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    Two years After the BP Drilling Disaster, Gulf Residents Fear for the Future

     

    by Jordan Flaherty

    Now is not the time to let BP off the hook for the Gulf oil spill disaster. Environmentalists report “shrimp born without eyes, fish with lesions, and crabs with holes in their shells.” The Obama administration has not acted in the public’s interest. “The US government seemed to protect BP more than coastal communities or the environment.”

    The Corporate Anti-Education Sham of Teach For America, Part 1 of 2

    by Education Radio

    Founded in 1990 by Wendy Kopp, Teach For America has become the personnel agency for corporate school reform.  School districts fire experienced, often black teachers to hire underpaid TFA recruits with 5 weeks training to do brief "missionary work" stints in public schools before moving on.  Turning teaching into Wal-Mart style temp work is what TFA is all about.

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    The Ongoing Sham of Teach For America, Part 2 0f 2

    by Education Radio

    Teach For America hijacks the catch-phrases of the social justice movement in the service of corporate "school reform" and ultimate privatization of public education.  In Part 2 of Education Radio's exploration of TFA, we hear from TFA participants, parents, real teachers and researchers on the lasting damage TFA has already inflicted on children, teachers and school communities.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of April 23, 2012

     

    Backdoor” threat to Social Security

    Democratic Senator Kent Conrad, of North Dakota, head of the Senate Budget Committee, would raise full retirement eligibility for Social Security to age 69, under legislation based on the Simpson/Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission report. “It’s a backdoor attempt to reduce Social Security benefits,” said Don Owens, of Social Security Works, in Washington. “Not too many businesses are hiring 68 and 69 year old workers.”

    Obama Fails to Spend Funds on Hardest Hit Homeowners

    More than $7 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Fund money set aside for hardest hit homeowners, disproportionately Blacks and Latinos, was allow to sit in President Obama’s Treasury Department, unspent, for two years. The administration managed to spend only 3 percent of the $7.6 billion allocated. However, South Carolina writer and activist Kevin Alexander Gray doesn’t think the malfeasance will hurt Obama with Blacks at the polls. “As long as they have someone that cosmetically looks like them in the White House,” and “as long as Black people are not organized to make coherent demands of the system, he doesn’t have to worry,” said Gray.

    African Americans Have Right to Self-Determination

    Based on Article One of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the U.S. is a party, “African Americans have the right to determine their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development,” said Dr. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Boyle spoke on the subject to a Chicago meeting of the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities.

    U.S. “On the Defensive” in Africa

    The rise of China, India, Brazil and other countries has made the U.S. desperate to maintain its domination of Africa, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. Because “Africans are capable of playing the China card,” they don’t necessarily have to buckle under to “the U.S., France or the other imperialist countries.”

    Chicago March Against NATO Wins Endorsements

    May 20 demonstrations against the summit meeting of NATO heads of state, in Chicago, has been endorsed by Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rainbow-Push, three major service employees international unions, the Chicago teachers, and a nurses union, said Chris Gavreau, spokesperson for the United National Anti-War Coalition. “This march is going to be the major Spring action against war and austerity,” she said.

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    Trayvon Killing Reveals Unreconstructed White Nationalism on the March

     

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    “’Shoot the Blacks’ is a winning political platform.” That’s the message brought home to African Americans by the Trayvon Martin murder and George Zimmerman’s Stand Your Ground defense. Far from a post-racial society, the U.S. is, in many ways, devolving. “So bold have the racists become, they now seek to empower white citizens in general with lethal privileges to defend white space, wherever it is claimed – a reversion to lynch law, on top of police terror.”

    Freedom Rider: No Justice for Muslims

     

     

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    The U.S. government has been become so brash, so cynical in its entrapments and pure persecutions of Muslims, it is beyond embarrassment. The shameless cannot be shamed. Khalifa al-Kalili tried to hold a press conference to explain that the government was trying to frame him – so they arrested him on other trumped up charges. “A laundry list of people who have been turned into criminals by our government is useless unless a call to action comes along with it.

    Obama Administration Withholds Home Foreclosure Aid to Hardest Hit

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Obama cries crocodile tears about what the Republicans in Congress won’t let him do. But he allowed more than $7 billion in TARP money set aside for worst hit victims of the housing crisis to sit, unspent, in Treasury Department accounts, for two years. “No wonder most people think TARP is only concerned with bailing out the banks. The Obama administration has treated it that way.”

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    The West Wants to Take the Rest of Sudan’s Oil

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Less than a year ago, Sudan was split in two after decades of U.S. support for the secessionist South. Newly independent and deeply impoverished South Sudan has now seized much of what remains of the North’s oil fields. The South refuses to return to its borders, despite widespread international denunciation – a boldness that is inconceivable without the connivance of the United States.

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    No Fear, Chapter 4. The Gore-Mbeki Commission: The Sound That Freedom Makes

     

     

    by Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

    The author witnesses sudden death in South Africa, where Blacks had been condemned to social death since the arrival of the Dutch, centuries ago.

    Letter to Florida Judge: No Bond For Zimmerman

     

    by Alton H. Maddox, Jr.

    George Zimmerman has been undercharged and is a flight risk who should be denied bail, says a former human rights and criminal defense lawyer. Bail would also fly in the face of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. “It would be unthinkable for a Black person in Florida to seek bail after being charged with murder in the second degree for causing the death of a white person.”

    Uganda Or Somalia? Get Your Story Straight, America

     

    by Mark P. Fancher

    The U.S. and Uganda are playing a cynical game of musical chairs in Africa. The Americans send Green Berets to Uganda, ostensibly to help the beleaguered Ugandan military hunt down Joseph Kony’s LRA guerillas, while the Ugandans send thousands of soldiers to Somalia to prop up the U.S.-backed government in Mogadishu. “The U.S. has no real interest in the LRA, but is drawn instead to oil fields in Uganda and South Sudan.”

    April 1994 to April 2012: Commemorating More Than 18 years of US Sponsored Terrorism in Central Africa, Part 2 of 2

    by Keith Harmon Snow

    After US-backed forces shot their way to power in Rwanda and Uganda with armies of child soldiers and exemplary atrocities, Western propaganda blamed the horrific death toll on the losers. To legitimize its African pit bull regimes the US now hounds and deports Rwandan dissidents, concealing or concocting evidence at will.

    Namibian Government Blames NATO for Mali Unrest

     

    by Toivo Ndjebela

    In 1964, the Organization of African Unity’s first order of business was to hold sacrosanct the national borders inherited from colonialism, so that the continent would not be plagued by secessionist movements manipulated by the former oppressors. With the partition of Sudan and NATO’s crushing of Libya, Pandora’s box has been opened. Now Mali has been torn in two. “Those tearing Mali into administrative pieces should have observed the African Union’s principle of inviolability of borders of African countries.”

    Fidel Castro and Ozzie Guillen: Evasion of Truth

     

    by Solomon Comissiong

    Right wing Cuban Americans made newly-minted Miami Marlins’ manager Ozzie Guillen grovel after he expressed “love and admiration for Fidel Castro – that he respected the way Castro had survived in power for 60 years.” U.S. corporate media played the story like it was a triumph of the American way of life. Miami’s reactionary exiles have mastered the arts of political and media terror – as well as the more lethal kind – and remain “hell-bent on returning Cuba to a capitalist playground.”

    Remembrances from the Weather Underground: Reviewing Love and Struggle

     

    by Seth Sandronsky

    The Weather Underground waged armed struggle against the U.S. state and “white skin privilege” – a war that put David Gilbert in prison for life. “Gilbert’s memoir in part corrects the historical record with insights on fighting power and wealth with like-minded others for a more humane way of life for all.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of April 16, 2012

     

    Tear Down U.S. Prison Gulag

    It’s a counterinsurgency before there is an insurgency.” That’s how Los Angeles activist Clyde Young views America’s incarceration of 2.4 million people, most of them Black and Latino. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network plans actions in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay area on April 19, a National Day of Resistance to Mass Incarceration. Statutes like Florida’s Stand Your Grand Law encourage racist vigilantism, said Young. “They’re nothing but new forms of lynch laws, where any citizen…can shoot a person down on the street, and be exonerated.” In Atlanta, activist Joey Johnson said George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer, was “acting out a larger, racist societal project. It requires a deeper, systemic change if we’re going to get to the root of it, and not constantly be dealing with the phenomenon.”

    Occupy Harlem to Rally for “All the Trayvons”

    It’s essential for us to build a united front against racist killings,” said Dr. William Sales, an organizer of Occupy Harlem’s rally and march, April 21. “We have to move against what has emerged as a New Jim Crow. It’s really a form of terrorism that is more associated with the Old Jim Crow than with law enforcement,” said Sales, an associate professor of African Studies at Seton Hall University. For information, call 646.812.5188.

    Justice Wanted: Plan Needed

    What appears to be an escalation of terror against Black people, is also routine practice,” said Kali Akuno, of the U.S. Human Rights Network, in Atlanta. Akuno is circulating a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice, which includes a data base on recent racist killings of Blacks. Young people “are being force fed this narrative that we have somehow magically emerged into some kind of post-racial society.” Instead, said Akuno, Blacks must “organize into formations that exercise power to create the kind of society that you want.”

    Housing Settlement Almost Worthless to Underwater Homeowners

    Activist David Hungerford led angry members of the Coalition to Save Our Homes to New Jersey’s state capital in Trenton, to demand reductions in mortgage principals. The $25 billion settlement between the nation’s state attorney generals and the big banks “broadly speaking, does almost nothing” for homeowners that are “underwater” to the tune of $700 billion. The top state law enforcement officers “talk with the people who perpetrated predatory lending, but they won’t talk to the victims,” said Hungerford.

    Black Teachers Pushed Out in Denver

    African American teachers are being “pushed, en mass to retirement, fired, put on disciplinary hearing or on leave” in the Denver public schools, because of the Obama administration’s so-called “turnaround” program, said Cozette Hammock-West, a retired teacher with the Alliance of Neighborhood Organizations for Justice for African Americans. Black educators are replaced by “young white teachers, most of them from the Teach for America program, where they are not even trained to teach.”

    A U.S. Chapter for ILPS

    On May 19, in Chicago, the International League of People’s Struggle, representing 200 organizations, worldwide, will welcome its newly organized U.S. chapter. “It’s not only people in those countries that are being invaded and bombed by the United States” that need solidarity, said Bill Doar, a vice-chairman of ILPS. “We, too, need international solidarity to fight against the power of Wall Street and U.S. corporations.” ILPS delegates will also take part in mass demonstrations against the NATO summit meeting in the city.

    A Real Socialist for President

    Stephan Durham, who’s seeking the presidential nomination on the Peace and Freedom Party line, says he is THE socialist candidate in the race. “Capitalism is addicted to war,” said the Freedom Socialist Party member. “Fundamental change” is needed in the U.S., “so that the world will have a chance to breathe.”

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    Obama’s Drones Threaten World Civilization

     

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    President Obama’s vast escalation of drone warfare is “a declaration of war against international law, as it has evolved over the centuries.” He systematically wages war against peace, the highest international crime. More than “just another ‘war president’ – he is a destroyer of world civilization, the terms by which humans deal with one another as states, social groupings and individuals.”

    School Closings Come To Atlanta This Week, To Your City Next Week: It's Time To Dump Arne Duncan

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    A national movement to save public education is coming to life, in the face of a decades-long bipartisan campaign to discredit, de-fund, destabilized and destroy public education. President Bush's Education Secretary said teachers unions were terrorist organizations. Obama's man Arne Duncan believes Katrina was the best thing that ever happened to education in New Orleans. Is it time yet to dump, and to dump on Arne Duncan?

    Freedom Rider: The ICC is Criminal

     

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    The New World Order under U.S. dominion turns international law on its head and puts criminal-bought flunkies on the judicial bench. America, which is not even a signatory to the treaty that created the International Criminal Court, calls all the shots like a Mafia don. Africans and a few Serbs are the only ones that get arrested, while great crimes against peace masquerade as humanitarian intervention.

    Obama Signs a Phony – and Dangerous – “JOBS” Bill

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Obama and his Republican soul mates have pulled another fast one, passing a “JOBS” bill that provides no jobs, but instead further deregulates Wall Street’s crisis-making machine. The president has joined his big business backers in an attempt to repeat Bill Clinton’s brief and unstable “boom” by “ inflating another hi-tech bubble to keep the casino wheels spinning for a few years.”

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    Economic Boycotts Over Trayvon Martin Are Cynical Misdirections of a Potential Movement

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Some so-called civil rights leaders talk up economic boycotts over Trayvon Martin, the same way some of them did over Troy Davis a few months ago, and the state of Ariizona before that. But what if economic boycotts really don't work for stuff like that? What are these so-called leaders really doing, and why?

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    What Will the U.S. Do When It’s Number Two?

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    In just four years, the United States will fall behind China as the world’s largest economic engine. The problem is, what the U.S. cannot achieve by economic or diplomatic means, it will attempt to accomplish by military force. America will not graciously accept decline. “It is a crisis, not of an ordinary nation state that happens to be an economic giant, but of a global system: imperialism.”

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    The Political Will to Protect Our Children: By Any Means Necessary

     

    by BAR editor and columnist Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

    The racist vigilantism that killed Trayvon Martin has spread far beyond Florida, where justifiable homicides have tripled and “vigilantes are obviously a protected class, occupying the position of judge, jury and executioner.” More than 30 states have enacted laws similar to Stand Your Ground. “We have the power to roll back these reactionary and racist laws.”

    Diane Ravitch: Charters, Privatization, and How Obama's Race To The Top is Really a Race To The Bottom

    A Media Matters Interview by Dr. Robert McChesney

    Diane Ravitch, a former Clinton and Bush advisor, ex-charter school, voucher and No Child Left Behind supporter explains the evidence that changed her mind, and how the bipartisan education agenda of charters, privatization, standardized testing and turning teachers into temps ill serves children, parents and communities.

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    Thirteen Ways Government Tracks Us

     

    by Bill Quigley

    The national security state grew exponentially following 9/11, and now includes nearly 4,000 organizations across the country, employing technologies, old and new. Americans have been enlisted to track each other. “The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative stores the profiles of tens of thousands of Americans and legal residents who are not accused of any crime but who are alleged to have acted suspiciously.”

    George Clooney: CIA’s “Volunteer” Spokesman for Horn of Africa

     

    by Thomas C. Mountain

    Movie superstar George Clooney has put his mass magnetism in service of “humanitarian” warfare. His job is to point in the other direction when his masters and their proxies commit crimes against humanity and world peace.

    April 1994 to April 2012: Commemorating More Than 18 years of US Sponsored Terrorism in Central Africa, Part 1 of 2

    by Keith Harmon Snow

    In the 80s and early 90s murderous US-sponsored guerrilla armies in Uganda and Rwanda used child soldiers, American training, and atrocities to butcher their way to power. The US State Department, intelligence, military & corporate media afterward portrayed the monstrous death tolls as genocide committed by their opponents. This is the genesis of the Rwandan genocide fable that now bolsters US sponsored police states in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, and US intervention throughout the region.

    We Are Watching You

     

    by Benedict Wachira

    African youth are watching, but not waiting. They are getting ready.

    We are watching you as you put up your AFRICOM bases in Djibouti, and your
    Lilly-pads all over…. Just like the phoenix, our continent is burning, and the heat is preparing
    us, preparing us to rise.”

    The Stable Debate on Multicultural Education

     

    by Shannon Joyce Prince

    Multicultural studies is deemed dangerous because “revealing the truth about historical atrocities tears apart America’s mythology and delegitimizes much of the American power structure.” America's actual history teaches that, “In order to give blacks the same positive social outcomes as whites, blacks must be educated differently than whites.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey - Week of April 9, 2012

     

    Blacks Disappearing From California University Campuses

    Even at African American Studies classes at UC Berkeley, it is now rare that Black students are a majority of the class,” said Yvette Felarca, one of the protesters that briefly occupied the Registrar’s office. African American enrollment has dropped to 3 percent since passage of Proposition 2009, the referendum that outlawed affirmative action in state higher education in 1996. A federal appeals court recently upheld the ban. George Washington, a lawyer for Detroit-based By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), calls the law “a direct attack on the political rights of Black and Latino people. Every other citizen of the state of California can say they want a special admissions program” – except racial and ethnic minorities.

    Look at Dick and Jane. See Their Privileges

    Dick and Jane,” the old picture book primer, taught post-World War Two Americans that lily white suburban lives were the ones “that need to be protected from criminal Others like Trayvon Martin when they enter into gated communities,” said scholar and activist Sikivu Hutchinson. “This whole paradigm was really constructed upon the Othering of African Americans and other families of color.”

    Occupy the Justice Department

    The U.S. criminal justice system will be put on trial, on April 24, when demonstrators “Occupy” the U.S. Justice Department, in Washington. Benjamin Woods, of Students Against Mass Incarceration, hopes to put “prison abolition back on the table, as opposed to just prison ‘reform’ and ‘stop these brutalities.’” The Howard University doctoral candidate said the questions must be posed: “What is an alternative to prison? How can we transform society so that prisons are no longer necessary?”

    California Prisoners Take Torture Case to the UN

    Peter Schey, of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, has filed petitions asking the United Nations to intervene in California’s draconian prison solitary confinement practices. “The majority are placed in solitary confinement” – for years and even decades – “based on mere gang membership or association with gangs,” said Schey. His clients want the UN to issue a report stating that California’s policies “constitute torture in violation of international law.”

    The Rich, and Their Children, Get Richer

    The Senate should pass a bill that would restore taxes on inherited wealth to levels that would raise half a trillion dollars over the next ten years, said Tim Sullivan, of United for a Fair Economy, part of Americans for a Fair Estate Tax. “The concentrated wealth we are seeing right now is at epidemic proportions, the worst it has been since before the Great Depression, and the Estate Tax is near its weakest level since it was put into place 100 years ago,” said Sullivan.

    U.S. Hands Off Mali!

    The Tuareg rebellion that has cut the West African nation of Mali in two is the result of colonial boundaries and decisions that “left out a nomadic people without any kind of land base of their own,” said Anna Edwards, of Defenders of Freedom, Justice and Equality, in Richmond, Virginia. The “destabilization of Libya” by the U.S. and NATO left thousands of Malian Tuaregs jobless. Peace activists should demand that the U.S. not intervene in the conflict, said Ms. Edwards, who has visited Mali several times. “The bulk of U.S. aid to Mali is implemented through AFRICOM, and the desire to find a base on African soil.”

    Cholera Deaths Up in Haiti

    The return of the rainy season has brought an increase in deaths from cholera, which has killed 7,000 Haitians and sickened half a million since its introduction by MINUSTAH, the United Nations military occupation force. The UN has the responsibility to commit the resources to control the disease “because they brought it there, but they’re still denying it,” said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington. “This is the rainy season, and once again they’re not prepared for it. I think they just don’t care enough.”

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