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

Newly enacted law forbids New York City police from keeping records on the hundreds of thousands of people they stop and frisk on the street - unless the stops result in summons or arrest. Not only is there  "no enforcement mechanism to make sure the cops obey the law," but the "reform" may result in more arrests, while failing to diminish the massive stops.
 
Do Not Exaggerate Victory in New York Stop and Frisk Law
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"The new prohibition against keeping records on those who are not charged is likely to encourage cops to become even more aggressive in their stop and frisks."
A small victory was gained, recently, in New York City, in the mostly losing battle against the methodical construction of a police state in Black America. And, although even small victories should be celebrated, one should not get carried away.
Earlier this month, the New York State legislature passed, and Gov. David Paterson signed, a bill that would prevent police from using and keeping personal information gained in most of the nearly three million stop and frisks in New York City since 2004. Ninety percent of those stopped are non-white, and all but a small fraction have done nothing wrong, but the police department and the billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, claimed the fight against crime required that they keep the data on everyone who got caught up in their police dragnets. When lawmakers demanded to know how keeping records on the innocent is a legitimate crime-fighting tool, the cops came up with few, if any, convincing examples. But, of course, the logic of a police state is to keep records on everybody and, in a racist society, that means hyper-surveillance of Blacks and browns. The cops lost that argument.
But that doesn't mean the police lost the war that they wage daily against people of color on the streets of New York. Last week, the Amsterdam News, a local Black newspaper, asked Gov. Paterson how we could be sure that the police were actually going to throw away the data on the innocent people stopped by police - about half a million instances last year, alone. The governor replied that no had had ever asked him that question. He clearly didn't have an answer, and said he "would assume that police would comply." That's one hell of an assumption! The fact is, the legislation has no enforcement mechanism to make sure the cops obey the law. In the end, the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights will likely wind up going back into court to ensure compliance.
"The whole stop and frisk regime has to go."
Remember, the massive stop and frisk practice remains in place. It is designed to create an environment of fear and intimidation in Black and brown New York. It tells non-whites that the cops can reach out and touch you any time they choose, for any fictitious reason they conjure up. It is built on a foundation of police lies about "suspicious" behavior - which is why the vast majority of those stopped are let go. The internal logic of the scheme is such that, the new prohibition against keeping records on those who are not charged is likely to encourage cops to become even more aggressive in their stop and frisks, to become even more physically and verbally provocative and then charge people with resisting police - to make up more lies in order to justify an arrest, which would allow them to legally use the data.
I can hear the police shift commanders now, urging their troops to make more arrests - not just stops.
So, here we have a small victory, for a small reform, that could potentially aggravate the larger crime: the daily denial of basic constitutional rights to the Black and brown people of New York.
The whole stop and frisk regime has to go. It is the cornerstone of a racist police state, and the intake valve of Black mass incarceration.
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: 20100728_gf_Frisk.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 11:30pm EDT

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
Even the NAACP's language oozes weakness. "No longer are we even 'hoodwinked,' or 'bamboozled.' No, just 'snookered.' "I suppose its the difference between being outwitted and being without wit at all."
 
"Snookered" by Liberalism
by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
"The NAACP makes deals with super predator Wells Fargo, accepts Obama's absence of a Black Agenda and then is "snookered" by an already-exposed media fraud into condemning Sherrod."
When discussing the case of Shirley Sherrod we cannot forget that the true culprit is an endemic political liberalism.  It is not the Right or the conservatives at Fox News.  It is not the Tea Party or its media punditry and it is certainly not some right-wing operative who keeps doctoring videos.  It is a soft reformist liberal politics that is to blame.  Sherrod is yet another in a procession of reasons to be disgusted by the absolute weakness of President Obama, the Democratic Party, civil rights leaders and of liberalism itself.  This is what was ultimately behind yet another Black woman being publicly scorned, forcibly removed from rightful position and blamed for all that is wrong in the world.  It is a liberalism that has long frustrated true progressives. 
It is why Malcolm warned of the liberal fox and King described the racial solidarity that often resulted in the liberal "walking off" with the aggressor.  And it is why Stokely called the white liberal the "weakest" element of their community whose only real purpose was to stem a more revolutionary tide.  It is this self-fulfilling liberalism, a loyal opposition liberalism, that produced the conditions in which Sherrod would be condemned.  Of course, it is this same liberalism which made Sherrod possible, which made Obama possible and makes the Black liberalism which supports them both; the Black liberalism which is the most vile of white supremacist production.
In the military we were told that "stuff" rolls down hill.  This meant that bad orders started at the top, picked up steam, while increasing in size and severity of impact, all culminating in a horrible crash upon those at the bottom.  And in a white supremacist, capitalistic and patriarchal society Black women quite naturally are that proverbial bottom upon which all society's ills fall the hardest.  Shirley Sherrod was ultimately ordered to the side of the road, told to resign and forced to pay a public and private price because of the "stuff" which formed at the top.  It formed in the failure among us to reignite more radical movements which allowed Obama to eventually be seen as progress.  It is Obama's condemnation of Reverend Wright; his refusal to attend the World Conference Against Racism; his lack of any meaningful commentary on Sean Bell; his backing down to a white cop and to an institution that routinely brutalizes Black people which ultimately supports the killing of Oscar Grant and now James Rivera, another 15 year old Black child killed this week by police.
"Sherrod is yet another in a procession of reasons to be disgusted by the absolute weakness of President Obama, the Democratic Party, civil rights leaders and of liberalism itself."
From there the "stuff" continues to roll.  The NAACP makes deals with super predator Wells Fargo, accepts Obama's absence of a Black Agenda and then is "snookered" by an already-exposed media fraud into condemning Sherrod.  Taking their cue from the president, who takes his own from the most liberal economic and politic elite, they offer a trifling apology for what only occurred because of this fundamental liberalism.  And isn't the depth of this pitiful liberalism voiced by its own language?  What organization can be popular, powerful and Black with leadership that not only can be so easily "snookered," but then says out of its mouth that it has been "snookered!?!"  No longer are we even "hoodwinked," or "bamboozled."  You know, tricked but strongly tricked.  I suppose its the difference between being outwitted and being without wit at all.  We can't even be the more 21st century "pimped."  That's how soft we've become.  Now we are "snookered."
Liberalism is our greatest problem.  Not the Right, not the conservative media and not even lunatics on television who seemingly can topple a Black president and the most revered civil rights organization.  It is by not pressing a more sustained, public and vigorous response to the ravages of racism in this country that liberalism has allowed for this, yet another demonstration of weakness.
Having mentioned one Revered Wright felled by liberalism let me close with the words of another Reverend Wright who warned of that very dangerous liberal tendency almost 200 years ago.  In 1837 Reverend Theodore Wright made a challenge to the liberal Abolitionists of his day saying, "I fear not all the machination, calumny and opposition of slaveholders, when contrasted with the annexation of men whose hearts have not been deeply imbued with [the] high and holy principles [of racial equality].... remember this prejudice must be killed or slavery will never be abolished."
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Jared Ball.  Online visit www.BlackAgendaReport.com

Direct download: 20100727_jb_sherrod.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 10:43pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The White House has reached new lows in evading responsibility for Obama's wars. In the wake of the recent WikiLeaks, administration minions now distance the president from the conduct of the Afghan war prior to December, 2009 - eleven months into office. "It is as if White House minions think that all President Obama need do to absolve himself from the crimes of his wars, is to announce a 'new strategy.'"
 
WikiLeaks Documents Expose Obama's Brutal Afghan War, White House Blames the Messengers
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"The Obama crew is behaving both more cowardly and more cynically than their Republican predecessors in the White House."
Barack Obama and his handlers think they are magicians, that they can somehow snap their fingers and separate the president from the wars he has embraced and expanded. In attempting to distance Commander-in-Chief Obama from his own wars - the sordid details of which are contained in 90,000 pages of documents released by WikiLeaks - the Obama crew is behaving both more cowardly and more cynically than their Republican predecessors in the White House. The Bush men were barbaric racists, crude cowboys whose naked American hyper-nationalism, and gross disdain for and ignorance of everyone one else on the planet was ultimately too heavy a burden for the empire to bear. They had to go, in order for the empire to live.
George Bush - and, especially, former Vice President Dick Cheney - never denied ownership of their ghastly wars. They were proud of having unleashed hell on Earth, having devoted every waking hour to the project since at least September 11th, 2001. Bush and Cheney and the rest are certainly war criminals deserving the most extreme punishments sanctioned by civilized humanity - but they are proud and defiant criminals.
Not the Obama team, which tries to wage aggressive, imperial wars while ducking and hiding from responsibility for those wars. When the avalanche of WikiLeaks documents descended, the White House trotted out National Security Adviser James Jones, who essentially said: These papers are about somebody else's wars, not my boss, President Obama. The documents cover the period from January 2004 to December 2009 - that is, about eleven months into Obama's presidency. General Jones tries to disavow everything that happened in Afghanistan before Obama announced his "new strategy" in December of 2009. It is as if White House minions think that all President Obama need do to absolve himself from the crimes of his wars, is to announce a "new strategy." Even George Bush was not so cynical.
"Obama now disavows the first year of his own administration's conduct of the Afghanistan war."
But this behavior is typical Obama, who told his corporate and military allies early on in his campaign that he wasn't opposed to war, only to "stupid wars." He now disavows the first year of his own administration's conduct of the Afghanistan war, even though he embraced it as a "good" war and expanded it deeper into Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than George Bush ever dared. Apparently, the first Obama war year is now to be considered part of Bush's "dumb war" days, and the official Obama war is now dated from December, 2009. Or so we are expected to believe.
The entire White House posture is so pitiful, it's almost funny, in a ghoulish sort of way. WikiLeaks releases a torrent of secret U.S. documents, and the White House complains that WikiLeaks should have checked with the U.S. government, first - the same people that wanted to keep the gory details of war a secret from the public. That's like an organized crime family claiming that the cops ought to get permission from the Don before digging up the buried bodies of mob victims. In this case, of course, the bodies are in the millions.
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: 20100728_gf_WikiWhiteHouse.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:43pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The U.S. war against Somalia expands outwards and "has now blown back to Uganda," the U.S. ally that, "along with the minority Tutsi dictatorship in Rwanda, is America's most reliable mercenary force in Black Africa." Ethiopia and Kenya prepare to join Uganda in an offensive against the Somali resistance, to save America's puppet mini-state in Mogadishu.
 
U.S.-Backed War in Somalia Comes to Uganda, Threatens to Set Whole Region Aflame
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"The bombing in Kampala must be understood in the context of the planned expansion of the war in Somalia."
The bombs that exploded in Kampala earlier this month, killing 76 people and unleashing a wave of arrests and deportations by the Ugandan regime, are chickens coming home to roost from the U.S.-sponsored war in Somalia. U.S. corporate media routinely fail to note that the Ugandan military and other U.S. African allies are all that prevent the farcical U.S.-backed mini-government in Somalia from being evicted from the few neighborhoods it still controls in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. The rest of south and central Somalia belongs to the Shabab and another Islamist group, that earned their nationalist credentials in fighting Ethiopian troops that invaded Somalia with full U.S. backing in late 2006. The invasion interrupted a brief period of relative peace in Somalia  and plunged the country into what United Nations officials called the "worst humanitarian crisis in Africa - worse than Darfur."
The Shabab justified the Uganda bomb attacks on the grounds that Ugandan troops have been killing Somali civilians for years. Under the guise of African Union peacekeepers, the Ugandan and Burundian soldiers have been able keep open the road to Mogadishu's airport, the Somali regime's lifeline to U.S. arms and supplies. But the puppet state is a government in name only, without the popular support to field an army capable of defending itself. The rump faction has been reduced to recruiting child soldiers as young as 12, causing the United Nations Security Council to threaten sanctions. Of all the world's governments, only the United States and Somalia have failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which outlaws the use of child soldiers.
"Washington's African allies propose to send 15,000 more troops to Somalia to engage in offensive operations."
Frustrated at the failure of massive U.S. arms and money in Somalia, Washington has encouraged its Ugandan, Kenyan, Ethiopian and other U.S. client states to launch their own offensive against the Somali resistance, in violation of United Nations resolutions. Washington's African allies propose to send 15,000 more troops to Somalia to engage in offensive operations. This would include the formal re-entrance of Ethiopian soldiers, some of whom never left Somalia, and thousands of troops from Kenya's large Somali minority and others from Somali refugee camps - a violation of international law.
The bombing in Kampala must be understood in the context of this planned expansion of the war in Somalia. The conflict has now blown back to Uganda, whose strongman, Yoweri Museveni, now uses the bombings to justify the already-planned Somali offensive. Along with the minority Tutsi dictatorship in Rwanda, Uganda is America's most reliable mercenary force in Black Africa. Both countries bear much of the responsibility for the death of millions in eastern Congo, following their invasions with the backing of the United States.
Kenya will certainly be further destabilized, as well, in the course of the Somalia offensive.
This is what passes for "soft power" in the Obama administration: arming and instigating Africans to fight each other. It will backfire on the United States, sooner rather than later - but not before many thousands more Africans have died. 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: 20100721_gf_HornOfAfrica.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The nation's oldest civil rights group claims it is ready to confront militarism and demand that  Obama supporters get the "change they voted for." So do Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who is virtually an administration operative. Do does Big Labor. We'll believe it when we see it. But, the Tea Party is another story.
 
NAACP Confronts Tea Party, But Will It Challenge Obama?
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"If racists were actually purged from the Tea Party, it would disappear."
The NAACP is a bundle of contradictions - but, by virtue of history, it is our bundle, to criticize when necessary and, when possible, to support. For the corporate media, which virtually invented the Tea Party, the NAACP's resolution demanding that the various Tea Party outfits disassociate themselves from racists, was the big news of the NAACP convention. Of course, if racists were actually purged from the Tea Party, it would disappear, since race is its reason-for-being as a white nationalist phenomenon. White American nationalism celebrates the fruits of genocide, slavery, aggressive war and empire, and is therefore inherently racist. Lots of non-Tea Partyers are also American empire worshippers, including the Black imperial commander-in-chief, himself, Barack Obama. But the NAACP limits the scope of its criticism to those Tea Partyers that use racist language and images in public - especially when that language is directed against the First Black President.
It is part of the Black man and woman's burden to confront racism wherever it rears its head - which, in the United States, is everywhere and often. But, in the case of the Tea Party, my question is this: at what point will Black folks be able to say, We beat them? Will it be when the the Tea Partyers go back to using racial code words instead of loud and rowdy redneck-talk? Is that all it would take to arrange a truce with racists, that they be more polite about it?
Direct download: 20100721_gf_NAACPTeaJobs.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:05pm EDT

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
The bad new has come hot and heavy, lately: leniency for a killer cop, a draconian sentence for a people's lawyer, no parole for political prisoners, and death. "But this is the life to which we have been consigned by the dysfunction and disarray of the movements these women and men represent."
 
A Roller Coaster Week in the Anti-Amusement Park of Radical Politics
by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
"The release of one political prisoner, is horribly balanced against the exchange for another and the further entrenchment of suffering for two more amidst the loss of a father, activist and frontline progressive."
I received an email the other day from a veteran political activist.  It read, "Cynthia's pops died today, Marilyn Buck was released, Lynne Stewart got 10 years and so did Sundiata Acoli.  Herman Bell was denied parole again.  What a roller coaster."  "Cynthia's pop," is James Edwards "Billy" McKinney, a former member of the Georgia State legislature and Atlanta policeman.  McKinney, as Bruce Dixon has explained, was a cop in Atlanta "when Black police officers couldn't arrest white people."  And, of course, he was the father of former Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney.  Marilyn Buck, a white supporter of the Black Liberation Movement who was convicted for (among other things) having aided in the escape of Assata Shakur, was released after more than 25 years in prison.  But people's lawyer Lynne Stewart was sentenced to 10 years for her defense of an accused "terrorist" which some say is a death sentence given her age and health.  Black Panther and Black Liberation Movement veterans Sundiata Acoli and Herman Bell were both given 10 more years in prison and denied parole respectively.  And this is that "roller coaster."  The tiniest of good news, the release of one political prisoner, is horribly balanced against the exchange for another and the further entrenchment of suffering for two more amidst the loss of a father, activist and frontline progressive.
But this is the life to which we have been consigned by the dysfunction and disarray of the movements these women and men represent. We have said many times before that the very existence of these prisoners is proof of the incompleteness of these movements.  The mere image or thought of the politics represented by these people is deemed threatening and worthy of the worst forms of punishment, up to and including death.  Remember, it was reported that Lynne Stewart, for example, was likely given such a harsh sentence not because of her particular alleged "crime," but because she was seen by the judge as insufficiently repentant.  reporter following the case said that the judge felt compelled to his act because of comments Stewart made publicly regarding her case which he took "as evidence that she was not as remorseful as she should be and that [therefore] he should increase the sentence."
"Not any alleged act but the acknowledged ideas they represent has these and others paying such a heavy toll."
Of course many other political prisoners have had their political views be the anchor to which they are tethered behind prison walls more so than any "crime" for which they have been convicted.  In the trials of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier their involvement with the Black Panther Party and American Indian Movement respectively was introduced as a reason for their incarceration.  Jalil Muntaqim was told by the sitting judge that he and his co-defendants were seen as "prisoners of war."  Even the victim's statement given by the son of the police officer they were convicted of killing says that he forgives them for "the positions they took back then" and that Herman Bell and Muntaqim were, "both victims as well of a much larger scheme which got them incarcerated to this day."  Not any alleged act but the acknowledged ideas they represent has these and others paying such a heavy toll.
As another veteran activist tells me all the time:  "We must remember that desiring and working to be free is illegal."  This was again made obvious this past week.  And remember the condemnation to death of Stanley "Tookie" Williams by the Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.  In it the governor was clear.  Williams was not being denied clemency because of any prior crime and certainly not as a result of his stellar behavior as a model prisoner. Schwarzenegger made clear that it was his public appreciation for other political prisoners, members of the Black Liberation Movement and, in particular, George Jackson.  The governor wrote, "But the inclusion of George Jackson on this list defies reason and is a significant indicator that Williams is not reformed and that he still sees violence and lawlessness as a legitimate means to address societal problems."
In other words, it was an affinity for unsanctioned ideas that secured his murder by the state.  So as we continue to support the people themselves we must also fight for the right to think without sanction of the state.  Perhaps Funkadelic was already too late when warning us to, "Think! It ain't illegal yet."
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Jared Ball.  Online visit www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20100721_jb_Prisoners.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 10:01pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

An objective reading of the data from the Pew Research Center leads to one conclusion: Black Americans are suffering cognitive delusions regarding their actual condition, brought on by the advent of a Black president. But one Black writer doesn't has a different view. He sees a leap of faith.
 
Unknown Object
Black Faith VS Black Reality in the Age of Obama
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"Every detail of data pointed to 'Obama euphoria' having unsettled lots of Black folk's brains."
Black America has been the group most devastated by the Great Recession, both in absolute and relative terms. Many of the gains of recent decades - which have not been all that dramatic to begin with - have been wiped out. So deep is the damage to Black employment, household wealth, and the viability of whole sections of cities, the data are not yet sufficient for a complete assessment. The threats posed by structural changes wrought by the two deep recessions of the 21st century, are even more disturbing.
At least, such facts should be deeply disturbing. The fate of African American generations to come will hinge on the contemporary Black political response to economic and political crisis. But the results of polling by the authoritative Pew Research Center shows that Blacks claim to be the least disturbed of any demographic group at the state of the economy - despite having suffered the most. There was absolutely no doubt that Black people's ability to assess their own and their neighbor's actual economic situation had been severely compromised by the election of the first Black president. Every detail of data pointed to "Obama euphoria" having unsettled lots of Black folk's brains, way beyond Election Day.
We published two commentaries on the Pew polls, this year, one on January 20 and another last week. The January piece was titled, "Living a Black Fantasy: The Obama Delirium Effect." In it, we concluded that "ObamaL'aid is a mind-altering substance, a hallucinogen" that also "behaves like an opiate, blocking out pain." The July 7 July 14 piece was titled, "First Black Presidency Has Driven Many African Americans Insane." I wrote that "a large segment of Black America became disconnected from reality... rendered incompetent and politically useless to themselves and their families by the mere existence of a Black president."
"This is not about Sam Cooke singing, 'A Change Gonna Come.'"
Last week, Lee A. Daniels, Director of Communications for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, published an article on the organization's website, TheDefendersOnline, that  had an entirely different take on the Pew polls. Blacks were not responding irrationally to the economic crisis, said Daniels. Instead, he said, "The gateway to understanding the optimism blacks feel even in the face of an alarming deterioration of their economic position can be put in one word: Faith." Blacks' "profound experience with economic adversity" has required faith to overcome, and this is just another such episode.
But of course, the Pew data deal with much more than simple optimism. This is not about Sam Cooke singing, "A Change Gonna Come." The data show that large chunks of Black America believe that Blacks are better off economically today than ten years ago, although the opposite is true. We are not talking about hopes for the future, but a grasp of reality in the present. Lee Daniels comes close to sounding like those white racists who justify keeping Blacks in poverty because Blacks have, supposedly, been conditioned to it. It also reminds me of a quote from Harriet Tubman, who emancipated hundreds of slaves. "AnchorAnchorI could have freed more," she said, "if they knew they were slaves."
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: 20100714_gf_Faith.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 1:20am EDT

by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
Post-racialism and race neutrality are fantasies; the Oscar Grant killing and trial, and the Black reaction to the verdict, are real. And so is the pervasive rage that is a characteristic - a "property" - of being Black in America.
 
The Oscar Grant Verdict: A Rage In Black America
by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
"It is this being Black in America, which as a matter of national state policy, defines Black people, limits Black people, oppresses Black people, that consciously or not draws the deepest ire from Black people."
There is a rage in Black America.  It is righteous.  It is justified.  It is unrequited.  It is a rage at being Black in America that has existed ever since there has been Black in America.  After hearing of the pitifully soft verdict handed down by the all white jury in the Oscar Grant murder trial I thought again of this rage.  And I remembered reading a few years ago one scholar's survey of Black history and his being intrigued by "the extent to which African Americans have fantasized about political violence - specifically, violent revolt" as a matter of political "instrument" or "catharsis."  He surveyed a swath of Black writing which in poem, novel or political statement included many references to what some Europeans have called "divine violence."  Frederick Douglas, DuBois, Langston Hughes, Ida B. Wells, Robert Williams, Sonya Sanchez and Jeru the Damaja were all referenced as having at one time or another, in one way or another, described acts of violence as just, even necessary.  He quoted Nikki Giovanni's lines, "What can I, a poor black woman do to destroy America? This is the question, with appropriate variations, being asked in every black heart. There is one answer-I can kill. There is one compromise-I can protect those who kill. There is one cop-out-I can encourage others to kill. There are no other ways."
I remember being at a hip-hop show featuring Dead Prez and Rebel Diaz where it was first announced that Lovelle Mixon had killed 4 cops in Oakland California.  I remember how it was reported and received as a response to Oscar Grant's killing and how this brought the very diverse crowd to increased heights of rebellious exuberance.  I saw this fervor again on display again in the pre-verdict documentary on Grant Operation Small Axe featuring Oakland's grassroots embedded journalist JR of Block Report Radio.  I see it in the post-verdict reports and online videos.  And I saw it again at a recent showing of Small Axe in Washington, D.C.  A crowd had gathered to watch the documentary which happened to coincide with the verdict coming down and the post-screening discussion went immediately to these feelings of rage and those fantasies of violent revolt.
"Black writing contains many references to what some Europeans have called 'divine violence.'"
This rage even carried most in the room to almost happily accept the powerful contradiction raised by a sister who drew attention to the fact that while many were respectful of Mixon's act few seemed to know or be concerned with the fact that he was suspected of several rapes of young women and girls in the community.  This was why the police were after him in the first place.  It was similar to the contradiction raised at a recent rally for Aiyanna Jones in Detroit where another sister drew attention to the fact that too many are angry at the police when Black men kill far more Black people than law enforcement.
But these apparent contradictions are, to me at least, explained by the fundamental rage at being Black in America.  It is this being Black in America, which as a matter of national state policy, defines Black people, limits Black people, oppresses Black people, that consciously or not draws the deepest ire from Black people.  None were excusing rape or murder committed by Black people.  But none were forgetting the fundamentality of our rage against the very nature of the state's relationship to Black people.  Malcolm X once said that simply being Black in America "radicalizes you."  We hope so because it certainly does continue to enrage.
And in just a clip of our Brother Amari's brilliant remake of Scott-Heron's Whitey on the Moon we continue to hear that rage in the face of popular contradictions: "Up Lovelle Mixon! Up Mark Essex!
 Up the mighty BPP! Understand white justice is a lie. And appeals won't get us free.
So while we sit and shout and complain and cry.
For something we'll never see. Just remember this one last thing:
Lebron is headed to Miami."
For Black Agenda Radio I'm Jared Ball.  Online go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
Jared Ball can be reached at jared.ball@morgan.edu.

Direct download: 20100715_jb_black_rage.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 1:08am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Having transferred trillions of public treasure for the sake of Wall Street's health, Obama now picks up where George Bush left off on Social Security. Obama's deficit commission is pre-programmed to assault the last vestiges of the social safety net. The president "is the right wing's most potent weapon, the one before which liberal Democrats throw down their arms in surrender without the dignity of a fight."
 
Obama Can't Say "No" to the Rich
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"Once Wall Street was on its feet, Social Security would be back in the crosshairs."
Before Barack Obama had even taken the oath of office, in January of 2009, he promised to put all of the so-called "entitlement" programs "on the table," for cutting. There was no reason to doubt that Obama really planned to go after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and other programs despised by the rich. After all, he had just been elected to a four-year term in a landslide and was, therefore, as secure as any politician can be. Obama was telling everyone who cared to listen that he was would certainly not stand in the way of gutting what's left of the American social safety net. Rather, Obama was telling Big Business that he agreed with them, that the poor and the elderly were sucking up too much of the nation's wealth, and there must be a day of reckoning.
The new president immediately started the clock ticking on Social Security and other entitlements by scheduling a so-called "deficit summit" for later in 2009. But it was not yet the time for a full-court-press on poor and elderly people's programs. First, Obama needed to shore up the finances of the Wall Street bankers that were among his earliest and most generous supporters. The bank bailout was priority number one, to be followed by a farcical health care bill designed to funnel trillions to the insurance and drug industries. A frontal attack on Social Security would have to wait a year or so. It would not do for Obama to join with Republicans in stealing from the old and the poor at the exact same moment they were bailing out the filthy rich. But, once Wall Street was on its feet, Social Security would be back in the crosshairs.
"Obama's so-called 'deficit commission' is stacked with rich sociopaths sharpening their knives to carve up, sell off or otherwise doom Social Security."
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House who was once the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, pretended back in January of 2009 that she hadn't heard Obama when he said "everything" was "on the table" for cutting - except, of course, the military, which is immune no matter how high the deficit. "The only thing we didn't want to put on the table," she said, "is eliminating Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."
In April of this year, Obama once again reminded everyone that everything is and has always been "on the table," as far as he's concerned, including Social Security. His so-called "deficit commission" is stacked with rich sociopaths sharpening their knives to carve up, sell off or otherwise doom Social Security. It is a battle that safety net defenders thought they had won against George Bush. Barack Obama has picked up Bush's marbles and put them back into play. He is the right wing's most potent weapon, the one before which liberal Democrats throw down their arms in surrender without the dignity of a fight. Obama, working in plain sight over the past 18 months, has constructed and rigged a deficit commission to render a kind of death sentence to the foundational program of Roosevelt's New Deal.
Obama will pretend that circumstances and Republicans are forcing him to call for austerity. But that's a lie; he came in singing the GOP's song, and is behaving precisely as one would expect from a center-right administration. Obama is in his ideal element, constantly saying "yes" to the Party of "no."
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: 20100714_gf_Deficit.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 12:46am EDT

An Interview with Omali Yeshitela

With the African People’s Socialist Party 5th Congress set for Washington, DC, July 10th-14th, BAR executive editor Glen Ford spoke with the APSP’s chairman, Omali Yeshitela. “Our people are slowly beginning to awaken to the fact that President Obama does not represent us,” said Yeshitela. “The awe of the state has worn off, and desperation is pushing the people.”

More information on the APSP is available at their web site.

Length of interview: 10:48.

Direct download: 20100707_O_YeshitelaAPSP.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:23pm EDT


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

A section of Black America has lost their minds – literally – unable to make contact with reality since November 2008. Despite the horrific and disproportionate damage suffered by Blacks in the Great Recession, a psychologically impaired group of African Americans believes they are better off than before the recession began, and that the future is bright. When Obama entered, their powers of reason exited.

 

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First Black Presidency Has Driven Many African Americans Insane

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The psychological harm done to Black people by Obama’s presidency may be even greater than the economic and political damage.”

When debating Black supporters of President Obama, there often comes a point where even the most fervent Obamites can find no coherent defense for the president’s pro-Wall Street and militaristic policies, when his refusal to even consider race-targeted solutions to race-based problems becomes simply indefensible. Typically, at that point, the Obama supporter will play the psychological card. The advent of the First Black President, they say, has been of incalculable psychological benefit to Black people, especially to Black children, who can now project themselves into an infinity of possibilities because a Black family is in the White House. Hallelujah!

This psychological argument is the Obamite’s last bastion of defense, especially the “What about the children?” trump card. Yet there is mounting and disturbing evidence that the psychological harm done to Black people by Obama’s presidency may be even greater than the economic and political damage. Barack Obama’s presidency is driving millions of African Americans insane – stone, cold out of their minds.

The insanity is documented in the Pew Research Center’s recent report, “How the Great Recession Has Changed Life in America,” which shows that Black America, the group that has been the most damaged, by far, in the Great Recession, is also the most enthusiastic about the state of the economy. Twenty-five percent of Blacks tell pollsters that the economy is doing good or excellent; that’s almost twice as high as the number of whites that think so – even though Black unemployment is about twice that of whites. Eighty-one percent of Blacks say America is still a land of prosperity, while only 59 percent of whites think that way, even though Blacks make only 61 cents for every white dollar earned, the same as 30 years ago.

Nearly a third of Blacks say they are in better shape than before the recession began.”

A 53 percent Black majority think that the economy is starting to recover. Only 40 percent of whites hold that opinion. Yet, for the average Black or white working class person with a mortgage to pay, the situation is as bad as ever – and for Black people, that means roughly twice as bad. The Pew poll shows that 35 percent of Blacks report their homes are worth less than their mortgages, compared to just 18 percent for white people. Fifty-four percent of Blacks took a pay cut, worked reduced hours or were forced to take unpaid leave during the Great Recession. Only 37 percent of whites suffered such employment trauma, yet Blacks are consistently – and insanely – more optimistic about the future, and feel better about the present, than whites do. Nearly a third of Blacks say they are in better shape than before the recession began – a figure with no basis whatsoever in real life, and a perception that is at total war with reality. Everything is worse for every major Black demographic since December 2007. There is nothing to be upbeat about – except, for Obama supporters, the election 0f 2008. From that point on, a large segment of Black America became disconnected from reality, numb to their own pain and to the pain of their children. They have been singing zippidity-doo-dah while all around them Black America is in economic free-fall. These deluded Black folks have been rendered incompetent and politically useless to themselves and their families by the mere existence of a Black president. Obama's election was, besides the Great Recession itself, the worse thing that has happened to Black people in a long time.

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: 20100707_gf_Insane.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 1:26pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Words hold meaning, but sometimes they mean different things in different cultures. A new study shows the difference in the understood meanings of commonly used words is big enough to adversely affect the SAT scores of Black students. It turns out that Blacks do better than whites on the hard questions involving big words – but not enough to even the odds.

 

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New Study Shows Racial Bias in SATs

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Black students did worse than whites on easier questions with more common words.”

Black students that take the verbal SAT do better than whites at answering hard questions, involving longer and less commonly used words. White students do better on easier questions that use common words. That may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s the conclusion of a new study, which tends to confirm research performed in 2003, that showed at least some parts of the SAT are biased against African Americans. The study could become the basis for legal action to outlaw SATs as racially discriminatory.

The latest study was conducted for the University of California system, and replicates most of the results of the 2003 study. Researchers concluded that Black students did worse than whites on easier questions with more common words because some of those words have different connotations in Black and white cultural settings. For example, simple words like “bad,” “tight” and “slick” carry different meanings in colloquial Black speech than in white usage. The SATs test the “white” meanings, putting Blacks at a disadvantage for the easy questions. In the smaller number of hard questions involving words that are not normally used in everyday, household speech, Blacks score higher than whites, because these learned words don’t have multiple or culture-based meanings. Apparently, Blacks did better at learning the uncommon vocabulary than whites. However, whites do so much better than Blacks on the easier questions, white overall SAT scores are much higher.

Blacks did better at learning the uncommon vocabulary than whites.”

The research measured the performance of Black and white students who were matched “by proficiency” – that is, based on their educational backgrounds and skills, the Blacks and whites should do about the same on the SATs. There was no indication that the test was biased against Latinos. But one of the researchers for the first, 2003 study found that some of the Black students would have scored about 100 points higher on the SAT if there had been more hard questions on the test.

Critics of the SAT and other “high stakes” tests have called the new research a “bombshell” that should move more institutions to drop SATs entirely. The College Board is virtually a creature of high stakes tests. The Board withheld data from the racial bias researchers for two years, and continues to claim the studies produced “inconsistent findings.” The Board blames racial discrepancies in testing on “educational inequities” in the United States, but claims the tests are fair.

The truth is, there is both vast “educational inequity” in the U.S. and built-in cultural/racial biases in the tests, themselves. High stakes testing is embedded in the institutionally racist walls that were massively erected in the wake of nominal integration of education, in order to preserve white privilege. But the stakes have gotten even higher. Standardized testing is now used as a weapon to set public education up for failure, as an institution, so that it can be privatized and remain racially exclusive. It is a new means to an old end.

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: 20100707_gf_SATbias.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 12:57pm EDT

Hip-Hop and the “Anti-Blackness Antagonism”

by BAR columnist Jared A Ball, Ph.D.

Only two corporations own minimally 80%, and usually upwards of 95%, of all the songs making the top 20 spins list on radio.”

In our recent discussion with author Frank Wilderson about his new book Red, White & Black: Cinema and the Structure of U.S. Antagonism he described a situation where a rabid philosophy of “Anti-Blackness” demands that the nation’s popular culture depict Black people as “non-human.” Not for mere material gain, as many suggest. It is beyond that. James Baldwin described this by saying that “I exist so that you can know that you are alive,” or, “when a White man calls me nigger I ask why he needs me to be one.” This is why Wilderson chooses the philosophical description of “antagonism” which means a permanency that cannot be dealt with using our current set of tools. This is not an issue of legislation, or some failing of an otherwise perfect democracy to be corrected by a vote. Wilderson is asking us think beyond the current world which has defined Blackness, permanently, as the slave, the “non-human,” whose presence can only be to serve and define the presence of others. We are, as Malcolm X said, “America’s problem.” But not simply as an issue of economic exploitation, or as Wilderson says, “a threat to some aspects of the world. We are a threat to the cohesion of the world itself.” And this is why he says antagonisms have no “conceptual resolution” in the way that conflicts do. And this is also why Frantz Fanon, quoting Aime Cesaire said that we must “begin to destroy the world.”

Wilderson’s examples include popular films such as Monster’s Ball and Antwone Fisher. But hip-hop and R&B lovers need not wait for the more intermittent film industry to see Wilderson’s points in action. Each week, and with a volume and popularity unmatched even by film, popular rap music becomes a bludgeon in the hands of this philosophy of “Anti-Blackness.” And were we to do Wilderson’s point justice more of us would highlight with more regularity the fact that the portrayal of Blackness in popular culture is not about making money, it is not simply a business decision and it is certainly not because it is what we want.

Popular rap music becomes a bludgeon in the hands of this philosophy of ‘Anti-Blackness.’”

Any given week only two corporations, Universal Music Group and Sony Music, own minimally 80%, and usually upwards of 95%, of all the songs making the top 20 spins list on radio. Through ownership and selective promotion via payment to radio stations these companies assure that their songs, and only their songs, are played as many as 20-40,000 times per song, per month. This means a UMG or Sony Music song is playing on commercial radio every minute of every hour of every single solitary day. This means no time for news and certainly no time for other songs. Look up the lyrics of any of these songs and the function they play is clear. This week’s most played song is by Sony artist Usher with lyrics that are only about a woman droppin it and poppin it on a dance floor. It was played 6859 times last week alone. And, again, this is not about money.

Reviewing the annual reports of these companies shows that in 2009 while Universal Music Group my be the largest music company in the world it accounted for only 14% of its parent company’s total revenues. The second largest, Sony Music, only accounted for 6% of the overall sales for Sony Corporation. And by the way, the third largest music company, Warner Music Group, is run by three private equity groups who, combined, manage funds of well over $110 billion. They don’t need popular culture for money. They need it to protect their sense of self and the just nature of their exploitation.

This is why we don’t see different kinds of films being promoted and why rap albums that have a different content are never on the radio. Mos Def has been in films that have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars around the world. But he is never on the radio. Common also has a budding movie career and has been an “Artist of the Year” award recipient but he too is rarely on the radioIt has nothing to do with quality of the art or what an audience is clamoring for. Audiences want what is promoted.Dead Prez has a new album out, and its free. But it also has songs calling for radical political organization and that encourage rappers to study “Malcolm, Garvey, Huey…” and, therefore, will never be on the radio. Not because people don’t want to hear it or won’t buy it but because culture truly in the hands of the enslaved means more Malcolms, Garveys, Hueys and Harriets, Assatas and Claudias. It means an end to the world as we know it and an end to the world as it is known to those espousing a prevailing “non-human… Anti-Blackness.”

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

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

 

Direct download: 20100707_jb_AntiBlack2.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:17am EDT

by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.

There was both déjà vu and surprise at the U.S. Social Forum. Déjà vu, in the feeling of being caught up in a stultifying search for meaningless “consensus politics” with “no clear goals and no clear steps to reach them.” But there was also the excitement of “ideas, criticism, flyers, books, all forms of media in fact, all being passed back and forth, with a hurried fervor.”

Consensus Politics Are No Politics: A US Social Forum Diary

by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.

It was the concern voiced by several with whom I spoke that a vague desire at the forum for ‘consensus politics’ meant in the end ‘no politics.’”

I was only at this week’s U.S. Social Forum for two full days. It was electric, exciting, full of motion, color and exchange. Ideas, criticism, flyers, books, all forms of media in fact, all being passed back and forth, with a hurried fervor. It is always nice to see well-intentioned people trying to connect and have their concerns heard by others who are likely to at least be sympathetic. But there is also a struggle to find how we go from these events to something more. In the end these gatherings take on a feeling of a real life activist Facebook experience: massive righteous self-promotion nearly to the point of stagnation.

And for some this sense of stagnation is more serious. Going from excited interaction to the assumption of power seems to be our version of “the bridge to nowhere.” Especially when it seems as though every issue raised at this forum is old, even worsening, and the same as those raised at the first US Social Forum in 2007 and those earlier at World Social Forums or the World Conferences Against Racism in 2001 and 2009. It was the concern voiced by several with whom I spoke that a vague desire at the forum for “consensus politics” meant in the end “no politics.” No clear goals and no clear steps to reach them.

There is a struggle to find how we go from these events to something more.”

But there we were in Detroit or “Destroyed” as Herb Boyd called it. And during a brief ride with my hosts Ollie Johnson and Lori Robinson who took Roberto Lovato and me around parts of the city we saw Boyd’s description in full effect. The emptiness of the city, the abandoned buildings and the poverty were all put in some context when Roberto told us that he had met folks at the forum from Juarez Mexico who were shocked at how similar a major U.S. city looked to their own. But out of that necessarily horrible comparison comes the potential linkages around which we can build.

I also did some work with Free Speech TV which covered a bulk of the forum. By conducting a few interviews for them I was able to hear about some interesting groups and efforts. There were anti-Zionist Israelis, pro-Arab Arabs, and good people working with the Youth Justice Coalition on youth incarceration in Los Angeles. And by simply being social at the “social forum” I got to meet Lynne Stewart’s partner Ralph Poynter and to see Claude Marks of the Freedom Archives who was there screening their recently completed film on the Counter Intelligence Program narrated by Cynthia McKinney. And speaking of my presidential candidate I also got to see again her running mate Rosa Clemente whose tremendous keynote speech on the legacy of hip-hop politics was given at the adjacent gathering of the Hip-Hop Congress national convention. With her and our colleagues in the Green Party Head-Roc, Anita Rios and David Cobb we discussed the future of the party which Cobb strongly suggests becomes the electoral outlet of those gathered at these kinds of events. As it stands now they obviously can no loner consider the Democratic Party as an option.

Cobb’s point was echoed albeit differently by my more nationalist comrades who each in their own way raised the question of building a political mechanism that currently does not exist. But that also leads to the equally powerful question of “how?”

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: 20100630_jb_USSF.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

In the endgame of casino capitalism, every “crisis” is an excuse to turn the screws tighter. The only solutions our leaders can propose are deeper cuts to social services, savage slashes in the government services ordinary people use, along with privatizations of public assets that benefit only a few of the best connected cronies.

All Power to the Casinos & Let the Devil Take the Hindmost! Who Needs A Social Safety Net?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Your smiling TV business reporter has doubtless assured you that the Great Recession is over, whether it feels that way to you or not, and that what looks like the destruction of life as the average American once knew it is really just a large bump in the road to prosperity. However, he adds, there will be some belt-tightening. But that belt is a noose, and President Obama and most of his Democrats and all of the Republicans have joined a lynching party led by the Wall Street gang. They are hell bent on finishing off what’s left of the fragile social safety net in the United States.

The banksters are currently savaging Europe, tearing away at social democracy in a struggle to reverse two hundred years of civilization. They are bound and determined to kill off the very idea that society should be constructed for the purpose of taking care of people’s needs. The entire edifice of the European welfare state is to be disassembled on orders of international finance capital, leaving the citizens naked to the machinations of the moneyed classes.

We in the United States have never had much protection against the predations of the Lords of Capital, but the few we managed to win over the last four generations have been marked for destruction. This is the real “change” Barack Obama brings. On the eve of his inauguration, Obama promised his banker friends that every social and entitlement program would be “on the table” – the chopping block – during his administration. Now he is about to fulfill that promise.

Although Obama has not kept faith with any of the popular constituencies that elected him to office, he has rewarded his corporate backers with benefits thousands of times more valuable than their campaign contributions. He has given them the keys to the American state, from whose Federal Reserve they have extracted tens of trillions of dollars. They have invested virtually none of this money in productive pursuits, but simply fattened their own portfolios and funneled the rest of the cash into Wall Street’s gambling houses. In their great counter-revolution, the banksters rallying cry is, “All power to the Casinos! Death to the Social Safety Net!”

As progressive economist Michael Hudson puts it, Wall Street’s goal is “nothing less than to roll back Social Security and pensions for labor, health care, education and other public spending, to dismantle the social welfare state, the Progressive Era and even classical liberalism.” Obama made good on his promise to the banks at his State of the Union Address, vowing to freeze spending on discretionary items – but not, of course, the military – for three years, starting next year. He has failed to bring to bear the full powers of his presidency on behalf of the unemployed whose benefits have run out. But he will not break his promises to Wall Street. As economist Dean Baker reports, “President Obama’s deficit commission is moving forward with Social Security and Medicare explicitly in their sights…everything is on the table, except reforms that would hurt powerful industry lobbies.”

More and more, Barack Obama is showing his corporate teeth and running hard with the global banking wolf pack. Finance capital is busily robbing Europe of its social democratic legacy. Americans have only had the New Deal and the Great Society, and the last vestiges of that are on Obama’s chopping block. 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: 20100630_gf_PowerToCasinos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If war with Iran is insane, why is Obama acting crazy? “Stepping to the brink of war with Iran only makes a kind of macabre sense if the Obama administration feels in desperate need of a diversion.” The bigger the better, since the diversion must call attention from the goo in the Gulf and the air in people’s wallets.


Obama’s Iran Diversion: Forget About Jobs, Forget About The Gulf!

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Washington seeks to create an artificial confrontation with Iran in order to draw attention from the real, profound and multiplying crises that threaten, not just the Obama presidency, but global rule of finance capital.”

If there is a consensus among the sober inhabitants of the planet, it is that an armed assault on the Islamic Republic of Iran would immediately plunge the world into economic crisis and threaten a global firestorm. Yet all signs indicate that the United States and its Israeli partner are prepared to plunge into that terrifying unknown. Israel, of course, is an inherently unstable state, that feeds on crisis. But why would the United States consider diving into the Iranian abyss at this point in time, when America’s humiliation at the hands of a determined Sunni minority in Iraq is still a fresh memory? Stepping to the brink of war with Iran only makes a kind of macabre sense if the Obama administration feels in desperate need of a diversion. Washington seeks to create an artificial confrontation with Iran in order to draw attention from the real, profound and multiplying crises that threaten, not just the Obama presidency, but global rule of finance capital.

So, what does Obama do to divert attention from the gushing catastrophe in the Gulf – a disaster that starkly illuminates the subordinate role that the U.S. government plays to the Big Oil. Every barrel of toxic goo excreted into the Gulf of Mexico is testimony to the Obama administration’s subservience to Big Oil, both in the lead-up to the blowout and the aftermath. The whole nation is a witness that BP is still in charge.

How can Obama direct the public’s attention away from the jobless “recovery” from the Great Recession, which followed the jobless “recovery” from the 2002 Bush recession – the double-whammy of which erased the brief employment gains of the Nineties for whites and Blacks and left African Americans four times further behind whites in wealth accumulation than they were 20 years ago?

Obama needs to appear to be bashing some very unpopular people: the Iranian mullahs.”

What’s an Obama to do to hide the fact that, after passage of his sham financial reform legislation, he must resume the business as usual of pleasing Wall Street by freezing discretionary non-military spending starting next year and putting the fate of Social Security in the hands of an appointed commission dominated by wealthy interests.

How can Obama mask the reality that the U.S. has no intention of leaving Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq, or of vacating any of its close to 800 military bases in nearly 60 countries – ever! – unless militarily defeated or otherwise forced out? The U.S. has never in modern times voluntarily relinquished its bases, and continues to add more at every opportunity. Iraq and Afghanistan are no different, and shuffling generals around will not provide enough of a facsimile of movement for long. Obama needs a unifying cause to rally the American public, to justify the oceans of money spent on weapons of war. And for that, Obama needs to appear to be bashing some very unpopular people: the Iranian mullahs.

And so, the U.S. and Israel now dance at the edge of the precipice, amassing forces to further encircle Iran, including the recent passage of U.S. and Israeli warships through the Suez Canal enroute to the Persian Gulf. American preparations for war against Iran are well advanced. Obama may not even know if he is bluffing or not, but he does know he needs a diversion from all the current and looming crises that have nothing to do with any Ayatollah.

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: 20100630_gf_IranDiversion.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:14pm EDT