A year before the November 2008 presidential election, Democratic front runners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are runaway winners in the contest that really matters, the wealth primary, the competition for campaign donations from our nation's moneyed elite. From military contractors and Wall Street to agribusiness and insurance, Clinton and Obama are raking in far more cash than any Republican, and receiving the lion's share of coverage in corporate media. An historic shift is underway as corporate America lines up behind the Democratic wing of its permanent ruling party. For voters forced to choose between Republicans who won't apologize for the war, and Democrats pledged to continue it, next year's choices may be anticlimactic.
by BAR editor and senior
columnist Margaret Kimberley
Barack Obama seems to believe that his personal
charm can resolve the myriad contradictions of his presidential campaign. A
phony "anti-war" candidate who wants to vastly enlarge the war machine, a
constitutional lawyer who needs Rev. Jesse Jackson to remind him that something
awful happened in Jena, Louisiana - Obama's disconnect from any actual
constituency becomes more visible by the day. His choice of the raving anti-gay
(but himself formerly closeted) gospel singer and pastor Donnie McClurkin to
headline a campaign fundraising tour reveals Obama as a not just a panderer,
but inept as well. The fact that McClurkin was a Bush supporter just three
years ago makes Obama appear to be totally unprincipled.
The hip hop artist Nas, styling himself as both
a political scientist and sorcerer, theorizes that relentless repetition of the
word "nigger" will somehow rob the term of its "power." Poof! - and the evil
legacy of centuries melts away like the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard
of Oz. Nas's constant incantation of "Nigger" in his new album of the same
name meets with the approval of many of his peers among rap music magicians,
who point out that ritual chanting of the N-word is guaranteed to cause mounds
of cash to appear. However, the conjurers warn, don't even think about
bootlegging any of their sacred beats and rhymes. It's one thing to rob the
N-word of its power, but never rob a rapper of his gold.
What's good for corporate globalization is
good for Chicago and the rest of the nation - unless you live on the Black side
of town. As the Color-Blind Curtain descends on American discourse, it has
become taboo to even mention that map color-codes designating affluence or
poverty coincide almost perfectly with the race of neighborhood residents. In
the corporate celebration of Chicago's "global" status, it becomes ever more
necessary to gloss over the true facts of urban life in an industry-robbed
nation. For every leap into hi-tech, hi-finance, and hi-living among the
gentrifying rich, the places we once called "ghettos" fall deeper into misery
The author's curiosity of mind and love of
humanity have taken him in a grand circle, from colonial British east Africa,
to Jim Crow-era America, through mid-Sixties U.S. movement politics, then back
to an independent Tanzania at the center of African liberation struggles. In
the same time frame, he has witnessed a small but significant flow of African
Americans to Tanzania, which "came to embody many of their historical aspirations,
including the possibility of returning to Africa to stay, which a few of them
did." Now a publisher, Mr. Bgoya has led a full life as a participant in the
still unfinished saga of liberation.
In the early 20th Century
Philippines, U.S. troops called "enemy" fighters "niggers" and "injuns," as
surrogates for the people they despised back home. In Vietnam, the "Cong" were
"gooks" and "dinks" - never human. The "bad guys" in Iraq and Afghanistan are
"hajjis" and "rag-heads" - similarly dehumanized and now openly described as
"game," to be hunted as such by a new crop of Marine Bwanas on killing safaris.
Marine kill-scientists have enlisted the help of inner city police officers and
"big-game hunters" as troop trainers for the "urban
jungles" of Iraq. Under the slogan, "Every Marine a Hunter," the
U.S. military continues its proud perversion of civilized values: Every Target
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford
People that understand American society know
that disaster more often brings out the worst - not the best - in a people
whose fragile social contract is limited to the dominant racial group. So it
was with 9/11 and Katrina - prime examples of the workings of what Naomi Klein
has dubbed "disaster capitalism." Catastrophe provides the opening, and racism
the popular support, for government policies that would be deemed unacceptable
except for the presence of actual disaster and perceived threat. Therefore, it
should have come as no surprise that Border Patrol and local law enforcement
agents would "stretch the envelope" of acceptable behavior toward immigrants
when flames lit up southern California.
The criminal justice system of New Orleans can hardly claim to be a system, at all. Thousands of prisoners are released because no one can figure out what to charge them with, while huge numbers of others languish behind bars because they can't make even relatively low bail. The city's murder rate has climbed to seven times the national average. Hundreds of National Guardsmen in combat gear patrol the streets. Every social support mechanism is broken, feeding urban mayhem. More than two years after the deluge, only a little more than half the population has returned, and institutional structures remain dysfunctional.
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Rightwing U.S. Christians and Jews continue to
escalate their anti-Muslim jihad, bent on waging endless war against a
billion of the world's people. The most frenzied promulgator of fatwas against all
things Islamic is professional propagandist David Horowitz, funded to the tune
of $15 million by Hard Right corporations and think tanks "to promote a white
supremacist, pro-war agenda." Horowitz has declared October 22nd to
26th "Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week," buttressing the Bush regime's
claim that Muslim fundamentalism - as interpreted by the Christian-Jewish Right
- is the moral and historical equivalent of Nazism. Senior columnist Margaret
Kimberley suggests a counter-event: "Christian/Jewish Fascism Awareness Week."
Aware that Republicans have little chance of hanging
onto the White House without yet another massive minority voter suppression
campaign, the Bush men are busily deploying their criminal cadre in key
election-stealing positions. Arch vote-thief Hans von Spakovsky, who helped
turn the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division into a Dixie-style klavern
of hostility to Blacks and browns, was set to sail through Senate confirmation to a seat
on the Federal Election Commission, where he could protect GOP ballot-snatchers
in 2008. As if in the grip of a death wish, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
OK'd the deal to allow Spakovsky to set up shop in the FEC - only to be defied
by Senators Russ Feingold and Barack Obama.
The entire horrific crime was captured on tape,
and a (second) autopsy showed 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson died of
suffocation after being gang-muscled by guards on his very first day at a
Florida boot camp. Despite the medical and video evidence, an all-white jury
took only 90 minutes to find the guards innocent of all wrongdoing - a
miscarriage of justice so blatant it recalls the worst days of official Jim
Crow lawlessness. The guards - who were careful to keep their hats sitting
jauntily on their heads throughout the fatal assault on Anderson - enjoyed the
impunity that flows from a society in which Black life has no value.
Barack Obama's sole claim to being an "anti-war"
candidate is an October, 2002, speech he delivered in Chicago, opposing the
congressional vote to give George Bush Iraq War Powers. No sooner had Obama's
U.S. Senate campaign been declared "viable" by the corporate media, than the
speech disappeared from Obama's web site. Ever since, the presidential candidate
has been fully as much a warmonger as his top-tier rivals, calling for a bigger
military and refusing to rule out the "nuclear option" in an attack against
Iraq. Obama's five-year-old speech is no more than a fig leaf to hide a
hawkishness every bit as dangerous as Hillary Clinton's.
Mr. Miller has studied the American personality, and
the prognosis does not look good. Miller identifies nine characteristics of
what he calls Americanistic Personality Disorder (type 1776.0), "a dangerous
perversion of character" that may become pathological. Practitioners of "deeply
conservative Christianity" and residents of the South and certain other states
are especially susceptible to the disorder, which presents itself in displays
of racism, flag-waving, nationalistic, and militaristic fervor." There's no
point in quarantining the afflicted since, according to the author, they make
up about 35 percent of the U.S. population.
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There was and still is a Martin Luther King who is lionized, memorialized, and fossilized. And there was and still is a Dr. King who was something else again. DJ Sese's mixtape liberates Martin Luther King by restoring him to his context in the truly revolutionary environment of the Freedom Movement of the 50s and 60s.
DJ Sese - Liberating Dr. King Mixtape
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Chicago-based historian and activist Paul Street cuts through the fog of fantasy and wish-fulfillment that makes up much of political discourse in the U.S. left for a sober assessment of the Obama administration in the real world of power and empire. The Empire's New Clothes uniquely measures Obama's record against the expectations many of his supporters hoped he would live up to. Taken together, it is a startling indictment not just of the current president and his people-proof, reform-proof but an indictment of what passes for the U.S. left.
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The year that saw an African American run for the presidency as a viable contender also witnessed a truly remarkable silence. While millions of words written about the political ascent of one black man, there was virtually nothing about the descent of black leadership into well-nigh total ineffectiveness. Barack Obama’s personal itinerary was mapped in the minutest detail. The larger itinerary of African Americans was mostly ignored.