Blogs

Another Obama Promise Broken -- The Right To Organize Betrayed

look for the union labelA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

The Employee Free Choice Act has been gutted and may expire entirely, a victim of Barack Obama's signature style of governing to the Right of the Democratic center. “Although candidate Obama paid lip-service to the Employee Free Choice Act, he pointedly failed to deploy the powers of the presidential 'bully-pulpit' on behalf of the key “card check” provisions that would have forced companies to recognize unions as soon as a majority of workers signed a union card.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney: The Preacher Who Dared to Invoke God

Rev. Ed PinkneyA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

The first man in modern day America to be imprisoned for “predicting what God might do” was released, last week. However, Rev. Edward Pinkney's conviction on voter fraud charges still stands, despite the 13 errors committed during his trail. The appeals court ruled the errors were “harmless” - a bizarre excuse for depriving Benton Harbor, Michigan of its premier Black leader and minister.

Eshu’s blues: Dr. Wertham was right

comicby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
If life imitates art, political life in the USA mimics comic books. “Gotham City looked to the Grim Avenger and Boy Wonder Robin, the United States looks to the Grinning Pretender and Joe, the Wonder-Boy.” Like in the comic books, the bad guys and the less bad guys are all crazy. “Next issue, the Dynamic Duo are off bombing and strafing in Afghanistan, reinforcing the barricades in Gaza and silently backing coups in Honduras.”

The Crimes of Bongo: Apartheid & Terror in Africa's Gardens of Eden, Part One

bongo againby keith harmon snow
American and European imperialists mourned the recent death of Gabon President Al Hajji Omar Bongo Ondimba, the longtime dictator and servant of western corporations and governments. It is fitting that Paris, London, Brussels and Washington miss him, since Bongo was largely their creation, especially the French secret services. Far from a benign strongman, Bongo and his thugs “have killed a lot of people with no one knowing about it. People just suddenly disappear or turn up dead.” Part One of Two.

Not What Obama Promised

noneby David Swanson
The most telling indictments of Barack Obama's presidency will come from those that initially supported him. Obama got activist/journalist David Swanson's vote last November. Now, after six months in the White House, Swanson has compiled a damning bill of particulars on Obama's broken promises and reneged commitments. “The public must know the facts, make of them what it will.”

Public Education in America: A Pillar of Institutional Racism

edumcationby Solomon Comissiong
Last week, Barack Obama once again “felt the need to lecture black people about what they can and cannot complain about.” No excuses, no excuses, the president hectored – as if to delegitimize Black struggles for redress of real grievances. “On the one hand he knows not to upset white folks by pointing to America’s legacy as a bastion of racism and white supremacy. And on the other hand he knows there are virtually no restrictions on how often he can castigate, vilify, and reprimand the black community.”

Same Sex Marriage, Religiosity and Black Civil Rights Orthodoxies

Sikivu Hutchinsonby Sikivu Hutchinson
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which once fearlessly confronted apartheid America, today threatens to excommunicate a Los Angeles minister for acting in solidarity with gays. “It is abundantly clear that when it comes to gay rights, bucking the black religious establishment on civil rights 'orthodoxy' continues to be a third rail issue.” Conservative Black preachers behave as if all women and gays are white. “Black preachers effectively turn a blind eye to the disenfranchisement of their young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered congregants.”

“My Hell in an Israeli Jail”: Israel Prison Population 90 Percent Black Africans

in jailby Voice Online, UK
It should come as no surprise that a settler state based on the rule of one ethnic group would be steeped in racist public policies. But the sheer scope of Israel's institutional oppression of Africans shocked human rights activists imprisoned for attempting to deliver humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza. “The first day I was there, I witnessed 500 Africans scooped from the streets of Tel Aviv thrown into prison,” said a Black British activist. “The prison population continues to grow daily with Africans falling victim to the Israeli judiciary system.”

Licensed to Kill

john Maxwellby John Maxwell
It wasn't exactly a secret that the Bush administration had gone over to the “dark side” in the wake of 9/11, compiling hit lists of prospective victims. George Bush and Dick Cheney fairly broadcast that a U.S. Murder Inc was on the loose, seeking vengeance. “We know that the government of the United States was itself actively subverting the laws and Constitution of the United States of America, contravening settled International Law and Conventions and the charter of the United Nations and betraying all principles of decency and civilized behavior.”

The Two NAACPs and a Century of Struggle

There have always been at least two NAACPs. There has been a national leadership, more sensitive to corporate interests and devoted to what can be won in the court or passed through the legislature this year. And there have always been the NAACP's scores of branches across the country, more and less active. It's the branches, some of them, which are the heirs of NAACP founders W.E.B. DuBois, Ida Wells-Barnett, of Medgar Evers and a long line of standup activists, the real people of struggle whose names most of us will never know.

Freedom Rider: American War Criminals

war criminalsby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The United States could fill scores of International Criminal Courts with homegrown war criminals, but prefers to honor them as “statesmen” and “the best and the brightest.” The recently deceased Robert McNamara even indicted himself for crimes against Japanese civilians – but only as a mental exercise enveloped in real-world impunity. McNamara has had lots of company in the past forty years since he last served an American president.... Obama expanded war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, continuing a process begun by Carter and Brzezinski thirty years ago.”

Maxine Waters vs. Fatal Derivatives

Maxine WatersA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

The Obama administration is clearly trying to keep Congress from taking legislative action against derivatives, the “financial weapons of mass destruction” that set off the economic crisis. “Geithner claims he wants credit-default swaps brought under control, but only through stricter regulation, not by law.” California Congresswoman Maxine Waters wants derivatives banned outright, and has submitted legislation to that effect. But so far, she has no co-sponsors.

Ward Churchill: Academic Freedom Denied

ward churchillA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

An anti-imperialist ethics professor has no rights that his university is bound to respect. That's the lesson from a Denver District Court that refused to reinstate Ward Churchill, despite a jury's finding that he was fired from the University of Colorado because of his political statements. “There is no such thing as academic and political freedom if you can be fired for exercising it.”

Obama’s Good Move on Student Loans

studentsA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

President Obama has done students in need of loans a good turn, and surprised BAR by oving to snatch $15 billion a year out of the jaws of the banks. “For decades the bankers have been getting risk-free federal money at taxpayer and student expense, by handling student loans already guaranteed by the federal government, collecting fees and then selling the loans to the U.S. Treasury.”

Eshu’s blues: Obama in Africa

brotherman in the motherlandby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
“Six months after his ascent to power, Barack Obama has proven to be exactly the nightmare we at BAR have long predicted he would be.” His recent visit reveals Obama has as much contempt for Black Africans as for African Americans. “Just days ago in Ghana, the First Black President of the Empire of the United States delivered a speech laden with homilies on responsibility and 'democratic values' that could have been written by speech writers for Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.”

“African Blood” Saved Obama From Scrutiny in Ghana

thicker than waterby Edwin Okong'o
Just as in Black America, many Africans on the continent hesitate to criticize Barack Obama for reasons of blood solidarity. Obama bemoans African “wars over land and wars over resources,” but “his African blood prevented us from asking him whether most of those resources (diamonds) end up in the hands of Africans.” The president talks of bribery as if it were an African disease. “African blood makes us hush instead of telling Obama that what Africans need is an end to the policies that allow multinationals to bribe governments to let them to continue stripping the continent of its wealth.”

President Obama's "Tough Love" Sermon to Africa

ron danielsby Ron Daniels
President Obama has developed a reputation as an avid reader with a wide range of interests, yet he appears to have learned little about the history of Africa's encounters with Europe and America over the past half-millennium. “He might have done well to read How Europe Underdeveloped Africa where Walter Rodney documents this tragic dynamic.” The history of super-exploitation is by no means over. “Neo-colonialism has been the order of the day as many African nations have been reduced to 'flag independence' where they ostensibly control the political process but have only nominal control over their economies.”

Take a Look in the Mirror, America

africaby Solomon Comissiong
President Obama this week deployed his impressive oratorical skills to frame a false historical and current reality about Africa. “He used cheap rhetorical devices to essentially deny that his own country and other Western nations are equally, if not more, responsible for the destabilized condition in which so many African nations find themselves.” What's needed is a “real alteration in American governance,” to replace a system that thrives on exploitation and death.

Pimps, Peeping Toms & Frotteurs

John Maxwellby John Maxwell
Rupert Murdoch appears to have turned his flagship British newspaper, News of the World, into a huge criminal enterprise, specializing in gathering dirt on celebrities of all kinds. However, given the right-wing publishers political influence, it doesn't look like anybody's going to jail. “It's not just a media story; it raises serious questions for Scotland Yard, top prosecutors and for judges."

Miami's Young are Dying

by Paul A. Moore
They fall with regularity, in a rhythm of death. The youth of Overtown and Liberty City and all points of poverty in are rushed to their graves to the accompaniment of beats and rhymes that profit the few and lock the many in a dance of death. “All of us grown folks who sit and watch you die one after another failed you.”

U.S. Press Misses Honduran Official's Racist Assault on U.S. Prez

by Steve Rendall
Enrique Ortez Colindres may be a coup plotter from the original “banana republic,” but as a white man he feels comfortable calling the president of the United States a “little black sugar plantation worker” and other Spanish variations on “nigger.” Ortez's comments were not deemed newsworthy by most of the U.S. Media.

Barack Obama or Cynthia McKinney -- Who Represents Black America Toward Palestine, Israel and the Middle East?

by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon

Former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has just returned from an Israeli jail where she was briefly imprisoned, along with human rights activists from several nations, for her second attempt at publicly running the brutal US-Israeli blockade trying to bring coloring books, food and medical supplies.  Why are the US and Israel imposing this collective punishment upon 1.5 million civilians.  How does McKinney's stand match up against that of our first black president, the most powerful man in the world who calls it a "humantarian crisis" but will do nothing about it?  And how do they both stack up against the legacy of Dr. King?

Obama’s Single Payer Beat Down

State Sen. Obama (above) in 2003, back when he supported single-payer
healthcare. Obama changed his tune shortly thereafter.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
President Obama is mad, again, at the usual suspects: progressives that insist on speaking out in the people's interest on single-payer healthcare. He picked up the phone last week to warn lefties and unions to watch their mouths and get with his fuzzy program on healthcare – although even White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel doesn't seem to know what that program is. “For Obama to 'win' his debate, the American people must lose.”

Freedom Rider: Silence on Cynthia McKinney

cynthia mckinneyby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The shallowness of what passes for Black leadership reveals itself most dramatically at times of outrage and death. “While Cynthia McKinney languished in an Israeli jail, black leaders mobilized to say and do absolutely nothing,” preferring to make themselves part of the Michael Jackson story. “The only national action requested by” Rev. Al Sharpton, “the president of the National Action Network, was a demand for a Michael Jackson postage stamp and a national day of mourning. 

Eshu’s blues:The Obamamas and the Obapapas

by BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
So where is the mass movement that was supposedly gestating in the womb of the Obama campaign phenomenon, the one that was wedded to, but to the left of, the actual candidate? How has the phantom “movement” made itself felt and known? Turns out, the whole thing was made up so that “progressives” would feel justified in supporting a corporate politician that resembles the “WW I-era Ivy league intellectual and imperial gangster Woodrow Wilson on many points, the issue of U.S. global hegemony first and foremost.”

The Shrinking American Empire

shrunken_uncleA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

The drive to replace the U.S. dollar as the de facto global currency brings the American empire that much closer to ultimate dissolution. U.S. imperialism’s accelerated decline is best dated to the invasion of Iraq six years ago. In the face of Washington’s general threat to establish itself as the “New Rome,” “much of the planetary community conspired to find ways to break the unequal ties that bound them to the empire.”

Africa Rejects Criminal Court Order on Sudan, Moves Toward Unity

african union logoA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

The International Criminal Courts narrow preoccupation with crimes by Africans, as opposed to every other people on the planet, has had a unifying effect on the continent. By consensus agreement, the 53 nations of the African Union agreed to ignore the ICC's directive that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir be arrested by member states. Said the AU's commission chairman: “If you don’t want to take into account our proposals…we are also going to act unilaterally.”

U.S. Allies on the Ropes in Somalia

Somalia againA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

When the Bush regime encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia in 2006, it may not have realized the fierce forces it was unleashing in the Horn of Africa. Now its Somali allies are on the verge of total defeat at the hands of Islamists. The U.S. claims the ever-shrinking regime in Mogadishu is besieged by foreign jihadis, but “most analysts maintain the fighters are overwhelmingly homegrown.”

Michael Jackson and the Piranhas of the Media

michael jacksonby John Maxwell
The horror, the horror. The ghastly ugliness oozes from the bestial media, feasting on death. “To the imperial media Jackson was guilty of everything of which he had ever been accused, like Jack Johnson, Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King, Elvis Presley and John Lennon.” The true significance of these lives is that “they connected in a fundamental way with ordinary people, and that, to the rulers of our world and their servile media, is supremely dangerous.”

The Persecution of Michael Jackson

by Ishmael Reed

The self-serving infotainment networks have a new product to take the place of news and real programming for at least the next week.  The trashing and rehashing of Michael Jackson, his family, legal and other troubles, his art and his life will be served up to us by corporate media who have no responsibility to truth, to art, to anything living or dead except profit and the protection of whatever lies they might have told previously.

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