Posts from — March 2010
Methinks that Obama outmaneuvered and outflanked the republicants and their teapartymadhatters. Reassessing the last few months, I think that Obama’s calmness and strategy have once again outsmarted the party of ‘No’.
I’m starting to believe that the administration clearly planned a campaign based on the negative knee-jerk mentality of the madhatters. He orchestrated the whole thing, creating doubt, building the oppositions negativity, his procrastination, the ‘waffling’ democrats… everything. He got the republicants committed to a trap. They fell for it and are gonna get burnt in November. Woohoo!
It’s like Muhammed Ali’s ‘Rope-a-doping’ George Foreman in Zaire. The republicants are standing before the mirror trying to scrub ‘DOPE’ from their foreheads.
They stand in disarray, doubts clouding both their past and their future. Having bedded the teapartyers, the GOP is locked in a death embrace with the group of angry, toxic, maniacal, frothingly rabid, openly bigoted, abusive, extremely violent lunatics threatening armed insurrection, death and destruction to anyone not falling for their brand of fanaticism. That is not the American way.
The republicants couldn’t control the crazies, now they can’t denounce them. They have now taken on their persona. Look for many elected republicants to be frantically distancing themselves from the teaparty. There will be an internal massacre soon enough. If not now, then in November.
My blog on the census has gotten me involved in several discussions. I’m not against the census as I have been accused. I intend to fill out the forms. My problem is the section with regards to race.
I remind people that the census is an official government document. You can take that to mean what you want, but I believe as such it out to represent accuracy, and ought not to be entrenching an odious discriminatory system by the encouragement of racial labeling. Worse still, when the labeling is so flawed.
Race historically meant specific things. Even if we disagree we have to start somewhere and early anthropological definitions isn’t such a bad place. In that sense, the main races are specific, African/negroid, Caucasian, Asian, Mongolian and Australoid (referring to the aboriginal people of Australia). Obviously these are broad brush strokes and have been subject to change over time, but only so after careful, intelligent study. White is not a race, nor for that matter is black.
I accept that there are reasons where such designations are useful… for example, to show demographics when creating or soliciting a business. But overall, I not convinced that is necessary, especially in the light of how the census handles it. And I refuse to be signatory party to something that is self-demeaning.
Think for a bit. #5 states that “For this survey, Hispanic origins are not races”. Ok, cool. But if Colombian and Venezuelan are not races then why are Korean and Samoan? Clearly they are all nationalities.
In the Asian section, there are many ‘racial’ choices with even the ability to add more… eg, Tongan, Fijian, Hmong etc. You even a choice to make something up, yet there is no such diversity with whites. Whites are just whites… or are they?
Doesn’t the American government want to know how many white Canadians are resident in the country as are Thais? Irish as Cambodians? English as Laotians? What about Russians?
Here is another thing. Many nationalities would from their cultural perspective, correctly select White. Pakistanis and Indians for example.
My editor pointed out to me that in the Dominican Republic, if a citizen can trace even the minutest amount of white ancestry (blood) in them, they consider themselves white. That is bound to skew the census. Just imagine when a very dark-skinned Dominician tells a very white census taker that he is white. I wonder what would eventually be submitted?
Curiously, there is no reference to the middle east in the survey. So we are not interested in counting the numbers of people from the region where most of the world’s ‘terrorists’ come from?
The issue perplexed me to do some more digging (yes, I have too much time on my hands, but I do it so you don’t have to). My search turned up a census document claiming that according to federal regulations (google- federal regulations on race), there are 5 race categories. I doubt if this leap into anthropology American style is shared by many reputable scientists.
These racial categories are American Indian (not native American) and Alaskan native (wonder if someone born in Alaska isn’t a native), *Black or African American, *Asian (representing most of Asia including India and Pakistan), *Hispanic or Latino (covering mainly central and South America. Interestingly, this document claims Latinos/Hispanics as races) and *White (Europe, middle east and north Africa). Beautiful.
So who’s gonna tell Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck that Osama bin Laden is a distant relative, and that the ‘murdering religious fanatics’ are second cousins to Ronald Reagan?
Are you seeing the conundrum as yet?
What the census office is doing, is muddying an already murky pool. Yet, we can safely assume that those who concocted the document are intelligent people… there must be some rationale, but not necessarily a positive one.
They use race-based allocation of resources as an enticement for our so-called civic leaders to push for our support. But it really has little merit.
Really, shouldn’t resources be allocated based on needs or population density rather than race? Do you really think that those whom allocate funds say “Let’s put a little more money in that area, because there is a higher concentration of blacks”? Certainly, history and current observations don’t support that. Black schools and majorities still receive greatly inadequate funding.
Me? Well, I consider those racial segmentations to be foolish, divisive and unnecessary. And I certainly am not going to create a new race… Jamaicans… because the census department says ‘Yes, we can!’.
I am certain I am Homo sapien, commonly known as Human. That’s all the census office needs to know about my ‘race’.
Ever tried to convince a black American that hip hop music came from Jamaican influences? Tough isn’t it.
Well, google ‘DJ Kool Herc’, and its all laid out for you. Even DMC of the group Run DMC credits Clive Campbell aka Kool Herc with ‘fathering’ hip hop music.
March 26, 2010 1 Comment
Jingoistic ego and pomposity are bad allies in a war. Take Afghanistan and the arrest of the taliban’s #2 man, mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Baradar was arrested in Karachi by Pakistani authorities who were tipped off by American intelligence (always a contradiction of terms). Great job! Welllll, not so fast my friend.
Evidently, Baradar was in Pakistan as part of secret peace negotiations between Afghan president Karzai’s and the taliban. Baradar’s arrest could very well quash the ‘peace talks’ and prolong the 8 year war.
But there is more. Apparently, British and UN officials think that now is the best time for peace negotiations, and Karzai is moving ahead with that. The fly in the ointment is the United States. They don’t see the same writing on the wall.
The invading forces are losing as did many before them. Allies realise that there is a chance for a draw. But America says, “We don’t want no steeenkin draw”. The same mentality that governs their sports governs their wars. Winning is everything.
However there is no winning in Afghanistan and the more prolonged the war, the more Afghans and coalition troops will die. But human casualties are not America’s problem… perception at the polls is. And this perception is corrupted by arrogance and ego.
Whether Karzai is corrupt or not, he knows his people and their history, and knows that the taliban can carry on the war foreverrrrr. Karzai himself has said that peace attempts with the taliban has little chance of success without the US and international community. Previous attempts he said, was sabotaged by ‘sections of the international community’. It doesn’t take a maths genius to figure out whom. This also exposes that Karzai is simply a puppet since his peace efforts is so easily overridden by the US.
Here’s a little something something. Defense secretary Gates says that he doesn’t believe that the taliban would be willing to come to the bargaining table until they believe that they can’t win the war. That means that the taliban, despite facing overwhelming forces, think that they can win.
Nevertheless they are willing to talk. So like the British and the UN is suggesting, “Isn’t it reasonable to get peace with some honour?”.
There is another twist to Baradar’s arrest. The Pakistanis are displeased because the Americans promptly announced the arrest to the press. Now, if my memory serves me right, this isn’t the first time that America has put public relations above the intelligence interests of other countries, even to the point of compromising further intelligence operations.
Years ago during the Bush regime, Britain passed on some intelligence to the Americans who promptly emailed it to the press. Britain was aghast.
I’ve been hearing stories about college attending voters (a large voter bloc for him in ’08) who are abandoning Obama and turning to the republicants. That doesn’t speak well about college education in America.
I can understand people feeling disappointed in Obama in terms of the pace of getting things done (although how much he could have done in one year is debatable), or disappointed on his failure to immediately act on some of his campaign promises.
I understand them backing off. But it is completely irrational to the point of absolute stupidity, that many are talking about voting republicants in the next elections.
The republicants if anything, are now more backward than ever. They have fought to kill any initiative that the Obama administration put forth. They have battled against giving poor people anything while stoutly defending their bosses. They haven’t put forward one progressive idea, nothing that is remotely close to what these young people were hoping for when they voted Obama in ‘08.
No matter Obama’s faults, he remains the best that this country can offer for improving this nation. So he has waffled and sailed with the winds… lose faith in him. Yes. Of course the democrats have proven to be a set of wishy-washy, spineless and even corrupt (though no more corrupt than their opposition) crab louses.
But the republicants are a threat to the interests of the majority of college graduates. They are the antithesis of everything most college students want. They won’t support lower tuition or support for college students. They don’t support education, science or the arts, they really don’t support anything but wars and big business.
They are not looking to the future. They don’t recognize the threat of global warming, the environment, clean air or water. They’re not for fair wages. And yet these dumbasses, the best we have to send to our colleges want to vote republicants… the future of this country surely sucks.
The census is on and I have been urged by to fall behind the effort to include information that will highlight the numbers of Caribbean born or related citizens. As well-intentioned as this is, I decline.
I see the census document lists such ‘races’as … Asian Indian, African American, Korean, Filipino, Tongan as races. Like Jamaican, Grenadian, Guyanese those are not races but nationalities. Caribbean is a group not a race. I have no intention of bloating an already foolish concept. I dislike the American idea of taking well-accepted words and meaning, and changing them into something convenient for the time. It’s Alice in Wonderland all over again.
The whole idea of race is foolish, and how it is used in the American context, it’s also racist, used to justify the domination of one group over others.
Interestingly, while the census has all these diverse categories for blacks, Asians etc, there is one category for whites… and that is White. Hello! What’s up with that? Why isn’t French a race as Pakistani is. Why not Irish as Samaon is listed? Don’t you see that as racist in itself?
And question 5 says, “For this survey, Hispanic origins are not races”, Huh? Why? If you are a hispanic black, where do you fall?”.
Plus, most of the people inputting census information wouldn’t know what a Nevisian is (they have already confused Dominican (English) with Dominicans from Dominican Republic) and that would completely confound an already unwieldy system, and most likely input us to some category which wouldn’t probably recognize us as Caribbean peoples anyway.
I won’t be an accessory to a bigoted definition of myself, or any one else. The general white claim is that one drop of non-white blood disqualifies someone from categorisation as white. In that racial context, Barack Obama is black even though his mother is white. Even if his skin was several shades lighter, once his father’s heritage is known, Barack is black, black, black.
Well, I have a little white in me and I demand to be regarded as white and get all the benefits that accrue from that. Something is wrong where a little black in me can get me ‘demoted’, but a little white is not enough to make me even ‘honorary white’. Acceptable? I donnnnnnt think so.
Some reason that the money will help ‘us’ get a larger slice of the pie. Governor Crist recently said that the money allocated for all minorities in Florida, was about $21m… a drop in the bucket, a gimmick, a poor rationale that too many of us fall for.
Our need to apply and justify absurd labeling is nuts, and in this case self-degrading. It will never help to create a better world. So in that space, I will put a category I know I belong to, something I’m sure I fit in. HUMAN.
It certainly will be emotionally difficult for me to buy a ticket on Caribbean Airways. Most of the times I had traveled to Jamaica, I used the ‘lovebird’ out of emotional ties. I might have paid a little more in money or convenience, put up with a lot of BS, but Air Jamaica was a solid representation of my homeland, flaws and all. Now those ties severed.
I won’t launch into a defense of Air Jamaica. The airline is in poor shape, wrecked by the mismanagement of governments, private sector, workers and even flyers alike.
And it doesn’t help that AirJ is sold to a company which if I remember right, bankrupted their own airline BWIA. Neither does it help with all the controversy surrounding the terms of the sale, including the fate of the now-to-be former employees.
It’s a sad way to see the lady go, and I’m prepared to wave her bye, but not quite ready to welcome her unproven successor, already besmirched by unseeming pimping.
Read recently that Jamaica’s economy performance is still bordering on pathetic. Let’s move along, folks… nothing new to see here.
One can always lay all the blame on successive governments or finance ministers but then one would be delusional. No matter how we rotate governments or financial ministers, the one constant is that we continue to do the same things the same way and expect things to be different… the definition of stupidity.
One of the good things coming out of a recent financial report, is that the agriculture sector grew by 20%. That would be great news until we consider where that sector is coming from… but it is still good news.
For years, successive governments have paid little but lip service to the sector. In fact, their policies have worked to virtually kill it, with importation policies that saw subsidized genetically poisonous foods pushing local foods aside.
One of the beneficiaries of the current growth is the banana industry, and it was positive to hear some producers claim they were making a greater profit supplying the local market than when they were exporting. Hmmmm. A nation that cannot feed itself is hostage to every failing wind.
Pm Golding’s defense of alleged (right, I said alleged) Tivoli don Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, has moved to the ridiculous. Golding surely has his balls in a twist.
I figure that the arrest of Buju Banton and the canceling of certain high profile US visas are just the beginning of the pressure that will continue to be slowly exerted on the government.
It is noteworthy that this is an issue that should have been handled publicly by the Attorney General. But I sense that Mrs Lightbourne knows that the less she has to do with this is the better for her. Dudus is Golding’s problem. It shouldn’t be Jamaica’s problem also.
Weeks ago I told someone that there will soon be a rise in hate crimes, particularly against blacks. Watch for it.
March 21, 2010 1 Comment
He was sitting at a bus stop where no bus was coming. It was after midnight and I was on the last leg of my 5 mile power walk. He was white, under 30, and on a cold night, wearing nothing but a thin white shirt and life’s desperation. “Ian, my life is fucked!” he said in resigned desolation as I passed him. I didn’t hear anything else. I was moving too fast. But I didn’t need anything else. His life is replicated a million times and more over, every night in streets across America. “My life is….”. As I walked that late night I observed the growing number of homeless… at bus stops, on long closed store piazzas, in bushes, in corners and crevices, in the front of churches that offer some sanctuary, wandering the streets alone or in heterosexual pairings sometimes black and white, some with backpacks… the only possessions they have and not even much of their dignity left with them.Some are drunks, ex-drunks, drug abusers, ex-drug abusers. All are unemployed, most likely unemployable. Some are mad, insane if that’s a more PC word. The one thing they have in common, is the aimlessness, moving about with a sense of going nowhere. Waiting for the night to pass in some semblance of sleep on a cold ground… not looking for the morning to bring new challenges for surviving.These are the people we don’t look at, we don’t want to look at, roll up our windows and forgo eye contact.The ironic thing is that some of those people were doing the very same thing just a few months ago, but are now reflecting how fast things change. From home to homeless in 60 seconds or in oneextra syllable. People are being made homeless at a tremendous rate across America. But there is now a difference. Many have bachelor degrees that can no longer help them.They have lost jobs, spouses, relatives, sources of income and support. Some have lost their children to Child Services. Many have lost hope.They are America’s fastest growing sector, yet they are not on the agenda of the president, or houses of congress of the United States. They are expendable, a statistic that few are doing anything about, while most just wish them away.***Recently, a tea-party supporter, harangued me into debating him (it must be a sign on my forehead). His topic, health care and the spending for it, creating according to him, massive deficits. When I pointed out that his lordship George Bush had bankrupted the country through tax cuts within weeks of taking the throne, he replied that tax cuts can’t bankrupt the country. Then he proceeded to tell me to go learn economics. Of course, I terminated the conversation. Idiot.But for others who might sometime face this, this thinking is obviously and severely cretinous. Government has to have monies to cover expenditures such infrastructure, defense, police and social services. Taxes are government income. When you cut taxes, you cut income and expenditures cannot be covered. When that happens as is happening now, then a whole lot of services get cut. Staff gets cut which adds to the society’s problems. And as is usual, cuts generally start with, and affect the poor most.Another point ‘tea-partyers’ are prone to make, is the stimulus, showing again that they both lack the commonsense to understand what the stimulus is, and that they are just following the ‘No-sayers’ party line.The stimulus is really nothing more than targeted tax cuts. Instead of giving every large corporation a tax cut, the government simply gave a few endangered ones, stimulus money.What the no-sayers (nega-doers) also fail to say, is that much or most of the stimulus money is in the form of loans… they must be repaid. And they have other terms to go with them.There is a perceived failure with the stimulus (loans) to the financial sector, because Bernanke and Bush decided that there should be no real terms, concessions or rules governing these loans, except you borrow it, you pay it back. The intent was to get the banks to free up loans to stimulate the economy. Instead the banks used the money for selfish, purposes. You could say un-American purposes, but it is very American to put yourself first and screw the country.***Most politicians including Obama believe in polls even though they all know how deceitful and manipulative polls are.I got a telephone poll from someone purporting to be Reagan’s son. He asked if I am pro-life and of course I am. But whose life am I for? The context wasn’t presented. In the abortion debate context, I in general, support choice.So when I answered the next question with a ‘yes’, “Do I support the use of health care funds for abortion?”, someone is going to be confused. So I skewed the poll.Another question was, “Do I want my taxes remaining the same or cut?”. No fool I, so the answer is ‘yes’. Again, no context. If the question was “Do I want my taxes raised for a better America?”, I would also say ‘yes’.Now, the sponsors of this poll will say that 90% of Americans are pro-life, giving the impression that those polled were against abortion… not true.They will also use the poll to say that 99% of all polled do not want their taxes raised, which without a context, is a false assumption. Other questions were asked as to whether I believe that ‘marriage should only be between a man and a woman’(no), if I was a democrat (no), or a republican (no). The thing is I answered all the questions truthfully, but I must be confusing the pollsters. Whose fault? Theirs. The bottom-line, never believe in polls.***A recent edition of Newsweek heralded the Iraq elections with “Victory at last: the emergence of a democratic Iraq”. Hello! As Obama once said, ‘they just don’t get it’.What is missing in most western thinking, particularly in American thinking, is the long term. Most non-westerners think in the long term. Iraq is a mess and will be for some time.But let’s look at what should be the most obvious. The majority of the Iraqi leadership is Shi’ite. Under Saddam, it was the minority Sunnis that ruled. Good move getting the majority back in power… well, except for a coupla things. Saddam’s Iraq kept a sort of balance in the mid-east. Now, the Shi’ties control both Iran and its new protege Iraq. Thanks George, wish you were here.Most times these guys don’t believe in the false borders drawn up by Britain and other imperial powers. So in lieu of anything else, religion is their mainstay. To have both countries side by side under one religion is actually trouble.Secondly, the election, like that in Afghanistan, is not free, fair, or free from fear. Some 500 candidates, mainly Sunnis, have been banned from running because of alleged past associations with Saddam’s Baath party. This eliminates some of the best Iraqi politicians.A court decision had overturned the ban, but the ban was re-introduced, and thus it is clear that Shi’ite Maliki will be returned to power. This means greater marginalization of Sunni’s. All this was done under US permissions . If any other country held elections under these conditions, the US would certainly cry ‘foul’.***Lost in the hysteria created by the Iran vs western countries nuclear standoff, is that there are in fact a great deal of western hypocrisy surrounding nuclear plants in the mid east. Egypt has two small nuclear reactors and is seeking larger power-producing plants. The US is providing financing and training for nuclear plants in Jordan. The United Arab Emirates is on its way to building nuclear plants. Israel and Syria recently announced plans to build power-producing plants. Israel, it is estimated, has over 200 nuclear weapons.And in the “Law? What law?” category, India, which is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, developed nuclear power and weapons with the assistance of western nations including the United States.***People in Jamaica are more and more coming to understand that the administration of Bruce Golding isn’t the 2nd coming of Christ. Some say that people get the government they deserve, but the truth is that Jamaicans don’t deserve either this administration or the previous. What to do?
March 11, 2010 1 Comment