Friday, June 27, 2008

Mandela on Mugabe: "tragic failure of leadership."

From the Guardian:

Nelson Mandela last night broke his silence on the political and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, saying the country was suffering due to "a tragic failure of leadership".

The former South African president and political icon made the remarks at a dinner in London last night attended by Gordon Brown and Bill Clinton. Mandela is reported to be deeply troubled by events in Zimbabwe which have sent thousands of refugees into South Africa, but he has been careful not to create a rift with his successor as president, Thabo Mbeki, who has emerged as Robert Mugabe's most important protector on the African continent.

"We watch with sadness the continuing tragedy in Darfur. Nearer to home we had seen the outbreak of violence against fellow Africans in our own country and the tragic failure of leadership in our neighbouring Zimbabwe," Mandela said.

And from on Archbishop Tutu:
Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu called on South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to "turn the screws" on Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe if he does not step down following Friday's polls.

Tutu, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, said Mbeki's "softly-softly" approach to handling the crisis "has not delivered the goods" and urged the veteran Zimbabwean leader to step aside.

"One is saying 'oh for goodness sake Mr Mugabe, you can end this tragedy, step down,'" he told Channel Four television, describing Zimbabwe as "a dream that has turned into a nightmare".

He also called on African leaders, who meet next week in Egypt for an African Union summit, to declare that Mugabe is an illegitimate leader.

"Our president should have admitted that this softly-softly approach, quiet diplomacy has not delivered the goods and everyone would support him if he now turned the screws on his colleague Mr Mugabe," Tutu said.

Asked how the pressure on Mugabe should be intensified, he added: "First thing would be for Mr Mbeki and all the other leaders to say, 'you're not the legitimate president of Zimbabwe and we will not recognise you'".

Later steps could include imposing a blockade and banning national carrier Air Zimbabwe from flying over neighbouring countries, Tutu suggested.

Great. Now we just need Mbeki to say something worthwhile.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dion's carbon tax

The carbon tax unveiled by Dion sure seems to have prompted predictable partisan rhetoric on both sides. I support a carbon tax in principle, provided it is accompanied by sufficient low-income and rural tax credits to compensate. I'm still waiting to see more details and further analysis of the plan. That said, here's an initial nuanced response from Relentlessly Progressive Economics.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Christian Zionists gathering in Washington

This crowd scares me.

OAKLAND, California, Jun 16 (IPS) - The battle lines over Pastor John Hagee have been drawn, redrawn, and are no doubt being drawn again as this is being written. The San Antonio, Texas-based mega-preacher with the multi-million-dollar empire has always been controversial, but these days, the pastor is a lightning rod for critics.

And as the days pass leading up to Hagee's annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conference in Washington next month, new revelations of his anti-Semitism have come to light.

At last year's CUFI conference, Senator Joseph Lieberman called Hagee "an Ish Elochim", saying he is "a man of God, and, like Moses, he is the leader of a mighty multitude."

When it was first revealed that Hagee had made a series of anti-Catholic remarks, critics, including Bill Donohue of the conservative Catholic League, went ballistic. Hagee apologised. When Hagee blamed gay people for causing Hurricane Katrina, many were offended. Hagee offered up a half-hearted apology and quickly moved on.

However, when Hagee's remarks about Hitler being sent by God to force the Jews to pack their bags for Israel became a You Tube sensation -- and then garnered the attention of the mainstream media -- longtime allies in the Jewish community began to question what Hagee was up to.

Read the whole article here.