Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe will be rewarded for his brutal regime

 

“I didn’t do it!!”

 

As it turns out, there may have been a very strategic reason the bastard held out for a few days in his refusal to resign from the presidency. While the parliament came together to bring forth impeachment proceedings with even members of the ZANU-PF joining in, Mr. Mugabe was negotiating the terms for his departure from the office he’d occupied since 1987. These negotiations will prove fruitful for him. Turns out Mr. Mugabe will receiving full immunity for his family members, the assurances that his business dealings in the country will remain active, and a payout of nothing less than $10 million USD in a country where millions of Zimbabwean dollars only buy a few food items from shops that have infamously been near empty for more than a decade.

In the world in which the average citizen has to live, the intimidation tactics and outright widescale theft employed by this psychopath would warrant prison time. In the world of nation leadership, it’s reciprocated in payouts the Zimbabwean people couldn’t possibly dream of themselves receiving (and I don’t say that lightly; these people have had the dreams summarily beaten out of them by the baton).

Is there any glimmer of hope for the country that Mnangagwa enact liberalization that will take the country in a direction towards healing? There may be. But rewarding the past administration for misdeeds the new boss pretends to condemn is not change for the people. It’s business as usual.

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Great book

Concioussness Explained, Daniel Dennett

Dennett has a section in the book explaining how much of the external stimuli were faced with processes not consciously, but often without our knowing it.

Dennett also express skepticism periodicaly as to whether we really have free will.

I’m inclined to believe it’s not near what we’d think. I think we like to kid ourselves that we’ve got total control over our being. As though we’re not molecules in motion. 

Why YouTube doesn’t display “Broadcast Yourself” anymore

Did you know that ever since YouTube became a megasite, they began an epic battle on two fronts in order to streamline the place into this neat little corporate friendly cubicle? These two fronts are as follows:

-Reducing the amount of unauthorized copyrighted material on the site

-Reducing the amount of non-advertiser approved, user generated content on the site

YouTube’s copyright hysteria didn’t kill widespread access to conventional media; it’s now easier than it ever was than say, when I was a kid, to listen to just about any song you want without having to buy new raw material. But they very successfully killed the individuality and intellectual expression that we had in the pre-Google era of the website. This is painfully apparent to me when I watch opinion videos uploaded around 2007-2008 and compare them to opinion videos uploaded after about 2014.

 

There does seem to be this intuitive sense that’s tough to explain in which most Youtubers become more or less the same the more popular they become; they start using very similar and very ostentatious video thumbnails, generic introductions, even start repeating some of the same talking points, regardless of what side of the political spectrum they are on. I’ve seen this even on TYT, a network I’ve long felt to be a real outlet of the people.

 

There’s one YouTuber I’ve followed closely for years, who I won’t name, who seems to think that Google’s changes to YouTube somehow made the website’s “airwaves” easier to broadcast to for users with smaller fan bases, simply because the site’s changes did in fact make growth harder for some large youtubers (some of the stars of yesteryear, such as Fred, are now more or less irrelevant). However, he conveniently forgets that his own channel tailspun into obscurity JUST AROUND the time these new changes were implemented. I’m not entirely convinced by the cover story that he simply gave up on video game reviewing for the reason that he didn’t find it sufficiently profitable. Making youtube videos about video games is a low cost to no cost endeavor. Since most people who are interested enough in video games to review them online are going to be spending time playing them anyway, turning a screen recorder on each time they do and turning them into “let’s plays” or reviews isn’t something for which you have to sacrifice much time. It’s more likely that the guy is collateral damage of some of the same policies that killed his channel growth and he just doesn’t want to admit it.

 

Content access may not be where YouTube won, but they certainly succeeded at turning the vast majority of users into consumers, as one other youtuber predicted (a video that by the way, fell on deaf ears), rather than content generators, and it’s a far emptier and washed out venue for it.

 

So why did this transpire? The specifics are for another post, but long story short, Google wanted to make the website more ad friendly, and there were too many people posting at the turn of last decade that for one reason or another, didn’t match the controversy-free (see: they asked too many thought provoking questions…) image that helps mass advertising succeed.

 

Having once immensely enjoyed the freshness the site had in the late 2000’s, I fear this is a frontier that like the early United States, or the post-war economic prosperity in North America and eventually Western Europe, may never return.

Residents in Albuquerque fight unsustainable development

the latest from Kapitalist Kitty!

Kapitalist Kitty

A story from my own city, in which residents of a “Northeast heights” (a nice, suburban type district of the city for those not familiar with it) neighbourhood express great concern that a new development plan involving a proposed highway and senior centre will detract from their views, and perhaps property values.

And while this is a clear cut example of white, upper middle class, suburban, and old privilege (you wouldn’t see this turned into a story if it were people in the less affluent ABQ parts like Barelas or the SW quadrant had their own views threatened), I have to applaud the efforts of homeowners to resist uncontrolled and ultimately unsustainable development in a city already plagued by water issues, crime waves, and wealth inequality.

We’re always hearing about how the public sector should “live within its means”, but that line of reasoning is rarely applied to the activities in…

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New York Times chimes in on how Trump travel ban affects travelling Muslims

This quote, from the article, which is written by a Muslim Brit with family in Somalia who is in the United States as a student, is quite powerful:

That sentiment is shared by Farrah Hassan, 27, a biomedical scientist in London. Ms. Hassan, who also was born in Somalia, was set to fly to the United States during the second week of September for a three-week vacation to Virginia, where she has family, and to New York, which she has long wanted to see. “ I was about to book my flight on June 27, but then I got a call from my aunt in Virginia. She told me not to book the flight, because I might be rejected.”

Ms. Hassan said she had been saving for the trip for two years. “I had the budget to go,” she said. “But I don’t want to spend all that money on a flight, get my hopes up and then get turned back to the U.K. There is no point in trying my luck to go to the U.S., if there is a possibility of getting rejected at the airport. It’s an unfair situation.”


There are always two sides to policy as sweeping as Trump’s travel restrictions, some of which are in effect until the Supreme Court decides on their constitutionality. One should take heart to remember, however, that it is easy to support such policies when neither oneself, nor those they care about, are part of the groups to which they pertain.

Putting a face on those affected by bad policy is the best weapon to pull it out of favour. Show this article to a conservative or otherwise pro-Trump friend today!

Unpacking my invisible knapsack

Great post on privilege, and what it means to have it and not know it.

Surviving the Trump Era

invisible knapsackDuring the school year, I met with a group of educators regularly during lunch. We started a white cohort to discuss racism. And because we were brought together by the school that was our community, our first natural focus was on our students. We purchased Black Lives Matter t-shirts and pledged to wear them to school on Fridays to show our support. We discussed how we might be able to include more structured anti-bias curriculum. Sometimes we got sidetracked by other kinds of social injustices or just shared personal stories from marches, workshops, and our classrooms that were of interest to us all. But it wasn’t until the end of the year that we realized we hadn’t really talked about our own white privilege.

No doubt you’ve already read Peggy McIntosh’s now-classic piece, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” If you haven’t, you can read it on SEEDS’ web site

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