Denmark Vesey's Plantation

A place to discuss whatever comes to mind.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bush...Losing Support For War

Not all conservatives are mindless sheep.....

Many die-hard Republicans shaking their heads over Bush, war.

Oceanside, San Diego County - Dennis Dalbey, armed with scissors, an electric hair clipper and a steady hand, has given dozens of Camp Pendleton's young Marines the regulation haircut before they head to combat in Iraq.

In his Cut-Rite Barbershop on the Coast Highway, he wears his loyalty to those customers openly - the business is adorned with painted yellow ribbons, flags and "We support our troops" banners.

But these days, Dalbey, a Republican and a self-described conservative who voted for President Bush, is not nearly as supportive of the commander in chief.

"Enough is enough," he said of the war while showing Lance Cpl. Aaron Kernell, 19, from Tennessee, to a red Naugahyde chair for a cut. "If they haven't got this thing settled by year's end, it's time to bring the boys home."

As the nation marks the third anniversary of the country's entry into the Iraq war, Dalbey's deeply felt pessimism echoes through a region that remains California's most loyal Republican stronghold. The feelings, from California voters who have backed Bush, underscore the depth of political troubles for the president and his party in a year of midterm congressional elections.

With the war still raging, and the public growing increasingly sour over the outlook, Bush's approval ratings have plummeted. The once-positive images of the president and his party, which controls both houses of Congress, have been shredded in the wake of controversies ranging from the Dubai port deal to the response to Hurricane Katrina to lobbying scandals.

The president last week took to the stump to plead with Americans about the necessity for resolve in Iraq. But a tour through congressional districts of California's Inland Empire and northern San Diego County - Republican-dominated districts that have voted twice for the president - found surprisingly strong doubts about the president and his war policies.

While many conservative voters who spoke with The Chronicle remain supportive of America's military men and women, an increasing number are disillusioned with the nation's leader. And from the VFW halls to the local cafes, an increasing number in the region are expressing a profound concern about the human and financial costs of the continued Iraq conflict.

Oceanside's homes and businesses support the 60,000 military personnel and civilians who work at Camp Pendleton, home to the I Marine Expeditionary Force and the 1st Marine Division. At GI Joe's Military Surplus, just up the street from Dalbey's barbershop, owner Robert Anderson shares the pessimistic sentiments about the war. Another self-described conservative Republican who voted for Bush twice, Anderson is a military booster who sells "camo" pants and offers uniform dry cleaning for his Marine clientele. He shakes his head when asked about Iraq.

"We've done what we needed to do," he said. "We could spend 10 years there and get the same thing. ... It doesn't matter, it won't change. These guys have been fighting each other for generations, and they're going to hate us no matter what."

In nearby San Marcos, Herb Ranquist, 77, a retired Navy veteran perched on a stool in the local VFW hall, is equally perturbed, saying, "If we're going to war, we ought to do it right. If we let the generals and admirals do the job, we'd do OK.

"I voted for him two times, and I wish I hadn't," Ranquist said of the president. "It was probably one of the worst mistakes I ever made."

Ranquist recalls how on May 1, 2003, Bush stood on an aircraft carrier off the coast near San Diego - backed by a sign that said "Mission Accomplished" - and proclaimed that "major combat operations in Iraq are over."

"I remember that," he said softly. "We all remember it."

The Iraq war "did not protect us after 9/11. (Bush) was supposed to get bin Laden," said Marilyn Joy Shephard, 62, of Escondido, who has been a registered Republican since the Reagan era.

"But he wanted to go into Iraq, and I don't know why," she said. "I absolutely don't feel safer."

Shephard, a former high school teacher and financial adviser, survived the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center from the 66th floor of the second tower to be struck by a jetliner. Shephard said she ran down 66 floors and rushed outside - only to see a young woman who had jumped from the skyscraper land on the ground nearby. She recalls in painful detail the sights, sounds and smells of that attack, adding, "I even still have the 9/11 cough."

Shephard is bitter that the president "squandered his political capital" on a conflict that has tallied 2,300 American deaths, thousands wounded and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead.

"It has been a wanton squandering, a waste of humanity," Shephard said. "It's a national disgrace."

Tellingly, Shephard was one of a handful of Republicans in Escondido attending a house party for a Democrat, Francine Busby, a school board member from Cardiff-by-the-Sea who hopes to win the solidly Republican 50th congressional district seat vacated by GOP Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham after his conviction on corruption charges. A special election is scheduled for April 11.

Jerry Gould, 65, a retired pharmacist and a 40-year registered Republican also attending the party, was angered with Cunningham, his party and his president's performance on the war.

"I'm incredibly unhappy with the poor planning, and the thousands of people who've gotten killed," Gould said. "(Bush) had no idea of an exit strategy. They're dealing with a culture they don't understand ... and I have a sick feeling that 20 years from now, another Saddam (Hussein) will be in power. The guy with the biggest gun will prevail."

Yet despite the doubts, there remains a core of Republicans in the area who are stalwarts for the president and the Iraq mission.

One is Howard Kaloogian, a Republican candidate for the 50th congressional district seat who said he isn't surprised that loyal Republicans are showing "a Vietnam-like fatigue" on the war. The media and the president are to blame, he said.

"He's doing excellent on the prosecution of the war," Kaloogian said of Bush, "but he gets a D-minus on promotion of what we're doing there."

Kaloogian, sitting in a local restaurant in Rancho Bernardo while he met with supporters, said his views on Iraq come in part from his fact-finding trip there last July with talk-show hosts and political activists.

"It's a country of 25 million and 25,000 terrorists," said Kaloogian, a former California assemblyman. "People there believe it's better today than under Saddam Hussein. ... There's no massacres (as there were) under his killing machine," and Iraqis are being trained to take over the country's security and military forces. Hospitals and schools are being built, the economy is coming back, and riding on a humvee in the country, he recalled, Americans are "greeted by kids like an ice cream truck."

The Bush administration "needs to get out the message" of the nation's achievements there, while the media should cover such positive outcomes more, he insisted. "People have to understand this progress takes time," he said.

Thomas Morrow, 52, of La Jolla - a Vietnam veteran and a card-carrying Republican - agreed. "I'm not the biggest fan of Bush right now," mostly because of his immigration policies, he said, but in Iraq - while "things aren't going as well as we'd hoped ... we're slowly getting the country back on its feet."

But the president, he said, "will not be able to resolve all the challenges there before the end of his term."

Back in the barber's chair at the Cut-Rite Barbershop in Oceanside, young Lance Cpl. Kernell is not focused on public opinion. He is a Marine with a job to do. He repairs helicopters and will leave for Iraq in July.

"You ever been over to the big sandbox?" Dalbey said.

Kernell shook his head from side to side.

"You never know what's going to happen," the young Marine said. "But we're not going to leave until it's finished."

Dalbey finished up the precision trim - and gave his customer a piece of advice.

"Just make sure," the barber said quietly, "that you hook up with somebody who has been there before."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

American Dream a Lie????

The American Dream is a lie.

The American Dream, for many, promises an opportunity to blend into a melting pot that will no longer focus on race, creed or color, but will instead see only patriotism and red, white and blue.

But that dream is a lie.

That dream is a lie and any promise of melting is nothing more than an empty promise to Black people, who have never melted into the pot, sticking out sorely—some by choice and some by the nation’s force of will.

The melting pot and it’s tool of implementation, integration, can never work, because they require for Blacks that we give up the things about us that make us who we really are.

And, even though some of us have willingly given up portions of our soul and even offered up our very culture to be assimilated, there are too many of us who refuse to integrate into something that demands that we become less once joined to the whole.

In television’s Star Trek, The Borg is a population that is promulgated by assimilation of other races into it’s collective, which is then defined by the assimilated. When assimilated, the people are no longer individuals, and only the most useful portions of their culture are retained for use by the collective.

But America is only Borg-like for the African descendants. It’s other assimilants(sp) are allowed to maintain a connection to and pride in what they were before assimilation into the pot. They melt willingly, knowing that they will be greater once joined. They still pay homage to their ancestor’s land and many even speak their native language. But African descendants are asked to sever their connection to Africa in favor of America, and it is demanded that even slavery be forgotten and no longer discussed.

Yes, a powerful tool of the assimilation process is the erasure of history from the memory of many Black Americans.

There are Blacks in America today who can remember the look and smell of “strange fruit” hung from trees and burned. There are Blacks who can remember being sent to the back of the bus or turned away from the lunch counter and there are Blacks in America who can remember. There are Blacks younger than fifty who can remember “Whites Only” signs and there are even a few still alive who are children of slaves.

Yet, it is demanded that we become something new, but less than what we once were, by erasing those memories, or at least ceasing discussions of those memories.

For the African in America, assimilation is a dicey proposition, because popular culture in America can not exist without the portion of Blacks who can not assimilate, and therefore, out of necessity, create a counterculture that eventually becomes sexy and therefore appropriated and swallowed whole by the nation. In fact, a great portion of America’s popular culture is defined by denying that racism exists and the pretense that assimilation occurs evenly for us all.

But even for the confused and silly Negroes who willingly abandon all things Black, there is no true assimilation. There are and have been Negroes who have prayed and worked so hard for assimilation that their one true desire was to become so indistinguishable a part of the dominant culture that there would be no separating them from whites upon a cursory examination. But because racism has been such an integral portion of the stew in the melting pot, even those sad creatures eventually stand out and in many cases, are dis-assimilated.

Take glaring examples such as OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson, who did everything in their power to assimilate, yet still found rejection from complete melting when trying to be as white as possible by loving white people, marrying white people and even disliking and/or rejecting Black people, which is what the racism inherent in America dictates. Both were dis-assimilated, and now spend their lives trying to force themselves back into the collective.

And even in the more quiet assimilated such as Clarence Thomas and James Earl Jones, who quietly married white women and rejected Black people, assimilation became cruel and unusual.
Thomas, in willingly assimilating, gave up everything Black and even turned on his own sister for still being what America created and yet despised–poor and Black. Yet, he still raised the harbinger of racism when facing the fight of his life to become a Supreme Court Justice. Even when rising to the top of his game, he could not avoid the unmelting issue of race. He temporarily dis-assimilated himself and was quickly re-assimilated.

And poor confused Jones, who spent his entire lifetime as an actor, taking advantage of the divergent Negro sensibilities, took the opportunity to tell the media that there really was no Black culture after all. Since culture was shaped by language, he claimed, our culture was therefore neither African nor Black and he said he felt sorry for anyone who believed otherwise.

How sad did he appear at the end of a brilliant career based upon a culture that he now claims does not exist? At the top of his game, he raised the question of race himself, in an attempt to distance himself from the very thing which spawned his success.

The funkiest conundrum is witnessed in the quest by whites to embrace and appropriate all things hip and cool about Black culture, while silly Negroes seek to distance themselves from it, offering to embrace white America’s culture and values, praying to become so indistinguishable from them that they can live in a peace and harmony that was never designed for the sons and daughters of Africa in America.

But yet they try arduously.

Their work is witnessed in the blaming of poor Blacks for their condition as impoverished and oppressed as though they have the singular power and desire to place themselves in the worst possible position in this nation.

And assimilation is not an easy venture. Nor was it during the fifties and sixties, when James Baldwin was in France discussing the issue with African descendants from around the globe.

“It was not a question, on the one hand, of simply being swallowed up, of disappearing in the maw of Western culture,” said Baldwin. “Nor was it, on the other hand, a question of rejecting assimilation in order to be isolated within African culture. Neither was it a question of deciding which African values were to be retained and which European values were to be adopted. Life was not that simple.”

The true and perfect goal for the African the world over, should be to assimilate into a world African culture that could sustain us and even propel us to the forefront of the world, forcing all other cultures to come to us in earnest for that which they now appropriate by force or by de facto societal standards.

At that point, we would no longer be held hostage by a need to fit into the white world, but by a need to define our own world even if that definition is the universal impetus to no longer be controlled in any way by white culture or white people.

But sadly, some of us are so weak in the mind that resistance is futile.

Darryl James is an award-winning author and is now a filmmaker. His first mini-movie, “Crack,” will be released in March of this year. James’ latest book, “Bridging The Black Gender Gap,” is the basis of his lectures and seminars. Previous installments of this column can now be viewed at James can be reached at

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

America's Greatest Hits...

America's Greatest Hits
Kennie Anderson, "Land of Hypocrisy"

Truth often passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as being self-evident. This process occurs when a new truth is revealed that contradicts current superstition, whether the truth comes out about the Earth not being the center of the universe or the truth comes out about the horrible atrocities performed by the United States government.

Yes, violence and oppression exist all over the world, and the United States is not the only country that has done wrong and made mistakes. But there is currently only one country that has conducted destruction with such strong involvement on a global scale. There is only one imperialistic empire that has been so deeply linked to so many corrupt dictatorships, oppressive regimes, and corporate exploitations. This material will focus on that one country.

Many simply say to people who criticize the government, "If you don't like the country, then why don't you leave?" First of all, there is no utopia, and concerned citizens will point out problems and strive for improvements wherever they live. Running away from these problems will not solve them. Additionally, if they were to leave the country, the problems inherent to the country (especially militarism and corporate exploitation) would often affect them more if they lived abroad.

Readers not raised in America probably have a better understanding. It is easier to recognize wrongdoings when one hasn't been educated by the perpetrator. Many Americans will see the inverted US flag on the cover of my book and be overwhelmed with defensiveness or hostility and would rather burn it than read it. Most of those people have never even considered the possibility that the United States might be guilty of some very serious wrongdoings.

If this work seems to be biased towards the oppressed people of the world and doesn't defend the position of the government or corrupt corporations, it is because there is no need to publicize the position that is stated in 99% of the mass media. The purpose of this work is to accurately present the world from a perspective other than the one that is hammered out by the mass media and show the viewpoints of those other than the rich and powerful.

Despite the constant bombardment of propaganda boasting how great America is, there are those who have seen the world from non-American eyes. Many will read this material with a sense of confirmation. These are the people who already have suspicions about the interests and motives of the rich and powerful. There are also those who will read this work with great scrutiny. Hopefully they will eventually apply that same scrutiny to the misinformation and deception being disseminated by the media for their corporate and government sponsors.

It is difficult for people to change their opinions after they�ve reached a certain stage of development in their experiences and education. Beliefs are too strongly rooted in the foundations of their earlier years. Opinions were molded by early environmental factors and experiences, and many reject anything that does not support the information they were exposed to earlier.

The premature formulation of irreversible opinions is the result of people making judgments with only limited information. Many choose what they believe without researching a subject, and end up basing their belief on the information they are initially exposed to, even if that information is completely false.

This material focuses on presenting facts of record that have been ignored or concealed by mainstream sources of information.

America's Greatest Hits

Astonishingly, many Americans seem to be completely unaware of many of the atrocities committed by their own country. Ripping off the blindfold, the following contains a partial list of the death toll that American militarism has caused in the world during recent history (nearly all of the listings are within the past 60 years). The facts of this list will be expanded upon in following sections. Additional atrocities will also be presented in following sections.

This list includes interventions conducted both overtly and covertly. It includes the use of force through militaries armed, trained, funded, and directed by the US. It is true that some of these atrocities only had a few US officials actively involved, but these puppet armies would never have been capable of such destruction without US supplying and assistance (as detailed following sections show). There are countless mass killings missing from this list that the US is responsible for, but this list covers the most violent crimes committed by the US government in recent history.

Many horrible casualties are listed here, but it is important to not just think in terms of numbers and statistics. We should visualize each of the beautiful lives that were destroyed. Imagine stadiums filled with Korean children dying from napalm before your eyes. Visualize the mothers in Iraq digging up the corpses of their children. Picture children in Vietnam who were born without legs or arms because of residual effects of Agent Orange. Envision tens of thousands of Japanese civilians being wiped by out by atomic bombs before they even knew what hit them. Think about the children in Nicaragua crying on the street, seeking their mothers, not knowing that they had been killed by US-created contras. See the atrocities through the eyes of countless loving fathers in El Salvador who were forced to watch their infant children beat to death against rocks and their wives nailed upside down with their breasts cut off and skin of their face peeled off. Think about what it must have been like to be those victims or their grieving loved ones.

Worthy of noting is that almost all of these slaughters have been directed at non-whites and the vast majority of the victims of US militarism are civilians. The estimated ratio of civilians to soldiers that the US kills overseas is 10 to 1. In many cases the ratio is much worse. These innocent lives are the victims of the relentless drive by the United States� corporate and military elite for global economic domination. These victims have given their lives so that a small percentage of Americans can prosper.

The following is a partial list of atrocities, massacres, murders, and injuries in recent history for which the United States is responsible:

� 3,000,000 Vietnamese murdered over the course of about 30 years of US aggression.

� Well over 300,000 Japanese were massacred when the US raided Tokyo and dropped nuclear bombs on the urban civilian areas of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

� 600,000 civilians were killed in Cambodia by US bombing between 1969 and 1975.

� Over 500,000 people were killed in Laos when America subjected civilians to "secret bombing" from 1964 to 1973, dropping over two million tons of bombs on the country. Over one fourth of the population also became refugees.

� 100,000 people were murdered in South Korea prior to the Korean War by a brutal repression supported by US forces in 1945. This includes between 30,000 and 40,000 killed during the suppression of a peasant revolt on Cheju Island.

� Up to 4,500,000 Koreans were killed from 1951 to 1953 during America's massive slaughter in the Korean War.

� 200,000 were murdered when the Philippines were conquered by American forces. (This took place just over 100 years ago.)

� 23,000 people were slaughtered in Taiwan by US-backed, trained, equipped, and funded forces (Chiang's Nationalist army) during the late 1940s.

� 700,000 Indonesians (mostly landless peasants) were murdered in 1965 when the US armed and supported General Suharto.

� 200,000 were slaughtered in East Timor in 1975 by General Suharto with US support.

� 750,000 civilians were driven from their homes in East Timor by Indonesian forces in 1999 and 10,000 were killed.

� Over 1,700,000 Iraqis have been killed by US bombings and sanctions, mostly women and children.

� Over 1,000,000 lives were lost during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s in which the US used direct force and supported Hussein and Iraq.

� 35,000 Kurds were killed, 3,500 villages were destroyed, and between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 became homeless as a result of aggression by Turkey with US arming and training in the 1990s.

� Over 1,000,000 people were killed in Afghanistan's civil war from 1979 to 1992, in which the US strongly supported the Moujahedeen, the most violent and sadistic of the forces. (This also set the stage for the CIA-backed Taliban to attain power.)

� 45,000 people were killed in South Lebanon since 1982 by Israel, always armed and supported by the US.

� Thousands have been killed in Palestine and millions (in both Palestine and Lebanon) were made refugees by US-backed Israel.

� Over 150,000 were killed in Greece when America advised, equipped, and financed violent interventions in the late 1940s and late 1960s.

� Over 75,000 civilians were killed and over one million refugees were created in El Salvador from 1980 to 1994 when the US intensely supported the efforts of a brutal regime and its death squads to eliminate a popular uprising.

� 40,000 civilians were killed by the US-backed National Guard in Nicaragua over the course of almost 50 years.

� 30,000 lives were killed by the US contras in Nicaragua from 1979 to 1989.

� 200,000 Guatemalans were slaughtered from 1960-1990s by a military apparatus trained, armed, funded, and assisted by America.

� Over 35,000 Colombian civilians have been killed during the US-supported Columbian war against left-wing rebels.

� More than 4,000 innocent civilians were killed in Panama during the US invasion in 1989.

� Hundreds of thousands were killed by US direct and indirect interventions in Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, and Argentina from the mid 60s through the 80s.

� 50,000 Haitians were killed when the US military destroyed a peasant uprising in 1915.

� Between 4,000 and 5,000 Haitians were killed in the early 1990s by US-established forces.

� Thousands were killed in the Dominican Republic during the 1960s when US and Dominican troops crushed a pro-Bosch rebellion.

� Over 3,000 were killed and countless others injured by US interventions in Cuba.

� Hundreds were killed or injured when the US invaded Grenada in 1983.

� Over 50,000 Somalians were killed between 1978 and 1990 by US-supported Siad Barre.

� Up to 10,000 more Somalians were killed by US troops during America's "humanitarian mission" in 1993.

� In the US-supported Rwandan genocide, an estimated 800,000 people were killed in just 100 days in 1994.

� Over 300,000 were killed and 80,000 were crippled in Angola from a US-supported civil war.

� Tens of thousands were killed and up to 200,000 were tortured in Chad by Hissen Habre with US support during the 1980's.

� 1,500,000 were killed between 1980 and 1988 in southern Africa by the US-armed South Africa.

� Thousands of people in Pacific islands, Puerto Rico, Utah, California, Nevada, Washington, New Mexico, and various other places have been killed, infected, or harmed as a result of US weapon experiments (especially nuclear weapons and weapons using depleted uranium).

� Hundreds of civil rights activists have been beaten, tortured, framed, and killed in the US by government agencies in recent history.

� Hundreds of Black Panther supporters and American Indians were framed, beaten, or murdered by the FBI and its cohorts in the late 60's and early 70's.

� Over a thousand American Muslims "disappeared" after September 11, 2001, and have been detained without evidence of wrongdoing.

Bitchslappin' Black Folks

The Bitch Slapping of Blackfolk Using The Hand of Hip Hop.
by Chuck D

The news at the time was on blast about Busta Rhymes' bodyguard being
murdered while protecting his jewels for his star-studded video and
current hit song, Touch It. The 'stop-snitching stench' aroma, on a
viral pass-around, had everyone who saw 'what, who, when, and why' acting
suddenly like dumbass living mutes. @#%$ so bad that Busta flew 3000
miles to supposedly finish the video, via Jimmy Iodine's poisoned, deep
pockets. This was typical of the madness surfing atop the platform of
hip hop in 2006, enough to make one of the chief creators scream

Uptown in Harlem at the 126th Street's Black Slave Theater, a massive
town hall meeting was called by Afrika Bambaataa's ZULU NATION, about the
climate of the radiation of a radio, TV, movie nation; and how to stop
and fight the control-towers that be. The severe lack of balance
coming via the frequencies of the air, was akin to toxins pouring into the
9th ward after the levee expl- ur um, break.

Anything but a building full of bitter old hip hop headz, folks were
motivated to finally answer to the responsibility and accountability of
being grown. Those that claim they can't see the poison are duped by
the same reasons it's effective. Usually poison is hidden in something
deemed good for you. Poison has to be clearly identified with danger
signs, death, skulls, bones etc. to keep the not knowing, unreading,
and naive (usually children) from ingesting it. Speakers like Ernie
Pannicioli, Rosa Clemente, Shaka and others from the Zulus, Grandmixer
DXT and yours truly spoke to the room, of the clearly converted, about
really forcing the balance from rap/hip hop being the millennium
COINTELPRO. Yes, the new counterintelligence program steering the
masses toward the two booming industries of jail and death.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But then again
the continued bitch slapping of blackfolk using the hand of hip hop
takes place as the masses, who are considered asses, are too blind,
deaf, and dumbed down to see or hear it. Or too numb to feel it.
Testing a sane one's sanity, I say. And when I know something I say
something. But do a 360 degree turn of your head....

In Selma, Alabama it was the 41st anniversary of the civil rights march
across the Edmund Pettis bridge while many of the acts involved had
'mafia', 'gangsta' and 'nigger' running rampant in their names,
lyrics, and imagery; as well as it being blastcasted across the Alabama urban
airwaves. Tables of CDs, DVDs and T-shirts of slain rapcats, seem to
parallel the ones of Garvey, King, X, and Harriet. Bootleg CDs from the
60's-70's sang about love and happiness as the 90's-06 CDs and DVDs
centralized on drug-pimp-thug lifestyle. Have we gone forward or back?
I wondered as I stared at the Edmund Pettus bridge hearing "It's Hard
Out Here For A Pimp" in the background.

Two weeks prior I approached BET's topdog Stephen Hill during the
Grammy rehearsal about the imbalance of their programming since Teen
Summit and Tavis Smiley. All he answered was he didn't want another
FRANK'S PLACE know bad number ratings, only conscious folk
watching it, (i.e. too smart = no paper). Wondered what women thought
about pimpin not being easy in '06. Then again if the president of MTV, BET,
and Radio One are all black women, then why are the images of black
women at its lowest?? Yeah, don't let me tell yall, do some work and
google Debra, Christina, and Cathy....Death Any Child? Then again
the ultimate pimp flask got one from white America, on the heels of
Halle getting the bitch - ho treatment and Denzel doing Superthug.

Saw Kimora Lee Simmons has a book out called Fabulosity, caught it on
CNN as they search for more streetcred...cannot even take the news when
they feed the drug of America - celebrity to them asses.

I did a career day lecture booth at my youngest one's school as the
7th-8th graders asked who really won Flavor Of Love? Repeatedly
asked did I have any money or was I rich... Instead I pointed to my
head and said with my college degree in 1984 I'd always be rich (as in
enriched) and knowing it would pale in these 'white written for black
consumption hustle and flow and get rich and die tryin times'. Russell
and all the superstars on the radio-TV-movie stage increasingly find it
easier to avoid the masses and broadcast to them asses. Get that money
from those who barely have it, and stack and brag about them chips and
chicks in the back.

Dig this - it's really hard out there to defend against the wave of
ignorant acceptance. Forget about them town halls being called
ineffective. If anything they need to be held weekly, even daily in
fact. A reminder of waiting for something to acknowledge and reward
you, beyond recognizing self is like smiling at a bag of purchased
cotton you just picked on a field. I'm not a pessimist about hip hop, I
love the platform and its value to the world, history, etc. The
historical fact on the surface says Triple 6 Mafia from Memphis winning
the first Rap Academy Award for an original song is thirty-five years
after Sir Isaac Hayes won the first. Two different times in Memphis, mind you.
Dwelled on the negative as usual, you might say. But I know when my
head and heart feels bitch-slapped without having a chance to raise
up, breathe, swallow a positive thought and get my back straightened after manning
the burden. And so It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp... but damn in
anybody's right mind and soul why shouldn't it be?

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Bob Marley's greatest-hits album, Legend, came out in 1984, three years after his death, at 36, of a cancer that spread from his big toe. It's one of the best-selling albums of all time, in the company of Michael Jackson's Thriller and Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. During his lifetime, Marley's following outside Jamaica was mostly cultish and underground until his last years, when he acquired a modest international stardom. But Marley didn't really become a mainstream fixture—a singer instantly recognizable to anyone who's lingered over a fajita at Chili's or wandered through a freshman quad in the springtime—until after his death, and after Legend. Greatest-hits collections are notoriously bad showcases, but Legend was a doozy—a defanged and overproduced selection of Marley's music. Listening to Legend to understand Marley is like reading Bridget Jones's Diary to get Jane Austen.

Marley has had an astonishingly successful commercial afterlife—the booming sales of his catalog virtually created the world-beat music category, paving the way for countless Buena Vista Social Clubs and Gipsy Kings—but his artistic reputation may never recover from it. His musical legacy has been hijacked and simplified by his cheesier fans (all those trustafarians toking in his memory). In turn, the music cognoscenti and hipsters seem to hold his mainstream appeal and lame followers against him. The fact that Marley is known by his weaker recordings like Legend or Exodus (which Time magazine—bizarrely to anyone familiar with the Marley canon—named "album of the century") doesn't help his cause.

Bob Marley's golden period was the three albums he cut with the original Wailers and the brilliant, certifiably insane, Jamaican producer Lee "Scratch" Perry: Soul Rebels, African Herbsman, and Rasta Revolution. These records are more satisfyingly complex, both lyrically and instrumentally, than much of Marley's later work. The Perry recordings are steeped in R & B and soul harmonies, but also tough. (Marley's earliest British fans were punk rockers.) The albums' layered rhythms—trancelike and jolting, like reggae by gunfighters—anticipated dub music and later stars like King Tubby and Augustus Pablo. When the English producer Chris Blackwell took over in 1973, intent on making Marley a star, the music, despite a couple of great albums, notably Catch a Fire! and Natty Dread, became steadily more mellow and digestible.
Perhaps Marley can't be taken seriously in a self-conscious age—unlike Dylan, or even Lennon, Marley didn't cloak himself in protective irony—but that risks overlooking how sly the man was. (Once, when asked how he handled fame, Marley responded, "I handle fame by not being famous … I'm not famous to me.") Since Marley would have been 61 this month, it's a fitting time to ask: Can Marley's legacy emancipate itself from an American following that wants a multiculti teddy bear?

Rachel Saurer, in a smart piece on the 20th anniversary of Legend, sketched out the loose set of values that Marley has come to embody: "In the realm of musical-taste-as-statement-of-personal-identity, Legend says this: I generally care about world events. I favor cotton clothing. I think stress is bad. I want to stop injustice. I'm all for love. I wouldn't say no to the herb, if you get my drift."

But if Marley's fans are cheesy and annoying, at least in this country, so are Pablo Neruda's, and no one holds that against him. How can we grudge Bob the feel-good party boys and mountain-biking philosophy majors who cling to his memory?

After all, Marley is an international star with a strong following in the Third World, especially in Africa. There, Marley fandom has a different dimension. Say you're a middle-class American white kid. It's spring term freshman year, and you've just discovered pot, Bob Marley, and ultimate frisbee. You really want to drop that organic chemistry course, but you know your parents will be pissed. In such a scenario, Bob Marley's songs, with lines like "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery" and "No chains are on my feet/ but I am not free," seem to be talking to you in a way that's deeply profound. Sure, that's laughable. But let's take a different scenario altogether. What if you're black? Or from the Third World? Then the lyrics take on a lot more historical force and contemporary urgency.

The problem with Bob Marley in white America is one of perspective. Many of Marley's songs are about resistance and violent revolution. The threat implicit in the lines "Them belly full but we hungry/ A hungry mob is an angry mob" or the song "Burnin' and Lootin' " isn't too far from the surface. But lyrics about armed resistance make America's secular-progressive middle classes—those most responsible for the cult of Marley as a cuddly "One Love" Rastafarian—uneasy. And so does Bible-beating. Marley's music is steeped in the Old Testament, especially the Song of Solomon. Marley sings in "Small Axe":

Why boasteth thyself, O evil men;
Playing smart and not being clever?
I said, you're working iniquity
To achieve vanity …

And whosoever diggeth a pit
Shall fall in it; bury in it
And whosoever diggeth a pit
Shall bury in it; bury in it.

Here, he's plundering from at least four books of the Bible: Psalms 52:1 and 94:4; Proverbs 22:8; Isaiah 59:4; and Jeremiah 2:5.

Often in Marley, militancy and religion are fused in a way that wouldn't please, say, Pat Robertson. Sometimes, the fusing is literal, as in this line of wordplay on "revolution" and "revelation": "Revelation, reveals the truth, revelation/ It takes a revolution to make a solution." Other times, the relationship between religion and resistance is more ambivalent, and menacing: "Cause I feel like bombing a church/ Now that you know that the preacher is lying."

Bob Marley crossed over because he wanted to be heard. But even when he sounded a peaceful note, there was an edge in his voice. He once told a reporter, "There should be no war between black and white. But until white people listen to black with open ears, there must be—well, suspicion!" As it turns out, Marley had every reason to be suspicious about how he'd be listened to. One love, mon.

Bush Lied (AGAIN) about Katrina

NEW ORLEANS, March 1 (Reuters) - Ray Nagin, New Orleans mayor, said on Wednesday night he was shocked by video showing President George W. Bush being told the day before Hurricane Katrina hit that the city’s protective levees could fail.

The tape contradicts the president’s statement four days after the hurricane struck: “I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees.”

“It surprises me that if there was that kind of awareness, why was the response so slow?” said Mr Nagin, whose city was devastated when the August 29 storm and sparked massive flooding.

“I have kind of a sinking feeling right now in my gut. I mean, I was listening to what people were saying and I was believing them that they didn’t know. So therefore it was an issue of a learning curve.

“From this tape it looks like everybody was fully aware.”

Mr Nagin listened with headphones and watched an excerpt from the video for the first time as reporters, who had just heard from city officials how successful the first post-Katrina Mardi Gras was, stood around him.

The tape shows President Bush and Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security chief, being told on Auguest 28 that the hurricane could trigger breaches of levees that protect the city as well as threaten the Superdome, which became a last-ditch shelter for storm victims. The tapes were obtained by the Associated Press, which played Mr Nagin the excerpt.

“I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm to help you deal with the loss of property,” Mr Bush says in one part of the video. “We pray there’s no loss of life, of course.”

Trent Duffy, White House spokesman, said the tape was misleading.

“It seems to me to suggest that the president was not fully engaged in the response to Hurricane Katrina. The president was fully engaged and involved in meetings on the response,” he said.

Mr Duffy said the president’s involvement included making disaster declarations, and pushing publicly for evacuations and also urging state officials to get people to move to safer ground.

The Bush administration has been heavily criticised for its slow response to Katrina, which killed about 1,300 people along the gulf coast and sparked crime-plagued anarchy in New Orleans.

After watching the tape, Mr Nagin said it looked as if top officials, including Michael Brown, then-Federal Emergency Management Agency head, knew the storm could be devastating, that the Superdome roof was “a question mark” and the military would likely have to be brought in to help.

“I’m just shocked,” he said.

Last month, a congressional report written by Republicans said federal agencies were unprepared for the Katrina catastrophe and quicker involvement by Mr Bush might have improved their response.

When will the Bush lovers call it like it is? I had no problem criticizing Clinton for his screw-ups (no pun intended). GW is not what I would consider a "model" leader. Why do some people follow this man blindly?