Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
The Black Prison Gulag in the Age of Austerity

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The financial crisis is fast stripping California and other states of services and amenities. But, for many citizens, the pending release of a fraction of the prison population is too painful to bear. “Democrats and Republicans alike resist letting their prisoners go, as if the gods of California and the United States must be constantly fed more Black and brown bodies.”

The Black Prison Gulag in the Age of Austerity

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The states can no longer afford to indulge in their depraved luxury of choice: Black and brown mass incarceration.”

The general economic crisis has pushed the finances of many state governments over the cliff. State services of all kinds have been cut beyond the bone, with devastating effects on the quality of life for working people and the poor. The crisis has also brought into sharp focus a nightmare of the states’ own making: the Black Prison Gulag. For two generations, states have eagerly diverted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to constant expansion of their prison systems, in a kind of institutional and fundamentally racist mob frenzy to lock up as large a proportion of their non-white populations as possible. In grotesquely expanding numbers, African Americans paid the social cost for prison fever, a mass white pathology that is unrelated to actual rates of crime, but which has devastated Black American society like no other affliction since slavery, itself. One out of every eight prison inmates on planet Earth is an African American – a self-evident crime against a specific portion of humanity.

Now the states can no longer afford to indulge in their depraved luxury of choice: Black and brown mass incarceration. California is the most dramatic case in point. Federal courts this month ordered California to divest itself of 40,000 prison inmates it can no longer afford to cage like animals in facilities designed to hold only half those currently locked up. But despite being a financial basket case, the state clings to its captives like Pharaoh to the biblical Hebrews. Democrats and Republicans alike resist letting their prisoners go, as if the gods of California and the United States must be constantly fed more Black and brown bodies so that the American “way of life” will continue to exist. On the lips of such wild-eyed, hysterical Americans, the term “Law and Order” sounds like a savage religious incantation in a ceremony demanding the sacrifice of captives from another tribe.

The state clings to its captives like Pharaoh to the biblical Hebrews.”

California’s poverty and the judges’ order mean the state must reconsider what it will do with all the juveniles its justice system is warehousing, at a yearly cost of more than $200,000 each. This new crop of inmates is supposed to graduate to the grownup penitentiaries of the future. California had planned to have many of these kids caged for life. Instead, the state has been commanded to set loose these youngsters’ older brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, and grandparents. There may be no room at the penitentiary when the juveniles become men and women. What is the California dream coming to?

That dream seems to require Black mass incarceration for the emotional comfort of a majority of white people, not just in the Golden State, but every last one of the United States. Not to mention the local economies that have become dependent on a steady flow of Black and brown captives into out-in-the-boondocks white prison towns. There are indications that the guards who live in these towns are instigating prison disturbances to dramatize both how dangerous the inmates are and how much they, the guards, are needed. Downsize education and health care, roads and sanitation, but dare don’t touch the prison industrial complex.

Americans will watch many of their dreams die in the ongoing economic decline, and that is profoundly sad. But it is deeply sick that a society would cling so desperately to a nightmare: a prison system from Hell.

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

Direct download: 20090826_gf_GulagInAusterity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:25pm EST

Bad Public Options for Health Care A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The more progressive Democrats in the House have vowed to hold out for a health care plan with a public option. However, insurance corporations are intent on extracting profit windfalls from the public options being crafted in both houses of Congress. What emerges may not be worthy of support under any circumstances.
 
Bad Public Options for Health Care
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“They are likely to create a sickly, deformed little troll of a bill.”
It’s always sad to watch the Democrats threaten to grow backbones following their latest humiliation at the hands of Republicans, Blue Dogs and the corporate class in general. Most often, whatever spinal growth that occurs amounts to no more than a residual tail bone above the butt – just a little stump, useless and not worth showing off. In the next weeks we should watch the Democrats in both houses of Congress very closely as they mount an effort to salvage something – anything – of the so-called “public” health care “option.” In the process of trying to save President Obama’s face and their own, they are likely to create a sickly, deformed little troll of a bill that actually lowers general health care standards while shoveling millions more consumers and hundreds of billions more dollars into private insurance companies.
Although the official line among the for-profit insurance mafia and their servants is that a public option, no matter how puny, is worse than death, the truth is, the insurance profiteers are licking their chops and shouting “Hallelujah!” in anticipation of a public option “bonanza.” According to the August 24 Los Angeles Times, the insurance industry is confident they can extract “windfall” profits from the Democrats, whose desperation to appear to be fighting for the public is matched only by their abject fear of doing real battle with the rich and powerful.
“The profiteers have been allowed to shape the so-called public plan to their private ends.”
The health care profiteers will be delighted to sign up the millions of people that would be compelled to buy some kind of private coverage. Already, the Senate Finance Committee is considering giving the OK to insurance policies that only pay for 65 percent of patients' health care bills. The bare-bones, two-thirds coverage would be marketed as “affordable.” What a cruel trick! Obama, the Congress and the corporate health care vultures get to claim they have found a way to provide millions with “affordable” health insurance, when in fact the 65 percent coverage is guaranteed to bankrupt any family that encounters event moderately serious health problems. Health insurance that doesn't actually cover health care isn't health insurance at all – it's a scam. And when the state coerces its citizens to participate in the private scam, that is the very definition of corruption.
At present, seven out of every ten families that go bankrupt for health reasons, had health insurance – but not a good enough policy to save them. Yet the profiteers demand a health “reform” that allows them to sell wholly inadequate policies to millions more people who will have no choice but to buy what is offered.
Health care experts warn that proliferation and subsidizing of limited-coverage insurance would inevitably lower the norm of standards for all insurance – the exact opposite of what was intended under health care reform.
President Obama claimed he wanted a public option to keep the insurance companies “honest.” Instead, the profiteers have been allowed to shape the so-called public plan to their private ends.
At last count, 64 Democrats had vowed not to sign onto any bill without a public option. But even bills that claim to be public options are shaping up as private boondoggles. Nothing good can come of it.
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: 20090826_gf_BadPublicOptions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:40pm EST

FBI Provacateur on McKinney:  Why Not Lynch an "Uppity Black B*tch?" A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
A white racist who threatened the lives of white state legislators and federal judges in Connecticut and Illinois, was jailed. But when the same man demanded the lynching of Black Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney while a paid agent provocateur for the FBI, in 2006, nothing happened – which leads us to conclude that the FBI approved.

FBI Provocateur on McKinney: Why Not Lynch an “Uppity Black Bitch?”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“By doing nothing, the FBI condoned Turner's demand for the assassination of a federal lawmaker.”
There is every historical reason to believe that the FBI approved of – or at least, had no objections to – it’s own agent’s incitement to assassinate a sitting Black U.S. congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, in 2006.
The FBI's deep and institutional involvement in promoting domestic terror is an abiding fact of American life dating back nearly a century. The Bureau was born as a secret political police agency that arguably manufactured or instigated far more crime than it legitimately uncovered. It's core mission has remained unchanged since World War One, when the embryonic FBI was set loose as the federal attack dog to maul anti-war forces, labor, and the Left in general. Throughout its history, the FBI has considered all consciously Black politics to be inherently subversive – and the Bureau believed its mandate was to eliminate all subversives by any means necessary.
To that end, the FBI employed a vast army of agent provocateurs, whose job was to create crimes. Some of this FBI activity was simple entrapment, provoking people to engage in crimes they were presumably predisposed to commit, anyway, so that they could be arrested and taken out of circulation. But throughout the 19-teens, the 1920s, the 30s, and in every decade into the 21st century, the primary mission of the FBI's so-called “counter-intelligence” efforts has been to devise ways in which its “enemies” would wind up dead, maimed or otherwise “neutralized.” Thus, the Bureau routinely instigated violence for its own political purposes.
“The primary mission of the FBI's so-called 'counter-intelligence' efforts has been to devise ways in which its 'enemies' would wind up dead, maimed or otherwise 'neutralized.'”
Hal Turner, an internet radio operator and white racist from New Jersey, is charged with calling for the deaths of state lawmakers in Connecticut and three federal judges in Illinois. For that, he has been jailed. His lawyers claim Turner was only doing what the FBI taught him to do when he was one of their paid provocateurs, from 2002 to 2007. The prosecution admits Turner worked for the FBI before he broadcast the calls for the white officials' deaths. The FBI won't comment. But Turner would have been employed by the Bureau in 2006, when he asked his racist internet audience the question, “Given the prevalence of Black crime in America, would it serve the public good to lynch Congresswoman McKinney within the next few weeks...so as to send an unmistakable message to other Blacks...behave or die?” Turner then told his audience the address of McKinney's campaign headquarters.
For this brazen and very public threat against a federal official, Turner was neither charged, nor jailed, nor otherwise bothered in the least. When a McKinney aide contacted the FBI, he was told, “We know all about Turner.” Of course they did. By doing nothing, the FBI condoned Turner's demand for the assassination of a federal lawmaker, who he described as “a violent, black, racist bitch....”
Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department oversees the Bureau – at least on paper. It is his job to root out the terror squads that have always been part of the very fiber of the FBI. Attorney General Holder has said Americans are “cowards” when it comes to race. Is he afraid of his own FBI?
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: 20090826_gf_McKinneyThreatened.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:23pm EST

Send In the Clowns: 3 Stooges, Gingrich, Sharpton & Duncan Hit the Road For Corporate “School Reform”

Quite separately from each other, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Rev. Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich have long ago forfeited whatever credibility they may once have had. Taken together, they are simply a bad joke: three gown men publicly eye-poking and slap fighting each other while they all come together to sell us high-stakes testing, charter schools, educational privatization and the whole package of corporate “school reform.”

Send In the Clowns: 3 Stooges, Gingrich, Sharpton & Duncan Hit the Road For Corporate “School Reform”

by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon

Back in the late 19th and early 20th century heydays of vaudeville, when the singers bombed, when the jokes fell flat and audience attention started wandering, management knew what to do. They would send in the clowns. Some things haven't changed.

Despite a decade of hard sell by right wing think tanks, foundations, and big media, the American people have not bought the corporate version of school reform. Most people just don't believe public schools should be privatized or militarized, or operated by business people like businesses instead of by educators, parents and communities in the interests of children, parents and communities, like the best schools always have been run. And most educators doubt that high stakes testing improves educational outcomes in any meaningful way.

Since the public debates on charter schools and privatizing education are ones that our elite cannot win, they have decreed there will be no debate. Instead of an honest public examination of the disastrous impact of No Child Left Behind, and its attendant decade of creeping educational privatization, corporate media, the Obama administration and its bipartisan allies are sending in the clowns with a 21st century three stooges remake starring the Rev. Al Sharpton, along with Republican former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Obama Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, elbowing and slapping at each other, yukking it up about their supposed political differences while they all come together around the corporate elite's version of “school reform.”

Stooge number one is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a former basketball player and friend of the president who, without a single hour of teaching experience was named by Chicago's Mayor Daley to head the nation's third largest school system. Duncan now pledges to extend the Chicago model of high stakes testing and massive school closings to create opportunities for what he calls “innovative” charter schools. Thanks to Duncan, Chicago's public schools are now being sued by black teachers for racial discrimination in the wholesale dismissal of hundreds of qualified, dedicated black teachers and their replacement with younger, cheaper, less experienced and mostly whiter ones. Even now, the Obama administration is withholding federal education funds from states and school districts to force nationwide implementation of these so-called “reforms.”

Stooge number two is the Rev. Al Sharpton, whose presence allows the stooges to claim they are a “civil rights” act. Rev. Sharpton jumped aboard the corporate education reform bandwagon with both feet after receiving a half million dollar bribe last year, for his National Action Network reportedly brokered by New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein through a right wing not for profit agency that promotes charter schools.

Stooge number three is the same Newt Gingrich who, who once advocated removal of underachieving children from their parents homes to boarding schools and military academies, and whose 1994 Contract For America, demanded the dissolution of the US Department of Education.

Mass media ought to be where the studies, the facts, the experience and the voices of parents, educators, students and communities across the country wrestling with the problems of education are held up for all to examine and understand. But that would be too much like public service for our America's privatized media. What we'll get instead is entertainment. They're sending in the clowns. And here they come!

Privatization Pictures presents a No Child Left Behind Production starring the New Three Stooges, Arne Duncan, Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich in Corporate School Reform directed by Barack Obama and produced by the Bradley, Heritage and Walton Family Foundations, featuring fake statistics, dubious studies, crackpot merit pay schemes, charter schools including military charter schools, cronyism, patronage, corruption, worse educational outcomes, thousands of school closings, mass firings of qualified teachers, community destabilization, loss of public and community control, and the privatization of education.

For Black Agenda Report, I'm Bruce Dixon apologizing to the ghosts of the original three stooges. They'd understand. On the web, we are at www.blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20090818_3stooges_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:24am EST

iraqi electionA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
On January 16 of next year, Iraqis will vote in national elections and a referendum on whether to send the Americans home by the end of 2010 – a year earlier than the U.S. expected. “There is no doubt – none whatsoever – that overwhelming majorities of Iraqis will vote to evict the American occupiers.” But the U.S. anti-war movement can take little of the credit.
Iraqis to Vote on Early U.S. Exit
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Will Washington just give up the occupation and slither away?”
The American occupation of Iraq may be ending much sooner than Washington anticipated – but little thanks to the U.S. anti-war movement, which has in recent years made itself largely irrelevant to issues of war and peace. The Shi'ite-dominated government in Baghdad is asking Iraq's parliament to hold a popular referendum this coming January that will almost certainly demand the withdrawal of U.S. forces by the end of 2010, a year before the Obama administration's fuzzy target date of December, 2011. That means all U.S. military, not just so-called “combat” forces – the semantic farce deployed by the Obama administration to disguise a huge U.S. military and mercenary presence deep into the misty future.
There is no doubt – none whatsoever – that overwhelming majorities of Iraqis will vote to evict the American occupiers, whose flimsy and coerced United Nations “mandate” to remain in Iraq expired last December. That means there is no longer even a veneer of legal basis for the U.S. presence, once the Iraqis say it's time to go.
Despite what you have heard and seen and read in the U.S. corporate media, the great mass of Iraqis have always wanted the Americans out. Nobody on the planet except Americans ever believed the U.S. was in Iraq to protect anything other than American ambitions to dominate the land and resources of other peoples. The current regime in Baghdad promised the Iraqi people it would hold a referendum on the American presence this summer, but delayed the plebiscite to buy more time to consolidate their position, politically and militarily. The January 16 referendum will coincide with Iraq's national elections. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's faction could not hope to win those elections unless it allowed a vote on ridding the country of the U.S. Occupation.
There is no doubt that overwhelming majorities of Iraqis will vote to evict the American occupiers.”
The Obama administration is no more in favor of Iraqis expressing their political will through the voting process than was the Bush administration, which only agreed to popular elections back in 2005 after Ayatolla al-Sistani threatened to bring a million Shi'ites into the streets of Baghdad. President Obama and his generals have applied every conceivable pressure to avoid a referendum on the occupation. Now it appears the clock is ticking – not in the Obama White House, where it could always be turned back on some pretext, but in Baghdad, where al-Maliki's government must show it is on the side of the people, and not the occupier.
None of the Iraq developments of the last two years were due to the U.S. anti-war movement, much of which effectively collapsed into the Obama campaign and then disintegrated.
When the Iraqi people declare at the polls in January that the Americans must pick up their marbles and leave, will Washington just give up the occupation and slither away? That's not in the nature of the imperial beast. But the U.S. will find it much more difficult to claim it is protecting the people whose house it broke into and plundered in March of 2003. 
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: 20090819_gf_IraqiReferendum.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51pm EST

BARACK HEALTH CAREA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
It's all over but the funeral.” In abandoning the “public option,” President Obama has relinquished all claim as champion of health care reform, the content of which he first diluted and ultimately bargained away entirely. The forces of reaction, which were disorganized and on the defensive when Obama entered office, have been vastly strengthened by the president's “duplicitous backroom deals and back-stabbing of his most loyal supporters.”
Obama Piddles Away the Public's Options
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Obama seems to believe he can salvage a bill – any bill – and scribble the word “reform” on it.”
It became crystal clear that the insurance companies had prevailed in President Obama's health care fiasco the moment the White House coined the term “public option.” Plainly, a public alternative to private health insurance was always merely an option – just another bargaining chip in Obama's private and oh-so-friendly negotiations with the rich and ruthless. Now it's all over but the funeral.
The death of Obama's health care project was both ignominious and foreordained. This is what comes from duplicitous backroom deals and back-stabbing of one's most loyal supporters. What remains of the legislative mish-mash birthed by Obama and his congressional co-conspirators, are corporate bills. That's why the drug barons are spending $150 million to advertise for Obama's fraudulent brand of health care reform. And, although the insurance industry continues to publicly oppose the hollow shell that Obama's project has become, at this stage in the game they win whichever way the wind blows. If Obama's hot air balloon fully deflates, the health insurance companies will continue to enjoy the status quo they have so carefully engineered over the years. But if a bill emerges with provisions that force everyone to buy private insurance, the health care racketeers will add millions of new, subsidized customers.
Obama gave everything away before the negotiations even began.”
Obama signaled that he is willing to engage in further compromise with his corporate friends, the guys whose company and confidence he so highly prized at White House health care forums, venues where single-payer advocates were not welcome. The problem is, Obama gave everything away before the negotiations even began. Now he has nothing left to trade, and not enough forces to rearrange the battlefield, having demobilized and dismissed the Left in favor of corporate Democrats like himself. Still, Obama seems to believe he can salvage a bill – any bill – and scribble the word “reform” on it.
He has been reduced to the politics of semantics. He invites his election day supporters to leap into the river with him as he grasps at “slivers” and straws and calls them “reform.” Obama will describe passage of any legislation with the word reform attached to it, a victory. But his paper victory will represent a lasting defeat for real health care reform, which will have been discredited in the eyes of the public – for how long, no one can say.
But the damage is even more horrific. Obama has succeeded in wounding Medicare – and Medicaid and veterans health care and Social Security – more grievously than the Republicans could have dreamed of on their own. He entered office spreading hysteria about the cost of Medicare and other so-called “entitlements.” Now his little boat is sinking, but the Republicans have been reinforced in their age-old battle to privatize what's left of the public sphere. In the short space of 7 months, Obama has piddled and bargained away huge regions of the public's “options.”
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: 20090819_gf_ObamaCareSinking.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:46pm EST

where are the jobs?A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
There are no targeted programs to address soaring Black unemployment on the horizon, despite Democratic control of the White House and both houses of Congress. President Obama puts his faith in a “rising tide” that “lifts all boats,” but in the real world “the economic tide is sinking Black boats at two, three and four times the rate of whites.”
Black Jobs Disappearing at Depression-Era Rates
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Obama will preside over a huge increase in permanent Black joblessness.”
President Obama continues to insist that a rising economic tide will “lift all boats.” But what's actually rising is a tidal wave of Black unemployment that in some regions is already at Depression-era levels and promises to add yet another layer of permanently jobless African Americans.
A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute shows that the economic tide is sinking Black boats at two, three and four times the rate of whites. Obama's determination to do nothing specifically targeting African American unemployment guarantees he will preside over a huge increase in permanent Black joblessness.
Black national unemployment, which is now posted at 14.7 percent, is expected to rise to 16 percent, compared to 8.6 percent for whites. Black unemployment has been roughly double that of whites for so long – at least two generations – economists and media call the disparity “traditional,” like apple pie and the 4th of July. Embedded in that statistic is the permanent instability of Blacks in the job market. Each time there is another wave of higher unemployment, larger numbers of those whose jobs were already unstable, drown. Another strata of the permanently jobless is left behind, a social crime that cries out to be undone. But that would require programs targeted to the places and people that have been most harmed by economic dislocations. By the logic of the numbers, that means Black people, most intensely. But President Obama will have none of that. He is ideologically committed to a race-neutrality that, in the job market, can only result in a steady expansion of chronic Black employment instability and permanent joblessness.
Blacks have lost ground in every job category.”
As disturbing as the national employment figures are, they don't convey the true scope of the deep and enduring Black jobs crisis. One out of every four Blacks in Michigan will be officially unemployed by the summer of next year. In Ohio and Alabama, one in five African Americans will officially be out of work. South Carolina and North Carolina will be right behind, nearing 20 percent official Black unemployment. In New York City and Washington, DC, official Black unemployment is an astronomical four times the rate for whites. I refer to the “officially” unemployed, because whole categories of workers slip off the U.S. Labor Department's jobless list every month, while the structurally or permanently unemployed are treated as if they do not exist.
The current economic crisis has resulted in an across-the-board employment disaster for Blacks, who have lost ground in every job category: manufacturing, wholesale and retail commerce, transportation, utilities, finance, insurance, real estate – the catastrophe is near universal. The Economic Policy Institute report recommends that the nation “devote extra resources to those states and groups that are hardest hit.” But Obama has already said no, and Black mass organizations seem more interested in coming to the first Black president's defense than in banging at the door of the White House, demanding relief for the people.
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: 20090805_gf_BlackJobs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am EST

inside manA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The bankster class, awash in billions in bonus money, flaunts its unearned wealth, oblivious to the political harm their antics are inflicting on the “Indispensable Man” in the bank bailout, President Obama. The author believes “the president's intimate entanglements with the criminal banking class will be his undoing.”
 

The Inside Man on the Great Bank Heist

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Obama's bankster friends can be counted on to repeatedly embarrass the president.”
Detroit Congressman John Conyers worries that President Obama might be brought down by his failure to put forward and fight for a decent health care plan. Conyers may be right, but I think the president's intimate entanglements with the criminal banking class will be his undoing. No matter how many times Obama puts a scowl on his face and pretends to threaten the banksters for their latest transgressions against everyone else's economic security, the public will remember who got bailed out first and most under the outgoing George Bush and the incoming Barack Obama.
The bankers have no shame, and even less regard for how much their behavior harms the political fortunes of their friends in the White House and Congress. It seemed like only yesterday that we were told life as we know it would cease to exist if Wall Street was not gifted with the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world. At the time most of the public, Democrats and Republicans, initially opposed the bailout, sensing it was a scam. George Bush could never have pulled it off – this, the greatest boondogle in human history. Republicans were screaming that a bailout meant instant socialism. Up stepped presidential candidate Obama, who sweet-talked the Democrats into pushing the bailout through Congress. For the banksters, Obama was the Indispensable Man.
George Bush could never have pulled it off.”
So, how do they reward him? In uncivilized haste, nine banks that received $175 billion of the people's money turned around and gave more than $32 billion to their executives and high roller employees, as bonuses. It was left to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to cry foul, in a report entitled, “No Rhyme or Reason: The 'Heads I Win, Tails You Lose' Bank Bonus Culture.” Essentially, the report outlined how bank managers divvy up bilions of dollars among themselves and their top-gun dealmakers, whether the institutions are doing well or not – not to mention how well or badly the real economy is performing for real people.
Banking in 21st century America is, in the end, exactly what most people suspected: a racket rigged for the benefit of the bankers, themselves. They had taken the people to the cleaners, fleeced the public, stolen them blind, and were now cashing in their billions in plain view of 300 million suckers.
Nobody can pull off that big a heist without an Inside Man. The guy who vouched for the thieves back in October of last year, who convinced all those Democrats in Congress that he'd make sure the banks were made accountable to the people once he was sworn in as president.
Obama's bankster friends, fearing nothing and no one, can be counted on to repeatedly embarrass the president with their felonious, anti-social behavior, in the depths of everybody else's economic crisis. At some point, it will become Obama's political crisis. The first black president will be even more widely perceived as the bankers president. Which is what he has always been.
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: 20090805_gf_BankingRacket.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48am EST

conyers and obamaA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The nation's senior Black congressman fears Barack Obama is in danger of becoming a one-term president. Obama's health care proposal is “crap,” says Detroit's John Conyers, and Obama loses whether it passes or fails.



Conyers: “There is no one more disappointed than I am in Barack Obama.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Progressive congresspersons may wind up voting against Obama on health care.”
Congressman John Conyers says Barack Obama’s stance on health care has been wrong, and it’s going to cost the president “big time.” It might even cost Obama his second term in the White House.
Conyers gave that assessment at Washington’s Busboys and Poets restaurant, bookstore and bar, where the Progressive Democrats of America were celebrating their fifth anniversary. Conyers is the Congressional Black Caucus’s longest serving member, having represented Detroit since 1964, when Obama was a three-year-old. He’s also one of the most consistently progressive members of the House, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and author of single payer health care bill H.R. 676 – legislation the White House has done its best to smother. Obama once gave lip service to single payer health care, but as president has staked his reputation on a mishmash of corporate schemes and deals-with-the-devil masquerading as health care reform – a thoroughly confused and conflicted legislative concoction that Conyers describes, simply, as “crap.”
Conyers suggests that, at the end of the legislative process, progressive congresspersons may wind up voting against Obama on health carebecause the bill will be simply too bad for advocates of real reform to support.
Busboys and Poets is a favored gathering place for progressives of all races. On the January night last year when Obama won the South Carolina primary, the place was noisier and more boisterous than anybody’s sports bar – so many deliriously hopeful faces, such soaring expectations. Now, John Conyers was telling many of the same people: “There is no one more disappointed than I am in Barack Obama.”
We’ve got to tell Obama now, or he’ll be a one term president.”
The president and his supporters often throw around the old cliché about not letting the “perfect become the enemy of the good.” That’s their way of defending the fatal compromises Obama keeps making with the right-wing before the fight has even begun. Whether because of lack of gumption or lack of real commitment on Obama’s part, this refusal to confront Power is what has brought us to the current health care debacle in Congress. It’s not a matter of the perfect being the enemy of the good, but that the health care legislation shaped by the White House and its allies in Congress is just no damn good.
As disappointed as Conyers is with Obama, he still feels compelled to blame someone else for Obama’s health care fiasco. It’s White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s fault, says the congressman. Emanuel wants to pass any kind of health care bill, “anything just to say we did” pass something.
Whether the villainous Rahm Emanuel is to blame or it’s Obama’s own fault, the president will pay a steep political price, says Conyers. If he passes a “weak bill,” Obama loses, and if no bill passes, he loses. Conyers says he’s speaking out in such stark terms because, “we’ve got to tell Obama now, or he’ll be a one term president.”
The truth is, Obama killed the prospects for real health care reform when, no sooner than he had taken the oath of office, he began threatening to cut Medicare and attempting to marginalize single payer advocates like John Conyers. What begins badly, usually ends badly.
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: 20090805_gf_ConyersHealthcare.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:26am EST