Thursday

Perceptual Organization - Making sense while thinking

Editor's Corner

In a recent article, I had stressed the fact that the human brain, in addition to being the most extraordinary creation of the human anatomy was also the epicenter of thought, conviction, emotions, consciousness and purpose. In this particular article, the subject/topic of perceptual organization will be the focus of my discussion.

It therefore seemed appropriate to start this discussion with a reference once again to the human brain as perceptual organization would ‘naturally’ be a part or component of the intricate but detailed functionality of the human brain. Knowing fully well that learning may play a significant role in perception, there is the school of thought that perceptual organization does reflect innate properties of the human brain. More recent work in perception seems to infer that studying perception is basically studying the human brain. In particular, there seems to be more and more, an alignment of such school of thought with physiological observations of the human brain.

What is Perceptual Organization and even more importantly, how does one organize raw sensory stimuli into meaningful experiences that would ultimately make sense (at least to a recipient of the experience generated by the said stimuli)? Furthermore, in the process of making sense of the ‘sensation’, is the thinking process an evolving one and subject to an individual’s perceptual organization of his or her experiences? Also, what set of mental activities are involved in this organizational process and how ’influential’ are they in the process? Perception involves organization and grouping as well as distinguishing objects from their surroundings.

I do believe and will state that the organization of raw (sensory) stimuli into experiences that make sense and are meaningful to an individual or larger society would normally involve some cognitive functionality. This cognitive functionality would comprise processes such as thinking, knowing, remembering and in some cases, forgetting. This would seem to be a logical sequence as it makes for an organizational process that would ultimately seek to incorporate that which is favorable while through the forgetting process, eliminate that which the senses deem unfavorable.

Throughout this process, the importance of knowledge and experience will ultimately be established as knowing as a result of thinking generates a learned experiential state which whether favorable or unfavorable would ultimately help develop a perceptive frame of reference for the individual concerned. Now, I am not sure if I am making that much sense here, but I am simply stating what I think is in essence the obvious based on my own perceptual organization.

In asking some of the questions I asked in the second paragraph of this article, I did not do that with the aim of necessarily answering the said questions. I did that in the hopes of asking even more questions by creating a forum for intellectual conversations as to what perceptual organization really is all about; without seeking to necessarily narrow down its definition. What seems to be rather clear however is the realization that knowledge and experience are probably the most critical components of the perceptive process since those two factors may in fact help us better make sense of the input to our sensory systems.

According to Gestalt laws of grouping, there is the school of thought that the whole differs from the sum of its parts (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). The Gestalt theorists for the most part in the 20th century sought to single out the brain processes that would ultimately be responsible for the organization of perception. They argued that while simple sensations essentially consisted of organized percepts, the percepts themselves could be said to be basic to experience. There are also various arguments out there that seek to identify whether or not these experiences are for the most part private (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

As I had stated earlier, perception, in addition to involving organization and grouping, also involves the process of distinguishing an object from its surroundings (Ehrenstein, W. 1930). There is the notion that the moment we perceive an object, the surrounding area around the said object is then the background. Gestalt psychologists are the biggest proponents of this school of thought. That would seem to suggest a concept of separating the figure from the ground and according to the Gestalt school of thought, this process is replicated throughout the various experiences of the percepts themselves (Ehrenstein, W. 1930).

There is no question this is probably one of the most difficult (if not the most difficult concepts - perceptual organization) for me to chew on, but I am of the school of thought that a thorough understanding of the subject itself is an evolving one in as much as the knowledge and experience of the percepts themselves, as part of the complex make-up of the human brain.

References
Ehrenstein, W. (1930). Figure-Ground Segregation. Current Psychology of Cognition, 117, 339-412.

Wednesday

China’s Military Has Surpassed the U.S. in Ships, Missiles and Air Defense, Department of Defense report finds......


CC™ Defense Watch - By Richard Sisk

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has already surpassed the U.S. in missile development and its number of warships and air defense systems under the Chinese Communist Party’s plan to achieve dominance by 2049, the Defense Department said in a sobering report Tuesday.

The ultimate goal of the People’s Republic of China, or PRC, is to “develop a military by mid-Century that is equal to — or in some cases superior to — the U.S. military, or that of any other great power that the PRC views as a threat,” the DoD’s annual report to Congress said.

To that end, the PRC has “marshalled the resources, technology, and political will over the past two decades to strengthen and modernize the PLA in nearly every respect,” the report said.

Under the national strategy pressed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the result has been that “China is already ahead of the United States in certain areas” essential to its overall aim of progressing from homeland and periphery defense to global power projection, the report said.

“The PRC has the largest navy in the world, with an overall battle force of approximately 350 ships and submarines, including over 130 major surface combatants,” the report said.

That’s compared to the U.S. Navy’s current battle force of 295 ships.

In addition, “the PRC has more than 1,250 ground-launched ballistic missiles (GLBMs) and ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers,” while the U.S. currently fields one type of conventional GLBM with a range of 70 to 300 kilometers and no GLCMs, the report said.

In some respects, China is also ahead on integrated air defense systems with a mix of Russian-built and homegrown systems, the report said.

“The PRC has one of the world’s largest forces of advanced long-range surface-to-air systems” — including Russian-built S-400, S-300, and domestically-produced anti-air systems — making up “part of its robust and redundant integrated air defense system,” the report said.

Despite the advances, the PLA “remains in a position of inferiority” to the U.S. in overall military strength, said Chad Sbragia, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for China.

The 173-page DoD report “does not claim that China’s military is 10 feet tall,” but the Chinese Communist Party wants it to be, and has the plan and resources to reach that goal, Sbragia, a retired Marine officer, said at an American Enterprise Institute forum on China’s military.

At an earlier Pentagon briefing on the report, Sbragia said Beijing’s military strategy was driven by the view that the U.S. has decided upon a long period of confrontation to counter the global spread of China’s influence.

He said that China “increasingly views the United States as more willing to confront Beijing on matters where the U.S. and PRC interests are inimical.”

“The CCP leaders view the United States’ security alliances and partnerships — especially those in the Indo-Pacific region — as destabilizing and irreconcilable with China’s interests,” Sbragia said.

The DoD report, titled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” comes about two weeks before Congress is set to return from recess to convene a Senate-House Conference Committee on the National Defense Authorization Act and the defense budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has acknowledged downward pressures on the defense budget to offset the enormous costs of the COVID-19 response while arguing for sustained increases of 3-5% in defense spending in future years to maintain U.S. superiority and readiness.

The 20th annual report on China by DoD noted the “staggering” improvements in China’s ability to build, coordinate and project power since the first report was issued.

“DoD’s first annual report to Congress in 2000 assessed the PRC’s armed forces at that time to be a sizable but mostly archaic military that was poorly suited to the CCP’s long-term ambitions,” the report said.

In 2000, “the PLA lacked the capabilities, organization, and readiness for modern warfare,” the report said. But the CCP, it added, recognized the shortcomings and set about with determination to “strengthen and transform its armed forces in a manner commensurate with its aspirations to strengthen and transform China.”

“More striking than the PLA’s staggering amounts of new military hardware are the recent sweeping efforts taken by CCP leaders that include completely restructuring the PLA into a force better suited for joint operations” and for “expanding the PRC’s overseas military footprint.”

The PLA has already established its first overseas military base in Djibouti, about a mile from U.S. Africa Command’s main base on the Horn of Africa.

In its commentary on the DoD assessment, the American Enterprise Institute noted that the report also stressed that “The PRC has likely considered locations for PLA military logistics facilities in Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola, and Tajikistan.”

Despite the progress made by China’s military over the past two decades, “major gaps and shortcomings remain” in readiness and operational capability, the report said, but China’s leaders are acutely aware of the problems and have detailed plans to overcome them.

“Of course, the CCP does not intend for the PLA to be merely a showpiece of China’s modernity or to keep it focused solely on regional threats,” the report said.

“As this report shows, the CCP desires the PLA to become a practical instrument of its statecraft with an active role in advancing the PRC’s foreign policy, particularly with respect to the PRC’s increasingly global interests and its aims to revise aspects of the international order,” it added.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

Military.com

Tuesday

Dealing with an incompetent and unethical lawyer

CC™ Informational 

It is frustrating when you are dissatisfied with your lawyer or her work -- especially if you don't know what to do about it. Here are some strategies for dealing with common problems that arise during legal representation. 

For starters, the distressingly common problem of non-communication doesn't have an easy solution. A lawyer who doesn't return phone calls or communicate with you for an extended period of time may be guilty of abandoning you -- a violation of attorneys' ethical obligations. But that's for a bar association to determine (if you register a complaint), and it won't do you much good in the short term. 

If your lawyer doesn't seem to be working on your case, sending a polite but firm letter laying out your concerns should get your lawyer's attention. Don't threaten to file a malpractice lawsuit or complain to the bar association; such threats will probably make your lawyer angry and defensive, not attentive.

If your lawyer does not respond, or subsequent meetings or conversations are not fruitful, consider suggesting mediation to work out your communication problems if you still want this lawyer to represent you. A bad deskside manner doesn't mean that the lawyer isn't an excellent lawyer, and it can be difficult to find a new one in the middle of a case.

If you conclude that you simply can't work with your lawyer anymore, fire your lawyer and find someone new. You may also want to have a second lawyer evaluate your first lawyer's actions and advise you about paying (or refusing to pay) any bill you receive, filing a complaint with your state lawyer discipline agency, or suing the lawyer for malpractice.

The Lawyer Is Dishonest or Totally Incompetent
If your lawyer has actually stolen from you or acted with gross incompetence, the authorities in charge of disciplining lawyers in your state should show some interest.

File a complaint with your state's lawyer discipline agency

Every state has an agency responsible for licensing and disciplining lawyers. In most states, it's the bar association; in others, the state supreme court. The agency is most likely to take action if your lawyer has failed to pay you money that you won in a settlement or lawsuit, made some egregious error such as failing to show up in court, didn't do legal work you paid for, committed a crime, or has a drug or alcohol abuse problem. 

Unfortunately, these state agencies are famous for moving at a slow pace, not pursuing complaints vigorously, and communicating poorly with people who file complaints. Still, it is important to report a legal skunk. Many agencies wait until they have several similar complaints about a particular attorney before taking action. 

Getting compensated 

State bar associations are primarily concerned with punishing lawyers (though rarely severely), not compensating clients. But all states except Maine, New Mexico, and Tennessee do have funds from which they may reimburse clients whose attorneys stole from them. 

You're Concerned About the Lawyer's Work 

It's often hard for a client to know whether or not a lawyer is doing a good job. But if you think your lawyer's ability leaves something to be desired, investigate -- before it's too late. 

Communicate

If your lawyer doesn't seem to be working on your case, talk to your lawyer and explain your concerns. 

Get your file 

If you can't find out what has (and has not) been done, you need to get hold of your file. You can read it in your lawyer's office or ask your lawyer to send you copies of everything -- all correspondence and everything filed with the court or recorded with a government agency.

If you've already ended your relationship with the lawyer, you need your file pronto to make sure all deadlines are met, mistakes are repaired, and the matter keeps moving. If the lawyer is unresponsive and the matter involves a lawsuit, go to the courthouse and look at your case file, which contains all the papers that have actually been filed with the court. 

If you've hired a new lawyer, ask her for help in getting your file. Also, ask your state bar association for assistance. If that doesn't work, as a last resort you may need to sue your lawyer in small claims court, asking the court for money to compensate you for what you've spent on redoing work in the file or trying to get the file. 

Research 

If you're not satisfied with your lawyer's strategy decisions or with the arguments the lawyer has been making on your behalf, you may even want to go to the law library and do some reading to educate yourself about your legal problem. 

Get a second opinion

If you've got serious doubts about how your case is being handled, see a second attorney. Second opinions are relatively inexpensive -- an hour or two of a lawyer's time spent talking to you plus any time spent reviewing papers. And they are often very valuable in helping you decide whether to stay with your current lawyer or change to someone better suited to the task.

The more you can tell and show the second lawyer about your case, the better advice you will get about whether your case is being handled correctly and what might be done differently. Keep in mind, though, that no two lawyers handle a case in exactly the same way, and that a second opinion is usually a cursory review, not a comprehensive analysis.

Fire your lawyer

It's your absolute right to fire your lawyer at any time for any reason. Give it serious consideration if you're convinced the lawyer is doing a bad job or if your relationship with the lawyer has become intolerable. 

But dumping a bad lawyer can be expensive. If you hire a new lawyer, you'll have to pay him or her to get up to speed on your case. If the first lawyer hasn't done much, this shouldn't cost a lot. But if you have a trial scheduled for three weeks from now, your new lawyer will have a monumental and time-consuming job. 

Sue for malpractice 

If you lost money because of the way your lawyer handled your case, consider suing for malpractice. Know, however, that it is not an easy task. You must prove two things:
  • your lawyer messed up and
  • you would have won your case otherwise.It's not enough to show that your lawyer made a mistake -- you must show that the mistake caused you financial loss that you would not have suffered if your lawyer had handled your case properly in the first place.
If you want to sue for legal malpractice, do it as quickly as possible. A common defense raised by attorneys sued for malpractice is that the client waited too long to sue. And because this area of the law can be surprisingly complicated and confusing, there's often plenty of room for argument. 

Legal malpractice cases are expensive to pursue, so do some investigating before you dive in. There's no point in suing if the lawyer doesn't have either malpractice insurance or valuable assets from which to pay you if you win.

Source: NOLO

Monday

Feds Arrest Rapper Who Bragged About Getting Rich From Filing EDD Claims In Music Video

CC™ National News


A rapper who bragged in a YouTube music video (see video above) about getting rich from an unemployment scam was arrested Friday on federal charges of fraudulently applying for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits, the Department Of Justice officials said.

Fontrell Antonio Baines, 31, of Memphis, Tenn., is known online as Nuke Bizzle. Federal officials say he is currently a resident in the Hollywood Hills and is expected to make his first court appearance Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

Baines was arrested Sept. 23 by Las Vegas police and was found to be in possession of eight EDD debit cards, seven of which were in the names of other people, according to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint against Baines.

In the video, which apparently was posted on Sept. 11, prosecutors say Baines rapped about doing “my swagger for EDD” and getting rich by “go[ing] to the bank with a stack of these” while holding up a several envelopes from EDD. A second man in the video raps, “you gotta sell cocaine, I just file a claim…”

The criminal complaint alleges Baines exploited the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provision of federal coronavirus relief, or CARES Act, that was supposed to expand unemployment benefits to freelance and gig workers.

According to the affidavit, the investigation turned up at least 92 EDD debit cards preloaded with more than $1.2 million in fraudulent obtained benefits mailed to addresses that Baines had access to in Beverly Hills and Koreatown. Federal investigators say Baines and his co-schemers allegedly withdrew or spent more than $704,000 in cash from these cards.

Baines has been charged with access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and interstate transportation of stolen property. If convicted as charged, he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.



CBSLA

Sunday

CNN's Jake Tapper scolds Lara Trump for seemingly mocking Joe Biden's stutter in heated interview

CC™ Politico News

By Jeva Lange 

CNN's Jake Tapper cut off Lara Trump during a tense interview on State of the Union on Sunday after she dodged a question about appearing to mock Joe Biden's stutter by claiming the Democratic presidential candidate is in "cognitive decline."

Tapper had aired a clip of Trump's daughter-in-law claiming that every time Biden speaks, "I'm like 'Joe, can ya get it out, let's get the words out, Joe.' You kinda feel bad for him." Tapper asked Lara Trump in response, "How do you think it makes little kids with stutters feel when they see you make a comment like that?"

Trump said she didn't know Biden had famously overcome a stutter, and pivoted to alleging his speech was evidence of "cognitive decline." Tapper quickly interrupted: "I think you have absolutely no standing to diagnose somebody's cognitive decline," he told her, pointing out that "I'm sure it offends you" when people do the same to President Trump.

"I'm not diagnosing him," Trump protested. "I'm saying Joe Biden is struggling at times on stage and it's concerning to a lot of people that this could be the leader of the free world. That is all I'm saying. I genuinely feel sorry for Joe Biden."

But Tapper's patience had run out. "I'm sure [your comments] were from a place of concern," he said. "We all believe that." Watch below.

Saturday

My Cousin Was Murdered By Police, Nigerian-Born Canadian provincial Justice Minister Supports #EndSARS

Alberta Solicitor-General Kaycee Madu
CC™ Global News

Nigerian-born Kaycee Madu , Minister of Justice and Solicitor-General of Alberta in Canada has endorsed the #EndSARS protest in Nigeria.

He was recently appointed as a Minister.

“I support the people of Nigeria as they protest to end police brutality and extrajudicial killings,” Mr. Madu stated on Twitter.

The solicitor-general revealed that his cousin was a victim of police brutality in Nigeria.

The Alberta Minister of Justice said, “I support the people of Nigeria as they protest to end police brutality and extrajudicial killings. My own cousin Chrisantus Nwabueze Korie was murdered by Nigerian police in April 2013. Fundamental human rights like peace, security and freedom from police brutality are universal. The Nigerian government has an obligation to protect its citizens and deliver substantive police reform.

Furthermore, Changing the name of SARS and reconstituting it without significant reform won’t be sufficient to satisfy the cry of the Nigerian people for justice.

Friday

Lipstick on a pig: Nigeria's Police Inspector-General moves to replace murderous SARS unit with a 'new' SWAT unit


CC™ Global News

Nigeria’s head of police Mohammad Adamu has established a new Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) squad to “fill the gaps” left by the notorious police unit Federal Special Anti-robbery squad (FSARS).

The force spokesman Frank Mba said the IGP had also ordered all personnel of the disbanded SARS to report at force headquarters in Abuja for debriefing.

"The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A. Adamu, NPM, mni has, today, 13th October, 2020, in accordance with Section 18 (10) of the Police Act 2020, ordered all personnel of the defunct SARS to report at the Force Headquarters, Abuja for debriefing, psychological and medical examination. The officers are expected to undergo this process as a prelude to further training and reorientation before being redeployed into mainstream policing duties," Mba said.

Mba said prospective members of this new team will also “undergo psychological and medical examination to ascertain their fitness and eligibility for the new assignment.”

The SARS was dissolved on Sunday but there are allegations that they were still on the streets attacking and brutalizing protesters.

Just hours after Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday tried to assuage protesters by promising "extensive" reforms to stop the rising crisis of police brutality, another civilian was shot and killed by police during a protest in Surulere, Lagos State.

Protesters, who clamored for the dissolution of the unit, have continued to protest noting the government's ineffectual promises of police reforms and investigations in the past.

The Guardian has earlier reported that the police boss ordered all state commissioners of police to ensure no officer and other insignia of the defunct SARS is seen in public.

In the “police wireless message” dated October 12, 2020, seen by The Guardian, the state commissioners of police are to ensure “strict compliance” of the directive.

Investigation and prosecution of erring officers are the latest demands of the protesters with the standing demand that police brutality in the country must end.

With celebrities adding their voice to the #EndSARS hashtag, it jumped to the top global trend on Twitter and drew international support from UK-based footballers like Mesut Ozil and Marcus Rashford, musicians and actors.

Nigeria’s global superstars, Wizkid and Davido, who are also part of this generation of protesters, have been physically present in London and Abuja – where the latter’s presence stopped police officers from shooting at protesters.

The protests against the police have largely been organized on social media, fuelled by personal accounts of police abuses and videos of brutal incidents, including the beating of civilians and the firing of live ammunition at protesters.


GUARDIAN

Thursday

Nigeria's Super Eagles: Nigeria Football Federation urged to replace Gernot Rohr with competent coach

Rohr (L) continues to live in the shadow of the accomplishments of the legendary Stephen Keshi (R)

CC™ Sports News

By Emmanuel Afonne

A former House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Sports, Godfrey Gaiya, has called for the sack of Super Eagles Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr following the team's poor outing in Austria.

The Super Eagles ended their Tuesday's friendly with Tunisia's Carthage Eagles 1-1, four days after they lost 0-1 to the Desert Foxes of Algeria.

Gaiya in an interview with NAN wondered what would happen in a competitive match if the "highly rated" coach could not defeat any African opponent in both friendlies played in Austria.

"We need another coach that will give us a national team; Gernot Rohr keeps embarking on trials.

"He brings people from nowhere to come and do what they like, and tomorrow, he brings a new set.

"We don't have a team. We have always advocated for a very competent coach, whether foreign or local because the colour of one's skin does not give him or her credentials of a good coach.

"A good coach is a coach that can transform our football and uplift our game to enable Nigeria be among best football playing countries. I am particular about what the coach is bringing in to the national team.

"I want to see my national team rated among the best. I know we have players that can do that, but as it is now, we cannot see anything good," Gaiya said.

The former lawmaker urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to review its contract with Rohr, noting that rewards and sanctions must be part of every contract if positive results must be achieved.

Gaiya added that the Super Eagles cannot remain stagnant because of the contract given to an individual.

"In every contract you sign there are clauses and rules of engagement and there are conditions for the contract to be valid.

"So, if I sign a contract with a low achiever and I have an ambition to get to somewhere and I know that the contract I signed with Mr A cannot take me to where I am going to, then, I should apply the clauses to cancel out the deal.

"At any point in time, if there is any reason to be convinced that my employee cannot take me to where I am going, I cannot be tied down because I signed a contract.

"So if the contract that was signed cannot take us to where we are going, then let it be quickly reviewed to enable Nigeria get to its football destination," he added.

Gaiya stressed that good coaches usually deliver on tough assignments or matches, Rohr should not be an exception to the norm.


NAN

Wednesday

Fox News and the New York Post: The ascent of yellow journalism and the dangers it portends to democracy

Rudy Giuliani anchors the Barbarians at the Gate

CC™ ViewPoint 

By David G. Yarborough - Contributing Editor

As we enter the last weeks of probably the most crucial elections in the history of the United States, I am reminded that one thing will hold constant as sure as the sun rising at the dawn of a new day, the usual suspect(s) will be there again as a trusted last ditch resource for Donald Trump and his dead-in-the-water campaign for re-election.

As an Independent and someone who like most Americans is fiscally conservative (I am somewhat reluctant to use the term 'conservative' these days as it has been hijacked by right-wing racists and neo-fascists in the Republican Party) and socially centrist, I am always looking to get both sides of the story. While CNN and the rest of the alphabet soup gang have not necessarily clothed themselves in glory, there is no denying that Fox News as a media outlet can be seen as nothing but a propaganda arm of the current White House.

The term 'State TV' could not be more apt in describing Fox News as the outlet does not even try to hide its disdain for the truth as evidenced by the fact that every single news production aired through the outlet seeks to extol the virtues of the Trump administration, and when they even as much as deviate from that course, the 'Dear Leader' is always there to let them know it.

We have thus always known why Fox News exists but there is another arm of the 'bifecta' and that is the New York Post. For the record, in case most do not know, the Post is essentially a tabloid (just above the National Enquirer) and its distribution ranked 4th in the U.S. in 2018 according to AllSides™.

If you thought Fox News was obtuse and jarring, then be prepared to be even more astonished by the artistry in the art of obfuscation and distortion that is the New York Post. According to Wikipedia, the New York Post has been criticized for "sensationalism, blatant advocacy, and conservative bias." It continues:

Perhaps the most serious allegation against the Post is that it is willing to contort its news coverage to suit Murdoch's business needs, in particular that the paper has avoided reporting anything that is unflattering to the government of the People's Republic of China, where Murdoch has invested heavily in satellite television.[51] However, it has recently allowed criticism of the People's Republic of China and its handling of the Hong Kong protests.[52]

According to a survey conducted by Pace University n 2004, the Post was rated the least-credible major news outlet in New York. It was the only news outlet to receive more responses calling it "not credible" than credible (44% not credible to 39% credible).

It is therefore no surprise that both the New York Post and Fox News are both owned by News Corp, Rupert Murdoch's multinational mass media corporation that spun off from the original News Corporation. That should tell you all you need to know.

In concluding, while voting has already started and in some cases completed in earnest, the American people must remain vigilant in these last couple of weeks and understand that EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING, will be done by Donald Trump and his surrogates to win this election. The alternative is a non-starter for him (Trump) as whatever is left of his sanity and his personal freedom (he may go to jail eventually with the legal battles brewing around his business and personal dealings) literally hinges on his re-election.

We must reclaim our democracy. 


New York Post   Fox News   News Corp   Rudy Giuliani  

Tuesday

The saga of transactional sex on the campus of Nigerian universities

CC™ Editorial By Oludayo Tade 

Transactional sex among female undergraduates in Nigeria is a social reality. The practice has been reported on regularly in the mainstream media and explored in various research papers

This cross generational relationship is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, and across the world where sponsors are commonly known as “sugar daddies”.

In our study on transactional sex in Nigerian universities, my colleague and I looked at the symbiotic relationship between some female Nigerian undergraduate students and aristos – wealthy, married or unmarried men. The students have transactional sex with the aristos in exchange for financial, social or educational support.

Because a great deal of these relationships happen undercover, there are no solid figures on the number of women involved in them. But there are many reasons that these relationships happen. It’s a practice that’s driven by economic hardship, a desire to network socially, and peer influence.
To understand more about these relationships we conducted 30 interviews with female undergraduates – commonly known as “runs-girls”.
We found that the students engage in transactional sex for pleasure and money. Typically, wealthy students would be with an aristo for pleasure, while those who needed financial support did it for the money. Most of the women we spoke to viewed it as a critical survival life investment strategy and rejected the “prostitution” label.
Although these relationships could offer the students economic, emotional, and political support, their effects can also be negative. The students expose themselves to sexually transmitted infections, physical violence and academic setbacks, because the relationships can distract from their studies.
Those with sexually transmitted infections risk of spreading these to their boyfriends, while also suffering economic losses seeking treatment.

Finding clients

Aristos are usually wealthy postgraduate students, lecturers, politicians, business people and military personnel. They are people with wealth and authority.
The students looked for these clients on and off campus, using connections and referrals. They then familiarized themselves with the potential client’s routine, aiming to eventually manufacture an encounter.
There’s usually a generational gap between the “runs-girls” and the aristos. The students often refer to their clients as “uncle”, “daddy” and, more recently, “aristo”. All of these bring connotations of the person’s expected role: to take care of the student.
If the students don’t have much financial support from their families, these relationships provide them with that security. Some started as a one-off “date”, for which they got a sum of money. But longer-term relationships also developed in some instances.
In return for sex, the women were given luxury possessions, like cars and mobile phones; investments for businesses they might start; or work placements when they finish their studies.
As one female student said:
The type of connection I have with politicians, lecturers, and military men cannot be purchased with money. At times, when I have problem, all I do is to make a call, depending on the nature of challenges…
In Nigeria, about 23% of young people are unemployed. These connections, with people of influence, may be a ticket to employment. As one “runs-girl” revealed:
One of my clients who happened to be a commissioner connected my senior sister to get a job at immigration even without any much stress…
Transactional sex isn’t limited to financially strapped students. We spoke to rich female students who engaged in it for sexual fulfillment. One 24 year old student said:
I am from a rich home, my father is even a Major (in the army), and my mother a nurse, but I’m involved in campus runs because of sexual satisfaction, although nothing goes for nothing, because sex is for enjoyment. I have a guy that I help financially, and on the long run he pays me back with sex.

Challenges

In this research we identified a few challenges.
Some “runs-girls” accepted offers of unprotected sex for better pay. This put them at risk of catching sexually transmitted infections and, consequently, the cost of treatment. As one student said:
I am always scared of having naked (unprotected) sex. Most times I use (a) condom because one can never know a man that has HIV/AIDS. Although sometimes some men always want naked sex and in that case, they will have to pay triple than what is earlier bargained. Part of the money realized as a runs-girl are used in revitalizing the body, in which I go to the hospital once in a month to examine myself.
Other risks are that the women could be physically harmed. This is particularly true if the clients choose not to pay an agreed amount.
Their education could also suffer as they may choose to engage in “runs” rather than go to class.

Action needed

Getting the government or even universities to take action will prove difficult because our evidence suggests that policy makers, politicians and the business class are involved, as aristos.
Nevertheless, given the risks associated, something ought to be done.
One possible solution might be to establish part-time jobs for vulnerable students, and to institute courses about running businesses so that young women can earn money independently.
In addition, institutions should put together and roll out communications campaigns that teach young people about the implications of transactional sex.