Black Agenda Radio for Week of October 12, 2015

Atty. Gen. Lynch Backtracks on Killer Cop Stats

Black activists are outraged at Attorney General Loretta Lynch for backing away from her predecessor’s verbal commitment to require local police departments to send reports to Washington when they kill civilians. Former attorney general Eric Holder said failure to keep such data was “unacceptable.” But Lynch called the information “minutia.” “It’s an extraordinary statement,” said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, the renowned whistleblower and activist with Hands Up Coalition-DC. “I guess she considers it bothersome to demand that these police account for the number of people they kill. Who would think, after only a few months, that we would long for Eric Holder to come back?”

Columbia Students Host “Rise Up October” Rally

Dr. Cornel West, a co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, challenged Columbia University students to help build a more just society. “Unfortunately, our universities are not sites that generate the cultivation of courage,” said West, who teaches at the nearby Union Theological Seminary. Young people wind up “forgetting what they ought to be faithful to: something called justice.” The rally was a prelude to huge demonstrations planned for New York City, October 22 through 24.

Students cheered Edward “Noche” Diaz, a key organizer in the Network who was been jailed many times in the fight against police lawlessness. “The moment we’re in right now is something I haven’t seen in my lifetime,” said Diaz. “The ones who are called ‘the worst of the worst,’ the ‘thugs,’ the ‘criminals,’ those who are ‘capable of nothing,’ showed us that they are capable of tremendous courage in the face of injustice and tremendous possibility for a whole new world.”

Hillary Runs Away from TPP

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who boosted the Trans Pacific Partnership corporate trade deal countless times when she was Secretary of State, now opposes the treaty. That’s “very significant,” said Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance, part of a broad coalition opposed to TPP. “What it shows is the politics of it,” said Zeese. “She knows which way the political wind is blowing. What she found was: TPP stands for Toxic Political Poison.”

TPP is an Anti-China Weapon

The treaty is “really about trying to build an alternative economic framework to marginalize China” and to “more deeply integrate the societies of 11 Asian Pacific nations into that of the United States,” said Joseph Gerson, author of The U.S. ‘Pivot’ to Asia and the Pacific. “At the moment, for example, in Korea more students are interested in studying in China, where they think their future lies, than in the United States,” he said. “This is an effort to reorient them away from China and towards the United States.” Gerson is director of programs for the American Friends Service Committee, New England.


Obama’s Justice: Holder Fought Prisoner Release, Lynch Backtracks on Killer Cops

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder are given false credit for the pending release of 6,000 drug offenders, when in fact “the administration has fought tooth-and-nail to limit and slow the inmate release process.” Meanwhile, the new chief at the Justice Department, Loretta Lynch, has made it clear she “will resist pressuring police to give the FBI detailed reports on killer cops.” These three give Black lawyers a bad name.

Freedom Rider: Putin Bombs Islamic State, Obama Bombs a Hospital

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Better late than never, Russia’s Vladimir Putin has exposed the West’s support for jihadists in Syria and moved to crush Washington’s Islamist proxies, militarily. In front of the UN, the Big Lie was exposed: “The western nations were never interested in defeating ISIS, the child they spawned through their interventions.” The U.S. promptly vented its imperial wrath on helpless hospital patients in Afghanistan.

Tell the New Education Secretary: Charter Schools Flunk Out in New Orleans

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Arne Duncan said Katrina was the best thing to happen to New Orleans schools, and his successor, John B. King, doubtless feels the same. But “it’s all propaganda and phony numbers.” Even with more than a third of its poor Black students in exile, the New Orleans all-charter system ranks significantly lower than Louisiana public schools – and that’s after controlling for factors of race, class and qualifications for special education.


Imperialism’s Dead-End in Syria Hastened by Russia and China’s Increased Support to Syrian Government

by Danny Haiphong

Russia military intervention in support of the legitimate government of Syria, with the support of Iran, Iraq and China, is a check to the West’s proxy jihadist aggression in the region. “The only choices the US and its allies have in Syria are full-scale military invasion or a withdrawal of aid from the jihadists and a negotiated settlement among all parties, Russia included.”

Privatization, Charters & High Stakes Tests: Arne Duncan's Legacy

by the Real News Network

Professor Pauline Lipman and educator Jose Luis Vilson discuss the legacy of Arne Duncan and what we know about his successor John B. King

Sankarist Spirit Resurges in Burkina Faso

Ann Garrison's picture

by Ann Garrison

In 1983, a military clique in Burkina Faso assassinated the anti-imperialist head of state Thomas Sankara, plunging the nation back into the clutches of U.S. and French neocolonialism. The people this year ousted the assassins and their presidential guard, in two mass rebellions. “Anyone who thinks that the presidential guard would have attempted a coup d’état without the knowledge and complicity of the U.S. and France” is blind to the facts.

Obama: Valedictorian of the U.S. School of Lies and Aggression

by Dr. T.P. Wilkinson

After 70 years of routine U.S. aggression and lawlessness in the world, Russia has drawn a line in Syria. President Obama’s response is to make veiled threats “to use whatever means are necessary to make Russia’s defense of Syrian sovereignty as impossible as its defense of the sovereignty of Afghanistan.

Al Prentice “Bunchy" Carter” Would Have Rode with Nat Turner

by Norman (Otis) Richmond aka Jalali

October 12 is the birthday of one of the most talented and promising young men martyred in the massive State repression against the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. “Unlike Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver and George Jackson, Carter has almost been forgotten from the history of Africans in America except for die hards.” But Al Prentice “Bunchy" Carter was a true renaissance man, a man of many talents – and a man of the people.

Time to Imagine: From ‘Disaster Capitalism’ to a System of Our Own

by Cynthia McKinney

The fat cats of the world are getting nervous at the tremendous success they have had in siphoning most of the planet’s wealth into their own pockets. A revolt is brewing against capitalism of all kinds, since the system “has always been about the few and has never been about the many.” The “disaster” variety of capitalism attempts to force “changes advocated by a few that would never be acceptable to the majority in the absence of the crisis.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of October 5, 2015

Reps. John Lewis and Terri Sewell Scheme to Keep Racist’s Name on Selma Bridge

State Sen. Hank Sanders and lots of other people in Selma, Alabama, want to name the Edmund Pettus Bridge for Amelia Boynton Robinson, the “Mother of Voting Rights” who died in August at the age of 110. Ms. Boynton Robinson was an activist in the 1920s, registered to vote in 1934, brought both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and SNCC to Selma, ran for Congress in 1964, was beaten and left for dead by police on Bloody Sunday, 1965, and continued her political work until a month before her death. Edmund Pettus, on the other hand, was a Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon. Hank Sanders won unanimous State Senate support for a bill to remove Pettus’s name, but “Congresswoman Terri Sewell interacted to try and prevent that name from being changed, and so did Congressman [John] Lewis,” said Sanders. “There was a concerted effort to keep the white supremacist’s name on the bridge.” Some in Selma believe the goal is to ultimately have the bridge named for John Lewis, who was also badly beaten on March 7, 1965. Rep. Sewell was rated Worst Black Congressperson on the CBC Monitor Report Card.

100 Relatives of Police Victims Will Attend Rise Up October in NYC

Organizers will bring 100 family members of victims of police violence to New York City for Rise Up October protests, October 22 through 24. “It’s very important that people remember the names of those victims, but also see those who are left behind,” said Rev. Jerome McCorry, director of the Adam Project, which deals with incarceration issues in Dayton, Ohio, and Faith and Social Justice Advocate for the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, founded four years ago by Carl Dix and Dr. Cornel West. “We’re talking about more than seizing a moment; we’re creating a movement,” said McCorry.

Tens of Thousands of Prisoners Suffer Same Medical Neglect as Mumia

Pennsylvania prison authorities continue to resist Mumia Abu Jamal’s demand that he get adequate treatment for hepatitis C, the untreated underlying condition that led to his near death, earlier this year. The nation’s best known political prisoner’s skin resembles “elephant hide,” according to close confidant Dr. Johanna Fernandez, professor of History and Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College, in New York City. “This is a form of cruel and unusual punishment through medical neglect,” said Fernandez, who reports that other inmates afflicted with hepatitis C in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Massachusetts have filed class action suits.  Fernandez said 40 percent of the nation’s prisoners suffer from serious, chronic diseases brought on by prison diets and conditions. “We’re dealing with human rights violations of epic proportions.

Prison Phone Call Prices to Drop

The Federal Communications Commission will soon finalize its order to dramatically reduce the rates private monopoly companies can charge for telephone services to prisoners. Calls at some jails and prisons currently cost as much as $14 a minute, with the companies kicking back some of the profits to prison authorities. The FCC’s new rates would range from 11 to 22 cents a minute, but the kickbacks would remain, said Alex Friedmann, associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center. Prison phone calls are privatized, as are prison money transfers, medical services, food, transportation – “all of these have been contracted out to for-profit companies,” said Friedmann. “In effect, we have monetized virtually every aspect of our corrections system.”

People’s Lawyer Mourned by Attica Brothers

Elizabeth Fink, the People’s Lawyer, died of cardiac arrest in Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 70, last month. Fink defended survivors of the police massacre that followed the Attica prison rebellion of 1971, winning a $12 million settlement for the victims, and secured the release of Black Panther political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahhad. Every prosecutor “had to respect the bearing, the presence, the integrity and the ferocity of Elizabeth Fink, who we will miss, dearly,” said Zayid Muhammad, press officer for the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee.

NYPD’s New Guidelines Just “Window Dressing”

New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton has issued new guidelines on reporting the use of non-lethal force against civilians, including striking, maceing, and take-downs. “We are unimpressed,” said Robert Gangi, of the Police Reform Organizing Project. It’s “primarily window dressing – as if most officers will comply with those policies,” or that the department will actually enforce them. “We know from NYPD practices that they don’t punish officers who don’t follow their own guidelines.” Officers are also banned from using force for intimidation or retaliation against civilians. “It would be foolish to believe that,” said Gangi.”


Why I Ain't Getting on the Bus for the MMM This Or Any Other Year

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Getting on the bus to DC this October 10? BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon wishes you safe travels, but he ain't coming. “Justice or Else” is a meaningless slogan, he says, and MMM continues a century old tradition of black leadership dependent on an unprincipled pretense of “black unity” so empowered leaders can speak for us while we serve as their mute (unless commanded otherwise) backdrop. 

Blacks Cheer Venezuelan Leader – But Still Support Democratic Party Terror

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Carrying on a tradition begun by Fidel Castro in 1960, Venezuelan leader Maduro came to Harlem, this week, for the opening of the UN General Assembly. When he spoke of U.S. terror in the world, the crowd cheered. But will they break with a Democratic Party and president that, along with the Republicans, are “the birthmothers of al Qaida and the midwives of the Islamic State?” Sometimes, solidarity is even less than skin deep.

Freedom Rider: Putin Trumps Obama at the U.N.

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

With Libya, Iraq and Syria in flames, the president of Russia confronted the world’s most dangerous man in the global hall of humanity. “I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation,” said Vladimir Putin, “do you realize now what you've done?” Obama, the nation-slayer, sneered and mouthed exceptionalist absurdities – unmasked before the world.

The Whites Are Coming! The Whites Are Coming!: Gentrification Surging in U.S. Cities

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

When Wall Street sets its collective minds and money to the task of gentrification, urban populations move – rapidly! In just the past four years, a white tide has significantly raised the numbers of Caucasians in almost half of U.S. cities, on top of large increases in white settlement during the previous decade. The window is rapidly closing on “chocolate cities.”


The Bernie and Trump Trap: Beyond the Dead-End of Imperial Politics

by Danny Haiphong

“Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are here to rescue the system with a dose of fear and hope.” Trump’s open-air racism instills fear in racial minorities and people who consider themselves “liberal" or “progressive.” Sanders gives them foolish hope that the Democratic Party can be changed from within. Grassroots movement politics is sidetracked, because “presidential elections are where movements go to die, as the anti-war movement exemplified directly after the election of Barack Obama.”

Powerless Whites Want “In” On Chitlin’ Politics

by Mark P. Fancher

Why not a Donald Trump run for the White House? With corporations firmly in control of U.S. society, presidents don’t matter much. In recent decades, the job has been “eagerly accepted by: a Georgia peanut farmer; a politician known as “Slick Willie;” a retired actor who once co-starred with a chimp; a former CIA hack and oil man; his ne’er-do-well son; and most recently a black guy with a smooth rap.”

My Name is Nobody: Religious Fanaticism is a Western Tradition

by Dr. T.P. Wilkinson

Europeans and white Americans like to believe that religious fanaticism is endemic to the non-white, non-Christian world, and that they are the guardians of secular civilization. In reality, the historical rise of the West is a saga of fanaticism. In modern times, it was President Jimmy Carter who “started the wave of fanatical reactionary Islam in Afghanistan – to crush a secular regime there and indirectly attack the Soviet Union.”

American Capitalism: A Disaster With no “Moral Center”

by Cynthia McKinney

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney see capitalism through different lenses. Reich thinks the system used to have a “moral center.” McKinney says that’s nonsense: “Business as usual in the United States IS the perpetuation of injustice.”


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