Rhetoric and Reality

nader vs obamaby Ralph Nader

Humans learn to about the same time we learn to talk.  It's just part of the package.  It's quite unrealistic therefore, to suppose that our political life and discourse would be free from lies.  Ralph Nader has been untangling political truth from fiction for more than a generation.  This week he tackles a piece of mail he recently received from the president.

African Pastoralists Directly Threatened By Climate Change

african pastoralists 1by Aaron Tesfaye

The first victims of the change in global precipitation patterns will not be people from rich, polluting nations who engage in ruinous consumption, but the poorest of the poor – such as African pastoralists who exist ‘precariously at the periphery’, Aaron Tesfaye writes in Pambazuka News. As world leaders prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference in December, Tesfaye looks at why the summit’s agenda has ‘produced serious divisions between developed and developing nations’, with one side seeking to maintain a way of life, and the other struggling to meet basic needs. 

The End of Black Politics As We Knew It: Will Atlanta's Next Mayor Be White? Should We Even Care?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

36 years of black Atlanta mayors have given birth to a thriving and empowered class of black managers, attorneys and contractors. But even after moving tens of thousands of poor blacks who once lived in public housing to areas beyond the city limits, fully one third of black Atlanta remains below the poverty level, making Atlanta number 5 in black poverty among the 40 largest US cities, according to current US Census data. So have the generation of black mayors and the crew that brought them in really done African Americans that much good?

Freedom Rider: Backwards with Obama

backwardby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Barack Obama has a peculiar effect on other world leaders: he causes them to regress on climate change and to revert to racist type in relations with formerly colonized nations. Obama brings Europeans down to the American level, while making them feel good about it. No wonder they gave him a Nobel Peace Prize. “Not only does the U.S. consistently act against the interests of the rest of the world, but it forces other nations to behave equally badly.”  

The Phony Fight: Obama VS the Insurance Barons

health care A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If you believe the hype, the president and Big Insurance are going at at each other's throats over health care. But it's a sham battle, “like TV wrestling.” The insurance companies have already won the biggest prize they could ever wish for: 50 million new customers dragooned by the federal government. All the too-late huffing and puffing from the White House is “a hollow threat, for public consumption only.”

Three-Tier Race-Based Wage Scales in Manhattan

constructionA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Click the flash player below to listen or the mic to download.

A full-blown apartheid labor regime flourished in the Manhattan construction industry, with Irish immigrant workers at the top of the heap. New York's attorney general is demanding millions in back wages and an end to racial discrimination on the job. “If you give the bosses enough leeway, they'll bring back slavery.”

Two Studies: Drop-out or Push-out, and the Consequences of Jim Crow Medicine

two studiesA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

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The Sixties and the decade's aftermath remains a fertile field of study. Researchers conclude that the end of Jim Crow medicine “provided the health care basis for southern Black advances on standardized testing in the 1980s.” But change also brought social disarray, massive school dropouts, and a national public policy of mass Black incarceration.

Black Leadership In the Age of Obama: Motown's New Mayor Unilaterally Ends Almost All Union Contracts

detroit-montage

By Diane Bukowski

For decades unionized jobs, especially those in the public sector have provided a precarious foothold in the middle class for those black families lucky enough to have them. Unionized employees cannot be as easily terminated, and are far more likely to have medical and retirement benefits than non-union workers. But the new generation of black elected officials are responsible only to the corporate privatizers that bankroll their careers. In black Detroit, one of many cities that will elect a mayor on November 3, change is up, but hope is down, with civic mistrust and betrayal at an all time high...

Can Democrats Avoid a Populist Health Care Rebellion?

by Kevin Zeese

Democratic leadership is committing political suicide by attempting to force all Americans to buy shoddy insurance policies from profiteering private corporations. Already, activists who worked hard for Obama are putting their bodies on the line to halt the White House capitulation to corporate healthcare. Medicare for All is the only alternative.

Highlights of the SleptOn.TV White House Press Conference on Obama's Receipt of Nobel Peace Prize

by SleptOn.TV
Nobody, the president said, was more surprised than him.  Nobody except maybe Henry "the Christmas Bomber" Kissinger.  Slept)n.TV brings us their version of the White House press conference.
If you don't see the video above, click here.

Obama's New Katrina Recovery Bucks Less Than One Week's Worth of War in Afghanistan

obama_nolaby Patrick Martin
Last week's drive-by to New Orleans showed President Obama at his public relations worst, inviting comparisons to his predecessor in the White House. Obama lectured and insulted critics, compared concerned citizens of the ravaged city to “special interests,” and pleaded Constitutional impediments to delivering more federal assistance.  it's hard to argue that electing a black president made much difference to the present and former black residents of the Gulf Coast.

The U.S. Military: A Global Force For Good? Maybe Not.

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

A cartoonish recruiting campaign underway by the US Navy brands it “a global force for good,” as though military forces existed to build hospitals or schools or public works rather than to break things, kill and terrorize people in the service of America's global empire. If you want to know what kind of force the US military is oveseas you might ask new mothers in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, mothers whose wombs are spitting out the bitter fruit of our “global force for good.”

 

True Crime: White Privilege and a Police Killing in an Obama-Mad College Town

Iowa cityby Paul Street
Iowa City, Iowa went wild for Barack Obama in '08, earning a reputation among it's more conservative neighbors as “The People’s Republic of Johnson County.” But when a white deputy sheriff shot to death a homeless Black man at the urging of a local white drunk, the “liberal” oasis behaved much like any racist backwater town.

Education Reform's Rule Number One: Blame The Teachers

blame the teachersby Kesi Bem Foster
Teacher union-bashing has become a sport among the business class and their minions in both major parties. Teachers unions, it is claimed, keep “bad” educators on the job, doing the public a disservice. But few politicians attack police unions for defending officers “accused of using excessive force against citizens, even when such force results in death.” And grossly overpaid incompetents on Wall Street put the entire world economy at peril – yet are rewarded with taxpayer dollars.

Sit-ins in 9 Cities Begin To Put Single Payer Back On The Table

Thursday in Phoenix and Portland, in Los Angeles and Washington DC and five other cities across the nation 54 people were arrested while many hundreds more conducted nonviolent demonstrations outside the offices of piratical health insurance companies.  The election is over.  Maybe a movement is beginning.

If you cannot see the video above, click here.  To find out how you can help put single payer, the people's choice for medical care back on the table in your city, go to www.mobilizeforhealthcare.org.

Top Ten Reasons President Obama Should Give Back the Nobel Peace Prize

HOPEby BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
At the Nobel announcement of this year's peace prize a reporter asked the Nobel spokesman “why”, since the man had only been in office less than a year, and had done so little to merit the honor. The spokesman replied that the prize had been given not so much for anything Obama had done, but in the spirit of hope and encouragement, for what he might do.  Maybe.

Freedom Rider: Michelle’s Family Tree

Michelle Obama's familyby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Strange things happen when members of the oppressed and despised group rise to power and fame. Their backgrounds are magnified, yet still remain one-dimensional in the larger society's eyes. In failing to respect Michelle Obama's ancestors, whose story is common to most Black lineages, the New York Times disrespects the First Lady, as well.

We Need a Black-Led Movement for Peace, Not a Phony “Prize”

protest

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Click the flash player below to listen or the mic to download.

“When Barack Obama declares he is presiding over 'necessary' wars, then those who seek peace must organize the necessary resistance to his wars.” That responsibility weighs even more heavily on Black activists, who must “reignite a Black-led movement to confront this administration's war policies, at home and abroad.” The date is November 7th. The place is Washington, DC.

 

The Sharpton/Gingrich Traveling Salt-and-Pepper Educational Minstrel Show

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download the MP3

Rev. Al” is a traveling pal with the abominable Newt Gingrich on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's $4.3 billion charter school and high stakes test booster tour. First stop, Philadelphia, where the tightly choreographed Listening and Learning Tour shut out unvetted teachers, student leaders and community activists. Learning in America is becoming a businessman's game.

Four U.S. Presidents and Four UK Prime Ministers Charged With Genocide

bloodbathA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Charges of genocide against four administrations in Washington and London document the continuity of U.S. and British crimes against Iraq. For nearly a generation, the U.S. and U.K. have collaborated in the attempted murder of a nation. It remains a crime in progress.

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