Dear Senator Obama,
I've been meaning to write to you for a while, but I was especially inspired now, after having just listened to the Barack Obama: Yes We Can mixtape put together by Russell Simmons and Green Lantern.
You represent the feelings of the people and work for the unity of American people towards change and progress. That's a beautiful thing and is the hope of the people right here and right now. But to truly be progressive and develop accurate policies you have to be aware of the realities of our people here in America and how we affect the realities of people all across the world.
I was intrigued to hear you mention the murders of labor leaders in Colombia during the last presidential debate. You said it affected your decisions to pursue relations with the Columbian government. I wasn't very aware of the issues in Colombia, but that made me want to learn more. I commend how you also talked about the importance of defending human rights.
A few months ago, in June, the president of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited the United States with her entire cabinet to meet with your campaign as well as McCain's. I'm not sure what communications were made between you two, but to welcome them you made a statement saying that it was an opportunity to "strengthen our historic alliance and discuss a host of issues of mutual interest" between the United States and the Philippines.In your statement, you also expressed your support for the "Balikatan" joint U.S.-Philippine military-to-military activities "to support the Philippines with its ongoing defense reform efforts." This worried me. You then continued about "upgrading and enhancing their equipment and training." As much as I am inspired by your message of hope and change, Senator Obama, your position on this issue is inconsistent with your pro-people principles and human rights advocacy.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ascended to the presidency in 2001 after the overthrow of the previous president by massive public demonstrations and organizing by the Filipino people, injecting the entire nation with hope that their president would bring change and no longer be corrupt, incompetent, and oppressive. But seven years later, the people have been severely disappointed and clearly deceived.
Since she has been in power, Arroyo has waged an all-out war against the Filipino people with outright attacks on their human rights. Today, over 900 community organizers, just like you once were, have been assassinated by her administration and the Philippine military. These people were organizing for community empowerment and addressing the people's needs in urban poor shanty areas in the cities, in rural peasant areas in the provinces, in schools, in churches, in unions, in indigenous villages, and all across the country.
Many were even organizing to put progressive candidates that truly represent the people, just like yourself, into Congress. In the presidential and congressional elections of 2004 and 2007, these organizers were encouraging people to exercise their democratic rights to vote. But they were ordered to be killed by the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Can you imagine? It would be just as if one of your campaign organizers in the one of the states were harmed for supporting you and educating people about your platform. It is utterly reprehensible and is a total violation of what we as people of America believe in. It's a violation of all humanity, of even the basic right to live.
These military activities, that you previously stated your support for, are an essential instrument and agent for such human rights violations. Under the direction of President Arroyo, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been implementing a military policy called Oplan Bantay Laya which has been killing innocent civilians and community organizers as part of their counter-insurgency operations.
In March of this year, your staff met with Edith Burgos, the mother of disappeared agricultural activist Jonas Burgos. She told them of his abduction by 4 armed men at a Metro Manila shopping mall in broad daylight. Their vehicle was later found at military camp yet the military continues to deny that he is in their custody.
Senator Obama, I encourage you to further study the reality of the situation in the Philippines to make a better informed decision on the issues that directly affect us as Americans and as well as our families abroad. Just as you are critical of relations with Colombia, it is imperative that we stop sending our taxpayer dollars to fund the inhumane and repressive Philippine military and government. That money should instead be used for much needed programs and services right here at home.
You can read more about these human rights abuses at karapatan.org (Karapatan, the Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights) and stopthekillings.org. Thank you so much for your time and hard work. I look forward to your successful election as the new President of the United States of America and your implementation of genuine change that truly serves the real needs of the people.
In response to Tadillac's last post, I usually don't like doing things simply cause they fall into a certain category but I think this Progressive Voter Guide is a good way to quickly learn about the 12 different propositions on this year's California Ballot from a "CHANGE we need" point of view. Check it out.
Tomorrow is the NBA's season opener with the Lakers up against the talented, young Blazers. I know the hype right now is around the Bynum/Gasol "twin towers" (how'd I guess people were gonna start calling them that?) thing, but after seeing the Trevor Ariza dunk last Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder (my deepest condolences to all the Seatlle folk), I'm really interested in watching how this dude develops.
Check out this short mix of Trevor Ariza's, aka "The Poster Maker's", posterization. What a nickname!
with all the hype and excitement around the presidential election on Nov. 4th, don't sleep on the crucial propositions on the ballot. if anything remember to vote no on prop 4, no on prop 6 & 9, and no on prop 8.
one of the most dangerous is prop. 4 which would force doctors to notify the parents of a minor who intends to terminate her pregnancy. healthy resources and support for pregnant teens are already limited and this law would make it even harder for young women to receive them. this proposition has been put on the ballot and was defeated twice already. the most fucked-up part of this initiative is that the people who will be most effected by this law (teenage girls) can't even vote on it.
the young women of khmer girls in action made a PSA about prop. 4. even-though they can't vote, these sista's are making sure their voices are heard:
the video might be a little rough but shit, when i was their age i was still trying to light my farts on fire.
For all those looking for a refreshing taste of hip-hop in the midst of all the wackness, you gotta peep the The CounterParts. You can download their mixtape sampler "The Appetizer" for free!
The CounterParts crew consists of 3 MCs (T-Know, Braelan B, Otayo Dubb) who met through hip-hop circles at UC Santa Cruz and 2 producers (Fatgums and Gamma Ray) who have been homies since they were kids drinking 40s in San Francisco.
Not only are the beats bangin', but the rhymes have some insightful political commentary on society, work, and life. It's motivational music that'll you through the stress of the daily grind and help you to maintain focus on the truly important things in life.
One of the really dope things about their songs is that they give love to the DJs with Fatgums and Gamma Ray bringing back DJ Premier-style phrase scratching for a lot of the hooks. Some of my personal favorites are "Luv What We Do", "Guns of Wilmas (feat. Bambu)" and "Dream Deferred".
Be sure to check them out this Saturday, October 25th performing live at the Beatrock Store grand opening in Long Beach!
here's korean american hines ward's beastie-ass, textbook block on linebacker keith richards. richards left the game with a broken jaw...
here's ward last year catching ed reed slippin'!
me like football.
Dang, y'all.. The racists come out at night, and during the day too! A lot of liberals tend to avoid discussing the issue of race and racism in today's society, but this election is sharpening the contradictions and revealing the true state of America for all to see.
It's absurd how the Republican propaganda comes alive and unleashes the racist beliefs of their supporters.. They really believe that shit!!
OHIO - People at a Sarah Palin rally let you know how they really feel about "negroes"..
MISSOURI - The state's newest tourist attraction, a billboard with Obama wearing a turban.
OHIO - Happy Halloween to all the kiddies.. watch out for that Obama ghost! Scary..
i was driving up the 101 to San Jose the other day and i stopped to eat a 10-piece chicken mcnuggets road trip meal to listen to the final presidential debate. it got a little hyphy, especially when McCain almost started crying about "hurtful" accusations about him and people at his rallies..
then when i finally got there, Jess showed me this:
reality in 2008 y'all!
mixtape king dj green lantern and hip hop mogul russell simmons dropped their highly anticipated obama mixtape. leave it to these guys to put names like jay-z, kanye west, david banner, busta rhymes, joell ortiz and styles p on a mixtape for a presidential candidate.
"Letter To Obama" by Joell Ortizdownload
while it's definitely on the cheesy side, and fails to go into depth on any of the real issues, i think it serves its purpose...it gives obama the stamp of approval from todays top artists in order to get this new hip-hop generation interested in the election.
"Lick A Shot" by Jay-Zdownload
one of the best parts about this mixtape is that is has bite-sized snippets of obama's famous speeches over familiar beats. this not only makes his speeches more entertaining, but it allows people (who might not want to watch a long ass convention or a boring ass debate) to find out what the man is about and what all the hype is around.
"My Life" by Barack Obamadownloaddownload entire mixtape
as if this year wasn't bad enough, the southland continues to burn. the flames provide a symbolic backdrop to where our country and environment seem to be headed. during these political and economic times it's hard to see the beauty in the world and easy to get discouraged, even defeated.
lately, one of my favorite song writers has been ben gibbard of death cab. his songs can get pretty emo, but he replaces the cheese with grounded reality. more than anything i appreciate the space his songs provide for your own interpretations, projections, imagery and memories...something that all works of art strive to do. here's one of my favorite tracks of their new album "narrow stairs":
"Grapevine Fires" by Death Cab For CutieDOWNLOAD
this song helped me remember that times like this:
can lead to times like this:
keep ya head up!
today possibly one of the largest hunger strikes in history begins on olvera street in LA. the hunger strike is being organized by an organization called "rise". the action is strategically timed around the election. here are the goals of the fast:
1. Mobilize 1,000,000 People to Vote on November 4, 2008 for Immigrant Rights (obama)!
2. Distribute the Pledge Nationwide and Re-energize the Movement through Infectious Action and Viral Communication Based on the Momentum We Create Collectively.
3. Recruit a Critical Mass of Fasters (water only fast between 1-day to over 3 weeks) to Make a Deep Personal Sacrifice for the La Causa.
4. Build the Encampment at La Placita Olvera in Downtown Los Angeles, Make It a Visual Representation of Our Strength and Numbers.
5. Donate to the RISE Movement In Order to Strengthen the “Fast For Our Future” Campaign and Mobilize Future Nonviolent Actions.
you can do all of the above at the rise website. if anything, please sign the pledge (it really takes 5 seconds) and forward the website to your peoples. we need to get a milli people to sign it! here's a video about the campaign:
i.c.e. (immigrant and customs enforcement) raids have been happening all year long where agents bust into homes at 5am and take anyone who is suspected to be undocumented. those people are then either illegally detained or deported separating family members from each other. talk about terrorism, this shit needs to stop!
starting today my film Pilgrimage will be running continuously in the famima! store on hollywood blvd as part of the week long Freewaves Festival of Experimental Media Art. the annual festival showcases "culturally relevant, uncensored experimental video and digital art" but in very creative ways like projecting shit on store windows, videos on public buses and cell phones.
my film is also being streamed on KCET's website as part of the festival along with four other pieces.
if your in la you should try and check out the festival, they have most of hollywood blvd. between wilcox ave. and orange drive filled with video installations. check out the festival map and schedule.
i still got pilgrimage dvd's and some hoodies from sundance available for sale! hit me if you want to cop any.
as undergrads at ucla, having just got our feet wet in this video shit, e.t. talked me, michele gutierrez and christine araquel into filming the pilipino culture night. having no idea what we were doing we met with a.j. calomay who basically put us on game. ever since then, a.j. and his crew at xylophone films along with his homie patricio ginelsa of kid hero productions have been huge role-models for both of us.
here's patricio and a.j.'s latest latest voting psa starring christine:
you can cop the philip vera cruz t-shirt that christine is wearing at beatrock.
the first time that a.j and patricio worked with christine was for the native guns music video for "champion":
Here's some REAL Mass Movement shit.
Human beings can definitely learn something from those buffalo. Power to the Buffalo.
Gotta mention that I was FINALLY able to catch Blue Scholars last Thursday at the Catalyst for their last show of their Freshly Dipped tour with Hieroglyphics. Gotta give a big THANKS to the SCTV crew for letting me skip out on the orientation that I, for some weird ass reason, forgot was at the same time as the show. It was literally down to the last minute that I thought I was gonna have to miss 'em again. The orientation was worth missing for the show cause Blue Scholars KILLED it! They got the crowd goin' and turned that shit into a big ass party!
though not as clever and insightful as brian's answers in the previous post, palin's interviews and speeches on national television are just as hilarious, scary and depressing, but still hilarious.
luckily, msnbc compiled a stream of palin's greatest hits...so far:
i just ran into this while surfing the net. it was made by Anakbayan-Seattle for their 5th anniversary on November 30, 2007 and it's like Dave Chapelle's "Ask A Black Dude"... pretty damn hilarious.
(featuring folks from the Mass Line Media record label)
you know the economy is bad when one of your favorite r&b singers has to resort to pimp'n and skinning livestock for warmth! yes y'all, that's kc from jodeci.
speaking of jodeci, this remix video is still the shit! oooh, the mid-90's vest...