Friday, May 25, 2012

The Spear of the Nation - A closer look at Zuma

UPDATE: The ANC controlled government has used one of its censor agents the Film and Publications Board have bizarrely rated this political painting and given it a rating of PG 16. This Parental Guidance rating of 16 is politically motivated and only applies to South Africans. So ignore the PG warning if you are from outside South Africa.

Please click on the link above if you are under 16 and are waiting for your parents permission. 

Well, a lot has happened recently that I believe deserves some social commentary. In the recent, "Spear of the nation" escapade a whole can of worms has been opened and in the process exposed some pretty extreme hypocrisies.

The purpose of this article is to show the world the hypocrisy South Africans live under, and how a pseudo-issue created by the African National Congress (ANC) can spin out of control.

Lets first start with the painting the caused this whole raucous. It is a painting by Brett Murray titled, "Spear of the Nation". The painting is part of Brett Murray's, "Hail to the Thief II" exhibition that was up until recently on display at Cape Town's Goodman Gallery.

This picture has many meanings. In fact a couple of you might actually feel that this picture looks familiar and you would not be wrong. The picture was inspired by a propaganda picture of Lenin as shown below.

The artist (like many other political artists around the world), used his painting to try articulate the emotions he was feeling (which is actually shared by many South Africans).

I guess you are wondering why the artist felt the need to paint Jacobs penis into the picture?

Well, President Jacob Zuma is allegedly a well known womaniser. Jacob Zuma has 4 current wives (he had two others, but one committed suicide - blaming Zuma and the other divorced him). He currently has around 22 children (with a possible 14 out of wedlock). Jacob Zuma has also been charged (and later acquitted) of rape. 

Many South Africans are pretty upset about all of this. Not only from the lack of decency with his serial womanising, but also with the fact that South Africans have to foot the bill for all the "First Ladies" he decides to take on.

Now dont get me wrong. I have no issue with someone who wishes to be polygamous and if they want to  sleep with as many women as he wants, but I do have a problem when that polygamous womaniser is the president of South Africa and South Africans end up getting the short end of the stick helping Zuma support all these women. 

In South Africa, HIV/AIDS is a serious issue. What type of message do you think a president who sleeps with so many different women sends out?

So what about the "Commander in Thief II" title for the exhibition. Where does that come from?

Before Jacob Zuma became president of South Africa he was involved in a corrupt arms deal. It is an unresolved issue. A judge found one of Zuma's benefactors guilty, but due to political interference, Zuma himself was not found guilty. 

The benefactor that was found guilty is a corrupt chap by the name of Schabir Shaik. What made all South Africans even more angry, is that after Schabir Shaik was found guilty he was imprisoned. Then Schabir Shaik complained that he had a, "life threatening illness" and was moved to a comfy prison hospital (this is despite the fact that hundreds of South Africans in South African prisons with real life threatening illness`s are not given treatment).

To make matters worse Schabir Shaik was recently released from prison and placed under house arrest because of his "terminal condition". Schabir Shaik has no terminal condition. He is not dying. He is not sick. Schabir Shaik has since been seen on many expensive golf courses and fine dining restaurants. This to South Africans is perhaps one of the worst travesties of justice we have ever seen. South Africans are so upset about this travesty that on several occasions Schabir Shaik has been beaten up on a couple of occasions (once on a golf course and once outside the mosque he frequents).

There are many other examples I can give on why Jacob Zuma was given the title, "Hail to the Thief II", but I think the couple I have shown should have given you a good understanding of where Brett Murray is coming from. 

So what was President Jacob Zuma's response to this painting. Did he handle this in a mature way like many others political leaders around the world or did he throw his toys out the cot and behave like a spoilt dictator? Ill let you decide.

The response from the Presidency was one of indignation. Jacob Zuma has mobilized the Ministry of Justice to press charges of crimen injuria with the police against the artist, the gallery and the City Press (a media house that is reporting on the issue and which refuses to allow the ANC to muffle its voice). 

Some of you who know Jazob Zuma and his all out assault on the media, will remember that Zuma over reacted to a political satire cartoon done by Zapiro (a famous political satire cartoonist) and is currently suing Zapiro

The ANC seem hellbent on trying to muffle the voice of the press. First we had the 2009 Film and Publications Board Amendment Act which was one of the signposts in our descent into censorship. It reversed the fine free speech-oriented 1996 Act.

We also have the ANC trying to push another censorship bill through our government. The Protection of State Information Bill. It basically allows the ANC to hide all their corruption from the view of the public. 

This is all part of a greater campaign by the ANC to muffle the press to polarize ANC supporters into supporting the ANC and Zuma.

So what has being the reaction of Zuma supporters?

Well the spokesman for South Africa's largest rural Christian church (Shembe Church), Enoch Mthembu, has come out in full swing. He is already inciting his followers to stone Brett Murray and has insinuated that all white people sleep with prostitutes

Zuma's support base seem to share the same views as the leader of the Shembe Church with calls for genocide against white people happening left, right and centre online.

We also see supporters from Jacob Zuma's ANC defacing the painting on display at the Goodman Gallery.

So how does a real leader react to political satire and political spoofs like we see from Brett Murray? We do not have to look any further than the leader of the opposition in South Africa. Premier Helen Zille. 

Recently her face was superimposed on a pornography picture... and her reaction? Did she try muffle the press? Did she cry (Like when Zuma's lawyer broke down into tears over the issue) ? Did she even get angry or upset?

I would also like to point at another example of more mature statesmanship. This coming from a source I personally would not support politically (being that I am a liberal). The right wing conservative Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper was also recently the subject of an artist's political satire artwork.

What was his reaction? None. One of his ministers did tweet with a laugh saying, "everyone knowns Stephen Harper is a cat person". 

So what can we conclude from this whole escepade? Well we know for sure that the over reaction by the ANC and its supporters is a pseudo-issue. We also know that other (non-totalitarian) state and political leaders do not over react like our corrupt President Jacob Zuma has reacted.

So why did he react and rile up his supporters like he has? To stoke the flames of racism within his own party. The more racist ANC supporters are... the less likely they will vote for someone else. The race card is the only card the ANC have left to play. Unlike other political parties they cant expect to be supported on excellence.

Lastly. Is the "Spear of the Nation" racist?

The simple answer. No. It has nothing to do with racism. This has everything to do with Jacob Zuma's alleged womanising and the way he has raped both our country and judicial system. It has absolutely nothing to do with race. The racist issue is an issue created by the ANC to rile up its support base. In fact, the only reason they are calling this paining racist is because a white person painted it. Which in itself is racist!

Let me prove this statement. Over a year ago a black artist by the name of Ayanda Mabulu painted a picture of Jacob Zuma naked. Not only that, Good ol Desmond Tutu was also painted in less than flattering light.

This painting also made the press (Cape Argus), and a couple of people frowned upon is graphic depiction of some of our political leaders. No shouts of racism (even though this artist regularly paints white people as pigs). No calls for strikes or stoning's or attacks on the artist. Why not? Because the artist was not white and the ANC could not turn this painting into a political scoring pseudo issue.

Not only that. Brett Murray is a well known anti-Apartheid activist! Brett fought the racist Apartheid regime!

So just the very fact that people are calling this painting racist is racist in itself. 

Well Zuma's court case is starting. The lawyer is already playing the race card, so I would suggest everyone packs their bags because he is going to take us on one giant attempted guilt trip. I expect the word, "Apartheid" to be mentioned at least 100 times during trial. Even though the "Spear of the Nation", has nothing to do with either Apartheid or racism. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Torrents vs Newsgroups - Which one is best?

For many years now I have used many different file sharing technologies. From the original BBS boards, then onto IRC DCC servers, Napster, torrents and now newsgroups. I often get asked. Which is better? Newsgroups or torrents?

After much testing and investigation I now have the answer for you. It depends.

Each technology has its advantages and disadvantages. I will try detail them out in this post.


Torrents work by giving you a link that connects you directly to many other file sharers at the same time. The basic idea is that you download a small piece of the file you are looking for from many different locations. This is a peer to peer technology.


- Torrents are a lot better for larger files (over 5GB in size). Generally it is easier to find a complete series or large application to download via torrent websites than it is to find via newsgroups.
- It is easier to find old and more obscure data with torrents than it is with news groups.
- Torrent applications are better written and more sophisticated than their newsgroup counterparts.
- Torrent websites are almost always free.


- If a file is badly seeded torrents can be very slow.
- Often slower downloads than newsgroups.
- It is easy for other people in a torrent swarm to record who is downloading what.

Example of a torrent website:
Recommended software to download torrents:


Newsgroups are a giant server, or collection of servers that serve files to clients. Generally a large file is broken up into many smaller files and then you download a .nzb file that allows you to connect to all these separate files to download them and then rejoin them. This is a server to client technology.


- New files come down at full speed on most paid for newsgroup servers and some free newsgroup servers
- New files appear quicker on newsgroups than they do on torrent websites.
- Generally your downloads are significantly more private with only the server operator having access to who is downloading what.


- Complete series are near impossible to obtain. You would have to download an episode at a time.
- The retention time on a lot of newsgroup servers mean that a lot of the time, older files you are looking for will no longer be available.
- Public newsgroup servers have dismal performance and normally to get the file you want you will need a paid for subscription from private news server providers.

Example of a Newgroup website:
Recommended software to downloads .nzb files:

So in the end what is best for you?

Well it depends what you want and your requirements. If you want the quickest downloads for the latest files and you are paranoid about privacy. Newgroups are the better way to go. The downside here is that to get a quality service you are going to need to pay.

If you want to download complete series, older files, completely free service and are not too paranoid about privacy. Then torrents are the way to go.

All in all, torrents are more versatile than newsgroups, but each system has its place.

Cecilia Makiwane Hospital - an example of unhealthy public healthcare


I live in Buffalo City in the Eastern Cape. In Buffalo City we have two large public hospitals. Frere Hospital and  Cecilia Makiwane Hospital. Recently a couple of friends and co-workers have had to use Cecilia Makiwane Hospital and I would like to write about their experiences and use these experiences as examples of how badly the ANC manages public health care in the Eastern Cape.

Before you think I am some right wing crusader, I would like to make it crystal clear that I am a bleeding heart liberal and I am certainly not against public health care. I am actually a huge proponent of it. However, I am a realist and I understand that public health care is very difficult to manage and if not managed correctly it leads to disaster. Like in the case of Cecilia Makiwane Hospital.

The Administration and Management of Cecilia Makiwane Hospital

The first thing you will notice when you walk into Cecilia Makiwane Hospital is that there is very little organization. It appears that the last thing on the minds of upper management at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital is the idea of having a competent and functional administration.

As you walk in you notice giant plasma screens everywhere (that in the 5 times I have been to Cecilia Makiwane Hospital... have never been switched on. Guess someone scored in a useless tender there). The next thing you notice are the hundreds of people aimlessly milling around and waiting for service.

There is no order in this waiting. No lines, no cues, no one managing all the sick people coming in. You basically have to work your way to the front of the cue and hope that you are at the right cubicle. If you are lucky enough to have chosen the right cubicle you then have to pray to your creator that the person on the other side of the glass is willing to help you. From my personal experience, about three quarters of the time you are ignored as the administration clerk behind the window finds some excuse as to why he or she does not need to work.

When you finally do find someone to assist you it is almost always with an attitude and the perception you get is that you should be grateful that the clerk even bothered to acknowledge you exist.

Its really frustrating standing there. Waiting for several hours, only to watch lazy administration clerks idly chatting to each other while drinking coffee and ignoring all the people that are in urgent need of assistance.

The Dermatologist

The dermatologist working at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital is perhaps one of the least qualified humans to be working in health care that I have EVER come across. A female friend of mine was worried about a mole on her back and went to visit the dermatologist (there are very few dermatologists in Buffalo City). The dermatologist at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital is an elderly lady by the name of Dr Le Grange.

Anyways, my friend goes and asks her about her mole, and to ask  Dr Le Grange the best method of dealing with it.  It is alleged that Dr Le Grange looked at my friend as though she is crazy and tells her there is nothing about moles she needs to worry about, and that the best thing she could do for herself was to go lie in the sun without sunblock.

My friend has a fair complexion and was a little worried about this advice as she was always told that going out into the sun without protection was actually bad for your skin. After voicing this to the dermatologist she was met with a rather surprising response from  Dr Le Grange is alleged to have instantly responded with, "Don’t believe that. You do not need sunblock. Sunblock is a scam run by the sunblock people to make more money, the sun does not cause skin cancer" and, "skin cancer is not that bad, all your ancestors had it".

Another story involves a family member that went to see  Dr Le Grange. My sister (due to the lack of dermatologists in Buffalo City) went to see  Dr Le Grange. She got some shocking advice. She was told that moisturizers and facial cleaners were useless and then she was prescribed some medication. When she went to the pharmacy to get the medication that  Dr Le Grange has prescribed she was told that the medication was out of stock as  Dr Le Grange had been prescribing the same medication to everyone of her patients that day!

The last story I want to share about the infamous  Dr Le Grange involves another doctor who works at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital with her. It is alleged that this doctor got an infection underneath one of her nails and went to see  Dr Le Grange. She was then allegedly informed by  Dr Le Grange that she refuses to treat the infection as the patient that came to see her had long nails with nail polish on.  Dr Le Grange refused to treat her claiming, "I do not treat dolled up patients".

This is probably the first doctor that I have met that believed in big pharma conspiracy theories while punting an anti-science and anti-medicine world view.

If our public health care was run like the most successful western public health care systems, Dr Le Grange would have been fired and sued a long time ago for malpractice. It is only the incompetence of the administration Cecilia Makiwane Hospital and the lack of quality oversight that allows Dr Le Grange to continue peddling her unscientific quackery.

The Pharmacy

The pharmacy at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital I have heard many stories about. Just today I heard a story about a pharmacy assistant in the pharmacy that is so careless... she regularly almost kills patients. The examples I heard of today were pretty hair raising. Both the incidents I am about to describe happened on the same day. Both incidents happened because of the same incompetent pharmacy assistant and the lack of competent oversight of the pharmacy assistant by the pharmacy management.

In the one case, a young child came in for some medication to treat his ADHD. The child was instead given very powerful anti-psychotic medication designed to be given to fully grown adults with intense paranoid schizophrenia. Needless to say, there were some undesired side-effects and the distraught parent brought her “zombiefied”child back a few days later for the correct medication. In the other case, a patient looking to get their prescription of muscle relaxants was given strong anti-diabetic pills!

The last thing I want to speak about with the pharmacy at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital is the high levels of theft. It is an open secret that the expensive medication there is being robbed blind. That medication is designated for the poorest and weakest of our society, yet some criminal elements within Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, feel that it is their right to steal from the weak and poor. Apparently the medication that has gone missing there amounts to "millions of rands worth".

Many years ago an elderly gentleman tried to address the theft and took the issue to his superiors and complained. That night he was visited by six men in the middle of the night at his home. All six men had giant knives known as "pangas".The poor old man had one of these blades placed against his throat and was warned that if he continued to investigate the matter he would be killed. Needless to say, to protect his own life, he stopped.

The staff transport

While on one of my long waits at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital I sat there chatting to a staff member who was telling me about their staff transport woes. Most of the staff who work at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital live in Buffalo City. Since Cecilia Makiwane Hospital is a little out of town, there is a transport system to assist them getting from Frere Hospital to Cecilia Makiwane Hospital.

The staff are meant to be fetched at 7:15AM to be at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital by 7:45AM. In reality this translates to the staff being fetched closer to 8:15AM and only arriving at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital at 8:45AM.

The transport for the staff often comes in the form of an unroadworthy minivan. So unroadworthy that on several occasions, the staff transport has been pulled over by local law enforcement authorities and impounded. Leaving the staff to have to walk 15KMs to work.

When the staff vehicle is not being impounded the staff have to put up with reckless drivers that often hit speeds of "180 km's per hour". You can imagine how terrifying this must be, doing those types of illegal speeds in an unroadworthy vehicle with an incompetent, careless driver


The underlying problem here is the complete lack of competent administration staff and a complete lack of oversight. Bad staff can basically get away with anything as it’s near impossible to fire someone in the government health system, and the unqualified ANC cadre deployed administration means that you have a hospital administration that lacks both the compassion and skills to be running a complex entity such as a public health care centre.

Complete reform of the Cecilia Makiwane Hospital administration needs to happen. Someone needs to go into Cecilia Makiwane Hospital with a big stick and remove all the rotten and corrupt apples. The remaining administration needs to go for management training lessons. Until they do, Cecilia Makiwane Hospital will always be known as the "baby killer hospital".

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

20 important modern social liberal quotes

I thought I would put together 20 great quotes to inspire today's modern social liberals. 

“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
~John F. Kennedy
“We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” 
~Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
“The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.”
~Robert Kennedy
“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
~Abraham Lincoln
“I believe that there should be a very much heavier progressive tax on very large incomes, a tax which should increase in a very marked fashion for the gigantic incomes.”
~Theodore Roosevelt
“To impose taxes when the public exigencies require them is an obligation of the most sacred character, especially with a free people.”
~James Monroe
“I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education.”
~Thomas Jefferson
“In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”
~Thomas Jefferson
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower
“It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”
~Theodore Roosevelt
“If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
“It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
~Hubert H. Humphrey
“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.”
~Hubert Humphrey
 “Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
“I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt