Obama’s Emerging Legacy: Wars, Bankers and For-Profit Healthcare

Obama Sam by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The first Black president has racked up some impressive victories. Barack Obama has quarantined single-payer healthcare advocates, crushed dissent against the war in Congress, and transferred more money to the finance capital class than at any time in planetary history. Not bad for just five months in office. “At some point in the near future Barack Obama will become inextricably associated in the public mind with Big Capital – and deservedly so.”

Darfur “Genocide” Lies Unraveling – Only 1,500 Darfuris Died in 2008, Says African Union

darfur again

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For more than five years, the Save Darfur Coalition has used a slick and star-studded multimillion dollar ad campaign to paint a horrific vision of 400,000 dead in a black vs Arab war of extermination. No historic or political causes are offered for this scenario; it's genocide a case of good vs. evil demanding our attention and action. But the big lies underpinning the Save Darfur campaign are coming undone. Reporters, scholars and even US envoys are returning from the region affirming that if there ever was a genocide in Darfur, and there may not have been, there isn't one now. The British government has even ruled that Save Darfur cannot, in that country, use the figure of 400,000 dead which it throws around in all its US advertisements, cause it just ain't true.



McKinney Rejoins Voyage to Defy US-Israeli Blockade of Gaza – "Sink Us or Arrest Usl"


Cynthia McKinneyby The Editors
When the Free Gaza Movement attempted to send a boatload of supplies to Gaza last December, the Israeli Navy rammed the vessel, the Dignity, almost sinking it. This week, activists will send two boats on the voyage from Cyprus to Gaza, carrying cement, toys and 38 passengers, among them former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Mckinney, who was also aboard the Dignity. Ms. McKinney sent a letter to President Obama, filling him in on the Gaza mission.


Freedom Rider: Selective Sympathy for Iran

gaza child


by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The United States reserves for itself the right to say what and when the world should be watching.  “People who work for peace and justice must show skepticism when the media tell them who deserves their attention and advocacy efforts.” The world, as defined by U.S. Corporate media, turned its head when “1,400 Gazans were killed so that Israel might inflict collective punishment on a civilian population.” The U.S. Feigns great concern for the human rights of Iranians, but continues threaten a military attack. Real human rights proponents “must always keep in mind that warfare is the worst human rights abuse of all.”

Letter to Obama: Blacks Fear Shut Out of Highway Stimulus Contracts

highway stimulus moneyA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

The "rising tide" of economic stimulus that President Obama promises will "lift all boats" from the depths of economic crisis, may leave Blacks at the bottom, once again. "Black contractors and elected officials now fear that African Americans will be cut out of the huge, one-time increase in federal highway money under the economic stimulus program passed this year." In a letter to administration officials, the National Black Chamber of Commerce warns that stimulus money is flowing down the "same racist channels" that have denied highway contracts and jobs to African Americans.

Puppet Government of Somalia Invites Everybody to Invade

somaili fightersA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 

Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

In what should be its last gasp, the regime that claims to govern Somalia, "huddled in a corner of Mogadishu," the capital, has "called on 'Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen' - anybody! - to save them from what it called 'terrorists.'" The Ethiopians, who installed the mini-state after invading  Somalia with U.S. support in 2006, are already on the move in the country - whose soil they never left. But a larger invasion to beat back Islamist/nationalist fighters can only occur with "active U.S. coordination and logistical support." President Obama may get a war of his own in Africa.


Jamaica Broadcasting is Born: A fi we! A no fi dem!

john Maxwellby John Maxwell

Veteran journalist John Maxwell was there at the beginning: 1959, the start of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. “For the first time at last, it wasn't really necessary to listen to the BBC.” Successive governments, especially those of the Jamaica Labour Party, attempted to varying degrees to shape the JBC to their own political purposes. But, says Maxwell, “It is my opinion that in its short periods of independence, the JBC helped begin the transformation of Jamaica from an ignorant colonial backwater into a civilized society.”

Stanford U Study Shows Charter Schools Perform Worse Than Comparable Public Schools

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 

The myth has been shattered: a new study shows charter schools perform worse than traditional public schools. In only 17 percent of charter schools do students surpass their demographically matched regular school peers in math and reading. More than twice that many charters rate worse than traditional classrooms, while close to half are about equal. Despite the data, the Obama administration "continues to demand that 5,000 schools be shut down, and their teachers fired" - a disproportionate share of them Black.   Their "position is based on ideology, not empirical data."

Tradition of Same Gender Marriage in Igboland, Nigeria

igbo weddingby Leo Igwe

Black homophobes often invoke “African” culture to buttress their arguments against gay rights, including the right to marry. But, according to the author, a native of southern Nigeria, the Igbo culture has long nurtured same-sex couples consisting of "woman-husband" and "woman-wife." The practice is entirely indigenous. “This marriage practice pre-dates Christianity and the so- called western culture which most people today blame for all the moral and cultural wrongs in Africa.

Teachers File Racial Discrimination Suit Against Obama Administration's School “Turnaround” Plan

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Public-private partnerships between Chicago's City Hall, where two men named Richard Daley have ruled more than 40 of the last 55 years, and a gaggle of corporate bagmen from the Gates, Bradley, Walton and other foundations have honed a disastrous “education reform” agenda that is now national policy. In Chicago, where dozens of neighborhood public schools have been shuttered and hundreds of experienced, predominantly black teachers fired in mid-career and replaced by underqualified, underpaid, uncertified and ovewhelmingly white newbie instructors, resistance is brewing and spreading.

Holding on in East Harlem and Points West, North and South

don't sell da barrioby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Neoliberalism is the root cause of rampaging gentrification and displacement, from New York to New Orleans to Atenco, Mexico.” Keen observers of political-economy would agree with this assessment from Zapatista-inspired community activists in Spanish Harlem, who recently organized an “encuentro” with similar minded Black and Asian activists. All concluded that the issue is bigger than Harlem: “This displacement is created by the greed, ambition and violence of a global empire of money that seeks to take total control of all the land, labor and life on earth.”

Freedom Rider: Ahmadinejad Wins

iranian presidentby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Few Americans were aware that Iran has even a limited democracy.” Yet, today most of them have an opinion as to whether or not Iran's recent election was rigged. In typical egocentric fashion, Americans and their corporate media believe the Iranian election revolved around that country's relations with – guess who? - the United States. “The opinions of Americans may not have entered the mind of the average Iranian voter at all. Perhaps the constant attack from the American media and politicians make Ahmadinejad even more popular in his country than he would be otherwise.”

Eshu’s blues: It’s a jungle out here

prissy prezby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
The imperial menu offers us a range of dishes, from prime cut mass murder (Congo, Af-Pak), to trailer park cold cuts a la Sarah Palin and her abstinence-preaching daughter-momma. And then there's “Golden Tonsils Obama, whose Cairo speech just two weeks ago fell into that realm the character in Mel Brooks’ movie Blazing Saddles was talking about when he said another character in the film had a 'prettier tongue then a fifty dollar whore.'”

Margaret Kimberley On the Housing Crisis: How the Politics is Taken Out of NY Politics

If you don't see the video above, click here

BAR's senior columnist Margaret Kimberley sketches some of the local impact of the foreclosure crisis in New York City, and how , in the age of black governors and mayors and presidents, the politics have effectively been removed from black politics.  The weight and number of black faces in high places has smothered black politics.

Harlem's Mae Jackson: When Obama Speaks, Whose Lips Move?

If you don't see the video above, click here.
Mae Jackson is a New York City based writer, poet, dreamer and doer whose record of activism on behalf of her people stretches back to SNCC. A founder of Art Without Walls, an art program for the children of imprisoned women, she is well acquainted with the difference between surface change, and fundamental, revolutionary change.

ObamaCare: A Non-Existent Health Plan That Begins with Cuts

obama on health careA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

There is no Obama healthcare plan, “just mouthfuls of generalized rhetoric that changes with the moment, as Obama constantly woos the insurance, drug and hospital corporations.” However, Obama's proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will take on lives of their own. That's what Republicans have “been clamoring for for generations,” and Obama offered it to them, upfront. “In his rush to mollify the private healthcare profiteers, Obama has given away the pubic store.”

Bwana Obama, with Trinkets for Zimbabwe

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.
By all standards of international diplomacy, last week's White House “State” visit by Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was bizarre. President Obama praised one-half of Zimbabwe's “Unity” government, while denouncing the other half, President Robert Mugabe. Obama has continued George Bush's sanctions against Zimbabwe, but gifted Tsvangirai with $75 million for public purposes – causing Tsvangirai to appear to be “a petty agent for the Americans.”

Free the Cuba Five, Mr. President

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
If President Obama sincerely wants to improve relations with Cuba, he can show he is serious by freeing the Cuba Five. The Cuban intelligence agents were given long prison terms for infiltrating Cuban exile terrorist groups in South Florida. With this week's U.S. Supreme Court refusal to review their case, only President Obama can resolve this festering political problem.

Dead Aid: More Kool Aid

dead aid and kool aidby C. Uzondu
Dambiso Moyo pounds the talk show circuit proclaiming that foreign aid is Africa's worst problem. Her prescription: heavy doses of capitalism - as if the continent doesn't have enough of it: “Shell in the Niger delta, Canada’s Banro Corporation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Vodafone in Ghana, China’s NPOC in the Sudan, and Debeers in South Africa are all capitalist enterprises in neo-colonial states that never destroyed the colonial-capitalist state apparatus they 'inherited' from their colonial masters.” Moyo used to work for the World Bank and Goldman Sachs, and it shows.


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