is difficult to fight an enemy whose dimensions are almost impossible
to envision, a foe that ravages the landscape from such heights
and at speeds that human minds are not wired to grasp. Corporate
financial entities soar like huge, crazed flocks of Japanese movie
"Rodan" flying dinosaurs or mythic Chinese dragons, flattening
cities with the flap of their wings and burning up rain forests
and national economies in one foul blast of mega-breath.
had convinced myself that I had been making progress in adjusting
my worldview to the global scope of capital's predatory range -
when suddenly it ate up Burger King, without even a belch.
came the aftershock, even more disturbing than the casual sale to
a faceless conglomerate: Burger King, the world's number two hamburger
icon, employer of last or first resort, repository of what passes
for America's proud culture, and epicenter of thousands of ghetto
franchise dreams, is worth less than a "mistake" on Worldcom's
PLC, the world's largest liquor company, let Burger King go for
$2.26 billion in cash. In the days before Rodans and dragons filled
the skies, that would have seemed like a lot of money. Not anymore.
This summer, the corporate citizen known as Worldcom was forced
to admit that it "misstated" items on its Expense columns
by $3.8 billion. This "mistake" - which may turn out to
be just one fraud among many - is worth 1.7 times as much
as the company at the heart of Burger King!
capitalists should observe a whole bunch of moments of silence.
What were these brothers thinking, while dreaming those dreams of
"economic parity," one franchise at a time? In a world
in which all of Burger King hardly rates as a snack, a puny tidbit
not much more than half the size of one accounting crime at a single
corporate headquarters, human-scale acquisition is no political
or "race" strategy at all.
entire peoples, mobilized in ways not yet imagined, can tame
shalt know fear, maybe
the crime of stealing the equivalent of 1.7 Burger King Corporations,
two Worldcom executives were arrested, early this month. It used
to be that you had to steal whole countries to haul away that kind
of booty. Reporters wanted some sentencing guidelines from Attorney
General John Ashcroft, the fire and brimstone preacher-lawman.
executives who cheat investors, steal savings and squander pensions
will meet the judgment they fear and the punishment they deserve,"
intoned the Man of Justice, sounding like God talking to Charleston
Heston playing Moses - but saying absolutely nothing. Ashcroft just
likes using the words "fear" and "punishment."
He doesn't mean it, but it makes him feel good in secret places.
also has a thing for librarians. Under the terms of the Patriot
Act, passed overwhelmingly by Congress in the weeks following 9/11,
Ashcroft's FBI agents have been harassing the hell out of librarians,
asking who borrowed what books on which subjects. For
the first time since the 1970s, this is all perfectly legal, requiring
only an easily obtained warrant. All that the bureau needs to tell
a judge is that the information sought is "relevant" to
an "ongoing investigation" of some kind.
to the online publication Working Assets, "a University of
Illinois survey found that in January and February alone, 85 of
1,020 randomly selected public libraries admitted that law enforcement
officers had demanded information about patrons." However,
the number is almost certainly far larger, since a gag order forbids
the harried librarians from talking about the data base searches
to anyone except a lawyer.
wisdom must be employed to assess the ramifications of this kind
of thuggish behavior: If Ashcroft's boys are treating little old
white ladies in this manner, what do you think they'll do to us
? With the Constitution on hold, these "patriots" don't
know how to "act."
in the wilderness
Cory Booker's Hard Right-funded "Black Trojan Horse Express"
roared toward Newark, New Jersey's City Hall, the entire national
corporate media were onboard, cheering the "stealth" candidate
on against four-term incumbent Sharpe James. The train, designed
by the Bradley Foundation, of Milwaukee, to create a pliant, "alternative
Black leadership" model for the rest of the nation, got derailed.
Mayor James beat the money and the media.
is now roaming in the political wilderness, having been exposed
in his dealings with the men who financed the racist book, "The
Bell Curve," and who drew up most of the social agenda of the
national Republican Party. This is a lonely place to be, but he
will have company soon enough, as established Black leadership awakens
to the threat posed by nominal Black Democrats fronting for the
Right. You can rely on The Black Commentator to be part of a concerted,
systematic effort to identify these treacherous mercenaries wherever
they raise their heads. Hopefully, young careerists will find it
wise to seek some honest route to upward mobility, preferably a
job that does not involve selling out the legacy of one's people.
was "out-ed" in grand style, in the pages of the National
Urban League's State of Black America 2002 report, released just
prior to the venerable organization's national conference, in Los
Angeles, last month. (You can read Dr. Martin Kilson's section of
the report, on the maturation of Black electoral politics and the
Newark campaign, in this issue.)
press hides Cory Booker's shame
would think that this story would be a must-cover for The New York
Times, which focused extraordinary attention on the Newark race,
and for the Star-Ledger, the hometown paper. Both publications heartily
endorsed Booker, after months of acting as makeup artists, publicists,
and all-around boosters for the first-term councilman. What more
compelling story could there be than that their fair-haired boy
had been described as a "stealth candidate" for the Right
in the pages of the most important annual document issued by any
Black source in the nation? The State of Black America is referenced
by journalists all year long, and by historians for the benefit
of posterity. Cory Booker made it into these pages at the age of
34 - albeit in the worst manner possible.
the New York Times ran only a cursory Associated Press wire account
of the State of Black America, and did not cover the Urban League
conference, at all. The Star-Ledger, which had served as virtually
an arm of the Booker campaign, took no note of their favorite's
embarrassment. These papers, along with 600 reporters representing
the major national media, were sent the same press releases on the
State of Black America report that were received by most of you,
our readers. The New York Times and the Star-Ledger smothered an
unquestionably newsworthy event for purely political purposes.
Star-Ledger, of course, committed the more egregious crime against
the public; it cannot claim to have an entire world to cover - just
Newark and vicinity. The person in charge of this censorship is
a Black man, city editor M. David Goodwin. We say he is in charge
because he vehemently claims to be, and we believe him.
is, at the very least, in charge of Black affairs. Ah, there's the
wrinkle! Maybe matters pertaining to Cory Booker, the "stealth"
Black fronting for the Bradley Foundation, aren't truly Black affairs,
after all. Hmmm.
truth is out
the news monopolies cannot yet monopolize the news. The State of
Black America report resonates among many thousands of African American
movers and shakers. Very soon, everyone of importance to Booker's
previous ambitions will have read it. Booker will find that he is
unwelcome on boards and committees of progressive organizations,
who will refuse to allow him to use their good offices to cloak
his Hard Right backers' agenda, or to allow themselves to be tainted
by his nefarious connections. Indeed, we are aware that this process
had already begun, prior to the National Urban League report, based
largely on our unmasking of Booker.
Booker is not yet old enough to have developed deep ties in the
community, having concentrated his attentions elsewhere in his dash
for the mantle of New Black Leader. He has lots of time ahead of
him to do penance, although we predict he will wind up in a cushy
office with a direct cash line to his benefactors. That would be
a more honest way of living well.
anyone starts thinking that
is obsessed with Cory Booker, we are well aware that he is only
a tool of his rightwing supporters - the really dangerous people.
Booker got his big introduction to money at the feet of the ubiquitous
Bradley executive Michael Joyce, who caused to be created a previously
non-existent "movement" for school vouchers. The congressional
handlers of that scam on the people most direly in need of quality
public education have introduced a bill to provide vouchers for
up to $5,000 for private schools, including religious schools, in
the District of Columbia. Americans United for Separation of Church
and State warn that Washington's public schools would lose $45 million
to the diversion over a five-year period.
U.S. legal history to the winds, 128 House members are sponsoring
a bill to allow churches to keep their tax-exempt status while campaigning
for and endorsing political candidates, and contributing directly
to campaigns. Churches would even be allowed to produce their own
"attack ads," as long as they don't use a "substantial"
part of their budget in the process.
broad outlines of the Republican game plan now become clear. First,
ministers are bought off through the transfer of lucrative government
social service contracts to "faith-based" vendors - a
scheme thought up with Bradley Foundation money. Public subsidies
for private, church-based schools would also fill the church coffers.
Then, the thoroughly corrupted congregations are unleashed as legal
political machines, free to spend their surpluses in self-serving
attacks against candidates who support the maintenance of a public
sector safety net. This plan is tailor-made for Black America, as
its designers intended. They dream of herds of Trojan Horses,
led from pulpits.
racial warfare begun by Christopher Columbus and his fellow conquistadors
never ceased in much of Latin America. Beneath the public façade
of anti-communist counter-insurgency campaigns in the lands of the
Maya, Inca and other indigenous Americans, financed by the U.S.;
beneath the U.S.-funded coca-eradication programs that target entire
regions and populations; lies the same old imperative: kill the
the collapse of his extraordinarily lawless and lethal regime in
2000, Japanese-Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was Washington's
favorite Latin "strongman." (U.S. reporters who go South
seem to love that word for Indian killers; it probably has something
to do with "strong and silent" John Wayne.) Fujimori waged
unrelenting war against the Shining Path guerillas, whose base was
centered in the overwhelmingly Indian region of Peru, which is also
the greenhouse of coca-cultivation.
the course of their nightly gatherings in the bars of Lima hotels,
much of the American press corps convinced each other that Peruvian
Indians (45% of the population) and mestizos (37%)
were in favor of Fujimori because, with his Asian features, he looked
more like them. Clearly, the gringos failed to understand
the bitter humor of their Indian and mestizo cab drivers - the usual
"sources" of the "local color" in American press
did not love the Indians back. Before hastily fleeing to his ancestral
Japan under charges of treason and illegal enrichment, Fujimori
forcibly sterilized 200,000 Indian women, an apparently essential
part of the process of eradicating coca plants and Shining Path
insurgents. "The majority of the sterilizations took place
between 1996 and 2000 in rural areas, particularly in the country's
Andean region. The majority of victims were poor and illiterate
women from the Quechua and Aymara ethnic groups," said United
The Peruvian government is now back in the hands of
its "traditional" rulers from the white elite, who make
up just 15% of the population.
Next door, in Bolivia, the descendants of Conquistadors
have the same problem with the Indian majority and coca plants.
The United States threatened to withdraw all aid unless the Bolivian
legislature chose Washington's candidate for president of the republic
- a University of Chicago-educated millionaire who, according to
press reports, "speaks Spanish with an American accent."
A world of hurt
On July 24, the United
States failed in an attempt to rewrite the 1989 UN convention against
torture, justifiably fearing that international law might find cause
to exercise jurisdiction within the American prison system, the
world's largest, per-capita. If the UN persists, some kind of U.S.
declaration of immunity from prohibitions against torture can be
The earth's sole
superpower recognizes no laws other than its own decrees.
more details on the library invasion check out this link to Working
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