No matter how you measure it, the US embargo of Cuba has been a failure, and worse, a crime against both the US and the Cuban peoples. Instead of isolating Cuba, it isolates the US and its people from Cuban cultural contributions and US businesses from the profits of Cuban trade. Still, the First Black President moves slowly, much slower than hos voters would like, toward the inevitable.
Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other telco giants have spent mad public relations money spreading the myth that the digital divide is a thing of the past. Some heedless and lazy black bloggers have helped spread this lie, but it's still a lie. Redlining of and denial of service to poor and minority communities has been a core feature of the business models of the cable industry since its start decades ago, and of the phone companies for more than a century. But in the 21st century, cheap, available broadband internet is as necessary to economic development as paved streets and roads. Communities without it will become or remain economic, educational, business and social backwaters.
See, hear and read more stories about the digital divide and what it costs communities, families and lives....
The normal workings of America's version of the “free market “ have held black family wealth to one eleventh that of white families, on the average, and black family wealth has been much harder hit than that of white families by the collapse of the housing bubble. The economy is anything but race-neutral, and far more than race-neutral measures will be required to correct its imbalances and injustices.
The movement to subjugate women, in the name of religion and the family, is on the march everyplace, including the Caribbean, Jamaica's eminent John Maxwell informs us. Jamaican lawmakers have enacted measures similar to those of their brothers in Afghanistan making husbands in many instances practically immune to charges of raping their wives.
Barack Obama massacred George Bush at the polls this week - the New York Times/CBS poll, that is. The high marks for the president are being interpreted as signs of an upbeat feeling about the economy - although Obama's popularity and the economy's performance are two different matters. One is largely based on subjective feelings (popularity), while the other (economy) is measured by objective facts. The business of polling is corrupted by corporate manipulation of the "news." "Much polling is an incestuous, closed loop of rehashed feedback whereby the same corporate media that provide the daily narrative and selected ‘facts' to the public later pose carefully crafted questions to determine whether their untrustworthy presentations sank in."
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
President Obama sent a near-declaration of war to Iran, all wrapped up in greetings for the Iranian New Year. The message may have looked like “a smiley faced video” in which the “president appeared to be very amiable and wished peace, love and harmony,” but was actually “nothing more than a well executed propaganda ploy intended to give him cover on the day he announces his true intentions.” Then he told Europeans, ''As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven.'' Beneath the charm, “Barack Obama repeats the worst, most untruthful and belligerent policies of the Bush administration.”
Market Meltdown Stalls Whitening of Harlem: Gentrifiers Go Bust
A Black Agenda Radio interview with Nellie Hester-Bailey, executive director, Harlem Tenants Council by BAR Executive Editor Glen Ford
Click the flash player to hear or the mic below to download a broadcast quality MP3 of this BA Radio interview
The financial crisis has at least temporarily stalled the ethnic cleansing of Harlem by predatory developers and the investment banksters that back them. However, the gentrifiers’ champion, billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, seeks to win another term in office in order to finish the racial and class makeover of Harlem and other non-white communities. He is abetted by a host of “supine” Black office-holders ever eager to displace their own people.
Click the flash player to hear or the mic below to download a broadcast quality MP3 of this BA Radio commentary
President Obama pledged the extension of low-cost broadband would be a high priority of his administration. But Verizon, Comcast and other players seek to privatize the broadband mapping process and freeze in place the digital divide forever.
Click the flash player to listen to, or the mic at left to download a broadcast quality MP3 of this BA Radio commentary.
The US may have its first black president. But it also has black political prisnes, whose prosectuion and incarceration has nothing to do with whatever they may have been accused of or with the law, and everything to do with politicis. Mumia Abu Jamal is one of these.i
Click the flash player to listen to, or the mic at left to download a broadcast quality MP3 of this BA Radio commentary
What will black elected leaders do when the first black president bombs another innocent country? When the first black president co-signs for Wall Street parasites and Pentagon predators? The answer is that most will devolve into silence or worse yet, into cheerleaders for empire and privilege. The trappings and institutional gravities of office are for them, stronger than the will of the people and the memory of the movement for peace and justice.
The former leader of Cuba, in his new capacity as journalist, reports on this week’s and previous visits from members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Castro describes the CBC as, “in practice…the most progressive wing within the Democrat Party.” The delegation, which attended ceremonies at Havana’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, where CBC Chairperson Barbara Lee (D-CA), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO)and Bobby Rush (D-IL) spoke at an observation of Dr. King’s assassination. One member “said he was sure that Obama will change the policy towards Cuba, but Cuba should also help him.”
“The fact that America has progressed to the point that a Black family can occupy the White House has not eradicated the myriad maladies of race and class that continue to constrain the aspirations of millions of Black people in this nation,” says veteran political organizer Ron Daniels. “The idea of a Black Agenda is not only relevant, it is imperative if Africans in America, as a group, are to enter the ‘promised land’ that Martin Luther King envisioned from his view from the mountaintop in Memphis.” Dr. Daniels praises the National Urban League’s recent State of Black America report on racial disparities for “implicitly making the case for the ongoing need for a Black Agenda.”
The United States could make great progress towards racial equality if the federal government simply enforced the laws that are already on the books. Environmental racism, health inequities, mass minority incarceration – “All of these disparities exist with government support or permission.” Under George Bush, “our government largely pursued a ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ approach to structural racism and injustice.” President Obama has an opportunity to “reverse some of these terrible trends by enforcing laws” such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “which authorizes federal agencies to prevent discrimination by recipients of federal funding.” Properly applied, Title VI could “ensure that government is no longer part of the disease but rather part of the cure.”
U.S. corporate media pretend to explore issues of race in America, but seldom go beyond matters of general perception, anecdotes, images, and questions about the availability of cab rides. ABC television prefers to package their racial reports as “encouraging stories,” writes Hollar. “But it's only possible to tell such encouraging stories by limiting your focus to one kind of racism--the overt kind that plays out through individually held prejudices.” Hard facts of institutional racism, such as wealth and incarceration disparities, most often escape ABC’s attention. Which is a slick and soothing way to sweep structural problems under the rug.
The educator/journalist observed that some of the boys in her classroom were “bursting with perspective” on “the widespread use of the words ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ to describe young women of color on campus.” Not so with the girls, who were largely silent on the subject. When pressed, some of the girls “claim the words are justifiably used to describe ‘bad girls’ who are promiscuous and unruly, not realizing that black women have always been deemed “bad” in the eyes of the dominant culture, as less than feminine, as bodies for pornographic exploitation.” There is a crying need to “change the self-hating mindset of many young black women,” made worse by “a generation of Bush-besotted militarism and corporate reign over media [that] has turned sexualized violence against women into a billion dollar industry.”
Haiti’s gift to humanity was to become “the first nation anywhere to enshrine the rights of man, woman and child, the fundamental universal rights of human beings, in their constitution.” Much of the rest of its history has been a litany of rape and assaulted national tortures at the hands of France, the United States and the corrupt and depraved elite installed by the foreigners. Despite this history, “an eminent gaggle of politicians and private sector experts” claim that “the poorest country in the Western hemisphere got that way… by native mismanagement and the incompetence of the black Haitian population and its leaders.” To believe that, is to “believe that women who are raped are at least partially responsible for their own misfortunes.”
Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir had no choice but to expel the western "aid" organizations that had merged with the American propaganda machine aimed at regime change in Khartoum. Obama operatives like UN Ambassador Susan Rice have for years been "eager to blockade Sudan's ports" and to launch "selective" bombing raids against Sudan. When imperial doctrine claims the right to intervene whenever disasters overtake sovereign countries - and proceeds to create and exacerbate those disasters - then no government is safe against regime change. President Obama "appears to be fine-tuning a ‘humanitarian' interventionist doctrine that is applicable to any point on the planet."
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley A nation that has violated “every norm of civilized behavior and international law” since its founding in 1948 is held virtually blameless by the U.S. corporate media – Israel sycophants of the lowest order. “Now members of the Israeli Defense Force themselves are coming forward to admit that they committed war crimes” – but the U.S. press is censoring their confessions! Even when Israeli soldiers openly testify to committing “murder” in Gaza, as reported by the Israeli press, the U.S. corporate media “keeps the people of this country ignorant” of the crimes against humanity bankrolled by American taxpayers.
Oh, how the once-revolutionaries have fallen! Thus, former Weatherman William Ayers and his back-in-the-day comrade and spouse Bernardine Dohrn sing the praises of the Wall Street champion, Barack Obama. “It is painful to watch them perform these ministrations for a political hack who won’t even stand up to the butchers who drove the Clinton political machine or the Carter political machine decades before him.” As Lenin remarked back in his own time, “In the end run, anarchists were turning out to be no more than ‘liberals with bombs.’” We need to return to Amilcar Cabral’s admonition to “tell no lies, claim no easy victories.”
Glen Ford interviews Chicago's James Thindwa on the impact of economic crises on ordinary families, and on the ramifications of the Employee Free Choice Act, soon to be introduced in Congress, with the increasingly lukewarm support of the Obama Administration and its allies.
Click the flash player to listen to this Black Agenda Radio Interivew. No transcript is available. 12 minutes.
Thindwa was also profiled this week on Bill Moyers Journal. Read the transcript or watch the video here.