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Africa and foreign aid

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pctacitus

Africa and foreign aid

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When I was in Britain last month, there was a big deal in the papers about Africa and foreign aid. One article quoted a democracy advocate as saying words to the effect of "The leaders want one vote to get into office, but don't know why they should have to give it up. Why would they want to? Especially when they can skim the foreign aid money that keeps coming no matter how corrupt they are."So when I was going through my email this morning, I noticed this article about how Bush has done more for Africa than any other American leader. He has won over the likes of Bono, who as many know, has made Africa his chief cause.Apparently, "Bono was exceedingly pro-Bush, calling him "the most important and toughest nut", a stance that has annoyed singers such as Billy Bragg and Sinead O'Connor, who think he is risking his credibility by getting too close to the leader."But Bono seems to have influenced Geldof, who insisted in the interview that the United States had no "lack of empathy"...Geldof confessed that he had been forced to defend the Bush administration in a visit to France, where "they refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that he has actually done more than any American president for Africa". Geldof said: "But it's empirically so.""Leave Bush alone, Geldof warns starsBy Hugh Davies(Filed: 21/06/2005)www.telegraph.co.uk/news/...live21.xml ...[T]o ignore the classics is ultimately to weaken the very foundations of our society. - James Atlas, Book Wars: What it Takes to be Educated in America
wwdimmitt

Re: Africa and foreign aid

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Good grief! We are now listening to entertainers for political insights???Next thing you know some second rate Hollywood hack will get elected President! (Oh, yeah, that already happened, back in 1980. A senile, second rate Hollowood hack.)I would strongly recommend that anyone wanting some clear, well reasoned insights about the state of human affairs in Africa should read Paul Theroux's Dark Star Safari.His conclusion is that all international foreign aid is causing most of the problems in Africa, and that until the Africans take control of their own destiny, with their own leadership, there will continue to be ongoing human disaster in large segments of the African continent.The book was published in 2003, so it is still quite relevant. Some of his best writing ever when he is describing some of the people who were his students 40 years ago, as he returns to visit them, and to see what has happened with the schools and the government with the unfettered corruption that is fed by foreign aid.He was a 60 year old man at the time, and basically hitch hiked from Egypt to the tip of South Africa. Several narrow escapes in crossing territory that was part of local wars, or border disputes. Crazy, but good reading, and lots of not PC insights. WW
pctacitus

Re: Africa and foreign aid

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Personally, I think the best book on foreign aid and Africa was Surrender or Starve: The Wars Behind the Famine by Robert D. Kaplan. It was republished in the last couple years after being out of print for 15 years in the US. Kaplan has traveled throughout Africa for decades now, and had been traveling for almost a decade then. Of course, Chinua Achebe, best known for his novel Things Fall Apart, wrote a nice work called The Trouble with Nigeria.Kaplanwww.amazon.com/exec/obido...ce&s=booksAchebewww.amazon.com/exec/obido...s&n=507846What I thought was most odd was that people doing an act for charity in most cases (probably community service for some others like Eminem or 50 Cent) had to be told that they shouldn't insult the man who has done the most for Africa of any American President.By the way, insulting Reagan, unnecessary. The man was actually quite smart, if you had taken the time to read anything he had ever written, you might have realized that. I you don't have to agree with someone to agree that they are/were intelligent.Reaganwww.amazon.com/exec/obido...ce&s=bookswww.amazon.com/exec/obido...ce&s=books ...[T]o ignore the classics is ultimately to weaken the very foundations of our society. - James Atlas, Book Wars: What it Takes to be Educated in America
Ken Hemingway

Re: Re: Reagan

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The Reagan incident which most sticks in my mind is that during an election campaign (I think it must have been 1980) he claimed he was going to:&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp a. cut taxes&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp b. balance the budget&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp c. increase defence spendingPretty much everybody said that it was impossible to do all three - they were, in practice, incompatible. Reagan never responded to those challenges.A year or so later the issue was raised again and his response was that he hadn't balanced the budget but he'd done the other two, so he was batting 660 - "when I was a baseball commentator 660 was pretty good!"To me that seemed confirmation that Reagan was either stupid or utterly cynical. I suspect it was both.
pctacitus

Re: Re: Reagan

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In baseball, if you hit 330, you are doing pretty well. If someone were to hit 330 over their career, they would have pretty good odds at the hall of fame. Nobody has hit over 400 in generations. ...[T]o ignore the classics is ultimately to weaken the very foundations of our society. - James Atlas, Book Wars: What it Takes to be Educated in America
Ken Hemingway

Re: Re: Reagan

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Yes. As of last week, Derrek Lee of the Cubs was hitting 395, so we Chicagoans are very aware of batting averages.I'm going to assume, PC, that you don't think that this justifies Reagan's comment. If a dentist is doing routine fillings and says that only one of three of his patients die in the chair, would he be justified in saying that he is batting 660 and that's pretty good?
pctacitus

Re: Re: Reagan

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Hey, for a politician, 660 has got to be a record. ...[T]o ignore the classics is ultimately to weaken the very foundations of our society. - James Atlas, Book Wars: What it Takes to be Educated in America
Ken Hemingway

Re: Re: Reagan

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Not at all. Nobody had any doubts that you could choose any two from three and achieve them. The reason you could not do all three is because they were mathematically incompatible. If you are in a deficit, you cannot 1. reduce taxes, 2. increase spending and 3. balance the budget. It is interesting to speculate whether Reagan truly didn't understand this (i.e was stupid) or was just trying to appeal to voters with incompatible goals. Personally I'm pretty sure he was both stupid and dishonest. What do you think?
badmendicant

Re: Re: Reagan

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"Stupid" seems to being used to describe individuals who we disagree with. If stupid people are elected to the office of president, then there must be some smart people pulling the strings. It seems to me that either these people are smart individuals who we happen to disagree with, or that these people are the unwitting frontmen for a group of conspiritors or intrest groups. Edited by: badmendicant at: 7/2/05 9:46 pm
Ken Hemingway

Re: Re: Reagan

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When someone stubbornly claims that he is going to do something which is logically impossible, I don't think "He's just saying something you disagree with" is an adequate description. "Stupid" may not be the perfect word for the kind of error Reagan was prone to, but I don't think it's altogether inappropriate either. What I think really happened is that Reagan was a person who was very insecure about his ability to think carefully through complex subjects. He tended to make judgements based on his emotional reactions to a question, often basing his views on anecdotes. People would point out to him the dangers in this approach - in particular that the anecdote was an inaccurate analogy for the question he was addressing, but he was usually unwilling to do the thinking required to understand the differences - again, I suspect, because of the insecurity.For the case in point, I think he knew he wanted to increase spending - especially defense spending. He knew he wanted to reduce taxes. And he knew he wanted to balance the budget. He didn't have much interest in what would be required to achieve these goals. He relied on experts to work that out. So given this overall superficiality of approach there was quite a likelihood that he would end up setting goals which were mutually exclusive. And that's what happened in this case.So you tell me. If someone operates in this manner, is it fair to call them stupid? Or should we just say that they were prone to say stupid things?
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