Looking Beyond the Hoodie, even as Bobby Rush is Booted off the House Floor

Today Congressman Bobby Rush from Chicago got kicked off the House Floor for wearing a Hoodie. He like many others had dawned the attire to bring attention to the case surrounding Trayvon Martin. It was a noble gesture. It helps keep the case in the spotlight, but this has got to go beyond Hoodies. Too many of us are focusing on that and not some of the larger issues at hand.

For example, all of us should be asking; ‘whats the story behind Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee?’ Most of us protesting around Trayvon don’t  know his name. All we know is the police chief stepped down and very few of us are bringing him up in conversation and demanding he be brought to task? He’s just as guilty as George Zimmerman.

Sandford Florida Police Chief Bill Lee

Why was Chief Sanders and his department so sloppy with the initial investigation? Why didn’t they follow standard police procedure of collecting evidence like; keeping Zimmerman’s  gun and running ballistic tests or checking to make sure Zimmerman wasn’t high or drunk? We need to know why Standford police didn’t notify Trayvon’s family for after he was killed and his body was in the morgue.. Martin’s father found out after he filed a missing person’s report. We are just finding out that one of the early investigators wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter. Why wasn’t that allowed to happen?

We need to know what’s the deal with State Attorney Norman R. Wolfinger, why didn’t he press charges? We need to know if there’s a connection with George Zimmerman’s dad Robert Zimmerman a former magistrate and the lawmakers here in Florida?

All of us should be asking those questions and when we see a Congressman like Bobby Rush wearing a hoodie on the house floor, he is not only asking those questions but ideally if he’s being escorted off  the floor it’s because he’s attempting to hold hearings where many of those questions can get answered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ougHdwR8PhI

We need to see Rush and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus hold more briefings and hearings like they did with yesterday’s  Protecting a “Suspect” Community: Racial Profiling & Hate Crimes. We need to see hearings on police misconduct. We can start with the frequent leaks coming from the police departments designed to smear Trayvon’s name. In many states, including Florida, they have in place a Policeman’s Bill of Rights. In many places those Policeman’s Bill of Rights make it difficult to get a hold of personnel files to review complaints against an officer  (I’m not sure if Florida has the same provisions as California where officers are shielded).

In any case all of us need to continuously connect the dots.. Trayvon’s killing can’t be seen in isolation to last week’s brutal vigilante killing of Shaima Alawadi in Lakeside California or the ‘drive by’ shooting death of Rekia Boyd by an off duty Chicago cop who claims he saw a man standing next to Boyd draw gun. Boyd was an innocent bystander yet her shooting was deemed justified even though the police found no weapons on the scene.

These incidents and scores of others need to be investigated. We need to make sure that these incidents are not connected to a larger more sinister plan of action. Are we experiencing co-ordinated and deleibarte terrorist attacks or are people just angry and acting out? Hopefully Rush and the CBC can lead the charge on Capitol Hill and start to really dig into those questions while we start looking into this amongst ourselves in our communities.

Lastly, lets not get caught up in the hoodie thing as if Black people are only suspicious when wearing them.. Try driving a nice car and your suspicious… Try walking around a nice department store and your suspicious.. Try cashing a large check and your suspicious..

Racist People are suspicious of President Obama, with or without a hoodie

This suspiciousness is rooted in racist people holding on to the notion that Black people not being in ‘their place‘ when they do something that defies stereotypes. This is why we see the racial attacks on President Barack Obama who is constantly under suspicion..We already seen the disrespect directed to him by business mogul Donald Trump, who demanded to see the President’s birth certificate. Even after it was shown, we now have Arizona sheriff Joe Arpiao conducting an investigation to make sure it’s not fake..

Sadly we are suspicious of each other..Long after this Trayvon/ Zimmerman thing dies down, even if he’s arrested and convicted, many of us are still gonna be running around not trusting the Black repairman, the Black lawyer, the Black accountant.. Black men will claim they can’t trust ‘skeezing, gold digging sistas and sistas will say they can’t trust these ‘trifling scheming azz’ men..and nobody trusts the kids..How do we intend to change that?.

Not to digress too much… Again we must be clear and push forward with justice and the dismantling of institutionalized racism and oppression as a goal. Our hoodies have got to be connected larger political agenda or understanding. Are we wearing a hoodie to show solidarity?  If so, who or  what are we in solidarity with? Are we wearing the hoodies as an act of defiance? If so what exactly are we defying?   All of us should learned the lesson of what happened after Obama got elected. His historic victory was quickly erased by this onslaught of racist killings all over the country. From Oscar Grant to Trayvon and beyond. If we’re not mindful of this, we will quickly find ourselves back at square one even if Zimmerman is carted off to jail for life or given a death sentence. Bottom line: What good is a symbol if its not connected to a larger politic and plan of action?

written by Davey D

Corporate Influence:How the Congressional Black Caucus is a Fundraising Powerhouse

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This is a compelling article on a number of levels…First of all it outlines some of the ways money exchanges hands in Washington and for that reason we should always have opportunity to be informed. It outlines all the ways that Washington is wrong and with the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money and resources in election this is likely to get worse…

The fact that the Congressional Black Caucus has always described itself as the conscience of the Congress, makes this story troubling… As you read this story pay close attention to the main people sponsoring them and look at the end result… Whats most glaring to me are the telecoms, AT&T and Verizon who successfully got 3/4th of the CBC to vote against the COPE act which would’ve gotten rid of Net Neutrality which levels the playing field on the Internet. Bobby Rush was at the center of this.. Currently those same telecom firms have pushed even harder and expanding their lobbying efforts to  a handful Civil Rights groups and leaders who have jumped on board to end Net Neutrality.. I urge folks to pay close attention to this alignment because it will have dire effect if left unchallenged and unchecked.

At the same time, one has to question why did the NY Times do a story on the CBC? Was it to expose their influence and the increasing potential for corruption?  Was it to undermine Black lawmakers exercising increasing influence in Washington?   Will CBC become the poster boy for corruption while others skate? Are there other caucuses in congress that play a similar game?  This does not excuse the CBC for any wrong doing, but these are questions we should ask.. In short is this just the tip of the iceberg? Lastly as I mentioned earlier is this a precursor to the way business will be done because of the Supreme Court ruling?

It’s hard not to take into account the current backlash that has been spawned around the country now that Barack Obama is in the White House. Along with the anger and discontent expressed at his policies has come increasing expressions of racial hatred. With an article like this I can easily see racism barring its fangs and folks circling the wagon to the point we overlook any wrong doing by CBC. Protecting one from racial attacks trumps ethics questions especially when we know this country has a sordid history of  lynching burning down cities and making life miserable for Blacks who have accumulated wealth. We saw that during the Obama campaign when we would hear remarks about Obama being ‘uppity’ and needs to be put in his place..

-Davey D-

In Black Caucus, a Fund-Raising Powerhouse

 By ERIC LIPTON and ERIC LICHTBLAU
Published: February 13, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/us/politics/14cbc.html?pagewanted=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

WASHINGTON — When the Congressional Black Caucus wanted to pay off the mortgage on its foundation’s stately 1930s redbrick headquarters on Embassy Row, it turned to a familiar roster of friends: corporate backers like Wal-Mart, AT&T, General Motors, Coca-Cola and Altria, the nation’s largest tobacco company.Soon enough, in 2008, a jazz band was playing at what amounted to a mortgage-burning party for the $4 million town house. 

Soon enough, in 2008, a jazz band was playing at what amounted to a mortgage-burning party for the $4 million town house.

Most political groups in Washington would have been barred by law from accepting that kind of direct aid from corporations. But by taking advantage of political finance laws, the caucus has built a fund-raising juggernaut unlike anything else in town.

It has a traditional political fund-raising arm subject to federal rules. But it also has a network of nonprofit groups and charities that allow it to collect unlimited amounts of money from corporations and labor unions.

From 2004 to 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus’s political and charitable wings took in at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions, according to an analysis by The New York Times, an impressive amount even by the standards of a Washington awash in cash. Only $1 million of that went to the caucus’s political action committee; the rest poured into the largely unregulated nonprofit network. (Data for 2009 is not available.)

The caucus says its nonprofit groups are intended to help disadvantaged African-Americans by providing scholarships and internships to students, researching policy and holding seminars on topics like healthy living.

But the bulk of the money has been spent on elaborate conventions that have become a high point of the Washington social season, as well as the headquarters building, golf outings by members of Congress and an annual visit to a Mississippi casino resort.

In 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation spent more on the caterer for its signature legislative dinner and conference — nearly $700,000 for an event one organizer called “Hollywood on the Potomac” — than it gave out in scholarships, federal tax records show.

At the galas, lobbyists and executives who give to caucus charities get to mingle with lawmakers. They also get seats on committees the caucus has set up to help members of Congress decide what positions to take on the issues of the day. Indeed, the nonprofit groups and the political wing are so deeply connected it is sometimes hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

Even as it has used its status as a civil rights organization to become a fund-raising power in Washington, the caucus has had to fend off criticism of ties to companies whose business is seen by some as detrimental to its black constituents.

These include cigarette companies, Internet poker operators, beer brewers and the rent-to-own industry, which has become a particular focus of consumer advocates for its practice of charging high monthly fees for appliances, televisions and computers.

Caucus leaders said the giving had not influenced them.

“We’re unbossed and unbought,” said Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the caucus. “Historically, we’ve been known as the conscience of the Congress, and we’re the ones bringing up issues that often go unnoticed or just aren’t on the table.”

But many campaign finance experts question the unusual structure.

“The claim that this is a truly philanthropic motive is bogus — it’s beyond credulity,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, a nonpartisan group that monitors campaign finance and ethics issues. “Members of Congress should not be allowed to have these links. They provide another pocket, and a very deep pocket, for special-interest money that is intended to benefit and influence officeholders.”

Not all caucus members support the donors’ goals, and some issues, like a debate last year over whether to ban menthol cigarettes, have produced divisions.

But caucus members have attracted increasing scrutiny from ethics investigators. All eight open House investigations involve caucus members, and most center on accusations of improper ties to private businesses.

And an examination by The Times shows what can happen when companies offer financial support to caucus members.

For instance, Representative Danny K. Davis, Democrat of Illinois, once backed legislation that would have severely curtailed the rent-to-own industry, criticized in urban districts like his on the West Side of Chicago. But Mr. Davis last year co-sponsored legislation supported by the stores after they led a well-financed campaign to sway the caucus, including a promise to provide computers to a jobs program in Chicago named for him. He denies any connection between the industry’s generosity and his shift.

Growing Influence

The caucus started out 40 years ago as a political club of a handful of black members of Congress. Now it is at the apex of its power: President Obama is a former member, though he was never very active.

Its members, all Democrats, include the third-ranking House member, Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina; 4 House committee chairmen; and 18 subcommittee leaders. Among those are Representative Charles E. Rangel, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and Representative John Conyers Jr., chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

There are hundreds of caucuses in Congress, representing groups as disparate as Hispanic lawmakers and those with an interest in Scotland. And other members of Congress have nonprofit organizations.

But the Congressional Black Caucus stands alone for its money-raising prowess. As it has gained power, its nonprofit groups — one an outright charity, the other a sort of research group — have seen a surge in contributions, nearly doubling from 2001 to 2008.

Besides the caucus charities, many members — including Mr. Clyburn and Representative William Lacy Clay Jr. of Missouri — also have personal or family charities, which often solicit donations from companies that give to the caucus. And spouses have their own group that sponsors a golf and tennis fund-raiser.

The board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation includes executives and lobbyists from Boeing, Wal-Mart, Dell, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Heineken, Anheuser-Busch and the drug makers Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline. All are hefty donors to the caucus.

Some of the biggest donors also have seats on the second caucus nonprofit organization — one that can help their businesses. This group, the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute, drafts positions on issues before Congress, including health care and climate change.

This means, for example, that the lobbyists and executives from coal, nuclear and power giants like Peabody Energy and Entergy helped draft a report in the caucus’s name that includes their positions on controversial issues. One policy document issued by the Black Caucus Institute last year asserted that the financial impact of climate change legislation should be weighed before it is passed, a major industry stand.

Officials from the Association of American Railroads, another major donor, used their board positions to urge the inclusion of language recommending increased spending on the national freight rail system. A lobbyist for Verizon oversaw a debate on a section that advocated increased federal grants to expand broadband Internet service.

And Larry Duncan, a Lockheed Martin lobbyist, served on a caucus institute panel that recommended that the United States form closer ties with Liberia, even as his company was negotiating a huge airport contract there.

The companies say their service to the caucus is philanthropic.

“Our charitable donations are charitable donations,” said David Sylvia, a spokesman for Altria, which has given caucus charities as much as $1.3 million since 2004, the Times analysis shows, including a donation to a capital fund used to pay off the mortgage of the caucus headquarters.

Elsie L. Scott, chief executive of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, acknowledged that the companies want to influence members. In fact, the fund-raising brochures make clear that the bigger the donation, the greater the access, like a private reception that includes members of Congress for those who give more than $100,000.

“They are trying to get the attention of the C.B.C. members,” Ms. Scott said. “And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. They’re in business, and they want to deal with people who have influence and power.”

She also acknowledged that if her charity did not have “Congressional Black Caucus” in its name, it would gather far less money. “If it were just the Institute for the Advancement of Black People — you already have the N.A.A.C.P.,” she said.

Ms. Scott said she, too, had heard criticism that the caucus foundation takes too much from companies seen as hurting blacks . But she said she was still willing to take their money.

“Black people gamble. Black people smoke. Black people drink,” she said in an interview. “And so if these companies want to take some of the money they’ve earned off of our people and give it to us to support good causes, then we take it.”

Big Parties, Big Money

The biggest caucus event of the year is held each September in Washington.

The 2009 event began with a rooftop party at the new W Hotel, with the names of the biggest sponsors, the pharmaceutical companies Amgen and Eli Lilly, beamed in giant letters onto the walls, next to the logo of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. A separate dinner party and ceremony, sponsored by Disney at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, featured the jazz pianist Marcus Johnson.

The next night, AT&T sponsored a dinner reception at the Willard InterContinental Washington, honoring Representative Bobby L. Rush, Democrat of Illinois and chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees consumer protection issues.

The Southern Company, the dominant electric utility in four Southeastern states, spent more than $300,000 to host an awards ceremony the next night honoring Ms. Lee, the black caucus chairwoman, with Shaun Robinson, a TV personality from “Access Hollywood,” as a co-host. The bill for limousine services — paid by Southern — exceeded $11,000.

A separate party, sponsored by Macy’s, featured a fashion show and wax models of historic African-American leaders.

All of this was just a buildup for the final night and the biggest event — a black-tie dinner for 4,000, which included President Obama, the actor Danny Glover and the musician Wyclef Jean.

Annual spending on the events, including an annual prayer breakfast that Coca-Cola sponsors and several dozen policy workshops typically sponsored by other corporations, has more than doubled since 2001, costing $3.9 million in 2008. More than $350,000 went to the official decorator and nearly $400,000 to contractors for lighting and show production, according to tax records. (By comparison, the caucus spent $372,000 on internships in 2008, tax records show.)

The sponsorship of these parties by big business is usually counted as a donation in the caucus books. But sometimes the corporations pay vendors directly and simply name the caucus or an individual caucus member as an “honoree” in disclosure records filed with the Senate.

(The New York Times Company is listed as having paid the foundation $5,000 to $15,000 in 2008. It was the cost of renting a booth to sell newspapers at the annual conference.)

Foundation officials say profit from the event is enough to finance programs like seminars on investments, home ownership and healthy living; housing for Washington interns; and about $600,000 in scholarships.

Interns and students interviewed praised the caucus.

“The internship for me came at a very critical moment in my life,” said Ervin Johnson, 24, an intern in 2007, placed by the Justice Department. “Most people don’t have that opportunity.”

Still, Ms. Scott, the foundation’s chief executive, said that members of the caucus’s board had complained about the ballooning bills for the annual conference. And some donors have asked that their money go only toward programs like scholarships. She blamed the high prices charged by vendors mandated by the Washington Convention Center.

Legislative Interests

The companies that host events at the annual conference are engaged in some of the hottest battles in Washington, and they frequently turn to caucus members for help.

Internet poker companies have been big donors, fighting moves to restrict their growth. Caucus members have been among their biggest backers.

Amgen and DaVita, which dominate the kidney treatment and dialysis business nationwide, have donated as much as $1.5 million over the last five years to caucus charities, and the caucus has been one of their strongest allies in a bid to win broader federal reimbursements.

AT&T and Verizon, sponsors of the caucus charities for years, have turned to the caucus in their effort to prevent new federal rules governing how cellphone carriers operate Internet services on their wireless networks.

But few of these alliances have paid off like the caucus’s connection to rent-to-own stores.

Some Democrats in Congress have tried to limit fees charged to consumers who rent televisions or appliances, with critics saying the industry’s advertisements prey on low-income consumers, offering the short-term promise of walking away with a big-screen TV while hiding big long-term fees. Faced with rules that could destroy their business, the industry called on the caucus.

In 2007, it retained Zehra Buck, a former aide to Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and a caucus member, to help expand a lobbying campaign. Its trade association in 2008 became the exclusive sponsor of an annual caucus foundation charity event where its donated televisions, computers and other equipment were auctioned, with the proceeds going to scholarships. It donated to the campaigns of at least 10 caucus members, and to political action committees run by the caucus and its individual members.

It also encouraged member stores to donate to personal charities run by caucus members or to public schools in their districts. Mr. Clay, the Missourian, received $14,000 in industry contributions in 2008 for the annual golf tournament his family runs in St. Louis. The trade association also held a fund-raising event for him in Reno, Nev.

“I’ll always do my best to protect what really matters to you,” Mr. Clay told rent-to-own executives, who agreed to hold their 2008 annual convention in St. Louis, his home district. Mr. Clay declined a request for an interview.

On a visit to Washington, Larry Carrico, then president of the rent-to-own trade association, offered to donate computers and other equipment to a nonprofit job-training group in Chicago named in honor of Mr. Davis, the Illinois congressman who in 2002 voted in favor of tough restrictions on the industry.

Mr. Davis switched sides. Mr. Carrico traveled to Chicago to hand over the donations, including a van with “Congressman Danny K. Davis Job Training Program” painted on its side, all of which helped jump-start a charity run by Lowry Taylor, who also works as a campaign aide to Mr. Davis.

In an interview, Mr. Carrico said support from caucus members came because they understood that his industry had been unfairly criticized and that it provided an important service to consumers in their districts.

While some caucus members still oppose the industry, 13 are co-sponsors of the industry-backed legislation that would ward off tough regulatory restrictions — an alliance that has infuriated consumer advocates.

“It is unfortunate that the members of the black caucus who are supporting this bill did not check with us first,” said Margot Saunders, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center. “Because the legislation they are supporting would simply pre-empt state laws that are designed to protect consumers against an industry that rips them off.”

The industry’s own bill, introduced by a caucus member, has not been taken up, but it does not really matter because the move to pass stricter legislation has ground to a halt.

“Without the support of the C.B.C.,” John Cleek, the president of the rent-to-own association, acknowledged in an industry newsletter in 2008, “our mission in Washington would fail.”

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

It’s About to Get Nasty:How Corporations Are Secretly Gearing up for the 2010 Elections

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There’s so much one can say and write about last month’s Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to weigh in and spend unlimited amounts on campaign contributions. One thing is certain-it’s about to get nasty and ugly.  The bottom line is, no matter how many ways people try to justify this ruling under the umbrella of ‘free speech’, it’s only a matter of time before the realization hits that it’s not exactly Free Speech when only the rich and powerful have access and can afford to voice their opinions on traditional powerful mediums.

We often forget that radio and other media outlets are corporations and with all the criticisms we have about the bias of news outlets like Fox or if you’re on the other side of the political spectrum, the so-called ‘left leaning’ media, that in itself should be proof  that an unbridled corporate voice could be really, really bad. The fact that our airwaves are now dominated by over-the-top political pundits who have become more and more strident and divisive over the past 5-10 years should have rung a few alarms, but sadly we are at a day and time where people have been lulled into believing that

1-There’s always opportunity to lay out one’s ideas via the internet.

2-Things aren’t  so bad as long as they can see or hear their own political viewpoint.

Look for corporations like AT&T to take full advantge of the new Supreme Court Ruling by campaigning to eliminate free speech on the Internet

A couple of things to keep in mind… First and foremost, we better make note that some of these corporations who are now free to spend billions are spending billions of dollars on law makers via lobbying efforts to cripple the internet and stifle the opportunity for the little guy to reach millions. Companies like AT&T and Comcast have been working night and day to get rid of Net Neutrality, which has allowed a free and open internet up til now. As we noted in recent stories thse corporate telecoms outfits are spending millions to sponsor events put on by law makers that represent communities of color as well as traditional Civil Rights organizations.

As unbelievable as it sounds, the end result has been the majority of members in both the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses siding with AT&T and other telecoms that want to bring about a restricted and consolidated internet.  Even more disturbing is seeing organizations like LULAC and the NAACP who have held events heavily sponsored by AT&T take supportive positions.

What’s even sadder is noting that these expensive lobbying efforts were happening before the Supreme Court ruling, where these corporate telecoms still had constraints and rules that limited them. All thats about to change big time. One of the first places you are likely to see the impact of this Supreme Court decision will be in the form of aggressive campaigns launched by the telecoms supporting lawmakers who are willing to eliminate Net Neutrality and cripple ‘free speech’ for the average John Doe on the internet. How ironic that the granting of unrestricted speech to corporations will result in them using  likely their far reaching destructive power to shut down free speech for others.

2 or 3 years ago AT&T brought computers for Chicago congressman Bobby Rush who then turned around and voted to eliminated Net Neutrality via the COPE Act

Many of these corporate telecoms simply don’t want a blogger who writes from home to be on the same playing field as a big newspaper or giant media outlets.  They want faster and more efficient access to be granted to those who can pay and like I said earlier,  millions of dollars have already been put in the coffers of Black and Brown leaders in both Congress and Civil Rights organizations who have had their votes and support brought and paid for…

Now that the Supreme Court has unbridled these corporations, you will see these efforts increase as these corporations will start looking for influencial groups and individuals who desperately need money in these economically challenged times for crucial projects and events or as was the case with Congressman Bobby Rush in Chicago, new computers for a school and write them big checks in an ‘unspoken’/’Unwritten’ exchange for votes, support or silence.  Many law makers will go for the short-term relief  and not concern themselves with long-term damage.  We all need to pay close attention because we are about to see some strange and disturbing political pairings.

The other widely held viewpoint is-as long as one can see or hear their own political viewpoint via a popular media outlet, then there’s no reason to trip off the Supreme Court’s ruling.  This is shortsighted and rooted in the belief that one’s favorite medium will always be forever and in a position to effectively champion ‘the cause’. The recent closing and filing of bankruptcy by progressive leaning Air America should serve as a strong reminder this is not always the case.

 Air America was supposed to be a viable alternative to the increasing use of right-wing talk show hosts on corporate radio, many who were accused of being racist, homophobic and carriers of ‘Hate Speech’.  With Air America gone there has been no replacement and even if one makes the argument that it wasn’t as popular as its right-wing counterparts, it nevertheless served an audience and represented an  important voice and political perspective that is now is gone. Where does one go now, keeping in mind the assault to corporations to cripple free sppech and control the Internet?

Glenn Beck led a corporate backed assault against political foes in the Obama White House. The end result was two were forced to resign

How bad can things get?  Well, we’ve all seen the type of damage that can be inflicted when a corporation pours money and resources into unrelenting attacks in political arenas. Fox News host Glenn Beck‘s vicious on air assaults on White House appointees Van Jones and Yoshi Sergent are two prime examples.  Beck was relentless and there was very few opportunities and outlets for Jones and his supporters to really strike back. The end result was both Jones and Sergent resigning and an emboldened Beck promising to intensify his crusade and go after other White House appointees. If Beck’s attacks weren’t an example of  corporate free speech gone wild then I don’t know what is.. What i do know is that after last month’s ruling  such attacks will increases tenfold with very few protections for those lacking resources and access.

On the political flipside to the Beck’s attacks, within urban America we have Radio One, the largest Black owned radio outlet which has long come under fire by leadership in the African American community. many have lambasted the outlet for not taking advantage of its enormous reach and influence within the Black community to help raise political awareness and social consciousness on a variety of important  topics versus dumbing down the audience and relying on the constant ressurection of troubling stereotypes of ignorance and buffonary. Radio one has noted that they have a well respected talk show line up which includes Civil Rights leader Al Sharpton and lawyer Warren Ballentine among others..However, that  punditry is rarely shared or exposed on their day-to-day music oriented stations which attract the largest number of listeners.

Radio One owner Cathy Hughes is using her popular media corporation to try and unseat Black lawmakers who she disagrees with over a proposed bill that she says will weaken her radio stations.

Last year Congressman John Conyers introduced a bill HR 848 which would force radio stations to pay an extra tax to record labels for each song they played. It’s a policy I definitely don’t agree and it sparked a big debate within many communities. Some took the proposed bill as a referendum against lack of politicalness of Black radio and Radio One in particular and came out in full support.  This resulted in Radio One owner Cathy Hughes taking to the airwaves and running a series of in-house political ads and editorials designed to unseat Black lawmakers including Conyers and  Houston’s Sheila Jackson Lee.  Hughes took things a step further by refusing to run ads or editorials that countered her concerns. The 2010 elections will show how impactful those ads were. It was the topic of discussion during a heated panel I sat on during the most recent Congressional Black Caucus gathering where there was a lot of back and forth and haggling to squelch the assaults. Again I bring this up because all this took place  prior to the Supreme Court ruling. Imagine how much crazier it will get now that corporations are free to say and do as they wish…

White House appointee Van Jones was a victim to vicious corporate sponsored attacks

The Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations the right to weigh in and contribute to elections unrestricted is not only dangerous, but one that many including those who seem to think its ok will come to regret sooner or later.  Those who support this ruling are those who simply have not been on the receiving end of such attacks and influence. The nature of corporations in America is grow and make as much profit as possible and eliminate an and all obstacles in way of its goals. Right now its easy to dismiss this because a Yoshi Sergent, Van Jones, Sheila Jackson Lee etc, don’t impact the day to day lives of most people. But after those victims of corporate assaults are eliminated who’s next? Will it be your church? civic group?, union? or son, daughter, mother or father voicing a strong opinion to an important issue?

What happens to the voice of coal miners in West Virginia when the owners decide they wanna drown out the complaints of  workers about low pay or shoddy work conditions and put someone in office who will reinforce their policies via legislation?  What happens to voice of nurses and doctors who find themselves drowned out by powerful  HMOs or Big Pharma companies who may be cutting corners or doing something that workers find unsettling?  What happens when you live in a small town or community and have elected rep who you like because he or she speaks to your needs, but those opinions rub some corporate owner the wrong way and he decides to launch a crusade against that small town official even if he lives thousands of miles away. Folks better start taking note.. The price for freedom is to be forever vigilant. In 2010 we best note that not all attacks are made with guns and swords.  Sometimes it comes with a pen as demonstrated by the Supreme Court  and their reckless decision last month.

-Davey D-

below is an article detailing some of the moves being made as corporations gear up for the 2010 election season..

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How Corporations Are Secretly Moving Millions to Fund Political Ads

Gaping legal holes allow corporations to spend enormous sums on politics without leaving a paper trail.
  

original Aletrnet/Raw Story link http://bit.ly/d8nQy6

 stockwallcorporate Exclusive: How corporations secretly move millions to fund political adsThe Supreme Court’s seismic January ruling that corporations are free to spend unlimited amounts of their profits to advertise for or against candidates may have been the latest shakeup of campaign finance – but gaping holes already allow corporations to spend enormous sums without leaving a paper trail, a Raw Story investigation has found.

Campaign finance experts confirmed that though disclosure rules remained intact in the new Supreme Court decision, there are effective methods to circumvent them.

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, an attorney and campaign finance expert at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, said corporations already effectively end-run campaign finance law by shuffling money through trade associations.

“One of their favorites right now is spending through trade associations,” Torres-Spelliscy said.

Trade associations are considered tax-exempt non-profit organizations under US law. While they must report contributions received from other corporations to the Internal Revenue Service, the document itself remains confidential and is not

“Money coming through the trade association doesn’t get disclosed,” Torres-Spelliscy explained. “You can’t tell if it came from particular corporations.”

For example, she said, “The disclaimer form is likely to just say, ‘This is brought to you by the Chamber of Commerce,’ with no extra ability to see behind that.”

The Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest trade association representing at least 300,000 businesses and organizations.

A fellow non-profit that works on campaign finance, the Center for Political Accountability, calls trade associations “the Swiss bank accounts of American politics.”

“What was the lesson from Watergate?” Torres-Spelliscy quipped. “Follow the money?”

Health insurers, pharmaceutical companies embrace loophole

Trade associations such as America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) have had an enormous impact on the health insurance reform bills pending in Congress. In fact, AHIP was recently found to have solicited $10 million to $20 million from leading health insurance companies — UnitedHealth, Wellpoint, Aetna, Cigna and Humana among them — and funneled it secretly to the US Chamber of Commerce to underwrite anti-reform attack ads.

Asked about the story, the Chamber’s top lobbyist told the reporter, “No comment. We never disclose funding or what we’re going to do.” The Chamber of Commerce did not respond to a Raw Story request for comment.

Raw Story’s 2008 award-nominated investigative series The Permanent Republican Majority noted that, “Despite its seemingly bipartisan name, the Chamber of Commerce has operated as a pro-Republican powerhouse since the fervently anti-regulation Thomas J. Donahue became president in 1997.” Raw’s Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane uncovered, for instance, that the Chamber, under Donahue’s leadership, had an indirect role in the defeat and political prosecution of Governor Don Siegelman and in targeting sitting judges in contested state elections.

President of the Center for Political Accountability Bruce Freed told Raw Story that trade associations also use other trade associations in this manner as “blinds for ads” to “launder their money.”

“It’s a way for the industry to avoid responsibility for those ads,” Freed remarked.

Karl Sandstrom, the Center’s lead counsel, noted that it isn’t only the public that remains in the dark over the “Swiss bank” loophole. He said that when the Center surveyed boards of directors of companies, the majority of them just assumed their businesses’ contributions supporting political ads were being disclosed.

“It’s just almost a working assumption,” Sandstrom said.

Most of the boards of directors, he said, were “shocked to learn there is no disclosure.”

While these types of contributions prior to the new Court ruling could only be used for “issue ads” — political advertisements that do not expressly advocate for or against a particular candidate — many such ads were often accused of blurring this line and having nearly the same impact as express advocacy ads.

Christian Hillard, spokesman for the Federal Election Commission (FEC), confirmed Tuesday that the FEC has “no authority over issue ads.”

Corporate funding of issue ads through trade associations has “no filing requirements with us,” he told Raw Story.

New ruling’s impact on the trade association loophole

Now that corporations, including trade associations, are free to spend funds on political ads – which cannot be coordinated with a candidate or political party but which expressly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate – the line between funding issue ads and express advocacy ads has been largely erased.

Campaign finance experts expressed grave concern in conversations with Raw Story.

Paul S. Ryan, an attorney and expert in federal election law at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C., asserted that Congress did not contemplate this new Court ruling when it wrote the laws for disclosure related to independent expenditures or electioneering communications, because at the time such corporate spending was prohibited. Ryan said that it’s imperative that the FEC addresses disclosure requirements pertaining to this decision.

“Take hypothetically a group like the Chamber of Commerce,” he explained. “The Chamber collects money from lots of other corporations. So the question becomes: What kind of disclosure are we really going to get when the FEC gets around to promulgating rules to implement this Supreme Court decision?”

“Yes, the Chamber needs to file paperwork with the FEC saying we ran an ad saying Vote for Candidate Smith,” he continued. “But does the Chamber need to tell the FEC where it got its money to pay for that ad? And when the FEC adopts its rules to implement this new Supreme Court decision, the FEC will likely say, ‘Chamber of Commerce, you only need to tell us where you got your money if that money was given to you specifically designated to run election ads.’”

Ryan and other campaign finance experts told Raw Story this is a simple dodge.

“It’s child’s play to get around that type of disclosure,” Ryan said, adding, “It’s unclear whether the Court was being naive or disingenuous” when it touted disclosure provisions during its decision.

He explained that, for example, all the Chamber of Commerce has to do is tell other corporations, “Give us money and we’ll make sure it advances your business interests.”

“So as long as the donors don’t say to the Chamber, ‘We’re giving you this money to run political ads,’ as long as they refrain from saying that, then their identity can continue to be shrouded or hidden from the public.”

The Center for Accountability’s Sandstrom agreed, saying this type of disclosure “is easily avoided” and adding, “As long as you don’t designate it, you won’t be disclosed.”

The Chamber of Commerce, in fact, argued against any disclosure in the Citizens United case.

“Their first brief filed in Citizens United is on the disclosure issue,” Sandstrom said. “They argued that they would raise substantially more money the more they could keep it anonymous.”

FEC spokesman Hillard said that the FEC was still examining the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision and would not comment on anything pertaining directly to that ruling, including disclosure provisions.

 Brad Jacobson is a contributing investigative reporter for Raw Story

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

The future of the internet: an interview with Hip Hop journalist Davey D

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orginal article-Aug 26 2006

This interview between two old friends, JR and Davey D, alerting us to a looming corporate-government threat to our freedom of information and communication on the internet is taken from the Aug. 23 edition of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and we are spreading the word through this list until our website, www.sfbayview.com, is back online. A popular website that drew 2 million hits a month, it’s been badly hacked and is now under reconstruction.

Check back in a week or so for a new, better than ever, more informative, inspirational and exciting www.sfbayview.com. Meanwhile, we’ll send out a few of the stories and features from this week’s Bay View and invite you to spread them widely.

The future of the internet: an interview with Hip Hop journalist Davey D

by Minister of Information JR

I remember when I first met Hip Hop journalist Davey D in the mid-90s, and he was talking about how big the internet was going to be; 11 years later he has one of the biggest Hip Hop websites on the internet, www.daveyd.com. He has always been on the front line of trying to arm the people he has influence over to become computer literate and learn how to use the new technology and use it to our political and economic advantage.

In this current episode of the haves versus the havenots, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are working with sellouts like Congressman Bobby Rush and others in Congress to jack up the price of internet service, which will ultimately result in less people using it.

This is a fight that we ask everybody reading this to inform themselves about as well as get involved with, because it will affect you and your family. Check out Davey D as he informs us about the Net Neutrality Act …

MOI JR: What is the Net Neutrality Act?

Davey D: Let me explain what net neutrality is. For people that are listening, it gets a little complicated, so it might seem boring, but it is real important because it is going to change the way that we communicate with one another. Right now if you go on the internet … the internet has been a real god-send for a lot of people. Whether youre trying to get news across, or whether youre trying to get your radio show, the Block Report, across to people, or whether youre just an artist trying to get music from one point to the other, the net allows for you to do that freely, meaning that youre just one click away. So in other words, if you have your Block Report, your Block Report can be as big as ABC or CNN, because the only thing that everybody has to do is know the address so that they can click to it.

And so thats been a big problem for the big media conglomerates and a lot of people in power. So lets say that you find out some dirt on a politician, you can go put it on your report, and all that you have to do is get the address to everybody, and they can access that. If they just click on it, they could get the information.

If youre an artist, and you dont have all the money that 50 Cent has, you could come out and do your tape, put the music on the web, and all you got to do is get the address so you can bump from 50 Cents site down to yours; its just one click away.

So now what you got is these big media outlets, in particular AT&T and Comcast theyre the leaders. This Congressman, who you should know, Bobby Rush, from the Congressional Black Caucus and a few of these other people have been leading the charge to change the scene.

So now what they want is they want to make it so if you go to a site, and you dont pay a certain amount of money, then the site will be slow. So lets go back to the example that we used with your Block Report versus CNN. Right now, its even. If I click CNN, Ill see CNNs site. If I click your site, I go to the Block Report. I can get the information freely.

Now theyre going to say, We want the CNN site to load up quicker and were going to have to charge you $10, $12, $13 extra dollars a month or maybe even more to have people easily get your site. So when I go to click on your site, it might take forever for it to download. If I go to click on CNN, its right there quick, fast, in a hurry.

So hopefully that makes sense to people. So they want to basically divide up the internet, so that people who dont have money, people who have a radical or different point of view, people who are competition for major record labels and industry, that their internet connection to the public will be real slow and everybody elses will be real fast. Thats the best way to kind of describe it.

MOI JR: Who are some of the key players, and how has the fight been going up until this point?

Davey D: Well, what they did in Congress was that they had a thing called the Cope Act, and the Cope Act was basically like the Community Opportunity Program something I forget the whole acronym but it was called the Cope Act. This is what Congressman Bobby Rush pushed forth.

Now his angle was that he was trying to tell people, look, if you vote for this act and we get it passed through Congress, this is going to allow peoples cable bills to drop down lower. And he also said that the money that people will have to pay is going to go for research so that the companies like AT&T, Comcast and these other service providers could come up with high speed internet.

So now on the surface, people are like, My cable bill is going down, and theyre going to use the money so that we could have a faster connection. So he might come to you as an artist and say, Man, just pay this extra money, and you could get the speed so that it is almost a hundred times faster.

It sounds good on the surface, but here is what he is not telling you. The first thing is that he got $1 million from AT&T. That should tell you something right there. The million dollars was so that he could run programs out of his own little building that he has in Chicago.

The second thing is, is that the technology is already there. About two or three years ago, I cut a deal where I was going to work with some people in South Africa actually the government over there to provide them content, and when we were talking about making the deal, we thought that we would have to Fedex all of our information. And they told us about how fast their technology was, and they said back then this was about 2003-2004 they said that the technology that they had was close to a hundred times faster than it was here in the U.S.

So in other words, if I wanted to download a movie in South Africa, I would do it instantaneously at the snap of a finger; music you can download entire albums real quick. So the speed is there. So if youre trying to get information to the masses of people, you could do it instantaneously.

Now at the time, they were saying that the U.S. was making it very difficult to get that sort of technology into the United States, that they were trying to find a way to monetize it. So they were working with Danny Glover, Michael Jackson, Will Smith, and all of these other people to get content, so that it could go to South Africa and they can take advantage of their technology. In Beruit, where I was at for a week, their technology was much faster than ours. In France, their DSL connections are about 50 times faster than it is in the U.S., and they pay only $6 a month.

So the technology is there and it doesnt need to be discovered; all theyre going to do is just open up the gate. And theyre just trying to bamboozle people by telling them, Pay some extra money and were doing research. The only research that theyre doing is just going to pick up a phone and call up somebody and say, OK, lets bring the technology in. So those are two things that we need to really keep in mind.

Right now, the main players are AT&T, Comcast, Verizon; you should really look twice when you see Verizon doing all these commercials about downloading music. Theyre trying to cultivate a habit for people so that you start to associate Verizon with music. And what will eventually happen once the Net Neutrality thing goes through, then theyll come back and be the ultimate music site. And then all of these independent artists who theyre not in favor of, who they dont have a relationship with, who cant pay whatever money, they might not be able to get on the Verizon site.

AT&T has already opened up a music portal, and theyve been advertising it as the ultimate place to get all of your musical needs. So, in other words, these companies that just provide phone service are now starting to move inside the entertainment arena in anticipation of being able to have these high-speed connections that nobody else will.

MOI JR: How do you think that that is going to affect the digital divide on Black, Brown, and low income communities?

Davey D: Youre going to see that immediately, because whats happening is that people in our community are catching the most heat. In Chicago, they just found out all of this information about Commander Jon Burge who was torturing people. Ok, now they might do a headline on the paper, but theyre not going to tell you the behind the scenes story; theyre not going to interview everybody who is there etc. etc. And people need to know about the information so that they can either come up with new strategies, find out who they need to talk to, or at least keep their eye on the case.

Well now, if you have the internet either inaccessible or somebody like you as a journalist want to provide some information or some insight, you cant communicate to one another. Thats basically what this boils down to.

Theyre trying to find ways to make sure that people who dont have a voice never get a voice. And the internet was providing that, and people were stepping up their game, starting to do their own radio stations online, do their own magazines, do their own websites, their own distribution, and all the sort of stuff that they were doing online, and it was bringing people to a point of parity with the big boys.

Now they want to change that and basically shut it off. So anything that we need to have exposed is going to be very difficult to do, because of the change that they want to bring to the internet. Some people might say that now well just go back to the traditional ways, which is, Ill go print my own newspaper or Ill start my own television station, or Ill do whatever. But what is happening with the price of energy going up and some of these new labor laws and these new copyright things that are getting ready to come down the pipe, that is going to be even more expensive than going online.

MOI JR: How can people keep up with the Net Neutrality Act. I know that you have www.daveyd.com, but how else can people keep up with some of the information in regards to this Act?

Davey D: The main site that you go to is savethenet.com or savethenet.org; thats the main one. Now just to show you how devious the people on the other side are, what they did was they used similar language to talk about this situation. So they have a campaign called Hands Off the Internet, and they have a nice little cartoon to make it seem like theyre down with the people.

So when you watch their cartoon, its like, Yeah, we dont want nobody messing with the internet, and thats why were saying Hands Off the Internet. Support that. If you see that cartoon or hear that title, Hands Off the Internet, thats AT&T trying to pull wool over your eyes and act like theyre your best friend, when really theyre trying to stifle you in the end.

The other thing that you need to know is that theyve been spending up to a million dollars a day talking to people in Congress, lobbying your Senators, so like when I called Dianne Feinsteins office, she still doesnt have an opinion. This thing has been in front of her for six months, and she still doesnt have an opinion, which means that she might be on the fence in terms of taking money from AT&T or Comcast or Verizon. So those are the people that you need to stay away from.

Savetheinternet.org or savetheinternet.com are the two places that you should go to, and they could give you all the breakdown on it.

Email Minister of Information JR at blockreportradio@sfbayview.com and listen to the Block Report at www.myspace.com/blockreportradio. Keep up with Davey D at www.daveyd.com.

POCC Block Report Radio is teaming up wit’ Flashpoints Radio to bring the people a live dialogue between some of the Bay Area’s biggest media makers  and commentators to talk about the Net Neutrality Act and how it will affect Black and Brown people, the recent hacking into the SF Bay View website and corrupting files, and independent media and its role
in shaping our world.

The guests will be Kiilu Nyasha, Black Panther radio producer, Davey D, Hip Hop journalist who runs the website Daveyd.com, and Terone Ward, the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper’s webmaster.

You can join us live in the studio on Wednesday, August 30th, at New College, 780 Valencia between 18th and 19th, in San Francisco at 5pm. The studio has seats for 40. Let’s fill ‘em up. Admission is Free…

If you’re not in the Bay Area or can’t be in the studio, listen to the show at 5pm Wednesday on KPFA 94.1 FM or www.kpfa.org. To listen later, the show will be archived at www.flashpoints.net.

For more info, email JR at blockreportradio@yahoo.com.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

An Open Letter to Hip Hop About Net Neutrality

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An Open Letter to Hip Hop About Net Neutrality

by Davey D

original article-June 09, 2006

daveyd-raider2Dear Folks who say they Love Hip Hop

I wish there was a way to make this issue of Net Neutrality more interesting. I wish there was a way to spice it up and make it compelling like some sort of beef within the rap industry. Maybe I should get Brad and Angelina to talk about it instead of their baby. Maybe Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton can utter a few words and force us to take more of an interest.

I wish Cam’ron spent his vast money holding press conferences, dissing punk ass Congress for taking tainted money from Verizon, SBC, and Comcast instead of going after Jay-Z. Im glad Jay-Z ignored Camron, unfortunately he remained silent as the President of Def Jam on this important issue. We’ll see what happens after Def Jam finds it difficult or too costly to send out their e-post cards alerting me and others of their latest releases

Im sorry Miss Jones on Hot 97 was so upset and enraged that she felt compelled to make headlines calling Mary J Blige a bitch for not shouting her out at last weeks Summer Jam. Its too bad that she didnt use her 3-4 hours a day of airtime in the nations largest city to call the greedy Congress people who accepted money from these corporations Bitches. There aint gonna be any shout outs if the Senate follows Congress in passing this bill. Maybe she’ll step it up when her parent company Emmis finds that folks from all over the country can no longer easily access their archived interviews on their website.

It’s too bad that many of us found this issue ‘too complicated’ and ‘too overwhelming’ and hence directed our attention to Ludacris and Ice Cube’s beef with Oprah. This is the feedback I got after stories ran on my website as well as AllHipHop.

Shyt I’m sorry Oprah was too busy telling Ed Lover that she really does love Hip Hop and that she listens to 50 Cent and his violent ass all damn day instead of alerting her millions of viewers about the issue of Net Neutrality.

Im sorry that KRS-One and others used these Internet airways to tell us about the Hip Hop Nation they want to build, but didnt issue a call to action to protect a main arm of our communication. Whether you’re a Hip Hop or Rap Lover the elimination of Net Neutrality is gonna impact you..

Here’s what’s happening folks. The house has gone passed the COPE bill and rejected proposals to insure Net Neutrality. Those who sided with the Comcast and Verizon are well aware that the ability of ordinary people to communicate to the masses is a problem because its been the only thing holding them accountable. For the last 5 years, the biggest stories about government corruption, corporate swindles, global warming and no weapons of Mass Destruction has come through Internet bloggers who were able to push an issue to the masses and force Fox, CNN and other News outlets to pay some sort of attention.

Anyone who is an activist and championed causes ranging from Election fraud and Diebold Machines, police brutality Freeing Mumia, Global warming, Media Reform and Saving the South Central Farm in LA just to name a few this is will especially hit you hard, because the Internet and its neutrality provisions have enabled many of us to counter biased mainstream media outlets get information out about particular causes all over the world.

Yesterday that ability took one step closer to coming to an end. The mantra being sung on Capitol Hill is Shut it down, Shut that shyt down and redirect traffic to a handful of places and media outlets that they can influence and control.

Like Ice Cube said ‘Laugh Now and Cry Later’, because many of us will soon be crying when we see the Internet gets parceled up and we start paying outrageous tolls for basic amenities. And speaking of which why didn’t Ice Cube talk about this issue instead of not being invited on Oprah?

Anyway your next steps should you choose is to call your Senator’s office and tell them to stand up and protect your interests. Ignoring this, waiting for others to take on your responsibility or acting like the issue will simply go away will not change this.

While many of you may shrug this off and think it doesn’t apply to you, stop and think of all the activities you do on the daily that involve the Internet. Such activities range from using phone cards which use Internet connections-(Many of y’all didn’t realize that) on down to peeping your favorite blog… Many of y’all like to surf and check out my site, AllHipHop, Sohh, HipHopGame etc.. Folks that shyt is about to change in a big, big ,big way.

You’re soon gonna be left with only being able to peep monthly issues of The Source and XXL, who neglected to address this issue. The Source bypassed this in their Media Watch column and Elliot Wilson from XXL obvious saw his shyt talking editorials as more important then keeping you informed. I guess I can understand, all these Hip Hop Internet websites were eating into business.

All you artists who felt like you can easily get your music out there via Myspace and the other sites, that’s about to change Oh yeah lets not forget the punk ass RIAA who like to sue everybody. They stayed silent on this and in fact while all this is going on they have quietly lobbying Congress to change laws so that they can fundamentally change the copyright laws in such a way that it will make it damn near impossible to pass things around via the net. Please read about this here:

 
and here:
 
Also lets not let Steve Jobs and his vast i-tunes network off the hook. Perhaps I missed it, but I didnt see him alerting us when you went to download your favorite song or stepped into his stores. Perhaps he figures he’s rich enough to pay for the inevitable increases while the rest of us cant. In other words controlling 90% of the market is not enough.

bobbyrushglasses-225Shame on former Black Panther, Congressman Bobby Rush for selling us out and supporting these corporations. Shame on the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and any other Civil Rights group pretending to represent our interests while selling us out and taking the money to front for these groups. And while Im glad former Congressman Ron Dellums did well in his Mayoral bid in Oakland, we should not forget that hes also a lobbyist with one of his main clients being Verizon so shame on him as well. How’s Oakland gonna be a world class city that is a beacon for new technology and innovation when his client is one of the main people trying to shut down the Internet?

In closing I’m gonna say this and it may be sobering for some… It’s what my pops told me after I got caught fuccing up and then went home and tried to kiss up to him so I wouldn’t get in trouble. He told me to stop acting like a wuss and start acting like a man. He told me it was time I grow up and accept responsibility. He then punished me for 3 weeks not for the fucc up, but for me trying to kiss his ass instead of owning up to my mistakes. This is about to happen to all of us…

My point is this. Hip Hop is over 30 years old. We’re not kids no more. This industry is not run by kids. To not involve ourselves in shaping the institutions that we rely on to get our information and music out is irresponsible. Thats some thing to pond about. Here’s another breakdown on this issue courtesy of www.playahata.com

Peace out for now

Holla at your Senator before you holla back at me..
Davey D

House Rejects Net Neutrality

The First Amendment of the Internet the governing principle of net neutrality, which prevents telecommunications corporations from rigging the web so it is easier to visit sites that pay for preferential treatment took a blow from the House of Representatives Thursday.

Bowing to an intense lobbying campaign that spent tens of millions of dollars and held out the promise of hefty campaign contributions for those members who did the bidding of interested firms the House voted 321 to 101 for the disingenuously-named Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE). That bill, which does not include meaningful network-neutrality protections creates an opening that powerful telephone and cable companies hope to exploit by expanding their reach while doing away with requirements that they maintain a level playing field for access to Internet sites.

“Special interest advocates from telephone and cable companies have flooded the Congress with misinformation delivered by an army of lobbyists to undermine decades-long federal practice of prohibiting network owners from discriminating against competitors to shut out competition. Unless the Senate steps in, (Thursday’s) vote marks the beginning of the end of the Internet as an engine of new competition, entrepreneurship and innovation.” says Jeannine Kenney, a senior policy analyst for Consumers Union.
In case there was any question that Kenney’s assessment was accurate, the House voted 269-152 against an amendment, offered by Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, which would have codified net neutrality regulations into federal law. The Markey amendment would have prevented broadband providers from rigging their services to create two-tier access to the Internet with an “information superhighway” for sites that pay fees for preferential treatment and a dirt road for sites that cannot pay the toll.

After explicitly rejecting the Markey amendment’s language, which would have barred telephone and cable companies from taking steps “to block, impair, degrade, discriminate against, or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to accessservices over the Internet,” the House quickly took up the COPE legislation.

The bill drew overwhelming support from Republican members of the House, with the GOP caucus voting 215-8 in favor of it. But Democrats also favored the proposal, albeit by a narrower vote of 106 to 92. The House’s sole independent member, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, a champion of internet freedom who is seeking his state’s open Senate seat this fall, voted against the measure.

Joining Sanders in voting against the legislation were most members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, including its co-chairs, California Representatives Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey, as well as genuine conservatives who have joined the fight to defend free speech and open discourse on the internet, including House Judiciary Committee chair James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, and Intelligence Committee chair Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan.

The left-meets-right voting in the House reflected the coalition that has formed to defend net neutrality, which includes such unlikely political bedfellows as the Christian Coalition of America, MoveOn.org, National Religious Broadcasters, the Service Employees International Union, the American Library Association, the American Association of Retired People, the American Civil Liberties Union and all of the nation’s major consumer groups.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, opposed COPE, while House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, and Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, were enthusiastically supported it.

Among the Democrats who followed the lead of Hastert and Boehner as opposed to that of Pelosi were House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Maryland Representative Ben Cardin, who is running for that state’s open Senate seat in a September Democratic-primary contest with former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume. Illinois Democrat Melissa Bean, who frequently splits with her party on issues of interest to corporate donors, voted with the Republican leadership, as did corporate-friendly “New Democrats” such as Alabama’s Artur Davis, Washington’s Adam Smith and Wisconsin’s Ron Kind all co-chairs of the Democratic Leadership Council-tied House New Democrat Coalition.

The fight over net neutrality now moves to the Senate, where Maine Republican Olympia Snowe and North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan have introduced legislation to codify the net neutrality principles of equal and unfettered access to Internet content into federal law. Mark Cooper, the director of research for the Consumers Federation of America, thinks net neutrality will find more friends in the Senate, at least in part because the “Save the Internet” coalition that has grown to include more than 700 groups, 5,000 bloggers and 800,000 individuals is rapidly expanding.

“This coalition will continue to grow, millions of Americans will add their voices, and Congress will not escape the roar of public opinion until Congress passes enforceable net neutrality,” says Cooper.

Cooper’s correct to be more hopeful about the Senate than the House. But the House vote points up the need to get Democrats united on this issue. There’s little question that a united Democratic caucus could combine with principled Republicans in the Senate to defend net neutrality. But if so-called “New Democrats” in the Senate side with the telephone and cable lobbies, the information superhighway will become a toll road.