Posts from — December 2009
Was gonna rag on Tiger Woods a bit more (what the heck, its the Christmas season) but another distraction came up.
Though giving him a pass this week, I must say that from all reports, if he doesn’t go back to golf, he could be a budding porn star, the first cablasian one to boot.
But Buju Banton decided to get himself arrested for cocaine. Cocaine! What the hell is a rastaman doing with cocaine?
His arrest created a great stir in the Jamaican, music and likely the gay communities. Some even believe that this ‘set up’ was orchestrated by the gay community as payback for Boom-Bye-Bye. I doubt it, for while they have some power, I doubt this a show of that power.
Personally, I think that there is some connection between Buju’s arrest and Dudus’ extradition. It could very well be that the US justice department (a real misnomer) is sending a message to Bruce Golding that where Buju goes, several major Jamaican musicians could follow. Afterall, we do know how ‘di runnings go’, so why shouldn’t the justice department be also aware?
Buju might be the first in line to damage Jamaica’s reputation and stop a successful flow of foreign exchange, if Dudus is not given some manacles and a one-way ticket to US. Golding can hold out only so long.
Some people are expecting war if Dudus is extradited, but not likely. It didn’t happen before and it’s not likely now. Somehow, someone is going to find a way to convince him that US jails are not so bad afterall, especially when the alternative is a brutal death ala Lester Coke and Claudie Massop. Perhaps ‘Storyteller’ Morrison can persuade him. But that is another story to be told (and not by me).
Buju might bring to Jamaicans’ eyes, the injustice of the American police’s entrapment tactic. No wonder that America, with 5% of the world’s population, has 25% of the world incarcerated.
I have always disliked entrapment because it preys on man’s weaknesses, and makes the presumption that a man will commit a crime… and all the state needs to do is give him that little push. I believe that only police states should be doing that, especially since it contradicts the principle of ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ (run laff track here).
A man might be borderline immoral, may think of doing something criminal but might ‘jus fraid’. Entrapment entices him out of whatever reservations he might have. Our tax dollars should not be funding the government to make more criminals of us.
Many of those so-called ‘terrorist trials’ since 9/11 were cases of entrapment.
But back to Buju. People are asking how could Buju be so stupid? Well, the same could be asked of any crack addict who robs a well-armed grocery store. Perhaps because its there for the taking. Usually, they will tell you it was a very good idea at the time.
Barack Obama and Tiger Woods will also use that refrain. Obama ran as peacemaker… he was going to de-escalate both wars. Well, it was a good idea at the time.
Now he finds it impossible. There are too many forces that will lose money and power if the Afghan war shuts down so. And money and power are much more important than the crushed, mangled, blown-up bodies of the children of America, or any other country for that matter. Obama is helpless against the system. But he will have to face the wrath of those who expected him to live up to his words. Bob Marley did say something about never trusting a politician, a preacher or Wall St banker. Well, perhaps he didn’t include bankers but what the heck, why not?
Personally I get the feeling that the economy is turning around though as usual, labour will be the last to benefit. But the crowds at the malls also tell me something. I don’t know how much people are spending but I bet they are spending more this holidays than last year.
Obama says that ‘we need to spend our way out of this recession’ and people believe that he meant that government will have to pour more money into the economy as against decreasing federal spending. But Obama quite likely also means that people will have to spend more to resuscitate the economy.
More consumer spending means more production (albeit in China) but it also means more jobs here… retailers, shippers, handlers, labourers etc.
But I don’t believe that this current spending comes out of a patriotic verve, a concern for the entire well-being of America. Americans are hard-wired to consumerism, to buy even if they are broke. Last year was a shock to the system and they easily held their pocketbooks in check.
Now, old habits are kicking in. They can’t suffer withdrawal symptoms forever… even if they really have no money.
If things don’t turnaround, well they can always fall back on “It was a good idea at the time”.
Jamaicans have just been shell-shocked by the new set of taxes announced by the Golding government. The disadvantaged will as usual, feel it most and even now more than ever. The lowly patty won’t escape the tax net.
The blind, deaf and cripple will feel it. Yes, aids for these are being taxed. And even women’s menstruation will be more painful as the bloody tampax will be taxed. Soon, even taxes will have a 17.5% GCT placed on it. Woe is everything.
Now just about here, faithful readers will expect me ranting on Golding and his bunch of court jesters. Not so fast my friend.
I fully understand the measures, especially since they are likely to be IMF requirements. My problem is that most likely the rich will again be given escape routes from the economic carnage.
The truth is that economic recovery is a long, hard journey and the more it is delayed the longer and worse the majority of Jamaicans will have to suffer. We all want to avoid that inescapable fact.
Sooner or later the nation has to pay the piper… yesterday was better that today and now is better than tomorrow. But apparently, the ghost of Christmas 1980 (hard times get politicians kicked out of power) has already began to haunt Golding, and he is already reconsidering the package. Seems this extremely sharp tax ax might hack the PNP back to power.
But when I read the dailies I noticed the story about the disabled communities being outraged because items like hearing aids, artificial limbs, crutches and white walking canes will be taxed.
But wait a minute. White walking canes? Well it seems that these canes, which cost US$30-36 and are imported. I checked Amazon and found white wooden canes for $16. It made me wonder.
Instead of complaining about the import cost, why isn’t some bright entrepreneur getting into this PRODUCTION business. Notice the emphasis on production as against importing and reselling. Really, what does it take to produce these canes? Can’t a small industry set up an operation to redesign and produce quality canes?
And that dear people is the crux of the problem. We have no entrepreneurs left. We have shopkeepers, importers, service providers, conmen, but no one willing to take on the risks of business in trying to fill a niche. Easiest thing to do is to import and resell for profit.
So we will continue to falter because the Goldings, Simpsons, Pattersons, Manleys and Seagas of this world are too political to take on political risks. And like Americans we want our bread buttered on both sides as long as it is cheap, and we don’t mind the pain of sacrifice as long as it is someone else bearing it. But whatever happens I suppose, when we look at our failures, we can always fall back on the refrain, “It seemed like a good idea…”.
Texting and calling his sex amours on his cellphone. How dunce can any cablasian get?
Oh, by the way, seasons greetings!
December 22, 2009 No Comments
Forgive me. I was distracted this last few weeks by my solo art show. But though my head was buried in preparations, who could miss Tiger Woods’ name and affairs spread all over the media?
Now, I’m not one to wallow in celebrity carnage, but Woods’ dilemmas, and a couple other things, brought me to thinking about the above-mentioned people.
Tiger Woods is one of the pride of black people, particularly African Americans. Imagine, the top of the golf chain being occupied by a black man, breaking all the records of white men in a sport where blacks only involvement was to carry bags and keep the white man’s balls shiny clean.
But Woods never obliged, he practically denied his most obvious racial feature. Most of us figured that that was for marketing purposes, to cross over. But Woods continued to do what the stereotypical successful black man does… court and marry white.
Ohhhh Kaaayyyy. Perhaps there was still redemption, perhaps he was still playing the Maaan’s game… beating him at his game and taking his women. Way to go, brothaaa!
But this adulterous circus has proven otherwise. Blood in the streets, literally.
Now, I was disappointed but not affronted by Woods denial of his ‘blackness’. A man has the right to define himself as he wishes, irrespective of the reality. And a man/woman has the right to love whom they want. Hey, love is supposed to and does at times, break down barriers.
And I won’t decry him his ‘fun’. He had come to believe that he was invincible, the top of the world, able to take anything he wanted, do anything he wished. He believed his own press.
But one look at Woods’ embarrassing imbroglio and quite clearly, the clearer the better for him… there is a white thread running all the way through. Woods is no better than OJ Simpson, and in his most embarrassing moment, he has found that the white people he so wishes to be accepted by, sees him as little else than a ‘nigger’. They are like that.
I’m willing to bet that Woods most steady support will eventually come from black people, even if the relationship was somewhat tenuous before. We are like that.
During the weeks of the woods (Tiger Woods, Elin Woods and the wood she swung at his head), I glanced at the tv and noticed Beyonce performing. For some reason, I figured that either my tv was off or Beyonce was a little ‘clearer’ than usual. Since I don’t follow pop culture, I googled “Is Beyonce getting whiter?”, and Whoops there it is. Pages of discussion with the consensus being that the lady appears to be bleaching. Nope, not the bleaching of staying out late, but as in ‘whitening’. Yep, we have another Michael Jackson on our hands.
Again, if someone wants to do that, its their business. But I feel sorrow for the millions of black children who will be served a severe blow to their self-esteem as their darling little princesses and princes seek to ‘cross over’. Is this their new role models… people who want to disassociate themselves from ‘THEM’.
In my youth, there was a surge of blackness, black pride, young, gifted and black. The question is how did we devolve from ‘Black is beautiful’ to ‘If you’re black, get back’? Why are we no longer taking pride in our natural self? Both men and women are screwing around with their hair and their skin. Some go as far as to surgically altar the major signs of their racial identity.
If Beyonce is doing so, she cannot claim marketing purposes. She is not in the caliber of Michael Jackson and will never ever be the Queen of Pop. So it would be a case of her own lack of self-love. Her act of self-denial however, is a betrayal of all those strong black women who struggled to bring us where we are.
I remember just a few years ago I caught a young black cashier gazing adoringly at some mixed kids. When I tried to convince of her own beauty and the beauty of the hair she was hiding under a cheap wig, she was adamant that she didn’t have ‘good hair’. It depressed me because I knew that represented far deeper image issues amongst her peers, her family and her neighbourhood.
People like Beyonce don’t need to ‘unblack’. They already have fame and fortune… but I guess they think they need acceptance from the group of people who will always scorn them, irrespective of chemical peels and weaves.
Now why did I link president Barack Obama with those two? No one can claim that Obama isn’t about self-love, and there aren’t any apparent signs that he is denying that in America he is considered black, despite his equally mixed parentage.
But Obama has been forced to try to remove race as an issue. Afterall, Obama couldn’t have been elected solely on black votes, and neither would he have been elected if he had promoted a black campaign.
But to many, Obama is suited to redress the racial disparities in this society and he has done little to do so. Some see that as a betrayal, I see it as a political necessity.
But one cannot avoid thinking that race plays a whole lot in his presidency, even if its just a matter of avoiding it. And we at one point or the other, will wonder whether if he was white, there would be this drop in the polls, even though he has not really done anything to really deserve that. At least George Bush had completely bankrupted the country in his first 8 months. Obama is only trying to redress that.
But like with OJ and others, over 90% of blacks show strong support for Obama. His numbers for his white supporters have declined dramatically. Yet nowhere is there as much failed expectations as with the black community.
True, there are failed expectations with the white community. They had figured that he would be different because he was, aaagh, different. They thought that the blackness of his skin would change how Washington is really run.
But if he was white, and did exactly as he is doing, would there be patience? That’s the question to ask.
As I write this, news is coming out that the public health option, the lynchpin of health care reform is doomed, forced out by moderate democrats. So in a few short years, once the hoopla has died down health care will be exactly back where it is right now. Just like regulations to keep the banking industry in line was watered down by George Bush.
This is one of Obama’s cowardices, failing to fight for what he believes in. But then again, what does he believe in?
And in Jamaica, Bruce Golding has brokered a peace deal between the so-called musical leaders of the so-called Gaza/Gully dispute. This dispute started simply as a marketing tool between artistes Mavado and Vibz Kartel. Like a demon unearth, these two had no way to control the demon they unleashed.
So Golding stepped in. Normally this is good news but knowing Mr Golding’s penchant for grandstanding, the whole issue troubles me. Why did it need the prime minister to meet with these factions? It sounds a little Obama-ish to me. How come the ministry of National Security and the police and all the other peace initiative organisations failed? Was a deal brokered before and the pm stepped in to hog the credit? How long will peace last? For according to reports, all that came out of the meet-up was a peace concert and t-shirts? Did meeting with these factions legitimize them? Will the pm step up when there is a spate of shootings downtown? Is Golding the first national Don?
I will wait and see.
There is an interesting follow-up to the Derek Latibeaudiere’s loans in that it appears that finance minister Audley Shaw approved the loans, albeit perhaps after the fact. The prime minister had to have known that. Readers can draw their own conclusions.
December 10, 2009 No Comments