Miscellany: Stingy or not?

Stingy or not?

The New York Times is not as diffident about the word stingy as many others are – this week it published an editorial headed: Are we Stingy? Yes.

The 30 December 2004 editorial began: “President Bush finally roused himself from his vacation in Crawford Texas to telephone his sympathy to the leaders of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia”

The leader describes the US’ $35 million aid figure as “a miserly drop in the bucket and in keeping with the pitiful amount of the US budget that we allocate for non-military aid”. It also points out that the US often pledges more money than it actually delivers. For instance of the $5 billion Millennium Challenge funding announced by the President in 2002 not one dollar has been spent.

Yet, according to opinion polls, most Americans believe that the US spends 24% of its budget on foreign aid to poor countries. The real figure is less than one quarter of one percent.

To out it all in context – if the Bush Government had been as proportionately generous as the Howard Government has been they would have given around $525 million. Now, if Halliburton had been doing the relief work that’s probably about half what the sum might have been.

The Ohio Challenge

Come January 6 2005 1 pm Washington time there will be a bit of a re-run of the Florida situation in the US Electoral College count  – this time over Ohio.

That’s when the electoral votes for the presidential election are opened and counted and that’s when Rep. John Conyers, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, plans to object to the Ohio results on the grounds of vote tampering and fraud.

Conyers needs a Senator to support him to get both Houses to then go away and debate the issue – for no more than two hours.

While the ultimate outcome is foregone, it could merely be a re-run of the scene in the Michael Moore 9/11 documentary. One thinks, however, that this time one Senator might come to the party.

Meanwhile the Kerry/Edwards ticket has filed a motion in the court case being heard to review the allegations of Ohio fraud and tampering. Previously the matter was being pursued by the Green and the Libertarian Party candidates but Kerry-Edwards joining the action gives it a few more legs.

The vote tampering allegations are against Triad Systems which provided the electronic voting system and then interfered with it during the count. It is not known whether they have any contracts in Iraq.

For more reports on the details Miscellany’s source was www.truthout.com