Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Direct download: Elaine8mins00secs.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 12:59pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

A wise man once said: Be careful what you wish for. Rev. Al Sharpton has long craved entrance to the citadels of power, and may now have been granted his wish in return for services rendered to the Obama administration. But proximity to Power also brings intense media scrutiny. Can a shady-dealing preacher take the heat?

 

Al Sharpton: Obama's Junkyard Dog

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"Now that Sharpton has truly hit the big time, the media spotlights will surely burn him to a crisp."

Rev. Al Sharpton and President Barack Obama have a thing going on - and I predict it will turn out badly for both of them.

Sharpton has assumed the role of Obama's political muscle among what passes for Black leadership. His job is to bully into submission those Blacks that dare to even suggest that African Americans need to agitate for their own interests, to speak Truth to Power, even when that Power is represented by a Black man in the White House. In his capacity as the president's junkyard dog, Sharpton verbally savages even the mildest critics of an administration that has greatly expanded U.S. wars while overseeing the biggest transfer in history of public wealth to private pockets. Sharpton bit into Tavis Smiley when the talk-show entrepreneur proposed that Black America formulate its own political agenda, separate from Obama's policies, which have seen Black unemployment, evictions and foreclosures reach Depression-era levels. Sharpton snarled that folks like Smiley were trying to hold Obama to a "double-standard," demanding more from a Black president than they would from a white Democrat - which is absolute nonsense, since so-called Black leadership has made virtually no demands on Obama since he announced his candidacy three years ago.

Sharpton joined in a salt-and-pepper White House-sponsored tour with right wing rabble rouser and former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Gingrich and Sharpton teamed up to shill for Obama's corporate-inspired attempt to massively transform public schools into non-union, charter schools.

"Sharpton only seeks the shadows when he's getting paid for services rendered."

Like Shakespeare's Othello, Sharpton has "done the state some service," and Obama knows it. The administration has thrown its Black junkyard dog the red meat he craves: public recognition that Sharpton is a player in the power game - "Obama's New Partner," as the Wall Street Journal put it. The Washington Post has made it all but official, that Sharpton and Obama are a political couple. One right-wing Washington outfit called Sharpton a "shadow member of the Obama cabinet," which is, in one sense, quit unfair, since every day is show time and bright lights for the Rev. Al Sharpton, who only seeks the shadows when he's getting paid for services rendered.

Which brings us to the very serious down-side to Sharpton's emergence as a the newly-crowned principal Black defender of White House Power. Rev. Sharpton, who has often stated that his two main mentors in life were soul singer James Brown and boxing Mafioso Don King, has up to now enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the national corporate media. To put it bluntly, they love him, and have needed him, as their flashy caricature of a Black leader. Sharpton's sleazy dealings are legendary in Black activist circles, but he has only once been deeply scrutinized by the media. That was in 2004, when the New York Village Voice revealed that Sharpton's presidential campaign was largely financed by Republican dirty-trickster Roger Stone. Now that Sharpton has truly hit the big time, the media spotlights will surely burn him to a crisp. Al Sharpton's financial dealings cannot stand serious scrutiny. His service to Power is going to cost him dearly - and  President Obama will find himself covered with the slime, as well. Mark my words.

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: 20100428_gf_JunkyardSharpton.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 5:26am EDT

Amend the Constitution or Submit to Corporate Dictatorship

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

With its recent ruling that corporations have the constitutional right to suborn the government through unlimited campaign spending, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered "the final mockery and insult to the very concept of one person, one vote." There is not alternative but to change the Constitution.

 

Amend the Constitution or Submit to Corporate Dictatorship

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The whole notion of government by the people will have been fully superseded by the reality of government by corporations."

A growing coalition of progressive organizations has begun a race against time, a desperate struggle to prevent corporate money from snuffing out what remains of electoral democracy in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling, that corporations have the freedom of speech right to spend as much money as they see fit to influence elections, represents the final mockery and insult to the very concept of one person, one vote. If the High Court's decision is allowed to be the final word, then the whole notion of government by the people will have been fully superseded by the reality of government by corporations acting as a species of immortal super-citizens - paper people empowered by money.

The American political system has always favored the rich - which is no wonder, since the legal edifice of the Republic was invented by some of the wealthiest men in the slaveholding former British colonies. The U.S. Constitution's intricate system of "checks and balances" was primarily designed to keep everybody but rich white men in check, and to ensure that the balance of power would weigh decisively on the side of wealth. More than two centuries later, the U.S. Supreme Court decision has put a killer knot in the noose around the popular franchise, one that can only be loosened by amending the Constitution, itself.

It is a lengthy process, by design. After ten years, including a three-year extension, the Equal Rights Amendment for women, or ERA, failed to secure ratification by the required 38 states, and died in 1982. This, despite broad, bipartisan support. The Constitutional amendment submitted by Black Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards seeks to void the Supreme Court ruling, by allowing Congress and the states to regulate the way corporations spend campaign money. The amendment, if passed by two-thirds of the House and Senate, would then have seven years to gain ratification by three-quarters of the states, or bite the dust, like the ERA. Just getting the amendment through Congress will be a test of whether corporate money has already neutered the American legislative system, even without the Supreme Court's help.

"The U.S. Constitution's intricate system of 'checks and balances' was primarily designed to keep everybody but rich white men in check."

Donna Edward's amendment has 24 co-sponsors, eight of them fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Other, more timid voices on Capitol Hill favor requiring corporate shareholders to approve of their managements' political and campaign contributions. But Republicans are certain to demand that unions be forced to seek rank-and-file permission for every contribution labor makes to political campaigns  - a totally unacceptable and unequal trade-off.

Other congressional Democrats speak of strengthening the system of public financing of election campaigns. But to be effective, public financing would have to match corporate contributions on something approaching dollar for dollar, which could go into the billions, since the sky is the limit for corporate campaign spending under the Supreme Court's ruling. In addition, President Obama relinquished any moral authority on that score, when he abandoned public financing once he realized he could raise more money than John McCain - including corporate money.

Thus, there is no alternative but to go the route of Constitutional amendment, with no guarantee of success at the end of that long road. But, as Congresswoman Edwards says, history and the Supreme Court have left us no choice.

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: 20100428_gf_DonnaAmend.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 8:44pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.

Harvard's pet Black professor, Henry Gates, blames Africans for the slave trade "so as to silence calls for reparations or the cancellation of African debt." His latest Op-Ed piece "is designed to undermine a tradition of scholarship which has for decades shown how enslaving and colonizing Africans led to a decline of Africa and an ascendancy of the West."

 

The Academic Hit Man: Henry Louis Gates and Reparations

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.

"He is an academic version of those who set up radical leaders for assassination."

Like elders often say, we must trust people to be who they are.  So when Henry Louis Gates describes his own career as that of an "intellectual entrepreneur" we should believe him to be who he is, an intellect for hire, or more specifically, an "academic hit man."  John Perkins speaks of "jackals" and Economic Hit Men, well Gates is higher education's equivalent.  He is an academic William O'Neal or Cotton Smith, the intellectual version of those who set up radical leaders for assassination.  Gates' targets are not individuals as much as they are entire intellectual communities whose service to their people make his assaults on them assaults on the very people those intellectuals defend.  His are politically motivated hits because of their broader ramifications and like real hits they permanently silence any meaningful public debate.

Gates' most recent hit appeared this week - as they often do - in the New York Times, which has been for decades an ideological "killing field" where anti-establishment intellectuals are routinely left for dead.  In his piece, "Ending the Slavery Blame-Game," Gates returns to his favored, if not entirely discredited, theme of African culpability in the enslavement of their own.  Gates blends his predilection for genetics with his undying need to blame Africans for their enslavement and concludes that because statistical increases in the numbers of those sold into slavery coincides with the rise to prominence of particular African ethnic groups that this is proof of a balance in benefits accrued by the process. 

His selective emphasis, or what Ali Mazrui once called, "ulterior selectivity," on one aspect of slavery versus another is designed to undermine a tradition of scholarship which has for decades shown how enslaving and colonizing Africans led to a decline of Africa and an ascendancy of the West.  But as Walter Rodney said himself, "The presence of a group of African sell-outs is part of the definition of underdevelopment."  And now they come again with what is their ulterior motive, the academic hit on Claudia Jones, Frantz Fanon, Walter Rodney and many others.  In fact, Gates has previously and personally taken John Henrik Clarke to his New York Times "killing fields."  Others like Malcolm X, Chris Hani and Rodney himself were simply killed quite literally.  Each murder was carried out for similar political purposes, to assure the African world's status as permanent servant.

"Gates blends his predilection for genetics with his undying need to blame Africans for their enslavement."

Assassins mute the kinds of debate which might result in their employer's loss of power.  By simple omission Gates kills the arguments of N'COBRA, Ray Winbush, or F. Michael Higginbotham whose thoughts on reparations are far more compelling than can be allowed.  The three scholars Gates does mention, in what is really no more than a simple blog post, will not have their views critiqued by their peers within the pages of the New York Times or a mainstream media which considers the Times as "the paper of record."  So most will never know, for example, that Mazrui, a worldwide recognized authority on African history, dispatched of Gates and this incessant blame of Africans for slavery long ago.  He said that African leaders were forced into the exchange and "were themselves victims."  But, again, this view has been targeted for assassination and is preemptively (and cyclically) silenced so as to also silence, for example, calls for reparations or the cancellation of African debt.

Though perhaps this time it was to also save Gates' protector-in-chief from himself.  Remember, it was Obama who went to Ghana and blamed African crises on African corruption.  And it is he who should now have to account for the recent report of the $1 trillion in African wealth illegally expropriated to the West, and this just over the last 40 years.  And, Mr. President, the report concludes that only 3% of that can be attributed to corruption.  To this we can add an earlier claim from former Federal Reserve Board member Andrew Brimmer that through denial of access to capital, adequate public service and government benefits Black Americans have been robbed of $10 billion every year since the so-called end of slavery.  And here we have two points whose own "ulterior selectivity" demonstrates the weakness of the argument cooked up by Gates and Obama  - that African involvement in slavery and post-colonial corruption are to be blamed at all or equally to the crimes of Western Europe or the United States.  These, like the other favorite of a mythical Black Buying Power, are mere attempts at the perfect hit; the Western assassination of the Black World all covered up and dismissed as a suicide.

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

Jared Ball can be reached at jared.ball@morgan.edu.

Direct download: 20100428_jb_skip_gates_on_reparations.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 8:34pm EDT

cabrini

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. DixonWhy is the only model of unner city economic development that anybody has tried in living memory amount to moving poorer urban residents out, and wealthier ones in? What happens to the people who are moved out, and why does our black business class leadership quietly ignore, or openly collaborate in the dispersal of the very communities which made many of their careers possible?

 Black Business Class Leadership and the Crisis of Gentrification

by Bar managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Are poor people the chief and principal architects of their own poverty? This sounds like, and is, a foolish idea. But the baseless and backward notions that poverty is the result of the moral and character flaws of poor people, and that persistent concentrations of poor people cause even more poverty, something like the way mold causes more mold have furnished the public justifications of the nation's housing policy for a generation.

If you are foolish enough to believe poverty is caused by poor people then demonizing, dispersing and demolishing public housing, privatizing the land upon which projects once stood and gentrifying poor urban neighborhoods in the name of solving poverty makes perfect sense. It also makes tons of money for well connected developers, their contractors, attorneys and investors, and provides them all with good reasons to make generous contributions to the politicians that open these doors to them. Nobody in the real estate game makes a nickel off stable neighborhoods. Hypocritical justifications aside, for too much of our black business class leadership, gentrification has never been about about economic justice. Gentrification is just one more way to get paid.

Unlike their fathers and mothers, the current and corporate-trained generation of black leaders do not aspire to alleviate, let alone eliminate poverty. They are unable and often unwilling to defend the interests of poor urban constituencies, even the ones that elect them, because like their white establishment counterparts, they simply do not value those communities and their inhabitants. They collaborate in depicting their own communities as toxic sinkholes of despair, so that any excuse to demolish and disperse such places, whether its the Olympics in Atlanta (and almost in Chicago) or man-made floods in the wake of Katrina, can be counted as a public good.

But exactly where the former residents of housing projects end up, and whether dispersing their communities actually begins to lift them out of poverty are questions that our corporate-trained black leaders in the public and private sectors, and even most academic researchers refuse to ask. Research is emerging, the University of Florida's Dr. Susan Greenbaum told us last spring, which indicates that many former public housing residents are doing worse, poorer, more isolated from family and formal and informal support systems, less secure in food and housing, with less access to health care, affordable transportation, education and job opportunities than they had in public housing. Their new neighbors, believing that former public housing residents were bringing the alleged character flaws and bad habits of poverty into their new surroundings, rejected and stigmatized them. Many former public housing residents, she told us, were thrown into the same neighborhoods that became ground zero for the foreclosure crisis. Absent some swift and profound changes they are likely to be uprooted again, as those foreclosures turn to evictions.

We have reached a point where the only model of development for inner cities is demolition and gentrification. Something is profoundly wrong with that, and with the black business class leadership which is not even looking for an alternative.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon.

Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and based in Atlanta. He can be reached at Bruce.Dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

 

Direct download: 20100421_bd_gentrification.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:07pm EDT

golden sacks wantedA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Goldman Sachs, the most successful parasite in corporate finance and on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, “has been unmasked as one of the dirtiest players in the giant Casino that we know as Wall Street.” The villain isn't simple greed, but a system that “operates in opposition to the human economy.”
 
 
Wall Street: Phony Money and Earth-Shaking Crimes
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The casino players are back and more deadly than ever.”
The permanent government called Goldman Sachs, the banking empire that was best friend of the Clinton and Bush administrations and, now, the Obama White House, has been unmasked as one of the dirtiest players in the giant Casino that we know as Wall Street. For a fee of $17 million, Goldman Sachs put together a toxic securities package that was engineered to fail, so that one hedge fund player could beat other clients of Goldman Sachs out of a billion dollars. The Securities and Exchange Commission is charging fraud, but nobody at Goldman Sachs will go to jail for perpetrating a billion dollar robbery. You could safely bet your house that – unless, of course, like millions of Americans, your house isn’t worth the mortgage you’re paying on it. Or if, like a majority of African Americans, you don’t own a house.
In fact, nobody but the superrich and their corporations can join the giant casino that global finance capitalism has become. Their game is played with instruments of mass economic destruction called derivatives, that are now valued at $600 trillion – a figure that sounds out of this world because it has no connection to the real world economy. $600 trillion is twelve times the value of the real economy of the entire planet. The very existence of a kind of phony money worth many times the actual value of every good and service produced in a year by every human being on Earth, is proof that global corporate capitalism operates in opposition to the human economy. The Lords of Capital, playing with derivatives in their casinos, create nothing of real value, but use their phony instruments to dominate and prey upon the rest of human society. It is only a scandal when, as with the Goldman Sachs fraud, the guys that get burned are other corporations and billionaires, whose intentions are just as larcenous as Goldman Sachs and its co-conspirators.
The Lords of Capital, playing with derivatives in their casinos, create nothing of real value.”
The $600 trillion global derivatives figure is just an estimate. No one knows the exact value. But it is now commonly accepted that derivatives were the dynamite that blew the world economy apart in 2008. Back then, before the crash, derivatives were also valued at about $600 trillion. Seven former heads of European governments and five former finance ministers warned, in an open letter, that finance capital and its derivative devices were leading the world into a disaster. Their letter was titled, “Mad Finance Must Not Rule Us.” But Mad Finance stayed on the throne, and catastrophe struck, four months later. Now, thanks to worldwide bank bailouts, the casino players are back and more deadly than ever, betting against the financial survival of entire nations, and against the European currency, itself. What else is there to do, for a finance capitalist class that creates nothing, but seeks to own everything, and destroys all that is of real value to human beings, in the process.
The Democrats on Capitol Hill and their boss in the White House pretend they want to reign in Mad Finance capital and its derivatives. But the Democrats' pitiful play-acting at regulation amounts to little more than asking Wall Street to use better table manners as they eat the rest of us alive.
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: 20100421_gf_Goldman.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 4:53pm EDT

bandungA Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Dr. Jared A. Ball
The 55th anniversary of the Bandung conference that solidified the global Non-Aligned Movement, is a good vantage from which to observe the continuity of imperial policies toward what used to be called the “Third World.” Unfortunately, many of the oppressed have still not learned history’s lessons that could lead them to a “class and racial and religious consciousness on a global scale.”
 
The Anniversary of Bandung and Durban II: Eisenhower to Obama What We Haven’t Learned About “Unity in Diversity!”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Dr. Jared A. Ball
Then as now the wealth-producing nations of the so-called ‘Third World’ are essential as colonies of the West.”
55 years ago this week 29 African and Asian nations gathered in Bandung, Indonesia to develop organized resistance to Western imperialism. One year ago this week 141 mostly African, Asian and Latin American nations were gathered at the World Conference Against Racism (Durban II) in Geneva, Switzerland looking to, among other things, develop collective strategies in a struggle against racism, xenophobia and “related intolerance problems.” In each case the world’s majority joined together to speak and organize against the ravages of Western dominance; in each case many well-meaning people were inspired; in each case the West refused full acceptance or participation; and in each case the hopes and unity have yet to be realized.
In 1955 President Eisenhower refused to send a delegation despite having not been invited. In 2009, despite being invited, president Obama refused U.S. participation just as Bush had refused participation in the 2001 original World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. In 1955 the West was not invited. In 2009 the West was invited but 9 of the 23 Western nations walked out or boycotted. Whatever were the given reasons for their lack of involvement in 2009, the reasons were in fact the same as those which led to their not being invited in 1955. If the responses of the colonized are to include equality, reparations or overthrows of currently-held relationships of power the West, regardless of the particular hue of its leadership, is not interested. Then as now the wealth-producing nations of the so-called “Third World” are essential as colonies of the West. It is we who have not learned our lessons.
If the responses of the colonized are to include equality, reparations or overthrows of currently-held relationships of power the West is not interested.”
In 1955 Black American leadership knew the importance of such a gathering. In 2009, with few notable exceptions such as Cynthia McKinney, established leadership was silent both in terms of attendance and in criticism of the president’s decision not to go. Looking back on Bandung in 1963 Malcolm X noted in his “Message to the Grassroots” the importance of this kind of unity and expressed the inspirational impact it had on him. Recognizing the power in the oppressed leading their own struggles for freedom he noted that the “… number-one thing that was not allowed to attend the Bandung conference was the white man. He couldn’t come… This is the thing that you and I have to understand. And these people who came together didn’t have nuclear weapons; they didn’t have jet planes; they didn’t have all of the heavy armaments that the white man has. But they had unity.
And in at least two cases, for W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson, it took government interference to keep them from attending. Robeson sent his blessings and summarized not only his support but the precise purpose for the gathering. “How I should have loved to have been in Bandung,” he exclaimed. He added that, “The time has come when the colored peoples of the world will no longer allow the great natural wealth of their countries to be exploited and expropriated by the Western world while they are beset by hunger, disease and poverty.”
The Black leaders who could make it, included Richard Wright and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Wright would later say, “Here were class and racial and religious consciousness on a global scale [...] And what had these nations in common? Nothing, it seemed to me, but what their past relationship to the Western world had made them feel. This meeting of the rejected was in itself a kind of judgment upon that Western world!" Powell, in assessing his country’s refusal to participate said that they had, “deliberately and calculatedly imperiled the future of the United States of America for perhaps the rest of our lives.”
And given that today throughout Asia poverty remains rampant and gaps in wealth grow, and that the theft of Africa’s wealth remains key to the hegemony of the West, or that for African America the crisis of economic instability has been described as “permanent,” there remains much we can learn from the need for Bandung then and similar unification now. As then president Sukarno of Indonesia exclaimed in 1955 we today also need, “unity in diversity!”
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. On the web visit www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

Jared A. Ball, Ph.D. can be contacted at freemixradio@gmail.com

Direct download: 20100421_jb_bandung.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
A federal court has put the FCC’s version of “internet neutrality” in question, encouraging corporate forces that would turn the Net into a toll road. But real activists don’t rely on courts and legislatures to achieve social and institutional progress. “Until we return to genuine grassroots and radically political social movement no technology can be used for liberation."

 
Save the Internet, But Start a Social Movement
by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
“We are aggregated into ‘mobs’ to be easily surveyed and marketed to.”
So the United States Court of Appeals ruled recently that the FCC, or Federal Communications Commission, has no jurisdiction to tell the internet and cable giant Comcast what they can or cannot do with their broadband service. This has truly upset the liberal left-wing and many others concerned with the concept of net neutrality, or the principle that internet providers must treat all legal web traffic the same. The concern is that, with help from deep lobbying pockets, telecommunications corporations have been given a green light to further tolls, fees and restrictions which will inhibit the free and equal access we currently enjoy. Further, their concern is that this lack of equal access will stem the tide of progressive media which has been essential to mass mobilization and the ability to “level the playing field” for the poor, oppressed or politically unpopular. But this is why we previously described what should be Our Newton’s Laws, or the laws of technology and revolution, that the latter don’t come from the so-called advance of the former. In fact, quite the opposite.
On the one hand, of course, the FCC would be put in its place. It has never existed to serve the genuine public interest and was once accurately described by a former commissioner to only exist to referee “fights between the wealthy and the super wealthy, the public has nothing to do with it.” On the other hand are the issues the liberal left studiously avoid. These include the fact that currently the internet is far from free or level; the internet was and remains military developed and applied technology; and that until we return to genuine grassroots and radically political social movement no technology can be used for liberation.
“The FCC has never existed to serve the genuine public interest.”
As for the myth of the level playing field we need only look out our windows (or perhaps increasingly lift our tent flaps) to see that all of the issues those on the Left like to point to as being supported by the internet were also created during the era of the internet. That is, if the playing field were indeed actually level the internet mobilizing in defense against these issues would itself be moot. The Jena 6, the earthquake in Haiti, the levees in New Orleans and the poverty in each place that pre-existed those events all happened or existed during the internet era. Mumia and other political prisoners were locked up before the internet and remain locked up now. And no matter how many blogs we put up it is still a fact that music, news and information are only made popular by corporate demand. Just like with the FCC, we the people have “nothing to do with it.”
Jaron Lanier, a seminal figure in computer and internet history, has said recently that the web, far from being some playing field leveler, is the epitome of the “post-human society” where people must “feed the great machine” but that only those who own or run that machine – not the people who create or who are themselves content – are to be paid. The rest of us are simply aggregated into “mobs” to be easily surveyed and marketed to by the same major corporations who determine our news and popular culture. 
And media scholar Dan Schiller has also for years been discussing the under-appreciated fact that the military technology behind the internet was given to us for reasons I’ve already mentioned but is used by them to assure U.S. empire and “global dominance” on the international “electronic battlefield.” Schiller’s focus is on how this technology assists in global monitoring, dissemination of U.S.-friendly culture and the remote operation of weaponry. He describes the decades-old cozy relationship between major corporations and the department of defense, a relationship John Kenneth Galbraith said 30 years ago resulted in, “an immense planning system that is larger than any other single economic entity in the noncommunist world.” This is why the Business Roundtable, a group of “160 CEOs representing the top echelons of corporate America” and which includes major telecomm companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, demanded from the government in 2005 that the internet, for which they get massive military contracts to develop technology, be protected. This recent court decision seems to have been just what they paid for. If applied, Our Newton’s Laws could have predicted this and would have again demanded that we be about the business of movement-making so as to make protection of our freedom of expression in any medium unnecessary.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. And on that web go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com

Jared Ball can be contacted at freemixradio@voxunion.com.

Direct download: 20100414_jb_save_the_internet.mp3
Category:Vidcast -- posted at: 9:11am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The current American imperial offensive “has all the characteristics of a race war,” and is viewed as such by much of the world. “In Muslim nations, the U.S. treats the inhabitants like roaches, stomping human beings underfoot and cursing them when they scurry to get out of the way.”

Americans Kill Muslims Like Roaches
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“Highways of death inevitably appear whenever U.S. troops are deployed among populations that Americans think of as less than human.”
The latest American atrocity in Afghanistan – the wanton slaughter of civilians on an inter-city bus near Kandahar – is yet more bloody proof that the United States military offensive in the Muslim world has all the characteristics of a race war. The men, women and children in the packed, full-size bus found themselves suddenly boxed in between two American convoys on a highway of death – a place where the natives are instantly liquidated if they are unfortunate enough to find themselves in proximity to U.S. soldiers. Such highways of death inevitably appear whenever U.S. troops are deployed among populations that Americans think of as less than human.
In Iraq, the road between central Baghdad and the airport was also known among the natives as the “highway of death.” American convoys routinely fired on commuters on their way to work if they felt the Iraqi vehicles got too close. Civilian employees of the United States share in the imperial privilege of killing Muslims at will. In 2005, British mercenaries took a leisurely drive along Baghdad’s “highway of death” playing Elvis Presley records while shooting Iraqi motorists for sport. So confident of impunity were the soldiers of fortune, they videotaped their ghoulish joyride, to entertain friends and relatives back home. And they were right; neither the mercenary killers nor their corporate employers were punished.
In 2007, Blackwater mercenaries opened fire on commuters trapped in a traffic jam in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, killing 17 and wounding at least 20 – apparently because they were bored. But, why not? U.S. troops had been committing mass murder in villages like Haditha for years. Early in the war, they leveled Fallujah, a city larger than Birmingham, Alabama, after first bombing the hospital. Casual killing is a prerogative of imperial occupiers when the natives are considered sub-human.
“They would never behave in such a manner in European.”
In the newly-released WikiLeaks video of a 2007 aerial human turkey-shoot over a suburban Baghdad neighborhood, the voices of the American helicopter pilots and gunners are testimony to the endemic, pathological racism of the U.S. occupying force. The Americans beg their commanders for permission to kill Iraqis milling about on the street below, presenting no threat to anyone. They are thrilled when their cannon fire rips into over a dozen men, including two journalists. "Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards," says one G.I. When they fire on a car that stopped to aid one of the victims, severely wounding two children, the Americans crack that it served the Iraqis right for bringing children into a battle. But there was no battle, just Americans bringing casual death into an Iraqi neighborhood.
Americans seem unable to resist raining death from the skies on wedding parties in Afghanistan. Apparently, any gathering of Afghans, anywhere, for any reason, is sufficient cause for Americans to unleash high-tech weapons of destruction. They would never behave in such a manner in European countries because, well, people live there. But in Muslim nations, the U.S. treats the inhabitants like roaches, stomping human beings underfoot and cursing them when they scurry to get out of the way. This is race war, pure and simple. The fact that it's commander-in-chief is a Black man does not alter the character of the crime, on iota. 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: 20100414_gf_AfghanAtrocity.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:10am EDT

DC Rally Organizers:  "Arne Duncan Must Go!"

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Obama administration is steamrolling the privatization of the U.S. public schools, imposing a corporate model in which there is no place for teachers unions or for “anything resembling community control.” Education chief and Obama buddy Arne Duncan’s public school demolition derby would be denounced by “every progressive force in America” – if he were a Republican.

 

DC Rally Organizers: “Arne Duncan Has To Go!”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“If Arne Duncan were a Republican, every progressive force in America would be demanding his resignation or firing.”

The Obama administration last week named the first two winners in the $4 billion-plus Race to the Top. The bizarre contest pits the states against each other to determine which states are willing to be most ruthless in stripping away teachers’ union rights and shutting down public schools to make way for charter schools. Delaware and Tennessee won a total of $600 million. Round two of the diabolical competition begins in June. With their mad Race to the Top, President Obama and his education hatchet man, Arne Duncan, have imposed corporate morality and operational methods on American public education. Nowhere in this model is there a place for unions, and nowhere is there a place for anything resembling community control.  Public education is reduced to a “marketplace” for exploitation by cutthroat capitalists. The awesomely destructive process is called education “reform,” but looks and smells very much like disaster capitalism.

In New Orleans, school privateers welcomed Hurricane Katrina as a kind of “divine wind” that virtually swept away public education, replacing it with a system that is almost entirely charter schools. In New York City, where a judge halted the closing of 19 mostly Black and Latino schools, mass conversion to charter schools is leading to increased racial and economic segregation – an outcome confirmed on a national scale in a study by the UCLA Civil Rights Project. In Detroit, education “reform” means shutting down 44 public schools and replacing them with 70 new charter schools. Public school activists warn that private foundations plan to convert 75 percent of Detroit’s schools to charters within the next five years – moving the city closer to the New Orleans model without the need of intervention from a hurricane.

“Mass conversion to charter schools is leading to increased racial and economic segregation.”

It is, therefore, appropriate that the latest challenge to the Obama administration's assault on the public schools is centered in Detroit, headquarters of the organization called BAMN – By Any Means Necessary. BAMN heads up a national coalition that will converge on the U.S. Education Department, in Washington, on April 10 under the banner, “Our children are not for sale.” Education Secretary Arne Duncan, say the organizers, plans to create a national network of 5,000 “publicly-financed, privately-run, minimally-regulated charter schools.” The $4 billion dollar Race to the Top competition is just the bait for the planned big switch. The “race” is the cruelest kind of contest, creating a “mad scramble to abandon all tried-and-true reforms to get desperately needed federal funding and the insane competition of school-against-school, state-against-state.”

According to BAMN activists, “If Arne Duncan were a Republican, every progressive force in America would be demanding his resignation or firing.... For any real pro-student educational reforms to occur, Duncan must go now.”

But, of course, Duncan is not a loose cannon. He's Barack Obama's basketball buddy from Chicago, where Duncan closed Black and brown schools and fired Black teachers with abandon. When demonstrators gather at the Department of Education on Saturday, April 10, they will be denouncing Arne Duncan, but the policies are Barack Obama's.

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: 20100407_gf_SchoolsRally.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 11:43pm EDT