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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All Your Zeroes Are Belong to Us

What do you do when hyper-inflation makes your currency worth less than the paper that it is printed on? Lop a few zeroes off here and there and everything will be right as rain.

Zimbabwe’s economy is unravelling at such a pace that the central bank is set to slash yet more zeroes from the country’s increasingly worthless currency.

State media on Sunday quoted Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and one of the members of the ruling elite targeted by fresh western sanctions last week, as saying he would extend a currency policy that has so far failed to stem hyperinflation.

“This time, we will make sure that those zeroes that would come knocking on the governor’s window will not return,” Mr Gono was quoted as saying on Saturday in a speech to farmers.

Independent estimates put Zimbabwe’s inflation rate well above the official 2.2m per cent, prompting the introduction last week of a 100bn Zimbabwean dollar note. Even state media reported Mr Gono’s comments “drew laughter” from his audience.

The governor is expected to chop three or six zeroes from the currency, following a three-zero cut in 2006.

Beside the inflationary zeroes haunting Mr Gono, analysts and some opposition politicians say the crumbling economy in what was once a regional bread basket is perhaps the single greatest factor that might force Robert Mugabe, president, into relaxing his grip on power.

Read the story.

To the MDC negotiators: just say no to powersharing. Anything that leaves Mugabe with official standing or official government seat is purely a lie. Over these past two decades he has destroyed an economy, watched as infrastructure crumbled, ruined the country’s largest industry (farming, led an violent and oppressive regime, starved political opponents, stolen elections, and still, somehow, maintained some claim to legitimacy. That lie can’t be tolerated any longer.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Truth About the Lord’s Resistance Army

It was sickly funny to see that Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, insist that the LRA had committed no atrocities in their rebellion against Uganda’s government. In an abstract sense, I could smile and muster up a little laugh while I sat amazed at the bald faced lie. In the specific--when faced with the pictures and the stories of the people the LRA brutalized--there is nothing even vaguely humorous or worth smiling about.

This story from Ochola John is a good starting point for understanding the cruelty of the LRA.

I wish I could be born again. It hurts me to see my reflection because of the way I now look.

The memories of it all are so painful.

It was in the night when I saw a number of torches flash at me. I was commanded to lie down facing the ground. As I did so, the rebels began raiding other houses around me.

From there, the story dissolves into watching others being killed and having his own ears, nose, lips, and hands cut off. Being abducted, beaten, and starved until he was found by government troops and given hospital care, the man is lucky to be alive. But his life--his face deformed and his arms ending in useless lumps--isn’t what it could have been.

The LRA didn’t content itself with typical torture and random murders; the rebels made a habit throughout the long war of kidnapping children and forcing them to serve the cause. The girls were sex slaves to the commanders, the boys were trained to be soldiers (with ages documented as young as seven).

The post-colonial history of Africa has been written in blood and a savage inhumanity. In that sense, the LRA is hardly unique; in any sense, though, the leaders and perpetrators of the worst of these acts must be punished for their works. Joseph Kony is one of the bloodiest of the bunch.

Monday, October 31, 2005

How Do You Spell Filibuster?

A...L...I...T...O...

I will be surprised if the Democrats don’t filibuster this choice, triggering the fight over the GOP “nuclear option.” The abortion litmus test will be too strong for the left to resist, as will the fact that he is neither a woman nor a minority, yet Alito’s qualifications are definitely a big step up from Miers.

It’ll be a year-end brawl that either energizes or completely exhausts the GOP. Bush already has a tough year ahead and he’s picking a fight that he could quite possibly lose (which isn’t to say that it’s a fight worth avoiding). Should be interesting.

Update: This post of reactions from the left kind of goes to prove the point, doesn’t it? For that matter, I think this post from Randy Thomas will be typical of the right: a cautious, quiet optimism. Okay, maybe not entirely quiet...

Kindly linked by The English Guy (who has a set of good links to browse).

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Raul Garcia-Gomez: No Death Penalty, No Life in Prison

Raul Garcia-Gomez killed an off-duty officer in Denver about a month ago. After being denied entry into a party where the officer, Donnie Young, was working, Garcia-Gomez got a gun, came back to the venue, and shot the Officer Young and Officer Bishop. After running from Colorado to California, and then back to his native Mexico, Garcia-Gomez was captured and will face extradition to face charges here in Colorado.

Good news, no? Not as much as I had originally thought, it turns out.

Tonight, I’m seeing news that Garcia-Gomez’s extradition is contingent on our DA signing away both the death penalty and life imprisonment for Garcia-Gomez. While the family of the murdered officer are happy that it looks like Garcia-Gomez will be coming back to Denver to face justice, and I bow to their judgment and will on the subject, I find myself unhappy about the deal. While a no death penalty deal wouldn’t have bothered me in the least (at least partially since I’m opposed to capital punishment), the idea that Garcia-Gomez, if prosecuted successfully, couldn’t face life imprisonment seems purely wrong.

His was no accidental murder; it was the intentional, petty, premeditated killing of a police officer. While no punishment can be meted out that makes the murder go away--Donnie Young, sadly, will never come back to his wife and family--this seems to be a clear situation where life imprisonment would be warranted. I’m disappointed that our friends to the south are willing to go this far in dictating punishment due a murderer who, in so many ways, abused the hospitality of America.

I’m hoping that the story that I’m hearing on FoxNews tonight is wrong.

For background.

Update: While Andy isn’t talking about the extradition deal, he does seem to have the same low opinion of Garcia-Gomez that I have.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Attack Dog Politics

The rumors of this new Hillary book coming out are making me a bit queasy. Drudge has been running teasing links about it for a few days now, and I can’t get past the little niggle in the back of my head that doesn’t like what looks like a blatant attempt at character assassination.

I’m not sure what is actually going to be in the book, I don’t know what these supposedly Hillary-destroying accusations are going to look like, and I certainly don’t have a handle on how true the allegations will be. But I do know that, unless there is something truly damning, I would rather see conservatives mount attacks on her ideas instead of her past deeds.

Rumors that the book “won’t be pretty” and is brimming with “new dirt” have circulated in the New York press for the past four months.

Yesterday, online newshound Matt Drudge claimed the project was dubbed “Hillary in the Raw,” with content so explosive it could jeopardize Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. 

“New dirt.” Instead of stooping to National Enquirer style politics, how about reminding people about Hillarycare? Anyone with even marginal fiscal conservative leanings or with a small government bent would quake in fear at the idea of President Hillary Clinton. Her nationalized health care idea would have made Bush’s exceptionally costly pill bill, our already overburdened Medicare/Medicaid expenses, and the giant IOU known as the Social Security trust fund look miniscule in comparison.

Unless there is something truly, surprisingly, relevant, I would much rather see authors going after her policy ideas than her personal life.

Read the story.

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