Saturday, August 14, 2021

Adam Lambert knocked me out, blew me away, with this performance

 I am so late to this but maybe you missed it too?

I thought Adam Lambert gave an amazing performance.

It was on YOUTUBE, I was listening to music and doing other things on another screen.  That song came on and I was like, "Oh, Cher's doing 'Believe' as a ballad."  I thought it would be interesting and then his voice comes on . . .

I didn't know he could sing that amazing.

I was really blown away.

Great job, Adam.  Wish I'd seen this in real time (2019)


This is C.I.'s ''Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, August 13, 2021.  Criticism is aired at Joe Biden -- for not supporting Medicare For All? no, for not creating a UBI? no, for not doing away with student loan debt? no --  for attempting to ease the US out of the corruption quagmire aka Afghanistan, and much more.

What a fool believes, right?  Mike Jason writes at THE ALTANTIC:

Watching the rapid deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan—the Taliban have captured a third of the country’s provincial capitals in the weeks since the U.S. military pulled its troops out—has evoked a feeling of déjà vu for me.
In 2005, I was an adviser to an Iraqi infantry battalion conducting counterinsurgency operations in and around Baghdad, one of the most violent parts of Iraq during one of the most violent periods in that conflict. It was difficult to have any hope at the time. I returned to Iraq in 2009, this time in Mosul, where my unit advised and supported two Iraqi-army divisions, one Iraqi-federal-police division, and thousands of local police officers. This time, I sensed more progress: Leaving Iraq in 2010, I felt we had done a great job, turning a corner and building a capable and competent security force. A year later, I found myself in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, recruiting and training Afghan police units and commandos. After nine months there, I again rotated home thinking we had done some good.

I would be proved wrong on both counts. In 2014, by then stationed at the Pentagon, I watched in dismay as the Iraqi divisions I’d helped train collapsed in a matter of days when faced with the Islamic State. Today, as the Taliban seizes terrain across Afghanistan, including in what was my area of operations, I cannot help but stop and reflect on my role. What did my colleagues and I get wrong? Plenty.

From the very beginning, nearly two decades ago, the American military’s effort to advise and mentor Iraqi and Afghan forces was treated like a pickup game—informal, ad hoc, and absent of strategy. We patched together small teams of soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen, taught them some basic survival skills, and gave them an hour-long lesson in the local language before placing them with foreign units. We described them variously as MiTTs, BiTTs, SPTTs, AfPak Hands, OMLT, PRTs, VSO, AAB, SFAB, IAG, MNSTC-I, SFAATs—each new term a chapter in a book without a plot.

Let's all sing it with Aretha.

Indeed.  Trying hard to recreate what had never been created.  

Mike Todd's nonsense goes to why military experience has little to do with anything other than military experience.  Years and years in the military and he wants to tell you that the problem in Afghanistan or Iraq -- the repeated problems -- has to do with flawas in training.  And he tries to pull in sports metaphors because, well, when you're offering tired observations -- inaccurate at that -- you dress them up however you can.

The answer was never training.  

The US spent a ton of time training in Iraq and almost as much in Afghanistan.

Training was never the issue.

In 2014, in Iraq, the Iraqi security forces did not crumble because of lack of training.  In 2008, in Iraq, the military did not see mass desertions during the attack on Basra due to lack of training.

The issue has always been that there was no buy-in.

Why risk your life for a government that does not represent you?

In both Iraq and Afghanistan, the US government repeatedly undermined real democratic efforts when they sprung up.  They installed leaders who were compliant to the US but who were corrupt and despots or tyrants.  They did this over and over.

Some idiots thought the Sunnis, in Iraq, would rise up against ISIS.  And these idiots usually then turned the lack of an uprising into 'The Sunnis support ISIS!'

No, the Sunnis were a disenfranchised group who saw massive failure in the government the regularly persecuted them.  The fight between ISIS and the Iraqi government wasn't a fight that interested them because neither side had their best interests ar heart.

Corrupt governments fall -- eventually, they fall.  

And it doens't matter how often or how well you've trained their security forces.

If Mike Jason can't grasp that basic reality -- and it appears that he cannot -- then he really has nothing much to offer other than a progress review of what we all already knew.  

Let's look at two Tweets.  First, from STREAM HOUSE:

High-level #corruption has impeded foreign investment in Iraq, much to the detriment of ordinary citizens and businesses. However, we think donor countries are as much to blame as the country's corrupt political system.

The ongoing exodus from Iraq by foreign oil companies can be attributed to several reasons including: -Iraq's inhospitable investment environment -Rampant corruption -Government mismanagement -Delayed payments Read here:

So corruption is enough to drive out foreign investment as well as send Big Oil packing?  But it has no effects on the citizens of the country?

Why is that?

Is that because we're so full of ourselves that we assume the citizens of a country -- a foreign country -- are just stupid and anything can be done without them noticing?

The stupid ones wouldn't appear to me to be the Iraqi people or the citizens of Afhganistan.  The fools, however, would include people who wrongly thought the US military was a nation building body -- especially foolish for those who served in it to believe that.  A standing military exists to battle, to carry out war.  How do you confuse that with nation building?

Somewhere along the way, it appears a lot of people never bothered to learn their vocabulary lists and, as a result, struggle with words today.

The ignorance grows and spreads check out POLITICO and "Biden on Afghanistan: Not my problem" by Nahal Toosi, Paul McLeary and Alexander Ward.

As the Taliban blitz across Afghanistan and U.S. officials scramble to assess just how quickly the government in Kabul could fall, President Joe Biden is recalibrating his message to Americans.

Where he once insisted that two decades of U.S. backing had left Afghan forces capable of defending themselves, Biden and his aides have shifted to a more cold-blooded mantra: If they can’t, that’s not our problem.

As POLITOC tut-tuts throughout, they refuse to grasp that Joe Biden is right.

Joe's right and showing more maturity than many would have guessed he was capable of.

Since the Afghanistan War started in 2001, there have been three more presidents -- Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.  That's not how wars are supposed to go, no.  

And, if, after all these years, nothing is accomplished, that's your answer.  

I have no idea whether Joe's decision will be a popular one a year from now.  But it was a mature decision.  The lack of progress has been evident for over a decade.  Someone had to be the grown up in the room.  Glad Joe stepped up.

If the topic of corruption is new to you, that's really on you.  In terms of Afghanistan, Sarah Chayes has been writing about it and speaking about it forever.  The video below is from 2016.

Human rights abuses, classically defined, are gory: nighttime disappearances, a corpse lodged in the weeds by the side of a canal, scars from electrical burns blotching bruised skin or bodies swinging above city streets from the crossbeams of cranes. The horror of such crimes is easy to decry. But what about government crime that may be less gruesome though possibly even more consequential? Acute, systemic corruption is such an offense. And that is exactly what the United States, in the name of democracy, has enabled over the past 13 years in Afghanistan.

To the east of the Afghan city of Kandahar, where I lived for most of the past decade, is a long bridge over the Tarnak River. A decomposing carcass of dangerously exposed sinews, shattered by war and neglect, that bridge was an obvious reconstruction project for the Afghan government to take on. But within weeks of each repair, new holes would spring open; drivers had to pick their way around them, or abandon the bridge altogether and hazard the rocky riverbed below. Then repairs would begin anew. Meanwhile, the contractors on the job, linked to the provincial governor, flaunted sudden wealth.

A scan of recent reports by the U.S. government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reveals dozens more cases out of the $63 billion the United States has spent on reconstruction there since 2002: an unfinished courthouse in the province of Parwan, millions of dollars in unaccountable fuel purchases by the Afghan National Security Forces, poorly constructed schools.

I once asked a weathered old man who cultivated grapes and a few pomegranate trees on the parched plain west of Kandahar what corruption meant. He answered: “When the governor of the district keeps all the reconstruction money for himself and his cronies and surrounds himself with armed thugs so no one can approach him to lodge a complaint, that’s corruption.” For him, it was no abstraction: When U.S. troops arrived in the man’s village during the 2009 surge, they blew up the thick-walled building his father had fashioned to dry grapes into prized raisins, lest Taliban militants shelter there. Afghan national army troops, under nominal U.S. supervision, stripped the building of its precious wooden beams and carried them off, presumably to sell.

This wasn’t an example of the system failing; it was an example of the system—sustained and secured by the United States—at work. Over the past decade, corruption in Afghanistan has crystallized into a business of structured networks, with subordinates paying a part of the take up the line, in return for protection from repercussions. Impunity has become the rule. President Hamid Karzai and other top Afghan officials have spent considerable energy guaranteeing it, releasing suspects from preventive detention, shutting down investigations or, in one case, even apparently facilitating the flight to England of a former minister under a travel ban. According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, Afghans were forced to pay nearly $4 billion in bribes in 2012. But that can only be a fraction of the overall cost of corruption in the country.

We could do this all day.  Sarah's been writing about Afghanistan since the start of the war.  

I'm not seeing any of her isnight in Mike Jason's article.  Is he really unaware of it?  Is he that isolated and out of touch and unable to leave his comfort zone?



Not that long ago, the man who murdered (or is suspected of murdering -- I don't believe the trial has taken place yet) -- a government advisor was arrested.  The advisor had been murdered a year prior.  The advisor was a personal friend of sitting Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kahdimi.  The western press tried to promote that as a triumph and answer to the Iraqi people.

As I noted here, no.

No, that was not the reaction on Iraqi social media.  The reaction was that if you were a friend of Mustafa's and if you worked for the government then the otherwise non-responsive government would go after your killer.  

If you were an Iraqi activist?  Nothing of the sort happens.

We bring that up because ARAB WEEKLY's noting the assassination of a mayor earlier this week and, golly, gee, the reaction among the Iraqi people is, yet again, not one of jubiliation:

The gunning down in the street of a municipal official in the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala sparked anger Wednesday over the government’s failure to halt a wave of assassinations.

Abir Salim, the director of municipal services in the city which houses the mausoleums of two of Shia Islam’s most revered figures, was shot dead as he was carrying out his duties on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s office said.

He was on foot supervising a survey of unauthorised construction in Karbala when his killer pulled out a gun and shot him at close range.

Security camera footage posted on social media showed an attacker, dressed in a traditional white robe, open fire in the street and Salim fall to the ground.

The suspected killer was arrested shortly afterwards.

“Murderers and criminals will not escape punishment,” the prime minister promised as he visited Karbala on Wednesday to offer his condolences to Salim’s family.

His office released photographs of him berating the suspected killer, who had been blindfolded by his police captors, during a visit to the crime scene.

The images did little to assuage public anger at the apparent impunity for politically linked crimes that has seen more than 70 activists targeted for assassination since October 2019.

“The weakness of the security forces goes hand in hand with the intimidation of society by the tribes, religion and the political parties,” one Twitter user complained.

Another demanded that Kadhimi show the same energy in tracking down the killers of pro-reform activists.

There have been no claims of responsibility for the wave of killings.

But supporters of anti-government protests that broke out in 2019 charge that the culprits are known to the security forces but allowed to go free because of political connections, particularly with Iraq’s powerful neighbour Iran.dsd

The spot where Ehab al-Wazni was gunned down is just out of reach of the security cameras that project onto a TV screen in the corner of his family’s living room. His mother Samira casts a nervous glance at the screen whenever the sound of an engine echoes down the narrow alleyway that leads to their house in the Iraqi city of Karbala.

“Why did you kill him? What did he do to you? Did he hurt you? He did nothing wrong,” she bursts out during an interview with The Daily Beast, after looking at her son’s portrait arranged next to the TV.

Wazni was on his way home in the early hours of May 9 when two men on a motorbike pulled up next to his car. CCTV footage shows one man unloading a silenced pistol into the white sedan, shooting its driver three times in the head and twice in the chest. The men speed off into the night, leaving their victim slumped in his seat.

One of Iraq’s most prominent political activists, Wazni knew he was living in the shadow of death.

“Do you know what is going on? You know that they kidnap and kill, or you live in another country,” he had mockingly asked Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in a Facebook post in February this year.

The prime minister had promised to investigate a wave of killings that has swept the country. The victims are often young, politically active Iraqis, and Wazni’s death is one of countless that have gone unpunished.

The failure to rein in the killers is jarring to many citizens who believe the government knows who the culprits are. Powerful Iraqi militias, unshackled from state control, have been linked to the murder of hundreds during mass protests that engulfed Iraq in October 2019. Seeing their position under threat in upcoming elections, they are now suspected of picking off protest leaders, one by one.

Only a few make the headlines. Dr. Riham Yacoub, a human rights activist and protester, was shot in Basra last August. A few months later, the Baghdad activist Salah al-Iraqi was gunned down. Even family members are not off-limits. Ali Karim, the son of women’s rights advocate Fatima al-Bahadly, was kidnapped on July 23. His body was found a day later.

When hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets to protest rampant government corruption, high unemployment, and Tehran’s influence in Iraqi politics, 45-year-old Wazni quickly emerged as a leading figure. He pitched a tent in front of the governor’s building in Karbala, firing up the crowd with impassioned speeches. His acerbic social media posts ruffled the feathers of government officials and gave impetus to young Iraqis hooked on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“We protested to put an end to corruption, to establish rule of law, and not live in a country where the militias rule,” says his brother, Ali. He and his mother decided to speak to The Daily Beast despite receiving frequent anonymous threats warning them to remain silent over Wazni’s killing.

By the way, protests continue in Iraq.   And protesters remain targeted.  Ruba Ali al-Hassani Tweets:

Live fire against protestors in Nasiriyah, #Iraq.
Quote Tweet
ScalesFlag of Iraq محمد الكندي
حكومة القناصة و الكواتم المقدسة . #الناصرية_تقمع

In the US, YOUTUBE is now censoring Senator Rand Paul.  Jonathan Turley writes:

YouTube has continued to enforce and expand its censorship of opposing views on its site — enforcing what it considers to be the truth on various issues. The latest subject is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has been suspended from the site for expressing his opposition to Covid mandates. One does not have to agree with Paul on his view of Covid or mandates to see the danger of such corporate control over public discourse in the United States. However, politicians (including President Joe Biden) are calling for even greater censorship to silence those with opposing views on such subjects.

Rand posted a video on Sunday in which he lashed out at the calls for mandates and the “petty tyrants and bureaucrats” supporting them, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden. He called for people to stand up against these efforts:

“It’s time for us to resist. They can’t arrest all of us. They can’t keep all of your kids home from school. … We don’t have to accept the mandates, lockdowns and harmful policies of the petty tyrants and bureaucrats. We can simply say no. Not again.

Nancy Pelosi, you will not arrest, or stop me or anyone on my staff from doing our jobs. We have either had Covid, had the vaccine, or been offered the vaccine. We will make our own health choices. We will not show you a passport. We will not wear a mask. We will not be forced into random screenings so you can continue your drunk with power reign over the Capitol.

“President Biden, we will not accept your agencies’ mandates or your reported moves towards a lockdown.”

YouTube took down the video leading Paul to post a response to the censorship.  That response was also reportedly taken down but can be viewed on Rumble.

Sen. Paul has been criticized for this and other statements on Covid but many agree with him. This is part of our political debate. People have a free speech right to oppose the mandates and question the science cited by the government. In this case, a corporation is preventing a major political figure from being able to use its platform to engage others on this subject. It is picking and choosing who can speak and what they can say. It has a right to do so as a private company but it is wrong to do so. It is a denial of free speech and we need to address the corporate control over political speech in the United States.

This issue is huge with many aspects to it.  I oppose censorship and I oppose censoring Paul.  f support all the points Jonathan Turley makes.  There's another point though -- there are many other points -- that doesn't get made by him that I feel needs to be made.

A sitting senator is being censored?  We do understand, don't we, that a member of Congress can stand on the floor of Congress and read into the official record anything that they want -- even state secrets.  But YOUTUBE thinks it has the right to censor Rand Paul?

This is wrong and it has huge implications.  It has to do with who gets to raise issues and who doesn't and who gets access and who doesn't. It has implications on coverage at election time.  Most of all, when a politician speaks that is political speech.

YOUTUBE and the other Tech Monsters -- as Elaine rightly calls them -- want to argue what is political speech.  Political speech is Constitutionally protected speech.  And we can debate many things and quibble over it but when we're talking about the words out of sitting US senator's mouth about a public policy, that's political speech.  There's nothing to quibble over. 

YOUTUBE is censoring political speech and has been for some time.  I don't subscribe to that.  I don't applaud it.  It needs to be called out.

Glenn Greenwald Tweets:

I'm incredibly excited we've created a new video platform at . Along with , , , , and others, I'm there because, like Substack, it's dedicated not to an ideology or party but to free speech and free discourse.

I'm getting a message that the HTML code for Glenn's video is not working so I've tried to do a work around on my own -- my HTML days are really long ago and self-taught -- if that doesn't work and the video doesn't show up, click here to stream it.

I do not support censorship.  

The following sites updated:

Thursday, August 12, 2021

#GreenSocialist Notes #34


That is Howie Hawkins' latest broadcast.

Howie was the Green Party's presidential nominee in 2020.  Every week, he does a broadcast to keep Green issues in the conversation.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Thursday, August 12, 2021.  The US government continues to persecute Julian Assange for exposing their lies in Iraq and elsewhere.

Starting with Julian Assange.  

Monday April 5, 2010, WIKILEAKS released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two REUTERS journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh.  Prior to the release, the US government had repeatedly lied about the incident.  It was an embarrassment and the US government has wanted revenge ever since.  

Julian remains held in a UK prison for no valid legal reason.  And the US government continues its efforts to get Julian handed over to them.  A new development took place yesterday.  Richard Medhurst reports on it in the clip below . . .

. . . as does Kevin Gosztola in the video below.

Whistleblower Ed Snowden Tweets:

Papers writing on Assange should mention the core of the US's extradition case—a frail and deeply suspect "hacking" claim—collapsed in June when the US's prime witness recanted his testimony ( What remains are only "unlawful journalism" charges.

Sarah Abdallah Tweets:

“Nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been a result of media lies.” Free Julian Assange
3:42 PM · Aug 11, 2021

In the FORBES video below, AP's Matthew Lee asks State Dept spokesperson Ned Price about Julian Assange.

Here's the exchange from the official State Dept press briefing transcript:

QUESTION: Thanks. Just before we get to what I’m sure will be Afghanistan, I just want to – on the administration’s commitment to democracy, human rights, which I think includes freedom of the press and your support for that, I just wanted to ask you really quickly about the situation with Julian Assange in London, the court hearing that was held today. And if you’re only going to refer to the Justice Department, then I don’t need to hear a long explanation of that, but I just – what I want to know is from the State Department’s point of view, because it was State Department equities that were among the first that were compromised, quote/unquote – I mean, you have an interest in – the State Department has an interest in this case. So I’m just wondering if it is still the position of the State Department that Assange is not a journalist and that he is – he should be tried for theft of what are – what you would essentially say are state secrets.

MR PRICE: Matt, by referring to the Department of Justice, as we always do in cases like this, it doesn’t indicate —

QUESTION: Yeah, no, no, I’m just asking —

MR PRICE: It doesn’t indicate we don’t have an interest. It indicates that we have a respect for the separation of institutions and the independence of Department of Justice.

QUESTION: Your – the position of this administration since it came in talking about how important the freedom of press is, has – that hasn’t impacted the department’s position on this case. Is that correct?

MR PRICE: This is a matter before the Department of Justice. It’s a matter the Department of Justice is pursuing.

QUESTION: It’s not a matter before the Department of Justice. It’s a matter before the British court. But I just want to know if your position, the State Department’s position, that you represent to the Department of Justice who then represents you has changed at all.

MR. PRICE: Matt, the Department of Justice is pursuing this. I will leave it to them to pursue and to characterize the United States Government’s position on this.

QUESTION: Okay, so the State Department’s position hasn’t changed, correct?

MR. PRICE: Matt, the Department of Justice is speaking for the United States —

QUESTION: Oh, my god.

MR. PRICE: — in a law enforcement matter.

QUESTION: Why can’t you give straight answers? Yes or no, has it changed or not over the course of the last eight years?

MR. PRICE: The Department of Justice in this matter —

QUESTION: I am fully aware, Ned.

MR. PRICE: Matt, you don’t need to be combative, okay? You don’t need to be combative.


MR. PRICE: I know you like to get worked up, but please, this is —

QUESTION: I’m not trying to get worked up. I just want a straight answer. Did —

MR. PRICE: It’s a simple matter that’s before the Department of Justice.

QUESTION: Fine. All right. So in terms of your grand promotion of democracy, human rights, which are going to be at the center of U.S. foreign policy, as we will see no doubt in December when the President hosts his summit of – for democracy, how does that relate exactly to Afghanistan and your promotion of human rights and democracy when you have a situation where the country is rapidly coming under control of a group that has shown no respect for democracy and human rights ever?

MR. PRICE: I’m sorry, the question was —

QUESTION: How do you reconcile this? How do you – how does the administration expect to be taken seriously in terms of promoting human rights and democracy as being at the center of U.S. foreign policy if it is prepared to allow Afghanistan to deteriorate into a situation where a group that has shown – that you yourself just days ago have accused of committing atrocities – if you’re prepared to allow that to happen.

MR. PRICE: I would reject every single premise of that question. The United States —

QUESTION: Really? Because most of what I just said is actual – is factual.

Staying with the topic of truth tellers, BLACK AGENDA REPORT is currently celebrating the life and work of the late Glen Ford.:

I think more than enough time has passed for me to note that, as usual, White lefties ignored the non-White.  It happens over and over.  In "TV: Xenophobia and racism alive and thriving thanks to PBS and Norman Lear," Ava and I noted 

Last week, the great truth teller Glen Ford died.  It was a huge loss, the entire Thursday "Iraq snapshot" was devoted to Glen Ford because he mattered so much.  And, honestly, also because if he were a White person -- say a so-so White woman playwright -- he'd get tons of attention from the press the way that hack did when she died at the same time as Coretta Scott King and THE NEW YORK TIMES chose to run multiple pieces on the so-so playwright while refusing every submission on the passing of Coretta for their op-ed pages and also relegating Coretta's death to one -- and only one -- report.  Or, for that matter, the non-stop saturation YOUTUBE coverage of the death of Michael Brooks.

Hate to break it to those who seal themselves off in White America, but we didn't know who Michael Brooks was until after he died and, when the news first started popping up, for about a week, we thought they were saying radio personality Michael Baisden had passed away.  We honestly don't consider that lack of awareness of Brooks to be a liability.  We do know who Glen Ford was.  

Of the two, we'd argue Glen Ford mattered much more.  But he's African-American and so, to 'liberal' America -- a largely White and self-contained bubble -- he's not really known at all and, if he is, well his death isn't as important as yacker Michael Brooks. 


You can see that with a simple YOUTUBE search.  Hundreds of videos when JACOBIN's Michael Brooks dies.  Handful -- a small handful -- when Glen Ford passes.

That was written the week after he died.  It's now been another week.  Hate to break it to the bulk of White Left but one Tweet or one headline is not really sufficient.  And if you think all of America won't notice it when you're next so-so White person dies and you treat it as though JFK has just been assassinated, you are wrong.  

You are the reasons that walls exist. Donald Trump didn't build those walls, you did, while railing against Trump and pretending you were so much better than him.  Sorry, but you're honestly not.  

Glen had a body of work, a lifetime of work, and you didn't judge the work or the person worthy of truly noting.  Your reaction did send a message.  And it made the wall between you and others all the higher.  

Margaret Kimberley notes at BLACK AGENDA REPORT:

Ford was among the few journalists who took a stance for Black liberation and against imperialism.

I had the honor of working with the late Glen Ford for nearly 20 years. His passing has created a huge void not just for Black Agenda Report (BAR), the site we co-founded with the late Bruce Dixon, but for all of Black politics and left media. Ford identified his political and journalistic stance with both, having created the tagline: “News, commentary and analysis from the black left” for BAR. He was the consummate journalist, a man who demanded rigorous analysis of himself and others, and he lived by the dictum of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. Ford co-founded a publication in line with his core values: He did not suffer fools gladly, succumb to corporate media and government narratives, or feel obligated to change his politics in order to elevate the Black face in a high place.

Ford spoke of learning this lesson the hard way. He told a story of regret, his ethical dilemma , when he gave one such Black person, Barack Obama, a pass in 2003. At that time, Ford, Dixon and I were all working at Black Commentator Obama had announced his candidacy for the United States Senate and he was listed as a member of the Democratic Leadership Council (DCL), the right-leaning, corporate wing of the Democratic Party. Obama had also removed an antiwar statement from his website.

Ford and Dixon posed what they called “bright line questions” to Obama on issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, single-payer health care and Iraq. His fuzzy answers should have flunked him, but Ford chose not to be seen as “a crab in a barrel,” one who pulled another of the group down. Obama was given an opportunity to comment in Black Commentator and Ford wrote, “[Black Commentator] is relieved, pleased, and looking forward to Obama’s success in the Democratic senatorial primary and Illinois general election.”

As he witnessed Obama’s actions on the campaign trail and eventually in office, Ford never again felt obligated to depart from his political stances or to defend a member of the group whose politics were not in keeping with the views of the Black left.

From that moment on, Glen Ford did not let up on Obama, just as he did not waver from his staunch opposition to neoliberalism and U.S. imperialism. Black Agenda Report became the go-to site for all leftists. BAR’s critique of Obama when he led the destruction of Libya was no less stinging than critiques of George W. Bush when the U.S. invaded Iraq. Ford declared that Obama and the Democrats were not the “lesser evil” that millions of people hoped for. Instead, they were just the more effective evil, and they were always in BAR’s journalistic sights.

Ford was always an uncompromising defender of Black people and never shrank from explaining the mechanisms which place that group at or near the bottom of all positive metrics and at or near the top of all the negative. He was one of the first to amplify the term “mass incarceration” in his unsparing analysis of the United States and its dubious distinction as the nation with more people behind bars than any other: more than 2 million, with half of those being Black, a cohort which makes up one-quarter of all the incarcerated in the world. Black Agenda Report can be counted on to give this information consistently and with no punches pulled.

Glen Ford was a committed socialist, a Vietnam-era military veteran and a member of the Black Panther Party. He spent part of his childhood and youth in Columbus, Georgia, in the days of apartheid in the United States. Those life experiences shaped his work and left a legacy that anyone who considers themselves a leftist ought to follow.

He worked in the media throughout his adult life and served as a Capitol Hill, White House and State Department correspondent for the Mutual Black Network. In 1977, he co-founded “America’s Black Forum,” which was the first nationally syndicated Black-oriented program on commercial television.

That's just an excerpt.  The excerpt alone argues for something more than a Tweet or, Amy Goodman, a headline.  I hope everyone remembers the net time Amy's devoting a whole show to some movie start who passed away or some other person that when it came to Glen Ford, a headline was just enough for Amy.

Where's today's Howard Zinn?  Someone needs to find her or him because we truly need A PEOPLE'S OBITUARY as much as we need A PEOPLE'S HISTORRY.  Glen's life mattered, his actions mattered and yet we refuse to honor the person or the work when we resort to silence.  

I guess it's really easy for a lot of White liberals to type "#BLACKLIVESMATTER" but it's harder to actually do the work required to make that hashtag come alive.

In her column, Ann Garrison notes:

Knowing Glen, I regretted that I hadn’t managed to come up with a few good jokes in that farewell message, but I wasn’t up to it and didn’t know how much time I had, so I just did what I could. His readers no doubt knew what a wicked sense of irony he had but probably don’t know that he could even turn it to his own illness.

I called once when he was struggling and asked how he was doing, which seemed like an inane question by that time, but he responded, “I CAN’T BREATHE,” echoing the words of George Floyd and so many others with comic irony.

Glen suffered from kidney failure several years before developing lung cancer and had to begin a dialysis regime three days a week. Once we exchanged a few messages when he was on his way to a VA Hospital somewhere in Pennsylvania to be evaluated for a possible kidney transplant. On the way back he joked that due to his age—near 70 then— they couldn’t place him high on the waiting list and wouldn’t waste the best kidney available on him even if his number came up.

I told him that I’d never signed the release to donate my kidneys or any other organs because I’d subjected my body to so many toxins that my organs couldn’t be of much use to anyone. He said that had always been his excuse as well.

Once I sent him a piece about the latest violent incidents in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park, a wildlife reserve and jungle habitat in the heart of war-torn eastern Congo, and its valiant park rangers, many of whom have died defending it. Then I asked him which of several photos he’d like to use and he said, “I like the sister ranger. Took me back to what I used to get up to in my army days.” (The sister ranger was cute as hell in a beret and a perky ponytail.) We wound up using a pic of some brother park rangers with the mountain gorillas that the park is famous for, but I sent more pics later and said, “Here are some more of those sister rangers, since you like them so much.”

In 2018, he wrote a more serious account of his time in the U.S. Army and how his unit, the 82nd Airborne, was transformed by the Newark, New Jersey, race rebellion of 1967, a year before MLK was assassinated and they were deployed to Washington, DC:

An 18 year-old paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, I had been on field exercises with my unit the week before, providing security for the commanding general’s headquarters. Under a big tent, company commanders and their executive officers spent that Wednesday, April 3, pouring over maps of Washington, DC, in the event we had to occupy the city. When King was killed on the evening of the next day, the division hastily packed its gear and moved back to barracks to prepare for deployment to burning cities. The general, however, somehow forgot to restrict all 12,000 of us to base. Some of us took advantage of the oversight, and went home for the weekend.

“When I and hundreds of other paratroopers straggled back to Fort Bragg early Monday morning, April 8, the rest of my unit was sitting on an airfield near Baltimore, as the brass tried to decide whether we should be deployed in that city or nearby Washington. Both were burning, along with over 100 other cities. We wound up in the nation’s capital.

“The year before, Newark, New Jersey, had been occupied by nearly lily-white units of the National Guard, sent there to quell a four-day rebellion in which 26 Blacks were killed. The Guardsmen behaved like an Army of White Vengeance, joining the racist cops in savaging Black people and shooting up businesses displaying “Black-owned” and “Soul Brother” signs on the Springfield Avenue thoroughfare. However, the 82nd Airborne Division was a different social organism, entirely; our ranks were 60 percent Black, and we had been transformed. All of us (at least in my company) were aware of what had happened in Newark. As far as the Black troops were concerned, our division had only one mission in Washington, DC: to make sure the white soldiers -- especially the mostly white military police -- did no harm to the Black population. And they did not dare. Not one Black citizen of Washington was hurt by a soldier of the 82nd Airborne division -- or, to my knowledge, even verbally abused -- during the occupation.

“Our officers took note, and were clearly disturbed by our protective postures. The same Black ghetto army that was rebelling in Vietnam, was showing that it would not be a party to abuse of Black people at home. It was the beginning of the end of the draft.”

It took me awhile to find that piece, MLK: A Snapshot in Time, dated April 5, 2018, in the Black Agenda Report archives, but I finally did after trying the search term “82nd Airborne.” I forget a lot of names, phone numbers and the like that I should retain, so my memory of that obscure detail speaks to how deeply the piece affected me. And to how much more accessible we need to make the BAR archives.

Shortly after Glen’s death, I told Margaret Kimberley, Ajamu Baraka, Raymond Nat Turner, and Danny Haiphong that people were no doubt reading and searching for their favorites in Glen’s BAR archives, as I just did, but that the archives are not as searchable as they should be. While Glen struggled with illness during the last few years of his life, he got the weekly edition of BAR out week after week, even that week before his death, but couldn’t find time or energy for projects like this, so we will. If anyone reading this has technical skills they might lend, please write to me at because I take particular interest in improving the Black Agenda Report’s accessibility and visibility on the Web.

For many years, Nellie Bailey was Glen's co-host on the weekly BLACK AGENDA RADIO and she writes:

Marxist Glen Ford never wavered from his core belief of self-determination for oppressed nations and the struggles of working people around the world dehumanized by U.S. imperialism, a geopolitical  paradigm for  global domination. Its ruthless and terrifying destruction of Iraq shocked the civilized world. On the domestic front, deindustrialization and corporate trade agreements plunged the middle and working class into an austerity abyss.  This political quagmire demanded a capitalist reset to shore up a collapsing empire in fear of a restless populace weary of wars that cost billions of dollars and countless deaths. Enter into this foray the $1 billion presidential campaign that mesmerized Black folks of every political stripe. Ironically, it was the Obama campaign that led me to reach out to Glen  in 2007.  

I held the unpopular position that Obama was the brown face of U.S. imperialism.  The popularly held notion that Obama gave Black people a wink and a nod belied the reality of the racist U.S. empire.  Glen agreed to participate in a community forum entitled: “Is Obama Good for Black People”, a debate between Glen and Amiri Baraka, an outspoken supporter of Obama. An enthusiastic and overwhelmingly young audience cheered Glen. That was the beginning of my 13-year membership with the BAR family.

Few are aware of Glen’s support  for our anti-gentrification resistance campaign against predatory capital that decimated Black and Brown neighborhoods. He met with the tenant president of a seven-building complex that housed over 1,700 units of rent regulated housing.  Glen stood with us against Columbia University's $6 billion expansion that displaced hundreds of low income families. In 2012, he protested with us against Obama's self-serving appearance at the Apollo theater.


I'm especially appalled that the national Green Party has issued no statement.  Few outlets gave that party a fair shake.  BLACK AGENDA REPORT covered the Greens.  Ajamu Baraka was the Green Party's 2020 vice presidential nominee.  At BLACK AGENDA REPORT, he writes:

It's easy to run with the herd, especially when it can bring possible career advancements and even significant monetary gain. That is why, for so many, making decisions to find a way into the mix, to play the game in order to advance one’s individual objectives, does not present any internal moral debate. It is just common sense.

But for the oppressed and their radical intellectuals and activists, accommodationism is not an option without surrendering one’s soul. Glen Ford and many of our generation refused to do that.

Glen made the decision to devote himself to being a truth teller on the side of the people back in the 1970s, at a historic moment when it was very easy to be an opportunist. Co-optation, an aspect of the state’s counter-revolutionary response to the new forms of Black radicalism that emerged in the 1960s, was an important element in the state’s repertoire. That along with, of course, systemic repression.

But Glen made a conscious decision to take, as Kwame Nkrumah framed it, a “revolutionary path.” That path is always more difficult, for not many take it. As a result, the path is quite narrow, no more than a trail through the forest of normalized reaction projected to the masses as supposed “common sense.” When one takes that path, very few accolades nor real economic stability, retirement funds or clear paths forward are available.

It might end with one laying in a hospital bed for two weeks, while furiously pounding out two issues of Black Agenda Report, suspecting they may be the last few you will have a hand in shaping and passing quietly on the morning the next issue was due to come out.

When I spoke with Glen a few weeks ago, before he entered the hospital, I intended to talk him into relinquishing some of his responsibilities with BAR, so he could concentrate on trying to extend his stay on this planet and with us. Yet, in the course of our comical banter about morality and the meaning of our lives—a discussion that can only happen when you know you are rapidly approaching the end of your journey—I never raised the issue of stepping back a little because Glen made it quite clear how he wanted to depart this earth. “Ajamu, I am going out struggling.” For him, BAR was his most significant contribution to the “struggle.” Even though he was not healthy, Glen was proud of the work the BAR team had developed and he was satisfied it was continuing.

Danny Haiphong shares:

Reading and listening to Glen Ford’s analysis of the Obama administration placed a bright spotlight on a historical moment of intense darkness. At present, there are still too few others who have been able to coherently place the Obama era in its proper context of the U.S.’s ongoing counterinsurgency warfare against Black liberation and self-determination. While much of the American left equated the rise of Obama with “progress,” Glen Ford repeatedly warned us that the Obama administration rendered U.S. imperialism and white supremacy a more effective, and therefore more dangerous, evil.

That’s what revolutionaries do. They warn us through careful explanation and analysis of how oppressive systems work. They prepare us to make history through revolution; to replace the old decrepit order with a new one. But revolutionaries do not just champion any social order. Glen Ford was quite clear that any social transformation of the United States must satisfy the needs of humanity, especially the most terrorized and exploited among us. Socialism and self-determination were not antithetical principles but rather interconnected aims wholly consistent with the struggle for Black liberation.  

Glen Ford’s work convinced me in rapid fashion of the necessity of Black revolutionary leadership in the long struggle to build a socialist project in the United States. His grasp of theory and history was matched by few others. His talent behind the microphone and written word brought his analysis to life. From 2011 to 2013, I followed Black Agenda Report regularly and held it to the sky as a necessary source for anyone claiming interest in “social justice.” Glen Ford’s work on the U.S. war against the African country of Libya, an invasion led by the first Black President of the United States, laid the foundations for my own anti-imperialist approach to both activism and journalism.

In 2013, I took a leap and submitted my first article to Glen Ford analyzing Barack Obama’s presidency as a corporate brand. My writing was raw. I was schooled poorly in grammar and had only begun reading regularly over the last year. Clarity was not yet a strength that I possessed. Not to worry. Glen’s brief responses to my submissions over the next several months provided a basic education into concise analytical writing, and I owe much of my development as both a writer and political analyst to him.

From 2014 to 2016, I met Glen Ford in the flesh only in brief encounters at The Left Forum. In 2017, I moved to New York City. Glen and I would eventually convene at Molly Wee’s in Manhattan on a periodic basis and speak for hours about the political situation in the U.S. and abroad. Glen Ford was a communist who shared his experiences in the Black Panther Party and the Communist Party without hesitation to trusted comrades. He loved to tell a good story.

But it wasn’t just for the fun of it. Glen had expectations. He didn’t need to say it bluntly for me to know that he hoped his stories would be incorporated in my own work in service of the people. Everything with Glen was for the people. This didn’t mean he didn’t enjoy a good time, however. A good time for Glen Ford was defined both by the company he kept and his passion for analyzing the world and those struggling for power within it. A drink didn’t hurt, either.

Those are just five of the pieces currently up.  Glen Ford spoke out in a needed voice over and over.  He was also able to talk about something other than the momentary incident, he linked it up so that you saw the connections in what others were presenting as an isolated incident.  

Of all the people the internet has helped popularize, few gave us much insight as Glen did.  He is greatly missed because he mattered and so did his work.  It's a real shame that someone who gave so much and meant so much is thought, by too many White liberals, to be worth nothing more than a Tweet.  I believe that judgment reflects more about their own lives than it does about Glen Ford's.

New content at THIRD:

The following sites updated: