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Obamacare

Obamacare’s Empty Victory

By Dr. Margaret Flowers

Millions of Obama voters in 2008 imagined they voted for universal health. What they got instead was Obamacare, an incredibly complex thicket of laws, regulations and exceptions requiring millions to purchase private health insurance which might or might not provide adequate or affordable coverage, might or might not protect them from bankruptcy, but certainly privatizes more of the nation's health care system than ever before.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 12/9/13

Kevin Alexander Gray, South Carolina Activist and author, Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics, on Michelle Obama’s new portfolio as White House encourager-in-chief for college education.

Dr. Margaret Flowers, It’s Our Economy, on Obamacare, and the “Progressive” Democrats that support this boondoggle for the insurance industry, pretending it’s a step towards single payer health care.

Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies, Temple University, on the false narrative that depicts all of Black history as a kind of prelude to the election of Barack Obama.

Mumia Abu Jamal, political prisoner and journalist, on the wolves that have gathered to feast on Detroit, confiscating retirees pension funds “like vampires at an old folks home.”

Yafet Welde, activist with Toronto’s Black Action Defense Committee and plaintiff in one of two class action suits against police racial profiling, on the bigoted underbelly of Canada.

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Deleting Corporate Power: Dominant Media’s Superficial Coverage of Problems with Obamacare

by Paul Street

Corporate media criticism of ObamaCare is mainly limited to the failures of its website. But the whole machinery has been rotten from its conception in a right-wing think tank. ObamaCare “is dedicated to a vision of ‘change’ that leaves the corporate and financial oligarchy free to extort massive profits.” It is working quite well for the insurance giants, whose stocks are up by 200%-300%.

Obamacare is Doomed by Its Internal Logic

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Republicans had nothing to do with passing Obamacare, and they will not bring the program down. The falsely named Affordable Health Care Act is coming undone on the strength of its own contradictions. It’s not a national health program, at all – “just Obama working a scam for the insurance companies.”

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The Tragicomedy of Black Politics in the Age of Obama

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

You know Black folks are in trouble when a Saturday Night Live skit provides more insight into African American politics than all the Black so-called political “analysts” at MSNBC. “Most African Americans are wholly unconcerned about Obama’s actual legislative and executive agenda.” The people are left defenseless, for the sake of an icon in the White House.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – 11/6/13

Stop-and-Frisk Judge Thrown Off Case

A federal appeals court stayed Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling that stop-and-frisk, as practiced by the New York City police, is unconstitutional, and removed Scheindlin from the case for bias against cops. However, that doesn’t phase Robert Gangi, of the Urban Justice Center’s Police Reform Organizing Project. “Our judgment is that, while litigation and legislation can be helpful, they are not the critical components to the ultimate success of the police reform movement,” said Gangi. “The politics of the issue have changed, dramatically.” Gangi is convinced that Democrat Bill de Blasio, the city’s next likely mayor, will eliminate the worst abuses of stop-and-frisk.

A Slap in the Face

“My immediate reaction is that the federal appeals court stopped-and-frisked Judge Scheindlin,” said Carl Dix, a co-founder of Stop Stop-and-Frisk, which launched a campaign of direct action protests at police precincts across New York, two years ago. The panel’s action is a “slap in the face of all of the people who hate stop-and-frisk,” he said. “Them finding impropriety in Judge Scheindlin’s handling of the case, but seeing no impropriety in the way stop-and-frisk demonizes and criminalizes Black and Latino youth – that’s the real story, here.”

Don Obama and the Health Insurance Mob

The Affordable Care Act is neither affordable nor universal, said Dr. Margaret Flowers, co-director of It’s Our Economy and one of the authors of the recent article, “Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History.” “They’re marketing the insurance products for the insurance companies, paying people to knock on doors,” said Flowers. “We’re spending billions of taxpayers dollars to subsidize the purchase of private insurance. What better deal could there possibly be for a private insurance company?”

Caribbean Slavery Suit: Reparations or Pay-Off?

The 12 nations of the Caribbean economic community, plus Haiti and Surinam, plan to sue Britain, France and the Netherlands for the crime of slavery. However, the plaintiffs’ lawyers are already talking about a settlement. “Reparations is an issue whose time has come,” said Omali Yeshitela, head of the African People’s Socialist Party and chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition. But, it seems that the Caribbean leaders are “asking for a kind of pay-off, and nothing that actually challenges the relationships of power and the economic relationships that exist between Europe and the oppressed nations of the world.”

Sociologists Boycott Israel

Dr. Johnny Williams, professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut, said the Association of Humanist Sociology has joined the global boycott Israel campaign. Dr. Williams, a vice president of the association, said his colleagues demand Israel end its colonization and occupation of Palestinian lands, recognize the full citizenship rights of Palestinian Israelis, and allow Palestinian exiles to return to their homeland. The association felt compelled to join the boycott because “sociology is about transforming the human societies that we find ourselves in. It is nor merely about interpreting data.”

Soul Summit” Recounts Legacy

Black cultural and media practitioners gathered recently at pubic television’s WNET, in New York, to discuss the legacy of “Soul,” the 1968-73 public affairs program produced by the late Ellis Haizlip. Such programs were a response to the Black rebellions of the Sixties, said Dr. Todd Burroughs, an independent journalist and authority on African American media. Haizlip was able to convince Black artists “to talk about their art as Black people engaged in a struggle for Black liberation,” said Burroughs. Funding for the genre dried up in favor of “shows that would allow a more comfortable viewing experience.”

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Beyond the Spin, Some Facts About the Affordable Care Act

by Margaret Flowers, MD

President Obama’s market-based health care plan got off to a very shaky start, but the entire developed world already knows that private markets cannot deliver quality health care for all. “A single payer health system, also called Medicare for all, would both resolve the fundamental failings of our current system and is the solution favored by most Americans.”

Black Misleadership Class Pretends It’s Ready to Fight the Power

 

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Established Black organizations now claim they are ready to make demands of the First Black President. But are they serious? “What Marc Morial of the Urban League, Ben Jealous of the NAACP, Al Sharpton and others have outlined are issue-based suggestion boxes for the president’s perusal.” They're not about to “demanding” anything.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of October 8, 2012

 

College Admissions Must Consider Race

The U.S. Supreme Court should reject a challenge to affirmative action at the University of Texas, at Austin. “Removing race from consideration in admissions is impractical,” said Inimai Chettiar, of the Brennan Center for Justice, at the New York University School of Law. “I don’t see how you can divorce race from who a person is.” The University of Texas “has followed the Supreme Court’s mandate in previous cases to the letter.”

Myth of Black Progress

The exclusion of incarcerated persons from many data sources “calls into question claims about Black progress” over the past 35 years, said Becky Pettit, author of Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress. For example, there has been “no improvement in the high school dropout rate among young Black men since at least the 1990s,” and “young Black males dropouts are more likely to be in jail or prison than to be employed.” Dr. Pettit is a sociologist at the University of Washington.

Two Parties: One Vision

What the debate showed is how similar the two parties are,” said Arun Gupta, co-founder of The Occupied Wall Street Journal and The Indypendent. “We heard nothing about the most important issues.” President Obama “could not commit himself to stand for one thing that the vast majority of the people of this country need,” said Gupta, who is covering the campaign for Alternet, Truthout and The Guardian.

ObamaRomneyCare

President Obama made the most honest statement of the debate, when he said “Romneycare and Obamacare are, effectively, the same” and a “Republican idea,” said Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter. Another gem: Romney, trying to act like a populist, challenged “corporatist Obama” on his support for too-big-to-fail banks. “And, because Obama is taking cash from the same sources, he’s not able to respond.”

NDAA May Lead to Mass Lockups

The assault on civil liberties by the Obama administration has been worse than under Bush,” said veteran reporter Chris Hedges, a plaintiff in a suit against the preventive detention bill signed into law by Obama, last New Year’s Eve. A federal judge this summer declared the law unconstitutional, but an appeals panel put it back in effect, pending a final ruling. “This opens the ability of the state to classify an entire group of people – and, probably, American Muslims will be the first one – who can be just rounded up,” said Hedges.

Wal-Mart Walkouts

Workers walked off the job at Wal-Mart stores in Los Angeles, while employees from Europe, Latin America and Africa flew into the city under the banner of the Wal-Mart Global Union Alliance. The retail giant’s prices are low “because they’re taking from us,” said Wal-Mart “associate” Dan Hindman. “We’re paying for these low prices.” Alke Boessinger, a union organizer from Switzerland, said: “Unless workers unite as one, Wal-Mart will do whatever it can to silence people.”

Detroit Water Strike

AFSCME Local 207, in Detroit, claimed victory in a brief strike by water workers. Union official John Reihl said Michigan’s governor is determined to seize the mostly Black city’s water resources through “a combination of suburban control and privatization.”

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Listen to Black Agenda Report on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of October 1, 2012

 

U.S. Tries to Bully Iran Into Submission

Iran poses no threat to the world, said David Swanson, publisher of WarIsACrime.org. The real “source of tension” with Washington is that “Iran, since its revolution, has insisted on remaining independent of U.S. control. The Pentagon wants an Iran that cannot strike back” if it is attacked by the U.S. or Israel.

Obamacare Provides “Inferior” Protection

President Obama’s health care law is “an agreement between the federal government and big business” that “doesn’t protect Americans from bankruptcy and premature death,” said Dr. Reginald Clark, a health issues scholar who lectures at California State University, in Los Angeles. Most people will only be able to afford “inferior” levels of federally mandated health care coverage, he said.

U.S. Election Duopoly

Both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates are deep in the pocket of ‘clean coal,’ as they are in the pockets of Big Ag, Big Insurance, military contractors, Wall Street and other centers of real power,” said BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. For a progressive analysis of the debates between the two business parties, go to www.occupythedebates.org, beginning October 3.

Federal Employees’ Due Process Rights Threatened

Provisions of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act pending before Congress would allow judges on federal workplace boards to deny due process to employees that complain of discrimination, said worker rights activist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. “This really does harken back to Jim Crow, when our cases were considered amusement for the Bubba crowd,” said Coleman-Adebayo, whose battle against discrimination at the Environmental Protection Agency led to passage of the NO FEAR whistleblower protection legislation, in 2002.

Paramilitaries on the Rise in Haiti

With the encouragement of the U.S.-backed government, paramilitaries are occupying 20 former Haitian Army bases, according to Jeb Sprague, author of Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti. The militiamen want to become part of a new national military. The U.S. also favors bringing back the Haitian Army, which was disbanded under deposed president Jean Bertrand Aristide. “They want it there in place if the UN force eventually leaves, to beat down the people,” said Sprague.

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Why Obama Health Care Act Should Be Named “Obamacare for the Few and ObamaDon’tCare for the Majority”

 

by Dr. Reginald Clark

President Obama uses the term “universal” to describe his health care plan. But “well over 100 million American citizens will NOT be covered with a health insurance Plan that makes their health care costs “affordable” when they get sick.” There is only one solution: “a publically-led, single payer, Health Care system that takes the profit-motive out of providing access to quality health care.”

Deadly Fallout: How Obama’s Healthcare Law Provides Unaffordable Access to Health Insurance and Fosters Preventable Deaths

 

by Dr. Reginald Clark

Despite the hype from Democrats, “the high rate of premature deaths in California and throughout America will continue” even after the Obama health plan is fully implemented, in 2020. “A poverty-level working California citizen… will personally be charged $7,200 for an average hospital stay” – far more than she can afford.

Freedom Rider: Nixoncare Finally Wins

 

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The euphoria in the Obama camp over their health care victory at the U.S. Supreme Court shows “the Democrats of the 21st century are akin to the Republicans of forty years ago.” Back then, Richard Nixon proposed a health care plan very much resembling – and, in some ways, superior to – Obamacare. When the Obama plan goes into effect in 2014, “there will still be nothing to prevent health insurance companies from manipulating the market place and giving Americans access to inferior coverage with high deductibles.”

Obama Bound for Mount Rushmore?

 

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

President Obama’s healthcare plan, now vetted by the U.S. Supreme Court, is the spawn of Republican reactionaries, “based on the principle that people should pay for their own bodily maintenance.” It bears no resemblance to world-class healthcare systems, “expanding the healthcare compact only for those who are destitute, while turning everyone else into profit-centers for corporations.” Obama has locked in the past, and put up a roadblock to the future – just as the right-wingers that invented the “individual mandate” intended.

Chief Justice Roberts, The Jury is Still Out

by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

Much of the Right is furious with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for saving President Obama’s healthcare legislation from constitutional defeat. But Roberts may have had a larger conservative agenda. “Could it be that by rejecting the Obama administration’s assertions under the Commerce Clause that Roberts is paving the way for upcoming conservative challenges to established civil rights legislation?” Justice Roberts might right now be advising his fellow right-wingers: Calm down, you’ll thank me later.

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