4/10/8 REAL 'HOMELAND' HEROES

Remembering Paul Robeson, (1898-1976)
a Jazz & Justice Tribute by Dr. Jared Ball
Paul Robeson was the son of an escaped slave, who became an all-American athlete, and one of the first three black graduates of Columbia University Law School. After discovering that he would only be allowed to research the cases white lawyers presented, he began a career as an actor on stage and movies, a singer, and political activist. Robeson wrote and spoke more than a dozen languages fluently, and sang in ten more. While earning six and seven figures a year in the Depression as an artist, he began openly raising money for political causes, and by the late 1940s he was a full time fighter for the rights of black and all oppressed people. Robeson was severely punished for his activism, but remained defiant and unrepentant to the end of his days.
Read more... http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&...
Dr. Jared Ball, professor of Communications at Morgan State University also hosts Jazz and Justice every Monday on WPFW Radio in Washington DC. Black Agenda Report is happy to make available here the audio of his Jazz and Justice tribute to Paul Robeson, a stunning example of what we at BAR call "the Other Black Radio", broadcast on .March 31, 2008. To listen to the Jazz & Justice tribute to Paul Robeson via streaming flash player, click the players below.

First hour:
Second hour:
To download a copy for your own MP3 player or for other use,
click here for part one (about an hour)
click here for part two (about an hour)
You can find much more Jazz & Justice, and other important work by Dr. Jared Ball at www.voxunion.com
Dr. Jared Ball can be contacted at freemixradio(at)gmail.com

FREE MUMIA!
Digest note: Capitalist state terrorism fears those who dare expose and resist its systemic crimes against humanity.
[see below: ***Katrina and its aftermath, witnessed by the whole world, is testament to this and to the ongoing genocide against the Black nation in this country built on Black slavery.]
The March 27 verdict of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, proves again there is no justice under the capitalist system. By turning down a new trial and reaffirming its murderous frame-up of Black revolutionary leader Mumia Abu Jamal, while allowing his removal for now from death-row after 25 years, the state hopes to defuse the unwavering, growing international support for Mumia, the political protests exposing not only Mumia's innocence but the entire fascist white supremacist injustice system and its barbaric death penalty. La luta continua:

The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal: An Innocent Man on Death Row
http://www.freemumia.com/who.html

Who is Mumia Abu-Jamal?
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a renowned journalist from Philadelphia who has been in prison since 1981 and on death row since 1983 for allegedly shooting Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. He is known as the “Voice of the Voiceless” for his award- winning reporting on police brutality and other social and racial epidemics that plague communities of color in Philadelphia and throughout the world. Mumia has received international support over the years in his efforts to overturn his unjust conviction.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was serving as the President of the Association of Black Journalists at the time of his arrest. He was a founding member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Black Panther Party as a teenager. Years later he began reporting professionally on radio stations such as NPR, and was the news director of Philadelphia station WHAT. Much of his journalism called attention to the blatant injustice and brutality he watched happen on a daily basis to MOVE, a revolutionary organization that works to protect all forms of life--human, animal, plant--and the Earth as a whole.

The Scene
In 1981, Mumia worked as a cab driver at night to supplement his income. On December 9th he was driving his cab through the red light district of downtown Philadelphia at around 4 a.m. Mumia testifies that he let off a fare and parked near the corner of 13th and Locust Streets. Upon hearing gunshots, he turned and saw his brother, William Cook, staggering in the street. Mumia exited the cab and ran to the scene, where he was shot by a uniformed police officer and fell to the ground, fading in and out of consciousness. Within minutes, police arrived on the scene to find Officer Faulkner and Mumia shot; Faulkner died. Mumia was arrested, savagely beaten, thrown into a paddy wagon and driven to a hospital a few blocks away (suspiciously, it took over 30 minutes to arrive at the hospital). Mumia somehow survived.

The Trial
The trial began in 1982 with Judge Sabo (who sent more people to death row than any other judge) presiding. Mumia wished to represent himself and have John Africa as his legal advisor, but before jury selection had finished, this right was revoked and an attorney was forcibly appointed for him. Throughout the trial, Mumia was accused of disrupting court proceedings and was not allowed to attend most of his own trial. Sabo lived up to his nickname of “Prosecutor in Robes.”

The Evidence
The prosecution claimed that the shot which killed Faulkner came from Mumia Abu-Jamal’s legally registered .38-caliber weapon, contradicting the medical examiner’s report that the bullet removed from Faulkner’s brain was a .44-caliber. This fact was kept from the jury. Moreover, a ballistics expert found it incredible that police at the scene failed to test Mumia’s gun to see if has been recently fired, or to test his hands for powder residue. One of the most damning prosecution claims was that Mumia confessed at the hospital. However, this confession was not reported until nearly two months after December 9th, immediately after Mumia had filed a brutality suit against the police. One of the officers who claims to have heard the confession is Gary Wakshul. However, in his police report on that day he stated, “the Negro male made no comments.” Dr. Coletta, the attending physician who was with Mumia the entire time, says that he never heard Mumia speak.

The Witnesses
The star prosecution witness, a prostitute named Cynthia White, was someone no other witness reported seeing at the scene. During the trial of Billy Cook (Mumia’s brother) just weeks before Mumia’s trial, White gave testimony completely contradictory to what she stated at Mumia’s trial. Her testimony at Billy Cook’s trial placed someone at the scene who was not there when police arrived. This corroborates the other five witness accounts that someone fled the scene. In a 1997 hearing, another former prostitute, Pamela Jenkins, testified that White was acting as a police informant. Other sworn testimony revealed that witness coercion was routinely practiced by the police. In 1995, eyewitness William Singletary testified that police repeatedly tore up his initial statement--that the shooter fled the scene--until he finally signed something acceptable to them. The following year, witness Veronica Jones came forward to testify that she had been coerced into changing her initial statement that two men fled the scene. Witness Billy Cook, who was present the whole time, has stated very clearly that Mumia is absolutely innocent.

The Sentence
Due to police manipulation of witnesses, fabrication of evidence, and the rights of the defense severely denied, Mumia was found guilty. He was sentenced to death during the penalty phase based solely on his political beliefs. Mumia has been unjustly separated from his family for twenty-two years, with the threat of death looming over his head.

New Witnesses
In 2001, court stenographer Terri Maurer-Carter came forward and stated that in 1982, before Mumia’s trial began, she heard Judge Sabo say, “Yeah, and I’m going to help them fry the n****r.” He was referring to Mumia. This backs up evidence of judicial bias and racism in Mumia’s case. In the same year, esteemed Philadelphia journalist Linn Washington stated that on the morning of December 9th, 1981, he went to the scene to report on it--and no police were present. This backs up prior claims that police didn’t handle the crime scene properly.

The Confession
In 1999, Arnold Beverly confessed to killing Officer Faulkner. This confession is validated by a lie detector test administered by eminent polygraph expert Charles Honts. Despite concrete evidence supporting this confession, the Philadelphia District Attorney has refused to investigate, and the courts have not even allowed it to be heard. The injustice continues . . .

The Decisions
On December 18th, 2001, Judge Yohn issued a decision on the Habeas Corpus petition
in Federal District Court. He upheld Mumia’s unjust conviction, but challenged the sentencing phase (the death sentence). This means there could be a new sentencing hearing after all appeals are resolved, but the only options are life in prison with no possibility of parole or another death sentence. This is not justice. There is massive evidence of Mumia’s innocence and he should be absolutely free. Mumia’s legal team
filed an appeal of this decision in January of 2002. Mumia remains on death row until
all appeals by both sides are heard.

Judge Pamela Dembe’s November 21, 2001, rejection of Mumia’s request to reopen the PCRA hearings was appealed by Mumia’s legal team. Judge Dembe based her decision almost entirely on the Peterkin case, which has just been overturned! On October 8, 2003, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the appeal, stating that the Beverly confession cannot be heard due to time limitations. The court also stated that Terri Maurer-Carter’s testimony is irrelevant. The struggle continues.

The Movement
A broad international movement has formed in support of Mumia. Celebrities such as Danny Glover, Ossie Davis, and Susan Sarandon, world leaders like Nelson Mandela, Danielle Mitterand (former First Lady of France), and Fidel Castro, governing bodies
such as the Japanese Diet, 22 members of the British Parliament, and the European Parliament have all recognized the blatant injustice in this case and have called for a new trial at the very least. Millions of people throughout the world have taken to the streets to protest his unjust imprisonment.

Mumia’s case has been a unifying point for many social struggles because it concentrates issues vitally important to our future, such as the rise in prison populations, police brutality, the death penalty, persecution of political dissent, and the continuation of white supremacy and racism in the U.S. From death row, Mumia has continued to speak out for all who are oppressed through his journalism. He has published four books, and his weekly columns are published throughout the world. His case is one of the most important social justice fights of our time.

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC) • freemumia@freemumia.com • (212) 330-8029

Write to Mumia:

Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI Greene
175 Progress Dr.
Waynesburg, PA 15370

http://www.freemumia.org
The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
P.O. Box 10328, Oakland, CA 94610
510-268-9429
alerts@freemumia.org

http://www.mumia.org
International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal
215-476-8812 (in PA)

http://www.mumia.org
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (in NY)
212-330-8029

http://www.refuseandresist.org
Refuse and Resist!
212-713-5657

http://www.spearheadvibrations.com
Michael Franti and Spearhead annual 911 Prison Awareness events, San Francisco

http://http://www.prisonradio.org
Prison Radio

http://www.mumia2000.org

http://www.iacenter.org
International Action Center

http://www.leftbooks.com
Mumia books and videos available

http://www.peoplesvideo.org

http://www.flashpoints.net/MumiaLibrary.html
Articles by Mumia Abu-Jamal

"This was no victory, in any sense of the word," Pam Africa, member of MOVE.
No death for Mumia Abu-Jamal - at least for now
By Emilie Lounsberry
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/17047631.html
A federal appeals court today refused to reinstate the death sentence of world-famous death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, but left intact his murder conviction in the 1981 shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that Abu-Jamal must be sentenced to life in prison or get a chance with a new Philadelphia jury, which would decide only whether he should get life in prison or be sentenced - again - to death. The judges left intact his first-degree murder conviction, rejecting Abu-Jamal's claim that he deserves an entirely new trial and a chance to prove his innocence.

*** Racist Genocide in New Orleans Continues: "Like 911 But Add Water"
by liz burbank
[edited version originally published 9/3/05 "A Catastrophic Success": A Holocaust Shaped by Race]

Katrina was no accident, no surprise, no act of 'mother nature', the 'gods' , not the result of 'bureaucratic incompetence' and 'poor communication'. The human and environmental and impact on New Orleans of a hurricane of this magnitude had been scientifically calculated. Rescue and recovery were deliberately withheld, working class Black people militarily imprisoned, forcibly dispersed and murdered by the armed state's violence.

National oppression and its ideological engine racism, are the lynchpin of u.s. capitalism, built and grown on genocide and slavery. Katrina is a major intensification of America's historical genocide, a premeditated physical and psychological attack on the Black Nation, part of a strategy to destroy its strength, pride, cultural cohesion that has led in revolutionary resistance against this system...

A renaissance of Black resistance and leadership, historically the leading edge of revolutionary resistance in the U.S., is what the postmodern slavemasters fear would give rise to a movement here in the 'homeland', in solidarity with international resistance, that could overthrow the state and defeat its global "new world order" agenda . Katrina and the brutal aftermath was engineered to serve the capitalist agenda in two interrelated ways: by uprooting, dispersing and destroying the Black Nation, while simultaneously inflaming reliable american racism and support for the consolidation of a fascist mode of state capitalism -- under the pretext of "rescue, relief and recovery” from a "major casualty-producing event" called a “natural disaster.” [...]
full article at http://lizburbankdigest.blogspot.com/2006/03/racist-genocide-in-new-orle...

Digest note: Lynne Stewart 's revolutionary commitment to justice is courageous, regardless of state terrorist efforts to brand her a "terrorist" for daring to defend those the capitalist state tries to silence, set up and destroy, and use her as a pretext for further eroding civil rights and tightening the police state . She deserves our support and love.

FREE LYNNE STEWART
http://www.lynnestewart.org/

To All My Friends, Comrades, Supporters:

A Warm Embrace and an Emotional Thank You.

For the Wonderful Rally at St. Mary’s Church on Monday Night January 28. The sight of all of you (This IS what democracy looks like!) The Fiery and Kind Words of the Speakers. The Knowledge that the Next Day we would Face this hateful enemy, Together. This gives me more energy and stamina and courage than anything else.

And on Tuesday, that “prestigious” Court, the 2d Circuit Court of Appeals of the USA, saw all of you–--filling the ceremonial court room (about 300) and the overflow TV room and those who were turned away; refusing to allow this gangster government to criminalize me. Impossible to calculate the effect but as Judge Calabrese said, “This case is like no other case”. It isn’t and the support that sustains me is the difference. Thank you Thank you . AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL !!!!!! LOVE STRUGGLE

Lynne Stewart
UPDATES & ARTICLES
New York Law Journal covers Lynne's Appeals Hearing - 1/30/08
Lynne wants everyone to check out this site.
Click here to download the full Appeal Brief in Lynne's case.
Lynne Stewart received a 28-month sentence in October 2006, but is free on bail pending appeal.

Click here to read sentencing transcripts. (PDF)

Who is Lynne Stewart?
Radical human rights attorney Lynne Stewart has been falsely accused of helping terrorists. Now convicted, she faces 30 years in prison. On Tuesday, April 9, 2002, she was arrested and agents searched her Manhattan office for documents. She was arraigned before Manhattan federal Judge John Koeltl. This is an obvious attempt by the U.S. government to silence dissent, curtail vigorous defense lawyers, and install fear in those who would fight against the U.S. government's racism, seek to help Arabs and Muslims being prosecuted for free speech and defend the rights of all oppressed people.
To read Lynne Stewart's entire remarks to her supporters who had waited outside the courthouse for hours for Lynne to emerge after her sentencing on October 16, 2006 before the Hon. John G. Koeltl, click here.

Photo courtesy of New York Law Journal.

CALENDAR

April 18
NLG Spring Fling!
Lynne will be there: National Lawyers Guild-New York City Chapter on Friday April 18 from 6-10 pm at the Angel Orensanz Foundation at 172 Norfolk Street, New York, NY. For event details and to buy tickets, visit the NLG-NYC website .

Saturday, April 19
The Brecht Forum
The Jericho Movement invites you to an evening of Culture and Political Updates on their 4th Annual Day of Solidarity with International Political Prisoners in and out of U.S. Borders.
Honoring Luis Miranda, George Habash and Raul Salinas
Featuring Chrystos Native American Poet, Fred Ho, Jazz Musician
sliding scale
451 West Street (West Side Highway) between Bank & Bethune Streets
212-242-4201

June 28-29
Join us in Cleveland the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation www.natassembly.org
P.O. Box 21008; Cleveland, OH 44121
216-736-4704; NatAssembly at aol.com
Endorsements welcome online at www.natassembly.org or by email to NatAssembly at aol.com

For more information e-mail us at
info at lynnestewart.org
The Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
350 Broadway, Suite 700
New York, NY 10013
212-625-9696

Many documents on this site require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download this free resource, click here.
another people's website designed by hiphop&politics productions
questions/comments: haberdudas at hotmail.com

......

Lynne's “Famous” Cases:
http://www.lynnestewart.org/bio.html

People v. Patton - New York - Anti Apartheid in South Africa Rugby Team Demo

People v. Gilbert - New York - Brinks Nyack Robbery/Murder

USA v. Sunni Ali - SDNY - May 19/Black Liberation Army

USA v. Levasseur - EDNY - United Freedom Front Bombings

State v. Williams - New Jersey - Trooper Murder

>People v. Larry Davis - New York - Attempted Murder - NYPD

USA v. Willie Holder - EDNY - Black Panther Airjacking

USA v. Ajaj - SDNY - WTC 1

USA v. Abdel Rahman - SDNY - Landmarks

INS v. Nasser Ahmed - SDNY - Secret Evidence

People v. Yuwnas Mohammed - New York - Police Brutality

USA v. Odinga - 2nd Cir. New York - Appeal, Black Liberation Army

USA v. Gravano - EDNY - Ecstacy, Arizona and New York

People v. Assi - New York - Bias Crime, Palestinian

People v. LaMothe - New York - Murder of NYPD

People v. Ponce - New York - Attempted Murder of NYPD

Home Legal Documents At the Crosshairs (Articles, Interviews, etc) Donations Contact Us Bio Merchandise We Get Letters! Links

-------

SLIMY IMPERIALIST 'HUMANITARIAN' SNAKE EXPOSES HIMSELF AGAIN
... Answering [National Review] questions by e-mail, Amy Weil, a spokeswoman for the Open Society Institute, said the foundation contributed to Stewart's fund because "it appeared to us at that time that there was a right-to-counsel issue worthy of our support."... Amy Weil told National Review that ..."More recently, OSI was asked for additional funding and we turned down that request".
http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york200502170843.asp

-------

Glen Ford articulates the source of the horror

Tear Down the Ghetto: The Price is Wrong
Wednesday, 09 April 2008
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&...

The global capitalist system is way past recession, beyond old definitions of depression; it has lost all cohesion and is, essentially, beyond salvaging. Unable to produce anything but horrific and perfectly predictable bubbles, incapable of tallying up its collective assets to within any order of magnitude, the defeated organism turns on itself. The latest scheme to redeem the system would bulldoze overpriced bubble housing - destroy much of the inventory - in order to produce scarcity and eventual price stability. Capitalist health through amputation - a solution that can only be attempted a few times.

"If these ghetto houses cannot be financed at the bubble prices demanded, then they must be torn down."

The final crisis of capitalism is no longer looming: it has arrived ...
Here's the latest criminal enterprise hatched by the ruling sectors of U.S. society: tear down all that overpriced housing, the stuff that was only recently built but can no longer be financed for sale. No, don't convert it to useful purposes as rental units or reasonably-priced family homes to satisfy the desperate needs of millions of families - and of people who wish they could successfully constitute themselves as households in this jungle-like environment. Just make it all go away, with the federal government paying the bill for the massive destruction.

It is now proposed that the "excess" housing stock of the United States be knocked down, bulldozed until a renewed shortage of shelter will render the housing that survives worth something close to the prices advertised before the bubble burst.

It has come to this: The U.S. economy can only heal itself by destroying those few products it can still manage to create. This is what happens when pure capitalists rule society, the people with no connection to actual production of goods and services, but only to the uses of money, or the recently coined phrase "moneyness" - stuff that can be made to act for a while as if it were money. Like the $516 trillion in "derivatives" that big banks have to hold on to because nobody knows what's in these strange "instruments" - which were just as good as money as long as financial institutions pretended they really were money-like.

"The U.S. economy can only heal itself by destroying those few products it can still manage to create."

At some point, the derivatives will have to be disposed of, but there's a problem. The yearly gross product of the United States is only about $17 trillion, and the entire planet only produces about $50 trillion in goods and services a year. Therefore, nobody can possibly bail out ten times the Earth's worth in derivatives.

But the capitalist fools can start tearing down some houses.

The Wall Street Journal's Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., in the April 2 issue, suggests "using tax dollars to buy and demolish foreclosed, unoccupied or half-built houses in selected markets," thereby driving up prices by lowering availability. Jenkins points to ghettonomics - government at its most destructive and least responsive to the citizenry - as the emerging business model. "In highly depressed housing markets," Jenkins quotes Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke, "the worst-quality units are often demolished to mitigate safety hazards and reduce supply." But Jenkins' is not concerned about safety, only with keeping supply down and price up. For example: "Baltimore has been praised for efforts to keep borrowers in their homes, but little mentioned is a program of demolition of foreclosed homes. Cleveland spends $6 million a year to demolish buildings. Dayton plans to demolish 550 this year. Only a small mental adjustment is required to begin aiming these bulldozers at ‘new' homes too. Get over it."

What the misanthropic Jenkins calls a "small mental adjustment" is actually a government-subsidized economy of destruction - rather than production - divorced totally from human needs instead dictated by the demands of those who deal in "moneyness."

"Knocking down surplus homes would be the most efficient and equitable way to spend taxpayer dollars. It can proceed experimentally. It can be turned off quickly when the need evaporates. It would not be a lesson to Americans that housing debt is not real debt and need not be repaid. It wouldn't benefit the most irresponsible lenders and borrowers at the expense of responsible ones. The housing market would still have to hit bottom, but the bottom would be higher (and sooner)," said Jenkins.

"In this same sense, the problem with New Orleans was ‘surplus people.'"

"Surplus homes" in a country in which affordable housing is disappearing. In this same sense, the problem with New Orleans was "surplus people," who have now been scattered and exiled through a joint public-private-meteorological venture that goes under the general heading of Katrina. That which cannot be exploited by the Big Capitalists is, by definition, surplus.

There can be no doubt of the insanity of late stage capitalism, its absolute disconnect from every notion of supply and demand drummed into the heads of innocent school children during crude early miseducation. Wall Street and its servants in government purposely created a monstrous bubble of grossly overpriced housing in order to build up debt that would make it appear that a non-producing society is really doing things that are healthy and worthwhile. There was never the slightest chance that the scheme, which violated every lesson of recent and ancient history, could avoid absolute disaster. Suddenly, that which was crazily overpriced one minute was transformed into a near-worthless redundancy, the next.

Worthless? Well, it's not worthless to you or me or a host of people we know well, who are desperate for a dignified place to stay at a price that can reasonably fit the budget of the median household in the United States: $35,000 a year for a Black family vs. about $60,000 for whites. The houses exist, of course, and many, many more could be built - big ones, small ones, urban ones, rural ones - but the conspirators that run the U.S. and much of the world economy solely for their own benefit can only satisfy their demands for ever-higher rates of return on investment by two methods: blowing bubbles until they inevitably burst, and international theft through direct actions of war or warlike coercion.

By the Wall Street Journal's Holman W. Jenkins' reckoning, the wrecking balls and bulldozers need to get to work immediately in much of Black America, where the subprime lending crisis hit hardest. If these ghetto houses cannot be financed at the bubble prices demanded, then they must be torn down, thus making housing in general more scarce. Soon, with scarcity, prices will stabilize.

"Human beings and Wall Streeters have diametrically opposed goals in life."

GhettoGone All three major presidential candidates are on great terms with the madmen of Wall Street who have brought western "civilization" - which includes Cleveland and Baltimore - past the edge of the abyss. We are in freefall, contemplating tearing down perfectly good houses, as crazed capitalists pile up human and material debris at the bottom of the hole, hoping for an acceptably soft landing. But there can be no mutually acceptable outcome to the current crisis, because human beings and Wall Streeters have diametrically opposed goals in life. Humans want some degree of stability in life, a reasonable chance that their children will experience a materially, morally and intellectually better world, and a degree of social justice that allows people to look one another in the eye. They require a roof over their heads, under fair terms.

Wall Streeters want advantage, the opposite of justice and fairness. We will soon be forced to go to war with these people. Their notion of surplus is deadly.
BAR executive Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.comThis e-mail address is protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

DIGEST NOTE: the genocide continues:
referring to all "non-whites" ...
"...depopulation should be the highest priority of U.S. foreign policy towards the Third World."
Henry Kissinger, National Security Memo 200, dated April 24, 1974

The Poor Die Quicker
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&...

There are lots of ways that governments can kill you. Public policy can be deadly, in more ways than just drafting a person and sending him off to war. And so, when we have political debates, even those that are purely about domestic matters - not war and peace - understand that people's lives are at stake.

New government research shows that the growing economic disparities in the United States are accompanied by growing disparities in life span, as well. In other words, economic policy has a direct effect on the longevity of citizens. The politician who encourages economic disparities is actually killing people, putting his fellow Americans in early graves. We're talking about older people and young babies - all of whose life prospects are affected by the relative wealth of the families they come from. And as the pace of change in society increases, so does the gap in how long different Americans can expect to walk around and breathe on this earth. A spokesperson for federal medical officials reports that, back between 1980 and 1982, affluent Americans could expect to live 2.8 years longer than people in the least economically well-off group. By 1998 to 2000, the gap in life expectancy between the most affluent and the poorest groups had grown to four-and-a-half years.

In other words, public policy that affects economic life has a profound effect on how long one lives. Public policy is contributing years to some people's lives, and subtracting years from others. Here's the most dramatic statistic from the federal study: an affluent white woman in the United States can expect to live 14 years longer than a poor Black man. The affluent white woman's life expectancy is just a little over 81 years. The Black man can expect to be around for just under 67 years.

There's lots of reasons that rich people are putting so much life space between themselves and poor people, these days. Science is coming up with more ways of dealing with cancer, but the rich have much more access to this new knowledge. More educated people tend to smoke less. Lower income people live in unsafe neighborhoods, and of course, tend not to have health insurance.

What is interesting is, that in a country that claims to be so morally centered, so concerned about the cause and effect of things, differences in something as basic as life expectancy don't show up as moral issues in major political campaigns. Could it be that many Americans continue to believe that the poor deserve their fate - including a lot shorter life? For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford.

Click the flash player below to hear the audio of this Black Agenda Radio commentary. Broadcasters and others desiring a downloadable MP3 of this commentary should visit the Black Agenda Radio archive page.