Posted by: nastylittletruths | September 2, 2014

The Bewildered Herd

A confluence of events usually leads to shaking off the lethargy that exists in my old bones and return here, but losing my password *and* getting locked out off my email at the same time led to the mandatory 30 days wait time from Microsoft…

Three things have been on my mind the last month that are so intertwined, it’s like a conspiracy: 1. My ongoing battle with the media houses (TV6 and CNC3) over their continued blocking of the channels I pay for on cable, 2. The latest Israel/Hamas war and, 3. the Constitution Amendment Bill.

The title of this post comes from the tad insulting, but so true, description by Walter Lippmann (Public Opinion, 1922) of “man’s inability to functionally perceive and accurately interpret the world“. Believing that “the real environment is altogether too big, too complex, and too fleeting for direct acquaintance”, between people and their environment (reality), he said that “they constructed a pseudo-environment that is a subjective, biased, and necessarily abridged mental image of the world.” To a degree, therefore, everyone’s pseudo-environment is a fiction. Hence, people “live in the same world, but think and feel in different ones. Human behavior is stimulated by the person’s pseudo-environment and then is acted upon in the real world.” Think about this part carefully when you remember people’s reaction to the Constitution Amendment Bill…

The role of the media comes into play when Lippmann considered the barriers impeding man’s ability to interpret the world – and this is painfully funny – but in our local context, if you can’t buy much for TT$2, do you expect to get reality or representations of the truth for the same $2? “The function of news is to signal an event, and that signaling, eventually, is a consequence of editorial selection and judgement; thus does journalism create and sow the seeds (news?) that establish public opinion”. And here I tie back my problem with TnT’s media: “s duality, i.e. their social function of transmitting public affairs information and their business profit role of surviving in the market.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Opinion_(book)   *I strongly recommend reading a bit of Herman and Chomsky after this*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent

Are we getting real news, fabricated news to suit vested interests, or pure sensationalism to sell the $2 rags? I don’t buy the Trinidad Express nor the Trinidad Guardian because I refuse to support media houses that force my cable provider to put up a white screen when I want to watch television in the first place. (Maybe it’s a good thing because I get to read more, but it’s the principle of the matter that annoys me to no end). The CCN media house believes it can do a better job than any government as they are anti everybody and GML always supports the party in power.

But lets switch to the Israel/Hamas seven week war and see how public opinion can be modified by Dr. Evil himself, Frank Luntz. If you haven’t heard of this guy before, welcome to the nightmarish world every political party that exist wish they can have for themselves. Frank Luntz can spin anything you can possibly think of. (Rodney Charles, the UNC 2015 campaign manager, probably prays to his image every night asking for inspiration). The best introduction I can give is via this link to a publication I read about American politics:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/28/how-israel-spins-war-crimes/

Clearly, knowing your audience and crafting a message that resonates using key words in real time makes for impressive television. Note the admission that 78% of Americans want to see a two state solution to end this crisis, but Israel will never go down that path. Also note the key words employed to change perceptions and opinions, re-play all those newscasts you see about the ‘war on terror’ in your mind and then imagine how easy it is to brainwash the people who think that the news is sacrosanct. The original crime of 1948 continues up to this day – stealing land from the Palestinians and they react the only way they know how. Just today the US had to ‘sharply rebuke’ (and that’s as far as it goes) with Israel ‘appropriating’ over 900 acres of the West Bank for more settlements. Read what a hero to the Israeli people had to say about it:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2014/08/europe-and-israel

Taking all of the above with regard to censorship and propaganda, what is your take now on the CAB of 2014? Did the press whip up a frenzy about nothing? Yes, they probably did as bachannal sells… Did the PNM properly explain to the masses their disagreement? Uh, didn’t look so from the interviews of the protesters… Did the UNC/Closet UNC take us for a ride with CR consultations and submissions? Of course they did… If you are in a position to change the rules of the game you do so for your own benefit, not the other side! Human nature is a bitch – accept it.

My own CR position is well documented here and not one was mentioned, so I went back to sleep.

People, be a discerning reader and viewer of the news. Don’t take my word or opinion as the only one. Read, read and then read some more before making up your mind. There are lot of hacks out there who want you to see the world only through their eyes and it has to stop.

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Posted by: nastylittletruths | May 8, 2014

Only For Dana

I gave up on this some months ago – no matter what I thought was important to write about. And if it’s one thing you are sure of in TnT, it’s something to write about! Tired… so very tired… but had to return for Dana.

Dana Seetahal was killed Sunday May 4th in what can only be described as an assassination. And while we can’t depend on the most competent policing service in the world to make some sensible comment about the whole affair, all the media houses have been trying to beat each other with sensational ‘theories’ on why she was killed.

I’ll leave all the eulogising to the politicians and the other usual suspects who are always in TV – I didn’t know Dana personally and only from her writings and when she was an Independent Senator. I guess you couldn’t get someone who more fit the bill of being ‘independent’ in this increasingly materialistic society where greed pervades all. She spoke and wrote her mind and “who vex, loss”.

I wish, for the sake of all citizens, that her killers are not only found, but some rhyme, rationale or reason is given as to why she had to be killed. Fundamental detective work starts with means, motive and opportunity. Who has the means to hire a well trained team to execute this plan? What was the motive? And we all know how simple the opportunity presented itself…

I am also angry (2nd stage of grief?) that she was not trained to think quickly and respond in a situation like this; take evasive action or retaliate with the horsepower available in her vehicle. So many ifs and buts to ease in some way the obvious denial that a brilliant mind is gone forever. Sadly, like all high profile killings before (Michael Hercules in 1993, Selwyn Richardson in 1995) this too will pass and accepted as part of living and dying in Trinidad.

Posted by: nastylittletruths | August 23, 2013

Loving Your Local Contractor

One of these days I will trip of this narrow ledge of sanity and you’ll read about me in the dailies all because of road contractors whose sole purpose in life is to make mine a traffic hell. I’m not paranoid, but they are all out to get me :-)

The first ILMC award today goes to Seereeram Brothers who must have a sweetheart deal with someone to mobilise in the same area (at least four times I know of) north of the Caroni Bridge along the Southern Main Road. They’ve been coming and going there, like forever, and they are back again it seems to finally repair the very bad Freeman Road in St. Augustine. Now, it’s not the first time I’ve come across it, but have you noticed how contractors are closing roads without notification? Just like that – road closed either because of a bridge to repair (or the infamous ‘box drain’) or paving works and it’s you to ketch trying to figure out where to go. Everyone got caught with this one and headed to Bedaisee Street and got tied up like market crab.

Here’s a screenshot off Waze showing the traffic pile up a few weeks ago when Seereeram Brothers returned to the same site mentioned above to mill the same road they paved a few months ago and then re-pave.

Waze1

What the hell? Absolutely nothing wrong with the road and milling and to re-pave? Who approved that? Someone with a big expense coming up and looking for bribe money? And the result? All those dark red lines are traffic backed up because the milling left a sharp edge to climb onto the Caroni Bridge and every single car – at 5 in the evening – had to slow down… Nothing wrong – leave it like that for the next day.

Second ILMC award goes to the small contractor (no name on equipment) who get a wuk to pave Munroe Road in the week leading up to the Chaguanas bye-election. Between the old train line and Trini Fried Chicken is the worst paving I’ve seen a long time done with a machine. The machine was so old and derelict it broke apart on Friday night (July 26th) in front of Low Cost Supermarket and left right there to make traffic a nightmare the Saturday morning. No seriously – the back half of the asphalt paving machine was left right there in the road…

Third ILMC award goes to Coosal’s who some months ago got the job to repair the left lane of the West bound lane of the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway between Trincity Mall and UWI traffic lights. School open, west bound lane into Port of Spain, but they decided that the best time to work was in the mornings and let the motoring public go down to two lanes instead of the normal three. Madness… plus (1) they could have been the contractor who extended the highway lanes some years ago and getting paid to repair their own shoddy work, and (2) the worst part between UWI traffic lights and Kay Donna was left untouched.

Last but not least – the top I Love My Contractor award goes to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago – and you know how they love their contractors – for up to this day, with three lanes reaching as far as Mausica Road, cannot build a third lane in the Trincity Bridge east bound… Three lanes before, two lane bridge, three lanes after – you do the intelligence math on that.

After six decades on this my Trini soil I can sum up my life in one word – ENDURE.. It used to be: “you live, you pay taxes and then you die”, but in Trinidad you live, you endure and look forward to the sweet release of death. We endure bad governance, corrupt public servants, bold-faced businessmen, ‘ah is a criminal’ bravado from driving to line-breaking to about everything else and we still have the field slave mentality not to rise up and change it all.

Posted by: nastylittletruths | August 16, 2013

Game of Thrones – A Trini Review

If you saw Silver Linings Playbook (amazing how the brain-dead ‘action’ movies get all the ad money and the really good dramas are relatively unknown until the Oscars) and then read all five of George R.R. Martin books, you will empathise with this scene:

Now I love to read – give me a good book after heavy reading (technical or academic tomes) and I’ll disappear into that world. I don’t have HBO (getting robbed with a basic package because I watch about five channels) so never saw the series on television, so when someone suggested it I bought the first e-version and ended up getting all five just trying to see where it’s all headed. Lemme re-phrase that – to see where the arse George was carrying me…

Firstly, when an author’s bio states that there a lot of failed pilots in his resume, has to explain the timeline confusion and how he writes characters’ perspectives in the series, you know that you are in trouble. But I was hooked – I need closure in my stories and movies… Secondly, killing off characters with the only plausible reason being there is nowhere else to take them is just intellectually (artistically?) lazy. The coming shocker in bringing back the dead to life with, again, no rational thought or explanation will blow your mind.

Yes, I can be a spoiler for the people who are reading, or who can only let a plot unfold via televison, but prefer not to. After wallowing and going here and there thinking that there is a destination coming my conclusion is that George is an ass. This Song of Ice and Fire only claim to fame is because of HBO, who, knowing their viewers well, saw the money making possibilities in paedophilia, incestuous sex, and of course, the staple of violence.

Read More…

Posted by: nastylittletruths | July 16, 2013

Ho Hum, Hum Drum

I never like the idea about making a ‘come-back’ – when you are old and out to pasture, the grass should be enough…

Camini Marajh’s article on Sunday http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/JACKs–MONEY–PIT-215402551.html was not very fresh news as I wrote about this exactly one week short a year ago:

https://nastylittletruths.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/nest-of-vipers/

But campaign talk by the PM in a bye-election targeting her opponent could implicate some of the people who sit with her on the same stage.

Anna Ramdass’ article http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/PROBE–JACK-215610351.html should make for an interesting follow-up as to who else in the Cabinet was also soliciting funds payable to JLM.

A very entertaining side show leading up to 2015, but Kams know what is at stake here. The UNC cannot afford to lose this seat.

Posted by: nastylittletruths | April 26, 2013

Plenty Talk But Nothing Said

So, in 5 days Jack Warner has resigned as a minister of government, chairman of a political party and now as an elected member of Parliament. And if you don’t see his intention to fight for re-election in a seat he willingly gave up as a direct challenge to the UNC executive – including the political leader and prime minister, then you aren’t paying attention…

I have to admit – as much as I wanted to move away from the TV, it was like waiting for an accident to happen. I nodded off twice (give the ole man a bligh nuh) while he boringly went on about the ‘free gift’ of the Centre of Excellence. Tell me something I didn’t know… Of course it was a gift, but a corrupt one. This wasn’t some ‘favour’ granted by a rich benefactor (Havelange), but using an organisation’s funds to pay back for political support to him and his anointed successor (Blatter). And nothing is wrong in that? Wow… Lesson No.1 last night: you can fool some of the people all the time…

Paying attention to what was said (not you Felicity folks) there were inconsistencies, but this is platform talk, not a debate where he could be immediately challenged. So take win on that one, but saying you had no files to ‘buss’ at the beginning and then bad talking your PM and some cabinet colleagues getting down to the end confirms what everyone says – you are not to be trusted. Lesson No.2: maintain your relationship with your constituents and you will have a long political life. (Actually one that 40 others should take to heart).

So what about allegations in print about the $226m funding for Germany in 2006? Nothing said. What about the charges that you handle and commingle funds with your private accounts? Nothing said. What about the three different set of accounts produced by your accountant? Despite court orders? Nothing said. The list could go on and on as Camini Marajh has reached Part 7 by now, but the answer will be the same – nothing said…

In a nutshell – from a re-tweet I saw going around – Jack could sin Monday to Saturday, but once he goes to Church on Sunday all is well. Let’s see the response from the UNC executive after they pull their pants and skirts up.

 

Posted by: nastylittletruths | March 4, 2013

Removing The Mask

Over the weekend two writers who I follow had excellent columns in the Guardian newspaper. If you missed it I’ve inserted the links below, but these should be a must read and spread as far as you contact list can carry it.

Attillah Springer tripped off when that waste of space Nikki Minaj said on American Idol that she empathised with a contestant because she also came from a ‘nothing’ place (how yuh like that Anil?), and I agree with the writer that we have many things to be proud of, but Ira Mathur in her column was crying bitter tears for what she saw happening her adopted land.

The mask must be removed for everyone to see the ugliness beneath. For too long we have been fed the opiate that ‘Trinidad nice. Trinidad is paradise’, and while as a land this is mostly true, we have done nothing to make it better. The common thread between the two columns are the greedy, uncaring politicians who have carried us down this path, but I still blame my people for continuing to worship and not punish them.

Another lie we’ve been hearing for ages is our literacy rate and every night on the news I see so much mis-spelling in the graphics I no longer shake my head… The functionally illiterate have arrived at the news houses and there are no old guards to keep them on track. Everything is about ‘technology’ so give those young whipper snappers the keyboard and English be damned. I blame SMS and BBM most and email a bit for bad spelling…

In other news the government launched their constitutional reform consultation this weekend so get your comments in or attend one of the sessions as advertised in the newspapers.

http://www.guardian.co.tt/columnist/2013-03-02/i%E2%80%99m-nobody-nothing-place

http://www.guardian.co.tt/columnist/2013-03-03/breaking-silence

Posted by: nastylittletruths | January 30, 2013

Re-inventing the Scales of Stupidity

Anyone notice that recently some people have adopted a style of not only driving on the white line, but sometimes over it on the other side? And for you or the poor guy/gal on the other side it means heading into potholed edges or clipping some unlucky pedestrian or cyclist? (In case you are wondering – no, we were stopped at this point and I wasn’t driving and taking a picture)

012820131473

Apart from the above, I am also amazed at how Trinis test the boundaries of idiocy when it comes to driving. I’m an “early on the road” person when I have to be sand at this time of the year when the sun rises later than usual two things are regularly seen… On one end of the scale there are those drivers who have no lights on even though it’s dark. Very good – you can see with all the streetlights, etc., but we need to see you! Even on the highways you see them!

Others think that they’ll save their headlamps by putting on only their park lights. Now forgive me, but how fracking stupid do you have to be to not understand that “park” lights mean exactly that? And then on the other end of the scale we have the guys and gals who are totally blind and can only drive with high beams on. It is a particular nuisance from truck drivers who are too high to be affected by you replying high beans so I can only conclude that they take some perverse pleasure in it.

Last, but not least, are the red-light breakers. My light is green, but I have to wait for the average of eight people to go through the red while I wait. How hurry can you be at 6:00 in the morning? At the north to east traffic lights at the UB/CR intersection it is a whole day event. Check it out – every single light change for the people who were coming from south and turning right to Curepe – at least eight vehicles (trucks, cars, taxis, you name it) are breaking the red light.

So where’s the police? “Out in force to ensure a safe Carnival for all… we will ‘robustly’ enforce the traffic laws… blah, blah, blah…”

Posted by: nastylittletruths | January 28, 2013

Potholes, Politicians and Section 34

After a hiatus of three months (very much self-enforced) I got a re-inspiration, if you will, to return and make some noise because of a pet peeve of mine.

Now everyone who’s been here before know that the two hottest topics are about politicians and driving, so what better than having to write about both? I could have left well enough alone – like I did these last months – but I made the mistake of flipping to the Parliament Channel on Friday afternoon and saw the Minister of Works and Infrastructure, Emmanuel “Deer Caught in Headlights” George complaining about the slow pace of the Pt. Fortin Highway and you get the feeling it’s more about spending more quickly than anything else. But more on that later…

So what, pray tell, does potholes have to do with the infamous Section 34? A very simple answer really: sleeping on the job, or as the local parlance goes, “drawing money under false pretences”. I drive all over Trinidad; I also love maps so “have GPS, will travel” is not only my vacation motto, but also here at home. (You will not believe how many people – especially “tong peeple” – don’t know this island!) And driving here is a tiring, tiring experience made so not only by dangerous and discourteous drivers, but driving in some really bad roads.

So you ask yourself, who are responsible for overseeing the condition of these road and doing something about it? And who do these people report to? And who does these supervisors/managers/directors/etc., etc., etc. report to that nothing is seen and nothing is done for years yet spending TT$7.8 billion dollars to build one highway to access one part of Trinidad is the prime mission – even going so far to say that this is a promise unfulfilled for 60 years. Imagine politicians telling us about unfulfilled promises?

Every morning I cuss whoever is responsible for what passes as an approach ramp to the Guayamare river bridge on my way to work as I refuse to pass through Munroe Road traffic located in Jack Warner’s constituency (as is Warren Road that can swallow cars whole). Why? Because the same incompetent fools who do eventually get up from their slumber to get the pothole/bad road fixed hire an incompetent contractor who botches up the job but still get paid. And the cycle continues because someone signed-off on the job being ‘satisfactorily completed’ and his/her supervisor/manager was fine with and their director was fine with it and we drive on bad roads because as far as they are concerned, it was ‘fixed’..

Section 34 (before the Guardian bussed the mark) had passed through two houses and assented to by the President. It then became a huge issue, more so because the Opposition MPs, Opposition Senators, Independent Senators and the President were all, like the pothole people, asleep on the job. Nothing irks someone into a rage of self-righteousness than when being found out, and all those who masquerade as “seeking the public’s interest” were all shown to be incompetent at their jobs. The PP administration being ‘clever’ as they are ‘try ah ting’ – with no opposition from the other side – and would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for the press.

In the same vein I’ve argued before that we don’t need a President, as presently constituted, nor this chupidness called “independent” Senators, we found out that we really didn’t need an Opposition either! We all know that Opposition MPs have no power except in the House where they can keep the government on their toes, so they failed in their prime responsibility. Do we really have anyone looking out for us?

In closing, I’ll return to George’s pained contribution in the Senate last Friday about the Pt. Fortin Highway only 8.1% complete to say that it only means that the payout from the contractor is slow in coming… Less than 2 1/2 years to go and the money should be disbursing left, right and centre for kickbacks to be masked. Can’t get that money if only small thing being paid out, ent George?

Posted by: nastylittletruths | November 2, 2012

Praying for Silence

I left the island on October 6th to spend the long Thanksgiving weekend in Canada with friends and relatives, spent about ten days in the US touring the states of Ohio (swing state!), Indiana and Michigan, back to Canada for a week and finally returned home October 28th. In that time not once did I enquire what’s going on in Trinidad, not once did I access an online newspaper and when I got back home skipped any news that had to do with politics and politicians.

Just this week a video went viral in the US about a toddler who was reduced to tears after getting tired hearing about ‘Bronco Bama’ and Mitt Romney. I know how four-year old Abigael Evans feel and I’ll probably cry myself one of these days. But I’m approaching that magical number in years where I couldn’t care a rat’s ass – so much that I actually dread returning home after my little trips. (The fact that I feel like I’m melting this last week didn’t help either. Did I die and ended up in hell? Seriously, 36 to 37 degrees after 10 to 12 does feel like some biblical punishment).

So while Abigael’s mom is telling her not to worry it will all be over in a week, we have to endure the rah-rah ad infinitum. It never ends. If I get peace and quiet (and some actual work done!) maybe I’ll be able to write about what we can do instead of what we shouldn’t have done.

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