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    The Great Debate -- Is Barack Obama Good For Black People? Part 1 of 2

    On June 25, hundreds of black America's formost thnkers and doers gathered at St. Mary's Church in Harlem NY to ask and answer the question of whether Barack Obama was good or bad for black America. We here present some of the 5 to 7 minute presentations pro and con on whether Barack Obama is good for black America. Click the flash players to listen to or the mics to download them in MP3 format.

    Glen Ford

    "President Obama has been very busy," asserts BAR's Glen Ford, and almost none of it has been good news for African Americans.  Torture, racism and unjust wars and other policies that progressive blacks condemned when the Bush regime did them, are denounced by black leaders no more.

    Nellie Bailey

    CUNY's Dr. Leonard Jeffries things Obama has indeed been good for black people, and declares it's time to study wht he calls "Obamology".  To find out what he means and more, give the guya listen.


    Nellie Bailey

    Nellie bailey of the Harlem Tenants Union belives that Barack Obama is no good for black America.



    Nellie Bailey

    Dr. Gloria Browne-Marshall of the John Jay School of Law is impressed that Obama has actually read the US Constitution, and fears that he might be too good for America.

    Black Radio-One Tycoon Runs Republican Game

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    radio one montageWielding her 50-plus radio stations like weapons,


    Wielding her 50-plus radio stations like weapons, Cathy Hughes gives “Black cover” to corporate, Republican politics while smearing the most progressive members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The presence of Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton on her side of the fight over artist royalties is no surprise. How else are they going to stay on the radio?

    Conyers: “There is no one more disappointed than I am in Barack Obama.”

    conyers and obamaA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

    The nation's senior Black congressman fears Barack Obama is in danger of becoming a one-term president. Obama's health care proposal is “crap,” says Detroit's John Conyers, and Obama loses whether it passes or fails.

    Black Jobs Disappearing at Depression-Era Rates

    where are the jobs?A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

    There are no targeted programs to address soaring Black unemployment on the horizon, despite Democratic control of the White House and both houses of Congress. President Obama puts his faith in a “rising tide” that “lifts all boats,” but in the real world “the economic tide is sinking Black boats at two, three and four times the rate of whites.”

    The Inside Man on the Great Bank Heist

    inside manA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

    The bankster class, awash in billions in bonus money, flaunts its unearned wealth, oblivious to the political harm their antics are inflicting on the “Indispensable Man” in the bank bailout, President Obama. The author believes “the president's intimate entanglements with the criminal banking class will be his undoing.”

    Turning Racism Upside Down To See It Right Side Up: The Remix

    upside downby Dr. Edward Rhymes
    Attorney General Eric Holder described Americans as “cowards” when it comes to race. Certainly, white America refuses to confront white criminality and social pathology, preferring a narrative that “transfers” the ills of society to Black America. Won't some courageous white person stand up and tell the truth?

    So Much for the Promised Land

    book coverby Chris Hedges
    The conditions for black men and women in America are sliding backward, with huge numbers of impoverished and unemployed removed from society and locked up.” Yet an often “craven” Black elite speaks a language that “ignores the institutional racism that makes sure the poor remain poor.” A shameful deal has been struck. “They are offered comfort and privilege, but they pay with their souls.”

    Single Payer Summer

    single payerby David Swanson
    Although a single payer health care bill isn't ”even remotely likely to pass” this year, there are lots of reasons to continue the legislative battle. Says the author: “I think one can best campaign for justice if one knows exactly what one is up against but doesn't give a damn how grim that picture appears.”

    The Crimes of Bongo: Apartheid & Terror in Africa's Gardens of Eden, Part II

    by keith harmon snow
    When Gabon President Omar Bongo died of a heart attack at age 73 in early June, multinational corporations and neocolonial leaders in Europe and the U.S. mourned his passing. He had served them well as the longest-running dictatorship in Africa.

    Top Ten Ways To Tell Your President & His Party Aren't Fighting For Health Care For Everybody

    obama on health careby BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon

    With the corporate media relentlessly distorting the public discussion around health care reform, it time for some clear, bright lines to help us tell who is doing what to whom, and whether any of it leads to health care for all of us.  Here are ten of them.

    The Peculiar Class Solidarity of Barack Obama and “Skip” Gates

    thinking about his friendby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
    Sean Bell and Oscar Grant were shot down like dogs, but that was none of Barack Obama's concern. But when a local cop racially profiled Dr. Henry Louis Gates as if he were just another Black man, Obama's world shook. “To be subsumed within the Black mass means class death. No one was safe!”

    Freedom Rider: Black Unemployment Ignored

    not hiring.  go BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
    The damage inflicted on Black America since the economic meltdown is absolutely unprecedented in modern times – but African Americans have yet to “develop an agenda and make the requisite demands” of power. In New York City, Black unemployment is “more than four times as high as white joblessness. “The trajectory for black America goes ever downward, even as the presence of a black man in the White House gives the mirage-like appearance of success for all.”

    Two Thirds of Prison "Lifers" Are Black and Latinos

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

    American determination to arrest ever-increasing numbers of Blacks and to keep them locked up for as long as possible is creating a rapidly aging prison population. While African Americans and Latinos are one fourth of the nation's population, they are two thirds of all the prisoners serving life sentences. " More Americans are under life sentence than ever before – more than 140,000, compared to only 34,000 25 years ago.”

    Courts Again Confront Racism in Firefighter Hiring

    white firemenA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act still lives, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of then Federal Appeals Court decision against white firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut. Another federal court has found discrimination in testing applicants for the New York City Fire Department. The New York test was filled with firefighting trivia questions that have little to do with the actual job.

    “Responsibility to Protect” is Warmed-Over Imperialism

    right to protectA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

    “R2P” is the latest American device to justify military aggression and regime-change in the developing world. “The doctrine is a warmed-over version of so-called 'humanitarian' military intervention – another excuse for big powers to make war on weaker nations.” The doctrine is “reminiscent of the term 'protectorate' – a legalism for a country that is run as a virtual colony of one of the big powers.”

    Eshu’s blues: Gates Busted by Officer Jim Crowlaw, uh, James Crowley

    more gatesby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
    President Obama is so averse to calling racism by its name, he sometimes makes himself sound less than intelligent – such as when he called a policeman “stupid” for doing what cops do to Black men every day of the week. Obama's Harvard buddy “Skip” Gates comes across as not too damn bright either, seemingly “shocked” that white policemen would fail to change the habits of a lifetime in deference to Gate's superior breeding and high culture.

    “Skip” Gates: A Curious Martyr in the Struggle Against Racism

    gates in studyby Paul Street
    President Obama’s “friend” Dr. Henry Louis Gates has been richly rewarded for arguing “that poor African-Americans are largely to blame for the fact that blacks stand at the bottom of the nation’s steep socioeconomic pyramid.” Presumably, and by the same logic, Gates must now blame himself for getting arrested in his own home by a Cambridge policeman. Actually, Gates’ first impulse was to cash in on the experience with a “PBS special” on Blacks and the criminal justice system – a subject that never previously crossed his mind.

    How Henry Louis Gates Got Ordained as the Nation's "Leading Black Intellectual"

    reed - gatesby Ishmael Reed

    Who is Henry Louis Gates and how did he get to be one of the nation's most prominent black academics?   How has he managed to make a career talking down to African Americans before white audiences?   Ishmael Reed dishes out a little history, explaining what one has to do to be anointed by corporate media as the leading intellectual light of our people in this new millenium.

    “Skip” Gates Slapped So Hard, the Red, White and Blue Pom-Poms Dropped from His Eyes

    more skip gates than you wantby Henry Rose
    Dr. Gates told the Cambridge cop he didn't know who he was messing with. But some of us Black folks know Dr. Gates only too well. “Over the last 15 years Gates has often been enlisted by America’s most prestigious media venues to knock down radical Black initiatives, the Black poor, Black Nationalist leaders, and Afrocentricity.” Gates is, for the moment, whistling a different tune, having gained a sudden insight into Black life in America.

    Encounters with Police: Teachable Moments

    teachable momentsby Robert Jensen
    A frequent lecturer on race and politics, the author was confident that he was reasonable well acquainted with the workings of racism in the United States. Attuned to the pervasiveness of white privilege, he believed himself both sophisticated and sensitive on matters of race. Then, as often happens, he was humbled by the arrival of another teachable moment.

    When Lighting Up is Drinking from the Whites-Only Fountain

    white lightingby Richard Leader
    Given that white drug users are spared the relentless prosecution and long prison terms reserved for African Americans, are such whites beneficiaries of a racist system? The author believes so. “Until the experience of drug use is the same for people of all races, whites engaging in the activity are doing something akin to drinking from a 'whites only' water fountain.”

    Is the Obama Health Care Plan Really Better Than Nothing?

    another healthcare montageBy BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Candidate Barack Obama told us to judge his first term by whether he delivers quality affordable health care for all Americans, including nearly fifty million uninsured. So why does his proposal not cover the uninsured till 2013, after the next presidential election when Medicare took only 11 months to cover its first 40million seniors? Why are corporate media pretending that no opinions exist to Obama's left? And why has the public option part of the Obama health care plan shrunk from covering 130 million to only 10 million, with 16 million left uninsured altogether?

    Obama Lies on Two Continents, is Denounced in New York

    presidents chosen by gawdby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
    Barack Obama may be the most effective propagandist for U.S. imperialism in a very long time. But his narrative to Africans is built on blatant falsehoods, and his spiel to Black America is fundamentally dishonest and evasive. Demonstrators in Manhattan declared: “We will no longer tolerate a message from within our community, that the policies of Barack Obama cannot be criticized.”

    Cynthia McKinney on Running the Gaza Blockade, and Black Solidarity With Palestine

    The accomplished filmmakers at SleptOn.Com sat down with former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney after her release from an Israeli prison.

    Bush and Obama: Different Styles of Coup-Making

    street scene in HondurasBlack Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

    Although nobody but Americans believes Washington was not behind the late June coup in Honduras, Barack Obama brings his own touch to subverting one's hemispheric neighbors. “Obama makes democratic noises – and then refuses to back them up with any actions that would cause U.S. clients in the Honduran military and oligarchy to relinquish power.” And he does it all with a straight face.

    Another Obama Promise Broken -- The Right To Organize Betrayed

    look for the union labelA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

    The Employee Free Choice Act has been gutted and may expire entirely, a victim of Barack Obama's signature style of governing to the Right of the Democratic center. “Although candidate Obama paid lip-service to the Employee Free Choice Act, he pointedly failed to deploy the powers of the presidential 'bully-pulpit' on behalf of the key “card check” provisions that would have forced companies to recognize unions as soon as a majority of workers signed a union card.”

    Rev. Edward Pinkney: The Preacher Who Dared to Invoke God

    Rev. Ed PinkneyA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

    The first man in modern day America to be imprisoned for “predicting what God might do” was released, last week. However, Rev. Edward Pinkney's conviction on voter fraud charges still stands, despite the 13 errors committed during his trail. The appeals court ruled the errors were “harmless” - a bizarre excuse for depriving Benton Harbor, Michigan of its premier Black leader and minister.

    Eshu’s blues: Dr. Wertham was right

    comicby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
    If life imitates art, political life in the USA mimics comic books. “Gotham City looked to the Grim Avenger and Boy Wonder Robin, the United States looks to the Grinning Pretender and Joe, the Wonder-Boy.” Like in the comic books, the bad guys and the less bad guys are all crazy. “Next issue, the Dynamic Duo are off bombing and strafing in Afghanistan, reinforcing the barricades in Gaza and silently backing coups in Honduras.”

    The Crimes of Bongo: Apartheid & Terror in Africa's Gardens of Eden, Part One

    bongo againby keith harmon snow
    American and European imperialists mourned the recent death of Gabon President Al Hajji Omar Bongo Ondimba, the longtime dictator and servant of western corporations and governments. It is fitting that Paris, London, Brussels and Washington miss him, since Bongo was largely their creation, especially the French secret services. Far from a benign strongman, Bongo and his thugs “have killed a lot of people with no one knowing about it. People just suddenly disappear or turn up dead.” Part One of Two.

    Not What Obama Promised

    noneby David Swanson
    The most telling indictments of Barack Obama's presidency will come from those that initially supported him. Obama got activist/journalist David Swanson's vote last November. Now, after six months in the White House, Swanson has compiled a damning bill of particulars on Obama's broken promises and reneged commitments. “The public must know the facts, make of them what it will.”
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