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The Earth is Flat Award
A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...
web posted March 18, 2002
If anything, you have to admire the sheer audacity that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe brings to politics. Mugabe won yet another six-year term recently in an election allegedly so crooked that Chicago's old-time Democratic Party machine would have been awed.
It was his acceptance speech on March 17 that may have sealed Mugabe's permanent membership in whatever Hall of Fame services dictators. The only leader the Zimbabweans have known since 1980 thanked his people for their "resolute, anti-imperialist stand" in electing him.
"I come before you in a moment and mood of national pride and joy tempered with a sense of humility," said Mugabe, adding that "We have dealt a stunning blow to imperialism.
"You certainly have been able to see how Britain and its white allies have blatantly sought to ensure that this last presidential election be won by their protégé and yet not by me and (ruling party) ZANU-PF."
Of course, if only "Britain and its white allies" had problems with the election, Mugabe might have a point. His opponent in the election -- Morgan Tsvangirai -- and millions in the nation have questioned whether the election was free or fair. Nevertheless, said Mugabe, the real winner was the nation.
"But these nimble joys and aches aside, the greatest winner, you will agree, was our democratic process."
For someone like Mugabe, perhaps, stealing an election is a bush league accomplishment. This is the man who introduced "land reform" which targeted farms owned by whites. It's led to murders and a near collapse in the nation's economy. Despite losing a 2000 referendum that would have taken the land from the farmers without any compensation, thugs allied with ZANU-PF began taking over farms. To date, more than 1 000 farms have been taken over by squatters with a total of 3 200 farms identified as targets.
So you see, it's easy to see why Mugabe professed "humility" at winning the March 9-11 election. All he had to do was send his nation's aging MiG-21 fighters to fly low over a few villages, make a show of his artillery and post a few extra soldiers in city streets and the result was one election won.
There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.
web posted March 25, 2002
The Canadian Alliance, Canada's only major mainstream conservative party, has once again received an opportunity to play a role in deciding which path that nation will take in the coming years.
The CA, previously known as the Reform Party, has had these chances before and -- sometimes through its failings, sometimes due to extraneous variables -- as somehow always found a way to squander them. The election of Stephen Harper to the leadership of the party on March 20 promises to take the party itself in a new direction.
The 42-year old is himself considerably different from Preston Manning and Stockwell Day, the party's previous leaders. While a conservative, Harper also brings some libertarian values to the Canadian Alliance. Although it's too early to say, if Harper manages to shift the party to reflect his political beliefs, it could make the party more palatable to the Canadians who have to this point seen it as a reactionary western movement. Before that, however, Harper needs to unite his own party after years of squabbling.
Although ESR officially took no position on the race, the journal unofficially supported Harper's candidacy because it felt the need for the party to take a new direction. Admittedly, it is a gamble, but one that had to be made if the Liberal Party is to ever be displaced. Congratulations Mr. Harper, now the real work begins.
web posted March 11, 2002
Sometimes a government does the right thing and we here at Enter Stage Right aren't afraid to acknowledge it when it happens.
On February 26, the Danish Cabinet appointed Bjorn Lomborg, the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, as head of the newly established Danish Institute for Environmental Evaluation. Lomborg is well known as an environmentalist who isn't afraid to question the orthodox beliefs of his own movement, an impressive trait that has earned the Danish professor an impressive amount of vitriolic press from the environmentalist movement.
It would seem, however, that the Danish Cabinet is more intellectually open to new ideas than the people who consider themselves themselves the standard bearers of tolerance.
Good luck to Lomborg and congratulations to the Danish government for proving that government can occasionally make a good decision.
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