President Obama in Arizona, January 12, 2011 Official White House Photo
The Embassy is the name of my weekly WFMU radio show. We broadcast at 91.1 FM in New York and 90.1 in the Hudson Valley, and of course we on the internets. You can stream last night’s show and check here for the playlist.
STRAIGHT UP FUCK THE 2012 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT. This is the sort of shit that matters deeply even if you don’t read Prison Planet or listen to Coast 2 Coast. This is the shit that should unite tea partiers, I live in a silo with ten years of water people, the dude that serves you zips AND YOU. The bill passed late last night in a 93-7 vote, declares the entire USA to be a ”battleground” upon which U.S. military forces can operate with impunity, overriding Posse Comitatus and granting the military the unchecked power to arrest, detain, interrogate and even assassinate U.S. citizens with impunity.
If you were surprised by how militarized our police were during the last few months of #OWS don’t worry. If this bill goes into law we will just have the military straight up dealing with protests and other “terrorist” acts. Lets hope Obama vetoes this shit.
Fellow native new yorker (Bronx stand up!) and expert cutter-through-of-smoke-mirrors Noam Chomsky gave this talk in April 2011 while the currently flourishing #occupy movements were just a gnawing sense of horrific injustice in the occupiers bellies.
In it he breaks down such popular topics as:
1) Why economic power = political power
2) How financial regulations were systematically demolished in this country to benefit the 1% ending a ‘golden era’ of egalitarian prosperity
3) How Obama was bought by Wall Street and how he repaid them
He forgot his notes at the hotel and so it’s light on statistics and heaaaavy on truthy goodness. Need to explain to your friends why the Occupy Wall St movement matters at your next cocktail party? Start here.
Big shout out to PDX Justice for filming and posting this on Vimeo, along with The Collins Distinguished Speaker Series and the Department of English of the University of Oregon at Eugene for holding the event. If I get a free hour I’d like to rip the audio for this and encode it as a podcast. If anyone else is motivated to do it first we’ll happily host and promote it here. The fact that this thing is so relevant to the current conversation and only had 636 views when I found it is terrible.
Cross-posted to Mudd Up!
So. By now we should all know that MLK is beautiful and Auto-Tune is culturally complicated. A lot can be said about this video, from the elemental power of oratory to the ways in which technology can amplify or disperse political potential to the notion that rewiring history is an act aimed at future change.
But what keeps running through my head is a paraphrase from Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. here: I’m trying to tell America about a dream that I had.
G-Side‘s latest effort the Huntsville International project was liberated last week, leaked in its entirety and contained some extremely solid moments for those of us who are still into rap music! Slowmotion Soundz, ST 2 Lettaz and Clova, Block Beattaz, and the various producers and guest artists offer strong, and even exceptional performances. ST 2 Lettaz and Clova delivered moving verses on “So Wonderful,” “In The Rain,” and “This Is Life.” On “So Wonderful,” ST raps about difficult times, not just the current recession– more specifically, the lack of assistance, the extra huddle, and debt young folks incurred while making their way through college, the double-digit unemployment figures and lack of opportunity in black and brown communities, which predates the current financial crisis. ST also echoes the words of Young Jeezy and P. Dukes (my president is black, but we’re still in the same mess– Obama administration maintaining continuity. By the way, P. Dukes made my favorite recession rap jam with “Make Me A Way,” and I regret not including it on the podcast.) Clova is on-point also, with an interesting mix of low-key, sharp darts grounded in realism, at times interrupted with “next-level”-swag-so-advance raps (and oftentimes, he’s incredible with those lines.)
Yelawolf offered a crucial performance on “Who’s Hood,” delivering a dense, rapid-fire verse about Cadillacs, pit-fights, and nightlife in the Bible Belt (he sounds like a young Big Boi or something! last week we heard him channeling Bob Dylan for Juelz Santana.) Other highlights here include the solo track by ST “This Is Life,” which I heard in August when Traps N Trunks unleashed the Huntsville Alabama: Rochet City mixtape/compilation and the defiant and unforgettable “In The Rain” featuring Bentley. “This Is Life” and “In The Rain” are those outstanding rap songs you hear every now and again, and they stay with you– emotionally raw and honest lyrics delivered by a smart, ambitious/hungry rappers. In the era of free music —sounds now move faster than the speed of contex– we are bombarded with ephemeral songs and disposable mixtapes. G-Side is offering music with lasting quality. The majority of tracks on their previous two album, Starshipz and Rocketz and Sumthin 2 Hate have held up well, withstanding countless listens and every now and then certain sounds warranting repeated listening. The Huntsville International project has that– freshness, durability, rap music for 2010 and beyond.
[‘wheatpaste mugshot’ from Wayne & Wax’s flickr]
Gates isn’t being invited to the White House because he’s black and Ivy League. Gates is being invited to the White House because Sgt. James Crowley has become the latest totem of burgeoning white resentment against the president, which happens to be a matter so urgent that Obama felt obligated to make a dramatic gesture of reconciliation — lest racial resentment swallow his presidency. . . This is an example of white privilege — and how even a country that elects a black man president still demands that he assuage feelings of white resentment when they grow strong enough. Totems of black resentment, which Gates is not, get called racists and race hustlers. They do not get invited to the White House.
As I write, the beers are in the presidential fridge. After their drink, Gates will go back to Harvard, Crowley will return to the force, Obama will stay in the White House. Nothing about law or race, not even the national conversation, will have changed. And Troy Davis will remain on death row. For now the only beer he can expect will be with his last meal. And he will be drinking alone.
READ MORE of Beer and Sympathy by Gary Younge @ The Nation
The Gates arrest gave the president ample opportunity to stimulate a broad national discussion about police and community relations and the role of race and ethnicity when these relations become contentious. Such a conversation would have been a politically risky endeavor, no doubt. But discussion would have been far more valuable than a brewski photo-op, which is how the Gates case will likely be remembered.
READ MORE of Obama flunks his “teachable moment” by Mark Anthony Neal @ The Grio
Extra props to MAN and his particularly interesting and essential blog.
here are a few youtube videos I have been meaning to post the last few days –
First up, Obama Chia pet commercial – We already know that one of the few growth areas in the American economy at the moment is Obama memorabilia. So this one comes as no surprise, though it is inappropriate and hilarious – not as much as the kids in Times Square selling Obama Condoms to tourists (“Get your Obama Condoms” and “We got extra-smalls”) or the Obama tees I saw people wearing in DC a few days ago, at the Smithsonian of all places. It seems to be all about hot dogs and ice cream and Obama memorabilia down at the Mall.
Second, SkipScreen – A Firefox extension which eleminates the unnecessary wait time when downloading files from zShare, Rapidshare, Megaupload, etc. You still get pop-ups from zShare and other host sites but they’re still working it, and if you’re not interested in purchasing a premium account with thise hosting sites, you’ll appreciate SkipScreen.
And last, Mos Def recites DOOM lyrics in a studio. DOOM’s latest album Born Like This disgustingly good – “Give a MC a rectal hysterectomy/Lecture on removal of the bowel, foul technically,” “Chrome grown men doin’ business with Anglo Sax’n’em/Lackin’ swing but that banjo’s so relaxin’,” “Villain knot his hair, he’s no Afro-American/If that’s the case, he be a bald-headed African,” and “…don’t know what he sayin’ but the words be funny.”
Large Hangars and Fuel Storage/Tonopah Test Range, NV/Distance ~18 miles/10:44 am by Trevor Paglen
Mark Danner is one of the good journalists. His work navigates nearly impenetrable messes of deceit and deception like the 2000 Florida vote recount, the nefarious path to the American war in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. Military intervention in Reagen era El Salvador… the list goes on- but I think when you have Susan Sontag call you “one of our best, most ambitious narrative journalists” you’ve pretty much fulfilled your journalistic duty to the world.
One of my biggest fears during the election was that once/if Obama was elected there would be a psychic closure on the Bush years. In a more utilitarian sense, I am afraid that people are so excited about entering a “new era” that they forget that there is a lot of unfinished business from the last 8 years that needs to be sorted out. Danner’s latest piece, “US Torture: Voices From the Black Sites,” which appeared in the new issue of the New York Review of Books on Monday, is doing some of the heavy lifting. It contains detailed accounts of interrogations of “highvalue detainees” at secret “black site” prisons. An excerpt from the piece – about a tenth of it – appeared on the OpEd page of Sunday’s New York Times. It’s a potent reminder that the clean up process has just begun.
Wayne says PDFs are the new MP3s- so here is a PDF of the whole article as it appeared in the New York Review of Books. This is painful to read, and while for some it might be confirming what they thought they already knew- there’s something deeply moving about reading first hand accounts of the abuse against “our enemies.”
Faux News continue their usual shenanigans with this little fc*kery –
Just to be sure, Obama took oath again this evening.
Not really down with AF or DP, but I can dig this –
Yes we did. Oh yes we did America.
I was riding over the bridge this morning on the subway and saw the American flag on top of the Brooklyn Bridge and felt different.
My sister quoted to me a great statement from President Elect Barack Hussein Obama, during the campaign. To paraphrase, she said that someone had asked him who Dr. King would have endorsed in this election. And he said that Dr. King wouldn’t have endorsed anyone, he would have put together a movement to pressure whoever took power. I agree. As Barack said, this is not the change that we have been waiting for, but an opportunity for it.
And yes I’m sure all my radical friends will have many things to say to deflate some of our euphoria at this. But to see Obama carry Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico… The southern states alone, for a black candidate for the most powerful office in the land to win in the former confederacy, with many individuals who sat in at lunch counters, rode buses and faced death against segregation and jim crow looking on, in their lifetimes, the mind just boggles. John Lewis was on MSNBC talking right after the win and he just looked, for lack of a better word, thunder-struck. Having not lived through those times I can only imagine what it must mean to have experienced the segregated south first hand, and then watch pieces of it vote for a black president.
“I just don’t know how to express myself.”
And make no mistake about it, it was NOT the black vote which elected President Elect Obama (I just love writing that). There are not enough black people in this country to do it. Millions of white voters looked at him and saw, if not themselves, someone they could trust with their security, prosperity and future. Even if we call it purely symbolic, it is a massive, awesome event.
And I’ll put on my critical hat, and watch every move he makes to see if he fulfills his tremendous promise, tomorrow. But today…. Man. I’m so happy.
Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO talking about racism in the context of this election. Just watch it.
This goes to a point that I don’t have time to talk about enough which I feel that a lot of people miss: a huge amount of the evil that is done and called racism is actually about class, rich people oppressing poor people and using any issue they can to keep people from recognizing that.
I feel like Race In America, as much as it shouldn’t be marginalized or ignored, is really a smoke screen for class warfare advocated for and perpetrated by people like the Republican party. I feel that the biggest differences are not between me and a black friend who grew up comfortable (aka rich in the eyes of 97% of the world), with two parents and access to education and resources, like me. I feel the gap is much greater between myself and someone who grew up in a much rougher situation, without all of those things and the outlook that arises out of that, whatever race they are.
Those gaps, the differences, are the cracks that racism grows in, along with the fear and resentment that arises when people fail to understand one another. When these differences are watered and fertilized and nursed and encouraged by people like Sarah Palin, trying to turn Barack into the ‘frightening other’ the ‘socialist’ the ‘muslim’ who ‘isn’t a real American’ all that she is trying to do is continue the familiar tactics of divide and conquer, to keep the have-nots at one another’s throats while the haves consolidate their wealth and power. The Republican’s are very, very explicit about this, with their policies of trickle down economics (table scraps anyone?) and belief that the free market will take care of everyone (everyone who matters anyway) and it is only through the use of things like racism that they are able to keep poor people divided enough to believe that someone like John McCain or Sarah Palin is on their side, one of them, with their best interests in mind.
We’re 32 hours out from the first polls closing. I’m confident but also deeply impatient. I was talking about some music business with someone on the phone last night and he said “We could meet Tuesday night?” I told him “I am not gonna be anywhere besides on the edge of my mom’s couch in front of the TV until Barack wins this fucking thing.”
It’s super-realness time America. God save us if he doesn’t win.
Did you notice how cool Barack was in the last debate? Have you notice how much gray hair has popped out of Barack’s head over the course of his campaign? Is Barack able to be himself? Can you really even get angry while in fear of being angry?
In that same/last debate, did you also notice how John McCain was blinking about a hundred thousand times a minute? Did you see the bulge in his neck? He was visibly upset, and you can tell by the way he was interrupting Barack and by his jagged responses. Did you also notice in the second debate when McCain referred to Obama as “that one”? All Barack could do was just smile (and you know that somewhere in his bones, he would like to say that “this is some BS”.)
Anger is a natural emotion, but if you are black, Latino, a person of color, there’s no space in these United States for you to be angry. It has taken me years to understand that as a black person, it is not acceptable to be angry in America. People will be terrified of you, but this is not about me, (I am still angry and trying to realize the difference between proactive anger and reaction anger) this is about Brother Barack.
I pray that Our Beloved Brother Barack has some outlet. I pray that he and Sister Michelle have some private conversations about black stress and internalized racism. Black stress and internalized racism can lead to heart attacks and high blood pressure. I hear that he’s smoking again, that can only accelerate the process.
J. Edgar Hoover (FBI Director for a very long time) constantly referred to black people, specifically civil rights leaders (including MLK) as communists or socialists. In the last few days, McCain’s criticisms of Obama’s economic/tax policies of “spreading the wealth” as socialism echo those old attacks and accusations of black leaders. That is racist and hypocritical, after McCain voted for the use of government funds to bail out Wall St.
Here’s what inspired this post… Brand new DB!
Tim Wise should not be one of the few white people in America who talk consistently about white privilege, but he is.