Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

As hedge funds spin their financial webs to spur charter school expansion and President Obama bullies states to lift caps on charters, "right-wing foundations are attempting to swallow whole the entire school district of Washington, DC." For a $65 million donation, the Wal-Mart family and other fat cats demand DC schools drop union rules - and threaten to take back the money if the voters change administrations.

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Obama and the Charter School Sugar Daddies

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"Hedge funds and bankers have become the Sugar Daddies of charter schools."

When it comes to the public schools, the Obama administration is allied with the most rapacious sectors of Wall Street and far-right foundations. That political reality is most evident in  the administration's campaign to establish a parallel national network of charter schools, with a heavy emphasis on inner cities. Obama and his education chief, Arne Duncan, have spent their first year and a half in office coercing states to expand charters or lose out on more than $4 billion in federal education moneys. Obama's allies on Wall Street invest heavily in charter schools, tapping into the public money stream to build their own vision of corporate education.

Historically, Wall Street is to Democrats what Big Oil is to Republicans. Hedge funds and bankers have become the Sugar Daddies of charter schools, using their clout with big city Democrats to give charters every advantage over conventional public schools.

Wall Street finds charters especially attractive, since bankers and hedge funds can exercise extraordinary influence on the schools while the public pays most of the tab. And profiteers have found numerous ways to turn charter schools into cash cows, where taxpayers finance private contracts over which the public has no control. Charter schools are a low-risk, fast buck dream, tailor-made for corporate exploitation and political manipulation.

RIch foundations have banded together to amass a mountain of money to ensure that charter schools have sources of funds that most public schools lack, plus a steady income from the taxpayers.

"If the voters get rid of Mayor Fenty, they can kiss the fat cats' money goodbye."

Rightwing foundations have become so emboldened in their privatizing campaigns, they are attempting to swallow whole the entire school district of Washington, DC.  Four foundations, led by the Wal-Mart owners' Walton Family Foundation, have offered DC almost $65 million to help fund the public schools - with plenty of strings attached. In addition to dropping important seniority system protections for teachers, the foundations demand that the city and school administration remain intact, or they'll take their money back.  That means, if Adrian Fenty, the corporatist Black mayor of DC, fails to win re-election this year, or his union-hating schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, loses her job, the Walton Family and the rest of the foundations think they can pick up their millions and leave DC to find some other way of paying for the schools.

This is blatant rule of the rich, an oligarchy of extortion by the worst elements of the ruling class - all under the guise of helping inner city school kids.

When you think of it, $65 million is a cheap price to pay for the foundations to control, not only the DC public schools, but the entire political process of the nation's capital city. If the voters get rid of Mayor Fenty, they can kiss the fat cats' money goodbye.

Actually, that's no more outrageous than President Obama making states jump through charter school hoops to get a piece of his $4 billion "Race to the Top" prize.  Obama is also a bully and an extortionist, in league with the Wal-Mart family's foundation and the bankers and hedge funds on Wall Street.

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: 20100602_gf_PubSchools.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:11am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

For the Obama administration, every bit of public space and property is "on the table" - subject to privatization.  Transfer of public wealth to private hands seems a White House obsession. Next on the auction block: the nation's public housing stock. "This is gentrification and urban displacement on a gargantuan scale."

 

Obama's Scheme to Kill Public Housing and Give the Land to Banks

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"Obama would entrust the fates of millions of poor people to the tender mercies of the same criminal-minded class that has destroyed a generation and more of Black homeowners."

President Obama's greatest domestic imperative is the transfer of public wealth and resources to the private sector. He moved tens of trillions of dollars to Wall Street in the guise of rescuing the economy. Hundreds of billions in public funds are scheduled for transfer to private insurance corporations over the next decade or so, masquerading as a health care plan. His support for corporate-backed charter schools and other so-called public-private partnerships has dramatically escalated the privatization of education in the United States. Obama calls it a "Race to the Top." Now, the Obama administration is serving up to corporate vultures the nation's dwindling stock of public housing, with bankers as the ultimate beneficiaries.

The plan is slick, but easy enough to see through - like the president, himself.  Dubbed the Transforming Rental Assistance initiative, or TRA, the scheme would allow banks and other speculators to mortgage public housing, and then raise the rents to ten percent above market value.  The federal government would make up the difference, pumping the people's money directly into Wall Street accounts. Eventually, of course, the feds will halt or cut back payments, and the properties will revert to the bankers, who will sell them to developers and kick out the tenants. This is gentrification and urban displacement on a gargantuan scale - brought to you by the First Black President.

Imagine! Obama wants to transfer to banks and developers tens of thousands of acres of public-owned urban property - home to 1.2 million families, disproportionately Black and brown - all the while subsidizing the banksters' profits with billions of taxpayer dollars. He would entrust the fates of millions of poor people to the tender mercies of the same criminal-minded class that has destroyed a generation and more of Black homeowners and displaced legions of Black renters from the gentrifying cities.

"The scheme would allow banks and other speculators to mortgage public housing, and then raise the rents to ten percent above market value."

Obama wants to transform public housing into a Section 8 subsidy program. That is the kiss of death. Section 8 housing has always been underfunded. In New York City, alone, 10,000 Section 8 voucher holders may not be able to pay their rent because the feds won't come up with the funding.

When public housing defaults on payments to the bankers under the Obama scheme, it will be a second bonanza for Wall Street - which is how billions are made in an economy ruled by parasites who create nothing, but charge a fee for everything.

Those are Obama's kind of people. I'm not just talking about the mega-banks and hedge-funders that backed him to the hilt in his presidential campaign. Obama's closest cronies and former clients from Chicago - including senior advisor Valerie Jarret - made their fortunes milking government subsidized housing programs for the poor until the federal government had to step in and pick up the pieces.

If Obama has his way, speculators will descend on all 3,000 of the nation's public housing agencies, bribing every official in sight in a frenzy of corruption over federal land and subsidies. And the poor will start counting the days before they are put out in the street.

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: 20100602_gf_PublicHousing.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 7:57am EDT

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

The logic of the world-stealers leads inexorably to genocide. Thus, the vast miseries that are the inevitable result of imperial mega-theft must be blamed on the victims who insist on continuing to breathe. There is no overpopulation, and "Mother Nature is not the problem.  Predators and imperialists are."

 

The "Predatory Buccaneer" and the Overpopulation Lie

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

"It has long been an expressed corporate interest that the reduction of populations whose land has been stolen would prevent overpopulation and, ultimately, revolutionary threats."

It is truly dangerous when the richest among us, those who live not off their own blood, sweat and tears but from ours, talk so openly about the presumed horrors over an equally presumptuous situation of "overpopulation."  When the world's wealthiest like Ted Turner, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Oprah Winfrey gather in secret meetings, as they did last year, to discuss overpopulation they do so to hide the fact that their hero Thomas Mathus and his followers espouse what is tantamount to a polite Nazi-like genocide based on a lie of resource scarcity which itself only exists to protect an on-going global theft.  This lie blames overpopulation in the so-called "Third World" for everything from poverty, to crime to global warming.  So their response? Rid the planet of at least one billion people.  And, of course, it makes perfect sense.  Once you've accumulated your wealth from having stolen their land, labor and resources, why share it? It is absolutely logical to then conclude that fewer of them be here to threaten the luxury you enjoy at their expense.  In fact, it has long been an expressed corporate interest that the reduction of populations whose land has been stolen would prevent overpopulation and, ultimately, revolutionary threats from among those whose lives are continuously ruined in order to develop the wealth only a few get to enjoy.

Their problem is that there is indeed plenty of room and sustenance for everyone in the world provided, of course, that current levels of resource distribution are more appropriately adjusted.  In other words, myths of overpopulation are generated to protect the imbalance in the world today where, for instance, the U.S. at 5% of the world's population uses 25% of its resources or where 1% of the planet owns 40% of its wealth.  Mathus' nonsensical and racist theory that food and other resources are threatened by overpopulation is a white supremacist lie.  It excuses the current resource imbalance and supports equally false and constructed notions of Black and Brown inferiority which justifies elite land-grabs while preventing the real questions of why do so few have so much.  The fact remains that if every human being on the planet were grouped in to families of four that each could live in a small house with a yard and all within the state of Texas.  Mother Nature is not the problem.  Predators and imperialists are.

"The nonsensical and racist theory that food and other resources are threatened by overpopulation is a white supremacist lie."

And as a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine reports these "new capitalists of chaos" cannot wait to benefit from imposed poverty and the conflicts it produces.  This particular story focuses on Phil Heilberg, a former Wall Street trader with the now defunct AIG, who one colleague calls a "predatory buccaneer," and who has now become one of the single greatest landowners in Africa.  He proudly proclaims to be a net benefit to humanity by backing one Sudanese gangster against another so as to clear land of the Mathusian excess so that he can bring in American agribusiness farming which he says will bring more food to those who need it.  In his own words Heilberg says, "the world needs food.  Thomas Mathus talked about the problem of finite land but infinite growth... I think people will panic, especially those who have no land to grow on."  So he buys it by the millions of acres along with China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and India, all U.S. allies.  And how does he get it? He is very clear.  He calls it "going to the guns" and compares himself to a "Mafia head" who funds those who will kill their own so that he may take over their land, because as they say, "those who control the food will control the world."  Heilberg denies that this is "colonization" because he does not see himself as imposing his ideals on others.  But it is an absolute imposition of ideals when those who might be against your plans of land-grabbing are killed by those you pay.  Murder and theft by proxy was described years ago by Kwame Nkrumah as "neocolonialism."  Today - and where we agree with Heilberg -  it is just "part of the system." 

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Jared Ball.  Online go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20100603_jb_Buccaneer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46am EDT