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tberner's Comments

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How Not to Reconstruct Iraq, Afghanistan -- or America

How Not to Reconstruct Iraq, Afghanistan -- or America

Commented Aug 19, 2012 at 13:56:33 in Politics

“Mr. Van Buren's point is well taken, but he fails by restricting it to the last few years. For 70 years, foreign aid has enriched Americans - largely academics, "reformist" charities and retired USAID officials - at the expense of the countries ostensibly being helped. Most studies have concluded that 50% of all expenditures never leave the Beltway, being skimmed off to enrich administrators.

To its credit, the Bush Administration tried to deal with this. In 2004, I went to Afghanistan for a year to join a group created by the Bush Administration and designed to "fix" foreign aid to make it more efficient. Unfortunately, our achievements were ephemeral and the Obama Administration has not even tried to reform aid.

You cannot pin the failures on any Administration, however. The problem is us as a nation. We are no longer the same nation that was able to convert Japan into a democracy. If we could convert a nation that thought its Emperor was God, converting countries like Iraq into something resembling a democracy should have been child's play. It wasn't. The permanent bureaucracy has no incentive to change, politicians are too cowardly to press matters and media and academia are too simple minded to urge reform.

The stupidity of our strategists - who abandoned Iraq (where a military presence might peacefully constrain Iran with its proximity to Iran's oil fields) while wasting efforts in Afghanistan, where even "victory" would have no effect on the stability of the world - is”
huffingtonpost entry

The Small Silver Lining of $100 Oil

Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 22:19:07 in Business

“Terrific article! Very small silver lining indeed. If this country ever got its act together and got off the backs of manufacturers, that silver lining would be very large indeed and the unemployment rate be well below 4%.”
huffingtonpost entry

Banking's Newest Scandal: Alleged Price Rigging

Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 16:12:40 in Business

“Gee, if everything is all above board, then why are the prosecutors of three states investigating you guys?”
huffingtonpost entry

Banking's Newest Scandal: Alleged Price Rigging

Commented Mar 25, 2011 at 15:09:44 in Business

“Sunshine identified this issue in 2008. Where the hell were the prosecutors and investigators in the last three years? Boy, when Wall Street gave more than 60% of their total campaign contributions to the Obama Campaign, they sure got their money's worth. As a Senator, President Obama famously voted "Present" whenever a difficult vote came up. He's voting "present" as President and that just gives the crooks running the banks on Wall Street a free ticket to steal from the rest of us.”
The Psychometer: Who's Gone Too Far This Week?

The Psychometer: Who's Gone Too Far This Week?

Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 13:16:23 in Comedy

“As for Juarez being part of America, sorry, but the Governor is right. "America" stretches from northern Canada to southern Argentina and Juarez is part of it. The United States is only a portion of "America." That's why they call it "North" and "South" America.”

skeptaholic on Mar 3, 2011 at 15:15:06

“Nice "gotcha" nitpicking, but you won't find anyone outside of the U.S. - in Canada, Central or South America - who will call himself an "American." Bush once said we needed to increase our importation of oil from Mexico so we could stop depending on "foreign" oil producers. Must be something about Texas”

carmenalex on Mar 3, 2011 at 14:14:15

“damn it u hav a point”

Basil08 on Mar 3, 2011 at 13:52:16

“If he stole a television in Juarez, which American police precinct would be responsible for arresting him?”

IHateToBreakItToYou on Mar 3, 2011 at 13:29:16

“and that's why everyone in Juarez is American”
Wall Street's Fatal Defect

Wall Street's Fatal Defect

Commented Dec 29, 2010 at 16:02:57 in Business

“This is a brilliant analysis. Yesterday's shell game always comes back to bite you. Is anyone in Washington listening? Do they even care?”

cats530 on Dec 29, 2010 at 16:08:03

“Oh, they're listing alright and frantically trying to decide which way is best to sweep this all under the rug and get the payouts from their lobbyists for a "job well done".”