Saturday, June 21, 2008

Just Random, Totally Unconnected Stories...

The soldiers and ruling party militiamen herded the people of Rusape to an open field at the back of the local sports club and made their point crystal clear.

"Your vote is your bullet," a soldier told the terrified crowd.
Everyone knew what he meant.
"They are saying we will die if we don't vote for Robert Mugabe, that there will be war if we don't vote for Robert Mugabe," said a wary young woman holding a small child. Mugabe says it too in speeches across the land ahead of next week's run-off presidential election against the man who beat him in the first round, Morgan Tsvangirai.

A campaign that began with the tested tactic of beatings has evolved into a full-blown military strategy of abductions and murders of opposition MDC activists and supporters. More than 100 have been killed and 200 have disappeared. Thousands more have been beaten so badly they will bear the scars for life. A number of rapes have also been reported, including of three women who had wooden poles thrust into their vaginas. But it is not clear at this stage if the attacks are a deliberate part of the terror strategy.

Mugabe has said time and again he regards the upcoming vote not as an election but as a continuation of the liberation struggle against western imperialism and its "puppet", Tsvangirai. "This country shall not again come under the rule and control of the white man, direct or indiret"....
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Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said on Friday he expects Republicans to highlight the fact that he is black as part of an effort to make voters afraid of him.
“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”
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The first ever purpose built village for people living with the Aids disease has opened in South Africa aiming to give more dignity and purpose to terminally ill patents.
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  • Africa accounts for only one tenth of the world's population but nine out of ten new cases of HIV infection. Eighty three percent of all AIDS deaths are in Africa, where the disease has killed ten times more people than war.
  • In nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa, more than 10 percent of the adult population is HIV positive. In Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, 20 to 26 percent of the population aged 15-49 is living with HIV or AIDS -source

Africa at war: The genocide spilling from the Darfur region of Sudan into neighboring Chad has captured attention in the United States mainly because of (belated) media coverage and an aggressive advocacy campaign by concerned groups, but the prospects of Washington dealing with the problem seem slim. Darfur, however, is only one of a pox of conflicts that, together with HIV/AIDS, are depopulating parts of Africa and robbing it of potential wealth from mineral, oil and gas deposits. Wars have also raged in Chad, Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Were it not for the Iraq war, Washington may have acted to stop what the Bush administration admits is genocide in Darfur, or taken steps to prevent the chaos sweeping Somalia after a group affiliated with al-Qaeda took over the country and left Ethiopia no choice but to invade in hopes of preventing a more disastrous war. Unfortunately, even designating a small presence of U.S. Special Forces to lead a U.N.-approved peacekeeping force in Darfur appears beyond the capability of the badly stretched American military.
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Formerly White ruled South Africa, now in the hands of blacks,

South Africans today are deeply demoralised people. The lights are going out in homes, mines, factories and shopping malls as the national power authority, Eskom - suffering from mismanagement, lack of foresight, a failure to maintain power stations and a flight of skilled engineers to other countries - implements rolling power cuts that plunge towns and cities into daily chaos.
Major industrial projects are on hold. The only healthy enterprise now worth being involved in is the sale of small diesel generators to powerless households but even this business has run out of supplies and spare parts from China.
Newly elected African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma, the state president-in-waiting, narrowly escaped being jailed for raping an HIV-positive woman last year, and faces trial later this year for soliciting and accepting bribes in connection with South Africa's shady multi-billion-pound arms deal with British, German and French weapons manufacturers.
Commenting on the massive power cuts, Trevor Gaunt, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Cape Town, who warned the government eight years ago of the impending crisis, said: "The damage is huge, and now South Africa looks just like the rest of Africa. Maybe it will take 20 years to recover."
Last week, for example, 18-year-old Razelle Botha, who passed all her A-levels with marks of more than 90% and was about to train as a doctor, returned home with her father, Professor Willem Botha, founder of the geophysics department at the University of Pretoria, from buying pizzas for the family. Inside the house, armed gunmen confronted them. They shot Professor Botha in the leg and pumped bullets into Razelle.
One severed her spine. Now she is fighting for her life and will never walk again, and may never become a doctor. The gunmen stole a laptop computer and a camera.

Feeding the perfect storm are the two centres of ANC power in the country at the moment. On the one hand, there is the ANC in parliament, led by President Mbeki, who last Friday gave a state-of-the-nation address and apologised to the country for the power crisis.
Mbeki made only the briefest of mentions of the national Aids crisis, with more than six million people HIV-positive. He did not address the Scorpions crisis. The collapsing public hospital system, under his eccentric health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, an alcoholic who recently jumped the public queue for a liver transplant, received no attention. And the name Jacob Zuma did not pass his lips.
Zuma, a Zulu populist with some 20 children by various wives and mistresses, hoped to prove that last year's rape case, and the trial he faces this year for corruption and other charges...
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Formerly White ruled Rhodesia, now renamed Zimbabwe and ruled by blacks,

HARARE (AFP) — Zimbabwe's inflation rate, already the highest in the world, has soared to a new high of 66,212.3 percent, according to official figures obtained by AFP on Thursday.
Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn for the past eight years characterised by galloping inflation and shortages of basic foodstuffs such as sugar and cooking oil.
At least 80 percent of the population is living below the poverty threshold, often skipping meals to stretch their income, which frequently fails to cover basic needs.
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Formerly White ruled Kenya, now ruled by blacks,

Several people were beaten and hacked to death with machetes in a Nairobi slum Sunday in renewed ethnic fighting over Kenya's disputed election, residents said.
Elsewhere, police managed to quell more than two days of fierce fighting around a Catholic monastery that killed 22 people and left 200 homes burned in the Rift Valley, 190 miles northwest of the capital Nairobi, officials said.
A government commission says more than 600 people have been killed in violence that erupted after the Dec. 27...
One man staggered past with blood streaming from the stump of his arm, which had been cut off with a machete. The arm was taken by a group of youths and placed on top of a pile of stones barricading an alleyway.
In a separate incident, around 50 people attacked welder Dominic Owour, a 23-year-old Luo, and tried to cut off both his hands at the forearm, Owour said.
Both men said police watching the attacks did not intervene.
A local reporter at the scene counted 14 people dead from machete wounds, three bodies stuck with arrows and five people shot dead by police.
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Formerly White ruled Congo, now ruled by blacks,

Le Blanc and I are into our 500th kilometer on the river when he turns my view of modern African history on its head. "We should just give it all back to the whites," the riverboat captain says. "Even if you go 1,000 kilometers down this river, you won't see a single sign of development. When the whites left, we didn't just stay where we were. We went backwards."
"The river is the artery of Congo's economy," he says. "When the Belgians and the Portuguese were here, there were farms and plantations — cashews, peanuts, rubber, palm oil. There was industry and factories employing 3,000 people, 5,000 people. But since independence, no Congolese has succeeded.
Around 45,000 people die each month in the DRC as a result of the social collapse brought on by civil war, according to a study released in January by the International Rescue Committee. It estimated the total loss of life between 1998 and April 2007 at 5.4 million. For many Congolese like Le Blanc, the difficulties of today blot out the cruelties of the past. "On this river, all that you see — the buildings, the boats — only whites did that. After the whites left, the Congolese did not work. We did not know how to. For the past 50 years, we've just declined." He pauses. "They took this country by force," he says, with more than a touch of admiration. "If they came back, this time we'd give them the country for free."
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Formerly White ruled Detroit, now ruled by blacks,

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick took his text message scandal to the Michigan Supreme Court on Friday, urging justices to strike down decisions from two lower courts to provide the public with secret documents he used to settle police whistle-blower lawsuits last year for $8.4 million.
The city filed the appeal under seal, but city law director John E. Johnson Jr. said in a statement the city asked the high court to consider the same arguments that were rejected Wednesday by the Michigan Court of Appeals and on Feb. 5 by Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr., in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Free Press.
Councilman Kwame Kenyatta said in a statement, "Either the mayor has something to hide or he's buying packing time."
"When you have two lower courts going against you, it's pretty rough," said Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning. "It's any litigant's right to seek review, but it's not a cost-free decision."
He questioned -- as have many council members -- whether the city Law Department is acting on behalf of the city or just the mayor.
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here is a photographic essay of the post-White ruin that has come upon Detroit.

Formerly White ruled New Orleans, now ruled by blacks,

As District Attorney Eddie Jordan descended last week to his moment of greatest political vulnerability, a group of prominent business leaders met with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to craft an exit strategy for the beleaguered prosecutor -- one that chiefly involved giving him a soft landing in a private sector job, sources familiar with the talk said Tuesday.
The unprecedented move ends a tenure mired in criticism over a widely perceived failure to successfully prosecute violent criminals, chronic turnover in his office, and most recently the bizarre disclosure that a robbery suspect fled to Jordan's Algiers house only to then become a suspect in the shooting of a New Orleans police officer.
Now, Jordan's undoing appears rooted in one of his first official acts: Systematically firing white employees and replacing them with black applicants two weeks after taking office. While it's hardly uncommon for politicians to clean house and install loyalists, a federal jury of eight white and two black jurors unanimously found that Jordan, who is black, fired 43 employees -- all white but for one Hispanic -- because of their race.
Of 56 total dismissals, 53 of the employees were white. Within six months of his administration, Jordan had hired 68 people, 92 percent of them African-American. Critics further have suggested that the firings had the effect of stripping the office of institutional knowledge and experienced talent, throwing its daily management into confusion and setting off a trend of poor working conditions and chronic turnover.
This criticism climaxed this summer, when his office dismissed charges against suspects in the 2006 murders of musician and teacher Dinerral Shavers and the Central City massacre that left five teenagers dead in the street. Both cases fell apart, with Jordan claiming uncooperative witnesses.
Earlier this year, Jordan was further lambasted for his office's repeated release of suspects, even occasionally ones arrested for violent crimes, because his prosecutors could not make a decision about whether to press charges under the state mandated deadline. These releases are called "701s," shorthand for Article 701 of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure, which states that no one can be held longer than 60 days on a felony arrest without an indictment.
In the latest and strangest flare-up, police recently questioned Jordan after robbery suspect Elton Phillips, 20, allegedly fled to his home after holding up a man outside a nearby Algiers Shell station.
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You can read more about post-White ruled New Orleans here.

Below is excerpted review by Jared Taylor of 'Why Race Matters'.
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" As Prof. Levin points out, a book like Why Race Matters should not have to be written. The only sensible conclusion to be drawn from simple observation is that races differ: “To put the matter bluntly, the question is not why anyone would believe the races are unequal in intelligence, but why anyone would believe them equal.” For centuries, people as different as Arabs and Englishmen have judged Africans to be unintelligent, lascivious, jolly, and keen on rhythm. Today, in whatever corner of the globe one looks, blacks behave in certain consistent ways.
There is now not much informed opposition (though a great deal of uninformed opposition) to the conclusion that IQ tests test intelli- gence, that intelligence is at least partly hereditary, and that the races differ in average IQ.
Prof. Levin is at his most original and provocative when he sets aside well-established data on intelligence and takes up the even more controversial question of morality.

For example, the widely used Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), which subdivides personality into a number of categories, shows consistent differences in how blacks and whites evaluate themselves. Blacks, for example, hold themselves in higher regard than whites (or, in today’s jargon, have “higher self-esteem”). They are consistently more likely to agree with statements like:

I am an important person.
I am entirely self-confident.
If given the chance I could make a good leader of people.
I have often had to take orders from someone who did not know as much as I did.

The common assumption that blacks are “taught to hate themselves” is wrong; blacks are quite pleased with themselves. At the same time, they consistently score higher than whites on the MMPI scales for such things as Hypomania, Psychopathy, Schizophrenia, and Masculinity, which are precisely the traits that distinguish incarcerated criminals from the rest of us. They tend to agree, for example, with statements like:

Most people are honest chiefly through fear of being caught.
Most people make friends because friends are likely to be useful to them.
Most people will use somewhat unfair means to gain profit or an advantage rather than lose it.
It is not hard for me to ask help from my friends even though I cannot return the favor.

Another finding is that blacks are more impulsive or present-oriented than whites. Given a choice between a small candy bar today and a big one tomorrow, black children are more likely than white children to want the small one today.

Finally, even within races, moral reasoning is closely associated with intelligence. Intelligence does not guarantee good behavior, but a certain level is necessary for self-knowledge and the comprehension of moral distinctions.

Prof. Levin does not flinch from drawing what may appear to be an unkind conclusion: Given the crime rates, social irresponsibility, lack of foresight, impulsiveness, and general self-centeredness of black behavior, blacks probably have a different inherent capacity and appreciation for morality.

He proposes that this difference can be explained by the environments in which blacks and whites (and Asians) evolved. In a warm climate where food can be gathered year-round, people do not need to develop habits of cooperation and planning in order to get through the winter. In the north, it took mutual trust and cooperation for groups of men to bring down large game, so reciprocal morality evolved along with intelligence.

Climate and terrain could also have influenced sexual behavior. Since African women could gather food for themselves and their children even if a mate abandoned them, there was less pressure to insist that men support their children. For the same reason, there was less evolutionary pressure on fathers to stick around. In the north, a man who abandoned his children might well leave no descendants to behave in like manner. And in fact, the family habits of Africans and transplanted blacks are extremely loose by white standards.

What we think of as moral behavior, including sexual morality, is now known to be heavily influenced by genes. As Prof. Levin points out, there is no biological reason to expect different populations to have evolved exactly the same distribution of morality-influencing genes. Therefore it is likely that “the races have … evolved divergent evaluations of cooperativeness, aggression, rule-following, and concern with the future.”

That blacks care less about others and worry less about the future is suggested in virtually every area of behavior. Crime is only the most obvious example, nor is it the expression of wretchedness and self-loathing that excuse-making whites pretend it to be. Prof. Levin notes that “the criminal behavior of young black males just does not look like an expression of despair. In account after account, these individuals come across as full of themselves and unrepentant.” He might have added that if blacks were really reduced to hopelessness by white oppression, they would presumably have high suicide rates, whereas in every age group blacks kill themselves at only one half to one quarter the white rate. "

more of this review of Prof. Levin's book 'Why Race Matters' here