Grand Theft Digital; How Corporate Broadcasters Are Hijacking Digital TV

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon 
The FCC has spent millions of dollars "educating" the public on the transition from analog to to digital TV.  But what they haven't told the American people is that on February 18, 2009 every one of the nation's more than 1700 analog TV broadcasters gets three, four or more new TV channels --- for nothing.  No public service obligation, no local news or education programming, and no channels for black or Latino broadcasters, local entrepreneurs or communities.

Seven Reasons Not to Get Overly Excited About the Fact That Obama is Black

by Paul StreetFRPrezSealBlackHands

Although much of Black public opinion considers
Barack Obama's primary wins as collective victories for African Americans, the
fact remains that white voters made his success possible. They
found him acceptable; he passed the white test. Activist and author Paul Street
offers seven reasons that Blacks and progressives shouldn't be in such a
celebratory mood. The bottom line: "The Democratic Party's centrist
presidential nominee Barack Obama is a corporate and militarist politician who
can be expected to instantly and coldly betray his democratic campaign promises
when and if he becomes president."

Cynthia McKinney Congratulates Obama

Candidate points to her own campaign's comprehensive platformCynthiaPIX

Barack Obama is not the only Black candidate in
the presidential race, and he's certainly not the most progressive. Former
Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, running for the Green Party's top slot
on a Power to the People platform, has congratulated Obama "for a feat well
done," and lays out her own comprehensive plans to repair the human and
material damage wrought by corporations and their Republican and Democratic
servants. "Citizen participation is always the answer," says McKinney. "The
people deserve an open and honest debate." McKinney's platform would garner
broad support - if her voice were heard.

Freedom Rider: Obama Obliterates Iran

FRObamaProjectorAIPACby BAR editor
and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

What Israel wants from the Americans, Israel
gets - and in spades from Barack Obama. Along with Hillary Clinton and John
McCain, Obama bent his knees to the breaking point to please the
annual conference of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC
represents the rightwing politics of a small nation, but the fawning behavior
of America's top politicians gave the impression of an Israeli empire,
demanding tribute. Obama was generous with the U.S. treasury. "As president I
will implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in
assistance to Israel over the next decade," he vowed, earning thirteen rounds
of sustained applause.

No I Can't: Obama and the Israeli Lobby

by Uri  Avnery israeli_tank_child

While the apartheid state of Israel tightens its relentless blockade of a
million Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and as Israel menaces every regional
capital from Tehran to Tripoli with nuclear weapons, Democratic
nominee-apparent Barack Obama declares that he would bring to the
White House an unshakable commitment to Israel's security.”  Obama
told the right wing American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
last week, “That starts with ensuring Israel's qualitative
military advantage. I will ensure that Israel can defend itself from
any threat from Gaza to Teheran.”

journalist Uri Avnery wonders where the promised “change” in
the Middle East will come from, if anywhere.

How Will Media Reformers Treat President Obama?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen FordMediaReformLogo

Last week's Media Reform Conference in Minneapolis may have been the last in a series of such gatherings to occur under a Republican administration. Resembling mass meetings of progressive political activists with access to alternative media, the conferences have been uniform in opposition to Republican rule, which has relentlessly sought to deliver the nation's means of communication into mega-corporate hands. Should Barack Obama win the presidency, and fail to measure up to progressive standards, media activists will confront a challenge many have never faced: how to do aggressive reporting on erstwhile friends.

To listen to this Black Agenda Report audio commentary, click the flash player below. 

Broadcasters desiring a downloadable MP3 should visit our BA Radio Archive page on the menu at left. 


Campaign Obamizing VS Community Organizing?

by Dr. Aaron Schutzcamp_obama

An oft-heard but seldom
questioned claim among Obama supporters is that thousands of people are
becoming involved in the campaign who never cared about politics
before, and that many of these are bound to remain active in other
community-oriented endeavors after the campaign is over, win, lose or
draw.  But given the differences between organizing staff and volunteers for a campaign and organizing ordinary citizens to speak their truths to power, how realistic is that?

following discussion, which compares typical community organizing
techniques with those employed by the Obama campaign, was originally
published at While the editors at BAR can and do find
many points of disagreement with the author we find his comparison of
the kind of political organizing being done by the Obama campaign
with community organizing, or with any mass-based organizing intended
to enable ordinary people to stand up for their own interests and to
speak truth to power instructive and compelling.

The Age of Oprah, Cultural Icon For the Neoliberal Era

A Black Agenda Radio Interview by Bruce Dixon

f you work hard enough, if you prepare long enough, if you visualize astutely and pray on it resolutely, it really can happen for you. At least that's the way it works in the world of Oprah Winfrey. In the Age of Oprah, author Janice Peck explains, there's no such thing as collective problem-solving; there are only individual, market-driven and spirit-centered solutions. Water polluted? Buy it bottled. Dissatisfied with your kids' school? Find a private one or home school. Dead-end job with no respect and no benefits? Polish that resume and assume an attitude of gratitude, or get ready to start your own business. House falling down? Maybe you can qualify for an extreme makeover. Is the world view of Oprah really uplifting after all? Or does it disempower individuals and disarm communities?

Bruce Dixon interviews Janice Peck, author of The Age of Oprah, Cultural Icon for the Neoliberal Era.

Freedom Rider: Slow Death in Gaza

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret KimberleyFRCarterTutu

Each American claim to moral authority becomes a foul excretion in light of U.S. complicity in Israel's barbaric and illegal treatment of the Palestinians. Washington deploys its superpower apparatus to smother dissent against its Middle East policy in Europe and elsewhere, leaving former president Jimmy Carter and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu as lonely defenders of Palestinian human rights. No change in American policy is on the horizon, as "the rot in America goes beyond this administration, and so does the rot in Israel." The "abomination," as Desmond Tutu describes it, against 1.6 million people in Palestine shows the hypocrisy of American and Israeli pretenses to civilization.

Scott McClellan’s Road to Damascus and Cuba’s Internationalism

MAXWELLjohn_maxwell03by John Maxwell

The author, a veteran Jamaican journalist and
political activist, thinks most George Bush fans don't understand what motivates
former presidential spokesman Scott McClellan. "The scales have fallen from his
eyes. His conscience has sprung rudely into exuberant life." He has escaped the
influence of the Bush cult and become Paul on the Road to Damascus. Prof.
Maxwell also takes note of the 45th anniversary of Cuban
"internationalism" - the small island nation's heroic contributions to the
health and political liberation of scores of other peoples. Since first sending
shipments of aid to earthquake-struck China in 1963, Cuba has deployed 140,000
health workers beyond its own shores.

Barack Obama’s Pernicious Refusal to Defend the Causes of Black/Brown People

by Tolu OlorundaFireObama

What most shocks the 18-year-old Nigerian
immigrant author is Barack Obama's "acquiescence
to forces of white supremacy" - a reflexive reaction by the Illinois senator
that has caused him to disrespect his African American constituency. Obama's
"fierce" critiques of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger puts him
in opposition to the sentiments of "millions of black people" and puts him in
the camp of those "who view the majority of black pain as illegitimate." By
pursuing an agenda that refuses to recognize "black" or "white" issues, Obama
is playing with a 400-year-old fire.

From Kennedy to Obama: Liberalism's Last Fling

by John Pilger




When capitalism is in deep trouble, it trots out
the liberal. Such was the case in 1968, when anti-war and Black Freedom forces
pressed for fundamental changes in power relationships. Up stepped
Robert Kennedy, whom the author says was no progressive, but who could rally
the oppressed to the Democratic banner. In 2008, Barack Obama performs a
similar service for Big Capital, mouthing Kennedy-like "vacuities" on peace while supporting increased
military expenditures and extension of "the crippling embargo on Cuba." Obama
offers the rich something Kennedy could not. "By offering a ‘new,' young and
apparently progressive face of the Democratic Party - with the bonus of being a
member of the black elite - he can blunt and divert real opposition."

America's Racial Litmus Test : Farrakhan is not the Problem

Tim Wise

Those whites, and Jewish Americans in
particular, that demand Blacks denounce Minister Louis Farrakhan as the price
of entrance to "respectable" circles are "merely using
Farrakhan [to] divert attention from institutional discrimination,
institutionalized white privilege and power, and the way in which white denial
maintains a lid on social change." The author, a veteran anti-racist activist,
denounces the "collective punishment" inherent in the Farrakhan "litmus test,"
and the inversion of logic that leads whites to label any Black person
as the nexus of America's racial wrongs. If the shoe were on the other foot -
if whites had to answer for the actions of every other white - the list of
collective apologies and coerced denunciations would be endless.

The American Electoral Charade

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen FordBARobamaHillary

Two candidates with almost identical positions
on virtually every issue fight to exhaustion over non-substantial concerns for
months, and will doubtless soon celebrate having achieved "unity." Tweedle-dum
Hillary Clinton and Tweedle-dee Barack Obama may or may not emerge from the
primary battles as friends - but what does that matter? "Their policies are
interchangeable, as are their advisors.... All serve the same masters: the
financial corporations." The general election campaign, already begun, will see
Obama and McCain draw politically closer each day, until at the end "the
voters' choice will be just a matter of personality and individual taste" - and

To listen to this Black  Agenda Radio commentary, click the flash player below. 


Obama Resigns From Black Nation

LEADBigPflegerAndWrightby BAR executive editor
Glen Ford

How far is Barack Obama willing to run from the
very same Black nationalism that was fundamental to his victories in so many
state Democratic primaries? The nominee-apparent is in pell-mellFireObama flight from
everything that does not conform to his own "race-neutral" worldview. Obama's
political contradictions compel him to reject his most fervent supporters, and
apparently to reexamine his ties to the Black Church as an institution. The
"journey" to Black identity that Obama describes in his book Dreams From My
seems in conflict with the Road to the White House. Longtime friends
- maybe Black people as a whole - are left by the wayside. Perhaps "Obama ought
to just keep on steppin' out of Black America entirely."

Obama on Latin America: Small "Change" If Any

by BAR Special Correspondent Roberto Lovato


obama_latin_americaA Miami organization which, according to a July 1998 New York Times article, funded a series of deadly terrorists bombings in Cuba, and which may be connected to the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner killing 73 people, hosted Democratic presidential nominee-apparent Barack Obama last week. Before this illustrious audience, Obama sketched the broad outlines of his agenda for “change” in Latin America.


Scholar Warrior


by Kemet Mawakana (aka “The Seven-Foot Poet”)


Born in 1731 the son of a slave, Benjamin Banneker was a free African American, a self-taught clock maker, astronomer, and mathematician. He played a major role in the boundary surveys and initial layout of the nation's capital, and in the 1792 edition of his almanac was the first to call for creation of a US Department of Peace. Banneker harshly criticized Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, for rank hypocrisy in stating that liberty was the God-given right of all mankind while “ should at the same time counteract his mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren, under groaning captivity and cruel oppression, that you should at the same time be found guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly detested in others, with respect to yourselves."

The Seven Foot Poet shares with us the lesson of scholar-warrior Benjamin Banneker's life of struggle.

Castro on Obama’s Miami Speech: The Empire’s Hypocritical Politics

by Fidel CastroFidelSmiling

The former Cuban leader compliments Barack Obama as "doubtless, from the social and human points of view, the most progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency." However, that's not really saying much, given the field of candidates, as Castro makes plain. Obama says he will maintain the economic blockade of Cuba. "The blockade, in and of itself, is an act of genocide," replies Castro. "I don't want to see U.S. children inculcated with those shameful values." Castro reminds Americans that "We offered the United States our help when Hurricane Katrina lashed the city of New Orleans" - the kind of selfless behavior that "cannot spring from the hypocritical politics of an empire."

Barack Obama versus Black Self-Determination

by BAR executive editor
Glen Ford

One of the great ironies of the current campaign
season, is the assumption by so many Black voters that by supporting Barack
Obama for president, they are making a real contribution to African American
self-determination. Nothing could be further from the truth. The candidate,
himself, is mightily opposed to the principle of African American
self-determination, as he revealed in great detail and beyond doubt in
rejecting Rev. Jeremiah Wright's narrative on America's origins. Obama also has no more respect than other corporate politicians for ObamaLecturnprinciples of
international law and the sovereignty of nations. Should he win the presidency,
U.S. militarization of African will continue, as will American bullying of its
Latin American neighbors.


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