Bill Barr's police speech proves the GOP doesn't actually care about "small government."

On Tuesday, December 2, the current Attorney General and former Iran-Contra fixer gave a speech at the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing in which he threatened to take away police protections from communities who refused to bow down and respect worship law enforcement.

American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officer. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves ― and if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.

There's the obvious problem here, which is that serving and protecting the public should not be contingent upon the public's lavish praise. That's not a service; it's blackmail. If police truly covet public veneration, then they should be selfless enough to serve and protect without the expectation of reward, and simply because it's the right thing to do.

But the other, more ironic issue is about government dependency. Conservatives in the modern GOP love to give lip service to independence — to by-your-bootstraps self-determination. "People need to stop relying on the government, and take care of themselves!" they say. But here's Bill Barr, threatening to take away a government service as if it's a bad thing. We all know what "communities" he's referring to in this speech; they're the same ones that have been historically targeted, bullied, and oppressed by police. That's why these communities don't respect the police. Read the rest

Striking photo essay about Oakland's Black Panther Party (1968)

Fifty years ago, San Francisco's DeYoung Museum exhibited Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones's striking photo essay depicting Oakland's Black Panther Party at the peak of their community activism and political activity. Starting this week, those powerful images will be displayed again as part of the Vanguard Revisited: Poetic Politics & Black Futures exhibition at the San Francisco Art Institute.

The work is still pertinent today and will serve as a platform to discuss issues of documentary photography, social activism, and how the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s in many ways manifests itself in the social context of today...

Black Futures is not delivered with a passive voice, but a voice steeped in deft poetics and sharp politics that continue to accumulate power from its own rich history.

See more of the images at Juxtapoz.

To learn about the Black Panthers's inspiring, polarizing, and ultimately tragic history, I recommend the fantastic documentary "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution."

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Timothy Leary's archivist on Leary's prison escape, Algerian exile, and Swiss prison-time

Lisa Rein writes, "In less than a year, Timothy Leary was imprisoned in three different continents--and it could've been worse. After escaping from a California prison with the help of the Weatherman Underground and the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, he and Rosemary fled Algeria from a 'revolutionary bust' by Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, only to be jailed in Switzerland when President Nixon personally demanded his extradition back to the U.S." Read the rest

Trailer for new documentary about The Black Panthers

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is new documentary by Stanley Nelson.

Change was coming to America and the fault lines could no longer be ignored -- cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. Featuring Kathleen Cleaver, Jamal Joseph and many others. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is an essential history and a vibrant chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America.

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