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