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

Thousands of dead Africans are testimony to the hypocrisy and cynicism of the Euro-American assault on Libya, perpetrated under the false flag of “humanitarian” intervention. The U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson steamed right past a ship full of dying Africans in the Mediterranean Sea. “The NATO fleet could not be bothered with rescuing otherwise doomed Africans – even though NATO claims the purpose of its mission is to save civilian lives.”

 

Libyan “Humanitarian” War Creates Humanitarian Crisis

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

It was totally predictable that the western intervention would put civilian African workers at terrible risk.”

Europe and America’s ghastly military intervention in Libya’s civil strife – supposedly for humanitarian reasons – has created its own humanitarian crisis, especially for Black African migrant workers trapped in that country. Whether by death at sea or by lynching at the hands of U.S.-backed “rebels,” the death toll among migrant workers and their families is certainly in the thousands – although the U.S. superpower and its European allies seem not to care in the slightest. Dead Africans – whether Arab or sub-Saharan, Muslim or Christian – are of no consequence to the rulers in Washington, Paris, London and Rome, who seek to strengthen their grip on the region and its resources by force of arms. In their mouths, “humanitarian intervention” is an oxymoron.

For the 72 Black passengers of a rickety vessel that ran out of fuel shortly after leaving Libya in late March, there was no humanity in NATO’s intervention. All but 11 died from thirst and starvation during 16 days of agony in the Mediterranean Sea. At one point, they passed very close to a NATO aircraft carrier, almost certainly the Carl Vinson. Two warplanes buzzed the stricken ship as the Africans on deck held up their babies to show their distress. But then the planes went back where they came from. The NATO fleet could not be bothered with rescuing otherwise doomed Africans – even though NATO claims the purpose of its mission is to save civilian lives. Clearly, the Black American commander-in-chief did not give his sailors and flyers the impression that Black lives matter. The dead included men, women and children from Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Ghana and Nigeria.

Whether by death at sea or by lynching at the hands of U.S.-backed “rebels,” the death toll among migrant workers and their families is certainly in the thousands.”

At least 800 other refugees from Libya are presumed to have died on the high seas last month. Add to that, many of the 600 onboard a vessel that sunk just off the Libyan coast, this week.

According to the United Nations, about 750,000 refugees have left Libya since the rebellion broke out more than two months ago. But there were more than three million foreign workers in the country at that time, one and a half million of them Black Africans who were relentlessly hounded and hunted by racist lynch mobs. The rebel’s political leadership and their backers in NATO dismissed out of hand an African Union cease-fire proposal that would have opened a safe corridor for refugees to escape. Under the conditions of a civil war that has been nurtured, armed and funded every step of the way by the U.S. and its allies, it was totally predictable that the western intervention would put civilian African workers at terrible risk. At best, NATO is guilty of depraved indifference to human life – as are the western news media that act as cheerleaders for the superpower aggression.

Which reminds us of the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, in late 2006. The same “humanitarian” interventionists that now hold sway under Prsident Obama, applauded the Somalia invasion as “humanitarian.” Instead, it resulted in what the United Nations called “the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa.” The U.S. didn't care about civilians then, and it doesn't now. Washington's cynicism is an affront to the very idea of civilization.

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: 20110511_gf_LibyaRefugees.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:24am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The moral degradation of the Black misleadership class reveals itself in the celebration of Osama bin Laden’s demise. Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, eager to curry favor with the First Black President, wind up endorsing his and George Bush’s War on Terror. “Does Rev. Jackson think Obama deserves a ‘huge psychological boost’ for having killed almost one thousand innocent civilian men, women and children in Pakistan last year with his drones.”

 

Sharpton and Jackson Endorse War on Terror

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Rev. Jackson urges Black people to be vicariously lifted by the ‘huge psychological boost’ that Navy SEAL’s bullets have given Obama.”

Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are two happy preachers. They’re happy because the First Black President – whom one of them works for, and the other one fears – is basking in the glow of Osama bin Laden’s demise. But they are even happier that the bin Laden turkey-shoot gives them a chance to say positive things about a chief executive who has presided over an economic catastrophe for Black people. Both preachers have come to believe that their job is to put Obama in the best light even when days are darkest for the rest of Black America. Sharpton gets paid very well to be a full-time Obama booster, while Rev. Jackson lives in fear that he’ll be shut out totally from the halls of power if he exhibits the least bit of disloyalty. Both reverends have become court jesters for Power, and now, cheerleaders for the so-called War on Terror.

Jesse Jackson said that the killing of bin Laden was a “huge psychological victory.” By this he clearly meant a psychological victory for Barack Obama, who put the hit out on bin Laden,just as he has placed American citizens on assassination lists with no recourse to due process. President Obama badly needed that psychological victory, since unemployment went up last month and now looms as the rock on which his presidency might shatter. Black unemployment shot up to 16.1 percent, more than twice the jobless rate for whites. Public sector jobs, where Blacks are disproportionately represented, are rapidly dwindling, and with them the last connections African Americans have to a secure middle class existence. President Obama has never – not once – given Black folks any indication that he will lift a political finger to address the gross racial disparities that define American life. But Rev. Jackson urges Black people to be vicariously lifted by the “huge psychological boost” that Navy SEAL’s bullets have given Obama.

Both preachers have come to believe that their job is to put Obama in the best light even when days are darkest for the rest of Black America.”

Then Rev. Jackson, who came to prominence as a young disciple of Dr. Martin Luther King, virtually endorsed the War on Terror begun by George Bush and prosecuted with even more lawless ferocity by Barack Obama. The Reverend tells Americans to remain vigilant. "The chapter on bin Laden ends now,” said Jackson, “but not the chapter on terrorism." Either Rev. Jackson has lost control of his mouth, or he was giving his blessing to a ratcheting up of Obama’s hyper-aggressive, illegal, and extraordinarily expensive wars. Jackson either needs to hand in his anti-war credentials right now, or find a good mouth doctor that will stop him from encouraging those who would increase the $1.2 trillion national security budget that is pushing human needs programs into the Valley of Death. Does Rev. Jackson think Obama deserves a “huge psychological boost” for having killed almost one thousand innocent civilian men, women and children in Pakistan last year with his drones, and is guaranteed to kill even more this year?

Rev. Al Sharpton shows that he is as crude and vulgar as his mentor Don King. Sharpton compliments Obama for being “cool under fire” – as if the world is attacking the White House, rather than the other way around. Obama, says Sharpton, “can see the bigger picture.” It does not bother Sharpton that Obama’s bigger picture means bigger wars. Which is alright with Sharpton, as long as he gets a bigger check.

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: 20110511_gf_JesseAlBinLaden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:13am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared Ball

The same billionaires that own vast natural resources, chemicals and real estate also control the musical culture that surrounds our everyday lives – and use that cultural dominance to tighten their economic and political stranglehold on humanity. The “Big 3” that monopolize the music industry deploy megabucks to produce consumers of both their products and their corporate worldview.

 

The 3 in “The Big 3”: The Music Industry and the Global Order of Things

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared Ball

The music industry is another that is apparently considered by the international business and banking community to be ‘Too Big to Fail.’”

So the “3” in “The Big 3,” or the three largest music companies who dominate international popular culture, was just sold for $3.3 billion. Warner Music Group will now be owned by Access Industries. And just who is that? As they are happy to tell us, Access Industries is a “U.S.-based industrial group with long-term holdings worldwide.” Their “industrial focus” is in “three sectors” which include “Natural Resources and Chemicals… Real Estate” and “Media and Telecommunications.” They are run by Russian-born Len Blavatnik who is said to be personally worth roughly $10 billion. He is a friend and former Warner board member alongside current CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr. and even bought Bronfman’s Manhattan penthouse for $50 million. The deal is being backed by banking giants UBS and Credit Suisse and each side is assured massive $50-60 million pay days should either back out of the deal before November. Word is also that Blavatnik plans to go after the “4” in “the Big 4” which is EMI and which is currently owned by another major banking institution, Citi. This is no small matter, all the heavy-hitters are in this mix and all protections for all involved are in place.

I have to say it again. From the perspective of those who own it the music industry is fine and what’s to come is going to be even better. For them the future is so bright… I won’t even bother to finish that line. Those who suffered the industry’s abuse in the 1980s know it well and can finish it for me. Which is also the point. The music industry is another that is apparently considered by the international business and banking community to be “Too Big to Fail.” This is why, despite those persistent claims that the music business is dying, major money steps in to preserve maintenance over the world’s popular culture. Yes, Blavatnik and Bronfman are reportedly friends but that’s not why the former is buying the company and assuming the $2 billion debt belonging to his friend the latter. No, as the head of media for Access Industries has said, “The music industry is at an inflection point where digital adoption is rapidly gaining momentum. Warner Music, as one of the most progressive forces in the music business, is well positioned to capture this opportunity for music creation and distribution."

Despite those persistent claims that the music business is dying, major money steps in to preserve maintenance over the world’s popular culture.”

On sports radio this week the one called the sport’s industry’s “Super Agent,” David Falk, discussed the now legendary deal he struck on behalf of Michael Jordan and Nike that resulted in the Air Jordan franchise which he says is still roughly 94% of the athletic shoe market. He talked about the role of advertising and why it was necessary for Nike’s ad budget to be roughly $5-600 million. Because, as Falk said, its this initial investment that yields Nike $20 billion in sales. In other words, Blavatnik’s investment in music is expected to bring cultural returns in the way his investment in Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Business is meant to bring returns in the world of business. Each serve as advertisements and ads serve, of course, as promotion but also as assurances of control over content.

And what is that content? Judging by this week’s list of top 10 songs aired on radio across the country, of which Blavatnik’s new property owns 4, he is getting plenty to assure that no one raises a fuss about a world that makes him and his colleagues awfully powerful. Even with the Warner-owned Lupe Fiasco, who is proof that progressive ideas can be as hot as their opposite, the presence of artists like Pitbull, Wiz Khalifa and the New Boyz do more than erase his potential impact. And besides, as dope as he is, Lupe is only progressive in the musical vacuum created by the forced omission of Dead PrezGodsilla or Kelli Love Jones. It is no different than Obama being seen as progressive in the political vacuum left after the forced omission of Malcolm X, Dr. King or Cynthia McKinney.

Ownership of music and this kind of influence over popular culture is never about money. It is an investment in the advertising that protects against vital questions being raised about how our world is being governed and for whom it is so orderedIf we wiggle to or are distracted by his music we are less likely to raise questions about Blavatnik’s massive holdings in oil or in “the world’s third-largest independent chemical company,” or the “world’s largest vertically-integrated aluminum company.” More importantly, it is so we are less likely to raise questions about a world order that allows for these industries to exist at all or the profit they create to go only to a global handful.

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

Dr. Jared A. Ball is the author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press) and can be reached via: IMixWhatILike.com

Direct download: 20110511_jb_MusicIndustry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:49am EDT