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

Attorney General Eric Holder will tell you he has a lot of power. But will he use any of that power to stop or even slow down the futile and corrupt War on Drugs, the 40th anniversary of which falls this month? David Simon, producer of the HBO TVseries “The Wire,” makes the attorney general an offer he should not refuse, but probably will....

"The Wire” Producer to Attorney-General Eric Holder – “End the War On Drugs”

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The functionaries of the Obama administration, like those of every preceding regime, live in a different world than the rest of us. The distance between them and us was underscored once again when Attorney General Eric Holder invited several actors from the HBO TV series The Wire to a Justice Department media event intended to highlight the harm that illegal drugs do to children.

The attorney general, addressing the audience and naming the show's producers, said “Do another season of the Wire... I want another season, or a movie,” he said, adding “I have a lot of power...”

Apparently the attorney general is a big fan of the show, but one of those lazy, inattentive fans who doesn't care to look too deeply. Among much else, The Wire depicts the moral corruption and futility of the so-called war on drugs, which has been waged mostly in the nation's poor and black neighborhoods for forty years now. If anything, the show is a stinging indictment of Mr. Holder's predecessors and of the Obama administration which, despite its “Hope and Change” branding, has chosen to co-sign and continued the War on Drugs rather than fulfill the wishes of the comunities swept this president and attorney general into office.

In other words, use your power to end the war on drugs, Simon told the attorney-general, and we'll use ours to make another season of The Wire. 

The attorney general was right about one thing. He does have a lot of power, and even a lighthearted remark from so powerful an individual deserves an appropriate response. That response was not long in coming.

The Attorney-General's kind remarks are noted and appreciated,” replied the show's producer David Simon. “I've spoken to Ed Burns and we are prepared to go to work on season six of The Wire if the Department of Justice is equally ready to reconsider and address its continuing prosecution of our misguided, destructive and dehumanising drug prohibition.”

In other words, use your power to end the war on drugs, Simon told the attorney-general, and we'll use ours to make another season of The Wire. This week will mark the 40th anniversary of the War on Drugs, orginally proclaimed by President Nixon. At a cost by now reckoned in the trillions of dollars, this hypocritical, and futile war has been used as an excuse to selectively over-police and lock up vast numbers of mostly black and brown youth, even though their rates of drug use are statistically no higher than rates of white drug use.

One of the Obama administration's most listened-to promises in Black America was the pledge to do away with the longstanding 100 to 1 difference in penalties between crack and powdered cocaine. But even with the power of the attorney-general's office, the White House and Democratic majorities in both houses of congress, all the administration was willing to get was a reduction in that disparity from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1, and that was mostly achieved by raising the penalties for powdered cocaine. Eric Holder and the Obama Administration have a lot of power, to be sure. They're just not interested in using it for the people, by ending the War on Drugs.

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, where he is also on the state committee of the Georgia Green Party.





In other words, David Simon was saying, end the war on drugs and we'll get right on that sixth season thing.

Direct download: 20110615_bd_the_wire.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:29am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The vilification campaign waged by the West against Moammar Gaddfi is just the latest chapter in a “massive U.S. psychological assault, a vast disinformation operation in which the corporate media act as megaphones for government liars.” In reality, there is no evidence for allegations that Gaddafi ordered his soldiers to rape hundreds of women, but “that does not seem to matter to a corporate media that are bent on glorifying the Benghazi-based rebels.”

 

The West's Obscene Demonization of Gaddafi

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

There is not one bit of hard evidence that mass rapes have occurred.”

The slander campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi has reached way beyond the realm of the ridiculous, and can only be described as obscene. We are now supposed to believe that Colonel Gaddafi, himself, ordered his soldiers to rape hundreds of women.There is not one bit of hard evidence that such mass rapes have occurred, but that does not seem to matter to a corporate media that are bent on glorifying the Benghazi-based rebels and demonizing Gaddafi and his soldiers. Amnesty International, an organization that is decidedly hostile to Gaddafi’s government, admits that it cannot find evidence of mass rapes by the Libyan armed forces. And the man in charge of the United Nations’ human rights investigation in Libya told journalists that “massive hysteria” was behind the rape charge. Nevertheless, the western media repeat the baseless allegations ad nauseam, like young boys telling dirty stories.

The International Criminal Court, which specializes in prosecuting Africans who get on the wrong side of the United States, speaks vaguely of being in possession of evidence, but it turns out that the allegations come from one Libyan woman, who claims that she sent out inquiries about sexual assaults to 70,000 women, that 60,000 of them responded, and 259 reported they had been abused. But when investigators asked this solitary source to show them the questionnaires, as investigative reporter Russ Baker tells us, she could not produce the evidence. And it is a mystery how she could have mailed out and gotten back tens of thousands of questionnaires, when Libya’s postal system had been shut down by the war.

The western media repeat the baseless allegations ad nauseam, like young boys telling dirty stories.”

This war was launched on the basis of an imaginary massacre of Libyan civilians by Gaddafi’s forces – which, of course, never happened – and is now fueled by a campaign of demonization and a depraved indifference to the truth.

Certainly since 2001, the world has been subjected to a massive U.S. psychological assault, a vast disinformation operation in which the corporate media act as megaphones for government liars.

The invasion of Iraq was launched by lies about weapons of mass destruction. When the lies fell apart, American politicians justified the war by saying it was worth it to get rid of the monster, Saddam Hussein. Saddam was so thoroughly demonized that any amount of maiming and death would be acceptable to erase him from the scene. If Saddam Hussein was the Devil, himself, then there could be no limits on military efforts to eliminate him. Now, the same kind of dehumanizing psychological offensive is directed at Moammar Gaddafi, who is depicted in comic-book style as a puppet master of mass rape, so that whatever death and destruction is rained down on Libya by NATO, it will have been “worth it.” This is a profoundly dangerous way for a superpower to behave. It fills the population with a bloodlust that cannot be easily controlled. The U.S. government, with plenty of help from the media, is telling Americans that those who oppose U.S. policies in the world are savages. That's what the white settlers said about the Indians, and we know how that ended.

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: 20110615_gf_LibyaRape.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:52am EDT

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

The hip hop world is abuzz with rapper Lupe Fiasco’s branding of President Obama as biggest terrorist of them all. But Fiasco’s political views are not very different than many other hip hop performers. Rather, the suffocating liberalism of “mainstream” politics and corporate culture prevent radical performers from getting “room to breathe or airtime to occupy.”

 

Hip-Hop and The Weakness of Liberalism

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

Lupe’s remarks only seem controversial or rare because liberals and the Obamatons have made radical critique seem irresponsible or nonexistent.”

Lupe Fiasco, the Chicago-born Black American Muslim super rapper, has called Barack Obama the world’s “biggest terrorist.” On the one hand this is powerfully accurate and proof to many who doubt it that liberated thought can and does exist today within hip-hop. But on another, more prominent, hand it really speaks to the weakness of liberalism that has taken hold of the so-called Left in the last 50 years. It is a weakness that cowers before the persistent anger and radicalism of today’s colonized Black and Brown masses which causes would-be allies of all backgrounds to run for the comfort of liberal assurances that “hip-hop is dead” or is only about mindless self-directed violence and misogyny. So don’t get me wrong. Lupe Fiasco is dope. His latest album is a mainstay in my personal musical rotation, so much so that my daughters now demand that they hear his song “All Black Everything” every morning before school. But it is the broader limitations of liberalness that allow for his thoughtfulness to seem anomalous when actually Lupe’s views are quite mainstream in hip-hop – just not so much in the hip-hop that is mainstream.

I happened to be in a DC hip-hop show crowd as word of Gil Scott-Heron’s death a few weeks back was passed from phone to phone. And without skipping a beat while on the mic Enoch the 7th Prophet in perfect freestyle rhythm made the announcement and shout out to the legendary poet as if to give voice to what many in the room and in similar rooms around the world thought in one way or another; today’s Gil Scott-Heron only lacks the social movement that propels such revolutionary culture to the forefront, but she and we are here! So when, predictably, a few days ago the question again came up as to who in hip-hop would be today’s prophetic poet my response was, “she and he have been here and are everywhere. They just are not given room to breathe or airtime to occupy.”

Hip-hop has had plenty to say about Obama’s fake change.”

Were there a real Left in this country Lupe would appear as he his, a talented but mainstream thinker. Lupe’s remarks only seem controversial or rare because liberals and the Obamatons have made radical critique seem irresponsible or nonexistent. From Mississippi where Skip Coon, truly reminiscent of Scott-Heron, has said that, “David Axelrod is really Ronnie Ray-Gun and Barry Obama can’t be this dumb…” to Arizona where Trebel Army looks at the entire system and says put a “toe tag on that damn thang!” to South Africa where Burni and Wasun have said that, they’ve read so much Mao that they are “half Asian” while “Obama is really half Black and half Reagan…” hip-hop has had plenty to say about Obama’s fake change. But only Lupe has that popular contract, the grief from which – reminiscent of the late scholar Ivan Van Sertima – nearly led him to suicide.

Even in one story about Lupe where hip-hop is described as not having much to say these days the author has to tell the story of Brother Ali, a lesser-known emcee whose career has suffered because of his song, “Uncle Sam Goddamn.” But I’m sure even the whitest liberal will skip that, dig out their Nina Simone, say “Mississippi” instead and claim to be radical.

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

Dr. Jared A. Ball is the author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press) and can be found online atIMIXWHATILIKE.COM.


Direct download: 20110615_jb_LupeObama.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48am EDT