Issue Number 31 - February 27, 2003

Clarence Thomas and his Latino clone
The dollar's global death-grip
Bush must co-sign for Turkey money













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Clarence Thomas is number one - the most backward, reactionary, bloodthirsty, Black people hater on the U.S. Supreme Court. The pride of Pinpoint, Georgia has added yet another superlative to dazzle the Black-appointed-faces-in-high-places crowd. In defiance of storerooms of evidence, bravely disregarding all standards of human decency, and with clear-eyed contempt for legal process, Thomas has registered a singular achievement as a representative of "the race," one he need not share with any of his colleagues on the High Court.

Alone among the nine Persons In Black, Thomas stood firm against a new hearing and possible new trial for a Black Texas man sentenced to death by a jury of nine whites, one Asian, one Hispanic and an African American in 1986. Lawyers for Thomas Miller-El presented damning evidence that the Dallas prosecutor's office pursued a policy of excluding minorities from juries. As the New York Times reported on February 13, 2002:

Statements from several black prospective jurors who were struck from the Miller-El trial are included in the clemency petition, along with a 1986 article in The Dallas Morning News citing a 1963 internal memo in the district attorney's office advising prosecutors who were picking juries: "Do not take Jews, Negroes, Dagos, Mexicans or a member of any minority race on a jury, no matter how rich or how well educated."

That language was later dropped, but in the early 1970's the office used a training manual that included a memo from a Dallas County prosecutor, Jon Sparling, containing advice on jury selection: "You are not looking for any member of a minority group which may subject him to oppression - they almost always empathize with the accused."

The 1970's memo was still in circulation when Miller-El went on trial for the murder of a Holiday Inn employee.

Even a Supreme Fool could see that Miller-El had been victimized by a system programmed to kill Black defendants. The sheer weight of the evidence of racial manipulation of the jury selection process convinced Antonin Scalia, the Neanderthal who served as Thomas' early mentor on the court, to relent. There was "a close rather than a clear" chance that El-Miller might prevail in an appeal to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court, said Scalia, according to the Washington Post. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.

Justice Kennedy said Mr. Miller-El had clearly shown that the evidence of bias was at least debatable. Not only did the prosecution remove most black prospective jurors, but black members of the panel were subjected to more searching questioning on their views of the death penalty in what Justice Kennedy said could fairly be seen as an effort to build a record justifying their removal.

However, nothing could shake the resolve of the man from Pinpoint, quoted in the February 26 edition of the New York Times:

The lone dissenter was Justice Clarence Thomas, who said Mr. Miller-El had not met even the relatively low threshold that the majority emphasized today. "The simple truth" is that proof of racial bias is circumstantial at best, lacking "anything remotely resembling clear and convincing evidence of purposeful discrimination," Justice Thomas said.

This is the humanoid affliction brought down upon us by the Republican Party, which only Divine Providence can remove. Clarence Thomas is 54 years old. He serves for life.

Back in 1991, a sorry pack of Black back door feeders rushed to Clarence Thomas' side during his confirmation hearings, hurrumphing that the young political operative with the barest of judicial credentials should be given a chance to prove himself. Like the Spook Who Sat By the Door in the novel, Thomas would show his true Black colors once the U.S. Senate punched his lifetime ticket, they grinned greasily.

In our January 30 discussion of "race traitors," we speculated that "some of us would cheer if a Black were appointed Lord High Executioner of African Americans." We misspoke; the position was already filled. Clarence Thomas is Lord High Executioner of Blacks. It takes eight white people to hold him back.

Clone of Clarence

hosted a brief but interesting EmailBox dialogue, early this month, on the exploding Hispanic presence in the southern United States. A number of Black readers took offence at suggestions that the "Black-white paradigm" of race relations in the U.S. was outdated, now that Latinos outnumber African Americans. Simply put, the Black responders told our Chicano guest commentator that the newcomers should learn some lessons about white American racism from folks with a few centuries of experience on the subject, before they declared the Black worldview an anachronism. (See "Plain Language on Blacks and Hispanics," February 6.)

Clearly, some Hispanics are repeating the most backward aspects of the tortuous Black experience as they attempt to reinvent the race relations wheel. The question of changing paradigms is misdirected. It is the racists of the White Man's Party who impose the rules of the grotesque game, and they are now playing the same tricks on Hispanics that proved effective in suppressing and confusing Black Americans.

The Miguel Estrada spectacle is like watching a rerun of the Clarence Thomas confirmation, poorly dubbed in Spanish. Estrada, too, is a young (41), Hard Right political operative with few qualifications for the federal bench. Like pre-confirmation Thomas, Estrada has refused to say much of anything substantial about his legal opinions, and lies when he does speak.

In terms of social background, Estrada bears no comparison to Clarence from Pinpoint. He is the U.S.-educated scion of the Honduran elite, with no connection to the barrios of the U.S. or the shantytowns of his native land. But that doesn't matter, because white people are the ones who always deal and play the race card. And sure enough, the old racial mojo is working fine. The Hispanics are split, and the Democrats are in agony.

As 41 Democratic Senators prepared to filibuster against confirmation of yet another reactionary colored man with life tenure, Thomas patron Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) denounced the Estrada opposition as "anti-Latino." The old trickster was encouraged by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which had endorsed Estrada for no coherent reason other than his surname.

"It was just very difficult for us not to support the guy, given his impeccable credentials," said Hector Flores, president of the Texas-based group. "It's the American dream, rising up from Honduras the way he has. The battle isn't whether he's conservative; it's that he represents Latinos, whether we like him or not."

Estrada held down assistant positions in the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Solicitor General's office, and is a partner at a high-powered Washington firm. His qualifications to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit are comparatively weak. LULAC's Flores has an "American dream" dancing in his own head and, like Black Clarence Thomas supporters of the previous decade, he will populate it with whomever of his ethnic group the White Man's Party offers.

The other mainline Latino organizations - the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southwest Voter Registration Project and the House Hispanic Caucus - are having as little success with determined Latino dupes as did the national African American organizations back in 1991. Brown fools walking in the footsteps of Black fools, all the while declaring that their new day has dawned.

New paradigm? No, just a new bunch of suckers. White supremacy may well have a brown defender to keep the Black one company on the High Court deep into the century.

War against the euro

The London Sunday Observer took note of the "quiet emergence of the 'petroeuro,'" this week, part of the growing realization that the unfolding U.S. military encirclement and impending occupation of Middle Eastern oil fields is directly linked to maintaining the American dollar as the preeminent oil currency. As Dr. Sonja Ebron explained in last week's analysis, "Why African Americans Should Oppose the War," the U.S. economy would suffer a devastating crash were the dollar's value not "backed by oil, which allows our Treasury to simply print money as needed to finance our debt."

The Sunday Observer's Faisal Islam agrees. "The US can carry on printing money - effectively IOUs - to fund tax cuts, increased military spending, and consumer spending on imports without fear of inflation or that these loans will be called in," he writes. "It's probably the nearest thing to a 'free lunch' in global economics."

It is also ample cause for a war to "shock and awe" the people of the planet and prevent oil producing nations from considering a switch to the euro as a petroleum currency, a move that would be in the best interests of many producers. Middle East oil nations engage in more reciprocal trade with Europe than with the United States. The Observer's Faisal also reports that "the Bank of China and the Russian Central Bank are both rumored to be waiting for the best moment to increase the holdings of euros."

By exposing itself as a would-be global dictator, the United States may be accelerating the very thing that it seeks to prevent: a mad dash away from the dollar. As Dr. Ebron put it in her February 20 analysis, "Far from staving off disaster, our arrogance may instead compel OPEC to 'go euro' en masse, taking many oil-consuming nations with them by force of economics. And a trade war with Europe will lend the coup de grace to our economy."

Yellow Times contributor Paul Harris writes that the "reason for the drive against Iraq is Bush's war against Europe." Harris dates the current crisis to November, 2000, when Saddam Hussein began accepting only euros for Iraq's oil, threatening a status quo in which "the U.S. essentially owns the world's oil for free." Harris concludes:

The point of Bush's war against Iraq, therefore, is to secure control of those oil fields and revert their valuation to dollars, then to increase production exponentially, forcing prices to drop. Finally, the point of Bush's war is to threaten significant action against any of the oil producers who would switch to the euro.

In the long run, then, it is not really Saddam who is the target; it is the euro and, therefore, Europe. There is no way the United States will sit by idly and let those upstart Europeans take charge of their own fate, let alone of the world's finances.

In this context, the shockingly crude behavior of George Bush and his pirates towards the French and Germans becomes more understandable.

Long term oil availability has never been an acute concern for the people who rule America - if it were, Bush would not be offering tax breaks for gas guzzling SUVs, defying the rest of the planet over global warming, or putting the physical safety of the oil fields themselves in jeopardy. It is not in the interest of a single nation on the planet to seriously disrupt the flow of oil - the producing states least of all. However, U.S. hegemony in the world is based on keeping oil prices tied directly and exclusively to the dollar. This is the artificial arrangement at the heart of the empire - the "national interest" for which millions will die in Permanent War until the pirates are removed from power.

Black lawmakers in the lead

"The path that the U.S. is going... will destabilize the world as it is destabilizing the Middle East," Texas Black Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee told CNN, this week. Reflecting overwhelming African American distrust of U.S. war policy - historically and in the current madness - Black lawmakers have assumed leadership of the resistance to Bush's machinery of destruction.

Led by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, six members challenged in federal court Bush's right to invade Iraq without specific congressional authorization. "The Iraq Resolution passed by Congress on October 3, 2002, did not declare war and unlawfully ceded to the President that decision," said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), one of the plaintiffs. "Historical records show that the framers of the Constitution sought to ensure that U.S. presidents did not have the power of European monarchs to single-handedly declare and wage war." Representatives Sheila Jackson-Lee, Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Jose Serrano (D-NY) joined in the suit.

Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney lent her considerable prestige to a Canadian-based effort to expose the U.S. as "home of the largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction." McKinney has signed on as an honorary weapons inspector for the Rooting Out Evil project. In a letter of support, she wrote:

Certainly, the United States under the leadership of George W. Bush qualifies as a misguided missile, dangerous to global peace and security. You are right to begin your campaign in the U.S. because it is here that the world's largest stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction including nuclear, conventional, biological, and chemical weapons are situated. At the same time, the American people are paying a dear price for the U.S. focus on militarization at home and abroad. This focus impoverishes the American people, insults our fundamental values, and diminishes our spirit and moral character.

The economics of war are hurting the American people. And the Bush government is becoming a global threat. There was a time when America was loved around the world. Now, it is feared. Now is the time for all good people of conscience to act.

A Rooting Out Evil team last week staged a visit to the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center, in Maryland, to bring public attention to the "dangerous chemical and biological agents being developed and stored at the facility."

Even the doggedly domestic-oriented NAACP is assuming the role of global citizen. As a new non-governmental organization (NGO) affiliate of the United Nations, the civil rights group will host an "America's Summit" at its annual meeting in Miami, in July. "The world is much smaller today," said executive director Kweisi Mfume. "Many more issues are cross-linked between the domestic and international realms. And the issue of Third World development resonates particularly with our constituency."

NAACP chairman Julian Bond spoke for the organization at the February 15 anti-war rally in New York City, sounding much as he did four decades ago as a leader of the staunchly anti-Vietnam War Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC):

We Americans must ask ourselves today, are we prepared for the consequences and after effects of an attack on Iraq - continued destabilization of the region, the deaths of American fighting women and men, the deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqis, the collapse of regimes, however undemocratic, which now support us, near permanent occupation by our soldiers of a defeated Iraq and the millions upon millions required to bring it stability? If we really favor regime change, we ought to begin right here at home.

Veteran activist Ron Daniels is coordinating a February 28 action to "surround the U.S. State Department with a massive Prayer Circle for Peace before leaving on an urgent Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace to Iraq." Daniels explains the mission.

In my capacity as Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, since September of 2002, I have been working to build an African American lead, multi-racial, ecumenical coalition of faith leaders opposed to the war. Dr. James Forbes, Senior Pastor of Riverside Church in New York, Rev. Tyrone Pitts, General Secretary of the Progressive Baptist Convention, Rev. Herbert Daughtry, pastor of House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn and founder of the National Black United Front, former Congressman Walter Fauntroy, pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and President of the National Black Leadership Roundtable, Imam Mahdi Bray, President of the MAS Freedom Foundation in D.C. and Rev. John Mendez, former Chairman of the Racial Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches from Winston Salem, N.C. are among the African American faith leaders who have participated in the coalition....

Taken together, it is clear that Black voices for peace and justice are increasing as Bush and company push forward with their misadventure in Iraq. In the coming days and months ahead, however, more and more Black voices must come to the forefront to stridently say no to war and yes to justice and peace. As Martin Luther King put it, "when machines... and profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered." Black voices for peace and justice can be decisive in ending militarism, not only in this country but the entire planet!

This is a righteous Faith-based Initiative, bearing no resemblance to George Bush's slavery-time religion.

Coalition of the bribed

The Bush administration finds international allies in the same way that it attracts African Americans to the GOP: it bribes them. As this issue was going to press, the legislature of overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey was about to decide how many billions of dollars it will take to buy its participation in the war on Iraq - an invasion that more than 95 percent of the Turkish people oppose. An important sticking point is Turkish insistence that Bush sign off on the deal, personally, since the U.S. is famous around the globe for reneging on its promises once its goals have been achieved. (Native Americans could have warned the world about this reflexive behavior.)

The figures bandied about range to upwards of $30 billion. All that is certain is that, as with all U.S. foreign "aid" deals, much of the money must be spent with corporate friends of the regime in Washington.

At $30 billion, the Turkish deal would be twice the amount spent annually on federal Temporary Aid to Needy Families - the program once known as welfare.

In all its dimensions, the Bush War is depraved.

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