American politicians run from the ‘t-word’ like its an unwanted babymother. Taxes. So many politicians have won or lost their jobs based on that concept. And every politician who has won his job based on ‘no new taxes’, have lied. Just like the republicans are openly lying now.
Taxes are inevitable. The ‘father of no new taxes’, Ronald Reagan, raised taxes practically ever year of his administration… 7 out of 8 years I believe. After this election, irrespective of who wins… taxes will come, taxes must come.
Here’s the thing. The population is growing, needs are expanding, the infrastructure is decrepit. The ‘needs/spending’ side of the budget has to expand, even if you can cut out all the so-called fat/waste/corruption (which you can’t). And it has to be paid for.
Its not just simply buying less food for each person in the house. Its not about buying new clothes for the children. Its not about buying new beds. Additional children are now in the house, more mouths, more clothes, more beds. The republicans can throw out as many immigrants (legal and illegal) as they like. The numbers will still go up, the infrastructure has to be repaired, disasters have to be accounted for, spending has to take place.
The revenue side of government has to expand to meet the spending side. Its simple maths. And Romney and Ryan know that. Romney wins, there will be taxes. Obama wins there will be taxes. The difference is that Romney will be obligated to the 1%. He is one of them, he has always been one of them. Think of it. 5 star restaurants and private clubs, not diners. Rich people are whom he lunches, dines and associates with daily. His friends, his family. That’s his comfort zone. Those are the people who donate big money to his campaign. He won’t take away their entitlements and expect to look them in their faces.
He will find it easier to tax those faceless units he doesn’t normally associate with. In Romney’s case, the poor and middle class. That’s where the bulk of his tax income will come from. The numbers will seem as if the rich are being taxed more. Regulations on Wall Street will look more rigorous. But their entitlement loopholes means that they will still disproportionally not pay their fair share and thus the expendable income of the 99% will shrink far more than will the expendable income of the rich. In fact, as vague as his tax policy is stated, he does show a preference for lesser taxes for the rich. So who will the burden shift to?
Obama’s tax policy is also pretty much vague, and he will raise taxes. Its inevitable. He will consider an election win as a mandate to do so. And he will attempt to tax the rich in a more meaningful way. But he will also have to tax everyone else. The difference is how the revenue will be spent. And that is the question we have to ask ourselves come polling day.
August 24, 2012 No Comments
Jamaica is celebrating its 50th year of Independence… an important milestone no doubt, but one which despite the celebrations, is fraught with self-doubt regarding our development. We aren’t where we should be and not sure what to expect in an uncertain future. If there is a time Jamaicans really need a pick me up, then it is now. And the Jamaican Olympic team led by Usain Bolt is providing it.
Despite whatever is happening in most Jamaicans lives in Jamaica or abroad, every athletic event involving a Jamaican is highly anticipated. If that event has Usain Bolt, then the anticipation is at unprecedented levels not only in Jamaica, and not only by Jamaicans, but worldwide. But there are never heroes without haters, and in Jamaica a surprising one turned out to be none other than well-respected father Ho Lung.
On a July 12 piece in the Gleaner, Ho Lung took to berating Usain Bolt. Now, I’m not ever gonna say that Bolt shouldn’t be criticized, but when one is criticizing, one should have foundation. Unfortunately for Ho Lung, most of his criticism is founded on quicksand.
Let me take an aside here. Most people who disagree with Ho Lung think that he should get a pass because he is a religious person. Fine with them but not with me. Any fool can wear a collar. We know many. What Ho Lung said belittled him and in the way that Americans say, “you are your last action”, I say Ho Lung’s criticism is that of a fool. “Judge not, or ye will be judged”. As Ho Lung judged Bolt and Blake, thus should he be judged.
First is the timing. Just before the biggest athletic stage on earth is not the time to be making such a criticism, not only because of Bolt, but the team’s leader, and the people of Jamaica as well. This must be a kick to the guts of many. Good thing Bolt, even if he sees it, will realize it is the criticism of a small-minded, condescending little man. And with his victories, Bolt has sent the requisite response, “Shut your mouth”.
Ho Lung talks as if Bolt is a child. He isn’t. He is responsible for himself and his actions. Do I like everything that Bolt does? Of course not. But as long as he is not hurting anyone, or breaking a law, then I can shake my head and leave it at that.
Ho Lung criticizes Bolt on ‘humility’. Ho Lung needs to understand that his perhaps quiet demeanor serves him well, just as how Bolt’s exuberance serves him well. Daley Thompson, one time Olympic decathlon athletic, says that athletics would probably be dead without Bolt. Bolt draws billions to him and its not just for his running… but for the combination of that and his lively personality. And if people know anything about athletes, his type of personality drives him to succeed.
But its also part of his branding. His popularity and earnings skyrocket because of his personality. What Ho Lung hates, billions love. Tell me the truth. If Bolt was a toothpaste, how many of us would buy if the ad says, “I am not better than any other toothpaste, but I have lots more humility”?
Bolt is also part of Jamaica’s brand, as is reggae music and Marley. When you put down Bolt you are putting down Jamaica. Bolt, like Marley, like reggae, like Toots, like our beauty, our arts, spelling bee champion Jody Anne Maxwell, are all part of the Jamaican tapestry and what makes us feel good about ourselves. An attack on our icons is an attack on ourselves. And that’s exactly what Ho Lung has done… trimming the Jamaican self-esteem. And that is unforgivable.
By the way, since we are talking about humility. Ho Lung should look at his own church and its leader. Don’t see much humility there. And perhaps Ho Lung should look at himself. He signs his letter as ‘superior general’, and ‘father general’. What pompous titles! It’s like something from a Borat movie.
Ho Lung certainly stepped out of his level in criticing Bolt for coming 2nd in both the 100 and 200m at the Jamaican trials. Idiot. Bolt lost because he wasn’t in peak condition and Yohan Blake ran better. Would it have been better to win the trials but lose the Olympics? Certainly a ‘woohoo’ moment for Ho Lung.
Then Ho Lung references Ali, Houston, and Michael Jackson. Nothing like raising the dead to make someone feel bad, right superior general?
Here’s the thing, shit did happen to those 3, but guess what? Shit happens to good, bad and indifferent people. Good and bad people die young, good and bad people die old. Is Ho Lung implying that those who die in pain are bad people? Is he saying that craps gonna happen to Bolt if he doesn’t ‘humble up’. Wow, you bitter, bitter misguided man.
“God chastiseth those whom He loves”. Hmm. Perhaps he doesn’t love the pope then, ‘cause the pope seems to be above chastisement… and father general, considering child abuse, its treatment of women, birth control, women’s rights to take charge of their own bodies, the holy church working with good ol’ adolphus hitler, the worst brutality in european history, I don’t see you critiquing your church. Father general, whats up with that?
The superior general then turned his sights on Yohan Blake, questioning why Blake has chosen the nickname, ‘Beast’, and asking if Blake has read the book of revelations. Here is the thing father superior, Blake didn’t choose the nickname which was given to him by Bolt. Its simply a nickname and has nothing to do with revelations. And ‘beast’ is a generic word meaning many things, from lamb to lion.
Ho Lung’s piece reminded me of another roman catholic’s condescending criticism of Bolt (Michael Burke, Gleaner 2009) made in the same manner. If I remember correctly Burke told Bolt he was worshipping the wrong god as if he Burke knew who or what the correct god was. But that’s another story, well, perhaps not really.
One presumes that Ho Lung is a thoughtful man, but a thoughtful man thinks. A bitter man doesn’t. A thoughtful man would have understood what both athletes go through. Bolt doesn’t just drive around in a bimmer, partying, partying, having fun every day.. and then go out and win the Olympics. Where Bolt is takes years of pain and sacrifice. When others are living for the weekend, Bolt and Blake are living for a greater goal.
And they have the scars to prove it. Bolt knows victory… but he also knows failure. He knows celebration… but he also knows pain, way beyond what either Burke or Ho Lung appreciates.
Bolt said that he failed to break the 200m record because of back pain. Can Ho Lung understand a young man of 25 with severe back pain? Can he even begin to understand the life of an athlete. Ho Lung claims that all that Bolt has comes from god. Really? father superior, its not that easy. Bolt has talent but he worked for it. Through agony and tears and fears. He deserves a little lack of humility, a little time off. If you think you are even remotely capable of judging Bolt or Blake, then at least have the decency to judge their small indiscretions against the larger body of their accomplishments.
Ho Lung’s rant against both Blake a Bolt represents the idea that both have stepped out of place. But it is Ho Lung who has done so. It would behoove him to apologize for his untimely and undermining rant, to Bolt, Blake, the Olympic team for whom Bolt is leader, and the entire population of Jamaica.
A Jamaican in Ft Lauderdale, Florida told that right after the 4×100, she felt free of all her troubles, even temporarily. Many Jamaicans can echo that feeling. And that is exactly what Ho Lung sought to undermine, and that’s why I cannot grant him a pass.
August 12, 2012 No Comments
It was the best of times, the worst of times. Today this opening line from Charles Dickens is not restricted to a tale of two cities, but repeats itself everywhere, all over the world. Its difficult not to notice how wide the gap is increasing between the have and have-nots, the rich and the poor, the advantaged and the disadvantaged.
Jamaica has certainly not escaped this predicament. Since pulling itself away from Britain (far less than the populace thought it had), Jamaica has struggled in a world it suddenly found itself at sea in. Perhaps if all things were fair and equal, Jamaica would have been better off, but in a world where small countries have very little power in the structure and future of things, and where economic development is not necessarily in its control, Jamaica soon became lost.
That’s not to say the leadership of the country is entirely blameless. Not at all. We have always had leaders who mostly weren’t able to see the game for what it was. Michael Manley and Edward Seaga were the exceptions but both came up with different solutions, neither of them ultimately useful.
Manley saw change through a new world order and new world thinking. But those fell to the machinations of those who won’t allow financial, political or social independence, or any deviation from the path they have set the world in. Global Feudalism.
Seaga thought that housing ourselves under the wings of the nearest dying dragon would offer us protection but failed to realize that when a dragon is dying as this one is, it first begins to eat what it never gave a glance at during its best days… the most vulnerable closest to it.
Looking back, there is no one thing we can identify as where we went wrong. It was more a long continuous series of ideas and decisions, some of it taken out of our hands.
Jamaica continues to be on a path not of its own choosing, like a small boat guided to where the great waves take it, not being able to do much more than hopefully survive, with pilots who have virtually done little more than better prepare their own personal future.
Yet at the same time, it is the best of times for a small minority and luckily the island has heroes like Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and the band of other athletes who continue to represent this small country so well at the Olympics.
It is also the best of times by Jamaica’s ability to showcase many of its skills and creativity… our arts for example, as well as the strength of our people. Wherever you go, Jamaicans seem to have that uncanny ability to stand out, and in every society, even in the remotest parts of the world, there is probably a Jamaican who has made his mark.
Despite its small size, Jamaica is one of the most known countries due most likely to our arts and music and sporting abilities. But we are known for many other things… politics, law, economics, even science. Jamaicans have birthed many outstanding personalities who have made major marks on the world of academia, or the performing arts, fashion and food.
But much of our energies have been squandered by ourselves, our leadership and our inability as a nation to rise above mass mediocrity. Perhaps the most disappointing thing about us after 50 years is that we have failed to fulfill what we are capable of… a nation with so much talent and so little national advancement. A nation of so many talented moving parts but with no ability to be one successful unit… which makes a lie of our national motto.
Some people have been grumbling that with our many failures, what do we have to celebrate? Why bother with the charade of a 50th Independence anniversary? Well, we can and should celebrate. Not much is lost and nothing is gained by not recognizing our birth with a little cake, wine and some music. Bad times or not, this is still a significant moment in Jamaica’s history and we can celebrate the moment, even for a moment. We can celebrate the small successes as well, even if they are buried under the weight of our poverty and crime, high joblessness and diminishing earnings. Celebrate we must.
And we can hope that in the next 50 years, Jamaica will be able to fight the raging waters that have been carrying us on a course of unmitigated disaster. The truth is that while our destiny is not entirely in our hands, we have the ability to change that. But nothing can be done without the recognition that success will not come without hard work and sacrifice. And perhaps that is where our political, social, religious, intellectual and private sector leadership have failed us most, making us believe that success is easily achievable, just around the corner, as long we put them in place to simply tweak a few buttons, take a few pills and viola… instant success.
It was the worse of times… perhaps. But we can make it the best of times, as long as we recognize that sacrifices have to be made, and have to be shared.
August 7, 2012 No Comments
If you are a democrat right now you should be laughing like hell. If you are a republican, you’d have to be crying yourself to sleep every night. The republican primaries, the circus that just keeps on giving Obama the election.
Let me reiterate a couple things. Romney is going to represent the republicans in the presidential elections and Obama, unless things take the utmost turn for the worse, will beat him soundly. It has all been planned out and agreed upon by both parties. The election is fixed… no surprise there. Obama wants to win, the GOP wants to kill the teaparty.
I’ve said it before. The primary aim of the GOP is to take back the party from the teaparty which is proving more dangerous to the republican establishment than Obama The teaparty is the ultimate lunatic fringe and threatens the entire order, especially the ‘fat cats’ in the GOP. Politics is about compromise, making deals, getting rewarded, making wealth for the insiders. The teaparty threatens that, without offering anything better in return.
So back to the present. Romney vs Gingrich vs Santorum vs Paul. The contest is only for the press, and also to keep Romney tired and burnt out by the time the presidential primary comes around. But no one could ever have imagined the comedy those 4 would provide. Actually, the entire group, even those gone… Cain, Perry, Bachman… a bunch of jokers, especially Donald Trump.
Each of the top 4 has made statements that continue to dim their electability. Paul has been consistent, but nothing new actually comes from his mouth and his ideas make him unelectable.
Santorum has very backward ideas, not to mention having a disposition only a mother can bear to love. While he spouts a lot of neanderthal beliefs popular with teapartyists, those beliefs are way outside the American mainstream. He would be much more popular in Saudi Arabia. He is that retrogressive.
His recent surge winning a couple small states, flatters to deceive. The fix is in. The GOP leaders don’t want him and he has no money.
Gingrich links blacks to welfare. Is that a gaffe? Not at all. Gingrich is fully aware that whites disproportionally make up the bulk of welfare recipients. But he is playing into the racist stereotypes of many who feel more comfortable with the idea that blacks en masse, leach off welfare. They don’t want to know the truth and Gingrich is ok with that. He doesn’t want the black vote. He can’t get the black vote. But he can get white racists to rally around him by playing that race card. But while it was enough to keep him close to Romney, alas, he is so far back in the pack that he soon won’t be winning many caucuses. One more surge in popularity is not going to overcome Romney.
Romney is the clear leader. The GOP wants him because the fix is in. They know that Romney is weak and prone to fatal errors. Let us look at his “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich. They’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling…You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus”.
Now, that’s a gaffe. It is also actually what Romney and his disconnected friends really believe… that there is very little poverty in America, and the poor are ‘ok’ with the ‘safety net’.
Romney doesn’t live in this world, hence his $10,000 bet, his attempt to dress down, and his ‘liking to fire people’ in a time when millions of people are still feeling the effects of ‘being fired’.
Romney does believe contrary to facts that America’s poor makes up only 4-9% of the population, when it is quite probably nearer 20%. The recession has caused a whole lot of new poor… middle and even upper middle class families that have slipped quickly from their lofty position to virtual homelessness.
Establishment figures put homelessness at a high of 3,500,000 people. Really? But that’s establishment figures that always underplay the bad news in America. I believe that the numbers are much higher considering the great rise I see in South Florida over the last few years,
Think about the unemployment numbers and those losing their homes. The Establishment says there are 13,000,000 currently unemployed. But you have to understand how these statistics are compiled. That figure doesn’t include the homeless and many others who fall off the lists… people who have been unemployed for so long, they no longer statistically matter. Truthfully, the unemployed are more likely 20% of the workable population… people who would work if given a chance.
But Romney and his ilk remain unaware because our reality isn’t part of their world. Like George Bush before, I doubt Romney has ever entered a supermarket or retail establishment to buy something. He only postures for the cameras while on the campaign trail. Like Bush, I doubt he has ever seen a cash register or even met a sales person. He has never taken anything off the shelves and never compared prices. He has never gotten out of his car to pump gas, never paid an electricity bill. He lives in the stratified air of the rich elite.
Hence his condescending comment about ‘safety net’. The rich elite feels that the poor doesn’t want to be part of the American Dream, doesn’t want o be better off, own things without having to take it from the dump, hand me downs, or putting it on a card and hoping that eventually they will pay off on that flat screen tv.
They feel that the poor is comfortable with government handouts, wants to live from welfare check to welfare check, wants to live in fear and despair because they don’t have adequate health insurance, and have to stand in long lines at the local clinics.
Santorum and Paul represent the teaparty hopes… that’s a split vote right there. Gingrich is a wannabe teapartist, another split vote. Romney can’t get the real party vote, though he will get the realistic teaparty vote… those who believe that he is the only one who can combat Obama.
The hopes for Gingrich was that he could beat Obama in debates but the truth is that he is if nothing else, a moral liability. True conservatives find him morally despicable. And while he is a thinking man, he is a loose cannon, destined to have his own ego destroy the GOP.
That leaves the moneyed-up Romney who can get the moderate conservative votes, can get some independent votes but cannot get the real teaparty votes. He will get some of those teaparty ‘anybody but Obama’ votes. But alas there aren’t enough of those going around.
Romney fell in the trap of believing that the teaparty is stronger than it is, and his becoming a ready-mix teapartist isn’t flying well with the teaparty itself, or independents. If he had created an alternative, stuck with being a moderate republican, he would have had a slight chance. Now he is going to beat the rest but fall well short of the presidency because his support is too fractured. The teaparty in the long run, will not vote for him.
And less we forget, Romney accepting Trumps endorsement was a kiss of death for him. Not sure either he or Trump realizes that as yet… but they will. All he needs now is to accept the Palin endorsement. He wishes she won’t.
Unless Obama really messes up, the election is a foregone conclusion.
This blog notes the passing of Ambassador Dudley Thompson and broadcaster Wilmot Perkins. Thompson’s greatness reaches beyond his tenure in Jamaica’s party politics. While Jamaica didn’t do that much to recognize his contribution, Thompson was international. He was for many years a leading friend of Africa and knew at one point or another, many of the African revolution greatest leaders. And as a lawyer and international negotiator, he was one of Jamaica’s all time best.
Wilmot Perkins was a well-known and well-loathed/well-liked radio commentator (depending on who you ask) who led the radio talk shows in Jamaica. Perkins was a brilliant but polarizing man who used his sense of logic and wit to slice and dice weak arguments and their proponents on talk radio.
Yet when challenged by someone of equal wit, intelligence or strength, his tendency was to hit the cut switch.
Some will credit him with the provision of high debate, while others will blame him for the devolution and incivility of talk radio.
While not generally supportive of many of his views, not many can deny his incisiveness, or his depth of knowledge.
The loss of both is another great loss to Jamaica.
February 13, 2012 No Comments
So we are in year 2012 with 350+ days to go. Like every other new year, we say this is gonna be an interesting year… and like any other time, it always will be an interesting year. C’mon man, who can really say that any year to come will be a boring year?
Anyway, the postmortem on the Jamaican election is still going on and many people, especially many outside of Jamaica, are still wondering what the hell happened? Well, its quite simple… “Its about Dudus stoopid”.
From the whole extradition issue, the attack on Tivoli and Manatt debacle, it was clear that the Jamaica Labour Party would have an uphill battle to with the next election. The issue was a major game changer in the minds of Jamaicans. And as hated as Tivoli might be to many Jamaicans who live outside the community, what happened there was a tragedy. And that there was no fall out over the 70+ people who were killed, just cemented that as a travesty.
Bruce Golding should have taken responsibility and should have resigned. The JLP should have taken responsibility and fired him. But they stood united behind him. It was clear that Golding was going to bluff it out into the next election and the minute the JLP committed to him their collective grave was dug.
And it was not as if the party didn’t have it warnings. The private sector made it clear that they didn’t think that Golding was electable. I would think that Golding dared them to not support him knowing how many of them felt about Portia Simpson Miller. I think in the end, he was forced to resign because of private sector pressure, and more than subtle hints from the US state department.
But one thing about the private sector. When I saw that they had divided their financial support between both parties, I knew that they didn’t believe the JLP could win and they didn’t want to be on the losing side. That told me that the JLP was beaten. I didn’t know they would be that whipped.
Something else. Holness was not the best person to lead the JLP and for all intents and purposes, he is likely finished. He’s not gonna be there next election. It should have been Christopher Tufton, who I believe has greater ability, credibility and presence. It won’t be long before he heads the party. It’s Hugh Shearer all over again… but without the nastiness of Wilton Hill and Eddie Seaga.
And speaking of Seaga, it couldn’t have helped Holness that he was once Seaga’s protégé. Jamaica does not want a resurrection of either Bruce Golding or Edward Seaga, much less the spawn of both.
Another negative of course was that the economy hadn’t really moved and the reality was there was more smoke and mirrors than progress. I keep hearing Edmund Bartlett talk about a great year for tourism… but none of that trickled down to the worker, or to the streets. Whatever gains there might be in the economy, was cut off long before it reached those who needed it most.
Even if there was some miniscule progress, other factors were greater in the decision–making at the polls… which brings me to Race, the factor that pundits continue to ignore. We might hide from the issue, thinking that Jamaica is above discussing race… but it is there and it is important.
I blogged some time ago that since Golding came in power, there was a major racial shift in Jamaica… the ‘good ole days’ were back. Everything but black was elevated above black.
Now some people will say that it is about class not race, and to some extent they are correct… but most forget that the two are inextricably linked in Jamaica. The closer to the top of Jamaica’s economic ladder, the lighter the median skin colour.
After all the social gains black people had made under Michael Manley- ‘no bastard no deh’, empowerment of women, abolition of masters servants act, improved worker rights, free education which gave opportunities for university education to many blacks who otherwise would never have achieved it, and the whole attitude that black people had reason to be proud- there was a monumental shift after 1980.
I remember the amount of female friends who lamented to me that since the JLP came into power then, sexual exploitation in the workplace had risen dramatically. And it was often about what skin colour was exercising that sexual power and against whom.
I have visited Jamaica several times over the last few years and though no one spoke about a return to that sexual exploitation (though there is no doubt it still exists), the colour issue was palpable. I observed who and who were photographed on the social pages and who were missing. In the malls, I observed a new lightness in the steps of those of lighter hue, a kind of ‘we are in charge now’ arrogance, and the almost perceptible rounded shoulders of the rest. I was not the only one who noticed this.
I felt the resentment rising. And the JLP is tied to the upper classes and thus those of lighter hue, while Portia is tied to the poorer classes thus black people. As much as we talk about Jamaicans and ‘bleaching’, inside they resent being lauded over.
Which brings me to a small aside. Sometimes people fail to recognize that ‘bleaching’ in Jamaica is not necessarily about a lack of self-love, it is often about empowerment, about the recognition that if you want success, you have to be ‘lighter’. Black race pride is still buried deep inside Jamaicans. The JLP rarely seems to understand that.
So the colour backlash hit the JLP and they lost.
The JLP doesn’t appear to have the equivalent in Portia Simpson Miller. Well, actually they do but they might as well put Pearnel Charles out to pasture. Since Bustamante, the JLP has no one who clearly is identified with poor, black people. Seaga in a sense, yes.
But Seaga was more identified with Tivoli than Jamaica on a whole. And the fact that he gave back Jamaica to the upper classes/aka ‘red man dem’ in 1980, destroyed much of those credentials. Referring to PJ Patterson as a ‘black’ scandal bag, made him unelectable after that.
Until the JLP can find someone who resonates on a racial level, someone who truly seem to empathise with poor people, the party will spend a very long winter in the cold.
(written on January 4)
Portia Simpson Miller hasn’t started out her new shift too well with the announcement of a clearly bloated cabinet (please note the common ‘c’). It is clearly a hypocritical reverse of her former position and one on which she continuously criticized Golding on. Still, no one cares, if they perform, but I’m not sure will be able to. Jamaica’s problems are far too much for any one-party.
I still maintain that some form of coalition is needed for Jamaica. Right now, full time party politicians running Jamaica is a total mess.
And the republican circus continues. Mitt Romney, as I stated before even the first contest, will be the republican nominee for presidency. But the fact that all his current rivals have the long knives out on him, will eventually work against him when he faces Barack Obama.
The crop of republicans have so far shown no aptitude to eventually rally around the front-runner and it feels as if the denigration of Romney is more personal than political. He has and will continue to spend a lot of money and energy making it through the ‘playoffs’, that by the time he plays the final, he will be too drained of resources. Furthermore, his rivals have made so many accusations, it will be difficult to wipe off all the smears. The fact that he so openly flip-flopped on issues that he had previously committed to, to try to buy the tea party support, will work against him. Especially since they are not happy with him anyway.
Here is the conservative dilemma. A black christian(?) democrat versus a white mormon republican. Oooh that’s gonna be tough. Believe it or not, as racist as many christian conservatives are, mormonism to some is worse.
I bet that Romney will be forced to pick an ultra-conservative as his running mate… likely someone who appears religious, with strong hawkish and anti-immigration views which will alienate the Hispanic and independent vote. Doubt that will be Santorum or Paul or anyone else in this pack because they have made such vitriolic accusations against him. As much name recognition as Palin has, he’s not gonna touch her with a 10 foot pole.
Most likely be Christie from New Jersey who has endorsed Romney for the nomination (not always a good thing). If not Christie, it will be someone with so-called strong conservative values, definitely not a black but quite possible a hispanic. Now who could that be? Certainly not Marco Rubio, as much as the tea party would love him. He only alienates everyone else. Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico will be a choice (kills 3 stones with 1 bird. Woman, hispanic and anti-immigration).
Romney’s list is narrow because he has to appease both the tea party and the independents. And he can’t win without support from both. And the tea party is almost diametrically opposed to anyone who the independents might favour and vice versa. He’s gonna have it tough.
“A movie recently released celebrates the life of ex-British pm, Margaret Thatcher. I fear it is the resurrecting, reincarnation and make-over of a fairly bad person. A recent Time magazine cover story on Thatcher was I suppose, just following the mantra of not speaking ill of the dead (no she’s not dead yet).
In the Time story, with all the accolades heaped on Thatcher, not one line addressed Thatcher’s support of South Africa apartheid regime of the time, or her association with the infamously genocidal Khmer Rouge. Both she and Ronald Reagan stoutly defended not imposing sanctions on the country which not only treated the indigenous population like 4th class citizens, but routinely set about state terrorism and genocide”.
January 14, 2012 No Comments
The year where the world is predicted to come to a crashing end, is about to begin. Perhaps absolutely fitting for not only this column, but for the political happenings of both Jamaica and the United States.
Jamaicans, as I write this, are having their vote, and one cannot help the futility of doing nothing but re-cycling thru the trash. Our political system might not be broken, but our politicians certainly are.
Choosing between Portia Simpson Miller and Andrew Holness, between the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Peoples National Party (PNP) is nothing but an exercise in futility. Neither is capable of fixing Jamaica’s problems. The PNP is still mired in a set way of doing things, no matter how often failure. Leadership still continues to be the issue as well… but it needs to be understood that no matter who stands of the helm of the PNP, or the JLP for that matter, the problems are still way above their pay grade.
Andrew Holness’ attempt to show he is new and different hasn’t even gotten off the ground, so failed is that attempt. Holness still a part of the old guard of the JLP. He inherited from Golding and is a protégé of Seaga. How much more old guard can you get?
Bruce Golding most likely finished the JLP by his attempt to bluff his way into another term. If he had resigned immediately after the ‘Dudus’ debacle, the JLP would have stood a chance. But he hung around like dead weight and he lost the JLP this election… and it is quite likely that he tainted Holness for ever, Hugh Shearer redux.
The only solution I see for Jamaica is a coalition of political parties and civil society. Though that is really a dream… because politicians never let go of power… it is the only hope. The Jamaican fabric is torn in two or more pieces… each party holding on to a bit. That tear, means we can never recover if any party tries on its own to run the country.
Its not that the solution lies in the combination of the two, but it would be better to work on one fabric together than on two separate fabrics. That way everyone can at least see what needs to be done.
It seems to me that all the major players in Jamaica have already given up on the country, and are content not only to wait for the patient to die to enrich themselves with ‘what-left’, they are actively killing the patient to that much quicker get to the carcass. The church, the business community, the general media, the banking sector, the politicians… none of them any longer see Jamaica has viable. And that is bad for the Jamaican people.
I don’t know how much longer we can continue swapping dog for monkey but that is what we do at every election… cycle through very limited options. The parties, the candidates are interchangeable, because they are all incompetent.
It is much the same with the republican candidates for the 2012 presidential election. Never has there been a bunch as morally, ideologically, and politically corrupt as these money-scroungers. This is a game for most of them… a game to enrich themselves by boosting their name recognition and then parlaying that later into tv reality shows and speaking engagements. Does anyone really believe that Herman Cain had a chance at becoming president of the United States? That the republican party would have allowed another black man to be president which would have been automatic if it was Obama vs Cain?
Did anyone really believe that Trump wanted the presidency? Trump’s move was so blatantly obvious, I’m saddened but not surprised that the press even gave him the time of the day. He’s a political fruitcake but someone who knows how stupidity of the American voter and how the media turns that into dollars for themselves.
Does anyone really believe that Bachmann, Santorum, Perry, Paul, Gingrich has even the faintest of chances to win the presidency? And all that is happening now is a staged recycling of each candidate… a new bland flavour of the week. All are fringe candidates looking for retirement riches… and each are put up as the new saviour only to be inevitably knocked down in a week.
Romney is going to win the republican nomination and unless really crappy events happen in 2012, Obama is going to get a second term. Romney won’t be able to challenge Obama because Romney isn’t well liked amongst the republican electorate for thousands of reasons. And Americans don’t vote with common sense. Just one little flaw in their candidate amongst all the strengths… and out he goes.
All we are seeing is a circus and that circus has most likely irrevocably damaged the republican credibility.
But you know what. All this might have been pre-planned by both parties as I forecast some time ago, in order to kill the republican threat within… the tea party. Obama’s re-election is virtually assured.
Have you heard about priests fighting each other over territory inside a church recently? Nothing better to illustrate 2011, and to welcome in the year of the ‘end of the world’. Wooohaaaaaahh.
December 29, 2011 No Comments
If there’s one thing sure to get a slightly vegetative Jamaican blogger out of his slumber, its the Bruce Golding’s announcement of his intention of early resignation as party leader and Jamaica’s prime minister.
There is very little to analyse about this, unless one wants to look at the Golding years (forgettable), or post-Golding Jamaica.
I arrived in Jamaica the day Golding gave age as his ‘reason’ for retiring… and as one taxi-driver said, “Nobody believe him!”. Neither do I. Golding has so long lusted for power, there is no way on earth he would be satisfied with 1.5 terms in office. Lets dismiss that one with all the contempt we can muster.
The Gleaner on the said day, Sunday October 2 asked “Who pushed Golding?” which is a nonsensical question in the context of that story, where the staff writer claims, “Despite speculation locally and overseas that have attempted to link the surprise resignation announcement to the botched extradition of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke last year, there has been no word from any overseas government or agency to confirm a direct connection”. Really? Since his resignation was announced only a few days before, isn’t it premature to jump to that conclusion publicly? And doesn’t that statement betray a lack of cohesive thought?
Ok, let me speculate. I never doubted that the Dudus fiasco would lead to Golding’s fall, and the Manatt inquiry only starkly implied how deeply he was in bed with Dudus, and how badly the government handled the extradition.
There was fear by some that Bruce would have tried to brazen it out and run again, banking that the Jamaican electorate would have a short attention span. Well, he did try, but the electorate doesn’t have that short an attention span, and the Manatt inquiry only deepened the resentment for the Bruce Golding-led Jamaica Labour Party. The die was cast… Golding had become an albatross around the party’s neck.
Yet that wasn’t seen in the Jamaica Labour Party who had stood behind him and refused to even consider his resignation. Even after his announcement, they were begging him to stay on ‘indefinitely’.
The fact that the JLP was caught in so much confusion, clearly shows that the party was caught off-guard. Golding had made no prior signal of an intent to resign and there was no recent internal putsch. So who or what?
For that we have to look to the private sector and yes, the United States government. There I said it.
It was going to be difficult but not impossible for Golding to bypass the moneyed class. They clearly saw him as a liability but not because of moral principles. They didn’t give a damn about the 70-odd people who died in Tivoli, ‘Dudus’, or whether Golding dances with the devil. They just don’t want the People’s National Party under Portia Simpson back in power and weren’t going to take a gamble that Golding could develop teflon-like armour, enough to carry the next election.
After the extradition flop and after Manatt inquiry, it was the private sector leaders who were more than hinting that Golding’s position as Jamaica’s leader was untenable. If he didn’t go, I figure that campaign contributions to the JLP would be very tight. But hypocrites they are, I bet if Golding stayed, they would still grudgingly fill the party coffers… albeit in a losing cause. Yes, Golding would lose to Portia Simpson Miller next time around.
So there is the United States…. And I’m sure there were signals that the US were not very happy with Golding. To have the rumours continue and even grow that Dudus has named names, and that a sitting prime minister could be publicly indicted over the Dudus affair would definitely mean death at the polls. After Dudus was extradited back then, I was told that 3 high-ranking JLP members had super indictments handed down against them in the US courts. No need to guess who was one of them.
I’m surprised that many commentators felt ‘surprised’ at Golding’s decision. And I’m also surprised at the virtual whitewashing of his image by some columnists. Let us be frank. Bruce Golding was never ever going to be a good prime minister and the general public had long stopped buying into that idea. My informal poll each time I went to Jamaica, showed less and less favour towards him and the JLP. Dudus/Manatt made sure there was no way back.
So where from here? Well, the spotlight is now on heir apparent in Andrew Holness. Personally, my gut instinct would have gone for Christopher Tufton. But it might matter little. I don’t think either can beat the People’s National Party led by Simpson, should the PNP really want a return to power… no matter how much money the elite class pour into the JLP. Remember how much money was lodged in the JLP’s bank account the last time and Golding only squeak in a win.
There is a great deal of resentment about the JLP government as their performance hasn’t been anywhere near what they claim. Despite the tourism minister’s continual ‘happy face’, tourism is in bad shape. Not that you could tell from the way he ‘mishandles’ statistics’. Walk the streets yourself, talk to the interests, and it is glaring. Tings bad.
Foreign investment is down to an all time low (world global economy is a part of that), but far too many decisions of the Golding government have exacerbated the difficulty people have in earning a living in Jamaica… except of course for the ‘elite’ class. Apparently, they are currently having serious issues with the IMF. Golding’s resignation won’t change that.
The PNP has also tied Dudus/Manatt to the rest of the party because each and everyone of them knew what was happening and unswervingly backed the party leader. They are all tainted by association and by knowledge. And any of them who claim ignorance of ‘Dudus’ will be judged either a liar or a fool. Holness won’t have the time to cleanse himself of that smear, despite the party and their media sycophants claiming that he is without sin. Jamaicans won’t buy that.
And here is another question. Who gets Tivoli? That is more important than you think. Right now Holness dare not take the Tivoli militia, and yet he has to be wary who gets it. It has to be someone trusted but someone who does not have leadership ambitions.
Holness has to enter a fast learning curve with lots of pressure, and I doubt that he is ready for it. The JLP cannot entertain those made-for-tv debates because Simpson Miller would eat him alive. As friendly as the press has been to the JLP, Holness is not likely to have the experience to navigate dangerous waters and a bad interview will signal disaster. The JLP will be pushing the youth angle but its not the best one to stack all your chips behind. Its going to be interesting days ahead.
One of the legacies of the Golding age is the greatly noticeable shift against black skin. That I will deal with in a different column.
October 8, 2011 No Comments
I’ve been waiting for and seeing interesting fallouts from the recent British riots. Two of the more interesting consequences are whom the establishment and media continue to blame, and the actions taking in the aftermath.
As told in my last blog ‘London Bridge is burning down”, the first persons to be blamed were black people, a tune that had to be changed when the preponderance of white images began to flock the media. So it ‘became’ a criminal activity, which while not naming a class, still projected ‘Black’, especially in the context of the earlier racist statements of non-facts.
But then there are some like so-called historian David Starkey, who while obviously couldn’t help himself going on BBC2 to argue that the riots happened because “the whites have become black”. Aaah, huh?
Incredulously Starkey still defends assertions, telling the British newspaper, the Mail that plain speaking was needed, ‘I said until I was blue in the face on the programme that I was not talking about skin colour but gang culture. A large group of whites have started to behave like blacks. I think that is the most unracial remark anyone can make’.
Huh? Sorry but though I wasn’t England-born, I think I have more than a reasonable understanding of the language. I can’t see how Starkey can claim that his statement is ‘unracial’. The implication is clear. If whites didn’t behave like blacks they would not have rioted. Rioters are bad, thus blacks must be bad.
Here’s a link to perhaps the best response to Starkey and others like him, so I won’t go into an analysis or refutation of what he said. But this I will say. Starkey is one of the most dangerous of racists… the intellectual racist.
When a ‘yob’ says something racist, he can be excused as ignorant, unlearned (and smelly) because that is generally what racism is, pure ignorance. But a man of Starkey’s intellectual background gives a veneer of authority (not respect) on the subject. As Starkey shows, even racists have doctoral degrees.
I say this accepting there’s a chance he might merely be misguided. But continuing to defend his comments as ‘unracial’, clearly implies that ‘it can’t be racist if it is true’. But it isn’t true and it is racist. Many racists will find comfort in quoting Starkey time after time, as he quoted Enoch Powell.
All present please remember the name David Starkey and pass it on to your children and grandchildren. He is to be immune from retribution by the Citizens’ Councils of the future. Piers Morgan? Congratulations! You have placed yourself top of the list. Expect a knock on the door in 2040 or whenever Brits finally get their act together and retake their country. I, for one, will watch your Citizens’ Council trial with relish when that long off day finally comes to pass”. “Retake their country”? Where have I heard that before?
We must understand that what makes racists dangerous is not what they say, but that they believe what they say, and when someone believes in what they say then they are apt to act vigourously on it. Take this post #34, August 16, “Chavs are the remnant of the earlier British “skinhead” movement, which grew out of the New Wave Punk style of the late ’70s and 80s. Many of them were put out of work or denied work as the impact of growing immigration (usually from Pakistan, but Africa and Jamaica too) displaced them. They felt abused by their government and society. So they turned to those most sympathetic to them, Nazi inspired skinheads. They never were from the best class, but they were British.
Notice the reference to the timeline and to the countries in bold. But historically, as far as I know about the Jamaicans, the ‘great migration’ took place in the late 50’s, and early 60’s and that’s because there were a shortage of British workers for ‘lower class jobs’ such as bus drivers, garbage workers, post men etc.
While Starkey is correct in saying that many white youths have adopted some of the influences from foreign cultures including Jamaica, these posters and racists have deliberately and selectively missed the point. It was not the Jamaican patois or subculture that caused the riots.
Violence has long been a part of British culture (not just subculture), and not just within the last 50 years. Pirates and the buccaneers, were not black Jamaicans. Bombing, looting, stealing, rape and murder have long been sanctioned by the Crown, even before Jamaica was ‘discovered’. Most Jamaicans historical link to slavery was on the part of the enslaved, not the slave master. If Starkey is referring to the Paul Bogles and Sam Sharpes creating disturbances to gain freedom and betterment, then he is right. Perhaps those are the Jamaicans that the British youths are emulating with obvious reasons.
I visited London in 1986, in the midst of ‘Paki-bashing’… white gangs beating up anyone with a semblance of East Indian ancestry. In fact, the same gangs used to beat up blacks until Jamaican ‘gangstas’ put an end to that thuggery, and then all other minorities sought refuge under the Jamaican umbrella. T’was interesting to hear a Pakistani take on Jamaican nationality.
Part of what attracts the British youth to ‘yaadies’ is not the violence, but the fact that Jamaica has much are proud of, beyond its size. Very embarrassing for the British is that in the 2008 Olympics track and field, Jamaicans took home 11 medals (6 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze) while jolly ol’ England took home 4 medals, only one of which was gold.
Adding insult to injury, Britain’s high jump silver was earned by a born Jamaican Germaine Mason, and their 400m hurdle bronze medalist Tasha Danvers, is of Jamaican parentage. The other two track and field medalists for the UK, were both of Nigerian parents. I should think that people like Starkey should actually be grateful for Jamaicans. We add value to the British culture.
If your kids are turning from skinheads to dreadlocks, from Shakespeare to Miss Lou, from Handel to Marley, from Roger Bannister to Usain Bolt, then perhaps you should look at your collective parenting skills.
Cultivating a reputation for tolerance, the British are proving to be increasingly racially insular. But I’m more concerned of the hypocrisy of people like Starkey talking about the failure of the ‘foreigners’ to assimilate, and of them becoming too influential in British culture. Really?
I have never seen any British expat community wearing saris, speaking patois or converting wholesale to Confucianism. They have always held the home country’s culture proudly in front of them wherever they go. Why shouldn’t others do the same. The British expats not only take their identity with them, they spread it around, even to the point of erasing the culture of where they migrate to (yes, the British can be immigrants). And like Americans, they have no problems calling other cultures ‘uncivilised’.
The racial dynamics of Europe have been changing very fast and it didn’t just start. This economic downturn is just going to make it worse. Discriminatory polarity increases when times get tough. Suddenly ‘We’ becomes ‘Them’. Pity.
The rioting has given the government the excuse to do things they always wanted to do. Suppression by fear. Whole families are being thrown out of government housing if one member was involved in the riots. That’s fascism. You don’t punish a family for the misdeeds of one. It doesn’t appear to involve proof of involvement or the level of involvement. Just being there might just be enough. No trial. That’s what Hitler did in the 1940’s.
Cameron has demanded limiting social media, and monitoring of social media to convict users who have used the media to exhort violence. In the latter, it is perfectly fair for the police to use as evidence, but is important to the exact wording of the communication. Right now, it appears to me that there is some looseness there. Telling others that there is a riot going on is not necessarily a crime. But it appears you can be arrested for doing so.
And when the boogeyman appears, there’s always the call for harsher prison sentences, and tougher police responses including greater arming of the police with lethal weapons. Cameron himself, has asked the police if they need any other new ‘powers’. Interestingly, because of the demand from Cameron for remand for hundreds involved in the riots, the prison population of Britain and Wales hit a record high. ………………………………………
Gas prices are going again as I predicted but it will go up again shortly, but not as high in average as the last time. Truth is it should continue to drop what with the ‘freeing’ of Libya (‘s oil), but games are still being played in the market.
And talking about Libya. So Ghaddafi is overturned. What next for Libya. I kinda think that the west didn’t really think this one out because of their pathological hatred for him (the same as America’s hatred for Castro). I doubt if they know what is going to replace him.
But what intrigues me is that the west still thinks they know best what is good for others and don’t realize yet how that arrogance makes them easily manipulated.
and to the lighter side.
August 26, 2011 No Comments
There are several interesting things about the recent riots in England, one of which is the propaganda campaign run by the conservative government. That is, to make the riots seem much different to what they are, and to cover up what is going on in that country.
The first reports attempted to colour the riots as ‘criminal elements intent on looting and burning’, when it was immediately apparent that was greatly incorrect. Criminal elements did take the opportunity presented them to carry out misdeeds, but it was clear early that they were not the spur behind the riots.
Clearly the break-out of violence across the country must have had some level of organisation behind them, and if this was criminally-driven, then that would mean that these gangs were linked. They aren’t. In such a situation, small local gangs don’t travel cross-country to create this level of violence. Clearly it had to be something else. And the government was well aware of that.
Europe currently has a high level of anarchist groups. Though they are present on this side of the pond, they are much more active in Europe. There are lightning rod events on this side that brings out the anarchists… world-wide headline grabbing events like G8 (Group of 8 so-called economic conferences). When these happen in places like South America, the US or Canada, then we see these anarchists out in full, intent on creating disorganization leading to chaos. They all converge on the chosen city, from all over the world, made easier because the conferences are well-advertised years in advance.
The same thing happens in Europe but these guys don’t necessarily wait for major conferences. All they need is a short head-up as to the event. They are always ready, because they are fomenters, not opportunists. It doesn’t take much for them to be out on the streets. Just last December in London, they turned the student demonstrations against education budget cuts into something entirely malevolent.
On several visits to Britain I have gotten a glimpse or two of these guys and its clear that they aren’t ‘yobs’ (yobs- an English term to describe thugs, uncouth…. Boy spelt backwards). I remember seeing them in a march speaking on the phones, organising small groups. It wasn’t difficult spotting them, dressed as they usually are in their trademark black, and often ‘stomper’ boots (I’ve always wondered why anarchists would have a uniform). Looking almost like Goths, but without the heavy make-up and the dour faces. These guys were more serious, more intense. They had a plan and they didn’t care for anyone else but themselves and their ‘mission’.
I remember seeing 2 of them speaking and then the woman (certainly under 25) with a video camera, mounting a small embankment where professional photographers and videographers were already perched to cover the march. She proceeded to step right in front, blocking the view of several, causing a jousting match and an exchange of words. The latter being important because her speech was not that of a yob, but of someone with perhaps a college ed.
During the early stage of the recent riots, I told my London-based father that the anarchists were behind the spread of the disturbances… so it was no surprise when the government announced that some of those arrested were not from the ‘criminal’ class. Since the police are infinitesimally in a better position to know who is who, I wondered by the government kept pressing the idea that the riots were caused by common thieves and looters.
A little back-story is necessary. It all sprang from a funeral moment following the police shooting of a known criminal in Tottenham, London. That well-publicised wake turned from a quiet family gathering, into a community demonstration against police abuse, into a riot, before spreading across Britain.
As it is turning out, though the police claimed that the criminal Mark Duggan was armed with a gun, he was shot without firing it, and the original police reports that he had fired first was a deliberately delivered lie. The method of his killing was what set the events in motion. I wouldn’t be surprised if the gun was planted. After all, where there is one lie, there is the likelihood of another.
One of the things that disturbs me as well, is that rumours at first circulated that the riots were a ‘black thing’, then a ‘criminal thing’. This is important for a number of reasons. Though not near America as yet, Britain is more and more resembling ‘the States’, especially in the areas of immigration and race. You can see every now and again, attempts to create racial divisions by labeling blacks as criminal-minded. It was only when images started to flood the media showing a preponderance of white flesh, that the rumours changed colour, pun intended.
PM Cameron who was vacationing abroad (interesting, since his policies have created a contracted economy where more Britons are less likely to vacation anywhere) came in late and immediately did two things. He laid the blame on ‘criminals’, and he blamed the police for tardiness.
His blaming ‘criminals’ was based on speculation that the rioting was caused by rising frustration with government policies which has led to widespread layoffs, reduction of social services and a poor, contracting economy (sounds familiar?). So Cameron was deflecting criticism of his government, especially coming so soon after the poisonous relationship with Rupert Murdoch and his criminally-driven News of the World and phone-hacking, and with confirmed reports and resignations linked to the British police actually accepting bribes from the newspaper. While the Murdoch relationship won’t bring down Cameron’s government, it did leave a nasty stain that made many people even more uncomfortable with him.
Cameron blamed the police for not providing the required manpower to stop the riots earlier. Unfortunately for him, he is cutting the police budget which will lead to a reduced police force. These cuts are part of his economic programme.
But how can you increase unemployment, cut back on social services, create increasing disenchantment but still reduce police presence? Havoc waiting to happen.
The other interesting report is that Cameron is seeking guidance from former Los Angeles police chief, William Bratton. Are you freaking kidding me? Why not go to Germany’s WWII Gestapo for help? Oh, already done that.
Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, exclaimed, “I am not sure I want to learn about gangs from an area of America that has 400 of them”. Boof!
Listen up, anyone really living in America, knows the American police. If you don’t, then take a look at the current trial of 5 police officers charged with murder during the aftermath of the Katrina hurricane. An anomaly in the US police force? Hell, no! And neither do I think that the US police force is the best to draw riot control policies from.
The anarchists are the one’s providing the spark for these types of events. Criminal elements take advantage, but those two are not enough to create the numbers out there. There are quite a few people who disenchanted with Cameron’s anti-people policies and its easy for many of them to join in the fray. It is Cameron’s policies that create the conditions. Europeans are not as fat and complacent as American kids are. But don’t expect the government to do anything but shift the blame.
Now, the government is going to policies which are not in the least bit surprising. One of them is that they have evicted families from government housing if any member of that family has been part of a ‘riot’. “If there is a member of a family who has been out there on the streets involved in these riots, where has that family been in ensuring that that individual is not involved in that activity? …On the issue of evictions, those parents should have been making sure that their youngster was not involved in this activity… They may see they actually have to pay a price for the fact they’ve not been unknowing in what their youngsters were doing.”
Now here is the thing. Define ‘riot’. 2) Arrested or found guilty? Those are 2 different things. 3) Something is absolutely wrong in the western democracy, for an entire family to be held responsible for the actions of one. You know who also did that? Yes, the Nazis and fascists of the WWII era. Who else? The Israelis.
Since the riots, Cameron is also‘…looking to ban people from popular social networking sites if they are suspected of planning criminal activity’. The words in bold are for your consideration.
Cameron said he would meet with Facebook and Twitter to ‘…whether it is possible to limit the spread of online messages in connection with rioting, looting and other criminal activity”. As if we didn’t have enough to fear from social media.
Cameron is also requesting that broadcasters hand over unused footage to police in connection with the riots. I say, in this context. No. Cameron says that he will do whatever it takes to bring order to the nation after the acts of civil disobedience.
Interestingly, this is what Cameron said on an earlier visit to Egypt, “I am particularly keen about being able to get to Egypt and to be one of the first people there”. One of the first people… really?
But to more relevant quotes, “What is so refreshing about what’s been happening is that this is not an Islamist revolt, this is not extremists on the streets; this is people who want to have the sort of basic freedoms that we take for granted in the UK,”. And, “’Our message, as it has been throughout this – I think we have been extremely consistent in saying that the response to the aspirations people are showing on the streets of these countries must be one of reform not repression”. Reeeeallly.
But we need to remember that Egypt’s social media played a huge role in the Eqypt uprising. So one man’s tweeting for change is another man’s tweeting for… aaah… change?
One thing is clear however, that sort of thing won’t happen stateside, unless it involves guys wearing black, and guys who are black. Most Americans no longer have the capacity for rebelling against the government. They usually sit on their fat asses, whining, waiting for some organization to subvert the political system on the basis of race and stupidity. Republicans and teapartyers, I’m talking about ya’.
The images below were lent to me by a friend in London during last year’s student protests. I thought I should take another look at them and share some. See if you can spot the probable anarchists.
August 14, 2011 No Comments
While I have not been shaken from my belief that much of the debt crisis thingy was about both parties ganging up to send the teaparty into needed retirement, I must admit concerns about the agreement reached, with the apparent approval of president Obama. And it’s not because House leader John Boehner’s boasted that “We got 98% of what we asked for”.
The agreement is totally opposed to economic growth and an improved employment outlook. Without an additional source of revenue (call it taxes if you wish), the country cannot grow in light of the fiscal curbs placed on government. The fact is that government is the only major source of revenue input in the economy. The private sector isn’t doing crap… with good reason.
One of the problems is that Obama has let the republicans define the so-called debt crisis as more important than the recession/jobs crisis.
Here is the simple economics 101. The United States economy is no longer production-based, and like Britain amongst others, have become a nation of shopkeepers to quote Margaret Thatcher. The strength of the national economy comes from consumer spending. When people spend, that demand creates jobs. When jobs are lost as happened since 2008, then there is less spending, which translates to less demand, since only fools spend beyond the absolute basics without an income source.
When buying slows, shopkeepers and service providers lay off staff leading to more unemployment, and obviously, less spending. Because the republicans cut Obama’s original request for his stimulus plan, the economy didn’t get the required voltage needed to jumpstart the economy. Then they created more unemployment through the budget cuts to the public sector.
The more unemployment rises, the greater spending drops.
The first stimulus was essentially to the banks and the auto companies. It worked for the latter but the former simply sat on the money or used it to buy up weaker banks rather than pumping it back into the economy in the form of loans.
Now, no private sector company is going to create employment in an economy where there is no buying.
The United Kingdom under the conservative government took the same tack the republicans continue to advocate… and the British economy contracted. What makes anyone think the results would be different in ‘Merica?
The American economy will contract and Obama will be blamed.
One would think that Obama knows this and therefore would veto any bill that didn’t have additional taxes from the rich. This is perplexing. And I have no answer.
But this much I know. One of the mistakes we need to rid ourselves of is that the president as one single person, runs the country. Nothing can be further from the truth. At times, the president can be as impotent as Hefner.
Presidents rarely act on their own nowadays. Obama is part of an apparatus which includes advisors, pollsters, economists, sociologists, political thinkers, historians etc… a broad group of ‘wise men’. He relies on consensus.
So let’s disabuse ourselves of this notion that the presidency is captured in one man and that his decisions are the reflection of this one man, and thus Obama is weak and lacks leadership.
When we look at this decision, we have to look also at the leaders of the democratic party. It is not mandatory for them to support the president. When most do, you can bet that whatever move is to be taken, has already been thoroughly rationalised. Thus there must be reasons above our pay grade, for all these leaders to seemingly be bending over backwards to apparently facilitate the republicans. Either they have information that gave them no alternative, or they baited and set a trap. We also have to understand that August 2 was an artificial deadline set by the white House. It could have been any arbitrary date that suited them.
When I look at the last few days before the debt vote, we saw several moderate republicans attacking the teapartyers within. We also saw fringe teapartyers (those on the edge of sanity) vote for the bill. This was certainly the best chance of the republicans at large taming the lunatic element. Those certainly bolstered my opinion. I don’t know if the plan remains and it’s only a matter of time, or Obama and the democrats got themselves shafted again by the GOP. I’m still betting on the former.
Since the Standard and Poor’s downgrade (more on them below), I notice the republicans are again locked in tight embrace with the teapartyers. John McCain who days before the debt vote described them as ‘hobbits’, is now in praise of them. Could the republicans have once again played Obama? If so everyone loses, most of all Obama.
America at this time cannot afford the teaparty’s fringe policies. First of all, they have no empathy for people and they are adverse to people-friendly policies. If the republicans continue to praise them instead of isolating them, then that will send the wrong signals to the voting public… that lunacy works. During the debt vote, with only 60 or so seats out of 240, teapartyers were demanding that John Boehner be relieved of his House leader position and that be given to one of the teapartyers. Now Boehner is behaving like their best friend. The first victim of a strengthened teaparty will obviously be the GOP itself.
And now with the S&P reduced credit rating, Obama will be discredited and there will be a ‘tax’ increase for the majority of Americans… just not the rich ones. Unless….
I have questions about the S&P and not just about shooting the messenger. Where was the S&P during the Bush years? Secondly and as been well aired, the S&P gave top ratings to the banks and Wall St companies minutes before the crash came. So how good is their judgement? Thirdly, and interestingly in terms of my hypothesis above, the S&P downgraded the country not because of economic conditions but because of the ‘political wranglings’ over the last few weeks. This according to Bloomberg News, “ On a conference call today with reporters, S&P analysts David Beers and John Chambers said that in their analysis, the “extremely difficult” political discussions in Washington over how to reduce the more than $1 trillion budget deficit carried more weight in their decision than the nation’s outstanding debt. It said the talks weren’t “consistent” with a AAA rating”. Huh? That could be interpreted as a shot at the right wingers.
Its clear however, that the S&P was used as a political tool. To what long-term ends, I don’t know.
The big irony is that the USA has often used the S&P as a political tool against other countries.
But back to the credibility of S&P. Since the downgrade, the US Treasury remains the go-to place for securities. In other words, companies and foreigners are still keeping faith with the American economy. If the S&P were credible, the opposite would happen. Hmmm. We just have to nervously wait to see how this thing plays out. The truth is we should be behaving like those ‘thugs’ in England. But the American people has been so pacified that they are little but fat blogs stuffing their faces with fast food and cheap American beer.
Several months ago I predicted the fall of gas prices when it was still rising. It fell. Then I predicted the rise when it was still falling. It rose. Then I predicted the fall and now it is falling. This will go on for a short time. The thing to remember is that it won’t reach $3 anytime soon, and it shouldn’t go much over $4 a gallon anytime soon either.
As I speak, the republicans have put forward their 6 names for this so-called super-duper financial committee. Only one member is regarded as something of a tea-partyist. One would have thought that they would have demanded and gotten stronger participation. From the House side, all 3 nominees are Boehner loyalists. Hmmmm. Perhaps there is a teaparty elimination plan in place after all.
I will eschew my art section this week but will post an entire artblog within days on a response and follow up to the last piece, “Good Art, Bad Art”.
August 10, 2011 No Comments