Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 3/4/13

Supreme Court Puts U.S. Spy Agency “Above the Law”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s dismissal of a suit against the National Security Agency’s wholesale spying on telephone and internet systems “essentially holds the NSA above the law,” said Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Committee. Unless the plaintiffs can document that they, personally, have been monitored, they “have no right to appear in a federal court to challenge the program,” Shahid explained. But, since the program is secret, it is all but impossible for individuals to prove their case.

DNA vs. the Bill of Rights

The High Court is considering how police departments can collect and use people’s DNA. The case centers on Maryland’s DNA law, under which at least one victim of crime was later convicted of another, subsequent crime, based on his DNA. All 49 other states have filed briefs supporting Maryland’s law. Black Maryland state lawmaker Jill Carter, of Baltimore, who opposed the law when it was passed in 2009, said “every state in the country could be permitted to collect DNA from people who are not convicted of any crime.”

Detroit to Lose Control of Finances

Michigan’s Republican governor plans to name a financial manager to oversee the 83 percent Black city of Detroit, which would join five other Michigan municipalities and three school districts that have been stripped of local financial control. “Both Democrats and Republicans have had it in for Detroit ever since the 1967 uprising,” said Joyce Schon, of the activist organization BAMN, By Any Means Necessary. Resistance to the takeover must go beyond legal appeals, Schon said. “I think it’s got to be direct action, anything we can possibly bring to the streets.”

The Ruling Austerity Consensus

There is a consensus among both major political parties on the need for austerity, said Left Business Observer publisher Doug Henwood. “The only controversy among the ruling elite is, just how much and what kind” of austerity. Meanwhile, U.S. organized labor “has no independent politics, and no independent capacity for thought.”

Philly Schools Turn Back Clock on Equality

Philadelphia school authorities are calling for draconian changes in the system’s operations, including elimination of limits on class size – on top massive school closings. “I think that it’s turning the clock back on guaranteeing every child equalization of opportunity,” said State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas. Many schools don’t have libraries, safety officers, nurses, clean bathrooms, books, computers, or “teachers that are teaching in their areas of competency,” said Thomas, who wants Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “along with the federal courts, to step in and straighten this situation out.”


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.