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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 9/23/13

    Lynne Stewart Imprisonment Meant to “Chill” Defense Lawyers

    New Justice Department guidelines on compassionate release from prison should, by all rights, apply to people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, serving a 10-year sentence for zealously defending her client, said David Gespass, former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Stewart suffers from Stage 4 breast cancer. “The only possible reason not to release her would be just pure vindictiveness,” said Gespass, an attorney practicing in Birmingham, Alabama. “I think her prosecution was a warning to defense lawyers that they should not do their jobs as vigorously as they are required constitutionally to do, particularly in cases involving allegations of so-called terrorism.”

    October 22 Day of Protest Against Police Atrocities

    The Stop Mass Incarceration Network will hold the 18th annual National Day of Protest to stop police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation, said Carl Dix, a co-founder of the event. “If anything, it is even more relevant, today.” The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin killing “takes us back 150 years and more, to the Dred Scott Decision, when Black people were ruled to have no rights that white people are bound to respect,” said Dix.

    October 24 is “Workers Demand a Raise Day”

    The Baltimore Workers Assembly will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the federal minimum wage with demands that today’s minimum be raised to $15 an hour. “If wages had kept up with the cost of living since the first minimum wage was enacted, it would now be $15.23,” said organizer Karen Black. President Obama and other politicians have not been helpful in increasing workers’ paychecks. “That’s in part why we formed a workers assembly that can get a movement going to force these issues,” said Black.

    Obamacare Would Still Leave U.S. Last in Developed World

    Forty-eight million Americans are still without health insurance, and 48,000 of them die every year due to inadequate care, said Dr. David Himmelstein, of Physicians for a National Health Plan. “Billions and billions are drained out of the health care system by greedy insurance companies whose interest is in denying people care,” said Himmelstein, whose organization favors a Medicaid-for-All system. “Even if Obamacare works as planned, we’re still going to have 31 million people who won’t have coverage,” which means the U.S. health care system will remain “the worst in the developed world.”

    The Incredibly Shrinking Welfare State

    The remnants of the federal welfare program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, “needs to be made more accessible,” said Timothy Casey, senior attorney for Legal Momentum. “Right now, two out of three families and children who are eligible don’t get any benefits.” Moreover, “benefits in every state are far below the official poverty level – typically less than half,” said Casey. Legal Momentum was formerly known as the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.

    U.S. Protects Purveyors of Genocide in Congo

    Washington refuses to bring real pressures on Rwanda to halt its 17-year war and occupation of the eastern Congo, the “deadliest conflict in the world since World War Two, in which millions of Congolese have lost their lives,” said Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of Congo. “When you compare it to the way the U.S. has acted against Zimbabwe, or the way it’s been beating the war drums against Syria, the U.S. hasn’t brought substantial weight, whatsoever,” against its ally, Rwanda, said Carney.

    Kenyans Say No to International Criminal Court

    Both houses of Kenya’s parliament voted to sever ties with the International Criminal Court, which had previously indicted Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, the current president and deputy president of the country. “They had and election, and one of the major aspects of the campaign was, We can handle our problems ourselves and we don’t need the ICC,” said John Philpot, a Canadian attorney and expert on international criminal law who has defended clients before the ICC. Parliament’s action “was a good step,” said Philpot, “because the ICC is the right hand of military/political intervention” and only prosecutes Africans.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of November 26, 2012

     

    Wal-Mart’s War on Workers

    Last week’s job actions at Wal-Mart facilities around the U.S. are largely a response to cuts imposed on employee hours. “Wal-Mart has been experiencing a squeeze at the sales level and, therefore, putting a squeeze on their employees,” said journalist Liza Featherstone, who has covered the world’s biggest corporation for more than a decade. “In recent years, they’ve made it much more difficult for workers to work full time.”

    Fiscal Cliff” is Phony

    It’s a purely manufactured crisis,” said Arun Gupta, co-founder of The Indypendent and The Occupied Wall Street Journal, referring to the so-called “fiscal cliff” of spending cuts and tax increases looming over the U.S. economy. “Both parties are committed to austerity policies,” he said. “The danger with Obama is that he will be able to force through cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare because there is no opposition on his left flank.”

    Mobilization in Defense of Affirmative Action

    Activists plan to mobilize “hundreds of thousands” of young people in support of a recent federal court decision that struck down a ban on affirmative action programs at Michigan public universities. “Black and Latino high school and middle school students will be leading the line of march,” said Monica Smith, a lawyer for Detroit-based BAMN, By Any Means Necessary. “This shows that when you fight, you can win.”

    U.S. Wages War on Congo

    The United States has protected, armed and financed countries complicit in the genocide that has killed at least six million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996, said Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of Congo. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice “has blocked UN reports” of Rwanda and Uganda’s crimes in Congo, including support for the so-called rebels that captured the provincial capital of Goma, earlier this month. “She has to be doing so with the blessing of the White House,” said Musavuli.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of September 10, 2012

     

    Arne Duncan an “Absolute Disaster” for Black Children

    President Obama’s Race to the Top “has been an extension of, and even worse than,” President Bush’s public schools program, said veteran Black educator Dr. Donald Smith, an organizer of the upcoming Summit on Saving the African Child, October 11 and 12, in Chicago. “People will discuss charter schools, unions and corporations that have, in many instances, taken over the curriculum and instruction of schools of children of color and other children of poverty,” said Smith, who will keynote the conference. Education Secretary Arne Duncan “has been an absolute disaster” for Black students in public schools.

    School Discipline Bias Pushes Black Kids into Prison

    The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, charging public schools in Okaloosa, Florida, with disciplining Black students far more harshly than whites. Forty-seven percent of students suspended by the district are Black, although African Americans make up only 12 percent of the student body. There is a link between racially biased school discipline and the so-called school-to-prison pipeline, said Atty. Stephanie Langer, of the SPLC’s Florida office. “Once these kids get into the system, it’s very hard to get out of the system.”

    GOP and Dems Much Alike

    The two major corporate parties agree on much more than they disagree, said journalist Arun Gupta, co-founder of The Occupied Wall Street Journal and The Indypendent. That’s one reason why “there’s been no discussion of regulating Wall Street and almost no discussion of the continuing home foreclosure crisis,” said Gupa. “Both parties are attacking public education, and neither party has any sort of plan to create more jobs” aside from “the mysteries and magic of the ‘free market.’”

    U.S. Labor Movement Can’t Move

    Harry Kelber, the 98 year-old labor organizer and publisher of LaborEducator.org, says American trade unions “are not fighting, they’re not organizing, and they don’t have a plan to organize.” Too many union officials, said Kelber, are simply “biding their time, waiting to retire with a fat pension.” Labor spends tens of millions electing Democrats, but “What are they getting out of it?”

    Rwanda's Kagame Commits Genocide

    Opposition parties from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to charge Rwandan strongman Paul Kagame with genocide and crimes against humanity. Kagame’s regime is responsible for many of the six million deaths in neighboring Congo since the mid-Nineties, and for killing hundreds of thousands of Hutus in Rwanda, said Sixbert Musangamfura, a spokesman for the United Democratic Front of Rwanda, one of the complainants to the ICC. Rwanda is one of Washington’s closest allies in Africa.

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    Belgian Paratroopers to Crush Rising Congo Rebellion?

    campaigning in Congoby keith harmon snow
    Rwandan Defense Forces are flown into the western Congo, to shore up another challenge to the regime in Kinshasa. President Kabila is under siege on multiple fronts. United Nations forces secretly intervene on side of Kabila and his Rwandan allies. The ten million death toll, rises.
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