Issue Number 31 - February 27, 2003

Dying for the almighty dollar
The "new" Colin Powell
The Moseley-Braun - Sharpton debate













Printer Friendly Version

Note: The size of the type may be changed by clicking on view at the top of your browser and selecting "text size". The document will print in the size you select.

Carol Moseley-Braun's participation in the Democratic primaries provides the first opportunity to observe how African American and non-Black politicians operate when more than one Black is on the presidential ballot. In coming months we will discover a great deal about the workings of the Democratic Party, the corporate media, and the primary electorate.

The two Black candidates are already well known. Rev. Al Sharpton brings with him all of the skills - and baggage - of three-plus tumultuous decades of civil rights struggles. Carol Moseley Braun will forever be connected to the superlative of "first" Black female U.S. Senator (1992 - 98), a post in which she managed to make even less noise than did Republican Edward Brooke (R-MA, 1966 - 78), the first Black to serve in that body since Reconstruction. Brooke was known as the "quiet man" of the Senate, who eschewed anything that smacked of political "posturing." During her six years in the Senate, Moseley-Braun's profile was near invisible.

The Chicagoan did not decide to enter the primaries until the year-end holidays. In last week's commentary "Moseley-Braun and the Game to Contain Sharpton," stated, "She is, purely and simply, the 'I'm not Al' candidate."

Mary Ann Johnson, of Seattle, vigorously defends the former Senator.

I don't agree with your article regarding Carolyn Moseley-Braun's candidacy. She has a right to run. This woman has served as a US Senator (from which many presidential candidates ascend) and as an Illinois State legislator. In what political office has Al Sharpton served? Being a "Rev." alone, does not give you the credentials to serve as President! I'm tired of Black leadership always coming from the pulpit.

We now need leaders to emerge who have political as well as business experience come to the fore. Carolyn has a better chance of winning than Al Sharpton; I think she is more qualified. That has to matter - doesn't it? Plus, we need to wait and see what these candidates stand for - all of them - before we start pitting one against the other and accusing one of joining the race just to be a spoiler for another. Please!

Would your criticism of another black male candidate be as harsh as your criticism of Moseley-Braun? I wonder? You brothers ought to start learning how to support the sisters at something! If for no other reason than she's qualified! We don't usually arrogantly jump out there for shoes we are not qualified to fill.

We anticipated being accused of trampling on Moseley-Braun's right to run for the presidency. "The operative question," said , "is not why an individual desires to become President, but why others decide to support him or her." We remain convinced that, "If Moseley-Braun hasn't consciously taken on the role of spoiler, then she is whimsical in the extreme - far too flighty to be taken seriously."

We reject Ms. Johnson's baseless charge of sexism. could compile a wish list of former and current Black female officeholders whose name we would never connect to the pejorative, "spoiler": DC Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and former Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney, for starters. They chose not to run. Moseley-Braun, on the other hand, busied herself telling all who would listen that she wanted to make another run for the Senate. Democratic moneybags didn't want to hear that. "Instead," we wrote, " somebody offered Moseley-Braun another assignment for the 'good of the party' - one for which no white person is qualified and few Blacks are foolish enough to accept: stop Sharpton."

Another Moseley-Braun stalwart, Deborah Barabino, takes us to task:

I think that Ms. Braun can and should run for President regardless of who invited her to, or who is willing to pay for her candidacy. Rev. Sharpton has the right to run as well as she. Black voters have as varied an opinion as any other group in this country. Certainly in the initial stages of any election we can vote for candidates that have absolutely no chance of winning the coveted office. However, the role that Rev. Jackson played in previous elections was to make sure the issues of Blacks and other marginalized people were on the front burner of national discussion.

I suspect that it goads folks that Moseley-Braun is a woman, and a Black one at that, running in an election filled with men.

Good for Ms. Braun! In the first round of voting she has my vote.

The corporate media appears to have been successful in preventing Ms. Barabino from hearing Rev. Sharpton's well developed positions on a wide range of issues - although he was caught with his overalls down when questioned about farm policy in Iowa, recently.

Moreover, Moseley-Braun's newly revealed stances on war and other issues differ in no important degree from Sharpton's, reinforcing the impression that she is the "I'm not Al" candidate.

Kurt Kiebler is a social activist from Kansas City. He has specific questions about Moseley-Braun:

I find myself having mixed feelings about Carol Moseley-Braun's run for President. While I think it is great an African-American woman is running for President, I fear she is also being used in a presidential race the way Denise Majette was used against Congressperson Cynthia McKinney in her re-election bid. In this case, I believe the person intended for defeat is the Reverend Al Sharpton. Sharpton has been more and more vocal about opposing a war on Iraq.

While I understand that Ms. Moseley-Braun might be opposed to the war as well, I don't believe she has been as open as Sharpton. I'm also concerned about Ms. Moseley-Braun's support of the late General Sani Abacha of Nigeria. I'm sure you already know about the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa [the world-renowned Nigerian poet executed in 1995] and the responsibility of the Abacha regime. The Multinational Monitor claims Moseley-Braun was getting paid junkets to visit with Abacha. I don't wish any harm for Ms. Moseley-Braun, but I do not savor the prospect of one African-American pitted against another one in a presidential race.

(See Al Sharpton's Battle to Transform the Democrats in this issue)

Dying for the almighty dollar

The world is slowly awakening to the structural conflict underlying the U.S. war on Iraq, which is at root a war for dollar supremacy. In her brilliant analysis "Why African Americans Should Oppose the War" (February 20), Dr. Sonja Ebron shows that U.S. rulers are desperate to maintain the dollar as the sole currency for the world's oil purchases. "An OPEC switch from the dollar to the euro would bring a quick and devastating dollar and Wall Street crash that would make 1929 look like a $50 casino bet," Dr. Ebron wrote. "Iraq's currency action adds urgency to the coming oil price and supply crisis, so our leaders have moved to control both the flow and the currency denomination of oil."

Ella Baccouche read Dr. Ebron's piece, and saw the light.

Dynamic! Excellent! Consciousness-raising! Thank you Dr. Ebron for so eloquently expressing the arguments on "Why African-Americans should oppose the War". You have cleared the smoke (chaos) so that we can finally see the fire. This is a "Must Read" and a "Wake-up Call" for every African-American. It is an overwhelmingly urgent appeal for all of us to get involved in the anti-war movement and not support America's immoral foreign policy whereby the killing of innocent non-whites is insignificant in its efforts to legitimize armed robbery.

Ben Tripp also directs his remarks to Dr. Ebron.

I just read your piece on Oil, the Euro, and Africa, and it's excellent (saw it on Counterpunch although I get the newsletter as well). Thanks for writing it. This administration's enmity toward the euro is the real enemy in this war, and the exchange rate will be measured in African lives - here and in Africa.

As someone whose ancestors left Africa half a million years ago, I believe your publication is an excellent vehicle for people of all races to understand black issues in the world.

Al Buono writes, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida:

Please give Dr. Ebron my congratulations and thanks for an incredible primer on the state of world affairs from every perspective of race and culture, and thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.

Archie Amos has every reason to suspect ulterior motives behind the war against Iraq.

I was quite pleased to have been made aware of your website. Today is my first reading of it and I must say I did enjoy many of the articles especially the article on why we as blacks should oppose the war. Let me say that I am an African American male, who served in Viet Nam in the late 60's. I know the horror of war having been in numerous firefights over a year's period of time. As a Project Phoenix participant killing was second nature to us. If given a picture of a supposed enemy we stalked and killed in the name of "democracy." Years later the question became whose democracy and in whose eye. I oppose the war and am vocal in that position. Kudos on that article.

Philadelphian John Furnish laments that he cannot effectively share Dr. Ebron's insights with his students.

Dr. Sonja Ebron is a genius soothsayer, with such deep sociopolitical and economic knowledge that she teaches her reader on many, many levels.

I only sorrow that I cannot share her powerful insights with my students (about why African Americans should not support the impending war) because they have been made literary cripples in this Philadelphia public school where I teach. It's true - black kids, however powerfully intelligent they are, and they are - are disadvantaged from the beginning, and now in ninth grade I'm losing the battle to save most of my students.

It isn't even that I'm a white male teacher, and the gangsta rap culture and negligent parenting are only two elements of the causes. The true root causes, in the long analysis, are capitalism and one of its great support pillars, racism.

There is no more time. I'm glad for my background as a radical and my discovery of The Black Commentator as one of my primary sources of sociopolitical thought and information.

Your publication is actually essential for the entire working class, in America and the world. It has impeccable honesty, deep insight and all-around editorial excellence, never mind the timely stories and commentary.

It is an essential publication to working-class conscious radicals of all stripes. I shall be with you until the government finds you to be a threat to its ability to misinform the masses, and I may well be with you in jail once they cart you off.

May you have the honor of sitting in the cell next to Leonard Peltier, the great Native American activist.

Thanks, Mr. Furnish (say we, with mixed emotions.) Such a day may not be far off. (See In the Time of Disappeared People in this issue)

Fortunately, Robert E. Reynolds, of Orange Park, Florida, rescued us from our jailhouse anxieties.

You have done a real public service with this article. You provided info I have not seen elsewhere that can be used to fight these fascist bastards. Many, many thanks.

Bill Nilsen gets all misty in the presence of the truth - a rare commodity in the U.S., these days.

Dr. Ebron's Analysis: "Why African Americans Should Oppose the War" is so damned informative and well written that it brought tears to my white eyes.

If all of our public discourse in this "civilized" world were so incisive, erudite, and most of all civil, perhaps we'd get somewhere. This is how progress is made.

Thank you, Dr. Ebron. Thank you Black Commentator.

An Indian Voice on oil, dollars and race

Uma Iyer is a visiting professor at the Department of Mathematics, Indiana University, at Bloomington. We are pleased to share Prof. Iyer's perspective on wealth, privilege and war fever in America.

I read the article "Why African Americans Should Oppose The War" by Dr. Sonja Ebron. It was a very good article, explaining many things that I was not aware of (explaining the relevance of currency).

I am an Indian immigrant over here. For a long time I have felt the burden of enjoying the benefits of slavery. All these institutions of higher learning, all these companies, all this wealth in this country, carries some stain, even if a little, of the dispossession and oppression of the African origin people and of course, the Native Americans.

At the same time, I have felt very frustrated seeing Dr. Rice and General Powell support this war (and actually any war for that matter). Just as we immigrants have benefited from the oppression and dispossession of slaves and the original inhabitants, cheap oil prices in the US (brought about by having utter contempt for others' lives and aspirations) have kept this society prosperous and given power and voice to people like Dr. Rice and General Powell. In other words, we seem to all be culpable for the misery of people, here or there.

On the television when I hear someone or the other saying things like "Whites and Blacks are united since the Sept.11th," I really do not understand what that is supposed to mean. Are whites and blacks going to be united just as the Jewish and Christians have? For the persecution that the Jewish people faced in Europe, the Arabs have had to pay (and still are paying) very dearly. For the oppression that African Americans have undergone in the US, who will have to pay very dearly? Afghans? Iraqis? Who?

One can already see a lot of effort being put in by television, movies, magazines where the good guys are whites and blacks, whereas the bad guys are the bearded Arabs.

The mainstream American media, American scholars and politicians, take great pleasure in highlighting the ills of other societies. Being an Indian, I know exactly what it is to be on the receiving end. "Hindus and Muslims killing each other", "Being a Hindu is same as practicing untouchability", "How they burn their wives", " How they treat their animals".... The same American media/scholars/politicians would think it extremely racist (and rightly so) to scrutinize African Americans or Jewish Americans so contemptuously.

We, the immigrants, are told that the American society has come a long way from its racist past and that non-Americans are just too immature to handle their problems. I ask Americans to take note that just as it is racist to express contempt for colored Americans, it is racist to express contempt for colored non-Americans.

Political correctness and basic compassion for humanity doesn't have to disappear at the end of a human-made boundary.

The "new" Colin Powell

Part of the corporate media's job is to exaggerate minor differences within the War Party in order to squeeze the entire public discussion into the cracks that separate Killer Tweedle Dumb and Executioner Tweedle Dee. Through this process, we are given a "choice" between the "dovish" Colin Powell and "hawks" such as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Corporate voices urge us to listen closely to variations in tone and 'tude within the Bush administration, while accepting the inherently aggressive premises that are shared by all of the loathsome players.

Joyce, from Connecticut, was recently subjected to such packaged nonsense. Luckily, was only a bookmark away.

I recently viewed the life story of Colin Powell on cable television, and was left believing that Colin was not the multidimensional man I had believed him to be. Your recent in-depth material on Colin has confirmed every one of my suspicions. Thank you for being out there. I will forward your insightful material to many. Be blessed, my Brother!

The reader known as Robbie has dropped Colin Powell's given name entirely, and coined him a new one.

My friend Paul recently wrote and ended his remarks with "Didn't Colon Powell use to be Black? What's up with that?" I replied that he used to also be touted as the voice of moderation in the Bushit Administration. Cool, calm and collected Colin. But, now that he is so enthralled with his self that he can do a power point show (and tell) and he can succeed in sucking in a few folks to endorse a slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent people, he has become "Colon". Two incidents illustrate why.

Before one of the other talks that Colon gave at the UN after his power point sent Microsoft stock price up, he insisted that the painting above and behind the room's podium be covered up. The painting was a print of the Picasso Guernica. The painting shows the utter horror to man and beast of the Nazi experimental holocaust on a small defenseless Spanish village using a "massive show of force" the Nazis called Blitzkrieg, and it is a clue to what the U.S. has in store for the City of Baghdad, Iraq.

It is therefore not surprising that Colon Bowell, who used to give a shit, who is now obstructed with Bushit, insisted that the painting be covered up before he began his spiel. What else does Colon intend to cover up? Will he succeed in covering the Asses of Evil?

Master War Plan

The corporate media also pretend to suffer from selective amnesia, a peculiar malady that allows them to remember every negative detail (or press invention) of Al Sharpton's involvement in the Tawana Brawley case, but blots out whole areas of recent American history. The U.S. alliance with Saddam Hussein during eight years of poison gas-filled war with Iran in the Eighties, for example, disappears from the corporate media record. Similarly, the impending war against Iraq is depicted as something that has been forced on the Bush administration, rather than the result of long years of planning and very public debate.

Dr. Audra Robinson practices medicine in Alabama. With no assistance from the corporate media, Dr. Robinson found a documented vector of today's looming conflagration.

As a veteran, I had actually viewed the original "Wolfowitz Memorandum" where he attempts to set forth American hegemonic and imperialist policy, immediately after Gulf War I (circa 1992). This document was and is the playbook that is used by the current Bush administration to orchestrate the takeover of Middle East oil. Paul Wolfowitz also authored an open letter in 1998 (which led to the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998) which was to encourage then President Bill Clinton to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and Mr. Wolfowitz and Richard Perle co-authored the Iraq invasion policy of then presidential candidate GWB in the year 2000. (So it seems this "war" has been in the works for at least 10 years.)

I have attached an article that I ran across last November. I hope that it is as enlightening for you as it was for me. I pride myself on being informed, but I did not know all of the true "players" in today's war politics... The attached article lists all of the members of the Bush cabal (both Bush I and Bush II administrations) who are really responsible for the current Middle East policies, and it shows who stands to gain the most from this so-called war (Halliburton, Inc.). is the perfect venue to get this kind of information out to the public.

We urge you to view the pdf file in Dr. Robinson's letter. The document includes a link to a 1998 Open Letter by 40 hot-breathed warmongers, calling for "a comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime." At the top of the list of signers are Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, now Vice President and Secretary of Defense.

Five years later, the world finds itself at...

Countdown to "Shock and Awe"

"When it comes, the U.S. assault on Iraq will explode as global spectacle, an awesome pyrotechnic display of rolling thunder and lightening death intended to shock and cow the entire planet. The effect, the planners fervently believe, will be comparable to that which occurred when cannon clashed with spears and arrows on the ever-expanding frontiers of European empire: incomprehensible devastation, soul-consuming terror, complete political disintegration, followed by abject submission. In the grand imperial scenario, the satraps and sultans of the Earth, heads bowed at angles of unmistakable subservience, will gather up their robes and beseech the Americans for life on any terms."

- "Mother of All War Shows," January 30

Cynthia Morris, of Los Angeles, counts down along with the rest of us to the hour when 800 missiles will begin raining down on the metropolis of Baghdad.

I clicked on a link in and found this outstanding commentary on "The Mother of All War Shows." So I just had to write to thank you - and compliment you - on publishing it. I thought it was absolutely brilliant.

It's exactly what I enjoy reading most: intelligent, articulate, and straight-to-the-heart-of the-matter writing. Thank you so much.

Irv Taylor ponders the kind of nation that gives assent to crimes against civilization.

Came upon your site one day a couple months ago when I was toolin' around the web looking for some good and insightful commentary. This Bush trick is enough to drive a man to drink or to stand up. I've been standing up for a while now, so it was great to reach your site, read what you brothers are saying about things, and to perceive that you cut it right to the quick! I've told all those I know about your site. A week is too long to have to wait for your work. But I understand the energy it takes and the resources it consumes to do good work consistently.

There's a commercial that plays showing some suburban street with flags adorned all over every surface while a voice intones about how 9-11 changed America, ending with (I think) "It did" with a pan of the flags propped on every house and lawn in sight. I think 9-11 changed AmeriKKa also, but the "patriotism" is just a sham for the weakness and degeneracy in the America the rest of the world shrinks from.

To me, Bush is trying to make good on his supposed off-hand remarks that if he "was dictator" everything would be simpler and is pushing to make your basic undereducated, over-privileged, self-righteous and ignorant US citizen so fearful that he can foist a "burning of the Reichstag" scenario to justify suspending the Constitution and elections, declare martial law, and name himself the "Leader". The consistent lies, fault-finding with the "other" (but never a potent 'Other'), and the constant invoking of the word "Providence", bring to mind the flag waving rantings of a mad-man from the previous century who mesmerized the people of what had been the leading economic and military power of Europe. That earlier madman invoked God as it suited his purposes and declared he was the state and the state was himself and all allegiance was to him, and the current occupant of the seat of power in this nation is certainly as jingoistic and self-serving.

Chris Nixon is a Dallas attorney and father of three - a responsible fellow who cares about the planet. We're glad he thinks well enough of us to write.

I read my first articles are your site today. I love what you are doing. How can your readers help? Spread the word?

Mr. Nixon is already helping us in our mission, which is to encourage the conversation among African Americans and progressives about What Is To Be Done.

Paul Billings does his bit, daily, in the trenches of education. He writes to us from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy you regular email alerts. I find your articles insightful, to the point and (thankfully!) relatively brief. They are also very readable. I especially enjoyed your coverage of Cynthia McKinney's race in Georgia last fall. I have been a big fan of hers.

I have been actively involved in the ABC (A Better Chance) program for 7 years. This program offers minority youth (mostly Black and Hispanic teenagers) the opportunity to attend high school in our school district (Wallingford/Swarthmore, PA). We are the longest running public school ABC program (25 years) in the country. We have a total of 16 kids- 8 girls and 8 boys who attend the local high school. All expenses are covered - we have a 90% college graduation rate for our students.

I worry about the role models our kids see - they have the benefit of being well educated, but are still influenced by the mass media, TV, etc. Maybe I should direct them to your web site - they are far more computer savvy than this creaky old ABC board member!

Keep the faith and the excellent reporting - I read every issue.

Michael Dunkley is also a regular reader of . He says, "The only belly laughs I get these days are when someone has the balls to tell it like it is."

There is a line that is being drawn, and this might be the event that we have been preparing for since the 60's. Just as the Hitler horror was analyzed as the greatest evil in history over the last half century, I believe what is flowering now will be one day understood as its cursed successor into that shameful category.

Let us keep our brains sharpened by tuning in and disseminating the truth as shared by you, with style and wit no less; you guys are a shining example, right up there with Alternet and Counterpunch, which incidentally was how I found you. I bookmarked so that it will become a daily part of the political education the mass media has been withholding from me my whole life, and without which I would maybe be putty in some fool's hands. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your courage and perception, humor (black, the funniest) - in short, for helping me keep the faith.

Peace through awareness.

Thanks to the thousands of you who found us through and, the biggest referrers to our address, this month, and to,,,,, and, who also sent lots of intelligent readers our way. (, and are also linked elsewhere on this page.) To view a list of all the Websites we find informative and inspiring please visit our Links page.

Keep writing.

Your comments are welcome. Visit the Contact Us page for E-mail or Feedback.

Click here to return to the home page