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

Having created an administration that seemed designed primarily for the purpose of serving Wall Street, Barack Obama oversaw the greatest transfer of public funds to private pockets in history. Now, as the multitudinous bubble-and-bust crimes of the banksters wind their way into court calendars, Obama seeks to immunize Wall Street from prosecution, in perpetuity. Some aggrieved current and former homeowners are rushing to court, “hoping to get some chance for justice before the presidential fix is in.”

 

Obama and the Robo-Thieving Banksters

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

For a measly $20 billion, the bankers buy a Get-Out-of-Jail card and get to keep their ill-gotten gains, in perpetuity.”

A friend of mine is struggling to get an early court date so she can save her home from seizure by bankster criminals before Barack Obama sells her out. My friend is among the hundreds of thousands of homeowners whose purported signatures appear on documents they never saw, much less signed. She has an affidavit from handwriting experts to prove it and, in her case, the forger even spelled her name wrong. The corporate media like to call this “robo-signing,” where banks invent documents to prove they legally own the properties they are trying to seize. It’s a bad choice of words, that tends to say that inhuman machines are the culprits, when in fact we are witnessing a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise at work – Wall Street banker criminality so blatant it makes Wyatt Earp’s Dodge City look like a Florida retirement community.

The crime spree that was central to the housing bubble was a nasty mess, with banksters so busy fleecing home buyers and turning bad paper into Triple-A securities they created a paper-processing scheme that neglected to include all the proper documents proving ownership. The heist was quick – ultimately bagging hundreds of billions – but it was legally sloppy. The rob-signers were brought in to clean up the crime scene, but only deepened the bankers’ culpability with another layer of fraud that is now exposed for all the world to see. By any legal and ethical standard, the banks’ conduct is criminal and indefensible. They need to pay through the nose and fill up the jails.

The rob-signers were brought in to clean up the crime scene, but only deepened the bankers’ culpability with another layer of fraud.”

But they’ve got the President of the United States in their pocket. Obama, who my friend voted for, has put together a financial “settlement” that would forgive the bankers for all their crimes – crimes of the past, no doubt including crimes, such as repossessions, that are continuing right now, and crimes that are yet to be discovered. All for the paltry sum of $20 billion, a pittance for an industry that received $16 trillion in the people’s funds under President Obama, and has benefited in trillions more in free money from his Federal Reserve. For a measly $20 billion, the bankers buy a Get-Out-of-Jail card and get to keep their ill-gotten gains, in perpetuity – a whitewashing of crime on an unprecedented scale.

When my friend heard about Obama’s dirty dealing she knew she needed to force the issue in court before the First Black President gave immunity and a Go-Ahead Card to the banksters who forged her name in order to steal her home. Certainly, many other victims of the Wall Street Mafia are also banging on the court’s doors, hoping to get some chance for justice before the presidential fix is in. What a spectacle!

Once, all 50 state attorneys general vowed to put bankster criminality in check. Today, only four are left – most notably New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman – and three of the rest are shaky. But the banks are still balking at the settlement, demanding ironclad assurances that they can never be made accountable for their robo-signing crimes. That’s why my friend is trying to beat the clock and get her day in court, before big money and Barack Obama shut the doors on justice, forever.

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: 20110907_gf_BankDeal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:23am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Having humiliated and marginalized the core constituencies of the Democratic Party in his first term, Barack Obama calls upon these same groups to give him four more years. For most, it would be difficult to even find the words to refuse. The president's essential conservatism, masquerading as consensus-building and bipartisanship, has helped move “the parameters of the national political conversation to a narrow spectrum, that goes from Obama, the corporate, center-right Democrat, to the Tea Party, the corporate-financed white nationalists.” Left Democrats are wholly adrift.

 

After Years of Abuse, Obama Now Woos Democratic Base

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Who has Obama NOT betrayed, in the traditional Democratic base?”

It has begun. Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign saw union workers in Detroit, a large proportion of them Black, spending their Labor Day chanting “Four More Years!” after four of the worst years in African American history, from an economic standpoint. Barack Obama has been a prime shaper of events for the last three of those years, since October 2008, when he singlehandedly saved George Bush’s bank bailout, after it had initially been defeated. Obama then assembled an economic team comprised of the same people that had set the stage for the meltdown, less than a decade before.

He spent the first year of his presidency making health care safe for the drug racketeers and private insurers, through backroom deals that froze out members of Congress most friendly to Blacks and labor, the Democratic Party’s core constituencies.

Within a year, the left wing of the Democratic Party was beaten down, demoralized and isolated at the hands of the First Black President. From then on, the parameters of the national political conversation were confined to a narrow spectrum, that went from Obama, the corporate, center-right Democrat, to the Tea Party, the corporate-financed white nationalists. Nothing favorable to Blacks or labor could possibly emerge from such a toxic political mix. But it was a mix of Obama's making. This was Obama-Brew, and he was the bartender through two years when the Democrats, with a congressional majority, were encouraged by their president to behave as if the Republicans were in charge. In 2010, the Republicans did take charge in the House, and it was as if they had seized the entire government.

In the second year, he dropped even the pretense that jobs were a top priority.”

There was no push for a national jobs program in Obama’s first year, despite good chances for passage, because Obama did not want one. Labor’s most sought-after legislation, the card-check bill that might reverse the steady decline in union membership, got nowhere in the Democratic Congress, because Obama did not support it. Then, in the second year, he dropped even the pretense that jobs were a top priority, and began shouting like a Republican banshee about deficits and the need for “austerity.”

Blacks saw their futures flushed down the toilet while Obama dismissed them with nonsense about fictitious rising tides. Latinos, whose growing numbers are shaping America’s future, watched while the Democrat that two-thirds of them voted for deported more immigrants than his Republican predecessor.

Who has Obama NOT betrayed, in the traditional Democratic base? The environmentalists got their education in Obamaism last week, when the president made the executive decision to stick with George Bush’s pollution standards, to great applause from big business.

For those who were looking for a president who would stand up to Wall Street and the Pentagon, Obama has been a dismal failure. But for those on the Right whose mission in life is to utterly smash the power of Blacks and unions, Obama has been a godsend.

The Democratic base, to the extent that it votes, will vote for Obama in 2012, seeing him as the “lesser of evils.” But he is, in fact, the “more effective evil,” having done more damage to Democratic core constituencies than any Republican could dream of.

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: 20110907_gf_ObamaRunning.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:13am EDT

 Black Agenda Radio commentary by editor and columnist Jared Ball

Theoretically, “any Black woman or man is a potential revolutionary.” But here’s another truth: No organization, no revo – whether the potential revolutionaries are Internet-connected or not. A wired populace may hold in their hands the tools of mass political action, but those same tools are wielded by huge corporations and the governments that protect them, as San Francisco Bay transit cops showed when they shut down the cell phones of potential “flash” demonstrators. The end requires more than just the technological means.

 

At Least Some Ministers Tell the TRUTH: Hip-Hop, Social Media and Revolutionary Politics

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by editor and columnist Jared Ball

To move from prank to political act and beyond will require more than industry-sponsored pop icons breaking trends and becoming radicals.”

In a recent editorial from The TRUTH Minista Paul Scott took only a few hundred words to raise some of the more relevant questions regarding hip-hop, Black radical politics and social media. What can be learned from a popular rapper, an allegedly misused Twitter account and some scared police? I think Scott’s editorial points us in some very important directions.

The issue is a dust up from last month where one of the industry’s latest and greatest, a rapper known as The Game, had posted to his Twitter account the phone number to the Los Angeles sheriff’s office. The lines were jammed, cops were scared and The Game faced claims that he would do time. But as Scott said, this is “a whole lot bigger than an Internet prank. It is about the potential power of Hip Hop artists and social media to provoke social unrest and political change.” Scott connected this story with the claims that social media spurred on the uprisings in London and then reminded his readers that “this is the real fear of the authorities, not some sophomoric prank. Their greatest fear is that one day rappers like The Game will stop playing games and start mobilizing the masses for political power. In 2011, every thug with a Blackberry is a potential revolutionary.”

Of course, it is not just thugs with Blackberrys. Anyone, and in this case, any Black woman or man is a potential revolutionary. And this is the point to which we are directed by the very nature of Scott’s editorial. Another is his juxtaposing prank with political act. As we’ve argued before, social media are no more a guarantee of revolution than the disorganized collective use of any previously-existing technology. To move from prank to political act and beyond will require more than industry-sponsored pop icons breaking trends and becoming radicals. It will require organization. As Dhoruba bin-Wahad correctly said recently of the so-called Arab Spring, Twitter didn’t do a thing; pro-longed organization finally culminated in mass public calls for change that may indeed one day result in some. The same can likely be said of London. Some prior organization was facilitated in later-stage activity by new social media with instant communication capability culminating in mass public calls for change that may indeed one day result in some.

In 2011, every thug with a Blackberry is a potential revolutionary.”

But organization is the key. The current drive by New Jersey’s People’s Organization for Progress to truly honor Dr. King with a year-long daily protest demanding jobs and justice is just one example of pre-existing organization moving ahead of any social media. That media may now be deployed to assist their efforts but here the chicken certainly did not come before the egg. Organization also means that the outcomes, good or bad, of this extended 381 day planned protest will either be best put to use or mitigated by an organized and prepared body of activists. Pranks, on the other hand, often lead to unexpected outcomes for which the pranksters are not prepared to exploit or defend against.

Organization is also an issue as it reminds those involved of the fact that our political enemies are also organizing, are themselves already using social media and, more importantly, they actually control it. Protestors last month in San Francisco found their phones entirely disabled by Bay Area Rapid Transit (B.A.R.T.) officials in order to prevent them from on-the-fly preparations. British Prime Minister David Cameronsaid he might do the same in London to prevent what he said was a misuse of the “flow of communication” for “violence.” Even Obama and the Republicans used Twitter to help reach their debt agreement. Now, that – the violence of empire and capitalism – is the real misuse of social media.

So it is true. Some ministers do tell the TRUTH. And this is a good one; pranks are cute, even inspiring, but we need to organize to go from prank to political act. Because the next question is, what is done while a police force has its communications knocked out?

For Black Agenda Radio I’m Jared Ball. On the web go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

Dr. Jared A. Ball is an associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore and is the author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press). He can be found online at:IMIXWHATILIKE.COM.

Direct download: 20110907_jb_HipHop.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:09am EDT