Glen Ford: Susan Rice’s Political Legacy-’Genocide in Africa on Her Watch’

Hard Knock Radio logoOver the past couple of weeks there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding UN Ambassador Susan Rice. She’s been under fire, accused of misleading the American public about the circumstances that led up to the slaughter 4 Americans including Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th of this year.

Hard Knock Radio weighed in on this issue with an insightful conversation featuring long time journalist Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report….He breaks down the political legacy of Rice and whats she’s been about long before most of us were introduced to her via the work she’s done under President Obama..

click the link below to listen to the HKR interview w/ Glen Ford on Susan Rice

Susan Rice

Susan Rice

As you listen to the interview here’s a little bit of background. ..Rice was the point person on Sunday morning talk shows in the days that followed those attacks, where she emphatically explained that attacks was the result of enraged Muslims reacting to an obscure anti-Muslim Youtube movie produced in the US. Below is one of those TV appearances she made that has now become the basis for this recent controversy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxf77xQ_NLU

Since that interview, we have come to know that the official story is it was in fact an act of terror carried out by Al Qaeda operatives. Many have questioned how Rice was so off on her assessment. It’s been determined that the intelligence around the Benghazi attacks being the work of terrorists at the time Rice spoke, was classified information. It was kept classified as to not tip-off the assailants. That realization has not calmed President Obama’s political rivals including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who have come out swinging, threatening to block Rice’s anticipated nomination to be the next Secretary of State.

John McCain

John McCain

The crassness of McCain and Graham along with right-wing political pundits has led many to see their harsh criticisms of Rice as racially motivated political sour grapes. This in turn has led to many women’s groups and civil rights organizations circling the wagon determined to back Rice to the hilt. That in turn has led to many overlooking or remaining unaware of Rice’s political legacy.

Long time journalist Glen Ford has been following the career of Susan Rice for over 15 years. He’s well aware of her track record and the roles she played when she worked under Bill Clinton all the way up to now. In our Hard Knock radio interview (HKR) Ford gives a very detailed no holds bar breakdown of Rice and the type of impact she and the policies she’s championed have had on countries like Rwanda, Sudan,  Somalia, Libya and the Congo.

When asked what word comes to mind when he here’s the name Susan Rice, Glen Ford responded ‘Genocide’.  In a recent column penned by Ford titled A Second Wave of Genocide..he notes;

Susan Rice has abetted the Congo genocide for much of her political career. Appointed to President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council in 1993, at age 28, she rose to assistant secretary of state for African affairs in 1997 as Rwanda and Uganda were swarming across the eastern Congo, seizing control of mineral resources amid a sea of blood. She is known to be personally close to Rwanda’s minority Tutsi leadership, including President Paul Kagame, a ruthless soldier trained at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and mentored by Ugandan strongman (and Reagan administration favorite) Yoweri Museveni, who is believed to have pioneered the use of child soldiers in modern African conflicts.

GlenfordFord also writes:

Rice is widely credited with convincing Obama to launch NATO’s bombing campaign for regime change in Libya. She parroted false media reports that Muammar Gaddafi’s troops were raping Libyan women with the aid of massive gulps of Viagra, refusing to back down even when U.S. military and intelligence officials told NBC news “there is no evidence that Libyan military forces have been given Viagra and engaging in systematic rape against women in rebel areas.” Yet, Rice said not a word about ethnic cleansing and racial pogroms against black Libyans and sub-Saharan African migrant workers, including the well-documented erasure of the black city of Tawergha.

In our interview Ford describes Susan Rice as some one who is more hawkish and ‘thuggish’ then Condoleezza Rice who served under George Bush. He notes its an act of betrayal for Black leadership to back her nomination in lieu of her track record. Ford notes many have reacted to in such a way that perceived racial comments are more important to push back on than the genocide of millions of people in Africa on Rice’s watch. You can peep the interview by clicking the link at the beginning of this article

Why is the Black Press (NNPA) selling out to AT&T & Consolidation?

The other day I spoke about how the current political climate is no longer about Dems vs Repubs. Instead its really about the rich and Wanna be Rich vs the working class and poor. I deliberately use the word ‘wanna be rich‘ because that’s the weak link and where most of the damage is done.

Corporate heads are small in number less than (10%) yet control anywhere from 80-90% of the wealth. The average CEO in the US makes 319-475 for every dollar earned by his/her workforce. In places like Japan, home to the world’s second largest economy the ratio is 11-1. In Germany its 12-1. You can peep those figures HERE.

What these CEOs have done is invested in large media companies and PR firms where they do two things, lay out attack after attack on the American workforce, in particular unions. The line has been to blame workers receiving pensions and health benefits for the collapse of the economy vs uber rich CEOs outsourcing their jobs to impoverished countries and hiding their money in offshore tax shelters.

These CEOs then entice charismatic and highly visible figures or organizations receiving funding aka ‘Wannabe Rich’ who wish to court favor to be the average John Doe ‘talking head‘ for their anti-worker/ pro corporate policies. They help create fictional boogey men against the working poor which is then propagandized all over the airwaves. We seen this happen over the issue of Net Neutrality, the bashing of unions and now with the proposed merger of telcom giant AT&T and T-Mobile.

In the AT&T deal we have the Black press (NNPA) of all people along with the National Urban League supporting the consolidation of a major industry most of us have to use in some form or fashion.. I find it ironic that a group of media folks who have seen first hand the sickening impact consolidation has both on the media industry and our community at large would team up and support a major consolidator.

Thank God our friends at the Black Agenda Report go in on these corporate lackeys and breakdown the lunacy of them supporting consolidation..We salute BAR for a job well done. Thanks for holding the line and not selling out the community for three pieces of silver.

-Davey D-

What’s the mission of the black press? To hear Walter Smith, CEO of the NY Beacon and NNPA Budget Chairman, it’s to rep their advertisers, and increase their “corporate visibility.” What happened to informing the pubic, to defending the interests of black communities, to telling the truth without fear or favor? Last week we denounced NNPA’s craven endorsement of AT&T’s buyout of T-Mobile, which will concentrate three-quarters of the US cell phone market in the hands of two massive and massively predatory corporations. They answered.

NNPA Defends Endorsement of Predatory AT&T -T-Mobile Merger. And We Answer

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Bruce Dixon

Last week I excoriated the NNPA, the National Newspaper Publishers Association for its instantaneous and craven endorsement of AT&T’s proposal to buy out T-Mobile. The proposed merger would give two companies, AT&T and Verizon, three quarters of the U.S. cell phone market. I listed nine reasons why the Justice Department and FCC and Congress should reject the merger, and especially why black and brown civic and leadership organizations ought to oppose it.

Since then, the National Urban League, the NAACP, both heavily dependent on AT&T and Verizon for charitable donations, rushed to endorse the merger. And Walter Smith, CEO of the New York Beacon and NNPA Budget Chairman took the time to write and take issue with us. We thank him for his letter, which you can find here, and take this opportunity to answer it.

Dear Mr. Smith,

Walter Smith NNPA

Thank you for taking the time to write us here at Black Agenda Report. In my article last week I listed nine reasons why the AT&T merger was bad economics, bad public policy and especially disastrous for black and poor communities. Regrettably your response addressed none of those points.

You began by preaching that “…Mergers, acquisitions, re-organizations, etc is the corporate building blocks of the US economy.…” That’s nonsense.

Any reputable economist, and by that I mean any economist who predicted the crash and bailout of 2008 will tell you that there is a real economy in which things are built and services rendered, and there is a parasitic “economy” in which rents and interest payments are extracted, corporate welfare is handed out, and public assets are privatized. Corporate mergers are obviously parasitic. As I pointed out last week, corporate mergers produce no new assets, they eliminate jobs and raise prices. They are anti-competitive, bad for customer service and a disincentive to innovation.

This is not a small thing. It’s such a fundamental misstatement of economic fact that it calls into question your willingness and/or your ability to tell the truth to your readers. And make no mistake, Mr. Smith, the will and the ability of the black press to tell the truth without fear or favor is what this is all about.

Your letter continued to say

NNPA has a long standing relationship with AT&T and it has become more significant with the relationship our present Chairman has with the hierarchy of the corporation…

The Black Press of America, represented by NNPA is not a WATCHDOG, it is a communicator. We report the news and record black history. Publishers editorialize about issues that affect the communities they serve.

“NNPA has a partnership with AT&T that has yielded benefits for the black community in ways you cannot see nor imagine. Black newspaper publishers hire local community photographers, writers, distributors, office personnel,and local printers. Our revenue for these jobs comes from our advertising revenues. Where does much of these revenues come from? You guessed it, AT&T and Verizon.”

Sadly, I could not have said it better. Your vision of the black press is that of “communicator” on behalf of those corporations who give you advertising revenue, which you use to pay a handful of contractors and staff.

This is a profoundly different mission for the black press, for journalism in general, than the framers of the Constitution had in mind. Journalism was the only industry that got its own constitutional amendment precisely because democracy depended on journalists faithfully and fearlessly informing the public.

Frederick Douglass

You have radically departed also from the mission of the black press of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Frederick Douglass preached and organized tirelessly, first against slavery, then for Reconstruction, and finally against lynching and Jim Crow. Ida B. Wells carried this legacy on into the twentieth century. The mission of the black press in those days was first to allow us to speak with and to hear our own voices, not those our masters appointed to speak for or to us, and secondly to defend black interests by fearlessly exposing injustice of all kinds. The black press of those days was truly a weapon of mass discussion. But no longer, as your letter points out:

No the Black Press ain’t what it used to be. Its a new day for the Black Press under New leadership with an experienced entrepreneur who has the business acumen to negotiate a financial partnership with corporate America and does not sell out one Black person in doing so.

If you want to fight the merger, by all means do so. However the black press does not need your input nor approval on the position we take be it political or financial. The Black Press is still operating under the same creed as it did in 1827, “We wish to plead our own cause, Too long have others spoken for us.

Your position on the AT&T merger is indeed selling out millions of black people. Pretty much everybody who pays a cell phone bill will pay a higher one thanks to this merger. Thousands of jobs, many held by black people, will disappear. The tens of billions AT&T might have spent extending wireless and broadband service to poor, black, brown and rural communities will go instead to buy out its competition.

If your job, Brother Smith, is to report the news, then you should report news, not be the sock puppet for your advertisers. If your mission is to “record black history,” you get a choice there too. You can write that history from the viewpoint of ordinary black families, or you can write it from the viewpoint of your corporate advertisers and donors.

The New York Beacon, where you are CEO is about as good as black newspapers get these days. Most offer far less non-advertising, non-entertainment copy. Many are entirely composed of ads, PR handouts from local governments, corporations and other institutions, wire service copy from Reuters, AP, and sometimes NNPA, and entertainment fluff.

How many NNPA newspapers have bothered to educate the public on the fact that text messaging, because it rides on the otherwise empty communication packets between phones and network servers, costs cell phone providers literally nothing, though they have regularly raised prices on this service? Not a one. How many NNPA newspapers have explained to audiences that the artificial broadband scarcities of the digital divide are a basic and permanent feature of telecom company business models from Comcast to Verizon to AT&T, and even reaching back into era of analog telephone service?

One of the reasons that Americans, including black ones, are the best entertained and least informed people on earth is your abandonment of the core mission of journalism, lack of interest in an informed public, the very reason for the existence of journalism.

Your letter concludes thusly:

As a result of Chairman Bakewell’s tenure with NNPA, we have increased our visibility in corporate America, have increased revenues to the association, have increased advertising revenues to our member publishers, have regained credibility with the readership, and have increased membership in the organization. Have you done as much for Black Agenda Report?”

Evidently Mr. Smith, you have confused your own business model with the public good of our black communities.

The telecom industry spreads a lot of charitable contributions and advertising revenue around. It rains cash upon utilizes legacy African Americans like the NAACP, the Urban League and your NNPA, and funds wholly astroturf outfits like ADE, the Alliance for Digital Equality. It uses you, and them, to hurl false and spurious accusations of white racism against national media reform organizations like Free Press who advocate network neutrality and the extension of broadband to black, brown and poor communities.

Black Agenda Report is doing what you should be doing, Mr. Smith. We are commited to educating the public on the facts, not increasing our corporate visibility and raking in the maximum ad revenue. We are committed to gathering 50,000 signatures of black people, and all people on a petition to stop this ill-advised merger, and presenting that petition to the FCC, to the Congressional Black Caucus, to the National Conference of Black State Legislators, to the White House and the Justice Department later this year demanding that this predatory, anti-competitive merger be halted.

We invite all who read this to help prove you wrong by signing the petition themselves, and forwarding it to as many of your friends, neighbors, co-workers and associates as possible. You may also want to forward this article from last week, which outlines nine reasons why the merger is a very bad idea.

Respectfully,

As I said last week, Ida B. Wells, the champion of the black press in the early 20th century, is rolling in her grave. If she were alive today we both know what side she’d be on.

Respectfully,

Bruce A. Dixon

managing editor, Black Agenda Report

bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com

Jared Ball: The Professional Left Versus The Left of Us

Those purported liberals and progressives that urge pragmatism and caution in the face of raging imperial warfare and Wall Street’s predations, must not feel their own lives are at stake. “If they did really believe that corporations were leading the planet to doom or that the fascists they are protecting us from are just outside the gates, would they really only respond by a few rallies and a vote for a Democrat?” Blacks and Browns are the folks living at Ground Zero.

The Professional Left Versus The Left of Us

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

http://blackagendareport.com/?q=content%2Fprofessional-left-versus-left-us

Black, Brown, Indigenous and working people need to abandon the conventions of the professional left and develop our own politics.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was partially right when earlier this year he dismissed the “professional left.” There is indeed a professional left, those whose entire careers and claims to fame are based on permanent liberal challenges to power and who arrogantly dismiss as immature, and worse dangerous, those who would push leftward beyond those limits. “Don’t go too far,” they tell us, “vote for us or THEY will get elected and thenwe’re in real trouble!” But that’s because liberals aren’t in real trouble. They don’t really believe that. If they did really believe that corporations were leading the planet to doom or that the fascists they are protecting us from are just outside the gates would they really only respond by a few rallies and a vote for a Democrat? Then maybe they are as “fucking stupid” as Rahm Emanuel said they are.

But to some the fascism warned of in all those faint allusions to totalitarian horrors already exists and the death camp trains have been running for decades with barely a peep from the professional liberals. Should we care about Obama’s failure to close Guantanamo when he never felt pressure enough to even lie about wanting to shut down the Corrections Corporation of America? Prisons and the racist legislation, hyper-policing, brutality and fraudulent judicial system that keep them filled are among the nation’s biggest businesses. Joblessness and poverty continue to worsen and even the tens of thousands dying from war abroad are more than matched by the deaths in this country resulting from public policies which deny adequate housing, food and health care to millions. When ratesof Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are found to be as high in Black communities in the United States as they are in war-torn cities overseas and children tell counter military recruitment workers that they might as well risk death fighting in foreign wars when they get shot at here at home since at least that offers the chance of health care and education who is really interested in more liberal threats of “it could be worse”?

Prisons and the racist legislation, hyper-policing, brutality and fraudulent judicial system that keep them filled are among the nation’s biggest businesses.”

For Marcus Bellamy of the Arizona-based Black Organizing Network and Arizona Green Party this was the point of a series of events that took place this week in Phoenix. For Bellamy and co-organizers Arizona is the national “ground zero, the laboratory for the state testing out just how far it can go in terms of racial oppression.” According to Bellamy all the recent fuss over Senate Bill 1070 itself works to mask that “the migrant community is being used as a mere experiment in methods that can one day be used against the entire population – workplace raids, detention centers, extension of biometric data collection in prisons, the hiring of an armed volunteer force that enforces immigration law (which in any other country would be labeled a paramilitary force), integration of local and national police agencies along with cooperation from the National Guard in the name of ‘border protection,’ and so on may seem like an attack on the stereotypical ‘Mexican’ but will eventually morph into a blanket assault on anyone who defies the status quo.”

So sure, the professional left will undoubtedly tell us of all the small victories achieved in this week’s reversal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and the passage of the Low Power FM Radio Act. And we are soon to hear more from the Black professionals, or “surrogates,” called upon by Obama to explain how Black people will benefit from the new tax bill. But who really cares if imperialism is gay or straight or if we are now to get more liberal/non-profit radio or if Black people will get extensions on unemployment benefits instead of proper jobs with proper wages? Black, Brown, Indigenous and working people need to abandon the conventions of the professional left and develop our own politics even if they be dismissed as immature, impractical and simple fantasy. Professional liberalism is no answer for us.

Several years ago Essence Farmer finally won her case in Arizona allowing her to run a natural hair braiding business without a license since cosmetology school does not teach that skill. This week Black Floridian barbers are beingraided and jailed by armed and masked agents for precisely that same licensing issue. “Ground zero” strikes again.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Online visit us atBlackAgendaReport.com .

Jared A. Ball can be reached via email at freemixradio@gmail.com.

The Historic Prison Strike in Georgia-Blacked out By Media-Guards committing Violence

We been covering this strike since Day 1… Its Day 6 and we continue.. This time with an insightful interview on Hard Knock Radio w/Bruce Dixon of the Black Agenda Report.. He brings us up to speed by talking about some of the challenges the inmates are facing inlcuding brutality from the prison guards

Here’s the link to the interview..http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/66078

Here’s a link to the Democracy Now interview w/ Elaine Brown

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/12/14/prisoner_advocate_elaine_brown_on_georgia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8sdScqinkg


Former Black Panther Party chair Elaine Brown has been on the case keep[ing everyone up to speed on this historic Prison Strike in GA.. Click HERE to listen to interview

On Thursday morning, December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners refused to work, stopped all other activities and locked down in their cells in a peaceful protest for their human rights. The December 9 Strike became the biggest prisoner protest in the history of the United States. Thousands of men, from Augusta, Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, among others, initiated this strike to press the Georgia Department of Corrections (“DOC”) to stop treating them like animals and slaves and institute programs that address their basic human rights.  They set forth the following demands:  

  • · A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK
  • · EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
  • · DECENT HEALTH CARE
  • · AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS
  • · DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS
  • · NUTRITIONAL MEALS
  • · VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
  • · ACCESS TO FAMILIES
  • · JUST PAROLE DECISIONS

Despite that the prisoners’ protest remained non-violent, the DOC violently attempted to force the men back to work—claiming it was “lawful” to order prisoners to work without pay, in defiance of the 13th Amendment’s abolition of slavery.  In Augusta State Prison, six or seven inmates were brutally ripped from their cells by CERT Team guards and beaten, resulting in broken ribs for several men, one man beaten beyond recognition.  This brutality continues there.  At Telfair, the Tactical Squad trashed all the property in inmate cells.  At Macon State, the Tactical Squad has menaced the men for two days, removing some to the “hole,” and the warden ordered the heat and hot water turned off.  Still, today, men at Macon, Smith, Augusta, Hays and Telfair State Prisons say they are committed to continuing the strike.  Inmate leaders, representing blacks, Hispanics, whites, Muslims, Rastafarians, Christians, have stated the men will stay down until their demands are addressed, one issuing this statement:

“…Brothers, we have accomplished a major step in our struggle…We must continue what we have started…The only way to achieve our goals is to continue with our peaceful sit-down…I ask each and every one of my Brothers in this struggle to continue the fight.  ON MONDAY MORNING, WHEN THE DOORS OPEN, CLOSE THEM.  DO NOT GO TO WORK.  They cannot do anything to us that they haven’t already done at one time or another.  Brothers, DON’T GIVE UP NOW.  Make them come to the table.  Be strong.  DO NOT MAKE MONEY FOR THE STATE THAT THEY IN TURN USE TO KEEP US AS SLAVES….”

When the strike began, prisoner leaders issued the following call: “No more slavery.  Injustice in one place is injustice to all. Inform your family to support our cause.  Lock down for liberty!”

Here’s the link to our recent Hard Knock Radio interview w/ Elaine Brown on this historic strike

http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/65925

Here’s an article written by Bruce Dixon editor of the Black Agenda Report on the strike

GA Inmates Stage One Day Peaceful Prison Strike, Authorities React With Violence

http://www.correntewire.com/ga_inmates_stage_one_day_peaceful_prison_strike_authorities_react_violence

Bruce Dixon

In an action which is unprecedented on several levels, black, brown and white inmates of Georgia’s notorious state prison system are standing together for a historic one day peaceful strike today, during which they are remaining in their cells, refusing work and other assignments and activities. This is a groundbreaking event not only because inmates are standing up for themselves and their own human rughts, but because prisoners are setting an example by reaching across racial boundaries which, in prisons, have historically been used to pit oppressed communities against each other. PRESS RELEASE BELOW THE FOLD
The action is taking place today in at least half a dozen of Georgia’s more than one hundred state prisons, correctional facilities, work camps, county prisons and other correctional facilities. We have unconfirmed reports that authorities at Macon State prison have aggressively responded to the strike by sending tactical squads in to rough up and menace inmates.Outside calls from concerned citizens and news media will tend to stay the hand of prison authorities who may tend to react with reckless and brutal aggression. So calls to the warden’s office of the following Georgia State Prisons expressing concern for the welfare of the prisoners during this and the next few days are welcome.

Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.

Hays State Prison is at (706) 857-0400

Telfair State prison is 229-868-7721

Baldwin State Prison is at (478) 445- 5218

Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900

Smith State Prison is at (912) 654-5000

The Georgia Department of Corrections is at http://www.dcor.state.ga.us and their phone number is 478-992-5246

This is all the news we have for now…

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner


Top Ten Reasons Why Black Leaders Are Ignoring President Obama’s Attack on Social Security

After a decades-long drumbeat led by the Peterson Foundation, corporate media, Wall Street and their minions of both parties, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are under attack. The current raid is being led by nobody less than Barack Obama himself. Only Nixon could go to China, only Clinton could end welfare, and only a black Democrat can undermine Social Security. But where is black leadership? Why are they silent? We think we know…

Top Ten Reasons Why Black Leaders Are Ignoring President Obama’s Good Cop-Bad Cop Attack on Social Security

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

In the full week following the November 10 release of draft proposals by President Obama’s Commission on fiscal Responsibility, also known as the Cat Food Commission, the silence of black leadership has been deafening. Among other things, the president’s commission would cut Social Security benefits and exacerbate unemployment by raising the retirement age, would lower taxes still further for corporations and wealthy individuals, while instituting co-payments for all veterans medical services, all in the name of austerity and stabilizing the national deficit.

The president’s political strategy, as Glen Ford pointed out last month, is clear. Obama’s commission and its draconian cuts will be the bad cop. President Obama will then play the part of “good cop” offering some “compromise,” a point between actual hell, and just a very, very hot and uncomfortable place. When Bill Clinton did this, it was called “triangulation.”

But the burning question is this: Why is there no visible opposition among black leadership to these awful economic measures, measures which penalize every working and poor person in the United States? Since an outsize number of these are African Americans, that ought to make it a black issue. Nevertheless, black advocacy organizations, the black churches, who, to hear them tell it, were the sole authors and inventors of the Freedom Movement, along with virtually all the black politicians, journalists, academics and opinion leaders, are silent. Why?

We think we know. Hence and herewith, we offer the top ten reasons black leaders are silent on Obama’s campaign to cut Medicaid, Medicare and social security.

Reason #10

Quite a few black “leaders” have no idea the Cat Food Commission even exists.

This kind of radical cluelessness says a lot about the content and style of their “leadership.” Let’s just say their eyes are elsewhere. Watching God, maybe, in some cases.  Lots of prominent black preachers, for instance, are busy campaigning against gays and vying for faith-based funding for their ministries. Both these pursuits consume copious amounts of time and energy, and the latter can be quite lucrative

Reason #9

Some black leaders with a vague idea that the Cat Food Commission exists haven’t read its recommendations or just aren’t paying attention.

Like the ones who have no idea at all, these are busy and important people. You can’t expect such folks to spare the time to read a 50 page report, or even talk to anybody that has. There are just so many more important things to do.

Reason #8

Some others are silent because they DO KNOW the Cat Food Commission exists.

Black leadership these days, such as it is, is dependent on corporate and foundation largesse. SCLC’s Atlanta headquarters was paid for by a major utility company. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is run by corporate execs and puts on its annual CBC Week with funds from Wells fargo, Lockheed, Bank of America and Wal-Mart. Telecom, insurance and other corporate execs on the “business roundtables” of everyplace from the NAACP to the National Association of Black State Legislators fund the activities, provide the “research” and literally set the organizational priorities. Even the black church, once financed solely by contributions from the faithful, has become shamefully dependent on faith-based taxpayer dollars. The corporate sector which bankrolls them all has unalterably opposed Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare since their inception. None of these “leaders” will bite the hands that feed them.

Reason #7

Some of what are called “black leadership” actually believe the corporate okie-doke about Social Security already being insolvent, a Ponzi scheme, or immoral.

For a significant share of “black leadership” being a leader means getting your opinions from the Washington Post or CNN or the New York Times. These established “leaders” value being accepted by the folks they regard as their peers, their donors, their party leaders, their professional colleagues, golfing buddies and the people that fly them to conferences and endow their departments. Not foolish enough to bite the hands that feed them, many black leaders regard it as their job to take the cues of the business world and corporate media, rather than to respond to the multiple crises of debt, incarceration, housing and joblessness experienced by the great mass of ordinary black families. Corporate media and their peers say the deficit and “entitlements” are the problem, and plenty of “black leaders” actually buy this crap.

continue reading this over at Black Agenda Report

You can also peep the Hard Knock Radio Interview we did with Bruce Dixon by clicking the link below

http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/65385

Did a Racist Coup in a Northern Louisiana Town Overthrow its Black Mayor and Police Chief?

 Waterproof, Louisiana, and the region around it may be majority Black, but White Power is determined to prevail by any means necessary. White parish officials replaced the town’s African American mayor and arrested the Black police chief for kidnapping when he placed a lawbreaker under arrest. “They are determined to let you know you have a place and if you don’t jump when they say jump you are in trouble.”

As you read this story you can listen to the interview we did yesterday with investigative reporter Jordan Flaherty and Chief Miles Jenkins.. Its unbelieveable that such things are still going on in 2010 Here’s the link our Hard Knock Radio podcast   http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/33537/

Shout out to Black Agenda Report who first ran this piece..

 
Did a Racist Coup in a Northern Louisiana Town Overthrow its Black Mayor and Police Chief?
by Jordan Flaherty
 
“We hope the justice department will look into this and bring some much-needed reform to this part of the world.”
 
In Waterproof, a small northern Louisiana town near Natchez, Mississippi, the African-American mayor and police chief assert that they have been forced from office and arrested as part of an illegal coup carried out by an alliance of white politicians and their followers. In a lawsuit filed last week, Police Chief Miles Jenkins asserts a wide-ranging conspiracy involving the area’s district attorney and parish sheriff, along with several other members of the region’s entrenched political power structure. These events come at a time when the validity of federal power is being questioned because of the race of the US president, and in a state where white political corruption and violence have been and continue to be used as tools to fight Black political power.
 
About 800 people live in Waterproof, a rural community in the south of Tensas Parish. Tensas has just over 6,000 residents, making it both the smallest parish in the state, and the parish with the state’s fastest declining population. The parish’s schools remain mostly segregated, with nearly all the Black students attending public schools, and nearly all the white students attending private schools. With a median household income of $10,250, Waterproof is also one of the poorest communities in the US. The only jobs for Black people in town are in work for white farmers, according to Chief Jenkins. “Unless you go out of town to work,” he says, “you’re going to ride the white man’s tractor. That’s it.”
 
“White political corruption and violence have been and continue to be used as tools to fight Black political power.”
 

Mayor Bobby Higginbotham (pict right)

Bobby Higginbotham was elected mayor of Waterproof in September of 2006. The next year, he appointed Miles Jenkins as chief of police. Jenkins, who served in the US military for 30 years and earned a master’s degree in public administration from Troy University in Alabama, immediately began the work of professionalizing a small town police department that had previously been mostly inactive. “You called the Waterproof police for help before,” says Chief Jenkins, “he would say, wait ‘til tomorrow, it’s too hot to come out today.” He also sought to reform the town’s financial practices, which Chief Jenkins says were in disorder and consumed by debt.

 
Chief Jenkins asserts that a white political infrastructure, led by the Parish Sheriff Ricky Jones and District Attorney James Paxton, were threatened by their actions. This group immediately sought to orchestrate a coup against the two Black men, including clandestine meetings, false arrests, harassment, and even physical violence. Court documents describe how Paxton, Jones, and their allies formed an alliance “designed to harass intimidate, arrest, imprison, prosecute, illegally remove plaintiff from his position of police chief, prevent plaintiff from performing his law duties as police chief and/or force plaintiff to leave the town of Waterproof.”
 
“If you’re educated and intelligent and know your rights and in this parish, you are in trouble.”
 
Ms. Annie Watson, a Black school board member in her 60s who was born and raised in Waterproof, worked as a volunteer for the mayor. She says that the mayor and chief, who had both lived in New Orleans, brought a new attitude that Parish officials didn’t like. “The Mayor and the Chief said you can’t treat people this way, and the Sheriff and DA said you got to know your place. If you’re educated and intelligent and know your rights and in this parish, you are in trouble,” she says. “They are determined to let you know you have a place and if you don’t jump when they say jump you are in trouble.”
 
Ms. Watson explains that Paxton and Jones were threatened by Chief Jenkins’ efforts to professionalize the town’s police force. Aside from representing a challenge to Sheriff Jones’ political power, this also took away a source of his funding. “Before Mayor Higginbotham, all traffic tickets went to St. Joseph,” she says, referring to the Parish seat, where Sheriff Jones is based. “So he cut their income by having a police department.”
 
Jack McMillan, an African American deputy sheriff in Tensas Parish, says he tried to warn Chief Jenkins to back down. “You’ve got to adapt to your environment,” he says. “You can’t come to a small town and do things the same way you might in a big city. Like the song says, you got to know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em.”
 
Tensas Parish
 

District Attorney James Paxton

Tensas and the nearby parishes of Madison and East Carroll all share the sixth judicial district – currently represented by District Attorney James Paxton. Buddy Caldwell, DA for the sixth judicial district from 1979 to 2008, is now Attorney General for the state of Louisiana. The sixth district parishes all have majority Black populations and mostly white elected officials, which Chief Jenkins and Watson attribute to political corruption and disenfranchisement of Black voters. Prior to the registration of 15 voters in 1964, there was not a single Black voter registered in Tensas, despite having more than 7,000 African American residents (and about 4,000 white residents), making it the last Parish in Louisiana to allow African Americans to register.

 
Waterproof is “Reminiscent of the bygone days of southern politics,” with a white power structure maintaining political power over a Black majority, according to veteran civil rights attorney Ron Wilson, who is representing Jenkins in his civil rights lawsuit. “At any and all costs, even jeopardizing the life and freedom of my client, they will ruin him to maintain power. This case is ultimately about whether an African-American can be guaranteed the rights that are assured to him in the Constitution.” According to court papers, this Jim Crow alliance dominates elected power in the area, and “even on the local level, where the office holders tend to be African American, they are powerless to control their own destiny.” According to Chief Jenkins, the District Attorney once boasted that he controlled the votes of Waterproof’s Black Aldermen.
 
“Waterproof is ‘reminiscent of the bygone days of southern politics,” with a white power structure maintaining political power over a Black majority.’”
 

Chief Miles Jenkins

Chief Jenkins says he faced an immediate campaign of harassment from Sheriff Jones. “They just wanted this town to be white-controlled,” explained Chief Jenkins. The police chief described being arrested multiple times under the order of District Attorney Paxton and Sheriff Jones. The charges, says Jenkins, range from charges of theft for a pay raise he received from the town’s board of Aldermen to criminal trespass for going to the home of a citizen who had been stopped for speeding without a valid driver’s license, to disturbing the peace for an incident where individuals threatened the police chief with violence for issuing traffic citations. Ms. Watson says the charges were invented out of thin air. “It was a sad case of lies,” she says, adding that, “The majority of the town of Waterproof supports the chief and supports the mayor.”

 
Chief Jenkins says he was arrested and declared a flight risk by District Attorney Paxton, despite living and owning property in the Parish. “In all my years,” says attorney Ron Wilson, “I’ve never seen a police officer, and certainly not a police chief, charged for something like this.” Chief Jenkins alleges he was attacked and choked by a deputy sheriff, who he says shouted, “Shut up…We are in charge…We are the sheriff and the sheriff controls Tensas Parish. The sooner you all learn this the better off you will be,” an action that Ms. Watson says she also witnessed.
 
“The chief was even charged with kidnapping for one incident in which he arrested the former town clerk for illegal entry.”
 
Chief Jenkins says his police car was shoved in a ditch, and when he arrested the people who had committed the act, the DA refused to press charges. In fact, he says the DA refused almost all charges he presented and released anyone he arrested. The chief was even charged with kidnapping for one incident in which he arrested the former town clerk for illegal entry. “That’s the most ludicrous notion I’ve ever come across,” says Wilson. “That a police chief can be arrested for kidnapping, because he placed someone under arrest who was breaking the law.”
 
A grand jury has returned indictments of Chief Jenkins and Mayor Higginbotham, and Higginbotham’s trial is scheduled to begin this Monday. The mayor faces 44 charges, including multiple counts of malfeasance in office and felony theft. The charges appear to be based on the results of a state audit of Waterproof that found irregularities in the town’s record keeping going back to before the election of Higginbotham – irregularities that the mayor and police chief say they had repaired.
 
Patterns of Violence
 

Mayor Gerald Washington was killed shortly after being elected

Mayor Higginbotham was elected at the same time as two other Black mayors of small Louisiana towns, both of whom also received threats based on race. In December of 2006, shortly after Higginbotham was elected mayor of Waterproof, Gerald Washington was shot and killed three days before he was to become the first Black mayor of the small southwest Louisiana town of Westlake. An official investigation called his death a suicide, but family members call it an assassination. Less than two weeks after that, shots were fired into the house of Earnest Lampkins, the first Black mayor of the northwest Louisiana town of Greenwood. Lampkins reported that he continued to receive threats throughout his term, including a “for sale” sign that someone planted outside his house.

 
Waterproof was Klan country from the Reconstruction era until well into the 20th century, and violence frequently broke out in the area. Seven Black men in Madison Parish were lynched over a period of three days in 1894 for the charge of “insurrection,” apparently because one man refused to follow an order from a sheriff. “The Klan was very active here,” says Ms. Watson, recalling her childhood in the 50s and 60s. “We had crosses burned on people’s lawns. The school principal had a cross burned on his lawn. A man named Sun Turner was shot and killed on the streets by the Klan.” Waterproof is an hour south of Tallulah, the site of a notoriously abusive youth prison, and a little more than hour east of Jena, where accusations of systemic racism brought 40,000 people from around the country, including many civil rights leaders, to a 2007 march. Like Jena, Waterproof is also home to a prison that contracts to hold federal immigration prisoners.
 
“Gerald Washington was shot and killed three days before he was to become the first Black mayor of the small southwest Louisiana town of Westlake.”
 

Sheriff Rickey Jones

When asked for comment on Chief Jenkins’ lawsuit, Tensas Parish Sheriff Ricky Jones denied that race was a factor, claiming that Jenkins had abused his office and that many of the local citizens who filed complaints against him were Black. “I’m not going to support any type of corruption,” said Jones. “Certainly not from him.” District Attorney Paxton, also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, disputed all accusations from Jenkins, suggesting that he had tried to help Jenkins when he was first elected. “A lot of this will become clear when the case against Mayor Higginbotham goes to trial on Monday,” he added.

 
Flood Caldwell, one of the town’s aldermen, is currently serving as the town’s mayor. Jenkins points to Caldwell’s appointment as further evidence of a coup, saying that the town aldermen, under the direction of DA Paxton, illegally voted to remove Mayor Higginbotham. “No one recognizes Caldwell as mayor except the DA and his friends,” says Chief Jenkins. The office of the Louisiana Secretary of State confirms that they still have Higginbotham listed as mayor, adding that they cannot comment further because of pending litigation.
 
Wilson says this case is ultimately about the repression of Black political and civil rights. “I think this has been going on in Tensas for a while,” he says. “I think they’ve gone too far in this case, and someone finally has come along and says they won’t go along.” Wilson hopes this lawsuit will bring federal attention. “We hope the justice department will look into this and bring some much-needed reform to this part of the world,” he says.
 
Chief Jenkins says he took the Sheriff’s job to serve the community, “You’ve given this country the best years of your life and you get treated like an unwanted stepchild,” he says. “I didn’t realize there was so much politics to just doing your job.”
 
Ms. Watson believes that this is a struggle for self-determination and basic civil rights. “I was born in 1948,” she says. “Ever since I was born, Blacks never had a say in this parish, until Chief Jenkins and Mayor Higginbotham. They spoke up, and tried to change things. That’s why the parish is going after them.”
 
Jacques Morial of the Louisiana Justice Institute contributed to this story.
Jordan Flaherty is a journalist, an editor of Left Turn Magazine, and a staffer with the Louisiana Justice Institute. He was the first writer to bring the story of the Jena Six to a national audience and audiences around the world have seen the television reports he’s produced for Al-Jazeera, TeleSur, Press-TV, GritTV, and Democracy Now, as well as his appearances on Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Headline News, and several other programs. His post-Katrina reporting for ColorLines shared an award from New America Media for best Katrina-related reporting in ethnic press. Haymarket Press will release his new book, FLOODLINES: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six, in 2010. He can be reached at neworleans@leftturn.org.
 

Did Obama Inc. Threaten Dennis Kucinich & Make Him Fold on Healthcare?

Kucinich had been given an offer that he felt he could not refuse.The Obama administration has finished the job it started in January, 2009: crush the progressive wing of the Democratic Party to clear the way for corporate governance. Rep. Dennis Kucinich‘s was the last Left opposition to Obama’s toxic health care legislation. “Once Obama’s private insurers’ bailout bill is in place, it will be almost impossible to dismantle in the foreseeable future.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Click link below to hear Commentary

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/29339/

“There is nothing for a true progressive to do in Obama’s Democratic Party.”

The last Left Democrat in the U.S. Congress has folded his hand, crushed by Wall Street’s servant in the White House, Barack Obama.

Until Wednesday morning, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich was the only opposition from the Left still holding out against Obama’s private insurance subsidy bill – a massive redistribution of wealth to Wall Street masquerading as health care reform. The bill was long ago stripped of any fig leaf of a “public option,” and now awaits passage in its pure form – the formal establishment of a private health care system in which the people are forced to finance the profits of some of the biggest players in the Wall Street casino, the insurance corporations. Far from a step forward towards a society in which health care is every person’s right, the Obama bill is a huge step backward in the opposite the direction from which the entire industrialized world has been traveling. Obama’s so-called reform is in fact, a defeat of the dream of universal health care.

Obama used every trick at his disposal to place that dream out of reach. He pulled a shameless bait and switch on health care, talking the language of universality while conniving to transfer trillions of public dollars to the private insurance industry. Once Obama’s private insurers’ bailout bill is in place, it will be almost impossible to dismantle in the foreseeable future.A trillion dollars buys lots of loyalty. And to make certain that nobody ever gets to cancel the corporate bailout, the Obama regime would prevent states from setting up their own universal health care programs.

“Kucinich was adamant that he had not changed his assessment of the president’s health care proposals.”

Obama knew that, if he were to have any chance to pass a private health insurance subsidy bill, he would first have to bludgeon the Left into submission. In the course of a little over a year, he has accomplished that mission.

To drive Kucinich back to the corporate Democratic reservation, the White House let loose the yapping dogs of the Daily Kos and MoveOn, who threatened to back an opposition candidate to Kucinich in his home district. President Obama personally browbeat Kucinich four times in the last several weeks, the last time on Monday night. According to the London Daily Telegraph, Obama threatened to refuse to campaign for any Democratic congressperson that doesn’t back his health bill – an invitation to the fat cats to fund challengers to Kucinich in November.

In a Wednesday morning press conference announcing his surrender to the White House, Kucinich was adamant that he had not changed his assessment of the president’s health care proposals. “I do not think it is a first step toward anything I have supported in the past,” he said. “This is not the bill I wanted to support.” But Kucinich had been given an offer that he felt he could not refuse.It was, said the congressman, “a defining moment.”

And it was a defining moment for those who believe there is anything politically worthwhile that can be accomplished within the structures of the Democratic Party, now firmly controlled by its corporate wing. There is nothing for a true progressive to do in Obama’s Democratic Party, but shut up, and roll over. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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Barack Obama or Cynthia McKinney Who Reps Us Best in the Middle East?

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Former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has just returned from an Israeli jail where she was briefly imprisoned, along with human rights activists from several nations, for her second attempt at publicly running the brutal US-Israeli blockade trying to bring coloring books, food and medical supplies.  Why are the US and Israel imposing this collective punishment upon 1.5 million civilians.  How does McKinney’s stand match up against that of our first black president, the most powerful man in the world who calls it a “humantarian crisis” but will do nothing about it?  And how do they both stack up against the legacy of Dr. King?

Barack Obama or Cynthia McKinney – Who Represents Black America Toward Palestine and Israel?

By BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/barack-obama-or-cynthia-mckinney-who-represents-black-america-toward-palestine-israel-and-mi

Both Obama and McKinney have traveled to the region more than once in the last several months.”

It’s almost an unfair question.  Barack Obama’s many apologists have explained their lips off telling us how he could not run and cannot govern as president of Black Americans, or the president of Americans neck-deep in consumer debt, or the president of Americans who want an everybody in-nobody out health care system.  To get elected and to govern, they wisely assure us, Barack Obama has chosen to be and must be the “president of everybody,” if by everybody you mean private health insurers, Wall Street banksters, Pentagon contractors and greedy chambers of commerce everywhere.  The president is a grown man, and he gets to make those choices.

So do the rest of us, and on questions pertaining to the Middle East, a Euro-centric place name if ever there was one, every public opinion survey that bothers to differentiate white from black US opinion indicates that African Americans are, in the main, far more sympathetic to the cause of Palestinians than either their white neighbors or their first black president. Barack Obama then, is operating well outside the black consensus on Palestine and Israel, while former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney swims confidently in the mainstream of black opinion and the prophetic tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Both Obama and McKinney have traveled to the region more than once in the last several months. The president gave a speech in Cairo sternly advising Palestinians to give up violence in pursuit of justice, while seeming to ignore the grossly disproportionate violence, official and unofficial, of the Israeli settler state against them. Obama acknowledged what he called a humanitarian crisis in Gaza without facing his own and the American role in creating that crisis, let alone advancing any measures that would ameliorate it.

““My suitcase,” McKinney told BAR, “was full of crayons. Somebody in authority should explain why crayons and coloring books for Palestinian children are a threat…”

What President Obama calls Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is actually a medieval siege, in which Israel, with the full diplomatic and military backing of the US, its principal armorer and banker, has sealed 1.5 million people off from the outside world. For more than two years practically no Palestinians have been permitted to enter Gaza, either from the Israeli-occupied West Bank or elsewhere. Electricity has been cut to a few hours per day and water to a fraction of needed quantities while the Israeli armed forces prohibit Palestinians from purchasing or receiving parts to build, repair or expand capacity. Hundreds of ordinary items needed to carry on civilized life are also banned, including cement, soap, toothpaste, foodstuffs, medical supplies, books, paper clothing and crayons.

In December 2008, and June 2009 Cynthia McKinney, traveled to Cyprus and in the company of human rights activists from many countries attempted to sail to Gaza with a cargo of cement, coloring books, building, medical and humanitarian supplies in order to illustrate the inhumanity and absurdity of the blockade. Both times, the boats were intercepted by the Israeli navy, their GPS units destroyed, and the craft boarded. This time, twenty-one persons including the Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire were arrested and imprisoned for several days before being deported.

My suitcase,” McKinney told BAR, “was full of crayons. Somebody in authority should explain why crayons and coloring books for Palestinian children are a threat. Somebody should tear down this wall.” McKinney took pains to point out that the blockade, as well as the murderous assault that occurred in December, were carried on with arms and fuel supplied by the US, and with its full diplomatic backing. The blockade of Gaza is causing widespread malnutrition among Palestinians, including children, and is doubtless costing lives daily. “All of us need to ask,” McKinney said, “why our government, through the Israelis, is pursuing this barbaric policy toward the Palestinians, and we must demand that it end right now.”

Why are Israel and the US, with the help of Egypt, imposing this brutal siege upon Gaza?

McKinney also brought with her insights on the racial composition of Israeli prisons. She said she met women in the Israeli prison from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Coite D’Ivoire and other African countries. She observed that a huge number of prisoners, aside from Palestinians, were black Africans and Asians. Where Israel formerly depended upon Arab labor to do many of its everyday tasks, since the beginning of its policy of siege it has recruited large amounts of foreigh labor from non-Muslim parts of Africa and Asia to do all the jobs on the low end of the pay and social status scales. Foreigners, of course, have few if any rights in Israel, and can find themselves locked up for extended periods for the most minor of status offenses.

Why are Israel and the US, with the help of Egypt, imposing this brutal siege upon Gaza? After the death of Yasir Arafat in 2006, Palestinians held elections, closely supervised by observers from many nations, and certified by them to be free and fair. But the Palestinians had the poor judgment to elect a political party — Hamas — not favored by Israel and the US. Cutting off their trade and travel, what remained of their opportunity to seek work in Israel or visit their Palestinian relatives in the West Bank, only a few miles distant, curtailing their electricity, water, building, medical and other supplies was, according to US and Israeli policymakers, supposed to make them come to their senses. It hasn’t worked. Outside pressure has, if anything, made the Palestinians of Gaza stick tighter together, and rally round the government that the US and Israel so disapprove of. It was the Bush policy for nearly two years, and now it has been the Obama policy for all of six months.

While Obama was the president-in-waiting, conducting daily news conferences on his plan for the economy, denouncing the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, and browbeating members of his own party in congress into voting trillions of public dollars for Wall Street, Israel launched a full-scale military attack against Gaza, throwing hundreds of thousands of rounds of artillery, including cluster munitions and white phosphorus along with strikes from helicopters and jet aircraft, killing more than a thousand civilians. Barack Obama declined to comment publicly, noting that his inauguration was still a few days distant, and that the US had “only one president at a time.” In a similar legalistic vein, during Obama’s Cairo speech he pointedly said that the US did not recognize the legitimacy of “continuing Israeli settlements.” But the Israeli government has, with US government funding been planting armed colonies of Israelis on strategic hilltops and ridges throughout the Palestinian West Bank for more than twenty years now, connecting them with a network of roads which Palestinians are forbidden to travel upon or even to cross under pain of arrest. Obama said nothing about these and other longstanding outrages.

Next to Arab Americans, blacks are probably the nation’s most skeptical group about the fundamental justice of an Israeli settler state”

Almost a year ago, when Barack Obama received the Democratic nomination, the air was thick with

comparisons and connections between his career and that of Dr. Martin Luther King a generation earlier. In the heady moments of Obama’s historic nomination and inauguration it was easy for many to confuse and conflate one with the other. But the air is clearer now. The president’s selective moralizing on violence and nonviolence, his legalistic evasions of responsibility, his lawyerly distancing from the consequences of his own actions and inactions are more the stuff of Boss Daley than they are the prophetic witness to injustice of Dr. King. Six months into the Obama presidency, the man whose career many saw as the culmination of the work of the apostle of nonviolence has killed more than 700 Afghans, many of them civilians, with airborne robot drones.

Next to Arab Americans, blacks are probably the nation’s most skeptical group about the fundamental justice of an Israeli settler state which imparts rights of residence, citizenship, and more on the basis of Jewish identity, while denying these rights to people whose ancestors have lived there for thousands of years. To African Americans who bother to educate themselves at all on the matter, Israel’s identity-pass system, its Jewish-only roads, its separate license plates that allow Israeli Arabs and other non-jews to be profiled at a distance, the ongoing settlement policy cited by President Obama, and the raw, unpunished racist violence of Israeli settlers toward Palestinians have all the hallmarks of a modern, twenty-first century apartheid state. Thanks to Cynthia McKinney and others, more of us are becoming educated on the real nature of the Israeli state, and the consequences of American support of it. We expect to see that work continue, and be taken up by an ever wider section of African American churches, student and civic organizations who believe, as did Dr. King that a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

We said at the beginning that the comparison was almost unfair. Almost. It’s really not unfair at all. Neither Barack Obama nor Cynthia McKinney are being forced or compelled to make the choices they do. They are both grown, well educated, sober, sensible parents and US citizens. But between President Obama and former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, it’s easy to see who is following in the prophetic footsteps of Dr. King, and increasingly, who is Black America’s real representative to Palestinians, Israelis, and the Middle East.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at BAR and based in Atlanta GA. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com

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