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A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."

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    Alvin Ailey American

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  • 03/08/16--15:25: Article 4
  • Listen Live WUNC
    All Things Considered
    North American African writer who fought capitalism Word Warrior: Richard Durham

    Word Warrior: Richard Durham

    Sep 24, 2015
    When producer Sonja Williams began researching for the radio series, Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was, she found very little African-American radio drama from the 1940s. What little she found reinforced negative stereotypes.

    A colleague eventually suggested she look into Destination Freedom, a series of weekly broadcasts created by journalist and activist Richard Durham that featured African-American leaders and heroes of the day.

    Williams became enthralled with Durham’s life and work and eventually wrote a biography of Durham, "Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio and Freedom" (University of Illinois Press/2015).
    Host Frank Stasio talks with Williams about Durham’s life and career.

    She reads at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh on Sunday, September 27, The Regulator in Durham on Monday, September 28 and at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University on Tuesday, September 29.

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  • 03/09/16--06:25: Bernie Sanders Thug Life

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  • 03/09/16--06:44: "It's Nation Time"

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    While Nancey said no at the front door of the White House, Ronnie said yes to Crack at the back door. Send Crack to the Negroes, buys guns with money, send guns to Contras in Nicaragua.

    Dark Alliance

    3 decades later, a mixed legacy for 'Just Say No'

    FILE - In this Nov. 18, 1988 file photo, former President Ronald Reagan hands a pen to then first lady Nancy Reagan after he signed a major anti-drug bill at a White House East Room ceremony in Washington. Reagan dedicated the bill to Nancy, who has led a "Just Say No" campaign among America's youth, and gave her the pen he used to sign the bill with. Nancy Reagan, who died Sunday, March 6, 2016, is perhaps best known for her "Just Say No" to drugs and alcohol campaign. Three decades after the campaign's heyday, prevention experts credit it with spawning a new generation of research into the best ways of reducing drug abuse. But they also say that many of the fear-based tactics it embraced didn't work.  (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)
    SEATTLE (AP) — For a generation of Americans, first lady Nancy Reagan was most closely associated with a single phrase: "Just Say No."

    Three decades after the anti-drug campaign's heyday, its legacy is mixed. Experts say the slogan brought new attention to drug abuse and helped focus research on how to prevent it. But the motto was also part of a larger escalation of the drug war that relied on fear-based rhetoric, public moralizing and skyrocketing incarceration rates.

    "Overall the larger prevention community is thankful for large campaigns like 'Just Say No,' for the broad, population-level awareness they raise," said Derek Franklin, who heads the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention. "However, the sort of shaming attitude and questionable moral divide it created was something we wouldn't do today."

    Further evidence of changing attitudes can be found in the movement to legalize marijuana, which is now permitted for medical use in 23 states and for recreational use in Colorado, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C.

    Reagan, who died Sunday at 94, made "Just Say No" the hallmark of her tenure in the White House. She said she first became aware of the drug problem when she learned that the children of some of her friends were using drugs. Her own daughter, Patti Davis, later wrote of experimenting with pills and cocaine.

    As Reagan once recalled, the idea emerged during a visit with schoolchildren in 1982 in Oakland, California. "A little girl raised her hand and said, 'Mrs. Reagan, what do you do if somebody offers you drugs?' And I said, 'Well, you just say no.' And there it was born."

    At the time, Allan Cohen was the executive director of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, which had a federal contract to help states and local communities develop drug-abuse prevention programs. Cohen's organization had promoted and adopted the program the first lady visited in Oakland, called Oakland Parents in Action, which taught children skills for refusing drugs offered by their peers.
    The message instantly resonated. By 1988, there were more than 12,000 "Just Say No" clubs around the country. Most were at least loosely based on the ideas developed in Oakland, Cohen said.
    One of them was at Clyde Riggs Elementary in Portland, Tennessee. Helen Berry, the mother of a student there, was volunteering to help assemble a bulletin board one day in 1985 when a teacher showed her some "Just Say No" pamphlets.
    "It was like a light bulb came on," Berry recalled. "I said, 'Wow, this is really important.'"
    She went on to lead the school's "Just Say No" club for 25 years, bringing in emphysema patients to warn about the dangers of smoking and quizzing pupils about how long marijuana can stay in the body.
    "I just thought it was an outstanding program for kids to see what drugs can do," Berry said. "I've had kids come up to me today who are in their 30s and say, 'Mrs. Berry, I want you to know I never touched a cigarette.'"

    Many researchers remain skeptical of the campaign's effectiveness, associating it with the first lady's calls to be intolerant of drug users or with the famous television commercial that featured an actor dropping an egg into a frying pan and saying, "This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?"
    It's apparent now that efforts to scare people into abstaining from drugs failed, they said.

    "You think of 'Just Say No,' you think of eggs in a frying pan," said Caleb Banta-Green, a researcher at the University of Washington's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. "Just because you remember it doesn't mean it worked. Addiction is a medical condition, but we still have a fundamental misunderstanding of what addiction is, and 'Just Say No' spread that misunderstanding."

    Michelle Miller-Day, a professor at Chapman University in California, said the refrain might have been a simplistic message, but its popularity also focused the attention of researchers on the social context of drug use and on developing programs that would help youngsters refuse drugs or at least delay experimentation.
    She worked with a colleague from Penn State University, Michael Hecht, to develop "Keepin' It REAL"— for Refuse, Explain, Avoid and Leave, a research-validated curriculum that the popular anti-drug program DARE adopted in 2009 as it was under fire about its effectiveness.

    Cohen said there's no way to quantify the impact of "Just Say No," but it's unfair to conflate the campaign — a prevention effort aimed at middle or elementary school children — with criticism of the larger drug war or mass incarceration. And while the message may have seemed simple, the Oakland-developed curriculum was actually comprehensive, he said.

    The issues "of criminal justice overreach or overstatement of the moral horrors of drug use were not much related to what the first lady was doing," Cohen said. "The greatest legacy was the promotion of preventive approaches, which at that point had almost been totally ignored."

    These days, researchers have come up with better prevention programs, said Christopher Ringwalt, a prevention researcher at the University of North Carolina. But schools aren't necessarily using them. An emphasis on testing has squeezed prevention education out of many classrooms, he said.
    "It's frustrating for people like me," Ringwalt said. "Attention has turned elsewhere."

    Dark Alliance

    Key Figures In CIA-Crack Cocaine Scandal Begin To Come Forward

      Oct 10, 2014

    LOS ANGELES -- With the public in the U.S. and Latin America becoming increasingly skeptical of the war on drugs, key figures in a scandal that once rocked the Central Intelligence Agency are coming forward to tell their stories in a new documentary and in a series of interviews with The Huffington Post.

    More than 18 years have passed since Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb stunned the world with his “Dark Alliance” newspaper series investigating the connections between the CIA, a crack cocaine explosion in the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, and the Nicaraguan Contra fighters -- scandalous implications that outraged LA’s black community, severely damaged the intelligence agency's reputation and launched a number of federal investigations.

    It did not end well for Webb, however. Major media, led by The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, worked to discredit his story. Under intense pressure, Webb's top editor abandoned him. Webb was drummed out of journalism. One LA Times reporter recently apologized for his leading role in the assault on Webb, but it came too late. Webb died in 2004 from an apparent suicide. Obituaries referred to his investigation as "discredited."

    Now, Webb’s bombshell expose is being explored anew in a documentary, “Freeway: Crack in the System,” directed by Marc Levin, which tells the story of “Freeway” Rick Ross, who created a crack empire in LA during the 1980s and is a key figure in Webb’s “Dark Alliance” narrative. The documentary is being released after the major motion picture “Kill The Messenger,” which features Jeremy Renner in the role of Webb and hits theaters on Friday.

    Webb's investigation was published in the summer of 1996 in the San Jose Mercury News. In it, he reported that a drug ring that sold millions of dollars worth of cocaine in Los Angeles was funneling its profits to the CIA’s army in Nicaragua, known as the Contras.

    Webb’s original anonymous source for his series was Coral Baca, a confidante of Nicaraguan dealer Rafael Cornejo. Baca, Ross and members of his “Freeway boys” crew; cocaine importer and distributor Danilo Blandon; and LA Sheriff's Deputy Robert Juarez all were interviewed for Levin's film.

    The dual release of the feature film and the documentary, along with the willingness of long-hesitant sources to come forward, suggests that Webb may have the last word after all.
    * * * * *
    Webb’s entry point into the sordid tale of corruption was through Baca, a ghostlike figure in the Contra-cocaine narrative who has given precious few interviews over the decades. Her name was revealed in Webb's 1998 book on the scandal, but was removed at her request in the paperback edition. Levin connected HuffPost with Baca and she agreed to an interview at a cafe in San Francisco. She said that she and Webb didn’t speak for years after he revealed her name, in betrayal of the conditions under which they spoke. He eventually apologized, said Baca, who is played by Paz Vega in “Kill The Messenger."

    The major media that worked to undermine Webb's investigation acknowledged that Blandon was a major drug-runner as well as a Contra supporter, and that Ross was a leading distributor. But those reports questioned how much drug money Blandon and his boss Norwin Meneses turned over to the Contras, and whether the Contras were aware of the source of the funds.

    During her interview with HuffPost, Baca recounted meeting Contra leader Adolfo Calero multiple times in the 1980s at Contra fundraisers in the San Francisco Bay Area. He would personally pick up duffel bags full of drug money, she said, which it was her job to count for Cornejo. There was no question, she said, that Calero knew precisely how the money had been earned. Meneses' nickname, after all, was El Rey De Las Drogas -- The King of Drugs.

    "If he was stupid and had a lobotomy," he might not have known it was drug money, Baca said. "He knew exactly what it was. He didn't care. He was there to fund the Contras, period." (Baca made a similar charge confidentially to the Department of Justice for its 1997 review of Webb's allegations, as well as further allegations the investigators rejected.)

    Indeed, though the mainstream media at the time worked to poke holes in Webb's findings, believing that the Contra operation was not involved with drug-running takes an enormous suspension of disbelief. Even before Webb’s series was published, numerous government investigations and news reports had linked America's support for the Nicaraguan rebels with drug trafficking.

    After The Associated Press reported on these connections in 1985, for example, more than a decade before Webb, then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) launched a congressional investigation. In 1989, Kerry released a detailed report claiming that not only was there “considerable evidence” linking the Contra effort to trafficking of drugs and weapons, but that the U.S. government knew about it.

    According to the report, many of the pilots ferrying weapons and supplies south for the CIA were known to have backgrounds in drug trafficking. Kerry's investigation cited SETCO Aviation, the company the U.S. had contracted to handle many of the flights, as an example of CIA complicity in the drug trade. According to a 1983 Customs Service report, SETCO was “headed by Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros, a class I DEA violator.”
    Two years before the Iran-Contra scandal would begin to bubble up in the Reagan White House, pilot William Robert “Tosh” Plumlee revealed to then-Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.) that planes would routinely transport cocaine back to the U.S. after dropping off arms for the Nicaraguan rebels. Plumlee has since spoken in detail about the flights in media interviews.
    “In March, 1983, Plumlee contacted my Denver Senate Office and … raised several issues including that covert U.S. intelligence agencies were directly involved in the smuggling and distribution of drugs to raise funds for covert military operations against the government of Nicaragua,” a copy of a 1991 letter from Hart to Kerry reads. (Hart told HuffPost he recalls receiving Plumlee's letter and finding his allegations worthy of follow-up.)

    Plumlee flew weapons into Latin America for decades for the CIA. When the Contra revolution took off in the 1980s, Plumlee says he continued to transport arms south for the spy agency and bring cocaine back with him, with the blessing of the U.S. government.

    The Calero transactions Baca says she witnessed would have been no surprise to the Reagan White House. On April 15, 1985, around the time Baca says she saw Calero accepting bags of cash, Oliver North, the White House National Security Counsel official in charge of the Contra operation, was notified in a memo that Calero’s deputies were involved in the drug business. Robert Owen, North’s top staffer in Central America, warned that Jose Robelo had “potential involvement with drug-running and the sale of goods provided by the [U.S. government]” and that Sebastian Gonzalez was “now involved in drug-running out of Panama.”

    North’s own diary, originally uncovered by the National Security Archive, is a rich source of evidence as well. “Honduran DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into the U.S.,” reads an entry for Aug. 9, 1985, reflecting a conversation North had with Owen about Mario Calero, Adolfo’s brother.

    An entry from July 12, 1985 relates that “14 million to finance [an arms depot] came from drugs” and another references a trip to Bolivia to pick up “paste.” (Paste is slang term for a crude cocaine derivative product comprised of coca leaves grown in the Andes as well as processing chemicals used during the cocaine manufacturing process.)

    Celerino Castillo, a top DEA agent in El Salvador, investigated the Contras' drug-running in the 1980s and repeatedly warned superiors, according to a Justice Department investigation into the matter. Castillo “believes that North and the Contras’ resupply operation at Ilopango were running drugs for the Contras,” Mike Foster, an FBI agent who worked for the Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh, reported in 1991 after meeting with Castillo, who later wrote the book Powderburns about his efforts to expose the drug-running.

    * * * * *
    Webb's investigation sent the CIA into a panic. A recently declassified article titled “Managing A Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story,” from the agency’s internal journal, “Studies In Intelligence,” shows that the spy agency was reeling in the weeks that followed.

    “The charges could hardly be worse,” the article opens. “A widely read newspaper series leads many Americans to believe CIA is guilty of at least complicity, if not conspiracy, in the outbreak of crack cocaine in America’s inner cities. In more extreme versions of the story circulating on talk radio and the Internet, the Agency was the instrument of a consistent strategy by the US Government to destroy the black community and to keep black Americans from advancing. Denunciations of CIA -- reminiscent of the 1970s -- abound. Investigations are demanded and initiated. The Congress gets involved.”

    The emergence of Webb’s story “posed a genuine public relations crisis for the Agency,” writes the CIA Directorate of Intelligence staffer, whose name is redacted.

    In December 1997, CIA sources helped advance that narrative, telling reporters that an internal inspector general report sparked by Webb's investigation had exonerated the agency.

    Yet the report itself, quietly released several weeks later, was actually deeply damaging to the CIA.
    “In 1984, CIA received allegations that five individuals associated with the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE)/Sandino Revolutionary Front (FRS) were engaged in a drug trafficking conspiracy with a known narcotics trafficker, Jorge Morales,” the report found. “CIA broke off contact with ARDE in October 1984, but continued to have contact through 1986-87 with four of the individuals involved with Morales.”

    It also found that in October 1982, an immigration officer reported that, according to an informant in the Nicaraguan exile community in the Bay Area, “there are indications of links between [a specific U.S.-based religious organization] and two Nicaraguan counter-revolutionary groups. These links involve an exchange in [the United States] of narcotics for arms, which then are shipped to Nicaragua. A meeting on this matter is scheduled to be held in Costa Rica ‘within one month.’ Two names the informant has associated with this matter are Bergman Arguello, a UDN member and exile living in San Francisco, and Chicano Cardenal, resident of Nicaragua."

    The inspector general is clear that in some cases “CIA knowledge of allegations or information indicating that organizations or individuals had been involved in drug trafficking did not deter their use by CIA.” In other cases, “CIA did not act to verify drug trafficking allegations or information even when it had the opportunity to do so.”

    “Let me be frank about what we are finding,” the CIA’s inspector general, Frederick Hitz, said in congressional testimony in March 1998. “There are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug trafficking activity or take action to resolve the allegations.”
    * * * * *
    One of the keys to Webb's story was testimony from Danilo Blandon, who the Department of Justice once described as one of the most significant Nicaraguan drug importers in the 1980s.
    “You were running the LA operation, is that correct?” Blandon, who was serving as a government witness in the 1990s, was asked by Alan Fenster, attorney representing Rick Ross, in 1996.

    “Yes. But remember, we were running, just -- whatever we were running in LA, it goes, the profit, it was going to the Contra revolution,” Blandon said.

    Levin, the documentary filmmaker, tracked down Blandon in Managua.
    “Gary Webb tried to find me, Congresswoman Maxine Waters tried to find me, Oliver Stone tried to find me. You found me,” Blandon told Levin, according to notes from the interview the director provided to HuffPost.

    Waters, a congresswoman from Los Angeles, had followed Webb’s investigation with one of her own.

    In the interview notes with filmmaker Levin, Blandon confirms his support of the Contras and his role in drug trafficking, but downplays his significance. "The big lie is that we started it all -- the crack epidemic -- we were just a small part. There were the Torres [brothers], the Colombians, and others," he says. "We were a little marble, pebble, rock and [people are] acting like we're big boulder."

    The Managua lumberyard where Levin tracked down Blandon.

    Webb’s series connected the Contras' drug-running directly to the growth of crack in the U.S., and it was this connection that faced the most pushback from critics. While Blandon may have been operating on behalf of the Contras early in his career, they charged, he later broke off on his own. But an October 1986 arrest warrant for Blandon indicates that the LA County Sheriff's Department at the time had other information.

    “Blandon is in charge of a sophisticated cocaine smuggling and distribution organization operating in southern California,” the warrant reads, according to Webb's orginal report.“The monies gained through the sales of cocaine are transported to Florida and laundered through Orlando Murillo who is a high-ranking officer in a chain of banks in Florida. … From this bank the monies are filtered to the Contra rebels to buy arms in the war in Nicaragua.”

    Blandon's number-one client was “Freeway” Rick Ross, whose name has since been usurped by the rapper William Leonard Roberts, better known by his stage name “Rick Ross” (an indignity that plays a major role in the film). The original Ross, who was arrested in 1995 and freed from prison in 2009, told Webb in "Dark Alliance" that the prices and quantity Blandon was offering transformed him from a small-time dealer into what prosecutors would later describe as the most significant crack cocaine merchant in Los Angeles, if not the country.

    His empire -- once dubbed the “Walmart” of crack cocaine -- expanded east from LA to major cities throughout the Midwest before he was eventually taken down during a DEA sting his old supplier and friend Blandon helped set up.
    Levin's film not only explores the corrupt foundations of the drug war itself, but also calls into question the draconian jail sentences the U.S. justice system meted out to a mostly minority population, while the country's own foreign policy abetted the drug trade.
    “I knew that these laws were a mistake when we were writing them," says Eric Sterling, who was counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in the 1980s and a key contributor to the passage of mandatory-minimum sentencing laws, in the documentary.
    In 1980, there were roughly 40,000 drug offenders in U.S. prisons, according to research from The Sentencing Project, a prison sentencing reform group. By 2011, the number of drug offenders serving prison sentences ballooned to more than 500,000 -- most of whom are not high-level operators and are without prior criminal records.
    "There is no question that there are tens of thousands of black people in prison serving sentences that are decades excessive,” Sterling says. “Their families have been destroyed because of laws I played a central role in writing.”
    The height of the drug war in the 1980s also saw the beginning of the militarization of local law enforcement, the tentacles of which are seen to this day, most recently in Ferguson, Missouri.
    In an interview with The Huffington Post, former LA County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Juarez, who served with the department from 1976 to 1991 and was later convicted along with several other deputies in 1992 during a federal investigation of sheriff officers stealing seized drug money, described a drug war culture that frequently put law enforcement officers into morally questionable situations that were difficult to navigate.

    The hunter and the hunted: A Los Angeles detective finally meets the kingpin he'd pursued.
    “We all started getting weapons,” said Juarez, who served five years in prison for skimming drug-bust money. “We were hitting houses coming up with Uzis, AK-47s, and we’re walking in with a six-shooter and a shotgun. So guys started saying, 'I’m going to get me a semi-automatic and the crooks are paying for it.' So that’s how it started.”
    But Juarez, who served in the LA County Sheriff’s narcotics division for nearly a decade, explained that what started as a way for some officers to pay for extra weapons and informants to aid in investigations quickly devolved into greed. Since asset forfeiture laws at the time allowed the county to keep all cash seized during a drug bust, Juarez says tactics changed.
    “It got to where we were more tax collectors than we were dope cops,” Juarez recalled. “Everything seized was coming right back to the county. We turned into the same kind of crooks we’d been following around ... moving evidence around to make sure the asshole goes to jail; backing up other deputies regardless of what it was. Everyone, to use a drug dealer's term, everyone was taking a taste.”
    * * * * *
    Between 1982 and 1984, Congress restricted funding for the Contras, and by 1985 cut it off entirely. The Reagan administration, undeterred, conspired to sell arms to Iran in exchange for hostages, using some of the proceeds to illegally fund the Contras. The scandal became known as Iran-Contra.

    Drug trafficking was a much less convoluted method of skirting the congressional ban on funding the Contras, and the CIA's inspector general found that in the early years after Congress cut off Contra funding, the CIA had alerted Congress about the allegations of drug trafficking. But while the ban was in effect, the CIA went largely silent on the issue.

    “CIA did not inform Congress of all allegations or information it received indicating that Contra-related organizations or individuals were involved in drug trafficking,” the inspector general's report found. “During the period in which the FY 1987 statutory prohibition was in effect, for example, no information has been found to indicate that CIA informed Congress of eight of the ten Contra-related individuals concerning whom CIA had received drug trafficking allegations or information.”
    This complicity of the CIA in drug trafficking is at the heart of Webb’s explosive expose -- a point Webb makes himself in archival interview footage that appears in Levin’s documentary.
    “It’s not a situation where the government or the CIA sat down and said, 'Okay, let’s invent crack, let’s sell it in black neighborhoods, let’s decimate black America,’” Webb says. “It was a situation where, 'We need money for a covert operation, the quickest way to raise it is sell cocaine, you guys go sell it somewhere, we don’t want to know anything about it.'"

    glad I heard Farrakhan; I stopped taking the pill… | Brother ...
    Gary Webb and Sacramento Bee writer Fahizah Alim. She interviewed Gary before his "suicide" in Sacramento.

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  • 03/13/16--22:58: America's Angry White Men

  • What if white men, not black women, were caricatured as ‘angry’?

    By now, you’ve likely heard about the New York Times piece about the new ABC series “How to Get Away with Murder.” Written by Alessandra Stanley, the article purports to offer an analysis of the new Shonda Rhimes production that will premiere this week.
    Shonda Rhimes in 2013.
    Ron Sachs
    Titled “Wrought in Their Creator’s Image,” it begins:
    When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called “How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.”
    From there, it gets worse. The article has prompted many smart and careful responses, including Kara Brown’s on the feminist site Jezebel. She writes,
    It’s just boggling that a New York Times television critic is unable to write about black women without calling upon three of the oldest racist stereotypes about black women.
    And Margaret Lyons at Vulture, who reminds us there are just so many things wrong with the New York Times’ Shonda Rhimes article. Lyons goes on to carefully enumerate each of them.
    And of course, Ms. Rhimes herself, who seemed more bewildered than enraged when she took to Twitter to fact-check the Times.
    Confused why @nytimes critic doesn’t know identity of CREATOR of show she’s reviewing. @petenowa  did u know u were “an angry black woman”?
    Yep, Rhimes is not, as Stanley asserts, the angry black woman creator of Annalise Keating. That honor belongs to Pete Nowalk, a white guy! Which is why Rhimes was clearly cracking herself up with this tweet:
    Apparently we can be ‘angry black women’ together, because I didn’t know I was one either! @petenowa #LearnSomethingNewEveryday
    With so many smart responses already recorded, I thought it might be valuable to try something different. What if we rewrote part of Stanley’s article–nearly word-for-word–about another hotly-anticipated show in the fall lineup.
    Imagine this.
    Wrought in Their Creator’s Image
    When Aaron Sorkin writes his autobiography, it should be called “How to Get Away With Being an Angry White Man.” This week, HBO announced that Mr. Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” will return for its third and final season on November 9.
    It is yet another series from Sorkin that showcases a powerful, intimidating white man. This one is Will McAvoy, a blustering, monologue-prone, workplace bully played by Jeff Daniels, who won an Emmy for the role in 2013. And that clinches it: Mr. Sorkin, who wrought Dan Rydell on “Sports Night” and Toby Ziegler on “The West Wing”  has done more to reset the image of white men on television than anyone since… Dr Phil.
    Jeff Daniels, Aaron Sorkin
    Jeff Daniels, right, a cast member in “The Newsroom,” poses with creator/executive producer Aaron Sorkin at the season 2 premiere of the HBO series at the…
    Chris Pizzello
    Be it Jeff Daniels on “Newsroom” or Martin Sheen on “The West Wing,” Sorkin’s white men can and do get angry. Although not written for TV, one of the more volcanic on-screen meltdowns in history belongs to a Sorkin white man: “You can’t handle the truth!”, from the Col. Nathan Jessup character played by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men.
     Mr. Sorkin has embraced the trite-but-persistent caricature of the Angry White Man, recast it in his own image and made it enviable. His are not like the bossy, mouthy, salt-of-the-earth working-class men who have been scolding and fuming on-screen ever since Carroll O’Connor played Archie Bunker on “All in the Family.” They certainly are not as benign and reassuring as Chris Traeger, the athletic and energetic bureaucrat on “Parks and Recreation.”  Just think of how Traeger was literally laying the foundation for the vice-presidential campaign of Paul Ryan!

    As Will McAvoy, actor Jeff Daniels, 59, is sexual–even sexy–in a slightly menacing way. But the actor doesn’t look at all like the typical star of a network drama. Ignoring the narrow beauty standards some white men are held to, Mr. Sorkin chose a performer who is older, paunchier and less classically beautiful than say, Patrick Dempsey of “Grey’s Anatomy,” or Scott Foley, who plays Jake on “Scandal.” 

    Nobody thinks Aaron Sorkin is holding back. He, and his characters, are walking and talking all over the place.

    I’m just hoping they encounter some angry black women in the corridors. Now that would make for good TV.

    ... angry white men from getting in, a poll released on Monday shows 

    America's Angry White Men

    11/01/2013 07:52 am ET| UpdatedJan 23, 2014
    Remember Howard Beale? Played by Peter Finch in the movie Network (1976), the deranged former TV news anchor Beale tries to generate a social movement by admonishing viewers with a simple sentiment: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Three decades later, there are still a host of Americans who feel mad as hell, and who are refusing to take it anymore.

    Like Beale, a lot of them feel blindsided by history, and their rage is turned outwards, towards scapegoats and unseen forces, but rarely, as in the film, at the cynical elites who profit from Beale's descent into madeness.

    And, like Beale, a lot of the current crop of the outraged are a lot of white men. Not all of them, of course. There are plenty of angry men of color and plenty of angry white women. Just look at those Tea Party rallies! But as a political movement, as the rank and file of America's fulminators -- whether the Tea Party or organizations on the extreme right wing, or the guys, always guys, who open fire on their classmates at school or their co-workers and colleagues at work, or the men, almost always men, who beat and murder those they claim to love, or the young men, always young men, who walk into movie theaters of places of worship with guns blazing -- well it's pretty hard to deny that they're virtually all white men. (And let us be clear: just because virtually all these cases are middle- and lower-middle class white men, does not for a nanosecond mean that all white men are crazed killers or white supremacists. All members of the Mafia may be Italian, but not all Italians are members of the Mafia.)

    Yet deny it we do, often by assuming that these outbursts are motivated by anything at all -- mental illness, access to guns, video games, whatever -- other than gender. We'd notice, of course, if it were poor black girls pulling the triggers in school shootings, or women who walked into their workplaces with semi-automatic guns firing, or all Asians or Jews or Latinos who were shooting up our movie theaters and political rallies. But white men? Must be some other factor.

    It seems so obvious, and yet so startling to see middle-class white American men, arguably the most privileged human beings on the planet (excluding, of course, hereditary aristocracies and the upper classes) fuming with such self-righteous outrage. (The comedian Louis CK gets this sense of privilege: "I'm a white man," he says, "How many advantages can one persona have?"
    So, to research my book, Angry White Men, I traveled the country and interviewed scores of these guys -- from "men's rights" activists who think white men are the victims of the new discrimination, to the "white wing" on the rightward fringes of the American political spectrum, who believe they are watching "our" country being snatched away from them.

    What unites them, I came to understand, was a sentiment I called "aggrieved entitlement." Raised to believe that this was "their" country, simply by being born white and male, they were entitled to a good job by which they could support a family as sole breadwinners, and to deference at home from adoring wives and obedient children. And not only do their kids and their wives have ideas of their own; not only is the competition for those jobs increasingly ferocious; they've also been slammed by predatory lenders, corporate moguls, Wall Street short-sellers betting against their own companies and manipulated by cynical elites into believing that their adversaries were not the ones downsizing, outsourcing and cutting their jobs, but those assorted others -- women, immigrants, gays, black people -- who were asserting their claims for a piece of the pie. The middle class white American man expected to be more Don Draper, all self-made , in control, and upwardly mobile. Instead he's more like William Foster, another fictional character who's fallen off the cliff into that dark abyss of despair, violence and madness.

    Today's Angry White Men look backward, nostalgically at the world they have lost. Some organize politically to restore "their" country; some descend into madness; others lash out violently at a host of scapegoats. Theirs is a fight to restore, to reclaim more than just what they feel entitled to socially or economically -- it's also to restore their sense of manhood, to reclaim that sense of dominance and power to which they also feel entitled. They don't get mad, they want to get even -- but with whom?
    Alas, that multicultural, democratic train has long ago left the station; it's impossible to imagine America rolling back the gains made by women, LGBT people, immigrants, people of color. Angry White Men may still strew some obstacles on that global path to greater equality, making the road bumpier. But its direction is clear. And the loudest screams are coming not from those whose fortunes are rising, but from those over whom the engines locomotives of history are rolling.

    Here, then, is a gallery of some of the more prominent angry white men, both real and fictional. Each represents a different expression of that aggrieved entitlement; they are not a coherent and unified movement, and most of these men do not know each other nor recognize the others as fellow travelers. They are, instead, isolated Howard Beales, some with huge followings, to be sure, shouting into a strong headwind. The past may have been theirs, but the future belongs to others.

    Angry White Men

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    Life has made us beyond just friends
    Charlie Parker With Strings
    Milford Graves said Charlie didn't want no strings
    but had to eat feed his habit
    Charlie just wanted to blow his horn 
    wild as the wind
    Sonny said My Brother the Wind
    X said I am the Wind
    a pleasure to my people
    I am the sun
    a pleasure to my people

    Ra Ra
    our love
    blood mixed with love
    beyond physical
    love deeper than love
    we don't even understand
    deeper than Nancy/ Ronnie
    deeper still
    go deeper nigguh
    deep down to the purple funk of love

    love mama taught
    transcend  human
    divine love
    we deny exists
    in our terribleness 
    Baraka said

    let me hold you
    Like Verdia held her husband
    when he returned for love
    she awaited him
    arms wide as the sky
    embracing  sins
    she care nothing about
    love is greater than sin
    sin is a foolish thing
    confounding simple minds
    minds of fools
    fools rush beyond love to nothingness and dread
    what is sin but the beginning of love
    love is  drama
    the joy and pain of love
    sunshine and rain 
    Franky B said
    no matter 
    love came upon us that day
    will you deny
    miss wonderful
    black and beautiful
    sucking my soul into yours
    when you walked upon me
    outside Dwindell Hall
    black and beautiful
    coming down the hill
    a bird in flight to love
    and here we are
    decades later
    still friends
    in spite of it all
    what power is greater
    God is Love

    life is simply wonderful.
    Think about it, my dear.
    Think about the love of Verdia
    who taught us both how to love
    did we learn the lesson
    from the Master Teacher?
    think about Verdia
    no shame in her love
    pure simple straight no chaser
    tell me lies all night son in law
    spit in my face all night tellin lies
    son in law
    drink that plum wine and lie
    while I tell you the truth of my heart
    my life

    you real a real nigguh X son
    solid don't break solid don't break
    youngsters say
    solid. don't break.


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  • 03/17/16--18:04: BA RA KA Blessed

  • Blessed
    BA RA KA
    I fly
    Upper Room
    transcending you
    most of all
    ignorance of you
    pissed off bout nothin
    trippin you
    high you
    slide on by you
    fuck you
    bye bye bye
    black bird
    BA RA KA
    in the upper room.
    --El Muhajir

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    The poet and his Muse
    Marvin X and Fahizah

    Can you forget the angel in the night
    rocked your world by day
    shaking foundations of heart
    how could she do this 
    angel in the night
    slipping up with love beyond love
    never imagined 
    ignorant love
    not ready 
    scared love
    no hiding  
    flee where
    new lover same
    new lover different name
    name name
    same lover same
    no gain no gain
    rain rain rain
    same lover same
    different lover same
    different name same.
    --Marvin X/El Muhajir

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  • 03/17/16--19:24: Too Funky in here

  • ain't no cult leader
    manson type
    jim jones
    don't follow me
    I follow you
    how dat dare?
    go to alley
    right behind
    on yo ass
    no tricks
    go head me
    lead way
    down fada down
    don't bend
    don't bend!
    youngsters say
    don't bend
    I'm woke!
    I'm woke!
    I'm woke!
    too funky in here
    what dat dare?
    too funky funky.
    --Marvin X

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    Monday, April 29, 2013

    Marvin X reviews the film My Son the Fanatic

    Understanding London--And Boston!


    “If they are going to kill him. I don’t care. My oldest son is killed, so I don’t care. I don’t care if my youngest son is going to be killed today. I want the world to hear this. And, I don’t care if I am going to get killed too. And I will say Allahu Akbar!“--Mother of Boston Bombers
    My Son the Fanatic
    a film review
    Marvin X

    In light of recent events in London (and now Boston), I thought it would be important for a clearer understanding of London's Muslim community (and America's) to resend this review of the film My Son The Fanatic. Most western politicians, media spooks and experts refuse to address the root cause of young men and women willing to self destruct as suicide bombers or why they choose to become fundamentalist Muslims. Westerners and the moderate Muslim experts continue in denial that white supremacy is the root cause of their former colonial subjects desire to remove the last vestiges of the disease of cultural imperialism.

    White supremacy has spread hopelessness in young Muslims in Europe and cultural imperialism has spread it to the former colonies, now neo-colonial regimes best described by journalist Ayman Al Amir, who recently said, “Terrorism is the consequence of political ostracism, not religious fanaticism. It is fermented not in the mosques of Egypt or the madrassas of Pakistan but in solitary confinement cells, torture chambers, and the environment of fear wielded by dictatorial regimes.”

    The film reveals that Muslims in Europe, and London in particular, are not only politically disenfranchised but culturally, economically, and spirituality alienated as well.

    This alienation is simply the nature of the beast, the Mother Country, that devours the little people from the colonies who seek comfort in the Mother but are rejected for being less than human, thus in a twist of the Oedipus complex, they seek to destroy the Mother who has all but destroyed them, stunted their personalities and possibilities for human and spiritual development. (President Obama described the Boston bombers as stunted men!

    The Review of the film My Son the Fanatic

    …Essentially, it is about the colonized man, the colonized family and its attempt at de-colonization. Ironically, we are challenged to decide who is the fanatic, the father or the son, for both are battling their supposed demons. For the son, it is western culture—the father fights to escape eastern culture, i.e., his Pakistani roots. The son wants to return to his religious roots, Islamic fundamentalism. The father is fanatically in love with secularism—he is non-religious, in love with jazz, blues, alcohol and whores, one in particular.

    What if Osama Bin Laden and his band of devils came to your house at the invitation of your son? When his son comes under the influence of fundamental Islam, he get his father to allow a Muslim teacher to visit from Lahore, Pakistan, turning the house into an Islamic center, which the father reluctantly allows because of his deep love for his son. Although he arranges for his son to marry a London policeman’s daughter, the son rejects his father’s request, opting for Islam, claiming the girl represents the worst of western culture. Couldn’t he see how the policeman abhorred him, the son asks the father.

    The father is blind: his loveless job as a London taxi driver exposes him to street life and he succumbs, falling seriously in love with a whore, rejecting his homely wife who has failed to inspire him, perhaps because she doesn’t represent the decadent western culture he loves, symbolized and summarized in the whore. For him, the whore has life, love, tenderness, and freedom. Why can’t he get this at home? Is it because the wife represents the old world he rejects so totally?  …After his son and comrades attack the whores for being whores—the son actually attacks his father’s whore, spitting on her, and striking her in a violent anti-prostitution riot, forcing the father to expel the imam, with the son departing in disgust.
    …In the German trick Mr. Schitz, we see the arrogance of western man who derides the father for being the “little man.” What can the little man from the East do with the white whore, the symbol of western civilization? The little man is inferior by nature, with defects, genetic of course, which disqualifies him from being on par with western man.

    Mr. Schitz can pat the “little man” or eastern man on the head, kick him to the ground and apply any number of verbal insults, until eastern man finds a bat in the truck of his car and threatens to use it. Of course, this is the colonized man fighting back, regaining his manhood. The father fights on a personal level, the son on a politico-religious level, but both are fighting colonialism.

    Their misunderstanding each other’s fight is symbolic of the tension between moderate and fundamental Muslims. We know we cannot go back to Islam of the Prophet’s day, but nor can we accept the passivity of the moderates. There is no excuse for one billion Muslims being humiliated by a few million Jews in Israel. This is not a question of hatred, but the result of political backwardness, the non-use of power. With Muslim unity, the Palestinian problem could be resolved tomorrow morning. 
    Until contradictions between moderate and fundamental Muslims are resolved, eastern man will not be able to successfully challenge western man. This, of course, will necessitate revolution because moderate Muslims control most Islamic societies and have no plans to give up power without a struggle—those who struggle against them being described as terrorists to disqualify legitimate freedom fighters who will ultimately challenge the corrupt, undemocratic, secular Muslim nations.

    The final question is what will be the nature of the new Nation of Islam. Can fundamentalism function in the modern era or is it antithetical? Will it be repressive, will it be democratic in any sense, not necessarily in the western democratic sense? Will Iran be an example? Tunisia? Turkey? For sure, the motion in the Muslim world will lead to a synthesis of the best of the old and the new. 

    Let us understand clearly, if the reactionary secular regimes cannot or do not eradicate ignorance, poverty and disease, they will be replaced.

    The father’s love of the whore was real. She represented the poor underclass that even the revolutionary son could not accept because of his moral myopia. If the father had married her (another wife being acceptable in Islam), perhaps the son would have respected him and the tension between the old and new would have eased, allowing the possibility of a better day.

    After the present convolutions, look for a marriage between old Islam and the new, between East and West. We will either come together or go to hell together. For all his attempts to claim allegiance to the Islamic past, Osama Bin Laden is the most modern of men, using modern technology, modern weapons, modern financial systems, and modern media techniques to the best of his ability.
    *   *   *   *   *
    This film review appears in Marvin X's book of essays, In the Crazy House Called America, Black Bird Press, 2002. 
    posted 5 August 2005

    1 comment:

    Sam Hamod
    good review, marvin. but, as u point out, the west doesn't want to listen or to learn. just today, peter king, the idiot congressman and dual citizenship (usa and israel)is preaching Hitler tactics, forgetting what hitler did to the jews, but he obviously wants to copy hitler! king wants us to deal with muslims as america did with the japanese, to start keeping us all under surveillance. it seems he's unaware that there are more "terrorist acts" done by good ol' boys, and anglos than muslims, and that more zionists have betrayed america than any other group. ellison of minnesota answered him, but king and wolf blitzer didn't want to hear that it was nonsense, so wolf (who was born and raised in israel and brought to CNN, ousting other anchors in a split second)blitzer said he'd have king on again at 5 pm est, 4.29.13 to continue his lying and race and religion baiting. down with king, down with blitzer, as well as senator graham, the senile john mc cain and the ignorant john bolton (bosom and drinking buddy of gw bush)!

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    Dear Media: Radovan Karadžić is a European Christian

    Mugshot photos of Radovan Karadžić by the Yugoslav and Bosnian police. (Photo: Public records via Wikimedia Commons)
    Radovan Karadžić has been found guilty of genocide for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. That’s Radovan Karadžić: Bosnian Serb leader, Bosnian Serb politician, Bosnian Serb war criminal, Bosnian Serb. But that’s not, if you have followed the past 20 years of international media coverage, Radovan Karadžić…European Christian.

    I’m not going to go into Karadžić’s religious history and beliefs here, but suffice it to say that this was a man who in 2010 described the viscous bloodbath he oversaw as “just and holy.” Muslims were systematically slaughtered. Mosques were blown up. The overtones of the Crusades were obvious.
    Yet the European and US media, for the most part, did not (and do not) wish to define Karadžić in terms of his religious affiliation. Many of his victims, however, were certainly framed in that way — they were “Bosnian Muslims.” But the aggressors were usually identified by region and nationality, not religion. This allowed those who live in Europe, or the world, who are not Serbian or Bosnian Serbs to distance themselves. “That’s got nothing to do with me…” is the obvious reaction for those of us from another country or region.

    When, however, we define people such as Karadžić as “Christian” (and do so on a consistent basis) we enter into an entirely new realm of identity. Any notion of personal connection or collective responsibility moves from region or nation-state to a much broader disapora of peoples linked simply by their religious faith. Of course, a natural reaction on the part of Christians globally would be to distance themselves from Karadžić, and to claim that his actions have nothing to do with “real” Christians or Christianity.

    In other words, Christians would get uncomfortable — or even offended — by the suggestion that they are in any way represented by a monster like Karadžić .

    In much the same way, I would imagine that the vast majority of Muslims get uncomfortable — or even offended — by the way in which mainstream media outlets de facto link their Muslim faith to the actions of ISIS. In much the same way, I would imagine, that the vast majority of Muslims get uncomfortable — or even offended — with being asked by the media to “condemn” the actions of violent madmen in Paris or Brussels with whom they feel no spiritual or personal connection. In much the same way, I would imagine, that the vast majority of Muslims get uncomfortable — or even offended — by the proposal that they be banned from a country simply on the basis of their religion.
    This is the power of language: the power of a single word to alter how we understand and react to news. If the media will not define Karadžić as a “Christian” out to kill Muslims, we should ask why. Or, inversely, if they are willing to define a perpetrator in religious terms only if he/she is Muslim, we should ask why. Ultimately, the Karadžić story reveals a clear, self-serving ethnocentrism in European and US media.

    This isn’t about moral relativism. This isn’t about political correctness. This is about the basic concepts of professional and intellectual consistency.

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    Martin and Malcolm X
     handshake that never was but was in never land of African eternity

    Love is love is love is love
    tell me of love
    teach me love
    grab me in love
    smile in my love
    your love
    embrace love
    friends in love
    embrace love
    did the devil care for love
    we loved
    did devil care
    took us both out
    in his song of love
    no love song
    war song
    no love in war ...
    --Marvin X     

    Black Brick Wall Texture Free High Resolution Photo Dimensions

    LET us go then, you and I,
    When the evening is spread out against the sky
    Like a patient etherized upon a table;
    Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
    The muttering retreats
    Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
    And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
    Streets that follow like a tedious argument
    Of insidious intent
    To lead you to an overwhelming question….   
    Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
    Let us go and make our visit.

    In the room the women come and go
    Talking of Michelangelo.....
    --T.S. Eliot

    Talkin Ignut:
    Notes on US politricks 2016 
    Marvin X
    black wall
    fashioned into shape
    black mud
    into shape
    form me
    shape me
    make me
    love me
    most of all
    love me
    Black Wall
    protect me
    no entrance unannounced
    present your papers passport
    enter Black Wall
    peace salute Black Wall
    Submit Black Wall
    fashioned into shape
    peace in da house
    grab me black love
    squeeze me black love
    love lives
    black love lives
    love life
    love life
    nothing better life itself
    bathe in the river of love
    swim river of love
    float river of love
    sing songs of love
    songs of love
    you are my sunshine
    my love of life
    emblem of eternity bobby womack said
    run Bernie nigguhs
    run Hillery old democratic party loyals
    run Donald Trump ghansta ass nigguhs
    good pimpin ass nigguhs
    hustling nigguhs
    vote fa me
    I set ya free
    vote fa me
    I set ya free.
    --Marvin X
    My name is Jess
    ain't  in da mess
    black lives matter
    politricks don't matter

    Bernie got the young
    free cheeze wine
    free white supremacy college
    for PC babies
    thin skin millennials
    no knowledge of free speech movement
    deaf dumb blind don't move
    they dead heads
    Jerry Garcia style
    livng dead
    walking dead
    dead dancing to cell phones
    chanting endlessly
    where you at where you at
    where I'm at you ain't nigguh
    real question
    where you at nigguh?
    space is the place
    you in space nigguh
    you in da race nigguh
    oh no
    you beyond the space race
    the race race space
    space is the place
    space is the place
    Sun Ra set the pace
    Sun Ra set the pace
    of the Race
    for the Space
    Who Sun Ra
    Some Kemit god?
    Space is the Place
    Black Arts Movement
    Baraka Nikki Sonia
    Last Poets Marvin X
    Do the BAM Thang
    who Sun Ra
    Master Teacher of this time in time infinity
    time after time
    if you fall
    I catch you
    time after time
    Miles Davis version
    Time after Time
    If you fall
    I will catch you
    Time after Time.
    a phone can free the world
    but you talkin bout where you at
    see my girl talkin on cell phone at her funeral
    Bernie Bernie
    Vote for Bernie
    Bernie set us free!
    Nigguh on bottom
    Nigguh on bottom
    Nigguh on bottom
    bottom rail top
    ancestors say
    bottom rail top
    Why not Niggerism
    get what you need
    leave what you don't
    give what you can
    go on down the road
    no greed
    no ego style
    give is better than receive
    some have never received
    observe the shock
    give a little love
    share the wealth
    this is not a dream
    Bernie got the young
    Crisis of Negro intellectuals tag along
    Bernie Bernie Bernie
    Tenured Negroes
    singing their sad song
    Blues in da night
    how they didn't get ovah
    got tenure
    what else ya want
    can't live faever in master's house
    plantation ass nigguh

    RA RA for Hillery
    founder of ISIS
    African Queen of
    Libya Egypt Syria Iraq
    African Queen of Haiti
    Vodun Queen of Haiti
    Baby Doc, Papa Bill
    Mama Hillary
     Mama Guatemala
    Mama Honduras
    Mama funky bitch
    Mama funky ho
    can you be in so much shit
    first woman president
    but yo panties too funky 
    James Brown
    ain't it funky now
    Hillery we love you
    but clean yo drawers
    like a common ho do
    I know cause I love ho's
    I know ho's clean dey drawers
    mine did
    said don't call her no funky ho
    her drawers clean
    now check dat square bitch drawers
    like a monkey.

    RA RA RA
    Donald Trump
    say what he wanna say
    nuts out sand
    no girlie man
    stand and deliver
    Stan Don
    hustlers love you
    killers love you
    workers love you
    speak truth to power
    say what ya wanna say
    kiss yo white ass
    so you white nationalist
    me Black Nationalist
    let's make a deal
    Mexican Wall
    Black Wall in da Hood
    No go zone Prez D
    No go beyond Black Wall
    No pigs beyond Black Wall
    Black Love Lives Beyond the Black Wall
    no pants sagging
    no ugly lookin gold teeth alligator lookin nigguhs
    beyond Black Wall
    Ancestors see you beyond Black Wall
    Ancestors shame you
    Beyond Black Wall
    submit to Black Wall vibration
    every nigguh give one dollar donation
    bring brick for Black Wall
    Come alive Black Wall
    Stand Tall Black Wall
    Fight the Power
    Black Wall
    Stay solid
    don't bend
    don't bend
    Black Wall!
    --Marvin X

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    “An African City,” the web series about five single women in Accra, Ghanacharacter

    For the last few weeks social media has been abuzz with comments about a new Youtube web series set in Accra called “An African City.” The series tells the story of the “Afropolitan Returnee” and as one viewer aptly put it, it is “Sex and the City meets Americanah where she [the book’s protagonist] goes back to Lagos.” Though not as finely tuned.
    Here’s the trailer:
    You can watch the first four episodes here.

    The five main characters are all well-off, well-connected or both.

    From the chatter online, there appears to be no qualms about the demographic that is being portrayed. And thus far, it is unapologetic in doing so. So much so–as was pointed out to me–that the characters acting as waiting staff are reduced to shots of their backs or headless with an outstretched arm.
    Having said that there were some cringeworthy moments in the first episode at comments like “Dad is now the minister of energy, so this is the time to be back” and “ I’m here for work… big government contracts.”

    No doubt these conversations do happen in certain small circles but I couldn’t tell if these bold declarations were being mocked or glorified.

    For years we have seen the rich and beautiful float across our television screens in flashy cars, shiny houses and glossy outfits. Why not Accra or any other African city?

    The series represents moneyed Africa and those for whom the idea of spending US$5000 per month on rent for an apartment is feasible, as are dutiful drivers and rich daddies–real or otherwise. Just watch the opening moments of Episode 2.

    It may not be the reality for the majority but it’s a reality that is valid. These people exist.
    It should be noted too that because of the lack of diversity of the characters one would be forgiven for thinking that all ‘returnees’ are silver-spooned gentry. This is not the case.
    I think the show is for lighthearted entertainment purposes, with conversations about careers, sex, loves lost and potentials that are much more relatable.

    And some viewers think that the series does well in highlighting relevant issues such as high housing rents, problems clearing goods at the port and the erratic power supply in the city.
    Others have written it off, classing it as skewed and over-exaggerated.

    “An African City” serves as the alternative to the words and images of a war-torn, famine-ridden, economically-blighted “Dark Continent” that we’ve been assaulted with for decades. It comfortably falls into the high-end ankara/kente print-wearing, culturally-savvy, new middle-class ‘Africa Rising’ rhetoric.
    So now we’ve had a fair share of the two narratives perhaps other African filmmakers, writers and speakers can pick up the baton and give the world balanced views of what it’s like to live in their African cities.

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    Mississippi woman pleads guilty to trying to join Islamic State


    By Julia Harte

    Related Stories

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Mississippi woman pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to trying to join Islamic State in Syria, 2-1/2 weeks after her husband entered the same plea.
    Jaelyn Delshaun Young, 20, was arrested at a Mississippi airport in August 2015 while attempting to board a flight to Turkey with her husband, Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla, 23.

    Young acknowledged her role as the "planner of the expedition" in an incriminating farewell letter, according to court documents filed by U.S. prosecutors.

    Convictions for Islamic State-related activity by Americans have become more frequent in recent months as more than 80 such cases brought by U.S. prosecutors since 2013 work their way through federal courts.

    Young's Twitter posts about her desire to join the militant group caught the attention of the FBI in May 2015, and an agent posing as an Islamic State recruiter began corresponding with her and Dakhlalla.

    Young and Dakhlalla told the supposed recruiter they would help Islamic State "correct the falsehoods" about it in U.S. news media, such as reports that the group trades young girls as sex slaves, according to court records.

    They also asked the recruiter whether Islamic State would offer Koran classes in English, how they would be required to prove that they were Sunni Muslims, and what kind of military training Dakhlalla would receive.

    Both Dakhlalla and Young, of Starkville, Mississippi, are U.S. citizens. Young converted to Islam in March 2015, the court documents said.

    The couple entered their guilty pleas in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, in Greenville.

    In exchange for Young's guilty plea to a single count of conspiring to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, U.S. prosecutors agreed to not press any other charges.

    According to court records, the couple, who had an Islamic marriage but did not get their union legally recognized, were motivated to join the group after viewing Islamic State executions of people they deemed immoral, and because they perceived the group as "liberators" of parts of Syria and Iraq.

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    U.S., Newark reach settlement on police practices and minorities -DOJ

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice and Newark, New Jersey, have reached a settlement following what the department said was a pattern of city police practices that "had a disparate impact on minorities," a DOJ statement said on Wednesday.

    Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Justice Department officials will announce the settlement at an 11 a.m. EDT press conference in Newark, the department said in the statement.

    In 2014, federal investigators found police repeatedly violated civil rights in Newark, the largest city in New Jersey, and recommended an independent monitor oversee changes.

    At the time, the city agreed to accept the findings of the Justice Department probe, under way since 2011, and proposed ways to stop unconstitutional policing by the Newark force.

    The investigation found that police violated rights through stop-and-arrest practices that disproportionately targeted blacks, stealing citizens' property and cracking down on people who lawfully objected to police behavior.

    (Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington; Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by W Simon)

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    Donald Trump vs. Ted Cruz Creates a Headache for Talk Radio Hosts

    Michael Savage, the radio talk show host, in 2007. Long a powerful and potent agitator of right-wing politics, conservative radio hosts are one of the few forces that can sway the opinions of the Trump electorate.Credit John Storey/Associated Press 
    "The deaf, dumb and blind are having a good time!"--Michael Savage
    Even Michael Savage had had enough.
    As the insults and innuendos over candidates’ wives and tabloid reports of suspected affairs dominated the back and forth between Senator Ted Cruz and Donald J. Trump, Mr. Savage, one of the country’s most popular conservative radio hosts and an ardent supporter of Mr. Trump, drew a red line last week.

    “I’ve supported Trump and probably still will, but if he won’t disavow this guy Pecker and this story, I may withdraw my support,” he said on the air on Friday. He was referring to David J. Pecker, the owner of The National Enquirer, which published the allegations of sexual affairs against Mr. Cruz. “I am not going to support anyone who engages in assassination by innuendo,” Mr. Savage added.
    But on Monday, Mr. Trump and Mr. Savage reconciled in a mostly fawning interview, with no apology from Mr. Trump, who nevertheless called The Enquirer’s allegation that Mr. Cruz had affairs “garbage.”

    The momentary rupture, however brief, was emblematic. As the fractures in the Republican Party over the candidacy of Mr. Trump grow deeper by the day, conservative talk radio is having its own identity crisis.

    Long a powerful and potent agitator of right-wing politics, conservative radio hosts are one of the few forces that can sway the opinions of the Trump electorate. And with Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz now tearing each other — and the party — apart, the biggest names in the field are delicately navigating how to address Mr. Trump’s latest provocations without alienating listeners.

    “Talk radio has a really unique way of being able to penetrate its way into Republican primary politics around the country,” said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist and deputy chief of staff for former Representative Eric Cantor. If leading conservative hosts united in opposition to Mr. Trump, Mr. Heye said, “in theory, it could absolutely hurt him, in part because that’s where a lot of his supporters are.”

    Conservative talk radio is just as divided and conflicted on Mr. Trump as the Republican electorate. Some advocate. Some criticize. And some try to stay neutral — but that is no longer easy.
    Glenn Beck, in Oklahoma City last month, has supported Senator Ted Cruz. Mr. Beck has made it his mission to stop Donald Trump, saying he is not a true conservative, nor a true Christian.Credit Cooper Neill for The New York Times
    In December, Rush Limbaughtook issue with Mr. Trump’s harsh words about Mr. Cruz and criticisms Mr. Trump made of Justice Antonin Scalia, saying, “If you’re a conservative voter in the Republican primary, these two things have got to raise some red flags for you people.”

    Later, in February, Mr. Limbaugh heaped praise on Mr. Cruz. “If conservatism is the dominating factor in how you vote, there is no other choice for you in this campaign than Ted Cruz,” he said, before dropping the highest of Republican compliments: “This is the closest in our lifetimes we have ever been to Ronald Reagan.”

    But just two days later, Mr. Limbaugh found himself explaining to callers that he still had a “no-endorsement policy” in presidential primaries and that his laudatory statements about Mr. Cruz were just observations. “It doesn’t mean that Trump is no good,” he said, repeatedly pointing to the candidate’s wide appeal.

    At the same time, Mr. Limbaugh has taken heat for providing cover for Mr. Trump, excusing some of his bombast for “striking a nerve in the country.”

    Others have gone much further in their praise of Mr. Cruz. Mark Levin and Glenn Beck endorsed the Texas senator, and have been critical of Mr. Trump. Mr. Levin has told him to “cut the crap” with his attacks on Mr. Cruz. Of Mr. Trump’s opposition to trade deals, he said, “I’ve never heard such stupid talk in my life.”

    Mr. Beck has made it his mission to stop Mr. Trump, saying the candidate is not a true conservative, nor a true Christian.

    “No Christian says, ‘I want that guy — that guy is the guy for me,’ ” Mr. Beck said on air about Mr. Trump and his supporters. “Nobody, nobody.”

    Graphic: 2016 Delegate Count and Primary Results

    Part of the conservative radio divide reflects how Mr. Cruz was the darling of the far right wing of the Republican Party before Mr. Trump’s unexpected political rise. A frequent guest on talk radio, the senator earned celebrity status for his effort to shut down the government, and was showered with effusive praise when he was the first to jump into the race. Mr. Limbaugh called his presidential announcement speech“dazzling” and “masterful.”

    But Mr. Trump’s candidacy forced a realignment. Mr. Savage routinely has Mr. Trump on his show and condemns Mr. Cruz as “an insider.” He sees Mr. Trump as galvanizing disaffected voters who have both powered his strong ratings for decades and been ignored by previous Republican nominees.
    “He’s speaking to the demographic of the electorate that has been ignored and castigated,” Mr. Savage said in an interview. “That’s what I see.”

    Sean Hannity has not publicly staked out a side, and has said both Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz are conservative choices. He tries to have both on his show as often as he can.

    “Who am I to come in and tell them to vote for this person?” Mr. Hannity asked in an interview, referring to his listeners. “I don’t think I serve them well that way.”

    But he warned that any effort to deny Mr. Trump the nomination if he came close to the 1,237 majority of delegates would be the downfall of the Republican Party.

    “If they try to steal this nomination or disenfranchise the voters, it would be the end of the Republican Party,” he said. “I guarantee you, it’s over.”

    “If it’s Trump” who is denied the nomination, he continued, “Trump supporters are walking. If it’s Cruz, Cruz supporters are walking. And they’re not coming back. And I’ll walk with them.”
    Laura Ingraham, who also said she would not endorse a candidate, shared a similar point of view in an interview, calling the stop-Trump effort “a little juvenile.”

    “There are a lot of purists out there who, if they don’t get everything checked off on their little bucket list,” then they say “take your pail and go home,” she said. “Come to the real world.”
    Mr. Beck sees it differently, calling Mr. Trump “a clown.”

    Disagreement among conservative radio hosts is nothing new. But the searing divisions of this contest pose particular challenges to the hosts as they seek to hold on to their listeners — and address their grievances — in such a fractured climate.

    “The rule of talk radio is always ‘Don’t get ahead of your listener,’ ” said Rick Tyler, a political analyst on MSNBC and former communications director for the Cruz campaign. “You can educate the listener, and you can bring them along.”

    But Mr. Beck argued that the opinion and principles of the host were what drew the audience.
    “Our principles are our only things that have kept us going and going on our air,” he said. “And if you abandon your principles for interest, you’re done.”

    But in Mr. Trump, Mr. Beck and Mr. Levin may have found a candidate who has beaten them at their own game. The Manhattan businessman has found a way around traditional media, as his rallies and news conferences are often carried live on cable networks and occasionally on broadcast television.
    And the hosts who rely on access to the candidate seem mindful of his ability to circumvent mainstream media, cozying up to Mr. Trump to maintain a relationship.

    As Mr. Savage said as he closed his interview with Mr. Trump on Monday: “People are going to say I was too nice to you today.”

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