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  • Michael Moorcock
    replied
    All true, though my daughter-in-law works for Mencap and seems happy with her job, while my daughter currently works for the Lottery, mostly handing out money to schools for playing fields and such, and says it's at least better paid than teaching! I quite agree about taxes and charities but in Texas, for instance, we find that while we pay lower taxes than we would in Europe, we spend a lot more on charities because it's the ONLY way we can alleviate the social problems and general injustice which prevails here. Americans are very odd about taxes and the churches, of course, are important centres of voluntarism, so the whole thing is very iffy to me. It's been noted here before that the higher your taxes, the higher your quality of life. Now, I wonder why that could be... :?

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  • Mikey_C
    replied
    Compassion fatigue, I think its called...

    I often feel uneasy about giving to 'home-based' charities when its for something I consider that the government should be providing for people as a right with the taxes I pay. Often the boundaries are very blurred. Some 'charities' actually go on to charge the gov. for services (not always brilliant). Also - many people with disabilities, for example, want to be full members of society and don't like being the recipients of charity. So in many ways I'm happier giving to overseas things - particularly if they help people to stand up on their feet and fight for themselves.

    Charities are often notorious for being crap employers, by the way. (Mind you, so are trade unions.... :? )

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  • PsychicWarVeteran
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
    I raise this not to suggest we stop giving to tsunami relief, but to suggest we also remind the same generous people to continue helping those who have been in permanent need...
    A very important point, MM, and one I think a lot of very generous people might unintentionally overlook. Perhaps a drop at the local food-bank on the way home is in order...

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  • Michael Moorcock
    replied
    American charities are now wondering if people will stop donating to home-based charities, which, of course, since Bush's attempts to make welfare something to do with voluntary organisations and so justify his tax cuts, are actually endangered. It will be interesting to see. Will people feel they've 'done their bit' by contributing to tsunami relief and not give to support homeless people, for instance, in the US ? I raise this not to suggest we stop giving to tsunami relief, but to suggest we also remind the same generous people to continue helping those who have been in permanent need, including the victims of Sudanese genocide.

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  • L'Etranger
    replied
    I never liked the guy much, but donate he did admirably: Michael Schumacher (the Ferrari pilot) will give 7.5 million Euros, I read today, that's over 9.5 million US dollars. Hope others follow the example.

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  • Michael Moorcock
    replied
    Does this mean, I wonder, that checks/cheques for the auction shouldn't be made out to MSF ? Do you have details of their statement ?

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  • DiGiMac
    replied
    The hotel on Phuket where I spent my honeymoon no longer exists and I think I recognised it in one of the widely circulated videos.

    I sent money to MSF the following day. I've been sending an annual sum a subscriber for several years and as MM said, you get a report and their accounts are very open.
    I believe they were the first to request no more money be sent because they were unable to deal with so much - admirable honesty.

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  • Mikey_C
    replied
    Even my uncle in Canada (generally very anti-US and loathing of Bush) has been praising the US response.

    It's intriguing to hear, by the way, the noises being made by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown about a "Marshall Plan" for the Third World. My cynical (aka realistic) mind tells me "election coming soon", but could this disaster be some kind of catalyst for doing some good in the world?

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  • Michael Moorcock
    replied
    I don't think it's at all useful to blame the USA for everything. There have been other attempts to attack the US here. The fact is that, aside from Bush sounding as if he's reading badly off an autocue, America has responded well, if a little sluggishly at first. Let's give credit where it's due -- especially to the good hearts of the majority of Americans. Plenty of people, from Anan to Prince Charles, have praised the astonishing response of the rest of the world to this disaster. While I don't intend this to distract me from my opposition to a foolishly conceived and unjust war in Iraq, it's obvious that when the American public has straight information, it acts well. The problem with the war is the spin that's been involved from government to media. If only more of the military were available to help in Indonesia! Read this:


    BBC News

    US army reserve a 'broken' force
    The commander of the US army reserve says it is rapidly degenerating into a "broken" force.

    Lt Gen James Helmly, in a leaked memo to the Pentagon, says the reserve has reached a point where it cannot fulfil its missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Reservists provide a large share of US troops in Iraq. The army says Gen Helmly's concerns are being addressed.

    But analysts say they will fuel criticism that Pentagon policies are harming the US all-volunteer military.

    The army reserve is a force of about 200,000 part-time soldiers who chose not to sign-up for active duty but can be mobilised in time of need.

    Together with National Guard troops - who also serve part-time - reservists account for about 40% of US troops in Iraq.

    Burden

    The internal memorandum was first reported on Wednesday by the Baltimore Sun newspaper, and appeared on the internet later in the day.

    In it, Gen Helmly says that under current procedures his forces will be unable "to meet mission requirements associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan.

    The purpose of this memorandum is to inform you of the Army Reserve's inability under current policies... to meet mission requirements
    Gen James Helmly
    Gen Helmly takes issue with a number of "dysfunctional" Pentagon practices, including:


    Financial incentives to attract and retain reservists on active duty, which the general says confuses "volunteers" with "mercenaries"

    Reservists being called to active duty at only a few days' notice

    Reserve troops being required to leave equipment for other forces after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The BBC's Nick Childs in Washington says such blunt words from a senior general are likely to provide further ammunition for critics who argue that the current policies are doing long-term harm to America's all-volunteer military.

    US armed forces have been placed under considerable strain by the wars launched by President George W Bush during his first term.

    Some commentators have accused Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of not accepting that huge troop deployments were needed, notably in Iraq.

    Reacting to the leaked memo, Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat, told the Associated Press news agency: "By consistently underestimating the number of troops necessary for the successful occupation of Iraq, the administration has placed a tremendous burden on the Army Reserve and created this crisis."

    In its response, the army said it acknowledged that changes have to be made in the way reserves are used and mobilised to deal with the new threats.
    Story from BBC NEWS:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/h...as/4150749.stm

    Published: 2005/01/06 09:30:39 GMT

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  • Pellaz
    replied
    Originally posted by Mikey_C
    Foreknowledge of A Natural Disaster:
    Washington was aware that a deadly Tidal Wave was building up in the Indian Ocean
    by Michel Chossudovsky


    The US Military and the State Department were given advanced warning. America's Navy base on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean was notified.
    Errm, au contraire.... The USGS issued a tsunami bulletin to the entire Indian Ocean Basin -- including, presumably, the Diego Garcia refuelling base -- within 20 minutes of the quake. Several "mainstream" news-sources reported this, so there's a small but finite chance it could even be true. :o

    The problem with sub-ocean earthquakes and tsunami prediction is that they frequently don't produce tsunamis. There has to be a vertical component to the ground shift to cause one, and many earthquakes are purely lateral slips.

    I was startled that this earthquake was not the most deadly in history...indeed, not the most deadly within the last quarter-century; a 1976 earthquake in China was reported by the Chinese to have killed 200,000+....but independent observers put the number at 655,000. Yipes! And I gather there was no tsunami involved....

    Donation made (to the International Red Cross). I'll send some more, hopefully, after I see my first paycheck of the new year and the changes thereupon. (I'm a Federal employee, so one never knows what the new year will bring.)

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  • Michael Moorcock
    replied
    It did occurr to me that God was trying to say, in the case of hurricanes and such, that he definitely wasn't on America's side. But I'm not sure whether or not he was telling Sri Lanka to get her act together and suggest to India that she should be dealing with her millions of people below the poverty line...
    This explanation of God's actions is not the view in the US heartland, where crosses are now appearing decorated in the colours of the American flag. My minister brother-in-law also told me about a new Bible which is bound in a rippling Stars and Stripes. Are those guys confused!

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  • Mikey_C
    replied
    I don't know how Christians cope with this sort of thing. A "test of faith" I suppose. Just keep singing Kumbaya...

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  • Michael Moorcock
    replied
    Conspiracy theories are a very strange form of escapism, I must say. They frequently shift attention away from human costs. Maybe those who come up with them in this case simply can't bear the horror. Or maybe they're the people who would have blamed God for the disasters a century or so ago. Some people, of course, still see God as the main instigator. If so, it's hard to say why God is whacking the Indian Ocean so hard, or the SE coasts of America, for that matter. Of course, if God has been banished at last by the various devilish forces he's been helping superheroes fight, then that would explain everything. Hmm. I think I'm on to something...

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  • L'Etranger
    replied
    Originally posted by Governor of Rowe Island
    Thanks for the info on the Nicobars, LEtranger, I raised the fate of the Shompen on another thread.
    There's more about surviving tribes, this time on a Thai island of Ko Surin Thai.
    http://service.spiegel.de/cache/inte...335303,00.html

    One needs these little news bits of relief in all the tragedy.

    ______________________

    No sأ©. آ؟Quien eres tu?
    William Bonney?

    Leave a comment:


  • Governor of Rowe Island
    replied
    It's amazing how much conspiracy theorists can drag into their narrow universes.

    On a different note, I came across this story http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science...eut/index.html on my travels. If the earth can shift this much, then it helps one to understand how somethng this devastating can happen.

    Leave a comment:

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