Andrew Young... What the hell

It is a long primary session for political junkies like yours truly. When you think it can’t get any worse, out pops out another Clinton weasel. The culprit this time is Andy young…the African dictator’s best friend.

He went on Newsmakers Live …maybe at the behest of the Clintons to say some stupid stuff about the viability of the Obama candidacy. Here are some money quotes:

“It’s not a matter of being inexperienced. It’s a matter of being young,” said Young, who is 75. “There’s a certain level of maturity ... you’ve got to learn to take a certain amount of (expletive).”

“There are more black people that Bill and Hillary lean on,” Young said. “You cannot be president alone. ... To put a brother in there by himself is to set him up for crucifixion. His time will come and the world will be ready for a visionary leadership.”…AJC

Well someone should have told Andy Young that Barack will be as old as Bill Clinton when he (Clinton) took office. Kennedy was 43years when he took office as well. Dr. Martin Luther King died when he was 39 years old — and he wrote his famous letters from Birmingham Jail when he was just past 30. In fact, Mr. Young should go and read the portion of that letter where Dr. King argues against those sympathetic white ministers who kept on telling civil rights activists to “wait” until times were more favorable for protest, and Dr. King said, well, that would mean waiting FOREVER. Now, over three decades later, and Mr. Young is telling a black man to “wait.” Oh Please.

However, young wasn’t done with his Clinton worship as he went on to say some more absurd bullshit such as:

Young also quipped that “Bill is every bit as black as Barack.”

You’ve got to be demented or the Clintons have something on you to say something like that. I have a feeling that this whole interview is setup to trick misinformed black voters to vote for a Clinton dynasty.

With regards to the old joke that Bill Clinton is the first black president, and the new nonsense spouted by Young that “Bill is every bit as black as Barack.”, I will give the floor to Kevin Alexander Gray. He made the following comment in a counterpunch article in 2002:

Back in 1998 during the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, writer Toni Morrison said, "black skin notwithstanding: this is our first black President" citing his dysfunctional upbringing as commonality with black males. But the joke's an insult. The punchline is that Clinton is decadent and promiscuous, got rhythm, got caught and got over -- so he's black!

In fact, during the 8 years Clinton was in office, the incarceration rates of blacks surpassed the egregious Reagan era.

Although Clinton has since attempted to change the past through his actions post-presidency, during his reign he continued to support mandatory minimum sentencing, flawed "3 strikes" laws, and did nothing to change the disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine which disproportionately affects African Americans.

These efforts in turn put more black men behind bars than ever before creating a new generation of felons courtesy of our defective war on drugs

But that is the dynasty Andy Young wants back in office as long as his palm keeps getting greased.

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Fatou Jaw Manneh....Justice delayed...

So another Judge decided to wash her hands off the abomination that is the trial of Fatou Jaw Manneh. Ever since her arrest and detention and the subsequent proffering of seditious charges against her, three magistrates and now a judge have decided that they don’t want to touch the case with a ten foot pole. They kept transferring her from one courtroom to another without any adjudication...

If there is a victim in this case besides the accused, it is the rule of law in the Gambia. It makes no sense from a legal standpoint whether the accuse is innocent or guilty to keep transferring her case from one magistrate court to another as if they operate in separate sovereign entities. However it tells us something about the character of the men and women who are entrusted with adjudicating and upholding the rule of law in the Gambia. They are scared of their own shadows due to the authoritarian climate under which they ply their trade. Instead of standing to uphold their oath of impartiality, they keep passing the buck.

Suppose, for the sake of argument that Fatou Jaw is guilty of insulting the president. What harm has it done to the image of the man that is worse than the one he inflicted upon himself with the witch doctor masquerade he has been putting up lately?

Now suppose that she is innocent (I subscribe to this notion). Isn’t it unconscionable to have this damning charge hanging over her head for a year while scared straight judges bounce the case from one another like a ping pong ball.

The Gambian constitution includes a right to a speedy trial. This provision is supposed to keep people from being jerked around by unscrupulous and vindictive prosecutors who cannot prove that they have committed any crime. Prosecutors have to put up or shut up. In this case unfortunately, it is not only prosecutorial malfeasance, but the bench is acting cowardly as well.

You couldn’t find a better case that fits the old cliché that justice delayed is justice denied.

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Et tu Jesse...

Two days ago Barack Obama made the following comment in a New Hampshire gym:

Obama, speaking to a racially mixed audience of about 500 people at a local high school, conceded some progress had been made on racial issues -- but not enough.
"On every measure, on income, on health care, on incarceration rates, on the criminal justice system, on housing, on life expectancy, on infant mortality, on almost every single indicator, there is still an enormous gap between black and white," the senator from Illinois said.
Obama said urban areas and minority communities often suffer first when problems spread across the nation. "There's an old saying that when America gets a cold, black America gets pneumonia," he said.
if you are black that comment should assure you that the candidate cares about issues that affect our community. That is until you read an Oped penned by that doyenne of the civil rights movement...Jesse Jackson. Here is the money quote from his Oped in the Chicago Suntimes:
Can Democrats get the votes they need simply because they're not Republicans? You might think so in this presidential campaign. African-American and urban votes are critical to any Democratic victory. Bill Clinton won two terms without winning the most white votes. His margin was the overwhelming support of black voters. George Bush learned that lesson; that's why his campaigns spent so much effort suppressing the black vote in key states like Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. His victory margin was the tally of votes suppressed or uncounted.
Yet the Democratic candidates -- with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans' Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign -- have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country.

Jesse is equating poverty with been African American. That is true if you accept the politically correct assumption that all black people are poor (despite all the demographic evidence to the contrary), but nothing could be further from the truth. Most black folk are not consumed with soul-crushing poverty. Granted there are hundreds of thousands of poor black people, but the scourge of poverty doesn't spare any race in this country.

In fact, the great majority of us (African Americans) are doing alright and quite a few (Jesse included) are doing very well. Most of us have the exact same middle class concerns as everyone else, with the added issue of dealing with racism.

Barack, in the speech I quoted above touched on all the salient issues affecting our people in this united states, but Jesse singled out John Edwards for been the only candidate that care enough. Jesse Jackson and his generation has done a lot for civil rights in this country. They've shed blood, sweat and tears to make America what it is. However Obama is running for president of the United States. He can't afford the “angry black guy” moniker. He is talking about the issues and his record in the Illinois senate is a testament to his commitment to issues affecting black folk in this nation.

The peculiar thing about all of these is that Jackson has already endorse Obama for president. Could this be sour grapes? I dunno... but the notion that Edwards is the only one talking about poverty issues doesn't pass the smell test...all I can say is Et tu Jesse.

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Dark Continent...digitally dark

I hate that term: "Dark Continent", but Africa at night do look dark compared to other parts of the world. Click here to see what the other parts of the planet looks like at night. Most of the continent of Africa (except for south Africa) is dark literally.

A serious consequence of this electricity problem is the non-existence of an internet culture in Africa as chronicled in a new United Nations report. Here is the money quote:

“in Africa, ICT has barely taken a foothold. Computer illiteracy and the lack of access to ICT are widely recognized as an increasingly powerful obstacle to the economic, civic, and political development of Africa.” And Africa Recovery notes that in Africa “For most people even making a telephone call is still a remote possibility in an era when most of the world is now communicating almost instantly across cities, regions and the globe using wireless and satellite technologies to send high-speed electronic messages.”

Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade has this to say about the dilemma facing Africa .

“The digital gap brings with it a danger of isolating certain peoples, those in Africa in particular.”

Africans after decades of independence are still lacking behind in all human growth indexes compiled. And what are the leaders doing about it except for the lamentations made by the likes of monsieur Wade. Asia and Africa had comparable economic outlooks at the dawn of their independence. In fact sub Saharan Africa...with it's natural resources was primed for inevitable economic growth while Asia seemed an economic backwater with no promise in the immediate aftermath of colonialism.

Today, the roles have reversed. Sub-Saharan Africa is the economic backwater while Asia is setting the pace for economic development. The four Asian Tigers: Hong Kong , Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan set the pace. Now their bigger cousins in China and India have risen up to the challenge ....putting their ingenuity to the test while some African leaders play witch doctor.

The next generation of African children are been left behind digitally while the kleptomaniacs ruling over them play God. And Africa remain the "dark continent"...figuratively and now digitally.

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Peter Who?

I was talking to a friend the other day about the firing of Edward Singhateh and the repercussions or lack thereof it could have on the security and long term stability of Yahya's government. My friend was of the opinion that the Singhateh brothers ( Edward and Peter) wouldn't let Yahya humiliate them like he does with the other ministers and functionaries he fires on what seems like a daily basis.

I had a good laugh at this assumption. What my friend failed to understand is that Yahya Jammeh is not a two bit dictator any more, but a full fledge one. He has gradually strengthen his grip on the security infrastructure over the years, with his cronies manning every facet of the elaborate and brutal system. Peter might be second in command in the army, but he has no power...zilch, zero. Yahya has essentially marginalized Edward when he kept demoting him from the vice chairman to defense and then forestry. Let that last point sink in for a minute. From the number two honcho to Forestry and fisheries...Jesus Christ. If Edward has any following in the army, he would have had Yahya by the cojones now. What? with all these stories floating around about how brutal that Edward fellow is...you think he will be taking such a humiliation on the cheek without lashing out? I don't think so.

Now comes the story that Yahya has discharge Peter from the army while he (Peter) is out of the country on a one year training course. Cunning ... wouldn't you say? Fire him while he is caught off from what little following he may have in the army. I won't be surprise if in the next few days some soldiers are rounded up and accuse of a coup. The house cleaning has just begun.

Here is the Gambia Journal's story on the discharge of Peter and the firing of kebba Sanyang...the later was recently moved from justice to works and now he is unemployed:

In a move that surprised few, President Jammeh has relieved Lt. Peter Singhateh, brother of the former Secretary of State for the Forest and Environment Edward Singhateh, of his commanding position in the army also discharged from the Gambian National Army. Peter Singhateh was the Deputy Commander of the Defense Staff. The Gambia Journal has learnt that Peter Singhateh left the country only a week for a-one year training in an unnamed foreign country. ...the Gambiajournal

The GambiaEcho is reporting the same development here


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Has Edward been arrested?

The Gambia Journal citing unconfirmed sources is reporting the arrest and detention of Edward Singhateh:

Another unconfirmed report say the recently dismissed Secretary of State for Forestry and the Environment, Mr. Edward Singhateh has been arrested and detained. The yet to be confirmed report did not say when and why Mr. Singhateh was arrested. He was the only remaining one of the three men who together formed the post-coup military junta that ruled The Gambia between 1994 to 1996...



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Edward Singhateh fired?

According to Ebrima Sankareh of the Gambia echo, Edward Singhateh has been relieved of his Fisheries ministry and replaced by his permanent secretary Kotu Cham...a career civil servant. Here is a snippet of what he wrote:

According to unassailable sources from State House, the most powerful man in Yahya Jammeh’s government, 39 year old Edward David Singhateh, a callous man masked in a fake image who has killed more Gambians than any other person has been sacked. His Permanent Secretary, Mr. Kotu Cham of Sanchaba Sulay Jobe village is the new Secretary of State for Forestry and the Environment.... Gambia echo
There is no independent confirmation of this story. So take it for what it is ...

Update

The Gambia journal is reporting this development as well. Here is the link.

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Cabinet Reshuffle

The Point newspaper is reporting that Yahya Jammeh is reshuffling his cabinet. This is a developing story ...

The Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh will today, September 14th, name a new cabinet, a report monitored over GRTS yesterday announced. According to the announcement, President Jammeh, acting on relevant provisions of the Gambian Constitution, yesterday effected a cabinet reshuffle.

Meanwhile Mr. Kebba Sanyang, who hitherto served as Attorney- General and Secretary of state for Justice, has been reassigned to the Department of State for Works, Construction and Infrastructure as the Secretary of State of that Department. Mrs. Marie Saine Firdaus, Technical Adviser Office of the President, has been appointed as Anthony-General and Secretary of State for Justice.

The rest of the Cabinet is expected to be announced today.... The Point


Update:

Omar Faye and Bala Jahumpa are out of the Jammeh cabinet. The former replaced by Mass Axi Gaye and the later by Crispin Grey Johnson. Mr abdoulai Sallah formerly of Health has been brought back to replace Grey Johnson at the Higher education portfolio, while Ousman Jammeh is entrusted with the newly created petroleum ministry. Petroleum hmmm...

All other secretaries of state remain intact. Bala jalumpa and Omar Faye will be assign diplomatic duties.

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Holier than thou

So professor Ba Banutu Gomez had enough of the US of A. He decided to pack his bags, return back to the Gambia and invest his savings into a business college. Ain't nothing wrong with that if you ask me. What gets under my skin though is the tendency of African intellectuals returning home and all of a sudden converting to the religion of sycophancy to fit in the system. It usually start with subtle statements like this one that Gomez is reported as saying in the point newspaper:

Professor Ba Banutu-Gomez, the proprietor of the newly built Bantu Business College, has called on all Gambians outside The Gambia to stop focusing on politics, and instead focus on developing the country regardless of any political ideology one may have, adding that if the country is the centre of our hearts and thinking, we can work together even though we may have different political ideologies.

The good professor is smart enough to know that is hogwash. If the politics is dictatorial and authoritarian, development ain't gonna happen. But that is not important to him at this moment. He has a plan and an investment, the success of his venture depends on the goodwill of the political masters. So he wouldn't want to do anything to raise their ire. That is smart business for him, but to tell the rest of us to stop focusing on politics is disingenuous on his part as well. Development doesn't happen in a vacuum. Sustainable development needs a stable political environment to incubate and flourish. That is what loud mouths like yours truly yearn for and Mr. Gomez knew this all along. The Gambia no matter how you slice it isn't going to develop with a business college here and there until the political environment change.

Talking of holier than thou, the professor went on to make the following absurd comment:
“I challenge any Gambian, if you care about your own people, your own country, then you should come back and invest in your own country, not only in education but in any form.
Who said you have to go back to a country before you could be counted as caring for and investing in it. I bet most of the students that can afford to pay the tuition to get into his college will have the money sent to them from abroad. If that is not investing in the development of a nation, I will like to take a class from the professor to learn just what people like me need to do save for packing our drawers, boarding a plane to "bilad-a-sudan".

Do we care about our people and country. Sure we do. Without our remittances, that place will be a war zone. The remittances feed, clothe and is responsible for the construction boom , which employ thousands of people...get the drift professor?

Good luck with your venture, but save us the sermon.




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Obama ...and conventional wisdom

Josh Marshall hit a cord on the recent brouhaha created by Obama's comment on Pakistan:

The unspoken truth here, I suspect, is that Obama has struck on the central folly of our post-9/11 counter-terrorism defense policy -- strike hard where they aren't and go easy where they are. I think everyone can see this. But Obama got there first. So they need to attack him for saying it..
The foreign policy establishment crowd in Washington DC is a cartel...a job pool. Brookings institute and it's ilk are breeding grounds for folk looking for government jobs. They adhere to the same sort of thinking: the kind that believes Iraq is a danger to the US circa 2002.

Obama is taking them on and his only mistake will be to back down as Josh eloquently puts it in this passage:

I'm always interested to try to tease apart and find the meta-debates operating beneath the surface of campaign debates. As I wrote a few years ago in what I called the bitch-slap theory of GOP electoral politics, the whole swift-boat saga was less about the specifics of Kerry's injuries forty years ago than whether he could defend himself from the charges today. Someone who can't defend himself is weak; and if a guy can't defend himself he can't defend you.

that's what that whole song-and-dance was about.

So what is this back and forth about Obama and Pakistan about?

What this has boiled down to -- and this became even more clear after Tuesday night's labor-hosted debate, when Biden and Dodd acted as Hillary's proxies -- is Hillary, in league with the party's foreign policy establishment, trying to make Obama, implicitly or explicitly, concede an error, that he misspoke.

Precisely what he misspoke about is largely beside the point. The key is that they get him to concede that in the complex and serious world of foreign policy big-think, where words have consequences, he made an error. Of course, it's almost good enough if most observers decide that Obama screwed up. But once he concedes it himself, if he does, he stipulates from now through the end of the Democratic primary campaign that his inexperience in foreign policy is a basic premise of the campaign upon which the battle between him and Hillary will be waged. He can learn, improve, make progress, whatever, but his inexperience compared to Hillary will continue to be the reference point throughout... ..tpm

Barack likes to tell folks that he is a product of chicago politics...knows when to fight and stand your doggone ground. If he let the Dodds, clintons and bidens of the washington crowd, that voted for the worst foreign policy blunder of this century dictate or lecture him on foreign policy, then he should fold his campaign, because from that point on he becomes their bitch and they will keep slapping him around.

I am not advocating macho stance or refusal to admit mistakes. However in this situation I think he is right and his detractors are wrong. Samantha Powers ...an advisor to Obama puts it more succintly in this memo:
August 3, 2007

To: Interested Parties

From: Samantha Power -- Founding Executive Director, Harvard University Carr Center for Human Rights Policy


Re: Conventional Washington versus the Change We Need

It was Washington’s conventional wisdom that led us into the worst strategic blunder in the history of US foreign policy. The rush to invade Iraq was a position advocated by not only the Bush Administration, but also by editorial pages, the foreign policy establishment of both parties, and majorities in both houses of Congress. Those who opposed the war were often labeled weak, inexperienced, and even naïve.

Barack Obama defied conventional wisdom and opposed invading Iraq. He did so at a time when some told him that doing so would doom his political future. He took that risk because he thought it essential that the United States “finish the fight with bin Laden and al Qaeda.” He warned that a “dumb war, a rash war” in Iraq would result in an “occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.”

Barack Obama was right; the conventional wisdom was wrong. And today, we see the consequences. Iraq is in chaos. According to the National Intelligence Estimate, the threat to our homeland from terrorist groups is “persistent and evolving.” Al-Qaeda has a safe-haven in Pakistan. Iran has only grown stronger and bolder. The American people are less safe because of a rash war.

Over the last few weeks, Barack Obama has once again taken positions that challenge Washington’s conventional wisdom on foreign policy. And once again, pundits and politicians have leveled charges that are now bankrupt of credibility and devoid of the new ideas that the American people desperately want.


On each point in the last few weeks, Barack Obama has called for a break from a broken way of doing things. On each point, he has brought fresh strategic thinking and common sense that break with the very conventional wisdom that has led us into Iraq.

Diplomacy: For years, conventional wisdom in Washington has said that the United States cannot talk to its adversaries because it would reward them. Here is the result:

* The United States has not talked directly to Iran at a high level, and they have continued to build their nuclear weapons program, wreak havoc in Iraq, and support terror.
* The United States has not talked directly to Syria at a high level, and they have continued to meddle in Lebanon and support terror.
* The United States did not talk to North Korea for years, and they were able to produce enough material for 6 to 8 more nuclear bombs.

By any measure, not talking has not worked. Conventional wisdom would have us continue this policy; Barack Obama would turn the page. He knows that not talking has made us look weak and stubborn in the world; that skillful diplomacy can drive wedges between your adversaries; that the only way to know your enemy is to take his measure; and that tough talk is of little use if you’re not willing to do it directly to your adversary. Barack Obama is not afraid of losing a PR battle to a dictator – he’s ready to tell them what they don’t want to hear because that’s how tough, smart diplomacy works, and that’s how American leaders have scored some of the greatest strategic successes in US history.

Barack Obama’s judgment is right; the conventional wisdom is wrong. We need a new era of tough, principled and engaged American diplomacy to deal with 21st century challenges.

Terrorist Sanctuaries: For years, we have given President Musharraf hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid, while deferring to his cautious judgment on how to take out high-level al Qaeda targets – including, most likely, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Here is the result:

* Bin Laden and Zawahiri – two men with direct responsibility for 9/11– remain at large.
* Al Qaeda has trained and deployed hundreds of fighters worldwide from its sanctuary in northwest Pakistan.
* Afghanistan is far less secure because the Taliban can strike across the border, and then return to safety in Pakistan.

By any measure, this strategy has not worked. Conventional wisdom would have us defer to Musharraf in perpetuity. Barack Obama wants to turn the page. If Musharraf is willing to go after the terrorists and stop the Taliban from using Pakistan as a base of operations, Obama would give him all of the support he needs. But Obama made clear that as President, if he had actionable intelligence about the whereabouts of al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan – and the Pakistanis continued to refuse to act against terrorists known to be behind attacks on American civilians – then he will use highly targeted force to do so.

Barack Obama’s judgment is right; the conventional wisdom is wrong. We need a new era that moves beyond the conventional wisdom that has brought us over-reliance on an unreliable dictator in Pakistan and an occupation of Iraq.

Nuclear Attacks on Terrorist Targets: For years, Washington’s conventional wisdom has held that candidates for President are judged not by their wisdom, but rather by their adherence to hackneyed rhetoric that make little sense beyond the Beltway. When asked whether he would use nuclear weapons to take out terrorist targets in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Barack Obama gave the sensible answer that nuclear force was not necessary, and would kill too many civilians. Conventional wisdom held this up as a sign of inexperience. But if experience leads you to make gratuitous threats about nuclear use – inflaming fears at home and abroad, and signaling nuclear powers and nuclear aspirants that using nuclear weapons is acceptable behavior, it is experience that should not be relied upon.

Barack Obama’s judgment is right. Conventional wisdom is wrong. It is wrong to propose that we would drop nuclear bombs on terrorist training camps in Pakistan, potentially killing tens of thousands of people and sending America’s prestige in the world to a level that not even George Bush could take it. We should judge presidential candidates on their judgment and their plans, not on their ability to recite platitudes.

Vision: American foreign policy is broken. It has been broken by people who supported the Iraq War, opposed talking to our adversaries, failed to finish the job with al Qaeda, and alienated the world with our belligerence. Yet conventional wisdom holds that people whose experience includes taking these positions are held up as examples of what America needs in times of trouble.

Barack Obama says we have to turn the page. We cannot afford any more of this kind of bankrupt conventional wisdom. He has laid out a foreign policy that is bold, clear, principled, and tailored for the 21st century. End a war we should never have fought, concentrate our resources against terrorists who threaten America. End the counter-productive policy of lumping together our adversaries and avoiding talking to our foes. End the era of politics that is all sound-bites and no substance, and offer the American people the change that they need.

Barack Obama’s judgment is right. It is conventional wisdom that has to change.

Now, thats how you fight back. I like what I am seeing here.

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Mitt Romney is a Moron...

So Mitt Romney got caught showing his pearly whites while holding a sign that compares Obama to the terrorist mastermind behind the death of almost three thousand people on American soil.



When confronted, been hypocritical as always, he offered this absurd explanation:

I'm going to be taking many pictures with all of you and I don't really spend too much time looking at the signs and the t-shirts and the buttons. So I don't have anything particularly to say about a sign somebody else was holding...mydd.com

The only problem with this answer is that he is holding the damn sign himself and grinning from ear to ear. I bet if someone brought up a sign that said "There is no God" or "The Mormon Church is a dangerous cult", I doubt very much that he would help hold it up to have a picture taken. (I'm not saying the Mormon church is a dangerous cult, I am just making a hypothetical).

And what does it say about him if he really doesn't read the signs? He'll stand behind any sign, smiling approval without knowing what it says? Only an imbecile would do that. I am going to go out on a limb and say that he read that sign. Candidates are totally aware of the power of images; he'd be an utter moron not to have read it beforehand. On the other hand, I suppose he is a moron for comparing Obama to Osama bin laden.

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Celebrating Coup d'etats

With the annual jamboree that is the July 22nd celebration around the corner, the Point newspaper has a run down of reactions from some of the leading Gambian politicians: from the ruling APRC and the opposition parties.

The speaker of the house:Fatoumata Jahumpha Ceesay [no relation to the author] waxed philosophical in her trademarked sycophantic way. If you let her tell the story, the Gambia is the promised paradise prophesied in the scriptures. She went on to talk about human rights and press freedom when a few days ago the government of the Gambia failed to answer to a case brought before a regional court for the illegal detention of a journalist. The illegal detention of Kanyiba Kanyi and Rambo Jatta, the disappearance of Daba marenah and five other alleged coup plotters aren't human rights violations in the speakers book.

For their part Ousainou Darbo and Halifa Sallah: leaders of the opposition UDP and NADD respectively, admonish the notion that a government that claims to be democratically elected will be celebrating the undemocratic takeover of a government that took place more than a decade ago. They condemned coups and bemoan the abject poverty that prevails in the country. Darbo went on to castigate the government on its human rights record: illegal detentions and general break down in the rule of law. No surprises there for the lawyer turn politician.

Halifa also took to task the supporters of the coup who never fail to point out the structural projects initiated after the 1994 coup. He schooled them on the economics involved. The projects, he explained are financed with interest laden loans that makes the Gambia a seriously indebted country without any self sustainability. Building infrastructure from loans that you don't have the human capital to maintain is the worst form of development paradigm. He made references to the plight of the Gambian farmer and how the lack of government foresight has reduced them to beggars.

Juwara of opposition NDAM took a different tack. He hasn't condemn the coup outright. In fact he has some praise for the government. His critics will point to this interview as a step in his metamorphism from the most outspoken critic of the government to joining the ranks of his former tormentors. The peeve I have with his portion of the interview is where he made this comment:

I call on the government to release Chief Ebrima Manneh, Kanyiba Kanyi and Rambo Jatta if they are in their custody and if not in their custody to do all it takes to know who is holding these guys. After all they are not important. And it is only going to give the country a bad name.


They are not important....what is Juwara smoking? Who determines their importance? These are people with families and responsibilities. They are very important to their friends and loved ones and all peace loving people. Juwara's transformation is a sight to behold.



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Cop-out

Magistrate Jawo of the Kanifing magistrates court decided to save his own skin in lieu of providing justice in the Fatou Jaw Manneh sedition trial. This is a travesty of justice. He moved the case to Banjul after weeks of hearing testimony on a stupid technicality. Shouldn't the learned magistrate determined the proper venue prior to hearing the evidence in the case? He sat there for weeks listening to the witnesses and made rulings on the case that could determine the outcome of the case only to tell the defendant that he is not the right authority to adjudicate her case. This is an outrage. Justice delayed someone opined is justice denied. They are wasting the lady's time and resources on a frivolous witch hunt. Shame on them.


Here is the story courtesy of the Point newspaper:

Magistrate Jawo therefore expressed the view that the court that has the jurisdiction to try the accused is the Banjul Magistrates' Court, invoking section 61, subsection 1 and 62 subsection 21 of the Criminal Procedure Code to back his ruling of transferring the case to Banjul Magistrates' Court.


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Ingenuity



Afrigadget featured him a few years ago after he built a windmill to generate electricity for his home in a remote Malawian village using materials available locally. William Kamkwamba has come a long way indeed. He was one of the inventors recognised at the recently concluded TEDGlobal conference

With the help of friends he has created a blog to do: well what bloggers do... appraise well wishers of his undertakings. You can access his blog here.

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Steve Gilliard [1966-2007]



He was fearless, poignant, smart and he has a way with words. Gilly was an unapologetic liberal when that word has a nuance connotation for most. His predictions about the Iraq war are prophetic. He will be missed. So Long Gilly...may your soul rest in eternal peace.

Tail rank has a page with obituaries from the top guns in the left blogosphere here.

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Jeff Koinange Out at CNN

Jeff Koinange, CNN’s Africa trotting journalist has been relieved of his duties according to TVNewser. It looks like a little bit of controversy involving a woman, amplified by a blog in Kenya may have end his career with CNN.

The Kenyan blog Kumechuca calls Koinange “the Kenyan date rape journalist.” It also reports that a woman apparently sent a letter to the president of CNN Worldwide that outlines how Koinange started sending her personal e-mails.

Another blog: “Distant Lovers,” spells out conversations and e-mails from Koinange to the woman. Here is a passage:

“Jeff wanted to have a photo from me and I had made the mistake to tell him that I had an enlarged beautiful and very stylish one of me showing me ‘naked’.

CNN (according to TVNewser) isn’t saying much, but a spokesperson said Koinange, “is no longer employed at CNN, and we are not commenting beyond that.” I’m sure there are two sides to the story, and Koinange hasn’t been reached for his side.

Personally, I’m going to miss seeing Koinange on-air. He was so enthusiastic and passionate about his stories. If his extracurricular activities did in fact lead to the dismissal, it’s unfortunate, but it shows how powerful these little thingies called blogs are getting.

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Swiftboat encore

The Washington post is pimping a book written by the NewYork times reporter Jeff Gerth: author of a number of inaccurate and sloppy anti-clinton stories. Here is how the post put it:

"Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton," by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr., reports that during her husband's 1992 campaign, a team she oversaw hired a private investigator to undermine Gennifer Flowers "until she is destroyed." Flowers had said publicly that she had an affair with Bill Clinton while he was governor of Arkansas.

The book also suggests that Hillary Clinton did not read the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq in 2002 before voting to authorize war. And it includes a thirdhand report that the Clintons had a secret plan after the 1992 election in which he would have eight years as president and then she would have eight years, although last night a key source disavowed the story.

And thus begins the swiftboating of Hillary. This is the first of many to come, which will inundate us throughout any Hillary campaign. Hillary the lover of Vince Foster! Hillary the killer of Vince Foster! Hillary the lesbian! Hillary the (fill in the blank). It may not be fair to Hillary, but this is one reason I don't support her candidacy.

A democratic presidential ticket in 2008 with Hillary at the top of it will be a nightmare of frivolity and press-driven bullshit, all against her, as the media tells us how much fun that Fred Thompson is and what a calculating cold ambitious bitch he is trying to save us from.

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Scholarships

I am not a fan of Yahya Jammeh and his totalitarian form of governance. However I think his government should be commended for trying to sponsor 300 Gambian students to study Engineering, medicine and agriculture in universities abroad. It is an investment in human capital, which will provide long term socio-economic benefits to our society. It beats the invesment in military hardware on any given day. Here is the story from the point newspaper:

Presidential Office to Sponsor Gambians to Universities Abroad
Friday 18th May 2007

By Osman Kargbo

The Office of the President, through the efforts of H.E. President Yahya Jammeh, will be providing close to 300 scholarships to young talented Gambians to study in universities and colleges abroad, a press release from the President’s office has stated.

According to the release faxed yesterday to this paper, the sponsorship, which will commence in September 2007, will cover various disciplines with special emphasis in the Sciences such as Medicines, Engineering and Agriculture.

The release stated further: “The Office of the President is pleased to inform the general public that through the untiring efforts of His Excellency The President Alhaji Dr Yahya A.J.J Jammeh, training opportunities will be made available, commencing in the next academic year (September, 2007) for young talented Gambians to study in Universities and Colleges abroad.

“Nearly 300 scholarships will be available for study in various disciplines but with emphasis in the Sciences such as Medicines, Engineering, Agriculture among other disciplines.”

It also said the scholarships would be made available to students from across the country.

“Interested applicants should apply to the Office of The President and provide proof of citizenship and authentic academic results to back their application,” the release concluded.

My apologies to the point for going over my fair use privileges here.

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Detroit Economic Club hosts Obama.

I was looking forward to attending Obama's speech at the economic club of Detroit today. But alas commitments at work make this impossible. However reading through the dispatches made about the speech in various newspapers, I am even more convinced that Barack Obama is one courageous politician.

He walked into a meeting of the Economic Club of Detroit and proposed raising fuel efficiency. If you know anything about Michigan politics, you know that this is such a third rail in Michigan that even the Democrats from this area oppose raising CAFE standards. You don't mess with the big three automakers and their addiction to profits gained from producing big gaz guzzling sport utility vehicles.

But Barack look them in the eye and told them the truth. Here is a passage from the New York times coverage of the event:

"For years, while foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology for their vehicles, American automakers were spending their time
investing in bigger, faster cars," he said, according to a text of his remarks.
"And whenever an attempt was made to raise our fuel efficiency standards, the
auto companies would lobby furiously against it, spending millions to prevent
the very reform that could’ve saved their industry." In his speech, Mr.
Obama proposed stricter fuel economy standards, greater availability of tax
credits to consumers who buy hybrids or other ultra-efficient vehicles and
subsidies to help automakers pay health care expenses in return for greater
investment in advanced technology...
Nytimes

Leadership is effectively telling people something they may not be pre-disposed to hearing. Obama is right on this issue. And its not something that can be chalked up to evil-doing on Detroit's part, so much as simply their deeply ingrained corporate culture that dictates "Americans want bigger and more powerful cars, not efficient cars"... I don't know where they picked up that notion, but its simply not true.

Obama is telling them the hard truth. And he didn't say this at a rally as a way to pander to crowds of consumers -- he went to where he could most effect change on the issue, the automakers themselves, to sell them on change. He's about results, at the end of the day.

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Obama in Detroit

Barack Obama will be holding a meeting at Cobo hall in Detroit tomorrow (may 7th). The schedule time for the meeting is 11am…yikes. How do supporters like yours truly miss such an opportunity? I signed up and will have to figure a way out of work to be at that meeting.

As far as I am concerned, Obama will be the next president, whether the haters like it or not. Here’s why:

The GOP is just toast: ain’t going to happen, folks. Mormon-Romney and cross-dressing- twice divorced-Giuliani will never make it past the right wing nutties, who are used to GOP candidates pandering to them to get votes. And what about McCain? Stick a fork in him, he’s done. The Christian fundies don’t trust him and that stroll through a Baghdad market to prove that Iraq is safe while been guarded by a platoon and attack helicopters broke away the few independents who were giving him a chance.

What about Fred Thompson, the right-wing knight in shining armor? I think his strategy of wait-and-see isn’t going to work. He should’ve been in that debate the other night, and he wasn’t. Don’t even get me started on that hypocrite called Newt Gingrich.

The single most unfortunate thing for the Republicans: the Iraq war. It will be the gift that keeps on giving, and it’s not going to get any better. The GOP is tied to that war whether they like it or not, and I predict 2008 will suck for them.

How about the Democrats... John Edwards won’t get much traction, I predict. Getting a 400 dollar haircut while decrying against two Americas (rich and poor) kind of sums up how a bunch of people feel about him. Good guy overall.

But what about Hillary? The 600 pound gorilla. No one knows, of course, but I just think her negatives aren’t going to go away -- and I actually admire her and think she’s pretty bright. I also think people are desperate for a new face, a new direction in this country. It’s been a dreadful six years, hasn’t it?

Hence, Obama. Not just because he’s bright and motivated and thoughtful, but by process of elimination, he’s the only one left standing. That’s how I figure it, anyway. I may be wrong but I ‘m sticking by my candidate until the very end.

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Defending IMUS

Until now,I have decided to stay clear of the brouhaha ignited by Don Imus's racist comment. But the hypocrisy of his defenders is making my blood boil.Everyone who stands up to the podium to defend Don Imus says the same thing, right off the bat: What the man said was deplorable. Indefensible. Disgusting. Or any other litany of words to try to separate themselves from his vile comments. If you believe that what he said was disgusting and indefensible, then what the hell are you defending him for?


The only reason I can think of is that you don't think what he said was all that bad, and want the same freedom to spew out disgusting tripe on your own multi-million dollar programs.

I've got news for you guys: You all have the freedom to say whatever you want. But that does not mean you should be rewarded with fat sponsorship deals and multi-million dollar paychecks to say it. Comments that people consider offensive vary from person to person. But if what you say makes EVERYONE say you've gone too far, maybe it's time for you to take a shot in the pocket.

Don Imus took his. If you're so worried about taking one of your own, maybe it's time to put a little thought behind your words.

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Cry not Mama

Today marks the 7th anniversary of the April 10th 2000 student massacre that took place in the Gambia. Alpha Robinson wrote a powerful poem in the heydays of that senseless human tragedy. In memory of all those students who paid the ultimate price, here is Alpha Robinson's timeless poem:

Cry not Mama
Trying to make sense
Out of the senseless
Turning around in circles
Sleepless and restless
Trying to feel your pain
 
Mothers and fathers of the martyrs
Young lives taken away
From earth to earth
Living in our hearts
Forever Forever and Forever
 
Mothers we mourn by your side
You have carried that baby for eight months
The ninth month demanding your breath
The joy you felt after the birth pains
Hoping and dreaming
That your baby will one day be someone
 
You gave that baby solid food and love
Toiling under the sun
Nothing you would not do
To give that child a future
 
Fathers we mourn by your side
You work this earth with bare feet
You deny yourself pleasures
To give that child a future
How anxious you were
Waiting to hear from the maternity ward
Or was it from the home
News about your baby
 
You two took that child to school
With high expectations
To acquire knowledge
For a better future
 
Then came the gunman
The neighbour’s child he was
No stranger to you
He calls you mother and father
Yet he turned that gun on your children
And took them away from you
Forever Forever and Forever
 
But cry not Mama
That child is in eternal peace
 
How can I tell you
How can I make you understand
That your pain is not in vain
That your pain is mine
 
Some give their lives for others
In their own way
And live forever
 
Look at me Mama
I am your child
For what your child died for
Will live in me forever
So they all live in me Mama
All those courageous children
And I am not alone Mama
We are all your children
 
As you dry your tears
Gripped by grief
Your legs feeling numb and heavy
Trying to make sense out of the senseless
Seek consolation in us
We who will carry your child in us
Until we take our last breath
 
No they did not die in vain!
For what they died for
Cannot be killed Mama
Justice must come
Freedom must come
A new Gambia will be born
It’s only a matter of time
By Alpha Robinson
 
May their souls continue to rest in eternal bliss.

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Go' Bama

He may be a newbie and he is obviously not perfect, but, so far he and his campaign executed well. He is clearly doing a good job of turning enthusiasm into tangible campaign support.

WHOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!! $25 million dollars . IT'S ON. IT'S SO ON!

Obama, we got your back baby. We got you. There's PLENTY more where that came from.

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This is what a dictatorship looks like

The gambian online community has been swirling with indignation at the arrest and detention of Washington based former Observer reporter Fatou Jaw manneh. She was arrested on her arrival at Banjul international airport sometime last week and today we learn from the point that she has been arraigned and charged with insulting the president. Here is what the point has on the incident:

Fatou Jaw Manneh was yesterday arraigned before Magistrate Pa Harry Jammeh of the Kanifing court, charged with ‘indictious offence.’

In her reaction to the charge, the accused told the court that she could not take her plea in the absence of her lawyer. The court thus granted her time to get the services of a lawyer.

The accused, arrested and detained on her arrival from the US, is said to have worked for many online newspapers in Washington, DC.

She is expected back in court today.

Meanwhile, this paper was reliably informed that family members of Ms. Manneh has been given access to her, and also providing food while in detention at the NIA since last Wednesday...thepoint

Since when did insulting the president become a crime? Only in a dictatorship do such things tantamount to a criminal case.


Update:

Thank God she has been release on bail. that is a start.

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Mugabe

Could Robert Mugabe's dictatorship be living on borrowed time? The Roman Catholic archbishop in one of the dioceses in Zimbabwe is calling on the people to take to the streets to protest Mugabe's authoritarian rule. He is not only talking the talk but will be walking as well:

Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic archbishop of the southern Bulawayo diocese, urged Zimbabweans to take to the streets in protest at the government's ongoing crackdown against dissenters opposed to the government, Reuters reported.

"The biggest problem with Zimbabweans is they are cowards, myself included, but as for me I am ready to stand in front, even of blazing guns," Ncube told a news conference.

"If only Zimbabweans are prepared to stand, so am I prepared to stand ... we are not going to be bullied."...Link

Now thats what I call moral courage. If only the Imams in the Gambia will muster the same courage and take on Yahya Jammeh's insanity, the country will be a different place.

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CNN's take on the Gambia

CNN's Africa trotting correspondent, Jeff Koinange was recently invited to the Gambia to report on the mystical AIDS cure perfected by Yahya Jammeh. True to form and perhaps after the bruising he took at the hands of this feisty sky news correspondent, Yahya refused to be interviewed by CNN even though his office extended an invitation to the news channel.

Here is a video of Koinange's trip to the smiling coast broadcasted on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 program: VIDEO

It is really sad to watch Dr. Mbowe attest to this nonsense despite the medical training he went through over the years. This is what he told CNN:

I can swear 100% that this herbal medication his excellency is using is working. It has a potency to treat and cure patients infected with the HIV virus.

That is a bold statement. Dr. Mbowe is swearing 100% to the potency of a herbal medication the contents of which he doesn't know.

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Et Tu Alberto

A week ago in a USA Today editorial, Alberto Gonzales said the following:

While I am grateful for the public service of these seven U.S. attorneys, they simply lost my confidence. I hope that this episode ultimately will be recognized for what it is: an overblown personnel matter.

In a press conference yesterday, he claims that the firing of eight US attorneys who a week before had lost his confidence happened essentially without his knowledge.

These were the same people he claimed represent "the face of the department," but then claimed he essentially didn't know who they were because this all was done by his chief of staff. I mean hey...there are 10,000 people working for me. How can I possibly know what my CHIEF OF STAFF is doing?

Yeah right Alberto. Undoubtedly, your chief of staff was spending his nights with Arlen Specter's chief of staff re-writing the Patriot Act to give you powers you didn't know you had to fire people you didn't know for reasons you didn't understand.

And you want us to believe you deserve to stay in your present position why?

Having said that, I think those US attorneys deserve to be fired. Yeah call me crazy but the untold story in this developing saga is that none of the purged attorneys would have say or do anything about the politicization of their offices and the legal system in general if they were not relieve of their jobs, power and livelihood.

Case in point is this testimony from David Iglesias [the purged U.S. attorney in New Mexico]:

Iglesias said criticisms of his performance by the Justice Department "are demonstrably untrue statements." He added: "We all have a right to defend our honor. I felt like my honor and the honor of my office was attacked...." http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

Oh poor David. They were impugning his honor. He is not worried about the bush administrations frontal assault on our constitutional rights. In fact he was looking for a positive recommendation from Gonzales as recently as January 10th as he looks for a new job. He sent an email to Gonzales’s chief of staff looking for one: If you want to read it, it's at the very bottom of this document: http://judiciary.house.gov/...

How about H.E. Cummins, U.S. attorney for Arkansas' Eastern District from 2001-2006, who said the following:

"If given the choice, I'd elect to stay home and mind my own business," Cummins told The Associated Press. "Now that I'm under subpoena, I'll go and give cooperative, truthful answers."
When asked if officials in the Justice Department or White House had asked him to decline the earlier requests, Cummins said he had no comment...http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

If you still think he deserved the job wait until you read this quote from the same US attorney:

Cummins said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he appreciated Pryor's [Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark] defense of his service, but that he remained a Bush loyalist who had considered leaving his post regardless.

"In my case, it's fair to say it was handled poorly, because they could just have easily called me and said 'You haven't done anything wrong. You're a champ. You've been a great performer for the president, and we'd like you to cooperate with us and give this other guy a job for two years,'" Cummins said... http://www.nwaonline.net/...

They would rather go into lucrative practice with Gonzales’s recommendation than go to bat for the American justice system. That is why despite the ineptitude of Alberto Gonzales, [I will not shed any tears if he is canned]: I believe the purged attorneys deserved the fate that befall them.

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The Clinton Machine

The Barack Obama candidacy for the presidency is giving the Clintons a heart attack. He is putting an insurmountable road block in the Hillary coronation by staking a large claim on the democratic party's most loyal constituency: the black voter.

Bill Clinton won his presidency because of the black vote. He has never won the white male vote in any presidential election. In fact he has never gotten a majority of the voters, since he never cracked 50%. His wife was counting on the same loyalty until the man with a funny name and more fealty to the community decided to run. To say that the Clinton political machine is scared straight of the Obama candidacy is not far fetched. First they went berserk when Maureen Dowd quoted David Geffen in the new york times saying the following:

I don't think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is--and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton?--can bring the country together. Obama is inspirational, and he's not from the Bush royal family or the Clinton royal family. .

Hillary's campaign responded to this comment by asking the Obama camp to fire Geffen even though the billionaire mogul has no role in the Obama campaign except for been an admirer and supporter of Obama. This episode is a prelude to what the Clinton machine will do to win the nomination. Obama, to his credit didn't budge to the bullying tactics and his rapid response team responded within hours and hit the Clintons where it hurts.

Which brings me to the dueling speeches I just watched on C-Span. Today marks the 42nd anniversary of what is come to be called Bloody Sunday: Obama and Clinton both gave speeches to mark the occasion. What is the big deal? You may ask. Well it is the drama involved. The fight for the black vote which is huge in southern primaries is getting intensive. Hillary has her husband coming in to help “herd” black folk since they are straying from the farm ala camp Hillary. Bill Clinton was previously busy until polls show that wifey is losing momentum among black folk. Been the anointed “first black president” and all, he decided it is time to straighten black folk out. His only mistake is that his wife was never anointed the first black first lady. Therein lies their predicament and the fact that after all these years in the senate Hillary Clinton is not to enamored of issues affecting black constituents.

In the year 2000 Hillary Clinton won almost 90% of black votes in her New York senatorial campaign, but guess what the first thing in her victory speech was? You would've guessed wrong if you think it has anything to do with the mind blowing unemployment rate among black males in New York or their incarceration and recidivism rate. You would be equally wrong if you think it is a concern for the high number of black kids in New York who are failed by the New York public schools. Nah her concern was and her actions will be geared towards fixing the upstate economy.

But watching her on television rattle of on the significance of the voting rights act marches makes me wonder if most people clapping in that audience could name any initiatives that Hillary Clinton has championed since coming to the senate with significance to black people. She took a stance on trivial issues such as flag burning to appease right wing ideologues who won't vote for her if their life depended on it, but couldn't lift a finger on issues such as police-brutality in New York, racial profiling or the big enchilada: economic development in post Katrina New Orleans.

Which brought me to my pet peeve: the idolization of the Clintons amongst the black community. Granted Bill and Hillary Clinton know how to schmooze black audiences, but when issues affecting our communities need their influence for redress, they miss those parties. They leave the heavy lifting to black politicians, most of whom the Clintons know have no power to effect positive change in those situations, either because of ineptitude in representation or mediocrity because they are products of political machineries created all over major American cities.

It is funny I said all this, and yet, if Hilary was to win the Democratic nomination I will probably have to vote for her; since the Republicans appear to be no option after this Bush disaster. But in this battle royale for the Democratic nomination, I am for Obama and will not hesitate to put forth the flim-flamsy act the Clintons employ when it comes to black electorates. Today's events are a manifestation and continuation of the Clinton machines bamboozlement of the black voter. However this time around, there is a genuine alternative for black voters: Barack Obama...



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B_A_R_A_C_K

Remember all that craziness about how Obama wasn't "black enough" to win black voters' support? Well, a couple of weeks later: not so much. The washingtonpost has this story on a poll release showing that more black voters now support Obama in a head to head match up against the wife of the fake black president. Here is a snippet:

Clinton's and Obama's support among white voters changed little since December, but the shifts among black Democrats were dramatic. In December and January Post-ABC News polls, Clinton led Obama among African Americans by 60 percent to 20 percent. In the new poll, Obama held a narrow advantage among blacks, 44 percent to 33 percent. The shift came despite four in five blacks having a favorable impression of the New York senator.


We still have ten months before the first primary votes are cast. Unless Obama makes a rookie mistake or Al Gore decide to get into the race, this is Barack's race to lose.

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Yahya Drama




It is one thing to read about the madness that is Yahya's claim to have a cure for AIDS, but to see the drama with your own eyes in moving video is priceless. Our scandanavian based brother Buharry captured the treatment session broadcast live on Gambian television on video.

The session is interlaced with recitations from the holy Quran while Yahya could be seen in some scenes rubbing some kind of ointment on semi-nude women. How is that for all the religiosity he waxes poetic about. Without further ado:

Here are the links to the videos:

Day 1



Day 2





Sky news in the United Kingdom interview Jammeh and some of his patients. It is a sad tale. Watch the video here.

The Quack in Gambia is what the German Newspaper Der Spiegel describe our resident dictator. Here is a snippet of an excellent article they wrote on this drama:

the self-styled AIDS healer is now claiming to have discovered his fortune-telling skills. He claims to be able to predict a person's moment of death, after a single look in their eyes...

Okay, thats it: the Man is certifiably crazy.

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OBAMA

To all my readers in the blogosphere, excuse the lapse in opinionated postings. Most of you already know that I was a village boy, by way of Gambia…a tiny sliver of a nation on the west coast of Africa. Yup that Gambia…with the maniacal head of state who claimed he can cure the deadly HIV/AIDS afflicted patients.

I have lived in the USA for the past twelve years. I became a naturalized US citizen five years ago and the first thing I did after the swearing in ceremony was to register to vote. I have only voted once in my life prior to arriving on the shores of this United States of Amnesia (as professor Dysons calls it). Needless to say, I have not missed any election date since. I observe them religiously, be them presidential or school board elections.

Generally, I tend to vote for democrats because they are a lesser of two evils. I know that is a lame excuse, but give the brother a pass will ya? However don’t try to use this bit of information to make assumptions about my political leanings, because I don’t care for political labels. I am a shocker for issues and where individual candidates stood on them relative to my own stance. I will venture to describe myself as moderate on most issues.

This might sound crazy and early in the cycle, but I will refrain from voting for any Clinton or Bush (Do you hear me Jeb?). I refuse to let a dynasty take root in this here the united states of amnesia (thank you professor Dyson). And that is exactly what a Bush_Clinton_Bush_Clinton will entail in my myopic mind. Self deprecation aside, ain’t we all tired of the mess these families took us through: from Monica to Mesopotamia? To think of another Clinton presidency? Gimme a break will ya.

If you are paying any attention to the news lately, you would known that Barack Obama has thrown his hat into the ring. Granted, I am late getting on the Obama bandwagon and I must also confess that if Al Gore should throw his hat into the ring, this nomination will be his race to lose and I will be voting for him to wit. I believe that he is the democrat’s best chance at a presidential victory…yes pun intended. However with Gore on the sidelines, I will be rooting for Obama all the way.

Will Barack Obama make it to the white house? I dunno. However the fact that despite the odds he is trying to make it there embodies the American ideals so eloquently spelt out in the declaration of independence thus: “that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with inalienable rights”. It is true that for most of its history America hasn’t live up to this creed and white men have been more equal than all others. Having said that I still believe Obama’s candidacy embodies the ideals behind the American dream: that regardless of race, color, creed, gender or class), anyone can aspire to, and become anything they want to be provided they are willing to work hard for it. That is the appeal of Obama’s candidacy to most of us.

Since announcing his candidature, Obama has met a lot nasty little smears: from digs made at him for the sins of his father to the meme that he is not black enough because guess what his ancestors didn’t pass through the middle passage. Ho-hum if you ask me, but Obama is a big boy and he knew this is coming and it could get nastier still.

You might be wondering why so many blacks are having a field day over Obama’s so called blackness. It boils down to the absurdities of race and race relations in this country. Many US born citizens (black or white) retreats to their cocoon when a discussion relating to race is initiated. Many white folks are in denial about the existence of racism in almost an annoying way. On the other hand many black people will throw the charge of racism as a counter weight for the years of pain and suffering even when it is not warranted. Foreign born citizens are not immune to this malady either, but we seem to have a dispassionate view when it comes to race and racism. And this attitude or outlook tends to make our US born brethren question our commitment to black issues.

The funny thing is that so many self proclaimed “Pan-Africanist” talk the talk but will disparage foreign born blacks. They seem to think they have a lock on blackness and black experience because of their ancestral journey through that horrible middle passage. This would be comical if the issues at hand are not so serious. Africans and people of African descent all over the world have had to deal with issues ranging from slavery to colonialism to imperialism. They are different experiences, but experiences of our peoples all the same. Demagoguery of their experience because it didn’t happen on the shores of the United States is absurd to say the least.

Can Obama win over a sizable amount of Black primary voters? I believe he could. The alternative is to vote for the wife of the so called first black president who hasn’t done much to address the issues that affect our communities during his presidency. Black people still drool over the Clintons like they are some sort of messiahs. They couldn’t name any initiatives Bill Clinton implemented to improve our communities, but will be quick to point out that he was on Arsenio Hall’s show blowing the trumpet or the folksy way he wow them in their churches. This is the same man who aided in the assault on affirmative action (the holy grail of black politics) when he succumbs to white pressure by saying: we need to amend it not end it. If that is not an assault on the program I don’t know what it is.

But nobody seems to care much about that. Bill Clinton is anointed as the first black president and when his wife comes calling with Bill tucked at her apron, black folk will just go with the flow. Barack Obama is not black enough for them, how in the world did Bill Clinton conned the believers?

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Saba

The national assembly elections have come and gone. The ruling APRC won most of the seats contested. No surprises there...you don't need to be a soothsayer to predict that outcome. The aftermath of the elections is turning into a nightmare for some communities. My native village of Saba has been marred in a communal rift. Both candidates for the Lower Badibou seat in the national assembly elections are natives of Saba. They are from the same compound to make matters worse. I blogged about the intricacies in this post

Reports coming out of Saba has it that the UDP candidate and some of his supporters have been arrested and detained at the Farrafenni police station after an altercation started by the niece of the winning candidate. Meanwhile, the winning APRC candidate is reported to be in Kanilai, hobnobbing with the president after seeing to it that his opponents are detained for standing up to the bullying and threats coming from his niece. This is tearing up that community and somebody need to tell Suku to stop the nonsense and let innocent villagers whose only crime is opposing him go free.

The point newspaper has a rundown of opposition UDP supporters arrested around the country. Point in case this snippet about the Lower Badibou incident I was alluding to:

In a related development, Mr Kebba Binta Suwareh Singhateh, who contested in the recently concluded general elections under a UDP ticket for Lower Baddibu, was, at the time of filing this story, still said to be in detention at Farafenni Police Station. Mr Singhateh was reportedly arrested shortly after the results of the legislative elections were announced and taken to Farafenni Police Station in North Bank Region.

Update:

Foroyaa has a report on the incident, listing the names of the detainees. Needless to say I know most of these detainees.

MASS ARRESTS IN BADIBOU
By Yaya Dampha


The defeated UDP candidate in Lower Baddibou, Mr. Kebba F. Singhateh and (15) fifteen of his supporters were arrested on Saturday by officials of the Police Intervention Unit,(PIU).

According to Mr. Lamin Buna Singhateh [ a brother to the defeated candidate ], one Miss Jamba Barrow (a cousin to Hon. Suku Singhateh) had a brawl with Mr. Faburama Singhateh at the market and it ended in a physical fight. He said that later in the day, one Lamin Singhateh came and found the UDP candidate’s son brewing China Green tea (Attaya) and assaulted him; that an MP (name witheld) later called the police who came and arrested Kebba F. Singhateh, Lamin Singhateh, Ebrima Dambelly, Omar Ceesay, Faburama Singhateh, Alhagie Ngum, Jololi Barrow, Mafafu Saho, Lang Jumbo Singhateh, Faburama Gasama, Bubacarr Singhateh, Ousman Suso, Burama Jaliba, Buramanding Singhateh, Buranding Danso and Dembo Makalo. Nine of the arrestees are detained at Farafenni Police Station while the other six are detained at Kerewan Police Station.

The family members have raised concern over the arrest and detention of their loved ones and called on the authorities to release them.
However, sources close to Farafenni Police confirmed the arrest of the nine people.

When contacted, Police Relations Officer (PRO) Aziz Bojang said when complaints were made to the police they had to arrest those suspected and that it is only the court that can prove guilt. He said if somebody lodges a complaint with the police, they (the police) have to proceed to effect the arrest of those alleged to have committed the offence, but that this does not mean that the police are siding with the party that complained.

Superintendent Bojang however did not say anything as to why the Lower Badibou UDP candidate and his supporters are still being detained for over six days which is beyond the required constitutional duration of 72 hours or three days.




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