Khan: Who Apologizes For the Other Drone Victims?

Freelance Journalist Nida Khan

Journalist Nida Khan

A little over a week ago, a somber President Obama delivered early morning remarks on the tragic deaths of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, two hostages who were accidentally killed by U.S. drone strikes in the tribal regions of Pakistan.  It was a rare moment for several reasons:  the President openly acknowledged the loss of these men through a covert program, and he took personal responsibility for all of our counter terrorism operations, including these recent ones.  But as he offered condolences to the families of Weinstein and Lo Porto, and promised a thorough review of intelligence failures, the President opened himself up to criticism of an unmanned aerial program that has killed thousands – including thousands of civilians according to some reports – in a host of countries.

The question remains, who apologizes and takes full responsibility for the deaths of those innocents?  Do the dead, maimed and devastated children, women and men who had nothing to do with either terrorism or our war on terror deserve recognition by someone that their lives mattered as well?  When drones are dropped in nations where we have not declared war and little, if any, information is released to the public, the message we are once again sending is that only the lives of Westerners matter and that the lives of other civilians are simply expendable.

President Obama 50th anniversaryShortly after being sworn into office in 2009, one of the first decisions President Obama made was to increase and expand our drone campaigns.  In fact, he exponentially increased strikes in places like Pakistan, and later to countries like Yemen, Somalia and more.  According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, in just five years, President Obama launched 330 strikes on Pakistan, whereas President Bush conducted only 51 strikes in four years.  While President Bush was an obvious hawk who took the nation into an unnecessary war in Iraq under false pretenses, the notion that Obama is some sort of peacemaker is inaccurate at best.

Yes, it’s better for our troops when bombs can be dropped with the push of a button in Nevada or elsewhere.  Yes, fewer lives are lost in a drone strike than with traditional bombing or ground invasions.  But the idea that drones don’t kill hundreds (some argue thousands) of civilians is preposterous.  And the expansion of the drone program to a multitude of nations not only goes against our stated ideals of bringing stability to the world, but it tremendously increases anti-American sentiment in those countries and in areas that sympathize with them

DronesIn 2010, I traveled to Pakistan and witnessed the rise in anti-American attitudes firsthand.  While our popular culture was still being absorbed by the population through music, movies, food, etc., there was also a clearly visible segment of disaffected youth and adults who grew increasingly angry at U.S. intrusion.  Virtually every morning, headlines in major newspapers and newscasts led with captions citing the number of civilians killed from American drone strikes.  Pictures of dead children and mothers were regularly viewed by the public, and it’s no coincidence that as the strikes rose, so too did the anti-American feeling on the ground.

The Guardian published a piece in November of 2014 with some startling figures regarding civilian casualties.  According to the article, on October 15, 2010, Hellfire missiles fired from a drone killed the deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban, but in the process of doing so, they also killed 127 others – 13 of them children.  The piece also cites data from human-rights group Reprieve stating that attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people (

Drone protestorSuch tragic realities aren’t confined to Pakistan alone.  Who can forget the December 2013 incident when a drone accidentally struck a wedding convoy in Yemen killing a dozen or more?  And when we conduct drone strikes in several countries including Somalia, Libya, Mali, Afghanistan and more, the number of casualties is difficult to comprehend especially when they aren’t even considered murders.  The deaths of these civilians are simply swept under the rug of ‘collateral damage’, and we are therefore able to wipe our hands clean of what is clearly murder plain and simple.

The New York Times recently printed a piece titled ‘U.S. Attacks in Afghanistan Go Beyond White House’s Pledges’, and in that article, the following sentence summarizes the situation:  “Rather than ending the American war in Afghanistan, the military is using its wide latitude to instead transform it into a continuing campaign of airstrikes — mostly drone missions — and Special Operations raids that have in practice stretched or broken the parameters publicly described by the White House.”  Will the public ever receive an accounting of how many civilians we killed during this process?  Likely not.

It wasn’t that long ago when President Obama proudly proclaimed our counter terrorism victories in places like Yemen and Somalia.  Just last September, he stated:  “This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”  In fact, the President often touted Yemen as a perfect example of why droning works.  And now look at Yemen; it is more destabilized than ever.   Extremist factions there are arguably more powerful today than they were prior to our drone strikes.  Once again, the instability and abject chaos that is left following our intervention gives rise to more radicals and an opportunity for them to gain power.  For all the talk of getting terrorists where they hide and being proactive, what is the reward?

drone protestPresident Obama himself once said that when people get disillusioned or are frustrated, they may cling to their religion or guns.  The same can be said for people in areas where high poverty rates, lack of jobs, massive wealth gaps and unequal access to education and upward mobility plague society as it does in countries like Pakistan and Yemen.  When religion binds the majority of the population, and when they see outside forces attacking them and other Muslim-majority nations, it’s very easy for people to cling to their religion.

Several years had gone by before I went to Pakistan in 2010, and there was a visible difference in the environment – even in major cities.  In Karachi, the largest city, there were more conservative and religious folk roaming the streets than I can ever recall on previous trips.  There was increased tension in the air, and most residents were weary to congregate in crowded areas for fear of suicide attacks and bombings.  It’s important to note that prior to 9/11, there was only one suicide bombing in the entire country; but following our war on terror, they are now sadly a regular occurrence.

Drone ProtestsFor the people of Pakistan, accountability and answers for drone strikes and growing volatility have been few and far.  On the forefront, the Pakistani army and government denounce the drone campaign, but behind-the-scenes they often provide the launching pads from where drones take off and even sometimes supply coordinates.  The U.S. and Pakistani intelligence services, military and governments have a complicated and convoluted relationship; both publicly call the other out for failing to do enough, but both work together for mutually shared interests.  But what leaders of both nations fail to realize is that bombing people does more to fuel terror than to resolve it.

When a person loses an entire family because of a drone strike, who do you think they sympathize with?  When a village loses dozens of families, who do you think they begin to align themselves with?  When a nation sees regular images of dead countrymen, who do you think they hate?  When Muslims around the world only see Muslims dying through wars, covert actions, drone strikes and more, how hard is it for them to feel that they and their religion are under attack?  Couple this sense of alienation with poverty and diminished opportunities in many places, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Game of Drones It’s difficult to know the exact number of civilians killed by drones and there is much debate about it in newsrooms, at think tanks and in various political discussions.  For one, it is a clandestine program, and even when information is requested, those requests go largely unfulfilled.  Secondly, journalists who cover this topic are few and far.  Jeremy Scahill, one journalist who has focused on drone strikes extensively, recently pointed out in a piece for The Intercept, that a U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany serves as “the high-tech heart of America’s drone program”.  According to his article and documents the Intercept apparently received, Ramstein is the site of a satellite relay station that enables drone operators in the U.S. to communicate with their remote aircraft in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and other countries.  And neither the U.S. nor Germany will admit to the existence of such a facility.

In 2013, President Obama gave a speech at National Defense University where he stated:  “before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.”  But in those same remarks he added that “it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties” and that those deaths “will haunt us as long as we live”.  While those deaths may haunt the President and those in military and intelligence communities both here and abroad, they have traumatized and likely riled up families, neighborhoods and public sentiment in multiple countries.  So much for winning the hearts and minds of people.

“It is a cruel and bitter truth that in the fog of war generally and our fight against terrorists specifically, mistakes — sometimes deadly mistakes — can occur,” said the President last week.  “But one of the things that sets America apart from many other nations, one of the things that makes us exceptional is our willingness to confront squarely our imperfections and to learn from our mistakes.”

One of our greatest imperfections in recent times has been our inability to acknowledge and take responsibility for innocent casualties from our drone strikes.  If we are to confront squarely our mistakes as the President so aptly stated, perhaps the families of drone victims deserve an apology and some sort of restitution.

After all, President Obama’s legacy may very well depend on it – as may the legacy of the United States itself.

written by Independent Journalist Nida Khan Follow her on twitter @NidaKhanNY

Is Hip Hop a Movement? In 2009 We Examined Our Political Relevance..

Tonight the good folks from Hip Hop Ed will be hosting their weekly online twitter discussion with the topic being ‘Can Hip Hop Advance a Movement?’  We are reposting this article from 2009 along with some videos we did at the time addressing this issue. Obvious 4 years later we have a lot more things to look at in weighing this question, but its good to go back and see how folks were thinking at what was deemed a monumental moment in time..

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

President Obama

With President Barack Obama in the White House and more than 2/3 of the voters between the ages of 18-40 (the Hip Hop generation) voting for him, many are celebrating and talking about the political power and social movement potential of Hip Hop. Is Hip Hop a Movement?

That’s the question we been asking from coast to coast. If it is a movement how is that manifested? Is there a political agenda or does it even need one? Some say the movement is centered around the music and dance aspects and that Hip Hop has managed to bring people of all races and all creeds around one proverbial campfire.

The concept pushed forth by pioneer Afrika Bambaataa of Peace, Love and Having Fun as opposed to engaging in gang violence is a movement. The commitment to embrace Hip Hop’s 5th element-Knowledge is a movement for some. The fact that Hip Hop is practiced all over the world is proof of a movement.Many have argued that had it not been for Hip Hop President Obama would not have been elected because Hip Hop significantly lessened the type of apprehension and prejudices held by people in older generations who simply could not and would not vote for a Black candidate.
Others are saying that because Obama had Hip Hop super stars like Jay-Z and Will I am playing key roles in exciting voters and getting them to the poles, is proof that Hip Hop is a Movement.

Others say such activities is not a movement but a clever marketing strategy. In fact getting a president into office is not a movement-Having day to day political capital and people in office being accountable to you on local levels is what makes a movement. It’s been pointed out that if Hip Hop played such a crucial role in getting President Obama into the White House where is the payback? Has been addressing issues held dear by the Hip Hop generation? Does he have someone who understands the Hip Hop community in his cabinet? What sort of money is being directed to Hip Hop organizations in the latest stimulus packages?

We assembled a number of people ranging from Chuck D of Public Enemy to former Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Rosa Clemente to Professor Jared Ball to Hip Hop icons Paradise Gray of X-Clan and a host of others to tackle this question. Is Hip Hop a Movement? Take a look at the videos and weigh in.

We also show how Hip Hop folks are out and about making things happen. Some of what we depict are folks like Shamako Noble of Hip Hop Congress helping lead a Poor People’s march to Oakland rapper D’Labrie stirring up a crowd at a Get out to Vote rally to Baltimore rapper Labtekwon freestyling on a street about consciousness raising. The clips and corresponding links are shown below. Enjoy

Is Hip Hop a Movement? pt1

We speak w/ former rapper Khari Mosley who is a member of One Hood out of Pittsburgh, Pa and an elected official who also heads up the League of Young Voters field operations & Dr Jared Ball who ran for Green Party Presidential nominee and does the FreeMix Mixtapes who offer up differing opinions on this topic on Hip Hop

Is Hip Hop a Movement? pt2

Paradise the Arkitech

Paradise the Arkitech

We continue our conversation about Hip Hop being a movement. Here we talk to two veterans of the Civil Rights Movements and the Black Power Movements. One is DJ Paradise of the legendary group X-Clan. Paradise was part of the Blackwatch Movement which fought for social justice. He was also a part of the Black Spades street gang at a time when Afrika Bambaataa was transforming it and moving it in a direction where members took on community responsibility.

We also talk with Fred Rush who is the deputy mayor of Erie, Pa. He is a civil rights vet who at age 15 went to the historic March on Washington where Dr Martin Luther King delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. He contrasts the Hip Hop Movement with the Civil Rights Movement and explains what is needed in order to have a successful movement

Is Hip Hop a Movement? pt3

Our discussion continues w/ TJ Crawford who put together the National Hip Hop Political Convention in Chicago 2006. We also talk with Rev Lennox Yearwood who heads up the Washington DC based Hip Hop Caucus. We also hear from rapper Haitian Fresh-who is defining the Hip Hop Movement for him and his fans. Where do u stand on this?

Is Hip Hop a Movement? pt4

We continue our discussion by breaking bread w/ Baltimore rapper Omar Akbar aka Labtekwon. We also talk w/ Shamako Noble & D’Labrie of Hip Hop Congress and see them in action fighting for social justice.

Chuck D

Chuck D

Is Hip Hop a Movement? We Interview Chuck D of Public Enemy

We sat down w/ Public Enemy front man Chuck D and asked him to weigh in on the question of ‘Is Hip Hop a Movement? He tells us about the world wide impact of this culture and explains what we need to consider when answering this question.

Is Hip Hop a Movement? Hip Hop activist Rosa Clemente Speaks

Long time Hip Hop activists and former VP Green Party candidate Rosa Clemente sat with us and gave us her take on Hip Hop and it’s political relevance. She offers us up a cold dose of reality and asks some very hard questions

The President Needs all that Data to Fight Terrorist-But Which Terrorist is He Fighting?

Brack Obama in San Jose President Obama is in San Jose this morning.. right smack dab in the heart of Silicon Valley which is home to many of the high-tech companies that have been collecting all this data and intel from millions of innocent people… Now I know he’s scheduled to speak on Healthcare today, and Lord knows, we need some decent healthcare with all the stress caused by us learning that a guy who campaigned on being opposite the man who preceded him (George Bush) has doubled down and went far and beyond where Bush has ever gone when it comes to surveillance and violation of our privacy.

We all need some nurturing and good healthcare to recover from this spying crap…but who knows, maybe while he’s here, our beloved President will  head on over to Google or Facebook and personally gather up the data they been collecting so he can continue his valiant, unwavering  fight on the war on terror.

In fighting the War on terror ya gotta wonder if President Obama is gonna look at all that data to fight corporate terrorism.  I know people get uncomfortable when you say things like corporate terrorism but wage theft, wage depressions, increased privatization of public goods, decreased benefits, unsafe and toxic work environments resulting in debt and deaths is something we can’t ignore..

In fighting this war on terror will president Obama look at the phone records of the CEOs of Wal-Mart, JC Penny, Target, Disney and other retailers who are responsible for turning a blind eye to unsafe conditions in factories in places like Bangladesh where they pay $38 dollars month to beleaguered workers while buildings catch fire or outright collapse resulting in hundreds getting killed?

Maybe while examining those phone records our President can find out if there has been any sort of illegal collusion amongst those companies to not pay a living wage and to bust up any attempts by workers to organize. Certainly President Obama, a former community organizer will be putting his best foot forward to fight economic terrorism being waged on people here at home..One out of seven Americans are in poverty.. One out of 4 kids are in poverty. Its a hard pill to swallow, but its true..

Koch Brothers

Maybe Obama will fight these economic terrorist the Koch Brothers

Will President Obama armed with this data crack down on unlawful, unethical and questionable business practices by the likes of  ‘evil’ corporate entities like the Koch Brothers, Monsanto, Wal-Mart, Wall Street banks and the Correction Corporation of America (CCA) who as Kanye West recently pointed out has teamed up with the DEA to make us their ‘new slaves’?

Maybe our President in fighting terrorism will look at the phone records and emails of shady lawmakers who teamed up insidious types to get harmful Stand Your Ground laws passed via ALEC…Or perhaps our President will be looking at those phone records to see what sort of off the book sinister dealings have been going on with the NRA members,  its leadership and gun runners who have flooded our community with cheap easy to get firearms,  while steadfastly refusing to pass gun control legislation, not even background checks..

Yes I’m certain Mr Obama is here in Silicon Valley collecting data to see who exactly is responsible for the sale of illegal guns which if resulting in a reign of terror that has far surpassed the loss of life than 9-11…Or wait.. perhaps our President is here in Silicon Valley to fight the war on terror in the form of Monsanto who has crippled so many with GMOs and has economically tanked lots of farmers in countries all over the world by patenting seeds and contaminating fields with their own trademark crops.. Will he be checking their phone records and see what mischief they and other agribusinesses have caused. Maybe its me but the use being flooded with GMOs is chemical warfare.. and last I checked chemical warfare is terrorism.. So maybe our President is hot on the trail to shut that down..

Or maybe, just maybe our President is here to fight environmental terrorism, like the one waged by Big Oil which have polluted our air resulting in unprecedented cases of asthma amongst our kids.. Now that’s terror for real.

Maybe Mr Obama will be checking to see just how much was known before hand, what warning signs were ignored and what sort of deliberate systemic neglect was going on prior and what our environment ravaged by corporate based disasters like the Gulf Coast oil spill caused by BP.

Maybe the data collected will reveal if there are any underhanded shenanigans going on around the Keystone XL Pipeline.. Y’all know that pipeline, that’s the same pipeline former Ambassador Susan Rice who he just put back in his cabinet has substantial investments in..On a side note,  I wonder if it rude of all those little  kids who came out to protest the president yesterday in Palo Alto.. They were mad at the Pipeline situation.. Those damn rude school kids.. but lets no digress.

Police spyRecently the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement updated their Report on police killings in the Black community.. Its now showing that every 26 Hours law enforcement officers kill a Black person in America. With police brutality at all time highs and the policeman’s bill of rights firmly inplace making it difficult for citizens to know the records of officers patrolling their streets, I wonder if Obama and those looking at the intel will reveal what sort of ugly things are really going on in those departments.

It wasn’t too long ago that pompous, holier than thou pundits were beating their chest yelling USA! USA! USA!, bragging about American Exceptionalism and crowing to the world that we would never ever be like China..But alas here we are, spying on folks, collecting data from millions, keeping people imprisoned indefinitely and turning a blind eye to our President declared the world a perpetual battlefield via NDAA , resulting in him justifying the making of his weekly Kill List..

Well anyway… Go Mr President.. Get that Data Mr President! Black Power Mr President..

-Davey D-

Verizon Spies on Millions Obama Defends Them with Bush-Like Excuses

BarackObama-BlackbushSo Verizon has been collecting millions of phone records every day.. and passing them on to the govt.. They’re hiding behind Patriot Act. This is the same Verizon that was going all out to get rid of Net Neutrality.. I see you Mr Verizon and I remember…

With respect to this latest spying drama, let the record note that when President Obama campaigned in 08.. He stated that phone companies collecting data and surveilling on people was outrageous..Than on June 20th 2008 in the middle of his historic presidential campaign, Obama went and supported the FISA bill which allowed for wide sweeping Intel gathering.. It was Obama’s first big portrayal…It came at the expense of early supporters many of them to the far left who vehemently opposed this practice under Bush and got on board w/ Obama because he supposedly opposed it as well..

At the time people expressed outrage, but many of the new folks who had hoped on the Obama Campaign especially Black folks who had been riding hard for Hillary, insisted that we all be quiet and let this brilliant man for Harvard play chess, not checkers.. We were told that he needed to do this to get elected and once he was in office he would do the right thing..

Well since being in office Mr Obama has resigned the Patriot Act and supported the provisions which allow telecoms to spy on us and be free of lawsuits.. We also know that Obama has been the one ordering all this spying and just this morning, Obama says he needs the phone companies to spy on us so he can fight the war on terror..That’s the same weak azz excuse Bush gave which made us protest in the streets and rally around Obama back in ’08..

Was Obama playing chess and not checkers?? Nope Obama was straight up lying to us resulting in his Kool Aid drinking He can do no wrong admirers saying silly shyt like:-“Well If we aren’t committing crimes, he can spy on us all day’..yeah Obama can spy on you all day unless of course you are the mainstream press and many of his ride or die pundits who were complicit..Let me explain..

it was just 2 or 3 weeks ago all these media pundits and outlets signed a letter of protest to Obama’s department of Justice, headed by Eric Holder expressing outrage that he was spying on the media..Remember those pundits who told us about chess not checkers and why get upset if you aren’t guilty.. We’ll many of those same people signed onto that letter, mad as hell that their guilt-free butts were being spied upon.. Those were the same folks who show up on TV every night telling us why we should pipe down and stop hating on the first Black President..

In the meantime Obama will be in San Jose right in the heart of Silicon Valley.. I would go down and protest, but I’m fearful that the Obama butt kissers will say that I’m being rude and that I should go talk to Congress even though it was Obama himself who ordered all this spying…

So lets 06 when Bush spied we cheered in 08 when Obama said he wanted to spy we said hush, he’s playing 2013 now we know that Obama has been spying we have folks saying things like: Why complain now when he’s been spying for years.. I just had an Obama excuse maker say to me.. ‘Dave all Presidents spy, why get mad at Obama.. Damn dummy.. I’m mad at Obama same way as I was mad at Bush when he was spying..Under Bush he was checking on foreign phone calls.. Obama has been getting at all of us..

It’s amazing that the very things that disrupted our communities in the 60s and 70s under Cointel-pro are now being cheered by folks today when its this nice looking man who has nice looking wife doing it.. Where I come from we call it ‘Friendly Fascism’.. It’s a damn shame..

Thoughts on Obama and Cuts to Social Security-Can’t Truss It

social security checkWanna remind folks that tomorrow (wed April 10th 2013) President Obama will present his budget proposal.. Within that proposal are plans to cut social security to the tune of $112 billion dollars..Social security is already suffering in two main ways.. First, its being called an entitlement and we see very little correction with that labeling. Words are important, because it implies that folks who receive social security are somehow gaming the system vs having paid into it over a lifetime.. In short Social security is being ‘dehumanized’.. It’s being made to sound like a poison..

Second, the average payment one receives under social security is pretty bleak..I think its something like $1200.oo  That’s not really enough for someone who is now an elder to live comfortably off of.. Many of y’all reading this who are most likely to be saddled by economic challenges of your own ranging from upside down mortgages, to college tuition for your kids or student loans that still need to be paid off had best be figuring out how you will be helping your parents, because the check the govt is cutting won’t cut it..

We are at a day and time where more robust payments should be made toward our seniors..Our national conversation should be about comprehensive elder care that goes way beyond facilities to help those with dementia, but how to seriously improve the quality of life for our aging parents  and grandparents but that does not seem to happening.. Instead we’re being hit with news about congressional investigations as to why two multi-millionaires, Jay-Z and Beyonce went to Cuba..All of this is complicated by the fact that those who have alot.. ie the 1% do not under any circumstances want to pay more in taxes.. Instead they wanna privatize social security or get a system in place where you the individual start playing around with the market and investments..  I hope folks are paying attention.. So far two million people have signed a petition which was presented to the White House..

Here’s a couple of articles and shows that you may wanna peep to be brought up to speed..President Obama is the first President to propose cuts to social security.. Some are saying don’t trip he won’t cut nothing.. There’s a long list of things we were told not to worry about, because it was believed President Obama would not compromise on.. We now know better..In the words of Public EnemyCan’t Truss It..

Washington Post: Social Security Needs Expansion

Nation: Two Million Sign Petition to Save Social Security

-Davey D-


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How many dead Black children does it take to get a Sandy Hook response?

Black death has become an addiction, a political football when convenient and a marketing tool…it is also something with each passing day can’t be ignored…If we are not bothered by this, then something is seriously wrong….Here’s a video of Hadiya in 6th grade speaking out on gangs.

Below is a powerful essay from a Chicagoan who is all too familiar with the daily carnage going on in her city…

How many dead Black children does it take to get a Sandy Hook response?

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

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

Do you remember? Remember when you were young and carefree? Think back on how excited you would have been with an early dismissal from school into warm weather and a park nearby. Remember wanting to just cool out for a minute, hang on to the laughter and silly antics of  your friends before heading home to chores and studying? Time travel to the time when life was so full and promising, back when you had the zeal and energy to really live it?

How old were you back then? When did that all end for you?

Well for Hadiya Pendleton 15years old was her time. A baby really, just getting her taste of life’s promises. A scholar attending King Preparatory High School on the south side of Chicago. An enthusiastic student, a member of her school’s volley ball team and it’s band that just performed at President Obama’s Inauguration, a trip to Paris on the horizon as a part of an exchange program. Young and carefree, yet it ended much too soon for Hadiya. Her young life snatched just as she was getting to the good part; her life counted in the number of children whose lives have been cut down before they could really fully create a memory.

continue reading this essay HERE


Editorial: In Defense of Dr Cornel West


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He brought the economy out of a hole.

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

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

He wound down the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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

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

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

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

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

Eric Holder

Eric Holder

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

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

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

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

Long Lines at Voting Booths

Long Lines at Voting Booths

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

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

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

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

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

written by Reginald W Lyles

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

Lupe Fiasco

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

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

including this one from reporter Josh Rogin  and Matt Dornic

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

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

You can see a video of Lupe and his encounter below

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama got a game plan about this gun control stuff

Obama got a game plan about this gun control stuff

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

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

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

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