Michael Moore: Dear Government of Sweden

Dear Swedish Government:

Hi there — or as you all say, Hallå! You know, all of us here in the U.S. love your country. Your Volvos, your meatballs, your hard-to-put-together furniture — we can’t get enough!

There’s just one thing that bothers me — why has Amnesty International, in a special report, declared that Sweden refuses to deal with the very real tragedy of rape? In fact, they say that all over Scandinavia, including in your country, rapists “enjoy impunity.” And the United Nations, the EU and Swedish human rights groups have come to the same conclusion: Sweden just doesn’t take sexual assault against women seriously. How else do you explain these statistics from Katrin Axelsson of Women Against Rape:

** Sweden has the HIGHEST per capita number of reported rapes in Europe.

** This number of rapes has quadrupled in the last 20 years.

** The conviction rates? They have steadily DECREASED.

Axelsson says: “On April 23rd of this year, Carina Hägg and Nalin Pekgul (respectively MP and chairwoman of Social Democratic Women in Sweden) wrote in the Göteborgs [newspaper] that ‘up to 90% of all reported rapes [in Sweden] never get to court.’”

Let me say that again: nine out of ten times, when women report they have been raped, you never even bother to start legal proceedings. No wonder that, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, it is now statistically more likely that someone in Sweden will be sexually assaulted than that they will be robbed.

Message to rapists? Sweden loves you!

So imagine our surprise when all of a sudden you decided to go after one Julian Assange on sexual assault charges. Well, sort of: first you charged him. Then after investigating it, you dropped the most serious charges and rescinded the arrest warrant.

Then a conservative MP put pressure on you and, lo and behold, you did a 180 and reopened the Assange investigation. Except you still didn’t charge him with anything. You just wanted him for “questioning.” So you — you who have sat by and let thousands of Swedish women be raped while letting their rapists go scott-free — you decided it was now time to crack down on one man — the one man the American government wants arrested, jailed or (depending on which politician or pundit you listen to) executed. You just happened to go after him, on one possible “count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape (third degree).” And while thousands of Swedish rapists roam free, you instigated a huge international manhunt on Interpol for this Julian Assange!

What anti-rape crusaders you’ve become, Swedish government! Women in Sweden must suddenly feel safer?

Well, not really. Actually, many see right through you. They know what these “non-charge charges” are really about. And they know that you are cynically and disgustingly using the real and everyday threat that exists against women everywhere to help further the American government’s interest in silencing the work of WikiLeaks.

I don’t pretend to know what happened between Mr. Assange and the two women complainants (all I know is what I’ve heard in the media, so I’m as confused as the next person). And I’m sorry if I’ve jumped to any unnecessary or wrong-headed conclusions in my efforts to state a very core American value: All people are absolutely innocent until proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. I strongly believe every accusation of sexual assault must be investigated vigorously. There is nothing wrong with your police wanting to question Mr. Assange about these allegations, and while I understand why he seemed to go into hiding (people tend to do that when threatened with assassination), he nonetheless should answer the police’s questions. He should also submit to the STD testing the alleged victims have requested. I believe Sweden and the UK have a treaty and a means for you to send your investigators to London so they can question Mr. Assange where he is under house arrest while out on bail.

But that really wouldn’t be like you would it, to go all the way to another country to pursue a suspect for sexual assault when you can’t even bring yourselves to make it down to the street to your own courthouse to go after the scores of reported rapists in your country. That you, Sweden, have chosen to rarely do that in the past, is why this whole thing stinks to the high heavens.

And let’s not forget this one final point from Women Against Rape’s Katrin Axelsson:

“There is a long tradition of the use of rape and sexual assault for political agendas that have nothing to do with women’s safety. In the south of the US, the lynching of black men was often justified on grounds that they had raped or even looked at a white woman. Women don’t take kindly to our demand for safety being misused, while rape continues to be neglected at best or protected at worst.”

This tactic of using a rape charge to go after minorities or troublemakers, guilty or innocent — while turning a blind eye to clear crimes of rape the rest of the time — is what I fear is happening here. I want to make sure that good people not remain silent and that you, Sweden, will not succeed if in fact you are in cahoots with corrupt governments such as ours.

Last week Naomi Klein wrote: “Rape is being used in the Assange prosecution in the same way that ‘women’s freedom’ was used to invade Afghanistan. Wake up!”

I agree.

Unless you have the evidence (and it seems if you did you would have issued an arrest warrant by now), drop the extradition attempt and get to work doing the job you’ve so far refused to do: Protecting the women of Sweden.

Yours,
Michael Moore

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/dear-government-of-sweden

MC Hammer Talks w/ All Hip Hop Why He Checked & His Victorious Over Jay-Z

MC Hammer wants people to know some things about him. First of all, he’s a staunch Christian that doesn’t take light anybody taking shots at it. He also wants people know that he’s more than a rapper that sold a bunch of record, made millions and lost it in a bankruptcy.

In the midst of his squabble with Jay-Z, Hammer was meeting with Tony Blair (the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and Michael Arrington of acclaimed blog TechCrunch. These may or may not be significant to some people, but it does speak volumes to Hammer’s penetration into a world with no apparent relation to Hip-Hop.

In this exclusive interview, MC Hammer explains why he responded to Jay-Z with “Better Run Run,” the new video that depicts the Devil chasing the Roc Nation mogul. He also chronicles in detail why he didn’t appreciate Jay-Z’s verse on Kanye West’s “So Appalled” and he retort to his naysayers. And lastly why, despite Jay’s repeated denial, he feels his counterpart “romances the Devil.”

AllHipHop.com: You are the talk of the town, with what is going on with the video “Better Run Run” and everything. First of all, how do you feel about things?

MC Hammer : You know you can’t even drop a song like that from my perspective and not expect it to be conversational. So I wanted to spark conversation around the issues that I raised within the song. Without a doubt across all platforms, all mediums, global, broadcast radio and television all the way to ESPN sports – the conversation has been sparked and that was my goal.

AllHipHop.com: What was the response that you got? I’ve seen stuff from different angles, you retweet things. What have you been feeling generally the consensus is?

continue reading article over at All Hip Hop...where MC Hammer shares his thoughts about  Jay-Z giving  him props in his new book

Jigga talks about that in in the video below..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xTmlJykxAk

 

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Oscar Grant Orgs Condemn OPD: Homeland Security, CIA, FBI & DOJ Descended on Oakland

November 6, 2010

The Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant (ONYX Organizing Committee, The New Years Movement, The General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant) condemns the activity of the Oakland Police Department leading up to, during and following the rally held on November 5th, 2010 in response to the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle for the murder of Oscar Grant, III.

While the city publicly claimed it had learned lessons from July 8th and would not militarize downtown Oakland or create a climate of fear and intimidation on November 5th, they privately constructed an all-out military strategy to intimidate and control the people.

Police agencies from at least nine different counties, along with Homeland Security, the FBI, CIA and DOJ descended upon Oakland.  As people gathered to peacefully assemble, they had to wade through rows of police just to get to the City Hall Plaza.  This in itself set a tone of anger for the people as they had just learned that Johannes Mehserle would only serve about 7 months in prison for the cold-blooded murder of Oscar Grant.

Following almost five hours of peaceful protesting, about 300 people decided to march to the Fruitvale BART Station (the location of the murder of Grant on January 1, 2009).  Instead of facilitating the march in a productive and peaceful manner, the police chose to immediately respond with tactical and strategic repression of the people’s will and rights.  The encroachment of the police on to the marchers further fueled the flame of an ignited community and led to an unnecessary confrontation on the streets of Oakland.

Shortly after the march started, about 200 protestors were cornered on the block of East 17th Street and 6th Avenue. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) attempted to contact city officials and negotiate with the police to release the people with no arrests.   And even though word came that Police Chief Batts had agreed to give an order to release the crowd, moments later the arrests began.  Police officers refused to talk to representatives from the NLG and indeed were hostile.  Negotiating with these representatives from the rally could have further diffused activity on the streets of Oakland, but the police were intent on creating a situation that would then allow them to demonize the people and remove the focus from the unjust, unfair and outright farce of a sentence received by Johannes Mehserle.

Additionally, Chief Batts has been quoted as saying that the police expected protestors to march to Defermery Park but organizers were told explicitly that roads to the park would be blocked by police barricades. They in effect set the stage for their repressive activity to make a point to any other community members intent on making their voices heard in dissent to the system.

The Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant stands in solidarity with the people arrested on November 5th and we stand firm in our belief that the people have a right to assemble, a right to demonstrate, a right to march and a right to take a stand against a system that continuously oppresses, brutalizes and murders them.

We demand the immediate release of all those arrested on November 5th and that all charges are dismissed.

-The Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant-

Why it’s important to vote for compassionate Judges this mid-term election

As the elections loom I wanted to share this so folks clearly understand why its important to vote for these judges.. Don’t but into this hype of it doesn’t matter and both parties are the same.. Its total BS and if this happened to your mom.. maybe you’d think twice and try to use your vote as way to disrupt the system at the very least… This comes from a Church member who had stage 3 cancer.. Pay attention to what the judge’s (John Creighton)policy is.. Never to dismiss resisting arrest cases. What does that mean for protestors or folks who wish to ‘discuss’ a ticket with an officer who decides that your conversation was ‘resisting arrest’.. Please think about this.. he also says he wants to start a ‘gang court’

I took my ballot home to do more research on the judges.. cause with bankrupticies, increased parking fines and foreclosures all around us..we need compassionate judges on the bench

D

ELECT VICTORIA KOLAKOWSKY FOR JUDGE

I read your endorsement of John Creighton and I want to share what he did to me. He is
not the right candidate to elect as Superior Court Judge – far from it.

In 2004, I was a 56-year-old, law-abiding resident of Oakland, had a minor traffic
accident, and when the driver who hit me refused to identify himself and the police did
not come. After many calls to OPD, I was given permission by their dispatcher to drive
home.

I waited ten more minutes, still no police arrived, so I drove home, calling OPD to let
them know I was doing so.

All my calls to the police were recorded and I have the tapes, so there is no doubt about
these facts or my recollection of them.

When OPD arrived at the accident, the driver who hit me said, “she’s not here”. Without
calling dispatch, a sergeant issued an all-points-bulletin against me. At my home, another
officer, even though I begged him to call dispatch, detained me, grabbed me, arrested me,
and I was taken first to Highland Hospital for my injuries, then to jail.

What was a bad afternoon of split second poor decisions by OPD, turned into four years
of hell, and horrendous expense to our city.

In 2005, as monthly court appearances continued, I was diagnosed with Stage 3C breast
cancer.

After a long struggle to stay alive, four years of litigation in three lawsuits, horrendous
physical and financial damage to me, the case is over. However, I will never forget
walking into court the first day of trial in 2006, holding my coat away from my chest (my
mastectomy was two days before) so I wouldn’t “prejudice” the jury.

I “won” the case – acquitted of the charge of resisting arrest – but truly there was really no
win for anyone.

For two full years before my trial, John Creighton had the tape recordings and facts of
what happened and the authority to drop these charges, yet refused to do so.

His policy to never drop a resisting arrest charge was the only thing that mattered to him.
He deliberately pursued a case with no merit. Neither his own DA assigned to the case,
the settlement judge of the court, nor the facts, could convince him to do the right thing.

Creighton claims to be committed to “reducing backlogs” in our courts, yet caused
four years of waste at taxpayer expense. He claims to want to start a “gang court”, yet
the resisting arrest charge is a common way to hide police misconduct and manipulate
underrepresented people. He is not the right candidate for Alameda Superior Court judge.

(name withheld)

MC Hammer vs Jay-Z?? An Open Letter to MC Hammer

A lot of buzz around this ‘beef’ between Jay-Z and MC Hammer. For those who don’t know Jay-Z took shots at Hammer last month about his past financial woes. He did a song where he spit a verse about Hammer losing 30 million. This is while Jay-Z is reported to have brought an island or something like that. Hammer wasn’t feeling the slight and made his disapproval known via twitter with a promise to release a video reposnse on October 31st.

A few things to consider..on one hand Hip Hop has always had the ‘battle’ element. Taking shots or responding to disses have long been a tried and true method of getting on. 5o Cent blew up doing this. KRS made his name early on coming after folks. Hammer himself  came up taking shots at all sorts of folks explaining that Hip Hop was like sport. It’s team vs team and when you stepped into the arena it was on you to  bring the ruckus so to speak. I recall when he challenged Michael Jackson to a dance off. It was all about the battling on stage, on vinyl and everywhere else to establish your position. So back in the days when folks like Run DMC,  3rd Base, Ice Cube or LL took shots, Hammer got at them both on and off record. Very few emcees especially those who were popular would get a dis off and he not address them.

Jay-Z on the other hand has been interesting with his disses. He’s long known that responding to slights gave folks a chance to come up. He talked about this when he had his famous battle with Nas back in ’01. Folks forget that a lot of times he ‘brushed the disses off his shoulder’ and ignored them not allowing himself to be a free meal ticket. He did that with Jayo Felony and even Game. So why he took shots at Hammer is curious to me.

On another level when cats become elder statesmen in the rap game it just doesn’t seem right to have any sort of battle.  It should be about building. It would’ve been dope if Jay-Z helped Hammer get that 30 million back and they embarked on a lucrative long sustaining project together.. It would’ve been good if Hammer shines it off and stepped to Jay privately, But respect is respect, and Hammer is not letting up as we can see in this recent video called Better Run Run.So we’ll see what happens on the 31st.

In the meantime, folks have been speaking out trying to stop this from moving forward. Below is a letter from a local Oakland based author Harry Williams.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOlY-eg2NY4

————————————-

An Open Letter To MC Hammer

Author Rev Harry Williams

Dear Brother Hammer:

The black nation is in a state of chaos. According to the Sentencing Project, oneout of every three black men can expect to see the inside of a prison cell ifcurrent trends continue. The CDC tells us that black men are ten times morelikely to contract HIV/AIDS than white men. Black women are twenty times morelikely to contract AIDS than white women. The leading cause of death for blackmen between the ages of 15 and 34 is homicide. In the computer age, theManhattan Institute tells us that only 48% of all black males in America will earn ahigh school diploma. We are in trouble; real trouble.

There are no shortage of professional race leaders to address these issues. Letme tell you where they fall short. They lack a voice that young people will listento. No young brother sitting in front of a television rolling a blunt is going tosay, “Gee, let me turn on the radio and see what Reverend So and So is talkingabout today.” No, they are going to turn on their favorite mc.

Hip hop artists have a unique power to speak into the lives of young people. Thenext Martin Luther King and the next Malcolm X are not going to show up withBrooks Brothers suits and wing tip shoes. The untapped power in ourcommunities belongs to hip hop artists. That is why it is so disheartening to seepowerful African Americans divert their tremendous potential to save lives to thepettiness of tearing down other blacks.
Brother Hammer, recently you became the victim of such an attack. Sir, youhave nothing to prove to anyone. Don’t allow yourself to be dragged down into apit. There are some people who will say mean things just to extract a negativereaction out of you. When they succeed in making you frown, their day is made.Turn your back to them.

God gave you a gift that caused hip hop to explode on the face of the earth. Ifthere had been no MC Hammer, a lot of rappers would still be serving crack infront of the projects or slinging burgers, if they could get a job at all. You createdan industry. How many people can lay down tonight and before they close theireyes say to themselves, “I changed the world.”

I know that you are from Oakland. Homeboys in the place they call “da Town”are suffering from the reverberating shocks of the Great Recession. Gangwarfare and gun violence are out of control. People are hungry and desperate.They need voices of hope. For so many years, you have owned such a voice.Come back to these streets. Leave the hatred to the haters. Perhaps God’s
greater purpose for your life is that you speak hope in the valleys of the shadowof death and despair. Come home. You name is still quadruple platinum in thesestreets.

My prayers are with you.

Sincerely,

Reverend Harry Louis Williams, II – East Oakland, CA(www.revharrywilliams.com)

President Obama on Jon Stewart Daily Show: He Needs to Do That More Often

Last night President Obama appeared for a full half hour on the Daily Show where he verbally jousted with host Jon Stewart and pretty much defended the record of his administration. For many who watched the show, Obama directly engaging a significant part of his base had been a long time coming. There were remnants of the hopeful feelings that so many experienced in 2008 during his historic campaign and for many that was a good thing.

It was good to hear President Obama being cheered and not jeered. It was good to see him have a conversation with a host like Stewart who resonates with a lot of the voting public who for the most part feel they been left out of the conversation. Stewart articulated a number of concerns that his audience had ranging from the issues of healthcare to how and why Obama and his administration went from ‘Hope and Change‘ to ‘Please Baby Gimme One More Chance‘ and he did it in away that was both funny but right on point. You can peep the Jon Stewart episode HERE:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/wed-october-27-2010-barack-obama

Pres Obama directly engaging many within his young,left leaning base via Jon Stewart needs to happen more often

With that being said, its hard to gauge if that will translate to votes in the 11th hour. Not sure if it’s too little too late. What needs to be underscored is the array of issues Obama’s appearance on the Daily Show brings up that go beyond the 2010 midterm elections. For starters, the hoopla around Obama coming on the Daily Show because it was the ‘first time in history‘ is not something to hang your hat on and beat your chest. It suggests that there’s been a serious neglect of the political relationship and continued courtship that was needed for the millions of young and first time voters who enthusiastically voted for him in ’08. Since he’s been president, we’ve seen Obama on all the morning network news show several times. We’ve seen him on shows like 60 Minutes. We’ve seen him go before the GOP House issues conference. We’ve even seen him on Fox NewsBret Baier where in many people’s minds he was disrespected both as a man and as president. This had not gone unnoticed by those who supported him. It made the man who came across as a smart, decisive hero to many, seem weak. Jon Stewart said it best, Obama has been ‘timid’.

President Obama more than most politicians clearly understands the importance of effective communicating. During his campaign he was everywhere. He was on the Steve Harvey radio show every week. He was on the Tom Joyner show. He sat down with MTV. He sat down with Jon Stewart. More importantly he was showing up on college campuses and large numbers of people on the campuses worked on his campaign. After the ’08 election all that seemed to disappear. Obama was a strong presence in those enclaves and quite frankly he needed to be. We needed to hear or see him those arenas articulating his position on policies, laying down challenges and marching orders and sharing his frustrations. We needed to hear him defending his policies and defending himself. We needed him to remind folks that they too needed to help with the heavy lifting and lay out some practical ways in which this could happen.

Have the millions of young voters who rode for Obama in 08 been effectively engaged? Many Democrats have been dismissive to the point of arrogance in how they should best be reached. The Obama voter in '08 is not necessarily a staunch Democratic voter in 2010

Now over the past year when I’ve had this conversation with people who are in Democratic circles it became clear there’s a huge disconnect. There’s a disconnect in many of them understanding that there were a lot of Barack Obama fans/voters who weren’t necessarily down for their local congressman, senator, mayor or whoever else was running even if they have a letter ‘D’ after their name. That’s been a hard pill for many to swallow and one that’s often met with defensive posturing that means absolutely nothing when we’ve had important races for mayoral and senate races all round the country with super low turnouts. from New York to Atlanta to Houston we’ve seen 20-26% come out and the wholesale absences of the throngs of new and first time voters who came out riding for Obama in 08. Where did they disappear to? Why did they not come out?

The excuses given are often drawn from the proverbial political consultant handbook which reads; We always have low turnout during elections where the president isn’t on the ticket. That excuse is usually accompanied by the often arrogantly stated ; “Well these young voters are lazy. They need to read the NY Times and Newsweek or watch CNN like I do if they wish to stay informed” Wrong answer folks. The response should’ve been: Lets figure out ways to better reach folks consistently through the mediums they enjoy.

In 2010 where folks tend to attach themselves to small or niche ‘information’ and ‘entertainment’ watering holes, to be dismissive of that fact and basically tell folks to ‘buck up’ as Vice President Joe Biden did the other day is why Dems are in trouble all over the country. It seems like some in leadership have forgotten that people are who they are and anyone who feels that a particular segment of the population can bring votes to the table needs to get up and meet them where they’re at. If they’re at NASCAR, church, concert  or plopped on their couch watching the Daily Show, then innovative compelling ways need to be used to reach that audience. Every other business does that so why not the Democrats?

President Obama‘s appearance with Jon Stewart was a reminder that in 2010 it’s not enough to simply show up at the 11th hour trolling for votes. It’s about having an ongoing dialogue and relationship one that’s in place before, during and after an election cycle. This is branding 101. It’s pretty basic and like it or not we now live in a society where enhancing your presence in the minds of consumers and in this case voters is paramount. As Jay-Z famously said ‘I’m a business man, I’m a BUSINESS, man. So in short, yes, I can read  about politics in the NY Times or Washington Post ? Sure I can ‘go on line and read about issues of the day at any number of sites. All the information we want is at the tip of our fingertips. However, for those who are truly in touch with their audiences the information is too much. It can be overwhelming and so direct engagement is even more important. If it was that simple and practical as surfing the web and coming away feeling empowered and connected then the topic of political engagement wouldn’t be topic. If it was that practical President Obama would not have found it necessary to go on the Jon Stewart Daily Show.

Sports writer Dave Zirin has long managed to keep folks politically engaged by connecting the dots to issues on the sports arena

Again the bottom line is everything is political including how we choose to engage folks especially on the electoral. Some like their news, views and politics in the backdrop of other things, in this case of Stewart, comedy and entertainment. Others like it served with sports as the backdrop… ala Dave Zirin and his Edge of Sports column or any number of sports stations that also carry shows like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly.. Still others like it in gender based chat fests like the View. Lets hope folks step up their interaction game beyond the 2010 midterm elections.

Lastly, for those on the receiving end of information, its important to note that the end game for many in power is to keep you dis-empowered, uninformed, distracted and politically in the dark. This is done to keep folks from being wise to their games, susceptible to lies, doublespeak and blatant falsehoods. In other words politics is often slimy and many who do dirt don’t want an informed public to hold them accountable. The fact that corporate interests have such a strong hold in the political arena should be wake up call to all of us as we see the ways in which things play out.

It’s no accident that your local urban radio station which was calling its ‘The Obama’ station in ’08 hasn’t created a forum or show or even had a single discussion on important issues impacting your day to day lives. It’s no accident that some outlets decided to to have last minute voter registration drives only after money was spent on ads, not because they saw it as a service to the community.  It’s no accident that we are hearing more about the shenanigans of actor Charlie Sheen in 5-10 minute chunks on the evening news and not who is running for mayor, city council or District Attorney in your own backyard. Commercial media is part of the corporate wave infusing itself with politics and as a result they as business have it in their interests to keep sizeable populations dumb downed so they be that pimped and exploited.

It’s also no accident that many politicians will avoid hard hitting investigative news shows like a Democracy Now, Mike Milloy Free Speech TV or Rachel Maddow for fear of being jammed up and made to address questions they’ve skirted..So yes, on many levels its up to each of us to keep ourselves informed and at the same time we will have to push and insist that folks who want your support come to where your at and not just during election time.

something to ponder

-Davey D-

PS on a side note.. if you wish to find out about all the key elections in your state, city and neighborhood, here’s the link to an incredible voting guide. It breaks down all the races and includes all the candidates, not just Republicans and Democrats. They have the folks who are running under the Green Party, Peace and Freedom and many others. This is a great resource.. hope you find it useful http://www.votesmart.org/voteeasy/

How Low & How Blatantly Racist Will These Tea Party Campaign Ads Get

David Vitter

We got a lot of response from the article we penned the other days that showed how history might be repeating itself with respect to the rise of the Tea Party and what took place during the turn of the century when the movie Birth of a Nation came out. We made the case that the rhetoric associated with the Tea Party like that landmark movie has created a climate and opened the doors for racial hatred and intolerance. Needless to say, the article didn’t sit well with Tea Party folks who insisted that they weren’t racist and that such assertions were baseless.

Of course many of us have come to see things quite differently. The examples of their intolerance have been endless. Here’s a clear case involving Louisiana Senator David Vitter who recently signed a pledge to the North Central Louisiana TEA Party Patriots where he promised to conduct himself personally and professionally in a moral and socially appropriate manner.

Well take a look at this vile ad and you can clearly see what the Tea Party sees as moral and socially appropriate. People from all over the country, including religious leaders have denounced this ad and demanded that Vitter remove it. But not the Tea Party. In fact Vitter is supposed to do some forums with them. You take a look let us know what you think. And yes if those images look familiar, its because they’re the same ones used by Tea Party candidate Sharon Angle in Nevada.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uvp0Jljh6U&feature=player_embedded

check out the Colorline story on this topic.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job Seekers with Bad Credit Fallback ‘Cause You Ain’t Getting Hired

Can you get employment with bad credit? Can you get housing with bad credit?  This is an incredibly important story that I hope everyone pays attention to and pushes to make sure lawmakers use their resources, power and influence to lessen the harm this dilemma is causing. Why has credit suddenly become a driving determination for your eligibility for employment?  This has been America’s dirty little secret during the worse economy since the Great Depression. Major props to Laura Bassett of the Huffington Post and her excellent article on this topic-Are Credit Checks Keeping The Jobless Out Of Work?

Talk about kicking a person while they’re down and out, we now have employers who are now looking at your inability to keep up with bills after you been laid off for downsizing or some other ‘out of control’ circumstance as a primary criteria. We won’t even talk about what its like to get housing with bad credit. This is compounded by ajob market that in some places like California where unemployment is 12%. Here in Oakland its 20%. Such numbers have already allowed potential employers to be extra picky. Heck if you walk into a job interview and you have a wrinkle in your shirt, that can be used against you. But with this credit check situation being used as weeding out tool, this points to us as a country moving in a rapid direction to create a large, permanent underclass. Here’s what Bassett penned;

While the credit check has always been a routine part of the job application process, experts are wondering whether it’s still a fair screening tool in the wake of a recession that has left 15 million Americans unemployed and unable to keep up with their bills.

In a meeting of the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission last week to discuss the use of credit history as a discriminatory barrier to employment, a panel of legal experts and social scientists explained how the screening practice may be harmful and unfair to American workers.

“A simple reason to oppose the use of credit history for job applications is the sheer, profound absurdity of the practice,” said Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “Using credit history creates a grotesque conundrum. Simply put, a worker who loses her job is likely to fall behind on paying her bills due to lack of income. With the increasing use of credit reports, this worker now finds herself shut out of the job market because she’s behind on her bills. This phenomenon has created concerns that the unemployed and debt-ridden could form a luckless class.”

According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 60 percent of all organizations polled said they conducted background checks on applicants, and 17 percent in the Northeast reported that favorable background check results are the most important factor influencing the final decision of whether to hire someone.

Considering the fact that more than half of all working adults in America have either been unemployed, taken a pay cut, had their work hours reduced or become involuntary part-time workers since the beginning of the recession, more and more job applicants are hampered by blemishes on their credit reports in the search for a steady salary.

How does one handle  such a horrific catch-22?  You lose your job, you fall behind, your credit slips. The less opportunity you have to get a job your credit falls even more. At the very least its puts an employee in a super subservient position where out of desperation they will do literally anything to keep a job in spite of bad credit, including working less than minimum wage, putting up with abusive behavior or unsafe conditions at work.

We need to hear our leaders be more forceful in pushing potential employers to not punish those who've economically fallen behind

Personally its been the one thing I been frustrated at NOT hearing about from those in leadership. I been wanting to hear President Obama and talk emphatically about this during his campaign stomps. I been wanting to hear him say say that he would be working with corporations or at least encouraging them to remove or at the very least back off doing credit checks. This would be a clear indications that not only jobs are a major focus, but that he’s also aware and in touch with those who are without.

Anyone who is falling behind, knows quite well that not everyone is willing to help. Try getting a break on parking tickets especially after they gone to collections. Try talking to some of these banks who got bailed out, but wont back off on conditions that would help bail you out. Then we have these new aggressive debt collection companies who have brought up old debts for pennies on the dollar and are now suing people to collect. They definitely aren’t trying to work with you.

This brings me to my last point. far too many people who are doing ok, have been oblivious and overtly insensitive to this scenario. I’ve had more than a few conversations with people who should know better where they arrogantly assume that escaping bad credit hell is easy or that its the height of one being irresponsible that landed folks in that predicament. I’ve had conversations with people where they say things like; ‘Cant you get a loan from your parents’? or ‘Don’t you have any frioends who can spot you some money?’ Here’s the worse one ‘Why don’t you just get a second job so you can catch up with your bills?’

Such remarks indicate there’s an unawareness of what its like for folks who have been desperately searching for work, many for over a year. Not everyone has the same network of friends and family who can come to the rescue. This is especially true for those who are older and are now playing the role of care-giver for parents and other elders in their family. Its not so easy to get up and bounce back or even sleep on someone’s counch when trying to keep a family together or care for an elder who is sick.

The other dirty secret is that many employers aren’t particularly interested in hiring folks who are older, when they have a younger pool they can pay lower wages without benefits. Many within that younger pool will accept subpar job situations and chalk it up to ‘paying dues’. I know when I first sought out my dream job in the music biz, I worked for damn near free for more than a year just to get my foot in the door. I had the comfort of inexpensive student housing with 3 roommates. I also had an array of odd jobs including deejaying which allowed me to get by.  If anything fell apart I had the option of going home or couch surfing. For many it’s not that type of party, not to mention not having your own place can be looked at as you not ‘being responsible’.

The bad credit excuse although being spoken about now in a very public way, is not new for many who live in marginalized and poor communities. not sure if there are any studies, but many of us have heard or actually experienced situation where the credit history was used to shut folks down. Oftentimes it appeared to be used selectively.

At the end of the day, all of us are going to have to pull together and be a bit more aware of those around us. One’s fortunes can be turned upside down at any moment and the worse thing to have happen is to be in position where you’re in dire straits after thumbing your nose at others  the week before.

Something to ponder

-Davey D-

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Is the Rise of the Tea Party the Reconstruction & ‘Birth of a Nation’ all Over Again?

It’s important that we remember a couple of  old sayings 1-’Nothing is new under the sun‘ and 2-’If you don’t learn the lessons of history you are destined to repeat it‘.  Many people have forgotten about or never knew about DW Griffiths landmark film Birth of a Nation‘. It was taken from the book ‘The Clansmen‘ which depicted newly freed Black slaves running the government and causing the country to fall to pieces. The movie showed that this country was falling until an organization was formed that gave rise to the country and restored order. That outfit was the Ku Klux Klan‘.

The part that most people know about Birth of a Nation is the Reconstruction.. Here’s a clip and brief synopsis

Part 2: Reconstruction

Stoneman and his “mulatto” protegé, Silas Lynch, go to South Carolina to observe the expanded franchise. Black soldiers parade through the streets. During the election, whites are shown being turned away while blacks stuff the ballot boxes. The newly elected black legislature passes laws requiring white civilians to salute black officers and allowing mixed-race marriages.

Meanwhile, Ben, inspired by observing white children pretending to be ghosts to scare off black children, devises a plan to reverse the perceived powerlessness of Southern whites by forming the Ku Klux Klan. Elsie is angered by his membership in the group.

Then Gus, a former slave who became educated and gained a title of recognition through the army, proposes to marry Flora. Scared by Gus’ lascivious advances, she flees into the forest, pursued by Gus. Trapped on a precipice, Flora leaps to her death. In response, the Klan hunts Gus, tries him and finds him guilty, kills him, and leaves his corpse on Lieutenant Governor Silas Lynch’s doorstep. In retaliation, Lynch orders a crackdown on the Klan. The Camerons flee from the black militia and hide out in a small hut, home to two former Union soldiers, who agree to assist their former Southern foes in defending their Aryan birthright, according to the caption.

Meanwhile, with Austin Stoneman gone, Lynch tries to force Elsie to marry him. Disguised Klansmen discover her situation and leave to get reinforcements. The Klan, now at full strength, rides to her rescue and takes the opportunity to disperse the rioting negroes. Simultaneously, Lynch’s militia surrounds and attacks the hut where the Camerons are hiding, but the Klan saves them just in time. Victorious, the Klansmen celebrate in the streets. The film cuts to the next election where the Klan successfully disfranchises black voters and disarms the blacks. The film concludes with a double honeymoon of Phil Stoneman with Margaret Cameron and Ben Cameron with Elsie Stoneman. The final frame shows masses oppressed by a mythical god of war suddenly finding peace under the image of Christ. The final title rhetorically asks: “Dare we dream of a golden day when the bestial War shall rule no more? But instead-the gentle Prince in the Hall of Brotherly Love in the City of Peace.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynCku4c01VE&feature=related

People should take a look at some of these clips and think about whats going on right now with the anger and racial hostility attached to your modern-day Tea Party and sympathizers.  There’s a study that by the University of Washington and the NY Times that shows the motivation behind the Tea Party was ‘conservatism’ (a desire to return to the good ole days) and the election of Barack Obama. We will be doing a radio show this week where the folks behind the study will go into great detail explaining all their findings. It’ll blow you away.

The other thing about the Tea Party is, it’s a media creation. The information, tone, marching orders are all rooted in a large network of right-wing media outlets  and personalities with Fox being the centerpiece.

The word used to describe this phenom is Videocracy... the use of media to move people politically. This happened in Italy with media mogul and its current President Silvio Berlusconi. There’s a documentary called  Videocracy that focuses on Berlusconi and his 30 year media reign over Italy and the impact that’s had. Needless to say he went all out to prevent the showing of this film on his vast networks.

This concept of Videocracy was also shown in Oliver Stone‘s new film South of the Border where he shows how media corporations including our own CNN has been used to push political agendas, help launch coups and  undermine democratic process in various countries.  Berlusconi’s ascension was called a coup of sorts and if the Tea Party creation becomes politically successful it’ll go down in history as a coup as well.

Race Riots resulted in a lynching in Omaha during the Red Summer of 1919

We need to keep all this in mind when looking at the clips from Birth of a Nation and recall all the increased lynchings, attacks and race riots that took place during the first few years after this  film was released. The most notable was the Red Summer of 1919. The movie  (media) created a hostile climate that lasted for years.

We should also keep in mind that the newly formed NAACP denounced the film while filmmaker DW Griffith emphatically denied the film was racist. If that wasn’t enough then President Woodrow Wilson not only gave the film two thumbs up.  He said  ‘It’s like writing history with lightening’. He added, that  his only regret was what the movie depicted was terribly true.

It’s hard not to draw parallels with the emphatic denials of racism by Tea Party leaders while witnessing the enthusiastic endorsement of racial hostility by political leaders and media pundits here in 2010. From the racial charged remarks of radio talk show host Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh to the overtly racist remarks by politicians like Sharon Angle, Debbie Riddle and Betty Brown one can see the handwriting on the wall. All this is compounded by the fact that there’s been a rise in right-wing hate groups and hate crime. The vitriol, vandalism and attacks we saw around the proposed ‘Ground Zero Mosque‘ (Park 51)  the other month underscored that point.

The bottom line is that we now have a climate where any shortfalls or discomfort will be scapegoated to people of color who have growing political, economic social power.

The other thing to keep in mind, is that  film premiered in Los Angeles which shortly after housed the largest Klan chapters in the country. The KKK was so powerful that in early 20s the group began protesting Hollywood’s film industry because of two films ‘The Pilgrim‘ and ‘Bella Donna’ which they felt did not depict them in a good light.

The Klan bolstered by the DW Griffith film saw themselves as a reform organization and political entity that demanded legitimacy. What do we see happening today with the Tea Party and its racism which is couched in so called ‘legitimate’ political discourse?

We see them being embraced and held up as a legitimate force that is on a mission to restore America.  For them restoring America means taking away any sort of safety net for those who have have fallen on hard times or are members of groups that have been systematically denied opportunities.

Restoring America means trying to change the constitution to to deny citizenship to Brown folks born here, under the guise of  ‘terror baby‘  and ‘anchor baby‘ threats.

In short restoring America means an aging population of people, scared of change and the Blacking and Browning of America are pulling out all the stops and going full steam ahead to not only hold on to power, but to also suppress those they deem a threat… Watch the clips below and when you get time, the full length feature and you’ll see that many are pushing to have a tragic part of this nation’s history repeat itself.

-something to Ponder-

Davey D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t-7SVbLjBw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRyIndtcYU4

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Michael Moore: An Open Letter to Juan Williams

An Open Letter to Juan Williams from Michael Moore

Dear Juan,

Sorry to hear you got fired by National Public Radio for saying on Fox that you get nervous when you see Muslims on a plane with you. It was dumb to say such a thing, but I don’t think saying one dumb thing should be a firing offense. (I DO think an NPR journalist wanting to take money from Fox News to be a regular commentator should be a firing offense, but that’s another story).

But there’s more to this — and some important things that everyone is missing.

For instance, what you said about Faisal Shazad, the Pakistani immigrant who wanted to bomb Times Square. When he was being sentenced this month, he claimed, according to you, that his attempted attack was just “the first drop of blood.” We can’t let political correctness blind us to this, you explained.

I guess Shahzad made a big impression on you, because after being fired you went back on Fox and told them, “You can’t ignore the fact what has recently been said in court with regard to ‘this is the first drop of blood in a Muslim war against America.’”

Sadly for you (and this is also why you shouldn’t be working for a real news organization like NPR), Shahzad never said that. If you were a real journalist, you would have quoted him accurately. What he actually said was that he was the “first droplet of the flood,” not blood. But I know how easy it is to mishear things when scary Muslims are talking. And I guess it’s not a huge difference anyway.

What really matters is that you’re 100% right: We shouldn’t let political correctness stop us from paying close attention to what people like Shahzad say. The problem is you just haven’t taken it far enough.

Juan Williams

So Juan, I’m asking you to join me on a crusade — whoops! scratch that, let’s call it a “mission” — to publicize these statements by Faisal Shahzad as widely as possible. Because most of the media have not spent much time on what he had to say.

Here’s what he said at his recent sentencing (after talking about being a droplet in a flood):

“[Saladin] liberated Muslim lands … And that’s what we Muslims are trying do, because you’re occupying Iraq and Afghanistan…So, the past nine years the war with Muslims has achieved nothing for the U.S., except for it has waken up the Muslims for Islam. We are only Muslims trying to defend our people, honor, and land. But if you call us terrorists for doing that, then we are proud terrorists, and we will keep on terrorizing until you leave our land and people at peace.”

And this is what Shahzad said when he pled guilty back in June:

“I want to plead guilty, and I’m going to plead guilty 100 times over, because until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan, and stops the occupation of Muslim lands, and stops killing the Muslims, and stops reporting the Muslims to its government, we will be attacking U.S., and I plead guilty to that.”

Then there’s email that Shahzad sent to a friend in 2006:

“Everyone knows the current situation of Muslim World… Friends with peaceful protest! Can you tell me a way to save the oppressed? And a way to fight back when rockets are fired at us and Muslim blood flows? In Palestine, Afghan, Iraq, Chechnya and else where.”

And then there’s what Shahzad was telling friends and relatives even before that:

Mr. Shahzad had long been critical of American foreign policy. “He was always very upset about the fabrication of the W.M.D. stunt to attack Iraq and killing non-combatants such as the sons and grandson of Saddam Hussein,” said a close relative. In 2003, Mr. Shahzad had been copied on a Google Groups e-mail message bearing photographs of Guantánamo Bay detainees, handcuffed and crouching, below the words “Shame on you, Bush. Shame on You.”

So what do you say, Juan? Now that you have a new $2 million contract with Fox, let me come on with you for some in-depth discussions about the terrorists’ real motivations. We can’t let another day go by letting the PC brigade stop us from telling the truth: Terrorists aren’t trying to kill us because they hate our freedom. They’re killing us because we’re in their countries killing them.

Yours,

Michael Moore

P.S. If you want to understand suicide bombings, be sure to read the new book that studied every instance of it for the past 30 years. It’s been used by many groups of many religions, not just Arabs and not just Muslims. And almost all such terrorism has one motivation in common: occupation by foreign militaries.

P.P.S. Here’s something else that I’d sincerely love to talk about with you: what do you think when you see rich middle-aged white men talking on TV about how they get nervous around African Americans on the street? And then they explain that we can’t let political correctness stop us from talking about black-on-white crime?

Does it drive you crazy that they say this without even being conscious of the history of far greater violence by white people toward blacks? And do you maybe understand now how those middle-aged white guys get it so wrong?

UPDATE: Juan, you probably remember in 1986 when the Washington Post Magazine ran a Richard Cohen column defending jewelry store owners who wouldn’t buzz in young black men. It caused such a big controversy that the New Republic ran a bunch of responses to it, including one by you. You might find it interesting to go back and read what you wrote then — for instance, “Racism is a lazy man’s substitute for using good judgment … Common sense becomes racism when skin color becomes a formula for figuring out who is a danger to me.”

Follow Michael Moore on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MMFlint

original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-moore/juan-williams-is-right-po_b_772766.html

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