Friday, November 30, 2012

New York Police Officer Lawrence DePrimo's Act of Charity Sparks President Obama to Declare a War on Poverty in America!

Wow, I can't believe it!  

And would not have believed it, had the New York Times, not reported that President Barack Obama, standing next to a homeless man "steps from the White House in Lafayette Park" declared that New York Police Officer Lawrence DePrimo's actions of giving boots to a homeless man with no shoes has lead him to declare an, 

"all out war on poverty in America". 

Recognizing that this war would be "unpopular in certain elite corridors of power",  he called on "every patriotic American to join him on the front lines of what is the biggest moral and economic issue confronting America in our times"

President Obama stated, to demonstrate his seriousness about this war on poverty, he would unveil a ten point plan in an unprecedented address to the American Public, this Christmas at a homeless shelter in the hills of Western Virginia, where "the ruinous clutch of poverty inspired Senator Robert F. Kennedy to run for President".

President Obama said, nearly 40 years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood that previous efforts to address poverty failed because of a fundamental failure to grapple with the systematic issues of poverty and coordinate a solution.

President Obama then read a statement aloud made by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he started his "National Poor People's Campaign" in 1967, one year before he was assassinated on a balcony in Memphis Tennessee.

“In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out.There are twice as many white poor as black poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and black alike.”

President Obama ended this outdoor press conference by saying,

"The action of charity by Officer Lawrence DePrimo, no matter how noble, cannot change this country, but together we can and we will"

Today I officially apologies for every negative remark I made about President Obama. Clearly those people who said that Obama would use his last term to be the candidate of change, he promised to be when he first ran for President, were right and I was wrong.

I am thrilled to live in this amazing moment in history.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fiscal Phantoms, The Myth of the Fiscal Cliff, & Other Political Skullduggery

President’s Obama’s parasitic Bankers remind me Richard Nixion’s White House Plumbers. A group of modern day highwaymen, so single minded in advancing Nixion’s political fortunes, that no form of skullduggery was beneath them.  But at least the Plumbers were committed to Nixon. Obama’s parasitic bankers are singularly committed to increasing the wealth of the One Percent at the expense of every one else, especially the poor and the working class, because they're the most defenseless.

This is why they’re allowing the Republi-creatures and the corporate lobbyist muscle, to frame the debate about the myth of the fiscal cliff,  in the same way they peddled wolf tickets to the Publius that if “we” didn’t bail out the Multi National Banking Conglomerates, they would stop lending, effectively cutting off the money supply to America. We never asked why the smaller banks and credit unions, if backed by the Fed Reserve bank(s) could not fill this role quickly.  We just opened the public spigot, pouring trillions of tax payer dollars into them and we are still ruined. Yet, their wealth has been vastly increased and they continue to destroy our country by not only failing to extended enough credit to lift the economy, but doing the same short term “grab the cash & dash” by investing in the very financial shell games, three-card –monte hustles, and ponzi schemes, that collapsed our economy in the first place. 

Our political handlers, using the same "Leibnizian Optimism", ridiculed by Voltaire's character "Candide"in 1762, tell us had we not bailed out the banks, It could have and would have been worse.
We don’t question our “betters”,  so we don’t require detailed explanations, let along explanations in plain english.

President Obama has been reelected, and it's back to business for them. With massive and unprecedented unemployment and poverty in this country, they’re now calling for drastic social service cuts, least China and other foreign interests, supposedly fearful of their investments, show up at the “American Pay Window” demanding full payment, similar to what happened to Greece.  What they're not saying is Greece, as part of the European Union doesn’t control it’s own currency. America does, so in the extremely minuet chance that China did demand payment, we would just print up what we owe them, which they know.

The Republi-creatures, as always, falls back on the inflation argument. But we are in a depression- at least.  So a weaken dollar would help rejuvenate our economy. American goods would become more desirable to foreigner consumers, creating jobs and lifting wages. And frankly, if the banks are not making loans, then they’re the only ones who benefit from lower interest rates. They're able to borrow, (at an even cheaper “window"rates than we receive ) which they reinvest in ways that do not help the economy.  Meanwhile all the public gets is junk pensions and pathetic c.d.s rates.

Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Economic at Princeton University Dr. Paul Krugman, provides a more detailed analysis in his OP-ED entitled "Fighting Fiscal Phantoms", published in the  Nov. 25, 2012 edition of The New York Times.

The sad thing is that Paul Krugman will never be appointed by President Obama to any position let alone Treasury Secretary.  And a budget deal is in the works. Senator Dick Durban, called on "fellow progressives  not to fight", but to  support a budget deal that includes major cuts to entitlements and social programs. Durbin said,  “We can't be so naive to believe that just taxing the rich will solve our problems. Put everything on the table. Repeat. Everything on the table.”

It seems that the next four years will be like the last.  While there will be political co-option and shallow pacification, targeted toward the white liberal and tiny Black elite, there will be no critically needed efforts to restructure our government that continues to fund and protect a mammoth mechanism created 40 years ago that continues to constrict the flow of necessary political information, communication, and cooperations between the poor and working class, while draining our wealth and redistributing it, to the One Percent. 

Yes, I'm worried,


Friday, November 23, 2012

Jazz Comes Home to a Hip Hop Baby

The Long Version!

I was a Hip Hop baby.  In the 4th grade, me and Sam The Project Man, every morning, snuck out the side door, before gym, quick dashed to the corner store on 47th & Ellis, buying candy, soda, and chips, reselling them at a 200 percent mark up. The principal, had closed our campus because our school fought with the Burnside boys, like armies. So we had a captive market until 3:00pm and made some real change, until Sam slammed the door and the principle looked out the window and saw us dash out. We got suspended for a day, but we had a good run, while it lasted. 

Once we pooled our resources and brought Rappers Delight by The Sugar Hill Gang, learned the words, and at the back of the bus, in front of the ladies, we blew them away. Finally, when the other boys caught up, we made the bongo sounds “dout dout dout da dout dout dout da dout....”  that was the intro to the recently released long version of Rapper's Delight, that again only we had mastered.

“Rapper’s Delight” changed the game.

Then Kurtis Blow dropped “The Breaks”, Grand Master Flash followed with “White Line”. And The Blast Master KRS-One (knowledge Reins Supreme Over Nearly Everyone) blew up the South Bronx, with "Stop the Violence"  putting the stamp on Hip Hop.

While Chicago was still stuck on House Music,
I followed Hip Hop east for college and got myself into situation(s) where Hip Hop became my crutch. That’s all they played out there,  Kool Moe Dee, Run DMC, Eric B and Rakim, Public Enemy, Third Base, etc.

I came back to "The Chi" and for a moment tried to forget those those situation(s)  by reconnecting to 79th Street. It was easy to get New Jack City-ed back, listening to Snoop and Dre talking about 187's, Easy E, with “Real Compton City G’s”, and Ice Cub, “Steady Mobbing”. These were some of the many sound tracks of anger and confusing in my crack ravished neighborhood.

But it was just a phase that luckily I didn’t get too far into it. I moved to Hyde Park for a year and hated it. But at least it was calm and if I wanted trouble, I had to travel to it. And I remember Jimmy’s, every Sunday night. They had jazz in the back room. Mostly Black men played, which was good for me to see. It was cool how they carried their instruments like Treymond ( before they shot him in the alley) carried his gat, proudly. There is also something about watching a Black man gently lift his horn, like a child, out of a black case and step up onto the stage and take his place with others. But the music never caught hold of me besides for when I was at Jimmy’s.  

But as I aged Hip Hop became a political liability, especially as it became more and more infected with commercial and materialism. When someone asked what type of music I liked and I answered Hip Hop, they looked at me funny, seeming to reevaluated me, downward. Then I'd burst into an explanation of Hip Hop Culture verses rap music, but the explanation didn’t help, it just made me seem unhinged as as if I were a child explaining the differences between toys. 

When ever I argued why I love hip hop with my elders, they would give me a patronizing smile and say that Hip Hop was just a phase for me and one day I'd grow out of it, and into jazz

To mainstream America, Hip Hop was/is both the calling card of the " Urban Black Male, disgruntled, disconnected, angry and childlike. W.E.B Dubois's phrase  "What does it mean to be a problem" easily translates to what does it mean to be an urban Black male.  

gucci mane

Occasionally, I run into younger white people who like Hip Hop, but mostly they prefer "rap" it's deeply damaged offshoot which is the objectification of Hip Hop culture and of Black people. They easily appropriate the worst of it, turning it into an expression of their intellectual ability to find "irony", while enjoying a minstrel show as their elders did, only updated. Black people have always provided comic relief and fodder for white superiority complexes.

But there is a breezeway between Jazz and Hip Hop. Jazz, like blues, was the music of a wider generation of Black people. But they're all based upon the singularly unique expressions of both Black rebellion, and a need to define and express the discord and chaos, the angsts and anger, the suffering and toilings of a race created by European/American chattel slavery.

Gospel and Blues, then Jazz had to come first, because during the height of white supremacy, simply looking at whites the wrong way, got Black people killed. Words that expressed anger or affirmed ones dignity were simply not tolerated in Black people.

                                                  Thelonious Monk Live in 66

It turns out that my elders were partially right. Recently I caught the Jazz bug. Last month, I came across the above video of Thelonious Monk. I was captivated at how he played the piano like a surgeon or more aptly, like the piano was his only mode of communications and he was using it to tell a long, profound, and emotional story. While he played, the camera profiled the rest of his body then focused on his shoe taping the floor as if capturing the discord that would be turned into beautiful art via his hands on the key board. The base player looks like a scholarly owl wearing glasses, using his long fingers to coax language communicating back out of the base.  Then Thelonoius suddenly rises up. Like their harmony merged then forged into some ethereal boundary transforming into a cosmic twitch, releasing the energies of a bembĂ© ( Vodou drumming ceremony) creating a doorway for Ogun or Shango to come into Thelonious' head, possessing him. He steps away from the piano, inches haltingly forward ( maybe it's old man Papa Legba in his head now) then he turns around and around. As if he's in the dark following the trail of the music, jerking his elbow back and forth, his other hand at his side swinging like a pendulum, while snapping his fingers. He sits back down and picks up where he left off. I was hooked at that moment.

Monk by Irina March

Maybe Thelonius is now a jazz Houngan and I a newly initiated Hounsi, and the time was right for me. As my house is older now and is finally starting to settle and the ghosts inside are showing themselves as I grow more contemplative. Jazz is a lot more conducive to ghosts as it's more of a continuous flow as opposed to Hip Hop's bursts of lyrical stories. Jazz also is more reflective because while it's all about messages, there are no words in it's most pure form, it's left for the listener to translate. And as I forge forward on,  I need this conduit as well as Hip Hop. I am Thankful that although I will always be A Hip Hop baby, I'm finally a Jazz man.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Make Wall Street Pay/ Do your Patriotic Duty, Get Arrested/ Poor People's Campaign

A family with bags from a service that provides for people in need in Oswego, N.Y-.NYT

In a nation of vast poverty, inequality, and economic despair , we are now told by "our" government handlers that hundreds of billions of dollars in service cuts must happen to prevent America from sliding into economic ruin.

Under a measure called  sequestration, 1.2 trillion in service cuts will occur  automatically on January 1, 2013, if Congress doesn’t either delay the cuts, drastically cut spending, or raise taxes.

Previous Government bailouts have demonstrated, that major corporations and the rich have vast political resources to insure  their place, far ahead of the line. Yet, the voices of the powerless are always on the defensive, trying to protect the dwindling meager resources we have.

In this age, we don't get to go forward, we fight, not to be pushed too far back.

 I am please to see a coalition of grassroots and faith-based organizations called "Make Wall Street Pay Illinois" demand that Wall Street pay to balance the budget. Equally important, they used civil disobedience, leading to arrests, to demonstrate their resolve.  

On Friday, November 9, eight people entered Senator Dick Durban's Chicago office- paid for by the tax payers, to request a meeting with him, which was denied.  They then refused to leave and were arrested. An hour later, 11 activists holding a banner in the building’s lobby were dragged and carried  away to jail. Dick Durban is considered the  unofficial spokes person for the Democratic Party and is close to the president.

With the election of President Obama, the left has a choice. Either force President Obama, the Democrats, and liberal advocacy groups to wage political war on behalf  of ( and organize) the majority in America, who continue to lose economic ground and tumble into the abyss. Or, they can also continue to tinker around the edges for a paycheck,while the rich continue syphoning the rest of the wealth from this country.

These arrests need to continue and in mass.  This country will only change through civil disobedience.

Every progressive needs to get arrested at east least once, and assume the burden of "waking up" their friends, family, and neighbors to reality that Democracy is now mostly a political illusion to keep the citizenry pacified.

We need a national rescue program for poor people and those barely making it, including a "Federal New Deal" program which includes major debt reduction programs for students, the poor, and the working class. This country is brazen in it's support of the One Percent. Now it's time to support The People. 

Right before Martin Luther King was assassinated he made a monumental pivot  from race to a campaign centered on Economic Justice, called The Poor People's Campaign. 

This movement needs to happen now or our country is lost.