Obama's First 100 Days -- The Black Agenda Report Card

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

Why a Report Card At All?
The hundred day report card is an enduring tradition in American journalism for a very good reason. It's journalism's job to help citizens make sense of the world, to seek the truth and tell it without fear or favor no matter where it leads. Three months and a week into a new administration, everybody knows where the mens and ladies rooms are, most of the key hires are in place, and the bus has definitely cleared the station. There's plenty of evidence by now to assess where it's going, and whether it's anyplace we really ought to be headed.

Status QuObama: A Hundred Days of Fake-Progressive BS and Liberal-Left Surrender

The nation's first Black president proceeds unmolested by the Left as he moves mountains of money in a crusade to save the investment banking class. Anti-war forces dissolve into nothingness as Barack Obama extends the U.S. occupation of Iraq indefinitely. A new theater of war called Af-Pak coagulates in South Asia, yet benumbed "progressives" praise their president as the consummate man of peace. "By demanding nothing of Obama and the Democrats except that they not technically be Republicans, our so-called "progressive" organizations effectively grant advance approval to whatever corporate and imperial policies the new president and the Democrats execute."

Freedom Rider: Tortured Justice

da prezAny credit Barack Obama gets for revealing information on U.S. torture practices, Is “undeserved.” Freedom of Information suits brought by the ACLU and others “had already forced the governments hand.” But Obama has no intention of making the war criminals pay for their crimes – and for that, he is responsible in the eyes of the law. “As a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the United States is obligated to investigate, prosecute and punish officials who direct or commit acts of torture.” Obama, like most Americans, thinks obedience to the law is optional for the United States – an imperial mindset identical to that of his predecessors.

Obama's America Joins White Walkout From UN Conference on Racism


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download a copy of this Black Agenda Radio commentary.
The former and present colonizers and enslavers of the world - Europe and its white settler colonies - rose in bogus indignation to denounce the Iranian president's remarks on Israeli racism. But it was a sham and farce, part of the choreographed Obama White House plan to wreck the Durban II international anti-racism conference. "In sabotaging Durban II, Barack Obama succeeded in avoiding coming to grips with grievances registered against the United States, eight years ago."

European Pirates in Somali Waters

factory fisherA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Click the flash player to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this Black Agenda Radio commentary.
The maritime powers busily looting Somalia's fishery are preparing to formalize their theft. Spain and France, the "biggest thieves of Somali fish" plan to assume responsibility for the fisheries at an upcoming conference. Under cover of preserving order on the high seas, "the French, the Spanish and the rest of the freeloaders are reverting to a kind of piracy of their own, like in the good old days when whites sailed the world and took what they wanted."


Black Colleges Profiled as Suspected Havens for “Extremists”

black college studentsA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

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Don't let the apolitical facades fool you. Virginia's four Black colleges are hotbeds of "militancy and rebellion" and magnets for "a wide variety of terror or extremist groups." So says a government-funded outfit called the Virginia Fusion Center, which also cautions against the national security dangers inherent in diversity. "While the vast majority of these individuals are law-abiding, this ethnic diversity also affords terrorist operatives the opportunity to assimilate easily into society, without arousing suspicion." Safe, secure communities are uniformly white and English-speaking.

Eshu’s blues: Zulu Nation in Seattle Takes a Big Step Forward


zulu 1by BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
KRS One gave the best definition when he said rap is something you do, hip hop is something you live,” says Alonzo Ybarra, a prime mover in Seattle’s chapter of the Zulu Nation. “ Ybarra is determined to chart a positive course for the chapter, but he’s realistic about hip hop’s vulnerabilities. “I think rap in general has been commercialized, it’s probably one of the easiest cultural art forms to take on, certainly you don’t have to be in particularly great shape to think that you can rap, you certainly don’t have to be in very good mental condition to make words rhyme, so it’s no wonder that, very often in pretty much any community you go to in the United States, you’ll go out and hear rot as rap.”


Has Change Come to Post-Katrina New Orleans?

If you want to measure the distance between George Bush and Barack Obama on domestic political issues, Katrina provides the best test. What emerges is a startling continuity of policy toward New Orleans between the Republican and Democratic White Houses – especially regarding the fate of public housing. This continuity of policy “is particularly the case in New Orleans where public services have been or are on their way to being privatized or eliminated, and where, primarily due to this disaster capitalist agenda, almost half the population has been unable to return home, disproportionately female, black and, poor.”

Creating A Third Force In American Politics

by Dr. Ron Daniels
Progressives should create a ‘third force’ in American politics – an independent political organization that focuses on developing and advocating reformative and transformative policy proposals and actively educates, agitates, organizes and lobbies to enact its agenda.” The Left should have learned by now “that the change President Obama believes he can achieve is incremental, not fundamental.” There’s a problem, however. Although “the crucial task is creating a third force as a 21st century version of the Rainbow Coalition… the left tends to be too fractious and contentious to build this kind of umbrella formation.”

Davey D Interviews Somali-Born Rapper Knaan, Pt 1 -- The Real Story Behind Somalia's So-Called "Pirates"

Somalia hasn't had a central government in twenty years due to persistent US and proxy military interventions.  In the absence of any law, European fishing fleets have swept its seas clean, and seaborne fly-dumpers have dumped radioactive wastes off its shores, killing the livelihood of thousands of fishermen.


The US, Cuba and Moral Authority


Fidel and Raulby Netfa Freeman
Barack Obama dominates his Republican rivals here in the United States, but the international arena is a different venue, entirely. There, Obama carries the baggage of American presidents past – and any new encumbrances he might pick up on his own. Certainly, in a heads up against Cuba, the United States finds it nearly impossible to claim the moral high-ground. “One cannot ignore that unlike in the US, Cuba regards education, healthcare and employment as rights, not privileges. It is fairly common knowledge that Cuba provides free education, from pre-k up to the university level, and healthcare to all its citizens is completely free of charge.”


Half a Century of U.S. Lies


John Maxwellby John Maxwell
If you give those Americans an inch, they’ll steal your whole country out from under you. Raul Castro said he was willing to put “everything” on the table in future talks with Washington. But hostile-minded analysts interpreted Raul’s remarks as meaning he’d throw Cuba’s sovereignty and social system into the pot. Former leader Fidel was quick to clarify: putting “everything on the table” did not mean bowing to unreasonable demands from a superpower that is still a “squatter” on Cuban soil at Guantanamo Bay, and continues the world’s longest economic blockade against Cuba.


Let the IMF Die

let it dieby C. Uzondu

The International Monetary Fund, that instrument of torture deployed to strip developing nations of their ability to function as sovereign governments, is on it’s death bed. It should be allowed to die and be buried. Yet imperialist circles hope to resurrect the IMF under cover of the current economic crisis. “For imperialism, this is an opportunity to re-impose imperial control. It is a critical moment to reinvest in the capacity of the IMF to impose the ‘debt trap.’” If the IMF zombie rises from the grave, “it means that the runners and the dishwashers, the workers and the unemployed, the peasants and the landless of the world have much work to do. We have to increase the ideological and political work against any and all new attempts to grant this quack doctor a new lease on life.”


Department of Broken Promises: Obama Closes Door on NAFTA Renegotiation

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

During the campaign Barack Obama's campaign deliberately led supporters to imagine he favored the reopening of the wildly unpopular North American Free Trade Agreement, which most agree has cost millions of jobs, driven down wages in the U.S. and Mexico, increased the gap between rich and poor and driven millions of Mexican farmers off the land, into cities and to the U.S.  But reports from the Canadian press were confirmed by the White House yesterday.  Obama has no intention of renegotiating NAFTA.

Freedom Rider: Viva Hugo Chavez!


chavez salutesby BAR Editor and Senior Columnist  Margaret Kimberley
When it comes to delivering health care and building economic opportunities for the poor, Barack Obama could learn a lot from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. But with Obama repeating the same false charges that justified a US sponsored coup a few years ago, it seems that the empire and its president have learned nothing and forgotten nothing in their relations with Latin America over the last half century. On this front as many others, the Obama administration seems not to be much of a change from the arrogant imperial politics of the past.


People of Color Beset by Layers of Racial Profiling

LAPD profilingA Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR Executive Editor Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to hear or the mic to download an MP3 copy of this Black Agenda Radio Commentary.
"The 21st century began with a kind of ritual burial of racial profiling. Suddenly, nobody was in favor of it." Then cam 9/11, and racial profiling became a national imperative, the "patriotic thing to do." Both incarnations of racial profiling played out dramatically in New Jersey, where the Turnpike became a symbol of official racism on the road, later repudiated. The state now aggressively uses local police to question people about their immigration status, adding another layer of burden to people of color confronting arbitrarily intrusive police power. 

Black Drug Incarceration Rates Down, White Numbers Way Up

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR Executive Editor Glen Ford
We have apparently reached the end of merciless cycle. After decades of "predatory policing of Black communities, which seemed intended to sweep the streets of as many young Blacks as the prisons could consume, the criminal justice system simply reached saturation point." Black drug incarceration rates are dramatically down, while whites have skyrocketed. On the Black side, "the police whipped on us until they got tired." On the white side, the methamphetamine epidemic could no longer "be swept under the rug."


Raul Castro, Barack Obama, Hugo Chavez: Who Are The Big Men?

leadersA Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR Executive Editor Glen Ford

Click the flash player above to hear or the mic to download an MP3 copy of this Black Agenda Radio commentary.

What does putting "everything on the table" mean, in discussions among nations? Cuba's Raul Castro says he means literally everything, including exchange of political prisoners, as long as talks are held on the basis of equality. Barack Obama claims the next move is up to Cuba, but it appears Raul has already made an authentic offer. Besides, there is something fundamentally wrong when the nation that continues to commit crimes against its neighbor - the U.S. - asks for concessions before it will cease and desist.

Race Cowardice From the Top Down


america's head on raceby Paul Street
Discussions of race in the US, except on the terms of and with the permission of privileged whites are impolite. They are “playing the race card.” Attorney General Eric Holder labeled the national reluctance to engage with itself a symptom of cowardice, forcing his boss to defend him. But the old saying is that it takes one to know one.



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