate to politicians that 'get it'. Work to elect those that comprehend history, economics, and human nature, and understand, ideologically, the causes and solutions to poverty. A dollar given to the Club For Growth surely does more to make the world a better place than a dollar given to Oxfam. Also, the more donations a politician receives from regular folk, the less he/she will rely on the corrupting special interests (who often advocate government expansion for their benefit).
5. Write letters to the editor, contact your representatives, talk to friends, become more informed yourself. Maybe even start a blog... :)
6. Donate weapons and ammunition to freedom loving people in order to help them overthrow their governments. (Gasp!) What kind of right wing extremist would advocate starting a war in an impoverished country? But is it really that 'extreme'? What do you do if you find a thief breaking into your house? You shoot him before he steals your stuff and attacks you and your family. If you let him go, you are encouraging burglary. Most burglars will continue robbing until they get caught, or are killed. Shoot a burglar and you might be saving the life of a future victim. Now, what if your neighbor is getting his home pillaged on a weekly basis? If you have an extra gun would you not give it to him, or even come to his defense? So why would you not do the same for other poorer and desperate people throughout the world?
The governments of these countries keep their citizens disarmed and are deathly afraid of revolts, often creating external enemies in order to keep the population thinking it needs them for 'protection'. Instead of shipping grain to North Korea (to be distributed by the now empowered Communists killers), why not airdrop arms and weapons? Why not setup a charity that smuggles in weapons from China? When will a charity stand up to the thugs and dictators of the world? When will a charity shout, "Stop the killing, the raping, the stealing, or we will do it for you!"
No, instead, sadly: A spokesman said: "Clearly Oxfam would have preferred not to pay this tax on the vehicles and we did everything we could to have the tax waived. "However the government has turned down our request and the laws of the country dictate that we must now pay the normal import tax." The spokesman said the incident would not affect the way Oxfam worked in Sri Lanka.Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
Zimbabwe Tyranny Confiscates Guns
6/30/05 Volokh Conspiracy Added to 'Charitable Corruption', an example of how Tyrannical governments always aim to keep the people unarmed (the easier to rob and kill them). Also contains this gem:
Perhaps the most effective foreign aid which should be sent to the people of Zimbabwe would be millions of rifles, so that the people would no longer be defenseless against the depradations of one of the most evil governments in all of African history.Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
U.S. Private Giving to Developing World exceeds 62 billion
7/3/05 Hudson Institute Added to 'Tsunami Tyranny' and 'Charitable Corruption'. Hudson study shows American generosity to poor nations over 3 1/2 times U.S. Government aid. <.> While the United States gives the greatest absolute amount of ODA to developing countries, it is routinely criticized for being "stingy" because U.S. Government aid ranks last among donor nations as a percent of Gross National Income (GNI). U.S. official aid is .15 percent of GNI compared to Norway, the highest ranked donor, at .92 percent. So, by stealing more of its citizens' wealth, Norway has better 'government stats'? (golf clap) What a useless statistic, yet it is constantly printed and sung all over the main stream media. Sort of reminds me of the 'International Poverty' statistics that the international community and our media constantly cite.
Private aid is free from political pressure, so it doubtlessly is worth even more than the number value given to it. Or, better said, it is probably less hurtful than the government aid. As seen by 'Charitable Corruption', even private giving often does little to aid developing countries and may actually hurt them by further propping up their thieving governments. By protecting the property of its citizens a country ensures the most generosity to the poor. A better way to reduce poverty is foreign investment (which requires the host country not steal all the foreign investment, an obstacle not easily overcome and the primary reason why western companies cannot take advantage of cheap third world labor): Most importantly, the number does not include $51 billion of U.S. private capital flows to developing countries, consisting of foreign direct investment and net capital markets. This private investment creates jobs and economic growth, the surest way to reducing poverty.
Corruption's take: 148 billion
7/4/05 National Post Fifty years of aid has done little to lift Africa from the abyss. Despite an estimated $500-billion in international assistance, the continent continues to head the lists of poverty, corruption and disease. In the second of a three-part series, Peter Goodspeed examines how corrupt leaders siphon off foreign aid and their countries' own natural wealth, enriching themselves while their people suffer. Just like education and welfare reform, more money is not the solution! Africa has 90% of the world's cobalt, 90% of its platinum, 50% of its gold, 98% of its chromium, 64% of its manganese and one- third of its uranium. It is rich in diamonds, has more oil reserves than North America, and has been estimated to hold 40% of the world's potential hydroelectric power. <.> By the African Union's own estimate, Africa loses as much as US$148-billion a year to corruption.<.> A recent World Bank survey on Africa claims "the amount stolen and now held in foreign banks is equivalent to more than half of the continent's external debt." So why is there all this clamor for 'debt relief'? Why has President Bush doubled what the United States was already stealing from its citizens to hurt the people of Africa? What was the point of this over-hyped 'Live 8 Concert'?("Something must be done, even if it doesn't work," Geldof said in one recent interview, and in that one moment he came closest to capturing the collective middle-class angst of those who turned out this weekend.) Let's take a look at the some of the criminals this 'Live 8 Concert', some private charities, and the US government supports:
Almost anywhere you look in Africa you find rulers enriching themselves at the public expense.
At the same time, the U.S. State Department noted there is little evidence Equatorial Guinea's US$5-billion-plus a year in oil revenues is being devoted to the public good. Nearly half of all children under the age of five in Equatorial Guinea are malnourished, and even major cities lack clean water and basic sanitation.
In Nigeria last week, the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission said a series of military dictators had squandered US$500-billion -- equivalent of all Western aid to Africa in the past four decades.
Swaziland's King Mswati III is spending US$100-million on an airport deep in the bush to take jumbo jets. The King has a penchant for wasting: He blew more than US$1-million on his 37th birthday party in April and another US$14.6-million on palaces for his 11 wives, all of whom get to drive new BMWs.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has brought his country to the edge of economic ruin, recently razing shantytowns that were home to hundreds of thousands of people while simultaneously building himself a lavish retirement home.
Some of Kenya's troubles began with the extravagant socialism of independence leader Jomo Kenyatta, but problems escalated rapidly once Mr. Kenyatta died in 1978 and was succeeded by his vice-president, Daniel arap Moi. During his 24 years in power, Mr. Moi's government embezzled and stole an estimated US$3-billion to US$4-billion.
Almost all African countries are also socialistic, a fact never mentioned in the press (just like it is never mentioned that the governments of the Middle East are socialist). The leaders of African countries are CRIMINALS! Stop giving them money!
Anti Poverty Campaign Gets it almost all Wrong
7/5/05 Sun Times Ends with a plea to President Bush: Otherwise, don't do it, George. Don't Make Poverty Permanent.Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
"For God's Sake please stop the Aid"
7/4/05 Der Spiegel REQUIRED READING African economist James Shikwati (who claims to have been tossed out of 'public university' for being a 'capitalist') nails it perfectly. He mentions everything I've mentioned on this site and more. Short and sweet and to the point. Der Spiegel is shocked. I almost posted this entire article verbatim. An African Libertarian! We need more.
African Poverty: Today African Leadership is Africa's Worst Enemy
7/9/05 Cameroon-info.net And it is believed that 40 per cent of wealth created in Africa is invested overseas. <.>Mobutu is reputed to have amassed a fortune equal to Zaire’s national debt. <.> Former Emperor Bokassa of Central African Republic for example, squandered over $20 million of his country’s wealth on worthless and unpopular coronation.
Recently the Cameroon government spent over FCFA30 billion of the country’s money on a new presidential plane even though Cameroon Postal Service customers are currently being owed over FCFA 54 billion of their savings, and several teachers recruited by government have had no salary for a year.
African leaders are not only motivated by greed for wealth, but also by power to crush their opponents. This explains why in many sub-Saharan African countries’ annual military expenditure increase by about 14 per cent when its economic growth increase only by about 1 per cent. More than $15 is spent annually by the region on arms that bring nothing in return but destruction of the economy and refugee crises.Comment (0) | Trackback (0)
NGOs: Fighting Poverty, Hurting the Poor
Oct-Nov 2004 Foreign Policy I was so impressed by Sebastian Mallaby's previously posted Wal-Mart opinion piece that I looked him up to see what else he had written. Here he isolates two incidents and explores them in depth. The first one is the best. A summary:
The World Bank was promoting a dam near the source of the river Nile, at a beautiful spot called Bujagali. Western nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were in revolt:
The International Rivers Network, based in Berkeley, California, maintained that the Ugandan environmental movement was outraged at the likely damage to waterfalls at the site, and that the poor who lived there would be uprooted from their land for the sake of electricity they couldn’t afford. It was surely a clash that went to the heart of the globalization struggle. Was the NGO movement acting as a civilized check on industrialization, standing up for millions of poor people whose views the World Bank ignored? Or was it retarding the battle against poverty by withholding electricity that would fuel economic growth, ultimately benefiting poor citizens?
“Here is the list,” he said triumphantly. Uganda’s National Association of Professional Environmentalists had all of 25 members—not exactly a broad platform from which to oppose electricity for millions.
My next move was to visit Bujagali. I met up with a Ugandan sociologist who knew the region well and promised to translate for me. She stopped at a cluster of buildings on the edge of the dam site to check in with the local government representative who, far from threatening to call the cops, greeted us cheerfully. For the next three hours, we interviewed villager after villager and found the same story: The “dam people” had come and promised generous financial terms, and the villagers were happy to accept them and relocate. My sociologist companion said we might have sample bias because we were interviewing men, who might value cash more than the land that women tended. So we interviewed some women, who offered the same pro-project line. The only people who objected to the dam were those living just outside its perimeter. They were angry because the project would not affect them, meaning no generous payout.
This story is a tragedy for Uganda. Clinics and factories are being deprived of electricity by Californians whose idea of an electricity crisis is a handful of summer blackouts. But it is also a tragedy for the fight against poverty worldwide, because projects in dozens of countries are similarly held up for fear of activist resistance. Time after time, feisty Internet-enabled groups make scary claims about the iniquities of development projects. Time after time, Western publics raised on stories of World Bank white elephants believe them. Lawmakers in European parliaments and the U.S. Congress accept NGO arguments at face value, and the government officials who sit on the World Bank’s board respond by blocking funding for deserving projects.
The consequences can be preposterously ironic. NGOs claim to campaign on behalf of poor people, yet many of their campaigns harm the poor.
While we shouldn't generalize this to all NGOs, this phenomena is a regularly occurring pattern across the world. Yet why is it when we criticize these NGOs, their hapless donors, or their stupid policies, our intentions and motives are the ones questioned?
When will a journalist call it like it is? When will we see stories in the mainstream media that document the devastation wrought by these NGOs, environmentalists, and, 'progressives'? Instead, again, what we read in the MSM is actually the opposite of what is occurring.
(Here is a link to the International Rivers Network website.)
To Live in the Grip of Red Terror
11/30/05 Telegraph India Continuing the thoughts from the post above; I posted this story for this one quote:
A villager in Jehanabad summed up the situation rather well. Government agencies first started acting like the mafia in Bihar by arresting, harassing and convicting the innocent for their vested interests. They have now been replaced by the Maoists, he added. People are left with no other choice but to live under a reign of terror let loose by both sides.
This mirrors what I stated in 'Charitable Corruption':
What is happening in Sri Lanka is outright theft. The government holds Oxfam's vehicles for a month, charges $5,000 a day, and then says, "well, if you don't want to pay us 1 million dollars, we'll just keep the vehicles!" These are the actions of a mafia, not a government. This, of course, has been a central point I've been trying to make throughout this website. All governments act like mafias, some are just worse than others. The richest countries have smaller governments, with less corruption, the poorest have larger governments with more corruption. This is the difference between rich and poor countries.
"For God's Sake please stop the Aid"
7/4/05 Der Spiegel REQUIRED READING
Posted 3/6/08 ( by Travis)
of food aid rotting in Haiti ports (some since November)
Associated Press ^ | Associated Press Writer
While millions of Haitians go hungry, containers full of food are stacking up in the nation's ports because of government red tape — leaving tons of beans, rice and other staples to rot under a sweltering sun or be devoured by vermin. <.>
Jean-Paul Michaud, a Canadian, said he sailed to the capital of Port-au-Prince late last year carrying 60 pounds of donated clothing and medicine — and that port authorities demanded $10,000 in "customs fees" — code for a bribe to make the fees disappear.
"I'd have rather thrown the aid in the water," said Michaud. The Canadian Embassy intervened and the fee was later waived.
Krabacher's group says it has paid nearly $16,000 in fees in the first six weeks of 2008 alone, compared to $23,418 for all of 2007.
Readers may recall this story:
British charity Oxfam has had to pay the Sri Lankan government $1m in import duty for vehicles used in tsunami reconstruction work.
As oft stated: it is not lack of food, commodities, health care, etc.. which cause a lack of these things. Socialism causes shortages of these things. The people of Haiti could produce all they need and more if it wasn't for the criminals running their government. Even without the corruption, this aid is a major reason for perpetuating and encouraging the socialism already present in Haiti, and further disrupting their economy. Indeed, throw the aid in the water! And burn our tax dollars! Better that than have our government spend our money hurting the good people of Haiti.
Posted 4/18/08 ( by Travis)
Cabinet 'Soaks Up 80% Of The Budget'
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 4-17-2008 | Mike Pflanz
Kenya's expanded new government will spend 80 per cent of the entire national budget on luxury vehicles, inflated salaries for ministers and general running costs, a local anti-corruption group claimed on Wednesday.
President Mwai Kibaki's administration now boasts 43 ministries - up from 34 - in a deal with the Orange Democratic Movement, led by Raila Odinga, following the bitterly disputed election.
Of the 222 MPs, almost half now have government jobs. Cabinet members benefit from annual salaries exceeding £83,000 and numerous perks, including official cars and "entertainment" allowances of £600 per month.
Almost half of all Kenyans survive on less than 50p a day.
What percentage of US citizens work for the government? How lucrative is it to be employed by the government as opposed to work in the private sector in the United States? The answers to these questions show we differ in scale and scope, but not in substance from Kenya. In fact, how much of Kenya's budget is from US taxpayers? Last question, how many aid groups are operating in Kenya but are not addressing the root cause of Kenya's poverty: the corruption and socialism of the Kenyan government and economy?
"For God's Sake please stop the Aid" REQUIRED READING
7/4/05 Der Spiegel Kenyan economist James Shikwati
Posted 12/10/08 (By Travis)
Global AIDS crisis overblown? Some dare to say so
11/30 Associated Press
"The global HIV industry is too big and out of control. We have created a monster with too many vested interests and reputations at stake, ... too many relatively well paid HIV staff in affected countries, and too many rock stars with AIDS support as a fashion accessory," he wrote in the British Medical Journal in May.
In a 2006 report, Rwandan officials noted a "gross misallocation of resources" in health: $47 million went to HIV, $18 million went to malaria, the country's biggest killer, and $1 million went to childhood illnesses.
see also Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations
see also Inequality, Aid, and the Nature of Governments
see also 'Free Trade'
see also 'A Question of Rhetoric'
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