#4 – Year of the Tribe

#4 – Year of the Tribe

copyright, GADO
copyright, GADO

Stronger religious protections, more affirmative action and new constitutional protections of minorities is the #4 story of Africa for 2017. Sounds good until said simply: tribalism on the rebound.

The political catastrophe of South Africa and the election circuses in Kenya are the best examples. Democracy and tribalism bring out the worst of each other. Africa may be no different than the rest of the world, but understanding Africa is fundamental to untangling this mess.

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Donald Descent

Donald Descent

trumpbyflagThe Mideast has not exploded because of Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, but the effect on the U.S. is substantial and getting worse.

In response to our UN Ambassador’s childish threat that she’ll be “taking names” when the UN General Assembly votes on the resolution she vetoed last week, many African countries responded quickly but much more maturely. Their actions reflect not just how much of the world discounts the U.S., but how they now see us as the evil power in the world.

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Robot Food

Robot Food

SAGMwarThere’s a lot in common between South Africa and the U.S. Among the very most important and very least spoken is their shared agricultural power.

South Africa outperforms the U.S. producing oranges and performs about two-thirds as well for barley. South Africa outperforms China and India in corn, barley, oranges and fresh milk as well.

So agricultural companies pay a lot of attention to South Africa, and especially after last weekend’s seed conference at the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) which focused on defeating a proposed South African law heavily favoring GM seed companies like Monsanto.

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Whoisit Now?

Whoisit Now?

WhoisWho is Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma? Well, she’s a presidential candidate in South Africa. But after she appeared at one of her scheduled political rallies recently, and not a person showed up but her own team, South Africa’s most provocative political publication asked Who is Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma?

There’s a very important election in America, today. But I’m wondering – like Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma – if elections as we currently endure can really tell us anything about what the electorate wants? Do elections matter, anymore?

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Mānuka Mess

Mānuka Mess

manuka honeyOn Saturday, September 30, Kathleen and I drove our black Jeep Grand Cherokee from Taos west on highway 64 through Dulce, New Mexico, past a facility that aliens had built under the ground to conquer the world. With a prolonged drought depressing South African honey production, the government has removed restrictions on the importation of mānuka honey, which purports to better many antibiotics and is natural.

The first item of fake news is amusing and mostly benign. The second item of fake news can kill South Africans. Like zero tolerance for sexual harassment the cultural revolution needs to debunk one just as ferociously as it debunks the other.

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Death by Elephant

Death by Elephant

elechargeAnother two tourists were killed by elephant Saturday.

There are conflicting accounts of the deaths. The official Zambian police report claims that the 57-year old Belgian woman walked “too close” to take photos. But family members of the two killed told the Lusaka Times “the duo were looking at the giant mammals from a distance” and were charged unexpectedly.

In the big scheme of things, here’s why the details matter less than you might think.

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Donalds Everywhere

Donalds Everywhere

pithouse&kenelectionDemocracy isn’t working, anywhere. South African Richard Pithouse predicted all of this in his summary of Trump’s election: “The Donalds are Everywhere.” Since that analysis nearly a year ago, Kenya, Spain, Italy, South Africa, the U.S., France, Britain and probably to some degree every democratic nation on earth has grown increasingly tumultuous.

Be prepared, folks. If you think the hurricane season is just about wind and rain, you’ve got another thing coming.

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Live Free To Die

Live Free To Die

protecting democracyUltimately it’s a matter of whether the people in power are good or bad. Doesn’t really matter whether they won an election or ascended a throne, whether they’re an elected judge or an appointed one. They’re either good or bad.

But as multiple African countries show, today, there’s a lot of bad running democracies. Listen quick: I’m not saying authoritarian regimes are better than democracies. I’m just saying there can be just as much badness in democracy as in authoritarianism.

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Rhino Ruse

Rhino Ruse

rhinoauctionThere are 65 world treaties governing such things as conduct in war, rights of the child and trade of endangered species (CITES). The first was in 1865 (governing the breakthrough telegraph) and the latest in 2006 (governing the rights of the disabled).

Getting the whole wide world to agree on something isn’t easy. It represents man’s greatest achievement: These treaties define mankind. Friday, one man in South Africa will defy one of these treaties with the blessings of a misguided South African court.

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Double Doofuses

Double Doofuses

trumpdoofuszumaSouth Africans delightedly use Trump as a global explanation for their own Jacob Zuma, but if we get distracted by colorful individuals at the helm of complex political systems imploding all around us, we’ll have created nothing to fill the vacuum that follows their recklessness.

Wasting time trying to pin sophisticated crimes on the “orange doofus” (as South Africans describe Trump) will fatally delay fixing the system.

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SAfrica Guidance

SAfrica Guidance

nscSAfricaStudy carefully the picture above. (The inset is mine of South African protests, today.) That’s the website page that millions, maybe billions of people worldwide access to understand U.S. foreign policy. And that’s how it looked this morning: Come Back Later.

As a group of activists in my small town discussed the possibility of creating a new political force, I found particular use in the image above.

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Buffoon Bastions

Buffoon Bastions

buffoontrumpJacob Zuma and Donald Trump are as different as the politics and societies of South Africa and the U.S. Yet the similarities make me wonder if we ought to watch carefully now what’s happening in South Africa as Zuma incrementally destroys the country he leads.

Yesterday the Rand ended a struggled recovery, the country’s bond status fell to the junk floor, there was yet another major cabinet reshuffling, the Deputy President of the country criticized the President, and Parliament began what in America we call impeachment.

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Year of the Jackal

Year of the Jackal

jackalskilledFile “science as scandal:” For a long time South Africans have culled heavily in their national parks even as many scientists vociferously argued against doing so. Now it seems that in some kind of warped tolerance if not outright trickery South African officials managed a big cull of jackals… to prove that culling jackals doesn’t work!

Why would they cull to prove culling doesn’t work? Well, that we don’t know. What we do know is this:

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