14 September 2011 — Black Agenda Report • News, commentary and analysis from the black left
We have experienced some technical difficulties. We are rebuilding our article content for the last five months, so these will gradually become available over the next few weeks, but unfortunately without their attached comments. Some of the links will be changed too, and for this we must apologize. The four and a half years of BAR content published on this site prior to April 2011 will continue to be available. We thank you for your patience, and the emails and phone calls we’ve received in the last few days.
Obama Subverts Social Security
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Since January, 2009, Barack Obama has been Social Security’s relentless antagonist. He has succeeded in maneuvering the program into “the middle of the budget deficit debate, where it does not belong and from which it has been purposely shielded since its origins in President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.” When the president and his allies chant “Go Big” on deficit reduction, they are aiming at Social Security’s heart.
Freedom Rider: Is Marriage for White People?
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Do Black women and Black men have problems forging stable marriages in American society? Solution: Black women should seek partners outside the race, says the author of a new, “useless and perhaps dangerous” book. Author Ralph Richard Banks is also sexist and classist, focusing primarily on the marriage prospects of upwardly mobile Black women, to the exclusion of Black men and less affluent African American females. One thing Banks can’t come to grips with: “Black Americans have lower rates of marriage and higher rates of family breakups because of racism.”
William Parker, 9/11 and American Mythology
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared Ball
The United States is a mythical country, mean most of what it says about itself is a lie. Since most of what the U.S. has historically said about its Black population is also a lie, it would serve African Americans well to invest in their own mythology as a kind of self-defense. William Parker, the free man and the myth, is an excellent candidate for the Black pantheon. “What better way to really commemorate a 9/11 than with reminders of radical organization and resistance to state-sanctioned terrorism?”
Fauntroy’s Libya Massacres Story: No Time for Teasing
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Rev. Walter Fauntroy has so far failed to follow up on his abbreviated tale of witnessing European special forces troops on an orgy of massacres and beheadings in Libya. The former DC congressional delegate’s story loses credibility with each day that he withholds further information. “It is mind-boggling to imagine why the French and the Danes would need to commit on-the-ground atrocities of their own, when they have at their disposal thousands of bloodthirsty Arab jihadis who have no problem doing their own massacres.”
High Stakes Testing in Schools: Who’s Cheating Who?
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Corporate school privatizers feign disgust with teachers that cheat the standardized tests. But big business theft of public education is by far the greater sin. “The real cheats are those that pushed high stakes testing under the false pretexts of reform, when the actual goal was union busting and privatization.”
Lisa Jackson, Blow the Whistle on Obama!
by BAR editor and columnist Marsha Coleman-Adebayo
President Obama’s decision to abandon his Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Air regulations presents EPA chief Lisa Jackson with a stark choice: to swallow hard and keep her job or do the right thing by blowing the moral whistle on her boss. Faced with a similar dilemma, a former Bush EPA administrator resigned rather than oversee injustice. The public’s options are grim: “Americans are being forced into an untenable situation of choosing between their ability to breathe and opportunity to work.
Bigger and More Dangerous Than the New Jim Crow
by Alan Gilbert
The author reports that Michelle Alexander and her political blockbuster The New Jim Crow animated the annual gathering of the American Political Science Association. Some voices claimed that Alexander’s formulation is too narrow, while others are staggered by the sheer weight of the criminal injustice system. “This police state complex is far broader, more institutionalized, more subject to a private profit motive and thus harder to change despite its grotesquely irrational, cruel and wasteful aspects than people usually imagine.”
Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of September 12, 2011
NATO Legally Liable for Ethnic Cleansing of Blacks In Libya
The United States and its European allies are liable for prosecution for mass killings and ethnic cleansing of Black Africans in Libya under the principle of “command responsibility,” but “that’s not going to happen” at the International Criminal Court. The ICC, which has charged Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi with crimes against humanity, “is a joke and a fraud” and “nothing but an imperialist tool.”
EPA Chief Challenged To Resign Over Obama Pollution Retreat
Renowned federal whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo challenges Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson to resign in the wake of President Obama’s cancellation of new air pollution controls. “Blow the whistle on Mr. Obama,” urged Coleman-Adebayo, whose fight against corruption and big business influence at the EPA led to passage of the landmark NO FEAR legislation to protect whistleblowers, in 2002. EPA chief Jackson is now “in a position where there is a conflict between your conscience and what you’re called upon to do to save your job,” said Coleman-Adebayo. “This could be her Rosa Parks moment. Let’s see what she’s going to do.”
Obama Jobs Scheme Inadequate
The president’s jobs plan “is better than nothing,” but will not make much of a difference in the unemployment crisis, said Doug Henwood, editor of the Left Business Observer. “Obama never really articulated a new path, and therefore has a very, very weak political foundation,” said Henwood. “He fundamentally agrees with imperial neoliberalism.” The problem is not whether the president has backbone or not. “He is a fairly center-right politician” who is “facing an extremely rightwing party, but he is no progressive, himself.”
$300 Billion Could Employ All of the Jobless
Obama’s $450 billion jobs plan, weighed down with incentives for business, “is, at best, going to give us five months of what we need, and then it’s going to run out,” said Randall Wray, professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Wray expenditure of just $300 billion in direct federal job creation would put every unemployed person back to work. Obama’s plan, said Wray, is based on the supply side economics that came into vogue under President Reagan. “We recovered jobs at a much faster pace during the 1930s Great Depression than we are doing under President Obama.”
How to Challenge Obama in 2012
David Swanson, publisher of the influential web site “War Is A Crime,” has come up with a formula by which a progressive could run against President Obama in 2012 and escape being pummeled as a “spoiler” for the Republicans. Swanson has drawn up a list of eight executive actions that Obama could take on his own, requiring no assent from the Congress, including withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan by October 2012, casting a veto against any reduction in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and introduction of new clean air standards. The challenger would agree to withdraw if Obama took these actions. If not, the Obama would bear responsibility for creating the progressive challenge to his presidency.
Humanity of Attica Prisoners Remembered on 40th Anniversary
“What Attica really showed was the humanity of the prisoners, as juxtaposed with the inhumanity and viciousness of the state,” said Atty. Elizabeth Fink, who helped win an $8 million settlement for 1,200 inmates tortured in the aftermath of the 1971 rebellion. New York State lawmen “mowed everybody down to show what happens when you rebel,” said Fink. Thirty-two inmates and 11 guards died in the massacre. “Our morality, the effectiveness of our society, is totally undermined by the prison industrial complex.”
Mother Who “Stole” Her Child’s Public Education Wants Change of Venue
The Black Connecticut mother who enrolled her five-year-old son in a suburban public school outside heavily minority Bridgeport is asking that her trial on theft of educational services be moved to another jurisdiction. Tanya McDowell’s attorney, Darnell Crosland, says statements by the mayor of Norwalk have made the venue “toxic” for his client. In addition, the prosecutor in the case is the mayor’s stepdaughter – “just like a hired gun in this particular case.”