13 July 2011 — Black Agenda Report – News, commentary and analysis from the black left
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Barack Obama is salivating at the prospect of concluding his Big Deal with the Republicans, the one that will move the center robustly – even transformatively – to the Right, where this president really lives. The debt-limit deadline is Obama’s big chance to panic a significant part of the Democratic Party into joining in the rape of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “When the debt-limit showdown arrives, pray for gridlock, which would at least mean there is still resistance to Republican extortion.”
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The bottomless cesspool that was Rupert Murdoch’s London tabloid News of the World is gone, but the ruthless corporate politics of its master still hold sway in the U.S. and Britain. Murdoch is the great vampire of media corruption and consolidation on both sides of the Atlantic. But he is not a solitary villain. “Murdoch was not the only media beneficiary when the FCC allowed him and others to consolidate their power and influence.” All corporate media are truth thieves.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared Ball
It is always good when white Americans with resources discover that their government is one of the “bad guys.” The plight of accused Wikileaks secret cables provider Bradley Manning has, apparently, awakened lots of folks to the oppressive side of the U.S. state. However, Black, Brown and Red political prisoners were rotting in the American Gulag for 40 years before Manning joined their ranks. “So much could be learned were his treatment put in the context of, for instance, the Scott sisters or the even longer-standing cases of Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Sundiata Acoli or the Move 9.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
A U.S. Marine task force is about to be deployed in the war against Somalia, where American drones are stepping up their predations. For the second time in four years, U.S. aggression threatens the lives of multitudes in the Horn of Africa. “A United Nations spokesman describes the food and refugee emergency in Somalia as the ‘worst humanitarian crisis in the world,’ with millions at immediate risk.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
With no help from the Mossad, the Israelis created a “no-fly” list that stymied hundreds of Palestinian solidarity activists from reaching the city of Bethlehem, on the West Bank. “Social networking – or Internet organizing, if you will – made it easy to put the trip to the West Bank together – and just as easy for the Israelis to thwart it.” That’s the problem with Internet organizing: “Everybody sees who you are and what you’re up to.”
by Mark P. Fancher
Beware of Americans bearing gifts, guns, and an AFRICOM patch; their embrace can turn fatal. “One minute, Gadhafi was America’s best friend in northern Africa and in the next minute he was an evil menace.” The turnabout can be sudden. “Robert Mugabe too has been romanced by imperialism and then jilted.” The results were highly inflationary, and may yet bring unwanted intrusions.
by Edward Rhymes PhD
Class warfare rages in America, on a biblical scale. The conflict is not by mutual consent, but imposed by the strong on the weak. “It is the poor, the working and the middle class that are banished to the flames, while the wealthy live in a paradise of exemption.”
by Jack Random
The only thing scandalous about cheating in Atlanta’s schools is that No Child Left Behind made it inevitable and logical. The corporate reformers and their allies in the White House have programmed the public schools to “fail” in order “to crush public education and open the door to privatization of the schools.” Their formula can have no other result, just as high stakes testing could not help but cause schools to “cheat” by forcing low-achieving students to drop out.
Anti-War Forces Weak in the House
David Swanson, publisher of the influential web site War Is A Crime, calls congressional efforts to halt President Obama’s war on Libya a “huge muddle.” A bid to defund the Libya operation failed by 199 to 229, and legislation to cut off money for the war in Afghanistan garnered only 97 votes.
“I think you really have somewhere around 97 members of the House that are really serious about ending wars,” says Swanson. “You have 199 who will put up some kind of pretense,” but at least half of them are not really serious.
Dems and Labor: A Suicide Pact
Labor gives money and manpower to Democratic politicians, who then vote like servants of huge corporations, according to a commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. The “murder-suicide” nature of the pact is exemplified by the National Education Association’s (NEA) early endorsement of President Obama’s reelection, despite the administration’s relentless attacks on public school teachers.
Arnie Duncan “Racist” and “Insane”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan declared that Detroit will have “no viable future” as a community if it doesn’t buckle under to Obama’s draconian “Race to the Top” program of high stakes testing, teacher insecurity, and forced charterization. That’s “insane,” says Tom Stephens, a Detroit lawyer and activist, adding, “I thought it was clearly a racist statement” that Duncan would have never directed against a predominantly white city.
“Fear” and “Panic” Among School Teachers
Delegates to the National Education Association’s Chicago convention voted down a proposal to demand that Arne Duncan be fired. Among those on the losing side was Joyce Schon, of the Equal Opportunity Now Caucus of BAMN, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). “There was too much fear, too much panic, and too much lack of confidence in their own power and their own abilities to stand up for their own dignity and for the future of their students,” says Schon.
Victory for Affirmative Action in Michigan
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 2, the measure that outlawed affirmative action in Michigan public education, is unconstitutional. George Washington, representing the BAMN-affiliated Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, argued that Proposition 2 created “a separate and unequal system of political rights. Every group in Michigan con petition to the University of Michigan for special admission programs to benefit their members except racial minorities.” In effect, says Atty. Washington, Proposition 2 created a category of citizen with less rights than others.
It’s Race, Stupid
For more than 60 years, Black unemployment levels have been stuck at roughly twice that of whites. The grim ratio persists in good times and in bad across three generations. Andy Kroll, who wrote the article “The 60-Year Unemployment Scandal,” found that neither educational disparities nor de-industrialization nor other “race-neutral” factors explained the gap. In the end, “it comes down to discrimination in hiring and racism,” says Kroll.
The Texas chain-dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. at the hands of three white men shocked the nation, in 1998. An award-winning documentary on the victim, titled “Byrd: The Life and Tragic Death of James Byrd, Jr.” is now available on Amazon.com, says the films creator, Eligah “Ricky” Jason. “This documentary focuses on Byrd as a person. It puts a face on the man.”