BBC: ‘US pledges $350m in tsunami aid’

About frickin’ time.

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Fred Phelp’s take on the tsunami disaster

The Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kansas, is headed by a a man named Fred Phelp’s. Being a pastor, he is a kind and caring man, sensitive to the needs of his flock and for those in the greater community. Definitely the kind of man who votes Republican based on his moral values, for surely he is against abortion and such, although abortion isn’t his main concern. His main concern is the evil of homosexuality. He runs a little website called God Hates Fags. I wish I were making this up. But I’m not. He picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, to share his view that he simply got what was coming to him, being a fag and all. Mr Phelps also makes it a point to try to picket as many funerals of AIDS victims as he can. To share his view. The picture with this post is taken from his website. Apparently the tsunami was a good thing. I really don’t know what to say. What can you say in the face of such horrible ignorance and intolerance?

PS You can click on the image to make it larger if you want to actually read more than just the headline.

President Clinton Leads While Bush Vacations…

Ah, the Clinton years. How I miss them.

The brief on this one is that Bush still hasn’t made any kind of official statement about the tsunami. Clinton has talked about it on the BBC. German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder cut his vacation short and returned to work in Berlin to co-ordinate Germany’s response. Bush is still in Crawford, TX. He spent Tuesday clearing brush and riding his bike.

May he fall off and break his neck.

Update: Apparently Bush has telephoned his support to various national leaders. This NY Times Editorial, entitled ‘Are We Stingy? Yes’, still criticises Bush for the ‘miserly drop in the bucket’ of $35m and points out that US promises of aid often fail actually to materialise.

Also. Go here: http://donate.ifrc.org/ I just did. I don’t need that other DVD and neither do you.

Update the Second: Apparently Paul Martin is also still on holiday.

Another reason I’m pissed off.

This is a brief little article about a story on ‘Good Morning America’ about the children-victims of the tsunamis. All of the children featured were WHITE EUROPEANS. Those brown-skinned kids don’t count, I guess. Probably a 1/3-1/2 of those affected by this disaster are children. But only the white ones count.

When will people get over their insular little selves? I’ve realised that over the past four years, I have had many many lines of thought that begin with the words, ‘If I were president…’. It finally this morning started to piss me off. I don’t want to have to think about what I would do if I were president because the US should be able to elect a reasonable person to hold the job. A horrible disaster like this ought to bring the world together. I don’t know exactly what’s going on locally in Sri Lanka but I know that the president (of Sri Lanka) has called upon the nation to come together, for the rebels to lay down their arms for the moment, and help to rebuild the nation. Even if the rebels pick up their guns again after the rebuilding is done, it would be a powerful message that they came together to help to rebuild.

This is what the world ought to be doing. Coming together. Obviously nations cannot give unreservedly–it’s fair that they need to take care of their own populations first. But the US contribution currently stands at $35 million. Likely a drop in the bucket. The US currently has a population of 293,027,571. 35,000,000 divided by 293,027,571 equals 12ยข/person. TWELVE CENTS. Even if it were increased to fifty cents/person, they would then be sending $145.5 million. The annual US government budget is measured in the trillions of dollars. One would think that they could divert some money from less important things like, say, missile defence (whose budget is measured in the billions) to something that actually matters, like human life.

On the topic of presidents, Kennedy once gave a speech in which he pointed out that no matter what our differences, we are all human, we all share the same basic goals and desires. Most simply, we are all mortal. Each life is as precious and valuable as the next. Our own mortality is staring us in the face right now. Not simply because of human stupidity but because of an act of nature. Human stupidity is a painful thing to witness, but acts of nature ought necessarily to be humbling. They should reminds us all just how delicate the entire planet is, how lucky we are to be here at all.

Sadly, in the old guns versus butter debate, guns always seem to win out. I have no reason to believe that 2005 will be any different, but I can always hope. As Harvey Milk once said, without hope, life is not worth living.

Wave toll ‘could exceed 100,000’

US President George W Bush pledged to set up an international coalition, with Australia, India and Japan, to co-ordinate the relief effort.

The US earlier said it was more than doubling its pledge of funds to the region to $35m.

Does anyone else feel like the international aid coalition should be headed by something like, um, the UN or the Red Cross or something? I guess I’m just silly in thinking that international organisations ought to play the central role in situations like this, rather than individual national governments. It’s an international disaster after all. Just a thought.

It’s nice to know…

…that the US can spare $15 million for the tsunami victims. Especially when the Chimp-in-Chief’s inaugural a month from now is estimated to cost between $30 and $40 million, exclusive of security costs. At least America has their priorities in order. I’m sure they figure that South Asia doesn’t give them much but cheap labour. And I’m sure that land will be really cheap now in certain areas and that people will be desperate for work once the rebuilding gets underway. Hey! Let’s build a factory and keep them in a cycle of poverty!

Can you tell I’m in a bitter mood?