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

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Fool me once, the saying goes, shame on you. Fool me again --- you know the rest. But what do we call it when Obama supporters willingly deceive themselves about what side of the haves vs have-nots struggle their president is on? And if reports are true that the president has scarcely bothered to call or speak to leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus or even of Democrats in the Congress in months, what does that say about who owns who?

Obama 2012 Smacks Down Jim Clyburn For Criticizing Bain & Vampire Equity Firms, Obama Supporters Pretend Not to Notice

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

What's more disgusting? An original act of cynical hypocrisy, like President Barack Obama's hollow criticisms of Mitt Romney's parasitic Bain Capital, while his own campaign and administration are honeycombed with execs and consultants from similar and even bigger bloodsuckers like J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs, or the craven chorus of diehard Obama supporters insisting that we look the other way every time their president and his team show what side they're really on?

When Newark mayor and Obama campaign surrogate Corey Booker on Meet The Press defended the way so-called “private equity” firms like Bain Capital make their money he was defending his own, and the president's friends on Wall Street who do the same thing Bain Capital does, and who make both their careers and the careers of an entire generation of Democratic party politicians possible.

So how did the chorus of Obama supporters respond? For a solid week Obama fans, most of them avid supporters of Booker until then, fell all over each other denouncing Corey for not representing their president, or more accurately their idea of this president. Somebody should have noticed that in all that time, nobody from the White House or the Obama campaign denounced Corey Booker.

But when South Carolina's Jim Clyburn accurately described Bain Capital's technique as enriching its partners by “raping” companies they acquired the Obama campaign wasted no time in publicly smacking Clyburn down. Barack Obama and his campaign know that if public anger is focused at the vampire capital industry rather than just at Romney's Bain Capital alone, it's bad news for them and their campaign contributors as well. So their self-interested hypocrisy is understandable, though not excusable.

Less understandable, and less excusable was the sheeplike reaction of Obama fans. The week before they flooded online forums, call-in shows, email lists and the like with screeds on how Booker's views didn't represent their president. Instead of getting behind their imaginary President Obama --- the one who opposes vampire capital, and lining up with Rep. Clyburn, an avid supporter of the president himself, Obama supporters pretended to ignore Clyburn, and also looked away in silence as the Obama campaign publicly smacked him down.

Denial is potent and deceit is powerful. Nobody likes to admit being deceived, or being used to help deceive others. But with trillions of dollars and power on the line, or sometimes just the illusion of being near that power, deceit and denial are everyday facts of American political life, especially among supporters of our First Black President.

Hail to the Chief.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20120530_bd_clyburn_denial.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:15pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The name “Rwanda” evokes instant sympathy among Americans, who view the African nation as a quintessential victim of genocide. But Rwanda is also the main player, along with Uganda, in a much larger genocide: the death of six million Congolese. A leaked UN report shows Rwanda’s Tutsi rulers are up to their old, deadly tricks in Congo – under U.S. protection, of course.

 

The Endless Genocide: Rwanda Still Spreading Chaos and Death in Congo

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

A leaked United Nations report charges that Rwanda continues to prey upon its Congolese neighbor.”

Rwanda, the tiny African country run by a small but armed-to-the-teeth Tutsi tribal minority, is known to most Americans as the site of the 1994 genocide that killed hundreds of thousands. But Rwanda, along with fellow U.S. client state Uganda, is largely responsible for the worst genocide since World War Two: the death of six million Congolese. A leaked United Nations report charges that Rwanda continues to prey upon its Congolese neighbor, sending Rwandans to help fuel a mutiny of Congolese Tutsi soldiers against the country’s government in Kinshasa.

It’s not surprising that the UN report on Rwanda’s serial crimes against Congo had to be leaked. U.S. collusion with the world’s most genocidal regimes does not jibe well with Washington’s constant preaching about humanitarian intervention. In 2010, another leaked UN report documented Rwandan crimes in eastern Congo that, “could be classified as genocide.” The Rwandan military and its allied militias of Congolese Tutsis seized control of huge chunks of Congo’s most mineral-rich regions, slaughtering whoever got in their way, including Rwandan Hutu refugees and native Congolese. It is estimated that three and half million “excess deaths” occurred in those parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo controlled by Rwanda. Another U.S. ally, Uganda, helped itself to large sections of the Congo, hauling away precious metals for sale to multinational corporations, and causing mass death in the process.

The United States is deeply involved in the deadly games that both Rwanda and Uganda play in Congo.”

The focus of the current UN report is a Congolese Tutsi warlord whose allegiance is clearly with his fellow Tutsis in Rwanda – and to his own bank account. General Bosco Ntaganda took part in the overthrow of the Hutu-led government of Rwanda in 1994 and has acted as a proxy warlord for Rwanda in Congo ever since. Ntaganda is also known as “the Terminator.” The International Criminal Court charged him with war crimes in 2006, including the use of child soldiers. But he was never arrested, undoubtedly because the United States, from which the Court takes its orders, is deeply involved in the deadly games that both Rwanda and Uganda play in Congo – games whose ultimate winners are multinational corporations.

But before Congolese minerals find their way to the big corporate guys, they are first stolen by warlords like Ntaganda, the Terminator. A UN Group of Experts reported late last year that the general controls a network of mines in Congo. He also uses his militia to levy “taxes” on other mining operations. Ultimately, it appears Ntaganda is an important cog in a vast criminal enterprise centered in the Rwandan government, itself – all profiting off the bones of six million dead Congolese.

In a peace deal between the Congolese government and Rwanda in 2009, the Tutsi Congolese militia was technically merged into the Congolese Army. But it was just a façade. Under Ntaganda, the Tutsi Congolese staged a mutiny. According to the leaked UN report, young Rwandans who thought they were being recruited for their own country’s army found themselves shipped to the Congo to fight alongside Ntaganda against the Congolese Army. In reality, there was no mutiny of the Tutsi Congolese fighters; they have been proxies for Rwanda all along.

Which means they also serve United States interests in Africa – a ticket to impunity, no matter how many Africans you kill.

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: 20120530_gf_UNReportRwanda.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Americans are now programmed to lust for Syrian blood, just as they lusted for Libyan blood, Iraqi blood, Afghan blood – whatever the demonized blood-of-the-day. It is easy for such voracious consumers of gore to project bloodlust on others, even when, as with the Syrian regime, there is no motive for the crime. “It makes absolutely no sense for the Syrian regime to allow the slitting of children’s throats while United Nations observers are stationed throughout the country.” The modus operandi and motive for the crime point to al Qaida and other jihadis – and their various U.S., European and rich Arab backers.

 

The Imperialists and the Jihadis: The Evil Alliance Against Syria

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

In Syria, as in Libya, the United States has allied itself with al Qaida and forces that are politically very much like al Qaida.”

The afternoon airhead on CNN snarled her revulsion at the very idea that a commentary on Russia’s Pravda newspaper would conclude that Syrian rebels, or even American or British special forces, might be behind the killing of over 100 Syrian civilians, about half of them children, in the town of Houla. Her country and its Free Syrian Army allies would never do such a thing! But, of course, it goes without saying – and without the necessity of any proof whatsoever – that the Syrian government slits babies’ throats for breakfast. For CNN, the inherent goodness of the U.S. and whoever its allies of the moment might be, is a matter of faith.

Like her broadcast colleagues, the high-priced talking head had spent most of last year spreading fantastic lies about “imminent” massacres of civilians by Moamar Qaddafi’s government in Libya – massacres that never happened – and covering up the actual slaughter of black Libyan civilians at the hands of U.S.-backed forces. She and her fellow well-paid prevaricators reported as fact that Colonel Qaddafi’s soldiers used rape as a weapon of war, fueled by vast quantities of Viagra – a total fabrication. These same corporate media psychopaths pretended to believe, and tried to convince the whole world, that NATO’s 7-month bombing campaign against Libya had killed not a single civilian – or, well, maybe just a few.

Now CNN’s heroes are the so-called Free Syrian Army – who are obviously the good guys, because the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon say so. But, the Russian commentary in Pravda is much closer to the truth.

It is in the interest of Sunni jihadis to make the conflict in Syria into a war against the Alawites.”

In Syria, as in Libya, the United States has allied itself with al Qaida and forces that are politically very much like al Qaida. Hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S.-armed Libyan jihadis have relocated to Syria. The Saudis and Qataris have sent many thousands more Sunni religious fighters into Syria, where they wage holy war against the secular government. The terror bombings that have claimed hundreds of lives in Syrian cities over the past few months are classic al Qaida, as even U.S. officials have been forced to admit. And so are the killings of children in Houla.

The logic of the Houla massacre is the logic of al Qaida. In Iraq, al Qaida dedicated all its energies to provoking war between Sunnis and Shi’ites, whom al Qaida considers heretics. In Syria, the Alawite minority to which President Bashar Assad belongs is a branch of Shia. It is in the interest of Sunni jihadis to make the conflict in Syria into a war against the Alawites, who are over-represented in the secular government and the army. These jihadis hate both Muslim heretics and secularists. But, it is fundamentally against the Syrian regime’s interest for the conflict to devolve into sectarianism. And it makes absolutely no sense for the Syrian regime to allow the slitting of children’s throats while United Nations observers are stationed throughout the country. However, it does serve the interests of the rebels and their American and European backers – and, of course, the interests of Israel, which has long sought the dismantling of the Syria state.

Terrified at the onset of the Arab Spring, the U.S. and Europe, along with the royal thugs of the Persian Gulf, decided to unleash chaos in the region, using the most militant foot soldiers at their disposal: jihadis. Ultimately, this diabolical strategy will not make U.S. imperialism stronger – but it will make the world a lot bloodier, and far more dangerous.

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: 20120530_gf_USJihadis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Like no other president in modern times, Barack Obama is determined to criminalize the Left opposition through relentless reshaping of Constitutional notions of law. Whistleblowers are domestic public enemy number one. “Having knowledge of government wrongdoing is criminal, in the eyes of this administration.”

 

Obama’s War: Criminalize the Left

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Obama legal team has been single-minded in its determination to make political dissent a crime.”

The Obama administration is methodically erecting the legal structures of a police state. The president late last year smoothed the way for bipartisan passage through Congress of a preventive detention bill that is so vaguely worded, a federal judge in New York last week ruled that it is likely to be successfully challenged on Constitutional grounds. And in Richmond, Virginia, a three-judge appeals court heard Justice Department lawyers argue that reporters can be compelled to reveal the identities of whistleblowers in so-called national security cases.

The government is prosecuting a former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, for allegedly leaking secret documents toNew York Times investigative reporter James Risen. The ex-spy is accused of showing the reporter documents on the agency’s campaign of sabotage against Iran’s nuclear research program, information the reporter later used to write a book.

In both cases, the Obama legal team has been single-minded in its determination to make political dissent a crime. The judge in the preventive detention proceeding repeatedly asked the government to explain, specifically, how or if the seven plaintiffs might be detained under the wording of the National Defense Authorization Act, which makes it a crime to provide “substantial support” to groups “associated” with Al Qaida. The plaintiffs, including former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges, academic activist Noam Chomsky, and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, wanted to know exactly what the terms “substantial support” and “associated groups” meant, and if their actions as journalists, authors, activists and just plain citizens made them vulnerable to detention without trial. Obama’s lawyers refused to explain, as if the vague and highly interpretable language spoke for itself. What they were trying to create is a legal trap so vague and amorphous that it can ensnare almost anyone opposed to Washington’s foreign policies. The New York federal judge refused to accommodate the government’s lawyers, and allowed the plaintiffs legal standing to sue.

The Obama legal doctrine seems to be that whatever the government does not want the public to see, is criminal.”

The Richmond federal appeals court is being asked to recognize the government’s contention that reporters who receive secret government documents are not protected as journalists because they are witnesses to a crime. One of the judges pressed the prosecutor to explain how the public’s interest in the maintenance of a free press might be outweighed by the specific circumstances of the case. Obama’s lawyers refused to explain, claiming there was no need to balance Constitutional issues, because the reporter was the only witness to a crime. Receiving secret government documents, he said, is the same as receiving illegal drugs.

The Obama legal doctrine seems to be that whatever the government does not want the public to see, is criminal. Having knowledge of government wrongdoing is criminal, in the eyes of this administration.

President George Bush may have felt that way, too, but Obama will go down in history as the major architect to date of the evolving American police state. He has already prosecuted more whistleblowers than all his presidential predecessors, combined, and is the first chief executive to arm himself with a preventive detention law. And to think, Angela Davis says Obama identifies with the historical Black radical tradition. In reality, he has much more in common with the traditions of fascism.

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: 20120523_gf_ObamaPoliceState.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:43am EST

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Did Newark mayor Corey Booker really cross the Obama campaign when he defended vampire capital companies like Romney's Bain? Or was he just being truer to his own, and Obama's roots than presidents and their surrogates ought to be in an election year?

Don't Be Fooled. Corey Booker, Barack Obama & the Whole Black Political Class Love Bain Capital

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Barack Obama, Corey Booker and the entire black political class have a problem. They must deliver the votes of their people to the campaign contributors who make their careers possible. Their voters oppose unjust wars, privatizations of public assets and services, and corporate bailouts. Once safely in office, these are exactly the measures Obama, Booker and their colleagues enact. But right now Barack Obama and other Democrats need to be re-elected, and to be re-elected they must pose at least as half-hearted opponents of the bloodsucking model of parasitic venture capital practiced by Bain Capital, J.P. Morgan and other players..

It's not an easy act to sell, and sometimes Obama and his surrogates are caught in their own tangled webs. Romney's Bain Capital, like other vampire capital firms like it don't just have relations with Democrats as well as Republicans. They have deep institutional and personal ties with leading members of the nation's black political class. Bain's business models, along with reams of their business advice in the forms of pro bono “transition” and “turnaround” reports recommending the mass firings of public workers, especially teachers, and the wholesale privatization of local water, government payrolls, parking meters, garbage pickup, parks and recreation departments, and everything that can or cannot be nailed down have been common staples on the desks of incoming black mayors in Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Columbia SC, Atlanta and other cities.

When former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin swept into office in 2005 her pro-bono transition report was “the Bain Report” put together by Mitt Romney's colleagues intent on turning government services into lucrative business opportunities and pocketing the money saved by firing workers, reducing their benefits and eliminating their pensions while jacking user fees for the public to the maximum sustainable levels. Fortunately for Atlanta, the water privatization deal already done by her predecessor unraveled in spectacular fashion just as Franklin was entering office, creating a less favorable atmosphere for other immediate privatizations. Out of office, Franklin is a lobbyist and consultant to firms specializing in the privatization of education and government services of all kinds.

On last week's Meet The Press, Newark mayor Corey Booker rose to the defense of parasitic venture capital, declaring himself disgusted at what he called the useless rhetoric about how the nation's bloodsucking financial sector extracted its profits. Booker has his own relations with Bain and similar outfits, and looting the public sector at their behest is at the very center of his mayoral administration. You wouldn't know it from the national media coverage, but Corey Booker has been a relentless advocate of privatizing the city's water, parks, garbage collection and a whole range of public assets and services --- implementing the vampire capitalist model in Newark.

It's not easy either, for Barack Obama to pretend to be against what Bain Capital does, when his former chief of staff William Daley, brother and son to longtime Chicago mayors and one of the guys who wrote NAFTA, was a vice president at J.P. Morgan, a much bigger shark swimming in the same pool as Bain Capital. The Obama administration and its advisory bodies are riddled on every level with hundreds of vice presidents, lobbyists and functionaries of vampire capital. Barack Obama knows where his real allegiances lie, and what time of year this is. He'll score a few rhetorical points at the expense of Bain Capital. But his heart belongs to J.P. Morgan. He knows, and we should know, that talk is cheap.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20120523_bd_bain_barack_booker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Fascist-minded state policies are often executed by likeable, sociable operatives. Chicago police officers “Mo” and “Gloves” appear to have made friends in anti-war circles all over Chicago – with disastrous consequences to some activists. “The two undercovers were clearly among the most gregarious couples in town for the NATO summit meeting.”

 

Mo” and “Gloves” Run Amok in Chicago

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The dynamic duo are expected to testify the defendants confided that they wanted to burn and bomb things.”

White middle class Americans grow up imbibing Hollywood stereotypes of police states in which the villains have exotic names and accents and are very definitely not the kind of people you’d want to drink beer or smoke a joint with. But five young people who went to Chicago to oppose U.S. wars had the misfortune to meet some secret police who seemed to fit in quite well with their peer group. Known only as “Mo” and “Gloves,” the undercover police officers were among the eleven people originally seized at an apartment in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side. Then, suddenly, they were gone, but three of their erstwhile anti-war friends would face charges of manufacturing Molotov cocktails and conspiring to mount an attack on President Obama’s campaign headquarters. Apparently, Mo and Gloves will testify to that effect. However, attorneys at the National Lawyers Guild say there were no Molotov cocktails found at the scene, just some equipment to home brew beer.

Mo and Gloves were also apparently behind the arrest of two other activists, both from Chicago, charged with making terrorist threats and attempted possession of explosives or incendiary devices. The dynamic duo Mo and Gloves are expected to testify that the defendants confided that they wanted to burn and bomb things. One of the guys supposedly bragged that he could blow up a bridge in downtown Chicago. The other man allegedlywanted to build a pipe bomb. They are guilty, you see, of felonious and wishful thinking.

The two undercovers were clearly among the most gregarious couples in town for the NATO summit meeting. A defense attorney said lots activists told her they had met Mo and Gloves – and were, understandably, worried.

The informant Azir accomplished this feat of mass manipulation through the dispensing of vast quantities of beer.”

In Cleveland, a 39-year-old police informant named Shaquille Azir appears to have lured five young guys who were associated with the Occupy movement and called themselves anarchists into a possible lifetime in prison. According to an excellent Counterpunch article by Jake Olzen, Azir talked himself into the men’s lives, encouraged them to separate from Occupy to form a People’s Liberation Army, and finally, got them to try to blow up a bridge with an inert bomb built with materials provided by the FBI. The informant Azir accomplished this feat of mass manipulation through the dispensing of vast quantities of beer. Every morning, he gave his victims a case of beer, and each evening he showed up with marijuana and another case of beer. It is, therefore logical to conclude that American capitalism is threatened, not so much by implacable opponents or internal contradictions, but by beer.

When I was a very young child, there was a television show called “I Led Three Lives.” The hero was an undercover informant who infiltrated American communist cells to expose their violent plans. The communists were all played by character actors from gangster films. The result was pure fiction, but it did hang together as a typical TV melodrama of the time. However, I think there will never be a movie about the undercover cops Mo and Gloves, who flitted around Chicago making up conversations in order to put people they had never met in prison for life. There oughta be a movie like that, but there won’t. Even the cops would be shamed.

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: 20120523_gf_MoAndGlovesRunAmuk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06am EST

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The president's announcement favoring the right of same sex couples to marry is long overdue and better than nothing. But it doesn't make him a fearless warrior for human rights, any more than Henry Kissinger's Nobel Peace Prize makes him Mahatma Gandhi.

Obama's No-Risk Drive-By On Gay Marriage

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Marriage is a legal and human right that same sex couples and their families need, want and deserve. “

President Obama's belated declaration in favor of same sex marriage was not an act of political courage. Courage is risky and the president put nothing on the line he could lose. It wasn't about leadership, because Barack Obama arrived after and not before most of his party and most of the country. Barack Obama did a presidential drive-by, a mock-assault in which he rolled by and sprayed a clip full of rhetorical blanks in the general direction of the foes of equal rights at no risk to himself and without targeting anything in particular.

Think about it. If this had been a Republican president, say Reagan or Bush, making the opposite announcement, it would have been accompanied with a fistful of new executive branch regulations, a couple new bills for introduction in Congress, and a proposed constitutional amendment. Almost a week later, Obama is finally suggesting that repeal of the odious Defense of Marriage Act would be a good idea. But don't wait up for his people in Congress to introduce it.

Make no mistake, Obama's announcement is better than nothing. Marriage is a legal and human right that same sex couples and their families need, want and deserve. Without it, same sex partners can't visit each other in hospitals, can't get medical coverage for spouses, cannot make emergency medical decisions for each other and their survivors and children are not guaranteed access to joint assets, pensions or survivors benefits when one partner dies, and they have no access to divorce courts when coiuples break up.

This is crucially important because divorce courts are the only legal proceedings where the objective is equitable distribution of assets along with the best interests of children. Without access to divorce court the high earner in a same sex couple can pocket the lion's share of assets and walk away. Child support? If gay couples can't legally adopt or marry, don't count on it.

The president's announcement satisfied a constituency that was mostly his already, and that makes significant campaign contributions as well. Some of his other supporters might grumble, but none of them will bolt. ”

Obama's belated announcement on gay marriage is good. It's just not all that good. Marriage is the overwhelming priority of well-off white gays. But the rest of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have other pressing issues.

If you're a gay teenager, your big problem might be having a place to live and attend school, how to stay out of the juvenile system after your parents kick you out or after your school turns a blind eye when you get beat down. If you're a gay or transgender adult, you might live in fear that your landlord or boss will discover your identity and fire or evict you. If you're gay or transgender and homeless, there are shelter and agencies who simply won't deal with you, and if you're in the custody of adult or juvenile correctional institutions, you've got special problems as well.

The president's announcement satisfied a constituency that was mostly his already, and that makes significant campaign contributions as well. Some of his other supporters might grumble, but none of them will bolt. So politically, it was a no-risk, no-lose proposition, and it gives staunch Obamaphiles still another halo, this one in rainbow colors, to hang on the head of their shining black prince.

So while the president's announcement in favor of gay marriage really IS a good thing, it doesn't make him a fearless warrior for human rights any more than his tainted Nobel Peace Prize made him Martin Luther King. After all, Henry Kissinger F.W. DeKlerk have those too.

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: 20120516_bd_obama_gay_marriage.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The administration imposed the most draconian police state legal structures in U.S. history summoning the heads of NATO to Chicago. The pact accounts for 70 percent of military spending on the planet – combining the capacities of yesterday’s imperialists and the current superpower. “The Black man in the White House is seen, ironically, as the last best hope of the old colonial racial order and the rule of capital.”

 

The Empire Holds Its War Council in Chicago

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

U.S. anti-war movement now confronts a growing fascist infrastructure here at home, as it opposes imperial crimes, abroad.”

If anyone has doubts about what it means here at home when the U.S. seeks to militarily dominate the world, take a trip to Chicago, this week. There, you’ll see the Chicago police, the second largest force in the country, reinforced by cops from Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Charlotte, North Carolina, and backed up by two high decibel noise machines that were first used against American civilians in Pittsburgh to blow out the eardrums of protesters, back in 2009. Overall security for the NATO summit meeting is overseen by the FBI and the Secret Service, who in recent months have been given unprecedented police state powers, thanks to President Obama and a bipartisan Congress.

With dignitaries on hand from the more than 50 countries that have done Washington’s bidding in Afghanistan, there will be lots of opportunities for the feds to invoke their new powers to put demonstrators in prison for up to ten years if they set foot on property containing any person under the protection of the Secret Service. That could include huge chunks of the city. And, of course, who knows what kinds of plots the FBI is conjuring up through its squads of agent provocateurs embedded in the ranks of demonstrators. Thanks to the preventive detention without trial legislation signed into law by President Obama this past New Year’s Eve, every American has lost her Constitutional right to due process of law. Which means that a reconfigured and far more principled U.S. anti-war movement now confronts a growing fascist infrastructure here at home, as it opposes imperial crimes, abroad.

Obama has drawn closely to his side the old imperialists of Europe.”

The Chicago police claim they don’t plan to turn the eardrum-busting sound cannons on full volume against the demonstrators – just loud enough to convey “messages” to the crowd. The protesters are sending their own message, one that has become far more popular and general than could have been imagined, a year ago. Since the emergence of the Occupy movement, last October, millions of Americans have come to understand what Latin American peasants have always known: that the nexus of war in the world is Wall Street, and the Pentagon is its servant – as is the White House and most of the Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. War is waged for the purpose of global economic subjugation and, therefore, peace can only be won by dethroning the financial bad guys: the Lords of Capital. So, much of the peace movement now sees itself as an expression of the 99 Percent, against the warlike and greedy 1 Percent.

Once that lesson is learned, it cannot be shouted out by police sound-blasters.

President Obama has made skillful use of NATO, to make it appear that he is not a go-it-alone cowboy, like George Bush. Obama has drawn closely to his side the old imperialists of Europe, who looted and pillaged the earth for five hundred years, establishing the planetary racial hierarchy that has only recently begun to crumble. The Black man in the White House is seen, ironically, as the last best hope of the old colonial racial order and the rule of capital. The Global One Percent can only be maintained in power by the U.S. war machine. Ultimately, the world needs only one thing from the American people: that they dismantle the machine.

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: 20120516_gf_ChicagoDemos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41am EST

The United States: An Impoverished, Delusional Society

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

When Europeans resist corporate austerity measures, they are struggling to avoid “being forced to live like most Americans, at the total mercy of the rich.” The U.S. safety net hardly exists. The “American way of life” is a state of profound insecurity and social disconnectedness.

 

The United States: An Impoverished, Delusional Society

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Europe is headed for deep turmoil because Europeans have something to defend.”

Thanks to the U.S. corporate media’s great skills of obfuscation, omission and just plain lying, Americans are quite confused about the political and financial crisis in Europe, and what it means on this side of the Atlantic. People in the United States harbor vague fears that the social turmoil they see playing out in European elections and on the streets may come here. This scares them, which is almost funny, in a very sad way, since what European working people are struggling to avoid is being forced to live like most Americans, at the total mercy of the rich.

Europeans are righteously upset because they have something quite precious to lose: a social safety net that provides levels of security that Americans have never experienced, and that many cannot even imagine. Since most overworked or underemployed Americans don’t know how Europeans actually live, they find it difficult to understand what all the fuss is about. U.S. corporate media fill in the vast blanks in American consciousness with slanders against Europe – the relatively comfortable French and the devastated Greeks, alike – branding them all lazy slackers who don’t want to work hard or pay their bills. America’s damn near nonexistent social welfare structure is packaged as a virtue, while the sights and sounds of European protest are made to seem ominous, dangerous, selfish.

Most Americans of modest means don’t travel to countries where the people live better than they do, or are so oblivious that they don’t notice the deep social service networks that underlie these societies. Americans cannot understand, for example, that higher educational achievement is so often tied to strong national compacts among citizens and fundamental notions of social equality – these qualities being absent in American life. CNN is quick to cite figures on European unemployment, but tells its U.S. audience virtually nothing about the social safety net that makes unemployment in Europe a very different experience than being without a job in the United States.

America’s damn near nonexistent social welfare structure is packaged as a virtue.”

A young relative of mine happened to graduate with a professional degree just in time for the 2008 meltdown, which wiped out all the new jobs in his profession. He sought work in France, being fluent in the language, and found it a far more welcoming society than his own. More than half of his rent was subsidized, because the French believe that people younger than 26 should have a chance to begin independent lives without undue burdens. My young Black American relative rode public transportation for half fare, as did his young French peers. While working, he considered getting another professional degree, which would have cost him less than $2,000 a year at a fairly prestigious French school. And he was a foreigner! A French student who had already paid into the health care system, could study for a year for less than $1,000.

My young relative eventually came home – because…well, this is home. It is a materially rich country, but one that is socially impoverished and, frankly, too ignorant to know it. Europe is headed for deep turmoil because Europeans have something to defend. They’ll fight to keep a decent social welfare net. The Americans don’t even know what a minimally just society looks like or feels like. We’ll have to create that society through struggle, and almost from scratch.

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: 20120516_gf_USvEurope.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Since at least 2006, Somalia has been the focus of the United States’ drive for military domination of Africa, with other African states lining up to join in the bloody, neocolonial feast. Sierra Leone is the latest. “Sierra Leone’s soldiers have become cogs in the imperial reconquest of Africa, with Somalia as ground zero.”

 

Somalia Recolonized – With African Help

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Washington’s actions have been calculated to ensure that a strong Somali state never rise again.”

With great fanfare from the international corporate media, the West African nation of Sierra Leone has committed 850 soldiers to the African Union’s forces in Somalia. In reality, Sierra Leone’s soldiers have become cogs in the imperial reconquest of Africa, with Somalia as ground zero.

Following the U.S.-backed invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia, in 2006, Washington and its European allies, including the old colonial rulers, Italy and Britain, propped up a puppet government in the capital city, Mogadishu, while simultaneously encouraging the breakaway regions of Puntland and Somaliland. The capital is occupied by AMISOM, the African Union’s military force in Somalia, which is paid for by United Nations and, for all practical purposes, an extension of U.S. foreign policy on the continent. AMISOM’s largest contingents are from the U.S. client states Uganda and Burundi, and the force is commanded by a Ugandan. Another contingent hails from Somalia’s neighbor to the north, Djibouti, a tiny country that is little more than a military base for the United States and France. Djibouti is the main center of operations for AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command.

Although the Americans pay constant lip service to the idea of a permanent national Somali government and to the territorial integrity of country, Washington’s actions have been calculated to ensure that a strong Somali state never rise again. Vast areas of the country have been occupied by Somalia’s historical enemies, Ethiopia and Kenya. The Ogaden region of Ethiopia is populated mainly by people of Somali origin, against whom Ethiopia’s military regime has waged a brutal counterinsurgency war. Parts of northern Kenya are largely inhabited by ethnic Somalis. Both Ethiopia and Kenya view an intact and unified Somalia as against their national interests. Yet these are the countries, along with Uganda, to which the U.S. has, in the words of one Somali analyst, “subcontracted” the war against the Islamist Shabaab – which the U.S. claims is part of its war on terror.

Oil companies also have an interest in a weak Somali government, and have already begun operations in the secessionist regions of Puntland and Somaliland.”

Kenya and Ethiopia can be expected to pursue what they consider to be their own national interests, bringing large parts of Somalia under their direct or indirect control, while fulfilling their obligations to the U.S. master. Ethiopia, especially, has exhibited the utmost contempt for Somali civilians under their control, arming and financing their own warlords and criminal gangs. Somalis widely believe that Kenya wants their oil.

But the truth is, the people that will ultimately get the oil are the multinational energy corporations favored by the United States and its European allies. These oil companies also have an interest in a weak Somali government, and have already begun operations in the secessionist regions of Puntland and Somaliland. In the national capital at Mogadishu, the international community – meaning, the United States and its allies – is overseeing the writing of a new Somali Constitution, one that effectively partitions the country into three territories: Puntland, Somaliland, and South Central Somalia. These same international overseers have warned that any “spoilers” that oppose the new order will be dealt with, harshly. Thus, we see that the recolonization of Africa is well underway – with the enthusiastic collaboration of other Africans.

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: 20120509_gf_Somalia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27pm EST