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Topics - Die_Hard

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1
General Discussion / The Blind and the Blind
« on: October 06, 2012, 09:51:51 AM »
Phillip Edward Alexander


One morning a blind bunny was hopping down the bunny trail tripped over a large snake and fell. 'Oh please excuse me,' said the bunny. 'I didn't mean to trip over you, but I'm blind and can't see.'

'That's perfectly all right,' replied the snake. 'To be sure, it was my fault. I didn't mean to trip you, but I'm blind too, and I didn't see you coming. By the way, what kind of animal
are you?'

'Well, I really don't know,' said the bunny. 'I'm blind, and I've never seen myself. May be you could examine me and find out.'

So the snake felt the bunny all over, and he said, 'Well, you're soft, and cuddly, and you have long silky ears, and a little fluffy tail and a dear twitchy little nose. You must be a bunny rabbit!'

The bunny said, 'I can't thank you enough. But by the way, what kind of animal are you?' The snake replied that he didn't know either, and the bunny agreed to examine him, and when the bunny was finished, the snake asked, 'Well, what kind of an animal am I?'

The bunny had felt the snake all over, and he replied, 'You're cold, you're slippery, and you have no balls...You must be the political leader of the COP....'

2
General Discussion / Show Me Your Motion
« on: March 04, 2012, 09:20:25 AM »
Plain Talk - Phillip Edward Alexander

Sunday, March 4, 2012
Show Me Your Motion....


The motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister has been defeated, arguably an outcome predetermined from the start based on the division of numbers in the Parliament. Many damning revelations of abuses that are allegedly taking place at all levels of government were exposed during the marathon sitting, but, and as occurred under the last administration when it too was new in Office, this 'new' group has not yet stolen 'enough' to surpass their accusers so they are being 'given a pass.'

They say turnabout is fair play but surely Dr. Rowley could not have anticipated that his motion could have backfired as badly as it did, and besides giving the usual suspects (especially those who specialize in misdirection) a perfect opportunity to further gild the lily where the Partnership is concerned, it provided them with yet another opportunity to demonize the PNM in justification for their own existence. In this long and arduous debate for the contributors and spectators alike there have been very few winners but some notable losers.

The first casualty of the exercise has to be the Congress of the People, who may have now fully surrendered their 'separateness' as a distinct and separate Party to the UNC. Their overwhelming public support for the Prime Minister may have indelibly blurred the lines between the two Parties forever, and listening to the demonstrations of loyalty and outpouring of love on the response campaign, one would have been hard pressed to tell where one side ends and the other begins. To many who deal with only 'what is before them' this is not such a big deal, but students of history and those who take the long view of politics well know that this new handicap on the Party will become most evident if ever there is an opportunity for the Parties to square off once again as adversaries. One wonders if such an eventuality were to occur how the conversation might then go, but perhaps it may be the dawning of polite politics with the winner of the next election being decided by a 'by your leave' or 'no, after you, I insist.'

The People's National Movement lost even more ground as they labored to prosecute their case against the government even while still struggling to hold back tsunami of wrongdoing that took place on their watch. Dr. Rowley's assertions that his side did not fear the numbers in the House because of the thirty three Parliament experience is a little disingenuous and he knows it, because unlike what obtains now on his bench, none of the then 'three' were suspected or accused of being part of any wrongdoing. Having the almost open revolt  in his Party being further displayed for public consumption by the likes of Amery Browne and Colm Imbert in their choice of neckwear is not helping, and despite protestations to the contrary by Marlene McDonald that it is 'just a tie,' in this case a tie is much more than 'just a tie' and everybody knows it. The PNM's political leader (in whose name this motion was piloted) may have lost the most of all, because among the issues outlined in his contribution there did not appear to be enough of a reason to raise such a serious motion. This defeat may well be the last straw for a career that really could not have afforded another failure, especially one of this magnitude.

Far and away though in my estimation the biggest losers in this matter has to be the people of Trinidad & Tobago, who had to endure this embarrassing record breaking display of 'who tief more than who' for just over twenty six hours. If it were possible for them to lose whatever faith they had left in their public officials and the broken systems that allows such abuses to take place unhindered, then it is fair to say that all faith is now lost.

Sean Penn's character says at the end of the movie Fair Game - “The responsibility of a country is not in the hands of a privileged few; We are strong and we are free from tyranny as long as each one of us remembers his or her duty as a citizen.”

To everyone with an interest in this country the question that wants to be asked is where do we go from here? That question should occupy us all because, as this debate and this motion has clearly shown, where we are and what we have right now is not serving us well at all.

3
General Discussion / No Country for Old Men.... (No Confidence)
« on: March 02, 2012, 10:02:17 PM »
Plain Talk - Phillip Edward Alexander

Friday, March 2, 2012
No Country for Old Men.... (No Confidence)

They say young men dream of the future and how things could be while old men can only remember the past and the way things used to be. Fifty years into our independence Trinidad & Tobago still has no clue what she is or what she wants to grow up to be. Rich with the inheritance of oil she has been courted by some of the best with promises of a bright future only to be used, abused and let down in the end.

There was a time when the politics of the country was cleaved right down racial lines, where the two major Parties battled for the political and economic heart of the nation for their side. Over the course of our history there have been many advocates who dared to dream of one nation, one people, and who have worked tirelessly at bringing unity and racial equality to the politics.

The Congress of the People is the latest incarnation of that vision and the hope of a people that maybe, just maybe we could undo what was done fifty years ago and get our politics right.

Every political career whether successful or failed is marked by significant events and the moment Prakash Ramadhar as political leader of the Congress of the People stepped onto the campaign trail in defense of circumstances he knew to be wrong and which contradicted his own public positions   he made a lie of everything the Congress of the People stood for.

How is the politics supposed to grow if, when presented with a perfect opportunity to demonstrate, promote and defend new politics you flub your lines? He had to have known that this was never a Partnership issue and had NOTHING whatsoever to do with the Congress of the People, so why was he in it? This was a direct challenge against Kamla Persad Bissessar by the opposition and it was her Party's role and responsibility to defend her if they saw it fit.

The COP members in the House were supposed to be instructed to abstain, to stay out of PNM/UNC business and bide their time. THAT is how an 'independent' member Party of a coalition behaves. Where in the Fyzabad Agreement does it say that from May 24th 2010 we agree to sweat for each other's fever right or wrong? And if it could be interpreted that way then how then is this a coalition and not an amalgamation?

I ask again, if the Congress of the People is an independent political organization with its own political designs, why did the leadership involve the Party in an issue that had nothing whatsoever to do with it? Now by this action the Congress of the People has publicly sold its soul to the devil that is the United National Congress and no amount of sweet talk and double speak can undo this.

There is no way the Congress of the People can go before the electorate again with 'clean hands and a pure heart' as neither fish nor fowl because, when given an opportunity to choose sides it chose one. The problem with that picture is not the choice but the choosing.

If the Congress of the People believed itself to be a national Party with leadership intentions and governing aspirations in its own right then it could not have supported either.

To many this was always inevitable and much of the posturing and 'New Politics' was just old fashioned bargaining and horse trading, but to many others still the Congress of the people was a beacon of hope to a better place for all of us.

It represented the possibility for change that would elevate the way we lived together, how we interacted, how we shared, and where we could go as one multi ethnic rainbow people. Now that dream is dead and the members of the Congress of the People need to face the music that not only are they now officially members of the UNC, they are members without rights or privileges.

We may never know what Prakash and Co. got for selling out the Party if anything at all, but regardless of what it was it could never be enough. How can you put a price on hope?

Regardless of  the reasons behind what occurred, this took a marked lack of vision and a capitulation to ease to make real. Nothing good happened here and, presented with a real opportunity for leadership, the Party snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

4
General Discussion / Welcome to Fantasy Island.........
« on: February 18, 2012, 09:49:36 AM »
Phillip Edward Alexander
Welcome to Fantasy Island.........

Okay, okay, I get it now. I refuse to believe it that it took me so long to get it and I must admit I am feeling a little ashamed, but I get it. Only after watching the illusionary splendor of our political influenced carnival for the second year in a row did it all click, and wow, it's really like looking through the looking glass when you get it.

I finally understand why the Prime Minister's residence is called La Fantasie, I mean, what other name could be more apt? Living there is usually as the result of mesmerizing the electorate with grand promises and nothing gestures like a magician manipulating time and space to deliver illusions, and in T&T the best magic show gets to go on to claim the first prize, five years in our own Magic Kingdom, La Fantasie. In La Fantasie the rules do not matter. You could make things appear, disappear and then reappear by just saying a word. You could conjure up whole new realities for everyone, and everyone is supposed to suspend their powers of disbelief and play along.

Similar to the 'results' in the Soca Monarch show, it's not SUPPOSED to be real. While the grand spectacle of the show is fantastic and the effort that most performers put out lulls you into the belief that there is a chance that the decision is being made based on the quality of the song, the performance and the stage presentation, it is obvious now that those messy details are taken care of well in advance so as to prevent any untoward or embarrassing mishaps.

Or the plot against the Prime Minister, it's meant to pull your leg, nothing more, and if anything I want to thank THIS government for the effort they put into the misdirection show. Whoever is coaching them backstage is doing one helluva a job, because once they agree on a story or a plot line, they all work so hard to sell it. Were the conspirators 'in' on the plot to expose a plot? I want to believe so because we've heard nothing since, not even a highly paid lawyer raising the messy spectre of a wrongful arrest lawsuit, so it must be that they all were part of one well planned, well delivered, piece of theatre.

I guess that's the reason there were at least seven different reason for the State of Emergency. Like plot lines in a 'coming attraction,' they were simply 'floating ideas' to see which one got the most traction and I must say as a policy it makes sense. I love the commitment to decision once made and I would like to applaud John Sandy above all else for the role he played, channelling a career in the disciplined armed forces into a strict one line delivery is hard and shows that this man has a huge future in the theatre if he chooses to pursue it.

I am laughing at myself for now 'getting' what Party Manifestos are. They're not like, promises or anything, but are there for pure entertainment value. Take last election and 'Rise' for example, anybody Rise? No, they weren't SUPPOSED to. Next election could be 'Twist,' as in 'We will Twist,' but don't expect to really twist, is just a joke, a make believe, a come along. Or 'New Politics,' that was a good one. It could just as easily have been Candy Coated Oxtail, just meant to sound interesting, nothing more. If 'New Politics' mesmerized them this time, then next elections let's try 'Focused Governance' or 'Prioritized Deliverables.' Anything really, that the masses could bite onto and use as a mantra, and I feel relieved to finally understand why none of the words and actions of any of our politicians ever add up.

All the time that I have been referring to T&T as La La Land, or quoting David Rudder and calling it Pappy Show Land I didn't know how close to the truth I really was. Now I have to reorganize my plans to make use of this eye opening discovery. Next year we are going to bring out a mas band/music troupe/political organization all in one called the People's United Congress, and we are going to PUC down the place for sure. Now that nothing that is said has to be real, our campaign slogan/soca monarch song could be either 'PUC You' or 'PUC Away' and we could win, we could sweep all the titles, because if is one thing we in this land of make believe loves, it is a PUC-ing good time.

5
General Discussion / More Vagina Politics...
« on: January 19, 2012, 11:54:29 PM »
"Instead of the iron fist in a velvet glove we were promised on the hustings, we are treated to sash wearing, truck-bed riding, magazine posing, beauty queen behavior while the country is circling the drain.

I pointed out during the campaign that she offered nothing of substance then, and sadly she offers nothing of substance now. You CANNOT run a country on platitudes and photo ops, regardless of what the fashion magazines say.

It simply does not work that way. The people are sick to death of the 'drunk on the party line' talking heads who simply regurgitate cultic drivel for points and props and are desperate for something like calm, cohesive and sensible governance.

Kamla Persad Bissesar may not fully understand that being the first female Prime Minister comes with tremendous responsibility; Her moment in the sun is 'pregnant' with the aspirations of every woman behind her, desperate to be seen as equals in the male dominated world of top level politics and not just as sidekicks and bag holders.

It is not too late to save her legacy, but it is almost too late. Only Kamla knows the truth here, and while she may have little control over what she was, she still has the final say in who she allows herself to be, now and in the future.

Having kicked open the door to what was formerly a man's world, it would be tragically ironic if her actions and her legacy shuts it hard against other deserving women of substance in the future."

I wrote the above in an article entitled 'Vagina Politics' in 2010 and chose to revisit it in 2012 to see what, if anything, had changed.

Has the condition of women and women issues in society improved two years into the term of this country's first female Prime Minister?

One could be excused for expecting that by now the Cabinet, the Senate and every manner of institution and available appointment would be populated by strong women of substance and character but sadly, the complete opposite is true.

Appearing not to care about the seemingly 'unimportant' things like precedents and conventions, our Prime Minister has done an even poorer job of securing women's issues to date than her male counterparts before her and may well have set women in leadership back decades by her example.

In a country whose cup literally runneth over with many, many extremely creative, supremely qualified and talented women in all spheres of artistic, intellectual and other pursuits who are capable of leading at the highest level it is a shame that whatever male driven insecurities surround her are being allowed to prosper.

In place of the anticipated elevation of women on her watch our culture is instead rampant with the marginalization of women as sex objects and the relegation of that gender to trivial pursuits with little or no regard to any other contribution they may want to make.

The rise in overtly sexist and demeaning positions from some religious quarters where women and their issues are concerned is very telling as to the 'mood' in society, and in corporate T&T the message seems to be you may have an MBA but you better have cleavage if you want to advance.

All things being equal and under normal circumstances she is legally entitled to at least a further three years in her current term, and if a day is a long time in politics, then three years is sufficient time for her to undo the damage she herself is doing.

Not even men want to live in an exclusively man's world as it is a dirty, confrontational, greedy and abrasive place.

I would go so far as to say women make us men better, and if that is the case then we could use their help at the highest levels where, sadly, left to our own devices, we have made a terrible mess.

Kamla needs to set the tone for society to follow and a good place to start would be by insisting on a fifty fifty division of Ministries among men and women in her Cabinet and the inclusion of a women's agenda; These two things alone would have a huge and positive impact on where we as a nation go from here, and would go a long way to securing her a legacy worthy of this country's first female Prime Minister.

6
General Discussion / A kaiso for all de PP Supporters.
« on: January 19, 2012, 11:43:15 PM »
Phillip Edward Alexander

Between the former disaster of the strutting dictator
and the present dilemma of the drunken master
we in this place taking jam front and center
but doh study dat, wine and ben over....

... Rich man poor man tief and beggar
Everybody wet in de same setta water
rain fall, man bawl, like town on fire
Jump in de line, we feelin' fine, wine and ben over

Raise yuh glass, shake yuh rass, toast to Mother Nature
Down de road, shedding load, everywhere wet with karma
Wall fall, fridge and all coming down in de river
Slip in de wet, nobody fret, wine and ben over

Dan is de man with de people's plan, sharing hamper
brooms and mops, a bag of hops, two roll of toilet paper
No steel in de wall, bound to fall, whey de contractor?
Time to lime, doh waste no time, wine and ben over

Panic all around, house fall down, where de media
Everything fine, the sun will shine, cool yuh temper
Buss a smile, stay a while, wave at de helicopter
Turn around, sing de song, wine and ben over

Landslide, Government pride, somebody bring a camera
Hustle and rage, set de stage for de strike a pose theatre
Planning done and 'one iz one' so say de Minister
When nine days pass, we go play a mas and wine and ben over

7
General Discussion / Spy versus Spy!
« on: August 16, 2011, 10:08:19 AM »
The following article in today's Trinidad Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2011/08/16/ministers-mum-cellphone-tapping) bears testimony clear and eloquent.

Even though legislation was passed to govern use of wire-tapping by government agencies, a most notable aspect of this article is the sudden and dramatic about-face by Ministers of this government in their attitude to wire-tapping.
 
Let's go back a bit. In the midst of the Fazeer Mohammed controvesry, we had our Prime Minister dearest landing at the airport with "shocking revelations" that former Prime Minister Patrick Manning had engaged in the "illegal" wire-tapping of citizens.

In the parliament, she read out the names of persons who were allegedly wire-tapped by Manning. She swore to disband the SIA, and she even fired its then Director, Nigel Clement. We had the loud and garrilous fulminations of Suruj Rambachan, Jack Warner, Anand Ramlogan, Tim Gopeesingh and others all blowing fire and brimstone against the former Prime Minister for "invading the privacy" of citizens. We even heard of attempts and intent to destroy "the SIA files". When concerned citizens and people knowledgeable in these matters denounced this clear breach of national security, nobody cared. It was all politics then - "call name!", "jail dem!"..etc, etc, etc...
 
Now everybody gone quiet.

Suddenly out of the clear blue sky, Kamla and Suruj have become aware of wire-tapping as en essential tool of national security.

Today there is no reading out of the names of "wire tappees", no strident call for the disabling of wire-tapping apparatus. And curiously enough, nobody went to any judge in chambers to get a warrant to do any wire-tapping. Now out of favour with most of his fellow cabinet members, the yapping shrieks of parliamentay pitbull Jack Warner have been reduced to mournful whimpers or total silence. After all, HE may be on the new list of wire-tappees.
 
Where are the PP supporters, many of whom behaved as if wire-tapping was the greatest possible wrongdoing that should NEVER be done by ANY government.

Where are they now??

What are they saying??

How do they feel??

What was once a sin under Manning has now become a sincere concern for national security under Kamla, right??

I mean, after all, she has the uneviable task of averting a national strike, yes?? So she has the most plausible excuse to tap the phones of people like Ancil Roget, Anand Ramesar, Keith Rowley, Fitzgerald Hinds and God alone knows who else. "It's a matter of national security".
 
The other disturbing aspect of this matter is the following as quoted from the Guardian article cited above:
 
"In a letter to Government, Dorian said Digicel was contractually obligated to protect the privacy of customers and could only deviate from duties where clearly required to do so by legislation. He said Digicel had offered full support but this co-operation had not been reciprocated by the SSA."
 
Let's read that again....." He said Digicel had offered full support but this co-operation had not been reciprocated by the SSA."
 
So after all the mocking pretence of sincerity, bringing legislation to parliamnent to cloak wire-tapping activities under a legal framework - with the almost-unanimuous support of the opposition PNM, we now have a situation where the CEO of a mobile network is expressing concern that the SSA is not cooperating!!

How sweet!!

Is the SSA not living up to its terms of the legal provisions of the Interception of Communications Bill 2010 that was tabled by Kamla and passed with such fanfare?? Or have Kamla, Suruj, Tim, Sandy, and Co. had their "road to Damascus" moment where they now suddenly realize, as Patrick Manning knew all along, that wire-tapping in the interest of national security is a VERY tricky matter from a strict legal perspective?? Oh what a crisp and sharp about-turn!!

The soldiers of the TTDF must be livid green with envy...These people could march!!
 
Are we seeing the beginnings of the of the very same Prime Ministerial abuse that Kamla had so loudly denounced Manning for?? Personally, it looks that way to me, and I know I'm not the only one. If I am wrong, I would be delirously ecstatic with the joy of having been wrong on this matter.

8
Football / Defending higher up the pitch
« on: April 18, 2011, 12:43:16 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thefootballtacticsblog/2011/04/was_toures_intervention_a_tell.html



Defending higher up the pitch is not a new concept by any means but it has become more notable recently because of the way Pep Guardiola's Barcelona side has employed the tactic so effectively.

England boss Fabio Capello adopted a similar ploy in the recent Euro 2012 qualifying victory over Wales after making his players watch videos of the La Liga champions.

And in a season where his team has been criticised for being too passive, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini used the tactic to great effect as his side recorded a surprise FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United on Saturday.
 


The winning goal, superbly taken by City's Yaya Toure, was a case in point. The Ivorian intercepted Michael Carrick's pass outside the box before rounding Nemanja Vidic and slotting the ball past Edwin van der Sar on 52 minutes.

Carrick has been roundly condemned for his ill-judged pass in the build-up to the goal but credit should also go to man-of-the-match Toure, who nipped in to pinch the ball before it reached Paul Scholes.

Former Barcelona midfielder Toure had grown frustrated with a lack of appearances under Guardiola but he spearheaded City's five-man midfield at Wembley, proving he is much more than a defensive midfielder.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was aware of Toure's threat before the game as he employed a 4-5-1 formation against City, with Park Ji-Sung operating ahead of Carrick and Scholes in the midfield.

And it appeared to be the right move as United dominated the early exchanges and created two clear goalscoring opportunities, both spurned by Dimitar Berbatov.

But then City started to press their opponents higher up the pitch and, similar to the Liverpool side which beat United at Anfield recently, the Eastlands outfit began finding gaps between their opponent's deeper central midfield pairing.

"Maybe we had some fear in the first 20-25 minutes," said Mancini after the 1-0 success. "In the last 10-15 minutes of the first half, we started to play high, we started to press. In the second half, we dominated the game."

The resurgence was epitomised by Gareth Barry, who, along with Nigel de Jong, was the most successful tackler in the City midfield.

As for Toure, his involvement increased dramatically after the half-time interval. The number of times he touched the ball went up markedly, backing up City keeper Joe Hart's claim that the Ivorian was "fired up" and desperate to get a grip on the game.

 


Perhaps more telling was the number of interceptions made by City. In the first half, they managed eight compared to United's two. In the second, they made 16 to United's 10.

Then there was Carrick's passing accuracy. That fell from 92% in the first half to 74% in the second. Was that down to bad decision-making or because City's players were better positioned to pressurise and take advantage?

"Pressing high up the pitch is a risk and reward strategy," says former Arsenal full-back and Match of the Day pundit Lee Dixon.

"If it works - and it is hard work both physically and mentally - then the rewards are big. You obviously win the ball back closer to the opposition's goal and by the fact you press in numbers you normally have more people around the ball, hence more options to attack.

"The down side is that it only needs one person not to be working for it to break down. If this happens then you are very susceptible to a counter attack having gambled with players high up the pitch.

"Barcelona are a good exponent of this method. They press immediately after losing the ball anywhere on the pitch for a few seconds. If they don't win it back then they regroup.

"That said, if you can get through their first wave of pressing then they are, in my opinion, open and vulnerable."

United's cause certainly was not helped by the 73rd-minute dismissal of Scholes for a reckless challenge on Pablo Zabaleta. Ferguson was also without the services of Wayne Rooney, who missed the game because of suspension, although City had to make do without their own talisman, Carlos Tevez.

But are we seeing a subtle change of focus in the evolution of Mancini's team?

City continue to delight and frustrate in equal measure. Sandwiched between the semi-final over United and a 5-0 defeat of Sunderland was an abject loss at Liverpool.






9
General Discussion / We the People... (Where our future lies)
« on: April 11, 2011, 09:41:12 PM »
Plain Talk - Phillip Edward Alexander

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.

And that there are things to be considered . . .."


All over the world people power is rising up and replacing autonomy and isolation. Everywhere you look people are joining hands and marching in union to common causes while we in Trinidad & Tobago remain divided and struggling against each other despite living in a land of vast and untold riches.

If we are ever to solve the problems that plague us we must unite against the common struggles of poverty, hunger, homelessness, despair and addiction; we must fight against the breakdown of the family and the community, and the destruction of our national identity.

Too many of our people are suffering and dying gruesome deaths and we as a people need to address this. Now is the time for people power. Not the people power of Egypt and Libya but the people power that raises up activists that builds and defends neighborhoods for the young and the old alike, that deals with community issues on a person by person level and contributes nationally for the greater good of all.

We need people power that understands the power of our combined spend and to use that power to encourage the banks and other lending institutions to offer mortgages at rates where every family can own their own home or they can no longer benefit from our business.

We need people power to make the government hear us as we insist on legislation that protects the weak from the strong and makes right out of wrong or they will be replaced.

We need people power to force State power into creating hope and opportunity for all, and to transform the frustration of desperation and 'making do' into land ownership through land reform and social support policies that work as well or better than any other nation in the world.

We need basic and humane living conditions for all our people as our base and starting position and we must make it so.

We need the established political order to know that we will not accept poverty and mediocrity anymore, not when our birthright is so rich and our inheritance so vast. We need to let them know that Trinidad & Tobago and all it contains belongs to all of its people and they must not be denied their rightful share any longer.

We who serve as activists do so because too many of our people are being trampled upon and left behind.
We see the pain and suffering of death due to gang violence, the orphaning of too many children to murder, poverty and disease, the abandoning of the working poor to their own devices, and the homeless and the destitute to war with the State for somewhere to sleep when night comes and we need all of that to come to an end now.

We live in enlightened times and we know the power of a united people to change the world; we have seen the promise of a people living the dream sharing the bounty of a beautiful land and this must be our goal.

My opening quote was from an Elder of the Hopi tribe, a people who believed in the power of the family, the community and the nation as provider and protector for all, the very same principles our country was founded upon.

He also said:

"The time for the lone wolf is over. 
Gather yourselves! 
Banish the word struggle from you attitude and your vocabulary. 
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we've been waiting for."

We are the ones indeed...

10
The following is my proposal for a reality TV show that could solve all of our political woes and give us some good entertainment while we're at it, all from the comfort of our living rooms.

The show will be called "Who Wants to be Prime Minister" and will be open to all political hopefuls and aspiring nationals.

How it would work:

All of the contestants will be taken to a remote island for seven weeks where they will undergo seven gruelling challenges, and the winning team will be asked to form the Government and their leader will automatically become Prime Minister.

Challenges:

Week 1


Challenge - Who's your Bagman

This challenge puts contestants from each team in a room full of money and garbage bags for five minutes; The team that bags and hides all of their money first wins.  - 20 Points


Week 2


Challenge - Piffle

This challenge gives both teams the opportunity to have one member speak non stop for five minutes. The first team to speak for the full five minutes while making absolutely no sense at all wins - 20 Points


Week 3


Challenge - Sex Lies & Videotape


Both teams will be given a box full of props from which to assemble something; first team to build something useless utilizing all props wins. - 20 points


Week 4


Challenge - Crossing the Floor


Both teams will be given twenty minutes to convince one or more of the other team to come over to their side; first team to successfully attract an opponent to cross the floor wins. - 10 points

NB - this challenge is not open to anyone with the last name Lasse or Griffith or who may be related to Ralph Maraj 


Week 5


Challenge - What I really want to be


All contestants will be given five minutes to convince the judges of a career they would rather be pursuing.

Pastor - 5 points President  - 5 points Dressmaker 5 points Nightclub DJ - 10 points


Week 6


Challenge - Excuses, Excuses


Each contestant will be given an unaccounted for million dollars and fifteen minutes to explain to the judges how they came to have it and why they should not be charged under the Integrity in Public Life Act


Week 7

Both sides will be given a list of friends and crimes they committed against the State; first team to get all of their friends off wins. - 50 points
Producers are also looking at having the public 'vote' for their next Prime Minister using mobile phones as it worked so well for the Chutney and Soca Monarch shows.


This show expects to attract many sponsors including Royal Castle and CL Financial among others.

We also anticipate support for the relocation of local funds via certain High Commissions and Embassies.


If it is a success we already have a killer ending for season two to be filmed where else but scenic Mayaro.

Stay Tuned....

Phillip Edward Alexander

11
A Darker Shade of Black... (or a Lighter Shade of Pale)by Phillip Edward Alexander on Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 2:34pm

“Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”

 

Abraham J. Heschel

 

“In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.”

 

Harry A. Blackmun

 

“I hate racial discrimination most intensely and all its manifestations. I have fought all my life; I fight now, and will do so until the end of my days. Even although I now happen to be tried by one, whose opinion I hold in high esteem, I detest most violently the set-up that surrounds me here. It makes me feel that I am a Black man in a White man's court. This should not be I should feel perfectly at ease and at home with the assurance that I am being tried by a fellow South African, who does not regard me as an inferior, entitled to a special type of justice.”

 

Nelson Mandela

 

 

I have encountered a type of racism today that I did not know existed, and its power to divide seems to lie with its ability to hide in plain sight.

 

To many, the initial reaction to perceived racism is usually a turning away and a silent rejection unless the recipient is himself racist, but the racism I describe here not only rejects, it returns fire whether warranted or not far beyond the scope of the initial position, again whether the perception was justified, real or imagined.

 

This has had the effect of watering down the debate or diluting the discourse so that, were we to approach a situation like alcohol abuse in one race, we would have to mention another race's penchant for violence and banditry, and perhaps even a third's involvement in the nefarious drug trade for example so as to be 'equal opportunity offenders' or worse, to scare 'outsiders' away from discussions outside of their own race altogether in some backward territorial display.

 

Does it take away from the fact that the initial premise may still be valid and at the heart of the malaise requiring attention?

 

No, but it empowers all sides and hardens positions based on justifying one race's wrongdoing because of another's.

 

I watched a situation dumbfounded over the weekend where a teenage boy who was caught stealing and carried to his mother so that she could deal with him, watched as his mother turned around and lambasted and disrespected those who she said were lying on her son. The fact that he was wearing the items that he stole had no impact on her, and in her rush to defend him from his captors may have inadvertently reinforced his belief in his right to a life of crime or to take whatever he wanted if the opportunity presented itself.

 

I suspect that I may see her again in the future if his planned life of crime delivers him back to her in a body bag, lamenting with pious tears what a good boy he was.

 

There is an inescapable truth that we are all interconnected socially and we impact each other's lives for good or bad depending on the choices we make. In this we are obligated to toe some level of respect for each other, the observance of the social contract and in the rule of law. When we leave that place it is quickly replaced by something akin to the law of the jungle where who dares wins, as is plainly evident to all who have eyes in all of the ills that plague our society.

 

Our first step towards first world status has to be with the people and their attitudes to themselves and each other and requires a relaxing of prejudices into a more united and 'national' approach if we are to come to terms with all of these frustrations to our quality of life. The second has to be an acceptance that there are issues specific to each race that need addressing individually, separate and apart if we are to bring everyone up to the same level playing field.

 

This must be the goal, to get everyone's standard of living on par with whoever has the highest standard of living right now, rather than defending turf that disempowers, neuters and isolates.

 

If we cannot do this then the uneasy peace we live with will not last forever and at some point for some silly reason all of the hopes and dreams of a plural and multi-ethnic society will burn away like chaff in the inferno of racial conflict.

 

There is little satisfaction to be had by being the one that prevents us from becoming a true family united as different shades of one people, and anyone who wants to build bridges to community where canyons now exist should be encouraged and rewarded rather than humbled and put in their place.

 

Something to think about...



12
'Tractor beam' is possible with lasers, say scientists
The idea hinges on the use of a laser whose beam is of a specific shape Continue reading the main story
Related Stories
'Tractor beam' technology advances
A laser can act as a "tractor beam", drawing small objects back toward the laser's source, scientists have said.

It is known that light can provide a "push", for example in solar sails that propel spacecraft on a "wind of light".

Now, in a paper on the Arxiv server, researchers from Hong Kong and China have calculated the conditions required to create a laser-based "pull".

Rather than a science fiction-style weapon, however, the approach would only work over small distances.

The effect is different from that employed in "optical tweezers" approaches, in which tiny objects can be trapped in the focus of a laser beam and moved around; this new force, the authors propose, would be one continuous pull toward the source.

And it relies on directly impinging on an object, making it distinct from an approach demonstrated in 2010 by Australian researchers whose trapping worked by heating air around a trapped particle.

The trick is not to use a standard laser beam, but rather one known as a Bessel beam, that has a precise pattern of peaks and troughs in its intensity.

Seen straight-on, a Bessel beam would look like the ripples surrounding a pebble dropped in a pond.

If such a Bessel beam were to encounter an object not head-on but at a glancing angle, the backward force can be stimulated.

As the atoms or molecules of the target absorb and re-radiate the incoming light, the fraction re-radiated forward along the beam direction can interfere and give the object a "push" back toward the source.

'Radical idea'
 
"Light can indeed pull a particle," the authors wrote, "...and this may open up new avenues for optical micromanipulation, of which typical examples include transporting a particle backward over a long distance and particle sorting."

Ortwin Hess at Imperial College London called the work - which has not yet been peer-reviewed - as "fascinating", saying that it "takes a radical idea forward".

"It's a bit like a boat moving through water," Professor Hess told BBC News. "In the eddies you generate as part of that forward movement, there are areas that literally seem to be pulling back.

"The ship has a shape, and you get these backward eddies at the side; in a similar way if you have a Bessel beam you have certain areas that do the same thing."

However, he remarked that the effect is only predicted to occur over a short distance - and that the effect first of all needs to be demonstrated in practice.

"It's a very good start," he said. "As always with theory, if one doesn't obtain a theoretical argument that things are impossible for some reason, then it can happen."


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12620560

Science & Environment

13
General Discussion / Spitting into the Sea... (Anand's folly take two)
« on: March 02, 2011, 08:39:40 AM »
Spitting into the Sea... (Anand's folly take two)
.by Phillip Edward Alexander on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 10:31pm.

How do we begin to discuss the fiasco that was the proposed Hanging Bill and it's wounded failure when presented in the Parliament?

 

Most Trinidadians have not even taken the time to read this (most important) bit of legislation, mostly because they did not need to; regardless of which side they were on they received their opinions fully formed and they accepted their part in the piece, that of rabble and noise, and proceeded to play their part to the hilt.

 

Some are still playing.

 

The Government seems to have had no real intention of bringing anything like a constructive Bil to the Parliament and hardly took the time to draft anything of any substantial value; with all the nips and tucks and emergency surgery being performed on it, one wonders what exactly were they left with in the end, and what purpose did it serve.

 

Is it  that it just had to look the part and was never meant to 'really' become law?

 

Put another way, it appeared to be the Parliamentary equivalent of a push before a fight, and the idea all along seems to have been to 'call out' the Opposition and to incite the nation against them should they fail to respond as required.

 

If that was in any way the intention it is fair to say that they failed on many fronts, the least of which being instead of making the Opposition appear obstructionist, they may have inadvertently painted them as 'overseers' of the Government's legislative agenda.

 

Me in their (the Opposition's) shoes, I would have voted with the Government just to call their bluff and put the burden of crime reduction right back where it belongs, on their side of the aisle.

 

I understand their reasons for not wanting to take that chance as the document proposes to tinker with the Constitution, but still....

 

It would seem that since winning the election and realizing that promises need to become reality, the UNC Government has been trying to shift the blame for their every failing or misstep onto every one else.

 

This Bill appears to be that same misdirection policy, revamped and pumped up on steroids.

 

The Opposition for their part absorbed all the vitriol the Government threw at them and then some, not even bothering to duck from the promised fire and brimstone because they, like everyone else in the Western Hemisphere, saw this bluff from a mile away.

 

Nice try Anand.

 

Reminiscent of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland's statement "verdict first, trial after," the Attorney General seems to have made up his mind and went public with it before gathering all the facts.

 

Maybe if he was not caught appealing to his 'friends' on facebook to back him up with quotes and statistics it would not have been so funny, and to quote Clarence Rambharat's column in yesterday's newspaper - 

 

"Most bizarre about these card tricks is a Facebook appeal from the AG two days after he told the Parliament the situation (ostensibly brought on by the absence of hanging) was bordering on emergency, blood was flowing like water and people were being killed like stray dog and cat. Two days after a bold charge towards giving the hangman a steady job, the AG asked of his 4,741 Facebook friends: do you know of any papers/good quotes/stats in support of the death penalty?"

 

As it were, on what can be considered one of the most divisive of national issues, no one bothered to talk to the people. Believing bravado and gangster styled strong arming would be enough, the Government was caught attempting to raise sea levels by spitting into the sea.

 

If this is going to be how the Government pursues its legislative agenda from now on, I strongly suggest moving the AG's office closer to the waterfront.



.

14
General Discussion / Backers making another run at pardon for boxer
« on: February 21, 2011, 09:53:13 AM »
Backers making another run at pardon for boxer
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EmailPrint.. AP – FILE - This May 18, 1931, file photo shows boxer Jack Johnson, the first black world heavyweight champion, … .By FREDERIC J. FROMMER, Associated Press Frederic J. Frommer, Associated Press – Mon Feb 21, 7:18 am ET
WASHINGTON – Lawmakers are going another round in their fight to get a posthumous presidential pardon for the world's first black heavyweight champion, who was imprisoned nearly a century ago because of his romantic ties with a white woman.

New York Rep. Peter King and Arizona Sen. John McCain, both Republicans, plan to reintroduce a congressional resolution urging a pardon for boxer Jack Johnson. Another supporter, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said he will talk to President Barack Obama's new chief of staff, William Daley, and Attorney General Eric Holder about the cause.

"It's an injustice that shouldn't fall through the cracks, and it looks like that's exactly what happened here," Rangel said.

Johnson became the first black heavyweight champion a century before Obama was elected the nation's first black president. The boxer's flamboyant lifestyle and his relationships with white women inflamed white sensibilities. Racial resentment boiled over after he defeated a white boxer in the "Fight of the Century" 100 years ago last summer. Three years later, Johnson was convicted of violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for immoral purposes.

One of Johnson's great-great nieces, Linda Haywood of Chicago, is writing to Obama about the case.

"I think having a letter from a family member will help put a face on our plea," Haywood said. "Many people didn't realize he had nieces and nephews. For years, the rest of my family was so ashamed, no one ever spoke of him because of the stigma attached to him being in prison."

King said he was surprised that Obama didn't act during the last session of Congress, when the House and Senate passed the resolution. But the congressman said he's still optimistic.

"With last year's elections, there seems to be a clear intent by the president to try to be more bipartisan," King said. "Everything is there to correct an historic wrong and also, in a small way but significant way, help to bring the country together now."

The White House declined to discuss the request for Johnson, citing a policy of not commenting on how pardon candidates are chosen. Obama, a former constitutional law professor who once taught a class on racism and the law, has not spoken publicly of the Johnson effort, but the Justice Department has come out against it.

In a letter to King and McCain at the end of 2009, the Justice Department attorney who advises on pardons argued that resources for such requests are best used for those still alive "who can truly benefit" from them. That notwithstanding, he noted, Obama certainly could pardon whomever he wishes.

Rapper Chuck D, a member of the pardon committee organized by documentary film maker Ken Burns, said he feels a presidential pardon is still possible, but unlikely any time soon. "I think President Obama's pardon for something a hundred years ago will be at the tail end of his presidential run," said Chuck D, whose real name is Carlton Ridenhour.

Last year, Obama pardoned nine people convicted of crimes including possessing drugs, counterfeiting and even mutilating coins. None was well-known.

The fact that Johnson wouldn't personally benefit from the pardon is beside the point, argued another one of Johnson's great-great nieces, Constance Hines of Chicago.

"This is about righting a wrong," she said.

But P.S. Ruckman, Jr., a political science professor at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill., who writes a blog on pardons, said he agreed with the Justice Department's position. "There are plenty of living persons with real problems who are deserving of clemency," he said.

In their efforts to prosecute Johnson, authorities first targeted Johnson's relationship with Lucille Cameron, who later became his wife, but she refused to cooperate. They then found another white witness, Belle Schreiber, to testify against him. Johnson fled the country after his conviction, but agreed years later to return and serve a 10-month jail sentence.

In his 2005 documentary, "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson," filmmaker Burns explored the case against Johnson and the sentencing judge's admitted desire to "send a message" to black men about relationships with white women. Burns helped to form the Committee to Pardon Jack Johnson, which filed a petition with the Justice Department in 2004. The committee included celebrities such as Samuel L. Jackson and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, as well as lawmakers like Rangel and McCain.

The effort went nowhere during the Bush administration. Burns, McCain and King revived it in 2009, confident that Obama would act on the request — especially after the resolution passed both houses of Congress for the first time.

The resolution urged that a pardon be issued "to expunge a racially motivated abuse of the prosecutorial authority of the federal government from the annals of criminal justice in the United States; and in recognition of the athletic and cultural contributions of Jack Johnson to society."

King and McCain also plan to send letters to the Obama administration and name a separate boxing reform bill for Johnson.

"John McCain and I do feel seriously about it," said King, who like McCain has sparred in the ring. "We want to keep the issue alive, and it also may give more momentum to the boxing reform bill."

Johnson won the world championship on Dec. 26, 1908. Police in Australia stopped Johnson's fight against the severely battered Canadian world champion, Tommy Burns, in the 14th-round, leading to a search for a "Great White Hope" who could beat Johnson.

Two years later, Jim Jeffries, the American world titleholder Johnson had tried to fight for years, came out of retirement to challenge Johnson for the championship in a 45-round "Fight of the Century." They squared off on a scorching Independence Day in Reno, Nev., at a stadium that had been quickly constructed for the match. Johnson won, but deadly race riots ensued, as angry whites took out their frustrations on blacks, especially those who had celebrated Johnson's victory.

A July 6, 1910, Los Angeles Times editorial, published two days after the fight, counseled blacks: "Do not point your nose too high. Do not swell your chest too much. Do not boast too loudly. Do not be puffed up ... Remember you have done nothing at all. You are just the same member of society today you were last week."

Geoffrey C. Ward, who wrote the screenplay for the documentary as well as the biography by the same title, said he's still hopeful Obama will grant the pardon.

"In recent years, we've been very good about admitting past wrongs," said Ward. "I don't see what harm it does to do this."


15
General Discussion / Both Sides Now...
« on: February 20, 2011, 10:50:00 PM »
Both Sides Now...
.by Phillip Edward Alexander on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 12:05am.

There's an article in the paper this week about a mother describing her dead son, her picture showing an acceptance of death only poverty could understand as she sits among her remaining children and grand children in the squalor of her existence.

 

She speaks to no one in particular,  her tone resigned, her expression empty; how her son was never a bandit, was always a good boy and she seems genuinely at a loss as to explain how this could have happened. One can almost feel the pain that each bit of bad news brings, her son a bandit too much to bear by itself, her bandit son dead at the scene of the crime another horror all on its own and begging for motherly understanding and a distraught apology for his behavior even as her heart grieves the loss of her boy child.

 

The sadness of that situation is one side of a tragic coin, counterbalanced by the news of an intrusion by two thugs armed with cutlasses sharing chop after chop to the awake and the sleeping alike, creating a river of blood in their wake in search of loot.

 

Having taken what little their victims had to offer and making their way to wherever escape was supposed to lead, they find themselves confronted by family members and friends with vengeance on their minds, blood hot from the gore at the scene of the crime delivering swift judgement, one dead, one very badly wounded.

 

To the police this is a crime on top of  a crime and the vigilante response is rewarded with three days at the State's most uncomfortable pleasure while those with the authority to make more of the matter decide if it was really worth it to punish a man others were already calling hero; so tired of the carnage, the assault, the blood and the death were they that talk making more talk than necessary, after all, one dead and one very badly wounded.

 

Mammy come bury your dead son, no good words can be said at this point, his last hours in this world were spent distressing others with pain and violence.

 

Mammy look to your other children now, see who could be saved because this was no way to go after all that work to grow; if you didn't know then you didn't know, but now you know, so you have to check the rest, because young children shouldn't be wasted like this, not in a heap on the side of the road or covered in other people blood.

 

The people talking because people will talk, never mind that; they need to find a way to understand. Some say that the devil walking around in broad daylight now, looking for hands to put mischief in, to send trouble for people, and he find four hands willing to take it and deliver it.

 

Others saying that madness find its way there for no good reason, and it leave same way it come.

 

What a sad situation, to look at this story from both sides; pain and grief and heartache right around.

 

No good words to say about nobody today, people crying on both sides now...



.

16
General Discussion / A Surrender to Greatness...
« on: February 20, 2011, 10:47:37 PM »
A Surrender to Greatness...
.by Phillip Edward Alexander on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 9:36pm.

"Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking..."

— Leo Tolstoy

 

How is it possible that things could turn to rot so completely and so quickly?

 

We are choking on mediocrity, led by men with no vision; the people live in fear, many are starving, and death and disease stalks the land. The acrid smoke of despair fills our nostrils and hangs low and darkens all around us.

 

Hope lies a distant memory, leftover like a plaything discarded from childhood.

 

Now survival is all that matters to those who still have choice, and all skill and all knowledge is geared to this one pursuit, this last remaining endeavor.

 

Of this I am absolutely sure, at some point it must dawn on the silly and the inane, possibly just before their life expires, that they might have squandered it all in vain, glorifying the absence of substance, while leaving the actual substance behind.

 

Our country is in a mess on many levels, and it is a very hard place to live and to raise a family in.

 

But it did not get so on its own, it required the consent and acquiescence of us all.

 

So does change.

 

The exploits of the selfish and the self obsessed creates the very space that robs them of the life they mimic and pursue. By their actions they carve a space and open the door to death and destruction that follows them close behind.

 

One opportunity, one unguarded moment is all it takes for life to change forever, and in that moment, if understanding comes, it will bring with it the shame of knowing that at every step along the way we could have made better choices.

 

Where the beauty of life mirrors the cycles of night and day is that the sun always rises, and with it the opportunity for a new beginning, for a turning away from the path of destruction and an engaging of the process of redemption.

 

We are indeed our brother's keeper, the good samaritan and that village that they say it takes to raise a child.

 

Maybe, just maybe in our senseless pursuit of unending pleasure we have learnt that once it remains then pleasure never stays a pleasure, and like Merlin's advice to the young King, the entire banquet is only in the first mouthful.

 

Life is not meant to be a circus nor a parade, but seasons of learning and growing and giving and taking and most of all of sharing and loving.

 

"We give but little when we give of our possessions, it is when we give of ourselves that we truly give, so give now, while the season of giving is yours, and not your inheritors."

- Kahlil Gibran

 

We have stumbled about like drunken fools for too long. laughing on cue to help life imitate the plastic art provided to enslave us as grist for the mill.

 

Let that be our childhood, and let it be said that that time has passed.

 

Now is the time for enlightened men to read the signs and lead the way, for the people to agree to live as a means to each others success and not function as obstacles to progress.

 

We have within us the seeds of greatness and the promise of a family of man.

 

We have the knowledge of truth and life, the passed on skill for the shovel and the hoe, and it is time for planting....



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17
Forty Years in the Desert... (Nowhere Near the Promised Land)
.by Phillip Edward Alexander on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 9:46pm.

Empty-hollow-overkill, rhetoric, unsubstantiated innuendo, mischief, misdirection, deflection, shock and awe.

 

These words effectively define the art of communication UNC style, post May 24th 2010.

 

Unlike the flowery courtship lyrics used on the hustings to flirt with and 'sweet talk' the voters, the language of this Administration has soured over the last nine months as one by one the members lose their composure and reveal themselves to the populace as arrogant, incompetent, contemptuous opportunists.

 

With little or no successes to buoy them through the rough patches, this unimpressive Administration's almost legendary failings are dragging them below the acceptable popularity index and is causing many diehard supporters to hide their heads in shame.

 

Is this what replaced the Lion of East Indian politics Basdeo Panday?

 

Even when hobbled and bleeding, his euphemisms lifted the listener and sent most scurrying for their dictionaries; to this day most people don't know what a 'neemakaram' is, but everyone knows that Ramnath and Ramesh were 'neemakerams' at different times during their love/hate relationship with their leader.

 

The lack of class displayed by the current Minister of Health is an indelible embarrassment on the national memory, as is the thuggish antics of Anil Roberts in the House, the comic incendiary explosiveness of the Minister of Justice and the forever 'off the handle' churlish attitude of the Attorney General.

 

Suruj Rambachan's handling of Fazeer Mohammed on air for everyone to see was a display of grandiose perceived power that has never been effectively dealt with and has scarred the CNMG group (and the Government's position on the media by extension) possibly for life.

 

The appointments of under-qualified juveniles to State Boards only underscores the lack of professionalism in the hiring practices of this Government and goes to the heart of its incompetence.

 

That it eventually erupted in the Reshimi fiasco and the soon to erupt Susan Francois fiasco seems to be lost on Kamla and crew, and the proliferation of members of Chandresh Sharma's progeny, offspring and relatives on the national payroll is a worrying sign to the population as these people no longer even try to disguise their real reason for seeking power.

 

It was never about Trinidad & Tobago.

 

It was packaged and sold to us as that, with a list of reasons that demonized the last Administration out of Office, but only so that the current group could enjoy the spoils.

 

For all of his arrogant hubris and dictatorial tendencies, one cannot fault the last Prime Minister's policies, which had the effect of carrying the country safely from harbor to harbor despite a global recession and his need to glorify himself.

 

Had he the sense to understand that the people wanted a leader and not a pruning banana-republic, high-flying, entertaining, church-building, project-managing buffoon, he would have remained in Office; and even though many in his Administration were looting the treasury in one way or another, many in this Administration is busy doing the same thing, albeit with a lack of policies or clue as to what it takes to effectively govern Trinidad & Tobago.

 

Like many of my friends who still support the Congress of the People, we are only in the Party with one toe left, waiting for the last straw or for a better offer, because what we got into bed with on the night of May 24th is not who we woke up with on May 25th.

 

Worse, it wasn't just a one night stand, and we have to look at that line up day in and day out for at least four more years barring some sort of miracle.

 

As it stands, the CLICO investors are fuming, the Public Sector workers are demonstrating, the Private Sector is hurting, the poor are suffering and even the protective services are striking, and all we're still hearing is Manning, Manning, Manning.

 

Seriously?

 

This Government does not appear to have any answers to the problems that plague our country and no one seems to be taking the Prime Minister's explanations and platitudes seriously anymore.

 

Someone asked me in council if given the opportunity to advise the Prime Minister on a way forward what would I suggest, and for the first time I found myself completely stumped; I mean, what do you do, what do you say, when you realize that your Government's best interest and your country's best interest are  mutually exclusive properties?

 

Regardless of the talk, spin, rewrite, attack, defend, whatever, the unadulterated, cold-water-in-your-face, unvarnished truth is that this Government is perilously close to having failed in Office and even their own supporters have no idea how to defend them now.

 

It seems that they have found themselves completely up a river without a paddle and their major weapon has run out of steam.

 

This is not about Manning anymore...



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18
General Discussion / Troubling Times....
« on: February 14, 2011, 11:25:49 PM »
Troubling Times....
.by Phillip Edward Alexander on Monday, February 14, 2011 at 11:42pm.

"Stop breds stop!"

Two men in the road, blood dripping from waving cutlasses, hot from the scene of the crime, looking for a getaway car, never expecting death on four wheels and the licks of a lifetime.

Police reach, man tied to van bloody and in critical condition, take him to hospital and take the driver of the van to jail.

Three days later, after making no point and offering no charge, released driver from his detention, worn out, sick and to many, a national hero.

 The people have decided to police themselves, and now blood is going to be met with blood which could very well lead to

 Troubling times....

"Police on Strike."

 
"Police can't strike."

 
"Well tell that to all the police who didn't show up for work today."

 

"Where?"

 

"Everywhere, even the Prime Minister nearly had to guard she self."

 

Until the Government can find a way to close the gap between their highly paid Commissioner and the ranks below him, we may be in for

 

Troubling times....

 

A senior Government Official - a Senator - is to be questioned by police in a fraud conspiracy after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar forwarded a letter to Commissioner of Police (CoP) Dwayne Gibbs.

Sunday Guardian has learnt that the hand-written letter forms a vital piece of evidence in the police matter as it allegedly links the top government official to willfully conspiring to set up two former government ministers. That this matter is causing many Attorneys at Law to polish up their resumes in case there is a general call is no understatement, and many are saying that this matter could lead to

 

Troubling times....

 

Deciding there was at least one State Official outside of his direct control that he had not yet angered, the Attorney General used strong language in the Parliament to vent his frustration with the pace of prosecution of his nemesis - Calder Hart. That Hart's prosecution would register as a success to a failing Administration and justify his appointment in the first place, the AG went after the DPP with all guns firing, making claims that the case was indeed ready to prosecute and leaving some weighted questions unanswered.

 

Noting the AG's penchant for off the cuff and intemperate remarks under the protection of Parliament, the level headed and sober Director of Public Prosecutions had to caution the Attorney General against his 'incautious' statements, lest they lead to

 

Troubling times...

 

The Culture Minister, worried about the absence of 'real' police in the Carnival even as promoters blame their losses on a public afraid to party without security, has decried the police's action at a time when the Minister has only one shot to look good.

 

In a very sedate and sombre interview, the Gypsy of the Party promised Draconian measures for Draconian times.

 

Obviously unwilling to be put off of the chugging head of steam that his Ministerial appointment has caused him, he promised to call in the United States Army if necessary to protect the Carnival, so the country does not end up with

 

Troubling times..

 

Rumors of multi million dollar US handlers and Public Relations firms being contracted and brought to our shores to 're-invent' the Government nine months in, as their failings and failures are mounting to the point where people are starting to question which part of the dog does the wagging. Mix ups, cock ups and grand demonstrations of incompetence rain down from Ministry after Ministry, and the begging question lies not with their press, but their content.

 

The Government is already a coalition of everyone else but the PNM, which means that, should they fail and collapse on the job, the concept of any thing like an East Indian Government anytime in the foreseeable future would require significantly

 

Troubling times...

 

In my article written on Friday July 20th 2010 entitled 'Democracy in Crisis', I had cause to note the following:

 

"Regardless of the nature or temperament of the Office holders around him, he (the Commissioner) needs a cool head and a calm demeanor to keep the security of the ship of state intact.

Mr. Ramlogan showed his personal and political immaturity when he attacked the Commissioner baselessly on National TV, and I sincerely doubt Mr. Ramlogan will survive the fallout of his actions.

 As the lawyers say, he ought to have known better."

 

This was always going to cause a war with the very police officers that the (much touted) anti crime Government was going to need to keep their campaign promises, and it was utter foolishness on the part of the then neophyte Attorney General to begin a war everyone knew he couldn't win.

 

Straight out of electoral victory, this Administration was beset on all sides with goodwill and advice which it spurned in favor of the very nepotism and cronyism it decried when in Opposition and on the hustings, and one just has to look at what constitutes many of the State Boards to know that meritocracy, qualifications and experience do not matter to this thinly veiled UNC Government.

 

The composition of the UDECOTT Board is a glaring example of the contempt this Government has for the people.

 

That the Prime Minister and her Party's popularity has slipped significantly based on their combined and arrogant display of incompetence in gaffe after gaffe after gaffe is plain to see now for all who have eyes to see, and whether the Government, the Ministers or the Party acknowledges it, from the disenchanted workers, striking unions, stalled economy and frustrated supporters, their turn at power has caused this country nothing but

 

Troubling times...



.

19
General Discussion / What do you guys think?
« on: February 07, 2011, 11:00:53 PM »
.France sees first 'saviour sibling'
           EmailPrint.. AFP/File – French doctor Rene Frydman poses in 2010 in his office at Antoine Beclere hospital in Clamart, a Paris … .– Mon Feb 7, 4:57 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – Doctors in France on Monday announced the country's first birth of a "saviour sibling," selected at the embryonic stage to be a close genetic match to save a brother or sister suffering from a fatal inherited disorder.

The baby was born at the Antoine Beclere Hospital in Clamart, in the suburbs of Paris, said doctors Rene Frydman and Arnold Munnich.

The child, born to parents of Turkish origin and named Umut-Talha (Turkish for "our hope"), was conceived through in-vitro fertilisation and was born on January 26 with a weight of 3.65 kilos (8.03 pounds), they said.

"He is in good health," Frydman told AFP.

The child's embryo was genetically selected to ensure he did not carry the gene for beta thalassemia, from which his siblings suffer, but was also a close enough match to provide treatment cells from umbilical cord blood, a rich source of stem cells.

Beta thalassemia produces an abnormal form of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells which carries oxygen around the body. It causes destruction of red blood cells, which in turn leads to anaemia.

The world's first "saviour sibling" was Adam Nash, born in the United States in 2000.

The issue has been hedged with moral concerns about so-called designer babies and the morality of conceiving life to help a child with a genetic disorder.



20
General Discussion / Suggestion
« on: February 05, 2011, 08:28:28 AM »
How about a line straight down the country above Chaguanas?

GIve the Indians half and the Africans half like Haiti And Dominican Republic.

You will need a visa to play a mas and eat a roti but everyone will be happier otherwise.
...
Oh and let Tobago secede.

Seeing that most of the oil and gas is in their maritime zone that will be one wealthy little country.

21
General Discussion / Parental Advice...
« on: February 05, 2011, 08:22:00 AM »
.by Phillip Edward Alexander on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 12:47am.

If you want your children to survive and succeed in this world, you need to be careful what you teach them.

Be honest with them so that they are prepared for the dramas of life without being constrained by ethical dilemmas or foolhardy notions of nice guys winning and heroism earning the highest reward.

Avoid the issues of morality and fair play for as long as you can, for while they will most likely encounter these concepts in fairytales and childhood movies, explain to them that the real world doesn't function that way and the good guy usually finishes last.

Show them how to justify for the big picture, and how to rationalize choices against other options; show them the crowd view and contrast it to the silly concept of right and wrong that usually has no real place in real world situations.

Teach them the golden rule - that the end justifies the means, that what people mean and what they say are usually two completely different things, and what they do may be another thing again altogether.

If you love your children you need to be honest with them about religion, love and politics, the rules of friendship and the expectations of citizens.

Teach them the power of the mob.

Explain the concept of right through might and strength in numbers.

Instill in them a sense of survival at all costs, even at another's expense.

Teach them to cover their head in a fall, their face in a fight and their ass in any negotiation.

To do unto others before they do unto you, and if that fails call a lawyer.

Let them know that in the real world you only look out for numero uno and who dares wins.

That nothing matters other than personal enrichment and there are no wrong paths on that journey.

Let them know that there is nothing or no-one that money cannot bu

If you teach your children these values properly they will grow up to be successful Businessmen, Bankers, Lawyers, Judges and Politicians.

 
If you do not teach your children these things they will grow up to be dysfunctional adults expecting everyone to play fair and for the world to make sense.

They will believe that promises made will be kept and that another's word can be as strong as a bond.

They will show compassion and give ground, bend over backwards and take the high road.

They will give up their seat to strangers, their time and advice at no cost and their service at great personal expense.

They will do these things without question as to benefit to self, will most likely never have enough to be considered rich and will probably be taken advantage of and disappointed by the unscrupulous every step of the way.

The quality of life they lead will come down to the choices they make based on the values you instill in them.


Special shout out to my old COP friends for making me realize these lessons.

.

22
General Discussion / The Love Boat, PNM Style...
« on: February 04, 2011, 08:14:45 AM »
Plain Talk - Phillip Edward Alexander

 
On the heels of all the smoochiness and hug ups that took place in San Fernando East yesterday prior to the Political Leader Dr. Keith Rowley's and the member for the constituency and former Prime Minister Patrick Manning's walk about, the cynic in me wants to know one thing; what's changed?


Why all this love on the dance floor now, when mere short months ago the same Dr. Rowley was barely allowed to be screened to run as a candidate?


As is usual in these smoke and mirror events, the right people were asked the right questions to which they had the right answers, and now it's rainbow and magic mountain time, PNM style, and just like magic these two former (and some say still) political adversaries have unlocked horns for the second time for political expediency.


I for one am having none of it.


First to begin, this same man Patrick Manning has many questions to answer, both within the Party and to the country and at some point, quite possibly the Authorities; instead of being expelled in disgrace he is being welcomed with open arms for one reason and one reason only; because it's the expedient thing to do.


For all his promised court-martialing and dry docking Dr. Rowley has delivered nothing, and besides a few bright flare ups in the Parliament to entertain the masses, his term as Leader of the Opposition and of the PNM have left the discussion as to 'who's your leader' a continuous conversation.


No amount of tomfoolery is going to fool the growing political center who, having demonstrated their power during election and more recently during the Reshmi fiasco is not going to accept this made up making up, no way no how.


For all his bright plans (and to be honest he had some brilliant plans), Patrick Manning proved himself to be an arrogant character prone to delusions of grandeur (to put it mildly), and the people need to reject him with the same cold calculation with which he rejected the much loved Penelope Beckles, setting her political career back years out of nothing but spite.


I for one refuse to be fooled by trickery and instead I demand of Dr. Rowley to deliver on his promises to reshape the PNM into a viable Party of the center with one vote for every member, or vacate the position and allow others with vision to chart a new direction for the Party.


For the few PNM diehards left over from the recent Manning era, yesterday was Christmas all over again.


To everyone else, this is nothing but another political Party hoping to fool the people, fool the people, fool the people.


Both sides believe they can get away with this because the people are bereft of choice, but should that situation change for some reason, both the UNC and PNM will go the way of the dinosaurs because the modern electorate, informed, educated and politically involved, are not standing for foolishness anymore.


Something to think about as you walkabout...




23
The Abuse of Culture... (Who Say Advantage?)

.by Phillip Edward Alexander on Friday, January 28, 2011 at 1:07pm.

Earlier today I received the 'leaked' version of Machel Montano's bid for the road march 'Advantage,' and please allow me to be the first to say that it is aptly and succinctly entitled.


Not even bothering to change the basic driving bass beat of his last five or so years of contributions, this song is at best a blended remix of much mediocrity that hopes to appeal to the revelers' joy at returning to the savannah stage.

 
Similar to the effects of any other leaked pornography I have had the pleasure of viewing in the past, i felt guilty after listening to it as if i somehow contributed to its existence by my audience.

 
Now, this is in no way meant to blame the man, as I along with many countless others understands that he does indeed have talent, but knowing the business he is in and the compromises he must make to the fete and radio station owners, if its drivel they want to a hook and a killer beat, by all means give them.
 

Especially when you count each Carnival in the millions of dollars, then 'go thru hard sah,' grind them out.

 Where he is complicit in our destruction and that of our culture though, is that his very existence now is becoming detrimental to the art form and murderous to the culture; like something both tragic and obscene, carnival is slowly becoming nothing but a two day drunken orgy to music where a celebration of a people used to be.
 

Where we had 'four verse and chorous' before (to quote the Mighty Stalin), we now have the word 'huuur' punctuated by a rapid fire series of barely understandable commands.

 

It would appear that David Rudder may have been our peak, and the few bright sparks since have flared briefly and dissipated long before the big brooms come out to sweep away the mess that Carnival leaves behind.


We are dumbing down our nation with each passing opportunity to find something like art among our contributions, and nothing like a greatest hits can be compiled that anyone would want to own much less listen to years down the road.

 

For those needing the release to jump and prance around I understand your desire, but is it too much to ask that after all is said and done we leave something that looks and sounds like something we can be proud of years from now?

Somewhere along the way this mimickry and wholesale importation of all things foreign will leave us only with an accent and a self destructive attitude to tell us apart from anyone else, and all the talk of history and mamaguy will count for nothing then.

 

Say what.


Huuur...



.

24
General Discussion / Kamla's Flying Circus....
« on: January 25, 2011, 06:53:07 PM »
Kamla's Flying Circus....
.by Phillip Edward Alexander on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 7:36pm.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, please direct your attention to the center ring where you are about to see the magic art of illusion like you have never seen before....Lies will be told and retold as if they were the truth...Grand Pianos will disappear and reappear before your very eyes....People will be employed by nobody to head the highest security job in the land with magical qualifications from out of this world...Ministers will be shuffled around WITHOUT an actual reshuffle....and much, much more...

 

It seems like the entire country is now one big top tent with high flying trapeze performers twirling overhead while magicians mystify on every street corner; we the people have become the audience, have jettisoned our collective reason and are left watching the unfolding spectacle wide eyed in awe with a collective suspension of disbelief.

 

Did Empress Kamla really look into the cameras and tell the nation 'now that Reshmi has resigned move on?'

 

Has she gone mad?

 

The questions that are being asked HAVE to be answered and answered to the complete satisfaction of the people who pay her salary, chief among these being:

 

Who recommended Miss Ramnarine to the SIA in the first place?

 

Who hired her without checking the veracity of her credentials?

 

Who recommended that she be promoted over many senior and seasoned operatives despite her lack of experience and necessary qualifications?

 

Did she commit a crime by submitting fraudulent credentials?

 

Who told Cabinet Ministers to lie?

 

And who is going to be fired for this fiasco?

 

Because like it or not, someone has to be fired over a catastrophe of this magnitude.

 

The Government that camapaigned on the promise of having ALL of the answers for everything ailing the country now appear in the bright light of day to have none.

 

Not one, and the list of accomplishments that are read out over and over by them and their supporters could have been done over the summer holidays by a temp; if the Government appeared inept and off balanced during the embarrassing missing piano fiasco, they are now looking downright foolish and comical.

 

So who is to blame?

 

The one common thread throughout all of this appear to be none other than legal luminary to the stars and sati- draped caped-crusader - (taaa daaa) Attorney General Anand Ramlogan (flourish and a bow), which makes me ask (because someone has to), why does this man still have a job?

 

You Anand, despite being surrounded in Cabinet by some mystical creatures (who possess amazing powers of zaniness in their own right), you Sir are Kamla's Flying Circus' Main Attraction.

 

You have become the spectacle we are all waiting to see, and your oftentimes comical inability to function in the position you were appointed to is becoming obvious to even blind Party supporters.

 

The list of failures on your watch are too long for eight short months and they really shouldn't and ought not to be excused any further.

 

The proper and decent thing to do when you realize that you are in over your head my friend, is to come clean  to yourself and to others.

 

Admitting the problem is the first step.

 

Anand, for what remains of your integrity, for the national psyche and for the good of our beloved country, follow Reshmi's glowing example and do the right thing and resign.

 

Before you bring the whole damned Big Top Circus right down with you...



.

26
General Discussion / Bandits, clowns and mimic men...
« on: January 24, 2011, 08:55:45 PM »
Bandits, clowns and mimic men...
.by Phillip Edward Alexander on Monday, January 24, 2011 at 7:48am.In a country where everything and everyone seems to have a price, we appear to be delving deeper and deeper into a dark place desperately searching for light.

 

Nothing that was campaigned against was real, nothing.

 

Not one charge has been laid despite millions of dollars being paid to lawyer friends and drinking buddies.

 

The Government that promised change has failed to live up to that promise, and are instead hard at work doing everything they said they were against prior to being elected, and doing it with a vengeance.

 

The blimp was bad but now it's good, the helicopters were a waste but now they're not, the highways wont work but now they will, abuse of Office is old politics but apparently so is new politics, nepotism was the old way, so how come the new way is looking the same?

 

 The appointment and subsequent removal of an inexperienced thirty one year old friend of a Party hack/former journalist to run the Intelligence arm of our National Security has left a bitter taste in everyone's mouth and has had the effect of completely upsetting the population with this Administration.

 

In place of Tixiera's take it or leave it Property tax we have Ramlogan's piano; for Gary Hunt's flag we have Anil's concert series, and in place of Martin Joseph's failure we have John Sandy's.

 

The Government's tired and overworked spin doctors, having demonized the PNM, deified Kamla and neutered the press through the use of State advertising and corrupting hiring policies STILL find themselves reeling from an over informed and very involved population.

 

Their bag of tricks must be nearly empty and it is only eight months in, what will they do when someone other that Jack finally drops the 'N' word in Parliament or Anil lives up to the promise of Anil?

 

What?

 

Will we rise?

 

The yeast of common purpose, nationhood and unity was squandered early along with all the given goodwill, and the lack of substance or anything like leadership emanating from the Red House since May 24th is causing formerly managed social cracks to widen in an onslaught of criminal enterprise.

 

Despite their protestations to the contrary and their many campaign events, it is plain to see that this Government will collapse at some point before their term in Office is up; the only remaining questions being time and what will be left to Govern after they're gone.

 

The light at the end of the tunnel that many mistook to be salvation is turning out to be disaster and an oncoming train.



.

27
Kamla in Wonderland... (c'mon, you knew it was inevitable)
.by Phillip Edward Alexander on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 2:25pm.So here we are, eight months into the experiment called the People's Partnership and no one is quite sure what it all means; The agreement that was signed bringing it to life has never been made public so no one other than a select few have any clue as to what was signed to.

 

The PNM supporters, entrenched and unmovable as little as one year ago, are walking around dazed in circles.

 

Soundly beaten by the antics of their own former Leader, they are busy trying to regroup and rally around their new Leader who, while appearing comatose for a while, seems to finally be finding his voice if not his feet.

 

You can tell that, even though he has not yet lived up to the promise of himself and that he has not yet captured their hearts and minds, the enemy of my enemy remains my friend; and while he is not the best port to their current liking (all things can change in politics), like it or not he is their only port at present and will have to be loved either until he grows into his role or until the opportunity to replace him arrives.

 

The UNC supporters, happy to be in charge of the cash register again are in their glee as more Indo Trinidadians getting opportunities that they believe were unfairly enjoyed by Afro Trinidadians for too long not that long ago.

 

Happy to see their Afro brothers and sisters lose their ill gotten gains, the UNC have stowed away the pretty face adopted for the campaign and are in full on attack mode against all that is perceived to be PNM.

 

The COP supporters, responsible in no small part for the curious and hitherto unpredictable turn of events have found themselves in a no man's land, not sure if they're in between the devil and the deep blue sea or a rock and a hard place and are standing motionless, stunned, and mumbling their displeasure to each other.

 

Playing the role of the mad hatter to the hilt, they continue to enable the Queen's excesses, if only as a way to save themselves.

 

Kamla, elected Queen of the rabbit hole is making herself a quiet riot in our politics and suggests that if these zany decisions are really hers then she is not Prime Ministerial material and ought to be fired.

 

If they aren't then who commands the Prime Minister?

 

What manner of real life madness is this where the true Leader of the country is masked and controls who we think leads?

 

And what of us, the electorate, the population, the people.

 

What part do we play in this crazy political fairy tale.

 

Are we supposed to stand by and look on in wonder, or are we destined for more than just tea and crumpets at the mad hatter's table?

 

These are actual quotes from the story Alice in Wonderland, they bear such similarity to events taking place daily in our bit of the garden I thought I'd attribute them to events and characters, just so you understand why I think we're all living in Wonderland:

 

The King

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop. - Dr. Keith Rowley's apparent plan post Patrick Manning

 

The Queen

Sentence first -- verdict afterwards. - Anand Ramlogan, in dealing with everything since being appointed Attorney General

 

Alice

If it had grown up, it would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think. -  An excellent description of the UNC under its current Leadership according to Basdeo Panday

 

The Mock Turtle

We called him Tortoise because he taught us. - Roodal Moonilal on Basdeo Panday

 

Alice

You're nothing but a pack of cards! - As Jack Warner said to the CAL Board, which immediately turned around and ignored him.

 

The Duchess

That's nothing to what I could say if I chose.  - as concise a comment as possible if Kamla ever chose to be completely honest with everybody.

 

Alice

It would be so nice if something made sense for a change. - COP supporters, fed up of the political mudslinging and the nothingness emanating from Parliament.

 

Mad Hatter

No wonder you're late. Why, this watch is exactly two days slow. - Winston Dookeran trying to explain the state of the economy.

 

Alice

I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, Sir, because I'm not myself you see.- The thinking electorate, those with genuine love of country, depressed at their condition, damned if they don't, damned if they do.

 

The Duchess

If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does. - Suruj Rambachan's media policy.

 

The Cat

We're all mad here. - I leave this one up to you....



.

28
General Discussion / To serve man.
« on: January 21, 2011, 10:51:30 PM »
Wrote this three days after elections, took a lot of stick for it from people who telling me now boy yuh was right, yuh was right, yuh was right.

I told Winston people too fed up of Manning to vote PNM, take a chance, let the COP go it alone.

Now look where we are.
...

Plain Talk - Phillip Edward Alexander

Thursday, May 27, 2010Reality There is a Twilight Zone episode called “To Serve Man.”

Aliens come to Earth and bestow upon humankind a swift, easy and free path to plenty. Hunger ends. Peace reigns. No one questions the aliens’ motives, except for one man who is trying to decipher a book entitled “To Serve Man,” which the aliens have given to the world’s leaders.

He too soon gives up and joins the throngs of tourists flying off to visit the aliens’ planet. He’s boarding the spacecraft when his secretary tries to stop him, hollering what it is they’ve decoded: “To Serve Man — it’s a cookbook!” - So, as you see, there is no free lunch, literally or figuratively. But there is lunch — and you may be it.

I almost got all teary eyed at the swearing in yesterday and, having abandoned my concerns and reservations about the coalescence of the mismatched and the perverse, jumped on the bandwagon myself...

Almost.

There are problems with the picture.

My major concern is that the science does not bear out the outpouring of emotion and people have a sort of political amnesia. They literally see what they want to see.

We've been here before.

The reason coalitions are doomed to fail is not because we're a cynical lot, but because the ideologies of the protagonists are so different as to run afoul of each other during the planning stage of any adventure. It's easy for everyone to get along when it's 'us' against 'them'. When it becomes 'us' against 'us' is when the plot really thickens. What will hold it together then, the flag? Patriotism? National Pride?
 
Trinidad's cup does not really run over with these things, it's not like we're Jamaica or Barbados, Islands where the people retain their identity even when in exile in foreign lands; but I digress.

Those who would justify this experiment (adventure) have compared Trinidad's coalition with what is obtaining now in Great Britain, and even that is at some point bound to fail because if it does not, it will expose the lie that politics has an 'either or' option. Were it not so, why have a Parliament?

What would be the point of Opposition if we could all just get along? Add to that the fact that Trinidad is made up of fundamentals that cannot be changed by wishing, and which cannot be erased by the best of intentions and you will not be surprised when the thing collapses.

I wrote a note entitled 'Where Do We As A People Go From Here', which attempted to outline a brief history of the differing elements (tribes) that make up our nation, and the goals and objectives of each and why they differ, and must differ fundamentally (http://plainlytalking.blogspot.com/2010/05/where-do-we-go-from-here_06.html).

In that note I asked three basic questions:

1. Is national unity a hoax?

2. What divides us?

3. Can what divides us be rewoven into something more of a national identity?

As an example of the divide - For all his best intentions, Daaga cannot undo the damage done to the Africans by slavery, nor the mad distribution of wealth of this country called the Cedula of Population (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedula_of_Population).

A truly afro-centric Government would be more interested in the redistribution of the national treasure and rightly so, because the wrongs done to a people that have kept them socially dependent can only be undone by collective responsibility, collective atonement, and a national attempt to put the wrongs right.

To any Afro-Trini worth his history reading the above, the point is at least valid and worthy of discussion.
To the heirs of the white planters who were given the divided acreage based on the total amount of African slaves they owned, well, let's just say their view would be different. To the people who think history is just that, history; who want to pretend that we aren't where we are because of historical wrongs want to see black people as white people with a groovy tan.

Am I picking a side. No, not yet. I am simply saying that there are very deep divisions that need to be addressed and joining of hands to walk up the magic mountain is not going to solve them.

The above was used as a basic example, and divisions obtain for all the races.

The point I am making is, can you make Beetham Gardens into Goodwood Gardens by a joining of hands?

Is crime the result of wayward black youth who need to be aggressively policed, tried and jailed? Or is crime the result of a failed social system that ignored the plight of the weak and downtrodden even as the wealthy raped the treasury and made off with the national treasure? Can black people be put in their place? Should they? Where exactly is that, the bottom of the social ladder? Perpetual servitude?

I am going to judge this new Government not on pollyanna feelings of butterflies and rainbows, but on the yardstick of its promises as laid out in its manifesto.

I will also judge it on what it failed to say.

The concept RISE, that was hijacked and used as a gimmicky party slogan was much, much more than that. It was intended to be a part of a national program of understanding, atonement and restoration. The people of this country are rubbing abrasively against each other because gimmicks are not working.

We need time honored truths like respect and 'right of place' to be established for ALL people regardless of race, tribe or religion. We need to forget the 'Douglarisation' and 'Chutneying' of the nation and focus instead on the core issues that affect the differing groups and, in respecting and repairing wrongs on a historical and national level, pass on responsibility for things like law and order and national pride and respect to the true leaders of these communities.

The concept of rise was to empower the different communities, respect their individual cultures and get them to work, because when the people feel a sense of belonging, their natural response is to defend and build.
The fist lesson in psychology is the absence of hope brings madness.


Have we learned that from our national experience as yet? Or are we going to distract the natives with gimmicks and hoodwink them so we can enrich ourselves. Are we again going to give the natives platitudes as trinkets instead of real leadership aimed at a cohesive plan of National reconstruction?

Time alone will tell.

The first 120 days were enunciated by this new Government as the timeframe for major programs to be enacted that would form the bedrock of social change that would free our people from the low expectations we REALLY have of those who lead us.

I am going to try to reserve judgement for 120 days (I said try).

I remain a political activist. Political Activists don't get to dress up and clink glasses to herald the changing of the guard. nor do we jockey for position and patronage in any new administration.

We man the wall. We ring the bells and set off the alarm when danger arises.

Nothing has happened thus far to make me believe true change has come.

29
General Discussion / I want to be a Whore... (don't you?)
« on: January 21, 2011, 06:28:53 PM »
Plain Talk - Phillip Edward Alexander



I want to be a Whore... (don't you?)


I want to be a whore.


All the whores I see look so happy, and I want to be a happy whore too.


Give me contracts, soft money, access, position and invitations. Inflate my ego and make me feel special.


I want to be a Party supporter whore


I want to be a political whore and smile for the camera and be in the front row and nod along cheerily and enthusiastically at campaigns, and after elections I'll be there in the front row nodding along at events and I'll be so enthusiastic people will look at me and say things can't be so bad, look at him how happy and enthusiastic he is.


During election i will only wear Party shirts and Party hats and Party badges. Give me a chance I'll wear Party pajamas if it helps 'our' cause.


Just pass some under the table and I'll parrot anything you say. If you say red I say red, if you change to blue then i was always blue.


I'll take your enemies and make them mine, if they speak against you is me and dem and I doh eat nice.


Give my family a job, a scholarship, hell give me one, and when people see me they will think they see you because everything you say I saying too.


As an activist I'll ignore your past, your present and your future. Your associations, your dealings, your recent pronouncements.


When you flip I flip. I'll lie through my teeth just like you, because I know you started off as a political whore too.


I want to be a Media whore.


I want to be a media whore. I will follow you around and take pictures as you use people in desperate situations to prop up your tiny ego and your nothing policy and I will prop you up too.


Make me your whore and people will never get tired of seeing you smile night after night after night.


For the right access and perks, if you are what you say you are, a superstar, then have no fear, the cameras here, and the microphone, and they want a show.


As your personal media whore you're guaranteed to go far, I'll make your name big, you'll be a superstar.


I want to be a Talkshow whore


I want to be a talkshow whore so when your friends come on my show it will be one big love fest and all the people watching will wish they were there too, but uh uh, to be here you have to be a whore like me.


Give me credit, give me awards, make me feel special and I'll make you feel special too.


I'll dress the part, bright and shiny, and no one will question me, and no one will question you.


When you come on the show personally (if you can't come call) the experience will be orgasmic.


I will fill the airwaves with the gobar you are spewing and nobody will doubt it because it's live tv, my tv, and what i let happen here has to ok if I'm smiling and chuckling, or i'll skew my face and they'll know, they'll know I... Am.... Not.... Happy.


But I wont do you that. Uh uh, I'll reserve that for people we don't like. (your enemies) It's our dirty little secret and I'll be your whore.


I'm a Columnist, can I be your whore too?


I'll write your name across the sky and if you don't like the truth I'll make it a lie.
I'll sing your praises, of all the good that you do, and your friends in prison I'll sing their praises too.
And when you appear dressed for any occasion, I'll say you were moving, such an inspiration.
At the end of the day your fight is mine, and for the right money i will make your day shine.


I'll blaspheme detractors rake them over the coals
Those who dare speak against you 'ill rip out their souls.
My weekly word allotment will praise every little thing you do
I'm a private dancer, and I'll only dance for you.


How about me, I'm a Businessman, can Businessmen be whores?


Give me contracts at inflated prices. I'll sell you fifty dollar laptops with ten thousand dollar 'set up' fees. Let me build for you, and I'll give you ten dollars worth of work for every hundred dollars you spend and split the difference with you.


I'll bring water for all, and if that don't work I'll bring water for some and we'll split the difference, you and me, one for you and one for me.


You'll be my silent partner (shhhhh, right!!!!) you set the price, you name the game, no I never build house before but it doesn't look so hard. Yes I know is cloth business I from, maybe I could build cloth house?


I marched in the sun and rain, no more murder, too much blood flowing down the drain. Black blood, white blood, red blood too, but now we in power is only Johnnie Walker Blue.


Et tu?


I'm a Union Leader, but I want to be a whore.


Forget those silly workers, they were a means to an end. Anybody big enough to give you everything could take everything from you and I made damn well sure that they knew that.
My enemies can't touch me, so they cant touch you.


These stupid workers don't have one brain between them if they took up a collection so don't fret, position, tax free car and rum is my price, whatever you want is yours.


Frontways, backways, sideways an' all. Anyhow you want it, I'm a whore after all.


I'm a Professional Politician


That's really just another word for whore, and if you need my vote I'll cross the floor.
Dress me like Barbie and put me in house.
Say the man I replacing is a rapist and a louse.
And when the tables turn and he in your good books again.
Give him position and we'll both call him friend


As a Calypsonian, I whoring long time.


Captain the ship is sinking, captain the seas are rough.
The gas tank almost empty, no electricity, the oil pressure reading low.
Shall we abandon ship?
Or shall we stay on it?
And perish slow, we doh know, we doh know, we doh know


:)


When I was in big school and they had career day nobody told me I could choose to be a whore. And I didn't know they had different kinds of whore.
Now I am sure.
Pressure no more
Only love on the floor
I swear I want to be a whore.


A big stinkin' nasty whore with money, Government money, a happy whore, poor no more.


(doing that soft shoe shuffle.....) Santimanitay aaay  Santimanitay joobie Santimanitay write your name across the sky Santimanitay.

30
On Lionel Belasco or The Politicization of Culture in Trinidad and Tobago

by Nigel Campbell on Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 8:01pm

                                                         I

Attorney General, Sen the Hon Anand Ramlogan has shown his ignorance of Trinidad culture. In making a claim that there was a  misuse and abuse of public funds by the PNM via UTT in the purchase of 10 Bosendorfer grand pianos, including the Special Edition Johann Strauss model, (inspired by the instrument on which the great master wrote his compositions, and ultimately placed by former Prime Minister Manning at the Diplomatic Centre for recitals,) the following exchange of words were recorded by the Parliament Channel [I await, like Colm Imbert to date, Hansard publication.]:

 

Sen. Anand Ramlogan: "We consider this to be a most shameful and disgraceful wastage of public funds...All we know about is a lil Bob Marley music and a lil kaiso. That's all we listen to...Mr Speaker, for those of us who are accustomed to the steelpan and the dholak and the majeera and the rhythm section...the Bosendorfer piano is the Rolls Royce of pianos in the world."

Patricia McIntosh, MP (PNM, POS-N): "What is wrong with a piano?"

Sen. Anand Ramlogan: "Nothing is wrong with a piano, but the day you could play a good chutney or calypso on it, come back and talk to me." [My emphasis]

 

Oh, for shame, that this lawyer turned arbiter of cultural taste and aesthetic for "we" the people of Trinidad and Tobago does not have a clue who could "play a good...calypso" on a piano. Let me tell this man whose musical spectrum starts at Marley and ends with "kaiso", we have a history of recorded calypso, Carnival music, Antillean music, all performed on piano by the likes of Lionel Belasco, George Cabral, Boscoe Holder and stretching into the modern era with Ed Watson, Ralph Davies, Clive Zanda, Raf Robertson, David Boothman, Dave Marcellin, Ovid Alexis, Pelham Goddard and Ming to name a few. For the record, Alan Lomax and Emory Cook were recording Indo-Trinidadian musical heritage in Trinidad in the 1960s.

 

There was heavy innuendo in the exchange of ideas between Manning at his subsequent press conference and Rammlogan in Parliament on what is good for Trinidadian tastes and what is wished for to create a sense of aesthetic superiority in these isles. The notion of elite arts and "posh" culture has been used as a political tool since before Eric Williams was Prime Minister, and words have been written by, among others Nobel Laureates Derek Walcott and VS Naipaul defending the appeal to higher art. The rise to power of Eric Williams saw the phenomenon of new Ministers of Culture supporting the folk arts (seen as entertainment) to the exclusion of "serious" arts. Derek Walcott wrote in 1970 in his essay "What the Twilight Says":

In these new nations art is a luxury...Every state sees its image in those forms which have the mass appeal of sport, seasonal and amateurish. Stamped on that image is the old colonial grimace of the laughing nigger, steelbandsman, carnival masker, calypsonian, and limbo dancer. These popular artists are trapped in the state's concept of the folk form, for they preserve the colonial demeanour and threaten nothing. The folk arts have become the symbol of carefree, accommodating culture, an adjunct to tourism, since the state is impatient with anything which it cannot trade.

"What the Twilight Says": Dream on Monkey Mountain, (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1970 )

 

Things have evolved since then as the state now supports via an Entertainment Company and a Film Company, the varied arts as a professional enterprise. But, give this politician a choice of serious art and a jam session, and see which one have Anand doing a "turn"!

 

Before Walcott, VS Nailpaul wrote in 1960 , in his seminal travel book "Middle Passage":

 

Culture is, in short, a night-club turn...This talk of culture is comparatively new. It is a concept of some politicians in the forties, and caught on largely because it answered vague, little-understood dissatisfaction some people were beginning to feel with their lives of fantasy. The promotion of a local culture was the only form of nationalism that could arise in a population divided into mutually exclusive cliques based on race, colour, shade, religion, money.

The Middle Passage, The Macmillan Company: New York, 1963. pp. 71-72

 

Politicians tread into matters of culture at their own peril. Worse yet, those in the Culture Ministry. Marlene McDonald and Junior Regrello told a national audience that NAPA was not constructed for "that kind of thing", chutney. Current Minister, "Gypsy said of the two NAPAs: "We would never be able to pay for these things, and it matters not what activities you keep in here. In terms of financial return, we will never be able to do that." Now we have AG Ramlogan suggesting that all we listen to is a "lil kaiso and a lil [reggae]", with the implication that nothing else matters for the folk, or should matter! Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Rowley himself adds to the litany of innuendo laden commentary on appropriate cultural symbols with this sarcastic objection of local rock band Orange Sky accompanying Tourism minister, Dr. Rupert Griffith to India: “They send a rock band, they gone to rock India. At the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, they gone to play rock music in New Delhi...And that is what will bring tourists to T&T.”

 

Both aforementioned Nobel laureates noted that politicians equate culture and the arts generally with the  requisite "pleasure in living up to the ideals of the tourist brochure." An extension of the brochure idea is the "carnival mentality" codified by Lee Kuan Yew in the 1960s that, in this place, implies that music to dance to is more important than music to listen to. The mass appeal of the fête and jam leaves diluted the memory of piano players who recorded and moved local music onto a global stage, and extended it by improving and improvising the native rhythms and sounds on a non-native instrument. These traders in art sought new markets and customers who were NOT "accustomed to the steelpan and the dholak and the majeera and the rhythm section." History will absolve the rhetoric of the cynical politician who never stepped outside the "wall." We can't be so lucky to forget.

 

II



One of the few portraits of Lionel BelascoResearchers Kim Johnson and Don Hill have prepared biographical information on this native musician and calypso composer, Lionel Belasco, who is unusual  in the fact that his instrument was the piano, "not exactly the best instrument for the calypso tent or Carnival music of the streets. It is because of this, that his style is more orchestrated and arranged. Instead of marching the streets or playing the tents, as was the custom for the average calypsonian, he instead became a darling of the local elites, playing the high class balls and debutante dances. As early as 1903 "Belasco's Renowned String Band" appeared in the press. He played for parties at the Governor's House, and gave lessons to the Governor's daughter...in music and maybe more. From the late 19th century, as the epoch of slavery finally drew to a close, many singers and players strove to discover a whole new style of music: one that would hold resonances of both the European musical tradition of the white planters and the Afro-American culture that inspired the plantation workers — but that would, at the same time, be sharply different from the old strains."

 

Belasco recorded as far back as 1914 nearly two dozen sides of solo piano pieces for the Victor Talking Machine Company documenting the music of not only Trinidad and Tobago, but the wider Caribbean. Note that  Belasco's "ethnic music" was recorded years before jazz music was ever recorded. He also recorded piano rolls, cutting edge technology before the second World War. George Cabral, a contemporary of Belasco, and ironically a politician, was said to be a "stronger and earthier player" than the better known Belasco. Staying true to the form of the politician in the future independent Trinidad and Tobago, Cabral's one recorded solo was for a tourist booklet "aimed principally at U.S. visitors to Trinidad."

 

Musicologist and music compiler, Dick Spottswood once said, "one of the surest measures of enduring tradition is its ability to keep pace with changing times and customs, allowing appealing new elements to merge with proven old ones." In the decades that follow, generations of musicians have been schooled on the piano as a basis for music education, and used that instrument as a tool to seek new avenues of expression. Ed Watson arranged his soca melodies on a piano, "Sugar Bum Bum" comes to mind. Without attempting wit or rudeness, Mr. Attorney General, it's not the instrument, but it's how you use it.

 

What got me started on this note is the continued inability of persons in public life given a mandate by popular expression to so publicly reflect the wishes of a nation looking ahead  as against their narrow personal mores. The expectation of the population that a politician should be armed with information that carries the agenda forward is not naive. Patriotism, as a given, should allow for the acceptance of all forms of local music as part of the national agenda of independent growth out of the colonial image of Walcott's "laughing nigger" and his more contemporary official milieu of "music of Happy Hour and the rictus of a smile."

 

For better or worse, these men, Belasco, Cabral et al,  represented a pioneering step to take "island music" outside, like that of their Caribbean contemporaries in Haiti, Ludovic Lamothe comes to mind, and Curaçao. Their motivation may have been money or tourist acceptance, but they showed that our music could be played on a piano. Decades of musicians have followed their lead to the enrichment of the local musical canon. Whatever Mr. Manning's idea of "recitals" were, we won't know now, but we can be assured that "a good chutney or calypso" could be played on that Bosendorfer, and it would not be a "disgraceful wastage of public funds."



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