Tuesday, October 24, 2017

controlling africa and ejecting russia and china from the mediterranean (REDUX 4/10/11)

LewRockwell | In the 1930s the US, Great Britain, and the Netherlands set a course for World War II in the Pacific by conspiring against Japan. The three governments seized Japan’s bank accounts in their countries that Japan used to pay for imports and cut Japan off from oil, rubber, tin, iron and other vital materials. Was Pearl Harbor, Japan’s response?

Now Washington and its NATO puppets are employing the same strategy against China.

Protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Yemen arose from the people protesting against Washington’s tyrannical puppet governments. However, the protests against Gaddafi, who is not a Western puppet, appear to have been organized by the CIA in the eastern part of Libya where the oil is and where China has substantial energy investments.

Eighty percent of Libya’s oil reserves are believed to be in the Sirte Basin in eastern Libya now controlled by rebels supported by Washington. As seventy percent of Libya’s GDP is produced by oil, a successful partitioning of Libya would leave Gaddafi’s Tripoli-based regime impoverished.

The People’s Daily Online (March 23) reported that China has 50 large-scale projects in Libya. The outbreak of hostilities has halted these projects and resulted in 30,000 Chinese workers being evacuated from Libya. Chinese companies report that they expect to lose hundreds of millions of yuan.

China is relying on Africa, principally Libya, Angola, and Nigeria, for future energy needs. In response to China’s economic engagement with Africa, Washington is engaging the continent militarily with the US African Command (AFRICOM) created by President George W. Bush in 2007. Forty-nine African countries agreed to participate with Washington in AFRICOM, but Gaddafi refused, thus creating a second reason for Washington to target Libya for takeover.

A third reason for targeting Libya is that Libya and Syria are the only two countries with Mediterranean sea coasts that are not under the control or influence of Washington. Suggestively, protests also have broken out in Syria. Whatever Syrians might think of their government, after watching Iraq’s fate and now Libya’s it is unlikely that Syrians would set themselves up for US military intervention. Both the CIA and Mossad are known to use social networking sites to foment protests and to spread disinformation. These intelligence services are the likely conspirators that the Syrian and Libyan governments blame for the protests.

Caught off guard by protests in Tunisia and Egypt, Washington realized that protests could be used to remove Gaddafi and Assad. The humanitarian excuse for intervening in Libya is not credible considering Washington’s go-ahead to the Saudi military to crush the protests in Bahrain, the home base for the US Fifth Fleet.

If Washington succeeds in overthrowing the Assad government in Syria, Russia would lose its Mediterranean naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus. Thus, Washington has much to gain if it can use the cloak of popular rebellion to eject both China and Russia from the Mediterranean. Rome’s mare nostrum (“our sea”) would become Washington’s mare nostrum.

“Gaddafi must go,” declared Obama. How long before we also hear, “Assad must go?”

The American captive press is at work demonizing both Gaddafi and Assad, an eye doctor who returned to Syria from London to head the government after his father’s death.

The hypocrisy passes unremarked when Obama calls Gaddafi and Assad dictators. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the American president has been a Caesar. Based on nothing more than a Justice Department memo, George W. Bush was declared to be above US statutory law, international law, and the power of Congress as long as he was acting in his role as commander-in-chief in the “war on terror.”

What's That Africom Cover Story Again? (REDUX Originally Posted 1/26/13)

antiwar | But Patrick Meehan, chairman of the US Congressional committee that drew up the report, said “While I recognize there is little evidence at this moment to suggest Boko Haram is planning attacks against the [US] homeland, lack of evidence does not mean it cannot happen.”

Washington’s interest in Africa goes back at least to 2007, when the Pentagon’s AFRICOM was formed, long before rebels in Libya or militants in Mali were a threats to exaggerate.

The dominant way of thinking in Washington is that the US should be involved in every corner of the planet, and the pressure to always “do something” is intense.

But as Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations recently commented with regards to the intervention in Mali, “Some things that happen on the other 94% of the earth that isn’t the US, has nothing to do with the US, nor requires a US response.”

Africa in 2040 (REDUX Originally Posted 2/20/08)

Paul Chefurka's grim assessment of what's in store for Africa. Please read and bookmark this paper.

There is a darkness moving on the face of the land. We catch glimpses of it in newscasts from far-off places that few of us have ever seen. We hear hints of it on the radio, read snippets about it in newspapers and magazines. The stories are always fragmentary, lacking context or connection. They speak of things like inflation in Zimbabwe, war in Chad, electricity problems in Johannesburg, famine in Malawi, pipeline fires in Nigeria, political violence in Kenya, cholera in Congo. Each snapshot of grief heaves briefly into view, then fades back into obscurity. With every fresh story we are left asking ourselves, "Is there something bigger going on here, some unseen thread connecting these dots? Or is this just more of the same from a continent that has known more than its share of misery?"

This paper is my attempt to connect those dots, to tease some order out of the chaos of the news reports. I will use some very simple numerical techniques to fill in the missing lines, and in the end a picture will emerge. I can tell you in advance that the picture is fearsome beyond imagining, and you may well be tempted to avert your gaze. I would advise you instead to screw up your courage and take a good look. It is crucial to our future as a civilized race.

I expect the collapse to turn Africa into the next arena for a quick game of "Disaster Capitalism." Large trans-national entities will make offers of "significant assistance" to particular countries in return for untrammeled access to their resource base. The vultures will be lining the banks of the Zambezi waiting for the feast, no doubt about it.

"I know there's rumors in Ghana `All Bush is coming to do is try to convince you to put a big military base here,' Bush said at a news conference with Kufuor. "That's baloney. As they say in Texas, that's bull."

Instead, he said the new command — unique to the Pentagon's structure — was aimed at more effectively reorganizing U.S. military efforts in Africa to strengthen African nations' peacekeeping, trafficking and anti-terror efforts.

"The whole purpose of Africom is to help African leaders deal with African problems," Bush said.

Bush sought to dispel the notion about militarization of Africa even before giving reporters a chance to ask him about it. Kufuour said he was satisfied with Bush's explanation, and thanked him for announcing it "so that the relationship between us and the United States will grow stronger."

For now, the administration has decided to continue operating Africom out of existing U.S. bases on the continent with a headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. War-wrecked Liberia is the only African nation that has publicly offered to host a headquarters. Bush said before the trip that "if" a headquarters for Africom is ever established on the continent, he would "seriously consider" Liberia as the host.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dutertism: Imperial Economics Collide With Post-Imperial Politics

Counterpunch |  History may have come to an embarrassing end in the centres of the Empire but not in it’s remote regions. As the great Egyptian analyst Samir Amin points out in a recent Monthly Review essay: it is in the periphery of the global system where the great political and social storms occur.

Why? Because history is still fluid there. The battle for and against the transformation of the system still resonates there. Whereas the stagnant centres of the system are dealing with the pathetic aftermath of modernity – on the edges: modernity is still being born and still being strangled.

In other words, the weakest links in the global chain of capitalism best reveal what the hell is going on. And what’s going to happen next. Therefore if you want to gauge the system forget about New York or London or Paris and head to places like the Philippines.

Before Rodrigo Duterte was elected Filipino President last year no one gave a damn about the country. It was just assumed to be an American puppet. Another one that is full of poverty. But overnight this perception changed. A significant political storm emerged from within the Filipino archipelago that forced the world to adjust its vision.

Within days of Duterte’s election the Empire was forced on the back foot, as he insisted on Filipino sovereignty. Ironically he did this by acknowledging China’s position in the South China Sea. Refusing to take the American bait (war on China) the new President of the Philippines quickly defused one of the world’s most dangerous confrontations.

For this diplomacy alone, Duterte deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. However the Empire and even some Filipino progressives, like Walden Bello, were frustrated by this outbreak of peace in the South China Sea.

For committing “the crime of peace” on the international stage Duterte became a figure of hate for liberal imperialists everywhere. And on cue, liberals suddenly cared about life in the Philippines. From being an ignored entity before the advent of Duterte – Filipino life became front page news in New York, London and Paris. Liberal cynicism went into overdrive and felt the need, for geopolitical reasons, to demonise yet another Third World leader.

Imperial Senescence: Depravity, Frivolity, Dissent...,

theorganicprepper |  A 40-year-old essay predicted the end of an empire and current events sure make it look like we’re watching it happen in real time.

I spend a fair bit of time scanning the news every day for my site, Preppers Daily News. And some days, I just have to shake my head as I realize that people are so desperate for…something…that they just keep going to further and further extremes to try and find that elusive thing their lives are missing.

The more I read, the more likeness I see to Sir John Glubb’s essay, The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival. (It’s only 24 pages and you should definitely read it – it’s brilliant.) Sir Glubb wrote this outstanding work when he was 79 years old, after a lifetime of being a soldier, traveling the world, and analyzing history. It’s well worth a read as he goes into detail about the fall of empires past.

The final stage of the end of an empire is the Age of Decadence. Some signs of this age are political dissensions (Antifa, anyone?), an influx of foreigners (Europe, anyone?), the welfare state (America, anyone?), despair (350 million people diagnosed), depravity (see below), and the rise of frivolity as people try to fill lives that have less and less meaning.

Sound familiar?

When You Can No Longer Pretend Soldiering is Heroic, Send In The Clowns...,

Counterpunch |  Predictably, the news media spent most of the week examining words Donald Trump may or may not have spoken to the widow of an American Ranger killed in Niger, in northwest Africa, in early October. Not only was this coverage tedious, it was largely pointless. We know Trump is a clumsy boor, and we also know that lots of people are ready to pounce on him for any sort of gaffe, real or imagined. Who cares? It’s not news. But it was useful to those who wish to distract Americans from what really needs attention: the U.S. government’s perpetual war.

The media’s efforts should have been devoted to exploring — really exploring — why Rangers (and drones) are in Niger at all. (This is typical of the establishment media’s explanation.)

That subject is apparently of little interest to media companies that see themselves merely as cheerleaders for the American Empire. For them, it’s all so simple: a U.S president (even one they despise) has put or left military forces in a foreign country — no justification required; therefore, those forces are serving their country; and that in turn means that if they die, they die as heroes who were protecting our way of life. End of story.

Thus the establishment media see no need to present a dissenting view, say, from an analyst who would question the dogma that inserting American warriors into faraway conflicts whenever a warlord proclaims his allegiance to ISIS is in the “national interest.” Patriotic media companies have no wish to expose their audiences to the idea that jihadists would be no threat to Americans who were left to mind their own business.

Apparently the American people also must be shielded from anyone who might point out that the jihadist activity in Niger and neighboring Mali is directly related to the U.S. and NATO bombing of Libya, which enabled al-Qaeda and other Muslim militants to overthrow the secular regime of Col. Muammar Qaddafi. That Obama-Clinton operation in 2011, besides producing Qaddafi’s grisly murder and turning Libya into a nightmare, facilitated the transfer of weapons and fanatical guerrillas from Libya to nearby countries in the Sahel — as well as Syria. Since then the U.S. government has been helping the French to “stabilize” its former colony Mali with surveillance drones and Rangers based in Niger. Nice work, Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. (Citizen Trump was an early advocate of U.S. intervention in Libya.) Need I remind you that the U.S./NATO regime-change operation in Libya was based on a lie? Obama later said his failure to foresee the consequences of the Libya intervention was the biggest mistake of his presidency. (For more on the unintended consequences for the Sahel, see articles here, here, and here.)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Is Hip-Hop Good For Anyone? (REDUX Originally Posted 6/29/17)

theoccidentalobserver |   It is unfortunate, to say the least, that Black hip-hop scholarship never mentions the elephant in the room: Jewish control of the music industry. If hip-hop is, indeed, ethno-politics set to music, if hip-hop has taken the place of the civil rights movement in the hearts and minds of Black youth, it is impossible to ignore the historic Black-Jewish alliance against WASPs. For much of the twentieth century, that alliance was a constituent element in what Black nationalist Harold Cruse called the “fateful triangular tension among national groups…coming to the fore” in the 60s.[28] It is a truism of American political history that, from the Leo Frank trial and the founding of the NAACP in the early twentieth century down to the Black Lives Matter movement, Jewish intellectual-activists have worked tirelessly to imbue disaffected American Negroes with their own revolutionary spirit.[29]

Cruse was himself a Negro member of the American Communist Party. By that time, Jews had displaced Anglo-Saxons as the vanguard of American Communism. Unlike WASP Communists, the Jews shaped radical politics in accordance with “their own national group social ambitions or individual self-elevation.” Negroes were relegated to the status of a national minority in the party while Jews were free to pick up or drop their Jewish identity as it suited them.[30] This arrangement enabled Jews to become experts on “the Negro problem.” Not surprisingly, Jewish artists, musicians, and radicals then became highly visible players in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. “As a result,” Cruse observes, “the great brainwashing of Negro radical intellectuals was not achieved by capitalism, or the capitalistic bourgeoisie, but by Jewish intellectuals in the American Communist Party.”[31]

In the contemporary hip-hop community, Jewish leadership has been hidden behind the corporate veil. Tricia Rose vehemently denounces the corrupting influence of corporate control on the hip-hop community but her treatment of the subject obscures the identity of the corporate high command.[32] The music industry is absorbed into a vast impersonal system of “White power,” a matrix whose denizens all routinely swallow the blue pill. The closest we come to identifying those in charge is when Dyson criticizes the “White corporate interests” exploiting Black talent.[33]

Jews are never mentioned in Dyson’s work on hip-hop. Not surprisingly, Dyson has unimpeachable philo-Semitic credentials. Blacks and Jews, he believes, are united in common struggles against oppression in White America. Far be it from him ever to cast Jews as an enemy of Black folk. On his account, Blacks love Jews and Jews love Blacks.[34] Professor Rose also tip-toes around the issue of Jewish influence in the hip-hop community; The Hip Hop Wars has no index entry for Jews. Only in passing does Rose name names. But, when she does identify a few of the corporate heavyweights involved in the hip-hop community, the elephant moves onto center stage.

In a chapter on hip-hop’s responsibility for sexist and misogynist lyrics and imagery, Rose mentions a rare public appearance by leading figures in the corporate record industry. In their statements “corporate executives such as Universal chairman Doug Morris, Warner chairman and chief executive Edgar Bronfman, Sony chairman Andrew Lack, and Viacom president and CEO Phillipe P. Dauman have defended their role as distributors of intensely sexist content by subsuming sexism under artists’ rights to express themselves freely.” Interestingly, in the same paragraph, Rose urges us to “pull back the veil on the corporate media’s manipulation of Black male and female artists and the impact this has on fans and the direction of Black cultural expression.”[35] Why does she not see fit to mention that the four corporate kingpins she names are all Jews? The ethno-political fact is that Rose leaves the corporate veil intact by ascribing blame for the corruption of the hip-hop community to an abstraction called corporate greed. Rose heads the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University.[36] How can she not be aware of the stunning success Jews have had in mixing business with ethno-politics?

After all, a simple Google search on “Jews run hip hop” turns up a wealth of investigative leads for a researcher eager to see how the “triangular tension” between Jews, Negroes, and Anglo-Saxons” has accommodated itself to the new players in American ethno-politics. Black scholars typically ignore the criticisms of Jewish control commonly made by rappers and fans.[37] Traditional Catholics such as E. Michael Jones are also critical of rap music as “one more manifestation of the behavior which goes along with the Jewish revolutionary spirit that took over the Black mind during the course of the 20thcentury.”[38] The Jewish revolutionary spirit has pioneered the techniques of using sex as an instrument of political control.[39] The hip-hop brand of sexuality is no exception.

Bearing that in mind, it comes as no surprise to learn that hip-hop is deeply involved “with the multibillion dollar pornographic industry. The strip club has long been an integral part of both the music video and business end, but since the start of the new century, there has been a complete cross-over into pornography.” Orlando Patterson describes scenes from these productions as “the most degrading and abusive depictions of women imaginable.”[40] Small wonder, then, that a Google search for “Jews run pornography” yields another treasure trove of investigative leads sure to be left unexplored (for fear of the Jews?) by both Black and White scholars.

What Happened to Black Music? (REDUX Originally Posted 1/14/10)

Zimbio | This story begins in the 1980s with the sale of Motown Records, a once black-owned record company, to MCA Records and Boston Ventures Limited Partnership. The Afrikan American community felt a great loss of one of its cherished institutions. Around that same period it seemed like war had been declared against the survival of black-owned record companies. Solar Records was involved in a suit, counter-suit with Warner Brothers Records for control of its assets. Sussex Records, a once fast growing black-owned record company, was forced to cease doing business for tax reasons. Philadelphia International Records, a quality black-owned record company, was under the distribution control, lifeline to its financial survival, of CBS Records (also known as Columbia Records).

These are mammoth events virtually placing the dominance of recorded black music in the hands of major record companies. The hidden agenda may have been the closing of all doorways towards the development of full service (production, manufacturing, distribution) black-owned record companies in America. Had this occurred, as improbable as it seems today, it is possible that black record companies would have ultimately controlled a larger or equal percentage of the music business, competing with major record companies.

It was told to me by Dave Parker (oldest promotion man in the business at that time), that of the $500 million dollars made in 1987 by CBS Records, approximately 80% was from black music. black-owned record companies were obviously seen as a potential threat to the control of the music market.

The battle to control market share can best be understood by looking into the case of Stax Records. In the 1970s, it was the largest, most diverse black-owned record company in the music industry. Stax artists roster included such stars as: Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Al Green, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, Booker T. & the MGs, and more. It also had a jazz label, blues label, gospel label, and even a comedy label where such artists as: Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor and Jackie "Moms" Mabley launched their careers.

This era paralleled the turbulent 60s, with the social, cultural, political and musical climate being fueled by the black Consciousness Movement and the Viet Nam Peace Movement. The financial profits generated by black recording artists and the phenomenal success of black films and soundtracks caused black entertainment businesses to be closely monitored.

Stax Records reached several peaks with the overwhelming success of "Wattstax." The live concert of Stax artists in the Los Angeles Coliseum attracted some one hundred and twelve thousand black people, without incident. It produced a film of the same event that was seen worldwide, and was the first to get into the revolutionary technique at the time, video production.

The success continued when Isaac Hayes, one of Stax top artists, won the Oscar for best original film score for "Shaft." This was during a time when black record companies (Stax, Sussex, Motown) had the lion's share of black artists. The major record companies, not to be left behind, sat up, took notice, determined to find a way to control the lucrative black music market. Fist tap Uncle John.

The Political Economy of Black Music (REDUX Originally Posted 9/16/11)

HWP | Black music exists in a neo-colonial relationship with the $12 billion music industry, which consist of six record companies: Warner Elektra Atlantic (WEA), Polygram, MCA Music Entertainment, BMG Distribution, Sony Music Entertainment, and CEMA/UNI Distribution. These firms, according to New York's Daily News, "supply retailers with 90% of the music" that the public purchases (rap accounts for 8.9% of the total, over $1 billion in 1996; these firms are currently being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for price-fixing CDs ). While there are black- owned production companies like Uptown Records, Bad Boy Entertainment, La Face Records, Def Jam, and Death Row, which make millions, these black-owned companies do not control a key component of the music making nexus, namely distribution, and they respond to the major labels' demand for a marketable product. In turn, the major labels respond to a young white audience that purchases 66% of rap music, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), as reported by the Daily News. But the music industry's dependence on alternative music has led to flat sales and the only growth has been, once again, black music in the cultural form of rap. Rap is still on the move. For example, Lil' Kim, a protege of the late Christopher Wallace, has sold 500,000 units of her raunchy Hardcore. While Scarface has sold over 160,000 of his The Untouchable - without radio airplay.

The relationship between black music and the "Big Six" is a post-modern form of colonialism. In classic colonialism (or neo-colonialism) products were produced in a "raw periphery" and sent back to the imperial "motherland" to be finished into commodities, sold in the metropolitan centers or back to the colonies, with the result being that the colony's economic growth was stunted because it was denied its ability to engage in manufacturing products for it own needs and for export. Blacks in the inner cities, if not as an aggregate, share some of the classic characteristics of a colony: lower per capita income; high birth rate; high infant mortality rate; a small or weak middle class; low rate of capital formation and domestic savings; economic dependence on external markets; labor as a major export; a tremendous demand for commodities produced by the colony but consumed by wealthier nations; most of the land and business are owned by foreigners. With rap, the inner cities have become the raw sites of "cultural production" and the music then sold to the suburbs, to white youths who claim they can "relate" to those of the urban bantustans. If there is indeed a struggle for the control of rap, it is merely a battle between black gnats, for the war for the control of black music had been won many years ago by corporate America, aided and abetted by black leadership that has never understood the cultural and economic significance of its own culture.

Kevin K. Gaines, the author of Uplifting the Race, argues that most black leaders (spokesmen and women and intellectuals) have had a condescending attitude toward the black lower classes, urban and rural; the black elite's world view has been built on a white, bourgeois Victorian model of comportment that internalized white beliefs about blacks and race. Gaines noted that although the black elite was outraged at whites' lucrative expropriations of black culture...," they "extolled Victorian and European cultural ideals and looked with disapproval, if not covert and guilty pleasure, upon such emergent black cultural forms as ragtime, blues [and] jazz..." Black leaders' ideas about "racial uplift," notwithstanding, were based on differentiating themselves from the black lower classes who were seen as "bringing down the race." Even today's so-called black public intellectuals use various codes to dissociate the "good black middle class" - themselves - from the "bad black under-class," which can be translated to hip hop. (Randall Kennedy's featured article in the May issue of The Atlantic Monthly is a spin on racial uplift; now it's about racial extrication based upon class positioning.) Such elitist attitudes have prevented middle-class blacks and black leadership from seeing the worth of their "own" folk culture that spawned the blues and other music forms from the lower classes, and it, black music, forms the base, the very foundation of the $12 billion music industry in the United States.

But there is a problem with black music: it is created by black people, particularly the rural and urban lower classes, and the black middle has always disdained those of their own race who are considered too Negroid, too black and too ignorant. Black musical forms have been "the juice" that has driven American musical expressions and whites have grown rich off of it. The problem has been that the black middle class has been too incompetent to champion and exploit (in the best sense of the word) its own folk culture and develop the geniuses that has produced black music. Instead, black music has never had an enlightened middle class leadership to give it a proper business footing. There has been no A. Philip Randolph or Thurgood Marshall in black music. The contempt for black artists is so palpable that even blacks have resorted to the same kind of rank exploitation that whites engage in.

Unfortunately, the history of black music has been a continuous one of whites' lucrative expropriation of black cultural forms. Black music has become a part of a structure of stealing that ranges from the minstrels shows of pre- Civil War America to white composers copying black jazz styles to white rockers covering original black R&B performer songs to segregating music by black performers as "race music" thus limiting their audience appeal to publishers stealing publishing credits to the nonpayment of royalties by record companies, etc. To be clear, black music forms are perhaps the single most critical foundation of American music which is a Creole hybrid of African and European influences, but the producers of such forms, blacks them- selves, brought over to the New World as black bodies to work for whites, have been viewed as either having no culture worthy of respect or having one that's worthy of rank exploitation and domination. This is the basis of the structure of stealing that other national groups - principally Anglo Saxons (slavery), Irish (minstrelsy), Jews (Hollywood, record industry) Italians (mob influence) - have participated in regard to black music forms. American individualism not withstanding, American society is made up of economic classes and ethnic blocs, of which a black individual can only achieve so much because he or she is a member of a weak group. "Hence, the individual Negro has," argued Harold Cruse in The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, "proportionately, very few rights indeed because his ethnic group (whether or not he actually identifies with it) has very little political, economic or social power (beyond moral grounds) to wield."

The theft of black music has been so blatant and pervasive that a Rhythm and Blues Foundation was set up in 1994, with $1 million contributed by the Atlantic Foundation of Atlantic Records, Time-Warner and other music industry organizations. The foundation was set up to assist R&B artists of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, who have been "victims of poor business practices, bad management and unscrupulous record companies," wrote The New York Times. The money contributed by those record firms (which have been gobbled up by larger concerns) is a fraction of the amount of money that white-controlled record firms have made off of black artists, directly or indirectly by holding on to some of these artists' back catalogues.

Because black leaders have ignored the early years of black music development, others have come into the black community and have established a foothold before them. Even during slavery whites were dissing black folks by the back-handed compliment of minstrelsy, they just couldn't ignore the creativeness of blacks but knew "how to grow rich off of black fun," as one minstrel poseur put it. Motown was that rare exception of black control but didn't come into existence until the late fifties (and even today it is basically a shell; a mere label of Polygram, a foreign company; an expensive footnote in music history when it recently sold a 50% interests in its catalogue to EMI for $132 million). The sniping about Jews "controlling" the music business clouds over the fact that blacks have often ignored the "cultural capital" potential of blues, jazz, and R&B until it was too late. The same can be said about hip hop; it was the independents labels not Motown that produced the initial acts and the major labels rushed in when they saw the staying power of the music and that young whites were buying it. During the twenties, according to Amiri Baraka in Blues People, when Harry Pace, the owner of Black Swan Records, began selling blues, he was castigated by the black middle class for not selling music that was more racially uplifting. When jazz began circulating through the speakeasies of America during the 20s and via the new communication technology of the day, the radio, "the big brain" denizens of the Harlem Renaissance couldn't figure it out. As cited by Nathan Huggins in his Harlem Renaissance:

"Harlem intellectuals promoted Negro art, but one thing is very curious, except for Langston Hughes, none of them took jazz - the new music - seriously. Of course, they all mentioned it as background, as descriptive of Harlem life. All said it was important in the definition of the New Negro. But none thought enough about it to try and figure out what was happening. They tend to view it as a folk art - like the spirituals and the dance - the unrefined source for the new art. Men like James Weldon Johnson and Alain Locke expected some race genius to appear who would transform that source into high culture...[T]he promoters of the Harlem Renaissance were so fixed on a vision of high culture that they did not look very hard or well at jazz."

The black intelligentsia of that era could no more accept the folk reality of its own folk culture than the white intelligentsia could accept the black basis of American culture, that American society is a creolized one, pre- dating multiculturalism. Jazz and blues were urban and rural expressions of working class blacks, but the black intelli- gentsia, trained in the aesthetics of the dominant society and unable to produce a cultural philosophy its own, neglected a very vital music in hopes of it becoming something else. There was a market there, for blacks were buying five to six million discs yearly in 1925 and in 1926 the record business reached $128 million dollars in sales, and did not reach that high point again until after the Second World War.

Negro Records (REDUX Originally Posted 9/16/11)

livebluesworld | Already in the antebellum period, plantation owners would use some slaves not (only) for field work or household services, but would also let them perform as musicians (Marshall Wyatt). The leading white class controlled the way that some blacks could perform their music as entertainment, not only for themselves; they were also encouraged to play for the dancing of their fellow slaves as well. Their music integrated African and European influences. Their instrumentation combined the European violin and the African banjo (banja), and the performance included polkas, marches, jigs and reels of European origin. The percussion and drums, so typical for the African music, were banned because of their potential for social upheaval. Drums and fifes could only be found, played by blacks as well as by whites, in the appropriate context of the colonial military organisations where marches were supposed to contribute to the patriotic feelings and military energy.

In later decades and during the Reconstruction Period, the minstrelsy was the way that the white population dealt with the black music. One can see minstrelsy and black faces as a covert way in which the whites expressed their latent recognition for the richness of the black musical culture. On the outside however, it came down to a comedian presentation of ridiculous and denigrating black stereotypes which was based on black music, but never represented the true spirit of it. The strength of the minstrelsy shows was such that even when black artists joined the shows they put black cork paint on their faces, just as the whites did ! It was the way that the blacks were accepted on stage. The popularity of the shows also within the black population testified of the efficiency by which the white population had succeed in having their control over the existing social order internalised with the people it oppressed (see also Scott Wilkinson – A Reassessment of the blues revival in America, 1951-1970, 1998, quoting Eric Lott : “The phenomenon of minstrelsy itself was an admission of fascination with blacks and black culture”. However, it did not represent the African-American culture at the time since the singing, dancing, and comedy performed at minstrel shows were, in reality, unique demonstrations of Americana in all of its multicultural glory” (pp. 11-12).

Once the African-Americans were freed as slave, the Reconstruction Period witnessed the popularity of the jubilee companies, groups of a Capella black singers who mostly had their social roots in the middle-class and black colleges. Some of them did some intensive touring, bringing them even on the international scene. The most famous are the Fisk Jubilee Singers that considerable contributed to funds raising for the Fisk University. Their repertoire was mainly spirituals, but also songs by the ‘Father of American Music’, Stephen Foster. Even though the aim of the jubilee groups was to offer a counterweight for the negative stereotypes that were promoted by the minstrelsy, they failed to build upon the culture that had grown on the fields and in the shacks. Their popularity was derived from a firm grounding of their style in the vocal harmonies of the European culture: university Jubilee groups presented folk material in a Western clas.... There was no indication of the promotion of the richness of the musical culture that had grown on the plantations.

The same can be said of Polk Miller, who is the first white person who aimed at reviving the older black music forms in an authentic manner. As the son of a plantation owner, he learned how to play the banjo from his father’s slaves. His career started out as a pharmacist, but turned to music in 1892, billing himself (without a black face !) as the “The Old Virginia Plantation Negro” . He toured with “The Old South Quartette”, a changing group of black vocalists. Their repertoire was black and white spirituals, coon songs, confederate war anthems (a capella or with banjo accompaniment). (Scott Wilkinson, 1998). His popularity however didn’t go without concessions to the constraints imposed upon him by the white population: it is said that he stopped from performing because he feared for the safety of his black musicians, who were sometimes even forced to perform behind a curtain, leaving Miller alone visible on stage.

In total respect for the achievements of Polk Miller, one cannot ignore the nostalgic perfume that surrounds his work and music. ” The show aimed at pure nostalgia, as seen in a 1910 brochure emphasizing that the Old South Quartette were “genuine” Negroes: “Their singing is not the kind that has been heard by the students from ‘colored universities,’ who dress in pigeon-tailed coats, patent leather shoes, white shirt fronds, and who are advertised to sing plantation melodies but do not. They do not try to let you see how nearly a Negro can act the white man while parading in a dark skin, but they dress, act, and sing like the real Southern darkey in his ‘workin’’ clothes. As to their voices, they are the sweet, though uncultivated, result of nature, producing a harmony unequalled by the professionals, and because it is natural, goes straight to the hearts of the people. To the old Southerner, it will be ‘Sounds from the old home of long ago’. . . . To hear them is to live again your boyhood days down on the farm.” (program brochHide allure quoted on http://jasobrecht.com/polk-miller-and-his-old-south-quartette-1910/) . The premise of his show was that he was the judge of the real African American Culture. It is hard to put the suspicion aside that pure nostalgia about the old, ante-bellum social order, was not far away.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Actresses and Millions of Other Independent Contractors....,

thenation |  there’s another reason actresses harassed by Weinstein may have been discouraged from reporting sexual harassment. Any who were working on a Weinstein film were almost certainly classified as independent contractors, not regular employees. And that means that the anti-discrimination and sexual-harassment protections of federal law didn’t apply to them. 

It’s a problem not just in Hollywood but throughout the economy, in industries as diverse as real estate, trucking, technology, and home health care. And the problem is growing. As more companies classify their workers as independent contractors or push workers into nontraditional employment arrangements, an increasing number of people are at risk of having virtually no recourse for on-the-job harassment. 

Workplace discrimination and harassment based on sex are prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which outlaws “employment practice[s] [that] discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” If an employee feels she is being harassed at work, she can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the first step in taking legal action. But the catch is that she has to be an employee for Title VII protections to apply. Independent contractors, temp workers, and those employed by contracting companies are not covered under the law. “Title VII has to be related to employment,” explained Catherine Ruckelshaus, program director at the National Employment Law Project. Anyone who’s not a traditional employee can’t easily bring claims under it. “The more attenuated you get from an employment relationship, the harder it is under Title VII.”

When a film gets made, the employer is typically a holding company, often an LLC, and the people who work on the show are rarely traditional W2 employees. “Almost everybody across the board in this industry works as an independent contractor when there’s an individual production getting made, when you work on a feature film,” explained Maria Giese, a film director who has pushed for greater gender equality in the industry. The same is typically true for those who work on theater productions or commercials. An individual actress who has been sexually harassed could try to bring a case under Title VII—but that would require her first to prove that she was illegally classified as an independent contractor and should have been an employee. She may be successful. “I don’t think that there has been an answer legislated or adjudicated” as to whether film employees should be treated like employees, said Melissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood. For example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is charged with enforcing Title VII and would only have jurisdiction if Title VII applied, is currently investigating gender discrimination against directors at the major movie studios, with its efforts still pending. 

Still, it’s a major hurdle. And if the actress can’t prove that she was misclassified as a contractor, the only option left would be to bring a contract claim between two business entities—the employer and the contractor. “Then they’re in a private contract realm where they would have to argue that the person violated their rights to operate their business in an ethical manner,” Ruckelshaus explained. “Those are really hard to bring because typically they’re very fact-based.… If you get into the he said/she said side of things, if you can’t prove the allegations of tort or contract breach, you’re out of luck.” Whereas Title VII claims just have to prove the employer allowed harassment based on sex, contract claims have to prove an employer’s intent to discriminate. “It’s very specific,” Ruckelshaus said. “Filing a lawsuit would be more difficult based on independent contractor status,” Giese agreed.

Israel: First Amendment Be Damned - Put Respeck On My Name!!!

libertyblitzkrieg |  Assaults on freedom speech can be found in many aspects of American life these days, but one specific area that isn’t getting the attention it deserves relates to boycotts against Israel. Increasingly, we’re seeing various regional governments requiring citizens to agree to what essentially amounts to a loyalty pledge to a foreign government in order to participate in or receive government services.

I’m going to highlight two troubling examples of this, both covered by Israeli paper Haaretz. The first relates to Kansas.

The First Amendment squarely protects the right to boycott. Lately, though, a legislative assault on that right has been spreading through the United States –  designed to stamp out constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel…

Over the past several years, state and federal legislatures have considered dozens of bills, and in some cases passed laws, in direct violation of this important ruling. These bills and laws vary in numerous respects, but they share a common goal of scaring people away people from participating in boycotts meant to protest Israeli government policies, including what are known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging one of those laws — a Kansas statute requiring state contractors to sign a statement certifying that they do not boycott Israel, including boycotts of companies profiting off settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

If this was the only example of such behavior, I suppose we could dismiss it as a one-off, misguided directive. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is far more common than any of us would like to admit.

Here’s another recent example, from the article, Houston Suburb Won’t Give Hurricane Relief to Anyone Who Boycotts Israel:

A Houston suburb will not approve grants to repair homes or businesses damaged in Hurricane Harvey if the applicant supports boycotting Israel.

The city of Dickinson’s application form for storm damage repair funding includes a clause stating that “By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.”

Friday, October 20, 2017

Perverted Alfred Kinsey's Junk "Science" Normalized and Legitimized Degeneracy...,

NYTimes |  MORE than half a century after the publication of his landmark study, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male," Alfred C. Kinsey remains one of the most influential figures in American intellectual history. He's certainly the only entomologist ever to be immortalized in a Cole Porter song. Thanks to him, it's now common knowledge that almost all men masturbate, that women peak sexually in their mid-30's and that homosexuality is not some one-in-a-million anomaly. His studies helped bring sex -- all kinds of sex, not just the stork-summoning kind -- out of the closet and into the bright light of day.

But not everyone applauds that accomplishment. Though some hail him for liberating the nation from sexual puritanism, others revile him as a fraud whose "junk science" legitimized degeneracy. Even among scholars sympathetic to Kinsey there's disagreement. Both his biographers regard him as a brave pioneer and reformer, but differ sharply about almost everything else. One independent scholar has even accused him of sexual crimes.

SanityandSocialJustice |   If you ever wondered how criminal penalties in the US for pedophilia transitioned for a time from extreme sentences to relatively short sentences, and how pedophiles from the late 1950s up until recent years were given revolving-door sentences only to target children again, you might wonder whose work guided those who drafted the Model Penal Code in 1955 that advanced the reduction of prison sentences for pedophiles and other sexual criminals.

If you guessed that it was the bishops of the Catholic Church, you guessed wrong. The recommendation to reduce sentences for pedophiles and other sexual criminals was made along with civil libertarians by an atheist and an Indiana University scientist, Alfred C. Kinsey (1894-1956), the same Kinsey lionized in the eponymous 2004 film produced by Francis Ford Coppola, directed by Bill Condon, and starring Liam Neeson, the same Kinsey funded for years by the Rockefeller Foundation and by Hugh Hefner, the same Kinsey with a 1953 Time Magazine cover picture, the same Kinsey whose faulty science has been cited for decades by uncritical jurists in numerous major court, including US Supreme Court, decisions.

The Kinsey film in 2004 marked the zenith of Kinsey’s reputation. It has since fallen:
  • Recent scholarship revealing Kinsey’s role in shielding pedophiles who carefully reported to Kinsey hundreds of victims,
  • a growing scientific consensus reaffirming the noted humanistic psychologist Abraham H. Maslow’s original 1952 criticism of “volunteer bias” in Kinsey’s studies,
  • the development of federal and professional ethical regulation, policies, and practices for research with “vulnerable populations” such as children and prisoners, along with “mandated reporting” of pedophilia in many states–especially in Indiana–which have provided a modern contrast to Kinsey’s unethical scientific practice,
  • and in addition the compilation of biographic information on Kinsey that indicated his personal depravity involving his sexual harassment/coercion of members of his circle to participate in sexual film-making in his attic, and his particular topical interest in adult sex with children,
–have all served to permanently undermine the standing of Kinsey’s personal character and scientific work among those whose knowledge extends beyond watching films and comedy skits or flipping past the “redeeming social content” citations of Kinsey in pornographic magazines, to scholarly reading and to scientific inquiry.

To some among the community of civil libertarians, with whom Kinsey worked closely on the revision of the 1955 Model Penal Code, Kinsey has been propped up for years, as “too big to fail.” But, as the tide has turned world-wide against pedophilia, so too has Kinsey’s reputation been irreparably tarnished.

The change in perspective on Kinsey has been slow in coming, but has been aided first by the globalization of media, and then by the visualizing power of the Internet.

America's Unpeakable Filth Not-Seeism...,

theweek  |  There are industries and careers with access to vulnerable children, which criminologists tell us attract predators like water rolling downhill. The Catholic Church runs schools and orphanages. Hollywood churns through countless child actors and would-be actors, most often away from home, whose parents must navigate a highly strange and sophisticated environment.

There is the problem of an illustrious institution that aspires to moral leadership in a culture war context. Sympathizers don't want to think the unthinkable about "the good guys." Insiders don't want to give ammunition to the "the other side." Bishops wrapped themselves in moralistic rhetoric to brush off allegations of moral turpitude; Weinstein thought he could distract from his alleged depredations by picking a fight with the NRA.

Most of all, there are the dynamics around power, money, and glory. They enable the abuse even as they prompt the coverup, since the institution and its prestige must be protected. Those around the perpetrators become accomplices, actively or passively. The system becomes self-sustaining. The more abuse, the more coverup. The more coverup, the more abuse. Everyone looks the other way because everyone looks the other way. No one will speak up because no one will speak up. Bit by bit, isolated incidents that might happen in any context metastasize into a monstrous system that feeds on itself. The guilt of a few becomes the guilt of all, as the system is sustained by its own rottenness.

If the Catholic Church, which is at least nominally committed to a grand moral vision, could fall prey to these dynamics, why should we believe that Hollywood, which at the end of the day is a for-profit industry, should be any different? Don't get me wrong: I'm absolutely sure that plenty of people in Hollywood believe in art and not profit, and sincerely hold their industry's professed humanistic values. But that's the point: The systemic dynamics are bigger than that. Even staunch anti-Catholics will concede that plenty of priests are upstanding people. We won't understand those systemic dynamics if we don't grapple with the fact that the same institution that produced Mother Teresa could produce what later churchmen called "the filth."

None of what I'm saying can be presented in a court of law. I have no smoking gun, no bombshell revelation. But nor am I hallucinating. That all the signs are there is not speculation. It is fact. We know for a fact that there are serious allegations, and that allegations about other forms of sex abuse in the same context not only turned out to be true, but much worse than we imagined. We know for a fact that some of these allegations get suspiciously ignored, and we know there is the motive and the capability for coverups. Go back to the old saw about criminal investigations: means, motive, opportunity. Check, check, check.

Children's lives are at stake. When will we as a society start seriously asking questions?

The Secret Service and the Intelligence Community Exposed Malia Obama to Harvey Weinstein

NewYorker |  Harvey throttled someone. Harvey called an employee a fucking moron. Harvey threw the shoes, the book, the phone, the eggs. Harvey went to work with his shirt on inside-out and no one had the courage to tell him. If you fucking say anything to him, the assistant said to the other assistant, I’m dead. Harvey would eat the fries off your plate, smash them in his face, and wash them down with a cigarette and a Diet Coke. He belittled and berated: You can’t name three Frank Capra movies? What the fuck are you even doing here? He was funny; he was grotesque, a boisterous, boorish, outrageous, gluttonous caricature of a man, a Hollywood type. A “man of appetites”; a philanderer; a cartoon beast, surrounded by beauties. Years later, the people who worked for him—survivors, they called themselves, of Miramax and the Weinstein Company—still met regularly to tell stories about Harvey Weinstein. “I always thought it was interesting that a lot of people who left Miramax either ended up running shit in Hollywood or became social workers,” an alumna of the company told me.

Harvey stories have a new valence now, in the aftermath of revelations by the Times and by The New Yorker, and the term “survivors” must be reserved for those who have alleged intense sexual harassment, assault, and rape. (Through a representative, Weinstein has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex.) The stories aren’t funny anymore, because now we know the story behind them. Weinstein was not a philanderer, with inordinately, unaccountably attractive “girlfriends”; he was, apparently, according to the forty-some women who have come forward so far, including many of Hollywood’s most visible celebrities, engaged in quid-pro-quo harassment that, in certain cases, involved coercion and physical force. But, unlike Donald Trump, our show-biz President, a bully who has boasted of sexual assault and been accused of sexual misconduct numerous times, Weinstein is finally being condemned and punished for his treatment of women. (Trump denies all allegations of sexual misconduct.)

Workplace sexual assault, according to the feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon, is “dominance eroticized.” More than misplaced desire, she writes, it is “an expression of dominance laced with impersonal contempt, the habit of getting what one wants, and the perception (usually accurate) that the situation can be safely exploited in this way—all expressed sexually.” Among the many painful ironies of Weinstein’s public activities (the professorship in Gloria Steinem’s name that he helped endow, his support of Hillary Clinton), the one I find the most brutal and defeating is that he made movies with substantial and three-dimensional parts for women, and it was this rare commodity that he is said to have used to exploit the women who wanted those roles. Their desire for professional advancement demeaned them—even after he’d made some of them into stars. (He never let them forget it: who made them, who owned them.) There were rumors, yes, of the did-she-or-didn’t-she variety. Because the actresses were ambitious, they were seen as “ambitious,” and his predation went on, hiding in plain view. No one ever asked, Did he? That was the given, and it is only now that the abuse is being called by its true name. The company’s reputation for artistic integrity and highbrow fare was a disguise that Harvey Weinstein wore, his version of the black-ski-mask cliché.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Representation and Normalization in Everyday Lives....,

gawker |  The news that X-Men director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who says Singer raped him multiple times when he was 17 might come as a surprise to some—but in Hollywood his taste for a very specific sort of young man was well known.

In the lawsuit (the second filed against Singer), plaintiff Michael Egan says that he was introduced to Singer by a man named Marc Collins-Rector, who was ordered to register as a sex offender after being convicted of luring minors across state lines. Egan describes what is essentially a sex ring, with older men like Collins-Rector scouting barely legal twinks who might be looking to saddle up to Hollywood's rich and powerful gays.

This is the way things have happened in the industry for decades: this BuzzFeed post that culls stories from the memoir of an old Hollywood liaison named Scott Bowers gives a good idea of how some film bigwigs used to get off.

But Hollywood gays and lesbians don't need to be as discreet as they did 60 years ago, and it's not too difficult to find stories and photos of Singer's infamous gay pool parties—and rumors of more.
Over at Dlisted, Michael K. recalls when he initially became aware of the culture around Singer.
I first heard about Bryan Singer's "infamous" coke and twink pool parties when I was 18 and was at some party in Orange County that a bunch of dancers from Disneyland were at. One of the twink dancers bragged to me and my friends about how the weekend before he was at a party in L.A. that the director of Usual Suspects was at and the white twinks, coke and meth were falling from the sky. The twink dancer said that Bryan Singer and his fancy Hollywood friends always throw parties like that and when I asked him to take me to the next one, bitch said, "Uh, you're not white, skinny and cute enough, though."
A few years ago, Queerty published photos of a post-gay pride pool party at Roland Emmerich's house that was co-hosted by Singer. "No photos of the after-after party (which generally has a clothing-optional policy)," the site writes, "nor do we have pictures from what happened when Roland and Bryan (pictured, Page 3) took a few select young men into the house for private casting sessions[.]"

vice |   When people think of a pederast or sexually deviant film director, they are likely to imagine Roman Polanski having sex with a 13-year-old or Woody Allen marrying his adopted daughter. But those stories are a bit tired and cliched now, so, for those with a thirst for horrible stories about film men abusing their power, we present mid-budget journeyman director Victor Salva. In 1989, Salva was jailed after molesting the 12-year-old star of his first feature film, the low-budget horror thriller Clownhouse.

Salva has said that the idea of making a horror movie like Clownhouse had been on his mind for some time, and when you watch it, you can see why. The plot's victims are three pre-pubescent brothers, led by debutant Sam Rockwell, who spend their time running hysterically around their enormous suburban house getting terrorised by sadistic escaped lunatics dressed as circus clowns (the leader is called "Cheezo").

As a concept, it’s pretty basic, though the nightmare's enlivened by a constant, thrumming undercurrent of high school homoeroticism, which manifests itself in lingering crotch-shots and constant close-ups of half-naked teens. It's basically as terrifying as you'd expect a film about murderous, child-killing clowns directed by a pedophile to be.

Rock'n'Roll Appropriation An Extension of Gay Anger?

NYTimes  |  One of the 20th century’s most powerful creations was the rock star: the preening, erotic god of guitar-fired defiance. But those who embodied that character didn’t spring from nowhere. Managers groomed them and shaped them, and in the classic rock era those managers were often gay men.

For decades, the close relationships between the managers and the predominantly straight musicians they advised were not discussed much. Lately, however, they have become a point of pride and celebration.

“The Fifth Beatle,” a recent graphic novel that focuses on the personal life of the Fab Four’s gay manager, Brian Epstein, was a New York Times best seller and is now in development as a six-part mini-series, with the approval of the Beatles’ estate. And the documentary film “Lambert & Stamp” made clear the important role played by Kit Lambert, the gay co-manager of the Who, in shaping the band’s identity.

Another image maker of the classic-rock era, Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone, is the subject of a new biography by Joe Hagan, “Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine,” which stresses the role his sexuality played in his presentations of male rock stars throughout the magazine’s history. (Mr. Wenner did not come out to the press until the mid-1990s).

“Being gay gave me a finer appreciation of the sexuality of the guys up there,” Mr. Wenner says in the book. “I could understand that in a way others didn’t.”

 “Kit was telling the press that the Who were a new form of social crime,” Mr. Cooper said. “He told Pete, ‘When you give an interview, leave a wound. Oh, and by the way, smash your instruments.’”

Mr. Napier-Bell sees the entire notion of rock ’n’ roll rebellion as an extension of “gay anger.” “We were against the establishment, the government and the law, which was against us,” he said. “It was an attitude felt by the managers that was expressed through their groups.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Reality Utterly Warped and Distorted by Little Head Trifling...,

HuffPo | How Weinstein fought the dawning amfAR scandal is an illustration of the ferocious manner in which he had long exercised his clout, and of the impunity he long could count on, thanks to the help of some well-placed friends. It also reveals something fundamental about the power he enjoyed, at least until recently: Everything, from the money to the philanthropy to the sex to the bullying to the coverups enacted on Weinstein’s behalf, was connected.

For this story I spoke to over 20 sources inside and outside amfAR, NBC Universal, The New York Times and others with direct knowledge of the circumstances of this controversy. I also spoke to former Weinstein Company executives, former Miramax executives and various consultants that Weinstein used to have on retainer. All of the sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak to the press by their respective employers, don’t want to be exposed to potential litigation for violating non-disclosure agreements, or fear reprisal for speaking about powerful people on-record with a member of the press. I also reviewed internal amfAR board communications, confidential reports and communications with the New York Attorney General’s office, which were provided by multiple sources.

Pit of Despair Because of Africans or Because of White Imperialism Bee Dee?

local10  |  President Donald Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson's widow Tuesday that "he knew what he signed up for ... but when it happens, it hurts anyway," when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida.  

"Yeah, he said that," Wilson said. "So insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn't have said it."  

The president called about 4:45 p.m. and spoke to Johnson's pregnant widow, Myeshia Johnson, for about five minutes. She is a mother to Johnson's surviving 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter. The conversation happened before Johnson's remains arrived at Miami International Airport on a commercial Delta Airlines flight.  

"The president's conversations with the families of American heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice are private," a top advisor later told Local 10 News.  

Wilson watched as the widow, who is expecting their third baby in January, leaned over the U.S. flag that was draping Johnson's casket. Her pregnant belly was shaking against the casket as she sobbed uncontrollably. Their daughter stood next to her stoically. Their toddler waited in the arms of a relative. 

There was silence. 

Local politicians, police officers and firefighters lined up to honor Johnson for his service and for the efforts and discipline that got the former Walmart employee to defy all odds and become a 25-year-old member of the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 

Johnson, who participated in a mentorship program Wilson founded in 1993, died during a mission fighting alongside Green Berets. Islamic militants ambushed them on Oct. 4 with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns. The team reportedly didn't have overhead armed air cover and was in unarmored pickup trucks. Reuters reported the lack of planning upset the French.  

Trump didn't discuss any of the details of the ambush or say that the Pentagon was conducting an investigation. Instead, he focused on questions about whether or not he had offered his condolences to the families of the fallen. 

FBI Uncovered Russian Bribery Plot Before Obama Approved Clintons Getting PAID!!!!

TheHill |  Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened ... on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”
In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.