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    Did Barack Obama Just Appoint An Underqualified Stooge and Privatizer Secretary of Education?

    Black Agenda Report's Bruce Dixon interviews Chicago educator and activist George Schmidt
    The short answer seems to be "yes."  Before being appointed CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, Arne Duncan never saw the inside of a classroom as a teacher.  This is probably a good thing, since Duncan does not possess the academic qualifications to be even a substitute teacher.  Worse still, Duncan's idea of improving inner-city schools in Chicago is handing them over to corporate-run charter schools or converting them to military academies.  This, says longtime Chicago educator and activist George Schmidt, is not the change we voted for. 

    The next issue of Black Agenda Report will appear on December 31, 2008

    There will be no issue of BAR for December 24. So, until New Years Eve,
    HAPPY HOLIDAYS from the team at BAR!

    The Great Debate on Obama --Last Week in Harlem, This Week in Baltimore

    Transcript and audio remarks by Glen Ford, Dr. Leonard Jeffries and Dr. Donald Smith


    Was the election of Barack Obama good for Black people? No, argued BAR's Glen Ford, 
    Baruch College professor emeritus of education Donald Smith, and two
    other distinguished Black educators at a debate in New York's Harlem, last
    weekend. Four activists lined up on the other side of the question, before a
    crowd of over 1,500. Dr. Smith evaluated Obama based on his "personnel
    appointments, post-racial philosophy, and cultural incompatibility."  Said Ford: "I'm not mad at Obama. He's just
    another cynical center-right politician, doing whatever he can get away with.
    The people I'm mad at are the ones who let him get away with it."

    Next week the Great Debate moves to Baltimore, with a live webcast on

    Freedom Rider: Gay Rights and Black America

    FRblacksGaysFistsby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    "It wasn't possible for black votes to have single handedly provided the margin of victory" for California's ban on gay marriage. "A majority of whites, Latinos and Asians all voted for" Proposition 8, and "those black voters who approved of Proposition 8 did so for the same reasons that people of other races did." Black political behavior on this issue and many others is also rooted in unique conditions of African American life, such as chronic high unemployment and mass Black incarceration. If society does not allow honest and sensitive discussion of African American problems, Blacks should not be expected to be paragons of correctness.

    U.S. Proposes International Gang Rape of Somalia

    SomaliFightersThe U.S., having
    failed to subdue Somalia through Ethiopia's proxy invasion, now appeals to the
    world's militaries to turn Somalia into a "free fire zone." Somali "piracy" is
    a pretext for old fashioned imperial aggression.

    Click the flash player below  to hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary.

    Obama’s Opportunity to Show Respect for the Rule of Law

    TorturePrisonersDick Cheney has
    openly confessed to a personal role in shaping U.S. policy in the torture of
    prisoners. A Senate Committee reports that a long list of administration
    officials are culpable in torture, starting with George Bush. Will President Obama let the
    guilty walk free?

    Click the flash player below to hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary.

    Lords of Capital Decree the End of Personal Security

    JobSecurityStrike"Those politicians
    who would allow Detroit to go down the drain, are loyal to capital, not to
    country." They are intent on obliterating the very idea "that working people
    have the right to protect themselves from the ups and downs of capitalist booms
    and busts."

    Click the flash player below to hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary

    The “Wait ‘Til He Gets In” Delusion: The President Elect is Not a Latent Lefty

    by Paul Street

    Despite all the evidence to the contrary, there are still those who think that Barack Obama "is a ‘true progressive' whose left and democratic orientation has been ‘squandered' or carefully hidden thanks to his national political ambitions and/or the influence of his political handlers." In reality, "Obama came to the political game with an already advanced and highly cultivated bourgeois taste for incremental change and compromise with concentrated power." Obama is tricky. "He posed for the liberal base as an ‘antiwar candidate' even while he signaled clearly to the foreign policy establishment that he would continue the Iraq occupation for an indefinite period."

    Africa, AFRICOM and Proxy Imperialism

    by Mark P. FancherAFRICOM

    Imperialism ain't easy. Times change, and the neocolonial exploiters have to stay on their toes. They must encourage "the illusion of independence" in the formerly colonized world, the better to maintain effective economic control. "Enter Africa Command - better known as AFRICOM," whose "mission is to conduct ‘sustained security engagement through military-to-military programs, military-sponsored activities, and other military operations as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of U.S. foreign policy."  The key phrase is, of course "in support of U.S. foreign policy," a point that has not been lost on African nations.

    Don’t Be A Buffalo Soldier

    by Carl DixBuffalo-Soldier-800

    Barack Obama, the vaunted "role model," wants a greatly expanded U.S. war machine capable of putting lots more "boots on the ground" around the globe. The author poses the question: "Is having a Black commander-in-chief enough to get you to enlist in America's war for empire, to kill people, and maybe die yourself, trying to keep America's strnglehold on the world in effect?" The "Buffalo Soldiers" of yesteryear now fill America's imperial legions, continuing the "shameful legacy" of "driving the native inhabitants off their lands to make way for the expansion of America[n]" power.

    Poverty: Policies and Possibilities, Part 2

    community-garden-2by Shannon J. Prince

    Many of the solutions to poverty begin in the minds and experiences of poor people, themselves. The author examines two unconventional anti-poverty efforts, one that finds "people willing to employ marginalized people, matches young people with jobs that meet their interests, and seeks out mentors in their fields for them." Another initiative is built around cultivation of community gardens. "The gardens change spaces once used for prostitution and drug dealing into crime free areas.  They also reduce crime by providing young people with a positive activity in which to engage."

    "That Which Is Good Is Never Finished"

    7_foot_poet_upright_250wideby Kemet Mawakana, a.k.a. the Seven Foot Poet

    There are times that mark our goings and our comings and our lives, times to acknowledge each other, our ancestors and our place in the cosmos.  Those times are what poetry is for.

    The Malik Rahim Campaign in New Orleans -- An Analysis

    by Robert Caldwell
    Competent and responsible organizers do not just take credit for their
    victories, they critically analyze their defeats and shortcomings in
    order to extract useful lessons.   We want to take this
    opportunity to thank those BAR readers who donated or worked the phones
    for his campaign, and we here republish a critical
    analysis of the performance of Malik Rahim's campaign written by its
    campaign manager. 
    The editors

    Will Obama Privatize Public Assets To Pay For “Economic Recovery”?

    texasBy BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

    Obama's old school economic team are on record as favoring privatizations of public resources in principle. Unless Obama is willing to significantly cut the military budget or tax the rich, neither of which seems very likely, the only way to pay for even a reasonably large jobs and recovery program is to kill other jobs through a wave of Chicago-style privatizations. And privatizations are always bad for democracy.

    Freedom Rider: Obama is Not King

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberleyobama-mlk

    It is the height of historical distortion to compare President-Elect Barack Obama in any way, shape or form to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King "is probably the only person in American history who gave up a close relationship with a president," Lyndon Johnson, "because his convictions demanded it." Those convictions were anchored in King's opposition to "racism, materialism and militarism." Obama, conversely, makes common cause with financial speculators and militarists. Under the current system, "It is simply impossible to be both a fighter for justice and president of the United States."

    Eshu’s blues: President Barancklin Husseinalo Roosobamavelt

    ESHUgreenjobsby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez

    "President-Elect Obama has promised us a massive public works program that will put two and a half million people to work in various forms of ‘green' industry" - a promise that may or may not turn out to be worth something. "Green" is a shapeless category that can include "use of healthy agricultural acreage for the production of fuels for the automobile." Obama's leftish supporters anticipate a second coming of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, but "even the Obamaists have to see that there's something slightly hinky about the names that are turning up in the presidential cabinet."

    Somalia Ought To Be Obama's Litmus Test

    by Sadia Ali AdenSomaliWar

    The test of Barack Obama's policies in Africa
    and worldwide begins with his handling of the war against Somalia, his
    inheritance from George Bush. The "world's worst humanitarian disaster" (about
    which Obama has not uttered a single word), is the product of America's "proxy
    war in the Horn of Africa" in partnership with Washington's client, Ethiopia. In
    this unholy alliance, "Ethiopian troops are killing civilians by slitting their
    throats and gang-raping women," according to Amnesty International. Next month,
    Obama must take responsibility for "over one million internally displaced
    persons and nearly 3.5 million on the verge of starvation" in Somalia.

    Power to the People in Time of Crisis

    PowerToPeopleThe raw numbers of
    dollars spent on economic recovery are not as important as transforming
    relations of power in the U.S. "Only a great shift in power relationships,
    seizing it from the financial oligarchy to empower the great majority, can hope
    to bring even a semblance of stability and relief to the people as a whole."

    Click the flash player below to hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary

    Black Colleges Face Whiteout

    BlackCollegesWhite Georgia
    politicians want to force two historically Black universities to merge with white schools, to reduce "duplicative" costs and end a "legacy of segregation.
    "When a Georgia Republican goes on a crusade against the vestiges of Jim Crow,
    it's time to watch out!"

    Click here to listen to this Black Agenda Radio commentary

    U.S. Business Says No Mas to Cuba Embargo

    CubaEmbargoU.S. business groups have joined the vast
    majority of the world's nations in requesting that President-Elect Obama
    quickly end the 47-year-long American trade embargo against Cuba. The economic
    blockade isolates the U.S., not Cuba. "In a sense, the United States is
    embargoing itself."

    Click the flash player below to hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary

    Cholera Outbreak Outcome of West’s War on Zimbabwe

    ZimbabweCholeraby Stephen Gowans

    Zimbabwe is facing multiple crises because of
    savage western assaults on its economy and the viability of its state
    machinery. The goal is regime change. U.S.-British sanctions against Zimbabwe
    are a form of warfare, like the sanctions that led to a million deaths in
    pre-invasion Iraq. The cholera outbreak is useful to Washington and London,
    making "Zimbabwe's crisis international, because disease can cross borders." If
    the destabilization of Zimbabwe is successful, other African nations "will back
    away from their own land reform and economic indigenization demands" - a
    victory for imperial supremacy.

    Human Rights Day Celebration in Gaza

    PalestiniansGazaby Abukar Arman

    December 10 marks the 60th
    anniversary of the Universal
    Declaration of Human Rights, yet the document
    holds no sway in Palestine, where "an entire population is being brutally
    punished." Israel, the occupying power, refuses to recognize the Declaration's
    authority. Gaza's, "million and a half human beings are being imprisoned with
    almost no access to the outside world." The president of the UN General
    Assembly has "called on the international community to consider stricter
    measures against Israel ....measures similar to those taken against South Africa
    in the 1980s that include ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions.'"

    Poverty: Policies and Possibilities

    by Shannon PrincePovertyStory           

    Regulation of industry can be a very good thing, but requiring licenses to braid hair is oppressive and stupid. "Since time immemorial black women have braided hair in open air and in kitchens and on front porches without licensing, to no societal ill effect," writes the author. Any anti-poverty offensive should recognize that "poor people can use themselves as weapons against poverty." Far more injurious to society than unlicensed hair-braiders, are welfare regulations that harm "disproportionately families of color, forcing men to sneak to see their children and treating would-be wives like slaves sold to a different plantation."

    Obama’s ‘Center-Right’ Presidency: The Die is Cast

    ObamaKoolAidby BAR executive editor
    Glen Ford

    In case there are any lingering doubts, it's
    official: Barack Obama has earned a well-deserved rating of "center-right"
    politician, courtesy of the New York Times. The president-elect worked
    hard to pull himself rightward, after starting off with a reputation as a
    liberalish "peace" candidate. Nobody calls Obama that anymore, not since he
    endorsed the bankers' bailout, put the economy's future in the hands of the
    same people that set the stage for financial meltdown, and let Bush's War
    Secretary keep the keys to the imperial armory. So let's give it to Obama. He
    won't ever have an identity crisis, again.

    Susan Rice is Bad News for Africa

    Riceby BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    Barack Obama's nominee for United Nations Ambassador is a very aggressive woman - militarily speaking. Susan Rice is "more bellicose" than George Bush when it comes to threatening Sudan over the plight of the people of Darfur, "while simultaneously backing a savage U.S.-Ethiopian assault that causes an even larger humanitarian calamity in Somalia." One is forced to conclude that "Susan Rice's brand of ‘humanitarian intervention' is a farce, a pretext to justify military aggression under the guise of preventing human suffering."

    Freedom Rider: Mumbai and American Terror

    mumbaiby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    "Terror is usually the result of unacknowledged grievance. Muslims are mad at the United States, Great Britain and the Indian government." This should be obvious, but "as always, Americans never see a connection between themselves, the acts of terror committed by their own government and anger directed at them around the globe." The victims in Mumbai are mourned in the United States, "as they should be. The victims of the United States government in Iraq and Afghanistan are not.

    Corporate Economists Tell Lies for a Living

    wall_street_da_signby Glen Ford
    members of the economics profession are "shills and boosters" for the
    (one-time) Titans of finance capital "The economists most cited in corporate
    media are shills and boosters for capitalism in general, and Wall Street in
    Click the flash player below to hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary

    Troubled White Troops on Ghetto Streets

    troopsby Glen Ford

    Washington wants "to assign 20,000 federal
    troops to cope with terrorist attacks, domestic disasters and civil unrest." A
    mixture of plain old racism plus rampaging PTSD and a counter-insurgency
    mentality makes U.S. soldiers a threat to life and limb on ghetto streets.

    Click the flash player below to hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary


    Obama Revitalizes Disaster Capitalism: The Shock Doctrine Receives a Make-Over

    shockby Carolyn Baker

    The president-elect's "adherence to neoliberal, globalist
    policies couched in the rhetoric of ‘change' but offering no substantial
    departure from the ultimate strategies of imperialism, corporate capitalist
    supremacy, and almost total ignorance (or ignore-ance) of the energy and
    environmental suicide perpetuated by endless growth." Yes, it's that bad. Obama
    economics advisor Larry Summers "has embraced "the three ‘ations'...
    privatization, stabilization, and liberalization." Obama trusts the advice of
    someone who has been "preaching the [shock capitalism] doctrine."

    The Great Land Giveaway: Neo-Colonialism by Invitation


    by James Petras

    Newly emerging nations have joined with the
    usual neocolonial suspects in a massive bid to buy up poorer countries'
    available land. How do they pull it off? "The process of agro-imperial empire
    building operates largely through political and financial mechanisms, preceded,
    in some cases, by military coups, imperial interventions and destabilization
    campaigns." One factor might end the land grab. "The biggest constraint on the
    advance of agro-imperialism is the economic collapse of world capitalism."

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