Thursday, June 30, 2005
Oh my god. Very few things make me want to get out of my seat and sing hallelujahs, this did it. So very worth reading, the whole thing. Especially in light of this. And this. And this. (read that one too if you only have time for 2.)
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Am I the only one who thinks that a reporter should only ever agree to use an anonymous source if they're willing to go to jail to protect that anonymity? Considering how well the recent examples of anonymous sources have turned out, I don't know why they aren't hanging those folks out to dry. (As they seem to be doing reluctantly in this case.) Willingness to be incarcerated in order to get a story out restores the credibility of the story. 'Wow, if Judith Miller is willing to go to jail for months in order to get this heard, she must think it's pretty important.' As opposed to the current thinking, 'So an anonymous source smeared the president in wartime, once there was enough protest backed off, and wasn't even willing to back it with their own name? I'm hearing this rumor, why?'
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Good news. I hope it's all used responsibly.
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Before you offer any opinion at all on the third world you must read and reflect on this.
The scale of the task facing Tony Blair in his drive to help Africa was laid bare yesterday when it emerged that Nigeria's past rulers stole or misused 220 billion pounds.The cause of suffering in the third world has nothing to do with the stingy exploitive developed world and everything to do with corrupt and undemocratic governments. Throwing more money at the problem won't help. Of course making aid dependent on actual performance would immediately trigger accusations of evil greedy hard-hearted pitiless republicanism.
That is as much as all the western aid given to Africa in almost four decades. The looting of Africa's most populous country amounted to a sum equivalent to 300 years of British aid for the continent.
The figures, compiled by Nigeria's anti-corruption commission, provide dramatic evidence of the problems facing next month's summit in Gleneagles of the G8 group of wealthy countries which are under pressure to approve a programme of debt relief for Africa.
Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, has spoken of a new Marshall Plan for Africa. But Nigeria's rulers have already pocketed the equivalent of six Marshall Plans. After that mass theft, two thirds of the country's 130 million people - one in seven of the total African population - live in abject poverty, a third is illiterate and 40 per cent have no safe water supply.
With more people and more natural resources than any other African country, Nigeria is the key to the continent's success.
Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, set up three years ago, said that 220 billion was "squandered" between independence from Britain in 1960 and the return of civilian rule in 1999.
"We cannot be accurate down to the last figure but that is our projection," Osita Nwajah, a commission spokesman, said in the capital, Abuja.
The stolen fortune tallies almost exactly with the 220 billion of western aid given to Africa between 1960 and 1997. That amounted to six times the American help given to post-war Europe under the Marshall Plan.
British aid for Africa totalled 720 million last year. If that sum was spent annually for the next three centuries, it would cover the cost of Nigeria's looting.
Then understand that the current rulers of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Congo, Lybia, Egypt, Morocco and probably all the rest, are that corrupt today! Who exactly shall we coordinate these plans with? Who exactly shall we trust to distribute aid? They won't let the people giving the aid into their countries to actually see that it's properly dispersed. Surprise! The ruler of the country just discovered a few thousand tonnes of grain in his coat closet, 'better sell it to the neighbors, they're having such a bad drought.' Ooops you mean the grain that was to keep people from starving is being sold across the border on the black market? Well, obviously, the solution is to drown them in so much aid that they can't possibly pocket it all.
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Excellent China analysis. But this chick will blow your mind. (Well only if you're a geopolitics wonk.)
After reading it you'll understand why I say that even post-Great Depression II and post-WWIV, the US will be in much much much better shape than anyone else even taking into account our budget problems.
The 2008 Olympics may well be cancelled. I wouldn't spend a fortune on tickets if I were you.
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Somewhere I came across this delicious description of the drug war: Illicit Drug Price Support and Gang Finance Program. Ahhh.
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