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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of July 2, 2012

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Give the People Medicare-for-All

The U.S. Supreme Court’s vetting of President Obama’s health legislation means Americans will be forced to “spend up to 9 percent of their income and still not get actual healthcare,” said Dr. Margaret Flowers, who joined other physicians in a brief on behalf of Medicare-for-All. The Obama bill amounts to “corporate welfare on steroids,” said Dr. Flowers. Jean Ross, a co-president of National Nurses United, said “No one should have to wait till they’re 65 to have the best healthcare system. We need Medicare-for-All, from the time you’re born.”

Mandatory Life in Prison for Juveniles is Unconstitutional

In every area of the law we protect child status, except in the criminal justice system, where we increasingly sentence them just as if they are adults – even if they’re as young as 13 or 14,” said Bryan Stevenson, of the Equal Justice Initiative. Under the high court’s ruling, juveniles can still be sentenced to life, but the penalty cannot be mandatory. Minorities make up about 70 percent of kids serving life terms.

Arizona Immigration Decision is a Victory, But…

It is wrong to assume that Justice Roberts has a rebirth as some type of moderate,” said Shanta Driver, national chairperson of BAMN, By Any Means Necessary. Racial profiling remains embedded in U.S. immigration practice, “including the federal Secure Communities Act,” backed by the Obama administration.

It’s “All Purely Race” in Jasper, Texas

The Texas town where three white men chained and dragged James Byrd Jr. to his death behind their pickup truck, in 1998, recently recalled two of its Black city councilmen and fired its first African American police chief. The town’s racists “believe that they can do and say anything without anybody taking issue with them,” said Atty. David Bersen, who filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint on behalf of ex-police chief Rodney Pearson. “It’s all purely race.”

Lynne Stewart Sentence Stands

Human rights lawyer Lynne Stewart lost her appeal of a 10-year prison sentence for her conduct in defending a client on terror charges. Stewart, 72, is held at a medical prison near Fort Worth, Texas, where she recently underwent surgery. “They’re referring to Lynne as having disrespect for the law,” said her husband, Ralph Poynter. “My reaction is, anybody that has studied the history of American law knows it’s based in genocide, slavery and the double standard. The only things we can look up to in America that are positive are those people that followed justice rather than law.”

New Orleans Katrina School Firings Illegal

A federal judge ruled that local and state officials acted illegally when they fired 7,500 New Orleans public school employees to make way for charter schools, in the wake of the 2005 Katrina disaster. Seven of the former employees won cash awards ranging from $48,000 to $48,000, and the total owed to the entire class of plaintiffs could run in the tens of millions. “From the beginning it was a wrongful takeover” based on “manufactured evidence of failure,” said Willie Zanders, lawyer for the plaintiffs. “Many people saw this as an opportunity to privatize public education.” Eighty percent of New Orleans schools are now charters.

POP Demonstration Marathon Passes One-Year Mark in Newark

We’ve certainly drawn attention to the issue of unemployment in our community,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), based in Newark, New Jersey. POP set out last June 27 to hold daily demonstrations, 7 days a week, to match or exceed the 381-day longevity of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. The grassroots activists are building for a huge rally for jobs, peace, equality and justice on July 11 – with help from a coalition of 179 endorsing organizations.

U.S. Enables Genocide in Congo

The United States has been an enabler” of Rwanda’s destabilization of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, contributing to the deaths of 6 million Congolese since 1996, said Claude Gatebuke, of the African Great Lakes Network. “The U.S. is one of the largest donors to the Rwandan government in terms of funds, but also military training” to the tune of over $1 billion in the past decade, said Gatebuke. “When you give a world criminal more resources, they commit more crimes.”

Buju Banton Loses Appeal

A federal appeals court confirmed Jamaican musical artist Buju Banton’s 10-year sentence on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The government case against Banton, who turns 39 on July 15, relied heavily on a paid informer. “Buju’s case represents a lot of cases in America in terms of the use of confidential informants who make millions of dollars of untaxed income,” said Chris Sweeney, editor of the New Times, in Miami. Dr. Carolyn Cooper, a member of Banton’s support committee and a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, in Jamaica, said “There are many of us who feel that Buju’s arrest and incarceration is really an attack on the Jamaican music industry, because of the kinds of messages that some of the artists have sending out about sexual politics. So many of us in Jamaica believe that it is a set-up.”

 

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Tuesday at 4:00pm ET on PRN. Length: One hour.

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