Looking forward with optimism despite predictions

The global economy is certainly not in its best shape, so what do you do?

The results are in and its official, people are absolutely paranoid about the state of the world economy.

From the lowest ranks of the proletariat to the highest echelons of oligarchy, people are worried and with with substantial reason. Ever since the financial downturn in 2007/2008 which resulted in the on going recession people have become increasing vigilant of their assets, how they spend, how they invest and with whom they bank. As we all know this entire thing was caused by people who have come to be known as “banksters” or Wall Street bullies who prey upon the weak and misinformed.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers; an American staple in the definition of prosperity and others like them such as Washington Mutual Bank, Colonial Bank and countless others brought about a deep distrust in the minds of Americans and the world regarding the banking elite.

As a result of this ongoing distrust and consumer thrift and speculation the world economy is still struggling to get back on its feet which economist predicting another economic recession greater in force that what we saw in 2008. Not exactly good news I know, but we have to look ahead with optimism.

In Jamaica, where I live no banks collapse thanks to government regulations which put in play following the collapse of the Jamaican banking industry in the 1990′s. What I can deduce from this is simply this, if we as humans beings as smart as we are can cast greed and profit maximizing obsessions behind us for a minute we can create policies geared towards protecting the civilian interest.

Its not only governments but also the everyday men and women who constitute the pillars of society; they need to be aware of the derivatives, sub-prime loans, bonds and assets being traded around them and how it will affect their lives. It is only through this wide spread understanding that we can possibly stop this financial calamity from happening again.

In seeing actions being taken globally via the internet, I see hope for our future. You the reader should be hopeful for the future as well because until the private sector, governments and the public can trust or at least value each others presence once again, we never get out of this mess.

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Artist of the Week: Sizzla Kalonji

Sizzla Kalonji

Miguel Orlando Collins or Sizzla Kalonji as he is popularly known was born on April 17, 1976 in Kingston, Jamaica and is considered by many to be one of the greatest Reggae icons of all time; not only regarding commercial success but also critical appeal and praise. Sizzla is not only a man who sits in the booth and records a few songs to get a hype or make some money, he strongly believes in every word he writes as a devoted Rasta man. Unlike many in this era who wear the locks as a form of fashion or to get noticed in the ever competitive music industry the I was born into a rasta home and has advocated and strongly defended to teachings of Leonard Howell, Marcus Garvey and His Majesty Haile Selassie.

Sizzla like his parents is a Bobo Ashanti rasta who partakes in the use of herb and study teaching of progressive thought, conservative moral values and promotes  a belief of pride in the African lineage as he has seen where the problem of lack of love of self is ruining Jamaicans poor and impoverished as their self worth they feel is compounded by their appearance with emphasis placed on colour. This is a problem which affects the women more than men as the are convinced that many men prefer women of lighter hue aka “browning”. So they bleach as they feel they will gain the affection of men who might not have noticed them otherwise. Seeing this Sizzla in 1993 at the height o f the music obsession with the “browning”. The amazing and heartfelt album “Black Woman and Child”.

Black Woman and Child

After the release of the album Sizzla continually explored Reggae and the ever more popular Dancehall and would continue to pour out album after album (more than 65 solo albums to date). This ferocious work atitude would make the artist revered and admired by his musical peers. He was also a trend setter laying extensive ground work in the fusing of Dancehall/Reggae/Ragamuffin music which many though were far to opposite because of varying topics and sounds to ever come together. Sizzla work continued way past the 90s into the 2000s and along with many classic came the release of another amazing album “Da Real Thing” released in 2002 which was listed on Complex Magazines “The 100 Best Albums of The Complex Decade” at number 32.

Da Real Thing

The amazing tribute to mothers around the world was featured on the work “Thank You Mama”

However Sizzla as well as several other Jamaican entertainers have been branded homophobic due to the lyrics in their songs. The homophobic logo has not stopped the artist from voicing his views on the issue as he feels he should be able to make his opinions be known without the fear of percussion or seeming hate from Anti-Hate groups. In response he remains defiant that he will not change his views to suite the ruling interest has he said they have historically been the most cruel to  gays any way and regardless of lyrics he has never engaged in any physical assault against homosexuals.

Now Kalonji runs his own record label in August Town, Kingston; Kalonji Records and is the founder of Judgement Yard a place where young inner city youths and musicians go for life and career guidance.

Sizzla Kalonji

Horror in St.James! 8 year old among five females brutally raped by gunmen

Olivia “Babsy” Grange and Gladys Brown

My heart was broken to pieces this morning as I read the paper of the brutal crime which took place in St. James, Jamaica.

IRWIN, St James — An eight-year-old was among five females who were attacked and viciously raped by two gunmen in the community of Irwin on Monday night.

The young girl, according to a source, had to undergo emergency surgery yesterday as a result of the ordeal.

The ages of the other victims, the Jamaica Observer has learnt, are 14, 16, 23, and 28.

According to the police, the incident happened at approximately 10:00 pm when two men — one of whom was armed with a firearm — went to the house where the girl was with the four other females.

The heartless thugs gained access into the house after they held onto one of the occupants, through a window, and demanded that the door be opened.

All five were held at gunpoint, tied up and raped.

Police said the men also robbed the occupants of an undetermined sum of cash and other valuables before escaping.

The police have since launched an investigation into the horrific incident.

Last night, Superintendent Gladys Brown, who heads the Kingston and St Andrew branch of the Centre for the Investigation Of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), said she was shocked by the incident.

Although admitting that she had little information on the incident, she said it appeared a “deliberate act of violence to show power”.

“I am really wondering what is happening, I have never seen anything like this,” she told the Observer.

“It sounds like someone is flexing their muscles, so to speak, because that’s the most I can say as to what could have caused persons to brutalise women and children like that,” Brown added.

Opposition spokesperson on youth, sports, gender affairs, entertainment and culture, Olivia “Babsy’ Grange, described the incident “as one of the most shocking, horrific and despicable crimes committed against Jamaican women”.

According to Grange, “the crime is yet another example of the diminishing respect and love for women in the society, especially girls, when an eight-year-old can be so brutally abused and pregnant women are being killed by both criminals and those whom they expect to protect them.

“This latest act is also a glaring example of the breakdown of law and order in the country; and unless something is done, and done quickly, we will be facing another year of record murders and sexual crimes against women and children in the society,” she added.

Meanwhile, efforts by the Observer to contact Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna for comment were unsuccessful last night.

 Source

What is really happening to our piece of land?

Barack Obama Or Mitt Romney, Elections 2012

Barack Obama Or Mitt Romney, Elections 2012

Wow! It seems as if it was only yesterday that the American people were united in the sincerity of hope and new found faith in the future.

What I’m referring is in the US 2008 elections when Mr. Barack Hussein Obama took the White House and gave the democratic party the presidency once again, but it was more than that. For the first time in United States history someone who was not of European decent took the reins as Commander in Chief. That someone just so happened to be African-American.

All over like sporadic gunfire I heard declarations like “racism has finally ended, change is here, yes we can….” In retrospect all that showed was that Obama and his team are masters of public relations. They somehow managed to convince the US and the world that they are worlds away from what they’ve seen before, that Americans needed a change and that change was here.

Now in 2012 there is a new contender for the big seat, a man by the name of Mitt Romney who like most hopefuls before him came out of nowhere to take the drivers seat as the Republican parties front-man.

Who is Mitt Romney? Mitt is the former Governor of Massachusetts and now heading the Republican party, he went to Harvard like Obama but to be honest, he isn’t quite as charming nor convincing as Obama.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Elections 2012

The remarkable ability to persuade the masses and gain universal trust which seems innate in Obama is lacking in Romney. Mitt Romney as somehow managed to market himself as a right-wing conservative who coming to save rich people. (really in this economy) Regardless Romney has his support and a fairly competitive band of people as well. So the elections come November may be very interesting to watch.

After all the political rhetoric, proposed economic policies and smiles, many people are convinced its not worth voting as these guys are two heads of the same fire breathing dragon and the proletariat is in neither of them interest. Well it doesn’t matter your stance come November 6, 2012, US citizens will be voting and the future of everybody is hanging in the balance.

Many point to unfairness in the media saying how Ron Paul was gently dissected from the whole thing as his views were too “controversial”. Others say as soon as the elections is over another war will begin with Obama and the issue of Iran and Israel or with Romney campaign team saying its time to “stand up to China”. SMH here we go again.

So which one of the evils will you be voting for?

Barack Obama Or Mitt Romney, Elections 2012

Misunderstood Artistry; Dancehall Music, Pt.1 Introduction.

An early Reggae icon who influenced Dancehall Gregory Isaacs( to the right)

Dancehall had emerged in Kingston in the late 1970′s and was formed as a integration of several genres including Reggae, Toast, Ska, Rocksteady(has nothing to do with “Rock”) and R&B. The music as with all from Jamaican was formed amidst the hardships and trials faced by the ‘ghetto people’ of Kingston. The genre had began to gain grounds in the late 70′s and owes its name to the Jamaican “dance hall” sessions which were held in the poverty stricken Kingston suburbs.

The dancehall served as a substitute for the “uptown” parties, get together and socials which the typical Kingston resident couldn’t dream of attending due to his social class and at times colour. (No, that’s not a typo and I’m talking about Jamaica, but that’s for another time) In the in the dancehall sessions selectors and Dj’s would often play classic riddims and a popular act would toast over the sound. Because earlier forms of music were slow; such as Rocksteady producer like Junjo went back to the drawing board to create a new sound suited for the ever faster toasting.

An example of an early piece is from Yami Bolo who was 13 at the time of recording!

Yami Bolo – When a Man’s in Love.

Tenor Saw – Ring the Alarm

As the sound progressed the singing in the sound faded for a more suited form.

Yellowman – Zungguzungguguzungguzeng

Wayne Smith – Under Me Sleng Teng

The song above by Wayne Smith is considered to be the one which brought the digital sound to the new genre and is considered one of Dancehalls greatest hits.

Pt.2 will speak to the purpose of Dancehall and how it was used to bring to light the voice of the ghetto.

Iran sends threats to attack US bases should a war break

The Flag of Iran

Lawd a massy! This is not looking good. The United States and Israel must really be getting to Iran as they’ve reached the point where they are threatening US bases should a war ensue.

Iran for the longest while has been surviving sanctions which are illegal under United Nations(UN) protocol. The sanctions are imposed by the US which claim Iran is building weapons of mass destruction. Just like Saddam was building these evil weapons; we all saw how that invasion unfolded :(

Russia Today reports:

Iranian officials say they aren’t scared of Israel’s threats of a military assault aimed at their rumored nuclear warhead program, but a senior officer in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says such a strike would warrant retaliation against US bases.

Should Israel make good with its warning of using military force to take down an Iranian nuke procurement plan, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says that the response will be costly for the United States military, even if America does not endorse a unilateral strike on Iran.

Gen. Hajizadeh explains in a statement this week that America’s continuing support of Israel is enough to associate them with any attack waged against Iran, even if the US has officially condemned any plans to put boots in the ground to dismantle the rumored nuclear program.

“For this reason, we will enter a confrontation with both parties and will definitely be at war with American bases should a war break out,” Hajizadeh says, according to a post on Iran’s state Al-Alam TV.

Hajizadeh adds that among the US facilities that would be targeted are structures in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan.

“There will be no neutral country in the region,” Hajizadeh says. “To us, these bases are equal to US soil.”

Israeli officials continue to make a case that Iran is working towards obtaining a nuclear warhead and have repeatedly pleaded with the United States to intervene, but Iranian authorities insist that any research being done is for peaceful purposes.

Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” and once more pressured US President Barack Obama to announce America’s cooperation in an attack against Iran.

Although President Obama refused to intervene at this time, over the weekend he told CBS’ 60 Minutes news program that he understands Israel’s plea but must put the national security of the US first above their ally’s request.

“When it comes to our national security decisions — any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out—any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis — on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence,” the president told 60 Minutes.

On Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad commented on the conflict from the United Nations headquarters in New York City, refusing to call Israel by name and rejecting their warnings.

“Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists. … We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves,” Ahmadinejad said.

“We don’t even count them as any part of any equation for Iran. During a historical phase, they represent minimal disturbances that come into the picture and are then eliminated,” the president added.

President Ahmadinejad had arrived in New York to participate in the UN General Assembly’s annual discussion for the last time as president, as Iranian rules forbid him from running for another term. He is not scheduled to deliver a speech until Wednesday, but ahead of that address he said he remains open for discussions with the United States.

“The nuclear issue is not a problem. But the approach of the United States on Iran is important. We are ready for dialogue, for a fundamental resolution of the problems, but under conditions that are based on fairness and mutual respect,” Ahmadinejad said.

“We are not expecting a 33-year-old problem between the United States and Iran to be resolved in a speedy fashion. But there is no other way besides dialogue.”

Source

This does not look good for the Caribbean. All Caribbean nations as well as the members of the African, Pacific and Caribbean (ACP) nations must stay vigilant as our developing economies are very fragile and susceptible to even the smallest global current.

The last war sent “Shock and Awe” through most small countries balance sheets as the price of energy swiftly climbed and over the years following the Iraqi war, energy has become most “third world” countries greatest imports.

Business, public sector jobs and social security would be in serious trouble should a war with Iran break.