Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Vet Health Care Snafu Reveals Corporate Obama A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The Obama White House alienated and offended a key constituent group in the health care debate by proposing that veterans be forced to use private insurance to pay for treatment of combat-related injuries. "That the White House would put forward such a notion at all just as the debate on Obama's health care plan is heating up, reveals an astounding level of political insensitivity - even incompetence - at the highest level." That's no way to build popular support for a health care overhaul.
Vet Health Care Snafu Reveals Corporate Obama
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“This president succeeded in scaring the hell out of mass-based veterans groups.”
BarackObama’s recent confrontation with veterans organizations provides yet more evidence of the profoundly corporate character of his world view.  The episode alsoprovidesanswers to the question of whothe Obama White House feels it is answerable to, and who it can rebuff and ignore.
The veterans groups were upset with Obama’s proposal that would have forced veterans to use private insurance to pay for treatment of combat-related injuries. That the White House would put forward such a notion at all just as the debate on Obama’s health care plan is heating up, reveals an astounding level of political insensitivity – even incompetence – at the highest level. Only two months into his presidency, Obama managed to alienate the relatively conservative American Legion and ten other veterans groups that are natural constituents in creating a health care system with even a semblance of a claim to universality.
It doesn’t take a political strategy genius to understand that you don’t mess with combat veterans’ medical benefits if you’re trying to build a solid block of popular support for any overhaul of health care. But that’s precisely what the Obama crew did, in attempting to save a measly half billion dollars a year. When the veterans organizations went to the White House to express their concerns, BarackObama himself rebuffed them, saying he would move forward anyway. That prompted the veterans to fire off a letter expressing their “outrage” that the administration would push for such an “unreasonable” plan that would treat combat duty like a pre-existing medical condition. The vets worried that the proposal could make insurance more expensive and possibly crowding veterans’ family members out of coverage. All for the sake of 500 million dollars, at a time when trillions have been committed to bailing out the banking class. What was Obama thinking?
“The White House backed off under the lampooning of Jon Stewart’s Daily show and others.”
This president, who goes to great pains to assure the corporate health care industry that they and their profits will remain protected under his health care plan, succeeded in scaring the hell out of mass-based veterans groups whose natural inclination is to support the deepest and broadest government role in providing health care.
Remember that Bill and Hillary Clinton destroyed the possibility of creating a modest national health care system in the early Nineties, by putting forward a complicated mess of a plan that few understood and nobody could wholeheartedly embrace. BarackObama appears determined to go down the same path. You don’t build a national health care constituency by pissing off the veterans, who for generations have had access to the closest thing to what the Republicans call “socialized medicine” that the United States has been stingy enough to provide.
After initially dismissing the veterans’ concerns, the White House backed off under the lampooning of Jon Stewart’s Daily show and others – which speaks volumes about the Obama administration’s political priorities.  But the damage has already been done. The question has been implanted in the public mind: Who is Obama’s health care plan designed to protect?
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: 20090325_gf_obamavetcare.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:20am EDT

Obama Buys Allies Where the U.S. Has No Friends A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"The U.S. plans to double the Afghan army and police, to 400,000 men, through the sheer magnetic pull of money. But, as the old song goes, money can't buy you love." At root, the Obama/ Petraeus plan for Afghanistan is bribery on a massive scale, a "surge" of billions of dollars to convert the desperately unemployed into U.S.-allied fighters. The plan only looks halfway intelligent in comparison to the early Rumsfeld Iraq plan, which was based on the assumption t

Obama Buys Allies Where the U.S. Has No Friends
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“As the old song goes, money can’t buy you love.”
The Obama plan for Afghanistan, like General David Petraeus’s plan for Iraq, boils down to using massive bribery – ten or twenty billion dollars, or more – to create a political and military ally in a country that doesn’t want the U.S. to be there. There’s really nothing mysterious or out of the ordinary about the strategy. The Obama/Patraeus plan for Afghanistan was also the George Bush plan for Iraq in the last two years of the Republican administration, and only appears to be some kind of stroke of brilliance when compared to the Donald Rumsfeld plan to subdue and colonize Iraq in the early years of the Iraq war.
Rumsfeld’s plan was defeated because it was based on thoroughly racist assumptions. The first assumption was that Iraqis would be universally overjoyed to be occupied by the Great (White) American Father – that they would gladly surrender their national sovereignty and put up no long-term resistance. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney and all the Bush minions had not a shred of a doubt that the Iraqis desired nothing more than to become a colony of the United States. When Baghdad was burning, consumed in flames set by the Iraqis themselves after American forces captured the city, Secretary Rumsfeld announced, and truly believed, that the Iraqis were “celebrating” having been conquered by the U.S.A. He assured the American people that only a few of Saddam Hussein’s most fanatically loyal “dead-enders” would put up further resistance to the American occupation. That essentially racist belief – that colored people desire to be ruled by white people – convinced the Bush administration that it could keep U.S. troop levels in Iraq low – that the vast majority of Iraqis wanted to be occupied by foreigners.
Rumsfeld stuck with his assumption until the American occupation was transformed into a siege of the Americans. Finally, Rumsfeld lost his job. In counter-insurgency terms, the war had been lost.
“General Petraeus’s so-called troop “surge” was only possible because Sunni fighters were getting paychecks from the United States occupation force.”
But America’s war was not the Iraqi’s war. Shia Muslim political parties had their own agenda, and waged a savage war of ethnic cleansing and sectarian annihilation. The Americans didn’t want Iraqis of any religious persuasion running their own country, but they were unable to control events. What happened next was not part of an American plan. Shia Muslim forces had captured 75 percent of Baghdad and Sunni Muslims were on the ropes. At least one hundred thousand former Sunni resistance fighters – virtually the entire force that had earlier brought low the American war machine – agreed to join the U.S. payroll. They made peace with the Americans to escape the wrath of the Shia – and to feed their families. General Petraeus’s so-called troop “surge” was only possible because there were few Sunni fighters to surge against. They were getting paychecks from the United States occupation force.
President Obama hopes to buy off various groups of fighters in Afghanistan in the same way. The U.S. plans to double the Afghan army and police, to 400,000 men, through the sheer magnetic pull of money. But, as the old song goes, money can’t buy you love – in Afghanistan or Iraq – especially when it competes with people’s natural desire to run their own countries. Only racists believe otherwise.
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: 20090325_gf_escalating_afghan_war.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11am EDT

Obama Fronts for White Supremacy with Boycott of Durban II A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The injustices of the current world order are derived from those of the old order - which was based on white supremacy. The language of Euro-American hegemony has become more refined but, with the advent of the Barack Obama presidency, it has taken only two months to demonstrate that white supremacy - and its peculiar Zionist offshoot - has no difficulty exercising its power and privilege through the agency of a Black executive." The Durban II conference on racism has been eviscerated by the Black man at the helm of the racist superpower.
Obama Fronts for White Supremacy with Boycott of Durban II
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“It has taken only two months to demonstrate that white supremacy – and its peculiar Zionist offshoot – has no difficulty exercising its power and privilege through the agency of a Black executive.”
For many on the Left, it was an article of faith that the election of Barack Obama would change the paradigm of United States and international politics – that the conversation would be fundamentally altered when a Black man became leader of the sole superpower on Earth. How anyone could believe that one man’s melanin could undo or even significantly alter an imperial edifice erected over centuries at the cost of hundreds of millions of lives and the extinction of whole peoples – is beyond me. But wishful thinking and silly assumptions are washed away by events and the passing of time. In Barack Obama’s case, it has taken only two months to demonstrate that white supremacy – and its peculiar Zionist offshoot – has no difficulty exercising its power and privilege through the agency of a Black executive.
President Obama has shown us – and very early in his term – that he is just as determined as his white predecessors in the Oval Office to maintain the global order created by the conquistadors, colonizers, and genocidal maniacs of Europe and North America. Obama threatens that the U.S. will boycott the second international gathering on racism since the turn of the millennium, scheduled for late April in Switzerland. The conference is informally called “Durban II” in reference to the first such gathering on racism, in Durban, South Africa, in 200l. George Bush pulled the U.S. out of Durban I, claiming the deck was stacked against Israel, a state whose purpose is to maintain Jewish supremacy through an apartheid-like system in Palestine.
In the interim, Israel has escalated its savage aggressions against Arabs within its borders, in the occupied territories, and among its neighbors. Thus, the question of whether Zionism is a form of racism is as relevant today, as ever.
“The European and North American imperialists are busy re-writing the agenda for Durban II.”
Since 2001, the United States has been engaged in its own, self-proclaimed war against Arabs and Muslims everywhere on the planet, and has intensified anti-Arab and anti-Muslim discrimination, here at home. The racial order in the United States has, since 2001, developed even deeper layers of hatred and discrimination directly related to American imperial policy in the world – and, of course, its connections to Israel and Zionist racism. It’s past time for Durban II, but Obama doesn’t want to go – any more than George Bush did. And for the same reasons. Imperialism is incomprehensible without an understanding of its white supremacist underpinnings.
The European and North American imperialists are busy re-writing the agenda for Durban II, so that whether they attend or not, the event will result in no indictment of white supremacy as a fundamental evil at work in the world, today. Language related to reparations to Africans for the white worldwide savagery and people-stealing that created the Black Diaspora, is gone, written out – as if the cascade of holocausts against Africa and Africans never happened.
For centuries, North American and European power and privilege has been built on the degradation of people of color. Now a Black man has been elevated to a singular status. He uses it to reinforce the system of white supremacy, and to write other Black and brown and red and yellow people out of history. His name is Barack Obama. Why should anyone be proud.
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: 03_25_09_gf_obama_durban.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46am EDT