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Save the self-righteousness; unity prevails – an analysis of the second round of democratic debates


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Carlos Osorio/AP/Shutterstock (10351650a) Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit Election 2020 Debate, Detroit, USA – 31 Jul 2019
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Nobody is perfect, and its time candidates start acknowledging that before they are made to look foolish when, in response to lambasting a fellow candidate’s track record, their own record is embarrassingly illuminated. 

Most importantly, for the Democratic Party and for American voters who want to defeat Donald Trump in the general election, Americans and candidates alike must realize the debates and primaries are a competition, and ultimately, the final nominee must have the full-fledged support of a united Democratic Party, and a united America. 

Competition is the very nature of these debates, which is healthy, but a self-righteous attitude will only serve one cause – the reelection of the least righteous person possible – Donald Trump.

When Tulsi Gabbard went after Kamala Harris, her own record of coziness with dictators like Bashar al-Assad came into the spotlight.

While Bill de Blasio spent his entire night as a moderator berating Joe Biden, Gillibrand questioned why the police officer responsible for Eric Garner’s death was not immediately fired.

Joe Biden is clearly the frontrunner in these debates, because it seems as though every other candidate’s only path to the spotlight was by tugging at his coattail, instead of offering and explaining their own policies and solutions.

Joe Biden needs to be more confident in himself. 

Despite his colleague Cory Booker’s invocations, serving as VP to the first African-American president of the US, Barack Obama is a remarkable feat. 

But what Biden needs to employ is an Obama-like approach — that is, more confidence in himself. This will allow him to focus more on his vision, rather than that of former President Obama’s legacy. 

It will also allow him to be more effective in rebuttals to critiques. 

For example, when asked about the deportation of undocumented immigrants, he was right when he stated that suggesting Obama could be equated with Trump was plainly ridiculous. Obama shielded 11,000,000 immigrants from deportation and granted childhood arrivals, now called Dreamers, under the DACA bill, a chance for employment and higher education. 

President Trump attempted and is still trying to dismantle this law, but the courts and democratic institutions of this country are preventing him from doing so. 

But Joe Biden could have gone even further and stated the facts — President Obama’s executive action in 2014 on immigration called for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to target criminals — not families. 

In 2015, 91% of people removed from the US were previously convicted of a crime. 

Healthcare, immigration, foreign policy, economic equality, racism and climate change are all pressing issues. They will define the trajectory of US prosperity and competitiveness for years to come. What is certain is that none of these problems will be solved if Democrats pursue a self-righteous attitude.

Kamala Harris seemed fatigued and emotionally overwhelmed. Tulsi Gabbard sounded entirely void of any emotion at all. De Blasio was itching to replace Dana Bash or Don Lemon on the moderator’s stand.  

While Cory Booker and Julián Castro were poised and composed, there still seemed to be a lack of experience emanating through their emotionally driven appeals to the American people. 

America is a democracy. Liberals are struggling to cope with the various strands of leftism within their own circle. 

Progressive politics and idealism must be met with pragmatism and realism, and approach mastered by former President Obama, whose center left approach attracted votes from people on the right side of the political spectrum. 

Healthcare is a right, but so is the freedom to choose between private and public healthcare, a point Kamala Harris struggled to grapple with.

Selective morality has no place in the Democratic Party. Whether it’s Kim Jong-un, Mohammad bin Salman, Bashar al-Assad, Recep Erdogan, Benjamin Netanyahu, or Vladimir Putin — anybody who is cozy with tyrants should be held accountable.

Saddam didn’t possess WMDs but he gassed Iraqi Kurds. Would Tulsi Gabbard have met with him too? It is not the job of the US to intervene militarily in other countries — it is neither the US’ moral position to support dictators like Assad, or any other.

American must exhibit a moral stance, but nations must be allowed to solve their problems within their sovereignty. 

It is in fact because of a disregard for sovereignty, a legacy of imperialism that continues today, whether it is lead by Russia, China, Europe or America, that these dictators exist in the first place, in the Middle East, Latin America, East or Central Asia. 

This is why Republicans protect them or, when things go awry, replace them with something worse.

Because they don’t respect sovereignty.

Acting like there is a perfect candidate is what allows for the most imperfect candidate to become president. It’s called self righteousness. Candidates must be held accountable yes, but they should be sure to also look in the mirror and to gauge by relativity too. 

This is what Joe Biden is trying to communicate but it’s a challenge when the entire stage is filled with younger, less experienced politicians that are playing the self-righteous game. Everyone has dirt on their hands. How much is the question.

When it’s all said and done, Democrats unite. This is a competition for one position. But just imagine if Biden or Warren win, and the next 4-5 respective frontrunners form the cabinet. Their good ideas would be there, but their not so good ideas wouldn’t supersede executive judgment. 

In conclusion, the winners of these debates appear most to be Elizabeth Warren, who has mastered the art of political communication and self-defense; Joe Biden, whose experience and firmness will allow him to match up against the empty brained bullying tactics of Donald Trump; & Bernie Sanders, whose diligence and consistency has kept him on the frontlines. 

Who remains on the stage for the next Democratic debates will be the greatest determinant of the effectiveness of the candidates’ performances. 

Albums are Dead. And Streaming Killed Them. Here’s How:


“Albums are Dead. And Streaming Killed Them.” is the title of a new collaborative EP being released by Nas & Frederich Nietzche.

But all jokes aside.

Here is my explanation:

This reality, or my perception of it rather, is not necessarily a bad thing. Albums are just EPs with a bunch of fillers that artists are typically too egotistical to remove and executive producers are too inefficient to recognize.

What is bad about the streaming era, however is the payout for artists. There must be legislation granting artists greater leverage over streaming platforms which are basically the unmerited capitalists of the artistic laborers. Keep in mind, rich capitalists are arbitrary owners of resources, rich entrepreneurs are crafty workers and innovators.

Once upon a time ago people bought albums. There was no Spotify or Apple Music. iTunes somewhat changed the game, but still, you could buy singles or full albums. You weren’t overloaded with millions of artists and streaming them each for .007 cents per song with a monthly subscription. Since you paid $10-15 for an album, you were more likely to listen to the whole thing, get your money’s worth, even if that meant listening to the “filler tracks”.

Streaming ended that process.

The album is dead. The artist now is the album.

Because of easier and more disposable accessibility, fans can choose to skip over tracks after 15 seconds in without feeling guilt for wasting money. What’s one song to a billion others?

Take Drake’s Scorpion, for example. If it were up to me, I’d have the album condensed into the following records:

  1. God’s Plan
  2. Blue Tint
  3. Mob Ties
  4. Can’t Take a Joke
  5. Nonstop
  6. In My Feelings
  7. Is There More

No disrespect to Drake. That’s one of my top 5 artists. And his producers are incredible, particularly 40, who is also of Palestinian descent, like myself, and has inspired much of my sound.

The same applies to Kamikaze. Em is my favorite artist ever. I think if he had condensed Kamikaze to the following tracklist, it would have been even more enjoyable. And maybe if he added two more tracks, although I know he didn’t want to put a “diss track” on the album.

  1. The Ringer
  2. Greatest
  3. Lucky You
  4. Fall
  5. Not Alike
  6. The Storm
  7. Killshot

Kendrick Lamar hasn’t had a solid piece of rap material since Section .80. That’s an unpopular opinion. Even to him. I love him, but to me, there were about 5-7 songs off Section .80 that could have been condensed into an EP.

  1. Fuck Your Ethnicity
  2. Hold Up
  3. A.D.H.D
  4. Chapter Six
  5. Poe Man’s Dreams
  6. Kush & Corinthians
  7. Blow My High

The same applies to good kid m.A.A.d. city.

  1. Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe
  2. Money Trees
  3. Poetic Justice
  4. Backseat Freestyle
  5. m.A.A.d city
  6. Swimming Pools
  7. The Recipe

Since then, the only stand out tracks by Kendrick have been Humble & DNA. To Pimp A Butterfly was conscious, but musically it didn’t do it for me.

You see what people don’t understand is socio-economics. A lot of decisions are made based on the technology and social, political and economic conditions of the time. Albums were a byproduct of all of those influences up until 2012, when streaming really kicked off. Now that you are exposed to a plethora of artists – some of whom you aren’t even interested in – and now that you can skip over tracks at your discretion without a sense of guilt for wasting money – streaming has turned the artist into the album, and has officially replaced the album with the EP & singles. Like I said, the only bad thing about this is that streaming services need to pay more per stream. A lot more. Or else they’ve become the “new record labels”, along with the editorials and blogs that pretend to care about quality but perpetuate the cycle of promoting what is already known.

The last album I bought was Magna Carta Holy Grail. I enjoyed it. But there were definitely some fillers. 4:44 had two good songs in my opinion, The Story of OJ & Marcy Me, which were magnificent. Everything is Love wasn’t my cup of tea, except for Ape Shit, although, I think it would have been just as hard without Jay on the track, ironically. No disrespect, again.

Just so you can get an insight of what I listen to, here are my top 10 favorite hip-hop artists of all time. A little context.

  1. Eminem
  2. Jay-Z
  3. Lil Wayne
  4. Biggie
  5. Drake
  6. Tupac
  7. Mase
  8. Kendrick Lamar
  9. 50 Cent
  10. Mobb Deep

J Cole is climbing up the ladder. But that’s only cause of K.O.D., No Role Modelz & Middle Child. I need more of that. And maybe he’ll end up on my top 10. Just a “critical opinion”.

I Stand With Ilhan


Congresswoman Ilhan Omar

Criticizing an oppressive nation-state does not fit the definition of racism. If one is to however direct hatred towards a particular “nation” or “group” of people, such as the Jewish People, The Muslim People, African, LGBT, etc, this is classified is racism/prejudice.

We cannot afford to be selective and play favorites with the definition of racism. Racism is racism. The State of Israel is exclusionary, discriminates against Arabs, Armenians, Muslims, Christians, oppresses & polices Palestinians, and has for half a century stolen soil.

Ilhan Omar is being publicly crucified for standing up for an oppressed people. Many Jewish people sympathize with her sentiments regarding the Palestinians as well as Israel. Thus this is a clear agenda to limit responsible freedom of speech by conflating it with anti-semitism.

This insults all those who died & suffered as a result of real anti-semitism.

I don’t see any Republicans or Democrats convening to backlash against Trump’s use of anti-semitic iconography against Hillary Clinton – nor do I see a majority of both parties forcing the resignation of Steve King for his outright support of white nationalism.

Privilege enables double standards. And privilege is just a nice word for racism.

I say this as an Armenian descendant of the Genocide, yet to be recognized by either America, UK, or – ironically – Israel. The Armenian Genocide is the first Holocaust of the 20th century. Yet Israel, born right after the Holocaust that claimed the lives of 6 million Jewish people, refutes the claim as though it were echoing Nazi or Fascist Turkish historical revisionism. Quite a travesty. I say this also as a grandson of my Palestinian-Armenian grandmother, who was forced from her home in Haifa to Damascus, Syria as a result of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine. This is not just something I read about. It is something I was born with.

And yet, there is little mention of the Islamophobia, racism and stereotypes being used to harass Ilhan Omar herself. She has received death threats, been called pejorative statements like “terrorist”, etc. The double standard is not absurd, it is tactical. And that, my friends, is scary.