A blog and website by Peter Bengtsson
Isn't it amazingly positive news that Warren Buffet and Melinda and Bill Gates have put up the $600 billion challenge which is "asking the nation's billionaires to pledge to give at least half their net worth to charity". And if you haven't already read about it, Warren Buffet pledges 99% of this company stock to charity. All good news but what's really interesting is reading peoples comments on the CNN page. A handful pick:
"Interesting article. It is saddening, however, to ponder just how much of this crowd's wealth was made through unfair business practices, worker exploitation, price fixing, etc. I suppose philanthropy on the back end is a nice afterthought, though, and certainly earns more praise from the public than would lessening their profit margins at the get-go."
"Pay their taxes first, then contribute with after tax money."
"If I may be cynical. Perhaps these super rich people should have done more for the people that worked for them so that they made more money and the leaders made a little less. Buffet owns companies that make goods in second and third world countries at some of the lowest possible wages."
"$1000 in the hands of ONE could be investment money. $1000 distributed $1 to ONE THOUSAND could get each a Coke (no fries)."
But also, there are some more "positive" comments:
"There is sooo much negativity in this country! I don't care what anyone of you says...Bill and Melinda came from Blue Collar....and now they are giving back and I think it's awesome!"
"I think what they are doing is very admirable. The Gates Foundation is the reason I was able to pay for college. People need to not criticize what they do with their money, at least they are trying to make a difference."
In conclusion from skimming the comments it's pretty obvious that people in the USA are angry and bitter. What is there to complain about? Really? Poor Obama, he's doing a great job but with all this resentment sizzling around it's going to be very hard if even "extreme philanthropy" gets butchered like this.
If I've understood it correctly, this is a mashup made on Guardian's API made by someone not at the Guardian. More photos here
What's interesting about this chart, which I've never seen like this before, is the last one where they show how much money various countries pledged versus how much they actually delivered. It's something I've also wanted to see because it opens up a whole new dimension of truth to the equation. For example, Canada has pledged USD 130m to the Haiti Earthquake but they only delivered 51% of what they pledged to the 2004 Tsunami crisis.
"Copenhagen was much worse than just another bad deal, because it illustrated a profound shift in global geopolitics. This is fast becoming China's century, yet its leadership has displayed that multilateral environmental governance is not only not a priority, but is viewed as a hindrance to the new superpower's freedom of action. I left Copenhagen more despondent than I have felt in a long time. After all the hope and all the hype, the mobilisation of thousands, a wave of optimism crashed against the rock of global power politics, fell back, and drained away."
From the brilliantly informed and well articulated article How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room
Just so you know, I love China, but there's a lot of things I hate about it too. Admittedly, any country in their position would perhaps do the same as the force of people getting rich is more powerful than almost anything else. Please do take the time to read this article as it helps to give an interesting perspective on the post-Copenhagen-conference talks.
Funniest sad news of the week:
"Muzzammil Hassan was charged with second-degree murder after police found the decapitated body of his wife, Aasiya Hassa"
And what makes this horrible sad news so funny:
"He launched Bridges TV, billed as the first English-language cable channel targeting Muslims inside the United States, in 2004. At the time, Hassan said he hoped the network would balance negative portrayals of Muslims following the attacks of September 11, 2001."
(assuming you do)
Because you like Barack Obama or because you fear John McCain?
And if it's because of the latter, how much of that fear is because of Sarah Palin?
Watch this speech and listen. It's impressive. As long as I can remember I've always thought the US elections being phoney and very much about the guy (until this year I guess) and his charm, looks and presentation. Unlike politics here in Europe (I've only lived in three European countries) it has always seemed that election campaigns over here are more about the issues and the politicians trying to sell their side of the issues. Until now. This Obama guy does make a difference. He talks about concrete issues, how to solve them, how important they are and actually gives evidence of understanding why they are important. And last but not least, he ridicules the press and the whole election itself for not being about the issues. Quite refreshing.
Please take the time and watch the 6 minute speech.
Sadly the McCain supporters are not going to reach my blog post and watch the video. But if there are, against all odds, any McCain supporters here, what do you think about this speech? Please let me know what you think.