President Obama in Arizona, January 12, 2011 Official White House Photo
The Embassy is the name of my weekly WFMU radio show. We broadcast at 91.1 FM in New York and 90.1 in the Hudson Valley, and of course we on the internets. You can stream last night’s show and check here for the playlist.
Fellow native new yorker (Bronx stand up!) and expert cutter-through-of-smoke-mirrors Noam Chomsky gave this talk in April 2011 while the currently flourishing #occupy movements were just a gnawing sense of horrific injustice in the occupiers bellies.
In it he breaks down such popular topics as:
1) Why economic power = political power
2) How financial regulations were systematically demolished in this country to benefit the 1% ending a ‘golden era’ of egalitarian prosperity
3) How Obama was bought by Wall Street and how he repaid them
He forgot his notes at the hotel and so it’s light on statistics and heaaaavy on truthy goodness. Â Need to explain to your friends why the Occupy Wall St movement matters at your next cocktail party? Â Start here.
Big shout out to PDX Justice for filming and posting this on Vimeo, along with The Collins Distinguished Speaker Series and the Department of English of the University of Oregon at Eugene for holding the event. Â If I get a free hour I’d like to rip the audio for this and encode it as a podcast. Â If anyone else is motivated to do it first we’ll happily host and promote it here. Â The fact that this thing is so relevant to the current conversation and only had 636 views when I found it is terrible.
[vimeo width=”525″ height=”320″]http://vimeo.com/24175601[/vimeo]
This would be so incredible if the world wasn’t so insane. Still, an awesome video by Megaforce.
Here’s something that deserves it’s own post, but the way things are going it doesn’t look like that will happen. So here it is “The World Needs Change” by Clams Casino, from his Instrumental Mixtape – which is quite amazing.
[originally posted at Mudd Up!]
[Nettle, Bin Scrape Laden 12″ EP. Soot Records, 2001]
Everything seems a bit odd these days — a feeling I’m trying to get used to. As places go about compiling their Osama Bin Laden lists, such as PlayGround’s Ten OBL Disses & Tributes, I figure it’s time to clarify:
In 2001 I released a 12″ EP called Bin Scrape Laden. It hit shops around February, well before the September 11th deadline… On the inner vinyl ‘run out groove’ I had them inscribe the standard airport security phrase: “Are you carrying anything that might be considered a weapon?” The vinyl disc came packaged in rough cardboard record jackets that I hand-branded with the Arabic word for ‘Soot’ (and nearly burnt down the Madrid apartment Rocio & I were renting, but that’s another story).
When 9/11 happened, a lot of people who knew the record got in touch, asking — only half-joking — if the C.I.A. had contacted me. I came up with the name after I’d read breakcore pioneer DJ Scud’s 1998 article on Osama Bin Laden (which is weird in & of itself) in Christoph Fringelli’s Datacide zine. Scud had turned in an incredible remix for the EP. And most of the sounds I was sculpting those days sounded a lot like scraped-up trash bins. So the title clicked into place, although nobody got the play on words… until September 11th came and reconfigured our world.
Here’s a track from Bin Scrape Laden, produced by yrs truly under the name Nettle in the simpler days of 1999/2000. It’s named after a (sadly defunct) Pans y Company bocadillo.
So yes, I am available for presidential-level geopolitical consultation gigs and/or palm readings.
The “hidden moral” of this story is that it takes a lot of time, money, and people to make vinyl records, even weird Arabic influenced noise-beat ones with a strong prophetic bent.
In Casablanca last month Maggie and I went to the address of Hassania Editions. A major major label in the 70s, 80s, and beyond. Nothing but a dental surgeon on the top floor. The motorcycle shop dudes next door had no idea. The guy selling candy in a nearby doorway remembered, vaguely, when it had closed. About five years back. We walked around the neighborhood, a ‘popular’ one which would feel like a dangerous slum in the Americas but in Morocco it felt – was – safe, active, the opposite of shady. Spicy greasy bread and the best almonds I’d ever eaten and the first disc seller is peddling Zinga Zinga video CDs — humorous Gaddafi youtubery. Because sometimes you have to laugh. To keep from… I bought the MP3 CD this unlabeled tune came from at the second disc seller. I can’t make out the name(s) in the beginning… Carlos? Anybody?[audio:http://negrophonic.com/mp3/06Track.MP3]
It’s gorgeous. 11 minutes, a stroll rather than an appointment. Make it to the nine minute mark and you get rewarded by one of those Maghrebi rhythmic accelerations that remind you you’ve been drinking tea all day. That the heart can quicken. That love is real. That time runs in one direction: out.
[youtube width=”525″ height=”393″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aWN6NYbOzg[/youtube]
Heavy one from Dutty compadre Timeblind!
your cel phone and portable electronics probably have minerals mined in the Congo and illegally trafficked. watch the other related videos if you are unaware of this.
please support legislation to keep mining transparent and stop thugs in the congo from profiting from the misery of their fellow countrymen. DRC should be known for its amazing musicians, not for more misery like this.
I spent my Saturday in doors working on nothing but noizes and beatzes, stopping to watch Al Jazeera‘s coverage of a suddenly chaotic #Egypt – Egyptians demanding for their pharaoh to resign. In the evening, I walked down a couple blocks to a Senegalese-owned halal restaurant called “African-American Cuisine.” On my way back, iPod decided I should stop listening to 8Ball & MJG and pay attention to The Dark, The Third Eye Foundation’s 2010 album. For the most part, I’ve payed attention to Matt Elliot’s output under his birth name, at least since 2003’s The Mess We Made, but not his earlier releases as 3EF. While based on track titles alone “If You Treat Us All Like Terrorists We Will Become Terrorists” sounds apt for the times, “Standard Deviation” is immense, absorbing, murky and warm with low, low rumbles and creeping, ascending voices. If you enjoy this track, the album is a nice cohesive mix-up you should definitely check out.
[youtube width=”525″ height=”393″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27fQcatpWUg[/youtube]
Recent news report on Al Jazeera
It has been quite disheartening watching the post-election crisis in Cote d’Ivoire turn from yet another power struggle among African politicians to very dangerous and explosive situation. I’m watching this from a room in Brooklyn, a couch in Northern Virginia; seeing yet another African country on the brink of civil war after its leader refuses to step down gracefully following an election. Mind you, Ivory Coast is still healing and rebuilding from a recent civil war.
In late November, President Laurent Gbagbo, who has ruled the Ivory Coast for the past ten years, lost to opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara in the presidential elections, elections which Gbagbo has already postponed five times in the last six years, meaning polls taking place in 2010 should have happened in 2005! Gbagbo, backed by the national army and security forces/hired youths – “young patriots”/militias refuses to concede and hand over power to Alassane Ouattara, who is recognized as the clear winner by regional body ECOWAS, the African Union, the United Nations and most countries. Ouattara also has the support of former rebel forces (fighters from the civil war still armed and active!)
At the moment, tensions are high. The situation gets awful, more dire with each news report. With more than 170 people reported killed in the post election violence, thousands are fleeing into neighboring countries – with most people seeking refuge in Liberia and Guinea. ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) initially talked about armed intervention using its military wing ECOMOG (which was instrumental in bringing peace to Liberia and Sierra Leone albeit criticisms of abuse and property theft during the civil wars in those countries) but later open the door for more discussions with Gbagbo. In the Ivorien capital, Abidjan, Gbagbo’s security forces/militias are conducting raids, and killing dozens of Ouattara’s supporters, and also threatening to invade the UN-protected hotel in which Ouattara and his ministers are staying/trying to conduct a state business.
International pressure on Gbagbo is failing and the mediation/action from ECOWAS is providing immediate results. We hope for a peaceful settlement, but some sort of resolution must be reached soon so the situation doesn’t escalate. Something radical has to happen to turn this situation around.
[youtube width=”525″ height=”393″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMjuzMcDeYI&feature=player_embedded#![/youtube]
Streets of Abijan – CIAfrica’s Greendog “Afristepdub“
I’ve never been to Ivory Coast (not completely true, because my mother went to Abidjan several times when she was pregnant with me) and I don’t speak or understand french (well, I resisted learning another Euporean language through my high school and college years.) I mentioned these things because I want to say I don’t completely understand CIAfrica’s lyrics and the topics raised in their songs. If you don’t know, CIAfrica is a militant, pan-Africanist rap/reggae/bass music collective based in Abidjan. The collective came of age during the turbulent years of the Gbagbo administration, marked by civil and military unrest. According to the song descriptions/summaries of the tracks on their album on Dutty Artz, CIAfrica makes defiant music, speaks out against fraudulent, hoggish leaders who are determined to stay in power no matter how much blood is spilled, against corruption and brutalization. They are making music in this currently political chaos, and are hustling and trying to visit Europe and North America in 2011. Listen to the track “Negro Politicien” –
A botnet is nothing more than thousands and thousands of networked computers following the instructions of a single remote authority. The machines tend to be running Windows and, conventionally, their owners are unaware that they are involved. During a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack, each computer in the botnet repeatedly performs a simple task like pinging a web server somewhere else on the net.
Given a sufficiently large botnet, the server is so overwhelmed that no one can access any of the websites that it hosts.
As far as I can tell, botnet participants usually join up accidently while flailing around in search of pr0n (or buying a computer in China.) During today’s DDoS attacks on Visa and Mastercard, however, it looks like a significant number of people voluntarily added their machines to the botnet.
Outrage through outtage? This-what-democracy-looks-like.com?
Barlow says “we’re all footsoldiers in this war” but we should resist war-like metaphors. Anons are not risking their lives when they “get behind the proxy” and join the DDoS attack on Visa. It’s a trap: no one but the U.S. government ever wins a War on Whatever.
This is about the failure of private institutions to steward our popular culture. But what makes us think they would? Will Soundcloud take down Assange’s old dubstep mixes?
We really need an anthem, Dutty Artz! What’s the sound of a volunteer botnet?
Over the weekend, Jace/Rupture sent me a text to cover/fill-in on Mudd Up with one condition – “gotta play Diplomats “Crunk Muzik” in honor of WikiLeaks.” The organization dedicated to liberating secret documents unleashed a massive cache of confidential cables/exchanges between American diplomats/State Departments and embassies around the globe, plus our very own Diplomats from Harlem, USA performed a reunion concert at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom.Â Anyway, that’s all we had in mind for this program – sounds leak from my laptop, and I ramble a bit –
|The Diplomats (Jim Jones, Cam’ron, Juelz Santana)||Crunk Muzik|
|Kangding Ray||Fall (Ben Frost Demolition)||Pruitt Igoe||Raster-Noton|
|Blue Daisy & Anneka||Black Petal Roses||Raindrops EP||Black Acre|
|Four Tet||Sing (Mosca Remix)||Domino|
|L-Vis 1990||Into The Stars||Night Slugs|
|Fennesz/Daniell/Buck||Heat from Light||Knoxville|
|Spoek Mathambo||War On Words||Mshini Wam||BBE|
|Digital Mystikz||Mountain Dread March||Return II Space||DMZ|
|Max Richter||Flowers For Yulia||Songs From Before||130701|
|Franco & Le TPOK Jazz||Kimpa Kisangameni||Francophonic Vol. 2||Sterns|
They told me I could get geeked out on here so I’m going ham!
Prime Minista (aka Sir Mix-A-Lot) – “No Excuses on the Bowl“
Last weekend, I spent 8 hours in the basement of Eagle Rock City Hall drinking coffee out of a styrofoam cup and cramming for the technician class amateur radio licensing exam. The class was taught by a couple of local hams who volunteer their time to help new people get involved with “the hobby”.
The infrastructure that most of us rely on for internet access is owned and operated by vertically-integrated corporations like Time Warner and Comcast. These organizations maintain virtual monopolies in American cities, leave rural and poor communities off the network, charge arbitrarily high prices for mediocre service, and then use our own money against us when they lobby Congress. It’s not sustainable, it’s not working, and we need to get serious about plan B before they start charging us an extra $10 per month for the “Walk on the Wild Side” plan.
28Mhz – A61BK – United Arab Emirates – DUBAI – Ã˜Â¯Ã˜Â¨Ã™ÂŠ – Ã£ÂƒÂ‰Ã£ÂƒÂÃ£Â‚Â¤
Hams know infrastructure. Long ago, they figured out how to make transcontinental contact by reflecting signals off of the ionosphere. Now they’re launching amateur satellite projects and experimenting with various forms of digital packet radio. In the vid below, you can hear Ultima designer and space tourist Richard Garriott making contact with Earth from the International Space Station via amateur radio.
International Space Station – Richard Garriott – W5KWQ with PS8RF
“Hinternet” == “ham” + “internet”. It usually involves modifying off-the-shelf wi-fi routers and amplifying their output. Licensed hams are allowed to operate at much higher wattage than civilian operators. As a result, hams experimenting with amplified data transmission report making contact over distances as far as 6 miles!
For those of us accustomed to always-on broadband connections, periodic data transmission over radio will require rethinking our whole workflow — but the benefits of diversifying our network activities are huge. Imagine a repeater on a hill that constantly spits out mp3s to the neighborhood. Or a public messageboard accessible to the globe but no one needs a service provider to join in.
These things won’t exist unless we try building them so search for a class in your area and let’s all go ham.
QRP Mountain-topping with FT817 – Ham Radio
Normally I delete all the boring press releases I get in my email but this one caught my eye and I thought the readership here might enjoy it. Â Nice to see that the indigenous people in this country still have a sense of humor after centuries of genocide, mis-appropriation of tribal funds and general attempts to erase their nations, culture and selves.
For immediate release: Contact: Kerry Birnbach: 212-825-0028, ext. 212
April 1, 2010 firstname.lastname@example.org
Iroquois Leaders Assail Government Benefits for Illegal Immigrants;
Say Aid Should Be Denied to Anyone Entering U.S. in Last 25,000 Years
Tribal Leaders Blast “Broken Borders” that Allowed in Dobbs, Levy, Buchanan
Leaders of the five Native American nations that comprise the Iroquois League – comprised of the Mohawk , Oneida , Onondaga , Cayuga , and Seneca peoples – issued a joint statement today declaring anyone who entered the country without their permission after members of the League arrived (here between 25,000 and 60,000 years ago) to be an illegal alien who should be denied all government benefits as a first steps towards deportation. Under the proposed rules, approximately 98 percent of the current U.S. population could be considered illegal immigrants.
Said the statement, “Since we granted no permission for outsiders to enter the country after 23,000 B.C., anyone who did so is an illegal alien and should no longer be able to receive government welfare payments in the form of corporate agriculture subsidies, tax credits for stadium-building, mortgage interest deductions for vacation homes, or food stamp benefits. In the meantime, if they cannot speak any of the Iroquoian langauges, such as Mohawk, they should leave. People should simply accept that America always was, and always will be, an Indian Nation, and must wake up and realize the existential threat posed to our very existence by the broken borders that allowed in Lou Dobbs, Steve Levy, and Pat Buchanan. The only thing sadder to us than watching trash litter the landscape is watching people were immigrants themselves slamming other immigrants.”
Human beings originated in Olduvai Gorge (in present day Tanzania) about 2.5 million years ago. Kikuya tribal leaders from that area responded to the Iroquois in a statement today that said: “We believe that the Iroquois are illegal emigrants. Since they left our land 2.5 million years ago without our permission, they really have no right to be in North America either.”
In a related development, 10,000 angry Tea Partying Medicare recipients protested against themselves today, demanding that “government health care keep its grubby hands off our government health care.” Said one protestor, “I simply hate myself for benefiting from a program that proves that everything I stand for is flat-out wrong.”
I’m unsure about the execution (voodoo-blackface?) too, but this is a great idea, no?
American televangelist/Christian evangelical ‘douchebag‘ extraordinaire Pat Robertson blamed the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti on the on the Hatian people and their religious/cultural practices– voodoo. Additional article: What is Pat Robertson Really Saying About Haiti?
& here’s my request to johnnyvoodoo and all America voodoo doll makers, please make a doll of this man, David Brooks of the New York Times —
If you read his Op-Ed column last Thursday, I’m sure you will sympathize with me/my request. For a better understanding, Matt Taibbi clears the thickets by translating excerpts of Brooks’s essay so we can further appreciate his timely insight —
“This is not a natural disaster story. This is a poverty story. Itâ€™s a story about poorly constructed buildings, bad infrastructure and terrible public services. On Thursday, President Obama told the people of Haiti: â€œYou will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten.â€ If he is going to remain faithful to that vow then he is going to have to use this tragedy as an occasion to rethink our approach to global poverty. Heâ€™s going to have to acknowledge a few difficult truths.
The first of those truths is that we donâ€™t know how to use aid to reduce poverty. Over the past few decades, the world has spent trillions of dollars to generate growth in the developing world. The countries that have not received much aid, like China, have seen tremendous growth and tremendous poverty reductions. The countries that have received aid, like Haiti, have not.
In the recent anthology â€œWhat Works in Development?,â€ a group of economists try to sort out what weâ€™ve learned. The picture is grim. There are no policy levers that consistently correlate to increased growth. There is nearly zero correlation between how a developing economy does one decade and how it does the next. There is no consistently proven way to reduce corruption. Even improving governing institutions doesnâ€™t seem to produce the expected results.
The chastened tone of these essays is captured by the economist Abhijit Banerjee: â€œIt is not clear to us that the best way to get growth is to do growth policy of any form. Perhaps making growth happen is ultimately beyond our control.â€
TRANSLATION: Donâ€™t bother giving any money, it doesnâ€™t do any good. And feeling guilty about not giving money doesnâ€™t do anyone any good either. In fact, youâ€™re probably helping by not doing anything.
Read more @ True/Slant
Omzo and Yero of Minen Teye
Minen Teye feat. Sista Soda – Yero & Omzo (One Love)
Minen Teye feat. Gaston – Wake Up
Minen Teye is a rap group out of Nouakchott, Mauritania. The group, sometimes referred to as the conscious generation, is a rather loose collective of rappers and singers from the rural parts of the country. The main members Yero and Omzo moved to the capital to pursue higher education at University of Nouakchott.Â Other members of the collective moved to the city avoid civil unrest and the border squabbles with neighboring countries Senegal and Mali, which dates back to the late 1980s– but the capital Nouakchott has seen its share of trouble in the last two decades and recently with the military coup in August 2008.Â According to my Mauritanian source here in Brooklyn, Yero and Omzo are in the third generation (2003-present) of the rap collective which dates back to the mid-1990s.Â Their lyrics are politically charged and critical of the military government which has been brutally suppressing dissent and painting that suppression as fighting terrorism and Islamist militants, drug traffickers and illegal migrants.Â Minen Teye members have been harassed by police and government officials several times in the last year.Â They are in the process of recording a new album which should be out sometime next year.Â In meantime, these two tracks feature outside vocalists, Senegalese songstress Sista Soda and Senegalese rapper Gaston. The tracks are from their recent release, from earlier this year Moro-Itanie.
Here’s a video a Facebook friend posted a few hours ago – Women on the Frontline: Mauritania, a documentary presented by Annie Lennox shining a light on violence against women and girls. Here, they look at the Islamic Republic’s interpretation of the Sharia law Zina. [UNIFEM]
[youtube width=”525″ height=”455″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zdkB_gm_VI[/youtube]
Regardless who you vote for
If the mind don’t grow, and the poverty lines don’t go
But the dope keep coming, and the TV keeps flashing images of a sports car
Then you’re bound for a coke war
The meek get clowned by the coke law
The sheep get drown in the folklore
Then lured to sleep by Tom Brokaw
What a pity?
The hope on the politician’s tongue never ever trickles down to the city.
This track is from a compilation/mixtape floating around titled ElectroChemicals, containing exclusive songs and rare materials previously available only as radio-rips or web/myspace-rips from Jay Electronica – a brilliant voice in hip hop (in music and poetry in general) who is going to set drop an album in 2010. This cut has a great Michael Jackson speech in the intro— from an interview in which The King sounded defiant, and saying there’s a conspiracy in the US; it is suspicious that his album is number one all around the world, except in America where he is facing all kinds of legal and financial woes.