Selector Bobby Strange

March 31, 2009

Bob’s Bazaar: Spring Bling From Zimbabwe!

Filed under: Foreign Affairs — bobbystrange @ 2:04 pm

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Click the image above to view a number of beautiful items for sale sent to me from Zimbabwe, where my friend, Tsoriyo Mai Tsungi, lives under the repressive regime of Robert Mugabe. After years of runaway inflation, poor economic management, political violence and the closing of schools, out of work teachers like Tsoriyo are struggling to put food on the table, despite previously being part of Zimbabwe’s fabled middle class, once one of the most educated and prosperous in Africa.

ALL PROCEEDS from the sale of these items are sent directly to Zimbabwe so she can support her family. Each piece is unique, comes in a batik pouch and includes shipping, as well as the knowledge that you’ve helped someone out in a time of need. Send an email to nolan.robert@gmail.com with the item number you’d like to purchase, and payment instructions will follow. Many thanks (or as they say in Zimbabwe, Tatenda)

February 26, 2009

Obama Discovers the ‘Shock Doctrine’

Filed under: Foreign Affairs,Only in America — bobbystrange @ 8:07 pm

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It is often noted that the Chinese character for “crisis” is the same as “opportunity”. While I don’t know how factually accurate this is, I do know that governments take advantage of major crises to execute their policies. Said policies are, more often than not, based on ideology rather than solutions to the actual problem at hand. This theory was addressed in Naomi Klein’s excellent, but radical, book “The Shock Doctrine,” which details the darker side of U.S. foreign policy as policymakers seek to exploit instability to further U.S. interests in locations from South America to Asia, and pretty much everywhere in between. Tsunami in Sri Lanka? Perfect opportunity to relocate those pesky local vendors and build western-financed luxury tourist resorts. Economic collapse and protests in Boliva? Opportunity to impose the so-called Washington Consenus economic model. Insecurity in Iraq? A boom for American industry building a green zone.

But exploitation of instability is not limited to foreign ventures. It’s a domestic, and bipartisan, endeavor as well. George Bush famously ushered in the “security industrial complex” following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Reconstruction efforts in the Gulf Coast took advantage of the situation to change the demographic make up of part of New Orleans, as well as its education system. And now, our current President Barack Obama, is using the economic meltdown to push forward radical reforms in health care, education and energy. His Vice President Joe Biden has apparently learned to value of disaster capitalism, and says so himself in this Washington Post article. And it’s not been lost on those to the right, as witnessed in this Wall Street Journal editorial.

As always, the question remains, will such efforts – again based more on ideology and pre-conceived thoughts rather than immediate solutions to the crisis at hand – align enough in order to resolve the current economic situation? Doubtful. But either way, the Obama administration seems ready to fight to make its platform a reality. We may end up a nation of insured, hybrid-driving,educated Americans with no jobs.

February 24, 2009

India’s Real Slumdog’s

Filed under: Film,Foreign Affairs — bobbystrange @ 8:28 pm

A photo essay from Foreign Policy Magazine of India’s slums in the wake of this week’s big win for the film Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars.  You can view the entire essay, which has some really popping images, here.

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November 15, 2008

War Child

Filed under: Foreign Affairs,Music — bobbystrange @ 3:49 pm

There is a new documentary out about Emmanuel Jal called War Child, about the  Sudanese child soldier turned East African rap star.  His music fuses traditional Sudanese, even Arab vibes with hip-hop, and his verses, of course, are shockingly biographical.  I interviewed him a few years ago for Global Rhythm, and penned this article about the young phenom.

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November 11, 2008

The Last Person on Obama’s List

Filed under: Foreign Affairs — bobbystrange @ 2:27 am

Man, talk about the world going nuts on Obama.  Even Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe has indicated he’s ready to sit down for a chat with the new, half African U.S. prez, to discuss U.S. relations with the country Bob has all but ruined.  Seriously, Mugabe is the LAST guy on Obama’s list of important people to sit down and chat with.  That’s not to say the situation in Zimbabwe isn’t in need of American attention.  Indeed, it’s the hope of Bobby Strange that Obama will build on what was perhaps Bush’s only positive foreign policy success – Africa.

A close next to last person is Iran’s Amadinejad, or this (politically articulate) Hamas spokesman.

Here is a picture I took of Mugabe at the African Union summit meeting in Accra, Ghana, in 2007.  He’s reading an article called, “How to ruin a country, alienate your people and become an international pariah.”

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November 10, 2008

Jacked in Jerusalem

Filed under: Foreign Affairs — bobbystrange @ 1:45 am

Everyone is jacked in Jerusalem.  Even these monks had at it over one of Christianity’s holiest sites, the Church of the Sepulchre.  We were forwarned of such unruly activity in our recent trip to the Holy Land.  Our Palestianian and/or Arab Israeli driver put it best when he said, “Bless them all, big and small, down by the wall,” which he quickly followed with the alternative version of the sweet phrase, “#$&*@ em all, big and small, down by the wall.”

October 24, 2006

We are no longer the knights who say “Nigh”

Filed under: Foreign Affairs,Only in America — bobbystrange @ 3:05 pm

President Bush and his administration announced this week they would no longer use the term “stay the course” to describe U.S. policy in Iraq, since Americans are misinterpreting the description they say is no longer accurate. “The characterization of, you know, ‘it’s stay the course’ is about a quarter right,” said the president, noting that his administration is “constantly adjusting the tactics,” according to the Washington Post. No word yet on “cut and run” or any of the other rhetorical verbiage coming out of the White House in past years.

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