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Let Them Eat Symbols: Obama’s Plan for the Long-Term Unemployed

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

A deep social crisis is upon us, and the rulers know it – their system created it. “Obama’s feel good rhetoric and his Administration’s minimalist program of 'promise zones,' corporate funded jobs programs that don’t actually employ anyone and rhetorical concern for income inequality, are preemptive moves geared to mitigate any demands that might emerge for fundamental reforms or radical change.”

The “Smarter Sentencing Act”, Wishful Thinking and White House Fakery: Obama as Prison Reformer

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

As the Smarter Sentencing Act moves through Congress, President Obama masquerades as a prison reformer. In reality, the administration “has placed legal roadblocks in the way of release for thousands” and “has no intention of limiting the scope and powers of the Incarceration State.”

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Feb. 14, 2014... An Evening of Song & Celebration With Lynne Stewart

An Evening of Song & Celebration With Lynne Stewart: AN URGENT FUNDRAISER FOR LYNNE’S MEDICAL NEEDS

In or near NYC Feb. 14? Wondering what the first stop Valentine's nite ought to be?

Come to an evening of music, song and sharing love for recently released People’s Lawyer Lynne Stewart.  Because of a determined people’s movement, Lynne is finally home with her family. But she has urgent medical needs and costs. Lynne’s Stage 4 breast cancer spread a year ago to both lungs, back, bones, and lymph nodes. Now 74, she has lost weight and has trouble breathing; doctors estimate her lifespan at 12 months. Lynne will soon begin treatment requiring her to pay deductibles and co-­payments. To boost the odds, she’ll use a special diet, ­vitamins, and other healing methods – some costly and none covered by insurance.

Another Black Face on MSNBC: Good News For Joy Ann Reid, Not So Much For The Rest of Us

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

If Fox News is the Republican ministry of TV propaganda, MSNBC is the mouthpiece of the White House and corporate Democrats. The last real journalist in an MSNBC host spot was Phil Donahue, fired for letting antiwar lefties on the air once in a while. MSNBC must have a lot of confidence that their new host Joy Ann Reid will carry their water, and leverage her black face to carry their message to us, instead of the other way around.

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Rwanda’s Peacekeeping Operations: A Poisoned Pill that Blackmails the West

by Theogene Rudasingwa

Under dictator Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s military is highly paid for peacekeeping duties in Darfur, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Haiti – despite its role in the death of millions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The West depends on Kagame as its man in Africa, and in return gives impunity to his criminal network. 

Judge Rhodes to Detroit: Don't Pay the Banksters

by Tom Stephens

The judge in Detroit’s disastrous bankruptcy process has, at least temporarily, blocked the wholesale transfer of much of the city’s assets to predatory bankers. But public dialogue must be made to focus on “cancellation of the debt allegedly ‘owed’ to the banks by Detroit,” so that the people can seize “new opportunities to build a new city.”

Letter to Obama: America’s Selective Memory and the Cuban Five

by Piero Gleijeses

Washington’s selective memory of Cuba’s role in the world – and America’s own sordid past and present – prevents its leaders from seeing reality clearly. But President Obama witnessed first hand that Africa remembers who its friends are. “While the Cubans were fighting for the liberation of the people of South Africa, successive American governments did everything they could to stop them.”

The Devolution IS Being Televised

by Reverend Reynard N. Blake, Jr.

What about the lost fear of being in prison?
Is "thug life" a given to create art?
What is "keepin' it real?"
Real is when whitey makes the deal

The Unemployment Question(s)

by Raymond Nat Turner

Livin’ on nothin’, while hunger works full time

No wonder, some brothers stumble into crime.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 2/5/14

 

Resist Obama and His Black Corporate Brethren

President Obama’s “most unmemorable” State of the Union address shows “he represents corporate America and empire,” said Kevin Alexander Gray, the Columbia, South Carolina Black activist and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics. “We’ve got to challenge those folks who are operating for the interests of the corporations and not in the interests of the people, folks like [New Jersey Senator] Cory Booker, like [Atlanta Mayor] Kasim Reed – and like Barack Obama.”

President Stuck in Neoliberal Paradigm

“If you look at Obama’s speech, he is still stuck in a neoliberal economic paradigm that has been quite destructive for ordinary Americans,” said Lynn Parramore, a senior editor at Alternet and author of the article, “State of the Union: Obama’s Underwhelming Plan to Tackle Inequality.” Denizens of Wall Street are treated as “too big to jail,” said Parramore. “Seeing bankers walk off Scot-free when they’ve done things a thousand times worse than what most people sitting in America’s prisons have done, is damaging to the spirit of the country.”

Democratic Brand Sloganizing

“Democrats only take up the cause of the minimum wage when Republicans are in office, to reinforce their fake ‘brand’ as champions of the oppressed,” said Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon. “When Democratic are in power, their attention drifts elsewhere,” said Dixon, noting that Obama did next to nothing to boost the minimum wage or pass union-favored “card check” legislation when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, during his first two years in office.

Mumia Astonished at Global Wealth Disparities

The nation’s best-known political prisoner seemed aghast at news that 85 people possess wealth equal to the assets of 3.5 billion people – half the world’s population. “Rome, infamous for its rich and corrupt senate, never saw such inequality as this,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, in a recent Prison Radio commentary. “Marx, for all of his acumen, never saw that coming.”

Only the Poor Drink the Water

West Virginia officials claim it’s now safe for the Charleston area’s 300,000 people to drink the local water, following a huge chemical spill early last month. But Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter, said only folks with no other options are drinking the water. “The people in the know, the legislators, the lawyers, the doctors in Charleston, when you press them: Are you drinking the water, are you letting your family drink the water? – they say no.”

Diversity Doesn’t Come Naturally in U.S.

Robert Greenfield IV, a Black Student Union leader at the University of Michigan, said the administration is deliberately marginalizing students of color. Diversity is “something that doesn’t naturally occur in the United States,” said Greenfield. “Unfortunately, you do have to have an artificial hand to make sure that people from the marginalized societies have an equal opportunity with their white counterparts.”

Giving Clarence Thomas a Pass

Students of history should check out the new documentary Anita, the story of Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas at the 1991 Senate hearings on his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Dr. Donald Smith, professor emeritus of education at New York City’s Baruch College. “Unfortunately, many people did not support Anita Hill,” said Dr. Smith. “It’s still difficult to understand, to this day, why Clarence Thomas would have been supported by so many Black people, including Maya Angelou. A lot of Black people gave him a pass.”

27 Years in Prison Based on “Vision in a Dream” and Lost Evidence

Simple justice demands that Clarence Moses El, who has spent the last 27 years in a Colorado prison on a rape and assault conviction, deserves a new trial, said Larry Hale, of the People’s Power Assemblies. Denver police “lost” DNA evidence that might have acquitted Moses El, but a U.S. Supreme Court precedent holds that “destruction of evidence, in and of itself, does not constitute bad faith” on the part of law enforcement, said Hale. The only witness against Moses El, the victim, said she identified him after a vision in a dream, and another inmate has confessed to the crime. The People’s Power Assemblies are circulating a petition on Moses El’s behalf.

Black Bodies Keep Surfacing in Lake Michigan

“In the last four years we’ve had four Black bodies come floating up in Lake Michigan, and every time it ends up with” officials finding no evidence of “foul play,” said community activist Rev. Edward Pinkney, of mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan. Rev. Pinkney strongly suspects police involvement in the killings, and has called for mass demonstrations on March 1.

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American State of the Union: A Festival of Lies

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Before the nation and the world, President Obama pledges to take “action” against “economic inequality,” while simultaneously holding secret negotiations on a Trans Pacific Partnership trade scheme that will quicken the pace of the global Race to the Bottom, deepening economic inequalities. “Lies of omission are even more despicable than the overt variety, because they hide.”

Barack Obama, the State of the Union and the Prison State

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For a generation now, predatory policing, the war on drugs and the prison state have been government's most frequent intersection with young black Americans. The gossip before this year's State of the Union was that the president would now do by executive order all those good things Republicans have blocked him on the last 3 years. Does that include reining in or rolling back the prison state? Should we hold our collective breath?

Freedom Rider: State of the Union: Awful

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Do not expect honesty, accuracy, or even a semblance of reality from U.S. presidents’ reports on the State of the Union. Better to call it the State of Delusion address. So, skip the charade, here are the facts: “The state of the union is not very good for anyone except the ruling 1%.”

Planning for War and Deception: How the Obama Administration celebrates the King Holiday

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

The Americans are playing a deadly and cynical game at the Geneva II conference on Syria, sabotaging the talks in order to set the stage for more warfare and terror. In this sick equation, diplomatic failure is victory: “the U.S. moves closer to their real strategic objective – regime change or the dismemberment of the Syrian state.”

Do Democrats and President Obama Really Want to Raise the Minimum Wage?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

$10.10 an hour isn't much of a raise, but it's better than a sharp stick in the eye. The truth is that rhetoric about “passing a jobs bill”, “universal pre-K” and raising the minimum wage are things Democrats dust off to reinforce their brand, only when when Republicans are in a position to block them. That makes them branding exercises, not political deeds they intend to accomplish.

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