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

Embedded corporate media rose to new heights of non-journalism as, on command, they conjured up an end to (America's) Iraq War based on nothing more than a change of nomenclature. Combat soldiers woke up one morning as "advise and assist" troops whose "bases" were magically transformed into "fortified compounds." Still, the U.S. empire has no intention of leaving Iraq - especially when there are so many available euphemisms for staying.

 

U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq is Fiction

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The United States is an empire that has never voluntarily withdrawn from any of its bases or 'fortified compounds.'"

It was perversely hilarious to observe the corporate media, last week, as they collectively celebrated an event that never happened. "Last combat soldiers leave Baghdad" read the Washington Post headline, with variations on the same fantasy theme in Newsweek, UPI, Reuters...virtually everywhere. One had to turn to the Army Times newspaper for an accurate headline:"Combat Brigades in Iraq Under Different Name."

It is a wonderment to watch the blind enthusiasm with which the corporate media embrace name changes as if they are actual facts. As the Washington Post announced the departure from Iraq of the 2nd Infantry Division's 4th Stryker Brigade, describing the unit as the "final U.S. combat brigade to be pulled out of the country," seven brigades just like the 4th brigade remain on Iraqi soil. There is no difference in armament, equipment, configuration and training between the 4th Stryker Brigade that exited for Kuwait, and the Stryker Brigades that remain behind - except, the name change. The in-country Stryker units are now called "Advise and Assist Brigades." The two National Guard infantry brigades left behind in Iraq have also undergone a nomenclatural transformation: they are no longer "combat" units, but "security" forces.

There are also 4,500 Special Forces troops in Iraq, who are prepared to train other soldiers in the daytime and kill all night long.

Army Times readers are primarily military people, their families, and retirees - folks that know a little something about the U.S. military and have a strong interest in learning the plain truth about the realities of U.S. deployments in the world. The Army Timesappears to respect their intelligence. The New York Times and its sister publications, on the other hand, seem to think that their readers will believe anything, no matter how ridiculous on its face. For example, The Times has adopted the new practice of calling U.S. bases in Iraq "fortified compounds." Combat soldiers, you see, live on bases. Personnel involved in advising and assisting Iraqis live in fortified compounds.

"Powerful figures in the Obama administration say they are confident they can talk the Iraqis into allowing 10,000 uniformed American troops to stay in the country after the deadline."

In addition to the fantasy reporting, American military and civilian authorities are conducting fantasy arguments behind closed doors about whether the U.S. is going to withdraw all of its military forces, regardless of the nomenclature, by the end 0f 2011 - as required by solemn agreement with the Iraqis. One faction favors deploying a force of up to 10,000 mercenaries, complete with their own armored trucks, air force and missile-firing drones. But powerful figures in the Obama administration say they are confident they can talk the Iraqis into allowing 10,000 uniformed American troops to stay in the country after the deadline. Certainly, billions of dollars in bribes can sometimes work wonders - but U.S. plans for an eternity in Iraq have repeatedly been thwarted by the Iraqi people, themselves.

One thing is perfectly clear: the United States is an empire that has never voluntarily withdrawn from any of its bases or "fortified compounds." The Americans are playing word games. They will leave Iraq only when they are forced to do so.

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: 20100825_gf_Iraq.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:03am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

For more than 50 years, the Royal Dutch Shell corporation and its Nigerian government partners have inflicted the world's worst oil pollution on the people of the Niger River Delta. Now, the United Nations squanders its dwindling prestige to help whitewash the vast environmental and human rights crime. According to a UN report, the Nigerian people are to blame for soaking the Delta in 9 to 13 million barrels of oil. 

UN Report Whitewashes Mass Murder, Ecocide by Shell Oil and Nigerian Government

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The United Nations has attempted to facilitate a corporate-government cover-up of monumental dimensions."

In July of last year, Amnesty International released a report, documenting the vast environmental and human rights degradations imposed on the people of the Niger River Delta by 50 years of oil exploration and production. Amnesty International sent a letter to Peter Voser, the newly appointed CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, the dominant company in the Delta oil fields, asking him to "come clean" on the "failures and poor practice" of both Shell and the Nigerian government. A little over a year later, Royal Dutch Shell and the Nigerian government have presented their answer, in the form of a monstrous whitewash produced in collusion with an agency of the United Nations.

The United Nations Environmental Program study, which was paid for by Shell oil, rewrites history to blame 90 percent of the region's pollution on spills caused by local people, tapping into oil pipelines and from sabotage by guerilla groups. The United Nations agency admits that it only studied 300 petroleum spill sites on a list given to it by Shell oil, and vouched for by Shell's partners in the Nigerian government. The true scope of Niger River Delta pollution is catastrophic, with the equivalent of 9 to 13 million barrels of oil fouling the waterways, farmlands and mangrove forests of Africa's largest wetland. That's at least twice as much oil as escaped in the recent Gulf of Mexico disaster, thus ranking Nigeria and Shell as the number one oil polluters in the world. Now the two super-polluters try to blame the people for their own half-century of crimes.

The UN agency is now backtracking, claiming its study is not yet done and there will be no report until early next year. The figures used in the study, the UN says, are the responsibility of the Nigerian government and Shell oil. If that is the case, then the study has no credibility whatsoever.

"The two super-polluters try to blame the people for their own half-century of crimes."

Twenty-seven years ago, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, itself, noted the "slow poisoning of the waters...and the destruction of vegetation and agricultural land by oil spills which occur during petroleum operations." The 1983 report declared that, "since the inception of the oil industry in Nigeria, more than twenty-five years ago, there has been no concerned and effective effort on the part of the government, let alone the oil operators, to control environmental problems associated with the industry." Thus, 27 years ago, the oil companies and the government had already been committing environmental crimes against the people of the Niger River Delta for a quarter of a century. It is commonly accepted that oil tapping by local people and guerilla sabotage are relatively recent phenomena.

Shell Oil and the Nigerian government have no shame. Delta residents fear the UN report will be used as an excuse for stepped up Nigerian government military operations in the region. There is also good reason to worry that the United States might seize on the UN report to add an environmental justification for its expanding military activities in West Africa. The United Nations, once the hope of the planet, has in this instance attempted to facilitate a corporate-government cover-up of monumental dimensions. But the evidence cannot be hidden. It oozes from every nook and cranny of the Niger River Delta. And the people know how it got there.

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: 20100825_gf_NigeriaOil.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:26am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

President Obama is pulling the same stunt with the housing crisis as he did with health care: packing his public policy events with corporate operatives while excluding the grassroots and progressives. "Only the bankers, the stock speculators and the academics that are paid by the rich, qualify as stakeholders at Obama's housing conference."

Obama Leaves Housing Policy to the Bankers

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"No one that could plausibly be described as representing community, consumer, or tenant groups was invited."

It would be a great day if President Obama called a real national summit on housing.  The administration held a half-day conference purporting to be about housing this week, at the Treasury Department, but it was really a bankers' conference, with people like National Urban League president Marc Morial and a bunch of corporate-friendly academics thrown in for show. No one that could plausibly be described as representing community, consumer, or tenant groups was invited. But, of course, Wells Fargo, a bank that devastated whole Black neighborhoods from coast to coast, was there, as was fellow corporate criminal Bank of America.  There was even an economist from Moody's, one of the stock ratings companies that vouched for trillions in toxic securities, before the whole house of cards came tumbling down. These are the kinds of people that are invited to make public policy by the Obama administration.

A U.S. housing official at the conference said it provided "an opportunity to engage stakeholders and experts with broad knowledge and many perspectives." Apparently, communities groups, consumers and tenants - the people that actually live in the nation's housing stock - are not considered to be "stakeholders" by this administration. Only the bankers, the stock speculators and the academics that are paid by the rich, qualify as stakeholders at Obama's housing conference. Only they are deemed to have the "broad knowledge and many perspectives" necessary to make public policy.

In his opening remarks to the gatheirng, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner did not once utter the words "tenants" or "renters" - as if people that pay rent do not count for anything in the housing equation.

"Foreclosures have been above 300,000 every month for the last 17 months in a row."

No one was there to represent the millions of families that have been foreclosed on by the president's friends at Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Foreclosures have been above 300,000 every month for the last 17 months in a row, with no let-up in sight.

Obama is rigging the housing discussion in exactly the same way he rigged the debate over health care, packing the event with corporate executives and corporate-designated think tankers and totally excluding everyone that might not join the corporate consensus. Just as the drug and insurance companies were the only voices heard at Obama's health care summits, so it is only finance capital that talks at his housing discussion. Obama's modus operandi is little different from when the Bush-Cheney regime allowed the oil, coal and nuclear companies to write national energy policy. The only difference is, Bush was denounced for running a rich man's government, while Obama gets a pass. This special dispensation encourages Obama to complete the privatizing mission begun by Republicans.  In league with oligarchs like billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Obama administration caused the sale of 13 New York public housing complexes to the bankers at Citigroup. His vision for public housing is to deliver it to the banks. His vision for the millions of foreclosed homeowners is to make sure their bankers are not harmed. This is an administration of the bankers, by the bankers, and for the bankers. A private, and privatizing, affair.

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: 20100818_gf_Housing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:03pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Were it not for slavery and ruthless imperial exploitation, modern Europe and the United States - and global capitalism, itself - would not have existed. In that sense, all of the developed nations are fundamentally indebted to the formerly colonized world.  But Haiti's bill includes a very explicit $17 billion directly extorted by France (and the U.S.).

France and U.S. Must Pay Their Debt to Haiti

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"Together, France and the U.S. robbed Haiti of any chance to develop."

It never ceases to amaze, how imperialists guilty of the most vile crimes ever committed by man have such thin skin. So it is with France, which has subjugated and murdered millions over the centuries, and owes its comfortable lifestyle to these victimized people of color around the globe, yet gets upset when called a thief and extortionist - the least of its multitudinous crimes.

Last Bastille Day, July 14, a group calling itself the Committee for the Reimbursement of the Indemnity Money Extorted from Haiti - CRIME, for short - hacked into the web site of the French Foreign Ministry to plant a false announcement that France had agreed to repay Haiti the equivalent of $17 billion it extorted from the small Black country, beginning nearly two centuries ago. The French government was so taken aback, it threatened to sue the political pranksters. The suit could not possibly be to defend the honor of France, since no such thing exists, certainly not in the matter of Haiti. No one contests that, in 1825, France threatened to make life as an independent nation impossible for Haiti if France were not compensated for the loss of its plantations and slaves in Haiti's successful 1804 revolution. Haiti would continue paying the debt until the year 1947.

When Haitian President Jean Bertrand-Aristide filed suit against France to recover the extorted funds, France teamed up with the United States and junior partner imperial Canada to overthrow Aristide, in 2004, the two hundredth anniversary of Haiti's independence.

On Monday, 100 politicians and intellectuals from around the world, including Americans Noam Chomsky and Cornel West, published a letter in a Paris newspaper demanding that France return the $17 billion to Haiti, not just because it would allow Haiti to pay for its own recovery from this year's devastating earthquake - but because it is owed. On Tuesday, the French government once again declined to pay its debt, confirming that it remains a thief after all these years.

"They taunt the suffering Haitians with lies and false promises."

France's cohort in the current attempt to recolonize Haiti, the United States, is also an accomplice in the $17 billion extortion. U.S. banks paid off France and became Haiti's creditor. The U.S. invaded and occupied the country in 1915, and has been looting it directly or indirectly, ever since.

Together, France and the U.S. robbed Haiti of any chance to develop. Now, they have stolen her sovereignty, as well. But that is not enough for world-class villians like these. They taunt the suffering Haitians with lies and false promises. Only 10 percent of the $5.6 billion in promised earthquake aid has been delivered, and that by Brazil, Norway, Australia, Colombia and tiny Estonia.

Both the United States and France teach their school children that their countries ignited the light of liberty in the world. But of course, both stories are false. No sooner had the slaveholding United States won its independence, than it became a predator to its neighbors. And the French did not allow their revolution to cause them to miss a beat in attempting to keep Haiti enslaved. It was Haiti's revolution that showed the way to freedom for all mankind, 200 years ago. That is  what all of humanity owes to Haiti.

 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: 20100818_gf_Restitution_2_Haiti.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:45am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Obama's press secretary's assault on the Left also represents a presidential "wink" to the Right, "reassuring the corporate world that Obama will not yield an inch to the Left in this election season." Once again, the president shows that he regards the Left as either his flunkies - or his enemy.


Obama Snarls at Left and Winks at Right
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"Gibbs' remarks were a naked threat to Left Democrats that there will be repercussions for criticizing the president on war, on jobs - on anything."
In the months after Barack Obama won the presidency with near-total support of Blacks and the white Left, a New York Black activist was fond of telling audiences to pay attention to the First Black President's face, not necessarily his actions. According to this theory, the president had to pretend he was in synch with the corporations and conservative whites, but he's really a good "brother" with Black folks interests at heart. Just look for "the wink." That presidential wink at Black folks was supposed to be the signal that Obama is working his game to our benefit.
Obama has been doing lots of winking as president, but all his signals are designed to please the other side. He almost injured his eyeballs winking at Republicans when he stacked his administration with Bush holdovers and Wall Streeters. He winked till his eyelashes nearly fell out at the insurance and drug companies as he arranged for their continued dominance and super-profits in health care. Obama winked his way into a much larger war in Afghanistan and beyond. He's got that wink, alright, but it's always in the wrong direction.
It takes a lot of winking to run a Center-Right Democratic government, so Obama has underlings to do some of his winks for him. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's right eye was twitching ferociously as he excoriated "the professional Left" - whatever that is - for making "crazy" demands for such things as "Canadian healthcare." The attack was, of course, a huge wink to the Right, reassuring the corporate world that Obama will not yield an inch to the Left in this election season. He is winking at "the markets" - a euphemism for the super-rich - that they can rest easy.


"He was warning labor to watch what it says at the October 2nd march on Washington for jobs."
Gibbs' remarks were a naked threat to Left Democrats that there will be repercussions for criticizing the president on war, on jobs - on anything. You will be punished. This was not a wink, but a snarl.
Robert Gibbs was not engaging in an emotional outburst; his statements were as cold and absolutely calculated as candidate Barack Obama's fawning praise of Ronald Reagan just before the Nevada primary. Like all press secretaries, Gibbs' job is to relay and define the administration's message, and to keep the press on-message. It was no coincidence that Gibbs had his anti-Left tantrum in an interview with The Hill, the newspaper that covers Congress. Gibbs was warning Democrats - like the 112 that voted against Obama's war funding bill, including three-quarters of the Congressional Black Caucus - that they had better get back in line. He was warning labor, which has been repeatedly snubbed and betrayed by this White House, to watch what it says at the October 2nd march on Washington for jobs, called jointly with the NAACP.
Obama knows that labor, and even the timid Black establishment organizations, must do something to show their constituents they are not mice. The president is telling them to scurry back to their holes and be silent. We shall see if they are mice, or grown women and men.
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: 20100818_gf_ObamaWink.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51am EST

For a generation, the CBC's Annual Legislative Conference, popularly known as “CBC Week” has billed itself the penultimate gathering of Black America's political elite, its best and brightest and most forward thinking minds brought together for our collective advancement. If that's anywhere close to the truth, then why are there no workshop sessions on black mass incarceration or the unjust wars in Africa and the Middle East which are massively unpopular in black communities? Why no sessions on how to stop privatizations, or defend public libraries, public schools, public transit or the public sector?

Black Mass Incarceration, Unemployment, Unjust Wars, Corporate School Reform, Rampant Privatizations Are All “Off The Table” at CBC's Annual Legislative Conference

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

There was a time when the Congressional Black Caucus reflected to some degree, the political will of its constituents. Elected from the most reliably antiwar and pro- job creation, pro- education constituencies in the nation, every year during the dark years of Reagan and Bush 1, the caucus, to leverage and make visible the will of their communities introduced and held hearings on their own budget recommendations, demanding the diversion of tens of billions from the Pentagon's weapons programs, unjust wars and global network of bases into what Dr. King called programs for human uplift --- education, job creation, mass transit, health care and housing.

Neither the wishes of black voters nor the needs of black communities have changed much since the 80s. But today's Congressional Black Caucus does little or nothing to project the political will of black communities onto the national stage. A quick look at the session schedule for the CBC's signature event, its Annual Legislative Conference, popularly known as CBC Week, reveals the immense gap between the priorities of the current black caucus and those if the communities they supposedly represent.

The plague of mass black imprisonment touches nearly every African American family in the land. We are one eighth the nation's population, but half those in its prisons and jails. The war on drugs is waged exclusively in our communities. Apart from a single workshop on the topic of ex-offender re-entry, the CBC's weeklong festival of backslapping and mutual admiration sessions utterly ignore black mass imprisonment. Black political leaders, if there were any such, would be about the business of figuring out how to roll back the numbers of us in prisons and jails, about ending mandatory sentencing and restoring families and neighborhoods by rolling back the nation's longstanding policy of black mass incarceration.

What you can find at CBC Week are plenty of workshops on how to get paid, how to be a contractor with the Pentagon, with the police state at the Department of Homeland Security...”

Black communities are the most steadfast bastions of antiwar sentiment in the country. But the subject of how to leverage the widespread antiwar sentiment in black communities on the national stage to affect policy is a non-starter for any workshop sessions at this year's CBC Week. The same goes for the wave of public school closings, de-fundings and privatizations. The privatization of public schools, and for that matter the plague of privatizations affecting water and transit systems, roads and other public assets in black communities are also absent from the concerns addressed at this year's CBC Week.

The black unemployment rate is at its highest in sixty years, but the CBC is not interested in mobilizing its constituents to demand real job creation to replace the millions of jobs that have disappeared. African American communities everywhere are sites of the worst toxic dumps, chemical spills and industrial pollution, and have the least access to remediation, and this too is ignored at CBC Week.

What you can find at CBC Week are plenty of workshops on how to get paid, how to be a contractor with the Pentagon, with the police state at the Department of Homeland Security, how to get in on government procurement and the like. Although there are no sessions on the need for support of public transit, you can find a session on how your business can get some surface transit money.

The fact is, CBC Week, and the CBC itself have been swallowed by big business. The head of the CBC foundation, which puts on the affair, is a black AT&T exec. She is surrounded by her peers from MCDonalds, Wal-Mart, Bank of America,and Lockheed, by military contractors and the banks that gave us the sub-prime scare, and more. The congressional Black Caucus has become indistinguishable from its big business funders, and almost from their white colleagues. It's time to stop pretending that the CBC's Annual Legislative Caucus has any relation to the needs or political aspirations of our people.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20100811_bd_cbc_week.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Precisely like his predecessor, President Obama empowers a pro-western Murder Inc. in Black Africa, a roster that includes the most vicious mass murderers and assassins on the continent. One of them, Rwanda's Paul Kagame, who is culpable in the death of millions in Congo, recently held an election in which he got 93 percent of the vote. But you won't hear any complaints from the White House.

Paul Kagame: America's Genocidaire in Central Africa

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Paul Kagame and Woseri Museveni are the two main architects of the genocide in the eastern Congo.”

One of the United States’ main allies in Black Africa recently declared himself the winner of a farcical presidential election with 93 percent of the vote. But there will be no outcry from Hillary Clinton’s State Department or Barack Obama’s White House, or even much of a fuss from the New York Times, because President Paul Kagame, of Rwanda, serves U.S. interests. You will never hear western governments and media call Kagame by his true name: a dictator and warlord from the minority Tutsi tribe that holds sway over the majority Hutu population through a reign of terror. Instead, western capitalists shower his regime with money and high praise as an example of how Africa should be governed.

Paul Kagame and his mentor and fellow warlord in neighboring Uganda, President Woseri Museveni, were given the green light by the West to kill and steal at will in Central Africa. They are the two main architects of the genocide in the eastern Congo, where some estimate six million people have died since Rwanda and Uganda invaded the region, in the mid-Nineties. The soldiers of these two U.S. henchmen are still there, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, looting precious minerals for sale to multinational corporations under cover of tribal warfare – wars created and nurtured by Kagame and Museveni, themselves, for the sake of power and profit and the favor of the United States and Europe. Kagame and Museveni have more blood on their hands than any combination of men in Africa – which makes them heroes to the West.

Kagame and Museveni have more blood on their hands than any combination of men in Africa.”

Compared to the Congolese genocide, stealing an election in Rwanda is child’s play. The majority of the Hutu population lives in terror of the Tutsi-dominated regime, which is rooted in the guerilla army that invaded Rwanda from its bases in Uganda and set off the genocidal tribal violence that killed hundreds of thousands of Tutsi and Hutus – although the Hutu victims of Paul Kagame’s army must be mourned in silence. It is a crime in Rwanda to even raise the question of mass killings of Hutus during the violence of 1994, as Kagame fought his way to power. Indeed, any criticism of Kagame’s regime is guaranteed to get one branded as a genocidaire – an advocate of genocide – or a proponent of “divisionism,” which means saying anything that might tend to undermine the people’s obedience to Paul Kagame. You might just turn up dead, as did several of the regime’s opponents in the run-up to the sham election. No serious opposition was allowed to compete. The Kagame police state has ways to ensure that almost everyone votes for The Leader. Voters mark their ballots with their fingerprints next to the chosen candidate, so no one’s vote is a secret.

The two African heads of state most despised by the United States, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, have held elections that were far more fair and credible than Rwanda's Paul Kagame. Presidents Mugabe and Bashir would never arrange for themselves to get 93 percent of the vote, because they would be denounced as vote thieves by the West. But the genocidal dictator and Paul Kagame flaunts his disregard for the democratic processes, and the West loves him for it. He is doing the U.S. and Europe's killing for them, and they are pleased. 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: 20100811_gf_Rwanda.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26am EST

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

The recent Netroots Nation conference shows that Obama'Laid is easily dispensed in digital form, inebriating millions. What does it matter if 25 percent of Twitter users are Black, when “by 2012 75 percent of the country will have only one Internet service provider offering high-speed broadband Internet?” Clearly, the revolution will not be Twitterized. A real mass movement is needed.

Social Media Is Not Social Movement: Obama’Laid and the Internet

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

The Internet didn’t prevent Oscar Grant’s murder from occurring or prevent his killer from being handed an unjust non-sentence.”

Obama’Laid is a nasty drug of delusion. And like most drugs the method used to ingest it is less an issue than the drug itself. It may indeed be healthier to eat THC than smoke it but both will get you high. Enough alcohol whether in beer or shot form will get you drunk. And whether it comes in discussions of race, war or the economy Obama’Laid still packs a punch. One powerful form of Obama’Laid is certainly found in discussions of Obama’s use of and planned policies for the Internet. These highly intoxicated discussions include the ill-informed claims of the Internet as a mechanism for “changing the racial narrative,” or leveling the political playing field in the national public sphere. More and more often these days people are describing the use of “social’ media” and the “success” stories of people organizing this or that event with the use of the Internet, Twitter or Facebook. Books today now often include some chapter about how the Internet and blogging is revolutionizing politics and media. So much so that there is even the horribly liberal and co-opting theft of the term grassroots by the unofficially Democratic Party Netroots Nation conference which held its fifth annual convention this summer in Las Vegas. The Internet has so captured liberal politics that they cannot help themselves but to further denigrate genuine grassroots radical politics by suggesting that such movements are being developed, in fact can only be developed, online. It is an easy and safe conclusion but its incorrectness is simply dangerous.

For instance, participants at the Netroots Nation conference this and in recent years could be heard touting the wonders of the internet in bringing more people into the public sphere and offering outlets for more diverse voices – especially now that 25 percent of Twitter users are Black! As one conference participant said, with mobile devices being so popular among Black and Brown people, there no longer is any significant race or class-based digital divide or unequal access to the Internet. And, of course, some again uncritically applauded the Internet as being what brought young people into the process of electing Obama and others suggested that the use of this “social media” played some positive roll in the wake of the killing of Oscar Grant. It seems not to matter whether or not Obama is good for us, or that his Wall Street funding is what made his Internet presence what is was, or that the Internet didn’t prevent Grant’s murder from occurring or prevent his killer from being handed an unjust non-sentence. But this is what Democratic Party liberal politics leads to, what Fred Hampton once described as, the “explanations that don’t explain… and the conclusions that don’t conclude.”

Verizon and Google continued to take advantage of a weak Federal Communications Commission, with a weak chair who serves a weak president.”

This past week dealt another blow to those who will soon be suffering the hangover of all this Internet Obama’Laid binge-drinking. Verizon and Google continued to take advantage of a weak Federal Communications Commission, with a weak chair who serves a weak president. Both Obama and his FCC chair Julius Genachowski once said they would be champions of a free and equally accessed Internet. But as Obama has done with health care, bailouts and wars his appointee Genchowski is bowing to media industry corporate pressure. This is a first in what is assuredly a coming onslaught of death blows to Net Neutrality and will allow the two media giants to determine which websites users can access at full speed versus ones they deem unworthy. And because they are initially focused on the mobile devices most used by the poor to access the Internet the previous delusion of those devices erasing the digital divide will soon be further exposed as such. Similarly, in a separate study, it was reported that only 1% of financed Internet start-ups are Black-owned.

It is this precise imbalance in corporate-backing and influence that has resulted in a soft liberal political leadership that supports these and worse conclusions. This is why those who claim grassroots end up not developing any counter-balance of power and in the end support a president who claims to want to extend broadband Internet while keeping it equal but then supports an FCC chair who seems not to want to fight a previous court decision which tells him he has no jurisdiction over the Internet and who develops a national broadband strategy which, according to one report, says that by 2012 75 percent of the country will have only one Internet service provider offering high-speed broadband Internet.

At the Obama’Laid Stand the Internet flavor is just as popular as the others. But it is still just a flavor. Whether war, race, jobs or the internet, this nation is simply stoned on the fundamental drug of Obama’Laid.

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

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

Direct download: 20100811_jb_Internet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:22am EST

Bishop, Davis, Green, Butterfield, Scott & Clyburn:  The CBC's 6 Eunuchs of War

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Three-quarters of the Congressional Black Caucus voted to deny the warmonger in the White House funds for his aggressions. Although Obama got his "blood money," the pro-war faction in the Black Caucus numbers only six members. "So let's call out their names, and drench them in shame and contempt."
 
Six Black Eunuchs of War
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"Let's call out their names, and drench them in shame and contempt."
In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared that the war in Vietnam was, in fact, a "war against the poor" in the United States, because it empowered the "demonic, destructive suction tube" of the military to devour the money that should have gone to build President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs. There were many other reasons that Dr. King opposed the war - great reasons of morality, such as the essential wrongness of a policy that had already killed millions and made the United States the "greatest purveyor of violence" in the world. But, by invoking the Vietnam War's devastating economic consequences to Black and poor people at home, Dr. King was pointing out that, the war must also be opposed as a practical matter of politics, because it was against Black people's bread and butter interests. And those interests, as well as morality, trumped Black people's desire to support a sitting Democratic president who had been, on many critical issues, an ally of the Black Freedom Movement.
There was no Congressional Black Caucus in 1967; it would be formed several years later, with an initial roster of ­­13. But, through word and deed, Black people had made it clear over generations that they were overwhelmingly opposed to U.S. military adventures abroad. We knew in our guts that these constant U.S. wars in the Third World were racist wars. So, when George Bush sought congressional approval for his planned war against Iraq in 2002, 35 years after Dr. King came out against the Vietnam War, all but four members of the Black Caucus said "No."
Last week, the Congress voted on President Obama's request for tens of billions of dollars to fund his wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This time, 102 Democrats said "No" to war, including three quarters of the Congressional Black Caucus. Obama got his blood money, but without the endorsement of 30 Black lawmakers. Only six Black congressmen stood with the War Party. So let's call out their names, and drench them in shame and contempt.
"102 Democrats said "No" to war, including three quarters of the Congressional Black Caucus."
One of them is Sanford Bishop, the Black congressman from southwest Georgia. He was among the four that sided with Bush in 2002. Back then, I called them the Four Black Eunuchs of War, because they were so eager to bend to Power. The other three, Harold Ford, of Memphis, William Jefferson, of New Orleans, and Albert Wynn, of Maryland, are now gone from the congressional scene. The other five new Eunuchs of War are, Al Green, of Texas, C.K. Butterfield, of North Carolina, James Clyburn, of South Carolina, David Scott, from Atlanta, and Artur Davis, of Alabama. David Scott and Artur Davis have vied for the dishonor of being the worst, most pro-corporate Black members of Congress since both were elected in 2002. Davis claims that he'll be getting out of electoral politics, after losing the Black vote in a landslide in his run for governor of Alabama, this year. We hope he keeps his promise, so that the pro-war faction in the Congressional Black Caucus dwindles to a tiny minority of five.
One of the Blackest districts in the nation is held by a white man, Steve Cohen, of Memphis. He, too, voted against war funding.
The First Black President has shown himself to be a warmonger. But Black America sides with peace, and it is gratifying to see that most of the Congressional Black Caucus understands that elementary fact. 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: 20100804_fg_AntiWar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Wall Street reversed its fortunes by seizing total control of the U.S. state and its treasure. No greater conflict of interest can be imagined than that which exists between bought-off Democratic and Republican office holders and corporations that are deemed "too big to fail." Yet "they're trying to burn" Black Congresswoman Maxine Waters "for the crime of giving the little guy an opportunity to plead his own case."
 
Rep. Maxine Waters and Upside Down Morality
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"The Black banks had one reliable friend: Congresswoman Maxine Waters."
In a society in which government policy now dictates that some enterprises are "too big to fail," it is obscene that Los Angeles Black Congresswoman Maxine Waters faces political ruin because she championed Black-owned banks.  The principles most valued by civilized human beings, including helping the little guy, are turned upside down when huge corporations dominate every aspect of national life, as is the case in the United States. In today's corporate moral madhouse, billion-dollar bailouts are reserved for the filthy rich and their huge, predatory corporations, while smaller enterprises must sink or swim on their own. If someone tries to balance the scales even a little bit, there is hell to pay - as Congresswoman Waters has discovered.
Waters faces probable congressional trial on ethics charges, for arranging a meeting between Black bankers and officials of the Bush Treasury Department, back in 2008. Waters has long sat on the House Financial Services Committee, which handles banking legislation. For decades, Waters has been a strong advocate of minority business. She arranged a sit-down between Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and representatives of the National Bankers Association, the trade group for the nation's Black-owned banks. Paulson, if you remember, was the fellow that panicked Congress, when the bottom fell out of Wall Street shortly before the presidential elections, crying that life as we know it would cease to exist if the biggest banks were not bailed out immediately to the tune of $700 billion. Paulson was well-placed to make the case for the big bank bailout, having previously served as CEO of one of the main beneficiaries of the people's largess: Goldman Sachs.
"In today's corporate moral madhouse, billion-dollar bailouts are reserved for huge, predatory corporations, while smaller enterprises must sink or swim on their own."
Black banks were in crisis, too, but who did they have to call on? Not Paulson, who would make sure that his old comrades in crime at Goldman Sachs made out like the greatest bandits of all time. Not Robert Rubin, Barack Obama's banking guru, also a former CEO of Goldman Sachs and later chairman of Citigroup, another prime recipient of bailout billions. No, the Black banks had one reliable friend: Congresswoman Maxine Waters.  She succeeded in hooking the Black bankers association up with Secretary Paulson. At the meeting, however, only one Black bank was represented, OneUnited Bank. Naturally, the bank's chief executive made his case for a bailout of only $12 million - thousands of times smaller than the bailouts given to Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Rep. Waters was not at the meeting, and Treasury Department officials say that Waters had no influence on the loan to the Black bank.
The alleged conflict stems from the fact that Congresswoman Waters' husband owned stock in the bank, although he no longer sat on the board. The reality is, Waters' husband could not have sold his stock in 2008, even if he wanted to, because the bank was in danger of going under.  Maxine Waters never had enough influence to create a conflict of interest. She had no checkbook, no budget, no real clout. All Waters could do was set up an appointment. Now they're trying to burn her for the crime of giving the little guy an opportunity to plead his own case.  The Paulsons and Rubins dispense trillions to their friends on Wall Street, and that is not considered a conflict. But, Maxine Waters can't even set up a meeting for a small Black bank, without putting her career at risk. 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: 20100804_gf_MaxineBanks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am EST