Category: Uncategorized

blowback in the windy city

June 12th, 2012 — 7:06pm

(read the book free online - get a copy for your Kindle - read the Reddit AMA)

A little while back al-Qaeda’s American-born spokesman “Adam the American” released a video exhorting Muslims in America to wage the “death by a-thousand cuts” version of jihad.  Instead of looking to stage large dramatic attacks which would require months of preparation and planning, he implored would-be jihadis to simply buy guns and start shooting people:

Muslims in the West have to remember that they are perfectly placed to play an important and decisive part in the jihad against the Zionists and Crusaders, and to do major damage to the enemies of Islam waging war on their religion, sacred places, and brethren.  This is a golden opportunity.

“The way to show one’s appreciation and thanks for this blessing, is to rush to discharge one’s duty to his [community] and fight on its behalf with everything at his disposal.  And in the West you’ve got a lot at your disposal. Let’s take America as an example, American is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms…

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Comment » | Chicago, domestic terror, innercity violence, news, politics, racial inequality, terrorism, Uncategorized, war on drugs

New Black Panthers and Jesse Jackson warn of impending unrest

October 5th, 2011 — 12:24pm

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

It doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to imagine that the sky really is falling this time.

A few decades ago Malcolm X basically threw himself under the political bus by speculating that JFK’s assassination was simply the proverbial chickens coming home to roost, a statement that got him all but kicked out of the Nation of Islam.  After the fact he claimed that the statement just referred to the fact he wasn’t surprised an assassination occurred given the pervasive climate of hatred in America at the time, although it doesn’t seem too much of a jump to imagine that perhaps he might have been referring to American interventionism abroad finally returning to bite the nation in her backside.

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Comment » | current affairs, domestic terror, racial inequality, terrorism, Uncategorized, war on drugs

the number frightened

August 8th, 2011 — 7:51am

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

Here’s a sad truth, expressed by a Londoner when asked by a television reporter: Is rioting the correct way to express your discontent?

“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”

The TV reporter from Britain’s ITV had no response. So the young man pressed his advantage. “Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard,  more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

-’s World Blog

The ongoing riots in and around London highlight the truth behind an old Arab proverb:  “victory is not gained by the number killed, but by the number frightened.”  The formative entropy that began when a Tunisian fruit-dealer immolated himself on the street has finally rippled out across borders of the Arab world and into the West.

But this isn’t the first time an act of public violence somewhere else in the world has started a movement that ends up resonating inside the West as well.

As one century melded into the next, a different sort of terrorism began to stir in the core of the world’s great power.

Like others before, it was rooted in protest against the oppressive policies of what it saw as an immoral and corrupt government. A government that was seen by many as having no right to be exercising any influence over the lives of a people and occupying its lands. A government that hadn’t been legitimately elected by its people and was seen by many as serving the interests of a wealthy elite while ignoring the moral and social degeneration going on inside the nation.

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the water is wider

August 5th, 2011 — 9:31am

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

Along the banks of the Mississippi, simmering tensions that should’ve been judicially dissolved over fifty-years ago have recently roiled back to the surface.  Due to the growing likelihood of financial dissolution, the school district that governs inner-city Memphis schools recently voted forfeit its charter and force a merger with neighboring Shelby County, a much wealthier and much whiter district.

Families in Shelby County aren’t exactly thrilled, its Board of Education sued to block the merger and referred to the proposed melding as a “hostile surrender.” And Memphis is far from alone.

Since the economy began to tank in 2008, thirty-four states and Washington D.C. have been forced to make cuts in K-12 education, with many of those cuts affecting the poor and disadvantaged.  Examples of this include Arizona eliminating support for disadvantaged elementary school kids, California cutting help for high-need students, and Illinois ending a program aimed at reading and study skills of at-risk students.

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the color of money

July 31st, 2011 — 10:29am

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

A newly released report from the Pew Research Center about the inescapably color-coded impact of the recent recession brought some startling data to light: the median net-worth of a white family is now 20 times that of a black family, nearly doubling the size of the pre-recession gap.  The wealth differential between whites and minorities in America is now at an all-time high, a startling reality that was reported on by many major news organizations.

But no one explored the long-standing economic disparities that existed between races in America long before the current economic crisis emerged, or even attempts to get to the root of the issue.  Roots which extend back to the birth of sub-prime mortgages, an industry that wasn’t about classifying the mortgages themselves but instead about categorizing and labeling the people applying for them based on one important and decisive factor.

Plenty of articles mentioned the fact that between 2005 and 2009 although white families saw their median wealth fall by 16%, blacks watched their median wealth plummet 53%.  Much of the disparity is accounted for by the Pew Research Center as a result of declines in media home equity, but why should black and white homes have such different values?

Eminem seemed to have no sense of the irony that was invoked as his self-consciously white autobiographical film, 8 Mile, highlighted the hopeless plight of Detroit’s urban black community that’s existed for generations. The 8 Mile district was created in 1941, when a six-foot wall was built around a black enclave that was deemed unfit to accept loans from the Federal Housing Administration. This was “part of a system that divided the whole city, in theory by credit-rating, in practice by colour.” And so the segregation that emerged in Detroit “was not accidental, but a direct consequence of government policy.”1

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March 11th, 2011 — 6:23pm

available in print next week, like on Facebook or follow on Twitter to get the announcement!!

- what Amazon readers are saying about Tremble the Devil -

“The most accessible book on terrorism ever written  -  An eye-opening read, deeply philosophical and scathing in the  best way  -  Brilliant, and wonderfully written on top of that  -  No right or left, just facts and history  -  A hugely absorbing and very timely offering – There is no question that when it comes to terrorism, Tremble the Devil  is the textbook  -  I highly recommend this book for those who want to  know more about terrorism, the origin of radical Islam and its  fingerprint in the world today  – Cuts through the media blather to give an honest accounting of  the sort of complexity inherent in analyzing and understanding the  phenomenon of terror  -  No other author has so intricately written about terrorism in such detail”

Tremble the Devil tells terrorism’s story using engaging allusions to everyone and everything from Jesus Christ to Beer Pong and from Malcolm X to Friday the Thirteenth. Each chapter begins with a hook taken from artists ranging from the Rolling Stones and Jay-Z, to William Blake and Tupac Shakur. And it packages the social insights of The Tipping Point along with the compelling colloquial style of Freakonomics.

All of this is woven together in an intriguing and salient book that reads like a novel.

It is, however, a work of non-fiction that divides the aforementioned three levels of comprehension into three parts, and illustrates terrorism theory by recounting the most important modern attacks and tying them to the past, each other, and the future – in the process creating the richest and most complete work on terrorism to date, a book that will change the way you look at everything from organized religion to sports drinks.

Tremble the Devil is a lucid explanation of terrorism in all its forms, you can get yourself a copy below, or spend as much time as you’d like reading the entire book online – totally for free.

- get the e-book for your Kindle

(or download the free Kindle app for your iPad, Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone)

- get the e-book for your Nook -

- get the e-book for your Sony Reader -

Tremble the Devil is the first work of non-fiction that’s available up online in its entirety for free, but after reading a bit and deciding you’d like to keep going offline you can purchase a lend-able copy for your Kindle from Amazon, and if you don’t have a Kindle but would still like to read the book offline you can always download the free Kindle app for your iPhone, PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPad, Android, or Windows Phone.  Besides reading Tremble the Devil that’ll also allow you to download and read anything off of Amazon, including their selection of free books – including dozens of the classics.

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because we destroyed ourselves

November 2nd, 2010 — 6:41am

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

As our financial crisis deepens and the schisms between the haves and the have-nots continue to open, American drug laws and the prison system they’ve helped create are beginning to gather an increasingly harsh spotlight.  But so what. It’s not like the War on Drugs, begun almost two generations ago in 1973, has done anything to increase the growing level of economic disparity in America… right?

A lot happened in 1973.

It was a few years after Nixon slammed the gold window shut, the waning hours of a decapitated Civil Rights movement, when the kindling of an energy crisis was beginning to pile up, and the year we began to disentangle ourselves from Vietnam.

But it also marks the genesis of the War on Drugs, the year the Rockefeller Drug Laws were passed. And that same year something funny happened: the income gap between black and white began to widen back out, instead of closing – as it had been up until 1973.

Maybe the fact that upon their arrest two-thirds of male prisoners had been their family’s primary earner, and that upon their release their annual earnings are cut by 40% has something to do with it?

Did the start of the War on Drugs play a significant role in creating our present economic and social realities – where the average black family has eight-cents of wealth for every dollar owned by whites, and a black child is nine-times more likely than a white child to have a parent in prison?1

We’ve certainly come a long way as a nation since Abolition, but the horrible reality is that a black child who was born during slavery was more likely to be raised by both parents than a black child born during the twenty-first century.  As Fredrick Douglass explained, during slavery it was common practice to separate children born into slavery from their birth-mothers before their first birthday. Which makes perfect sense when you consider that under slavery blacks were human chattel, and separating newborns calves from their mothers is just what you do with livestock.

Things had been looking up for black families, back in 1963 as MLK gave his “I Have A Dream” speech about 70% of black families were headed by a married couple. But that percentage steadily began to drop, between 1970 and 2001 it declined by 34%, twice the white rate, and by 2002 it had bottomed out at just 48%.

As the Arab world is wracked by the spasms of popular violence brought on by their social and economic inequality, many Americans have begun to stop and consider the possibility that violent fissures in our own society may begin to open.  Much has been made of the emerging upperclass in American society, but the reality is that with the average white family over ten-times as wealthy as the average black family – no economic disparity is starker than the one that correlates directly with race.

Is all of this just coincidence, or is there demonstrable cause-and-effect at work?  Are things bad enough to cause the Department of Justice to deliberately massage their own data, and effectively remove mixed-race prisoners from their statistics entirely?

If you’re familiar American drug laws, it shouldn’t surprise you that some 90% of those arrested under the Rockefeller Drug Laws in the first years after its passing were minorities.  In fact, the impact of the War on Drugs has been so racially biased that the United States now has a greater percentage of its black population in prison than South Africa did at the height of Apartheid.  Our penal system has grown so massive that the U.S. criminal justice system now employs more people than America’s two largest private employers, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, combined.

The explaination is not that blacks simply use drugs at a higher rate than whites.  If anything, studies have shown that whites, “particularly white youths, are more likely to engage in drug crime than people of color.”  Surveys published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reported that compared to black students white students were seven times as likely to use cocaine, eight times as likely to use crack cocaine, seven times as likely to use heroine, and were a third more likely to have sold illegal drugs.

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accidental guerrillas in our midst

July 10th, 2010 — 8:37am

(learn more about the book at the “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit)

After London’s suburbs were wracked by the worst riots in a generation after a young black man was shot to death by the police, it becomes even more obvious that any vague talk of an impending revolution of the “poor” in America against the “Super Rich” is overlooking one very obvious reality of our present demographics.

Maybe it doesn’t mean much to you that the average black family has eight-cents of wealth for every dollar of wealth owned by whites, that the the ongoing recession has doubled the wealth gap between blacks and whites, or that the unemployment rate of blacks is edging up on twice as high as the white rate – easily surpassing it when you count incarcerated blacks. After all, a black child in American is nine-times more likely than a white child to have a parent who’s locked up.

But let’s look into the data and the implications a little bit more, because no economic disparity is starker than the one that correlates directly with race.

The very idea of what it means to be poor is color-coded, as while 1 in 3 blacks live in poverty, less than 1 in 10 whites do.  Despite making up roughly 13% of the population, African-Americans only control one-point-three percent of America’s net financial assets.  And yet the very definition of poverty itself now varies to the point of absurdity, since “poverty level whites control nearly as many mean net financial assets as the highest-earning blacks, $26,683 to $28,310. For those surviving at or below the poverty level, this indicates quite clearly that poverty means one thing for whites and another for blacks.”

And as the real estate market crashed blacks have suffered much more severely than whites. Even when income and credit are controlled for, black families now have their homes foreclosed on and are on their way to being kicked out into the streets over three-times as often as white families.

The impact of these facts have echoed across generations, as nearly three-quarters of all black children grow up in homes with no net financial assets. That’s nearly double the rate of white kids.  And nine in ten black kids grow up in homes without enough monetary reserves to last more than three months at the poverty line if their income were to drop, roughly four times the white ratio.

Good thing our African-American population doesn’t have anything else to be ticked off about.

It’s hard to imagine a more poetic dichotomy than LeBron James furiously stroking his ego all over the national media during a one-hour ESPN special at the exact same time Oakland’s African-American community was threatening to begin a slow-motion implosion.  While every major news channel was busy fluffing LeBron, a jury lacking a single black member ruled that Johannes Mehserle, the cop who shot Grant in the back after he was called a “bitch-ass nigger” and while he was handcuffed facedown on the ground, was guilty only of involuntary manslaughter.

The legal equivalent of accidentally jumping a curb and running someone over with your car, admitting only that Grant is in fact dead and Mehserle’s reckless – but possibly accidental – actions lead to his death.

Folks in Oakland were, understandably, just a little bit unhappy.

Any outside element seeking to sow the seeds of dissension and unrest in America doesn’t have to squint too hard to see that there are potentially hundreds of thousands of other men who might be a little bit pissed off and a little bit predisposed to violence.

Men who have spent time in prison, have no jobs, no love for the police – and who might jump at the idea of killing a few of them. And the nation we’re currently engaging in a soft nuclear detente with is easily the most likely to try and take advantage of this situation, which was best illustrated by what Iran did at the very start of the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Right after they released all the women and children, they released one other subset of the hostages.

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overtaken by events

July 3rd, 2010 — 3:32am

California is going to explode. And it’s not just because of the $18.6 billion dollars in cuts that Arnold is going to have to make, which is going to include eliminating entire welfare programs.

The budget crisis, unemployment, all of that is going to the last of your average Californian’s worries before the summer’s out. Probably the last of many of our worries, as what begins in California will inevitably spread to many of our doorsteps. Getting to that point though, that requires a little bit of explaining.

In one of the opening scenes of the coming-of-age cinematic classic Dazed and Confused, the history teacher yells after her class on the last day of school that over the summer during the holiday weekend “when you’re being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth Of July brouhaha,” they shouldn’t forget “what you’re celebrating, and that’s the fact a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, rich white males didn’t want to pay their taxes.”

There’s a lot of truth to that sentiment, although it’s not something anyone studies much in high school – where we focus on the social and philosophical elements of the American Revolution and, for the most part, ignore its underlying economic element. But if those rich white men had been taxed more fairly, the Revolution might never have occurred. Something you’re reminded of every time you see the cheeky slogan on a DC license plate.
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