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

Obama and his Republican soul mates have pulled another fast one, passing a “JOBS” bill that provides no jobs, but instead further deregulates Wall Street’s crisis-making machine. The president has joined his big business backers in an attempt to repeat Bill Clinton’s brief and unstable “boom” by “inflating another hi-tech bubble to keep the casino wheels spinning for a few years.”

 

Obama Signs a Phony – and Dangerous – “JOBS” Bill

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Organized labor was adamantly opposed, seeing no jobs in the bill.”

President Obama is ramping up his phony progressive campaign rhetoric, trying to once again masquerade as something other than a Wall Street servant. But this time around, he is weighted down by his actual record in office, which shows Obama to have been a savior to the bankers and money speculators. Now, the president has joined with Republicans to create a whole new class of con men and corporate criminals who will further fatten the fees of banksters by blowing up another multi-trillion dollar bubble of doomed and fraudulent hi-tech firms. To add insult to injury, Obama, his congressional Democrats and his Republican soul mates had the nerve to set the stage for this disaster by passing something they called a “JOBS” bill.

Of course, there are no jobs in the bill. The acronym stands for “Jumpstart Our Business Start- Ups Act,” and it's an invitation to a con game.

The new law, passed by 73 senators with Obama’s enthusiastic endorsement, allows corporations with less than $1billion in revenues – that’s a billion, as in a thousand million – to avoid hiring a professional auditing firm for five years after the company begins selling stock to the public. That means five long years of taking other people’s money without having to tell the truth about how your business is really doing. The scheme is designed to encourage what the money guys call “crowd funding” on the Internet, with little oversight by regulators.

Make no mistake: this is not an opportunity for those of you who want to open up a restaurant or a bar or a bookstore. Companies making less than $75 million can already avoid being subjected to professional audits; this bill extends the privilege to corporations at the billion dollar mark, who can now ensnare investors in their webs for twenty consecutive quarters without backing up a word of their sales pitch.

The scheme is designed to encourage what the money guys call 'crowd funding' on the Internet, with little oversight by regulators.”

Of course, the banksters that handle these transactions and the Wall Street gamblers who bet on them will get over like fat rats – for a while. And then it will all come tumbling down, just as President Bill Clinton’s Dot.com bubble did at the end of the roaring Nineties. The collapse destroyed $5 trillion in investments, and led to the first George Bush recession, from which Black folks did not have a chance to recover before being crushed again by the meltdown of 2008.

Where did this phony “JOBS” bill come from? From the bowels of the Obama administration, where the task of creating employment is the purview of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, packed with corporate executives from General Electric, Intel, Citigroup, Xerox, Boeing and American Express. Organized labor was adamantly opposed, seeing no jobs in the bill. But Obama doesn’t listen to unions, because he knows they will take an infinity of abuse rather than fight with a Democratic president. And the Black misleadership class has made itself totally irrelevant.

The lesson here is: late stage capitalism, which is incapable of creating real jobs in the United States, is pinning its hopes on inflating another hi-tech bubble to keep the casino wheels spinning for a few years. When the bubble bursts, they are confident that a bailout will be made available, no matter which party is in office. And the public will pick up the pieces.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

Direct download: 20120411_gf_PhonyJobsBill.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:19am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

In just four years, the United States will fall behind China as the world’s largest economic engine. The problem is, what the U.S. cannot achieve by economic or diplomatic means, it will attempt to accomplish by military force. America will not graciously accept decline. “It is a crisis, not of an ordinary nation state that happens to be an economic giant, but of a global system: imperialism.”

 

What Will the U.S. Do When It’s Number Two?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The pace of Washington’s aggressions in the world seems to be mounting as it approaches inevitable eclipse by Beijing in economic output.”

How will the United States react when China becomes the number one economy in the world? It’s a very serious question, because the U.S. is a very dangerous country, that still operates on the assumption that it has a Manifest Destiny to dominate the world. When the reigning superpower confronts its economic second fiddle status in 2016, it could throw quite a troublesome tantrum. In fact, the pace of Washington’s aggressions in the world seems to be mounting as it approaches inevitable eclipse by Beijing in economic output, as measured by the purchasing power parity standard.

Business Week magazine pondered America’s decline relative to China back in October of last year, noting that China’s economy had been the world’s largest for hundreds of years, until it was overtaken by the U.S. in 1890. But, back then, despite China’s huge internal economic activity, the country was straitjacketed by Euro-American imperialism, unable to project power even within its own borders.

Economist Dean Baker took a look at the U.S. as number two, last week, and reported that, by some measurements, China’s economy is already 20 percent larger than the U.S. However, Baker doesn’t anticipate any huge disruptions in the life of the planet due to America’s pending loss of the top economic slot. He is mistaken. Baker does point out that “the growing power of China has already increased the options available to many countries in the developing world.” And that brings us closer to the heart of the growing crisis for the United States. It is a crisis, not of an ordinary nation state that happens to be an economic giant, but of a global system: imperialism, dominated by finance capital that is in the grips of a convulsive and, I believe, terminal stage of decay.

It is a question of the survival of their rotten system.”

Having been forced, by capitalism’s inherent contradictions, to export production of actual goods to the South and the East – much of it to China – the Americans and western Europeans have lost their ability to dominate the terms of global trade – at least, by economic means. Their own multinational corporations have expedited the deindustrialization of the home countries. The increased “options” that Baker refers to as being available to the former Third World – to Africa, Latin America and Asia – represent mortal dangers to the U.S. and its imperial junior partners. The Americans and Europeans cannot compete with China, India, Brazil and other rising economic players, and cannot sustain their inherently unstable, casino-like financial structures in the absence of ever-increasing profits. Colonialism and neocolonialism provided such profits, while locking the rest of the world in a straightjacket – like China used to be.

The imperialists have always rigged world markets to their own super-advantage. Otherwise, they cannot compete. So, it is not just a question of whether U.S. rulers will accept being number two. Rather, it is a question of the survival of their rotten system. That's why they spend more on weapons than the rest of the world, combined. And that's why a United States in decline is a grave danger to the entire planet. It's going to be a very rough ride down.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted atGlen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20120411_gf_ChinaNumberOne.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:02am EST

Some so-called civil rights leaders talk up economic boycotts over Trayvon Martin, the same way some of them did over Troy Davis a few months ago, and the state of Ariizona before that. But what if economic boycotts really don't work for stuff like that? What are these so-called leaders really doing, and why?

Economic Boycotts Over Trayvon Martin Are Cynical Misdirections of a Potential Movement

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The calls made most notably by Rev. Al Sharpton for economic boycotts of Sanford Florida for Trayvon Martin and in the case of brutally beaten Georgia prison inmate Terrance Dean, for boycotts of certain Georgia products are at best deeply wrongheaded, and more likely cynical and deliberate misdirections of popular outrage.

Think about it. Economic boycotts are the tools of choice when you do not have direct access to the powerful people making the decisions. When you call for an economic boycott of Arizona or Florida or Georgia, what you're trying to do is cause economic distress to some wealthy interests, in the hope that they will importune unidentified fellow members of the ruling elite to make some of the changes you need.

Economic boycotts were used in the early and mid-twentieth century by Chinese and Indians fighting for control of their own countries against colonial powers. In the late twentieth century, global economic boycotts mounted in the US and elsewhere were potent political weapons against the South African apartheid regime, and are indispensable tools in the fight against Israel's version of apartheid and its brutal 60 year occupation.

But the decision makers and levers of power over brutal police departments, arbitrary prosecutors and the runaway prison state are not somewhere across the ocean. They the governor's office in every state, the sheriff and prosecutors in every county. They are the Congress, the White House, and the legislators in every state. They are the mayors in every city and town who hire and fire the police chiefs that carry out the policies of aggressive hyper-policing in black and brown communities across the land. Just about every extended family contains prisoners or former prisoners, and almost as many have cops, sheriffs and prison guards as well.

When so-called civil rights leaders tell us we need an economic boycott to reach out and touch these people and their offices, they are misleading and lying to us.

Why do they do this. Some of them are business school graduates who actually believe what they learned in school --- that the market is some kind of divine power that watches over everything. It's not. Some propose boycotts because they just don't know what else to do, and are too busy safeguarding their places as intermediaries representing people who have problems to actually solve those problems. Still others assure us that the vote is power, the vote is the solution, even though Democrats, black ones included, are heavily complicit in the prison state themselves. Their job is to bottle up the widespread outrage around the latest vigilante killing, police atrocity or state-sponsored murder and redirect it into safe channels that threaten nobody and change nothing.

These are leaders who don't want to march on or occupy state houses, city halls and the White House with clear demands to end the drug war, to provide jobs and justice and commence a dialog on how begin rolling back the prison state. Real movements start with real demands, and a refusal to go home until they are heard. We invite you to sign the Trayvon Martin petition at ushrnetwork.org --- that's ushrnetwork.org, and to boycott the next fool who tells you to boycott somebody else for Trayvon Martin.

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 a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20120411_bd_boycott_the_misleaders.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50am EST