Marc Lamont Hill’s speech on Palestine (November 28th 2018) was delivered last week at the United Nations. A day later CNN fired him as a talking head. Temple University wants to fire him too, but Hill is a tenured professor.

The UN speech: Hill, after giving examples of how Israel, with US support, abuses human rights, called for solidarity with Palestinians:

Yes to BDS:

“Solidarity from the international community demands that we embrace boycotts, divestment, and sanctions [BDS] as a critical means by which to hold Israel accountable for its treatment of Palestinian people.”

The silence of the left:

“Solidarity demands that we no longer allow politicians or political parties to remain silent on the question of Palestine. We can no longer in particular allow the political left to remain radical or even progressive on every issue from the environment to war to the economy, to remain progressive on every issue except for Palestine.”

Palestinians, like Blacks, have a right to defend themselves and fight back:

“Contrary to Western mythology, Black resistance to American apartheid did not come purely through Gandhi and nonviolence. Rather, slave revolts and self-defence and tactics otherwise divergent from Dr. King or Mahatma Gandhi were equally important to preserving safety and attaining freedom. …

“If we are standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must recognize the right of an occupied people to defend itself. We must prioritize peace. But we must not romanticize or fetishize it.

“We must advocate and promote nonviolence at every opportunity, but we cannot endorse a narrow politics of respectability that shames Palestinians for resisting, for refusing to do nothing in the face of state violence and ethnic cleansing.”

The NYPD and IDF, Blacks and Palestinians:

“We brought a delegation of black activists to Palestine, and we saw the connections between the police in New York City, who are being trained by Israeli soldiers, and the type of policing we were experiencing in New York City.”


“we have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grassroots action, local action, and international action that will give us what justice requires. And that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”

The ADL, which fights anti-Jewish prejudice, twisted all of that to mean:

“Those calling for ‘from the river to the sea’ are calling for an end to the State of Israel. … [Hill is promoting] divisive and destructive action against Israel.”

Hamas does use the phrase “from the river to the sea”, but it no longer calls for the destruction of Israel. And besides, Hill is not part of Hamas.

CNN fired Hill the next day. It is apparently a handmaiden of Zionist propaganda.

Temple University’s board chairman, Patrick O’Connor, a wannabe handmaiden:

“I’m not happy. The board’s not happy. The administration’s not happy. People wanted to fire him right away. We’re going to look at what remedies we have… Free speech is one thing. Hate speech is entirely different.”

– Abagond, 2018.

Sources: Google Images (picture), YouTube (the speech itself, 22 minutes), Jadaliyya (full text of speech)  Philadelphia Inquirer (O’Connor quote), Jewish Journal (ADL quote).

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This went to #2 in the US on  the R&B chart in 1972. Like “Always” (1987) by Atlantic Starr, it seems schmaltzy, but I like it anyway.

I thought this song would date badly: an over-the-top love song sung in falsetto in a 1970s style. I thought it would become as unlistenable by the 2000s as, say, Frank Sinatra was to me in the 1970s. What I did not know was that when you really like a song, it never seems dated. It always seems as brand new as the day you first heard it.

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There’s a spark of magic in your eyes
Candyland appears each time you smile
Never thought that fairy tales came true
But they come true when I’m near you
You’re a genie in disguise
Full of wonder and surprise

And betcha by golly, wow
You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever
And ever will my love for you keep growin’ strong
Keep growin’ strong

If I could I’d catch a falling star
To shine on you so I’ll know where you are
Order rainbows in your favorite shade
To show I love you, thinking of you
Write your name across the sky
Anything you ask I’ll try, `cause

Betcha by golly, wow
You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever
And ever will my love for you keep growin’ strong
Keep growin’ strong

Betcha by golly, wow
You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever
And ever will my love for you keep growin’ strong
Keep growin’ strong

Betcha by golly, wow
You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever
And ever will my love for you

Source: AZ Lyrics.

E.J. Bradford, Jr

His Army photo, the picture his mother clutched in the days after his death.

Emantic “E.J.” Fitzgerald Bradford, Jr (1997?-2018), a Black good guy with a gun, was gunned down by police on November 22nd 2018, Thanksgiving night, at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Alabama. He was trying to save people from a shooter – but all police seemed to see was a Black man with a gun – and gunned him down instead.

Like he was some wild dog:

  • They did not give him orders to drop his gun.
  • They did not give him medical attention.
  • They refused help from a nurse who was at the scene.
  • They did not cover his body.
  • They did not tell his parents.

Very much like Ferguson. And very unlike, say, Dylann Roof, a White bad guy with a gun. Roof was not just taken alive, he was taken to eat at Burger King.

Bradford’s mother:

“I did not want to see pictures of my son laying in a pool of blood and when I accidentally came across it [on the Internet] I broke down. And I can’t get it out of my head. I cannot get the scene out of my head of my child laying there, nobody around him trying to help him, just laying like a piece of trash where everyone can walk around and parade and post pictures of him on social media.”

His father, a retired police officer, called the police that night to find out if it was his son who was killed. They said they would call him back later. Hours passed with no call. He called again. They said they could not tell him anything. But then about 15 minutes later they blasted his son’s picture and name across the news and the Internet, labelling him the mall shooter.

The police did not even wait to go through all the video they had – from body cameras, mall security cameras, and mobile phones. But 17 hours later, presumably after going through the video, they said it was “unlikely” Bradford was the gunman. The real gunman was still at large.

And even then the police still did not call or visit his family.

Bradford had no police record. The oldest son, he worked full-time to help support his mother and was caretaker to his father, who is battling cancer. He was in the Army and was honourably discharged. He had a concealed weapons permit. And Alabama is an open-carry state.

His family wants all the video to be made public. The NAACP wants that and for the FBI to take over the investigation. Currently it is in the hands of the state of Alabama.

Hoover is a White-flight suburb of Birmingham, named after William Hoover, a neo-Nazi. It is a place where the Klan passes out fliers, where teachers use the N-word, where the police are known for stopping Black motorists. Birmingham is 72% Black, Hoover is 72% White.

In 2014, the Hoover police received special training from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security on how do deal with an active shooter – at the Riverchase Galleria mall.

– Abagond, 2018.

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Democracy Now!

“Democracy Now!” (1996- ) of Pacifica Radio is a left-wing, US-based news broadcast that comes out every weekday morning from the Chelsea part of Manhattan. It is sent over radio, television, and the Internet. Amy Goodman, sometimes with help from Juan Gonzalez and Nermeen Shaikh, wryly deadpans her way through the headlines and top issues of the day.

NPR: Some NPR radio stations carry it, but, according to journalism professor Michael V. Marcotte, most NPR stations see it as:

“a soapbox for left-facing causes, and it fails to adhere to NPR standards of journalism. It also sounds like it is produced on the fly with very poor production values.”

NPR values neutrality, aka the centre-left views of upper-middle-class bicoastal Whites.

“Democracy Now!” comes off like it is still 1971: Not just Amy Goodman’s hair and make-up (or lack thereof), but even her choice of news stories and themes: US imperialism (against), the environment (for), and minority right (for). Instead of Vietnam, it is Yemen. Instead of pollution, it is global warming. Etc. The show adores street protests the same way the 11 o’clock news adores fires and the arrests of Black men.

Fact check: It reports news in a fact-based way. Sometimes things are carefully worded, but its facts are generally trustworthy. It has not steered me wrong yet. Media Bias/Fact Check rates it as HIGH – as good as any big-city newspaper and better than CNN.

Political bias: Unashamedly to the left of the Democratic Party, as can be seen from its frequent guests: Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, William Barber, Cornel West, etc. It is a place where left-wing mononyms, like Mumia and Lula, can feel at home. The left is seen as the champion of truth, justice, and equality, the right as the champion of wealth, power, and corruption. Therefore the truth is not a he-said-she-said average between the two. Unlike much of the press, they are not content with mouthing the words of police chiefs or Israeli officials.

Breadth: It covers a broader range than mainstream news – they have been covering war in Yemen and global warming all along, not just when it is the flavour of the week. But they are still clearly US-centric, generally tracking US foreign policy. They cover Black and Native American news stories that fit their themes of protest and equal rights.

Format: Like “PBS NewsHour”, it starts with about ten minutes of headline news followed by panel discussions and interviews of 10 to 15 minutes each. That allows it to get beyond the sound bites. Unlike PBS, its panellists are generally further to the left and less likely to be White men in suits. They are also way more likely to talk to actual protesters.

Funding: It does not run ads or take money from governments or corporations, but it does gladly accept donations from its audience.

Cringeworthy tropes: They do that thing where they never show the dead bodies of White people, but will show those of Black people – and fuzz out those of Brown people.

– Abagond, 2018.

Sources: The Mike Marcotte quote, Media Bias/Fact Check, RationalWiki, Democracy Now!

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Cindy Hyde-Smith

Cindy Hyde-Smith (1959- ), a Trump Republican, has been a US Senator for the state of Mississippi since March 2018, when she was appointed by the governor. On November 27th 2018 she faces Democrat Mike Espy in a run-off election, the last of the 2018 midterm season.

If Hyde-Smith wins she will be Mississippi’s first elected White woman senator ever.

If Espy wins he will be Mississippi’s first Black senator since 1881 when Blanche Bruce left office. Espy needs a heavy Black turnout and at least 20% of the White vote. In 2014 at the last midterm, 17% of Whites voted Democratic.

Mississippi is about two-thirds White and one-third Black. Trump carried the state by 18 percentage points in 2016, but FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver’s outfit, is unwilling to call the run-off election. There has not been enough non-partisan polling on it.

Hyde-Smith has backed Trump 100% in her Senate votes. She is for gun rights, against abortion, and for Trump’s Border Wall. From 2012 to 2018 she was Mississippi’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, an elected position she won twice.

She says she is not racist but:

  • Segregation academies: Both she and her daughter went to segregation academies. Her daughter went to Brookhaven Academy. The town of Brookhaven is 55% Black. Brookhaven Academy has one Black student out of 392.
  • “Mississippi history at its best!”: In 2014 Hyde-Smith, while agricultural commissioner, visited Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library in Biloxi. She posed with a Confederate hat and gun (pictured above) and said:

    “This is a must see. Currently on display are artifacts connected to the daily life of the Confederate Soldier including weapons. Mississippi history at its best!”

  • Voter suppression: In 2018 she said of voter rights:

    “And then they remind me that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”

  • Public hangings: Also in 2018, she said of a supporter, to (White) laughter and applause:

    “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

She said the last two comments were jokes. Ha ha. Walmart, Major League Baseball, AT&T, Pfizer, and others were not amused by the last one. They want their campaign donations back. Walmart said the remark did not reflect their values.

Historical context:

  • Lynching: From 1877 to 1950, Mississippi led the nation in lynchings, ahem, “public hangings”. And that does not even count Emmett Till.
  • Voting rights: In 1890, Mississippi led the nation by becoming the first state to put in place poll taxes and literacy tests, making it “a little more difficult” for Blacks (and poor Whites) to vote. It is a state where at least 63 people died fighting for the right to vote, Medgar Evers among them.
  • State flag: In 2018 Mississippi is the only state to still have the Confederate battle flag as part of its flag:

Oh, and:

  • The Southern Strategy: Since the 1960s Republicans have used racist dog whistles – plausibly deniable racist statements – to appeal to the White working class.

– Abagond, 2018.

Update (November 28th): Cindy Hyde-Smith won by 8 percentage points. A terrible showing for such a deeply red state, but not enough to cost her her seat.

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Loleatta Holloway: Cry to me


They don’t make songs like this anymore – and this one only made it to #10 in 1975 on the US R&B chart. I swear I have heard it sampled somewhere, but I cannot place it. That would not be surprising: In 2011 The Independent says she was “undoubtedly the most sampled female voice in popular music.” In fact, she appeared in this space before as sampled on “Ride on Time” (1989) by Black Box.

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Baby, i see you packing
But it’s no surprise for me
You see, i knew it was coming for a long time
Say what ? no, no i won’t cry
You see i’m a big girl now, and i just can’t cry no more
But there’s something i want you to know:
That i love you, i love you, i love you !
And there’s one more thing i want you to know:
That if you ever need a friend
You can count on me
And honey:

If you’re falling down
And you can’t seem to stay on the ground
And when friends get few
I’ll be there to get you up
And if she puts you down
I’ll be around, so don’t be afraid
Cause i’ll be there to get you up
And if it steal the smiles, rain and shine
If you’re sad or glad, happy or bad
You can cry to me (cry to me)
Cry to me (cry to me)
No matter how harder things got to be
You can cry to me
Cry cry cry cry to me
Now i know i must sound
Just like a fool man love
But i can’t help myself really comes to loving you baby
And i know you said
That our love was true
But if it “don’t” work out
Honey here’s what i want you to do
Dial my number
Knock on the door
Write me a letter
But just let me know
Cause you can cry to me (cry to me)
Honey cry to me (cry to me)
No matter how harder things got to be
You can cry to me (cry to me)
Oh yes you can cry, oh oh oh oh oh
Oh baby, oooh baby how i’m gonna miss you …
Cause we’ve been together for so long
But i know it’s gonna be hard to live without you
But i want you to know that
When times get harder you can dial my number
Knock on my door
Honey send me a telegram
But just let, just let me know
You can cry to me (cry to me)
No matter how harder things got to be
Cry to me (cry to me)

Source: lyrics.az.

In memoriam: Sandra Parks

Sandra Parks (2005-2018), an eighth-grade student at Keefe Avenue School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was shot dead by a stray bullet on Monday night, the 19th. She was seventh child this year in the Milwaukee school district to be murdered.

Mayor Tom Barrett:

“Tragically, her death was caused by someone who just decided they were going to shoot bullets into her house, and she’s dead. A 13-year-old, on Thanksgiving week, on a school night, in her bedroom, and she died.”

In 2017 she came in third place in her school district’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr writing contest.

Here is what she wrote:

Our Truth

Sometimes, I sit back and I have to escape from what I see and hear every day. I put my headphones on and let the music take me away. I move to the beat and try to think about life and what everything means. When I do; I come to the same conclusion… we are in a state of chaos. In the city in which I live, I hear and see examples of chaos almost everyday. Little children are victims of senseless gun violence. There is too much black on black crime. As an African-American, that makes me feel depressed. Many people have Lost faith in America and its ability to be a living example of Dr. King’s dream!

The truth is faith and hope in what people can do, has been lost in the poor choices we make. We shall overcome has been lost in the lie of who we have become! So now, the real truth is, we need to rewrite our story so that faith and hope for a better tomorrow, is not only within us, but we believe it and we put it into actions.

Our first truth is that we must start caring about each other. We need to be empathetic and try to walk in each other’s shoes. We shall overcome when we eliminate the negative and nasty comments people make about each other. We shall overcome, when we love ourselves and the people around us. Then, we become our brothers keeper.

Our second truth is that we need to have purpose. We are the future generation, therefore we must have an education to make a positive difference in the world. We are the future leaders, but if we don’t have an education, we will accomplish nothing. We will overcome, when we use our education to make the world a better place. We will become the next President, law enforcement officers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and law makers. We cannot continue to put the responsibility on other people. It is our responsibility as future leaders!

We must not allow the lies of violence, racism, and prejudice to be our truth. The truth begins with us. Instead of passing each other like ships in the night, we must fight until our truths stretch to the ends of the world.

She wanted to become a writer.

Requiescat in pace.

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