December 04 – Volume 5 # 12
“I’m Your Pusher”
“In society you have illegal and legal
We need both to make things equal
So legal is tobacco, illegal is speed
Legal is aspirin, illegal is weed
Crack is illegal, because they can not stop ya
Cocaine is legal if it’s owned by a doctor
Everything you do in private is illegal
Everything’s legal if the government can see you”
-Boogie Down Productions 2:4-
Do you feel sleepy when you wake up in the morning?
When the temperature rises, do you generally find that you feel warmer?
After you cut your hair, does it mysteriously reappear weeks later? Do you have more trouble seeing when your eyes are closed than when they’re open?
After you take a shit, do you find that you have to wipe your ass?
Men when having sex, does your penis get too hard?
Do you have problems remembering all of the members of your 2nd grade class?
If any of these symptoms affect you, I have the drug for you. It’s called Noyzeforall, and it’s sure to fight most any ailment that afflicts you. Don’t worry if none of the ones I mentioned apply to you, we’ll find one that will.
The government says that I have to warn you guys though, there are a few side effects to my FDA (Food and Drug Administration) -approved drug. You may suffer from headaches, nausea, blurred vision, incoherent speech, occasional spontaneous bouts with diarrhea. Some patients may experience bleeding from their eyes. Others have been known to lose fingers and toes while sleeping. For women who are pregnant, there have been some isolated cases of having your delivery delayed an additional 17 months. If you are taking Noyzeforall with other products like daily vitamins, catsup, Corn Pops or water, there is a slight chance that you can experience a stroke. Some men over 50 have suffered from temporary, permanent paralysis.
But when most of these side effects occur they are generally fairly mild. At least that’s how it was on the five rats we tested the drugs on during halftime of the Carolina-Kentucky game. Besides, like I said, we received FDA approval. And everyone knows their standards are very rigorous.
Sure, there are occasional mishaps like the few guys who have had heart attacks related to Viagra. Heah, at least they got to go out like that . And as for the estimated 55,000 that have died from Vioxx; a pill used to treat arthritis pain, all I can say is that freedom isn’t free. And Celebrex will only kill you if you take enough to eliminate the pain it’s prescribed to treat.
You won’t have that problem with my drug because your government is working hard to protect the American people from the evils of the world, and allowing people to live a more enjoyable life by taking the drugs they push, while stigmatizing the ones that they can’t directly control.
And many Americans are turning on. Since 1988, for example, over 27 million Americans have began taking Prozac to address emotional and mental health issues; generating billions in sales nationwide. TheU.S.government is not against the public being sedated per se, they just want to be the ones doing it. Even if Prozac, and other anti-depressants like Paxil, have been known to cause heart attacks and have been linked to suicide. Some estimates have current usage at 44 million, including thousands of children under the age of ten. Like the tobacco drug companies have shown us for generations, it’s good to get ’em hooked early.
But these kids today are lucky. They don’t have to just settle for stuff like weed, booze, crystal meth or ecstasy; there are all types of wonderful drugs pushed to them in their living rooms all the time. They don’t have to bear the risk of going into a shady spot and potentially get locked up or robbed. They can go online for many of these drugs if they want to. And why wouldn’t they?
After all, look at how happy those people in the Cialis commercials are. They too can dream of the day when they have a four-hour erection thanks to the genius of modern medicine.
Meanwhile, state governments throughout the United States are ensuring that people like Montell Williams don’t get access to drugs like marijuana that would make them feel better in treating diseases like Multiple Sclerosis. But while Montell has the money and exposure to combat and skirt the legal system more easily, people like Jeffrey Zeal Stefanoff have not been as fortunate. This Vietnamveteran served nine months in the Texas Department Criminal Justice’s Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Program.
After spending some time in a halfway house, he is currently on probation and will have all this for display on his permanent records as he seeks future employment in an ever-tightening job market. Stefanoff explains his marijuana use, saying:
“Being a medical marijuana user in Texas in this day and age is not easy nor a safe practice, even if your life depends on it. I have grown and used medical marijuana since 1979 to relieve the pain I have from a broken back. My T-12 vertebrae was fractured and compressed and as result I have three dissolving discs and a couple of bulging ones. I also use marijuana to relieve the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I acquired both of these conditions while serving in the USArmy from 1971 through 1978. The Veterans Administration (VA) didn’t recognize PTSD for many years and so many of us veterans suffered alone in silence. In time, word spread among the Veterans that marijuana would stop or reduce the night terrors (which are a hundred times worse than a nightmare), help stop panic and anxiety attacks, reduce anger, slow down mood swings and make us less suicidal. I tried it, and found out that I could also use marijuana to relieve the back pain without having to worry about becoming addicted. I had tried narcotic-based pain medication in the past and they didn’t relieve the pain, but instead they made me sick.”
The government will argue against the legalization of the greeny-green because of the health risks and its perception as being a gateway drug that could lead to more harmful addictions like heroin or cocaine. Make no mistake, there are potential side effects to marijuana. There are few things that you put into your body that don’t have side effects of some sort. But talk about gateway drugs and all that jazz is on some other shit.
Like Chuck D told me a while back, I caution you to not believe the hype. These cats don’t really care that much about your health. Unlike many of the drugs that they say are ok to consume, it is all-but impossible to overdose on weed. Trust me on this one. But this is not true of products like Celebrex and even over-the-counter drugs like Bayer. I’ve literally had to edit this piece several times because new reports are coming in so rapidly about the dangers of many of these clinically-approved drugs.
So consumer health is not the concern. Or at least if the powers-that-be have a choice between making a buck and improving your health, history has shown overwhelmingly that they go with making a buck.
The reason why they want to keep marijuana illegal is because it makes a whole lot more money for them to lock people up for having a nickel bag, than they would get from taxing the crop legally.
I’m not naïve, most arguments for legalization of weed aren’t motivated by a benevolent concern for cancer or AIDS patients. Most people just feel like there are a lot worse things you can do than smoke a blunt, eat some Doritos, laugh at some cartoons and fall asleep in front of the TV.
This world will wear you out, and just about everybody is doing something . Some people are addicted to caffeine. Others go through cigarettes quicker than Kobe Bryant can lose street cred or put up shots. Some inhale cheeseburgers and Krispy Kremes to work through their problems. Others inhale dicks. People like Rush Limbaugh take too many painkillers.
Basically, most people find some escape from this crazy world in some form, and for the most part, the judgment of these actions should be reserved for The Creator.
Of course, there are exceptions. History has shown us extensively that it’s probably not a good idea to do crack or heroin. And you shouldn’t be allowed to do something that will put someone else in harm’s way. But by-and-large, unless you’re flying my plane or driving the 18-wheeler next to me, if you’re an adult’s who’s willing to deal with the consequences of your actions (liver damage, cancer, STD’s), then I say live and let live.
Many have no-doubt heard the ludicrous talk about banning certain kinds of junk food. Even the most avid of health nuts think that this would be taking things a bit too far, but in my estimation the debate over marijuana is no less ridiculous.
I know full-well that eating cheeseburgers, pizzas, French Fries (or Freedom Fries for my patriotic readers) is not beneficial to my health. But I’m a grown man. I can think for myself and make my own decisions. Eating that shit is preferable for me and I don’t want to eat leaves and grass; I mean salads all day, but that’s just me. I’m not hurting anybody else by clogging my arteries so I should have the choice to get six wings and mild sauce if I want to. But by the same token I can’t feign ignorance if I develop high blood pressure sometime down the line.
Besides, it takes some gall for the same government that sanctions malt-liquor being air-bombed into the ghetto, to pretend to have concerns about people’s health.
Now I certainly don’t want a world where everyone is smoking weed. Many of you motherfuckers need to put down the blunt you’re smoking now, get off your mamas couch and get on with life. But I know many people from all walks of life who have managed to indulge in this habit without ax-murdering anybody or start stealing car radios to pay for it. To parallel smoking weed with other drugs is not only irresponsible, it’s just plain dumb. And it is not just the so-called low-lives of society who partake in this pastime.
Firemen. Cops. Teachers. Lawyers. Professional athletes. Business executives. Soldiers. Stockbrokers. Athletes. Clergymen. Uncles. Your best friend’s ole’ girl. Your father is probably somewhere passing the dutchie on the left hand side as I speak.
It is high time (pun intended) that America stops lying to itself. The Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates that 94.9 million (40.9 percent) Americans have used marijuana in their lifetime. The numbers of people who say they have ever smoked are well off, please believe me. Everybody isn’t Redman or Ricky Williams, but you have to work really, really hard not to ever have smoked something by your 25 th birthday. It’s certainly not everyone’s thing, so society wouldn’t go to hell. The same way seeing liquor commercials every ten minutes hasn’t turned everyone into a raging alcoholic. Most people may try herb a time or two and keep it moving. Or they may indulge in it socially like champagne on New Years. There would not be a national outbreak of reefer madness.
Besides, it’s delusional for the government to think that they can ever win any kind of war on drugs. As long as people want to get high off of something, there will damn sure be people who will find a way to get it to them.
The resources that are used for this mythical “War on Drugs” could go to so many other things. Things that actually work to improve people’s lives. Things that could potentially eliminate some of society’s problems. People overdosing on herb is not one of them.
But this is not the government’s aim, to make things better for the people. They and their corporate partners want to have a monopoly on the drug trade. Hell, they’ve even managed to find a way to sell weed through the product Marinol. The prescription drug is used to stimulate appetite and limit nausea in people with AIDS, and cancer patients who have received chemotherapy.
In recent years the market has been flooded with all types of products, often times aimed at some lifestyle issue rather than one truly related to life-sustaining health. There are diseases, illnesses and mysteries in health that have been with us for thousands of years. Doesn’t it seem a little odd that these pharmaceutical companies market their drugs as if they’ve figured out all the answers in the last ten?
Our generation serves as the guinea pigs for these corporations’ Manchurian-like experiments. They capitalize off of these drugs without fully knowing what the long-term effects will be. Many people will be ok, and will be happy with their hard dick or larger breasts. And if some patients go blind or have a miscarriage every once in a while, then hey it’s just the price for science right?
But the FDA, who is supposed to protect us against these things, serves as a prime illustration of exactly how America works and where juice truly rests. Much of the funding that the FDA relies on for its screening of these corporate drugs comes from the pharmaceutical companies themselves. In an interview with “Frontline,” Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group describes the process this way:
“For the first 86 years of the FDA’s existence, from 1906-1992, all of the FDA’s funding came through the U.S. Treasury. In other words, everyone paid their taxes, and the FDA got appropriations out of the budget. Starting in 1992, unfortunately, a law was passed that said for a large proportion of the work done by the FDA on new drug applications, the money’s going to come directly, quid pro quo, from the industry. If they want a drug reviewed, they pay directly to the FDA to have the drug reviewed…It’s developed an unhealthy sort of client relationship between the government and the industry which, I think has resulted in some drugs getting approved that shouldn’t; drugs being put on a faster track than they should have.”
This presents a clear conflict of interest when the police are dependent on the criminals for their operations. Anybody who does not think that this setup is hazardous to the health of the general public has got to be smoking something.
Peace and God bless.
November 04 – Volume 5 # 11
“Wherever the real power in a government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our government the real power lies in the majority of the community.” -James Madison-
“We must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been. The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of the thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.” -Howard Zinn-
“I want to lie to you sometime but I can’t
I want to tell you that it’s all good, but it ain’t
It’s nigga hurtin and uncertain
If they gone make it or not…” -Goodie Mob 1:2-
Well, the people have spoken.
In states as diverse at Utah, Ohio and Florida they have told us loud and clear that daily reports of their children being brought home in body bags is not the priority that I thought it was from all the yellow “Support Our Troops” ribbons that I can see on cars as I speed up and down I-57.
Reports from the New York Times and “60 Minutes” showing that troops are having to place scraps of discarded metal, wood and sandbags to protect the Hummers they drive through the desert for protection against landmines are apparently ok by a significant majority of the American people. Despite $150 billion of our tax dollars being spent to fight the “heroic” war on terrorism, many of America’s best and bravest have had to spend some of their measly monthly allowances to buy Motorola walkie-talkies to communicate on, as there is somehow not enough money for the army to provide these basic tools. And while the nation’s highways are overflowing like nothing else with Hummers of all colors and varieties, the troops await more to arrive from production lines.
It does not seem to matter to these Americans; who have been scared into an obsessed focus on terrorism, that while 19-year old kids are losing legs, arms and heads inIraq, Osama Bin Laden is making more videos than Tupac. So long as someone is dying, I guess this Christian, God-fearing nation is content. No matter if killing Iraqi children doesn’t bring the revenge America seeks so enthusiastically.
It seems in the redneck sta-, um I mean, the red states, they don’t care that they are paying outrageous amounts of money on everything from gasoline, college tuition and allergy medicine.
No, a southern twang, a gun and a Bible is what clearly seems to be most important to the majority of people of this nation. It doesn’t matter if we’re losing jobs and every day now we are coming closer to the day where we can actually see and touch the air. Nope, Montana and Alaska are now safe from the terrorist attack that the evil, heathen terrorists surely had in store for them if John Kerry had gotten elected. Having averted this potential disaster, all is now well in the home of the brave. And though many of their own marriages consists of a public charade and private despair, many Americans will rest easy that two gay people who love each other won’t be able to share in the same institutional misery and deception that they do.
Yeah it’s a sad day in America.
Make no mistake, I figured George W. Bush would win in spite of all the massive evidence that should persuade voters to send his ass back to Crawford, Texas to clear brush full time. But to see it finally go down; and so decisively, is very telling for this most imperfect union.
George W. Bush was one of the more flawed and vulnerable political candidates to ever seek public office, to say nothing of the presidency.
His staple issue, The War inIraq, has been a disaster against even the most pessimistic of pre-war standards. The economy is in worst shape than it’s been in generations. He has displayed a consistent pattern of incompetence, and actually has flip-flopped even more than his challenger on everything from the establishment of a Homeland Security Department to the formation of the 9/11 Commission.
From the beginning, John Kerry seemed a weak candidate that didn’t inspire the kind of passion evoked by the likes of Illanoyze senator Barack Obama; and that George W. Bush brings out in conservatives. In an effort to try and out-republican the Republicans, his vote to authorize the war was a hurdle that he couldn’t get over the entire campaign.
But while hindsight is 20/20, the depraved nature of the American public made it where he had no choice but to go along, as a public that wanted blood was overwhelmingly in favor of the war. Any war. And while Kerry set himself up to be tabbed with the fatal label of flip-flopper, the Republicans would have done everything short of call Howard Dean (who opposed the war from the beginning) a pussy all summer long if he had won the nomination.
Newsweek reports that in December of 2003, Bush political strategist Karl Rove already had a file as thick as a telephone book on Dean, featuring a series of public speaking gaffes and political missteps. They were already planning commercials. One admittedly clever ad idea featured an irritated, busy, multi-tasking mother flipping TV channels while a baby cries in the background. As the mother turns to a channel featuring a typically ballistic (and likely sweaty) Howard Dean, the baby is screaming hysterically.
She turns the channel and finds the calming, soothing presence of George W. Bush and, as if touched by Jesus, the baby settles down and stops crying.
The Bush campaign was greatly disheartened that they had to scrap such projects when the media affectively ended Dean’s campaign after his rebel yell inIowa.
Had Dean won the nomination, Bush would have beaten him like he was an Iraqi prisoner at Abu Ghraib. You think they overdid the “liberal” label with Kerry? It would have been off the charts with Dean, and as opposed to the waffling Kerry, it would have been more justified. Fellow leftists and progressives must face the political reality of this country. We are a tribe without a nation. Sure we can have a voice without being executed, and we can hold demonstrations. We can make satire like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and Dave Chapelle. MoveOn.org is the joint. We make Noyzes. But with control of no significant infrastructure, the true left has absolutely no real political juice in theUnited States of America, my friends. None.
For the last 30 years the Democratic Party has been forced to come gradually to the right due to the political realities of the American constituency. In states like Idaho, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi and North Dakota the Democrats don’t even make many efforts to compete as it is totally hopeless to penetrate this base.
This nation and its system of government doesn’t reflect a democracy in the least and it is time that we stop deluding ourselves that it does, or ever can. Or was ever intended to. Only hitting a Great-depression like rock bottom would make people begin to think outside of themselves and form broad coalitions. And even when this inevitably happens, the poor people will probably be pitted against each other in America like they have from the very beginning.
I had hoped to give a unifying message of hope for the future this month, and make no mistake there is, and always will be, hope. But we have quite a fight ahead of us and I can’t bullshit you, people. You have had more than enough of that and I love you too much to contribute to that.
There are many nations of the world where majority rule sets up social structures that are often unjust, discriminatory and just downright cruel. Some women in many societies gradually accept being denied luxuries like access to education. In other countries basic needs aren’t realized if you don’t support the majority party. In stratified nations like Iran, India and Germanythere are groups that want nothing more than fundamental, equitable justice. But because of the structures of their governments and other supporting institutions, these people are forced to submit their wills to the powerful. And so it is in America.
Many will accuse this mentality as working to divide us even more as a nation. But people of my mindset are not the ones who created this ideological atmosphere. I’m all for unity. But I can not promote unity for unity’s sake. I can not unify behind injustice and what I view as policies of domestic genocide.
For too long in this country, progressives have blindly compromised with hopes of minimizing infighting for future socio-political gains. But if the American people believe that a deceitful, unaccountable, elitist buffoon like George W. Bush represents their values, from a moral standpoint, I can not pledge unity to that on any level.
The extreme conservative right; with a nucleus of corporate fat cats, overcompensating pencil-dick gun freaks, dogmatic Evangelicals and racist rednecks have taken the nation hostage and there are absolutely no signs that this is a pattern that is on the wane.
I mean these people no disrespect. This is the culture that they have created for themselves and the values they have created to support it. But these are not values that I share.
Fellow progressives, we are outsiders in America. There is little room for us here. This is not a call to abandon the fight, but we have to seriously reconsider our strategies. I, for one, have lost faith that the polls will bring any justice to us. The polls will not even bring justice to the Republican followers who have prostituted Jesus’ name to hide their fascism.
Within 6 months, definitely no more than 18, many of the American people will realize what I know now; that they made a mistake in re-electing George W. Bush.
They may come to find that, like his daddy, he too would end up having to raise taxes as unforeseen calamities may bring unexpected expenses that can’t be ignored despite Bush’s best efforts to try and put off repayment until our generation inherits it. More wars may require more bodies, and his moral crusade may lead to a draft. Jobs will continue to be lost. The elderly will continue to be denied affordable medication and other basic health services.
These words have been hard to muster this week. My soul is totally crushed as I lay these words down. My entire being is dedicated to trying to save the world at best, and at worst, leave this planet far better than it was when I came into it almost 30 years ago.
But more and more I wonder just how much this section of the world merits saving when so many people are blindly content and see no need to be rescued.
I want very much to believe in my fellow man, but it’s tough. There is little reflected in mainstream American thought that reflects the essence of the creator that this country says it grounds its believes in. Living in this atmosphere is highly detrimental to the mental and spiritual health of those who have hopes of an America that is described in the Constitution and Horatio Alger novels. And the atmosphere under a Bush administration for another four years will prove increasingly detrimental to your physical health with his pals at Halliburton writing the environmental laws to fall in line with their business priorities.
But while the people’s ignorance and apathy is appalling, their actions can somewhat be rationalized. But the role that the media, the 4th estate, played in this heist is piracy of the highest level. Inexplicably, they gave President Bush a free pass for almost the entire three years since 9/11. All in the interests of national security of course. Only after a few explosions and executions did the media think it might be a good idea to start asking a few questions. Prior to this, they served as the president’s personal PR department, accepting Bush spins at will.
I know a lot of really hardworking, dedicated, thorough journalists, so this by no means is a reflection on the entire profession, but overall your brethren let your nation down tremendously. I personally find many of your acts bordering on treason in your complete abandonment of the American citizens who rely on you to ask the questions and connect the dots that they don’t have access to because they’re busy rushing between three jobs.
Predictably, the media pressure on President Bush may be enormous in his 2 nd term, but the damage will have been done. There will perhaps be even fewer press conferences -and that’s barely possible- and absolutely no live TV interviews. Not seeking re-election, the arrogant cowboy won’t have to answer to anyone. Not some punk journalist, and definitely not some lowly ass voter.
I have long argued that the people get the government they deserve so congratulations America, you get George W. Bush for another four years. With luck, perhaps I can be halfway across the world by the time the Jeb Bush campaign starts to gear up in 2007.
To my black people especially, you can absolutely forget about issues relevant to you ever receiving attention. For all the bullshit talk of Bush campaign strategist Karl Rove’s political genius, the Republican base, that forms an overwhelming majority, saw its genesis in 1964 when Arizona senator Barry Goldwater launched his “southern strategy” in playing on age-old prejudices to win the White House. Andrew Hacker says the method was “an unwritten plank in the party’s strategy in that it can win the offices it wants without black votes. More than that, by sending a message that it neither wants nor needs ballots cast by blacks, it feels it can attract even more votes from a much larger pool of white Americans who want a party willing to represent their racial identity.”
Forfeiting the traditional Republican northeast; and the entire black vote, they made efforts to play on racist southern democrats who were still stinging from civil rights victories for blacks that de-segregated public facilities and gave protection to black voting rights. Goldwater didn’t use the openly racist rhetoric exemplified by the likes of Alabama’s George Wallace orArkansas’ Governor Orval Faubus. Instead he hid the issue under the guise of “states rights.” This ideology held that each state should deal with its own race issues, as Washington D.C. bureaucrats just didn’t understand the traditional values of the south.
Deliberately playing on southern racism, the Republicans gained several states in the south for the first time in over 100 years. That 1964 campaign was the last election that Democrats gained the majority of the white vote. Ever since, most whites have rolled with the GOP.
Issues related to blacks were barely mentioned in this election, and it has been over 30 years since our issues have been a central part of either party’s platform. And while many blacks hoped that political alliances could be formed with other marginalized minorities, -especially as we will soon make a numerical majority – it seems that might be a while in the making as 44 percent of both Latinos and Asians bewilderingly voted for President Bush. My instinct is that younger Latin and Asian cats voted differently, but many of their parents seem to share the same values as the Christians who blame them for stealing all their jobs and who want them to abandon their language and culture while in America.
With these additions, and a few coon niggas like Don King, the Republican base is solidified as the political mainstream. And to stir them up in this election, the Republicans again brought out the magic pony of states rights and traditional values.
Regardless of how much born-again shit these politicians talk, the traditional values that they want to hold on to are those that institutionalized slavery, that denied women fundamental rights in a manner reminiscent of the Taliban, values that want to control your personal behavior. These traditional values hold that anyone who doesn’t pretend to be a pious Protestant is a sinner. These same values that defended acts like raping the mother of some slave in full view of her children. Values that thought it ok to burn women and label them witches if they had the audacity to try to read and write.
These injustices have never been addressed in America. Whenever someone has spoken up to try and finally resolve these issues so that our children don’t have to fight these same stupid ass battles, the conservative mainstream discredits them by labeling them a communist, unpatriotic or a liberal. Having control of the structures of information, the Republicans have been able to frame the argument by appealing to the worst in people.
In examining the map it is no coincidence whatsoever that, with a few exceptions and additions, it highly mirrors the union and confederate boundaries of 1861. Before the Civil War the values of close-minded racism and bigotry ruled the nation. OnNovember 2, 2004 we were reminded again that they still do. After a while these things stop being a coincidence.
Peace and God bless.
October 04- Volume 5 # 1
“You a nigga ’til you die
If you a po’ nigga, you a po’ nigga
If you a rich nigga, then you rich nigga
But you neva stop being a nigga
If you get to be educated, then you just a educated nigga” -NWA 2:3-
It is with great reluctance that I critique some of those who opposed Bill Cosby’s comments about the black poor not carrying their weight. Make no mistake, in no way do I endorse the substance of what he said. I think it is important to give our critiques of one another more context than Bill provided at his May 17 speech at an event commemorating the 50 th Anniversary of Brown v. The Board of Education . But I do take issue with those who feel that black people should not “air our dirty laundry” in public. In these last days I believe it is absolutely necessary to hold anyone to task; of any color, if they are behaving against the collective interests of our people.
The problem was that Cosby had his frustration misdirected. Rather than point a finger at the defenseless poor; many of whom have been deliberately set up in a maze that anyone would have trouble escaping, the harshest judgment should be reserved for the black, bourgeoisie elite that Bill Cosby and his generation of safe, content, scared, negro leadership represent.
It is these negroes who have largely abandoned the project of our collective struggle and have gone into their safe, little enclaves; far away from the problems burdening most of their brothers and sisters. Having escaped to safety, many of us have seemed to caught amnesia and lost sight of just how systematic the oppression is, and that our “escape” from it is the exception and not the rule. Regardless of our economic circumstances, this does not give any of us a license to not do all we can to get free. But to believe that merely more slave-driving jobs, and access to brainwashed mis-education, are the answers to changing our peoples’ conditions is blatantly naïve.
No doubt, we should put pressure on all of our people to be the best they can be, but those of us who have “made it” should know perfectly well that we can never become our full selves within the shackles of this system that was created to enslave us. And it is self-defeating for us to continue to try and let our oppressors’ standards be our guide as Cosby seems to want us to do.
I have attended some of the finest of the white man’s institutions of higher learning on the planet. I have been fortunate to excel at every level. My parents raised the three of us in a house, not an apartment, where strict discipline was enforced. Their next wedding anniversary will be their 40th. While my fam is a ways from being the Huxtables, I have little doubt that this is the model that Cosby had in mind when he ridiculed the blacks residing in the lower economic bracket.
But none of my background and upbringing changes the fact that many of the agrarian, poor, white trash here in central Illinois (many of whom speak worst English than me and the black kids Bill Cosby overheard) still view me as a nigga, and a threat, when they see me walking down the street with my headphones on and hat tilted.
To avoid this kind of stigmatization, many educators and respected elders have advised me over the years to not do things like teach college classes with my left pants leg pulled up. And to not inject slang when I’m making a point in class. Some safe niggas I know mock those with dreds and ‘fros as being unkempt. Their reasoning is that this displays un-professionalism, but in my estimation what this mentality really reflects is a subconscious desire to make mainstream white people more comfortable, a practice I have absolutely no interest in whatsoever.
For me personally, it has been some of these assimilated, scared, professional niggas who have worked most against the detriment of those blacks like myself who are trying to navigate through the matrix. My bourgie suburban neighbors who stuck their noses up at me; rather than embrace and help nurture me, when I was a mischievous, somewhat misguided, shorty. Predictably, now that I have received documented approval from Mr. Charlie; in the form of degrees and scholarships, the rebelliousness and frustration that I carried from back then is greeted with more enthusiasm.
And I imagine I am not alone among my brothas and sistas who have so-called pious, religious, hypocritical family members who talk out of both sides of their neck. Doing more to harm those they claim they want to save by placing judgment on all the other sinners, while using faith to shield the dinosaur-sized skeletons in their closet.
Perhaps you too endured educators like the dean of my high school, bitch-ass Dean Pero, at Rich Central. Rather than use the status of his position to serve as a positive role model for black males, he never missed an opportunity to stunt my educational and personal growth by keeping me out of class via suspension as much as possible for a series of petty offenses. Many of which he knew I wasn’t responsible for. It is no exaggeration to say that he absolutely delighted at me not being able to walk across the stage as my classmates walked to the Randy Macho Man Savage song that June of my senior year.
But this self hatred that Pero projected onto me, and others, is not something that is just endemic of the older generation. Soft, sensitive, bohemian, egotistical black intellectuals of my own generation have all the knowledge in the world, but lack the nuts of some of the street hustlers they condemn. So consequently, they never do anything with all the resources they have access to. They just sit around talking to each other, as doing some actual work is better left to someone else.
While I have pleasantly found this to often be the exception here at the University of Illinois, many black fraternities and sororities across the nation shame their founders’ visions by placing greater emphasis on parties and step shows than social service; and arrogantly isolating themselves from the black masses on campus.
Doing business in the street, it has been the conscious hip hop heads that have most often spoken with a forked tongue, and not followed up on shit they say. They don’t eat swine and they know that the black man is God, but to keep their word or be on time for a meeting is asking a bit much for the revolution. And fake MC’s with all the talent in the world bemoan all the bad rap music out there and how Chicago is sleeping on them, and then they don’t hit the pavement to promote their shit. Meanwhile, these Master P-sounding cats are hustling music all over the country out of the trunk of their car, working on 20 hours of sleep a week. But give our conscious brothers about 90 minutes and they’ll break down the math, to rationalize away their lack of action.
There are the college-educated black people who make concentrated efforts to remain uninformed about the world that they live in because they find the news too depressing, or it’s boring. They don’t read because it makes them sleepy. But somehow they can find time for “Nick and Jessica,” “Amish in the City” or “Wife Swap.” But why read anyway, right, if the white man isn’t making you?
I don’t blame the single mother who is working two jobs to save up for her children’s education for her lack of knowledge. Nor do I blame the brotha out on parole who filled out hundreds of job applications before his crack career began. It is difficult for me to scorn the unemployed man who is lead to his alcoholism given all the liquor stores, and lack of outlets for personal growth, in his community. The cat with the mental health problem, but never had it diagnosed because there’s no money for that kind of thing where he lives. The high school valedictorian who had to forego college to get a job in the mall and help her mother take care of her younger siblings.
It is true that many of our people, of all economic classes, have often tried to live beyond our means. However, for many of the impoverished this at least makes rational sense, as many justifiably do not have expectations of a long life to plan for. Why save for a later day, or invest, when there might not be a later day? Most of these “successful” niggas get nice cars, and shit like that, not for the purpose of flaunting it in the faces of the system that tried to deny them symbols of material wealth, but expressly to flaunt it in the faces of their broke brothas and sistas on the bus stop.
Plus, unlike the middle class; who can sometimes gain some autonomy through their hard work; for the poor, material items are the only outlets many have for some form of voice in America. From their vantage point, it seems that the moral and spiritual wealth that many of them possess does not account for much in our society, so they seek material wealth with hopes of gaining a grain of respect that they have been denied for 500 years. After all, if you look at TV or listen to the radio, it seems clear that the only people who matter in society are those with money.
And why not try and go for some quick and easy money on your own time? What’s the alternative? To be a stressed-out, in-debt, overworked, soulless slave like the rest of our dumb asses punching a time clock?
The educated middle class have the skills to free themselves and their sistas and brothas from this, and could create many outlets for black people. Like we were forced to before legal integration. But instead, they have spent the past 40 years fixated on the symbols of white American affluence and showing other niggas how much shit they have. Blinded by toys that they have allowed to enslave them in the form of mortgages, vacations and car notes they couldn’t really afford, these safe niggas don’t want to rock the boat.
Like the whites who have moved far, far away from their black asses as soon as they moved to the suburbs; these safe niggas view the poor blacks as a threat to their way of life. So like Bill last May, they attack the truly disadvantaged who they fear may interrupt their superficial way of life.
But it would be too much to ask these safe niggas to challenge the system. This would mean sacrificing some of the wealth, trinkets and accolades that they have accumulated within it. They saw how Craig Hodges and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf were blackballed out of the NBA after they took political stances. They saw how Arsenio’s show got cancelled when he had Farrakhan on. More vividly, they saw slugs pierce through Malcolm, Martin and Medgar. So instead of continuing this tradition of using their access to challenge the system, the safe niggas have sat back like some passive little bitches, during their free moments not spent exercising the oppressor’s plan.
Let us not be disillusioned. For true change to come for our people, black people will have to take some very hard stands against the system, sometimes even working against our own personal interests. The biggest price to pay will be for those who have been blessed with the most.
But sacrifice is hard, it is far easier to pick on the black poor. There is no one to stand up for them, after all. Meanwhile, racist conservatives nod in approval when detached cats like Bill Cosby say stuff like:
“The lower economic people are not
holding up their end in this deal. These
people are not parenting. They are buying things for
kids – $500 sneakers for what? And won’t
spend $200 for “Hooked on Phonics.”…They’re
standing on the corner and they can’t
speak English. I can’t even talk the way these
people talk: “Why you ain’t,” “Where you is” And I blamed
the kid until I heard the mother talk. Everybody knows it’s
important to speak English except these
knuckleheads…You can’t be a doctor with that
kind of crap coming out of your mouth.”
Bill speaks as if these problems have occurred in a vacuum. And what’s more, rather than challenging “these people” to redefine their black selves, he is encouraging them to assimilate to Anglo standards, something we can not, and should not, do. Progress is not simply about changing our family structure, wearing a tie and correcting our broken English to fall in step with the standards of our oppressors. What standards are these for any thinking people to follow anyway? Least of all, the daughters and sons of slaves.
Of course it is not all the white man’s fault that some brothas have chosen not to take responsibility for their children. And a lot of cats sell crack to they boy’s mama, not because they are hungry, but because they are some greedy, selfish, materialistic bastards.
These individuals should be critiqued with full fury.
But those of us like Bill and me are more the product of good fortune, rather than a product of us being more moralistic, hard working or intelligent than our brethren who have fallen by the waste side. This blessing is not to be used to point fingers, but to set a better example than our oppressors have provided for them.
The ideology that Cosby displayed here is a most unfortunate break with black tradition, as many who have “made it” in past generations have behaved in direct contrast to the actions of those few blacks like him who were able to get a little bit of a better seat in the master’s house.
Despite this, I don’t question Cosby’s dedication to his people, as I believe his comments were inspired by a deep and intense love for black folks. So I’m not mad at Bill, and he can throw stones if he wants. But he should make sure that he slings some at the true enemy sometimes too. This would be a greater help to the poor black masses instead of adding to the repeated attacks on their collective self esteem.
Peace and God bless.
September 04 – Volume 5 # 9
“My job is to, like, think beyond the immediate.” –George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 21, 2004-
“This has been tough weeks in that country.” –George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 13, 2004-
“In my judgment, when the United States says there will be serious consequences, and if there isn’t serious consequences, it creates adverse consequences.” –George W. Bush, Meet the Press , Feb. 8, 2004-
“There is no such thing necessarily in a dictatorial regime of iron-clad absolutely solid evidence. The evidence I had was the best possible evidence that he had a weapon.” –George W. Bush, Meet the Press , Feb. 8, 2004-
“Then you wake up at the high school level and find out that the illiteracy level of our children are appalling.” –George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2004-
“I want to remind you all that in order to fight and win the war, it requires an expenditure of money that is commiserate with keeping a promise to our troops to make sure that they’re well-paid, well-trained , well-equipped.” –George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2003-
“See, without the tax relief package, there would have been a deficit, but there wouldn’t have been the commiserate — not ‘commiserate’ — the kick to our economy that occurred as a result of the tax relief.” –George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Dec. 15, 2003-
“[A]s you know, these are open forums, you’re able to come and listen to what I have to say.” –George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Oct. 28, 2003-
“See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don’t attack each other. Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction.” –George W. Bush, Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 3, 2003-
“Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace.” –George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., July 25, 2003-
“Our country puts $1 billion a year up to help feed the hungry. And we’re by far the most generous nation in the world when it comes to that, and I’m proud to report that. This isn’t a contest of who’s the most generous. I’m just telling you as an aside. We’re generous. We shouldn’t be bragging about it. But we are. We’re very generous.” –George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., July 16, 2003-
“It’s very interesting when you think about it, the slaves who left here to go to America, because of their steadfast and their religion and their belief in freedom, helped change America.” –George W. Bush, Dakar, Senegal, July 8, 2003-
“I urge the leaders in Europe and around the world to take swift, decisive action against terror groups such as Hamas, to cut off their funding, and to support — cut funding and support, as the United States has done.” –George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., June 25, 2003-
“I’m the master of low expectations.” –George W. Bush, aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003-
“I’m also not very analytical. You know I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things.” –George W. Bush, aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003-
The following is but a small sample of the “logic” that has governed Americain the last four years.
For the past six years I have looked on in utter disbelief at some of the things I have seen take place in this country. I say six because I couldn’t believe that so many Americans were treating George W. Bush seriously as a presidential candidate in the first damn place.
Since his selection victory , -as opposed to election – day after day I have seen the nation’s president; and his men, come on television and spew outrageous lies and exaggerations. His pattern of irresponsibility is sending the country and the world in a dangerous and potentially irreversible direction.
Time and again, his decision-making has shown Bush unfit to be president of the fundraising committee of the PTA in a town of 180 people, to say nothing of being president of the most powerful nation in the history of the world.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in his God-awful handling of Iraq.
Regardless of what your politics may be, it is difficult to form a logical, coherent and believable argument that this was a just and necessary war.
War is not something to be taken lightly. It’s more than tough slogans and national anthems celebrating death. Friends of mine are over there in this bullshit. So far they remain here on Earth with us, but many other Americans (and thousands of unreported Iraqis) have not been as fortunate. Others have made it back to North America’s shores literally half the men they used to be, as they have suffered amputations due to combat.
Regardless of what is being said now, most of the American people and their representatives in Congress supported the invasion of Iraq on the basis of its imaginary relationship to the attacks on 9/11.
The Bush Administration knew at the time there was absolutely no link whatsoever between Iraqand the attacks on the World Trade Center. Many Americans believed there was such a link, and waved their flags enthusiastically with mouths foaming, as they smelled blood and payback.
Bush and his bitch-ass crew launched an attack against a nation that had never attackedAmerica. A nation and regime that had largely gained and maintained power -much like Osama Bin Laden- with decades of American assistance.
After the tragedy of 9/11, America had an opportunity to be a positive model of peace and progress for the rest of the world. For a brief moment Americans had regained the humanity they had packed away centuries ago. Bush quickly fucked that all up to be damn, and set a horrible precedent for international “diplomacy” in the process.
If the most powerful nation in the world has the nerve to launch a pre-emptive attack, what’s to stop Russia from having carte blanche over Chechnya. Why shouldn’t India nuke Pakistan if it feels its security is threatened? Why shouldn’t Israel launch attacks againstPalestinewhen it sees fit? This type of behavior does not give us a safer, more secure world and anyone who says so is not only an idiot, but should go on the front lines themselves to make sure national safety is secured.
These nations that I mentioned would have more reasonable justification for their pre-emptive attacks due to geographical proximity and a history of often, fierce conflict. At no time did Iraq provide any actual threat to American security. That’s not to say that Sadaam wouldn’t probably love a chance to get at America if he could, but through all types of sanctions and isolation, Americahad too much leverage; as always, and likely would have eventually worn Iraq down without having to go to war. Our neighbor to the South ,Cuba, serves as a historical precedent for my rationale.
But instead of using war as an absolute last resort, Bush played on people’s fears in arguing that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. I made the argument in the May, 2003 “Noyzes” that while I was skeptical that they’d find anything at all, any weapons they might find would not be capable of reaching American shores. It turns out that Iraq didn’t have any weapons at all, at least to date. I lose sleep at night with the fear that they find the weapons of mass destruction and Bin Laden a couple of weeks before the election, exciting the gullible American public into giving Bush four more years.
Since no weapons have been found, Bush has managed to cleverly change the argument to one of providing Iraqis “freedom,” a fuckin joke if I ever heard one. Additionally, they contend that the world is safer without Sadaam Hussein. Somehow the American public does not see the potential consequences to going around removing other nation’s leaders. Additionally, Bush has created thousands of willing, enthusiastic martyrs out of people who previously had only casual interest in Iraq. And he has madeAmerica’s friends become its enemies. This is a significant flaw in the so-called “war on terror” where America’s enemy is not constrained by geographical boundaries, and assistance from other nations is absolutely essential.
Bush’s “coalition of the willing” inIraqis comical. Spain and The Philippines swift withdrawal displayed vividly how shaky this coalition is. This is a situation that does not look to improve asAmericais so incredibly despised throughout the world that it is political suicide domestically for foreign leaders to support Bush’s actions in Iraq.
And he has had to flip-flop in running back to the United Nations for support after pompously contending that America didn’t need a pass to ensure its security.
With nowhere to turn to in the world, America gives virtually all the lives and all the dollars to this imperialistic endeavor. Bush has already requested approximately $135 billion for the war inIraq. Strapped-cashed Americans didn’t blink. The cost has continued to escalate. American tax dollars have been spent on such bear necessities as creating a new Iraqi area code. And we’ve all chipped in for the $50,000 a month for soda and $1 million a month for the laundry of Halliburton employees according to Lisa Myers of MSNBC. And since Bush has gotten America into some shit he has no idea how to get out of, the cost will continue to rise like Maya Angelou. Time to break open those penny banks.
I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that November 2 may be the most important day in the last 150 years. This election has consequences the likes of which many have no idea. It will be a sad day in America, and for humanity, if George W. Bush is elected to a second term.
If given four more years, it seems almost without question that he will make more wars. Iran is probably next up (although Kerry may do this too, truthfully). Maybe Syria at some point. Nobody real big though that could give them a decent, sustained fight like North Korea. Enough to make Bush look tough and Americans feel good about themselves by proving that they can kill better than anybody in the world. Nevermind what the grassroots; who support the war, will sacrifice in pothole repairs, healthcare and other amenities.
But I guess freedom isn’t free, right? Unless you’re a wealthy American. For them freedom truly is free, and not only because their wealth allows them clever ways to escape combat. But also because the wealthy in America do not sacrifice much of anything. In fact, they often reap the economic benefits for war like Dick Cheney’s peoples at Halliburton who have been awarded $18 billion in contracts inIraq by the Pentagon.
With this backdrop I am uncertain what arguments Bush can make to appeal to the American people as he seeks re-election this fall.
2.7 million manufacturing jobs have been loss under his watch. Employment in this sector is at a 53-year low. These jobs are key not only because, on average, they pay 23 percent more than the romanticized service sector of the economy. But also because these are the jobs that really have sustained and built the “middle-class”America that Bush says is the backbone of the country.
Meanwhile, the costs of college continues to increase, making it difficult for parents who want provide the higher education for their children that they had to forego to enter the workforce and support their families.
And for those fortunate enough to take on $80,000 in student loans and get a college degree, it still does not guarantee employment, as President Bush is doing his part to make it easier for corporations to send your white-collar job overseas as well.
In March, Bush Treasury Secretary John Snow said that outsourcing is good for the economy. The conservative rationale for this is that by allowing corporations to take advantage of cheaper labor overseas, Americans will pay less for those products, and be able to save more money than if the products were made by Americans.
But increasingly under Bush, those who are lucky enough to find employment, have had to work harder to bring home less, as average income has gone down for three consecutive years.
But to hell with these statistics, look around at what you’ve seen. Most of the people I know have been struggling in recent years. Not irresponsible dead beats as the Republicans often portray people they’ve locked out of the system, but good, so-called responsible, hard working folks. They want to save money to buy a house. They want to clean up their credit. Pay back their student loans. Make sure they have enough gas in their car to get to work. They want to save money for their children’s education. They want to take vacations every once and a while during a rare break from their hard work.
They’d make Bill Cosby proud.
But increasingly, people’s hard work is bringing them less and less. Others, who are well qualified and want to work, have not been able to find it.
I do not contend that all of this is due to the president, but his callous indifference and lack of empathy to these people’s problems is absolutely appalling.
And what has been even more disappointing is President Bush’s lack of leadership. None of us can deny that these are very defining times. Perhaps for the human species. What America needs now is a true leader . Someone who inspires us to do better, to think outside of ourselves. Someone who makes us feel like we’re all in this thing together.
Leadership does not mean basking in the praise and ducking the blame. I could accept that perhaps at the time he had made the decision, he reasonably thought invading Iraqwas the right thing to do and thought the decision would make the American people safer.
Now personally, I don’t believe Bush believed this for a moment, but for the sake of argument, if he did, I could excuse him for that. What I can’t excuse is the president consistently not taking accountability for the decisions that he makes.
All my decisions as CEO of Illanoyze have not been good ones, but there has not been a single time that I did not accept the responsibility for them. Even if one of my crew might play a role in the action, as the leader of our company I feel it would be unthinkable for me to pass the buck on any issue. It is unacceptable from the “leader of the free world” as well. His decisions affects not millions, but billions of lives.
But again, Iraqis just one piece of a massive maze of incompetence and deception.
While the Republicans have consistently laid claim to being the party of fiscal responsibility, Bush and his Congress have seen the deficit swell to record proportions. They try and put a happy face on being $445 billion dollars in the hole, but this will not translate well to the American people, who as always, will get stuck with the bill.
Bush has consistently shown that his interests lie in protecting the interests of the “haves and have mores.” His plan is to reduce the deficit by holding annual budget increases at a limit of 4 percent. To show that he’s tough, he plans to increase military spending by 4.2 percent to $380 billion. He also wants an additional $1 billion to go into the reconstruction of Afghanistan. So with this in mind, common sense tells you that something will have to give and you know what this generally means for the poor people. Less after-school programs, health facilities, funding for education and other basic services to improve conditions in the ghetto.
Despite this, somehow much of middle-America has the impression that George W. Bush is for the common man. He has tried to argue that his tax cuts have been a Godsend to Americans and is spurring the economy. And while this certainly sounds good to get some money back from the government, President Bush is disingenuous when he creates the impression that these cuts break down in the same manner for all the American people.
According to an August 13th report by the Congressional Budget Office, 1/3 of the tax cuts benefited those earning in the top 1 percent. For this group, where the average income is $1.2 million, they received a refund on average of $78,460. Additionally their overall tax burden fell 2 percent.
Individuals averaging $57,000 in annual income received a tax cut of $1,090.
Meanwhile for those at the bottom of the totem pole who make $16,620, their average tax cut was just $250.
But this is not surprising, there have been few instances in his history where Bush has demonstrated himself to be for the people. His public policy is no different.
He sides with the healthcare industry in placing limits on patient lawsuits against HMO’s. He also wants to protect gunmakers from lawsuits and wants to make it easier to get guns on the street. His answer to improving the environment -so the world can produce less asthmatic babies like me- is to have the corporations police themselves in setting tougher environmental standrards. Companies like Bush bedfellow, Enron, display that it is rare that corporate America has the general American’s best interest in mind. But this is the ideology of the people’s president.
If he is re-elected he may have a chance to pick as many as three Supreme Court justices, a very scary thought as he is on record as saying that he believes Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas are model justices.
But even more frightening is that he’ll have an opportunity to fill the local courts with circuit and appellate judges that share his ideology. While governor of Texas, his state had by far the most executions in the nation, which provides a window into his vision of justice.
One of the primary injustices of the Bush presidency has been his repeated repulsion of individual rights though such measures as the Patriot Act that he is trying to renew. The act is generally supported by a paranoid public of Orwellian proportions who feel that sacrificing their personal freedoms is in our best interest, and that we are more free having the government snoop around in our library and bank account records.
The president also supports the labeling of U.S.citizens as enemy combatants, which means that if you do something that they construe as threatening or treasonous, you too could be subject to a kangaroo court where you are not allowed any witnesses, no records are taken and there is no jury.
This is George W. Bush’s vision forAmericain the 21st century. And this situation is only to get worst if Bush does not have to concern himself with re-election or thoughts of a higher office in the future. With four years, a Republican Congress and Supreme Court, all politics of civility and compromise will be a thing of the past.
Many national polls as of this writing show Bush with a narrow lead. His re-election would be a sad development for the possibility of any true democracy inAmerica. For me, it would be a clear indicator that most Americans have little concern for facts and what’s best for the long-term interest of the nation. It will show that not even basic common sense will motivate the masses to act in their own interests as opposed to those of the ruling elite.
I do not profess to be a loyal Democrat in the least. I believe that the modern Democratic Party is incredibly soft and do not fight hard enough for what they really believe in.
The Republicans do. They fight tooth and nail. And with this tenacity, and a lot of money, they have succeeded in polarizing the nation like it hasn’t been since 1865.
Beginning withAtwater, on through Nixon, made into a religion under Ronald Reagan, now potentially solidified as a way of American life; the Republican Party has spearheaded the movement in making this a nation of shallow, selfish, paranoid, racist heathens and infidels.
Another term of George W. Bush will tell me loud and clear that this is the kind of society that most Americans want to live in. It will give me great insight into how they want their children raised. And it will tell this conscious black man; loud and clear, what I have known since I arrived at America’s shores almost 500 years ago. Yes, a country where George W. Bush is considered the ideal leader will let me know resoundingly that this is no place for me.
Peace and God bless.
August 04 – Volume 5 # 8
“Harmful, When Taken in Moderation”
“…Your advice about moderation, egoism, etc…all of the most execrable qualities an individual can have. Not only am I not moderate, I shall try not ever to be, and when I recognize that the sacred flame within me has given way to a timid votive light, the least I could do is to vomit over my own shit. Insofar as your call to moderate self-interest; that is to say, to rampant and fearful individualism…I must tell you I have done a lot to eliminate these…I identify totally with my comrades of the cause…The concept of “I” disappeared totally to give place to the concept of “us”…It is a profound error on your part to believe that it is out of moderation or moderate self interest that great inventions, or artful masterpieces come about. For all great tasks, passion is needed, and for the revolution, passion and audacity are needed in large doses, things we have as a human group.” -Ernesto “Che” Guevara-
“The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation.” -Albert Einstein-
They don’t make men like John Brown anymore. Now there’s a white cat who was about revolution.
John Brown, was the 19 th century abolitionist who “rock-chalked, Jayhawked” on his way to killing 5 white settlers in the pro-slavery town of Lawrence, Kansas. Later he lead an attack on Haper’s Ferry; aVirginia military base, with plans to give arms to black slaves in the South. Brown, said to be a deeply religious man, was so opposed to the un-Godly system of slavery that he was ready to give his life for it.
Frustrated with the greed and stubbornness of southern whites, and talks of patience from northern liberals, Brown turned to a reluctant last resort: violence.
Naturally, going up against the might of a government whose primary expertise has been killing people, Brown was eventually captured. And he and 20 others were executed, or killed, during the raid on Harper’s Ferry for the crime of trying to give all Americans the freedom that is often romanticized about by the United States.
Rather than just talk about it from the safety of a luxury condo over martinis, Brown really believed that “freedom isn’t free.” He paid the ultimate price for the freedom of others because he truly believed in the word of God and he truly believed in the words of the Constitution.
Here in the 21st century, most white folks seem willing to pay very little to insure the freedom of their fellow man.
I’m not talking about the Trent Lotts of the world. We don’t mind those white folks so much. At least we know where they stand. They hate us, we hate them. There it is.
But it is those white folks who are friendly to the black cause that have been some of our biggest detriments.
Of course this is not an all-encompassing statement. I personally know some white cats like my boy Kevin Coval who pushes the discussion all the time through his words. My homegirl Erinwho has made it her personal crusade to get academic scholarship connected to the community. Michael Moore can kick it in my cipher anytime. This white cat Steve I met in Cape Town might have been even more radical than me. He felt Mandela sold out South African blacks by not launching a bloody revolution against their white oppressors. And I think my pasty-skinned comrade honestly wanted to go out in the street and kill white folks that night. Then again, I suspect Steve was half crazy like Musiq, but I digress.
The problem is that cats like them are few and far between, and most whites are not willing to make the personal sacrifices necessary to bring about true equal opportunity for all the people of America.
And that’s what it’s going to take, white folks, some concrete, personal sacrifice. Not even a whole bunch. Your kids can still go to private schools. They can even live in their neighborhoods and go to their own hospitals if they want. We can’t do anything about many white folks hating, avoiding contact with and fearing black people in this country, and quite frankly I don’t have the energy to try. Brand Nubian said it best, “Love Me or Leave Me Alone.”
All I, and most black folks want, is the kind of self-determination many of them enjoy in America. The true right and opportunity to be what you want to be. Simple respect and human decency. Access to basic resources such as quality healthcare, homes and education.
This could happen tomorrow if whites were willing to sacrifice through their tax dollars. In the last couple of years we have seen most of white America not ask any questions at all when they approved billions for a war that they, their children and probably their grandchildren will be paying for. Barely anyone blinked when the president proposed the kind of funding to go explore Mars that should legally force him to be subjected to random drug testing.
But when it comes to funding for quality schools in the inner city, hospitals, businesses and infrastructure, white folks talk this shit about privatization, vouchers and demographics.
So instead, they isolate the Negroes and their problems far away from them. In New York. In Philadelphia. In New Orleans. In Chicago fa sho.
Here, a cycle of hopelessness and war repeats itself on the daily.
Many white liberals believe that the way to end this problem, and the racism that supports it, is to educate and enlighten racist people. They reason that once people know and understand the root of racial disparities, things will change.
I once displayed some of this naïve optimism myself. But age, experience and just downright common sense have shown me that it is not merely just about individuals.
George W. Bush is an asshole, no doubt about it. But this is more than just about individuals. The American system is designed and built on the systematic oppression of blacks specifically, and people of color in general.
Don’t take my word for this. Do your own independent research. The research that I’ve come across has shown that it became a great economic empire by having centuries of free labor and it has maintained it by paying blacks and Latinos slave-wages, or other people of color abroad. And when things start to get too bad, they make war with people of color, always a large revenue booster for the military complex, America’s largest industry. It’s why the president can go on TV and brag about an increased GDP when most of the people I know are either losing their job or bring home less and less of their paycheck. Or paycheck( s), in the plural, for my many friends who are working 2 or 3 jobs just to get by like Talib Kweli. War brings in all kinds of money for politicians and CEO’s, but the people ain’t really seeing too much of that.
But most Americans have been blind to these links because your government has consistently played on our emotions and fears to keep our minds numb.
America played on our fears inVietnamand throughout the “Cold War” in saying that the communists would threaten our freedom. The Spanish were the ones they over-hyped to be feared in the “Spanish-American War” of 1898.
After going to war from what, by all indications, seems to have been a false report of a Spanish attack on an American ship ,America essentially controlled the political and economic landscape of Cuba for the next 50 years.
When Castro put an end to all that, America isolated Cuba from the world, as it has for the last 60 years.Cuba poses no threat to American safety whatsoever in 2004, but the embargo remains. Freedom-speaking American whites say nothing.
In the 1960s, significant structural change to the American system were undergone because many radical whites; and their black sistas and brothas, were aggressive in fighting for that change.
However, whites today have gotten remarkably comfortable and complacent and are not willing to risk their 401K, their reputation at Church, or maybe taking one less vacation to the Caribbeanand using those resources to try and fight for democracy inAmerica.
At this point many whites feel they have too much vested in the system to try and rock the boat. And that’s what it will take. Rocking the boat with forces akin to those felt by Noah, for equality to come about. Not this passive, polite shit. We have to bring about some drastic, fundamental changes to this system And many whites are unwilling to change a system that they have benefited from so much for so long.
This fact makes it seem as though increasingly, blacks and others of color, may be alone in trying to secure equality for all Americans and citizens of the world.
The complacency of empathetic whites has made it where race will probably be given little or no discussion (other than the symbolic NAACP dis) at all in this year’s election because it is of no immediate concern to the general white, voting public.
I know whites who sympathize, but now is the time to take proactive action. Individual whites whom truly believe the rhetoric about American values of freedom and justice should be willing to die for the freedom of all Americans. Just like their great ancestor John Brown did and like George Washington and crew talked about.
Though whites probably haven’t been paying enough attention to notice, America is becoming dangerously fractured racially as a nation. The depths of despair for the poorest of blacks inAmerica has reached a severe crisis state. Presently, the crime and violence ;that only naturally comes from these conditions, -whether in black Watts or white Russia- is remaining in the black neighborhoods. The whites are safe, far away, with their NRA-sanctioned guns ready just in case.
However, history and common sense has shown that this will likely not always be the case if the question of the color line is not finally and fully addressed.
Whether the American Revolution or Algerians driving French colonizers from their nation, at some point the frustration long suffered by the oppressed and most wretched of society reaches a boiling point and the violence that had been a normal part of the lives of the masses reaches the steps of leadership.
This could easily be averted in America, the richest nation in the history of the world. But this is not a priority to most whites. And those who do prioritize it are not willing to put their beliefs into substance.
The Trent Lotts of the world are fighting hard to keep Americaas it is, and always has been. If you’re white, and not fighting just as hard as he is to changeAmericafor the better, then you are in complicit alliance with the enemies of the black community.
And in many regards, you are an even greater danger to black people. Sistas, beware the phony, safe moderate! Start clutchin’ ya purses when you see ’em on the street.
Peace and God bless,
July 04 – Volume 5 # 7
“When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong”
In 1992 when MTV first debuted “The Real World,” it was intriguing, truly original TV, that not only set out to entertain, but also to provide some true social value.
Who can forget my boy Kevin Powell’s argument with Julie in the streets of New York on race in America where he correctly tells her that black people don’t have the power to be racist.
The episode forced many blacks and whites to think about race in ways that they hadn’t before.
And in the San Francisco season Pedro helped give greater depth to the understanding of homosexual relationships and the AIDS epidemic.
Well, that kind of redeeming social value has left “reality” TV a long time ago.
I had hoped that; like most fads, this reality TV craze would have died out by now, but this is something that seems to have no end in sight, much like death in Iraq.
It has been true throughout the history of American business for other companies to mimic a formula that has been economically successful. So after the early successes of MTV’s original, there have been a billion copycats. Some decent. Most, absolutely awful.
Things are now too far gone.
In that original season, real people like Kevin and Julie dealt with real issues like racism in a real and constructive way.
Nowadays, there is little on TV that reflects the realities of the world we live in.
Most of the shows on TV today only serve to reinforce how inadequate our lives are and how we feel that we need some of the finer material items in life to truly be happy.
The latest example is MTV’s wack ass show, “Pimp My Ride.” Here, people are selected at random to have their ole’ beater transformed into an automobile with all the amenities you can imagine, and many that you can’t imagine.
The viewing audience, easily impressionable, have worked to keep up with what TV and media has fed them over the years, what the TV has told them they must have to experience any joy in life.
To wit, we see an increase of people who don’t have the salaries seen on “MTV Cribs” putting TV’s in the backseat of their car. Putting Playstations in the backseat. On one episode of “Pimp My Ride” this one idiot actually got a karaoke machine put in the trunk.
How ridiculous is that?
Aren’t you usually getting in your car to get out and away from home? Now you can take home with you?
Furthermore, do you really need to put a TV in a Geo Neon when you’re still living with your mama?
Do you really have enough friends to be in the backseat of your ride playing Playstation?
And where I come from, a nigga wouldn’t be considered a pimp for having a damn karaoke machine in his car, he’d be considered a lame who had a little too much time on his hands.
All of this is a reflection of the sad state of our society.
Most people have been forced to believe that their lives are so inadequate, and have been lead to believe that the life of a celebrity is absolutely perfect. Hence, everybody is working for their 15 minutes of fame.
And this obvious attempt has made reality TV a lot less real, and made human beings a lot less real as well.
How real is it for the average business student to get a job working with Donald Trump? Have people gotten so de-socialized and desperate that they need to come on TV to find a husband? Yeah, this kind of marriage has a chance at being successful.
Why does a wife choose national television to be the site where she announces that two-tooth Charlie is not the real father of Ray-Ray like he’s believed for the last ten years?
The reality TV formula has become so predictable that I’m not sure how anyone with a brain bigger than a grape can watch this stuff consistently.
For example, the long-dragging “Real World” character-types are incredibly predictable. Contestants who hope to be on the show know that they will have little shot if they are too normal.
So some young girl knows she has to portray the role of “the house drama queen.” Another will be the “house slut.” Fellas know that the show is casting for an obnoxious guy in the mold of Puck.
I don’t knock the networks too much. They have demonstrated quite some time ago that they have little or no interest in maintaining any social responsibility, and their aim is purely financial.
Additionally, they will argue -quite reasonably- that 7 normal people sitting around won’t make for good reality TV.
That’s fine, but then call it something else. Or at least provide people who like to think every once in a while some kind of reasonable alternatives.
Reality TV advocates will argue that the audience is intelligent enough to know that what they see isn’t necessarily really real.
But I think it would be way too premature to assume the intelligence of the American audience these days.
And in my view, reality TV is only serving to dumb us down even more. And I think this is a deliberate ploy. If you’re watching reality TV you won’t have time to look at the under-the-table deals that Viacom is cutting with your government to ensure that you watch even more reality TV, and get even less information that will help to empower you and improve your life.
A generation has spent their formative years in front of a TV receiving only extreme dramatization. I’m not dissing TV and media. I think they are capable of providing a great social context. Shows like “All in the Family” and “Good Times” spoke to the times in America. But this is largely absent in reality TV, and this is what dominates the tube.
But it is not even the present filth and stupidity that floods the airwaves that’s my primary concern.
The future is. We have grown up in truly amazing times where our world is experiencing rapid, unprecedented change.
But sadly, your average 16-30 year old could tell you very little about it because they’ve been deliberately stupefied.
Yes, make no mistake, this dumbing down ofAmericais not accidental in the least.
Culture and art has played a historic role in educating, enlightening and liberating. This role is largely absent in media, save for my boy Dave Chapelle.
But the only reason reality TV has served as such a high-valued commodity to the Viacoms, Newscorp and Disney’s of the world is because so many people continue to tune in.
Many seemingly intelligent people that I know have complained about the path that our culture is going down. The lack of mental stimulation. Objectifying of women. Lack of original content. The sad state of our children.
Then, these same individuals will veg out for hours in front of the TV watching a reality show lineup. Real World. Road Rules. Real World vs Road Rules. Enough, all fuckin’ ready. The cats on these shows need to get a job and stop trying to extend the 15 minutes of fame they borrowed.
I know many of you reading probably watch reality TV and I don’t dis. But understand the role that you play in this dynamic, and the power that you have in dictating the face of popular culture.
And I’m all for recreation, but after you give your brain a rest for a few hours in front of the TV, it’s no harm to read a book or check out some analysis into why you’re paying so much money for gas or something.
But people aren’t interested in stuff like that. They’re more interested in American Idol, where 68 million voters participated in their final show. Armageddon would have to come for people to display this kind of interest in things that actually impact their lives, you know political elections and stuff like that.
After the show Fantasia Burno will probably go on to wealth and fame, and most of those who called in to vote for her will go back to their miserable, pathetic lives that they are trying to fulfill through the shallow people on the TV screen.
If only people took this kind of interest in their own “real” lives, there might be less personal problems to escape from. Or at the very least people could figure out more constructive and permanent escapes.
Peace and God bless,
June 04 – Volume 5 # 6
I was talking to my Republican friend over a few brews and listened with piqued interest as he went on about how much the O.J. Simpson “trial of the century” upset him as O.J. had “obviously” killed Nicole Simpson on that June night in southern California ten years ago.
What really upset him, my friend said, were the images of black people clapping and celebrating when the Juice was acquitted of the murder.
After all, he very correctly reasoned, O.J. wasn’t really down for black folks and made every effort to be as a-racial as possible during a time when few black celebrities rivaled his visibility.
Personally, I didn’t give a damn about O.J. before, during, or after the trial. I felt like he was pretty much a complete, sell-out, unequivocal bitch-nigga. And I was outraged that they cut into game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals to show him driving down the highway in his white Bronco. I mean it was GAME 7 , how ridiculous is that? They’re lucky the Bulls weren’t playing (as they should have been) or there would have been a riot, word to God. But I digress.
Despite my disinterest in O.J. personally, like most black people, yeah I was happy O.J. got off. Bitch nigga or not, I prefer to see as few black men in prison as possible. But well beyond that, like most blacks, the verdict was kind of a reaffirmation.
My friend was most concerned that justice hadn’t been served in his opinion. And to be sure, many whites share my friend’s white angst over this trial.
I can understand his anger, but I asked that he also be angry when corporate criminals at Enron and Worldcom can completely ruin the lives of their employees and get a slap on the wrist from the legal system. Some of those cats still haven’t had formal charges brought against them almost three years later.
And whites like my friend should be angry when executives from Halliburton can work with the Bush administration to pass more lenient energy laws in the interest of profit to allow more harmful chemicals into the air that we all breathe whether black, white, rich or poor.
And they should be angry about how all too often people like Chicago’s Aaron Patterson, Leroy Orange and Madison Hobley have lost the prime of their lives and had to deal with the mental strain of living on death row for a crime it was later proven that they didn’t commit. The system was content with making any nigga responsible, and killing one was as good as killing another.
Many blacks like Patterson have gotten a bad deal from the legal system largely because they didn’t have the economics to fight like Orenthal James Simpson did.
It seems like many whites, with the O.J. case, finally recognized that one’s chances in navigating through the legal system is largely tied to how much money you have and how connected you are. And how much money and connections you have are often heavily related to how white you are inAmerica.
But blacks like myself have known this all too well for some time.
See, all too often we have seen this wicked, corrupt legal system give blacks nothing but injustice.
Just a couple of years previous to the vicious Nicole Simpson murder, I reminded my friend, the whole world had seen the police beat the shit out of this King driving a Hyundai in Los Angeles. Yet somehow the jury saw something different and found the police officers not guilty.
We remember the killers of Medgar Evers evading justice for decades. We remember the Chicago Police Department shooting Fred Hampton and Mark Clark while they slept, but claiming the officers’ fatal shots were in self defense.
We remember Geronimo Pratt spending 27 years in prison.
We remember white people murdering their children and, knowing the predictability of the American legal system, blamed it on black people.
And what’s more, many of us have personally experienced the inequalities of this just-us system.
I remember when my boy Roland got his luxurious new Ford Escort so he could have a reliable way to get to his minimum wage job. I personally witnessed him getting pulled over several times by the good ole boys in Bloomington/Normal because they found it suspicious that he didn’t yet have license plates for his new car.
I remember a group of courageous policemen who beat down one of my boys because he made the mistake of knowing his rights. Having the voice of authority, they were also able to publicly spin the story in the community newspaper to damage my boy’s reputation and credibility amongst his neighbors, something the authorities are often careful not to do to most white white-collar criminals.
I remember the many times police have paraded me and my friends in the street as they searched through cars only to find nothing while white boys drove by carrying everything from cocaine to ecstasy.
Most whites like my friend aren’t around to see the many scenes like this that are so much a part of the black experience that we just condition ourselves to just accept this as a part of our existence in America. As natural as breathing.
The victory in the O.J. verdict hinted, if ever so briefly, a hope that perhaps the system could work for black people. And this is what cats applauded.
And make no mistake, if that was my broke ass, that case would have been settled in about 15 minutes and they would have executed me on Fox.
Many such as my friend point to this fact as evidence that race is not as much of an issue, and the major domestic social issue is economic class.
This is true, but race is undeniably linked to class. Being born black and Latino inAmericaputs you at an immediate disadvantage in terms of education, health care, housing and employment. Some of us can run, jump and dance for massa so we are able to accumulate some degrees of wealth to have the kind of legal support O.J. had.
However, O.J.’s case is one in a million like Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth.
In teaching here at the Universityof Illinois, where the average family income is just over $130,000, I have come across many white students who have spoken of times where they or friends have gotten into trouble with the law, but were able to get off because of their family attorney.
This is a luxury that most blacks could not dream of affording.
Beyond this, I’m not sure anyone can make a soundly intelligent argument that the American justice system has not only been biased against blacks inAmerica, but also have been complicit in making black life inAmericaas difficult as possible.
So this is why blacks clapped that day.
Most blacks like myself felt it was horrible that Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered, and in such a horrible fashion.
But we also feel that a lot more cases have to go our way and a lot more white girls would have to be slain to come close to tipping the scales of justice, and for whites to truly recognize what anger really is.
Peace and God bless.
May 04- Volume 5 # 5
The Real Hip-Hop is Over Here?
“If I’m an intellectual
I can’t be sexual?
If I wanaa uhh- uhh
Does it mean I lack respect for you.” – Common , 4:7-
A few months back at the crib I was involved in an academic discussion on hip-hop with some ladies and gentlemen who greatly share my love and passion for the culture.
Many lamented the one-dimensional, artificial b.s. that poses as hip-hop music in the modern context, a point I was in full agreement with. Where we parted company somewhat, however, is in their distinction of real hip-hop being music that’s “positive” as opposed to “negative.” Several made references to positive and negative messages determining what is and what isn’t hip-hop.
I understand how hip-hop headz can make this erroneous and historically inaccurate distinction. Most of the artists who promote positive messages that challenge the system also make efforts to make sure that their music stays rooted in the culture.
And it just so happens that most of the rap music on the radio and TV not only does not reflect anything remotely hip-hop, but also is laced with messages that promote self-hate and a disconnect from the black collective.
But make no mistake b-boys and b-girls, all aspects of our culture may not fit into your criteria of “positive.”
And that’s ok.
Hip-hop, at least the hip-hop that I grew up on, gave you the freedom to be yourself. It could be used as a medium to express yourself whether through music or Illanoyze fashion.
Now of course there was a certain framework within that identity. Your individual identity was connected to a larger belief system, aesthetic and way of life beyond yourself.
If you were a thug or a hustler like Kool G Rap or Ice T (and I mean real thugs, not this video, tough-guy shit) then your music spoke to the common experience of cats who have to get down for theirs in ghettoes across America. The shit that Ice T described in “New Jack Hustler” was real. Everybody knows a cat like Ice-T described in verse. Some might construe the images he presented as glorifying drug dealing. I say he was just documenting the manifestations of the promotion of greed and squeezing of black opportunities under Reaganomics.
The abstract sounds of De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest might not speak to the millions of new jack hustlers all across the ghetto USA. But both genres played an important role in contributing to the culture and advancing hip-hop’s growth.
The hip-hop that came from Los Angeles with NWA, and a succession of others, was often descriptive as it told a story of the inner city that wasn’t being heard anywhere else.
Your 10 o’clock news wasn’t telling you about how the police were beating black people’s ass at will. NWA let me know that this was not something that was just unique to Chicago. The Geto Boys provided further testimony from Houston. The 2Live Crew showed me how the police got down in Miami.
These hip hop MC’s; like KRS-1, Schooly D and Melle Mel before them, provided graphic, descriptive images of the realities created byAmerica’s war on the poor.
Other hip-hop music from the likes of Public Enemy and Brand Nubian was more prescriptive as it offered alternative solutions to escape the misery described in songs like “Brothas Gonna Work it Out” and “One for All.”
But to divide these acts into simply positive and negative would diminish the incredible diversity in these artists and hip-hop culture in general.
Like every human being to ever walk the planet, most hip-hop artists are full of contradictions and there’s some “positive” and “negative” in everybody. This is what made and makes hip-hop appeal to the youth so much.
The whole world is judging you and setting rules and standards that don’t jive with your social reality. For me growing up, hip-hop provided a context and a guide to that. It was growing up just like me. Figuring stuff out, making some mistakes. Learning from some, repeating others. Sometimes kind of crass and vulgar. Me and hip-hop didn’t have a whole lot of respect for authority because authority didn’t respect us. Like many in its audience, hip-hop went to church in the morning and was smoking Billy Clint on the way to the club at night.
All of the complexities and contradictions that we experience throughout our lives are captured in hip-hop. This is why in its true essence it can liberate a thug from the Hundreds and a preppy white cat from Wilmette.
The reason why so many religious folk, educators and bourgeoisie black folks don’t reach the youth is that they often offer guidance towards positive change without honestly taking into account the social environment that young people are living in.
At one time hip-hop filled this void and it allowed for people to reach individual self-improvement by having access to a multiplicity of world views.
This is why on Midnight Marauders Tribe can make me want to know about revolutionary Steve Biko on one song and then later I can relate to Phife when he says “I want to pound the pootang until it stinks.”
Hip-hop is the irony of Ghostface referencing the Bible when he says, “Solomon was wise and I got 50 other bitches, some eat bitches, some bitches fuck my niggas.”
It’s how Gang Starr can condone the overemphasis on materialism, but will drop a phat song about a shopping trip to “The Mall” on their Moment of Truth album. They are saying that they like nice things too, it’s just not the only part of their life like most rap entertainers give the illusion of.
Hip-hop is the griminess of Onyx while exerting b-boys to make some noise on “Slam.”
Hip-hop is the intelligent, thoughtful, positive, peaceful vibes brought from De La Soul on De La Soul is Dead but reaffirming that they still will beat a motherfucker down if forced to defend themselves on “Pease Porridge.”
As black people we have historically made the mistake of believing that there will be one galvanizing ideology, movement or leader that will finally liberate us. And we have often behaved in a manner that says that anything outside of our particular ideology is totally unacceptable. Booker T. Washington or W.E.B. DuBois. Martin Luther King, Jr. or Elijah Muhammad. Jesse or Farrakhan.
As with hip-hop, I favor the more militant and self-asserting philosophies of black liberation. However, I think that there is value and necessity in fighting for liberation on multiple fronts.
I detailed last month the destruction to black businesses caused by the Civil Rights Movement. But I still think it was a necessary and noble effort taken on by Dr. King and others.
In modern times, personally I think Jesse spends too much time begging white people for shit. But yet it’s still necessary for somebody to be trying to hold the system accountable.
Black people are in a heap of trouble. We can’t afford to cut off any avenue of resistance.
And so it is in hip-hop.
There are artists that you “positive” cats might not like for its crass language but that might be the spark for some cat and change his life in the same way as some shorty who listens to Little Brother or Common.
I fully understand people have their preferences. My primary goal in life and society is positive, progressive change so personally I generally want to listen to music that reflects that such as this Black Starr track “Knowledge of Self Determination” I’m listening to as I spit here.
But by the same token I’m diverse. I like to go out and shake my ass every now and then so hell yeah, damnit, I like some of Lil John shit..Yeaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!
I love women and sex. I love sexy women and am not uncomfortable with songs that deal with it in an original and creative manner like Mos Def did with “Ms. Fatbooty” or Rakim’s classic “Mahogany.” Sometimes I want to hear a song with graphic violence that allows me to channel my rage into the song rather than open-handed smacking the shit out of you or one of your friends on the street.
Some days when I come home and feel like the system is breaking me I’ll play Public Enemy’s “Don’t Believe the Hype” Other days I play ” Real Niggas Don’t Die” by NWA. Both get very much at the heart of my life philosophy.
Most of the hip-hop artists I grew up listening to shared my diversity. The thing was that these were both hip-hop songs, songs that reflected the culture and the times of the day. Pimps and conscious niggas needed to hear what dudes like Big Daddy Kane had to say whether he was spitting a verse on “Self Destruction” or was explaining that “Pimpin ain’t Easy.” Now we seem to think it’s ok to section things off, following the blueprint of the enemies of the culture.
Much of what we are subjected to is just music, entertainment for show’s sake. Little soul, little creativity. Most of these cats can give a damn about hip-hop, being a rapper is just a sometimes-lucrative job in the music industry.
Cats don’t take their time to hone their craft. They make simplistic, basic songs with no creativity. They jack R & B beats from songs that were hits two months ago. They rush albums out every 7 months, rather than taking their time and being thoughtful about their work. They can’t rock live shows. Meanwhile real MC’s are put in the background.
This is what I’m pissed off about, not even the positive or negative messages. I’d like to have more of a balance, but personally I don’t want all the negative stuff to go away.
Cash Money’s song “Hood Rich” was not a hip-hop song in my opinion, but the theme of the song rings true for many of our community. Their rent and other necessities might not be paid, but they still have the latest outfit or car.
Our history is not being recorded by anyone else so the music, like it always has, serves as our historical reference. And its important that 500-1,000 years from now, cats know that it was people around like those described in Cash Money’s song who made up a portion of who we were as a people. It would tell a lot about us, and much would be lost without stories like that.
But that’s not the only story and I think that’s what most angers many of those hip-hop enthusiasts at the conference. They want true hip-hop culture to be reflected 1,000 years from now. And I agree fully. But understand, that whether they get the message from Dead Prez or Redman, the message won’t always be positive and rosy. That would be painting a grossly inaccurate picture of black life at the beginning of the 21 st century.
There needs to be space for a variety of voices within hip-hop as it was before cats started rakin in the dough like Zigge. When heads are resistant to that, they are being just as close-minded as the wack niggas we often dis and make mockery of. And that doesn’t help hip-hop’s growth in the least.
Peace and God bless.
April 04- Volume 5 # 4
“While he trickin’ off, Don’t get no rich nigga
Give me some head, That’ll really piss him off”
(Kanye West 1:13)
I recently received an e-mail, and perhaps you did too, listing several American corporations that don’t target the black market.
Some in the black community have called for a boycott of these companies.
I say good riddance. White folks ain’t gotta give me a reason to spend my money with my own people.
Besides, is anyone surprised by this revelation?
These companies’ private stances were just made public, but they’re probably more of the rule than the exception.
Most of these businesses don’t give a fuck about black people, or most white folks for that matter, only green.
For several generations now, corporate America has exploited us and raided our culture for their economic benefit without giving much back. This process was accelerated to new heights in the 1960s .
One of the unfortunate effects of the Civil Rights Movement was the damage it did to black businesses that depended on black customers that white companies didn’t want.
See, 50 years ago white folks had no problem blatantly letting you know that they didn’t give a damn about you, they didn’t want to be around you and didn’t particularly want your business.
However, when Martin Luther King helped to launch boycotts throughout the South in the 1960s, white businesses were crippled economically. They recognized that despite their hatred and disdain of black folks, their livelihood depended on our dollars.
Their vacations to New England in the summer. Sarah’s college fund. That pool that just got built in the back just because the Johnsons down the street got one a few months ago. That expensive, gas-guzzling, ozone-depleting car that serves as a status symbol and helps compensate for poor self esteem, among other things.
Yep, all that was dependent upon black folks giving them their money.
So they relented and begrudgingly let blacks in and business boomed like never before as even more Negroes flooded white businesses, enjoying their newly awarded “rights” to consume with white folks.
Previously, most services that black folks needed were contracted out to other blacks just by necessity.
Grocery stores. Restaurants. Medical Services. Mechanics. Plumbers. Carpenters.
In fact two of the most stable and long-standing businesses of the black community; barbershops and funeral homes, were the products of the fact that whites wouldn’t dare come in that close of contact with blacks.
Don’t be mistaken, not a whole lot has changed in terms of racial attitudes in America despite the happy faces we put on for each other. Our nation is still largely segregated despite our ancestors’ efforts to make America live up to its ideals that it shouts to the world, but seldom practice.
The laws have changed, but as soon as you move in, white people are moving out. At least that’s how it happened with my next door neighbor. Maybe that was just our family.
But the numbers show that this is probably not the case, as our society remains extremely segregated in virtually every aspect. The system merely tolerates you, black people, to benefit from you economically.
But for many companies with more expensive products, blacks are not a benefit economically as most black folks are extremely poor. So they don’t waste their time and money in trying to market to you.
This is a racist view on their part, history shows that black people consume like few others and unfortunately we find ways to get products on the market whether we can really afford them or not. And there is a sizeable black middle class as well.
But rather than get mad at this, black folks, we should follow suit and try and withdraw as much of our money as possible from these products that don’t provide for re-investment in our community.
Imagine, for example, what would happened if blacks decided to boycott Newport cigarettes tomorrow. Their company would fall off immediately. The cats who make White Owls and Phillies. Nike. The list is endless.
I’m all for boycotting these companies who make their racist views explicit, but none of these companies really respect us. Why stop there?
Peace and God bless.
Here’s the list:
You have probably heard of “NUD” as a result of the Tom Joyner
related to CompUSA. NUD is the acronym for a very subtle and
marketing term specifically directed toward people of color.
NUD stands for Non Urban Dictate. These three words essentially mean
company is not interested in the Black consumer. A NUD label means
company does not want their marketing and advertising materials
media that claim an urban audience (black folks) as their main
There are legitimate reasons for companies not using urban radio. It
be that Blacks don’t index high in certain categories or that a
company’s strategy is to market to the Black consumer down the road
established a strong position in their primary target.
But NUD usually means that a company is not interested in the Black
consumer. Companies evade discrimination liability by embracing it as
theory rather than policy. As a service to Black consumers, the Urban
Institute will list all companies that have a NUD policy. Armed with
information, we feel that Black consumers will be able to make
Companies with NUD policies:
b. Jos. A Bank
d. Weight Watchers
f. Life Savers
g. Continental Airlines
h. Northwest Airlines
i. America West Airlines
j. HBO – Apollo Series
k. Paternal Importers
l. Calico Corners
m. OM Scott
n. Pepperidge Farms
o. Ethan Allen
p. Busy Body Fitness
q. Mondavi Wines
r. Builders Square
s. Don Pablo
u. Aruba Tourism
v. Ciba Vision
x. Grady Restaurant
y. Eddie Bauer
Please forward this information on to any other consumer that you
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March 04- Volume 5 # 3
“Margin for Error”
I sat and listened to my good friend’s profanity-laced tirade and was not quite sure how to react to his verbal gay bashing.
I’m pretty liberal by most accounts, but I can’t front, this has been a tough one for me for some time and I try not to enter into debate if I haven’t worked out all sides of the argument internally.
While I’m not very religious at all, I’m incredibly spiritual. And with that I have some clear visions of what I think is right and wrong. Rather than passively accept the word of some overzealous minister or preacher, I try to let nature and my life observations be my guide in setting this criteria. People lie a lot. Nature never does.
Additionally, as you may have noticed, I have opinions on everything from baseball’s labor agreement to the significance of paper clips in the 20 th century. But on this issue, I’ve sat on the fence for some time.
While sex is absolutely amazing and one of my personal favorite pastimes, my belief is that the primary function of sex is reproduction. Human beings are about the only species that gets into all this romance and love stuff in regard to sex. In the rest of nature evidence suggests that it’s largely a biological function aimed at ensuring the survival of the species.
They can fuck ’til the cops come knockin, but homosexuals will never be able to do that. This has been the point of many reasonable and generally non-prejudiced people, as well as mouth-foaming, Bible thumping, redneck bigots. The fear is that if this “problem” gets too wide-spread, we will not reproduce at a sufficient rate to maintain life on the planet.
The reality is that our planet is much more likely to face problems in reproduction due to ozone depletion, water shortages that have been felt from Senegal to Soho, or nuclear destruction. These are much more serious challenges to our children than the fear that they’ll all “choose” to be gay.
Nonetheless, following my model of using nature as a spiritual guide, the reasoning would go that since homosexuality goes against how God provided for our reproduction, and God never creates anything that goes against his will, then to be gay is against God’s will and should be condemned as such.
This is a compelling argument to be sure depending on your spiritual perspective. And many have clung to this in their opposition to gay marriage here in America.
I have been a harsh critic of behavior that I see us un-Godly here in America. Stealing whole continents. Cheating taxpayers out of their money. Waging war for economic purposes. The selfish materialism that has become a trademark of our society.
But I have been consistent in having a “to each his own” attitude. I think people should do what makes them happy, so long as their actions don’t interrupt or interfere with anybody else’s happiness.
Personally, I feel like nothing could make me happier than laying up in some real good pussy. But whether someone chooses to go that route in their personal life is their business.
Yeah, I’m not sure what the attraction to another man is all about. But I also don’t understand why some dudes like fat chicks. Why some girls like niggas who wear tight muscle shirts. Why some cats have a fetish for hoes with gold teeth.
But to each its own. Who you’re fuckin’ doesn’t have a thing to do with me. It’s terribly hard to find someone who can make you happy in this world, so if someone is happy I can never front on that.
But what really has me firmly off the fence on this issue is the hypocrisy of the right wing, our so-called spiritual leaders and spineless democrats who talk this shit about the sanctity of marriage.
What country are they living in? If it ever existed (and I tend to believe it didn’t) the sanctity of marriage left a long time ago.
Half of this country’s marriages end in divorce. And at least half of those who are married, are unhappily married . The institution has also made many women systematically dependent upon men for generations.
The debate also sends the message that in a relationship, the actual sexual act is more important than companionship, comfort and emotional support.
It is amazing how we think the rules we made up in the last 500 years are somehow “natural.”
While I do believe that reproduction of a species is natural, there is little natural about how we define marriage in America contrary to what many seem to believe.
The reason why this institution came to be as we know it, like most everything else in this God-forsaken nation, was largely economic in nature. It didn’t have anything to do with love, romance, reproduction or any of that good shit these cats talk about.
It was largely organized in the manner that it was to make the transition in last wills and testaments smoother. When wealthy landowners would die many centuries ago, there often would be a big fuss over who would own the property, a matter of great significance in modern capitalism.
The western-styled marriage and family made it easier for property to transfer legally to the next generation. It also made it; and this was the central aim, where power, land and wealth would stay concentrated within families.
It’s why a dude like George W. Bush can be born into wealth and privilege despite not doing anything himself, and being one of the stupidest motherfuckers alive.
It also made marriage and family the center of society, which is never how it was in most African, Asian and other eastern cultures. The family was important, but the collective society was most important and was the primary influence in individual decision-making.
That’s a far cry from what we have in America. This is why families talk about their taxes for their kids’ school district, rather than talk about what’s best for all of our kids. It’s why there are more personal security employees in America than police officers. It’s why some rich white suburbs fight to make sure pollution and toxins aren’t in their back yard, but don’t fight to eliminate the problem at its root so that no neighborhoods are exposed.
Furthermore, there are many economic and legal benefits that go with being married that gay couples miss out on. And that’s not cool. They should not have their rights diminished based on who they have sex with. Especially in a nation that separates church and state like America, unlike the barbaric Islamic nations of the Middle East.
Increasingly Bush and his cronies are trying to involve themselves in people’s personal lives, something Republicans have long prided themselves in not doing. His State of the Union address demonstrated that the Republican answer to black folks’ poverty continues to be the women finding good men and getting married.
Now they are on the attack against gay marriage. For economic reasons I have leaned in support of gay marriage for a while, but the good Rev. Jerry Falwell pushed me over the top on the issue in his ignorant argument against it that was devoid of any logic whatsoever.
Instead, he used the same Bible to condemn gay marriage that his great-grandfather used to defend slavery with verses like: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters.” (Ephesians, 6:5)
Despite this, many blacks have adopted Christianity and have consistently proven to be much better Christians than those who taught them this perverted version of the religion practiced in America.
I’m sick of these most wicked of sinners hiding behind the Bible to excuse their wrongs. Recent religious scandal has shown that most are in absolutely no moral position to play judge and jury on this matter or any other.
But beyond all the spiritual and religious debate, what’s really at issue here is oppression. And as a member of a great race that has been oppressed like no people in history, I cannot be in league with my oppressors in the oppression of anyone else.
Homosexuality is probably a bigger taboo in the black community than any segment of society. Like my friend, most of us oppose it with every fiber of our soul.
But on this matter, we must do what we have always done, black people. We must leave judgment in the hands of God.
Our white oppressors here in America have given us every reason to turn from our Godly essence and be bitter, hateful and destructive.
But instead we have transferred that negative hatred into love of the creator and the belief that God will provide a swift and just final judgment for America and all its defenders.
If you oppose homosexuality, you are entitled to have your opinion. But with any opinion you also have to at least consider the fact that you could be wrong.
Gay cats go through a lot of shit in modern society. True, some will argue, it has become more socially accepted sometimes. But no one can be foolish enough to believe that there are more social and economic benefits to being gay in America than being heterosexual.
I love being black, but there are many of us who have tried to crossover like EPMD because it has not generally been advantageous to be black. Some really light-skinned blacks have even “blended in” historically to try and have an easier navigation through American society.
But most of us are stuck. Our skin color will not allow us to escape our oppression any time soon.
But homosexuals could very easily keep that from public view, and many do. If this is just a lifestyle choice like so many religious folks believe, why would anyone choose to publicly endure all that? Ostracized from society. Often times, their own family will turn their back on them.
This increasingly leads me to ask, what if it isn’t a choice? What if some people are really born this way?
I believe firmly that God makes no mistakes, so if it holds true that some are born this way, then to oppose homosexuality would not be serving God’s will in the least.
That is for each to come to grips with in their own spiritual relationship with God.
But I have little doubt that God would frown upon joining your fascist government in discriminating and infringing on the rights of others. If we do that, we are no better than our oppressor.
In fact, we are far worst because we know first-hand what such treatment feels like.
Peace and God bless.
February 04- Volume 5 # 2
I’m sick of these niggas becoming black when it’s convenient for them.
The latest is the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who has transformed from musical genius to musical joke in less than a decade.
It seems now Mike is down with the pro-black (as opposed to anti-Semitic) Nation of Islam. This news is coming in the wake of the latest charges brought against him of child molestation.
I’m all for people undergoing transformations, especially those of the spiritual variety, but Mike’s previous efforts to avoid any and everything black for the last twenty years makes this move look suspect to say the very least.
And this is coming from one of the biggest Michael Jackson fans you’ll find. That’s been my guy even when it had long become unpopular to be an MJ fan.
I supported him through the lamas and oxygen chambers, defended his eccentric fashion to his unique genius, argued that his marriage to Lisa Marie didn’t make him a sellout as he was just pimping her for that Pressley paper. For a minute I even bought the whole skin disease thing as an explanation for bleaching his brown skin to make it lighter.
If you look back at the soulful “Off the Wall” album cover, you’ll see that Mike was a handsome, young black man with a broad nose like his African ancestors and a phat fro that would make Questlove proud.
Today he looks subhuman. Steven Spielberg would have a hard time creating him. He has done everything he can to physically distance himself from his blackness.
And while it’s been cool that Mike has been able to help children of all backgrounds and ethnicities, more times than not Mike was palling around at Neverland with some middle-class white kid when there were probably more than a few young, underprivileged brothas just up the road who could use that escape from South Central or from Oakland.
Had he done that, not only would he have more credibility in his spiritual transformation and legal use of the race card, but odds are he probably wouldn’t be in this spot in the first damn place?
Recently Elicia Battle held a press conference to announce that she had lied about losing her lottery ticket in Ohio, worth $162 million. This came just days after she had taken legal action in claiming to have lost the winning ticket after purchasing it days before.
During her press conference she apologized for all those that she wronged, most notably the actual winner, Rebecca Jemison. Her “heartfelt” apology was accompanied by tears which have almost become cliché now.
I, for one, wasn’t buying. This dame wasn’t sorry. She was sorry she got caught.
Just like Jim Baker who used religion to steal millions from his followers. Just like former Carolina Panther receiver Ray Carruth who got a girl pregnant, but rather than use some of his millions in NFL salary, he decided to try and have the girl and child killed (the shorty survived).
I’m sick of people doing real calculated, dumb shit, and trying to play the sympathetic victim after the fact. Anybody can work up a few tears, that doesn’t necessarily speak to true sympathy.
That’s why, for me, it was refreshing in some ways for Major League all-time hits leader Pete Rose not to do the phony media tear thing when he recently admitted that he betted on baseball after years of adamant denial.
Rose is completely bogus for betting on baseball, and even more so for lying about it in the manner that he did during the years since he was banned from the game in 1989. But for me it would have looked very disingenuous for him to do the whole Tonya Harding, Darryl Strawberry thing.
What really steams me is all these hypocrites going on TV talking about Rose didn’t appear, “contrite and remorseful” enough for their liking. The nerve of these cats! In time Rose will be judged for his misdeeds. As will the baseball hall of fame people who will judge Rose’s admittance.
Many of these cats who have been outspoken critics of Rose’s confession have had their misdeeds such as scuffing baseballs like Gaylord Perry or Ferguson Jenkins’ drug conviction. Babe Ruth was a pimp, I mean a womanizer. Ty Cobb was a known racist.
Rose did his job well despite his character flaws. But whatever the case, a lot of these motherfuckers who are speaking out in the media aren’t fit to judge character. You can talk about how Rose’s actions affected the game, but in regards to morality they need to shut the fuck up…
Wow, J-Ho, I mean J-Lo and Ben broke up. Didn’t see that coming…
It’s another twisted example of what people consider to be merits of our democracy when I hear people champion their “right” to smoke cancer sticks, also known as cigarettes.
You won’t hear this often if I’m not talking about the Yankees, but I applaud New York for its ban on cigarette smoking in all public facilities, including bars, which was instituted last July.
Having to battle cigarette smoke, and going home smelling as though I had smoked two packs, was one of my main deterrents in recent years from the nightlife.
I’ve long thought that it was fucked up how much second-hand smoke circulates in clubs and bars. There’s absolutely no escape from its menace.
I’m no fascist though. I don’t have a problem if someone wants to smoke if that’s their thing, but they shouldn’t have to kill me with them. Believe me, I’m doing a good enough job of that myself with all the fast food, poor sleeping habits and stress.
But my bad habits are just that, mine. Public cigarette smoking isn’t as exclusive.
Conservative critics of New York’s law argue that it’s just another example of sanctimonious liberals trying to govern people’s private lives. They say that if people like me don’t want to get exposed to cigarette smoke, we have an easy choice: stay home.
With increasing frequency that’s what I’ve done in recent years. But there are still times where it isn’t as simple as just staying away.
For example, in my department at school I was recently invited to an important social/business function at a restaurant. Upon my arrival I saw that there were cigarette butts galore and about 4 or 5 more in the air.
Once seeing this, theoretically I had a choice in whether or not to remain. But the immediate consequences of alienating professors and colleagues, who will largely influence my progress towards my Ph.D., made my choice to sit through the smoke what they would call a hegemonic one. Most of y’all would probably just say I was stuck. And so I sat.
After about an hour of trying to breathe through my mouth, I finally could take no more and had to leave, my chest heaving as my asthma flared up. Once home, my shit was so bad I had to lay down a couple of hours to get it all back together.
I am sensitive to limiting people’s personal actions, whether or not they match mine. If the government can begin limiting one personal action, who’s to say they’ll stop there?
More significantly, tobacco is the most profitable and one of the most addictive drugs in the world, so this is a problem I know I’ll have to learn to live with.
Hopefully, it won’t reduce the time that I have to live with it…
Look, if you’re black or Latino, there is little justification for not voting. At an aforementioned rally cited here, rapper Mos Def told the audience that he didn’t vote, never voted and didn’t plan on voting as he felt it was pointless in changing things.
While disappointing, I can understand that mindset and its not completely incorrect. Big money is what really talks politically in this country, in this world. Votes can affect who gets into office, but big money largely affects who gets the votes. And it definitely affects who gets access to the politician once he or she takes office. And in 2000, Florida demonstrated that they can pretty much get away with throwing away thousands of our votes at will.
But while these points are undeniable, voting is important symbolically because a politician can’t front on numbers and demographics, and blacks and Latinos form a sizeable one.
Politically, whites are split about evenly between Democrat and Republican, with a sizeable portion independent. If blacks and Latinos voted at just a 60 percent clip (and we should do far better than that) that would be a substantial number that could swing elections, and politicians can’t front on that completely. Ideally, of course, these physical numbers would be accompanied with some serious cheddar to really get some political muscle, but that’s another matter altogether.
But more than all of that, there is a war actively going on against people of color in this country and all over the world.
There are several battlegrounds where this war is being fought. Culture. Business. Health. Law. Spirituality. Education. Politics is another.
This war that is being waged is one for our collective souls for centuries to come, and perhaps for all of time. Unlike the president with the War in Iraq, I am not exaggerating the seriousness of this threat.
We can not afford to forfeit any battlefields. But by consistently choosing to stay away from the polls in mass, that is what we are doing.
No, your vote isn’t going to build a new, just and fair society overnight. But white people have to at least know that we’re paying attention if that society is ever to become a reality.
You paying attention?…
While black history is much neglected, let us take a moment this month to make note of the achievements of black America and they are a plenty.
And African-American history should be that of all people, not just blacks. I invite my Native American, white, Asian, Latino and Eskimo brothers and sisters to take this time to explore this rich history as well, in February and beyond. It truly is American history, after all.
All the rhetoric you hear about immigrants, overcoming adversity, pulling oneself up by his bootstraps, and all that jazz, is not experienced more vividly than it has been for black Americans who have achieved and contributed much to American life despite institutional barriers that did all they could to crush them…
Peace and God bless.
January 04- Volume 5 # 1
“Doing Like The Romans Do”
Kudos to the Bush Administration for capturing Saddam Hussein.
His capture, in which the Iraqi dictator was subject to international embarrassment and mockery, means that millions will be freed from his tyrannical reign.
What his capture does not mean is that America’s mission is accomplished, banners on aircraft carriers that state the contrary notwithstanding.
In fact, the greatest challenges are lying ahead.
With Saddam gone, the U.S.will have less grip on the source of the attacks that continue to be launched daily against American soldiers.
For those of us who view the recent developments in Iraq in practical terms, rather than getting caught up in the emotion of the moment, Hussein’s capture also increases the fear that the Bush campaign will try and make a quick fix of Iraq and try and give Iraq back its “sovereignty” and remove U.S. troops in time to benefit from it politically next November as some have reported.
America has two paths that it can take from here in its political maneuvering in Iraq. Neither possible scenario will reap long term benefits for the average American, nor the average Iraqi. Things will be downright fucked up for most Americans who are like me, and fall into that massive “less than average” economic bracket.
If true peace and democracy is to be maintained inIraq, it requires a lengthy American presence both militarily and economically. No less than five years, ten more realistically. Regardless of whom the president is, regardless of which party controls congress.
The American public would have to be prepared to endure incidents of death. 4 here, 1 there, 13 on Thursday.
We’d have to be prepared to accept a little bit less here at home. You just might have to drive around that pothole this year. Wait a few more minutes at the hospital. Teachers will have to deal with 3, maybe 5 more heads in their classrooms. But this is the price of freedom, right?
Sadaam Hussein has lost his forever, but the American people may be forfeiting something much more than freedom in their flag-waving zeal.
America is the unquestioned most powerful nation in the world. Its economic capital and military are unmatched in the history of man.
But history has shown that empires become most vulnerable when they try and dominate on too many fronts. With troops committed toIraq and Afghanistan for years, it leaves an already very thin military in a precarious position to face potential challenges in North Korea, Iran, Syria and an independent terrorist organization near you.
Michael Ignatieff cited a book published in 1776, The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, in paralleling how this Bush-lead empire is duplicating similar mistakes as were made by their Roman imperial predecessors.
He wrote in The New York Times, “Empires endure only so long as their rulers take care not to overextend their borders.”America certainly risks this as for all its economic might, they can only afford to do isolated combat on so many fronts.
Ignatieff echoes this strain, writing, “(America) cannot rebuild each failed state or appease each anti-American hatred, and the more they try, the more they expose themselves to the overreach that eventually undermined the classical empires of old.”
Because Saddam Hussein was lured from his hole, the polls show that 61 percent of Americans feel that the war in Iraq was justified. Republicans now say that capturing Hussein was the goal all along, deflecting attention away from what they said was the real issue, the still at-large weapons of mass destruction.
Capturing Hussein does not in any way change the fact that Bush and his staff mislead the nation, and the world, in saying that Iraq posed an imminent threat to American security. If they find weapons tomorrow, they can’t stick to that claim.
Are the Iraqi people and the world better off with Saddam out of power? You be the judge. But removal of immoral foreign leaders is not justification for waging an expensive war that it now seems clear was hopelessly planned for.
Additionally, America has isolated itself diplomatically with lap-dog Britain. The Bush Administration’s arrogance has left America all alone in the world, having to shoulder the cost of the international war on terror.
Working-class parents have to see their kids brought home in body bags. Or disfigured, limbs lost. Sick with diseases that have no name or no cure. Meanwhile they pay the most for it and receive the least in terms of public services.
Perhaps one day mounting deaths and costs will make it where some president can’t withstand the domestic political backlash and feels compelled to bring the troops home.
This is the other path that America could take and leave Iraq too soon.
Then Iraq would become much like Afghanistan is now, a breeding ground for terrorists, a nation that is largely controlled by the Taliban and other “terrorist cells”, much like it was before 9-11. This, the result of the U.S. diverting its attention towards a war that didn’t seem to be absolutely essential in the so-called war on terror.
Additionally, by launching a pre-emptive attack against a nation like Iraq that might act against the U.S. at some mysterious point in the future, the U.S. set a horrible precedent internationally.
This was seen again on Christmas Day whenIsrael launched an attack against a Palestinian that their government says was planning an attack againstIsrael. Less than an hour later, a suicide bomber responded in kind in Jerusalem.
What is to stop Pakistan from launching an attack against India in the name of national security? Why shouldRussia not strike Chechnya? Would a North Korea that feels threatened be justified in launching a pre-emptive attack on San Francisco according to Bush’s cowboy diplomacy?
After the violence and death of 9/11, America had an opportunity to lead the world towards ending these cycles of violence. Having all been affected by that day’s horrific events, nations across the globe were more willing to work together and exchange in dialogue than ever before.
I understandAmericahas to protect its interests, but this administration has moved in a manner internationally that is nothing short of irresponsible to its citizens, and all of mankind.
ButAmericaloves symbolism, and Saddam looking like a degenerate Karl Marx (no, that’s not an oxymoron) made for good TV. But let’s not let the parade get in the way of the facts.
In his State of the Union Address, when the President made his case forIraqbefore the American people, he lied.
He and his people say this is just a case of factual inaccuracies that didn’t get edited out of the speech. Yeah, whatever.
But it seems, what’s the use? With the Cowboy having reeled in the villain, Bush is more popular than he’s been in some time with the American people, and looking in good shape for re-election.
And if that be the will of the people, then I suppose then the nation deserves the democracy it chooses for itself. I’m not sure Iraq will deserve the democracy we choose for them.
Peace and God bless.