Monday, September 14, 2009

Celebrity Adoption, Tax Avoidance and Boody Auto Formatting

So Sir Elton John has fallen in love with a Ukranian orphan, he doesn't really want kids but his partner does so he's thinking of adopting one.

How sick am I of these rich celebrities ensconcing themselves in third world countries and picking a little picaninny to bring home to their celebrity life. Although I must admit, the 62 year old crooner does provide sustenance for children through his charities, does he really need to adopt one?

The Brangelinas, Madonnas and Sir Eltons of this world would benefit so many more children if they supported the orphanages they lived in and aided adoption by people in their own countries by using their incredible wealth to benefit such children. Or even supporting childless parents with their overseas adoption ambitions because it's a lengthy and expensive process often fraught with corruption (I have friends who adopted via India and it cost them a small fortune in bribes and untoward payments.)

Let me make it clear that I have no objection at all to overseas adoption. In many cases it's the only avenue open to childless couples or those with the means to enhance the life of some poor neglected little mite by bringing them into their existing family. Wouldn't it be better to finance an improved life and education for a host of foreign children than put just one or two in the celebrity spotlight just because the 'mood' takes them. They seem to want a foreign baby as if it's an exotic pet.

I'd be interested in what you think. I know some of you who have one or more internationally adopted children but as far as I'm aware, none of you are celebrities with millions in some tax shelter. None I suspect have a hectic social life, regular bouts away from home while you're filming or in concert or enjoy the opulent Hollywood lifestyle.

Am I being harsh? I was blessed with kids of my own so maybe my perspective is skewed. Perhaps we should be thankful that saving one is better than none but how do they 'choose'?

It's a bit like U2 going on about third world debt then sheltering their millions in the Netherlands rather than pay tax in Ireland. The tax havens people like this use, undermine development. They divert income from developing countries, they ensure tax is not paid in these countries and they facilitate the flight of capital. In fact, they exacerbate the very third world debt that Bono bangs on about alleviating.

Celebrities, put your millions where your mouth is and help self-determination rather than rescue. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime

And while I'm having a rant. If anyone knows how to stop MS Word from creating shitty style sheets everytime I format a paragraph, please let me know. And turning off the Auto options isn't working. I'm doing a 175 page tender with auto numbering, lettering and TOC entries and it's driving me insane by auto formatting for me Ctrl Z has never been so useful.

Maybe I should just take a chill pill.


Susan at Stony River said...

I find that screaming instructions at the monitor while holding a cold beer in a threatening manner over the keyboard works wonders.

It doesn't solve the issue, but I feel better and then I have beer.

Good luck with those 175 pages! And, agreed about the good celebrities could do v. what we see them *actually* do, but then, well, the imperfect world we live in and all that. We have an adopted Russian boy in our family and you're right, a fair lot of the bill was just corruption. Wonderful child who's worth every penny, but.... yeah.

tony said...

Yes.I suppose if your a pampered Star......Everything Becomes a Commodity.even a Human Life.Well Said!

Alexander said...

Splendid rant. Agree with everything, including MS Word. Trouble is. I don't know the answers to any of your questions.

Unknown said...

I agree with all the money he has he could sustain the entire orphanage, but also I would not deny little Levic either. But cwertainly he could find homes for

Candie said...

Passion,passion!And some truth coming to strike!Ouch that hurts!
Well I do agree with the concept but still it makes happy children,isn't it?As for taxes,hum..why does it seem fair to the majority to give away to the state what you have earned?Why people care where you place your money?I don't agree with that!The things they do in Switzerland now,is pure hypocrisy!The more you earn the more they tax you,the more you have the more you will be taxed!That money goes where?Surely not to help others,thet go in the goverment's hands!I do agree with the rich to put their money where they want!But what I don't agree is to not helping others with some.But I would love to have the choice to what I want to do with it,to give it away cleverly and not being robbed by the goverments!Now having said that,that was a great post Baino!I could do with one of those pills too!LOL
See you soon!

laughingwolf said...

well said, baino!

as for the 'word' thingy, no clue since i don't use it :(

Brian Miller said...

well said. it makes me wonder about the quality fo life, going fromnothing to being thrown into the spotlight. you offer some good suggestions as well. i amall for overseas adoption, any adoption really, as long as it is for the right reasons. great post.

Terence McDanger said...

I hanker for the days when needy celebrities would just go out and get bigger boobs or a hair transplant when they were feeling a bit glum. When they start influencing the fate of other innocent little humans, it's a bit worrying I agree.

California Girl said...

Yes. I often wonder about these celeb adoptions. Why not do it quietly? Madonna is the most obvious and annoying. She seemed to get the idea after Brad & Angie racked up so much PR w/ their ongoing U.N. brood. They seem to be, at least, putting their money where their mouths are in terms of exposing their adopted children to repeated visits to their homelands and acting as ambassadors to third world countries w/ starving children and genocide issues.

You're quite right about the tax havens of the rich. They do find the tax havens and do shelter their monies and the rest of us pay our unfair share as usual.

I always wonder why, instead of $1000+ per plate fundraising dinners, the attendees don't just donate the money to the charity in question and the hosts take the money they would have spent on the dinner and decor and donate it as well. I bet it would be a wash.

But then, nobody would get to wear their brand new dress, Jimmy Choos and the like.

Mo said...

Well, I agree with you since it's not like bringing the kid to a new environment will change thigs for the better at once. The culture shock could be really bad... it's not that easy. I also find it a little bit weird that every rich person always has their own charity organisation. Why can't they just donate. Perhaps I know too little...

It's so strange. Money is just paper and coins, when you think of it...

What would you do if you had enough money to stop working now and just live a luxurious life? Hardly anyone would say 'I'd help the poor', I think.

Anonymous said...

Well said Baino, well said! 'Tis all about the damn publicity innit?

And not much help on the MSword thingy. Like Wulfa, I don't use it...sorry!

Unknown said...

I beg your pardon but Ukraine is not a 3rd World country. She is not much behind Hungary.

Anonymous said...

Good idea Baino. Ukraine though is quite an organised State aka previous comment. Their president suffered and survived a serious poisoning attempt by the russians some time back. It shows on his face. I think it might have been during their orange revolution.

In microsoft word; once automatic formatting is selected, go through the options and set what you want there. Alternatively, click out of auto format until the document is complete. Save it; then instruct the auto format to blast away. Might work; might not. I'm on word for macs which differs a bit.

Christopher said...

Celebrities seem to get the idea that either starting or following a trend is required of them, and it's really unfortunate that this particular trend involves turning living, human beings into props for photo ops. While it's a good point about Bono contributing to the very problem he complains about, I think it's a bit of an unrelated issue. Celebrities adopting kids aren't trying to make the world a better place. If they even consider it an act of charity and not just a fashion statement they probably know it's helping one child and doing nothing to help millions who live in poverty.

California Girl, I wonder the same thing about charity events. I've noticed companies will promise to give "up to" some amount, but only if people buy their products. It's emotional manipulation.

ian said...

It's worth looking up the UN HDI stats on Ukraine.

Only poor people pay taxes - the rich and the powerful can always find a way round.

Did you try Windows Live Writer for the blog?

nick said...

What intrigues me is that if it was a 62 year old unknown woman wanting to adopt, everyone would say she was too old to be a good parent. If it's a 62 year old famous male, suddenly quality of parenting isn't an issue....

Baino said...

Ah Suze, must try that but I might splosh on my new keyboard. Messy git I am.

That's what worries me Tony that they make such a fuss over it. Adopt by all means but don't use it as a publicity stunt. Elton had a press conference for heaven's sake.

Hi Alexander, welcome. And I do have a talent for unmitigated ranting.

Actually Sandy he does a lot for charity, it's not so much the money thing as the publicity around it that got me going and his own admission that he's 62 and tours a lot. Hardly a father figure.

Aww Candie, steady there girl. Yes, tax haven's are everywhere if you're in the know. Everyone should pay tax to the level they can afford so that the money goes back into their own economy and keeps it buoyant. You might be cleverly robbed by your Government but you have excellent services and infrastructure to show for it.

You don't use Word? What do you use?

Brian, I'm sure their quality if life is better by our standards than where they are going to but it's a huge change. I guess a 14 month old wouldn't notice that much.

Like the photo says Terrence, adoption is the new pregnancy, boob job, face lift . .

Cali couldn't agree more. They particularly are using the publicity - perhaps for a good cause, I don't know but how they can single one child out of hundreds defeats me. And same for the charity dinners. Other charities spend a fortune on call centres so that their donations go to pay salaries and the like and my paltry $50 a month is watered down to about $20.

Good point Ebs. All that 'organising' I guess they need someone to administer the funds and make sure they reach their destination.

I think that's part of it Subby. I also think they can so they do.

Ropi I didn't mean to intimate the Ukraine was 3rd world. I was thinking more of Madonna's African adventures. Poor choice of words.j

Ditto unstranger. I had Africa on my mind and my friend's Indian Adoption (technically India isn't 3rd world either but the level of corruption certainly is). I remember the poisoning event he was fortunate to survive. I use both PC and Mac but this one has me stumped. I suspect there's a fault in a couple of my numbered style sheets. Driving me mad it is!

Of course it's unrelated! I was ranting. Look better they adopt one than not but they have the means to be far more public about the 'cause'. I know all support various charities but I haven't heard any of them except Elton John actually promote them. (He's a big supporter of the Princess Diana Fund)

True Ian but I didn't mean to badge them as 'Third World' and stop changing the subject. I did look it up, they're 82 on the list . . medium development and equivalent to countries such as Turkey, Peru, Thailand, Tonga, Iran . . Apologies to the Ukranians. I use a Mac for the blog so that's no problem. It's the Word 2003 tender that I'm putting together at work that's giving me grief.

Absolutely Ian. Here if you're over 40 local adoption is not available and I have heard that some prospective parents have been denied for such reasons as being 'overweight' because it reduces their mortality.

Clearly folks I did not work or research much on this one - pretty much mouth in gear before the brain. It's a RANT remember. I was just curious what people thought. Actually none of my overseas adoptive parents have commented yet . . .

Mim said...

I believe that they should do both. Help a child, give them love and a home, and with all that wealth - establish a fund for people who aren't as rich as them to be able to adopt.

As for sucks

Mike said...

I guess with me, it depends on the reasons for which the celeb adopts the child. I think that Madonna did it for publicity, I think that Angelina did it for personal reasons. I think that it is ok as long as they support all underprivleged children, and not just one that they adopt.

Cinema Minima said...

Nice rant. I think I agree. Watch Foreign Correspondent on the ABC tonight; it is about this.

Adoption used to be fairly common when I was a kid, but is less acceptable than it once was. I think it's OK if the kids are genuinely orphans (ie, mum and dad deceased) and they are living rough, but the fact that many of these kids have loving (but poor) parents doesn't seem to stop some people from wanting to take these kids home with them.

Carolina said...

Could it be that all the publicity around celebrities adopting children gives us the wrong impression? Who's to say that they don't financially support at least the orphanages their children come from. I have the same thoughts you have, but I'm also thinking that 'ordinary' adoptions are not frowned upon like this. Why not? In the Netherlands I know of a famous and rich TV-presenter who adopted two small American boys. No international press there to steer you and me towards an opinion.

I'm just not sure. Food for thought.

Haven't used Word for a long time now (yippee!), so can't help you there. Good luck with it. I like the cold beer suggestion someone made.

River said...

I know nothing about your MS Word problem, so can't help there, i'm reasonably computer illiterate myself.
I do agree with you that celebrities have far more cash than they know what to do with, (give some to me) and as far as adopting third world children goes I think they do it because it gets them a few extra minutes/days/weeks of fame/time in the public eye/media attention. Granted it does get the child an improved life, but like Madonna insisting on having "that particular" little girl, what's wrong with just supporting the whole village there by providing clean water supplies, education facilities, and other stuff like that to help them lift themselves out of the poverty cycle? I suppose though that those corrupt governments in those countries would then tax them highly and unfairly because they now have an "improved lifestyle", gosh, there's no quick answer is there? As long as governments are corrupt people will live and die in extreme situations.

Unknown said...

OK, I was pointing it out because if I get to Corvinus University, I may spend my half year long intership in the Ukraine because I want to practice/learn Russiam there, therefore I would have 3 main options for it (partner institutes).
1, Russia (Moscow, St Petersburg)
2, the Ukraine (Dnipropetrovsk)
3, Kazakhstan (Tashkent)
However universities broaden relations continuously and my success to enter there is far from granted. It is really hard to get there. It is a very elite place.

Bimbimbie said...

I doubt the celebs do any real favours for the child they adopt, the lives they live are so far removed from normal. Better to support the orphanage I think.

Rowe said...

You make some good points, Baino. I just hope children do not become a commodity, something you can one day buy and sell on the stock exchange. Or, have children already become a commodity? Chihuahuas are no longer a fashion accessory, children are the new black.

Bella Sinclair said...

Ooh, great rant. Love rants. I think Oprah, then, is the real do-gooder for starting up the school like she did. Although you raise some interesting points, the sad reality is that we live in an imperfect world fraught with corruption. Throwing your money at orphanages or impoverished villages...well, you'd never know just how your money is being spent. Even if celebs are adopting for publicity, the end result is that one child gets a privileged life and more "regular folks" open up to the idea of adoption.

Thank you for the tribute to Swayze. What a beautiful man.

Ces Adorio said...

I don't know about this. I want Brad Pitt to adopt me!

ashleigh said...

Oh celebrity adoptions. GRRRRR. mind you there is nothing new. I used to be into the old 1930's movies (in B&W) that the ABC used to show once. I vaguely remember something made in about 1947 (with Ginger Rogers or Ava Gardener or some some such) in thast was about just this. So nothing changes.

Re WORD. You can defeat the beast. Its not so easy.

Firstly - define your own styles and make sure the sucker does not format stuff as "Body Text" (which is evil).

The autoformatting of numbered lists and so on can be turned off. Tools->Autocorrect. Under there select "Autoformat as you type" and turn off the autoformatting of lsits, bullets, etc. This is imperfect but should stop a great deal of it.