Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from an African American point of view.

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

Those purported liberals and progressives that urge pragmatism and caution in the face of raging imperial warfare and Wall Street’s predations, must not feel their own lives are at stake. “If they did really believe that corporations were leading the planet to doom or that the fascists they are protecting us from are just outside the gates, would they really only respond by a few rallies and a vote for a Democrat?” Blacks and browns are the folks living at Ground Zero.

 

The Professional Left Versus The Left of Us

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

Black, Brown, Indigenous and working people need to abandon the conventions of the professional left and develop our own politics.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was partially right when earlier this year he dismissed the “professional left.” There is indeed a professional left, those whose entire careers and claims to fame are based on permanent liberal challenges to power and who arrogantly dismiss as immature, and worse dangerous, those who would push leftward beyond those limits. “Don’t go too far,” they tell us, “vote for us or THEY will get elected and then we’re in real trouble!” But that’s because liberals aren’t in real trouble. They don’t really believe that. If they did really believe that corporations were leading the planet to doom or that the fascists they are protecting us from are just outside the gates would they really only respond by a few rallies and a vote for a Democrat? Then maybe they are as “fucking stupid” as Rahm Emanuel said they are.

But to some the fascism warned of in all those faint allusions to totalitarian horrors already exists and the death camp trains have been running for decades with barely a peep from the professional liberals. Should we care about Obama’s failure to close Guantanamo when he never felt pressure enough to even lie about wanting to shut down the Corrections Corporation of America? Prisons and the racist legislation, hyper-policing, brutality and fraudulent judicial system that keep them filled are among the nation’s biggest businesses. Joblessness and poverty continue to worsen and even the tens of thousands dying from war abroad are more than matched by the deaths in this country resulting from public policies which deny adequate housing, food and health care to millions. When rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are found to be as high in Black communities in the United States as they are in war-torn cities overseas and children tell counter military recruitment workers that they might as well risk death fighting in foreign wars when they get shot at here at home since at least that offers the chance of health care and education who is really interested in more liberal threats of “it could be worse”?

Prisons and the racist legislation, hyper-policing, brutality and fraudulent judicial system that keep them filled are among the nation’s biggest businesses.”

For Marcus Bellamy of the Arizona-based Black Organizing Network and Arizona Green Party this was the point of a series of events that took place this week in Phoenix. For Bellamy and co-organizers Arizona is the national “ground zero, the laboratory for the state testing out just how far it can go in terms of racial oppression.” According to Bellamy all the recent fuss over Senate Bill 1070 itself works to mask that “the migrant community is being used as a mere experiment in methods that can one day be used against the entire population – workplace raids, detention centers, extension of biometric data collection in prisons, the hiring of an armed volunteer force that enforces immigration law (which in any other country would be labeled a paramilitary force), integration of local and national police agencies along with cooperation from the National Guard in the name of ‘border protection,’ and so on may seem like an attack on the stereotypical ‘Mexican’ but will eventually morph into a blanket assault on anyone who defies the status quo.”

So sure, the professional left will undoubtedly tell us of all the small victories achieved in this week’s reversal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and the passage of the Low Power FM Radio Act. And we are soon to hear more from the Black professionals, or “surrogates,” called upon by Obama to explain how Black people will benefit from the new tax bill. But who really cares if imperialism is gay or straight or if we are now to get more liberal/non-profit radio or if Black people will get extensions on unemployment benefits instead of proper jobs with proper wages? Black, Brown, Indigenous and working people need to abandon the conventions of the professional left and develop our own politics even if they be dismissed as immature, impractical and simple fantasy. Professional liberalism is no answer for us.

Several years ago Essence Farmer finally won her case in Arizona allowing her to run a natural hair braiding business without a license since cosmetology school does not teach that skill. This week Black Floridian barbers are being raided and jailed by armed and masked agents for precisely that same licensing issue. “Ground zero” strikes again.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Online visit us at BlackAgendaReport.com .

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

Direct download: 20101222_jb_ProfLeft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:54 PM

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

With the “compromise” on Internet neutrality, President Obama has betrayed another campaign promise, and this time has no excuse that the Republicans made him do it. The outcome was really never in doubt, since Obama named as his FCC chairman a man who helped make radio and television into a corporate wasteland, under Bill Clinton’s administration.

 

There Goes the Internet

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Obama signed the death warrant for Internet Neutrality when he appointed Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman.”

The Federal Communications Commission’s failure to ensure Internet neutrality signals the beginning of a kind of Oklahoma land rush up and down the digital highways. The FCC has fired the starting pistol to allow giant telecommunications corporations to make their mad dash into what was formerly public space, and stake their own, private claims while charging rent and tolls and fees from horizon to horizon. We, the public, are to be treated like the Indians of Oklahoma, in 1889, dispossessed in favor of business and commerical interests. President Obama is the Great Father in Washington who spoke with forked tongue when he swore that he would “take a backseat to no one” in the cause of Internet neutrality.

President Obama, of course, controls a majority on the FCC, and is ultimately responsible for the commission’s decision. He can’t claim that the Republicans forced his hand by holding anything hostage. No, Obama stabbed Internet neutrality in the back because that’s the job description of a corporate politician – to facilitate the orderly dispensing of public property to private pockets.

The FCC decision was described as a “compromise” between public and corporate interests. Politicians like Barack Obama believe that corporations have an inalienable right to make ever-increasing profits, and that right supersedes any claims by the non-corporate citizenry. Therefore, it is perfectly logical that the wireless sector of the Internet – which is growing by leaps and bounds and holds the most promise of fantastic profits – become a playground for the corporations, who will be allowed to do pretty much as they see fit. On the non-mobile side of the Internet, the FCC’s new rules are full of loopholes, allowing Internet carriers to create fast lanes for higher paying companies and customers. Think of the Internet as a vast plain on which a great city is to be built. Now, consider that a few huge corporations will be given the privilege to draw the grid for that new city, and to decide who gets to live in the high-class neighborhoods, and who winds up in the ghetto.

The FCC’s new rules are full of loopholes, allowing Internet carriers to create fast lanes for higher paying companies and customers.”

The FCC's decision was totally predictable. Just as Obama guaranteed that the banks would would rob the U.S. Treasury blind, when he brought Bill Clinton's old Wall Street gang into the White House, so Obama signed the death warrant for Internet Neutrality when he appointed Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman. Genachowski was the top communications advisor to the Clinton White House and an architect of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. That infamous legislation led directly to the greatest corporate consolidation of radio and television stations in American history. Julius Genachowski is one of the reasons that today's radio and TV landscape is such a wasteland of corporate sameness. Now, he is positioned to do the same thing to the Internet, courtesy of Barack Obama, the guy who never made a promise he wasn't prepared to break.

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: 20101222_gf_FCC.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:43 PM

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Wall Street’s seizure of the U.S. government has made meaningful economic recovery impossible. The financial capitalist class will not invest in productive enterprise, and prevents the government from doing so. It’s much easier to make money through systematic, multi-trillion-dollar raids on society.

 

No Recovery Under Rule of Banksters

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Wall Street is stripping the country of its ability to pull out of the death spiral.”

There will be no economic recovery for the masses of people in the United States. A real recovery, with decent jobs at decent wages under secure terms of employment, is now impossible absent a social upheaval such as the United States has never experienced. The reason is structural, and in some ways, simple. Wall Street has effectively captured the apparatus of government, and is methodically stripping the country of both its assets and the nation’s ability to pull out of the death spiral.

When the history of the era is written, Barack Obama’s term in office will be remembered as the period when Wall Street achieved its definitive conquest of the American state, thus depriving the society of the means to avoid economic and social disaster. Two men helped give us stark evidence of the theft of the American state as it was occurring. Neil Barofsky was the former prosecutor charged with overseeing the $700 billion TARP bank bailout program. But back in the summer of 2008, just six months into Barack Obama’s presidency, Barofsky reported that the federal government had already funneled about $14 trillion to bail out financial institutions. That’s 20 times as big as the TARP bailout, about the size of the annual real economy of the United States. The Obama administration and the Federal Reserve, acting on their own, were giving the banks 20 times as large a bailout as the Congress had voted for. Then, a year later, in July of 2009, Neil Barofsky dropped another bomb: the total federal bailout of the financial class could be $23.7 trillion, about 34 times the TARP bailout and approaching twice the gross domestic product of the United States. But it gets worse.

The banks will not invest in productive enterprises that provide decent jobs, and they will not allow the government to invest in jobs.”

This fall, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the other key person in providing evidence of Wall Street’s seizure of the American state, forced the Federal Reserve to submit to a one-time, snapshot audit. It showed that the Fed had provided American and foreign banks with $12.3 trillion in taxpayer money. That’s about six trillion dollars more from the Federal Reserve than Barofsky had discovered, a year before, bringing the total to about $30 trillion. That mind-boggling figure is about half the size of the entire economy of the planet Earth!

But the theft is even bigger than that. The Federal Reserve routinely lends banks money at virtually no interest, which the banks then use to buy U.S. Treasury bonds for which the banks are paid interest. This is a daily taxpayer subsidy to Wall Street that also amounts to trillions of dollars. The banksters bet some of this money in their derivatives casinos, which are valued at 600 to 1,000 trillion dollars – many times more than the real economy of the planet – and they spend a portion of their stolen loot to buy politicians to help them steal more money from the government. But they will not invest in productive enterprises that provide decent jobs, and they will not allow the government to invest in jobs, because that would reduce the amount of money the banks can steal. And that is why there will be no economic recovery worthy of the name, under the current structure of power in the United States.

So, what do you prefer – poverty, or an uprising? Those are the only choices.

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: 20101222_gf_BankTrillions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:38 PM