World View: Kenya Protests Take an Increasingly Dangerous Turn

Kenyan tiot police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters in the western town of Siaya Monday who also tried to gather in the capital Nairobi (pictured)

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Kenya protests take an increasingly dangerous turn
  • Malawi’s albinos ‘face extinction’ as they’re killed and sold for body parts
  • Colorado health insurance in crisis as Obamacare continues to collapse

Kenya protests take an increasingly dangerous turn

Six-year old Jeremy Otieno, who was hit by a stray bullet during Monday's protests in Kisumu (The Star)
Six-year old Jeremy Otieno, who was hit by a stray bullet during Monday’s protests in Kisumu (The Star)

There were two new developments on Tuesday that indicate an increasingly dangerous situation in Kenya.

As I wrote about at length yesterday, there is an upsurge in violence related to next year’s election, raising fears of a repeat of the 2008 tribal violence following the December 2007 election, resulting in 1200 people killed and 600,000 forced from their homes. ( “7-Jun-16 World View — Increasing violence in Kenya revives fears of tribal war”)

The Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD), led by Raila Odinga of the marginalized Luo tribe, is protesting against the government led by president Uhuru Kenyatta of the market-dominant Kikuyu, and against the government-created Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), whose job it is to oversee the 2017 elections. Protesters are claiming that the IEBC is biased and will rig the election in favor of Kenyatta, as has allegedly happened in the last three elections.

The two new developments on Tuesday are as follows:

First, the government issued regulations banning any protests against the IEBC.

To avert further violence, destruction of property and loss of life, from today the government prohibits all unlawful demonstrations in the country…

It is extremely dangerous for anybody to challenge the government decision. The consequences are grave.

It is hard for me to imagine any government action that is more likely to infuriate the protesters. They are now threatening to expand their protests from once per week to twice per week. In view of the anger and bitterness over the bloody 2008 violence, and the shooting of protesters in Kisumu on Monday by police, there is absolutely no chance at all that the ban will be obeyed.

The second development is that the protesters on social media are uniting behind the hash tag #JusticeForBabyJeremy, referring to Jeremy Otieno, a six-year-old boy who was hit by a stray bullet and killed by police in Kisumu on Monday. The boy was not even participating in the protests, but was shot in the back outside his home. The hashtag was retweeted thousands of times on Tuesday, in a sign of growing anger at the police.

The next election is still many months away, but already positions have hardened irreparably and violence is increasing. As I wrote yesterday, things have changed a great deal in Kenya since the 2008 violence. At that time, Kenya was in a generational Unraveling era, and only 52 years had passed since the climax of Kenya’s last generational crisis war, the Mau-Mau Rebellion. Today, Kenya is well into a generational Crisis, and it would not take much to trigger a full-scale crisis civil war that could kill hundreds of thousands of people. The Star (Kenya) and Radio France Internationale and Deutsche Welle

Malawi’s albinos ‘face extinction’ as they’re killed and sold for body parts

Albinism is a condition where someone lacks the pigment melanin that gives hair, skin and eyes their color. Malawi has an estimated 8-10,000 people with albinism in a population of 16 million — a prevalence of more than 12 times that of North America and Europe.

Although albinos have always faced discrimination because of their startling appearance, the discrimination in Malawi has taken a macabre turn since 2014, when Malawi’s economy took a deep dive. Since then there’s been a surge in attacks on albinos, fueled by witchcraft and by promises of large sums of money by idiots who believe that albinos’ bones contain gold or have special powers that bring wealth and success.

The speculation has driven the price of albino body parts up astronomically. According to media reports, one 17-year-old albino boy was worth $66,000 to witch doctors, for use in potions.

According to the World Bank, Malawi is currently the poorest country in the world, and a severe drought affecting the region has caused major food shortages. The lure of big money is thought to be the main reason for the upsurge in abductions and murders of albinos.

The upsurge in violence is a personal crisis in the life of any of the 10,000 albinos in Malawi. As the number of murders increases, it is thought that albinos may face total extinction. Nyasa Times (Malawi) and Newsweek and BBC

Colorado health insurance in crisis as Obamacare continues to collapse

Premiums for individual health-insurance policies are rising by as much as 41% in Colorado next year as four insurer pull out of all or some markets in the state.

UnitedHealthcare and Humana Insurance already announced that they would not offer individual plans in Colorado next year. In addition, Rocky Mountain Health Plans and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado are severely restricting their offerings.

About 92,000 people with individual plans will need to find other coverage during the open enrollment period, Nov. 1, 2016–Jan. 31, 2017, representing approximately 20 percent of the 450,000 Coloradans who get their insurance through the individual market.

According to Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar:

Companies are still figuring it out — where to sell, how to sell, how to price — which is why we’re seeing some companies pull back on individual plans or requesting significant increases, while still other companies are coming into the market. Some companies have done a better job of figuring out how to operate in this new environment and compete for people’s business, while others must step back and reevaluate their approach. …

I’d rather these companies continued in the individual market. But in the larger picture, what’s taking place is a market correction; the free market is at work. And it is important to recognize that this is a market correction taking place on a national scale, not just in Colorado. While it was good initially to have so many companies offering so many individual plans, this could be an indication that there were too many options for the market to support.

The problem is that it is not a free market at all. It is the most f–cked up regulated market possible, thanks to the disastrous Obamacare legislation. And Salazar is correct that the same kind of disaster is “taking place on a national scale, not just in Colorado.”

As long time readers are well aware (because I’ve repeated it many times), in July, 2009, when Obamacare was first announced, I wrote that Obama’s health plan is a proposal of economic insanity. I compared it to President Richard Nixon’s wage-price controls, and I predicted that it would just as much an economic disaster as Nixon’s price controls. I wrote about it most recently in “26-Apr-16 World View — Obamacare continues death spiral as Britain’s NHS faces strike”.

Obamacare should have collapsed by now, but instead Obama has found ways to transfer hundreds of billions of dollars of other money into Obamacare to prop it up. Meanwhile, the health care industry continues to be destroyed. Obamacare was supposed to reduce health costs, but instead health costs have skyrocketed.

This is what I predicted would happen, because that is what happened with Nixon’s price controls. They were supposed to reduce inflation from 4% to 2%, but they screwed up the economy so much that that inflation increased to 12%. Obamacare is screwing up the economy today in exactly the same way.

Obamacare was supposed to eliminate uninsured people, but instead it has created millions more effectively uninsured people – people who pay insurance premiums, but cannot find a doctor of who have astronomical deductions, and so effectively have no insurance whatsoever. As Jonathan Gruber said, Obamacare passed because of the stupidity of the American people, and as I like to point out, he wasn’t referring to me, but to Obamacare supporters. Obamacare may well be the stupidest economic policy in American history. Denver Business Journal and Colorado Division of Insurance

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Kenya, Kisumu, Jeremy Otieno, #JusticeForBabyJeremy, Luo, Kikuyu, Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, Mau-Mau Rebellion, Coalition for Reform and Democracy, CORD, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, Malawi, albinos, Colorado, Obamacare, UnitedHealthcare, Humana Insurance, Marguerite Salazar, Rocky Mountain Health Plans, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado
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