Ethiopia 3rd in the word in countries that love America

Ethiopia 3rd in the word in countries that love America

The Pew Research Center recently released a study on how people in 39 different countries around the world view the US. One of the questions they asked was whether or not respondents had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the US.

The results varied pretty widely. The US is very popular in sub-Saharan Africa: Five of the six countries with the highest-net-favorable views of the US were in that region. The US maintains positive approval ratings in most other regions as well, including Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

The Middle East is more of a mixed bag. While 39% of Lebanese respondents had a favorable view of the US, a full 60% had an unfavorable view. Residents of Jordan had the absolute lowest net approval of the US among the 39 countries in the study, with 83% unfavorable compared to just 14% favorable.

As tensions build over economic sanctions and the simmering conflict in the Ukraine, Russians strongly disapprove of the US, with 81% unfavorable and just 15% favorable. There has been a huge decline in Russian views of America over the last few years: As recently as 2013, a majority of Russians had a favorable view of the US.

Here’s the net favorability, or the percentage of respondents who have a favorable view of the US minus the percentage who have an unfavorable view, for each of the 39 countries in the study. For more detail, check out the Pew study here:

Call to Action: Rally to demand President Obama Cancel his trip to Ethiopia

Call to Action: Rally to demand President Obama Cancel his trip to Ethiopia 

By DC Joint Task Force

In the aftermath of flawed elections in which the authoritarian TPLF tyrants declared 100% victory after slaughtering civilians, incarcerating journalists and decimating any credible opposition, Obama’s planned trip to Ethiopia is a mockery of democracy, a blatant expression of contempt for the oppressed people of Ethiopia, and an affirmation of his administration’s hypocrisy and obscene lack of respect for the very principles upon which the US constitution are founded.

The egregious violations of all known rules of good governance and democratic principles by the authoritarian regime in Ethiopia are well documented.

In a recent report Amnesty International acknowledged receiving “a number of reports concerning the deaths of political opposition figures in suspicious circumstances, as well as of a pattern of human rights violations against political opposition parties throughout the election period.”

Earlier, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EOM) acknowledged the refusal of the authoritarian regime in Ethiopia to abide by its recommendations for free and fair elections and decided not to send observers to monitor the flawed elections.

In its January report, Human Rights Watch  noted: “The Ethiopian government’s systematic repression of independent media has created a bleak landscape for free expression ahead of the May 2015 general elections.  … At least 60 journalists have fled their country since 2010, while at least another 19 languish in prison. The government has shut down dozens of publications and controls most television and most radio outlets.”

Despite these and other concrete pieces of evidence about the totalitarian nature of the ethnic-based regime in Ethiopia, the Obama administration has repeatedly expressed its ignorance of the deteriorating human rights condition in that country, and directly gave encouragement to the dictators in power to intensify their abuse of human rights and deviance from good governance.  We all recall the shameful remark made in April by State Department’s undersecretary of state for political affairs, Wendy Sherman, when she arrogantly asserted: “Ethiopia is a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair and credible.”

Over the years, the people of Ethiopia have hopelessly watched with dismay how, in the name of security cooperation, successive US administrations have disregarded their plights, and emboldened the tyrants with billions of dollars in aid, and with diplomatic and military support. However, to date no other US President has had the disgrace to openly embrace the crimes of the tyrants with a trip to the city of Addis Ababa whose streets are awash with the blood of peaceful protesters, human rights activists, and opposition leaders.

Obama’s planned trip has predictably sent shockwaves among his Ethiopian-American supporters who had believed him when he declared:  “… just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter or forget our principles.”

It is now time for all genuine Ethiopians and others who stand for justice, freedom and democracy to rise in unity and demonstrate their revulsion, frustration and anger against the latest affront by this administration.

We call upon all Ethiopians and other pro-democracy groups and individuals to wage peaceful demonstrations in Washington, D.C., turning the upcoming 32nd Annual Sports and Cultural Event to be held in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area from June 28 to July 4, 2015, as an opportunity to remember the victims of tyranny, to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Ethiopia, and to denounce the misguided policy of the Obama administration toward Ethiopia.

Let us all join the Washington Post and echo its admonition:  “Mr. Obama’s visit to Ethiopia sends the wrong message on democracy!

The Protest Day
July 3rd 2015 at 9:00 AM
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Addis Ababa to Get 50pc Budget Raise

Addis Ababa to Get 50pc Budget Raise

(Addis Fortune) — The City Administration of Addis Ababa is to see a significant jump in its budget for 2015/16, with an addition of 11 billion Br. Close to 20 billion Br budget was alloted for the current fiscal year. Yet, the budget bill is up for a final approval by the City’s all too EPRDF Council.

Budget experts at the Bureau of Finance & Economic Development (BoFED) are now putting a final touch on the bill, after receiving budget proposals from sectoral institutions, agencies and project offices under the city administration. Heads of these agencies and project offices will soon defend before the City Council the preliminary budget councilers are expected to be approve.

Source: Addis Fortune 

Djibouti, Ethiopia, S. Sudan and Sudan to Form New Trade Corridor

By Muluken Yewondwossen

Djibouti, Ethiopia, S. Sudan and Sudan agreed to form a logistics authority called the Djibouti Corridor Authority (DCA) and a One Stop Border Post development project to facilitate the transit of goods and passengers. The authority will aim to accelerate economic activity in the region and is expected to start operating by the end of the year.

The four countries reached a consensus to form the authority in order to develop the Djibouti corridor and benefit all member nations. The formation of the sub-regional body provides an efficient and effective route for the transportation of goods by land and sea between the respective countries.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) drafted the regulation that will govern the DCA.
The draft regulation was tabled for a two-day expert panel discussion on June 22 at Friendship International Hotel in Addis Ababa. Ministers and representatives of the member states amended the draft, which was forwarded for approval on the third day.

The document states that countries should grant each other the right of transit in order to facilitate the movement of goods throughout the region.

“The Djibouti Corridor is available to imports and exports from corridor member states as an efficient economic addition to other trade routes, probably the most cost effective,” the draft document explained.

The DCA will also facilitate mutually beneficial business partnership between member states. The cost effective system deployed by the authority will encourage the implementation of ongoing bilateral projects.

Customs offices present on either side of a given border are also obliged to improved customs transit procedures and the implementation of joint customs control.

Tekletsadik Reba, State Minister of Transport, told Capital that the DCA will significantly benefit member countries, as it will considerably reduce transportation cost.

“We can be competitive in the international market if the transport cost declines significantly,” Tekletsadik noted.
The two landlocked countries in the corridor, Ethiopia and South Sudan, will gain from increased access to the two ports in Sudan and Djibouti, experts commented.

Ministers of the four countries are expected to sign the amended agreement in Djibouti next month.
Djibouti and Ethiopia have expressed their interest to host the DCA secretariat. The headquarters’ location will be decided at an upcoming conference in Djibouti.

Another similar organization, the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA), was established in 1985 in Eastern Africa by five countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

Donat M. Bagula, Executive Secretary of NCTTCA, briefly presented the operation of the authority and shared experiences with the participants.

The Northern corridor is the transport corridor linking the landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi with Kenya’s maritime port of Mombasa. Similarly, the Northern Corridor serves the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan and Northern Tanzania.

Source: Capital Ethiopia

Why is ESFNA festival missing in most online Medias?

Why is ESFNA festival missing in most online Medias?

June 30, 2015

By Teshome Debalke

Strange thing is happening to the 2015 Ethiopian Sport Federation in North America this year. Most of the online Medias that post irrelevant news, dramas and all kinds of diversions buried their head not to cover the largest and the most popular Ethiopians gathering anywhere in the world.

What possible reason any Media would ignore the most important events in North America?

You guessed it; as I have been saying; the online Medias should be investigated one by one for “Head in the sand journalism? “ Here again the most important festival in North America is missing. In short, they don’t want Ethiopians to come together to celebrate and enjoy their people’s companions and love of country.

The last time I checked that is what Woyane continue to do for the last 40 years. Does it mean; if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck it is a duck…in short are the Medias becoming like Woyane?

The way I see it; looking at most of the online Media I wouldn’t know the festival is being held this week (from June 28-July 4). According to ESFNA this year festival is bigger than ever. Ethiopian day would be the biggest celebration never seen in the 32 years history of the Federation.

No single events bring Ethiopian together like ESFNA outside Ethiopia. Many more events surrounding the festival are schedule for get together; political, religious, civic organizations get together, art, fashion poet reading to mention a few. If such extravaganza is not news to be promoted to bring more Ethiopians together what could possibly be worthy of news for Ethiopians?

I looked over 10 online Media and found, except two none of them even mention the festival exists. Some are so desperate for anything to post daily they choose drama, comedy, individual stories, news that happened in foreign nations. Even the Washington DC based online Medias skipped the festival altogether while the local American Medias cover the biggest events in the Washington DC area with arms opened.

One wonders why Medias that consider themselves Ethiopian don’t want Ethiopians to come together celebrating their people. Is Woyane has something to do with it?

You be the judge for yourself and demand an explanation from one and all.

It is time to demand the Medias to shape up or ship out. If they are bribed or politically motivated to keep quite sooner or later they will be caught. If you ask me, there is no whatsoever excuse a Media skips the most popular gathering of Ethiopians in the Diaspora unless it has an agenda.

Let us be there to celebrate the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) 2015, Washington DC: with the largest Ethiopian flag display in the history of our nation and enjoy our people’s unity.

Long live Ethiopia and Ethiopians

Ethiopia: The TPLF Banana Republic

TPLF Banana Republic

Ethiopia: The TPLF Banana Republic
June 29, 2015

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

Author’s note: As I was archiving my commentaries from years past for public access on my website (, I discovered commentaries and articles I had written on the print edition of Ethiopian Review Magazine (ERM) before that magazine went online in 2000.Ethiopia: The TPLF Banana Republic

I had vague recollection of various articles on Ethiopia and the politics of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) I had written for ERM as its senior editor in the 1990s.  But I had no recollection of their content. ERM was in print publication from January 1991 to 2000 when it began delivering content online. I do not have all of the print issues of ERM for the nine year period.  Luckily, with the help of attentive friends, we were able to track down a few of those articles recently; and we expect to find many more.  

I offer the foreword above for a reason. I had often informed my readers that I had little interest or involvement in Ethiopian politics or affairs until the Meles Massacres in 2005. As the world remembers, that year several hundred unarmed Ethiopian demonstrators were shot and killed or wounded with the knowledge, direction and authority of the late Meles Zenawi.

I want to correct the record now and apologize to my readers for suggesting that I was involved in Ethiopian affairs only after 2006.

I have now determined that I have indeed been involved in the debate over Ethiopia’s destiny barely two months after the TPLF thugs took power.

As my commentaries from 1991-92 show, I was present when the TPLF serpent was just breaking out of its shell in 1991. Almost 25 years ago, I predicted the TPLF would become a vampire-state like no other seen in Ethiopia.

In 2015, my predictions have came to pass. In 2015, Ethiopia has a vampire banana republic; or as  George Ayitgtey would say, “a state that sucks the economic vitality out of [its]people.”

Mea culpa! (my fault) for not remembering.

There is, I believe, a gap between 2000-2005 in my commentaries on Ethiopia, but I cannot be sure.

I am sure that whatever articles and commentaries I have written before 2006 will be made available to my readers in the Archives section of my website.

I will share all of my writings on Ethiopia in the 1990s and even in the 1980s to the extent we will be able to track them down from a variety of sources.

I cannot explain how or why I forgot so many pieces of writings I have done on Ethiopia from the 1990s or perhaps even the first half of the first decade of the millennium.

It is true that I have written hundreds of fully litigated legal briefs, motions and writs in state and federal courts during that period. That experience could make anyone forget a lot of things.

Perhaps it could it be one of the perils of writing and reading“too much”?

It could be said that I suffer from an “affliction” known as furor scribendi (Latin for “rage for writing”). It is an “affliction” I developed as a teenager writing occasional pieces for some of the popular monthly magazine in Addis Ababa in the late 1960s.

I think what Gustave Flaubert (author of “Madame Bovary”) said better  explains my situation: “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”

In every Monday commentary I write, I discover what I believe and do not. In so doing, I “forget” what I had written before because I am set to discover what I believe and do not the following Monday and on and on.

Perhaps Omar Khayyám’s, the great Persian poet and philosopher, verse best explains my “memory” loss about things I have written in the past:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Having writ, I moved on! Having writ, I forgot! I do not regret a word of what I wrote!

However, I do regret and apologize to my critics who delighted in saying I am a johnny-come-lately to the debate and discussion over Ethiopia’s problems and destiny.

I ask them now to enjoy some of my commentaries from the very early days of the TPLF seizing power. They will find out that I was as principled in my criticisms of the TPLF two months after they seized power in July 1991 as I am today in July 2015.

I have been on the TPLF’s case for 24 years (I didn’t even know it).

I have nothing personal against any one of the TPLF leaders or their minion.

There is no question I oppose their unjust policies and criminal practices which divide the Ethiopian people by ethnicity, religion, language, region and gender.

Now that Ethiopia has become a bona fide vampire “banana republic” under the auspices of the U.S. State Department with the TPLF dictatorship winning 100 percent of the seats in “parliament” and in the regional “legislatures”,  I thought my readers would find my commentary from 24 years ago interesting and principled, if not somewhat forebodingly prophetic.

In July 1991, I sensed a gathering cloud of fear and loathing in Ethiopia.

In July 1991, I foresaw Ethiopia’s choice to be “clear” if the TPLF insisted on staying in power by force of arms: “a farewell to arms or a farewell to Ethiopia.”

In 2015, I believe the ONLY choice is a farewell to the TPLF!

In 1991, the gathering cloud of fear and loathing foreshadowed a Noahic flood.

In 2015, the gathering cloud of fear and loathing foreshadow no flood; Heaven forbid no blood.

But I MUST tell the people, “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!”

The original commentary reposted below appeared in the July 1991 issue of Ethiopian Review Magazine and is available HERE.


A word or two about the TPLF’s vampiric Banana Republic of Ethiopia

There are kangaroo (monkey) courts.

There are also kangaroo (monkey) elektions.

On May 24, 2015, Ethiopia held a kangaroo (monkey) elektion.

On June 22, TPLF spokesman Shimeles Kemal said his TPLF party won its monkey elektion by 100 percent because of its success in spurring the Ethiopian economy.

Kemal did not say, “Ethiopia’s economy has grown by double-digits for the past decades.”

The reason is simple. I proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the TPLF claim of double-digit growth is a lie, damned lie and a statislie (statiscial lie).

Kemal said, “Voters have credited the ruling party for the economic progress it introduced in the country. They want the continuation of this policy. In view of the weak, fragmented opposition and the lack of viable alternative, it was very likely that the ruling party would win in a landslide.”

Economic progress or economic window dress?

To me, a declaration that the TPLF won the elektion by 100 percent is not a report of final elektion result, it is the final, ultimate insult.

A 100 percent election result is not merely an insult to democracy.

A 100 percent election result is an insult to our intelligence by a bunch of riffraff ignorant thugs!

Elektion“trash that deserves to be thrown in the garbage”

What do I think of the May 2015 TPLF elektion?

I think of the May 2015 TPLF elektion in the same way Meles Zenawi thought about the European Union Election Observer Mission (EUEOM) election report in 2010.

Meles described the EUEOM election Report as “useless trash that deserves to be thrown in the garbage”.

Well, I say the TPLF’s May 24, 2015 elektion is a heap of useless trash that deserves to be thrown, along with the TPLF, into the garbage bin of history.

In July 2007, Meles Zenawi said, “The Ethiopian government isn’t willing and is unable to be run like a banana republic from Capitol Hill.”

In 2015, Meles’ prophetic words have actually come to pass.

Ethiopia has become vampire “banana republic” run NOT from Capitol Hill but from the U.S. State Department.

In April of this year, U.S. Under Secretary of State and the chief U.S. negotiator in the Iran nuclear arms talk, showed up in Addis Ababa and declared out of the blue, “Ethiopia is a young democracy” and that the TPLF’s May 24, 2015 elektion will be “free, fair and credible”.

Sherman’s TPLF toadies did not disappoint.

Last week, the TPLF declared it had won all 546 parliamentary seats and all 1,984 of the seats in the regional “legislatures”.

In May 2014, I predicted the TPLF would win the May 2015 elektion by 100 percent.

I was right on the money! I am not bragging; just sayin’!

I must confess I and my colleagues got a few nice laughs out of the TPLF’s kangaroo (monkey) elektion victory.

The jokes were rolling, some of them admittedly off color; they can’t be repeated in polite company.

What’s the difference between a democracy and a thugmocracy? In a democracy your vote counts. In a thugmocracy, your votes are counted by thugs.

What do I really think of the TPLF’s May 2015 elektion?

I think of what President John F. Kennedy once said about the inevitability of change. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Kennedy understood his country’s history well. The English colonial government made peaceful change impossible in the American colonies leading to the American Revolution in 1776, an event memorialized in the American Declaration of Independence and celebrated annually on July 4.

In just 4 days, we celebrate American Independence. I look forward to the day when all Ethiopians celebrate their independence form the TPLF!

How time flies? From 1991 to 2015!

“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind,” wrote Nathaniel Hawthorne (author of “The Scarlet Letter”), the 19th century American novelist.

What a dark and gloomy shadow of fear and loathing the TPLF has cast on Ethiopia over the past quarter century!

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Ethiopia: Beyond Fear and Loathing?

(Ethiopian Review Magazine, July 1991)

In less than a month Mengistu Hailemariam and his Derg have been swept from the Ethiopian political landscape. Victory for the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Front (EPDRF) came quickly and Addis Ababa was captured with minimum resistance.

The political implications of this victory however remain unclear. Historic ethnic antagonisms and rivalries continue to inspire an atmosphere of fear and loathing.

The EPDRF is viewed with considerable suspicion because it is regarded as a `Tigrean organization’ with a hidden political agenda. Non- Tigreans generally dismiss EPDRF’s claims of multiethnic representation as crass political machination. Amharas resent a `Tigrean victory’ because they feel displaced from what they perceive to be their traditional role in government. The Oromos view the situation as a change without a difference.

Other ethnic groups feel they are pawns in a long-standing Amhara-Tigrean power struggle. Many remain suspicious and apprehensive about EPDRF’s intentions or its willingness to share political power. In its military victory, the EPDRF remains under intense internal and international scrutiny.

EPDRF Statements

EPDRF leaders have so far shown extraordinary political skill and astuteness in the maelstrom of fear and loathing. EPDRF Chairman Meles Zenawi, aged 37 (whose real name is Legesse Zenawi), has appeared on television and responded to questions in Amharic. He gave assurances that Ethiopia’s flag will not be replaced by the Front’s flag. He expressed his “hope” that the EPDRF will be “an important element in a transitional government.” He has declared the aim of his interim government as one of “establishing a broad-based government to facilitate democratic elections.” He identified “stabilization of the security situation in the country” and famine relief as the top priorities.

Meles has stated that detained former government officials will be brought to trial once a provisional government has been established. He promised there will be no vendetta killings or retribution.

The most auspicious of the EPDRF statements announced the scheduling of a `political conference’ on July 1 to establish a `broad-based’ provisional government. EPDRF’s support for a referendum in Eritrea remains to be the most volatile and emotional issue to many Ethiopians.

EPDRF Actions

EPDRF forces have not openly gloated over their victory. They have been restrained in their use of violence and have refrained from large-scale vendetta killings. They have banned public demonstrations including those supporting them. Scores of youthful anti-American demonstrators were killed or injured by EPDRF forces while gathered before the U.S. Embassy. Several hundred former officials who have been placed in detention, including Legesse Asfaw and Tesfaye Wolde Selassie, are awaiting trial. Independent sources and western journalists confirm that the detainees are being treated well.

EPDRF leaders have called on the country’s bureaucrats to seek their cooperation in reactivating civil administration. Kebele committees were established to conduct house-to-house searches for weapons. The highway to northern Ethiopia which had been closed for years is now open and famine relief activity appears to be underway.

EPDRF’s Critics

EPDRF’s critics remain unconvinced. Skeptics see sinister motives behind EPDRF’s actions. Some believe that EPDRF leaders are merely buying time until they are better able to consolidate their authority. Others claim that EPDRF leaders are cleverly manipulating democratic symbols to ultimately impose one-party Tigrean rule. It is also said that the EPDRF is merely responding to external and internal pressures and will show its implacability once it is firmly entrenched. Some even cynically suggest that the EPDRF aims to eventually breakup Ethiopia so that it can merge Tigre with Eritrea and establish a new state.

What is to be Done?

The EPDRF has taken over state functions but does not regard itself a formal governmental body. EPDRF officials have said that they will defer decisions unrelated to public security until the establishment of a provisional government. This includes the trial of former officials who are in detention.

Winston Churchill once remarked: “The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.” The EPDRF and the provisional government it will help set up are likely to face their greatest challenges in victory than in their struggle to oust Mengistu. They have inherited complex problems.

The new government must walk a tightrope over a country teetering on the precipice of ethnic fragmentation, economic disaster and cataclysmic famine. Good intentions and good faith will not suffice.

The EPDRF leadership is `between a rock and a hard place’ particularly on the question of socialism. For many EPDRF leaders the decline and irrelevance of socialism must be utterly disconcerting. Arguably, many of these leaders including Meles, reportedly a one-time admirer of Stalinist Albania and a Marxist student activist while a medical student at Addis Ababa University in the early 1970s, attained their political education and maturity in the uncompromising tradition of Marxism-Leninism.

They looked towards Albania for a model. Ironically, three weeks after EPDRF’s victory Albanian communists voluntarily handed over power to non-communist elements effectively ending communist rule. Now the EPDRF finds itself facing a critical choice: muddle through with an unworkable and irrelevant ideology or openly renounce socialism and embrace democratic rule.

Statements by Meles suggest that the EPDRF is indeed shopping for some form of liberal democracy; and not only because socialism has been discredited but also because the democratic way is the only game in town. The US and other Western countries have preconditioned any cooperation and assistance on the establishment of democratic institutions. US official Herman Cohen has obliged Meles by sending him the political writings of the framers of the American constitution.

Liberal democracy, at least in the American tradition, presupposes constitutional government with specific guarantees of individual freedoms. The powers of government are subject to constitutional constraints. The American experience also argues strongly for the division of powers between the national government and local governments under a system of federalism. In practice, periodic elections, party competition, free speech and freedom of political association are essential. Conflict is managed through compromise, negotiation and tolerance of different views. Economically, liberal democracy presupposes a free enterprise system with the role of government limited to regulatory functions.

In a society with little democratic tradition and a long history of dictatorial rule, the birth of constitutional government will be painful and even chaotic. In such circumstance, the sword often appears instinctively more appealing and efficient than laborious negotiation and compromise. But violence is its own antithesis. It begets hatred, fear and more violence. The EPDRF and the provisional government must recognize that Ethiopia can no longer be yoked by violence to preserve its integrity or attain harmony.

Ethiopia’s new leaders must be genuinely committed to democratic values and institutions. Thomas Jefferson aptly observed: “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.” The new leaders must not only educate but also define a new vision for the society. They must undertake a means to change the way Ethiopians think not only about government, society, and politics but also themselves.

Burden of Education

The educational task is a unique one. Ethiopians must first unlearn and discard long-held prejudices, unfounded fears and blind ethnic aversions. We must learn tolerate each other in our diversity of views and beliefs. We must learn to respect and celebrate each other’s ethnic heritage. Only then can we begin to appreciate the innate equality of all human beings and the egalitarian value of democracy.

To Heal a Nation

There is great expectation about the July political conference. EPDRF leaders have pledged to facilitate broad-based participation in the political dialogue. However, they have not been clear on the mechanics of participation. Understandably, it is a delicate task. Many troubling questions remain unanswered.

Will participants to the conference be invited? How will groups or representatives of groups be selected? Will EPDRF leaders chair the conference? Will members of the former regime be allowed to participate? Will organizations that have opposed EPDRF in the past be permitted to participate? Will EPDRF insist on certain portfolios such as defense in any provisional government? Where will the conference be held? If in Addis Ababa, what guarantees will be given to participants? Will the conference be televised or broadcast on radio?

If the conference is held as scheduled, EPDRF’s leaders will likely experience their first baptism in the fire of democratic politics. They should be prepared to face challenges to their legitimacy, competence, sincerity and intentions. As conference organizers with colorable title to leadership, they must show considerable political will and skill. They must strive to harmonize the diversity of views and opinions. They cannot afford to be temperamental and must show an infinite capacity to negotiate and compromise. No better time to lay the groundwork for genuine democratic government than now. In the end what is at stake is not merely the construction of civil government but the healing of a nation wounded deeply by famine, poverty, and ethnic warfare. The choice is clear: A farewell to arms or a farewell to Ethiopia.

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Twenty four years ago in 1991, I felt the choice with the TPLF in power was a “farewell to arms or a farewell to Ethiopia.”

In 2015, I believe the ONLY choice is a farewell to the TPLF.

It would be ironic to see the TPLF that cakewalked into power, firewalk out of power.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” John F. Kennedy

Ethiopia to Widen Choices over Ports

Ethiopia to Widen Choices over Ports

By Business Week

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Ethiopia wants to reduce its dependency on the Port of Djibouti by developing links with Mombasa Port in Kenya, Berbera Port in Somaliland, and Port Sudan in Sudan writes JOHN SAMBO.

Presently, well over 90% of Ethiopia’s imports and exports pass through Djibouti Port at the mouth of the Red Sea.

In February this year, Workeneh Gebeyehu, the Minister for Transport while briefing  the Federal legislature said, “Five to 10% of the country’s imports are planned to come through the port of Berbera (Somaliland), and we will be looking for proper ports for different areas of the country. But the Port of Djibouti continues to be the major one,” he said.

Djibouti port is administered by DP World Djibouti, a subsidiary of DP World. This global handling company was formed in September of 2005 with the integration of the terminal operations of the Dubai Ports Authority (DPA). It currently  oversees 65 marine terminals across six continents, including Africa’s biggest port, Durban in South Africa.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is backing the Ethiopian move to widen its options of ports.

In November 2014, a 12 member Ethiopian delegation was in Somaliland to inspect port and fuel storage facilities.

According to Kenya Engineer, the use by Ethiopia of Mombasa Port will serve as an outlet for goods mainly from the southern part of Ethiopia.

The publication states, ‘Using the port and the Mombasa Corridor will also connect Ethiopia to the markets of the East African Community (EAC). Road works are underway in Ethiopia and will connect to Kenya’s fully paved roads leading to Mombasa Port.

‘The approval process is also underway in Kenya to widen the road from four to six lanes from Mariakani to Mombasa. At least some of the Ethiopian goods destined for export markets will make use of the expanding port facilities in Mombasa.’

Police free 47 Ethiopian and Eritrean hostages in Sudan

Kassala, Sudan

Police free 47 Ethiopian and Eritrean hostages in Sudan

 By MiddleeastMonitor

Sudanese police say they have freed 47 foreign nationals being held by human traffickers in the east of the country.

 Police director of Kassala state in eastern Sudan, General Omer Almukhtar, said Saturday that the people were freed after heavy clashes between security forces and 10 heavily armed men.

The general revealed that the hostages - all adult males - were from Eritrea and Ethiopia. He said the traffickers were also foreign, but refused to be drawn on their exact nationalities.

 "We clashed with the gang groups at the Bahar area on the border between Sudan and Eritrea and we managed to free the hostages and arrest the perpetrators," he said.

 Human trafficking is widespread on the border between Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Hundreds of Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees in Sudan have been abducted and taken as hostages for ransoms.

Some human rights organizations have accused officials in the local border authorities in Sudan of participating in the trade.

Sudan has refuted these claims.

Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) 2015 Opening Ceremony

Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) 2015 Opening Ceremony, Washington DC: The largest Ethiopian flag display?

Ethiopian government is increasing investment in space science research and development

Ethiopian government is increasing investment in space science research and development

By Tesfa Mogessie


The Entoto Space Observatory and Research Center, the first of its kind in Ethiopia, says it has been preparing to launch a satellite by 2025, enabling the Horn of Africa country to join the international space station.

The observatory was established three years ago by the Ethiopian Space Science Society (ESSS) at the top of the Entoto Mountains – a chain of mostly eucalyptus strewn hills in the northern part of the capital, Addis Ababa.

The ESSS was founded 11 years ago by 47 volunteers from different scientific fields to create public awareness around space science issues.

The society began by putting the needs of Ethiopian space science in perspective.

According to Dr. Tulu Beshah, division head of the observatory’s Earth Observation, the satellite launch will mean that Ethiopia no longer has to seek data from the satellites of other countries.

Ethiopia spends close to $100 million per year in order to access information gathered by other satellite launching nations, according to information obtained from the observatory.

“We will launch a satellite into space by the year 2025,” Dr. Tulu said in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in his office at Addis Ababa University’s Technology Faculty Campus.

The information collected by the satellite will be used by Ethiopian students and also researchers from other countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.

The observatory also signed a memorandum of understanding with Finland Space Science Technology last year, which Dr. Tulu described as crucial to helping his country’s dream come true.

However, a shortage of skilled workers and modern technology has become a constraint on development, Dr. Tulu said.

Courses on space science are being offered to students in universities to help fill the loophole in skilled human resources, he said.

“We are working to provide space science courses to students in more universities,” said ESSS General Manager Amare Babu.

Amare said that space science had long been neglected in the country, hinting that the ESSS will be turned into a government run-institution in the near future to raise its public profile and solve its funding issues.

The Ethiopian government seems to be increasing investment in space science research and development, recently laying the foundations of a rocket launching pad in Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia.

The “Jiggery Pokery” Jurisprudence of Justice Scalia

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia

The “Jiggery Pokery” Jurisprudence of Justice Scali

By Alemayheu G. Mariam

The angry wasp in the colony of worker bees

Hell hath no fury than a dissenting Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court!

When Scalia wins and writes for the majority, he floats like a butterfly. Did anyone say, “gloats”?

When Scalia loses and writes his dissents, he stings like an angry wasp. (I did not say WASP.)

When Scalia is on the losing side of a case, he is not just a sore loser. He predictably transforms himself into a judicial geurilla fighter. He uses his judicial quill like a bush machete. He takes no prisoners. He leaves no witnesses.

In his dissents in King v. Burwell, (“Obama Care” case), in Obergefell v. Hodges (“same sex marriage” case), Scalia  showed his consummate skills in the art of judicial guerrilla warfare.

He employed his prodigious rhetorical skills and penchant for verbal pyrotechnics to humiliate, eviscerate and incinerate his colleagues who do not agree with his antediluvian constitutional views.

For too long, possibly due to his withering barrage of verbal assaults, self-effacement or simple tolerance to promote collegiality on the Court,  Scalia’s colleagues have tolerated his judicial antics and temper tantrums. They have  routinely allowed him free rein to conduct his verbal hit-and-run operations with his acerbic dissenting opinions. It is possible some may have been shell shocked by his relentless diatribes in his dissents.

To add insult to injury to Scalia, in Burwell  and Obergefell, his  comrades-in-arms had gone AWOL from their posts and publicly and unashamedly betrayed the righteous cause.

The Chief Justice himself had raised the white flag and surrendered to “Obama’s Army”; and for the second time.

“O Captain! my Captain!…” / the fortress of “original meaning” is undone … / the prize we sought is [lost],” to hearken back to Walt Whitman.

Justice Anthony Kennedy? Who said Benedict Arnold!?

Paraphrasing the words of the Bard of Avon, what is Scalia to do with “disgrace and [judicial  mis]fortune in[ his] eyes” consigned to write dissents?

Should he “alone beweep [his] outcast state,/ And trouble deaf heaven with [his] bootless cries,/ And look upon [him]self and curse [his] fate?

No! “The croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.”

In Burwell and Obergefell, Scalia put the old adage to work: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

He decided to up his game. Forget judicial guerilla tactics. The equivalent of a judicial kamikaze attack on the U.S.S. Supreme Court is what is needed.

Scalia crashed and burned on the deck of the U.S.S. Supreme Court; but not without inflicting potentially long-lasting damage to the dignity, credibility and  moral authority of the nation’s highest court.

What made Scalia go ballistic in Burwell and Obergefell?

It is clear in Burwell and Obergefell that Scalia had snapped, experienced the judicial equivalent of a nervous breakdown. He came unhinged.  He plain freaked out!

Could he have undergone a partial spontaneous self-combustion?

Scalia’s dissents in both cases are a disconcerting display of judicial temper tantrums. He whined. He griped. He groused. He bellyached. He gnashed his teeth and wagged his finger.

Scalia lambasted the 6-member majority in Burwell for its transmutation of “Obama Care” into “SCOTUS Care”  (Supreme Court of the Unites States care).

He accused the Burwell majority of “interpretive distortions” and pilloried them for casually “ignoring the Constitution.”

He castigated the majority for “favoring some laws over others” and for being “prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.”

He mocked the majority’s decision as “somersaults of statutory interpretation” which will go down in legal infamy.

He virtually called the 6-member majority legislative imposters in robes who have commandeered Congress’ power of the purse.

He characterized the majority’s opinion as “quite absurd”; and used antiquated slang to describe their interpretive approach as “pure applesauce” and “jiggery-pokery”. In other words, the majority’s opinion in Burwell was merely a judicial sleight of hand. To elucidate with another antiquated slang, to Scalia, the majority in both majority opinions in both cases were pure horse feathers. (I did not say bull feathers.)

Scalia said the majority in Burwell was laboring  under a delusional messianic complex when it “rescued” the ACA from its proper consignment in the dustbin of legislative history. He argued, “But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved…”

He preached to his errant and ne’er do well colleagues they cannot save Congress from its original sin of “drafting errors”; they cannot rewrite the law to conform to their Panglossian views of constitutional perfection by judicial decree.

Scalia magisterially concluded, “Under all the usual rules of interpretation the Government should lose this case.”

In footnote 22 of his dissent in Obergefell, Scalia showed his total contempt for Justice Anthony Kennedy:

If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.
Not even thirty pieces of silver to become a “fifth vote”?

He told the Obergefell majority to “Ask the nearest hippie” if they want to find out about the nature of marriage.

With such utterly mean and contemptuous language, I cringed thinking about Scalia’s descent. Tasmanian Devil?

Is there an equivalent for Darwin’s “Descent of Man” for Sarcophilus harrisii  to more scientifically trace his lineage?

But Justice Scalia while edifying his colleagues on their lineage, hides his own.

Was it not Chief Justice Roger B. Taney  who wrote in Dred Scot:

In the opinion of the court, the legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show, that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument… They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.

Was it not Associate Justice Henry Brown who begat the ignoble doctrine of “separate but equal” in Plessy v. Ferguson:

 A statute which implies merely a legal distinction between the white and colored races — a distinction which is founded in the color of the two races and which must always exist so long as white men are distinguished from the other race by color — has no tendency to destroy the legal equality of the two races…
Legislation is powerless to eradicate racial instincts or to abolish distinctions based upon physical differences, and the attempt to do so can only result in accentuating the difficulties of the present situation. If the civil and political rights of both races be equal, one cannot be inferior to the other civilly or politically. If one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane.
Scalia’s constitutional interpretation is guided by the simple principle, “Scalia’s way or the highway!”

In sum, Scalia in his dissents managed to paint a portrait of the U.S. Supreme Court worthy of comparison to a Third World kangaroo court.

In a fleeting moment, I wondered if Scalia wondered what would happen to the  6.4 million people who would have lost their health insurance if he had gotten his way.

The Grand Inquisitor doesn’t have time to wonder about such silly questions. He is in hot pursuit of constitutional heretics on the Supreme Court for immolation at the stake.

The answer is obvious, of course. They will all be eating cake, stupid!

Obergefell v. Hodges: A judicial call to arms?

In his dissent in Obergefell Scalia raised the specter of judicial tyranny and signaled a looming class and sectarian warfare triggered by judicial abuse of power.

In rhetoric impregnated with hyperbole, Scalia warned, “The “Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.”

He complained bitterly that “a system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.”

He accused the majority of power grabbing. “This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government.”

Scalia “doth protest too much”.

Beyond protesting, Scalia tries to rally the “minutemen” to rise up and crush the “judicial Putschists”, the power hungry and hubristic Eastern establishment cabal that run the shadowy judicial junta, deviously plotting to neuter the American people.

It is no exaggeration to say Scalia raised the flag and issued a judicial summons to arms and for class and sectarian warfare.

Scalia wrote,

The Federal judiciary  is hardly a cross-section of America. Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single Southwesterner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count). Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination.

The Supreme Court rules! Nine unelected lawyers have hijacked representative democracy! Call out the minutemen “booted and spurred”, that is, to meet the enemy.

Onward, patriots!

Pogo will be at the other end waiting for Scalia carrying a banner, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

What’s really eating Snarky Scalia?

What is the “clinical” cause of Scalia’s judicial bloodletting?

The spark that set off Scalia’s fuse in the Burwell case is an arcane topic in the law called “statutory construction”.  That is a fancy phrase to describe the analytical process by which judges are supposed to interpret and apply laws written by Congress or the state legislatures.

At issue is the proper statutory construction of legislative language in the ACA providing tax credits. Specifically, what does the legislative language “enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State…” mean?

But Scalia’s issues go much deeper than that. They go to the very bedrock of the American Constitution; and how it should be read, understood and applied in our daily lives.

Scalia says there is only one way of reading, understanding and applying the American Constitution. He says we have to find out the “original meaning” of the Constitution when it was written in the 18th century and apply it squarely to issues and problems in the 21st.

It is like using jiggery pokery astrology, complete with folklore, symbolism and superstition, to examine the ever changing motion of celestial bodies blinded to two centuries of progress in the science of astronomy.

To better understand Scalia’s dissenting conniption in Burwell, a brief background is necessary.

In 2010, there were an estimated  41 million Americans without health care insurance.

Congress passed the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) in 2010 to provide the 41 million plus uninsured Americans a chance to purchase health care insurance and to control the spiraling cost of health care in America.

Republicans in both houses of Congress opposed the ACA, and the law passed without a single Republican vote.

The way the ACA is supposed to work in simplified form is as follows. Each state is required to set up an “exchange” through which people could buy health care coverage.

An “exchange” is an online marketplace, a website, where people can research various options and buy health insurance.

There are exchanges run by the federal ( and state governments. A state may also partner with the federal government and run its exchange.

States can choose to create and run their own exchange. Where there are no state-run exchanges, residents of the state can shop and purchase insurance on the federal “exchange”.

The ACA requires “all U.S. Taxpayers” to obtain the minimum essential insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty, unless they are low-income individuals who may be exempt.

To limit the number of people who would fall in the exempt category, the ACA provided for tax credits (the credit amount for health care insurance which is subtracted from the total personal taxes an insurance purchaser owes) to health care insurance purchasers calculated based on the health plan in which an individual enrolls through the exchange.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued tax credit regulation  implementing the language “enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State…” That regulation made the tax credits available to those enrolled in health care plans not only in the state exchanges but also the federal exchange.

The State of Virginia opted to use the exchange run by the federal government.

A group of Virginia residents challenged the IRS regulation arguing that the IRS acted beyond its authority and contrary to the language of the ACA by making the tax credits available to those who purchased their health insurance through federal exchanges.

In Burwell, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that even though the plain language of the ACA refers specifically to state run exchanges, the language considered within the broader context of the law and the intent of Congress, it is clear that the tax credits were intended to be available through both types of exchanges.

Scalia disagreed and pejoratively characterized the majority’s opinion “SCOTUS Care”.

Judge Richard Posner reviewing “Reading Law”, a book co-authored by Scalia, showed the absurdity of Scalia’s theory of statutory construction by posing a question:

Does an ordinance that says that ‘no person may bring a vehicle into the park’ apply to an ambulance that enters the park to save a person’s life? For Scalia and Garner, the answer is yes. After all, an ambulance is a vehicle—any dictionary will tell you that. If the authors of the ordinance wanted to make an exception for ambulances, they should have said so. And perverse results are a small price to pay for the objectivity that textual originalism offers (new dictionaries for new texts, old dictionaries for old ones). But Scalia and Garner later retreat in the ambulance case, and their retreat is consistent with a pattern of equivocation exhibited throughout their book.

No retreat for Scalia in Burwell.  “Enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State” means only “enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State.”

The “Jiggery Pokery” of Scalia’s Jurisprudence

Underlying Scalia’s bombast, verbal pyrotechnics and rhetorical gymnastics is Scalia’s own “jiggery pokery” of constitutional interpretive methodology called “original meaning.”

Stated simply, Scalia’s “original meaning” doctrine of constitutional interpretation requires judges to read and apply the Constitution based on their approximation of what “reasonable persons living at the time of the Constitution’s  adoption would have understood and declared the ordinary meaning of the text to be.”

In 2005, Scalia in a speech argued,

I am one of a small number of judges, small number of anybody — judges, professors, lawyers— who are known as originalists. Our manner of interpreting the Constitution is to begin with the text, and to give that text the meaning that it bore when it was adopted by the people. I’m not a ‘strict constructionist’… I don’t like the term “strict construction.” I do not think the Constitution, or any text should be interpreted either strictly or sloppily; it should be interpreted reasonably. Many of my interpretations do not deserve the description “strict.” I do believe, however, that you give the text the meaning it had when it was adopted. (Emphasis added.)

In other words, the U.S. Constitution should be read, understood and applied as it was back in 1787.

First, let me note that this is the second time I am engaging Justice Scalia in my blogs.

In January 2010, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

In Citizens United, a divided Supreme Court held that under the First Amendment  corporations and unions have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited funds on campaign advertisements as long as they do not “coordinate” with any particular candidate.  Justice Scalia joined the majority in that case.

Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority in Citizens United held, “Corporations and other associations, like individuals, contribute to the ‘discussion, debate, and the dissemination of information and ideas’ that the First Amendment seeks to foster.”

Although I am and always will be an incorrigible and diehard defender of the First Amendment, I thought the idea that the political speech rights of flesh and blood American voters and disembodied corporate entities are indistinguishable struck me as inscrutably peculiar.

In January 2011, I “engaged” Justice Scalia in my Huffington Post commentary, “Corporations Are Persons, But Women Are Not?”.

Scalia in an interview  said that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not protect women against discrimination arguably because they are not “persons” within the meaning of that Amendment. “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t,” Scalia observed.

Of course, the Constitution does not mention “corporations” either but Scalia and the majority in Citizens United felt they were “persons” under the 14th Amendment deserving of full expressive constitutional protections.

But for Scalia women are not “persons” under the same Amendment deserving of constitutional protection.

It is true that the Constitution does not mention women; and apparently Scalia feels comfortable in saying that it is questionable whether the Constitution disapproves of discrimination against women. “If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, you have legislatures,” Scalia pronounced magisterially.

But how does Scalia reason that an amendment designed to make “three-fifths of other persons” the equal of “free persons,” “citizens” or “people” does not apply to protect women “persons” from discrimination?

Does Scalia mean to suggest women are fractionally lesser than “the three-fifths of other persons” and intentionally omitted from constitutional protection?

Maybe he really believes women are from Venus.

Who really knows the “jigger pokery” jurisprudence of Scalia?

Scalia often speaks passionately of his fidelity to the democratic process.

In 1996, in United States v. Virginia, Scalia was the lone dissenter arguing that “the tradition of having government funded military schools for men (which excludes women) is as well rooted in the traditions of this country. The people may decide to change the one tradition through democratic processes; but the assertion that either tradition has been unconstitutional through the centuries is not law, but politics smuggled into law.”

Obviously, the “people” referred to by Scalia does not include women “people” who are incapable of making changes to tradition or law unless permitted by their menfolk.

Following Scalia’s analysis, it would be up to Congress and the state legislatures to protect women from discrimination. They shall have no refuge in the majestic words of the U.S. Constitution. Their refuge will be in the kitchen or in the bedroom as the plantations were “refuge” to the slaves.

Scalia says, “Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.” To me, that  sounded to like superannuated judicial hypocrisy smuggled into the Constitution.

Talking about judicial hypocrisy, in Bush v. Gore, Scalia had the perfect opportunity to display his commitment to majoritarian democracy. He didn’t take it. He voted with the plurality to stop the vote recount in Florida in 2000 because equal protection required it.

There were many African Americans in Florida whose votes were not counted and denied equal protection in the 2000 presidential election.

Is the bigger fear tyrannical judges imposing their whimsical demands on society, or minorities falling through the Constitutional cracks and electoral crevasses?

Scalia could have been the lone dissenter and shown his “originalist” colors in splendor and commitment to majoritarian democracy shine by letting the vote count to go on in those counties with higher concentrations of African Americans, where there was a high likelihood that their votes were not counted. Rather Scalia concurred and wrote,

It suffices to say that the issuance of the stay suggests that a majority of the Court, while not deciding the issues presented, believe that the petitioner has a substantial probability of success. The issue is not, as the dissent puts it, whether “counting every legally cast vote can constitute irreparable harm.” One of the principal issues in the appeal we have accepted is precisely whether the votes that have been ordered to be counted are, under a reasonable interpretation of Florida law, ‘legally cast vote[s].’ The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to petitioner Bush, and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election. Count first, and rule upon legality afterwards, is not a recipe for producing election results that have the public acceptance democratic stability requires.

I have always wondered if Scalia, before he issued his concurring opinion, had wondered about the original intent of the voters who did not push the pin hard enough through the ballot to detach the chads? Perhaps that is a meaningless question or a question with original meaning.

As I reflect on Scalia’s pathos for representative democracy and judicial submission to popular sovereignty, I recall a few lines from the Bard of Avon:

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
Oh, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

In Obergefell, Scalia admonished his errant colleagues,

Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall. The Judiciary is the “least dangerous” of the federal branches because it has “neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm” and the States, “even for the efficacy of its judgments.”

In response, I would invoke Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

Shame on Scalia

I can imagine why Justice Scalia would publicly and verbally “flog” his colleagues with his dissents that are “a parley to provocation”, to borrow a phrase from the Bard of Avon.

In my own modest diction, I would say he is the bully on the court. He is a judicial bully out of control.

I know why bullies bully.

Bullies bully out of frustration, anger, the need to be feared, to seek attention and just to be mean. Mean is as mean does.

I can imagine him reflecting on the sunset of his own “tyrannical” intellectual rule and role on the court. He despairs because he believes he has finally lost the culture wars. What can he do in his desperation? Act up! Act like a bully!

I regret to say that in reading his dissents in Burwell and Obergefell,  Scalia unleashed “a tempest of provocation” in me, to borrow again from the Bard of Avon.

His contempt and disrespect for the members of the Court who disagree with him first made me cringe in shame, but quickly changed into righteous outrage.

I wonder if Scalia has ever heard of the expression, “Let’s agree to disagree”.

I would expect the type of intemperate language and mudslinging that disgraces Justice Scalia’s dissents from the mouth of drunken sailor unceremoniously kicked out of  law school in the first year. Never from an esteemed member of the highest court in the land.

I have disagreed with far too many decisions of the Supreme Court. I would criticize those decisions, and not always because of deficiencies in reasoning or fact. If neither the facts nor the law are on my side, it makes me feel good to pound the table.

But I would never stoop so low as to mount a gratuitous ad hominem attack on any of the justices.

There could be no rule of law without fair, independent and competent judges. In our Constitution, the Supreme Court is an institution held in great reverence. The Supreme Court is the ultimate symbol of the rule of law in our society. The Supreme Court is also a deeply flawed institution with a long history of imperfections. But we don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Scalia has cast a long and dark shadow of contempt, indignity and derision on the court itself. He has succeeded in painting a portrait of the U.S. Supreme Kangaroo Court.

There is one question that really bothers me about Scalia. If he truly feels and believes the majority in Burwell and Obergefell are so incompetent, misguided and dimwitted, why doesn’t he just resign and return to the paradise of the ivory tower and issue his own version of the Decalogue?

Why would he waste his time with 6 judicial “buffoons” as he presents them to be in his dissents, or waste his breath heaping insults on them?

As a defender of the rule of law, it would be hypocritical of me to stand by idly and watch Scalia publicly excoriating his colleagues as wayward school children and denigrating them as fairy tale writers and delusional  fortune cookie diviners. I am ineluctably drawn into the eye of the “tempest of provocation”.

I apologize to the other justices for my uncharitable views on Justice Scalia’s jurisprudence and his incivility.

In his intemperate language and contemptuous treatment of the justices he disagrees with, he has made me an involuntary accomplice and accessory after the fact to the general disparagement of the highest court in our land.

For that, I say, “Shame on Scalia!”

Scalia, a court jester?

Scalia will continue to crank out his in terrorem  dissents every time he is outvoted on an issue.

He will continue to hack his colleagues with his rhetorical machete.

He will continue to use his sarcasm to ridicule, caricature, deride, scorn and taunt  those members of the court who do not agree with him.

He will continue to spew his venom on the court. To paraphrase the Bard of Avon, “The venom clamors of a mad judge/ Poisons more deadly than a mad dog’s tooth.”

He will continue to insist he is the voice of reason, and those who disagree with him on the court and off are the lunatic fringe.

He will continue to issue bombastic dissents full of sound and fury? But will his dissents signify anything?

What tale will his mean-spirited dissents tell the world?

He will do all these and more standing under the shadow of Momus, the Greek god of mockery, sarcasm and censure.

I am almost tempted to say, hearkening back to the ages, “Foul as it is, the Court itself is defiled by the fouler presence of Justice Scalia.” I won’t say it because that would be Scaliaesque.

But it is all good.

I enjoy reading Justice Scalia’s dissents just as much I enjoy reading “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (I did not say Snow White and the Nine Dwarfs.), “The Gingerbread Man” and “Beauty and the Beast”.

I like Justice Scalia. Not so much as a member of the high court, but as a choleric court jester. Unfortunately he does not make public appearances in the traditional attire of the jester, the brightly colored and tattered clothes, costumes and hats.

A young person I was talking to about Justice Scalia’s jiggery pokery jurisprudence said words to the following effect: Justice Scalia is like the guy who turns off the party music at 11 o’clock because none of the girls will dance with him and then hog the dance floor waltzing from one end to the other by himself making sure no one gets to dance.

Shadow dance, Scalia. Shadow dance!

For every jiggery pokery majority opinion there is an ill-tempered and angry jiggery pokery dissent.


Alemayheu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a constitutional lawyer.

Teddy Afro new song Alhed Ale

Teddy Afro's new song, "Alhed Ale"

More than 70 African Union soldiers Killed in Al-Shabaab Attack on AMISOM base


Islamist militant group al-Shabab killed at least 50 African Union soldiers at dawn Friday and seized control of their military base in southern Somalia.

Witnesses said attackers rammed a car filled with explosives into the main gate of the base in the town of Leego, 130 kilometers south of Mogadishu, then opened fire on Burundian soldiers manning the base.

A spokesman for al-Shabab said more than 50 soldiers were killed, while Somali officials told VOA's Somali service the death toll was more than 70.

Additionally, another 20 Burundian soldiers and 40 Somali civilians were missing, and there were fears that they might have been kidnapped.

A statement from the U.S. Department of State condemned in “the strongest possible terms” Friday’s “horrifying” terrorist attack in Somalia.

The statement added, “We will continue to work with all of our allies and partners to address the shared threat of terrorism and violent extremism” to degrade and destroy terrorists' ability to attack innocent people.

The Somali government said in a statement that it "will not be deterred from achieving its ambitions of peace, progress and prosperity for its entire people and the wider region by the cowardly acts of those who hide behind a bankrupted and fraudulent interpretation of our beautiful Islamic religion.”

This was the latest of several reported al-Shabab attacks since the start of the holy month of Ramadan last week.

Troops from Burundi and Uganda make up the bulk of the African Union force that has battled al-Shabab in Somalia since 2007.

AU troops, together with Somali forces, have pushed the al-Qaida-linked militants out of Somalia's major cities, but the group still controls rural areas and continues to launch attacks.  In April, al-Shabab fighters stormed Garissa University College in Kenya, killing 148 people.

Time to Expose the Brutal Regime in Ethiopia

Time to Expose the Brutal Regime in Ethiopia

By Tefera Dinberu

The US leadership through a wrong foreign policy is denying the over 90 million Ethiopian peoples for sake of a disguise “national interest of the USA”. It is supporting one of the most brutal regimes in the world. It is using tax payer’s money to fund the tyrant regime that stayed on power since 1991 by dominating all political parties illegally and with force and corruption. Democracy is nominally used while the journalists are jailed, killed or are forced to exile. It divided the people ethnically and putting them in constant conflict while exploiting them, evicting the people from their historical lands and birth places while selling land to foreign scavengers with low price for its benefits. While regime in Ethiopia is corrupt, brutal and dictatorial, it brands itself as fighter of terrorism while it leads a state of terror over Ethiopians.

On the other hand the Obama regime denied the Ethiopian people while supporting dictatorship and brutality. Obama actually stood against human rights in Ethiopia. Hence it time to expose the brutal regime so that the leading nation can revise its foreign policy. This can happen if all opposition forces and advocates of democracy and human rights stand together for their common cause. This is the time to show that we have a common enemy. Please stand together and expose the regime at this critical time in history.

Video: Ethiopian Jews face racism in Israel

Ethiopians have long complained about unfair treatment and police violence by Israeli authorities. Thousands of Jews of Ethiopian origin are treated as third-class citizens.

Ethiopia to Host CECAFA as Rwanda Pulls Out

Ethiopia got the chance to stage 2015 competition after Rwanda FA failed to commit to host the regional tournament

By Seth Willis

Ethiopia Football Federation (EFF) will host the 2015 edition of the Council for East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) Senior Challenge.

According to ChimpReports, Ethiopia got the chance after Rwanda FA failed to commit to host the event. The EFF president, Juneydi Basha, revealed the information while urging all stakeholders to help in making the tournament a success.

“Ethiopia will host the 2015 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in November. Let’s all join hands to make it a success. Congratulations!” Juneydi Basha confirmed on his Twitter handle.

The tournament is meant to be an annual event but failed to take off last year after Ethiopia withdrew from hosting it, citing domestic and international engagements as their reason. Kenya are the current defending champions after defeating Sudan 2-0 in a controversial final played at Nyayo stadium in December 2013.

Tanzania is expected to host the Cecafa club Cup also known as the Kagame cup from July 11 to August 2. Kenya will be represented by champions Gor Mahia.

Ethiopian Bank Constructing ‘Tallest Building in Eastern Africa’

Ethiopian Bank Constructing ‘Tallest Building in Eastern Africa’

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Xinhua) — Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) has conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for the commencement of the construction of its new headquarters, which will be the tallest building in the East African sub-region.

The future CBE head office, whose main tower has been designed to have 46 stories and 4 story basement, is contracted by China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).

The modern complex with two adjacent 5-story buildings is to be erected on 18,803 square meters plot of land at the central business district of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

Contracted with an amount of about 270 million U.S. dollars, the project has been scheduled to be completed within 38 months.

With a workforce of 23,000 this time, CBE operates through its more than 950 branches opened across the country and abroad.

Bekalu Zeleke, CBE President, noted that the Bank has always been at the forefront of the banking industry in Ethiopia in all aspects, and has been substantially expanding its services and the workforce.

Speaking at the ceremony, Song Sudong, General Manager of CSCEC Ethiopia, said the new building is a landmark project and would be another example for the Ethiopia-China cooperation.

Video: Child Marriage in Ethiopia's Amhara Region

Short video showing child marriage is still ongoing under TPLF's watch.

Axum: Chronicles of Ethiopia’s Long History

Axum obelisk

Axum: Chronicles of Ethiopia’s Long History

By Adie Vanessa Offiong | DailyTrust

Axum is home to a granite obelisks garden with each one weighing at least 50 tonnes and standing at 24 metres at the least. It has archaeological sites which hold Ethiopia’s history, including its claim of direct linkage to Israel’s King Solomon through Queen of Sheba and the son they had together, Menelik I.

Many became aware of the name Axum, following the widely publicized story in April 2005 of one of its obelisks being returned from Italy 68 years after it was looted from the country. Following this event, Axum has in recent times somewhat earned its bragging rights with its gigantic obelisks and many other historic edifices. It is one of Ethiopia’s most visited historical cities.

Ethiopia’s history is synonymous with the kingdom of Axum whose origin is traced to the middle of the 2nd century BC. Around the 4th and 7th centuries AD, the Axumite Kingdom controlled most of what is Ethiopia today, including territories in the southern parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

The city was a haven for Greek traders and had the same links with India, Arabia, Rome, Egypt and Persia. Away from this fame, many who visit the historic city are lured to it by its many archaeological sites and magnificent granite obelisks known also as Stelae.

Ranging from 33 to 24 meters high, their granite structures are as old as 2, 000 years and more recent ones about 1, 000 years with each one weighing at least 50 tonnes. Just as they towered above our reporter and other tourists present in all their magnificence, initially silent thoughts became spoken as some said, ‘no wonder it was stolen’ by El Ducce Mussoloni during Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia. The 24-metre (80ft) high stone, which is seen as an important national symbol in Ethiopia, was taken on October 28, 1937, on the orders of Mussolini. The piece was returned in bits which were then coupled and mounted.

Designs on the obelisks represent architecture of typical Axumite palaces which were four to five stories with wooden horizontal beams, similar to architecture in Lalibela where Axumites moved to after the collapse of the kingdom. Architectural differences in both locations include the fact that the Lalibela churches were carved from top to bottom and had hollows for habitation, while axumite obelisks were carved bottom to top and didn’t have any hollows, but have false doors and blind windows.

Very much like some Nigerian traditions, Axumites buried their royalty with their slaves and belongings because they believed in life after death.

A lot of these belongings considered treasures and artefacts were found during excavations which are preserved in the archaeological museum in Axum.

First of all, seeing so many uncoordinatedly carved stones, scattered all over the place as the eyes of our reporter saw them, did not in any way seem like they served any purpose. But for the Ethiopians, they are symbolic the same way in Nigeria tomb stones and bustier are over graves. The stelaes are royal tombs or memorials. Beneath the obelisk garden are 13 concrete chambers supposedly used by royalty, four of which have been excavated and nine sealed by concrete awaiting excavation.

The Queen of Sheba is another central part of Ethiopian history situated in Axum. For Christians, her visit to King Solomon is an all too familiar story. Ethiopians generally believe that this visit was the genesis of a relationship between the two which resulted in a son, Menelik. This is Ethiopia’s claim of having direct links with the Solomonic Dynasty founded in Axum.

The tour guide narrated that Ethiopian legend believes that while she visited him, he made her promise not to take anything from his house. At night she woke up thirsty and drank some of the water King Solomon had kept near her room. It is believed that the king was awoken by the noise and came out to find her drinking the water and accused her of breaking her oath not to take anything from his house.

Solomon was attracted by her beauty and consummated his relationship with her, resulting in the birth of a son named Ibn-al-Malik (known as Menelik), the founder of Ethiopian Solomonic Dynasty.

When Menelik was about 21 years old, he inquired about his father from his mother and she told him that it was King Solomon of Israel. He embarked on a visit to Jerusalem to visit him and was received with great honor. Menelik stayed with his father learning the Law of Moses for three years.

Menelik looked very like his father, which the Israelites found confusing and demanded the king sent him back home. King Solomon agreed on the condition that the high priests would send their eldest son and 1, 000 people from each tribe of Israel with Menelik. This they agreed to.

Menelik then returned to Axum in the company of Azariah the son of the high priest, Zadok, of the temple of Jerusalem. Before the journey Azariah told Menelik of a dream asking him to take the Ark of the Covenant with him to Ethiopia and told him he had done so, replacing the original with a copy. This angered Menelik but Azariah convinced him to take the Ark with them.

Zadok discovered what happened and reported it to King Solomon who ordered a pursuit of Menelik. Whilst this was going on, Solomon dreamed that his son should have the Ark. He returned to Jerusalem and ordered his high priests to keep the incident secret.

Upon his return to Ethiopia, Menelik founded the ‘Solomonic Dynasty’ and the Axumite kingdom where Judaism and the Law of Moses were adopted.  His lineage ruled Ethiopia in an unbroken line with Haile Selassie being the last of the emperors, until the revolution of 1974 which ended the Ethiopian monarchy.

Ethiopia’s Orthodox Tewahedo faith is tied to the Ark of the Covenant which is considered its most reserved holy relic.  According to the tour guide – no church is a church until there is an Ark of the Covenant present. It is believed that the original Ark of the Covenant still exists and rests in a monastery in Axum in the premises of Saint Mary of Zion church making it the holiest of sanctuaries in Ethiopia.

The first Saint Mary of Zion church was built in the 4th century during the reign of King Ezana who converted the Axumite kingdom to Christianity. An Ark of the Covenant, known as the tabot/the tablet, is kept in the holy of holies (Maqdas) in every church to indicate that the church has been duly consecrated.

The original Ark of the Covenant is now supposedly kept in a small chapel built in 1965 on the orders of Emperor Haile Selassie. One chosen monk is in charge of its care and preservation. He is also the official guardian of the Ark and no one, except him, is allowed to enter the chapel. Before his death, according to Axumite tradition, he must nominate a successor.

Axum is Ethiopia’s most important center of Orthodox faith and boasts of many sites of historical significance, including the palace and bath of Queen of Sheba, the tombs of King Ezana and King Gebre Meskel, the monastic complex of Saint Mary of Zion, the chapel which houses the Ark of the Covenant and the city’s antiquities museum. It was the capital where the coronations of emperors and empresses took place until the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie.