Why Now?
Friday, December 31, 2004
  Bush's Attempts to deal with Disaster

First, the United States has only actually pledged $15 million to the effort. The other $20 million may be forthcoming from the US Agency for International Development, if they can "free it up". It is also SOP [standard operating procedure] for the bulk of US AID money to come in the form of credit, rather than grants.

Where does the US stand on the list of donors [assuming the entire amount is given]:

UK $96 million
Australia: $46.7 million
EU $44 million
US: $35 million
Canada: $33 million
Japan: $30 million
France: $20.4 million
Denmark: $15.6 million
Saudi Arabia: $10 million

Pfizer, the drug company, has pledged $10 million in cash and $25 million in medical supplies to the region. Many brewers and soft drink bottlers in Asia have switched production to bottling drinking water to send to those affected.

After Hurricane Frances FEMA gave $28 million to Dade County, Florida, which is distressing a lot of people because Dade County experienced only heavy thunderstorms, nothing more severe.

Not only does that put the "stingy" response of the Bush initial offering of $15 million in context, it also highlights a problem with sending his brother, and my governor, John Ellis Bush, to Asia with Colin Powell to coordinate American relief efforts. The official story is that "Jeb" has experience dealing with disasters.

"Jeb" has experience calling his brother to tell him we had another hurricane in Florida, and massive Federal funds were needed to preserve and encourage Republican voters, many of whom live in Dade County. Since there is no election; these people couldn't vote in it, if there were; there is no massive pot of money of available; I must assume this is a blatant attempt to give "Jeb" some international exposure for a White House run.

Update: [4:39pm] US raises contribution to $350 million. I guess "Jeb" was too embarrassed to be associated with the paltry money his brother had put forth and wanted to make a larger statement for his 2008 run.


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