every opportunity, the ABC operative steered the discourse
to personality or character themes, such as the "who
is fit to be commander-in-chief of the world's superpower"
dustup between Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and former Vermont
Governor Howard Dean. Sharpton's admonition, "Republicans
are watching" followed by Florida Sen. Bob Graham's quip
on the Stephanopoulos-instigated spat were actually complaints
that the host was using up everyone else's time to pursue
his own teledrama agenda.
showbiz ABC and the pretentious, pseudo-cerebral New York
Times achieved the same result by different styles: Black
and progressive opinion was diminished or eliminated. That's
corporate media's political function.
Rep. Dick Gephardt's proposal to cancel Bush's tax cuts to
the rich and funnel the money, instead, to insurance companies
to provide something resembling national health care, garnered
frequent references. Kucinich's co-sponsorship of Rep. John
Conyers' HR 676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare For
All Bill, disappeared from the conversation immediately upon
passing Kucinich's lips.
repeatedly called for repeal of the Patriot Act (""People
are disappearing in this country for the first time."),
a subject of little interest to ABC's man, or to The Chosen.
was doubly slighted: ignored when possible, and certainly
never challenged to fill out the details of his program. The
man who should finish at least second in the South Carolina
primary was treated like someone trying out for Amateur Hour.
Tolerated but never elevated, Sharpton got off lines such
as, "We're talking about billions of dollars to occupy
Iraq when we don't have the dollars to take care of the 50
states that we occupy." Cute, Rev. Al, Stephanopoulos
seemed to grin.
encouraging white GOP crossover
debate should leave not a shred of doubt that Connecticut
Senator Joseph Lieberman is running as a straightforward Republican
in South Carolina. "We are not going to solve these problems
with the kinds of big spending Democratic ideas of the past,"
he said, even more slowly than usual and for full effect.
South Carolina is an open primary state, where Republicans
can cross party lines to vote in the Democratic primary.
believes Lieberman is counting on Al Sharpton to activate
a sizeable number of Palmetto rednecks to cross the room to
vote against the loudmouth Black man. It would not require
a white Republican stampede such as overwhelmed Cynthia McKinney
last summer in Georgia's open congressional primary to push
Lieberman to the top of the white pile, in February, making
him the odds-on favorite among The Chosen. Just a few percentage
points from the crossovers would suffice.
Carolina whites are keenly aware that Blacks made up more
than half the state's electorate in 2000. The racist white
majority votes against Blacks, rather than for their
own interests. Lieberman is positioning himself as the Great
White Hope. Like Bush Republicans, he has learned to kiss
Black babies at churches - but it's the kiss of death.
Moseley-Braun is doing exactly the right thing: running as
the only woman in the field. She should pick up significant
feminist support - that is, a large proportion of her small
vote, should she remain in the race, is likely to be from
white women. It is therefore important that observers not
measure her numbers as automatically indicative of Black
Carolina contemplates death
North Carolina Senate surprised itself, voting to impose a
two-year moratorium on the death penalty - the first state
in Dixie to do so. It was the first time either chamber of
the state legislature had tackled the issue. Some lawmakers
emerged from the 29 - 21 vote seeming "a
bit stunned," according to the Associated
Press. North Carolina's death row population is the sixth
largest in the nation, with 202 condemned residents. Sen.
Eleanor Kinnaird managed to convince several pro-death colleagues
to support a two-year period study of the impact of race,
geography and wealth on the executions process. "This
period of time will not take anybody off death row unless
they're innocent or need a new trial," she said. "All
we're doing is saying there are many questions that need to
be answered." The state House of Representatives has
yet to consider the measure.
who you kill that determines life or a death sentence,
according to a report released last month by Amnesty
International. Although Blacks and whites kill each other
in about equal numbers, people who murder whites are far more
likely to be put to death. Four out of five of the 845 persons
executed since 1977 were convicted of killing whites.
Illinois study found juries were three times more likely to
sentence a person to death if the victim were white rather
than black, one of the factors that prompted former Governor
George Ryan to commute 167 death sentences, in January.
Amnesty study also found that one of five condemned Blacks
were tried by juries including no African Americans. Forty-one
percent of the nation's death row inmates are Black.
an exhaustive compilation of everything you ever wanted to
know about the death penalty as practiced in the U.S., see
by Discrimination - the continuing role of race in capital
case," Amnesty International.
U.S. Supreme Court ruled late last month that legal aliens
convicted of crimes can be held without bond, even while they
challenge their deportation hearings. The case involved a
Korean immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1984
at the age of six. Twelve years later and by now a permanent
resident, Hyung Joon Kim was convicted of petty theft. The
day after Kim's release from a California prison, immigration
agents seized and held him without bond under a 1996 law mandating
deportation for immigrant lawbreakers. The High
Court majority ruled that no-bail deportations do not
violate the constitutional right to due process - for non-citizens.
liberties forces see an ominous pattern of constitutional
interpretation emanating from the U.S. Justice Department
- a blurring of the lines between citizens and non-citizens,
combined with a narrowing to the vanishing point of illegal
aliens' rights to due process.
General John Ashcroft last month acted to envelope immigration
law in his ever-widening national security mandate, declaring
that illegal immigrants can be locked up indefinitely without
bond if a national security risk exists. The risk would be
assessed by - Ashcroft's Justice Department.
chose to invoke broader powers in the case of 18-year-old
Haitian David Joseph, who was rounded up after washing ashore
near Miami along with 200 other boat people on October 29.
into the affair when a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)
judge determined that the teenager posed no threat to the
community and should be released on $2,500 bond in the custody
of an uncle legally residing in the area.
national security powers
my jurisdiction, said Ashcroft, citing national security concerns
to override the BIA. The Attorney General's writ, said a Justice
Department spokesperson, "will serve as a binding precedent
on BIA judges for other cases where national security interests
are presented by the Department of Homeland Security."
has taken upon himself the power to disappear the thin constitutional
protections afforded new arrivals on these shores, simply
by saying the magic words, "national security."
Eleanor Acer, director of the asylum program at the Lawyers
Committee for Human Rights, said Ashcroft's new doctrine deprives
"large numbers of asylum seekers of the chance to prove
to an immigration judge that they, in their individual cases,
present no risk to national security and merit release on
as ominously, Ashcroft invented a "terror" connection
that few in Miami's Little Haiti have ever heard about, claiming
that Haiti has become a staging point for Pakistani, Palestinian
other "suspect" aliens to enter the U.S. Not just
the locals, but U.S. State Department diplomats are also "scratching
their heads" over the new claim. Consular Service spokesman
Stuart Patt told the Miami
Herald, "We are asking each other, 'Where did they
Bush men make up law and facts from whole cloth. In Haiti's
case, it's easy to lie because the objects of persecution
are Black. Said Black Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek, "This
is outright discrimination and racism by this Bush administration.
There is justice in America for everybody but Haitians. Someone
needs to call the president and let him know we are at war
against the Taliban and al Qaeda, and not the Haitian people.''
Capital Hill, the Congressional Black Caucus was attempting
to gain support for lifting the U.S. aid embargo against Haiti,
whose government has for at least two years been targeted
for "regime change." Ashcroft's manufacture of Middle
Eastern and South Asian connections to the island outraged
the Black lawmakers. California Rep. Diane Watson said she
was "appalled by the unsubstantiated allegations made
by the United States Attorney General."
a ridiculous statement. I would ask him, has he been there,
Mr. Attorney General? If not, he needs to go. He needs to
scour every single part of that island nation. After what
he is going to see he will be declaring another war, and
that is on poverty, on starvation, on the fact that the
people there have nothing; and we are allowing that to continue
in this hemisphere.
the State Department's consular officers and officials are
puzzled by his remarks. Jorge Martinez, a spokesman for
Ashcroft's office, could not immediately say where the Attorney
General got the information. Martinez then directed inquiries
to the Department of Homeland Security, and a Homeland Security
spokeswoman redirected questions right back to Martinez.
Speaker, according to the State Department, Haiti is not
on the United States' terrorist watch list. Why is, then,
the Justice Department and the State Department, amending
current U.S. policy towards Haiti is one that discourages
travel between the two countries. There is a de facto embargo
on loans and grants from the multilateral development banks.
Assistance from the United States Government has been put
on hold in order to leverage change in the present political
structure of the Haitian Government ....
is time to stop this war on Haiti. External aid is essential
to the future economic development of this nation. Comparative
social and economic indicators show Haiti falling behind
other low-income developing countries since the 1980s. Mr.
Speaker, we cannot let our neighbor continue in this downward
can be no national security emergency regime unless white
America is driven into a racist frenzy against non-whites,
at home and abroad. Black is the color of the Permanent Enemy.
Ashcroft is pressing the white buttons.
more on Haiti, see "When
Major Powers Stage a Coup," by Randall Robinson,
April 24, and "Is
the U.S. Funding Haitian 'Contras'?" by Kevin Pina,