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Obama as the “New JFK”: Nothing Great to Be

by Paul Street

As the anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination approaches, the media will be awash with comparisons between JFK and Barack Obama. The two do, indeed, have much in common. “President Obama has moved in the same doctrinally and politically imposed corporate and imperial grooves as Kennedy.”

Blacks & Drones

by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre

Two organizations that give qualified support to U.S. adventures abroad, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have issued reports critical of civilian deaths by American drone strikes. However, U.S. foreign policy is rooted in domestic practice. “U.S. Blacks have long been placed within a disposition matrix better known as ‘stop-n-frisk’ and they have long been the victims of normalized state assassination.”

Obama Reeks of Sulfur at the UN

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

There was nothing conciliatory about President Obama’s speech to the UN. His message was blatantly subversive of the UN Charter, reserving the right to launch pre-emptive wars for “humanitarian” purposes and to circumvent the world body through proxies and “coalitions of the willing” in quest of regime change. No less than George Bush’s message in 2006, it was a declaration of war against peace.

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Crack Cocaine Flick

by Raymond Nat Turner

Drone Man’s

Set to do drive-bys,

With the world divided

Between “NO” and “HELL NO!”

You’ve got a friend…

by Raymond Nat Turner

Drone Man “tagged” you in a note

He wants you to get out the vote

Like tubes down a “detainee” throat

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/27/13

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/27/13

 

U.S. Prison Torture Protests

With California prison protests set to renew in July, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network will mark three Days of Solidarity with the 80,000 inmates in solitary confinement, nationwide, June 21 - 23. Solitary confinement, as practiced in the United States, “fits the international definition of torture,” said network spokesman Carl Dix. “In fact, they are held consciously in conditions that are driving them insane.” The network also plans a “Hoodie Day” for June 10, the start of George Zimmerman’s trial in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Obama’s Empty Rhetoric on Global War

President Obama’s speech on the future of U.S. targeted assassinations around the world contained “nothing concrete, anywhere,” said anti-war activist David Swanson, publisher of the influential website WarIsACrime.org. “By the president’s own concession, what he’s been doing for years is an unacceptable outrage,” said Swanson. “The president claims that he will respect the sovereignty of other nations, but there is no evidence that this is the case, and there is no mechanism for any of these criteria to be enforced by anyone other than himself.”

U.S. Would Make Syria a Wasteland, Like Libya

Washington and its allies and proxies are engaged “in an all-out effort at regime change in Syria,” much like the 2011 NATO war against Libya, said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “Libya today has no functioning government, which is really fine for the major oil corporations,” said Flounders. “They don’t have to worry about paying anybody anything, and the oil continues to pump.” Ultimately, what U.S. corporations want “is what they have in Bangladesh – a race to the bottom.”

End UN Occupation of Haiti

Delegates from across the western hemisphere will gather in Port-au-Prince, May 31 and June 1, for a Continental Conference against the 9-year United Nations occupation of Haiti. UN troops “are there to impose repression on a people that have refused to accept the violation of their sovereignty and their right to determine their own destiny,” said Alan Benjamin, a conference organizer and executive committee member of the San Francisco Bay Area Labor Council.

Attempted Land Grab in Cameroon

International protest appears to have halted a 73,000 hectare palm oil and lumber venture by the multinational Herakles Farms corporation in Cameroon. The deal had awarded Herakles a 99-year lease at only $1 per hectare a year. Studies confirm the company’s “intention to make huge profits in transfers and assets on the cheap,” said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute. Such transactions “should serve as a reminder that the land rush that has brought investors into the African nations is not driven by philanthropy, despite claims to the contrary.” Brendan Schwartz, of Greenpeace International, said the scheme “is not a development project,” but would, in fact, create “unemployment and underdevelopment.”

Black Power vs. Capitalism

Majority Black jurisdictions across the nation have seen their local school and governing bodies “set aside, so that the governor can appoint stooges to impose massively unpopular programs of austerity; wage, pension, benefits and service cuts; and privatization,” said Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon, in a commentary on Black Agenda Television. “Quite simply, what austerity regimes do is turn local government from an entity that collects local taxes and fees, in order to pay its employees living wages and provide needed services, into a machine which collects local taxes and user fees from the poor and sends them straight to Wall Street as interest payments on an eternal, unpayable debt.”

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Cornel West: Obama “Is a War Criminal”

by Jacob Chamberlain

I would rather have a white president fundamentally dedicated to eradicating poverty and enhancing the plight of working people than a black president tied to Wall Street and drones," activist-academic Dr. Cornel West told British journalists. Barack Obama, like his predecessor, should be tried for war crimes.

Fortress America Besieged: War Penetrates Imperialist Sanctuary

by Omali Yeshitela

The Who and Why of the events in Boston are by no means clear, given the machinations of the U.S. secret services. One thing is certain, however: “The Obama regime will use the Boston bombing as an excuse to initiate even more odious attacks on freedom within the U.S. with the willingness of a frightened white population.”

A Plague of Desolationists on the “Left”

by Randy Shields

“Desolationists believe that America’s non-stop bombing of other nations is either no issue at all or not nearly as important as being pro-choice or supporting gun control or marriage equality.” They are worse than useless. Plus, “with blacks standing down indefinitely, the working class doesn’t have the rage to stop Obama from taking the first swings of the wrecking ball to Social Security.”

Freedom Rider: What Ails the GOP

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The Republicans have stripped down their constituency to only “the worst of the worst” Americans: “white supremacists, misogynists and other dead enders.” Obama’s Democrats have absorbed the rest of the GOP, to become the New Republican Party of austerity and war.

Preventive Detention and the Death of the Democratic State

by Chris Hedges

The author, a journalist and plaintiff in a suit contesting the constitutionality of President Obama’s preventive detention law, asks: “Could I be seen by the security and surveillance state, because I challenge the official narrative, as a collaborator with the enemy?” The answer is: Yes – and so could you.

Towards a Police State in New York

by Belen Fernandez

Hyper-surveillance of American Muslims leads U.S. secret police to draw strange cultural conclusions. They note that giving up "cigarettes, drinking, gambling and urban hip-hop gangster clothes" may indicate a Muslim's "progression along the radicalization continuum" toward "Jihadization." Of course, such acculturation might also make Muslims bigger targets for stop-and-frisk.

Fleets of Drones Descend on Africa

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

U.S. drone bases are multiplying on the African continent. Niger has just “given the green light to accepting American surveillance drones on its soil”; neighboring Burkina Faso already has one; two new drone facilities are opening in Ethiopia and the Seychelles; and UN peacekeepers in Congo want U.S. drones. Drones have terrorized Somalia from AFRICOM’s base in Djibouti for the past seven years.

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The White House Un-Reality Show

 

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Despite the fact that “it was Barack Obama who began the current austerity offensive in the weeks before delivering his first inaugural address,” the president was allowed to pose as a champion of the social safety net. Having redefined war, he once again claims to be a peacemaker. By cheering the inaugural speech, progressives are only encouraging Obama’s gaming and mendacity.”

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – week of January 14, 2013

 

What Would Dr. King Do?

Were he alive today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would “highlight Wall Street criminality,” “war crimes coming out of the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department” and “the social crimes of the New Jim Crow, the criminal justice system, which is itself criminal,” said Dr. Cornel West, of the Union Theological Seminary, in New York. “Martin would be very, very sad when he looked at the fraudulent character of Black leadership, the massive capitulation to the White House.”

The slain civil rights leader “would be in righteous opposition to the American regime of austerity and war, and to a president and his administration that is in the vanguard of it,” according to Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “King was, at the end of the day, a democratic revolutionary. He was calling for an uprising to the forces of injustice and war,” said Monteiro. In contrast, today’s “Black petit bourgeoisie are more interested in their own comfort than they are in social justice.”

Black Women’s Wage Gap

The wage gap between men and African American women is 70 cents on the dollar, according to a study of U.S. Census Bureau data by the National Partnership for Women and Families. Sarah Crawford, the group’s director of workplace fairness, said “nearly 40 percent of households headed by African American women are living in poverty, so this lost pay in particularly critical for those families. The difference in earnings amounts to more than $14,000 each year.”

Fictional Fiscal Crisis

The conservatives, the Republicans, the business lobby, have been allowed to control the debate” over fiscal policy “because they’ve created the idea that we have this big deficit crisis,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research. “And it really is a fiction.” Such false assumptions are why “programs like Medicare and Social Security are on the chopping block.”

Pace of Police Killings of Blacks Increases

Kali Akuno, one of the authors of last year’s Malcolm X Grassroots Movement report on extrajudicial killings of Blacks, said “we are already noticing that, by our count, there’s been ten Black men who’ve been killed by police in 2013, and that’s faster than the pace of 2012.” Akuno spoke earlier this month on a National Forum on Police Brutality and Institutional Racism, on Your World News, hosted by Solomon Comissiong and Peter Fowler.

Obama’s War Mongers

Virtually everybody on the top echelon of the Obama foreign policy team, they all backed the Iraq War,” points out Sam Husseini, communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, tapped for Secretary of Defense, fits the bill. John Brennan, the White House intelligence advisor who got the president’s nod to head the CIA, meets every week with Obama “to decide who they are going to kill,” said Husseini. “He at one point claimed that there were no civilian deaths from the drone program, though we know there are civilian deaths.”

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