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

The Ultimate Corruption

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“The real grand corruption is in the system, itself.”

The giant British bank HSBC is once again in the spotlight, accused of helping its wealthy customers avoid taxes. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists coordinated the investigation of HSBC. It’s estimated that rich people around the world have succeeded in hiding more than $17 trillion from tax collectors, and that such tax avoidance schemes cost governments $200 billion in revenue a year. Another organization, Transparency International, has started a “No Impunity” campaign targeting ostentatious displays of wealth by corrupt individuals. Transparency International chairman Jose Carlos Ugaz claims that corruption has reached such huge proportions that it is affecting global economic development. He calls the phenomenon “grand corruption.”

If Mr. Ugaz is really looking for the grandest, most destructive kind of corruption, then he will have to set his sights much higher than a few individuals who make themselves obnoxious by flashing their wealth around. The real grand corruption is in the system, itself.

Most so-called anti-corruption campaigns aren’t really about corruption, in the larger, grand sense, at all; they’re about cheating, and condemning people who break the rules that govern behavior between businessmen. The assumption is that, if it were not for the minority of businessmen that cheat, the system would work just fine, to everyone’s benefit.

Thus, we are told, the problem is banks like HSBC that help wealthy people cheat the system. But, the real problem is that the banks as institutions and wealthy people as a class are the ones that control the system, who write the rules for their own benefit, and to the detriment of everybody else. That is the grand corruption: not that individual rich people break the rules, but that rich people as a class get to make the rules.

Exploitation of Humankind

A number of international agencies compile annual report cards on the levels of so-called “corruption” existing in countries around the world. What these report cards actually measure is not the effects of corruption on various societies, but how the corrupt demands of government officials affect foreign corporations’ ability to do business in those countries. If corporations have few difficulties doing business in a given country, then that country gets high marks for having low levels of corruption. It doesn’t matter if the local government fails to protect the nation’s natural resources, or allows its people’s labor to be cheaply exploited by foreign companies. Selling out one’s own people to foreigners is not considered grand, or even petty, corruption.

Europeans see no element of corruption in the fact that they are relatively rich, compared to the rest of the world’s people, because Europe spent 500 years pillaging and plundering the planet and enslaving the peoples of other countries. The United States sees nothing corrupt in using its vast military superiority to dominate much of the planet – to exploit the weak countries for the benefit of rich Americans. Yet that is the Mother of All Corruptions in the world, today.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for our email notifications of new issues, each Wednesday.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20150225_gf_Corruption.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:18am EDT

Cowardly Black Caucus Reacts to Israeli Insults, Ignores Israeli Apartheid

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Nobody celebrates victories against racism and apartheid a generation or two back more often and more lavishly than the Congressional Black Caucus. It's something they must do constantly not just because some of those victories made their careers possible, but because apart from their own careers, they haven't accomplished much in the last 40 years.

From the 1990s onward, most of them voted for legislation that doubled down on the war on drugs, and to intensify overpolicing and mass incarceration in their communities. When it became clear that Katrina was the excuse to dispossess and disperse into exile a couple hundred thousand black people on the Gulf Coast, the black caucus called no hearings, sounded no alarms. And despite their relentless celebrations of victories over racism the entire caucus has consistently turned a blind eye to brutal settler-state apartheid in Israel.

The CBC's promise to skip out when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses the US Congress on March 5 is not an act of vision or moral courage. When Israel demolishes Palestinian houses, lynches and deports Africans, when Israel passes more discriminatory laws and steals Palestinian land the Congressional Black Caucus says nothing. When successive US administrations of both parties endorse Israeli punishment of civilians with water and power cuts and blockades of medical and construction supplies, books and even toys, the CBC is silent then too. When Israel threatens all its neighbors with nukes, and makes the false claim that Iran has nuclear weapons, the CBC are quiet. When Israeli fighter jets, armored copter gunships and tanks rain white phosphorus and shellfire on Palestinian neighborhoods the CBC, with the rest of Congress, unanimously endorsed the aggressor's right defend themselves by murdering children, and voted to resupply the expended Israeli munitions.

So let's be clear. Netanyahu is a demagogic racist. He heads the planet's most vicious apartheid regime, a US supported and funded client state engaged in the conquest and occupation of neighboring territories and the genocidal dispossession and exile of their populations, all with US tax dollars and US diplomatic cover. But that ain't the CBC's problem with him or with Israel.

Like the rest of the US ruling elite the CBC has no problem with Israeli apartheid. The CBC's problem is that Republican House leader John Boehner invited Netanyahu, not President Obama, so the Netanyahu visit is a violation of protocol, a kind of insult to the First Black President.

We shouldn’t be surprised. The CBC's tunnel vision works the same way at home as it does abroad. Thanks to the large numbers of blacks pushed out of homes and the workforce in recent years, the rate of black child poverty stands now at 38.2%, an all time high. The CBC isn't calling daily press conferences over that either. Detroit is executing its own slow motion Katrina, and pursuing water cutoffs and evictions that will affect over 100,000 residents, just abhout all black, and the CBC hasn't noticed that either. But let somebody insult or disparage the first lady, and they'll be all over that.

It's because the CBC, like the rest of the black political class, are self-serving cowards. Their failure is symptomatic of the shrinkage of black politics from one of vision and struggle to a politics of protecting their own privilege.

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 serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20150218_BD_cbc_again.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:15pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio Weekly for Feb 18, 2015

Black Agenda Radio February 18

 

 

Black Agenda Radio – February 16, 2015

 

KKK-Style Lynching of Haitian in Dominican Republic

Police were quick to dismiss race as the motive for the lynching of a 24 year-old Haitian man despite anti-Black riots and the burning of Haitian flags on that same day in Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second largest city. “They specifically did this to terrorize, and to make it clear that this is KKK-style stuff that’s going on here,” said Dahoud Andre, a Haitian community activist who helped organize a New York City protest against the murder. A 2013 court decision paved the way for expulsion of many Dominican descendants of immigrants from neighboring Haiti. However, Andre blamed the turmoil on multinational corporations that control the country “lock, stock and barrel. Dominicans,” he said, “are used as proxy racists to do what is happening to Haitians.”

Newark Police Review Board Won’t Replace Protests

Mayor Ras Baraka’s draft plan for Newark, New Jersey’s first Citizens Complaint Review Board “is pretty good, and we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP). The board would be empowered to subpoena witnesses, investigate police wrongdoing and recommend punishments, but its recommendations could be vetoed by the city’s police director. POP and four other community organizations would name members to the board. Asked if POP’s involvement with the board might lead it to hold back on protests, Hamm said: “This is not in any way going to change the activist nature” of POP. “If we did such a thing we would betray the very people we say we’re fighting for.” Public feedback on the plan continues until the end of the month.

U.S. to Answer at UN for Treatment of Political Prisoners

Veteran human rights lawyer Efia Nwangaza and other activists are preparing to meet with U.S. and international diplomats on the plight of former Black Panthers Assata Shakur and Russell “Maroon” Shoatz. Nwangaza said the U.S. must respect Shakur’s rights as a political exile in Cuba, and provide necessary medical care to Shoatz, who is suffering from prostate cancer. Since 2010, Nwangaza has been a lead activist in focusing international attention on U.S. treatment of political prisoners from the COINTELPRO and civil rights eras, which will culminate in a United Nations Periodic Review of U.S. behavior on May 11 in Geneva, Switzerland. Contributions to support the effort should be sent to the Malcolm X Center for Self Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina, where Nwangaza is director.

Obama Wants Unlimited Powers to Expand Wars

President Obama’s request for congressional authorization to engage in combat against the so-called Islamic State and its “associates” for three years “could very easily lead to an expansion of the U.S.-led war on ISIS to neighboring countries...and where the whole world is a potential battlefield,” said Sarah Lazare, a staff writer with CommonDreams.org. Lazare wrote a recent article titled “Obama Seeks Broad Powers to Wage Geographically Limitless War.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour.

 

 

 

Direct download: 20150216_Black_Agenda_Radio_55mins54secs.mp3
Category:weekly 1 hour show -- posted at: 10:12pm EDT

Loretta Lynch: She’s Black, and That’s All the Black Caucus Cares About

Loretta Lynch: She’s Black, and That’s All the Black Caucus Cares About

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“The ridiculously ineffectual Congressional Black Caucus is circling its wagons around Holder’s replacement.”

An important aspect of the Age of Obama will soon come to a close with the departure of Eric Holder, the first Black U.S. attorney general. Holder’s record in office makes up a great part of the Obama legacy – which, after six years turns out to be scarcely any different than what could have been expected from any center-right white corporate Democrat. Like former president Bill Clinton, whose Wall Street dominated administration deregulated the banks and set the stage for the economic meltdown, eight years later. Obama’s first act in office was to bring back Bill Clinton’s Wall Street wrecking crew. So, in a sense, Obama is actually a protégé of Bill Clinton, and will likely be succeeded in office by Hillary Clinton.

Obama’s and Eric Holder’s most singular contribution to American political economy is having articulated the concept of banks being Too Big to Fail, or to jail. Back in the late Eighties and early Nineties, one-third of the nation’s savings and loan institutions did fail, and over a thousand individual executives were prosecuted, with a large proportion of them sent to prison. But, Eric Holder’s Justice Department has specialized in protecting big banks and defending the Lords of Capital.

At this late date, with his exit probably only weeks away, Eric Holder is trying to put a final spin on his legacy by demanding that some of the world’s biggest banks, including JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup, plead guilty to a felony for manipulating foreign currency prices. Of course, not a single living, breathing banking executive would be branded a felon. Rather, the banks, as institutions would bear the shame. But, institutions have no shame, and cannot be jailed, and the banks will not be prevented from continuing to deal in foreign currency trading and all the other money streams they have manipulated, with impunity. However, Eric Holder will ride off into the sunset of a multi-million dollar corporate law practice claiming that he finally busted a bank for felonious conduct.

The Pavlovian Black Caucus

Meanwhile, the ridiculously ineffectual Congressional Black Caucus is circling its wagons around Holder’s replacement, Black New York federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch. Lynch last month told a Senate committee that she fully supports the practice of civil forfeiture, which allows police to confiscate people’s money and property on mere suspicion of involvement in illegal activity. Even Eric Holder has advanced some very limited reforms to civil forfeiture, but Loretta Lynch appeared gung ho about the seizures. The Black Caucus, in an uproar, denounced Republican libertarian Senator Rand Paul for saying he’d vote against confirming Lynch because of her position on civil forfeiture, and he sniped that Lynch ought to be a little more concerned about poor people, who are more likely to have their cash seized by the cops. Black Caucus chairman G.K. Butterfield, one of the most pro-corporate members of the Caucus, fumed that Rand Paul was using civil forfeiture as an excuse to “keep an African American legal scholar” from heading the Justice Department. But, of course, the Congressional Black Caucus has adopted no position at all on the pros and cons of civil forfeiture. They have no opinion. All they care about is that a Black Democrat get the attorney general’s job – and that they get to hold on to theirs.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and be sure to sign up for our email notifications of new issues each Wednesday.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20150211_gf_Holder_Lynch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:40am EDT

Detroit-Style Black Removal Coming to New Jersey

Detroit-Style Black Removal Coming to New Jersey

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“If you can ethnically cleanse Detroit, then little Atlantic City should be a piece of cake.”

Kevin Orr, the Black corporate lawyer dispatched by Michigan’s Republican governor to preside over the bankruptcy and degradation of Detroit, has sold his urban executioner skills to Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey. Orr’s next victim is Atlantic City, the town built around boardwalks and casinos, whose full-time residents, as in Detroit, are overwhelmingly non-white and poor. The immediate cause of Atlantic City’s financial crisis is loss of its employment and tax base. Four of the city’s 12 big casinos have closed, putting more than 8,000 people out of work.

Atlantic City’s top elected officials oppose the imposition of an emergency manager, and no governor has ever tried to force bankruptcy on a city in New Jersey. But Detroit worked out so well for the bankers, it’s now the textbook model for how to destroy any semblance of democracy in mostly Black and brown cities. Kevin Orr proved, in Detroit, that it’s always best to put a Black man out front when your mission is to disenfranchise the residents of a chocolate city.

Atlantic City council president Frank Gilliam says Governor Christie is usurping the sovereignty of the community. But that, of course, is precisely the purpose of establishing an emergency manager dictatorship: to strip the targeted population of an effective vote and, ultimately, to push them out of town, altogether. The State of New Jersey will probably never succeed in bringing Atlantic City’s casinos back to their former profitability, just as Detroit can never relive its days as a world center of manufacturing. However, there are other potential uses for Atlantic City’s seaside properties – if only all those poor Black and brown people could be cleared out of the way. If you can ethnically cleanse Detroit, a city of 700,000 with an 82 percent Black majority, then little Atlantic City, with only about 40,000 residents – 70 percent of them Black and Latino – should be a piece of cake.

Christie and Orr – What a Team!

Detroit is right now preparing to evict 100,000 people from their homes for being behind in taxes; that’s two and a half times the total population of Atlantic City. Detroit authorities have cut off running water to 40 percent of the city, and are shutting the valves on 3,000 homes every week. The United Nations calls that a “human rights violation,” but its not even an issue for the Democratic Party or the First Black President. Therefore, it is no wonder that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican presidential hopeful, is eager to replicate the Michigan model for Black urban removal. Remember, that Christie’s political career took off when he put the Black mayor of Newark on the road to prison, back in 2008. If he can disenfranchise the voters in Newark, Jersey City, Camden, Trenton, and Patterson – just as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder did in all the largely Black cities of his state – then Governor Christie will be hailed as a hero by every white racist in the country.

And, the Democrats won’t do a damn thing to stop him – just like in Detroit.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20150204_gf_KevinOrrToAC.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51am EDT