Encounters with Police: Teachable Moments

teachable momentsby Robert Jensen
A frequent lecturer on race and politics, the author was confident that he was reasonable well acquainted with the workings of racism in the United States. Attuned to the pervasiveness of white privilege, he believed himself both sophisticated and sensitive on matters of race. Then, as often happens, he was humbled by the arrival of another teachable moment.

When Lighting Up is Drinking from the Whites-Only Fountain

white lightingby Richard Leader
Given that white drug users are spared the relentless prosecution and long prison terms reserved for African Americans, are such whites beneficiaries of a racist system? The author believes so. “Until the experience of drug use is the same for people of all races, whites engaging in the activity are doing something akin to drinking from a 'whites only' water fountain.”

Is the Obama Health Care Plan Really Better Than Nothing?

another healthcare montageBy BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Candidate Barack Obama told us to judge his first term by whether he delivers quality affordable health care for all Americans, including nearly fifty million uninsured. So why does his proposal not cover the uninsured till 2013, after the next presidential election when Medicare took only 11 months to cover its first 40million seniors? Why are corporate media pretending that no opinions exist to Obama's left? And why has the public option part of the Obama health care plan shrunk from covering 130 million to only 10 million, with 16 million left uninsured altogether?

Obama Lies on Two Continents, is Denounced in New York

presidents chosen by gawdby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Barack Obama may be the most effective propagandist for U.S. imperialism in a very long time. But his narrative to Africans is built on blatant falsehoods, and his spiel to Black America is fundamentally dishonest and evasive. Demonstrators in Manhattan declared: “We will no longer tolerate a message from within our community, that the policies of Barack Obama cannot be criticized.”

Bush and Obama: Different Styles of Coup-Making

street scene in HondurasBlack Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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Although nobody but Americans believes Washington was not behind the late June coup in Honduras, Barack Obama brings his own touch to subverting one's hemispheric neighbors. “Obama makes democratic noises – and then refuses to back them up with any actions that would cause U.S. clients in the Honduran military and oligarchy to relinquish power.” And he does it all with a straight face.

Another Obama Promise Broken -- The Right To Organize Betrayed

look for the union labelA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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The Employee Free Choice Act has been gutted and may expire entirely, a victim of Barack Obama's signature style of governing to the Right of the Democratic center. “Although candidate Obama paid lip-service to the Employee Free Choice Act, he pointedly failed to deploy the powers of the presidential 'bully-pulpit' on behalf of the key “card check” provisions that would have forced companies to recognize unions as soon as a majority of workers signed a union card.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney: The Preacher Who Dared to Invoke God

Rev. Ed PinkneyA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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The first man in modern day America to be imprisoned for “predicting what God might do” was released, last week. However, Rev. Edward Pinkney's conviction on voter fraud charges still stands, despite the 13 errors committed during his trail. The appeals court ruled the errors were “harmless” - a bizarre excuse for depriving Benton Harbor, Michigan of its premier Black leader and minister.

Eshu’s blues: Dr. Wertham was right

comicby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
If life imitates art, political life in the USA mimics comic books. “Gotham City looked to the Grim Avenger and Boy Wonder Robin, the United States looks to the Grinning Pretender and Joe, the Wonder-Boy.” Like in the comic books, the bad guys and the less bad guys are all crazy. “Next issue, the Dynamic Duo are off bombing and strafing in Afghanistan, reinforcing the barricades in Gaza and silently backing coups in Honduras.”

The Crimes of Bongo: Apartheid & Terror in Africa's Gardens of Eden, Part One

bongo againby keith harmon snow
American and European imperialists mourned the recent death of Gabon President Al Hajji Omar Bongo Ondimba, the longtime dictator and servant of western corporations and governments. It is fitting that Paris, London, Brussels and Washington miss him, since Bongo was largely their creation, especially the French secret services. Far from a benign strongman, Bongo and his thugs “have killed a lot of people with no one knowing about it. People just suddenly disappear or turn up dead.” Part One of Two.

Not What Obama Promised

noneby David Swanson
The most telling indictments of Barack Obama's presidency will come from those that initially supported him. Obama got activist/journalist David Swanson's vote last November. Now, after six months in the White House, Swanson has compiled a damning bill of particulars on Obama's broken promises and reneged commitments. “The public must know the facts, make of them what it will.”

Public Education in America: A Pillar of Institutional Racism

edumcationby Solomon Comissiong
Last week, Barack Obama once again “felt the need to lecture black people about what they can and cannot complain about.” No excuses, no excuses, the president hectored – as if to delegitimize Black struggles for redress of real grievances. “On the one hand he knows not to upset white folks by pointing to America’s legacy as a bastion of racism and white supremacy. And on the other hand he knows there are virtually no restrictions on how often he can castigate, vilify, and reprimand the black community.”

Same Sex Marriage, Religiosity and Black Civil Rights Orthodoxies

Sikivu Hutchinsonby Sikivu Hutchinson
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which once fearlessly confronted apartheid America, today threatens to excommunicate a Los Angeles minister for acting in solidarity with gays. “It is abundantly clear that when it comes to gay rights, bucking the black religious establishment on civil rights 'orthodoxy' continues to be a third rail issue.” Conservative Black preachers behave as if all women and gays are white. “Black preachers effectively turn a blind eye to the disenfranchisement of their young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered congregants.”

“My Hell in an Israeli Jail”: Israel Prison Population 90 Percent Black Africans

in jailby Voice Online, UK
It should come as no surprise that a settler state based on the rule of one ethnic group would be steeped in racist public policies. But the sheer scope of Israel's institutional oppression of Africans shocked human rights activists imprisoned for attempting to deliver humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza. “The first day I was there, I witnessed 500 Africans scooped from the streets of Tel Aviv thrown into prison,” said a Black British activist. “The prison population continues to grow daily with Africans falling victim to the Israeli judiciary system.”

Licensed to Kill

john Maxwellby John Maxwell
It wasn't exactly a secret that the Bush administration had gone over to the “dark side” in the wake of 9/11, compiling hit lists of prospective victims. George Bush and Dick Cheney fairly broadcast that a U.S. Murder Inc was on the loose, seeking vengeance. “We know that the government of the United States was itself actively subverting the laws and Constitution of the United States of America, contravening settled International Law and Conventions and the charter of the United Nations and betraying all principles of decency and civilized behavior.”

The Two NAACPs and a Century of Struggle

There have always been at least two NAACPs. There has been a national leadership, more sensitive to corporate interests and devoted to what can be won in the court or passed through the legislature this year. And there have always been the NAACP's scores of branches across the country, more and less active. It's the branches, some of them, which are the heirs of NAACP founders W.E.B. DuBois, Ida Wells-Barnett, of Medgar Evers and a long line of standup activists, the real people of struggle whose names most of us will never know.

Freedom Rider: American War Criminals

war criminalsby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The United States could fill scores of International Criminal Courts with homegrown war criminals, but prefers to honor them as “statesmen” and “the best and the brightest.” The recently deceased Robert McNamara even indicted himself for crimes against Japanese civilians – but only as a mental exercise enveloped in real-world impunity. McNamara has had lots of company in the past forty years since he last served an American president.... Obama expanded war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, continuing a process begun by Carter and Brzezinski thirty years ago.”

Maxine Waters vs. Fatal Derivatives

Maxine WatersA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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The Obama administration is clearly trying to keep Congress from taking legislative action against derivatives, the “financial weapons of mass destruction” that set off the economic crisis. “Geithner claims he wants credit-default swaps brought under control, but only through stricter regulation, not by law.” California Congresswoman Maxine Waters wants derivatives banned outright, and has submitted legislation to that effect. But so far, she has no co-sponsors.

Ward Churchill: Academic Freedom Denied

ward churchillA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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An anti-imperialist ethics professor has no rights that his university is bound to respect. That's the lesson from a Denver District Court that refused to reinstate Ward Churchill, despite a jury's finding that he was fired from the University of Colorado because of his political statements. “There is no such thing as academic and political freedom if you can be fired for exercising it.”

Obama’s Good Move on Student Loans

studentsA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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President Obama has done students in need of loans a good turn, and surprised BAR by oving to snatch $15 billion a year out of the jaws of the banks. “For decades the bankers have been getting risk-free federal money at taxpayer and student expense, by handling student loans already guaranteed by the federal government, collecting fees and then selling the loans to the U.S. Treasury.”


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