Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

New Orleans Gets Least Job Creation Money in U.S.

NOLAPoverty

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"Obama refuses to use his bully pulpit to defend Americans in trouble in the poorest and most oppressive states."

The treatment that New Orleans has been accorded by the economic stimulus package is the clearest evidence that the federal plan is not in the least transformational - that is, the massive funds that are allocated do little or nothing to rectify the economic and social assaults inflicted on African Americans because they are Black. At the same time, the threatened refusal to spend some of the stimulus funds by the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, show that the same racist forces that have always kept the South, in general, and Blacks, in particular, at the bottom of the national economic barrel, remain as entrenched and vicious as ever. The combined effect will be to maintain or worsen racial disparities in the United States, especially in the Republican bastions of the South, and to ensure that the crimes of Katrina will be set in stone, a permanent injury and insult to Black America.

New Orleans is scheduled to receive far less money for job creation than any other congressional district in the United States. That's because the payouts are based on population, and Louisiana's Second Congressional District, centered in New Orleans, is still missing something approaching 200,000 persons, scattered to the four winds three and a half years ago and prevented from returning by a host of public policies. A transformational recovery program would treat New Orleans as a gaping, infrastructural wound, to be addressed by providing the means to make the city livable once again for its exiled citizens. Instead, President Obama's plan simply counts heads, and takes away job creation money for those citizens who would like to return, but cannot.

"That which was unequal and unjust before the recovery program, will remain unequal and unjust after the money has been spent."

Just as New Orleans recovery is not part of the national recovery plan, neither does the plan address any of the country's gross racial disparities. That which was unequal and unjust before the recovery program, will remain unequal and unjust after the money has been spent. That's not an oversight; it's built into President Obama's plan. This fact bears repeating: nothing in the hundreds of billions of dollars to be spent for national recovery is designed to address the institutional harms that have been done to Black people, including the massive racial crime that we call Katrina.

While the federal government pretends to be neutral on race, the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina put their racial and class depravity on display, threatening to reject millions of dollars in aid to their unemployed. These three states are the Blackest in the nation, historically, and clustered at or near the bottom in household income. The two facts are inextricably related.  The governors preside over a system whose purpose is to deny economic security to the great mass of residents, with Blacks forever relegated to the very bottom rungs of society. President Obama says he finds the southern Republican governors' rejection of the unemployment funds "understandable." He refuses to use his bully pulpit to defend Americans in trouble in the poorest and most oppressive states. And so, the United States slumps toward the second decade of the 21st Century spending trillions of dollars, but with no intention of truly transforming itself.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. 

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20090225_gf_nola_stimulus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:37am EDT

How Can U.S. Recover Without Manufacturing Capacity?

AbandonedFactory

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by

Glen Ford

"You can't put people to work in American factories that don't exist."

The strength of the federal economic stimulus package is seriously diluted by the fact that many  of the manufactured goods that will be purchased for the attempted recovery must be imported from outside the United States. America simply doesn't make lots of things, anymore. That means many billions of dollars that folks assumed would go towards fueling an American economic comeback, will instead provide work and paychecks to employees in other countries, that still have manufacturing bases. That's fine with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is dominated by large multinational corporations - the same guys that began stripping the United States of manufacturing jobs decades ago.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was one of the main lobbyists opposed to provisions that would have mandated that stimulus money go to U.S. companies. The Chamber is a U.S. organization in name only, like its finance capital comrades, the guys that gave the world such a bad case of the dreaded "American Disease," much of the planet is praying that cash-rich China will eventually bail everybody out.

The United States' lack of a manufacturing capacity makes it even less likely that anything resembling a lasting recovery can emerge from President Obama's approach to the economic crisis. The infrastructure projects that are supposed to be central to the recovery scheme are only valued at $150 billion - which is not much of a jolt, especially when much of what will have to be bought is only available in other countries, made by foreign workers. Barack Obama has put a huge emphasis on building a green economy. However, according to the New York Times, most of the sources of solar panels and wind turbines are located in Europe and Asia. There can be no green economy without a mass transit makeover of the United States, but the U.S. hasn't made subway and light rail cars in many years. They'd have to be imported.

"Most of the sources of solar panels and wind turbines are located in Europe and Asia."

Every product that must be imported for the infrastructure project means a watering down of the stimulus impact of the dollars spent. You can't put people to work in American factories that don't exist.

A true national recovery effort would mean re-industrialization, on a grand scale and a green model, through massive direct federal creation of state-owned industries independent of the finance capitalists who murdered American manufacturing and then blew up their own businesses on Wall Street. But this is already nearly impossible, since President Obama is committed to saving the banking class through unlimited infusions of public money, and then allowing these reborn zombies to resume their roles as lords of development. The bankster parasites have neither the capacity nor the intention to build anything other than mountains of debt for the rest of us. Therefore, Obama's partnership with them spells doom for national recovery.

Like Billy Preston said, "Nothin' from noth in' leaves nothin'."The U.S. cannot create the conditions for economic health without rebuilding a manufacturing capacity. And the remnants of Wall Street have nothing to contribute to an economic recovery, but an infinite capacity to steal.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20090225_gf_buy_american.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:18am EDT

Holder Rings in New Era at Justice Department

Holder Rings Out Bush Era at Justice Department

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"It was vitally necessary that the nation's top lawyer use the occasion of Black History Month to shake up the department."

Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General, has said the first thing to come out of the Obama Administration that was refreshingly honest and absolutely necessary to the proper exercise of his duties. In a well thought out speech to the U.S. Justice Department commemorating Black History Month, Holder launched a strong critique on the bizarre nature of race relations in the United States. His remarks were clearly crafted to garner news media coverage, as he provoked American macho cowboy pretensions by describing the U.S. as "essentially a nation of cowards" when it comes to race relations. That was sure to get a rise out of the mush-mouths of the corporate media.

Much of Holder's remarks were not so much about cowardice - the fear of speaking honestly on racial questions - but an abysmal ignorance. To the extent that Black people are omitted or marginalized in the teaching of American history, American history makes no sense. As Holder pointed out, "the study of black history is essential because the history of black America and the history of this nation are inextricably tied to each other.... For example," said the Attorney General, "the history of the United States in the 19th century revolves around a resolution of the question of how America was going to deal with its black inhabitants." To which I will add: if you don't understand that, you know nothing of your country.

"The Bush gang turned the agency into a den of corruption and criminality where no ‘justice' could be found, and the term ‘civil rights' was an epithet."

It's been only a month since a gaggle of know-nothing, arrogantly racist and essentially cowardly white men ran the Justice Department. In the space of eight years, they turned the agency into a den of corruption and criminality where no "justice" could be found, and the term "civil rights" was an epithet. By the time the Bush men were through, "virtually all" of the career lawyers that were hired were right-wing ideologues opposed to the very concept of affirmative action, or the mere idea of "diversity." The Justice Department - and especially its Civil Rights Division - had been largely transformed into a racist club.

For this reason, it was vitally necessary that the nation's top lawyer use the occasion of Black History Month to shake up the department, and let the rest of us know that it's a new day, that George Bush and his Ku Klux klavern are really gone - something that is not so evident in the rest of the Obama Administration, for example, at the Defense Department.

Holder reminded his employees that, "outside the workplace...there is almost no significan

Holder Rings Out Bush Era at Justice Department

nm_holder_080620_mn

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"It was vitally necessary that the nation's top lawyer use the occasion of Black History Month to shake up the department."

Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General, has said the first thing to come out of the Obama Administration that was refreshingly honest and absolutely necessary to the proper exercise of his duties. In a well thought out speech to the U.S. Justice Department commemorating Black History Month, Holder launched a strong critique on the bizarre nature of race relations in the United States. His remarks were clearly crafted to garner news media coverage, as he provoked American macho cowboy pretensions by describing the U.S. as "essentially a nation of cowards" when it comes to race relations. That was sure to get a rise out of the mush-mouths of the corporate media.

Much of Holder's remarks were not so much about cowardice - the fear of speaking honestly on racial questions - but an abysmal ignorance. To the extent that Black people are omitted or marginalized in the teaching of American history, American history makes no sense. As Holder pointed out, "the study of black history is essential because the history of black America and the history of this nation are inextricably tied to each other.... For example," said the Attorney General, "the history of the United States in the 19th century revolves around a resolution of the question of how America was going to deal with its black inhabitants." To which I will add: if you don't understand that, you know nothing of your country.

"The Bush gang turned the agency into a den of corruption and criminality where no ‘justice' could be found, and the term ‘civil rights' was an epithet."

It's been only a month since a gaggle of know-nothing, arrogantly racist and essentially cowardly white men ran the Justice Department. In the space of eight years, they turned the agency into a den of corruption and criminality where no "justice" could be found, and the term "civil rights" was an epithet. By the time the Bush men were through, "virtually all" of the career lawyers that were hired were right-wing ideologues opposed to the very concept of affirmative action, or the mere idea of "diversity." The Justice Department - and especially its Civil Rights Division - had been largely transformed into a racist club.

For this reason, it was vitally necessary that the nation's top lawyer use the occasion of Black History Month to shake up the department, and let the rest of us know that it's a new day, that George Bush and his Ku Klux klavern are really gone - something that is not so evident in the rest of the Obama Administration, for example, at the Defense Department.

Holder reminded his employees that, "outside the workplace...there is almost no significant interaction" among the races, a situation that does not "differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago." Holder juxtaposed the myth of the "ethnic melting pot" with the reality of racial cowardice. Although Holder didn't mention it, even the term "melting pot" as most Americans use it, is based on an incomplete quotation. The term originally came into vogue on the popularity of a 1908 play called "The Melting Pot." But the actual words in the play were, "America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming."  That is, America was a diversity of white people, only.

And if you don't know that, you don't know white America and its history.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. 

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

t interaction" among the races, a situation that does not "differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago." Holder juxtaposed the myth of the "ethnic melting pot" with the reality of racial cowardice. Although Holder didn't mention it, even the term "melting pot" as most Americans use it, is based on an incomplete quotation. The term originally came into vogue on the popularity of a 1908 play called "The Melting Pot." But the actual words in the play were, "America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming."  That is, America was a diversity of white people, only.

And if you don't know that, you don't know white America and its history.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. 

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20090225_gf_holder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12am EDT