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

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 EDT

In News and Politics Black People Are Still Invisible

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

Black people are no longer newsworthy. That's the result of a Pew study, which found "stories defined as significantly focused on Black Americans accounted for only 1.9% of all news coverage." And a majority of that coverage was of the Henry Louis Gates run-in with a Cambridge cop. The lesson: "A defeated people need no coverage."
 
In News and Politics Black People Are Still Invisible
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
"There is dwindling coverage of actual Black issues in news or politics."
Dust off your Ellison; because when it comes to news and politics Black people remain invisible.  According to the recent Pew Research Center study on "Media, Race and Obama's First Year," "African Americans attracted relatively little attention in the U.S. mainstream news media during the first year of Barack Obama's presidency."  Now, Obama's presence is causing simultaneous new highs in levels of delusion and equally high levels of absence and it is a perfect storm of annihilation.  At precisely the time when there is no mass movement, as conditions worsen and fewer Black people are more famous than ever there is dwindling coverage of actual Black issues in news or politics.  It is more than a potentially dangerous situation.  This kind of inattention matched with a specific kind of public policy had already, in the years prior to Obama's arrival on the scene, led famed legal scholar Derrick Bell to conclude that we have already reached the equivalent in public policy of randomly shooting hundreds of Black people every week with no one caring.  Or as Anthony Hamilton sings, "Aint Nobody Worrying."  
According to the recently released year-long study of all mainstream media formats from February 2009 to February 2010, stories defined as significantly focused on Black Americans accounted for only 1.9% of all news coverage.  Broken down by medium an old story emerges, one familiar to readers of Glen Ford over the last decade; that of the entire 1.9% total the largest segments of Black-focused media were cable television and talk radio.  The lowest?  News radio. When it comes to cable and talk Black people might get the tiniest mention.  But when it comes to news, there is apparently none to report.  A defeated people need no coverage.  A people destined for future horrors need no current attention. 
"If Black people are not singing, rapping, dancing or playing a game there is simply no reason at all to cover them."
And it's even worse than that.  Of that 1.9% a majority of the coverage was of the Henry Louis Gates fiasco.  No, not his recent and disturbing attack on reparations, but the police brutality he suffered and the subsequent beer he drank with both the president and the abusive cop.  According to the study the mainstream media will include some discussion of Blackness if it is related to the first Black president of the United States.  Obama got the second most coverage, of that total 1.9%.  Meanwhile, the impact on Black people of the economic crisis or of the health care debate combined to be 9.5% of the total 1.9% mainstream inclusion of Black people in news or political coverage.  It really remains true.  If Black people are not singing, rapping, dancing or playing a game there is simply no reason at all to cover them.  Even if the president is Black.  More so if the president is Black. 
But what this means is further proof of the denial of race presented by the era of the first Black president.  The nation's response to the uprisings of the 1960s and 70s was an increase in the number of Black faces seen on television.  Obama's presidency, now shown on several levels, is a magnification of that same process.  The more Blackness is seen the less substantive the view and the less likely there is to be Black resistance to worsening conditions.  Race, or the impact of White supremacy on Black people, has disappeared from the mainstream.   Worse, its appearance actually speaks against its impact.
This is precisely why people like Ishmael Reed do not take lightly the popular representation of Black people in the U.S. mainstream media.  Nothing of substance is discussed in relation to Black people.   No time, no in-depth concern, no deep investment or involvement.  So when popular media depict Black people as savages, criminals, obscenely vulgar sexually Reed makes direct connections to pre-Nazi Holocaust depictions of Jews.  Or as one scholar of genocide has said, "as a rule human beings do not kill other human beings {and therefore} before we enter into warfare or genocide we first dehumanize those we mean to eliminate."  If this indeed were the plan for Black people, apparently, no one would know until there was a dearth of entertainment and a blatantly lowered standard of sports.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Jared Ball.  Online visit us at www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
Jared Ball can be reached via email at jared.ball@morgan.edu.

Direct download: 20100804_jb_InvisibleBlacks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:57am EDT