Back during the Buju Banton controversy I googled up a storm looking for reggae artists with any kind of gay-positive message.  I was amazed that I could find nothing, nowhere.  It was really depressing.

A few years later a friend of mine sent an email entitled “Reggae’s First Pro-Gay Song.”  I was expecting  an ironic meme along the lines of what gets passed around on Facebook, but it was an actual Youtube link to an artist going by mistah majah p.  And he took on the issue head-on, trying to make up for decades of homophobia in one song.  He’s on his third disk now, and many of his songs deal with homophobia.

If anyone knows of any other, please let me know.

It’s a very lonely courageous stand he’s taking.  Some of the comments in the video threads indicate some serious flack.  Would love to see him come to Humboldt County, maybe even Reggae on the River.  I will be delivering the demo disks to Justin – I can’t judge whether the music is good in terms of the prevailing standards, though he did win some awards in Canada.

Here’s his website.

Here are some examples.

And this song is directed at a few of the “murder music” artists.


Thanks to Bob Doran for sending me this Tanya Stephens link!

I’ll be hosting a discussion between representatives of the Mateel Community Center and Queer Humboldt about the inclusion of Sizzla Kalonji in the ROTR line-up this last weekend.  Sizzla is on a list of eight Reggae performers who are opposed by many in the LGBTQ communities as purveyors of what is often referred to as “murder music” – song lyrics which advocate lethal violence against LGTBQ people.   The discussion begins at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 18 on KMUD.  When I have a finalized list of guests, I will post those names.

I will expand this post with more thoughts later, but here is the press conference held by Sizzla at the event.  Sizzla’s handlers insisted that no reporter ask questions about homophobia, but one reporter did manage to slide into the discussion of violence and the renunciation thereof.  When asked if he would renounce violence, he said, “Yes.”  Whether this amounts to a renunciation of the lyrics he has written, I can’t say.  He did one time make a promise which was subsequently broken.


The following passage is from a North Coast Journal article on the presser.

Sizzla lyrics include the lines: “Boom, boom. Queers must be killed” (from “Boom Boom”); “Sodomites and queers, I say death to them,” (from “Get to Da Point”), and “Burn the men who have sex with men from behind” (from “Pump Up”). In 2004 Amnesty International documented Sizzla using the Jamaican slur equivalent to “faggot,” urging crowds to “kill dem battyboys.” In late 2014, he was banned from subsequently performing at a major music festival in Kingston, Jamaica, after including anti-gay and lesbian verses in his set. As Bob Doran reported in the Mad River Union, it would seem we owe his presence in Humboldt this year to the fact that the conflicting appearance originally scheduled for the same weekend at Belgium’s Reggae Geel festival had been cancelled earlier on account of protests, which ratcheted up after a video reportedly surfaced of Kalanji making homophobic statements at a Jamaican nightclub in January of this year.

In response to the breakout of the controversy on local media last week, the Mateel released the following statement to several members of the press in response to inquiries.

Hi Thad, Ryan, and Kym,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your emails yesterday.  We were having some internet issues and obviously we are in full swing with the production of the event, so we have a lot going on right now.  Please note that Sizzla has been booked on the show since we first announced the line-up over 5 months ago- and we received no concerns about him being on the bill until very recently- despite a great deal of local publicity.  That said, we now recognize there are concerns within the community about his appearance on the show.  We have an assurance from management that no derogatory speech will occur and have protocol in place to pull the plug on his performance should anything like this happen.  We will also be posting a values statement at our artist merchandise booth and will be talking from the stage (and in our press tent) encouraging our audience to sign this document with the intent to share it with his management and send a message about where we stand as a community and to underscore what we expect from our artists- with the ultimate goal of fostering real dialogue on an issue that is sadly pervasive in Jamaican culture.  To this end, we will also be utilizing funds from our 2016 Ambassador Program- which funnels 10% of funds from our Ambassador ticket sales to global charities related to reggae culture- to directly support the work of an NPO in Jamaica that is working to combat this issue and foster tolerance and understanding regarding the LGBTQ community.  I hope this helps answer some of your questions…

Justin Crellin
General Manager
Mateel Community Center

I have some other thoughts and information I will post later.

Oxford Professor David Robert Grimes has proposed an equation for the likelihood of the validity of a conspiracy theory based on its survivability rate using several factors including the extent of time required for a cover-up, the amount of people necessarily involved, the likelihood of whistle-blowing or accidental leak, and how much upkeep would be required to maintain the cover-up as it relates to media interest and other factors.


He focuses on four conspiracy theories requiring cover-ups: faked moon landing; that climate climate change is a fraud; the vaccine-autism connection, and that pharmaceutical companies are suppressing cancer cures.

From Live Science:

To estimate the chances that any one person would reveal secret activities, Grimes looked at three actual leaked conspiracies: the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, which was brought to light in 2013 by NSA contractor Edward Snowden; the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, in which a then-new treatment of penicillin was withheld from infected participants in the experiment, finally exposed by Peter Buxtun in 1972 ; and the pseudoscientific forensic tests of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that resulted in innocent men being held or even executed for crimes they didn’t commit. It took six years, 25 years and six years for the three conspiracies to be exposed, respectively. With those numbers, he found the odds of a conspiracy-ending leak, whether accidental or deliberate, could be as low as around 4 in 1 million. [The Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths Busted]

Grimes then calculated the potential success of the four conspiracies that continue to garner support. He used the best-case scenario for the conspirators, where the fewest number of people are involved who could leak such undercover machinations. The moon landing had an advantage over the other three scenarios because it could’ve potentially occurred without having to bring in new conspirators to preserve the hoax — this means the only people who are keeping secrets die off over time. Using peak NASA employment numbers from 1965 (411,000 people), and allowing for the fact that those involved would eventually die, the moon hoax still lasts less than four years, according to Grimes’ calculations. In the end, Grimes finds that if any more than 650 people were involved in creating the moon hoax and keeping it a secret, the cat would be out of the bag.

Using the same equation but modifying it to consider the need for added conspirators, the “lie” of climate change would last nearly 27 years if only scientists were involved in the cover-up, but under four years if scientific bodies were to take part. The vaccination conspiracy makes it to almost 35 years if it’s confined to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, but is revealed in three years and two months if drug companies are co-conspirators. The suppression of a cancer cure — maintained by Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi, Merck and Co., Johnson and Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca — fails after around three years and three months as well.

Naturally, people want his head and have tried to get him fired.

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

― Margaret Mead

I wish I could attribute this photo.  If anyone has any leads, please let me know.

Eyes 327

I’ve got some thoughts I’m going to be sharing about the event and what’s in the news.  I’m working on it.  But there’s no reason to let the light that was there be eclipsed.  This was a great moment.

The threshold for a candidate to make it into the debates is 15 percent or greater poll results in 5 national polls (I assume the Debate Commission has a list) within a certain amount of time prior to the election.  Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson hasn’t reached that result in any polls so far, but he’s come close at 12 and 13 percent in a couple of polls.   Accordingly, plans are being made to ensure room on the stage in case he (or possibly even Green Party candidate Jill Stein who is polling 2 to 6 percent at this point) qualifies.

I have a problem with these rules.  For one, polling is less reliable today than 30 years ago as landlines are declining and landline based polls always under-represent younger voters.  The pollsters can sometimes account for statistical differences, but they generally have to assume that cell-phone users vote similarly to land phone users of the same age.  There are polls which have computers make totally random dials in order to incorporate cell-phones, but under federal law you can’t have a computer ring a cell-phone and then have the recipient wait for a real person to come on the line.  Moreover, because they have to pay for the time, cell-phone users are less likely to participate even when reached.

That is not to say that polling is useless.  Even with ineffectual sampling, polls are good at tracking movement from one candidate to another (or from undecided to a candidate).  And the polling average methods used by statisticians like Nate Silver have generated accuracy from the crowd even if individual polls are inaccurate.  However, even Nate has suffered some problems of late, including a spectacular failure in Michigan where polls had Clinton defeating Bernie by 8 to 28 points and Bernie actually pulled out the win.  This was an outlier – Silver has been uncannily accurate with his methods.  But they aren’t foolproof.

A more reasonable standard would be to simply invite any candidate who has qualified for ballot status in enough states to collect the 270 electoral-college votes to win the election.  It’s not easy to do.  It requires support of million of people.

But, they aren’t listening to me.

I don’t often recommend pieces written from a conservative point of view. I read conservative material all the time, but politics aren’t just a passion for me, but also a hobby. I’m fascinated by the structure of political ideologies, and the motivations behind them. Probably my biggest problem with conservatism is similar to some of my criticisms of Utopian leftism – the ideology is just no longer in touch with the reality on the ground.

I read conservative material because I’m intellectually curious, but every once in a while I’m genuinely moved. This piece is about a constituency progressives have in some ways abandoned, even though at one time it was front-center as what Marx referred to as the “vanguard class.” It’s about large sections of my own family. It explains well Trump’s appeal. White working class (or formerly working in many cases) people. Yes, racism is a huge issue in those communities, and social reaction in many other forms as well. Yes, their consumption patterns are convenient to the corporate culture many of us oppose. And yes, they eat things we don’t eat. Partake in forms of entertainment which don’t appeal to us, and which may violate some aspects of the ethos each of us lives by. Drinking, domestic violence, and meth are more prominent in these communities than others. And there is a cultural skepticism of all that arises from education and learning, which is to some degree unhealthy.

But these are people with pride, with sense of community, with basic ideas of fairness. They are more kind than not, as anyone who is family knows. You can criticize people, but you have no right to look down on them. Don’t call them stupid (not even if they’re being stupid). They are people who can be reached if someone bothers to try.

I don’t want to rehash the primary debate, but there’s a reason Bernie, despite his “socialist” identification, was popular among the Democratic contingents of this group. There is a reason Bernie won in places like Nebraska, Omaha, Michigan, upstate New York, etc. He attempted to bring a portion of the constituency back into the Democratic Party. We can criticize the details, but he made a connection that the Clintons lost the ability to make once they caved to “elite” power to pass trade agreements which force the American labor force to compete with virtual slavery. Bernie was the first major Dem candidate to even bother to raise class issues since Mondale – the Democrats took the wrong lesson from the 1984 election.

But more than that, we need to recognize what these two conservatives are saying about “human agency.” Recognition of structural inequities doesn’t negate the importance of personal responsibility, and we can say that without demonizing or stigmatizing people – there’s no call to issue judgments, but it’s important in evaluating for solutions.

I think Trump will lose. I will probably vote for Clinton, as I’ve said, because Supreme Court and authoritarianism. But Clinton will leave these people behind come the second week of November. We all know it. Sure, Trump would do the same.

I’m going to buy and read J.D. Vance’s book.  And I’m going to read The American Conservative more often.  It appears to be the right wing’s version of Dissent – there are other articles of interest to me.

Here’s the interview.

A j


Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance explains what America doesn’t understand about the outsiders elites despise

General Info.  Here’s the stage schedule.

At this point you have to buy tickets at the gate, but I’m told there are some left to buy.  You might want to check the site before driving there however.

From Julia Minton on behalf of the Mateel:

We’ll be hosting a live video stream from Reggae on the River again this year and we’d love it if you’d share it with your audience. The live stream will be up and running throughout the entire 4-days of music starting at 4pm Thursday through Sunday night, so even if you can only make it for a day or two, you don’t have to miss a beat.


Or click right above.

It will also be live on KMUD.

Anthony B will be closing on Sunday night.

I’ve been waiting for polls in the battleground states post-convention, and as I suspected Clinton is well out in front in all of them.  A slew of polls was released this morning and it’s ugly for Trump.  There is also some indication that the race is having an impact down ticket.

Still waiting on an Ohio poll.  Ohio is key since a win there is essential for any Republican hopes – I’m told but have not researched to confirm that no Republican has ever won the Presidency without winning Ohio.

Now Trump has had a rough week since the conventions ended, mostly self-inflicted because he can’t just accept criticism in a political campaign without freaking out about it.  To be attacking a Gold Star family is one of the few “blunders” which can hurt him with his core constituency, though there are many who will support him to the end of the Earth because he represents the last gasp of hope for those who want to return to the post-war working class American dream.

It may be that some of these Clinton leads erode if there is a serious economic downturn, and there are signs of concern.  But Trump’s problem is that you can only maintain a politics of rage for so long.  Outside of that alienated portion of the white working class which sees him as a symbol of defiance and “change,” there are people who see the Presidency as a position which requires even temperament and what Clinton is calling “steady leadership.”  Clinton hasn’t been in the headlines all week.  Instead she’s been quietly touring the economically ravaged areas of the rust belt.  It’s calculated, and it’s old school – but it’s effective.

People are on my case for such an early prediction, and yes, it’s three months to the election.  “Anything can happen.”  But part of the frustration of the white rage vote is that they’re finite.  More finite than they were in 1972, 1984, 1994, and yes, even 2010.  I’ve been taking in the campaigns for months now – the Trump wins in the primaries were surprising to me, but not shocking.  But I’ll add another point to my list below – while the primaries were contested he only once broke 50 percent in a primary.  That means more Republicans were against him than for him.  Most of the time he won with percentages in the high 30s or low 40s.

Yes, there are some rural Bernie supporters who will vote for him – I think the last poll showed that 91 percent of Bernie voters intend to vote for Clinton.  Some of the remainder will vote for Trump, but not nearly enough.  Trump has a lead with “independents,” but not with “moderates.”  They’re voting for Clinton.  And now big name Republicans are openly endorsing Clinton, and those names may get bigger as the campaign moves forward.  Shades of 1972 – roles reversed.

My prediction of a Clinton blowout is not one of optimism.  I would prefer that it would be close.  I don’t want Clinton’s politics to be given a “mandate.”  But I think they will.

There is a silver lining in the news for Trump – he is surging in fundraising with small donations, emulating the Sanders model.  There is no doubt that Trump has extensive grassroots support.  But the non-white and women’s vote is going to shut it down.



Is there peace in the peace movement?  Is pacifism dead?  What do we mean by peace when we advocate it?  Is the peace movement anything more than a collection of sectarian groups and disparate causes?  Eric Kirk discusses the state of the peace movement as we approach another anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Japan on Thursday Night Talk at 7:00 p.m.

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August 2016
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