Thursday, 27 September 2012

Top Mid-Week Talkers: Educating The Messes


Our Schools Littered with Abused Minds and Bodies

In the past days and weeks we have fallen into a space of utter cultural shock and rage over the emergence of  rampant Rape and Molestation in the society, yet I find myself skipping the reports of such events and omitting to read the Pubic opinions and commentary due to the mere fact that we have seen this type of "Emotive Journalism" and  subsequent "Knee Jerk" reactions time and time again.

The Issue that was "Knee Jerkier" of the moment before we got to Sexual Assault, Destruction of family values and norms (added fuel to the fire by conservative Christians) was the dismal outcome of Grades for students sitting the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) and to a lesser extent the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) both critical stepping ladders  in the formal education system. We heard countless debates about "Who to Blame" and "Who not to Blame", we watched numerous interviews and current affairs programs dissecting the issue with Professionals and the incompetent alike boasting of their ideas and successes in the field of education, a month later: "The Jerk has settled", the issue has gone absolutely silent on lips and airwaves alike, while a few dedicated individuals work behind the scenes ensuring better for our youth.  

These unfortunate events of gruesome sexual assault (especially on our children) have couldn't have come at a more impeccable time, as the subject of "Psychology" within the broader discussion of Education seemed marginalized, possibly due to the fact that Jamaicans and Blacks as race have a problem with Identifying, Relating and seeking treatment for "Mental Illness".  As a Mental Health America research found, that "63 percent of African Americans believe that depression is a personal weakness, this is significantly higher than the overall survey average of 54 percent."

Many speak of Education as though its a 1,2,3... process without any outer factors affecting the process of learning, completely shutting out Socio-economic backgrounds, unstable family structure, character issues, emotional state, etc. making the any failures completely the students fault; this is where society has failed our Children, miserably. The closest we have come to discovering this flaw is a few media reports on "Disabled" students access to regular institutions and their difficulties faced in the normal school environment which mainly focused on infrastructural problems not the "Mental or Emotion" capacity of the disabled students.

For 5 days a week a child (teenagers included) sits in front of a teacher with the most depressed, awkward smile or angry look on his or her face, and everyday that child is passed and ignored, maybe they act-out violently one day or breaks down into tears, sending off alarms but what about the those constantly exhibiting these "Bad Behaviours" and are labeled "Trouble Makers" or "Bullies", they either ignored or treated as juvenile delinquents.

Sure there are Guidance Councillors and Church leaders who end up being one in the same, yet we still see the inability to Identify Emotional distress because of a set premise to only go so deep and not much further with emotional issues unless its visibly suicidal. The Belt buckler: Homosexuality is the "He who shan't be named" issue and the ultimate case for the Guidance Councillor, not many of these apocalyptic cases come before a Councillor as the Gays and perceived Homo's of the Jamaican school system seek shelter in the shadows of their Heterosexual persona. The question isn't whether or not they are bullied but How frequent the Bullying is? 

So, in a countless ways we can assess that this problem isn't one we can possibly get rid off, as Learning Process will crumble and implode, leaving us to wonder, why such Low Maths grades?

Those who fear that Family values and norms will collapse under the pressure of secularism and the likes must first deal with the fear that all of society may fall into oblivion (new favourite word) before they have the privileged to die naturally, granted that none of the "Trouble makers" or "Bullies" in school that fell through the crack and turned to Guns and drugs don't get to them first.

The state of the nation is frankly the state of our Children's Minds, the future is dependent on the those minds being developed and allowing the Creative Juices and Scientific Knowledge to be unleashed into the society to break us from the bond of Oblivion.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Loud and Clear: My Big Fat Government and Me

My Big Fat Government and Me

By Necessity We are Married to Our Governments and their Handouts

The deteriorating 2012 Presidential campaign of Gov. Mitt Romney once again hit a snag on his way to the now increasingly far off and distant occupation of the White House.  Mitt Romney fumbled over a 47% (forty-seven Percent) hurdle on his crash landing to earth this week, as he was caught on a hidden camera at a wealthy donor dinner, saying (off the cuff) that the “47% of Americans who don’t pay takes are Lazy Freeloaders” who he “will not pursue” because they’ve already chosen to vote for Obama because he touts “Government Handout’s” (beware of the Socialist). Mitt Romney the “car elevator guy” who goes “speeding boating” on Labour Day and thinks “Corporations are people too”, has single handily delivered  47% of the Population (that he has disfranchise from his Campaign completely) into the Ballot Boxes of Pres. Barack Obama.

Even some in his own party who have seen the future blowout in his stumble has labeled his comments as “Stupid” and “unbecoming of a Presidential Nominee”. But dogged Conservative media and their political counterparts (no difference) has gone on the attack claiming that hypocritical the attack of Obama sympathizer and supporters on Romney’s (47%) statement, because the Obama campaign has explicitly been targeting the “Welfare Crowd” with his devious talk of those who have built their fortunate (supposedly alone), should “Pay their Fair Share” and “Equal Opportunity” for all those who have the motivation and desire to climb the ladder of success no matter their economic background or race.  Those phrases hit home with many of those in the 47% of Americans who don’t pay taxes as The Atlantic Wire reports that  "18 percent of people who do not work at all, or make so little that they don't even pay payroll taxes. More than half of that group (10 percent of people) are retired and elderly people. They live off pensions or Social Security benefits, which are not taxed." 

(Tax Policy Center)

“It takes brass to criticize a man for doing something that you did” said Bill Clinton at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, responding to Paul Ryan’s claim of Obama raiding Medicare to pay for Obamacare, when in fact Ryan has proposed the same thing in his own budget Plan but it’s a steady trend in today’s Republican Party for them to oppose themselves in the name of countering Obama, hence Republicans cannot stipulate that Obama be more a 100% President when they have been the 2% Party; frolicking with Billionaires, Advocating for more loopholes and lower taxes for their Friends at the Top can go even higher and leave everyone else to hope that pieces of the ”Roof of Success” falls so we may also begin to build.

The Jamaican Revolution

Linking the this U.S. Presidential Election development to the Jamaican politico-sphere, with temperatures still a bit high over the allocation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) expenditures in Damion Crawford’s constituency being “too focused” on Education as a Long term development strategy. The usage of the Pork Barrel as the CDF has become known as, reflects a Member of Parliaments resourcefulness and inclusiveness as he contends with the issues dealt to him by almost every underprivileged and deprived constituent that seeks an extra “Handout” to go with his Food Stamps, Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATHE) allowances and other welfare programme.

The Peoples National Party released a list of CDFexpenditure on Education by MP’s in their Constituency and Damion Crawford’sexpenditure on education was at 58%, only in the bottom 6 of  a 42 majority Government, it was to repel notions that the Peoples National Party’s political representative and supporters have been bogged down in deep “Politics of Poverty” and that supporters and occasionally reps. are denied “Handout’s” they go into a state of rage and retaliation because “Government Dependence” at least that’s what Andrew Holness and his band of Capitalist Cadets at the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)  are trying to sell the lesser informed public and big business interest.

What about the Single Mother of 2 (two) who earns enough for one of her child’s education, PATHE hardly covers the other, Dinner is Tea and Crackers in the dark because she can’t afford her $1000 electricity Bill and needs something extra for other amenities? Is helping this woman, Mr. Holness, Poverty Politics?

Andrew Holness and the JLP like Mitt Romney and the Republican Party have shout their eyes, covered their ears while chanting “la-la-la”, every time the non aligned “middle class”, “better off” and “privileged”  portion of the population try and speak to them through the Media or Elections (chose of Ideology) that “Big Fat Government” isn’t the problem but “Big Fat Lazy Rich Politicians”, that they don’t have a problem with Government assistance done correctly and sustainably, that Government isn’t always the Problem or the Solution, that not everyone is fortunate enough to even have the chance to attend school much less become a former Governor or a former Prime Minister.

Most of us begin life in a Public Health Facility or to a Government paid Mid-wife in a home or church, attended Public Schools and most of us will be buried in a Public Cemetery and the cycle continues with our children and their children. We are essentially married to our Government not only in taxes and Debt owed per person but in that we have a responsibility to keep the marriage viable and alive for future generations of unlucky masses to be born in poverty and impoverished situations to have the opportunity to live with dignity, pride and self worth whether or not they are economically successful in life. 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Sunday Sound Off : Politically Divided We Must Stand

Politically Divided We Must Stand

 The Generation of Ideology and Acquiescence 

SOUNDing OFF: From a Liberal Socialist standpoint "Jamaica's Politics needs Ideology and Acquiesce (reluctant agreement)" within its Political Framework. Although last election in Dec 2011, we confirmed that Jamaica is "REALLY Red Socialist Country" or an Orange one in this case. The Observer (Labourite Central) sounded: PNP Country as they reported the Electoral results that the Portia Simpson-Miller Led Peoples National Party was overly victorious.

The USA had almost 230 years to perfect the Union: Politically, Economically, Socially and Spiritually (for the believers). The reason they have succeeded (somewhat) is their ability to be open, diverse and sharply contrasting views on policies and issues that affect the nation, almost every voice is represented at some level in the discussion be them the 1% or the 99%, Pro-choice, Pro-Life, LGBT, Christians, Muslim, etc.

But Compromise is key in a Democracy that has sharp contrasting Ideologies but Democratic Bill Clinton and Republican Newt Gingrich somehow understood that and worked together to Balance the USA Budget and Lower the Deficit after years of economic neglect under Bush 41 by raising Taxes and cut spending - Clinton lost his Liberal cred for "Dont Ask, Don Tell" (DADT) - repealed by Obama - and "Defence of Marriage Act" (DOMA) - weaken by Obama stance on Marriage Equality - "The Clinton Triangulation"  .

Although Ideologues and career politicians can cause hiccups with "Politicking and Stalemates" (Poll Hounds), the outcome of these "Stalemates" depend on 3 things -One side winning or losing, Compromise or both sides losing (in that case the Nation Loses) - If One side wins or loses, there will be an imbalance of sorts within that policy maybe its a Tax policy crafted for "Trickle Down" without poverty relief/welfare (vice-a-versa) but the ground leveled at the foot of "Compromise".

Most Jamaican politicians aren't ideologically driven in any matter, they are "Power Hawks", frankly borderline "Hypocritical", the need and political impulse to get into Jamaica House trumps any desire to be faithful to any ideology or belief that may cause said desire of Power to be dashed. We bare witness every Budget Debockle ( I mean Debate): When its time to stand and face the population of unemployed and hungry party loyal's who elected them, when its time to prove that they are watching out for you the people and not the International Monetary Fund (IMF), when its time to garner strength from their Ideological background to create a balanced approach to Nation Building instead of Tax Baby Tax or Cut Mother Cut (like a single parent Austerity family).

There's less trust placed in "Power Hawks" than normal Ideologically framed politicians (if there is such a thing) because of  their consistency relating to Economic Policy, Social Issues and other critical concerns voters may relay on to make the choice at the ballot box; an individual feels secure knowing that there is someone of the same persuasion watching out for them in the "Politicosphere".
Micheal Manley(The Social Bill Clinton of the Peoples National Party), no matter what you think of him, was someone Jamaicans trusted in; he ran and won on "Giving Power to The People" (remarkably similar to Portia's "People Power") and "Better Must Come". Micheal Manley reforms were Democratic Socialism to say the least, Policy after Policy his direction for the Nation was clear, "People Centered Society" and "Big Government" (as Conservatives would say) some of these Policies included: See full list at

Micheal Manley has been called an "Economic Failure" and blamed for the Decimation of the Jamaican Economy by trampling on "Private Enterprise" and indulged in "Incorrect Spending" that drove the debt up and pushed growth down. The SOUND  truth is that he wasn't a Economic Master, no Politician or Economist is; but he was a Solid Foundation and a Hero for Social Equality and Justice that is his Legacy, Presidents and Prime Ministers told him to abandoned his socialist trek and he didn't yield until he saw the need for "Compromise" and "inclusion" when the flaws and holes within his Socialist Policy Framework appeared and he toned down his socialism to allow some sense of Private Sector Inclusion.

The 1970s - 80s, Jamaica is seemingly only shrouded in Political upheaval and all other definitions of the period will not be entertained by the lopsided history buffs. Yet, we should be propelled to remember the worst period in Jamaican history as the one of the most productive (policy wise) taking into consideration that the Economic policies of the following Jamaica Labour Party Government were a radical swing from socialism to severe conservative capitalism that rose the GDP as high as 7%. 

Bill Clinton and Micheal Manley (Economic Hero and Social Hero resp.) both historically relevant men who were sent into politically, economically and socially hard times as leaders of 2 nations filled with hope and human resilience, they took separate paths and had different results, results that debunks the myth that a non-partisan or bi-partisan two party political system is the only way to ensure the stability of a Nation but in fact 'a consistent Ideology and slight Acquiescence' is all we need to RISE above "Stand for Nothing", "We cant do anything about it", "Stay home, its raining", "IMF is Lord and Master", "World Bank Dedicatory" and "The Polls say" type of Politics. 


Politically Speaking

- Folks I told you to watch out for this Political Interest story on MP Damion Crawford, has he is still refusing to give Constituency Development Fund (C.D.F)  handouts (eat a food politics) to his constituency, holding firm to his stance that Long term investments in Education and Health will make the difference within his constituency. We will have to see how the Peoples National Party reacts to the Political Revolution that is taking place.