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Old 12-05-2005, 06:27 PM
MMMMMM MMMMMM is offline
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Default Hot Air For Africa

At some time perhaps a year or so ago, a major summit, or gathering, took place in Davos; it trumpeted the ostensible aim of bettering things for our African brethren, whom, as we all know, live largely in squalor, deprivation, and varying degrees of misery.

One of the attendees was my new favorite columnist: Taki--and here are his observations and thoughts about the proceedings at the World Economic Forum:


"Fat Cats for Africa
by Taki Theodoracopulos

The American Conservative February 28, 2005

The place is always described as exclusive, but that’s one thing it is not. Davos is a Swiss ski resort for hoi polloi, an Atlantic City with snow, although it’s far prettier than Donald Trump’s Jersey playground. Last time I was here was about ten years ago on the frozen lake for a car race that ended up in a humongous spin that lasted for more than a minute.

Davos only becomes exclusive during the annual gathering of fat cats—the World Economic Forum, as it prefers to call itself. GFC (Gathering of Fat Cats), however, is a far more appropriate name.

There is something ludicrous in watching world political and financial leaders jostling to rub elbows with brain-dead celebrities, but such are the joys of the modern world. Pretending to care for the poor is the order of the day, both for the suits as well as for the celebrated, and if one were a ten-year-old who happened to be particularly innocent, he might believe this year’s Davos message: the end of poverty is near.

Davos Man returned home from the GFC last week full of dinner-party stories—how Bill Gates and Bill Clinton stood beside Tony Blair and Bono and Angelina Jolie and Sharon Stone and pledged to turn Africa into Palm Beach in the near future (by the year 2025, according to the economist Jeffrey Sachs; 3025 according to the economist Taki).

Mind you, everyone meant well. First and foremost among the assembled was the desire to publicize themselves and the companies they represented. The second priority was to network. Last but not least came the plan to end poverty, as noble a cause as there is, but for one problem. Nobody mentioned the c-word. Corruption—as in African leaders’ corruption.

Bill Gates might have the cash and commercial credibility, Bill Clinton the soaring rhetoric, and Bono the blarney and celebrity, but if these cats manage to eliminate hunger from even one tiny African village, I will gift my beautiful sailing yacht to Monica Lewinsky. Call me cynical, but when economists, civil servants, politicians, and company suits start naming countries such as the United States, Japan, and Germany as the top sinners in the not-giving-aid-to-poor-countries category, it’s time for the sick bag—especially when in the presence of mega-crooks like the president of Nigeria, top Saudi oil ministers, and—by satellite—Jacques Chirac, a man who is trying to pass a special law making him senator for life in order to avoid jail the minute his presidential term is over. (Chirac wants to introduce global taxes on air and sea travel and financial speculation to help Africa.)

Well-intentioned crusades against poverty in developing countries are good for publicity but little else. Accusing rich nations of not doing enough is just another way of ingratiating oneself with celebrities and the chattering classes. But the reason so many thousands of lives are lost daily in sub-Saharan Africa is not lack of aid but because too much money goes into fighting wars, leaving nothing for hospitals and schools.

Sudan, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are three glaring examples of this. Ethiopia has spent huge sums fighting Eritrea over a disputed border. Over 65 million Ethiopians can now hardly feed themselves, while the government spends billions on arms. Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of Africa, is an impoverished nation because of Robert Mugabe’s greed and disasterous anti-white policies. The psychopathic Liberian murderer Charles Taylor is living in Nigeria with the hundreds of millions he stole from the nation’s coffers, and his protector, Olusegun Obasanjo, presents himself in Davos and lectures us on the need to help Africa. Ditto Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa and the prime mover behind the theory that AIDS does not exist but is an American plot to weaken Africans.

Hand-wringing by corrupt African leaders is nothing new. Africa is suicidal, and its problems are man-made. They began when the British hastily granted African nations independence. Ensuing tribal warfare in Angola, Uganda, Liberia, Eritrea, and the Sudan robbed their citizens of health care and education. The rest was predictable. Africa’s epidemics—malaria, cholera, typhoid, and AIDS—will not be beaten by grand gestures from the West. The problems lie in African attitudes. One dinner in Davos for a fat cat costs more than the annual income of most African families, and I do not condemn his appetite—but I do condemn his rhetoric. How dare the Saudi oil minister open his mouth in Davos, when fat Fahd spends $200 million dollars in his three-week annual holiday in Marbella?

It may not be politically correct, but the only way to save Africa from itself is to recolonize it. The only solution is good governance, an impartial judiciary, secure borders, internal peace, modern medical practices, and an end to kleptocracy. But I won’t hold my breath till it happens. Nor will I ever set foot in Davos again. Despite the altitude, too much hot air. "


http://www.takistopdrawer.us/2005/fe...05-Feb-28.html

All comments welcome, and perhaps this can generate a good discussion (however, please don't expect me to *argue* with any of you;-)--I'm all done with that;-))

Comments anyone?

P.S. A great collection of Taki's articles may be found at the following link; if you like reading Zeno or H.L. Mencken, you well might like reading Taki. Of course, he minces no words, and to some that is an unforgiveable offense. To others, like myself, it is pure refreshment--regardless of which of his opinions coincide or clash with my own (e.g. Taki is against the Iraq war, which I am for; he is against the doctrine of multiculturalism, and so am I--but again, regardless, it's refreshing to read someone stating their observations and plain opinions without resorting to the ancient art of bullshitting).

http://www.takistopdrawer.us/columnarchive.html
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  #2  
Old 12-05-2005, 06:58 PM
sam h sam h is offline
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Default Re: Hot Air For Africa

I think he is absolutely right that the most fundamental problems of these countries have to do with domestic politics and the weakness/corruption of the state. Giving aid to corrupt governments is basically just throwing it away or, worse, further entrenching the problem.

On the other hand, it seems to me that a lot of good can still be done if you channel aid through NGOs and organizations in the private sector that are working on the ground to provide health services, education, etc. It's not going to end poverty, but its going to improve the lives of millions of people. And I think the rich countries of the world have a moral responsibility to do this to some degree, since the amount of human suffering you can alleviate is really substantial for the price.

Thanks for the link. I like this guy Taki's style and will take a look at his site.
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:36 PM
MMMMMM MMMMMM is offline
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Default Re: Hot Air For Africa

[ QUOTE ]
think he is absolutely right that the most fundamental problems of these countries have to do with domestic politics and the weakness/corruption of the state. Giving aid to corrupt governments is basically just throwing it away or, worse, further entrenching the problem.

On the other hand, it seems to me that a lot of good can still be done if you channel aid through NGOs and organizations in the private sector that are working on the ground to provide health services, education, etc. It's not going to end poverty, but its going to improve the lives of millions of people. And I think the rich countries of the world have a moral responsibility to do this to some degree, *since the amount of human suffering you can alleviate is really substantial for the price*.

[/ QUOTE ]

I agree with both, provided the part I italicized is actually true (I'll guess it is since you are saying so; but I can't feel fully confident as I don't know sufficient details).

[ QUOTE ]
Thanks for the link. I like this guy Taki's style and will take a look at his site.

[/ QUOTE ]

You'll find a very wide variety of topics covered there; if one you don't care for, the next might be of greater interest or sympathy. I read about half of those columns, and have a few favorites; but didn't want to post them all specifically, as others doubtless would have different favorites (or anti-favorites, as the case may be). Taki covers politics, Hollywood, movies, Hemingway...and lots more.
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: Hot Air For Africa

Sounds like the crowd that gathers at Hilton Head. And never accomplishes much - if anything. Well, they do eat and drink well, press a little flesh (Bill Clinto loves that part most), and plan next year's gathering.
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:53 PM
BluffTHIS! BluffTHIS! is offline
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Default Re: Hot Air For Africa

[ QUOTE ]
On the other hand, it seems to me that a lot of good can still be done if you channel aid through NGOs and organizations in the private sector

[/ QUOTE ]

Just like the faith-based initiatives domestically that the libs cry about, giving money to poorer areas whether in the US or abroad through religious or other non-profit charities is the way to go. Routing it throught the fewest bureaucrats anywhere is the best option.
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2005, 03:22 AM
andyfox andyfox is offline
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Default Re: Hot Air For Africa

Bill Gates is doing a world of good in Africa.

Poverty and famine usually turn out to be political problems rather than anything else. There is more than enough food in the world to feed all its people and more. One of hte worst fmaines in my lifetime was in Bangladesh in the 1960s and 1970s. During that time, Bangladesh was a net exporter of food.

But "do-gooders," like Gates, can help alleviate suffering by working around political constraints. Mr.Gates is not "pretending" to care for the poor or tyring to ingratiate himself with anybody. He's doing something about it and having a positive effect.
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  #7  
Old 12-06-2005, 10:47 AM
Cyrus Cyrus is offline
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Default Taki Theodoracopoulos

Taki is a genuine son of a bitch, in his personal life. They don't come as genuine as him anymore.

He has cheated repeatedly on friends and considers it an achievement to sleep with a friend's spouse. He is the original male chauvinist pig personified, a man with few scruples and sorry morals. Still, he will not cheat in tennis, "except if the game is for a woman", which has been many times.

But most of this is forgiven, or at least set aside, if temporarily, due to his way with words. He is born, bred and educated Greek but has mastered the use of English language. Taki's politics are a remnant from his many issues (a psychiatrist would have a field day!) with his father, an archetypal self-made Greek tycoon, who was a wild entrepreneur, an anti-communist fighter and a ferocious playboy (sometimes cheating on Taki's mother in front of Taki).

Taki's style is Waugh and Wodehouse -- olde English conservatism, seriously imperialistic, very educated, unashamedly snobbish and snobbishly anti-capitalist. Taki views Wall Street spivs with the same disdain he reserves for intruders in the Ascot race.

A few years ago, Mr Theodoracopoulos was arrested, tried and found guilty of bringing cocaine into the United Kingdom, where he subsequently spent some two years in jail for that offense. He had the stuff quite openly on him and he was cruising through Customs, following the "Hide-In-Plain-Sight" rule, when an official asked him what was that bulge in his pocket. Taki smiled and answered that it was a serious amount of cocaine, the official laughed with the joke, waved him through, Taki laughed too and turned away to walk out.

But Taki being Taki, he could not resist mumbling loud enough for the official to hear "If you only knew!". "HOLD IT!" the official yelled and that was all she wrote.

He is a man equally loved and hated, with solid reasons for both sentiments.

--Cyrus


Taki in Oxford debate about Blair being Bush's poodle
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: Hot Air For Africa

[ QUOTE ]
Poverty and famine usually turn out to be political problems rather than anything else.

[/ QUOTE ]


Too many of the problems throughout the world are political. And the little guys are always left holding the dirty end of the stick.

One of the things I also admire about Gates is that he does good things with his money, but doesn't seem to think he needs to peddle his politics. True, his PR people may keep him quiet because MS gets enough bad raps as it is. But I tend to look at his philanthropy as acts of a guy less interested in "What's it gonna get me?" because he does it with less fanfare.
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:06 AM
vulturesrow vulturesrow is offline
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Default Re: Taki Theodoracopoulos

[ QUOTE ]
He is born, bred and educated Greek ...

[/ QUOTE ]

ACcording to his bio all his schooling was in the United States.
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:48 AM
MMMMMM MMMMMM is offline
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Default Re: Taki Theodoracopoulos

From the website: "Taki was educated in New Jersey, at the Lawrenceville School; and at the University of Virginia; and in England at Pentonville Prison, just outside London. See his memoir, Nothing to Declare (ISBN 0-87113-484-5), for details."

The cocaine incident, leading to three months in Pentonville, took place in 1984.

http://www.takistopdrawer.us/abouttaki.html

And many thanks for the link to another enjoyable article, Cyrus! I would have missed that one if not for you, so I now must consider myself (choke, gag) indebted to you, if even in a small way.
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