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Tsunami Tyranny

By Travis Snyder

2/11/05

Red font indicates exact quotes from a reference. References, pictures, and additional articles can be found at the bottom of the page. Comments are appreciated.

Excerpts/highlights summarized with accompanying news articles include Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations and The Founding of the United States, Wealth Creation, and the Constitutionality of Charity

   On February 2nd, 2005 US President George W. Bush said in his State Of the Union Address:

The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom. (1)

The attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our confidence in freedom's power to change the world. We are all part of a great venture: To extend the promise of freedom in our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and to spread the peace that freedom brings. (2)

    How can we define this freedom and liberty that the President speaks so highly of? 

freedom n 1: the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints 2: immunity from an obligation or duty. (3)

liberty  n 1: The condition of being free from restriction or control. 2. The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing. 3. The condition of being physically and legally free from confinement, servitude, or forced labor. (4)

    Do we really experience this freedom and liberty here in America? Keep these definitions in mind as we now turn to an event that serves as a microcosm for the constant flagrant violations of our own freedom and liberty, an event which perfectly illustrates the pervasive ignorance that clouds the mindset of many Americans, including our current President: the Asian Tsunami disaster.

    On December 26th 2005 a Tsunami, a massive tidal wave unleashed by an undersea earthquake, struck beaches all around the Indian Ocean. Upwards of 150,000 people were killed, making it the 6th deadliest natural disaster in human history. Indonesia was hardest hit, suffering over 100,000 dead. Millions were made homeless.

    What was the response of the United States government? First, it took days for the sheer scope of the disaster to be realized. USAID, DART, and other US agencies began assessments and opened a 24 hour crisis center command post. (5) Within 3-4 days the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and other warships were initiating relief operations in Indonesia and other hard hit areas. On Jan 1st, the Associated Press reported:

Desperate, homeless villagers on the tsunami-ravaged island of Sumatra mobbed American helicopters carrying aid Saturday as the U.S. military launched its largest operation in the region since the Vietnam War, ferrying food and other emergency relief to survivors across the disaster zone. (24)

On January 26th the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs told a house subcommittee:

In short order, the military moved a total of 26 ships, 58 helicopters, 43 fixed-wing aircraft and nearly 15,000 personnel into the disaster area, Rodman said.

"The figure(s) I have for what they provided … include 2,200 tons of relief supplies, 260,000 gallons of water provided and, of course, the kind of logistical help that made a lot of other efforts possible," he said. (10)

    As relief operations scaled up other estimates range from 72 to over 90 US military helicopters and some 85 US military aircraft were flying or assisting with relief missions. (9), (12), (16) The total cost of US military operations ran about $6 million a day and are likely to cost a total of over $100 million. (10) What did other nations do?

    The Australians sent 1,000 troops 7 aircraft and 4 helicopters. (13) Britain contributed 2 airplanes and 2 helicopters. (12) Canada sent a 200 troop response team. Singapore contributed 8 helicopters, 500 troops, and other aircraft. (14) A German hospital ship and cruiser with supplies and two helicopters arrived on the Jan 12th. (17) The main French force arrived on Jan 14th and contributed 1,000 troops 11 helicopters and 2 planes. (15) Japan sent 950 troops and 5 helicopters, but arrived on Jan 24th (11). Other nations sent smaller teams.

   India's military used at least 16,000 troops, 32 navy ships, 41 aircraft including at least 16 helicopters, but used this mostly on it's own territory and neighboring Sri Lanka. (12) The scope of Indonesia's military response is not listed and/or unknown. 

    Excluding the militaries of the countries hit, only the Americans, British, Singapore, and Australians forces arrived in the first few days. The US military had between 2 and 3 times as many helicopters and planes as all the other international countries combined. Even if we include the NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations - privately operating charities), UN agencies, and the military and relief forces of those countries who were directly hit, the US military still likely contributed at least as much as all of these combined and possibly more. Most importantly, the US military aid was likely of the greatest value and reached those who were neediest, due to the fact that the massive helicopter fleet and air drops often targeted the most remote and outlying areas. Those attempting to distribute aid via land ran into traffic gridlock, destroyed and damaged roads, and corruption.

    Corroborating my independent assessment, on January 6th the Armed Forces Press Service reported:

Some 20 U.S. naval vessels are in the region and 85 U.S. military aircraft are working to deliver supplies to the survivors. U.S. service members have delivered more than 610,000 pounds of relief supplies to the region. In the last 24 hours, U.S. helicopters delivered 5,560 pounds of water, 142,940 pounds of food and 2,100 pounds of supplies.

Eleven nations have teamed with the United States to deliver needed humanitarian aid. They are Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, New Zealand, France, India, Korea, Pakistan, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The nations have provided 26 planes, 41 helicopters and 26 naval vessels. (16)

    An aid worker from the heavily damaged area of Banda Aceh province in Sumatra, Indonesia wrote in a weblog:

There were only four international NGOs here in the first six days (CRS, Mercy Corps, IOM, and Oxfam). By the tenth day, there were fifty-two private voluntary agencies registered. By the end of the second week, there were uncomfirmed reports that 400 have established a presence. The U.N. agencies were surprisingly slow to get into motion in the first week. But they are here now—eighteen in all, I believe. The U.S. government (civilian) was also rather slow. (emphasis mine)

It was not until about the twentieth day that things started to click. A joint assessment mission (thirty-four people in teams of eight) from OCHA, UNHCR, CDC, US Navy, MSF, and Save the Children, began working off the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, assessing population locations and needs on the west coast. They used standardized forms prepared by OCHA and visited approximately fifty sites in five days, using U.S. army helicopters. As these reports started coming in, agencies could better target their work. (19) (emphasis mine)

    So, it is again apparent that the early responders, chiefly the US military, were responsible for almost all the initial aid and emergency immediate assistance. Later the US military provided valuable logistics assistance for the NGOs and other aid groups. Who are these NGOs?

    Reuters news agency developed a comprehensive list of the charities most involved in the Tsunami relief effort. It lists 80 international and country based NGOs. Of these, 28 are based in the United States. (20) US citizens often contribute to charities centered in other countries and traditionally make up a majority of the donations given to international (non-country based) aid organizations. Of the four aid agencies that the aid worker states were in Banda Aceh within the first week, three are US based and the fourth is internationally based, but founded by the US and Belgium with a US born director.  

    As of February 3rd, these 28 US based NGOs and others have raised over $700 million from corporate and private US citizens and $100 million in non-cash assets such as medicine, food, and equipment. (22)

    The US chamber of Commerce reports: 

As of January 24, CCC has received reports and updates from 345 companies, and total corporate aid to date is $411,370,075.  Eighty-nine U.S. companies have reportedly made cash commitments to Tsunami aid in excess of $1 million. (21)

    And these companies didn't only give cash: 

American companies like Pfizer not only are donating cash but also vital medical supplies. Pfizer’s initial pledge of $10 million in cash and $25 million in medicines -- including life-saving antibiotics -- matched the U.S. government’s initial $35 million pledge of aid.

To help stem the spread of disease through contaminated water, companies that manufacture water purification supplies are working their production lines overtime. “The scale of what we have been sending out is unprecedented,” said the director of Procter & Gamble’s safe drinking water program. “I haven’t slept in days.”

GlaxoSmithKline donated not only millions of dollars in cash but millions of doses of antibiotics and vaccines for typhoid and hepatitis. Merck is donating cash and is working with aid agencies on the ground in Southeast Asia to find out what medicines are needed.

FedEx is using its vast airplane fleet to transport 402 tons of these medicines, relief supplies, and water purification systems to Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Thailand.

In addition to corporate donations, most companies, like Pfizer, Exxon-Mobil, and Citibank, also have said they will match dollar for dollar their employees’ contributions.

But the companies are not boasting. Most of the time, you need to use the search engine on their corporate websites to find news releases with information about their donations. They are simply helping to save lives. (23)

    By subtracting $411 million from $700 million we can thus infer that US citizens have individually donated around $289 million. However, since US citizens own US companies there is really no need to create this artificial distinction. How does this match up with other countries? 

    The US numbers were last updated on Feb 3rd. A January 27th compilation by the BBC reports the following countries privately donated the following: Australia $88 million, South Korea $13 million, Germany $586 million, UK $189 million, Sweden $75 million, France $90 million, Norway $30 million, Canada $75 million, Italy $20 million, Netherlands $35 million. This is an incomplete list, some of these figures are doubtlessly under recorded or not recorded at all. Nonetheless, if we use it as a guide for a rough comparison we get a total of $1.2 billion from the citizens of the International Community versus $700 million from citizens of the United States. (25), (26) Five percent of the world's population lives in the United States. 

    You may find this comparison unfair because I am excluding government pledges and counting only the voluntary donations of private citizens. This was purposefully done to illustrate a central point. If a contribution is not voluntary then it is, by definition, involuntary. Taking an individual's money involuntarily is commonly known as stealing. Each of the above countries except France forcibly took more money from their citizens to aid the Tsunami victims then their citizens volunteered to give, often by large margins. For example, Australian citizens only voluntarily gave about 1/10th of what their government decided it would spend of their money. 

    Some might opine it is all the same because they are happy to let their government spend what they would have donated. This is absurd because it is arguing for the existence of a pointless middle man. Why go through the trouble of paying taxes and paying the salaries of bureaucrats only to have the money spent where you would have spent it anyway!?! Another objection might be that the government knows how much needs to be spent and thus will spend the correct amount more efficiently then you. This is even more absurd then the first objection. Government has no clue how much to spend, much less how to do it efficiently!

    Tad DeHaven writes in Human Events Online:

Indignant over accusations of being “stingy” by the United Nations, leaders in developed countries responded to the devastating tsunami in southern Asia by acting as if they were participants in a game of high-stakes poker. One can almost picture President Bush, peering across a smoke-shrouded table and coolly telling Jacques Chirac “I’ll see your $100 million, and I’ll raise you another fifty.” (27)

    The idea that government can spend your charity money better then you is: 1. Historically untrue, government programs are the most wasteful and corrupt institutions on the planet. (I have personally researched some of the welfare programs here in the United States and have documented the devastation it wreaked on the poorest in society.) 2. Personally insulting to your own worth and intelligence. Why can't YOU research the aid groups and find the most efficient and effective group? It encourages transparency and openness when aid agencies need to be held accountable to their donors. If you think the government really does the best job then, go ahead!, voluntarily give your money to your government.

    In the United States, our private citizens have thus far voluntarily donated double the $350 million that was conscripted from us by our government. While some might applaud this ratio as demonstrative of our national values of freedom and liberty, those who truly understand our national values, founding, and Constitution will take a dimmer view. 

Sheldon Richman writes in the Baltimore Chronicle:

The powers delegated to Congress are found in Article I, Section 8. The first clause states that Congress’s power to tax is confined to these purposes: “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.” The preamble to the Constitution sets out the purpose of the document: “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

I submit that helping the victims of tidal waves falls under none of those purposes. Earlier presidents understood this. James Madison and Grover Cleveland, among others, vetoed bills appropriating money to disaster victims on the grounds that such acts were not authorized by the basic law of the land. (28)

    Some might classify the $100 million our military spent aiding the Tsunami victims as 'common Defense'. This is a stretch because we weren't defending ourselves from anyone, unless one subscribes to the thinking that by improving our image abroad we protect ourselves from terrorists at home. But isn't aiding someone to keep them, or others, from attacking you the very definition of blackmail? Our military exists for our 'common Defense' for a reason and is, in itself, certainly Constitutional. Having military bases around the world aids in keeping the peace, encouraging commerce, confronting Tyranny, and spreading freedom, liberty, and representative government around the world. Despite the fact that the military budget is acquired involuntarily (US citizens are forced to pay taxes for it), we must recognize that there are basic needs that government must fulfill and taxes that our citizens must pay if they choose to live in the USA and enjoy the protections and freedoms provided by our military. I think the initial emergency response, to fulfill an emergency task that no one else is capable of performing, which doubtlessly saved thousands of lives, which will last no more then two months, is a humanitarian effort worthy of our support. 

    However, I agree with Sheldon Richman that the $350 million of our money that President Bush has given away is antithetical to our founding and to our Constitution. To understand why we need to examine our history in order to ask ourselves how a nation with only 5% of the world's population could have defeated Nazism, Communism, and (hopefully) Terrorism, liberated billions of people, driven the world economy for the past century, emerged as the world's only superpower, and, most recently, provided the most aid for Tsunami victims on the opposite side of the globe. Unfortunately the answer is not taught in US public schools. 

    Before the United States came into being the laws of Europe were codified around what was known as ‘the Divine Rights of Kings’. That is, it was thought that the King of any given country received guidance from God and thus his word was law. The King could take anyone’s life or property by snapping his fingers because he was the law. King Henry the 8th of England killed how many of his wives? The circular argument was that God wouldn’t have put this person in charge of the country if he wasn’t meant to be there by God’s Will. Therefore the Kings used religion, often with the help of ministers, priests, and bishops, to brainwash their subjects and retain complete control of power. The pope complicated things a bit for these Tyrants, as he had an enormous amount of political power over Catholic nations – one of the reasons that led to the rise of Protestantism. German princes, and eventually, the Dutch and English, were eager to be free from the moderating tentacles of Rome in order to gain more power for themselves.

    There was no freedom of religion in most of Europe. You were often heavily taxed, excluded from social circles, and sometimes persecuted and killed if you didn’t conform to the state religion. Religious authorities were appointed and monitored by the King and dismissed, imprisoned, or killed if they became too outspoken. Thomas Paine later rightly said, "All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." (29) 

    Political opponents had their property seized, confiscatory taxes financed the constant wars of the Kings, which kept the people in a state of fear of foreign powers (preventing rebellion), and the top down socialistic economies of the King (or his Vassals) were the rule, as it enhanced the power of the King. A hierarchical society dominated by titles, ranks, and nobilities bestowed by the King gave the King further power through the resulting loyalty of his Vassals. If someone started to become wealthier than the King, the King just took his money! The King was always the wealthiest person in his country. Needless to say, all this didn’t go over too well with quite a few people and, upon hearing of cheap land and political/religious freedom in the colonies, they left for America.

      The many groups that came here may have been quite different in language, ethnicity and religion, but shared the common bond of fleeing Tyranny, and so set up a radically different form of government then had ever been done before in human history. They established the first codified separation of Church and State. They knew, as Justice Hugo Black said, that "..a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and to degrade religion..."(29) They believed all men were equal under God and despised the Vassals that were made more equal then the common man under the Kings and so wrote in article I section IX of the Constitution: “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” (74) Finally, they wrote laws that removed the King and eliminated the artificial Middle-Man between the common man and God. Each man was the King of his own private property, including his physical body, and thereby only answerable to God, not government. What took place was a massive decentralization of power to the individual. There was no longer any King who owned and lorded over all the land; the people owned and lorded over their own land. The people were free

    Pennsylvanian William Pitt gave a famous speech to the British Parliament describing a basic American principle, every man a King, that would become ingrained in our Constitution:

”The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter, the rain may enter -- but the King of England cannot enter; all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!” (29)

    This idea of ‘ownership’ and ‘property rights’ consistent with the rule of law is the only reason why the United States became the most powerful nation on earth. In retrospect this might seem rather obvious. If you own property you will develop, improve, and maintain it and attempt to produce wealth with it. Any profit you make from your property might be channeled back into further improving your property, or spent in voluntary exchange to purchase another person's property, or perhaps saved and/or given to charity. Since wealth = money and money is backed up by things of values, then it is clearer how the United States became a super power: by the enormous amount of wealth created by the industriousness of individual American citizens. This unique opportunity to produce wealth without being harassed by government and with all property owners equal in the eyes of the law, attracted an huge influx of immigration that continues to this day. 

    These property laws and the amazing economic growth they produce can only be enforced and codified by a Republic. A Republic is different from a Democracy in that there are core laws that cannot be voted on (without changing the Constitution) and decentralization is further increased. For example, in theory, all of the citizens cannot vote to take the property of the richest citizen because that rich citizen is King of his own property under the Constitution. In theory, the people of a state and in turn a county can live how they wish provided they respect the basic principles of the Constitution. 

    Notice the use of the phrase 'in theory'. Indeed, we have drifted far from the principles that brought us such prosperity. If you fear you will loose your property, or that you will receive only a small portion of the total revenue you generate from it, are you not discouraged from improving it? If you pay property tax on your property do you own it or do you rent it? If your land can be seized by ‘eminent domain’ for the ‘public good’ do you really own it? If you own a business and 1/3rd of all your money goes to the Federal government then doesn’t the Federal government own a third of the business? When the people of a state only own 10% of the total land of their state (Nevada) then do the people of that state own their state or does the Federal Government (30)? What was the point of even getting rid of the King?!? In our ignorance we have created a new King, another middle man between the common man and God, except now it has a different name: the Federal Government of the United States.

    Lord Acton famously stated, "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." (29) The great thing about a Republic is that almost all power is concentrated at the local or individual level, thus limiting corruption. This is why it has always been perplexing to see the attempts to unconstitutionally restrict the actions of free individuals with all of these campaign finance reform laws that never ever end up working. The simple solution is to reduce the power of the Federal government! If government doesn't have the power to do anything, then why should private industry give money to political candidates? The more power the Federal government has, the more money and corruption will flow in and out of the system. In the Federal government today even non-partisan boards, panels, commissions, and agencies with power become corrupted; members leave and take high paying jobs in the industries they are supposed to regulate; cronyism and political favoritism run rife. The corruption and special interest benefit is derived from the power itself. The power needs to be returned to the individual.

    Now, it is said that the Federal government should be used as a tool to help the 'poor' and 'less fortunate' and to further the 'public good'. As author Ayn Rand wrote, "The idea that 'the public interest' supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others." (29) In a truly free society there are no provisions, at the Federal level, to help the 'poor' or 'less fortunate'. Indeed, any provisions made, at the Federal level, are legalized theft and are inherently Tyrannical. If citizens do not voluntarily donate in order to solve a crisis then the society does not believe that there is a crisis worth addressing. This is self-evident. Power given to elitists who believe they, not the citizens, see all the wrongs that need righted is a formula that, regardless of their good intentions, can only end in corruption and the abuse of power. The elitists are fighting for a return to Monarchy.

    These aspiring Kings claim that because of the stupidity and incompetence of average citizens that great ills would befall the poor if the Federal government did not exist to rob the wealthy and middle class and spend their money for them on the ‘common good’. This myth is easily debunked because the freest societies have always had the least amount of poor, the most immigration to them, and have always been the most wealthy and powerful (and thereby can be always be criticized by the same elitists for not helping the ‘poorer’ corrupt nations of the world). Nathan Rosenberg wisely said, "The perception of poverty as morally intolerable in a rich society had to await the emergence of a rich society." (29)

    These elitists forget that the only reason their country become rich in the first place was by giving individuals the freedom to produce wealth freely. What do the most successful individuals often do with their created wealth? The most generous people in the history of the world have been private foundations and individuals who created their wealth in capitalistic societies because they were free to do so by limited government. By attempting to take care of the unfortunate, at the Federal level, a society becomes corrupt, not only fiscally, but morally. Worse, the unfortunate are most often not helped, but hurt. I realize this is often quite counterintuitive.

    This principal might be better illustrated using the example of Bill Gates and Microsoft. Bill Gates and Microsoft created Windows, a program of enormous value. This program was of value to consumers and other businesses because it enabled their businesses to become more productive and produce more wealth. These businesses were often able to lower prices and thus people had more money to spend. The whole economy benefited. However, Gates and Microsoft got very wealthy. But this money was not stolen or taken from anyone! A business would not buy Windows unless it was able to become more profitable by using it. So Microsoft was clearly not taking any money from business. Microsoft was creating wealth. It was enlarging the pie, not stealing or taking it from anyone. This is how economies grow. If taxes in the US had been at 90% do you think the company would have been able to achieve such rapid growth, create such a useful product, and create as much wealth and employment? Of course not. Heck, if taxes had only been set at 10% then who knows what futuristic system we might be operating on now!

      And, most importantly, Gates and Microsoft use much of their money to support a variety of charitable causes around the world. These contributions add up into billions of dollars. This charity arose out of thin air – it was derived from the wealth that Microsoft itself created. How can we complain about Gates being unequally wealthy when he created all his wealth for himself by merely doing the unspeakable: growing the rest of the economy and making the world a better place! We should be applauding him for benefiting society. Those who attempt to foster blame, hate, and jealousy towards wealth creators work to destroy the very essence of freedom, liberty, and morality.

    Take this example of Microsoft and spread it across hundreds and hundreds of industries and it is more apparent how low taxes and little government control results in better lives for everyone. A King, the elitists, and the current US Federal government all conspire to steal the money of these hard working and generous entrepreneurs and, in effect, kill the goose that laid the golden egg. 

    Do you now see the reason for the disparity between the US public and private giving and that of the other countries of the world? The US has the highest per capita GDP of all those countries listed because we still respect the property of our citizens the most, which is reflective in our 'low' public Tsunami aid. However, the most interesting part of this entire analysis, and the key point of this paper, is that by respecting the property of our citizens the most we also assure that the largest and most important aid contributor in the Tsunami relief effort are the private citizens of the United States of America and their military. 

    But I would not want you to just blindly take my word for all this. Here are some quotes from great Americans (29):

Benjamin Franklin
When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.

George Washington
Government, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master

Thomas Jefferson
He who governs least, governs best. 

Thomas Jefferson
 
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.

Thomas Jefferson

Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our general government may be reduced to a very simple organization, & a very unexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants. 

 

James Madison

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.

Mark Twain
No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.

Calvin Coolidge
Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery. 

Ronald Reagan
Man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.  

CA Justice Janice Rogers Brown
Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible. (29)

    A few other statements and stories from past Presidents:

James Madison, the father of our Constitution, said, in a January 1794 speech in the House of Representatives, "The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

Franklin Pierce, our 14th president, vetoed a bill to help the mentally ill, saying, "I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity," adding that to approve such spending "would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded."

In 1887, President Grover Cleveland, our 22nd and 24th president, said, when he vetoed a bill to assist drought-inflicted counties in Texas, "I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds. ... I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution and I do not believe that the power and the duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit... The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood." (44)

    Edward Sylvester Ellis writes in The Life of Colonel David Crockett about a constituent of Congressmen Crocket who lectured Crocket about $20,000 he voted to give to families that had been left homeless in a D.C. fire:

"Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means.

What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he.

If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give at all; and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. 'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity." (33) (this is a great read)

    Unfortunately, all of this is not self-evident to members of our current government and, most disappointingly, to members of the Republican party. These principles were at one time the heart and soul of the Republican party, but it seems many members, including our current President, are increasingly thinking like the elitists. Why else would the President offer $350 million (now {2/10} $1 billion) of money that was not his own? Why couldn't he have just given the $10,000 of his own money as an example and exhorted citizens to donate (as he also did)? 

    Fox News host Bill O'Reilly is often labeled a 'Conservative', but despite giving mute recognition to the value of private giving, seems to extol government thievery: 

The United States is next at $350 million. We think that will go up. Britain, $96 million, always a very generous nation. Italy, $95 million, again the same as Britain. And Sweden which only has eight million—nine million citizens, up with $80 million.

In contrast, Saudi Arabia only $10 million. And here's the rest of them. Our pals, the French, $60 million. They have 60 million citizens. You know, it's, OK, nothing—China, again, with more than a billion citizens, $60 million. Nothing extraordinary. (31) (emphasis mine)

    On January 27th the Associated Press Reported that the Bush Administration might ask for a billion dollars in public funds for Tsunami relief! And these 'Republicans' agree with him!:

Lewis and Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., who chairs the Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, said afterward they think the tsunami request could be about $1 billion.

"We certainly will outstrip, in terms of real money contributions, the other countries of the entire world," Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said at the session. (32)

    How can all these 'Conservatives' not understand the Constitution? Rep. Lewis, Rep. Koble, and Mr. O'Reilly, we should not worry about whether or not we 'outstrip' the other countries of the world. This is not a poker game and we do 'outstrip' them as is (pun intended). It appears likely that Congress will approve of this $1 billion dollar heist. We will remember the 'Conservatives' that vote for and against it. 

    Now, if you are angry at 'Conservatives' over their irresponsible actions, wait until we turn to the other side. Democrats attacked the President for initially pledging to steal only $15 million from the American people, when the scope of the disaster wasn't even known!:

Bush came under fire for the initial $15 million U.S. commitment to relief efforts and for waiting three days after the tsunami to break off his vacation and appear in public expressing his concern for the victims. Since then, he has increased the U.S. contribution to $350 million, dispatched his brother to the region and now pulled his father out of retirement. (34)

    When the President more then doubled the amount he was robbing to $35 million he was still criticized!:

Some of the president's political opponents criticized his initial pledge of $35 million for tsunami victims as too small, given the size and wealth of the United States. Mr. Bush quickly raised that amount to $350 million and says Washington is now helping lead the way to help those affected. (39)

       Newspapers across the country criticized the President's 'poor' initial response. For example, an Editorial from the Los Angeles Times was typical:

President Bush's initial, halting response to the Indian Ocean tsunami catastrophe, followed within days by strong expressions of concern and decisive action, spotlighted a governing style that sometimes finds its stride only after stumbling at the gate. This seems especially true when Bush is confronted with a cataclysmic event and must improvise quickly -- as with the Dec. 26 tsunami or the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. . . .

Slow to speak out, Bush first offered $15 million in financial aid, then $35 million. But now, having upped the aid package to $350 million and dispatched both Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Bush's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, to survey relief efforts, the president may capitalize on an opportunity to provide world leadership and improve his image among Muslims opposed to the Iraq war. Many of the tsunami victims are Muslim. (35)

    The United Nations, an organization that receives 25-30% of it's Budget from the involuntary conscription of wealth from the citizens of the United States, provides the most audacious examples. U.N. relief coordinator, Norwegian Jan Egeland, said shortly after the disaster:

"We were more generous when we were less rich -- many of the rich countries. And it is beyond me why we are so stingy really. Even Christmastime should remind many western countries at least how rich we've become." (37)

    Although he surely doesn't realize it, he is actually correct in saying that the poorer countries are often more liberal with their people's money - the very cause of their poverty! For example, North Korea offered $150,000 in tsunami aid while it's population is starving.

    Egeland continued:

"There are several donors who are less generous than before in a growing world economy," he said, adding that politicians in the United States and Europe "believe that they are really burdening the taxpayers too much, and the taxpayers want to give less. It's not true. They want to give more." (38)

    Unbelievable! Here is a man presuming to know that people want their governments to confiscate more of their money. First, if the people want to give more they will give more voluntarily, and Second, it's none of your business how people in other countries spend their own money, much less how their governments pillage it from them!

White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy responded:

 In response to Mr. Egeland's comments, Mr. Duffy pointed out that the United States is "the largest contributor to international relief and aid efforts, not only through the government, but through charitable organizations. The American people are very giving." (38)

    The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Andrew Natsios said in an interview with PBS:

ANDREW NATSIOS: I have written books on this. I've been doing this work for 15 years. Jan Egeland is a friend of mine; we're the biggest donor to fund his office and his staff. I called him and said, Jan, what are you talking about? He's talking about development assistance, not disaster relief. For disaster relief, it's simply nonsense. He doesn't know what the data shows.

GWEN IFILL: You made the point earlier today and you made it again just now that this is their country and we're just there to help. How essential is it, however, for United States to take the lead in something like this?

ANDREW NATSIOS: Well, it's not a matter of whether it's essential. We do that traditionally.

While there have been some controversies over this, the statistics show, internationally accepted statistics, that in the last year that we have them for '03, the United States gave 40 percent of all government assistance for international humanitarian aid for all countries in the world.

So we're the largest donor by far, and I would say 40 percent of the total given, it's $2.4 billion, it's a lot of money.

GWEN IFILL: We're also the richest country by far.

ANDREW NATSIOS: We are.

GWEN IFILL: So I guess there is a group called the Center for Global Development that says that 40 percent of the relief aid boils down to about 2 cents a day per American. Is that generous enough?

ANDREW NATSIOS: Well, I would say that 40 percent of the requirement worldwide and 2.4 billion dollars is very generous. How much it is per American seems to me to be irrelevant.

GWEN IFILL: Why is that?

ANDREW NATSIOS: What counts is what the requirement is in the field. How many people are at risk and how much food and how much medical assistance do they need?

That's what we design our budgets to do: To respond to people in the field. The Americans are not at risk. And how much we give should not be based on how many people live in America or in Europe.

It's how many people are at risk and how much do they need for us to assist them. Sixty percent of all the food given in humanitarian assistance around the world comes from the United States - 60 percent.

That's a traditional figure for a number of years. We're the largest donor to UNICEF, the largest donor to the International Committee for the Red Cross, the largest donor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (37)

    At least Mr. Natsios effectively rebuttes Mr. Egeland and looks more practically at what is actually needed (As Ronald Regan said, The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern. (29)), but he still seems to be lauding the unconstitutional theft of our money to all these various relief organizations. 

    President Bush himself countered some of this criticism:

"You know there is a lot of talk about how some in the world don't appreciate America," he said. "Well, I can assure you that those who have been helped by our military appreciate America." (39)

    He also slammed Mr. Egeland:

    "Well, I felt like the person who made that statement was very misguided and ill-informed," Mr. Bush said from his Texas ranch. "We're a very generous, kindhearted nation, and, you know, what you're beginning to see is a typical response from America." (40)

    The President made no statement addressing, nor was he asked, about whether he had the right or the duty to spend other peoples' wealth unconstitutionally; Apparently because much of the press believes Mr. Egeland was right! An Editorial in the New York Times stated:

"We beg to differ. Mr. Egeland was right on target. We hope Secretary of State Colin Powell was privately embarrassed when, two days into a catastrophic disaster that hit 12 of the world's poorer countries and will cost billions of dollars to meliorate, he held a press conference to say that America, the world's richest nation, would contribute $15 million. That's less than half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities." (41)

    The New York Times would do well to remember not just the history, founding, and Constitution of the country it is printed in, but it's own history. In a 1909 editorial opposing the very first income tax the New York Times profoundly stated: When men get in the habit of helping themselves to the property of others, they cannot easily be cured of it. (29)

    Meanwhile, UN officials continued to their criticisms: 

The U.N. official coordinating relief efforts on Sumatra island complained Thursday that the U.S. military’s aid mission was failing to coordinate and provide critical information to other relief organizations struggling to help survivors of the tsunami.

Michael Elmquist said that while American helicopters were speeding relief supplies to villages isolated by the Dec. 26 disaster, their crews were not spending enough time on the ground to assess survivors’ needs.

“They don’t stop their engines. They’re on the ground for five minutes,” Elmquist told reporters in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, on the hard-hit northern tip of Sumatra. (42)

    His words speak for themselves. They didn't stop because they were so busy distributing vast amounts of emergency supplies while waiting for the UN and others to arrive! Contrast this with a previous story from source (19): They used standardized forms prepared by OCHA and visited approximately fifty sites in five days, using U.S. army helicopters. (In fairness, story (19) happened weeks after story (42) so detractor might argue that the criticism resulted in the new coordination. I still think this could have been communicated privately without giving the press something to get excited about. However, a January 10th story, only four days after Elmquist's statements, stated: The areas where Marine helicopters are allowed to land have also been restricted, though they have made daily sorties, airlifting U.N. assessment teams, French doctors and badly needed fuel and supplies. (emphasis mine) (56))

    The military received more criticism weeks later when they proposed transitioning the relief to aid agencies, possibly because of the unease of the Indonesian government about the foreign military presence. 

Meanwhile, a senior U.S. military official involved in the relief operation in Aceh tried to reassure aid workers in the area who worry the U.S. decision last week to start scaling back and handing over operations to other nations and agencies was premature.

“The bottom line is: I don’t share that same concern,” Rear Adm. William Crowder, commander of the USS Abraham Lincoln, told The Associated Press in an interview. “We’re reaching a point where there’s going to be a transition to sustain relief and not an acute emergency gotta-have-it-now relief that we saw in the first couple of weeks.”

The USS Abraham Lincoln’s five-ship battle group arrived off Sumatra within four days of the tsunami, and about a dozen SH-60 Seahawk helicopters have been rushing food, water and medicine to people along the island’s battered coast every day since then. (43)

    So, if we look at this collectively, it appears that these United Nations officials, aid groups, and other 'critics', are disparately suggesting that the United States had: 1. A poor initial response. 2. A clumsy uncoordinated response. 3. A response that ended too soon.

    However, there were also reports that filtered out showing that the United Nations and others did recognize the vital contributions of the United States. A January 5th New York Times story stated:

Even as contributions mounted, the United Nations office overseeing relief from Geneva appealed for generators, water purification equipment, some 250 trucks and cargo planes able to land on short runways, which it said only the United States and Britain could provide, according to Reuters. (45) (emphasis mine)

    The UN World Food Program was one of the largest suppliers of food, although it got into action late. 

WFP welcomes the speedy and generous response of the US Food For Peace office of USAID and the US Department of Agriculture for their prompt donations of US$30 million towards WFP’s emergency operation to assist survivors of the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean. (46)

With the help of United States Air Force helicopters, WFP has delivered the first canned fish and vegetable oil to the coastal town of Lamno on the west coast of Aceh. The choppers airlifted some 45 tons of the fish and vegetable oil in a series of rotations over the course of a single day. (47)

    If we are paying a majority of the budget of the WFP, if we loot our citizens for $30 million for WFP 'emergency operations', and then if our military delivers the aid... what is the real purpose of this organization even existing!?! In this case it seems they are just playing the role of a worthless middle-man (analogy intended). 

    The United Nations receives wide media coverage, their spokesmen and leaders tour the talk shows, and their press releases are widely disseminated. Yet it does seem that there is an established pattern of taking credit for things other organizations are doing. On January 28th a UN press release claimed:

In Indonesia alone, the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration had a fleet of 300 trucks, 11 helicopters and 3 cargo ships. (48)

    The IOM and the UN are separate organizations! Even more interesting is that a February 4th press release from the IOM Director General on the Indonesian leg of Tsunami affected countries states:

IOM is currently operating some 334 trucks on its convoy routes from Jakarta via Medan to Banda Aceh and from Medan to Meulaboh. (49)

    A group of connected (Conservative) State Department employees run a blog called 'The Diplomad'. They posted this seven days after the Tsunami hit:

I sent USAID friends now in Indonesia this interview by UN SecGen Annan and Under SecGen Egeland that is being run on the official UN website. The AID guys' heads nearly exploded at the sheer brazeness of the UN. A sample,

Mr. Egeland: Our main problems now are in northern Sumatra and Aceh <. .> In Aceh, today 50 trucks of relief supplies are arriving. They will have arrived because it's already late there. Tomorrow, we will have eight full airplanes arriving. I discussed today with Washington whether we can draw on some assets on their side, after consultations with the Indonesian Government, to set up what we call an “air-freight handling centre” in Aceh.

Tomorrow, we will have to set up a camp for relief workers – 90 of them – which is fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything, because they have nowhere to stay and we don't want them to be an additional burden on the people there.

The first paragraph is just a lie. The UN has had NOTHING to do with those activities. The truck convoy? That was thrown together by incredibly smart, street saavy and hard-working USAID types, who in the best tradition of American know-how and common sense scrounged up 80 trucks with drivers and fuel and got them loaded up with critical supplies. They bought, rented, begged, borrowed, cajoled, and blustered -- and got the convoys moving towards the devastated areas of northern Sumatra. We and the Aussies, the best friends you could ever hope for, have got AID and military folks sleeping on the airport tarmac, dealing with rain, bugs, mud, death, and destruction -- bringing in the C-130s, the choppers, and the trucks, taking medicine and medical care out to some extremely remote and horribly affected areas.

A UN "Air freight handling centre" in Aceh? Bull! It's the Aussies and the Yanks doing it -- nobody else. The UN is nowhere on the scene. And believe me, we are not building some aid workers' retreat as Egeland is talking about; our folks are pitching tents, sleeping under aircraft, or where possible renting half-destroyed houses.
(50)

    I often hesitate to use uncertified blogs, but decided to post this one because it is indirectly corroborated and fits the pattern of so many other stories. Take it with a grain of salt. 

    Another UN press release reveals some curious areas of donations:

It has also provided eight tons of medical supplies while the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS has distributed information on the disease in emergency settings and the UN Population Fund has delivered over 600 reproductive health kits.

For its part the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is distributing some 5,000 prayer shawls to Acehnese women affected by the tsunami for tomorrow's Muslim holy day of Eid Al-Adha. (51)

    Revealingly, some of the most supportive comments of the US efforts came from Indonesians. The comments of the Indonesian Foreign Minister were reported by the New York Times:

For his part, Mr. Wirajuda, a Harvard Law School graduate, went out of his way to praise the performance of the American military in the aid effort. "We particularly appreciate the crucial role that the United States armed forces play in providing helicopters for relief assistance for victims and survivors at the remote and isolated areas," he said. (53)

    Eight days after the Tsunami hit an Indonesian military spokesmen described the American effort:

 "They've helped us reach places we have not had the time, or manpower, or equipment to go to," said Col. Basuki, noting that Americans had helped clear helicopter landing spaces for the arrival of future supplies. "It really speeds up the distribution of aid to [Sumatra's] west coast." (54)

    On January 18th, the Indonesia Minister of Defense Juwono Sudarsono said at a press conference:

"The U.S. Military [in Aceh] has been the backbone of the logistical operations providing assistance to all afflicted after the disaster. We'd like to pay tribute to the soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen of the U.S. Forces deployed in Aceh throughout the relief effort." (55)

    Before closing, it is again important to return to the deeper political and economic realities that are underscored by the Tsunami. The reason that the US aid contribution, and those from other countries, are so vital to this region is because the region was impoverished to begin with. As mentioned, the poverty and misery of this region and all other poorer countries are due to the lack of basic rule of law and their lack of property rights (note: one of these is seldom, if ever, found without the other one). For example, in a typical Indonesian fishing village people 'own' the house they live in only because they are physically present in the house, they have no deed to the house and cannot use it as collateral for a loan. 

    The socialistic nature of many third world economies breed gross corruption and contribute to lawlessness, scaring away foreign investment. It is self evident that a government with little power cannot be corrupt. For example, reminiscent of the old Kings of Europe, in many African countries the richest men are all in the government. The BBC reports the comments of Jeremy Pope, head of anti-corruption watchdog group Transparency International:

"What has been revealed is a hopelessly corrupt political elite - a political class across the spectrum that simply sees politics as a way of becoming wealthy," Mr Pope says. "As long as politics is seen as the path to wealth, then Africa is on a downward path." (76)

    Unfortunately, well intentioned aid agencies and international lending organizations often contribute to the power of these despots by giving aid to the government and encouraging the hurtful socialistic programs, such as anti-poverty programs and government provided health care, that are at the root of that country's poverty! These same people then demand that prosperous countries, who forcibly borrowed from their citizens in order to lend money to enrich these despots, turn their 'loan' into a 'gift'. 

    The BBC reports the demands of a leftist minister from England to foreign citizens:

The foreign debts owed by countries hit by the Asian tsunami disaster could be frozen, under a proposal being pushed by UK Chancellor Gordon Brown. (57)

    A few weeks later the G7 (wealthiest 7 nations) actually agreed, in principal, with Brown!:

The world's seven richest countries have agreed that up to $100 billion in debts from 37 of the world's poorest countries should be written off... 

Also, the US representative firmly opposed Mr Brown's additional scheme of an international finance facility that would allow developing nations to draw in advance on future aid commitments from wealthy nations.

The Australian Government, while not a member of the G7 group, has argued against debt forgiveness as a solution to global poverty. It says that the governments of developing nations will not necessarily pass on the benefits to their people. 

Brown believes that: "It is the rich countries hearing the voices of the poor . . . showing that no injustice can last forever," he said. (58)

    Notice Australia is the only voice of reason. (Similarly, French President Jacques Chirac used the Tsunami disaster to push for global taxes, which fortunately have not been adopted yet. See articles at the end for details) The 'Conservative' Bush Administration went along with these poverty creating 'debt relief' proposals. Indonesia is a prime example. From the AFP press:

Transparency International ranks Indonesia in its top 10 of worst offenders, with an ungovernable reputation for kickbacks, collusion and bribery that has scared away badly needed foreign investment.

Aceh's governor Abdullah Puteh is behind bars at the moment, accused in a helicopter purchase embezzlement scam worth 100,000 dollars -- a paltry sum compared to the $35 billion allegedly amassed by former dictator Suharto.

New President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has described his country's lack of probity as the laughing stock of Asia, said after the disaster that the misappropriation of relief funds would not be tolerated.

"The pressure will be strong on Indonesia. If it does not stop embezzlement, the UN will bring its fist down on the table," said one western diplomat here.

Some Indonesian government officials, however, believe that it is perhaps the United Nations that requires scrutiny, particularly in the wake of a scandal over its tainted "oil-for-food" programme in Iraq.

"As we know, even in the United Nations there is a lot of corruption, and we should be careful about this," commented Secretary of State Yusril Ihza Mahendra. (59)

    A story in the Washington Post describes problems already occurring in Indonesia:

Yet people relying upon that aid complained that the goods are scarce. Much of the relief is being brought to settlements controlled by the Indonesian military.

"The military has ordered that all the aid dropped by the helicopters be taken to their base," said Carifuddin, 46, a retired police officer whose house in Ujung Baru was destroyed by the tsunami. He accused the soldiers of keeping too much. "We have to stand in line for two hours to get two packs of instant noodles. There is some rice, but some get it and some don't," he said. A member of the Meulaboh city planning board, Tajudin Marlian, concurred that the army is depriving needy people of relief.

"It is a fact that all the aid is carried by TNI trucks that take the aid to their own base" he said, using the acronym for the Indonesian armed forces. "How could that be fair? They are taking a little bit for themselves." In an interview at an Indonesian army base here, Col. Geerhan Lantara, commander of the relief mission for western Aceh, denied such accusations. "There is no problem," he said. (60)

    The Indonesia military has been accused by human rights groups and the international community of gross human rights violations in the breakaway province of Aceh. In 1999 Indonesia was slapped with US military sanctions and thus their largely US purchased military is deteriorating:

Out of a total of 233 fighters, only between 40 percent and 50 percent are operational, air force chief of staff Marshal Hanafie Asnan was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying. (62)

    These tensions sometimes threatened to disrupt aid. The Abraham Lincoln had to briefly leave Indonesian waters because the Indonesian government refused to allow US pilots to use their airspace to train. US troops landing to assist had to be unarmed and were restricted in their access. Varying stories suggest the US military was asked or pressured to leave early. Aid groups had to pre-register with the government. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was restricted in his travels and some members of the Indonesian government expressed disappointment at the selection of former US President Bill Clinton as a prominent fundraiser. (56), (63), (64), (65)

    Although the recent election of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, a former security official running on an anti-terror and anti-corruption platform, is a hopeful sign, the political difficulties mentioned above are a result of the failed governments of the past and present and a reflection of Indonesia's poverty. 

        Sri Lanka, a small island off the coast of India, which has also been wracked by civil war, governmental ineptitude, and corruption, suffered similar problems:

On Sri Lanka, Tamil Tiger rebels canceled a key meeting with international donors -- a move threatening reconstruction efforts.

The rebels had complained that aid supplies weren't reaching them and blamed the government for the killing of one of their top leaders as he finished overseeing reconstruction efforts in a rebel stronghold in eastern Sri Lanka, one of the regions hardest hit by the killer waves. The government denied involvement in Tuesday's killing.
(66)

   In another shocking story that emerged out of Sri Lanka, Thilak Ranavirajah, chief of the Sri Lankan presidential task force coordinating relief, said that 70% of the victims hadn't received anything! On February 3rd the Associated Press reported:

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's government suspended two village officials for allegedly channeling tsunami aid to friends who were not affected by the killer waves, while a third was suspended for being under the influence of liquor while on duty, said W. Weerakoon, a government administrator in Galle, one of the hardest-hit areas. Ten others were being investigated on similar charges, he said.

Though millions of dollars in aid has poured into Sri Lanka since the tsunami killed at least 30,000 people here, 70 percent of survivors haven't received anything because of bureaucratic bungling and incompetence, officials say.

In the Sri Lankan capital, hundreds of people protested outside the U.N. World Food Program office Wednesday, complaining they had not received food rations. Demonstrators from the southern coastal town of Matara submitted a petition seeking U.N. intervention.

This was not the first sign of trouble with Sri Lanka's aid effort. On Tuesday, the government began investigating complaints that food aid intended for tsunami victims had disappeared and that some of the homeless living in camps were being fed rotten supplies.

The World Food Program said it had donated 10,000 tons of rice, lentils and sugar and had delivered the supplies to government stores across the island. "We can't understand why the people aren't getting it," spokeswoman Selvi Sachithanandam said. (61) (emphasis mine)

    They won't understand why their debt relief programs won't bring anyone out of poverty either. Top down, socialistic type aid distribution nearly always fails. The error lies in the setup of the system:

Millions of dollars worth of relief from around the world has poured into Sri Lanka since the tsunami. The central government distributes it to administrators, who then channel it through divisional bureaucrats to village officials, who are supposed to deliver it to the displaced. (67)

    US military aid (and the military aid of other countries) and NGO aid, given directly to the people, was surely more effective then letting government attempt to micromanage the distribution. This error has consistently been repeated in dealing with poverty around the world and in the United States.  

    What does work to combat poverty? Besides the aforementioned property rights and the fair rule of law, free trade is the greatest alleviator of poverty. Who blocks free trade? Government! So free trade could actually just be classified under property rights because it should be the right of a person in one country to buy or sell property with a person in a different country. The reason these two people can't complete the voluntary transaction that would benefit both of them is because Government has tyrannically given itself the power to block it. For example, the governments of the United States and Europe will imprison their citizens if they do not pay the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes that these governments then return to small, often wealthy, farming interest groups. These bloated subsidies allow farmers to price their goods below market price (although in reality they are actually above market price), thus preventing developing nations from exporting substantial foodstuffs to developed countries. These farmers then donate some of the money the government stole for them back to the politicians that orchestrated the theft. Often times tariffs or other hurtful meddlings further discourage trade in industries like textiles, another key export of developing countries. Yet the people who purport to care most about the poor in third world countries are often the biggest supporters of the ever expanding, ever spending, ever corrupt, and ever hurtful government! 

    For another look at how free trade aids developing countries and former welfare recipients in this country, I urge you to read this excerpt from my welfare paper.

    These ideas are so important and intricately related to this Tsunami disaster because all of this foreign aid would not be needed if freedom and liberty reigned in these countries as it still (somewhat) does in ours. A striking example of this can be seen by analyzing hurricane Jeanne, a destructive storm that swept through the Caribbean and into Florida during September of 2004. Haiti, an impoverished country that suffers from the lack of property rights and the lack of just rule of law, suffered terribly. An estimated 2000 people died, hundreds of thousands were made homeless, and essential services were almost completely destroyed. Foreign aid, with a large US component, poured in to try to assist the victims. (68) Just days later Jeanne struck Florida and only 6 people were killed. (69)

    Even the most powerful and devastating hurricane to ever strike the United States, the 1992 Hurricane Andrew only killed about three dozen Americans. The Washington Post asks what should by now be a rhetorical question:

    In another part of the world, at another time, a storm of Andrew's magnitude might well have left hundreds or even thousands dead. Instead it has so far resulted in a death toll nearing three dozen. How is it that we escaped worse? (70)

    The answer is that strong and enforced property laws allow American citizens to freely generated enough wealth from their property to enable them to purchase larger, stronger houses, instead of shacks or shanty towns. Excess wealth enabled high quality private and public warning and weather monitoring systems to be produced. Indeed, a US built Tsunami early warning system already exists throughout the Pacific. In another reminder of the ongoing blatant violations of our own property laws, our current 'Republican' President has earmarked money that isn't his to build a similar warning system for the Indian Ocean. (71)

    In final conclusion, I will end by posting the full article from the American Enterprise Institute:

A Giving People

 

Within three weeks of the Asian tsunami disaster, private donors in America had given even more than the $350 million in official assistance pledged by the U.S. government, note researchers Gary Tobin, Alexander Karp, and Aryeh Weinberg in a forthcoming study entitled "American Mega-Giving." With private contributions continuing to pour in, and $6 million per day of relief assistance being carried out by nearly 20,000 U.S. troops, total U.S. aid for this disaster will exceed $1 billion.

 

And as impressive as that sum is, Tobin, Karp, and Weinberg note that it is far less than 1 percent of the total amount Americans will donate to the less fortunate this year. In 2003, the latest year for which complete data are available, Americans gave $241 billion to charitable causes. We will offer up considerably more in 2005, as our historic pattern is to give more with each passing year. "For Americans, responding to a crisis is not unusual. Millions of Americans respond to the everyday crises of life all the time."

 

Americans donate like no other people, the researchers note, whether you look at total donations, per capita giving, size of gifts, or types of giving. "The European country with the greatest tradition of giving, Britain, gave approximately $14 billion in 2003. Even after adjusting for population differences, British giving constitutes less than one third of American philanthropy. And Britain's levels are not matched in the European Union. France follows with just over $4 billion, and then Germany with approximately $3.5 billion."

 

In an earlier report in Philanthropy, Tobin, Karp, and Weinberg write that, "a recent German study reports that on a per capita basis, American citizens contribute to charity nearly seven times as much as their German counterparts, and that about six times as many Americans as Germans do volunteer work.... Some 70 percent of U.S. households make charitable cash contributions...over half of all U.S. adults will volunteer an estimated 20 billion hours in charitable activities this year.... In short, American philanthropy is extraordinary by any world standard."

 

Americans are distinctive not only in the level of their giving, but in its decentralized and personal nature. Europeans prefer government welfare state transfers. U.S. citizens generally like to give away their money themselves.

 

"Americans give at emergency levels every day," summarizes Tobin. "When the rest of the world has forgotten about this tsunami crisis, Americans will keep giving generously to this and thousands of other causes." (72)

    And remember:

However, the most interesting part of this entire analysis, and the key point of this paper, is that by respecting the property of our citizens the most we also assure that the largest and most important aid contributor in the Tsunami relief effort are the private citizens of the United States of America and their military. 

 

If you enjoyed this please pass it around. It will continue to be updated. Comments are appreciated.

 

Update 2/11/04

    Unfortunately, it has been confirmed: the Bush Administration has said it will ask Congress to steal $950 million dollars up from $350 million for the Tsunami victims. Worse, 'Conservative' US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is now accusing other nations of not fleecing their citizens for more. Wolfowitz does raise a good point about the over reliance that many countries have on the American military for keeping the peace:

Mr Wolfowitz was asked whether the transatlantic Nato alliance was considering changes to respond better to crises such as the tsunami. 

'I wish I could say...I think we're dealing with a problem with our Nato allies,' he replied. 'Their defence budgets just keep declining and very few of them have the capacity to do even things that they've been trying to do already.' (75)


Disclaimers 

Further elaborations are needed for added clarity. 

1. I realize that around the time of our founding Democratic type movements were underway in certain areas of Europe, most notably in parts of Germany, Italy, and England. The Dutch, and then the English, became world powers when advances in property rights allowed their merchants to keep a large share of their profits. The Magna Carter, a document that limited the power of the King, was a huge reason behind Great Britain's subsequent rise to superpower status. But the idea of a pure republic with limited government is largely an American concept, and a wildly successful experiment.  

2. There is a lot of emphasis on the religious nature of our founding. It is a clear way to view the contrast between Europe and America and historically reflects the thinking of our founders. However, one can construct the same political structure without using the word 'God' or religious references and one can certainly be an atheist and live in America (past or present). For some (admittedly) eccentric thoughts on religion/spirituality check out my 'Theory of God'. 

3. I also realize that in some cases debt relief can be beneficial if a society has truly adopted a representative government that respects property rights after years of Tyranny. In these cases the people of the country should be furious with whoever was lending the money to the Tyrant who was pillaging the country. The exceptions further strengthen the rule. 

4. Some have taken offense at the criticism herein directed at the Bush administration. The language may have been a little strong, but it was intended to get the point across. I respect President Bush, voted for him, and volunteered for his campaign. I think he is doing many things right, but also feel an obligation to speak up when I disagree with him. It must also be said that we cannot be angry at our political leaders since 'we the people' elected them. If we disagree with them we need to make our voices known to them and, if necessary, support other candidates who more closely mirror our position.


Additional Articles

Not Yours To Give - 2/9/05 Walter Williams writes a great piece on the unconstitutionality of government charity. (here is the original Not Yours to Give Davy Crockett lesson)

Tsunami Aid: Not Theirs to Give - Sheldon Richmon's good article in the Boston Chronicle. 

Free Trade, Not Government Aid, Is the Right Answer for Tsunami Relief - 2/4/05 Human Events writes an illustrative article on what will really help the Tsunami victims in the long run. 

How Evil Capitalists Can Save the World.. and Just Might - Tim Worstall from Tech Station writes an analytic article on how to really stop poverty. It begins with: Recently I wrote two pieces here, the first essentially arguing that throwing money at thieves was perhaps not the best method of reducing global poverty, the second that perhaps capitalists might do a better job.

A Wave of Price Gouging 1/10/05 Cafe Hayek produces a great article illustrating how the free market may raise prices, but also delivers much needed goods to victims of disasters. Tsunami Brings Long List of Profiteers - 1/27/05 Associated Press describes a few of the entrepreneurs that help make immediate Tsunami relief possible and long term recovery feasible. Price Gouging in Florida - 9/14/04 Dr. Thomas Sowell details the hurtful counterproductiveness of Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush's efforts to ensure 'fair prices' for Florida victims of hurricane Jeanne. Another so-called 'Conservative'... and he was sent by President Bush to oversea Tsunami relief!

Daschle moving to K Street (posted 3/16/05)

3/14/05 Washington Post gives us a an interesting look at the excessive power that government holds. Neither (former Democratic Senate Minority leader) Daschle nor his new employer would discuss how much he will be paid. Other influential former members of Congress have drawn annual compensation packages of as much as $1 million and higher after making such moves. <..> "The revolving door is just spinning out of control these days," said Craig Holman, legislative representative for Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. Holman said that in the 1970s only about 3 percent of retiring members of Congress wound up in K Street law and lobbying firms. These days, the figure is more like 32 percent, he said, in part fueled by the dramatic increase in pay for such positions. Why are all these ex-government officials worth so much money to these private companies? Private companies only (rightly) pay people who get results and and increase their profit. Therefore, certain private companies are using government, owned and funded by the people, and twisting and corrupting it for their own special interest purposes. Should we then blame the private companies? No, each company has a right to use any means within the law to increase their profit and wealth. The problem lies in the fact that government has given itself the power to do whatever these companies find so valuable for it to do. More appropriately, the problem lies with the people of the United States for not standing up for their stolen dollars and against their corrupt government

"He's got a lot of friends in the Senate, and I've got a lot of friends in the Senate, and, combined, who knows -- we might have 51," (Former Republican Senate Majority Leader) Dole (who also works for the same firm and got Daschle the job) joked. "It's going to work fine." Yuk Yuk....

 

To Build a Village 3/21/05 lp.org Interesting story describing how a Nevada Libertarian contributes to the Tsunami relief. Especially interesting is this part: This restriction was necessary, he said, because "the government has been building homes for these people and giving land to them, but people would move in and then move right back out and sell the house to somebody else."

Turkey's imams predict more freedom of worship- thanks to the EU - 12/19/04 Telegraph The religious Tyranny our founders fled in Europe is still alive and well in Turkey and throughout the Muslim world. Chief Mufti of Istanbul faxes out the sermon, which must be delivered in identical form across the country. The Saudi Royal family appoints and dismisses all imams. Almost all Middle Eastern Governments engage in similar practices. The Mullahs of Iran have managed to overthrow and become the new Tyrants of that country. State and Religion are now the same in Iran. We often hear about a small minority of Muslims who corrupt the Islamic religion. Remember Justice Hugo Black: "..a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and to degrade religion..."(29)  This degradation of religion by Middle Eastern governments  is one of the 'Causes of Terrorism'(check out this piece I wrote)

Report: U.N. could end global poverty with cash - 1/17/05 A humorous Satire from Scrappleface.com. However, it really isn't a joke! Just like British Chancellor Gordan Brown used the Tsunami for his political advantage in advancing debt relief, French President Chirac Urges Taxes to Help World's Poor - Associated Press 1/26/05. Chirac said: "The world suffers chronically from what has been strikingly called the 'silent tsunamis.' Famine. Infectious diseases that decimate the life force of entire continents." <..> The French leader outlined a number of steps to raise billions of dollars through taxes on international financial transactions, plane tickets or fuel used by airliners and oceangoing vessels. What if we refuse to pay? Will Chirac throw us in jail?

 Chavez Land Crusade Eyes UK-Owned Venezuelan Ranch - 1/8/2005 Reuters Reports on the respect leftist Venezuelan leader Huego Chavez has for property rights. In a different story, the Chavez appointed Governor in the disputed area acts like a Vassal for his King: Cojedes state governor Johnny Yanez Rangel, addressing supporters who gathered at the ranch along with heavily armed National Guard troops and police, said “private property ... is a right, but not absolute” and that “the collective interest” must be considered. Update 23/3/05 Indeed, they seized it. 

Is Corruption getting worse in Africa? - 2/11/05 BBC - Describes what I was referring to about he massive corruption of Africa and the aid donors unease about it, despite that they often encourage the socialism that breeds the corruption. "What has been revealed is a hopelessly corrupt political elite - a political class across the spectrum that simply sees politics as a way of becoming wealthy," Mr Pope says. "As long as politics is seen as the path to wealth, then Africa is on a downward path."

Living on a dollar and a prayer
BBC 1/18/05 - Amazing story on the poverty in Zambia. They interview the finance minister who says,
In most of our Zambian communities, particularly in rural areas, people do not pay for water, lighting, housing and energy so it is true that many of them live on less than $1 a day. Sounds like the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in this country! An organization then talks about food baskets they give to the population. Despite the obvious socialization of Zambia the BBC says (of the finance minister): He conceded that privatisation had brought some poverty, but felt we were making too much of an issue of living on less than a dollar a day. Privitisation!!!!! 'Conceded' sounds like the BBC got him to grudgingly admit the truth - which is the opposite of the real truth! The worst part is the 'victim hood' and condescension the BBC paints the local population with. Juggling this meagre income then becomes Patricia's headache - Dominic just hands the money to her: "When I get that money I just get confused." It seems to me that poverty in Zambia is caused by high taxes, used to support Socialistic programs that discourage work and foreign investment and impoverish the population. How Zambia might get out of poverty can be viewed here. The BBC description of Zambia is a disgrace and works only to further impoverish that country.

Uganda Still struggles to pay it's way 

2/30/05 BBC article: When Uganda first got debt relief in 1998, almost a fifth of its budget was soaked up by debt repayments. Some opposition politicians say up to half the [debt relief] cash was lost.  The proportion of its budget spent on debt is about 15%, only a fraction lower than the 1998 levels, Mr Gariyo [debt official] says. Tax collection remains low, with revenues eaten into by corrupt revenue officials. However, when asked what is needed to make the country's debt sustainable, Mr Muhakanizi's  [a finance minister] answer is simple: more debt relief. (emphasis mine!)

 

The Failures and Fallacies of Foreign Aid - (Posted 23/3/05)

1990 The Freeman - David Osterfeld writes a long, and in depth analysis of foreign aid. I intend to follow up on some of his sources and citations. Very impressed with this; he has covered and documented many of the same things which I have observed independently and described on this web site. For example, running parallel to Osterfeld's findings are: Native Americans and Welfare, Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations, and Arab Governments and Causes of Terrorism.

 

Far-Flung Ethiopian Emigres Begin to Rediscover Their Home as the Business Climate Blossoms (posted 3/8/05)

3/6/05 Washington Post on Ethiopian immigrants who often arrived in the US with little or nothing, but because of the structure of our political system are able to become successful: Last year, Ethiopians in the United States sent home $6 million in remittance money, eclipsing coffee, the country's biggest export, which earned $4 million. <..> At present, there are more Ethiopian doctors living in the United States than in Ethiopia. Corroborating my view that socialism/corruption, two sides of the same coin, are the cause of poverty in Africa, the Ethiopians that return home are attempting to bring the American principles that foster prosperity and wealth creation to Ethiopia: Government officials said at least 1,500 emigres had returned to Addis and that they were launching an aggressive campaign to woo more, offering tax breaks on importing belongings and flexible land ownership laws. (emphasis mine) Additionally, it is always puzzling to hear the constant clamor for government assistance for the poor who already live in the USA, yet since our founding penniless immigrants have consistently succeeded.

 

Brown wipes £80m Mozambique debt
BBC 1/15/2005 - Under the plan, which will cost Britain £1bn, developing countries must promise to spend the money they save on education, health and welfare. On Friday, he signed a debt-relief deal with Tanzania and promised similar deals for 70 other developing nations. The BBC celebrates, but how will the money be spent? Exporting socialism will just result in the ruin of African countries, not their prosperity. Recall that money spent in the United States on Welfare would have been better to have been burned then spent. Is that the case here? A Canadian author has the correct viewpoint.

 

GSK aims to stop Aids profiteers

2/21/05 BBC story describing how drug companies which have been put under tremendous pressure to provide cheap anti-Aids drugs to the world's poorest nations are losing hundreds of millions of dollars each year as a result of corrupt officials and distributors re-selling the drugs the companies donate to Africa back to Europe. Since the drugs are 30x more expensive in Europe then in Africa there is ample incentive to do this. We can only hope that those who constantly bash the 'greedy drug companies' will also rally against the oppressive, corrupt, and socialistic African governments and actually accomplish something. 

Tribe Shoots arrow at Aid Flight - 1/4/05 BBC reports that an Indian Army helicopter delivering aid in a remote area was shot at with a bow and arrow. There were fears that the endangered tribal groups had been wiped out when massive waves struck their islands. But the authorities say the attack is a sign that they have survived.

France 2 humiliates French Government - 1/11/05 A blog purporting to detail some rare US praise and French castigation on French TV. I have not investigated and cannot vouch for the accuracy of this blog but, if true, it is amusing. They have a link to a video, but my connection didn't work and I don't speak French. :)

Bush 'Undermining UN with aid coalition' - 12/30/04 A blog with some comments on the ramblings of Clara Short, another interesting Brit. 

Constitution Class taught by Michael Bandarick - 7 downloadable hours of class on the Constitution from the 2004 libertarian presidential candidate. The 2nd hour gave a very good description of our founding in a way very similar to what I've described. I highly recommend it if this area interests you. I do not fully agree with the Libertarian party platform, most especially on foreign policy, military spending, and the gold standard (since money backs up things of value and gold backs up things of value then having gold back up money doesn't seem to me to accomplish all that much). 

In North Dakota, Farmers Wary of Cuts to Subsidies (update 4/5/05)

4/4/05 Washington Post sob story on the plight of farmers in North Dakota in light of the Bush administrations timid 5% cut in the bloated farm subsidies. A few ideas for a more accurate headline:

'Corrupt Government reduces massive Citizen Swindle by 5%, Special Interest Complain'

'Thieving Farmer Groups demand more money to be Looted from Honest Citizens'

'Bloated and Desperate Farmer Groups bribe Congress to continue Stealing'

''Generous' Government might spend 5% less of the money ripped off your family to support a Special Interest Group'

'The US government, with a 'Conservative' 'Republican' President and 'Conservative' 'Republican' Majorities in both houses of Congress, will continue to imprison US citizens if they don't continue to pay 95% of Farm Subsidies'

'Criminal Congress continues to break the 8th Commandment: Thou Shall Not Steal'

'Apathetic Populace Complacent over Continuing Thievery, Seem to respect the Governments right to sell the fruits of their labor to the Highest Bidder'

'Looney Farmer Groups claim Citizens benefit from being Extorted'

'Government Mafia shakedown might be cut by 5%, Farmer Groups Complain to sympathetic Media'

'Constitutional Violation by Congress over Farm Subsidies Continues'

'Congressmen not Seen as Criminal, Reelected despite Continued Public Pillaging'

    Besides a poor choice of Headline, this Post article does not accurately describe what is actually occurring or arrive at the proper conclusion - like this one from 'Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations':

    For example, the governments of the United States and Europe will imprison their citizens if they do not pay the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes that these governments then return to small, often wealthy, farming interest groups. These bloated subsidies allow farmers to price their goods below market price (although in reality they are actually above market price), thus preventing developing nations from exporting substantial foodstuffs to developed countries. These farmers then donate some of the money the government stole for them back to the politicians that orchestrated the theft.  

    This is, by any definition, a criminal act, if not legally (in this case the thieves are making the laws), certainly morally. However, individual farmers actually do have a right to be livid at the Federal Government. Why? Because other special interest groups are, in turn, robbing them of billions of dollars each year too! If all of these thefts were eliminated it is entirely possible that farmers would be better off even without 100% of the subsidies that their political groups have traditionally extorted from their fellow citizens.

    In a sense, one can hardly blame the farmer groups; with government so powerful, if you don't have Congress stealing for your side, they'll be robbing you for the other side. In fact, the worst off are those that don't belong to a special interest group that can bribe Congress to steal from everyone else. These unfortunate families get robbed by all these various groups and don't even get the satisfaction of returning the favor! I wonder if the Washington Post will ever do a story on them?

    With the Presidency and Congress corrupted and the people apathetic, can the judicial branch stop the madness?

    CA Justice Janice Rogers Brown would certainly try. Justice Brown believes:
    Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible. <..> 

    We no longer find slavery abhorrent. We embrace it. We demand more. Big government is not just the opiate of the masses. It is the opiate. The drug of choice for multinational corporations and single moms; for regulated industries and rugged Midwestern farmers and militant senior citizens.

    However, Justice Brown's nomination to the DC court of Appeals, one of the most powerful courts in the country, was blocked by Senate Democrats: "Justice Brown, your record is that of a conservative judicial activist, plain and simple," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Illinois. "You frequently dismiss judicial precedence ... when it doesn't comport with your political views." According to Senator Durbin, protecting citizens from elected burglars is a clear sign of a political agenda.

 

Dairy Gets Squeeze by the Feds

6/1/05 The Seattle Times. In its 85 years of existence, Smith Brothers Dairy in Kent has survived all manner of misfortune and mistakes. There was the Depression, when milk sales plummeted. There were cow-killing floods. There were modern times, when it appeared the old-fashioned idea of fresh milk delivered to the doorstep had died. "None of that compares to this," says Alexis Smith Koester, 60, dairy president and granddaughter of the founder, Ben Smith. "This is the biggest threat we've ever faced." She's talking about the federal government. Again, in the name of 'helping small farmers', government does the opposite. Power corrupts. We've seen this pattern play out countless times. Help 'em out.

 

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'.

British 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 money to spend repaying all of his extra generous supporters 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.

 

 

(Posted 7/7/05)

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 in order to attack our (relative) freedom.

    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.

 

 

 

 

Posted 5/11/08 ( by Travis)

Myanmar junta still blocking cyclone aid

5/11/08 IHT

    This cyclone caused so much damage because of the poverty of the country, which was caused by the socialism and freedom limiting laws of the government. This overarching fact isn't mentioned much in the media, although a symptom of this oppressiveness, the blocking of aid etc... merits occasional mention. 

    The junta will likely cash in on the opportunities flowing from the massive western ( and eastern) aid that will be flowing into the country. 

 

 

 

See also Inequality, Aid, and the Nature of Governments

See Archives or main page for other related posts. The two excerpts, 'The Founding of the United States and the Constitutionality of Charity' and 'Causes of Poverty in Developing Nations' contain additional posts and articles not added here. 

 

Other Tsunami Links

http://www.philanthropy.iupui.edu/tsunami_relief_giving_2-3-05.pdf - An updated document detailing all private American Tsunami Relief. 

http://slate.msn.com/id/2111952/fr/rss/ - slate offers a variety of links regarding charitable giving for the Tsunami. 

 

Pictures

We give our aid to those who hate us. (Bin Laden Shirt)

 

The 'Benevolent Dictator', Fidel Castro, gets an update from a 'state of the art' Cuban National Weather Center. The poverty of the center is due to Castro's gross violation of basic property laws, which results in the discouragement of wealth creation.

 

There is no such thing as private property in North Korea. Elitists here build nuclear weapons and vast empty highways while their people starve and live in the Stone Age. It is estimated that in the past decade as many as 3 million North Koreans, 12% of the population has starved to death. (73) Still, North Korea generously pledged $150,000 to the Tsunami victims. (12) The American Red Cross expects to donate $400 million. (73)

 


 

References

 

(1) http://www.cnn.com/2005/ALLPOLITICS/02/02/sotu.transcript.5/index.html

(2) http://www.cnn.com/2005/ALLPOLITICS/02/02/sotu.transcript.7/index.html 

(3) http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=freedom  

(4) http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=liberty

(5) http://64.233.187.104/search?q=cache:h4BMWxIf_BoJ:www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/july-dec04/aid_12-29.html+president+Bush+criticized+tsunami+&hl=en

(6) http://www.pacom.mil/special/0412asia/factsheet.html

(7) http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=16644

(8) http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=16920

(9) http://www.pacom.mil/special/0412asia/factsheet2.html

(10) http://www.pentagon.mil/news/Jan2005/n01272005_2005012709.html

(11) http://news.inq7.net/world/index.php?index=1&story_id=25374

(12) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4145259.stm

(13) http://www.defence.gov.au/optsunamiassist/default.htm

(14)  http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/cdnmilitary/dart.html

(15) http://www.chicagosuntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-french30.html

(16) http://www.militarymoney.com/news/325

(17) http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=52&story_id=15721&name=Indonesian+minister+tonesdown+foreign+troop+call

(18) http://www.library.hbs.edu/tsunami/dispatch1bandaaceh.html

(19) http://www.library.hbs.edu/tsunami/dispatch1bandaaceh.html

(20) http://www.alertnet.org/thefacts/reliefresources/110409431212.htm

(21) http://63.240.226.85/ccc/050112tsunami#updates

(22) http://www.philanthropy.iupui.edu/tsunami_relief_giving_2-3-05.pdf

(23)  http://www.galen.org/pdrugs.asp?docID=761

(24) http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2005/01/01/international1424EST0491.DTL&type=printable

(25) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4145259.stm

(26) http://home.arcor.de/Alexander.Pilic/freiheitsglocke/Start.htm

(27) http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=6499

(28) http://baltimorechronicle.com/010905Richman.shtml

(29) http://www.neoperspectives.com/quotes.htm

(30) http://www.eco.freedom.org/el/20041202/joyce.shtml

(31) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,143281,00.html

(32) http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-20/1106808085291040.xml

(33) http://www.juntosociety.com/patriotism/inytg.html

(34) http://www.postgazette.com/pg/05004/436767.stm

(35) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46548-2005Jan4.html

(36) http://www.globalpolicy.org/finance/docs00/euresis.htm

(37) http://64.233.187.104/search?q=cache:h4BMWxIf_BoJ:www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/july-dec04/aid_12-29.html+president+Bush+criticized+tsunami+&hl=en

(38) http://www.washtimes.com/national/20041228-122330-7268r.htm

(39) http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-01-13-voa55.cfm

(40) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/12/29/politics/main663680.shtml

(41) http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00D13F93C5D0C738FDDAB0994DC404482

(42) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/01/06/world/main665329.shtml

(43) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6754820/

(44) http://www.townhall.com/columnists/walterwilliams/ww20050209.shtml

(45) http://timworstall.typepad.com/timworstall/2005/01/un_and_tsunami_.html

(46) http://www.wfp.org/index.asp?section=2

(47) http://www.wfp.org/newsroom/in_brief/asia/indonesia/050201_indonesia.html

(48) http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2005/TsunamiBrf_050128.doc.htm

(49) http://www.iom.int/tsunami/news/indonesia/ind_nr_04_02_05.htm

(50) http://diplomadic.blogspot.com/2004/12/un-death-watch.html

(51) http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=13090&Cr=tsunami&Cr1=

(52) http://timworstall.typepad.com/timworstall/2005/01/un_and_tsunami_.html

(53) http://timworstall.typepad.com/timworstall/2005/01/un_and_tsunami_.html

(54) http://www.washtimes.com/world/20050103-122016-8665r.htm

(55) http://editorials.arrivenet.com/gov/article.php/3341.html

(56) http://www.ksdk.com/printfullstory.aspx?storyid=73084

(57) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4144411.stm

(58) http://www.theage.com.au/news/World/Whats-100bn-between-friends/2005/02/06/1107625064854.html?oneclick=true

(59) http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1321797/posts

(60) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59685-2005Jan8.html

(61) http://asia.news.yahoo.com/050204/ap/d881ja601.html

(62) http://www.etan.org/et2001c/december/01-8/04half.htm

(63) http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1336630/posts

(64) http://reuters.myway.com/article/20050108/2005-01-08T190535Z_01_SP144738_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-QUAKE-DC.html

(65) http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/the_valley/10626311.htm?1c

(66) http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-tsunami,0,2109244,print.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines

(67) http://apnews.myway.com/article/20050209/D884SG400.html

(68) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3697086.stm

(69) http://www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp?S=2354270

(70) http://www-tech.mit.edu/V112/N35/prepare.35w.html

(71) http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=81318

(72) http://www.taemag.com/issues/articleid.18404/article_detail.asp

(73) http://www.harktheherald.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=45625

(74) http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html

(75) http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1341465/posts

(76) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4254845.stm

 

 

 

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