Did President Obama’s Speech Go Far Enough? Not if You Were Working class or Poor

Last night’s State of the Union address by President Obama came a bit too little too late… Yes, it was perceived as a good speech in many circles but only because he finally focused on the one thing nagging at the heels of at least 1 out of every 10 Americans… We’re talking about JOBS. It had been along time coming and when you compare that with what has thus far been a disastrous Health Bill which caved into the wanton greed and desires of clowns like Senators Joe Lieberman and Bill Nelson, his speech was a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, what was missing, was a discussion of how to help out those who have already been severely damaged by the fleecing of this economy. What was missing was a discussion of how to help those who saw their 401Ks tanked, saw their credit lines cut, saw their credit rating ruined often through no fault of their own. We didn’t hear discussion on how to help those who worked 10, 15 and even 20 years at a job only to find themselves out of work because of downsizing-the result of greedy banks making record profits, giving out billion dollars to top level employees and not helping small businesses get a line of credit to purchase goods and supplies or make payroll. We DID NOT hear conversation on how to help out those people who are part of the working poor and the poor.

I heard President Obama say things like ‘Tax credits‘, and small business loans.. and don’t get me wrong, that’s great if you’re in a position to take advantage of them. But if you spent your last savings on rent and other basic necessities after being laid off and unable to find work or a decent paying job over the past few months, none of these tax breaks do you any good. I was looking for the President to say something like..

1-Renters get a voucher.. landlords get a tax break or some other economic incentive to give tenets a couple of months to save money..

2-Folks who lost their jobs will get paid for job training so they could re-enter a changing job market that requires new technological skill sets. I heard all this talk about Green jobs.. Great, but what exactly is a green job?Installing solar panels? My elderly mom is gonna start installing panels?? Really? If you been working in the office for the past 10 years shuffling papers, you need to get a new skill set.. and that new skill set needs to come not after you get hired, but while you’re looking… Give people some incentive. Help boost their confidence. make them feel useful. Without that, guess, what? You’re gonna have a bunch of out of work, ‘unskilled’ workers who are still in the economic dog-house… All of that compounded by watching uber rich bankers get billion dollar bonuses.

3-There’s been a disproportionate amount of hidden taxes and hidden costs applied to the poor. We saw no break or relief from that. What do I mean? Well, take a city like Oakland where there is high unemployment in many neighborhoods. Last fall the city council seeing the city was strapped for cash, decided to have the police and parking enforcement step up and crack down on any and all vehicle violations. They were encourage to pull up all sorts of antiquated and obscure laws and go after folks to raise money. So all all sorts of folks, especially those in poor neighborhoods found themselves being hit and hit hard. If you were parked in your driveway wrong or on the street at some odd angle or not ‘too far’ from the curb, you saw a hefty ticket being slapped on you. Police officers were zealously handing out tickets for everything ranging from expired tags to not having enough screws on your license plate. Parking officers were combing the streets early in the morning with books and little known rules in hand looking for violators. This of course led to people not coming to shopping centers in oakland where this sort of madness was taking place. Everyone got hurt. If that wasn’t enough the city added to this by raising parking meter rates to a whopping two dollars an hour and expanded the enforcement to 8pm at night. This was a hidden tax that saddled the working poor and poor. We wont even talk about the high bridge tools to go into San Francisco. 4 dollars a pop plus 3 dollar gas is alot when you don’t have.

The final straw was when the city went out and got a machine that reads license plates and checked to see if you had more than 5 tickets, which isn’t hard to have happen in the Bay Area. I got three after the increased enforcement. 5 tickets meant you got your car towed or booted immediately. Lots of poor folks who were choosing between paying for basic necessities and superfluous parking tickets wound up taking what little money they tucked away in December and paying parking fees. Not a good look at all. Very few people could afford to be without a car.

4-We didn’t see the lowering of costs for food or gas prices. In poor neighborhoods prices went up not down, with managers talking about poor people were stealing food so they had to pay for extra security. All of us got hit.

Banking and credit card fees which actually increased especially with outlets that got bailouts. For many who aren’t living on the brink, such things weren’t thought about. It didn’t hit the radar. I had one friend say what’s a few extra dollars to pay during a troubled economy? A whole hell of a lot when you have no money. Last night I needed 20 bucks here in DC and all the withdrawal fees were 3 bucks and none of the stores in the poor neighborhood I’m staying took credit cards.. Thats that hidden tax that poor folks get hit with everyday

5-There was no discussion about the crazy costs of payday loans. Lots of folks in the hood know about this. They need a loan to pay for rent or the electric bill or cable and internet bill (all of which have gone up over the past year) and they wind up paying loan shark type fees in order to get that loan.. Thats another hidden cost.I ran into NAACP ben jealous last night and he said it was an issue that needs to be discussed, cause a lot of poor folks are getting clobbered with this..

6-many of the working poor are saddled with taking care of two or three kids and aging parents. President Obama did not talk about that last year. We didn’t hear any discussion about how the new ‘millienium baby boomers who are facing this new challenge will get relief.. Many in this generation have parents who divorced, didn’t have a home to get equity and very little retirement and savings. They’re too old to work, and not really able to make it. Their kids are looking out after their parents as well as kids. I can tell you first hand, that’s daunting. For example, my sister has spent thousands flying back and forth to Miami, looking in my pops who is not able to work other than odd jobs here and there and has failing health. The cost of putting him in an old age home which he absolutely under no circumstances would ever agree to go to was minimum 3500 bucks a month. Completely unaffordable for two siblings and thats just one parent at the same time he needed to be looked after especially when he got sick. Someone had to do it-That someone was his kids who had to save up money fly to another state and take on an unexpected, new challenge that has no blue print to follow.

I can go on and on about these hidden costs that impact poor and working class people all day. People reading this know what I’m talking about. They also know how political posturing and political pimping has resulted in a nasty stigma being attached to those who can barely make it.. For years we allowed high prices news pundits come on TV and essentially blame folks who are not making ends meet. Sadly many of us have adapted that line of thinking and have gone on to blame themselves for not doing so well, until they hit a brick wall and realized that it’s almost impossible to make it under lots of circumstances.

Yes, President Obama gave a good speech if you were middle class- but coming into 2010 there aren’t a whole lot of folks who are in that category anymore. Sure, many may think they are, but in reality unless you have 3-4 months rent in the bank you can fall back on, a healthy 401K that wasn’t decimated during the bank bailout era and you have health insurance, you are NOT middle class. You’re part of the working poor and at any given moment you can slip away and become part of the permanent ‘poor’ underclass.

Lastly I’ll say this… what I’m afraid is by not addressing poor & working poor..a big part of the economy is served-Prison Industrial complex but thats for another article

That’s Something to ponder

Davey D

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State of the Union: Why Is Obama Still Clinging Bipartisanship?

Obama restated 2008 campaign promises that were not kept during his first year as president. It’s unclear how he can make good on them in 2010 working with Republicans.

January 27, 2010 |By John Nichols

http://www.alternet.org/story/145463/state_of_the_union%3A_why_is_obama_still_clinging_bipartisanship

But don’t accuse the president of veering from the course he charted at a point when his term was new, his popularity ratings were high and Americans took seriously all that talk of “hope” and “change.”

Despite the battering he has taken during his first year in the White House, despite suffering a serious drop in his personal approval ratings, despite the frustration and disenchantment that gave the Senate seat from the deep blue state of Massachusetts to the opposition Republicans, Obama used his initial State of the Union address to renew the call for the health care reform initiative that was the primary focus of his difficult first year in office.

“Don’t walk away from reform — not now, not when we are so close,” the president pleaded with the Congress.

“By the time I’m finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Co-pays will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether,” he declared, in the signature line of his speech. “I will not walk away from these Americans. And neither should the people in this chamber.”

The president admitted that he bumbled the push for health reform, even drawing warm laughter when he said: “I did not choose to tackle this issue to get some legislative victory under my belt. And by now it should be fairly obvious that I didn’t take on health care because it was good politics. But remember this– I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I can do it alone.”

He also acknowledged that his first year in office was a tough one: “I campaigned on the promise of change — change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren’t sure if they still believe we can change — or at least, that I can deliver it.”

Yet, Obama still did not seem to “get” the politics of the moment.

Speaking at a point when the year-long effort to enact fundamental health-care reforms has stumbled badly — in the face of united Republican opposition, wrangling between House and Senate Democrats and unfocused messaging from the president — Obama made a renewed effort to find the common ground that has eluded almost everyone in Washington.

Remarkably, the president clung to the hope for bipartisanship that was dashed at every turn in 2009 — either with outright rejection by the “party of ‘no'” or, worse yet, via compromises that handed ultimate authority over policy-making to Republican senators who diverted stimulus funding from job creation to tax cuts for the rich and Democrat-In-Name-Only Ben Nelson and Republican-In-Everything-But-Name Joe Lieberman, who forced the Senate to scrap the public option that was needed to challenge the grip of health insurance companies.

“We face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope what they deserve — is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics,” said the president, whose repeated references to bipartisanship made clear that he is not ready to adopt the fighting stance that might rally the Democratic base for a serious fight to use the party’s majorities in the House and Senate to initiate meaningful reforms.

This was not a rally-the-base speech.

It was a speech that, at many turns, sounded as if it was written a year ago — before Obama saw his domestic agenda blocked at so many turns.

It was this tone-deaf quality that made Obama’s speech a less-than-inspired statement.

Even when Obama outlined what sounded like an activist agenda, he generally restated 2008 campaign promises that were not kept during his first year as president.

In particular:

* To suggest a commitment to job creation, he dusted off one of his presidential campaign’s less-impressive position papers on using tax cuts to get small businesses hiring. In particular, the president called for eliminating capital-gains taxes on investments in small businesses and for giving small employers a tax credit for new hires.

* He repeated old promises to create clean-energy jobs and to end aid to businesses that are off-shoring jobs and facilities.

* Even as said “we all hated the bank bailout” (“it’s about as popular as a root canal”), Obama defended the giveaway to big banks as a necessary, even courageous, move. And he only offered up a little of the populism that should have defined the speech, with a proposal to recover bailout bucks by placing a fee on the biggest banks. “I know Wall Street isn’t keen on this idea,” he declared, “but if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.”

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Young Violinist who Performed for Michelle Obama, Brutally Beaten by Pittsburgh Police Who Thought His Soda Can was a Gun

Sadly 2010 is off to a shakey start with the story of this horrific police beating of an young violinist Jordan Miles who just several months ago played for First Lady Michelle Obama… This comes on the heels of recent stats showing that in 2009 close to 70 people were shot and killed by police in Houston/Harris County in Texas. 20-30 were killed in LA County in California.. An Oakland police officer accused of killing two unarmed men and shooting a third who was in a wheel chair had his case dismissed by a judge..An Austin officer who shot a man Nathaniel Sanders while he slept in the back of his car will not be having criminal charges pressed on him, even after it was discovered he turned off his car camera.. Very disturbing and in many of our minds calls for major investigations and overhauls by the Department of Justice..

-Davey D-

Police brutality charge by teen disturb mayor

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10023/1030533-53.stm

Jordan Miles is a 18 year old violinist who played for First Lady Michele Obama

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he is “very troubled” by claims that a Homewood high school student was beaten by undercover police.

Jordan Miles, 18, was treated at a hospital twice after an arrest last week by three plainclothes Pittsburgh police officers. Police suspected he had a concealed gun and — after a chase and a struggle with the Creative and Performing Arts High School senior — concluded he was holding a bottle of Mountain Dew instead. He was charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest, but when officers did not show for a court hearing Thursday, the matter was postponed.

Mr. Miles took several blows to the head and face, was Tasered and had a chunk of hair ripped from his head, his lawyer said. He was walking between homes owned by his mother and grandmother when police stopped him.

Police claimed that they identified themselves to Mr. Miles and repeatedly tried to subdue the 18 year old after he fled.

Read more:http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10023/1030533-53.stm#ixzz0dYPhW1c5

Mother alleges son brutalized by police

By Jeremy Boren and Adam Brandolph
TRIBUNE-REVIEW

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_663712.html?sms_ss=twitter

Jordan Miles before the police beating

The mother of a high school senior who performed for first lady Michelle Obama while she was in Pittsburgh in September says her son did not deserve to be “brutally attacked” by police officers outside his home earlier this month.

“Jordan is an excellent kid. He’s very quiet and takes school seriously,” said his mother, Terez Miles, 38. “He knows nothing about drugs, drug dealing or anything like that. He didn’t deserve this.”

Jordan Miles, 18, a senior at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School, Downtown, alleges that three Pittsburgh police officers beat him during an arrest outside his house on Tioga Street in Homewood about 11 p.m. on Jan. 12.

The city Office of Municipal Investigations is looking into a complaint filed by Miles, whom officers said kicked and elbowed them when they tried to arrest him.

The officers involved in the incident were Richard Ewing, David Sisak and Michael Saldutte, according to court records. Each officer was hired in September 2005 and is paid a base salary of $56,150 a year, the rate for fourth-year officers.

Jordan Miles in hospital after police beating

Police Chief Nate Harper said all three officers were reassigned from their plainclothes unit to uniformed duties. Harper said no further action will be taken until the investigation is complete.

Miles’ mother is “angry” and “frustrated” that the officers have not been more seriously reprimanded.

“I feel like they should be fired,” she said. “There’s no way they can justify what they did.”

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl yesterday called the allegations “very troubling.”

“It seems as if there was a tremendous amount of force used,” Ravenstahl said a day after news broke about the incident. “The question now needs to be answered: Was it appropriate use of force?”

Ravenstahl said the complaint is being taken “very seriously.” If the amount of force the police used wasn’t appropriate, “they will be held accountable,” he said.

Through his attorney, J. Kerrington Lewis, Miles said he fought to defend himself from what he thought was an attack because the officers did not identify themselves as police officers and they were not wearing uniforms.

“We’ve lived in Homewood all our lives,” Terez Miles said. “I’ve told him to be wary of people that might want to do him harm, but I never imagined it would be police officers that would attack and brutally beat him up.”

In a criminal complaint, the officers contend they identified themselves and that Saldutte held up a police badge attached to a necklace.

Miles suffered a swollen face, hair ripped from his scalp and a twig jabbed through his gum during the incident, his mother said. Miles has not returned to CAPA, where he is an honors student and plays the viola, his mother said.

Jordan Miles recovering

Miles played his instrument for the first lady and the spouses of the delegates of the Group of 20 economic summit when they visited CAPA.

Miles was treated at West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield. Sisak was treated at UPMC Mercy, Uptown, for unspecified injuries, according to the complaint. In a report, Ewing said the officers knocked Miles to the ground and struck him with their knees and fists after an attempt to incapacitate him with a Taser failed.

Police first tried to question Miles because he was outside in a poorly lit area at 11 p.m. and appeared to have a weapon in the right pocket of his heavy coat. The item turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew. Police said Miles ran away from them, refused to comply with commands and struggled when they tried to handcuff him. Miles was on his way from his mother’s house to his grandmother’s, where he often sleeps, his mother said.

Elizabeth Pittinger, executive director of the Citizen Police Review Board, said the officers should be reprimanded, offering an alternative assignment to the warrant office or desk duty where they wouldn’t have interaction with the public.

“They should just be taken off the street until this is resolved,” she said.

Miles has been accepted to Pennsylvania State University, where he wants to study to be a crime scene investigator, a dream that may be in jeopardy because of the pending criminal charges, his mother said.

“I hope the charges against my son will be dropped. He’s completely innocent,” she said. “I’m just glad they didn’t kill him.”

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

How Music Videos Are Changing the Game:Interview with artist Hasan Salaam,director Mark Carranceja, and model Ameena Dove

Music Videos Changing the Game:
Behind the Scenes of “Angel Dust.”
Interview with artist Hasan Salaam,director Mark Carranceja, and actress and model Ameena Dove

Interview by Rebecca McDonald of B FRESH Photography and Media

http://bfreshphotography.com/2010/01/20/angel-dust-interview/

“…one of the main issues confronting our youth is teen pregnancy, STDs, and HIV/AIDS. The number of people infected is on the rise, so it is important we get the word out…we have to continue to reinforce protection and testing.” -Hasan Salaam

The underground Hip Hop video genre has been quite disappointing lately- forgettable, in fact. Now that video equiptment is affordable, and rappers have aspirations of becoming actors, everyone and their mamas think they can shoot a quality video. No more is the Myspace rapper–now you must watch out for the YouTube rappers. But think again. It takes true passion, innovative thinking, technical skill and a dope team to pull off a quality production that will leave you wanting more, and waiting for the next video to drop.

[Enter rapper Hasan Salaam, director Mark Carranceja of Noisemaker Media and actress and model Ameena Dove].

Since their collabo-cameo on the scene with “15 Minutes,” people have quietly waited to see what they would come up with next. They brought it to the next level with “Angel Dust” off of Hasan Salaam’s album, Children of God. Think Cops meets Quentin Tarantino meets Wong Kar Wai.

“Angel Dust” is a voyeuristic tale of survival. The fusion of Salaam’s lyrical prowess and Noisemaker’s edgy technical vision create the dark and mysterious world of Angel, dominated by red hot passion and gripping pain. The team pulls viewers into a world of real life consequence in less than six minutes.

On Saturday, January 23, 2010, the “Angel Dust” world premier will be held in Brooklyn, NY at Public Assembly(Facebook RSVP: http://bit.ly/7ysnZ5). The party will double as an HIV/AIDS awareness concert, for Hasan Salaam’s intention is that “…one of the main issues confronting our youth is teen pregnancy, STDs, and HIV/AIDS. The number of people infected is on the rise, so it is important we get the word out…we have to continue to reinforce protection and testing.” The team is working with LIFEbeat on this event, and it is a moment not to miss in the history of the underground Hip Hop music video genre.

Angel Dust 2Angel Dust 1

I sat down with the three powerhouses this week to give you a glimpse into the world of “Angel Dust.”

B FRESH: Describe “Angel Dust” for those readers who are not familiar with the song.
Hasan Salaam: “Angel Dust” is a collaboration between me and Lord Jamar on my second album, Children of God. It was a story I had been wanting to tell for a minute. Jamar let me hear the track and what I had written already fit perfect and the rest of it just flowed.

BF: Brand Nubain’s Lord Jamar produced the track, and also sings the hook. How did you two link up?
HS: We linked at a show in Richmond VA a couple years back.

BF: Since “Angel Dust” is based on a true story, can you describe the unique experience and challenges of rapping about topics such as stripping, prostitution and HIV/AIDS in a substantial and meaningful way– a way that is frequently void in Hip Hop, even among conscious rappers.
HS: Everything is true except the part about her having AIDS, which I wrote as a precaution. We have not spoken in years. I was with her through all of this. We used to be on the hustle together, so her story, in some ways, was mine as well. I was there for the drugs, the hustle–we were supposed to start a business together and make flicks but we chose different paths, I wound up making music she went out to Cali to pursue the dream of making it in the sex industry.

BF: You state that “Angel Dust” is about “…outlining the painful story of a stripper who is destroyed inside a web of her own escapisms.” The video illustrates a very fine line between stripping and prostitution in the world of Angel. What does her world look like?
HS: Her world is just that, escaping her past of abuse with the idea that if she controls the sex, she can control the men. The stripping was just a way to meet clients. She chased the money ‘cuz she felt the money vindicated her troubles, almost like it was medicine for the pain, not realizing that the pursuit of that caused her more pain due to what she was doing to get the money.

BF: When did you first decide to do a video for this song?
HS: Right after we recorded it. My engineer Mike Marvel was like “Yo! You gotta shoot a video for this one!”

BF: How did you and Mark Carranceja of Noisemaker Media link?
HS: We first started building on the set of the video for “Broke and Proud” w/ Rugged N Raw off his Truth Serum album. I was impressed with Mark’s work from the filming, to the editing, to the final product. After that, we shot the video for “15 Minutes.”

B FRESH: When Hasan came to you about this video, what was your first reaction?
Mark Carranceja: Hasan approached me with “Angel Dust” right after we shot “15 Minutes.” I felt honored to work with Hasan again, considering that there are other music video directors that were probably barking in his ear at the time. After my work on “15 Minutes,” I knew that he trusted me with my vision and believed in my skill as a visual artist, and I knew that Angel Dust was more than just another video. This is the first video that allowed me to visualize a world within a world.

BF: What technical challenges in filming the video did you face? How did you resolve them?
MC: Finding the perspective of the story was definitely a challenge that I needed to overcome when I started filming. I wasn’t sure if I should’ve told this story from Angel’s perspective, from Hasan’s point of view, or from a third person. I shot from all three perspectives and I kept finding myself going back to a voyeurist’s point of view. It felt comfortable and it allowed me to film loosely, meaning that I would shoot without a treatment and without the hassles of shooting in a coverage-based fashion. I took some cues from Wong Kar Wai and Lars Von Triers’ technical approach to filmmaking– I allowed for actors to explore improvisation instead of having some set direction that they needed to follow as if the actors were trained circus animals. [Laughs] Overall, Angel Dust is largely built on improvisionational technique. It was imperative that I established a narrative perspective because it sets the tone and cadence for how the story is told.

BF: The glamorous and dark sides of this lifestyle are touched on in a span of about six minutes. Describe the directing and editing process.
MC: As a filmmaker/music video director, I prefer to shoot for the editing room, meaning shoot as much as I can on set so I have options to play with. Allowing myself to film loosely and giving the actors room for improvisation gave me the opportunity to shoot as many takes as I wanted to. I already have a reputation for being a perfectionist, so having more control over what I wanted to see seemed like a dream come true for me, and a nightmare for the actors I worked with. Filming loosely also kept true to the voyeuristic nature of the narrative, as it allowed me to use the lens of the camera as an eye looking through a peephole of a world corrupted by sin, indulgence and debauchery. My approach to editing this music video was done in a non-linear fashion. Since the video is heavily driven by the narrative, a non-traditional approach to editing a music video had to be taken. I was forced to edit this video in the middle, at the most integral part of the story. From there, I worked my way outwards and started filling in the blanks.

BF: What was it like working with Ameena Dove, who plays Angel?
MC: This is my second go around working with Ameena Dove. She, too, is a perfectionist and I enjoy working with an intensely passionate individual like herself. She always came prepared on set and showed that she was emotionally invested in the character from the first to the last take. I look forward to working with her on a future project sometime this year.

BF: What was it like playing Angel Dust? What did you need to do in preparation for the role?
Ameena Dove: Playing this character was challenging at times because Angel lives in a secret world that is taboo to speak of, much less live in. The research to prepare for the role wasn’t easy to find. I wanted info on the hard core lifestyle, so I watched quite a few documentaries, read plenty of articles, walked the strip and of course picked Hasan’s brain to find out what she was really like. I loved playing the character because she has so many elements: She’s strong, sexy, yet weak and vulnerable.

BF: Have you worked on other films or videos and how does this experience compare?
AD: I played an exotic dancer in a short film called Calamity, but it was a very brief part and much different. The other roles (besides these 2) were PG-13. Angel was different and pure due to all her characteristics.

BF: What is your investment in this video?
AD: Well, it’s my first feature film, so hopefully if film makers/directors enjoy it, I’ll receive more leading roles. I’m happy, of course, to have worked with Hasan & Mark again– they’re family so they make it feel like it’s not just work. [Laughs]. And considering the premiere is helping to aid in HIV/AIDS awareness? I couldn’t ask for more!

BF: There is a point in the video where you are crying. Talk about the emotions and process of bringing to life issues that Angel faces, and how you address them.
AD: [Laughs]. Crying was interesting! I played Nina Simone’s “Spell On You” over and over and thought of something completely different to get the tears flowing. When I heard “ACTION!” Angel took over me. It was an outer body experience… It felt amazing.

BF: What was the feeling on set while shooting “Angel Dust?”
HS: It was blessed. Everybody was focused and sincere with their performances. Nina, who played young Angel was amazing! Her first time on screen and she was the most professional one there. It wasn’t your steryotypical video set despite the wardrobe and subject matter– everyone was respectful and understood the message.

MC: As a director, I was focused on getting what I needed to get done, so I am usually numb to any extraneous pressure that occurs on set. I was fortunate enough to work with like-minded individuals who believed in the greater good of the project.

AD: It was shot in many different locations but over all–it was a little of everything. The set was glam at times, raw and raunchy, depressing, uncomfortable, realistic, funny… Most of all… Productive!

BF: What challenges did you face while filming? What victories?
HS: No budget, no permits, but we never have those, so fuck it!!!

MC: Wrapping up another collaborative effort with like-minded artists is always a victory. As a director, I am eager to show this video to the public and present a fresh perspective to the music video genre that seems so… uninspired.

AD: Challenges were the RT 1/9 scene in Jersey City. It was very cold because we shot in the winter so we (the girls) froze our butts off in those little dresses! [Laughs] For me personally, it was making sure I portrayed her exactly the way Hasan wanted. There is a fine line between strength and vulnerability, so finding that balance was crucial. The victory of it all was also on RT 1/9 when a cop thought the street walking scene was real and asked us to stop filming because we stopped traffic all the way to the Pulaski Skyway! That’s when I knew we had something utterly genuine.

BF: You all made noise on the scene with the video “15 Minutes” off the same album, Children of God. In contrast, this video looks like a movie. Was this intentional, and did the production of the video feel like a film?
HS: The intention was to make this one better. That’s what we shoot for every time. Since this is a true story, we wanted it to have more of a film feel to it.

MC: Hasan wanted a film-like look to the music video, so he choose me to direct the project because of my penchant for creating work that has a cinematic aesthetic to it.

AD: It definitely feels like a film because of Mark’s remarkable camera angles, technique and editing. Match that with Hasan’s innovative ideas and soundtrack… I say we have one hell-of-a movie!

BF: What was your favorite part about filming?
HS: Watching all of the other artists whether it be Mark, Dove or any of the other actors make my vision come to life. At certain points it was like life re-lived.

MC: Overcoming uncertainty.

AD: Crying and most definitely watching my niece act for the first time! I’m EXTREMLEY proud of her! She’s an amazing kid, so intelligent and in-tune. She stole the show with her performance as a young Angel Dust!!

BF: What do you want people to walk away with after watching the video?
HS: The sense that we are all children of God. No matter what we do or where we are in life– that’s who we are. Also, there are consequences for our actions, people make mistakes and we all have a story to tell. Some are more harsh than others.

MC: I want viewers to feel like they entered a world. And I want music video directors to step up their game.

AD: I want to remind everyone that no matter what our path is, we are all CHILDREN OF GOD. Thank you Hasan & Mark for allowing me to take part in that message. PEACE.

Return to Bfresh Photography

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There would be No Barack Obama if this Woman hadn’t Set it Off-Remembering Shirley Chisholm

My homegirl, journalist and scholar Erinn Ransom hit me up and astutely reminded me that today marks an important footnote in history-Sadly it’s been forgotten by many. Its not in the small confines of Black History month and nowadays we’re at the height of football season..But it should be noted that today was the day that Shirley Chisholm declared her run for presidency back in 1972. As Erinn noted this was the jump-off of a path Barack Obama would eventually follow…

For me, the one thing I always liked about Shirley Chisholm was and will always be one to admire and emulate.. She made it clear she was Un-brought and Un-bossed.. That’s how we should all live our lives.. I know I definitely try to.. If Ms Chisholm was still around and running the country today I highly doubted if there would’ve been any Wall Street bailouts and bonuses on tax payers dollars with so many people in need.

Here’s some background info on her

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was an American politician, educator and author. She was a Congresswoman, representing New York’s 12th District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1968, she became the first African-American woman elected to Congress. On January 23, 1972, she became the first major party African-American candidate for President of the United States. She received 152 first-ballot votes at the 1972 Democratic National Convention

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Immortal Technique: (Reflections on the Haitian Revolution & Present Condition)

(Reflections on the Haitian Revolution & Present Condition)
By Immortal Technique

http://www.everydropchi.com/

Since the recent tragedy that has befallen the proud and persevering nation of Haiti, there has been an outpouring of support followed by a few disturbing falsities being spread about the history of the island and its people. I wrote the following to shed some light on events during and around the Haitian Revolution. Please remember memorizing and reiterating should never pass for learning. Deciphering the significance of individuals and events is what truly teaches us not just about history, but also about ourselves.

There is a wide spectrum of beliefs behind what has caused Haiti to suffer ceaselessly over the years. Some see the problem as being mostly political, bad governance, modern day colonialism, and the perceived necessity to make an example to the world of what a successful slave revolution will get you. There are even those on the fringe who cling to an ancient superstition that the island was freed by a mythological pact with Satan (video) In order to shed light on the issue I am forced to go back in time. Obviously not to the beginning of occupational history, but far enough to give others a realistic perspective on Haiti and it’s struggle.

We join a story centuries in the making. It is the year 1794 and the scent of musket powder blows over all of Europe. The French Revolution may have changed the face of the world, but its unintended consequences that influenced its colonies would come to overshadow France’s own glory. It was during this year, on the 4th of February, that France’s First Republic Convention (under pressure from massive slave revolts) decided it had to transcend the stumbling efforts of the ‘enlightened monarchs’ of Europe and abolish slavery. Yet in the customary fashion of our own Declaration of Independence’s “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal,” the gesture, much like these words, became a glaring example of self-righteous insincerity. Equality, the fraternal twin brother of Independence, was aborted at the fetal stage of development and the Revolution came to betray itself.

Francois-Dominique Toussaint

Known then as “Saint Domingue” (French for Santo Domingo,) the colony that we now call Haiti, yielded great fortune to those who possessed her. It was rich with sugar, cotton, tobacco, cocoa and other valued resources. So much so that the European Superpowers of that day fought bitterly against each other to control the island and her inhabitants. After all, the African slaves living on Saint Domingue were the proverbial engines that ran the machine. From among them appeared a man who was born a slave but who would become free and lead all his countrymen toward that same destiny. He was a glitch in the matrix, an act of nature, and a mistake to be corrected in the eyes of the islands autocratic semi-feudal society. His name was Francois-Dominique Toussaint soon to be heralded, “L’Overture.”

As a former servant and carriage driver, he had abstained from participating directly in previous uprisings stemming from the refusal of slave masters to honor “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.” He had waited patiently and then allied himself with other rebel leaders who had risen to the task of overthrowing colonial rule. His ideas were innovative and his guerrilla tactics highly disciplined. No wonder then that he rose through the ranks of the rebellious forces so quickly.

Before fighting alongside the French against other colonial powers, Toussaint had been in league with the Spanish, who along with Great Britain were at war with France. The Spanish were used as a support system for his designs when white colonials refused to endorse the full rights of citizenship to free blacks given by the French edict of 1792. In other words, for Toussaint they were there to serve his vision rather than him serving theirs. Having so many different nations vying for a piece of the pie proved a difficult task to navigate. To his credit, Toussaint had managed to out-maneuver them all, cleverly using their own tactics of pitting one against another. But when Spain and England did not follow through with their promises to free slaves, he discarded his allegiance to them.

After grueling and hard-fought campaigns against the Spanish and British, he took control of the French Colony. Toussaint promoted reconciliation among the races, which wasn’t any easier then than it would be now. He also engaged and renegotiated better terms of trade with Britain and the new American Republic alike. Catholicism was adopted as the national religion and slavery was abolished. The news traveled around the world like lightning- the African Slaves were undergoing the course of reversing 300 years of domination.

As news of the Independence of Haiti was circulating, the reaction was mixed. Toussaint’s actions openly received the approval of Alexander Hamilton, who saw Europe’s weakening in the West as an opening for America’s bid for commercial supremacy. He even aided in the drafting of the precursor to the island’s first constitution in 1801. However, when Thomas Jefferson came to power, American support was reined in. Jefferson openly own slaves and had even fathered children with the now famous girl he owned, Sally Hemmings. But much more than his personal stake in legitimized servitude, it was the perceived international threat that most likely shaped his opinion. The surrounding colonies and his new Republic being destabilized by the idea of a successful slave revolt obviously frightened him. His assertion being that their freedom would suddenly cripple the economy built around them. He is quoted as saying that it was necessary at all costs to “confine the plague to the island.” I guess “My emancipation / don’t fit your equation.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

By 1801, Toussaint was in full control of Saint Domingue. In a moment of perhaps self-preserving foresight and/or genuine altruism, he advanced onto the Spanish side of the island. His army defeated the remaining white colonial powers and freed all the slaves, showing the people of color the first glimpses of freedom they’d known practically since the time of Columbus. He rejected the ancient custom that dated back to the Middle Ages, of sending his children as hostages to his ‘Suzerain’ as a symbol of fidelity. He further declared his intentions in a famous letter addressing Napoleon himself. It was titled: “From the First of Blacks to the First of the Whites.” In it he pledged his loyalty to France. He stated firmly that slavery would be utterly annihilated; that he (Toussaint) would remain governor indefinitely (a suggestion from Hamilton and then Sec. of State Pickering). Furthermore Saint Domingue would be a free and independent state. The correspondence must have come as a shock to then Consul Napoleon. It was probably the sheer audacity of a former slave proposing terms of independence, albeit in the most polite and articulate manner, that struck him. This man was obviously more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Toussaint and his people represented something that had to be proved false no matter the cost.

See the very existence of their independence showed the entire human race a side of history that we are only now truly rediscovering. European society had relied mainly on creating divisions and the spread of epidemics, not simply superior military prowess to overcome the indigenous populations of Africa and the Americas. The Haitian Revolution exposed the façade of European invincibility, and it tore away at their justification for invasion on the grounds of Christianization. The mythology of racial superiority began to take the shape of an ancient death mask from classical antiquity.

Napoleon would hear no more and dispatched his brother in law Gen. Charles LeClerc to the island with a huge force of infantry troops and warships. His stated intention was to secure the new state. At first confrontation ensued, but they arrived at a truce once Toussaint promised that the French would not attempt to reinstate slavery. However, the moment he let his guard down he was almost immediately betrayed. Toussaint and his entire family were arrested. Restoring the island to France’s control, LeClerc had Toussaint sent to prison in France. But this was just the beginning. He quietly moved to begin the process of re-enslavement. “Since terror is the sole resource left me, I employ it…destroy all the mountain negroes, men and women, sparing only children under twelve years of age,” read his report to Napoleon.

The Mulatto

The French now shifted their focus on using the former so called “Mulatto” people who Toussaint had defeated in previous military campaigns to maintain control of the island. They, the “Mulatto’s” had been at odds with elements of the Revolution earlier although they had suffered almost equally from the torments of slavery. The very concept of the “Mulatto”, that still to this day plagues the African, Latin American, Caribbean, and so Called West Indian world, merits an explanation all to itself.

The Latin ‘mulus,’ became the Old Spanish or Old Castillian ‘mula,’ finally evolving into the Spanish and Portuguese “Mulatto,” that symbolized the reverse anthropomorphic semblance of a human being. A mule is the physical combination of a horse and a donkey. This part is simple enough. But the symbolic nature of this has a racial connotations that tear apart our society even today. The horse symbolizes the White European, elegant, regal and highly valued. And the donkey embodies what they thought the purpose of an African/Indigenous slave should be; a beast of burden to be worked until the day that ‘it’ dies.

The combination of a horse and a donkey create a species that rarely if ever is capable of reproducing. The male is always born sterile, and the female is exceptionally similar in this way. Hence the idea that nothing good can come from them. This concept then became permeated in the portrayal of the “tragic mulatto” in 19th century American literature, leading into classic Hollywood cinema. It is a theme symbolized by the downfall of a “Mulatto” or “Quadroon/Octoroon” attempting to pass for white. It also focused on the conflict of those trapped between two races. Those who despised and pitied their darker half and their own skin color, while needing the approval of whites to validate themselves. In most of the stories peace is only found for the said main character in death. The very definition of its existence solidified the role of White and Black in the American caste system, whose remnants we all still presently reside in. It also laid out the role of Blacks to themselves, without many of them even to this day understanding the loaded straw man argument about race posed within the terminology.

It was the Haitian Revolution that challenged the very idea of slavery and the existence of a lesser man. It put the “enlightenment” of Europeans on trial, and forced America to confront what she was becoming as opposed to what she was supposed to be. The usage of concepts like the “Mulatto” were necessary for late 18th century white society to put institutionalized racism on life support for another 150 years, and create a violent split in the psychology of Mother Earth’s first children.

They had used a traditional stratagem inherited from the Romans/Byzantines of understanding an empire’s limited capacity for multi-dimensional warfare on a global scale, and employed the service of a smaller state to outflank its opponents in conflict. Only this time it was not using the Visigoths to fight the Huns (Battle of Chalon, 451 A.D.) or the Cumans to fight the Pechenegs (Levonium, 1091 A.D.). Napoleon and those that served his court were innovators of the worst kind. They perfected what other colonial powers beforehand had only begun. They created virtual new age “foederati” for their designs by ripping a subsection out of the very people they sought to subjugate. In return for cooperation, the French promised the desperate “Mulattos” more rights and more privileges in what they painted as a new Saint Domingue. Effectively this action created a safe haven for racism that is even now nestled like a neonate Viper storing the poison of generation after generation. The idea built itself within the conscious and subconscious mind of an enslaved people, to keep them in bondage psychologically even if they found themselves physically free. This is evident not only in the continued degeneration of Black and “Mulatto” relations well into the mid 1800’s under Jean Pierre Boyer, but in present Black & Latino society’s obsession with skin color.

In other words, the French colonization efforts efficiently solidified adding dimensions to racism and the notion of racial superiority by creating a different “race” in our own minds. It was wicked and brilliant in its service to the cause of reducing man to property as it was to being duplicitous to the so-called ‘Mulatto’ himself. For in the end he was closer to his Master in his eyes only. To the French he was still little more than an animal, subject to an active and de-facto ‘Code Noir’.

(The cruel logic of the seemingly schizophrenic reflections in King Louis XIV’s Code Noir of 1641, is regarded as a predecessor to the U.S.’s Black Codes, which shaped the legal standing of former African slaves in the post civil war Era. It covers everything from the immediate persecution and expulsion of Jews, to laws concerning a slave’s position, methods of torture and capital punishment that could be implemented.)

Click to read the Code Noir http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/335/

Jean Jaques Dessalines and Black (Slave) Rage

Tricknowledge, is a late 20th century Harlem terminology for an old cosmopolitan strategy. It is used to describe an imperial power not having the physical force to conquer a people, and therefore resorting to the art of deception to achieve victory. Calculating lies are used to manipulate the target into compromising positions before it is attacked. Yet even with all of her elegantly worded deception, sweet-accented mandates, and counter-mandates, France would only hold the beautiful island prisoner for a few more fleeting moments of history. Once the Revolution was set into motion there was no opposing inertia capable of stopping it. Toussaint may have been taken under arms to France where he lived incarcerated, in a frozen fortress near Bensancon (eventually succumbing to pneumonia although some suspected poison), but the Revolution rolled on. In fact, right before Toussaint’s death, a perhaps karmic parting gift of yellow fever swept Saint Domingue weakening the French garrison and even claiming the life of Charles LeClerc.

Jean Jaques Dessalines

Napoleon’s Saint Domingue police state barely lasted a year, until it became blatantly evident that slavery was to be reinstated just as it had been on Guadeloupe. In the end, after watching the brutal conflict and horrific mistreatment of his own people, it was one of Toussaint’s young General’s, Jean Jaques Dessalines (who had ironically allied himself with LeClerc when Toussaint was captured), who decided to emerge as the leader that would avenge his people. Truthfully though, and perhaps more important to his own soulful vanity, he really sought to avenge himself. To hear him described by the contemporary European authors of his time, he sounds like the very manifestation of chaotic violence. But every scar has a story, and Dessalines had many scars. In fact a large percentage of his body was covered in painful grooves, partially healed lacerations and whip marks that made some of his skin look like it had melted over itself. He had received some of these in very visible places, and even the most sensitive areas of a man, for his perceived ‘insolence’ as a slave.

It is said General Dessalines would look upon his scars in the mirror and cry out in rage before battles. Then crashing into his enemies he fought with the valiant nature of a man seeking freedom, and persistent fury of a heart that would only be quenched by vengeance. His aim became to ensure the small Revolution’s continued success at any military cost. He was determined to maintain it by implementing the same campaigns of terror that the slave owners had recently utilized on him and his people. And this is what terrified white Europeans to the core of their being. Provoking most landowners and slave masters to flee. Some of them though, daring to look, must have surely seen a piece of themselves in him and been rattled. This is thought to be what initially led to the invention of stories about his pact with the devil and deals with voodoo spirits, as these then served the impertinent need to differentiate his actions from theirs.

To better understand how the slaves were treated and what exactly he sought to repay to his former masters for, I chose this famous quote from Henri Christophe‘s personal secretary. He, who was once a slave, describes in sick details the daily torture inflicted on the enslaved Africans of Saint-Domingue by the French.

“Have they not hung up men with heads downward, drowned them in sacks, crucified them on planks, buried them alive, crushed them in mortars? Have they not forced them to eat shit? And, having flayed them with the lash, have they not cast them alive to be devoured by worms, or onto anthills, or lashed them to stakes in the swamp to be devoured by mosquitoes? Have they not thrown them into boiling cauldrons of cane syrup? Have they not put men and women inside barrels studded with spikes and rolled them down mountainsides into the abyss? Have they not consigned these miserable blacks to man eating-dogs until the latter, sated by human flesh, left the mangled victims to be finished off with bayonet and poniard?”

His preferred mechanism for punishing European colonials, many of whom were former slave masters, was indeed ruthless. He implemented “Black Rage” as both his foreign and domestic policy, which meant the absolute destruction of the white colonists, soldiers, and civilians. Before him others had angrily suggested this sort of retribution but none had the gall to carry it out. After all, ideologues may design a Revolution and dismantle an empire verbally, but ideas are powerless without the hand that wields them mercilessly. In the end a combination of this, and allowing remaining whites to live without owning any property and having little say in government, was the result.

I make no attempt here to justify the actions of Jean-Jaques Dessalines, but a person cannot be made a slave unless they are terrorized and de-humanized. Unless they are mentally, spiritually and in many cases physically castrated, unless their women are raped before them and children are sold and tore from the womb in front of their eyes. He did in essence what he was taught to do by those that shaped his world.

His collective punishment & scorched earth policy frightened the remaining white colonials to such a degree that most migrated en masse to the other side of the island or to the mainland. General Dessalines fought many battles and eventually claimed the independence of Haiti on January 1st, 1804. During this time period he had ravaged the Eastern side of the island and having swept away all opposition, made himself Emperor in 1804. His absolute rule inspired anger and resentment, and only 2 years after his coronation he was assassinated. The country divided itself between North and South until power was consolidated again. The legend of Dessalines came to life upon his death. Stories grew out of the resentment of the white exiles that had once owned his people and now happily welcomed his demise. Even the “Mulatto” section of Haiti that never received his trusting and felt shunned by him. His immediate demonization followed in these circles, without a thought or a backtracking moment in history to consider what were the circumstances caused him to be. No context that showed the nature of the slow functional genocide of his people.

Just silence. And that silence without context continues even today while people suffer one of the worst natural catastrophes that has ever be known to mankind.

Extortion of Haiti

Not a word from proud France who defied the American War machine over Iraq, but has kept silent over these two centuries when concerning the 150 million gold francs it extorted from Haiti in 1838. The number was later lowered to 90 million gold francs but the factual story behind the extortion goes as such. Under the guise of a cessation of hostilities (a promise to curb re-invasion), repaying indemnities and for the loss of “property” (slaves) during the Revolution, France demanded payment. And of course since Haiti had no such sum in their treasury at the time, French bankers eagerly paid the first 30 million gold francs at exorbitant almost mafia-inspired interest rates. So high that it was not until 1947 that Haiti was actually able to repay THAT particular “loan”. By the mid to late twentieth century the IMF’s policy of changing it’s agricultural focus and conditional foreign aid had since indebted the island nation beyond ruin. In the wake of this current tragedy, I believe France should immediately repay the blood money it stole years ago no matter its legal apprehensions of reparations. This isn’t about reparations for slavery it’s about the over 20 billion dollars in the modern equivalent paid to a reinstated tyrannical king. It is not the pinnacle of restoring Haiti, but the beginning of repair.

Jean Betrand Aristide

I would be remiss to not pause here and point out that this was written as a moderately detailed historical account of events in and around the Haitian Revolution. It is not the entire history of the island and does not go in depth into the modern self-defeating racial and political schism between Haiti and the Dominican Republican during the mid 20th century. I purposely steered clear of recent events concerning Jean Bertrand Aristide because it deserves an article on it’s own. I also cannot and will not lay the blame solely on Europeans for the condition of Haiti. The French themselves cannot be demonized anymore than the Spanish, English, Portuguese or Belgians, etc. for their role in colonization. Although to rule out foreign intervention for Haiti’s condition would be ignoring a huge amount of independent variables that affect the equation. While military backed World Bank policy has always kept the island as an economic vassal, the mismanagement of resources and corrupt leaders also bled the nation dry.

At some point we have to accept the personal responsibility for repairing the framework of society ourselves, and not relying on the people that ruined our indigenous civilizations to fix them all the time. Brutally repressive dictators, such as Duvalier, who were allowed to exist by the U.S. because of their stance against Communism, must be put into their proper context as well. They are not simply a Western invention, but rather the natural order of bequeathing absolute power to an agent of “stability,” an experiment that could easily be repeated in our own Republic. And so we as a nation cannot claim ignorance in our understanding of this political formula anymore, whether at home or abroad. The sad truth is that we as a public entity or a people may understand this relationship and dissect it now, but our own government has recognized it since the founding of the nation.

We may sometimes point to these historical figures and attribute superstitious characteristics to them in order to either justify or vilify their position. My main problem is when it starts becoming obvious that our own government uses complete and utter falsities to promote a military objective. The following is an account written by a Soldier who participated in the ousting of then President Aristide, it sheds light on the deliberate dissemination of such information:

http://www.ibiblio.org/prism/May96/haiti.html

If he (Dessalines) really made a pact to deliver his nation to absolute evil then why only the leader of the one successful slave revolt on the hemisphere? Why just him and not every other military commander throughout history that faced insurmountable odds? And when is that sort of such vindictive and violent force ever justified? See, that my friends- is at the very core of what Haiti and it’s historic Revolution truly represent. That undiluted tactic of delivering oneself from slavery and oppression through physical force. The French Revolution beheaded their King they did not pay his family restitution. The American Revolution gave Britain no reparations and in fact collected the land of it’s Indigenous allies after England ceded it without so much as a word to the Native American’s still living there. Yet only in modern history have enslaved people of color been trained to think suffering through the worst of what an oppressor can punish them with is the only way to gain legitimacy or victory.

Are we tragically “Mulatto?”

Are we as Black and Indigenous people only noble and righteous in an emasculated form of confrontations against such a fate? Are we only correct in our undertaking of a non-violent approach to confronting Imperialism or Fascism? More of white America praises Martin Luther King Jr. as peacefully resistant and the preferable alternative to Malcolm X’s truth without modesty. More would rather hear the scholarly Fredrick Douglas than experiencing the fear-invoking Dessalines. I do not seek to discredit the legacy of either Douglas or King. We are all indebted to the vital parts of the struggle for freedom that they played historically. But why are Europe and American spared the same constant criticism by present day historians. Would we turn the other cheek to Hitler? What would a non-violent march and a hunger strike against the Confederate South have accomplished? Without colonial militias, Native American Warriors, and the French & Spanish Armadas, wouldn’t the (U.S.) Constitution have ended up as British toilet paper? As a matter of fact, if Ghandi’s tactics had been used in the American Revolution, wouldn’t he have been lying in a ditch in Virginia some 234 years ago? Without the purchased attention of a global media outlet is shaming the world even possible? And even if we managed to procure one, how could a profit margin be replaced by a soul, when that’s the one thing that a multi-national news corporation will never have?

I believe a balance is always necessary, and that might never makes right. It just makes right now. Having the power to take land, force payment or enslave others doesn’t make your cause justified. In fact I would argue that an oppressor who lies to his slaves about their ten thousand year old history, and presents them as a fraction of a human being to all, is in truth more savage than that which he has reduced his fellow man to. Strength and power are the tools that can reinforce a document, a government, a people and a nation. Without them there is only the word, and unfortunately we are not as evolved as we would like to believe because we do not respect words, not even the words of God when we write them in our own image. We are taught to only respect fear and violence.

I am not arrogant enough to claim to have all the answers, but I come rather humbly myself to pose these questions so that you may discover the answer. May we repay the slave master by acting like the slave master? Or have we already gone this route before? Perhaps in our forgotten history we have already employed these strategies amongst ourselves. Can it be that we treated each other this way when Rome was yet to be conceived and Greek civilization was still an adolescent student of Egypt? Why is violent Revolution coupled with diplomatic conflict settlement only the recourse of the Super powers alone? Why is it presented to us as fruit from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden? Perhaps it was our oppressor’s pact with the devil that made it so. These are question that are easy to answer only if a personal bias already exists within us, they are harder to answer when they speak to all of humanity, and what it reflects about the future of our species.

The earthquake itself did not discriminate by skin color when deciding who would die in the collapsing buildings. It cared nothing for their religion, family connections, or politics. Corrupt diplomats have perished within the same epicenter as innocent hardworking families and dedicated public servants. The old and the young perish together subtracted from both sides of the equation. Our evolution is the rediscovery of the past not an invention of a mythical future. Will we always be a petty small people as a complete and single human race that we do not look beyond what is obvious in our faces as opposed to what is obvious in the actions that our hearts strive us towards?

As I look at the proud, resilient and suffering nation of Haiti. I have heard every sort of theory for this tragedy, an act of God, HAARP, and even superstition backed by the hands of social senility wielding faith. In the end I am left to ponder what role did the world’s super powers play in burying Haiti before the Earthquake, and what sort of role will we now play in digging her and our own collective human soul out of the rubble?

Beyond this though I think we should begin to seriously change the way that we look at each other around the world. We are a global community, a single race of people who might one day all become Haitians.

To all my brothers & sisters, those that have lost family and are suffering.

My Condolences along with Revolutionary Love & Respect,

Immortal Technique

Felipe Coronel

Check out the website...Every Drop Counts is a grassroots organization assembled in response to the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti….A group of young artists and activists in Chicago came together with the goal to raise funds in order to send filtration equipment that will provide sustainable, clean bathing and drinking water (Thus, the name Every Drop Counts.)

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Recent Supreme Court Decisions is the Result of Conservative Stacking which will Haunt us for Years to Come

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling coupled with their recent decisions to pretty much put political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal on a fast track to death and to disallow cameras in the historic same-sex marriage hearings in San Francisco, underscore what I have long noted about electoral politics.

Say what you will about the Presidency and whether he’s living up to all his promises, whoever sits in that chair gets to appoint justices to the Supreme Court and a bunch of judges in the lower Federal Courts. Throughout our history, many of our victories in the areas of Civil Rights have come via court decisions or through the President signing into a law after being pressured by the people. Unless you have an army or some sort of paramilitary outfit thats equipped to go the long haul and stage some sort of coup, many of the things we say we want and need in today’s society is going to come via political decision. This means we have to bone up on our political awareness. Know the key players, vulnerable touch points and play to win.

Having long-winded conversations about conspiracies, and the so-called elite and how small victories were won once upon a time before many of us were born is just plain foolish, at least in 2010. The decision made by the Supreme Court to allow corporations unlimited free speech is part of the Bush Sr legacy of court appointments he did over 20 years ago. I recall many of my activist colleagues back then talking the same stuff as now. ‘Voting doesn’t matter’, ‘don’t support evil‘, ‘the lesser of two evils is still evil’..blah blah blah.. We’ve heard this talk forever..and now its come back to haunt us..

20+ years ago many sat out the election when George Bush Sr took on Michael Dukakis and one of the end results was Bush Sr winning and then appointing Clarence Thomas to fill the seat vacated by Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Courts first and then only African-American Supreme Court justice. Since then Thomas has been that crucial ultra conservative vote on an ideologically divided court where a variety of important Civil Rights and social justice issues have been defeated or overturned in 5-4 decisions. Thomas’s decisions for the most part have been direct smacks in the face of the Civil Rights legacy of Marshall.

Sadly Thomas is just one of several super conservatives sitting on the Supreme Court. Back in 1986, many talked a good game about how voting didn’t matter when Ronald Regan won a second term and promptly appointed Anthony Scalia who is considered the leader of the court’s conservative wing.

20 years later we are still haunted by the appointment of Clarence Thomas

Fast forward 10-15 years to the start of George W Bush-era. First, we saw first hand how those appointments from 20 years ago came back to haunt us when the Supreme Court handed “W’ the White House seat over Al Gore in that historic hotly contested 2000 election, where Florida, hanging chads and accusations of suppressed votes took center stage. That alone should’ve been an eye opener. But it then again maybe it wasn’t, because Bush won a second term and appointed Justice John G Roberts who led the charge and wrote the majority opinion that took away any sort of constraints or corporations to speak and advocate during an election. We have yet to see what sort of unthinkable damage that can potentially do…

We already have enough challenges than to have to worry about multinational corporations jumping in the fray with no restraints. As we still have these long drawn out discussions about whether or not we should or should not vote or Obama and anyone else, I suggest folks take along hard look at who is sitting on those courts and start stepping up our game to make sure new appointees are not as conservative as their predecessors. The lesser of two evils may be all the difference in the world on who sits on the bench. We’ve seen judges decide on everything from Sean Bell‘s police killers being get to go free to yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court decision. We know that the judge presiding over the Oscar Grant trial in California Robert Perry was appointed by conservative Governor Pete Wilson and of course we now know how Roberts showed lots of love and leniency to the corrupt officers involved in the Rampart scandal. You really can’t go take it to the streets and get meaningful change when it comes to judges.

It was a decision by San Antonio District Judge David Berchelmann that allowed fellow Judge Sharon ‘Killer’ Keller to get off for her horrific actions of closing her doors before a 5 o’clock deadline thus deny a death row appeal. This resulted in a man being put to death. But of course we have some who will say politics matters not.

We have to give voters in Houston/Harris county who obviously understood the importance of this and in 2008 swept out all but 4 judgeships. More of that needs to happen as a crucial step toward change

How does this new ruling impact Texas politics? Well according to The Dallas Morning News, it will change one part of the law but leave another in place.

Texas is one of 24 states that drew a line prohibiting corporations or unions from running ad campaigns that directly attacked or promoted a candidate.

In effect, a lot of businesses in Texas get around that by framing their ads and mailings as issue-focused. Though they might mention a candidate, they wouldn’t advocate his or her election or defeat. Under the Supreme Court’s ruling, corporations can be more direct in their appeals.

Unchanged, though, is Texas’ prohibition on corporations or unions donating money to individual candidates or coordinating their efforts with politicos.

The ruling probably doesn’t affect the state’s most famous pending campaign finance case, against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. He stands accused of money laundering by taking corporate money, siphoning it through the Republican National Committee in Washington and then distributing it to Texas candidates.

During the hey day of the Civil Rights struggle, the Federal courts were our friends..Today they are the institutions that are haunting us 10, 15 and 20 years down the line…What’s even more problematic is that nowadays those who have an ultra conservative agenda are moving in a direction where they are pushing to take their fight out of the legislative arenas and into the court system stacked with conservative judges…

I suggest people to take a look at Supreme Court rulings and than multiply them by 10 as you look at rulings made in lower courts and then you decide if you can afford to ignore politics..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_United_States_Supreme_Court_case

-Davey D-

Supreme Court’s ‘Radical and Destructive’ Decision Hands Over Democracy to the Corporations

By Liliana Segura, AlterNet. Posted January 21, 2010.

“The Supreme Court has just predicted the winners of the next November election,” Sen. Chuck Schumer announced this morning. “It won’t be Republicans. It won’t be Democrats. It will be Corporate America.”

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/145322/supreme_court%27s_%22radical_and_destructive%22_decision_hands_over_democracy_to_the_corporations/

Indeed, in a momentous 5 to 4 decision the New York Times calleda “doctrinal earthquake,” the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an unprecedented ruling today that gives new significance to the phrase “corporate personhood.” In it, the Roberts court overturned the federal ban on corporate contributions to political campaigns, ruling that forbidding corporations from spending money to support or undermine political candidates amounts to censorship. Corporations, the court ruled, should enjoy the same First Amendment rights as individuals.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the Supreme Court rejects “the argument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the First Amendment simply because such associations are not ‘natural persons.'”

In other words, as Stephen Colbert put it last year, “Corporations are people too.”

On a conference call with reporters following the decision, critics could not overemphasize the enormity of the ruling, whose implications will be visible as early as the upcoming midterm elections. Bob Edgar, head of the watchdog group Common Cause, called it “the Superbowl of really bad decisions.” Nick Nyhart of Public Campaign called it an “immoral decision” that will make an already untenable mix of money and politics even worse.

“This is the most radical and destructive campaign finance decision in the history of the Supreme Court,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21. “With a stroke of the pen, five justices wiped out a century of American history devoted to preventing corporate corruption of our democracy.”

Writing about the ruling, Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy described it as “a revolution in the law,” one that has been in the works for years thanks to conservative activism.

“Today’s decision is a huge gift to corporations from a Supreme Court that has been radicalized by right-wing ideology, whose political agenda was made obvious in the Bush v. Gore case and whose very political decision today only makes things worse.”

Of course, corporate cash has long had a corrupting influence on our politics, but never before has it been seen as some sort of fundamental freedom.

“This court has said it’s the constitutional right of a corporation to spend as much money as it wants to influence an election,” said Wertheimer.

The potential “fear factor” for politicians when it comes to the way they vote is huge. Members of Congress, who already spend a disproportionate amount of time fundraising to stay in office, now have reason to worry that their re-election chances will be derailed by corporations whose limitless funds can be aggressively used to protect their interests.

Writing for AlterNet last month, Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, argued that President Obama might never have been electedwith these new rules on the books:

Candidate Barack Obama was one sharp speaker, but he would not have been heard, and certainly would not have won, without the astonishing outpouring of donations from two million Americans. It was an unprecedented uprising-by-PayPal, overwhelming the old fat-cat sources of funding.

Well, kiss that small-donor revolution goodbye. If the Supreme Court votes as expected, progressive list serves won’t stand a chance against the resources of new ‘citizens’ such as CNOOC, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Maybe UBS (United Bank of Switzerland), which faces U.S. criminal prosecution and a billion-dollar fine for fraud, might be tempted to invest in a few Senate seats.”

The case before the court, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, centered around a rabidly anti-Hillary Clinton documentary produced by the right-wing group Citizens United. In a statement, Citizens United called the ruling “a tremendous victory, not only for Citizens United but for every American who desires to participate in the political process.”

Meanwhile, President Obama, whose critics on the left have accused him of being beholden to Wall Street, has called upon Congress to “develop a forceful response to this decision.”

“With its ruling today,” he said, “the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for Big Oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

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Obama’s First Year in Office: Rapper NY Oil Squares Off Against Conservative Carol M Swain

Today Live on the BBC’s program “World Have Your Say” Hip Hop Artist/ Activist/ and the I.B.W. Ambassador to Hip Hop NYOILfaced off against conservative Carol M. Swain (http://www.carolmswain.net/biointro.html) in a discussion on Barack Obama’s first year in Office.
On Carol M. Swain, She is widely recognized as an expert on race relations, immigration, black leadership, and evangelical politics and she was a contributor for CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight.
While NYOIL is regarded primarily as a Hip Hop artist, however further inspection reveals a history as a long standing community activist and motivational speaker.

An impromptu face off occurred during the live broadcast between the Conservative Mrs. Swain and Hip Hop Social Pundit NYOIL which resulted in some great TV.

Below is the Youtube Link to both parts of the video, do enjoy and remember Hip Hop means more than some raps and dances.. it is a way of life that encompasses all kinds. As we progress into this new decade let’s let the world know that we are more than they ever imagined we should be. Let them note Hip Hop’s response to the tragedy engulfing Haiti in the form of the HipHop 4 Haiti National relief efforts taking place this January 30th. Let them see that as a culture we permeate every facet of society and we have and will continue to influence great minds and sharp thinkers from amongst our own ranks, ready to lead our communities into a greater future.

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Wyclef’s Foundation Comes Underfire-He Responds & Puts Critics on Notice

Wyclef‘s press conference where he again addresses the issues at hand..Below is an excerpt of the press conference.. You can and should see full conference which includes Q&A.. at http://www.yele.org.

——————————————————————————————

I’m glad Wyclef spoke to this, because it was pretty disheartening to see people jump on the hate bandwagon when we let so much slide. Tax write-offs and filing are not the last or even the first word in corruption.. You want corruption.. ask your bank about the bailout money and the late fees they charge? Ask about Haliburton and Blackwater contracts paid for with your tax dollars? Ask about the way things DIDN’T run after Katrina.. Hell let’s be real ask why is George Bush and Bill Clinton on the case when you look at their shabby track records with Haiti..

-Davey D-

Below is a blog that someone wrote in defense of Wyclef.. Its pretty thorough

Word to Yele-I Write the Wrong

by LaKeisha

http://iwritethewrongs.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/word-to-yele/

I will never claim to be an expert in economics, my credit report alone would betray me. Nor can I profess to have gained any insight to the inner-workings of volunteer/humanitarian agencies.

Having been fortunate, I count my blessings that I have never had to lean on any such entity. My family in one way, shape or form has always provided whatever assistance any of us needed, be it shelter, food, clothing or simply bus fare. So again I must admit my lack of intimacy with such institutions.

However, I am not aware of any one who looks like me who does not remember the ravaging flood effects of Katrina and the flood of money that poured into one of the most popular volunteer relief organizations, the American Red Cross. Just about every high-profile philanthropist, bad boy thug-turned legit rapper, religious leader to media outlets and major companies, combined millions of dollars were donated to the relief efforts promised by the American Red Cross.

Let me note here, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) an agency of the U.S. government, and yes even under the executive orders of our beloved Barack Obama, directs charitable donations to the American Red Cross. The American Red also receives various grants from FEMA including http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=18473

Now on its own website FEMA acknowledges “The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) is fiscally responsible for approximately 17,000 open grants and is programmatically responsible for more than two-thirds of those grants.

The following preparedness grants are programmatically managed by the Grant Development & Administration Division of GPD.”

According to policies set forth in its directorates on the site, these grants can cover everything down to staffing expenses of a volunteer/relief organization. So, in my estimation, the American Red Cross can be qualified as a money-laundering service for our government. It pays itself to do the work. Well I know it isn’t that cut and dry, but where I come from in the hood that’s what it looks like. You are an agency charged with overseeing a particular task, you then identify a group to perform such task for you, utilizing your dollars, training, directive, etc. ultimately reporting to you any funds raised which you in turn manage and act as fiscal agent over.

So that is the base understanding I’ve come to in trying to figure out why in God’s name, as we sit helplessly here on American soil watching as the poorest neighboring country is completely devastated beyond human capacity, would various entities attempt to discredit a movement to bring relief to the people of Haiti.

Wyclef Jean, for those who have not been attuned to hip hop prior to Cash Money or Young Jeezy, is a grammy-winning, international hip- hop artist who single handedly put Haiti on the map. Through his artistry and advocacy, it brought to light history of Haiti for many who were just too young or simply never cared enough to realize Haiti’s rich history. It was the first country that freed itself from slavery and not only overthrew that heinous institution, but defeated the whole lot of French rule.

Wyclef in his music has always paid homage to his homeland, and shared the culture and pain of his countrymen unashamedly. He did this at a time when many Black Americans shunned any relationship to Haiti. At the height of his career as a member of the Fugees, (group first named ‘Refugee Camp’ for the conditions many Haitians find them selves when arriving on American soil) the group went back to Haiti and took several media outlets to document the plight there. Subsequently, that trip garnered Haiti prime shine in various magazine articles. During his solo career, Wyclef went back further still to his roots, releasing a full CD in creole titled, Welcome to Haiti Creole 101. And then in 2007, pledging a more substantive allegiance to his native land, Wyclef became a Haitian ambassador for the government.

Times photos: John Pendygraf
Wyclef Jean refused United Nations protection for a trip through Cite Soleil, Haiti’s most notorious, gang-infested slum, relying on his popularity to keep his group safe. “I am putting myself in the front line because I want that change to happen.” Jean said.

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/03/13/Worldandnation/Haiti_s_hip_hop_helper.shtml

This to me, speaks volumes of his love and honor of his country. But greater than that it speaks of the mutual respect and pride the country has for him.

So why is it when a native son of Haiti yells out for relief from the devastation that has demolished his beloved land, why would there be questions of his intentions? What force would rally against his efforts and bring questionable allegations regarding his foundation http://yele.org

Smoking Gun posts IRS returns for the year 2009. Listing the foundation as being in operation for “12 years,” they say accounting has not been so transparent. Maybe it hasn’t. But check the records of many and you’d be hard-pressed to find squeaky clean accounting, even among the most financially prudent. But they continue to try and smear this guy by pointing out he “paid” himself for rent and performances.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0114102wyclef1.html

Check it… just on some real plain and simple hood logic: if you open a business/not-for-profit, foundation, carity, church, etc. you have to keep the lights on. Most times, that money is coming out of your very own pocket. You do what you must to hold yourself afloat until things start rolling. In the grand scheme of things, if you have an accountant savvy enough, you’l wind up writing a large amount off. Isn’t that what every tax paying American seeks out like a leprechaun searching for a pot of gold, that tax-incentive? I’d like every politician to disclose personal or affiliated returns for the public. Of course I know they have to go through the motions of making them public, but when is the last time your elected official directed you to his/her returns and they were in plain view? Uh, huh.

For me, I just can’t see what the deal is. For one, yes he may have performed at a charity event, yes yes I know his foundation gave it. But who said the band played for free? Did the production company who handled stage, lighting, hotel, travel, catering, security, attorney fees, and on and on the list could go. Did those entities get tossed in for free. Come on. In America? I doubt it. He probably had to pay them folks and somewhere down the line he figured he’d get his scratch back.

Hell, you wanna steer me away from giving to something? Show me an organization that has ties to assisting in wars, paid by war monies. Show me an organization that since its inception has had ties to government. Show me an organization that has claimed to be a relief and rescue agency for all victims of disaster, that existed pre-post slavery but has no record of providing relief to the families of the thousands of blacks who were lynched. Surely they knew of this hideous “devastation” since Ida B. Wells was traveling the same circles of the UN and such with her message of anti-lynching. Surely those families needed “relief.”

Well, I don’t have to look any further to see it. It is the Red Cross and I for one, if not for any other proof than the shenanigans of the Katrina debacle, won’t be giving my money anytime soon to its efforts.

But that’s just little ole me who does not have much insight when it comes to these matters.

BTW, if you’d like to know how much money RC has made in the last two days, check out the article below. Now where are their tax returns? Hhow are they accounting for all the donations?

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/kindness/post/2010/01/donations-to-aid-haiti-set-new-text-records/1

Yet, it took them longer to get on the ground than it took Yele.

I am signing off. And if you’re looking for me, I’ll be tweeting away, reminding you to text yele to 501501.

BTW, peep the video Wyclef did speaking about the work of his foundation long before the earthquake rocked Haiti.

http://www.forbes.com/thought-leaders/video/?video=/video/thought-leaders/tl_2009_1209

Peace

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Tina Bell Wright: Wake Up Everybody! Seize, don’t cede OUR Power…

Tina Bell Wright: Wake Up Everybody! Seize, don’t cede OUR Power…

by Guest Blogger Professor Tina Bell White

Other than posting messages to support Haiti, I have been pretty silent the last few days on politics, but i have been reading a lot of posts..and i gotta say a couple things…lol.

From the despicable comments of Pat Roberston and Rush Limbaugh and their obvious disregard for [black] humanity, to Fox’s scant coverage of the Haiti earthquake to instead promote Sarah Palin and hate on President Obama, to “progressives” questioning motives of the U.S. government & NGOs, and already complaining about the corporate takeover of Haiti, to maligning the character of Haitian born Wyclef Jean and his efforts (while he himself digs out bodies from collapsed buildings), a few things are seriously bothering me about the politicalization of this issue when thousands of people are still under rocks.

…And the only way to really explain my concern is the lack of focus we (progressives and human rights advocates) seem to possess…this lack of focus I believe is because many let ideology blind them from certain realities…and when ideology alone determines our focus, we can easily be manipulated by those that are in the business of distraction and yanking chains.

We become conspiracy theorists although when we take a look at reality, our problem has less to do with any conspiracy and much more to do with our preoccupation with conspiracy over reality; debate over action.

I know I have said this a number of times but really believe to be true…this is the root of our miseducation. Masses were taught powerlessness. And hence, when we are easily distracted or yanked by the latest political hoopla, we prove our powerlessness by falling for the hype…Chuck D said it best: “don’t believe the hype”

The enemy of justice and sustainability for humanity is the concentration of power, and the only antidote to that concentration is for THE PEOPLE to seize power and stop ceding it (to conspiracies, corporations, govt’, big banks etc.) Folks that know and read Marx understand that the alienation of workers is what keep capitalism viable…when workers understand there is NO BUSINESS NO CAPITAL NO CONSUMER without THE PEOPLE and THEIR POWER, you will no longer see that exploitation.

Here is an example of the correct strategy we should be following:
Campaign = Move your Money
Link = http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/stop-the-abuse-its-time-t_b_422068.html

EXCERPT:

It’s a pretty simple idea: If enough people who have money in one of the Big Six banks — that is, JP Morgan/Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs — move it into a local community bank or credit union, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward fixing our broken financial system.

It’s easy, and painless, and will send a powerful message to Wall Street and to our leaders in Washington.

Face it: Real change is not going to come from Congress. It’s not going to come from the White House. And it’s certainly not going to come from the lobbyists Wall Street hires to make sure their special interests keep beating out the public interest.

We’ve got to do it ourselves. And moving your money is a great way to start.
This is not a conservative idea or a liberal idea. It’s not left or right. It’s populism at it’s best —

This is what I want to see us all do…Seize our power…don’t cede it.

But often, instead of having faith in ourselves and our ability to prevent exploitation [stopping corporate exploitation of Haiti for example], we are often outsiders looking in and see the takeover as inevitable…we not only empower corporate fascists when we check ourselves out of the equation, we actually do their bidding for them, by teaching generations the LIE that it is THEM that controls things, and we all are just pawns…there is no deeper miseducation we can teach.

So, I say all this to say: if corporations with government complicity exploit us and this situation in Haiti, it is OUR fault not theirs…they do what they do to maintain their power…if we keep letting them maintain our powerlessness too, they win twice over.

Along with posts to support Haiti, I have been remembering Mr. Teddy Pendergrass and the gift of music he gave us…so to end this note, here is a message from Teddy Pendergrass to us all…

The World won’t get no better
if we just let it be
the world won’t get no better
we gotta change it
just you and me…

RIP Brother

Tribute to Haiti

Wake UP Everybody 2008 remix
“Wake Up Everybody” feat. Mary J Blige, Wyclef, Babyface, Brandy, Missy etc

Wake up everybody no more sleepin in bed
No more backward thinkin time for thinkin ahead
The world has changed so very much
From what it used to be so
there is so much hatred war an’ poverty
Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way
Maybe then they’ll listen to whatcha have to say
Cause they’re the ones who’s coming up and the world is in their hands
when you teach the children teach em the very best you can.

Chorus
The world won’t get no better if we just let it be
The world won’t get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.

Wake up all the doctors make the ol’ people well
They’re the ones who suffer an’ who catch all the hell
But they don’t have so very long before the Judgement Day
So won’tcha make them happy before they pass away.
Wake up all the builders time to build a new land
I know we can do it if we all lend a hand
The only thing we have to do is put it in our mind
Surely things will work out they do it every time.

Repeat Chorus

It’s not enough, but it’s progress. Progress is possible. Don’t give up on voting. Don’t give up on advocacy. Don’t give up on activism. There are too many needs to be met, too much work to be done. Like Dr. King said, “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”
– President Barack Obama 1/17/2010

“Make a career of humanity – and you will make a greater person of
yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live
in.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Official Motto of Haiti: L’Union Fait La Force. Union Makes Strength.

Haitian Proverb: Sa ou fe, se li ou we. What you do is what you see.
..we reap what we sow.

WAKE UP EVERYBODY.

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Breakdown FM Podcast: The Wars Waged Against Haiti-Interview w/ Pierre LaBossiere of the Haiti Action Committee

Click HERE to Listen to Interview on Breakdown FM

Pierre LaBossiere is a community elder and long time Haitian born activist who has been letting many of us know about the challenges, triumphs and tribulations that have beset the Island nation.

He’s been doing this long before the devastating earthquake. He’s been doing this long before many of us knew about rap star Wyclef Jean who today has put this country on the map for a generation of people.

LaBossiere and his organization have been on the ground fighting the hindering and oppressive policies put forth by the Clinton and later Bush administrations. He’s been one of those people who has long reminded us about the shady stuff our government had a hand in which resulted in former Haitian President Aristide being removed (kidnapped) from office..

When we saw that President Obama had tapped former President’s Bill Clinton and George Bush to head up fund-raising efforts , the first person we reached out to was Pierre. As I noted he had long let us know that these figure heads were enemies to Haiti and one of the reasons why the island is in such turmoil.

In our interview LaBossiere goes into rich detail about the politics that have shaped this country and left it destitute. he talks about how Haiti after beating their French slave masters were made to pay reparations to France. They are still paying for that victory..

We talked about the immigration policies of Haiti.. Pierre reminded us that while our Brown brothers and sisters were dying in the deserts of the Southwest United States, Haitian refugees were dying in shark invested waters. He connects the dots and show how US policies have simultaneous crippled both countries..

During our interview we got crucial updates including the plight of Boots Riley (lead rapper for the Coup) father Walter Riley who was on the island when the earthquake hit and missing for a few days..

This is a must listen interview that will enlighten you and let you know that Haiti and her people are not some animalistic people who can’t do for self.. They are a people who have been engaged in a war since the days that President Thomas Jefferson considered them a threat to America.. We as a country have never let up..

Included in this interview are several incredible songs from Haitian rapper and historian Mecca aka Grimo… Enjoy and please pass around..

Here’s the URL

The Wars Waged Against Haiti from Thomas Jefferson to Now-Interview w/ Pierre LaBossier

Press the Logo to Listen to podcast

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