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    Why Elections Still Matter, Except When They Don't


    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Martin Luther King once talked about how a black person in the south was unable to vote, while one in the north had nothing to vote for.  50 years later, the south as become the north too.  The two capitalist parties have gamed and subverted the electoral process to exclude real opposition and to make it meaningless, except for bestowing legitimacy upon their stooges.  So why and when to elections still matter for the left, and when not?

    Gridlock (Once Again) Rescues Social Security from Obama and the GOP

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    Republican refusal to accept Barack Obama as a Grand Bargain partner has once again saved Social Security from cuts desired by both the White House and the GOP. Liberals are congratulating themselves, but gridlock is the real hero.

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    Obama-Inspired Surrender of Black Leadership Makes Real Criminal Code Reform, Mass Incarceration Rollback Unlikely

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    There's a House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Overcriminalization committed to combing through the federal code looking for ways to lock up fewer people. Should we get our hopes up, or get our fight for justice and rolling back the state on? Will the black misleadership class be any help? Probably not much. Should that stop us? Let's hope not.

    Detroit: The Parable of the Banksters and the City

    by Tom Stephens

    The corporate takeover of Detroit is “a completely unprecedented spectacle” of infinite corruption and brazen bullying by the 1%. “Jones Day and its megabucks corporate client list are perfectly positioned to profit from Detroit’s ‘restructuring’ thru land speculation, privatization, and related neoliberal scams.”

    Freedom Rider: Fear of a Dead Planet

    By Margaret Kimberley

    Fracking is a corporate oil extraction technology. It uses vast quantities of water and irretrievably poisons water tables for entire regions before it brings up an ounce of oil or gas. Refining fracked oil & gas takes several times the energy and is vastly more polluting than conventional gas and oil, and once refined, burning even the cleanest gas and oil is altering the climate, possibly killing the planet. Fracking is fracked up.

    Freedom Rider: Not Voting for Obama


    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    The top Democrat and Republican have clashed face-to-face three times – and emerged far more alike than different. “Given this degree of collusion, why would it be so terrible if Obama lost?” The presidential electoral exercise looks more like an exorcism in which both parties are the Devil.

    Brought To You By “Clean Coal:” All You Need To Know About the 2012 Obama- Romney Debates

    A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    What do we do when choices between major presidential candidates aren't real choices, and debates between them not real debates? Real or not, the scripted and controlled events put on by the corporate “Commission” on Presidential Debates are heralded by corporate media as the opportunity to compare Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, as if a meaningful “choice” existed between them.

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    Freedom Rider: Mitt Romney, The Less Effective Evil


    by BAR editor and senior Margaret Kimberley

    Mitt Romney is living proof that incompetent white guys with money can go far in life – but not, this time, to the White House. The poor little rich boy will doubtless blame the 47%. But Obama will treat them no better. “If he is re-elected he will waste no time in making another grand bargain with the Republicans which will come at the expense of the 47%.”

    Closer Than You Think: Top 15 Things Romney and Obama Agree On

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Republicans and Democrats, like Romney and Obama are of one mind on many more things than they disagree about. From war and empire to their policies on Big Ag, Big Energy, “clean coal and safe nuclear power,” and the war on drugs their areas of agreement are vast and troubling, and perhaps far more important than the rhetorical and stylistic differences highlighted by US political campaigns.

    Many Years Too Late, the Black Caucus Turns on Artur Davis


    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Former Alabama congressman Artur Davis’ name is mud with Black Democrats, for speaking to the Republican National Convention. They say he’s flip flopped on his old “progressive” policies. But Davis “was always among the worst, most right-wing members of the Congressional Black Caucus.” That’s why the Rahm Emanuel-Barack Obama wing of the party once considered him a “friend.”

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    The 99% Take on the Republican National Convention


    by Arun Gupta

    About 500 protesters greeted the Republican convention, in Tampa. “What united the crowd was the 99% rhetoric,” which the White House has adopted – without the substance – from the Occupy Movement. No mention of how the president’s own austerity initiatives “helped enable the next stage of right-wing extremism that he is now running against.”

    Why We Don't Spend As Much Time Denouncing Republicans As We Do Democrats

    By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Every now and then attentive listeners and readers ask why we at Black Agenda Report don't spend nearly as much time denouncing racist, misogynist and downright evil Republicans like Romney and Ryan as we do detailing the betrayals and failures of Democrats like our black political class, and its current corporate mascots in city halls, state legislatures, the Congress and the White House.

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    The GOP’s Tired, Poor Huddled Masses


    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Having based much of American exceptionalist mythology on the cult of white immigrant “values” – and the matching slander that African Americans are values-poor – the Right will increasingly “ratchet up classic divide and conquer narratives tied to bootstrapping and a racialized mythos of hard work.” That suits many Latinos just fine. “Despite being of mixed black, Asian, Indian and European ancestry the majority of Latinos in the U.S. identify racially as white.” Plus, “Latino parishioners are fueling a resurgence of Pentecostalism in the U.S. and filling in the gaps of an aging white demographic in decline.”

    Obama Deserves Impeachment for War Policies, But Few Dare Say So – and Most of Them are Republicans


    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    It has fallen mainly to Republicans to challenge President Obama’s military flaunting of both U.S. and international law. A North Carolina congressman named Jones has submitted a resolution that would hold Obama liable to impeachment if he attacks Syria or any other country without an act of authorization from Congress. It is an action that “should have emanated from the Congressional Progressive and Black Caucuses, rather than the Republican Right.”

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    Eshu’s blues: “Republicans” and why politics is still just show business for ugly people


    by Michael Hureaux Perez

    Civilized people worry about the Republicans’ antics this election season. “Why this parading of the cracker factory in full daylight and without their sheets and hoods?” Could it be that the Nixon’s old Southern Strategy has finally gone berserk? The author’s theory “is that the ‘Democratic’ faction of the Neo Confederacy has moved so far to the right that it’s actually overtaken the ‘Republican’ party and is bankrolling it.” The fix is in, and the landslide is coming.

    Freedom Rider: Defend Iran!


    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Americans can expect to see a presidential address within the next few months, announcing bombings, drone attacks or an outright invasion with ground troops against Iran.” The momentum of war makes the result nearly inevitable. But the obligation to resist war remains paramount. “Iran has been demonized so thoroughly that only the most ardent peace activists will come to its defense, but defend it they must.”

    Newt Gingrich: King Cracker

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    It is no longer unthinkable that Barack Obama could face Newt Gingrich in November. If that happens, the political lines will be unequivocally drawn around race – and only race. But Black people will have no defender. “The issue in a contest between Obama and Gingrich will be the same as between Gingrich and Juan Williams, a slimy Black right-winger who claims African Americans wallow in a culture of ‘victimhood.’” Sound familiar? Maybe that’s because “the coded language and euphemisms of white supremacy are deployed by both Republicans and Democrats, and forms the core of American political speech.”

    For “cracker” references, read the story.

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    How To Waste Your Vote In 2012

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    A vote is a terrible thing to waste, they say. But exactly when are votes wasted? Are they thrown away when cast for the least of multiple evils. Are they squandered when cast for what people really need and want, even if that means a Democrat might not win? Are they lost when people with few or no good choices stay home? Or have voters already been robbed when the menu is limited to corporate-funded Republicans vs. corporate-funded Democrats?

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    Poverty in America: The Subject Presidential Candidates Would Prefer to Ignore



    by BAR editor and columnist Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

    U.S. decline in the world is no longer just a trend, but a fact. Cold statistics tell us that our young people “will never experience the prosperity we, their parents, did.” Yet, amidst growing misery, the American electoral process is flush with cash.GOP candidates spent $12.5 million on television ads in Iowa alone, and Obama is raising a $1 billion war chest to fight the election.” Rich people’s money buys silence on poverty.

    Does the 2012 Election Mean Anything To African America?

    With the First Black President having put social security cuts on the bargaining table before even being sworn in, ignoring record black unemployment and mass incarceration, and doubling down on every abhorrent Bush policy from imperial wars in Asia and Africa to letting corporate polluters and criminal banksters go unmolested, what is the 2012 election really about for black America? Bragging rights?

    Rigged Games: Obama's Fake “Jobs Bill” is Election-Year Theater

    Does the president's months-long refrain about passing his “jobs bill” mean anything at all? Do Democrats even want to pass it, and if they did, would it make a difference? And if it's nothing but a fake jobs bill, why are Republicans opposing it?

    Freedom Rider: Obama Perfects Right Wing Policy


    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    The president is happiest when John Boehner and the Republicans come to the negotiating table but that is when the rest of us are most at risk.” In his quest for a Grand Bargain with the GOP, Obama has declared war against every progressive principle and betrayed every core constituency of the Democratic Party. Nevertheless, “thanks to his success in marketing himself as an agent of change, and the complete capitulation of black voters and other progressives, Obama is free to do as he pleases in America and around the world.”

    Call Out Their Names! The Black Caucus Roster of Shame


    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    A handful of Black lawmakers have joined with Blue Dog Democrats to call for $4 trillion in federal spending cuts over 10 years – far more than the congressional “Super-Committee” is required to make this month. $4 trillion happens to be the figure both President Obama and his deficit reduction commission proposed to cut. The six Black congressmen are attempting to help the First Black President seal his “Grand Bargain” with the GOP by defunding what’s left of the New Deal and Great Society.

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    Barack Obama VS Those Craaaazy Republicans: Is He the Lesser Evil, or the More Effective Evil?

    By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    The last refuge of Obamaphiles is that no matter how many times the First Black President double-crosses us by cutting Medicare and Medicaid, no matter how completely be betrays his voters us by ignoring black unemployment, by deporting one million Latinos, by protecting the banksters responsible for the foreclosure crisis and by invading, bombing, occupying and subverting even more countries than the Cheney-Bush regime, his white supremacist tea party opponents are far worse. But what if Democrat Barack and the Republican tea partyers are just playing different positions on the same team?

    Why Obama Needs the Birthers

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Far from harboring a desperate desire to rid himself of the Birther plague, Barack Obama needs them to divert attention from an economy that is “as bad as most people living have ever experienced.” Obama will have great difficulty running on his economic record, and does not fundamentally differ on economically from Republicans. But, “when compared to the Birthers and other assorted racists in the GOP, Obama appears to be the only civilized person in the room.”

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    Georgia: The Next Show Me Your Papers State?

     "Americard" illiustration by Ian Geldard

    If some racist Georgia politicians have their way, Georgia will be the next “show me your papers” state. Legislation has already passed in the GA House that will criminalize the everyday activity of undocumented persons, further isolate and stigmatize them, and allow any yahoo with a computer and legal forms standing to sue police departments, judges, city and state officials and agencies who fail to enforce these laws with sufficient rigor and viciousness. Sign the petition demanding GA governor Nathan Deal veto Georgia's proposed Brown Codes, and your signature will be presented to the governor's office on March 24, Georgia's Day of Truth & Dignity.

    Climate Gambit: How Rightwing Hypocrisy Threatens Us


    by James Thindwa

    The Right is ever-eager to demand war on the slimmest of evidence of actual threat to the United States, but denies overwhelming evidence of the grave threat global warming poses to all humanity. “If Iraq’s alleged nuclear program was a looming ‘mushroom cloud’ worth risking American lives to prevent, how is the potential for climate meltdown—the mother of all mushroom clouds—not an emergency worth worrying about?”

    The Obama/GOP Consensus

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    As far as President Obama is concerned, the state of the Union is now in harmony, with the merging of Republican politics and his own. The new consensus is an austere one for most Americans, as Obama joins the GOP “to prevent the domestic arms of government from coming to the people’s aid, by freezing finances” for five years. But have no fear: corporate tax rates will plummet, allowing the long-awaited trickle down to begin.

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey

    Obama Made His Career “Collaborating with the GOP”

    I think he liked the 2010 election outcomes, that brought the Right back to power in the House,” says Paul Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. “I think that’s his comfort zone. This is his career, collaborating with the GOP,” says Street, who worked for years as a researcher for the Chicago Urban League. Although “deluded liberals and progressives” continue to insist that Obama shares their values, “they just don’t get it. This guy is just very conservative.”

    White House Retaliates Against Whistleblowers

    The Obama administration is taking retaliation against whistleblowers “to a new level,” says Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, herself a renowned whistleblower and author of the book, No Fear. “The president has suggested that psychologists, psychiatrists and sociologists should be deployed throughout the federal government to ferret out whistleblowers,” says Coleman-Adebayo. “They want to see if there is even a potential that you might blow the whistle on injustice or corruption.”

    Baby Doc” Has Friends in High Places in Haiti

    Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the dictator who returned to Haiti 25 years after being run out of the country, still has “cadres in power of some sort in the [Rene] Preval administration, and in business and many other venues in society,” says Haitian journalist and community activist Roger LeDuc. In addition, France, the United States “and, to some extent, Rene Preval,” are anxious to divert attention from the recent disastrous elections. Duvalier has been charged with corruption and embezzlement, and prosecutors say they are investigating possible crimes against humanity.

    Progressive Candidate Claims Detroit Teachers Victory

    Steve Conn, candidate for president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers on the Defend Public Education/Save Our Students ticket, says he is the rightful winner in the race, and that incumbent Keith Johnson rigged the vote count. Conn charges Johnson and national union president Randi Weingarten with “running the union as a tool of [education secretary] Arnie Duncan and the anti-public education privatizers.” A Day of Action is schedule for March 2, in Detroit.

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    “State of the Dream” Report Fails to Describe the Real Nightmare

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    This year’s “State of the Dream” report is wholly inadequate to the task of resisting the Right’s attacks under the umbrella of “austerity.” The report’s authors appear to believe that only Republicans are out to gut the government. “By largely leaving the Democrats out of the austerity equation, United for a Fair Economy contributes to the blindsiding of Blacks and others targeted for pain by corporate servants of both parties.”

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