Thank you Google

obedience

While visiting my cousins in Toronto back in 1995, they informed me that while they thought they had the best government in the world, they did not like the fact that their socialist democratic leaders had so much (collected) information on their citizens.

I remember thinking at the time that this was a good problem to have if your government was well, good. I actually did not see or experience anything during my lengthy stay there, which gave me any indication that the Canadian government was anything but good.

Fast forward 20 years, this is a kind of problem very few people in South Africa would like to have, considering that our current government is nowhere near good. In fact they’re leaning toward despotism. But I digress…

Google released their latest Transparency Report recently which shows that the South African government requested user data from them on 18 different occasions over a one and a half-year period, and they (Google) refused every single one. The requests also include the removal of content (presumably of a politically embarrassing or compromising nature) uploaded by users (citizens), from Google platforms.

Google 1, South African Government 0, Citizens WIN.

It’s extremely reassuring that Google upholds the values of freedom of speech, but whenever this government gets shown the finger, I find it personally satisfying.

So there you go, you prying kleptocratic fucks. I hope Google continues to give you what you deserve. Nothing!

A sikh joke you say?

The Indian population of India and abroad really have to get over this ridiculous insecurity about their many religions.

Hot on the heels of India’s pathetic dispute with Facebook and Google over content that they myopically view as hostile to local religions, comes the Jay Leno affair. And only recently, celebrated author Salman Rushdie was forced to cancel a planned appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival after threats and protests from Islamist groups, while the Indian authorities apparently turned a blind eye.

Back to the Jay Leno affair: Jay Leno, host of the Tonight Show is in hot water following a quip he made about the Golden Temple in Amritsar being the holiday home of Republican, Mitt Romney. While some sensible Indians (Sikhs included) appreciated the joke and accepted it as quite normal,  it has apparently angered the Sikh community in the USA and in India. They believe that the joke is a deliberate affront to their religion.

However if you watch the clip below, you’ll find that Leno made no reference to Sikhs or the temple itself. So you have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

The obvious answer is that like the adherents of all other religions in the world, the Sikhs have this obtuse notion that their god or gods require constant defending against perceived attacks, both from adherents of competing religions, heathens and non-believers alike.

How utterly pathetic?

It’s time you life-sucking god-botherers grew up and started attending to the real problems in the world, not the imaginary ones that seem to make up all these pointless religions we have.

“I would have freed more people had they known they were slaves.”

It’s perhaps a variation of what she really said, but this quote is attributed to Harriet Tubman, an African-American (Negro) slave who is credited with freeing many other slaves, after escaping to freedom herself in America during the late 1800’s.

I confess I would not have known who this remarkable women was, had the quote not appeared on a friend’s Facebook status update. You can Google Harriet yourself; her life story is quite fascinating. Although it is more widely applicable, right now I’m more concerned about the relevance of the quote, in the South African context.

Some honest questions:

  • Are you aware that you may be a slave to ideology? Are you aware that the ideology may not necessarily be yours, but “borrowed” or “suggested” by someone else?
  • You may think you are free from one form of political tyranny (Apartheid), but are you sure you have not become the unwitting victim of another (faux-Democracy)?
  • Are you aware of how ignorance, though not necessarily off your own volition, can enslave you?
  • Are you going to die wondering?

An honest request:

  • What the hell are you going to do about it?

The funniest thing I read today…

The funniest thing I read today, apart from the howlers that’s coming out of the ANC’s National General Council (NGC) meeting in Durban this week, is from a guy called Simon, who posted this bombshell on the Google group AvC:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that  whoever believes in Him ….

…will believe anything.

And so, it may seem, will die-hard ANC cadres and assorted hangers-on, with whatever is being preached at the NGC too.

Whatever happened to government of the people, for the people…

For most ordinary people, democracy has come to mean government of the people, by the people, for the people. Those iconic words by Abraham Lincoln, contained in the Gettysburg Address of 1863, remains a source of inspiration not only for Americans, but many other nations around the world, and has even been incorporated word for word into the French constitution.

Most modern governments however, pay scant respect to the vision those words are meant to portray. I watched a YouTube video yesterday, titled Sai Baba Exposed – Part 1-4 (also available here as a Google video in one complete segment), and was completely astounded at the self-important retort made by a former Indian Cabinet Minister to a British journalist, interviewing him about sordid allegations concerning Sai Baba, a cult leader who thinks he is some sort of god. The Minister’s openly intimidatory remark toward the journalist which sounded like “do you know my status,” made me wince, not because it came from a member of the world’s largest democracy, but because it sounded so familiar. I could have sworn I was hearing it from one of our very own Government Ministers, right here in South Africa, or our President himself. You see, it’s become common-place in South Africa, for elected public officials, Executive,  Senior and Junior, down to the lowest clerk to show utter disdain and contempt for the ordinary people who are responsible for them holding those positions.

The culture of entitlement has permeated every sphere of public office. Even organizations such as the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), which are aligned with the ruling political party, and CEO’s of state-owned Utilities such as Eskom, the power supplier, have become accustomed to displaying a total lack of respect and contempt for the ordinary citizen, while openly enjoying the patronage and protection of the parent body, the ANC. And just as Sai Baba evidently enjoys both Police and Government protection in India, the ANC’s minions, who are regularly accused of fraud and corruption, do so here in South Africa as well.

But, this self-serving culture by public officials is not limited to India and South Africa. Until only recently, the great United States of America, that bastion of freedom and justice, the apparent model of democracy, had a President who could fit the mould of a common dictator quite easily. And just a few hours ago, I read an article Jamaican Bureaucrats Do Not Serve the People, by a retired cardiologist, Basil Waine Kong, returning from the USA to his home country, about his displeasure and disappointment at what he found there. It was chilling, because he might as well have been writing about South Africa.

Even though this is a world-wide phenomenon, I am concerned more with South Africa and our immediate problem. The great Nelson Mandela must surely be highly aggrieved at what has happened to his beloved ANC. This organization is a ghost of its former illustrious self. The ANC of today is a rotting carcase, populated by slimy maggots who pose as leaders of the people. For years they have fed off the largesse of the people who put them into power, but now that the rotting carcase that was once the great ANC no longer gives them the cover of virtue and honour, they are openly feeding on each other too. In-fighting is tearing apart the ass-end of this carcase from the head-end, but you would be hard-pressed to know which maggots are inhabiting what end at any one time.

What recourse does the ordinary person have to fight this scourge of governmental disparagement? I turned to the only true god of enlightenment, Google, for answers and asked the question What can people do if government does not serve the people? And guess what? I could not find any reasonable answers. In fact Answers.com has this to say: This question has not been answered yet. Does this mean we are doomed to suffer government tyranny for ever? Does someone have an answer, which does not involve revolution again?