• Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 5:25 AM

    Mexico-US relationship is all about supply and demand … of cheap labor and drugs

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    There’s no denying that America’s anti-immigration movement is undermined by the scapegoating of Mexicans who provide cheap labor that is to the US economy what rock cocaine is to a crack head.

    Likewise, there’s no denying that America’s war on drugs is undermined by fighting south of the border to interdict supply when it should be fighting on the home front to curb demand. 

    Well, all indications are that America’s new commander in chief, President Barack Obama, gets it.  Because he has indicated his intent to deploy increased resources to fight the good fight against drugs (and related violence) right here in the USA. 

    Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the death of police officers, soldiers and civilians. So yes, I feel very strongly we have a co-responsibility.

    (US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Times, March 25, 2009)

    Of course it is appropriate that Clinton traveled to Mexico to announce this shift in strategy and to acknowledge America’s complicity in the drug trade.  After all, Mexicans have now supplanted Columbians as the most prolific traffickers of drugs into the US. 

    Notwithstanding this belated acknowledgment by the US, however, the Mexicans seem determined to inform the world that the Americans have no moral authority to lecture them on the duty to fight drug trafficking:

    There is trafficking in Mexico because there is corruption in Mexico… But by the same argument if there is trafficking in the United States it is because there is some corruption in the United States… It is impossible to pass tonnes of cocaine to the United States without the complicity of some American authorities.

    (Mexican President Felipe Calderon, BBC News, March 30, 2009)

    But talk of Obama deploying US troops to the Mexican-US border is hysterical nonsense.  In fact, I am confident that the coordinated efforts now underway between Mexican forces and US border guards will prove effective in quelling the drug-related violence that has escalated along this border in recent months. 

    At any rate, I regret that Obama’s enlightenment in this respect does not extend to doing the only thing that will guarantee victory in this war: decriminalize drugs!

    Related commentaries:
    Marching for (illegal) immigration rights

  • Monday, March 30, 2009 at 5:39 AM

    Blaming white people with blue eyes for global financial crisis

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Poor Gordon Brown, he has suffered more humiliation in the international media lately than any British prime minister in recent history. 

    Perhaps you’ve seen the viral video of him being dressed down by British Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan – who ended his tongue lashing by calling Brown “the devalued prime minister of a devalued government.”

    Not to mention the political body blow he suffered over the weekend when someone leaked his draft of the final communiqué world leaders were supposed to endorse at the end of their G-20 summit on Thursday.  Especially since this prompted leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel to preemptively reject the communiqué’s key provision, which calls for a $2-trillion global stimulus package to save the global economy.

    Most interesting for me, however, was the humiliation he suffered on a trip to Brazil last week to enlist support for his G-20 communiqué from that country’s irascible president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula).  Because reports are that Brown nearly lost his lunch at their joint press conference when Lula went off message as follows:

    This crisis was caused by the irrational behavior of white people with blue eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate that they know nothing… I do not know any black or indigenous bankers.

    Of course, given the notorious rantings of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, this might seem like nothing more than the undiplomatic and incendiary rhetoric the world has come to expect from hot-blooded Latin leaders.  Perhaps; but what Lula said also happens to be true … at least in part.

    Not surprisingly, it has provided terrific fodder for political commentators – many of whom have fatuously charged Lula of reverse racism.  In fact, I am dismayed at the number of pundits, like Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, who dismissed Lula’s assertion as sheer “lunacy” without conceding the essential truth of the matter asserted.

    Meanwhile, instead of getting flustered, Brown would have saved face a little by pointing out to Lula that, in fact, he has brown eyes.

    Never mind that this might have prompted Lula to refine his assertion to charge, more accurately, that this global financial crisis was caused by white American and European men, who traveled the globe dispensing advice that has now proved to be not just self-serving but the blueprint for a financial house of cards.

    At any rate, I fully expect Lula to be greeted like a hero by G-20 leaders from developing countries. Because, trust me, they all admire the fact that he had the cajones to say publicly what they’ve all been muttering in private about the cause of this crisis. 

    But I’m sure the irony is not lost on any of them that the most non-white member of the group just happens to be the leader from the country most responsible for this crisis, namely, President Barack Obama of the United States.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 7:38 AM

    It seems the Iranians prefer a “maybe” option to reply to Obama’s offer of friendship

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

  • Friday, March 27, 2009 at 5:26 AM

    John Hope Franklin, distinguished historian, is dead

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    For me, it was a profound indictment of American education that only one of my (white) professional colleagues had ever heard of John Hope Franklin before President Bill Clinton appointed him in 1997 to chair the President’s Initiative on Race.  

    After all, these were all practicing attorneys who graduated from prestigious liberal arts universities. Never mind that just two years earlier Dr Franklin’s achievements as a professor of American history moved President Clinton to award him the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award for exceptional meritorious service.

    At any rate, Dr Franklin’s scholarly works, especially on Reconstruction and the civil rights movement, figured prominently in my college course on African-American history. Most notable was his classic, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, which chronicled black life in America.

    Of course it may be that, back in the early 1980s, most white students thought that courses in African-American history were only for black students.  And that there were no whites in my history class – even though the student body was 95% white – would seem to confirm this.

    Yet most Americans would no doubt appreciate the fact that Dr Franklin played a seminal role in the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which declared the organizing principle of Jim Crowism, “separate but equal,” unconstitutional. After all, this led to the integration not only of public schools in America but also of places of public accommodation.

    Using the findings of the historians the lawyers argued that the history of segregation laws reveals that their main purpose was to organize the community upon the basis of a superior white and an inferior Negro caste.

    (Dr Franklin)

    Perhaps, early in his career, Dr Franklin derived some consolation from the fact that his lectures were much in demand abroad, which garnered him stints in places like China, Zimbabwe and England (Cambridge University).  But there’s no denying that he was as pioneering a figure in American education as Jackie Robinson was in American sports.   In fact here’s how the New York Times cited just a few of his trailblazing accomplishments:

    He was the first African-American president of the American Historical Association; the first black department chairman at a predominantly white institution, Brooklyn College; the first black professor to hold an endowed chair at Duke; the first black chairman of the University of Chicago’s history department; and the first African-American to present a paper at the segregated Southern Historical Association, one of many groups that later elected him its president.

    What I found most impressive about Dr Franklin, however, was the fact that he always exuded a Mandela-like serenity despite the many racial indignities he was forced to endure.  For example, in an interview with Charlie Rose last year, he nonchalantly recounted how, on the occasion (referenced above) when he came to Washington to receive the Medal of Freedom, a man mistook him for a parking attendant – handing him car keys and telling him to get his car.

    But this story suggests that he was hoping to teach America a lesson even in choosing Mirror to America as the title of his 2005 autobiography.  Because I suspect that the subtext of all of his works was aimed at getting white Americans to see the character flaws that gave rise to the institution of slavery and its legacy of racism.

    Dr Franklin died of congestive heart failure on Wednesday in Durham, N.C. He was 94.

    Farewell Professor

  • Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 5:45 AM

    Creating mischief to undermine British authority in TCI

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    [Author’s note: I am mindful that the unfolding political drama in my home country has been the subject of many of my commentaries lately.  But we are experiencing a constitutional crisis there that is the equivalent of the impeachments of Nixon and Clinton combined.  So please bear with me as I do whatever I can to help guide my compatriots through this national ordeal.  ALH]

    I’ve been told that I raised quite a few eyebrows in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) back in 1995 when I declared, during a keynote address at a political gathering, that local politicians should negotiate with British authorities to abolish the title of Chief Minister for our national leader in favor of Premier. 

    Ironically, I reasoned that “Chief Minister” perpetuated stereotypes of the colonial white man-native relationship that seemed anachronistic even in a dependent UK territory. More to the point, it offended my national pride that this title conveyed connotations of immaturity and irresponsibility and conjured up imperial presumptions about “the white man’s burden.”

    Then along came the government of Premier Dr Michael Misick, which promptly validated all of those connotations and presumptions and even reflected a need to teach us basic principles of Christian morals and ethics.  And now local politicians are engaged in all kinds of mischief making, which our British overseers must simply regard as confirming displays of petulant and infantile futility

    But I hasten to reassure long-suffering and understandably confused TCIslanders that, notwithstanding petition drives by local politicians, perfunctory meddling by regional politicians, unwarranted admonitions issued by CARICOM, or even this week’s swearing in of the new government of Premier Galmore Williams (in light suit), the following will (and should) still ensue in due course:

    The Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution (Interim Amendment) Order 2009 will come into force on 30 April (or sooner depending on how much of this mischief the British can tolerate). This means, amongst other things, that:

    1. The office of Premier “shall become vacant” – thus rendering the premiership of Hon. Galmore Williams as short as it is meaningless.
    2. The Cabinet “shall cease to exist” – thus rendering Premier Williams’ appointments equally short and meaningless.
    3. The House of Assembly “shall be dissolved” – thus rendering all MPs unemployed and irrelevant.

    Therefore, I regret that, instead of helping our people understand the legal force and salvaging import of this Order, our local politicians are raising unsustainable challenges to some of its provisions to further their short-sighted, selfish and ultimately feckless agendas. 

    Frankly, the British should execute this Order precisely as drafted – especially given its unassailable intent and the amount of time, thought and effort they clearly put into it. And our politicians – effectively bereft of constitutional power (and evidently even of intellectual ideas) – should be seeking ways to cooperate with them instead of behaving like unruly children playing a game of chicken.

    That said, I’ve received enough e-mails to feel obliged to clarify what I wrote in last week’s commentary on the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendation for an enlargement of the franchise.  Here’s what I wrote:

    [T]he enlargement of the franchise is only a recommendation; not some constitutional provision being imposed upon us. Yet I hope we adopt it because I have championed this cause for many years not only as a civil right for long-settled expatriates but also as a political and economic necessity for the sustainable development of our country.

    Therefore, notwithstanding their visceral opposition, I maintain that it is in our enlightened national interest to implement:

    ‘Reform, with clearly defined criteria, to widen the Franchise to long-term residents of the Territory and thereby reduce the scope of political patronage, bribery and electoral abuse.’

    Frankly, it is immature, unfair and ultimately self-defeating for us to continue relying on these expatriates to contribute to our economic development whilst treating them like undocumented aliens when it comes to our political development.

    In fact, we should seize this opportunity to relegate some other vexing appellations to the dustbin of history.  In this respect, a friend reminded me this week about how often I used to argue that we should abolish the colonial fictions of “Belongers” and “expatriates” in favor of referring to ourselves as citizens and residents (permanent or temporary). 

    Accordingly, we should enact reforms to do just that.  And I remind those voicing concerns about this recommendation that the Order provides for an Advisory Council and a Consultative Forum, which will give them the right not only to be heard but also to participate in the process of reforming our political system.

    I have no doubt, however, that all sensible and fair-minded TCIslanders will agree that, like all civilized countries, the TCI should provide “clearly defined criteria” for long-term residents to become naturalized citizens with all of the rights and privileges of citizenship, including the right to vote. 

    And, as the recommendation suggests, this would eliminate the unseemly practice of selling Belongerships like a commodity or claiming it like an inheritance from a rich Daddy.

    Meanwhile, even though misguided and patently self-serving, there’s nothing wrong with the (new) Premier and his party, the PNP, rallying for independence.  But I challenge them to make this the organizing principle of their election manifesto when this Order expires in two years. 

    After all, if TCI citizens vote them back into power on a pledge to push for independence, I’m sure the British will be all too happy to facilitate this process.  However, I suspect that, in the interim, cooler heads (even within the PNP) will prevail; and that, when all is said and done, this expedient call for independence will be exposed as nothing more than vainglorious political bluster….

    Related commentaries:
    Putting concerns about British intervention in TCI into perspective

    * This commentary is published today also at Caribbean Net News and The TCI Journal.

  • Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 5:31 AM

    Is Obama’s familiarity breeding contempt…?

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Evidently, researchers have determined that President Obama has made more media appearances at this point in his presidency than any of his predecessors.  In fact, some critics can be forgiven the impression that he’s doing more to compete with the likes of the “Octomom” and Lindsay Lohan for media coverage than to fix the ailing US economy.

    Of course, with Obama writing newspaper editorials, publishing podcasts, conducting town hall meetings, doing late-night talk shows, and appearing on enough magazine covers to make supermodels green with envy, we did not need media researchers to tell us that he risks being overexposed.

    But I have no doubt that if Obama was instead hiding out in the Oval Office the way George W. Bush did during periods of crisis, these same pundits would be lampooning him as the “invisible man.”

    Could he have made fewer appearances? I think so. For example, he did not have to command air time to announce every Cabinet nomination – especially since, with the possible exception of the State and Justice, most Americans couldn’t care any less who heads these various departments.

    In his defense, however, Obama has clearly made the very reasonable political calculation that the more he acts like explainer in chief, the more confidence he will inspire in his plan for economic recovery and reinvestment.  And given the complex and unprecedented nature of this global financial crisis we’re facing, this seems a very sensible calculation. Not to mention poll numbers which indicate that the American people just can’t get enough of him….

    Accordingly, I’m sure the press conference he held last night furthered this keep-the-people-informed-and-reassured political strategy; notwithstanding that his answers to questions about corporate bailouts and bonuses have become so familiar that a few of us can recite them almost verbatim.

    All the same, one exciting moment came when CNN reporter Ed Henry posited that the New York attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, was doing a better job of extracting concessions from  the bonus pigs at AIG than the White House.  And, frankly, Henry was making a salient point and seemed to have Obama back on his heels.  But then he followed up by effectively badgering the president to explain why, when everyone else vented outrage immediately, it took him several days to voice his anger. This prompted the “I’ll-bend-but-not-break” Obama to respond with icy indignation as follows:

    It took a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak… [Next question]!

    Ouch!

    Incidentally, this was the second prime-time press conference Obama has given during his short, 64-day presidency. By comparison, both Bush and Clinton gave only 4 such press conferences during their 8-year presidencies, respectively. But if Obama’s mug is this ubiquitous in the fall, I too will hold him in contempt.

    That said, I shall end with a little gripe of my own in this respect by reiterating a note I appended to a commentary on his address before a Joint Session of Congress a month ago today:

    Am I the only one who finds it irritating that Obama can never leave a room gracefully? Why does he have to shake so many hands – as if he’s working the line at a campaign rally?!  This was the U.S. Congress for Christ’s sake!  In fact, he was still in the chamber, reaching 10 deep to shake hands with other politicians, after every other dignitary, like his VP and even Hillary, had already left. 

    Frankly, someone should inform him that, to preserve the aura of, and what little mystique is left in, the presidency, he should always be the last to enter and the first to leave a room.

    [Obama … offers hope in address before Joint Session of Congress, TIJ, February 25, 2009]

    Related commentaries:
    Obama … offers hope in address before Joint Session of Congress

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 5:22 AM

    South Africa bans Dalai Lama from peace conference to appease China…?!

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Westerns are incredulous by South Africa’s decision to ban the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, from attending a peace conference for Nobel laureates that is scheduled to convene in Johannesburg on Friday.  But nobody familiar with recent developments in South African politics should be.

    A few years ago, communists and other left-wing factions in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) began undermining the presidency of Thabo Mbeki to make way for their standard bearer, Jacob Zuma.  And since then I’ve been chronicling (and lamenting) South Africa’s slow but certain descent into just another dysfunctional, destitute and discredited African country.

    In fact nothing demonstrated this descent quite like the way unemployed blacks scapegoated and attacked black foreigners recently to vent their economic frustrations. The irony of course is that they were executing these attacks in a discriminatory manner eerily similar to the way Apartheid whites once attacked them.

    More to the point, there’s no denying that this descent has coincided with the fractious ouster of Mbeki and his democratic allies from the ANC leadership by Zuma and his communist allies:

    Zuma’s efforts to silence Zapiro – aided by the rabble-rousing trade unionists (COSATU) and unreformed communists (SACP) who have turned the ruling ANC from a governing coalition into a band of rebels – should serve as a dire warning of what South Africa will become under his leadership.

    [Zuma issues fatwa against cartoonist…, TIJ, December 28, 2008]

    But I discerned early on that, given credible allegations that he’s not only a corrupt politician but also a rapist, Zuma knew full well that he would always be persona non grata in the West.  Therefore, I was not at all surprised when he began emulating fellow African pariahs like President Mugabe of Zimbabwe and President al-Bashir of Sudan by forging political and economic ties with China and Russia. 

    Moreover, this is why South Africa couldn’t care any less about outrage in the West over its ban on the Dalai Lama.  Never mind the hypocrisy of Zuma and crew now governing like the Apartheid leaders they once reviled….

    We in the South African government have not invited the Dalai Lama to visit South Africa, because it would not be in the interests of South Africa… The attention of the world is on South Africa because of it being the host country for the 2010 World Cup, and we wouldn’t want anything to distract from that… A visit now by the Dalai Lama would move the focus from South Africa onto issues in Tibet.

    (ANC spokesman Thabo Masebe)

    No doubt South Africa is convinced that China’s (financial) gratitude for this high-profile declaration of solidarity will more than compensate for Western (political) condemnation.

    But nothing indicates how much South Africa has veered from the path towards democracy quite like having former Apartheid leader F.W. de Klerk join former Anti-Apartheid leaders Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela (all Nobel peace prize winners) in boycotting this conference in solidarity with the Dalai Lama and his Western supporters:

    If His Holiness’s visa is refused, then I won’t take part in the coming 2010 World Cup-related peace conference. I will condemn [the] government’s behaviour as disgraceful … a total betrayal of our struggle’s history.  We are shamelessly succumbing to Chinese pressure. I feel deeply distressed and ashamed.

    (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

    [South Africa] should admit anyone with a legitimate and peaceful interest and should not take political decisions on who should, and who should not, attend.

    (F.W. de Klerk)

    It is impossible for us to be part of an event where one of the main participants is not able to enter the country.

    (Geir Lundestad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel peace prize committee)

    Of course, no country is better suited to help South Africa weather this political storm than China.  After all, despite near-universal condemnation over China’s brutal crackdown on the Dalai Lama’s followers in Tibet last year, no country followed through on threats to boycott the Beijing Olympics. 

    Therefore, South Africa can be forgiven for banking on the triumph of sports over politics again where the World Cup is concerned.  All the same, I hope there’s still a chance that Tutu and Mandela can use their moral and political authority to prevail upon the venal Zuma to reconsider this ban….

    UPDATE 

    11:15 am:  Reports are that organizers of the peace conference have canceled it indefinitely in protest over the government’s insistence that it will not grant the Dalai Lama a visa to enter South Africa … until after the 2010 World Cup.  China will be very pleased indeed….

    Related commentaries:
    Mbeki forced to resign as president
    Black South Africans attack black foreigners
    Zuma issues fatwa against cartoonist
    Zuma gets off on rape
    ANC splits at its core
    Punishing China for Tibet? Hardly

  • Monday, March 23, 2009 at 5:32 AM

    The Pope instructs Africans to risk their lives to save their souls

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    For decades now, the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church on things like birth control, pre-marital sex and abortion have been falling among thorns in the developed world. As a result, millions of Catholics remain affiliated with the church in name only.   And of course millions more have become disaffected in recent years because of the church’s sex abuse scandals.

    In the meantime, however, Catholic missionaries have been sowing seeds with these teachings on fertile ground throughout the developing world.  And as a result, they have grown more than enough zealous converts to compensate.

    Of course nowhere has the ground proved more fertile than in Africa, where the Catholic Church is experiencing unprecedented and unparalleled growth. Therefore, it is no surprise that Pope Benedict XVI felt obliged to make his first papal visit there last week.

    But the Pope may have undermined this growth with the doctrinaire pronouncement he made on condoms and HIV/AIDs on the eve of his trip:

    Traditional teaching of the Church on chastity outside marriage and fidelity within it had proved to be the only sure way of preventing the spread of HIV and Aids….  [Aids] cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.

    However, with all due respect to the quixotic notion of papal infallibility, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other medical institutions have published scientific studies which show that “correct and consistent use of condoms reduces the risk of HIV by 90 per cent.”

    The male latex condom is the single, most efficient, available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV.

    (UNAIDS, the UN umbrella group fight the global AIDS pandemic)

    Moreover, given how many African countries have implemented aggressive condom distribution programs to combat HIV/AIDS, this pronouncement by the Pope will probably cause as much moral conflict amongst Africans as the pronouncement by his predecessors on birth control caused amongst Americans. 

    For example, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni proudly credits his “ABC” program, which counsels Ugandans to Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms, for saving thousands of lives and reducing levels of HIV infections significantly.  Now one wonders how many Ugandans will continue to practice all of their ABCs.

    Frankly, the Pope’s prescription for preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS is probably even less effective than the beetroot and garlic concoction South African health officials were hawking a few years ago, which was condemned more in Africa than in any other region of the world as irresponsible and dangerous.

    Then there’s the outrage the Pope’s pronouncement has incited amongst health workers and AIDS experts who have been touting condom use as a veritable panacea in the fight against the spread of this deadly virus. But the Pope has incited outrage amongst them not just because his prescription is so ineffective; rather it’s because the religious devotion he inspires (especially amongst Africans) makes it so deadly.  

    Indeed, the irony is that the Pope is preaching a message that (he thinks) might save many African souls but adherence to it is bound to cause many people to die; not least because millions of HIV-positive men will now claim Papal authority to infect their wives (and lovers).

    NOTE: According to the UNAIDS 2008 report on the global AIDS epidemic, 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV.  Over 20 million have already died….

    Related commentaries:
    South Africa reviled for beetroot AIDS remedy
    Circumcision reduces contraction of HIV/AIDS
    Pope comes to America

  • Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    Obama apologizes for gaffe about bowling like a kid at the Special Olympics

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    The invariably politically correct Obama made this gaffe on Thursday when he made an unprecedented appearance for a sitting US president on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

    Of course nobody believes President Obama harbors any prejudice against children with disabilities. But this gaffe betrays an ignorance that I suspect is as embarrassing for him as it is offensive to kids who participate at the Special Olympics.

    The president made an offhand remark making fun of his own bowling that was in no way intended to disparage the Special Olympics. [He] thinks that the Special Olympics are a wonderful program that gives an opportunity to shine to people with disabilities from around the world.

    (White House Spokesman Bill Burton)

    So Obama bowled a gutter ball with this joke… Enough said!

  • Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 8:39 AM

    Nevermind AIG: America has a hallowed tradition of rewarding corporate executives for abject failure: remember golden parachutes…?

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

  • Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 2:07 PM

    Putting concerns about British intervention in TCI into perspective

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    There’s no denying that the vast majority of people in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) cheered with national relief when the British intervened this week to oust our hopelessly dysfunctional and terminally corrupt government.   

    Not surprisingly, our ousted premier jeered with selfish grief:  

    The British still think that there are none among us who are worthy and/or capable of running the affairs of our country. They still view us all as a corrupt people, unfit to govern ourselves.

    (Michael Misick)

    Frankly, in light of the undisputed findings in an Interim Report by a Commission of Inquiry into possible corruption and other serious dishonesty in the TCI, the British can be forgiven if they regard us as Misick asserts.

    Of course no one is more responsible for us being held in such low regard than the evidently unworthy, incapable and corrupt Misick himself. But his hackneyed and delusional rantings about the “imperial British” are yesterday’s news….

    On the other hand, the British should try to reason with local political leaders who heralded this intervention but have expressed concerns about a provision in the TCI Constitution (Interim Amendment) Order 2009 (“the Order”), under which we will be governed for the next two years.

    These leaders object to the provision for an Advisory Council, which is drafted, in relevant part, as follows:

    There shall be an Advisory Council for the Turks and Caicos Islands, which shall consist of… up to seven other persons, who shall be known as “the nominated members”, appointed by the Governor, of whom at least five shall be Belongers.

    Specifically, they argue that this Council should not include anyone who is not a Belonger. And, alas, their concerns will resonate … especially since political leaders of both parties have championed (as our national birthright) the jingoistic sense of entitlement that gave rise to them. 

    Never mind that these leaders are probably motivated more by concerns about losing their jobs and political influence than by any concern about protecting our presumed birthright. 

    After all, amongst those of us who pleaded for the British to intervene were some who reportedly fantasized about being automatically installed in power- perhaps the way the military installed the opposition party after ousting the ruling party in Madagascar earlier this week. No doubt this accounts for their complaints about the Order dissolving Parliament and vesting all executive and legislative power in the Governor for this interim period.

    But no matter our sense of entitlement, it smacks of ignorance and arrogance for us to call on the British to save us from ourselves, and then insist that they should rely only on us for advice on how to clean up the mess we created. Indeed, this is akin to employees of a bankrupt bank insisting that they have a right to determine who the court should appoint to rescue them from bankruptcy. 

    However, this is not the appropriate forum in which to expose all of the reasons why concerns about the composition of the Advisory Council are simply unsustainable.   Although, it is instructive that the Order also includes a provision for a Consultative Forum in which all TCIslanders will undoubtedly be invited to express concerns and share ideas…. 

    Therefore, I beg our political leaders to take a little time to reflect on what appears to be their unfounded concerns (and confusion) about the nature, purpose and tenure of this intervention. 

    In fact, nothing demonstrates their confusion quite like the way they are conflating concerns about the Advisory Council with concerns about a recommendation in the Commission’s interim report for the “Enlargement of the Franchise.” And what binds their confusion appears to be an abiding fear that expatriates will “dilute” the political power they covet.

    But it behooves them to appreciate that the Council is only an advisory body with no executive or legislative authority.  Moreover, its members will serve only for the two years it takes the British to repair the fiscal and political damage the Misick administration did to our country over the past five years. 

    Likewise, the enlargement of the franchise is only a recommendation; not some constitutional provision being imposed upon us.   Yet I hope we adopt it because I have championed this cause for many years not only as a civil right for long-settled expatriates but also as a political and economic necessity for the sustainable development of our country. 

    Therefore, notwithstanding their visceral opposition, I maintain that  it is in our enlightened national interest to implement:

    Reform, with clearly defined criteria, to widen the Franchise to long-term residents of the Territory and thereby reduce the scope of political patronage, bribery and electoral abuse.

    Frankly, it is immature, unfair and ultimately self-defeating for us to continue relying on these expatriates to contribute to our economic development whilst treating them like undocumented aliens when it comes to our political development.

    Finally, I feel constrained to remind these quixotic nationalists that we are still a dependent UK territory. And nothing reinforces this reality quite like the fact that we were reduced to pleading with the British to launch this intervention. 

    But as I lamented in a related commentary, being forced to intervene in this manner must be as frustrating for the British as it is humiliating for us.  More to the point, it behooves us to respect and appreciate their declaration – made repeatedly in official statements and codified in the Order – that this intervention is not intended to reassert colonial rule or to deny us the ability to manage our own affairs. 

    All TCIslanders should understand that the Order is designed for the British to get things straight so that we can resume governing ourselves on fiscally sound and democratic foundations as soon as possible.

    Accordingly, I urge our political leaders to stop raising petty and misguided concerns about how the British will guide us through this process.  Instead, they would do well to concentrate on making themselves more capable and trustworthy to lead us into the future – once the British return the reins of government back to us when the Order expires two years from now.

    Related commentaries:
    Britain suspends TCI Constitution … again

  • Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:41 AM

    Britain suspends TCI Constitution … again

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    [N]obody should be surprised … when the Commission reports that government officials have fostered such a thriving and infectious culture of “corruption and serious dishonesty”(which has infected members of the opposition too) that it would offend all notions of good governance for the ruling PNP to be allowed to continue to govern.

    (The case for an Interim Government in the TCI, The iPINIONS Journal, November 14, 2008)

    Yesterday, the British government finally released Sir Robin Auld’s Interim Report on a Commission of Inquiry into possible corruption and serious dishonesty in relation to government officials of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).

    Alas, this anxiously awaited Report effectively indicted the entire government of unethical, if not criminal, behavior. Most damning, Sir Robin cites:

    …clear signs of political amorality and immaturity and general administrative incompetence.

    Accordingly, the Governor of the TCI, Gordon Wetherell, punctuated its publication by announcing a two-year suspension of all constitutional power, duty or function vested in the Premier, the Cabinet or any Member of Parliament. All such power, duty or function will now be vested in the Governor, and he will perform or exercise that power, duty or function in his discretion with the aid of an Advisory Council and a Consultative Forum.

    No doubt the findings in this Report of “systemic corruption and other serious dishonesty,” to say nothing of rank incompetence, are as frustrating for the British as they are humiliating for TCIslanders. After all, this is the second time such shocking and appalling local governance has forced Britain to suspend our constitution since it began devolving political power in its Overseas Territories almost three decades ago. (The first time was in 1986 pursuant to a similar report.)

    Nevertheless, this Report makes it plain for all to see why the British government, which retains responsibility for good governance in the TCI, had no choice but to take this extraordinary step … backwards.

    At any rate, since our now-suspended Premier, Dr. Michael Misick, made such a public display of condemning me for pleading with the British to execute this intervention, I feel obliged to publish my reaction now that it has been launched.

    First and foremost, this intervention means that the British have committed to do for us what we simply could not do for ourselves; namely, to save the TCI from a state of dysfunction, destitution and dictatorship the likes of which the Commonwealth has never seen … except in Zimbabwe.

    And as extreme as this undertaking might seem, a cursory reading of Sir Robin’s report should erase all reasonable doubt that local government officials were leading us down a primrose path towards this end…. Of course the British are not motivated entirely by altruism.

    It clearly behooves the British to do whatever is necessary to clean up the financial mess they’ve allowed to fester in the TCI, if not for our sake, then for their own. After all, they are facing mounting and untenable contingent liabilities estimated now in excess of $1 billion, which includes [TCI government ] debts arising out of payments in lieu of untaken leave, arrears to suppliers, claims by ghost workers, unsecured loans and unfunded pension liabilities – just to name a few.

    [The Case for an Interim Government, as above]

    All the same, we should be relieved that Governor Wetherell has made getting our fiscal affairs in order a national priority. Indeed, it should be reassuring to TClslanders and foreign investors alike that he has already retained forensic accountants (“from an ‘International Flying Squad’ of experts”) to audit, restructure and oversee government finances.

    These interim measures are clearly necessary to reform our civil service and transform the ‘cross-party culture’ that purportedly gave rise to government corruption, abuse and incompetence. And they must be implemented if we have any hope of attracting the kind of foreign direct investments that will contribute to our sustainable development…

    There is a silver lining in the global financial crisis that is just beginning to reverberate throughout our economy. Because the two years it will take America and other developed nations to recover will be just the interim we need to prepare ourselves to make more sustainable use of foreign investments and government revenues again.

    [Open Letter: TCI Commission of Inquiry, Caribbean Net News, February 11, 2009]

    We should be equally relieved that the Governor has signaled his intent to restore unqualified respect for the rule of law, not least by prosecuting all who are implicated in corrupt activities by Sir Robin’s final report. Specifically, here’s what he said in his statement in this respect:

    I can confirm that consideration is being given to the establishment of a special civil recovery team, and the need to bolster the capacity of the police and to appoint a special prosecutor to undertake prosecutions which may be warranted in keeping with any evidence of criminality….

    With these and other measures, the British clearly seem determined to lay the foundation for us to try for the third time to build a nation that can govern itself. And if we hope to ever imbue our national pride with anything more than misguided bravado, we simply cannot afford to strike out.

    This means that each of us must do whatever we can, and bear whatever burden we must, to assist the Governor and his Advisory Council in laying this foundation.

    For most TCIslanders, this will only require demonstrating a new sense of personal and civic responsibility. For others, however, it will require sacrifice and initiative as the implementation of measures to professionalize and streamline our civil service will render many government jobs redundant, requiring you to find work in the private sector.

    The urgent need for financial control within government Departments demands a vast improvement in the quality of senior and middle management. The vital need is to establish an active training programme.

    [Commission of Inquiry: Interim Report, February 28, 2009]

    Finally, I would like to make a plea to the leaders and active members of our two political parties. Because, despite rhetoric that suggests that there is as much difference between the PNP and PDM in the TCI as there is between the Sunni and Shia in Iraq, what unites us makes whatever political differences we have seem utterly petty by comparison. Not to mention that political developments over the next two years might relegate old party affiliations to the dustbin of our brief but tortured history.

    More to the point, the time has come for PDM members to realize that you do not have a monopoly on fiscal prudence and good governance; just as the time has come for PNP members to realize that you do not have a monopoly on national pride and a desire for self-determination.

    Therefore, I beg all of you to put aside perceived party interests for the sake of our country. After all, no political advantage can be gained from attempting to exploit, resist or undermine this interim process that is now underway; indeed, to the contrary.

    Instead, I entreat you to focus your efforts on grass-roots community work to foster economic development in your respective constituencies and to instill our people with a new spirit of citizenship based more on how much they contribute to society than on their jingoistic sense of entitlement.

    In this respect, I urge long-settled members of the expatriate community to see this crisis as an opportunity to come out of the cocoon of political isolation that reciprocal prejudices and presumptions have kept you in for far too long.

    And there’s no better way to demonstrate the bona fides of your new spirit of citizenship (which forthcoming constitutional reforms should codify) than by getting involved in mentoring programs and other civic (and social) activities that will build more meaningful and sustainable relationships with TCIslanders.

    May God bless (and help) us….

    NOTE: I have shunned any reference to our suspended Premier’s SOS for the UN, CARICOM and other international forces to halt this British intervention. I’ve done so because it amounts to nothing more than a sad commentary on what appears to be his pathologically delusional state of mind. And, frankly, this demonstrates the immaturity in our local leadership that Sir Robin indicts in his report.

    Related commentaries:
    Case for an interim government
    Open Letter: TCI Commission of Inquiry
    Just like ‘Tricky-Dick’ Nixon…

    * This commentary will be published today also at Caribbean Net News and The TCI Journal

  • Monday, March 16, 2009 at 7:30 AM

    UPDATE: In Pakistan, the restoration (of judges) portends civil war

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    When President Zardari’s government forces and Nawaz Sharif’s opposition protesters clashed on the streets of Pakistan over the weekend it confirmed this prediction I first made over a year ago:

    Having rid the country of bogeyman Musharraf (who at least enforced some degree of stability), Zardari and Sharif now seem determined to plunge Pakistan into sectarian political warfare that will make the conflict between Sunni and Shia in Iraq seem like a schoolyard row.

    And this political warfare will not only raise questions about Pakistan as a responsible nuclear power but also compromise its ability to fight insurgent terrorists on the real front in the war on terror; i.e., on the border regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

    [Pakistan’s ruling coalition falls … duh, TIJ, August 28, 2008]

    But when I previewed these imminent clashes in a commentary last Friday, I did not foresee that Zardari would cave-in so easily to Sharif’s demands.  After all, Zardari had not only reiterated his refusal to reinstate the judges who inspired these protests but also deployed forces and barricades to contain the protesters.

    Yet, before the government forces had a chance to administer the kind of brutal crackdown that former President Pervez Musharraf ordered them to do so frequently, Zardari dispatched his prime minister to announce that he would reinstate the politically martyred chief justice and scores of other judges forthwith.  Thus victorious, Sharif then called off the “Long March” to the capital to force Zardari’s hand.  

    President Obama and other Western leaders have hailed Zardari’s capitulation as “statesmanlike.” But I fear that it will only embolden Sharif, his erstwhile coalition partner and wannabe successor, to exact even greater concessions to curtail Zardiri’s powers.

    This in turn will inevitably lead to demands for Zardari’s head on a political platter – just as he and Zardari demanded, and eventually got, the head of Pervez Musharraf.

    Therefore, instead of ensuring political stability, Zardari’s concession may have just sown the seeds of his own demise.  And so it goes….

    Related commentaries:
    Trouble on the march in Pakistan…again

  • Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 5:53 AM

    Madoff qualifies his plea with an appeal based on the customary principle of moral relativism…

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Even though an incorrigible shyster, Bernie has a point. After all, he got rich by embezzling and mismanaging only billions of dollars through his Madoff scheme; whereas, Wall Street bankers got rich by embezzling and mismanaging trillions through their predatory mortgage lending and other schemes.

    Yet the bankers are not only getting away scot-free, the government has also given them hundreds of billions to compensate for their wrongdoing. 

    Now, where’s the justice in that…?

    And, by the way, don’t be misled by all of the sad stories about Bernie’s victims you see playing out on TV. Because that $50 billion didn’t just vanish and he doesn’t have it parked in some Swiss bank account. 

    In fact, with people auditioning to be Peters he could steal from to pay Pauls, Bernie made many Pauls very rich indeed.  But don’t expect to see them on TV sharing the happy stories of their success….

    Related commentaries:
    Bernie Madoff pulls off biggest Wall Street scan in history

  • Friday, March 13, 2009 at 5:11 AM

    Trouble on the march in Pakistan … again

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    History repeated itself in Pakistan yesterday as thousands of lawyers from cities all over the country mounted another “Long March,” which they hope will end on Monday with a sit-in at the parliament in the capital, Islamabad. And, like last year, the clarion call this year is for the president to reinstate all judges sacked by his predecessor.

    They can only hope because, like last year, Pakistani police will do everything possible to foil their mission. And no one doubts that if the police cannot maintain law and order this weekend, then the military will.

    Of course it might surprise some to learn that the president being called on this year is Benazir Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari.  After all, he and the organizing figure behind this year’s march, Nawaz Sharif, were in the vanguard of those leading last year’s march to call on President Pervez Musharraf to reinstate these judges.  

    Frankly, what is going on in Pakistan is very troubling and could affect us all. But since I’ve been chronicling developments there for years, I shall suffice to publish a series of excerpts from previous commentaries that puts this latest episode into context:

    Pakistan’s Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, issued a ruling which could only be regarded as an untenable challenge to the authority of General Pervez Musharraf…  It’s hardly surprising that Musharraf wasted no time arresting, or putting under house arrest, all judicial and political opponents who he suspects might be inclined to oppose his declaration of emergency.

    [Crocodile tears in West as Musharraf imposes martial law, TIJ, November 5, 2007]

    Thousands of lawyers mounted a “Long March” on the Pakistani Parliament yesterday to call on President Pervez Musharraf to reinstate the judges he arbitrarily arrested and sacked last year. They were equally adamant, however, in their calls for Musharraf to resign for trying to stack the courts to save his presidency. 

    [Calls for Musharraf to resign portend chaos for Pakistan, TIJ, June 10, 2008]

    Less than a week after joining forces to compel President Musharraf to resign, Zardari and Sharif, the leaders of Pakistan’s ruling coalition, have vindicated the following cynical observation I made six months ago about their working relationship: 

    Just as it was with Sharif and the late Benazir Bhutto, Sharif and the new leader of the PPP [Bhutto’s widower Zardari] might find that the only politician they hate more than Musharraf is each other.

    Accordingly, citing a “string of broken promises” by Zardari (especially his refusal to honor his promise to reinstate the judges Musharraf sacked), Sharif announced on Monday that he is withdrawing his support from the government… It did not take them long to disabuse Pakistanis of any hope that they would be able to work together to cure the country’s crippling economic woes and combat al-Qaeda’s increasingly violent insurgency. 

    Therefore, having rid the country of bogeyman Musharraf (who at least enforced some degree of stability), Zardari (left) and Sharif (right) now seem determined to plunge Pakistan into sectarian political warfare that will make the conflict between Sunni and Shia in Iraq seem like a schoolyard row. 

    And this political warfare will not only raise questions about Pakistan as a responsible nuclear power but also compromise its ability to fight insurgent terrorists on the real front in the war on terror; i.e., on the border regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

    [Pakistan’s ruling coalition falls … duh, TIJ, August 28, 2008]

    Meanwhile, despite all of the political permutations in the offing, nothing terrifies world leaders more than the nightmare scenario of the keys to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons being democratically-snatched from Musharraf’s secure and trustworthy hands by a Muslim zealot; i.e. like a Pakistani version of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad….

    [Day of reckoning for America’s most-favored dictator Musharraf, TIJ, August 24, 1007]

    Enough said! God help them … and us.

  • Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 5:33 AM

    World Kidney Day

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Today, Kidney foundations around the world are marking World Kidney Day by raising awareness about the importance of early and comprehensive screening to combat kidney disease.  And special efforts will be made to educate people about the correlation between high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease.

    I am especially interested in participating in this awareness campaign not only because both of my parents died relatively young from kidney disease but also because my big brother, Christy, is now undergoing dialysis treatment to combat it.

    We are suffering a pandemic of obesity… Therefore, I urge you to commit to annual physical exams – complete with tests for kidney disease, HIV and other STDs. And this applies especially to black men in Africa and the Caribbean where there seems to be a cultural belief that one visits the doctor only for emergency care. 

    After all, I am a living example of the fact that, despite daily exercise and a healthy diet, we are all vulnerable to that silent killer – cholesterol.

    [My New Year’s resolution: a final report, TIJ, January 2, 2009]

    In fact, my brother’s condition is what inspired me to publish quarterly reports on my own health last year.  Specifically, I wanted to convey the need to supplement even exercise and a healthy diet with regular testing for silent killers like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. 

    But I was ever mindful of Christy’s poignant admonition about the importance of screening for kidney disease, namely that:

    Renal failure is a disease without early symptoms.  When your body lets you know there’s a problem, you would’ve already lost 80% of your kidney functions.

    And I know that he would want me to use this World Kidney Day commentary to spread his informed admonition worldwide – especially throughout the Caribbean. 

    But I would like to end by thanking all of the nurse practitioners at the Stephanie Williams Kidney Centre in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for doing such a terrific job – with woefully limited resources – of administering Christy’s thrice-weekly dialysis treatment.

    And I know that they would want me to encourage all TCIslanders to take advantage of free screenings for kidney disease, which are offered weekdays at their centre in Provo and in the dialysis unit of the hospital on Grand Turk.

    NOTE: Unfortunately, neither the Stephanie Williams Kidney Centre nor the TCI Kidney Foundation is capable of accepting donations online.  Therefore, please use the “Donate now” feature on the website of the British Red Cross and, in the “Other additional comment” section, designate The Turks and Caicos Kidney Foundation as the beneficiary:  click here to donate

    Thank you.

    Related commentaries:
    My 2008 New Year’s resolution: a final report

  • Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 5:07 AM

    Congress passes $410 billion pork-laden budget, which Obama will hold his nose and sign

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    President Obama insisted that he was supporting this bill to fund government operations for the current fiscal year, which began last October, only because it was the most expedient way to close the final chapter on the Bush administration.

    Nevertheless, even members of his own party ended up ascribing to his administration all of the pet projects and spending increases that turned it into a political piñata or feeding trough depending on one’s sense of fiscal responsibility.  No doubt this is because one of the hallmarks of Obama’s campaign was that he would force Congress to curb its pork-barrel ways:

    But it might be helpful to know that this bill contains 8,570 pork-barrel earmarks totaling $7.7 billion. This means that born-again, fiscally conservative Republicans are waxing indignant over less than 2% of the $410 billion budget.  Never mind that 40 percent of those earmarks were requested by the indignant hypocrites now condemning them as a mortal sin.           

    It’s no wonder Obama has no regard for their protestations and will therefore hold his nose and sign it today. Frankly, I say let’s give him a pass and judge Obama on a budget of his own making for the next fiscal year. 

    Besides, what’s wrong with an earmark of $209,000 to improve blueberry production and efficiency in Georgia or with one of $1.7 million for pig odor research in Iowa if the congressman requesting it can show that it serves a legitimate public purpose?

    After all, during the Bush years the bloated Pentagon budget routinely included earmarks for such national security items as airlifting the pet of an Air Force general from Europe to Colorado at a cost of $120,000.

  • Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 4:59 AM

    Obama lifts restrictions on funding for stem cell research… Now what?

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    Yesterday amidst considerable fanfare, President Obama signed an executive order making federal funds available to “vigorously support” new research using embryonic stem cells, which scientists argue hold the key to finding cures for everything from Parkinson’s disease to diabetes and paralysis.

    Of course I have no idea how any of this is supposed to work. I just pray the scientists are right. Especially since I can recall all of the hope that attended similar arguments decades ago for federal funding into new research to find a vaccine to cure HIV/AIDS….

    Let me hasten to note, however, that I have no regard for the moral qualms that purportedly compelled President Bush to restrict this funding. Nor for similar qualms that have conservative politicians now prophesying about Obama’s order leading to a “slippery slope” into human cloning and other forms of Nazi-style eugenics.

    We will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction.

    (President Obama trying in vain to assure his critics during his signing ceremony yesterday)

    Because, frankly, if there was any moral consistency in their right-to-life protestations, conservatives would be every bit as zealous about abolishing the death penalty as they are about abolishing abortions. Not to mention the hypocrisy inherent in the juxtaposition of their moral crusade on behalf of fetuses with their moral aversion to crack babies and other disadvantaged children.

    The repudiation [of President Bush’s order] is of a policy but also of a way of life, that puts faith above science.

    (BBC report)

    So, here’s to the brave new world President Obama ushered in yesterday with the stroke of his pen. I just hope scientists will be able to fulfill more of their medical promises than it appears Obama will be able to fulfill of his political promises….

  • Monday, March 9, 2009 at 6:55 AM

    Happy Commonwealth Day

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

    A Message from Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth

    This year the Commonwealth commemorates its foundation sixty years ago. The London Declaration of 1949 was the start of a new era in which our member countries committed themselves to work together, in partnership and as equals, towards a shared future.

    We can rightly celebrate the fact that the founding members’ vision of the future has become a reality. The Commonwealth has evolved out of all recognition from its beginning. It has helped give birth to modern nations, and the eight original countries have become fifty-three. We are now home to nearly two billion people: a third of the world’s population. Across continents and oceans, we have come to represent all the rich diversity of humankind.

    Yet despite its size and scale, the Commonwealth to me has been sustained during all this change by the continuity of our mutual values and goals. Our beliefs in freedom, democracy and human rights; equality and equity; development and prosperity mean as much today as they did more than half a century ago.

    These values come from a common responsibility exercised by our governments and peoples. It is this which makes the Commonwealth a family of nations and peoples, at ease with being together. As a result, I believe we are inspired to do our best to meet people’s most pressing needs, and to develop a truly global perspective. That is why the modern Commonwealth has stood the test of time.

    But as we reflect upon our long association, we should recognize the challenges that lie ahead. Nearly one billion people of today’s Commonwealth are under 25 years of age. These are the people that this association must continue to serve in the future. It is they who can help shape the Commonwealth of today, and whose children will inherit the Commonwealth of tomorrow. To help them make the best of their opportunities, our young men and women therefore need the opportunity to become active and responsible members of the communities in which they live. I am pleased that the Commonwealth recognizes this, and is determined to continue to put young people at its centre.

    The call that brought the Commonwealth together in 1949 remains the same today. Then we joined together in a collective spirit – built on lasting principles, wisdom, energy and creativity – to meet the great tasks of our times. As the Commonwealth celebrates its sixtieth birthday, its governments, communities and we as individuals should welcome that achievement. Together, we should continue to work hard to deal with today’s challenges so that the young people of today’s Commonwealth can realize their aspirations. In that way, we can look to the future with confidence.

    ELIZABETH R
    9 March 2009

  • Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 6:02 AM

    Why “Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot” who will destroy the Republican Party:

    Posted by Anthony L. Hall

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