Sunday, February 19, 2017

There are four things Donald Trump can do to be the greatest President in modern history

Robert David STEELE Vivas

Robert Steele: Memorandum for the President – Warning on a Violent American Spring, Eight Actions for Donald Trump to Make America Great Again



WARNING: You have 30 days to settle the country. A violent “American Spring” looms.

You are under attack on three fronts:
  1. The Extreme Left & the controlled “fake news” MSM
  2. US Neo-Conservatives led by Dick Cheney, funded by foreigners
  3. The Deep State of entrenched senior officials combined with Senators and Representatives being blackmailed and bribed to betray the Republic.
You are not under attack from Iran or Russia – all your existential fights are right here.

There are four things you need to do immediately in order to survive:

45th President of the United States

  1. Switch out Preibus and Flynn — smart choices for the transition, they are undermining you now, Tillerson and Mattis probably agree they both need to go. You need a loyal Chief of Staff who can manage complexity, and a National Strategy Advisor with balance.
  2. Introduce the Electoral Reform Act of 2017 and demand that it go through – this is the only way you will survive the looming demise of the Republican Party; the only way you legitimize your accidental 27% presidency with a majority of the public; and the only way you free Members from foreign and financial community bribery and blackmail.
  3. Create the non-profit educational Trump Channel backed up by an Open Source Agency. Clear the existing press area in the White House, turn that into Trump Studios, and offer a daily fireside chat as well as short daily briefs by your principals in turn on each threat, each policy, each budget – bypass the fake news media, educate the public, and use PollMole to see what 200 million think on a Presidential Dashboard.
  4. Unleash the FBI, with NSA support, against the Deep State. You may have already started this, the Republican and Democratic Party pedophiles are the Achilles heel. We can isolate 500 other embedded traitors (financial, religious, ideological) in 90 days.
There are four things you can do to be the greatest President in modern history.
  1. Diversify your senior team – adding Cynthia McKinney and Dennis Kucinich – and Ralph Nader and Jesse Ventura in some capacity – will strangle the extreme left and open up the middle. Take your diversified team on the road – 50 states in 30 days.
  2. Organize a Grand Strategy Summit, televised for public consumption – the ultimate reality show. The last one was done in 1953 by Ike Eisenhower. Address all high level threats and all Cabinet policy domains in context of achieving a balanced budget.
  3. Organize a Revenue Summit, televised for public consumption, in which you invite Dr. Edgar Feige of Wisconsin to brief his idea of an Automated Payment Transaction Tax that allows you to eliminate all other taxes, especially income taxes. This fractional tax puts the tiny burden where it should be: on Wall Street instead of Main Street. Allow the public to scrutinize the alternatives you have been considering. You will be a hero.
  4. Invite every citizen in debt to sign a Debt Renunciation Pledge on a non-profit website, authorizing you to negotiate, on their behalf, a reduction of the three trillion dollars in student debt, elderly medical debt, and small business and family credit card debt. This will connect you to 150 million or more citizens and empower you against Wall Street.
Background:  Former CIA Spy Has A Surprising Message For Trump
Talk To: Robert David Steele
UPDATE: 30 minute audio with Dr. Dave Janda, recorded Sunday, 12 February 2017


Saturday, February 4, 2017

JOSE MARTI – By Dr. kevin Alcena

“Deo adjuvante, non timendum.”
“With God as My Helper, I have nothing to fear”

Jose Marti was a man with political ambition with a difference
Unlike men with political ambition, Jose Marti was a man with political ambition with a difference: a difference that propels a political activist, poet, journalist and teacher to attain national heroic status in the Republic of Cuba. Born in 1853, Jose Marti became a known activist against established foreign institutions and powers that dominated Cuba. He suffered and labored for the people notwithstanding the level of oppression by colonial powers against him and his people. No wonder he wrote that "Men of action, above all those whose actions are guided by love, live forever. Other famous men, those of much talk and few deeds, soon evaporate." His love for his people is immeasurable and profound, without form and shape and not bounded by any potential personal gain.

Jose Marti’s dedicated and zealous pursuit of freedom resulted in many incarceration with authorities right from an early age of 17 when he was exiled to Spain for being vociferously against the colonial rule suppression of the people of Cuba and exploiting the natural resources of Cuba.

Jose Marti selflessly took up the task of educating the people of Cuba to contradict the political system of the colonial powers in order to raise awareness with the generality of the people of Cuba to stand up for their rights. He used his expertise in poetry, and journalistic edge to advance his fight for the freedom of the Republic of Cuba from foreign domination.

Most interestingly, Jose Marti was very plain in denouncing the lack of spirituality and arrogance in the colonial powers’ approach to the manipulation of Cuba. He was strongly in support of democratic principles that will provide and assure ordinary Cubans the greater national security, respect of dignity of being a Cuban.

His zeal for the development of Cuba and freeing Cuba from the domination led him to leave the shores of the US (where he had flee to avoid the retribution of colonial masters) to join the war in Cuba for the independence of Cuba.

Jose Marti was a man with courage to leave his comfort in the US to fight for his people without concern of his personal safety, but with vision of the future of the free Republic of Cuba.

Against advice from friends and well-wishers for his welfare and safety and his lack of military training, Jose Marti valiantly went to Cuba to fight the war in favor of his beloved country, which resulted in his death. This conforms to his philosophy that "just as he who gives his life to serve a great idea is admirable, he who avails himself of a great idea to serve his personal hopes of glory and power is abominable, even if he too risks his life. To give one's life is a right only when one gives it unselfishly.”

Jose Marti was one of the most prolific writers in the Hispanic world that helped to transform Cuban arts and cultures. He was a man of great ideas and philosophy that was ahead of his peers.

His vision and thoughts were innovative and constructive to help the development of democracy in Cuba, as he wrote in one of his famous quote that: ”like stones rolling down hills, fair ideas reach their objectives despite all obstacles and barriers. It may be possible to speed or hinder them, but impossible to stop them."

In the views of Jose Marti, “the struggles waged by nations are weak only when they lack support’…wisdom and the ability to insist on agreement."

This is not political - it's perversity. It is not even the Superego judging the Ego. It is our own capacity for hate, increasing until it becomes a kind of compulsion - neurosis where reverence and destruction alternate and we reverently destroy. We falter and faint and deny him thrice.

We develop sympathy at the expense of loyalty. I don't like it. It just ain't right.
Where is the outcry? We have become silent spectators, eagerly awaiting our daily dose of public scandal, noisy expulsions and excommunications especially from misinformation from the social media. the Neo - con is in charge they are not play with us, misinformation.

''A man must swallow a toad every morning if he wishes to be sure of finding nothing still more disgusting before the day is over.'' (Morley)

We must stop this. It's not right. There is no honour in this battle. There is no dignity in this death. There are no victors on this battleground of shame. Only a man with the shield of Perseus against the ghosts of character assassination. By the Neo -Con Racism!

''Whatever you blame, that you have done yourself.'' (Groddeck) There is no hate without fear. Hate is the consequence of fear. We hate what we fear and so where hate is, fear is lurking.

We must stop this moth-and-candle preoccupation with hate, this triumph of resentment, this abuse of intellect, this perversion of the heart that obliterates our knowledge of the purpose of life; that denies the God within us, wantonly exterminated. I don't like it. It just ain't right.

"Trumpism" is coming to destroy all of us; we must fight against this - and also never forget the the words of brother Jose Marti .

The world failed to respond to this abhorrent issue, of Trumpism Neo-con Foolish. According to E. M Forster:”if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my friend”. It is imperative that our Cabinet Ministers understand the significance of this games that Trumpism has instigated against the World and Mexico.

Let’s not forget that our greatest friend is our greatest nightmare: that is the United States of America. They enjoy the art of propaganda and manipulation.

President Fidel Castro said in an address on the celebration of the 51st Anniversary of the Attack on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cedspedes Fortresses, “I shall address a sinister character that keeps threatening, insulting and slandering us. This is not a whim or an agreeable option; it is a necessity and a duty”

Dr. kevin Alcena - FaceBook

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

America is now on its way to becoming a mendacious autocratic kakistocracy!


By Gilbert Morris -

Gilbert Morris's Profile Photo

What we are witnessing - extended from the very beginning of the Republic - is a civil war. One both within the Republican Party and one between that party as it will emerge and the Democrats. Make not mistake, Paul Ryan and others - blind and spineless as they have been - haven't a clue about what a tiger they have latched onto.

Again, I am a free market, small government, self-help, strong military, balance-of-power realpolitik true believer; who believes in a green future, advance technology efficiencies and transparency in government. I reject secrecy in government, love term limits, and believe in Main Street over Wall Street to use an American term.

I believe in the rule of law, and a strong well-funded police, and severe penalties for police officers who - using bias of any kind - abuses the public trust.

Above all, I believe in human value and the application of politics to secure the same; with a capacity for political ruthlessness, not because someone criticizes you, but when they employ resources seeking to undermine you and your office then prudence demands you release hell upon such vipers with unrelenting relish.

But this is not what is motivating the current political upheaval in America.

When I warned about Mr. Obama in May of 2008, many good friends - speaking kindergarten sweet sounding nonsense - told me I should "be positive".

I tell you now, Trump will not turn America around. The economic numbers do not project it and his concept of the US economy is not merely wrong, but a 19th century concept. Trade is NOT THE PROBLEM for

America. The problem is technology is eliminating jobs faster than they can be replaced.
It is telling that Mr. Trump has children in their 20s and 30s who should be able to speak on the impacts of technology; and yet not once have we heard from them a statement of the high tech digital future, environmental options for green energy development, sympathy for any distressed peoples or anything original or life-giving.

They seem cold and merely suckling on their father's businesses. They are not partners with people like Elon Musk or Zuckerberg or the Google boys. Nothing! The central reason - I suspect - is those people I named are supremely talented, and are inventing the future, as Trump's children merely work in a business daddy created and have not between them advanced a single innovation we know of.

This does not mean they are not intelligent or even nice. However it is telling, even if compared for instance with the young men of the same age that inherited the Fiat fortune in Italy; who by comparison are in innovation design, charities, arts and culture, breaking the mould.

What this means is there is no one to tell him differently, and one must not expect Giuliani or Gingrich - two men, whatever their talents - who live on the fringe of political lackydom and what they have not compromised in the venal personal lives, they have slaughtered in defending utter flaming bullshit for Trump.

Humans can become overwhelmed by moments and find in themselves in grace and power to make the world better.

Mr. Trump has a talent for self-promotion and to the extent that that has helped him produce nice very very shiny buildings, it always leaves a wreckage of abuse, broken contracts and cruelty behind it.

Then he uses media and the courts to muddy the situation until his victims give up. That is his factual record. Call it "good business" or "genius" if you like, but it is hucksterism and a hustler's ethic. Microsoft created over 1000 millionaires and a dozen billionaires, changed way of lives function; so did Google and certainly Apple. Warren Buffet did so almost single handedly - giving $32 billion - 16 times Trump's net worth - in one go, when he began with nothing and Trump began with $40 million.

That is good business.

What you will have in a Trump administration is an ongoing Republican fight that has NOTHING to do with changing America, and people of the most divisive record and hateful deeds and language presented as managers of the levers of the American state over the very people they have demonized, vilified and marginalized.

I say, Hilary would have been awful in many ways, and many Democrats are as venal.

It does not take away that America is now on its way to becoming a mendacious autocratic kakistocracy!

From Gilbert Morris - Facebook

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The European Union (EU) relations with Cuba

U.S.-Cuban rapprochement and the European Union – part 1


The European Union (EU), which has been working to normalize its ties with Cuba since 2010, defined the announcement of the reestablishment of the United States-Cuban relations as a “historical turning point.” The EU foreign affairs head, Frederica Mogherini said that “another wall has started to fall,” and that the European Union is willing to “expand relations with all parts of Cuban society.”

Representatives from Cuba and the EU will meet this month for a third round of negotiations aimed at normalizing relations after a decade tainted by the already recognized hypocritical European Union Common Position which pressed Cuba to discuss human rights and the role of civil society in the Cuban politics.

These new negotiations cannot help but bring on a high level of uncertainty because the turn in US-Cuban relations will impact EU-Cuba relations. Among other concerns, the economic standing of the European Union in Cuba as its second largest trading partner remains at risk.

EU common position and the progressive improvement of EU-Cuba relationship

In 1996, the then-15 EU member states adopted a common position (CP) related to Cuba. Under conservative Spanish leadership this position supported the latest US round of sanctions against Cuba, the Helms-Burton Act, which had the clear objective of tightening restrictions against the Castro regime. The US and EU intended to force the Cuban government to reform different sectors of its economy and society, and its political system, including the human rights situation.

Unsurprisingly, the CP was strongly criticized by Cuban authorities and led to a political stalemate between the EU and Cuba. Despite such a tense political situation, European companies were among the first to invest in Cuba when the government loosened economic restrictions in 1995, known as the “special period in times of peace” following the Soviet Union’s collapse which resulted in Cuba’s GDP falling 30 percent in four years.

However, European companies had to comply with the extremely strict and restrictive application of rules on foreign investments imposed by the Cuban government such as the obligation to submit to a 50/50 joint-venture with the state, the difficulties of repatriating dividends, and the impossibility of managing human resources directly.

Even with the CP, the EU had always been significantly less strict than the United States toward Cuba. The EU gradually improved ties with Cuba during the last two decades. In fact, 18 member states of the European Union have signed cooperation agreements with Cuba.

Also, as one observer put it, “[the EU has] never excluded Cuba from participating in their summits with Latin America and the Caribbean, such as the Iberoamerican conferences of heads of states and government since 1992, and the Latin America and Caribbean-European Union summit gatherings since 1994.”

However, in July 2003, several independent journalists, trade union activists and dissidents were arrested across Cuba, and accused of conspiracy for cooperating with the director of the US Interest Section in Cuba, James Cason. The accusations were based on diplomatic invitations of dissidents to attend official receptions, in order to symbolically further their struggle against political repression.

Seventy-five persons were sentenced to six to 30 years in jail. Consequently, the EU Council froze its diplomatic ties with Cuba, halting all cooperation and development aid that existed before. In addition to clamping down on the US-financed dissent, Fidel Castro apparently felt that the previous economic opening was too much, too fast. Thus, he reversed the decision regarding the still small Cuban private sector (“cuentaspropistas”), and placed additional restrictions on Cuban economic liberties and foreign investments.

Yet, it is fair to recognize that some foreign investors might have tried to escape the Kafkaesque Cuban system by illegal means, leading to corruption cases. As a result, the number of joint-venture companies was halved between 2001 and 2007 and the government used the occasion to seize some valuable assets.

In 2004 Cuba released a number of dissidents and the EU revised its strategy to maintain more discrete contacts with local dissidents. After nearly two years of tensions passed, the EU chose not to invite opponents of the regime to official celebrations. Consequently, Cuba normalized its ties with a number of European countries, including France, Spain, and Germany.

It was not until 2006, when Fidel Castro handed his leadership of Cuba to his younger brother, Raul Castro, that this diplomatic conflict ended. However, it would take two more years for the EU to restart cooperation with Cuba after the release of the majority of the dissidents.

In 2008, Cuba was hit by three successive hurricanes, which caused significant damage in parts of the country, crippling its economy, and leading to a partial default vis-à-vis its main trading partners. Since then, the European Commission has committed nearly €60 million for post-hurricane reconstruction, food security, climate change policies, renewable energy, culture, and education in Cuba. The EU also allowed Cuba to take part in EU-funded regional programs.

This pursuit of a more comprehensive approach toward Cuba was strengthened by the position of Spain, which has advocated since 2010 for a revised CP. At the time, Trinidad Jimenez, Spain’s Secretary of State, declared the CP to be a “discriminatory, inefficient and illegitimate” policy.

Still, for a policy change to occur, the unanimous support of the 27 EU member states was necessary. While several countries were supportive of the Common Position, mostly because of their past suffering of Soviet authoritarianism, other EU countries had a more flexible idea of what should be the nature of EU-Cuba relationship.

On May 12, 2010, the first Country Strategy Paper was adopted on Cuba, including an additional fund of €20 million during the period 2011-2013 in order to pursue the EU’s ongoing cooperation, as well as an additional aid of €4 million in order to help the Cuban population affected by the Hurricane Sandy in November 2012.

After the sixth Cuban Communist Party (CCP) Congress in 2011 revealed its lineamientos (“guidelines”) to “actualize [the] Cuban economic model,” as well as introduced the first reforms started to be implemented sin prisas pero sin pausas (“slowly but surely”) by Raul Castro, the EU-Cuba relationship continued to improve.

Finally, during the first months of 2014, all the EU member states agreed to give a negotiation mandate to the EU’s foreign policy chief to discuss and renew EU-Cuba partnership. The CP and its flexibility led to a significant improvement of the EU-Cuba relationship by encouraging Cuban government policies to move towards more liberal economic and political practices.

The EU as Cuba’s second largest economic partner

The EU is an important economic partner of Cuba, filling the void US trade sanctions produced. Trade between the EU and Cuba is now dynamic, representing a positive balance for the European Union. Among the top 10 trading partners of Cuba, four countries are member states of the EU: Spain is third, Holland seventh, Italy ninth and France tenth.

In 2013, the European Union imported €837 million worth of goods from Cuba and exported €1,834 million to Cuba, representing a nearly €1 billion surplus That year, transactions with the European Union and the rest of the continent accounted for 28.3 percent of Cuba’s foreign trade. This statistic shows that 36.7 percent of Cuban exports go to the EU market and 25.9 percent of national imports come from that region.

The trade relationship between the EU and Cuba is concentrated in two kinds of goods: agricultural and industrial products. Agriculture represents 42.5 percent of EU imports from Cuba while Cuban imports from the EU are 84.7 percent industrial products. On one hand, the EU imports foodstuffs, beverages, and tobacco, including rum, cigars and sugar derivatives (40.8 percent) and mineral products such as nickel and scrap metal (33.6 percent). On the other hand, the EU exports to Cuba machinery and appliances (34.5 percent), and products of the chemical, plastics and allied industries (13.4 percent).

It is easy to see that the trade relationship between Cuba and the EU is unbalanced: Cuba exports mostly primary products (85 percent of their trade total), while the EU exports manufactured ones (around 81 percent of their total exports).

EU-Cuba trade recently suffered a setback with the exemption of Cuba on January 1, 2014 from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The Cuban exclusion is due to the way Cuba changed its method to calculate its nominal GDP in the early 2000s in order to give it a statistical boost of 15 percent. Automatically, the country jumped to higher level in EU’s GSP ranking, making it a middle income nation.

Aware that this new methodology could present such a risk, Cuban authorities preferred to keep their obscure statistics and reduce its market in Europe, in order to appear among the “developed economies”. Thus, under the new rules, taxes on Cuban cigars jumped from 7.8 percent to 26.9 percent in 2014. Despite being considered a part of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) since 2010, Cuba does not benefit from the ACP-EU Sugar Protocol, and therefore loses an advantageous tariff for its sugar.

Other EU economic presence in Cuba

The EU presence in Cuba is not only a trade relationship. European companies are present in many areas of Cuba’s economy. For the last 20 years, the EU has been the second largest source of tourists to Cuba. Tourism brings the cash-starved Cuban economy $1 to 2 billion USD every year, and is its 3rd source of cash after medical services and remittances.

Therefore, it is no coincidence that the Cuban tourism industry is dominated by European operators from Spain, France, and Germany. But, since Obama’s easing measures in 2008, Cuban-Americans and authorized (or not) American visitors have also significantly increased.

Also, one would be surprised to see how many French Peugeots and Renaults are driven along with 1950s American Chevys and 1970s Soviet Ladas in Havana’s streets. Spanish Seats and Italian Fiats are not unknown either.

European exporters of food, machinery, industry, and chemicals also represent an alternative to cheap but unreliable Asian materials, antique Russian products and, of course, banned American goods.

To finance this trade, European banks are also vital to the Cuban economy. Indeed, it is clear that European companies benefit partly from the absence of American competitors in Cuba that were forced out by US sanctions.

• Clément Doleac is a research fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. This column was published with permission from Caribbean News Now. The second part will appear in Saturday’s Nassau Guardian.

March 06, 2015


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dr. Hubert Minnis - The Bahamas Official Opposition Leader is grossly and irredeemably incompetent as party leader as he continues to implode

Dr. Hubert Minnis: From very bad to much worse to disastrous

Within the first two months of 2015, Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis has caused as much or perhaps even more damage to the FNM as he has over the previous two years-plus. His performance has not improved. He has gotten dramatically worse. We are witnessing a political wreck of titanic proportions as he continues to implode.

Even some who supported his recent election as party leader are exasperated, having second thoughts: “Too many mistakes too soon”.

From the Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) episode to abandoning a party conclave to an extremely damaging senatorial firing and appointment fiasco – all within a matter of mere weeks – Minnis has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is grossly and irredeemably incompetent as party leader.

The party is hemorrhaging support from core supporters. Many die-hard FNMs have decided that they will either not vote at the next general election or will vote DNA because they cannot bring themselves to vote PLP and they cannot support the FNM under Minnis. The party is in a crisis of grave proportions.

Minnis has drafted a fatal political calculus. Not only has he failed to rally the party’s base but he has also alienated much of that base. He continues to divide the party because he seems incapable of sincerely reaching out to opposing voices beyond platitudes of unity. A demoralized base and wider disaffection multiplied by disunity equals electoral disaster.

Since January, the party’s fortunes have been sinking weekly, fortunes which cannot be recovered under Minnis, whom arguably the bulk of the electorate has now written off as hopelessly and irretrievably out of his depth.

Having organized and begged for a second chance to prove himself and granted a reprieve, Minnis inexplicably imploded in breathtaking speed. His actions bespeak a noxious concoction of unwarranted arrogance and inexhaustible political stupidity.

He and some avid supporters typically blame the news media, critics and others for his problems. Their criticisms are misplaced. His unending and mega-blunders are all self-inflected wounds, the result of arguably the worst political and policy judgment of any opposition leader since the advent of party politics. His political judgment is hopelessly flawed.


It was not just the dull, vision-deprived, droning and dreadfully-delivered New Year’s address. On top of this was the failed BOB march and Prime Minister Perry Christie’s subsequent withering assault on the opposition in the House of Assembly as Minnis sat dumbstruck, clueless and speechless.

It is unthinkable that Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Sir Kendal Isaacs, Henry Bostwick, Hubert Ingraham and other opposition leaders would have sat so passively, dazed, out of their depth, unable to defend their party and themselves as they were getting licked with verbal two-by-fours – and over an issue where the governing party is acutely vulnerable. Absent his cue-cards and those who cue his actions, the leader of the opposition was clueless.

This was a singular test of Minnis’ leadership. He failed – spectacularly. It is his failure alone. He cannot play the victim. His colleagues and rank-and-file FNMs were left leaderless on the field of battle as PLPs made sport of the FNM.

Minnis has demonstrated that he never possessed, does not now possess, nor will he likely ever possess the critical skills necessary to be an effective opposition leader, much less prime minister.

Those still nurturing the fantasy that he can be groomed for either office are living in a dream world that is resulting in nightmarish prospects for the FNM. Six months more will make no difference.

How much more support does the FNM have to hemorrhage before it becomes so anaemic and weakened that it will have no time to recover its electoral prospects? The good doctor is clearly not good for the recovery and health of the FNM.

Question for those who reluctantly or self-servingly organized and authorized his reprieve: How did you blindly imagine that things would be different?

In January, Minnis invited the party’s top brass as well as representatives from every constituency, a total of approximately 200, to a conclave convened to unify the party and to chart a strategy going forward.


Then in one of the more inexplicable, supremely arrogant and politically stupid acts in modern Bahamian politics, he blew off the second day of the conclave to attend Junior Junkanoo in Eleuthera.

Wearing a pharaonic crown, he rushed his way into the political almanac, becoming, it appears, the only head of the FNM or PLP to abandon a conclave of his own party. Sir Lynden Pindling, Ingraham nor Christie would have pulled such a dismissive stunt. Then again he is not remotely in this league.

What made Minnis’ Eleuthera escapade even more bizarre is that the flight to the island is short and the event was held at night as seen in the photo inexplicably publicized by his team.

Party Chairman Michael Pintard unhelpfully advised that Minnis agreed the Junkanoo date earlier, suggesting that the latter is so gravely incompetent as to be unable to do basic scheduling.

Minnis likely abandoned the conclave for the very reason that he could not respond to Christie when challenged on the BOB march: he was hopelessly out of his depth and had no idea what to say.

Instead of embarrassing himself by speaking unscripted he went mute in the House and fled the conclave. He is petrified of speaking unscripted. When he does, it is usually an unmitigated disaster. He seems to like instead to use subterfuge and politically subterranean tactics to advance his ends.

Despite the abysmal record of the PLP, the FNM is now in worse shape precisely because of Minnis’ re-election. Having witnessed his previous disastrous two plus years, and horrified at his mega-blunders so far this year, voters and FNMs at large have surmised that the party cannot be taken seriously.

The albatross strangling the political fortunes of the FNM was and remains Minnis, replete with his jumble of grave insecurities, autocratic and non-collegial leadership style, vindictive actions and incomprehensible incompetence which often makes even a bumbling Perry Christie seem like a model of political leadership.

All of which may be seen in his senatorial firing and appointment fiasco, a case study in Minnis’ flawed leadership. Every step along the way was a blunder. To begin with, senators should not have been appointed with a de facto time limit. This makes a mockery of the Senate which is the Upper House of Parliament signified by the fact that its members carry the title of honorable.


After the recent convention, the brooding Minnis seemed to have drawn up an enemies list of those not personally loyal to him. In what appears a highly vindictive move, Heather Hunt, a well-regarded political talent, was unceremoniously dismissed because she reportedly backed Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner. Her firing was bungled. Will Minnis now seek to push aside, punish and deny nominations to those MPs and aspiring candidates who did not support his election?

His excuse for the dismissal of Hunt unwittingly put at risk the Senate tenure of a purported supporter in the person of Senator Kwasi Thompson, a fine person and a competent parliamentarian, who people now expect to be replaced based on Minnis’ proffered rationale for dismissing Hunt.

Minnis is incapable of dealing with internal opposition and unifying the FNM because of such paralyzing insecurities. He is making the same mistakes as before. He knows no other way. This pattern is so entrenched that he seems incapable of genuinely changing it, incapable of bringing the FNM “all together”.

Minnis allowed the appointment of a new senator to spin out of control and to become a public spectacle. Instead of effectively mounting an opposition to the government’s mass of mistakes, the FNM has remained on the defensive.

He appears to have courted the hotel union president as the new senator. This was another mind-boggling mistake, with obvious potential conflicts of interest.

There are reports that he offered the appointment to former candidate Monique Gomez and then reneged on the offer. In the event, his appointment has alienated scores in the party including senior figures, some of his supporters and many in the Women’s Association.

The appointment to the Senate of a novice with a meteoric rise, thanks to Minnis, and with little stature and bona fides in the party, has distressed many. It may prove Minnis’ worst blunder yet. Her initial comments, even before her swearing-in, have been inauspicious and problematic, including her dismissal of members of the Women’s Association as “emotional”.

Those who thought that Minnis’ paralyzing weaknesses were malleable and could be mitigated will be proved wrong time and again. He will often continue to coo the right things to certain individuals and then do the wrong thing. It is now up to key members of the party and the rank and file to change direction before it is too late.

Collectively, Minnis’ string of disasters constitutes an overwhelming case for change as soon as possible.,


Thursday, February 19, 2015

US-Cuba: Is the great thaw on ice?

 David Roberts Business News Americas

By David Roberts

Cuban President Raúl Castro's recent comments at a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States that before full diplomatic relations can be established with Washington, first the US must lift the trade embargo on the island, pay compensation for the damage it has caused the country and return Guantánamo military base need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

The US quickly ruled out discussing the Guantánamo base, which is a legacy of the Spanish-American war of the late 19th century, while the embargo cannot be lifted without congressional approval, which given the fact that both houses of the US congress are now controlled by the Republicans will be no mean feat.

So does that mean the end of the US-Cuba rapprochement? That's unlikely, not least because Cuba has a great deal to benefit from the historic agreement announced in December to restore full diplomatic ties, along with President Barack Obama's pledge to work to lift the 54-year embargo and a prisoner swap.

The embargo was, after all, designed to punish the Fidel Castro regime and encourage its downfall, and Obama had said previously he would not support ending the 'blockade', as it is known in Cuba, unless there was political change on the island. While Cuba has partially opened up its economy in the last few years since Raúl took over from Fidel, there has been zero political change.

The thaw in relations involves what Obama's critics have described as a series of concessions to Cuba with nothing in return, such as increasing the amount of money that can be sent to Cubans and allowing exports of telecommunications equipment and building materials, among others. The US also agreed to ease travel restrictions on its citizens wishing to visit Cuba, and allow US credit and debit cards to be used in the Caribbean country.

Obama also promised to review Cuba's listing on the US government's list of state sponsors of terrorism, where it was placed in 1982 and is currently accompanied by Iran, Syria and Sudan. That decision could pave the way for other economic or political sanctions to be lifted.

Despite these 'concessions,' does the agreement amount to a real change in US strategy towards Cuba? Or is it merely an acknowledgement that isolating Havana is not going to bring political change, whereas encouraging economic ties may lead to the communist-ruled country opening up – widespread use of the internet could be key – and eventually regime change? It seems unlikely that Obama has come to accept the existence of the totalitarian regime and, although he may not say it in public, he presumably believes the fresh approach will indeed result in change.

The risk on the part of Obama, therefore, is limited, given the clear failure of past policies and the fact that much now depends on congress, while the risk on the part of Raúl Castro is much greater. The Cuban regime has long used the embargo and the US policy towards Havana as a scapegoat for the country's ills, and an excuse to rule with an iron fist. If that goes, the future of communist rule will be threatened. That is a risk that Raúl Castro (maybe even both Castros) must be well aware of, just as he surely must have expected Washington's predictable response to the Guantanamo demand. So while it's easy to be cynical and cast doubt on his sincerity and willingness to follow through on the agreement, the Cuban leader's courage to enter this period of entente with Washington is something worthy of recognition.

February 10, 2015

BN Americas

Friday, February 6, 2015

African values and male empowerment

Mr. Michael Burke

By Michael Burke:

SO, we are once again in Black History Month. Much discussion has been generated about the marginalised male in the African diaspora, in general, and Jamaica in particular. All sorts of solutions have been bandied about, but I do not often read or hear about solutions that come from Africa. In most African ethnic groups the men are respected as the fathers and the chiefs. In most African ethnic groups the men have their separate meetings where they deliberate as men and they are told and held to account for what is expected of men.

While urbanisation and negative European neo-colonial ideas have permeated much of Africa, many of these traditional values remain. In Black History Month, shouldn't we be looking at such things for solutions to the marginalisation of the men in the African diaspora? After all, black women look to Europe and the United States for solutions to bring about advancement.

Women's rights groups were important 100 years ago, and even 50 years ago, as there were centuries of oppression to women. But much of that has now changed and women are not as oppressed as before, but the liberation groups remain and many of them are both obsolete and repressive to men. Indeed, the so-called women's liberation today seems to be going in the direction of tyranny to men.

Politically, the only way for the US Democrats to win a majority is to create a coalition of minority groups. While that might be excellent politics for the US Democrats, it is not all right for the empowerment of black men, especially when the women's liberation groups are added. Further, these anti-man positions breezed into Jamaica many years ago by the usual channels of media, travel and, perhaps, conditions for loans, grants and charity as well. So we in Jamaica have the dilemma also. And, of course, this marginalises black men even further.

Some of our national heroes placed a great emphasis on education. That said, there were many other people in black history that placed great value on education both here in Jamaica and elsewhere. While education is the starting point to achieve this liberation, it cannot be education by itself, especially if there is no emphasis on values such as family life, for instance.

But even if the education system does emphasise it, what happens if the availability of jobs is better for women than for men? Unfortunately, it is the person with the money who has the power, and if the wife and mother earns more then she has the power. And in such a scenario, the black marginalised male is marginalised even further.

The ideal situation regarding families is one where children are born within their parents' marriage. But if the marriage laws, or at least the dispensation of justice from the family courts, is of such that it gives an unfair advantage to women, then marriage will not be an attractive option to men. If our men feel that they cannot possibly receive any justice in a custody battle, or in a divorce settlement, then marriage will not be considered to be a viable option for the male onlookers.

By way of explanation, the Roman Catholic Church allows marriage annulments in situations where in the view of the church a marriage did not exist in the first place, although the requirements of civil law were met. But even if our church grants annulments, for it to be legally binding it has to go through the civil courts in the country of the dissolution. Many countries classify this as divorce and at that point one has no choice but to work with that. Having explained this, I continue.

When marriage becomes unattractive to men then it is a hard sell for Christians to preach it. The fact that officialdom says one thing but encourages free sexual liaisons makes it even harder to convince men to get married. Most will simply have sex with a consenting partner, and if there is a pregnancy, then so be it. And, of course, this is the entire reason for the problem in the first place, so the first verse becomes the last verse: "There is a hole in the bucket."

So, how do we empower the black man in the African diaspora? In the first place we have to do an overall improvement of his income. This is best done in co-operatives, but first the black man in the diaspora has to learn to co-operate. The best way to do this would be to show them the co-operatives in the motherland Africa. The traditional African way of life in the various ethnic groups was basically co-operative. The late Julius Nyerere made this point when he combined the traditional African way of life into an ideology called Ujaama, a Swahili word for 'familyhood'.

In the second place, we have to make marriage an attractive option for men; in terms of making sure that men are not at a disadvantage in matters of custody, alimony, and the distribution of marriage possessions. But changing laws is a long process, so we can only warn men to be careful when choosing a partner. And once marriage becomes attractive, then we can speak about raising children in a situation where they are taught proper values.

Equally important is the need to teach our black children to love themselves as they are, instead of aping the Europeans. A few weeks ago I wrote that it was sad that the first thing that ever had the 'Made in Jamaica' label on it was so-called haircare products that made black women's hair look European. This was during the war when there was a scarcity of all imported items and Madam Rose Leon made her own beauty products.

Some people believe it is easier for girls when going to school; others say that people of other races alter their ethnic features and so on. But it is still a sad commentary. We are talking about Jamaicans who, from the days of slavery, were told that they were inferior, unlike other races who made that choice from the solid background of knowing exactly who they are. Those who made such comments work at cross purposes with African values.

February 05, 2015

Jamaica Observer