Posing as the Great Emancipator: Obama’s Prison-Posturing is Nothing New

by Paul Street

President Obama likes to give the impression that he is shocked and surprised by the horrors of the U.S. penal system. But the author knew the president back in the day, in Chicago, and can vouch that State Senator Obama “was fully up on the facts of the U.S. racist prison state in the fall of 2002.” Paul Street attests that “the deeply conservative Obama’s Republican-friendly record in the Illinois legislature was far less liberal and progressive than his subsequent liberal and progressive fans imagined.”

US Imperialism's Corporate Media Circus: Lions, Rap Beefs, and the Psychology of Oppression

by Danny Haiphong

Social media, like conventional print and broadcast media, are tools in the hands of the owning class. Consumers of these media are distracted and miseducated with lies, irrelevant nonsense and phony battles between highly paid minstrels like Drake and Meek Mill, both of whom “play for the same corporate team.”

Africa’s Problem from Hell: Samantha Power

Ann Garrison's picture

by Ann Garrison

Barack Obama will likely be remembered by history as the president that honed “humanitarian” intervention into a favored weapon of regime change. Samantha Power is the trigger. The U.S. Ambassador to the UN has set her sites on Burundian President Nkurunziza, five of whose high party members have already been assassinated.

US vs China in Djibouti

by Thomas C. Mountain

China will soon station 10,000 troops in Djibouti, on the Red Sea in the Horn of Africa, alongside U.S., French and Japanese bases. When they wake up to the new reality, powerful members of the U.S. Congress can be expected to discover that “it is time for ‘regime change’ in the tiny country of about half a million people.”

Barack Obama, Tell the Truth About Ethiopia!

Alemayehu G. Mariam

Last month, President Obama declared that Ethiopia has a “democratically elected government.” That is the country where, in May elections, the ruling party won all the 547 seats in parliament, thrashing all the 78 other parties. If there ever has been an election won by one party by 100 percent that is democratic, then there is indeed the famous purple cow that nobody has ever seen or the pink elephant that people like Obama see often.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of August 10, 2015

One-Fifth of Pennsylvania Prisoners, Including Mumia, Need Hep C Treatment

Lawyers for Mumia Abu Jamal have filed suit against the State of Pennsylvania for refusing to treat the nation’s best known political prisoner for Hepatitis C, a serious liver disease. “Mumia has severe symptoms that are consistent with, and almost certainly caused by, his Hepatitis C,” including a rash that sometimes covers as much as 80 percent of his body, said Atty. Bret Grote. Pennsylvania has refused to treat any of its prisoners with Hepatitis C, citing costs. In June of this year, a class action suit was filed on behalf of all inmates infected with the virus, which could involve “as many as 20 percent” of the total prison population – “and that’s likely a conservative estimate,” said Atty. Grote.

Mumia: Trump Channels Resentments of the “Other”

Although health problems have somewhat diminished his broadcast output, Mumia Abu Jamal continues to contribute essays to Prison Radio. His latest, titled “Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment,” describes the real estate and casino mogul as “plugging into the live-wire of American resentment of the Other.” Trump’s constituency is “the thousands, and perhaps millions, who rage at Latino immigrants,” and who “also worship the rich.” In Donald Trump, said Abu Jamal, “they have found their voice, and he has found the energies of resentment.”

Min. Farrakhan Seeks 10,000 Avengers

On a tour to gather support for the 20th anniversary of the historic Million Man March, October 10, in Washington, Nation of Islam Min. Louis Farrakhan said: “I’m looking for 10,000, in the midst of the million – 10,000 fearless men...who say death is sweeter than continued life under tyranny.” The Koran teaches that “retaliation is prescribed in the matters of the slain,” Farrakhan told the Mount Zion Baptist Church, in Miami. “So, if the federal government will not intercede in our affairs, then we must rise up and kill those who kill us.”

Nation’s Most Respected Movement Couple Speak Out on Criminal Injustice

“The police are a top-down army of occupation in our communities,” said veteran activist Ralph Poynter, a member of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, which holds its national conference in Philadelphia, August 22 and 23, with a focus on Black community control of police. “Let’s begin to talk about changing the army of occupation to an army of people who support the community,” he said. Poynter’s wife, Lynne Stewart, the people’s lawyer who spent four years as a political prisoner until her compassionate medical release, said President Obama’s recent visit to a federal prison “was just a photo-op.” Obama promised to commission a study of the effects of solitary confinement – but that’s nothing more than a cynical ploy, said Stewart. “Everybody knows that solitary confinement, as practiced in the United States, is torture.” On any given day, 80,000 U.S. inmates languish in isolation from human interaction.

Nwangaza: Obama Playing Dumb

Efia Nwangaza is also a veteran people’s lawyer, who has been instrumental in persuading United Nations panels to denounce U.S. treatment of prisoners. “Barack Obama not that long ago signed the bills to create a 400-plus solitary confinement unit in the state of Illinois, and I cannot believe that he expects anybody to think that he just discovered solitary confinement and the abuses that go along with it,” said Nwangaza, director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination and WMXP community radio, in Greenville, South Carolina. “Barack Obama is a Manchurian Candidate,” she concludes.

U.S. Empire Weakening, But as Dangerous as Ever

The rulers of the United States “can’t be the bullies that they been have in the past” because U.S. corporate economic power is waning, said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. The recently concluded deal to end sanctions against Iran was necessitated by the fact that Russia and China had already served notice they would soon cease complying with the embargo, said Flounders. However, “powerful forces” may “use their proxies in Syria,” numbering at least 100,000 mercenaries, to sabotage the Iran agreement and draw the world deeper into war.

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 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour.
 
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Where's the #BlackLivesMatter Critique of the Black Misleadership Class, or Obama or Hillary?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

If #BlackLivesMatter is a movement, just what does that mean? Obama's 2008 campaign said it was “the movement” too. If modern movements are indistinguishable from brands, to whom are they responsible besides “creators” and marketers? Are some #BlackLivesMatter leaders angling for spots in what Adolph Reed calls the race management elite? Could this be why #BlackLivesMatter has no critique of the black misleadership class, or of capitalism?

Poll Shows Black People Have Begun to Recover Their Senses on Race Relations

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Finally, Black perceptions of the actual racial situation in the United States are catching up with reality, after years of collective delusion under The First Black President. “Black perceptions on race have swung 20 percent – from 48 to 68 percent negative – in the year since the emergence of an incipient movement against police violence.” Black pessimism about race relations is up 38% since the “’we HAVE overcome’ days of delusion, in 2009.”

Freedom Rider: A Dead Lion and a Dead Black Man

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

When word reached the U.S. that Cecil the lion had been shot to death in Zimbabwe, much of white America was reduced to tears. But few of them know or care about Samuel DuBose, a Black man gunned down in Cincinnati by a white security guard. “Many white people have a unique ability to humanize every other living thing except a black person.”

Pretty Words, Ugly Actions: The Obama Legacy on Climate Change

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Apart from the times he called himself the president of “clean coal”, President Obama always talked a better climate change game than his Republican opponents. But  his lovely words are overshadowed and outweighed by his actions, which are largely consistent with his Republican and Democratic predecessors, and have mostly served the interests of Big Oil and Big Energy.

 
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Black Parents Should Opt Their Children Out of High Stakes Testing

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

As usual, the Black Misleadership Class is on the wrong side of democracy, urging Blacks to submit to a high stakes testing regime that is designed to fail Black students, their teachers, their schools, and public education itself. “Everybody loses except the hedge funds and other billionaire investors in the charter school marketplace” – which is why President Obama has become “the biggest public school privatizer of all time.”

 
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BlackLivesMatter Activists: Targets of US Surveilence

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The Obama administration’s spy agencies have been keeping track of the movements, communications and activities of the new crop of Black activists. Although not surprising, the recent reports should give rise to “new strategies and tactics to exchange information among groups, and new modalities to circumvent infiltration and, ultimately, government sting operations.”

The Obama Legacy on Nuclear Weapons at the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Why did the US nuke the undefended cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago this week killing hundreds of thousands of civilians? If it looks and smells like a war crime, is it a war crime?  What came of President Obama's stated ambition, around the time he received his Nobel Peace Prize, to curtail nuclear weapons?

 
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New Mural in D.C.: Shooting the “War Thug” Presidents in the Balls

by Sam Husseini

Some good citizen of Washington committed an act of street justice against the most fearsome gang of thugs imaginable: 11 U.S. presidents. The mass-killers-in-chief were hit with a fusillade of paint balls to the imperial crotch – a low blow to the low-lifes who have terrorized humanity from the White House.

Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: The Unbearable Whiteness of Nominal Nordic Socialism

by Paul Street

Bernie Sanders doesn’t understand the history and contemporary workings of race in the United States, and cannot, therefore, grasp the economics of race, either. His campaign lacks “a forthright acknowledgement of the special, vicious super-exploitation, torture and oppression experienced by Black America.” He virtually ignores housing apartheid and mass Black incarceration, and lets U.S. militarism off the hook for stealing resources.

US Imperialism’s Decline is the Driving Force of History, Not It’s Growth

by Danny Haiphong

The U.S imperial order is in a terminal state. Despite its overwhelming conventional military strength, the Empire needs the services of jihadist terrorists to promote its policies in the Middle East, “yet cannot allow them to take power as they did in Libya.” Latin America has largely freed itself from U.S. imperialism, which “can no longer unilaterally impose its will on its compliant allies like Israel or its historic foes such as Iran.”

The Only Issue in 2016 – the Legacy of 1776

by Dr. T. P. Wilkinson

The clowns are gathering for the circus that tours the U.S. every four years. There will be sideshows aplenty, but the central theme of the extravaganza – its sacred core – is worship of the right to private property, including the human kind, “the biblical ecumenical movement that has kept white supremacy strong, healthy and unrepentantly racist since the Founding Oligarchs.”

The Fake War on ISIS: US and Turkey Escalate in Syria

by Eric Draitser

Turkey has long been the most important supporter of both ISIS and the other al Qaida off-shoot, al Nusra. Indeed, “since at least 2012, Turkey has been the principal conduit for weapons flowing into Syria.” Therefore, Turkey’s claim that it is now at war with ISIS is a ruse for deeper Turkish involvement in a conflict that it fomented. What Turkey really wants is “a ‘No Fly Zone’ along the Turkey-Syria border” – and outright war with Syria.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of Aug 3, 2015

Predator Cops Fill Graveyards

U.S. police killed 412 people in 1976, 333 in 1984, and 385 in 1990, wrote Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in an essay now republished for his new book, Writings on the Wall. The cops “obviously haven’t protected or served the thousands they’ve murdered over the years. They serve and protect the system, not the people,” he wrote. “They are predators.”

Stop Police Terror

Murder by police can only be stopped by “our independent action,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. “We are not looking for Obama, Loretta Lynch or any governors or mayors to do this, because they preside over the horrors that we have to stop.” Dix spoke outside the recent national conference of the Movement for Black Lives, in Cleveland. He’s gearing up for “Rise Up October” campaign of actions to “stop police terror,” under the slogan: “Which side are you on?”

Baltimore Black Political Class Protected White Mayor O’Malley

Jill Carter, a young Black lawyer from Baltimore and the most progressive member of the Maryland state legislature, said it’s no wonder that former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has trouble dealing with Black activists’ on the presidential campaign trail. During his term as mayor of Baltimore, between 1999 and 2007, O’Malley oversaw the arrest of 750,000 people, more than the total population of the city, many of them on charges that “were illegal or unwarranted,” said Carter. Nevertheless, the entire Black city leadership supported and protected O’Malley, “even when faced with the reality that he was destroying the city and the community’s relationship with the police department.” O’Malley’s protectors included the current and former mayors of Baltimore, the whole of the city council, plus all of the city’s delegation to the state legislature – except for Jill Carter.

Bernie Sanders Runs as Populist, not Socialist

Paul Street, the veteran political scholar and activist, said Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is running as a populist, not a socialist. “He doesn’t say ‘socialism’” in his campaign speeches,” said Street, who was among the first to point out Barack Obama’s conservative political tendencies. Senator Sanders “identifies himself with the social democratic states of Scandinavia, particularly Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but does not refer to himself as a socialist,” said Street. “And, unlike the serious Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs, back in the day, I haven’t heard him mouth the term ‘capitalism’ once.”

New Black Movement Combines Mix of Older Tactics

The emerging Black political movement “combines the tactics of the Civil Rights Movement – mass marches, civil disobedience, shutting things down – with programs and ideas that did not always crystallize in the Black Power Movement, but were thought about” during that period, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, former professor of African American Studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. Protesters gathered on Temple’s campus to demand Dr. Monteiro’s reinstatement to what chairman Molefi Asante has renamed the “Department of Africology.”

 
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Freedom Rider: Obama’s Africa Hypocrisy

By BAR editor and Senior Columnist Margaret Kimberley

The president's visit to East Africa has been the occasion for the same kind of hypocritical finger pointing Barack Obama usually reserves for his frequent hectoring of Black America, this time using "gay rights" as the standard, It's a standard which he would never use to lecture America's other vassals like the bloodstained beheading backward Saudi regime.

A Snapshot of Imperialism's Crime of Homelessness: Why Boston's Homeless Crisis Deepens Despite City Plan to End It

by Danny Haiphong

Homelessness in Boston has increased 40% since 2007, spurring the city's political elite to a plan to “end homelessness in Boston by 2018.” But the city's plan never mentions poverty and unavailability of affordable housing as causes of homelessness. So how likely is it to “end” anything?

NetRoots Nation Confrontation Wasn't About #BlackLivesMatter At All

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

NetRootsNation is a gathering for paid and wannabe paid Democratic party activists, including the ostensibly non-partisan ones. You go there to make connections, learn new stuff and get noticed by the people who hand out grants, jobs, fellowships and careers, cash for “voter education” and GOTV. Confronting minor white male candidates was a great way to get noticed without antagonizing Hillary, the inevitable Democratic nominee.

 
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Obama’s Takes His Prison Reform Con Game on the Road

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Never has a president been so highly praised for fraudulent efforts and fictitious accomplishments than Barack Obama, who now pretends – very late in his presidency – to have discovered the evils of mass incarceration. From crack cocaine to solitary confinement, he has mastered the arts of illusory reform.

 
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Freedom Rider: The Iran Deal Reality

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The U.S. deal with Iran – based on assumptions about an Iranian nuclear weapons program that American intelligence agencies have twice concluded does not exist – allows the U.S. to concentrate on provoking Russia and China while continuing to threaten Iran with destruction. Global peace is no closer than before, since “America’s insistence on imperialism and control of other countries is the cause of every catastrophe.”

The Assassination of Sandra Bland and the Struggle against State Repression

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

The Black Lives Matter movement has another martyr, as it prepares for a national conference in Cleveland, this weekend. Sandra Bland’s murder in Texas shows, once again, that “defending one’s dignity in an encounter with the police is a crime that that can lead to a death sentence.” The emerging movement must be clear on the political nature of Bland’s death, and that only real power in the hands of the people can break the cycle of oppression.

Black Unionists Try to Save South Africa from Becoming a Failed State

by Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, editor and columnist

“What the South African people fought for is not what they have received… it’s time that we continue the struggle for liberation,” said labor leaders Irvin Jim and Zwelinzima Vavi, meeting with activist allies in Washington, DC and New York City. “The time has come that we must organize the working class, as a class to challenge the neo-liberal agenda” followed by the African National Congress government.

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