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The 10th anniversary of California’s “three-strikes” law passed largely unnoticed, last month, a reflection of the general lockdown on discussion of the American Gulag. On any given day, one million African Americans languish behind bars – evidence on its face of massive, systemic racial oppression. The near absence of debate on the subject signifies that white Americans are in general agreement that the purpose of the U.S. criminal justice system is to “incarcerate as many non-whites as possible for as long as possible,” as we wrote in our March 18 Cover Story, “Mass Black Incarceration is White Societal Aggression.”

In the United States, mass incarceration of Blacks is national policy. This is an obvious and provable fact – otherwise there would not be such uniformity of practice throughout this vast country. The disparity-creating process begins with the intake system, which instructs police to observe, stop and interrogate Black people with far greater frequency and intensity than whites. Those whites unfortunate enough to brush up against the criminal justice system intake machinery, are disproportionately spit back out without being charged with an offense. The pool Blackens, as police attach more severe and numerous crimes to the Black “offenders” in custody. Prosecutors further cull wayward whites from the herd through lenient application of statutes, and by pursuing less harsh penalties for the charges brought. Judges lend their hands to the racial distillation process, using whatever discretion they are allowed to favor whites in sentencing and conditions of confinement….

Close to one in three young Black men will spend time in the Gulag – literally, the worst imprisonment odds in the world.  One out of every eight prisoners on the planet is African American, although African Americans make up about one-half of one percent of humanity.

Such heights of racist barbarity are not reached by accident.

Shivaun Nestor, of San Francisco, writes:

Thank you for your continuing commentary on the unjust and deeply racist policies of the U.S. "Injustice" system.  Your editorial provides sound evidence of this and makes an excellent comparison between the plight of African Americans in the U.S. and Roma in Eastern Europe (who, not coincidentally, are referred to as "black" in much of that area of the world).  However, while you clearly draw attention to the continuing oppression of black (and Latino) men in this country, I would suggest that you are ignoring a growing trend of aggression towards young black and brown women. 

In San Francisco, where I reside, young poor women of color represent the fastest growing group of adolescents placed in the juvenile justice system, their numbers more than doubling over the past decade, despite the fact that adolescent crime rates in the city greatly decreased during this same period.  This dangerous "Injustice" trend is one that is mirrored in other parts of the nation.   Communities and families have been dealing too long with the absence of fathers – what happens to our children when both mothers and fathers are missing from the picture?

Debonah Blackwell says that mass Black incarceration has always been national policy.

I wanted to commend you on the commentary about the disproportionate rates of incarceration for black people in this country, but am wondering why I never see mentioned the fact that the constitutional amendment that supposedly abolished slavery, says that slavery was abolished, except for those duly convicted of a crime. (I'm paraphrasing of course.) This fact needs to be drummed into our consciousness day in and day out. As with anything white America has offered Black people (grudgingly) in the way of human or civil "rights," emancipation also came with a loophole. But white America isn't alone; go anywhere in the world where whites have colonized and you'll see their native populations too are incarcerated disproportionately (Australian Aborigines offer an interesting parallel to our history here).

I think most of us realize that white America has always seen us as an inexhaustible source of exploitable labor and income – and it doesn't matter how many laws we force them to pass or amendments to the Constitution, they ultimately find ways to circumvent. They will always find a way to economically exploit us. The prison industrial complex is just the 21st century version of the plantation. Until WE decide we don't want to be slaves on this updated version, the incarceration levels will only increase.

The language Ms. Blackwell refers to appears right at the top of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as for the punishment of a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

We encourage readers to visit Ms. Blackwell’s website.

Daniel W. Aldridge III, of Huntersville, North Carolina, appears to believe that there aren’t enough Black people in prison.

Your commentary on the high rates of incarceration of blacks, while making some good points (especially about drug sentencing) also exhibits a sort of denial about the reality of crime in black neighborhoods.  The high rates of black incarceration reflect the fact that a disproportionate number of criminal offenders are indeed African American.  I am a former Los Angeles Public Defender and have some first hand experience with the criminal justice system.  While, indeed, there are numerous cases of racial discrimination on the part of police and prosecuting authorities, these alone do not account for the large number of incarcerated minorities.  Further, if you mean to imply that there are similar rates of criminal behavior in white communities as in black ones, we would have to believe that white authorities are allowing large numbers of white offenders to roam free to commit crimes in white communities – something we know is definitely not the case. 

We should also keep in mind that most criminals victimize members of their own race or ethnic group.  Incarcerated black criminals are being kept from victimizing helpless black law abiding citizens.  Further, the criminal element is primarily responsible for making living conditions intolerable in many black communities.  While it is psychological satisfying and superficially sophisticated to blame incarceration on institutional racism, real efforts to promote constructive change in black communities require us to face the crime issue squarely and to work with police authorities so that black criminals can be locked up so that the quality of life in black communities can be greatly improved.  Blaming an amorphous "system" and national conspiracies for the crime problem in African American communities is more part of the problem than the solution.

We feel very lucky never to have been among Mr. Aldridge’s clients, since he is clearly part of the institutional problem. A host of studies show that vast racial disparities exist at every stage of the criminal justice process, starting with the deployment and routine patrol practices of police. Mass incarceration is the result of multiple decisions by various actors, all them weighted against Blacks.

During all his years as a public “defender” Mr. Aldridge failed to see the obvious facts of disparity in the “system” – facts which are not vague, but huge. It is clear to us that his clients in particular were also burdened with inadequate counsel.

Global Pirates

The Bush regime’s manifold offenses against peace and global order may have exhausted the legal definitions of international crime – and English vocabulary. Surely, in Iraq and Haiti, the Bush men have given additional meaning to the term, piracy.

But of course, international piracy is a bipartisan project of American Manifest Destiny. The Democratic Party and organized labor work hand in glove with the Republican Party and the U.S. Chamber of commerce to subvert popular movements and governments around the world, through the National Endowment for Democracy. The NED’s GOP components virtually organized the coup in Haiti, while AFL-CIO operatives use public funds to encourage coup plotters in Venezuela. As we wrote in our March 11 Cover Story, labor and Democrats must withdraw from the NED and other “Structures of Subversion.”

During recent years the AFL-CIO wing of the NED public-private-labor partnership in Haiti appears essentially inactive. The only project posted on its Solidarity Center site is publication of a report that “describes and analyzes the shameful state of worker rights in Haiti.” This is probably for the best, given the AFL-CIO’s record in Venezuela, where NED money funded a labor alliance with filthy rich fascists bent on establishing a rightwing dictatorship.

In his March 2 Znet article, “What Is the AFL-CIO doing in Venezuela?” Alberto Ruiz points to continued AFL-CIO funding of the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV), whose leadership sided with the oligarchy in the 2002 attempted coup against President Hugo Chavez. “The embarrassment suffered by the AFL-CIO over its pre-coup assistance to the CTV has not deterred it from continuing to aid the CTV subsequent to the coup. In response to a FOIA request by the Venezuela Solidarity Committee, documents have surfaced which demonstrate the AFL-CIO has continued to support the CTV up through the year 2003 – again with NED monies.”

Derrick Gibson has been following our Haiti coverage. 

It's been a long time.  Far longer than the development of  a "Southern Strategy" by Richard Nixon in 1968 and further back still than the ending of Reconstruction and the birth of the Klan in 1877, the next phase of a 400-year plan to maintain the oppression of Africans wherever we reside upon the planet has executed the removal of President Aristide from Haiti.  Were it not for The Black Commentator, the reasons and actors behind this coup would have been unknown to me.  With , I had foolishly hoped that this nefarious ambush would never see the light of day, for how could anyone foolishly hope to execute a plan that so many now knew as fraudulent?

Sadly, I was utterly naive in my belief that a bunch of African descendents could have any information that would mean anything to those who care for naught but their own empowerment.

What I have decided to do, at a minimum, is take up my pen and encourage my congressional representative to develop the backbone with which to fulfill the requirements of the role he volunteered to undertake: defending the Constitution of this nation as a co-equal branch of government.  The division of federal power across the legislative, executive and judicial branches is supposed to thwart an amassing of power to such a degree that it corrupts the soul of our republic.  Unless our congressional representatives – all of them and not just the few members of the Congressional Black Caucus who have not been co-opted – take it upon themselves to redress the coup in Haiti and hold the perpetrators of this crime responsible, we might as well end the sham that we are a republic and anoint the president as Caesar.

Maddi Bee is one of the most sane people in Dayton, Ohio, and a past Guest Commentator for .

Outstanding issue.  There doesn't seem to be an end to the "crap" this administration is willing to pull.

I am thankful for freedom fighters like Maxine Waters and Randall Robinson, et al for "liberating" President Aristide from his U.S. ordered "detention" in Bangui, Central African Republic. The U.S. takeover of Haiti has unleashed another whirlwind of hate. The Bushistas never seem to learn. They just keep tromping on people everywhere. They are truly an embarrassment for any civilized people.  

I am thankful for the fantastic people of Spain who voted OUT their leader, Aznar and installed a progressive man, Zapatero. They spoke out by their votes against the ghastly U.S. War on Iraq.  The people are amazingly intelligent. They no longer want to be part of the horror.

And, where do we see any of this in the so-called "mainstream" media? Your weekly newsletter is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise polluted world.  

Thanks a million!

Our March 25 commentary, “Haiti’s Troika of Terror: Thugs, a Buffoon, and the Pirates,” reached Dr. Patrick Wilkinson through the excellent pages of Counterpunch. Dr. Wilkinson writes from Düsseldorf, Germany, where he specializes in Cognitive Consulting and Language Logistics.

As I read your article, I was dreadfully reminded of the scenario described in detail in Ludo De Wittes study of Lumumba’s assassination.

There are more than enough parallels. The unfortunate thing is that I suspect the majority of US Americans are just as interested in Haiti as they were interested in the Congo.

Perhaps it would be better if US Americans simply learned not to defend democracy at all, anywhere – at least until they understand what it is in the first place. I am often so appalled that the discussions reported about US foreign policy imply that the US has a privileged role in determining who and what is democratic.

In fact, the most successful ideological exports seem to be racism and domestic terror: subjects which are woefully neglected in the mainstream of US domestic policy.

US intervention in Haiti has always been predicated on racism and it is racism in the general public that contributes to widespread indifference when something happens in a country whose population (or the affected part thereof) comprises persons of color.

Of course, I am not writing anything you ladies and gentlemen don't know as well or better than I. But reading the story of Lumumba and the Congo (and esp. the application of the UN) has raised for me so many questions about the validity of any foreign interventions alleged to deliver or promote democracy. There seems no where to turn as long as one's house is not in order. The NED was clearly a front from the very beginning. The fact that they have been maintained so long is a testimony to the legacy of the Reagan administration, which pervades the political atmosphere even today – in all its putrid and lethal corruption.

Thank you for the most interesting report.

Dr. Wilkinson is Associate Director, Institute for Advanced Cultural Studies, University Park, Maryland.

Oakland, California poet, writer and radio commentator Daphne Muse inspired readers of our March 11 issue with her piece, “Let Haiti Hear Us.”

For those of us who hold Democracy dear in our hearts, I ask that we sing a rousing “Redemption Song for Haiti” that can be heard from the corridors of the United Nations to the Haitian sugar plantations from which Barbancourt Rhum flows, to the palace of President Bozize and the streets of the United States.  Support the efforts of TransAfrica and the Black Caucus; write letters to the editor and mount demonstrations so that the rousing choruses of this redemption song can be heard from here to Haiti and beyond.

We got a big “Hello” from Dwane Powell, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

A friend emailed me the “Global Pirate” article as well as Daphne Muse's piece on Haiti that appeared on your site. After two weeks of scouring through what passes for a national media these days in search of some truths on this little U.S. excursion, these stories shore up my worst suspicions. Why this outrage isn't being screamed from the pages of our “prestige” newspapers is beyond me. The chief architect of Haiti policy appears to be Roger Noriega, formerly with North Carolina's now retired dictator loving U.S. Senator. One would think this would raise a few eyebrows.

You have a great site in both content and design. Also, my compliments to the cartoons.

Mr. Powell is an editorial cartoonist and member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

Atrocities 101

Lest anyone forget, the United States has been in the looting, pillaging, kidnapping and genocide business since Day One. Paul Street took us down the bloody timeline, March 18, with his Think Piece, “Those Who Deny the Crimes of the Past: American Racist Atrocity Denial 101, 1776-2004.”

”… it is important to remember that the US prefers whenever possible for atrocities to be carried out quietly and impersonally – the US-imposed sanctions on Iraq (which silently killed more than half million Iraqi children) and the econoterrorist neoliberal mandates of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, for example – or indirectly, by non-American proxy forces like Pinochet's fascist butchers of the Chilean left (1973), the Central American death squads and contras of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the mass-murderous Suharto regime in Indonesia (1965-2001), the racist occupation state in Israel, and the current gang of fascist thugs (whose leader expresses admiration for Pinochet) the US has just recently restored to client-state power in Haiti. 

Indirect and silent massacre is not always feasible, however, and there is thus a rich record of direct US engagement in the infliction of "absolute horror" on enemies at “home” and abroad, accompanied by a strong dose of racist rationalization.

Roselyn Lionhart believes that American predation has little to do with race. We’ll allow her to make her case.

The only problem with the article on the evil committed against the African/Americans and the Native Americans is the insistence of the authors to accept White America's pretence that this behavior was due to the color of the victims. It was not. 

This usurping of land and enslaving murdering and raping of native inhabitants is in the writings of Caesar speaking of the conquest of Gaul.  He cleaned up the language and there were no newspapers of the day, but the behavior of imperialists is not determined by race but by property. Don't forget it.  They will appropriate any talent of any color to continue to feed their greed.  Ask Ms. Rice and Gen. Powell.

They don't pick on us because we're black.  That's an excuse for the ignorant.  They pick on us because we are poor and unorganized and they can pick us off one by one or 30 or 45 at a time or thousands, depending on what they want from us. They want our bodies as women, our land, our oil, our gold, our vineyards and farms, our labor.  They will continue to take it all and they don't give a damn about any color except green and gold. To defeat them, we have to drop the blinds from our eyes and see clearly, to organize and vote and run for office and leaflet and do all the dull dreary things it takes to build a new nation

We believe Ms. Lionhart misunderstands the social dynamics of racism as an ideology. Certainly, white Americans justified and, indeed, celebrated their murderous behavior based on the race of the victims – and still do.

Freedom Rider

Last month’s breathtaking finding that nearly half of New York City’s Black men are not working, failed to elicit any meaningful response from Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg or assumed Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. “If even Democrats won't discuss chronic joblessness the poor are in a tough situation indeed,” wrote Margaret Kimberley in her March 25 Freedom Rider column, “Black New York – Out of Work and Off the Radar Screen.”  Ms. Kimberley sees a double standard, in which some people’s jobs are considered more precious than others.

Acknowledging the existence of poverty in America is the third rail of politics, unless the goal is to punish and demonize through welfare "reform" and three-strikes-your-out prison sentences.

White collar jobs lost through outsourcing are consistently reported. The loss of blue collar jobs has never been taken seriously. There is only rationalization of cost cutting measures and the need to keep pace with foreign competition. The reaction to computer programmers, attorneys and physicians losing jobs to Indians elicits outrage and calls for boycotts. The reactions are appropriate but should not be reserved for white collar workers alone.

If even Democrats won't discuss chronic joblessness the poor are in a tough situation indeed. The words "middle class" obviously rank high in focus groups and the word "poor" doesn't rank at all. The Democratic motto seems to be that a narrower base is best. Of course, fleeing from a natural constituency always backfires. Democrats wax apoplectic about the prospect of Ralph Nader taking votes from John Kerry. Perhaps Kerry shouldn't ignore progressive concerns regarding unemployment and other issues. Nader would be a footnote in history books if Democrats didn't expect to win while ignoring the needs and concerns of millions of Americans.

Ms. Kimberley’s reference to outsourcing of jobs to India drew a thoughtful response from Uma Iyer, of the State University of New York, in Potsdam.

I have always appreciated Ms. Kimberley's articles for its deep insights. But this article seemed to me a bit unfair.

While I respect the concerns of the intellectuals in the U.S. concerned for the job losses of Americans, I find their criticisms somewhat incomplete. For instance, the much maligned job-losses to Indian programmers happened ”after” India was forced to open itself as markets. This is the case with all the Third World Countries. From aircraft, to defense, to soft drinks, to Microsoft, to Hollywood, to TV channels, sitcoms, to cigarettes (the list is endless), the Third World has been a market for U.S. companies. This has created wealth for the US. Hardly any US intellectual objected when the Third World was a market.

No doubt, the rich of U.S. benefit from all the businesses, just as the rich in the Third World benefit from these jobs. At the same time, it has to be also noted that the wealth of Western Europe and US, although in the hands of few, has contributed to a high quality of living in these regions. As an Indian, with friends and family in India, I think that even the rich of India do not have access to the several social programs (example – programs for the disabled, support for farmers, decent roads, good quality government funded good schools/universities) which the middle or lower classes of the US enjoy. No doubt, much more needs to be improved in the U.S., but the situation in India, despite a lot of changes, is still far more difficult than in the U.S.

I agree with Ms. Kimberley that the job-losses of African Americans have not received the same recognition that the job-losses of European Americans have received. Likewise, the outsourcing of jobs to European or Russian nations have not received a fraction of the outcry.

Yet, criticizing job-losses for any social group and not balancing it with the fact that the Third World has been used as market is unfair. It is no different than using African Americans as markets, and then getting outraged when they want jobs.

In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, white poor were appropriated into the belief of white superiority (which translated into white entitlement). Likewise, in the 20th century, the colored poor and religious minorities are getting appropriated into the belief of national superiority, or national entitlement. National boundaries and race boundaries are very similar. While I respect everyone's right to affiliate, I ask some fairness in dealing with the "other".

Jayson Blair is back in the public eye, hawking his book on the media circuit. Blair’s former employer, the New York Times, claims the young Black man’s fictions amounted to “the low point in our 150-year history” – a strange way of congratulating itself while pretending to apologize. In her March 11 column Ms. Kimberley noted the “Return of the Prodigal” and the Times’ self-serving hyperbole.

When Jayson Blair was exposed as a plagiarizer and fabricator his Times colleague Judith Miller was reporting on the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. She claimed that “anonymous sources” had evidence of weapons programs. Ms. Miller’s main source turned about to be Ahmed Chalabi, a U.S.-backed Iraqi exile who had not set foot in his homeland for 40 years. He obviously had no knowledge of Iraqi weapons programs. Ms. Miller helped make the case for a war that has killed 12,000 Iraqi civilians but a year after the invasion and occupation of Iraq no WMDs have been found. Blair’s conduct can’t be defended, but making a phony case for war is far more harmful to the nation and the world than fabricating a conversation with Jessica Lynch’s parents.

Gwen Barbour agrees.

Once again Margaret Kimberly sees beyond the media hype and gets to the heart of the matter.  Jason Blair's story is not an isolated one as she points out so clearly.  Those in the media who want to make him the poster child for unethical behavior need not look far beyond their own desks to see other equally qualified candidates for this title. 

Thanks again
for your serious and honest reporting.

Maurice Davis sends greetings from Brooklyn.

Hello Ms Margaret Kimberley: Your articles are second to none! The is a boss website. Keep up the great work your political insight is music to my soul.

Racial Passions

As with all things religious, Miles Willis’ March 11 Think Piece on Mel Gibson’s blockbuster biblical movie prompted intense correspondence. “The fact is that white people desperately want to believe that Jesus was white,” wrote Willis, who called his essay, The Passion of the Whites.”

Do we have any way of knowing what “color” Jesus actually was? The Bible contains no specific physical descriptions of Jesus. There are some compelling pieces of evidence, though admittedly indirect, that indicate Jesus almost certainly was a person of color. According to the African-American biblical scholar Cain Hope Felder, we should view the Middle East of Jesus' day as a kind of eastern extension of Africa. According to available archaeological and linguistic evidence, the interaction of peoples between those regions can readily be established. We know that the entire Jewish nation, including all members of Jesus’ genealogical lineage, lived in Egypt for many years before Moses led them out. Jesus Himself is known to have lived in Egypt for a time when his earthly father Joseph was visited by an angel and told to flee there with the Christ child from Herod the king, who intended to kill Him. (Matt. 2: 13) (Why would they have been sent to hide in a place where they couldn’t have blended in with the local population?) God Himself heralds His return with the words, “Out of Egypt did I call my son.” (Matt. 2: 15)….

One of the main selling points of the "The Passion of the Christ" is its unprecedented realism, the most prominent example being its dialogue consisting only of the Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew languages spoken during biblical times. But if the film’s producer Mel Gibson was aiming for such a high degree of cinematic verite, why didn’t he use actors who looked like the people of that time? Of course that is a rhetorical question that we all know the answer to; Jesus was white, end of discussion. Mel Gibson has used his claims of difficulty in getting this picture made to add a crusade-like aura to its release, which coming from an A-List Hollywood superstar such as he I find very hard to believe. Difficulty of an insurmountable nature would certainly have arisen had he attempted to film a movie about Jesus casting Omar Epps and Alfre Woodard as Mary, and we know why.

Alan Gregory Wonderwheel, of Santa Rosa, California, has a simple and direct answer to questions about the lineage of Jesus: He was a Jew.

Regarding The Passion of Whites and Blacks: Two wrongs do not make a right. Miles Willis' conclusion in his Think Piece on "The Passion of the Whites" is as delusive as the delusiveness of the problem he is addressing and so accurately describes. Willis' version is "A Passion of the Blacks."

Two "wrongs" do not make a right. Yes, Yeshua Ben Joseph (Jesus Josephson in English) was not a European "White," but it is just as certain that he was not an African "Black."

So what kind of person of color was he? He was a Jew of the day from the area known as Nazareth at the foot of Mount Carmel. He was raised as an Essene Jew of the Mt. Carmel community of Essenes.

That Jesus went to Egypt as a child has absolutely no relevance to his ancestry since Egypt was a great crossroads that included Romans, Greeks, Jews, Arabs, Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Berbers, Ethiopians, and Sub-Saharan Africans along with the Egyptians. There was absolutely no homogeneity of race, ethnicity, or culture in Egypt at that time which would make a Jew standout or require a Jew to blend in. To assert that this is a factor completely undercuts the plausibility of the thesis that Jesus was an African Black.

In addition to a considerable population of Hellenized Jews, there was at that time in Upper Egypt a well established Essene community at Lake Mareotis, near Alexandria, which is probably where Jesus' family would have stayed while they were in Egypt. The community was known as the Theraputae, as described by Philo, because of their renown in the healing arts, which along with agriculture (since they were mostly vegetarians) were the two areas of specialty of the Essenes. Some believe that the Theraputae were not Jewish Essenes but gnostic followers of the Hellenistic Egyptian god, Serapis, and comprised of many ethnic groups.

Either way, the Theraputae were friendly, if not directly linked, with the Jewish Essenes of both Mt. Carmel and Qumran (also on the shores of a salt sea) and shared the same essential teachings: (1) The members gave away all their worldly possessions before joining the community; (2) Property was held by the community and oaths of individual poverty were maintained (3) There was a novitiate period and an initiation into the order with subsequent degrees of learning, (4) Abstinence from meats and wines was promoted and more strictly required for the monastics (5) The practice of agriculture was highly cultivated; (6) The practice of the healing art was highly cultivated; (7) Their monastic fellowships had oaths of chastity; (8) They revered children, taught them the scriptures while young, and adopted and raised the children of strangers and orphans.

The Gospel of Thomas, a gnostic Christian gospel, was found near Alexandria and is an example of the Early Jewish Christian church that was an offshoot of the Alexandrian Essenes.

So while I wholeheartedly agree that Jesus was not "White," as well as with the thesis that the imperative importance of Jesus being White is tied to White supremacy, it is the most unquestionable of all theories that the historical Jesus was a Jew of Northern Israel from the Mt. Carmel region known as Nazareth. The claim that Jesus was an African, and therefore Black or Egyptian, is just as fantastic and ludicrous as the claim that he was White.

From Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Will Stites argues that Miles Willis is only half right about Jesus.

Mr. Willis is undoubtedly right to say that Jesus of Nazareth wasn't "white."  However, some of his evidence is inadmissible. 

The story about Jewish slavery in Egypt is, according to what I have read, not corroborated by any Egyptian writings.  The Egyptians were careful record-keepers, so that if the story were true there should be some evidence. 

The same for the idea that Jesus hid out in Egypt for a while to escape Herod's order that all little boys be killed.  This is another myth that is not substantiated by any historical source.  The Roman colonial occupiers of Palestine were at least as compulsive in their record keeping as the Egyptians, and didn't record any such massacre.  A crime of this magnitude would almost certainly have been mentioned by historians of the time. 

Researchers at Tel Aviv University some years ago concluded from the archeological/cultural evidence that Jewish identity evolved totally in Palestine. Centuries in Egypt would have left a deep mark on the Jews, if not on the Egyptians. But the markers simply aren't there, as discussed in an April 13, 2001 Los Angeles Times article.

Joshua Zwick is an avid reader.

The article by Miles Willis is great!! Succinct, well written, and makes a very important, in my opinion the most important point, concerning the film.

Mr. Willis simply demolishes the film in a few paragraphs. He does not give it more attention than it deserves, but goes right to the very un-sacred heart of the matter.

I would like to add that this excellent article is only typical of the high-quality, incisive commentary I have come to expect when I click my browser to The Black Commentator.  The design of your site is very good, too. Your site has an original, distinctive look that adds to the pleasure of reading .

I look forward to reading for many years to come.

Oil Price Denomination

Our logs show an extraordinary number of readers spend a great deal of time in our archives, which pleases us greatly. Dav Driks was drawn to our January 1 Cover Story, “Black America Must Prepare for the Long, Deep Slide,” an examination of what might happen when oil prices are no longer pegged to the U.S. dollar.

The American currency stranglehold, no longer based on economic but on military might, allows Washington to print megatons of currency to paper over an annual half-trillion dollar trade deficit. However, the artificiality of the dollar’s dominance makes the U.S. vulnerable to the political will of foreign governments and elites, most of which would welcome a way out of the dollar trap, if one could be found.

In the wake of the Iraq invasion, these elites are actively exploring strategies to expel the dollar from its central, dangerously destabilizing position in the world economy. The euro fits the bill….

No matter how phased or gentle the transition, the impact on the United States domestic economy will be – difficult to imagine. What is certain is that the retrenchment will require a militant Black leadership that is willing to go toe-to-toe with corporate power, lest African Americans be overwhelmed in the scramble for scarcer resources.

Dav Driks writes:

I just wanted to drop you a line and compliment you on a well written and thought out article.

Being a currency trader in the capital markets, I have long been aware of the motivation of this current administration. You hit it right on: the Saudi's and other oil producing nations would love to convert to the euro, and why not? At a 20% premium on your money it makes perfect business sense. Saddam had the moxie to do it but paid for it. The war launched in Iraq was a warning to the Saudi's – go to pricing in euros and you're next. The Saudi's cut production and forced oil prices higher to get valuations in line with the euro. If the Russians decide to price in euros, will Bush go after them?

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April 1 2004
Issue 84

is published every Thursday.

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