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    Department of Broken Promises: Obama Closes Door on NAFTA Renegotiation

    by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

    During the campaign Barack Obama's campaign deliberately led supporters to imagine he favored the reopening of the wildly unpopular North American Free Trade Agreement, which most agree has cost millions of jobs, driven down wages in the U.S. and Mexico, increased the gap between rich and poor and driven millions of Mexican farmers off the land, into cities and to the U.S.  But reports from the Canadian press were confirmed by the White House yesterday.  Obama has no intention of renegotiating NAFTA.

    Freedom Rider: Viva Hugo Chavez!


    chavez salutesby BAR Editor and Senior Columnist  Margaret Kimberley
    When it comes to delivering health care and building economic opportunities for the poor, Barack Obama could learn a lot from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. But with Obama repeating the same false charges that justified a US sponsored coup a few years ago, it seems that the empire and its president have learned nothing and forgotten nothing in their relations with Latin America over the last half century. On this front as many others, the Obama administration seems not to be much of a change from the arrogant imperial politics of the past.


    People of Color Beset by Layers of Racial Profiling

    LAPD profilingA Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR Executive Editor Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to hear or the mic to download an MP3 copy of this Black Agenda Radio Commentary.
    "The 21st century began with a kind of ritual burial of racial profiling. Suddenly, nobody was in favor of it." Then cam 9/11, and racial profiling became a national imperative, the "patriotic thing to do." Both incarnations of racial profiling played out dramatically in New Jersey, where the Turnpike became a symbol of official racism on the road, later repudiated. The state now aggressively uses local police to question people about their immigration status, adding another layer of burden to people of color confronting arbitrarily intrusive police power. 

    Raul Castro, Barack Obama, Hugo Chavez: Who Are The Big Men?

    leadersA Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR Executive Editor Glen Ford

    Click the flash player above to hear or the mic to download an MP3 copy of this Black Agenda Radio commentary.

    What does putting "everything on the table" mean, in discussions among nations? Cuba's Raul Castro says he means literally everything, including exchange of political prisoners, as long as talks are held on the basis of equality. Barack Obama claims the next move is up to Cuba, but it appears Raul has already made an authentic offer. Besides, there is something fundamentally wrong when the nation that continues to commit crimes against its neighbor - the U.S. - asks for concessions before it will cease and desist.

    Race Cowardice From the Top Down


    america's head on raceby Paul Street
    Discussions of race in the US, except on the terms of and with the permission of privileged whites are impolite. They are “playing the race card.” Attorney General Eric Holder labeled the national reluctance to engage with itself a symptom of cowardice, forcing his boss to defend him. But the old saying is that it takes one to know one.


    Haitians Shun Senate Elections

    haiti elections empty ballot boxesby Al Jazeera English

    When Haiti held its first democratic elections in the 1990s after decades of occupation and US sponsored dictatorship, optimistic voters waited all night to cast their ballots and turnout was in the 90 percent range. Much has changed in the years since. Haiti's popular president, John Betrand Aristide has been kidnapped and exiled by the United States and France. The country has been brutally re-occupied by a multinational UN force. Lavalas, the party which gets better than 85% of Haitian votes every time it is permitted to compete, is banned, and its militants hunted by the occupiers. Another election, this one for the Haitian senate, occurred last week. By all accounts, almost nobody voted. Since the American press didn't cover it at all, we here reprint this April 20 dispatch from Al-Jazeera.


    Hope For The Hopesick: A Lexicon

    by Naomi Klein

    Righteous language helps us describe the real world in meaningful ways. For many Obama's supporters, the president's determination to keep “looking forward” without prosecuting or even investigating torturers and those who gave the orders is disturbing. His preference for private and parasitic health insurance over public health care is baffling. His reluctance to renegotiate NAFTA or actively push for the right to form and join unions is disappointing. His willingness to give the banks trillions in tax money so they can lend the government back that same money for taxpayers to repay at ruinous interest is transparently corrupt. Naomi Klein helpfully offers Obama fans a new vocabulary to aid us in understanding our predicament.


    Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Tavis Smiley, and the Impoverishment of Black Media

    joyner, havey, smileyby BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    When the Tom Joyner Morning Show was pulled first from Chicago, and then from other markets early this month, Joyner counseled listeners that " radio will never be what it once was, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it."  This message of powerlessness and permanent defeat, of resignation to someone else owning and controlling the black conversation may be all we can expect from Joyner and the rest of the black elite.  But is it the real answer? Does it even address the crucial question of how we might have and own our own black civic conversation?


    Avoiding World Conference on Racism Shows Obama's Disrespect For Blacks

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
    President Obama’s “fawning, damn near servile behavior when accommodating Zionist demands” to boycott and sabotage the Durban II conference on racism “should have been a deal breaker” in his relations with African Americans. But what passes for Black leadership accepts any and all insults from Obama, who naturally treats them like the spineless creatures they are. Meanwhile, the White House keeps “Jewish leaders” up to date with conference calls on how Obama is protecting Israel from charges that it is an apartheid state, and also ensuring that the United States is not compelled to make amends for its racist past and present.


    Freedom Rider: No Better Off with the Democrats

    spare changeby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    A wise political analyst once said that the United States didn't have two parties, just two wings of a single party, the Party of Business. The Bush-McCain wing might have been the oil companies and Wall Street. The Obama wing might be just Wall Street, a distinction without a great deal of difference, unless you include symbolic factors, like the first family's skin color and the ability of the president to speak off the cuff in complete, grammatical sentences.

    Eshu's Blues: First Black President of the American Empire


    imperial blackfaceby michael hureaux perez

    The name on the door, and the family in the White House has changed. We have a president who speaks in complete, grammatically correct sentences. But with more than 800 US military bases around the planet, and spending more on things military than the other 95% of the globe's population combined, America is the same old arrogant bully. Dr. King once said that a nation which spends more on things military than on human uplift is doomed. If he were alive today he might add, no matter the skin color of its leaders.


    First Black President Defeats U.S. Antiwar Movement


    obama samA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Click the flash player above to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary

    The arrival of the Obama administration has crippled the U.S. anti-war movement, which has neither the fortitude nor political depth to confront imperialism with a Black face. The Out of Iraq caucus on Capitol Hill might as well call itself the Out of Action caucus, since it can’t figure out a way to respond to President Obama’s expanding military budgets and wars. National anti-war organizations cling to the fiction that Obama is really seeking a military withdrawal from Iraq. “The anti-war movement has hit rock-bottom because of its failure to challenge this particular president, an imperialist with charm, a warmonger with a winning smile.


    US Aircraft and Elite Navy SEALs Defeat Three Somalis in a Lifeboat


    somali fishermenA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Click the flash player to listen to or the mic above to download this BA Radio Commentary

    The mounting hue and cry in the US press over the menace to civilization posed by Somali "pirates" is yet another Big Lie, to justify the latest chapter in America's imperial quest for African oil and other resources. US missiles and drones in the air, and perhaps US boots on the ground are all but inevitable, ordered to kill near-defenseless African civilians, by America's First Black President.


    Wired Less: Disconnected in Urban America


    Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other telco giants have spent mad public relations money spreading the myth that the digital divide is a thing of the past.  Some heedless and lazy black bloggers have helped spread this lie, but it's still a lie.  Redlining of and denial of service to poor and minority communities has been a core feature of the business models of the cable industry since its start decades ago, and of the phone companies for more than a century.  But in the 21st century, cheap, available broadband internet is as necessary to economic development as paved streets and roads.  Communities without it will become or remain economic, educational, business and social backwaters.

    See, hear and read more stories about the digital divide and what it costs communities, families and lives....

    Congress Nibbles on Edges of Wealth Gap

    wealth and povertyThe normal workings of America's version of the “free market “ have held black family wealth to one eleventh that of white families, on the average, and black family wealth has been much harder hit than that of white families by the collapse of the housing bubble. The economy is anything but race-neutral, and far more than race-neutral measures will be required to correct its imbalances and injustices.

    Politics and the Eighth Book of Moses


    John Maxwellby John Maxwell
    The movement to subjugate women, in the name of religion and the family, is on the march everyplace, including the Caribbean, Jamaica's eminent John Maxwell informs us. Jamaican lawmakers have enacted measures similar to those of their brothers in Afghanistan making husbands in many instances practically immune to charges of raping their wives.


    Obama Brand Soars, GOP Plummets on American Illusory Exchange: AmIllEx

    obama barkerby BAR executive editor Glen Ford


    Barack Obama massacred George Bush at the polls this week - the New York Times/CBS poll, that is. The high marks for the president are being interpreted as signs of an upbeat feeling about the economy - although Obama's popularity and the economy's performance are two different matters. One is largely based on subjective feelings (popularity), while the other (economy) is measured by objective facts. The business of polling is corrupted by corporate manipulation of the "news." "Much polling is an incestuous, closed loop of rehashed feedback whereby the same corporate media that provide the daily narrative and selected ‘facts' to the public later pose carefully crafted questions to determine whether their untrustworthy presentations sank in."


    Freedom Rider: Phony Nuclear Disarmament

     nukesby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    President Obama sent a near-declaration of war to Iran, all wrapped up in greetings for the Iranian New Year. The message may have looked like “a smiley faced video” in which the “president appeared to be very amiable and wished peace, love and harmony,” but was actually “nothing more than a well executed propaganda ploy intended to give him cover on the day he announces his true intentions.” Then he told Europeans, ''As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven.'' Beneath the charm, “Barack Obama repeats the worst, most untruthful and belligerent policies of the Bush administration.”


    Meltdown Stalls Whitening of Harlem: Gentrifiers Go Bust

    harlemMarket Meltdown Stalls Whitening of Harlem: Gentrifiers Go Bust

    A Black Agenda Radio interview with Nellie Hester-Bailey, executive director, Harlem Tenants Council by BAR Executive Editor Glen Ford

    Click the flash player to hear or the mic below to download a broadcast quality MP3 of this BA Radio interview


    The financial crisis has at least temporarily stalled the ethnic cleansing of Harlem by predatory developers and the investment banksters that back them. However, the gentrifiers’ champion, billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, seeks to win another term in office in order to finish the racial and class makeover of Harlem and other non-white communities. He is abetted by a host of “supine” Black office-holders ever eager to displace their own people.

    Public Broadband Maps Must Expose Digital Redlining To End the Digital Divide

    A BA Radio Commentary by Bruce Dixon

    ou tell me?Click the flash player to hear or the mic below to download a broadcast quality MP3 of this BA Radio commentary


     President Obama pledged the extension of low-cost broadband would be a high priority of his administration.  But Verizon, Comcast and other players seek to privatize the broadband mapping process and freeze in place the digital divide forever.

    US Supreme Court Refuses Hearing For Political Prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal


    A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon 
    Click the flash player to listen to, or the mic at left to download a broadcast quality MP3 of this BA Radio commentary.
    The US may have its first black president.  But it also has black political prisnes, whose prosectuion and incarceration has nothing to do with whatever they may have been accused of or with the law, and everything to do with politicis.  Mumia Abu Jamal is one of these.i


    Fidel Castro on Black Caucus Trip to Cuba


    cubafrom Prensa Latina
    The former leader of Cuba, in his new capacity as journalist, reports on this week’s and previous visits from members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Castro describes the CBC as, “in practice…the most progressive wing within the Democrat Party.” The delegation, which attended ceremonies at Havana’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, where CBC Chairperson Barbara Lee (D-CA), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO)and Bobby Rush (D-IL) spoke at an observation of Dr. King’s assassination. One member “said he was sure that Obama will change the policy towards Cuba, but Cuba should also help him.”


    In the Era of Obama, Is There a Need for a Black Agenda?

    whatevaby Dr. Ron Daniels

    The fact that America has progressed to the point that a Black family can occupy the White House has not eradicated the myriad maladies of race and class that continue to constrain the aspirations of millions of Black people in this nation,” says veteran political organizer Ron Daniels. “The idea of a Black Agenda is not only relevant, it is imperative if Africans in America, as a group, are to enter the ‘promised land’ that Martin Luther King envisioned from his view from the mountaintop in Memphis.” Dr. Daniels praises the National Urban League’s recent State of Black America report on racial disparities for “implicitly making the case for the ongoing need for a Black Agenda.”


    Writing the Next Chapter on Race: Enforce the Law

    enforcementby Judith Browne-Dianis
    The United States could make great progress towards racial equality if the federal government simply enforced the laws that are already on the books. Environmental racism, health inequities, mass minority incarceration – “All of these disparities exist with government support or permission.” Under George Bush, “our government largely pursued a ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ approach to structural racism and injustice.” President Obama has an opportunity to “reverse some of these terrible trends by enforcing laws” such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “which authorizes federal agencies to prevent discrimination by recipients of federal funding.” Properly applied, Title VI could “ensure that government is no longer part of the disease but rather part of the cure.”

    Structural Racism Not on ABC's Agenda


    racismby Julie Hollar
    U.S. corporate media pretend to explore issues of race in America, but seldom go beyond matters of general perception, anecdotes, images, and questions about the availability of cab rides. ABC television prefers to package their racial reports as “encouraging stories,” writes Hollar. “But it's only possible to tell such encouraging stories by limiting your focus to one kind of racism--the overt kind that plays out through individually held prejudices.” Hard facts of institutional racism, such as wealth and incarceration disparities, most often escape ABC’s attention. Which is a slick and soothing way to sweep structural problems under the rug.


    Misogyny and Black Youth: Silence Equals Death

    The educator/journalist observed that some of the boys in her classroom were “bursting with perspective” on “the widespread use of the words ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ to describe young women of color on campus.” Not so with the girls, who were largely silent on the subject. When pressed, some of the girls “claim the words are justifiably used to describe ‘bad girls’ who are promiscuous and unruly, not realizing that black women have always been deemed “bad” in the eyes of the dominant culture, as less than feminine, as bodies for pornographic exploitation.” There is a crying need to “change the self-hating mindset of many young black women,” made worse by “a generation of Bush-besotted militarism and corporate reign over media [that] has turned sexualized violence against women into a billion dollar industry.”

    Haiti: The Audacity of Hopelessness


    bJohn Maxwelly John Maxwell

    Haiti’s gift to humanity was to become “the first nation anywhere to enshrine the rights of man, woman and child, the fundamental universal rights of human beings, in their constitution.” Much of the rest of its history has been a litany of rape and assaulted national tortures at the hands of France, the United States and the corrupt and depraved elite installed by the foreigners. Despite this history, “an eminent gaggle of politicians and private sector experts” claim that “the poorest country in the Western hemisphere got that way… by native mismanagement and the incompetence of the black Haitian population and its leaders.” To believe that, is to “believe that women who are raped are at least partially responsible for their own misfortunes.”


    Sudan/Darfur is Test Case for Obama’s “Humanitarian” Aggression

    out of iraq into darfurby BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir had no choice but to expel the western "aid" organizations that had merged with the American propaganda machine aimed at regime change in Khartoum. Obama operatives like UN Ambassador Susan Rice have for years been "eager to blockade Sudan's ports" and to launch "selective" bombing raids against Sudan. When imperial doctrine claims the right to intervene whenever disasters overtake sovereign countries - and proceeds to create and exacerbate those disasters - then no government is safe against regime change. President Obama "appears to be fine-tuning a ‘humanitarian' interventionist doctrine that is applicable to any point on the planet."

    Freedom Rider: Barbaric Israel

    israelby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
    A nation that has violated “every norm of civilized behavior and international law” since its founding in 1948 is held virtually blameless by the U.S. corporate media – Israel sycophants of the lowest order. “Now members of the Israeli Defense Force themselves are coming forward to admit that they committed war crimes” – but the U.S. press is censoring their confessions! Even when Israeli soldiers openly testify to committing “murder” in Gaza, as reported by the Israeli press, the U.S. corporate media “keeps the people of this country ignorant” of the crimes against humanity bankrolled by American taxpayers.

    Eshu’s blues: Ayers and Dohrn Speak Out on Behalf of the Emperor

    weathermenby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez

    Oh, how the once-revolutionaries have fallen! Thus, former Weatherman William Ayers and his back-in-the-day comrade and spouse Bernardine Dohrn sing the praises of the Wall Street champion, Barack Obama. “It is painful to watch them perform these ministrations for a political hack who won’t even stand up to the butchers who drove the Clinton political machine or the Carter political machine decades before him.” As Lenin remarked back in his own time, “In the end run, anarchists were turning out to be no more than ‘liberals with bombs.’”  We need to return to Amilcar Cabral’s admonition to “tell no lies, claim no easy victories.”

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