Chicago is attempting to take back the Illinois Senate seat
held for one term (1992 - 1998) by Democratic Presidential candidate
Moseley-Braun. The arithmetic says State Senator Barack
Obama is the man to beat in a crowded Democratic primary field,
newly enlivened by Republican incumbent Senator Peter Fitzgerald's
last week, not to run for another term. Blacks comprise about
one-third of Illinois Democrats.
politics is nothing if not "fluid." Moseley-Braun
rode to victory on the strength of a massive Black and Hispanic
voter registration and get-out-the-folks campaign in 1992, then
spent six uneventful years dissipating the excitement. She toyed
with the idea of a Senatorial comeback, before allowing herself
to be persuaded by anti-Al Sharpton Democrats like the Democratic
National Committee's Donna Brazile that she had a higher calling.
Rev. Sharpton's life, but left the African American field wide
open to Obama, who has the backing of Black Chicago Congressmen
Danny K. Davis and Jesse Jackson, Jr. Rep. Jackson felt compelled
to preface his reaffirmation of support for Obama with a disclaimer.
"For those who wonder if I'm interested in filling Sen.
Fitzgerald's seat, I am not. I remain honored to serve the people
of the 2nd Congressional District and strongly support State
Senator Barack Obama for U.S. Senate."
was the first Black president of the Harvard Law Review, must
be rated as the instant front-runner for the Democratic nomination,
on the sheer weight of Black party enrollment, alone.
vs Stephanopoulos: hair-raising confrontation
numbers look good, Al Sharpton's South Carolina prospects are
ideal. Forty percent of the state's Democrats are Black, and
African Americans comprised 60 percent of voters in the last
Democratic primary. On the face of things, it would appear that
the Great White Hope in the February 3 primary - the first batch
after New Hampshire's January 27 starting gun - will be the
Caucasian American who comes in number two. Certainly, that's
how the corporate press will play it. (See "What
the Black Presidential Candidate Must Do," in
and the whole Democratic posse, including cardboard candidate
Moseley-Braun, face off in televised debate in Columbia, South
Carolina, May 3. The forum is sponsored by ABC, with blow-dried
"This Week" host George Stephanopoulos the lone questioner
- a formula for corporate theater with the candidates as props.
This will be Rev. Al's chance to show that he can outmaneuver
the primping corporate spin man, as well as outtalk the other
candidates. Indeed, Sharpton's closest oratorical competitors
are the two white anti-war candidates, former Vermont Governor
Howard (the vacillator) Dean and Cleveland Congressman Dennis
(the real deal) Kucinich, whose speeches are righteous poetry.
chief dislikes public schools
Democrats engage in battle to convince voters in their base
and beyond that they are the right men and women for the job,
Republicans offer salaried Black role models in a can. The results
can be embarrassing to those of us who cannot help but feel
ties of empathy and history, even for the enemy's hirelings.
Secretary Rod Paige is a distracted man - his mind is not on
public education. Appearing before a Senate appropriations committee,
Paige had to consult a cue card to answer a simple line of questioning
about rural education, put forward by Republican Pennsylvania
Senator Arlen Specter. Paige strung nonsense sentences together
about "accountability," finally provoking Specter
to interject, "Mr. Secretary, how does accountability bear
on eliminating the funding for a program?" Nothing substantive
escaped Paige's lips. Senator Specter finally gave up, saying
he'd wait for a written answer. Paige was glad about that. "Absolutely,"
replied Paige, as reported by the Houston
Press. "I look forward to that because I think there
far more at ease with white Southern Baptists. Two weeks ago,
Paige told their denominational press he favors private, Christian
education because, "all things equal, I would prefer to
have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation of the
Christian community, where a child is taught to have a strong
faith. When a child is taught that, there is a source of strength
greater than themselves."
words, he does not like public schools.
religious event, the man who sits on billions of dollars of
the public's money explained that, "in a religious
environment the value system is set. That's not the case in
a public school, where there are so many different kids with
different kinds of values."
Rod Paige doesn't like public school children. Self-hatred
in a can.
Bush's Black front men must be held to special account - that
is, punished by any means within our power - they are
but devil dogs to the Great Scoundrels they serve. Cincinnati
educator, journalist and businessman James E. Clingman paints
a damning picture of the people
calls Pirates, leaders of "a country that is willing to
sacrifice its children's education for more smart bombs."
Prof. Clingman sent the whole Bush crowd to Hades in a BlackPressUSA
have ushered in a new era. The moneychangers have subscribed
to the notion that building more smart bombs is more important
- and more profitable - than building smart children. Remember
the old Doritos commercial on television? I can see some Jay
Leno impersonator in Washington saying, "Go ahead, use
as many as you like; we'll make more." Well, we are also
making dumb children. But who cares about that? We'll just
put them in our nice private prisons - and throw away the
me another billion dollars," Cheney says to Bush. "They
won't miss it." George asks, "What ever happened
to my No Child Left Behind policy, Dick?" Cheney mused,
"We didn't leave any behind, Mr. President; they are
all in jail. Hey, you wanna send 'em some smart bombs for
one helluva year, begetting a slew of anniversaries memorable
for the broken promises of 35 years ago. When first enacted,
the Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination based on race,
color, religion or national origin, and has since been expanded
to include gender and family status. Seventy-two percent of
complaints still come from African Americans, although filings
by people of Middle Eastern and Asian descent rose from 10 percent
to 12 percent in 2002, in the wake of September 11, according
to a report of the National
Fair Housing Alliance.
filed 25,246 federal housing bias complaints in 2002. Yet alliance
president Shanna Smith says that represents only one percent
of all cases of discrimination. The obvious conclusion is that
victims of discrimination have no confidence that they will
get relief from federal authorities. The assessment is backed
up by 35 years of evidence.
Nixon won the Presidency in 1968 with a "Southern Strategy"
that drew big business and white racists under the same umbrella.
As a sop to African Americans, and in hope of creating a Republican
wedge in overwhelmingly Democratic Black ranks, Nixon launched
a minority business enterprise offensive, including set asides
for minority contractors. States and cities followed the federal
soul mates of the present administration set out to dismantle
Nixon's legacy, root and branch, turning the language of equal
opportunity on its head.
protection under the law means that governments cannot discriminate
against individuals on the basis of race or gender," said
Kent, president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, one
of a gaggle of Hard Right anti-affirmative outfits with connections
straight to Bush's inner circle. "This is a very well-settled
area of the law."
savaged minority-contracting programs in Atlanta, Nashville
and Charlotte, Kent's crew is taking on the state of North Carolina
- the first time they have challenged a state program under
the U.S. Supreme Court "strict scrutiny" guidelines
for combating discrimination. Essentially, the foundation claims
that minorities and women in North Carolina cannot prove they
are entitled to the 10 percent of highway contracts awarded
in 2001 - 02, a paltry $36.3 million.
that this is a fight to the death, minority business supporters
are planning boycotts and other actions against corporations
that contribute to the Southeastern Legal Foundation, which
they describe as "a total enemy of the black community."
For a partial
list of the SLF's foundation funders, check out Media
Transparency. They are the same rich bigots that crafted
George Bush's domestic and foreign policies, the seed
money dispensers of the Pirate network.
conservatism" ushered in by the Bush administration is
the biggest obstacle to quality health care for Black Americans,
said Johns Hopkins University Medical School associate dean
Dr. Levi Watkins. Addressing a Founders Day gathering at historically
Black Tennessee State University, in Nashville, Watkins said,
''There exist unfair and unwarranted obstacles for many minorities
- African-Americans, elderly - to get health care even when
you have the same degree, same insurance, same economic status.''
Watkins attended Tennessee State before becoming the first black
graduate of Vanderbilt School of Medicine.
action," declared Dr. Watkins, "I went to Vanderbilt
to a recent report of the Association
of American Medical Colleges, the number of Black, Hispanic
and Native American students training to become doctors will
plummet if affirmative action programs are outlawed by the High
Justices hand down their decision in the suit against the University
of Michigan Law School's diversity program later this year,
the effects will reverberate across the academic landscape of
the nation. "Without race-conscious admissions policies,"
said the association, "medical schools would be unable
to increase the number of minority physicians necessary to serve
America and its ever-growing minority population, expand areas
of academic research, and raise the general cultural competence
of all physicians."
man dealt with the U. Michigan Klan
engineering student Roger Witherspoon confronted racism in the
raw at the University of Michigan. No sooner had the 17-year-old,
barely 100 pound freshman set foot on the Ann Arbor campus,
than he was run over by a motorcycle, denied treatment at the
University Hospital, and threatened repeatedly with death. His
only ally was a Jewish student named Tom.
two hunting knives. I gave one to Tom and we each took half
the dorm. We tried every doorknob. If it was unlocked, we
opened it. If anyone was on the phone, we cut his cord. If
they balked, we threatened to cut them and were prepared to
the room with the student with the flags and made him take
down the Confederate battle flag. I cut it up.
asked why I hadn't cut down the Nazi flag as well.
"That's not my issue, Tom. I'll deal with the Klan, you
deal with the Nazis."
- and how foolishly - some of us forget. The same people who
tormented young Witherspoon in the most liberal town in MIchigan,
where he found only one white person who could claim to be a
human being, dominate civil society, today. Did tens of millions
of epiphanies occur since 1966? If so, where are they written?
is now a staff journalist at the Westchester, New York Journal.
His full account is available at Counterpunch.
trade unionists mobilize
is the most right-wing President since Ronald Reagan occupied
the White House," said Coalition
of Black Trade Unionists President Bill Lucy, rallying CBTU
members against Bush's "undeclared domestic war against
diversity and racial progress." The coalition is the nation's
largest Black labor organization, with 50 chapters in the U.S
not only opposes affirmative action, he also has rolled back
workers rights, cut programs that help poor families and turned
his back on the fiscal and urban crisis gripping states and
cities," said Lucy, who is also Secretary-Treasurer of
the 1.2 million-member American Federation of State, County
and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). "It's the message, not
the messenger, that lacks credibility here. It's about achieving
a truly diverse society, not pushing America backward, that
should be the President's aim."
Bush's Black appointees as "ornaments of diversity."
White House attempts to appoint right-wingers to the federal
bench "confirm an unmistakable pattern of deceit and hostility
toward civil rights."
partner in the Living Wage Movement, the giant Service Employees
International Union (SEIU), may soon hit the streets of Washington,
DC. SEIU's Justice for Janitors campaign has proven its ability
to wage simultaneous battles on behalf of largely immigrant
workers in Boston, Los Angeles, northern New Jersey, and Chicago.
DC's 4,000 janitors' contract with the city's building managers
runs out April 30.
members are absolutely committed," said Valarie Long, president
of the SEIU Local 82, in an interview with the Washington
Post. "They see that every other major market has fought
this battle and won. Nobody wants to go on strike, but people
also don't want to be backed into a corner of living the way
janitorial worker in Washington makes about $8 an hour, with
little or no benefits. It would cost only pennies per square
foot of office space to meet SEIU's demands.
has a long way to go to catch up to 1968. The state's constitution
remains riddled with Jim Crow law, including provisions requiring
segregated schools and poll taxes. Federal courts have already
struck down most of the segregation-era law, but Alabama politicians
could never bring themselves to undo the work of their fathers.
Not that Alabama's whites minded tinkering with the constitution
- it's one of the longest and most amended in the nation.
Sen. Wendell Mitchell, a sponsor of the measure, told the Washington
Times, "It's something we should have done a long time
ago, to remove all those vestiges of racial reference in our
constitution. It's something we need to clean up."
is embedded much more deeply in the American national character
than words in a state constitution. In a breathtaking sweep
through continental carnage, Southern Connecticut State University
Professor Ira M. Leonard concludes that non-domestic violence
has killed or wounded 2 million Americans over the centuries
- most of them people that white Americans did not consider
to be full human beings. A much longer version of Prof. Leonard's
January speech to the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences
is available on Alternet,
titled "Violence is the American Way." It is a ferocious
story, the blood soaked Birth of a (Deformed) Nation.
the extent of mob violence? Indiana University Historian Paul
Gilje, in his 1997 book, "Rioting in America," stated
there were at least 4,000 riots between the early 1600s and
1992. Gilje asserted that "without an understanding of
the impact of rioting we cannot fully comprehend the history
of the American people."
the nitty-gritty: How many victims did riots and collective
violence claim over the 400-year American historical experience?
never accurately be known, considering it includes official
and unofficial violence against Native American Indians, African-Americans,
Mexican-Americans, Asians and untold riots, vigilante actions
and lynchings, among other things.
conservative guesstimate of, perhaps, about 2,000,000 deaths
and serious injuries between 1607 and 2001 (or about 5,063
each and every year for 395 years) seems a reasonable - and
quite conservative - number for analytical purposes, until
more precise statistics are available.
753,000 Native American Indians were the intended victims
of warfare and genocide between 1622 and 1900 in what is now
the United States of America, according to one scholar. The
number for African-Americans might equal or exceed the estimate
for the Indians, 750,000.
number of deaths for all other forms of collective violence
seems well under 20,000. The greatest American riot, the New
York City Draft Act riots of July 1863, resulted in between
105 and 150 deaths, while the major 1960s riots (Watts, Los
Angeles, Newark, N.J., and Detroit, Mich., accounted for a
total of 103 deaths, and the 1992 Los Angeles riot claimed
60 lives. The estimate of deaths from the 326 vigilante episodes
is between 750 and 1,000. Approximately 5,000 individuals
were known to have been lynched between 1882 and 1968, and
about 2,000 more killed in labor-management violence.
as this sounds - and it is horrendous - this 2,000,000 figure
pales when compared to the major form of American violence
which historians have routinely ignored until very recently.
Historians of violence have largely ignored individual interpersonal
violence, which, in sharp contrast to group violence, is very
frequent, sometimes very personal - and far deadlier than
two distinguished legal scholars, Franklin Zimring and Gordon
Hawkins, compared crime rates in the G-7 countries (Canada,
England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States)
between the 1960s and 1990s in their book, "Crime Is
Not The Problem: Lethal Violence In America Is." Bluntly,
they stated their conclusion: "What is striking about
the quantity of lethal violence in the United States is that
it is a third-world phenomenon occurring in a first-world
that same America pounces upon the world, presuming fitness
to rule based on nothing more than that which it showed the
Indian and the slave: brute force. American morality is expressed
in one sentence from a Washington Post article dated April
18: "The U.S. military has said it has no plans to
count the number of Iraqi civilians killed in the three-week
war.... " Among the pro-war supermajority, there is not
a trace of human concern or connectedness with the people of
Iraq. This deformity of soul must extend to the entire region
and beyond, since the supermajority knows nothing of geography
or world culture, investing itself with the totality of what
it recognizes to be human.
Race War. Underlying economic motives provide the reasons
for the aggression, but do not define the character of the conflict.
The continuous settler wars against Native Americans were motivated
by greed for free land, but in character, they were wars of
extermination. The constant aggressions of the slave trade and
the domestic maintenance of slavery were motivated by a desire
for free labor, and for the profits of trafficking in human
flesh. But the character of the enterprise was racial predation,
centuries of Race War. War is what it is, not what the
aggressors claim or hope it to be. The objective facts of war
are not dependent on the realization of either party's goals,
but are defined by the actions of the participants. No Indian
was ever killed by a crooked land deal, nor was a single African
enslaved by any contract between two bankers in London. Their
fates were sealed in wars defined by race.
The Great American Mobilizer
who lead United States can only achieve their goals through
the familiar modalities of Race War. The supermajority may deride
French fries, but they are willing to cook Iraqis, just as they
did Vietnamese. There is no majority for an oil or dollar war.
Racism unites the majority in a Race War. Therefore, that is
the kind of war we get - complete with plantation nomenclature:
York Times, April 22, "U.S. Overseer Vows Quick Restoration
of Iraq's Services"
Francisco Chronicle, April 22, "U.S. overseer tours Baghdad"
carries the baggage of history. In this case, the weight is
unmistakably packaged and felt as The White Man's Burden.
men may be too white for the load. Joint Chiefs chairman
Richard Myers speaks of "the new American way of war"
before he has occupied most of Baghdad. Discounting the other
party in the conflict - the Iraqis he was only days before killing
with abandon - he pronounces this new "way of war"
a success. Only by eliminating Iraqis from the equation can
Myers achieve this leap of logic. He is rendered incompetent
to the task before him, the not yet begun job of occupying a
his colleagues do loathe the prospect of further conventional
warfare against Iran or Syria in the near term. They can count
tanks and airplanes and even Arabs and Persians, if they are
grouped in regiments and divisions.
professor and author Paul Kennedy, in an April
20 Washington Post opinion piece, noted that U.S. ground
power is at the limits of its reach.
small wonder that while liberals protest soaring defense expenditures,
the U.S. military repeatedly warns of overstretch and is dismayed
at the hawkish calls for further adventures; in the recent
war on Saddam Hussein's regime, part or all of eight of the
10 U. S. Infantry divisions were tied down in Iraq or standing
by to go there.
deployment were not based on racist assumptions - that the Iraqis
are incapable of acting upon their own vision, or of having
a vision - the Bush men and their generals would be terrified.
Yet they make plans for establishing bases in four specific
places from which they will shuttle forces to and from bases
in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region in order to project
forces outward - while Iraqi society awakens all around them.
General-diplomat Colin Powell talks more like a human being
than the rest, but he's carrying The Burden, too. "We have
been successful in Iraq," said Powell. "There is a
new dynamic in that part of the world."
U.S. has unleashed a "new dynamic" - but it sees and
hears only its own motions and words.
Kristol, editor of the Pirate rag, The Weekly Standard and an
architect of the New American Century, understands that the
U.S. military is structurally exhausted. But Kristol believes
he knows the minds of the region's natives. For the time being,
writes Kristol, the U.S. can get by using "the psychological
leverage" created by American "victory."
It is as
if the natives have nothing to do but play at American games,
rather than their own. Kristol shares with the rest of the Bush
men an innate belief that they are the motive forces of history
- no, the only forces shaping history. They can imagine
nothing else. Therefore, they will always be taken by surprise,
and will only prevail in situations they can fight their way
out of. Custer was like that, until his last stand.
lack discipline. Intent on employing "psychological leverage"
on lesser beings, they confuse each other and the populace on
whom they depend to sustain their war. "We are in a regional
struggle and...it is impossible to win the war on terrorism
so long as the regimes in Syria and Iran remain in power,"
said Michael Ledeen, of the American Enterprise Institute. "The
good news is that both are vulnerable to political attack."
does not matter if such threats are meant for domestic audiences,
for Syria and Iran, or as part of some intra-Pirate maneuvering.
The people of the region and wider world hear Ledeen, assume
that he speaks for powerful circles (he appears on powerful
media), despair of meaningful negotiation with the Americans,
and prepare for the worst. The American pro-war supermajority
hears noise about more places they cannot picture and, having
taken years to fix two demons in their minds (Saddam and bin
Laden) in the space where billions of people should be, begin
to wilt like exhausted or drunken sports fans.
dialogue of empire is empty of content, incapable of sustaining
the project over time. Bill Clinton sees that. In an curiously
under-reported speech to the Conference Board, circulated by
France Presse, the former President said, "Our paradigm
now seems to be: something terrible happened to us on September
11, and that gives us the right to interpret all future events
in a way that everyone else in the world must agree with us.
And if they don't, they can go straight to hell."
to us like Clinton, who nobody ever called stupid, is talking
about delusional behavior.
Rice, who should be aware that her National Security Advisor
voice carries into foreign capitals, cavalierly offers her formula
for dealing with the not-so-great powers. "Punish France,
ignore Germany and forgive Russia." Does she think her
boss has defeated these three nations, too? What possible advantage
did she purchase for the United States through such contemptuous,
trying her hand at unleashing her own "new dynamic,"
possibly? Again, it does not matter what Rice thinks she is
doing. What she has actually contributed to is the "dynamic"
of global recoil from and counter move against the United States.
Friendly Version of Condoleezza The Gatekeeper Cartoon]
talk shows are full of numbers. The U.S. will remain in Iraq
five years, or two years, or more, or less, say the guests.
The Bushmedia pretend that pursuing a Pirate until he or she
commits to a certain number is somehow a form of journalism.
Yet the Iraqi people are nowhere in the conversation, even by
British journalist Robert
Fisk, who is rarely wrong for long and avoids grand predictions,
writes, "It's going wrong, faster than anyone could have
imagined. The army of 'liberation' has already turned into the
army of occupation. The Shia are threatening to fight the Americans,
to create their own war of 'liberation.'" In the days following
Fisk's report, 20,000 Shia march with banners proclaiming their
intention to rid Iraq of the U.S. presence. The message becomes
general, loud enough for even the Bushmedia to hear. Yet they
continue to ask the same Pirates the same questions, as if the
Iraqis are children high on sugar. One is struck by the similarity
to the way southern whites used to act while observing "Negroes"
behaving in ways that whites refused to understand. They
shake their heads, bemused, and invent an explanation for Black
behavior that fits white preconceptions. If all the white folks
agree on the explanation, it must be true.
20, the first independent newspaper to hit the streets since
the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein appears. It is published
by the Iraqi
Communist Party. Once 25,000 members strong and centered
in the most dynamic sectors of secular Iraqi society - the universities,
professions, oil workers, and the military - the party was first
on the hit list presented to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party following
the CIA-supported coup of 1963. Eight hundred were executed,
cementing the Baathist's bond to the U.S. In 1968, the CIA helped
the Baath Party further consolidate its power in Baghdad, and
engineered Saddam's rise to the top of the party. The Communists
were again decimated - or people who were said to be Communists.
Saddam then moved on to other opponents, until all of Iraqi
society was silenced.
was the Communist paper this past weekend, first on the streets,
part of a native mix that would befuddle a serious student of
politics, but is beyond the possibility of comprehension by
the Pirates who are already trading local franchises among themselves.
What will the Americans make of the evolving Iraqi swirl? Wrong
question. What will the Iraqi people make of their nation? That's
for them to say.
nothing new about the American delusion. The character of the
country has not changed since the last year of anti-imperialist
Mark Twain's life.
of the Loud Little Handful
by Mark Twain
little handful - as usual - will shout for the war. The pulpit
will - warily and cautiously - object... at first. The great,
big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and
try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly
and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and
there is no necessity for it."
handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side
will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen,
and at first will have a hearing and be applauded, but it
will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently
the antiwar audiences will thin out and lose popularity.
long, you will see this curious thing: the speakers stoned
from the platform, and free speech strangled by hordes of
statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the
nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those
conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them,
and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he
will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and
will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process
of grotesque self-deception.
"The Mysterious Stranger" (1910)
Race War and an awesome military, and we have a rough facsimile
of the present.
used to be thought of as a loony little club. Now they are certain
they will rule the world.
separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace
unless he has his freedom. - Malcolm X
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