Wednesday

Flashback: The GOP and the dearth of true conservatives

Reagan takes oath of office
Editor-in-Chief - Boyejo A. Coker

This piece was written (ahead of the 2012 U.S. general elections) as a sequel to a preceding piece titled "Whither the GOP and true conservatism." Both pieces served to profess a prelude to the emergence of both Barack Obama and Donald Trump on opposite sides of the political spectrum. The article continues below.....

In an article I wrote three years ago, I touched on the debilitating frailties of the GOP as presently constituted and how they may have led to the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

As we get into the decisive months of presidential politics in the U.S. general elections, one sees the same pattern beginning to unfold once again, as the GOP-led Congress (at least on the House side) would much rather play side-bar politics, that could ultimately re-energize the left to turn out in solidarity of what most observers perceive to be an under-performing president.

There is no question that the president is vulnerable and worse-still is the fact that he seems unsure of what he needs to do, in order to get the economy moving again.

For independent voters (they hold the "swing votes" in key elections), the two choices for the White House would seem to be a replay of 2008 all over again.

Then, most independents seemed to initially lean towards John McCain, as they respected his service to country as well as his penchant for reaching across the aisle, to get the business of the nation done, when it was absolutely necessary.

The fringe right of the GOP was however cool to the McCain candidacy and they eventually forced his hand into choosing someone that many felt became a liability to both his candidacy as well as the poignant message true conservatives were trying to send to the American people.

Key political watchers would argue that true conservatives never warmed up to Sarah Palin the minute they realized there was nothing behind the looks or between the ears.

For all the so-called Tea Party would like most Americans to believe, conservatism is not defined by a resentment for a sterling educational pedigree or impeccable intellectual acumen. Rather than see those with the preceding qualities as snubs, a true conservative views the composite as an invaluable asset; one that typifies a sense of ambition, responsibility and ultimately speaks to the crux of the conservative message of a commitment to excellence.

The reality is that this president is way in over his head, but the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives has consistently giving him a way out by stalling and styming his feckless efforts aimed at "reviving" the American economy.

And when they are not styming the president's "well intended efforts" they are busy issuing subpoenas to the Attorney General of the United States for a program that was actually started under a Republican president; it was then called Operation Wide Receiver and it was the first known ATF "gunwalking" operation to the Mexican drug cartels, beginning in early 2006 (under the Bush White House) and ran till late 2007.

Not to digress onto this matter, but what makes the Darrell Issa-led over-reach even more laughable and at best mis-directed, is the fact that under the Bush administration, there were no known reviews by either the DOJ or the Congress at the time. In fact, it was not until Barack Obama took office in 2009, that the Eric Holder-led DOJ started an intensive review into Operation Wide Receiver, with arrests and indictments subsequently made, as a result of the investigations.

Rather than focus on the key issues that continue to affect the generality of the American people, the ECONOMY, ECONOMY and the ECONOMY, key GOP leadership and their surrogates, would much rather play divisive politics and once again, give a much needed opening and life-line to a struggling presidency.

True conservatives are not blinded by their parochial and ideological idiosyncrasies, but are instead committed to espousing the true values and ideals of transparency, accountability and responsible governance; doing so with dignity and firmness, as well as a sense of cordiality that belies their resolve and determination.

The message of individual responsibility, self-determination, personal discipline and accountability must not be lost in the abyss of incendiary vituperations laced with jingoistic redundancies.

The American people deserve much better this time around, than a default presidency as that may ultimately lead to a couple of plausible scenarios that could eventually obtain here. The first is that Barack Obama's "third term" is ensured (4 years from now) by the lack of purpose and direction currently being exhibited by the core GOP establishment. The other scenario is that an anti-establishment candidate may arise out of the ashes of the impending GOP establishment's implosion. That person would then become an unlikely but much welcome voice (at least to the far right) of parochial irredentism that may change the political landscape of the United States forever.

Chief Editor's commentary: The 'anti-establishment candidate' I predicted almost a decade ago, in this piece, turned out to be Donald J. Trump. Four years of his chaotic presidency has turned American democracy on its head and January 6, 2021 was indeed a defining day in the history of the United States of America. 

Tuesday

The best West African destinations

CC™ Travel Scope 

1. Ghana

Hailed as West Africa’s golden child, Ghana is an ideal destination if you’re looking to relax, immerse in the authentic African culture and learn more about African history – no wonder it’s called ‘Africa for beginners. 

For a more exciting getaway, visit the country’s capital – Accra.  You’ll find beautiful beaches (like Labadie beach), luxury hotels and fascinating museums. Don’t forget to stop over at the marketplaces where you can shop African prints, jewellery and souvenirs.

Also read: Epic adventures in Ghana

Amaiashome Beach, Ghana

Image Source: @amaiashome on Instagram

2. Cape Verde

With an abundance of spectacular views and rich culture, Cape Verde is one of the most beautiful countries in West Africa. Located on the west coast of Africa, it’s an archipelago out in the north Atlantic, consisting of 10 islands and several islets. 

Be sure to visit the beaches, the restaurants for amazing seafood and the local market for some artefacts. A visit to the salt lake (Salinas de Pedra de Lume) is a must if you’d like to try a mud bath.

Also read: 12 Reasons to visit Cape Verde

Sal, Cape Verde

Image Source: @rivo_lution on Instagram

3. The Gambia

Despite being the smallest country in Africa, The Gambia is regarded as West Africa’s best-kept secret. Surrounded by golden beaches backed by swaying palms sprinkled with scenic lagoons, an abundance of wildlife, vibrant history and culture, it offers visitors an opportunity to get in touch with nature.

The Gambia has amazing reserves, such as Abuko National Reserve, Gambia National Park and Bijilo Forest Park, where you can see various animals and rare species of wildlife.

Gambia-Travelstart

Image Source: flikr

4. Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast is one of those undiscovered countries in West Africa – a hidden gem. It’s a country surrounded by picture-perfect palm-lined beaches, offering incredible attractions for visitors. The food in Ivory Coast is incredible. A bite of kedjenou and poulet braise will have you begging for more!

Explore the oldest park in Africa, the Comoë National Park, where you can see the lions, waterbucks, hippos and other animals frolicking in their natural habitat. It’s an ideal destination for a family vacation.

Also read: Six amazing things to do in Ivory Coast

kedjenou

Image Source: @cheffe_naomi_a on Instagram

5.  Nigeria

Dubbed as the “giant of Africa” Nigeria is one of the most beautiful countries in West Africa. Its subtropical climate, wide beaches, superb restaurants, excellent shopping malls, exciting craft markets and lively nightlife make Nigeria a year-round destination. 

Nigeria will captivate you with its rich and multicultural society. It boasts beautiful tourist spots such as Olumirin Waterfall in Erin-Ijesha, Ife Museum in Enuwa Square, the Olumo Rock, Agbokim Waterfall and plenty more. 

Also read: 10 Romantic honeymoon destinations in Nigeria

Civic Centre, Lagos

6. Senegal

Home to the Monument de la Renaissance Africaine, Senegal has come a long way in its fight for independence.The African Renaissance Monument, which was built in 2010, is a statue expressing a rebirth of Africa and commemorating Senegalese independence, so be sure to check it out. 

Like many countries in West Africa, Senegal is also famous for its food. The Senegalese glean their culinary inspiration from far and wide, combining French and North African influences with ancient local traditions. The staple dish for most families is thiéboudienne (fish and rice). You’ll find different variations around the country.

Senegalese food

Image source: 196flavours.com

7. Togo

Togo is part of the few countries in West Africa known for its white-sand beaches and perfect scenery. Its multistorey Grand Marché bazaar in Lomé (the capital) is also worth a visit, so be a tourist and do some sightseeing. Start with the Monument de l’Independance and learn about the end of the colonial rule in Togo. The national museum, the food market and the Lomé Cathedral are a must-see as well.

Lome beach

These are the best West African destinations you can visit for a nice holiday. Remember that any way you plan to spend your vacation, the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and stay safe. Don’t forget your camera at home because the memories should be documented in pictures.


travelstartblog

Monday

My comments on low vaccine efficacy 'misinterpreted" - Chinese official


CC™ Global News

China's top infectious disease control official said his comments on the effectiveness of his country's vaccines over the weekend were misinterpreted.

The director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said it was a "complete misunderstanding'' that he had said Chinese vaccines offer a low level of protection, in comments to state newspaper the Global Times on Monday.

He had been presenting a "scientific vision'' that adapting vaccine sequences or administering different jabs on after the other could also be options for increasing protection, he said.

"The protection rates of all vaccines in the world are sometimes high, and sometimes low. How to improve their efficacy is a question that needs to be considered by scientists around the world,'' Gao said.

Gao Fu was talking at a conference in Chengdu on Saturday on the topic of how to solve the insufficient protection of current vaccines, Chinese news outlet Pengpai Xinwen (The Paper) reported.

"It is also necessary to consider ways to address the low protection rate of existing vaccines,'' he was cited as saying.

His comments prompted a reaction because there is far less data available on Chinese vaccines than those being produced in many other countries.

Critics have complained of a lack of transparency when it comes to Chinese jabs, which have not been authorized in many European nations.

Data from the third phase of clinical studies was particularly sought after.

Because China has the Coronavirus pandemic largely under control and was reporting hardly any local infections, studies so far have only been published from other countries where vaccines were being used.


WORLD PRESS

Sunday

52 Nigerians hit with severe reactions after taking AstraZeneca vaccine

CC™ Medical News

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, on Friday disclosed that 52 Nigerians have experienced moderate to severe reactions after taking the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja.

He also said 8,439 Nigerians experienced mild Adverse events following immunization (AEFI) after taking the vaccine.

Shuaib stated that the 52 Nigerians that experienced moderate to severe reactions to the vaccine were brought down with fever, vomiting, diarrhea headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions

“In Nigeria, since the vaccination program was officially rolled out on 15th of April 2021, a total of 8,439 mild Adverse events following immunization (AEFI) have been reported. These range from pain, swelling at the site of the inoculation, to body pains and nausea. 

“Similarly, 52 cases of moderate to severe incidents of AEFI have been reported. These presented as fever, vomiting, diarrhea headaches, dizziness and allergic reactions.

“Five states have the highest records of the AEFI namely: Kaduna (970) Cross River (859), Yobe (541), Kebbi (511), and Lagos (448),” he disclosed.

According to Shuaib, as of today, April 16th, 1,071,346, representing 53.2% of the eligible persons targeted with the AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered their first dose in this vaccination phase.

He said the data were based on reports received from states through the Electronic Management of Immunization Data (EMID) system only and did not take into account vaccinations that were not yet captured in the system.

“What this number means is that these are the people who have their information already uploaded on our data base, while others are awaiting upload, potentially due to network problems and the high traffic of those coming in to take their shots at the same time.

“While we continue to optimize our registration and immunization data system, we also encourage the state teams to deploy the most suitable internet service for their locations in order to speed up the data entry process, so that we can have the actual number of vaccinated people at any given time,” he said.

Shuaib added that in many states, the inoculation of frontline health workers had been completed and that they had begun offering vaccination to the elderly, particularly those that were 65 years and above.

“We are glad to be able to progress quickly offer immunization to more members of the community.

“Our rollout has been marked by safety, efficiency, best practice, and speed. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and its development partners, have a platform of Senior Supervisors that engage in daily evening review meetings to determine the status of the COVID-19 vaccine implementation in all States & the FCT.”


AGENCY NEWS

Saturday

Ten things we've learnt about identity politics in the United States

CC™ Editor-in-Chief

a) Racism is an institution not an event, statement or action, as evident by the silence and acquiescence of the Republican members of Congress to the dangerous and highly-charged statements, and actions of former President Donald Trump for 4 years, that ultimately culminated in the violent insurrection by White Supremacist supporters of his, against the Congress of the United States on January 6th, 2021.

b) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually instigated the singling out (in 2019) of the women of color in the U.S. House by referring to them as "just four people with no following". That was all President Donald Trump needed to strike at the time, against those women. 

c) Donald Trump "is not a racist". The power structure that enabled him become the POTUS and continues to facilitate his trampling upon the Constitution with impunity is racist and was set up to be that way by the founding fathers, who enslaved the Africans that were brought to America and saw them as less than human.

d) President Barack Obama would not have been elected to office if he had bragged about sexually assaulting women, and he would definitely have been impeached if he had conducted himself in office as Trump did.

e) Imagine what would have happened if Barack Obama had asked those that criticized his administration to leave the country, if they did not like the way things were being done. Or worse still, if he (Obama) had threatened to unleash the U.S. military on American citizens, protesting in the streets. Lastly, I am confident Barack Obama would have been impeached and convicted within a week (at most) if he had instigated an insurrection against a co-equal branch of government.

f) Gratitude is not a requirement of citizenship. Furthermore, all U.S. citizens (naturalized or natural born) have equal rights or do they.......?

g) The old order of the Democratic party is completely out of touch and the treatment of the four women Representatives of color by Speaker Pelosi two years ago, serves to buttress that point.

h) The Republican party has always had a playbook steeped in identity politics. Anyone remember the Willie Horton ads? Trump is not doing anything new. He simply took it to another level.

i) The palpable silence of the so-called religious leaders (especially the white religious leaders) in the United States tells you all you need to know about them.

j) The silence of most top American CEOs and business leaders (until recently) also tells you all you need to know about them and their organizations. The ones that have 'spoken out' are not only late to the game (about four years late at least), but are speaking out merely to 'sanitize' their brand, as well as clear whatever is left of their conscience (assuming most of them actually have one).

#Racism #Willie Horton #Barack Obama #Donald Trump #Capitol Insurrection #White Supremacy #White Nationalists

Thursday

'The narrative is always white is better' - Ex-Chelsea director and former Nigeria international Emenalo on systemic racism in football

Ex-Chelsea and Monaco Sporting Director Mike Emenalo
CC™ Introspective 

Former Chelsea sporting director Michael Emenalo says “the narrative has to change” if black coaches are to be given the same opportunities as their white counterparts.

The issue of racism in society has been given greater prominence in recent months following the killing of American George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020, which sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the globe. 
Premier League players and staff have shown their solidarity against racism by taking a knee before kick-off at every game, while the players also have 'Black Lives Matter' printed on their shirt sleeves.
Emenalo, though, believes there needs to be a more fundamental shift in how black players and managers are perceived if there is to be true equality in football.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is currently the only manager from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background in the Premier League. Emenalo meanwhile is one of only two BAME technical directors in Premier League history along with Les Ferdinand, whose QPR side were relegated three months after his appointment as director of football in February 2015.
“The narrative has to change. The narrative right now is always that white is better,” he told the Guardian.
“So it doesn’t matter what Chris Hughton produces as a manager. There’s always someone saying a white guy can do it better. People need to do the right thing. Like Martin Luther King said: ‘Judge me by my competence – not my skin colour.'
“When I sit behind the bench at a game, I want to be close to my work. But it’s also so that people of my colour could say: ‘I can do that.’ People in the parking lot would say: ‘Oh my God, you don’t know what you mean to us.’ Then I feel even worse because I want to say more.”
Emenalo joined Chelsea as chief scout in 2007 following a playing career that saw him play in five countries and feature for Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup. The 54-year-old was briefly promoted to assistant coach in 2010 before becoming technical director the following year.
He would go on to spend a decade at Stamford Bridge, overseeing a complete overhaul of the club’s academy structure and being credited with the scouting and signing of players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, N'Golo Kante and Eden Hazard.
Despite those achievements, Emenalo felt he constantly had to prove himself to the 10 permanent or caretaker managers Chelsea went through in that time.
“Everybody has a misconception of my knowledge, insight and experience. I did it 10 times with 10 managers,” he added.
“Each time I climbed the hill and convinced them of my worth. I have a university degree in international relations and diplomacy. I know how to deal with people and with situations. I had World Cup experience and been part of this industry on five continents.
"I said: ‘I’ll give them an opportunity to understand me.’ They all did but it’s not easy starting from ground zero every time.”
Stats Perform News

Wednesday

Racism: Why 'the children of a lesser God' must redefine the next human century and beyond.....

CC™ - Editor-in-Chief

I have always stated to many, including black intellectuals that racism is not an event, statement, person/personality or even an action. Racism, at its very core and foundation, is an institution and that is why I laugh consistently at the notion by white liberals and some blacks that racism must be defeated.

Defeated? Those who are actually 'in the know' understand the implication of that statement and as such they will NEVER allow that to happen; as it would mean the loss of their privilege and influence. I mean why would anyone in their 'right senses' want to give up the power and position they have benefited from for generations.

That opening flurry then brings us to the state of things not only in America, particularly under Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS, but also in the world as we, 'the children of a lesser God' seek to navigate our way through s system and indeed a world that continually views us as a threat. Yes, I said 'as a threat' as the founders of the racist establishment that currently runs the world understand very well how formidable and capable Africans (blacks) are.

Whether it is in the corporate world, national and international politics, sports and entertainment, the system engendered by racism has ensured that blacks in particular remain removed from positions of influence (where far-reaching decisions are made) that determine the ultimate outcome of events in the critical arenas of human life.

THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM

A closer look at the global economic system would serve to buttress my point regarding the institutional nature of racism. It defies logic that a continent (Africa) that produces majority of the worlds key natural resources remains the poorest and the most indebted. A situation where the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (all created to perpetuate neocolonialism and western imperialism) determine if, when and how the governments of African countries function basically ensures that the rusty shackles of slavery are replaced by new and shiny ones. It is not a coincidence that the fate of African countries in the hands of these Western institutions is similar to that of blacks in America, Europe or South America when dealing with financial institutions. Blacks generally, even when they have great credit on the average pay higher interest rates than whites and end up being buried (much like African governments) under the weight of indebtedness.

THE UNITED NATIONS

When one looks at the United Nations and most international non-governmental organizations, the tale is the same. There is an undue influence exerted by the United States and Europe (Western Europe to be exact) in the daily affairs of those organizations. Of the five permanent members of the United Stations Security Council (UNSC), only one (China) is non-European. The other four permanent members are Russia, United States of America, Great Britain and France. When you look at that list, three of those five permanent members, the United States, Great Britain and France were three of the key perpetrators of the worst carnage in human history, the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade that robbed a whole continent of its future and destroyed the promise, hope and aspiration of a whole race.

GLOBAL SPORTS AND ORGANIZATION - FIFA, NFL AND THE NBA

When you look at organizations such as the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), the National Football League (American Football) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), the mark that has been laid down by the institution of racism and white privilege can not be over-emphasized. FIFA for the longest time only allowed a whole continent (Africa) with over 50+ countries to produce just one representative to the global showpiece from its inception in 1930 until the 1982 edition (52 years later). At that 1982 edition, FIFA allotted just two slots to Africa in a field of 24 nations (Europe was allotted 14 spots out of the total 24).

The odds continue to be stacked against African reprsenetatives at the FIFA global showpiece with a view to ensuring that an African country never wins the most prestigious global event in the world. FIFA and the European Football Confederation (UEFA) want to ensure that there isn't a repeat of the 1996 Men's Olympic footbal tournament that saw Nigeria defeat global soccer giants (with star studded players) such as Brazil and Argentina on their way to winning the first Gold medal in soccer (football) ever by an African country or a country outside of Europe and South America. FIFA and the IOC went on to ensure the watering down of the Olympic Men's soccer tournament shortly after that Nigerian victory.

THE REALITY

The fact remains that the African (black) resurgence can't be stopped. That resurgence is not intended to ensure the destruction, eclipsing or eradication of anyone (unless they decide to get in the way of its actualization), but instead, the restoration of the basic construct of our humanity. The latter has been lost over the past generations, as avaricious greed, obtuse imorality, unbecoming debauchery and senseless over-indulgence have become the order of the day. What separates humanity from animals is basic and common-sense restraint, as necessitated by our core human make-up. There are consequences to our actions, both intended and unintended. Guns, climate change and politics are not the problem.

The problem lies with the human beings that pull the trigger, engage in actions that harm the environment or profess political views that seek to promote hate, division and a general sense of social anxiety. The first 'black" POTUS (Barack Obama) and the first African President of South Africa (Nelson Mandela) both brought a humanity to their respective positions during their tenures, that had been lacking from their predecessors. While both were invariably still bound by the ubiquitous realities of the positions they held, they nevertheless sought to bring a more humane reality to it and that was evident by the ressistance both had to face while in office.

In conclusion, while the future may seem bleak, one thing remains a constant; the potential and the opprotunity to rewrite the human destiny lies in the African resurgence. The West will not lead, as evidenced by European and American regression into the throes of bigotry and intolerance (with the ascent of the likes of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Italy's Matteo Salvini). Africa must and will lead as history has shown that continent and its people as the ever-enduring moral compass for the world.

© 2021 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Tuesday

RACISM: An evil and methodical global system of oppression and consequent decimation.....

W.E.B DuBois
By Contributing Editor - Ayodeji Komolafe

"A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect"..... W.E.B. DuBois

The afore-stated quote with the requisite attribution to the great W.E.B. DuBois essentially sums up the crux of the piece. Racism, as I have always stated is not a behavior, nor is it a word, action or an attitude. Racism at its very core is an institution with its attendant benefactors as well as victims.

There is nothing more disheartening than to hear people of an ethnic background in particular refer to an individual, an action or a statement as racist. The institution is what is racist. Yes, the institution that deemed the black man and woman as less than human and forced people of African descent in particular into an artificial class, then proceeded to accuse them (to this day regardless of geographical location) of all manner of sin with the sole intent of damning and systematically subjugating them.

Whether it is in South Africa (pre or post apartheid), Brazil and other parts of South America, the United States of America or countries in Europe like France and England, the system has always ensured that "people of color" (blacks in particular) remain at the bottom. Brazil for example, has the second largest concentration of people of African descent (blacks) after Nigeria. In Brazil, the poverty level among its black or "colored" population is terrifying with the unemployment rate among the latter in Brazil well over the 50% clip. The same scenario plays out in the United States with black unemployment rate nearing 10% (blacks make up only 13% of the US population) and 1.6 times the US national unemployment average. The same pattern of subjugation is also found in South Africa where the majority population of close to 90% is black (African) but the broad unemployment rate among South African blacks (who are the majority) stands at a staggering 45% and should be more if the unemployment among the "mixed-race blacks" (designated as coloreds by the former racist apartheid regime) is also taken into consideration.

The sole intent of racism (as an institution) as designed by White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASP) was to ensure the continued dominance of other ethnic (non-white) groups by minimizing the traditional ways, religion, ideals and institutions of non-white racial groups, while promoting those of the colonialists and western imperialists as superior to those of the former.

It is not surprising that countries like Japan, China and the Asian Tigers, who have maintained their core culture and traditions are the ones that have been able to compete and even out-duel the global WASP economic powers. The Chinese, Japanese and the Asian Tigers have kept their culture and institutions the way they have always been even in the face of some of the most debilitating wars and conflicts with the West, as they understand its existential importance to their survival.

African countries on the other hand continue to imbibe the alien cultures and values of the West with its attendant negative consequences. As a people, we (Africans) have essentially abandoned our traditional institutions including our language, thus embarking on a journey that may not augur well for the future survival of our people. The debilitating effect of colonialism and racism continue to take its toll on our people, our institutions and our way of life. In sports for example (soccer or football for one), we disregard our best local talent and seek even the most unqualified white expatriates to fill the same role while paying them exorbitant amounts of money, a fraction of which the local handlers would gladly take, and produce better results than the white mercenary.

Our women have been told that their natural beauty is not enough, and that they must purchase and wear human hair procured from dead women in India and other parts of Asia and Europe to be considered beautiful. The same racist institution also tells them they must bleach their skin so they can be light skinned like Beyoncé (the white held ideal of black beauty) and inculcates the black woman with anti-male propaganda that has inevitably seen the black man and the black woman increasingly at odds with one another.

The most obvious example of the effects of racism is the most recent US elections in 2016 that saw Donald J. Trump elected as the 45th POTUS. There is no question that Donald Trump's election was in response to the election of his predecessor, Barack H. Obama as the 44th POTUS. Obama (who is half white and half black/African) was elected in 2008, against all odds as the so-called first black POTUS. He (Obama) endured some of the most contentious times any POTUS has ever endured in the history of the United States and by the end of his tenure, the majority white population already had enough and any white person, no matter how unqualified, would do. The election of Donald Trump was essentially a white backlash to the election of the first black POTUS!

When you see all these scenarios, it is clear to see that racism is an institution, an evil and methodical system of continued oppression, marginalization and consequent decimation of a class of people by and with the apparatus of national and global economic, executive, judicial, legislative and military power.

Africa must realize that the second scramble for the continent is already in effect and those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

#racism #imperialism #neo-colonialism #white supremacy

Monday

Editorial Flashback: It's an e-mail scam, not a "Nigerian scam"....

Editor-in-Chief

Imagine my surprise when I turned to the consumer page of the Attorney General of the State of Washington to find that a whole people, in this case citizens of Nigeria, had been painted with a wide brush (see former website content below in italics). Regarding the latter, I am talking about the much talked about e-mail scams or advance fee fraud, many believe originated from that West African nation.

"E-mail Scams - Advance fee and counterfeit check/Nigerian scams: If you suffered a financial loss you can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov"
To better understand this issue, it will be prudent to give a brief overview of the most populous country on the African continent, a nation that has disbursed so much good to much of humanity, with some bad mixed in (show me a perfect country or people).
Nigeria gained its independence from Britain on October 1st, 1960. Since then, the country has experienced a civil war (that lasted for three years 1967-1970 and killed 1 million of its citizens) while also enjoying a long spell of economic prosperity and boom from the 70s to the late-80s (much from oil and other natural resources she has been blessed with).
Lately, beginning in the 1990s, the country's infrastructure, image and over-all national reputation has taking a beating, mainly as a result of defective leadership laced with unbecoming greed and avarice.
The general climate of corruption (not quite different from what you would find in most countries but quite overt in Nigeria) has led to an expected societal breakdown, where law, order and common decency became an exception and not the norm.
For all of its struggles with corruption and the systematic destruction of its storied institutions and culture, much of this by its own military, with the acquiescence of the West (the latter mostly concerned with taking its resources by any means), the country has re-set itself back on course, with democratic elections in 1999 and has never looked back since.
The descent into "white collar crime" with the e-mail scams and other forms of criminal activity (by a very marginal minority) does NOT define the nature and character of Nigerians (over 200 million people), with many Nigerians contributing as physicians, scientists, technology experts and business executives in much of the world, particularly Africa, Europe and the United States (with a well established immigrant population in the Puget Sound as well).
While the e-mail/advance fee scam has generally been portrayed as a "Nigerian Scam", recent investigations by the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) (working in conjunction with the FBI and Interpol) have shown that most of these crimes (e-mail/advance fee scams) have actually been committed by citizens of other West African countries, namely Ghana, the Sierra Leone and Liberia (due to the wars and extreme poverty in the latter two).
The interesting spin to the preceding information is that America's next door neighbor, Canada, has become a notorious breeding ground as well for a large proportion of these e-mail and other transactional scams. Witness the Canadian "lottery winner" e-mails as well as the offer to send you a "cashiers check" when you try to sell your car on Craigslist.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a body recently set up by Nigeria's democratically elected government, has also been very aggressive in pursuing the perpetrators of ALL financial crimes, within the Nigerian state.
While it is true that the Nigerian government "needs to do more" to ensure that this menace is curtailed (at least within its borders), one can say that the US government also needs to do more, by advising its citizens not to reply to e-mail solicitations to receive money from "relatives", they never had in Nigeria or anywhere else in the first place.

The advance fee fraud and e-mail scam developed a life of its own by the default of enablement. The greed and avarice in the United States (particularly on Wall Street) is there for all to see, but I am yet to see any Attorney General websites or newspapers refer to those as "American scam" or even worse still, label the scam on Wall Street with an ethnic delineation.
I am grateful to the deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Washington AG at the time for heeding my call and that of other well-meaning and hardworking Nigerians to remove the "Nigerian" label on this disgraceful activity.

One would hope that the likes of Sean Robinson (Staff Writer at the Tacoma News Tribune) might also learn something and understand that much like the criminals on Wall Street and those on the corners of the worst neighborhoods of Tacoma and indeed America who murder (serial killers et al), rape, pillage, molest and commit countless heinous crimes, are not branded with an American or other ethnic-American brush, it would be fool-hardy to do the same to others.

Sunday

Kevin Love: To Anybody Going Through It


CC™ Medical Opinion

By Kevin Love (NBA Champion and five-time All-Star)

Being depressed is exhausting.

That’s one of the cruelest ironies about mental health. When you’re in a dark place, everyone around you — all your friends and family — they just want to see you doing what you love again, being happy, being “the old you.”

Sometimes it feels like the world is looking at you saying things like, “Come on, man, just get over it. Don’t think like that. Just move on.”

But what people on the outside don’t always understand is that it takes all of your strength and willpower just to exist. Just to keep on going. Battling depression, battling anxiety, battling any mental health disorder … it’s all just so unbelievably exhausting.

That’s been on my mind a lot lately, considering the millions and millions of people around the world who have lost their jobs, or lost their loved ones, or who are just dealing with the unprecedented anxieties of being a human in 2020. I know so many people out there are suffering right now. I’m no different. I’m still going through it. Even after all the work I’ve tried to do on myself over the last two-and-a-half years, some days are just brutal.

Even after all the work I’ve tried to do on myself over the last two-and-a-half years, some days are just brutal.

Let’s just call it what it is. Some days are total shit, right?

It feels good just to say it.

Even in the best of times, my default setting was often dread. That’s just the way I’ve been wired since I was a kid. It’s like there’s a constant, low-level threat that I can sense in the pit of my stomach from the moment that I wake up in the morning. It’s like this white noise humming in the background, and it’s saying, Something bad is going to happen, any second now. That sense of dread would often be amplified by something in the news or by social media, and at any point could send me into a spiral.

My way out was always basketball. But I don’t mean that in some cliché way — where I would go to the park, roll the ball out and suddenly everything would be O.K. It was a different kind of thing entirely.

The best way I’ve ever heard it described was in the HBO documentary on Robin Williams after his death. He was talking about the only way he could combat his demons was to wake up in the morning and ride his bike until he had absolutely nothing left in the tank, and then at night he would go up on stage and do a two-hour stand-up set and just pour all of himself into it — every single ounce of himself, until he was just totally wrung out, mentally and physically.

Anything to stop the thoughts. Because the thoughts can be disturbing.

That resonated with me so much. Ever since I was a kid, I’d often put myself through hell in the hopes of numbing my mind. I used to think of it as going into my “pain tank.” If I wore myself out to the point of exhaustion, then I’d be mentally on empty, too. It was like I had to wring myself out completely so that at the end of the day I was just blank.

Everybody who goes through mental health issues has a unique story, but for me (and I think this is probably true for a lot of people), my entire identity was tied to one thing in a really unhealthy way. Way before I was in the NBA or even in college, my self-worth was all about performing. I was what I did, which I think a lot of people can relate to, whether they’re a chef or a lawyer or a nurse or whatever the profession. I just happened to play basketball.

When I wasn’t performing, I didn’t feel like I was succeeding as a person.

I didn’t really know how to be comfortable in my own skin. I could never just be unapologetically Kevin, walking into a room. I was never in the moment, alive. It was always the next thing, the next game, the next, next, next. It was like I was trying to achieve my way out of depression. And so I guess it’s not surprising that some of the darkest moments of my life happened when that crutch of basketball got taken away.

This is still hard to talk about, but I feel like it might resonate with people out there who are going through something right now. People who have lost their jobs (and their sense of purpose) during this crisis. People who … I don’t know … maybe just need to hear this.

It was like I was trying to achieve my way out of depression.

Everybody knows about my anxiety attack during the Atlanta game back in 2018. That’s become, over time, easier to talk about. Especially with the overwhelming support that I’ve gotten. In a way, it’s almost ironic that I’ve become known for this one incident, because that was the first and — thank God — the only time that I’ve experienced a debilitating panic attack in public like that. But that moment, as terrifying as it was, was just the tip of the iceberg, in a lot of ways. It was the culmination of years and years of me suppressing a lot of issues. I’ve never really talked about the other side of my mental health issues, which is a much more complicated and subtle battle with depression.

Five years before the panic attack that everyone knows about, I was probably in the darkest period of my life. I’d only played 18 games with the Timberwolves that season, breaking my right hand twice, and that was when this whole … I guess you’d call it a facade or a character that I had sort of built up …. it all started crumbling. I was in a cast. My identity was gone. My emotional outlet was gone. All I was left with was me and my mind. I was living alone at the time, and my social anxiety was so bad that I never even left my apartment. Actually, I would rarely even leave my bedroom. I would have the shades down most of the day, no lights on, no TV, nothing. It felt like I was on a deserted island by myself, and it was always midnight.

Just … dark. Dark and alone with my thoughts. Every. Single. Day.

And I want to make it clear that I know how fortunate I was, compared to most people. I knew then and I know now. I didn’t have to worry about my bills, or kids, or anything like that. But none of that mattered. My whole sense of purpose was tied to my job, and with that gone, every little thing that went wrong, no matter how small, just started compounding and compounding.

That’s the thing that people on the outside don’t fully understand. Nothing major has to happen to start a spiral. It can happen over the smallest thing in the world. Because when you have depression you can fall apart at any moment disproportionate to the circumstances.

Then it’s just…. Shame.

It got to the point that year where I was simply paralyzed with depression. And of course, I’m not about to show my weakness to anybody, right? I was tucked away in my apartment, and nobody could see me suffering. The only time I would leave my apartment was to work out, because that was the only place where I felt like I added value to the world, period. To those around me, I would put on a brave face.

Fake facades are hard to keep up.

The future started to feel meaningless. And when it gets to the point where you lose hope, that’s when the only thing you can think about is, “How can I make this pain go away?”

I don’t think I have to say much more than that.

If it hadn’t been for a couple of my closest friends, I don’t know if I would be here today telling my story. And 99.9% of the people in my life probably don’t know how bad it got for me. But as hard as that might be for them to hear, I feel like I need to get that off my chest for the people out there who might be in a similar situation right now.

If it hadn’t been for a couple of my closest friends, I don’t know if I would be here today telling my story.

When I was sitting in that dark room, I just couldn’t see how things were ever going to get better. And if there’s somebody out there right now who is reading this — even just one person — who is sitting in that same dark room, having those same thoughts….

All I can say to you is this:

Talk to somebody.

You would be amazed at how freeing it is just to talk to somebody, and tell them the truth about what you’re going through.

And listen, I’m not trying to sell you some fairy-tale version of mental health. It took me years and years — hell, it genuinely took 29 years for me to realize what I needed.

I needed medication. I needed therapy.

I still need those things now, and I probably always will.

There are still days where I look at social media, or I see the news, and my anxiety gets triggered. But sometimes I get triggered by almost nothing at all. Just simple negativity is enough to start a spiral of overgeneralization.

Oh, my coffee was shit this morning? I must be shit. I’m a horrible human being.

There are days when I don’t want to get out of bed. That’s just the truth. And that’s why I wrote this.

I think that sometimes — because of all the incredible support I’ve been given, and because of my platform as an NBA player — people see me as some kind of Finished Product. Or some kind of Success Story for Mental Health or something. They see the curated version of me, and not the real person.

The fact is, the real person is still dealing with his deep-seated shit every single day. The real person is still trying to learn how to control his anger and anxiety. And the real person, by the way, never would have been able to tell his story in the first place without the courage of DeMar DeRozan, who blazed that path for everybody in the league today.

The real person’s story didn’t end when the Cavs won an NBA title, and suddenly it was all good, and then the credits rolled, the end.

No. The truth is, the deepest sense of joy and peace that I’ve gained in my life doesn’t have anything to do with basketball. It definitely doesn’t have anything to do with money or fame or achievement.

You don’t achieve your way out of depression.

No, as sweet as it was to win an NBA title for the city of Cleveland, that wasn’t the happy ending. That was my job, which is now a different thing from my identity and my self-worth. One of the best days of my life happened after I started working through my issues with a therapist, and I walked into a room for the first time and I was just 100% my authentic self. I was comfortable in my own skin. I was alright with just being Kevin. I wasn’t thinking about the next thing. I was just in the moment, fully alive. And I can tell you from experience that you can live for years, but not be really alive and fully present for 30 seconds at a time.

If you would’ve told me back in 2012, when I was at my lowest, that I would ever feel at peace like that, walking into a room, I just wouldn’t have believed it. I was coming off a season where I was an All-Star, All-NBA, and won a Gold medal at the London Olympics. But I was completely unaware of the darkness that was about to consume me.

Look, I’m not trying to sell you some happy ending. All I can do is just be as honest as possible about a really dark period in my life.

So here it is.

When I was lying on the floor of the trainer’s room during my anxiety attack back in 2018, it was probably the single scariest moment of my life. I was gasping for air, and my heart was pounding out of my chest, and I really thought that death was a possibility. And I’ll never forget how our trainer, Steve Spiro, he just kept asking, “Kevin, what do you need? What do you need? What do you need?”

What do you need?

That’s the question, isn’t it?

That’s everything.

I spent 29 years trying to figure it out.

What do you need?

For me, I guess what I needed was to talk to somebody.

For me, what I needed was to know that I wasn’t alone.

If you’re struggling right now, I can’t tell you that this is going to be easy.

But I can tell you that it does get better.

And I can tell you that you are definitely not alone.