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Corruption Marks U.S. Earthquake Aid to Haiti

U.S. corporations are making a killing from Haiti earthquake relief, just as they did after the Katrina disaster, says New Orleans-based writer and activist Jordan Flaherty. “Politically-connected U.S. contractors are using their contacts, especially with the Republican Party,” says Flaherty, “to profit off of these disasters, and the same patterns we saw with Katrina are being repeated with the Haiti earthquake.” Flaherty authored an article, “One Year After Earthquake, Corporations Profit While People Suffer.”

Long-term Unemployed Locked in Despair

A study of long-term unemployed workers shows that most are gripped by a deep sense of loss, and that about 60 percent of them “now do not believe that hard work guarantees success” in American society. “There’s a resignation to an economic lower class, or downward mobility,” says Cliff Zukin, of Rutgers University, one of the authors of the report, “The Shattered American Dream: Unemployed Workers Lose Ground, Hope, and Faith in Their Futures.”

Protest Against FBI Raids Set for January 25

Demonstrations are scheduled in cities across the country to protest FBI raids against peace and international solidarity activists, says Jill Dowling, of the New York Working Group to Stop FBI Oppression. To date, 23 activists have been summoned to testify before grand juries, or face jail for contempt of court. Dowling says activists in countries like Colombia are at risk of being killed if their American counterparts are forced to “name names.”

Without Civil War, Slavery Might Not Have Ended

It should not be assumed that slavery would have somehow been abolished had the U.S. Civil War not occurred, says James Loewen, author of The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader and other books on race in America. “The investment in slaves was greater than the investment in all railroads and all manufacturing companies in the U.S.,” says Loewen. “Who would have ended that right away? It’s not clear.”

Lumumba Assassination Commemorated

Monday, January 17, marked the 50th anniversary of the murder of Congolese president Patrice Lumumba, targeted for death by both Belgium and the United States. The martyred leader’s “words still resonate with the youth of Africa, today,” says Kambole Musavuli, spokesperson for Friends of Congo.




Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 4:00pm ET on PRN. Length: One hour.


Bernie Sanders Strikes First

Exclusive: Obama may cut Social Security, Sen. Sanders tells Raw

By Sahil Kapur
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 -- 8:26 am

One-year payroll tax holiday key to toppling seniors' safety net, Sanders warns

Social Security may be on the White House chopping block, a US Senator recently told Raw Story, expressing deep uneasiness about President Barack Obama's noncommittal attitude toward staving off cuts to the cherished program.

"I have to tell you, I have been on the phone to the very, very, very highest levels of the Obama administration, and the responses that I am getting are not assuring," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in an exclusive interview. "What I’m told is that no definitive decisions have been made on the issue of Social Security – I expect that is probably true."

Progressive activists, fearing that the holy grail of American liberalism could fall prey to a bipartisan deal on Capitol Hill, have launched a campaign to pressure the White House and Congress to oppose cuts. And Sanders has stepped up as their champion in the Senate, confirming their concerns based on knowledge drawn from his relative proximity to the president.

"What I’m hearing does not reassure me – that we have a president who is not prepared to defend the heart and soul of what the Democratic Party has been about since Franklin Delano Roosevelt," said Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist.

The independent from Vermont on Friday wrote to President Obama urging him stick by his campaign promise and oppose cuts in Social Security benefits, as Washington debates ways to cut the national debt.

Sanders cited as one cause for concern the president’s decision to appoint two longtime "foes" of Social Security, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, to co-chair his deficit commission, which proposed trimming the program's payouts by increasing the retirement age.

Obama "could have said that’s not on the table," Sanders said. "He didn’t say that."

But much more disconcerting, the senator added, was the tax deal the president struck with Senate Republicans last month, which included a one-year cut in the payroll tax – the source of Social Security's funding – from 6.2 to 4.2 percent. Obama previously argued the compromise was necessary to prevent a tax hike on middle class Americans.

"I believe very strongly that it will be very, very difficult to undo this one-year program," Sanders said. "Republicans will say it is a tax increase on workers, and they control the House." Indeed, GOP lawmakers have since admitted they have no intention of letting the payroll tax return to its original, higher level in a year:

"So what the president has done is walked us in an unprecedented direction in terms of diverting huge amounts of money from Social Security," Sanders said. "A very, very, very dangerous precedent. And when aides of his such as [Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers] Austan Goolsbee were asked to reflect on this, he chose not to do so."

Polls have shown strong public opposition to proposals that would reduce the scope of Social Security:

While the program's payouts did exceed revenues for the first time last year, the Social Security Trust Fund has a surplus of $2.6 trillion and is expected to remain solvent in its current form until 2037, according to its trustees report:

"It’s inexplicable to me that anybody in the White House would give two seconds of thought to cutting Social Security," Sanders concluded.

The White House did not return requests for comment.

It Should be No Shock What Obama Plans to Do on Soc-Sec...

No one should be shocked that Obama is going to make cuts to Social-Security & Medicare [which is probably why he took Medicare for all - Off the Table from the get-go in his so-called health-care{IE: insurance} debate]. He telegraphed that in his first yr when he sat down w so-called deficit hawk GOPers [in the name of bi-partisanship] during his first months in office. Then last yr Obama sets up his bi-partisan Deficit Com headed by Corp Dem Bowles & hard-core Repug Simpson [who has made clear his disdain for Social-Security]. This is how Obama telegraphed his policy to escalate in AfPak as 'Candidate' Obama when he said he would violate Pakistan's sovereignty in search of that Phantom Al-Qaeda Menace. Then he helped hype Gen Petraeus as Bush's Surge Master, kept Bush's Defense Sec Bob Gates & sent thousands of troops to Afghanistan as soon as he took office [bi-partisanship again]. Yet his so-called liberal left supporters [IE: Michael Moore] acted like they were shocked & dis-appointed about his Afghan Surge. Obama again telegraphed that not only was he taking Medicaid for All [IE: Single-payer] off the table, but abandoning the 'Public-Option' & giving up negotiating lower prices for drugs when he cut deals w Big-Pharma, Repugs [who were never going to support him anyway] & so-called Blue-dog [IE: Repug lite] Dems during his fake health-care{IE: insurance} debate [NOTE:- So-called Liberal / Progressives like Sanders said they would not go along w Obama on health-care without a Public-Option & then Folded at the Moment of TRUTH!]. And also how Obama helped rescue the Bush /Paulson / Wall St Bankster Bailout- when many more progressive Dems didn't want to go along [his bi-partisanship at work again]. The Real Question Is- Why do so many on the so-called liberal left keep being shocked that Obama keeps rolling out a Corp Militarist Agenda in the name of bi-partisanship.

The Civil War, Slavery & the then Newly Acquired SW Territories

So what was Slavery's actual role in the Civil War [the myth is it was fought to 'Free the Slaves']? But if the main reason was to free the Slaves why did Lincoln say his main objective was to 'Save the Union... If I could do it & free NO Slaves - I would do so... If I could do so by freeing some Slaves while others remain in slavery - I would do so... If I must free all Slaves to Save the Union- I will Do So...' Further if the main reason that the North fought the South was to end Slavery - why did Lincoln announce his Emancipation Proclamation half-way into duration of the war instead of as a candidate or even as soon as the Confederacy attacked Ft Sumter? - The very manner that his Proclamation was worded meant that if any of the Confederate States had stopped rebelling against the Union [IE: HIS Authority] they could have kept their slaves - possibly INDEFINITELY [Remember Lincoln was a Lawyer & Politician - NOT a willing Abolitionist]!!! Thus abolishing Slavery [IE: the freedom of our ancestors] was in effect a hold-card that Lincoln was willing to play to try to whip the South into line - IF HE HAD TO - which as fate would have it - He Had To. Nor were most white Northerners very keen on abolition- White Northerners' fear of freed slaves moving north caused Republicans to lose the Midwest in congressional  races in Nov 1862. FURTHER- What is seldom discussed is the role of the US' annexation of the Northern Half of Mexico [IE: the Southwest Quadrant of the US from TX to Cali, up to NV, UT, CO] had in setting the stage for the Civil War. After the US gangstered these territories from Mexico from 1835 - 1848, a dispute broke out between the North & South over who & how these newly 'acquired'  territories would be settled. The North & South were in many ways political & economic competitors. The back-bone of the North's Econ was the industrial revolution [as well as shipping] & the South's was agriculture [& also shipping - NOTE: In 1860 the South produced 75% of US exports]. But the back-bone of the South's plantation Econ were Slaves - at that time valued at more than all the factories & railroads in the US put together! So when the US took the northern half of Mexico it had to be settled by {white}Americans or else Mexico might have gotten it back by default via immigration. The Southerners were by default better positioned to settle this region do to location - plus Southerners spearheaded the seizing of this region - starting w Texas. But the North was wary of them unduly increasing their political [remember their Slaves were counted as 3/5s of a person for census purposes], as well as economic power & Slavery was literally the back-bone of the South's Econ - as well as part of the Southern Aristocratic Cultural Mystic [see 'Gone With The Wind']. So the ploy employed by the North was that the SW Region was open for settlement to anyone- but Slavery was NOT to extend there [this by the way was candidate Lincoln's party's platform]. Thus the North & South bickered over this issue throughout the 1850s. This explains why the South started the Civil War as soon as Lincoln took office. Lincoln understood that if the South had successfully seceded, not only would the Union lose its territory from VA, the Carolinas, GA & FL thru TX - but all the way to California!!! Thus the US would have split into at least 2 but maybe 3 - 4 or more parts. Lincoln was determined not to have this happen on HIS WATCH!!!

About this current noise by some hard-core Repugs about repealing or drastically curtailing the 14th Amendment [FYI: The 13th, 14th, & 15th Amendments were to insure not only the abolition of Slavery but also to try to insure our ancestors {& thus our}citizenship rights {remember the Dread Scott Case]! Any white person talking about abolishing or drastically curtailing the 14th Amendment - especially if they haven't been first advocating abolishing or completely revising NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT, WTO, etc - must be suspected of having a CORP & RACIST AGENDA [Just like when ICE raids a factory & arrests hundreds of 'illegal' immigrant workers but doesn't shut down that factory & arrest its owners & mangers for employing {exploiting} those workers- must be suspected as a Corp & Racist Policy]!!! Thus any Black person who buys into these white good ole boys assault on the 14th Amendment is either as dumb as they come about US' history of Slavery & Racism &/or a Sell-Out!!! Do they think these Good Ole Boys are going that stop at the 14th Amendment!!?? Next it will be the 15th & then ultimately 13th Amendments & Blacks [as well as Browns] could very well end up QUITE LITERALLY BACK IN SLAVERY!!!  

Some Whites [Whether CIA or Communist] Against Black Nationalism

This reminder of how the Belgians, French, & the CIA conspired on Lumumba's demise - while accusing him as a Communist - when he was actually a Congolese Nationalist / Pan-Africanist is ironic. Bro J L Samboma has over the course of the past month been writing pieces [2 so far] here at BAR dispelling the false claim by Socialist Workers Party’s Jack Barnes [who I assume is white] that Malcolm X was, by the time of his death, more of a communist / socialist rather than a Black Nationalist / Pan-Africanist. Beyond this Mr Barnes apparently [& I've also witnessed this w my own eyes - see below] attacks Black Nationalist / Pan-Africanism as counter-revolutionary

2 Incidents I've personally witnessed: I saw the late Stokely Carmichael [AKA: Kwame' Toure'] speak at a college gathering. He [unlike Malcolm X] actually referred to himself as a Pan-African Socialist. The audience was comprised mainly of Black students but also had a significant number of white so-called radicals - mainly communists / socialists. I could see that some of those 'leftist' whites there that day- had a MAJOR PROBLEM w Bro Kwame' Toure' positions on Black Nationalism / Pan Africanism - because it meant they wouldn't have a place at Our Table - at least not as decision makers. Bro Kwame' Toure' allowed that alliances w them could be made based on common interests -but- that white participation in the INNER decision-making processes of the Black Nationalist / Pan-African Movement [based on Scientific Socialism] he was trying to build - should be restricted - & he would not budge on this. This didn't seem to sit very well w many of the white communist radicals that were there that day... - About 1.5 Decades Later -  I was at another campus showing of Spike Lee's film 'Malcolm X' sponsored by that campus' Black Student Union, which included a discussion session afterwards. A white guy described as a leader of the campus' communist student union was in attendance. After the film's showing, as the discussion turned to Malcolm X as a Black Nationalist / Pan-Africanist Leader- this guy [who was in effect a guest of the Black Student Union] got indignant & rudely made a fuss as he stormed out! 

The Moral of these stories it would seem is that- some white folks even so-called leftist / communists [as well as CIA Corp Capitalists]- don't like the idea of Blacks controling our own destiny / affairs - without them. But - We cannot allow others [IE: whites w their agendas] to define, re-image, or dictate to us who our leaders were / are / should be [IE: their re-imaged MLK=Good -vs- Malcolm-X=Bad - Many whites in the MSNM media have a PROBLEM that many Blacks hold nearly the same esteem for Malcolm as we have for Martin]. Nor can we allow these {white}people [whether CIA-Corp-Capitalist or Communist / Socialist] to seize the Power to Define our agenda for us!

NOTE: My critique of the white leftist-communist-socialist camp Should NOT be Construed as accusing them as having the Same or Analogous Track Record of ruthless exploitation & abuse, murder & mayhem against Blacks & Browns as the KKK, CIA - Gay Edgar Hoover & COINTELPRO, Multi-National Corps, IMF-WTO -or- racist 'rouge' cops like, Bull Conner, Mark Fuhrman & Jon Burge, etc.