Blogs

Expendable Allies: Vietnam's Diem, Afghanistan's Karzai

karzaiA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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Superpower gangsters steal whole nations as a matter of routine, but feign shock when their handpicked puppets deal in unlicensed larceny. Hamid and Ahmed Karzai are no more nor less loyal to the American Project – and their own fortunes – than were South Vietnamese President Diem and his brother Nhu, who found themselves expendable 46 years ago this month.

Obamacare A Bonanza For Drug Companies, A Pain For the Public

expensive drugs
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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Why are the drug barons planning a $150 million ad campaign boosting Obama's health care scheme? They've got $21 billion worth of reasons – bonus earnings from record price hikes while wheeling and dealing with the White House. Everything the president touches turns to cash – for the corporate sector.

Houses of Horror

on trialby Sikivu Hutchinson
Sexualized violence permeates the reality and culture of American life. But in poor locales of Black America, those who prey on women are too often allowed to “hide in plain sight” by a police mentality that obscures the lines between victims and predators. Even as the horror of the mass murders in Cleveland began to surface, “some of the Internet stories of the missing evoked the stereotype of drug-addicted black women, alluding to their being prostitutes and transients.”

Indoctrination Through Celebration

celebrateby Solomon Comissiong
A more sane and just society than the United States would celebrate an entirely different set of heroes and events. “At a nearly subconscious level, the masses are indoctrinated to look with awe on some of the foulest examples of humanity ever assembled: slaveholders, Indian-killers, Confederates, segregators, land pirates, war criminals and exploiters of all pathologies imaginable.”

Played, Betrayed, Health Care Delayed: House Passes Bailout For Private Insurance Companies.

again

by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon

Now we know what the Obama administration means by “health care reform”. They mean guranteeing the rights of insurance and drug companies to their profits. They mean making health insurance like car insurance, with everyone compelled by law to purchase it from a private vendor, except for the very poorest among us, who will be offered a “public option” so limited and expensive as to discredit the word “public” when used in assocation with health care at all.

The Road to a New Movement Begins: Black is Back Coalition

black is bacby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Just two months after the call went out, the revived Movement was off to a spirited start, galvanized by Obama's corporate policies and the “most acute crisis of capitalism in four generations.” As one former Obama supporter told the crowd at Washington's Malcolm X Park, “To have a black person exploiting me just like a white person, that's no easier pain to bear.”

Freedom Rider: Obama and Black Preachers Love Bloomberg

bllomberg and thomasby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
If there is a possibility of Black victory over white power and wealth, Barack Obama will find and eliminate it. “Obama’s behavior has demonstrated not only his eagerness to smack down black politicians, but his love of currying favor with the captains of finance capital.” Michael Bloomberg, New York's billionaire mayor, also brings out the worst in the Black preacher class

Remarks of Cynthia McKinney at the World Conference to Criminalize War

You wouldn't know it from our myopic and entertainment-obsessed US media, but there's a whole peace-loving world out there beyond our borders. Late last month Cynthia McKinney, the former representative from Georgia traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to participate in a conference on the criminalization of war.

Here are some of her remarks at that event.  If you cannot see the video above, click here.

Cashing In, Selling Out: The AARP's Tradition of Betrayal

obama and endorserBy Stephen Lendman

Just before the Obama version of health insurance reform made it to the floor of the House of Representatives, the White House said it was proud to announce it had been endorsed by the AARP. But didn't Obama's predecessor, when he privatized a sizeable chunk  of Medicare back in 2003, proudly made a similar announcement?  So is an AARP endorsement really anything to be proud of?

U.S. Stomps on Honduran Democracy, Militarizes Colombia

honduran soldiersA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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When it comes to Latin America, there is a difference between the Obama and Bush administrations. Bush huffed and puff and blustered while committing aggression against Latin neighbors; Obama smiles and mouths words of peace, and then commits much the same crimes. He is preparing Latin America as the next theater of war.

U.S. Starves Children in Somali War

somali kidsA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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Three years after creating the “worst humanitarian crisis” in Africa by encouraging Ethiopia to invade Somalia, the U.S. now unleashes the food weapon on starving people. “Forty million pounds of American-donated food is sitting in warehouses in Mombasa, Kenya, but U.S. officials won’t allow aid workers to deliver the food to the Somalis that need it.”

Bloomberg and Obama: Perfect Together

perfect togetherA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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President Obama’s preference for white billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg over Black challenger Bill Thompson was clear to all. As it turned out, the mayor’s money barely pulled him through. The mildly more progressive candidate could have won, if Obama hadn’t sided with the Filthy Rich. But then, that’s been the story of his presidency.

Perverted Priorities: Obama, One Year Later

the faceby Paul Street
Barack Obama's presidency was almost scripted by the corporate interests that backed his candidacy. A year after his election, his political trajectory is remarkably consistent with the requirements of late stage capital. “It was and is foolish, childish even, to expect progressive change from a carefully corporate-choreographed bourgeois election in the headquarters of world imperialism.”

If Democrats Don't Pass Health Insurance Reform This Year, What Do We Lose? And What Do We Gain?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The version of health care reform championed by the White House and Congressional Democrats will force millions to buy crappy insurance from private providers with no interest in health care but plenty of interest in profits. Its pubic option is a cruel hoax that will not take effect till 2013 and even then will leave tens of millions uninsured. Now Democratic leaders in Congress say it might not pass this year anyway. Is that really so bad?

Freedom Rider: Health Care Deceit

liar, liarby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The health care fiasco has bared the cowardly underbelly of the Democratic Party, which is putty in the hands of President Obama and his co-conspirators in the insurance industry. The public option” has been stripped down to a tiny two percent of the people, while the private insurers get tens of millions of captive, subsidized consumers. The conclusion is inescapable: “Barack Obama and the majority of the Democrats never had any intention of bringing reform to health care.”

Encounters with Colonel Khadafi and the Green Book

khadaffiby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
An American delegation of activists and journalists travel to Libya for a World Conference of Green Book Supporters, and an audience with Colonel Mouammar Khadafi. “What possible use could a political work linked in western minds to the struggles of robed Bedouins have for inhabitants of the wealthy, hi-wired North?” Plenty, it turns out. “'Direct democracy,' as the Green Book describes it, is of more than passing interest to citizens of the Belly of the Beast, where corporations have the legal rights of persons and money is deemed constitutionally entitled to all the 'free' speech it can buy.”

The Limits of Anti-Racism

by Adolph Reed

What does it mean these days to be “anti-racist” and to struggle against racism these days when a black family is in the White House? Unlike today's anti-racist activists, the historic Freedom Movement had clear, if limited goals like the establishment of voting rights or the abolition of Jim Crow laws. What does it mean to be an “anti-racist” when America seems perfectly able to integrate its ruling circles at the same time preserving enormous wealth, health, education and incarceration disparities between the bulk of its white and nonwhite populations?

 

Obama Hustles the Public for Greedy Private Insurers

snake oil?A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Click the flash player to listen or the mic below to download an mp3 copy of this commentary.

It appears that President Obama will soon achieve his health care triumph – and an unmitigated disaster for the public. “Both Clinton and Obama planned to shanghai the vast bulk of the public as captive consumers of the insurance cartel,” but only Obama could have pulled it off. He  is bringing into existence a privatized health care system that will be “nearly impossible to dismantle absent a general political upheaval in the United States.”

 

Eshu’s blues: Obamania one year after: a confession

more hopeby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
Confession may or not be good for the soul, but at some point it becomes unavoidable when one takes stock of what one's vote has wrought. The author admits to the sin of having placed excessive trust in former mentors and gurus among the Obamites. Now he sees the fruits of his misspent ballot: “Even though there’s a black man in the White House, the white man’s burden must still be shouldered.”

Feminism’s Freedom Fighter? On Feminism, Atheism and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Hutchinsonby Sikivu Hutchinson
A Somali woman gains fame in Europe for denouncing Islam. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, atheist, feminist, and author has secured a “plum position at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute” while “morphing into a champion of Israel.” In the process, she has reinforced western demonization of Muslim society and whitewashed the West's “own anti-democratic traditions and human rights transgressions.”

Harry Reid, Democratic Leaders and the White House Still Faking the Funk on Universal Health Care

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

This week the Senate's Harry Reid announced the consolidation of the Senate Democratic caucus version of health care reform. How central the “public option” is or is not depends on who you ask, as do precisely how many people it would be offered to and on what terms. What is clear is that it remains a Massachusetts-style bailout plan to subsidize private insurers, rather than one providing universal care at affordable rates. Meanwhile the gap between the actual public option and the imaginary ones sold by progressive Democrats is growing. How long it can be concealed, and what will happen when it is revealed are anybody's guess.

Banksters Rob States and Cities Too

crooksby Margaret Kimberley

The $17 trillion dollar transfer from federal coffers to the pockets of Wall Street banksters didn't happen in a vacuum. The same bipartisan cast of players have had their wolvish way with sheepish state and local governments for a long time now. They have honed their expertise at extracting piles of cash from cities, counties, towns and states in return for little or nothing, while the absence of news coverage hides a golden age of corporate financial corruption.  It's not just federal any more, if it ever was....

 

National Wave of Privatization Scandals and Disasters Ignored By Media, Concealed From Public

the real vandalsA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce Dixon
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The total absence of local journalism in many markets, and the fixation of what news reporting there is on a handful of crime and celebrity stories helps conceal from the public the real price of global empire and the Wall Street Bailout, or how the privatization measures widely undertaken by state and local governments to relieve their financial pressure have been a cavalcade of corruption, a cascade of scandal and failure that make the rich even richer and the rest of us... well, you know.... 

State and Local Democrats From California to New York: The Standup Party, or the Party of Excuses?

sadA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce Dixon
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For some time now, many have wondered when or if Congress and the president would ever stand up against Wall Street, the insurance companies, the militarists, gentrifiers and privatizing vampires, and what it might take to make them do it. But if Democrats don't stand up at the state and local level for the interests of ordinary people, why should we expect Democrats in Congress or the White House to be profiles in courage?

 

Declaration of Dignity – The Tripoli Statement

Cynthia McKinneyThe following speech was delivered by former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney last week in Libya. As our issue deadline approaches, McKinney is now in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for an international conference on the criminalization of war and warfare, an affair certain to pass unnoticed by our corporate media.  But then, our bipartisan elite and our military establishment, the largest and most expensive in the world, is permanent war with a large fraction of humanity. In her tireless work to promote justice and peace over injustice and warfare, it is increasingly clear that McKinney is a more accurate representative of black America than our current president can claim to be.

 

Why I Disrupted Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert in Chicago

by Ali Abunimah

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is a wanted man in some places, and decidedly unwanted in some others.  Olmert sat in the Big Chair during last year's murderous Israeli assault on a million largely defenseless Palestinians in Gaza, the world's largest open air prison.  As a result, prosecutors in the UK and elsewhere are reportedly drawing up charges of crimes against humanity and preparing to arrest him if he is ever careless enough to set foot in their jurisdictions.  When Olmert showed up for a speech at the University of Chicago, locals were unable to apprehend the fugitive, so they did the next best thing.  While a couple hundred protested outside the venue, more than a dozen inside the event, as the felon began to speak, rose to interrupt and challenge him.  Electronic Intifada's Ali Abunimah was among them.

If you cannot see the video above, click here, but please do come back to read the story too.

 

Rhetoric and Reality

nader vs obamaby Ralph Nader

Humans learn to about the same time we learn to talk.  It's just part of the package.  It's quite unrealistic therefore, to suppose that our political life and discourse would be free from lies.  Ralph Nader has been untangling political truth from fiction for more than a generation.  This week he tackles a piece of mail he recently received from the president.

African Pastoralists Directly Threatened By Climate Change

african pastoralists 1by Aaron Tesfaye

The first victims of the change in global precipitation patterns will not be people from rich, polluting nations who engage in ruinous consumption, but the poorest of the poor – such as African pastoralists who exist ‘precariously at the periphery’, Aaron Tesfaye writes in Pambazuka News. As world leaders prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference in December, Tesfaye looks at why the summit’s agenda has ‘produced serious divisions between developed and developing nations’, with one side seeking to maintain a way of life, and the other struggling to meet basic needs. 

The End of Black Politics As We Knew It: Will Atlanta's Next Mayor Be White? Should We Even Care?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

36 years of black Atlanta mayors have given birth to a thriving and empowered class of black managers, attorneys and contractors. But even after moving tens of thousands of poor blacks who once lived in public housing to areas beyond the city limits, fully one third of black Atlanta remains below the poverty level, making Atlanta number 5 in black poverty among the 40 largest US cities, according to current US Census data. So have the generation of black mayors and the crew that brought them in really done African Americans that much good?

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