Things are not as they seem

I was inspired by Joy of Lamusicjunkie to do a post today. Thanks for that Joy,  Well in. Funny how writers block is murdered so easily and effortlessly. Ive always been a curious one and nothing puts me in a binder more than being so sure of myself then being proven so wrong. It is always a hook that I always bite. I am definitely not alone in this as that kind of story telling seems to be the plot for just about all the movies and series I end up enjoying. Somebody cue Shutter Island,

Film poster for The Usual Suspects
Film poster for The Usual Suspects (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Usual Suspects .  . The attraction to these flicks is simply because I couldn’t predict the end, or rather that my predictions were so far from the truth. Mind F***s are also welcome as was seen on the (tiger on boat thing) So its evident am definitely a story kinda guy. A well told story is the best thing you could gift me.

And then last week happened. I was amongst the folk that was caught with their jaws on the floor as Donald Trump became the 45th President elect of the land of the free, home of the brave. I totally didn’t see it coming and I thought those who were afraid of his win were rather panicky. As he marched from one ridiculous statement to the next even being recorded talking about how he groped women, I didn’t think he stood a chance. but here we are.

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...
speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suppose we deserved it. Those that believed Hillary would win live in a bubble. A bubble that sees the way the world works to be ideal. A bubble that doesn’t exactly struggle to make ends meet. One where the tax increases that hurt are on beer and cigarettes, and only for a little while. This bubble is across the world. I see it in Nairobi all the time. I remember when buying a beer was 120/- and that was considered costly. This is barely 4 years ago. A regular beer now in a regular bar is upwards of 200/-. Ofcourse this can be attributed to the government layering on the sin tax on alcohol. Which is actually fine. What is interesting is that the rate of consumption doesn’t reduce at all with increase in price. Everything else is getting cheaper in terms of capital required to start a business or enterprise but the cost of living keeps increasing.

Its easy to get lost in the bubble and the echo chamber that is social media. You post what we think our friends will like, proceed to get 400 likes and believe this is a true reflection of what its like out there. I think our Presidential Social Media team has fallen for this. And its probably dangerous for all of us. To live in a bubble that thinks next years elections will be won by the incumbent just because they control the state, parliament and Twitter.

Geopolitics is amazing and in another life i will take it up as a study topic as I find it fascinating. Its especially very satisfying to spot a trend and predict outcomes correctly. It is also very educative to be proven so wrong so hard. I will not forget the Trump lesson and its implications locally.

Another prediction that I have had for ages is that the era of global wars is over what with mutually assured destruction being what it is. But when a guy like Putin starts talking like this and guys like Trump win elections. . . well what can I say. I hope I don’t get to eat my own words.

Laughing at the struggling populace

Watching the news over the past year or so has been a generally unpleasant affair with al the antics that politicians and hangers on are up to. Be it murder, infidelity, grand corruption and a slew of depressing stories emanating from hospitals and police cells, there is little to be happy about.

Of all these “breaking news stories” the worst involve supposedly humorous news bits featuring suffering citizens that are painted as ignorant beyond help. Case in point is one Jane Anyango a mother of 6 that lives on the expansive Kano plains to the west of Kenya.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm8t1K8Hr18

Jane has had her house flooded with such regularity every year that as soon as River Nyando bursts its banks Citizen TV immediately seek her out to hear how many chickens she has lost this time and whether she can trace her children.

Her footage asking for the government’s help has become the fodder for humor segments  for the better part of the year. Former President Kibaki regularly dismissed poor people asking for help throwing the request back at them asking them what they would help the govenment with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9X040OiQh4

Coming from the highest office in the land, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that small business owners are treated like a crap heap outside state house. Just avoid it and try push it further down the road for the next government to deal with. Lets not even get started on IDPs who are still in tattered tents while the presidential motorcade could buy more land than is needed.

The despise is evident especially considering government policies and actions that have never been pro-poor. No notable subsidies with former Minister Njeru Githae suggesting that starving guys can easily eat rats. He did not say whether he and his family would be joining the rat fest though.

Its rather baffling where this attitude came from what with our super hyped ubuntu philosophy and what not. Some of it is still intact but I suppose we took to capitalism too hard too fast.  The new tax law recently passed also decided VAT is back on just about everything.

I don’t like it because nobody likes taxes but I don’t necessarily oppose it. My problem is with how my taxes are spent. Ideally the populace should have significant input into deciding how taxes are spent aside from participation of parliament which seems to have degenerated to an insipid club of crass talking overpaid goons and goonettes.

The gap that is going to be increased by this new law between the rich and the poor is only going to be made worse.

We need more cheerful news.

 

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Olympus Has Fallen

I have just finished watching this flick and I could not help but shake my head throughout half this movie.

I will not bore you with details but the basic premise is Jack Bauer being played by Gerard Butler and saving the day with everyone else including the main bad guy being pitifully inept at hand to hand combat though he does let in afew left hooks on our “Starring”

I was more interested in the general story arc and the intention of the movie makers in terms of what emotions they meant to stir in the viewers. After I watched the Matrix and then much later  Inception I began to understand just how powerful movies are in molding the psyche of the target audience. I am a conspiracy theorist at heart and I do not fight it anymore. I smell a well articulated staged scenario that will scare Americans into believing they could easily be victims irregardless of the fact that they are the biggest aggressors on the planet.

Destruction or rather breaching of the white house by a foreign aggressor is like the end of days for American national pride. Thank their heavens they are saved by a tough talking all round bad ass loyalist who beats up everyone in his way.

That the main protagonist is a rogue North Korean is no coincidence and may help to temper the public to being more understanding when Obama decides that the threats by Kim jong have gone too far and ordering a preemptive strike.

There are so many plot holes in the movie that I stopped caring about the logic and just went with it.    It isn’t feasible that anyone would get that close to the white house in a military plane (especially after 9/11) just when a foreign dignitary was visiting. And why are all those secret service guys so incompetent? and does noone have a bazooka to bring down 1 plane?

Its interesting that most US presidents are depicted as such die hard nationalists that would rather die than give up codes but we all know they are politicians first and hardly soldiers.

I give it a meh rating

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Obama in Africa

So Obama just finished his prance across the continent to mixed reviews from the armchair analysts.

In my opinion this was a lackluster trip that has even less oomph because it is obviously a reaction to the Chinese onslaught on Africa with way more agreeable deals.

Many Kenyan pundits were up in arms that not stopping by was rude seeing as his father was Kenyan. I personally don’t think this is even remotely important even to historians. Barrack is as american as 95% of the American population. Authentically ethnic Americans are the Red Indians that were either exterminated or pushed to reservations and allowed to run casinos without paying taxes. I suppose they like this arrangement however much it may sound like a horrible deal to the land loving Africans.

So Obama promised $7bn towards building out Africa’s power capacity. The fact that he came in with hundreds of US investors and the increased activity of the likes of General Electric in the country tells me that most of that money will wind up paying US companies for consultancies and services.

This is expected and that the money is being split between 5 countries over several years says this is not much investment. The US has for the longest time treated Africa as a weird awkward neighbor that is given aid but not really helped. There are few actual American industries that invest in the continent and do stuff like build out roads,hospitals or power plants that are sustainable. Maybe they exist but they are far less conspicuous than the European brands and this is very visible seeing ad they are the wealthiest country on the planet. The “neglect” is conspicuous in light of their willingness to steer geopolitical affairs especially internal country policies.

American power is also amusing if you compare its size to the African continent. All of the US easily fits in the Sahara Desert. That’s it.

We should get off the Obama euphoria and wake up to the fact that he is an employee of the US industrial-military complex and stop viewing him as some sort of Savior.

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Justice & Political Flexibility

Aside from the communal baying for the IEBCs blood over the past week for having the audacity to make Kenyans wait for the conclusion of the elections, another interesting piece of news has slipped by mostly unnoticed.

English: International Criminal Court (ICC) logo
English: International Criminal Court (ICC) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The hearing of the cases against Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura have been postponed to July on the requests of the two suspects.

This has been happening parallel to the ominous statements issued by the United Kingdom and the United States about the consequences of making bad decisions a.k.a voting in the UhuRuto duo.

With the dreaded candidates poised to win, the movements from the two powers will be interesting in the immediate future what with the views that China doesn’t really mind who runs a country so long as they are ready to do business. The paltry bargaining power that the west and Europe are increasingly finding themselves wielding must be disconcerting and may explain why armed responses seem to be the only card they have left.

The relaxation of the terms and conditions of the cases against the suspects emphasizes the fact that legal and economic decisions are not independent from the political situation in the particular time frame. Obamas decisions must be timed and weighted by the mood on the ground in kenya lest the rejection winds up causing more harm than good by way of govt cooperation and having a regional ally.

It is instructive that the US is not a signatory to the rome statute on which the ICC is based so the moral authority to actually make other nations adhere to it is not exactly intact. But what do we expect from the largest exporter of weaponry and by extension war.

My basic premise is that court processes that are meant to be impartial and use the law as their holy text are undetachable from the prevailing political climate.  The ICC being an international independent body should be the least to be concerned by the nuances of a national election in which the suspects are top contenders but we see a very measured approach to how the cases are handled and the media briefings issued by the prosecutor.

This is also illustrated by the happenings in the southern states of the US at the prime of and decline of slavery in the United States of America. It seems preposterous that what is considered the land of the free or the brave just a couple of years ago felt that counting niggers like cattle and considering them to be assets was perfectly legal. This was considered lawful within the context of the political climate and I dare say it was legal as a consequence of the political climate as opposed to existing next to it in a symbiotic relationship.

 

 

 

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