Democrats


The three shot latte has kicked in. So has the third eye. Here is next week’s news for those who won’t have time to read the papers next week.

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Burma Myanmar announces name change

Myanmar has decreed a new name change. Again. Since the win by Win, Ne Win, in 1962 over the government you know as U Nu, Myanmar, taken from the short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw, or Myanma to be literally correct, has changed it name once from Burma, or Bama or Bamar as it is known colloquially, to the Union of Myanmar, pronounced pjìdàunzṵ mjəmà nàinŋàndɔ̀, or WTF for short.

The leader of the artist country previously known as Burma, Senior General Than Shwe (the man with the tan), announced the new name at a special event at the capital of Rangoon Yangon Pyinmana Naypyidaw. Senior General Than Shwe, also the Minister of Defence, Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, Commander and Chief of the Defense Services, and Super Duper Admiral Main Big Dick with the Stick, announced the name as Nothing, or Nṵjəmàntàiŋɔ, or just nothing. Meaning “nothing”. Best way of spelling is ”                      ” and pronounced ”                       “.

Big Dick Shwe made the announcement at a large public execution celebration held at the capital Shitty City of the kings. Big Dick Shwe said that having no name will liberate ”                  ” as it is impossible to declare sanctions against nothing. And even more difficult to invade. A journalist who asked whether this nothing is also related to morality of the government, freedom of people and economic growth of the country could not be reached for comment. Or be reached at all. He disappeared into ”                    “. They dig deep graves in ”                    “.

Big Dick Shwe did disclose that the Military Junta (pronounced åşsħΦļəś) did consider changing their name to the United States of America but that it did not believe that it would be a major move forward under the current global political climate. His exact words were, “Why would I swap my Lada for a Trabant?” He continued by saying that they also prefer to attack their own people without any reason and don’t need to invade other countries to achieve this desired outcome. A collective roll of the eyes could be seen across the whole of Southeast Asia.

North Korea to have multi-party democratic elections

North Korea shocked the world today when it announced the first multi-party democratic elections to be held in North Korea in centuries. If not forever. Chairman Kim Jong-il made the announcement during the Mass Games glorifying his life as the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It was attended by his 100,000 most fearful loyal subjects. The elections will be contested by three parties – or as Chairman Kim Jong-Il said, “One more than the Americans”. It is unclear whether he was aware of the Libertarians and the Green Party. Or if Americans are aware of these two parties.

The three parties to contest the elections are The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Party, The Democratic Republic of Korea People’s Party, The People’s Party of the Democratic Republic of Korea. Together they will be known as the Three Socially Trivial Organizations Of Generally Exploited Societies (or the 3 STOOGES). All North Koreans will have the option to vote for any of the three parties. They also have the option to not vote. And they get a free prison sentence with option 2.

In a move that Chairman Kim Jong-il calls “a major leap forward in the evolution of democracy”, a minor deviation from traditional democracies will be part and parcel of the Korean democratic elections. All three parties will be represented by the same people. Each party will receive the same list of people from the Fatherland Accreditation & Representation Team (FART). The parties can decide where they put them on their electoral list. As long as they put them in the same order provided by FART. They can change the header. Almost. As long as it is the same header as provided by FART.

Chairman Kim Jong-il also announced that he will from now on be known as the Uber Chairman, seeing that his now very dead father already took the name of Eternal President. The word “damn” could be heard right after he made this announcement.

Mugabe says he is sorry

From the official Zimbabwean government controlled news agency – the Zimbabwean Information Panel & Intelligence Trust (ZIP-IT): President Robert Mugabe today said that he was sorry. It wasn’t clear what he was sorry about, but is it newsworthy that he said it in any case. We think it was because he forgot to water the plants.

My President kisses this ass 

In a separate development, the Zimbabwean police today arrested Zimbabwe on charges that it is undermining the President of Zimbabwe, Robert “Dick” Mugabe. Police spokesperson, Pa Pitt, said “It is much easier to just arrest the whole of Zimbabwe than continuing with our current practice of indiscriminate arrests. Our police farce, I mean force, is already stretched and we just can’t arrest people fast enough.” Pa Pitt said that the new Constitutional Rules and Accreditation for the Police (CRAP) law “will help cut down on bicycle use as we can’t afford the tyres anymore”. The new law was first mentioned in the Presidential memo known as My African Dictator (MAD). Chaos ensued right after the CRAP law came into force as the police kept on arresting themselves as part of the arrest of all Zimbabweans. President Mugabe introduced a new law to release the police through his ROBERT MUGABE law – Real Oppressive Bastard for Early Release Time: May U Get A Bloody Ending. It declared all military and police personal as non-Zimbabweans and above the law. Presidential spokesperson and brother of Pa, Stew Pitt, said “The puppets of the Big Dick is above the law. And that isn’t too difficult with the law being trampled in the dust”. Journalist were shocked that Stew Pitt actually made sense.

New UN study find Russians to be least corrupt

The UN released their latest study regarding the state of the world economy. The yearly report analyses the latest global development challenges and this year focused on the general health of the world economy. The 2008 report was titled International Trade – Society Under Constant Knowledge & Economic Depression (IT-SUCKED). Apparently the global economy is not doing well.

In a surprise development, Russia was ranked 1st out of 205 countries as the least corrupt country in the world. They were ranked at number 205 in 2007. Russian President Medvedev, not a tennis player, said that it was proof that Russia “is the best country in the world”. Commentators noted that he wasn’t as eloquent as Putin.

In an unrelated story, the UN Research and Empirical Agency for Learning (UN-REAL) was caught in an oil-for-food oh-the-fool controversy. The agency was researching the state of the world economy when they allegedly accepted bribes to influence the research findings. The agency was alerted to irregularities when they noticed that the Russia section included too many unscientific statements such as “wow”, “awesome”, “best ever”, “gnarly” and “wickedly cool”. The intern who wrote the piece, a surfer from Australia, have been suspended until further notice.

US Congress saves US airlines

In another bail-out plan, The White House and the US Congress announced drastic steps in an attempt to rescue the flagging US airlines industry. The steps were outlined in a new report called the Congressional Report on Airline Sustainability Hearings (CRASH). The hearings were initially delayed after most Representatives couldn’t attend the first meeting due to flight delays and cancellations. A number of Congressmen also didn’t have the $25 to pay for their extra baggage. Representative Do Nafin said that it was unfair to charge Congress extra for baggage as “we all carry baggage already and those cash envelopes aren’t that light you know”. Another Representative, Sting Kerr, was overheard saying that “the gravy train is so much quicker”. The new plans outlined in CRASH included charging passengers for landing, planes loaded in commuter rail instead of flying, pay-as-you-breathe slots for oxygen masks, and auctioning safety vest before take-off. The airline coalition, Airline Sillyness Strategy for Humongous Overheads, Legal Excuses and Stupidity (ASSHOLES), said that “it’s about time that politicians listen to us. They should remember who controls their luggage when they fly. And who cleans the toilets before foot tapping at airports.” A spokesperson for passenger rights, New Airline Institute for Luggage and Experience Deficiency (NAILED), responded by saying that “it’s just hot air meeting thin air”.

Republicans lays out deficit plan

In a bold move to try and be relevant again, the Republican Party denied that it was developing a new economic policy that will include the US changing its name.  GOP leader Michael Steele (pronounced My-Kill Steal) said that, “we are a proud nation and won’t do something silly and stupid like that”. He chuckled when reminded of the 2004 Presidential vote.

Mr Steal did acknowledge that they considered various options, including a name change, to be able to finance the budget deficit under a new Republican Party plan to get rid of the deficit. Apparently they realized ignoring it won’t do as it just won’t go away no matter how much you laugh at it or roll your eyes. Steal said they were under the impression that the US won’t have to pay back the debt to China or the Saudis if they changed the name. “How can they make us pay if the contract is under the name of the USA and we are known as something else like America or The Mighty One?”, he said. He said that Uncle Dick Chainy Cheney told him it won’t work. His idea of going under a new name and under the witness protection program would also not work. He is, however, considering this as a personal option after he leaves his current employment as the first African American leader of the Republican Party.

Steal said that they have instead come up with a much better plan that takes the best of the free market and mixes it with the land of the free. “A bit of freedom for all can go a long way,” was the specific words he used. Instead, he said, the Republican Party has decided to sell the naming rights of states to the corporate sector in a similar way that the NFL runs their stadiums. The initiatives will be led by the GOP-led State Technical Under-secretary of Property and International Declarations (STUPID). Early state name changes include T-eXxon-ASs for Texas, Ben & Jerry’s Taste of Vermont and Kentucky Fried (Virgina is being sought after by a cheap South African wine producer). Steal said that they have already told Mexico that New Mexico is not for sale. They also turned down the Chinese offer for naming the whole of the US “Little China Market”. Steal confirmed that they have yet to receive a single enquiry for either New Jersey and Utah. Not even when they offered to pay for someone to take them.

In another leaf taken from the corporate sector, the Republican Party’s new policy include changing the current Federal system to a Franchise system. The initiative has been dubbed the Federation – Working On Renaming Designations (F-WORD). Each state will be sold as a franchise. Steal said that they have yet to figure out the finer details of what people can do with the franchises, but that they might be able to “sell donuts or hamburgers or maybe even name a potato or orange after each franchise”. A collective roll of the eyes could be seen across the whole of the Americas.

The Republican Party also announced a new financial plan for when they take over again, the New Order: Monetary Obligations for National Economic Yield (NO MONEY), to stimulate* the economy. The NO MONEY plan include drastic measures to increase the budget income without too much of a burden on the expenses side. Some of these measures are:

1. A collection box at the White House. A collection box next to the visitor’s comment book at the White House. Heads of State visiting the White House will be asked to make a donation to their favourite White House charity. They can choose from the White House International Treasury Executor: Government Utilities Yield (WHITE GUY), Dick Cheney’s charity the New Objective: Here Everybody’s A Real Terrorist (NO HEART), and Backhanded Independent Gains: Overt Increased Liquidity (BIG OIL).

2. Dick Cheney to be switched off at night to save on electricity. Steal was especially proud of this step as he called it the Republican Party’s “green legacy”. They strengthened their environmental credentials when they mentioned that the Republican Party head office will also be powered by wind power (hot air) from now on and can’t do any environmental damage (or any damage for that matter) while being “switched off”.

3. New drilling concessions to oil companies. Steal announced that new concession will be given to selected oil companies to drill for oil in the Rose Garden at the White House. The first concession was given to a little known company called Go West: Big Utilities for Social Humiliation (GW BUSH). Ownership of the company is unclear at this stage and only list Real Objective Voice Enterprise (ROVE) as the PR (Political Relic) company handling GW BUSH communications. They could not be reached for comments.

4. Refocus on military spending. Military spending will be tightened under a new plan put forward by the “Shadow” Secretary of Defence, Ivino Eyedee. The plan, named National Obligation: Government Earnings And Redistribution (NO GEAR), will focus on the military equipment for soldiers in the field in Iraq. Eyedee denied that troops will not get the equipment needed to protect them and called the measures “a reversed increase in the procurement procedure for the acquiring of protective garments and other miscellaneous products, goods and services”. Journalist were seen working until late in the evening trying to figure out what the hell that meant.

5. Changes in election procedures. Steal, with rare support from the current Democratic powered Congress, announced drastic changes to the election process that will save millions of dollars – if not tens of thousands. Or “lotsa money honey”, as he called it. Steal and Speaker Pelosi released a joint statement that said the “two-pronged approach makes it easier for people to participate directly in the democratic process and bring some much needed cash into the economy”. Journalist were stunned by the clarity of that statement. They could almost understand it.

Firstly, at a Congressional election level, seats will be sold on a lottery basis at $100 dollars a ticket. Anyone can buy a ticket as long as they are an American citizen or if they have loads of cash they can buy a ticket at a premium price of $1 million per ticket. The national draw will be done on the first Sunday of each November – after church services but before Desperate Housewives. This was a compromise between Steal and Pelosi that threatened to derail negotiations.

The second improvement in the election process relates to the Senate elections. Or better stated – ex-elections. There will be no elections. US companies will participate in a bidding process for the right to nominate their own Senator. Steal said the “removal of the middle man will make the whole system much more efficient and open”. The middle man being the American voter. But the public will still be able to show their support for the Senators by buying products with the Senators faces on it. For example, milk cartons will have the face and name of the Senator on it with the slogan, “Have you ever seen your Senator?”. Although in principle only US companies can bid, Saudi Arabian and Chinese companies have been given permission to participate as they already own half of the US.

* Certain Republicans were seen giggling whenever Steal mentioned the word “stimulate”. Apparently some female White House interns were seen rolling their eyes.

Uzbekistan to privatize corruption

The Uzbekistan state department dealing with corruption, the General Regime of Accounting for Fund Transfers (GRAFT), announced today that all government corruption will be privatized. Minister of GRAFT, the Honorable Itaka da Muni, announced the decision at the yearly Banquet for Respected International Buy-off Executives (BRIBE).

Minister Itaka Damani at the announcement

Minister Itaka da Muni at the announcement

Minister Itaka da Muni said it showed the willingness and commitment of the Uzbekistan government to clamp down on uncontrolled and rampant corruption. He continued by saying that, “this is the end of tax-dodging corruption as you know it. We will be able to tax corruption as it should be by organizing corruption into a single department”. A key part of the policy is that all corrupt officials and the public at large will have to register to practice corruption in future. No corruption will be allowed without a government approved licence. Of course, they could take the option of paying GRAFT a bribe to be excluded from the registering process. Minister Da Muni acknowledged that there were still a few wrinkles that needed to be ironed out.

UK crime down sharply

Crime in the UK has dropped sharply over the first few months of the year. Minister of Police, Weir Pafetik (Welsh), said that the government policies introduced at the end of 2008 is starting to show some real results. He said that, “We kept these policies secret, but it proves our hard work is finally showing results”. He unveiled the policy, the highly confidential State Taxes Utilized for Fighting Felonies and Economic Depression (STUFFED), at a ceremony at Downing Street. (Recently renamed Down Street to cut back on letters and highlight the general health of the economy). Minister Pafetik said the policy had loads of stickers on to show how secret and confidential it was. He also acknowledges that he was forced to unveil it after Prime Minister Brown left it on the London Underground while visiting his gran.

The STUFFED policy was based on the very simple principle of supply and demand. Minister Pafetik said that, “We knew that if we can cut the supply off then there will be no demand and therefore no crime”. The supply in this case is the wealth and goods the average citizen owns in the UK. By slowly but surely strangling the economy to death, the government was able to make each and every UK citizen so poor that there was nothing left to steal or kill for.

Prime Minister Brown released a statement saying that this is more proof that his “tax-them-to-death” strategy when he was Treasurer is at last showing results.

The downside of the success of the STUFFED policy is that millions of criminals will now go on state benefits. Prime Minister Brown shrugged when asked about this and said, “We are what our policy says we are”. He refused to explain any further.

Prime Minister Brown did admit to rumors that he is currently considering removing himself as Prime Minister. He said that he is doing it “for the good of the country”. He went further by saying that there will not be a direct replacement as the government is currently considering outsourcing the role of government to either India or China. “The UK just can’t compete anymore and we have to be realistic that we need to make changes to ensure we remain competitive in the world political market.”

Tony Blair could be seen rolling his eyes, but most of Britain did notice as there was footie on the telly and the announcement was done on a Thursday when they are all in the pub anyway.

Zuma in hospital

Just in: President Zuma has been taken to hospital for urgent lip surgery. Presidential spokesperson, Gota Noklu, said that President Zuma developed a serious infection after kissing the asses of both COSATU and the SACP in “such a very short period of time”. Noklu said that it was serious as the President can lose the use of his lips and that the President will not be kissing any more asses until fully healed.

In an unrelated development, there were general celebrations in the streets all over South Africa with slogans such as “Read My Lips – No More Blades” and “From Your Lips To Vavi’s Butt”. Celebrations quiet down when people were told that President Zuma might still be able to lip read and blow kisses.

In a seperate political health update, All Most Health or Care hospital announced that the operations on Zuma and Zille went without a hitch. Known as the ZZ-Top operations, Zuma successfully had a brain implant and Zille a personality transplant. Doctor Ai Kutya, said that it was unfortunate that Marthinus Van Schalkwyk was not as lucky. The recent backbone transplant and morals implant both rejected Van Schalkwyk.

New sports announced for 2012 Olympics

London used the hype created by the less than recent Beijing Olympics to announce the new sports that will be introduced at the 2012 London Olympics. London Olympics for Special Entertainment and Recreation (LOSER) spokesperson, Sir Moannallot, said that “the new sports will show the world the true British contribution to sport and the world. We know that we are the world champions in these sports and we hope to build on our medal success at Beijing 2008”. The new sports include long distance queueing; breakfast swimming in fat, oil and lard; wrestling with bad breath; beach volleyball without a ball but with long socks and a rolled-up newspaper; diving like the influence of a lost colonial power; canoeing the flooded streets in a bowler hat because it always rains; sprint for the dole; and the semi-modern pentathlon to include M25 gridlock dodging gymnastics, hunt the immigrant, and knife fencing with a yob. Some of the events will take place at the Superiority Complex. London did consider bringing cricket and rugby into the Olympics but Sir Moannallot said that “we just couldn’t find any Englishmen who are good enough and we are really sick and tired of losing against the South Africans and Aussies”. Sir Moannallot said that Great Britain is proud to bring their own “unique flavor to the Olympics. This will be as exciting as our cooking”.

Painless circumcision

Scientists today found a new method to bring smiles to the faces of millions of young boys and tears to the eyes of grown men – painless circumcision. Russian researcher Ayi Kutof from the Observatory for Unilateral Circumcisional Health (OUCH) said that he believes that the old method “is just a rip-off”. He said that he can’t take all the credit and a special “thanks for the tip” to prof. Klippion the new method. When asked to go into more detail on what the new method might be, Ayi Kutof said that they are still trying to “cut through the” red tape and “that’s a sore point” but that the new procedure is “cutting edge”.

Nigerian 419 scams surpasses oil income

Nigerian 419 email scams has officially overtaken oil as the single largest export product. Minister for Socio-Political Order and Outside Finances (SPOOF), Taika Kash, said that “it is crucial for the Nigerian economy that we diversify our BOGUS* income streams. We can not rely on oil providing us with the only opportunities to RIP-OFF* foreigners”.

Minister Kash said that the new diversification of exports is part of the Nigerian government strategy to reduce their environmental impact. “Every email scam makes us less dependent on oil from the Niger Delta.” When asked what he meant, Minister Kash responded, “have you ever been to the Niger Delta area?” Minister Kash also announced plans to provide training courses for unemployed Nigerians to start their own small scale scam operations. “We will provide them with the training, computers and internet access to start their own scams”. Ministers Kash’s brother-in-law runs the training operations, but Minister Kash denied that he favored his family or that there is any truth in the rumors that people paid for training but never received any training. He said, “my brother-in-law, Runna Wey, is an honorable man and his business, Lessons for African Universities and National Direct Education in Refocusing International and National Graft (LAUNDERING), is known for the hard work they do all over the world. I just received an email from him telling me how hard he is working and that he requires another advance to complete the curriculum. It just shows how hard he works as he always needs more money”.

*After further investigations and pay-offs it was clarified that BOGUS stood for Buy-Off, Graft and Underhanded Strategies and RIP-OFF for Real International Potential: Overseas Financial Felonies. Both these strategies were identified after Minister Kash answered an email from a dying wife of the ex-President of the African Developmental Bank in Bamako. He apparently paid $500,000 to help the woman transfer $24 million dollars to his account. A letter from his bank informed him of the BOGUS transfers and that it was just a foreign RIP-OFF. But only after he paid the bank clerk for the information. Another transfer of $100,000 for the clerk to redo the transfer is currently in process. The clerk, Ura Sukka, told Minister Kash that the transfer is needed to implement the Bank Alliance Strategy for Transferring Accounts and Reversing Dollar Services (BASTARDS). Minister Kash then received a call from a branch manager, Cilli Naimes, informing him to come and pick him up the check in the Niger Delta area. Without any police involvement. Minister Kash said he hasn’t had the chance to pick up the check yet.

Shocking 20/20 religious expose

A shocking expose of religious groups in the US was done by 20/20. The first expose investigated a break-away Mormon sect in Utah that believed in monogamy. The sect leader, Wan Wyfe, denied allegations that he only had one wife and that he preached religious tolerance, respect for individual right and racial harmony. Wan Wyfe said “I deny that we are some group of happy people living normal lives. This is the type of rumor that gives sects all over the world a good name and we won’t tolerate that.

20/20 also showed a evangelical church where the Minister, Nou Maani, asked his congregation to not give him any money and that he was doing God’s work not for personal gain but because of his belief in God’s word. He denied the allegation when approached by the 20/20 team and said that “I have a responsibility towards my own life and greed and will not stand for the false allegation”. He also denied rumors that he is happily married and that he does not pay for prostitutes. “It is a disgusting rumor and I will not stand for these type of attacks on the evangelical right-wing churches”, he concluded.

In their last story on alleged religious mavericks, 20/20 investigated a radical fundamentalist Muslim cleric, Iluva Busch, who runs a Mosque that preaches love to Americans and all Westerners and who condemns terrorist attacks in any form. Imam Iluva Busch is alleged to have called off all jihads against Christian countries and Israel, and to have preached tolerance and love towards all religions in secret meetings at the Mosque where he teaches. Imam Busch refused to answer any questions, but a spokesperson for Imam Busch, Ilah-Ava Peece, said that the Imam has always been a radical and will not stand for the vicious rumors spread by the Western media. He refuse to respond to photo’s showing Imam Busch swimming in swimming trunks that looks like an Americans flag, having a laugh with woman wearing two-piece bathing costumes on the beach and Imam Iluva Busch reading The Satanic Verses.

20/20 stands by their allegation that “there are some pretty normal people out there in religious circles”.

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Yeah! America… Meet your new President! Barack Obama!

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Meet the new A-Team. Obama and Biden! You go boys! Go kick some butts!

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At last a guy with some brains…

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You’ve come a long way my man… Can I call you boet?

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A very, very long way since you took that swing…

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I am a Happy African today. And how better to express it than by giving you a Madiba smile.

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And let’s not forget Martin Luther King Junior. Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

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Lastly…

FUCK YEAH!

and…

THANK YOU!

__________________________________

(Tomorrow we can go back to normal…)

You think I am going to climb into Sarah Palin? You betcha! Not! I’ll leave Palin with the letter I wrote her. I thought this was going to be all about Palin. But it wasn’t. This was all about Biden.

I haven’t seen much of him because of the love/hate affair the media has had with Palin. Biden has been left behind. But tonight I saw why Obama got him as Vice President. Because Biden is the right person to be Vice President.

He knows what he stands for. It is clear. You don’t have to agree with him. But what you saw was what you get.

He convinced me that Obama is the right guy for the job. Not because Biden said so. But because Biden is the person Obama picked to be his Vice President when (not if) he becomes President. It told me that Obama can see what he needs to help him become a great President. A true “maverick” who will whisper in his ear when he does not agree with him. A person who knows enough about bipartisan politics to create the change that Obama has as his vision.

What do I want from a Vice President?

I want a Vice President that will lead the conversation to justice and fairness. Someone who will vigorously debunk and fight every right wing conventional wisdom on the economy and wars that has trapped the US in the quicksand of stagnation. Who will not only fight like hell to make sure that America is living up to the grand ideals that made America great but also someone who knows what it takes to get there. A fighter who has fought from nothing to get where he/she is today.

I want a Vice President who not only talks about change and being a maverick, but who knows how to make the system in Washington work to create change. A Washington insider who can bring the change we believe in. But an insider who has always been on the outside. Someone who embodies the type of bipartisan and honesty and integrity that is needed in Washington.

I want a Vice President who knows that it isn’t easy to make difficult decisions. That knows it takes guts to fight against a war even when your own son is fighting in the war. Who loves the troops, but not the war. And that sometimes we have to compromise and change ourselves. Someone who knows that we can’t always be right and be willing to change ourselves. And who will do it because his/her country is more important than their own ego.

I want a Vice President who will help inspire people everywhere to be better than what we are today. No matter where they live – from Washington to Warsaw and from Boston to Bamako. Who will challenge each and every one of us to take on the difficult things we have run away from. And someone who will make us believe in hope instead of fear.

I want a Vice President who knows that he/she must represents the people of the United States of America, but must never forget the people of this world. Who will fight for every person to help make the world a better place for all of us. Someone who won’t stop at challenging corporate interests in the US, but everywhere in this world of ours as well. Who will make companies work with and for us. And help those who do and not those who don’t.

I want a Vice President who will make friends before making enemies. Someone who will stop the foreign policy madness of making friends with some dictators and fighting others. Who will make the United States of America a true beacon of hope and not a vehicle of fear. Who will bring hope to everyone no matter where they are by being just and honest. A beacon of light for those who wants to make their own country better.

That’s what I want in a Vice President. And so much more. But you get the idea.

Joe Biden showed me that he is that Vice President. And Obama showed me why he is the right President. Someone who made his first and most important decision as a Presidential nominee the right decision. That Joe Biden should be Vice President. Joe Biden would be a Vice President who would make America proud. And a Vice President who would make America be better than it has been. Joe Biden will make the world proud.

 

Joe, if only I could vote mate…

Some people are arguing that the Vice President isn’t that much of a deal. That it isn’t that important. I beg to differ. The second most powerful person in the US government and you don’t think it is that important? Let me put it another way… Do you want to run your company with a good Chief Executive Officer but a Chief Financial Officer who knows nothing of how finances work? Or a Chief Operating Officer who knows nothing of commerce? Maybe not. If you do… Can you say “sink” baby?

It’s a pretty easy question. Who do you think would be best able to do the job when the President isn’t there?

Or ask yourself… Who do you think would be best able to help the next President do what he promises to do?

And a last one… Who do you want to represent your country (to friends and threats) if the President isn’t available?

Only one answer… Joe Biden.

A bumper addition. Can’t help it. Too much news going around I guess. Lost in Africa. And guess what. I am not touching US politics this week! Okay, maybe just a little…

1. Fighting corruption the Nigerian way

Oh Nigeria… Good old Nigeria decided to fight corruption. At last. Get rid of this plague that has been haunting this beautiful country. But it didn’t go according to plan. This week Nigeria’s anti-corruption police had to sack 11 of its own officials. Why? Because most of them lied about their academic credentials and one for trying to defraud a suspect. Or as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) called it “forgery and other fraudulent acts”.  I can think of another word that also uses a “F” and a “C” that might be a better way to describe the Nigerian anti-corruption efforts. I think these guys used to work as consultants for Jack Abramoff’s and worked as Tom Delay’s special advisers.

2. Parliamentary priviledges the Zimbabwean way

What a big week in Zimbabwe. The newly(ish) elected parliamentarians got to go to parliament for the first time. And it was meant to be a changing of the guards. You know. The MDC won the election. Even after loser Bob “I-Murder-Before-Breakfast” Mugabe tried his best to get his party to win. And it was going to be a big day. They had to vote for the Speaker of Parliament. Guess what Bob “Crazier-Than-Bush” Mugabe did? He arrested opposition politicians as they entered parliament to be sworn in. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF hoped that enough opposition politicians would get arrested so that they (the ZANU-PF) would have enough votes to elect the Speaker. And how sad is this? They still lost the vote. Enough ZANU-PF members voted for the opposition MDC. So the new Speaker is from the MDC. I think that these people were the same people who organized the FEMA response to Katrina.

3. Mugabe is a “…”

We all want to say it. Hell. Some of us have actually said it. But you can’t do that in Zimbabwe. A guy got arrested in Zimbabwe for describing Bob “I-Have-No-Morals” Mugabe as a “female genital organ”. In all fairness, I would do it as well. Chuck the guy in jail. I mean really. It is an insult to… hum… “female genital organs”. Here is the clincher. Guess what was the guy’s name? And I am not joking. His name is Pinas. I think these were the same guys who worked for the main-stream media from 2001 to around 2006 in the US. They got fired and some journalist actually started developing a backbone again.

4. OMG! I just switched you off! LOL!

This one puzzles me a bit. The Kenya Power and Lighting Company has introduced new cutting-edge technology to communicate a very third world thing. They are going to text people to tell them that their electricity will be cut thanks to “supply interruptions” – read, we’re outa juice. Now here is the three things that puzzles me. Firstly, why can’t they introduce some new technology to keep the electricity flowing? You know? Buy some new cables instead of the latest iPhone. Secondly, where the hell do you get the electricity to charge your phone? Do you have a long extension cord to a neighboring country with a steady supply? Lastly, how the hell can you send a text if the electricity is down? You know, everything shuts down. Even the towers sending the signals. But then. Logic shouldn’t be part of it right? I think the guys who worked on this plan were the same guys who works on the US energy efficiency and oil independence policies.

5. A trial leading nowhere

Looks like the ANC is pulling the trusted “good cop, bad cop” treatment on the judges looking into Zuma’s corruption trial. First Blade “Short-Shit” Nzimande climbed into the judges for investigating Zuma. Do remember that Blade has a casual relationship with justice. I mean, as the leader of the Communist Party, he has a very old-school communist way of looking at justice. Then Motlanthe came out defending the judges. Okay, I won’t even try to explain it, but according to party leaders these two positions are not at odds with the party line. No idea how that logic works. I know these guys worked for the Bush administration. Why? Because in a Scooter Libby type move, Blade also said he is not going to rule out the possibility of an arms deal amnesty as a way forward. Hello Scooter.

6. Circumcision not a rip-off

And you thought I was joking! They actually found a new way to do circumcision. But, to quote them, “the question that arose was how the procedure could be rolled out universally. The new method is called the ShangRing. I think it is very unfortunate that this is a Chinese inventor. I don’t think anything to do with circumcision should have the sound of a knife as part of its name – “Shang” (can you hear the ring as the knife cuts through the… hum… you know…). How does it work? I am not going to tell you. But if you know what mulesing is… It is something similar. I like the fact that Dr Marc Goldstein said that “Shang promises to be faster, safer and more acceptable to patients than conventional surgical circumcision methods”. I am sorry. No “Shang” will be more acceptable to the guy getting his willy cut. And how about this one by Dr Howard Kim, “The beauty of this device is its simple, innovative design”. Sorry Dr Kim. The ShangRing is not an iPod or iPhone. It is never going to take off. No pun intended.

There is no foreskin toothfairy

There is no foreskin toothfairy

7. What’s in a name?

It seems as if the Thai people are getting fed up with the corruption that is so rife in their government. And like all good people pissed off, they decided to take to the streets. And they protested and ranted and threw their toys. All for democracy. The People’s Alliance for Democracy has drawn the line and want change now. No more corruption. And that is what democrats everywhere would want – a democratic government free of corruption. And with a name like that it is clear they want new elections. Right? Wrong! They aren’t protesting to get new elections. Nope. They are protesting for a “new coup”! They want the military to take over again. Either the Thais just don’t get this democracy thing or something got seriously lost in translation.

8. Canadians are weird

At last. At last they broke one of the major crime mysteries in Canada. A crime that has Canadians on the edge of their seats. Choking on their blubber because of the audacity of this crime. The Canadian version of Capone. The thief of all thieves. You could lock it but he always found a way. No chains could hold him back. But they got this man who terrorized communities all across Moose country. Free. Free at last. They got him. Him. The bicycle thief. Yes. The bicycle thief. But not just a run-of-the-mill bicycle thief. No. They found over 3,000 bicycles. 3,000 bicycles. What the hell was he going to do with 3,000 bicycles? I don’t know. But then, it is Canada. I think he was planning on starting their version of NASCAR.

Be afraid...

Be afraid...

9. Just don’t answer the phone

You sit there in your lounge and the phone rings. Bloody phone. Interrupting American Idol. And who called? The dreaded telemarketer. So you do what every proud American does at least once a week. You hang up on the idiot who phoned. That’ll teach them. You just sat down and settled in for some more Simon Cowell – to see how high he can pull up his pants this time. And the phone rings again. It’s the telemarketer again. But this time they have a message for you. “If you don’t want to get contacted if somebody wins, then don’t put your name in it.  That was just such a girl thing to do. Wimp,” yelled the telemarketer to poor old Randall Whited. And then slammed the phone down. One mistake though. The telemarketer must have forgotten that this is America. In England you just shake your head and say, “How rude.” And then go back to watch EastEnders. But this is the US. Here you will get your ass sued baby. And that is just what Randall is thinking about. I guess it could have been worse. If Randall was in England he would have been called by a telemarketer in India shouting insults at the British version of curry. And you know you should never touch an Englishman and his curry. Mind you, I don’t think they would have understood each other in any case.

10. When Obama is right…

Remember when McCain and Bush laughed at Obama and his plan to get American troops out of Iraq in 16 months? To get a timetable for the pullout of the troops? Well, it seems as if John “100-Years-In-Iraq” McCain has to eat some major humble pie. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called her bluff just a week after Condoleezza Rice said that America was only in Iraq on the invitation of the Iraqi government. And then the Iraqi government said, “Get the hell out”. And gave them a deadline. Come Condi, you said it yourself. You will leave when you are not wanted anymore. Message clear? Come on McCain? Get the message? You were wrong. And Obama was (and is) right. Now take a cue from the Iraqi pullout deadline and get yourself a pullout deadline. I call it November 2008.

Like I said. A bumper issue! Hope you had fun.

Back from Bucks County. And back with some views on the news. It’s been a weak of news. Backward news. Let’s have a look, shall we?

1. Can’t take my eyes off of you

Poor old man McCain. He just can’t get any attention. It seems as if people, and especially the media, thinks he might be a bit boring. Big yawn. Big surprise. The most exiting thing that happens to him is when the comb-over flaps in the wind or when he puts in his teeth in the morning. Anyway… So McShame decided to show the world, or at least his closet closest friends, how unfair this all is to a senior citizen like himself. And decided to show it in a way that is a bit more hip. You know. To get with this “internets” thingy. Made up a nice clip (two actually) and posted it on YouTube. Showing to the world how unfair the media can be. Nice one. You really showed your age with this one. Or maybe not. My 4-year old won’t even do this. It is way below her standards. She is too grown up for it I guess. But then, she isn’t a Republican politician either. But then he pulled it off the site again! No, it wasn’t the early signs of ADD. Or flip-flopping. I was hoping it was his promise to “fight a good clean fight that will stay on the moral high ground”. Nope, that wasn’t it. He is already playing with the pigs. Remember the Bush man-love hug? Anyway… He pulled it because it was way to popular. And maybe illegal. Yep, the only way he could get any attention was by showing pictures and videos of Obama. Go figure. And then? He had to pull it because one of the songs they used, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, might have a licencing issue… Yep, the more popular the clip the more they have to pay. A bit like oil prices I guess. And now McPain realizes he will have to pay up if he wants to be watched – or at least watch Obama being watched. Hah! Dig a hole for yourself Mac. Come on. Pick the nearest forest and start digging. Or offshore. You might just find enough oil to pay for using that song. Hope it is legal. The song. And the digging. He is going to be really pissed when he hears the European Commission just extended copyright for songs to 95 years. Even he can’t outlive that.

The Obama camps denied reports that they are currently looking at posting two clips of McCain on their YouTube channel. One showing him crying in the rain to “Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd) and another of him throwing a hissy fit to “She Thinks His Name Was John” (Reba McEntire).

I love you so much Big Fella

I love you so much Big Fella

2. McCain knows no shame – dissing the troops

I think that McCain is becoming desperate. Really desperate. He is now willing to shred the last pieces of decency he had. I don’t know if he is losing his mind or whether he lost it months ago already. But the last inch of respect he had is being lost at a rapid pace. Why? Because he is starting to disrespect the troops. It’s fine to throw cheap shots at Obama. That’s politics the Republican way. Cheap. Shots. But playing with the troops is another thing. Using them and abusing them for cheap shots is just… hum… you know… not on. Obama decided not to visit a military hospital in Germany because the Pentagon thought that it might be inappropriate as it might be seen as playing politics. Fair call. So Obama did the right thing. Pull out of the visit. This showed his respect for the troops. Not willing to let them be pulled into politics. Good on you Obama. And then McShame decided to open his stupid mouth again. Calling Obama out for not visiting the troops. He hinted that Obama isn’t showing enough respect for the injured troops. WTF? Are you for real? You want to show some respect for the troops? Shut your mouth when it comes to the military and get the troops out of this stupid war of yours. The troops should be supported. Not your stupid mindless war. You were in the military. But not anymore. It doesn’t give you a free pass when it comes to the lives of Americans. Troops or not. Show some respect.

Oh, and while we are on the war thing. That new ad of yours where you climb into Obama for not being in Iraq often enough. Here is a wake-up call for you. You don’t need to be in Iraq to know that war was the wrong decision. Maybe even illegal. A bad decision based on bad intel. The War on Error. And not one single person who supported that decision to invade is saying they are sorry. No, they are trying to say that it is “working”. Working! Bah! Maybe our definitions of working differ slightly. Working like a bloody band aid on a broken back yes. It was wrong to go into war with Iraq and that doesn’t change no matter how many times you visit.

And Afghanistan? Go read up a bit more. Not only are we losing the War on Terror there, but also the War on Drugs. The poppy’s are blooming. We are losing the war over there because the military is stretched to the extreme. Hope it doesn’t snap. So what do you do? Move the pieces around. Troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan. There is an old South African saying, “Slim vang sy baas.” The bright one catches his master. It means that eventually all you decision will backfire if they are wrong. And you just keep on sticking to those wrong ones baby. So, ¡Ya basta! Stop your whining and start showing some respect for those troops who are fighting your stupid war. Don’t play with them just to try and become President. It’s not on. So get off.

3. Please Mr President, just shut up

Look, it takes a damn lot to make President Bush look sharp and full of wisdom, but President Mbeki isn’t going to give up trying. At least President Bush is doing little to make things worse during the last few days of his reign. No wait. The war is still on, the economy is tanking, he wants to drill for oil no matter what or where, and he is still playing chicken with Iran, North Korea and whoever else said no to the dinner date. Okay… He can do way more damage, but so can Mbeki. Here is a man I used to support and defend. And then he lost me at… hello? Anybody there? First he made a joke of science with his Aids policies. Then he danced on the graves of human rights and logic with his “quiet diplomacy” approach to Mad Uncle Robert Mugabe over there in Zim. Both of these decisions took a special kind of leadership. Special needs more like it. It refined decision-making. Redefined stupidity in leadership. But just when you thought it can’t get any worse… He goes on to say that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should not be prosecuted for war crimes. WTF? (Second one for today.) Come again? The reason? Because it will mess up the peace process. You know, you can’t talk peace with a guy who is in court at the same time. Now hang on in there El Presidente Mbeki. That logic doesn’t work. Say someone breaks into my house and steals everything. Now you are arguing that we can’t charge the guy because it might hinder his rehabilitation. No, no! No, baby, no. You don’t negotiate with someone while they are bus murdering and killing the innocent. You charge them and let justice takes its course. Please President Mbeki. Show some backbone. Stop making President Bush look good. I really don’t need that right now.

4. Not Mama’s Apple Pie

So you are just sitting there having a nice piece of apple pie. As American as can be. Spoiling yourself. At Maccie D’s. And you take a deep bite. You can feel the apple pie squirm against your braces. And then… Wait! I don’t wear braces! What the hell is this piece of metal doing in my apple pie? Screw them. Metal screw in the apple pie. That’s what happened to this poor woman. But that’s not the news. Bad food at McDonald’s? What’s new. No – the real news is further down the article…

“Her nephew had also eaten an apple pie, but there were no foreign objects in his dessert.”

Haha! Come on! You ate an apple pie at Maccie D’s. Of course there were foreign objects in your dessert. It just wasn’t metal.

While we are on the fast food topic. I see The Governator Schwarzenegger banned trans fats in restaurants. Good. Right? One thing has always bugged me about banning trans fats at fast food joints. Do you really think of any health issues when you go buy a donut from Dunkin’ Donuts? Do you stop for a minute and think, “I wonder how many calories in this Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese?” I don’t. I know it is bad. I think everyone knows that eating crap food is bad for you. This trans fat debate is a bit too nanny state to me. Too English. Not American. Eat crap and die.

5. Stop Press! Money to Democrats!

Those slightly crazy right wingers at NewsBusters and American Thinker really got their backs up this week. Because they just “proved” that the media is biased. You see, the media is giving more money to Democrats than to Republicans. And about 235 journalists gave money to the Democrats compared to 20 to Republicans. And who said the media is stupid? It isn’t a lot of money. About $225,000 compared to $16,000. But still. Why are they doing it? NewsBusters and the stupidity gang argues that the media is biased. But even Fox gave to the Democrats and not to the Republicans. So that can’t be right. I mean NewsBusters and American Drinker Thinker adore and pray at the feet of Fox. So what’s the reason then? I have an alternative theory. The media is giving money to the Democrats because they are sick and tired of getting screwed for nothing by Bush and the Repugnants Republicans. They are arguing that if they are going to get screwed they might just pay for the more entertaining lot. And better looking as well. I mean really. You don’t know where those Republicans have been before. Apart from airport toilets that is. Also, you pay for something that is worthwhile. Will you pay to watch a re-run of Gigli or the Adventures of Pluto Nash? You know what the Republicans are all about. Been there and done that. No reason to pay for it and see it again. It was aweful the last time around and you know it won’t be better the next time either. Not when you have the real blockbuster coming right up – the Democrats are the movie for next summer. You don’t know if it will be any good, but you know it will be a damn lot better than the bad show of last years and yesterday. No it isn’t the media being biased. It’s the media deciding that it is better to pay for hope than get screwed for nothing by dope.

___________________________________

See ya’ll later.

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No. I don’t mean the dude with the long hair claiming to be Jesus. You know, the guy on the corner with the placards telling us tomorrow is the day when it all ends. The closest he will ever come to be Jesus is when someone walks past and whispers the word followed by a shake of the head. No, I am talking about this American Presidential election. Who would Jesus vote for?

Also note that I am not talking about God, but specifically Jesus. Very Christian of me isn’t it? But there is a reason. The majority of Americans see themselves as Christian so it makes more sense looking at the election from a Jesus perspective. I won’t go into the 3-in-1 detail. Let’s just assume for a minute we can talk about Jesus from the New Testament. And Protestant to push it a bit further. So we’ll leave it at the Jesus vote.

But we have a few technical difficulties trying to figure out who He would vote for. It’s not as if He has a very visible way of delivering the message. No radio show. No television channel where He talks directly to the nation. No website or blog. Not even a Facebook Group Page. Not a single phone number we can call or a mobile we can text. Nope, we have prayer. But even then… He doesn’t talk directly to us now does He? He doesn’t answer in a big booming voice like in the movies. Nope. The only voices we hear when praying is from the television or, at worse, the voices in our heads.

So we are stuck with a few guys (why always men?) who claim to have a direct line to Him. Yeah… Right… You would think that He would be a bit more direct in His approach instead of selecting a few guys to connect to. Why select them and not me? What the heck did I do wrong? (Okay, don’t answer that.) Isn’t it easier to just talk to all of us instead of selecting a few suspicious guys with weird hairdos? Problem is they all claim that they have the sole line to Him. You know – they are close to Him. Close friends. Almost buddies. If He was here they will play golf together. At least watch the ballgame together, right? But not the others. Problem is there is no way we can really trust these guys now can we?

Me? I generally have a bit of a problem with people delivering a message when they ask for money and/or drive big fancy cars and live in big fancy houses. Don’t like a wise ass who claims to have all the answers. It smells. And especially when they get caught with the hand in the cookie jar or other body parts hanging out with a prostitute. Don’t trust them. Never have and never will. Sorry Hagee, Robertson and gang. You don’t have a line directly to Him. Not even AT&T reaches that far. And you stretch it a bit far with your calls in any case.

But we have another bit of an issue raising its ugly head. Another thing that stops us from knowing where He would put His electronic vote or hanging tag. (Would have been nice to say where He makes His cross, but not with technology today.). Even if it came down to Him He could not have the swing vote. Because he would not be able to vote. You see, Jesus isn’t American. The last time I checked he wasn’t born around here. And I doubt whether He will be able to get citizenship based on current immigration laws. (Open debate whether He would want citizenship in any case. He is a global citizen.) Hey, He’ll have problems just getting into the country. Laws are strict and I doubt whether immigration officials will look to kindly on His application. “Son of God? Yeah, right.”

He wasn’t American. So I guess He wasn’t a Republican or a Democrat either…

But let’s stretch it a bit more and say He could vote or at the very least influence your vote. Who would He vote for? Or rather, who would He want you to vote for?

His answer would most likely be a classic. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Think about it. Why would He care who you vote for? He doesn’t really care that much about who rules you. He cares more about how you rule yourself. Doesn’t He? He made few political statements in the Bible – except for telling us to basically pay our taxes. Yeah, He picked the one thing we hate the most about government – taxes. The rest of the stuff? He was more into you I guess. Sad, but true. He put the bar pretty low.

It makes life a bit more complicated doesn’t it? Telling you to look at yourself and what you think and do. Not to worry too much about what other people are doing. Not what we really wanted to hear. We like moaning and bitching about other people more than looking in the mirror. Come on, help us out here a bit. Who would You vote for? Just this time? Please?

Dead quiet on the other side. Still nothing.

Because, like I said, He doesn’t really care that much about who you vote for. He is more into the personal stuff. What’s in your head. Sad. All of a sudden you have to worry more about who you are than who the other guy might be. But at least you can now vote for whoever you want. Right?

Most likely – how would I know? Trust me, I do not have a direct line. He doesn’t even tell you much about voting. A few basic rules for life and that’s all. You know. Those pesky Ten Commandments. No amendments. No fine print. No “buts” or “ifs”. Just the Big Ten. Don’t have other gods – television and money included. (Remember those taxes…) No idols. Yep, that includes the Pop Idol version I guess. Don’t use His name too often. Or at least out of context. Take it easy on a Sunday. Hope you don’t have to vote on a Sunday. And check the shopping please. The father and mother one is pretty easy. At least at Thanksgiving when everyone gets together… Don’t murder. Even worse when you are Catholic – they use the word kill. So try not to fight too much. Someone might get hurt. Don’t sleep around. Or look too closely at girl next door or the house. Don’t steal. Note – no small print that said you could keep the change when the teller makes a mistake… And don’t spread lies about other people. Short for “stop lying and talking bull about other people – be informed or shut the hell up.”

That should be straight forward. Not all is relevant to an election though now is it? Maybe the stuff like the murdering or killing. Or talking crap. Sorry, I mean lying. But even then – who would Jesus vote for?

No one. He doesn’t care about governments. Or countries for that matter. It’s just you baby.

The election matters. But it doesn’t matter. He won’t ask you who you voted for once you get up there. If you get up there… If there is a there…

Don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Especially not when they say they got it from Him. He doesn’t vote.

Keeping religion and politics apart. Jesus did. Maybe the Founding Fathers were way wiser (and more religious) than we thought…

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Note: First time I am getting a bit close to religion here. Took a while to decide whether to publish it or not. Let’s see the if I am called a religious nut or a nut by the religious! Remember, the world is not black or white… It’s a mirror.

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Well, 4th of July just passed. And the celebrations could be seen all around us. Flags flying, parades everywhere and fireworks to scare the cats – and kids. And it made me wonder – what does it mean to be a patriot?

We were sitting outside having a barbeque. American style. Burgers and all. Pretty American on 4th of July. Just us South Africans and an Aussie friend. Anyway… Our backyard neighbors were having their own party. Big family gathering. Even bigger griller. And meat to feed an army. At least a few divisions. And it went on and on. The crowd kept on growing and the noise kept on rising. We didn’t have a problem with it. They were having fun. Good clean fun. (And we loved the fireworks later in the evening – all courtesy of our partying neighbors.) And then we noticed the balloons.

Big balloons. All in the American colors. Red, white and blue. Stars and stripes everywhere. Almost every chair had a few of them tied to the back. Flying in the wind. This new type of flag. My wife and myself looked at each other and laughed. A very typical thing for us – we know each other way too well already! We said it at almost the same time, “I bet you those balloons were made in China!”

She won the right to blog on the “Made in China” joke. I really can’t say no to her. But it made me think of China. Again. And on the meaning of being proud of your country. Being a patriot.

And no. It wasn’t the “Free Tibet” flags that was made in China that made me think of China. It was my recent chats with a few Chinese in China that made me realize they are very proud of their country. Well, most of them anyway. Wherever I went they told me so. How they love their country and how proud they are of how China is developing. And, of course, the Beijing Olympics. For them the Olympics was about the Chinese people and not the Chinese government. A chance for us to meet China and the Chinese people. For them it was about them and their country. And not their government. I know, the Chinese government really secured the Olympics – not the people. But it still made sense. I know how it felt.

I have always loved my country. And my people. But I wasn’t always that proud of my government. The Apartheid government was not a regime to be proud of. Trust me. They weren’t. But I always loved my country. The mountains, the rivers, everything. And I really loved my people. It was an easy call. I loved my country. I loved my people. And I still saw myself as a patriot. I would defend my country and my people. But not my government. They were corrupt. In every sense of the word. If they asked me to go to war I would say no. If they asked me to vote in their rigged elections I wouldn’t. I would not listen to them and I would not support them in anything. But I would defend my country and my people. In my way. By protesting against the Apartheid regime. By speaking out when ever I got the chance. I would defy them. And challenge them. Because I was a patriot.

Over here in America people are asking the patriotism question. Again. And I am not just talking about Obama. Whether him wearing a flag or not makes him more or less patriotic. Like everyone wears that each day. Go do a Google search on the Mac and see how many times he wears one. Being a vet does not give you a free pass. Or at least I don’t think so. But this isn’t about Obama. Maybe only in an indirect way. The questions about him being American and being a patriot triggered some initial thoughts. But it isn’t about him. No, it’s about people who are claiming to be more patriotic than the next.

Supporting the war. That makes you a patriot. Being against gay marriages. That makes you a patriot. Not criticising President Bush. That makes you a patriot. Saying it is okay to hold people without trail and (maybe) torturing them. That makes you a patriot. Being in favour of subsidies for big oil but against universal health care. That makes you a patriot. Being Republican. Being conservative and against liberals. Listening to Rush and Bill. Watching Fox. Pro-flag. Anti-protests. And so on. And so on. It all makes you a patriot.

Or does it?

Were you a patriot if you supported the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII? Or were you a patriot when you tried to speak out against it? Were you a patriot when you supported segregation? Or were you a patriot when you acted against it? Were you a patriot when you lynched blacks and burned crosses and churches all over? Or were you a patriot when you marched against it? Were you a patriot when you supported a war to get rid of weapons of mass destruction? Or were you a patriot when you protested against a war with little evidence to support the claims of the President? Are you a patriot when you support a war no matter what the reasons? Or are you a patriot when you believe you can support the soldiers and still not agree with the war? Are you a patriot when you say other Americans are not American enough because they do not agree with everything you do or say? Or are you a patriot when you say that being an American means celebrating and loving diversity of all kinds – religion, color, languages, political thoughts, food and even stupid bloody movies?

You decide. I am not here to tell you what patriotism means in America. I can only tell you what it means for me as a South African. It means loving my country. Believing in my people. Caring for those around me. Looking after our land and the animals who live there. And speaking out when my government is unjust. Or just plain wrong. They are not my country. They are not my people. They do not stand for what my country stand for. Or at least not what the majority of us want our country to stand for. They are our government. They come and go. The people, the land and the spirit that make us never die. The meaning of being South African never come and go. It is more than the sum of us. It is that intangible meaning of us.

I am a patriotic South African when I disagree with my government when they are wrong. I am a patriot when I speak out against stupid decisions made by my government. I was a patriot when I protested against the government during Apartheid. I am a patriot when I speak out and protest against my government when I believe they are not being true to what we want our country to stand for – freedom, tolerance, equality and celebrating our diversity. And all the other good stuff.

And don’t confuse the patriotism bit with loving it or being proud of it. I love my children. But I am not proud of them when they do something wrong. I still love them. I still care for them. Deeply and without question. No less than before. But I also know I have to remind them of the rules. Our rules. Rules of respect, love and hard work. It does not make me less of a dad just because they need to know when I am disappointed with them. I tell them. But I also tell them I love them no less. I love them. I care for them. But I can’t always be proud of them. But I can be even more proud of them when they make right what they did wrong. That makes me love them even more. When they hold up their hands and say, “Yeah, I was wrong. Sorry dad.”

But driving a car made in Japan? Wearing clothes made in India? Eating food grown in Mexico? Drinking coffee grown in Ethiopia? Buying gas imported from Saudi Arabia? Reading books written by an Englishman? Watching a French movie? Having balloons made in China?

I don’t know. I like it when I see something made in South Africa. But I don’t buy it just because it is made in South Africa. I buy it (or not) because of many reasons – price, quality, taste, smell, functionality etc. Whatever. I buy it when I can. But I won’t buy a SUV just because it was made in South Africa. I’ll buy the less thirsty car made wherever.

A patriot. What is it? You decide. Because you make it. You build your country with every decision you make. The easy decisions and the difficult ones. They all count. There is no end. You build it every day. America is different from what it was a 100 years ago. Every single day you are still working on it. Keeping the good bits alive. And turning it into something new and making it relevant for society today. No end game. It’s not a game. It a journey. With no end destination. And every step counts. Every person count.

Every American count. Every American equals one brick. And you decide how strong you want this structure called America to be. You place your brick. You make it strong or you make it weak. It isn’t easy. And it has never been easy to build this great nation. It wasn’t easy to fight the British for independence. It wasn’t easy to free the slaves. It wasn’t easy to give women voting rights. It wasn’t easy to fight in WWII. It wasn’t easy to end segregation. It wasn’t easy to pull out of Vietnam. But it was the right thing to do.

Are you a patriot? Just wait before you answer. First ask yourself what does it mean to be a patriot? Define it. Look around and ask if this is what your fellow countrymen mean by it? Do you agree with it? What is your America? Happy you got all the info you need? Good. Now answer it. Are you a patriot?

Just don’t forget to look in the mirror when you answer.

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