Category Archives: USA Politics and Economy

US deports numerous Caribbean nationals following minor crimes – report

US deports numerous Caribbean nationals following minor crimes – report

WASHINGTON D.C., United States, Monday April 7, 2014, CMC – A significant number of Caribbean nationals had been deported after committing minor infractions, including traffic violations, according to an analysis of internal United States government records since President Barack Obama assumed office.

The figures showed that two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases involve Caribbean and other immigrants.
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Four Eras of Slavery, for the Benefit of Corporations

Four Eras of Slavery, for the Benefit of Corporations

By Paul Buchheit

David Horowitz, founder of an organization called the “Freedom Center,” argued that blacks should not be paid reparations for the enslavement of their ancestors. Among his reasons are that:

·       There Is No Single Group Clearly Responsible For The Crime Of Slavery

·       Most Americans Have No Connection (Direct Or Indirect) To Slavery

·       Reparations To African Americans Have Already Been Paid

But slavery, in its various forms of physical and mental torment, has been a part of U.S. history from the beginnings of our country to the present day. There are numerous modern-day corporations who profited immensely – themselves or their predecessors – from slave labor. Only token amounts have been paid back, along with a few scattered apologies.  Four eras of abuse can clearly be identified.

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Cuba, Competition and the Caribbean

Cuba, Competition and the Caribbean

By David Jessop 

Cuban President Raul Castro

Cuban President Raul Castro

News Americas, LONDON, England, Weds. April 9, 2014:

On March 29 Cuba’s National Assembly passed a new foreign investment law. Its content has far reaching implications for the future economic organisation of the country. It has also stimulated a lively public and private debate in the rest of the Caribbean about whether it represents a new economic challenge to others in the region.

Unusually, the changes that the new law contains had been widely trailed in Cuba’s national and provincial media before its passing. This was because of its contentious nature within Cuba and the challenge it offered to many Cuban conservatives’ belief in the need to maintain full control over national sovereignty and economic decision making.  Continue reading

True History of Marijuana – Full Movie

True History of Marijuana – Full Movie

Published on Jul 15, 2012

Cannabis has an incredible number of uses:-
Industrial Textiles, Consumer Textiles, Paper, Building Materials, Foods, Biofuel.
The biofuel could pose a serious threat to the energy industry.

Hemp seed (from its non THC cousin, the hemp plant) can be used as a food since it contains complete protein (ie all essential amino acids) and all Essential Fatty Acids. THIS ALONE COULD END HUNGER WORLDWIDE.

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Russian military bases in Latin America? – commentary

Russian military bases in Latin America?

Posted By Andres Oppenheimer – Latin View – On March 30, 2014

When Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said three weeks ago that Moscow is seeking to establish a military presence in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, many of us dismissed it as a private comment by a top official who may have had one vodka too many.

But after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, with growing speculation that we are returning to the days of the Cold War, and with press reports of the surprise arrival of a Russian spy ship — the Viktor Leonov SS-175 — in Havana, it may be time to take a second look at Shoigu’s remarks.   Continue reading

Russia and the United States Negotiate the Future of Ukraine

Russia and the United States Negotiate the Future of Ukraine

Geopolitical Weekly – Stratfor  Tuesday, April 1, 2014 – 03:01

Geopolitical WeeklyBy George Friedman 

During the Cold War, U.S. secretaries of state and Soviet foreign ministers routinely negotiated the outcome of crises and the fate of countries. It has been a long time since such talks have occurred, but last week a feeling of deja vu overcame me. Americans and Russians negotiated over everyone’s head to find a way to defuse the crisis in Ukraine and, in the course of that, shape its fate.

During the talks, U.S. President Barack Obama made it clear that Washington has no intention of expanding NATO into either Ukraine or Georgia. The Russians have stated that they have no intention of any further military operations in Ukraine. Conversations between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have been extensive and ongoing. For different reasons, neither side wants the crisis to continue, and each has a different read on the situation.   Continue reading

The Celebration of Dorothy I. Height – by Lawrence O’Donnell

The Celebration of Dorothy I. Height – by Lawrence O’Donnell

Dorothy Height

Dorothy Height

Published on Mar 26, 2014: The Celebration of Dorothy I. Height, one of the most respected and powerful women of the 20th Century. March 24th was her 102nd Birthday

More info from Wikipedia:

Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010)[1] was an Americanadministratoreducator, and a civil rights and women’s rights activist specifically focused on the issues of African-American women, including unemployment, illiteracy, and voter awareness.[2] She was the president of the National Council of Negro Women for forty years and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.[1] 

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American Strategy After Ukraine: From Estonia to Azerbaijan

From Estonia to Azerbaijan: American Strategy After Ukraine

Geopolitical Weekly 

As I discussed last week, the fundamental problem that Ukraine poses for Russia, beyond a long-term geographical threat, is a crisis in internal legitimacy. Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent his time in power rebuilding the authority of the Russian state within Russia and the authority of Russia within the former Soviet Union. The events in Ukraine undermine the second strategy and potentially the first. If Putin cannot maintain at least Ukrainian neutrality, then the world’s perception of him as a master strategist is shattered, and the legitimacy and authority he has built for the Russian state is, at best, shaken.

Whatever the origins of the events in Ukraine, the United States is now engaged in a confrontation with Russia. The Russians believe that the United States was the prime mover behind regime change in Ukraine. At the very least, the Russians intend to reverse events in Ukraine. At most, the Russians have reached the conclusion that the United States intends to undermine Russia’s power. They will resist. The United States has the option of declining confrontation, engaging in meaningless sanctions against individuals and allowing events to take their course. Alternatively, the United States can choose to engage and confront the Russians.

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John Kerry Doubles Down on Venezuela – commentary

John Kerry Doubles Down on Venezuela, Despite Being Alone
Venezuela mapFriday, 21 March 2014 – By Mark Weisbrot, The Guardian | News Analysis

Images forge reality, granting a power to television and video and even still photographs that can burrow deep into people’s consciousness without them even knowing it. I thought that I, too, was immune to the repetitious portrayals of Venezuela as a failed state in the throes of a popular rebellion. But I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in Caracas this month: how little of daily life appeared to be affected by the protests, the normality that prevailed in the vast majority of the city. I, too, had been taken in by media imagery.

Major media outlets have already reported that Venezuela’s poor have not joined the right-wing opposition protests, but that is an understatement: it’s not just the poor who are abstaining – in Caracas, it’s almost everyone outside of a few rich areas like Altamira, where small groups of protesters engage in nightly battles with security forces, throwing rocks and firebombs and running from tear gas.  Continue reading

Remembering Johnny Braff – interview + videos

Remembering Johnny Braff

MARCH 10, 2014 | BY KNEWS | By Michael Jordan

” I played songs that people could listen to; when you hear songs like that, they go straight to your heart and you have to stop what you are doing and sing..”


If you don’t know those lines, if you don’t know that heartbreaking song, then sadly, you missed out on the late sixties and early seventies, when a Guyanese singer named Johnny Braff was belting out love songs that made him both a household name and sex symbol in his homeland and abroad.

Johhy Braff1Guyanese icon, Johnny Braff today

Decked out in white suit and black hat, the now 78-year-old Guyanese icon stopped in at Kaieteur News last week, to charm the female reporters with snippets of his songs and signing autographs before sitting down to an interview.
His real name is Johnny Critchlow, and he was born on July 3, 1937; the second to last of 14 children, living in Station Street, Kitty. But the large family was never in danger of starving.
His father, Harry Braithwaite, was a stevedore, “and stevedores in those days used to get good money, and things weren’t that expensive,” he said.
From an early age, young Johnny Critchlow showed an interest in music- entertaining and annoying his family by blowing on a comb wrapped in paper.
“Since I was a small boy, I used to play the ‘comb and paper’ and make music around the house, and everybody would start to dance.”
One can say that his mother, Irene Critchlow, was one of his first critics. “My mother used to tell my father, ‘why this boy keeping so much of noise with this comb paper, like he gun be some kind of musician or something?’”
One of his first jobs was at the famous Tang’s Bakery, but he learned plumbing as a trade at Barry Massay in Queenstown. He eventually became an A-class plumber, working at Mackenzie for a number of years. He got in the habit of singing at his workplace, and recalled that some of his colleagues would remark: “You think you is a sing-man, you better do the people work.”
And hadn’t it been for a challenge from a colleague, the world might never have heard about ‘Johnny Braff.’
“There was a chap named Barker who used to stammer, he coudda sing good, so he meet me one day and say ‘you think you could sing more than me?’ I say ‘you could sing? Is just that I doan know nuff songs like you.’ So he say ‘they got a concert tonight at the Recreation Hall, so I decide to pay twenty-fice cents to enter.
“He (Barker) was to sing at the concert, he was dressed up, while my clothes were full of dust, since I had come straight from work.”
With his dusty clothes, the then Johnny Critchlow sat at the back of the audience, where his colleague, Barker, found him and again challenged him to sing.
“I say I ain’t come for no competition, I had never sung with a microphone before, but he (Barker) go and bring the piano player to me.”
After much urging from the piano player, Johnny Critchlow ventured onstage and began to sing ‘Many a Tear has to Fall’, which was the only song that he could think of at the time.
“Before I started, the people were keeping a lotta noise because I had on my dutty clothes, but when I start to sing the place get quiet, quiet…and when I was done they shouted for more.., I said I don’t know any other song and they say ‘sing the same song again’ and from then I was on.”
At around 19 years of age, he went on to form a singing group called ‘The Heartbreakers’ with local musicians Michael Bacchus, Dennis Coxwell, Cecil Whitehead, and Compton Edwards.

Johnny Braff2

Still has the charm: Johnny Braff signs an autograph for Kaieteur News reporter Kiana Wilberg

“We rehearsed in Lall’s Store in Garnett Street, Kitty opposite to Rialto Cinema. We became so popular that anyone that came from overseas (to sing) they would put us to sing with them, like Ben E. King and all of those singers. We sang with Sparrow, with the Blues Busters at Astor Cinema, Queen’s College.”
It was while performing at the Carib Hotel that the Guyanese group out-danced the legendary American singer Chubby Checker, who had popularized the dance known as ‘the twist.‘ That event made the headlines in the dailies. By then, the group was earning about $30.00 for each performance.
His big break came during a performance to a packed audience at the Astor Cinema. It was then that he first performed his compositions ‘It Burns Inside,’ and ‘A shower of Tears,’ two of his first major hits. In that audience was local businessman and producer Vivian Lee.
Lee was so impressed that he met with him afterwards and suggested that Critchlow record his two songs. He would subsequently record ‘It Burns Inside’ at Radio Demerara, before re-recording it in the US, along with. Some of his other hits, such as ‘A Shower of Tears’, ‘Same Time Same Place, ‘Anything You can Do’ were recorded in the US and in Curacao.
At the peak of his career, the songs of the now-rechristened Johnny Braff were played almost daily on the radio.
Johnny Braff signed a contract with Vivian Lee, which allowed him to perform in America. He also sang with Percy Sledge in Barbados. Sadly, a scheduled tour with legendary soul singer Otis Redding never came off after the American and his band died in a plane crash.
Johnny Braff then signed a six-year contract to sing on a Yugoslavian cruise ship, earning US$5,000 a month.  Of course, there were his female fans. Many, many female fans.
At the peak of his fame, Johnny Braff claims to have fathered at least 27 children in at least ten countries.
“I have children in America, I have children in Curacao…in Haiti…Venezuela, in Dutch Guyana…in Martinique…in Trinidad…Barbados .Antigua…St Lucia; they all know me…I got nuff children, boy, this year I going and see some of them…”

Johnny Braff has received several awards for his contribution to music, including the Guyana Folk Festival 2002 Wordsworth McAndrew Award.
But while he says he receives royalties from overseas, this Guyanese icon says he receives none from his homeland. “I used to get royalties from Guyana and Trinidad, every three months, but when the government changed, they say that they can’t pay anymore. I get money from England, from the Performer’s Rights Society.”

And how does he compare his achievements with performers today?
“I don’t want to bad-talk anyone. In my time, it was a different kind of music; I played songs that people could listen to; when you hear songs like that, they go straight to your heart and you have to stop what you are doing and sing along.”
Johnny Braff says that he still has many unrecorded songs. He promised that fans can look out for a new album later in the year.

Johnny Braff Live Show in Brooklyn NY in 1983


Johnny Braff & The Telstars-Read it Over b/w I Don’t Care


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