Black Agenda Radio Commentaries (general)
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 13, 2017

Trump Pursues His Vision of a Whiter USA

The ban on Muslims is a step towards regulating the ethnic mix of the population.

Sanctuary Movement to Expand Its Resistance

Rather than go on the defensive, activists seek to broaden resistance to state oppression

A Millions March for Prisoners’ Human Rights

Abolitionists to converge on Washington in August to end mass incarceration.

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: black_agenda_radio_for_20170213.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:47am EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 13, 2017

Trump Pursues His Vision of a Whiter USA

The ban on Muslims is a step towards regulating the ethnic mix of the population.

Sanctuary Movement to Expand Its Resistance

Rather than go on the defensive, activists seek to broaden resistance to state oppression

A Millions March for Prisoners’ Human Rights

Abolitionists to converge on Washington in August to end mass incarceration.

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: black_agenda_radio_20170213.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 6, 2017

Protests in Dixie Against Trump’s “White Supremacist Government”

Hundreds gathered in Columbia, South Carolina, to protest President Trump’s ban on refugees and visitors from seven mostly Muslim countries. “We’ve got to put pressure on Republican legislators who support Trump, and the business people that support this rightward movement that’s happening in this country,” said author and activist Kevin Alexander Gray. “The whole idea of having a white supremacist government -- which, in South Carolina, we now a lot about, because this is the ideological home of white supremacy in America.”

One Out of 9 U.S. Inmates Serving Life

Despite “modest” reductions of about 5 percent in the overall U.S. prison population since 2009, the number and proportion of inmates serving life sentences continues to increase. A new study by The Sentencing Project, titled “Delaying a Second Chance: The Declining Prospects for Parole on Life Sentences,” puts much of the blame on politicians and parole boards. “Legislatures have increased minimum sentence requirements that people have to serve before a parole board can even review someone for parole eligibility,” said study author Dr. Nazgol Ghandnoosh. Back in the 1980s, a person sentenced to life for murder could expect to get out in about 11 and a half years, but someone similarly sentenced in the 21st century would be likely to spend more than 23 years -- twice as long -- behind bars. “Parole boards are granting fewer paroles or refusing to increase them, even though they’re seeing people so much later in their sentence,” said Ghandnoosh. Longer actual terms for lifers results in longer sentences for everyone else, she said. More than 160,000 U.S. prison inmates are serving life sentences, 50,000 of them with no possibility of parole.

“Collective Punishment” of Prisoners

Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall is one of the thousands of lifers sentenced for crimes committed when they were juveniles. Marshall has already spent a quarter century behind bars. He edits a prison magazine and is a correspondent for Prison Radio, but could not reach his editors on the outside because of a lockdown following a fight among a few inmates at Rockview prison, in Pennsylvania. Such “collective punishment,” he told Prison Radio’s Noelle Hanrahan, cuts prisoners off from their support structures. “Without family bonds, it’s hard to return to society, and it’s hard for prisoners to maintain connection with their lawyers to present a proper defense for their legal appeals,” he said.

Mumia Interviews Eddie Africa, of Move

The nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, introduced his worldwide audience to fellow inmate Eddie Africa, sentenced, along with eight other members of the Move organization, to 30 to 100 years in the 1978 death of a Philadelphia police officer. Nearing 70, Eddie Africa urges young fathers in prison to maintain close contact with their children. “Use this time to talk to them, write to them, so they don’t go the path their parents went,” running with gangs.

A Plan for Community Control of NYC Police

The Campaign for Community Control Over the Police, a coalition of 26 anti-police terror organizations, will hold the first of several “Open House Conferences” on February 18, at Manhattan’s All Souls Unitarian Church. The coalition has developed a four-tier proposal to rein in the cops, beginning with mandatory residency in the precinct in which they work. “That way, they have a vested interest in the community, their children go to the same schools, they shop in the same stores, and they will actually care about the community, rather than act as an occupying army,” said Campaign outreach chairperson, Bro. Shep Olugbala, in an interview with Black Agenda Radio producer Kyle Fraser. Precinct commanders would be elected by the neighborhood, just as “you have sheriffs who are elected by the community” in smaller towns. An elected Community Police Control Board would have subpoena powers and the right to hire and fire police, and an elected special prosecutor, “totally independent of the district attorney’s office,” would “investigate and prosecute allegations of serious criminal conduct by police officers,” said Olugbala.

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: black_agenda_radio_20170206.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33pm EST

#ProgressiveHypocrite of the Month for February 2017: Former Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

#ProgressiveHypocrite of the Month for February 2017: Former Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Progressives” is the name Democrats call themselves when they need to draw attention away from the greedy and murderous one percenters who actually call the shots in their party.

Lazy, hypocritical progressive followers protest the unconstitutional machinations of Republican administrations like those of George W. Bush and Donald Trump while they ignore excuse the same crimes when committed by Democrats like the Clintons or Barack Obama. But Black Agenda Report does not bestow its coveted #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month award on mere followers. We pledge that each and every month our #ProgressiveHypocrite awardees will be leaders in their fields, major players whose recognized game inspires and enables the ordinary hypocrisy of countless partisan Democrats – or as they call themselves, progressives.

Thus we are proud to announce as Black Agenda Report’s very first #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month, for February 2017 is Madeleine K. Albright.

Madeleine Albright got her start as the protégé of notorious cold warrior Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was her dissertation advisor at Columbia. As Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Z-big put Albright on as his special assistant. The next time a Democrat occupied the White House she was UN ambassador in Clinton’s first term and secretary of state in his second. Madeleine Albright famously asserted in a 1996 60 Minutes interview that although the US blockade of Iraq which she vigorously championed killed a half million Iraqi children that “...it was a hard choice but it was worth it...”

After the Clinton administration Albright founded a global consulting firm which became ASG, the Albright Stonebridge Group, representing and advising multinational corporations on six continents on how to enter and dominate local markets, how to privatize public land and public institutions like post offices and electric grids. The fixers at Albright Stonebridge help privatize water and sewer systems and chunks of the natural environment like the broadcast spectrum so outfits like Google and Facebook can own the internet in India and Africa. ASG claims credit for engineering the entry of WalMart into China and Thailand. Albright’s crew has global reach. They can make your corporation’s taxes in Mexico go away. They can rig the regs for Big Pharma in Brazil, they can prevent unfavorable laws affecting your profits in China or Japan and they can negotiate your bribe to the murderous Saudi royal family.

Albright mentored Susan Rice, the bare knuckled champion of vulture capital in Africa and of the US bomb and invade countries for their own protection. For her valued service to the one percent of the one percent, President Obama awarded Madeleine Albright the Medal of Freedom in 2012. She campaigned for Hillary alongside Cory Booker declaring there was “a special place in hell” for women who failed to support other women.

Now at the dawn of the Trump era, Madeleine Albright has been trotted out as the avatar of concern and compassion for Muslims who will be affected by the Islamaphobic policies of Donald Trump. She declared earlier this week that “...there are tears in the eyes of the Statue of Liberty...” and that she would “register as a Muslim” to protest Trump’s evil policies. We at Black Agenda Report recommend that Madeleine Albright register as an Iraqi toddler in the year 1995, when the blockade she championed killed half a million Iraqi children, mostly Muslims.

Thus for her inspirational hypocrisy in the service of Democratic – I mean progressive opposition to Donald Trump we name Madeleine K. Albright the #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month for February 2017.

This is Bruce Dixon for Black Agenda Radio. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, Black Agenda Report on Facebook and @blkagendareport on Twitter.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20170201_bd_progressive-hypocrite_feb2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:40am EST

Democrats, Including Bernie Sanders, Won’t Fight for Medicare for All

“Because Obama had used the trick terminology ‘universal health care’ to describe his program, the public became confused and demoralized about the whole subject of government health care.”

Democrats will tell you that the Republicans are the reason the U.S. is the only industrial country in the world that does not have universal, government-provided health care. But, that’s not true. Despite their legislative majorities, the Republicans are not strong enough on their own to defeat a concerted campaign for a Medicare for All program, which is supported by overwhelming majorities of the public, including a very large percentage of Republicans. The U.S. does not have a single payer health care system because corporate Democratic leadership, most shamefully under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have confused the public about what is, and what is not, “universal” health care. They have offered counterfeit, private industry-based schemes – “Hillary-care” in 1993, Obamacare in 2009 -- and fraudulently called them universal health care, when in fact these were bait-and-switch schemes designed to prevent the successful passage of a genuine single payer health program.

The numbers tell the tale. When Bill Clinton first ran for president in 1992, two-thirds of the public – 66 percent – told pollsters they supported a “national health insurance plan financed by tax money.” The Clintons instead responded with a secretly-hatched “managed competition” plan that continued to rely on private insurers and took more than 1,300 pages to explain. “Hillary-care” died ignominiously in Congress.

“Corporate Democratic leadership have confused the public about what is, and what is not, ‘universal’ health care.”

By late 2006, an amazing 69 percent of Americans were telling pollsters they agreed with the statement that “it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that all Americans have healthcare coverage.” Barack Obama was getting ready to make his run for the White House. He claimed to want something he called “universal health care.” Most people assumed he meant a single payer, Medicare for All-type program, but instead, Obama dusted off an old Republican private insurance-based plan devised by the far-right Heritage Foundation and later adopted by Republican Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Not only was Obamacare unpopular on its own merits, but because Obama had used the trick terminology “universal health care” to describe his program, the public became confused and demoralized about the whole subject of government health care. By 2016, only 44 percent of the people had a positive reaction to the term “single payer health coverage.” However, nearly two-thirds of those polled -- 64 percent -- liked the idea of Medicare-for-All, which is a form of single payer. Medicare for the elderly is probably the nation’s most popular social safety net program, and younger folks would like to be part of it, too, including lots of low-income Republicans. Even Donald Trump used to be for it.

Medicare-for-All is an idea whose time has come -- again! And, with Obamacare being dismantled and a health care emergency looming, one would think the Democrats would seize the time to push for a truly universal health care plan with such broad support. But, corporate Democratic leadership -- just like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama -- do not really want single payer health care, because their fat cat contributors oppose it. Therefore, they will urge the people to waste their energy on trying to salvage some aspects of Obamacare.

Bernie Sanders will help them do it, because he’s still sheep-dogging for corporate Democrats.

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: 20170201_gf_MedicareForAll.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43pm EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 30, 2017

Obamacare is Doomed; It’s Time for Single Payer

Instead of attempting to salvage the doomed and fatally flawed Affordable Healthcare Act, progressives should seize the time and push for single payer health care, said pediatrician and political activist Dr. Margaret Flowers. “Eighty percent of Democratic voters want a single payer health care system, and now polls are showing that even Republicans, particularly those with lower incomes, are moving into majority support for National Improved Medicare for All.” The push, however, must come from the people, not the Democrats. “Even Sen. Sanders has backed down and is saying, Let’s protect the Affordable Care Act now and we’ll fight for single payer later,” said Flowers. The HOPE campaign -- “Health Over Profit for Everyone” -- begins February 1.

On Reparations, It’s Not a Question of “If,” but “How”

There’s been a substantive change in H.R. 40, the Reparations legislation Rep. John Conyers has introduced every year since 1989. Originally, the bill called for a study of whether Black Americans had been injured by slavery and Jim Crow. But now, according to Kamm Howard, chairman of the legislative committee of N’COBRA, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, the bill “begins with the focus that reparations are due, and how does this government engage in reparative initiatives.” He said the 2001 United Nations World Conference on Racism, in Durban, South Africa, made clear the enslaving nations’ “obligation to make repairs” to descendants of the victims. Howard helped Rep. Conyers’ staff reframe the legislation.

Will Democrats Help Trump Renegotiate NAFTA?

“If President Trump wants to enact a renegotiated NAFTA, he’s going to have to work with the Democrats to figure out how to build a majority” on Capitol Hill, “which will be comprised of most of the Democrats and a handful of Republicans,” said Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch for Public Citizen. President Bill Clinton pushed the NAFTA corporate trade deal through Congress against the wishes of majorities of Democrats. “The reality is, you will never get a majority of the Republicans in Congress to change the old NAFTA,” said Wallach. NAFTA might not end in a renegotiation. “If President Trump continues to be so disrespectful to other world leaders,” Mexico or the U.S. might simply withdraw from NAFTA.

Courtrooms as Political Forums

Veteran Black activist Efia Nwangaza had been looking forward to a jury trial on charges of blocking a Greenville, South Carolina, intersection two years ago to protest a Missouri grand jury’s failure to indict the cop that killed Michael Brown, in Ferguson. However, Greenville authorities dropped the charges the day before her trial, depriving Nwangaza of the opportunity to put on a political defense. “The purpose of the demonstration was to call attention to police impunity and their slaughtering of us from one end of the country to the other,” said Nwangaza, director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination and a leader of the state’s Stop Mass Incarceration Network. With the courtroom venue no longer available, Nwangaza and her defense team will now bring the issues before a people’s tribunal and “strengthen the cause that has been advanced by the Uhuru Movement for Black community control of the police.”

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: black_agenda_radio_20170130.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09pm EST

Flint’s 1000-Plus Days Without Safe Drinking Water

“Residents have been fooled ‘too many times’ and will never trust the water again.”

Flint, Michigan, a city that used to be famous for producing cars but gained notoriety almost three years ago for its poisoned water supply, last week marked its 1000th day without clean drinking water. Nevertheless, the 100,000 mostly poor, predominantly Black residents of Flint have been informed that the current levels of lead in their water no longer exceed federal limits. That would be good news – if you could believe it, and if lead were the only problem with Flint’s water. Mona Hanna-Attisha doesn’t believe the water is safe for drinking. She’s the pediatrician who helped blow the whistle on skyrocketing rates of lead in the blood of Flint’s children, after state emergency financial managers forced the city to draw its water from the heavily polluted Flint River. Dr. Hanna-Attisha says the federal regulations are too weak to protect young brains and bodies from stunted development.

Gina Luster, a community organizer in Flint, warns that, even if lead levels are down, the there’s plenty of other harmful stuff in the water. Her advice is, “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” Luster says she and other residents have been fooled “too many times” and will never trust the water again.”

Nine people have so far been criminally charged in the poisoning of Flint’s water, eight of them state employees. But no one at the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which has broad powers over the whole country’s water supply, has been charged with a crime. The EPA, however, is on President Donald Trump’s hit list -- not for failing the people of Flint, but for sometimes getting on the wrong side of Trump’s friends in polluting industries. The Trump administration has frozen all EPA grants and contracts, which put in question $100 million that Congress allocated to help Flint replace and repair its water infrastructure. Michigan’s two Senators, both of them Democrats, got worried when they heard about the freeze from news reports. Neither the White House nor the EPA could say for sure whether Flint’s money had been tied up by the freeze. Plus, the money doesn’t exactly have Flint’s name on it. The $100 million is supposed to be awarded to “a municipality that is, or has been, the subject of an emergency declaration due to lead contamination. The bill doesn’t mention Flint by name. However, the funds should eventually find their way to Flint, since it’s the only city in the country that fits that description.

Multiply that by 3,000

But, when it comes to lead poisoning, Flint is anything but alone. An investigative report by the Reuters news agency, in December, showed that children in nearly 3,000 communities across the country show lead levels in their blood at least twice as high as kids in Flint. In more than 1,100 neighborhoods, kids tested four times higher than children in Flint. At the peak of the contamination of Flint’s water, 5 percent of children tested had high levels of lead. However, in some neighborhoods in South Bend, Indiana almost one-third of the kids had high lead levels. Pennsylvania is the state with the most census tracts with lead-contaminated water. Thirty-six percent of the kids in Warren, Pennsylvania tested high for lead.

So, if Flint needs $100 million to tackle a lead problem that is, supposedly, close to under control, how much money is needed to make the water safe in 3,000 other communities across the country?

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: 20170125_gf_FlintWater.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26pm EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 23, 2017

Irrationality Reigns: After All the Lies, Some Folks Still Believe the CIA

Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s vice 2016 presidential candidate, said he is appalled at the spectacle of “progressives” and even self-styled radicals “parroting the Democratic line that the Russians are a threat” to U.S. democracy. This new McCarthyism is “a strange diversion” and “a demonstration of the irrationality of politics in the U.S,” said Baraka, who is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. It represents “the complete abandonment of critical thought, embracing the State and propping up the intelligence agencies as authoritative sources even after the years of deception, disinformation, and psychological operations that we know is the modus operandi of the CIA. It is absolutely bizarre.”

Blacks Should Stop ‘Hitch-Hiking’ with the Democrats

Black people made political alliances “with whoever came along -- like a hitchhiker,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. “When you catch a ride as a hitchhiker, you’ve got to go wherever the driver is going. That’s what being with the Democratic Party was about, and we are determined that that mess is over.” The Black is Back Coalition makes alliances based on the principles of Black self-determination and opposition to imperialism – which is why it has held together since the first year of the Obama administration. “Trump is president because of the crisis in the imperialist system,” said Yeshitela.

Poor People’s Campaign Tackles MLK’s Unfinished Work

The scourge of poverty has increased since the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 was interrupted by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said Willie Baptist, a veteran of the welfare and homeless movements, and now an organizer of the 21st century version of the campaign. “Poverty has gotten worse, with huge sections of the middle strata being rendered homeless and a good section of the poor rendered superfluous,” said Baptist, now based in New York City at the Union Theological Seminary’s Kairos Center. Changes in technology are “not just saving labor, it’s actually eliminating labor,” he said. “The world’s productive capacity totally outweighs its purchasing capacity. As a result, you have poverty in the midst of plenty.”

Afro-Colombian Leader Beheaded

Rightwing paramilitaries are suspected in the murder of Emilsen Manyoma, a leader of a network of Black and indigenous community organizations. “Her assassination was a response to the work she was doing, defending the rights of Black people,” said Charo Mina-Rojas, an Afro-Colombian political activist who reports that over 200 Black and indigenous leaders were killed last year, despite a peace agreement between the government and FARC guerillas. Blacks and natives in Ms. Manyoma’s region are under pressure from coca producers and illegal mine operators and their gunmen.

Where Did All the Black and Latino Teachers Go?

Back in 2002, 27.2 percent of the teachers hired by the New York City public schools were Black or Latino. By 2012, the proportion had shrunk to 11.6 percent. What happened? “When you look at what’s been going on for the past 15 years, you see a picture that requires people to point to the real causes of the disappearances, and to change those policies,” said Sean Ahern, a political activist who teaches juvenile prisoners at the giant Rikers Island jail. Ahern blames the drop in minority teachers on “mayoral control” of the schools, “high stakes testing, school closings, charter school push-ins” -- essentially, the whole program of so-called “reform” that was pushed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and championed by the Obama administration.

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: black_agenda_radio_20170123.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38pm EST

Is It Time To Revoke John Lewis’s Lifetime Civil Rights Hero Pass?

Is It Time To Revoke John Lewis’s Lifetime Civil Rights Hero Pass?

 

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Sheroes and heroes are people who take risks, who make great personal sacrifices to perform difficult and important duties for others. By that standard John Lewis and the six hundred who walked that bridge in Selma Alabama 52 years ago are heroes whose actions helped pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Let’s agree on that.

But long should that hero pass last? How many years, how many decades do you get to to boast and roast and toast and coast before you need to do something else even mildly heroic to keep your status current?

It’s not like Lewis has lacked new chances to serve the people this last half century. He’s represented a metro Atlanta district in Congress the past 28 years. Ruled by black mayors and the black political class since 1973, Atlanta has billed itself as “Black Mecca” though for more than half of black Atlanta there’s been little to celebrate. Black mayors have relentlessly gentrified the city, starting with the Carter Presidential Library in the 80s, the Olympics in the 90s, and after that demolition of public housing, privatization of the land under it, and the BeltLine project which steals $150 million annually from Atlanta’s public schools to build yuppie housing and shopping destinations. Marquee “development” projects have driven a six figure number of poorer black residents from the city. John Lewis never says a mumbling word about any of this. John Lewis never publicly contradicts the black Atlanta mayors who crack down on the homeless, who line up for the privatization of public property, public transit and public schools. Perhaps being a Legendary Civil Rights Hero puts him above all that.

Supporting Hillary Clinton last year, Lewis spoke out against free health care and free college tuition which many countries grant their young people, explaining that “free stuff” was just not the American Way. Lewis was also an early member of the Democratic Leadership Council, which irretrievably locked that party into subservience to its one percenter donors.

Sometimes members of Congress can undo historic wrongs. Lewis blew one such chance when he doubled down upon the expulsion of the descendants of black freedmen from the Cherokee nation in which they had once enjoyed voting rights.

John Lewis calls himself a pacifist and never misses a chance to lecture on the supreme utility of nonviolence. But the US Navy is building a ship with his name on it, a “fleet replenishment oiler” to resupply warships on deployment. Isn’t this an “honor” a pacifist should reject? And shouldn’t our Apostle of Non-Violence vote against every arms giveaway, sale and Pentagon budget? John Lewis doesn’t. Like most other members of the Black Caucus Lewis votes to fund mass surveillance and re-arm the apartheid state of Israel with depressing regularity.

It’s time to ask whether Civil Rights Hero status from 52 years ago is really enough to cancel out or ignore all this, and what purpose John’s Hero status serves today. John Lewis is in the news now because he called Big Cheeto’s presidency “not legitimate.” But why?

Is it because Lewis fears Trump will pursue more than 6 bloody wars, that he will deport millions of innocents, expand mass surveillance and militarized policing? Is it because Lewis knows the Donald will help greedy banksters stay ut of jail and he’ll enable hedge fund parasites to gentrify, plunder and privatize public education, nature and the commons? Probably not, because these are all Obama policies which Trump is expected to double down on.

John Lewis’s problem with Trump is that the CIA and FBI, which helped assassinate King and cover it up says that Russia helped elect him, and Lewis believes it. Big Cheeto did a Twitter fight with Lewis the other day and some of his followers called Lewis the n-word.

So now the Obama/Hillary liberals are flogging John Lewis’s tattered sainthood as hard as they can, to have a #NotMyPresident message that draws attention away from the many matters on which Republicans and the Obama/Hillary liberals agree. The old Civil Rights Hero does not oppose Trump for any reason which might lead to questioning past, present or future Democrats. Lewis is warming up the crowd for Obama’s exit and the entrance of whoever the Democrats run next.

This is what happens when there is no time limit on those Legendary Civil Rights Hero credentials. Time to revoke them.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at Black Agenda Report dot com, or follow us on Twitter @blkagendareport. Thanks for listening.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com, or via Twitter at @brucedixon.

Direct download: 20170118_bd_civil-rights-hero.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:34pm EST

An Ever-Smaller Circle of Billionaires Controls the Planet’s Wealth

“Billionaires must be made extinct, one way or the other.”

The world is being strangled, smothered and starved to death by billionaires – 1,826 of them, by Forbes magazine’s count. The ever-deepening concentration of wealth that is both the logic and the inevitable result of capitalism has reached such depraved proportions that eight of the richest people on the planet now own as much wealth as the bottom half of the entire human race. The very existence of such concentrated private wealth is a crime against humanity, and incompatible with any notion of civilization. Indeed, how can a society call itself civilized, when half the value of all of humanity’s labor -- which is what those fortunes actually represent -- is at the disposal of eight men?

Clearly, the world needs a revolution, to throw off the dead weight of these billionaires. Last year, the Oxfam organization calculated that it took 62 of the world’s richest people to equal the wealth held by the bottom half of humanity. This year, it only takes eight. According to Oxfam’s latest study, the way capitalism is going, in 25 years we could be talking about a few trillionaires controlling the wealth of planet Earth. However, I doubt that we will ever see an Age of Trillionaires if only because global society would shatter and explode from the sheer magnitude of the accumulated theft of human labor and natural resources.

The billionaires must be made extinct, one way or the other, so that the multitudes can restructure the world into a survivable place. The 500 richest people on the planet cannot be allowed, 20 years from now, to pass on $2.1 trillion in inheritance to their privileged children -- the equivalent of the entire yearly economy of India and its 1.3 billion people.

The Last of the Super-Rich

The United States has by far the highest concentration of billionaires – 536, followed by China, with 251. Russia is way down in sixth place, with only 77 billionaires, behind Britain, Germany and India. But, of course, billionaires live anywhere they want to -- which really means they live nowhere at all. Home is where their money is, and every billionaire is a fully globalized citizen, with no loyalties except to his class.

The existence of billionaires should be seen as a measure of the sickness of the capitalist system, now in its last stages. Of the eight richest billionaires in the United States, six made their fortunes from the telecommunications industry, whose political influence now rivals that of Wall Street. Not only are the Silicon Valley fat cats obscenely wealthy, but they control the information systems that he rest of us depend on to understand what’s going on in our world. That makes people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg very dangerous. The good news is, young people around the world understand the nature of the threat to human freedom posed by these information system tycoons, who got rich through monopoly and market manipulation, just like the other capitalists. They too, must face expropriation, so that the saga of human equality can begin.

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: 20170118_gf_Billionaires.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:03pm EST