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

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

What media call "philanthropy" for the public schools are actually seed monies to establish a private "market" in publicly-financed education - an enterprise worth trillions if successfully penetrated by corporate America. Cory Booker, one of the "New Black Leaders" financed by the filthy rich, is key to creating a "nationwide corporate-managed schools network paid for by public funds but run by private managers."

Cory Booker: A Clear and Present Threat to Public Education

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"Booker remains determined to make Newark the national showcase city for corporate education."

Eight years ago, when Cory Booker made his first bid for mayor of Newark, New Jersey, I exposed him in the pages of The Black Commentator as a product of the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation and its network of right-wing think tanks. Back in 2002, Booker was a one-term Newark City Councilman and advocate of publicly-funded vouchers for private schools. Millions of dollars in contributions from his many friends on the Right allowed Booker to vastly outspend the incumbent mayor - but he still lost. I like to take a little credit for Booker's defeat, the first time around, for having warned Newark voters that Booker was a Trojan Horse for corporate right-wingers who were determined to privatize the public schools.

Booker won his second attempt to capture Newark City Hall, in 2006, and former Mayor Sharpe James went to prison for corruption. There wasn't too much Mayor Booker could do to privatize Newark's schools, since they've been under the control of the State of New Jersey since 1995. Then, last year, Booker got very lucky. New Jersey elected Chris Christie, a fiercely reactionary Republican, as Governor. Cory Booker - still the same Trojan Horse for the rich right-wingers that have funded his career - had found a political partner in his mission to turn over the public schools to corporations. Booker was already tight with the Black right-wing billionaire, Oprah Winfrey. It was on Oprah's show that fellow billionaire Mark Zukerberg, the FaceBook owner, announced a $100 million gift to Newark schools, to be administered jointly by Booker and the Republican Governor.

"Booker is still the same Trojan Horse for rich right-wingers that have funded his career."

Booker has since gotten commitments for another $40 million from Microsoft's Bill Gates, a New York hedge fund manager, and an educational investment corporation. Cory Booker is rolling in the dough and poised to make his right-wing dreams come true.

Just as I warned, back in 2002, Booker remains determined to make Newark the national showcase city for corporate education - only now, he's got the cash. And he is now part of a full-blown network of capitalists whose mission is to turn American education into a market, for power and profit. The billionaires are circling public education like birds of prey, seeking to transform charter schools into an interlocking, national, for-profit business, worth trillions of dollars. That's what the hedge funds are after, and that is the mission of Booker money-bag John Doerr and his California-based New Schools Venture Fund, whose goal is to "build an entirely new sector of public education" through private investment. They want nothing less than to create a nationwide corporate-managed schools network paid for by public funds but run by private managers.

Cory Booker and Newark are central to this project, as was Washington, DC, where the viciously anti-union schools chief, Michelle Rhee, will soon be fired after the recent defeat of her Cory Booker-like boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty. The Wal-Mart family and other super-rich right-wingers attempted to take over the DC system through millions in contributions with political strings attached. Oprah Winfrey is using her television platform to boost Michelle Rhee for superintendent of Newark schools. Rhee also has the backing of the Obama administration, through Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Booker, Fenty and Obama. Corporate Trojan Horses, all of them, and deadly enemies of public education.

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: 20100929_gf_CoryBooker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26am EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Rwandan strongman Paul Kagame is threatening to withdraw his forces from United Nations peacekeeping operations if a UN report persists in blaming his army for massacres of Rwandan and Congolese Hutus. "The regime's defense is that it 'saved' millions from death in Rwanda, and then crossed into Congo to 'save' millions of Hutus there, too - presumably, from other Hutus.

Rwanda Scrambles to Deny UN Report on Congo Massacres

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"Rwandan Tutsi rebels, attacking from Uganda, initiated the slaughter in Rwanda that left hundreds of thousands dead, and then invaded the neighboring Congo to exploit its mineral resources."

On October 1st the United Nations will officially release a report on massacres of Hutus in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mass killings were alleged to have been carried out by the Rwandan army following Rwanda's invasion of Congo in the mid-Nineties. A draft of the report that was leaked to the press a month ago charged Rwanda with carrying out hundreds of mass killings of both Rwandan and Congolese Hutus - crimes that could rise to the level of genocide. The Rwanda Tutsi regime of General Paul Kagame then threatened to withdraw its forces from UN peacekeeping operations in Sudan, Liberia, Haiti and Chad. That prompted the UN Secretary General to allow a month for concerned nations to respond to the report.

The pro-government Rwandan press has been busy attacking the researchers who drew up the report as part of a mapping project to pinpoint the sites of military actions and massacres of civilians in Congo and Rwanda. Rwanda's media defendershave been especially frantic in their attacks on Christopher Black, whose article, "Who Was Behind the Rwandan Genocide?"was published in Black Agenda Report. Mr. Black is also a lawyer for a Hutu general on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Based largely on the UN's research into the times, places and victims of mass murder in Rwanda and Congo, Mr. Black concludes that Rwandan Tutsi rebels, attacking from Uganda, initiated the slaughter in Rwanda that left hundreds of thousands dead, and then invaded the neighboring Congo to exploit its mineral resources.

"Uganda and Rwanda coordinated their invasion of the Congo with their military and political ally, the United States, for the benefit of multinational mining corporations."

Black's version of the conflict gives context to the UN's report that Rwanda's Tutsi army in the Congo slaughtered Hutu civilians, both Rwandan Hutu refugees and native Congolese Hutu. And he further charges that Uganda and Rwanda coordinated their invasion of the Congo with their military and political ally, the United States, for the benefit of multinational mining corporations. Black says he is in possession of a letter from Rwandan strongman Paul Kagame that shows Kagame's ultimate objective in seizing power in Rwanda in 1994 was to invade the mineral-rich Congo. The Hutu refugees that fled Kagame's forces into the eastern Congo, and the native Hutu Congolese population, got in the way, and were massacred.

The pro-government Rwandan press dismisses the Kagame letter as a "fabrication," and contend that the UN researchers that documented the massacres of Hutus are aligned with lawyers for Rwandan Hutus charged with war crimes.

The regime's defense remains that it "saved" millions from death in Rwanda, and then crossed into Congo to "save" millions of Hutus there, too - presumably, from other Hutus. Yet researchers have found that three and a half million "excessive deaths" occurred in Congo after Kagame's invasion. I suppose we are to believe that these must have been people that Kagame's army couldn't "save," most of them Congolese.

In a few days we will find out if the United Nations has weakened its report on Rwanda's killings in the Congo, in order to mollify Paul Kagame's government. That would not be surprising, since UN researchers have been reporting the massacres to their bosses for years, with no effect.

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@BlackAgendaReportcom.

Direct download: 20100929_gf_RwandaCongo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:08am EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball

She was young, Black, female, a dynamic political activist and Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maryland. Yet the corporate media and even many of those Blacks that gathered to mark Natasha Pettigrew's death in a bicycle-car collision were oblivious to her political passions and commitments - a life arbitrarily edited by post-mortem omission.

Natasha Pettigrew and the Recipe for Omission

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball

"Natasha knew that change could not come from an electoral business as usual."

Natasha Pettigrew died last week from injuries sustained after being hit by a car while riding her bike.  She was 30, Black and a Green Party candidate for the U.S. senate in the state of Maryland.  The absence of fortune in her killing can never be matched but is certainly rivaled by the absence of fortune in that simple bio; a Black woman running for office as a member of the Green Party.  This unfortunate combination of natural and political selection was and is a recipe for omission.  This recipe? Start with being a woman, Black and a member of an alternative political party.  Then add one part Black people who love and are bought by Democrats; add a strong helping of White people who won't accept Black leadership (even Obama didn't get a majority of the White vote and certainly won't if there is a next time); add a dash of Whites who will accept Black leadership but who are often corny Green Party types too few in number to begin with; add most young people who love only manufactured popularity; and stir in a media environment, be it Black, White, mainstream or "progressive," who all shun third party politics and we are served up the powerful but bland dish of omission.

As a young Black woman without the political rock star pedigree earned or borrowed from a previous generation's struggles and who put her own law school work on hold to run for office on the Green Party ticket Natasha was by nature and choice destined for obscurity.  And she knew it.  She was killed preparing for a triathlon so she was no slouch incapable of readying herself for great feats.  In her own statements, including a personal challenge to this commentator to work harder, Natasha was clear that a fight was necessary to prevent further national political backsliding and that this would not be easy.  She knew the obstacles which include the fact that the Green Party gets no media attention other than to be discussed as "spoilers" or as the hopeless fringe.  But Natasha also knew that change could not come from an electoral business as usual. 

"Natasha was clear that a fight was necessary to prevent further national political backsliding and that this would not be easy."

She wrote of the "stark contrasts" between the White Fells Point area of Baltimore and the rest of the city which she said would become her "mission" to address.  She wrote of the obvious contradiction between a $100 million juvenile detention center being built in Baltimore while many are homeless and the school system "vies for first place as the worst performers alongside [the mostly Black] Prince George's County."  And she concluded that none of this could be addressed by the existing political structure, noting that it is the Green Party whose platform best represents the true interests of her community.

At the vigil that followed a few days later some of the ravages of this recipe of omission were on display.  As dozens gathered in a parking lot which sat adjacent to the place where Natasha was killed many of the mostly Black participants knew nothing of her Green Party campaign and the well-meaning White folks who showed up remain too distant and corny to have closed those gaps.  The lovers of dead Black people known as NBC, Fox and CBS were on hand but of course knew nothing of her political campaign, knew nothing of her admiration for Cynthia McKinney who they also failed to recognize at the vigil and simply continued a pattern established by their print cohorts The Baltimore Sun and Washington Post of offering time to Natasha only after being killed.

We need a new recipe for the Natashas of the world, especially now at a time when the fraudulence of the Democratic Party as an element of change is more obvious than at any other time in U.S. history.  Natasha and we deserve it.

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

Jared Ball can be reached via email at freemixradio@gmail.com.

Direct download: 20100929_jb_GreenObit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52am EDT

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A Black Agenda Report commentary by Glen Ford

Black watchdogs are most effective in unmasking and shaming the culprits within our own ranks.” We “tip our hats” to Color of Change for exposing the Congressional Black Caucus’s abysmal collective record on Internet neutrality. “Those who are most trusted by Black America are positioned to do the most serious harm to African American interests.”

 

Color Of Change Takes On Black Caucus on Internet Neutrality

A Black Agenda Report commentary by Glen Ford

Color of Change enhances its own moral authority as a watchdog that is willing to hold Black institutions accountable to Black people.”

The Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend has always been heavy on networking. The question is: networking for whom? Is one networking to make a self-serving deal, or for the purpose of sharing information and ideas for the advancement of the common good.

Based on their legislative records, it is clear that much of the networking done by members of Congressional Black Caucus is contrary to the interests of their own constituents. Since 2006, large majorities of the Black Caucus have sided with those who seek to turn the Internet into a private network for giant telecommunications corporations. Today, only a small fraction of the Black Caucus can be counted on to support the people’s interests in the fight for Internet neutrality.

At Black Agenda Report, we tip our hats this week to Color of Change, the online activist organization that has challenged those Black congresspersons that have sided “with their corporate donors…in an effort to undermine Internet freedom and give the telephone and cable companies control over what you can see and do online.” It is significant that Color of Change, with its impressive emailing list and valuable experience in mobilizing African Americans through the Internet, is taking on the Black Caucus. What’s sorely missing in Black America, today, are mechanisms that force Black institutions, like the Congressional Black Caucus, to be accountable to the masses of African American people. The Caucus claims it is the “conscience of the Congress,” but on the issue of Internet neutrality, the Black lawmakers have acted unconscionably, selling their votes to corporate monopolizers whose ambition is the corner the global market on information, ideas and human consciousness, itself.

Only a small fraction of the Black Caucus can be counted on to support the people’s interests in the fight for Internet neutrality.”

The only moral authority the Congressional Black Caucus can claim is that which it earns through service to its core Black constituency, whose interests are antithetical to those of the giant telecom companies. In focusing the spotlight on the Black Caucus’s collective betrayal of African American interests, Color of Change enhances its own moral authority as a watchdog that is willing to hold Black institutions accountable to Black people. The internal political battle within the Black community is, in many ways, the most critical arena of struggle, since those who are most trusted by Black America are positioned to do the most serious harm to African American interests.

Color of Change zeroes in on the most shameless Black congressional servants of AT&T and Verizon, by name, singling out New York’s Greg Meeks and Chicago’s Bobby Rush. The handful of Black lawmakers that have championed a corporate-free Internet are appropriately applauded. They are Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Donna Edwards, Keith Ellison, and Donald Payne.

It is difficult to embarrass the filthy rich, who have no shame. And racist media companies like FOX TV, which Color of Change campaigns against, are supported by huge constituencies of whites who crave their hateful messages. Black watchdogs are most effective in unmasking and shaming the culprits within our own ranks. In the case of the Congressional Black Caucus and Internet Neutrality, Color of Change has performed a vital service. 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: 20100922_gf_CBCColorOfChange.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:31am EDT

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Six million Congolese have died from starvation and war since 1997. The cause has not been, as Western media would have us believe, inscrutable African ethnic conflicts, but the West's hunger for their country's vital mineral resources, which power our aeropsace, automotive and information tech industries.17-23 Six million Congolese have died from starvation and war since 1997. The cause has not been, as Western media would have us believe, inscrutable African ethnic conflicts, but the West's hunger for their country's vital mineral resources, which power our aeropsace, automotive and information tech industries.

October 17-23 is Congo Week

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

This October 17 thru the 23rd is the 3rd annual Congo Week.

Congo Week is a project undertaken by thousands of Congolese exiles along with their friends and allies, in cities, towns and university campuses scattered throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and beyond. Students, labor unions, libraries, churches, local governments and community groups are showing videos and photo exhibits and hosting speakers to help break the walls of silence and disinformation around the Congo.

Six million Congolese have lost their lives since 1997 to fuel the West's hunger for their country's mineral riches. Besides vast amounts of gold, uranium and diamonds, the Congo possesses 90% of the mineral called colombo-tantalum, or coltan. Coltan is vital to the production of capacitors, jet engines, power generation equipment and computers. Every PC, every Mac and iPad, every cell phone, game box, every TIVO, VCR and flat screen TV contain coltan. The global automotive, information technology, aerospace industries, and of course the Pentagon will grind to a halt if their supplies of coltan suffer the least interruption.

The rarely told truth is that driving millions at gunpoint from their farms and villages in eastern Congo, and with them, any government that might protect their rights has created the ideal business climate for Western mining and minerals corporations and their suppliers. Wages, environmental concerns, local taxes and regulations in, and exporting the entire profits out of the zones ravaged and depopulated by invading Rwandan, Burundian, Ugandan armies and their private militia allies, are no problem. It's a piracy and slave labor zone, the ultimate free market.

The fact is that all the armies, official and unofficial are supplied directly and indirectly by the United States, and many are commanded by American-trained officers. The profits and the plunder flow mainly, but not entirely to the West. Plunder and pillage are good for business, and in the Congo, business is good.

Cover stories endlessly recycled in Western media, by the US State Department, and by occasional Hollywood do-gooders, attribute the millions of deaths by starvation and murder, the hundreds of thousands of rapes and maimings to inscrutable African ethnic conflicts no Westerner can possibly understand. In contrast to the mostly fictional genocide in Darfur, the Congolese genocide is very real indeed. It's as though 45,000 people perished ever month for a decade, with barely a whisper, and almost no truth told.

The fact is that the literal blood of literal innocents isn't just on our diamonds. It's in our computers and cell phones, in our cars and aircraft, and in all our military hardware. While the truth may be difficult to accept, it is accessible, and Congo Week aims to make the real voices of the Congo directly available to wider and wider audiences.

Again, the third annual Congo Week is October 17 through the 23rd. If you're interested in hosting speaker or showing a DVD at your home, church, union hall, library, college campus or community center for Congo Week, or finding an event in your city or town to attend, the place to go is www.friendsofthecongo.org, the web site of Friends of the Congo. That's www.friendsofthecongo.org, or you can google Friends of the Congo.

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

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and based in Marietta GA. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com

Direct download: 20100922_bd_congo_week.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am EDT

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Proponents of the DREAM Act claim it will enable countless deserving immigrant youth to pursue higher education. In reality, the movement for immigrant rights is being pimped by the Pentagon, which desperately needs access to young immigrants to replenish its ranks.

DREAM ACT Will Extend Poverty Draft to Immigrant Youth. Such A Deal.

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

It's a doable deal, and Democrats, with the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress can deliver it.

When questioned about restoring the draft back in 2004, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, in a moment of rare frankness, replied that the old-style draft was no longer needed. “We have,” he told reporters, “an economic draft.” In even plainer language, the United States armed forces rely on a poverty draft.

Millions of youth emerging from high school every year face bleak prospects for careers and higher education. Good jobs are hard to find, vocational training slots aren't free and don't guarantee a job on completion or even completion itself. Their already strapped families can't even borrow the sixty, eighty or hundred thousand it will take for one child to get a bachelor's degree. But the military recruiter they see in high school every day drives a flashy new car, has a nice apartment, dresses well on and off duty, picks up the tab at restaurants every day, and has an answer for everything. Really, just one answer, that the straight road to acceptance, independence and adulthood lies through the military.

The Development Relief & Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act will extend the poverty draft to undocumented young immigrants who can pass police and Homeland Security screenings. It will get them provisional green cards that allow them them to join the military or attend college. Upon completion of a two year course of study, or honorable discharge from the military in eight or more years, they are eligible to apply for citizenship.

DREAM Act propaganda emphasizes the availability of college to immigrant youth, and it will enable some to attend college who otherwise couldn't. But with the cost of higher education sharply rising and no extra funds for undocumented students, that part of the DREAM Act campaign is pure deception, bait-and-switch, a mirage. DREAM Act green card holders will face the same bleak economic choices as other young people of modest means, with additional challenges of language, discrimination and identity. The military will be even more attractive a choice for qualifying immigrant youth than it is for citizens.

This is what the Pentagon openly counts on. Page 12 of its FY 2012 Strategic Plan says it needs the DREAM Act enable necessary to access immigrant populations in order to achieve its recruitment goals.

At every freeway exit in metro Atlanta, where I live, I can see one or two white or black guys with signs that say 'homeless vet – please help.' Maybe soon, some of those signs will be in Spanish.”

The fact that many of our friends in the movement for the human rights of immigrants imagine the DREAM Act is a step in that direction regrettably does not make it so. The truth is that Latino activists and their organizations who drove their people to the polls in record numbers for Democrats in 2006 and 2008, have precious little to show for it. Some have seized upon the DREAM Act as a deal they can actually get done, a token victory they can take back to their communities before the mid-term elections.

They're half right. It's a doable deal, and Democrats, with the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress can deliver it. Certainly they won't do anything else for Latino communities. But for those communities, the DREAM Act is a Trojan horse.

A good third of women in the US armed forces are reported victims of sexual harassment up to and including rape. Suicide among active-duty military personnel is at an all time high, and homelessness endemic among vets. At every freeway exit in metro Atlanta, where I live, I can see one or two white or black guys with signs that say “homeless vet – please help.” Maybe soon, some of those signs will be in Spanish.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and based in Marietta GA. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20100922_bd_poverty_draft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35am EDT

By Asad Ismi and Kristin Schwartz

The U.S. drive for global empire, to use and allocate all the planet's resources and people for itself, has run unchecked through Africa. It has been stalled by wars and the presence of other powers in south and southwest Asia. Latin America is the only region in the world where U.S. empire has literally been rolled back in the last decade. The once isolated Cuban revolution has been joined by those of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, which have elected openly socialist governments dedicated to using their national wealth for the benefit of their own people, and fostering a new regime of international cooperation in resource allocation, in banking, in medicine and media to show humanity what a world without U.S. domination can begin to accomplish. In this first half hour installment of their 4 part radio documentary, the Latin American Revolution, Asad Ismi and Kristin Schwartz examine the impact of the Venezuelan revolution, and explain just why Uncle Sam hates Hugo Chavez so much.

Direct download: 3141-1-LAR1_Venezuela_128kbps.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16am EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The United States tries to finess its defeat in Iraq and approaching ejection from Afghanistan, clinging to its Asian lines as it expands the theaters of aggression to the south, to Yemen, Somalia, and the whole of Africa. "The aim is to corner Africa's oil and mineral resources, to draw new lines of empire to shut out China and even European allies."

U.S Imperial Offensive: Stalled in Asia, Swarming Over Africa

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"No Iraqi government can long survive if it is not perceived as committed to kicking the Americans out."

The United States is losing or has already lost its two big land wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over a million people have paid with their lives to teach the U.S. a 21st century lesson: that the most modern, expensive and lethal arsenal in the world cannot successfully occupy a country in which significant portions of the population are determined to resist.  That's the same lesson the Vietnamese taught the Americans in the Sixties and early Seventies, at the cost of two to three million Vietnamese lives.

The United States will deploy every dirty trick and bribe in the book to remain in Iraq past the end of next year - the deadline extracted by the Iraqis from President Bush - and it is possible, although unlikely, that whatever Iraqi regime sits in Baghdad may give the Americans an extension of some kind. But no Iraqi government can long survive if it is not perceived as committed to kicking the Americans out. Aside from the 15 percent of the population that is Kurdish, there is no significant constituency for a U.S. presence in Iraq. Therefore, the Americans cannot stay. As an imperial power that has never in modern times voluntarily given up a military base in someone else's country, America's inevitable withdrawal from Iraq, even though in stages and kicking and screaming, represents a huge defeat.

Iraq was supposed to be the first stop in a rolling offensive that would have projected U.S. power deep into Asia, containing China and Russia and altering the global chessboard in America's favor for decades to come. Instead, the U.S. position in the world has further declined. President Obama drew a line at Afghanistan, embracing that war as his own. But the U.S. has failed spectacularly in constructing a viable client regime or even the semblance of an effective Afghan constituency for continued American occupation of the country. Moreover, every day the Americans remain in Afghanistan destabilizes neighboring Pakistan, the real birthplace of the Taliban, a nation where all but a small fraction of the population detests the United States, and a nuclear power. Therefore, the U.S. must someday soon cut its losses and leave. Obama may think he controls the Afghanistan timetable, but he doesn't.

"Somalia and the whole of the Horn of Africa are hot zones, under protracted U.S. assault."

As it is forced to face the prospect of retreat and defeat in its Asian land wars, the Obama regime shifts emphasis to special forces, drones and other devices of terror and assassination in an expanding theater of war to the south. Yemen, Somalia and the whole of the Horn of Africa are hot zones, under protracted U.S. assault. The U.S. Africa Command is active in almost every nation on the continent, methodically drawing African militaries into the U.S. orbit. The aim is to corner Africa's oil and mineral resources, to draw new lines of empire to shut out China and even European allies. Washington is determined to seize in Africa what is in the process of being lost to the empire in Asia. This is already the bloodiest chapter of all, with as many as six million lives lost in the Democratic Republic of Congo, alone, mainly due to the depredations of U.S. proxies Rwanda and Uganda. There is no way to avoid Africa being soaked in blood, as the U.S.  attempts once again to change the global chessboard. That's what empires do, before they die.

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: 20100915_gf_USOffensive.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:16am EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Very late in the game, President Obama unveils his version of an industrial policy for America. But it turns out that under his "infrastructure bank" scheme "the same Wall Street players that have relentlessly and methodically de-industrialized the United States for the past 30 years, would direct the economic makeover of the country, all the while earning interest on the borrowed funds."

Obama's Phony "Infrastructure Bank"

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The president's proposed bank is yet another ploy to create a new windfall for the private bankers on Wall Street."

When hundreds of thousands gather on the Washington Mall for the NAACP's and organized labor's rally for jobs on October 2, the Obama administration's mouthpieces will try to fire up the crowd by invoking the president's plans for a National Infrastructure Bank. The public-private scheme was announced so late in the political season, it appears more like a last-minute sop to panicky congressional Democrats desperate to show that their president and his party are good for something besides funneling $12 to $14 trillion to Wall Street - the biggest transfer of wealth of all time, for which Obama will go down in history.

The so-called infrastructure bank masquerades as the beginning of an industrial policy to reverse the export of jobs from the United States. Obama is spinning the scheme as his variation on Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, when the federal government directly created millions of jobs and invested public monies in a vast, new infrastructure, much of which we are still using, today. But in reality, the president's proposed bank bears no resemblance to the New Deal of the 1930s. Rather, it is yet another ploy to create a new windfall for the private bankers on Wall Street - a public-private scam.

The scheme would transfer billions in public funds to a new banking entity, to attract the mega-bankers, whose investments would be guaranteed by the U.S. government. The Obama bank would then lend these monies to selected projects, overseen by a board heavily weighted with representatives of those same Wall Street firms and their corporate allies. Essentially, the same Wall Street players that have relentlessly and methodically de-industrialized the United States for the past 30 years, would direct the economic makeover of the country, all the while earning interest on the borrowed funds. That's not a New Deal, that's a license for yet more no-risk self-dealing by Wall Street, guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States. It is a travesty and a swindle.

"The moneyed classes refuse to invest in any economic and social development unless they are positioned in the middle of the money stream."

But, that's what you get when finance capital has a lock on the political and economic process; nothing emerges except that which expands the power of capital. At this stage in the decline of capitalism, the moneyed classes refuse to invest in any economic and social development unless they are positioned in the middle of the money stream, to siphon off the greater part for themselves, at no risk to themselves, and with ultimate control over the shape of the project. They will not support education unless they own a profitable piece of it, through hedge fund-backed charter school companies and other privatization schemes. They will not allow a revamping of health care unless their profits and commanding position in the system are preserved. They will not lift a finger to slow the process of global warming, unless creating a green economy dumps a forest of green on their balance sheets. And they will certainly not permit any combination of politicians funded by them - as is the Obama wing of the Democratic Party - to even attempt a modest re-industrialization of the United States unless they are allowed to empty the U.S. Treasury of every available public dollar.   

Nearing the end of the second half of his term, President Obama finally - finally! - comes up with a plan flavored with just a whiff of the New Deal. But it's just another Wall Street concoction.

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: 20100915_gf_ObamaBank.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06am EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The African American economic condition deteriorates by the year, but that doesn't stop the 'bootstrappers' from talking trash. "The bootstraps mythology - sometimes under the shorthand, 'Do for Self' - implicitly or explicitly urges Black people to forego making demands of government, as if that amounts to 'begging the white man' for something."

 

Black Folks Ain't Got No Money For Bootstraps: The Black Capitalist Dead-End

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"What binds the variations on the 'bootstrap' theme together, is an essential refusal to challenge the capitalist system."

The two devastating recessions of the last decade have had catastrophic effects on Black economic prospects. Yet, despite the monstrous setbacks of recent years and the general failure to bridge the racial wage and wealth gap over the last three decades, there still exists a strong current of Black political thought that insists African Americans can pull themselves and the rest of the race up by their financial bootstraps, through hard work and pooling of collective resources. Some of these arguments are unashamedly Black capitalist; others preach a brand of communal partnerships among Black entrepreneurs and consumers that attempts to make the entire Black community a kind of capitalist engine of self-help. What binds the variations on the "bootstrap" theme together, is an essential refusal to challenge the capitalist system. The belief is that Black "buying power" or race-based investment schemes will allow Black folks to rise from the bottom of the American economic barrel.

Implicit in this line of thinking is the notion that Blacks are at the bottom because they have not been trying hard enough to move up - which is also the assumption of white racists, whether they call themselves conservatives or liberals. The most fatal flaw in the Black capitalist world view is the assumption that Black people actually have the wealth and discretionary income to build an internal economy that could insulate them from the general capitalist crisis. We know different, because all the data tell us that Black household income is stuck at the same level relative to whites as back in 1979, and Black comparative wealth was steadily eroding even before the last decade's recessions. And we know that Black wealth has been further diminished relative to whites in the ongoing housing meltdown, in which Blacks are twice as likely to face foreclosure. And we know that Blacks, a majority of whom are renters, bear the brunt of the dislocations caused by rampant gentrification, which in some urban areas forces families to spend more than half their income on rent.

"The most fatal flaw in the Black capitalist world view is the assumption that Black people actually have the wealth and discretionary income to build an internal economy that could insulate them from the general capitalist crisis."

Simply put, there ain't no damn money for these bootstrap capitalism dreams, and there never was. There was never the possibility of building a Black General Motors - and now General Motors requires billions of dollars in federal infusions to survive.

What a great distraction this nonsense about bootstrap racial upward mobility has been - so much wasted time and misdirected dreams over the generations. Worse than that, the bootstraps mythology - sometimes under the shorthand, "Do for Self" - implicitly or explicitly urges Black people to forego making demands of government, as if that amounts to "begging the white man" for something. This attitude surrenders all Black claims to any of the society's resources except those we currently hold in our own pockets - which is the equivalent of social death. President Obama also warns Blacks to expect no redress from their government. At a recent press conference, he once again urged Blacks to be patient, that when the economy grows, everybody will be "swept up into that virtuous circle."

It never happened before, and it never will. Blacks need to "Do for Self," but not as aspiring capitalists. We have always made our greatest progress in political struggle. That's the Promised Land that we make, together.

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: 20100915_gf_NoBootstraps.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01am EDT