Almost a fifth of the oil imported by the U.S. comes from Africa, and in the decade to come this percentage will rise. The eastern part of Nigeria, from which Big Oil has pumped more than a trillion dollars worth of black gold since the 1960s, remains the poorest part of the country, and one of the most ravaged and polluted on earth. Thousands of gas flares have burned for decades, generating acid rains that have poisoned fisheries and crops. The land is crisscrossed by thousands of miles of leaking pipes and dotted with oil slicks. The air is unbreathable, cancers are endemic, there are no schools or hospitals and life expectancies are among the lowest on the African continent. Shell Oil is on trial in a New York courtroom, accused of hiring the Nigerian government to murder its own citizens for protesting the pollution of their environment and demanding a share of oil revenues be spent where the oil is extracted.
The Black New Orleans-based communications collective "2-Cent" counts as its icons Huey Newton and Gil Scott Heron. "Other generations marched, and we march too. But in this age we have a whole new range of weapons.... I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would want to be on YouTube, to have his speeches distributed that way." 2-Cent spokesperson Brandon "B-Mike" Odums rejects the idea that promoting ignorance is cool. "We say it's hot to stand up for yourself and speak for yourself."
In order to secure its oil and resources for the West, the US has inflicted two decades of wars and invasions upon Somalia. With no effective central government, Somalia also has no diplomats or coast guard, leaving European fishing fleets and waste dumpers to deplete and poison its fisheries. When Somalis who have fished thousands of years for a living challenge foreign vessels in their territorial waters it is they, not the interlopers who are labeled “pirates.” And although Somalia's so-called pirates have never harmed or killed a single foreigner, they find themselves the target of Western military operations.
Ban Ki Moon is playing another macabre joke on Haiti. In naming Bill Clinton as his "special envoy" to Haiti, the United Nations Secretary General has chosen a man that has already betrayed Haiti's people several times over. "President Clinton made several pledges to Aristide and to Haiti, but history does not seem to record that any were kept." Partly because of Clinton's depraved policies, "Haitians are still scooping water to drink from potholes in the street and stave off hunger with 'fritters' made from earth and cooking fat."
What's the point of debating the salaries of professional athletes? To a far greater extent than we can afford, African Americans allow themselves to be distracted by games. "We cannot allow ourselves to become more preoccupied with the final score of the Sunday afternoon NFL game than we are with the current 15 percent unemployment rate within the black community." And if we must be preoccupied with sports, "Why not spend some of our precious time raising the social consciousness of these black professional athletes?
The cynically misnamed "Performance Rights" legislation will not benefit performers. It will extract a premium from radio broadcasters, killing some, and transforming others for the worse. It will create another piece of "intellectual property" which the recording industry is poised to benefit from at the expense of artists, radio broadcasters and the public, and legaiize payola. And once the performance rights toll booth is established in broadcast radio, it can and will be deployed elsewhere. HR 848 is bad news for broadcasters, bad news for artists, and bad news for almost everybody.
President Obama's mission to keep the U.S. health care system safe for the profiteering classes got waylaid last week by - the profiteers, themselves. The health care industry "refused to corroborate Obama's claim that they had agreed to reduce health care spending by $2 trillion dollars over ten years." Worse, some of them pointed out that, in point of fact, Obama doesn't have a fully developed health plan. The president's business allies' failure to back up his fiction means Obama will have to pick another occasion to proclaim that the private sector has made sacrifices, and it's time to take the axe to "entitlements."
by BAR executive editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The horrific numbers don't lie. "Entire neighborhoods" of African Americans "have been destroyed by high numbers of foreclosures, which effect not only homeowners, but also renters who are made homeless." Yet President Obama offers nothing - nothing! - in terms of programs specifically designed to ameliorate Black America's disproportionate pain. "This is the day of reckoning for the black citizens of this nation, who must soon decide if they will voice their grievances or silence and diminish themselves for the sake of a man who cares so little about them
If you're Black and walking the streets of New York City, be careful not to make any "furtive" moves, and make sure not to wear clothing that is "inappropriate for the season" or clothes "commonly used in a crime." The cops consider such behavior "reasonable suspicion" to stop and frisk pedestrians, 90 percent of whom happen to be non-white. This year, the police are on their way to stopping 628,000 persons - joining the two million that have been stopped and frisked since 2004.
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One step backward: last month, the Obama administration sabotaged the Durban II anti-racism conference, by first watering down the event's language and then refusing to participate. The first Black president of the United States created a coalition of European and white settler regimes - the same powers that inflicted centuries of racist terror on the planet - in defense of the racist Israeli regime. One step forward: Obama expects to steal a public relations coup by joining the UN's Human Rights Council - where he will doubtless pursue the same status quo policies..
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President Obama considers U.S. use of torture as an instrument of national policy is best relegated to the past, unpunished - even though a web of international treaties and laws, and U.S. statutes, obligate the executive branch to prosecute the guilty. It has been left to a coalition of activist groups to pursue some small measure of punishment for the 12 Bush lawyers that conspired to make torture, legal. The coalition has filed complaints with state bar associations to pull the torture lawyers' licenses.
What a difference four months make. On November 4, 2008, tears "tears flowed like a mighty river" from half a million pairs of eyes in Chicago's Grant Park, where Barack Obama made his victory speech. Today, "Obama has no intention of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and ending that war," "there will be no genuine single payer national health care system under this president," and Obama invites "voucher and charter school boosters to the White House." The dream has turned into a hoax.
Blessed with immunity from the laws of any nation and a new company name mercenaries for the company formerly known as Blackwater are still hard at work, doing what mercenaries do.. getting paid, while corporate media protect us from the news. Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill uncovers another instance of oru tax dollars at work in Afghanistan
Mainly white Cuban exiles in Miami, Florida, and Union City, New Jersey, who have never been friends of Blacks in either Cuba or the United States, now claim to be champions of racial equality on the island. The author, an Afro-Cuban whose roots go back to Jamaica, apologizes to Black U.S. lawmakers for the antics of the hypocritical Cuban rightwingers. Afro-Cubans, who have the most loyal to all of Cuba's revolutions, need no assistance from "mercenaries" from Miami.
In this 90 minute address, Dr. Robert McChesney argues that the disappearance of journalism from newspapers and broadcast media marks the twilight of democracy. Back in the days when Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists started their newspapers, the US Postal Service was mailing them for free. At the time, newspapers were 90% of post office volume, and accounted for 2% of its income, a massive government subsidy. Only a massive subsidy --- a stimulus program for journalism, and stripping corporate owners of dozens and hundreds of stations that some of them own, can begin to make real democracy possible.
The conflict in Sudan's Darfur region is presented to us in the U.S. as an unambiguous case of genocidal racism, worthy of a virtuous response from Americans. The Save Darfur Coalition, the foremost perveyors of this story, are backed by the bipartisan U.S. foreign policy establishment, from rabid end-of-the-world fundamentalists to supposed liberals and everyone else in between.
In a schema unique to the United States, nearly all broadcast media are exclusively licensed to private owners, on the supposed condition that they serve the public interest. In fact, broadcasters are utterly free to reap vast fortunes using the limited public resource of the broadcast spectrum. Black commercial radio is no different, whether or not its nominal owners are African American.
President Obama has gone to extraordinary lengths to suppress advocates of single-payer health care. He has choreographed a grand theater of faux-change, in which he "seeks to create a façade of unity along lines that do not threaten corporate power." The goal is to "sidetrack, possibly for decades, the most broadly supported idea in American politics, today." This "requires elaborate reconstructions of reality," starting with "methodically erasing single-payer advocates from the picture, with the enthusiastic collaboration of the corporate media." Thus, Obama and compliant Democrats on The Hill stage "summits" and "public roundtable discussions" on health care from which majority U.S. opinion is totally excluded.
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
President Obama, who campaigned behind a thin veil of peace, dragged two heads of client states into the White House to demand “that both Afghanistan and Pakistan allow their citizens to be murdered and or displaced in the thousands” – or else. Obama read Presidents Zardari and Karzai “the riot act” to let them know who is boss in the military theater called “AfPak.” Obama claims to “want to respect their sovereignty, but” – there’s always the imperial ‘but’ – America has “huge national security interests” in the region. Afghanistan’s Karzai later wondered, “How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
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The line between Bush and Obama has not simply blurred in New Orleans: it has disappeared." President Obama has adopted, in whole, the Bush approach to rebuilding the city - minus the Black Diaspora that was scattered to the winds in 2005. Notices of eviction have been served on the mostly elderly and Black inhabitants of 3,000 FEMA trailers. The Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development is putting the finishing touches on public housing demolition in the city. Not a single "Katrina Cottage" has been made ready for occupancy. Obama no more favors the "right to return" to - or remain in - New Orleans, than Bush did.