“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Job Creation in Afghanistan, Taliban Jobs Fueled by Corruption

Afghan corruption has doubled since 2007, survey says
Page last updated at 04:16 GMT, Thursday, 8 July 2010 05:16 UK

By Quentin Sommerville
BBC News, Kabul

Corruption in Afghanistan has doubled in the two years since 2007, according to a survey by anti-corruption charity Integrity Watch.

Afghans paid nearly $1bn (£658m) in bribes in 2009, with almost a third of those surveyed saying they had had to pay a bribe to obtain a public service.

More than half said state corruption was fuelling the Taliban's growth.

The average cost of a bribe was $180, which can be many months salary in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Bribes are required for everything from access to healthcare and education, to obtaining a passport or identity card.

The police and the judiciary are viewed as most corrupt by the 6,500 people surveyed.

Report author Lorenzo Delesgues said: "It reduces the legitimacy of the state, it gives more legitimacy to the Taliban. More than half of the respondents think that the Taliban are gaining ground because of corruption of the Afghan state."

But despite the insurgents capitalising on government corruption, the vast majority of people in the country looked towards the president and other state institutions to bring it to an end.

And Afghans are just as concerned about corruption in their country as the international community. The survey says that bribery is not part of Afghan culture, and that 90% of respondents said they felt guilty when paying a bribe.


  1. And ...

    The US is in Afghanistan protecting the heroin traders, that there is corruption in that criminal enterprise, well, who you gonna call?

  2. Look at it this way, Blue: We Americans think we know corruption.

    Compared to much of the rest of the world, however, we are fucking saints and princes.

    Our corruption barely registers on the global corruption scale.

    It's actually quite comforting.

  3. Uh oh,
    Rufus gave Trish his extra pair of Rose Colored Glasses.

    Please don't join Ruf in asserting that the socialist Ponzi scheme is not in terminal approach to the brick wall of fiscal reality.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. DEATH: Terry Anderson, Radio Host Champion of Black Americans Against Unfair Immigrant Competition

    Terry's anger at what immigration had done to the historic Black neighborhoods of South Central L.A. pushed him onto stages across California and eventually across America. Usually proudly wearing overalls and doing nothing to disguise his small business and auto mechanic livelihood, Terry became one of the most popular orators in the movement to protect U.S. workers from illegal immigration.

    Sadly, few of the traditional civil rights leaders -- Black or White -- have said a word in defense of Black Americans when it comes to immigration. Most of them have decided that the pain inflicted disproportionately on Black Americans is acceptable because immigration provides the leaders with other benefits. That is what made Terry's work so important and so courageous -- and so unique.

    As far as I know, Terry had led a rather provincial life until immigration began to totally overwhelm his neighborhood. But he soon was seeing America. I first met him on the set of a cable TV show in Washington DC. It was his first time to see the nation's Capital. When taping was over late in the evening, I had the great privilege of driving Terry around all the lighted monuments of DC as the night tour evoked emotional patriotic expressions from him at the first-time sighting of each landmark.

    Terry loved America, even when parts of America (including, sadly, some people who agree with the need to reduce immigration) still didn't see Black Americans as equally deserving and equally important parts of our national community. Terry always made those of us White Americans in the movement feel that he believed we cared as much about the Black victims in his Black neighborhood as we cared about White victims. And because of that, I sense that he created a lot more real and heart-felt concern throughout the movement for the disproportionate victimization of Black Americans by our nation's immigration policies...

  6. Doug, the sooner you explain to me the advantages of the system we had in place in 1929 over the system we have in place now, the sooner I will ditch my support for our current "ponzi scheme."

  7. Hey, I know, we can call on our Islamic allies, in the Islamic Republic we established by force of US arms, there, in Afghanistan.

  8. Here's the "Real Deal"

    In 1929, federal expenditures constituted only 20% of the GDP.

    While today, it constitutes 26%, a tad less.

    If one believes Wiki then this chart, telling US under which Presidents the National Debt increased will make you puke.

    From 1973 onward, the debt increases under GOP administrations, decreases under Democratic ones.

    If ever increasing debt is the issue, and you believe that lowering that debt is important to the future of the United States, then Democrats are the ones to vote for.

    From a historical perspective of that part of fiscal reality.

  9. Best blog post title of the week:

    "Have at it. I have no energy to do anything. Heat is sapping my will to live."

    No kidding.

    Looking at the forecast for the Maryland panhandle, though, I am heartened.

    In the category of Not David Brooks (in so many ways) we have a bit of inspirational spleen-venting from IOZ:

    People keep asking me why I post about Matthew Yglesias, who isn't exactly a moving target, and the only answer I have is that he is the most consistently ridiculous person in America. That is not to say that he is the most ridiculous--that prize probably goes to Victor/Victoria Perseus Thanatos Upanishad Velocity Hanson--but that he manages, day in and out, to maintain a steady, cruising velocity of Warp 6 on the what-the-fuck-is-he-talking-about scale. We already nabbed him once today.

    Now he has returned to write a completely bonkers post called The Arbitrariness of Manufacturing, in which he posits that manufacturing is "not very rigorously defined." Well, okay, I mean, when does a pond become a lake? When is a creek a stream? When is a tree just a bush? He confuses agriculture with manufacturing and then confuses a farmer's market with a farm. He seems to think that the petrochemical companies manqués that produce fast food are not considered manufacturers, whereas he believes that the cooks at McDonald's fabricate the hamburger patties on-site. Thus armed with this quiver of soggy arrows, he suggests that we should not be quite so upset about the decline of manufacturing, because people will just switch to "manufacturing" blogs and McNuggets.

    Of course, when people talk about the decline of manufacturing, what they are talking about is the decline of industries that produce durable goods of some enduring value. This is worrisome not because of the inherent desirability of cars and clock-radios and fridges and industrial steel over strawberries, hamburgers, and blawwwwgs, but because no alternate means of providing so large a segment of the population with a substantial, comfortable, long-term, maintainable income has emerged. The lesson of the ongoing cycle of economic busts is that you cannot employ every goddamn American as a middle assistant spend process materials operations director manager, and meanwhile, the absence of a labor-heavy industrial segment in our economy means that people must compete with each other for an ever-narrowing pool of precisely such fantastical job titles or else, uh, manufacture fries for nine bucks an hour and no sick days. Fuck you, Yglesias.


  10. Government spending, as a % of GDP, decreased under Clinton, increased under Bush.

    That's a fact.
    Maybe Newt had something to do with that, maybe not. I like to think he did. But it was Clinton that gets the credit, for using less credit than did GW Bush or Ronald Wilson Reagan.

  11. "...Democrats are the ones to vote for."

    I believe that the best configuration historically speaking (maybe this came from Cato) is a Dem WH and a Republican Congress. It is also the rarest.

    (And I in no way mean this as an endorsement of a Republican takeover come November.

    You people are just gonna have to sit in the corner until I decide you're ready to recover your seats.)

  12. We probably will have just that configuration come 2012, though.

  13. I've never seen so many strong, leading indicators heading in opposite directions. I've been distracted all week trying to make some sense out of it all. I can't do it.

  14. I think you're probably right, Trish.

  15. And George Will today is a most excellent read.

  16. I'll take your word for it.

  17. Since you don't give links.


  19. That's not a link.

  20. Fussy Bastard, "Sir," to you . . . . . . wait for it . . . . . . TOOTS!

  21. Then, as now, one of the largest, if not The largest, funders of the anti-alcohol movement was Standard Oil.

  22. Crap, it took a lot of creativity to come up with that BEFORE checking out RUFUS's link.

  23. Bring back Blatz, this is the Schlitz.

  24. "The ship that carried John Winthrop to Massachusetts in 1630 also carried, Okrent reports, 10,000 gallons of wine and three times more beer than water"


    The only reason for that is that alcohol keeps better than water.

  25. Rocky certainly did. He didn't want all those "Model T"s running on Alcohol. A huge number of farms had stills back in the early 1900's.

    The Model T was the world's first mass-produced, flexfuel vehicle.

  26. What did they use for seals, cork?

    What has to be different in modern seals?

    ie what do they use, some kind of plastic instead of rubber?

  27. Think of the hardship visited upon the poor, if Tin Lizzies bid up the price of alcohol.

  28. No Free Lunches:

    Schools adjust budgets for state’s shortcomings

    GALESBURG — Knox County schools are still owed more $3 million in state aid, painting a dismal picture for next year’s funding as the fiscal year winds down.

    Districts are waiting on state payments in free lunch and breakfast programs, driver education, reading improvement grants and transportation.

  29. Killed Transocean oil worker was fiercely concerned about BP safety standards

    At least one of the eleven men that died in the initial explosion that triggered a disaster in the Gulf expressed concerns about safety practices on the oil rig.

    Transocean toolpusher Jason Anderson told his wife, Shelly, that he was concerned about BP's safety practices on the rig. Anderson was so worried about an accident that he spent his last trip home getting his affairs in order.

    "Everything seemed to be pressing to Jason about getting things in order. In case something happened. Teaching me how to do certain things on the motor home so that I could go and do things with the kids, make sure that I knew how to do everything," an emotional Shelly Anderson told NBC's Lisa Myers.

    Her husband drew up a will and talked about his hopes for their daughter and son.

    The last few times Jason called her from the rig he was was clearly worried.

    "They were getting pressure from someplace higher up to do things that maybe weren't exactly the way Jason thought that they should be," she said. "It was a safety issue."

    "Jason's father told us Jason was concerned that BP, which controlled the rig, kept wanting to stray from procedures to finish the well faster, which Jason considered unsafe," Myers reported.

    The Transocean CEO sat in the Anderson kitchen and told Shelly how he would take care of her family. But even before the memorial service could take place, Transocean went to court to limit their overall damages.

  30. Teacher & Administrator Salary Database

    Bouman, Timothy $632,000
    Ancelet, Barbara $609,300
    Ballough, Tiffany $379,600
    Gmitro, Henry $368,589


    2009 Teacher Details

    Name: Bouman, Timothy
    Salary: $632,000
    Position: High School Teacher
    Full/Part Time: Fulltime
    Percent Time Employed: 100%
    Assignment: English (Grades 9-12 Only)
    Years Teaching: 12
    Degree: Master's
    School Name: Noble Street Charter High School
    District Name: City of Chicago SD 299

  31. How is that possible?

  32. I was searching for something I heard on Talk Radio:

    A superintendent of schools making 700 k, retiring on 500 k.

    ...instead, I found a teacher making 632 k !

    Chicago, Chicago!
    It's my kind of town.

  33. "But if over 85% of the Congress is reelected, folks are satisfied …"

    The rat, America’s only honest man. The rest, the other 319,999,999, are merely waiting for the opportunity to lie to pollsters.

    Perhaps in the alternate reality of rat-World, but one needs to deal with things as they exist in this universe young Skywalker.

    You’re magnificent leaps to illogical conclusions are often a thing to behold. While one can argue which is preeminent among them there are elements of all of the following logical fallacies contained in your simple assertion: “The Categorical Statement”, “Special Pleading”, “Stopping Short in Search for Causes”, “The False Assumption”, “The False Dilemma”, “Avoiding Conclusions”, and “Simplistic Reasoning”.


    A thing to behold.

    But then why let logic intrude on a good food fight?


  34. rufus said...

    "How is that possible?"

    It's not ASSHOLE:

    It's one component of the Ponzi Scheme.

    Take off those damned rose coloreds and open your f...... eyes!

  35. "You’re magnificent leaps to illogical conclusions are often a thing to behold."

    At least he's more meteoric than Rufus:

    Stolidly pursuing his death march in defense of socialism.

  36. 19. peterike
    Huh. When I was a highschool English teacher at a Catholic school in NY in the mid 1980s, I was making $26K after six years. I guess I went to the wrong place.

    You know, if you search that database for Top 200 salaries, even number 200 is in at $199K a year. Nice work if you can get it.

  37. 20. buddy larsen...

    D/17; …and if you’re hangin around town broke and jobless, and wondering who did it to you, don’t think politicals parties, naw, think the Giant Blue Evil Eye.


    22. Doug...


    Looks like a prosthetic eye to match my unit.

  38. Pension Calculator

    Public educator pensions gobble up taxpayer dollars at an unsustainable rate. They are far more generous than those of most taxpayers, and are a primary cause of Illinois' disastrous budget situation. Use this tool to calculate an educator's pension and it cumulative cost to taxpayers


    From the TRS website:

    "Cost of Living Increases: You will receive an automatic 3 percent cost-of-living increase on the January 1st following your 61st birthday or your first full year in retirement, whichever is later. When your first increase is calculated, it includes increases for the entire time you have been in retirement. "

  39. Correction:

    "Your magnificent leaps"

    Their, I've fixed it.

  40. Shabazz in the Whitehouse:

    The guy that hates whitey, and encourages folks to kill crackers and their babies.

    Also the non-voter intimidator who carried a club to his local precinct.

  41. ...Also the AG Holder non-voter intimidator who carried a club to his local precinct.

  42. I can't for the life of me understand why I should give a shit what some charter school in Chicago pays its teachers.

    Having said that, there's something more to that story. Even Chicago doesn't have $600,000.00/yr English Teachers.

  43. U.S. marks 3rd-largest, single-day debt increase
    $166 billion jump spurs concerns over policy

    "The one-day increase for June 30 totaled $165,931,038,264.30 - bigger than the entire annual deficit for fiscal year 2007..."

    "On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office said the government has recorded a $1 trillion deficit for the first nine months of fiscal 2010, which began Oct. 1."
    [That's impossible, or so we have been told right here at the EB.]

    " reach the sustainable debt goal the government will have to raise taxes by 25 percent, cut spending by 20 percent or do some combination of the two..." [Gouge those dirty doctors, I say]

  44. rufus said...

    I can't for the life of me understand why I should give a shit what some charter school in Chicago pays its teachers.


    You expose yourself.

  45. Rufus said...

    "Having said that, there's something more to that story. Even Chicago doesn't have $600,000.00/yr English Teachers."


    You expose yourself again, but who's counting?

    Who ya gonna believe, Rufus's rose coloreds, or your lying eyes?

  46. An LA city councilman will be getting 500 k a year retirement, Rufus, but why should you give a shit?


  47. "For the life of me..."


    You're the walking dead, so how should you know?

  48. Doug, I don't live in L.A. Why should I care what a L.A. City Councilman makes?