Craig:  …his weight with the commoners could unbalance everything. The Balliols will kiss his ass, so we must.

Braveheart 1995

He’s obviously a nice man, therefore a dangerous man. We don’t want nice men in the Vatican.

Richard Dawkins on Pope Francis

On the old Get Smart TV series  there was a character called Simon the Likable played by talented comedian Jack Gilford.  Simon was a KAOS agent described by the Chief thus:

That man is the most ruthless cunning evil and treacherous KAOS agent in the entire world… …and a heck of a nice guy

Simon was so likable that people could simply not resist him.  There is a famous scene where the Chief moves forward to arrest him and instead asks for a wallet sized picture of him to keep.

That’s all I could think of when I heard the news of Pope Francis being named Time Magazine’s Person of the year.

At a time when the limits of leadership are being tested in so many places, along comes a man with no army or weapons, no kingdom beyond a tight fist of land in the middle of Rome but with the immense wealth and weight of history behind him, to throw down a challenge. The world is getting smaller; individual voices are getting louder; technology is turning virtue viral, so his pulpit is visible to the ends of the earth. When he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church.

Now there is no question that Pope Francis is an excellent choice, but when you read the long article about their winner it’s almost as if they choose him not because is a faithful shepherd of the Catholic faith, but despite it:
Part of the conservative critique is that Francis’ words and gestures cannot be fully reconciled with the legacy of previous Popes. Apparently aware of that potential for controversy, Francis has been skillfully citing the writings of former Pontiffs, stressing continuity. As the first Pontiff to be ordained a priest after Vatican II, he has been generous to the opinions of John XXIII, who convened that reformist council. But it is a delicate task given that Francis has one thing no Pope has had since the 15th century: a living predecessor. While Benedict resides in quiet retirement in the Vatican Gardens, he remains a potential rallying point for those who fear that Francis may hold the doctrinal reins too loosely. So far, Francis and Benedict appear to get on well: both men flatter each other, and Francis was especially generous with quotations from Benedict in his recent exhortation. In any case, Francis needs to keep his predecessor on his side, for it was Benedict who codified the conservative views of John Paul II, the hero of many Catholics, particularly those on the right of the spectrum.

Of course we shouldn’t discount the certainty of high sales for an issue featuring Pope Francis on the cover, particularly in the Latin community in their decision but that last paragraph is the key.  The press has done all they can to convince themselves, evidence to the contrary not withstanding , that this Pope is something other than what he actually is.  Like the Nobel committee that essentially gave Barack Obama a peace prize for not being George Bush, the left in general has been celebrating Pope Francis for not being Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict.  This selection, Francis’ lifelong accomplishments aside,  brings that to mind.

But the truth is, if you consider the church your enemy (like Dawkins) this is another in a long line of disastrous positive media coverage of this Pope.  The time will come where the left will simply not be able to tolerate Francis’ message and will demand the Media pivot before his My Chcemy Boga moment arrives.

In fact even in this writeup Time prepares for the moment that is to come:

It is important to remember that Francis has been Pope for less than a year, and a papacy can change character in midstream. In 1846, Pope Pius IX came to the throne as the great hope to liberalize Catholicism but by the end of his pontificate had become the great champion of conservatism—the font of infallibility and angry confrontation with secular powers like the newborn Italian state. The entrenched dynamics of the church can transform the would-be transformer.

When the left finally turns it will not be an outcry against the first Latin American Pope, it will be a sigh of disappointment that the Church was just too strong and changed him.

The Irony?  Francis would agree, he would say that the love of Christ has changed him and will do his best to assist Christ and the Holy Spirit to make that change throughout the entire world.

The Ukrainians are revolting, in a big way: After their president Viktor Yanukovych essentially sided with Putin and gave the European Union the raspberry by withdrawing from the EU association agreement just as it was due to be signed last month, hundreds of thousands of protestors gathered in Kiev, blocked and occupied government buildings, and took down a statue of Lenin.

While Yanukovych has said that government officials could visit Brussels this week to resume talks on the EU association agreement, the protestors are braving the snow and staying put.

Contrast that with Venezuela, with the government incarcerating small business owners in its latest move towards full Communism. Right now, in Venezuela, you will find:

Thousands of Venezuelans have fled the country (with some boosting Miami real estate prices). Following Sunday’s municipal election and its predictable results, a friend snarked, “What Venezuela needs is a few hundred thousand Ukranians.”

It’s unlikely that Venezuelans will rise en masse:

  • Chavismo is still popular among the larger number of uneducated, poor people who may actually believe that raiding electronics stores is a good idea. There’s no equivalent of Putin to hate or fear, in spite of the pervading Cuban presence.
  • Opposition leaders are demonized, de-humanized and physically attacked on the floor of the National Assembly.
  • There’s still a mindset of “every man for himself“.
  • The government controls all propaganda outlets – even using ambulances to post campaign materials.
  • Proceeds from oil still pay for a lot of “freebies”.
  • Venezuela is new to Communism.

And,

So don’t expect millions of Venezuelans to storm downtown Caracas anytime soon.

 People who say, “I vote for the man, not the party” are therefore fools, blown around by the wind and prone to believe whatever they see on TV, because when you vote for the man, you get the party

RS McCain: Pulling at the other end of the Rope

Now that the Mandela memorial service is over and his funeral service a day away it’s time to look at the state of South Africa since his initial election.

Electorally it’s no surprise to anyone that since 1994 Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress has dominated the electoral landscape.  Mandela own election was practically a foregone conclusion.  He won the election in 1994 with over 62% of the vote and his African national congress won 252 seats in the 400 seat parliament.

It’s fair to say that problems of transitioning out of white minority rule was the primary duty of Mandela and by any standard that was admirably done.  His decision to not seek re-election and give up power that he could have kept was key to ensure democratic rule.

But the nation didn’t just get Mandela in power, it got the ANC in power and while Mandela didn’t run in 1999 the ANC did

In 1999 ANC did even better than in 1994 electing Thabo Mbeki with 66.35% and winning 266 seats in parlament.  In 2005 the trend continued as Mbeki was reelected with 69.69% of the vote and the ANC parliamentary majorly went to 279 seats.

Mbeki resigned in Sept 2008 over a corruption case involving Jacob Zuma who would win the presidency in 2009 for the ANC with 65.9% of the vote and 264 seats figures better than Mandela’s initial election but the lowest level of support for the ANC since then.

So the ANC, the party of Mandela has ruled the Country for 20 years. with solid overwhelming majorities.  In fact the irony is ANC’s  worst electoral showing was the year Mandela ran.   The question is:  What kind of job have they done for South Africa?

Well one simple measure of how a country is doing is the unemployment rate.  Let’s look at the IMF figures:

In 1990 the year that Nelson Mandela was released South Africa’s unemployment rate was at 18.78% doubling the 1980 rate of 9.24%.  By the first year of free elections (1994) it was up to 22.89%.  There was a sudden drop in the rate in 1995 to 16.71% but by 1997 the rate was back over 20% (20.95%) and since h left office in 1999 through 2010 the rate has averaged 25.76%  from a high of 30.41% in (2002) and a low of 22.23% (2007).

The current rate in the 3rd quarter of 2013 according to government stats is 24.7%

**************************************************

Another excellent measure of a county is life expectancy at the time of Mandela’s election let’s take a look at the trend since 1985

South Africa life expectancy 1985-2010
South Africa life expectancy 1985-2010

You would think that the end of incredible repression would increase, not decrease life expectancy.  A lot of this has to do with the AIDS rate:

More than five million people in South Africa are HIV-positive – about 10% of the total population.

Last year more than 260,000 people with Aids died – almost half the figure of all those who died in the country.

and the future is not bright:

At least 28% of South African schoolgirls are HIV positive compared with 4% of boys because “sugar daddies” are exploiting them, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has said.

He said 94,000 schoolgirls also fell pregnant in 2011, and 77,000 had abortions at state facilities, The Sowetan newspaper reports.

So under ANC rule South Africa has a quarter of its work force idle.  More than a quarter of schoolgirls HIV positive and  Life expectancy down a full 1/6.

And we haven’t even talked the murder rate at 31.3 per 100,000 (by comparison even with the Cartel violence Mexico’s murder rate is 22 per 100,000)

As the LA times reports

South Africa has some of the world’s highest rates of violent crime, with casualty figures mounting like those in a small war. The country had slowly whittled down its murder rate since 1995, but this year’s marginal increase raised fears that the battle against crime may have stalled.

The Institute for Security Studies, a South African think tank, said the figures were presented in a “vague” manner, making analysis difficult. Only the percentage change was provided, without the raw figures.

In fairness the murder rate the year Mandela was elected it was 64.9 higher than Detroit.  Now they are doing better than Detroit.  Let’s look at where South Africa’s killings are taking place

Residents in low-income areas, the analysis shows, are far more likely to be murdered than their middle and high-income counterparts. Half of South Africa’s murders occur in only 13% or 143 out of 1 127 of police precincts.

A vast majority of the average of 43 murders that take place daily do not make the news. They happen in areas where crime and violence are part of the daily despair of residents who already feel marginalised and forgotten by media and politicians.

Remember the person writing this article is a person trying to downplay the violence in South Africa.

As for Rape:

Interpol says South Africa is the world’s rape capital and less than 1% of rape cases are reported to police. According to a reliable website that compiles rape statistics this has had a detrimental effect on successfully pursuing rape cases in the country.

How bad is it? This bad::

South Africa’s parliament issued a reprimand to police Monday after media outlets reported that police stations across the country were running out of rape kits

Mind you all of this is after two decades of rule by the African National Congress duly elected and regularly re-elected by the free people of South Africa.

Without question the removal of the evil Apartheid laws was a positive good and franchise being extended to all citizens is simple justice.  A People must have the right to govern themselves and a government that doesn’t reflect the consent of the governed is unjust.

What is not axiomatic is that a popularly elected government will govern well.

The people have freely chosen to elect The African National Congress for 20 years by landslide majorities.  That party has failed to stem unemployment,   has seen life expectancy drop by nearly a decade during their rule and been a haven for murder and rape.

Yesterday spectacle to the world showing how South Africans  has progressed under the management of the leftist African National congress.  It’s been a great time for the country “except maybe for the people who got killed or raped.”

I’m sure some will think this a rather hard critique, some might even throw an epithet at me for it (remember there are five a’s in raaaaacist).  To those critics of all races, creeds and political beliefs I ask this question:

Would any one of you choose to move to such a country, raise your children in such a country or encourage your sons and daughters to do so?

Update: While the media is busy discussing Angelo-American-Danish relations almost nobody in media seemed to notice or bother covering the booing of the President of South Africa

But apparently the South African president did

Perhaps the booing might have something to do with this:

The question is: Will they make the ANC pay at the ballot box?

Last week, when President Obama reverted to the topic of “income inequality,” I was reminded of one of things I used to complain about to God. Why did people who were “worse” sinners than I get the things I’ve always wanted but didn’t have?

Christians are exhorted to keep their eyes on Jesus—the Way, the Truth and The Light–the dispenser of all good things. It is one of the good examples of tunnel vision. Conversely, when one’s eyes are not on the actual source of blessings, but, rather on the perceived blessings of one’s sibling or one’s neighbor, those eyes become blinded by false vision.

You begin to think that God likes others better than He likes you; or you think that God is unfair or that He is really the capricious, randomly-acting god described in other belief systems. Or, you decide that there is no god and that all is fair in “love” and, most especially, in war. You may even begin to believe that those who have been blessed more than you have, got that way by taking your blessings from you. From there, it’s a short road to doing the same– taking what you want by force. Or, perhaps, you will vote for those who promise to do it for you.

More false vision: allegedly, income inequality varies directly with poverty levels. However, no causal chain is ever described and no historical example is ever given for this “calculus” (algebra, actually).

Measuring self against others, whether you come out “better” or “worse,” always leads to folly. If you believe yourself to be better, you become prideful and arrogant—“high and lifted-up.” And if you believe you have come up short, you become angry, bitter, resentful, and, sometimes, violent.

And you become ungrateful.

The Left’s concern for income inequality was always meant to inflame covetousness and all the sins of commission that flow from that source.

Abel knew.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!