Have We Sold Our Souls By Turning a Blind Eye to Obama’s Drones?

Davey-D-purple-frameThere’s a lot of talk about President Obama and his use of drones as well as him having a kill list which has asserts that he can kill American citizens that he deems to be working against America and somehow down with al-Qaeda.. This is indeed very scary and something all of us should seriously reflect on, because whatever steps Obama takes will not be limited to him.. Whoever sits in the Oval office will be able to pick up where Obama leaves off..

Seems like quite a few are giving the President a pass on his policies.. Would we be comfortable with those policies if we had President Romney as opposed to Obama? What if it was former President George Bush saying he has a kill list and has a right to use it on American citizens? Many of us took to the streets and raised a ruckus for far less.

Yesterday in Washington, there were confirmation hearings for John Brennan who is said to be the brains behind Obama’s insidious drone policy…Brennan is shooting to be director of the CIA.. Are people really comfortable with his policies? Are we comfortable with the US setting up drone bases in Niger, knowing that during the Bush administration Bush had Colin Powell lie before the United Nations about the African country providing uranium for terrorists? His testimony was briefly interrupted by folks upset with the drone policies he later defended..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEycDKgUwbw

Barack Obama rightAre we comfortable with Obama having a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia and mainstream news outlets like the Washington Post agreeing not to report this to the American people?

I want people to be aware of a tactic that is being used in support of White House policies around the discussion on drones.. There is a set of talking points and particular phrasing being used by stealth surrogates and ‘supporters’ of the President designed to frame the conversation in way that moves one away from talk about diplomacy and de-escalation and into the arena of ‘All  We must fight terrorism at e

Inevitably someone will make try to put the onus on you for objecting..Pay close attention when someone responds or inserts themselves in a conversation and ask questions or makes statements along these lines:

1-If we don’t use drones what better ideas do you have to eliminate top terror operatives? Instead of complaining about the President fighting the war on terror, perhaps you should help him..This is difficult work..

2-Troops on the ground are not as effective..Drones are the only way to fight back… Do you have another way for us to take out top terrorist without troops?

3-There are Bigger threats that you can’t see. Bush started something that Obama unfortunately must finish to protect us all.. It took us over a decade to find Bin Laden

4-Those so-called innocents who have been killed by drones hide or aid terrorists..The terrorists use kids to fight us and then claim innocence. We haven’t killed that many innocent people.. They killed innocent people during 9-11…Our drones are doing the job of fighting terror more effectively

5-The terrorist plan there and then come here or against our interests around the world. They started it-remember 9-11. Its better for us to fight them over there then at home..

6-We must use drones because we have no other options Our allies like Pakistan hid Osama for years and lied to us.

7-Diplomacy doesn’t work..They want to kill us. They have an advantage on their land..they know it better than anyone. I don’t condone killing innocent people but so we must use drones to level the playing field.. They must be stopped!

Drone ProtestsBasically the tactic used is to situate the discussion as if we have no other choice but to fight the war on terror. Its designed to make you forget that the War on terror was a manufactured war with the goal of keeping it open-ended, and perpetual.. so we could expand it as necessary.

Obama is depicted as a reluctant participant who would rather have peace, but is ‘forced to clean up the mess’ that George Bush has started..

We are also reminded that its better for us to fight the war on terror overseas then have it here at home..Innocent people being killed is justified as being a part of war which is ‘ugly’. We are also reminded that terrorists use kids to fight us and hence we shouldn’t be ‘fooled’ or overly sympathetic..

There are Black and Brown faces increasingly being used to push these arguments.. Some are literally paid pundits and operatives. Others in a misguided sense of Black pride and unity have sold their souls and turned a blind eye to actions and policies that they know are dead wrong.. Others who once upon a time have been excluded, have been made to feel ‘special’ because they were put on some sort of White House mailing list,  got a phone call from someone important asking for their help or been invited to informal White House briefings.. The end result is a misguided sense of loyalty at all costs.. As fellow journalist JR Valrey of the Block Report once famously noted, many are not interested in justice or preserving life, they just want their turn to hold and crack the whip..

Obama's drones are terrorismBottom line be wary of the attempts to get folks to buy into a concept that we once railed against called ‘preemptive strikes‘..When Bush kicked this off we hit the streets by the thousands.. Obama doesn’t use the that term, instead he invokes the image of us being in a life and death struggle against ‘evil terrorists‘. As a result many have checked their conscience at the door to pick up a sword to join in sable rattling while simultaneously bemoaning the fact that youth in our community have turned to violence as a solution to problems vs de-escalation and diplomacy..

43 Dead in Chicago, Will Obama Come to Chicago to Speak on Gun Violence?

15 year old Hadiya was shot and killed in a random act of violence in Chicago

15 year old Hadiya was shot and killed in a random act of violence in Chicago

I wanted to follow-up last week’s article we ran on the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton..It was titled ‘How many Black Children Must Die Before We get a Sandy Hook Response‘.. . It was written by community activist La’Keisha Gray-Sewell who heads up the organization Girls Like Me..In the article she spoke about the urgency that displayed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newton, Ct..

She stressed that while it would be great to have that type of societal response, the reality is in America where Black folks are scapegoats and their concerns often dismissed , we will have to amount a Sandy Hook response ourselves. We will have to put forth an urgency that leads to us ending violence that plagues our community..

We brought La ‘Keisha on our radio show and here’s what she had to say with respect to her widely read article..

Since that interview there’s been a big push to get president Obama to come back home to Chicago to address the issue of Gun Violence..Over the weekend Cathy Cohen who heads of the Black Youth project appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show to explain whats going on and why the push:

Asked what such a speech could accomplish, Cohen said Obama can use his “bully pulpit” to “rally the country to understand this issue,” as well as help to encourage groups to coordinate on fighting gun violence.

 “symbolically,” people have seen Obama in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., as they should have — but Chicago needs to feel that “our children are worthy also.”

She said that in addition to the short-term need to reduce violence as quickly as possible, “This is about also young people that don’t have jobs and who don’t see a future. This is about young people who don’t, in fact, have quality education. We have almost 50 percent of young African-American men not graduating from high school, right. There are immediate issues that have to be dealt with and then there are broader, longer structural issues. And we have to hold the mayor accountable, but we also have to hold the president accountable.”

You can peep the video and accompanying article and information on the petition  HERE..

Obama got a game plan about this gun control stuff

Obama got a game plan about this gun control stuff

One thing that comes to mind when seeing folks having to petition President Obama to come to Chicago and address the fact that since the start of the new year 43 people have been shot and killed in the Windy City. The fact that he hasn’t shown up on his own and has to be pushed and agitated speaks volumes. It’s a stark reminder that Black people and Black death are still toxic in political arenas and when they are spoken about its done after being weighed from a political lens..In other words there’s a lot of concern about how a Black president addressing gun violence in the Black community will play out in the mainstream..

While I understand the importance of pushing this President to do what he should do intuitively so that money and resources could be released to address the situation, there is a still a need to be cautious..Will Obama use the backdrop of Black shooting deaths in Chicago to heal those who have been traumatized or will he use this as a way to further criminalize youth as he emphasizes, law and order?

Yes those who have guns and do violence in the hood  need to be stopped and held accountable.. How will that happen? Will it be more militarization of the police? Will it mean entire communities and groups of people being subjected to profiling tactics, increased surveillance and stop and frisk type tactics?

Personally I think our communities need to be healed and people need to be made whole, where we embrace life versus dissing it..  We have to get to the root causes of violence and hopefully if Obama does come to Chicago, thats the direction he’s pushed in vs wanting to lock everyone up..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQuxG5FAXEs

Editorial: In Defense of Dr Cornel West

Cornel-West-purple

Who am I to defend Dr. West who is a considerably one of the greatest minds God has blessed humanity with in the 21 century. He is a prophetic voice out of the African American Baptist tradition, a scholar, writer, historian and musicologist. He has been critical of President Obama and because of his criticism he and Tavis Smiley, his partner in criticizing the president have both been accused of profiteering and jealousy. Frankly, I cannot say if that is or is not absolutely false.

However, I do welcome Dr. West’s well placed articulation for the poor and disenfranchised. I applaud his truth telling in season and out of season. I encourage his well aimed perspectives on President Obama’s administration and policies. I disregard the claim that our President cannot be the Black President as a ridiculous comment, which seems only African American make about themselves and accept from others. The President is of African American descent, but he is also from other descents, yet we are not to enthusiastically advocate for ourselves to him?

I also have reflected on President Obama’s successes because I don’t want pundits, or the media, or some misinformed colleague to tell me how to think. I have listed President Obama’s first term achievements from my contextual perspective. Everyone has the right to do so;
consequently here are what the President achieved:

He overcame an intransigent Republican Party led by billionaires like the Koch brothers
and the Tea Party, who spent obscene money to defeat him. He had to deal with Sen. McConnell
and Representative John Boehner who stated their number one focus is to stop President
Obama’s initiatives, and deny him a second term.

He inherited an economy in freefall, after being robbed by Wall Street, by initiating a
stimulus that created 5 million jobs.

During his term Wall Street averages went from 6000 to 13000.

CEO’s of major corporations under Obama’s term increased their profits over 230%

He brought the economy out of a hole.

He initiated the Lilly Ledbetter Act giving women equal pay for equal work.

He saved the United States Auto Industry and thereby saving all of the Great Lakes
economy.

He wound down the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He eliminated Osama Bin Laden, after he was considered unable to be brought to justice,
and made America safer. Remember President Bush said he doesn’t even think about Osama Bin
Laden.

He appointed two women to the Supreme Court and has one more selection to make.

He initiated the Health Care Reform that every President tried to do; but could not do for
over 100 years.

He managed that we did not go over the fiscal cliff and stood up to the Republicans when
they tried to hold America hostage on raising the credit limit.

An outstanding set of presidential accomplishments, but have African Americans gotten their usual short end of the stick? Yes, and Dr. West agrees and it is why I see Dr. West serving a necessary purpose. He is critical of the President and his criticism has been on point. Speaking as a Black American I would give President Obama a B+. Why? This is why. During the first term he never spoke of the poor, just the middle class. I assume his handlers and he felt it would be political expedient to do so. However, it is the poor in this country that have been left out of any economic recovery and the poor that took the gravest economic loss. The poor are still waiting for employment, educational opportunities and gun/violence free communities.

Eric Holder

Eric Holder

Secondly, the President’s Justice Department gets a “C”. Attorney General Eric Holder has been lackluster and seemingly unaggressive in his prosecutions in the face of a growing number of rogue cops and bigoted white men killing innocent black boys and men. For example, in Mississippi there has been a rash of car accidents, where running over black men as they walk along the streets and country roads is their cause of death at the hands of white male drivers. Young white southern men have stalked unsuspecting random black males to thrill kill.

Never to forget, the shooting of boys like Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and others. Very little or to be fair an uninspiring response from the Justice Department has been offered – - no signal or aggressive Federal prosecutions to indicate a perception of safety and protection for people of African American descent.

Also, not one Wall Streeter went to jail for stealing our money and crashing the economy. Yes, we get reports of Wells Fargo, Bank of America and CitiBank paying hundreds of millions in civil case settlements for colluding to foreclose on vulnerable and unsophisticated homeowners. These victim homeowners were predominantly of African American descent, which resulted in the largest transfer of wealth from African Americans. I ponder if the banks are so willing to settle for 100’s of millions in awards, it must mean they stole twice as much.

Thirdly, there are the drone bombings throughout Pakistan that are killing their intended terrorist targets, but the collateral deaths are innocent women and children.

Long Lines at Voting Booths

Long Lines at Voting Booths

Fourthly, where in the jobs program? Black folk voted for our President in record number (92%), in spite of misinformation scams, voter intimidation, rigged voting machines, and the reduction of voting hours. The collusion to defeat the Black vote included the Republican Party and Corporate class, who planned, hired operatives and funded illegal and close to illegal scams to thwart the Black voting strengths. Republican lawyers, legislators, elected governors, state attorney generals and even the son of the Republican candidate all have unclean hands in these unscrupulous efforts.

Valiantly African American common folk, in the spirit of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the year – long protest in Montgomery, Alabama, that galvanized the American Civil Rights Movement and led to a 1956 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States declaring segregated seating on buses unconstitutional, stood in the hot sun and long lines to cast their vote; and, seemingly no earnest effort on developing a jobs program is on the horizon.

Fifthly, I appreciate the president’s effort on the gun violence initiatives. I support his advocacy and bold leadership, but where is the focus on urban youth? Forty percent of the deaths from gun violence occur within urban communities across this nation from Oakland, LA, Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans and Miami. Yet, no specific plan to address the violence that has destroyed communities and a generation of young black males. Jobs and hope are the answer to the nihilism affecting these communities.

Dr. West is advocating for the least of these that seemed to again be left out. Gays got “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repealed and the right to marry, Hispanics got Supreme Court Justice Soto -Meyer and immigration dialog, Jews got Justice Kagan and an assurance of military protection from Iran. Wall Street bankers received no prosecutions for the theft of our surplus. Women got the Lilly Ledbetter Act that ensures equal pay for equal work and the Presidential defense of Roe vs. Wade. They also received the selection of two female Supreme Court Justices and possibly a third.The middle class received Health Care Reform.

So when the President chooses to get sworn in on MLK’s Bible the President is evoking Dr. King’s values that he has fallen short of. I understand he was trying to get to a second term, but if we do not demand in politics we will not receive anything. Lastly, every King David NEEDS a Nathan. It’s is an inoculation against corruption and apathy. Our President needs someone who will call it like it is and speak for the poor and people of color. Dr. West has done a good job at that and I hope he continues, along with others. Otherwise African Americans poor, elderly and Black middle class will not get their needs addressed.

written by Reginald W Lyles

Drone Strikes Kill 3 as We Dance at Inauguration Balls & Celebrate Dr King’s Bday

Predator dronePeeping today’s NY Times as we just celebrated Dr King’s holiday and noted the following story..

An American drone strike on Monday on a car east of Sana, the capital, killed three people suspected of being members of Al Qaeda, said Yemeni security officials. On Saturday, two American drone strikes killed eight people in Marib Province. Yemen, aided by the United States, has been battling the local branch of Al Qaeda. The United States rarely comments on its military role in Yemen but has acknowledged targeting Qaeda militants in the past.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/world/middleeast/yemen-drone-strike-kills-3.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

I know I know, many reading this will say something cute like; This is chess not checkers and we don’t know all that’s going on.. and others wlll say we need to protect America.. blah blah blah.. save it..We all know when things are wrong..

Drone Operator

Drone Operator

The key word in this article is SUSPECTED…The 3 killed last night brings the total killed by drone strikes to 11… Last I checked drones don’t fly down and order you to stop your car, put your hands up, toss out the keys and keep your hands on the steering wheel, while someone checks out your ID and registration, then brings you into custody, where you have a chance to raise bail, talk to a lawyer, have a trial and prove your innocence.. In short you don’t get a chance to surrender.. drones shoot and kill.. And while many try to avoid this ugly fact just remember, those operating drones, may one day be on your city street wearing a badge and carrying gun..

Also one should note that more and more police departments are getting drones. In two years corporations will be able to get and use drones privately, that means everyone from Wal-Mart to private security companies…

Maybe all that’s going on is a way to get us conditioned for all out oppression. Maybe this is designed to desensitize us so we will easily toss such atrocities away.. You can see this happening as folks will now only flinch if they are informed the victims of drone strikes are children.. If adults many kind of shrug their shoulders and say oh well.. Far too many of us are becoming what we once said we despised and fought against..

Well since we were celebrating Dr King’s birthday yesterday  remember what he said; The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent.

If you wanna go indepth about what we are doing w/ Drone strikes peep Dirty Wars which just premiered at Sundance and peep this interview with investigative reporter Jeremy Schahill…. http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/22/dirty_wars_jeremy_scahill_and_rick

What’s even more disturbing about these drone strikes is the fact that yesterday there was a drone ‘die in at the inauguration.. I know it wasn’t reported on many outlets.. Why spoil the happy feelings? Here’s  what was sent to President Obama before the inauguration

Friends,

The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance sent this letter to President Obama to seek a meeting to discuss the illegality and immorality of the killer drone strikes. Consider mailing this letter with your signature to the president.

Also consider joining NCNR on January 21 in a die-in replicating the effects of a U.S. drone strike. We have a responsibility to force our government to end its policy of using killer drones.

Kagiso, Max

National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Email mobuszewski at Verizon.net; Phone 410-366-1637
—————————————————————————————-

Dear Mr. President:

Congratulations on being elected president for a second term. We expect you to now embrace your Nobel Peace Prize and end all of the U.S. wars.

As members of peace and justice organizations opposed to your continuation of the Bush administration’s failed wars, we are writing to condemn your use of unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) to kill citizens in at least seven countries. Besides opposing your war policies, we have great concern for people caught up in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen. The use of drones is wrong on many levels: the illegality and immorality of assassinations, the violation of international law and the Constitutional protection of due process, the targeting of civilian populations, and the disregard of sovereignty. We are especially troubled by your refusal to release the flawed document which purportedly gives you legal cover to determine who is on the kill list.

Your use of killer drones is and will continue to create more enmity toward the United States. Because of the lack of transparency, it remains unclear how many civilians are known to have suffered losses of life, limb or property as a result of strikes. The Bush administration did not seem to have any concern for the communities under attack. Sadly you have increased the use of drone strikes, and as a result there is rampant anti-U.S. sentiment throughout these areas in conflict.

Furthermore, we are also concerned that U.S. drones are used to eliminate political opponents of corrupt leaders. This happened in 2010 in Yemen, when a state governor who opposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh was labeled as a leader of Al Qaeda and killed.

We believe that you should issue a directive terminating the killer drone program. This would have a profound effect around the world, and could initiate a process of healing. As citizens, we do not see the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen as enemies. These are our brothers and sisters. Instead of wasting billions of dollars on immoral drone strikes, take the money from the program and give it to non-governmental organizations working on providing jobs and incomes to people so that they do not join terrorist groups. There would be much support for such a program in these war-torn countries.

We believe U.S. wars and drone attacks have been demonstrable failures. Now is the time to take the risks of peace. Imagine leading a country which has denounced the madness of war, and instead wants to assist and make friendship with the people of the Middle East and Central Asia.

We look forward to your response. Should you agree to endorse a foreign policy with the goal of peace and justice, we will stand with you. Rejecting our proposal will mean more death and destruction. We will then continue to protest, risk arrest and denounce a foreign policy of endless wars.

We would be prepared to meet with members of your administration to discuss our proposal to immediately end killer drone strikes and to start a process of healing with the victims of U.S. wars. Please give serious consideration to our proposal of reconciliation and diplomacy rather than pernicious killer drone strikes.

In peace,

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

Beth Adams, Leverett, MA; Maria Allwine, Baltimore; Susanne Bader, 211 Eureka St., Grass Valley, CA 95945; Ellen E Barfield, Phil Berrigan Memorial Veterans For Peace [VFP], National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, War Resisters League, Baltimore; Ruth Benn, NYC War Resisters League; Fred Bialy, concerned citizen of the U.S., El Cerrito, CA; Hoa Binh; Bonnie Block, Madison Pledge of Resistance, Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Madison, WI; Toby Blome, Bay Area CODEPINK, El Cerrito, CA; Diana Bohn, Berkeley, CA; Barbara Briggs-Letson, California; Linda K. Brown, Baltimore; Michael G. Bucci, CEO, Development Resource Group, Chair, MicroLeadership, Inc., San Diego, CA; Dianne Budd, M.D., CodePink, San Francisco, CA 94122; Bill Carpenter, San Francisco, CA; Tim Carpenter, national director of Progressive Democrats of America, Washington, D.C.; Tim Chadwick, member of the human race, Bethlehem, PA; Francis Collins, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism, San Francisco; Robert Cooke, Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore, Gaithersburg, MD; Charlie Cooper, Generations for Peace and Democracy, Baltimore; Susan Crane, Redwood City Catholic Worker, Redwood City, CA; Fran Donelan, Baltimore; David Eberhardt, Baltimore; June Eisley, Pacem in Terris, Wilmington, DE; Arla S. Ertz, San Francisco, CA; Gil Field, San Diego VFP, San Diego, CA; Joy First, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Madison Pledge of Resistance, and Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Mt. Horeb, Wi; Eileen Fleming, author, reporter, founder WeAreWideAwake.org, Florida; Edward G. Fox, Dr. P.H.; Andrea Freeman, San Anselmo, CA; Carol E. Gay, president, NJ State Industrial Union Council and chair, NJ Labor Against War, Brick, NJ; Edward L. Gilmore, San Diego Chapter of Veterans For Peace; Shirley Golub, co-founder & secretary; San Francisco Chapter–Progressive Democrats of America; Emily Greene, Mentone, AL; Edith M. Hallberg, Bay Area CODEPINK, Berkeley, CA; Carole Hamlin, Baltimore; Susan Harman, CodePink, Oakland, CA; Norma J F Harrison, 1312 Cornell Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702; John Heuer, VFP, Chapel Hill, NC; George Homanich & Judy Homanich, Broome County Peace Action, 316 Prospect St., Binghamton, NY 13905; Joanna Katz, Berkeley, CA 94702; Tarak Kauff, VFP; Chuck Kaufman, national co-coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice, Washington, D.C.; Ingrid Kepler-May, 600 Grizzly Peak Blvd., Berkeley, CA, 94708; Janie Kesselman, Peace Center of Nevada County, Nevada City, CA; Malachy Kilbride, Arlington, VA; Kathy Labriola, Ninth Street Co-op, 1714 Ninth Street, Berkeley, CA. 94710; Barbara Larcom, Baltimore; Martin Lefstein, Jewish Voice for Peace, affiliation purposes only, Parkville, MD; Linda LeTendre, Saratoga Peace Alliance, Saratoga Springs, NY; Stan Levin, VFP, chapter 91, San Diego, CA; Eleanor Levine, co-coordinator, East Bay CodePink and Golden Gate CodePink, San Francisco Bay Area, CA; JoAnne Lingle, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center; Mary Liston Liepold, Ph.D., Peace X Peace; Bro. John Mahoney, 738 S. Beechfield Ave., Baltimore 21229-4423; Kevin Martin, executive director, Peace Action, Silver Spring, MD; Maurice Martin, San Diego VFP; Bobby McCormick; Chris Moore-Backman, director, Chico Peace and Justice Center, Chico, CA; Don Muller, Sitkans for Peace and Justice, Alaska; Richard J. Ochs, Baltimore; MJ and Jerry Park, co-founders and co-directors of Little Friends For Peace, Mount Rainier, MD 20712; David Patterson, San Diego VFP, www.sdvfp.org; Rafe Pilgrim, veteran, Florida; Carol Pinson, Martinez, California 94553; Lars Prip, VFP, Janesville, WI; Andy Lee Roth, Media Freedom Foundation/ Project Censored, San Rafael, CA; N. Riggleman, 25136 Tollhouse Rd., Tollhouse, CA 93667; Jan A. Ruhman, San Diego VFP & Vietnam Veterans Against the War/OSS; Phil Runkel, Waukesha, WI; Manijeh Saba, New Jersey; Judith Sandoval, VFP, San Francisco; Helen Schietinger, Washington, D.C.; Holly Severson, San Francisco, CA; Robert M. Smith, Brandywine Peace Community, Philadelphia, PA; David Soumis, VFP/No Drones Wisconsin, McFarland Wisconsin; Alice Sturm Suter, retired nurse practioner, NYC Metro Raging Grannies and North Manhattan Neighbors for Peace and Justice; Trish Swain, Sparks, NV; Daniel Venzon, San Diego, VFP; Tom Watson, Rio Vista, CA; Zohreh M Whitaker, 2041 Campton Circle, Gold River, CA 95670-8301; Paki Wieland, Northampton Committee to Stop War(s); Michael Wong, vice president, VFP chapter 69, identification purposes only, San Francisco.

Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

Lupe Fiasco Thrown off Stage at Pre-Inauguration Concert in Washington DC

Lupe Fiasco

Looks like Lupe Fiasco is gonna stick to his principles no matter what.. We’re getting reports that he was dragged off stage from security at a StartUp RockOn  event in Washington DC..Apparently he performed his anti-war, anti Obama song Words I never Said for 30 minutes.. The concert hosts tried to get him to change songs.. Lupe refused and the next thing you know guard hit the stage and dragged him off..   Wow..  I guess Obama supporters ain’t having the disses unless your  Kid Rock or  Ted Nugent…They talk smack all day and never get shut down…From the way the reports go, this reminds me of the time when Lauryn Hill came to perform at the DNC Rock the Vote Party in 2004… She kept the crowd waiting for 2 hours.. She showed up grabbed the mic sang the words Politicians are shady.. hummed a little and left never to return.. Lupe decided to make his point known by staying for 30 minutes..

Here’s a few of the tweets collected by Buzz feed about Lupe’s performance and shut down

including this one from reporter Josh Rogin  and Matt Dornic

Lupe Fiasco just got thrown off stage here at the Hamilton Live after he went on an anti-Obama diatribe mid set.

Things going terribly wrong at @lupefiasco performance during #SURO. Kicked off stage, bashing obama.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/zekejmiller/lupe-fiasco-thrown-off-stage-at-inauguration-conce

You can see a video of Lupe and his encounter below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ScQl5_GQao

Here’s the official statement from organizers which came out a short while ago…

StartUp RockOn is all about startups helping startups. At Sunday night’s Inauguration Celebration at the Hamilton Live, organizers set out to honor innovative visionaries with grants, accolades and a party worthy of the success we achieved at the RNC and DNC this summer.

Lupe Fiasco performed at this private event, and as you may have read, he left the stage earlier than we had planned. But Lupe Fiasco was not “kicked off stage” for an “anti-Obama rant.” We are staunch supporters of free speech, and free political speech. This was not about his opinions. Instead, after a bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied, organizers decided to move on to the next act.

The party continued as planned, and we celebrated the announcement of CodeNow’s winning the Grant Challenge. CodeNow is a non-profit startup based in Washington DC that teaches “underrepresented high school students basic skills in computer programming.”

StartUp RockOn was founded last year by three startups: HyperVocal, EventFarm and Fighter Interactive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22l1sf5JZD0

What Would Dr King Say if He Was Here Today?

I love the Boondocks and their wicked sense of humor… The episode they did when Dr King comes back to modern times will forever be a classic, even as they drop the N bombs a few times..But hell folks didn’t seem to mind them during Django so why now?  As funny as this is or as unfunny if you were offended, the question we should grappling with come Monday is what would King say with respect to the policies we are pursuing as a nation and the direction we have taken as a people?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E

This speech here is pretty funny..Since we will have President Obama being sworn in on the same day as the King Holiday..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSq0qyYWKG8

What would Dr King say?

What would Dr King say?

Skillz is Back.. Rap-Up 2012.. The Year of Ratchedness

skillzSkillz is back with his annual Rap Up... This one pays Tribute to 2012.. The Year of Ratchedness.. Not sure I’m feeling this beat…. somethings get lost with it being so noisy, but it is what it is.. He does cover a lot of ground.. #salute

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uvMxtxbltA

Big Pimping 101: Obama Puts His Mack Hand Down..Declares a War on Guns..

Obama got a game plan about this gun control stuff

Obama got a game plan about this gun control stuff

Watching this pimp game go down this morning.. Here’s how it work.. President Obama comes out this morning while folks are still in mourning about the Newtown school shooting and gives a speech. He says he’s gonna get tough on guns and he’s gonna have Vice President Joe Biden who wrote anti-crime bill lead the charge…

The NRA hears this and says ‘Oh hell to tha no‘ and go into their coffers and start dropping millions on every law-maker they can reach.. So in short the Senators are getting a big phat lobbying Christmas Bonus..

Next up to get paid are gun sellers who are bracing themselves. They know that after this speech, there are millions of fearful, bigoted folks who will view our hawkish president who actually has been supportive of gun owners, as someone who is gonna snatch all their guns.. So now everyone is rushing off to the store to buy up as much as they can before January when Obama starts pushing his ‘new gun proposal’. They about to get paid. I should start selling guns, I could make big time money after this speech..

guns riflesCome January,  Obama will issue a proposal and a whole lot of compromises will come.. When it comes to Obama, mandate or not, he’s a compromiser..End result, gun shows, NRA folks will be left untouched. They will be deemed ‘responsible‘ gun owners.. The only thing the NRA will compromise on is more stringent back ground checks. Next there will be a push to bring about hefty mandatory sentences for anyone who is unlicensed holding a gun. The War on Drugs will morph into the War on Guns….This in turn will lead to more stop and frisk type tactics being used all over to get rid of guns. Police will say they need domestic drones to help with surveillance in these efforts.. The inner city will be targeted even though mass shootings are happening in the burbs.. Our private prisons will be filled.. and they will get paid.. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it..

 

Thoughts on the Newtown School Shootings pt2 Hard Questions We All Must Answer

Sandy Hook Massacre is not Isolated It’s Part of Something that’s Systemic

Newtown godbless Part of the challenge before us is to move this of this national conversation away from seeing these acts of violence as isolated, out of the ordinary occurrences and see them as systemic. This is not comfortable for many to do. The reason being is that when you look at mass shootings from a systemic level it calls into question our actions or lack of actions. It calls into account our own complicity in furthering this culture of violence. It brings forth our own contradictions. This includes the types of conversations and steps we take to ensure peace vs cheering on and fantasizing about violent responses to complex problems. Far too many of us say we want peace  and we want our children to live in peace , but our actions say otherwise. We applaud violence. We accept violence.. We enable violence in many aspects of our lives and on many levels. From the music we listen to, to what we watch on TV to what sort of laws we allow to pass on or not pass on our watch…

Its gotten to a point where talking about love is something seen a perverse, out of pocket and even unnatural.  That in itself is crazy, because so many of us profess we are God fearing and church loving, but you wouldn’t know that in the ways we embrace this culture of violence.

We have to take stock in what are we modeling for the kids we say we care about? What seeds are we planting? How are we helping them as well as ourselves to heal? We tell them they have to be ruthless in business. We tell them negativity sells and that by taking the high road you are weak sauce. We scoff at compassion? As we bury 20 kids this week, in what ways will we change our thinking?

Let our prayers go beyond Newtown and touche very place ravaged by senseless violence

Let our prayers go beyond Newtown and touch every place ravaged by senseless violence

Our contradictions include politicians who deliberately avoid important conversations about gun safety, assault weapon bans and mental health checks for those who wish to own guns, for fear of angering the NRA gun lobby. Frankly put there’s been lack of leadership. Right now many elected officials are talking a good game. They’re gonna show up at the funerals. they’re gonna hold press conferences and express extreme sorrow. They’re gonna do  like they’ve always done after a tragedy like this.. but once the dust settles and the cameras are gone and lobbying money rolls in, gun control and gun safety discussions are buried. It’s the height of hypocrisy. When will that change? When and how will we make them change?

Our contradictions include mainstream media oversimplifying complex issues, manufacturing outrage and pushing fear buttons by scapegoating and pitting groups of people against one another.  Following such paths may be politically comfortable and expedient and make for good TV, but its counterproductive to the steps we need to take to turn things around. When will we recognize the type of damage they are waging on folks? When will we say enough is enough to fear mongering?

Mental health beyond Adam Lanza

Ideally we should all be talking about mental health. We need to know what was a Adam Lanza suffering from? Was it depression, bi-polar disorder, panic attacks, extreme anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PSDT)? Was it psychological or physical? Did he have a chemical imbalance? Was help available? Affordable? Accessible? How widespread is his condition? Do the people involved in the incidents listed earlier also suffer from similar health challenges? What sort of investments have we made to help people get well?  If we’re willing help Adam Lanza in the suburbs of Newtown and understand he was a troubled man are we willing help Ray Ray in the inner city of Chicago who may also be suffering?

Adding to these difficult questions around mental health is the issue of suicide. Long time educator, poet and scholar Mark Gonzales spoke to this issue the other night at a Pecha Kucha gathering in Oakland. He reminded us that we can not see the frequencies of mass shootings separate from the high rates of suicide that are taking place in this country every year, especially when you take into account that in many of these incidents the perpetrators killed themselves or acted in such a way that they would be killed. Gonzales noted that every year in the US 1.2 million people attempt suicide. In our military, more people have committed suicide than died in combat. What is that about? How does that relate to those who act with reckless abandon and are quick to pull the trigger at the slightest provocation? Whats the mental challenges afflicting those who can’t imagine themselves living a long life?

Bold thinking and compassion will heal broken hearts..

Bold and compassion thinking will help heal broken hearts..

These are hard questions. When we look at what took place at Sandy Hook elementary, our grief, anger and collective disbelief makes it easy for us to sum everything up and conclude Lanza and others who do these mass murders are just ‘evil’ and simply need to be locked away and removed from society. To a degree that may be true, but the frequencies of killings both on en mass like in Sandy Hook or what occurs daily in our inner city streets, suggests that sooner or later we are gonna have to cross that bridge and honestly deal with mental health. There’s no getting around it. We can only hide from reality for so long.

In having this conversation about mental health we have to be honest and note that our discussion has to move beyond Adam Lanza and why he snapped. It’s also gotta also be about his mother Nancy Lanza and the millions of people who live in this country like her who felt a need to buy all those weapons in the first place. Was she really a ‘gun enthusiast’ as described in the news by her friends? Why did she have so many guns in her house where her son lived knowing he was troubled? Was she someone who was fearful or angry who felt the only way to feel safe was to stockpile weapons? If so, what was driving those emotions? Was she fearful of the government? If so what brought about that distrust?

Did she like so many others believe the government is going to collapse like in all those end-of-days, doomsday prepper reality shows. Did she think martial law and total government take over is imminent?

Was she fearful of crime? What was she afraid of in Newtown a place that was depicted as one where crime hardly occurred? Did something bad happened to her to stoke her fears? Was she ever healed from it? Was she fearful of a certain type of person rooted in media stereotypes? The angry crack dealing ‘Willie Horton type Black guy? The ‘illegal’ border jumping Brown guy? The ‘American hating’ Middle Eastern Muslim terrorist?

And while such scenarios and characteristics may not have applied specifically to Adam Lanza’s mom, they sure as hell do to many who went out and increased gun sales by a whooping 20% since the re-election of President Barack Obama. That’s on top of the massive increase that occurred when he was first elected. Eventually we’re gonna not only have to have a conversation about race, class, economic inequality and uncertainty, distrust and all those messy, uneasy topics that have been avoided, but we’re also going to have to take some hard decisive steps to resolve these long-standing issues. Like I said earlier, up til now, playing to people’s fears and anxieties has been profitable for a whole lot of folks.. That’s gotta stop or we’re gonna see more of the same. The Massacre at Sandy Brook is not in isolation.

Conclusion

In honoring the 27 people killed last Friday in Newtown, Ct, we’re gonna have to take some bold steps and move away from our comfort zones. We talk about how courageous the teachers were who protected the kids and gave their lives. We’re heaping praise on Dawn Hocksprung, Rachel Davino, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Russeau, Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto for making the ultimate sacrifice, but how many of us are willing to make sacrifices in our social, political and economic outlook to bring about better tomorrows? We can’t have more of the same. We reached a fork in the road..Love or Violence..Ignorance or Consciousness.. Fear or Enlightenment… The choice is ours..RIP to all the children killed this weekend at Sandy Brook..Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Madline, Dylan, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin, Allison..RIP to all the children killed around this country to senseless violence ..RIP to all the children killed to senseless drone strikes and other acts of  war and exploitation

Dhoruba Bin Wahad: What Do We Do Now that Barack Obama is Re-Elected?

Hard Knock Radio logoIt’s always a pleasure to chop it up with author, former Black Panther and political prisoner Dhoruba bin Wahad. His political insights and analysis are always astute as he challenges us to not settle for anything less than justice for those who are oppressed.  Because of Dhoruba’s sharpness, we had to include him in our post-election series of  ‘Where Do We Do Now That Barack Obama Is Re-Elected?‘  He did not disappoint..

Below is our Hard knock Radio interview w/ Dhoruba Bin Wahad..

As you listen to the interview, here’s some background. The opening of our interview starts off with an excerpt from a landmark speech Dhoruba gave in the summer of 2008 at the National Hip Hop Political Convention in Las Vegas. We dubbed ‘A Message to the Hip Hop Grassroots‘.  Here Dhoruba talked at length about a 30 year attempt by far right forces in this country to consolidate power and dismantle gains made under the New Deal and later the Civil Rights Movementt.

Dhoruba Bin WahadDhoruba talked about the rise of a police state where the stripping of constitutional rights would seem normal to a beleaguered population. He also talked about what sort of things we could expect  slave ascends to the slave masters house including increased oppression not just from outside forces angry at a Blackening and Browning America, but also from President Obama himself and interests he represents.  Dhoruba notes that Obama is part of a larger scenario (the American Empire) where Black faces are used to get the masses to buy back into an imperialistic system versus oppose it..

Below is part of the 2008 speech  Message to the Hip Hop Grassroots.. We had the music and historic sound clips to enhance what Dhoruba was speaking about…