Is Hip Hop Destroying Black America?

TIME AND TIME AGAIN, THE REAL DECISION MAKERS GET AWAY WITH MURDER WHILE RAP ARTISTS ARE PROJECTED AS THE EMBODIMENT OF EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH HIP HOP AND YOUNG BLACK MALES.

“If this doesn’t sound like the kind of Hip Hop you’re familiar with, blame the music industry and mainstream media for bombarding you with a steady diet of rappers talking about drugs, sex and violence for over two decades. Blame MTV, BET, and other networks for trying to redefine what Hip Hop is in order to sell it and shove it down the throats of unsuspecting consumers. It’s easy to blame simple minded rappers for promoting negative messages and images while multi billion dollar companies and shrewd businessmen who market these artists are free from criticism. It’s easy to blame someone like Chief Keef who becomes the obvious poster boy for mindless rap while Jimmy Iovine, the head of Interscope Records, keeps a low profile and avoids having to address his part in promoting “death through entertainment”.

It’s easy to protest flavor of the month Trinidad James who raps about Molly, the industry’s latest fashionable drug, while Def Jam’ president Joie Manda proclaims his new discovery as “the cutting edge of what’s happening in the culture today.” It’s easy to blame talentless top 40 rappers for dominating the airwaves of so called hip hop radio stations like L.A.’s Power 106 or New York’s Hot 97 while Rick Cummings, president of programming for Emmis Communications, which owns both stations, isn’t held accountable for his part in broadcasting filth to millions of listeners.Time and time again, the real decision makers get away with murder while rap artists are projected as the embodiment of everything that is wrong with Hip Hop and young Black males.”

Source: Is Hip Hop Destroying Black America?

 

Here’s How the NFL Could Make #TakeAKnee Mean Something | Dame Magazine

It is important that we applaud Kaepernick and the NFL for addressing racial injustice. But NFL players taking a knee is only the beginning. Eventually, they must also fearlessly stand for something—and they should look to the leadership of today’s important and successful movements, like Black Lives Matter, to decide just what that something should be.

Source: Here’s How the NFL Could Make #TakeAKnee Mean Something | Dame Magazine

Freedom Rider: Scoundrels and Reparations | Black Agenda Report

Reparations should not be a topic for national discussion until there is something akin to a consensus among black people about what to demand and how to do it.“ADOS activists wrap themselves in the flag that symbolizes oppression, repeat nativist talking points, and eschew connections with African people in the rest of the world.”

Source: Freedom Rider: Scoundrels and Reparations | Black Agenda Report

A Note from OCG

We will now have an alt-right #SCOTUS There is little that we of goodwill can do about it now. It is too late for those who would, who could have to claim their government. We all know something is wrong – it has been for a very long time. When the horse is out of the barn, it is too late to put up a reminder sign to close the door.
#Trump and his GOP puppets are the biggest and most pressing problem, but not the only ones. We are cornered on all sides. A ruthless sheriff is in town and his deputies are everywhere. Poor people have been targeted among the unwanted. Public spaces and tax-rolled law enforcement are now weaponized to dispose of and make invisible, instill fear and isolation to “otherize” those deemed unworthy. Blatant acts of violations of fundamental human rights have become normalized forms of public policy enforcement and oversight.
Protest marches and protestations of any kind will not turn the time. While we idled in our fear of the Muslims, Al-Qaeda and Iranian powers. Wall Street and Washington’s swamp creatures were sucking the very oxygen from the air. Even your vote has been stolen and put up for sale. The GOP stands behind a corrupt and vile President because they know that their fate is controlled entirely by him – manipulation is expensive. The lifetime of emissaries can be fleeting at best.
As we enter the last era of my broadcast career, our message is profoundly fundamental:
1. Exposing wrongs is not the same as righting them.
2. What we knew as America has been forever changed. What we understood about it, remains the same.
3. Governments are not moved by shame. In this era, neither are politicians.
4.  If the House is not turned in November, there will be a seismic permanent shift in the       infrastructure of the republic. One where there is no undoing.
5.  Comrades and allies must be willing to make all kinds of serious sacrifice. If not, our children and grandchildren will be the sacrifice.
fiverr OCG_profile2
We look forward to being back with you in the Fall of 2018. Do we have what it takes to igniting the rights and dismantling the wrongs, to rescue those who don’t know they need rescuing ? I don’t know. We will see.

 

“Transforming Truth to Power, One Broadcast At a Time”

Trump’s Ever More Powerful Weapons Against Journalism

President Donald Trump greets military families at the White House for the Fourth of July. (Alex Brandon / AP)
Jacob Sugarman

Shortly after five staffers at the Capital Gazette were gunned down in their Annapolis, Md., office, President Donald Trump refused a request from the city’s mayor, Gavin Buckley, to lower American flags on federal property to half-staff. The White House eventually reversed its decision, but the episode underscores the contempt that this administration holds for the press.

Last month, after spending the better part of two years railing against purveyors of “fake news,” the president called the media the “enemy of the American people.” Now the Department of Homeland Security is reportedly compiling a database of journalists, editors, correspondents and bloggers to identify the leading voices in their respective fields.

According to an April 5 report in Bloomberg Government, DHS was searching for a contractor to help it monitor more than 290,000 global news sources in over 100 languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Russian, all of which will be translated to English in real time. These outlets would include newspapers and magazines, television and radio, podcasts and social media.

“The DHS request says the selected vendor will set up an online ‘media influence database’ giving users the ability to browse based on location, beat, and type of influence,” Bloomberg’s Cary O’Reilly reveals. The database would include, “[f]or each influencer found, present contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer.”

If the project sounds like a First Amendment violation waiting to happen, that’s because it is. While DHS insists that the database will “protect and enhance the resilience of the nation’s physical and cyberinfrastructure,” perhaps against foreign interference in future elections, the potential for censorship and other abuses of power is virtually limitless.“Unfortunately, increasing government encroachment on the freedom of the press is the sinister backdrop to all of this,” writes Forbes’ Michelle Fabio. “Freedom House, which has monitored the status of the press for nearly 40 years, recently concluded that global media freedom has reached its lowest level in the past 13 years.”

The independent watchdog blames “crackdowns on independent media in authoritarian countries like Russia and China,” but it also cites “new threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies”—Trump chief among them.

If the project sounds like a First Amendment violation waiting to happen, that’s because it is. While DHS insists that the database will “protect and enhance the resilience of the nation’s physical and cyberinfrastructure,” perhaps against foreign interference in future elections, the potential for censorship and other abuses of power is virtually limitless.

“Unfortunately, increasing government encroachment on the freedom of the press is the sinister backdrop to all of this,” writes Forbes’ Michelle Fabio. “Freedom House, which has monitored the status of the press for nearly 40 years, recently concluded that global media freedom has reached its lowest level in the past 13 years.”

The independent watchdog blames “crackdowns on independent media in authoritarian countries like Russia and China,” but it also cites “new threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies”—Trump chief among them.

“No U.S. president in recent memory has shown greater contempt for the press than Trump in his first months in office,” reads Freedom House’s 2017 report. “He has repeatedly ridiculed reporters. … Such comments suggest a hostility toward the fundamental principles and purposes of press freedom, especially the news media’s role in holding governments to account for their words and actions—as opposed to the government holding the media to account.”

Barack Obama’s eight years in office were marked by an overt hostility toward leakers and whistleblowers; Leonard Downie’s report for the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2013 called the White House’s treatment of the press “the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in the Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate.”

The DHS’ latest venture reveals where disdain for journalists can lead, and the extent to which it can be weaponized.

Jacob Sugarman
Jacob Sugarman is a graduate of the Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism whose writing has appeared in Salon, AlterNet and Tablet, among other…

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Freedom Rider: Ocasio-Cortez and the Left

Freedom Rider: Ocasio-Cortez and the Left

Margaret Kimberley, BAR editor and senior columnist

“Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for beating a corrupt but powerful system.”

Freedom Rider: Ocasio-Cortez and the Left

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a living Rorschach test for leftists. Her primary win over incumbent Joseph Crowley in a New York City congressional district is impressive on many levels. But the reaction to her victory demonstrates the sad state of affairs of left wing politics in this country.

The contradictory responses from people who are otherwise in agreement is the result of defeat after defeat and the lack of consensus on how to change the paradigm. The Democrats are the putative party of progressives but over the years they have morphed into a center right formation that differs all too little from the far right Republicans.

Regardless of motive Crowley was, as the saying goes, “phoning it in.” He had a lackluster debate performance and then didn’t show up for another. Instead he sent a former City Council Member to represent him. That level of disrespect was punished when voters went to the polls. It is true that turnout was low but such is the always the case in primary races. A win is a win and Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for beating a corrupt but powerful system.

“The Democratic Party gas lighting which blames Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders or Vladimir Putin has been all too successful.”

Now the Democrats can’t even muster a “lesser evilism” argument after having lost state houses, Congress and, finally, the presidency. Left wing disdain for them is well deserved but there is still no agreed upon mechanism for ending their rule. In addition, the fear of being labeled a spoiler is still quite strong. The unbridled racism of the Donald Trump administration doesn’t make the debate any easier. The Democratic Party gas lighting which blames Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders or Vladimir Putin has been all too successful. The protection racket for failure has worked quite well.

Ocasio-Cortez is in the unenviable position of being dismissed by some leftists because she is a Democrat at all or lionized by others when she ought to be called to account. The Democratic Party bosses have already dismissed the significance of her win over a man who had a 10:1 fund raising advantage. That in itself is reason to give her credit. A large war chest is used not just to defeat but to scare off challengers before they can even mount a campaign. It isn’t surprising that Democratic Party leadership seek to minimize her achievement. If others follow in her footsteps the house of cards may begin to wobble.

“Ocasio-Cortez’s Peace Economy platform disappeared from her campaign website.”

Even Latino political leadership didn’t back her. Crowley’s debate stand-in was Latina and even Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr. lamented Crowley’s loss. “It’s unfortunate he had a primary,” said Diaz. “We need him in Washington D.C. Washington is about consistency and seniority.” It seems that black people aren’t the only group with a misleadership class.

But Ocasio-Cortez can’t be let off the hook either. Astute observers noticed that her Peace Economy platform disappeared from her campaign website. She blamed a volunteer-run web team and promised to “look into it.” A few days later the statement reemerged but doubters such as this columnist believe that it would never have reappeared if she hadn’t been questioned about its absence.

Ocasio-Cortez is expected to be all things to a desperate group of people. She both benefits from her connection to Bernie Sanders and is tainted by his sheep dogging for the Democrats. Yet she is rightly held up as a hopeful sign by people eager to see even a small chance of progressive politics taking hold. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is actually not the only issue for debate. The discredited Democratic Party and the inability of leftists to mount a successful attack against it should also be a focal point of discussion.

“Even Ocasio-Cortez falls prey to using liberal gibberish about America being a ‘force for good.’”

The Democrats have purged any semblance of progressive politics from their ranks. Democratic party attacks and Republican chicanery were used to end Cynthia McKinney’s congressional career. When Ohio lost a congressional seat after the last census it was no surprise that Dennis Kucinich ended up with the short straw. There isn’t one Democratic member of congress who consistently advances an anti-war platform. Even Ocasio-Cortez falls prey to using liberal gibberish about America being a “force for good” and demanding congressional approval for wars that should never be waged at all. But if she wins her general election in November she will be the lone member who says anything at all about the issues of war and peace.

Yet it is proper, indeed it is necessary, to call her to account when she follows Bernie Sanders and others in repeating unproven assertions that the Russian government helped Trump to victory. She can’t be held up as a progressive icon if she sounds like the imperialist democrats eager to deflect blame for their failures.

“There isn’t one Democratic member of congress who consistently advances an anti-war platform.”

In the final analysis progressives should keep Ocasio-Cortez under scrutiny lest she fall prey to big money and the pull of a partywhich wants to stamp out any and all divergence from their losing but powerful apparatus. The Democrats are openly backing former intelligence operatives and ex-military candidates to win in November. Ocasio-Cortez should be supported if only to fight against the Democrats and their ever more rightward moves.

The fight isn’t hers alone. The difficult discussions, debates and struggles must be waged by everyone. If not the leftist perpetual beat down will go on without resolution. We will be left with endless and useless argument rather than finding a way to make successful progressive politics a reality.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com . Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

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Scribbling Race on COMMON GROUND Weekly News RoundUP

ScribblesThe OUR COMMON GROUND Media and Communications  round-up of news and events around the globe that impacts and reflects living Black in America. 

This week stories and features from @HonoreeJeffers @KyleGriffin @AntheaButler @BlkLibraryGirl @AmbitDiva #wellnesswed 

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