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    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 Aims To Cut Social Security & Other Federal Benefits? And This is a Surprise?

    President Obama's proposal to cut Social Security by "chaining" it to the consumer price index will cost seniors a good 10% of monthly benefits a decade from now.  Republicans didn't force him into this, it's his opening proposal for negotiating.  Is anybody even surprised?  

    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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    Obama’s Historic Assault on Social Security

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    After four years of maneuvering, President Obama finally has his White Whale, Social Security, within harpooning distance. “Obama has largely neutered Social Security’s traditional congressional defenders, who know perfectly well what their president is up to, but will not directly oppose him.”

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    I’m Black and I Want More “Stuff” and “Things”: An Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly

    by Jesse Hagopian

    The arch-racist Bill O’Reilly believes Blacks expect to receive “a cornucopia of benefits” from the newly-reelected president. However, it’s about four years late for that. African Americans know they’ll have to fight – and work – to get what they deserve, as has always been the case.

    Obama's Second Term Agenda: Cutting Social Security, Medicare and/or Medicaid

    by Matt Stoller

    Across the country, activists are shaking their heads and repeating to themselves the usual justifications. The Supreme Court, the Lesser Evil, he's not a white racist. They prepare to re-elect a president who has done practically nothing to further progressive agendas, and all in his power to shield banksters, corporate criminals, Big Ag, Big Oil, and the like from paying for their crimes, kept the thousand overseas military bases abroad and the billionaires bipartisan agenda at home...

    Obama Bound for Mount Rushmore?

     

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    President Obama’s healthcare plan, now vetted by the U.S. Supreme Court, is the spawn of Republican reactionaries, “based on the principle that people should pay for their own bodily maintenance.” It bears no resemblance to world-class healthcare systems, “expanding the healthcare compact only for those who are destitute, while turning everyone else into profit-centers for corporations.” Obama has locked in the past, and put up a roadblock to the future – just as the right-wingers that invented the “individual mandate” intended.

    Those Ever-Shrinking 401Ks and the Theft of Retirement Security

    For most of the 20th century, until the 1980s, each generation of retirees had a somewhat higher standard of living than the last.  With the Reagan era advent of federal policies encouraging private employers to raid and discontinue defined benefit pensions, that trend stopped.  The current generation of retirees are discovering that their 401Ks are almost never sufficient to allow a dignified retirement.  They've been robbed.  401Ks are subject to the stock market, which favors insiders, and financial managers and the retirement-industrial complex extract as much as a quarter of all 401K savings in parasitic fees.  In this Against the Grain interview James Russell explains why Wall Street loves privatized and individual retirement accounts, and hates defined beneift pensions and social security,

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network

    Obama’s Deficit Commission “Shows the Hand” of Corporate Democrats and Their Republican Allies, says Nader

    The recommendations put forward by the two co-chairs of President Obama’s deficit reduction commission are so “over the top,” says consumer advocate Ralph Nader, “if there’s anything that ought to get the liberal left going, it’s this monstrosity, which Obama has to take some responsibility for.” The former presidential candidate says the assault on social programs “shows the hand of the corporate Democrats and their Republican allies in a very distinct way.” What’s not in the co-chairs’ proposal is as glaring as what’s included. “They didn’t say we should have a speculation tax on derivatives and other transactions of Wall Street,” for example, “which economists have estimated could raise $400 billion a year.”

    Black Is Back Rally in Washington, DC

    Eugenia Charles reports on the cholera epidemic in Haiti, where international aid “is not being used to support the Haitian people”; People’s Organization for Progress director Larry Hamm calls for renewed grassroots organizing to “build a movement stronger than the one we had in the Sixties”; and Black is Back chairman Omali Yeshitela says Barack Obama represents “white power in a Black face.”

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

    Poor “Shack”-Dwellers Advocate Decries “New Apartheid” in South Africa

    We seem to have a new apartheid” in South Africa, says S’bu Zikode, leader of the poor people’s organization Abahliali base-Mjondolo. In this new order, “the poor are not taken care of, are not part of society.” Zikode, who is touring the United States, says the African National Congress government “wants to create a ‘shack-free’ country where the poor can be hidden,” reserving the cities “for the better-off and the rich.”

    Bloomberg Undermines Living Wage While Jockeying for President

    Billionaire New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is said to be eyeing a run for the White House in 2012, has hired a notorious opponent of minimum wages to study proposals to include subsidized development projects under Living Wage regulations. The mayor’s expert says higher wages kill economic development. But expanded wage protections have been “very successful” in Los Angeles and other cities, says Paul Sonn, of the National Employment Law Center.

    Anti-War Committee Broadens Scope

    A recent mass meeting of the United National Anti-War Committee (UNAC) showed progress in diversifying the peace movement. UNAC co-coordinator Joe Lombardo said a large fraction of participants at the Manhattan conference were Muslim, part of a newly-formed Muslim Peace Coalition with chapters in 16 states.

    Plus…

    Bruce Dixon examines the woeful irrelevance of the Black Misleadership Class; Jared Ball counters Michael Eric Dyson’s outrageous assault on Black youth; and Danny Schecter dissects the banksters’ fraudulent mortgages.

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    Barack Obama, Social Security and the Final Irrelevance of the Black Misleadership Class

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    With a black president leading the charge to eviscerate Medicare, Medicaid and social security in the name of “deficit reduction,” what is there left of black politics? What is the relevance of so-called black leaders in the Democratic party, and the remains of our historic civil rights organizations?

    Obama Prepares to Triangulate Himself

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    What a guy! Barack Obama has neutralized Blacks, the white left, and the majority of his own party in service to Wall Street, and some still call him “liberal” (The insane call him “socialist.”) With Social Security and Medicare in his sights, “the stage is set for a performance of presidential political gymnastics that will make Bill Clinton, once known as the Great Triangulator, bow down to the master.”

    What's More Important For Black Leadership? Turning Off Fox News? Or Stopping the President's Cat Food Commission?

    While black political leaders and activists focus on turning off Fox News, and clownish disputes with Tea Partyers and the likes of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, are they missing something more important? Can any good come from a Democratic president reaching across the aisle to team up with Republicans for a bipartisan “fiscal reform” that targets “entitlements,” meaning Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security? Is the silence of black leadership on the president's Cat Food Commission still more evidence of their irrelevance?

    Obama Can't Say "No" to the Rich

     Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Having transferred trillions of public treasure for the sake of Wall Street's health, Obama now picks up where George Bush left off on Social Security. Obama's deficit commission is pre-programmed to assault the last vestiges of the social safety net. The president "is the right wing's most potent weapon, the one before which liberal Democrats throw up their hands in surrender without the dignity of a fight."

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