The Olympics and Rio's Black Poor

the real rioA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The gentry-pursued Black and poor population of Chicago got a reprieve from the Olympic committee last week. Now it's Rio de Janeiro's turn to invent clever ways to clear out the shantytowns so the games may begin without the distractions of poverty. Walls are already going up around the favelas, to keep the dark hordes from spoiling the sports.

Media Tell the Rich Man's Story, Starve the People of Real News

bentley ownerA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

A new study shows the corporate news media behave as if their primary audience is comprised of the rich and powerful. Issues dear to the hearts (sic) of bankers in New York and Washington insiders dominate the “news,” while stories about jobs, housing and consumer prices are few and far between. In the Great Recession, “the rich use their media monopoly to starve the public of the fundamental facts of national economic life.”

U.S. Achieves Deep Penetration of African Armed Forces

his master's handA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Supporters of African independence are generally pleased that the U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM, has not yet established an official headquarters on the continent, for fear of igniting anti-imperialist passions. But AFRICOM does have a major base on the continent, and more than half the militaries of Africa are at this moment being trained by AFRICOM units.

Prized Possessions: Media Politics and Missing Women

missing womenby Sikivu Hutchinson
In a nation of 300 million that's half-female, only a select group is entitled to rank among the high-profile “missing,” should they disappear. “In the national 'victim-ocracy,' small town, suburban and/or university affiliated white women get the most play as valued human interest subjects and cultural possessions.” Skin and class privilege are highly relevant, even if (or especially if) you've vanished from sight.

Rep. Barbara Lee 7 Years After AntiWar Vote Still Standing For Peace and Justice

A Democracy Now interview by Juan Gonzalez

Eight years ago this week California's Rep. Barbara Lee was the only member of the US House of Representatives with the courage and integrity to vote against the president's invasion of Afghanistan.  Currently the sponsor of another resolution to prevent President Obama from escalating this futile and unjust war, Rep. Lee is interviewed by Juan Gonzalez on Democracy Now.


Roman Polanski and the Contradictions in Us All

polanksiby Davey D
For 30 years, it bothered the U.S. government not one bit that film director Roman Polanski lived free and well in Europe, a fugitive from a 1977 charge of drugging a minor to have sex with her. What a contrast with the elephant-like memory and unrelenting viciousness of U.S. lawmen when it comes to Black Panthers and other radicals accused of ancient (alleged) crimes.

The Pedophile and the Terrorist

John Maxwellby John Maxwell
The U.S. wants film director Roman Polanski extradited from Switzerland to face the music for his sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl, 30 years ago. Meanwhile, the U.S. harbors the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, wanted for numerous crimes over a long and murderous career, including blowing up an airliner in flight. Ain't American “values” wonderful?

Poll Shows Public Wants Medicare for All

medicare for all?by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
President Obama attempts to depict proponents of Medicare for all as lefty health care “extremists.” But that’s precisely the kind of “robust” public plan favored by two-thirds of Americans, according to a recent poll. Obama is to the Right of the people, and the GOP is off the map.

Freedom Rider: Obama Knows Best

Obama and the boyz on the G20  blockby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The youthful Barack Obama was a strange variety of “community organizer” - he didn't like protests. Obama's feelings haven't changed in the interim. The president believes protesters like those that showed up for the G20 summit, in Pittsburgh, are obsessed with some “generic” version of capitalism that throws people out of work and creates wars. But that's all in their heads. The First Black President said so.

Eshu’s blues: Teachers Defend Their Communities and Themselves

by michael hureaux perez
Teachers in a small school district in the Puget Sound region of Washington went on strike against the corporate “reform” juggernaut – and survived the experience. “For 17 days, Kent teachers held the line against the usual Dickensian shopkeeper horse manure that dominates the public education debate in the United States.” The community stood with them.

On Education, Obama's First Term Is Bush's Third

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Testing and charters – that's all President Obama's team has to offer, says the head of the American Federation of Teachers. Both are, essentially, part of the corporate strategy to privatize public schools from within, and to make teachers the villain in the education debate.

Rep. John Conyers at the Coporate Black Caucus Affair Last Week


If you managed to attend the annual DC gathering of the Congressional Black Caucus last week you know it was more the "Corporate Black Caucus" that was on display. Goodie bags from Coca-cola, a health care summit sponsored by Pfizer, and the logos from Wal-Mart, Lockheed and Boeing were everywhere to tell you who paid the bills and called the shots at this annual celebration of supposed black political empowerment. In the midst of this den of corporate iniquity, Russell Moniker from Single Payer Action cornered Rep. Conyers to inquire on the status of single payer.

Gov. Deval Patrick Joins Condemnation of Hyatt Firings

strikersA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Hyatt Hotels pounced on their Boston housekeepers like a great predator, firing the staff without notice and attempting to replace them at half the wages. A governor and a union stepped up in solidarity with the workers, who had been subjected to cruel, but not unusual, treatment in this late stage of capitalism.

The Great Black Hole of Casino Capitalism

depressionA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If all the talk of economic “recovery” sound insane to the growing ranks of the unemployed and dispossessed, they're right. “The great investment banks are through, dead and gone, no longer willing or able to gather trillions in capital for any enterprise vaguely resembling national economic development.” All that's left is The Casino.

Saving Jamaica: Revaluing People

John Maxwellby John Maxwell
People who habitually describe other people as 'human resources' scare me,” writes the author. Disrespect for Jamaica's people – by the people's own government – has contributed to the flight of 80 percent of the island's graduates. A civil service exodus may be next. “We are being asked to beat up civil servants while allowing the wealthy to behave like 18th century plantation owners and slave-masters.”

Why the Public Option is Doomed To Fail, and What Can Be Done About It.

 whateverThe generous, expansive public option on the lips of Congressional progressives, which would be open to all and compete to lower insurance prices is largely imaginary, while the president's stingy, divisive and means-tested version is all too real.  But what about the third version of the public option?  What is the Congressional Progressive Caucus doing to promote it, and to allow states to pursue single payer on their own?

(an unedited draft of this story was erroneously posted yesterday, this is the corrected version.)

White House vs. Gov Paterson: Is That Any Way to Treat a Brother?

david patersonby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
People who remember the days when Black elected officials were scarce and low-ranked, might conclude that last week's spectacle is a good problem to have: A Black president carrying out the “political execution” of a Black state governor. But what does this episode say about Black voting strategies and the value of role models?

Freedom Rider: Iran’s Right to Exist

missile testby editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
President Obama has the uncanny ability to achieve Bush-like ends by much smoother means. He announces a compromise on missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, then moves the weapons elsewhere on the continent. He initially tones down the rhetoric on Iran, then escalates the pressure on that country. “A smooth, intelligent president can be more dangerous than a blustering, boorish one.”

“Black is Back” on Nov. 7: D.C. Rally and March on White House

black is backA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player to listen to or the mic below to download the MP3 audio of this commentary.

The “period of passivity in Black politics” that accompanied the ascent of Barack Obama, is about to end. The Black is Back Coalition seeks to reignite a Black-led movement for social justice, peace and reparations – which will in turn energize progressive politics in general. See you in DC on November 7.


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