25 May 2011 — Black Agenda Report News, commentary and analysis from the black left
Freedom Rider: Israel Reigns Supreme
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The corporate media pretend that President Obama is standing up to Israel, when in fact the rogue state remains the “third rail” of U.S. politics. “Israel’s untouchability has nothing to do with popularity amongst the masses, but everything to do with a well funded lobbying and propaganda machine.” Israel’s wars are America’s wars, fought with American weapons and financing. Obama is no “change agent,” and there has been no “reset” of the lop-sided U.S.-Israel arrangement.
How Cornel West Did the Obamites a Favor
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Unable to defend the indefensible, Black Obama supporters have been “rendered all but mute on issues of policy.” They got their chance to reenter the political conversation when Princeton professor and media celebrity Cornel West, a former Obama supporter who is now a harsh critic, speculated on the racial workings of the president’s brain. “There is no need to inject racial psychoanalysis into the (public) conversation when straightforward political analysis is more than sufficient to the task.”
Political Prisoners? Black Lawyers Say Obama Could Free ‘Em All
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball
What can President Obama do to show that he cares, just a little bit, about Black Americans? Since he has done nothing so far in his term, a good a place as any would be to free political prisoners, many of whom have been held for three and four decades. Black lawyers “are calling for the United States to be held to the standards of conduct established by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) and Convention to End All Forms of Racism and Discrimination (CERD).”
The Corporate Dream: Teachers as Temps
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Public education’s corporate enemies – Democrat and Republican – now wage open warfare against teachers unions, seeking to strip them of collective bargaining rights. But that’s just the beginning. “The billionaires, and the politicians they have purchased, want nothing less than to destroy teaching as a profession.” In the ideal corporate world, most teachers would have the status of temps.
Elites and Evictions: The Attack On Haiti’s Homeless
by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre
For poor people in occupied Haiti, life is a state of siege. Seventeen months after the earthquake, many owners of land on which 1,356 displaced persons camps are located are resorting to force to evict their countrymen. Meanwhile, the cash-rich Haitian reconstruction fund overseen by former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush is building a luxury, seismically-safe hotel for western visitors.
Obama Claims to “Reset” the Imperial Clock
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Since when does the leader of an empire voluntarily “reset” to become a non-interfering power? Never. President Obama’s speech, last week, was mainly geared to maintaining U.S. supremacy in the Mideast and North Africa following the shock of the Arab Reawakening. Obama chided Arabs and Africans who believe colonialism is the root of their problems. But “if colonialism is a thing of the distant past, then why are the combined militaries of the world’s historical colonial powers, the U.S. and Europe, bombing and strafing their way through Africa?”
by Cynthia McKinney, in Tripoli
“Inside the hotel, one Libyan woman carrying a baby came to me and asked me why are they doing this to us?” writes Cynthia McKinney as bombs rain down on Tripoli, capital of Libya.
“It is transparently clear now that NATO has exceeded its mandate, lied about its intentions, is guilty of extra-judicial killings—all in the name of “humanitarian intervention.” If the humanitarian ruse is allowed against Libya, why not…anywhere? “People around the world need us to stand up and speak out for ourselves and them because Iran and Venezuela are also in the cross-hairs.”
Africa: Battleground For NATO’s 21st Century Strategic Concept
by Rick Rozoff
The attack on Libya follows a whirlwind of western military activities designed to give NATO a more effective “expeditionary” – that is, foreign invasion – capability. NATO’s special focus is Africa, where much of the energy coveted by the U.S. and Europe is located. “Africa is also the laboratory for the 25,000-troop NATO Response Force, intended to be deployable within five days throughout the world and to sustain operations, including combat missions, for up to six months.”
What Has Obama Done for African Americans?
by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
President Obama’s campaign operatives claim they now have a message for Black America, after more than two years of “I got nothin’ for you, man.” Blacks have their own page on the White House blog, but filling it up with substantive news may prove difficult. “Far from ‘benefiting’ African American communities, Obama’s policies—shaped largely by neoliberalism and the idea that privatization of public services is preferable to an expansion of the state, even in times of dire economic crisis—have been particularly harmful to Black communities that were already reeling from years of rotten conditions,
The Black Civil Rights Movement And Zionism
by Lenni Brenner
The author explores Black America’s historical relationships with – and opposition to – Zionism, from W.E.B. DuBois to the demobilization of the Black Freedom Movement. “King’s April 4, 1968 assassination came at a crossroad in his relations with Washington and American Zionism. He was publicly pro-Israel but met with [Stokely] Carmichael against Johnson’s war and for King’s Poor Peoples Campaign.”
Over Two Thousand Six Hundred Activists Arrested in US Protests
by Bill Quigley
The number of people arrested in protests has been on an upward curve since 2009, when activists that supported Obama began to fathom the scope of their mistake. “It has taken a couple of years, but the Hopeium addicts of 2008 are finally getting into recovery.” Although the trend is clear, the precise numbers of political arrests is understated, since “U.S. protests are rarely covered by the mainstream media outlets which focus so intently on arrests of protestors in other countries.”
Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of May 23, 2011
School Closings Cause Detroit to Shrink
The rapid depopulation of Detroit, which lost one-quarter of its residents in the last decade, is a direct – and deliberate – result of massive public school closings, says Shanta Driver, of BAMN, By Any Means Necessary. “More than half of Detroit public schools have closed down in the past five years,” says Driver. “When you drive through certain neighborhoods, it’s like watching locusts eat through a field.” This summer, “we’re looking at half of the remaining schools being up for closure or sold off to charter schools,” causing more residents to leave the city.
Nader Proposes Slate to Challenge Obama on Issues
Consumer activist and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader is looking for “70 to 80 well known Democrats” to form slates in the upcoming presidential primaries to say, “Mr. Obama, we want to provide you with a robust opportunity to debate progressive issues that go to the soul of the Democratic Party.” Otherwise, says Nader, there will be no discussion of U.S. wars, corporate crime, single payer healthcare, civil rights, poverty, or a living wage.
GOP Medicaid Proposal Would Cut Care
Republican schemes to remake Medicaid as a block grant program to the states “spells severe cuts,” says Katie Robbins, national organizer for Healthcare Now! “The states are in fiscal crisis,” says Robbins. “Instead of addressing the reasons why we have out of control health care costs or huge deficits, Congress is, unfortunately, not looking at taxing rich people or doing meaningful cuts to our military budget, or challenging corporate control of our healthcare system.”
Government Should Call Big Oil’s Bluff
Rather than knuckle under to oil corporations that threaten to leave the country, cut production or lay off workers if they don’t get their way with tax and pricing policies, the government should use its vast powers to defend the public interest, says Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. “The government already has the tools at its disposal” to counter Big Oil’s bullying, including setting up a public oil company to compete with them, says Wolff.
Black and Brown “Overseers” Do Rulers’ Bidding
Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, whose firing from the Environmental Protection Agency led to passage of the landmark No FEAR Act to protect federal whistleblowers, says “an increasing number of African Americans, Africans and Hispanics have become the conduits through which the ruling class and people in power carry out their dictates.” These modern-day “overseers” include the man who fired her, Rafael DeLeon – who was later put in charge of civil rights at the EPA by Lisa Jackson, the Black woman that heads the agency.