Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

The date is December 10, 2014, I am up late watching the Late Night Show with David Letterman, up to the stage comes, my now favourite rapper, J. Cole and he is performing an improvised verse as an introduction to one of his songs on the now critically acclaimed 2014 Forest Hills Drive Album. The entire verse was a hard hitting social commentary on the state of affairs in America, particularly amidst the uproar following the controversial police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. It was powerful, but the part that stood out for me was his assessment of the Presidency of one Barack Hussein Obama aka number 44. His Obama report card read as follows:

“I’m so elated, we celebrated like Obama / waited until his last day in office / to tell the nation, brothers is getting their reparations, hey! / A man can dream, can he? / No disrespect, in terms of change / I haven’t seen any / Maybe he had good intentions / But was stifled by the system / and was sad to learn that he actually couldn’t bring any/ That’s what I get for thinking this world is fair, they let  a brother steer the ship and never told him that the ship was sinking…”

The sentiments in that performance echoed one of the many thoughts I too had about the impact of the Presidency of Barack Obama, which at its inception seemed (at least to some) to beckon a new day in America and perhaps the world, yet at the end or nearing it one can’t help feeling disappointment. Ever since that day and that performance I have been writing this blog post on the legacy of Obama on and off in my mind. A lot has happened since then and the nature of the mental essay has shifted back and forth many times, but seeing snippets of President Obama’s farewell speech and watching a video of him spending one of his last days in office serving a meal to his White House Staff alongside his family has reinforced how all over the place my feelings regarding his legacy are.

The mental essay on this day has stopped at a point where my mind sees many Obamas, in fact what I initially thought were three Obamas has now manifested as four in my mind:

  • Candidate Obama
  • Symbol Obama
  • President Obama
  • Barry O the person(a)

What will follow are my incoherent and summarized attempts at explaining what I mean by these Obamas and what each means for his legacy.

Candidate Obama

A politician is a politician is a politician and generally we don’t speak positively about politicians. In Jamaican vernacular – “dem a wicked” or so most people would like to believe. But something about this well-spoken young Senator representing Chicago seemed different not the least because when had what many considered a funny sounding name. Candidate Obama just seemed to resonate with everything that is positive and what one would want from a new breed of leadership. He was young and naïve enough to think differently from established norms even to a fault. He embraced young people and embraced them where they were through seemingly unprecedented use of social media. He created a message of hope for the future and the possibility of positive change all while sounding like the most engaging spokesman or dare I say preacher in the process. Put even simpler, Candidate Obama was a joy to see at work and to listen to. Also key to the appeal of Candidate Obama was the potential of him becoming a powerful symbol – the First Black President of the United States of America.

Symbol Obama

Election night November 4, 2008 is here, the ballots have been counted and the formerly unthinkable has indeed happened. Independent since 1776, the land of chattel slavery and Jim Crow elected a black man, a black man named Barack Hussein Obama to its highest office. A black family was to take residence in that big White House that was actually built by slaves. No wonder, that from Washington, to Kingston to the Motherland, black people all over the world were overcome with emotions. Along with the lifting of the US Embargo on Cuba or the granting of reparations as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, America having a black President is one of those things that “they” said would never happen in my lifetime. I am typing, but my words by no means can capture the genuine feeling of accomplishment, euphoria and pride many persons felt with the breaking of this impossible barrier.

But the pride and the symbolism did not end just with the victory for the past eight years, and especially in the wake of the nasty under belly of the 2016 election campaign, the luster of this lovely family residing in the White House, showcasing for the world to see that the impossible can be possible and all persons no matter who they are can aspire to be what they want to be. All while exuding class and elegance.

President Obama

Honeymoons don’t last forever though, and the luxury of being a hopeful candidate that is a monumental symbol had to give way to governance. Back to the J. Cole song. Many persons, particularly the African American community almost bestowed a messianic hope on the shoulders of Mr. Obama. Undoubtedly persons with such lofty expectations were bound to be disappointed as a man is just a man and even more a politician. Even more than that I have come to the conclusion that the Institution of the President of the United States is bigger than any one of its holders and like J. Cole I honestly feel Mr. Obama may have been constrained from being any revolutionary change agent by this reality.

So in his farewell speech he listed his achievements and they are clear, the ship was sinking in many respects not least the economy. Whatever measure may choose without getting into graphs and charts, under his watch the US emerged in a good position on the other side of the worst economic recession since the 1920s. In terms of domestic safety and security, the statistics suggest America is safer than it has ever been. “Obamacare” was passed and depending on who you ask that has been positive as well. For others “marriage equality” is also seen as a positive.

But serious shortcomings are there as well especially on the international front. The exponential use of unmanned drones as a war tool and the deaths of many innocents and non-innocents, the devastation of Syria and Libya are things that can be laid squarely at the feet of this administration. On the home front, whether his fault or not , it seems the killing or brutal treatment of persons of colour by members of law enforcement with almost impunity has skyrocketed, with many detractors feeling as though the president has lent his voice to other issues far more than the plight of primarily the black community.

On balance, as a non-citizen of the US that has to live in a world where the US is the major super power, I cannot in good conscience say I believe the Presidency of Barack Obama has significantly affected us in the developing world in  a positive manner. Many persons may see this as too kind an assessment as by many measures the world could be worse off.

Barry O the Person(a)

Unequivocally, I am not a fan of President Obama. Perhaps that is why, I have developed this Multiple Personality Disorder for him because I cannot shake the guilt of wishing I could hang out with him though. Barack Obama the person or at least the persona that we see publicly is so cool, so smooth on so many levels. He is seemingly down to earth, he is au fait with the latest Music, he is able to have meaningful conversation about the latest sporting event, he uses local slang when he travels and even more admirable he appears to not lord over the “small people” that he is “The Leader of the Free World.”

What is perhaps the cherry on top is the public relationship he has with his wife and children. The man never ever misses an opportunity to “big up” the love of his life and their children. He appears to be a serious family man that puts his family before even the stresses of Presidency.

As I said before, as a basketball fan and knowing his love for basketball as well, despite all my misgivings about Barack Obama I can’t shake the feeling that it would be an honour to play a game to 21 against Barry O and talk about life.

Legacy

A lot has been said above without being able to say all that was meant but ultimately in 8 days the White House will again revert to its more natural hue, though with a tinge of orange. Feels like the “Change We Can Believe In” days were just yesterday but alas time waits for no man and Mr. Obama’s fate is with the history writers now. I’m sure like Fidel Castro it is his hope that history will judge him fairly and positively. He has marks on both sides of the score card probably more on the failure side if I am totally honest. But his other manifestations, particularly Symbol Obama and Barry O the person(a) have left an indelible mark and I have no doubt in my mind that under the current political circumstances, even his harshest critics, myself guiltily included, will miss him and miss him sooner than we think… like within a week we will miss him BIGLY.

The part of this song quoted above can be seen at around the 2:35 mark. (No copyright infringement was intended and “Reasoning With The Cunning One” does not own or take responsibility for the content  of external links. – ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY THAT LOL)

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2016 will go down in the annals of history as one of the most interesting and eventful years in world history. Apart from Brexit, in terms of world politics no event has been more popcorn inspiring than the quest for the Presidency of the United States of America. A lot can be said and my mind is all over the place on this. Below is a collection of some of my main thoughts on this election cycle thus far. They are not in any particular order and in fact might even be incoherent. Consider them my random morning ramblings today as the constant social media debates about the pros and cons of this election have sufficiently provoked/annoyed me that I needed to exhale in a literary way.

TRUMP  TRUMP TRUMP – words fail me beyond saying real life has become stranger than fiction. It is the understatement of all time to say I truly am mind boggled that he has reached this point. I will also waste little time making the anti-trump argument as his very existence and state of being makes the argument. The epitome of the greater of two evils (or is he?).

MAYBE TRUMP ISN’T SO SURPRISING – the more I watch this election and listen to commentary on parallels in the world, trump isn’t so surprising. Well the Donald himself yes, but the idea that a total outsider from the political status quo could rise to prominence with seemingly silly, unworkable views is not new and despots of both the left and right variety have risen to prominence on the back of a political and economic system that is almost fully set on satisfying the desire of the absolutely rich and absolutely powerful to the detriment of the masses. What America may need to fear is that next election cycle a more skillful politician that is more disciplined, and dare I say more sensible, than the Donald is able to better ride this wave of discontent. Or maybe they shouldn’t fear, they could get an even better version of Bernie Sanders.

TRUMP ISN’T SURPRISING PART 2 – also why the rise of Trump isn’t surprising is that it has been trending this way for years with the Tea Party pulling the entire US political space to the Right. And this “Rightness” is rooted in white racist nationalism that is still very much rooted in America despite those who would have us believe that 8 years of a black president has magically cured the world of all racism.

DANGER OF PERSONALITY POLITICS – The level of discourse in this election campaign for the supposed greatest nation in the world is saddening at worst and laughable at best. Who grabbing what, whose hidden emails have been found on the computer of a political perv, the great Hollywood script writers couldn’t make this up. The discussions have been largely devoid of any substance, rather we are being sold two personal brands, powerful billionaire vs powerful woman – bigoted man vs flawed but qualified woman. Issues and policy have been sacrificed at the altar of who we like more and that may be a dangerous way to select our leaders anywhere in the world. But for a set of people who like to look at the rest of us and throw out phrases like “Third World Banana Republics” on a regular, this election cycle should be downright embarrassing.

“FALSE EQUIVALENCE” IS SICKENING – if you watch CNN in particular and listen to the so called “balance” it has by having two to three Trump apologists on every panel and listen to them ignore reality and logic and make the worst analogies and comparisons ever you would know exactly what I am talking about.

HILLARY HYPOCRISY – for me this is the notion of somehow because of several things, the most used card is gender, that Hillary Clinton is getting a raw deal (in the largely left leaning media no less) and no matter what she does she is treated as “guiltier” that trump. Rubbish, if this is so why is she being predicted in most corners to win by a landslide? We get a steady diet of “the emails are nothing so why is this hurting her…because she is a woman.” I find that disingenuous, it is hurting her because of a confluence of history and herself and her husband never ever being too far from controversy and shadiness. Think Clinton Foundation, think conflict of interest. These are not nothing issues and even if they can be explained or nuanced, being asked about them is fair game and not some media attack because she is specially disliked for being a she in my book. It is dangerous and a disservice to those who do suffer gender based discrimination to use this particular point to make her the poster child. A lot of other issues with her better fit that bill but not legitimate questions about (perceived) shadiness and impropriety.

Also the election has been tilted into the gutter not only by the moronic Trump, but by the Hillary campaign wanting it to stay there as their surest way to victory. If character assassination (or assisted suicide) is your number one tactic, how can you cry if a couple shots are volleyed your way and if you bring us in the gutter and occasionally the sewage spills on you, is it really fair to complain and be the victim?

THE NEED FOR PEOPLE TO TAKE THIRD PARTIES SERIOUSLY – this cycle rankles one of my many political pet peeves. We as people all over the world cry and complain over the status quo especially in political systems that have come to be dominated, if not defined, by two opposing political parties. Yet no matter how disillusioned we become with these two parties we are caught in the trap of “vote vote vote” and its evil cousin “you have to vote for one of the main parties because third parties can’t win.” Well what is the chicken and what is the egg? I put it to you that third parties have the potential to breathe new life into US politics and politics worldwide by changing the narrative, even if they don’t win. And either way they will never be able to win until people start taking them seriously. Regarding changing the narrative, the US right now gives a perfect example. Both the major political parties have by and large coalesced around the centre-right portion of politics. Neoliberalism and Neorealism are essentially one and the same and in an oversimplified way all they focus on is free trade and war. Can any real Progressive say that the Democratic Party is a party now acting upon Progressive views beyond tokenism with race, gender and sexual orientation? The party is largely Republican and the Republicans have shifted even further right. A different set of people with different perspectives that are backed by enough people would force traditional parties to actually focus on the things that matter to the masses. A lot more can be said but I feel if I were American I would be voting for the Green Party.

2016, Brexit has just taken an interesting turn this week and we are 4 days away from the Grabber vs Email election– Oh what a time to be alive.

PS – the videos below explore the issues of “false equvalence” and “third parties” respectively.

 

Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016

Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016

Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016

Every time I open my social media accounts and see the internet Molotov cocktails being chucked from the north western end of the Caribbean down to the south eastern end and vice versa I think to myself… Baccra did a really good job with this divide and rule thing and no matter how hard and often we proclaim emancipation and independence it is clear that we need regular doses of the words of Redemption song that Tuff Gong borrowed from the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

“Jamaican’s does be the reason the crime going up in T&T and allyuh does know it” vs “Who do these Trinis think they are, them think dem s!@# can mek patty, not even know why Jamaicans still want go there.” Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016.

But what really is going on here? What is the real root of all this? Why is it that every other year or month we have some reignition of these “wars” between Caribbean nations, with particular emphasis on the two largest English speaking ones? Is it resentment for one Jamaican National Hero saying Jamaica is walking while the rest of the region is crawling? Is it because one PM was tired of being the region’s ATM? All this while Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016.

But what of the current melee, it is clear to me that CARICOM and the CSME are valuable or at least potentially valuable but at present and perhaps from ever, they have been beset with regional, structural and national level issues that have hamstrung its potential. Most people do not even know what CARICOM/CSME is or is supposed to be. Here is the Cliff Notes version – CARICOM is a political and economic cooperation organization forged between mainly English speaking, former British colonies designed to face the” big bad” world in a vein of pooled capabilities. CARICOM is based largely on three pillars:

  • Functional Cooperation –  shared institutions like  CXC and UWI
  • Coordinated foreign policy – CARICOM joint positions in International Organizations and negotiating Trade Agreements as a unit
  • ECONOMIC INTEGRATION – common external tariff and the free movement of goods, capital and labour i.e. PEOPLE.

We do pretty well in the first two pillars if people are honest but the third pillar is really why we are here cussing each other on Facebook while…Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016.

What is required now is an honest introspection on the part of the entire CARICOM family, but particular the governments and citizenry of Jamaica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Rather than get touted by the modern day dividers such as skewed media, influential civil society players that stand to benefit from the disharmony and government officials acting in the name of political expediency versus the greater good. My brothers and sisters from Jamaica must realize that as a sovereign state the Twin Island Republic has the right to protect its borders and seek to avert abuse of immigration laws in any way fit, especially in the face of illegal immigration from Jamaica that is at a fairly significant level by all accounts. Concurrently, my brothers and sisters from the Twin Island Republic must realise that not every Jamaican is coming to be a “leach” and that legitimate efforts at border protection are subject to the rule of law, fairness and humanity. It cannot be done in a pseudo-arbitrary fashion, where even persons who are above board are made to feel like criminals, all this while under CARICOM arrangements we are all “guaranteed” hassle free travel.

WE ALL HAVE BEEN GUILTY OF WRONGS IN THIS SITUATION BUT WE CANNOT ALLOW THE POTENTIAL GOOD OF OUR UNION TO BE KILLED OVER MISGUIDED EMOTIONAL RESPONSES TO REAL ISSUES THAT REQUIRE MATURE DEBATE.

For example, and controversially, if one ascribes to the “free trade” school of thinking then the purpose of a free trade movement like CARICOM is the “efficient allocation of resources” therefore if T&T has an oversupply of manufactured goods and an undersupply of low skilled labour and Jamaica has an oversupply of low skilled labour and an undersupply of manufactured goods, then the concurrent influxes of goods into Jamaica and people into Trinidad and Tobago is something that should be perhaps promoted but in a streamlined fashion. But this paragraph is for another day and for more rigorous economic scrutiny, but the general point is that we might actually need each other more than we think but never ending pride, misguided nationalism and self-serving public voices are pushing us apart all while…Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016.

So here we are with powerful private sector voices and voices in the streets of Jamaica calling for a boycott of all Trinbagonian goods and these cries being met with social media and radio retorts of “round up all these Jamaicans in T&T illegally, they are the reason there is crime, crime was virtually nil before their infiltration.” But are these voices speaking for the majority? I hope not, too often in public discourse the voice of the misguided, lowest common denominator dominates the discussion and derails constructive reasoning.

Or am I wrong? Is it that this impasse between Jamaica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is insoluble? Is it that the majority of us would rather just sever all ties with each other forever?

Whatever the case, I am tired of this whole debacle and I am also angry, angry because

Baccra Massa Still Smiling in 2016.

SELAH

 

 

 

The song that is mentioned in the title of this blog post has been playing in my mind over and over as one of the many pieces of Jamaican creative art that has aptly served as social commentary basically covering my lifetime. In Jamaica POLITICS is a bad bad bad word, probably the worst word ever. In fact it has spawned many offshoots that highlight just how we as a people in large measure feel about the political process so we have “Follytics” which is my personal favourite of “politricks” which is perhaps the most popular.

For all persons who know me and know me well they know that ever since about the 9th grade I have stoutly held the position that until I see great changes in the way politics is practiced  I would never ever ever dip my finger in any ink. To this day I still feel very strongly about defending person’s right not to vote as being equal to a persons right to vote. I think this notion that “you must vote” whether you philosophically agree with the candidates put before you is one of the most popular yet flawed arguments that exists in Jamaica.

As I saw one comment on twitter yesterday “Voting for me is almost spiritual based on the sacrifice that went into me getting that right, I almost feel as though my soul will be damned if I just vote without conscience.” (slight paraphrase). That is deep almost deep beyond words. I think it is folly to say to someone your vote is valuable but give it to someone “just because” it’s the right thing to do. Persons who seek to bully and guilt trip persons into voting really need to spend the time and try to understand the stance of principled non-voters before reaching for the millions of tired clichés. Let me not even get into today the myriad of constitutional reform issues that legitimately turn people off from voting. That can be a blogpost for itself.

However, speaking of principled non-voters, I have recently developed a strong urge to reach out to my fellow disillusioned Jamaicans. We must not let our disillusionment turn into total apathy and separation from the process. whilst it is true that political participation goes well beyond casting a ballot and therefore voting is not the be all and end all of participation, we must also acknowledge that NOT VOTING AND NOT HAVING A VOTE ARE TWO CONSIDERABLY DIFFERENT THINGS. If you are not enumerated you don’t have a vote so your displeasure is not registered in any way that can even theoretically force those who you are displeased with to react. The sad truth is that these persons we make reference to are largely driven by electoral stimuli. So what we need to do is give them some different stimulus. If everybody who is not pleased with the status quo twinned their public expressions of disapproval with the REAL potential to be a “swing” set of votes THEY WOULD HAVE TO AT LEAST PAY SOME MORE ATTENTION.

SO DON’T VOTE IF YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE THERE IS ANYTHING TO VOTE FOR. I fully agree with that stance and it is your right and NEVER LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY FOR NOT CASTING YOUR VOTE FOR A MISGUIDED PERCEPTION OF CIVIC PRIDE. But political participation is more than just voting. What are you doing to contribute to the change that you want to see? Have you ever written to your representative? When parliament asks the public for written submissions have you ever sent one in? Are you a part of a civil society group fighting for a cause? NOT VOTING IS ONE THING BUT NOT CONTRIBUTING IN ANY WAY TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF JAMAICA AND THE “…THE WELFARE OF THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE” IS PROBABLY EQUAL OR WORSE FOLLY THAN THE FOLLYTICS WE COMPLAIN ABOUT.

The year of our Lord Two Thousand and Sixteen is upon us and well underway. A Happy New Year To all. Before we dive into another year of “Reasoning” it is only right that we look back at what has been an eventful year that has departed from our company. Rather than looking back at 2015 from a personal point of view, I feel the need to present a compilation of what to my mind were the years’ biggest stories in news and sports.

With that in mind what will follow will is a list of the:

  • Top 10 news stories Jamaica
  • Top 10 news stories in Internationally
  • Top 5 sports stories Jamaica
  • Top 5 sports stories in Internationally

Disclaimer – these stories are what came to my mind most readily and it is hoped that once read persons can suggest additions and subtractions as we all collaborate to remember the year that was 2015…

Top 10 News Stories of 2015 in Jamaica

  1. The “Dead Babies Scandal” – http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20151023/timeline-deadbabiesscandal-how-hospitals-responded
  2. Election False Start – http://nationwideradiojm.com/pm-waiting-for-the-masters-touch/
  3. Unsigned Senate Letter Saga – http://nationwideradiojm.com/court-rule-against-holness-in-removing-williams-from-senate-details/
  4. Obama Visit – https://cunning1jm.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/barack-on-the-rock-a-few-lessons-learned-from-the-visit-of-president-obama/
  5. David Cameron Visit – https://cunning1jm.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/cameroninja-removing-the-scab-from-eternal-wounds/
  6. Another Riverton fire – http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20150319/march-2015-riverton-fire-%E2%80%93-disaster-historic-proportions
  7. Severe Drought – http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20150702/outlook-grim-no-relief-sweltering-heat-and-drought-any-time-soon
  8. Crawford/Pryce Out –http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/commentary/20151024/editorial-might-party-delegates
  9. Ganja decriminalization – http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20150422/pros-and-cons-weed-decriminalisation
  10. CCJ Debate – https://www.panmedia.com.jm/news/201510/marlene-malahoo-forte-vs-aj-nicholson

Honourable Mention

The emerging “Bad Gas Scandal” –

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Tell-us-who-s-selling-bad-gas-_47383

Top 10 Stories in International News for 2015

  1. Middle East – EU Migrant crisis – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34131911
  2. #BlackLivesMatter/Police brutality in the US – http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/28/us/tamir-rice-shooting/index.html
  3. US – Cuba re-establishment of diplomatic ties – http://www.euronews.com/2015/07/20/us-cuba-diplomatic-relations-formally-restored/
  4. Iran Nuclear Deal – http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/03/18/snap-poll-is-the-iran-deal-good-for-your-countrys-national-security/
  5. The Presidential Candidacy of Donald Tr(ch)ump – http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/donald-trumps-most-surprising-outrageous-and-newsworthy-moments-2015
  6. US Federal Gay Marriage Ruling / Ireland Gay Marriage Referendum – http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20150628-same-sex-marriage-ruling-resonates-globally.ece
  7. Syrian Airstrikes/ Russian involvement/ Turkey shooting down jet – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34882503
  8. Boko Haram becoming #1 terror org in the world – http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/19/world/africa/boko-haram-ranked-ahead-of-isis-for-deadliest-terror-group.html?_r=0
  9. “Grexit” from the EU averted – http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-eurozone-bonds-spain-italy-idUKKCN0PQ0Y520150716
  10. Al shabab attack on Kenyan university – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32169080

Honourable Mention

  • Nepal Earthquake – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32701385
  • Bill Cosby Scandal – http://www.etonline.com/news/154160_timeline_of_bill_cosby_sexual_assault_allegations/

Top 5 Sports Stories of 2015 in Jamaica

  1. Danielle Williams’ 100m Hurdles Gold medal at the Beijing World Athletics Championships – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a65YrzyTdSw
  2. Usain Bolt defends his Gold medals X 3 at the Beijing World Athletics Championships – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-WBKfnqBHM
  3. Women’s 4x4oom relay triumph at the Beijing World Athletics Championships – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbsmA7tG4hE
  4. Reggae Boyz defeating the USA in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semi- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtVQdKiYFTUfinals
  5. Simon Dawkins Campaign saving late strike vs Nicaragua – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImaLuBAocaQ

Honourable Mention

  • Schoolboy Football season 2015 – https://www.schoolboyfootball.com/index.php/component/joomsport/venue/3?Itemid=101
  • MVP exodus – http://www.trackalerts.com/Articles/day-morrison-out-of-mvp/14579/?fb_comment_id=761097617333591_761197697323583#f4f4ac6d

Top 5 Sports Stories of 2015 Internationally

  1. FIFA corruption – bans for Blatter and Platini – http://www.espnfc.com/blog/fifa/243/post/2765839/sepp-blatter-and-michel-platini-given-eight-year-fifa-bans
  2. Russian  Track & Field Doping Scandal/Ban – http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/nov/26/russia-full-indefinite-ban-world-athletics-doping-scandal
  3. IAAF corruption –the fall of Lamine Diack – http://www.bbc.com/sport/athletics/34782521
  4. Usain Bolt vs Gatlin: good vs evil – http://www.the42.ie/bbc-bolt-gatlin-discussion-2296462-Aug2015/
  5. Mayweather vs Pacquiao Disappointing Dud – http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/05/03/floyd_mayweather_wins_tame_fight_of_the_century_highilghts_from_his_boring.html

Honourable Mention

  • New England Patriots Deflategate saga -http://espn.go.com/blog/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4782561/timeline-of-events-for-deflategate-tom-brady
  • Golden State Warriors and the Rise of Steph Curry – http://hoopshabit.com/2015/06/18/golden-state-warriors-title-caps-historically-great-season/

As previously stated these were the stories for the year 2015 that jumped out at me. What have I left out? Feel free to share.

To conclude this first of hopefully many more posts for 2016 I leave you with a New Year’s Quote I found quite interesting for some reason:

The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months! ~Edward Payson Powell

PS – Apologies re: some of the article links not being hyperlinked

April 8 and 9 2015 will go down in the annals of Jamaican history as the approximately 1313 minutes that the so called “Leader of the Free World”, the incomparable Barack Hussein Obama had the honour of visiting THE Rock. Personally, it was an ambivalent or “multivalent” experience. I sat in awe of the symbolism of the first black US President visiting my little but tallawah homeland whilst simultaneously being slightly annoyed at the dislocation the visit caused as well as contemplating the extent to which as US President some of the policies undertaken under his watch have not been music to the ears of the developing world. Rather than get into the debate on the significance of President Obama, what I will do is highlight the lessons I have learned from the visit and the reactions of us the inhabitants of the rock.

  1. Jamaica is crying out for inspirational and unifying leadership – from the days of candidate Senator Obama people the world over and Jamaica included have been drawn to the ability of this man to communicate messages of hope and possibility. This visit, and particularly the town hall session, solidified how awe inspiring a speaker Mr. Obama is and how just the aura that he possesses was able to draw persons together of disparate political inclinations and social classes in just a general excitement. It also made it patently clear that in our current political landscape there is not one peer or even a close resemblance of a peer that commands this level of excitement or at least across political and social lines. It is clear that we are dying for a visionary leader that alongside having a vision is able to galvanise wide support for this vision through an ability to properly communicate it to us. Let us just hope that our leaders, current and future were taking notes beyond his formal wear style and the specs of Air Force One and the Beast.
  2. We as Jamaicans love a smooth talker – this is a related point to the above so I won’t spend as much time on it. The charismatic orator who is able to wax lyrical is like king in our society. Maybe it is our disdain for parochial dialects I don’t know but when a (wo)man is able to fluently and passionately and skillfully communicate sometimes I feel like we could be led down the slippery slope to hades quite willingly. By no means suggesting that Sir Bama had any such intentions but I must confess, when someone has the gift of gab and this is tinged with grasp of subject matter I too sometimes become transfixed.
  3. Jamaican state agencies actually have the ability to be efficient if the right inspiration hits them – this was a BIG lesson as well. In a country where there are roads that HAVE never been fixed and we are steadily fed a diet of “resource constraints” as soon as THE BEAST ( not the one with long finger nails) needed good road to drive on like magic so was it done. And not only done, but done in quick time. Some have complained why it took abama for these things to be done and lateron I will address this too, the clear positive we can take from this is that “dem bwoy deh cyan tek wi fi fool agen” because we now know what they are capable of and now we should hold them feet to the fire when we and our cars suffer.
  4. Jamaica is card carrying member of the global TMZ-ation movement – President Obama came here for primarily for the purpose of a bilateral state discussion, a multilateral meeting with Caribbean Heads of Government and a more personal interface with young leaders. Hidden in plain sight were these monumental manouveres in geopolitics and potentially huge agreements and all that kind of thing. But many of us could not help falling into classic “fan girl” and “fan boy” mode. And we can be forgiven for that but when our major media players get caught up in fan mode too its funny as hell. At one point I became an expert on all the features of Air Force One and the now legendary Beast (still not the Jago man). One media house experiencing potential dead air actually re-read verbatim what was essentially an ode to how cool the vehicles are. What was less conspicuous was digging into the meat of the agenda but eventually sanity and balance returned.
  5. President Obama is probably the coolest guy on Planet earth – whether you are the president of the Obama fan club or you think he is a “wasteman” one thing we cannot deny is that di man jus cool. “Greetings Massive…Wah gwaan Jamaica…Big up UWI…” Mr Pres just delieverd these patois attempts so smoothly. Not just that, of all the things that he could have done essentially his first order of Business was to make a stop at the abode of the King of Reggae – The Bob Marley Museum. I don’t know about you but the man smooth, personable relatable style shatters the mould of what a very very VIP world leader should look like and act like and for that I think no matter your political stance, if it was just a hombre to lyme with, you probably would want to hol a reason with the Bama.
  6. We as Jamaicans have some really self-loathing and “inferiority complex” tendencies – back to the largescale spring cleaning done to welcome Uncle Barack. Like seriously, this metaphor that “if your family from farrin a come visit yuh nuh clean up too” must be a joke. Let me use it to debumk it. If your yard so chaka chaka dat you almost have to rebuild in order to accommodate a guest den yuh jus nasty and yuh nuh rate yourself. Why are eyesores muck, unpaved and unmarked roads filled with vagrants okay for us daily but as soon as “somebody important” is on their way its time to spruce up. Clearly we don’t rate ourselves.

On this theme of not rating ourselves, last night a very popular Jamaican entertainer, whilst making the primary (but vastly ignored point)  that maybe rather than rushing to touch the hem of Mr. Obama’s garment we should be focusing on the injustice of Mr Obama’s country’s still having our beloved Marcus Garvey on record as a common criminal, referred to Mr Obama as a wasteman. This entertainer was soon to find out who a large section of Jamaica sees as their daddy. The onslaught of people who leaped to Mr Obama’s defence was startling to say the least. Not only that the greatest part of the reaction were the prayers that the entertainer LOSES HIS VISA. YES VISA. And the truth finally comes about. We don’t really care about people being rude to local public figures. Clearly dem a nuh nuhbady. So we post derogatory messages about our leaders, we laugh at the most crass internet memes and oh yes Clovis is like a national hero BUT WHATEVER YOU DO DO NOT SAY A ILL WORD ABOUT THE VISA DON. We really don’t like ourselves and we wonder why people belittle us sometimes but the mirror holds hol heap a truth. I pray we look into ourselves and stop hating ourselves,

  1. Last but definitely not least Jamaicans are the kings of “tek serious ting mek joke” – and I love this about us. From the day it was announced that Mr Obama was going to visit Jamaica social media was awash with the most hilarious tweets, posts and memes to anticipate and commemorate the occasion. From Obama smoking weed, to him having Jamaica coloured socks, not to mention him looking out the window of Air Force One at the lovely Lisa Hanna. The LOLs would not end. Here is a sample of the genius that we are capable of:

Barack Hussein Obama, love him hate him he is and will forever be one of the biggest figures in world history and for a day and a half Jamaica had its moment to share with this monumental figure and that is a moment we won’t forget, doubt it will “define a generation” as one too excited journalist suggested but we kid ourselves if we pretend this wasn’t an important moment.

GIVE THANKS

An office argument today about voting/enumeration reminded me that I was very very upset with the Jamaica Gleaner for two reasons, 1) I wrote them a letter to the editor and didn’t even receive an email to suggest it was recived and 2) they published the letter to the editor that inspired me to email them. Maybe for the second reason the target of the anger is not the newspaper but in fact that conventional wisdom that the letter tries to convey.

Well since the gleaner did not publish my letter and I have my own space where I can spew my opinions, please see below for what was supposed to be my print media debut.

The Editor, Sir:

I like many Jamaicans have never voted and most likely will not vote in the foreseeable future. Does this make me an ungrateful and unpatriotic jamaican as the writer of the letter entitled “Non-voters betray heroes’ sacrifice” on February 25, 2015 suggests? Rubbish. This is the biggest lie perperuated in Jamaican society often by persons who should know better. These people confuse the concepts of “voting” and “political participation.” There are many ways to participate in the political process, entering the polling station is just one such. Advocacy, keeping abreast of political affairs, writing letters to the editor and one’s MP are all valid areas of political participation. Does the person who votes (often blindly) do more honour to “our heroes” than one who engages intellectually with the process but doesnt vote?

Even more poignantly, if we are going to play the emotion card of “our heroes’ sacrifce” are you to tell me that in a situation where one having conscientiously seen no good candiate I should vote just because? This is honour of the sacrifice? To me that is quite the opposite. If someone died for my right to make a good decision I will not simply make a bad one “just because”. An enumerated person who does not vote is often making a far more well thought out decision than those who do vote and one that IS counted in the official statistics. So until they put a none of the above option on the ballot I will trod along my merry unpatriotic way, paying taxes, which is what runs the country and thus gives me a voice that must be listened to versus a once every 5 year trip to a primary school to get purple ink on my finger.

The Cunning One