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    Freedom Rider: Af-Pak Is Obama's War

     

    Af-Pak Warby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
    President Obama, who campaigned behind a thin veil of peace, dragged two heads of client states into the White House to demand “that both Afghanistan and Pakistan allow their citizens to be murdered and or displaced in the thousands” – or else. Obama read Presidents Zardari and Karzai “the riot act” to let them know who is boss in the military theater called “AfPak.” Obama claims to “want to respect their sovereignty, but” – there’s always the imperial ‘but’ – America has “huge national security interests” in the region. Afghanistan’s Karzai later wondered, “How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?”

     

    Obama Shows His True Katrina Colors

    traliersA Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download this commentary in mp3 format.
    The line between Bush and Obama has not simply blurred in New Orleans: it has disappeared." President Obama has adopted, in whole, the Bush approach to rebuilding the city - minus the Black Diaspora that was scattered to the winds in 2005. Notices of eviction have been served on the mostly elderly and Black inhabitants of 3,000 FEMA trailers. The Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development is putting the finishing touches on public housing demolition in the city. Not a single "Katrina Cottage" has been made ready for occupancy. Obama no more favors the "right to return" to - or remain in - New Orleans, than Bush did.

    U.S. Economy: The Cancer is Still There

    the american diseaseA Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

     

    Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download this commentary in mp3 format.
    "In the cold assessment of history, Barack Obama will be remembered more for his massive transfers of national wealth to the finance capitalist class, than as the first Black president of the United States." Mostly under his administration, $12.8 trillion dollars has been committed to prop up the Wall Street oligarchy. Yet the five banks that are the biggest recipients of federal largess continue to hold $195 trillion in fatally toxic derivatives - a notional value more than three times the planetary domestic product! "There is nothing rational to do but to wipe the obligations, and their holders, off the face of the Earth, in order to save the real economy."

    First Black President Cuts Funds For Black Higher Education

    whateverA Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

     Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download this commentary in mp3 format.

    President Obama's economic stimulus was very kind to the general category of education. But Black higher education got the butt end of his budget, with a net of $73 million in cuts, while traditionally Hispanic schools got an increase in funding. "It would be difficult to find anyplace in the federal budget where $73 million has a more concentrated impact on the fortunes of a particular ethnic group." Even southern Republican lawmakers are wondering aloud about Obama's priorities.

    In His Own Words: By Any Means Necessary

    Malcolm X, June 1964

    Born May 19, 1925.

    Assassinated February 21, 1965.

    The Case for Race-Based Remedies to Achieve Racial Justice

     

    ron_danielsby Dr. Ron Daniels
    Race-based remedies for historical Black grievances seem increasingly out of favor with the executive and judicial branches of government. President Obama has once again signaled his distaste for programs specifically targeting institutional racism, while the U.S. Supreme Court appears prepared to gut the Voting Rights Act. However, they are beating a near-dead horse, since “race-based remedies to overcome past and present affects of enslavement, segregation, discrimination and structural racism have virtually been eradicated.” Various forms of affirmative redress for Blacks have seen only brief and spotty use, while for most of the nation’s history “affirmative action for Whites” has been “the order of the day.

     

    Framing Race in Mississippi

     

    mississippiby Michelle Chen
     
    As Nina Simone sang it, “Mississippi Goddamn!” The Magnolia State, which ranks last in the nation on human development criteria, achieved that distinction by relentlessly debasing the life prospects of its Black citizens. Black Mississippians earn about $10,00 a year less than whites, and die four years sooner, according to a new study. High rates of infant mortality are linked directly to poor health care for Black women – one of many “lifelong barriers” the state erects to block Black social advancement. “The state currently spends twice as much to house each prisoner as it does to keep each child in school.”

     

    Freedom Fighters or Criminals? AFRICOM Doesn’t Care.

    by Mark P. Fancher
    AFRICOM extends its tentacles on the east and west coasts and deep into the interior of the continent. Its mission: “to keep Africa safe for western corporations that need access to the continent’s oil and mineral resources.” All indigenous opposition to imperial policies and interests is deemed “criminal” or “terrorist” – whether along the internationally exploited shores of Somalia or in the oil-rich delta of the Niger River. As African Liberation Day approaches, we must understand that “AFRICOM…is really all about building the capacity of western corporations to hold fast to Africa.”

    “Out of the Closet”: Black Atheists

    churchby Sikivu Hutchinson

    It’s not easy being a Black atheist, “partly due to the fact that the history of African American civil and human rights resistance is heavily steeped in Judeo-Christian religious dogma.” If you’re a woman, it’s worse. “While black male non-believers are given more leeway to be heretics, black women who openly profess atheist views are deemed especially traitorous, having abandoned their family role as purveyors of cultural and religious tradition.Church dogma exerts a warping influence on the culture. “In these (black) communities,” notes one Black writer, “you find more tolerance towards gangbangers, drug addicts, and prostitutes, who pray to God for forgiveness than for honest productive citizens who deny the existence of God.”

    Nine Things The Diaspora Can Do About Somalia

    somaliaby Cedric Muhammad

    In their vicious campaign to legitimize Western military intervention in East Africa, US and European government and corporate media present us with stories of Somali “piracy.” Cedric Muhammed sketches the outline of a broad plan to counter the media and political offensive that can be undertaken by Africans in the U.S. to defend their own interests and those of the people of East Africa, particularly Somalia.

    Blacks and Latinos in the U.S.: Still an Evolving Relationship

     

    us and usby Robert Suro
    Although a fair number of Americans are aware that the United States will become a “majority minority” nation sometime around the year 2050, few contemplate how the “distinct experiences” of the two largest non-white groups – Blacks and Hispanics – will affect their interactions in this changed environment. “We are in the process,” writes the author, “of revising our notions of both what constitutes the norm and what constitutes ‘the other.’” The old Black-white paradigm is being eclipsed. “Twenty-five years from now the Hispanic population will be twice as large as the African-American population.”

     

    Obama's First Massacre

     by Emir Sader

    An American president might well consider the murder of innocent civilians an acceptable price to further his country's imperial goals. If that is his choice to make, then we too have choices. We can be fans or imperial subjects enthusiastically endorsing or resigning ourselves to the world as it's given to us, or we can be citizens, evaluating the actions taken in our names and with our money in the light of what we know is just. How then, shall we weigh...

    Billions in Fish Stolen From African Waters Annually, Says Environmental Justice Foundation

    Billions of dollars worth of fish stocks are illegally taken from African waters by European corporate commercial fishing operations Who are the real pirates in African waters?   If you cannot see the video above, click here.

    Obama Preserves Entrenched Power, Sidesteps Racial Disparities

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
    Barack Obama actually said it: a truncated form of the hackneyed rich man's expression, "a rising tide lifts all boats." The cliché was a fixture of trickle-down Reaganics and the Bush I and II permutations, as well as the Clinton deregulationathon. Now Obama employs it to justify his refusal to offer any programs to "address historical and emerging racial disparities." The twisted logic goes something like this: "The deeper Blacks sink into the abyss, the more they are eligible for general assistance - therefore, the Obama plan already contains everything African Americans need as a group, and will be of more use to them than to more advantaged groups." Thus, the nation's first Black President turns the misery index on its head.

     

    Is There A Save Darfur Industrial Complex?

    hollywood on darfurBy BAR Managing Editor

    Bruce A. Dixon

    What does it mean for Africa when right wing end-of-the-world-is-near evangelical Christians join forces with the Robert F. Kennedy Center For Human Rights?  What does it mean for African Americans when Bush, Obama, and nearly all last year's presidential candidates from both parties encourage the continuation of an African civil war rather than a political settlement between the parties?  What does it mean when 21st century PR firms employ FaceBook, slick viral marketing and millions of dollars to create a simple, satisfying, feel-good excuse for military intervention on the African continent?

    Freedom Rider: Is Bush Still President?

     

    more of the same
     
     
    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
    Afraid that “some of the defendants might actually be acquitted,” President Obama “is considering resuming the use of military tribunals to prosecute Guantanamo detainees.” And some of the defendants might be tried on American soil, something even George Bush feared to do. What has emboldened Obama? “He was never called to account by self-described progressives during his presidential campaign. The same individuals who chose to silence themselves throughout 2008 have continued to act like doormats for president Obama,”

     

    Redneck-Like Black Man Wants to be Georgia Governor

    thurbet 4 govA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen  Ford
    Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download a copy of this Black Agenda Radio commentary.

    The 12-year Black attorney general of the State of Georgia has defended Black voter suppression laws, co-sponsored two-strikes mandatory life imprisonment, and loves the death penalty. Thurbert Baker is counting on the Black vote, which makes up half the Democratic electorate in the state, to give him a leg up in the gubernatorial primary. "Does it serve Black people's interests, or the cause of justice, for African Americans to take leadership roles in government oppression of Black people?"

    Give Everyone Healthcare By Shutting Down Insurance Companies

    by David Swanson
    The only way to get something that remotely resembles single payer health care is to demand…single payer health care. Progressives that supported single payer now set their sites lower because President Obama isn’t going there. But “opening a political negotiation by asking for what the other side is offering is no negotiation at all.” Obama offers many explanations for backing away from the health care approach he once claimed to favor. But the real explanation “is the financial influence in Congress and the White House of the insurance industry.” 

    Genius Burning Brightly: The Unraveling of Gil Scott-Heron

    by TaRessa Stovall
     Gil Scott Heron lives - but barely, says the author. "We were close enough to see the unnatural glaze of his eyes, the tremors quaking his hands and legs as he leaned into the keyboard, almost as if for support, croaking several of his hits into the mic." The drug abuse that has punctuated the life of this political/musical icon, seems to be winning the race. At a recent performance, "he looked and sounded more like the frail, eccentric uncle at the family reunion than a genius warrior wordsmith and musical marvel."

    Chrysler's Plan? Send Pay, Retirement Benefits and Standards Down the Drain

    The same fearless, insightful news media that misrepresents Wall Street's raid on the U.S. Treasury as somehow necessary to save the economy has a story to tell about how the harm to hundreds of thousands of current and retired auto workers will be minimized by incorruptible public officials and knowledgable bankruptcy judges.  Only it's not true.  The wages of auto workers will be permanently cut, their hours lengthened, their benefits cut.  And those who worked 25 or 30 years on the line, counting on lifetime medical care and a dignified retirement have already been sold out.

    Obama's First 100 Days -- The Black Agenda Report Card

    by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Why a Report Card At All?
    The hundred day report card is an enduring tradition in American journalism for a very good reason. It's journalism's job to help citizens make sense of the world, to seek the truth and tell it without fear or favor no matter where it leads. Three months and a week into a new administration, everybody knows where the mens and ladies rooms are, most of the key hires are in place, and the bus has definitely cleared the station. There's plenty of evidence by now to assess where it's going, and whether it's anyplace we really ought to be headed.

    Status QuObama: A Hundred Days of Fake-Progressive BS and Liberal-Left Surrender

    The nation's first Black president proceeds unmolested by the Left as he moves mountains of money in a crusade to save the investment banking class. Anti-war forces dissolve into nothingness as Barack Obama extends the U.S. occupation of Iraq indefinitely. A new theater of war called Af-Pak coagulates in South Asia, yet benumbed "progressives" praise their president as the consummate man of peace. "By demanding nothing of Obama and the Democrats except that they not technically be Republicans, our so-called "progressive" organizations effectively grant advance approval to whatever corporate and imperial policies the new president and the Democrats execute."

    Freedom Rider: Tortured Justice

    da prezAny credit Barack Obama gets for revealing information on U.S. torture practices, Is “undeserved.” Freedom of Information suits brought by the ACLU and others “had already forced the governments hand.” But Obama has no intention of making the war criminals pay for their crimes – and for that, he is responsible in the eyes of the law. “As a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the United States is obligated to investigate, prosecute and punish officials who direct or commit acts of torture.” Obama, like most Americans, thinks obedience to the law is optional for the United States – an imperial mindset identical to that of his predecessors.

    Obama's America Joins White Walkout From UN Conference on Racism

    walkout

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download a copy of this Black Agenda Radio commentary.
    The former and present colonizers and enslavers of the world - Europe and its white settler colonies - rose in bogus indignation to denounce the Iranian president's remarks on Israeli racism. But it was a sham and farce, part of the choreographed Obama White House plan to wreck the Durban II international anti-racism conference. "In sabotaging Durban II, Barack Obama succeeded in avoiding coming to grips with grievances registered against the United States, eight years ago."

    European Pirates in Somali Waters

    factory fisherA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

     
    Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this Black Agenda Radio commentary.
    The maritime powers busily looting Somalia's fishery are preparing to formalize their theft. Spain and France, the "biggest thieves of Somali fish" plan to assume responsibility for the fisheries at an upcoming conference. Under cover of preserving order on the high seas, "the French, the Spanish and the rest of the freeloaders are reverting to a kind of piracy of their own, like in the good old days when whites sailed the world and took what they wanted."

     

    Black Colleges Profiled as Suspected Havens for “Extremists”

    black college studentsA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Click the flash player above to listen to or the mic to download this Black Agenda Radio commentary.

    Don't let the apolitical facades fool you. Virginia's four Black colleges are hotbeds of "militancy and rebellion" and magnets for "a wide variety of terror or extremist groups." So says a government-funded outfit called the Virginia Fusion Center, which also cautions against the national security dangers inherent in diversity. "While the vast majority of these individuals are law-abiding, this ethnic diversity also affords terrorist operatives the opportunity to assimilate easily into society, without arousing suspicion." Safe, secure communities are uniformly white and English-speaking.

    Eshu’s blues: Zulu Nation in Seattle Takes a Big Step Forward

     

    zulu 1by BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
    KRS One gave the best definition when he said rap is something you do, hip hop is something you live,” says Alonzo Ybarra, a prime mover in Seattle’s chapter of the Zulu Nation. “ Ybarra is determined to chart a positive course for the chapter, but he’s realistic about hip hop’s vulnerabilities. “I think rap in general has been commercialized, it’s probably one of the easiest cultural art forms to take on, certainly you don’t have to be in particularly great shape to think that you can rap, you certainly don’t have to be in very good mental condition to make words rhyme, so it’s no wonder that, very often in pretty much any community you go to in the United States, you’ll go out and hear rot as rap.”

     

    Has Change Come to Post-Katrina New Orleans?

    If you want to measure the distance between George Bush and Barack Obama on domestic political issues, Katrina provides the best test. What emerges is a startling continuity of policy toward New Orleans between the Republican and Democratic White Houses – especially regarding the fate of public housing. This continuity of policy “is particularly the case in New Orleans where public services have been or are on their way to being privatized or eliminated, and where, primarily due to this disaster capitalist agenda, almost half the population has been unable to return home, disproportionately female, black and, poor.”

    Creating A Third Force In American Politics

    by Dr. Ron Daniels
    Progressives should create a ‘third force’ in American politics – an independent political organization that focuses on developing and advocating reformative and transformative policy proposals and actively educates, agitates, organizes and lobbies to enact its agenda.” The Left should have learned by now “that the change President Obama believes he can achieve is incremental, not fundamental.” There’s a problem, however. Although “the crucial task is creating a third force as a 21st century version of the Rainbow Coalition… the left tends to be too fractious and contentious to build this kind of umbrella formation.”

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