action supporters hope to follow up last month's institutional show
of strength with a display of street power, April 1. Organizers
of the Civil Rights March to the Supreme Court predict hundreds
of thousands will turn out to "demand that the high court uphold
affirmative action in the University of Michigan cases."
are expected to form the bulk of marchers, in what organizers describe
as an "alliance of all the major organizations fighting for
civil rights in the United States." At the center of the network
are the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action & Integration
And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)
and United for Equality and Affirmative Action (UEAA).
"Now is the time to stand up," said the organizers.
victory at the Supreme Court will open up a new struggle for progress
towards integration and equality in education and throughout American
society. A victory will present a better opportunity than we have
had for generations to reconcile the segregated, unequal reality
of our educational system with the hope and pride that the overwhelming
majority of Americans of all races feel in the prospect of integration
defeat would outlaw any and all active integrationist measures
in this society, without which there has never been and can never
be any prospect of genuine integration. If positive integrationist
measures are barred, Brown v. Board of Education will be a dead
law students have been especially active in the mobilization, aimed
at influencing the High Court's impending decision on the University
of Michigan Law School's diversity program, opposed by the Bush
include much of the universe of civil rights, labor, church and
and UEAA have been fighting for this kind of unity between the new
civil rights movement and the old civil rights establishment for
a long time," said the organizers, in a joint statement. "In
particular given the development of a new independent, powerful
youth leadership, this kind of united struggle gives us the best
chance possible to win our fight in defense of affirmative action
and integration at the US Supreme Court."
representing the widest sectors of American society filed a record-setting
number of friend-of-the-court
briefs with the Supreme Court on behalf of the University of
Michigan defendants, last month. As
commented in our February
13 issue, even giant "corporations understand that Black
people will not allow the clock to be turned back."
the third time, Senate Democrats have blunted GOP efforts to quash
the filibuster against Miguel Estrada, the Honduran-born corporate
lawyer nominated by George Bush for the DC Court
of Appeals. The District of Columbia panel is a breeding ground
for U.S. Supreme Court justices, but Estrada has refused to discuss
his legal views with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Democrats on
the committee blocked Estrada's nomination last year. The White
House, hoping to make points among Hispanics, resurrected the nomination.
need 60 votes in the full Senate to cut off the filibuster against
Estrada. They got 55 in the latest attempt, with the defection of
Democrats Bill Nelson of Florida, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, John Breaux
of Louisiana and Zell Miller of Georgia.
Bush men now threaten to change the rules under which the Senate
has operated since the founding of the republic, by barring filibusters
of judicial nominees. "If we continue to filibuster this man,
the Senate will be broken, the system will be broken and I think
we will have to do what we have to do to make sure that executive
nominations get votes once they get on the calendar,'' Republican
Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) told the Associated
described by our colleagues at the North
Star Network, "Estrada is trying to be the ultimate stealth
judicial candidate." NSN legal analyst and vice president Robert
Estrada is, quite simply, a right wing ideologue. He is a member
of the Federalist Society and a member of the staunchly conservative
Center for the Community Interest, two organizations that uniquely
identify his point of view. His former supervisor in the Justice
Department, Paul Bender, said that Miguel Estrada is "so
ideologically driven that he couldn't be trusted to state the
law in a fair and neutral way." At 41 years old, Estrada
can shape the law for many years to come, if he is appointed to
the federal bench.
current U.S. Supreme Court justices arrived there from the DC Court
Brown still standing
the days before the 1954 Brown decision, the vast bulk of
African Americans looked to schools like Morris
Brown College to fulfill their dreams of higher education. Founded
in 1885, the Atlanta school faces an April 2 deadline to appeal
a dis-accreditation decision by the Southern Association of Colleges
accreditation battle represents Morris "greatest test,"
said a Los
Angeles Times article. Failure
would deal "a blow that would render Morris Brown students
ineligible for federal aid as well as hurt their chances for getting
into graduate schools.... Losing accreditation would also cost the
school its membership in the United
Negro College Fund - which this month chipped in $1.47 million
in emergency aid -- and ultimately could jeopardize the college's
Brown is an acute case. However, historically Black colleges and
universities (HBCUs) face similar problems. The LA Times wrote:
school's travails place it in stark contrast to better-known Atlanta
cousins, such as Spelman and Morehouse colleges, which have hefty
endowments and sturdy finances. But experts say that although
most of the nation's 107 historically black colleges and universities
are healthier than Morris Brown, they tend to face greater challenges
than other schools.
colleges generally have a mission that tends to create financial
stress. They are always trying to do a lot with a little; they
have little endowments; most of their alums are not rich - they're
schoolteachers, managers," said William H. Gray III, president
and chief executive of the United Negro College Fund. "Most
black colleges don't have 200 living millionaires that can give
large checks like white colleges."
grants help public HBCUs
historically Black public colleges will benefit from a $15 million
Microsoft grant, in partnership with the Thurgood
Marshall Scholarship Fund. According to Black South Carolina
James Clyburn, the initial grant is part of a $100 million dollar
Congressional Black Caucus was instrumental in developing this partnership
as part of its ongoing support of HBCUs.... This visionary initiative
will equip tomorrow's minority graduates with the technical skills
necessary to successfully compete in this shrinking economy,"
said Congressman Clyburn, who is also Vice Chair of the House Democratic
Caucus. "This partnership is a meaningful solution to bridging
the digital divide that has plagued minority communities."
children are getting sicker, sooner than whites. "Disabling
chronic health conditions are more prevalent and have risen at a
faster rate in black children than in whites nationwide, a disparity
largely explained by poverty," according to a study published
in the March issue of Archives
of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
study was based on health data gathered on more than 400,000 children
from 1979 through 2000. The stark conclusion: "Black children
have higher rates of disability primarily owing to their increased
exposure to poverty."
and ill health are intertwined, said researcher Paul Newacheck of
the University of California at San Francisco. "That's really
where we ought to be focusing our efforts, limiting those disparities
by income, if we really care about the health of children,"
Newacheck told the Associated
American children also suffer the highest infant mortality rate
in the developed world, a phenomenon explored by Ziba Kashef in
the March 6
issue of .
should be clear to all but the bamboozled and the bribed that national
health insurance plus peace is a winning political combination.
However, the four leading Democratic presidential aspirants - Representative
Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and Senators Kerry, Edwards and
Lieberman - are entangled to varying degrees with the corporate
Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the warmongering, corporate
wing of the party. Nothing resembling universal health insurance
or peace can emerge from that direction.
16 Washington Post reports, "an unlikely alliance of consumer
advocates, business leaders and policymakers across the political
spectrum has coalesced into a new movement that seeks health insurance
for every American." The groundswell is a reaction to the visible
disintegration of health services, nationwide, accelerated by two
years of Bush public sector slashing and burning.
domestic policies have aggravated the damage caused by conglomerate
takeover of health care, creating an unprecedented crisis. Since
the mid-Nineties, said the Post article, conventional wisdom has
placed the number of uninsured at around 40 million.
the new health insurance alliance is seeking to portray the problem
in its broadest terms. During some period in 2001 and 2002, about
75 million Americans under age 65 went without health insurance,
according to a new analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Census Bureau data show that more than 75 percent of the uninsured
work at least part time and that about 32 percent earned more
than $50,000 in 2001.
crisis creates a political opening large enough for any gaggle of
idiots to stumble through to victory over the GOP - unless they
have been bribed and bamboozled.
that the DLC will smother any progressive impulses that might emerge
among Democrats on The Hill, Republicans vow to push for the full
cornucopia of tax cuts promised by their President, no matter the
cost of the Iraqi invasion and occupation. Senator Majority Leader
"Doctor" Bill Frist told the New
York Times he favors passing the cuts before tallying
the cost of war. "I'm in favor of growing the economy, which
is absolutely necessary if we are to reduce our deficit over time,"
select group of U.S. construction firms now bidding on a lucrative
government contract to rebuild
a postwar Iraq contributed a combined $2.8 million--68 percent to
Republicans--over the past two election cycles," reported the
March 12 issue of Capital
Eye, a "money-in-politics newsletter" published by
the Center for Responsive Politics. Among the firms lining up for
the first of an expected $20 billion a year in Iraqi "reconstruction"
contracts were The Bechtel Group, Fluor Corp. and, of course, Vice
President Dick Cheney's alma mater, Halliburton.
three are large Republican contributors. According to the Capital
Eye report, titled "Postwar Profiteers," Halliburton "was
the second-largest donor of the group, with more than $709,000 in
continues to pocket about $600,000 yearly from Halliburton, "deferred
payment," Britain's Guardian
newspaper reports, for the former CEO's services to the company
prior to 2000.
whether the payments to Mr. Cheney represented a conflict of interest,
Halliburton's spokeswoman, Wendy Hall, said: "We have been
working as a government contractor since the 1940s. Since this
time, KBR has become the premier provider of logistics and support
services to all branches of the military."
the five years Mr. Cheney was at the helm, Halliburton nearly
doubled the amount of business it did with the government to $2.3bn.
The company also more than doubled its political contributions
to $1.2m, overwhelmingly to Republican candidates.
how the game works: Cheney served as Secretary of Defense prior
to taking over the helm at Halliburton. He then used his political
network to double Halliburton's government business. As Vice President,
he helps usher in a new era of Permanent War, ensuring Permanent
Profits for Halliburton and its sisters.
we wrote in "Rule
of the Pirates," December 5:
has slithered forth a class that creates little or nothing of
value, but thrive as political buccaneers. They waylay public
resources to create private fortunes. They seize governments,
to create advantage or monopoly for themselves and their cronies....
people in charge of Bush are different from their class predecessors,
a relatively recent mutation spawned by hyperactive capital, massive
corporate corruption and the maddening allure of global plunder.
They are pirates.
phones are ringing off the hook," said the urgent email message.
"They are NOT introducing articles of impeachment now. They
are only TALLYING votes FOR and AGAINST impeachment as of this moment.
So please send a brief message stating whether you are for
or against impeachment."
Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) let it be known that he was looking
into the subject of impeaching George Bush, he should have warned
his staff what they were in for. Conyers, the dean of the Congressional
Black Caucus (35 years seniority), sat on the Judiciary Committee
when the impeachment machinery scared Richard Nixon out of Washington,
in 1974. Tricky
Dick panicked when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered him to release
more of his secret White House tapes. By that time, the Judiciary
Committee had accepted three Watergate-related articles of impeachment.
time, the issue is a war. Nixon was never seriously threatened for
the many crimes he and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger committed
while waging war against Vietnam.
the reports that got the Detroit Congressman's phone jumping off
the hook was this one, from the March 13 Associated Press:
D-Mich., who is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee,
met Tuesday in Washington with several prominent liberals who
oppose war in Iraq, including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey
Clark and University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle.
says Bush is violated the Constitution and international law after
Sept. 11 by supporting the USA Patriot Act, which gave the government
broad new investigative powers, and indefinitely imprisoning Taliban
and al-Qaida fighters.
are major attacks on civil rights, civil liberties and the Constitution,"
Boyle said Thursday. "The list is even going to get bigger,
I regret to say."
the time, a Conyers spokesperson said, "The Congressman believes
that pursuing articles of impeachment is not a wise or productive
course. However, there are Constitutional and due process issues
pertaining to the administration's actions that must be examined."
Attorney General Ramsey has already drawn up Articles
of Impeachment against George Bush and Attorney General John
Ashcroft for "... violations and subversions of the Constitution
of the United States of America in an attempt to carry out with
impunity crimes against peace and humanity and war crimes and deprivations
of the civil rights of the people of the United States and other
nations, by assuming powers of an imperial executive unaccountable
to law and usurping powers of the Congress, the Judiciary and those
reserved to the people of the United States... "
lawyer Francis Boyle's brief, in which he charges Bush with "'a
long Train of Abuses and Usurpations' against the Constitution since
September 11, 2001" is available in the January
17 issue of Counterpunch.
Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, March 15, in San Francisco:
stand here together. Shoulder to shoulder. Refusing to be denied
the right to say no to George Bush's war!
Iraq war is about oil and regional interests.
it was about ending tyranny, destroying weapons of mass destruction,
and restoring democracy to Iraq then George Bush's father could
have done that in 1991. But he didn't. Saddam Hussein and his
murderous regime were kept in power.
if we care about civilians suffering under the heel of brutal
regimes, and if we really want to defend human rights worldwide,
why are we starting and stopping at Iraq?
not do something about the suffering in Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan,
Burma, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Tibet, Afghanistan, just to name
as we all know nothing will be done.
fact our military forces and intelligence agencies may actually
even worsen the suffering in those countries because it suits
our interests to do so. Just like when the American government
killed Salvadore Allende and replaced him with Augusto Pinochet.
style regime change is nothing new.
when we dare to stand up and tell the truth about how unjust this
war is and question the motivations of its protagonists we are
called unpatriotic and accused of hating our flag.
don't hate my country and I certainly don't hate my flag. In fact
I love them so much I refuse to be quiet!
more should we allow special interests to lead yet another generation
of young Americans off to war.
Founding Father, George Washington, in his Farewell Address of
1796, warned us about the false patriots who would wrap themselves
in the American flag and at the same time sell our precious American
values to special interests.
Washington didn't know it then, but we know it now, that he was
talking about people like George W. Bush who would betray our
values and our country in pursuit of an unnecessary war.
gathered here today, are the true patriots.
day our streets are free from protestors like you will be the
day our democracy is dead.
estimated a quarter million Americans demonstrated last weekend.
The next rallies will take place in a world that has been changed
forever, in the wake of Shock and Awe. Keep up with the people's
of Black Solidarity, April 4
Voices for Peace
for Peace and Justice