Another week. And another week of weak news. Let’s have a look at some of the highlights.

1. Yoo-hoo, wake up and smell the torture

Sorry to start on such a downer. But let’s get the bad news out the way first. We now know the author of the “torture” memo. John Yoo. No, not John Woo. He makes torture movies – completely different thing. Some of his movies can be used to torture us if we paid the bucks to watch it, but the outcome is generally much less dramatic than the ending… Anyway… John Yoo, author of such brilliant lines that said interrogators could legally use a number of unspecified techniques as long as they did not violate his definition of torture, which was “intense pain or suffering of the kind that is equivalent to the pain that would be associated with serious injury so severe that death, organ failure or permanent damage resulting in a loss of significant body functions will likely result.” Poetry. Isn’t it… Anyway… To torture or not to torture, that is not the question. My two sets of questions to Mr Yoo and to President Bush: (i) Mr Yoo-hoo, so it’s okay to torture in “Gitmo” and not elsewhere? But you didn’t give the opinion on whether it is acceptable to torture in places like Iraq? You assume it isn’t, but you never gave a legal opinion on that. Also, Mr Yoo, leaving your legal counsel aside, do you think it is morally acceptable? Before your answer, isn’t the law our societal way to define what is morally acceptable or not? Mr Yoo, Yoo-hoo, wake up and smell the torture. I hope you like the blood on your hands. My second set of questions – to President Bush. (ii) President Bush, you think this is morally acceptable? I know you think it is legally acceptable, but is it morally acceptable? If not, then what do we do? And the same as what I ask Mr Yoo – should the legal system not reflect what society wants as boundaries of morality? Also, I am sure you did not make a decision to allow torture lightly, but can you explain to me the answer you gave at a G8 meeting in 2004 (transcript) to these questions?

Question: “Mr. President, the Justice Department issued and advisory opinion last year declaring that, as commander in chief, you have the authority to order any kind of interrogation techniques that are necessary to pursue the war on terror. Were you aware of this advisory opinion? Do you agree with it? And did you issue any such authorization at any time?”

President Bush: “The authorization I issued was that anything we did would conform to U.S. law and would be consistent with international treaty obligations. That’s the message I gave our people.”

Question: “Have you seen the memos?”

President Bush: “I can’t remember if I’ve seen the memo or not, but I gave those instructions.”

A decision on whether torture is allowed or not and you didn’t read the memo? A memo that would tell you that you can or can not allow someone to e tortured and you can’t remember if you read it? I am sure that most people would remember if they read a memo that just said that they can torture people. I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Even if you didn’t read the memo – did you know about the content of the memo and what it meant or did you give an order based on a memo you did not read or know the substance of?

Yoo-hoo. Wake up and smell the torture.

2. Law and behold – not

This one makes my head hurt a bit. Mike Jerkoff – sorry, I mean Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security Secretary – is acting slightly insecure by waiving more laws than at any other stage since they started building the fence. 36 of them. Good logic. Let’s break a few laws to keep them. Laws being waived include National Park Service Organic Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Antiquities Act, and the Native American Graves Protection Act. Ouch. Stuff the water, vegetation, graves and wildlife. Just to make it easier to build a fence and keep people off the grass. I know how he feels though. I have so much red tape to go through to keep the bloody neighbour’s dog from sh*tting in my yard. But he reminded us that we should, of course, obey the law at all times. Just not him. But here is the clincher. He also stated that we need to remember that people who are here illegally should comply to the law. Huh? Duh! So, let me get this straight… He is breaking the law to ensure no one is breaking the law and him breaking the law won’t really stop people from breaking the law and he is breaking the law to stop people who have broken the law and we must not break the law he is breaking and we must remember to not break the law if we break the law. I wish we had a law for logic. But I guess that one is broken too…

3. Mac eating his pork

Mac is the man. He is against pork. Oh, yes he is. And he don’t lie mista. He railed against earmarks and “pork barrel projects” on Fox and Friends as “an egregious process.” “It’s symptom of the problems in Washington that people exercise their political clout to get things done that they otherwise wouldn’t,” said McCain. That’s our man – protecting the taxpayers money. Thanks Mac, I might not need that $300 at all if you carry on the way you do. Just wait a stinking minute there Mac. Where did you make the speech again? Cecil Field hey? Is that burning pork chops I smell? Between 2001 and 2005 Cecil Field got almost $10 million dollars in earmarked funds – a pork-proud venue. Hey, you weren’t responsible right? Of course you aren’t. But it is odd that you voted for those Defense Appropriation Conference Reports that contained those earmarks in 2004 and 2005. I just hope that you show a little bit more insight (or foresight) if you become President. The last thing I would want you to do is step into a place and opening your mouth without knowing what is actually going on in that place. Can you say Iraq?

4. Money for the greasemonkey

Not all greenies are goodies. Or bright. Mr Dave Dick-son, sorry David Richardson, got arrested in California for trying to steal used cooking grease from a Burger King restaurant. He got caught while trying to pump it into his tanker truck – caught greasy-handed. Okay, maybe someone should tell the dude that Burger King would be more than happy to give it away for free if you just ask. No wait. They make my Whopper with that stuff – don’t they? But you could ask you know. You never know, they might give it away instead of trying to flush it down the toilet or dump it in the flowerbeds outside Whole Foods. Oh, he should also remember that although cooking grease is a green biodiesel, the future is all algae. But I guess McDonald’s were closed. What? You didn’t think they used real beef did you?

5. Angry African on the Loose makes Top 10 Bloggers List!

Yes, can you believe it. I made it at last! I am now officially one of the Top 10 Bloggers in the world! The world baby! Some of the reviews said, “Angry African on the Loose is the leading voice of the Socialist Conservatives on the web today”, “Angry’s story on the quantum dynamics of Africanism is already a classic, and “Angry African is what every white guy in France wishes he could be”. The International Institute of Anarchists and the Socialist Society of Conservatives both gave good old me the top honor in this years BuggerAll Awards. Yes. I won bugger all – nada, nothing, zilch, zero. But I wish I could do what some guys on Facebook did. Rate themselves! Yes, application builders on Facebook found a new way to ensure they get positive reviews for their applications. They just did it themselves. Pure genius. Or maybe not. The people all came from the same company – Slide. And the “independent users” had names like Adora Slidesix, Adora Slideeight, Adora Slideeleven… Really people. Just let it slide. This isn’t rocket science you know. This isn’t even physical ed. This is what happened to the kids from “Leave no child behind”.

That’s all folks. See ya next week. Maybe.

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It’s been a busy week. Lots of news. Duh. Stating the obvious. Okay, lots of interesting news. So let’s get going.

1. Olympic meat fit for an athlete… on steroids

The US Olympic team don’t just want to eat any meat when competing. Noway, sir. They want prime cut for prime athletes. They want their fresh American meat. Okay, maybe not that fresh. They are flying it to Beijing all the way from the US of A. So it will be stuck in the airport for a little while. Hope they don’t lose the luggage. But yes, the US Olympic team is flying their meat in because, you know, those third world countries like China just doesn’t have the good stuff. BIG steaks. They are scared that the meat might make them ill or something much worse. Might be contaminated. Because one of the caterers said that the chicken in China is full of steroids. Even more than Marion Jones. So full of steroids that the athletes might actually fail a test. Shock, horror. Imagine that. An American athlete failing a drug test. It can’t be. Not an American athlete. So they take some fresh Tyson meat with just in case – to play it safe. Hum, excuse me for just a moment while I choke on my ribs. But you think American meat is safe? How about some steroids in there baby? And growth hormones? Oh. Sorry. You will at least know that the steroids and growth hormones are undetected because of you have the technology behind it to make it untraceable. I get it. It would be like taking steroids from a stranger. I agree. Not good. Or maybe you want to take the American beef because you are scared of getting Asian flu? American beef is full of antibiotics to fight that off right? You think the USDA inspects the meat in the US? Think again. Only after the meat is in the market and then they hope to God that someone blows a whistle because there ain’t no way they will do it. So you better cook those steaks extra well done. But at least you will have an excuse if you get caught with steroids at the Olympics. It must have been the meat it couldn’t have been you, the honorable piece of meat. I mean athlete. At least you balance out your carbon footprint. Flying the meat in might be bad, but you are taking our enough methane gas outlets out the system to offset that. And stop for a minute to think while you take a bite of that meat over there. Think of those other pieces of meat. Those pieces of meat lying dead in the streets in Tibet.

2. Gadgets for Africa                                                                                African gadets

You know I have talked about Africa and innovation many, many times. Here is another example. And some pictures for the first time on my blog! Have a closer look at that picture. On the left is a mobile phone booth! Taking the business to the people. Genius. If we can’t get landlines or afford cellphones – no problem. We will take phones to people. In the streets and in the townships and out there in the veld. And on the right? A small step in solving the plastic bags problem (plastic bags is also known as the national flower of South Africa – you see them everywhere along the roads). So this guy took the plastic bags and made himself a paraglider. We have another lesson here apart from the obvious lesson that Africans are resourceful and innovative. Lesson: don’t think we are stupid and don’t know or want things you have. A paraglider? You would think that the guy has more pressing problems if you look at the background right? Not exactly prime property – but not that bad either. But the point is that we wear Nike’s and we drink Coke and we paraglide. We do things the “Westerners” do because we want to and have our “small things in life” as well. And they are similar so many times it is just not funny. So what’s this got to do with news? Well, AfriGadget just launched their new site and it is full of diamonds. From solar powered gadgets for mobile phones to making wire art. Have a look – it is great.

3. “Problem” solved – just export gays

Yep, the right wingers have come up with a perfect plan to solve the “gay” problem. Export them. Peter Sprigg from the Family Research Council said in his opposition to the Uniting American Families Act that “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.” (Bloody bigot bastard. Sorry. That slipped out.) A society that exports people. Mm, I wonder what that means? Some of the people who did that include Apartheid South Africa, Zimbabwe as we now have it, Rwanda, the Nazi’s and China. All different forms of “exporting” people they don’t like. (Stupid pathetic hatemonger. Sorry. That just slipped out.) But maybe it will address the trade imbalance that the US suffer from. You know. The US imports way too much and get into heavier debt each year. it’s gonna be a tough one to monetize. But hey. Bush managed to start a war from nothing so I won’t be too surprised. And of course, these “Christian” groups will then have enough money to participate in their other favourite hate pastime – war. A whole new meaning to “make war, not love”.

4. The Mac in Iran, I mean Iraq

The Mac is back. Yes, Mr Flip-Flop is taking it to a whole new level. First he had to change his story when Joe “I’ll-sell-my soul-for-DC” Lieberman whispered in his ear that Iran is NOT training Al-Qaeda. So Mac-say-cheese corrected himself and said that he meant extremist and not Al-Qaeda. You know. There are so many of these extremist groups that it is hard to keep up with the Sonny’s and Cher’s. And he decided to leave his “misspoke” out of his “factsheet” of his tour. And now? And now his team back home says that he was actually right the first time. That the Iranians are training both Sonny and Cher since they broke up. Yes. Iran is dancing to the Osama samba. And while you are at it. Why don’t you tell the American listeners the reason why you aren’t at that market you were at last time. You know, when you told the world that it is so safe out there – look. “I am in the market. How bad can it be?” You know why he wasn’t there? Because the US military advisers wouldn’t let him go there this time because it wasn’t safe enough… Not even with 100 troops, 3 helicopters and armored vehicles. Straight talk express my… hum… backside. Huh, Mac? Just stick with(out) the straight-bullsh*t-expressions please.

5. There’s more to those Obama passport stories you know…

You should know it by now. The story of the “state employees” who hacked into Obama’s passport file. They are trying to play as if this is nothing. Just a minor thing that they caught before anything happens. Nothing really. Really? Let’s have a closer look, shall we? You think those two who got fired were state employees hey? Sure sounded like that when the “authorities” talked about it. Let’s hear them say it, “Two State Department employees were fired and a third has been disciplined for improperly accessing Senator Barack Obama’s passport file”, the State Department announced. But they are not state employees. Oh no they are not employed by the state department. They worked for two companies that were contracted to the state department. A bit of a difference there isn’t it? And you think the companies got disciplined? Who knows. The department isn’t willing to let us know who these people or the companies are. Or why the third person was only “disciplined” (what the hell does that mean in any case?) But nothing on what they did to the companies. Maybe Dick ha a hand in that one as well. Halliburton anyone? And were they ever going to tell us about it? They only came out with the news after a journalist raised a question. And then they had to rush out and arrange a press conference. Before they even spoke to Obama. Remember the last time a candidate’s details were looked into? Bill Clinton in 1992. Another Democrat. Do I see a pattern of behaviour here? Oh, wait. There is more. Guess the dates that these people violated Obama’s privacy right? January 9th, February 21st and March 14th. What’s the relevancy? That’s the day after the New Hampshire primary, the day of the Democrat Texas debate and the day the Wright story hit. Mr Stone – you have a movie to make.

That’s all folks. More news out there. But no more views. I mean. No more space. I limit it to 5 or else we will never get out of here! Have a great weekend all. Stay angry. But have fun.

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Jeez. (Maybe this is the wrong reference for this piece, but anyway.) Really. Get over it. I got a “nice” comment saying that my support for Obama is supporting someone who is pro-war, pro-Zionist, and pro-corporate. Get off your high horse. Someone have an opinion that is different from yours and you are on it like white on rice. Let me tell you, mate. Before you start telling people they are anti-this or pro-this. Just take a deep breath and make sure you aren’t doing what you accuse others of doing. Being a bigot yourself. You are playing the politics of Bush here. Yes. Sorry to tell you. You are. You two are like peas in a pot. Smoking pot. BFF. Let me translate for you – as you obviously need a bit of help in getting translation services. Hell (no pun intended), you shouldn’t really ask me – I am not even English. But I’ll give it a shot. You know me – I am always willing to give it a go. Hum, just keep your shot pointed in the other direction thank you.

You are either for us or against us.” Remember those words? Remember? Remember who said that before invading Iraq? Remember! And what did we say then? We said, “Hey buddy, just hang on for a moment. Just because we condemn the terrorist cowardly acts of 9/11 doesn’t mean that we agree with you invading Iraq. And even more important – it doesn’t mean that we supporting the other side either”. We didn’t believe he was right to invade Iraq. But we also didn’t support Sadam and his murderous ways of dealing with “his” people either. Caught between the devil and a damn hot place if you ask me. Bloody hell. Heads you win, tails I lose. And you get to flip the coin as well. We just stood there staring. we knew we got sold snake oil. But we couldn’t believe you and Bush did it while we were awake. Sold us bloody ice in Alaska.

It’s like watching a soccer match between Everton and Manchester United. And someone shouts from the stands, “Hey, you! Who are you supporting?” You know what? I am a Liverpool supporter. I shouldn’t be there in the first place. But there is no way I am going to pick sides. And just hang on for a minute before you say that it isn’t the same as soccer. Let me introduce you to the wise words of Bill Shankly (the greatest football manager to ever walk this earth) – “They say football’s a matter of life and death – but it’s more important than that“. No way am I going to make a choice between the Toffees and the Red Devils. No thanks. I am going to focus on winning the Champions League with Liverpool. Again. The Champions League of peace.

On a more serious note. You have an opinion – and I’ll give you one of mine for free. Don’t try to make my world black and white. It isn’t. I am not for you and I am not against you. I am not anti you and I am not pro you. I am grey. I am from this world. Warts and all. But this isn’t your world, baby. This is our world. Sorry to tell you that. This world is for people. Grey people who just don’t give a damn about your views. But we care a damn about your actions. Because that is where we come in. That is when we suffer.

We might not care about your “pro” or “anti” views. But we have to pick up the pieces after you. You and your “black and white” world. You and your “friends” who view this world as “for me or against me”. Yes you. I am talking to you. We have to clean up after you. Because we are the ones who will have to go to the people who suffer after you kill each other. In the name of “for” or “against”. We don’t give a damn about what you might think of us. And we don’t give a damn what you think of the world. You know why? Because we have to clean up your crap. The crap you leave behind when the “for” fight the “against”.

And in the middle are people who are just trying to make a life for themselves. But they can’t. Because you are “for or against” and you and your friends/enemies force them to chose while facing the barrel of a gun. And you teach the children to hate as well. You make them see the world as black and white. You make them “for or against”. And we have to come in after you and your friends/enemies killed each other and help the people who have been stuck in the middle. The people who get hit by those rockets you and your friends/enemies launch at each other. And they fall on the people going to markets. Going to weddings. Going to funerals. Going to birthday celebrations. Going to worship. Yes. We have to clean up your sh*t when you are done and go back in hiding. I don’t care what you say or what you think. Not while you try and force the world into “for or against”. And most of us just want to pick the “or”.

I have enough sh*t to worry about in this life. How those people who suffer will get through the day. How we can help them survive while you fight your wars with your friends/enemies. And then I have to face my daughters and tell them that this world is okay. That they must have hope and love. That they must not hate or despair. And sorry, buddy. I won’t let you lie to her. I won’t let you do that to her. I have been there and I promise you – it is not a nice place to be. I wish my wife will allow me to swear in this blog, because I want to saw something. What you can do to yourself while I have to cry when I look at my girls and hope and pray they have a good life. A life where they don’t have to face you and your corrupt little mind of back and white.

We in South Africa were on the brink. On the brink of killing each other until no one was left. And somehow we managed to turn it around. We just stopped and looked at each other and said, “This is stupid isn’t it? Killing each other”. But then we had leaders who could see through all the madness. See through the ideologies that was trying to kill our people until no one was left. Thank God for FW and Madiba. Two old wise men who just stopped. They just stopped the madness for a moment. We still have issues. We still have problems. But we can at least see the road ahead.

Here is what I am for. I am for peace – no matter what. I am for the people who suffer because of your hatred – no matter what. I am for love – no matter what. I am for hope for a better world – no matter what. I am for change – no matter what. I am for celebrating our differences – no matter what. I am for us – no matter what. I am for my wife and kids – no matter what. I am for living – no matter what.

Here is what I am against. I am against war – no matter what. I am against people who make war because they know no love – no matter what. I am against hate – no matter what. I am against this world where people are divided by despair – no matter what. I am against things staying the same – no matter what. I am against differences dividing us – no matter what. I am against those who divide us – no matter what. I am against death – no matter what.

No matter what.

So take your “for and against” and your “pro” or “anti” ideological baggage and put it where the sun don’t shine. I made my choice. You made yours. And I ain’t joining. But I’ll come pick up the pieces and bury the dead when you are done. Always have and always will. And Obama will stand next to me. And so will Madiba. And so did Gandhi. And so did Martin Luther King Jr. And so did Biko. Peace to you brother. Peace. I follow their footsteps. We’ll leave a path – follow the footsteps of love and the path of peace. You can follow if you want. But you won’t. Because that is one “pro” you can’t stand. Or can you? I bet you can’t. Hate and war is so much easier. The path of the coward.

Jeez. I promised myself I wasn’t going to get angry. So much for that. I’ll go hug my kids and my wife and remind myself why I get like this. This is their life these people are gambling with. And sorry. I am pro my wife and for my kids. And pro the people of this world who get caught up in the middle.

That’s it.

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Now, before I start let me remind you that my mother committed suicide by the gun. So I hate guns. Really hate guns. I have never seen anything good come from it. All my experiences have been on the wrong side of guns. People being shot in the streets of South Africa – the rock against the gun. Never a fair game. So I am bias. Live with it.

But I was watching a program on television earlier tonight – all about gun control in Massachusetts. They had the usual angle. How easy it is to buy a gun in neighboring states and bring it into Massachusetts. (Damn, still difficult to spell this states name.) How gun control is out of control. How bad guns are. How guns crimes are rising. Blah… blah… heard it all before. The interesting part came when they had two guys on arguing about the gun laws. Now, before I get into that let me remind you about a few things.

Sweet and short. Americans die from guns. And at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world. And more kids die from it here than anywhere else in the world. The rate of firearm death among kids under the age of 15 is almost 12 times higher than in 25 industrialized countries combined. American children are more at risk from firearms than children in any other industrialized nation. In one year, firearms killed no children in Japan, 19 in Great Britain, 57 in Germany, 109 in France, 153 in Canada, and 5,285 in the United States. So the guns are killing the kids. Okay, the people holding the gun kill kids – then we have to do something about those people with guns I guess.

But it isn’t just an American problem. The USA’s 220 millions guns account for almost 1/3 of all the guns in the world. (What? That’s almost a gun per person – including kids. You guys are trigger/gun happy aren’t you?) American guns don’t just kill Americans – they fuel the illegal gun trade and gun violence world-wide. At least half of the illegal handguns recovered in Canada and 80% of crime guns in Mexico originate from the US. And who said America doesn’t export anything anymore. And why all the moaning and bitching about illegal immigrants when your illegal guns force them here because of all the killing back home? They just don’t know that they can’t run from the gun in Mexico because there are more waiting in the US.

I can go on and on. How guns are bought by terrorist at gun shows – remember Ali Boumelhem? How 1% of gun stores sell the guns used in 57% of crimes. How gun theft is more likely in states that don’t require strong gun storage. How only 2% of federal gun crimes are prosecuted. How the US have a history of gun “incidents” at colleges and universities. Yes. Guns are a problem over here. Anyone who denies this is an idiot. But what solution? Back to my rant for that – that wasn’t it.

This guy from the Gun Owners Action League (more like gun action if you ask me) said that the problem is that gun laws don’t work. Duh. Of course they don’t. Not when most of them are not applied or when the feds don’t prosecute. So what is the answer? The other guy from the Stop Handgun Violence (who is a gun owner himself) believes that a national law is needed. It is just too easy for someone to buy a gun illegally in another state and commit the crime here. Massachusetts might have one of the strongest gun control laws and the second lowest gun crime figure in the US (only Hawaii is better), but we still have a problem. He wants a national law to ensure that private owners still need to do a background check on people who want to buy guns. Yes. All you have to do to buy a gun without any checks is buy it from a private guy – try the dealer on the corner as he should be a private seller.

Makes sense. It won’t stop gun crimes, but it will make it a bit more difficult to sell and buy. At least Ali would have had a more difficult time buying his guns…

And what do you think the guy from the Owners League for Gun Action had to say? Sorry, meant the Gun Owners Action League… He said that all it proves is that the gun laws don’t work. And what is needed is no gun laws at all. Because if they don’t work we should have nothing at all. WTF? Is this guy for real? The law doesn’t stop people from breaking it so we should just get rid of it. Not strengthen it, just get rid of it. Not try something new. No. Just get rid of it. Okay let’s take that to its natural conclusion. Let’s get rid of the laws that doesn’t stop people from breaking them.

Firstly, let’s just get rid of all those bloody parking rules. No more money in the meter. No more fines as we won’t be breaking the laws anymore. Actually, sarcasm doesn’t work here. That’s a pretty good idea. Let’s try something else.

Let’s stick with cars for a bit though. Let’s get rid of all laws stopping us from speeding. Or driving like maniacs. And when we crash – let’s not have any laws that can find us guilty of anything. Why? Because we do find people speeding every single day. We have people driving like idiots. So the law doesn’t work. And according to the People for some Gun Action we should get rid of laws that doesn’t prevent people from breaking that law. Idiots.

Even better. Why not drop the laws that “prevent” people from stealing? People steal don’t they? So the law doesn’t stop people from breaking it – drop the law. Hum, will that stop stealing you thinkg? Idiots.

Or even killing people. People still kill. So obviously the laws that tells people not to kill doesn’t work. Just drop it then if it doesn’t work. Well, it seems to be okay for the Idiots for more Gun Action. Idiots.

And we can go on and on. The argument just doesn’t work buddy. Next up will be the law that should prevent people from flying airplanes into buildings… Idiots. Both of you.

Laws are there to try and put the guidelines there for the average law abiding person. The framework of how we more or less want to organize ourselves before chaos hits. You know – some social meaning to how we want to live in peace and harmony with each other. At least most of the time in any case. To keep the wackos in check. And make it difficult for those who want to break it. People will break laws. We must just make it more difficult for them to do so. And a strong national law will do that. Jeez, these people are allowed to have guns? Really… My kid makes more sense when telling me the latest Spongebob story. And she is 4. And she at least tries to be funny. Now – how to deal with idiots. Go back to get some Gun Action for Dummies – just don’t shoot yourself in the foot again.

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Barack Obama. It gets people talking. Just mentioning his name creates debate. But we know where I stand. I know he is the right person at the right time for the right job. But the debate will continue on whether he is the right person and whether he as the experience and whether he is who he says he is. But let’s bring it back to basics. Let’s remind ourselves what this is all about. And to Barack – never ever forget what this is all about.

1. It’s about race

Don’t let anyone tell you that this is not about race. That America has moved beyond race. This is all about race. But for all the right reasons. Let’s never forget Harold Ford Jr. He was one of the first guys I looked at and thought – wow, this guy could be it. But Tennessee decided no.  But this time America has the opportunity to show the world, and itself, that it has moved beyond race. It doesn’t matter – and it shouldn’t matter. It should send the message to people like greyrooster99@bellsouth.net who emailed me a few times after my last piece on Obama and wrote in his last email: “You’re a f*cking traitor and should be hung from the nearest tree. Drop dead you sorry piece of sh*t.” Obama is America’s chance to tell the world that people like that is not part of the American psyche. Obama – never forget this. People will look at you a bit more closely than the usual. But that is okay. We want people to pay close attention. Because you will show them what an American President should be about. Race counts. But by the time you are done as President – it won’t. You have the opportunity to be remembered as one of the greatest Americans Presidents. And not the first African American President. We don’t want you to be remembered for that – because that is who you are. Redefining race in the race to become the next great American President.

2. It’s about the future

Everyone else reminds us of the past. Mac is essentially a good guy. But he is about the past. The difficult times of the past. The past where he became a hero in a war many people didn’t want. He stands for many of the things that are good about America. But that is the good things of the past. And he reminds us that he lost against a man that reflected an America of the past – an America at constant war. Cold War or real war – it doesn’t matter. It is a past that is over. America can redefine the world. But does it want to redefine the world at war? Or a world of peace and prosperity? And Hillary reminds us of a more recent past. A past where Presidents divided people. President Bill Clinton was loved by many, but he also brought out the worst in the conservative and right-wing politics we still suffer from today. Hillary will be a reminder of that past. A past where the American people remain divided between Democrats and Republicans – and every ugly bit that goes with that. What America needs is a future it can look forward to. A future of hope and a future of change. A future where Americans can be what they are – a powerful nation united for the good of the world. Obama – never forget that you must redefine the future. Take America to a better place and a better future all Americans can be proud of again. 

3. It’s about America

Yes, this election is about America. It is about the heart and soul of America. It is about a President that can be an American President. And not a Democratic or Republican President. And not a President of the few. And not a President of the corporate world. And not a President of the rich and privileged. And not a President of horseless cowboys and fake toughness. No. America deserves better. America deserves a President for all of America. An American President. Elected by the people and for the people. Obama – never, ever turn your back on the people. America needs you. Needs you to make them proud of their President again. Fight the vested interest each and every day – and in every corner. Americans love a good fight. Americans will always be behind you as long as they know you are fighting for them and not fighting for a corporate or party interest. America deserves better. America deserves an American President.

4. It’s about the world

But it is not only about America. It is also about the world. We, the world, need a strong America. But we need that strong America to be on our side. On the side of justice and peace. Not an America that divides the world and who leads the world into war. The world hasn’t been this divided since the Cold War. America must be better than that. It must be – that is the burden of leadership. It must be better than the radicals of the left and the radicals of the right. It must be better than the radicals of religion and the radicals of terrorism. That is what the world expects – an America that can point us in the direction of peace and prosperity. An America that can rise above the challenges thrown at us day in and day out. An America that can be the beacon of hope in a world divided. People across the world respect and love what Americans stand for. But we don’t know how to feel about what America stands for today. We know that Bush is not America. But we also want to know what America means to the world and what the world means to America. The world needs America to be on the side of the plain and simple people. We can’t survive the wars you make against the extremist of the world. But we can’t survive without a just and friendly America either. Obama – never forget that America needs to take its rightful place in this world. We expect it and America needs it.

5. It’s about you and me

This is the Last Chance Saloon. People are giving up on democracy. It is a joke in Russia. It is a joke in Zimbabwe. It is a joke in Iraq. And it has been a joke in America since 2001. People are losing hope. Losing hope that good people will run our world again. Because everywhere they go they see lies and more lies. It would have been called propaganda if it wasn’t for the facade of democracy. People like myself look at the world and hope and pray we can have another Mandela. Another Kennedy. Another Ghandi. Another world leader to be proud of. Another world leader that can give us hope of a better world. But more importantly – a better us. Obama – this election is about you and me. I put my trust in you. I am a cynic. I don’t think the world will get better. I just do what I do to make sure it doesn’t get too much worse. It feels like we are treading water. Not actually drowning. But not moving. We know that we will tire and eventually die fighting the waves of injustice, hunger, illness, poverty and war – all the worse things we face each day in this little globe of ours. Yes. I am a cynical and angry African. Angry because the world is not as complex as they would like us to believe. Angry because the problems we face are not that difficult to solve. Not if we all stand together and follow a leader we can believe will give it a good shot. Angry because our leaders laugh at us behind our backs. Yes. I am a cynical man. But I believe in you. I believe you are the man you say you are. But this is the last time I will do this. You will be the man and President we want you to be. You owe this to us. You owe this to me. You owe me the same belief in yourself that I have. You owe me another chance to believe in our leaders. You owe yourself a chance to be the leader I believe in. Obama – never forget that this is about you and me. My belief in you as the last chance for our political leaders to make me believe in them again. Don’t disappoint me. I don’t think I have it in me to believe in another one again. It’s you and me, Obama.

I know that this is a heavy burden to carry. The burden of hope. Hope of a better world. Hope of a better America. Hope of a better President undefined by race. Hope of a better future. My hope in you. But I know you have it in you. Stand strong and we will stand with you. We are the voices you hear when it goes quiet. We are the faces you see when the lights go out at night. We are you. Be strong. Be us. Be with us. Don’t ever forget the burden of hope. Our hope.

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The damn electricity keeps on shutting off in Lusaka. This country exports electricity to South Africa. But they can’t even keep their own grid up. And that is a problem for a charity who operates only on the Internet – we depend on electricity to keep us up and running.

I was in Lusaka to work with the charity OneWorld.net. OneWorld.net provides an internet platform to get the activist news out to the world. It has offices and feeds from around the globe. And their African office is in Lusaka, Zambia. And it is not always easy to stay up and running or get the stories out.

One of the more amazing partners is of a guy from the Democratic Republic of Congo who used to get out stories of what was happening while the civil war was going on. The government, or whoever controlled the area at the time, shut down all communications. But he knew it was important to get all the stories out to the world. Each night he would slip over the border and go to a neighbouring village to hook up and post the latest story. He took his life in his own hands as the border was a no-go area. They would kill him on the spot if they ever found him. But he managed to do it each and every day. Never got caught, but had a few close calls. And he never got paid a cent for doing any of it. He was just committed to justice and his people.

So we all got together in Lusaka to discuss and plan on how we get these stories out and support all the people in the field who post these stories. But it wasn’t easy. The electricity shut down at least 3-5 times a day. And the phones went down when the electricity went down. No connection to the outside world during those ‘dark’ times. And we had to post, post, post whenever we had the lucky break of having electricity.

I got a call from my wife at mid-afternoon. The line was bad. Mobile phones hardly worked and landlines were patchy. She said something about New York and an attack by terrorist. But the line was really bad and I couldn’t make out everything she was saying. I looked at the others and told them what she said. They just shrugged and carried on what they were doing. My wife sounded odd, but I took that as just her having an off day. I said goodbye and turned to the other asking what they thought of that. We all thought it must be some other attack on a building in NY and nothing much to do with us. Most likely a minor story of a radical right-wing American trying to blow up a government building again. And so we carried on doing what we were doing.

We stopped working early evening and planned to get together later for a few beers and something to eat – in that order. I went to the guesthouse I stayed to clean up. I got to my room and flicked on the TV without looking at it. It was news and nothing new ever happens in our little world today. Nothing that I had to worry about in any case. I got a cold beer and sat outside on the stoep (veranda) and had a few cigarettes while sipping away on my beer. Just sitting and enjoying the beauty of early evening. And amazing African sunset and people’s voices everywhere. The highlight of my day when I was at my happiest to be in Africa. You could feel the life and vibrancy of Africa at that time of the day. People coming from work and getting together for a few beers. Loud voices as they talk about soccer and all the good things in life. Coming back from their daily commutes and laughing about how good life can be. People didn’t watch much TV until much later – if at all.

I went back in to wash my face and hands to get ready for the night out. I walked back into the room and looked at the TV. It seemed as if it was another one of the imported American movies with things blowing up and destruction everywhere. I thought I had it on CNN…

So I switch the channel over to CNN. And it stayed on the channel it was on before. I stared at the TV trying to make sense of it. What was CNN showing? And slowly it started hitting home. The information was coming through slowly. Everything was happening in slow motion. Things were coming at me, but at a pace I still couldn’t handle. The pieces of information just hit me one after the other. Like a boxer being hit one shot after the other. I was punch drunk. It was information overload. Too much information. It couldn’t register to make sense. I shook my head to try and clear it up. Bu it still didn’t make any sense. I was lost in another world. This wasn’t my world. I closed my eyes and slowly opened it again. Hoping to wake up. But it wasn’t a dream. It was something else. It was as if my life was changing before my eyes. And I couldn’t control or even comprehend what it was. What is this? What is this? Then everything sped up and hit me like a ton of bricks. I sat down on the edge of the bed and just stared at the tv. And just kept on staring. And staring. What the fuck is going on in our world?

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