Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Interview With Chicago Jobs With Justice's James Thindwa James Thindwa was also interviewed last week by Bill Moyers on Bill Moyers Journal.  This is not that interview.  This one is ours.
Direct download: 20090401_gf_james-thindwa_interview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:02am EDT

Somebody Tell Obama: Gap Still Widening Between Blacks and Whites A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The data on the actual State of Black America roll in like clockwork, a graphic display of the fact that there has never been such a thing as a “post-racial society” in the United States. Barack Obama rose to the presidency claiming that Blacks had already come “90 percent of the way” toward racial equality, yet the National Urban League’s annual report on the State of Black America shows Blacks at only 71.1 percent of equality of with whites – “and slipping.” The League urges Obama to make sure Blacks are included in his “green revolution” of jobs, but that is unlikely, since Obama “does not support race-based solutions, even when race is the root of the problem.”
Somebody Tell Obama: Gap Widens Between Blacks and Whites
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“African Americans register at only 71.1 percent on the Equality Index – and slipping.”
Back in March of 2007, presidential candidate Barack Obama did a grave disservice to African Americans when he proclaimed that Blacks had already come 90 percent of the way on the road to racial equality. We don’t know where Obama came up with that ridiculous number, but he was way, way off the mark. According to the National Urban League’s State of Black America report, African Americans register at only 71.1 percent on the Equality Index – and slipping. Blacks fell almost half a percent further behind whites on the Equality Index between 2008 and 2009.
The Index measures Black progress, or regression, in five areas: economics, education, health, civic engagement and social justice. In only one of these categories – health – did Blacks slightly improve their relative status. And that minor blip was the result of the racial gap narrowing between Blacks and whites who share the misfortune of not having health insurance.
The general state of affairs for African Americans remains much as it has been for most of the last 40 years. "Ironically,” says the Urban League report, “even as an African American man holds the highest office in the country, African Americans remain twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, three times more likely to live in poverty and more than six times as likely to be incarcerated." That’s a very great distance from Barack Obama’s 90 percent-of-the-way nonsense.
Obama is fond of saying that people of all races have problems. But of course, the data show that Blacks have a lot more problems than others. Between 2001 and 2007, African American poverty rose eight percent, while only five percent more whites slipped into poverty. White children increased their enrollment in pre-school programs by three percent during that period, while Black kids’ participation in pre-school declined by one percent.
“President Obama does not support race-based solutions, even when race is the root of the problem.”
Obama’s bogus statement on Black progress notwithstanding, the facts on the ground show clearly that there remains a great need for a people’s movement, whether you call it a civil rights movement or something else. The National Urban League says their report “reminds the country that the election of President Obama does not mean the work of civil rights is done." Martin Luther King III, writing in the forward to the report, said Obama’s “election is not the fulfillment” of his father’s dream, “because President Obama is not the only character in this narrative, nor is he the story's only writer.”
Rather than cloud the issue of widening racial disparities, Obama could make himself more useful by following the report’s “recommendations” on public policy. The National Urban League calls for an end to predatory lending practices in Black America, and a “balance” in educational funding that would “eliminate dropout rates of over 50 percent” in some cities. The League worries that Obama’s promised revolution in “green jobs” might pass the inner cities by, and urges that federal infrastructure monies be set aside to train and hire “disadvantaged workers” – meaning Black workers. However, that may be a problem. President Obama does not support race-based solutions, even when race is the root of the problem. And the president is fully prepared to paper over racial problems with phony numbers, as he did in Selma, Alabama, two years ago. 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: 20090401_gf_gap_widens.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:12am EDT

Zombies Run the Country, Thanks to Their Grand Protector in the Oval Office A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The Obama administration has allowed the investment bankster class to not only "virtually dictate the terms of their own rescue, but shape policy for the attempted recovery of the overall economy." A former Wall Streeter is in charge of the federal auto industry task force that is bludgeoning Detroit's workers and management, while the Obama administration provides "open-ended, luxurious life support" to "its walking-dead, parasitical friends on Wall Street." Banks are scheduled to undergo a government "stress test" later this month, but it doesn't promise to be very stressful, since hardly anyone "expects the feds to flunk any of the big banks, or even to share the results of the stress test with the public."
Zombies Run the Country, Thanks to Their Grand Protector in the Oval Office
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The Wall Streeters have been given a license to destroy, not only their own, paper-money gambling enterprises, but the infrastructure of the real economy, as well.”
Although disgraced in the eyes of the American and world publics, nothing is more clear than that the U.S. investment banking class remains in political control of the nation. The zombies run the country, through the agency of their grand protector in the White House. They not only virtually dictate the terms of their own rescue, but shape policy for the attempted recovery of the overall economy. This reality is on stark display in the treatment meted out to the U.S. auto industry, a mainstay of the real economy, a producer of actual products and mass employer of people at  decent, union wages, as compared to the open-ended, luxurious life support the Obama administration provides to its walking-dead, parasitical friends on Wall Street.
The federal government has initiated a hostile takeover of General Motors, both its management and labor components, and appears ready to write off Chrysler as a lost cause. General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner was forced out by the feds, who have also taken on the role of union buster, bearing down like Mafia thugs on the United Auto Workers, whose only crime over last the seven decades has been to provide for its members a health and retirement safety net that the corporate-controlled U.S. government denies to the masses of its people. With the auto industry on the ropes as an immediate consequence of high crimes on Wall Street, who does Barack Obama put in charge of auto task force? A former Wall Street investment banker, Steven Rattner.
“Who does Barack Obama put in charge of auto task force? A former Wall Street investment banker.”
It was Wall Street, finance capital, that engineered the hollowing out of the American manufacturing sector, imposing a casino financial regime on producers of real goods, for the benefit of speculators who create nothing. Barack Obama has allied himself and the federal government on the side of the speculators, and placed one of them in charge of “restructuring” one of the last bastions of good, blue collar jobs in America. The Wall Streeters have been given a license to destroy, not only their own, paper-money gambling enterprises, but the infrastructure of the real economy, as well.
Even the bankster’s best buddies in journalism at the Wall Street Journal have noted the blantant double standard in the Obama administration’s treatment of banks versus the auto industry. The coddled mega-failures of the banking racket are scheduled to undergo a so-called “stress test” late this month, to determine which banks are viable enough to make it through these hard times. But virtually nobody expects the feds to flunk any of the big banks, or even to share the results of the stress test with the public. The Obama administration, which takes its cues from Goldman Sachs and other investment bankers, protects the banksters from both the wrath of the public and the challenges of the marketplace that they poisoned. Yet Obama’s people are not concerned in the least about the stress that is felt by literally millions of Americans whose livelihoods are linked to the auto industry.
A generation ago, finance capital killed productive, manufacturing capital in the United States, and seized political control of the U.S. government apparatus. Then they killed themselves. But Barack Obama won’t let the banksters die. Instead, he puts them in charge of the everyone else’s destiny.
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: 20090401_gf_zombies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:40am EDT

Lula Puts Blue-Eyed White Bankers in Their Place A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown "squirmed" as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva - "Lula" - blamed the global economic crisis on the "irrational behavior of some people that are white, blue-eyed" and "have demonstrated they know nothing about economics." And the non-white world cheered. Da Silva called for creation of a new, "London Consensus" at the G20 summit meeting - "an unmistakable slap at what was once called the ‘Washington Consensus' - an American euphemism for the days when Washington could impose its economic dictates on all of Latin America and much of Africa and Asia."
Lula Puts Blue-Eyed White Bankers in Their Place
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“This crisis was caused by no black man or woman or by no indigenous person or by no poor person.”
It was a bunch of incompetent and irrational white guys with blue eyes that messed up the world’s finances, says Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva. Universally known as “Lula,” da Silva was speaking directly to the face of one of those white guys, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, during the Brit’s visit to Brazil, last week, in preparation for the G20 economic summit. In telling it like it is to the leader of what used to be the world’s greatest white empire, Lula voiced the sentiments of most of the planet. Gone are the days when the non-white, non-blue-eyed vast majority of the world’s people could be considered part of the “White Man’s Burden” to rule as London, Paris and Washington saw fit. Rather, it is the banksters and their servants in the United States and the United Kingdom who have become a burden on the rest of the planet.
President da Silva put the once supremely arrogant Aryans in their place, which is now located on the slippery slopes of decline – and the darker masses loved it. Not only have the blue-eyed bankers brought down their own house of cards, but they have shown themselves to be not nearly as smart as they thought they were – hardly worthy of lording it over anyone.
“This crisis was caused by no black man or woman or by no indigenous person or by no poor person,” said Lula, as the Pritish prime minister squirmed. “This crisis,” he continued, “was fostered and boosted by irrational behavior of some people that are white, blue-eyed. Before the crisis they looked like they knew everything about economics, and they have demonstrated they know nothing about economics.”
“Lula was speaking Truth to what used to be hegemonic Power.”
Prime Minister Brown’s home country newspaper, The Guardian, characterized the Brazilian statesman’s remarks as an “outburst” – which was quite white and neocolonial of them. By using the term “outburst,” the paper inferred that Lula’s statement was emotional, rather than a serious, sober observation. In fact, Lula was speaking Truth to what used to be hegemonic Power. Big Boss Man ain’t so tall, after all.
Lula said he was “not acquainted with a single black banker.” But there are a number of them here in the United States. Citigroup chairman Richard Parsons is a great friend of President Barack Obama – but then, Obama is friends with lots of bankers, so much so, he’s spending much of the country’s current and future wealth in an attempt to rescue them from near-death.
The Brazilian said the developing nations are “determined to make sure the world financial system is vigorously regulated,” and that he wants the G20 summit to result in a “London Consensus.” That was an unmistakable slap at what was once called the “Washington Consensus” – an American euphemism for the days when Washington could impose its economic dictates on all of Latin America and much of Africa and Asia. The “Washington Consensus” was in tatters long before the current economic crisis; the financial meltdown removes the possibility of the United States resuscitating it. Lula’s frank and refreshing observation confirms that the sick and aging emperor – although not yet naked – is down to his last pair of drawers.
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: 20090401_gf_Lula.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:56am EDT