Posts from — September 2010
The trial of Mark Myrie, better known to Jamaicans and reggae lovers as Buju Banton, as taken some of the spotlight from the beleaguered government of Bruce Golding. The trial in Tampa has completely overshadowed the shadow that the prime minister is operating under.
As I write, the jurors have the case under consideration, and their judgment is awaited as to whether Myrie is guilty or innocent as to the charges of conspiracy to obtain and traffic in cocaine.
I would not bet on an innocent finding. It’s for a good reason why America, with 5% of the world’s population, has 25% of the world’s incarcerated. They love to throw people I jail.
Tampa is not regarded as part of the enlightened south, even though it has a higher than national average black population. American jurors as is in most of the world, tend to give greater credence to the state than to the defendant. Worse still, Myrie is black, he is foreign and he fits the ‘profile’ of the urban youth.
Americans are not happy about ‘foreigners’ and drugs, and Myrie, irrespective of whether or not he intended to traffic in cocaine, has at least revealed himself to have more than a passing familiarity with the drug. Because of that, these jurors are not going to argue the difference.
Many Jamaicans has used this case to argue the issue of ‘entrapment’ and I sympathise. I have argued against it and know that a good portion of those black youth trapped in prison is there due to entrapment. The same goes for many caught in the net of the ‘war on terror’.
But entrapment is part of the US’s police tactics and no jury is going to rule for Buju’s acquittal simply on that basis. The best that his supporters can hope for is a hung jury but he is likely not to be bailed, and the retrial will imprison him. Retrials rarely suit the defendant.
What interests me is the suspension of common-sense on behalf of Buju by many Jamaicans, considering our so-called animosity to criminality. When one dials back to the Golding/Dudus situation, the general sentiment was that all “criminal fi dead’, especially as it is known that drugs fuel the arming of gunmen and that many gunmen are ‘coked’ up before they go out killing. Buju is finding sympathy where many ghetto yout’ find contempt and condemnation.
Many of his fans are citing the legal philosophy of ‘Innocent til proven guilty’. But I don’t see them applying the same doctrine to others, namely politicians and the people of Tivoli. Can someone tell me the difference?
It is no secret that the drug status of many of our leading entertainers is suspect. Buju is no exception. I was at his last concert in Miami and was part of a conversation as to how ‘coke-free’ he was that night. Nobody thought he wasn’t under some influence greater than ganja.
As to trafficking, when I used to shoot album covers, the ‘entourage’ of a noted ‘gorgon’ openly discussed in my presence, trafficking cocaine to the US under cover of a concert tour. There is definitely a strong connection between the Jamaican music industry and cocaine trafficking.
Yet many seem to find all kind of weird conspiracies against the ‘innocent’ Buju Banton, he previously without sin. No matter what anyone says, Banton is on tape tasting cocaine. One does not test the quality of cocaine if one doesn’t at least use it. That image is too powerful to explain away.
The homosexual connection is a red herring. It wasn’t gays who ‘got’ him. They might hate Banton with reason, but their influence doesn’t run that deep within the judicial system to be able to organize a ‘sting’ against Buju.
What has happened to Buju is a warning to all those entertainers who have been associated with drug trafficking. There is no ‘wickedness’. For all its faults, the US government generally doesn’t target people without some reasonable belief in their involvement in criminal activities… unless it’s political or racial. The system is flawed and many are jailed because of these flaws, but there is usually a good faith basis for initial investigations.
I wonder though, what is the possibility that the trapping of Buju came as one other tactic to pressure Bruce Golding because of his unwise holding up of the extradition of Christopher Coke? The timing is suspicious because US law enforcement must have had an inkling about Buju’s involvement in cocaine previously.
This arrest and trial most likely is the making of Buju himself, quite likely driven by a history of getting away with it on previous occasions. I have seen that in drug users and traffickers… the feeling of invincibility.
I like Buju’s music but I feel little sympathy for someone so talented being weak enough to fall prey to drug use. And the truth is, I find his testimony that he was only trying to one-up the state informant as to his history in drug trafficking to be absolutely unbelievable.
I sit next to a man who boasts he is a drug trafficker and our relationship ends there (perhaps not since I’m a writer and would be curious in the context of journalism). Buju if he were innocent, should just have shut up. Cock mout’ does kill cock.
Many of Banton’s fans want too much to believe his testimony, as if his testimony is necessarily the truth. Really people. You must have considered that criminal defendants tend to lie. Just watch Law and Order.
I’m sorry that so many Jamaicans have come rushing wildly to Mark Myrie’s defense because to some respect, it makes us no better than those who are fascinated enough by someone’s celebrity status, to overlook their flaws. But Buju Banton in America is no Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton, and at the end of the day, I suspect that Mark Myrie will be found guilty.
September 27, 2010 No Comments
It has been a long hot summer and its not finished. Someone pointed out a common thread in my recent blogs… my constant references to the low intellectual quality of a substantial percentage of Americans.
Its not that I hate Americans, but c’mon, its really not difficult to find a prominent story of someone whose capacity for stupidity is higher than their capacity for common sense. One has to wonder the cause of the erosion of American intellect over the last 50 years.
Far from being a world leader, Americans are dragging the rear in almost every positive quality. But they are leading in the worst traits.
The era of looking to America for positive leadership is done. The fact that Barack Obama is immensely popular with Europeans, is certain to enrage Americans. But that is because of their own worse qualities… stupidity, arrogance, xenophobia and racism. Pity.
Finally Obama is taking the fight to the republicans. But will he continue? Along with his attack on the ‘Just say No” republicans, he has released a new stimulus infrastructure ‘jobs’ bill of over $50B, targeting the nation’s roads, airports, bridges, etc. A good idea really, but some of his cowardly democrats have shown fear and whittled down the figures.
But timing might be everything, and putting both together might just work in November… even though I wouldn’t bet too heavily on it. After all, this is America where stupidity is likely to reign, and the democrats have shown the ability to rescue failure from the arms of victory.
My problem is that the dems aren’t explaining the benefits of this new stimulus, and also not defending the president’s rejection of tax cuts for the rich.
Tax cuts for the rich don’t work. Giving a multi-millionaire a couple extra thousands isn’t going to make him spend all that much more. That’s researched, written about, proven fact. More often than not, that money never makes it into the productive sector.
America’s economy is consumer-driven by the middle class, not the rich. But those can’t buy if they don’t have money to spend. We are just holding strain right now. With the job market so tight, employers are exploiting workers. Workers are being less productive. What they earn is saved for the ever round-the-corner rainy day. So, no spending, and the economy won’t grow without middle class spending.
Give them jobs, they earn, they spend, others earn and they spend and so on… and the country gets out of the recession.
What’s the effective argument for the spending. Firstly, America’s economy will only grow with middle class spending.
Next, America’s infrastructure does need fixing, if not today, then tomorrow… and tomorrow will be more costly.
It is natural for the homeowner to feed his family rather than fix his house (infrastructure), but more often than not, he will end both starving and without anywhere to sleep. But government isn’t similarly constrained. They can borrow at much better rates than we can.
The arguments about deficits are plain stupid. A big deficit is tomorrow’s worry, eating is today’s. A man dying of hunger can’t worry about tomorrow’s credit card debt when his children are starving today.
People need jobs, the infrastructure need repair. Win-win. People have money, they spend, the economy grows, they pay back their loans. People with no money can’t pay back their loans.
The democrats are hoping to tie the republicans to supporting the interests of the rich over the interests of the middle-class and poor. And they are hoping that this strategy works against the republicans come November.
Cases in point. The republicans voted against a bill to resuscitate small businesses, while they are fighting tooth and nail to give billionaires tax cuts.
But the polls are not supporting the democrats. Americans have a strange relationship with the rich. Understandably, they all want to be rich. But the reality always is that most billionaires become rich by abusing the trust of others.
Yet Americans love the Robin Hood figure… stealing from the rich to give the poor. That has to be a contradiction.
In truth, Americans and corporations (the super rich) are in a kind of domestic abuse relationship, the main difference being that corporations beat up on Americans and openly treat them with contempt. And like the abused spouse, ‘He loves me because he beats me so bad’.
So Obama in trying to stimulate the economy, while still keeping an eye on the deficit, is opposed by the republicans because they want the rich to get tax cuts also… and to hell with the deficit. To hell with the fact that tax cuts to the rich don’t have a major effect on the economy.
Here are the numbers. Tax cuts for everyone will cause a loss of $4 trillion in revenue to the government. The rich as defined by Obama, are those who make over $200,00 a year. This constitutes about 3% of those targeted for tax cuts. Cutting this 3%, will increase government revenue by $700B, or cutting the potential deficit as supported by the republicans by $700B.
But the republicans will support this deficit causing measure only if the full $4 trillion is thrown into the pot, or $700B more than the democrats are willing to support.
So if the minority of 3% doesn’t get its 17.5% of the pie, the republicans will make sure no one gets anything. See, 3% getting nearly 20% of the pie. That to the republicans seem fair and Americans are dumb enough not to see that.
And speaking of timing. Perhaps Obama and his political chessmasters are playing a brilliant game. One can’t help but be impressed about the strategy that carried him to the presidency. Perhaps something like that is at play again.
The tea party/republican relationship is combusting, big time. The recent primaries (Sept 14) are proving that the republicans cannot control the tea party, as I had previously warned.
The teaparty, as senseless a group of people as there is, took the country by a storm. Their only agenda was to ‘get rid of the black president by all means possible’. The republicans saddled the dragon, thinking that they can always control the beast. Now they are being eaten and don’t like it one bit. They realize they have lost control.
This bickering probably won’t necessarily unify the democrats who are scared and foolish. Georgian democrat Jim Marshall says, “We should not be raising taxes in the middle of a recession,”. Really. So they think that not giving a tax cut is raising taxes, and they equate the rich 3% not getting a tax cut the same as the perilous plight of a middle class mom with three kids not getting one. Interesting.
If they are senseless there, here is where they are absolutely stupid … thinking that pandering to the tea party will get them some mad hatter votes. Not a chance in hell my friend.
With the tea party out of control and the republicans struggling to field their own candidates, the way might just be clear for the democrats. But cowards that they are, they can’t hold their ground.
Trust me, if they don’t back Obama on this there will be a backlash from their own supporters. The rich still won’t support the democrats and the working man will be incensed enough to withhold his vote. There is only one feasible direction for the democrats,… no tax cuts for the rich.
I don’t know, but I can’t help being frustrated by the intellectual quality of this country. So a dumb-ass preacher declared that he was going to burn some Korans. So what? That shouldn’t make more than the local paper. But no, everyone up to the president is chipping in, bringing attention and power to this glory hungry stuntman. Leave them alone and they will… poof!
The media is complicit in this because they know it sells. Stupidity is like crack to a crackhead. Americans can’t get enough of either.
And what the hell is Obama doing speaking on this? Will he never learn when to just shut up? He has an agenda and from the first day he gets distracted. Man, this stupid preacher is wallowing in his new power. He was ne-eh-ver going to burn any Korans and even if he did, there are ways to deal with that. Me, I would just electrify his pulpit the next Sunday. Allah strikes back. That would stop all the copycats who are now about to come out of the woodwork with stupid attention grabbing threats like this.
The Jamaica Labour Party no longer sees itself as viable as long as Bruce Golding leads the party. He is clearly dead weight and there will soon be a move to chuck him out. If I were the People’s National Party, I would throw all my weight behind him. Let the JLP be weighed down by his carcass. Consummatum est.
September 17, 2010 2 Comments
The Dudus/Manatt, Phelps and Phillips (MPP) affair continues to create sinking sands beneath the feet of Bruce Golding since he and his government have once again been caught in a lie.
According to email transcripts printed by the Sunday Gleaner (August 22), there is the clear implication that both Golding and Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne had more than a party interest in keeping Dudus out of the hands of US law enforcement.
It also implies that Lightbourne lied not only to the country, but to parliament in claiming that she had no knowledge of the involvement of negotiations with Manatt, previous to March this year.
The Gleaner revelations have opened a floodgate of criticism and distancing from Golding in particular, as many who have previously found it convenient to give him the benefit of the doubt, now have no doubt as to the government’s culpability regarding Dudus.
Once the Gleaner turns against Golding, it is a sure sign that his support amongst the ‘upper classes’ is damaged goods. Even several Jamaica Observer columnists (despite a recent cartoon) are asking real questions.
Golding wants the private sector and other organizations to send him questions for his answering… which is disingenuous. The appropriate place to tell the truth is parliament… but then again he has already lied to parliament.
Apparently when the going gets tough, Golding gets going, in another direction.
His recent words are instructive, “… when I got this job I understood clearly that I am accountable to the people of Jamaica, not to any board room, not to those who sit at the pinnacle of any private sector empire and not to those who own and control particular instruments of media dissemination… I am accountable to the people of Jamaica, and it is for them that I work, and it is to them that I will give account at the appropriate time”.
The appropriate time. In political parlance, that means never. With elections 2 years away, Golding intends to deny, deny, deny.
While his honeymoon with the general public has long been over, it continued with those who controlled the major media, the private sector organizations, and the Norbrook mafia. The ship, at least publicly, is deserting the rats.
Golding and his cronies have no shame. My call for his resignation, doesn’t include the entire government even though they are all accessories. Both parties are seriously deficient to meet the needs of the Jamaican people, but I accept that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) deserve, by reason of our previous insanity, a reasonable chance. Golding however, is not the person to lead Jamaica. He is morally corrupt and incompetent. Seaga knew that also.
Still, as much as he intends to hold unto power, his hands might be forced sooner than later… and not by the Jamaican people. People’s National Party (PNP) general secretary Peter Bunting suggests that several members of the JLP ‘s hierarchy might be indicted for extradition.
In my June 1 blog, “Just short of death”, I wrote these words, “News coming to me from legal circles in New York, has more than strongly hinted than a super indictment has been amended to include three top ranking Jamaica Labour Party members on charges of obstruction of justice, money laundering and conspiracy. Who are they? Well let’s say if these names ever get released in the near future, there should be little surprise. Why am I not releasing the names? Because as much faith as I have in my source, there is always a lot of politics that can play out in this situation and I wouldn’t be surprised if deals are cut with the Jamaican government and the United States justice and state departments. The level of the names could destroy the present government. I suspect that with one of the indicted, no easy deal can be cut because not only has there been several money trails leading to that person, but said person offended the US state department in an attempt to secure a safe location for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke. The thing is that I wonder how far the US government is willing to go in this thing because as I have been told, they have been following money trails via the Dudus connection for some time. Apparently, because the justice department was slowly turning the screws on the Jamaica government instead of taking a big hammer approach, several connections were flushed out and have now made the wanted list”.
So who are these people? Well, all three are ministers in the government and only one has immunity for the time being, but not for ever.
One of the three, I’m told, was the person directly running Dudus, the direct link between the prime minister and Dudus. As I see it, one, probably two, will have to be sacrificed for the ‘greater good’. But the world is not level, and one never knows what deals are being cooked up between governments. And anyone who believes that the US government doesn’t do deals with crooks, are still living in ‘neverneverland’.
However, it is very likely that the US government will wait until after the next election to send these warrants. This is not the time to be accused of toppling a Caribbean government, even a corrupt one.
The JLP, as long as it is headed by Bruce Golding, is becoming a pariah in our nation. I wonder how long before another ‘gang of five’ or ‘western 11’ begins to emerge. With elections just 2 years to go, it is a sure bet that some are estimating their chances to become ‘prime minister’.
Golding was never respected by the ‘old guard’ JLP and draws his power mainly from the James Robertsons and Darryl Vaz’s of the party. But like any other beast that eats its children, the JLP is not above turning on itself and publicly eating its innards. It won’t take much to topple this government.
I find it amusing how like the above cartoon, Bruce’s defenders try to find an ‘immoral equivalency’ between the PNP scandals and the JLP’s current dilemma. There is none.
No one can deny that both parties are laced with corruption but there is no comparison between the Trafigura scandal where no one died, and Golding/Dudus where several hundred people died and tens of millions damage was caused to Jamaica as a result.
And there is no two ways about it. Either Golding was himself in league with dangerous criminal elements, or he is the most incompetent leader in all Jamaica’s history, including colonial governor Edward Eyre.
Years of brainwashing has made a large number of the American people, stupid. I don’t think that there is another country in the world where the people would so stubbornly fight against their own self-interest. Tell them that McDonalds is poisoning them and they rush to defend the right to eat toxic foods. Just to prove what? How stupid they are.
Corporations are bleeding this country dry yet people defend them with a zeal born of stupidity.
BP poisons the waters, fast foods corporations poison the children, insurance companies rip off their customers, Wall St screw the public… but idiots argue that it is un-American to put these malefactors under scrutiny or in any way regulate them. And the people always end up getting bit in the butt.
Miami taxpayers are the major financiers of the proposed new Marlins stadium, not by their will but by the commissioners who ‘represent’ them. During negotiations, attempts at determining the Marlins finances were blocked by the courts. So, the politicians negotiated in good faith and the taxpayers are left with the tab.
But good faith was not a two-way street and it turns out that the Marlins generated a $50m profit last year. Current mayor, Tomas Regalado, who to his credit as commissioner didn’t support the stadium deal, is trying to renegotiate the deal. But all he is getting from the Marlins, is the finger.
And in another story of shameful pandering to the rich, the father and son developers who bribed Broward County politicians to support their developments, have been given four year probationary terms.
Charges of bribery and perjury were dropped against Bruce and Shawn Chait, so they are not going to prison… but the politicians (Broward County commissioner Josephus Egelletion and Tamarac commissioner Patricia Atkins-Grad) they corrupted are.
So, isn’t this like arresting the crackheads because the dealers got caught and blabbed on them? I would think that it is more important to jail the corrupter than the corrupted. But being rich buys special treatment, just ask fans of Paris Hilton.
September 8, 2010 No Comments