Thursday, September 07, 2006

Burn, baby, burn

I don’t know about you, but the highlight of the summer for me, because I have lost that certain will to live thing, was blue-haired, congenitally peevish Senator Ted “bridge to nowhere” Stevens’ (R-Alaska) rapturous wisdom on that innernetz and its world web of wide business.

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.

So you want to talk about the consumer? Let's talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren't using it for commercial purposes.

But of course. It’s a good thing Mr. Stevens is not in any kind of, say, committee, that regulates US commerce which is debating net neutrality issues.

And then proving he is a walking stroke about to happen:

And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.

It's a series of tubes.

And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

Ah. One more reason why women in Alaska should have their tubes tied—just a precautionary measure.

But really, you actually have to hear the righteous timbre in Stevens’ voice as he says this shit. No other way to capture the correct senseless-to-lunatic quotient. (Jon Stewart has a summary here.)

So we all laughed and laughed and thought nothing else could possibly eclipse this.


Ahoy! Captain Meles Zenawi asking permission to come aboard the Crucible of Crazy.

In June, the Auditor General of Ethiopia, one Lemma Argaw, a man with perhaps a small but latent death wish and a set of brass balls, presented a 30-page document to parliament. Bottom line: about 5 billion Birr supposedly channeled to regional states is… what do you call it... missing.


How can one possibly explain losing track of 5 billion birr? That's about $550 million in a country where the average income is about $100 a year. I’m just saying… 5 billion birr is no cappuccino change.

Well, the answer is, one does not explain it.

Prime Minister Meles, the self-anointed vanguard of wobbly economic theories, renowned pontificator of pith, and occasional purveyor of gruesome ethic lessons, bristled at the news, but not for the reasons you’re thinking.

According to Fortune,

Alas, the Prime Minister did not mince his words when he told a dumbfounded, although subdued House, that regional administrations had the authority that could go as far as burning the money [emphasis mine] they received as subsidies from the federal government, if there was to be an article in their constitution allowing for that to happen.

Whaaa? So… meaning, regional administrations are not like trucks you dump tubes of money onto?

The Prime Minister accused the Auditor General of two cardinal sins: being a breach of constitutional rules and [being] unethical.

Notice the prime minister’s restraint. No “genocide” charges.


[Meles] argued that the Auditor General has no business auditing the expenditure of regional governments that have the constitutional right to spend their money the way they want to. He said that when it comes to auditing they have their own regional auditing offices to take care of the job. He wants the Office to register to subsidies as a federal expense but stop its power short of meddling in their internal affairs.

[Emphasis added, with much confusion.]

Ohhh. Could it be? Could it possibly be that Prime Minister Meles knows less about running a federal government than Mr. Stevens knows about how tubes run the internet?

The Fortune article is actually very interesting. It has a long preface on how the parliament, what with all the opposition (the ones not in jail, exile or dead) in there, is humming along a-okay. It describes how an avuncular Ato Meles lectures his subjects on Econ 101; how they sit at his feet drinking in his intellectual girth with wide eyes and sweaty brows. Melesocracy at its finest. Everything is peachy, even a little dissent is tolerated, as long as Ato Meles is not seriously challenged. As long as everyone agrees he is the philosopher/king no one has to die.

But then… this Auditor General person… this party pooper has to spoil the fun with his… auditing! Ato Meles was having none of that.

Like umpteen times before, right in front of our very eyes, he resorts back to the true Meles: a belligerent, coarse, painfully ersatz intellectual who, without a gun trained at the Ethiopian people, would be just another dilettante bush leaguer doing whatever it takes to hold on to power.

Gosh, if only in May 2002 the people in Sidama were protesting for their right to burn money and not federal interference in their "internal affairs." There would not have been a massacre in Awassa.

In the meantime, anybody who sees 5 billion birr floating around somewhere, please report it to the nearest... actually, scratch that. Burn it.


· Dina at Coffeechilisun is back!

· Andrew at Mesqel Square has been kinder to this blog than it deserves.

· Redeem Ethiopia is stunningly thoughtful and precise.

· Still no sign of Egoportal.


Anonymous admas said...

butbutbutbut, does this make the world bank more or less confident that the $215 million it just poured into ethiopia will not be burned in the name of federlization?

chigir new getinet kalaweKubet.

12:55 PM, September 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanx for your post and the link to Redeem Ethiopia. I read his post, but his comment section seems to have been turned off. Anyways, he's on point, but got me thinking....may be the west isn't really looking for stability in the horn. If not, why would they turn a blind eye to what seems to be a pending collapse of the ET government if it continues with its current attitude?

1:18 PM, September 07, 2006  
Anonymous not genet zewdie said...

ah'mah gad. Have the Faras *completely* taken over at EPRDF central? How can they let Meles shit all over them like this, brass ball Lemma excluded???!!

Maybe someone at the EPRDF can answer this: is Meles taken seriously within the party, or is he just feared?

1:43 PM, September 07, 2006  
Anonymous lagos bts said...

A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon you are talking about real money.

We cross posted this on Africmx. Really enjoyed reading.

4:02 PM, September 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In the meantime, anybody who sees 5 billion birr floating around somewhere, please report it to the nearest... actually, scratch that. Burn it..."..ETW


Let's forget about the value of 5 billion birr, how about global warming? Do you know how much toxin is there in 5 billion birr :-)

5:00 PM, September 07, 2006  
Anonymous zegabi said...

I love this post! Endew min largish anchiye?

8:27 PM, September 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Love it... love it!

" be honest with you, all Meles has 2 do is continue all the Economic manegement at this high level, then we will se 5 billion is nothing at all... lol.

And we wonder who knows about Ethiopias tyrant lider's attitude?

world bank must be confident about the missing billions, that way they will make sure Ethiopia will forever be a country in the hands of the few rich blood suckers.

6:07 AM, September 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is an introduction to the world of info search. Read the complete article to get the full introduction.

2:15 AM, October 04, 2006  

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