Arizona Massacre: When Will We All Own up to the Climate of Violence?

Nothing happens in a vacuum especially tragedies like the one that took place over the weekend in Tucson, Arizona where Congresswoman Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Gifford was shot point-blank in the head at the hands of a man named Jared Lee Loughner.

According to reports Gifford is lucky to be alive but when she recovers she is likely to have difficulty speaking…Sadly there  were 5 people who didn’t come home that night. They include a nine-year old girl named Christina Green. She’s the grand-daughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green.

There was a District Judge named John Roll, 63.There was Gifford’s aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30. There were several elders including; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Scheck, 79.

Before we move forward let’s think about the people slain for just a moment….Let’s Pause…Let’s Stop, think.. Reflect…

Christina Green

Let’s think about the family of  Christina Taylor Green. Look at your kids. Think about your grandkids. Could you imagine if this was your child that was shot and killed in Tucson?

Think about the fact that the reason young Christina was present on Saturday was because she had just been elected to some sort of student office at school and wanted to further her interest in government. She was eager to meet Congresswoman Gifford to get some pointers. Her distraught parents said she wanted to see democracy in action.

Christina was interested and enthusiastic in a way only a child could be. It was that sort of  innocence and beauty  that was lost the other day in Tucson.

Let’s think about Gabe Zimmerman..He was thirty years old..a young man who by all accounts had his best days before him…Let’s think about him for a moment.

Who was he?  Did he have brothers? Sisters? Kids of his own? What did he mean to his family? How heartbroken are they today? What about his friends? His loved ones?

Congresswoman Gabby Gifford

Think about the 4 seniors slain, John Roll, Dorothy Morris, Dorwin Stoddard and Phyllis Scheck. Since when has it been ok to kill the elderly in such a brutal fashion? They were parents and grandparents. How are their families feeling? Think about the pain their loved ones are going through.

Imagine if it was your mom or dad who went down to the store to see their congressperson and never returned? How would you feel?  Think about the pain of losing one of your parents suddenly… Think about that for a minute…Think about losing your sweet mom.. Think about losing your dad.. Think about losing your grandmother or grandfather  to senseless violence. For many such thoughts are unbearable. Such thoughts are unthinkable.

The question we all must answer is how many of us really thought about this loss of life enough to change the way we engage one another in our political discussions and do we really want to?

The Climate of Violence Has Been Building for a While

When thinking about Gabby Gifford being shot and along with those slain Gabe, Christina, John, Dorothy, Dorwin and Phyllis I could not help but think about all the crazy death threats that have been directed at everyone from President Obama in the two years he’s been in office all the way back to my Congresswoman Barbara Lee shortly after the 9-11 attacks

For those who don’t recall, Lee was the lone vote in Congress who said ‘No’ to Presidents Bush’s Post 9-11 Use of Force Act which would’ve increased his powers and resources to wage war against the Taliban.

Lee voted No and next thing you know she was showing up to our church with Secret service in tow. Her office was threatened, she was threatened, there were vicious editorials accusing her of being UNPATRIOTIC..

I heard radio commentators who never served one day on the frontline of any war , talking crazy about how we need to fight, kick ass and not show weakness by talking about peace. During those turbulent times, we were all asked to choose a side and anything not supporting the war effort was deemed less than honorable.

We saw a return to some of those sentiments this past september on the anniversary of 9-11 when there was a proposed building of a mosque/ community center several blocks away from Ground Zero. We had former mayors, sitting senators, a governor and numerous Congressman publicly state that it was wrong for fellow American citizens to build a mosque in an area that contained fast food joints and strip clubs, because according to them, it would be insensitive. The people backing the Mosque were warned that moving forward with their proposal would inflame the masses and that it would lead to violence.

Ahmed Sharif was stabbed in the throat by a domestic terrorist named Michael Enright photo by Robert Mecea

In the days leading up to the anniversary  that we heard some of the most vile and insidious things said about our fellow citizens who practice Islam and it wasn’t too long before violence, homegrown American violence, reared its head and mosques were vandalized, bomb threats issued, people assaulted. One unlucky innocent cab driver named Ahmed Sharif was stabbed in the throat by an individual named Michael Enright who decided  that the best way to resolve the issue would be through an act of violence.

Nothing happens in a vacuum. I can go on listing all sorts of examples. They range from students in inner city schools being required to shed so-called gang colors from their attire least they enrage the local thugs who will come to the school and cause problems to women being told to dress less provocatively for fear of inflaming the uncontrollable passions of a would-be rapist to gays and  lesbians being told to keep their sexual orientation to themselves otherwise they might upset any number of homophobes.

I bring up these examples to make a larger point. If I, we and us all are being told to calm it down, who is seeing to it that the on air punditry and Fox News personalities to tone it down? No one.. When the subject is approached its called FREE SPEECH. Its called POLITICS.. Its called Americans standing up for their rights. We have all sorts of other euphemisms being used to describe over the top, coarse behavior. When do we draw a line in the sand and say no more? No more to inflammatory rhetoric?

Is Harsh Rhetoric and Violence a Habit We Can’t Kick

Now I’m fully aware that there were quite a few who read this including some who have media platforms where they get to have daily one way conversations with the public who saw my suggestion about reflecting on the loss of life  as corny. It’s something that should literally be dismissed and there are all sorts of justifications.

Some will say that the thought of trying to be civil especially at this day and time when there have been so many attacks launched our way is not happening. They’ll be cynical in thought and say something along the lines; ‘Love and Peace? Fuck that… It’s about No Justice, No Peace.. They’ll have concluded, that part of our problem is we’ve been civil for far too long and its gotten us nowhere. They’ll note that we’ve  been way too nice and all its gotten is more venom and a perception that we are somehow weak. Many of us have come to believe the old adage Nice guys finish last especially in the arenas of love and politics.

Upon hearing about the tragedy in Arizona if the first thing that went through our minds was the hateful rhetoric of a Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck vs the faces of those injured and slain juxtaposed with our loved ones, what does that say about us? Did a bit of our humanity die with those slain or was it an affirmation that our humanity has been long gone and we best find ways to get it back?

Sarah Palin

If Sarah Palin was busy erasing tweets, scrubbing her Facebook pages and hiding that infamous map with the crosshairs targeting Gabby Gifford, or some other politico who uttered hurtful words was suddenly consulting PR firms to do damage control and figure out what sort of spin to apply to this incident while the dead bodies in Arizona were still warm, what does that say about them? What does it say about us that we still embrace and give such people who show no remorse validity?

Again, nothing happens in a vacuum and this killing spree was no exception. Many of us, when we talk about violence we tend to see incidents like the one in Tucson as isolated and limited to the person pulling the trigger.

Can We Explain Away Domestic Terrorist as Mentally Deranged?

We wanna explain away accused shooter Jared Loughner as a deranged, emotionally disturbed man who simply needs to be condemned and locked up. We wanna suggest there is absolutely no reason to connect him to hate groups or see him as part of a larger terrorist cell. I guess for many of us, it’s simply too hard to accept that emotionally disturbed people are susceptible to the being recruited by hate groups or partaking in terrorist activities. We like to believe that once we lock up Jared Loughner and throw away the key we’ll all be safe again and things will go back to normal. The question all of us better be asking ourselves; ‘What is normal’?

Sarah Palin's infamous map with the crosshairs targeting political opponents

Is a normal society one where we soundly reject uncivil threatening behavior or is it one where embrace, and even reward it?

Is a normal society one where we take the high road and try and be above the fray or is it one where we scream louder, bully harder, get down and dirtier, and be more violent than anyone else in order to win an argument or political contest?

How many times have we heard our so-called experts explain that negative advertising during a political campaign works? How many times have we heard about the need for any one running for office to hire someone to dig up the most vile and nasty things of an opponents past to use against them? How many times have we seen pundits resort to outright lies, trickery and underhanded schemes to trip up and take down a political opponent? We’ve convinced ourselves that the only way to win an argument or a war is to smash on your opponent and show no mercy.

All is fair in love and war, is what we say to ourselves. Is it fair when someone shoots and kills someone to make their point? Is this the type of society we want?

Very few people like to see themselves in that sort of light, yet if you listen to many of our esteemed political punditry and media experts, that’s exactly what we crave. We want aggressive over the top behavior in all arenas. We want it in politics. We want it in our music. We want it in our entertainment.

It doesn’t matter whether or not its an enraged Bill ‘O’Reilly impugning us to not allow Dr George Tiller to get away with anymore late-term abortions as he launched a on air crusade resulting in his death, or  a smug Glenn Beck demonizing the Tides Foundation which led to a white supremacist to seek out employees of that organization, or Beck threatening to kill filmmaker Micheal Moore, or a Jerry Springer where on his TV show he has two sisters fighting each other over a man or a popular rap artists like Kanye West depicting women hanging in his latest video and receiving praise for being artistic.

Like it or not from what we as a society seem to embrace or allow to go unchallenged in our midst… the violence, mayhem  and this weekend’s massacre, is the American Way. We as a country relish such things. We have to own up to it. Anyone saying otherwise has to explain  the undeniable proof of  high TV and radio ratings where civility is tossed out the window. They’ll have to explain the popularity of certain websites and high YouTube views where this sort of madness is routinely played out.

Have we gotten to a point where the thought of being civil is uncomfortable? Has anger and venomous behavior become habits we can’t shake? Have we  fostered an environment where showing compassion makes us marks?

Many of us are caught up in an all too pervasive cycle of violence both directly and indirectly. Death has become all too routine. It doesn’t matter if you live in the hardest of hoods or if you live in the most pristine of suburbs.. All of us our caught up.. ALL OF US.. including myself. We’ve created an environment where the loss of life is abstract and vastly cheapened.

Christopher Jones

Lastly we must put all this in larger context. There was a terrible tragedy in Tucson Arizona over the weekend. It was the same weeknd that we saw 3 young men get killed in a nightclub in San Jose California. It was the same weekend in any city and town USA where someone pulled out a gun or a knife and took a life. Massacres in our respective communities are happening all the time.

Case in point, many of us have shown an interest in what took place in Arizona, but were we empathetic? If so did that same empathy carry over to tragedies closer to home? Last night here in Oakland, several hundred people showed up at a vigil for the senseless killing of a promising 17-year-old named Christopher Jones. He was gunned down a week ago in front of his mother and sisters as he placed his nephew in the back seat of a car . He was not gang banger, trouble maker or anything like that.

Jared Loughner

Like Jared Loughner we don’t know all that led these young men to shoot another in broad daylight in front of his family. Were they part of a hate group? Wete they emotionally disturbed, mentally deranged? Was it too much gangsta rap? Too much Fox News? Or did they take a cue from the larger society that has left violence on the table as away to get points across?

Did the young men who shot Christopher wrap themselves in this climate of violence the way that many of us are saying Jared Loughner did?  If so who’s the next to sip the kool aid and go on a killing spree? Who’s next to tragically die as a result?

At the end of the day do we care? Do we really care about the slaying of Christopher Jones or the 5 people slain in Tucson, Arizona or are they all collateral damage in a society that has firmly decided  that violent loss of life is part of our increasing strident political and social landscape?

something to ponder

-Davey D-

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Glenn Beck & Alex Jones: Inspiration for White Supremacist 580 Freeway Shooter

580 Freeway Shooter Byron Williams claims he was inspired by Glenn Beck

Were Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck and 9-11 Conspiracy expert Alex Jones the inspiration for Byron Williams the 580 Freeway Shooter?

We sat down and spoke with Pacifica Radio investigative reporter John Hamilton about his story which first appeared on Media Matters called Progressive Hunter which details what led to the shootout in the wee hours of the morning on July 18th 2010 between 45 year old unemployed white supremacist named Byron Williams and California Highyway patrol last summer.

According to the article Glenn Beck and Alex Jones of prison planet/ infowars were key inspirations for Williams. On the night in question, Williams was enroute to San Francisco where he planned to shoot workers at the Tides Foundation which is an organization that helps distribute funds to left leaning non-profits and political organizations.

When all was said in done that fateful night 3 police officers were left lying in the highway injured. Williams who was wearing body armor had more firepower than the police who eventually subdued him.

Williams in his own chilling words said he was inspired by the attacks exposes put out by Fox News TV host Glenn Beck. We also come to learn that Jones has an even bigger influence.

In the interview below we hear clips from both Beck and Williams who is currently locked up in Santa Rita jail, 20 miles outside of Oakland awaiting trial.

We also talk about the leniency afforded to people like Beck while many others including rappers are shut down and material removed from public airwaves for fear of inciting violence.
This is the first of two parts
In the video below we continue our interview w/ investigative reporter John Hamilton who goes into more detail about the failed assassination plot carried out by Byron Williams.
We hear more about the influence Fox TV host Glenn Beck is having on domestic terrorists. We also focus on the influence Alex Jones had Byron Williams.

While Glenn Beck Hijacks King-Hip Hop Attempts to Restore its Roots

While tens of thousands gathered for the Glenn Beck rally in Washington, DC another large crowd gathered in Columbia, MD. The 7th annual Rock the Bells concert welcomed mainstream and underground hip hop artists to the metropolitan area. Concert goers were concerned that mainstream rap music has contributed to the degradation of what some viewed as a powerful tool for mobilizing the black community; Hip hop. Now, hip hop fans are moving towards more political rap for inspiration.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R60rHJ11i-Y

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Jasiri X: Glenn Beck’s ‘Dream’ is Dr King’s Nightmare

Jasiri X returns with another banger… It’s a response to the Glenn Beck rally that took place in Washington DC this weekend..Here’s what he penned  

Written from the perspective of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jasiri X
responds to Glenn Beck’s rally and the growing racial and economic
divide in America. From the police’s brutal beating of Jordan Miles in
Pittsburgh and murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland, the increasing poverty
and joblessness, to the ever expanding racial division lead by the
rhetoric of those like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin…Dr. King’s dream has
turned into a nightmare.

Inspired in part by Davey D’s article: Some Thoughts on Today’s Glenn Beck Rally & What We Should Know About Dr King, Black Pride & Urban Radio

http://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/some-thoughts-on-todays-glenn-beck-rally-what-we-should-know-about-dr-king-black-pride-urban-radio/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxOP-s5QI8c

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Cops Sue Sean Bell Estate, Support Rally Set for Johannes Mehserle, Grant Family Demonized-The Police Strike Back

There’s an old saying The best defense is a strong offense. It applied in sports. We see it in politics. We see it used by lawyers especially in rape trials where they go all out to destroy a victim’s character to protect their client-who is accused of doing the rape. In recent days we now see it with the police as they seek to re-tool a grossly tarnished image where the shooting death of an unarmed Oscar Grant has been a main spark point.

Yesterday Bay Area residents who had organized and rallied tirelessly for Justice for Oscar Grant were shocked to learn that a rally is being planned this Monday in Walnut Creek for the convicted killer of Oscar Grant Johannes Mehserle. It came a day after Mehserle’s lawyer Michael Rains bristled at the rejection of his client’s ‘apology’ letter and accused the Grants of being ‘mean spirited’ . That enraged hundreds of people who felt the Mehserle camp was insensitive and disingenuous especially since the letter was written to the public and not to the Grants.

Here’s the notice that was sent out:

RALLY IN SUPPORT OF FORMER BART COP JOHANNES MEHSERLE

by MR. MAYOR on JULY 13, 2010 ·

Hundreds of people are expected to attend a rally on Monday, July 19th at the Walnut Creek Courthouse to show their support for Johannes Mehserle, the former BART cop who was recently found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for killing an unarmed man named Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day in 2009.

The group coordinating the rally had the following to say on their Facebook page….

Anyone who supports Johannes and our Law Enforcement Officers may attend. This is a peaceful rally to show our support for Johannes and the injustices he is experiencing.

The rally is from 2pm-7pm on Monday July 19th at the Walnut Creek Courthouse on Ygnacio Valley Road.

Interesting to note when the rally was first announced here’s how it read…

“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. ITS TIME TO STOP THROWING OUR OFFICERS UNDER THE BUS. ITS TIME TO STEP UP AND SUPPORT JOHANNES AND OUR OFFICERS AND TAKE A STAND. OSCAR GRANT WAS RESISTING ARREST. JOHANNES MEHSERLE TOLD THE TRUTH!”

Johannes Mehserle

Obviously the pressure was too much so they pulled it down and tried to switch it up to the more inoculated Rally for Mehserle and Law Enforcement Officers (LEO). This comes on the heels of cops raising money for Mehserle’s defense which no doubt allowed him to afford expert witnesses who were paid 65K and 50k for testimony that refuted the dozens of videos and explained that Mehserle was not properly trained to use his taser.

Well known anti-police brutality lawyer John Burris who is working with the Grant family told the San Jose Mercury news..he was not surprised such a rally would be held.

“There are individuals who support Mehserle and support police in general & and that’s just part of & the split in this country, those who don’t really understand the actions of the police in the African American community,” Burris said.

Many feel this rally is not only an attempt to booster the sagging image of law enforcement but also a way to show support, generate news and get Mehserle’s sentenced reduced. Thus far local news station KGO (ABC affiliate) has signed up to be in attendance.

What’s missing are good officers to speak out and say No-What Mehserle did was wrong.. We do have the report from NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives) to BART that shows the serious flaws in the way the police department was run and the Meyer Naves Report which shows the negligence of officers, but in spite of those findings and a conviction, there are many who feel Mehserle was done an injustice and they intend to support. That’s a huge disconnect

Why Walnut Creek? The suburb which is 25 miles west of San Francisco is home to a lot of Neilson Boxes which determine television ratings. That’s why you always see a reporter doing the whether, some feel good story or interviewing a local politician from that area. It’s good for ratings. Any smart organizer knows if you do a rally there, almost all TV media will show up, so expect this event, even it draws 10 people to get massive coverage on local Bay Area stations come Monday.  Already almost every news station is announcing this..

While the Grant family is processing a rally held in support of the cop who killed their son, almost on cue, Fox news Glenn Beck who all but ignored this case opened his mouth and weighed in. He accused the Department of Justice which is looking into this case of being racist.  This no doubt will get everyone ginned up and ready to rally behind Mehserle no matter how glaring the evidence.

Adding to this push back from police is the recent announcement that one of the officers involved in the Sean Bell incident in which the unarmed groom to be was shot dead in a hail of 50 bullets, is suing the Bell estate.

According to the NY Post

A cop involved in the fatal shooting of Sean Bell on his wedding day is now suing the dead man’s estate — claiming Bell drunkenly assaulted and badly injured him with a car right before the hail of police gunfire that brought the unarmed man down.

Police Officer Michael Carey’s lawsuit says Bell was boozed-up when he got behind the wheel of the car after his bachelor party on Nov. 25, 2006, and also claims the doomed groom failed to wear glasses or contact lenses despite having poor eyesight.

Carey’s allegations are contained in a Brooklyn federal counter-claim filed last week in response to a wrongful-death lawsuit being pursued by Bell’s fiancée, Nicole Paultre Bell, against him and the other four cops involved.

In the future expect to hear and see more of these types of pushback. Expect to see lawsuits, countersuits and police support rallies.  What’s interesting to note is that while cops can sue us as individuals we can’t sue them back. We can sue the city or municipality and hold them liable, but no money from any lawsuit will come out of their pocket. You can also expect to see more outspoken punditry rush to their defense and push their key talking points. It might be a national figure like a Glenn Beck or a local on air personality who works for an outlet that has a cozy relationship with the police where they are embedded which is what we saw at the recent Grant verdict rally or where they have business interests. In other words an urban station in a big market will seek favor from the police to make sure they can continue to host night clubs and do shows in their respective jurisdictions.

DJ Kaos

In recent years we seen everyone from Steve Harvey to Clear Channel hosts DJ Kaos and DJ Sylli Asz on KATZ in St Louis get censored or fired for talking about the police after phone calls were made. In the case of Steve Harvey, he got on the air in Los Angeles and went off about the negligence of police officers who ‘mistakenly’ shot a Halloween party goer who was wearing a cowboy outfit for having a gun. According to news anchor Harrison Chastang of KPOO Radio who first reported the story, Harvey heavily criticized the police as he should’ve, but then returned to the airwaves the next day to apologize, claiming he was not a ‘police critic’.  It was reported that phone calls were made by then LA Police Chief Bernard Parks to Radio One the parent company to shut him up.

In the case of Kaos and Sylli Asz, they were accused of making light of a recent police killing. They were initially suspended, but that wasn’t enough, the police pressured Clear Channel and they were later fired. many may say that was appropriate, but contrast that with the police officers who routinely post up insensitive material on a website called the Domelights in Philadelphia where racial epithets are hurled and victims of police brutality are made fun of. It got so out of hand Black officers in the department wound up suing.. To date none of the officers who post up have been fired.

Where does this leave us?  Victims of police brutality are now faced with the added hardship of a shrewd PR war. At a recent meeting in support of Oscar Grant it was noted  that in the age of technology and informations new strategies and tactics have been developed. It was suggested that we up our game because the police, media and everyone had upped theirs. What that entails is still work in progress. The police are obviously honing in on PR and image repair.

An activist and spoken word artist named Ner City is trying dialogue.. I encourage folks to take a look at his piece

An Oscar Grant Supporter talking to a Johannes Mehserle Supporter

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AT&T Launches a New 1.4 Million Dollar Shady-Ass Campaign to Get Rid of Net Neutrality

A friend of mine recently told me that CORPORATISM is in full effect… Nowhere is that more apparent then with AT&T who is now pulling out all the stops to Get rid of Net Neutrality.. They are now lobbying Congress to overrule the FCC.. .. In the next few weeks or months watch for these guys to go all out and get lots of Black and Brown folks to stomp hard for getting rid of Net Neutrality. People who are in dire need to get their media projects funded will suddenly be siding with AT&T and their front group, Americans for Prosperity trying to convince me and you it’s not that bad.. Trust me it is and will be ‘that bad’.. We already see and hear Glenn Beck highlighting the new spin by AT&T.. He’s warning us not to let the Internet get taken over..

What’s so ironic about Beck is that he’s the first to rail against communism. In fact he went on a rampage trying to unearth people in the Obama administration who he felt harbored communist feels. How crazy is it that Beck is now pushing for a policy that would allow a corporation to treat incoming traffic the same way China does.. In other words without Net Neutrality any ISP can block access to a website or slow them down so they are unusable. You the provider of that content would have no idea this is happening unless you’re on that system. The pitch will be to pay each and every ISP a fee and they will allow you full access.

On the urban front, you will see a crop of folks who will come at you with the ‘we gotta help our people line’. They will say silly things like;  ’if we have net neutrality we wont bridge the digital divide’ or some variation of that.. If you hear that pitch.. tell them they’re full of shit and to fall back. It’s a hustle and half.. ..

Lemme translate that for you.. the person giving you the digital divide speech most likely  has a partnership with AT&T, Comcast  or one of the affiliates..You check around far enough you will either find the CEO or the organization in bed with them somehow someway.. so their concern is not bridging the gap.. its that THEY WON’T be getting any money… My rule of thumb at this point is if I see you with AT&T then you are on payroll for them.. The way they flipped everyone from the Urban League to Rainbow Push should tell you what’s really going on..

Pay attention folks, don’t get caught slipping on this..You don’t want a corporate back organization or shady ‘leaders’ playing middle man on the Internet for you…Here’s the new campaign AT&T launching..

-Davey D-

Industry Front Group Plans Campaign of Lies

AT&T-Funded Attack Dog Stooping to New Lows

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: May 12, 2010

Contact: Liz Rose, Communications Director, 202-265-1490 x 32

WASHINGTON – AT&T front group Americans for Prosperity announced a $1.4 million advertising plan to try to convince Americans that the Federal Communications Commission is plotting to “take over the Internet.”

Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner made the following statement:

“This is a $1.4 million campaign to tell the American people that the world is flat. Net Neutrality is the opposite of a government takeover of the Internet. But the truth is irrelevant to front groups like AFP, which think that if you lie often and loudly enough, you can brand any issue as its opposite. They are stoking fear to achieve the goals of their corporate funders, like AT&T.

“Net Neutrality means that nobody – not the cable and phone companies, and not the government – can choose winners and losers on the Internet. The Federal Communications Commission is simply pursuing a path that will ensure that the free market works for the American public, something that prior FCCs failed to do.”

Link to the AFP campaign by clicking the link below.. Thats the fake campaign put out by AT&T.. recognize it for being fake.. and go in the opposit direction..

http://nointernettakeover.com

For more info on the fake AT&T campaigns go to www.freepress.net

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Obama, FCC Poised to Cave to Telecoms & Turn Backs on Net Neutrality

Just getting word that after millions of dollars spent in intense lobbying efforts the FCC and Obama may finally be giving into the big telecom companies in particular AT&T & Comcast…I think this article below from Alternet explains it best, but I will add a couple of things to think about.

One of the strategies used by AT&T was to go to communities of color, find Civil Rights organizations and in my humble opinion and pay for their silence or advocacy. The list ranged from LULAC to the Urban League which filed briefs siding with the FCC. It makes no sense why organizations which have long spoke about not having voice their voices heard and a seat at the table would go along with any sort of policy that strip that away from the average person who found such an opportunity via the Internet.

Was having sponsorship dollars for the next awards banquet payment enough? Or a some computers for an after school program payment enough? We’re talking about intelligent people here. It would be absolutely trifling to sell out for something that low and glaringly obvious…

As organizations they too stand to benefit if their voices go unfiltered. Meaning that perhaps they along with handful of others will be placed free of charge on the soon to be unveiled Internet fast lanes while the rest of us will be left trying to raise money or get position to be on par as we escape the toll lanes and slow lanes these telecoms say they need to have in order to be viable..

The whole scenario reminds of the scenario that mad so many of us rush off to the internet in the first place. No one liked having to go through the one or two anointed media gate keepers to get the word out to the masses. Its kind of like having that one cat on the radio and everyone has to go kiss his/her ass to get they record played or PSA read.  The internet freed a lot of that up and made many of those gatekeepers irrelevant. In the age of information and social media its to the advantage of those in power to become gatekeeper and set up a new class of folks who will have unfettered access and serve that purpose.

For those who are still confused let me explain what is soon to come.. Lets say you have a website that houses your blog or music.. You will have the Herculean task of figuring out who is on what system and making sure your website isn’t in the slow lane. I’m sure some of the big telecoms will announce that for X amount of dollars a month you can be assured that your website will load up just as quick as some of the larger/ mainstream sites. So this means I have to figure out who is on AT&T, who is on Comcast, who is Direct TV and 50 other Internet service providers. They may all have a fee to make sure my site or information loads quickly to their customers. Thats what Net Neutrality was preventing from happening.

Glenn Beck smashed on Net Neutrality as a way to ensure he has an unobstructed voice on the net. he will be in the internet fast lane as a media gatekeeper while the rest of us will be tolled

So those of you who listened to the Glenn Becks of the world just note he was protecting his own ass when speaking out against NN.. It was a way to make sure he was one of a handful of voices to routinely have access to the masses. Same with many of the other folks who were waving the flag for AT&T.. it was all about HNIC.. being the Head Negro in Charge … being the new media gatekeeper.

Indy Artists who enjoyed duking it out with the majors and handing them their hats, you will have the hardest times, because the main gripe that Comcast was making was they wanted to charge those who use a lot of bandwidth, that comes with streaming, downloading  etc.. Its easy for a big company like Universal or Sony to cut deals and make sure their product is readily accessible, but what about the small time artist who has good material but no budget..Sad part to all this is no matter how much you pay there will always be an inner circle including companies and individuals that work for these telecoms who will have the fastest of lanes thsu always having a clear advantage over the average person or the small business looking to make a come up. This is what net neutrality was protecting us from.

Below is a list of Civil Rights orgs that submitted files to the FCC saying they wanted to have the internet DEREGULATED. When your shit starts slowing down, your message filtered or censored ,your music hard to access you and more importantly your fees go up, give these esteemed organizations and people a call and ask them how they intend to correct what will go down as a egregious error. Maybe they can let you use their accounts cause I’m certain in exchange for siding with these big telecoms they got a few perks including unfettered and fast lane access.

Here are recent anti-Network Neutrality filings by organizations of color..

There are more and I will post them later..

Urban League Chapter

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408309

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400790

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400568

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408157

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400510

National Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408718

Hispanic Federation

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408716

LISTA

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408720

Latino community Foundation in San Francisco

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408354

Native Americans

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408711

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408291

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408712

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408704

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408709

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408717

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408708

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408713

NAACP in California

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408307

Rainbow Push

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408211

Texas State Rep. Robert Alonzo

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020408179

MANA, A National Latino Organization

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400566

100 Black Men of South Metro

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400798

100 Black Men of Mobile

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020401015

100 Black Men of Greater Mobile

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020401015

ASPIRA

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400339

100 Black Men of Tennessee

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400506

100 Black Men of Orlando

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400502

HTTP

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400970

Hispanic Interests Coalition of Alabama

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020401020

SER: Jobs for Progress

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020400060

NAACP Mar-Saline Branch

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020399888

Japanese American Citizens League

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020399819

Organization of Chinese Americans

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020399334

Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies

Rep. Yvette Clarke

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7020399667

Obama, FCC Poised to Cave to Telecoms and Turn Backs on Net Neutrality

http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/05/03/obama-fcc-poised-to-cave-to-telecoms-turn-backs-on-net-neutrality/

by Daniela Perdomo

Obama, FCC Poised to Cave to Telecoms and Turn Backs on Net Neutrality

Among the young, forward-thinking demographics with whom Obama, the presidential candidate, was incredibly popular were the digital rights crowd. Obama’s campaign platform promised to ensure net neutrality — the principle that all Internet content must be treated equally by internet service providers, where no content is given preferential treatment by ISPs — if he were elected.

Oh, how things change!

Currently, net neutrality finds itself hanging by a thread, and the Obama administration and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appear to be ready to cave to the mighty telecommunications industry, sacrificing a fair Internet for all.

A few weeks ago I wrote about a court ruling which had net neutrality activists in a frenzy. A federal judge ruled that the FCC had overstepped its authority in demanding that Comcast, one of the nation’s largest internet service providers (ISPs) treat all content equally. (Comcast had been throttling, or slowing down, certain content — particularly file-sharing sites.)

From that story:

The FCC, in enforcing net neutrality, was trying to ensure the Internet remains a level playing field, where no sites are on a “fast lane,” and no sites are on a “slow lane.” ISPs like Comcast have argued that controlling certain sites’ load times will prevent high-bandwidth users — like file-sharers — from clogging the web for everyone else. But it’s a slippery slope. (…)

Beyond preventing the FCC from enforcing equal load times for all websites, the court’s ruling could hamper the FCC’s ability to ensure that internet policy providers comply with digital privacy laws. Further, it could adversely impact the White House’s efforts to increase Americans’ access to high-speed Internet networks. Currently the United States lags far behind other developed nations in broadband speed and reach.

Net neutrality activists, however, were hopeful that if the FCC chose to reclassify internet services as as a telecommunications network — like telephones — they’d be able to regulate ISPs. And there was reason to be hopeful this would happen — the FCC chair, Julius Genachowski, is credited as a contributor to Obama’s tech platform, which included net neutrality, greater media diversity, and increased broadband access.

The best part of reclassification is that it only requires a simple-majority vote from the FCC’s board members — and would neatly sidestep all the bureaucratic red tape and telecoms’ big lobbying dollars in Congress.

Sadly though, a Washington Post article today indicates that Genachowski is expected to leave the broadband industry deregulated — as if under-regulation has ever proven itself a good idea. (Hello, recession of 2008?)

Josh Silver, head of Free Press, a media reform non-profit, put out the following statement on what this means: “If Chairman Genachowski fails to re-establish the FCC authority to protect Internet users, he will be allowing companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to slow down, block or censor content at will. They can block any website, any blog post, any tweet, any outreach by a political campaign — and the FCC would be powerless to stop them….If the FCC fails to stand with the public, it will be the end of the Internet as we know it.”

Given that the Internet is either set to replace or already has replaced the telephone as the most important medium of communication, this is a very scary, Orwellian prospect.

Goldman Sachs is Giving Away 23 Billion In Bonuses…Where’s All the Tea Party Protestors? Why are they so Silent?

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DaveyD-RaiderSo last night I’m sitting here watching the news and I hear this crazy report about how all these companies that we helped bail out, first under former President George Bush and then later under President Obama, are on pace to make huge profits and give out record bonuses to their management teams. Note I said management, not your average Joe Schmoe worker who pushes papers or pushes a mop. While most of us can barely pay car fare to go to work (tolls are rising to 5 bucks here in the Bay Area), Goldman Sach’s management will be receiving a whooping 23 BILLION dollars in bonuses. 23 Billion dollars…I want everyone to sit there and think about that for a minute.

Think about that as I did and wonder why all these people I know who never paid a bill late in their lives suddenly had their line of credit decreased. My boy’s business had to let a few people go because one of the banks we helped bail out suddenly couldn’t give him and his business credit in spite of his stellar record and A credit rating..This scenario is playing out all over the country.

Meanwhile back at the Wall Street ranch-23 billion dollars for Goldman Sachs? 23 billion for a company that was failing and needed us to come to the rescue?

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. The cynical folks that I tend to come across day in and day out have predicted this for months. They’ve said all along its not the President or the people who have final say so in this country, it’s the people who control the financial institutions..23 Billion dollars in bonus–keep repeating this to yourself as you find yourself putting in extra hours and avoiding taking vacations for fear of losing your own meager paying job.

23 Billion dollars-I’m sitting here listening to this crap and looking at a medical bill for 1400 bucks I have no way of paying anytime soon. I couldn’t afford it when I got severely sick a couple of months ago and had no choice but to visit an emergency room. My ‘great’ insurance-(privately owned and not government run) wouldn’t cover me for an emergency out of state. It was on me they told me. But hey thats another story. The point is I couldn’t afford to pay it in August and I can’t afford to pay it now. I needed a stimulus package and couldn’t get it. My job needed one-None was given. I needed some credit mine was cut. Thank you Wells Fargo. Meanwhile back at the Wall Street ranch- Goldman Sachs management are getting 23 Billion dollars..

Where are all the Tea Party protestors? Why aren't they in front of Goldman Sachs?

Where are all the Tea Party protestors? Why aren't they in front of Goldman Sachs?

I guess the thing that really eats at me most was hearing about Goldman Sachs and thinking about all these ‘orchestrated’ Tea Party gatherings. I say orchestrated because when you went you heard the a lot of talk about greed and corruption and tax dollars being wasted. You saw all sorts of posters with demonic pictures of President Obama denouncing him. And I’ll be honest, if Goldman Sachs are his people and he has people from that firm all up in his inner circle and administration, some hard hitting criticism is due. You’ll get no defense from me about Obama and his relationship to Goldman Sachs… With that being said, based upon the supposed outrage and call to action to get this country back on track as underlined by the Tea Party folks, my question is ‘Where art thou?’ When’s the next Tea Party?

Where’s the tea party thats gonna be kicked off in front of Goldman Sachs Headquarters on 85 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan? Since its been said that President Obama really doesn’t run the country and he’s controlled by rich, powerful wall street bankers, where are all my shotgun carrying, ultra patriotic Tea Party folks now? Where’s the September 12th Protestors? Remember them? Didn’t they show up with “millions’) in front of the white house’? (Note: It really wasn’t millions it was more like ten thousand, but we’ll say millions to make them happy…Please keep in mind it would be real expensive for those drug industry marketing firms that were organizing the September 12th Protest along with the Townhalls and Tea Party gatherings to hire millions to come out to a protest-but lets not digress). Obviously we don’t see these people confronting the ‘real beast’ and the real criminals…

Memo to Glenn Beck: Goldman Sach's CEO Lloyd Craig Blankfein has done more harm to us than Van Jones ever did or could

Memo to Glenn Beck: Goldman Sach's CEO Lloyd Craig Blankfein has done more harm to us than Van Jones ever did or could

So as I was saying where’s Sean Hannity? Lou Dobbs? Rush Limbaugh? Has anyone seen them? Are they directing their viewers and listeners to show and protest? Are they getting the tens of thousands of ‘honest, poor, hard working citizens who carried posters with Obama looking like Adolph Hitler to show up in front of Goldman Sach’s headquarters carrying Hitler-isque pictures of CEO Lloyd Craig Blankfein? Do their listeners even know who he is? Where’s the Fox News ambush team to jump in the face of a bonus receiving Goldman Sach’s manager demanding they give back tax payer money? Isn’t Goldman Sachs who we should be confronting? Where’s the outrage?

Are there any ‘Joker-like pictures of David A. Viniar the Chief Financial Officer of Goldman Sachs being posted around town? Weren’t well known conspiracy pundits like Alex Jones (The Obama Deception) just two months ago offering 50 thousand dollars to people who could post up Obama the Joker flyers? Is he offering anything similar for us to confront the ‘evil folks’ at Goldman Sachs who pull the economic purse strings not just for Obama but for many of us as well?

Where’s Glenn Beck‘s hunt for wrongdoers of this magnitude? Where’s the weeks worth of expose to take down those who are really doing ‘treasonous’ and treacherous things that harm the working class America? Does anyone think that Glenn Beck targets like; Van Jones, Mark Lloyd or Yosi Sergent are the ones disrupting American life or is it the dip shits giving out billions of dollars in bonuses to their management teams after we bailed them out? Will any of those billions be stimulating your economy anytime soon? 23 billion dollars in bonuses folks..23 Billion.

The Tea party protesters and their contradictory ways aren’t the only ones we need to take to task. Let’s talk about your everyday run in the mill hoodlum. Lets make sure he has his priorities straight.

Memo to Thugs: Stop robbing poor people in the hood-try Wall Street

Memo to Thugs: Stop robbing poor people in the hood-try Wall Street

Memo to Wannabe Gangstas & Thugs: Stop robbing people in the hood. You wanna rob somebody? Find a one of these Goldman Sachs bonus baby cats. You wanna show how gangster you are? Post up on 85 Broad street or 30 Hudson street in Jersey City . If not in New York there’s a Goldman Sachs in a city near you. Whatever you do stop robbing and terrorizing poor folks in the community who can barely afford a pot to piss in and bring the drama to the folks who have more money than our entire community combined.

When these Wall Street barons get their bonus checks tell them to ‘Ante up’. Tell them to ‘run’ their loot and don’t feel bad. After all, that’s what these bankers did to us. Late last year they strong armed tax payers and told the American people they better give them stimulus money or the economy would tank.

If folks recall, when Congress took their initial vote on giving a bailout the answer was ‘Hell Naw’. That’s when these Wall Street crooks ran around and threatened to destroy the economy. Film maker Michael Moore outlines this in his movie ‘Capitalism a Love Story’ The end result was Congress reversed its vote and we wound up giving away trillions. We gave away all that money and the economy is still tanking for far too many of us…

23 Billion.. do you know how many people can have their basic needs met with that money? It’ll be interesting to see how millionaire broadcasters in the media suddenly get quiet and won’t cajole the people into action. Expect more balloonboy coverage and beauty Queen breast plant stories. This is what they are talking about today on local TV news stations in NY home to Goldman Sachs this morning as I write this.. Expect outlandish excuses used to defend the bonuses received by these Goldman Sach numbskulls-23 Billion

Something to ponder..

-Davey D-

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Roman Polanski and the Contradictions in Us All

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DaveyD-leather-225Everyone is talking about the arrest of   ‘famed’ director Roman Polanski as he entered Switzerland the other day to attend an award show where he was being honored. He was arrested for being a fugitive on the run from the United States and is likely to be sent back to face charges for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl 30 years ago.  Polanski is best known for directing films like ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. After he fled the country, he continued to shine by directing films like  The Pianist which won him a couple of Academy Awards, the Ninth Gate and Tess to name a few. 

Personally I shed no tears for Polanski. The crime he committed was heinous crime where there is no forgiveness.  As far as I’m concerned our government along with the rich and powerful in Hollywood gave Polanski a pass. He was given a wink and a nod when he fled to France. People somehow found a way to humanize him and make him a sympathetic  figure of sorts by noting how his beloved wife Sharon Tate was killed by Charles Manson. Hence him raping a 13 year old was somehow a result of that trauma.

For me, its hard not to look at Polanski supposedly escaping the US Justice system while that same justice system managed to track down and persecute Black Panthers and others who were part of the freedom struggle, all over the world.  It didn’t matter if any of those figures had experienced personal tragedies like seeing a loved one shot and killed by police. It didn’t matter that they themselves had been traumatized by oppression. At the time Polanski committed this rape, Panthers were being mercilessly hunted down by the FBI via their destructive cointel-pro program which among other things instructed agents to run all sorts psychological mind games on their BP targets.

Over the years we’ve seen local prosecutors be granted all sorts of resources to go after these freedom fighters 30 years after the fact even though the crimes they were accused of were highly disputable and in many instances dubious. Perhaps  government officials should’ve spent time and energy offering million dollar bounties for his return the way they did Asaata Shakur. Perhaps time should’ve been spent  securing Congressional proclamations of condemnation or making his extradition to the US a precondition to  a normalized or improved relationship between us and France.  We seem to have no problem insisting on such things at tax payer expense when it came to seeking out  Black and Brown folks fighting against injustice heaped upon our communities. 

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski

What I find most disturbing is that after all these years what may have triggered Polanski’s arrest was him criticizing and accusing the LA District attorney’s office of gross misconduct. From the way it sounds, it appears that all it took to go after and finally get a seemingly untouchable Polanski arrested was a bruised ego. For 30 years the US Justice system could not grab hold of Polanski because he was hiding out in the south of France or the Swiss Alps. Suddenly he raises his voice against the state and they found a way to get him. Swiss Alps be damned.

This saga spells out a couple of things. Lesson #1- speak out against the state rightly or wrongly, and it is likely to hit back. There are lots of freedom fighters languishing in jails as political prisoners who clearly understand this lesson.

Lesson #2-, which I hope did not go over everybody’s head, is understanding the full scope and wide breadth of discretion that prosecutors seem to have when it comes to tackling crime. From what I can tell, there are no new laws in Switzerland that just sprung up allowing Polanski to finally be arrested. They were always in place, but for some reason even though Polanski had been to Zurich numerous times and even had a nice home over there, our government, in particular the LA district attorney just didn’t seem to have the political will or wherewithal to bring Polanski, a man who raped a 13-year-old to justice. That speaks volumes.

Y’all should marinate on that for a while. While you do that, ask yourself why the Pookies and Ray Rays of our community are doing 10 year bids after vigoriously being persecuted for non-violent crimes and drug addictions and white collar criminals who pillage and plunder you into taking substances are still free except for handful. Think about that while our prosecutors can’t find ways to bring brutalizing cops to justice but will suspend your license and issue an arrest warrant that they will hungrily pursue for unpaid tickets.

Yes, we know there are double standards, but we should not dismiss them and say ‘Oh well that’s how they be’ or ‘Oh well that’s how they do us-what else is knew?‘. My point here is that we should be well aware that there is lots of latitude and hence this should embolden us to fight even harder for people’s freedoms and to fight even harder to bring those who egregiously wronged us to justice. It should be more than obvious that no prosecutor’s hands are tied when it comes to doing what they feel needs to be done.

With that being said, we should also look at the contradictions within Hollywood. Here’s a town that is infamous for social persecutions and ostracization of ‘wrong doers’ and people who stepped on the wrong toes. Everyone knows that there are simply certain buttons you don’t push and certain people you don’t piss off least you suffer serious social and economic consequences. Hollywood is small town and stepping on toes is easy to do with dire consequences, unless you’re Roman Polanski who raped a 13-year-old..Now, call someone a pejorative name like ‘Faggot’ as did actor Isiah Washington and you can find yourself banished with your peers loudly condemning you. Not only will they condemn, many might not even work with you.

Unless your name is Mel Gibson and you are titan in your own right, you best not even think about saying or doing anything that is deemed anti-Semitic. You are likely to not be receiving any Academy Awards. You are likely not to be praised and forget about getting funding for your next film.

When you are a Polanski, you can get your esteemed colleagues coming to your aid petitioning the Swiss government and even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for your immediate release. You can have your fellow colleagues likes actress Debra Winger go before the world and declare your persecution and date with justice is a Philistine-like act.

When your a Polanski you can be spared a Bill O’reilly like tirade or a Glenn Beck tea party inspired witch hunt. Be Van Jones and curse at a Republican and its gloves our off and the pressure won’t let up until you leave town. Be Roman Polanski and we won’t have deep investigations trying to connect the dots..

Woody Allen

Woody Allen

And lets not get it twisted, Polanski not the only one who has done wrong or has raised serious questions in this regard. We still show love and admiration for film director Woody Allen, even though he was accused by his former partner Mia Farrow of molesting her seven year old daughter and as we all know he eventually wound up marrying his ‘step daughter’ Soon-Yi Previn. Allen is still admired and held up as being a pillar in the film industry.

I was tempted to ask the rhetorical question would any of us work for a director who raped a 13-year-old girl?  Would any of us work for someone who was accused of molestation and married his step daughter?  I was gonna ask that until I remembered  many of us would have no qualms in embracing Polanski and Allen. We would embrace them the same way we embrace accused molester R. Kelly. You remember him,  the guy who sings those dope songs like ‘Still I can Fly’ and ‘Step in the Name of Love’ ?  You remember R.Kelly the guy who somehow beat the charges levied against him, but there was no denying it was him in an underground widely watched x-rated video getting kinky and peeing on an underage girl? But hell if we can love Elvis Presley  who was with Priscilla at 14 and Jerry Lee Lewis who was with his cousin when she was 13,  I guess why trip off Polanski,  Allen and R Kelly right?  Our tolerance of such actions and activities says a lot about us as a society…At the very least it says we talk a good game about loving our children, but at the end of the day we do very little to protect them, especially if there’s money to be made.

Aaaah yes..ya gotta love the contradictions in us all….

Something to ponder

-Davey D-

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5 Reasons Why Van Jones and Progressives are Better Off With Jones Out of the White House

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The truth is, progressives need Van Jones working on the outside providing vision and leadership, not on the inside with his mouth buttoned.

5 Reasons Why Van Jones and Progressives are Better Off With Jones Out of the White House

By Don Hazen, AlterNet.

http://www.alternet.org/story/142460/5_reasons_why_van_jones_and_progressives_are_better_off_with_jones_out_of_the_white_house/?page=entire

vanjonesmicThe end of Van Jones’ brief career as a White House insider, in the semi-obscure position of special adviser for green jobs at the Council on Environmental Quality, is likely good for Van Jones and very good for progressives.

Yes, currently it seems as if Fox News’ Glenn Beck — who spent the past few weeks viciously smearing Jones — has won one. In fact, Beck has done Jones, and all of us, a mitzvah.

And considering that the White House, and for that matter Washington’s liberal establishment, failed to come to his defense in the face of relentless attacks by the right-wingers at Fox (very similar to what Fox did to Barack Obama leading up to the election), Jones’s liberation should make him a happy camper.

Early Skepticism

Much of Jones’ broad base of fans was excited when word spread that he would be taking his prodigious talents to the White House, working on the inside to spread the gospel of green jobs. Many were surprised and pleased to see Obama, ever the centrist, willing to bring in a firebrand like Jones to shake things up.

But more than a few wondered, “Jeez, how is that going to work?” They knew that Jones, arguably the most effective communicator in Democratic and progressive politics — and yes, that includes  Obama — was going to have to control his tongue, and in many cases shut his mouth.

Part of what made Jones popular was telling it like it is. Jones inspired audiences, especially young people, with the notion that a radical vision, combined with innovative ideas and fundamental organizing, could work in tandem with our political system.

And some also wondered, was green jobs enough when it was health care, the banks and economic crisis, the escalation in Afghanistan, and the battles with the right, that were dominating the national discourse. We knew he was the “green jobs czar,” but there were 30 czars in the White House — so many that Obama was known to joke about a show called “Dancing with the Czars.”

Why was Jones going indoors, when there were big fights outdoors, all across the country?

As it turns out, the White House may have taken him in with open arms, but apparently was glad to see him go.

FireDogLake‘s Jane Hamsher wrote: “Now he’s been thrown under the bus by the White House for signing his name to a petition expressing something that 35 percent of all Democrats believed as of 2007 — that George Bush knew in advance about the attacks of 9/11. Well, that and calling Republicans ‘assholes.’ ”

So where are all the statements defending Van Jones by those who were willing to exploit him when it served their purpose? Why aren’t they standing up and defending one of their own, who has done nothing that probably the majority of people in the Democratic Party haven’t done at one time or another? Is he no longer “one of their own?”

So yes, Jones tried the inside, but now he’s back on the outside. Here are five reasons why we are all better off:

1. Now a He’s Household Name: Beck has increased Jones’ visibility and name recognition immeasurably. Although he has been wildly popular in progressive circles, and a headliner at progressive conferences like Take Back America and the Netroots Nation, Jones was still a relative unknown for the population at large. Now he has a national stage.

2. He’s Been Rescued From Obscurity:
Special adviser to the Council for Environmental Quality. Hmm. That doesn’t quite have the ring of power and influence. Jones took one for the team by taking an obscure position in the first place. And he took another one for the team by realizing quickly that the right-wing smear campaign against him was going to be a distraction.

Now Jones is free to climb to a much higher level of visibility and influence millions of people in ways he couldn’t at that White House job.

3. He’s the Leader Progressives Need: Let’s face it. For reasons not altogether clear, there is no single powerful, articulate leader of progressive forces, which include many millions of Americans. It’s time we have such a leader.

With key elements of the union movement squandering enormous resources and time fighting each other, and many issues competing for air space, a credible, charismatic strategic leader like Jones could help to give direction, set priorities and generally give shape to what has so far been an anemic progressive presence in the Obama era.

Those with the most popularity and name recognition among progressives — Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Bill Moyers and Robert Reich to mention a few — can’t do what Jones can do. Donna Edwards and Keith Ellison are emerging in Congress as national leaders, and they will be strong complements to Jones — in fact, the three represent a new progressive generation, one less lily white than the one that preceded it. But Van is the Man.

4. He Has a Renewed Charge to Speak the Truth: Jones was attacked by the right for basically saying what is true: that Republicans are assholes (but he also said: “I, Van Jones can be one, too.”); that green-jobs organizing has to go far beyond solar panels; that African Americans are victimized by environmental racism by “white polluters, and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people of color’s communities because they don’t have a racial justice frame”; and the biggie — that the Bush administration had to be challenged on 9/11.

At a minimum, given all the information they had, Bush, Cheney and Co. were colossally, and perhaps criminally, inept leading up to 9/11, and no doubt there is much more to be told about their story.

5. He Can Provide Real Vision and Organizing Framework: Jones’ book: The Green Collar Economy, was briefly a New York Times best-seller, and now it just might make it back on the list (just as Jeremy Scahill’s book on Blackwater has reappeared on the N.Y. Times extended list for the third time due to Blackwater staying in the news).

The liberation of Van Jones will give him the opportunity to fully explain his blueprint on green jobs, but also connect it to the political economy and the need for resources to train young people in the skills needed to bring a green economy to the U.S.

But perhaps even better is that Jones will be free to draw out the complex connections between various issues, such as the huge waste of resources and lives in the war on Afghanistan and how that affects jobs and the environment — here in the U.S. and in that war-torn, abysmally poor country.

And Jones will be free to mobilize people in support of climate-change protection. As my colleague Addie Stan notes:

The right-wing attacks on Jones may well be linked to organizing against Obama and the Democrats’ plans on the environment. GOP Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, who lends his endorsement to Grassfire, an organization that organizes members of the armed patriot movement through its ResistNet site, called on Jones to resign, saying, “His extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate.

Grassfire is currently organizing ground-level opposition to the clean-energy legislation — especially its cap-and-trade mechanism — supported by the White House.”

Jones Will Be Stronger

Some may think that the relentless red-baiting and piling up of distortions and lies by the right-wing media machine might leave Jones politically wounded. I doubt it.

Fame is a valuable commodity in our society. And now, it is clear that Jones is a celebrity. In a short time, people will have a hard time remembering exactly what made Jones famous, but famous he will be. And he will have a major pulpit — thanks to his oratory gifts and to how the media treats notorious celebs.

There is a long history of political resurrection in America. Remember that the Rev. Al Sharpton was sued for slander and ordered to pay $345,000 in damages after he was deemed guilty for making defamatory statements about the Dutchess County, N.Y., prosecutor, Steve Pagones, after Sharpton insisted in the infamous Tawana Brawley case that Brawley’s fabricated story of rape was true.

And according to Wikipedia, on May 9, 2008, the Associated Press reported that Sharpton and his businesses owed almost $1.5 million in unpaid taxes and penalties. Sharpton owed $931,000 in federal income tax and $366,000 to New York, and his for-profit company, Rev. Al Communications, owed $176,000 to the state. Yet few would disagree that Sharpton is currently one of the 10 most influential African Americans in America.

Consistently, fame seems to trump radicalism and scandal.

Yes, Jones was a leader in the retro-named, radical group STORM: Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement. But that is nothing compared to Germany’s Joschka Fischer. Fisher was able to become foreign minister, despite the fact that Fischer was a leader of a radical group called the Putzgruppe, which had fought in several violent street battles with the police.

A series of photographs taken at a street battle in 1973 clearly show Fischer clubbing a policeman, to whom Fischer later apologized. This was but one of a range of politically radical acts by Fischer.

Seeing what happens next in the trajectory of Jones will be very interesting. But the betting on this end is that Jones will return to his role as visionary leader of progressive forces, and he will be in a stronger position to promote change, provide inspiration and rally the troops.

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