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US elections: Voting for your enemy | USA

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American rapper Ice Cube has never shied from offering blistering critiques of American racism and the political and economic system that it has fostered. From seminal hits like Straight Outta Compton (1988) and F*** Tha Police (1988) with hip-hop group NWA, to his solo efforts such as Black Korea (1991) and I Wanna Kill Sam (1991), where he literally predicted the LA Riots of 1992 in the song’s lyrics, while calling for the “ultimate drive-by” against a United States government that has rarely let up on its unremitting war against African Americans.

So it is not surprising that Ice Cube remains little more impressed with the present Democratic offering of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for the presidential race than he is with incumbent President Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence. In an Instagram video uploaded shortly after the Democratic National Convention (DNC) formally announced the Biden and Harris nomination, he explained:

“What I didn’t hear [at the DNC] is, what’s in it for us? What’s in it for the Black community besides the same old thing we been getting from these parties? […] They just pulled $3 trillion out of they ass and gave it to their friends […] Where’s our f******* bailout?” […] Democrats don’t seem like they got a plan. Republicans don’t seem like they got a plan for us. So how the hell you gonna vote for them?”

Critics have lambasted the rapper worth north of $100m, who has played police officers in his movies, for adopting such a position. But Ice Cube is not alone in his anger at the Democratic Party, its latest presidential ticket and American politics more broadly.

For progressive Democrats – particularly supporters of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders – and those on the front lines of social and racial justice struggles, the Biden-Harris ticket cannot but be a great disappointment. On so many of the most important issues, from judicial and penal reform and Medicare for All to the Green New Deal and foreign policy, a large number of Democratic voters are far closer to the Sanders wing than to the party’s neoliberal leadership.

From Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, we know how the story goes – great “hope” and promises of change lead to tepid policies that reinforce rather than reverse trends towards greater inequality and state violence. While the Democratic Party seems convinced the path to the White House is through winning over moderate Republicans, it is pretty clear that Trump will likely be re-elected, legitimately even, if a similar number of progressive young people sit out this time, as they did in 2016.

To forestall this possibility, Bernie Sanders used his DNC speech to warn his young followers that “the future of democracy is at stake […] The future of our planet is at stake. We must come together [to] defeat Donald Trump.”

Even further to the left, Noam Chomsky warned of the existential threat posed by four more years of Trump, urging people to vote for Biden-Harris and then “haunt his dreams”.

Angela Davis urged progressives to vote for Biden and Harris, arguing that they were the candidates who “could be most effectively pressured into allowing more space for the evolving anti-racist movement”. Perhaps most powerfully, former First Lady Michelle Obama warned Americans to “vote like your lives depend on it”.

All these figures have painted Trump, rightly so, as a mortal threat to democracy and even the future of humankind. And most, if not, all believe, as Chomsky points out, that whatever their faults, the candidates and the Democratic platform, in fact, signal a progressive step forward beyond any tandem or policies that came before. But given how the last two Democratic administrations reinforced rather than transformed the very forces that have enabled the disasters of the Bush and now Trump presidencies, it is hard not to join Ice Cube’s sarcastic refrain and ask “What’s in it for the rest of us?” if the Democrats win, except a brief respite from more Republican Sturm und Drang?

In a world and a country beset by multiple interlocked crises that seem beyond the possibility of a solution by ordinary politics – a sentiment which, after all, helped elect Trump in the first place – it is no wonder that young and disaffected voters are not lining up behind the latest avatars of “hope and change”. They understand viscerally that the system is simply too rotten to reform, that Clinton-Bush-Obama-Trump-Biden are merely the undulating rhythms of a political-economic system in the United States that too rarely lived up to its lofty rhetoric and is now in the midst of an inevitable and violent decline.

And while Trump offers racist and xenophobic bread and circuses to the Republican masses, the Democratic Party is too inept even to pretend to support core policies that the vast majority of its voters deeply desire.

With so much at stake, and the race inevitably tightening in swing states, perhaps it is better to tell young, disaffected and uncommitted voters the truth: This election is not about voting for the president who will lead us out of the Trumpian darkness towards a more just, equitable and sustainable future. It is about choosing which enemy we would rather spend the next four years fighting to secure a future that neither the two parties, nor the system that ensconces them, have the interest or ability to create.

Being told to vote like your life depends on it is not all that empowering, if you have little faith that the people you are voting for can or will do all that much to save you. But being told you have the chance to choose between two radically different enemies to fight for your survival makes the choice and the motivation to vote far clearer.

On the one side, we have a ruthless narcissistic authoritarian with no checks on his executive power and a Supreme Court almost entirely his who is permanently enshrining a feudal oligarchy that disenfranchises and disinherits the majority of Americans, and blowing past any survivable CO2 limit, thereby threatening the survival of humanity and a million more species within a few decades. Trump 2.0 will unleash the full weight of the federal government, including white nationalist-infiltrated federal security forces, and tens of millions of heavily armed, fanatical and increasingly apocalyptic followers onto the streets violently to crush any remaining opposition to the quest, quite literally, to usher in the End of Days.

On the other side, we have an enemy who is neither strong, cruel, authoritarian, sociopathic nor ultimately suicidal enough to rush headlong towards climate and environmental disaster or permanently entrench a neo-feudal order. Even more so, Biden does not have the stomach or the mandate to unleash a level of state and militia violence against protesters that will be impossible to counter short of civil war.

And this enemy has already been infiltrated by upwards of 100 agents of change through the Congressional Progressive Caucus, at least half a dozen of whom are among the most well-known and powerful young politicians in America. While it will take at least a decade for the “Squad” and other young progressives to achieve institutional power, if their numbers grow by even a dozen members, the Democratic Party will have been conquered from within by progressives in the same way Republicans were conquered by the Tea Party.

Put this way, voting in November is no longer about choosing an “ally” that will surely betray you or even choosing the lesser of two evils. Rather, it is about having the good fortune of choosing an adversary whom you just might be able to defeat and a strategic position that enables the continuation of the struggle for racial, economic, climate and other forms of social justice without the risk of mass repression and even civil war.

Just as clear is what will happen if this opportunity is not taken. As a Facebook friend from a Midwestern battleground state described his Trump-loving neighbours after Jacob Blake’s shooting: “You can feel it building, they hate you and they are going to vote.”

If those votes are not matched by a similarly motivated Democratic electorate, the End of Days might arrive a lot sooner than we think.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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