Caricom Must Move On US Black-listing It As Tax Havens

Caribbean community states  operating offshore financial  service should move swiftly  and collectively  for their removal from the list indentified in the recent re-introduction in the US Congress of  ‘Stop The Tax Haven Abuse Act’ that poses a serious threat to regional jurisdictions.

Barbados is among 14 Caribbean states and territories that stand to be affected by the act that also reflect the position of the British government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

FULL STORY

Obama Ends Ban On Stem Cell Research

President Barack Obama on Monday ended an eight-year ban on new embryonic stem cell research, dismantling a signature policy of the Bush administration that he said was driven by ideology and not science.

Obama signed an executive order restoring funding for research on all lines of available stem cells, saying the work holds the promise to understand and “possibly cure” some of the world’s most devastating illnesses.

“But that potential will not reveal itself on its own. Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident,” Obama said at the White House, where he was joined by several scientists and people in wheelchairs.

While acknowledging the issue of stem cell research remains highly contentious in the United States — with particularly fierce opposition from Christian conservatives — Obama said the government’s earlier limits on research had forced America into making “a false choice between sound science and moral values.” 

The executive order reverses a decision made by President George W. Bush that restricted federal research funding to only stem cell lines that existed before Aug. 9, 2001.

At the time, Bush characterized the decision as a pro-life policy because it blocked the use of taxpayer money for the destruction of embryos — mostly those unused by fertility clinics — for research.

“The administration’s policy change does not answer the central question: do human embryos, which are clearly alive, constitute a life or mere property?” asked Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican who has led opposition in Congress to stem cell research. 

“If an embryo is a life, and I believe strongly that it is life, then no government has the right to sanction their destruction for research purposes. If embryos are property, then they may be disposed of as their owner chooses,” Brownback said. “I choose life and oppose the administration’s action.” 

Obama’s move opens the door for researchers to access up to $10 billion U.S. that was included in the recent economic stimulus package for biomedical research.

Source: ottawacitizen.com

American Fat Cats Gets Pay Cap

Fat Cats Classics

 Credit: comics..com

Bosses at US companies that get federal bail-out money will have their pay capped to $500,000 a year, Barack Obama has announced.

The move in being seeing as an attempt to reassure Americans that their taxes are not being used to boost fat cat bank balances. Mr Obama slammed Wall Street chiefs for accepting billions of dollars in bonuses while the economy was in meltdown – describing their actions as “shameful”.

“For top executives to award themselves these kinds of compensation packages in the midst of this economic crisis is not only bad taste – it’s bad strategy – and I will not tolerate it as president,” he said.

“Top executives at firms receiving extraordinary help from US taxpayers will have their compensation capped at $500,000 – a fraction of the salaries that have been reported recently.

“And if these executives receive any additional compensation, it will come in the form of stock that can’t be paid up until taxpayers are paid back for their assistance.”

The restrictions are likely to be popular with blue- and white-collar workers who have been reeling from job losses as the recession bites. However, some Wall Street insiders quickly criticised the move, saying it could lead to an exodus of talent from top firms. Lawyer Mark Poerio said: “If you have someone who was making well over $1m, and now they are capped at $500,000, it is very conceivable that they are going to look to go to a company that is not subject to those limitations.”

Mr Obama’s move mirrors efforts made or under consideration in other countries hit by the global economic downturn. European Union finance ministers have said managers of bailed-out banks should “not retain undue benefit” but have imposed no specific limit.

Germany plans to set a 500,000 euro pay limit for executives at rescued banks as well as a ban on bonuses and share options.

Source: ananova.com

Kenyans Party It Up For Obama Inauguration

Bulls and goats have been slaughtered for the feast. Beer has been stockpiled. Movie screens and projectors were erected.

Across Kenya, neighbors engulfed in political violence only a year ago came together Tuesday to celebrate the U.S. presidential inauguration of Kenya’s favorite son, Barack Obama. Among the revelers will be Dr. Joseph Osoo, who was shopping at a Nairobi market for goat meat for his inauguration party. Osoo, who runs a clinic in one of Kenya’s biggest slums, recalled that at this time last year, he was stitching up machete wounds inflicted by rival party members in rioting that followed Kenya’s disputed election.

“Our election in Kenya really had problems with ethnicity,” he said. “America has shown that this doesn’t have to be that big problem. … Democracy can work.”

The celebrations have helped bring together Kenyans from different ethnic groups who were drawn into the country’s political violence last year. The struggling country of 38 million is proud to boast the birthplace of Obama’s father and it is hard to exaggerate the enthusiasm Kenyans feel for America’s new president.

Role model
The election of a black American president stands as a powerful symbol of unity on this continent, where many countries are still riven between competing ethnic groups and the older generations still remember the injustices of colonialism.

Teachers mention Obama as a role model to their students, advertisers plaster his face across everything from phones to beer and foreigners who sing songs about him at the ubiquitous police roadblocks can be let off without paying a bribe.  For many, the inauguration was a chance to make a little extra cash. One in five Kenyans struggle to get by on less than a dollar a day and many hope to cash in on the country’s Obama connection.

There are plans for a museum in his family’s home village and tour companies are already hawking Obama-themed holidays. Denis Mwangi, a 21-year-old business student, said he had sold 50 Obama T-shirts on Monday, more than he usually sells in a weekend.

“Obama is a great inspiration for all of us,” he said. “Obama should inspire people to be better and stop judging people according to their ethnicity.”

Nairobi’s famous Carnivore restaurant, where tourists dine on alligator and giraffe, said it had ordered an extra 240 crates of beer for partygoers watching the inauguration.  Bulls and goats were slaughtered in Kogelo village in western Kenya, where many of Obama’s Kenyan family live. Around 3,000 people congregated at a local primary school to celebrate. Women dressed in colorful printed cloths performed traditional dances to the rhythms of cowhide drums.

In the nearest city, Kisumu, a local Obama look-a-like drove through the town in a honking convoy of cars, motorbikes and bicycles before he arrived at a local sports stadium, where he planned to deliver one of Obama’s speeches.  But the celebrations have not been without controversy. Kenyan papers reported a team of ministers has flown to America to watch the ceremonies. However, the ministers had no invitation to the ceremonies, and would be watching the festivities from their hotel room televisions.

Anti-corruption campaigner Mwalimu Mati said Kenyans should not just be celebrating, but looking carefully at their own leaders.

“In Kenya, the biggest problem is a failure of leadership. People are getting poorer by the day,” he said. “Obama is an icon of hope, but he should also be a standard.”

Source: msnbc

PM Thompson Ask Obama To ReConsider Damaging Policies

David Thompson is urging the United States incoming Barak Obama administration not to pursue policies that would damage the country’s vital offshore financial services sector.

Thompson told a large audience of business executives and government officials in Miami that proposed legislation in the US Congress designed to force US firms to pay more taxes would hurt the Caribbean’s viable and clean offshore financial centers and prove counter-productive.

He told guests at a dinner of the annual Miami Conferenceon the Caribbean: “I urge the President-elect and the Democratic Congress to take another look at the reactionary proposals being made against the use of offshore financial centres and to recognise that the pursuit of financial services business in the Caribbean is a legitimate activity which is mutually beneficial to both the Caribbean and the United States of America.”

The Prime Minister said: “Caribbean governments have taken decisive measures to guard against money laundering, terrorist financing and trans-national crimes.

“We cooperate fully with the Financial Action Task Force and are committed to maintaining jurisdictions of quality and integrity. Our efforts merit recognition and support, not misrepresentation in the legislature of this country.”

“Many countries are involved in the export of a variety of different services, using various incentive regimes as in the case of Delaware and Vermont.

Share of taxes

“Increased United States pre-occupation to ensure that United States taxpayers pay their fair share of taxes to cover the costs of government engineered bailout and to fund two wars should not find expressionin legislative bills that name and shame,” Thompson said.

By focusing attention on a bill before the United States Senate that targets a host of Caribbean and Pacific countries by name and would virtually put United States companies off limits to the offshore financial services centers in those jurisdictions, Thompson took direct aim at Obama, a co-sponsor of the proposed legislation.

During the United Statespresidential campaign Obama vowedto go after United States firms that do businessin such countries in order to force them to pay more taxes.

“It has been proven that such methodologies which have long been abandoned by progressive jurisdictions in favour of bilateral cooperation do more to disadvantage the economies of the region than to bring discipline to the United States or other taxpayers,” Thompson argued.

“Rather than target and destabilise the Caribbean economies, the government and Congress should consider us a special case and work with us to increase cross-border cooperation,” Thompson said

Source: Nation News

Barack Obama US Attorney General Is A Bajan

The first black man elected U.S. president is poised to name Washington lawyer Eric Holder as the nation’s first black attorney general — a historic appointment but one with some potential political problems over a 2001 pardon.

A source close to the selection process said Wednesday that President-elect Barack Obama has “informally”‘ offered the post to Holder, who has accepted. The person   

spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made and because the process of vetting the nomination is still going on. Holder’s nomination is expected to be formally announced as soon as this week.

He has made no public comment on the nomination, though an Obama official and two Democrats in touch with Obama’s transition team on Tuesday confirmed that Holder is the top choice for attorney general.

Source: Miami Herald

Biography

Eric Holder [a former D.C. Superior Court judge, U.S. Attorney and Deputy Attorney General. Current senior legal advisor to President-elect Barack Obama, a position he held also in Obama’s campaign. One of three members of Obama’s vice-presidential selection committee]   as born in 1951 in the The Bronx, borough of New York City, to parents with roots in Barbados; Holder’s father, Eric Himpton Holder, Sr. (1905 – 1970) was born in St. Joseph, arrived in the United States at the age of eleven aboard the S.S. Stephen on February 24, 1916, and eventually served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. His mother, Miriam was born in New Jersey of Barbadian parents.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Assassination Fears Of Obama Stop Bookies From Paying Out

Two of Australia’s largest bookmakers are refusing to pay out on bets that Barack Obama would win the U.S. presidential election, citing fears he could be assassinated before his inauguration, a report said Saturday.

The two bookmakers, Sportsbet and Centrebet, told the Sydney Morning Herald they would not pay out on the bets until the first African-American U.S. president takes office in January.

A spokesman for Centrebet told the paper it was a matter of policy.

The Herald said its story was prompted by a punter who said a senior official at Sportsbet had refused to pay out on a bet citing assassination fears.

Sportsbet chief executive Matt Tripp denied this was the company’s main concern.

“God forbid he has a stroke or gets hit by a bus,” Tripp told the paper. “I love the bloke. I want to pay out on him. I think he is good for America and good for the world.”

Bullet-proof screens were put up on stage when Obama made his victory speech to jubilant supporters in a Chicago park.

Two white supremacist skinheads were arrested in the U.S. state of Tennessee in October over plans shoot Obama, although the plot appeared unsophisticated.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power was so sure of the election outcome that it paid out Obama-backers in October.

Other Australian bookmakers have paid out on Obama’s victory, the Herald said.

Source: Reuters Africa

Mountain Peak In Antigua Rename In Honour Of President Elect Obama

The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda paid lofty tribute to US President-elect Barack Obama by renaming the volcanic mountain known as “Boggy Peak.”

“I shall take immediate measures for Antigua and Barbuda’s highest mountain peak to be dedicated in your honor and renamed ‘Mount Obama,'” Prime Minister W Baldwin Spencer wrote in a congratulatory note to the victorious US presidential candidate on Wednesday.

The 1,327-foot (402-metre) volcanic peak rises over southwestern Antigua in the former British colony whose 85,000 residents are mostly descended from African slaves brought in to harvest the sugar cane fields in the 1700s.

“Your message of change will ignite hope and action in people of many countries who might still be passive in the face of inadequacies and injustice,” Spencer wrote to Obama, who will be the first black US president. “Your election will not only transform America, it can transform the world.”

Source: Caribbean Net News

Barack Obama 44th And First Black President Of United States Of America

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

Martin Luther King – I Have A Dream Speech – address at March on Washington August 28, 1963

 

 President Barack Obama & Family

“I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington…I’m asking you to believe in yours.”

 

Nothing happens before its time.

Not with Jesse Jackson in 1992.

Nor Al Sharpton in 2004.

One hundred & forty three years after the abolition of slavery in America and forty five years after Martin Luther famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, blacks worldwide whether glue to a tv, radio or internet, witnessed a historic moment when a not well known person two years ago, emerged and became not only the first African-America leader of a major political party but immortalized himself into history books today by becoming the first black man to win the highest office of a superpower in this modern era.

President elect Obama electrified Americans voters, frightened and frustrated with two unfinished wars and two recessions that change is possible on a ‘Change’ and ‘Yes We Can’ campaign. The electricity extended worldwide also for those dismayed with Bush foreign policies and even those who recognised the significance of such a historic moment in their lifetime.

Of course, let’s not forget Michelle Obama will be the first African-American first lady in the White House.

Change has certainly come.

Pentagon Advisors – Next President May Face International Crisis

The next president is likely to face a major international crisis within his first nine months in office, according to a senior group of business advisers to the defense secretary.

Accordingly, the Defense Business Board says the new administration should set a goal to win Senate confirmation of key Pentagon posts in the first 30 days of the inauguration, in order to have a full team in place to deal with such a contingency.

Michael Bayer, chairman of the Defense Business Board and veteran Pentagon consultant, this week called for the next administration to move quickly to avoid encountering civilian leadership vacuums that often accompany political transitions.

“Prepare for a likely first 270 days crisis,” Bayer warns in an Oct. 23 briefing. “Too many presidents were ill prepared for this.”

FULL STORY

Peace In Great Lakes Region Tops Obama Agenda

Uganda is at the top of US presidential candidate Barack Obama’s African agenda, a top aide has said.

Ambassador Howard Wolpe said Obama is concerned about the suffering of children caught in the conflict in northern Uganda.

His revelation comes less than 10 days when America elects its 46th president.

Wolpe, a former top envoy in the Clinton administration, said one of Obama’s top priorities, if he won the election, would focus on peace in the Great Lakes region.

The Democratic nominee, Wolpe added, was likely to maintain the current US foreign policy of engaging “very actively in a diplomatic way.”

Wolpe was Clinton’s special envoy to the Great Lakes region that included Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, the DR Congo and Zimbabwe between 1996 and 2001.

In an interview with The New Vision in Washington, the ambassador added that Obama was concerned about the LRA war and the insecurity in northern Uganda.

FULL STORY

Party’s Over As Financial Terrorism Takes Over Wall Street

The Crash of 2008, which is now wiping out trillions of dollars of our people’s wealth, is, like the Crash of 1929, likely to mark the end of one era and the onset of another.

The new era will see a more sober and much diminished America. The “Omnipower” and “Indispensable Nation” we heard about in all the hubris and braggadocio following our Cold War victory is history. Seizing on the crisis, the left says we are witnessing the failure of market economics, a failure of conservatism.

This is nonsense. What we are witnessing is the collapse of Gordon Gecko (”Greed Is Good!”) capitalism. What we are witnessing is what happens to a prodigal nation that ignores history, and forgets and abandons the philosophy and principles that made it great. A true conservative cherishes prudence and believes in fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and a self-reliant republic. He believes in saving for retirement and a rainy day, in deferred gratification, in not buying on credit what you cannot afford, in living within your means.

Is that really what got Wall Street and us into this mess — that we followed too religiously the gospel of Robert Taft and Russell Kirk?

“Government must save us!” cries the left, as ever. Yet, who got us into this mess if not the government — the Fed with its easy money, Bush with his profligate spending, and Congress and the SEC by liberating Wall Street and failing to step in and stop the drunken orgy?

For years, we Americans have spent more than we earned. We save nothing. Credit card debt, consumer debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, corporate debt — all are at record levels. And with pensions and savings being wiped out, much of that debt will never be repaid. Our standard of living is inevitably going to fall. For foreigners will not forever buy our bonds or lend us more money if they rightly fear that they will be paid back, if at all, in cheaper dollars.

We are going to have to learn to live again without our means.

The party’s over

Up through World War II, we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America must remain economically independent of the world in order to remain politically independent.

But this generation decided that was yesterday’s bromide and we must march bravely forward into a Global Economy, where we all depend on one another. American companies morphed into “global companies” and moved plants and factories to Mexico, Asia, China and India, and we began buying more cheaply from abroad what we used to make at home: shoes, clothes, bikes, cars, radios, TVs, planes, computers. As the trade deficits began inexorably to rise to 6 percent of GDP, we began vast borrowing from abroad to continue buying from abroad. Read more of this post

Rihanna, Obama And Essence Magazine

Hey,hey hey. Two of the world’s most recognizable faces can be seen together. Home girl Rihanna is featured in this September edition of Essence, an African-America lifestyle, fashion and entertainment magazine. The Barbadian international star models fall fashion trends.Essence Magazine

Obama Invited To Barbados By PM Thompson

     Win, lose or draw, on November 2, 2008, US Presidential candidate Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha, have been invited to Barbados to “chill out, very soon thereafter”.

Prime Minister David Thompson has asked the most influential African-American on Capitol Hill to convey the invitation to Obama, whose candidacy for the world’s top job was confirmed in spectacular fashion last Thursday evening.

In the presence of several leading members of the Democratic Party, including House Democratic Majority Leader, Steny Hower, PM Thompson asked Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina to convey the special invitation to the Obamas “irrespective of the outcome”.

“For us in Barbados and the wider Caribbean, Barack Obama is already a winner. He is a hero for many and the Government and people of Barbados would be honoured to welcome the Obama family to our shores.

“Barbados has hosted presidents in the past, but Barack’s visit, with or without the Presidential seal, would be like no other,” Thompson said at a reception held in his honour in Denver, Colorado.

The Barbados leader was in the Mile High City to witness Obama’s official acceptance of the nomination. He watched the historic event from Clyburns suite at the packed to capacity Invesco Field, home to the Denver Broncos football team.

Back in Barbados yesterday for his Democratic Labour Party’s 53rd Annual Conference,Thompson told the Barbados Advocate that nationals here should not underestimate the value of such networking and the embrace of Barbados on such a historic and auspicious occasion.

“I am not one to gloat or beat my chest, but Barbados could not have paid for the exposure it received, not only to American and international media networks, but more importantly at this time, the access that it had to some of the most powerful lobbyists and decision makers in America. I was amazed by the genuine interest that such personalities displayed in Barbados,” Thompson said.

He indicated that the invitation to the Obamas would be extended through formal channels, particularly in light of the very warm reception extended to the Barbados leader by officials of the Obama Campaign.

“Diplomatic efforts through missions abroad are limited and limiting. More and more, countries such as Barbados and the islands of the Caribbean are going to have to turn to influential lobbyists, including networking on Capitol Hill, to have our concerns raised and interests represented. The days of merely sending a diplomatic note in the hope of being heard are long gone. Additionally, the US political system is quite different to ours. The role of Congress is different to our House. The President may have one agenda and the Congress may have another. That reality needs to be effectively understood and relations with Congressmen assume great importance,” Thompson added.

He said the formal and informal interface this past week with the top brass of the Democratic Party, as well as his talks with Representative Charles Rangel earlier this year, have put Barbados and the Caribbean in good stead for enhanced relations with the United States.

“We are not getting involved in the domestic politics of the United States. We could not influence the outcome of US elections, even if we wanted to. What we are saying, as a government and as a country, is that this is a historic period of world history and Barbados is grateful and fortunate to be at the table of potential opportunity,” the Barbados Leader explained.

Source – Barbados Advocate

 

Vladimir Putin: US Staged Georgian Conflict

In an interview with CNN, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has stated that the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict may have been manufactured by the White House for domestic political reasons. Putin also says that preliminary reports show U.S. citizens may have been present in the combat zone.

“We have serious reason to believe that American citizens were right at the heart of the military action. This would have implications for American domestic policy.” Putin told CNN.

“If this is confirmed, then it raises the suspicion that someone in the US specially created this conflict to worsen the situation and create an advantage in the competitive struggle for one of the candidates for the post of president of the United States.” he continued.

“They needed a short, victorious war.”

“And if it didn’t work out, they could always put the blame on us, make us look like the enemy and against the background of this surge of patriotism, once more rally the country around a particular political force.” Putin explained.

In addition to the remarks broadcast by Russia Today, Putin charged that Americans on the ground in Georgia were “implementing orders” from their “leader” during the conflict.

“The fact is that US citizens were indeed in the area in conflict during the hostilities. It should be admitted that they would do so only following direct orders from their leaders,” Putin said.

“Therefore, they were acting in implementing those orders, doing as they were ordered, and the only one who can give such orders is their leader,” he added.

The comments come in the wake of news that a U.S. passport was found in a building in South Ossetia occupied by Georgian troops.

FULL STORY

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PM Thompson Drops In On Obama’s Convention In Denver

The only high-ranking Caribbean official invited

 

Barbados Prime Minister, David Thompson was among the estimated 85 000 persons on location last night for the historic crowning of Barack Obama as the Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate.

Mr. Thompson arrived in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday evening as a guest of key operatives in the Obama campaign. His visit to the mile high city is believed to have been engineered by Political Advisor Hartley Henry who is rumoured to be a part of an international advisory team to the Obama campaign.

Henry has been in Denver for the past two weeks and is said to be working very closely with the messaging arm of the campaign.

Contacted last evening at the Invesco Field in Denver, where Obama delivered his historic acceptance speech, Henry confirmed that Prime Minister Thompson was in attendance and that he had a full day of meetings with some very high ranking senate and congressional officials.

Henry said: Prime Minister Thompson was the toast of a reception held in his honour. Though this was the busiest day of the convention, high ranking members of the Democratic Party dropped by for informal talks with the Prime Minister.Among those with whom the Barbados Leader met were Majority Whip James Clyburn, Charles Rangel, Harold Forde and a host of incumbent senators, prominent businessmen and lobbyists.

Issues discussed ranged from extension of the Caribbean Basin Initiative to Prime Minister Thompson’s request for tangible technical assistance to the region in the area of coastal security and drug interdiction. Several prominent US business executives also seized the opportunity to enquire of investment opportunities in Barbados. Among them billionaire property developer, Bob Johnson.

Mr. Thompson is believed to have been the only high ranking Caribbean official invited to witness the historic first embrace of an African-American as Presidential candidate for a leading political party.

Significantly, the Prime Minister witnessed the closing of the convention and national embrace of Barack Obama from the celebrity box which was set aside for close friends and relatives of the campaign leadership.

Source – Barbados Advocate

Bob Johnson Black Entertainment Television [BET] founder turned property developer became the first African- American billionaire when he sold BET media empire for $3b to media giant Viacom in 2000. In 2002 he became the first African-America to wholly own a professional sports team when he brought the NBA franchise in Charlotte. His real estate investment company RLJ lists revenues of $92m. An $8m 85-room four-start resort opens in 2009 in Liberia.

Sources – allbusiness.com, usatoday.com, chf international

PM David Thompson: “Barbadians Feel Good About A Black Man Running For President Of United States” Examining Obama And McCain Polices For The Caribbean

       

While Barack Obama, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, appears to be the rage across the Caribbean, some analysts express concerns about how his policies would affect the region. And, although John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, generates less attention in the Democratic-leaning Caribbean, some observers say his support of free trade and his policy experience could be better for the islands.

Still other analysts see the Caribbean as a low priority for each and express little optimism that either will produce radical change.

Neither McCain nor Obama has ”expressed serious positions on the Caribbean, with the exception of Cuba, where there is a difference between the two candidates,” said Rupert Lewis, a political-science expert at the University of the West Indies (Mona) in Jamaica

Peter Hakim, president of the Washington think-tank Inter-American Dialogue, said he believes the lack of focus by either candidate on the region is a hint of what’s to come regardless of who wins in November.

”Americans right now are very insecure about their future. They are unhappy with the effects of globalization. There is not a great deal of interest in having the United States really engage in overseas these days,” Hakim said.

Others say it will be hard to ignore the Caribbean or Latin America, especially when so many nationals are registered U.S. voters. Brian Meeks, director of the Center for Caribbean Thought at the UWI, said that while many in the Caribbean are ”fascinated with the fact that there is a black candidate with a credible chance of becoming president,” leaders are not looking closely at either Obama’s or McCain’s policies.

”I don’t think they are approaching it in a hard-nosed realist way,” Meeks said, ‘which is to say `What is in it for the Caribbean? What is in it for Latin America and to what extent Obama, or for that matter McCain, will be addressing our concerns?’ ”

Caribbean leaders have increasingly complained of neglect following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as U.S. foreign policy shifted to other parts of the world. The region as a bloc opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In 2004, the Caribbean Community demanded an international investigation in the Feb. 29 ouster of Haiti’s democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Relations in the past year have warmed under President Bush, but they point out that he — unlike his predecessor Bill Clinton — has yet to set foot in Haiti or the English-speaking Caribbean. Clearly, Obama’s race has captured the imagination of many in the Caribbean.

”The idea of having a black man or a man of mixed race running for the president of the United States is very historic and important,” Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson told The Miami Herald.

“Barbadians feel good about that.”

And George Lamming, a Barbados-born novelist and intellectual, adds: “The planet has been ruled by white power for 500 years, and you have the overwhelming majority of the world’s population [as] nonwhite people. It’s not only black people down here.”

But symbolism isn’t good enough, critics of U.S. policy say, when leaders consider the challenges facing a region wrestling with crime and economic troubles.

”The United States has defaulted in the last decade in having any meaningful aid relations with the Caribbean, and that is where Venezuela has stepped in and has provided that,” Meeks said. “How does Obama view that? What are the prospects for that kind of mutually beneficial relations?”

Both McCain and Obama speak of a shift in policy. McCain supports expanding trade with the Caribbean basin, while Obama is much more restrictive on trade preferences.

”It seems to me that from an economic and foreign policy point of view, Obama may be more destructive to Trinidad and Tobago interests specifically, and Caribbean interests more generally, than a Category 5 hurricane,” said Anthony Wilson, editor in chief of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.

Obama’s position on trade ”has the potential to cast thousands of workers into unemployment throughout the region,” Wilson said in an e-mail to The Miami Herald. “From the perspective of foreign relations, [John] McCain would be much better for Caribbean economies than Obama.”

While Obama’s support for wiping out poor countries’ debt is welcomed, his push to tighten regulations of offshore banking jurisdictions have riled others. He currently is sponsoring the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, legislation that targets tax havens. The bill lists Antigua and 14 other Caribbean jurisdictions among those countries singled out for increased scrutiny.

”I put that down to his lack of information,” said St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, a critic of the legislation but an admirer of Obama.“Once he is properly informed — he would see that these islands, which are among the closest friends of the American people — he would not do anything knowingly for them to suffer.”

While McCain and Obama have spoken of a need to address transnational crime in the region, neither has given any indication that the U.S. policy of deporting criminals will change.

Adapted from Miami Herald

Obama Ask God For Wisdom And Guidance In Private Prayer

A man words whether written or oral can say a lot about his character. Below is a written prayer from Obama Barrack, White House presidential hopeful. The handwritten prayer was left by Obama in the cracks of Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Judaism claims the Western Wall as their holiest site. 

The note  belows reads “Lord – Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins,and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.” The prayer later was published in an Israeli newspaper after a Jewish seminary student retrieved the note.

Barack Obama's private prayer

The handwriting was compared to a message Obama wrote in a guestbook below at Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust Memorial.  

 A good thing Obama did not ask God for election victory. The critics would have had a field day with this one.

Technical Glitch On Obama’s Plane Forced Unplanned StopOver

Wonder how Mrs Clinton heart was on hearing the news that Obama plane had to made an unplanned stop due to mechanical failure. After all the lady did alluded to a Kennedy assassination in June as the reason for her prolonged stay in the Democratic party race for presidential candidate. Even though the odds were heavily stacked against her.

UNQUOTE

News Broadcast:   This just in. A plane carrying Presidential canidate  Obama Barrack had to make an Click to view image detailsunscheduled landing due to mechanical failure.

Clinton:   Silence

News Broadcast:   The plane landed In St.Louis with all aboard reportedly safe. The plane which took off Chicago for North Carolina develop a flight control problem due to the plane’s nose not being at the necessary angle on takeoff. We will keep you update on this breaking news.

Clinton:   Damm. So close. So close.”

Nice coincidence.

FULL STORY

Oil Speculators To Be Probe By British MPs [Oil $146/Barrel]

Medium term crude oil prices, (not adjusted for inflation)  

Source – Wikipedia

Concern over the possible role of speculators in driving record crude oil prices has prompted the House of Commons’ Treasury select committee to hold its first hearing into regulation of London’s oil markets, John McFall, the committee’s chairman, said on Thursday.

The development is a sign that the intense political pressure to address – or, at least, be seen to address – the causes of high oil prices are emerging in Britain after initially appearing in the US. In recent weeks, Congress has held multiple hearings on the issue. 

The US House of Representatives last week passed by a big margin legislation requiring the US futures and commodities watchdog, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to “utilise all its authority, including emergency powers, to take steps to curb excessive speculation in the energy futures markets”.

Mr McFall, a Labour MP for West Dumbartonshire, said that the two US presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, as well as independent senator Joseph Lieberman, all had expressed concern about the role of speculation in oil markets.

He said he planned to hold a hearing into the issue – set for July 15.

Mr McFall told a meeting of the UK’s parliamentary liaison committee: “There is a real problem here. We really need to some action because it’s reported there is $260bn of speculative money in the oil futures market.”

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