Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
The President's public display of anger at AIG is a cover for well-deserved political embarrassment. He and his bankster advisors have dedicated trillions to rescuing the criminal corporations of Wall Street from the consequences of their actions. He acts disappointed that they're still gangsters. "The logic of bankster capitalist enterprise, which AIG was created to protect and serve, is take the money and run - every chance you get."

Obama is Finally Pissed Off. So What?
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
 
"Did Obama think these guys became financial gangsters as a public service?"
 
President Obama wants everybody to know that he's angry, really angry, at the zombie insurance giant AIG. Obama gave the impression that AIG pulled a fast one when it awarded its employees $165 million in bonuses for consummating derivative deals that have wrecked the global financial system. The President theatrically pounded the podium in righteous indignation. "How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?" said the usually super-cool chief executive.
 
Obama's question is misdirected. He should instead be asking himself and his own economic advisors how he and they allowed the racketeers at AIG to divvy up the people's bailout money among themselves. By the time Obama staged his big public blowout over the bonuses, most of the money was already gone, paid out to the foot soldiers of the AIG financial mafia. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner didn't stop the checks from going out. Neither did Larry Summers, head of the National Economic Council at the White House. Robert Rubin, who is guru to Summers and Geithner and to Obama himself, didn't alert his protégés to the likelihood that AIG would reserve a big cut of the bailout for distribution among its own gang. Did Obama think these guys became financial gangsters as a public service?
 
And why shouldn't they get a cut? The logic of bankster capitalist enterprise, which AIG was created to protect and serve, is take the money and run - every chance you get. AIG covered hundreds of billions - maybe trillions - of dollars in bets placed by the Wall Street mafia in the derivatives casino. But that was a scam, since AIG didn't really have the cash. If AIG went down, then many of the gamblers on Wall Street would go down with it. Therefore, in a bipartisan, help out your favorite gangster agreement, Bush Republicans and Obama Democrats gave AIG $170 billion dollars of the people's money to rescue AIG's clients, the gambling banksters of Wall Street. And why shouldn't the guys who covered the bets in the first place get a piece of the public bailout, themselves? The logic of criminal financial enterprise dictates that they are no more morally reprehensible than their clients.
 
"It is the public that should be angry with Obama."
 
The biggest client was none other than Goldman Sachs. AIG's bailout included cash to cover at least $12.9 billion in Goldman Sach's casino bets. As it turns out, the two Godfathers of the Wall Street bailout are Robert Rubin, Obama's personal economics guru, and Henry Paulson, George Bush's Treasury Secretary - both former CEOs of Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs had a consigliere in both administrations, ensuring that the logic of bankster capitalism prevailed across party lines.
 
Barack Obama has no right to be angry at AIG's diversion of bailout money. It is the public that should be angry with Obama, for keeping the zombies of AIG and Goldman Sachs alive, so they can steal again. As of last month, according to the New York Times, Washington has committed around $9 trillion to the bankster bailout. Obama pretends to be angry about a measly $165 million ripoff by AIG's employees. Actually, he's politically embarrassed. That's what happens when you run with gangsters.
 
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: 20090317_gf_theprez_is_mad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:51pm EDT

Who's the Man - Steele or Limbaugh? While Democrats stirred the pot "like kids egging on a schoolyard fight," premier right-wing radio propagandist Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele, the Black chairman of the Republican Party, duked it out over who was the "real" voice of the GOP. If having to say you're sorry means surrender, Steele lost. Among Steele's defenders: Chip Saltsman, the guy who crafted the campaign parody song "Barack the Magic Negro."

Who's the Man - Steele or Limbaugh?
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
 
"After Limbaugh flexed his muscles, Steele punked out."
 
Michael Steele is giving the Republican Party heartburn. One reason is that, deep in its bones, the GOP remains The White Man's Party - big business's tool to sucker white racists into voting against their own economic interests. Black folks that pop off at the mouth whenever they feel like it are culturally repugnant to the party of white nationalism. Michael Steele, the former Lt. Governor of Maryland and nominal Republican Party chairman, apparently believes his position entitles him to hold forth on public policy without first having to check in with Rush Limbaugh, the party's reigning reactionary and uber-racist.
 
The tussle between Steele and Limbaugh revolves around the issue, Who's the man? That is, who is the real head of the GOP: Steele, the career politician and duly chosen chairman, or Limbaugh, the leader of the talk radio lynch mob? After Limbaugh flexed his muscles, Steele punked out, apologizing for calling the prince of rightwing flatulence a mere "entertainer" and for characterizing his broadcast cross-burnings as "incendiary." Steele also used the word "ugly" regarding Limbaugh, in an interview with the Black comedian, D.L. Hughley. Apparently, Steele got too deeply into the "brother-to-brother" ambiance of Hughley's show, and forgot his place.
 
The Democrats were having great fun tormenting Steele, shouting that Limbaugh is The Man, the Real Man at the GOP, like kids egging on a schoolyard fight. Poor Michael Steele. He's putty in the hands of a signifyin' comedian and a pack of juveniles from the other party. Somehow, it's hard to picture Colin Powell losing his cool like that. But then, Powell allowed George Bush to talk him into lying in front of the entire planet about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction. So, who is the biggest punk, Steele or Powell?
 
"Steele is putty in the hands of a signifyin' comedian and a pack of juveniles from the other party."
 
No sooner had the hoots died down about Steele getting punked by Limbaugh, than Steele alienated the homophobic wing of the Republican Party - which means, most of it - by seeming to say that gayness is a product of nature, not personal choice. Steele said being gay was like being Black - you can't change it. And he confided to the men's magazine GQ that he planned to redecorate his office, because [quote] "it's way too male for me."
 
Now, in reasonably decent, intelligent company, there's nothing at all wrong with these remarks. Steele is showing a sense of humor, a capacity for self-deprecation, and relatively mainstream political outlook. But those traits don't play well among his people, that is, the Republican base.
Michael Steele does have defenders in his party. Chip Saltsman, who competed with Steele for the top GOP job, says he thinks Steele will do just fine if he puts together a good team. Saltsman's opinion carries weight in the GOP. He's the one who crafted the song, "Barack the Magic Negro."
 
Michael Steele's greatest sin was when he blurted out the heresy that women should have the right to abortion, if they choose. Which makes me think that maybe Steele is actually trying to get kicked out of the Republican Party - in which case, I like his style. Becoming the first Black Republican Party chairman just so he could make the party look bad when they kick him out. If that's true, then Michael Steele is The Man.
 
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: 20090317_gf_steele_or_rush.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm EDT

Undo Suburbia: The Imminent Transportation Catastrophe Last year's "brief but terrifying" experience with $4-a-gallon gasoline "proved beyond doubt that the suburban and exurban model of development based on automobiles is broken beyond repair." When the era of high-priced gasoline returns for good - which it will, and soon - it will bring on a "transportation crisis so excruciating it will make the whole society scream." A multi-trillion dollar national makeover is desperately needed, to undo suburbia and the car culture.

Undo Suburbia: The Imminent Transportation Catastrophe
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
 
"The cost of rectifying this huge historical mistake - the car culture - will be in the many trillions of dollars."
 
In the decades after World War Two, the corporate rulers of the United States embarked on the biggest, most sustained infrastructure makeover in the history of capitalism. Suburbia was invented, a monumental, coast-to-coast makeover fueled in large part by fears that the Great Depression might return unless national energies were directed toward some unifying, transformational project. It was a new model of living - a uniquely "American way of life" - with the private automobile as its organizing principle and mechanism. African Americans were, of course, deliberately left out of this motorized "civilization" - a model that projected itself deep into the future in TV cartoons like The Jetsons, in which every family owned at least one flying car and the suburbs had expanded into - space!
 
Fifty years later, $4-a-gallon gasoline proved beyond doubt that the suburban and exurban model of development based on automobiles is broken beyond repair. If $4 gasoline returns - and it will - the American infrastructure erected after World War Two will break and shatter under the stress, as will the social and economic structures that are so totally dependent on this catastrophically mistaken model. The suburban model that President Dwight Eisenhower and subsequent administrations built faces inevitable and imminent extinction, on a timeline that is measured in years - maybe months - not decades. An Israeli or U.S. attack on Iran - tomorrow - could bring the whole house down. But even without an apocalyptic crisis, the House of Cars is doomed.
 
"The suburban and exurban model of development based on automobiles is broken beyond repair."
 
According to a new report by the American Public Transportation Association, ridership on public transit has increased 38 percent since 1995, with the biggest jump last year, spurred by the brief but terrifying explosion in oil prices. Ridership finally equaled the number of trips made in 1956, although proportionally still a lot less than a half century ago, since there are now so many more Americans. But these incremental increases in mass transit usage don't even come close to preventing a societal breakdown when $4-plus gasoline prices return for good - and they will, and soon.
 
The recent economic stimulus package includes $8.4 billion for mass transit, but that's just a drop in the bucket, most of which cannot be used to offset current and planned hikes in mass transit fares and draconian cutbacks in local service. The cities of Houston and Cincinnati put the squeeze on public transportation users last year, and consequently lost riders.
 
What's desperately needed is a national mass transit plan - far bigger and more basic than a couple of inter-city bullet trains - that will undo the suburban, automobile-based model with all the deliberate speed that the national treasure can provide. Even then, it will be impossible to avert a transportation crisis so excruciating it will make the whole society scream. The cost of rectifying this huge historical mistake - the car culture - will be in the many trillions of dollars, just as the equivalent of many trillions was spent in creating the suburban monstrosity. At this late stage in the energy game, only a national transformation will avert a cataclysmic collapse. 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: 20090317_gf_masstransit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:15pm EDT