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

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 EDT

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

News reports are surfacing of more fraudulent financial advisors operating from the pulpits of black and white prosoperity gospel megachurches. Federal lawmen are investigating, corporate news reporters and commentators bloviating. But are they asking the real questions, or missing the real story?

The Black Church: How Corporate Media & the Prosperity Gospel Make Legions of Ready Dupes

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Why are prosperity gospel churches such a fertile ground for retail financial fraud?”

Corporate media like ABC's Nightline this week briefly focused on an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a shady character that prosperity gospel churches foisted upon their credulous members as a “financial advisor” on a ministry that was called the “Building Wealth Tour.” In an all too common story, the so-called “wealth-building ministry” was a Ponzi scheme, a Bernie Madoff swindle in miniature..

The Nightline news report consisted of interviews with a couple of families who entrusted the financial advisor with their life savings, and saw them disappear. It included footage of the charlatan's employee, who recounted how he locked his office doors and hid from the church people whose money he took, and finally a statement from the crook's lawyer, interspersed with clips of complicit black and white prosperity gospel mega-preachers Joel Osteen and Bishop Eddie Long. The case is much mentioned too, in what pass for black sites on the internet, but the focus on Creflo Dollar style flashy pimp preachers and the rotating cast of crooks they allow to access their pulpits fails to ask what ought to be the real questions of the hour.

Why are prosperity gospel churches such a fertile ground for retail financial fraud? Why doesn't this kind of thing happen more often in non-prosperity gospel churches, orby BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

News reports are surfacing of more fraudulent financial advisors operating from the pulpits of black and white prosoperity gospel megachurches. Federal lawmen are investigating, corporate news reporters and commentators bloviating. But are they asking the real questions, or missing the real story?

The Black Church: How Corporate Media & the Prosperity Gospel Make Legions of Ready Dupes

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

“Why are prosperity gospel churches such a fertile ground for retail financial fraud?”

Corporate media like ABC's Nightline this week briefly focused on an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a shady character that prosperity gospel churches foisted upon their credulous members as a “financial advisor” on a ministry that was called the “Building Wealth Tour.” In an all too common story, the so-called “wealth-building ministry” was a Ponzi scheme, a Bernie Madoff swindle in miniature..

The Nightline news report consisted of interviews with a couple of families who entrusted the financial advisor with their life savings, and saw them disappear. It included footage of the charlatan's employee, who recounted how he locked his office doors and hid from the church people whose money he took, and finally a statement from the crook's lawyer, interspersed with clips of complicit black and white prosperity in other self-governing organizations like community groups, sororities or labor unions?

As long as our media, our leaders and our preachers educate us to be sheep, we will be preyed on by wolves...”

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

News reports are surfacing of more fraudulent financial advisors operating from the pulpits of black and white prosoperity gospel megachurches. Federal lawmen are investigating, corporate news reporters and commentators bloviating. But are they asking the real questions, or missing the real story?

The Black Church: How Corporate Media & the Prosperity Gospel Make Legions of Ready Dupes

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

“Why are prosperity gospel churches such a fertile ground for retail financial fraud?”

Corporate media like ABC's Nightline this week briefly focused on an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a shady character that prosperity gospel churches foisted upon their credulous members as a “financial advisor” on a ministry that was called the “Building Wealth Tour.” In an all too common story, the so-called “wealth-building ministry” was a Ponzi scheme, a Bernie Madoff swindle in miniature..

The Nightline news report consisted of interviews with a couple of families who entrusted the financial advisor with their life savings, and saw them disappear. It included footage of the charlatan's employee, who recounted how he locked his office doors and hid from the church people whose money he took, and finally a statement from the crook's lawyer, interspersed with clips of complicit black and white prosperityThe obvious answer is that the peculiar kind of mby BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

News reports are surfacing of more fraudulent financial advisors operating from the pulpits of black and white prosoperity gospel megachurches. Federal lawmen are investigating, corporate news reporters and commentators bloviating. But are they asking the real questions, or missing the real story?

The Black Church: How Corporate Media & the Prosperity Gospel Make Legions of Ready Dupes

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

“Why are prosperity gospel churches such a fertile ground for retail financial fraud?”

Corporate media like ABC's Nightline this week briefly focused on an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a shady character that prosperity gospel churches foisted upon their credulous members as a “financial advisor” on a ministry that was called the “Building Wealth Tour.” In an all too common story, the so-called “wealth-building ministry” was a Ponzi scheme, a Bernie Madoff swindle in miniature..

The Nightline news report consisted of interviews with a couple of families who entrusted the financial advisor with their life savings, and saw them disappear. It included footage of the charlatan's employee, who recounted how he locked his office doors and hid from the church people whose money he took, and finally a statement from the crook's lawyer, interspersed with clips of complicit black and white prosperityagical thinking embraced by these kinds of churches, and in lots of other places, like in the universe of Oprah, constantly maintains and manufacture a vast and ready supply of credulous marks and hopeful dupes, wooly headed little sheep eagby BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

News reports are surfacing of more fraudulent financial advisors operating from the pulpits of black and white prosoperity gospel megachurches. Federal lawmen are investigating, corporate news reporters and commentators bloviating. But are they asking the real questions, or missing the real story?

The Black Church: How Corporate Media & the Prosperity Gospel Make Legions of Ready Dupes

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

“Why are prosperity gospel churches such a fertile ground for retail financial fraud?”

Corporate media like ABC's Nightline this week briefly focused on an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission of a shady character that prosperity gospel churches foisted upon their credulous members as a “financial advisor” on a ministry that was called the “Building Wealth Tour.” In an all too common story, the so-called “wealth-building ministry” was a Ponzi scheme, a Bernie Madoff swindle in miniature..

The Nightline news report consisted of interviews with a couple of families who entrusted the financial advisor with their life savings, and saw them disappear. It included footage of the charlatan's employee, who recounted how he locked his office doors and hid from the church people whose money he took, and finally a statement from the crook's lawyer, interspersed with clips of complicit black and white prosperityer to be sheared. Millions of us have been instructed, and now teach each other to “visualize” wealth, happiness and material comfort and that the power of this visualization will make them real, will bring them into being. Preachers of the prosperity gospel contrive various ways to award divine sanction to this nonsense, while advocates of the Oprah-style “secret” take their superstition straight with no chaser.

And that's the real story. Bernie Madoff was able to steal tens of billions over 20 years because investors and the general public all believed that financial magicians made profits out of hot air. Bernie Madoff is gone now, but there are still millions who still have faith in the magic, faith reinforced by the teachings of corporate media hucksters like Oprah, and shored up every Sunday by prosperity gospel preachers, black and white, across the country.

The African American church, which likes to imagine and promote itself as the leading institution in black America, is deeply infested with the disease of the prosperity gospel. As long as our media, our leaders and our preachers educate us to be sheep, we will be preyed on by wolves. It's really that simple.

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. He lives and works in Marietta GA, and is a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him via this web site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20120509_bd_prosperity_gospel_manufactures_dupes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:19pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Charter school advocates are among the biggest scam artists in politics. They use the language of community control to transfer public assets into private hands. “Promoters of 'trigger laws' have only one use for parents: to pull the trigger on a school so that it can be converted to, or make room for, a charter school operated by the private sector.” Have mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rahm Emanuel, both bullies for charter schools, ever supported community control?

 

Charters Have Nothing to do With Community Control of Schools

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Anyone who believes that the Lords of Capital would finance anything that puts real power in the hands of poor parents, is in serious need of remedial education.”

The so-called “parent trigger” law is the newest weapon in the arsenal of the school privatizers and their billionaire backers. The law was passed in California in 2010, and versions of it have been enacted in several other states. The California law allows a majority of parents A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Charter school advocates are among the biggest scam artists in politics. They use the language of community control to transfer public assets into private hands. “Promoters of 'trigger laws' have only one use for parents: to pull the trigger on a school so that it can be converted to, or make room for, a charter school operated by the private sector.” Have mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rahm Emanuel, both bullies for charter schools, ever supported community control?

 

Charters Have Nothing to do With Community Control of Schools

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“Anyone who believes that the Lords of Capital would finance anything that puts real power in the hands of poor parents, is in serious need of remedial education.”

The so-called “parent trigger” law is the newest weapon in the arsenal of the school privatizers and their billionaire backers. The law was passed in California in 2010, and versions of it have been enacted in several other states. The California law allows a majority of parents to pull the “trigger” on their local school and take it out of control of the school district. It’s only been used against two elementary schools: first in Compton, then in the town of Adelanto. In both cases, the process dissolved in acrimony and bitterness, with many parents claiming they had been bulldozed into signing petitions.

The trigger law is a scam, a bait-and-switch scheme designed to make it appear that a charter school “movement” is sweeping parents in poor communities. In fact, promoters of trigger laws have only one use for parents: to pull the trigger on a school so that it can be converted to, or make room for, a charter school operated by the private sector. The last thing these people advocate is community control of schools – a concept that is antithetical to corporate-run education.

In both Compton and Adelanto, it became clear that the privatizers who pushed the petition knew exactly which charter outfits would take over the schools once the trigger was pulled. Groups like Parent Revolution are paid to drum up business for the charter school industry. They are funded by the same rich billionaires – Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the Waltons – that bankrolled the charter school business, and who have been joined by the most cut-throat hedge fund managers on Wall Street. Anyone who believes that the Lords of Capital would finance anything that puts real power in the hands of poor parents, is in serious need of remedial education. The job of front organizations like Parent Revolution, is to put a democratic façade on a corporate takeover of the public schools.

“Charters are the ideal deal, where the public takes all the risk and the corporations can’t lose.”

Even the billionaire Eli Broad claims to want to preserve the public schools – and, in a sense, he does. The fat cats behind charter schools want to keep them technically part of the public sphere, but only so that the public will continue to pay the costs. That’s why billionaires love charters! The public pays the bill, while private companies reap the profits. Public education represents an almost trillion dollar a year pool of money. That’s what’s got the billionaires so hot: charters are the ideal deal, where the public takes all the risk and the corporations can’t lose. Only the kids, and the society they inherit, lose.

Black parents are especially susceptible to the privatizers’ propaganda, which uses the language of community control. But that’s the most cynical ploy of all. Corporate education is responsible to shareholders, not parents or students. The politicians most closely associated with charter schools are mayors like Michael Bloomberg of New York and Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, both of whom grew rich on Wall Street and, more importantly, both of whom advocate that mayors wield near-dictatorial powers over the public schools. Community control is the last thing that Bloomberg and Emanuel want to see. A genuine parent’s revolution is anathema to the rich, because empowered parents would make the rich pay for quality public education. How about a law that would trigger that.

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.to pull the “trigger” on their local school and take it out of control of the school district. It’s only been used against two elementary schools: first in Compton, then in the town of Adelanto. In both cases, the process dissolved in acrimony and bitterness, with many parents claiming they had been bulldozed into signing petitions.

The trigger law is a scam, a bait-and-switch scheme designed to make it appear that a charter school “movement” is sweeping parents in poor communities. In fact, promoters of trigger laws have only one use for parents: to pull the trigger on a school so that it can be converted to, or make room for, a charter school operated by the private sector. The last thing these people advocate is community control of schools – a concept that is antithetical to corporate-run education.

In both Compton and Adelanto, it became clear that the privatizers who pushed the petition knew exactly which charter outfits would take over the schools once the trigger was pulled. Groups like Parent Revolution are paid to drum up business for the charter school industry. They are funded by the same rich billionaires – Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the Waltons – that bankrolled the charter school business, and who have been joined by the most cut-throat hedge fund managers on Wall Street. Anyone who believes that the Lords of Capital would finance anything that puts real power in the hands of poor parents, is in serious need of remedial education. The job of front organizations like Parent Revolution, is to put a democratic façade on a corporate takeover of the public schools.

Charters are the ideal deal, where the public takes all the risk and the corporations can’t lose.”

Even the billionaire Eli Broad claims to want to preserve the public schools – and, in a sense, he does. The fat cats behind charter schools want to keep them technically part of the public sphere, but only so that the public will continue to pay the costs. That’s why billionaires love charters! The public pays the bill, while private companies reap the profits. Public education represents an almost trillion dollar a year pool of money. That’s what’s got the billionaires so hot: charters are the ideal deal, where the public takes all the risk and the corporations can’t lose. Only the kids, and the society they inherit, lose.

Black parents are especially susceptible to the privatizers’ propaganda, which uses the language of community control. But that’s the most cynical ploy of all. Corporate education is responsible to shareholders, not parents or students. The politicians most closely associated with charter schools are mayors like Michael Bloomberg of New York and Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, both of whom grew rich on Wall Street and, more importantly, both of whom advocate that mayors wield near-dictatorial powers over the public schools. Community control is the last thing that Bloomberg and Emanuel want to see. A genuine parent’s revolution is anathema to the rich, because empowered parents would make the rich pay for quality public education. How about a law that would triggerthat.

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_TriggerSchools.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:54am EDT