Trayvon Martin: 2 Videos Show George Zimmerman Lying & Police Cover Up

Here are a couple of videos folks should peep that shed additional light on the Trayvon Martin controversy.. The latest comes courtesy of ABC News which shows lack of blood, grass stains and a broken nose which contradicts Zimmerman’s claim he was in a life or death struggle with Trayvon….Oakland journalist Zennie Abraham walks us thru the video..

The second video is one in which someone shows us the Google Earth map of Twin Lakes Gated Community in Sanford, Florida. The video shows just how far and how much of chase George Zimmerman put up when chasing down Trayvon Martin.. I encourage all to take a look..Judge for yourself..

George Zimmerman

Both of these videos add to the overall questions,  I and a whole lot of other people have been asking; What kind of investigation is going on in Florida where all these new witnesses are popping up every 5 minutes to tell their tales on CNN?

Maybe Anderson Cooper should be Chief of Police in Sanford, Fla because he seems to be doing a better investigation then the police.. Heck I need to call up Anderson and tell him I’m a surprise witness who seen the whole thing.. ‘Dear Anderson Cooper, I’m a surprise witness to the Trayvon situation, I was coming around the corner and I seen the whole thing.. I seen the police lie, I seen the police lie some mo’ and then later on I seen the police lie one mo’ again..’ ….

All these damn witnesses is gonna lead to some sort of tainted trial.. In the words of Public Enemy-Can’t Truss It..


Which Side Are You On? Why Do So Many Rappers & Politicians Support Dictators

Global politics are always complicated. Our relationship with countries and their leaders are layered and weighed against our so-called national interests, political pragmatism and a bunch of other factors we rarely think about.

Here in the US how most of us view global politics is challenging because the mainstream media is where most of us get our news. These outlets have their own agenda and thus they tend to present stories from abroad in neat little news cycles and only after something has literally blown up to the point its hard to ignore.

In observing these newscasts we get a glimpse into a particular region where stories are framed as a made for TV movie story. On one hand we have the bad guys, the villains of sorts like Mubarak the ruler of Egypt, Ben Ali Ruler of Tunisia and as of late  Colonel Mumar Gadhafi-Despot of Libya.

On the other hand, we have the good guys like the Pro-Democracy protesters camped in Tahir square or the  young students forcing down Ben Ali. Now we the somewhat faceless anti-Gadhafi forces who are being cheered each day and getting military pledges of support from the US as they are capture city after city from their embattle ruler.

These uprisings have been presented to us with around the clock, blow by blow coverage, leaving many of us on the edge of our seats as we watched landmark events like the Pro-Mubarak supporters rushing the crowd with camels and beating protesters or Gadhafi’s ‘evil’ henchmen roaming the streets looking to slaughter those who stand up against them.

All this coverage is complete with theme music, fancy graphics, smooth talking pundits waxing poetic as they preen for their next high priced speaking gig and of course our on the ground guides (news reporters) who sometimes become the news themselves.. ie CNN’s Anderson Cooper when he got his ass kicked from those Pro-Mubarak thugs.

Unlike the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where reporters were embedded with our combat troops, here we see folks out in the streets ducking bullets and trying not to get their equipment snatched. The whole thing is fascinating. But like most made for TV movies the action in Egypt, Tunisia and maybe Libya has been framed to have a happy ending. Mubarak left office.  Ali was bounced out, Gadhafi is on his last leg. We all toast one another, give high fives and cheer. We wave the Egyptian or Tunisian flag, became instant water cooler experts on the region and move on to the next uprising as if this was a soccer tournament

What’s lost while we immerse ourselves in these digestible ‘good vs evil’ news narratives are the complex realities that exists in the aftermath of these uprisings. For example, while our attention is focused on the battles in Libya very few of us have given a second thought about what’s going on Egypt. For many, that’s yesterday’s news. It’s a done deal. Nobody stops to think or find out if things have gotten better or worse. Nobody seems to care or even know that protests are still going on Egypt as folks are still out in the streets demanding sweeping reforms. Their end goal is to ensure they never have another dictator like Mubarak in place again. Sad part is while were watching Libya the military in Egypt which everyone cheered has been cracking down.

Protests in Bahrain

Many of us immediately after Mubarak was forced out of power started cheering for uprising in Bahrain, but that’s been all bit forgotten. Does anyone know or care who the Crown Prince of that country is or how long he’s been in power? ? Do we know what the opposition is fighting for?  Do we really care? Bahrain in our collective consciousness has come and gone even as folks still pushing for change, boldly challenging Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

For a brief moment we heard about protests in Yemen which has long been a stronghold for Al Qaeda, but sadly that country has been out of the news cycles for weeks even though protest against the government are continuing daily.

This is not to put anyone down for not understanding all the particulars or staying up to speed with everything going on in the middle east. That’s a monumental task for most, but all of us need to be striving to expand our understanding of global happenings as the world around us get smaller. More importantly all of us need to be looking at the roles we played in passively and sometimes very actively supporting the regimes and dictators who are being challenged.

For example, very few of us are reflecting on the fact that two months ago if asked who ruled Egypt we did know the name Hosni Mubarak. Very few of us cared that there was brutal repression even though many have gone over there to see the ancient wonders of the Pyramids and Sphinx. Many of us are not bothered by the fact that for 30 years we as a country supported a ruthless dictator.

Over the years there have been all sorts of pilgrimages to Egypt aka Kemet but have we spoken about Mubarak and his oppression?  Was that an oversight? Why didn’t we know what was going on and what role did we play along with our government in the oppression the millions who eventually spilled out on the streets? We need to sit back and think about that for a minute as we cheer these uprisings.

As things unfold in Libya many are asking the long hard questions about the support many have shown over the years for Gadhafi. When the bloodshed started I saw all sorts of tweets and facebooks status asking about the support Minister Farrakhan has shown Gaddafi over the years, the visit Reverend Jeriamiah Wright made in 1984 or the recent visit made by  former Congresswoman and Green party candidate Cynthia McKinney. What was that about people are asking? Why are these folks who are about the business of social justice in bed with a guy like Gadhafi?

Others were quick to point out that singer Lionel Richie did a concert in front of Gadhafi’s bombed out home in Tripoli in 2006. Still others are asking about the private concerts given for Gaddafi’s son and the family overs the years that have featured luminaries like Beyonce, Jay-Z, 50 cent, Russell Simmons, Mariah Carey, Usher and numerous others. How can all these people pal around with a ruthless tyrant everyone seems to be asking?

Minister Farrakhan has had along friendship with Gadhafi

There are no easy neatly packaged answers. Minister Farrakhan came out during his saviors day address and talked about his long friendship with Gaddafi. He’s been down with Gadhafi for almost 3 decades. But he’s not alone. In a recent article in the Root called Romancing Dictators they outline list of notables Black leaders from Jesse Jackson to former US senator Carol Mosely Bruan who have hung out with dictators. Are such folks in support of oppression? Hungry for power? Or caught up in the fanfare of being in the presence of folks who are the heads of state of their respective countries?

It could be plain old selfishness and shortsightedness on their part or there could something more. Each of those folks have to wrestle with why they hung or been friendly with leaders who we deem unsavory but so do many of us on smaller scales. For example, some of us reading this remain supportive and friendly with wife beaters, drug dealers, the neighborhood thug etc.. Some of us have adorned or supported artists who have named themselves after ruthless despots like Khadafy, Scarface, Noreaga, Gotti etc.. Would we name ourselves or support an artist who’s named himself after a Klan leader or Hitler?

This is not to dismiss any one’s transgressions or say two wrongs make a right, but to raise questions that ALL of us must answer. Who are we rolling with and why? What principles and values do we hold and are we being true to them? Can we afford the luxury of aligning ourself with the state and being against the people?

There are some that are insisting that those artists who performed for the Gadhafi clan have blood money and they should give what they earned to charity. Folks are outraged that such prominent artists would perform for the leader of that country. That’s something to consider.

Dick Cheney's old company Haliburton has done business with Libya. Do they have blood on their hands?

I wonder if folks are just as upset with the US-Libya Business Association which include American companies like Dow Chemical, Chevron, Exxon, Halliburton, Shell, Raytheon and Occidental Petroleum to name a few. There are more companies including some prominent lobbying groups like the Livingston group, White & Case and Blank Rome who have all broken bread with Libya. Do these companies have blood on their hands and should they like the aformentioned artists be giving the money they earned to charity as well?  Do we give any of these artists and companies a pass because they all got down with Gadhafi after sanctions were lifted under George Bush?

In any case if these artists and businesses don’t give back their earnings are you willing to boycott them to avoid having blood on your hands?  It’s interesting to note that the website to the US-Libya Business Association has suddenly went dark once all the drama started. It seems like an attempt to erase their digital footprints.

As I said earlier global politics are always complicated and the reason is because we as a country have a hard time breaking our habit of propping up and supporting dictators. Over the years we’ve made all sorts of excuses. Back in the days we were afraid of communism spreading so we put our money behind all sorts of crazy despots who seemingly took glee in smashing on their people. No one wants to talk about how years later we do robust business with China, a communist country with a shoddy human rights and free speech record, while decrying the our disdain for that form of government at Tea Party rallies. Are we trying to have it both ways?

As a country we stood steadfast behind this dictator Saddam Hussein for Years

Later we said we had to protect our ‘national interests’ in the Middle East (translation Israel), so it didn’t matter who we got behind as long as they promised not to attack Israel. So we supported the Shah of Iran, We supported Saddamn Hussein, We turn a blinds eye to the abuses in Saudi Arabia. We supported Muburak. What’s crazy is that earlier on, there were News pundits that were ok with keeping Mubarak in power for fear of the Muslim Brotherhood boogey man taking over Egypt.

We can go on and on listing our glaring contradictions. The list is long, especially as we started bending the rules and tossing aside our principles in the wake of 9-11 as we been engaged in the ‘War on Terror‘. It’s from us propping up Osama Bin Laden to our support of the Contras to our full embrace of South Africa’s Aparthied regime.

We as a country have long layed down in some strange political beds. What’s even sadder is that many of us try to act like the rest of the world doesn’t notice. Trust me, they do. When such contradictions are pointed out, there are apologist who are quick use the labels Unpatriotic  and Anti-American.

Even now with President Obama, while he made history in being the first African-American president, him aligning himself with Wall Street and carrying out wars and alliances with some of these same ruthless despots is just as troubling as when Bush was doing it..

As a country we’re quick to point out the human rights abuses of everyone but the dictatorships we support along with our own. As Minister Farrakhan pointed out the other day in his remarks about Gadhafi, if he’s persecuted for crimes against humanity, the same should apply to former President George W. Bush for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s a real talk.

With that being said, all of us need to look beyond the neatly packaged revolutions we’re seeing on TV and take some unattractive things into account. First, we need to ask ourselves why are we aligning ourselves with dictators and tyrants in our quest to smash on oppressive forces here? Are we doing so because they can open up purse strings? Is it because we find ourselves powerless here and gravitate toward anyone who exudes it themselves? Is it because we don’t trust our media and concluded that anything they report needs to be viewed with lots of skepticism?

Is it because we hate US imperialism so much that we blindly get behind anyone else who shares the same sentiment and is willing to pressure or stand up to the leadership without fully examining their position on other key issues? If so how are we any different from the people and policies we say we detest?  For example, I know there are white supremacist who dislike the police. Do I stand alongside them if I’m in agreement?

Why have so many supported Ghadafi over the years?

At the same time those who are in the mist of liberating themselves need to be honest in assessing whether or not they want freedom for themselves or for all people?  For example, in Egypt we saw the coming together of a large poor  voiceless class of people and a middle class population. In victory will the poor be forgotten as the Middle class rushes to fill the seats of power? Will things change for those who are down and out? Such lines aren’t always rich and poor, a lot of times they center along Tribal, religious and ethnic lines.

In Libya we hearing reports about Black Africans being beaten in the streets accused of being foreign mercenaries when in fact many are fellow Libyans? In places where there are Black-Arab tensions and conflict how will that be resolved or will we have a situation where freedom comes in these uprisings, everyone dances in the streets and when the dust settles we have new group of oppressors in power?

None of this is easy, but true freedom comes about when everyone is liberated and we act upon principles not selective alliances that allow us to get caught up in to where we are indistiguishable from the despots being challenged.

Bottom line Which Side are you On?  Its a question we better ask ourselves over and over again as we fight the power.

-written by Davey D

On President’s Day We Remember How our Founding Fathers Owned Slaves

As we celebrate President’s Day the thought that four of our first 5 Presidents owned slaves has not gone unnoticed. I’ve been observing how President Ronald Reagan has undergone a major PR, revisionist makeover and could not help but wonder how much of a make over our early Presidents have undergone. BTW we set the record straight on Ronald Reagan with this essay we penned a couple of weeks ago.. Why All of Us Should Celebrate Ronald Reagan Day-Let’s Teach the Kids

It’s no secret that when we learn about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in school, their slave-owning legacies are barely mentioned.  In fact if you bring it up, some so-called patriot types get angry. I found this out a few years ago during an appearance on CNN when engaged in a debate and some far right pundit attempted to extol the virtues and wisdom of the Founding Fathers.. She mentioned George Washington specifically. When I pointed he was a slave owner she almost blew a gasket. I haven’t been back on CNN since.

Its obvious reminding folks of our founding father’s dubious past is a touchy topic. Look at what’s going on in the great state of Tennessee. There you have Tea Party Lawmakers want to remove slavery and its association to Founding fathers from history books.

You have other Tea Party folks like Congresswoman Michele Bachmann attempting to rewrite history by suggesting the Founding Fathers attempted to end slavery. They did nothing of a kind and she got famously schooled by CNN reporter Anderson Cooper for making such erroneous remarks.

No one wants to talk about how slaves were beaten, raped and at the mercy of slave owners. They were property with absolutely no rights and yet we insist on honoring the Founding Fathers on days like President’s Day without fully acknowledging the cruel institution some were a part of.  In addition there was the genocide that many participated in when it came to dealing with Native Americans. Treaties broken, people slaughtered and land taken are all a part of their sordid legacy.

The mantra of many who hold up the founding fathers on president’s Day is Deny, deny deny until people start believing the lies. I’m reminded of this encounter I had during the 2004 RNC in New York City. I came across a brother holding a banner of the Founding Fathers. I asked him about it and things got a little testy. He even called the police..

This President’s Day we should do more than shop at Macy’s for their annual sale.. We should become students of history and try to correct the wrongs of the past. It starts with us being honest about our Founding Fathers.

On a side note this year President’s Day falls on the Feb 21, this was the day Malcolm X was assassinated.. We should remember his legacy today. He’s sadly being written out of history, probably by the same folks who are busy remaking Reagan and removing the word ‘slavery’ from text books.

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Is Eminem Being Unfairly Targeted for His Homophobic Lyrics Because he’s White?

There’s a lot of buzz around Eminem‘s recent 60 Minutes appearance with Anderson Cooper. On the surface it was a good look as there’s no denying Em’s popularity. He’s now seen as an OG of sorts who has finally returned to the scene after being away for a couple of years recovering from a series of life altering mishaps.

We all know about the tragic night club shooting of his best friend Proof (Detroit’s un-official mayor ) a few years back. We also know that Eminem almost overdosed and had been hooked on drugs. According to him he’s been 2 years sober. Like it or not when polled Eminem’s name frequents cracks the top 5 in one Hip Hop’s greatest rapper ever.  His delivery, controversial subject matter and clever word play has earned him his respect. However, what caught people’s attention during the 60 Minutes interview was his remarks around homophobic and misogynistic lyrics. When asked about them and the controversy that emerged here’s what Em is quoted as saying;

“I felt like I was being attacked. I was being singled out. I felt like, ‘Is it because of the color of my skin? Is it because of that you’re paying more attention?’ There are certain rappers that do and say the same things that I’m saying and I don’t hear no one say anything about that.”.

You can peep the full interview here..

Em’s remarks raised more than a few eyebrows and left us with a few things to think about. The name of the game as he well knows is when you’re trying to make noise to blow up a spot, unless you have a compelling story to tell or exemplary skill sets, the best way to bring attention to yourself or an issue is to kick up dust and cause controversy.

This is what Eminem did. He bursted on the scene 10 years ago causing controversy. It wasn’t just his shocking lyrics but also some of his on and off stage antics. For example, I recall on one of his early visits to the Bay he got into a heated exchange with a radio host on KALX (UC Berkeley’s radio station) who thought he was a bit rude and over the top. The host Sister Tamu wound up breaking his record on the air. Word of that incident spread quick.

A few months later (may 1999) while doing a concert at the Fillmore a fight broke out. Em attempted to quell things only to jump off the stage with crew in tow to pummel a heckler who he felt wasn’t showing the proper respect. What appeared to be an isolated incident was later revealed to be something that somewhat staged as similar incidents of Em jumping off the stage to confront hecklers occurred at other concerts including Las Vegas a few days later. Again controversy sells and Eminem early on was a spark plug for it…

It should come as no surprise that folks wishing to get a message across would not attach themselves to his missteps to get a message out. This has been a tried and true method used by organizations like PETA when it comes to animal abuse and obviously other organizations like GLAAD who went after Eminem to bring attention to homophobia. But with that being said, while Eminem has come under fire, he has never been economically blocked at least not in the ways we seen other artists who dared cross certain lines.

For example, take reggae artist Buju Banton.. Here’s a guy that recorded an over the top homophobic song back in 1988 when he was 15. The song  ‘Boom Bye Bye‘ was about the murdering  gay man and became a huge hit and an anthem of sorts. 20 years after this song was recorded folks never let up him. They protested, got his tours canceled. Folks have and continue to go all out on Buju.  Eminem.. yeah he got heat from GLAAD and other organizations, but his concerts were never cancelled even here in San Francisco where activist have shut down Buju everytime his name is even mentioned.

This has gone on even after Buju has gone on to do positive music and explained his immaturity and ignorance at 15. He is now considered a strong voice for Jamaica. The protests have gone on even after he was the first to set up program Willy to help prevent the spread HIV and AIDs in Jamaica. Prior to that using a condom was seen in a bad light the same way homosexuality was. Buju took those steps and has still been dogged.

Em still performed his over the top songs even after public apologies and a show of reconciliation with singer Elton John who is outspoken on Gay Rights. Em was still embraced even though he does many of those ‘offensive’ songs. In addition when Eminem is mentioned it’s rarely with the tag Anti-gay rapper vs Buju who is frequently cited in the press as Anti-gay singer.

Def Jeff

Now one may look at Buju and say his song was an anthem that sparked violence and hence deserved to be protested. Thats understandable on a number of levels so lets look at  a few other less egregious examples..  I recall back in the early 90s ago LA rapper Def Jeff coming to San Francisco to perform at Club Townsend. He attempted to try to get the crowd hyped  by first yelling ‘All the Ugly People Be Quiet’. When he got a luke warm response he then yelled ‘All the People who got Aids be Quiet‘. To put it simply, after he yelled those remarks it was a wrap.

Even though Def Jeff got a resounding response from the audience that night he soon found himself blacklisted by SF club owners. Many who heard about his remarks refused to book him. Years later, he admitted at that time, he was young and just ignorant to both the horrors of HIV and AIDs. He was also oblivious to the type of anger and scapegoating directed at the Gay community. At that time AIDs was more associated with white Gay males as opposed to folks in the inner city and Jeff was simply insensitive. He apologized, but to know avail. He hasn’t been in the Bay to perform since.

A few months prior to Def Jeff’s remarks, Turbo B the lead rapper for the group the Snap which had the mega hit song ‘The Power’, made some unsavory remarks about Gays and AIDs and caused a huge uproar. Turbo later apologized for his ignorance, but it was all but a wrap for him and his career pretty much went down the tubes from there. It didn’t help that the Snap had a large following in the Gay community. Folks weren’t gonna allow those anti-gay remarks to go.

Cypress Hill

Also around that time a more visible and publicized incident occurred with Cypress Hill who were performing at the Bill Graham Civic Center during the Soul Assassins Tour. The show featured House of Pain, Cypress Hill and a number of other acts. Someone in the opening act acting as hype man yelled out to the crowd ‘”All the fags in the House Be Quiet’. There was a loud response from all the straight males who of course responded to the call.

The next day, angry members of the Gay community reacted and targeted radio giant KMEL which gave away tickets for the show. Letters and phone calls came in and the end result was Cypress Hill was banned from airplay on the station. The group quickly issued a letter of apology, even though they weren’t onstage at the time. The logic from the Gay protestors was that they were responsible for the insensitivity of the acts they brought along with them, hence they needed to be banned. The Cypress Hill radio boycott lasted for almost a year. It wasn’t lifted until they actually wound up doing a syndicated Soul Assassin’s radio show on our station.

Now again let’s not get things twisted, anyone advocating for the beating, killing or even the discrimination of gays or any ethnic group is bad news. And folks on the receiving end of those insults and threats have every right and should express their anger and outrage. If that outrage includes protests and shutting folks down, so be it. All of us have a responsibility in being aware of boundaries that exists within certain communities.But bringing this back to Eminem, he was given huge passes and in many ways embraced. Em’s angry lyrics have more often than not been praised by publications like the UK Guardian and Spin Magazine for expressing and reflecting the angst and anger felt by many within the white working class.

So is Eminem a target for his homophobic and misogynist lyrics because he’s white? Hardly. It’s more likely that he’s a target because he’s enormously popular. I think many of these organizations learned that they can only go so far in bringing attention to these issues going after lesser known artists. Hence  as long as Eminem is in the spotlight he allows a light to be shined on these issues. Hence anything he says will be scrutinized for an opportunity to weigh in. The attacks on Eminem are not the same as the shut downs and demonization of entire groups of Black and Brown folks for anti-social ills.

When Def Jeff and Turbo B got clocked all of rap was called into question. When Buju Banton was called all of Jamaica and its culture was called into question. When Em was called out it began and stopped with him. We didn’t make the connection with Eminem being a white man born in the US who may be part of and ultimately influenced by a culture that includes everyone from conservative politicians to overzealous Evangelists who routinely bash the gay community. Bottomline in spite of his hard upbringing there are major institutions in this country that have afforded Eminem a few priviledges he himself might not recognize and certainly didn’t acknowledge during his interview

something to consider

-Davey D-

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