Friday, March 16, 2012

Choices and Responsibilities

Too $hort

I am just now seeing this interview conducted by hiphopdx.com and Too $hort. It creates a helluva predicament and honestly forces me to confront

In the interview, Too $hort tells out how Jive Records CEO Barry Weiss promised to back a politically conscious Too $hort record in exchange for a extremely raunchy album.

$hort put the whole situation into context. Hip-hop was moving away from the conscious content of the 80s to the explicit material of the 90s. $hort is known today for his outlandish persona glorifying pimp-dom and limiting his vocabulary to "bitch", "dick", "ass" & "pussy" for the most part.
However Too $hort's first major hit was "The Ghetto". A track about, well, the ghetto. Over his career $hort managed to sprinkle more conscious material in his albums apparently much to the chagrin of Jive Records.

As $hort explains:
"I’m not gonna blame this on anybody, but I was actually being pushed into a direction where I would talk to people at Jive [Records], I would go talk to the President, Barry Weiss, and he was like – I always wanted to do these [side] projects... [But] they kept making excuses and so it never got done.

I wanted to do an album that was filled with songs like “The Ghetto,” “Life Is…Too Short,” “Money In The Ghetto,” “I Want To Be Free.” I wanted to do a whole album of positive Too Short songs, just to keep that balance.

I had made a verbal deal with Barry Weiss, where he was like, “Right now would be the perfect time, you should do like the raunchiest Too Short album ever – the album cover, the songs, just do a dirty fuckin' Too Short album.” This is the executive running the company advising me to put out an entire album of just cursing and sex.

So I’m like, “If I did that I’d have to then do the exact opposite and follow-up that with an album that’s all positive.” And so, I did the album for him, we did You Nasty. I thought it was a funny idea at first - we had like a porn star on the cover,

I’m naked, the girls are naked and we really did a butt- naked photo shoot. And it got a gold album and all that stuff. But when it came time to do the positive album, it was never a good idea. It never got the green light. Once I did what they wanted, they would never let me do what I wanted." (http://www.hiphopdx.com/m/index.php?s=news&id=18861)

$hort made a deal. A deal for which many have given him hell. Too $hort played on the stereotypes and the imagery of Blacks as oversexed, money hungry, goons. Some would say that because of his position in the game as an influence to more than a generation of MCs that he made a decision extremely detrimental to the Black community.

As people shake their monkeys, blow their whistles and try to say "bitch" like him, they totally have no idea this other side of Too $hort exists. Too $hort will forever be known as one of the most vulgar artists ever and perhaps that is not what he wanted.

But all that begs the question: "did he do the right thing?"

There are two or three ways of looking at that. On one hand, as a Black man in a position of influence, maybe he had a responsibility to be more positive and made sure to get that positive message out there. On the second hand, as an employee he was being charged to make what the label wanted him to make. In a purely business sense Weiss wanted what would be assured to make Jive money. And finally the perspective of Too $hort the individual, a man who needs to provide for himself.

On the flipside of those are a few questions. One of which is "What responsibility does Too $hort have to the Black community?" Nobody voted Too $hort President or Senator of the Black community and he has no responsibility to uphold any image of Blackness. But at the same time he helped to create such a negative image of Black males that has permeated the industry and many younger individuals for decades.

Another question is: "Wasn't Too $hort's real responsibility to Jive?" Short answer (no pun intended) is yes. Jive is the church in this instance and $hort would be fuckin up the church's money by refusing to produce the content they want. To be honest Weiss didn't or shouldn't have had to make a deal with Too $hort to get him to make the material he wanted him to make. $hort was Weiss' employee...period.

Too $hort, the individual, the man himself is Too $hort's responsibility. The explicit nature of his music has sustained him for decades and created one of the pillars of the hip-hop community. Could a more politically conscious Too $hort have had such longevity and impact? There's no telling, but the fact that it is 2012 and Too $hort still makes extremely explicit music (his new song is called "Porno Bitch") means that Too $hort the artist, is making the music he wants to make.

$hort's case is one that also forces people to come face to face with the music industry. Recently hiphopdx.com did an interview with Chuck D and his response is to check the system of people and institutions involved:

Chuck D: "...Barry Weiss should be on blast then. Barry Weiss is the son of [former Stax Records executive] Hy Weiss. I mean, things is like - Forget a corporation, I think when you have a problem with somebody you should put that person on blast. You should put their family on blast. [Laughs] You know, the whole nine.

If you feel like your family’s on blast, put their family on blast too. Forget Jive Records, [put] Barry Weiss [on blast]. And Barry Weiss should be the person that answers to the community, and if Barry Weiss comes out and says, “Well, yeah, I told him to do that, and fuck Black people,” then the next step is whatever, if anything at all. But at least you get right to the source, you get to the core of it. "

Chuck D also believes that the industry and the political system of the country has allowed people like Weiss to wield immeasurable power over artists:

Chuck D: "The consolidation of radio stations was like the worst thing ever done to music.

And, look man, conscious record versus unconscious record, political record versus street record, that’s a bunch of bullshit really. [On an artist’s album pre-consolidation] there were always two to three songs for the hood, for your mom’s or whatever – by every artist. I think when it became formula to continue to just cut joints and you’re pressured to sell – Understand this, niggativity has always been popular and has always been a money-maker in America. Blacks [being degraded and] looked upon at our lowest has always sold – just like slavery itself – more than something that happens to be high standing on its own two feet … to this day. So we shouldn’t be surprised if somebody makes a conscious move to make a quote-unquote positive record and that doesn’t fly out of the record stores, and you make something that might just be talking about stripping or drug-dealing in the year 2012 and it happens to rise because it [works] in the club. I don’t think it’s unfair to measure the music by its quantity instead of its quality …. And too often Rap music and Hip Hop is weighed in bubblegum type standards.

Yeah, but Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act was cancerous to local, independent, room to breathe [music] so to speak. (Chuck D: Yeah, the latter was the real nail in the coffin – not so much to message-driven music but to local music being able to have a chance to independently breathe. The consolidation of radio stations was like the worst thing ever done to music.

And, look man, conscious record versus unconscious record, political record versus street record, that’s a bunch of bullshit really. [On an artist’s album pre-consolidation] there were always two to three songs for the hood, for your mom’s or whatever – by every artist. I think when it became formula to continue to just cut joints and you’re pressured to sell – Understand this, niggativity has always been popular and has always been a money-maker in America. Blacks [being degraded and] looked upon at our lowest has always sold – just like slavery itself – more than something that happens to be high standing on its own two feet … to this day. So we shouldn’t be surprised if somebody makes a conscious move to make a quote-unquote positive record and that doesn’t fly out of the record stores, and you make something that might just be talking about stripping or drug-dealing in the year 2012 and it happens to rise because it [works] in the club. I don’t think it’s unfair to measure the music by its quantity instead of its quality …. And too often Rap music and Hip Hop is weighed in bubblegum type standards.

Yeah, but Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act was cancerous to local, independent, room to breathe [music] so to speak." (http://www.hiphopdx.com/m/index.php?s=news&id=19022)

Chuck D.

The situation is much deeper than Too $hort, he is just one of many. As a influential artist he had the ability to take a stand against Weiss and the industry but instead he buckled and was rewarded with boatloads of money and the adulation of several dozen young rappers. Perhaps it would be unfair to call $hort a sell out, perhaps it would be appropriate...who knows?

The conversation on how people (both artists and consumers) can take back their power over creativity and consumption continues. Whether its Too $hort vs Jive or Lupe Fiasco vs Interscope, artists will continue to fight for control over their art.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Words With Friends

Usually I wouldn't waste time with stuff like this but its simply to delicious to ignore. I can't describe it but allow me to, if the reader doesn't mind, to copy & paste word for word something from a recent Rush Limbaugh show:

RUSH [Limbaugh]: "Dr. Frank Luntz. Dr. Frank Luntz was at Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday at the Republican Governors Association, and Dr. Frank Luntz said this."

[Frank] LUNTZ: "I'm so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I'm frightened to death. Okay, "they
should occupy a job" and "take a bath." I get that
joke. But, man! They're having an impact on what
the American people think of capitalism. And so
I'm trying to get that word removed and replace
it with either economic freedom or free market."

RUSH [Limbaugh]: "So Frank Luntz, favored pollster of Fox News, is now telling Republican governors, "Don't use the word 'capitalism.'" It hurts us. Frank Luntz is trying to get the word "capitalism" removed from the conservative Republican lexicon; and instead replace it with either economic freedom or free market. Frank Luntz says, "I'm so scared of the anti-Wall Street effort. I am frightened to death." They're about
disbanded, aren't they? They've migrated to
where it's a little warmer than it was. I got 15 of
them to show up the other night. Obama got a
hundred of them. What is there to be afraid of,
for crying out loud? But there you have it!
There's capitulation, and now we can't use the
word."

End of quote (http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2011/12/02/luntz_capitulates_to_the_left_advises_that_capitalism_is_a_dirty_word)...

What's there to be afraid of Rush? Luntz, Republican propagandist, is absolutely right. For all of Limbaugh's braggadocio about OWS being disbanded, how could he miss that?


I called Luntz a "propagandist". Why did I do that? Because under a very reliable definition of propagandist or producer of propaganda that is exactly what he does.

Harold Lasswell in Political Theory of Propaganda said it best: "The problem of the propagandist is to intensify the attitudes favorable to his purpose, to reverse the attitudes hostile to it, and attract the indifferentor, or worst, to prevent them from assuming a hostile bent."

So when Luntz says "I'm trying to get that word [capitalism] removed and replace it with either economic freedom or free market." Using Lasswell's definition what is he doing? Producing propaganda. Therefore he is a propagandist.

He's trying to use buzzwords like "freedom" and "free market" because he needs to change public opinion, rather manipulate public opinion of his ideology.

Noam Chomsky dubbed this act "manufactoring consent". Let's define that term for those of you who don't understand it:
"manufacture consent, that is to bring about agreement on the part of the public"- (Chomsky).

Luntz wants you to agree with him and his ideology. So much so he will use any means necessary, even deception to achieve that goal.

But why? Why does Luntz wanna impose his linguistic jiujitsu on us? Perhaps Walter Lippman can answer this: "it was necessary [to manufacture consent] because the common interests elude public opinion entirely and can only be understood and managed by a "specialized class" of "responsible men" (Lippman)

"Responsible men" like Luntz who are smart, cagey and overall just plain better than us. The "specialized class" being those who pay bastards like Luntz to play these games with words, trying to mindfuck everyone into agreeing with him.

But why should we cater to this "specialized class"? "The class of citizens who have to take some active role in running general affairs, that's the "specialized class". They are the people who analyze, execute, make decisions and run things in the political, economic and ideological systems- (Lippman).

The elites who run our systems, who keep themselves rich and in power are "special", so then, what then are we? Well according to Lippman we are a "herd", yes a "herd" like cattle. To be more precise he says: "There is the "bewildered herd"..their function...to be spectators [and] not participants" (Lippman)

Basically we should shut up and let guys like Luntz dictate. We should do nothing more than choose between Luntz and his Democratic counterpart, its not our place to participate in the process. We should not be able to define our own words or to be allowed to fight against concepts we don't like.

That's what Occupy Wall Street is to them, a "bewildered herd". Masses that are uncontrollable, illogical, immoral criminals who dare to make demands of the "specialized class" but Luntz was being honest when he said he was afraid, the elites are always afraid. They always fear revolutions and revolutionaries, they fear losing control.

Sure it starts with the elimination of "capitalism", the word not the ideology, and replacing it with "economic freedom" but where does it end? Well it ends when we have neutraized and overcome them. If we have the power to force them to change their verbiage, we have the power to make them change this society. If they refuse, they are removed and their spots, ironically, should be occupied.

Class warfare and the friendly fire therein

Marxism is essentially a pro-labor social stance. Now I see a lot of people talk as if that is a bad thing. Since when is it wrong to be a laborer and be pro-labor?

The majority of Americans are laborers and are working class, so then is it to say they are "marxist" for looking out for their own benefit? Didn't Ayn Rand call it "rational self-interest"?
Why is it okay for those with means to look out for their own benefit but the majority of the nation should not?

For instance House Speaker Boehner said "we listened to the American people." <- is that a marxist statement? According to most of you it is because whenever someone is "listening" or "in tune" with the labor class it is marxist.

When politicians run on platforms of helping to create jobs what do you think that is? Its telling the majority of Americans [the labor class] that they are looking to create work for you. Is that marxism?

If your in doubt ask yourself this: Why would the elite class care about job creation? They wouldn't be elites if they didn't already have money.

I have done a lot of independent studying as of late [before school started] and I came to the conclusion that America is thoroughly Anti-populist.

Meaning they hate the commonfolk which are the majority of the nation. Now where do I get this? Well you have people who are staunchly anti anything potentially "collectivist", when collectivism is not wrong.

This country was built on collective efforts! Where did this come from? I say the 50s, 60s, 70s because there were raucous populist uprisings. Workers, minorities, gays, etc during these times, but not only in America but in other nations as well [like China, for instance].

So now the 80s hit and when Reagan kicks in everybody hates the working man now. I mean people are so hell bent on riding the coat tails of the elites that they actually put them on a pedestal above themselves.

Look at the prison system.
Overwhelmingly poor, working class whites and minorities. Financially hierarchical systems of legality, medical, financial, political and social systems despite the majority of the country being poor or working class (what John Edwards has referred to as "Two Americas"). Why is this allowed?

Wasn't the purpose of building this nation was to NOT have elites? In my opinion the biggest collectivists are the ones who claim to hate it.
They are the ones who join political parties, lobbying and action committees yet they tell you how bad collectivism is.

They say a corporation only has responsibility to its stockholders but what are stockholders if not a collection of individuals?

The hypocrisy is amazing one you think about it.
The whole thing is a mindf-ck. They repeatedly believe that the well off will eventually sprinkle something down and the rest have to just wait and see, maybe scratch something for themselves from what is left. Meanwhile they are getting pumped (through heavy taxation) to feed the government beast.

Then you have the perversion of values where people actually get themselves tricked into thinking its honorable to offer up more of your money so he can keep more of his. He's telling you government is evil, and government is the devil etc and that corporations are beholden to profit so they have a stake in success.

When that too is a lie, they will just get their government buddies to sign off on a little bit of help, but these same people say government is evil and is stopping us from making more jobs.

Enough with the lies and propaganda:
"...truth is, we still live in a country where there are two different Americas...

... one, for all of those people who have lived the American dream and don't have to worry, and another for most Americans, everybody else who struggle to make ends meet every single day. It doesn't have to be that way.

We can build one America where we no longer have two health care systems: one for families who get the best health care money can by, and then one for everybody else rationed out by insurance companies, drug companies, HMOs...

We shouldn't have two public school systems in this country: one for the most affluent communities, and one for everybody else..."-
John Edwards [2004]

I do not support John Edwards but he was right then and he's right today. The difference is that in that speech he was talking about uniting the "Two Americas" but in the 7 years that has passed the breach has grown exponentially.

Time to stop the friendly fire and become "rationally self-interested".

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Innocence Project

The Innocence Project is a collection of defense attorneys that specialize in post-conviction services. They help inmates who have questionable convictions seek new trials or even total exoneration. They do this by carefully researching each case looking for improprieties. These improprieties come in many forms but the innocence project has narrowed them down to a select few that are the most common:

*Bad Lawyering (lazy, ineffective defense attorneys)
*Prosecutor/Police Misconduct
*Junk Science (non-scientific evidence being used as scientific evidence or questionable science)
*Eyewitness Misidentification
*False Admissions
*Questionable informants

The Innocence Project also provides reforms that, if applied would limit or eliminate these improprieties from taking place.

On the heels of Troy Davis' execution many should see the work of the Innocence Project. In Davis' case a large majority of the witnesses either recanted or their testimony was in some other way compromised. All this has lead in the now widespread belief that Troy Davis was indeed innocent. The only people that truly believe he was guilty was the family of the victim and the prosecutor. Davis sat in prison for over 20 years and even though his case never caught national headlines until right before his execution, it has raised a crucial debate about the criminal justice system and capital punishment.

The Innocence Project has had many cases overturned, and the convict exonerated and very few of these cases ever made national headlines. The thought then becomes that anything which raises questions about the belief in the legal system, a belief mind you that must be there if the system is to work, is ignored or minimized. The Innocence Project's work, Troy Davis' witness recants and contradictions are just two of the things that cause great, widespread disbelief.
Despite all the efforts of the ACLU to prevent Davis' execution it still took place, despite all the efforts of the Innocence Project many men and women who are truly innocent are executed or still sit in prison, all for the sake of protecting the sanctity of a disturbingly unbalanced system.

To learn more about the Innocence Project check out their website:

http://www.innocenceproject.org

Pinochet: Capitalist Hero?

In 2006, a blogger for the Von Mises Institute (a very pro-capitalist organization) wrote a blog heralding former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for saving Chile' from their democratically elected President Salvador Allende and his impending communist state.

Allende, a Marxist and socialist won Chile's elections and began a campaign of nationalizing industry to heal Chile's ailing economy. The blogger, compared Allende's agenda to that of former Russian dictator Joseph Stalin. The coup lead by Pinochet, stormed Chile's White House. In what some call a "civil war", others refer to as a coup de grace in the end Allende killed himself and Pinochet took power. After taking power Pinochet punished Allende supporters, trade unionists, socialists etc brutal by using torture and murder.

The argument being made by the blogger is that although thousands of people were murdered, tortured and/or just plain evaporated into thin air by Pinochet's brutal regime, its a small price to pay because death tolls would have been worse under Allende, even though there is no proof to make such a claim.

The writer even goes as far as to say that had there been a Pinochet in Germany to stop Hitler the country would have been better off. Obviously this is to say Allende was Chile's Hitler, or on the road to becoming Hitler-esque leader [despite having zero proof of such]. Now why would they say this? I mean who cares? Well they do.

Pinochet was a capitalist who learned from Milton Freeman and the famed Chicago school of Economics and believed in free-markets and that he "liberated" Chile from Allende's socialism with the help of the United States Government, foreign corporations and powerful foreign economists [all capitalist economists by the way]. The sad part is that If this was a socialist website touting Che Guevara people would hit the ceiling.

To get a sense of how ridiculous this blog is this is a quote directly from the blog itself: "General Pinochet was thus one of the most extraordinary dictators in history, a dictator who stood for major limits on the power of the state, who imposed such limits, and who sought to maintain such limits".

You honestly want people to believe there is a such thing as a benevolent dictator?!  A dictator who limits his own powers? Yet, they willfully admit he murdered and tortured people? How utterly retarded.

The Hit on Gaddafi

Preface--[I am not happy Gaddafi is dead, I don't know enough about him to make a judgment]

Wolf Blitzer on CNN said 2 things that stuck out to me. 1- "Are the American people going to reimbursed for their help in overthrowing Gaddafi" and 2- "Libya is a wealthy country, a very oil rich country and now they have an opportunity to do 'good things' for their people".

What this tells me is that the U.S. government will demand repayment for helping overthrow Gaddafi, effectively putting Libya in their debt [along with the inevitable puppet leader]. This also tells me to expect a raid on Libya's oil by American/"NATO" countries and corporations which will also trash the economy of Libya.

Now I don't know much about Libya but I DO know about America's government and corporations and I don't think the Libyans will like living under the thumb of Western economic colonialism.

Anyway I noticed that NATO was given credit for knocking off Gaddafi and in my personal interest looked up NATO membership.

I happened to stumble across some info about Libya's economy as I was looking to see what could come from Gaddafi's death. And this is what I found:
NATO & The EU each share 21 members. Libya is the biggest exporter to the EU. It supplies approximately 98.5% of the EU's energy. Their agreements came up to 28.8B last year. This year was supposed to be the re-negotiations of their agreements.

Now it came also to my attention that Gaddafi intended to do 2 things: 1-Unify Africa under 1 government (he was voted as leader of the African Union in 2009) and 2-begin trading oil solely for gold. Neither of which is favorable to his trade partners or the world at large. Africa is already very wealthy in gold and oil, so trading solely in precious resources works in Africa's favor.

Well considering it was time to re-negotiate with the EU on trade terms AND his oil for gold plan, it is really coincidental that Gaddafi started having "problems" that lead to the suspension of those negotiations earlier this year.

These "problems" [rebels] began being aided by NATO [the VAST majority of which are his LARGEST trade partners]. France, Italy & Britain who were the 3 major NATO nations involved (also 3 major nations in the EU) killed off their #1 exporter of energy, but for what purpose?

Its obvious right? Why negotiate when they can use force to take the whole basket? Essentially, this is Iraq pt. II and Gaddafi is the new Saddam Hussein. Was Gaddafi a dictator? Of course but so was Hosni Mubarak (former Egyptian Prime Minister) but NATO didn't get involved there. Kim Jong Ill (Prime Minister of North Korea) is a dictator nobody gets involved there. There's a civil war in Bahrain, yet NATO & the United Nations don't get involved...wonder why.

My opinion is that this is a well calculated, mafia style hit. An economic hit to be more precise. Planned by the United States, France, Italy and Britain and their oil corporations looking to take advantage of another oil rich nation that looked to use the capitalist ideology against them (Saddam tried it in the 80s and was invaded in the 90s for his efforts).

Bloodshed over oil must stop. This blog is not about absolving Gaddafi or Saddam from the evil they have done but it is about how the governments of various nations believing that the people are stupid and so complacent that we will rejoice at the death of a dictator even under false pretenses.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Terrorism Over Tripoli: Howard Zinn, Ronald Reagan, Lupe Fiasco & Barack Obama

"Does a Western Democracy have a better right to kill innocent people than a Middle Eastern dictatorship?"-Howard Zinn

May 2011. Controversial and talented hip-hop star Lupe Fiasco seemingly shocked the world when he called President Barack Obama a terrorist. Lupe's comments were based on current American foreign policy which has caused millions of casualties in at least 3 different nations: Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya. Lupe's words were quoted as: "My fight against terrorism, to me, the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America. I'm trying to fight the terrorism that's actually causing the other forms of terrorism. You know, the root cause of terrorism is the stuff the U.S. government allows to happen. The foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists."

Lupe didn't just criticize foreign policy but President Obama directly with his comments saying that Obama was the “To me, the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America,” biggest terrorist". But the rapper didn't stop with calling the president a terrorist, he also criticized voting saying that "“I don’t vote. I don’t get involved in politics. Because it’s meaningless, to be honest." Both of which are sentiments I can agree with. Obama and the United States Government are terrorists, theres no doubt that the people of Libya and Iraq also agree, they live with the terror. The indiscriminate bombing of Libyan towns and citizens in Tripoli. One such bombing killed Qaddafi's son and his grand children these are not the acts of heroes but of murderers who now because of these "attack drones" are no better than Qaddafi himself. Lupe caught plenty of flack for his commentary specifically from the Black community that supports Obama but in a strange twist, he also catches hell from the Fox Newz crowd who despise Obama and was referred to as a "pinhead" by Bill O'Reilly (which means "you made it" and that you must have said something right).

April 1986. Libya leader Muommar Qaddafi's regime bombs a discotheque in West Berlin, only two people died--but one was an American soldier. This prompted then-President Ronald Reagan to commence bombing and other aerial strikes in Libya. The outrage that followed the strikes, forced historian Howard Zinn to pen a piece entitled "Terrorism Over Tripoli" (which this blog borrows said title). In the project Zinn blasts Reagan with the same fervor Lupe uses on Obama. Zinn also calls Reagan a terrorist and says that Reagan's terrorism far outweighs Qaddafi. But Zinn takes things a step further than Lupe in some regards.

Zinn writes "we live in a world in which we are asked to make moral choices between one kind of terrorism over another. The government, the press, the politicians, are trying to convince us that Ronald Reagan's terrorism is morally superior to Muommar Qaddafi's" (p. 64). Similar to today, where we are constantly reminded of the Lockerbie bombing, and how Qaddafi is attempting squash rebel groups in Libya with force, we miss or rather are taught to ignore how much force is used to stop Qaddafi. Zinn continues "modern technology has outdistanced the Bible. 'An eye for an eye' has become a hundred eyes for an eye, a hundred babies for a baby" (p.65). Lupe like Zinn sees that terrorism and war go in a cycle. America attacks Libya today in retaliation for Qaddafi's attacks on his own people, America attacked Libya then in retaliation for Qaddafi's attack in Berlin. But regardless of what is in retaliation for what there are always innocents left to suffer. It is these innocents and their families that become terrorists in their own right over time. The "eye for an eye" mantra on a much smaller scale and retaliation being carried out by smaller cells of peasants. At the end of the day all of the above are terrorists: Moummar Qaddafi, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. They have all killed innocent people for one reason or another none of which can be excused, therefore, Lupe Fiasco was no more wrong to mention this than Howard Zinn was 25 years earlier. The "patriots" a.k.a the flag wavers can attempt to claim any moral high ground they wish but truth its truth.

Lupe Fiasco dared to dissent, he refused to be a flag waver or even to take "I like Obama because he's Black like me" road. He did the right thing and he made the statement that needed to be made and now I will close this piece with an important statement by Howard Zinn: "the most cherished element of our democracy--the pluralism of dissenting voices, the marketplace of contending ideas--seems to disappear at a time like this, when the bombs fall, the flag waves and everyone scurries" (p. 46).

Jono's Viewpoints