A Black Blogger’s Take on Obama’s Ambivalence toward the Real Problems in the Black Community

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

During last year’s primary season I discovered The Black Agenda Report which bills itself as “The Journal of African American Political Thought and Action.”  Glen Ford, the site’s executive editor, did NOT support Obama during the primaries and expressed his fear that Obama would actually set efforts to address real concerns in the black community back.

Ford and a group of writers continue to write compelling essays about the Obama Administration and his perspective is valuable as being an expression of how some blacks who are not Obots view what’s going on.

The most recent post deals with TBAR’s disappointment about Obama’s “ambivalence” over the effect of the current economic situation on black Americans.

Obama Preserves Entrenched Power, Sidesteps Racial Disparities

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Obama deploys the same twisted logic as generations of white, corporate politicians.”

In his own clichéd words, President Obama reveals himself to be, at best, ambivalent on the need to confront historical and current racial disparities in the United States. Behind the awesome hype and intellectual façade lies your garden variety corporate-bought politician whose worldview is no deeper than the shallowest catchphrase in long-discredited American economic discourse: a rising tide lifts all boats.

Ford takes Obama to task for stating that more “welfare” will meet the real needs of blacks.  Ford argues that real programs addressing such things as “institutionlized racism” and structural unemployment are needed, not just more “assistance.”  I’ve bolded a few key comments in the excerpt.

No Pretense of a Racial Policy

So confident is Obama that his personal Blackness is all that is required to offset horrific realities such as New York City’s nearly 50 percent Black male non-participation in the formal job market – statistics from 2003 that have certainly worsened in the current crisis – he offers not a single programmatic response. Obama is quick to point out that his plan is “is designed to help all people” – another way of saying there’s nothing in it to address the specific problems of people of color.

Obama claims there is no need for specific programs.”

He deploys the same twisted logic as generations of white, corporate politicians, who pointed to Black overrepresentation on welfare rolls as proof of the government’s deep concern for African Americans. In fact, concentrated levels of public assistance, food stamps and unemployment checks are elements of the misery index that, especially when dramatically skewed by race, cry out for specific programs and policies of remediation. Obama claims there is no need for specific programs because “folks who are most vulnerable are most likely to be helped because they need the most help.” Thus, he turns logic and language on their heads. The deeper Blacks sink into the abyss, the more they are eligible for general assistance – therefore, the Obama plan already contains everything African Americans need as a group, and will be of more use to them than to more advantaged groups. According to this line of reasoning, the worse things get, the more responsive the Obama plan is. There’s no need to deal directly with the underlying causes of disproportionate misery, such as institutional racism.

Presidential Denial

Obama is not even willing to fully acknowledge that Blacks and Browns have actually suffered disproportionately in the meltdown. In three successive sentences, he three times uses the word “probably” to describe what are solid facts. African Americans have not “probably” lost a disproportionate amount of jobs – Obama’s own Labor Department figures show that to be the case, on top of previously existing, horrendous rates of structural unemployment.

African American children are not “probably” over-represented among those lacking health insurance. They are, in fact, disproportionately uninsured. Obama belatedly corrects himself on this point, but his reflexive reluctance to give voice to the glaring racial disparities that are fundamental markers of American life, is deeply disturbing.

I love Ford’s opening description: “So confident is Obama that  his personal blackness is all that is required….” There are legitimate underlying problems that still need to be addressed and that the election of a black to the Presidency can’t cover up…especially a person like Barack Obama, who has no core values whatsoever and whose allegiances are all about drawing more power to himself.

But Ford and many of us already knew this during last year’s election season.  The “post-racial” candidate who spent most of the primaries playing the race card to win black votes has predictably been shafting this bloc by ignoring very real problems.  Instead, the Obama regime will offer more housing loans to folks who can’t afford them and trot out his “blackness” when re-election time comes around. In the meantime, very real issues concerning the black community will be brushed aside as usual.

And, of course, the same technique is being used with the poor in general and the middle class, as their  futures are thrown out the window to save the big banking friends of the Obama Administration.  There seem to be plenty of “programs” for bailing out banks (like TARP)  and taking over industries and “reforming” healthcare…Meanwhile,  the little guy will sink.

A writer in an earlier piece (about Guantanamo) asks the question “… Is Bush Still President?”

Seems appropriate since the “change” promised doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight…

The Past Week: December 7-13, Recaps and Random Thoughts (Blago in the Can and ON the Can; Obama License Plates in IL?; Reality-Based Black Commentary; Canada & the Auto Bailout; Live Blog of The History Channel on “Crash: The Next Great Depression?”– No Surprise, A Waste of Time; Ignored Science) (Updated 1X)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We haven’t really discussed the Blago case on this blog over the past week, but we have to chime in with a couple of bits about this case and other Obama-related insanity.  Both these nuggets come from our Chicago Correspondent Leslie.

First, CC Leslie gives us this bit from WBBM 780 in Chicago:

blago-on-toilet

Obama Senate Seat Listed On eBay

Posted: Wednesday, 10 December 2008 8:28AM

(WBBM/STNG) – Governor Blagojevich was unsuccessful at trying to sell the vacant Illinois Senate seat, federal prosecutors say.

But that hasn’t stopped other people from trying to seal the deal.

There are at least a dozen tongue-in-cheek offerings of President-elect Barack Obama’s senate seat on eBay.

The items up for bidding range from a replica of the state seal to photoshopped pictures of Governor Rod Blagojevich.

One of the created images shows him sitting on a toilet with graffiti on the wall around him. It’s a direct quote from the criminal complaint by federal prosecutors, reading “This seat will go to the highest (bleeping) bidder.”

(MORE)

A couple of days earlier, CC Leslie posted this comment at IA:

Leslie, on December 8th, 2008 at 2:47 PM Said: Edit Comment

This is sooo OT I hope you don’t all throw your hands up and bar me from commenting any more ………..

Today, on Radio News Chicago, the most recent crass report is that the State of Illinois (”Land of Lincoln”) is considering creating a license plate with “Land of Obama” or some such oddity because “there is such a HUGE demand” for those plates. And they will raise MILLIONS of $$ for the state !!

I guess with all the “Change” anticipated, we will have to change the way we identify ourselves here in the Obama-nation !

If I don’t buy one of those plates, will that make me racist? or a terrorist?

There are no more words.

Here’s the link to the Chicago SunTimes report:
I can’t stand much more of this…I feel a migraine coming on.
My suggestion to Leslie is to get out of Chicago if she values her health!!
***
Meanwhile, in the reality-based black community, Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford unloads a MASSIVE barrage of whoop-ass I-told-you-so” that shouldn’t be missed:

Obama’s ‘Center-Right’ Presidency: The Die is Cast

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“Black folks desperately needed the Obama of their imaginings.”

We already know enough. There is no more mystery as to what makes Barack Obama tick. He is your garden variety “center-right” American politician, as rated by no less an authority than the New York Times – the folks who practically invented the standards by which one is located in the corporate political spectrum.

There are lots of political appointments to go before Obama’s roster is complete, but the heavy lifting is done. The ideological pillars of America’s first Black presidency have been planted wholly within the parameters of governance allowed by big capital and the imperial military. Obama’s “transition” is more accurately seen as a “continuity” of rule by the lords of finance capital and their protective screen of warriors and spies. The Obama regime, still incomplete, already wreaks of filthy rich thieves and gore-covered war criminals.

Obama’s “national security” and economic lineup is an infinity of ugliness, more repulsive than I could have imagined back in the summer of 2003, when Obama’s rise to glory was about to begin. The supremely talented actor/state senator’s capacity for obfuscation; his refusal to take a firm position on any subject of real controversy; his transparently false denials of fealty to the corporate Democratic Leadership Council, which had publicly claimed him – all this should have marked Obama as bad news for Black America. But his was a fatally attractive package, like the shiny little cluster bomblets that kids pick up in places like Afghanistan.

“The ideological pillars of America’s first Black presidency have been planted wholly within the parameters of governance by finance capital and the imperial military.”

My colleagues and I were most fearful of the effect Obama’s corporate-rigged explosion onto the national scene would have on the Black polity – both the masses and leadership circles. Obama’s phony progressivism didn’t fool us for a second – although we yearned as much as other African Americans for the appearance of a Great Black Hope. Obama wasn’t “The One,” no matter what Oprah said. Rather, he became a menace to Black folks’ collective mental health.

We knew that a mass hallucinatory phenomenon was about to occur, that would loosen many Black folks’ grips on reality no matter how often and loudly we warned that Barack Obama was a cynical corporate striver who encouraged whites to believe that his election would mark the end of Black politics as we have known it. (Take breath, here.) He was the anti-Jesse, the anti-Sharpton, a fraudulent peace candidate, an eager servant of the rich. We diligently provided evidence of Obama’s true political nature, and at every juncture before and during the primaries we were proven correct in our analysis. But no matter. African Americans’ pent up hunger to see a (pretty) Black face in the highest place, would not be denied. They desperately needed the Obama of their imaginings, and would draw and quarter anyone that questioned the senator’s sainthood.

Were Black folks “losing their damn minds,” as comedian David Alan Grier puts it on Comedy Central’s Chocolate News?

Yes, they were.

(MORE)

OUCH!
***
Even though the auto bailout package appears dead for now, the Canadian government apparently thinks something is going to be done “soon” and is also involved, trying to pre-emptively protect its own auto jobs. Stay tuned…

Federal government, Ontario agree on $3.3B auto bailout package

Deficit now ‘likely,’ finance minister acknowledges

Last Updated: Friday, December 12, 2008 | 9:31 PM ET

The federal government and Ontario have reached a deal to offer proportional funds to Canada’s auto industry if a proposed $14-billion US aid package is approved in Washington, Industry Minister Tony Clement said Friday.

Speaking to reporters in Toronto, Clement said the proposed aid to Canada’s ailing auto sector would amount to approximately 20 per cent of the U.S. proposal, or about $3.3 billion Cdn.

The U.S. bailout appeared to have died late Thursday night after hours of heated negotiations between lawmakers, representatives from automakers and unions. But lawmakers said they still hope an agreement on the Democratic- and White House-backed plan could be reached.

The Canadian subsidiaries of the Detroit Big Three automakers had asked Ottawa and Ontario for financial aid that could total as much as $6 billion.

Clement said the deal was contingent on GM, Ford and Chrysler working together with parts suppliers and unions for a long-term solution for their industry, as well as the American proposal going forward.

“Governments can decide to help, but these decisions will only be made in the best interests of the taxpayer,” Clement told reporters.

The minister also said the Canadian government expects U.S. President George W. Bush to announce something “very soon.”

“What we’re signalling here tonight, both the governments of Ontario and the government of Canada, is that we want to be part of the solution as well, and it will be commensurate with the production that takes place here in Canada,” Clement said.

The pre-emptive move by Ottawa and Ontario will make it harder for U.S. lawmakers to strike a deal that protects American jobs at the expense of Canadian ones, said veteran auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers.

(MORE)

***

After sitting through Greta’s hour on Blago-gate (which was a limited rundown, with very little dot-connecting), I decided to see how the History Channel covered the current financial crisis.

Live-blogging the History Channel …Saturday night 12/13

As  I put together this roundup, I’ve got one eye on the History Channel’s special, “Crash: The Next Great Depression?” which is contrasting the present financial crisis with the 1929 stock-market crash and the Great Depression which followed. The program has traced the ripple of the bad credit/loans and the boom and the bust.  Sort of.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have come and gone with nothing about Raines and the skulduggery there.  So far, I’ve heard Ronald Reagan on getting rid of regulation; how starting in 2000 Phil Gramm pushed for deregulation;  how Bill Clinton how kept Alan Greenspan on and urged the loosening of regulations; and how George Bush espoused the importance of home ownership. Then, onto about how people wanted a “change” after the 1929 crash just like now and how FDR along with the new Democratic majority in 1933 took action by announcing  the “New Deal”  and creating a “flurry” of new programs.  It’s now showing Barack Obama’s December 7 press conference unveiling a lot of “flashy” names and pushing for lots of stimulus.  In juxtaposition, Jerry Stiller is talking about how the  “whole country was lifted, happy days were here again” because of  the New Deal.  YES, Jerry Stiller.  The experts are talking about the first 100 days and the restructuring of the banks which included inspection of the banks and the creation of the FDIC.  And, yes, Henry Paulson is doing the same thing (??).  Now we see the Depression work programs and how Obama is proposing similar projects.  An expert talks about how government will be the driving force from now on. But we then hear how the New Deal didn’t solve the problem, that it was the war that brought the economy back to life and pre-crash levels.  There’s the hope that we won’t have a world war to solve the current predicament. Guess what the next ad is?–the Capital One credit card, after all the talk about the irresponsible credit spending of consumer at the start of the program.

Andy Serwer, Editor of Fortune Magazine* and one of the often-quoted experts, opines that we learned a lot from the 1930’s and how important it is to pump money into the system. Banks, auto industry bailouts in the face of accelerating  job loses, no lending, pressure on non-bank auto loans, credit cards…But, we can’t go back to the highly-regulated system created in the 30’s by FDR — we have to make the current system “better.”   Last word, it’s bad but won’t turn into the next Great Depression, even though all the scary music sure makes it seem that way.  I guess FAITH will overcome…

So, that’s it.  Great job..NOT!  NOT ONE WORD about the politics behind the bad loans, the lack oversight and the Democrats’ culpability. What there seemed to be was a not-s0-subtle link created between FDR and Obama.  There’s also the message from one of the “experts” that government is going to take over the driving force of job creation and the economy.  We even get the “change” message. We see a smiling Obama…the image of all that “happy days are here again” stuff…

There you have it. The incomplete and subtly biased by omission, “in-depth reporting” from the History Channel.  Just enough to make an unsuspecting viewer think he or she is getting the full story, while all it is is a rehash of the spin being shipped out on a daily basis by the media. Served up nice and clean.  All neat and tidy for the arrival of Barack Obama.  It’s all gonna be OK, even though one guy who actually runs a plumbing supply place seems to think there will be a greater challenge in 2009 as current orders drop and promised government contracts are on hold or just drying up..  But the expert says not to worry, government will take over.

Frankly, I’m sticking with the plumbing supply guy.  (What is it about plumbers this year??)

(*Fortune Magazine: Part of Time, Inc, which in turn is part of Time Warner, which also controls AOL, HBO, Time Warner Cable, Turner Broadcasting System, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Time Warner Investments, and Time Warner Global Media Group.  Feeling better now???)

***

Earlier this week we discussed the “healthcare reform” push started by the Obama Transition Team (see post listed below). We’re wondering how the concerns raised by the folks at The American Association for Health Freedom will be addressed under an Obama healthcare team headed by a lobbyist (Tom Daschle) and in light of  the “positive response” by Ted Kennedy to the insurance industry writing up their own proposals, just the way Big Pharma wrote the Medicare Part D legislation.

What Happened to the Promise to Save This Nation Billions in Healthcare Costs?

One of the biggest clinical trials ever organized by our federal government indicated that generic medication for high blood pressure in use since the 1950s worked better than the newer drugs costing more than twenty times more. Yet Dr. Curt Fuberg, the chair of the $130 million ALLHAT trial, resigned in frustration in August 2004, citing the lack of effort put into diseeminating “the ALLHAT message.”

A similar situation has existed since the 1997 publication of the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) research study at Harvard. DASH emphasized a diet rich in potassium-containing foods such as fruits and vegetables, and more physical activity; these approaches, they found, could lower blood pressure in up to 90% of hypertensive patients without medication. Yet this too has fallen on deaf ears.

(SNIP)

The money spent on the direct-to-consumer drug ads that dominate the American media is dwarfed by the $21 billion dollars spent annually to sway doctors prescribing habits. Dr. Jerome Kassirer, professor of medicine at both Yale and Tufts and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, describes conventional physicians as paid prostitutes for drug manufacturers.

It has progressed to the point that the standard treatment offered by international physicians after a patient suffers a heart attack—high doses of fish oil—is ignored or even rejected in the U.S. Here, prescriptions and procedures dominate cardiac care, and heart blockage is viewed as a plumbing or structural abnormality. Yet science has proven that patients do not live longer or better when heart disease is addressed by surgically opening or bypassing closed arteries.

As Arizona psychiatrist Ed Gogek wrote in the Buffalo News, the new Surgeon General should back alternative medicine. Dr. Gogek indicates that the public is far ahead of medical experts and politicians on alternative medicine. Isn’t it time they caught up?

A related article at the site is also worth a look; see The Science of Prevention.

***

UPDATE:

CNN is owned by AOLTimeWarner… For more info on media incest, visit the Columbia Journalism Review. According to an archived article there, The History Channel is owned by The Walt Disney Company, GE, and Hearst.  Figures!!!! So that’s where the fairy tales come from…

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Finally, a busy week in the garden harvesting loads of mustard and collards. Today, I did the final cleanup of all the pots I used to grow peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes on the patio. This involved taking off the bark mulch and bagging it, putting the dead plants into the composter, bagging up the potting soil to use in the spring, washing out all the pots and lugging them all into the garage. I use only clay pots from Italy to grown vegetables in and they do last a lot longer if they’re protected from the winter extremes. I also cleaned out the glazed pots I use for flowers.  It was a big job that I kept putting off, but with milder temperatures today, it was now or never.

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