Obama Piddles Away the Public's Options

BARACK HEALTH CAREA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

It's all over but the funeral.” In abandoning the “public option,” President Obama has relinquished all claim as champion of health care reform, the content of which he first diluted and ultimately bargained away entirely. The forces of reaction, which were disorganized and on the defensive when Obama entered office, have been vastly strengthened by the president's “duplicitous backroom deals and back-stabbing of his most loyal supporters.”

Send In the Clowns: 3 Stooges, Gingrich, Sharpton & Duncan Hit the Road For Corporate “School Reform”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce Dixon

Quite separately from each other, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Rev. Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich have long ago forfeited whatever credibility they may once have had. Taken together, they are simply a bad joke: three grown men publicly eye-poking and slap fighting each other while they all come together to sell us high-stakes testing, charter schools, educational privatization and the whole package of corporate “school reform.”


Iraqis to Vote on Early U.S. Exit

iraqi electionA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

On January 16 of next year, Iraqis will vote in national elections and a referendum on whether to send the Americans home by the end of 2010 – a year earlier than the U.S. expected. “There is no doubt – none whatsoever – that overwhelming majorities of Iraqis will vote to evict the American occupiers.” But the U.S. anti-war movement can take little of the credit.

Eshu’s blues: Obama and Duncan’s “Race to the Top”

by BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are sold on charter schools and so-called “public-private partnerships.” In order to impose their corporate philosophy of education, the duo wave $5 billion under the noses of hard-pressed states, contingent on tying teacher job security to high-stakes test results and boosting charter schools. Duncan, in particular, makes extraordinary claims about his schooling fetishes while “lying through his teeth.”

Obama on Drugs: 98% Cheney?

big parmaby Greg Palast
When Dick Cheney and leaders of the energy industry met secretly to fashion U.S. energy policy, progressives were understandably apoplectic. But when President Obama holds secret talks with the health care industry, it's another story. Progressives would be righteously upset if they understood all the wheeling and dealing had only cut 2% from a national health care bill that will double over ten years.

Life After Wrongful Conviction

more wrongful convictionsby Olympia Duhart
Thanks to science and the efforts of the Innocence Project, hundreds of wrongly convicted persons have regained their freedom, some after spending decades behind bars. But states have wildly differing policies on compensating the innocent – and “more than a dozen states still have no compensation packages in place for exonerees. Nothing at all.”

How The Vicious U.S. Blockade of Cuba Really Works

bodega-mediumby Marta Veloz.  Translation by Machetera.

Has the Obama Administration really done anything to ease ithe nearly half century long blockade of Cuba? Machetera's translation of this article from the Cuban press unravels the workings of the continual state of economic war the U.S. wages against Cuba, and reveals its imact on Cubans as well as on businesses inside and outside the U.S. who try to do business with Cuba and its people.

Will Obama's Abandonment of the Public Option Take Congressional Democrats Down In 2010?

dr barackby BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon

Presidents run every four years, but Congress is elected every two. This president said we should judge him by whether he delivers comprehensive, affordable, accessible health care to every American in his first term. Team Obama's relentless opposition to single payer, a position he once supported, and his recent abandonment of even a watered down public option, and a health care plan that doesn't cover any of the uninsured till 2013 may not affect the president till his own re-election. But House Democrats must face the people in 2010.

“You Gotta Get Your Mind Right”: Veterans for Peace

get yr mind rightby Mike Ferner
A veteran anti-war activist calls for a politics of peace with justice. “Peace with justice means stopping the few from making policy for the many; from robbing us blind; denying our right to health care; destroying Earth’s life support systems; as well as sending us to war.”

US Supreme Court Orders New Hearing for Troy Davis

troy davisby Jonathan Springston
After having “narrowly avoided execution three times since July 2007,” Troy Davis got the barest whiff of justice when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a Georgia federal judge to consider his claims to innocence in the killing of a Savannah police officer. Speaking for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote it "would be an atrocious violation of our Constitution and the principles upon which it is based to execute an innocent person." Dissenting Justice Anton Scalia called the decision "a fool’s errand," and "a confusing exercise."

Obama Kidnapped by Ruling Class?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

What else can explain the wild differences between common perceptions of Obama and the way he actually governs? This theory is put forward by a leading luminary of of Black progressive politics. “The military, the bankers, the oil barons, the drug profiteers – all of them ganging up together to snatch Obama.”

Dems Scurry from Tea-Baggers Over Health Care

specterA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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Seldom, if ever, has a majority party been thrown into such disarray by such a motley crew. But that’s because the Democrats were already sundered by President Obama’s bullying of the Left over health care. “The generals of the Right realized the president no longer had an army. The zombies were set loose.”

Clinton Threatens War in Horn of Africa

hillary threatensA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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The Obama administration is depicting Somalia as an African Afghanistan, and setting up the homegrown Islamist Shabab as a Taliban. Secretary of State Clinton deployed language identical to George Bush's to justify U.S. military intervention in Somalia, and made bellicose threats against neighboring Eritrea.

Progressives Should be Shutting Down These So-Called 'Health Care Town Meetings' Too

town hallBy Dave Lindorff

For the most part, the health care "town meetings" staged by members of Congress are shams designed to deceive and disinform the public on the possibilities and progress of health care reform.  Despite being shaky on the facts, right wingers may be quite correct in treating them as opportunties for street theatre.  Maybe, suggests Dave Lindorff, we ought to do the same.

Is Barack Obama Good For Black People? The Great Debate in Harlem, Part 2 of 2

On June 25, hundreds of black America's formost thnkers and doers gathered at St. Mary's Church in Harlem NY to ask and answer the question of whether Barack Obama was good or bad for black America. We here present some of the 5 to 7 minute presentations pro and con on whether Barack Obama is good for black America. Click the flash players to listen to or the mics to download them in MP3 format.

Glen Ford

The fact, says Dr. Jared Ball of Morgan State University and voxunion.com, is that Barack Obama did not emerge from the struggle of our people for peace and justice.  He has been imposed upon us by outside forces in answer to that struggle, not in fulfillment of it..

Charles Barron


While NY City Councilman Charles Barron disagrees with some of Obama's policies, he seems to draw a line around those who disagree with the president, calling them “intellectuals” who he says, do the hood no good.


Dr. Marimba Ani

Give the brotha a break?  Dr. Marimba Ani doesn't think we should give the American empire a break.  If anything, she notes, having a black man sitting in the big chair makes it harder to fight.

Charles Barron


argues that Barack Obama represents incremental but significant change, and even though the election was eight months ago, reaches back to compare Obama with McCain.



Viola Plummer

Barack Obama is a “yes we can” symbol of national unity for black people, says Viola Plummer.



Diop Olugbala



The Uhuru Movement's Diop Olugbala argues that a lesser evil is still quite evil. We can, he insists, do better.


Click here for part one of the Great Debate in Harlem, with Glen Ford, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Nellie Bailey and Dr. Gloria Browne Marshall

Obama On Health Care: A Comprehensive Betrayal – Where Do We Go From Here?

againThe shrunken and eviscerated public option in the Obama health care plan may now be discarded in favor of something called a health co-op. The mounting toll of concessions to drug companies and bailouts of private insurers contained in the Obama plan have transformed it, according to Rep. John Conyers, into “crap,” and threaten to make Obama a one-term president. Republicans, all the while, are fighting Obamacare every bit as resolutely as if it were Medicare For All, drumming up disinformed protesters for health care town meetings. And the embargo of single payer media coverage continues, despite its being the majority sentiment of Americans. This is the year of health care reform. Or not.

The Misleaders

leadersby Henry D. Rose
Black American politics has been deformed by the intrigues and insults of a misleadership class that collaborates with the enemy while launching “wholesale attacks on the moral character of the Black working class and poor.” These new elites are disconnected from the historical currents of their people. “Their mantra is that there is no Black America, no Black agenda and no need for either.”

Whitewashing the Jobs Statistics

no jobsby Lee A. Daniels
Media repeat the pared down, sanitized jobless figures, even though they know the stats are misleading. “A truer picture of unemployment is to be drawn from including those involuntarily working part-time jobs, those who only sporadically find work and the long-term unemployed who have given up looking for work.”

Miracle Cure?

the seven foot poet


by Kemet Mawakana, a.k.a. The Seven Foot Poet

In this, the long awaited year of health care reform (or not) the Seven Foot Poet offers a potent cure for an insidious disease that has long stalked among us.

Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this original work performed by the Seven Foot Poet.


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